~ Chapter 9: Of levels and overpowered skills (Part 2) ~
About half an hour later of hoping not to get a wooden broken sword this time, I finally managed to find an actual steel sword. Unfortunately, it was already being wielded by a draconian bandit.
You know what they say: be careful what you wish for. I thought as I watched the man looking with big eyes at us.
Although armed only with a simple steel sword and wore basic leather armor on top of a pair of linen pants and shirt, he had dark-brown lizard eyes, a long, spiky tail and a pair of wings on his back. All those were signs of an awakened one. For a moment, I thought he might represent a danger towards us, but I quickly remembered that I wasn’t together with just any dragon, but with an actual knight.
Seryanna unsheathed her sword and stepped in front of me, showing not even a single sign of fear.
“Stay behind me.” she told me with a calm tone of voice.
I gulped and nodded.
Here’s a good wish. I hope this guy will be beaten quickly by Seryanna! I kept repeating in my mind.
“Oho! And here I thought I’d be lost for days in this damned forest! Who would have thought that I would find such a busty babe out here? Boy, hand over the girl, and I won’t get rough with ya!” he threatened me and saw Seryanna only as a simple woman.
I could only blink surprised at first.
Is he joking? Maybe he doesn’t see her as a possible danger because she doesn’t show the signs of an awakened one? I thought.
“Erm… dude? I’ll give you a hint. Simple clothes on me, plated chain mail armor on her. Bag on my back, sword in her hand.” I told him with a raised eyebrow.
“Huh?” by the time he realized Seryanna was the dangerous one, it was already too late.
The dragoness moved in, and with a single strike, she disarmed him. The sword flew out of his hand and into a nearby tree. Realizing he just got disarmed, he tried to charge up a magic spell, but Seryanna’s punch came flying straight into his nose. The 1254 points in strength showed themselves as he got tossed into the tree behind him, shattering into small splinters half of its trunk.
“Ugh…” he groaned and dropped on the grass, unconscious.
“Hmph! Weakling!” she puffed and left him there, walking away while sheathing her sword.
“Ah! Wait! Shouldn’t we do something about it?” I asked quickly as I went to get the sword impaled in the tree.
I took it out with ease to my surprise.
“I can’t. I made a peace deal with his group.” she said and pointed at the stitched mark on his left shoulder.
“Erm… another world, remember?” I asked pointing at myself.
“Oh, yes. Erm… how should I say this. Sometimes, knights and city guards make deals with the large bandit groups they can’t control to keep them out of the small towns and villages. As long as they don’t behave bad inside the walls, they won’t act against them. This keeps other bandit organizations from popping up and reduces crime rate in the city. It’s a win-win situation unless they directly attack us. There’s also another catch. Purse rings of this capacity aren’t that easy to come across. Regular stores don’t have them, and where we are going now, only the bandits carry them. I made a deal with them. I don’t kill them, and I get to use this ring as long as I desire. This, however, doesn’t keep me from beating them when I come across them.” she shrugged.
“I see, well… Can I take his sword?” I asked.
“Feel free. It’s probably stolen, but unless it belongs to a merchant or has any specific signs on it, then it won’t be reclaimed. If it does, you are obligated to return it or ask to buy it from the original owner.” she explained.
“No tag means finders keepers and losers weepers, right?”
“Indeed. At least out here, in the forest. The city is teaming with guards, and a thief is usually caught fairly quick.” she turned around and continued to walk.
“Really? And here I thought you usually killed them all.”
“As a knight, I am entitled to pass on judgment to the likes of them, so I may kill them if I find it necessary or if the situation calls for their immediate elimination.”
“Erm, so knights are sort of judge and jury?” I asked.
“What’s a judge?” she stopped and looked back at me with a raised eyebrow and furrowed brow.
“The guy with the hammer thingy that hits the table thingy when the criminal is…” she tilted her head a bit, showing that she wasn’t getting any of what I said, so I stopped and thought about how to put it in a more sciency-fancy way. “Erm, back in my world, the criminal is usually taken in front of judge. After analyzing the evidence brought against him, the Judge can either declare his sentence as a guilty party or exonerate him from the crime if he was proved to be falsely accused. I think in the USA, they had a jury as well, but I have no idea what their purpose is…” I shook my head and shrugged. “But in other words, the judge is someone who passes judgment to the criminal only after he analyzed all the evidence pointing at his crime.”
It was hard to explain the complicated juridic system of Earth, actually, I doubted I could. Most of the things I knew about it were from watching the news occasionally and streamed TV series. If I were to be asked to give a detail report about how the entire thing worked, I would most likely fail horribly.
“This judge of yours sounds like something the King or Lord of the land usually does.” she said, and we left it at that.
For the rest of the day, we collected various interesting plants we found along the way as well as killed weak monsters I called out with my luck. Seryanna finished them off rather quickly and then we proceeded with gathering their useful parts. She tried to teach me how to do it, but it was clear I wasn’t handling the knife very well. I just needed some practice and a bit of getting used to with all the gore. For the moment, I was just glad I never was weak to seeing blood even back on Earth.
With so much fighting and gathering to be done, I completely forgot to ask her about the various rules in this world as well as how far the human kingdoms were from this one. Remembering how the planet looked like from above didn’t help much. From all I knew, this could have been a rather big island or an actual continent the size of Asia.
This was how another day came to pass, and I found myself laying down in my tent, looking up at the cover and listening the crackle of embers in the campfire. As I stood like that, I realized I didn’t actually take a look at my own stats. With so many monsters we killed, I knew I leveled up a few times, but I had no idea how much.
“Show my status…” I said.
[Name]: Alkelios Yatagai
[Magic Excellence]: 1%+6.75%
[Skills]: Show? Y/N
[Skill Points]: 62
[Stat Points]: 620
Huh? I thought as I looked at my level.
In just a few days, I went from a level 1 to 63. That was a 62 levels increase. We didn’t even kill that many monsters, but seeing how this was the most dangerous forest, I felt it was quite normal. Then again, I only wished for the weakest monsters to appear before us. I was certain there were some even Seryanna would wish to avoid, for example, the four headed dog I had the pleasure of meeting the first time I arrived in this world.
The first thing I thought about doing was assign some stat points. Although magic sounded good, I currently didn’t know even the simplest of all spells: Fireball, however, I was aware that ignoring those stats wouldn’t be a good idea. There was probably a big difference between my buffed stats and basic stats. Maybe there were some requirements for various skills as well.
The last question that popped into my mind was the following: My stats seem to grow normally so far, and my strength increased quite a bit. Should I actually put points in my stats now or wait until it becomes very hard to increase them?
I decided to stay away from stat points for now and focus instead on my skill points. As soon as I selected those points, a message appeared before me:
<To keep things fair for everyone, I decided to let you add Skills through your status only every 10 levels. Isn’t that great? I’m such a benevolent God-like being! Also, to give you a bonus, you can Improve a skill only and only every 5 levels. Good luck and choose wisely!>
That… that freaking God-like! I growled in my mind, but instead of shouting like some annoyed 12 years-old, I decided to take a deep breath and relax.
Instead of complaining about an impossible to change system, I had to think of a way to better use that said system.
Let’s see… This means I can add 6 skills and make 12 improvements, right? I thought.
Opening the skill window, I was showed my current skills:
[Dragon Tamer] (Passive)
[Veggie know-how] (Passive) (34% Learned. Assign 1 skill point to reach 100%)
[Skinnathron] (Passive) (2% Learned. Assign 1 skill point to reach 100%)
[Grabby Grabber] (Passive) (15% Learned. Assign 1 skill point to reach 100%)
[Smooth Talker] (Passive) (1.5% Learned. Assign 1 skill point to reach 100%)
I blinked surprised when I saw all those weird names.
Skinnathron? What the heck is that? It sounds more like some sort of machine or an ability one has in a post-apocalyptic game. What? Was ‘skinning’ already taken? What about Grabby Grabber? And Veggie know-how? Seriously? I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment
It was most likely the God-like’s way of being funny, although, through his attempts, he could only end up confusing us. I wouldn’t be surprised if some poor fellow ended up getting a useless skill by mistake because he thought it sounded cool.
Then again, I was probably part of that group, however, I was starting to doubt the part about [Dragon Tamer] being completely useless.
Letting out a sigh, I looked through the details of each skill. [Veggie know-how] was the ability to identify herbs and plants used in alchemy. Once learned, I would be able to easily identify only those sort of plants. [Skinnathron] was Basic Skinning skill commonly found in most video games, but with a fancy name. This skill allowed me to skin most critters and monster except for bosses and certain legendary ones. I could technically still do it, but there was a high chance I would ruin the product. [Grabby Grabber] referred to the ability of gathering plants and materials of all kinds. Translation in normal language: Gatherer. As for the last one, [Smooth Talker], it was a skill that made my compliments 50% more effective.
I decided not to waste my skill points with any of these, seeing as how I could gain them with ease by continuing to perform the respective task just as you would back on Earth.
Regarding the skills which I could choose from my list, I was certain they were all unique one way or another. My intuition told me this pick a skill once in 10 levels wasn’t supposed to be wasted. Therefore, I decided to add my luck in the equation and try to influence what I picked.
“Let’s see now…” I said and closed my eyes I wish to find a good gathering skill, a good spotting skill, a good appraising skill, a good attack skill, and maybe something to help travel around faster. Oh, and something related to alchemy or potion making? I thought and repeated those words a few times before I opened the menu.
Browsing the kilometer-long list, I went by instinct and pure luck when picking the first skill. It was already proven that logic in regard to how the God-like named these skills wasn’t going to help me out much. If I could see the details of each skill WITHOUT actually choosing that skill, it would have been great, but the system didn’t allow such a convenient thing. On the bright side of things, ALL of those skills were unique and if what the God-like said was true about all 10 million of us sharing the same list, then it all depended on luck if one picked a cheat-like skill or not.
Out the giant list of weird names, which weren’t in alphabetical order by the way, I picked the ones I thought sounded ok-ish. I got six of them for the grand total of 45 points. Regarding how big the list was, let’s just say I would have broken a few mouse wheels trying to scroll to the bottom only once. It was a scroll to infinity and beyond!
Either way, these were the skills I picked:
[Kitty Eyes]: Changes the Hero’s irises to those of a feline when this ability is used. Can see anything in a 10 m radius around the Hero. Cost: 50 Magic Energy points.
[Identificus Processus Juridicus]: This skill allows the Hero to Appraise anything. Cost: 10 Magic Energy points.
[I R Roboticus!]: Allows the Hero to mine anything. Allows the Hero to gather any type of herb. Allows the Hero to harvest any material. Passive.
[Bartender]: Allows the Hero to create all types of potions of the Basic Rank up to the Advanced Rank. Requires Alchemy Laboratory. Requires the right Amounts and Types of ingredients before intuitively offering the formula of the potion. Requires a Storage type Item or Skill. Cost: Depends on Potion.
[Speedy Rooster]: Summons Gragh’jaggar, the armored giant chicken mount of level=Hero, stats Hero-100 points except Luck. Can carry up to 5 persons. Cost: 250 Magic Energy points.
[Lightning Chicken!]: Summons a giant Lightning Phoenix of min level=999, max level=Hero. Cost: 585 Magic Energy points. 1 minute initial duration, afterwards it costs 100 Magic Energy per Minute.
Those names… was all I could think after I picked the skills and saw the descriptions. They barely fit at all, especially the last one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even use the last 3 on account of Magic Energy cost. I got some really cheat-like skills with this go, but those requirements were absolutely ridiculous!
Least to be said, I tried to use the first skill: [Kitty Eyes]. The way to do so was quite simple: I just had to think about the skill’s name and then say: Activate. The Magic Energy was taken out of my pool, which was identified as the value of [Magic] in the stats window.
Everything around was perfectly visible in the utmost detail even if it was night. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see inside Seryanna’s tent or under the ground, only where I would normally be able to look normally. The spell seemed to ignore the current location I was in, but it did make me wonder if it could only get past the first room or it actually didn’t matter?
The first thing I did with my new acquired ability was to check for nearby monsters. There were none as far as I could see. After that, I looked at the pretty dragoness sitting down by the fire. She was writing down in some sort of journal, but although I could see the letter perfectly fine, I had no idea what they meant. Maybe my language ability didn’t include writing as well?
After staring to my heart’s content at her cleavage and nice round rump, I decided to try the Improve skill thingy the God-like mentioned in his message.
With my recent purchases, I was left with only 17 Skill Points, and I could improve my skills only 6 times.
I had to pick carefully.
I went first with [Dragon Tamer] which was my main Skill. Two points went into improving the basic function, but it only raised X2 to X3 level up boost. That was nice too, but I wanted to improve the stat gain bonus.
Still, one thing tickled my noggin. The God-like said: improve, not advance, upgrade or something like that.
Why improve? I thought.
It was already clear that he had a very bad naming sense, although there was a high chance of it being intentional from keeping us from hogging or jumping at the OP skills like the [Lightning Chicken!].
“Upgrade [Dragon Tamer].” I said, but nothing happened. “Hm. Advance [Dragon Tamer].” I tried again, and this time, it worked.
[Dragon Tamer] [Level 2]: This is a passive, buff type skill. When a Hero develops any sort of friendly or intimate relationship with someone of a Dragon origin, this skill will allow the creation of a special bond between the two of them. The bond is indestructible by any other skill unless the Hero wills it. The Hero gains 25% of the Dragon’s Stats, and the Dragon will gain the ability to level up 3X faster when in the presence of the Hero. [Advancement I]: The Hero can sense the direction in which he can find his [Selected] Dragon friend. Number of dragons that can be sensed at the same time: 1.
This was actually quite great. I had something like radar now. I tested it out on Seryanna, and a small transparent white arrow pointed the way towards her.
“Sweet!” I said with smile, and I couldn’t help advancing this skill again.
What I got now, was another interesting Advancement: All dragons gain 10 stat points upon level up and every ten levels gained in the presence of the Hero allow the dragons to gain an improvement in any of their skills. The Hero can choose where to add the stat points. If bond is broken before applying them, they will be added automatically to the stat with the highest value.
All of these only cost me 6 skill points, leaving me 10 points to add to make three more improvements. I decided to upgrade and improve [Kitty Eyes] once. The Level 2 improvement cost me 4 points and the advancement cost me 5 skill points, leaving me with a total of 2 left, however, now I could see everything in an 25 m radius around me, and I could also detect anything invisible. This ability could prove quite handy.
I was excited about my new skills, but instead of jumping out and telling Seryanna about it, I decided to play it cool and simply go to bed for the night. I saw absolutely no reason in rushing with this.
When I get to level 65, I’ll try to improve [Dragon Tamer] again… The faster she levels up, the more points I gain from the buff! I thought as I closed my eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep.
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