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After talking to Ellie, I returned to the guild hall. I checked in with Cindy, Steph, Taylor, and Donny, just making sure they knew I was alive. had helped to improve my mood, but the loud atmosphere of the guild hall was still a bit too much for my sensitive nerves. I took what I wanted from my bedroom, deciding to spend the time before my rank up at the ranch house, where I could stay away from the chaotic atmosphere produced by the medley of adventurers.
I was shocked to learn that this week Cindy had decided to take time off to train. It was about time. She had been neglecting her personal strength while working as the guild master, and she wanted to try and change that by setting up a rotation to take some of the load off. I was very supportive. Unlike me, she had family still in north Austin. I had never met them in all the time I was her friend, but I heard they were very supportive, if a bit eccentric. I could only imagine how they were getting on in all of the chaos. She was going to spend some time with them, before leaving to train by herself.
The best development while I was away was the establishment of communication. I knew that a few people were wiling away, trying to get some cell towers working, but were struggling to do any more than set up some local lines. During my fight on the last few floors, they must have had a breakthrough, because my phone now read full bars. Experimentally, I tried texting Taylor, and received an immediate response. While the communication lines were set up again, the data centers were not, so we still didn’t have the mobile internet back up. That would take for more time to reestablish, but it would happen eventually.
Checking through my phone, I found Evan’s phone number, remembering his request to go adventuring later. I was tempted to call him but decided against it. I would reach rank three soon, and after that, would invite him to go hunting. Would it still be considered a date if we spent the time killing monsters? I didn’t know. I left the guild hall and flew towards Zilker park. It was time to get a new class, after quite a long time.
The area was even more busy than it was last time I was here. There were hundreds of people milling around, and a line had formed at the obelisk. I understood what Luna meant when she said the obelisks would help bring people together. The bazaar had grown yet again, becoming a small city of trailers and tents full of supplies and goods available for trade, and while the crowd was getting on my nerves again, seeing happy people put me at ease.
The line moved quickly, and I found myself at the foot of the obelisk yet again. I placed my hand on it and looked through my choices once more.
Select Class: Multiple Classes Available. Unique Classes Available.
Please Choose One:
- Cleric Initiate
- Mage Initiate
- Storm User
- Graphic Designer
- Weapon Master
- Beginner Runewright
- Magic Swordsman
There were some familiar choices, but others had disappeared. Was it because I lost the prerequisites for them, or because I had grown out of them? Regardless, there were a few possible choices I could make. I identified the ones that stood out to me. This time, I tried to push my identify skill further as well, trying to find their prerequisites.
Weapon Master: +1 Str, +1 Dex, +1 Con
Requirement: know four weapon skills and reach intermediate level with two of them.
A higher variant of Warrior. You have a thirst for the knowledge of physical combat, and desire to learn more than just a single weapon, spreading your mastery among several. Grants access to the Weapon Master passive skill, and the Weapon Master combination skill. Mastery of additional weapons will unlock additional classes.
A general craftsman. Grants access to the crafting skill, and one additional general crafting skill of your choice. Mastery of your chosen general crafting skill will unlock additional classes.
Beginner Runewright: + 2 Dex
Requirement: have the crafting skill over level 65, and have aether channeling
A craftsman specializing in runic magic, an ancient form of enchantment. Runes are used primarily in a support role and can be used to various ends depending on the script used on the runes themselves. Grants access to one beginner ancient runic script, and the engraving skill. Mastery of this script will unlock additional classes.
Elementalist: +1 Int, +1 Wis
Requirement: have access to the Elemental Mastery skill at any level
A sorcerer specializing in utilizing multiple elements. Grants the channeling skill. Mastery of the channeling skill will unlock additional classes.
After looking through my options, I quickly selected Runewright. There was no sense in holding up the people behind me, and I knew what I would choose the second I read it.
Weapon master drew my attention because of its lack of specificity. It matched my current fighting style, relying on multiple techniques from multiple schools of combat, and I thought it might bolster them, but I didn’t want to choose it just yet.
Craftsman wasn’t a bad choice either, but I decided against it. It was a weaker class that didn’t provide any bonuses for selecting it, and because my armor repaired itself, repairing equipment wasn’t that important anymore. I doubted whatever Zald made for me would lack a self-repair function, just based on the quality of the materials I gave him.
Elementalist sounded cool too, but I didn’t want to choose it yet either. I was, however, deeply curious about the channeling skill. What did it even do? Did I not channel magic already? I was intrigued, but it still wasn’t what I was looking for right now. Maybe next time.
What I was really looking for was a supporting class that didn’t specialize in combat, something I could practice without fighting and use to broaden my horizons. A crafting skill that combined aether channeling, an extremely high rank and difficult skill, with a runic script, was far too beneficial. The slight increase in dexterity was just like icing on the cake.
As for Magic Swordsman? It was just too cliché. I couldn’t do it.
Class Selected: Beginner Runewright
Class Skill: Engraving – lvl 1/100 – Teaches beginners to engrave patterns and words on objects using various tools.
Multiple Class Skills Available:
Runic Script: Choose One
There were many interesting scripts to choose, but the one I was most interested in was Primordial. In D&D lore, Primordial was the language of elementals. That was probably why it was so early in the list. Without much fuss, I selected my language of choice from the list, before leaving the obelisk.
With my new class, there was one last thing I needed before leaving the Bazaar. I wanted to find a kit that would let me start engraving. It was rather easy to do, and after asking a couple of people, I found myself before a kind beastkin who sold beginner crafting sets. It was rather expensive, but I checked the quality of the tools beforehand, and discovered them to be pretty decent, if nothing special. Just what I needed. I bid the smiling beastkin farewell and took to the sky.
On the flight back, I went ahead and checked out the new addition to my magic skill section.
Beginner Primordial Runic Magic – lvl 1/20 – Teaches knowledge of basic primordial runic magic. More runes will become available with each level unlocked. Cannot be leveled through combat experience.
It made sense for this one that I couldn’t level it through combat, and I had already experienced a similar class skill, so I had no complaints. It seemed rather plain based on its description, but I suspected it was more than it first seemed. Anything that relied on aether channeling couldn’t be so simple. It was time to get to work.
My primary focus of this week was the Yin-Yang Soul Scripture. If I could only use two body strengthening techniques before each rank up, obviously I would hit that goal. Once I was home, I sat down on the carpet of my bedroom to get started.
Removing the skill scroll from its case, I began to read. The contents were brief as befitting such a small parchment, but were extremely interesting, nevertheless. It was similar to my previous body strengthening technique in that it required a flow of energy through the body, but this one used rather unique cycles. First the body was flushed with one kind of internal energy, then it was flushed with the next opposing element, each shift flowing through the muscles, bones, organs, and magic channels in turn. The constant shifts from one to the other would cause damage, then heal them back slightly stronger in rapid succession. It should be able to both increase my affinity to both conflicting elements simultaneously, while also bringing up my resistances. Luna really was the best.
Once I was done memorizing the page, I carefully returned it to it’s scroll case. This was a technique that anyone could use, not just monsters, as long as they had conflicting elements within them. I would save it, just in case someone I knew could use it. It felt too valuable to sell. Unlike before, it didn’t replace meditation. I wonder what the difference between the two strengthening techniques was.
Yin-Yang Soul Scripture – lvl 0/10 – A technique used to forcefully increase the parameters of the body using conflicting elements. Improves all stats by one for each level gained in the skill.
I guess because I hadn’t yet completed the first cycle, it still didn’t get to level 1. Cautiously, I began to cycle my internal energies. While I couldn’t use any abilities with order and chaos alone, I did know how to create their respective manas, so I could still perform the technique. First up, I decided to flood my body with chaos mana. I poured it first through my muscles, relishing the strange invigorating sensation, followed by my bones, then organs, and finally magic channels. My body was saturated, and I began to prepare to start using order instead, but I froze and came to a shocking realization.
Elementals couldn’t use body strengthening techniques as there was no body to strengthen. It was a silly realization, but I decided to follow that train of thought. Perhaps it would help me learn more about my unique form. If elementals couldn’t use body strengthening techniques, the only reason I could use one from the start was my human connection.
The thing that got this train of thought started was the fact that I didn’t need to breathe air. I could rely on mana instead. This let me functionally breathe in high atmospheres, or even underwater. I used to think my organs were just there for show because of this fact, but the combination of proprioception granted by One Body and the higher internal resolution Yin-Yang Soul Scripture gave made me change my mind.
The fact of the matter was my organs were working just fine. When I flooded my system with mana, I could feel the oxygen in my blood. I could sense the individual cells carrying their nutrients throughout my body to nourish it. There were some organs in places I didn’t recognize, but the big players, namely my heart, lungs, brain, and digestive system, were all working away as they should be.
On top of my human body, I then had the magical network of a paraelemental warrior. The crystals sat in my head, hands, and feet, and their channels brought mana and aether around my body. A normal warrior should only have the semblance of a real body as they were still an elemental, but mine was the genuine article.
I was just now starting to understand how much of a boon being a hybrid elemental was. I believed that I had two fully functional systems; my physical body, and my elemental body, and both of the systems nourished the other. The human body provided structure and balance to the elemental body which it sorely lacked, and the elemental body provided power and magic to the human body, increasing its strength in the process. It was almost of feedback loop of benefits. If my race was an experiment, it was a resounding success.
Quickly, I turned back to body strengthening, now paying special attention to both sides of my form, and how they interacted, before I started to push order mana into my muscles, following the same rotation as the previous element.
When the order entered my body, I felt extreme pain ripping through my muscles, like I was in the middle of an extremely intense workout and was being forced to continue even though my arms and legs were dying. When I shifted to my bones, I felt them crack and break. When I filled my organs, they bruised, and ached in unfamiliar ways. My magic channels were the worst though; filling those felt like my very soul was being ripped away. After the first rotation though, and my body filled once more with order, the pain receded, and I felt the wounds heal in real time.
Current Status Increased!
The benefits were substantial, and it blew my mind that my luck had somehow managed to increase, but the pain was unreal. The most interesting thing about it was that the technique didn’t increase my max status; it increased my current stats. I checked the Yin-Yang Soul Scripture skill level.
Yin-Yang Soul Scripture – lvl 1/10
Getting this skill to ten was not going to be fun.