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Current There's a nip in the air. Cold won't be good for my crotch. Never is. (Wait a minute...)

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Ardur, Asteria, Asura, Danny, Jason, Mother Slime

While Asura responded to Ardur's words, Jason scarfed down his last Healing Herb and was restored to full HP. Seeing this Asura immediately shoved past the Pixie, his rage and his stamina both reaching a breaking point as his gooey body tensed for a blow--!

Skill Gain: Rabit Fit I!
Fly into a mindless rage, and destroy the enemy! A sudden burst of fury grants you increased strength and damage, but you’ll become more vulnerable to damage yourself.

Skill Rank Up: Smash I > Smash II!
Damage buff increased. Stamina drain increased. Using a non-blunt type attack can now trigger this skill, but its power will be halved.

Skill Synergy: Rabit Fit I, Overwork I, Smash II. Your attack's power is vastly increased!
System:Asura


Jason barely had time to activate his Bounce skill, but activate it he did. It could not, however, stop him from taking the damage--merely allow him to return it in equal measure. And that was only after the damage he received had been taken into account--ironically, his Physical Damage Resistance and higher defensive stats meant that this output was lower than normal for a slime.

From full health, Jason went right back into the Warning zone--and it seemed he was even worse off this time than before. But Asura also took the blow, being bowled back so far he almost went out of the little arena. Thanks to having Blunt Resistance on top of Physical Damage Resistance, he didn't take it quite as hard as Jason did--but given his current condition that wasn't much of an advantage...

WARNING! YOUR HP IS LOW!
YOU ARE EXPERIENCING HP DRAIN!
YOU HAVE ONE HIT POINT REMAINING, YOU ARE DYING!
System:Jason


WARNING! YOUR HP IS LOW!
You are experiencing HP Drain, you must rest to recover Stamina.
System:Asura


When she saw Asura fly backwards, Mother Slime gurgled something high pitched and rolled towards him, and under her membrane one of the Healing Herbs he had given her started to float up. Meanwhile, Jason "chugged" the Mana Crystals Danny had thrown him, and began his most ambitious chant yet...but something was wrong. Those runic letters, all scrambled and flickering, did not seem right. The sigils weren't forming in the different quadrants of the diagram, and the lines bisecting it weren't the right length or angles compared to his past performances...

Ardur flew up to the ceiling, finding two clusters of Crystals that would let him gather about four of them total. But before he could refill himself to cast a healing spell--on one or the other--Jason plunged a sharp stone into his own body.

YOU HAVE NO HP REMAINING.

YOU ARE DEAD.
System:Jason


The spell exploded in a bright, violet flash of light that crackled with static and sounded like a warped and distorted dial tone.

Jason's body, pierced and slowly losing its color, deflated. As his membrane gave way, his acidic innards spread over the rocks, seeping down between the cracks. As Danny drifted down in stunned silence, he saw for certain that the Slime Mage was dead. He picked up the Source Crystal, still as green and bright as ever.

But the Fanged Lizards remained. Eyes set on the weakened Asura, they launched two more globs of Poison Spit at him while he was down...


Jason, ???

Ooooh, and we have the first one to bite the dust. But honestly, kind of impressed. I thought like five of you would've bitten it by now, and only two have even come close. Well. One came close. You went all the way.
D3W0ZK1ZG:Jason


Time seemed frozen, and all the color had drained from the world. Jason was still "lying" there on the cave floor, seeing everyone around him frozen as they had been at the moment of hid demise. When he rolled upward, he felt the coldest blast of wind he had ever felt, and saw thin streamers of something misty white. It was him. As if it were blowing away the last vestiges of his form.

Something darker than black crouched over his shoulder. He could hear the grin in its voice.

Lucky for you, despite not having a stupid fucking cheat like Save Point or Time Rewind or Revival Mode, this world is still quite generous if you meet the right conditions. But just keep in mind...Coming back to life doesn't always mean, well, coming back to life...
DE3ONKHN6:Jason


The presence was gone. All that was left, in the distance, was a glowing red light...No, not quite true. Jason could hear them now.

The screams.

The howls and roars of things all around him. In every direction, white mist the surged and roiled as if on the crests of stormy waves. Every so often, out of that mist, he thought he could pick out a shape. Shapes much like the various creatures he had already seen in the cave.

"So ya weren't no Slime afta all, eh "Boss?" Keeheehee." laughed a mocking voice. Something tapped the gray stone floor, and the echo spread as if they were in the greatest ampitheater. "Tell me now...what cola be ya world?"

Walking towards Jason, from the direction of the entrance, was a misty white figure. As he looked at it, it became more solid. It was Y'tahl--no, this skeleton still had all of her flesh. Her very, very old flesh. And despite the white mist, it did seem there was a tinge of green to it--the only color Jason had seen thus far in this grayscale world.

The female goblin wore a toga of sorts that looked to have been made from Dire Rat pelts. She held a staff of gnarled wood, with disassembled Pixie bones tied to the end of it that jangled like bell chimes. Painted marks, glowing bright white as if under some kind of luminescent scanner, marked her face and arms. Her ears were pierced with the fangs from a Lizard, and only one hand, the one not holding her staff, had long disgustingly sharp fingernails.

"Surely ya not so weak in da head ya cannot hear." She repeated herself, tapping the staff again. "Tell Bonie Bitz, WHAT COLAS DO YA SEE?"

The red light in the distance beckoned to Jason like a lighthouse.


Ash, Digbie, Mourningstar, Oberon, Reoth, Torrent

As the group discussed their goals and then set about their various tasks, the morning sun had risen fully and its bright rays were warm and cheery. They seemed to have been considerably lucky thus far...or perhaps the cave really was just an awful environment to be reborn in. As they went their separate ways however, they would be taking significantly more risks that a monster in the forest might see them as vulnerable enough to prey upon...

About midmorning (if any of them could tell time solely by the sun, they might judge it to be around 10 AM or so), they got started in earnest. Ash, Oberon, and Mourningstar left to forage in different directions. The construction of their base in the side of the hill would be left to Digbie and Torrent. The Lesserwurm could dig much more quickly through loose soil, but unless she took the time to properly pack the tunnel along her sides as she went it would very easily collapse behind her, like a mole run rather than a true burrow. Digbie could move harder soils, easily scooping out bits of rock or root, and his digging didn't seem to collapse quite so readily, but in terms of distance he couldn't go quite so far so fast. Together, however, the two of them were eventually able to work out a rhythm and a method, and set to work.

The plan was to create a central room and entrance with a fire pit, and then make smaller tunnels branching off from that like spokes on a wheel. At the ends of these tunnels they would enlarge them into rooms, smaller than the central chamber but enough that each member of the party would have a comfortable place to store their own things, have some privacy, and so forth. The cave would need to be at least three and a half feet high, by a (granted, very inexperienced) reckoning. Digbie would have to hunch somewhat to get in, but trying to make the cave match his own height would be more work and probably would need more support for the ceilings and walls. It would also need to be at least two and a half feet wide, so that they could comfortably move in the tunnels without having to go everywhere single-file. As for the length, they only had so much hill to work with, and the further they went again the more supports they would need.

While they were digging, Ash stayed relatively close to the construction site. Ranging in a circle around the area, she searched for various edibles and used all of her skills to analyze whatever she found--one part scientific investigation, one part ensuring nothing her party ate would kill them. The first thing she found, just across the creek and to the south of the tunnel--near the top of the other hill--was a bush full of Argeps, however these were Green and not yet the ripe, tasty blues. She could see 15 bunches of the berries growing on the bush, however, and some of them were beginning to turn the deeper color of ripeness around their bottoms. In a day or so there might be some ready to pick and eat, but for now it might be better to leave them behind unless she wanted some solely for experimentation. Next she headed up the slopes of the mountains to the west, and as the trees began to thin out and the path became rockier, she found a patch of green shoots. If she dug into the ground, which was beginning to slant much more sharply, she would find a patch of Wild Kele--certainly edible, but much like eating a raw onion in terms of flavor. There were 23 shoots available in this patch, but considering the sizes of everyone in the party and how powerful the smell of the root bulbs were, they would probably only need two or three per person if they wanted to make some kind of dish with them. Torrent could create fire to cook with, after all.

As she headed to the north, further upstream, Ash suddenly felt her Alert skill kick in. Using her own stealth skills, she carefully crept between the trees until she saw two Monsters fighting--a black cat with stiff, spiky fur on its head that made it look as if it were wearing a witch's hat, with its ears poking through the false brim, and a Rubber Frog. The cat had two differently colored eyes, one red and one orange, and looked to be stalking the unaware frog. When the cat had gotten quite close the frog seemed to pick up on its presence, but only turned to face it. Now that it knew the jig was up, the cat's red eye seemed to burst into black smoke--which then, without traveling between them, enveloped the frog as well! The frog immediately croaked and sucked in air. Its rubbery body expanded, from the size of a watermelon to the size of a monster truck's tire! The cat took a step back at this, hissing and yowling, then focused the other eye upon it. Ash had to fight back the urge to yawn all of a sudden, but the frog suddenly shook itself, then--while still inflated--turned and leaped an incredible distance. It almost seemed to fly up the mountainous slopes, heading for the edge of the trees at breakneck speed, with the cat in hot pursuit. The frog deflated a bit with each jump, but soon both forms grew smaller as they headed up into the rocks. Soon they were gone from sight.

Continuing around, Ash came to the rear of their "base hill," and found another patch of Kele growing about 15 shoots. The trip around the eastern side of the hill was simply another pass through the area from which they'd already come, and she made it back to the dig site to check in on Digbie and Torrent before again heading out, this time deciding what to gather and bring back with her--honestly, not many options at this point.

You used Alchemy II! You used Magic Analysis I! You used Monster Analysis I!
This is a plant. You have analyzed this plant before. This item has no magical properties. This item is not a monster. Combined Skill Effectiveness at 60%.
---Green Argep---
Plant, Unripe, Berry. Crunchy Exterior, Low Hardness, Brittle. Low Sweetness. Acidic Juice, Tangy. Negligible Toxicity, Non-Harmful. Soft, Weak, Pulpy. No Magical Effects. Negligible Nature Mana.
---Analysis Complete!---

Skill Gain: Material Analysis I!
You have developed an eye for determining the qualities of inorganic or non-living objects. At this rank, you will only be able to gain surface information about an object. When used in conjunction with a crafting skill, it may help discover more compatible items.

You used Alchemy II! You used Magic Analysis I! You used Monster Analysis I! You used Material Analysis I! These targets have not been harvested, dissected, or otherwise broken down into useful components. One of these targets is magical in nature. Both of these targets are monsters. These targets have not been slain in order to convert them into Materials. You have analyzed a Material from one of these creatures before. You have analyzed one of these creatures before. Combined Skill Effectiveness is 90%.
---Hex Cat---
A cat of dark hues, with stiff fur atop its head that comes to a point. This fur, and the shape of its ears, give it the impression of wearing a witch's hat. While not highly intelligent, this feline has some native talent with magic. It's known as an unlucky omen among most races, and some say a Hex Cat looking through one's window can curse a child in the cradle with heterochromia. You saw it use a skill that seems to weaken an enemy, and attempt some sort of sedation or hypnosis skill. Both required eye contact but did not seem to cause direct damage. You suspect at least one of these skills was a Curse spell.

The Hex Cat's fur is Fibrous, Organic, Flammable, Insulating, Fragile, Water Absorbant, and Waxy. Magic energy radiates from its body, especially its eyes. It seems like its fur might be highly reactive with other materials. Its flesh and bones don't seem different from other animals and thus might be useful as materials.
---Rubber Frog---
This frog's magical evolution certainly took an odd turn somewhere. The elasticity of its form, from its skin to its bones, is ridiculous. With a tongue that will stretch it has no trouble snagging flies, and it can expand its mouth wide enough to swallow many things whole. To intimidate predators it sometimes puffs itself up to enormous size. It has no magical abilities that you can tell.

The Rubber Frog's hide retains its elasticity even after its death and after the hide dries. It is Extremely Elastic, Organic, Flame-resistant, Very Insulating, Slightly Durable, Water Repellant, Slippery, and Thick. It might be suitable for crafting. Its flesh and bones, aside from being rubbery, don't seem that different from other amphibians and thus might be useful as materials.
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Ash


Oberon and Mourningstar had gone further afield, sweeping only a long arc back and forth in one direction of the camp. When they had gone out far enough they could no longer hear and see the construction going on back at the hill, they were suddenly forced to take cover--ahead of them, two other monsters were wandering. Mourningstar, of course, wanted to try and take out whoever won this fight in their weakened state. Oberon advised against such a course, as even with their analysis it wasn't quite clear how strong these monsters were or what abilities they might have, even if they didn't have magic. For the moment they waited to see what the outcome would be.

A large badger, with thick armored plating over its hide and rough looking, spiky spurs growing from the shell around its forearms, seemed to be rooting around in the dirt without paying any attention to what was around it. A Rubber Frog, much like those they had seen out by the creek, simply sat on an old, rotten log, occaisonally ribbiting. Their observation skills told them the badger was a type of monster known as an Armored Badger, but its personality only became clear while they sat and watched.

The badger blundered about, and finally bumped into the Rubber Frog's log. Sniffing at its bottom, it must have deduced that some grubs or mushroom it wanted grew under the dead wood, so with one claw it pushed at the thing. The frog, croaking in alarm, suddenly puffed up to the size of a monster truck tire! It almost seemed like it could eat the badger whole--

Armored Badger didn't care.

With one bite the badger seized the frog's elastic hide, and the two observers could already see that they had pierced it deeply enough to draw blood. The frog squealed but the badger gave a violent heave and twist, dragging it off the log, then began to viciously shake the creature until--

The Rubber Frog "popped."

Covered in gore, the badger nonchalantly held the frog's deflated remains between its claws and began to rip off strips of its hide to get at the flesh underneath. Mourningstar offered the idea of a tactical retreat, to bring back information to the others before dealing with this opponent at a later date, and Oberon agreed wholeheartedly.

Further to the east of the hill, far enough out that the creek couldn't be seen anymore, they found two bushes laden with ripe Blue Argep berrries. It might be risky to come out this far in order to gather food, but as long as they were careful it would be a good resource for their little group. A quick count would show 38 bunches of berries--so if a bunch by itself would make for a handful of berries, probably that many "servings"--and Oberon decided to grab as many as he could carry and immediately take them back to the shelter. Though the Sprite was a little larger than he had been as a Pixie, he still couldn't carry all that much, so he delivered 10 bunches of Blue Argeps. Mourningstar joined him, though she was only able to carry 5 bunches. By the time they returned they had also found a large Topapo plant and some of the purplish-red ferns. There were 6 tubers that looked big enough to eat, and 5 of the ferns growing in a bunch. Since they had gone further out than Ash had, by this point they decided they had been away long enough and gathered up what they could before heading back. Oberon was able to carry 2 Topapos under each arm, and with her Lesser Force Mourningstar could grab the other 2 and 3 of the ferns.

Oberon used Monster Analysis II! Oberon used Magic Analysis IV!

Mourningstar used Monster Analysis II! Mourningstar used Magic Analysis II!

---Armored Badger---
A regular sized badger, but ambient magic in its environment and a few quirks of evolution have caused it to sprout armored plates and spikes along its forearms, hindquarters, forehead, and the middle of its back. It can use its forearms and head armor, especially, as weaponry. Its body armor is quite tough, rendering it invincible to the fangs and claws of most other creatures around its level. Not normally overaggressive, but like regular badgers is known to have a mean streak. Is highly reactive to perceived threats and will often chase a fleeing offender, but in reality would rather avoid an equally strong opponent. It has no magical abilities as far as you can tell.
---Rubber Frog---
This frog's magical evolution certainly took an odd turn somewhere. The elasticity of its form, from its skin to its bones, is ridiculous. With a tongue that will stretch over twenty feet it has no trouble snagging flies, and it can expand its mouth wide enough to swallow anything up to twice its own size whole. To intimidate predators it sometimes puffs itself up to enormous size. It has no magical abilities that you can tell. The Rubber Frog's hide retains its elasticity even after its death and after the hide dries.

---Analysis Complete!---

Oberon used Monster Analysis II! Oberon used Magic Analysis IV!

Mourningstar used Monster Analysis II! Mourningstar used Magic Analysis II!

This is not a monster and it does not have any magical qualities as far as you can tell. Combined Skill Effectiveness at 40%.
---Blue Argep---
An edible berry, fresh and ripe. Its leaves have culinary use as well. It's quite sweet.
---Analysis Complete!---

Oberon used Monster Analysis II! Oberon used Magic Analysis IV!

Mourningstar used Monster Analysis II! Mourningstar used Magic Analysis II!

This is not a monster and its magical qualities are low. Combined Skill Effectiveness at 45%.
---Wild Topapo---
A hearty, starchy root that can be prepared in a variety of ways. This plant has no magic qualities. This plant is partially toxic or otherwise harmful in its current state. This plant can be eaten.
---Antidote Fern---
This purple fern has healing properties of some sort. You can feel a small amount of Nature magic from it. It may have other uses as well.
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Oberon_And_Mourningstar


Once they had all returned and taken stock of their discoveries, as well as compiling information so that they would have a rough mental map of the area, the sun had risen somewhat. It was probably around noon or so, and the digging team had managed to create a rough, domed in area for their central chamber after digging into the hill for a few feet. At the tallest point it was probably just enough for Digbie to stand up straight if he didn't mind his head rubbing the ceiling, but closer to the edges it was barely big enough for him to crouch down and get in. Oberon, being a foot and a half tall, walked in and out easily as if it were a great cavern instead of a burrow. Ash and the others had it even easier. Right now the shelter didn't need any reinforcements, but as they expanded on it they would either need to gather materials, or do some fancy digging. The Lesserwurm came up with an idea of digging around in a circle to leave an earthen support pillar, while Digbie thought he might be able to use chants or circles to improve his Rock Spires. For the moment, though, after digging a firepit in the center of the chamber, the group took a break.

Now the group decided to consolidate their knowledge of skills. First of all, everyone wanted to try and learn how to Meditate from Oberon. The Sprite's explanation was rather simple, and surely most of them had known by simple osmosis about meditation being used in things like Yoga and religious practices in their old world. Those who had Magic Analysis were able to glean more information, and soon they were all sitting around the firepit and trying their best to feel at one with the universe. First came the feeling of actual calm, of clearing one's mind--not to reach emptiness, but to focus only on the moment, and the feelings within the body. Next they would feel the Mana within them. For Ash especially this was much like her struggles to learn magic from the Pixies back in the cave, and as she related this experience to the others to help them they too soon understood. Those who could already use some magic had a much easier time of it. Once they could feel the flow of their mana, they soon began to perceive the mana that existed outside of their bodies. From the ground underneath them, the air around them, and in Oberon's case even the sunlight. There seemed to be energy within everything in this world, but it could only be found if one ignored all other senses and focused their new, supernatural sense. It hadn't even existed until they came to this world, so it was little wonder they hadn't grown used to it yet.

Once they could feel the Mana, all that was left was to sit and practice it--Oms and Kumbayas optional--until the System informed them of their success. But that wasn't all. Oberon, who would likely take the opportunity to sit out in the sun, also activated the Gather Light skill he had been developing, and felt a surge in the mana he was able to intake. Digbie, perhaps due to his Earth Affinity, also quickly gained a new skill after Meditate triggered--Earth Vein. It seemed as long as he was in contact with the ground and wasn't rapidly moving, he could also replenish his mana more quickly. Even Mourningstar activated a different skill--perhaps she had been doing it unconsciously without realizing it, given that everyone around her was gathering mana and generating a sort of "magically thick" area, or maybe Meditating was a bit like draining the environment of its magic. Her Mana Drain skill activated, allowing her to actively steal energy from something else so long as it was magically charged. She learned that she could even temporarily boost her maximum MP beyond its normal limit, but if she tried to do too much of this it seemed like it could be harmful...

By the time everyone had learned how to meditate, about an hour and a half had passed. Ash then decided to ask Torrent about her various related poison skills, Torrent wanted to learn Tremor Sense from Digbie, who in turn wanted to learn the Analysis Skills. Oberon wanted to learn Fireball from Torrent, and Mourningstar wanted to learn Mana Dart from him. Torrent would first have to explain how to use each of her different poison skills, along with providing a demonstration, then Ash was able to begin working on them on her own for a few moments. Digbie did the same to teach Torrent the Tremor Sense, which she had already gotten a head start on when they were working together in order to dig the cavern. And though she might not have realized it, ever since she began tunneling on her own after her evolution, she had accrued a small number of points towards the skill. Thus she quickly achieved this first goal, and then had to spend time with Oberon demonstrating and trying to explain the basics of her Fireball spell. Unlike Crispy she hadn't been using it for very long...but then again, she might recall that time she had witnessed him using it in the cave, and what he had said to Orchid about it. Maybe she could combine that with her new experiences in order to not only improve her own understanding, but pass it on to Oberon as well.

Oberon had quite a bit of practice with Mana Orb at this point, using it as the basis for his Mana Dart, Light Ring, and Mana Shape. Using what Torrent had taught him, and given Oberon's tendency to really analyze his magic and think himself through each step of developing it, he would likely realize that perhaps emulating the burning effect of Light Ring might aid in the formation of a Fireball. He was able to practice much more freely at this point, as his Meditation skill combined with Gather Light allowed him to recover his Mana very quickly, although still not quite as fast as using a Mana Crystal. Since Mourningstar already had Mana Orb and Mana Shape for herself, Oberon was able to easily explain how to perform the Mana Dart to her during his Fireball training.

By the time Torrent learned her Tremor Sense, Ash had paused to take a break from practicing the various poison techniques. She had been having some difficulty with Poison Breath, as it seemed like her poison glands were no longer in her fangs, but sometimes the best way to combat a problem was to stop and do something else for a while. So she began teaching Digbie the basis of her Analysis skills, Monster Analysis, Magic Analysis, and Material Analysis. Digbie didn't really have the background for it, but given how it seemed to synergize with the other skills Ash may have also taught him a little bit about Alchemy. There was also the Plant Analysis skill, though Ash hadn't activated that one yet. Judging from the others, however, it was a good guess that one only needed practice to perfect it, and various plants and trees were all around them.

In the time it took Ash to finish her lecture (she had, at one point, been a leading researcher and professor of her field after all) and absolutely boggle poor Digbie, the others had achieved their next set of goals as well. Oberon was able to help the Demiblin with his own explanations of Magic Analysis and Monster Analysis, and Mourningstar could add her two cents as well. With all these explanations something was bound to click--and the others would find their own abilities improving from all the tests and demonstrations it took. There was a saying, after all, that the best way to learn something was to teach it. Digbie, and Torrent as well, soon found themselves capable of various analytical skills--and the overflow of information gave them quite the headache temporarily.

Another two hours had gone by and the afternoon was well upon them. And at this point, as they were outside Analyzing the different vegetables they had collected, the trees, and so on in order to practice with Digbie, a Fanged Lizard of all things came upon them! They never saw it until it spoke, as its body was the same shade of brown as the leaf-covered forest floor, and its steps were quiet...even just looking at it, it almost seemed like the creature would go out of focus if you diverted your attention even for a moment.

"Finally found you guys...so how you been?" asked Reoth, as he laid down the Hex Cat's Eye he had been carrying. By now the thing had dried somewhat, and taken on a texture akin to that of a plastic bead--but that red iris still felt as if some sort of power were contained within.

After some healing from Oberon and a short explanation of his adventures, Reoth retired into the chamber to get some well deserved rest. The others took a short break as well, then set about training their next set of skills. They were starting to tire, however, and it might prove to be too much for one day to accomplish everything they were aiming for...

Ash also wanted to learn Tremor Sense, and while Torrent had learned everything she wanted at the moment plus some more, Mourningstar still wanted to learn Fireball from the Lesserwurm. Digbie and Oberon decided to trade spellcraft, Sacred Ground for Mana Orb. With Oberon able to assist Mourningstar and Digbie able to assist Ash, both Tremor Sense and Fireball were learned quite quickly.

Mourningstar now joined Oberon in teaching Mana Orb to Digbie, and also to Ash. Since Ash already had some of the basics thanks to her evolution, it was much easier for her--however, Digbie discovered that not only did his variance improve his ability with magic, but it seemed that Mana Orb was a skill that his Job would boost, if only slightly. Both of them were quickly adept with the spell, and Mourningstar and Oberon had improved their understanding of it as well thanks to the practice and feeding off of each other's explanations.

Another two hours gone, and the sun was starting to get low. By an estimate, it had to be at least half past five. They still had perhaps 3 or 4 hours until nightfall, and they had a good store of food saved up. With the creek nearby they had plenty of water. Despite being thoroughly exhausted thus far, they still wanted to continue expanding their skills--after all, they had made incredible progress thus far all things considered. Compared to living in the cave, struggling to survive, and constantly fighting for their lives, it seemed like working together, sharing their knowledge, and practicing in a secure environment was just as effective at leveling up.

However, how long could such a golden opportunity last?

Ash still wanted to learn Mana Slice and Shield. Torrent had taken to talking to Reoth in the tunnel in hopes of learning his Scale Shift ability. Oberon was still working on Sacred Ground--it seemed it was actually a fairly complex spell, as despite doing everything exactly as Digbie had it didn't seem to want to trigger. He drew the circles, he chanted, he tried to focus his Mana into the earth first by will alone, then by focusing on the flow going through his feet, then by placing both hands on the ground and trying to drive the Mana in. Digbie's natural affinity towards the earth--even before he had earned that Affinity skill--and his desperation to save Torrent in that terrible accident before, seemed to have greatly affected the skill's formation. Nonetheless, after much work Oberon DID get it to activate. Digbie also wanted to learn the Shield spell, and Mourningstar wanted the Demiblin's Stone Shot and Rock Spire. As Oberon was the only one who could use the Shield spell--like Ash he also wanted to learn Mana Slice--he was stuck as the only teacher this time around. Luckily, Digbie found that Shield was another boosted spell for him. And like Sacred Ground, it seemed it was especially well suited to the Skirmisher, which made sense if the Job was supposed to defend oneself and others.

Now Mourningstar took over as the only one of the group who had access to Mana Slice. She had been trying to make a proper sword using Mana Shape quite some time ago in the cave, and that experience had helped make the actual spell somewhat more concrete. Oberon, as usual, picked up the new spell quickly once he knew how Mana Shape played a part in its formation, and while Mana Dart didn't have an "edge" it still followed a similar principle of making a Mana Orb "sharp." Ash wasn't as experienced with Magic, but after what she had learned so far combined with her own analytic tendencies, she picked this up in due time. It wasn't as fast as Mana Orb, but it wasn't nearly as excruciating as learning Lesser Force had been either.

All that was left now was for Digbie to teach Mourningstar his two earthen spells. However, at this point the sun had set and the stars were beginning to come out. The group was absolutely exhausted--and had the System notices to prove it, unfortunately. But with their food and water supplies, and with a safe place to sleep during the night, surely it wouldn't hurt to keep going just a little longer. After all, all Digbie really had to do was teach Mourningstar how to channel her Mana into a rock, which Oberon could help with after his experiences with Sacred Ground. Once Earth Mana had been attained by infusing the stone, all you had to do was envision the use of Mana Orb, or just throw it as hard as possible. Eventually the skill would trigger. Using Rock Spire required a more fine-tuned manipulation of Earth Mana, sending it into the ground towards an opponent. Mourningstar was the only user of this technique so far who didn't also have the Tremor Sense skill, and as a result it took longer for her to get the hang of it. If it weren't for the Meditate skill, she likely wouldn't have been able to do it at all, as she had to take frequent breaks to recoup some of her MP.

While Mourningstar worked on these last two spells, despite being quite ready to get a good night's rest the others had some last minute things they wanted to attent to. Reoth, now feeling much better, wanted to learn Fire Breath from Torrent. Having no experience with magic, however, he had quite a bit of trouble with it--the best he seemed to be able to manage was getting a feel for his own mana flow, and forcing his breathing hard enough to make his throat slightly sore. Ash gathered wood, both for the firepit and for her own crafting efforts. Oberon attempted to achieve Lesser Force using Danny's advice from what seemed like quite long ago now, but with the sun having gone down his Mana recovery was much slower. Digbie began trying to use his new Mana Orb and Shield spells in conjunction with his Soil Manipulation, making various attempts to create some form of construct with Earth Mana for defensive purposes.

Now that Torrent had gained Scale Shift, she began practicing simply sneaking around the camp, occaisonally calling out to the others to see if they could find her. While doing so she also practiced using her Muffle skill in conjuction with the new technique. The already ninja-like lizard would soon be quite the shadow operative to reckon with.

As the moon now rose towards the middle of the night sky, however, the group could no longer push themselves. They had quite literally Overworked themselves to the point that, despite having available food and water and being able to recharge their Magic, they were simply too physically exhausted to continue. With their HP threatening to drain, they relieved themselves and filled their bellies one last time and went inside the shelter. It was a little bit packed--Digbie and Torrent hadn't had time to finish anything besides the first chamber--but thanks to the small fire Ash built and Torrent started, they were quite warm and able to lay down on beds of leaves and straw gathered from the forest.

They slept like the dead, completely unaware of anything outside their dreams.

When they awakened the next morning, they were well rested, but hunger and thirst again showed their heads. Out of their 15 Blue Argeps, 6 Topapos, however many Kele shoots Ash had brought back, they had (assumedly) made three meals yesterday. That meant 5 portions, then 6 after Reoth arrived, so this morning they had only 4 portions remaining not counting the Kele. ((You guys decide what combination/ratios of food you have left.)) They would need much more food if they were to keep working as hard as they did yesterday--and potentially, something more filling that might prevent their Stamina dropping as quickly. As Oberon and Mourningstar hadn't been able to procure any animal samples for yesterday either, it seemed they and the Pygmy Drake would likely resume their foraging duties...

But as everyone went out to the creek for water, they would hear a sudden rustling. Up near the top of the hill, barely silouhetted against the deep blue morning sky, was a Goblin! But it didn't look like any of the ones they had seen at the cave--not that they had looked very closely, but especially for Digbie its face didn't ring any bells at all--!

The lone Goblin took off, scrambling in a mad rush through the forest.

((The following System update is in no particular order, so they would have gotten the skills whenever the timing was appropriate.))

Skill Rank Up: Poison Spray I > II!
Initial Damage increased. Chance to Poison increased. Stamina Cost increased.

Skill Rank Up: Overwork II > Overwork III!
Stamina consumption remains the same. Self-Buff increased. When Stamina is fully consumed, this Skill will remain active by sacrificing HP automatically. It will replace HP Drain, but its HP consumption is higher than a normal HP Drain. It will automatically deactivate if the user has only 1 HP remaining.

Skill Rank Up: Magic Analysis I > Magic Analysis II!
Gain more detail about Magic oriented Skills and Spells. Lose less effectiveness when analyzing Monsters, Materials, etc so long as they are magically inclined.

Skill Rank Up: Monster Analysis I > II!
Gain more information about Monsters. Other analysis skills will further boost the information this skill provides, such as a creature’s capability with magic or its equipment.

Skill Gain: Meditate I!
By concentrating and calming oneself, increase the regeneration of Magic Power and Stamina. This skill cannot be used in battle. Any distractions in the environment will drastically decrease the effectiveness of this skill. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Poison Glob I!
Compare to Poison Spit/Spray: Projectile speed decreased. Projectile range slightly decreased. Acid Damage increased. Stamina consumption equal. Chance to inflict Poison equal.

Skill Gain: Poison Breath I!
-Though your poison gland is now located in your tail, your draconic physiology is specifically suited for breath weapons. This has also increased your Dragon Affinity.- Whether by magic or biology, produce fumes projected from the mouth. This skill deals very low acidic damage and has a lower chance to poison an enemy than most other poison-type skills due to its lower density, but is ranged and covers a small area of effect. The fumes have a small chance to linger in the effected area for a short time.

Skill Gain: Plant Analysis I!
Basic field knowledge of botany. At this rank, using this skill only grants you “generalized” information.

Skill Gain: Tremor Sense I!
You can feel vibrations through the earth within a 30 foot radius or so around you, whether they be footsteps, tunneling creatures, etc. You have already learned through your previous experimentation that you can also produce these vibrations to a very limited degree. This skill has to be Activated at this rank.

Skill Gain: Mana Orb I!
A simple blast of Energy elemental magic with a range of 30 feet. At the moment it only does as much damage as a strong punch on average, unless the enemy is weak to magic. As it gets stronger it becomes a generic, non-elemental energy blast. Due to its simple nature and lack of elemental properties the Mana Orb spell is easily malleable into other spell forms.

Skill Gain: Shield I!
The most basic of defensive support spells. An aura effect reduces incoming damage, but no physical barrier or counteractive forces are generated. Only natural resistances to damage are reinforced. Can be cast on objects.

Skill Gain: Mana Slice I!
A blade of magical energy made by shaping a normal Mana Orb to have an edge. It uses more MP but does Slashing damage and is generally faster.

Skill Gain: Mana Shape I!
You can shape your raw Mana into the appearance of something. At this rank, your Mana does not have weight, force, or other physical qualities. Your Mana cannot produce sounds. Your Mana cannot move freely. Your mana can have its color changed. Your shapes must be relatively simple with no moving parts. The shape cannot be held for long without more MP.

Skill Gain: Fusion Skill [Analysis]!
A Fusion Skill is not a true skill by itself, but a sort of shortcut. You have acquired Monster, Magic, Plant, and Material Analysis skills. By activating [Analysis] you will use all of these skills at once without as much mental effort. [Analysis] will not go up in Rank, but its effectiveness will increase if the Skills used for Fusion are increased. However, if only Analysis is used, the growth of the individual skills will not be as fast.

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 6! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max Stamina has Increased!

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 7! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max HP and MP have Increased!

Unspent Skill Points: 14

Current Skills:
Stun Stinger II (2.0)
Poison Spray II (2.0)
Alchemy II (2.5)
Overwork III (3.25)
Charisma I (1.6)
Venom Shot I (1.8)
Crafting I (1.25)
Lesser Force I (1.5)
Magic Analysis II (2.5)
Alert I (1.3)
Lesser Flight I (1.2)
Muffle I (1.5)
Monster Analysis II (2.0)
Material Analysis I (1.5)
Meditate I (1.7)
Poison Glob I (1.0)
Poison Breath I (1.0)
Plant Analysis I (1.0)
Tremor Sense I (1.0)
Mana Orb I (1.5)
Shield I (1.0)
Mana Slice I (1.5)
Mana Shape I (1.0)
Analysis (--)
<UNUSABLE>
Blunt Resistance (0.2)
Scribe (0.6)
Minor Heal (0.725)
Faster (0.1)
Intimidate (0.4)
Acid Volley (0.1)
Venom Claw (0.1)
Dragon Affinity (0.45) <CANNOT BE INCREASED WITH SKILL POINTS>
Rabid Fit (0.1)
System:Ash


Skill Rank Up: Tremor Sense II > Tremor Sense III!
Range has increased from 40 feet to 50 feet. When Passive, you will have a much more detailed perception of incoming vibrations. When used Actively, your Tremors cannot cause damage but can sometimes resonate with certain objects or other spells depending on various factors--for instance, setting off some sort of trap in your path. The Active use has an increased MP cost.

Skill Rank Up: Stone Shot I > Stone Shot II!
Earth Magic Damage Increased. Casting Speed Increased. Piercing Damage Increased. MP Consumption Increased.

Skill Gain: Meditate I!
By concentrating and calming oneself, increase the regeneration of Magic Power and Stamina. This skill cannot be used in battle. Any distractions in the environment will drastically decrease the effectiveness of this skill. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Earth Vein I!
By remaining still and in contact with the earth by at least two solid points of your body for a short amount of time, you can begin passively drawing Mana from the Earth to refill your MP. Moving other parts of your body can drastically decrease the effectiveness of this skill. This skill cannot be used in conjuction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Spell Chant I!
Magic is the unison of Nature, Spirit, and Will. Language is the expression of Will. Using personalized language as an aid in manipulating one's energy is the first step to conceptualization and understanding of what Magic truly is. Using a previously existing Spell Skill as the Base, you may enact one (1) alteration of the spell's typical qualities. You possess the skill Focus, which allows a spell to increase either its power or range in return for increased MP cost of 50% of its initial value and delayed casting time of 30 seconds. Spell Chants will also delay casting time by a default of 10 seconds, as any chant shorter than this will be ineffective. Skill Synergy between this skill and Focus will allow you to alter Power/Range + One (1) other spell quality, which may include Power or Range a second time. The more complex the chant, the greater the alteration, but also the greater the increase to MP cost; by default the spell's cost is increased by a further 50% of its initial value.

Skill Gain: Monster Analysis I!
Gain basic biological information about a Monster.

Skill Gain: Magic Analysis I!
You may now analyze magical energies or objects to learn their most basic magical characteristics. Less effective on Materials and Monsters unless they are magical in nature.

Skill Gain: Material Analysis I!
You have developed an eye for determining the qualities of inorganic or non-living objects. At this rank, you will only be able to gain surface information about an object. When used in conjunction with a crafting skill, it may help discover more compatible items.

Skill Gain: Plant Analysis I!
Basic field knowledge of botany. At this rank, using this skill only grants you “generalized” information.

Skill Gain: Mental Resistance I!
Take less damage from Psychic-type spells or skills, and have a better chance of resisting mind-altering effects such as Confusion or Hypnosis. This counts as an Elemental resistance for the purposes of Magic Resistance.

Skill Gain: Fortify I!
When creating something, especially a Structure of some type, you are able to imbue it with your own magic in order to strengthen its resilience. A piece of wood will not break so easily, a piece of stone will withstand weathering longer. With a better understanding of the Materials, or higher Crafting skills, this skill's effect is boosted.

Skill Gain: Mana Orb I!
A simple blast of Energy elemental magic with a range of 30 feet. At the moment it only does as much damage as a strong punch on average, unless the enemy is weak to magic. As it gets stronger it becomes a generic, non-elemental energy blast. Due to its simple nature and lack of elemental properties the Mana Orb spell is easily malleable into other spell forms.

Skill Gain: Shield I!
Skill Rank Up: Shield I > Shield II!
The most basic of defensive support spells. An aura effect reduces incoming damage, but no physical barrier or counteractive forces are generated. Only natural resistances to damage are reinforced. Can be cast on objects. >>> This defensive spell increases the target’s natural defenses through supernatural means. Skin and bone are not hardened, resistances are not increased, but they will take less damage. At Rank II, this spell will last for 1 minute if it is not broken by a stronger attack.

Skill Gain: Overwork I!
Push through, break the limit, and--probably need a nap later. When you really need it, you’re able to summon up just that little extra bit of power, at the cost of slowly stressing yourself to death. This skill will deactivate when Stamina runs out.

Skill Gain: Fusion Skill [Analysis]!
A Fusion Skill is not a true skill by itself, but a sort of shortcut. You have acquired Monster, Magic, Plant, and Material Analysis skills. By activating [Analysis] you will use all of these skills at once without as much mental effort. [Analysis] will not go up in Rank, but its effectiveness will increase if the Skills used for Fusion are increased. However, if only Analysis is used, the growth of the individual skills will not be as fast.

Skill Gain: Mana Affinity I!
You have developed a bond with Magic itself. At this rank, your Max MP is increased. Magic-related skills will develop more quickly. Increase the rank of your affinity by deepening your understanding of Magic.

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 6! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max Stamina has Increased! NOTE: You are very close to your next Level!

Unspent Skill Points: 5

Current Skills: Job - Skirmisher
**Use Light Equipment (--)
**Use Medium Equipment (0.1)
Tremor Sense III (3.2)
-Soil Manipulation II (2.8)
Stone Shot II (2.0)
Taboo I (1.0)
*Stronger I (1.5)
**Sacred Ground I (1.5)
Rock Spire I (1.5)
Earth Affinity I (1.15)
Meditate I (1.5)
Earth Vein I (1.7)
-Spell Chant I (1.0)
Monster Analysis I (1.0)
Material Analysis I (1.0)
Plant Analysis I (1.0)
*Mental Resistance I (1.0)
Fortify I (1.0)
*Mana Orb (1.5)
**Shield II (2.0)
Overwork I (1.75)
Mana Affinity I (1.0)
Analysis (--)
<UNUSABLE>
Quake (0.5)
Crafting (0.2)
*Point Strike (0.6)
*Smash (0.6)
Throw Item (0.2)
Charisma (0.1)
Guidance (0.1)
*Mana Strike (0.3)
Focus (0.1)
Stone Fist (0.6)
*Stone Breaker (0.2)
Intimidate (0.2)
-Scribe (0.2)
*Fire Resistance (0.3)
Demon Affinity (0.25)
Underground Movement (0.5)
**Earth Wall (0.8)
System:Digbie


Skill Rank Up: Mana Orb II > Mana Orb III!
Magic damage further increased. Range Increased. MP Cost slightly increased.

Skill Rank Up: Magic Analysis II > Magic Analysis III!
Gain more detail about observed magic skills, objects, etc. Lose less effectiveness when using this skill on other things, even if they aren’t magically inclined. When analyzing a spell you have seen at least one time before, you may learn information such as its element or function depending on various factors.

Skill Rank Up: Mana Shape I > Mana Shape II!
You may now produce more than one shape at a time (interlocking or separate), and these shapes may move. More complicated movement and higher numbers of shapes causes higher MP Drain. At this rank, your Mana still does not have weight, force, or other physical qualities. Your Mana cannot produce sounds. Your Mana cannot move freely. Your mana can have its color changed and can now be more than one solid color.

Skill Rank Up: Mana Slice I > Mana Slice II!
For the same MP cost, the crescent shaped magic blade now covers a larger 180 degree arc in front of you and can strike multiple targets as it surges forward. It still does the same damage and moves at the same speed.

Skill Gain: Meditate I!
Skill Rank Up: Meditate I > Meditate II!
By concentrating and calming oneself, increase the regeneration of Magic Power and Stamina. This skill cannot be used in battle. Any distractions in the environment will drastically decrease the effectiveness of this skill. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills. >>> Increase the amount of Mana recovered. Low background noises, movements, etc (comparable to the common room of an Inn, a busy street at the market, etc) will no longer decrease the effectiveness of this skill so long as the user maintains stillness and a calm state of mind. This skill still cannot be used while moving or in the midst of battle. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Mana Drain I!
You have experienced the flow of mana inside your own body, and felt the energy of other creatures being used upon you. Like siphoning water through a tube, this ability allows the user to draw the energies of others into themselves. By using Stamina, you will drain MP from an opponent and add it to your own. However, certain factors may come into play--you are not guaranteed to restore the exact same amount of MP that you drain. At this rank, in order to use this skill you must be touching the creature or object to be drained. While you are using this skill you cannot use any other spell or skill that is offensive in nature or requires complex movements.

Skill Gain: Mana Dart I!
A focused magic projectile that deals non-elemental Magic damage and Piercing Damage. Higher cost than Mana Orb but increased range, speed, and damage. However, its smaller size makes it less accurate.

Skill Gain: Fireball I!
The fire-themed version of a basic magical attack. With roughly the same power, range, and MP consumption as a Mana Orb, it has the unique property of being able to inflict a burn on the target. However, as an elemental spell, these same properties render it harder to use in certain circumstances. Non-flammable or elementally opposed targets, for example, will be much less effected.

Skill Gain: Shield I!
The most basic of defensive support spells. An aura effect reduces incoming damage, but no physical barrier or counteractive forces are generated. Only natural resistances to damage are reinforced. Can be cast on objects.

Skill Gain: Overwork I!
Skill Rank Up: Overwork I > Overwork II!
Push through, break the limit, and--probably need a nap later. When you really need it, you’re able to summon up just that little extra bit of power, at the cost of slowly stressing yourself to death. This skill will deactivate when Stamina runs out. >>> Stamina consumption increased. Self-Buff increased. When Stamina is fully consumed, this Skill can be kept active by sacrificing HP. This skill will automatically deactivate when HP reaches dangerously low levels.

LEVEL UP! Your combined experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 6! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max Stamina has Increased!

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 7! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max HP and MP have increased!

Unspent Skill Points: 14

Current Skills:
Mana Orb III (3.0)
Lesser Force III (3.0125)
Levitation (--)
Magic Analysis III (3.0)
Mana Shape II (2.5)
Mana Slice II (2.0)
Monster Analysis II (2.5)
Focus I (1.1)
Taboo I (1.3)
Meditate II (2.0)
Mana Drain (1.0)
Mana Dart (1.0)
Fireball (1.0)
Shield I (1.0)
Overwork II (2.0)
<UNUSABLE>
Muffle (0.5)
Smash (0.2)
Defender (0.2)
Deception (0.3)
Charisma (0.35)
Blunt Resistance (0.2)
Mental Resistance (0.5)
Point Strike (0.1)
Fire Resistance (0.2)
Rabid Fit (0.1)
Dextrous (0.3)
Suppress Presence (0.6)
Crafting (0.1)
Blood Drain (0.9)
Intimidate (0.2)
Alert (0.5)
Keen Sight (0.2)
Plant Analysis (0.6)
Material Analysis (0.6)
System:Mourningstar


Skill Rank Up: Minor Heal II > Minor Heal III!
MP Cost increased. HP Heal increased. Healing can now be used on deeper wounds, but is still less effective on bones. As an Active Spell Skill, you may use any rank of this spell you are capable of within the limits of your MP.

Skill Rank Up: Shield III > Shield IV!
MP Cost slightly increased. The aura effect encompasses the target's entire body and what they have on their person, possibly increasing the ability of shields or armor, unless otherwise shaped. Shaping the aura no longer applies the Shield spell on that one part--rather, the effect of the Shield that would normally be spread across the body is now concentrated, greatly increasing the effect applied on that shape. Defenses are further increased. Lasts for 2 minutes or until broken by significant damage.

Skill Rank Up: Mana Orb I > Mana Orb II!
Magic Damage Increased. MP Cost Increased.

Skill Rank Up: Mana Shape I > Mana Shape II!
You may now produce more than one shape at a time (interlocking or separate), and these shapes may move. More complicated movement and higher numbers of shapes causes higher MP Drain. At this rank, your Mana still does not have weight, force, or other physical qualities. Your Mana cannot produce sounds. Your Mana cannot move freely. Your mana can have its color changed and can now be more than one solid color.

Skill Rank Up: Meditate I > Meditate II!
Skill Rank Up: Meditate II > Meditate III!
Increase the amount of Mana recovered. Low background noises, movements, etc (comparable to the common room of an Inn, a busy street at the market, etc) will no longer decrease the effectiveness of this skill so long as the user maintains stillness and a calm state of mind. This skill still cannot be used while moving or in the midst of battle. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills. >>> Increase the amount of Mana recovered. The decrease suffered from distraction remains the same as Rank II. This skill may be used while moving in a slow, relaxed fashion, such as while walking or bathing. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Gather Light I!
Under full sunlight, convert solar energy to Mana. You may move at a slow, relaxed pace while using this skill. Any blockage of sunlight will immediately cancel this skill, and it may not be used in conjunction with Active skills. Its Mana Recovery is slightly slower than Meditate.

Skill Gain: Fireball I!
The fire-themed version of a basic magical attack. With roughly the same power, range, and MP consumption as a Mana Orb, it has the unique property of being able to inflict a burn on the target. However, as an elemental spell, these same properties render it harder to use in certain circumstances. Non-flammable or elementally opposed targets, for example, will be much less effected.

Skill Gain: Plant Analysis I!
Basic field knowledge of botany. At this rank, using this skill only grants you “generalized” information.

Skill Gain: Material Analysis I!
You have developed an eye for determining the qualities of inorganic or non-living objects. At this rank, you will only be able to gain surface information about an object. When used in conjunction with a crafting skill, it may help discover more compatible items.

Skill Gain: Sacred Ground I!
By marking an area on the ground, you channel your Mana to boost the natural properties of the earth and create a safe zone for anyone who enters it. At this rank, HP will recover slowly for those you deem allies, and damage taken from enemies outside the zone will slightly decrease. This Spell consumes MP for as long as it is active. The larger the created zone, the more MP required.

Skill Gain: Mana Slice I!
A slashing wave of projected mana--essentially, a Mana Orb that has gained the Slashing property. It consumes the same amount of MP as a Mana Orb spell of equal rank, and moves faster, but its damage is split between Slash and Non-Elemental Magic. Resistances and Defenses of the target will apply for each type.

Skill Gain: Overwork I!
Push through, break the limit, and--probably need a nap later. When you really need it, you’re able to summon up just that little extra bit of power, at the cost of slowly stressing yourself to death. This skill will deactivate when Stamina runs out.

Skill Gain: Fusion Skill [Analysis]!
A Fusion Skill is not a true skill by itself, but a sort of shortcut. You have acquired Monster, Magic, Plant, and Material Analysis skills. By activating [Analysis] you will use all of these skills at once without as much mental effort. [Analysis] will not go up in Rank, but its effectiveness will increase if the Skills used for Fusion are increased. However, if only Analysis is used, the growth of the individual skills will not be as fast.

LEVEL UP! Your combined experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 6! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max Stamina has Increased!

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 7! You gain Skill Points to use as you please! Your Max HP and MP have increased!

Unspent Skill Points: 17

Current Skills:
Minor Heal III (3.0)
Lesser Flight II (2.55)
Shield IV (4.0)
Magic Analysis IV (4.15)
Mana Orb II (2.5)
Mana Shape II (2.5)
Lesser Status Heal (1.2)
Mana Dart I (1.5)
Alert I (1.2)
Monster Analysis II (2.4)
Meditation III (3.0)
Light Ring I (1.2)
Gather Light I (1.6)
Fireball I (1.5)
Plant Analysis I (1.0)
Material Analysis I (1.0)
Sacred Ground I (1.0)
Mana Slice I (1.0)
Overwork I (1.75)
<UNUSABLE>
Focus (0.8)
Mental Resistance (0.9)
Wall (0.1)
Faster (0.4)
Minor Regeneration (0.6)
Charisma (0.9)
Keen Sight (0.6)
Spiritual Awareness (0.4)
Minor Heal All (0.5)
Light Affinity (0.75)
Fire Resistance (0.2)
Spell Chant (0.5)
System:Oberon


((Assuming someone may teach Reoth how to check his Skill List, just so you know progress is being made))
Skill Gain: Suppress Presence I!
While Muffle and some other skills physically reduce one's conspicuousness with physical attributes, Suppress Presence uses MP to "hide" one's self. The closest comparison to this phenomenon is how a meek or shy person can seemingly disappear in a crowd. You become less noticeable--if they aren't looking directly at you, others may feel that you are blurry and out of focus, or you may disappear from their peripheral vision. While moving this effect is noticeably decreased, unless one has other Stealth skills that can synergize with it.

Skill Gain: Scale Shift I!
A unique skill learned by many Reptile-class monsters. Using their Stamina to create structural changes that affect how light reflects off their scales, they are able to change the color of their bodies to either blend into the environment, or intimidate opponents. Other skills related to either of these things will synergize. At this rank, you may only change into one solid color based on something you are touching.

Current Skills:
Stun Fang I (1.2)
Poison Spit I (1.8)
Crafting I (1.4)
Charisma I (1.0)
Muffle I (1.6)
Suppress Presence I (1.1)
Scale Shift I (1.6)

<UNUSABLE>
Faster I (0.3)
Mental Resistance I (0.1)
Counter I (0.1)
Monster Analysis I (0.4)
Magic Analysis I (0.2)
Fortify I (0.2)
Plant Analysis I (0.3)
Keen Ear I (0.3)
Keen Eye I (0.3)
Alert I (0.2)
Slash Resistance (0.3)
Fire Breath (0.5)
System:Reoth


Skill Rank Up: Poison Spit I > Poison Spit II!
Initial Damage increased. Chance to Poison increased. Stamina Cost increased.

Skill Rank Up: Muffle II > Muffle III!
The sounds of your movements are completely silent so long as you are moving slowly or at walking pace. At running speed, the sounds are noticeably reduced. When using Skills or Spells, any sounds created are slightly reduced.

Skill Rank Up: Posion Breath I > Poison Breath II!
Instead of only covering an area immediately around you, the fumes can now be focused into a cone in front of you. Your range is roughly 10 feet. This skill has roughly the same Stamina Cost as Poison Glob, but its damage depends on the target's range. A target at the edges of the cone will take the same damage they would from Poison Spit I, whereas one that is in the center and close to you will take a fair amount more. The fumes now linger for a full minute.

Skill Rank Up: Fireball I > Fireball II!
MP Cost slightly increased. Fire Damage increased. The spell now explodes on contact, dealing slight Area of Effect damage to targets immediately next to the origin. The chance to inflict a burn remains the same as Rank I.

Skill Gain: Meditate I!
By concentrating and calming oneself, increase the regeneration of Magic Power and Stamina. This skill cannot be used in battle. Any distractions in the environment will drastically decrease the effectiveness of this skill. This skill cannot be used in conjunction with other Active skills.

Skill Gain: Tremor Sense I!
You can feel vibrations through the earth within a 30 foot radius or so around you, whether they be footsteps, tunneling creatures, etc. You have already learned through your previous experimentation that you can also produce these vibrations to a very limited degree. This skill has to be Activated at this rank.

Skill Gain: Soil Manipulation I!
An Earth Elemental Magic Spell. At this Rank, you may move up to 5 pounds of loose soil (sand, dirt, and powdered minerals, but not gravel, pebbles, or anything made of larger fragments) freely within a 10 foot radius around your body. Using this soil to create a shape or exert a larger amount of force consumes more MP, and takes 30 seconds at minimum. At this rank, created shapes cannot consist of more than one part, or be more complex than quadrilateral structures. At this rank, created shapes cannot change the quality of the soil (sharper, harder, etc) nor its color or texture.

Skill Gain: Underground Movement I!
A skill gained by becoming strong or skilled enough to rapidly tunnel through the earth. You may now move underground at the same speed as you could walk above it. The speed of a brisk pace makes the earth more likely to collapse around you, and the deeper you go the slower your movements will become. At a range of about 1-3 feet below the earth, your movements will still be visible to those on the surface much like a mole's run.

Skill Gain: Monster Analysis I!
Gain basic biological information about a Monster.

Skill Gain: Magic Analysis I!
You may now analyze magical energies or objects to learn their most basic magical characteristics. Less effective on Materials and Monsters unless they are magical in nature.

Skill Gain: Material Analysis I!
You have developed an eye for determining the qualities of inorganic or non-living objects. At this rank, you will only be able to gain surface information about an object. When used in conjunction with a crafting skill, it may help discover more compatible items.

Skill Gain: Plant Analysis I!
Basic field knowledge of botany. At this rank, using this skill only grants you “generalized” information.

Skill Gain: Scale Shift I!
Skill Gain: Scale Shift I!
A unique skill learned by many Reptile-class monsters. Using their Stamina to create structural changes that affect how light reflects off their scales, they are able to change the color of their bodies to either blend into the environment, or intimidate opponents. Other skills related to either of these things will synergize. At this rank, you may only change into one solid color based on something you are touching.

Skill Gain: Overwork I!
Push through, break the limit, and--probably need a nap later. When you really need it, you’re able to summon up just that little extra bit of power, at the cost of slowly stressing yourself to death. This skill will deactivate when Stamina runs out.

Skill Gain: Fusion Skill [Analysis]!
A Fusion Skill is not a true skill by itself, but a sort of shortcut. You have acquired Monster, Magic, Plant, and Material Analysis skills. By activating [Analysis] you will use all of these skills at once without as much mental effort. [Analysis] will not go up in Rank, but its effectiveness will increase if the Skills used for Fusion are increased. However, if only Analysis is used, the growth of the individual skills will not be as fast.

Skill Gain: Mental Resistance I!
Take less damage from Psychic-type spells or skills, and have a better chance of resisting mind-altering effects such as Confusion or Hypnosis. This counts as an Elemental resistance for the purposes of Magic Resistance.

LEVEL UP! Your learning experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 7! You gain Skill Points to distribute as you please! Your Stamina has increased!

Unspent Skill Points: 9

Current Skills:
Stun Fang II (2.3)
Muffle III (3.0)
Poison Spit II (2.0)
Poison Glob I (1.75)
Poison Breath II (2.0)
Fireball II (2.0)
Stealth Kill I (1.0)
Minor Recovery I (1.0)
Fire Resistance I (1.0)
Fire Breath I (1.5)
Rabid Fit I (1.0)
Meditate I (1.25)
Tremor Sense I (1.7)
Soil Manipulation I (1.0)
Underground Movement I (1.5)
Monster Analysis I (1.0)
Magic Analysis I (1.0)
Material Analysis I (1.0)
Plant Analysis I (1.0)
Scale Shift I (1.25)
Overwork I (1.0)
Analysis (--)
Mental Resistance I (1.2)
<UNUSABLE>
Crafting (0.2)
Alchemy (0.4)
Alert (0.4)
Warcry (0.3)
Poison Fang (0.3)
Blunt Resistance (0.5)
Smash (0.2)
Magic Break (0.1)
Suppress Presence (0.2)
Spiritual Awareness (0.4)
Prehensile Tail (0.1)
Spell Cancel (0.1)
Fortify (0.5)
System:Torrent
Ardur, Asteria, Asura, Danny, Jason, Mother Slime

Asteria shouted at the two battling slimes, trying her best to get them to listen for just a moment. If she could buy some time maybe Ardur and Danny would chip in...

As Asura avoided the Poison Spit, he split his body into four separate tendrils. As he hardened their tips and began to lash out, he could feel the strain on his body from pushing his Limited Shapeshift and Slime Whip skills further.

When Ardur attempted to calm Mother Slime, she gurgled something unintelligible. As the pixie took to the air she continued on her path, flopping up to the top of the earthen ridge.

Jason tried to digest the dead Dire Rat as Asteria was shouting, and by the time Asura split up and Ardur took flight he had only managed to eat a "hand"ful of the monster's flesh. With Asura's attack incoming he tried to read every movement of the other slime. But despite his experience in the past, he was no longer fighting humans. Trying to apply his knowledge of body movement to a slime--who did not truly have muscles that "pushed and pulled" or contracted, at least so far as was visible to one who hadn't studied them all that long--gave him little ability to predict any of the tendril's movements. The first tendril thrust out and stuck Jason's side with a painful squelch.

Without actually using Tremor Sense, Jason wasn't able to read any vibrations from Asura. Maybe if he were fighting something that had heavy footsteps or had some kind of ground-slamming attack this would have worked, but two relatively light slimes shaping their bodies to attack each other didn't create the kinds of "vibrations" through the dirt and stone that could be accurately read by normal senses.

The second tendril pierced Jason's gelatin hide.

By this point Jason had stopped reading and started reacting. The third strike glanced off his rocky scales with no harm done. But when he tried to hop backward, he found that enveloping the Dire Rat made him heavy--Slimes could consume their prey whole, but the digestion process took some time. If he intended to sit on top of the rat and steadily eat away at it, he would end up as a sitting duck. However, as Asura's slash from the fourth tendril struck him, it didn't really "cut" Jason so much as drag across him like someone trying to scratch with their fingernails--Asura's tendrils were too divided, and unlike a metal blade lacked a stiff "spine" and the weight necessary to render a real cut.

Ardur, bursting into flame as he finished his chant and cast two different spells upon himself, dropped down between the slimes. He was aiming to interrupt their attacks, but his chant and the build up of power he required cost him the majority of that opportunity. Still, before Asura could do anything else the now-flaming pixie landed on two of the tendrils suspended between him and Jason. Once again it seemed like the Fireball was trying to feed on Ardur's Shield for fuel, and though he could feel a rising heat all over his body the flames hadn't harmed him yet. They seared Asura's extended limbs, however, causing a pinkish mist to rise from the red goo as Asura would no doubt jerk them back on reflex.

However, one of the tendrils that had pierced Jason sprouted four malformed fingers and tried to grab at something inside the slime. As Jason settled down to attempt Meditation while Ardur lectured the two of them, Asura managed to grab onto to just one thing--and violently rip it out. One of Jason's Healing Herbs had been stolen!

The Fanged Lizards stopped shooting, but looked extremely uneasy...

Jason could feel the barest trickle of energy around him--but while he was groping for the Healing Herb inside himself and then consuming it while also observing what was going on around him in the midst of battle, he couldn't draw that energy into himself...

And while he was attempting to do all of these things at once, while Ardur was talking so much, while Asura was attacking so much--

Mother Slime had not been idle.

Having rolled into a tightly compressed ball, she used a pseudopod to push against the ground and launch herself down the slope. Spinning faster and faster she had barreled towards the slimes, and as she reached top speed it looked like she might crash into everyone in the general area--

But as she extended another pseudopod underneath her, a rubbery sproing could be heard, much like what she herself had witnessed during her earlier encounter with Jason. It wasn't a true "bounce" but it got her into the air--and with her speed she was able to launch over the "flatter" Asura (whose mass was naturally more spread out" and past the skinnier-framed Ardur, right over Jason.

Another pseudopod extended--and as her ball-form made one last rotation, it seemed like she was channeling all of that momentum into it. This limb seemed more like her entire body being forced in one direction, like a burlap sack full of bricks swung around one's head.

She didn't know much aside from what Asura had taught her, but she had tried to think about it. She tried to hit that Skeleblin but it kept dodging her. She hit the ground that one time. She tried to hit Jason before but he Bounced. She had tried to push really hard to roll this time. And she wasn't sure what all of this was bubbling up, but it felt like some of the memories Asura had showed her and she thought it might be called "mad."

That red glow from her center burst into crackling power, just like Asura had taught her.

"'MASH!"

Jason was literally flattened as the softer ground underneath him immediately gave way--it wasn't that solid stone had shattered to produce a crater, but the dirt here had been constantly upturned by digging creatures. Some of these tunnels partially collapsed, creating a small sinkhole as Momma Slime rolled on past, coming to a stop at the base of the slope on the other side of the "arena." If they ever had television in his little chunk of Africa, Jason might now know what the Looney Toons felt like after getting hit by a truck.

You have no MP remaining.
System:Ardur


You have no Stamina remaining. You may experience HP Drain if you do not rest soon.
System:Asura


You used Monster Analysis II! This is a spell, not a Monster, but a Monster is using it. Effectiveness reduced to 45%.
---Ardur---
This is a Pixie you have come to know as Ardur. A tiny humanoid Fey-type Monster. While somewhat intelligent and quite territorial, they lack empathy towards one another even compared to beasts like Goblins. Pixies seem to understand some forms of speech or communication but negotiating with them is often a matter of bribery. Capable of flight and healing magic, but not physically strong or skilled enough to use fight or use weapons well. If pixies who happen to get along well are fought as a group, the battle can be quite difficult as they will consistently heal and buff each other with their spells. You know that Ardur is a fellow Reincarnator and thus does not behave as normal pixies. Ardur seems to be using his natural Shield Spell along with a Fireball spell to try and achieve something else, and is attempting to increase the power of the spells somehow.
---Analysis Complete!---

Skill Gain: Magic Analysis I!
You may now analyze Magical energies or objects to learn their most basic magic characteristics. Less effective on Materials and Monsters unless they are magical in nature.
Danny


You are experiencing HP Drain.
You are still Well-Fed but you need time to rest.
You are experiencing HP Drain.
A Healing Herb has been removed from inventory.
You recovered a small amount of HP.
You are experiencing HP Drain.
You still have no MP Remaining.

WARNING! YOUR HP IS LOW!
System:Jason



Ed, Mother Rat

When Ed spoke, Mother Rat stopped squeaking. As he sat there just trying to overcome the soreness in his body--which, now that he could stop and breathe again, was beginning to fade--the Dire Rat scampered down from his shoulder to sit on the branch in front of him. She tilted her head this way and that as she looked at him, then sniffed at him with a "squeak?"

Finally she huffed, apparently satisfied that he was okay. She looked back towards the gaping cave mouth...Asteria still hadn't returned yet. Then she glanced towards the Goblins. It looked like that duel between the female and the red tattooed one was still going, but both of them had taken a few hits at this point...

Still, the rest of the greenskins watched, transfixed. If Ed perhaps wanted to get away from the cave entirely, this would be a good chance...but would Asteria be able to find them again if they left her behind?


Ash, Digbie, Mourningstar, Oberon, Torrent

You used Monster Analysis I! You used Magic Analysis I! Effectiveness boosted!
---Digbie---
This is a new monster to you! This is a former Goblin you know as Digbie. Digbie is now a Demiblin. Demiblins are Goblins that have been influenced by demonic energies, often committing acts that even make their brethren pause or else have been influenced by a greater demonic being. They are roughly the same size as normal goblins but tend towards the taller and more muscular side of the average. Their skin darkens until it becomes almost ink black, and they often develop strange magical sigils on their skin. They show increased aptitude for magic. Digbie is a fellow Reincarnator like you. There is something off about him, but oh well. Digbie has gained the Stone-Hardened variance, imbuing him with powers of the Earth element. He has also gained the Mystic variance, imbuing him with powers of pure Mana. Digbie has several magical skills, almost all of them associated with the Earth element, and much higher MP than usual for a Goblin--in fact, his MP is a fair deal greater than your own. He has just cast some form of healing and protecting Earth spell.
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Ash

---Job System---
You have selected Skirmisher as your Job class.

Skirmisher - Skirmishers are those among primitive creatures and tribes who are considered among the warriors, but aren't quite so foolish or aggressive. They know the best way to win a fight is to survive it, thus they focus on defending and supporting their allies in ways that will keep their side alive longer. Sometimes they even learn magic to help this. Skills with * are boosted by the Job's focus, skills with - are instead hindered.

Skill Suitability:
**Use Light Equipment (Skill cannot be boosted normally, progress towards Use Medium Equipment Increased)
Tremor Sense II
-Soil Manipulation II
Stone Shot I
Taboo I
*Stronger I
**Sacred Ground I
Rock Spire I
Earth Affinity I
<UNUSABLE>
Quake
Crafting
Fortify
*Point Strike
*Smash
Throw Item
Monster Analysis
Charisma
Guidance
*Mental Resistance
*Mana Strike
Focus
Stone Fist
*Stone Breaker
-Spell Chant
Intimidate
-Scribe
*Fire Resistance
Demon Affinity
Mana Affinity

Equipment Suitability:
Woodland Pickaxe
-Curved Rock
N/A Ratskin Pack
N/A Torrent's Burnt Skin

Job Suggestions:
One handed weapons and shields allow for a defensive fighting style
Healing magic improves survivability
Protective armor improves survivability
System:Digbie

Skill Gain: Light Ring I!
A basic light element spell. It has the same MP cost as Mana Orb but has a shorter range; however, rather than moving in a straight line, this ring of light spins along an arcing path covering 180 degrees in front of the caster. It can hit multiple targets along this path, however after each successful hit its power decreases. It deals Light Magic Damage, which burns but cannot CAUSE a Burn effect.

You used Monster Analysis I! You used Magic Analysis IV! Effectiveness boosted!
---Digbie---
This is a new monster to you! This is a former Goblin you know as Digbie. Digbie is now a Demiblin. Demiblins are Goblins that have been influenced by demonic energies, often committing acts that even make their brethren pause or else have been influenced by a greater demonic being. They are roughly the same size as normal goblins but tend towards the taller and more muscular side of the average. Their skin darkens until it becomes almost ink black, and they often develop strange magical sigils on their skin. They show increased aptitude for magic. Digbie is a fellow Reincarnator like you. There is something off about him, but oh well. Digbie has gained the Stone-Hardened variance, imbuing him with powers of the Earth element. He has also gained the Mystic variance, imbuing him with powers of pure Mana. Because of his Earth Affinity, Digbie has a vulnerability to Wind, Ice, and Metal. Because of his Mana Affinity, Digbie has a vulnerability to Taint. Because of his Demon Affinity, Digbie has a vulnerability to Holy, but it is very low because his Demon Affinity has not yet activated. His Earth elemental spells are strong against Fire, Wind, and Wood.

Digbie has several magical skills, almost all of them associated with the Earth element, and much higher MP than usual for a Goblin--in fact, his MP is almost as high as yours. He has just cast some form of healing and protecting spell that requires a designated circular area. Digbie possesses the following spells:
Stone Shot - an offensive spell of the Earth element that requires throwable stones as ammunition.
Tremor Sense - a utility Earth spell that allows the user to feel vibrations in the earth and project them at higher ranks.
Soil Manipulation - a utility Earth spell that allows the user to manipulate loose earth telekinetically.
Sacred Ground - a supportive and defensive Earth spell that creates a safe zone, healing and protecting the self and allies.
Rock Spire - an offensive spell of the Earth element that creates a sharp spire of rock beneath a foe.
Earth Affinity - increases the ability to learn Earth skills, and at higher ranks increases their power while decreasing MP/SP costs, but also makes the user vulnerable to elemental weaknesses.

Digbie is developing, but has not activated, several spells:
Quake, Mana Strike, Focus, Stone Fist, Stone Breaker, Spell Chant, and Scribe
---Analysis Complete!---

Skill Rank Up: Monster Analysis I > Monster Analysis II!
Gain more biological information about monsters.
System:Oberon


As the party searched further upstream for a likely place to make their shelter, they found the forest ground becoming steeper and rockier. They were still firmly within the trees, as those that managed to find purchase in the rougher ground had done so long ago, and were of an age when their trunks were broad enough a grown man could scarcely put his arms about them. Their branches were thick with green and stretched wide, creating a canopy that let only the barest golden glimmers of sunlight touch the ground. The Rubber Frogs they left behind began a croaky song once they were out of sight, but the old growling codger in its hole never gave them another notice.

They came to a place where the little creek tried its best imitation of a waterfall, over little rocks piled in its path. Their larger stone cousins were planted all 'round the left side of the stream, and further on the group could see that the slopes and rocks would soon increase and they would be leaving the forest and heading into the mountains. So as to stay within the cover of the brush they would stop here.

Upon each side of the creek two larger rocks looked as if they had rolled down the mountainside long ago, and now sat having built packed beds of earth at their bases with blankets of moss draped round their craggy shoulders. They were leaned so that their tops touched one another, and through the little doorway betwixt them the creek spilled on down towards that little waterfall and then further back.

The right side of the creek was not so rocky as the left, and though the slope was still steep this would be good given the group's plans to dig out a shelter. The slope would keep the water from rising too much but they would be within a stone's throw of fresh water so long as the creek didn't dry up.

As Oberon continued to practice with Light Ring, it turned out chucking it like a frisbee wasn't such an idiotic move after all. With a distinct hum the disc flew threw the air as if Oberon were some kind of warrior princess with a ridiculous battle cry, and made a mathematically perfect 180 degree arc in front of him. But just before he could catch the ring like a boomerang, it seemed to have fizzled out and disappeared before reaching him. The trees that it struck along its path, however, had a chunk of their bark burned and cracked away.

When he and Ash both scanned Digbie they gained quite the wealth of information about the Demiblin, but Digbie himself gained some interesting insights about the Job System once he had decided he wanted to be a skirmisher. As the strange words played out before him on the mental "screen," he also felt as if he could see a sort of vision in the background--that of a Demiblin wielding a crudely made wooden shield and a one handed club with bones tied to it by vines, standing above other Demiblins and shouting. Its shouts rallied their spirits and healed their wounds, then it jumped down and waded into the fray itself, using its shield to protect itself and its allies. It was almost kind of knight-like, especially with that too-big, bovine-esque skull dangling over its head like a helmet.

Torrent would come upon the stones, tiny waterfall, and gentle earthen slopes upstream of the creek earlier than the others would. She could see that it would be quite easy to start digging into the hill, but if she wanted to make a space of significant size she might need something to help reinforce the tunnels. After all, she didn't want a repeat of what had happened when her pond tunnel caved in.
@Rune_Alchemist@Old Amsterdam@Gardevoiran@King Cosmos@Floodtalon

Digging a cave with multiple rooms, especially if one is meant to be large and open as a training area, will require some method of bracing the tunnels and ceiling. Given the environment that pretty much means wood, unless you guys want to try having Digbie chant his Rock Spire enough to make it longer and thus establish stone pillars. Otherwise, what would be your attempted methods of gathering trees/wood?
Ardur, Asteria, Asura, Danny, Jason, Momma Slime

In attempting to push Jason, Asura hadn't moved quite far enough. One of the Lizards' spit struck him, but though he felt the burn no poison notice ever triggered--for now the damaging status effect hadn't triggered. The longer he stayed in this position, however, the worse it might soon get for him. Then again, Ardur had arrived...

Jason tried to use Asura's momentum to aid his own attack, and as he hurled his mass at the rodent it seemed the two would clash in mid-air. However, long ago the Demon King had told the group that Dire Rats, as Beast-type monsters, had superior physical abilities--with this agility, the rat twisted in the air, and Jason collided with it. He felt something crunch under his blow. He had certainly inflicted heavy damage. But he also felt a sharp pain in his side as the rat sank its fangs into him, gouging out the green gooey flesh.

When they landed the rat let go and gave a short-lived squeal as Jason's weight bore down upon it. What had cracked before now broke, and the Dire Rat was left lifeless. Jason's HP, however, had been whittled down that much more.

You are experiencing HP Drain. You must rest to recover stamina.
System:Jason


What was more, his telepathic order to the lizards did not succeed, giving him only a crackle of mental static. Despite his connection to the dungeon core, he had never touched these particular lizards and used his Telepathy on them. So he could not use Telepathy II to contact them at range in order to give them non-verbal orders.

The lizards spat two more poisonous blobs at Asura, once again trying to pincer him from both sides...

With Asteria, Ardur, Momma Slime, and Danny all present now, this situation wasn't looking good for Jason even if some of them would rather remain neutral. Momma Slime, upon seeing Jason, compressed herself with a low gurgle almost like a growl. A hint of red became visible within her membrane, and as Asteria begged for an end to the fighting the blue blob started to edge closer to the earthen mounds...


Ed, Mother Rat

When Ed, overcome by either fear or a desire to finally be free of this wretched cave, headed for the entrance Mother Rat squeaked in distress. She looked back towards the direction where Asteria had gone, then towards Ed's rapidly moving figure. Turning a small circle, she then squatted down and left a rather strong scent for Asteria to follow. Then, shaking off her hindquarters, she struck out after Ed.

Ed, realizing the goblins weren't looking their way at all, bolted for the other end of the clearing. Mother Rat followed him, and as his momentum carried him partially up the side of a tree she soon did the same. At one point Ed's speed wasn't enough to overcome gravity, and after "running in place" vertically for a second or two he started to slide back down--only for Mother Rat to halt her own momentum by accidentally slamming into him from behind. The jolt back upward allowed his paws to get a hold of the bark. Mother Rat landed with a whuffling sound, shook her head back and forth, then once again followed the younger dire rodent. In this comical fashion the two rats made their way up the tree, nestling in a hollowed crook where one large branch extended from the main trunk, then split into two more branches.

When Ed suddenly passed out, he started to slip towards the side of the branch. With an uttered meep, Mother Rat grabbed him by the scruff of the neck with her jaws and hauled him back into the hollow space. Squriming around for a few moments, she finally sat on him decisively much as she once had her pups.

This pack...was rather strange. Why had one of her offspring not gone on to hunt alone? How had her offspring matured so quickly? It should have taken at least another few weeks. And why was this male so unaggressive towards them? She did not mind in the grand scheme of things. Packs were convenient when there were enough resources--numbers aided survival. And this male and her offspring were unusually courageous for rats, having protected and aided her in the past. This pack worked well.

Underneath her, Ed's skeleton gave a series of pops.

Ed could see EVERYTHING.

Not in crystal clarity, of course. But he drifted upwards, out of his body, rising high enough that he could look out across the forest. He could see the mountains stretching far into the distance both north and south, forming a wall between two lands. He could see the forest stretching on for miles to the east, broken by a series of square clearings where a large house of stone and wood and thatch, with various smaller buildings around it, sat calmly puffing smoke. To the south, a vast grassland stretched for what seemed like eternity, but it seemed that even looking that far cause the sun to grow brighter and hotter...

He could see the sunlight reflecting off of something, south of the forest but east of the plains, yet before her eyes could adjust she was rising higher. Now he saw a river further north, spilling out of the mountains and heading into the distance. He rose higher, drifting through clouds that stretched over the cave and further beyond, over curling smoke trails and unnaturally shaped structures of wood and stone that could only be civilization. Somewhere to the east, a large body of water sat glimmering with the bright morning rays of the sun.

He rose higher. To the south beyond the grassland, deserts and canyons, windstorms sweeping over the dunes. Further to the east, a bright light cutting a path to safety for those in need of guidance. Over the mountains, to the southwest, a grand city stretching for miles. Still in the west, but far further north, a tower like a mighty tree reaching up to the heavens with roots stretching deep, deep into the earth. So far to the east that it became west again, a lonely, cold, desolate island where red lightning split the sky. Further beyond that, marshlands and mountains and untamed, wild lands.

He rose higher. A world, a planet, rotated thousands of miles an hour, yet from this distance appeared as no more than a soap bubble, as if it would pop if he but brushed a fingertip against it. The city lured him, cried out for him. The island's red skies held him in sway.

Then he began to plummet, and somehow he felt as if a great pair of doors leading to unknown wonder were opening up to receive him...

Mother Rat looked down when she felt Ed shift underneath her belly. With a jerk his limbs suddenly shot out rigid. Again his body gave a series of cracks and pops. Every muscle drew tight. His tail lashed reflexively, and Mother Rat ducked her head to one side as the powerfully muscled limb thumped against the side of the tree. Beginning to worry, she used one paw to pat Ed's head, but he did not wake up. His body now curled up, as if he were on all fours, but his arms and legs were...twisting and creaking.

Mother Rat peered over the edge of the branches and through the foilage. The goblins were still not paying attention to them. Asteria had still not returned. She looked back at Ed, who now seemed to have grown larger. She reared up onto her hind legs, rubbing her cheeks and ears in worry. When Ed's mouth opened, not of his own volition, as his snout changed size and the orientation of his head on his neck snapped into a different configuration, she began to squeak in fast, high pitched tones. The only thing she knew to do with pups was to protect them, feed them, and keep them warm. Using her entire body weight--as Ed had now outgrown her just as Asteria had--she managed to push him back against the hollow again, and tried to perch on top of him.

Ed opened his eyes. He felt like he had been hit by a truck after running a 5k with heavy resistance bands tied around every one of his limbs--and there was still a weight up on his head, which kept squeaking into his ear.

TRANSFORMATION COMPLETE!
Dire Rat > (Immature) Rat-Man!
You have Transformed!
Your base power-stats have increased!
You have not reached your full Potential. Use Light Equipment skill is reduced.
You possess the skill Stronger! You are developing the skill Dextrous! The Use Light Equipment skill is boosted! Current total is (0.8).
You have not reached your full Potential. The Increase to Beast Sense is reduced to (0.5). New total is (2.4).

Skill Rank Up: Beast Sense I > Beast Sense II!
Passive sensory range increased. By actively focusing on one (1) sense, you can further increase that sense's sharpness.
System:Ed


Ed's new body had a hunched, but still bipedal figure. His feet were plantigrade, meaning he walked on the soles, but shorter calf and thigh muscles meant his legs were still somewhat bent. His arms, on the other hand, were lanky much like a chimpanzee's and while the muscles weren't large, they were long rooted--again like a chimpanzee, this would grant him much more raw strength than one would think from his size. His head was still rat like for the most part, but with more developed jaws, and its new position on his neck gave him a wider range of motion. His paws had lengthened and broadened into real hands, complete with opposable thumbs! His tail was still almost again the length of his body, but it had thickened up considerably near the base somewhat like that of a kangaroo. If he stood upright it would help him balance, not that there was room for that up in the tree.

As a matter of fact the tree was quite cramped.

((You should remove the lizard satchel from your inventory by the way, Jason took the last of the crystals out of it and it was so torn up it's probably fallen apart by now.))
Digbie, The Gud Boi

Their laughter, cold and mocking, followed Digbie. He was nothing more than a child who had no idea what he was doing. He had tried it because it just seemed fun. His curiosity almost led him down the path to hell.

But he turned away. He turned away and took the next step towards adulthood. The next question would be, how could he remove this Taboo? And what would it require of him?

As Digbie plummeted back down towards his body, the world blurring all around him, the only things left of this experience for him to remember were the fear of the abyss and his decision to seek redemption.

As the others watched, Digbie was suddenly enveloped by a black, eldtritch aura. It actually looked quite similar to what Mourningstar had created when she tried to intimidate the goblins. It consumed Digbie almost like flames, and his green skin blackened as if he were burning just as Torrent almost had. But before they could reach him to try and smother the "flames," or pull him out, golden light erupted from within. Followed by crackling blue swirls, not lightning, but sparkles just the same.

When the light show faded, Digbie's eyes fluttered awake. The flower clutched in his hands had bloomed.

His body had grown. He was four feet tall, and while he couldn't be considered "bulky" or "brawny," his shoulders and chest had grown broader and his arms and legs more defined. His skin had turned from a grassy green to a much deeper, almost black [shade.] And upon his knees and elbows, stony spikes of dark grays and browns had sprouted. They weren't long enough to hinder the articulation of his joints, more like enlarged scales, but they appeared to be somewhat pointed and quite hard.

Swirling around his hands and up to the mid-length of his forearms, a blue and slightly reflective marking almost like Crispy's red tattoos had formed. The spiral continued across his palms and looped around the second joint of his fingers, making it appear as if he wore some kind of oddly disconnected gloves.

He had sprouted hair from the top of his head, and his incisor teeth had grown slightly larger and sharper. But, from his facial features and his voice when he spoke, it was clear that this was still Digbie, despite these dramatic changes. If he had made some other choice, would he have come back different?

TRANSFORMATION COMPLETE!
Goblin > (Immature) Mystic Stone-Hardened Demigoblin!
You have Transformed!
Your base stats have slightly increased!
You have not reached your full Potential. The skill Demon Affinity's development is reduced. You have turned away from this path. The skill's development is further reduced. Skill is currently at (0.25)
You have gained access to the Job System at 0th Tier!
---Job System---
Creatures with a certain level of intelligence, sophistication, and potential for civilization often learn that specialized functions for different members make the society better. Specific forms of training, and specific mindsets, mean that those who undertake a "Job" are better suited for certain things than others with different "Jobs." When you take on a Job Type, the World System will allocate earned Skill Points in a way more favorable to your choice. Using a skill you are familiar with as an example...[Stone Shot]. By throwing Stones, you gained points for this skill and also for the Throw Item skill. You intentionally attempted to use magic and thus Stone Shot developed faster than Throw Item. However, if you were in a magic based Job, the points that went to Throw Item would have automatically gone to Stone Shot instead, boosting its development. And vice versa if you were in a physical Job like some type of warrior. Jobs may cost you versatility, and make it harder to learn skills you already have that do not fit the Job's perogative. However, they will speed up development of the more fitting skills. Jobs are not permanent choices and may be changed, however doing so will require a training period for the new Job.

Available Jobs for Demigoblins:
0th Tier
  • Raider - Physical focus. Offensive focus.
  • Skirmisher - Balanced focus. Defensive and Support focus.
  • Voodooist - Magic focus. Offensive focus.
  • Bandit - Physical focus. Offensive and Defensive focus.
  • Sneak - Physical focus. Evasive focus.
  • Scrapper - Physical focus. Offensive and Evasive focus.
  • Shaman - Magic focus. Offensive and Support focus.
  • Gatherer - Balanced focus. Support focus.
  • Scout - Physical focus. Evasive and Ranged focus.
  • Healer - Magic focus. Support and Defensive focus.


You may unlock other Jobs by fulfilling certain conditions. You may gather further information about Jobs by focusing on one at a time before making your choice.
---Job Tutorial Complete!---

You gained the Variance, Stone-Hardened!
Your suitability for this Variance was very high! Effects have been boosted!
Your Base defensive stats have Slightly Increased!
Your Earth Affinity has been boosted!
You gained Earth Affinity I!
You have developed a bond with the earth. At this rank, MP/SP cost for all Earth-related skills is reduced. Earth-related skills will develop more quickly. Increase the rank of your affinity by deepening your understanding of the Earth element.
You have not reached your full Potential. The Skill Stone Shot only increases by (.25). Total is (1.6)

You gained the Variance, Mystic!
Your Max MP has increased!
You have not reached your full Potential. The skill Mana Affinity has been reduced to (0.5).
You have not reached your full Potential. The skill Mana Orb has been reduced to (0.25). Total is (0.25).

Skill Gain: Sacred Ground I!
By marking an area on the ground, you channel your Mana to boost the natural properties of the earth and create a safe zone for anyone who enters it. At this rank, HP will recover slowly for those you deem allies, and damage taken from enemies outside the zone will slightly decrease. This Spell consumes MP for as long as it is active. The larger the created zone, the more MP required.

Skill Gain: Rock Spire I!
A basic Earth-aligned spell that creates a sharp spike of stone by drawing loose or broken fragments of earth out of the ground. It deals more damage than most level one spells for the same MP cost, but requires that solid earth be within the user’s range of sight or perception. Solid earth can include soils and sands, but if the ground is too soft or solid it increases the MP cost of the spikes as new fragments of stone must be broken off or compressed. The spike is created beneath the targeted area, object, or creature. One drawback of this is that the flash of Mana produced as a side effect of driving the energy into the earth might alert the opponent. Does Piercing and Earth Magic damage.
System:Digbie

K E N I C H I

Infirmary > Hallway



"Nobody else got hurt in the fight between Jett and Roy, if that's what you're asking. I'm going to the infirmary because Acion took some nasty hits sparring with Dulga just before the fight started and I want to make sure he's okay." Oh well okay then. Was it just him or did Sheep Girl seem kind of...snappish? "What happened as far as can tell is that Jett and Roy started arguing. They were arguing about pretty much nothing, but very aggressively. I think they both just wanted a scrap. Then they started fighting, and it was quite brutal. They were actually trying to really hurt each other, so I went to get a teacher. When I came back, Roy had a light arrow pointed at Jett's heart and the girls were stepping in between them to break the fight up."

"I mean...can ya really call it 'pretty much nothing' if you don't know what they were arguin' about?" Kenichi tried to point out. "They've always seemed like bros up til now so I don't think they'd literally try to kill one another over nothing. Wanting to hurt somebody's different from just wanting a scrap." But then they arrived at the infirmary and opened the door on an...unexpected sight. Kenichi could have sworn he felt some static coming off that wool as he glanced at the sheep girl. She cleared her throat, sounding fairly ticked off but also somewhat hesitant. She was almost speaking through gritted teeth, but her strained expression showed she was trying to keep something under wraps. Kenichi had no idea what was going on and was starting to wonder if he should get out...

"Tomoe, we had a conversation about this. Get off him." Tomoe sleepingly awoke from her slumber. She poked her head up from Acion his lap seeming quite drowsy. Tomoe rubbed the sleep out of her eyes as she gazed towards the sheep.

"Oh, good-mowniwn Hi-chawn, what do you mean?"

Kenichi had noticed that Tomoe pretty much slept all the time. Through class, through lunch, through that one day in Arsenal's Hero Gear class when somebody set off a dummy bomb by accident. He knew her Quirk produced a sort of copy of her while she was asleep, but he didn't know if it was some kind of astral projection or if she actually HAD to be asleep to provide energy for the extra body, or maybe to control it.

Tomoe let out a short comedic shreek as she noticed that she had fallen asleep on Acion. But...how did one not notice where they were laying their head down at? Tomoe was already next to the bed bowing furiously before anyone else could talk. Her face completely red from embarrassment.

"S-sorry Hi-chan, a-kun, I didn't feel quite all right after-. Oh right, after that..." Tomoe turned quite for a second as her gaze turned towards the ground. "I should probably be off now. S-see you later, right." Like it was nothing Tomoe left without any further reaction from her. She flashed a smile towards the two upon leaving, but Kenichi could tell it was half-hearted and forced.

"So uh, I guess I did my thing so I'mma skidaddle too..." Kenichi said, awkwardly edging towards the door. "Nice to meet you, uh, Hi-chan? Sorry, never caught your name. I'm Yoshida Kenichi, by the way. Uh, get better soon, Acion-kun." If the girl introduced herself, he would nod and then wave farewell. Either way, he got out of there as fast as the moment would allow.

Once outside, however, he quickly caught up with Tomoe.

"Yo, uh, Kishimoto-chan? You okay?" the bluette asked the pinkette as he caught up to her. "Sorry I don't mean to pry or nothin', but it feels like there's all this like...tension going around, ya know? First I walk in on Jett and Roy about to "Hisatsu" each other, and now it looks like Dulga piledrived Acion or something, and you just kinda seemed like somethin' was botherin' ya. This school needs some counselors or somethin', amIright?"

@Silver Carrot@liferusher@Conscripts
Our Gobby Boi is Growing Up

Once Digbie had made his decision, he suddenly felt a deep fatigue come over him. He didn't even remember falling to his hands and knees, then curling into a ball, but the next thing he knew he was on the verge of consciousness, curled up on the ground. He clutched the tiny flower close to his chest, and lay within the circle of minorly enchanted ground he had created. As he drifted to sleep, the mana supplying the circle was cut off and its meager HP recovery ceased...and the flower that had temporarily perked up wilted once more.

Digbie could see EVERYTHING.

Not in crystal clarity, of course. But he drifted upwards, out of his body, rising enough that he could look out over the forest. He could see the mountains to the west, and they stretched both north and south forming a wall between two lands. He could see the forest stretching out for miles to the east, broken by a series of square clearings where a large house of stone, wood, and thatch sat calmly puffing smoke. To the south, he could see the cave where all of this had begun, and the barest hint of a great, grassy plain...

"Traitor of thy kin...Slayer of thy father..."

Digbie rose higher, but something felt wrong. Fear began to creep around his heart and up from his toes. He could see further to the south where wave upon wave of grass spread over the plains, towards a place where the sun beat down upon the earth. Further to the east, a large body of water glistened with the rays of the morning sun. Upon its shores sat a vast city of wood and stone, banners flying from castle towers. To the north, a thundering river spilled out of the mountains and down into a great valley, and further beyond that another thick forest grew, darker and colder than this one...

"To kill is to eat, to carve hides is to fashion leathers...but for what this desecration? Ineptitude alone? No..."

He rose higher. To the south beyond the grassland, deserts and canyons, windstorms sweeping over dunes. Further to the east, a bright light cutting a path to safety for those in need of guidance. Over the mountains, to the southwest, a grand city stretching for miles. Still in the west, but far further north, a tower like a mighty tree reaching up to the heavens with roots stretching deep, deep into the earth. So far to the east that it became west again, a lonely, cold, desolate island where red lightning split the sky. Here, Digbie felt an eye upon him, and the fear that gripped him threatened to choke him. Spreading up from the tips of his fingers he felt an icy burn...

"You would pray to a Demon King? Swear your allegiance to one whose existence is forbidden? Are you a fool...or do you, too, despise the World?"

He rose higher. A world, a planet, rotated thousands of miles an hour, yet from this distance appeared as no more than a soap bubble, as if it would pop if he but brushed a fingertip against it. The lured him, cried out for him. The island's red skies held him in sway...

And unseen hands grabbed him, turned him to look away from that world, and into the Void.

The moon and stars? Outer space? A galaxy, a universe? In this void there was nothing...and between the nothing, they were. Dark clouds of matter that did not exist. Heavier than gravity, they passed between atoms. Negative numbers, fraying strands of time and space, they did not exist.

"Yet despite all of these things, you only stand before us because you chose to take on the Taboo. Few in this world would do such a thing. Though you are ignorant of this world and its ways, ignorant of us and even of your Demon King, is that truly any excuse? Could you not feel the menace of such a thing? Does a man who stands next to the fire, who can feel its heat, truly need to thrust his hand into the blaze 'just to know what it feels like?' If you could somehow save a moment in space-time, and freely return to it...Would you kill everyone in sight, and then return them to life none the wiser? Would you steal until you got caught, and then try again until you succeed? Such hubris...we shall reward it."

The Abyss gazed into Digbie, and though he no doubt wanted to blink as terror strangled him he could not shut his eyes.

You have 1 Offering. To gain greater Offerings you must commit Taboo.

With your available Offerings, only these have taken pity upon you:

Ashen Fiend's Protection (Petty) - Increase resistance to the powers of the Earth. (1 Offering)

Ashen Fiend's Gift (Petty) - Increase your powers of the Earth. (1 Offering)

Dedication to the Ashen Power - If you dedicate yourself to the Ashen Power, you shall be marked. You may no longer make offerings to other powers or receive their favor, but the favor of the Ashen Power towards you shall increase. Please the Ashen Power, and you may Quest in their name... (1 Offering, Cancels out any non-Ashen Favors, Displeasure may result in Infernal Torment)

Chaos Fiend's Protection (Petty) - Increase resistance to the powers of the Dark. (1 Offering)

Vengeful Fiend's Protection (Petty) - Increase resistance to the powers of the Curse. (1 Offering)

Wrathful Fiend's Gift (Petty) - Increase your powers of Physical Destruction. (1 Offering)

Wrathful Fiend's Brand (Petty) - Increase your Strength. (1 Offering)
WVS0KU:Digbie


Digbie was given several choices. But as the unseen hands let him go, an unheard voice beckoned to him.

He did not have to make this choice. He could still turn back. If he sought forgiveness, the Taboo could be lifted from him...

Slowly, he felt himself being pulled back towards the world below...


Ardur, Asura, Danny, Ed?, Jason, Momma Slime, Mother Rat?

The upraised areas of dirt were not sleeping undead--at least, probably not all of them--as Asura surmised. Jason had been following the cave wall on one's right when facing the entrance. In terms of overall orientation, the cavern's mouth faced south--when one entered the cave, they were walking to the north. So the right-side wall was the eastern wall. And along this eastern wall, there was an area where the earth had been upturned into the raised areas. The reason being that the cave's denizens shoved this dirt out of their tunnels and lairs.

Jason and Asura were in the Nesting Area, where Fanged Lizards and Dire Rats dug their burrows. It had been Jason's intent this whole time to lead Asura into this area for one reason alone--he knew that the Dungeon Core had assimilated at least a few of those creatures, and the Fanged Lizards could use their poison spit from range.

Asura's pseudopod shot straight out at Jason, who was still trying to outrun his brother. Jason, having felt the presence of a few monsters with his Tremor Sense, abruptly stopped and hurled himself backwards. The blow only grazed him, and Jason tried to use Mind Wave through the telepathic connection the two monsters shared--

But Mind Wave didn't work like Telepathy. The wave shot out from Jason, but as his "aim" was at that telepathic connection, thus at the pseudopod connecting himself and Asura, the mental wave simply blasted the extended limb. Asura would feel a sudden pang "behind his eyes" somewhat like the start of a migraine, and his "limb" suddenly felt abuzz as if it were on pins and needles ater falling asleep, but that was all the damage he took from it. Much like Jason, it was the equivalent of a graze, and the next moment the feeling was gone.

"ALL UNITS! ENGAGE THE INTRUDER! USE RANGED ATTACKS ONLY!" Jason let loose his Warcry.

You are out of Stamina. You will soon experience HP Drain without rest.
Your MP is Low.
System:Jason


A slight, slimy smirk spread across Jason's "face."

Another Slime Whip from Asura rocketed out and smacked his brother across the "face."

And at that same moment, three figures appeared over the edges of the dirt around them. Two Fanged Lizards, their eyes glowing an eerie violet, hissed before launching two lobs of Poison Spit. One arc was coming at Asura from each side. Behind Jason, a very angry Dire Rat had been drawn by Warcry, and it leaped towards the Slime Mage's back with fangs bared.

Meanwhile, Ardur had explained himself to Momma Slime. It was questionable how much she understood, but at the mention of Asura's name she blurbled excitedly.

"Ahsoowa! Want Ahsoowa!"

When Ardur headed towards the battle she followed him, rolling into a ball and then thundering along as usual. The Pixie gained quite a bit of ground on her, especially once he started flying, but as long as she could see him she would follow. Using Muffle, Ardur was able to move unseen by enemies--but it seemed at the moment there weren't really any enemies to be seen by. Leonidas and the Ghost Wisp had disappeared back towards Jason's Cave and the Dungeon Core, and it didn't seem like most other creatures were even out and about at the moment. Not that there were that many of them left in this part of the cave anyway...

Danny's attempt to make himself more aerodynamic seemed to work, or at least it felt like he was going faster. He soon overtook Momma Slime down below, who was too focused on where she was rolling to notice him, and was coming up on Ardur's six as the pixie would no doubt slow down once he was above the battleground.

They arrived just in time to see the aftermath of the Fanged Lizard and Dire Rat's attacks on the two slimes, and then...


Ash, Oberon, Mourningstar, Torrent

You used Monster Analysis I!
---Rubber Frog---
This frog's magical evolution certainly took an odd turn somewhere. The elasticity of its form, from its skin to its bones, is ridiculous. With a tongue that will stretch it has no trouble snagging flies, and it can expand its mouth wide enough to swallow many things whole. To intimidate predators it sometimes puffs itself up to an enormous size.
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Ash


Skill Rank Up! Magic Analysis III > Magic Analysis IV!
Gain more detail about observed magic skills, objects, etc. Lose less effectiveness when using this skill on other things, even if they aren’t magically inclined. When analyzing a spell or creature you have analyzed at least one time before, you may learn information such as its elemental affinities and weaknesses and its magical abilities' elements and functions, depending on different factors.

You are experiencing a Fast Rate of Skill Progression.
System:Oberon


Skill Gain: Fire Breath I!
Inhale to gather oxygen, then use magic to ignite it as you breathe outward. At this rank this spell can only take one form, a cone that widens as it extends from the user. Your range is roughly 10 feet. This skill has roughly the same MP Cost as Fireball, but its damage depends on the target's range. A target at the edges of the cone will take less damage than they would from Fireball, whereas one that is in the center and close to you will take a fair amount more.

Skill Gain: Rabid Fit I!
This skill will activate once you meet certain battlefield conditions, and afterward may be toggled at will. Fly into a mindless rage, and destroy the enemy! A sudden burst of fury grants you increased strength and damage, but you’ll become more vulnerable to damage yourself.
System:Torrent
Ash, Digbie, Mourningstar, Oberon, Torrent

3x Argeps (leftover from eating, gathered by Oberon)
1x ??? Deer Fur (gathered by Mourningstar)
1x Antidote Fern (gathered by Ash)
1x Beetle Mandible (gathered by Ash)
Party Obtained Items

You used Alchemy II! You used Magic Analysis I!
---Antidote Fern---
This purple fern contains a natural antibiotic chemical and also promotes the immune system, making it useful for fighting off certain sickness-inducing status effects. It is Fibrous, Organic, Flammable, Fragile, Water Absorbant, and Waxy. It has some residual magic energy. Reactive with water. Reactive with heat.
---??? Fur---
This black, stiff fur came from a creature you aren't familiar with yet. It is Organic, Flammable, Insulating, Slightly Water Absorbant, Silky, and Slightly Lustrous. It has high residual magic energy. It seems like it might be highly reactive with other magical materials.
---Rubber Frog---
ERROR. This target has not been harvested, dissected, or otherwise broken down into useful components. Without more Analysis Skills, at its current rank the Alchemy Skill is unable to analyze the traits of this target or its reactivity.
---Analysis Complete!---

Skill Gain: Monster Analysis I!
Gain basic biological information about a monster by actively observing it.
System:Ash

Skill Rank Up: Soil Manipulation I > Soil Manipulation II!
MP Cost increased. Carrying capacity increased to 10 pounds of loose soil. Range remains within a 10 foot radius of your body. Using this soil to create a shape or exert a larger amount of force still consumes more MP, but takes only 20 seconds at a minimum. At this rank, created shapes cannot consist of more than one part, or be more complex than quadrilateral structures. At this rank, created shapes cannot change the quality of the soil (sharper, harder, etc) nor its color or texture.

You are Fed.
You are Dehydrated.

You are recovering HP slowly.
Your HP is full.

LEVEL UP!
Your many experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 5! Your Max MP has Increased! You gain Skill Points to distribute as you please!

Unspent Skill Points: 9

Current Skills:
Use Light Equipment (--)
Tremor Sense II (2.55)
Soil Manipulation II (2.0)
Stone Shot I (1.35)
Taboo 1 (1.0)
Stronger I (1.05)

<UNUSABLE SKILLS>
Quake (0.5)
Rock Spire (0.9)
Crafting (0.1)
Fortify (0.3)
Point Strike (0.6)
Smash (0.6)
Throw Item (0.2)
Monster Analysis (0.2)
Charisma (0.1)
Guidance (0.1)
Mental Resistance (0.4)
Mana Strike (0.3)
Focus (0.1)
Stone Fist (0.6)
Stone Breaker (0.2)
Spell Chant (0.4)
Intimidate (0.2)
Sacred Ground (0.4)
Scribe (0.2)
Fire Resistance (0.3)

YOUR BODY IS BEGINNING TO CHANGE! You are undergoing Transformation! Based on your life experiences, your ability to survive, and the strength of your will, new paths have appeared! Choose carefully--there is no going back! WARNING. THIS PROCESS WILL LEAVE YOU TEMPORARILY VULNERABLE.

OPTIONS (* Indicates Suitability, - Indicates Unsuitable):
**(Adult) Goblin (Guaranteed Variant Chance/Medium Variant Chance) - Goblins stand between three and three-and-a-half feet tall on average, and while their physical strength isn't to be underestimated, they are much like human children. However, their natural cunning and viciousness is far more vile, and while they can use tools they have a limited intelligence. They tend to form savage tribes with little in common save for the constant drive to survive, and a lack of emotional control that causes them to do whatever they feel necessary to satisfy any primal craving they happen to feel at any given moment. They aren't typically capable of long-term planning and have difficulty with abstract concepts.
  • Slightly increase all base-stats
  • Increase HP
  • Increase Potential


****(Immature) Svartblin (Medium Variant Chance) - An unusual monster that some consider to be on the boundary between the Englightened and Monstrous races. Its height and general proportions are roughly the same as goblins, but Svartblins tend to have broader shoulders and chests, thicker arms and legs, and much greater intelligence. The males tend to be bald, and their skin is a stony gray in color. They favor deep tunnels, often going for long periods without sunlight, and have a disposition for mining.
  • Slightly increase all base-stats
  • Increase Tremor Sense (reduced)
  • Increase Earth Affinity (reduced)
  • Gain Access to Job System: 0th Tier


**(Immature) Hobgoblin (Guaranteed Variant Chance/Medium Variant Chance) - These advanced goblins develop darker skin colors, their former green bodies turning a shade of the forest or changing tint slightly to blues or browns. They are a foot taller than goblins on average, and while their proportions are similar their extra mass shifts towards a more wiry, muscular form. With greater intelligence but about the same level of maturity, if Goblins can be compared to vicious children then Hobgoblins could be mean-spirited teenagers. Their faces become slightly less ugly, and they grow more hair much like various humanoids.
  • Increase all base stats
  • Gain Medium Equipment Skill (reduced)
  • Gain Access to Job System: 0th Tier


*(Immature) Bluecap (Guaranteed Variant Chance) - These are goblins who have been changed by magical energies. Their skin changes hue to various shades of blue, and their hair grows in more fully thus granting them their namesake. While their defensive stats won't increase as fast, they are still a relatively balanced monster and may have various spells to add to their previous form's versatility. Their increase in intelligence often puts these -blins in a good position to control a tribe or advise a boss.
  • Slightly increase base strength-and-speed stats
  • Increase Mana Orb (reduced)
  • Increase Shield (reduced)


(Immature) Gremlin (Guaranteed Variant Chance/Medium Variant Chance) - These lanky-limbed, hunched creatures are often blamed by superstitious villagers for all sorts of mischief. More predatory than normal goblins and preferring solitude to tribes, these creatures often form small groups of two or three in the deepest tunnels, and stalk the darkness for prey. They are quite a bit faster than Goblins, but not much stronger or more durable. Because they have adapted for life in caves they have trouble outdoors.
  • Slightly increase base strength-and-defense stats
  • Increase speed stats
  • Increase Dextrous (reduced)
  • Increase Muffle (reduced)
  • Gain Sunlight Vulnerability


-- (Immature) Bugbear (Guaranteed Variant Chance/Low Variant Chance) - Bugbears are an evolved form of the Goblin. Less suited to the natural cleverness or deftness of their smaller cousins, they more than make up for this with their toughness and strength. Their thick fur allows them to venture out from their caves or huts into many different environments. Their strength allows them to use larger types of equipment, and they'll often bully other goblins around as the leaders of small tribes. They can almost never work together with other Bugbears, as the species is highly aggressive and competitive.
  • Slightly increase speed-and-defense stats
  • Increase base strength stats (reduced)
  • Increase Medium Equipment skill (reduced)
  • Increase Stamina


*(Immature) Demiblin (Guaranteed Variant Chance/Low Variant Chance) - Goblins that have been influenced by demonic energies, often committing acts that even make their brethren pause or else being influenced by a greater demonic being. They are roughly the same size as normal goblins but tend towards the taller and more muscular side of the average. Their skin darkens until it becomes almost ink black, and they often develop strange magical sigils on their skin. They show increased aptitudes for magic.
  • Slight increase to base stats.
  • Increase Demon Affinity (reduced).
  • Gain Access to Job System: 0th Tier.
  • Taboo Offering
System:Digbie

You used Magic Analysis III! You used Monster Analysis I!
---Blue Argeps---
This is not a Monster, it is a Plant. It has no magical properties. This Argep has become a ripe shade of blue and looks juicy.
---Antidote Fern---
This is not a Monster, it is a plant. It is somewhat magical, and this magic is of the Nature element.
---??? Prints---
These prints were left by a monster. It seems like it might be wet or slimey, and like it was hopping in great bounds from place to place. The prints imply it's pretty large.
---??? Fur---
This black, stiff fur came from a creature you aren't familiar with yet. It has high residual magic energy of the Curse element. It seems like it might be highly reactive with other magical materials.
---Rubber Frog---
This frog's magical evolution certainly took an odd turn somewhere. The elasticity of its form, from its skin to its bones, is ridiculous. With a tongue that will stretch it has no trouble snagging flies, and it can expand its mouth wide enough to swallow many things whole. To intimidate predators it sometimes puffs itself up to an enormous size. It has no magical abilities and its MP is much lower than yours.
---Analysis Complete!---

You are experiencing a Fast Rate of Skill Progression.
System:Oberon

You are Fed.
You are Hydrated.

You are recovering HP slowly.
Your HP is full.

Skill Gain: Fire Resistance I!
This damage resistance skill applies to both magical and natural flames, as well as higher temperatures in general. If other elemental resistances are gained, skill synergy may occur. Having this skill may make using certain types of fire magic or other fire oriented skills easier.

LEVEL UP!
Your many experiences have culminated in new power! You are now Level 6! Your Max HP has Increased! You gain Skill Points to distribute as you please!

Unspent Skill Points: 9

Current Skills:
Stun Fang II (2.225)
Poison Spit I (1.6)
Muffle II (2.75)
Poison Glob I (1.25)
Poison Breath I (1.65)
Fireball I (1.15)
Stealth Kill I (1.0)
Minor Recovery I (1.0)
Fire Resistance I (1.0)

<UNUSABLE SKILLS>
Crafting (0.2)
Alchemy (0.4)
Alert (0.4)
Warcry (0.3)
Poison Fang (0.1)
Blunt Resistance (0.5)
Smash (0.2)
Rabid Fit (0.9)
Scale Shift (0.2)
Magic Break (0.1)
Suppress Presence (0.2)
Overwork (0.2)
Mental Resistance (0.3)
Spiritual Awareness (0.3)
Soil Manipulation (0.1)
Underground Movement (0.3)
Tremor Sense (0.2)
Prehensile Tail (0.1)
Fire Breath (0.2)
Spell Cancel (0.1)
System:Torrent


Mourningstar's various attempts to use Blood Drain on things that didn't have blood bore some...interesting results, however it wasn't quite enough to trigger the skill it seemed. She did, however, discover more about how it might work. For one thing, she couldn't just command it to happen like a magic spell. She had to bite into something, but once the juices began to flow it felt almost like she was sucking it through a straw despite never having such a thing.

The Kele tasted like sucking onion juice straight from the source, immediately causing the Corpselight to recoil in disgust. The sweet and juicy Argeps helped to remedy that, though the pulp stuck to her teeth and turned them bright blue. Sucking the sap out of the tree was like trying to drink liquid rubber or glue.

After the group discussed their next move, Oberon and Mourningstar went upwards into the trees to try and scout the area. To the weight they could see the mountains even more clearly now, as they rose up along the forest's age. In the bright daylight now they were your typical picturesque, gray stone mountains with pointed peaks capped by ice and snow. The smoke trail Oberon had once spotted had diminished almost to the point it couldn't be seen anymore towards the southeast. The cave had entirely disappeared from view, though they could partially pick out breaks in the canopy where they thought it might roughly be. Up to the north, they could only see more and more forest...although, the landscape did seem to gradually dip in that direction. And if they followed the mountains along that northern line, they would be able to see just the slightest sparkly from water falling along the mountainside. So more than likely there might be a river to a north, because for that water to be visible from this far there probably had to be a lot of it.

Other than that and the trees, however, there wasn't much to see. The group was quite far and alone out here.

As Oberon practiced his skills, he would note that the higher up in the tree he was and the more direct sunlight he was under, the greater the effect of his solar-powered mana conversion. Without Meditation it was barely noticeable that his MP was increasing, however. When he tried to channel the light into the Mana Orb, it turned bright white and gained a prismatic, shifting aura around the edges...it also seemed like it was trying to expand within his hands, yet as it did so its center seemed as if it were becoming transparent for some reason...


Asteria

Obtained Items: Healing Herb x5
System:Asteria

Asteria quickly blinked in surprise several times at the magnificent sword that appeared.

“I hope you understand that I will need a summarization of the risks and consequences of your proposed action before I can even consider agreeing to it. Otherwise, I am afraid I will have to decline until I have more information,” she stated.

I mean only that I may be able to destroy the core, as I said. However, when I attack it, every monster under its control will swarm the area to protect it, and it has already selected a master. A Dungeon Boss will typically be much stronger than its minions. Without a contracted Master I won't be able to use my full power, but you don't meet those requirements. Our only choice will be to fight alongside one another.

Asteria nonetheless explained the current situation to it, in hopes that it might be more inclined to cooperate than it had been in her dream.

“You see, as it so happens, a fellow Reincarnator of mine made some sort of contact with this cave dungeon’s core, and I am concerned destroying the core might harm or disadvantage him. He is currently in a conflict with yet another reincarnated human, and I dare say they are intent on destroying each other. At the very least, I ask that you withhold altering the dungeon until I prevent any unnecessary deaths. Then, if he’s still alive by that point, I will bring the current core’s master to speak with you.” The blue eyes shook back and forth in chilly denial.

If this former human you speak of has bonded with the Core, he is likely a lost cause. Dungeon Cores exert their influence over the monsters in the dungeon in order to protect and expand themselves. And I have no interest in squabbles between monsters, so long as the innocent are not caught up in it. I am not the right choice to act as a mediator.


Ardur, Asura, Danny, Jason, Momma Slime, Steve

As Asura shoved Healing Herbs at Momma Slime, she quickly took them and one began to dissolve inside her center. Ardur, upon hearing the pained cries, had launched himself down at the ground and made a rather rough landing.

“Easy now I’m a friend, I’m here to help you.” he said, trying to approach in a gentle manner. Momma Slime couldn't seem to muster up enough coordination to move away, but bobbed back and forth in distress.

"NOT HURT ME, NOT HURT!" she bawled, but as Ardur began to chant she seemed to feel the healing energies coming from his hand. She still shivered in fear, but Ardur was able to get close without being attacked.

“Wounds mend, Scars fade. Pain vanishes and nerves calm..."

By this time Asura had undergone a terrifying transformation and was already charging after Jason. The Mage Slime scarfed down two Mana Crystals, and the time it took to do this allowed Asura to close the distance unimpeded. The Amorphous Slime struck his "brother" a vicious blow, but thanks to his Bounce skill Jason was able to convert the momentum into a super spring that sent him hurtling across the cave.

Still, that blow had almost hurt as much as the one Rattleskull hit him with. And unlike before he wouldn't have one of the pixies around to cast Shield on him. Jason quickly took on his travel form and spun out across the cavern--

Skill Gain: Faster I!
Your base physical speed is increased! By gaining the skills Harder, Better, and Stronger, Skill Synergy will occur and you will gain one rank of Physical Conditioning.
System:Jason


With this new burst in speed Jason was able to maintain the distance at first...But Asura had the advantage in raw speed, he also had the Faster skill, the better Shapeshifting skill, and the Overwork skill. All of these things combined meant that even as Jason hurtled across the rocky ground at top speed, the red menace was still steadily gaining on him. Then came the projectiles. The Poisoned Needles went first, but most of these missed as Asura wasn't as close when he began firing them. Still a few would strike their mark, and though Jason's defenses were relatively high and he had Physical Damage Resistance, he could still feel their pricks and cuts. As he got closer Asura got more accurate, and now a few stones began to pelt him from the side. Still, no major damage yet and nothing to make him change course.

Skill Gain: Throw Item I!
Using an item from your inventory, you hurl it at the opponent by expending Stamina. Different items may have different effects and some are more suited than others as projectile weapons. At this rank, the chance to destroy the thrown item is very high. Damage type depends on the item.
System:Asura


The next pebble Asura threw crackled with red energy, and when it hit Jason felt a sting not at all dissimilar from his own Stone Shot spell's first rank. It caused the green slime to falter, and the red slime got even closer...

The distance between them was roughly 20 feet...then 15...

“Merciful Sky father, spare this child of the sun from her suffering. Stabilize her wounds and help her grow, so she may be as mighty in your eyes as she is in mine… Minor Healing III.”

As the green sparkles coated Momma Slime, she wobbled back and forth and then seemed to shiver. Between the Healing Herb and Ardur's spell, she soon re-inflated to her usual size. Compressing herself to one side as if she were "blinking" she then began to turn this way and that.

"Wha happun?" she asked, as Ardur cast his Shield. The effect he wanted didn't seem to happen, as Momma Slime had already been healed completely, but as the shield covered her, underneath it there was a momentary glitter of green sparkles. He could feel his MP getting a bit low again, these chanted spells seemed to consume quite the cost.

You used Monster Analysis II!
This is a new type of monster to you! This used to be a normal Fanged Lizard, but it has transformed! Lesserwurm: Related to dragons, but still a cold-blooded reptile, this creature burrows through the earth and fills the enclosed spaces around its prey with poisonous fumes. Its lengthy body is quite fast and deceptively strong, and its ability to shed its skin somehow allows it to heal more quickly. This one is unusual.
System:Danny


Meanwhile, as Danny observed Torrent's Fireball, his Magic Analysis skill still wouldn't trigger yet. But he noticed that because she was firing it from her mouth, the flames seemed more concentrated--rather than lighting up gasoline fumes, it was like watching a fire with solid fuel grow brighter and hotter. And this contained fire had taken a spherical shape, much like his own Mana Orb. Upon hearing the commotion from the entrance however, he headed back that way to see Momma Slime and Ardur after the healing session--and, along with those two, also saw Leonidas and the remaining Ghost Wisp suddenly turn tail and head back towards Jason's cave as the two slimes chased each other further away.

They might also see Ed and Mother Rat attempting to make their getaway while the getting was good...
Ash, Digbie, Mourningstar, Oberon, Torrent

You used Magic Analysis III! You used Monster Analysis I!
---(Self)---
You are a Sprite. A highly territorial, but otherwise relatively friendly type of creature. Quite similar to Pixies at first glance, they are much more empathetic and even altruistic than other types of Fey. Unless an enemy presents a threat to their homes and families, they often prefer to flee rather than fight, but if something enters their nesting area they are known to swarm much like wasps. However, you have not felt compelled to follow all of this behavior due to your unique circumstances. Sprites are aligned with the light element and their wings have scales similar to some types of moths. When these scales fall they sometimes glitter, and the Sprite's body is often covered with them. You know that you possess the spells and magically oriented skills, Minor Heal II (2.65), Shield III (3.325), Magic Analysis III (3.675), Mana Orb I (1.3), Mana Shape I (1.1), Lesser Status Heal I (1.2), Mana Dart (1.3), and Meditation I (1.15). You know that you are developing the spells and magically oriented skills Focus (0.6), Mental Resistance (0.4), Wall (0.1), Minor Regeneration (0.6), Charisma (0.9), Spiritual Awareness (0.4), Minor Heal All (0.5), and Light Affinity (0.5). Recently you have begun developing the skill Fire Resistance (0.2) after healing from damage. Recently you have begun developing the skill Gather Light (0.3).
---Crispy---
This is Crispy, an Adult Male Goblin with a Flame-Touched variance. Goblins stand between three and three-and-a-half feet tall on average, and they are much like human children. However, their natural cunning and viciousness is far more vile. They tend to form savage tribes with little in common save for the constant drive to survive. Crispy is longer lived and more accomplished than most Goblins. You know he possess the Fireball spell at at least Rank II, and that he has a higher level of Fire Resistance. He has a couple of other magically oriented skills and is developing at least one more. His MP is lower than yours but higher than all the other Goblins you've seen.
---Orchid---
This is Orchid, an Immature Female Goblin. Goblins stand between three and three-and-a-half feet tall on average, and they are much like human children. However, their natural cunning and viciousness is far more vile. They tend to form savage tribes with little in common save for the constant drive to survive. You know Orchid is an avid crafter, but she currently has no magical spells. However, she is developing a large number of spells and magically oriented skills. Her MP is average for a Goblin, and is lower than your own at full strength. There is something off about her that you can't quite put your finger on...
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Oberon

With the other goblins distracted by the declaration of a duel, and some commotion happening up in the cave, now was the perfect time to get away from all of this chaos. As the Pygmy Drake, Goblin, Sprite, and Lesserwurm headed into the woods, they made use of Oberon's observations from earlier. The smoke coming from the distant east likely meant some form of camp, or maybe the group had overheard the other goblins talking about the human farm. So they headed north, into the deeper woods...

Almost immediately after passing the treeline, they would see a couple of Kele shoots in the shadows of the trees. A few more steps, and a bush full of Blue Argeps came into view. Near this bush was also a pair of odd looking purple, waxy ferns. And, at quite some distance even given the fact that it had to be thrown by the explosion, they found a piece of the deadly Flak Beetle. One of its sharp mandibles had snapped off, easily four to five inches in length and still quite keen.

As they progressed further, it seemed that the explosion--and perhaps all the noise the goblins had been making--had driven some of the forest creatures away. Wild animals, even predators, often avoided loud noises. After all, trouble was danger to prey, but annoying to those trying to catch the prey. Some wide footprints near a shallow puddle from last night's rain could be seen heading off into the bushes somewhere. But the prints were spaced oddly, four of them in a perfect formation with each other, then again several feet away with no other prints in between. The back prints were larger--and looked like they had dug in deeper than the front. There was also a slight trace of slime around these tracks, as if whatever the creature was it had a sheen of sweat all over it. Another set of footprints looked like cloven hooves, and rather large ones at that.

Stuck on a bush nearby these prints was a tuft of stiff, black fur. It was no more than a handful, simply snagged on the branch as the creature no doubt rushed away from that loud boom. Still, it might make someone in the group sneeze, much like pet dandruff.

Still further the group went, passing by a large Topapo bush. There was also a broken piece of something that might have been a horn or spike, and the grass around it looked like some kind of chemical had killed it judging from its discoloration. After several minutes, it seemed they were getting out of the territory usually roamed by the Goblins. The trees stopped showing the signs of greenskin hacking and sawing, the ground stopped showing goblin tracks or hunting trails, and the plantlife grew thicker. Or at least, it grew more fully. While the Goblins had probably been picking various things in the immediate vicinity of the cave for some time, they had also been cutting trees. As Ash, Digbie, Oberon, and Torrent went further away they could see that this part of the forest had been left to its own. The trees had grown larger, without their branches being pruned away, and thus the canopy turned thicker. Without as much light reaching the forest floor, smaller bushes and thickets began to die back--but every so often a plant would find purchase under a shaft of sunlight, and with little competition it grew lush and hearty. The terrain became more uneven, however, as despite the forest floor being flat the roots of trees were spread across it like entangled spiderwebs. If the group weren't careful they could easily trip here--if they had to run from something they might be at a disadvantage.

But they didn't stop here; they wanted to find their own place, far, far away from all the stupidity they had dealt with thus far. And even if this was far enough, the ground between the trees was too open. They would need someplace to build or expand upon a shelter.

At one point they passed through a small natural clearing--barely large enough for something like a deer to bed down. In fact, judging by the way the sparse grass laid over and some dried out droppings nearby, that might actually be was this was. Still, as they passed through this open space, Ash and Oberon would feel a tingle at the back of their necks. If they paid attention to the subconscious alert, they might notice a shadow of something watching them from the branches of a nearby tree...but watching was all it did. That might have been a furry tail hanging down from the branch...or perhaps a serpentine body...or maybe it was just a trick of the light. If they looked directly, there was nothing there at all...

Three of the four group members were evolved, and they were obviously moving as a group. This, too, would dissuade predators as the unusual assembly of creatures wouldn't be easy prey even if they were alone. For a while they didn't see any new tracks, but they would soon pass another Blue Argep bush.

Then, without warning, it appeared!

Ash and Oberon's alert would only trigger at the last moment. By the time they looked up, it was already moving. The others would barely be in time to catch a glimpse as it leaped. It had a deer's shape, but its fur was a grayish blue the color of twilight mist. Its hindquarters were speckled with darker spots of green and a dash of black. Its horns had an elegant curve, almost like looking at a recurve bow drawn to full tension across its skull, but they had only four points--two near the "middle" on either side of the skull, and the other two at each tip.

The deer leaped away, and despite an initial crash its flight went silent. Such a creature would no doubt be far faster and more adept at moving silently through this habitat. The only trace it left behind was a handful of fur from where it had been scratching its backside against a tree.

Though they might like to bask in the majesty for a moment, soon everyone would probably decide to move on again.

They came to a creek bed now, and it seemed to be running from west to east. It likely came down out of the mountains, and at the moment it was merely a babbling brook. Again it had probably been filled a bit by last night's rain, but it looked like even in the wet season this body of water wouldn't have been more than ankle-deep for the average human. It had been running through these woods for so long that a few tree roots crossed it like miniature foot bridges, and here and there fallen straw and leaves were enough to dam it up.

From further down the creek, they would hear them before they saw them. Loud, gargling croaks--like an old man spitting up phlegm right after he wakes up in the morning. Two frogs--their bodies glistening like wet latex in a forest-green hue--sat on the bank of the creek. Their huge yellow eyes--made to appear even larger by the black eyespots on each side of their heads--blinked slowly with three eyelids at the four approaching monsters. These frogs had oddly round bodies, and their skin had a texture that reminded one of those distinct dodge balls from an elementary school gym class. What was more, they were the size of watermelons even without counting their beefy rear legs and sturdy forelimbs! They kept their feet tightly together underneath them, though obviously most of their weight sat towards the back.

The frogs croaked again as the group got closer to the creek, but otherwise made no move.

Just on the other side of the creek, nestled under a large tree, was a deep burrow of some sort. But even before they finished crossing the water, the group would hear a low, rumbling growl come from that burrow. Nothing came out of it to attack them, but it was clear whatever was in there was territorial. Still...they could probably pass by it or make a roundabout, as long as they were careful and didn't act in an overly threatening manner...

But then again, that burrow might make an excellent hideaway...

They had plenty of options. They might even head up the creek, towards the mountains, or keep heading deeper into the woods. Or they could go east, and see where the creek led. Or, if Oberon or Ash were to fly or climb up another tree, they might be able to get a further understanding of their environment...
Danny

As Danny remained somewhat hidden, he soon didn't have to worry about making too much effort to conceal himself. The Goblins were completely immersed in the duel about to begin between the female and their current leader. So far it seemed like the leader hadn't thrown any fireballs, but he would probably see Torrent start to charge one up before cancelling it and leaving with the others.

You used Monster Analysis II!
---Female Immature Goblin---
Goblins stand between three and three-and-a-half feet tall on average, and they are much like human children. However, their natural cunning and viciousness is far more vile. They tend to form savage tribes with little in common save for the constant drive to survive. This one seems to be an avid crafter. This Goblin is unusual. There is something off about her that you can't quite put your finger on...
---Analysis Complete!---
System:Danny
Ardur, Asura, Ed, Jason, Momma Slime, Mother Rat

"Leave him be for now, Mother. Take the other Skeleton." Asura called out as Jason was sent flying. Momma Slime burbled something in response, and headed towards the fray between the red amorphous slime and the two skeleblins.

Trying to keep his body as rigid as possible, shifting into a somewhat rounded cube like a dice, Jason managed to stop himself from continuing to bounce away. Quickly forming back into a ball, he raced back toward the fight as fast as he could. With the addition of extra traction, turning himself into more of a tire, he could definitely feel that his speed was better--and his course could be controlled better as well.

“Son of a bitch that hurts!” Ardur took cover and healed himself, restoring his HP to full. As Steve continued to make her way towards him, he got a better view of his opponent. The Ghost Wisp's glow was that of rancid flesh stretched over a spotlight, or perhaps something like radioactive waste. Looking back to his friend Ardur called out to her, “Steve! Start spinning your webs for a trap. I’m going to lure this thing in toward it so we can deal with it.”

Forced to make a decision, Asteria gave a hurried order to Ed and Mother Rat to stay put. Mother Rat didn't seem to understand the words, but she was already protectively huddled over Ed, so it seemed she wouldn't do anything to endanger him. The other rat dashed off, her swift speed carrying her across the cave...

Asura felt the burning pain of the Mana Orb; thanks to his Magic Resistance it was significantly less than it had been before, but he still didn't have as much of a tolerance for it as physical damage. He could feel that he had taken some solid damage overall, but he still had plenty of HP--however, choosing not to take risks, he quickly digested a Healing Herb and was back to Full. He chose to ignore the Ghost Wisp for now and surged towards the injured Gawain. The Ghost Wisp fired another Mana Orb, but missed due to Asura's movement and slowly began to descend...

Momma Slime lunged at Leonidas, but the Skeleblin had been ordered to focus on defense. With its lighter frame and greater speed, it was able to dodge aside as Momma Slime's big blue pseudopod smashed into the ground--quite similarly to what Asura had been showing her to try and get her to use Smash.

As the Ghost Wisp moved to try and get a better angle at Ardur, Steve turned her backside to the enemy and used the large orange eye on her abdomen to aim a [Web Spit] at the glowing creature. When the ball of partially-liquid silk struck it, the creature was weighed down heavily and struggled to maintain its levitation--holding it in place as Ardur began to chant.

"“My soul is fire; my heart is of the sun--" Ardur's palm began to heat up quickly, and the red glow began to spread up his veins...

As he barreled toward the fight, Jason knew he had to end this quickly; as Ardur would likely be back soon with full mana. With Ed and Asteria seemingly hesitant to take part in such a fight, he needed to end this quickly. Using [War Cry II] and [Spell Chant I] together, Jason intended to use his 'warchant' to attack Asura's biggest vulnerability.

"LET THE PILLARS OF THY MIND QUAKE--" As Jason's voice boomed, two spinning violet circles appeared in the air in front of him.

Gawain struck out at Asura as the slime spread over it like a net--despite Jason's order, it couldn't dodge or defend with its current injury, and so it seemed some form of basic preservation overcame the logic that couldn't be executed. The Ghost Wisp threw itself against his back in some form of tackle. Asura barely felt the impacts as they rippled along his spreading form, which began to glow with red light--

Using her own shapeshifting ability, Momma Slime tried to imitate Asura again, shooting a pseudopod straight out instead of swinging it like a haymaker--

"Mighty sky father guide my shot--" The fireball igniting in Ardur's palm grew brighter, just like when he had cast it into the cave before.

"AS MY WILL CRUMBLES AWAY IT'S VERY FOUNDATION!!!" As language and linework began to fill the circle, Jason's booming voice would forcefully draw Asura and Momma Slime's attention at the last moment. But they were already mid-attack...

Asura's mass was spread far enough that even with his focus elsewhere, he collided with Gawain and rolled over the skeleton like a tidal wave. Smash's damage had been decreased because of the larger surface area, but with Gawain's ankle already injured this attack slammed it into the dirt hard enough to destroy the joint. The skeletal foot went flying, and the injured skeleblin was left to crawl on the ground as it tried to get away. The Ghost Wisp once again tried to ram its body against Asura, but its attacks were little more than slaps.

Momma Slime's attack was thrown off center by the Warcry, and once again Leonidas was able to dodge it, leaping back to get some space between itself and the blue mass...

"WITH YOUR FINAL MOMENTS AT HAND, FACE MY MIGHT--" Jason could feel a strain within himself as he continued to use Warcry on the words of his Chant, and the spell circle had been split into four quadrants. One sigil had appeared in a corner and another was beginning to form--

"So they may rest in your everlasting light. Fireball!" Ardur let loose his spell, and it hit the Ghost Wisp head on! Steve's web proved quite flammable, producing a sort of napalm mix that clung to the Ghost Wisp as flames began to consume it. The creature screamed out, and suddenly seemed to disappear--the flaming web fell towards the ground. However, the magical flames seemed to remain floating as an empty sphere in space. In a blink the Ghost Wisp reappeared--then seemed to dissolve into ash.

GHOST_WISP_003 KILLED BY INTRUDER_PIXIE!
Dungeon:Jason


Forcing his attention back with a grunt of will, Asura followed up his attack on Gawain with a pair of bludgeoning pods. The skeleblin was unable to get away, and as the blows rained down the magic of the dungeon could no longer hold the bones together. Gawain's skull chattered before his spine and ribcage were crushed. The Ghost Wisp rolled slightly downhill on the uneven terrain, seeming to bob partially in and out of the stone. It seemed tired.

GAWAIN KILLED BY INTRUDER_AMORPHOUS_SLIME!
Dungeon:Jason


Mother Slime, once more drawn by the Warcry, rolled up into a ball--tighter this time--and once again charged at the mage slime...

"--AND BE NO MORE! MIND WAVE--PSIONIC DESTRUCTION!!!" The second sigil was fully formed and a third had just begun to flash when Jason unleashed his spell. His voice was full of power, his magic surged throughout his being, and rage filled him like magma beneath the volcano. Asura had to learn that actions had consequences! How dare Ardur destroy souls like this! He would protect his Monsters--protect his Dungeon--and destroy whomever he had to! Even his own mother!

Like heat waves coming off the asphalt on a hot summer's day, only sped up tens of times, an unseen force rippled through the air towards Momma Slime. It struck.

The blue blob was hurled backwards--or rather, it almost seemed as if she, herself, had recoiled with such strength as to throw her body back. Her entire form shivered, and she sank down as if she were deflating--she was hurt, badly. Something, this thing, she couldn't see it, but it HURT--

Momma Slime screamed, her voice distorted with liquid blurbles and deep echoes--and then began to rock back and forth, gurgling in pain. Her membrane seemed like it was leaking as she sobbed in shock, seemingly unable to even react. Slimes were not used to taking pain--especially THIS kind of pain, that resonated deep within the mind.

"AHHHH, UUGH, AAAAAHSSSOOO!! AHHHHSOOOOWAAAAAH!" Momma Slime writhed back and forth, trying to collect her body--and failing. "AAAAAHHHHGH, AHHHSOOOWAAAAAAH!" She seemed confused, as if she didn't know where he was--

Your Stamina is Low.
You have no MP remaining.
You have overdrawn your MP again. Mana Burn has upgraded to Mana Disorder again. Natural MP Recovery has stopped. Item MP Recovery reduced by 50%.
System:Jason


Leonidas's teeth chattered as it glared at Momma Slime. Right now it seemed Jason's order was still holding it back...

CONNECTION FAILING DUE TO NO MP. PREPARING TO OVERRIDE ORDERS...
Dungeon:Jason



Asteria, ???


As the sounds of battle raging behind her grew less over the distance, Asteria returned to the pool. She ran, and ran, speeding back into the cave, towards the lake. She still clearly remembered the mysterious dream. Now or never, she knew she hadn’t yet managed to manifest any magical ability property, but was aware of her potential. And this was a dire enough of a situation for her to concentrate fully on her task, leaving no room for doubts, her intention unwavering, her mind sharply focused on this singular purpose. Asteria put both her paws inside of the lake, and called loudly: “Water spirit, heed me!"

Asteria might have heard a splash as she approached, before she called out. The water near Torrent's ill-fated tunnel was rippling as she leaned over the bank. That small stream seemed to have been enlarged--now it was more like a proper creek, spilling shallowly towards Jason's cave.

"It is I, Asteria! Hear my call!"

Something down in the depths of the pool glimmered.

"AEGEUS!"

The glimmer suddenly darted, disappearing. As Asteria continued to plead, thrusting her paws into the water, she felt...a current? But it wasn't pulling her into the pool, or flowing towards the cave. It was something coming up.

"Let thy whispers resound! Grant us calmness of heart, clarity of mind, and tranquility of body! May our souls know calm, peace, and acceptance! SOOTHE!"

Like a pressurized tank of air, something blasted up from the depths. With a waterspout as if from the back of a whale, it burst forth into the open air. What little light reflected from Mana Crystals and broken shafts of sunlight glimmered on a surface of steel. It spun through the air--then landed in front of Asteria point first, sinking at least six inches into the ground.


Suddenly, the Dire Rat felt as if an icy grip had taken hold of her heart and lungs.

Your Mana is being Drained!
Temporary Excess MP has been Drained!
Your MP is Low!
You have no MP remaining!
System:Asteria


The MP she had taken from the Dungeon Core, and from Ardur, had overfilled the Dire Rat's tank to the point that it might actually have started to be too much for her body. However, all of that, plus her natural amount of magical energy, had been drained--and it felt like a drop in a bucket.

The phantasmal hand withdrew from her, and within the blade's reflection she saw a pair of blue eyes.

You, who have called my vessel's name...I remember you. But you cannot wield me--and I do not think I can accomplish what you wish. However, through this slight link, you have allowed me to restore a very small piece of my power. If you are willing to take the risk, I may be able to destroy the core of this place, and release its hold...
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