Chapter 28: Choices

Looking at the two injured Guards, I wondered how high their resistance to pain was. They talked to each other as if they had no injuries, they even laughed, which made me think they didn’t feel pain at all.

I envied them.

After getting through the mutations, the pain was something I thought I was prepared for, something I’m used to, but tonight it turned out not to be true.

I turned to Janina, who was kneeling beside me, “Does everyone have [Pain Resistance]?”

She thought for a moment, “I wouldn’t say everyone, but for the City Guards, you could say it’s a necessity, as well as for a seeker.”

“Why? Wouldn’t it be better to endure the pain and choose a more useful skill instead?” I asked.

That’s what I thought when I chose my skills. Now I questioned my decision.

“Even the toughest guy can be blinded by pain and in combat, a moment of distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So even if the number of skills you can have is limited, the pain-reducing skill is something you’ll definitely not regret,” Janina explained to me.

I was curious, so I asked, “Do you have such a skill too?”

“Of course, I don’t like pain,” Janina nodded, then paused for a moment and asked, “You have a pain-reducing skill, don’t you?”

“…” I shook my head, looking guiltily at my feet.

“Oh my, you must be in great pain,” Janina she realized her mistake, immediately apologizing, “I’m sorry again, I really learned a stupid habit. Instead of asking, I assumed you had the skill.”

She should have asked, but I could have told her too. The blame was on both sides. I shook my head, “No, it’s my fault too … can you heal me now? Please!”

Janina looked at me questioningly, “I know you’re in pain, but are you sure you want me to heal you?”

If I didn’t know about the Guards who trained their skills like that, I would consider it a really stupid question, instead I nodded, “Apart from my regeneration, I don’t have a skill that I can train like these two!”

Janina looked at the two Guards I pointed to and then back at me.

“Look, you didn’t lie with that regeneration of yours, and your body has already repaired a lot of damage. But that’s also why I’m asking you, because it’s always better to let the body heal itself,” she told me.

“Why?” I asked an obvious question.

Janina sighed, massaging the bridge of her nose again, “I brought this on myself. All right, lesson number two. There are three ways you can heal an injury. The best I know of is being a Time Mage and just returning the injured area to a time when it was fine. But I only know one such mage,” Janina said, thinking,” Technically, I know of two, him and his disciple. But I never met her.”

The fact that there was time magic sounded dangerous, and I immediately began to imagine what such magic could do in the wrong hands. However, I understood what Janina was trying to tell me, and I nodded. This treatment method was very rare, and she did not have such magic.

“The second way is healing magic. It reconstructs the tissue with mana. It’s fast, the patient doesn’t need a skill to increase his body’s regeneration, but the problem is that the tissue is made of mana. Don’t worry, it’s real tissue, and it won’t one day disappear as some are afraid of.” Janina assured me.

“Why would anyone be afraid of that?” I asked.

“Superstitions, ignorance, misinformation. Anyway, such tissue is weaker than what would grow by natural regeneration, and it takes some time for the body’s natural regeneration to bring the repaired tissue back to its original strength. How long it will take depends on the abilities of the healer,” said Janina.

I nodded and asked a question that she offered, “How long would it take me, if you heal me that way?”

Janina smirked, “Well, it probably won’t sound that bad to you, but about a week.”

“It really isn’t that long,” I couldn’t disagree.

“You have to take into account that your regeneration is exceptionally good, and I don’t want to brag, but I’m a good healer. If someone worse treated you, it could take two weeks, without your regeneration for months. For someone like Seekers who make a living by fighting monsters, it’s a long time when they can’t fight to the fullest.” she explained to me.

When they could not fight with full strength, they risked their lives even more, risking more injuries, which meant more expenses and less income. I understood that, but I didn’t understand why she didn’t boost my regeneration when she was obviously trying to tell me it was the best option.

“Because it’s not without its disadvantages,” she told me, without me asking her, shaking her head as she smiled. “Marcus told me it’s incredibly easy to say what you’re thinking. I thought he was exaggerating. He does it quite often.”

It was not a growl that came out of my throat but a disapproving rumble, followed by a painful hiss caused by the pain I felt after crossing my arms. I was upset that the jerk was telling everyone about me, and even more dissatisfied that he was right. However, due to the pain and the need for my treatment, I decided to ignore Marcus.

I looked at Janina, “What are the disadvantages?”

“Your regeneration is caused by skill, but it doesn’t mean that it’s different from natural regeneration. It’s just faster and can heal more extensive injuries. But it still needs the building materials it takes from your body. Do you see the problem?” she asked me.

Yeah, I did, a small injury was not a problem for my body, but the question was, where would the building materials for my wings come from? I shouldn’t forget the hole I had in my chest after a spear passed through it, which was now a thing of the past. Helen, the healer who treated me, said that, among other things, she boosted my regeneration. This meant that a considerable amount of building material in my body had already been used. If Janina boosted my regeneration, it would happen in a few minutes, and I could end up sucked out like a mummy.

No, thank you.

“But isn’t my rapid regeneration just as problematic? Wouldn’t it be better to use healing magic?” I asked, wondering if [Never-Dying] was as good a skill as I imagined.

When I thought about it, I didn’t have any major injuries until tonight. Yeah, I died a few times, but my resurrection didn’t require as much building materials.

“It could be, but if you endure the pain and eat well, in a day, max two, you will be back on your feet,” she said.

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“My wings, too?” I asked, surprised by her prognosis.

Janina shook her head, though, “I’m afraid their natural regrowth will take longer.”

Hesitating with my next question, I asked, “Can’t you use healing magic first and then boost my regeneration?”

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Janina smiled sadly, “You’re not the first and not the last to think of it. The healed wound is saturated with mana; pumping more mana to boost regeneration has ugly consequences. You don’t want that, trust me.”

Imagining something like tumors, I shivered and nodded understandingly.

So I had the choice of choosing an easier path, painless with complete recovery after a week or enduring severe pain, but in a day or two, I would be in full strength again, minus my wings.

A sensible decision would be to choose the first option, I didn’t have a pain-reducing skill, I wasn’t a seeker yet, the only thing I could get from a day full of pain was a few levels in [Never-Dying]. Despite how tempting the painless recovery was, I couldn’t shake the feeling that if Janina had healed me, I would have missed a great chance.

I looked at her, “Could I think about it for a moment?”

“Sure, I’ll check on you again in a minute,” Janina said, rising. Before she left, she turned to me, “If you changed your mind, just call me.”

I nodded, and the first thing I did before I started considering my options was open my Status Screen.

Name: Korra Grey

Race: Human

Gender: Female

Age: 29

Class: Slave (Master – none)

Level: 92

 

Constitution: 69 (39)

Strength: 35 (21)

Endurance: 29 (25)

Dexterity: 23 (23)

Intelligence: 19 (11)

Wisdom: 17 (10)

 

Class skills (6/6):

Indomitable Will (Passive V): lvl 109 -> lvl 115

Lover of Work (Passive I): lvl 8 -> lvl 9

Tireless Machine (Passive I): lvl 6 -> lvl 8

Swift as a Whip (Active I): lvl 5

Master’s Lover (Passive I): lvl 4 -> lvl 6

Master’s Shield (Active I): lvl 3 -> lvl 6

 

General skills (8/8):

Eleaden Standad Language (Passive I): lvl 9

Perfect Equilibrium (Passive I): lvl 1 -> lvl 3

Space Domain (Passive I): lvl 1 -> lvl 4

Beast (Passive I): lvl 1 -> lvl 5

Never-Dying (Passive II): lvl 16 -> lvl 23

Tail of Poison Empress (Active I): lvl 1 -> lvl 4

Heart of Magic (Passive I): lvl 1 -> lvl 3

Inner Perception (Active I): lvl 1 -> lvl 3

 

Looking at my Status Screen, I had to admit that I was a little disappointed that I was expecting more levels after all that I had suffered. However, the truth was that I didn’t really use my skills that much. I would like to say that Morton and the others did not give me the opportunity to use them, but that was not entirely true. I could use my skills much more effectively, time their use better, and especially if I learned to master them fully, I would have far more options to defend myself.

Anyway as expected, I got the most levels in [Never-Dying], seven levels, and I expected to get more in the next few hours. Right behind it in the number of levels gained was [Indomitable Will], which I was very shocked by. This skill was at a level that other skills could not compete with, yet I gained more levels in it than in other skills.

On the other hand, it was a very strong attack that I had to defend myself against. Morton had more than twice as many levels as I did, and I had no idea what levels his skills were. Now that I thought about it, I was incredibly lucky to be able to defend myself long enough before Captain Rayden decided to intervene.

About her, I had mixed feelings now.

Not wanting to burden my mind right now by thinking about the Captain’s dubious decisions, I turned my attention back to the Status Screen. At first glance, gaining two to four levels on the other skills didn’t seem like too impressive, on the contrary, it was depressing, but when I thought about it, less than an hour had passed since the attack on the infirmary. It seemed unbelievable to me how much had happened in such a short time.

So it could not be said that the gain of only two or three levels was lousy.

Anyway, that wasn’t why I was looking at the Status screen. The reason was that I was considering which of the two skills I should choose. [Painless Agony], which was a class skill, or the general skill [Pain Resistance].

I originally intended to make this decision when it was all over, but Janina’s words made me think about it now. Though, looking at the Status Screen, it was tough to decide which skill I should get rid of.

The first option that came to mind was skill [Lover of Work]. The loss of strength and constitution could eventually be replaced by [Beast]. Not to mention having two skills with the same function was probably not wise.

[Tireless Machine] was a useful skill and very close to the second tier, so it was out of the question.

I didn’t use [Swift as a Whip] tonight, which I should. Unfortunately, I forgot about it a bit, but even if I realized in that tense situation I was in that I had it, I think that I would not run away with a broken leg despite the speed I would gain thanks to it. That assassin would find me anyway.

However, I still thought it was a useful skill, as well as [Master’s Shield], despite how ineffective it was tonight. Yes, it didn’t stop the spear, it didn’t completely protect me from the explosion, but it stopped the dagger. The fact that the assassin simply reached under the barrier afterward was not a skill’s fault but mine.

The second skill I wasn’t sure about was [Masters Lover]. It was a skill that allowed me to change my appearance to my image, according to my ideal. Its choice was driven by hatred for what my body looked like, by hatred for mutations, and by the hope that this skill could change that. That thanks to the [Master’s Lover], I could one day get my body back.

Now, I wasn’t so sure it was what I still wanted.

More than ever before, I was frustrated that I couldn’t do without [Eleaden Standard Language]. The skill occupied a valuable place among the general skills. It was evident that the sooner I learned to speak Standard myself, the better. But I wasn’t sure how fast I could do it. It definitely won’t happen in a few days, I was sure of that.

[Perfect Equilibrium] and [Space Domain] were the skills I exchanged during the interrogation, and I chose them again later in the infirmary. Although they were both not very useful right now, I believed that it would change with time and more levels.

[Beast]. Well, the active part of the skill wasn’t something I liked as it awakened in me something I was afraid I would change into one day, but it allowed me to cause the assassin and Morton some pain.

I didn’t dare say I had complete control over the [Beast], but I took a step in that direction a moment ago. The bonus to strength and constitution that this skill gave was far too great to just get rid of it without giving it another chance.

There was no point in thinking about getting rid of [Never-Dying]. Yes, as it turned out, it wasn’t such an amazing skill as I thought, and it had its drawbacks, but without it I wouldn’t be here. So until I decide that this was not the world I wanted to live in anymore, I won’t get rid of the skill.

I was also curious about what the next tier would bring. If the general skills followed the same rules as the class skills, it should be at level 30, when [Never-Dying] reaches the third tier. That meant just seven more levels, and I was sure I’d get at least one more by morning.

I used the [Tail of Poison Empress] only once tonight, and yet I gained three levels in it, it was just a guess, but I attributed it to the high levels of my opponents to which I used the poison on, even though I poisoned only one of the three. On the one hand, I regretted not keeping it during the interrogation, on the other hand, I was happy I didn’t, fearing that Morton had sent a message to his employer/master/person behind it all in time between the interrogation and the attack.

Despite everything that happened today, I was determined to keep [Heart of Magic]. Although I couldn’t use magic as I imagined, the amount of mana I had with the skill was useful.

On the contrary, I was determined not to choose a school of magic for now and to focus on mastering my existing skills. Maybe when I reach level one hundred and be able to choose two more skills, I’ll focus more on magic, but until then, my dream of the Sorceress Korra had to wait.

The last skill was a skill that I chose a little hastily and needed in the given situation, [Inner Perception].

Inner Perception: lvl 3

Passive I

As important as seeing what’s going on around you, it’s important to see what’s going on inside you, to know your own body and how it works. You can distinguish bones, muscles, fat, and organs and see their shape, arrangement, and damage.

The description was accurate, and that’s exactly what I was able to perceive in my body, which was very useful but not necessary, and it was something I hoped [Space Domain] would allow me in the future.

That’s why it was a third skill I considered replacing with [Pain Resistance].

Pain Resistance: lvl 1

Passive I

Pain is a way for your body to alert your brain to the damage it has suffered. You have learned how to ignore this warning to some extent and, therefore, ignore the pain and resist it. With each level gained, your ability to withstand pain increases by 1%

Current resistance to pain: 1%

On the contrary, [Painless Agony] was a skill that I thought about replacing [Master’s Lover], or [Lover of Work].

Painless Agony: lvl 1

Passive I

Whether your suffering is your master’s intention, lack of interest, or hobby, you must endure it in order to continue to serve him. You have learned to live with agony and to some extent, feel less pain. With each level gained, you feel 1% less pain.

Agony pain lessened by: 1%

Yeah, I’d say both skills had exactly the same effect, even though their descriptions were different. They just approached the pain differently, which made me think that there must have been other skills with the same function, such as Pain Reduction, Pain Suppression, or Pain Ignorance. Another Class could have a skill unique to it, as [Slave] had [Painless Agony].

Anyway, it didn’t matter, I had a choice of these two, which in my opinion didn’t matter which one I chose. The question was which skill to replace, [Lover of Work], despite being at level 9 only one level from the next tier, [Master’s Lover], or [Inner Perception]?

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