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Accepting her fate as the only sane person in the party, Nia guessed she wouldn’t get much more out of the mage. After her first outburst, she had her anger mostly back under control again, though that didn’t mean she would forgive Sarah that easily. Well, regardless Nia still needed the twins for the time being. While she didn’t like their methods she did gain a lot of levels.
In most cases the guide would have been surprised that the girl had already reached an evolution, but with everything which had happened, she had become numb. “As i told you before, the six elements you have the highest affinity with will be displayed in descending order. The first is usually a star evolution unless you did something weird, where you keep your affinity, simply deepening your understanding of it and doubling your attribute points you will receive on level ups afterwards. Though the latter is true for all forms of evolutions. Furthermore the evolution quest for star evolutions is normally also waived. The other five then have harder and harder quests and while you can technically choose whichever element of the offered you want, unless some element resonates strongly with you, you shouldn’t pick anything after the third option as they have in most cases quite impossible quests like “cover a realm in ice”… Well… Maybe they aren’t that impossible… Regardless, you can see the quest before you choose the element, but you can’t change it once selected. Similarly, title bonuses will only apply before selecting it. Therefore, normally, i would recommend you to choose your evolution after getting the rewards, with the title they include this time, but as you will gain a lot of levels through the rewards, it might be better to prioritize the affinity. Otherwise you would lose out on the attribute point doubling.”
“The doubling is new…” Sarah noted.
“Well, it wasn’t relevant till now. And while you could technically grind your affinity to level 100 or 250 before picking any classes to quadruple or octuple your attribute points from the start, it matters little once you reach higher levels, thanks to the exponential growth and stronger skills. To be fair, a bunch of families who have backings either through the guilds or churches will get their children to such a level, before they gain a class and they will be monsters in the lower realms, but they are usually physically quite old by the time they reach level 100 and become able to visit the fountain of youth.” Nia added.
“Fine…” The mage concluded after thinking about it for a moment. The guide was right, it didn’t matter all that much. More power was better, but grinding on her affinity for years just for an earlier doubling effect, when she could do so much more with the time, wasn’t worth the effort.
Maybe she could reincarnate herself at some point in the future and create the perfect build, but it would be a waste of time in regard to gaining more knowledge.
With all infos acquired, it was time to decide on an evolution.
[Quest waived due to affinity and achievements.]
As expected, though it didn’t change the fact that she wouldn’t take this affinity. Water was a good start, but she had always intended to switch it up later. She probably even used the element less than her sister the fire… Though, maybe she was also wrong. There had been a few instances where she made quite heavy use of it.
Regardless, the element would go. Thanks to her memory she could remember all the spells she had cast anyway and might even be able to advance them on her own. So there was no reason not to branch out.
[Accomplish one or more of the following: (DONE)
– Survive for 1 cycle uninterrupted in an ice affinity realm without the help of fire or heat related skills, affinities, items. (1 cycle remaining)
– Kill 100 ice affinity beings or their evolutions. (100 beings remaining)
– Live together with ice affinity beings or their evolutions for 1 cycle. (1 cycle remaining)
– Use ice in or create it through a spell without the help of a third party. (DONE)
Also as she had suspected, the first quest was quite easy. The limit on the items would have made the pacifistic run uncomfortable, but normal and armor clothing should have been excluded from the list of forbidden items as their temperature adjustment ability was just a property they had in the realms. Though she hadn’t yet visited an ice affinity realm and that assessment could therefore be wrong
If she had to guess, the first three accomplishments were intended to be performed simultaneously, with the idea being that once either of them is finished, one can advance. And should one have a good grasp on the element, they might be able to copy a spell from one of the ice affinity beings and shortcut the quest with the last option. Though she wasn’t sure whether that would already count as help of a third party or not.
However it didn’t matter. With her research she had already finished the quest, if she wanted this element.
[Accomplish two or more of the following: (DONE)
– Have vast knowledge of the body. (knowledge to be acquired)
– Heal entities 1000 times using your own abilities directly or indirectly. (1000 remaining)
– Accompany 1000 living entities from spawn to death to gain a deeper understanding of life itself; entities must live for at least 10% for their expected life span. (DONE)
– Transfer mana from one living being to another without damaging either though the process. (DONE)
As it turned out, the rat-farm she had once set up to prove the existence of a soul had allowed her to already fulfill this quest. Fortunately or not, depending on who one asked, the system didn’t seem to care whether the entities were human or not, or the intent behind the actions.
She had to question how the last point had anything to do with healing, but if she had to guess the affinity most likely worked somewhat like a reverse mana drain.
Though, in general the quest had quite a lot of loopholes. One could probably heal oneself for the second entry on the list.
While she hadn’t expected to have already finished the quest for this affinity, she also wouldn’t complain. She liked having more options.
Yet, if all healer quests were worded like this, there could be quite a few healers out there with skewed morals.
[Accomplish one or more of the following: (DONE)
– Live together with magma affinity beings or their evolutions for 20 cycles. (20 cycles remaining)
– Use large-scale magic to grant a realm a magma affinity. (DONE)
As predicted by Nia, the quests started to get harder, had far fewer choices and much more difficult to achieve ones… for most. Though as she hadn’t been aware of those requirements, it was mostly thanks to her luck that she had finished this one.
Again, she wouldn’t complain, but how could anyone more normal finish this quest? For the first task, one would have to be basically raised by beings with a mana affinity! Or did humans with magma affinity count? If so, that would give the churches quite the advantage. The first evolution is waived as they keep their affinity and the second is already accomplished as they live their lives surrounded by other humans with similar affinity. The requirements they had to overcome were also likely not as absurd, as they should have better resonance with the new affinity.
If those assumptions were true, the churches had created a very interesting system to nurture the next generations…
[Accomplish all of the following:
– Kill 100000 plant affinity beings or their evolutions. (100000 beings remaining)
– Use a realm destruction magic by yourself to grant a realm a plant affinity. (DONE)
Was the system now promoting a genocide? If she had to guess both tasks would likely lead to a war.
[Accomplish the following:
– Control by yourself and by whatever means necessary the weather in a realm for 10 cycles. (10 cycles remaining)
Even she would see that as impossible! Though… maybe if she set up something like her ritual and if the system didn’t call for a war… Well, there might be options, yet waiting for 10 cycles was a bit too long.
But fortunately her affinity of choice was one of those with an already finished quest. Who even wanted plant or weather?
So she selected it.
[Affinity evolution quest completed, you may adjust your affinity.
Warning: Your old affinity will be lost together with the provided advantages. This does not affect derived knowledge and abilities.]
A few confirmations later and a new message greeted her, together with a weird feeling.
[Your Water affinity evolved into Ice.]
Where she had previously an instinctive understanding of water, only its frozen form remained. Though describing it as “only” wouldn’t do it justice, similar to how it wasn’t really a transition, and more a replacement. Where previously she had barely any instinctive control over the frozen element, it seemed now completely in her grasp. She still didn’t like her reliance on the instincts, but it was also dumb to simply dismiss them and try to calculate each spell circle on her own.
Healing had been another option she had thought about. With how much she worked with souls, it wasn’t unlikely to evolve into an affinity with soul healing properties later, but it was just a chance, too narrow of an ability and too far away for a problem which she would prefer to solve sooner. Therefore she passed on it, similar to magma.
An interesting element which would have likely made it easier to draw persistent spell circles, but she could now accomplish the same with ice and it would be even easier as she wouldn’t have to move a liquid into position and wait for it to harden. Also why was magma even an evolved form of water?! Aside from being a liquid it has nothing to do with the wet element. Yet complaining about physical nonsense in a magical world wouldn’t grant her any advantages.
So, after creating and shifting a few smaller forms of ice to test out her new abilities without using too much of her recovering mana, she turned her attention to the last remaining gains from the war: the rewards.
Claiming them quickly, before anything else could get in her way again, more system messages appeared.
[You gained the title Advocate of Change.]
[You gained the title Realm Shaper.]
[A title awarded to those who successfully, intentionally and lastingly manage to alter a realm before becoming a demi-god. Grants a slight intuitive understanding of how a realm works. Increases damage against realms slightly. Increases aggression from Realms and their native inhabitants against you slightly.]
[You have reached Lv 20.]
[You have reached Lv 39.]
While her teammates should each be awarded 15 levels from the war, which they most likely wouldn’t even gain as soon as they claimed the reward since their highest class level limited them, she as the initiator had also gained an additional title and 5 more levels which quickly brought her up to her own current level cap.
Gaining so many levels at once even had its own perks, as she could feel how the mana bound in and to her body increased, how her attribute values quickly added up.
[Your Mana Sense skill has reached Lv 8.]
Though now that she felt how the mana flooded into her system… What exactly was a level up? Could she maybe artific-
Suddenly, an intense, piercing pain in her chest interrupted her thoughts. Then the world turned dark.
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