The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 108:
I step through the dungeon gate, and the vast area comes into view. With over twenty kilometers of radius for [Sense Magic], I can see all of the camps we made and all of the dens that we discovered: a reminder of what we need to reclaim.
Each camp is overrun with vegetation, the walls are torn down and the buildings are falling apart. The Treant seems to think that we won’t return; it is wandering around the forest near the Glade. To the west is an open plain, but I can’t see too far into it. In the south, the land starts rising into what could be a large hill or a mountain; I don’t know yet. I will need to go farther to the north and east to see if there’s anything beyond the forest. I hold onto Esofy as she activates the waystone key, and we teleport to the rodent den.
I summon my clones as everyone double-checks their equipment.
“Remember, we are not here to do anything crazy, only to get stronger,” Esofy says, looking everyone in the eyes.
Our group is Esofy, Tana, Chyzu, Jowaru, Irela, Uloru, Kadona and me. Aside from Uloru, Tana and I, who have yet to get one thousand total general skill levels, everyone here is trying to level up their second Class.
Esofy’s second Class is based on her [Battle Movements], which makes it another warrior Class. Looking at it with [Sense Magic] and seeing how it seems to ‘touch’ her Bond, it is a Bond Class, perhaps because of the Bond-influenced variant skill?
“What’s it like when you get a second Class?” I ask.
“You don’t know?” Chyzu responds. “It’s like getting a Class for the first time, or evolving a Class. You get a lot of different options based on what you have accomplished before.”
I cringe at that. It means that most of my options will be corrupted, but it also means that it will be easier to predict what kind of skills will be brought over from the general skills. It also means that many choices will likely be Bond Classes, which at this point may be my only option left. Not that I’m complaining; I’m not Kayafe, and Bond Classes are very strong and surprisingly versatile with their ability to switch out skills. Kayafe says it takes a few hours to do so, but I have found that it only takes me half an hour on average; I wonder if it’s because I specialize more in it?
I look at Chyzu’s new Class. Another mage Class, ice-based non-caster this time.
“Chyzu, why do you choose non-caster Classes rather than caster or Bond Classes?” I ask.
“Hmm,” Chyzu hums, putting a finger on her lips, “It doesn’t require me to focus on casting spells.” Chyzu snaps her fingers, and a water bolt shoots out. “My spells are faster to cast, too, making it great for instinctual fighting. I don’t plan my movements; I let my instincts and experience do the thinking. As for why I didn’t choose a Bond Class, it’s because I wanted more variety in my abilities, especially in combat. It works for you because of your [Mana Manipulation], but imagine if you didn’t have that. You wouldn’t be able to channel your spells, your ability to take down much stronger monsters would be reduced, and you wouldn’t have the ability to weave or forge mana into powerful items to prepare for things. That all means you’d have to be a lot more careful, or get more abilities in combat that can help you fight and survive.”
She… has a pretty good point. My cursed skill, even if it has bitten me in the ass, has also helped so much… it’s a double-edged sword. I can see people purposefully getting cursed skills to get more powerful or to cover a weakness they have, and who would have more interest in purifying cursed skills than those who use them? Perhaps I should also seek out those groups if any exist. For all I know, using a cursed skill could be outlawed, or a forbidden thing. This also leads to another issue; what if I do successfully discover a way to purify cursed skills? If it’s easy or safe then it’s likely to completely change the game. Everyone will seek out cursed skills and just purify them; the power dynamic of the world will change overnight and lead to chaos. Perhaps some things are best kept secret. Although, that assumes that it’s not only possible but replicable, for all I know it might be a thing that a person can only do for themselves.
Both Irela and Jowaru seem to have gotten Bond Classes, probably to enhance their metal manipulation abilities. Kadona has a new weapon, since her old one was destroyed by the Void Slime. Now she is wielding a halberd with an oversized head. I’m not sure what her second Class does, but it no doubt has something to do with having oversized weapons.
We start going through the rodent den, pretty much massacring its weak monsters. We quickly make it to the first-floor boss and carefully slay it before moving on.
“The second Class is much more difficult to level up,” Kadona remarks.
“The levels add up,” I explain after a moment’s thought. I did pass Kayafe’s warning on to Esofy, but she must have forgotten to tell the others. “If you have two level one hundred Classes, they both level as if they are one level two hundred Class.”
“I see; I may have to hold off on my main Class if that’s the case.” Kadona gives a slight nod.
“If they add up to one high-level Class, then why not just have one Cass?” Uloru asks, splatting a rodent under her hefty hammer.
“More skills,” Kadona says simply. “It’s better to have more skills that can augment your abilities. And the second Class also means that you have twenty skills with a Class bonus.”
“Kadona’s right, it’s better to have more Classes.” Esofy agrees, then clarifies. “Remember, the level only gives you more stats, so the real strength is in the skills.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After a long day of squishing monsters with her hammer, Uloru looks over her gains: just a level each in her Bond and Class. They have made it to the fourth floor, and now the monsters are getting strong, reaching upwards of level two hundred for the normal monsters and three hundred fifty for the bosses. No Heroic monsters yet, which is a good thing as Esofy would probably not let them fight one.
Despite the bosses being at the same level as the last time they were here, they seem to be a lot easier to kill, probably because the majority of their party have gained significant power due to their second Class.
Uloru looks ahead at the clone of Alysara. She, too, has gained in power, although seemingly not as much as the others. However, she always knows where to go and where to take them to find the bosses and lower floors.
The girl she knew has grown a lot, her figure becoming fuller and more shapely. Her beautiful tails dance behind her as she walks and Uloru can’t help but admire the beautiful sheen of the light spells reflecting off them. Although Alysara is two years younger, Uloru can’t help but feel a growing attraction to her.
Suddenly Uloru is woken up by a smack at the back of her head. Leaning forward, her master whispers in her ear.
“Stop staring. I know she is around your age, but you should be polite.”
Uloru rubs the back of her head and looks elsewhere, occasionally catching glances of those long beautiful tails.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Something I’ve noticed is that Runalymo are attracted to long, silky tails. Considering that I have the longest tails, not to mention three of them, I’ll be getting a lot more attention from potential suitors. At least now I know why we have such long tails; it’s from sexual selection. As for our large ears, it’s because the Nexus is a very hot place and the large ears are a way to keep cool. Desert foxes like the fennec fox also have large ears to keep cool, same with a lot of animals like elephants and servals.
It’s possible that due to my Bond, I developed very long tails because it’s what the Runalymo find attractive, and that could also be why my race has three tails as opposed to some other mutation like golden hair.
I let out a sigh. As I continue to grow, I’ll get more and more attention, and there is a maelstrom of emotions inside of me when I think about that. On one hand, I want to focus on myself; I am still too young for anything like that, and I don’t want to be the focus of anyone’s desire. On the other hand, a part of me desires and enjoys the attention – likely the influence of puberty – and I am glad that I am accepted by others and that two years of pain and loneliness haven’t gone to waste.
Pangs of guilt, pain, and loneliness resurface as I think about that time; my chest tightens, and my hands shake slightly. I take a role with [Acting] to calm myself and push away those feelings, a tactic I have been using for months whenever I think about those events.
With my emotions back in control, I ease off my [Acting] and check my Bond level. Four hundred ninety-three, only seven levels to go. Despite killing the bosses that previously would give three or four levels each, I am lucky to gain just one now. Our group has become a lot stronger, and dealing with the monsters is a lot easier.
With the second Class, better Bond skills, and Bond levels from training evolution trees, these monsters are being slain with much greater proficiency. We rest near the fourth-floor boss’s room and discuss strategies for the fight. It is a level four hundred Grand monster; a tough fight but theoretically doable with our current strength.
Phase Rovlat (Grand), level 404 Ghost Striker (Grand), level 326 Space Bond
I send in a spare clone to test its abilities while the others rest. As I have done before, I make the clone invisible, both to test its sensing abilities and to test its defenses with a sneak attack.
I don’t charge my spear so much that it starts making a humming sound: I already know these monsters can hear. As I approach, the boss stands up with its hackles raised and turns transparent. With my [Sense Magic] I see a skill in its Race light up, indicating active use. Other skills are already lit up, both in its Race and Class. The Phase Rovlat slowly walks around my clone’s position, light mana coating it, indicating an invisibility spell. But that’s not what worries me most; rather, my greatest concern is that it’s transparent even to my [Sense Magic].
Chances are that it’s sensing space in some way; distortions, presence, it’s definitely sensing something that the presence of my clone disturbs. It can’t hide from me, not with my [Sense Magic] and [Sense Soul], but it is certainly trying.
The boss suddenly rushes at me with fangs bared, and I brace my spear so it will impale itself upon it, only for it to pass right through my spear and all the mana it contains. The Rovlat bites and rakes my clone, but the mana simply seals back up. I try stabbing the oversized rodent but only succeed at stabbing air. It’s as if the Phase Rovlat isn’t there.
Obviously, with the name ‘Phase Rovlat’ and ‘Ghost Striker’, it specializes in hitting enemies without allowing them to land a hit in return. The basic idea is much like what I do, just executed in a very different way. The only way I can think of hurting it is with space spells.
I cast a simple spell to cut the boss… only for the spell to pass right through the monster. If I didn’t know better I would think it’s an illusion… except I know it’s not, so why didn’t the spell work? I don’t know enough about ‘space’ to be sure, but maybe it’s on a different spatial layer, and the spell attacked the one I am on, which means I need to strike on a different spatial layer?
I summon the spell again, only this time it costs almost thirteen times more mana and appears transparent, much like the boss, so I’m probably on the right track. I strike with the spell… and again pass through the Phase Rovlat. It seems that there are several ‘layers’ and that I must find which one it is on. If I had some sort of [Sense Space] skill, or a related breakthrough, this would have been easy; unfortunately, I do not have either, and I’m basically making things up as I go along here, since I don’t really know anything about how ‘space’ works for this kind of thing.
Again and again, I try to hit the boss. I eventually do find the right layer, I think, but its phasing skill lights up and it switches to a different layer before I can hit it. All the while, the boss tears into my clone. We are both at a stalemate, unable to hurt each other. No one else will have the means of hurting it, unless Tana can somehow drain its vitality when it strikes him. It is definitely using some space ability to strike our layer without fully leaving its own. But, with only one of us who might be able to hurt it, it’s not worth the trouble, so we should just go to another den.
“Whelp, we can’t kill the floor boss,” I declare to the rest of the party as the other clone fades away. “It’s a space warrior that has phasing capabilities, even if we try we can’t actually hurt it.”
“Then let’s make our way back to the Gargoyle Ruins instead,” Esofy says, standing up and stretching.
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