The Celestial Plane was in upheaval.
A new Harbinger had appeared, and just like that, two basic aspects – science and its opposite – had become Primal Forces.
This, of course, had far reaching consequences.
The Divine Assembly was gathered, and every divine being stood in attention.
That day, the heavens would witness the birth of two new Gods.
While Eterna – the goddess of order and all things eternal – was not happy, the God standing directly opposite to her, was.
He wiggled a green moustache in greeting and sneered at her.
Wade, The God of Potatoes and Traffic Cones was extremely happy.
He revelled in Chaos. It was his element, after all.
But causing chaos in the mortal realms was small potatoes compared to this.
To cause true chaos and disarray on a Celestial scale was its own reward. He was reaching new heights.
Bobby – the God of Chaos and all things fleeting – inclined his head and retracted his eyestalks. He was revelling in the sensation.
Ever since Eterna had brought that thrice damned Wheel Of Aspects of hers to the heavens, the going had been rough for him; because it imposed order and didn’t give him any wriggle room.
Only today had he finally managed to circumvent that limitation.
Even though this so called Ethan West had rejected becoming his Harbinger – a fact which saddened him greatly – he still managed to come out on top in respect to the other Gods.
As the custodian of Chaos, The Wheel had to delegate all decisions regarding that aspect to him, and through that, he still managed to touch the mortal and influence the course of events.
His actions led to the birth of two new Gods, and because the Harbinger of Science was touched by Chaos, it was almost a guarantee for an alliance between Science and Chaos in the future.
Which would give Eterna no choice but to side with the new God of Ignorance.
His masterful plan filled him with glee.
Take that, you stuck up bitch! He sent telepathically to her.
He could see her face reddening and it filled him with unrestrained joy.
He knew she’d try to target the mortal, of course; but he had his own plans to stop her, should it come to that.
A sudden silence fell on The Assembly as the two new Gods began to form in the Circle of Creation at the centre of the chamber.
Thick fog swept the entire area. It swirled and condensed in the middle, and two shapes began to materialise.
All the divine beings present watched the hallowed act with reverence.
After the smoke cleared. A girl and a boy could be seen standing in the circle.
The girl stepped forth.
“My name is Scintilla, and I shall henceforth take the mantle of the custodian of Science.” She solemnly intoned.
The boy walked forward.
“Hi! I’m Marlon! Let’s go play!” He offered the girl and started chasing her around when she rejected him. All the other gods cheered.
Wait a minute! This was not the custodian of Ignorance but…
Was this… The Primal Force Of… Fun? Innocence?
“Status screen!” Ethan enunciated.
A new screen appeared, and he could see many details about his status in the eyes of the system.
|Class (1st)||Harbinger – Science (Level 5)||Strength (STR)||18|
|Class (2nd)||Chaos Engineer (Level 5)||Vitality (VIT)||12|
|XP (Deferred)||116 (0)||Dexterity (DEX)||19|
|AP/SP Available||10 AP / 3 SP||Agility (AGI)||24|
|Health||123/123 (+1.2/min)||Intelligence (INT)||7|
|Mana||82/82 (+0.7/min)||Wisdom (WIS)||8|
|Divine Lawbreaker||You have broken a Divine Law and incurred the wrath of the heavens. Beware the consequences.|
He ruminated over this screen for a long time. Asking his AI questions and familiarising himself with the available attributes, and occasionally asking the system for help on a specific topic once he figured out he could do that.
Apparently the main attributes were all linked to his body’s performance in one way or another. All as one would expect.
He suspected that higher levels of an attribute meant that the system would actually reinforce his body through magic. His implants couldn’t stop the magic from affecting his entire body if it wished, just his nervous system.
He went over the information he’d gathered about the various attributes so far.
- Strength: Governs the body’s physical strength and carry weight.
- Vitality: Governs overall health, pain tolerance, and health regeneration.
- Dexterity: Governs muscle-eye coordination and accuracy with ranged attacks.
- Agility: Governs the body’s overall limberness and responsiveness to commands.
- Intelligence: Now here’s where things got hairy. Apparently this attribute could affect actual intelligence for a regular person without implants, in his case it would only affect the power of his spells and the rate of mana regeneration.
- Wisdom: Same situation as Intelligence, instead of expanding his memory and analytical thinking, it would just affect his maximum mana.
He was quite surprised that his Intelligence and Wisdom scores were so low compared to his other stats. But quickly realised that they did not reflect his actual capacity for cognition, merely what bonuses the system would give him if it could.
That title gave him pause and had him worried though. Now he definitely needed to be wary of divine retribution in the future.
He didn’t know if being a [Harbinger] brought with it any special status or divine protection from retaliation. He still needed to know more.
He decided to postpone distributing his Attribute Points to a later date, maybe once he knew what he was up against.
Satisfied with this information, he moved on to the next task.
“Skills screen!” He said with confidence.
“Hahahahahah!” The Matriarch laughed maniacally as she circled [Commander] Talius.
Her fingers had partially transformed into claws, and in addition to her wings, a barbed tail had sprouted from her back. She used it to strike occasionally.
Also, as Talius had learnt, she could still breathe fire in this form.
It was significantly weaker than her dragon’s breath, but it was still enough to give him pause. He had to dodge quickly every time she inhaled deeply, and she toyed with him sometimes by inhaling with no fiery breath coming out.
He just wish he could distract her long enough for his men to escape as instructed.
He didn’t trust Jarret’s judgement implicitly, but he hoped he’d be smart enough to stay concealed.
The reason he sent him ahead with only 2 men was speed. He wanted this information safely in the hands of The Empire as soon as possible, and Jarret was a [Mage], he could take care of himself and 2 other men and even cast a hastening spell on the three of them in case of emergency.
After Jarret had disappeared, he had commanded the rest of his men to withdraw from the scene. He quelled all their protests with a firm hand.
They followed his commands to the letter and orderly retreated from the plateau. It was up to them now.
They would all be dead right now, had he commanded them to attack, he realised.
If she turned back into a dragon and chased after them. No. He would not allow it. He had to keep her busy.
He was just hoping he could give the men enough time to retreat a safe distance before he activated his weapon of last resort.
Because he was slowly losing this battle.
He dodged another clawed swipe of her hands and blocked a strike from her tail with his sword. He’d seen that one coming long before it landed.
Yet despite all his efforts, he was still losing, and she was driving him into a corner.
He was getting distracted. She drove her clawed hand through his armoured chest, he could feel his life seeping away.
He gripped her waist and tried to drive his great-sword into her spine. She blocked it with her tail.
She inhaled deeply yet again and spat fire, singeing the left side of his face as he leaned right and avoided the brunt of her attack.
“Getting tired, old man? Submit and I will make it a quick death.” She chuckled.
She was losing patience, it seemed. But he had her right where he wanted her: as close to him as possible.
He embraced her tighter. She struggled to break free.
She had no idea what was about to happen.
“[Commander’s Sacrifice].” he whispered sadly as he activated a skill he’d acquired not too long ago for this very occasion.
Not too far away, his retreating men heard the sound of an explosion rocking the earth. They struggled to keep their balance as a once flat plateau was split asunder.
Ethan was staring at his skills screen, deep in thought as he pondered the information.
|Analyse (Active)||1 (0%)||4 MP||You analyse any object or living being, obtaining information about it. More details will be revealed as the level of this skill rises.||[Scientist, Level 1]|
|Lecture (Passive)||1 (0%)||—||You instruct another character on a subject. The level of knowledge conveyed and the success rate are limited by the level of this skill.||[Harbinger – Science, Level 5]|
|Assemble Schematic (Active)||1 (0%)||15 MP||You assemble a schematic quickly and efficiently. 10% Less material wasted per level.||[Engineer, Level 1]|
|Adjust Entropy (Sustained)||1 (0%)||~||Adjust the level of entropy in a system or creation. 10% To effectiveness per level.||[Chaos Engineer, Level 5]|
According to this information, he’d had access to two skills since coming to this world!
However, he still had no idea how to activate them.
He took out his leather jacket and held it at arms length.
“Analyse!” He commanded.
No skill activated and nothing happened.
“AI, do you have any data on skill activation?” He asked.
<Negative, would you like to create a new data node?>
“Yes, start simulations immediately. I want to know how to activate my skills the moment you find out.” Ethan commanded.
<Acknowledged. Starting new simulation…>
He looked at his unspent Skill Points, and mind-clicked the button for the Skill store.
|Design Schematic (Active)||1 SP||Allows you to design a schematic.||[Scientist, Level 2]|
|Scribe (Active)||1 SP||Allows you to quickly and efficiently copy a schematic/scroll/document.||[Harbinger – Science, Level 3]|
|Study (Basic)||2 SP||Allows you to purchase direct knowledge on a specific subject. You will be prompted for which subject upon purchase, after which the knowledge will be transferred to your mind. Can be purchased multiple times.||[Harbinger – Science, Level 5]|
|Improve Schematic (Active)||1 SP||It takes an engineer to see through the delusions of a scientist. Practicality allows you to improve on the efficiency of an existing schematic.||[Engineer, Level 2]|
|Stabilise (Active)||4 SP||Allows you to stabilise any chaotic reaction, quickly bringing down the energy of an unstable system, chemical reaction, spell, or machine.||[Chaos Engineer, Level 5]|
Interesting. He was highly interested in ‘Design Schematic’ and ‘Study (Basic)’.
He currently had 3 free Skill Points. He decided to try his luck.
Since he couldn’t activate skills yet, he decided to purchase knowledge instead. He went ahead and purchased ‘Study (Basic)’ for two Skill Points.
He was immediately prompted with a question.
You spend 2 SP to purchase [Study (Basic)]. You obtain [Study (Basic)]. You may purchase this skill again at a later date. What topic would you like to study?
With no hesitation, he said “Magic!”.
<Incoming information packet. Would you like to accept it?>
“Yes!” He enthused.
He restlessly waited for some time before his AI assimilated the data.
<Decoding complete. Would you like to read the data manually or a direct memory transfer?>
“Give me a memory transfer!” He commanded eagerly.