Silo kept his mouth shut once the group had gotten into the small canoe after the fight with the Propagator. His instincts screamed for him to encourage the others. He had thought himself the leader of this team, and therefore it was his role.
It took quite a lot of time with these other three individuals, but Silo could now only helplessly admit that he was not the leader of this team. And he could not find it in himself to say even a single positive thing.
Half of their number was slaughtered after they encountered the Propagator and its puppets. Platton seemed to be barely managing to continue paddling their canoe, and Randidly was white-faced and breathing heavily. What made it worse was that both of these individuals had accomplished more than he, Silo.
Against the puppet, Silo found his Skills insufficient. He wasn’t fast enough, skillful enough, or strong enough to keep the puppet at bay. Platton was forced to move to him to assist Silo, and in that time the Propagator had launched an attack on Randidly. Only through the timely intervention of Sergeant Platton and Azriel could the group manage to escape.
But would Randidly even make it to shore…?
That thought was a cold stone weight in the pit of Silo’s stomach. These people… their strength was so much more than he expected. Even Skarch had cleared a huge hole for the remainder of them to escape through. Randidly, for all that he was heavily injured, had knocked the Propagator’s puppet
to the ground
. The amount of power that he must have used left Silo chilled.
It made Silo wonder painful thoughts. The small ring given to him by his elders throbbed uncomfortably. He was supposed to be the chosen one. Although it would take great sacrifice, he was supposed to be able to use the strength trapped in the ring in order to turn the tide of the war against the Wights. He would be…
Was that even close to being true?
Was any of this… worth it? Maybe the fundamental material of himself was insufficient. Perhaps the strange image bleed that weakened him was not a usual result, and what was happening was that Silo was failing because his elders had misjudged him. His lofty, bright goals and protecting Tellus were collapsing, and Silo was too desperate and selfish to voice his troubles.
Silo’s hands tightened into fists. It was a long and silent ride back to Southpoint Beach.
Randidly groaned as he eased himself onto the operating table. The surgeon, if he could be called that, was a skeletally thin man with a third eye in his forehead. He simply laid his hands on Randidly and closed his eyes, and within a second turned to speak to Randidly with a frown.
“Well… whatever Skill you used to forcefully close your wounds was incredibly effective. But your body is riddled with something foreign. If you can use the Skill again, I would say the best bet is to remove it-”
“Yes,” Randidly hissed, gripping the table as the strange crystal shards in his body vibrated against the bones of his ribcage. His Health barely decreased, but it was incredibly uncomfortable. “Cut it out of me, doc.”
“Doc? My name is Franz. I have told you so many times-” The surgeon trailed off into mutters as Randidly waved his hand, indicating how much he cared right now.
The group had made it back to Southpoint Beach, which was a much busier place than when Randidly’s group had left the beach a month ago. It seemed that more and more supplies and personnel were flowing to attack the Southern Domain through Southpoint Beach, and as such, it was quite a bit more difficult to find who exactly they were supposed to report to.
Sergeant Platton apologized and recommended that Randidly and Silo go to the medic tent for what little help they could give. Health Potions were a rare commodity these days, as the materials to make them slowly died out across Tellus. The look in Platton’s eyes as he looked at Randidly let him know what he believed Randidly’s chances of survival were.
Or perhaps survival was not the issue, but being able to fight was. It seemed Platton believed that Randidly’s fighting days were done. As they pulled in to the harbor at Southpoint, he spoke at length about options for soldiers back from the front.
But to be fair, the ride back from the fight was agony for Randidly, for two reasons. The first of which was the crystals stuck inside of his body. It seemed obvious now, but when you fought against enemies with ballistic projectiles, leaving the bullet in the body was not a good idea. Not that Randidly had much time to think about healing over the crystals that ripped through him; they had cut off a third of his Health all at once and his main focus was slowing the speed his Health was decreasing due to the bleeding.
Still, there was a larger problem that Randidly had to deal with as he lay at the bottom of the boat. There was a strange corrosive property that had affected himself, Silo, and Azriel. For all that Randidly couldn’t stand Silo, he wasn’t just gonna let that strange poison kill him.
Focusing intently, their 9 hour boat ride back to Southpoint Beach was just enough to cleanse them all of that strange power. It left Randidly somewhat shaken and impressed by Sergeant Platton. Whatever Skill that was, it was a bitch to get rid of. Rather than overcoming it physically, Randidly found the only option he had was cleansing them by using Aether to blast the weird particles away.
What was most disturbing was that he had gained 10 Skill Levels in System Interference due to that activity.
Skarch, Azriel, and the survivors from Platton’s original squad had gone to find a roof for their weary legs. Silo muttered something about being fine and wandered off into the cliffs nearby.
Which left Randidly alone in the medical tent with the muttering surgeon. Closing his eyes, Randidly focused on the Skill Levels he had gained in the fight to ignore the intermittent vibrations from the crystals in his body.
The biggest gain was in System Interference, but Randidly also saw some growth in his relatively stagnant Wild Phantom’s Embrace and Combat Proficiency. Due to their high Level, increasing those Skills was difficult, and always a cause for celebration. Aside from those, Randidly also continued to improve his new As Shadows Depart, Fireflies Dance and Absolute Timing. Both gave him a slight edge in the fight against the puppet that he had relied on to survive.
In total, Randidly had gained 67 PP, which he funneled into Growth of Yggdrasil. After quite a long wait, he had finally finished the Path, and the long-awaited completion notification gave him a few moments distraction from the surgeon prodding him to see what sort of razors could cut his skin.
Congratulations! You have finished the Path “Growth of Yggdrasil II”! It is not enough for the greatest tree to be planted, it is another thing entirely for it to grow to maturity. Only when its branches spread wide enough to cover the world will its true might be obvious. You have not arrived at this point yet, but do not worry, your power has grown immensely. +100 Vitality and Resistance! As the tree growing in your heart is no longer a sapling, gain an additional 2 free Stat points per Level.
Your Skills have grown to fruition! All Skills relating to Yggdrasil have been joined in the Skillset Yggdrasil, the Tree of Upheaval. The images of the Skills have bled into each other. Due to synergy, gaining Levels in the Skillset will become slightly easier. In addition, all Skills in the Skillset grow by 10 Levels.
Your Skills are nearing the point where their rarity may shift!
Randidly grinned through the pain of having someone digging around through his insides and focused on preventing Yyrwood Body of Yggdrasil from triggering. Of the benefits he had obtained from completing the Path, he was slightly torn between which was the most important. For the future, the ease in Leveling up might end up being the most useful, but right now Randidly was somewhat stunned that he had been awarded with an impressive 100 Vitality and Resistance. All at once, Vitality jumped up to being one of his highest Stats.
But he also didn’t overlook the 10 Skill Levels each for the new Skillset. In total, that was 70 free PP, and most of those Skills were above Level 100, which meant they were not easy to raise. It was a big boost to his abilities.
Although he wasn’t sure of the details, he probably also obtained some more slots for Skills, as the System only counts Skillsets as a single Skill.
The only problem with the finishing of the Path… when Randidly checked his available paths out of curiosity, one sitting there infuriated him.
Growth of Yggdrasil III 0/2000