Chapter 116: What a Mess

Apart from the visual ‘improvements,’ I’ve felt no other changes after taking [Call of Nature]. Not until I looked inside me and sensed my mana. There was more of it, more than I was used to. It was baffling, though. I just added the skill to my class skills, which should potentially raise the amount of mana my body can hold, not give me mana straight away.

The reason for it must have been elsewhere, but where?

I didn’t add any stat points to Intelligence or Wisdom, and it was still the stats that were the worst in their base. Because of Dungreen, my main stat was the Constitution. Useful in its way, for sure. It made me healthier and more resilient as I found out from Lord Wigram, who explained the stat aspects to me. As far as I understood, I didn’t have to worry about sicknesses, or at least diseases I knew from Earth. Who knows what kind of magic flu may have been rampant here.

Better not to think about it.

So my stats were a mess. With no word in it and collar around my neck, I could only grit my teeth when that madman forced me to f*** them up. More than ever before, now that I’ve had the opportunity to grow in my own way, I would appreciate more Intelligence and Wisdom. Doing some magic would be awesome.

“Perhaps in time, Korra,” I mused, letting out a loud sigh. Right now, magic was a long-term wish. Not a pipe dream, but becoming a full-fledged mage was basically impossible for me.

That said, I had no choice but to go the way of the fighter, warrior, or some variation of them. I kept hoping that in time I would be able to incorporate some form of magic into my fighting style. However, even for a fighter, my stats were pretty unbalanced. Strength, Endurance, or Dexterity were severely lacking compared to the Constitution.

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Dexterity wasn’t even buffed by any skill. It was just pure…stat points. S***!

At that moment, it hit me, and I facepalmed myself while laughing out loud like an idiot. I was so focused on skills that I forgot I still had six unspent stat points, another pending headache, a puzzle to solve on top of the already hard to crack skills riddle.

“How could I forget that?”

Feeling both tired and foolish, I finally took a good look at my Status Screen, something I should have done in the first place, right after my class evolution.

Name: Korra Grey

Race: Human/Beast

Gender: Female

Age: 29

Main Class: Deviant of Humanity

Sub Class: Slave

Level: 100

[Unspent Stat Points: 6]

Constitution: 90 -> 102 (39)

Strength: 48 -> 55 (23)

Endurance: 31 (25)

Dexterity: 23 (23)

Intelligence: 19 -> 21 (11)

Wisdom: 17 -> 19 (10)

“…”

Have you ever had that feeling of shame after realizing you’ve been missing something obvious all along, something glaringly obvious that everyone saw or knew of, and only you were blind to it? Cause I had it right now, feeling like a colossal idiot.

“S***!” Seriously, how could I have missed that?!

Intelligence at 21 points, Wisdom at 19. Where did it come from? Strength at 55 and Constitution at a whopping 102 points? One hundred and two bloody stat points.

“What the actual f***?!” How was that possible?

A question I didn’t get a chance to answer as my ears twitched at the rustling of the grass to my left. Another horned rabbit has shown up, charging at me full speed. Inconsiderate bastard! It flat out ignored the fact that I was currently enduring an emotional blow caused by my stupidity.

But enough of the brooding!

With no time to worry whether the beast had been attracted by my loud outburst, the noise of my previous battle, or if I had simply stumbled into his territory during my last hunt, I jumped aside. It would ram me otherwise.

Even with my increased toughness and resilience given to me by [Unbending Resilience] among my skillset, I wasn’t willing to stand in its path and risk broken bones at best. This was a great opportunity, though. An unwelcome yet awesome chance to test my new skills, to see how far I can push my body now.

After taking a quick deep breath, I lunged forward, landing my first blow to the beast’s body a second later. With the power of [Fierce Pounce] behind it, my punches made the rabbit squeal in pain. Dealing one hit after another as fast as I could while sticking to its side, I assessed the impact of the two skills I took.

The higher toughness and resilience did not affect how much pain I felt. I still had to grit my teeth with every punch, but not every hit tore the skin of my knuckles. Furthermore, when my fist met the beast’s bones, it wasn’t mine that were in danger of breaking.

It made me feel that my previous dodge from the hurtling rabbit was unnecessary. I now got the impression that I could withstand such an impact without much harm.

Surely it would be silly to be lulled into thinking I was now invulnerable, I was aware of that. Yet it made me more resilient… more of a tank.

“S***!” a curse escaped my throat when I thought of Rayden and her words. The Captain was right in her assessment of my position on the squad.

The fact that I came to that realization on my own didn’t make it any easier to swallow, though. It wasn’t what I felt I was or ever wanted to be. Tanks, guardians, and people like them faced danger head-on and were willing to take the hit for others. Could I do that? Not sure. Then there was the thing that they had to be able to stand their ground, to withstand the enemy’s strike.

With extra toughness and resilience, I dare say the ramming of the horned rabbit might not rattle me too much but withstanding it was a completely different story. I’m sure the beast would send me flying.

If I were to compare it to anything, it would be to a car, a very solid car facing a runaway train. The car might only end up with smashed windows, but it certainly wouldn’t stop the train.

Silly analogy, I know.

However, it did illustrate what I lacked as a tank most, mass. F***! I never thought I’d ever say this, but I weighed too little. Compared to a 200-kilo rabbit, my 60 plus kilos couldn’t measure up to. And that was my weight back on Earth. Now, after the match against Clay, where I went through a brutal weight loss, who knows how many kilos I had.

I badly needed [Behemoth] or similar General Skill. And not just for my role as a tank in the squad. For my attacks, too. My punches did not lack power at all now. What they needed was more weight behind them. Weighing more, I could hit harder.

Learning proper techniques was also an option. After all, my style was self-taught, brute. However, how to approach a punch correctly wasn’t something I could learn on my own. To do that, I needed guidance.

Mastering [Behemoth] was much easier in that regard. All it took was to eat to my heart’s content. Also in its favor were its bonuses to Constitution and Endurance. Frankly, I had a s***-ton of Constitution, and it was still hard for me to wrap my head around how much. Endurance was a different story, though.

So far, [Tireless Machine] was the only skill that gave me a bonus to it, and 27% was damn little considering what the fighting and training required. If you ask me, 16% of [Behemoth’s] wasn’t that much either, and since it was a fluctuating buff dependent on how full I was, not so reliable then.

Sure, higher tiers might change that, add more buffs and permanent boosts, and make the skill more effective and useful. Same old song and true for all skills. In some ways, one had to take a bit of a risk and hope that the higher tiers would actually provide the buffs the one wished for.

In that aspect, [Painless Agony] brought me some disappointment. I’m not saying that the absence of body twitches with each injury or ache wasn’t helpful, just not what I was hoping for.

It certainly put a seed of doubt in my head. Wouldn’t it be better to go for General Skill? The [Pain Resistance] came to mind, plus there may very well have been others. The same was true of [Tireless Machine]. It wouldn’t hurt to look around for other options I had in General Skills.

***

There!

The horned rabbit’s front leg buckled after what seemed like hours of me pummeling it. Not even a handful of jumps in an attempt to shake me off saved the beast. In pain, squeaking loudly, the rabbit thus exposed the back of its neck, one of its few weak spots usually hard for me to hit.

Seizing this chance and intending to spare the beast further suffering, I struck with all my might, breaking its neck. Horrible sound to hear, even worse to see the beast collapse to the ground, silent.

  • You have defeated [Horned Rabbit: lvl 41]

“Wow.” I gasped after reading the notification. This had to be the strongest horned rabbit I’ve ever felled. Actually, the strongest beast I’ve ever hunted down. It didn’t make me any more proud, though.

It wasn’t the only notification I got, and this one I got during the fight was a bit more pleasant.

  • [Fierce Pounce] reaches lvl 2

All the more rewarding as it was a skill that was beginning to grow on me.

Going through the routine of checking for the presence of Thread, my surroundings for other horned rabbits, and treating wounds and abrasions, which were now noticeably fewer, I returned to what I had been distracted from, staring in disbelief at my Status Screen.

Name: Korra Grey

Race: Human/Beast

Gender: Female

Age: 29

Main Class: Deviant of Humanity

Sub Class: Slave

Level: 100

[Unspent Stat Points: 6]

Constitution: 90 -> 102 (39)

Strength: 48 -> 55 (23)

Endurance: 31 (25)

Dexterity: 23 (23)

Intelligence: 19 -> 21 (11)

Wisdom: 17 -> 19 (10)

Again, 102 fuckin’ stat points! Why didn’t the system inform me? Seriously, shouldn’t I get some kind of bonus or achievement? I guess that’s not how it worked here, and it was just my wishful thinking.

However, it did explain the surprising toughness I got with [Unbending Resilience]. That and the resilience with vitality the skill was boosting were aspects of Constitution. This stat was their foundation, a massive foundation.

If I have understood Lord Wigram correctly, so far each of these aspects has been affected by a certain percentage of the Constitution. In the case of toughness and resilience, by only 10%. The [Unbending Resilience] changed that, and their base stat usage increased to a whopping 45%. If I were to put it in layman’s terms, my toughness and resilience went from 10 to 45’ aspect points’.

It made a hell of a difference. So big that since I had no armor, or shoes for that matter, [Unbending Resilience] has become a must, and I seriously considered including [Wrought Hide] in my skillset. Of course, with that, I ran into a lack of skill slots.

A problem for future Korra, though.

Now, what was the reason for the massive Constitution? My class evolution, what else. Deviant of Humanity has affected and boosted some of my existing skills. Going through the descriptions, they were namely [Beast], [Heart of Magic], and [Tail of Poison Empress]. With these three, I could tell right away based on the bonuses they were giving me. The rest required a bit of testing, and as far as I could tell, only [Indomitable Will] was affected by that 30% buff.

Why this skill? Beats me.

Okay, I thought about it. But the only explanation I could come up with was that the power in the class description referred to willpower. Perhaps something like the power of will to go further than what was common, the will to transcend the limits of humanity.

I don’t know! I might as well have been wrong.

However, since the system didn’t offer me more detailed information, and I looked thoroughly, the only way to figure it out was just to test the skills. So in place of [Call of Nature], I tried [Lover of Work]. What did it tell me? Power does not refer to strength. This Slave’s skill was not affected by my new class at all.

After that, I ended up testing all the skills that Slave had in his repertoire, even the hateful [Master’s Toy]. Well, other than [Indomitable Will], the Deviant of Humanity didn’t affect any of them.

On the other hand, Slave, even as my sub-class, impacted [Unbending Resilience], [Wrought Hide] and [Behemoth]. All three of them were Constitution-oriented, thus affecting my health.

In the end, it wasn’t even that complicated. Some skills simply were affected by my now Sub-Class Slave, others by my Main Class Deviant of Humanity. With only one exception, and that was [Beast]. It was the only skill buffed by both classes, hence the massive 140% boost to my Constitution and Strength. What can I say? With this, [Beast] became an essential skill that I couldn’t get rid of even if I never used it again in my life.

Thinking back to when I assumed it was [Fierce Pounce] giving me extra strength made me laugh at my stupidity. After all, the skill description was clear, it only added a boost to my attacks.

Well, mistakes were made.

What kind of complicated everything was [Call of Nature], a skill boosting other skills, namely their active parts. After taking it back and watching the subtle changes in my body come forth, I’ve found five skills affected by this one and suspected the other two.

They were [Sense of Beast], [Fierce Pounce], and not so not so surprisingly [Tail of Poison Empress], [Heart of Magic], and [Beast] again. There was no doubt with the first three as the bonuses in the skill description increased.

On the other hand it was hard to tell if [Heart of magic] was affected. Nothing changed in the description, and only after doing some basic exercises Aspen taught me I noticed that I was handling mana more easily. Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say that mana was giving me less resistance. My control of it was no better than before.

The most obvious change was with [Beast], giving me the biggest insight into how [Call of Nature] worked. Actually, it was in the skill description, ‘if you were to use the talents you’ve been pursuing to acquire, you’d find them 45% more powerful.‘ [Call of Nature] affected the active part of my talents, my skills, whether it was an active or passive one.

That in itself was not strange to me. Mr. Sandoval explained to me long ago that just as active skills had their passive parts, passive skills had their active parts. [Beast] itself was a passive skill. By having it, I acknowledged my nature, which gave me more Constitution and Strength in return. The active part was giving in to the said nature. And since Tier II and III were dependent on how deeply I delved, meaning I actively used the skill, [Call of Nature] affected those.

Beast: lvl 30

Passive III (Slave – 10%; Deviant – 30%)

Humans can say what they want, but there is a bit of a beast in each of them. Yet, there is more beast in you than is typical of humans. Why not accept it and admit that you are stronger than a purebred human because of it? [Strength] and [Constitution] increased by 110%(100%) → 140%(100%)

Tier II – Acceptance is one thing, but letting out the beast within you another. As you have learned, it is not so easy to control your instincts in that state, but do it, and your [Strength] and [Constitution] will increase by up to 33%(30%) → 42%(30%)

[Call of Nature] – [Strength] and [Constitution] increased by up to 42%(30%) → 55%(30%)

Tier III – You’re a beast, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And the beasts are quick on their feet, and heal fast. Your [speed] and [regeneration] will increase by up to 22%(20%) →28%(20%)

[Call of Nature] – [speed] and [regeneration] increased by up to 28%(20%) → 37%(20%)

From the way [Call of Nature] worked with [Beast], I figured it might have had an impact on [Beast Core] and [Midnight Shine] as well. Perhaps even [Never-Dying]. 

I would have thought after all I’ve been through hurting myself would be easier, it wasn’t. But how else was I supposed to test my regeneration other than by bleeding? Then there was the very question of how to get hurt? I considered the rocks in the grass for a moment before I realized, like the fool I was, that I had claws, and sharp claws at that. So self-harm it was. 

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What could I make of it? Cutting myself with claws hurt less than hitting myself with a blunt stone and [Call of Nature] didn’t affect my regeneration.

Those other two were not skills I was seriously considering. Seeing in total darkness and through enchantments sounded useful and could be, but not for me, given the way my build was going. Plus, I could see to some extent at night as I was.

The core I already had, so the passive part of the skill that was supposed to help me form it was useless to me, which left me with only the active part, using it.

And that wasn’t easy, to be honest.

The very idea of using the core was still hard for me to swallow. After all, it was a cruel reminder of what I had lost. To put it simply, it was about overcoming the aversion I still felt towards it.

In this case, I didn’t hesitate to use [Indomitable Will]. I know, a bit sissy. Though…

I gave it a few tries, and guided by the [Beast Core], I roughly learned how to use it. Not well enough to estimate the amount the core was able to hold, but I found charging the core and drawing mana from it much easier with [Call of Nature] in my skillset.

That made a total of six skills that were affected by it. What about [Midnight Shine]? The artificial sky of the Labyrinth, ruled by the never-ending day, made it impossible to tell. Still, it made [Call of Nature] an absolutely must-have skill, like [Beast].

I growled loudly, letting Labyrinth know my frustration. That made how many skills? [Call of Nature], [Unbending Resilience], [Fierce Pounce], [Behemoth], [Wrought Hide] have piqued my curiosity as well. Then there was [Mantle of Magic]. Magic was just close to my heart, and I would like to wield it one day. At least a little bit.

And I haven’t even tried [Ride of Ancestors] properly. There wasn’t much that skill could offer me when I was sitting on my ass.

So potentially seven skills I was thinking of including in my skillset. That was impossible.


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