~ Chapter 24: New skills, new dungeons, and a sandwich! (Part 1) ~
Despite the troubling thoughts floating around in my mind when I went to bed, I did manage to sleep quite well. If I were to guess, it was most likely thanks to Shanteya’s soft, bouncy chest. Her embrace was soft, and her lips were delicious every morning I woke up by her side and every night I went to bed with her. Although I was married to Nanya and Ayuseya, I felt like my heart longed more for the el’doraw slave than them, but it might have been just because she spent more time together with me, I trusted her, and most importantly, she was completely loyal to me.
After letting her out, I prepared myself to learn the three books Nanya lent me the other day. I didn’t forget to ask Shanteya to teach me about poisons either, but since my way of acquiring the data for now was either through tedious study or some books, she decided to go to the library and search for some appropriate manuals I would have otherwise missed or considered as useless. Asking Zertan for some research material was also a possibility, but a rather troublesome one considering his usual grumpiness.
One thing was certain though, learning enchanting wouldn’t have been possible if I was a weaker type of dungeon. The amount of Magic Energy one of them required was above the roof! 4550 points for the [Enchant Room] one, 3750 points for the [Enchant Trap] one and 6640 points for [Enchant Item]. I felt like fainting after learning the last one. Considering what Nanya said about when enchanted traps actually appeared in certain dungeons, I could only suspect it was my low level to blame for the high Magic Energy cost of the books. The last one, I blamed on Tuberculus’ ugly writing.
While I was at it, I decided to take a look at my stats and change some of my skills, especially these three new ones.
[Magic Energy]: 8000
[Magic Energy Regeneration]: 30 Magic Energy Points per Second
[Available points]: 60
[Available skill points]: 260
As I initially desired, I added 11 points in strength and turned it into a round number of 200. I knew it was probably a bad idea, seeing as how I didn’t have a body yet, but it just irked me when I saw the uneven number. That was how some gamers were. Even though it didn’t feel like a good idea, we tried to make our stats have a nice even feel to them. No odd numbers were allowed! The feel of a 999 or 1000 in the stats just felt awesome for some reason. As for the rest of the points, I added 24 points in [Intelligence] and kept 25 for [Magic Energy Regeneration], but I didn’t add those right away, if I did, I would only gain 1 Magic Energy point per second. This led my final stats to look like this:
[Magic Energy]: 8120
[Magic Energy Regeneration]: 30 Magic Energy Points per Second
[Available points]: 25
[Available skill points]: 260
Now, I had to look at my skills. Of course, I went for enchantments first. The first ranks offered random enchants, and I didn’t like that.
[Enchant Room] > [Enchant Room with <Select Type> Enchantment]
[Enchant Trap] > [Enchant Trap with <Select Type> Enchantment]
[Enchant Item] > [Enchant Item with <Select Type> Enchantment]
These were purchased for the grand total of 30 Skill Points!
Of course, I was itching to offer them another level, but I kept my desires in check. I wanted to do something else before that. What Nanya told me about skill ranks made me wonder if I could achieve something like that, so I opened the skill menu and went straight to [Fireball].
I looked over it and [Seeker Fireball], this was the Advanced Rank skill as well as the first upgrade of the regular [Fireball]. With a gulp and a bit of reluctance, I upgraded it the next level. 20 points were gone, and I pushed it into Master Rank. With this, I gained [Seeker Fireball X3], a skill which allowed me to shoot three fireballs that followed the path I desired. The Magic Energy cost was different only by 10 Magic Energy Points for the initial cost.
Excited, I selected the option to upgrade it again.
<Impossible to upgrade. Requirements not achieved.>
<[Seeker Fireball X3] cannot be upgraded until it has been Improved 5 times.>
<[Seeker Fireball X3] cannot be upgraded without an equivalent skill of equal improvement rank.>
I blinked surprised when I saw the messages. If I didn’t misread, it was telling me to improve another skill to the same rank and improvement level. It was actually quite logical if I thought about it. If I wanted to fuse two skills, they had to be of equal rank. I just hoped I didn’t have to do some sort of weird dance for it.
With that being said, I upgrade [Ice Spear] to [Jagged Ice Spear] and then to [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear]. It cost me a whooping 30 Skill Points, leaving me with a total of 180.
Now, all I had to do was to improve them. It was a bit strange though. Judging by what Nanya told me, I could fuse normal [Fireball] and [Ice Spear] too. Speaking of which, the [Jagged Ice Spear] created a spear with a jagged tip that extended inside the target upon impalement. The Master Rank version made the tip explode inside the victim, sending small ice spikes piercing through the victim’s body from the inside out.
Improvement cost me 10 Skill Points for each level, and it changed the spells in the following way:
[Seeker Fireball X3] > [Seeker Fireball X6] > [Seeker Fireball X9] > [Seeker Fireball X12] > [Seeker Fireball X15] > [Seeker Fireball X18]
[Explosive Jagged Ice Spear] > [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear] with 25% reduced cost per spear cast > [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear] with 50% reduced cost per spear cast > [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear X2] > [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear X4] > [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear X4] with double the explosive force.
This meant that the improved version of the [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear] could cast four spears at the same time, at half the cost and with double the explosive force of the tip. It totally outclassed the unimproved version, which led me to wonder what I could do if I improved the other skills, especially the construction ones.
Either way, I was left now with 80 skill points, but it was well worth the cost.
“It’s time!” I said to myself.
I was quite excited because with this new spell, I could enter the Emperor Rank realm.
“Improve [Seeker Fireball X18]!” I commanded.
<Insufficient Skill Points. Spell costs 150 Skill Points.>
“Why?” I wanted to cry.
Whenever I was in a game, this sort of stuff always happened to me. Right when I got a cool item or spell, I was just a few points short from actually being able to use it.
“Sigh…” I closed the screen and left my crystal body.
At the very least, I managed to learn that I could improve my skills, and it was well worth it. Actually, with enough improvements for the [Seeker Fireball], I could probably reach a similar effect as the [Fireball Storm] Nanya mentioned yesterday.
Speaking of which, I was supposed to meet her around noon, so without further ado, I went to do my regular job of repairing the entire academy, seeing as how yesterday I forgot to do it. Luckily for me, only three classes were completely destroyed, Zertan’s lab included. Honestly speaking, I felt something detonate, but I thought it was just Nanya going crazy. I didn’t expect Tuberculus to be the one who destroyed one of the classrooms when one of his students tried to compress a fireball spell. It was a bit funny because around and behind the teacher’s desk was this black smudge that usually appeared when something detonated right in front of them. I could see the untouched area behind it taking the old geezer’s shape.
After fixing the classroom, I met Nanya heading towards my room and greeted her as usual.
“Mornin’ wife!” I said with a giggle.
“Good morning, Illsy. I’m seeing you are enjoying this.” she said throwing a glare at me and then showing me her ring.
To mask it from unwanted eyes, she wore two simple bronze rings on her left hand and three on her right hand.
“Can’t blame me for being happy that I have two lovely wives!” I joked, but it was true.
She let out a sigh, but didn’t glare at me. I had to keep up with the compliments and keep flirting with her, otherwise, this marriage would go straight to Hades and back.
“I’m going to test your Magic Armor today, so let me know when I depleted too much of it, alright?” she reminded me.
“Of course. But don’t forget, if it breaks, you buy it!” I said with a smile.
“Huh?” she raised an eyebrow at me.
Apparently, the merchant’s joke didn’t work on her.
“Never mind. So, how did you sleep? Any good dreams? Erotic dreams? Horror dreams?” I asked.
“Yes, I had a horror dream alright… I dreamed we were married, and Tuberculus was our happy little puppy.” she said.
“How’s that a horror dream?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“We were married. Unfortunately, I’m still asleep.” she grumbled.
“Oh, come on!” I said and flew in front of her. “I’m trying to be nice here…”
“Sigh, I know. Unlike others, I need my time to… adjust to this situation. You understand?” she told me with a soft smile. “Also, I joked, I didn’t dream of you. My dream was about me stealing Shanteya and Ayuseya from you and riding into the sunset!” she showed me a mischievous smirk.
I blinked surprised. I didn’t expect THAT!
“What?” I said.
It took me a moment or two to process the info before I began debating whether it was another joke or not.
“Wait so, you’re telling me you’re into girls as well?” I asked.
“Let’s just say I had my fair share of encounters with both sexes. I may look cute and cuddly, Illsy, but I’m a really really wild girl on the inside.” she then winked at me.
“You are teasing me…” I said as I flew after her.
“Maybe? Who knows? Maybe I’m still a virgin? Maybe I’m running off once a week to the nearby city for a few hours of fun? Maybe I invite a few students into my chambers now and then? There are a lot of maybes, Illsy, but here’s the question… Which one do you prefer?” she asked as she turned around and showed me a cunning smile.
It was a test. I could bet my shiny crystal behind that this was actually a test!
I looked at her for a moment and then gave my reply.
“Hm… you in a nightgown in my bed when I have a body. I don’t care whether you are bi or not, a virgin or not, a wild girl or a shy girl. For me, Nanya is Nanya. You are my wife, and that’s all that matters. For now, all I want would be to learn how to tell you a sincere: I love you.”
I tried to be as honest with my words as I could, but the idea of Nanya sneaking out to visit strange brothels or inviting men into her room just for fun didn’t sit well with me. If I ever came to witness such a thing, I felt like I might accidentally cast a [Seeker Fireball X18] infused with 4000 Magic Energy points on some totally ‘random’ men. Or an [Explosive Jagged Ice Spear X4], yup, that sounded better: explosion after impalement!
Leaving my revenge plans aside, it appeared as though my words touched Nanya a bit. She blushed and blinked surprised. Maybe she didn’t expect me to say such words.
“Don’t make me wait for too long…” she told me with a soft smile and turned around.
She walked faster to my room, but I could see clearly that she was blushing and grinning like an idiot.
Point for me, I guess? I thought.
Once we were both inside, I made sure my Magic Armor was ready and gave her the go. What Nanya did was quite simple. Using moderated strikes, she landed blow after blow on my physical crystal body. She would stop after each one and then wait for me to measure the amount of Magic Energy depleted. Every strike grew in strength until she was able to completely shatter my magic armor with one hit. When that happened, she stopped the test.
“So, how did I do?” I asked.
“Hm.” she crossed her arms at her chest and closed her eyes. “In terms of strength, it’s below a medium Master Rank, but in terms of quantity, it surpasses a Godlike. I can tell this isn’t a forged one. You only added Magic Energy once or twice to it, right?” she asked me.
“Yes.” I replied.
“From now on, try to add the same amount or more Magic Energy every day. Doing this will forge the Magic Armor and make it thinner but far denser. It will also help strengthen it and keep it from dissipating too fast. Right now, you excel in quantity, but you are terrible in quality.” she shook her head.
“I see… I’ll try to work more on quality.” I said.
“Illsy, when you do that, don’t just pour down Magic Energy like there’s no tomorrow. Focus on it. Will it to get stronger. Let it gather up by itself and always, I mean ALWAYS have it on. Doing so will polish it and make it stronger and stronger with each passing day.” she explained calmly as she looked up at me.
“I understand… I need to focus on quality not quantity.“ I said with a nod.
“Yes” she nodded.
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