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After we finished healing up survivors, dealing with funerals, and thanking the other village chiefs for coming, our village began to focus on rebuilding. The other villages didn’t stand idly by after the catastrophe - many of them flew over extra manpower, supplies, and hunters to help us rebuild our village. I couldn’t help but be impressed by how willing the other villages were to help out. It seemed like the fight against the outsiders had helped unify the village chiefs against the possibility of an outside threat, since nobody knew if the outsiders would return one day. After several weeks spent rebuilding houses, I finally had some time to myself, so I took about a month to form my third rune.

Power: Successfully Condense your Third Rune

Achievement +300

Once I formed my third rune, I started to notice a strange problem with my body. It was a problem I had already had, when I had formed my second rune, but at the time it had been subtle enough that I hadn’t identified it. However, with my third rune the problem became much more obvious.

My body had gotten much stronger, just as I expected it to. All of my physical stats had increased by one grade, as per usual, and my mana reserves had also dramatically increased since I now had three runes to store mana instead of two. However, I was noticing that it was increasingly difficult to control myself if I tried to use my full strength and speed.

Putting this sensation together with what I already knew, I realized there was another reason hunters needed seven or more runes, besides their ability to perceive high-speed fights and resist mental attacks. It seemed that my Perception stat also governed how well I could control my body, at least to a certain extent. Once my Agility became several grades higher than my Perception, it became hard to keep up with how fast my body moved during a fight. Perception also helped me intuitively control how much strength I used when gripping things like wooden spoons, helping me avoid the embarrassing situation of accidentally crushing my dining utensils with my bare hands. Most villagers simply adapted to this problem by learning to never use their full strength outside of a fight - however, to take full advantage of my physical attributes, I would need to raise my perception stat. I realized, once again, that my Stats were more important than I had given them credit for. Although each Stat did something different, none of the stats were useless. Since there was nothing I could do to raise my Perception for now, I simply adjusted to my enhanced body as best I could. I hadn’t gotten weaker from forming my third rune - my body was still stronger, sturdier, and faster than before. However, since I couldn’t make full use of my Stats, the benefits I obtained from my third rune were rather limited. At the very least, my Fortitude didn’t need any conscious control on my end to benefit me, meaning that I was now basically immune to illness and could recover from injuries in days that should have taken weeks to recover from.

After I finished acclimating to my third rune, I began helping out around the village again. I found that after my month of hard work, the village had entered a strange period of development. This was due to a few unexpected benefits from the fight with the outsiders. While two hundred people had died, at the very least, we hadn’t gotten nothing out of the fight.

First, we got several piles of bronze equipment. While much of it was damaged, and we had no way to repair metal right now, it was still much sturdier than the armor our hunters currently used. Thus, the hunters of our village got a major upgrade in their equipment, as did the hunters of many other villages.

A far more unintended consequence of the outsider’s actions was that the forest around our village had been cleared out. Instead of spending their time desperately fending off land beasts while our village tried to recuperate, the hunters of our village found themselves with strangely little to do.

Having heard of Olav’s stories of agriculture, our village chief decided to take advantage of this opportunity. Our village made several bone axes and then began clearing out the forest near the village. Normally, this would be suicidal, since it would have drawn over swarms of landbeasts to tear the operation apart. Even harvesting floatwood trees was usually a painful and risky endeavor for the village, involving a great deal of preparation from the hunters and high risk of death. However, since all of the nearby land beasts were dead, we were able to safely remove much of the forest, peeling back a layer of the dangers that resided deep within the island. We harvested several floatwood trees. Afterwards, Olav quickly began discussing his half-baked memories of how to farm, and the village began experimenting with a few of the native berries and various plants of the island, including an attempt to plant floatwood trees for the future. The results were mixed, since the villagers had no idea what they were doing, but the harvest the following year was at least large enough that we could cut tree bark out of our diet during storm season that year. It wasn’t a huge part of the village’s food supply yet, but I was sure that the village would eventually grow beyond its previous level now that the first seeds of agriculture had taken root. All that we needed to do was defend the farmland we had already carved out from any landbeast incursions, but the hunters were already used to dealing with land beasts.

Sallia and I also made good progress in our runes over the years. Sallia formed her own third rune, about a year after me. However, after she analyzed the amount of absorption essence she produced per day, and how much she spent maintaining what she already had, she determined that she couldn’t form a fourth rune. This was a bitter pill to swallow for her, since it would be hard for her combat talent to shine without at least one supernatural ability backing her up. She was ludicrously talented at Absorption essence manipulation, and whenever we sparred it was obvious just how talented Sallia was at fighting. However, her limited absorption essence made it hard for her to become one of the fighters of the village, no matter how well she could completely demolish anyone with a similar rune count to her own. Despite my worries about her mental state after this setback, she seemed to simply accept her situation. I was increasingly relaxed as I observed her, because I was beginning to realize Sallia was no longer someone who could be brought down by a little bad luck. She was starting to find her sense of self worth, and even if she couldn’t fight as well as she wanted to in this world, she was beginning to genuinely enjoy her time here. And more importantly, she was finding a sense of self-worth that wasn’t reliant on her abilities.

After Sallia passed her first adulthood ceremony, Sallia also began learning tool production with me and master Arne. Having one of my best friends in the workshop with me every day made my work a lot more fun. Sallia’s craftmanship was nothing special, as much as she tried to improve. She also still struggled to focus for long periods of time, making the tedious process of creating tools a challenge for her. However, she slowly adapted to these problems, and while her growth was slower than mine, after several months of practice she began learning to make usable tools.

As time passed and the three of us continued working on honing our skills, Sallia eventually earned another round of Achievement for upgrading her One Handed Swordsmanship to Intermediate grade, netting her a fair amount of extra Achievement around the time she turned eight. For a few months, Sallia was nearly undefeatable on the training field.

Three months later, Felix finally formed his fifth rune, giving him the ability to manipulate wood, both in the shafts of weapons and tools he was holding and in his environment. Combined with his bone manipulation abilities, he became nearly impossible for Sallia to beat, since he learned how to attack her with random wooden chunks from our environment. Sallia still occasionally squeaked out a win, but if I evaluated her combat ability, she was sort of like someone with four and a half runes. She was stronger than most people with four runes, but there was a clear and obvious difference between her and Felix, who had five runes. At least for now, I remained the weakest member of the group, although I hoped that would change when I formed my fourth rune.

I also earned a fair amount of Achievement from continuously crafting basic-grade tools with Master Arne.

Production: Craft 250 [Basic] grade items

Achievement + 200

Production: Craft 1000 [Basic] grade items

Achievement +300

The diminishing returns for doing the same thing over and over again were really starting to hurt my Achievement farming attempts, but I had gotten a lot of Achievement from spending years toiling away at making tools. The abundance of materials on the islands was a huge help, since I never ran out of materials to use. Even though diminishing returns were starting to pile up more and more, I still felt quite happy overall because I knew I would be able to seriously upgrade myself when we returned to the Market.

In addition to that, I also finally raised my Willpower to grade 7 by watching Storms every year, giving me another 20 Achievement.

Power : Raise a Mental Attribute one grade through the assistance of a special resource

+ 20 Achievement

20 Achievement honestly felt a little lackluster compared to the amount of work I put in to resisting the Call of the Ocean during storm season for years on end. However, the benefit of getting to Grade 7 Willpower was far more evident. When I looked at the ocean, I no longer felt the Call of the Ocean at all. It simply didn’t influence me. This was rather important, since I probably wouldn’t be able to form 7 runes in this lifetime, and I still wanted to figure out what was up with the ocean of our islands. If I was still seriously influenced by the Call of the Ocean, any attempts to explore the ocean would be far more difficult. However, now that I had basically negated the mental effects of the water, I would have a much easier time fulfilling my biggest long-term goal for Achievement farming and improving myself.

Finally, I got a rather interesting notification during my final year as an apprentice under Master Arne, when I was about nine and a half years old.

Production: Craft an [Intermediate] quality item

+ 40 Achievement

I didn’t get an upgrade to my Crafting skill, but I was still happy to see my first [Intermediate Quality] item, as well as the Achievement reward for it. As a special celebration for the village’s first good harvest of crops, Master Arne had let me work with the hide of a land beast one of the hunters had managed to bring down. The hide Arne allocated me was enough for about two thick pieces of armor, after the hide was treated. Master Arne had told me I could try making armor out of the fish scales and bones, mixed with the land beast hide, to celebrate my hard work over the years. My first attempt at turning it into a decent set of armor wasn’t a total failure, but it wasn’t great either. I tried gluing a bunch of fish scales to the treated hide, after consulting some with master arne. However, I messed up with some of the fish glue distribution, and so the end result restricted the movements of the wearer too much.

In my second attempt, I tried using some pieces of fish bone in addition to the fish scales, and fit them together much more carefully before I started applying small amounts of fish glue at precise locations. At the end a few days of hard work, I had created a usable set of ‘plates’ glued onto the hide armor’s exterior, created by interlocking small chunks of fish bone and fish scales together in a way that didn’t restrict the wearer’s movement but still deflected most attacks. It was nowhere near as good as armor made from bronze, of course, and it wasn’t quite as good as Arne’s creations either. However, it was my best work in Arne’s shop, and it was good enough that a hunter could use it in battle against a land beast without being afraid that my armor would break or hinder the wearer.

Arne had congratulated me for making my first piece of decent armor, before he showed me the way he did his own hide armor pieces. He took it as an opportunity to teach me how to better weave the plates of bone and fish scales together, creating smaller gaps in the armor. It was much superior to my design, but I still got a reward for making the armor and my first [Intermediate] tool. I felt a bit of sadness when I saw Arne so earnestly teaching me - I could tell that, in his own way, he was trying to convince me to stay in the tool workshop, instead of opting to become a fisherman. However, I still wanted to form my fourth rune and join the flying boats - not only did I want to fly, but placing myself in contact with the ocean frequently would make things much easier as I tried to explore what made our waters unique.

When I was only a month away from turning ten, my third rune stabilized. Unlike Sallia, I still had plenty of absorption essence laying around, which meant that I could comfortably make a fourth rune. Naturally, I was very excited to finally get my first supernatural ability - while strengthening my body was an incredibly valuable asset in most fights, being able to use your environment to attack your opponents, or perform bizarre and tricky attacks, gave one an edge in combat that was hard to overlook. Most importantly, it also allowed one to externalize their mana, which was an absolute necessity to send mana into the floatwood we made our boats out of. Without a fourth rune, one was just dead weight on the boats because they couldn’t actually help fly around.

“Are you ready, sweetie?” Asked my father, giving me a smile.

I nodded. “I think it’s time. My body adapted to my third rune, which means I should be able to make my fourth rune now. I want to be done by the time I turn ten, as well - that way, I can join you on the fishing boat and become a fisherman!”

My father gave me a reassuring hug.

“I’ll be glad to have you on the fishing boat. But don’t rush - if your rune isn’t stabilized yet, you’ll hurt yourself when you try to form a new one, and then you’ll have to wait even longer before joining Olav, Claus and I on the boat. Are you really sure you’re ready? You aren’t pushing yourself just because of the timing?”

“Yes.” My father paused for a moment, before he nodded.

“All right then. I’ll trust you. Make your fourth rune and make me proud.”

I grinned, before getting to work.

 

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A note from acaswell

Shameless plug - On Patreon you can read 5 chapters ahead for $3! Or 10 chapters ahead for $5! Or 20 chapters ahead for $10.

 

Extra note: This is draft twenty-something of the intro blurb? Thoughts? (The last paragraph and 'what to expect' would remain unchanged, but the first sentence and the following two paragraphs of the current version would be deleted and replaced.) (I haven't swapped the blurb yet, just thinking about it.)

 

There are an awful lot of different Dimensions in the Multiverse. Classic swords and sorcery dimensions, dimensions that have reached the space age, dimensions where magic dictatorships had ruined most of the planet, planet that have barely crawled into the bronze age and are infested with magic fish… the list is endless, really.

Perhaps the most interesting dimension of all is the Market. A ‘hub dimension,’ filled with greedy transmigrators who travel from world to world and achieve as many great feats as possible in each one. By doing so, they gather currency to buy more Stats, Abilities, and items before moving on to the next world, in an endless cycle of life and death.


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About the author

acaswell

  • Mayor of the Rabbits

Bio: As a regular rabbit, the mayor of rabbit town, naturally, puffed into existence one day, much like other rabbits. Born from thin air, the mayor of rabbit town declared that it, naturally, was supreme amongst all rabbits, daring to dream of a world where rabbit-kind ruled. Alas, it was not meant to be.
The humans came, slaying the utopian dream of rabbits and casting rabbit-intelligence to a new low. Adopted as pets instead of as the rightful rulers of the planet, the mayor of rabbit-town sought revenge.
Now, the mayor of rabbit town writes fiction, subtly using rabbits as a motif in order to ensure that humans understand, deep within the totally existing subliminal messaging, that rabbits are their true overlords. While it may take many years, one day, humanity shall bow down to their rightful overlords, who will be restored to their true intelligence. Through the power of brainwashing, a great rabbit army will be formed, with humans as the cannon fodder, and on that day rabbit-kind shall retake their rightful place as rulers of the planet.
This is a totally true and 100% legitimate biography, verified by the mayor of rabbits itself. Yes. Very legit.

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