Your mind resists The Eternal Oath! You have broken the laws of divinity! New title obtained: Divine Lawbreaker. The Eternal Eye Of Judgement becomes hostile! You evade The Eternal Eye Of Judgement’s attack. (+15 XP) (CRITICAL) You strike at The Eternal Eye Of Judgement with your fists, piercing the pupil and causing bleeding. (+16 XP) … You kill The Eternal Eye Of Judgement. (+140 XP) [+1128 XP Deferred] … Congratulations, you are now a level 3 [Scientist]. Congratulations, you are now a level 3 [Engineer]. Feat Of Strength performed, +8 STR, +6 DEX, +11 AGI. You have defeated a Primal Force (Order) and unlocked a new class! New class obtained: [Harbinger – Chaos]. You already possess 2 classes. Class change available: [Harbinger – Chaos], would you like to exchange an existing class for [Harbinger – Chaos]? [Y/N] 16:14:22… 16:14:21… 16:14:20…
Ethan sat in the tent they’d put him in and pondered at the prompt and the countdown in front of his eyes.
He wondered what to do. He lacked any information on the subject.
According to the AI, he had around 16 hours left before the choice would be made for him, and he had to decide before then, since he didn’t know what would be chosen for him if he abstained.
The problem was: he was frozen by indecision. Was [Harbinger – Chaos] a rare class?
From the message log, he had a hunch that it was unique; but before making a choice, he had too many questions that needed answers.
For instance, how would it impact his own survival in the future?
What would happen to his other classes if he chose [Harbinger – Chaos] over them?
Would his knowledge of science disappear along with the [Scientist] class if he made the wrong choice?
More importantly, were classes even that important? His world had no classes and people survived and thrived just the same.
No, classes were definitely important here.
But maybe things were different here. Nope… he knew things were definitely different here.
He needed to speak to someone soon.
When he asked about it, his captors had promised that they would answer all his questions later; since the elders were all busy conferring about something right now.
They seemed much more amiable after his ordeal with the Eye for some reason though. They’d even had a shaman treat his injuries with magic!
Not one to let a chance go to waste, he’d made a detailed recording of the spell casting process, and from preliminary analysis, it seemed that shamanistic magic differed greatly from the casting process he’d witnessed being used by [Mages] from The Empire back when he arrived into this world.
Back to the topic of his dire need for information on this world: he hoped they would deliver, but if they didn’t, maybe he could ask that Aylin woman later when – and if – they returned him to his cage.
He was still pissed at her for summoning that Eye, although nobody could have predicted this outcome.
Apparently the implant’s protection of his mind was considered resistance to Divine Law, and so it triggered some kind of countermeasure within the Eye, making it perceive him as an Oath breaker.
Although what ancient Oath he’d broken was not completely clear to him, he’d clearly broken some rule; at least according to the messages – and the title – he’d received.
He snorted as he eyed the message about the new title.
Did ‘Divine Lawbreaker’ mean that he was now marked for punishment somehow? He certainly wanted nothing to do with divine punishment.
He was completely overlooking something else, as well: the existence of The Eternal Eye Of Judgement and the messages he’d received about divinity proved that in this universe, higher powers definitely existed.
Back in his own universe, he was strictly agnostic on the topic. If a higher power existed, it would definitely exist outside the observable universe and the fabric of reality itself, and thus could not be detected from within said universe and reality unless said power wanted to be detected.
In his original world, this clearly hadn’t occurred, thus, it was simply impossible to prove or disprove the existence of such a power.
His research into parallel universes particularly enforced this line of thought in his mind.
However, this universe not only had different laws, it also enforced said laws actively.
This proved, without doubt, that this universe was completely different from his own.
From his recent encounter, it was not far fetched to assume that interactions with the divine were a possibility.
Whether true gods or beings of immense power, he just hoped he didn’t attract too much attention from them.
If the higher powers of this world wanted to punish him for this incident – and considering how clueless he truly felt right now – he would be officially screwed.
Class change available: [Harbinger – Chaos], would you like to exchange an existing class for [Harbinger – Chaos]? [Y/N] 14:12:46… 14:12:45… 14:12:45…
Just like that, two hours had passed in the blink of an eye while he ruminated over all this.
He looked at the flashing prompt yet again and sighed despondently.
He really hated waiting.
“AI, load the simulation environment. Prepare to review the data we’ve gathered so far.” He commanded with a thought.
[Commander] Talius was currently fighting through yet another ambush with his unit at his back.
He didn’t believe in commanding from the backlines, that was for [Generals]. He always commanded from the frontline.
The vanguard was where he felt at home. Especially now when he wasn’t being ordered around by the [General].
This was why he’d earned the [Commander] class. It was quite a rare merger of both tactical and combat specialisations.
His [Commander] class resulted from the merger of his [Skirmisher] and [Knight] classes when both had reached level 20.
That was many years ago though, and he was looking forward to his next advancement.
He wondered what class would be offered by the system. It all depended on what he would be doing at the time, he guessed.
And from the current happenings, he doubted it would be anything that’s not combat-related.
He swung yet again with his great-sword, and the Krell [Warrior] dodged the massive blade.
Damn tenacious humans!
Just then, a wall of ice erupted to his left. He turned to look at it, only to see it immediately shatter by a flying fist made of rock summoned by the enemy shaman.
Talius made a mental note to thank Jarret later. He’d probably just saved his life and many others on more than one occasion this week.
He blocked the thrust of a spear as he turned to face his opponent, and battle was joined once more.
They’d been taking light casualties so far, but sustained casualties over a long period of time – especially without a means of reinforcement and resupply – meant that they were fighting a war of attrition, and no one fought wars of attrition better than the Krell.
They also knew when to strike like lightning and when to disappear into thin air.
Like now, a shrill cry sounded, and a magical fog quickly spread over the battlefield. Talius’ opponent quickly disengaged.
When the fog cleared, not a single Krell could be seen. Even their dead and injured had disappeared.
Talius sighed and gave some quick orders to count the casualties and treat the wounded.
He just hoped this whole incursion was worth the cost.
Kothar was pacing in front of The Matriarch’s tent. The meeting of the elders was still in progress.
He was not allowed inside. In fact, nobody else was allowed either.
He knew why: they were deliberating over what to do about Ethan West.
More specifically, over his new status.
The Krell had names for many things, and they had a name for him: Arru Amati.
In their ancient tongue, it literally translated to “One who has challenged divinity”.
But Ethan had not only challenged divinity, he had won. He had actually won!
No Arru Amati in the histories had ever won. Those were myths. Cautionary tales told as bedtime stories to scare little children.
That was what Kothar – and most of the Krell – believed… until now.
He smiled as he remembered that glorious scene. According to Ethan, he was no bred [Warrior], but he’d never seen such fierce combat spirit.
He remembered tossing him his spear, and how Ethan jumped, dodged and weaved like a man possessed. How he quickly gripped it midair, and how he adapted his grip on the spear to land in a perfect stance.
It was impossibly beautiful. No one could learn this quickly. He had to be concealing his skills.
He looked around him once more. The tribesmen were waiting on the result of the meeting like him.
Some were talking excitedly, their eyes shining and their faces smiling.
The grim looks and solemn faces from yesterday were a thing of the past.
A legendary Arru Amati had appeared once again. He came out victorious in mortal combat against a divine being, and now…
The Krell tribes were in uproar.
Ethan was frowning, deep in thought, as he compared two sets of data in his virtual lab.
One set displayed an analysis of the process of magic casting used by the [Mages] of The Empire. The other was a much, much more detailed analysis of the process used by Krell shamans.
In addition to this data, he was reviewing video footage of both events. In one video, a shaman was casting healing magic to heal his wounds, and in another – of comparatively low-resolution – a Polarii was casting a fireball spell.
While The Empire’s [Mage] would have a look of intense concentration followed by Mana emissions from his palms, the Krell shaman chanted incomprehensible incantations and channeled his power through spoken words!
He studied both datasets meticulously, and had his AI simulate multiple scenarios. He studied every pore on their faces, and every twitch of their facial muscles for a clue on how their casting worked.
He was finally able to make his first discovery: The Empire’s magic seemed to be powered by pure logic, while the shamanistic magic of the Krell tribes was powered by the flow of emotions!
He had no idea where to start when it came to channeling magic, but he remembered one titbit mentioned by the Polarii woman: every being had trace amounts of magic within them.
So how did the [Mages], shamans, and even simple [Warriors] – he still remembered Kothar using [Triple Shot] on their way here – channel their energy?
He had an inkling of an idea.
“AI, what’s the status of the analysis of the foreign data interface?” He asked.
“Progress is at 56% and is stalled, displaying data.”
The AI displayed a data sheet. He perused it for a long time.
He wasn’t really pressed for time either. The time compression protocol used by this virtual environment accelerated his thinking speed greatly.
He could spend days inside the confines of this lab and only scant hours would pass outside in the real world.
After a long silence had fallen, he looked up from the data sheet with a big realisation.
The data showed tendrils of the subatomic particle he’d dubbed ‘Mana’ piggybacking on the omnipresent particle ‘Conduit’ that was present in everything, and latching to multiple locations in the brain and the nervous system.
“This means that everyone in this world is being actively monitored at all times. Everything they see or hear, and even their thoughts are subject to this monitoring!” He exclaimed.
The simulated model of what would have happened had he not had his implants showed a secondary magical nervous system overlaying the original developing.
It had access to every impulse of the original nervous system, and could be used to spy on the host.
Or to emit signals, exciting specific neural regions and remote controlling the victim.
“Crap! This could mean actual influence over all living beings in the universe! Maybe the whole Levelling System is a spell?“
A spell to trump all spells… He started pacing as he reached a final conclusion.
”A universal spell at such a scale… this must be the work of a God!” He thought as he remembered the attack from The Eternal Eye Of Judgement.
The question was this: was this the work of a benign entity?
There was another pressing question: was this the price for casting magic?
He could see multiple stagnant progress bars moving yet again as he enunciated those discoveries. As he presented new theories, the bottlenecks in the AI’s reasoning were being overcome.
“AI, focus on the output aspect of the data interface.” He commanded as he started going over the data again.
“Confirmed. A tribesman is approaching in the real world, would you like to exit the simulation?” The AI queried.
He stopped his work and nodded.
“Yeah. Let’s end this session. I want you to save and confirm all the discoveries from today.”
“Saving to a new data node… what would you like to name it?”
“Divine Conspiracy.” He said after considering for a bit.
That was when he was interrupted by a gentle hand shaking him in the real world.