Chapter 55: Skill Combination (1)
The grind was just easy as I expected.
While waiting for the guardians to summon, I blasted through the skeletons to kill time.
「 Proficiency increased by 0.08% 」
「 Proficiency increased by 1.2% 」
「 Proficiency increased by 1.2% 」
It was simple and repetitive.
Some might find this tedious but…
Just the fact that I was raising my proficiency so easily put a smile on my face.
And that wasn’t all…
「 Strength increased by 4.
「 Agility increased by 3.
「 Stamina increased by 5.
「 Mana increased by 4.
「 Tenacity increased by 5.
I was also getting a decent stat boost from this.
Of course, much of it was due to the ‘Blue Starving Flame Demon’ but…
It was still a sizable boost.
Wasn’t there a saying about ‘slow and steady wins the race?’
‘What a perfect saying for this situation.’
「 Innate ability ‘Necromancy’s’ proficiency reached 100%.
「 Innate ability ‘Necromancy’s’ ranked up.
I finally got what I wanted.
‘Finally… Necromancy is C-rank now.’
I felt so proud of myself for coming so far.
‘I’ll have to check my stats for the new ability once I get back.’
It was then—
“Cr-crazy… Ass… B-bastard…”
The limbless lich cried out in frustration.
He had just attempted to escape, so I had to break off all of its limbs.
“I’ve seen devils more kind than you… I will curse you… Even in death…”
He had cracks all over his body now.
I didn’t know if it was me smashing his arms and legs or the cost of summoning guardians, but…
‘He’s probably going to die soon.’
I clicked my tongue regrettably.
I was hoping to squeeze a little more out of it.
Delaying this any longer could mean missing out on his soul.
I’d only be able to absorb it if I killed the lich myself.
“It was… dreadful to meet you human… I hope to not see you in the afterlif…”
Sensing death, the lich started muttering his last words but…
‘I don’t really want to hear it.’
So I walked up to it, mid-speech, and stabbed it in the head.
「 You have absorbed the soul of the lich.
「 Proficiency increased by 17.4% 」
「 ‘Worse Than the Devil’ achievement unlocked.
「 Agility increased by 1.
As if to signify the end of the 8th trial, the lich’s remaining bones broke down into mere shards.
You have overcome the Tower of Trials floor 8.
「 As a reward, all your stats have increased by +2.’ 」
「 As a reward, you have received ‘30,000 points.’ 」
「 As a reward, you have received ‘700 SP.’ 」
「 As a bonus reward, you have received ‘300 SP.’ 」
「 Please move to the waiting area.
“The 8th trial is finally over.”
Because there was no time limit, I stayed for as long as I could.
Almost like a bonus stage in a game.
All the tangled thoughts I had after meeting the Monarch organized themselves.
‘So what if the otherworldly intruders come to take our rewards.’
It wasn’t my problem until they came to me.
‘All I have to do is get as strong as possible, and that hasn’t changed.’
‘Nothing’s changed in my plans.’
「 Moving to the waiting room.
That was my conclusion.
「 You have entered the 9th floor waiting room.
「 System expansion is starting.
「 Administrators can now spectate your trials.
「 Restrictions to questions have been removed.
「 C-rank skills can now be bought in the marketplace.
All kinds of messages greeted me in the waiting area but…
There was only one thing I wanted to check.
「 Han Sungyeun 」
「 Radiance – Conqueror ]
「 Strength – 67 」 「 Stamina – 66 」
「 Agility – 66 」 「 Mana – 63 」
「 Tenacity – 63 」
「 Innate ability – Necromancy (C) 」
「 Innate power – Skill Combination 」
「 Power – Serenity (C-) 」
「 Skill – See details 」
My stats increased but more importantly…
「 Innate ability – ‘Necromancy (C) 」
「 Proficiency – 0% 」
「 Basic effect – Able to absorb the souls of the dead to increase or reinforce stats, mana, or something of that nature.
「 Additional effect – Consumes stored souls to raise a nearby dead.
The strength of the raised dead will be proportional to the quality and quantity of the consumed souls.
「 Extra effect (1) – Able to permanently increase stats depending on the nature and rank of the soul.
「 Extra effect (2) – Able to store souls for later use.
Soul storage capacity depends on the ability’s rank.
「 Extra effect (3) – Able to acquire one skill bound to a soul at a probability of 20% upon absorbing that soul.
「 Extra effect (4) – Able to protect your body by consuming souls.
The impact that can be absorbed is proportional to the souls used.
「 Extra effect (5) – Able to inherit all absorbed skills’ proficiencies.
The new extra effect was absolutely breathtaking.
Being able to inherit proficiencies of absorbed skills.
As if the ability to absorb skills wasn’t broken enough, I could now automatically be proficient at it.
It didn’t look fancy now, but it’d come in handy in time.
‘I’m sure I’ll keep getting more skills.’
And that wasn’t the only change.
「 Able to acquire one skill bound to a soul at a probability of 20% upon absorbing that soul.
The ‘certain percentage’ finally revealed itself.
‘The probability is… actually really high.’
Considering how overpowered it was, I thought it would be 10% at the most but…
This was insane.
‘I guess that’s it for my innate ability.’
After confirming that there weren’t any more changes, I turned my attention elsewhere.
「 Marketplace 」
「 Category: Weapons 」
「 Category: Defensive 」
「 Category: Skill 」
「 Category: General 」
I needed new equipment to match my newly raised stats.
“I think I can keep using the sword, but the problem is with the shield and the skills…”
I was barely using the shield anymore, and my Hunter’s Daggermanship skill had stopped developing.
That meant my fighting style would be changing but…
‘What should I do?’
The original purpose of the shield was to protect me from unforeseen danger, and it had served its purpose.
But I’d grown to the point where I didn’t need it anymore.
‘And as long as I have necromancy’s protective effect; the shield is effectively useless.’
I was sad to see it go, but that was the reality.
Then how should I change my fighting style?
‘That’s the real problem.’
I needed a skill to replace my weapons skill too…
“I guess I have no choice…”
I sighed and tapped on the skill tab of the marketplace.
‘If I don’t have a skill, I’ll just make it.’
That was for the best.
「 You have entered the skills store.
「 Listing the available skills for sale.
My face scrunched up as I scrolled down the listings.
There were fewer useful skills than I thought.
‘No, more accurately, there’s none that are cost-effective.’
Most of the skills in the marketplace were absurdly expensive.
Whatever the skill was, they tended to start at around 10,000 points.
‘If you were spending them irresponsibly in the beginning, you wouldn’t even come close to buying one of these…’
I was smart to buy the bare minimum in the starting trials but…
Were the other challengers just as careful?
I doubted it.
‘And if you didn’t get all the bonus rewards?’
They probably had to spend every point they had to stay alive.
‘Well, I guess most people wouldn’t even think of using the skills store…’
Just me, who couldn’t acquire skills the normal way.
To most people, skills were just something you learned by ‘repeating’ certain ‘learning conditions.’
If you couldn’t, it meant you weren’t built for that skill, so there was no reason to forcibly learn it.
‘I can’t learn any skill, period.’
I stood there silently, scrolling down the listings.
「 Skill: General Swordsmanship (E-) 」
「 Price: 25,000 points 」
「 Explanation: Swordsmanship that contains the basics of all swordsmanships.
You gain basic knowledge about swordsmanship and your cutting force increases by 1.5 times.
“This is the best for now.”
There were a couple of skills that were superior, but I ignored them.
‘I need something compatible with Hunter’s Daggermanship if I want the combination to work well.’
General Swordsmanship was a skill that most blade users eventually ended up learning.
Meaning it was compatible with basically any other blade-type skill.
「 You have purchased ‘General Swordsmanship.’ 」
「 Deducting 25,000 points.
「 Skill – General Swordsmanship (E-) 」
「 Proficiency – 0% 」
「 Explanation – Swordsmanship that contains the basics of all swordsmanships.
「 Effect – You gain basic knowledge about swordsmanship and your cutting force increases by 1.5 times.
It left a considerable dent in my wallet but…
‘It’s not bad for what it does.’
Then I activated ‘Skill Combination.’
「 Activating the innate power ‘Skill Combination.’ 」
「 Listing the available skills.
「 Please select two skills from the list.
I already knew what I was going to choose.
「 The two skills are unequal in rank.
「 Skill combination will start with ‘Hunter’s Daggermanship’ as the core.
‘Is this what happens if the ranks are unequal…?’
「 Current probability for a high tier skill is 75% 」
「 Start the combination? 」
I had already made the purchase after all.
「 Skill combination complete.
「 Generating new skill.
The follow-up message appeared basked in rays of golden light.
That must mean…
I had succeeded in making my new weapons skill.
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