Chapter 41

I left Tamie’s room and headed to mine, cursing myself for my forgetfulness.

The incense. In my hurry to leave Bunker, I had forgotten about the miraculous incense promised by Bokwen and I couldn’t help but feel bitter about it.

It was obvious that the short time I had spent in that dimly lit room had done wonders to improve my “ether indigestion” as I had decided to call it, but it it was obvious that I had left it too soon. The lingering feeling of exhaustion validated that thought.

What is ether anyway? I thought to myself. As I struggled to open my door.

A mystical “something” that one could only gain by fulfilling certain conditions related to the type of class they were given.

A reward for performing as you’re told to.

It didn’t make much sense for a “reward” to have such negative effects after being used, but I guessed it had to do with the strange process of literally editing one’s own body.

The heavier the editing, the bigger the discomfort for the user.

There was a snap and the door’s handle came off. With a groan, I dropped all pretenses and elbowed it open with minimal effort.

I’ll get someone to take care of that later.

The room looked just the way I had left it, though I could smell that other people had been there recently. A barren desk. An unused wardrobe.

However, my focus was on the bed.

Stumbling forward, I took off my shirt and my boots in one swift motion before crashing on what felt like angel feathers with a deep content sigh. It felt hotter without my shirt, but I didn’t care.

These things definitely are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

And I still had one unused mattress in my inventory. I briefly considered adding it to the pile before dismissing the wasteful idea.

But now that my thoughts had been brought back to the subject, I felt like it was hard to believe that spending glory at terminals was a bad idea.

I understood its value… or at least thought I did. Enough glory made you “worthy” in the eyes of this world’s system and granted you access to certain places like Bunker’s guild or the Undermine’s church.

But how much glory was enough? Most people didn’t have nearly as much as I did. While buying them had first felt like a horrible mistake, there was no denying that the items I had exchanged for glory were superior in quality to whatever was used by the people in this… “shard”.

… Not even mentioning that without the Green Blossom Broth, I would have probably died in the Undermine.

I switched position on the bed, which wasn’t actually an easy thing to do because of how unstable the stacked mattresses made it.

Is it smart to save it for a potential future opportunity, when I could buy something that could save my life right now?

… Of course, that was assuming that I could actually use a terminal again. I would have to visit Laure’s bar in the delver settlement to check whether I was still locked out or not.

I switched position on the bed again and stared at the roof. I barely noticed the temple’s noises anymore. It was an odd feeling to realize that I was settling in that place already.

Well, barely settling really. I was still broke after all. Thankfully, I had received two other baskets of food from grateful citizens of Bunker and at least wouldn’t have to worry about food for a short while.

I’m not going to sleep anytime soon, am I…

It was frustrating since I had hoped to use sleep as a simple way to numb myself to the discomfort, but considering that even my stamina bar was full it was safe to assume that my “exhaustion” was unnatural.

Might as well figure this thing out already.

I opened my status and went straight to my racial traits.

Technopath 0/20

Keeper of the First Flame 0/100

Unspent Ether: 1218

The trait I had received from the Nameless Djin was the only part of my status to never receive ether since I had appeared on this world.

The main reason being that there hadn’t really been any incentives, but also because I wasn’t looking forward to the possible consequences of nurturing a power similar to a being kept in chains.

Though it was hard to believe that the Djin would have given me something that would cause me problems that easily without any warnings. I was more worried about people’s reactions to my power than that of the Court.

Now that Tamie needed a spell to make me a weapon that could make my life considerable safer, there wasn’t any valid reason to hesitate anymore.

So I added a hundred ether to the racial trait.

+ 10% resistance to fire in human form.
+ 10% reduced stamina consumption in djin form.

The “0/100” became “0/200” and I couldn’t help but frown.

That’s it?

Well, the reduced stamina consumption wasn’t “nothing” but it also wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Then again, expecting to hit jackpot at the first try wasn’t realistic. So I added ether to the trait again.

Wait… this is different from adding ether to my classes, right? Am I going to make myself worse?

I thankfully didn’t feel any different, but I also remembered that it had taken some time for the effects of the Ether Indigestion to make themselves known.

Gritting my teeth at the thought of the horrible nausea making a comeback, I read the notification.

+ 10% resistance to fire in human form.
+ 10% reduced stamina usage in djin form.

The same damn thing.

And the benefits weren’t even clear, to begin with. Ten percents of what? Wasn’t a human’s base resistance to fire equals to zero? Did that mean that I had gained nothing from that bonus?

This was starting to become a monumental waste and I only had nine hundred eighteen ether left. The next upgrade to the trait was worth four hundred and carelessly consuming that much ether in one go seemed like a very bad idea.

Maybe… I should wait until I feel better.

But it would only be seven hundred ether used in total, after all.

It had taken me close to four thousand ether to put me in this bed. Worst case scenario, I would ask Ardos to go pick up the incense from Bokwen. That bastard at least owed me that much since, as far as he knew, all my problems came from trying to help him.

I was still annoyed at the thought of him sending me to the Undermine without any warning.

Does he even really want to become a delver?

With little hope of success, I upgraded the trait again.

+ 10% resistance to fire in human form.
+ 10% reduced stamina usage in djin form.

Sun Avatar
First activation increases conversion of ambient ether’s efficiency.
Second activation consumes stored mana to create a sphere of fire around user.
Heat depends on sphere radius and amount of mana consumed.

I would have stood up if it wasn’t so hard. This was an offensive skill that looked like it could do a lot of damage with the right parameters. I figured it would be necessary to test it in order to figure out how much mana was needed to produce heat equals to a regular flame’s.

If it turned out to be more than my current mana limit… it would just be embarrassing to use it against enemies.

A closed my eyes with a sigh of relief.

I had no idea how Tamie would manage to make it work with a rifle, but that was something for her to figure out.

Even if I couldn’t sleep yet, nothing kept me from following Imane’s order and rest until I felt better. For now.

Goddammit. I can feel the nausea making come back.

It was was still weak, but there was no mistaking the insidious feeling. It would probably get worse soon… just like my mood did when I heard someone running in the hallway and stop in front of my door.

Please just go.

If I really was going to suffer, it would be preferable to do it with no one around.

“… the hell?” the person said before slowly pushing the door open as indicated by the drawn-out squeaking of its hinges.

I felt my eye twitch as I opened it.

It was Bo.

I hadn’t seen him since that day in the Undermine and he was now standing in the doorway and staring at me with wide eyes.

My plan had been to bark at the intruder to leave, but the fact that it was the young beastkin and that he didn’t look like he was in good shape either gave me pause.

“Your lock is broken,” he said.

“I know. I’m the one who broke it.”

“I’m pretty sure you left your key with Sarn.”

Well, I had forgotten about that. But now that I thought about it, the fact that the door had been locked certainly explained why I struggled to open it. I probably still wouldn’t have left to find Sarn if I had realized it sooner, though

I stayed silent and he just stood there, looking at me as if he wasn’t sure whether I was real or not. He looked… depressed. However, irritated by my growing discomfort, I was still about to tell him to get out and close the door behind him when he spoke.

“I… I thought you were dead,” he awkwardly said.

“Oh.”

That certainly… didn’t make the situation any more comfortable.

“Well,” I started, “as you can see-”

But before I could finish, Lima and Sarn entered the room without an annoying lack of consideration for its owner.

Then again I was the one who had broken the door, so I could only really blame myself.

A smiling Lima walked to Bo’s side and shook him by the shoulders. She was wearing her usual leather armor with dusty boots and had tied her hair in two buns on the sides of her head.

“See? What did we say? Told you he was fine! Now you don’t have any excuse for mopping around all day.”

Bo looked away and shrugged, “I wasn’t moping, I was just… thinking.”

“Yeah, right,” she said with a smirk before turning toward me and letting out a gasp. “You look horrible!”

I saw in her eyes what she was about to do before she did it, but I didn’t have the energy to fight her off as usual. So I just sighed as she sat on the bed and gave me a strong hug. Her skin was strangely close.

“You’ve worried us. Especially Bo,” she said. “He didn’t even want to believe Sir Ardos.”

I groaned and she let go, still smiling.

“What do you think of these?” she said, pointing at her buns. “I was inspired by yours. My hair is shorter tho, so they are not as big.”

“It’s lovely,” I said. “Now, as you guys can see, I’m alive. But I’m not-”

“Why did you break your door?” Sarn asked with a worried expression, finally speaking for the first time. “You… know I have your key, right?”

“I know. But I didn’t.”

“That’s… pretty confusing,” Lima said as she cocked her head.

“… It doesn’t matter,” I said as I propped myself up on the bed. I could feel a headache coming. “Listen, I really need you all to-”

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Sarn exclaimed as he raised a small package high enough for me to see it behind Bo. “A girl with red hair came earlier and dropped this for you. She said it was… incense, I think. Wait, what were you saying?”

“A girl?” Lima perked up. “Is that why you were gone for three days? Hmm?”

They looked at me with a mix of confusion, doubt, and curiosity. All I could do was let myself fall back on the amazing bed.

“… Just please bring me some fire for the incense,” I groaned.

 

Previous Chapter                                              Next chapter

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s