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https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/972564269390503976/977342557677822002/SKULL-SCENE-FINAL.jpg

A few hours later, I stood atop of my new “workshop” as I dubbed my new sister’s home, looking over the view of the local neighborhood of giant skull-homes, waterfalls and unnecessarily tall chasm walls.

Both of us had changed into slightly thicker dresses as one of the waterfalls was spraying chilly water across the air.

“Want to see more magic?” I asked Alessi.

She nodded eagerly.

I flexed my Agility thread, pouring power into it. Air flooded into my palm with a gentle breeze.

“Wind?” Alessi stepped forward, sniffing my hand.

The bubble of compressed air detonated as I lost control of it. Alessi jumped backwards with a surprised yelp.

“Owwwwch!” I laughed as I landed backwards onto my butt.

I suddenly felt very dizzy and tired. I glanced at my mana stat and realized that my experiments with Charisma and Agility had brought my two mana down to 0.124. Doing magic was fun, but also… exhausting.

We went inside of the skull-home through a rooftop hatch. The inside layout was somewhat similar to that of my parents house, but the rune-banners looked a lot newer, the runes on them shimmering with emerald refractions.

I spent a while rummaging through the various rooms and taking mental notes of everything, dividing things into the category of “bring it to mom to make her less annoyed with me” and “leave it here for my personal use”.

The sorting of new possessions took a few hours and by the time I was done my mana was back to full.

“I’m going to have another power-nap,” I told Alessi as I settled down on a fur-covered couch. “Take the banners down in the meanwhile.”

She nodded and turned to her mom. I sat in a lotus pose and started to meditate.

“Ohmmmm,” I hummed, closing my eyes.

 


 

Chernobyl formed around me brick by brick, walls and panels coming together out of shadows and dust. I was getting pretty good at this mental-dive thing!

I turned to the next panel that awaited my attention.

“Don’t I already have magic powers?” I asked, looking at the zero number next to the [Magic] stat.

Nobody replied.

“Whatever! Magic away!” I turned the dial for magic forward.

Magic: 1
Investiture points 5

A brilliant cyan-colored thread grew from my chest. It blossomed much slower than others. As it did, I felt that it could naturally take two different paths, each granting me power in different ways. I chose the first one. The thread grew into a single sphere-like structure, akin to a round fruit connected to my core. As it finished forming itself, I also examined my core. It looked like a very bright, little sun that shined with blue and silver tones with splashes of orange color.

[+1 in Mana storage]
Mana: 2/3

Flashed in my stats, interrupting my self-examination.

Hmmm. So, magic threads bearing fruit… could store extra mana for me inside of it. I labeled the fruit-shaped skill as a [Mana Battery].

Now, what about the second option? I clicked the dial next to [Magic] once again.

Magic: 2
Investiture points 4

As the second cyan thread grew, I chose the second path for its evolution. Instead of forming into a battery, it looped itself around my core forming a perpetually spinning… ring-like structure.

[+1 in Mana regen!]
Mana regen: 3 m/hr

Ah, I see. So, putting points into magic increased my mana capacity and regeneration rate. Makes sense. I labeled the ring-shaped structure as a [Mana Generator].

Onto the next fun thing!

I turned the dial for [Luck] forward, feeling like I was gambling or perhaps… claiming prizes for giant centipede murder.

Luck: 1

 

Investiture points 3

The blue-tinted Luck tree grew its branches right into my brain.

Hum.

Oddly enough, I couldn't even flex the thread or reposition the tree. With the exception of its base, the tree seemed very ethereal, incorporeal as if it wasn’t even there. I wondered if this was by design or maybe because I didn’t believe in luck. Weird.

I poured mana into the luck tree as I did with my other skills to make a spell…

-1 Mana

And absolutely nothing happened. The tree didn't change at all. One mana simply disappeared into nothing! Argh.

I waited. Still nothing. Maybe I was luckier and didn’t know it yet? I should wake up and go gambling. Too bad Chimera lacked casinos. Maybe I could just make bets against Alyssa while flipping coins? Wait… no coins. I would have to introduce the concept of coins to Chimeras. I sighed. Maybe I could make a coin out of wood or something? Yeah, that’s a great idea. I mentally patted myself on the back.

Onto the next thing! I turned the dial below labeled [Intelligence].

Intelligence: 1
Investiture points 2

A purple thread emerged from the center of my being, shot into my brain and formed a small purple-tinted neural network there made up of smaller copies of itself. Huh. Was I a super genius now?

What’s the capital of Paraguay?

No idea.

Well, that proves it. [Intelligence] magic doesn’t seem to help pull information out of my tired brain noodles.

What does it do then? Grandfather always said that mathematics was the key to the mysteries of the Universe. I attempted to multiply two numbers in my head. Twenty three times forty four is…

[1012] A very purple-tinted answer suddenly jumped at me before I could even get to the answer myself.

Woo. Thanks for a brain calculator, System! Also, I’m renaming you to “Calculator”.

Time to discover what quirky bullshit “Wisdom” does! I turned the last dial.

Wisdom: 1
Investiture points 1

A magenta-tinted thread came into being. It too went into my brain, and formed a small neural pathway there, but it didn’t stop there. An arrow-like part of it went forward out of my head… and then simply faded out of existence at its sharp edge, looking similar to my [Luck] tree.

I watched as it grew through my body and mentally guided it along until it ended up in my pointing finger. I wasn't sure why it had to be there, but it somehow fit.

“Hello? Wisdom? What is up with that arrow thing?” I asked, focusing my mind on the arrow and pouring mana into it.

-1 Mana

The arrow vanished completely as I uttered the question.

“Uhhh…” I stared at the missing arrowhead. "Where did you fire off to? Hello?"

No answer arrived.

“Okay, well… that was fun and also very weird,“ I muttered to myself. "Guess... I'll have to wait until it... returns?"

I had one point left and no idea what to invest it into. Eh, I’ll sit on it. Maybe my high-cendai instructor will help me out with this one. Hopefully, I wasn’t doing this whole thing horribly wrong.

I decided to color the chart appropriately.

Name:

Juni Tokimorimïtuti

Age:

7 months, 27 days

Species & Subtype:

Chimera spawn

Level:

2

Experience:

7/450

Health:

2/2

Stamina:

0.06/2

Mana Capacity:

0.22/2 [+1]

Mana regen:

2 m/hr [+1]

Strength [Michell Shield]:

1

Agility [Compressor]:

 

1

Dexterity [Pneumasomatic Actuators]:

5

Vitality [Slow Mirror]:

1

Charisma [Allure Halo]:

1

Magic [Battery] [Generator]:

2

Luck [Tree]:

1

Intelligence [Calculator]:

1

Wisdom [Arrow]:

 

1

Investiture points:

1

It's a rainbow! I felt very tired. For some stupid reason coloring the chart had drained the rest of my stamina.

Eh, I'm too exhausted to rename [stamina] to [spiritual stamina].

And... I guess... I’m done.

 


 

“Hi Juni,” Alessi chattered as she saw my eyes open. “Learn more magic in your daydreams?”

“Uhhh…” I pondered upon my glorious accomplishments. I couldn't exactly showcase my extra [Magic] storage capacity since the battery was deep inside of me, [Luck] didn’t seem to do anything, [Intelligence] made me better at math and [Wisdom] went off to God knows where. I also colored my System stats but I couldn't brag about or showcase that either.

Blah!

“Yes… but I can’t show any of it off.” I said. “I don’t know how most of it works either… I’ll have to ask my Master about it.”

“Aw,” she pouted.

“I tried,” I shrugged. “Not every doroha leads to fantastic vistas, I guess.”

“Doroha?” She blinked.

“Uhm,” I realized that I accidentally said the word ‘road’ in Ukrainian. Chimera society didn’t have roads, there wasn’t a word for it in the Tokimorimïtuti language. “Not every branch leads to a pretty flower?” I made up a new metaphor, more befitting to a chimera.

“Gotcha,” Alessi nodded.

"Now, lets finish reorganizing this place!" I waved my hand to my new workshop area.

 


 

A few hours had passed and we sat atop the skull eating dried berries.

"We best head back before evening starts to fall,” Alessi pointed out.

“Yeah, let's...” I started to speak.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/972564269390503976/977323695808872528/blurbme.gif

A text window filled with absolute gibberish suddenly blossomed in my eyes. I focused my attention on it, feeling very bamboozled.

As I stared at the incomprehensible text, it whispered something to me with a very raspy voice of a very old man in a language I could not understand.

"Uhhh... say what?" I blinked at the chart as it slowly faded from my eyes.

"What?" Alessi asked, looking at me in confusion.

“I… uhh… did some kind of magic… I think?” I explained.

“What kind of magic?” She asked.

“I have no idea,” I sighed. “Wish these things would come with a posibnik.”

“What’s a posibnik?” She blinked.

“A... visual explanation that shows how to use something properly and safely,” I grumbled. I had said the word “manual” in Ukrainian.

“You know you could just wait for your meeting with the high-cendai,” Alessi said. “She’ll probably explain things to you. Isn’t it dangerous to carelessly meddle with things you do not understand?”

“It’s fine,” I shrugged. “I… mostly know what I’m doing… I think.”

“Do you really?” She evaluated my expression.

“Okay, fine, I have no idea what I’m doing.” I waved my hands in exasperation. “I’m just poking things and hoping that I won’t set myself on fire. I got a… uhh… magical message and I have no idea what it means or what language it’s in or who it’s from!”

“A message? From whom? Why?” The silver-haired chimera blinked.

“No clue,” I shrugged.

I thought about the weird window. It had come from somewhere… for some reason. Hang on… it was blue… but the frame was wrapped in… magenta color. Of course! The confounding information-window had come from my [Wisdom] skill!

"Going to try... a thing," I said, stepping closer to Alessi. I mentally aimed the [Wisdom] arrow at her chest and pulled the imaginary trigger.

-1 Mana

The result appeared in my eyes immediately.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/972564269390503976/977338155214704650/BURRRNKD.gif

[Wisdom] had defined Alessi... with another incomprehensible text window. Hooray?

"What?" Alessi looked at my finger pointed at her chest.

"I think... I'm going to have to learn another language," I sighed.

“Another language?” My sister blinked.

I decided to test the arrow one more time. I pointed my index finger at a little plant growing from the mossy floor and pulled the trigger.

[-1 Mana]


I started to feel incredibly dizzy. Did I use up too much mana and sprain my magic muscles or something?

Suddenly something tugged hard on my hand.

As it did, I instantly lost control of my motor functions and fell sideways with a scream of pain.

“Juni! Juni!” Alessi yelled, reaching out for me. The view of her was flickering. She was fading away. The entire world was fading away, colors losing their vibrancy. I felt cold as an incredibly painful chill reached out to me, blossoming from my hand.

Something pulled at me again, even harder and something vital in me broke. My heart stopped beating. I couldn't take a single breath.

I screamed and didn’t hear my own voice as I drowned in all-consuming darkness.

 


 

I came to, amidst the grayscale forest made up of dead trees and creatures.

The Still Forest?!

I was back. I was dead?! How?! Why?! WHAT?!

A truly monstrous, grotesque, thing was hovering above the black and white forest of death in front of me.

It was a silver, semi-transparent, squid-like creature contained within a bone-white hollow shell made up of a hundred hexagons. Hundreds of shimmering silver eyes peered at me from the dark innards of the shell. Thousands of transparent, silver threads stretched out of hexagonal partitions into the distance far beyond.

I gulped.

The thing peered at me with its mercury-like eyes and in those eyes I saw... misery, intelligence and... hunger.

The thing held my [Wisdom] arrow in its maw. I knew what had happened then.

This thing… whatever it was, had grabbed at my arrow, ripped my soul away from my body with but a single pull akin to a giant squid tugging on a poor fisherman’s fishing line.

The ghostly abomination undulated and shifted, its innards moving around, new eyes coming to the forefront of the hexagonal hollows to observe me. Some of its ghostly silver-tinted eyes looked human, others more like those of a goat or a tiger or some other animal, and others yet completely monstrous and alien.

What the hell was this thing… a local demon?

A single, thick, silver thread lashed through the air and my body became cleaved in twain. I let out a silent scream as my soul came apart, all of my threads bisected, shattered and ruined in a single, awful instance. Silver fluids spilled out of me, blooming across the still air.

A gargantuan maw opened within the hollow beast as it moved towards me.

It began to suck what was left of my slowly dissolving form into itself like a horrid vacuum.

 

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About the author

Vitaly S Alexius

  • Canada
  • Archbishop of Captania and sovereign territories
  • https://www.rom.ac

Bio: I was born in the year 1984, in the 4th most polluted city of Soviet Union.
On April 11/1997 fate has given me an unexpected twist and by means of aerial transportation I was dislocated 5555 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Ontario, Canada, wherein I currently preside in an 1890 cathedral and partake in writing and drawing things.

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