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A note from Kyfe

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Reivyn leisurely stretched as he slowly opened his eyes. He smacked his lips as he gradually came awake. He felt like he had just had the best sleep of his life. His vision came into focus, and he was momentarily confused at waking up in a different location.

Where am I? Reivyn sat up and looked around. He was placed on a bed in an unfamiliar, large room consisting of rows of beds. Some of the others had occupants, but most were empty. His companions were sitting or slouching off to the side in various states of sleep or rest.

Erik was crouched down with his sword ready to be drawn as he fought off sleep in order to maintain his vigil over the two sisters. Erik looked up from the movement on the bed, and noticing Reivyn awake, he gave him a simple nod.

Reivyn nodded back and then mouthed the words, "go to sleep." Erik nodded his head. He was already asleep before he even finished the movement. Poor guy must have been tired, Reivyn chuckled to himself.

This looks like an infirmary, Reivyn returned to trying to figure out where they were. Erik wasn't the type to be very forthcoming with information, which is why Reivyn had no compunction in just telling him to go to sleep instead of picking his brain.

Does this mean we failed the boss room? Reivyn grasped his head in his hands as he tried to remember. Why can't I remember anything? What happened?

A brief scene of him standing in infinite darkness quickly flitted through his mind, but he was unable to grasp anything else about the memory.

The last thing I remember is taking the first step across the threshold to the boss room. After that... After that, I'm here.

It was obviously the middle of the night, from what he could see from a window further down the long dormitory, so he didn't want to wake his companions to figure things out just yet. He had other things to investigate that could grant him the information he wanted.

I'll check my notifications, they've been blinking quite incessantly in the corner. If that doesn't jog my memory, I can wait until morning to ask my friends.

Reivyn brought up his notifications.

Exp +1,000
Exp +1,000
Error...
Class Change, {Heretic} Abyssal Vessel, halted. Level 30(max) not achieved.
System transfer interrupted. Access to Abyssal System revoked.
Error...
System detected entity without access to any System.
No Precedent exists.
Seeking solution...
Petitioning closest relevant Ascended for intervention.
Entering Soul Space...

 

Resolution achieved.
Access to Veridical System restored.
New Affinities Unlocked!
Tier 5
Abyss (1), Veridical (1)

What in the...? What's all this? The notifications didn't jog his memories right away, but they contained some very alarming information. He still had several more to look through, so he continued to pull them up in the order they had appeared.

Achievement!
Come into contact with a foreign Realm.
Access to Tier 5 Affinities Unlocked

Achievement!
Meet an Ascended in person.
Error. Met an Ascended in the Soul Space. System deems "in person" does not apply.

Achievement!
Infuse your meridians with energy from The Abyssal Realm on a fundamental level.
Abyssal Realm is no longer considered {Heretical} by the System for you.
Abyss Affinity Unlocked!
Note: Other Realms are still considered {Heretical}

[Achievement!
[Infuse your meridians with energy from The Veridical Realm on a fundamental level.
[Veridical Affinity Unlocked!

Other Realms? How many other Realms are there? Reivyn absently thought as he scrolled through his notifications.

[Achievement!]
[Save yourself from impossible odds. You successfully defended yourself from the corruption of a foreign System.]
[Luck +5]
[Increased Veridical Affinity]

[Exp +1,000]
[Exp +1,000]
...
[Exp +1,000]
[Bloodline Milestone: Physical and Mental Stats +3. Charisma and Luck +1.]
[Exp +1,000]
...
[Bloodline Milestone: Physical and Mental Stats +3. Charisma and Luck +1.]
...
[Bloodline: Unknown 2,518,381/10,000,000]
[Experience: 0/3,000]

What?! There are 25 messages about Bloodline Milestones being achieved. Reivyn did some quick mental math. That means that for every 100,000 Experience dumped into my Bloodline, that will get me three to all my Physical and Mental Stats and one to Charisma and Luck. I just gained 500 Stat points from siphoning Experience!

Reivyn was stunned at the revelation. He had always thought that he would get a bonus upon reaching the full ten million Experience, but he hadn't considered the possibility of there being additional milestones.

Reaching the full ten million would mean 100 milestones, total. That's 2,000 Stat Points for fully unlocking my Bloodline. Just how powerful is my Bloodline? There must be more to what his mother said about her Bloodline. I don't believe for an instant that she only got one Stat boost to Physical and Mental stats. Her wording was also very suspicious. She said "initial" Stat boost.

Also, two million five hundred thousand Experience?! That's a ridiculous amount! That amount of Experience could get me to Tier four. That would be a terrible idea, though, because I would lose out on the time needed to increase my Skills and gain Life Experience for a good Tier 4 Class.

I definitely have to ask Teilon and the others what happened to figure out why my Experience shot up so much. Maybe I can replicate it to fill out my Bloodline all the way.

There was one last notification for Reivyn to look at.

[Exiting Dungeon]
[Calculating...]
[First Floor: Complete]
[Combat Experience: Exp +400]
[Boss Defeated: Exp +400]
[First Floor Completion Bonus: Exp +500]
[Calculating...]
[Second Floor: Complete]
[Combat Experience: Exp +6,000]
[Boss Defeated: Exp +1,000]
[Second Floor Completion Bonus: Exp +5,000]
[Total Experience: 13,300]

Ok, so it looks like we did, in fact, defeat the boss room.

Reivyn pulled up his Status to see the results.

[Status]
[Name: Reivyn Class: Fighter Lvl 30 Age: 10]
[Health: 2,000/2,000 Stamina: 3,800/3,800 Mana: 1,670/1,670]
[Physical Stats Mental Stats]
[STR: 180 INT: 167]
[VIT: 200 MAG: 167]
[DEX: 180 CLA: 109]
[CHA: 32 PER: 126]
[LUK: 38]
[Bloodline: Unknown 2,531,681/10,000,000]
[Experience: 0/3,000]

With my new achievement giving five Luck, and the reduction to Stat requirements that brings, I definitely meet the requirements for a Rare Tier 3 Caster Class already. Now I need to ensure I have my Skills, Affinities, and Life Experience up to snuff. I'm pretty sure I got the Life Experience covered, actually, Reivyn chuckled.

Reivyn was too wired to go back to sleep, but he didn't want to disturb his friends' rest, so he sat up in the lotus position and entered Meditation.

Might as well start working on those Skills and Affinities now.


---


"Reivyn!" Reivyn opened his eyes as he heard Melissa call out his name. He looked up and saw her leap to her feet from her position of sleeping next to her Sister. Her sudden movement startled Larissa awake, and Teilon and Kimberly also woke up from the yell.

"We were so worried that you weren't going to make it," Melissa said as she quickly reached Reivyn's side. "How do you feel? The Priest said there was no corruption in you, but the Healer said you had warring energies and were unlikely to survive." Reivyn could see the faint traces of worry still etched on Melissa's face.

"I feel great, actually," Reivyn said matter of factly. "My memory is hazy, though. I don't remember anything after taking that first step into the boss room. What happened? Did I get my butt handed to me or something?"

"Heh, nah, man," Teilon spoke up with a chuckle. "If anything, I was the one that got my butt handed to me. You were fine, and we succeeded in clearing the boss room." Teilon gestured toward Melissa. "She saw more than I did, so let her explain it."

"Yeah, aside from the very end, we all handled the boss room pretty well. Here's what happened..." Melissa recounted the fight from her perspective, Kimberly or Teilon occasionally interjecting a detail that she had missed.

"So you're saying I basically became an ingredient for a Mega-Experience Crystal?" Reivyn laughed.

"This is no laughing matter," Melissa gently rebuked, a stern expression on her face.

"What are you worried about?" Reivyn asked with a lopsided smile. "I'm fine, aren't I?"

"You almost weren't."

"Well..." Reivyn didn't have a reply to that. "I mean, I actually managed to get some amazing benefits out of this whole ordeal, so I'm not too turned off about it."

"If you heard the way you were screaming, you wouldn't be saying that," Melissa frowned.

"Hmmm... You're probably right," Reivyn conceded. "I guess I'm lucky I don't remember it, and I don't have any lingering pain or negative effects. I feel amazing," Reivyn threw his arms out and smiled brightly. "Let's get out of here."

Reivyn swung his legs over the side and made to stand up, but instead of standing up smoothly, he launched himself across the space between the beds and tumbled over the adjacent cot. He fell to the ground in a tangle of limbs. He let out an embarrassed cough. He focused his attention on his muscles as he extremely carefully stood back up.

"What the hell was that?" Teilon fell over laughing. Even Kimberly didn't rebuke him, instead hiding a chuckle behind her hand.

"Amazing benefits, hmmm?" Melissa said with a raised eyebrow. "Seems like it made you stupid, or something, to me." She couldn't hold the look on her face and also cracked a smile.

Larissa smiled as she poked Erik awake. Erik sat up, fully alert in an instant, and after looking around briefly, he grunted before taking up his usual position standing in the back. The group made their way out of the infirmary, Reivyn walking in what felt like an exaggeratedly slow manner, yet he had no trouble keeping up with his friends.

I'm going to have to work on getting used to my new Stats, he thought. I pretty much made a fool of myself back there.

"Melissa," Reivyn called out as they exited the infirmary, "how many Tiers of affinities are there?"

"There are four Tiers of Affinities, but there is speculation from some of the academics that there might be more. Why?" Melissa said. She brushed her hair behind her ear as she faced Reivyn.

"Well, I guess I can confirm that there are five, then," Reivyn said sheepishly. "Have you ever heard of the Veridical Affinity?"

"Veridical? Truth?" Melissa shook her head. "No, is that what your fifth Tier Affinity is called?"

"Yeah," Reivyn said. "I got an Achievement that the reward was opening up the fifth Tier of Affinities, and Veridical was the name of the Affinity I unlocked."

No reason to bring up the Abyssal Affinity. If that got out, it would bring more trouble than it was worth, Reivyn thought.

"Hmmm... I can only speculate based on the name, but it sounds like it's 'The True Element,' or something," Melissa tapped her chin in thought. "That's interesting. Maybe you can help me and Larissa unlock the Affinity somehow."

"Oh sure," Reivyn replied. "I just have to figure out how to safely manufacture a similar scenario first, so no idea when that will be."

"I'm not in a hurry. Aside from the speculation, I've never heard of anyone actually having a fifth Tier Affinity. We're all young. With the precedent of you getting the Affinity, I'm sure we can figure out how to do it."

Hmmm... from what she told me earlier, absorbing the medicinal soup is what created the interaction with the other Realm. We'll have to see if absorbing some in small doses will have an effect.

"Why are we heading back towards the Dungeon?" Reivyn asked as he noticed the direction they were heading.

"Oh, we skipped the inspection for all of us because of the emergency situation. We promised the priest we would come back as soon as we were able," Melissa said.

"Yeah, I don't know about you, but I don't want any of that gunk in my system," Teilon added. "And they offer free purification with the inspections, so no reason not to do it."

"We originally thought you had succumbed to too much corruption, but the priest said there was zero corruption in you," Melissa glanced at him out of the corner of her eye with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, one of the 'amazing benefits,'" Reivyn said. "I got another achievement that said it won't affect me anymore."

I'm pretty sure I actually do have some of the "corruption" inside of me, Reivyn thought while doing an internal inspection. It's just no longer in conflict with me. It's interesting that the priest inspecting me wouldn't be able to tell. It must have something to do with how our System interacts with it, rather than its inherent characteristics.

The group approached the inspection team that was on standby, and after a short explanation, they received the purification.

"Ahhh, refreshing," Teilon said with a stretch of his arms above his head. "Well, this was fun and all, and I know we just woke up, but I'm going to go back to the house and relax. I'm not up for any training or sparring today," Teilon eyed Reivyn with suspicion, clearly waiting for him to propose such a thing.

Reivyn chuckled, "Yeah, yeah. I actually have a lot of things to think about, plus I need to get used to a few things." Reivyn cleared his throat. "You and Kimberly also have enough experience and Skills that I'm not worried about training right now.

"I'll come over to the tavern tomorrow to talk more about the Affinities and such," Reivyn turned and addressed Melissa and her two companions as the group of six split in two distinct groups.

"Sure," Melissa nodded her head.

"I'm glad you're OK," Larissa said with a smile. She gave a little wave, and Erik added his customary grunt and nod.

"Thanks," Reivyn said. "I'll see you tomorrow." The two groups bade their farewells and headed towards their separate accommodations.

"Alright, I guess you and Kimberly do whatever you want for the next few days," Reivyn said as they made their way back to the house. "I pretty much need some time to work out some things on my own, anyway."

"I'm guessing you got a major boost to your Stats?" Teilon queried. Reivyn simply nodded his head. "I know you said you don't remember anything, and I believe you, but it was bad. If you ever need to talk, I'm here to listen." Teilon gripped Reivyn's shoulder as he put on a serious expression.

"I appreciate that," Reivyn said. "The things I need to work through and think about aren't like that, at the moment, but I'll remember it."

"Good," Teilon put his hand back down and the trio made their way to their temporary home.


---


Ok, let's see about this new Affinity.

Reivyn was sitting in his customary cross-legged position on his bed. He extended his hand and willed a ball of mana into his hand. He took a deep breath, and then drew upon the new Veridical Element and infused it into his mana orb.

Reivyn frowned as he couldn't perceive any change in the mana. It still looked like just pure mana. He didn't Sense anything different about it, either.

Maybe something will show up with Mana Sight?

Reivyn activated his Skill and looked at the mana swirling in his palm. There was still no discernible difference.

It just looks like pure mana. I can tell that I infused the element, but it doesn't seem to have any effect. The notification did say something about this being the Veridical Realm, so maybe it is pure mana? Is it the basic building block of the world? That would make sense, but it begs the question: How am I supposed to increase my Affinity Level?

Reivyn pondered the problem, but he didn't even know the first step to move in the right direction.

Maybe mom will know something? I can ask her when I get home.

Reivyn ended his session by experimenting with the new element prematurely. There was no way he was going to try and manipulate the Abyssal Element out in the open.

I had already planned on attempting a solo run next week, and I don't see any reason to change plans now. Especially with my increase in Stats. I can try it out in the Dungeon.

Reivyn resumed his Affinity and mana Skill training. He had the Stats for a good Tier 3 Class now, and he had the means to access the Academy where he could initiate the Class Change, but he wanted to be 100% sure he met all of the requirements.

Even if I wasn't planning on getting an early Tier 3 Class, I would still work on these Skills, anyway, so nothing's really changed. I've just removed one worry.


---


Reivyn swung his sword in the basic forms over and over again, sweat dripping down his face. He had spent the past several weeks focusing on being able to assist his friends in traversing the second floor of the Dungeon and not so much on physical training or sparring, so he had almost forgotten how hot and humid it was.

I swear it's getting worse every day, but Teilon and Kimberly never say anything about it. I've seen Melissa and Larissa fan themselves occasionally, and some of the bystanders walking around, so I know it's not just me. I really need to adapt myself to my new physical condition, though, so I just have to train through it.

Reivyn gritted his teeth as he continued his practice through the discomfort. He performed his sword forms for several minutes before he switched to his spear. The body movements associated with the spearwork were sufficiently different that he was able to work several other muscle groups and continued to gain mastery over his body.

This isn't going to be over in a day, though, so I get to look forward to several days of this torture.

Reivyn finished up with the spear, and then he pulled out his tessen.

The good thing about the tessen is that I can intersperse training with fanning myself to cool off, Reivyn chuckled to himself.

The tessen was a unique form of combat, and there wasn't nearly as much body movement associated with it as with the other forms of combat, so Reivyn included unarmed styles into his routine while wielding the battle fan.

After several sessions of working with all of his current weaponry several different times, Reivyn was drenched in sweat and gasping for breath.

I'm not actually that tired, he thought. It's just so hard to breathe in this humidity. Reivyn took a long drag from his water skin as he rested, and he dumped some of it over his head to help with the heat.

Alright, just a little bit more, and then I can call it a day for now. Agility exercises here in the courtyard, and then a pack run around the town.

Reivyn psyched himself up before he got to work running back and forth in the yard, working on changing directions as fast as possible and controlling his momentum properly.

Whew, this is going to suck.

 



Reivyn ran through the streets back towards the house after he finished his endurance session along the perimeter of the palisade. He watched the other people in town as they went about their business. He noticed a lot of people also struggling with the heat, but not everyone.

I guess we're just more sensitive to the temperature? Reivyn thought to himself as he witnessed a group of Adventurers mostly ignoring the heat. The group he spotted had several people moving about in their full armor and kit, and they didn't show any visible signs of discomfort, yet a couple of their members were clearly affected as they didn't wear a single piece of armor, opting for loose, flowing clothes.

Well, whatever. I guess we're just the unlucky ones, Reivyn put the thoughts to the back of his mind as he slowed to a walk before reaching the house.

He washed himself off with water from a rain barrel and changed into some clean clothes he had prepared beforehand before heading inside. Teilon and Kimberly were laughing and joking as he walked in.

"How was the run?" Teilon said as he spotted Reivyn entering the house.

"Hot," Reivyn replied as he plopped down on an open seat. He leaned back and relaxed with a sigh.

"Well, Kimberly and I have some good news," Teilon said. Reivyn lifted his head and gave his friend his full attention. "When we came out of the Dungeon, after checking the Experience we got, we noticed we were only a couple thousand Experience away from maxing out at Level 30, so we decided to use a couple of Experience Crystals.

"You're looking at two brand-new Tier 2's," Teilon lifted his chin with pride, a smile on his face.

"Congratulations!" Reivyn said. "What Class did you pick? Let me guess, let me guess," Reivyn held his hand out to forestall his friend. "Kimberly chose Fighter, and you chose..." Reivyn snapped his fingers. "Rogue."

"Ha ha," Teilon gave an unamused laugh. "I know I was all about stealing those pies, but that was a long time ago! I'm a proper Adventurer, now!" Teilon placed his hand over his breast in mock indignation.

"Well, you're right that I chose Fighter," Kimberly supplied. "It made the most sense."

"I can give you some pointers and show you the Mana Circulation pathways later," Reivyn said with a smile and a nod.

"Thanks, I appreciate that," Kimberly smiled back.

"Ok, ok, enough about other people, and more about me," Teilon said. Kimberly and Reivyn rolled their eyes in unison. "I didn't pick Rogue, though it did have some interesting benefits for my style of combat. No, I got something new available after this last Dungeon delve.

"I picked a Class called Spook," Teilon said. Reivyn couldn't hold it in and burst out laughing. "Hey now! I know the name doesn't really do it justice, but it's a Rare Tier 2 Class, and it has a lot of utility for my way of fighting."

"Oh? Like what?" Reivyn leaned forward in his seat, an expectant expression on his face.

"It focuses on lessening my presence, and it gives me bonuses and Class Skills that increase my speed and Dexterity while moving in the shadows or unseen, either one. I don't necessarily have to be in the shadows, and I don't have to be completely invisible to others, it's like an upgraded version of what a Rogue gets. There are a lot fewer limitations."

"Ok, that actually does sound like it would benefit your style," Reivyn nodded in seriousness. "We'll have to get you some training time with Erik and the girls soon, so you and they can adapt to the changes."

Teilon threw his head back and groaned. "Why do you have to ruin the good mood with the dreaded 'training' word?" Teilon complained. "I also noticed you didn't include yourself in that statement." Teilon looked at Reivyn through the side of his eye.

"Yeah, I plan on doing a solo run next week," Reivyn casually said.

"A what?" Teilon sat straight up.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Kimberly asked with a concerned look on her face.

"Yeah, what's the issue?" Reivyn looked back and forth between his two friends.

Teilon and Kimberly shared a look before Teilon said, "I mean, you just went through that whole ordeal, and now you want to go back in without any backup?"

"Trust me, I'm fine," Reivyn said. He shook his head. He really was fine. "I'm not saying I'm going to go down and challenge the second floor boss on my own."

"That's a relief," Teilon said. He wiped away imaginary sweat from his forehead.

"Yeah, it'll depend on how well I can handle the Revenants on my own," Reivyn added.

Teilon looked up at the ceiling and sighed. "Just promise me you won't take any chances," he looked at Reivyn with a sober expression. Kimberly nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, I'm not going to throw my life away," Reivyn said. "I got a pseudo-Achievement way back for killing the ogre by myself, but not clearing the whole first floor solo, so I know an Achievement for it exists. I know what I'm getting into, and I know I can at least handle that, so I want to go get it. I'll just explore the second floor a bit afterward, and I'll only move on to the boss room if I can handle the Revenants with ease."

From what they told me about the boss room, I didn't seem to have any problems, and my Stats have improved significantly. The entire reason I'm suffering through the heat is to get acclimated to my new Stats as fast as possible.

"Alright, man, if you're sure," Teilon said.

"It'll be fine," Reivyn reassured. "Now, let's do something fun for once."

"More training?" Teilon rolled his eyes.

"Nope," Reivyn said. He pulled a small box out of his breast pocket. "Cards."

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Kyfe

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