Chapter 16

Ethan watched with morbid fascination as the shamans linked in a circle and attempted to bring down yet another Imperial airship.

It had been three days since the events of the volcanic eruption, and the Airships kept trying to scout the situation, the shamans could only bring them down when they swooped down from higher altitudes for a closer look at The Mother Of Chaos.

Apparently, they couldn’t resist the temptation, every time.

He’d been really busy though, and he’d not had the chance to witness this in person before now.

“They could use some AA batteries.” He muttered softly as he ruminated over the fact that the shamans were struggling to bring about a storm strong enough to bring the airship down.

“What are those?” Asked Aylin from his side. She’d been basically glued to him like an evil Siamese twin ever since The Matriarch’s decree that he learn from her.

Right now, since the shamans were preoccupied with the airships, they had a lot of time on their hands.

Back to her question, though. He inwardly cursed his loose tongue and sighed.

“Something from my world. It's a big defensive weapon. Much like a ballista, but much stronger. It can destroy aircraft with ease.” He explained, knowing that if he did not, she would pester him to no end.

“Which Plane do you hail from? Do the world-walkers still live there?” She prodded him for information yet again.

What could he say? ‘I don’t come from a different plane, but a different universe?’

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What are world-walkers?” He settled for a simple response, and a small diversion.

“You do not know of the famous world-walkers?” She asked in amazement.

“No, what are they?” He asked.

“You come from another world, do you not?” She put him on the spotlight again.

“Yes, but what does that have to do… oh.” A sudden realisation struck him.

“Exactly. In the ancient histories, world-walkers travelled from world to world. They conquered and subdued nations, and built the Vanished Gates.” She explained.

“The what?” He asked curiously.

“The Vanished Gates were once a sprawling network of teleportation gates that linked all the planes of existence. All the gates are lost today, they simply vanished.” She told him.

“Why not build new ones, then?” He asked as he watched the airship bank and slowly start going down.

“Because no one alive today knows any teleportation runes. Teleportation magic is lost to us.” She sighed sadly.

He probably knew the answer to that one, but wanted to test the extent of her magical knowledge anyhow.

“What if it’s not based on Runes?” He asked a hypothetical question.

“What?” She looked shocked by the notion.

“I’m just saying, magic is not always based on runes.” He said.

“That is true.” She stated. “Do you have any theories?” She looked curious.

He’d ordered his AI to perform an in-depth analysis of the Runes as soon as the ordeal with the volcano was over, and there were preliminary results indicating a much more complex underlying structure made up of more elementary forces at play; however, he did not wish to share his discoveries with this mysterious Polarii woman, not before he fully understood her standings.

She saw him hesitate and her eyes lit up like fireworks.

“You do!” She exclaimed excitedly.

“That I might, although I’m not entirely sure about sharing them.” He confessed.

“Please tell me! I’ll do anything, I’ll even swear an oath before the… oh…” she stopped in her tracks when she remembered his battle with The Eye.

“I’ll tell you when the time is right.” He shrugged.

She sighed in defeat. “Fine. I will wait. Now, let us go back. It’s time for your next lesson. Today you will learn another two runes,” she urged, “although I have no idea how you manage to learn them so quickly!” She wondered aloud.

“Just a moment.” He requested, and she acquiesced.

The airship was a bit closer now. Almost in range.

“[Analyse]!” He used the skill and waited as a progress bar appeared on his display.

A scant moments later, a screen appeared in front of him.

Type Imperial Airship
Role Scout
Name Tukathunk IV
Owner The Polarii Empire
Captain Tormun Delk
Description An enchanted aircraft designed for maximum stability in flight. The Imperial Scout is a faster and more agile version of The Imperial Warship.
Maximum Velocity ~340 km/h
Enchantment Level Effect
Improved Speed 2 +5% Maximum speed per level.
Inertial Stability 3 +2% Stability per level.

He’d been using [Analyse] non-stop for the past 3 days. He wanted to grind it up in level as soon as possible. At least his experience playing video games was being put to use.

It was already at level 7, and it was slowly rising in levels.

As for his other skills, he had yet to acquire a schematic to assemble; and he didn’t wish to mess with the entropy skills and tempt fate again.

He could have purchased ‘Design Schematic’ for his sole skill point, but he was hesitant. He wasn’t sure if the skill was compatible with his implants. Perhaps saving to purchase something else was more prudent, especially after a look at the new and revamped skill store.

Aylin kept fidgeting besides him.

He sighed and followed her – and the two silent guards assigned to her at all times – back inside the mountain.

It looked like she really did not wish to offend The Matriarch.

Adrian’s adventuring party was under siege behind a mountain pass.

The problem was: it wasn’t even the Krell. They’d not even reached the Krell, and they were already under attack!

Their enemies were the Arachnapes. A race of near sapient arachnoid apes that used tools and weapons made of rock; and of course, their own primitive form of magic.

They had eight eyes and an arachnoid lower body, heavy fur grew to cover their torsos and protect against the cold of the mountains, and they called this place home.

Legends had it that they were the result of a magical experiment gone awry; or that they had migrated from another plane during the reign of the world-walkers.

The problem was, they were carnivorous, and they were determined to eat tonight.

And Adrian’s team were facing off against an entire tribe of them. Even their adolescents fought, and then another problem surfaced: this was Giran’s personal nightmare.

She hated arachnoids, so she was out for this fight.

Fighting while missing one of their two ranged fighters was proving difficult.

Adrian, Normand, Milandra, and Jormun were currently trying to hold them off.

“Giran, you need to fight! We can’t hold for long like this! We need your support!” Jormun shouted at her.

“I hate spiders! I can’t.” She couldn’t even look at them.

“God damn it!” Adrian cursed loudly and raised his gauntleted hand. “[Fist Of Order]!” He bellowed as his closed fist took on a glowing sheen of green. His fist came down and struck a charging arachnoid holding a stone spear.

The arachnoid creature’s spine was severed from the pressure and his carapace was split asunder, spewing yellow liquid all over the place.

Giran screamed and started to flee.

“Wait! Dont’t run away on your own you idiot! You’re gonna die!” Adrian cried out as she disappeared behind the rocks, but couldn’t disengage safely and retrieve her.

As for Giran, she ran screaming like the devils were chasing her. She didn’t stop for anything or anyone until she reached a cave entrance after what seemed like ages. She crawled inside and hunkered down, panting erratically.

She fell asleep from shock and exhaustion shortly thereafter, and when she woke up, she was surrounded by Krell tribesmen carrying spears.

Ethan was currently studying Alchemy, which turned out to be a completely different field from Chemistry.

He’d discovered this fact shortly after starting out.

While Chemistry was the science of investigating and forming new substances through the reactions of matter, Alchemy was all about extracting the essences of aspects from ingredients and mixing them together to strengthen specific effects or get rid of others.

For instance, one could extract Life and Fire from a Fire Root – a harmful ingredient, and Life and Cold from Frostberries – also harmful without processing.

Mixing both in specific quantities would neutralise the fire and ice aspects while strengthening the Life aspect. Resulting in a very basic Health Potion.

There was a scientific quality to it, though. Not all Alchemy was about aspects. Some ingredients had complex mana imprints that were similar to organic runes. Extracting those was much more difficult, but it allowed an Alchemist to imbue their potions with much more complex effects.

His AI was currently cataloging all the ingredients he’d used [Analyse] on, and coming up with brewing recipes for useful combinations.

The problem was, he lacked the knowledge about what kinds of ingredients existed outside of this mountain.

He frequently took strolls through the volcanic crater to gather more ingredients though. Too bad almost everything in this volcano had a fire aspect with not enough of the cold aspect to balance the scales and facilitate proper purification.

This was natural, of course. Since most life around a volcano required fire resistance. For cold resistance, one would need to visit the surrounding mountain peaks. Something that was out of his reach right now.

Eragoth would never let him mount an expedition to the peaks though. Ever since the appearance of the airships, the atmosphere had been tense.

Worse yet, they couldn’t just send any tribesman to gather the ingredients, Herbalism was a big part of Alchemy, and without the proper methods of harvesting the ingredients, they would simply be destroyed and become completely useless.

He had to make do for now.

A moment had finally come where he’d had to sacrifice his sole skill point to buy the ‘Design Schematic’ skill as well.

Since the Krell were not big on Alchemy in the past, they had no tools. No beakers, no Bunsen burners or their equivalent in this world, and no reaction chambers.

So he had to make all the tools himself. He appropriated the local blacksmith’s forge and designed a kiln and a glass blowing set of tools first.

Afterwards, he taught some tribesmen who displayed interest how to shape and blow volcanic glass from molten granite, since they lacked any sand here.

All this information came from his implants, of course. Still, he felt extremely proud when his ‘Lecture’ skill levelled up as a result.

Then he requested some paper and a quill, and used ‘Design Schematic’ to design an advanced Alchemy set, it contained many useful tools for the trade.

Using ‘Design Schematic’ was a strange experience. After he gave his AI permission to allow the skill to connect to his mind – under the supervision of the AI – he suddenly left reality to find himself in an empty space, it almost looked like a 3D modelling application.

One core difference was that it allowed him to select the materials from anything he’d interacted with before. He chose copper and volcanic glass and went to work.

Everyone watched him in awe. To all external eyes, he was drawing complex diagrams with precise measurements with his eyes closed.

After finishing the job, his work was saved automatically, and the design was available in a corner of the design space to allow him to improve it later.

All the while his AI had been recording the experience to allow for deeper interaction with this system in the future.

Then it was time for assembly, and surprisingly, it was a very fast ordeal.

After activating ‘Assemble Schematic’ his body moved almost as if on its own.

Every move was a calculated effort as he used the tools at hand to quickly and efficiently craft the items he’d drawn on paper.

And suddenly, he was done. Just like that.

That was the beginning of his Alchemy career.

Name Ethan West Species Human
Class (1st) Harbinger – Science (Level 7) Strength (STR) 18
Class (2nd) Magineer – Chaos (Level 8) Vitality (VIT) 17
XP (Deferred) 956 (0) Dexterity (DEX) 19
AP/SP Available 0 AP / 0 SP Agility (AGI) 24
Health 173/173 (+1.7/min) Intelligence (INT) 24
Mana 263/263 (+2.4/min) Wisdom (WIS) 25
Title Description
Divine Lawbreaker You have broken a Divine Law and incurred the wrath of the heavens. Beware the consequences.

Skill Level Cost Description Origin
Analyse (Active) 7 (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) 5 (18%) 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) 2 (27%) 15 MP You assemble a schematic quickly and efficiently. 10% Less material wasted per level. [Engineer, Level 1]
Adjust Entropy (Sustained) 6 (78%) ~ Adjust the level of entropy in a system or creation. 10% To effectiveness per level. [Chaos Engineer, Level 5]
Stabilise (Active) 2 (56%) ~ 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]
Mana Manipulation (Passive) 2 (16%) The ability to manipulate mana is at the core of spell-casting. This skill governs how much mana your body can channel. 2% bonus to maximum mana per level. [Magineer – Chaos, Level 8]
Rune Mastery (Passive) 1 (0%) The ability to construct and maintain spell models in one’s mind is what governs Rune Magic. Your mastery over runes will increase with the level of this skill. Can control +2 extra runes per spell model per level of this skill. [Magineer – Chaos, Level 8]
Design Schematic (Active) 2 (43%) 100 MP Allows you to design a schematic. [Scientist, Level 2]