After 3 hours of squinting all he accomplished was slightly, and quite slightly, adjusting his eyes to the darkness. A minor headache added on to that.
Even with his ability to learn skills easily, it seemed that transcending human limits was not included, at least in such a short period of time. He was stuck.
And so his thoughts became darker than even the cave around him. Was he going to die after finally reaching his life’s dream of being a true mage? Would he ever see his parents again? His little sister? His grandfather?
He had already not seen them for close to 3 months after going across the country to college. There was also the guilt of him being so excited from his current situation that he didn’t even consider what his family might think. Not to mention the note he wrote down as a joke, was that going to be the last memory they had of him?
His sister and mother didn’t even know about his abilities in the first place as he was the only one to inherit them from his grandfather. In all, such thoughts left him stunted and unable to think of his next goal.
But in the end, he pushed such thoughts down, temporarily sure, but it was enough. What could he do beyond trying to wall-walk again, but that could be an even more dangerous result. What kind of worlds existed out there, and was his wall-walk alone responsible in the first place?
It definitely lacked the kind of juice needed to cross space and time to such a degree, maybe. How the hell would he know? At the very least the system didn’t even consider him as knowing the spell so leaving this world likely wasn’t even an option.
Though speaking of other worlds, not even his current world was exactly ideal…
He could kill 2 goblins at once, and that wasn’t even guaranteed. If they dodged even once or started too close he’d be dead, or worse, they’d take him alive.
Take the dagger and fight it out? What a joke!
Even if he got incredibly lucky, he’d probably just facilitate a double murder-suicide, and that was most certainly the best case scenario. A trained knife fighter wouldn’t necessarily be able even to do that much better; sure he could kill the goblin. Then the knife fighter would probably just end up bleeding out a few hours later from the wound he’d almost positively take from a dying, desperate unintelligent opponent.
One hit instant kill on a moving target with a knife like in movies? What is this, a movie? Swords existed for a reason even before proper armor.
For now, he’d try and get the entry level of as many skills as he could. His ability to learn them quickly didn’t affect leveling them up faster as well unless they were magic related, but just learning [Goblin Anatomy] gave him a familiar feeling with the body. And there was no clear way to gain skill points as of yet; the tooltip certainly wasn’t helpful in that regard.
[Skill points: Increase the level of a chosen skill or spell. More powerful and higher level skills and spells require more points.]
At least the place he was in only had one exit and a decent amount of space. Whether or not he could avoid tripping in the darkness was another story.
And so began the game of a madman punching the air, running back and forth between the cave walls, and jumping in all manner of directions. Mix in a few dodge rolls and you have a man appearing at the cusp of insanity.
Rather, mix in a few dodge rolls, and you have an avid gamer questioning the decision of every developer who ever let their character perform a dodge roll. He could only think that it hurt and it required athleticism that would be better served elsewhere.
The combination of the blood and sweat filled his nose and slightly stung his eyes but the happiness from his three new skills negated that, if only ever so slightly. After exhausting nearly all his stamina, Rainer sat down on the ground and looked over the skills he learned.
[Skill Gained: Long Jumping Lvl 1/10]
[Skill Gained: Bare-Fist Fighting Lvl 1/10]
[Skill Gained: Sprinting Lvl 1/10]
It was a fantastic feeling, learning a skill. It likely required a knowledgeable trainer or true practice to learn a skill normally. And while it wouldn’t be any easier for Rainer to increase them, at least the non-magic ones, having only a single level of a skill improved him. His sprinting speed noticeably went up, he had a basic instinct on punching forms, and his long jump distance increased by over a foot.
Setting a noise trap in the form of broken torch pieces in front of the only entrance, Rainer moved back about 60 feet to a corner of the cave. Importantly, now out of direct line of sight of the entrance. Here he would use sleep learning and see if it could help him improve [Arcane Bolt] by even a little.
[Sleep Learning Lvl 9/10: The ability to practice and improve skills or spells while sleeping. Cannot acquire new knowledge.]
It was the primary magic he had inherited from his grandfather and finally learned to use at the age of 16. Though it was most certainly a spell back on Earth and not a skill, not that he was complaining.
Back on Earth, it was useful, but it wasn’t a logic-defying ability. For example, he could read a few pieces of music and then practice them for all 8 hours while sleeping. It was with this that over three years he had approached a master level ability in piano and guitar playing.
It was convenient and felt like a cheat, but it didn’t exceed the limit of a human. Sure finding someone willing to play, or capable of playing, piano almost 8 hours a day was extremely rare, but it wasn’t impossible. And while sleeping, Rainer didn’t gain the ability to, say, play a whole concert. His fingers would freeze up long before that, and they’d be in so much pain he wouldn’t be able to even hold a pencil.
But now it was far different. He would be able to directly increase a skill or spell and get the subsequent bonuses. Even Rainer didn’t realize what activating this skill for improving his [Arcane Bolt] would truly do, and how powerful of an ability it was. His eyes gently closed. Perhaps due to the lack of sleep he had the night before, even in a situation like this, he fell right asleep.
As he slept he did something no other mage was capable of; at least without a very high level, one so high they wouldn’t be practicing a basic spell to this point. Or, a mana potion treasury equaling a royal vault, of which the owner wouldn’t use that amount even if it were for themselves. His sleep learning essentially allowed him to cast one [Arcane Bolt] per second and gradually improve it over the course of his nap.
So while it would take some time for Rainer to realize just how powerful his sleep learning ability was, for now, his only focus was the goblin who had just walked in carrying a torch and broken several of the wooden pieces he left at the entranceway. Perhaps it was the effects of his skill, but he could tell the difference between this goblin and the previous one. He was slightly shorter, and his skin was tinged a bit gray among other facial differences. Concerning strength, there was no difference.
With a smooth and practiced motion, an [Arcane Bolt] of similar size to before but with an unmatched radiance formed in front of Rainer. With the speed of an arrow, the magic slammed into the goblin, hurling its body into the ground. The goblin would not stand again.
Completely surprised at the new strength of the bolt, Rainer now finally had a chance to look at the messages that appeared after he woke up.
[Arcane Bolt has reached Lvl 10.]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 1 spell for the first time: Rewarding 5 skill points.]
In only two hours it reached Lvl 10…
Rainer was stunned for a moment, but it didn’t take long for him to understand and to become giddy with the possibilities. What did that mean, one [Arcane Bolt] per second for 2 hours? Was it the equivalent of 2 hours of training? Not even close. After firing 6 [Arcane Bolt]s, Rainer would need to wait roughly 3 hours to do it again.
So his real rate of practice, at least relative to a normal mage, was beyond anything seen before, especially when adding on his increases to learning arcane magic. 6 bolts per 6 seconds versus 6 bolts per 3 hours. An increase of 1800 times! 5400, or perhaps more, with his bonuses, and while he was sleeping for only two hours he practiced the equivalent of 10800 hours.
I’m sorry for not appreciating your ability as a mage grandpa!
He couldn’t help but have yelled that in his head. Quickly he went to look at his mana and Exp.
[Primary Classes: Arcanist Lvl 1]
[Skills: Sleep Learning Lvl 9/10, Appraisal Lvl 1/10, Goblin Anatomy Lvl 1/10, Long Jumping Lvl 1/10, Sprinting Lvl 1/10, Bare-Fist Fighting Lvl 1/10]
[Skill Points: 5]
[Talents: Excellent Arcane Affinity, Human Growth]
[Stamina Regen: .1% per second]
[Mana Regen: .001 per second]
He guessed the lower stamina was from his still lack of sleep but the fact the bolt not only demolished the same strength goblin in one hit but also only cost 1 mana gave him some hope of making it out of wherever he was alive.
No experience gained from leveling up his [Arcane Bolt] spell, however, left him confused. Though, perhaps the fact he himself didn’t physically level it was the reason. He didn’t think it would make sense to be able to level up just by spending skill points or doing a similar action to that like sleep learning.
On top of that, he began wondering why there were no other skills. He knew how to play piano and guitar among other normal modern Earth skills.
Maybe I have to do it once but in the first place should my sprinting have only been level 1? That's almost kind of insulting. Can some skills only increase through use whereas others are knowledge dependent?
However, there wasn’t anything capable of dampening his good mood…Except the realization that he could now kill only 13 goblins and while it was a night and day difference it was hardly impressive if there was a whole tribe of them or even more dangerous creatures within this mine. And the reminder of having left behind his family, his grandfather especially, didn’t help in this case..
There were more pressing matters than his emotional difficulties.
Two patrols going missing, I can’t stay here anymore.
Rainer had taken a look at the goblin before he decided to take its torch for himself. At least now he could reasonably defend himself or scare off the goblins if there were too many. Walking down the tunnel with a torch in hand Rainer played around with his now high leveled [Arcane Bolt]. Forming the bolt in his hand he now could keep it there without firing it. Though it seemed to use up mana to just hold it there the amount was so small it likely didn’t even equal his equally small regeneration rate.
Staring at the slowly moving bolt, he suddenly stopped walking. Getting a moment of inspiration, he slowly willed the bolt over to his left side, careful not to touch himself with it, though he had a feeling it wouldn’t hurt him. As if locking it in place Rainer willed the floating bolt to stay near his left and soon was met with a much-anticipated message.
[New Arcane spell gained: Arcane Bolt Armament]
Alongside the new spell, Rainer got a sudden influx of information.
The spell formula...this..is...incredible!
He had just managed to barely stop himself from shouting out. He couldn’t help but be excited. Magic was not supposed to be this intuitive. It was a long, arduous process of testing and creating formulae. Adjusting mana inputs and outputs. Messing with ancient symbols that had a logic to them far beyond what a normal human mind could understand. This was shown quite clearly by his grandfather creating only two working spells after 80+ years of work, though he did start from almost nothing. One of them was also, until Rainer came to this world, barely stronger than a laser pointer.
Immediately Rainer inspected his new spell.
[Arcane Bolt Armament Lvl 1/10: Forms an armed [Arcane Bolt] at the desired place near the user. The [Arcane Bolt] may be set to release automatically at hostile presences and/or at the users will. Bolt damage and mana cost are improved by the level of the spell [Arcane Bolt]. Current Max: 4]
Right away Rainer cast the spell four times. Each time took roughly three times as long as firing an [Arcane Bolt] normally. None of the bolts drew on his mana beyond the initial cost, but he noticed upon opening his status that, similar to stamina, the max amount of mana was partially lowered by .5 per bolt. Really an unfair spell, there was little downside to it besides the longer cast time.
Right after, seeing as his new light source was sufficient, Rainer snuffed out the torch and left it behind. For the first time in life, he felt like he was actually using real magic. And so a figure standing at just under 6 feet tall, though Rainer wouldn’t mention the just under part, walked further into the unknown.
Four radiant lights of violet arcane energy surrounded his figure in an arch. Black track pants matched with a shirt stained with blood and sweat were all he had on his person.
Time to go and see just what this mine, and what this world, has in store for me.