After glancing over his gains, Randidly had to chuckle. It was easy for him now to appreciate what the incubation time in that prison had given him, but at the time… Randidly had truly sweated his future somewhat. Initially, suspended in the darkness without the benefit of the ability to move…
If not for Randidly touching lightly on the ability to conjure Skills without actually using them in his fight with Helen, he would have been a loss.
Still, it had been a stressful time. And that stress was the finest fertilizer for improving Skill Levels.
Assuming you survive of course.
Randidly had gained a smattering of Skill Levels, less than five, in quite a few ancillary Skills. The beneficiaries of this small growth were Combat Proficiency, the Glittering Leaves of Yggdrasil, Physical Fitness, Heavy Blow, Dodge, Idiosyncratic Cut, Stalemate Breaker, Counter, Sharpness, Spriggit’s Tinkering, Volatile Ash, the Inevitable Phantom Arrives, Breath of the Spear Phantom, Ignition Bolt, Eruption of the Blazing Leyline, Pain Resistance, and Engineering Savvy.
Meanwhile, Randidly had much larger gains, some as high as ten Skill Levels, in Spear Mastery, Fighting Experience, Embrace of the Wild Phantom, Spear Advances Ash Trails, Yyrwood Body of Yggdrasil, Golden Roots of Yggdrasil, Talon Strike, Chosen of Ash, Aether Detection, Absolute Timing, Crown of Cataclysm and Gloom, and When a Shadow Departs Fireflies Dance.
Just the PP from all those gains combined, plus the leftover Randidly had after the Helen fight, totaled at 202. But that didn’t include the big winners from the experience.
Frigid Ash, Extinguishing Storm, which was created in the Helen fight, might not see as much use as the other Skills, but its image had been constantly refined during his initial time in the darkness and then when Randidly had traveled through his own Soulskill. For that, he had gained 27 Skill Levels.
Grasp of the World Seed was slightly less impressive but was still an integral part of Randidly’s escape plan. Although most of the time Randidly was struggling to find a way around the downsides of the image, he was still intimately familiar with the image. More so than he had ever been in the past. Therefore, Randidly had earned 18 Levels in that Skill.
Ignition of the Emerald Essence only gained 12 Skill Levels, but Randidly knew that that would rise quickly as he used his fire Skills more often. Of all the Skills Randidly had made, he was most proud of this one. Perhaps not due to its power, but simply due to the raw determination it had taken for him to reach the point where he had made the connection to create it.
All is Ash had gained 18 Skill Levels. It had settled as one of his core Skills both for mobility, defense, and destructive power. His usage against the Propagator and Darke had been less than impressive, but Randidly wished dearly for another chance.
He would make those two regret capturing him.
Aether Manipulation jumped but by 14 Skill Levels. So much of Randidly’s escape would have been much more tedious if he wasn’t able to use Aether as freely as he was. In a similar vein, Mana Engraving had increased by 22 Levels. Randidly suspected that a lot of this was due to the method he had used; without a Skill, he had managed to conjure extremely weak Mana Engraving on a large scale.
Such an ability had relatively few applications. But Randidly had a few ideas that he would like to try when he returned to Earth. He and Sam would undoubtedly be able to make something of the Skills that he had.
Of course, there was one main beneficiary of Randidly’s time in the underground prison. Visualization had increased by a grand total of 41 Skill Levels. Making the total amount of Randidly’s gains a little over 350 PP.
There was a brief moment where Randidly considered waiting until he remade his Soulskill to spend his PP, but he honestly had no idea when the shifting forces in his Soulskill would settle enough for him to make the change. 350 PP was not a small amount. It usually took him almost six months to earn that much. Especially considering Randidly’s goal of stepping onto the world stage and finding out about the Second Calamity, it did not seem wise to wait.
So Randidly finished off his Mana Ghoul Path, using a little less than 150.
Congratulations! You have completed the Mana Ghoul Path! The path you have tread was winding and dark, yet you followed it to completion. It was a time of suffrage in many ways. The Path and your own circumstances aligned to wean you off of Mana, no matter how much your body craved it. To be deprived, and then flooded with Mana… the very nature of your body has changed. For the better? Perhaps. But remember, no matter how far you walk down your Path, you cannot outrun the consequences of your actions.
Due to special circumstances, the reward for completing the Mana Ghoul Path has changed! Decrease your Willpower by 25. Double your Mana Regeneration. You have learned the Skill “From Darkness, Genesis ® Lvl 1”!
From Darkness, Genesis ®: Once per week, when you reach 10% of your Mana Pool or lower, double your Mana Regeneration for the next hour. During this hour, Skills utilizing Mana will cost slightly less and be incrementally more powerful. These effects increase with Skill Level.
Although annoying, the loss of Willpower could ultimately be ignored. It surprised Randidly that there were Paths that had you losing stats as a reward, but he was floored by the reward of DOUBLING his regeneration.
In terms of his regenerations, Randidly suspected that he was completely in a league of his own. His time of growth without a Class had earned him much in the way of bonuses to regeneration. While most people would have a limit of Skill Levels and quickly stop focusing on PP for Levels, Randidly was free to pursue PP for quite a while before he had made himself a Class.
Normally, such doubling would not be much. Especially considering that regeneration of Mana was exceedingly slow, people would be modestly surprised but not overwhelmed. But for Randidly…
His Mana Regeneration had previously been 933. Doubling that put him at 1866. That was very near to one Mana every two seconds. That truly wasn’t much compared to his Stamina Regeneration, but it was a constantly growing resource that Randidly now had. Depending on how long fights lasted, Randidly wouldn’t have to worry so much about conserving Mana. A few minutes of battle would have Randidly able to cast a few more Skills.
And this advantage only grew over time. Most of the problems Randidly had run into were that he had blown all of his Mana in a fight and then encountered another fight soon afterward. Due to the short time between the two, his Mana resources were severely limited. And the bonus Skill he received would double
total to one Mana a second recovery. Hour duration was more than enough time to accomplish his goals, too. The increased efficacy and power of Mana Skills was just a nice bonus.
With his most recent Path finished, he considered his new options. The change in his Great Path was interesting, but not an option he still considered seriously. There was a secret there, and Randidly was not in a rush to force the issue.
Path of the Patron changed to Mantle of the Patron, and Randidly wondered if it was from the portion of the mantle that he had been able to seize from Ulaat during the transfer of the Ashen Image. Going down the Path of a Patron also likely came with costs that made Randidly lose interest quickly.
There was also a notable absence: Road to Mastery had disappeared from the list of available Paths. It was possible that a new Path had replaced it, but none seemed particularly related to the Road to Mastery. The Road to Mastery was one of the ‘base’ Paths available to individuals with certain stat totals. Last time he had lost one and reached the next tier without using the Path, the new Path had a plus next to it. But none of his new options had this.
There were five flat out new Paths: the Order Ducis: Font of Guidance, Evolution of Self I, Humanity’s Torch, Bearing of a Teacher, and Limitless Will. Unfortunately, three of them seemed to be spins on his new Ignition of the Emerald Essence. The guiding, teaching, and inspiring images of the flames Randidly conjured would be improved, but that wasn’t what he was looking for right now.
Very carefully, Randidly examined each of the options available to him. Not with his eyes, but with his Aether Detection. Unlike other forms of Aether, Paths were not as definite. They were not structures that Randidly could feel, but only entrance ways. Some were doors, some were caves, some stairs, some ladders. But with the increased skill and fidelity Randidly possessed, he was able to intuit some. Of the two non-Ignition options, Randidly found himself attracted to both.
Evolution of Self felt like bone steps leading up into darkness. The Limitless Will seemed like a crystal bridge leading up toward the stars. Of course, one cost 50 and was part of a set and the other cost 1000.
Sighing, Randidly went back and perused the Paths he already had previously. Growth of Yggdrasil II was an eventual goal, but just had a prohibitive cost. Similarly, the Ashes of Ulaat would likely give Randidly more mastery over the Ashen Image, which was much more interesting now that he balanced it out with Ignition of the Emerald Essence. But once again, that was 1000 PP.
Of the reasonably costed old Paths, Randidly also felt drawn to the Steps of the Godling II Path. After all, he promised to refocus his efforts to emphasize his Soulskill. He had abandoned them for far too long. And besides, he had enough to finish that Path immediately and start on another…
So just like that, Randidly dumped PP into the Steps of the Godling II Path.