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A note from Kyfe

Patreon is up for anyone who hasn't noticed. The benefits are not available yet, but I will be releasing early chapters over the weekend to kick it off instead of taking a break. I have received a couple of messages from people who hadn't seen my public post about the situation and were asking where the advanced chapters were. Anyone that subscribes to a Tier and feels they made a mistake, or that they chose the wrong Tier, or subscribed too early, for any reason at all, I am more than happy to give a refund. I don't believe in anyone paying for a value they're not receiving yet, and I only launched the Patreon now because some people have expressed an interest in supporting the story. That being said, the $3 and $5 Tiers will be fulfilled before the end of the month.

Another small note, someone pointed out that the accumulated Experience was wrong in the last chapter. It didn't affect his level, Stats, or Skills in any way, and it has been corrected.

More edits will come over the weekend, but because I feel it is my obligation to start providing the benefits to my Patrons as early as possible, it might extend into next week(end) before I address them all.

Enemy Defeated.
Exp +380
Combat Resolved. Calculating...
Exp +1520
Level Up!
Level Up!
Experience 596/1000
New Class Skill Slot Unlocked!
Achievement! Stare into the Abyss and retain your rationality
Mental Stats +1
Achievement! Participate in a battle 3 Tiers above yours and survive
Luck +2
New Skills Unlocked!
Mana Conjuration (1)
Mana Weapon (1)
Skills Levelled Up!
Balance (36 ->37)
Battlefield Awareness (4 ->5)
Evasion (26 ->27)
Iron Will (2 ->8)
Mana Sight (14 ->16)
Mental Fortitude (25 ->28)
Observation (30 ->33)
Pain Resistance (27 ->28)
Sense Mana (42 ->45)
Shields (22 ->24)
Spatial Awareness (9 ->11)
Tactics (5 ->11)
Weapons Master (27 ->30)
Select a Class Skill:
Available Class Skills:
Intimidate (0): Cause fear and hesitation into equal strength opponents. Chance to stun weaker enemies.
Power Swing (0): Transfer momentum into the impact area causing knock-back
Quick-Draw (0): Accelerate the draw speed of a sheathed weapon

Reivyn reviewed his notifications while recovering in the infirmary. The damage he had received from the combat had been strange. No wounds, other than the minor scrapes from the shield hitting him in the face, had actually been found on his body, so there was nothing for the Healers to directly mend. Instead it was as if his essence had been damaged directly. The only thing they could do was accelerate his natural healing, and while it didn't reduce his Stamina, having his body work over time still left him feeling drained, so he had remained in the infirmary under the recommendation of the Healers.

He looked over the choices for Class Skills available to him, and he considered each one based on his current fighting style and capabilities.

Intimidate might come in handy at a later date, but it probably won't help me much with my current strength against anything other than goblins. Reivyn dismissed the Skill.

Power Swing could have helped a bit in my last fight against the skeleton, and I can think of many situations where it would be better to force the enemy back rather than stepping back myself. It's worth further consideration. Reivyn tabled it for now. He didn't want to choose a Skill before checking out each one and comparing them.

Quick-Draw would improve the speed of a maneuver I have already used on more than one occasion to save my life and others. It has the restriction of only applying to a sheathed weapon, but I always have a sidearm on hand. The last option was also a strong contender.

There were pros and cons associated with each Skill, and Reivyn could think of uses for each one. It finally came down to the fact that he had already used a technique similar to Quick-Draw in emergency situations, so he ultimately decided to select it.

He pulled up his Status to look at his growth so far.

Status
Name: Reivyn Class: Fighter Lvl 10 Age: 9
Health: 600/600 Stamina: 1200/1200 Mana: 310/310
Physical Stats Mental Stats
STR: 60 INT: 32
VIT: 60 MAG: 31
DEX: 60 CLA: 31
CHA: 4 PER: 28
LUK: 5
Experience: 596/1000
Skills:
Acrobatics (26), Aim (19), Akashic Record (1), Athleticism (33), Balance (36), Battlefield Awareness (5), Blind Fighting (6), Command (0), Drawing (16), Dreams of the Past (13), Eavesdropping (20), Evasion (27), Haman (20 MAX), Hiding (24), Identify {Mundane} (19) Inspire (4), Iron Will (8), Linguistics (10), Mana Absorption (38), Mana Circulation (7), Mana Conjuration (1), Mana Sight (16), Mana Weapon (1), Map Making (6), Mathematics (14), Marching (13), Meditation (14), Medium Armor (20), Mental Fortitude (28), Numbers Concepts (8), Observation (33), Pain Resistance (26), Penmanship (21), Piano (0), Pickpocket (6), Running (35), Sense Mana (42), Shields (24), Sneaking (19), Spatial Awareness (11), Stealing (9), Stealth (14), Strategy (1), Swimming (0), Tactics (11), Weapons Master (30)
Affinities:
Air (15), Earth (15), Fire (15), Water (15)
Class Skills:
Devastating Strike (36): Deal 136% Damage
Cleave (27): Reset stance at an accelerated rate of 137%
Charge (29): Sprint towards the target at 139% absolute maximum speed
Quick-Draw (1): Accelerate the draw speed of a sheathed weapon by 111%
<Locked>
Available: Intimidate (0), Power Swing (0)

Hmmm... There's got to be a better way to view my Skills. Having them all in a huge block like this makes it hard to parse. Let's see... Reivyn mentally fiddled with his Status page for a bit. He knew that the System was fairly dynamic, so he concentrated on what he wanted. After several minutes of contemplation, he finally managed to organize it in a way that he liked.

Skills:
Tier 1:
Aim (19), Athleticism (32), Balance (36), Drawing (16), Haman (20 MAX), Hiding (24), Map Making (6), Mathematics (14), Marching (13), Medium Armor (19), Mining (10), Observation (33), Penmanship (21), Piano (0), Running (32), Shields (24), Sneaking (19), Stealing (9), Swimming (0), Woodworking (1)

Tier 2:
Acrobatics (26), Eavesdropping (20), Evasion (27), Identify {Mundane} (19), Linguistics (10), Mana Absorption (38), Mana Circulation (7), Meditation (14), Numbers Concepts (8), Pain Resistance (28), Pickpocket (6), Sense Mana (45), Stealth (14), Strategy (1), Tactics (11)

Tier 3:
Battlefield Awareness (5), Blind Fighting (6), Command (0), Danger Sense (1), Inspire (5), Mana Conjuration (1), Mana Manipulation (3), Mana Sight (16), Mental Fortitude (28)]

Tier 4:
Dreams of the Past (13), Iron Will (8), Mana Weapon (1), Spatial Awareness (11)

Tier 5: Spacial Awareness (11)

Tier 6:
Akashic Record (1), Weapons Master (30)

Reivyn was satisfied with the results of his tinkering. He closed his Status page and lay back on the cot to relax. He drifted off to sleep without noticing.

 



Reivyn was gently shaken awake. He sat up and rubbed the sleep in his eyes before looking up at who had woken him from his nap. Knight-Lieutenant Brand stood staring down at him with a severe look on his face.

"Sleeping on the job, I see," he said with disapproval. Reivyn's mouth opened in astonishment as he looked up at the older man. He stammered to come up with something to say, but the Knight-Lieutenant suddenly broke into a smile and laughed. "I'm obviously joking with you. Are you good to get up?"

Reivyn closed his mouth, stretched, and then stood up. He checked his Health, it had climbed to 73% while he napped, and gauged his energy. He was still tired from the overwork his body was doing, but it was manageable if he just had to walk somewhere.

"As long as I don't have to fight any scary monsters," Reivyn replied. The Adjutant's smile fell from his face as he assumed a grim expression.

"There shouldn't be any more surprises. The Knight-Captain and I descended to the depths with some ropes, and we didn't find any more monsters. Knight-Captain Reifold also had some men locate the tunnels and begin exploring. The entrance had caved in and grown over, which is why nobody could spot it before. It just looked like any other hill dotting the ridge.

"Come, the Knight-Captain invited you to be debriefed by him," The Knight-Lieutenant said. Reivyn followed him out of the medical tent. It was only late afternoon, and Reivyn could see that the camp had returned to almost normal after the incident.

A wall was being constructed around the hole that had appeared in the middle of the camp, but everyone had resumed their normal day-to-day routines. There were still some lingering effects, though, as Reivyn could see multiple people suddenly stop what they were doing and stare off into space for a moment before suddenly shaking and resuming their task.

The two quickly arrived at the new tent set up for the commander. The interior was exactly like it had been before with nothing missing. If anything had tumbled down the chasm, it had been retrieved when the two officers descended earlier. Two additional seats had been set in front of Knight-Captain Reifold's desk, and he indicated them as the two men entered his tent.

"Have a seat," Reifold said. He set his pen down and leaned back in his chair a bit. "Reivyn, I asked you to join us because, as someone who managed to stand and fight, you deserve to know." Reivyn and the Adjutant each took a seat before the Knight-Captain began.

"First off I take full responsibility. I'm the expert here when it comes to dungeons, and I allowed my duties as the military commander to distract me from pondering on the ramifications of what was found in the dungeon. Second, and this has already been posted on the notice board, nobody is to go beyond the first floor of the dungeon without an experienced mana user. I've noticed you use mana to great effect, but you're not skilled enough yet, and, frankly, not high enough level yet, to go further into the dungeon. I can't control the adventurers, but it's their death warrant if they choose to ignore the warnings.

"That being said, let me explain why," he continued. "I'm not entirely sure what that demon was, but it was a demon. You should have gotten some sort of notification or achievement regarding the Abyss. That's a clear indication. While I might not know exactly what that was, the undead minions that crawled up with it were monsters called Revenants. They are high level undead, at least for this region, and the only reason all of us weren't massacred, myself included, was because we're in a Tier 1 mana density region." Reifold let that statement sink in for a moment. Even Knight-Lieutenant Brand was surprised at that revelation.

"Revenants require a higher concentration and purity of mana to be able to utilize their own magic. As undead they can't purify it themselves like we can through sustained Mana Circulation. The lack of available mana is what caused them to move in such jerky motions. If we were in a Tier 3 region, you would have never even seen them coming. They're still inherently immune to all mundane weaponry, which is why you had to defeat one with your mana attacks. On top of that, the mana density inside the Dungeon is higher, so while not enough to unlock their full capabilities, they will be significantly more dangerous in the Dungeon."

As the man spoke, he took out a piece of paper he had prepared beforehand and slid it across the table to the Knight-Lieutenant. The Adjutant picked it up, and upon reading its contents, he nodded his head as if he had expected the information contained within. He handed it to Reivyn, and he quickly scanned it as he listened, his eyebrows raising in surprise.

Do not ask about the coincidence of the timing out loud. Someone, or something, may be listening, it read. Underneath the main message, it instructed Reivyn to take it with him and burn it during his mana practice later. He followed the instructions and, folding it up, placed it in an interior pocket.

"The demon was even more powerful than the Revenants," Knight-Captain Reifold kept talking without break. "We were lucky my Class and Class Skills directly countered it.

"As to why these things were down there, my guess is the Revenants were cultists while alive, and they summoned a demon they couldn't control and got themselves killed. Those Revenants were ancient, though, and we might never know why they had remained underground for so long. Not everything is always tied up in a neat package for our understanding. That's just life.

"On a final note," the man turned to Reivyn, "I'll be sure that you get the recognition that you deserve. Some people are even calling you a hero." Reivyn was taken aback.

"I didn't do anything particularly heroic, though, sir," Reivyn quickly denied. "I could barely hold on against one Revenant. You and the Adjutant fought off the demon and several Revenants at the same time." Reifold held up his fist and started ticking off on his fingers.

"While being chased by a beast tide right on your heels, you turned around and charged towards the horde to pick up your fallen Squad Leader and carry him to safety. Then, instead of taking it easy in the infirmary, even though nobody would have begrudged you staying there, you joined the fight, and you volunteered to reinforce one of the most exposed positions in a watchtower. Then, you single-handedly killed an ogre in the dungeon, saving at least a couple of your squad mate's lives. Finally, you stayed on your feet and fought a mid-Tier 3 Revenant while everyone else had been debilitated with fear." The commander looked Reivyn in the eye with four fingers raised. He lifted his thumb and said, "You did all of this while having attained your Tier 1 Class just barely over a month ago." He lowered his hand back to the desk.

"People talk. The troops aren't oblivious to what's been going on with you. You're practically their mascot at this point." Reivyn was stunned at the revelation. He had been so caught up in his own world that he hadn't noticed the attention placed on him from the other soldiers. It made sense that they would keep track of him, considering the unusual circumstances around his entry into the regulars.

"Sure, each individual act could simply be described as bravery in the face of danger, but repeated instances, all taken together, are the actions of someone heroic. Usually, in a military unit, we strive to keep people humble and restrain their ego. It leads to better unit cohesion and teamwork. Taking your circumstances into account, though, I feel it's appropriate to make sure you don't sell yourself short." The man clapped his hands together and stood. Reivyn and Brand followed suit, and Reifold kept talking as he walked around the desk to escort the men out.

"I would offer you instruction on how to properly utilize your mana, Reivyn, but my mana is fundamentally different from yours," he said as he held out a hand to guide the two men out. "And judging on your ability to conjure mana weapons, I can only assume you have the necessary mana Skills that I could instruct you on, but mana Skills aren't my expertise, and I wouldn't be able to add much to what you already know. What you need help with is turning your mana into useable magic, and that, I can't help you with." The Knight-Captain escorted them through the tent flaps, and before Reivyn even realized it, the meeting was over and he was standing outside with the Adjutant.

"He's not one for chitchat," Brand said with a sideways look towards Reivyn. "The day is almost over, so go ahead and take the rest of the day to yourself. I'll see you in the morning." With that the Adjutant strode off towards his own tent, leaving Reivyn behind.

Reivyn looked at the time in his System interface and saw that it was about time for evening chow, so he simply made his way over to the chow hall. He pondered on the things the Knight-Captain had said and the things he should work on based on his new knowledge. He would need to devote a significantly larger portion of time on bringing his mana Skills up. It's a good thing I had already decided to not let my Mental Stats fall too far behind, he thought.

 



Reivyn sat in his tent in a relaxed, cross-legged fashion. He had just completed a couple of rotations of Mana Circulation. It was subtle, but he could faintly tell that the mana was travelling through his pathways in a smoother manner. It was like it had less friction against the walls of his meridian pathways.

He opened his eyes after the exercise and looked down at his hand that he held aloft with the palm up. He concentrated on the mana within himself, and, using his willpower, he summoned it in pure form to his hand. A little bluish, clear orb of mana appeared floating over his palm. It glowed faintly in the dim lighting.

He bore his willpower down further and morphed the orb into various shapes. He started by elongating portions, turning the orb into a polyhedron. It wriggled about and flowed like a liquid as he constantly shifted the shape at his whim. Mana Manipulation had increased his ability to move his mana around and do things with it outside of circulating it inside his meridians, but after unlocking the Mana Conjuration Skill, his ability to turn his mana into an object had increased by another level. The two Skills were clearly operating with synergy.

He moved on from simply stretching and deforming the orb and tried to make more definite shapes. He extended it into a rectangular prism. The general shape of the mana was fine, but he was unable to keep the edges and corners sharp. They kept degrading into a curve, and when he shifted his attention to fix it, another spot would deform. He was unable to keep a perfect shape with his current Skill Level, but that was the purpose of the exercise.

He continued to maintain the shape and try to adjust it to the perfect form he had in his head. Another problem he encountered was the irregular mana density throughout the construct. Trying to focus on perfect shape and uniform density, though, was currently an impossible task. He switched back and forth between focusing on one task at a time.

He worked on the rectangular shape for a time before moving on to attempting new designs. He shifted to a pyramid, a cylinder, and a cube. He didn't shift back and forth at a fast speed. Instead he continued his practice of forming the overall shape and then concentrating on perfecting it for a while before moving on. Rapid shifting in forming patterns would be something to work on at a later date once he was satisfied with his current training regime.

Sweat trickled down his brow, and his Mana slowly ticked downwards as he maintained his focus. He lost track of time as he fully concentrated on the task at hand, and when his Mana finally reached a point that he could feel a bit of strain, around 30%, he finally stopped. He was surprised to see that it had gotten completely dark outside while he was practicing.

He checked the time and saw that he had been at it for close to an hour. His Mana had lasted longer than he had thought it would. It must be because, on top of having the Skills unlocked, I'm not actually doing anything with the mana, and the loss just comes from what's dissipating into the air, he mused.

He pulled up his notifications that had accumulated while he was working.

Skills Levelled Up!
Tier2:
Mana Circulation (7 ->8)
Meditation (14 ->15)

Tier3:
Mana Conjuration (1 ->3)
Mana Sight (16 ->17)

The System had adapted his notifications for Skills levelling up to match his new interface format without him specifically doing so himself. Interestingly enough, he noticed, looking at his mana conjuration while working on his Skill also caused his Mana Sight to level up. Doing one exercise had the potential to raise several of his Skills concurrently. Once I get Mana Conjuration to Level 10, I'll start focusing more on Mana Weapon and allow the other Skill to level up naturally.

Reivyn was hopeful for the future. He had a clear plan for not letting his Mental Stats and mana Skills fall behind his Physical ones, and with his new position as a faux-Aide, he would have the time to work on that plan. He would make sure to continue to practice his martial Skills, but they could take a backseat for a short time as they waited for the permanent guards to arrive and take over.

The feeling of elation at having survived a disaster washed over him as he lay down to go to sleep. His body relaxed and he slowly drifted off. Luckily, this time, the elation wasn't paired with the conflicting feelings of survivor's guilt.

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A note from Kyfe

98,000 words total for the story so far. Just shy of 100k for the Writathon Challenge, lol.


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Kyfe

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