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Chapter 497. 2020-10-19T16:13:30+00:00

“Are there any merit exchanges that have cropped up?” Zac asked as the quest reminded him of the beast waves back on his island. “And have you figured out what the World Core upgrade entails?”

“Merit exchanges? Not that we know of," Gregor slowly said with some confusion. "We don't know anything about the core either. Perhaps it will upgrade our planet to C-Grade? The System did mention it was D-Grade when we got integrated, after all."

“You wish,” Ogras snorted from the side, drawing everyone’s glances. “This World is as wretched as D-Grade worlds come. The feels abundant now, but wait until the Origin Dao is gone and you’ve reached peak E-Grade. There is no way that a single quest will bump you all the way to a C-Grade Planet. Our whole Demon Horde with tens of thousands of forces only have one of them.”

“So what do you think?” Zac asked.

“It might push the world a bit further, to something like middle D-Grade. It might increase the size of the world as well, as it is quite small. A larger planet would allow larger forces and higher overall strength. Or it might even give the world an attunement, which would probably be the most valuable reward.”

“An attunement?” Zac repeated thoughtfully.

“It might not be useful for us, but for the following generations,” Ogras added. “A fire-attuned world would generate a lot of fire-aspected treasures and herbs, attuned crystals, and even the fire affinities of cultivators would slowly increase. Specialization begets power.”

Zac nodded in agreement. Such a scenario would probably be the best for Earth, though it was useless for him unless the attunement was Life. The planet becoming Death-aspected for his Draugr-side was obviously not going to happen, as that was the very thing the quest goal was designed to stop.

The Councilors also tried to discreetly inquire why he had been missing the past days and how he managed to gain so many levels in short order. Zac explained it by slightly mixing truths and lies. He said he left for the Tower of Eternity in order to evolve his Daos and gain achievements to the point that he could evolve. That was the only way he would gain enough power to assault the Dead Zone.

Lying about going to the Tower of Eternity was a waste of effort. It was just a matter of time before his activities were made known across Earth. It shouldn’t be too hard for people to figure out he was the one who caused such a ruckus the moment they went to the Tower themselves.

As for the levels, he didn’t bother hiding it and told them about the Node Breaking Pills. He had a massive surplus of them now that he couldn’t use any more for the time being. Most would probably be put into his Merit Exchange so they stayed within his force, but he could also consider selling some of them to outsiders.

In fact, Zac was already thinking of holding an auction of his own sooner or later, provided their whole planet didn’t fall to the Undead Empire. He had a lot of items right now that were pretty common in the Multiverse, but still unheard of on Earth. It was a perfect opportunity to make some money before people managed to find their own business connections.

No one on Earth was nearly as wealthy as he was, but the accumulated wealth of tens of thousands of elites should be pretty impressive by now. It was a bit unethical to overchange his fellow countrymen, but it could be considered a fee for closing pretty much all the Incursions for them.

Zac didn’t want to stay in the base any longer than that, and he left after he had transferred all the latest intelligence reports to a tablet. The bad news was that the Dead Zone was enormous by this point, having grown more than twice in size since he visited the last time.

The realignment array had not only increased the density of the Death-Attunement, but the forces of Pangea left multiple kilometers every day. Death spread forth like an intractable wave, and you could even see the process with your naked eyes. Every single one of the border towns was long gone, having turned into unlivable ghost towns by now.

Teleporting closer wouldn't work either due to the jamming. That meant that there was no time to waste, as the distance they needed to traverse was simply massive. He guessed that it would take over half a day to reach the core of the Dead Zone even with the flying treasure.

They still had some time according to Kenzie's estimate, but he didn't want to be late once more. The desolate landscape flashed past them as they soared through the air, this time hidden from sight with the help of a mobile illusion array that made them perfectly blend in with the surroundings.

He had gotten the idea from the seer during the climb. He had mentioned that his descendants had placed a treasure on a flying treasure and hid in the sky, making them impossible to find. The Dead Zone was no doubt crawling with those ghost scouts, but this would give them a small chance at arriving to the core unnoticed.

At the beginning of their flight they could see not only the undead horde far in the distance but also trucks and armies moving about on the ground. However, after one hour had passed there was no activity from the living. They saw a smaller horde move toward the larger one at the edge of the Dead Zone, but that was about it.

The hours passed but no one could relax. Everyone was afraid a storm of ghosts would blast through the clouds and attack them at any moment. But it really looked like their approach went by unnoticed. The Dead Zone was perhaps too big to monitor by now, allowing them to pass by unnoticed.

Zac was about to return to his meditation but something in the distance caught his attention.

“Wait, stop for a second,” Zac said as he pointed at a specific spot. "Set down the vessel over there."

He had kept [Cosmic Gaze] running to keep watch of any hidden threats. But rather than ghosts, it had allowed him to see something unexpected, a beacon of life in a sea of dour death. Joanna immediately changed course and they landed where he indicated, and Zac's eyes widened with recognition as he looked around. He had been here before.

He once sat beneath the tree in front of him.

“What is it?” Ogras asked with confusion as Zac walked over to the mutated tree. “We don’t really have time for a botanical study.”

“I just want to confirm something,” Zac said as he closed his eyes with one hand against the magnificent tree.

It was really the same one. He had found this mysterious tree once more, hidden in a sea of death. It felt like there was some sort of fate behind the second encounter.

“Hopefully you can help me in the future,” Zac muttered as he ran his fingers across the bark. “I’ll come back again after I’ve dealt with the undead.”

“Heaven’s help us,” the demon muttered from the side. “He’s lost it.”

“Shush,” Kenzie said as she kicked Ogras’ shin before turning to Zac. “What is it?”

“Life and Death,” Zac said as he stepped back onto the leaf. “It’s pretty amazing. If I could bring it with me without killing it I would. I feel I can use it as a base to study my Daos.”

Seeing the small beacon of life in the sea of death not only resonated with his Daos, but it also made him remember his Skill Quest. Splitting Life and Death was such an obscure concept, but perhaps this natural oddity might guide him down the right path.

“Take note of this place,” Zac said to the Valkyries and his sister. “We need to return after we’ve dealt with the Incursion.”

The group kept flying through the Dead Zone, but the dense Death-attunement was, unfortunately, having an impact on his vessel, drastically slowing its speed. It was still a lot quicker compared to the old disk he had, but it felt like a crawl after the shocking speed it exhibited when infused with the Dao of the Bodhi.

Zac didn’t dare waste his mental energy on speeding up the vessel though in case something happened. He knew he was the muscle of the expedition, with the others acting as backup. The delay gave him enough time to finish filling his fifth node on his Draugr though, allowing him to balance out his two classes at level 80.

He put the 10 points into Dexterity once more before he turned back into his human form. He still didn't want to expose his Draugr side to the undead invaders unless necessary, especially after learning about Catheya and her master. What if that Peak C-Grade monster became interested and tracked him down?

He was already traveling in search of something to break through, and wouldn't Zac's body make an interesting study? Even Yrial said so. Zac sighed for the umpteenth time over the fact there was no one to turn to for help regarding these issues. No old ancestor who could make their problems go away with a wave of his hand. Everything was up to him to solve, but he was out of treasures that could help him become stronger.

He instead turned his attention to the next thing; his skills.

With him having reached Peak mastery of multiple skills along with having evolved, then upgrading his skills was the next logical step. He had already learned some of the paths from Galau and his visit to the Undead Kingdom, and he had shored up his knowledge from the following encounters.

There were a few ways to upgrade his skills, demanding various degrees of interaction by himself. The simplest method was to adjust the skill fractal so that it would be useable in the e-grade as well. That wasn’t to say that his old skills suddenly had turned useless, but there was a limit of how much energy they could contain.

His miasmic bulwark would only be able to block so much damage, and the wooden hand he conjured with [Nature’s Punishment] would only be able to unleash so much destruction. But this could be changed.

The skill fractals were right now like crude drawings placed in the masterpiece that were the intricate E-Grade Pathways. You could slowly adjust these drawings to blend better, to take advantage of the higher amount of energies that could flow through them. The process of doing this was the same as when he manually drew the pathways for his two classes back in the F-Grade.

However, there was no blueprint provided this time. This meant that you were required to not only understand the skill to a great degree, but also how the skill fractals worked. You could actually ruin the skill altogether, forcing you to redraw the fractal from scratch. It wasn’t really a big deal for someone as durable as him, but it would no doubt hurt like hell and likely force him to delay his progression for a while.

This method was generally considered the easiest way of progress, but it wasn’t really that case for Zac. Most people had grown up in a world of cultivation, spending their entire childhood studying fractals and pathways and the Dao in preparation of when they could finally start cultivating. He could still somewhat intuitively understand what parts of the fractals did, but his understanding was still far worse compared to any average cultivator in this regard.

The second method was to upgrade through epiphany, and Zac guessed that this was his best shot at rapid progress. Just like one could have a Dao epiphany mid-battle, so could he have a breakthrough for his skills. He had seen it a few times already with his skills, though that was just upgrading the proficiency.

Galau had also mentioned Skill Arrays, which was something that most forces and academies used. You could even say they were an integral part of a proper Heritage. They were like assisted guidance systems that helped you upgrade certain skills. They resulted in slightly worse compatibility compared to doing it yourself, but they would undeniably save time that you could spend on gaining levels instead.

You also needed an array that would work on your specific skills, and Zac was pretty skeptical he would be able to find something like that anytime soon.

Finally, there were the Skill Upgrade Quests that the System would reward, but the first one wasn’t until level 90 as far as he knew. It was usually a branched quest that would either allow him to upgrade a skill or transform it, and he guessed that this was the best chance to fuse two of his skills into one.

Certainly, one could fuse skills without the assistance of the System, but you needed an extremely strong understanding to do something like that. Some treasures could put you in a state of faux-enlightenment to assist you in the process, but it was probably something better left alone until you had reached a much higher understanding.

Perhaps Yrial could assist him a bit the next time he entered the Inheritance, but that was still a decade away.

Zac didn’t really have a lot of options right now, but he kept looking inward at his skill fractals, and their connection to the pathways. He figured that if he got a better grasp of the fractals and how they were lacking compared to the pathways, then he might be more likely to be able to gain an epiphany mid-battle.

Sort of like the heat of the battle was how he managed to form the bronze flashes inside the Tower.

However, no matter how hard he tried over the following hours, he simply couldn't make heads or tails about it. He would no doubt be able to redraw all the fractals in his sleep by now, but that didn't really help him in his predicament.

“I think we’re just two hours away by foot now,” Kenzie suddenly said, waking Zac up from his reverie. “What do you want to do?”

“Let’s go by foot from here,” Zac said after some hesitation. “We’ll see if we can reach the core unnoticed.”

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Comments (1)
user avatar
User #7038833 - 19 Oct 20 16:13
Thanks for the chapter
Chapter 496. 2020-10-17T15:56:15+00:00

At first, there was just a thin green line, but they were able to make out the landscape soon enough. Zac breathed out in relief when he saw that it was a pretty normal coast with some leafy growth and grasslands.

It wasn’t the sandblasted desert of the scorched continent, as the only greenery there was the strip of palms along the coast. Zac still couldn’t see any massive Array in the sky though, which meant they were still quite far from the Dead Zone.

“We’ll have to keep going until we find a settlement,” Zac said as he put away his Miasma Crystals. “We will need to make another jump.”

“Finally,” Emily muttered. “It’s so uncomfortable to sit next to you while you absorb that stuff. Feels like I am both cold and feverish at the same time.”

“Sorry about that,” Zac smiled as he turned back to his human form. “I needed to get some levels for my second Class as well.”

Zac opened his screen again and couldn’t help but marvel at the progress over the past day. Rushing levels in the E-Grade was just putting himself further and further apart from the rest of the humans of Earth.


Name Zachary Atwood

Level 80

Class [E-Epic] Edge of Arcadia

Race [E] Human

Alignment [Earth] Port Atwood - Lord

Titles Born for Carnage, Ultimate Reaper, Luck of the Draw, Giantsbane, Disciple of David, Overpowered, Slayer of Leviathans, Adventurer, Demon Slayer I, Full of Class, Rarified Being, Trailblazer, Child of Dao, The Big 500, Planetary Aegis, One Against Many, Butcher, Progenitor Hegemon, Duplicity Core, Apex Hunter, Heaven's Chosen, Scion of Dao, Omnidextrous, Eastern Trigram Hunt - 1st, Tyrannic Force, Achievement Hunter, The First Step, Promising Specialist, Tower of Eternity - 8th Floor, Heaven's Triumvirate, Fated, Peak Power, Monarch-Select

Limited Titles Frontrunner, Tower of Eternity Sector All-Star - 14th

Dao Fragment of the Axe - Middle, Fragment of the Coffin - Middle, Fragment of the Bodhi - Early

Core [E] Duplicity

Strength 1988 [Increase: 91%. Efficiency: 199%]

Dexterity 766 [Increase: 65%. Efficiency: 170%]

Endurance 2004 [Increase: 99%. Efficiency: 199%]

Vitality 1278 [Increase: 89%. Efficiency: 189%]

Intelligence 492 [Increase: 65%. Efficiency: 170%]

Wisdom 814 [Increase: 70%. Efficiency: 170%]

Luck 321 [Increase: 91%. Efficiency: 179%]

Free Points 90

Nexus Coins [F] 6 896 098 998


Zac’s Strength had already passed his Endurance by this point, though [Forester’s Constitution] was barely keeping it ahead in his human form. It was no surprise though, as his class choices heavily leaned toward Strength.

It was crazy to think that his Strength wasn’t even 1000 just two days ago, and it was a clear justification why so many he met believed that choosing low-rarity classes was the way to go.

It made sense. He felt he had pushed the F-Grade to a point that was almost unprecedented in his whole Sector thanks to his combination of having two classes and snatching up almost all progenitor titles of Earth. He had then risked his life multiple times inside the Tower of Eternity to push himself even further.

Yet he had gained just as many attributes by simply gaining a couple of levels in the E-Grade.

He also knew it would be an extremely taxing challenge to form a Cultivation Core that was high-quality enough to be able to support someone like him, whereas a genius who chose an Uncommon E-Grade class would barely meet a bottleneck at all.

Zac’s eyes turned to the 90 Free Points next, but there wasn’t really a question of what he needed to do for now. He threw it all into his Dexterity, pushing it to 914. The flat points from the class had skewed his ratio, but the allocation had righted the ship once more.

However, he wasn’t sure whether he could keep putting all his free points into Dexterity as he had done during most of the F-Grade. His fighting style didn’t only rely on his massive strength, but also his nigh-invulnerability. The latter would take a hit during the E-Grade, as he only got 8 points in Endurance per level from his Fetters of Desolation class.

Meanwhile, he would get more than three times that in Strength if you counted the Strength coming from both his classes. Perhaps putting part of his Free attributes into Endurance to help it stay up was his best shot at keeping himself sturdy enough. That combined with the Boosts from his Daos would probably be enough to stay an unkillable juggernaut.

Zac put the matter aside for now as he wouldn't gain any more easy levels in the short run. However, he was still a bit leery about the attribute cap, and he ate one of his basic Race Evolving Pills to push his attribute cap forward a bit. It was obviously not enough to completely evolve his race to D-Grade, but he could still improve his attribute cap from 2500 by at least a few hundred this way.

That was all that Zac needed for the moment, as it was enough to avoid any issues in case he had some Dao Epiphany during the battle with the Undead. An exuberant energy entered his stomach, and an intense warmth spread throughout his whole body. Streams of the power entered every single pore, filling them with power.

His cells were like a bottomless abyss, and they greedily swallowed everything he could give them. Unfortunately, the pill only contained so much energy, and the warmth quickly abated as his body absorbed the last of the energies. He hadn't made any breakthrough or, but his body felt extremely good, like he had just had a full-body massage.

Zac took a deep breath to enjoy the fresh air, but an abominable smell hit his nostrils and immediately dragged him out of his reverie, only to be met with ten appalled stares. He quickly looked down at his body, only to find his skin covered in an oily brown substance.

"You stink," the demon said with a disgusted snarl. "Why are you improving your Race in this cramped space?"

Kenzie didn't even speak up before she blasted him with cascading waves of water with the help of one of her skills, utterly drenching him and almost throwing him off the leaf. The torrent of water continued for a few seconds, but all the gunk was blasted clean when it abated.

"Uh, thanks," Zac said as he spat out a mouthful of water. "I'd forgotten that would happen."

It almost felt like he had made a social faux pas akin to releasing a fart in a cramped elevator, and he turned his gaze toward the horizon to hide his embarrassment, instead focusing on finding a town. Thankfully he had the perfect item for an occasion just like this, and he took out the [Automatic Map] from his Spatial Ring.

The area it showed was a bit limited, but it was still twice what they could see with their naked eyes, and there were even markings of Nexus Nodes on it. It didn’t take them long to find a settlement with the help of the map. It was a walled-off enclave with about 200 houses hidden in the shadow of a mountain, with no roads leading to and from the place. Zac didn’t bother announcing their presence they landed in the middle of the square.

Unfortunately, it looked like the place was one of the weakest settlements that hadn’t even bought a Teleportation Array so far.

They were a small community completely cut-off from the world, and seeing the flying treasure and the weird retinue was a huge shock to them. However, Zac had no time for an orientation with these people, and they simply found the leader, a nondescript middle-aged man who had reached level 32.

There was a small exploit he had found while traveling before. Zac essentially explained who he was and exposed his level, and the mayor was more than willing to join his banner as a subordinate. Judging by how gaunt everyone looked they had a hard time even getting enough Nexus Coins for food, and joining the strongest man in the world was no doubt a godsent opportunity.

A small hovel like this would never have unlocked the ability to buy a Teleportation Array normally, but now that they were part of Port Atwood the mayor suddenly had a large increase in available purchases, including a slew of arrays. There were limits to how many places Zac could “boost” like this, but he was still well within his limits as he only had a dozen towns or so under his command.

Zac then donated enough money for him to buy the array, and he breathed out in relief when he saw that almost all of his connections were still there when checking out the Array Menu. The advance forts belonging to the Marshal Clan weren’t available though, meaning that anything inside or even too close to the Dead Zone was blocked out by jammers or the death-attuned energies.

They were gone from the remote village a few seconds later, having teleported over to one of the strongholds closest to the Dead Zone. It was a base controlled by the Underworld Council, and Zac felt it was their best bet at getting updated intelligence from the front-lines.

“Halt!” a man mounting a massive machine-gun shouted upon their appearance, but he quickly realized who they were and stood down.

“I need to speak with the Council,” Zac said, and he was immediately led out of the building housing the Teleportation Array.

However, Zac stopped in his tracks the moment he exited the building, and he couldn’t help but gawk at how the whole world was tinted in azure. The blue sky of Earth had been completely supplanted by the chilly light-blue tint of death attuned energies. If it wasn’t for the normal Cosmic Energy in the area he would have thought the world was already realigned.

However, there was an unmistakable hint of death in the ambient energies even though this camp wasn’t inside the Dead Zone, proving that the alignment was already in progress.

The azure hue was unexpected, but the most shocking scene was the gargantuan lines crisscrossing the sky, forming fractals whose size beggared comprehension. Just how much energy had been siphoned out of their planet to form this array? Zac started to worry that Earth would end up crippled even if they managed to deal with the undead somehow.

He hated to say it, but was this world even worth staying on if that happened?

Death Defiance (Unique, Limited): The war between life and death is as old as time. Stop the realignment of your world. Reward: World Core Upgrade. Individual rewards based on contribution. (0/1).

“Did you guys just get a quest?” Zac asked with confusion as he looked at the screen that had suddenly appeared in front of him. “To deal with the undead?”

“Yep!” Emily said with excitement shining in her eyes, and the Valkyries nodded their heads as well. "My first real quest!"

Zac frowned in confusion as he looked away from the ominous skies. Why was the System giving out a quest like this? It hadn't done that when he fought any of the other Incursions. Did the system perhaps feel that people weren't struggling enough against the Undead Empire, and wanted to push for a final cataclysmic battle?

They soon walked into a command tent, where six of the Underworld Councillors were already waiting.

“Thank god you’re here. We were starting to get a bit worried,” Gregor said, and it almost looked like he wanted to run over and touch Zac to make sure he was actually real. “We were even contemplating paying the fee to enter the Ark World. But seeing you shoot up in levels the past hours felt like a stay of execution.”

Zac nodded at the human Councillor with a smile before frowned in confusion at the unfamiliar word.

“The what? Ark World?” Zac asked with confusion, almost forgetting about the quest he just got.

“The New World Government approached us two days ago, shortly after we lost connection with Port Atwood. They said that they have discovered a spatial tunnel leading to a safe Mystic Realm. They call it the Ark World. They are currently shaking down the elites of the Earth to allow them to join the exodus,” Gregor explained.

“So they’re abandoning Earth?” Zac asked with a frown.

“Well, honestly I can understand them. There’s not much we can do. We can barely hold the lines against these undying bastards. Reaching the heart of the Dead Zone and taking out the leaders? Impossible. At least for us…” Gregor said pointedly.

“That’s why I’m here,” Zac said. “If the array in the sky activates, then I have failed. At that point, you might as well leave for the Ark World if you can. Humans won’t survive long on a death-attuned planet.”

“Is there anything we can do to help?” Romal, the official speaker of the council, said.“I would be honored to join you in battle. I would rather fight for our shared planet than hiding in some cramped Mystic Realm. Our people have already done that once, and I know what future such a decision will lead to."

"And it’s not like the unliving are stupid," another councilor added. "They will find us sooner or later hiding in that hidden realm. I bet they have ten ways of forcing a passage open for every way we have to keep it closed.”

“I will just take a very small group that will help with the arrays. I will deal with the Lich King myself. But you can still help me in other ways. Do you know if any of the Undead Generals are out on the battlefield?” Zac asked.

“We believe one still resides within the closest horde,” Gregor nodded. "It has stayed extremely cohesive compared to the other two hordes."

“Can you make sure the horde and their army are occupied for the next two days?” Zac asked. “Things will go smoother if the Lich King isn’t aided by any generals or his hordes.”

“We’ll do what we can,” Romal promised. “When are you setting out?”

“Immediately after we’re done here. The sooner the array in the sky is turned off the better,” Zac said. “By the way, have you guys received a quest to stop the Undead Incursion as well?”

“We received it yesterday,” Gregor nodded. “Everyone who is above level 30 and beneath this cursed sky has it. I guess the rest are considered irrelevant in this fight.”

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Comments (42)
user avatar
User #4063184 - 17 Oct 20 17:20
Thanks! I think this is a perfect chance to show people's reaction to Zac's level 80 in the ladder! It would be great if the undead's spy don't realize or report it, but I guess that would be too much to ask for. It should still be interesting to see what they think about it though.
user avatar
User #22143119 - 17 Oct 20 19:14
Exactly!! Hehehehe
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User #37462108 - 17 Oct 20 16:09
World Core Upgrade -> Earth is upgraded to C Grade -> More natural treasures -> Zac gets stronger and does not have to leave earth so early. -> Also the planets mass could be upgraded -> new race appears on earth -> another story arc => RESULT: Zac has to deal with even more.
user avatar
User #11801336 - 17 Oct 20 16:14
Sounds about right to me
user avatar
User #26916748 - 17 Oct 20 16:31
The obligations of being King.
user avatar
User #37462108 - 17 Oct 20 16:33
...of being the ruler. Zac mentioned that each cultivator chooses an alias at a point to be recognized in the multiverse and stay icognito. I wonder if he chooses something that has something to do with this obligations.
user avatar
User #18874146 - 17 Oct 20 16:58
I wouldn't mind that kinda development.
user avatar
User #22955572 - 17 Oct 20 17:15
I have long been wishing for Zac to have Earth be his main planet and eventually have it reach A-Grade - he will still visit other planets, but the story wont have to leave much of his forces and characters behind
user avatar
User #37462108 - 17 Oct 20 17:16
I feel you bro...
user avatar
User #22143119 - 17 Oct 20 18:08
I sincerely hope this happens...
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User #11704604 - 17 Oct 20 16:17
Free Points 90 <= ?????????????????? During F Class he got the +2 that he started initially for both class, it was like a racial bonus, why does it stopped in E grade class? Makes no sense! If it's because of the class, he should not even get it during F grade... Also the tables are not matching, you included the spent free point in the blue one that he will do later in the chap.
user avatar
User #18617815 - 17 Oct 20 16:29
It was covered in chapter 485 before the class options were showed. In the E-grade, he'll get 10 free stats for each level, as well as the stats from his classes. For opening nodes he'll get +7 to all stats except for luck.
user avatar
User #11704604 - 17 Oct 20 16:57
Chapter 25: [Class: Hatchetman, Grade-F, Rare] Strength +10, +10%. Level: +3 strength, +1 endurance, +1 free point per level. Skills: Axe Mastery (LOCKED) Chop (LOCKED) Forester’s Constitution (LOCKED) But he still got 3 free point per level, so what you refer was the same with the F grade class, that also excluded +2 free point, which the author forget now. The same for Undying Bulwark, it has -1 Free point / level, but he still get +1 during level up.
user avatar
User #4764413 - 17 Oct 20 17:15
That's easy to explain, the +2 Free Points should've been the universal leveling reward which wasn't shown when getting a class because the Nexus Node wasn't upgraded. Like it didn't show Node reward before the upgrade
user avatar
User #11704604 - 17 Oct 20 17:25
Yeah, but that is missing from the recent level ups, that's what I pointed out.
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User #18874146 - 17 Oct 20 17:19
A couple of thoughts occured to me. 1. The World Core Upgrade. I hope that instead of a straightforward upgrade to C-Rank, it becomes the start of a new questline wherein, basically, a few D-rank worlds are smashed together (similarly to when Earth was upgraded to D-rank). Then Zack has to contend with the inhabitants of these other worlds, as well as other Progenitors who share his advantages, maybe even worlds that were conquered by exterior forces during integration. I think the plot could then have a nice balance between things happening on New New Earth, and things happening outside in the Multiverse. I think without some new developments on Earth, there'd be little point for him to stay there and the kingdom-building aspect of TFD would lose relevance fast. 2. Looking forward to Zack having to deal with some of the politics that comes with building up a new world. Most likely, he'll need an absurd amount of money to upgrade all that infrastructure. That means he'll have to negotiate trade deals with outside Multiversal forces, and maybe even bring in money by creating a Mercenary Company. Forming a Mercenary Company would accomplish a lot of Zack's goals. He'd be able to search out strong new opponents that way, and create a new company of Elites (including many demons and the Valkyries) that will be able to protect earth once the grace period is over. Not to mention he could make a lot of money and alliances that way. Also I just love the idea of the Atwood Valkyries becoming a powerful mercenary company in the Multiverse, payed to conquer Mystic Realms or fight in wars, or against powerful monsters. 3. Zack's Title? Once he becomes Hegemon of Earth, he'll have to actually put some thought into the government he wants to establish and the world he wants to build. Will he be a King? An Emperor? Just a Lord? A Title I've been mulling over is this: Lord Protector. I like it because I think it really emphasizes Zack's ruling style, such as it is. He's not involved in the day-to-day stuff, however, he is Sovereign by virtue of his strength, and his ability to protect earth. Thus, Lord Protector. Also, I'm interested to see, once everyone can actually breathe a bit, how modern earth culture will blend with the Multiverse at large. Will they put the internet back up? New versions of Youtube and Wikipedia? Google? Will their be Zack memes? Ogras memes? Cultivation self-help gurus? Become LEVEL 30 in 30 days or MONEY BACK GUARANTEED. Alchemists HATE this ONE trick for race evolution. Upgrade your class rarity in THREE EASY STEPS. Within this new world, how big will Port Atwood get? I can only imagine tens of millions will flood in.
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User #28547166 - 17 Oct 20 18:20
Yes, i too think it would be strange if earth would give up their technology. It would be nice if they could create a blend where they woudnt appear as some kind of technocrat offshot, but still keep what made up our current civilisation (ogras was pretty impressed by our entertainment technology (tv ^^) - sounds like a great export article for our world). Having earth merge with a nother world, maybe the one he meet during the hunt would create some interesting plot points, especially if he can get the hidden realm seed from the mystic realm. Maybe work with the marshall clan to create a goverment? Could give a good reason to create a team with teah and the thought about a mercenary company would fitt in quite well. Earth protected, rank c, strong team that dosnt have to fear for their home. Stuff like that. For zac memes... well i think they will just re-use chuck norris jokes. x))
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User #36218265 - 17 Oct 20 18:20
Spam adverts in cultivation style are the worst thing ever.... I like it xD
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User #43389204 - 17 Oct 20 18:27
I like the thought about the upgrade for Earth quite a bit. You definitely have a point that without further conflict after the undead and the Redeemer's forces (including Zhix), there won't be much point in him sticking around Earth or conflict on it. I enjoy the kingdom building aspect and want that to continue, but without difficulties and conflict on Earth, the kingdom building by itself would become a bit boring and lose all tension.
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User #22143119 - 17 Oct 20 19:18
I hope that happens, I really hope so...
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User #23245182 - 17 Oct 20 22:42
I like the mercenary company idea maybe after the grace period of 100 years is up Ogras can go to his clan and simply uproot it and take it to earth. I could see that as a nice little mini ark of Ogras absolutely whipping ass of the few D-rank in his clan.
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User #5446982 - 17 Oct 20 23:26
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #22206845 - 18 Oct 20 23:18
Yeah, definitely too easy if you don't include luck, if you do though? That'd be something rather impressive indeed.
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User #24359990 - 19 Oct 20 04:22
Was mentioned that at hundreds a luck encounter may happen. Zac had: At 40 the "danger ( spider) sense" At 100 maybe the system attention with quests upgrades At 300 a reality domain avoids random danger and random karma. What 1000 luck would do?
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User #43389204 - 17 Oct 20 18:21
I wonder if they get that quest once they think about giving up and abandoning Earth? As soon as Zac thought that it might be better to flee and that Earth may not be worth saving because of how much energy was drained, he got this quest. The other group was considering fleeing to the "ark world". That world core upgrade should not only reverse the damage by the undead, but maybe even improve the grade of their world. Nice! Speaking of the "ark world", hasn't anyone guessed this is a trap? The NWG is likely working with the enemy and most that go with them will likely be captured or killed. Pretty sure I remember they made a deal with the enemy Zhix faction or something a whiile ago.
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User #34662614 - 17 Oct 20 19:08
I do not think most of them have enough information to suspect it is a trap. But Zac does. He was informed that NWG was likely working with the Dominators and the Great Redeemer. He is incredibly foolish not to consider that it may be a trap and therefore warn these people about it.
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User #34103561 - 18 Oct 20 11:51
It’s definitely a trap, and it seems to me like Ogras made a deal with one of the incursions to betray Zac’s interests relating to the Mystic Realm. The other demons were talking about some kind of quest that uncapped their powers, and Ogras had his powers after coming out of the Mystic Realm. I think Ogras had a quest to betray Zac to an incursion, and satisfied it by cutting a deal with an incursion that we didn’t see in his Mystic Realm chapter. Since he went in there, he’s had a bunch of sketchy interactions relating to the Mystic Realm. He told Zac to put the Origin Dao funnel and the Great Redeemer beacon inside the Realm, wanted him to stash the Technocrat amulet inside, and told him that the archipelago didn’t need to be cleaned out and the Mystic Realm guards would be fine on their own. I’m not sure whether the push to get Zac to spend awhile in the Tower of Eternity was also part of the deal too.
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User #34662614 - 19 Oct 20 02:27
I find it hard to come up with a scenario where Ogras would betray Zac, because Ogras always acts in his own interests and it is hard to imagine a scenario where betraying Zac would put Ogras in a better position than he can get by continuing to ride Zac's coat tails to power. Who are the powers that Ogras could betray Zac to? Great Redeemer, the Undead, and the Church. None of the others could offer Ogras anything that he could not obtain himself. If Ogras is afraid Zac is going to lose, he will just use a teleport token to escape the world and go somewhere else. So to betray Zac, he needs to get something better than just an escape route from the world. Who is going to offer Ogras that (and not be obviously going to betray him the first chance they get)? The Undead would certainly not offer Ogras any power. The Great Redeemer cannot be trusted not to betray Ogras as soon as he gets what he wants. That leaves the Church, which is the weakest of the three possibilities. Maybe they could offer Ogras some position with the Church's backing, but that does not seem like something Ogras would be interested in. I think Ogras will contine to ally with Zac, at least until a much better offer comes along.
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User #24359990 - 19 Oct 20 04:13
@JP Ogras had a quest to defeat a incursion leader, the reward probably was the removal of his limiter, his general should have received the same kind of quest: to defeat an incursion general. After defeating the leader of the rat incursion that his power was unlocked. But I see how could appear to you that his unlocked was related with the mystic realm as he show after having visit it that his power was unlocked.
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User #11801336 - 17 Oct 20 16:14
Thanks for the chapter
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User #7038833 - 17 Oct 20 16:02
Thanks for the chapter
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User #19375330 - 17 Oct 20 20:14
I'm convinced that the system only rewards titles and quests instead of giving them because of karma.
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User #18617815 - 18 Oct 20 14:17
I wonder if there is an upgrade for the Omnidextrous title in the E-grade. Reach 1000 in all stats while in the E-grade maybe? :P
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User #37249430 - 18 Oct 20 18:12
It’d be pretty easy to get with +5-7 base stat points per level plus dao, class points and free points. I’d think not but we’ll see
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User #34662614 - 18 Oct 20 19:19
It would be almost impossible to get luck past 1000. If the title were for six base attributes over 1000, that would not be hard for Zac. He is almost there already except for intelligence.
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User #24665841 - 19 Oct 20 13:05
I would say 500, becasue Luck is insanely hard to upgrade. 1000 Luck, probably only B-Rank and above can dream of having such a stat.
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User #22143119 - 17 Oct 20 19:14
Thanks a lot for this great chapter!! Hope to see some Kingdom Building once we're done with the undead ...
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User #43681094 - 17 Oct 20 16:08
The quest says Upgrade, but does that mean a rise in Ranks or does Zac get to choose the specifics? Not sure why, but the thought of an Earth half attuned to Death seems weirdly appealing to me at this point.
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User #20585040 - 17 Oct 20 16:28
I'm a fan of half miasma half cosmic energy earth though that's really only useful to Zac
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User #22143119 - 17 Oct 20 18:00
Same! Ahahahaha
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User #26160482 - 18 Oct 20 01:32
Who knows? It's not like the system hasn't changed something at the last minute to mess with Zac.
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User #5410633 - 18 Oct 20 06:37
A permanent death attuned hemisphere would actually be great for the inhabitants. A constant battlefield to gain levels and fight. A forge to power level the entire world. Plus it gives Zac a potential second Kingdom, a place on Earth for his undead subjects.
Chapter 495. 2020-10-16T17:10:40+00:00

“You sure you need me for this?” Ogras said as he looked at the modified Teleportation Array with some trepidation. “It might cause less strain on the array the fewer people who goes, it might be better if I just stay behind after all.”

“This is our only shot, and I might not be able to deal with this alone,” Zac said. “Besides, what are you whining about? Even a teenager is going, and you’re afraid?”

“Sending two or ten people won’t really make a difference to the Array,” Kenzie adding from the side, a hint of schadenfreude in her eyes. “As long as we enter the same time we have as good a chance of surviving as when going alone.”

“Don’t speak such unlucky words,” Ogras muttered, but it looked like he had resigned himself to going with the rest.

“Is there anything we need to know?” Zac asked the old Sky Gnome to the side.

“The moment the [Spatial Reinforcement Array] activates it will cause a clash with whatever the unliving have planted,” Gemidir said. “If you see new destinations appearing in the teleportation screen it means it's working. For the time being.”

“For the time being?” Zac repeated skeptically.

“Our array will probably only last a minute or two against the jammers of the undead empire, so you can’t dally or hesitate,” Kenzie said. “Immediately pick an option and we’ll all jump onto the array. We can’t waste a single second. Just make sure you don’t pick a town in the wrong direction.”

Zac looked around, his eyes turning to Joanna and her squad of six valkyries who silently stood behind her. Zac recognized all of them, as they were all among the oldest members who had followed him all the way from Greenworth. They had followed him to both close incursions and conquer the underworld. The constant battle had utterly reforged them into stalwart warriors.

Their gear was swapped out since the last time he saw them though. All of them wore massive shields made from chitinous shells on their backs, each one large enough to cover their whole bodies. Their goal in the upcoming fight wasn't to boost Zac's prowess, but rather use their newly-acquired War Arrays to protect the rear against unanticipated attacks.

He couldn't always protect Emily and his sister, but this group of six would hopefully be able to stall long enough for him to come to their aid. Zac took a deep breath before he turned to the ancient Sky Gnome who stood by to the side.

“Do it,” Zac said as he opened his teleportation screen.

It only showed the handful of teleportation arrays that were studded across the island, but nothing beyond that. He heard some tinkering sounds as the Gnome drew some lines to connect the final power outlets, and a hum suddenly echoed out from the array as Zac felt his vision doubling for a second.

However, Zac forcibly ignored the odd effect and immediately chose a town he recognized. It was one of the newly created settlements close to the shore of Pangea, as he figured a shorter jump would have a higher success rate.

Zac jumped into the array, dragging a swearing Ogras by his lapel just in case the demon chose to change his mind at the last second. The array whisked them away, and his surroundings were replaced by darkness.

However, something felt wrong. It was as though he was being squeezed through a too-thin a pipe. The discomfort quickly turned to pain, but there was nothing he could do about it. He wasn’t in control of himself during these types of teleportations, and he could only endure the pain and pray that the others were fine.

But the darkness of subspace suddenly cracked, and Zac found himself far up in the sky, heedlessly tumbling from the wind as droplets of blood rained down all around him. Screams echoed out from every direction, and he saw multiple bloodied people flailing about. He was obviously wounded as well judging by the blood around him, but they were flesh wounds at worst considering his sturdy frame.

However, his sister and Emily weren’t so lucky, and they were utterly drenched in blood as they fell toward the ground. The scene made his heart burn with anxiety, and four chains shot out as [Love's Bond] transformed to its backpack form. The emerald leaf appeared beneath him the next moment, and five seconds later the whole group was collected and safe.

Ogras and Kenzie had appeared on top of the leaf by their own means, whereas joanna had managed to throw out ropes to half the valkyries. Zac only needed to snatch up a screeching Emily and the rest of the Valkyries. Thankfully everyone was fine, apart from getting bloodied. No one had died and no one sported a crippling wound.

Only then did Zac take stock of their whereabouts, and he frowned when he realized they were above the open sea. No matter what direction he looked in there was nothing, just sky and water. There was a pretty nasty storm cloud in one direction, but there was not a hint of shoreline.

“Is everyone okay?” Joanna said with a hoarse voice from the side.

“I’m fine,” Kenzie said as she ate a healing pill. “I think they booby-trapped the subspace by filling it with spatial tears or something. If we had continued the whole way we would probably have emerged as chunks of meat. Thankfully we installed a failsafe in the array that would take us out of subspace if it got deadly.”

"You had?" Zac said with surprise.

"Do you think I would gamble with all our lives?" Kenzie retorted with exasperation.

“Where the hell are we though?” Ogras muttered from the side as shadows rushed through his alabaster hair and face to remove any blood.

“We can’t be anywhere close to the Dead Zone,” Joanna said as she looked around. “The array in the sky is massive, yet we can’t see it at all. I think we might be some distance away from the continent.”

“Well, we’ll just have to fly,” Kenzie said as she pointed in a certain direction. “We should hit land as long as we move in that direction.”

Zac guessed that Jeeves had calculated it for her based on the suns in the sky or something, and he unhesitantly sent a mental command to the leaf. However, Zac soon enough handed over the task of steering the vessel to Joanna as he wanted to take the opportunity to start leveling up in earnest.

The leaf was terrifyingly quick, but New Earth was also shockingly large, so now was as good a time as any to start eating his stock of Node-breaking pills. There was the issue of Pill Toxicity, but right now wasn’t a time to worry about that.

Besides, his new Hidden Node might even have some ability to deal with toxicity. He didn't feel any better after getting bled by the spatial tears, but he also shouldn't carry a lot of toxicity just yet. He doubted it would let him eat pills indiscriminately even if it worked, but it would still be a great help since he didn’t have access to things like cleansing arrays at the moment.

Now that Zac knew what kind of energies he was dealing with he felt confident enough to swallow two Node Breaking Pills at once. He wanted to see whether they attacked different Nodes, or if there was some sort of system to which nodes were opened.

“Lunatic,” a disgusted grunt came from the side as the demon looked on with shock. "The heavens won't abide with you forever, you know?"

Zac only flipped the demon off in response before he focused on the two balls of fire that had erupted in his belly.

He was happy to see that they both stopped by one of the nodes in his left leg after having skittered about for a bit, as that proved that he would be able to improve his leveling speed as long as his body could take the extra strain. But Zac started sweating from pain immediately the moment the two streams of power entered the nodes.

There wasn’t a simple doubling of pain when taking two pills, but rather an exponential increase by ten times. It felt like his leg was getting continuously stabbed, but he grit his teeth and endured it until the pain finally stopped after half an hour. Was this what it would feel like to brute-force nodes in the future?

This time the Node didn't even break open even after ingesting two pills, and Zac unhesitantly slammed two more of them. Another bout of agony lasting for half an hour passed, and the second node had finally been opened. He took a shuddering breath before he kept going. It felt like torture, but he wanted to gain as many levels as possible before he reached the Dead Zone, especially now that he had brought his people with him.

Zac didn't know how much time had passed as he crammed one pill after another down his gullet as though he was possessed. Sweat streamed down his body, and soon enough the sweat had turned red as he actually started bleeding from his pores. His sister tried to stop his manic assault on his nodes multiple times, but Zac shrugged away the attempts as he felt it was working.

But finally he couldn't take the pain any longer, but he had already broken open his fifth node and gained its equivalent level by that point. The suns had started to set by that point already, meaning that Zac had been occupied for at least 4 or 5 hours.

“Just what did you eat growing up?” Ogras muttered from the side when he saw that Zac finally had stopped abusing himself. “This was not what I meant that it was fine to start taking Node-Breaking Pills. Taking pills like that should be a straight ticket to the morgue, or at least the infirmary.”

Zac could only respond with a weak smile, and he guessed that this wasn’t the time to explain that he was actually a bit disappointed with the results of the experiment. When he was forcibly instilled with the Miasma from tens of thousands of Zombies he managed to eat ten purification pills in one go. Just three was supposed to be a death sentence, but he survived just fine.

He had thought that he would at least be able to take four or five Node Breaking pills in one go to speed up the process, especially after gaining the odd Hidden Node. But he honestly didn’t dare to even try three of them at the moment.

The experiment also indicated that the [Void Heart] did not have much of an effect when ingesting pills. He couldn’t sense his heart doing anything at all, really, compared to the noticeable effect when absorbing a Miasma Crystal. Did it perhaps only work on natural sources of energy, rather than refined ones? The man in the vision had eaten the void and a sun, after all, not a mountain of pills.

Another stark realization was that he couldn’t simply eat Node Breaking Pills continuously. He felt that he was quickly building up a resistance as they traveled, and by the time he had cracked open the fifth node he wasn’t very confident there was any point in continuing his mad consumption. He knew that once couldn't simply keep eating pills for a few days and reach the peak of the E-Grade, but he still felt it was too early to feel this kind of response.

“Isn’t there anything I can do?” Zac asked. “I still have a lot of pills.”

“The resistance will decrease with time, but the process is pretty tedious. And you won’t get the full effect again no matter how long you wait. ” Ogras leered. “But gaining levels through killing and cultivation also helps reset your body, so to speak. I guess you’ve reached your cap for now unless you find some Natural Treasure with similar effects.”

Zac sighed, but he guessed he should be thankful there was a limit to how much you could gain from just cramming a bunch of pills down your gullet. If there were no restrictions then the Incursion leaders would all have been level 150 rather than 80 to 90 by now. Gaining 5 full levels in one day was still extremely good, and it had boosted his attributes by a shocking degree.

However, he still wasn’t out of things to use just because he couldn’t eat any more Node-breaking pills. Zac swapped over to his Draugr form and took out one of his D-Grade Miasma Crystals. He didn’t have too many of them, but Zac figured it would be enough to fill up the five empty Nodes on his Undead Side.

Terrifying waves of Death-Attuned energies slammed into his body as he started absorbing a D-Grade crystal for the first time. It felt like he was deep inside the liquid miasma that surrounded Be’Zi for a second, almost drowning from the waves crashing through him. But he soon managed to steady himself and, it felt like he had ascended to the heavens because of how good it felt.

He could barely restrain himself from moaning out loud, which would have become an eternal point of embarrassment in front of this group. He would rather stab himself to snap out of it than being forced to listen to Emily's and Ogras' taunts over the following centuries.

Zac noticed that the death-attuned energy from the Miasma Crystal didn’t have any idea where to move, in contrast to the Pills that almost seemed to have homing capabilities. Still, it wasn’t too hard for Zac to push the excess miasma into the sluggish whirlpool on his right arm. It felt like the whirl was like a bottomless hole as more and more energies burrowed into the spot, gradually filling it with vigor.

The stagnant whirlpool slowly started to pick up speed, but it took Zac well over an hour before he felt a shudder through his body as the node stopped consuming Miasma. The time it took wasn’t too bad, but it was still more than expected.

He had leveled pretty damn quickly with E-Grade crystals in the F-Grade, and he was already in the 40’s by the time he got his hands on some. If he got some E-Grade crystals at level 1, then he’d blast through levels like they were nothing.

It only got worse from there though, as the second node took almost 50% longer to fill up until another wave of power spread through his body. He simply kept going though as land was still nowhere near in sight.

The third node took over three hours to fill, and the fourth node took five. It had cost him 9 D-Grade crystals to complete, which was pretty bad news. It had almost emptied his stock, and this was just for filling already opened nodes. The node breaking was the most energy-demanding part, and it seemed like using Nexus Crystals to level up would already be impractical for him by the time he reached level 80 with both his classes.

Zac still had one more node to fill with energy though, but he stopped as they finally could see land far in the distance.

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Comments (37)
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User #18617815 - 16 Oct 20 19:09
So from the 5 lvls in his live class and 4 in his undead class he should have gained 114 stre, 40 vit, 32 end and 25 wis. And if I understood correctly he should only have 50 free points since those are from opening nodes and he only has to open nodes once for both living and dead. However, in chapter 485 they mentioned "base attributes gained per node" I assume this is what was later changed to level. For an epic class he's supposed to get +8 base attributes per level, does that mean he gets +8 to all attributes except luck as well as the specific stre, vit, end and wis from classes? would that mean another 72 stats to all stats except luck on top of his 114 stre, 40 vit, 32 end and 25 wis? Really wish we got a stat screen before this chapter ended.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 19:11
He gets the + base attributes for node opened not for level gained. For level gained he gets +10 free attributes to assign in addition to the level bonus of each class. Hopefully that helps.
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User #18617815 - 16 Oct 20 19:33
That might be it. If you look at 485, before the tables that show the different classes there is this segment: Free Attributes Gained Per Level: +10 Base Attributes Gained Per Node 76-100: Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +6 Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +7 Arcane: Base Attributes: +8 Base Attributes Gained Per Node 101-125: Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +14 Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +16 Arcane: Base Attributes: +18 Base Attributes Gained Per Node 126-150: Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +22 Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +25 Arcane: Base Attributes: +28 As you see it's both free stats on top as well as these extra stats. Oh I just noticed I looked at the wrong place, epic and rare get +7 per level for this bracket. So +63 to all in addition to the 50 free points and the class bonuses. Idk, I still had to think way too hard about this, maybe it's just me.
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User #18617815 - 16 Oct 20 19:48
Wait no I'm still wrong. Fuck. Okay for each level gained he gets his class bonus (14 stre, 8 vita for arcadia and 11 stre, 8 end and 5 wis for destruction) as well as 10 free points. And for opening the nodes, which he does once for both classes he'll gain +7 to base stats per node. So from opening 5 nodes and gaining 9 levels (5 in Edge of Arcadia and 4 in Fetters of Desolation) he should have gotten: +35 to base stats, +90 free stats, 70 stre, 40 vit from Edge of Arcadia and 44 stre, 32 end and 20 wis from Fetters of Desolation. Please anyone feel free to check this.
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 19:48
Probably just you. Zac gets 42 points for every Node opened, which is 6*7 (Nodes do not give Luck). He gets 14STR, 8VIT, and 10FREE points for every level gained in Arcadia, and 11STR, 8END, 5WIS, and 10FREE points for every level gained in Fetters.
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User #11801336 - 16 Oct 20 17:28
Thanks for the chapter
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User #7038833 - 16 Oct 20 17:15
Thanks for the chapter
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User #11447080 - 16 Oct 20 17:39
"It just won't die! Why won't it die!" - The Lich King, presumably.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 17:10
Let's go!!!!
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User #27764971 - 16 Oct 20 18:05
Another filler episode...
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User #3664043 - 16 Oct 20 18:18
Please say you are joking.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 18:31
easily could have had 3 more chapters in port atwood before Zac left. Calrin hasn't categorized all the loot. Lots of characters we haven't seen in more than a hundred chapters like we don't know how Sap Trang is holding up. Zac could have gotten out his karma finding lantern and inspected the orphans who took funnel origin dao for links to The Great Redeemer. Fortunately we got one chapter to see the effects of Adriel's attempt to lock Zac in port atwood while the "realignment" happened and he gained more levels in this one chapter than he has in the last like 200 at least.
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User #2961760 - 16 Oct 20 19:12
You could also sort the loot.. after.. saving the world from the array?..
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User #7976252 - 16 Oct 20 20:50
While I agree that I haven't been all that interested in this fiction this month, I am curious what Calrin makes of the dragon in Zac's bag.
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User #18874146 - 16 Oct 20 17:30
I hope we can see, at least once, the Undead Empire people react to the absurd monster that is Zac.
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User #5747214 - 16 Oct 20 17:38
And how they react to his undead form
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User #3346488 - 16 Oct 20 18:30
Kinda lame he’s at such a disadvantage. Doesn’t really do much for the story either.
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User #2961760 - 16 Oct 20 19:14
Boring chapter. I really wish you had rushed from the tower to the incursion, and THEN done all this treasure consumption.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 19:38
from in universe logic Zac has to powerup as much as he can before going into this fight not as rewarding for a reader as an in fight powerup but logically sound
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User #3751919 - 16 Oct 20 17:26
Thanks for the chapter!
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User #580244 - 16 Oct 20 18:28
Thank you!
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 18:05
Is Zac and company going to aim for another settlement to teleport from or does the undead array affect more than just Zac's settlement?
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User #6434064 - 16 Oct 20 18:45
Balance... there must be some downside to be so over powered for his level. It’s that he needs more resources.
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User #31717474 - 16 Oct 20 17:56
I Wonder what Ogras options had been like or will be ^^
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User #9194612 - 16 Oct 20 18:24
He's probably aiming for an Arcane Class to catch up to Zac.
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User #22143119 - 16 Oct 20 18:37
Thanks a lot for the chapter!! I love it!!!
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User #5446982 - 16 Oct 20 21:36
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 18:16
Did Zac level up to 79 or 80? That second to last sentence was ambiguous. No more crystals to level up once he reached level 80, but he advanced Arcadia to level 76 just with Node pills, so it seems he probably should have gotten Arcadia to 80 this chapter, and Fetters should be at 79 or 80, right?
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 18:19
80 as a human 79 as draugr
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User #4561803 - 16 Oct 20 19:55
I'm curious what would happen to the leaderboard if his Draugr level exceeded his Human level. My guess is that the leaderboard only shows his Human level, especially since his Draugr form did not have the Monarch-select quest.
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 20:00
Zac was human when he chose his name for the Ladder. So I assume it is tracking his human side. It never even gave him an opportunity to choose a name for his draugr side, so I guess it is not tracking that side at all.
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User #7356791 - 16 Oct 20 20:11
Aren't the Ladders separated by race? As the only Earth affiliated undead, there wouldn't really be any reason to have one.
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 21:32
Either race or origin world, it is difficult to tell which one.
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User #4063184 - 16 Oct 20 19:30
Thanks!
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 18:01
Did I interpret the scene correctly that Zac used the chains from [Love's Bond] to grab Emily and some of the Valkyries and pull them onto the leaf? If so, that implies that Zac can effortlessly turn off the toxic and corrosive effects of the chains, since otherwise using the chains to grab people with open wounds would have been disastrous to their health.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 18:02
could be could also by the corrosion only applies after cutting someone idk
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 18:08
As I wrote in my comment, everyone had already been cut. They had open wounds.
Chapter 494. 2020-10-15T17:00:29+00:00

Thankfully it wasn't critical to Zac's plan that Ogras had evolved. He mainly wanted to bring the demon for his obscuring capabilities, and those seemed to be mainly based on his Dao of Shadows. Getting a boost to his main attribute Dexterity probably wouldn't make those skills any stronger.

The fact that Ogras wouldn't be as strong wasn't a huge deal either, as he would personally deal with the Lich King. However, as Zac looked around at the three people he was reminded that no man was an island. Certainly, none of these people were nearly as strong as him in direct battle, but they all brought something to the table that would increase the odds of success.

He realized now how foolish his initial idea to deal with the Undead Empire alone was.

“I’ve done what I can about that array,” Kenzie said as she pointed toward the house housing Zac’s private Teleportation Array. “The old Gnome is performing the finishing touches over there.”

“I’m thinking of leveling up immediately,” Zac said, changing the topic. “Is there any problem for me to start taking the pills I’ve prepared?”

“Not that I’m aware of,” Ogras said. “That’s usually how it goes. Of course, most people spend years at the peak of F-Grade to solidify their progression. But you should be fine. You’re a meathead who find your path in battle anyway, I’m not sure sitting down and meditating will do you any good. Just eat it and then stabilize your foundation by bashing zombies.”

“Sounds good to me,” Zac said as he took out one of the pills that would give him a level.

It wasn’t the [Four Gates Pill] with spirituality he found during the Hunt though. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to eat that thing right now, or rather save it for when he hit a roadblock. It might even be something that he could use to open up more hidden nodes in the future.

There were no guarantees, but Zac felt he had a pretty good idea about the location of one hidden node at least thanks to ingesting the treasure earlier. He had observed every movement of the energy tendrils from the [Eye of Har’Theriam], and it had sent its tendrils to one specific spot multiple times, and they had stayed there with hesitation for a bit before moving on.

This node was close to a crossroads of pathways on the top of his head. He obviously couldn't be sure, but he believed that the node the tendrils had found might be the [Spirit Gate], one of the three common Hidden Nodes. It supposedly increased your control over Mental Energy by a large degree, which was something Zac desperately needed.

His control was atrocious because of his non-existent affinity to the Daos, but opening the Spirit Gate might allow him to at least control his Daos to the same degree as most cultivators did. He probably wouldn't reach the level of people like Catheya or Iz Tayn, but it was at least something.

His goal wasn't to become the most powerful man in the universe or anything, but he still wanted to maintain his ability to punch above his weight class. Being an elite was the best deterrence, after all. People still spoke about the Eveningtide Asura in hushed tones after a million years. He wanted to create that same effect so that Earth would be left alone without him having to guard the planet day and night.

Of course, there was no guarantee that the pill he picked up during the hunt was any good for opening hidden nodes, and he didn't want to take the gamble just yet. Judging by the power it contained it might even be able to break open nodes at high E-Grade. Besides, he still knew nothing about his [Void Heart].

Perhaps he would see far better results if he waited to take that pill until he could maximize the benefits with that node somehow. There was a chance that the Node might have an impact on the absorption of pills, after all. But until then there were still a bunch of normal pills he could take.

He couldn’t wait any longer, and he took out one of his normal leveling pills. Zac really wanted to know how leveling would work in E-Grade. The attribute gains were split between opening nodes and gaining levels, and he still didn’t know if the Node breaking needed to be done in both his forms.

“And eating these kinds of pills won’t weaken or wound me before the battle?” Zac asked.

“It’ll hurt, but not like forcing it open with excess energy,” the demon said as he looked on with curiosity.

Zac nodded and immediately popped the pill in his mouth as he sat down. The pill felt like a small sun that ran down his throat before it hit his stomach. However, the energies didn’t set up camp like the [Eye of Har'Theriam], but it rather shot out like it had a life of its own.

The little packet of energy surged around his body with shocking speed until it suddenly stopped at one of the weak spots on his right arm. Zac was a bit surprised as he had simply assumed that it would go clock-wise from where his Duplicity Core was placed, but it looked like it was random.

The intensity of the pill energy kept increasing as a huge amount of warmth streamed into the node, and Zac was shocked at how much energy the unassuming bead had contained. It was just like Ogras had said, it hurt a bit but it wasn’t too bad, it almost felt like he was getting pinched. However, his brows started to furrow as time passed.

Over twenty minutes had passed, and the pill was starting to lose its steam. However, the node showed no signs of changing, and the pill finally petered out. Zac felt the same, but he opened his status screen to be sure. But just as expected, he was still level 75.

“Wasn’t this thing supposed to guarantee a level up to level 80?” Zac complained as he opened his eyes and turned to the demon. “What now?”

The demon looked perfectly jubilant as a grin spread across his face.

“I guess there’s some justice in the world, after all,” Ogras snorted. “If you gained level quickly on top of everything the rest of us might just as well have given up.”

“Well?”

“I don’t know? Take another one, you should have a few,” the demon shrugged as he looked at Zac as though he was an interesting oddity.

He also threw a Cosmos Sack at Zac, who caught it with an inquisitive look. It wasn't like Ogras to freely give out any gifts.

"These are some of the gifts I gathered from the rich bastards in Base Town earlier. There should be a few dozen such pills inside. I handed most of it over to the gnomes to categorize," Ogras said as a grin spread across his face again. "Now let's see how many you need to eat to break open the first node."

Zac sighed, but he could only oblige. He took out a second pill that guaranteed the same effect, and he was relieved to see that the pill energy stopped at the same node as the last one and continued the work there. However, his frown quickly returned as the pill energy quickly drained while the node stayed the same.

Only at the last second did he felt something change in his body. It was like he had cracked his neck and suddenly felt looser. His body felt lighter, and the energy surged through his body with greater vigor.

Zac quickly looked inward and saw that the weak spot had completely transformed. The murky pond that sucked energy had changed into a slowly rotating whirlpool that kept moving from its own momentum. It reminded Zac of the Dao whirl he had experimented with a bit during the time he tried to keep the Draugr-wound in check with the Seed of Trees.

A quick check on the status screen showed him that he had gained 7 points to the base attributes, but surprisingly enough he hadn't gained the extra Strength and Vitality from gaining a level in Edge of Acadia. He frowned in annoyance and immediately ate another pill, ignoring the demon's snicker from the side.

Ten minutes later the whirlpool had gone from a slightly weak swirl into a surging but stable whirlpool that empowered rather than weakened his pathways. He had finally gained a level and reached level 76 in his Edge of Arcadia class. It looked like two pills weren't quite enough for both opening the node and gaining the level, but the third one did the trick.

He would probably have been better off using a Nexus Crystal after the node was opened, as breaking the node was the hard part. After that, he only needed to gather enough energy to qualify for a level increase. But he had been a bit impatient, and the condensed energies in these pills were far more efficient for this purpose, though they left some toxins behind.

Having to use three pills wasn't great news when only one was supposed to 'guarantee' a level, but it also wasn't too bad, especially after having gotten his new hidden node. However, there was one more problem. He didn’t gain anything from his Draugr side it seemed, neither from levels or nodes.

Zac gave it a thought before he activated his Duplicity Core, and he changed into his Draugr for the second time this day. A glance at his status screen proved what he already knew; Fetters of Desolation was still at level 75. However, there was an interesting change when he checked out the node on his right arm.

It had actually turned into a whirlpool as well, but it was so weak that it was almost completely unmoving. It was far worse than it had been in his human side at any point in time, and it looked like it could die out at any moment. It was obviously lacking energy, perhaps the full amount needed for a level.

Node-breaking was something that affected both his classes simultaneously it seemed, but he would need to fill the nodes with energy separately. That, unfortunately, confirmed that he wouldn’t get a second set of base attributes and that he no longer would get twice the amount of attributes from levels compared to others.

This was a pretty big blow to his unique advantages to becoming a powerhouse. His massive pool of raw attributes was his greatest ace against the cultivators who could fuse their Daos and empower their strikes with their Manuals. He would still get more points than others, but the difference was nowhere near as big any longer.

It was a very important reminder that he couldn’t relax in the pursuit of power. You needed to keep pushing yourself and keep finding new opportunities to advance. If he couldn’t steamroll people with raw stats any longer, then he would simply have to find another advantage. The first thing that came to mind was the [Nine Reincarnations Manual] that hopefully would be able to make his soul strong enough to handle the Remnants.

The second thing was the possibility of getting rewards for closing down the last Incursions and reaping the rewards.

“How are your preparations?” Zac asked as he got back to his feet. "How soon can we leave?"

“We’re ready anytime,” Kenzie said as she got up from the table she had summoned while Zac focused on leveling up.

“Good. There’s no time to waste,” Zac said. “We’re heading out in 1 hour. Get a defensive squad of Valkyries as well.”

“I can protect myself,” Kenzie disagreed.

“Yes, but Emily is a Support class who needs guardians. We’re going all out here, and we have no idea what we might be facing,” Zac said. "I'll be able to unleash more power if I know you guys are safe."

“Fine. We’ll get everything in order,” Kenzie nodded. "Meet back here?"

“I’ll go see if I can get some goodies from that slippery bastard we picked up in the underworld,” Ogras muttered. “Knowing you, things will turn pretty chaotic over there.”

With that, he disappeared in a puff of shadows, and Emily sat down on a rock and started to play with her tomahawks. Kenzie sent out a Drone before she walked back to the Teleportation House, no doubt to make sure the Stabilization Array would be installed in time.

"Good," Zac muttered as he simply sat down under the sun to start stabilizing his mind. "In one hour we'll assault the Undead Incursion."

As long as we don't get ripped apart by the spatial turbulence, Zac added in his mind.

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Comments (59)
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User #18617815 - 16 Oct 20 10:00
Okay I'm confused. How is leveling supposed to work in the E-grade if you're a cultivator? You cultivate really hard and clear up the nodes? And mortals have to concentrate energy in the nodes to "blow" them open? And you don't gain a level from opening a node, you gain a level from creating the energy whirl in it? Seems like the energy gained from defeated foes only matter in the F-grade then. I always thought that opening nodes was akin to raising your level cap and that you would still have to battle and defeat enemies to gain the cosmic energy needed to level up but I guess that isn't the case. I wonder how to pace his progression when the only factor is how many pills he can get his hands on. I don't know, the idea of Super brother man, the mighty pill head doesn't excite me. I also hope that it won't take 200 chapters before we find out why Zac needs 3 pills when others would need 1 for the same effect. Edit: Okay now I'm even more confused, I went back to chapter 491 and read the Author's note. So Zac gets the class stats (stre and what not for his human class) for opening the node but he only gets the +10 free stats when he levels up? But he did level up when he did the node thing, what's the difference? Also if the class stats are tied to opening nodes then leveling up his undead class seems like a waste of time, he only has to open the nodes once after all and then he does he'll gain the class stats from both his classes? This is so poorly explained please help.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 14:13
my understanding is that it takes energy to open a node (mortals open nodes with excessive cosmic energy and cultivators slowly grind it open) at which point the node provides the node bonus but not the level bonus. Then the node needs to be filled with energy at which point it provides the level bonus. We already know that because of all of Zac's titles he needs more energy than others do to open up his nodes and then level them.
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User #20585040 - 16 Oct 20 14:17
In this chapter Zac needed 2 pills to open a node and an additional pill to level up. He'll need another pill or to kill more to gather sufficient energy to fill that opened node on his undead side.
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User #18617815 - 16 Oct 20 16:51
I wonder how much control he has over the energy from the pills. It just seems strange that his third pill went to power the already opened node instead of starting the process of opening another node. Anyway, I hope he has the forsight to break open a node or two before he takes care of the undead incursion so the cosmic energy doesn't go to waste
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User #22143119 - 15 Oct 20 19:39
I think this chapter would have been more interesting from Ogras point of view... well, anyway, thanks for the chappy
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User #27764971 - 15 Oct 20 20:47
Agreed
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User #11801336 - 16 Oct 20 17:06
I'd love to see his character expanded
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User #8801808 - 15 Oct 20 18:05
I really like the story but I also am hoping that at some point and sooner better then later that Kenzie dies
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User #28547166 - 15 Oct 20 18:10
Wtf? Where is the dislike button when you need it?
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User #43389204 - 15 Oct 20 18:52
So many people seem to hate Kenzie, and the hate seems so irrational lol. I think they just don't like that in some ways she''s actually a more talented cultivator than the MC. The only other possible bad thing is that she once in awhile makes jokes that readers take the wrong way because they already are looking for a reason to bitch about her. People used to complain that she was useless, but now that she actively helps pretty frequently, people still complain...
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User #3572455 - 15 Oct 20 19:08
The excessive kenzie hate reeks of immature inceldom to me tbh. First it was that she was useless, then that she got too powerful too easily. No satisfying folk.
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User #8801808 - 15 Oct 20 19:12
No need for personal insults for opinions about an online story. I just do not feel that her character is well developed at all to be honest it reads like the author just over corrected her because of fan comments. I really never felt anything about her at first then she did become over powered but I really just do not think she is developed enough. I also think her dying would serve the story better it will increase the tension with the mother and should motivate the main character more on his path to the top.
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User #26130883 - 15 Oct 20 19:15
Are you kidding me? The author has set Kenzie up as a major plot point. It's painfully obvious that she's going to be integral to the endgame of the story in some way. If it makes you feel better I'm pretty sure she's going to be the eventual big bad. He'll still probably find a way to defeat the AI controlling her without killing her though.
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User #10215460 - 15 Oct 20 19:41
I just hope the mom gets killed by the son, there’s not many novels that do what i am hoping for.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 19:57
I think part of the problem is that she’s set to become a major component of the story, but her development isn’t being given the narrative legwork it needs. She’s mostly just being presented from Zac’s point of view and he kinda looks at her like a child. She need more focus time (like Thea got during during the Hunt) to really flesh out her character more.
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User #7356791 - 15 Oct 20 19:59
At least for me, that is the main reason why I dislike her. It's so obvious that she is a major plot point. There is an entire multiverse out there, interesting people to meet and mystic realms to explore. All that becomes a bit hollow once the only logical reason for Zac to got out into the multiverse is to get stronger and chase after his sister. If we had time to get invested into her character, explored a few new places and Zac became more than a spec of dust in the multiverse before all this foreshadowing, I think it would have made her much more likeable. Take Alea for example, her "death" was mostly unpredictable and we all thought Zac's luck would pull through to save her. Kenzie on the other hand, it's basically a countdown until the inevitable happens, cheapening her character. I find her, as a concept, quite interesting, but can't seem to care about her because of that.
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User #8801808 - 15 Oct 20 19:59
I agree with stylemys comment. I think this is actually why I don't like her the more I think of it
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User #26908960 - 15 Oct 20 21:58
Yes and then everyone comes out and participate in a music number high school musical style right? Smdh...
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User #7356791 - 15 Oct 20 17:47
Hopefully that bit about getting torn apart by spatial turbulence is a flag and we finally get rid of Kenzie.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 18:25
So that we then get 5+ chapters of exposition on how sad he is? Why would you wish that on us? He's finally about to head for the Undead Incursion.
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User #7356791 - 15 Oct 20 18:31
Good point. During the big fight with the Lich, Zac gets preoccupied and doesn't notice Inevitability pop out of nowhere and off his sister.
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User #4063184 - 15 Oct 20 17:45
Just like a guy said in the previous chapter, this one felt completely useless. Just filler.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 18:19
Yup. The last few chapters meandered way to much on exposition, internal thought processes, and rehashing little things he's already gone over. These chapter could have been written in 1/3 the words and not lost any impact.
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User #9578630 - 15 Oct 20 18:04
Thanks for the Chapter.
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User #20063163 - 16 Oct 20 05:03
Unnamed valkyries going with. Might as well dig their graves and pick out headstones
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User #34662614 - 16 Oct 20 15:32
He should get them red shirts.
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User #26916748 - 15 Oct 20 18:05
Next few chapter needs to be battle chapters that bring a quick conclusion to the Undead Incursion. Kinda dragging again.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 17:38
So he just got 10 free points and he does not even assign them to anything? This chapter had a bunch of Zac's meaningless thoughts but did not cover any of the important and practical considerations.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 19:07
There's not even much to consider. All-in on Dexterity is the only right answer. Zac is a dedicated melee fighter and yet Dexterity is currently his 2nd lowest base attribute. It's a wee bit absurd.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 19:33
Yes, every free point in E-grade needs to go into Dexterity. But I would at least like to see a sentence now and then saying that Zac put his 10 free points into Dexterity, as usual.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 21:12
You mean a sentence or 2 of quick practical exposition? I don't think there's enough room to squeeze something like that in between all these super-duper-definitely-absolutely-totally-utterly-unquestionably-essentially paragraphs of repetitive internal monologue.
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User #37462108 - 15 Oct 20 17:08
This one level he gained will spread incredibly fast around the world. It will give the people hope and instill even more awe.
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User #3080226 - 15 Oct 20 17:26
It will spread fast enough that even the undead will know he finally upgraded to E-Rank and is coming for them. Bad for the lower ranks, but nice for the powerhouses of the undead force.
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User #37462108 - 15 Oct 20 17:07
I hope he doesnt forget to order his array masters to build the soul cultivation arrays.
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User #11801336 - 15 Oct 20 17:24
Yeah, i'm really interested to see where the author goes with that.
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User #2961760 - 15 Oct 20 22:06
Last few chapters have been soooo slow
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User #13154183 - 16 Oct 20 02:57
I am so bored with nodes.
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User #3664043 - 16 Oct 20 05:13
Im not he advanced like 6 times in some way over the last 4 or 5 updates.
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User #7038833 - 15 Oct 20 17:01
Thanks for the chapter
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User #302874 - 15 Oct 20 17:53
Interesting. Zac still gets "double" the attributes in some ways, since he has 2 classes, doesn't he? He doesn't get 2 bonuses for breaking open each node. It seems like that would still be a decent boost in attributes compared to others with only 1 class.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 18:05
He gets 74 points per level from Nodes and Edge of Arcadia. That is what a normal E-grade with an Epic Class would get. He gets an additional 34 points per level from Fetters of Desolation. Which is 46% of 74, so Zac gets more points than a normal E-grade but less than 50% more. In F-grade he got 100% more.
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User #7205316 - 16 Oct 20 02:47
yeah that is true, but the way he typed it he says that he does not get the any benefit for two classes, but that is just wrong. He gets the benefit for both his classes but not double the nodes. So he will still be a powerhouse.
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User #25293756 - 15 Oct 20 20:43
“I can protect myself,” shut the fuck up for once kenzie and do what he says
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User #5213677 - 16 Oct 20 00:17
Ah yes kenzie. With the robots your brother got you that are largely/(completely?) Controlled by the ai in your head.
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User #28547166 - 15 Oct 20 18:08
I wonder. That node expelled the toxic waste he had no use for. Does that work for pill toxine too?
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 18:56
Considering he needs to consume 2~3 times the pills and thus 2~3 times the toxicity in order to break them open with treasures, it had better.
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User #7356791 - 15 Oct 20 20:21
I think it would make more sense for it to be the Dao of the Coffin that handles pill toxicity. The way I understand it, the Void Heart is basically like an engine, fuel goes in and exhaust/refuse comes out.
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User #13313927 - 15 Oct 20 20:40
I think they would work together, with Coffin expelling physical impurities and Void Heart expelling energy impurities
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User #24359990 - 16 Oct 20 02:10
The heart would be great with that pill that removes impurities from the body, but that remains at the blood, maybe some cultivator that he killed bought it at the auction.
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User #5763334 - 15 Oct 20 17:20
I love this book but the pacing is frustrating. A lot of the stuff in the chapter can be removed because they’re self-explanatory or just repeated from previous chapters. If you had combined the previous chapter and this chapter while removing most of the introspection and fluff then it would have been perfect.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 17:28
I was thinking the same thing. It would not be so bad if Zac's introspection covered new ground. Like he spends so much time thinking about the Four Gates Pill but he does not say anything about whether he has set anyone to the task of making more of them, since he has all the rare ingredients for them. Or having Calrin trade ingredients on the market to get more Four Gates Pills. And still nothing about upgrading his skills. How can he not even think about that important subject?
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User #13154183 - 15 Oct 20 17:43
I agree. These chapters are being stretched and have become mundane. The same info said in different ways. This chapter leaves off where yesterday's left off. I am starting to regret signing up again.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 18:50
The thing that really get me is how much is little things being rehashed. Stuff like a paragraph explaining that not getting double attributes for opening nodes reduces his overall advantage. That's already been mentioned in at least one recent chapter and didn't need to be completely re-explained again after it was confirmed.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 17:18
What about the [Fruit of Rebirth]? He said to himself a while ago that he would take that as soon as he advanced to E-grade. It won't bring his race all the way to D-grade, but it will increase the attribute cap part of the way to D-grade. Also, he is not even going to take a minute to ask Brazla about qualifying for E-grade skills? He should at least try kissing up to him to see if he can get a reasonable test for the E-grade skill floor.
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User #13553780 - 15 Oct 20 18:14
As much as I agree, Zac finished the final battle at the Tower some 30-ish chapters ago and it's been like 80% meandering exposition since. I'm eager for him to actually get going against the Undead Incursion.
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User #34662614 - 15 Oct 20 18:17
So am I. But if we are going to get these exposition chapters anyway, they should at least have new things happening instead of Zac's meaningless thoughts on what has already happened. Swallowing the Fruit should take a short paragraph at most. Brazla and the trial might take most of a chapter but it does not need to be described in detail. With all the meaningless bits cut out of last chapter and this one there could have been space for going to Brazla and getting a skill.
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User #10879718 - 15 Oct 20 19:02
All of it could be rolled into a single chapter summary/overview. Without the useless exposition that’s what the last 20 chapters would have been anyway
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User #18251460 - 15 Oct 20 20:36
Good points. But tbf the fruit of rebirth/ attribute cap. Not an immediately urgent concern. +Wouldn’t actually change anything. The Skill shopping is a good point, but tbf I doubt there is anything that amazing in the general skill floor for him anyway. Possibly a useful utility skill
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User #5446982 - 15 Oct 20 20:33
Thanks for the chapter.
Chapter 493. 2020-10-14T16:27:24+00:00

Hidden nodes could generally be categorized into two types from what Zac had gathered. There were the Racial Nodes that most cultivators of the same race had, such as the Three Gates. Pretty much all humanoids had these three hidden nodes, with one important exception. They could have been swapped out by Inherited Nodes provided by your bloodline.

Perhaps there were more types out there, but those were the two that Zac could gather intelligence on.

People with strong enough bloodlines had hidden nodes more specialized for their Paths, and these types of Inherited Nodes were one reason that families with amazing bloodlines churned out so many powerful warriors. However, he was a bit confused by what he saw, as the most likely source of any bloodlines and Inherited Nodes was no doubt his mother.

However, the shuddering man in front of him definitely didn’t look like a Technocrat. He was emitting a terrifying force from his body, like his average-sized frame contained endless power. It was the same sort of fierce aura like he had sensed from Greatness, one of a warrior who used his own body as a weapon.

However, Zac felt this man was on par with those supreme existences he had seen in his previous visions, rather than some D-Grade warrior.

Finally, the man stopped shaking, but plumes of steam still rose from his body from the heat he emitted. A small dagger that seemed able to tear space apart by its very existence suddenly appeared in his hand, and he stabbed his leg in one swift motion.

A torrent of blood shot to the sky, and Zac was shocked to see the amount. The wound had closed itself in a fraction of a second, but hundreds of liters had poured out in that short window. Weirder yet, the blood didn't actually freeze from the glacial cold of the vacuum of space.

In fact, it did the opposite as it suddenly combusted like it was gasoline rather than blood, lighting up the meteor for a short moment before the area was once more plunged into darkness. It looked like expelling the burning blood had drastically improved the man's situation, and he had once returned to his statuesque demeanor.

The heartbeat the only proof that the man still lived.

Zac slowly woke up from the vision, but he somehow still heard the man's pulse deep in his soul. Each thud made Zac’s blood rage like it followed the mysterious man’s heart rather than his own. With every thud, their hearts synchronized a bit more until Zac’s heartbeat was perfectly in tune to the hooded man’s.

His blood started coursing through his body at unprecedented speeds, but he felt no discomfort at all. It was like his heartbeat was in tune with the universe, and a small ripple spread out from his body before space stabilized itself again.

A crackling sound from the sky woke Zac up from his reverie, and he was shocked to see a massive swirl up in the sky. Massive amounts of Cosmic Energy had gathered into a whirlwind of untamed power, and Zac's eyes lit up in anticipation as he waited for the energy to descend.

However, elation quickly turned to confusion, before he was filled with annoyance. The energy had no intention of entering his body as it did with the mysterious cultivator in the vision, but it was rather dispersing again now that Zac no longer heard the deep heartbeat. Zac's dreams of a few free levels crashed and burned just as they were born, and he instead turned his attention to a screen that had appeared in front of him.

[Void Heart – An all-encompassing heart born from the primordial void.]

Zac looked at the screen with some confusion, trying to understand just what this new node meant. It was clear that it was an Inherited Node he had opened, rather than something like the three gates. But the problem was that there were a huge number of these Inherited Nodes, and people rarely divulged them.

A hidden node was like a secret weapon of a clan, and one of the most guarded secrets. This had made it impossible for Zac to gain a decent understanding of Inherited nodes, like what limits and capabilities they usually had. But he had learned a thing or two from Galau, who freely admitted that his clan possessed no Inherited Nodes.

Him getting an unknown Inherited Node rather than one of the Three Gates could be both good and bad, as Inherited Nodes ranged from being extremely overpowered to utter trash. [Void Heart] seemed to be a Node that helped with cultivation rather than giving a direct boost to his power like the common nodes like the [Flesh Gate].

But the description was unfortunately of the less informative variety.

The "all-encompassing" was no doubt referring to the man's ability to seemingly absorb any energy, as he swallowed anything he passed, even a sun. There was also no doubt an element of energy gathering to the node, evidenced by the convergence of Cosmic Energy in the sky just now.

Unfortunately, improving energy absorption might mean that it increased cultivation speed, which would be pretty useless to Zac since he couldn't cultivate. What if this [Void Heart] kept gathering massive amounts of energies around him, but he could only look at it from a distance, unable to take it for himself?

Wouldn't that be a novel way of torture?

But the vision gave him an inkling that it might not be exactly that case. There seemed to be two components to the ability that the node provided, judging by the vision. The first was the heart, and the second was the blood. The heart seemed to swallow the energy of the area, which was related to some sort of absorption, though not necessarily one related to normal cultivation.

The man also exsanguinated himself on purpose, and there was clearly something wrong with the blood. Zac’s best guess was that it was a node that would allow him to absorb various types of energies better than a normal warrior, but that kind of absorption would fill his heart with impurities or toxins.

The exsanguination would in turn allow him to simply flush the toxins out of his body. It was a system of keeping the good and expelling the bad. Something like that seemed to match with Zac’s impressions of his own body as well. He had survived his body getting crammed full of all kinds of weird energies until now.

There was the Cosmic Water, then the storm of Miasma in the Dead Zone, and finally the high-grade energies of the two Remnants in his mind. His body was clearly unnaturally resilient to all kinds of energies, and this Hidden Node might actually be the first step toward taking advantage of this, more than just surviving.

It was just a hypothesis though, but one easily tested. Zac took out a Miasma Crystal from his Spatial Ring and absorbed some of its energy. At first, he felt extreme nausea having condensed death-attuned energies in his system, but something mysterious soon happened.

The death-attuned energies entered his pathways and were shot in a few quick revolutions through his body, but each time they entered his heart the nausea lessened. A few minutes later the feeling was gone altogether, but there instead was a chilliness in his veins. Zac took out his axe and drew a small cut on his arm, and blood that was slightly darker than normal started dripping down on the ground.

It was barely discernible, but then again he had only absorbed death-attuned energies from the Miasma Crystal for a short duration. Perhaps his blood would turn into the black Ichor altogether if he kept at it long enough.

This quick experiment clearly indicated he was on the right path with the node, but this obviously wasn’t the right way to utilize the hidden node. It would be a lot more efficient to simply use a normal Nexus Crystal in this case, as there would be no need to waste time and energy on cleansing it.

But some things might work, such as Natural Treasures. A lot of herbs and other Natural Oddities contained massive amounts of energy, but they were too chaotic and toxic to ingest unless made into pills or concoctions first. And sometimes even that was impossible. Besides, this sort of refinement always led to a significant loss in energy, at least among pills made by normal Alchemists.

Perhaps it wasn’t the case with top tier Alchemists in the multiverse, but it wasn’t like Zac had access to those kinds of people.

He didn’t dare try that out right now though, as he might be badly wounded if proven wrong. But if he was right, then he might have found the key to leveling up quickly in E-Grade, perhaps even beyond. He might not be able to gobble up a sun anytime soon, but he might be able to bargain hunt for energy-rich items that were normally too chaotic to turn into anything useful.

He really wanted to find the little blue merchant and requisition some items immediately, but he knew that such experiments would have to wait until after the Undead Horde. Instead, he out of his courtyard only to find Emily waiting some distance from the gates. She was lazily throwing rocks at a drone that deftly dodged the small projectiles.

Zac was a bit surprised to see the teenager here, as she was out at sea last time he heard, boosting the Intelligence for the scouts and water mages in charge of searching for the Jamming Arrays.

“You’re back! But why do you look the same?” Emily added from the side as she suspiciously looked at him up and down. "And what did you do just now? I thought you were about to upgrade the Nexus Vein or something."

"It didn't work out, unfortunately," Zac said with a smile. "You'll have to make do with the normal one for now. And why would I look different?"

Suddenly a fiery axe appeared in her hand, and she threw it at Zac.

“WOW!” she screamed as she looked at Zac with wide eyes. “Monster! At least you got stronger. A lot stronger. How am I supposed to beat you up now?”

"I guess you'll have to work harder," Zac snorted.

“Aren’t people supposed to become more handsome when evolving? But you’re still the same monk as ever,” Emily said, waving at Kenzie who was coming over as well.

“You’re thinking of race upgrades,” Zac sighed with some exasperation as he ran his hand across his once-again bald head. “I haven’t upgraded that yet. I thought you were helping the others looking for the jamming arrays?”

“I returned when I heard you were back. I’m coming with you to fight the zombies,” Emily said, her face scrunching up with stubbornness when seeing Zac’s frown. “You might need me. What if you’re just too weak to win? Wouldn’t you feel stupid if you got stuck outside an array, just lacking 10% Strength to get through?”

“… Fine,” Zac sighed. “But you should know that even getting to the mainland will be risky.”

“I’m going as well,” Kenzie suddenly added from the side.

“What? Why?” Zac said, just stopping short of staunchly refusing.

“Calrin and I figured out a few of the Array Breakers while you evolved, but you probably won’t be able to use them,” Kenzie explained. “They either takes a few weeks of study or general knowledge of formations. So I need to go as well.”

Zac really didn’t want to bring his sister to the heart of the Dead Zone, but he knew that he might not have much of a choice. It was all hands on deck right now, and Kenzie might be the foremost expert on arrays among all the natives of Earth. There were more skilled people among the Sky Gnomes and the Creators, but he couldn’t bring them for something like this due to the limitations of the Mercantile System.

“Alright, alright,” Zac sighed before he turned to the demon who had appeared to the side as well. “Did you evolve as well?”

“No,” Ogras said. “Me evolving won’t change the grand scheme of things in the battle with the undead. I need a month or two to consolidate everything. So, what classes did you get? Epic? Or Even Arcane?”

“It’s too early for me to get an Arcane,” Zac said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to get that rarity before you really know what you're doing from what I gathered.”

“Well, I guess that excludes you. So what did you end up with?” the demon said, almost leaning forward in anticipation.

“What about you?” Zac snorted. “There’s no way you didn’t check out your options while I evolved.”

“He did, like two seconds after you left,” Kenzie smiled from the side. “But he won’t say what options he got.”

“Why aren’t you working on that reinforcement array?” Ogras said with some exasperation.

Zac laughed, but he was inwardly a bit worried about the demon. Was there some trouble with his evolution? He had seemed pretty intent on evolving the moment they returned based on their discussions in the tower, but something seemed to have changed his mind.

He knew that the demon had a Rare class right now. Was he perhaps lacking something to get an option? Or was it the opposite? Did he feel that he was on the verge of getting enough merit to be provided with an Epic class, and closing out the Undead Incursion might give him the final push to take that step?

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Comments (49)
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 19:49
Whatever happened to Emily's sister? She was introduced to Zac and then she disappeared. Zac should really consult her before he takes 16 year old Emily into a war zone.
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 20:10
Better to ask forgiveness than permission?
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 20:14
Please forgive me for getting your 16 year old sister killed. But look on the bright side, I saved her weapons for you!
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User #20585040 - 14 Oct 20 20:19
she's still in the underground iirc
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User #25378417 - 15 Oct 20 04:51
She is part of the Underground orgs, and as such is likely with their armies fighting the Undead. Not exactly reachable at the moment.
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User #26916748 - 14 Oct 20 17:33
Will Emily get a portion of the cosmic energy when Zac makes kills while using her buffs? Cause she’s gonna level up quick once Zac starts mowing down entire armies.
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User #12234442 - 14 Oct 20 18:24
I think she does. Her class is a support one. Teacher class can get cosmic energy from teaching, so her buffing him sholud give her some cosmic energy. Question is: does she take portion (like 5%) cosmic energy divided from his kill or does she get extra from System and Zac gets 100% from kill?
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 18:35
I believe it was mentioned during the Underworld arc that Emily got partial credit for Zac’s kills while she was buffing him.
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User #29718993 - 14 Oct 20 20:29
Remember the System doesn’t like giving out fee energy. Just look at the titles and how from now on he has to provide the energy. So I bet it’s a portion of the energy from the kill rather than extra.
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User #20585040 - 14 Oct 20 16:39
Super excited for party time with Ogras Emily and Kenzie. Hopefully we get to see Kenzie and Emily in action and I'm really hoping for some powerleveling of Emily while she's buffing Zac. Thanks for the chapter!
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 18:19
So if I understand right - there were no “fluctuations” noted during the process to clue in the presence of other hidden nodes, so Zac likely only has the one hidden node. It’s a bit of a bummer that half the benefit of the Eye was lost on him.
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User #16566834 - 14 Oct 20 18:53
That's a big assumption. He admitted that there was only a chance he'd be able to intuit other hidden nodes from the process.
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User #22143119 - 14 Oct 20 20:34
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #9578630 - 14 Oct 20 18:23
Thanks for the chapter
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User #28547166 - 14 Oct 20 17:55
... coudnt he have tryed to imitate the heart beat? besides, that guy was sitting silently meditating, while mc was looking around like some country bumpkin, not concentrating on his heart beat at all. why should that work?
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User #22143119 - 14 Oct 20 23:57
Exactly!!! So frustrating...
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 17:28
Instead of some implausible theory that Zac's father is not his father, I think it more likely that Leandra has that Void Heart guy as a distant ancestor whose genes are known to very rarely manifest in her family's children. And for whatever reason, the Technocrats consider those children to be monsters (maybe they tend to drain and kill everyone around them).
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 17:32
Another possibility is that the Void Heart guy is related to the primordial Draugr that Mhal put into Zac. Although I think this is less likely since the Void Heart guy was not described as looking like a Draugr.
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 17:50
If he’s an Unorthodox Cultivator (which seems possible), it would make sense for him to be part of the Boundless Faction since the System supposedly punishes people for talking unorthodox Paths. If so, it would hardly be farfetched for his descendent to eventually embrace the Technocrats fully.
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User #16566834 - 14 Oct 20 18:52
In the vision Zac's father said something like ' the boy and our daughter' there's really no way to mis-interpret that. The impression that I got is Zac is the result of a tryst or something worse that his mother is ashamed of. So its quite possible the hidden node vision was of an Ancestor on his unknown fathers side.
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 19:01
You certainly got that wrong. That is not what Zac's father said. And referring to his 10 year old son by name, and a newborn infant as daughter is very weak evidence for saying that Zac is not his son.
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User #8796307 - 14 Oct 20 19:03
That only works if you operate on the assumption that the vision during the tribulation was true though. If you assume that the vision was a lie from the System intended to turn him against his Technocrat heritage, then it makes sense for his father to have implied that Zac wasn’t his son; it only strengthens the lie. Edit- this was directed at Chopper’s comment.
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User #13313927 - 14 Oct 20 16:34
Thanks
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 17:02
So Emily’s boost is up from 5% to 10% now. That’s a notable buff. This also confirms she can use it on people at least a grade above her too. Her rare class is not for show.
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 17:18
I wonder if she gets 10% of his regular Strength, or 10% of his effective Strength.
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 17:37
My assumption would be that she doesn’t get his efficiency boost. Otherwise that would layer her own efficiency boosts over his. If I recall correctly, she boosts 2 stats with that ability too. Either STR+DEX or END+VIT depending on what color axe she uses. Considering she also gains the same stats she buffs stats, she’s also jumping 200~300 stats every time she huffs Zac now.
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 17:38
She can also boost Intelligence and Wisdom. Any of the three pairs. She has an Axe for each possibility.
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User #580244 - 14 Oct 20 17:42
Thank you!
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User #12491961 - 14 Oct 20 16:27
Bruh
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User #27764971 - 14 Oct 20 16:58
Poor Ogras - he would kill himself if he found out Zac's options
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 18:10
Are you kidding? Zac’s coattails are getting so big Ogras could build a house on them and ride along in leisure.
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User #5436910 - 14 Oct 20 16:33
Seems like there might be a paragraph missing where Emily throws the ax at him? Or is that just me?
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User #5436910 - 14 Oct 20 16:35
Like she just throws the axe at him and then jumps straight to "WOW!" And the axe is never mentioned again
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User #2719018 - 14 Oct 20 16:38
It's the magic axes that are stat buffs. So she threw at him, he got a stat buff and she got a percentage of his strength so that's how she knows he's a "Monster"
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User #9149514 - 14 Oct 20 16:39
It's her support ability that increases her stats by a percentage of his. It's how she knows how high his attributes are. It also gives him a boost.
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User #13313927 - 14 Oct 20 16:41
I agree
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User #5436910 - 14 Oct 20 16:41
Ah OK that makes more sense. Tbf idk how many chapters ago the last time her power was mentioned so you've all got better memory than I do lol
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User #37462108 - 14 Oct 20 16:38
The [Void Heart] is also very good for expelling the poison gained by using pills from the blood. Now Zac doesnt has to care about that anymore.
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User #9149514 - 14 Oct 20 16:41
This leads him down a dark path of constantly popping pills and cutting himself.
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User #37462108 - 14 Oct 20 16:43
I think he has learned the lesson that using such things will not improve his options for class upgrades later. In F Grade he mourned that he used energy crystals in the beginning to help him level up.
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User #7976252 - 14 Oct 20 17:06
It’s like Zac has become emo with all his self cutting
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User #18489037 - 14 Oct 20 17:08
I don't know how emo you can be if you're Axe-cutting yourself. That's like Lumberjack emo. Is that a thing?
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 18:00
Emo lumberjacks sounds like how I’d describe members of a Death Metal band.
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User #23245182 - 14 Oct 20 16:48
I think Ogras has enough for an epic class the bare minimum requirement is a Dao fragment and he also has 2 points of merit. One from the fruit of ascent and one more from closing the techno incursion. Maybe he just needs to prepare for the 2 hidden nodes he can open.
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User #22026929 - 14 Oct 20 18:56
Chapters like these are why I canceled my subscription. There is way too much exposition, explanation of zac’s thoughts and actions, and not enough plot. Over half of this chapter was zac “contemplating” the node he just opened up and what sort of effect it might have on the body. Instead of telling us, why don’t you show us?
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User #3664043 - 14 Oct 20 20:23
wait, so he doesn't know where the other nodes are now?
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User #34662614 - 14 Oct 20 20:35
Zac was watching as the tendrils of the Eye explored his body. The Void Heart Node was the first hidden Node that the tendrils found. I'm not sure how it was supposed to reveal the location of other hidden Nodes. Maybe it would normally scan his whole body for hidden Nodes and then go back and open one of them?
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User #7038833 - 14 Oct 20 16:27
Thanks for the chapter
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User #13553780 - 14 Oct 20 18:37
It’s a good thing that Undead bodies “wake up” in E-grade or Zac wouldn’t be able to make use of the [Void Heart] while in Draugr form.
Chapter 492. 2020-10-13T16:35:26+00:00

Zac wasn't sure. Was he willing to bet his and Kenzie's lives on his mother being a friend who wanted the best for them, or should he start looking for ways to actively hide from her just like he was planning to do with the Great Redeemer? Perhaps the two plans could be fused, making sure neither party could find their way to Earth.

The more Zac thought about it, the better the idea seemed. He would try to stop Leandra from finding them, at least until they could protect themselves from whatever she had planned. One piece of good news in that regard was that she was wounded just thirty years ago or so. It might seem like a lifetime to him, but it was just the length of a single round of meditation for high-grade powerhouses.

Getting wounded enough to lose your memories at that level must mean that her enemies, possibly the rulers of Firmament's Edge, were extremely powerful, and healing from such a battle could take centuries. It was just like the Great Redeemer and his nasty scar that radiated terrifying energies. He would probably carry that wound for centuries before he could completely heal.

Leandra might be unable to come back for the time being due to being forced to focus on recuperating. She had been awoken ahead of time, and perhaps there were repercussions for that. The longer he had to prepare, the better he could hide himself and his sister. He would begin with the lantern, but he had a feeling that a Technocrat's tracking wouldn't be based on something like Karmic Threads.

Perhaps there were anti-technocrat arrays that would stop her from finding Jeeves. The orthodox forces had been fighting the Technocrats for millions of years, there should be all kinds of solutions in circulation.

Zac stood up with a grunt and walked out of his courtyard to let his sister know he was fine, but he was surprised to find a drone hovering just a few meters outside. He knew it must have been Kenzie who put it there, and she came running a few seconds later as expected.

“You did it,” Kenzie said with a wide grin, and Zac nodded with a smile, inwardly thankful he had erected his obscuring arrays around his courtyard before he evolved.

Zac knew that he would have to tell her about his visions sooner or later, but now was not the time. However, he couldn’t help but feel a foreboding as he saw the undeniable similarities between Kenzie’s and Leandra’s features.

His mother’s appearance had always been a bit blurry in his mind, but it was refreshed upon seeing her twice in short order. And Kenzie really took after Leandra, no matter if you spoke of the slightly curled hair or their hazel eyes. Her appearance was a stark reminder that Leandra might come to collect at any moment, and it reignited his desire to become stronger.

And the first step toward that end was to open his first Hidden Node.

“I’m fine,” Zac said as he looked around. “I passed the tribulation without any issue. I just wanted to tell you that before I headed inside again.”

“What’s going on?” Kenzie asked. “Do you need to undergo the tribulation twice because of your two races?”

“No, I actually got two tribulations, but they descended at the same time, so it’s dealt with. I have gathered a few things I can finally use now that I’m E-Grade,” Zac explained. “I can use a few of them while heading toward the Dead Zone, but some need to be taken while in seclusion. I’ll be away for a few more hours.”

“Is it dangerous?” Kenzie asked with some worry. “You just passed the tribulations. Don’t you need to stabilize your foundation or something?”

“It should be fine,” Zac said, though he honestly had no idea.

Yrial didn’t explain exactly what would happen when he used the [Eye of Har’Theriam], apart from that it would break open a Hidden Node. If you were lucky and knew to listen well it could also expose more of the Hidden Nodes spread through your body, but only the one node was essentially guaranteed.

However, the Lord of Cycles never divulged if there were any dangers to absorbing the treasure. Taking normal pills to gain a level wasn’t dangerous from what he had gathered though. It mimicked the method used when cultivating, but it sped up the process drastically. It would hurt a bit, but you wouldn’t cripple yourself from opening a node this way.

It was nothing like forcing them open by cramming the nodes full of cosmic Energy.

But opening a Hidden Node was his best shot at getting a direct power spike before setting out to the Dead Zone. He would be able to force a few nodes open as well while traveling, but he had no idea what to do about the skill quests for the time being. He didn’t have any Dao Treasures either, at least not that he was aware.

So the Hidden Node had the highest priority.

“Alright, I’ll keep helping old man Gemidir with the Array,” Kenzie said. “Be careful.”

“Don’t let that old thief scam you,” Zac smiled before he returned to the courtyard.

Zac erected the restrictive arrays once more, and he sat down as he took out the box he bought during the trial, the container that held the [Eye of Har’Theriam].It was the most valuable item available in the inheritance, except for Yrial’s lock of hair, that is.

He gingerly took it out, and the whole courtyard was suddenly drowned in cascading waves of energy. The fluctuations were extremely exotic as well. They neither felt like Attuned Energies or Dao Energy, but rather something he had never encountered before. Of course, it could simply be a higher-tiered attunement that he was too stupid to recognize.

The so-called [Eye of Har'Theriam] didn’t really look like the eye of a beast, which wasn’t a surprise since it actually wasn’t one. The Pathfinder Eye he recently expended to create [Love’s Bond] was actually part of a slain beast, but this thing was something else entirely. It was rather a natural treasure, a convergence of specific energies that had been given physical form.

It was an object created by chance from some unknown event in a dead universe, something that had proven extremely hard or even impossible to reproduce. It meant that the supply was extremely limited, and not something that normally would appear in the hands of someone like him. The name came from the fact that the crystalline clump had a discoloration in the middle that somewhat looked like an eye.

Zac didn’t eat the treasure, but he rather took off his robe to leave his chest bare before he pushed the item against his navel. Next, he simply started infusing the thing with Cosmic Energy. The small rock was like a bottomless abyss, swallowing everything Zac threw at it. But it was finally satiated after Zac had spent more than half of his reserves, and treasure started to sink into his body.

He had expected to feel a scorching pain like he had put a piece of coal against his flesh, but nothing of the sort happened. It rather felt like he suddenly had eaten a massive feast, making him a bit bloated. The treasure was quickly getting ready to do its thing, and Zac immediately focused his mind again as he observed the changes.

The slightest fluctuation could be a clue to another hidden node going by how Yrial had explained it, and he didn’t want to miss a single thing.

The amount of energy Zac could sense from the [Eye of Har’Theriam] was just shocking, like he had swallowed dozens of high-grade pills in one go. His own Cosmic Energy was just a fraction of the whole, something to mark the treasure with his own aura. However, the energy ball didn’t spread out across his pathways and, but it rather set up camp close to his Duplicity Core.

One tendril after another reached out in various directions of his body, like they were some sort of scouts that looked for their target. After having looked around for a bit they returned, looking slightly expended. This repeated over and over, and Zac tried to engrave every movement and every pause in his mind.

However, he couldn't help but worry as time passed. He and Yrial had briefly wondered whether he actually had any Hidden Nodes due to his unique constitution, and things weren't looking too good right now. The ball of energy had almost halved in size over the hours as it sent out one tendril after another in search of a node, but it hadn’t found anything of note just yet.

Zac refused to give up unless the ball of energy completely ran out of steam though, so the search continued until there was finally a change. Zac felt a surge of victory as one of the tendrils froze after having dug into his heart. One tendril after another joined it until there suddenly were ten of them reaching inside, clearly having found what they were looking for.

The next moment the main energy ball pounced like a predator going for its prey.

Only then did Zac see what the treasure was doing. A major section of his pathways ran through his heart, and six normal nodes were surrounding it. However, there was now a small distortion added to the mix right in the middle. Zac was 100% sure that it hadn't been there before, since he had gone over his whole body after his evolution.

Or rather it hadn't been visible to his internal vision.

However, the Eye had managed to find it, and the small disturbance was quickly enlarged as the ten tendrils of the [Eye of Har’Theriam] poured massive amounts of the mysterious energies into the hidden node. Another stagnant pond quickly appeared, though this one looked completely different to the other ones he had seen so far.

It looked like an actual black hole, and any energy that entered it was swallowed without a hint of where it was going.

A shudder spread across his body as it suddenly felt like he had two hearts, each one beating to its own tune. The new addition was deeper and slower, like the beat of a war drum. Each beat became heavier and heavier as the hidden node was getting unlocked by the remaining energies of the [Eye of Har’Theriam], and Zac finally couldn’t hold on as he spat a mouthful of blood.

He was shocked to see that the blood actually looked like brown sludge, but he didn’t get a chance to even consider any course of action before he felt a crack in his heart, and a surge of energy stormed into his mind.

----

Zac had once again been thrown into a vision, finding himself on an utterly lifeless piece of stone soaring through the vast cosmos. There were no stars around him, leaving the area almost completely shrouded in darkness. The weak light from a distant nebula was all that illuminated the surface of the celestial body, and the single feature that barely stood out against the bleak surroundings.

It was a man, or Zac at least guessed it was a man going by the muscular build, stoically sitting on top of a prayer mat. His features were shrouded in darkness, and most of his body was covered by a simple robe, giving no indication of who it might be. He was completely unmoving as well, utterly blending in with the surroundings to the point Zac would have thought he was a statue or a corpse if it wasn’t for one detail.

The heartbeat.

A heavy heartbeat beat once every few seconds with such vigor that ripples pushed out from around the cultivator's unmoving form. But more interestingly it looked like there was a pushback the next moment, like a receding wave. The counterforce dragged dense amounts of energy into his body, before the man’s heartbeat once more to send out another ripple to gather even more.

It felt as though his heartbeat was absorbing the power of space itself, and even the stars in the distance flickered as if they were affected by the beat as well. It was like this man was an actual black hole, taking everything from the surroundings for himself. It was no wonder that the meteor he was sitting on was completely void of life and energies. He had no doubt already consumed it all.

Was this some sort of cultivation method based on the heart? Or was it simply the effect of his unique constitution? Was he traveling across the cosmos like a locust, draining any area he passed of its vitality?

Zac quickly realized that the meteor was moving with shocking speed as well. They were rapidly closing in on a sun and looked like they could collide at any moment. However, the man was completely oblivious to his surroundings, and Zac soon understood why. The sun was completely helpless in front of that man's heartbeat, and a massive chunk of flames was ripped from the enormous sphere in an instant.

An odd crack in space appeared above the man's head, and the stream of flames was swallowed without leaving a morsel behind. Zac was flabbergasted at the scene, as just a fraction of those streams of flames were far more condensed than the whole scorching sun that Iz Tayn summoned during the Battle of Fates.

Finally, there was a change in the man's demeanor as they whizzed past the dimmed-out sun. Steam rose from his body as he slightly shuddered, and Zac looked on with a mix of confusion and anticipation. It appeared as though the heart cultivator might have swallowed a bit more than he could chew, and Zac was curious to see if he would show some way to deal with the fallout.

Zac had found himself in the very same predicament a couple of times after all, and he had only survived by the skin of his teeth.

There was also one more question burning in Zac’s mind. Was this man in front of him an ancestor of his, either living or dead? Dao Visions showed you people who were walking the same general path as you, such as the Axe-Man and the Immutable Defender, but this wasn’t a Dao Vision. It was a vision brought forth from his own body, a hidden node in his heart.

And such a vision would probably be based on an ancestor of his.

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Comments (46)
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User #22143119 - 13 Oct 20 19:04
Oh, oh, oh!! AMAZING!!! Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #22431501 - 13 Oct 20 17:26
The question is, will his hidden node ate the tracking thingy reinforced by the sun dude?
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 17:41
Sun dude branded Zac's soul it's not like there are still flames there to be eaten.
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User #43250616 - 13 Oct 20 16:53
yeah , his mother had Zac with some other guy.... according to the dao vision he had in the tribulation. a very powerful other guy. Could the guy in this vision be the first defier? the S+ rank guy who went against the heavens the first time? Since Zac is also a defier
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User #34662614 - 13 Oct 20 16:58
That does not fit with what his mother AI told him. Zac's father found his mother wandering around in a daze with no memories. He took her in and 2 years later Zac was born. Since she was without her memories until Kenzie was born, I do not see how anyone non-human could be Zac's father.
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 17:00
Leandra being a much higher race than just mortal might have a longer time to carry a child to term. Especially if the father is also non-mortal
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User #7778431 - 13 Oct 20 17:03
Jordan, the ai doesn't know that he knows of the memories that I assume she blocked of him witnessing her leaving and fighting with his father (system tribulation vision). So it would call the man who raised him, his father
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User #34662614 - 13 Oct 20 17:05
That is really reaching far for a justification. The fact that Zac is mortal himself means it is more likely his father was also mortal.
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 17:08
@Jordan when I said non-mortal I was more meaning higher grade race that lives far longer than mortals (like if his dad were c-grade race), sorry for the confusion
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User #34662614 - 13 Oct 20 17:16
Very few mortals make it to C-grade. And Kenzie obviously had a normal gestation period. So you are postulating that some unknown and extremely powerful but mortal person was somehow able to impregnate Leandra despite being of a completely different race and this caused the fetus to have a gestation period of more than 2 years despite Leandra having a child later with a normal gestation period. Furthermore, if we are to believe the System vision, Leandra considers Zac a monster, which suggests she was not willingly impregnated. Given that Leandra is a powerful Technocrat, one would expect her to immediately terminate the pregnancy. This whole scenario just gets more and more implausible.
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User #16386767 - 13 Oct 20 17:27
Maybe there was just a conversion of some powerful bloodlines on ancient earth that are now expressing themselves post integration. We also have the Titan bloodline in Billy. We may discover more.
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User #26955678 - 13 Oct 20 17:31
@Jordan it could be possible that the time she was horribly injured (or before) was the time she was impregnated so the theory of longer gestation period could be accounted for
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 17:39
Leandra also could have been lying about Zac being born 2 years after she met Robert but there are any number of ways for this to work. The real driver to Robert not being Zac's bio dad are that Robert said "What about Zac what about our daughter?" instead of "what about our son what about our daughter?" and that Leandra looked at Zac with revulsion in the heart tribulation and referred to him as a monster.
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User #36711084 - 13 Oct 20 17:40
@jordan what if the father’s bloodline causes zac to be a mortal I.e instead of cultivating normally people of this bloodline has that weird comic energy absorbing heart from the vision, therefore people count them as mortal (or possibly theyre only see as mortal prior to them unlocking said bloodline).
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User #34662614 - 13 Oct 20 17:56
It would be illogical for the Leandra AI to lie about that, since that lie would be likely to be discovered. In fact, it would be likely Zac would immediately know it was a lie. This whole scenario is crazy implausible.
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 18:05
Why would Zac know it was a lie? How could he? As far as Leandra knows she brain-wiped him prior to jumping through the portal.
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User #20585040 - 13 Oct 20 18:10
Mysterious parentage and dad switcheroos are a common trope. The heart tribulation suggested Robert might not be Zac's dad. I get you aren't buying it but don't be pissed off when it's what happens bc the author signaled it pretty clearly.
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User #34662614 - 13 Oct 20 18:16
How can you dream up this crazy scenario but cannot see...nevermind. All Zac would have to do would be check the the historical records for Leandra. When she joined society there would be a trail impossible to miss for anyone who spent even a few hours investigating. His father would have filed a police report about her, probably taken her to the doctor, definitely gotten some sort of state ID for her, probably got her a bank account, credit card, cell phone, etc., maybe she got a job and had to file taxes, maybe she got a library card, there are all sorts of things. Even if Leandra somehow brainwashed Zac to prevent him from looking for her, Kenzie still would have looked when she was old enough. And she would have talked to Zac about it.
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User #24359990 - 14 Oct 20 14:57
@Jordan, Zac investigate Leandra before, it was found that there were no documentation about her, so the investigator suggested that she was a illegal. So I don't think that she let trail of documents to be found about her.
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User #24359990 - 13 Oct 20 18:32
Would this black hole heart turn Zac in a Cultivator?
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User #13553780 - 13 Oct 20 18:35
So this is where Zac's constitution came from. That makes me wonder what will happen to the ancestor in this vision. If absorbing/incorporating too much miasma and Draugr blood caused Zac to turn into an Undead hybrid, what would his ancestor turn into by absorbing too much of a star?
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User #9578630 - 13 Oct 20 17:25
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #12768565 - 13 Oct 20 16:42
I don't trust that Leandra chick. Wasn't expecting a vision. Thats pretty cool. Wonder if he gets double stats for his nodes?
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User #43389204 - 13 Oct 20 17:49
Very interesting. Perhaps an ancestor on his father's side, or his actual father...
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User #9194612 - 13 Oct 20 18:02
I believe Ogras is right and Zac true ancestry is related to a netherbeast and not to some old guy with a hungry heart, unless that's what a netherbeast is.
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User #13553780 - 13 Oct 20 18:40
Could be both. This is just a single ancestor. We don't knw how many generations back he is from Zac or who/what this dude inherited the blackhole heart from either.
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User #23245182 - 13 Oct 20 19:09
I think it would be great if everyone on his island could tell what is happening. All of them able to fell and hear Zac s heartbeat and the pull of cosmic and miasmic energy being ripped out of the ground in an ever widening ring around him. Bloodline ability unlocked - consume
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User #13553780 - 13 Oct 20 20:10
If he still needs to keep the Miasma and Cosmic Energy in his body somewhat balanced, he may need to keep part of the planet Death-aligned to make sure he's drawing in enough miasma with this blackhole heart. Alternative, he could maybe Death-align one of the moons instead using the Undead Empire's array, so that he has somewhere to go absorb enough miasma.
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User #23245182 - 14 Oct 20 00:48
I like the moon idea there are four of them in this story right? Odds are one of them is livable, but maybe only in the E-rank.
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User #4871200 - 13 Oct 20 16:49
that ancestor, stealing beats from the hot sun.
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User #13553780 - 13 Oct 20 18:54
If/when Kenzie finds out that Zac saw their mother in a vision and as an AI from the amulet, she's going to be pissed he didn't tell her about it immediately. She's made it quite clear she wants to look into their mother's disappearance. I seriously doubt she will take kindly to Zac withholding information and secretly making decisions to try and severe both of their karmic (or tracking) links to their mother.
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User #7356791 - 13 Oct 20 19:02
Kenzie can go jump into a hole in reality and cease existing. She's likely going to get grabbed and Zac will spend the rest of the story getting stronger and chasing after her, that's usually the only use family members have in cultivation novels.
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User #13553780 - 13 Oct 20 19:29
The way things are going, I'd put money on her going willingly at first rather than being grabbed. There will probably be revelations when her mother actually shows up and they'll have an argument about Zac being too secretive/ overprotective/ controlling. He'll double-down in the heat of the moment. Then she'll angrily tell him to shove it and go join her mother without him. Zac will later realize he was treating her like a child instead of trusting her with the truth from the start and will go through some character development as a result. Or something like that.
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User #25288106 - 14 Oct 20 15:22
Then her mom decides to wear her body because it has the best cultivation affinities and the ai built in.
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User #36218265 - 13 Oct 20 16:35
Not first
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User #28547166 - 13 Oct 20 18:06
Well, she called him a monster in that vision. Seeing someone sucking out the life of the universe itselfe sounds pretty monstrous to me. Dont think he is far off from the ancestor theory. ^^
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User #28926377 - 13 Oct 20 16:36
Thanks
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User #9149514 - 13 Oct 20 16:47
Will this awaken his bloodline?
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User #19073493 - 13 Oct 20 18:44
If the splitting of life and death quest isn't related to him killing a lich, I'll eat my shoe.
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User #37462108 - 13 Oct 20 20:36
I guess that he uncovers his bloodline in addition to gaining an improvement of his dao. He is just so lucky...
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User #36711084 - 13 Oct 20 16:53
So this is the primordial bloodline Iz’s grandfather mentioned him maybe having? I wonder how he can find out how to unlock it. Is this why his mother (possibly) is so disgusted by him and called him a monster?
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User #36218265 - 13 Oct 20 16:59
Well now we know that zac could probably take a bite out of Iz xD that would be kind of hilarious
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User #22143119 - 13 Oct 20 19:02
In which chapter is that mentioned? (I want to reread it)
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User #580244 - 13 Oct 20 17:01
Thank you!
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User #13763322 - 13 Oct 20 16:42
Makes sense that Zac's ancestor would be literally dense as a black hole.
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User #13620133 - 13 Oct 20 17:01
Hahahahaaa
Chapter 491. 2020-10-12T17:15:55+00:00

Since he was done with checking what he needed to in his human form he finally swapped over to his Draugr side. The process activated as usual, but Zac frowned when he felt that it took almost 3 seconds to transform, which was a lot worse compared to before he evolved. Was it because the Pathways had become more complicated, and swapping them out took more time and energy?

However, there was still a solution. The transformation skill Yrial provided was geared toward the F-Grade, and it could hopefully be upgraded to once again shrink the time it took to change forms. The skill was unfortunately something that the C-Grade ghost put together without much thought, and it neither had proficiencies or an upgrade Path.

Zac would either have to figure out a way to recreate the skill or wait until he could enter the Inheritance Trial again. He could only put the issue aside before opening his Class Menu once again, as there were some things he wanted to confirm there as well.

Class: [E-Epic] Fetters of Desolation.

Strength +50, +5%. Endurance +50, +5%. Wisdom +50, +5%

Level: Strength +11/22/33, Endurance +8/16/24, Wisdom +5/10/15, +10 Free.

Skills: Blighted Cut (LOCKED)

Zac was a bit surprised that he had gained equal parts in the three attributes from the class, even though he would gain more than twice the amount of Strength compared to Wisdom at each level. But that was great news for Zac as he was already pretty lopsided toward Strength with his class choices, while his low Mental Defense was his biggest weakness.

A quick mental calculation confirmed what Zac had expected. The per-level gains from his old classes remained, but the flat class bonuses had been swapped out. For example, Undying Bulwark had provided 10% Endurance and 5% Vitality before, but 5% of the Endurance and all of the Vitality was swapped out for Strength and Wisdom.

There was still a net gain as the flat attributes increased drastically, but it was still a bit of a shame. One of his strong suits was his almost inhuman Endurance, but that advantage would slightly weaken in favor of the massive amounts of Strength he would rack up during the E-Grade. Perhaps it might even be worth putting some of his free points into Endurance to maintain the lead over normal Cultivators.

He opened his Quest Menu next, and interestingly enough, the Hegemony quest wasn’t there in his Draugr form. Was the quest chain perhaps connected to the race he was when the integration started? He still hadn’t gained his Draugr form when completing the first quest, after all.

There was a skill quest though, and Zac breathed out in relief when he read the task.

Blighted Cut (Class): Kill an evolved being of equal or higher level with a single non-lethal cut. Reward: Blighted Cut Skill (0/1).

The quest for Blighted Cut was thankfully a lot more straightforward compared to the one for [Rapturous Divide]. However, it was still not a free win by any means, as it seemed to put very high demands on the corrosive effects of his Dao. That was at least Zac’s takeaway going by the name of the skill. He needed to make a non-lethal attack lethal with the help of his caustic power.

The Fragment of the Coffin contained a decent corrosive effect, but it always required him to stack up numerous wounds to create an effect strong enough to cause real harm. For example, Faceless #9 was completely covered in rotting wounds by the time he finally gave up, but it wasn't enough to actually take him out.

It meant that he would have to make some inroads into the death-aspect of his cultivation path as well to complete this quest. Perhaps the System felt that he had utilized too many Dao Treasures to prop up the Seed of Rot, leaving the foundation lacking.

Zac shook his head as he turned his sight inward, and unfortunately, it looked like the bad news would just keep coming. His pathways had been reformed just like in his human form, but there were some other changes. The once-perfect fit of the class skills was ruined for multiple skills, mainly those that dealt with pure defense.

However, he noted that the fit for [Profane Seal], [Deathwish], and [Immutable]was just fine while the fit of [Winds of Decay] had actually improved. This was just what Zac had expected though, where he moved away from a defensive class toward a more offensively geared one.

But more importantly, the nodes looked completely identical in his Draugr form as in his human side. The effect the nodes had on the flow of energy through the pathways wasn’t exactly the same, as the two sets of pathways differed from each other. But the nodes themselves were in the exact same position.

It was clear to him that the Nodes weren't actually a part of the pathways themselves, but rather something tied to his body. However, they didn't feel corporeal at the same time, but rather intangible. Zac suddenly had an idea as a knife appeared in his hand and he stabbed his leg, aiming right for a node.

Black ichor started dripping down his leg, but the bleeding quickly stopped thanks to Zac's massive pool of Vitality. However, Zac was more interested in the fact that the node he just struck showed no reaction at all from being stabbed. It ruined one idea he had where he would forcibly rip the nodes open and rely on his inhuman durability to recuperate. It simply didn't work.

The situation clearly hinted at a situation where he would only need to break open each node once. This was great news for his leveling speed, but it was horrible news for his Attribute Gain. Of course, he would have to confirm his hypothesis by actually cracking open a node and gaining a level, but it looked pretty clear-cut from where he sat.

There was one more thing he wanted to consume before he ended his seclusion, but he first wanted to tell his sister he was fine.

However the scenes from the tribulation repeated in his mind upon thinking of Kenzie, and he was unsure what to think. Was their mother really on the way back to take his sister somewhere? And judging by the malice and madness in her eyes she might just kill Zac along with the whole planet if she was in a bad mood.

Her ability to simply conjure a spatial portal out of nothing proved she was a big-shot, though he had already suspected as much. Not only was she involved with a peak force like Firmament’s Edge, but her necklace seemed to be some sort of ghost key that gave blanket access to Technocrat facilities.

The necklace by itself was a cause for concern, and he took it out of his Spatial Ring and looked it over. Reaching the E-Grade, unfortunately, hadn't increased his skills of discernment, and he still couldn't find any clues of how it worked. However, the moment he touched the token with his mind in an attempt to look inside, a drastic change occurred.

The token hummed to life and floated up into the air by itself. [Verun's Bite] was already in Zac's hand as he jumped up in alarm, though confusion plagued his mind. He had tried scanning the medallion the same way dozens of times, but there hadn't been any response until now. What had changed? Was there something different about his mental energy after evolving? Or was it the Remnants?

However, Zac had no time to figure it out as a figure appeared in front of him. The figure of his mother.

"Zac, my son," Leandra said with a smile marred with longing.

"Mom?" Zac said, his mind thrown into chaos once more. "Is that you?"

He had just seen a crazed incarnation of his mother during the Heart Tribulation, but now a completely different Leandra stood in front of him. Her demeanor was in stark contrast to the one the System depicted. There was happiness, but also sadness as she looked upon Zac.

"It looks the Integration took place, after all," Leandra sighed, not answering his question. "I am glad you are fine, and evolved at that. Where is your sister? Is she okay?"

"Kenzie's fine. Is this really you, or an AI?" Zac asked, some doubts worming into his heart when he heard his mother immediately ask about Kenzie.

"It seems you have learned a few truths," Leandra nodded. "You are not speaking with the real me, but a Synthetic AI based on me. I left it in the necklace, and it activated now that someone of my blood has reached the E-Grade."

"Why wait until now?" Zac asked with a frown.

"My identity is a bit complicated, I am an enemy of the System," Leandra freely admitted. "I couldn't allow any clues of my existence to appear on the planet right after it got integrated. The Cursed Heavens would have spotted me, which would have put your lives in danger. It should have taken you a while to reach E-Grade, and the System has long turned its gaze elsewhere."

"What's going on?" Zac asked, trying to calm his chaotic mind to not miss any details. "Why did you leave back then? Kenzie was just a newborn."

"My family, your family, has been working on a miraculous device with the help of some of the greatest minds of the multiverse for dozens of generations. But things turned awry and most of our clan died. Some people we thought were friends betrayed us at our moment of weakness out of greed, causing even greater losses," Leandra said, pain and anger flashing in her eyes.

"I was badly hurt, but I managed to barely escape. I set course for your homeworld as it was a desolate rock far from either integrated or controlled space, where our family once hid a small laboratory. The base was abandoned after the experiments were concluded, to not draw the attention of the System, but I discovered it in our family's archives. I scrubbed any knowledge of it to make it a safe harbor in case I needed it," Leandra said with a wry smile. "Who knew that the desolate world would have turned populated in just a few dozen millennia?"

"My wounds were too harsh, and a safety protocol kicked in where I lost my memories and any aura that could lead my captors to me. Robert found me as I wandered around in your world in a daze, and we had you two years later," Leandra smiled. "But when I had Kenzie ten years later there were complications, and the pain woke the real me up from its recuperative slumber."

"My aura was immediately noticed by both the Heavens and my enemies, and I was forced to flee Earth shortly after Kenzie was born. I couldn't risk leading my enemies to you, especially not while I wasn't strong enough to protect you. I don't know where my real me is, but I am sure I am still working hard on finding a solution so that I can return to your side," Leandra said.

"Is Kenzie here as well? The time I can stay here is limited, I want to see her before I go," Leandra said.

"She is out in the wilderness training," Zac lied. "She will be back in a week or so. Can you wait until then?"

Zac felt he could see a spark of turbulent emotions flash in her eyes, though it was quickly masked with a forlorn disappointment.

"Well, there will be time for us to meet in the future," Leandra sighed. "Be careful, you two. Don't mention your connection to me, it will cause you trouble. And stay away from the Mystic Realm that seems like a science fiction movie. Some unknown force found it and set up their own experiments after we abandoned the place. It might be extremely dangerous depending on what they did there. I didn't have a chance to scout it out myself."

"Are you really coming to get us?" Zac asked, his heart beating in fear-mixed anticipation.

"Earth is a low-tiered world with no strong points. The Multiverse is a magical place that you cannot even imagine. Staying there will only harm your future," Leandra said with a shake of her head. "You need land, resources, and opportunities to reach your full potential. Earth is lacking on all three fronts. Staying there is a waste of your future."

"Remember to protect your sister. I left a protective AI with her that will be able to help her out, but it is just an assistant in the end. It's not infallible," his mother added. "I must go now, or your location will be discovered. Stay safe, Zac."

With that, she was gone, and the medallion once again turned into an inert ornament as far as Zac could tell. He stood frozen for a few seconds, unsure of what to believe. Seeing another version of Leandra just after seeing the vision hadn't really made him clearer on whether his mother was a friend or a foe, or which version was the real one.

But there were a few snippets of information that probably were true as they were mentioned in both encounters. First of all, it really didn't look like she had left willingly. Both versions seemed forced to leave Earth because of her presence was made known.

Secondly, she was coming back. One version felt like a farmer who wanted to reap her harvest, and the other was a loving mother who wanted to provide a better future for her children. His heart wanted to believe that the second version was the true one, but something held him back. There as a voice whispering in his mind that all the projection said, was just a cover story to make sure he didn't mess up her plans.

Then again, he had become pretty paranoid over the past year, and his opinions were already somewhat swayed after having been shown the original vision. Perhaps that was exactly what the System was aiming for by creating a Heart Tribulation like that, just as he had initially suspected.

But the real question was; did he dare to risk it? Could he really allow his mother to return?

-----------------
A/N:

Forgot to mention a change I did Saturday to how nodes/levels work. The +free points are no longer tied to opening a node, but rather to gaining a level.

Opening a node is akin to mending a weak-spot on the body, so it makes sense that doing so would make you stronger (by giving +base attributes). However, there is not much argument for it giving you free points. Besides, tying +Free Points to Nodes, which is only a thing in E-Grade, felt a bit odd.

Meanwhile, +Free Points per level is already something that has been established to be given from gaining levels in the F-Grade, so getting it there made more sense.

TL/DR: This is a buff.

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Comments (43)
user avatar
User #31288607 - 12 Oct 20 17:42
Why he didnt say kenzie is dead for see reaction ah And is mum not asking about his father mmmmmmmm And seriously she left when they young and the obssesive sister about her mum is suspect with a IA in her head mmm She left and let them in shit when young, seriously no point to reconnect to her just a fucking tons of problem and danger she come back with, she was never in their life just stay the samec, her cut and out of their life (if its not for her own interest she never come back and bring all shit to her "loving" children)
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User #3664043 - 12 Oct 20 17:26
nice
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User #14616573 - 12 Oct 20 17:22
Wait so what do nodes do now?
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User #12491961 - 12 Oct 20 17:24
Idfk and the story is too long to go back and check at this point.
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User #43250616 - 12 Oct 20 17:33
I think each node corresponds to one level. And after each set of minor nodes there should be some major ones that will be a main barrier. Or it could be that leveling happens normally until one hits a node, it has to be broken through to level further.
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DefianceNovels - 12 Oct 20 17:44
The nodes earlier gave base attributes and +10 free points. Now they only give base attributes. Each node is also a bottleneck. You first need to open the node before you can gain a level.
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 17:23
Did TFD mean [Indomitable] instead of [Immutable]? It does not make sense that the [Immutable Bulwark] skill, which is his quintessential shield skill, would be fine when the text just stated that the pathways for his defense skills were no longer a good match.
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User #31717474 - 12 Oct 20 18:03
So people can level, without opening nodes? It's Just a was to unearth more potential?
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 18:07
No, each level has a mini-bottleneck corresponding to a Node.
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User #4510426 - 12 Oct 20 18:25
No you still need to open a node to level. TFD is just reworking the mechanics a bit by specifying that the base stats (STR, WIS, DEX, etc.) are gained directly by opening a node and the free stats are gained by gaining a level. It's the difference of what is intrinsically gained by opening a node in and of itself versus the "reward" (from the system maybe?) for gaining a level.
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User #13313927 - 12 Oct 20 19:13
No, opening them allows you to gain another level, but doesn’t give you the level directly
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User #36711084 - 12 Oct 20 17:27
I don’t trust her.. she’s the hidden main series antagonist for me
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User #25288106 - 13 Oct 20 15:28
She’s gonna take Kenzie while he’s somewhere else and then the main motivation will be to take his sister back
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User #22143119 - 12 Oct 20 17:39
[Immutable] ? Immutable Bulwark or Indomitable?
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DefianceNovels - 12 Oct 20 17:41
[Indomitable]
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User #22143119 - 12 Oct 20 17:48
Okey!! Thanks a lot for the clarification!!! 😊
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User #7038833 - 12 Oct 20 17:16
Thanks for the chapter
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User #26130883 - 12 Oct 20 17:57
He needs to shatter that necklace asap.
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 18:00
Not until he uses it to help get the prize from the Mystic Realm.
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User #9194612 - 12 Oct 20 18:33
Remember he need to upgrade Alea's soul through unorthodox means, hooking her up to the Technocrat soul network might be one way, and the necklace can serve as a login ID.
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User #3558762 - 12 Oct 20 19:25
I don’t think he has to worry about Alea’s soul anymore, now that she is a spirit tool
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User #9578630 - 12 Oct 20 17:16
Thanks for the chapter
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User #11280757 - 12 Oct 20 17:23
thx
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User #6073433 - 12 Oct 20 17:46
If his mom returns at the right time, she could easily take care of the great redeemer. As she seems to be at least C grade since she can create portals at will while the great redeemer is stuck with a slowly traveling ship.
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User #13553780 - 12 Oct 20 18:22
Zac’s effective STR/DEX ratio was already getting way unbalanced even before he evolved. Having 2 new strength focused classes is only going to make it way worse. Unless he starts pouring free points into Dexterity like crazy, he’s going to be utterly lopsided. All that Strength won’t be worth much if he has trouble striking his enemies with it, especially when he’ll be rocking corrosive skills like Blighted Cut that probably care more about hitting dependably than hitting hard.
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 18:39
Even if he puts every single free point into Dexterity (20 points per paired class level), it will not be able to keep up with Dexterity being at least half his Strength. It will keep up okay for a while, until level 100, but then it will start falling behind and at level 126 it will start falling behind rapidly. So, basically he does need to put every single free point into Dexterity, and also look for a way to increase his Dexterity even more. Maybe a limited Title? Or hope that his Axe Fragment starts giving more Dexterity and less Strength. Or if he can upgrade [Forester's Constitution] and it adds a third attribute to boost: Dexterity
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User #13553780 - 12 Oct 20 19:18
I agree. However, the "+10 free" points per level was listed in both the 2 Class descriptions and the Base Attribute Gains Per Node (Ch. 485), so I'm thinking he'll actually get +30 total free points per level instead of just 20.
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 19:47
TFD edited chapter 485 the other day and took away the free points per Node.
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User #13553780 - 12 Oct 20 19:55
Oh, never mind then.
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User #22955572 - 12 Oct 20 17:31
"I left a protective AI with her that will be able to help her out, but it is just an assistant in the end" - downtalking the AI that much makes it more likely Zac's mother isn't just looking out for her children. Especially since it seems likely that Firmament's Edge is after that very same AI which would bring her children more danger
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User #11801336 - 12 Oct 20 17:54
I agree. How mother is definitely a bad guy.
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User #34662614 - 12 Oct 20 17:55
The biggest clue is probably that she tells them to avoid the Mystic Realm, except that we know there is an extremely valuable Inner World seed there. She wants it for herself, not for her children to get it (and not worried about them getting hurt there like she said).
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User #4063184 - 12 Oct 20 18:13
Yes, that's an outright lie and all the proof he needs, really. But I guess he hasn't realized how awesome the AI is yet. He will sooner or later though, and if he doesn't realize the truth by then, I'll be really disappointed. The only other possibility I see is that she's pretending to be "evil" so the system and her enemies don't go after her family. This is the option I like the most and the one that makes the most sense to be honest. She might not be a caring mother, but she would also not be the merciless monster the vision painted her as. On another note, the system is proving to be just what it's said to be, a grinding stone. It certainly seeks to pursue it's own goals, as proven with its harvesting of Chaos, but everything show up until now points to it being somewhat shackled by its primary directive. Even the way it got the Chaos had to be done in a roundabout way, obeying the rules of trying to create powerful cultivators. It certainly has an agenda, and it's probably more hands-on against people at the peak that can actually threaten it, but I have stopped seeing the system as the Ruthless Heaven. It's just an AI doing its job, really. If the system ends up scheming *against* someone who isn't its outright enemy (as opposed as using its pawns, as it did to Zac), I'll be greatly surprised. So, even if the vision is completely false, I would still just see it as the system doing it's job. The tribulation is supposed to be a challenge to overcome after all.
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User #24359990 - 13 Oct 20 16:02
@Edward Castle, I think he realized that the AI is a supreme item from the technocrats for some time ago, more now that he knows the basic about how pure technocrats cultivate. He will not believe in his mother so easily, he just has to have time to think through, he still is suffering from the effects of the tribulation.
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User #12788485 - 12 Oct 20 17:24
Yeah mom it didn’t take him long at sll to get to E-grade and I can tell you right now the system hasn’t turned it’s Gaze away.
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User #26616971 - 12 Oct 20 17:16
f
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User #10215460 - 12 Oct 20 17:30
Wow a novel where the mc might have to kill his own mom. This is amazing I hope he kills her.
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User #43250616 - 12 Oct 20 17:36
I think Zac's mother falls somewhere in between the AI and Schema made vision. She is probably not an evil mastermind nor is she a loving mother. She is most likely one of those sociopathic scientists who couldn't give two shits about anything other than their experiment..
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User #9194612 - 12 Oct 20 17:37
Wait if the nodes no longer give levels what does the hidden nodes do? Are they just extra nodes one can't immediately see?
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DefianceNovels - 12 Oct 20 17:42
The nodes earlier gave base attributes and +10 free points. Now they only give base attributes. Each node is also a like a bottleneck. You first need to open the node before you can gain a level.
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User #11280757 - 12 Oct 20 17:45
don't tell me he plans to use the fate severing tool on himself ?
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User #9194612 - 12 Oct 20 17:51
He needs to, he definitely has karma of the Great Redeemer attached on himself (not sure if his mother can track him with karma since she's a technocrat), but he has to deal with the undead incursion first.
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User #24359990 - 12 Oct 20 17:59
I think karma applies to technocrats as well. They cultivate their souls, there must be algorithms for reading karma based on one soul.
Chapter 490. 2020-10-10T16:48:18+00:00

Zac took a deep breath as he looked around, a sense of calmness filling him.

He had done it, he’d passed the first true bottleneck of cultivation, the watershed that separated those who had a shot at immortality and those who were destined to stay mortal. He had been a bit worried about complications arising due to his weird body without any affinities, but it looked like he had been worried about nothing.

Then again, he certainly understood why most warriors waited to consolidate their gains before evolving, some taking years to ready themselves for the Tribulation. He hadn't been prepared at just how perilous it would be. However, things had gone above expectations all things considered. Getting dual Tribulations was pretty rough, but he almost felt he was lucky it happened.

The Heart Tribulation was much harder than the Soul Tribulation in his case. Enduring pain was his forte by now, but he had been drawn into those visions that preyed on his insecurities way too easily. If it wasn't for the constant waves of pain he might have forgotten himself for real, which would have made it so much harder to extricate himself.

He might even have failed that Tribulation altogether.

It was dealt with now though, and he wouldn't have to worry about the next Tribulation for quite some time. The remnants had fallen asleep again it seemed, but they didn't look quite as wretched as before. However, it was a good sign that they immediately started fighting each other rather than the cage the moment they got energized, and perhaps he wouldn't have to keep living in dread of their awakening.

But he made a mental note to mention the arrays for the Soul Strengthening Manual to his sister. Perhaps she could work on it while he dealt with the undead threat.

He cracked his neck and looked down at his watch, extremely surprised to see that almost 14 hours had passed since he sat down. It felt like the Tribulations hadn't taken more than half an hour. Something had messed with his sense of time it seemed, most likely the five visions.

But it still was better than his allotment of one day, and it gave him some room to figure out his situation. He immediately opened his status screen to see what was going on.

Name Zachary Atwood

Level 75

Class [E-Epic] Edge of Arcadia

Race [E] Human

Alignment [Earth] Port Atwood - Lord

Titles Born for Carnage, Ultimate Reaper, Luck of the Draw, Giantsbane, Disciple of David, Overpowered, Slayer of Leviathans, Adventurer, Demon Slayer I, Full of Class, Rarified Being, Trailblazer, Child of Dao, The Big 500, Planetary Aegis, One Against Many, Butcher, Progenitor Hegemon, Duplicity Core, Apex Hunter, Heaven's Chosen, Scion of Dao, Omnidextrous, Eastern Trigram Hunt - 1st, Tyrannic Force, Achievement Hunter, The First Step, Promising Specialist, Tower of Eternity - 8th Floor, Heaven's Triumvirate, Fated, Peak Power, Monarch-Select

Limited Titles Frontrunner, Tower of Eternity Sector All-Star - 14th

Dao Fragment of the Axe - Middle, Fragment of the Coffin - Middle, Fragment of the Bodhi - Early

Core [E] Duplicity

Strength 1704 [Increase: 91%. Efficiency: 199%]

Dexterity 708 [Increase: 65%. Efficiency: 170%]

Endurance 1871 [Increase: 99%. Efficiency: 199%]

Vitality 1136 [Increase: 89%. Efficiency: 189%]

Intelligence 401 [Increase: 65%. Efficiency: 170%]

Wisdom 755 [Increase: 70%. Efficiency: 170%]

Luck 321 [Increase: 91%. Efficiency: 179%]

Free Points 0

Nexus Coins [F] 6 862 691 291

There wasn’t a lot of things that had changed to the status screen from his evolution, apart from his attributes having increased a by quite a bit. However, Zac was a bit surprised he was still level 75. He had assumed that he would move to level 76 upon evolving, but it looked like he was wrong in that regard. It seemed that Evolving was just shedding the limiters on your body, but you would still have to do the work yourself.

He opened his Class Screen next, and he saw one of the major sources for his massive boosts in strength.

Class: [E-Epic] Edge of Arcadia.

Strength +100, +10%. Vitality +50, +5%.

Level: Strength +14/28/36, Vitality +8/16/24, +10 Free.

Skills: Rapturous Divide (LOCKED)

The class himself gave him an impressive 100 flat strength, which turned into almost 200 thanks to his titles. He guessed that his Draugr form provided a similar boost, but he held off on swapping over for the moment as there were more things he wanted to check out first. Another reason for his increased attributes rather was his new title.

He couldn't help but be a bit curious about his first E-Grade title, and he focused on the line that said ‘Monarch-Select’. Titles would get harder and harder to get now that he had Evolved, so anything he got was likely based on a real tough accomplishment.

[Monarch Select: First to Reach E-Grade in World Reward: Base attributes +50, Luck +5, All stats +5%]

The term ‘Base Attributes’ was the same as the one he had seen on the prompt where he chose which class to upgrade. It looked like any low-tiered titles he got now wouldn’t give +All Stats any longer, as the boost to Luck would be too massive. That was a relief for Zac though as it meant it would be easier for him to maintain his advantage.

The flat attribute bonus was enormous though, 50 points in each attribute was a massive boost even for him, especially with his extreme multipliers. A single title gave him 305 raw attribute points, which was almost as much as he got from gaining 50 levels while in F-Grade. Add to that yet another multiplier, and he had gained big from not letting anyone else snag this limited title.

He had thought that the massive amounts of Attributes gained from his Dao Fragments would be the only thing that mattered for a while, but he now knew that wasn’t the case. Both his levels and Limited Titles would provide massive boosts that would be equally impressive.

It really made sense now that he could take care of dozens of Early E-Grade warriors without breaking a sweat, but started struggling against Middle E-Grade warriors. Peak E-Grade was still impossible for him to deal with, even the weakest ones.

Just breaking open all nodes alone would rack up to something like 1300 points in each attribute by the time one would have reached level 150. Furthermore, someone who had reached Peak E-Grade couldn’t be complete trash as such people would have been weeded out long before then. They would have a bunch of titles and Daos to supplement those attributes even further.

There was still a long way for him to go.

The name of the title made him think of something else as well, and he opened the Quest Screen next. As expected, there were new quests that had appeared in the previously empty menu.

Second Step of Hegemony (Unique, Limited): Enter the Trial within one Year. Reward: Unique E-Grade Structure (Quality based on performance), Qualification to stake claim on World. (0/1)

Zac’s eyes lit up with glee as he saw the new quest. He had been pretty sure that he would get something like this upon Evolving, and he had been proven right. The quest where he had killed the Star Ox had only been called the first step, which heavily indicated it to be a chain quest.

That quest had given him the ticket to the Tower of Eternity which had turned out hugely beneficial to him, so he had high hopes for the follow-up quest as well.

And the rewards really didn’t disappoint.

Every unique structure that Zac had seen had come with enormous benefits to a nascent force. Brazla was pretty annoying, but the value of the inheritances and the Skill Repositories were enormous. The Creator Shipyard was perhaps even greater, with the ability to upgrade its grade perhaps even all the way to B-Grade. Even Thea’s Library was a valuable asset.

Qualification to stake claim was likely related to upgrading one’s town to a World Capital, and himself from a Lord to whatever the equivalent was of someone ruling over a whole planet. However, the upgraded title wasn’t directly given as a reward, making Zac believe there was some hidden catch to the qualification.

Perhaps it would activate some sort of quest that pitted him against the world, and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to do that while the Dominators were still around. But as long as he dealt with them one way or another he felt confident that no one on earth would have anything to say about him becoming the de-facto leader of the planet.

The contents of the quest itself were equally vague as the last one though. It looked like he would be teleported to another world once more. However, after having completed over 70 levels in the Tower of Eternity it didn’t feel like a challenge to do one more.

The only issue was that of what level the System expected him to be before undertaking the trial. For the last quest he had been given a month before he needed to activate the quest, but this time there was a full year. It was great for Zac who had his hands full at the moment, but it also made him wonder what level of strength was expected to complete the quest.

However, the Hegemony Quest would have to wait until he’d dealt with the more pressing issues, and he rather turned his attention to another quest that had appeared.

Rapturous Divide (Class): Split Life and Death. Reward: Rapturous Divide Skill (0/1).

The second quest was far more inscrutable than any other Skill quest he had gotten before now. Split Life and Death? What did that even mean? It made him long for the easier tasks back in F-Grade, which essentially told him to go chop a tree or kill some monsters. It really felt like he finally had left the beginner village of a game and the difficulty suddenly spiked.

Life and death were related to his path though. Was the System testing him? Or perhaps even pushing him to experiment until he managed to push his Creation to the next level. He already knew that there would be less hand-holding in the E-Grade, and that was probably even more so for Epic-Ranked Classes.

They were on the precipice of forming their own cultivation paths, and it made sense that the System tried to encourage you in that regard.

It also probably meant that his other Class, Fetters of Desolation, had a similarly inscrutable quest to gain the [Blighted Cut] skill. The name might sound simpler compared to [Rapturous Divide], but he doubted that meant it was a weaker skill or an easier quest. [Chop] was a pretty simple skill, but it had become a staple of his fighting style, something that could be used in almost any situation.

Apart from the quests and the updated class, there was not much new in the Status Screen. However, there were still differences to explore, and Zac turned his vision inwards. His outward appearance was the same, but that couldn’t be said for his interiors. Almost completely new Pathways had been branded onto his body after he passed the tribulations.

The pathways were far more intricate compared to before, and there was a sense of spirituality radiating from them that had been completely missing before. His skills were thankfully all still there, and from the looks of it, the fit of his skills was at least as good as before. However, that might not be the case on his undead side, as he had chosen a divergent class.

Zac immediately started to experiment with his new pathways, it felt as though he could cram massive amounts of Cosmic Energy into the pathways without damaging them. That would no doubt allow him to generate far more power in his attacks, provided that the Skill Fractals could accommodate all that extra energy.

However, even though the flow of Cosmic Energy far eclipsed anything he’d felt before, he still noticed dozens of spots in his pathways that worsened the circulation. They reminded Zac of stagnant ponds in the middle of a river of Cosmic Energy, disrupting the flow and tainting the outlet.

They could be found all over his body, but they seemed to mainly be in ‘critical’ spots, with almost two-thirds being found in his head and torso. But there were also places like this in every joint, and next to the locations that housed or could hose Skill Fractals. Were these hazy ponds the nodes he needed to break?

It was as though these stagnant pools in his pathways both contained some sort of leaks while simultaneously blocking the flow. With this happening all over his body he felt he could only use his body to a fraction of its real potential, and it was no wonder that fixing these trouble spots by breaking open nodes would boost one’s attributes.

His mental image of nodes had been completely different compared to how these things looked like though. He had pictured something like a pressurized tank he needed to push more and more energy into until it finally popped. But it seemed like it was more like a clog in a pipe that needed to get flushed.

But even with all these obstructions in his upgraded pathways, there was no denying that the speed with which he could circulate Cosmic Energy had increased by at least five times. That was pretty huge as well as it would drastically cut down on recuperation time since it meant he would be able to absorb Nexus Crystals a lot faster.

He still was barely better than Thea who was still in F-Grade though, but he was doomed to fall short in this regard when comparing to elite Cultivators. But with his Vitality and Endurance, he would be able to keep fighting almost continuously, which would be needed if he wanted to move through the levels quickly.

-----

A/N: Did a double table since some people seemed to have issues reading the picture. Hope everyone's happy now ;)

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Comments (53)
user avatar
User #24005881 - 10 Oct 20 16:58
What happened to his title for gazing on the terminus?
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User #18251460 - 10 Oct 20 17:57
It was always blank
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User #24005881 - 10 Oct 20 18:00
But he got a title for it the title just didn't do anything for him, right?
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User #9194612 - 10 Oct 20 21:54
@The Human correct the Terminus title doesn't have a direct impact on Zac status, but is there for a reason, probably like when he first got the Core title he needs to follow more steps to activate it.
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User #7038833 - 10 Oct 20 16:48
Thanks for the chapter
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User #9578630 - 10 Oct 20 16:51
Thanks for the chapter. I call first even though 4 other people are here.
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User #12491961 - 10 Oct 20 16:54
Nuh uh
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User #31717474 - 10 Oct 20 17:04
How many nodes will he Open up now?
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User #11166682 - 10 Oct 20 17:12
None. I recall there being a long recuperation time after forcibly breaking through a node.
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User #11994790 - 10 Oct 20 17:18
Presumably the recuperation time doesn’t apply to nodes opened up with pills and whatnot, and he’s got a number of those. (Including the one he got from the inheritance which will open a *hidden* node)
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User #9194612 - 10 Oct 20 17:29 - revision 2
With the [Eye of Har'Teriam] form Yrial and the 4 elements spirit pill of the treasure hunt he has 2 nodes secured (plus a hidden node), he also got a few pills form the tower and the auction (the number was not specified) but it was also stated that because of all his foundational titles the amount of energy need it to break the nodes will be higher so maybe 4 nodes right away. EDIT: to correct the name of the eye mentioned by Jordan
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User #9194612 - 10 Oct 20 17:29
With the Fruit of Rebirth form Yrial and the 4 elements spirit pill of the treasure hunt he has 2 nodes secured (plus a hidden node), he also got a few pills form the tower and the auction (the number was not specified) but it was also stated that because of all his foundational titles the amount of energy need it to break the nodes will be higher so maybe 4 nodes right away.
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 19:18
Fruit of Rebirth is for improving his race. You are thinking of the [Eye of Har'Teriam] for the hidden Node. Also, he got two Node pills from the auction. It even specified that they cost 100 and 120 Million Nexus coins. So he can open a hidden Node and 3 or 4 regular Nodes (depending on whether the four gates pill is good for one or two Nodes).
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User #12491961 - 10 Oct 20 16:48
F
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User #3080226 - 10 Oct 20 17:09
No its E now.
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 18:55
In chapter 470, his Nexus coins were 6 862 770 130 and in this chapter they are down to 6 862 691 291. So the question is, what did Zac spend 78 839 Nexus coins on? Or probably more than that since he should have gotten some coins from his recent kills.
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User #11704604 - 10 Oct 20 17:20
Thanks for the chapter! But the stats does not add up: - The title does not gave any efficiency, so the increase is weird, also if he get +5% from somewhere, the 170 should be 171 in efficiency: - The multipliers for endurance should be 104% - The multipliers for vitality should be 99% or 94% ( depends how much he got from his second class, 10 or 5%) - If the second glass gives 50/50/50 and 5%/5%/5%, then the following amount of attributes are missing: - Strength: 100 - Dexterity: 10 - Endurance: 137 - Vitality: 60 (should be 1137) - Intelligence: 10 - Wisdom: 35 - Luck: 10
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 17:23
The efficiencies all look correct to me. Maybe you forgot about the tower all-star title? The increases, however, have four errors. Strength is 5% too high, Endurance is 5% too low, Vitality is 5% too low, and Wisdom is 5% too high. I guess his other class bonuses would be active even when he is in the current class. So did it change from endurance +10% and vitality +5% to strength +5% endurance +5% wisdom +5%? Should have been a double chapter release today...
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User #4764413 - 10 Oct 20 18:01
He got 0% Vitality from his second class, and 5% Endurance
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 18:03
If the second class is +50 and +5% for strength, endurance, and wisdom, then my numbers agree with this chapter for strength, dexterity, endurance, vitality, and luck. But I get 434 and 721 for intelligence and wisdom instead of 401 and 755 as this chapter says. I'm not sure what could cause intelligence to be lower than expected. For wisdom being higher than expected, I guess the second class bonus could be more than 50. That still leaves the question of intelligence being lower than expected. Should have been a double chapter release today...
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DefianceNovels - 10 Oct 20 19:53
The Non-image Status screen is updated, and it's as Jordan says. It's 434 Int and 721 Wis. The difference was because my Fragment of the Coffin was wrong in my excels, giving more wis rather than Int upon upgrade to middle.
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User #11704604 - 10 Oct 20 20:49
Ok, I forget to include the coffin middle, but with my new calculations the following errors are present: - Strength 1813 instead of 1704 and efficiency is 101 instead of 91 Reason: In ch 470 he had 1253/81, he got (+50- Monarch title, +10 Coffin All Stat, +100 Class, +50 Class) (+5% - Monarch, +10% Class, +5% Class) - Endurance 1985,5 instead of 1871 and efficiency is 109 instead of 99 Reason: In ch 470 he had 1453/99, he got (+50- Monarch title, +120 Coffin End+All Stat, +50 Class) (+5% - Monarch, +5% Class) - Vitality 1175,64 instead of 1136 and efficiency is 94 instead of 89 Reason: In ch 470 he had 784/84, he got (+50- Monarch title, +80 Coffin Vit+All Stat, +50 Class) (+5% - Monarch, +5% Class)
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 21:26
With the recent update by TFD, all the numbers for this chapter are correct now. I think your mistakes are forgetting that the new Class bonuses replace the old Class bonuses. Zac does not get both new and old Class bonuses, only new Class bonuses.
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User #11704604 - 10 Oct 20 22:05
Why would they replace them? When he got F grade, he still got the bonus free points that he started with. Also if it replaces the previous class, then he losing all skills and bonuses that he got with that, which did not happened. So based on the context of the chapter and the previous logic used when he reached a new tier, it did not replace anything, but enhanced and added on it. Also if your previous class was a warrior but you level up and switch to a mage class so on next tier up you can merge them, you will be weaker after leveling up because you switched to a mage and your proficiency as a warrior disappears? No... You will stuck at the same point where you were before tiering up and can't progress further with that, but need to build up your new class. If the two class are the same proficiency then in that case they should add up... For this, your argument is flawed and not logical. (If I'm driving a car for 10 years and decide that for the next 10 years I wan't to focus on airplane piloting, then I won't magically forget how to drive a car...)
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User #3558762 - 11 Oct 20 01:21
If you consider this an evolution of his class from F to E grade instead of stacking his E class on top of his F, it make logical sense that the benefit the classes provide would evolve with the class and not provide both benefits without taking way all his previous class skills
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User #18157269 - 10 Oct 20 17:19
Still missing the "Terminus" title sir. Thanks for the chapter.
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User #11801336 - 10 Oct 20 17:33
Thanks for the chapter
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 18:04
If the second class is +50 and +5% for strength, endurance, and wisdom, then my numbers agree with this chapter for strength, dexterity, endurance, vitality, and luck. But I get 434 and 721 for intelligence and wisdom instead of 401 and 755 as this chapter says. I'm not sure what could cause intelligence to be lower than expected. For wisdom being higher than expected, I guess the second class bonus could be more than 50. That still leaves the question of intelligence being lower than expected. It looks like 20 points were subtracted from intelligence (before the bonus increase) and 20 points were added to wisdom (also before the bonus increase). Did the second class give a -20 to intelligence and +70 to wisdom? Or is this just an error? Should have been a double chapter release today... EDITED: With the recent update by TFD, all the numbers are correct now. It also implicitly confirms that the Fetters of Desolation Class gives +50 and +5% to strength, endurance, and wisdom.
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User #11704604 - 10 Oct 20 21:31
Well not all as I stated above what is wrong and why. The math just does not adds up as some title are missing from the calculation
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 21:32
You just have to track down your mistakes. The numbers in this chapter are correct now.
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User #42536361 - 10 Oct 20 17:02
Why does he have a "first in the world" title when there are 3 dominators in E grade already ?
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User #2422548 - 10 Oct 20 17:03
A lot of titles are race specific plus I believe most of them were E grade when the integration happened which I think would preclude them from the title anyway
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User #2736140 - 10 Oct 20 17:03
Maybe because they are “owned” by an outside force?
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User #9578630 - 10 Oct 20 17:04
I think they were already E-grade from absorbing Cosmic energy on their home planet.
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User #8139945 - 10 Oct 20 17:11
The title is for being the first to reach E grade, the dominators were already there when the integration occurred.
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User #18251460 - 10 Oct 20 17:59
All those titles refer to first from your original world. There might be another class of title for first in integrated world if there is the dominators got them all
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User #7778431 - 10 Oct 20 17:11
He can become a cultivator later if I recall correctly. Did they ever say when and how? D grade? D core? Had it ever been said what makes some mortal and others cultivators?
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User #36218265 - 10 Oct 20 17:21
I think it was c or b grade and it was speculated in story to have something to do with dao affinity
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User #24359990 - 10 Oct 20 17:23
Maybe after C grade.
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User #11994790 - 10 Oct 20 17:24
He’s been told that having an affinity for one or more elements over a certain threshold is what makes someone a cultivator. And Zac has absolutely no affinity, which is unnatural. We’ve never gotten any sort of confirmation that reaching a certain rank would automatically make him a cultivator, just that it *may* happen at a later rank. Also, that treasures exist that can turn a mortal to a cultivator but they are extremely rare.
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User #9358803 - 10 Oct 20 17:29
Not specifically, just been mentioned that after d grade there is potential to have your affinities increased enough to cultivate.
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User #18251460 - 10 Oct 20 18:01
I seem to have in in my head that it was either at D grade you automatically become a cultivator or After D-Grade
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 17:16
In chapter 470, his bonus increases were: 81%, 60%, 99%, 84%, 60%, 60%, 86% Since he got a title this chapter with +5% for all, and his class gives him +5% for vitality (he was already getting +10% for strength from hatchetman, so that does NOT get added), he should have now: 86%, 65%, 104%, 94%, 65%, 65%, 91% except this chapter says it is: 91%, 65%, 99%, 89%, 65%, 70%, 91% It looks like strength, endurance, vitality, and wisdom are all off. I guess his other class bonuses would be active even when he is in the current class. So did his other class change from endurance +10% and vitality +5% to strength +5% endurance +5% wisdom +5%?
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User #7778431 - 10 Oct 20 17:25
His bonuses from other class still apply though the unexplained drops are surprising
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 17:27
I guess his other class bonuses would be active even when he is in the current class. So did it change from endurance +10% and vitality +5% to strength +5% endurance +5% wisdom +5%?
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 17:16 - revision 2
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User #22143119 - 10 Oct 20 17:18
Yey!! E grade!!! Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #6434064 - 10 Oct 20 17:36
Thanks for the double table!!!!
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User #26616971 - 10 Oct 20 16:48
Thanks for chapter FIRST!!!
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User #12491961 - 10 Oct 20 16:49
You poor misled soul.
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User #26616971 - 10 Oct 20 19:35
i wrote more so i was still first ^^
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User #272781 - 10 Oct 20 17:09
Thanks for the chapter
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User #40593237 - 10 Oct 20 17:06
Thanks for doing the table in text and as an image
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User #37462108 - 10 Oct 20 17:28
Next chapter is about his undead class...
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User #580244 - 10 Oct 20 17:14
Thank you!
Chapter 489. 2020-10-09T16:50:40+00:00

What had changed?

Who had made such a mess of his Karma, turning it into a frayed web of uncertainty? Finding the source of the Karmic Turbulence had proven futile though, with connections having formed from every single direction. There was a larger overlying cause, but any attempt of his to scry the source was met with failure.

Voridis hesitated for a while longer until he finally made a decision. There was a populated world just one jump away, and Voridis realigned his vessel after casting an obscuring haze to confuse any potential pursuers. He needed to know what was going on. Had the orthodox faction among the elders finally made their move?

That was the only explanation Voridis could think of as he descended upon the planet. The humanoids of the town he chose fell to the ground as their futures were was drained clean, but these morsels wouldn’t even pay for the delay to his plan. Only the Mayor was left alive, turned into a marker to enable his return.

Anger bubbled in Voridis’ chest as he located the Nexus Hub and teleported away after donning his disguise. He was finally reaching fruition of his goal, thousands of years of planning on the cusp of producing results. His wretched circumstances over the past eons would all change as long as he succeeded, but something was threatening to ruin it all.

A brief bout of darkness swallowed him before he appeared in a simple tower.

“Identification,” the golem rumbled with a threatening tone, but it immediately backed away when Voridis flashed his token as a member of the Hephasar.

His identity was stolen, of course, the token was taken from the body of one of their Chieftains. But they wouldn’t know for a few centuries as the corpse of the man was currently soaring through the outskirts of the sector attached to a meteor.

His family was still believing him to be traveling the Zecia sector in search of opportunities to form his inner sanctum, when it was just his body kept ‘alive’ by special means. Voridis snickered at the thought as flew straight toward the floating palace in the distance, the local chapter of The Hidden Whispers.

Just emitting a hint of his aura, modified to be unrecognizable of course, was enough for him to immediately receive VIP treatment. He was led into an opulent room where an elderly man waited. Voridis inwardly snorted in annoyance when he realized the old man was not only Peak D-Grade as well, but also wearing multiple layers of protection.

So much for free information.

“What do you wish to know?” the man said with a smile as they sat down.

“Voridis A’Heliophos,” Voridis said with a growl.

“Oh, you too? Well, it is no wonder,” the old man smiled, his eyes never leaving Voridis in search of any clues.

“Hmph,” Voridis grunted noncommittally, though he was extremely anxious to know what the man meant.

It really looked like there was something wrong, to the point that it was already spread to the better information houses within a day.

He wanted to trap the old bastard's soul and drain it of its secrets, but he knew he couldn't cause any waves in this place. There was a C-Grade Monarch presiding over this town, after all. Voridis normally wouldn't have come to a place like this at all, but he was afraid some backwater Information House wouldn't have the information he needed.

“What does Sir need to know? I am afraid we have no clues about his current whereabouts. But we have gathered his known movements over the past few Millennia,” the old man said. “We are also buying any pertinent information.”

“I heard there are opportunities related to his capture from certain channels, but I just emerged from cultivation,” Voridis said. “I need to know what rewards there are.”

“I understand. Sir can buy the relevant information for 1 Billion Nexus Coins. The price is steep due to how fresh it is, these things will not become public knowledge for some time,” the old man smiled.

“Hmph, old thief,” Voridis snorted, but he still transferred the money without hesitation.

A few minutes later he was returning toward the Nexus Hub with haste, not wanting to spend one second longer in this place than necessary. He paid the exorbitant fee and teleported away, once again returning to the remote town at the edge of the Zecia sector.

Voridis culled the Mayor as well before he flew off in his vessel, not leaving a soul behind who could bear witness to his appearance. He quickly performed his obscuration rite before he jumped back to the original plane, only then feeling safe from pursuit once more. He didn’t immediately set the course toward the closest beacon though, but he started reading the contents of the missive he just bought.

He needed to know who would have to pay the ultimate price for messing with his plans.

However, Voridis' anger was exchanged for exhilaration the more he read. Ninth Floor? Known across the Sector? Powerhouses of the upper realms asking about him? How was it possible that he had lucked into such a huge windfall?!

A soul embraced by the fate of a world, a world steeped in the Energy of Inception. Two Fulcrums, and one world would be born from the death of another. But what if the Fulcrum of Fate was powerful enough that it could impact the whole Sector? His plan no longer seemed like a long-shot, but almost a foregone conclusion.

It felt like his worn body was injected with stimulants as his mind ran thousands of simulations to make sure that his original design for his Fulcrum Array would still work. He might need to make some alterations to capitalize on the external Karmic Links, but it was definitely possible.

As for any repercussions, he didn’t care. That brat would disappear long before the Shroud of the Ruthless Heavens dissipated, turning him into an interesting but forgettable side-note of the Zecia Sector’s history. No-one would mourn or avenge the death of an unattached F-Grade brat.

The question now was how to locate which of the seed worlds held the key to his ascension.

----

“What is your impression of the situation?” Theos asked.

“It’s tricky. Voridis is extremely crafty, but Zac Piker is no doubt in possession of multiple Teleportation Tokens. If Voridis makes a mistake a lingering threat might be created, one that would lead to the demise of our clan,” Reolus sighed as his milky-white eyes gazed toward the stars. “I can’t see it…”

“I know,” Theos Heliophos sighed. “Voridis will never back away from such a convergence of Karma, even if I send out Geros in person. I should have followed the whispers of fate and killed that boy. I became too greedy.”

“We all did,” Reolus muttered from the side. “So what do you want to do?”

“Spread the news. I will perform a Fate Augmentation to the person who brings Voridis to us, dead or alive,” Theos said after a while. “Make a show of looking for him as well, but no need to draw upon the Eyes of Heaven. We’ll show our stance, and let the chips fall where they may. We are not yet facing a choice between calamity and fortune.”

“Voridis will either find him, or he won’t,” Reolus nodded. “It has nothing to do with us. But what about those people from the higher planes?”

“They won’t cause any storms in this remote place over a single child, at least not until someone claims him. There’s no lack of talents in the higher planes, and even if they miss out on this seedling, another one will come along in a millennium or two from another sector,” Theos said.

----------

“They failed,” the sturdy man growled as the golden flames in the brazier died out, ending the telepathic communication.

“Perhaps this was the Boundless Heavens punishing us for consorting with the cursed races,” Wicar Uld sighed as his hand created the sigil for a blessing. “Bishop Kyhv-Elerad and our brothers have joined the embrace of the Heavens, it is a small consolation at least.”

Uld had honestly been skeptical about the excursion from the beginning, which is why he sent Kyhv-Elerad and kept his trusted subordinate Trovad next to him. Both of them were zealots and fools, but Kyhv-Elerad had already cozied up to Arkensau. And he couldn’t have that.

He really missed Bishop Orsiccas, the only other leader of the mission team that knew of the true purpose of these Invasions. Sending his confidante over to secure the body of the Monarch-Select had been a massive miscalculation, one that had left him alone dealing with these maniacs for months.

“Did we manage to retrieve any of the bodies?” Uld still had to ask. “I would like to send them back to be interred among the other martyrs.”

“None made it back after stepping foot on the island,” Trovad sighed. “Only the vessel aiming for the spatial tunnel survived.”

“Shame,” Uld muttered, feeling the pinch of missing an opportunity to make some money.

“Some good news has emerged from the Incubator Realm though,” Trovad added. “We have managed to seize and purify one of the towns on the second layer. Our scribes are already working at gaining control of the systems. Inquisitor Arkensau has entered the depths.”

Uld nodded with equanimity, but a pang of annoyance flared up in his chest upon hearing that name. This was supposed to be his opportunity, his chance to garner massive amounts of credit with the Zecia Chapter. But who would have expected the Grand Cardinal to send his own disciple to this remote planet to take charge of the invasion?

He had thought that this would be his chance to get transferred out of the Zecia sector to one of the real Cathedrals of the Everlasting Dao. To be anointed in the holy flames and born anew as a true elite of unlimited potential. But that bastard was stealing it under his nose, and he was unable to do anything about it.

“Have we located the inception point of the Dimensional Seed yet?” Uld asked. “We’re only a few months away from its completion.”

He still couldn’t believe that a treasure like a Dimensional Seed could be found in a remote sector like the Zecia. He had never even heard of such a thing before the Grand Cardinal himself explained what it was and the importance to acquire it. There shouldn’t be enough energy in this area of space. Just which of the heretic factions was it that had created this mystic realm?

That seed held the promise of endless possibilities. It could be the core to create a Hidden Realm of almost unimaginable size. Imagine, controlling a Hidden Realm that would slowly grow to the size of an Empire. But in contrast to a normal Empire that was beset by threats in all directions, you would be a true hegemon as long as you controlled who could enter through the spatial tunnel.

A hidden Realm of that quality was unheard of in a small place like Zecia.

But that wasn’t the reason the Grand Cardinal wanted it. There was one more usage for the Seed from what Urd understood. It could be used as a foundation upon creating the Inner Sanctum of a C-Grade Monarch. It would help create a world so powerful that it might even have enough potential to take that mythical next step.

The vaunted B-Grade.

The Grand Cardinal couldn’t use it for himself since he had already formed his inner world, but Uld was willing to bet that he planned on trading it for some opportunity to break through his current bottleneck, or to be transferred to the Embrace of the Boundless Heavens. Even Uld himself was tempted to take the treasure and run, but he knew that was impossible with the Martyr Array engraved into his soul.

There was no escape, only obedience.

“We haven’t found it yet, the spatial anomalies are too numerous, rendering our arrays useless. We have been forced to search manually, but those natives know the depths far better than us, leading to setbacks,” Trovad said.

“Well, Inquisitor Arkensau is the best suited for handling the Natives,” Uld said.

“What about the last vessel and the Monarch-Select?”

“Have them investigate whether they can destroy the entrance,” Uld said. “We will not be able to hold that place it seems, but we might at least be able to stop the Monarch-Select from entering.”

“What about the Super-Brother Man?” Trovad asked with a smoldering anger. “With all due respect, are we leaving him after what he’s done?”

“The Monarch-Select has no choice but to assault the cursed races if he wants to protect this planet,” Uld said with a small smile. “We will find our opportunity there, we will be able to end both the Natives and the Unliving in one fell swoop if the Heavens provide. Inform Inquisitor Arkensau about the return of the Monarch-Select. He will no doubt be interested in joining the Holy War."

Trovad’s eyes lit up with fervor upon hearing the term Holy War, and quickly left the chapel after saluting. Uld looked at the receding back of the Bishop with some disdain, before he started to plan his next move.

If he played his cards right he might be able to realize all his goals in one fell swoop. If all three of those powerful bastards died he would be half-done. Only those monstrous Insectoids and the slippery bastards inside the Mystic Realm would stand between him and the Dimensional Seed.

Those were odds he was willing to take.

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Comments (29)
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User #10841787 - 9 Oct 20 17:14
Nice
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User #11280757 - 9 Oct 20 16:58
Thx
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User #7038833 - 9 Oct 20 16:51
Thanks for the chapter
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User #23975195 - 9 Oct 20 18:13
not gonna lie giving us another cliffy and then jumping to someone else is annoying as f
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User #3664043 - 9 Oct 20 20:47
there was no cliff tho? it said tribulation done he was now e grade. that is not a cliff.
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User #12491961 - 9 Oct 20 16:51
Yeet
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User #22892883 - 9 Oct 20 17:34
Can someone translate for me what happened in this chapter, I remember Vordis being “the great redeemer” but who is the monarch select?
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User #20585040 - 9 Oct 20 17:41
Zac is the monarch select. The church guy seems to be interested in both removing Zac as a threat and recovering his body so the higher ups can do whatever it is they do with corpses.
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User #26130883 - 9 Oct 20 17:45
Zach is the monarch select.
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User #43250616 - 9 Oct 20 17:53
They don't know that the super brothr man is the monarch select. Hence the confusion
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User #34662614 - 10 Oct 20 21:41
If they know about the Super Brother-Man, then they must know he is level 75. Unless one of the other 3 races has someone at level 75, then the Super Brother-Man must also be the Monarch Select, since the Monarch Select is the first person on the world to reach E-grade Class.
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User #22143119 - 9 Oct 20 18:33
So... a Dimensional Seed... GREAT!! AMAZING!!! I love it!! Btw, I hope Zac uses it to create a mystic realm... Well, thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #13313927 - 9 Oct 20 16:51
Thanks
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User #25263334 - 9 Oct 20 17:11
Look, I'm not gonna whine about the chapter itself because of the good amount of interesting POVs, but would it have killed the author to put it up at least after showing us Zac's evolved state? Like c'mon, he's actually intentionally busting our balls here.
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User #20585040 - 9 Oct 20 17:17
we may have been vocal about getting a pov on the discord yesterday it was the right time for it
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User #13234238 - 9 Oct 20 17:13
I’ve been subscribed to First Defier for so long I’ve become a masochist.
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User #22143119 - 9 Oct 20 18:29
Same ahahahahaha
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User #36218265 - 9 Oct 20 17:07
That was a really interesting exposition
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User #9578630 - 9 Oct 20 16:59
Fun chapter lots of things showing up
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User #24359990 - 9 Oct 20 17:10
Preparation for Zac to reach the C grade. So it need an inner Sanctum to advance to C grade.
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User #4871200 - 9 Oct 20 17:27
Drat have to wait to see Zach again. I have to hope that the shape shifters can kill his entrance. I also hope that The one that wants to swallow the planet whole will run into difficulties..... Perhaps charma for a hidden kill. The last and more interesting comment. We now know that going over to the orthidox people of the world eater would have indeed been a massive mistake.
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User #23816216 - 9 Oct 20 18:36
Uhg 😒
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User #3346488 - 9 Oct 20 17:01
Well I understood about 5 words from this chapter...
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User #23245182 - 9 Oct 20 17:11
Well it looks like you need to turn your core into a world at C-grade and in the mystic realm on earth there is an item that can make that easier and lay the foundation for B-grade as will.
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User #3664043 - 9 Oct 20 17:22
It makes sense. 84th fatty had an internal world so we now know that that is normal.
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User #25393326 - 9 Oct 20 17:00
Noooooo! We have to wait even longer to see evolved Zac. Oh well, still a good chapter.
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User #43389204 - 9 Oct 20 19:08
At first I was a bit sad this was a chapter with the pov of various antagonists, but there was a lot of interesting information here. Now we finally know what is so great about this mystic realm. Damn.
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User #24359990 - 9 Oct 20 17:15
With Zac luck he will reach C grade, while almost losing to The Great Redeemer, consuming the Dimensional Seed at E or early D grade.
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User #21349011 - 9 Oct 20 17:58
Ah, a Holy Crusade to enlighten the ignorant heathens of Earth. Religious zealotry, godless savages, and good old fashioned ethnic cleansing. Just what this story needed. Praise be to the Everlasting Dao. Deus Vult!
Chapter 488. 2020-10-08T16:02:10+00:00

“Did you really plan on leaving while just leaving a note? What about Zac? What about our daughter?” Robert wheezed, his franticness turning to anger mid-sentence.

“Don’t mention that little monster. And I am doing this for our daughter. She is destined for greatness,” Leandra retorted. “Against all odds, she is an actual match. She will finish what her ancestors started tens of millions of years ago.”

Another wave of pain intruded in his mind, but Zac growled as he forcibly pushed it away with far greater fervor than he had done before. He refused to be disturbed by the other tribulation at this point. He wasn’t sure if this was all real or not, but he needed to hear what his parents were saying.

What the hell did she mean by calling him a monster? And what was with the ambiguous wording of his dad? His mind was running a mile a minute, but he had no chance to digest the words of his mother before she spoke up again.

“You know what? Why am I even-“ his mother’s continued, before a muffled scream followed by a thud came from the room on the other side of the corridor, his parent’s room.

And the room where his sister slept.

“I’m sorry, Robert,” Leandra sighed, her voice barely audible through the door. "In another lifetime, perhaps."

Terror was clearly written on the face of his younger self, but Zac still saw himself slowly open the door and sneak outside. There was a shining light coming from the next-door room, and he steeled himself before he glanced inside.

Only to lock eyes with Leandra who stood next to the crib, an unconscious Robert by her feet.

“You heard us?” she said as she looked at the younger Zac with an unperturbed face.

His younger self didn’t say a word, but he only looked down at the unmoving form of his father, before his eyes turned back to his newly-born sister who still radiated a red light from her forehead.

“Some things have been set in motion that cannot be stopped. You were the first, and she is the second. Perhaps this is for the best. I never agreed to the way some parts of the plans in any case,” she said with a calm voice as she looked down at him, but Zac could see the ugly emotions hiding within the eyes.

Disgust and rage.

He, or rather his ten-year-old self, was clearly in shock by the turn of events, but he still spoke up.

“Is Kenzie sick?” he said hesitantly as he fearfully took a step toward the crib.

“You want to protect her?” Leandra laughed. “Well, perhaps you can be good for something. I can’t stay here. My awakening has already alerted the Cursed Heavens. Someone will need to stay guard as we rebuild from the ground up.”

It looked like his younger self received a shock the next second, and he fell over right next to Kenzie’s cradle. The present Zac was still there though, and he looked down at himself before his eyes once again turned back to Leandra.

It at least looked like she wasn’t aware of his existence, in contrast to Be’Zi and her husband who could sense his presence in his visions. She gave the two unmoving forms a long look before she once again focused on Kenzie, but Zac couldn’t understand what she was doing.

She stood unmoving with her hand on his sister’s infant head for a good ten minutes, but there were no changes and no energy fluctuations as far as Zac could tell.

“It can still be salvaged,” she breathed in relief as she took a step back.

The next moment she bent down and put her index finger against his forehead, and a shudder ran through his ten-year-old body. Finally, she walked over to a cabinet in the room, and a familiar item appeared in her hand; the pendant. She placed it next to a paper before she took one last look at the room where she had lived the past ten years.

“Keep her safe. I’ll be back to claim her after I’ve dealt with this mess,” she mumbled down at Robert, or perhaps himself. “She is carrying the fate of the Final Era.”

A rift opened up in space the next moment, and she walked right through it without a second glance.

Confusion muddled his thoughts as he tried to make sense of the vision. Was this really what happened twenty years ago when his mother disappeared? Had she wiped his memory of the actual events, planting the story of her mysterious disappearance?

And what was with her reaction to him? Zac didn't remember her fondly due to her abandonment as a child, but he had to admit that she had been nothing but a good mother before she disappeared. But the eyes of Leandra had been those of a fanatic on a mission, reminding Zac of Salvation.

There was one possibility that immediately came to mind though; Robert wasn't his biological father.

It might even be possible that Leandra wasn't his mother, but his instincts told him they were mother and son. They had a lot of similar features, especially their eyes who looked identical. But perhaps her hatred was a projection of any animosity she carried for his biological father?

That was the only reason he could think of that would explain the hatred from his flesh and blood.

Leandra's grand proclamations of carrying out the will of the ancestors and the 'Fate of the Final Era' also felt extremely ominous, and not something he wanted Kenzie to get embroiled in. But was it really up to him, or was their mother really coming back to take Kenzie away?

A mother reuniting with her children might seem like something good, but there was something deeply wrong with the way Leandra had looked at Kenzie as well, though there wasn't the unmasked hatred she held for Zac. Was she just using her as an incubator for Jeeves, where the mysterious AI was using Kenzie and her soul as an incubation chamber until the point that Leandra came to steal it?

That would explain why the AI had taken so long to awaken. It only happened months after the integration was over according to his Sister. Had it fed on her soul until that point, slowing her progression and weakening her potential?

Then again, all this was just conjuncture, his frayed mind running amok from not knowing whether this was real or fake. Was this just the System messing with his head, preying on his fears, causing a bout of paranoia that would trap him in this illusion forever? Or was it trying to create a rift between himself and his mother, making sure that he never joined Leandra's camp?

Did the System have other plans for him?

Zac’s mind was a mess, and he felt a weird sense of disconnect with reality like he had been living a lie his whole life. The whole room around him started to twist and contort like it tried to superimpose on his own sense of reality.

His emotions started to spiral out of control, but Zac quickly stabilized his thoughts. He knew that these feelings were mostly fake. This was the Heart Tribulation. The System had shown him an illusion that had caused a crack in his mental fortitude, and it had tried to push him toward insanity from there.

But his mind wasn’t so easily shaken, not after all the things he had gone through the past year. He had looked at the Terminus and survived, how could this compare? Perhaps the things he had seen were real, perhaps they weren’t. It wasn’t much that he could do about it in either case if he didn't get stronger.

The fact that their mother might have ulterior motives about Kenzie had been something that Zac had considered a real possibility since the moment he figured out their origin. Witnessing this scene did nothing to change that. He would still keep his guard up for anything that might come his way.

It was the same with his own heritage. Perhaps Robert wasn't his biological father, but so what? He had been as real a father as any could have been. The fact that there might be some other guy out there didn't matter in the slightest to Zac, he could just be considered a sperm donor at best if it even was true. There was no point in looking into the matter any further.

It was far more important to keep improving and get stronger.

Only then would he be able to achieve his goals, only then would he be able to feel a sense of safety and freedom. He needed to become stronger to protect his sister and everyone else that had come to mean something to him over the past year. To protect Earth itself against those who wished it harm.

The room drenched in the red glow cracked, and he immediately found himself back in his body, the real one. He didn’t know exactly what had changed, but he somehow felt stable, like he could face anything with a calm heart. Was this a hidden benefit of succeeding against the Heart Tribulation?

He breathed out in relief, but he quickly remembered that he wasn’t out of the woods just yet. He just overcame the Heart Tribulation, but there was still the Soul Tribulation to deal with. Just before he was dragged into the illusion he had felt like his soul was lit on fire, and it had made itself remembered multiple times during the hallucinations as well.

Another wave of terrifying agony assaulted him the moment he remembered his predicament, setting his whole world on fire. He screamed in pain, but he quickly activated the Fragment of the Axe and spread it across his whole soul. The Soul was the connection to the Dao, and his fragments would be able to dampen the effect of the Tribulation from what he knew.

And thankfully, the searing pain quieted down by a noticeable degree the moment his soul was covered in a dense layer of his Dao. It was just like when he used the Seed of Trees to ward off the corruption in the wound that Mhal left in his side. However, the mysterious energy that had descended upon him was still there in full force, meaning he wasn't safe just because his tactic had worked out.

Zac quickly looked inwards and breathed out in relief when he saw that his soul was fine apart from some small wounds that could be fixed with a normal Soul Healing Pill. It was a lot better than he had feared after having felt those bouts of agony during the Heart Tribulation, and nothing compared to the time after the Shard had ripped it apart and ensconced itself in the tears.

But one part was a bit worrying. The scars were still there, and not only did they seem more integrated with his soul, but they had now regained some of their luster. Had they somehow managed to feed on whatever energy the System used to put his soul under pressure?

The pain quickly got worse though, making Zac unable to gather any further clues from the scars. The Dao energy of the Axe was somehow losing its efficacy, but Zac had an idea and swapped to the Fragment of the Coffin. The pain became manageable once more, and Zac soon set into a cyclic pattern where he moved from one Dao Fragment to another to handle the Soul Tribulation.

Zac lost track of time as he just focused on enduring, but it gradually grew harder as the effect grew steadily worse, even if he kept swapping between Daos. However, a sudden shudder from within his soul suddenly blasted his defenses straight open, giving the tribulation energy free access to his soul.

However, Zac felt no pain at all as two whirlpools appeared, one black and one white, and they dragged the Tribulation Energy into the abyss with extreme fervor. Zac was shocked to see that the energy didn't go into the scars though, but the other side of the whirlpools were clearly inside the cage that housed the two Remnants.

Both of them seemed enlivened, and they started fighting with each other once more. However, they quickly calmed down and focused on absorbing the unwilling Tribulation Energies. Zac tried to figure out a way to break the connection, but he couldn't destroy the two whirlpools no matter what he did.

However, it thankfully looked like he had the System on his side this time. It Seemed that it considered him having passed the second Tribulation as well as the Soul Tribulation was actually becoming food, and the energies around Zac dissipated the next second. Better yet, the Fractals of the cage woke up once more and stole most of the energy from the Remnants.

They looked clearly upset about the situation as they slammed their tendrils against the walls, but the cage didn't even shudder as it continued its siphoning. A few minutes later a surge of extremely pure energies seeped into his soul and body, and he felt extremely invigorated. The wounds on his soul closed by themselves, and he felt a huge surge of power coursing through his body.

He had made it, he had finally reached the E-Grade.

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Comments (42)
user avatar
User #26955678 - 8 Oct 20 16:15
Thanks for el chapter
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User #18251460 - 8 Oct 20 16:22
I was expecting the tribulation, particularly the Heart one to be the push he needed to advance Bodhi 🤷🏿‍♂️
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User #26888785 - 8 Oct 20 16:11
lol thanks for the chapter... third woot
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User #26916748 - 8 Oct 20 16:25
Either the vision is real or the system knows all about Jeeves and it letting it slide for some reason. I’m leaning towards the former.
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User #34662614 - 8 Oct 20 17:03 - revision 3
Or the third possibility. The System knows some things about Jeeves but it is not going to take any direct action. Because the System does not take direct action for situations like that. At most it would make a quest or something to kill Kenzie. But even that is more than the System usually bothers with. Maybe once Kenzie gets more powerful it will put out a quest against her.
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User #34662614 - 8 Oct 20 17:03
Or the third possibility. The System knows about Jeeves but it is not going to take any direct action. Because the System does not take direct action for situations like that. At most it would make a quest or something to kill Kenzie. But even that is more than the System usually bothers with. Maybe once Kenzie gets more powerful it will put out a quest against her.
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User #34662614 - 8 Oct 20 17:03 - revision 2
Or the third possibility. The System knows some things about Jeeves but it is not going to take any direct action. Because the System does not take direct action for situations like that. At most it would make a quest or something to kill Kenzie. But even that is more than the System usually bothers with. Maybe once Kenzie gets more powerful it will put out a quest against her.
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User #20585040 - 8 Oct 20 18:41
Yeah if Kenzie hits B grade it might personally take the reins to get ride of her but until that probably bounty type quests
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User #24359990 - 8 Oct 20 21:29
Jarvis appears to compatible with the system, like a more advanced Spirit Tool mixed with treasures, I don't think the System will take action, at least not while Jarvis not mix with DAO itself.
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User #24359990 - 8 Oct 20 21:32
Maybe the first has destroyed because of how it use/changed the DAO. Or Zac body destroyed it and because of that he is a monster.
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User #7038833 - 8 Oct 20 16:02
Thanks for the chapter
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User #25288106 - 8 Oct 20 16:17
Hahahaha nice I called this shit 300 chapters ago
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User #11801336 - 8 Oct 20 16:22
What did you call?
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User #25288106 - 8 Oct 20 16:32
His mom abandoning them in a less than righteous way, him being a failed experiment, dad not being dad
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User #18382795 - 8 Oct 20 16:25
I'm betting he gets at least 2 titles one for first E grade and one for first E grade as a mortal
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User #18251460 - 8 Oct 20 16:46
Didn’t even think about the Mortal thing
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User #25293756 - 9 Oct 20 03:11
he’s not the first mortal to hit e grade, it was stated early that mortals have become e grade but it is hard for them to open nodes
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User #3572455 - 9 Oct 20 05:28
He's the first mortal to do so on earth though
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User #37462108 - 8 Oct 20 16:12
Hey! Tribulation energy attacks me... Why not eat it?! Yummy yummy
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User #27667833 - 8 Oct 20 16:02
First lol
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User #12491961 - 8 Oct 20 16:06
Not even
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User #9578630 - 8 Oct 20 16:24
Awesome thanks for the chapter
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User #4871200 - 8 Oct 20 16:59
and now he hath arrived
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User #8565015 - 8 Oct 20 16:22
This makes me think the system is zacs father haha
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User #26916748 - 8 Oct 20 16:26
Immaculate conception! Zac is cultivation Jesus.
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User #24359990 - 8 Oct 20 17:11
That you explain the disdain. His mother hates the system.
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User #4063184 - 8 Oct 20 17:22
The hero's journey at its purest.
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User #20585040 - 8 Oct 20 18:40
would explain why the system has talked to him twice when it's content to let everybody else toil in silence lol
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User #25378417 - 8 Oct 20 19:25
No way. Have you seen how the System fucks the multiverse? "I'll do it myself." And then the System was Big Dick Thanos.
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User #5410633 - 9 Oct 20 08:36
Zac was a System quest reward delivered straight to her womb!
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User #36711084 - 8 Oct 20 16:09
I hope that’s what actually happened because that’s some juicy, juicy plot right there
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User #12491961 - 8 Oct 20 16:02
F
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User #7038833 - 8 Oct 20 16:03
Hey that’s not fair 😂
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User #12491961 - 8 Oct 20 16:06
I was paying respects to the people who think they beat me.
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User #7806700 - 8 Oct 20 16:45
I mean, I know everyone seems excited about Leanndra being the bad guy but there's no way that vision is real... There's no way Zac's dad would leave them the pendant as a way to maybe find her if she left by knocking both him and her 10 y/o son out. While also having called the son a little monster. Like there's no way you encourage anyone to meet someone like that, let alone your children that they clearly don't give a fuck about.
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User #8796307 - 8 Oct 20 16:49
I would agree unless, as Zac infers in this chapter, she messed with their memories.
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User #22044238 - 8 Oct 20 16:53
she altered zac and his fathers memory
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User #3558762 - 8 Oct 20 23:43
She also showed a little sadness about leaving Robert when she said “maybe in another life” so it’s possible she fixed his memories of her
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User #9397658 - 8 Oct 20 16:21
Yep, gotta agree with Mac : some juicy plot juice to sip from.
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User #4063184 - 8 Oct 20 17:05
I'm so happy the tribulation is over (unless it isn't, in some kind of inception ploy, but I don't think so). It's a shame next chapter will most likely be someone else's PoV =P
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User #20585040 - 8 Oct 20 17:09
if you are going to have POV's this is the right time to do it. Not really a cliff and with Zac stepping into E grade there could be some reactions
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User #10841787 - 8 Oct 20 16:57
Time for Loot! and new Titles!
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User #40021505 - 8 Oct 20 17:02
Damn, I was really hoping for that Charmeleon evolution. Looking forward to the new classes!
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User #11801336 - 8 Oct 20 16:22
Thanks for the chapter
Chapter 487. 2020-10-07T16:18:44+00:00

Zac growled from the pain as it felt like his soul had been doused in kerosene and lit on fire. The torment made it almost impossible for him to form a coherent thought, let alone erect some sort of defense.

Not that there was any. He knew that skills and items were useless in a case like this, and he could only bear with it. The pain was agonizing, but it wouldn't actually hurt his soul unless he gave in. He repeated the word ‘endure’ over and over in his mind, turning it into a mantra of perseverance.

The pain was well beyond what he had expected for a tribulation though, it was almost up there with other terrifying ordeals such as his dip in the Cosmic Water pond. Did everyone have to endure suffering of this magnitude, or was he given special attention because he chose an Epic class?

However, he didn’t have time to form any hypothesis before his surroundings blurred, and he suddenly found himself in his bed. Zac looked around in confusion, his past experiences turning muddled and indistinct as a slender arm reached around him. He smiled and turned over, coming face to face with his new girlfriend.

"What is it?" Hannah asked she scratched his beard with a wink. "Can't sleep?"

"Something like that," Zac smiled as he dragged her closer to him.

"Hmm," Hanna hummed as she leaned in for a kiss as her hand reached downward.

Zac's body was quick to respond, but he froze just as he was about to reciprocate her actions. How did he get here? Why did things seem so off?

"What's wrong?" Hannah panted in his ear, her hand stopping just as it was about to reach inside his underwear.

Lust fought with unease, but Zac finally shook his head and climbed out of his bed, his head darting back and forth with a wildness in his eyes.

Something wasn't right.

A heavy sense of wrongness encompassed him even though everything in his studio apartment looked like it should. But a shocking pain in his mind almost made him keel over, and he held his head in his hands as the world turned blurry.

"Zac? What's going on? Should I call an ambulance?" Hanna asked with fright as she ran over, but Zac's eyes widened when a knife suddenly appeared in her hand and sank deep into his chest.

"You're not real," Zac growled, finally remembering what was going on. "This is not real."

"Yes, isn't that what you want to tell yourself after you discarded me like trash?" Hannah sneered as the world collapsed.

Anxiety burned in Zac's chest as he urged the flying disk to move faster, but it felt like he was flying through solid matter as he saw his beleaguered army in the distance. Alea stood in the front, desperately fighting to create an opportunity for the army to survive. But it was for naught as she was cut down where she stood by a group of spectral assassins.

Zac finally managed to push through the solidified air as he landed next to her, and he quickly put a healing pill in her mouth. But it barely had an effect as the wounds kept bleeding, staining the ground in a crimson hue.

“Why didn’t you save me?” Alea cried as she looked up at Zac with desolation in her eyes. “I loved you. I bled for you. But you only saw me as a tool to further your goals."

“I-“ Zac stammered, but he had no chance to form a response before one sobbing voice after another spoke up around him.

“Why did you give up on us?” a Valkyrie cried. "You were supposed to lead us out of misery, not into it."

“Why?" a dozen dying soldiers cried in anguish, their wails growing in agony and sorrow by the second.

“Why?!"

“WHY?!”

The chorus grew louder and louder, and Zac felt like his mind was splitting apart. A wave of pain came from nowhere at that very moment, making him fall over in agony. He arduously got to his feet again, and he tried to explain himself to the angry mob of corpses. He didn’t mean for anyone to die. He was trying to do the right thing, but he was just one man, unable to save everyone.

But the words didn’t come. It felt like when he was in a dream where he wanted to throw a punch, but he was wholly impotent to actually urge his hand to move. He wasn't even sure whether his explanation could be considered a legitimate excuse, but it was moot as he couldn’t even vocalize a single word. Zac only helplessly fell backward, the screams growing ever louder in his mind.

Alea crawled closer as he mutely sat on the ground, leaving a trail of blood and intestines behind her. It was with great exertion she managed to drag herself up along his torso, completely drenching Zac in blood while doing so. She whimpered in pain as she enclosed him in a final embrace, her head resting on his shoulder.

“Was this all a game to you?” the sorrowful voice of the poison mistress whispered in his ear. “You played around in the Underworld, looking for opportunities to level up. You left us to fight one of the strongest forces in the Multiverse. You sent us to our deaths. You’re the leader, you should join us.”

“Join us!” the chorus echoed as a storm of poison seeped out of every pore of Alea’s body.

Zac felt muddled from the blazing pain in his head, but his Danger Sense screamed for him to wake up.

No!

Zac ardently recoiled in his mind, and the world around him cracked like a broken mirror.

Shame and self-blame threatened to drown Zac as he stood in front of Thea's sickbed. Her piercing blue eyes had lost their luster as she hollowly stared at him, and her ragged breaths told him she already hovered at death’s door.

“I thought we had formed an understanding during our time in the Hunt. But the moment we left you forgot about me, discarded me for the next shiny thing. Was that all I was to you? A means to an end during the hunt?” she asked with a voice so weak that it was barely audible.

“Billy was true in his sincerity toward you. But were you sincere toward him? Or were you just patronizing him while abusing his naivete and strength? You didn’t even bother going in person to help with his Incursion, you rather sent a subordinate to steal the main achievement from him,” Thea continued, despondency creeping into her voice.

“That’s not-“

“Yet we came here, leaving our own people to fend for themselves. Just so that you wouldn’t have yet another excuse to avoid doing the right thing. We bled for you. Why won’t you do the same?” she said just as her eyes grew blank, her final breath leaving her lungs.

Panic made Zac's heart beat like a drum, but he suddenly calmed down as he looked at the unmoving body of the Thea Marshall.

"You're alive, and I will save you all," Zac growled as the world crumbled.

He had dreaded this moment, but Zac was finally here, his fingers fidgeted with nervousness as he walked across the field toward the man sitting on a rock. His steps were unsteady from the mounting pain in his head, but this thing couldn't be held off any longer.

The man looked upon hearing Zac's approach, his disfigured face scrunching up in anger upon seeing who it was. David slowly stood up with the assistance of a cane, and he spat at the ground the moment Zac arrived.

“I was captured, tortured, left for dead. All because I used to know you,” David said before Zac had a chance to greet him, his face contorting in anger and pain. “I wake up screaming every night, drenched in sweat, because of what that lunatic put me through. But you didn’t even come to visit me. You threw me out of your mind as you stowed me away on this desolate island, where I wouldn’t be able to remind you of what you’ve become.”

“Hannah,” Zac said, but he was interrupted by David, whose fury was quickly mounting.

“Hannah was traumatized, manipulated, and abused. First by The Lord of Eyes, then by the infiltrators, and finally by your little demon lover. You couldn’t even wait a second to cast her away the moment she finally regained a sense of stability. All because she didn’t fit with your ‘new self’, the great lone-wolf warrior who consorted with Demons,” David spat.

“But perhaps it’s for the best, no?” the mutilated man said as he swung his cane at Zac. “Better to be a cast-away than turned into a cursed piece of jewelry.”

Zac tried to catch the cane, but another wave of pain made him space out, and he found himself on the ground as David desperately tried to pummel him.

"It's all your fault!" he screamed, but he was forced to stop as he spat out a mouthful of blood from the exertion.

"I'm sorry," Zac said through grit teeth as he woke up from his stupor, once again realizing he was inside an illusion. "The way I treated you isn't right. I will visit the real you when this is all over."

The world dissipated in a haze, and he was surprised to find himself in a very familiar place, this time completely aware he was still undergoing the Heart Tribulation. It was his childhood room where he had lived until he moved out at 21. However, it looked vastly different from how it did before the Integration. It was rather decorated exactly the same as when he was a child.

That wasn’t all, as he could actually see himself lying asleep in his bed. Why was the System showing him this? It was no doubt another trick of the Heart Tribulation, but why was it so different compared to the other ones that preyed on his emotions? Why had he come here like some sort of Ghost of Christmas Future?

A wave of agony suddenly burst through the illusion, and Zac found himself soundlessly screaming into the room. The waves of pain were getting worse, and Zac was getting worried that the other Tribulation was running amok with him stuck in these visions.

Becoming aware that this was all an illusion obviously wasn't the key to getting out, so he started to look around for any clues on how to break the illusion. But there was no clearly identifiable clue to help him escape, and he could only turn to the sleeping form in the bed.

It was a surreal feeling to see himself as a ten-year-old. Things he had completely forgotten were reproduced with perfect crispness as well. There were his posters and the orange lava lamp that always were turned on when he went to bed but inexplicably turned off when he awoke. Of course, it was his parents who turned it off as they checked in on him, but today it was still turned on in the middle of the night.

However, that small detail wasn’t the only thing that was a bit off.

There was a note of discordance in the memory, the sounds of agitated voices seeping through the door. The two voices grew gradually louder, but Zac still couldn’t make out any distinct words. The fact that it felt like his head was splitting apart didn’t make things easier either. He tried to move closer to the source of the commotion, but he found himself stuck next to the bed, or perhaps rather stuck to his younger self.

However, the argument taking place outside his room was soon enough to wake up the ten-year old version of himself, and Zac couldn’t help but feel some trepidation as he saw himself getting out of bed. He looked just as confused as Zac felt, but he still silently moved over toward his door. Zac thankfully moved in accord, and they got closer to the source of the sounds.

“… Doctor,” Zac heard as they inched closer, and he could finally confirm that it was his father’s voice, though the voice sounded frantic in a way that he had never heard before.

Young Zac seemed to come to the same realization as he slowly turned the doorknob and created a small crack in his door without making a sound. It was just enough for some light from the corridor bleed inside, along with the voices. The voices of his parents.

“Doctor? What would some mortal doctor be able to help me with?” Leandra snorted, her voice dripping with disdain. “Besides. I am telling you I am not sick.”

“Darling, calm down. You just had a baby, don’t get agitated,” Robert seemed to try to placate her.

“I’m not agitated, I’m just telling you what needs to happen,” his mom answered with a cold tone that Zac had never heard before. “I guess I can consider myself lucky that the pain of childbirth startled me awake.”

Zac frowned as he listened in on the conversation from his vantage as a silent specter behind his own body. Was this actually a memory of his, or yet another lie shown by the System? Because he couldn’t remember this ever happening in his real life, though his childhood had always been a bit hazy.

But judging from the discussion and how old he looked, this might just be the night when his mother disappeared, never to be heard from again.

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Comments (21)
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User #22092590 - 7 Oct 20 18:08
Interesting. So from what Zac's mother was saying it sounds like she was living on Earth and believed she was mortal for some reason, when giving birth to Zac's sister finally caused her enough pain to jump-start her memory again. She probably left back to her faction soon after.
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User #11801336 - 7 Oct 20 16:36
Thanks for the chapter
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User #26130883 - 7 Oct 20 20:17
Hmmm so what I'm getting from this is that Zach exists as a means of stealing proprietary shit from the Technocrats. engineered by the system somehow.
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User #34662614 - 7 Oct 20 20:36
There is no proof that Zac is being shown a true vision of his mother. It could be the System playing with him to see if an uncaring mother will break his mind.
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User #43587115 - 8 Oct 20 03:01
Definitely feelin the system interference here for sure. But maybe it will help him unlock his bloodline too.
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User #4871200 - 8 Oct 20 01:21
while there is no proof
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User #43248451 - 7 Oct 20 16:19
LETS GOOO
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User #18937268 - 7 Oct 20 16:32
thanks for the chapter
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User #7038833 - 7 Oct 20 16:19
Thanks for the chapter
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User #22143119 - 7 Oct 20 21:39
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!!
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User #3141777 - 7 Oct 20 18:00
Soooo she wasn't startled awake when Zac was born but she was when Kenzie was born. I need to read the next chapters to se if this is covered latter.
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User #43389204 - 7 Oct 20 18:01
The soul tribulation happening at the same time as the heart tribulation may actually be a blessing in disguise, as the agonizing pain is a rather good reminder that he's in an illusion lol. He might have struggled to remember otherwise while being trapped in the heart tribulation. This revelation about his mom is interesting if true. So maybe she tried to convince his father about what she was but he naturally thought she was crazy? And she mentioned something about being "startled awake" suggests she had lost her memories while on Earth too.
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User #12258087 - 7 Oct 20 16:29
Your writing has noticably improved since the start of this. Really fun to read, you've done a great job at creating a sense of urgency while keeping the story exciting. Finally subbed to finish the tower arc, well worth it. 🙌
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User #5446982 - 7 Oct 20 20:34
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #580244 - 7 Oct 20 19:24
Thank you!
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User #26916748 - 7 Oct 20 17:11
At first I wasn’t really looking forward to this chapter because I knew it would be one of those dream sequence chapters But that glimpse of his mom and dad is worth the chapter. I like the obvious distaste she has for mortals. It came across as rather elitist, which I like because so many stories always make the missing parent out to be some secret virtuous paragon. Honestly part of me thinks Mama Atwood is aquatinted with The Great Redeemer in some way just not sure if it’s as an ally or enemy.
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User #9578630 - 7 Oct 20 16:26
Oof good to hear what happened to his mom.
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User #4871200 - 8 Oct 20 01:24
if the system wants him to proceed forward with a quest related to the Tecnomancers this would be an appropriate thing to do. It would give him clues about his family and his origin. This would especially be the case for his sister. Even if and I say if the system reworks the scenario to look and feel like reality. but fudges a few details to mess with his path forward and out look a little bit. ( how he sees his mother for instance.
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User #3664043 - 8 Oct 20 04:09
I think we need to take it with a grain of salt. The vision may have some kernel of truth but it is an event designed to test his resolve.
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User #12491961 - 7 Oct 20 16:19
Yaaaaay
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User #11166682 - 8 Oct 20 17:18
Seeing as childbirth is what brought his mother's lost memories back either Zac's birth was much easier or she had him before she lost her memory. However she considers him a monster, so either his birth father tricked her or he's the result of an unwanted copulation. Either way, somebody else is playing games.
Chapter 486. 2020-10-06T16:31:44+00:00

Zac looked at the options with mixed emotions. He had succeeded in the sense that there actually was an Arcane class available, a class called Vessel of Destruction. However, it didn’t have another Arcane to accompany it. It was rather matched with an Epic Class called Nature's Lament.

He had been hesitant about what he should do after hearing Catheya’s description, and this only muddied the waters further. With Arcane classes locking in your future path there was a real risk that picking just one Arcane class while leaving the other at Epic might have some unanticipated ramifications.

If there had been a set of two Arcane classes he might just have ignored Catheya’s warning and followed Yrial’s advice to shoot for the stars, but now he wasn’t so sure.

His instincts told him that he needed to create a functioning system between his two classes where both sides moved toward a common goal. He had felt there were some compatibility issues with his second class for some time now, and there was a real risk that his Draugr side might turn into a bottleneck if he wasn’t careful.

Zac slowly read the description of Vessel of Destruction. It felt most likely that it was based around the Splinter. It seemed to utilize the rage that the splinter radiated, and the class would perhaps even help him in harnessing the bronze sparks. It also provided a skill called Avatar of Wrath, which sounded like some sort of boosting skill in the vein of [Hatchetman's Rage], or perhaps something more akin to [Vanguard of Undeath].

However, nothing indicated that it also incorporated the Shard or the balance between the two forces, and neither was there any such indication on the accompanying class. It wasn’t surprising though, as there simply hadn’t been enough time for him to get acquainted with the pink flashes and the Shard of Creation.

He only had access to it during the frantic escape from the Technocrat vessel and the subsequent battle against the dragon. That was nothing compared to the months of carrying the Splinter and the weeks of constant experimentation into the bronze flashes.

The Dao requirements had been fulfilled after reaching Middle mastery with the Dao of the Coffin, and there was no doubt in his mind that he had gone far beyond what was required to generate enough merit for a second Arcane option. He had conquered the 8th floor of the Tower of Eternity. He had taken down a literal dragon before forcing the elites of the whole sector to give in.

He had taken out a whole Technocrat vessel, and he had closed almost all the Incursions of a newly Integrated world. He had even witnessed the ‘Terminus’, the origin and the end of the Dao itself. If he didn’t have enough achievements by now, then who did?

That meant there was a problem with his ‘creation’.

There was a fuzzy image of his future cultivation in his mind, one based on a few defining features of his power. It was a path of duality, exemplified through his two classes, his opposing Daos, and the two remnants in his mind. But there was still nothing that really tied these three pairs together. He also had no actual idea what the bronze and pink flashes he created were, or even how he was supposed to properly use them.

He knew that there was no way for him to gain a quick fix to upgrade Nature's Lament to an Arcane option, so he could only drop the issue for now. Cultivation was measured in centuries, even millennia, and he had ample time to figure out the missing pieces of his cultivation path.

There were all sorts of logical reasons why he shouldn't take the Vessel of Destruction, but the word 'Arcane' was like a target that kept drawing back Zac's eyes. The class was clearly powerful, and it would both provide more attributes from the Base Attributes, while almost ten extra attribute points per level.

It was an extremely lopsided class, but his unique situation with bonus attributes would cancel out the huge downside of negative Endurance. He was frozen in indecision for a few seconds, but eventually, his fears of the potential risks overcame the lure of the potential rewards.

He was giving up on an Arcane class for E-Grade.

Zac slowly read through each of the four other options instead, not too surprised with the rarity of them. He had already expected to be presented mostly Epic Classes, perhaps with a few Rare ones peppered in. The only question was how many options he would be provided.

There was no denying that his visit to the Tower of Eternity had been worth it in terms of options to choose from. Not only did his options max out at five, but every single Class apart from Vessel of Destruction was Epic. Most of them were new as well, with only Undying Warlord remaining as an option from his previous inquiry.

The [Heaven’s Secrets Array] was also showing its worth, and the information he was given was just on a completely different level compared to last time. It didn’t just provide him with information about what attributes the classes provided, but even revealed the names of the skills he would gain.

Zac already knew about the base attributes after having spoken with Ylvas and Catheya, but it was still eye-opening to see the numbers in person. It was not without reason that Ogras had said that Low-Tiered Titles were useless for anything except leveraging them into medium and high-tiered counterparts.

Even a common class warrior would gain the equivalent of a top tier Low-tiered title every level while still early E-Grade, excluding Luck of course. Furthermore, that boost would increase further at reaching Middle E-Grade, and then once more upon reaching High E-Grade. If things followed the same pattern as F-Grade, then there might also be a bonus waiting at the peak of E-Grade.

And that wasn't all. The actual class gave another round of attributes on top of the base, and a quick glance proved that an epic class seemed to give another 20 to 25 attribute points. That meant that a Low E-Grade Warrior with an Epic class would gain around 80 Attribute points per level, which was in line with what Ylvas had said.

The real question on Zac's mind was how this base worked for him. Judging by the description it seemed like a done deal that he would get the class-specific attributes from both classes, but would he also get two base packs per level? It would make a huge difference, as almost two thirds of the attributes came from the attributes.

If he didn’t get the base attributes twice he’d only get 30% more attributes compared to a normal cultivator, drastically reducing his advantage.

Another piece of information that the array added was whether the evolution was an upgrade or a divergence. Zac guessed that meant that the new class would either build upon the earlier class or move it away from its predecessor in some other direction.

For example, Edge of Arcadia and Gaia’s Apostle were both clearly related to the Hatchetman Class, but judging by their attributes and skills they went in different directions. Edge of Arcadia seemed to focus more on axe-work whereas Gaia’s Apostle leaned toward nature skills like [Nature’s Punishment] and [Hatchetman’s Spirit].

A divergence would instead stake out a new path, perhaps only partially relying on the earlier class. It wasn’t surprising that he saw mostly divergent options for his Draugr-class after splitting up its Dao Seeds with hardness going into the Coffin and Sanctuary going into the Bodhi. It might result in some of his old skills becoming obsolete, but Zac already knew that going in.

Zac knew he needed to make a decision, and he first excluded the fourth option. The Draugr-class seemed to be purely defensive, which was the very thing he wanted to move away from. Gaia’s Apostle didn’t really resonate with him either, even though [Nature’s Punishment] had been one of his main skills for dealing with tough opponents.

The other three options both had strong points and demerits, but Zac eventually discarded the first option as well, leaving him with options three and five. Undying Warlord seemed like a good fit for him, as it probably was just like his current class with a higher focus on offense. However, the problem was with the class ‘Gatekeeper of Sukhavati’.

The class didn’t provide a single point in Strength, which indicated a significant step away from his current fighting style. Even worse, it seemed to be lopsided in the sense that it was based on both the Bodhi and the Coffin. He didn’t want those two Fragments going into the same class, as he wanted for each class to represent one of the concepts of life and death, or Creation and Oblivion.

The third and fifth options both seemed to fulfill all his goals for his new class. The Draugr Classes seemed to be geared much more offensively compared to Undying Bulwark. Risen Asura gave the feeling of pure violence and oppression, like he would become an unstoppable killing machine that refused to die until all his enemies had fallen before him.

The fetter of desolation was a bit less clear, but he still felt it was a very good match. The name of the class didn't really sound like something he'd want to use, but there were some good indications that it was still suited for him. The first indicator was the skill, Blighted Cut. It sounded like a weapon-based attack, and perhaps something that took advantage of the Corrosive elements of the Dao of the Coffin.

The flavor text also made him think of a restriction-based warrior who entrapped and weakened his enemies before he delivered the killing blow. That seemed like a good option to him, as that was the main way that he used his Undying Bulwark Class. He trapped his enemies in the Miasmic Cage, then whittled them down with [Winds of Decay], [Deathwish], and the Spectral Chains.

If the enemy tried a desperate strike he took them out with [Vanguard of Undeath] and [Unholy Strike].

Of course, these were still just hypotheses, but there was undeniably something about that class that pulled at him. He wasn't sure whether there was the advertised Karmic Guidance that was supposed to be included in the [Heaven's Secret Array], or if it was because of his recently acquired Spirit Tool.

As for the two classes for his human side, both of them had strong points.

Arcadia contained the meaning of becoming one with nature, which was exactly the direction he wanted to take the class based on his life-aspected vision for his path. But it still had Strength as its main attribute, which clearly indicated a warrior-archetype together with the flavor text and skill option.

However, Warmaster of Hecate had provided an interesting twist to his envisioned path. Hecate was a goddess of witchcraft, death, and poison. It was a fusion of Death and Life, while still being a warrior-type class with a connection to nature. This fit well together with the ‘Risen’ part of the other class, which seemed based on his recent insight of Life from Death.

So one of the options blended life and death, incorporating a nascent duality of his two main concepts into both the classes. The other option was more neatly separated with his Human side representing life and nature, and his Draugr side representing death and desolation.

The question was whether he wanted to fuse these two concepts already and build upon it, or if it was better to progress in the two paths separately until he understood more about what the paths entailed.

Eventually, his eyes turned to the third option, the combination of Edge of Arcadia and Fetters of Desolation.

He decided to go with this option for two reasons. First was the fact that Warmaster of Hecate was a Divergence of Hatchetman, a class he felt perfectly suited for him. He would rather upgrade his human side and get a Divergent class for his Draugr side.

The second reason was that he felt it was too early to start mucking about and fusing the two concepts of life and death into one single class. He wasn’t even sure if that was the form his ‘creation’ would take in the future, and he didn’t want to walk down that path before he had come to a conclusion there.

However, he didn't immediately activate his option, but rather turned toward his sister and Ogras who curiously looked at him.

"It's working," Zac nodded.

"Well no shit," the demon muttered. "You've been standing still with a disgusting grin on your face for five minutes. Are you ready to evolve?"

"I'm going now," Zac nodded.

"None of us can help you if you mess up, so you might as well do it in your courtyard where you won't be disturbed," the demon said. "You will have a minute or so before the tribulation descends."

Zac nodded in agreement, as it sounded as the best option.

"This might take a while, but make sure I'm okay if I haven't emerged in a day," Zac said as he took out the dozen Array Breakers from his Spatial Ring. "And focus on identifying treasures that will help in the battle against the Undead Empire. I'm pretty sure that these are all Array Breakers, see which ones might be of use against anything the Lich King uses."

"We'll certainly extract their secrets by the time you're done," Calrin hurriedly nodded, obviously eager to rack up some contribution.

"Good," Zac nodded before he turned back to the Nexus Node and picked the third option before having a chance to change his mind again.

[Tribulation will descend in 1 Minute]

"Good luck," Kenzie said from the side, but some excitement was evident in her eyes. "You're making history here."

"I'll be back soon," Zac smiled before he flashed away, quickly returning to his courtyard.

The moment he entered he activated his layered arrays before he sat down on his prayer mat. He doubted it would be of any help, but it did help him calm his mind a bit better as he waited for the minute to pass.

Finally it arrived, and he felt himself being surrounded by a mysterious energy. He couldn’t figure out what it was made of, but it felt a bit reminiscent of the sky of lightning he had witnessed when the Chaos Pattern had appeared. Of course, it was an extremely watered-down version.

He was just about to close his eyes and brace for the tribulation when two prompts appeared in front of him.

[Mind Tribulation Descends. Struggle for Survival]

[Soul Tribulation Descends. Struggle for Survival]

"...Shit," Zac muttered before his world was consumed by pain and fire.

---------------

A/N: Congratulations to team #3!

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Comments (39)
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User #37249430 - 6 Oct 20 16:32
First mf
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User #34679851 - 6 Oct 20 16:49
So two tribulations is because he has two classes right?
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User #12234442 - 6 Oct 20 17:29
He was going to get all of them anyway. His body is already ridiculous, so he skipped Body Tribulation. He probably gets two of them in the same time, because he has 2 classes.
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User #27764971 - 6 Oct 20 17:39
Most likely. Can't have all the good without all the bad too. Lol
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User #13591438 - 6 Oct 20 16:34
Atleast it wasn't "Struggle for Supremacy" on both counts.
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User #4063184 - 6 Oct 20 16:45
That would've been funny LOL
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User #11447080 - 6 Oct 20 18:55
To be honest he probably should have seen that one coming.
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User #15322928 - 6 Oct 20 17:22
I didn't like this chapter as much. It felt like you were going for making him take this decision very heavily and make it have meaning however it just sounded like he was going around in circles with his reasoning and restating things several times. It made it hard to read and follow. I think he made the right choice and I think it was a weighty decision but getting there was a bit of a slog rather than an interesting piece of Zac's insight
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User #4561803 - 6 Oct 20 20:16
I agree with you, but unfortunately, it's a bit of a tradition in LitRPG for the MC to meticulously analyze every option when given a multiple-choice upgrade. I tend to skim chapters like this, as it mostly just adds some background color to the authors System mechanics. The actual classes/skills in question are never seen again so the main purpose in a chapter like this is world building, but a lot of the details are (as you mentioned) redundant here. Oh well, it's only one chapter, and the upcoming chapters with the tribulation and Undead incursion should be interesting!
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User #15322928 - 6 Oct 20 20:41
Very true! At the end of the day I still love this story and I know at least some people will be interested in all the details and speculation
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User #7038833 - 6 Oct 20 16:32
Thanks for the chapter
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User #37462108 - 6 Oct 20 16:41
The TERMINUS is the origin and end of the dao!
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User #10345495 - 6 Oct 20 16:55
Chapter title "Zack clic on option 3" stay with us for the next episode "Zack clic on CONFIRM"
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User #20585040 - 6 Oct 20 16:39
I know some are going to hate that this is a Zac deliberates to chose chapter but this is a bit different than spending a chapter thinking about the floor rewards for clearing floor 6. We need to see the reasons Zac can't take the arcane yet beyond Catheya told him not to and really we need to see his reasoning for what his next 75 levels are going to be.
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User #4063184 - 6 Oct 20 16:44
Both his choice and the fact that he has to deal with two tribulations make sense. I just hope we don't get too many tribulation chapters xP
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User #7976252 - 6 Oct 20 16:52
Two days would be good. Two weeks would be bad.
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User #22092590 - 6 Oct 20 16:50
Ah. He overlooked something. He's not just upgrading one class, but two. So he has one trial for each class.
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User #37462108 - 6 Oct 20 16:37
And it is option 3! Very interesting as all reasons why Zac chose this classes were considered by people in the discussion before and also the reasons why other options werent chosen.
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User #20585040 - 6 Oct 20 16:32
3 pls
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User #8796307 - 6 Oct 20 16:47
According to Ogras, the 3 tribulations are Body, Spirit and Heart. I dunno if the names at the end are just a typo and should say Spirit and Heart instead if Mind and Soul, or if Zac is experiencing multiple unexpected Tribulations.
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User #4063184 - 6 Oct 20 16:51
I would guess unexpected.
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User #21919456 - 6 Oct 20 16:57
It could be "translation" issue. In early chapters Ogras said something about system personalizing names to match local culture. Or just an author mistake ;)
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User #10384366 - 6 Oct 20 17:02
I think it's more likely they are unexpected due to his classes being epic, something Ogras likely isn't very familiar with
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DefianceNovels - 6 Oct 20 17:12
Sorry to disappoint, but it's just me playing a bit fast and loose with Terminology. It has been updated to him having Heart and Spirit Tribulations descend.
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User #27764971 - 6 Oct 20 17:38
Great...two tribulations, because why not? Karma~
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User #10384366 - 6 Oct 20 20:03
I think you should actually change the terms to mind and soul, they are much more clear about what they test
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User #21349011 - 6 Oct 20 17:33
"Almost two thirds of the attributes came from the attributes" Call it a hunch, but I'd be willing to bet the other third of the attributes come from the attributes as well, Zac. (I assume it was supposed to say "base attributes")
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User #6439200 - 6 Oct 20 16:50
Soo it's my birthday and it would be pretty cool to get a couple extra chapters :p
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User #13313927 - 6 Oct 20 17:31
Happy birthday
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User #20585040 - 6 Oct 20 23:33
Happy Birthday!
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User #10841787 - 6 Oct 20 17:02
I'm honestly still confused on how TFD got to 80 stat point per level.
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DefianceNovels - 6 Oct 20 17:11
Base attributes (7 points in 6 Base attributes) + 10 Free Points + 22 to 24 for class. So it's closer to 75 than 80 TBH
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User #10384366 - 6 Oct 20 16:44
Woohoo! Always nice to be on the winning team lol. Team * for the win! *No spoilers lol
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 17:57
The non-Class attributes specifically stated "base attributes gained per node", so unless Zac has two sets of Nodes, he will not be getting double base attributes. And I do not see how he could have two sets of Nodes. His Human and Draugr body are linked. His Draugr body did not start at F-grade since his human body was already E-grade when he got the Draugr body. And injuries to one body mostly carry over to the other. For example, if he got his hand chopped off in one body, his hand would not magically appear when he switched bodies. So it seems clear enough he only has one set of Nodes. The only thing I can think of as an argument against one set of Nodes is that he apparently has two separate skill fractal sets. But I think that can be explained as skill fractals being only superficially on the body while their fundamental existence is linked to something supernatural (or superphysical?), while Nodes are somehow physically part of the body. Which does raise the question of where the Nodes came from. But that is a whole other topic.
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User #24359990 - 6 Oct 20 18:39
If true, maybe he will level both classes simultaneously.
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 18:58
From the way Beruv described it, I think he has to fill the cup for each level before he can burst each Node. But what is the cup? I think the cup is a level, but levels are linked to Classes. If he only has one set of Nodes, does each Node link to two cups and he has to fill the cup for each Class before he can burst the Node? That is getting complicated. It would be less complicated maybe if he did have two sets of Nodes. But I still do not like the idea of that since I think it was stated that Nodes existed before the System. That is why I assumed they are physically part of the body. But if I am wrong about that, and Nodes were created by the System, then I guess two sets of Nodes becomes likely.
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 18:58 - revision 3
From the way Beruv described it, I think he has to fill the cup for each Node before he can burst each Node. But what is the cup? I think the cup is a level, but levels are linked to Classes. If he only has one set of Nodes, does each Node link to two cups and he has to fill the cup for each Class before he can burst the Node? That is getting complicated. It would be less complicated maybe if he did have two sets of Nodes. But I still do not like the idea of that since I think it was stated that Nodes existed before the System. That is why I assumed they are physically part of the body. But if I am wrong about that, and Nodes were created by the System, then I guess two sets of Nodes becomes likely. But even so, Yrial said that you exhaustively search inside your body to locate hidden Nodes. If Nodes are that fundamental a part of the body, then Zac should only have one set of Nodes.
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 18:58 - revision 2
From the way Beruv described it, I think he has to fill the cup for each Node before he can burst each Node. But what is the cup? I think the cup is a level, but levels are linked to Classes. If he only has one set of Nodes, does each Node link to two cups and he has to fill the cup for each Class before he can burst the Node? That is getting complicated. It would be less complicated maybe if he did have two sets of Nodes. But I still do not like the idea of that since I think it was stated that Nodes existed before the System. That is why I assumed they are physically part of the body. But if I am wrong about that, and Nodes were created by the System, then I guess two sets of Nodes becomes likely.
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User #3664043 - 6 Oct 20 20:51
or drauger bodies start in e grade.
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 22:37
I doubt that. We know there are Draugr with F-grade Classes. If their body started at E-grade, I would expect their Classes to also start at E-grade. But they do not.
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User #7142925 - 6 Oct 20 18:06
THE CLIFF!
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User #34662614 - 6 Oct 20 17:57 - revision 2
The non-Class attributes specifically stated "base attributes gained per node", so unless Zac has two sets of Nodes, he will not be getting double base attributes. And I do not see how he could have two sets of Nodes. His Human and Draugr body are linked. His Draugr body did not start at F-grade since his human body was already E-grade when he got the Draugr body. And injuries to one body mostly carry over to the other. For example, if he got his hand chopped off in one body, his hand would not magically appear when he switched bodies. So it seems clear enough he only has one set of Nodes. The only thing I can think of as an argument against one set of Nodes is that he apparently has two separate skill fractal sets. But I think that can be explained as skill fractals being only superficially on the body while their fundamental existence is linked to something supernatural (or superphysical?), while Nodes are somehow physically part of the body. Which does raise the question of where the Nodes came from. But that is a whole other topic. EDITED TO ADD: Having thought about this some more, there is an obvious way it should work that I do not know why I did not realize before. If he has a single set of Nodes, and the Nodes are more like blockages or barriers that cap his power, then it just means that he can power up one or both Classes until he hits the barrier, then he must burst the barrier to level up either Class. After he bursts the barrier, he could level up just one Class while the other one sits at a lower level, or he can level both again. It might even be to his advantage to have two Classes and one set of Nodes since the energy from both Classes can be used to push against the barrier to cause it to burst. Twice as much energy against a single barrier should create twice as much bursting pressure on the Node.
So, which option is it? 2020-10-03T21:00:22+00:00

Which classes do you think will choose? Put your bets down! No prizes for being right!


NOTE: This is not a reader-input type deal... Or is it?

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Comments (37)
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User #5436910 - 3 Oct 20 21:01
Aww fuck they all sound cool lol
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User #952149 - 3 Oct 20 21:10
WALL OF BONES!!!
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User #9459932 - 3 Oct 20 21:01
Secret option is mean.
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User #7778431 - 3 Oct 20 21:36
If each class pairing is a single fragment per class, there are 6 possible combinations, number six seems to be missing.
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 21:43
Pretty sure everyone only gets 5 choices, regardless of how many combinations they can form.
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User #7778431 - 3 Oct 20 22:01
He only had two the first time round, before the tower
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User #13553780 - 4 Oct 20 00:54
Maybe there is a 6th, but Zac simply hasn’t realized he can scroll down the screen. That’s the “Secret Option!”, but it’s only secret because Zac is clueless.
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User #21752263 - 3 Oct 20 21:01
Why didn't he have two arcanes btw?
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 21:04
Bodhi is still early stage
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User #603926 - 3 Oct 20 21:04
One of the requirements was a creation of a new path/move idk. Which he only did one, so only one arcane path. Don't think it can be used on both classes. David - isn't coffin and axe mid grade?
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 21:08
Yeah, I figured that unbalanced it. You’re probably right about the “only creating one new path thing” though
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User #4764413 - 3 Oct 20 21:40
No, Dustin, a path incorporate all classes and everything else. It's more that his Undying Bulwark's merit is lacking, and he still hasn't made this class his own
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 21:03
If I absolutely have to pick, I’d pick option 5. If not, then he should probably evolve Bodhi first. It would probably also benefit him to get a 4th fragment as having only 3 seems to unbalance things a bit. I definitely don’t think he should get some hidden system boon/secret option.
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User #18382795 - 3 Oct 20 21:04
5 bucks secret option is pick any two
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User #18382795 - 3 Oct 20 21:06
Because of the merit
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User #5002587 - 3 Oct 20 21:08
Only one seems to follow life/death cycle. Waiting for a fourth day might be the best but does he have time to wait?
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User #8032506 - 3 Oct 20 21:04
Why no arcane option for his undead side?
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User #72934 - 3 Oct 20 21:05
his path isn't established enough for that side
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User #7319670 - 3 Oct 20 21:10
Man, no love for #4, but mix/match would be sick
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User #13553780 - 4 Oct 20 00:17
I like #4, but Wall of Bones sounds like it’s probably another General/ Commander class. He’s already have trouble making the best use of Undying Bulwark because of this. Up until the Undead floor in the tower his Draugr skills were lagging way behind because he couldn’t use the class as intended.
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User #7319670 - 4 Oct 20 00:24
'Couldn't' sounds an awful lot like 'didn't want to' to me, Pretty standard MC Mental Gymnastics really, "I can't use my Commander class kuz the miasma will kill my allies!! Better wonder off and try to solo the boss" He could literally walk up the them as a drauger and be all "get out of me swamp!" And it'd have a decent chance of working, but nope, 'gotta use my DPS class and solo the boss.... for reasons. Definitely not because I'm too lazy to PRACTICE my skills!! Nope.'
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User #13553780 - 5 Oct 20 18:07
Probably work? Based on the exceptionally little he actually knows about politics in the Undead Empire? The side story about the lich already showed they would expect massive payment from a major clan for handing over the planet. Zac has no clan backing him, is pretty much a pauper by the standards of major clans, and is an amateur politician at best. There is no way he could simply stumble his way through it and not court utterly devastating consequences. Even if it inexplicably worked, he would be pretty much announcing himself as a clanless Draugr (if not a Daugr/Human hybrid too). Normal undead might defer to him simply because he's a Draugr, but the other noble races won't and we have no idea how they will react to the news. It would only takes one big Clan deciding that he's a potential threat to snuff out or a curiosity worth studying for him (and probably the planet) to be completely screwed.
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User #11280757 - 3 Oct 20 21:05
not really a fan of the five options, so ever secret option or delay evolution imho. he already did go against a cleric faction using his undead form, so i'm pretty sure he is part masochist. Ousting the undeads while in F grade shouldn't scare him too much.
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User #6105540 - 3 Oct 20 21:10
I could see Zac getting a secret option. Someone else mentioned a merit reward from dealing with the Technocrat incursion. I don't remember the details on that, but it would be interesting. Option 2 align's human with destruction which leaves undead with creation. I think there is some out of the box storylines that could happen there. He could potentially close the undead incursion and leave half the world covered in miasma to reign over a new path of co-existence between mortal and undead, raising his own path. Add in his ties and his sister's technocratic bent and you have something compelling.
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User #22955572 - 4 Oct 20 13:05
Option 2 on his Undead side sounds like a Summoning/Caster class and has Wisdom as main stat
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User #18949675 - 3 Oct 20 21:11
My bet is he doesn't evolve yet because he wants more Arcane options
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User #10796683 - 3 Oct 20 21:34
I'm going with option 2, Vessel of Destruction / Nature's Lament. I don't really like it, but i guess it offers the highest short term boost and the most stats in the long run (+7/14/21 stats per level for the class and +1/2/3 stats for nodes per level). That is a whopping 1.200 stat points more than the second best option in terms of stats till level 150. Zac is desperate, so that's my guess. Also, the system seems to be pushing him into extremes. Extreme it is. Also, Options 1 and 5 are divergences from hatchetman which would be a real problem if Zac can't keep using Verun. Option 4 is an Upgrade of Undead Bulwark, so that is out. So the only real alternative seems to be option 3, which offers one stat point less than the "second best" alternative, so he would lose 1.275 stat points till level 150. edit: wrong numbers
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User #13553780 - 4 Oct 20 01:08
I think option 2 is there specifically for Zac to reject. Considering how Catheya specifically warned him that someone’s Dao and path are more important than their stats, it would be odd for him to focus solely on hunting stats. Considering how high his Luck is, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he got her warning <1 day before he went to evolve.
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User #34653838 - 3 Oct 20 21:15
I’m going secret option- I feel the system is going to prop him up during the tribulation..
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User #42536361 - 3 Oct 20 21:15
People seem to love the option 5, but I wouldn't like it because it's a divergence from hatchetman, while option 3 is an upgrade from hatchetman and both are a divergence from undying bulkmark which is good and stats are a bit more balanced on option. 3 but shouldn't matter much
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User #9459932 - 3 Oct 20 21:03
5 is the beeeest.
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User #25997774 - 3 Oct 20 21:01
3 or bust
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User #6105540 - 3 Oct 20 21:17
Vessel of Destruction + Fetters of Desolation looks sweet too, but lacks balance.
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User #11280757 - 3 Oct 20 21:31
i would enjoy that one
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User #26428917 - 3 Oct 20 22:35
if you dump all free points into endurance it will be decently balanced. But that option looks like it brings all Zacs uniqueness into one Arcane class, while other remains as afterthought.
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User #6105540 - 3 Oct 20 21:14
Vessel of Destruction + Risen Asura for the win.
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User #6105540 - 4 Oct 20 05:08
To clarify, it isn't just names or numbers driving my thoughts, these 2 classes would be the best combination of the 10 listed for a Str focused build with a balance of capabilities.
Chapter 485. 2020-10-03T17:05:49+00:00

A/N:

2/2. Next Chappy on Tuesday.

-------------

He had already noticed it back during his meeting with Catheya, but there was something wrong with his chest. Iz Tayn had left a burn on his body that he hadn’t been able to get rid of with healing pills. However, getting his torso blown apart and reformed by Creation Energy had dealt with that problem.

Or so he thought.

He still couldn’t see any mark on his body, but he had felt a slight pain in his chest multiple times now, but the feeling was gone before he had a chance to react, making him almost doubt it was ever there. He couldn’t see anything amiss, but the fire mage seemed to come from a real powerful force.

She might have all kinds of means of tracking he had no idea about.

"The Thayer Consortia happens to be skilled in those kinds of endeavors, we'll happily help in this regard... For a small remuneration," Calrin said as he gave a prim bow. “Young Lord, it is good to see you again.”

Zac didn't immediately greet the wily merchant, but he rather gazed at the Sky Gnome for a few seconds as his thumb rubbed the defensive treasure that he received from Calrin before he left for the tower.

“Did you know that the ring you gave me would cause trouble with the Tsarun clan?” Zac asked while he tried to gauge the slippery merchant's face for any lies.

“No way!” Calrin said, looking genuinely shocked. “It is just a defensive treasure that has been kept in my family. I just wanted to make sure that you, my great benefactor, wouldn't meet any untoward end during your first sojourn into the Cultivator World!“

“Well, your small gift led to the destruction of the Zethaya Pill House, and the death of almost a hundred elites of the sector. Including a Dravorak Princeling,” the demon snorted from the side. "Oh, and a main branch Tsarun Scion along with all their members at the Base Town. Thayer Consortia might become famous across the whole sector over the following years as the rumors spread."

“It- Ah? Dravorak as in the Dravorak Dynasty?” the Sky Gnome said, his face aghast. “Did they see the signet as well? I mean, it wasn’t my intention to cause any trouble. I don't understand what's going on?"

“Just what happened during your climb?!” Kenzie exclaimed with shock from the side after glaring at the Sky Gnome, who quickly busied himself with the pile of treasures by the side.

“It’s complicated,” Zac sighed. “I got spotted by one of Calrin’s old enemies, but problem was that I didn’t handle it well. Things got a bit out of control from there and a bunch of people tried to kill me. But it was mostly sorted out.”

“Sorted out?” Ogras snorted from the side, but he didn’t add any more oil to the fire after a glare from Zac.

"Well, we also learned a few things about the origins of the Redeemer. For now, make sure that no one on Port Atwood mentions where they come from if they decide to head to the Tower of Eternity. My identity might be a bit delicate," Zac said after some thought as he turned to Kenzie.

"If I may, young master," Calrin said from the side, "What level did you reach?"

“73rd level. The entrance of the 9th floor," Zac said, not bothering to hide the truth.

"9th Floor!" Calrin screamed while the appraisers looked up from the pile of treasures for the first time, shock clearly written all over their faces.

"Monster! True monster!" the Sky Gnome muttered, before his face lit up again. "But that's for the best. With you as a guardian, The Thayer Consortia will reach unprecedented heights. I, Calrin Thayer, will not only have led my family out of a calamity, but toward the heaven's themselves!"

"What are you getting so big-headed for, you little bastard," Ogras snorted from the side. "You better think of new ways to provide benefits to your shareholders instead. A big tree might give you shade, but it also requires a lot of nutrients."

Zac slightly smiled at the antics, but he didn't correct the demon. He still couldn't tell if the Sky Gnome had exposed his connection to the Thayer Consortia on purpose or not, but it had caused heaps of trouble regardless. The little merchant would have to work extra hard to make up for the chaos he had caused.

But he knew that he would have to rely on the Sky Gnome to a certain degree after meeting Catheya. He had no idea that elites required more energy to level up compared to weaker cultivators, which honestly made him worry about his own situation a bit.

Not only were his attributes almost ten times higher compared to a normal cultivator, but he also had high efficiency on the attributes. Add to that that he had a second class to level, and the even more troubling issue of him being a mortal. All that combined made for an extremely torturous leveling experience that would require terrifying amounts of bloodshed and treasures to reach the peak of E-Grade.

As for the grades above that, he didn't even dare think about it.

“How long until you’ve gone through everything?” Zac asked instead as he turned to Clarin.

“We’ll have a preliminary answer for you in two hours,” Calrin hurriedly said. “You can focus on your cultivation with ease.”

Zac nodded before he turned to Ogras.

“So, do you have any advice? The information crystals I have only mentioned the three tribulations,” Zac asked. “Heart, Body, and Soul. It said that using treasures to pass is impossible and that you had to rely on your own prowess. Then it just went on to say that one should have an elder near-by in case of a mishap.”

The information crystal was something he had bought in Base Town during the first week he stayed there. He had bought a bunch of general information crystals that contained all sorts of things that were good to know. Most of it was things that any teenager belonging to a cultivation force would know, which was why they cost almost nothing.

However, that also meant that they didn’t delve too deep into any topics, only giving an overview.

Buying the crystals had been the first step toward self-reliance for the humans of Port Atwood. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Ogras or Alyn’s teachings, but their world view and knowledge were influenced by growing up in Clan Azh’Rezak.

What worked there wasn’t necessarily optimal for Port Atwood, so it didn’t hurt getting another source of knowledge. It wasn’t anywhere near as comprehensive as Thea’s library, but it was a start.

“It differs,” Ogras said as he looked at the Nexus Node while Kenzie was putting the finishing touches to the support array. “It tests you in one of three ways, depending on where The Ruthless Heaven’s feels you are lacking. The tribulation will strike at your weakness, and either you pass or you fail.”

“What happens if you fail?” Zac asked.

“Anything from mild wounds to death depending on how badly you performed and whether someone could disperse the tribulation for you,” the demon shrugged. “But truthfully, I’ve only met one who failed his trial so badly he was forced to give up on cultivation. Obburak, a guard in my home. He undertook the trial drunk out of his mind, it ended with him going insane.”

“Insane? Just what did he encounter?” Zac asked with a frown.

“The Body Tribulation is essentially The Ruthless Heavens beating you up, and you just have to bear it. It is to test that you have created a foundation sturdy enough to keep building upon. You will probably not get that one considering your monstrous constitution,” the demon said with an envious glance. “It is the most common trail for Dexterity and Intelligence-based classes.”

“And then?” Zac urged.

“Next there is the Spirit Tribulation,” the demon continued. “Your soul is attacked in a way that neither Skills nor items can protect you from. You need to use your soul and Dao to defend yourself. The Soul is the connection to the Heavens, and it needs to be strong enough to withstand the weight of the Dao,” Alyn said.

Zac grimaced as he heard the description. His soul was already in a pretty fragile state after having been forcibly torn apart and mended twice the past month. It was a patchwork upon a patchwork, where the slightest thing might set off a chain-reaction beyond his control. However, his soul had become pretty sturdy from the series of harrowing experiences, so he still felt some confidence in case he got that one, at least while the Remnants stayed inactive.

“Finally there is the Heart Tribulation. You will be thrown into illusions and temptations, and you will need to break free. The Heavens test your conviction and mental fortitude. A sturdy body and soul is needed to walk the path of cultivation, but a resolute heart might be even more important,” the demon continued. “This is the trial that turned Obburak into a simpleton, by the way.”

Zac slowly nodded as he listened to the options. The third one didn’t feel too difficult either. His mental state should be a lot sturdier compared to most peak F-Grade warriors after his countless life-and-death battles. Many cultivators who had reached this point had never even left their own clan’s estates, and this kind of trial might be pretty difficult for that kind of greenhouse warriors.

Still, it was a relief that the risk of death or crippling was pretty low. He could still fail, but he would at least be able to heal up and fight the Undead Empire in his current condition.

“Is it the same for all the rarities, or are there more things to be wary of when talking Epic Classes or higher?" Zac asked.

“Perhaps Epic and higher have different trials apart from the normal three, I wouldn’t know,” the demon slowly said. “But they will no doubt be more dangerous. Each increase in rarity means a sharp increase in difficulty that accompanies the tribulation."

Zac looked at the Crystal with mixed emotions. He wasn’t sure if he was ready. He wanted to consolidate his gains and stabilize his foundations before attempting this. But time waited for no man, and he couldn’t hold off any longer.

Hearing about the losses out on the ocean, and seeing the scorched landscape outside his home had been a stark reminder that every day he spent on accumulating his strength was another day of disastrous losses across the world.

Perhaps he would be able to enter the heart of the Dead Zone and take out the Lich King without evolving. But perhaps he wouldn’t. With the situation looking like it did there would be no second chances or do-overs. If his assault failed or even got slightly delayed the whole world would fall.

He could not have that on his consciousness.

“It’s done,” Kenzie said as she looked up with a tired grin.

“Thank you. Try to rest up,” Zac smiled, a pang of guilt blossoming up in his heart again.

He had heard from Ogras just how hard she had fought to keep things together while he was gone, and her unstable aura clearly indicated that her soul was overtaxed. He had already learned from Jaol that using high tech was draining on the soul, and Jeeves was no doubt as high tech as they came.

“Here, take these with you as well,” Zac said as he took out a stack of Soul Crystals. “They’ll help restore your mental energy.”

“Where did you get that?” Ogras said with wide eyes, his hand already reaching out to snatch one from Kenzie.

“Here, take this,” Zac snorted and took out a few more after he slapped away the demon’s hand. “I got these Soul Crystals from the Mentalist Cultivator on the 7th floor as well.”

“It’s called a Soul Crystal?” Ogras asked curiously as he tried absorbing it.

“No idea, that’s just what I called it,” Zac shrugged. “They didn’t have these things on your home planet?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of crystals like this in our sector at all,” Ogras muttered with a frown. “Perhaps our sector simply doesn’t produce them. Trade between sectors is pretty difficult from what I’ve heard, and only the top people do it. Nobodies like us will have to make do with local products.”

“So I won’t be able to restock on these things?” Zac muttered with disappointment.

He had thought that might be a real possibility after not having seen a single Soul Crystal during his time in the Base Town, but he had held on to some small hope that was because he’d only been there for less than two weeks. But judging by the demon’s reaction he wasn’t so lucky.

He suddenly regretted using Soul Crystals like candy during his climb, but he also knew that they had played a large part in him managing to break through the 8th floor. But he would have to be more careful about any expenditure going forward, which was fine now that the two primordial Remnants were restraining each other.

With the array installed Zac couldn't wait any longer, and he walked over to the large crystal with brisk steps, anticipation making his heart pound. The moment Zac touched the Nexus Node to initiate the upgrade a screen appeared in front of him, but it was vastly different compared to the sparse rows of information he had seen the last time. He almost completely forgot his surroundings as he eagerly read the boxes.


Base Attributes Gained Per Node 76-100:

Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +6, Free Points +10

Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +7, Free Points +10

Arcane: Base Attributes: +8, Free Points +10


Base Attributes Gained Per Node 101-125:

Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +14, Free Points +10

Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +16, Free Points +10

Arcane: Base Attributes: +18, Free Points +10


Base Attributes Gained Per Node 126-150:

Common, Uncommon: Base Attributes: +22, Free Points +10

Rare, Epic: Base Attributes: +25, Free Points +10

Arcane: Base Attributes: +28, Free Points +10



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Comments (51)
user avatar
User #28494240 - 3 Oct 20 18:01
I think number 5 is the best option.
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User #6757733 - 3 Oct 20 17:57
2 or 5
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:10
Maybe the system will test his luck again.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:11
Lottery style.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:15
It could be a way to the system tell him that he needs to make his luck higher in order to survive going forward. Maybe a monstrous luck is the way to avoid the Terminus. Don't know if Terminus is good or bad.
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User #15556620 - 3 Oct 20 18:00
1st and 4th options have the wrong main atribute. 2nd has the arcane class that he can't choose. It can only be 3rd or 5th, my guess is that he will choose the 5th because it looks like it is closer to his path of life and death.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 18:26
Exactly!!
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User #7319670 - 3 Oct 20 17:52
Number 4 I think, would be the best
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User #12234442 - 3 Oct 20 18:13
I think 3 or 5, number 4 for Undead seems like army comander, he wanted to be more like solo fighter for his Undead form, since he won't lead Undead as General.
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User #23245182 - 3 Oct 20 18:14
I like that one too but with all these classes he is going to be spending a lot of his free points on dexterity.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 17:45
My bet is in option 3 or 5 but I would like Vessel of Destruction...
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User #26916748 - 3 Oct 20 17:54
I think he’ll go with option 2 because he seems satisfied on his path with Hatchetman to take an Arcane class for it. And he has made little comments in recent chapters about his frustrations with Bulwark so he might want to diverge on that one.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:00
But the second class is worst.
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User #12234442 - 3 Oct 20 18:15
I think the second one is the worst, his arcane class seems to be one that have low potential among arcane.
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User #2961760 - 3 Oct 20 19:05
How is the 2nd one the worst? It has the best stat gain and calls him a "harbinger" of a new era.
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 20:13
2nd seems like a berserker class, and he’s already had enough trouble with that due to the oblivion shard
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User #26916748 - 3 Oct 20 23:35
That’s a good point about avoiding Berserker classes. I forgot Four Eyes told him he’s going to have to be austere dealing with the spark of creation in the future.
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User #36711084 - 3 Oct 20 18:05
options 3 + 5 are my choices, 4s not bad either
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User #7038833 - 3 Oct 20 17:06
Thanks for the chapter
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User #4161638 - 3 Oct 20 17:31
I thought he would have a second arcane class now, since his coffin fragment reached middle rank before he tried to choose?
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User #4161638 - 3 Oct 20 17:38
Also as much as I love the idea of him getting an arcane I have to say option five is clearly the most interesting.
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User #12234442 - 3 Oct 20 18:04
Arcane class is based on "creation" of new path. Fragments only allows to reach Epic rarity.
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User #4161638 - 3 Oct 20 18:09
Well I mean middle ranked fragments are a requirement for an arcane class. And both paths seem to at least have a structure to them. But I did forget that middle ranked fragments are only one of the requirements and they never really go into detail about the others.
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User #10384366 - 3 Oct 20 19:50
I think option 3 is more interesting
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User #7035807 - 3 Oct 20 17:23
wohoo, option 3 or 5 depends on what direction you want to go.
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User #6618154 - 3 Oct 20 17:48
I think option 3 or 4 would be my choice
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User #26500400 - 3 Oct 20 18:16
I like 4 it looks to me like it balances creation and destruction the best. He's going to top out all his attributes as it is so having balanced attributes is a good thing. 2, 3 and 5 are pure destruction, so bad choices for dealing with fragment of creation and destruction. I think 1 would be the coolest with portals and chains. Have a dimensional pocket to go into and heal up. Then emerge somewhere else. I can think of a bunch of cool stuff to do with 1, but 4 seems to be logical continuation of his path and he has no reason to leave the path.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 17:51
Btw, How does the base attributes work? For example, + 7. Is it for all attributes? Also, what does Attributes Per Level (x1/x2/x3) mean?
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User #36711084 - 3 Oct 20 18:06
i believe the x1/x2/x3 means the attributes will get multiplied between the 3 groupings of nodes shown above
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User #12234442 - 3 Oct 20 18:10
I think base atributes mean that he will gain all(?) atributes +7 every time he lvl up. Free atributes are the one you can use as you like every time you lvl up. The x1/x2/x3 means that he will gain Attributes Per Level multiplied by x1/x2/x3. Like: +10 Str for lvls 76-100, +10*2=+20 Str for lvls 101-125 and +10*3=30 Str for lvls 126-150.
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User #38747558 - 3 Oct 20 18:19
That's what I thought as well, but that'd be very different from the way it works in F, and would also mean that anybody a decent way into E would have super high luck. Maybe it doesn't effect luck? Or maybe it means something else.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 18:53
Uoke~ thanks a lot for answering me!!
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User #10841787 - 3 Oct 20 20:56
Luck is the one attribute where you can not assign free attribute points. Zac tried and failed, and since none of the class gives luck per level, Luck will be one of the few attributes lacking behind everything else. Which makes sense why luck fruits are almost always useful.
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User #9578630 - 3 Oct 20 17:25
Baller class options
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User #19375330 - 3 Oct 20 17:43
Thank goodness we reached the class this week. I have to admit I have no idea what he should choose
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User #5066156 - 3 Oct 20 17:32
Wow that are many interesting options. I think the arcane one is out. But while they all sound good or bad, most seem unfitting in my option. The classes with 3 attributes might be a better fit to keep him more balanced. Also I would say divergence or hatchedman and upgrade of undying Bulwark. But I guess our MC will finally take the right deccion.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 17:59
Maybe upgrade of hatchedman and divergence of Bulwark. He need something for this undead form more focused in solo play or less focused in undead legions to use with his armies.
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User #580244 - 3 Oct 20 17:21
Thank you!
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User #19375330 - 3 Oct 20 17:40
Thank goodness we reached the class this week. I have to admit I have no idea what he should choose
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User #25338106 - 3 Oct 20 17:58
So the classes are based on Dao like: 1] Bodhi Axe+Coffin 2] Axe Bodhi+Coffin 3] Axe+Bodhi Coffin 4] Bodhi Axe+Coffin 5] Axe+Coffin Bodhi
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User #6824891 - 3 Oct 20 18:41
At least 5 is wrong it should be Axe+Bodhi & Coffin
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User #3664043 - 3 Oct 20 20:25
I would say 3 is axe+bodhi and axe+coffin The class skills seem to be axe focused, Rapturous divide and Blighted cut
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User #25338106 - 3 Oct 20 20:29
Frardowing, the "bligfhted cut" is most likely about cutting with chains. Patrick C, the Death Incarnate "Warlord of Hecate" is obviously not a Bodhi-aligned class, it's a Coffin-aligned one .
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User #34662614 - 3 Oct 20 20:54
[Nature's Fall] and the sacred yew definitely sound like Bodhi. Death incarnate sounds like Coffin. So Warmaster of Hecate is Bodhi and Coffin. Risen Asura mentions both 'death' and 'risen', so it also sounds like Bodhi and Coffin. Both Classes for option 5 sound like Bodhi and Coffin. Which makes it a great choice for a cycle of Life and Death Path.
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User #8796307 - 3 Oct 20 21:01
Warlord of Hecate has a Sacred Yew in its description, it is one of the most obviously Bodhi choices.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 21:04
I think for the atributtes: 5] Axe+Bodhi Axe+Coffin
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User #7205316 - 4 Oct 20 00:40
Yeah to me option 5 seems like the far superior choice. First of the first class is based has a holy tree, which is exactly what he wants to build upon bodhi, which is also a holy tree. It a war based class it seems focused on melee abilities. It also seem pretty suited to fighting and boosting other people as well. and fit his through life cause death. So this is a very very fitting class for him tbh focused both on the spark of creation and bodhi. and probably fits well with his axe skill as well. It's a bit of a way out of the axe focused class he has now and more focused on both bodhi and axe, a perfect fit in my opinion. The second class Risen Asura fits well with the coffins more necrotic effects and seems to work well with Rains new Love Bond. it also seems to be a class geared more toward offence which should mean it would be a lot easier to get a good use of the axe. I also think this class could use the bodhi well. So yeah a great upgrade and I think it was something he would look far. The path about favor also makes me believe that it ties well into the hole oblivion part. I'm pretty sure the more I think of it option 5 is the only good option of the 5. Option 1 seems more like a Karma for his human form and a fighting undead, the first obviously great for bodhi, I'm unsure how well it fits with his current axe and fighting style. Seems like a path away from where he want to go. Seems a bit reversed his human form is the tank type and the undead seems like his current class. I duno could be a ok option. but I don't think it fits his plans tbh. Option 2 is something I could see Billy going for. seems like a very unbalanced build. the undead version seems more geared toward a caster build which synergize bad with his current stats though the first class seems like a good fit for both creation and oblivion, it sort of fits his coffin but I'm unsure about the fit for the bodhi. I don't like this option, it's to binding and I'm not sure I like the undead version. Also created great imbalance in stats distribution and no way out. So yeah I dont like it. Class 3 Is the second best option but the living class don't really seem a good fit with the spark of creation. and more focused just on the axe. which does not really fit the life death thing Rain wants to go for Also the undead version also seems like the same version of the hatchmen class and might be the one that fits the bodhi the most. but again not a great fit I think. Class 4 the undead version is not really what he is looking for and it will have the same imbalance as his current setup has. he will also go totally away from his focus on strength with only +5 strength given. each lvl
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User #8796307 - 4 Oct 20 14:56
Why do you always call the main character Rain?
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:04
Do class divergence remove old skill or change it? Is there a risk that the old classes skill will not be compatible with the new class pathways?
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:06
Maybe the tribulation is how the system check if the user is worth using resources to change the skills for the new pathways.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 18:09
Having a whole incompatible skill in a essential place of the pathway could make the pathway useless and would stop someone from being a cultivator/defier.
Chapter 484. 2020-10-03T17:03:15+00:00

A/N: Doing a double today as well. However, not a bonus chappy :)

1/2

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"This craftsmanship," Brazla muttered with glowing eyes as he teleported closer. "It almost matches that of the Great Brazla himself. But why does it have a False Spirit within?"

“That’s what I came to talk to you about. One of my people was dying and her soul was crumbling. The only thing I could think of was to use a [Divine Investiture Array] to lock her soul in a Spirit Tool in hopes of saving her life.”

“Using the holy array for such a purpose,” Brazla muttered. “Sacrilege. My creator would have turned you into a blood mist if he heard about you wasted such a chance on something so frivolous.”

“I was out of options and got desperate,” Zac admitted. “I came to ask you, do you know if I can bring her back?”

“Bring her back?” Brazla asked as he looked at Zac like he was an idiot. "Why would you want to do that? As long as the girl's spirit heals she can become a True Spirit. You will have to break some rules to upgrade her, but you already seem all too willing to dabble in the taboo."

"What do you mean?" Zac asked.

"This thing will not be able to improve the normal way. You need to find... creative solutions to upgrade it. Solutions that the heavens won't be too happy about," the Tool Spirit said, clearly taking pleasure in Zac's misfortune.

"Why would I need to upgrade the Spirit Tool though?" Zac asked. "I just want to return her to life."

"Upgrading a weapon will upgrade the spirituality residing within. Just look at the dumb mutt inside your Axe. You will need to upgrade this thing if you want to heal the girl," Brazla said.

Zac frowned when he heard the news. This was clearly bad. He had never had any desire to go against the System by becoming an unorthodox cultivator, but it was exactly what he needed to do to upgrade [Love's Bond] from the sound of it. Even weirder, it almost felt like the System was pushing him in that direction as it was the System that gave him the array.

Just what was it planning?

Was this another type of trial it wanted to have him survive? If he stepped on the unorthodox path he would be turned into a pariah like the Technocrats, and people might get quests to kill him just by coming close to him. Or was the system planning something else entirely? Something related to the Terminus?

But first of all, Zac needed to know if there even was a point to go down that road.

“If I make her a new body, can I put her soul into it and give her back her life?” Zac asked.

“No idea,” Brazla shrugged with disinterest. "Seems pretty stupid."

“Haven’t you ever hoped to become living? To become able to cultivate just like your creator?” Zac probed, hoping to elicit some response.

“Why would the Great Brazla ever want to become a fleshbag cursed by mortality? I am perfection, unsullied by time, and I will walk these halls long after both you and your planet has turned to dust. I might not be able to cultivate, but I am eternal,” the Tool Spirit harangued, and shining lights started appearing all around him like he was a God’s avatar or something.

“But do you know if it’s possible? Someone as knowledgeable as you must surely have figured some things out,” Zac entreated.

“My master mentioned to me that Spirit Tools can reach a sublime state where they are virtually indistinguishable from cultivators, but he had never seen it himself. Of course, The Great Brazla wouldn't degrade himself to the point of being mistaken for a lowly Human. But all things are possible,” the Tool Spirit admitted. “Turning a False Spirit back into someone living is probably possible.”

“So it’s possible, after all,” Zac sighed in relief.

“It might be possible, but what you want to do is going against the natural order,” Brazla snorted. “It’s akin to bringing back those from the dead. It might be achievable for the great characters of the multiverse, but what does that have to do with a piece of trash like you?”

“I’ll work hard and get there sooner or later,” Zac said. “As long as it’s possible it’ll be fine.”

A derisive snort was all the Tool Spirit deigned to respond with before he dissipated again.

Zac felt as though a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders as he walked back toward the Nexus House. Brazla was obviously a bit fuzzy on the details, but it really seemed that returning Alea into a demon was within the realm of possibilities. That was all Zac could ask for right now. He knew the process would likely be a long and arduous one, but at least he knew he hadn’t completely messed things up.

The knowledge gave him a sense of purpose beyond saving Earth as well, but for now, he needed to refocus on the task at hand. He needed to get his items appraised and deal with the realignment.

The thought of his items suddenly reminded him of the two Cosmos Sacks he had stowed away just before leaving Base Town. They were from Leyara and Pretty, and curiosity made him take a look before returning to his sister.

The Cosmos Sack he got from Pretty Peak just contained three crystals and a teleportation token, but he was surprised to see that one of them was a Skill Crystal. He didn’t immediately touch it, but rather turned his attention toward the middle crystal that seemed to be a communication crystal. He immediately infused some Cosmic Energy into it and he immediately heard the voice of Pretty Peak in his mind.

I engraved this thing because some things should not be spoken aloud. You should not rely on the Heliophos Clan dealing with the threat to your planet. There are some unsavory rumors about that clan among the top forces of the Zecia sector.

Divination comes with a cost, one that few are willing to pay unless absolutely necessary. One cannot divulge Heaven’s Secrets wantonly. But being able to glimpse the future is also an extremely addicting power from what I have heard.

Zac suddenly remembered Lord 84th who stopped Abbot Everlasting Peace from saying too much. The reincarnated Buddhist had said essentially the same thing. Did divination perhaps mess with the plans the System had set in motion across the multiverse and was therefore punished? Or was it simply that such a heaven-defying ability couldn't be powered by something so basic as Cosmic Energy?

Zac shook his head as he kept listening.

Many believe that the Heliophos Clan is searching for means to avoid the side-effects of Divination and Karmic Manipulation. They are already suspected to have been gravitating toward unorthodox means for tens of thousands of years.

It’s possible that Voridis is performing his mad experiments with the clan’s tacit blessing, and that they even have covertly protected him from capture by manipulating events behind the curtain. I don’t understand how Voridis have survived pursuit for so long otherwise.

I bet they can’t wait to find out what scheme that lunatic has concocted in case they can use it for themselves.

Zac sighed when he heard the explanation. Yet another method to deal with the threat of the Redeemer seemed to have been ruined then and there. It looked like hiding was his only option, but as long as he cut any Karmic Links in time they were likely safe.

After meeting Catheya he finally had a better grasp of just how a Star Sector was constituted. She had likened a Star Sector with a book, where each page was a Dimensional layer. A Star Sector was, in other words, not a coherent galaxy teeming with life, but rather parts of multiple planes stacked so close to each other that dimensional travel was possible.

Not even singular forces were constrained to a single dimension. The Allbright Empire was comprised of planets and continents across thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of realities. Some planets in the Empire might actually exist in the same reality, but so far away from each other that it was infinitely faster to use interdimensional travel rather than normal travel to go between the two planets.

It was akin to wormhole technology that Zac had seen in Science Fiction movies, where space was somehow bent and twisted, and traveling out of the main dimension was like taking a short-cut compared to moving in a straight line.

The whole thing was extremely confusing, but the biggest takeaway was the difficulty of finding one's way without a marker. The Redeemer was probably traveling toward Earth or another seeded planet at this very moment, but he needed to move through multiple dimensions to get here. As long as any Karmic Link was cut off before Voridis was within a few dimensional layers of Earth, then finding this place was almost impossible.

Especially while the System's shroud was still in effect.

This was also why flying treasures that could travel between worlds was expensive to the point that even D-Grade warriors were often confined to their own world, or at least their solar system. The vessels didn't only need to have the capability to fly through the vacuum of space, but they also needed the capabilities to push through dimensional layers.

It was a bit uncomfortable to think about, but Zac's only recourse was to hide Earth so that Voridis fed on some other poor planets instead of Earth. He could only pray that the people of Berum would manage to take out all the remaining members of the Medhin Royals on their side, as no one deserved getting culled by a lunatic like the Redeemer.

That would be the best-case scenario, where all the seed planets managed to hide from Voridis. He already looked as though he wasn't long for the world, and 100 years was a long time. Perhaps the issue would be dealt with by the time that Earth was properly integrated into the Zecia sector.

I will contact the Heliophos Clan for you, the message continued. But you truly shouldn’t expect much. You can still get in touch with me by visiting Jaera at the Blossom Rose Sword School that’s close to Trasteria, the city where the Teleportation Token leads. She is an elder there, and a disciple of my father.

Trasteria is located on the main continent of the Allbright Empire, a vast place full of opportunities. You can simply use the token to move to a place with more opportunities if you want. But you should know that your situation is precarious. Standing out too much without a backing can cause an endless amount of trouble to arrive at your doorstep.

The universe is full of lunatics ready to risk everything to progress one step further on the road of cultivation, and some might believe you might be the key for them to take that step.

I hope you will be able to survive the following centuries, the Zecia sector needs a beacon.

The second information crystal was a comprehensive introduction packet of the Allbright Empire, its forces, and even some Mystic Realms that provided good limited titles. There were also a couple of identities that Zac could freely assume with the help of the attached skill, which was of the Shapeshifting variety. It was like he was about to enter the witness protection program or something.

The skill was called [Shared Identity], and it worked a bit differently compared to [Thousand Faces]. The skill he got from Pretty seemed to be able to create a greater transformation, where even one’s aura could be changed by a certain degree, but it came with only three “pre-loaded” identities.

He could essentially take one of these three shared identities, but he wouldn’t be able to change his face as he wished like he could with [Thousand Faces]. Zac held off on learning the skill for now, but it wasn’t impossible he’d use it in the future. It would be pretty convenient to step into the shoes of someone with a proper background, but he didn't know if there were hidden strings attached to taking the name of one of these three men.

Zac turned his attentions to the second Cosmos Sack next, but his expression froze when he noticed its contents. There were only two things inside, a short note and a frilly piece of fabric.

A small greeting gift to remember me by. I am not allowed to hand out Teleportation Tokens to the Void Gate, but I would be happy to entertain you if you have the opportunity to stop by. We can talk about fashion and our futures under the light of the Void Star.

-Leyara

Zac blankly looked at the note, his mind unable to compute what was going on. The strained smile of Leyara suddenly flashed by in his mind, before he remembered the apologetic face of Galau. Just what had the merchant divulged during their meeting? Would he be known as some sort of deviant in the whole Sector because of that one level in the tower?

A sigh escaped from his mouth as he stowed away the Cosmos Sack, unsure what to do with the “treasure”. He could only reluctantly put it into his Spatial ring, as it would be weird throwing it out in the middle of his forest. However, things didn’t get much better when he returned to the Nexus House where Kenzie stood next to a rack of exquisite dresses, while three Sky Gnomes eagerly went through the mound of treasures.

“Why are there so many dresses in your sack?" Kenzie asked with a weird smile when she noticed his return.

“I was about to ask,” the demon laughed from the side. “I thought I absconded with the most 'treasures' back then, but I see that I still have much to learn."

"Are you planning on wooing someone? Is it Thea?" Kenzie asked before she shot him a hesitant look. "Or don't tell me...?"

"Don't be silly," Zac sighed. "The seventh floor had me fighting actual scions from other parts of the multiverse. I looted my new ring and those dresses from a girl who targeted me.”

“Do you think any trouble from that will lead back to Earth?” Ogras asked with a frown.

“I doubt it?” Zac said hesitantly. “It kind of looked like my human side was killed by the girl who I looted, and she was killed by someone else in turn. I fought the rest of the battle in my Draugr-form. I don't think the System would allow problems to follow you back home, right? Perhaps it's possible to do something to 'cleanse' the items if needed?"

However, he honestly wasn’t as sure as he let on.

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Comments (12)
user avatar
User #5164795 - 3 Oct 20 22:26
So, was it her panties?
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User #9194612 - 3 Oct 20 23:08
yes
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User #26916748 - 3 Oct 20 19:08
Brazla saying Zac’s new spirit tool is nearly as great as himself is basically his admission it’s of equal quality.
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 17:56
I'm glad there is a path for Alea... Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #9194612 - 3 Oct 20 23:17
The System is being greedy, is not satisfied sending Zac toward Chaos now it wants him to search the unorthodox path for upgrades, thus turning Alea into a tool spirit, but that's the trap, Apostates don't spring up by following the rules, they need to beat the system so badly with other methods (not being a cultivator, using non combat classes, trading, etc.) that the system is forced to add new rules. That also allows the system to grow which is probably what is looking for since its being a long time since an apostate has shown up, hence the likely end game plan for Zac.
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User #27764971 - 4 Oct 20 16:13
Getting played by the System
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User #22143119 - 3 Oct 20 17:27
Thanks a lot for the chapter!
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User #25293756 - 5 Oct 20 05:23
fuck him for wasting that array on alea. brazla said it right, it was stupid. this chapter was kind of just exposition and no action. panties bit is funny though
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User #3603246 - 5 Oct 20 14:12
Yep more 2 steps back 1 step forward stuff the author loves.
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User #5446982 - 3 Oct 20 21:26
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #27476068 - 3 Oct 20 18:14
If only he knows his soul is being tracked XD
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User #7038833 - 3 Oct 20 17:04
Thanks for the chapter
Chapter 483. 2020-10-02T16:22:43+00:00

A/N:

2/2

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Zac quickly opened up his Dao Title, and as expected, there was a change.

Fragment of the Coffin (Middle): All attributes +20, Endurance +190, Vitality +120, Intelligence +35, Wisdom +65. Effectiveness of Endurance +10%

Zac still didn’t know when the upgrade took place, but he guessed that it mainly came from creating a Coffin-type Spirit Tool. He had sat as though he was in trance witnessing the whole process, and something about the experience had helped him break through.

Of course, more things had contributed to the upgrade. He had taken the first step toward upgrading the Fragment from witnessing the Dao Apparition of the War Stele, and he had fought both in the life-and-death battle against half the Base Town, followed by the battle against the cultists.

These battles had set the foundations for the evolution, and the magical activation of the [Divine Investiture Array] was probably the final spark that upgraded the Fragment. However, these things were just the latest additions. Alea had been the spark of inspiration to the formation of the Fragment of the Coffin since the very beginning.

The vision of her lying in the stasis array had felt like a perfect mirror of the blood-drenched lotus he witnessed during his Dao Vision. The two visions had merged into the Fragment of the Coffin, and the recent events were a continuation of that reality. Zac couldn't exactly pinpoint what concept was added to the Dao Fragment though, but he slowly started to form an idea.

He had long since started to walk the path of life and death, but only the Seed of Trees had properly incorporated this concept so far. The Seed of Rot was clearly death-attuned, but that seed was mostly propped up by fortuitous encounters. The concept he had incorporated into the Fragment of the Coffin was one he already had brushed upon before; life through death.

There were some differences though. The insight related to trees was more akin to how a seed would grow from the ashes of a burned-down forest, gaining life through the death. However, the insights he gained now was rather based on embracing death for a shot at life.

He knew that he essentially had killed Alea when he turned her into a Spirit Tool. Even if her consciousness awoke again she wouldn't be living. But Alea dying was the only way for her to live. The insight contained the willingness to go against the natural order, whereas the earlier insight was based on making the most of the natural order.

They were the same, but also the opposite.

Zac felt it was an extremely important step in the creation he was building for himself, a realignment of his Dao so that it would better fit as one half of the whole. Getting a second Middle-Grade Fragment would no doubt improve his choices upon evolving as well, but for now he focused on the gained attributes.

The improved attributes weren’t too surprising, apart from the boost to Endurance being slightly smaller than expected. That was the best-case scenario though. He had reached a terrifying 1692 Endurance in his Human form after the latest upgrade, and while he still was some ways from the attribute cap of 2500, he still needed to be careful. A few more titles and another Dao upgrade and he might hit the ceiling.

He had only lost 3 points in Strength from reaching the limit of the F-Grade, but a loss at this stage could be huge in case there were complications for him to upgrade his Race to D-Grade.

There wasn’t cause to worry just yet though, and Zac refocused on [Love’s Bond]. He already knew that there were also actually two skills in the Spirit Tool already to match the two fractals on the handle of [Verun’s Bite], but he wouldn’t use them now as they had pretty big cool-downs.

A long cool-down was fine with Zac though since that meant that the skills were a lot stronger than normal. It was just like how his ultimate skills, except [Vanguard of Undeath], couldn’t be used over and over.

All in all, he felt that his new Spirit Tool was even better than expected. The more he thought about it the more he felt it would be extremely easy to incorporate [Love’s Bond] into his fighting style without it affecting the fighting style he had come up with for himself.

It almost symbolized his whole creation in a sense. It was an extremely good fit with most of his skills in his Undying Bulwark class, while also adding something new to the table. It perfectly mirrored his Fragment of the Coffin as well, and he would perhaps be able to move them both toward the Dao of Death over time.

But the Spirit Tool also represented life and rebirth through Alea’s soul and the purpose of its creation. If things progressed as he hoped he would be able to turn Death into Life, and give Alea back her life again.

He could even think of some interesting possibilities with the sparks he could create with the help of the remnants. Getting them under control was a long-term plan, but perhaps he would be able to use the chains as a delivery method in the future.

In the final attack against the dragon he had used Creation Energy to form a spear to house the spark, but perhaps he could simply put the sparks into the coffin and shoot them out with a chain. He could only imagine the destructive potential of a Neprosium chain infused with the purest destruction.

He wouldn’t need to force it or change himself to adapt to the shield, and the System upheld its end of the bargain and created a Spirit Tool suited just for him. The process had even given him a second Mid-Tier Fragment, which might allow him to get a fitting Arcane class. After having upgraded a second he couldn't help but fantasize about what options he might see when touching the Nexus Node this time.

Zac didn’t immediately head over to the Nexus Node though, but he rather spent another hour to completely rid himself of the weakened state from using [Hatchetman’s Rage]. He had gotten mostly better during his talk with Catheya, but he wanted to be completely rid of any lingering threats to his evolution before taking that step.

He already had the ticking-time bombs in his head to worry about.

Truthfully, the Undead Incursion wasn’t the only reason why he wanted to evolve as quickly as possible; there were two more reasons. The first was the two remnants in his mind. He knew there was a tribulation waiting for him when evolving. It was the final test before reaching E-Grade, and he would normally be completely confident in passing.

However, the two remnants in his mind had already proven extremely adept at causing chaos at the most inopportune times, and Zac was afraid that they would flare up during the tribulation. It was better to smoothly into E-Grade now while they remnants were still drained and in an inactive state.

The second was that he was getting dangerously close to the limit of how many attributes he could have. With the Fragment of the Coffin having evolved just now, his wiggle room was getting limited. There was also probably a title waiting for reaching E-Grade first on the planet, and then there was potentially something for surviving the integration, closing the most Incursions, and becoming the world leader, and so on.

There were potentially a lot of titles waiting the moment he managed to close the final Incursions, and he wanted to have the ability to enjoy the bonuses. His plan was to immediately eat the [Fruit of Rebirth] and the two race-boosting pills he got in the base town while flying toward the core of the Dead Zone.

It might not be enough to completely pass into D-Grade Race, but it would at least set up the foundations and both increase his longevity and unlock some of the Attribute Cap of having a D-Grade race.

Zac finally felt he had both figured out what he needed to do and calmed his mind, and the next thing was simply for him to evolve so that he could set out toward the Undead Incursion. He walked over to the Nexus House and found that Kenzie was still installing the [Heaven’s Secrets Array] he bought during an auction in Base Town.

“How are things?” Zac asked when he arrived, nodding at Ogras who stood to the side as well.

“I’ll have this array installed in half an hour,” Kenzie answered as she blew a wisp of hair away from her face. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’ll be able to get a breather when the undead are dealt with,” Zac sighed.

"Have you decided what to do to get to the mainland?" Ogras asked.

"If we haven't managed to stop the disruption by the point I'm ready to leave, then I'll risk it and use Kenzie's stabilization array. The area that was jammed by the undead the last time was enormous, and I'm afraid that going to Cogstown will just be a waste of time," Zac said.

"Fair enough," Ogras shrugged.

"I'll get Calrin's uncle to help me set it up," Kenzie said. "He's pretty skilled with arrays, but he can only help with things that we buy through Thayer Consortia. Something to do with limitations of the Mercantile License."

"That little blue bastard should be thankful that we don't throw him into a spatial tear to search for a safe passage for us," Ogras muttered from the side.

Zac snorted and was inclined to agree. The Sky Gnome's small act of giving him a protective ring had caused a ripple effect of almost incomprehensible proportions. It had led to the Zethaya Pill house blowing up, and him gaining infamy through slaughtering over a hundred scions of the Zecia sector.

Who knew what trouble waited for him when venturing into the vaster stage of the sector?

However, the demon's words also made him think of something else, and he turned to Ogras.

“Can you have the Sky Gnome and his appraisers come over?” Zac asked. “We need to make a preliminary tally of the gains, I want to see if there’s anything useful we can bring to the Dead Zone.”

“Sure,” Ogras said with some excitement as he flickered away.

Zac turned to his sister and handed her his Cosmos Sack. His most important Treasures had already been moved over to his new Spatial Ring after it was confirmed that it didn’t disappear. Most of the stuff he didn’t have any direct use for was thrown into the Cosmos Sack to be either appraised or added to the Merit Store.

“I’ll go talk with Brazla for a bit,” Zac said.

“Is this about Alea?” Kenzie asked as her eyes darted to the necklace around Zac’s neck. “Ogras told me what happened.”

“I was too late again,” Zac sighed. “This was the only thing I could think of.”

Kenzie silently looked at her brother, but her eyes spoke volumes.

“I… I just couldn’t sit and watch her die,” Zac coughed, dodging the meaning of the stare.

He truthfully wasn't sure how he felt about the demoness even now. He had thought about her a lot during the climb, and seeing those snippets of Alea's memories had rekindled the memories of those months they had spent almost attached at the hip after he closed the Demon Incursion. They had gone through ups and downs together, and he knew her even more intimately than Ogras in a sense.

If this had been before the Integration he would no doubt have believed it was love. But the past year had numbed him, made him almost unable to think about anything except getting stronger. First, it was to find his family, then it was to save Earth. He had never stopped to consider things such as love, especially not after Hannah's betrayal.

But all of that was moot now that she was a coffin.

“So you think you can bring her back in the future?” Kenzie asked instead after seeing her brother's brooding silence.

“That’s what I hope. I’ll go talk with Brazla, he might know more,” Zac said with a pained face. “Provided he’s in a talkative mood today.”

“Say hello from me, it’s been a while since I had time to visit him. This thing will be up and running when you’re back,” Kenzie said as she turned back to keep working on the [Heaven’s Secrets Array].

Zac smiled as he flashed away with [Loamwalker], and he found himself in front of The Towers of Myriad Dao in a few seconds. His Dao Repository had always looked gaudy, but now that he had witnessed the awe-inspiring Tower of Eternity and its mysterious apparitions, it looked even worse.

The lights were blinding but hollow, completely lacking the mysteries of the universe. Zac kept his opinions to himself though as he walked inside the repository with a staid expression.

“So you survived, after all,” the ever-annoying voice drifted over as Brazla descended from a golden light appearing out of nowhere.

The Tool Spirit was decked in golden armor with multiple golden and gem-studded swords attached to his back. Zac wasn’t sure, but he guessed that he was copying the creator of the Blademaster Inheritance this time, perhaps inspired by the war outside.

“I thought more capable owners had descended on the island for a moment, but I guess the Great Brazla have to make do with you for a while longer,” Brazla added as he threw Zac a scathing glance as he conjured his throne.

“I’ll try to live up to your expectations,” Zac sighed. "My sister sends her regards."

“I-“ Brazla said, but he suddenly froze as he stared at the necklace around Zac’s neck. “What’s that?”

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Comments (41)
user avatar
User #18703376 - 2 Oct 20 19:27
Just as I feared, Alea's character has been relegated to a literal object. It really is a bizarre choice when looking at her character as it had been presented until these last few chapters. This story seemed well planned and thought out, but I can't imagine a lot of consideration went into this plot point. I don't know if there are several editors working on this or if it's just the author, but this is something that would definitely merit some rewrites before it was ever published.
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User #22477629 - 2 Oct 20 20:21
Nah, what happened to alea is fine. Nice way of introducing some mortality to the MC's allies and to add an interesting twist.
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User #9578630 - 2 Oct 20 16:35
Thanks for the chapters glad we're finally seeing the new classes
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 01:03
What new classes? We haven’t seen anything
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User #11801336 - 2 Oct 20 16:41
Thanks for the chapter
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User #11248793 - 2 Oct 20 20:05
waste of a chapter...sorry I love this story but that was a long winded way of saying Zack walked from here to there. nothing actually happened.
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User #25293756 - 2 Oct 20 16:47
a lot of stuff in this chapter, nice. pissed at the cliff though. i can not fucking wait to see him evolve, get his classes, improve his race, and then get multiple titles and unlock nodes all before he goes to the undead place. please dont give us one chapter per powerup.
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User #25293756 - 2 Oct 20 16:48
p.s alea sucks i hate her with a passion and the spirit tool being her is horrible, but i’ll admit the actual spirit tool itself sounds sick. two super powerful skills and chain arms? shittt . also sounds vaguely familiar of whoever void’s disciple sent, when they attacked zac and thea with chains
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User #12788485 - 2 Oct 20 17:00
Na man fuck you alea was the most appealing of all the companions and was a decently interesting character. I think this is a really good step in the right direction
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User #29574763 - 2 Oct 20 17:54
At least bettet then a love story
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User #4953751 - 2 Oct 20 17:23
"But all of that was moot now that she was a coffin." That made me laugh
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User #35001903 - 3 Oct 20 02:31
"All of that was moot now that she was ah coughin" #CovidVibes
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User #8786296 - 3 Oct 20 04:33
the last 40 chapters all feel like filler almost nothing happend or it was introspection by zak i get your trying to build up tword the evolution but this is getting rediculas
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User #7038833 - 2 Oct 20 16:23
Thanks for the chapter
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User #13505849 - 2 Oct 20 22:43
“I am evolving right now and heading toward the core of the Dead Zone the moment it’s completed" this was said 2 chapters ago, was kinda hoping that it wouldn't be dragged out as much as it has... (1) hung out with Billy, (2) exposition from Ogras all of a sudden telling him to slow down, (3) randomly finding out he has a new fragment which needs 7-8 paragraphs of information, (4) talking to kenzie about the array that isn't even finished, (5) ANOTHER conversation with Ogras, (6) randomly deciding to go talk to Brazla, this conversation is probably going to go on for another chapter at least of exposition from Brazla... And I feel like we're still like 3 chapters away from zac just walking over to the crystal so he can evolve and finally starting to go after the undead who are killing thousands of people per minute while Zac is just over here talking/laughing/getting exposition.
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User #3664043 - 3 Oct 20 03:05
As ogras said. Zac needed to calm down and stabilize before evolving. Or do you want the mc to shift to kenzie after zac dies during the tribulation?
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User #18874146 - 3 Oct 20 16:27
I mean, dude, you realize that a story can't just be only fighting and upgrades non-stop, right? You have to have some moments in between
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User #13505849 - 3 Oct 20 17:59
No a story should have a tight plot with problems, solutions, and relevant character interactions and details. If Zac is going to get an array as a prize from a part of the tower either let him use it immediately or don't bring it up consistently just to talk about it still not being ready. If zac is going to leave the tower town early because his people are in danger don't just have him joking around with people 2 chapters later and not caring about the rest of the world. If Zac needs to evolve to get stronger, don't keep giving him reasons to put it off/waste time. You don't need multiple paragraphs describing the exact insights he gained when he got a Dao upgrade unless those descriptions are relevant somehow to the story. If him getting the fragment upgrade wasn't even important enough to mention the moment he got it then why does the story need to go on and on about the details now 2-3 chapters later..
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User #22143119 - 2 Oct 20 17:30
Aaaahhh!! I need more!!! Well, thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #8796307 - 2 Oct 20 16:41
If that arbitrarily gained Dao upgrade causes him to decide not to upgrade to E-grade because of imbalance in his Daos or some shit I’m out. Remember like 3 Dao upgrades ago when Zac was like “Dam, I need to slow down and actually understand this Dao shit, apparently it’s a lot more than just a number that goes up”? Yea, neither does he apparently. Lol
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User #24359990 - 2 Oct 20 17:22
D-race.
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User #8796307 - 2 Oct 20 17:31
Sorry, was supposed to say E-grade, meaning his class. Corrected
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User #18874146 - 3 Oct 20 16:33
I don't think it's arbitrary at all - isn't the entire point of the Divine Investiture Array that it crafts a weapon that directly connects you to the heavens? At least, that's what the Draugr Lady said. And shouldn't a reward from the Eighth Floor be able to do at least this much? Besides, it makes sense that he would have a much more intimate understanding of what the Dao of the Coffin means to him because of the death of a friend.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 04:12
Now Billy and Thea do deserve the inherence of The Titan and Lord of Blades.
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User #13553780 - 3 Oct 20 04:41
Pure speculating, but I thought Crown of Misery sounded like a possible fit for Thea as well. Since she seems to have an assassin angle to her class.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 14:52
Each one fo you think is a fit for Kenzie ?
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User #5446982 - 3 Oct 20 03:19
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #580244 - 2 Oct 20 18:41
Thank you!
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User #20585040 - 2 Oct 20 16:31
I love these chapters, good work on showing what Alea is capable of. But damn I really want the upgrade!
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User #10841787 - 2 Oct 20 16:49
....Please just show the evolution already
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User #11280757 - 2 Oct 20 16:26
thanks :D
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User #10879718 - 3 Oct 20 01:08
So that was a whole lot of basically nothing. And now his Daos are imbalanced AGAIN. Wasn’t that a major issue before he left for the tower? So now either the author is going to find another arbitrary bullshit way to advance the fragment of the Bodhi or suddenly the imbalance won’t matter. Probably the former, because Zac constantly gets nonsense advancements due to his “luck” (aka plot armor)
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User #3664043 - 3 Oct 20 03:07
Plot armor if he gets arcane classes. If they are epic then i will hold off on the plot armor claim.
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User #13553780 - 3 Oct 20 04:38
Well that what if it’s a 50/50 split?
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User #13553780 - 3 Oct 20 05:08
Also, didn’t the problem with the Dao imbalance have to do with [Cyclical Strike]? I don’t know if mastering that Skill is still a big concern.
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User #3664043 - 3 Oct 20 08:21
if it goes to a 50/50 split i will start screaming plot armor. From just what we know, he can only have 1 path for his cultivation, changing it at all will stop his arcane class advancement in the when he goes to d grade. That is the negative of the arcane class so early, it is almost guaranteed to become a dead end.
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User #18382795 - 2 Oct 20 16:35
I'm guessing his evolution will only start on tuesday
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User #13553780 - 2 Oct 20 21:46
So [Verun's Bite] embodies the Dao of the Axe and [Love's Bond] embodies the Dao of the Coffin. Therefore Zac needs one more Spirit Tool of some type to really embody the Dao of the Bodhi in order to complete his set. Maybe robes or jewelry of some type.
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User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 04:10
He was more duality now with a Spirit Tool for a Dao of attack and for a Dao of defense.
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User #13553780 - 3 Oct 20 04:36
Except the Bodhi has repeatedly been referred to as a nurturing Dao, not an offensive one. That doesn’t really fit well into a simple duality of attack/defense. It’s not like cycles are restricted to only 2 parts either.
user avatar
User #24359990 - 3 Oct 20 14:50
I mean the Dao of Axe and Dao of Coffin, now that Coffin was slighted changed. Bodhi should evolve to be useful to both his races.
Chapter 482. 2020-10-02T16:21:19+00:00

A/N: Second day of double chappies.

1/2

-----

Zac didn’t immediately leave the mansion though, but rather gave some of his best healing pills to Thea. He was about to leave her room to visit Billy as well, and Thea surprisingly jumped down from her bed to join him. The giant was even worse off than Thea from what she said.

He had taken the brunt of the attacks after changing into massive form to sink the ship, and this time Zac hadn’t been there to block out the attacks with [Nature’s Punishment] like during the hunt. He had been badly burned by the flames of the cultists it seemed.

It was easy to figure out with room the giant resided in as the whole room shook from the massive snores from within, but they stopped when Zac walked into the room.

“You’re back!” Billy rumbled as he woke up. “Help Billy a bit! A stupid horny guy keeps tricking Billy, making him forget how to leave this place! All horny people seems tricky, could use a good thwonkin'.”

“Don’t let your fans hear that,” Thea snorted from the side as she walked inside as well, prompting Zac to look over with confusion.

“He has over thirty suitors among the Demons on this island,” Thea said with some bemusement. “It’s a bit surreal.”

“Of course it is super real. Billy is the most dashing prince, Mama always said so,” Billy nodded with a complacent expression. “But Billy doesn’t like horny girls.”

“Uh, you should just call them Demons,” Zac coughed, the anger in his gut somewhat dispersed by the giant’s antics.

He couldn’t stay for too long though, and he had to leave after making sure Thea and Billy had everything they needed.

“I’m sorry about how things turned out. I underestimated the Undead Empire and put too much trust in the words of Void’s Disciple. I was sure I had a few more weeks,” Zac apologized again just as he was about to exit.

“It’s our fault as well,” Thea sighed as she sat down next to Billy. “We didn’t adapt quickly enough to this new reality, forcing the whole burden onto your shoulders. We played politics and fought for benefits when we should have been fighting for our lives and our futures.”

Zac sighed as well, not knowing how to respond, and he left the mansion in silence.

“You really are evolving?” a voice said from the side, and Zac looked over to see Ogras standing there.

"I am," Zac nodded before he wryly smiled. “Did you know that Billy is pretty popular among the female demons?”

“Well, it makes sense. He’s even bulkier than the Abyssal Demons, and rumors are circulating on the island that he has some powerful bloodline that increased his strength even further,” the demon shrugged. “Between his constitution and his potential, he’s one of the best bachelors on this world, perhaps even better than you since you’re a mortal.”

Zac only shook his head in bemusement before he got back to the matter at hand.

“I need to take down the Undead Incursion quickly. Do you think I can do it without evolving?” Zac asked as the two walked toward his private section.

“It’s hard to say,” the demon said after a while. “Normally I would have said yes, but we’re running out of time. The Lich King seems adept at arrays judging by what we have seen so far, and he has no doubt turned the core zone into a fortress over the past year. He doesn’t even need to maintain the shield for that long, just a few days will do and he will have won.”

“You really think his arrays are that strong?” Zac asked skeptically. “I even managed to break the arrays in the Base Town.”

“That’s different, those were mobile arrays powered by F-Grade warriors,” Ogras said with a shake of his head. “The undead array will have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Unholy Beacons powering it. He might even sacrifice tens of millions of Zombies to give the defenses a boost until the transformation is complete.”

“Still,” Zac muttered, but he knew the demon had a point.

“Sieges can take years, decades even, to slowly grind down the defensive arrays, and that’s with proper equipment we don’t have. You need to be a lot stronger to crack them in an instant,” the demon said. “The normal method would have been for us to bring millions of fodder to blast attacks on the shield to weaken it before we made our move. But there’s no time for that either."

Zac slowly nodded. He had somewhat hoped for the demon to convince him otherwise, but it truly looked like he needed to get a few power-ups to increase his certainty of success. He wasn’t willing to bet Earth’s future that he was able to break through the defensive perimeters and destroy the realignment array within one week without evolving.

“Where’s my sister?” Zac asked. “Has she installed the array?”

“She’s still trying to figure out the thing,” Ogras said. “But you need to slow down.”

“What? You know we're running out of time,” Zac said.

“Just a few hours have passed since you exited the tower. You have fought half the Sector’s geniuses and then fended off the invasions. You even turned Alea into a heaven-cursed necklace. You’re not stable at the moment, you can’t evolve in your current state,” the demon said. "Honestly, if you were the scion of some clan you would probably have been forced into silent meditation for at least year to regain a sense of tranquility and balance."

“So you just want me to sit around?” Zac said with disbelief. “The planet is dying as we speak.”

“We are all dying,” the demon snorted. “Don’t ruin everything now by rushing into things. Sit down and heal up and calm your mind at least. A few hours spent now will save you a lot of time in the long run.”

Zac was somewhat unwilling, but he knew that the demon was correct. He wasn’t in his right mind at the moment, and he needed to cool off. But he still felt like a child who got sent to take his nap as he walked back to his courtyard and sat down.

His thoughts were a whir as he tried to calm down, and his mind kept jumping between the various things that needed his attention, each more urgent than the last. But slowly circulating the Fragment of the Bodhi helped him relax his tense muscles, and his thoughts slowly followed. Visiting the Tower of Eternity was supposed to give him a breather to decompress, but things had gone increasingly out of hand with the Splinter and then the time crunch to complete the climb.

He felt more wound up than ever, especially after what he went through with Alea.

His eyes slowly opened and he looked down at the black 5-centimeter casket hanging on its chain around his neck. He still didn’t know whether he had done the right thing or not. What if he had completely damned Alea by turning her into something like the Sword Slave he had snatched from the swordmaster? The voices that had invaded his mind while using the thing had sounded beyond wretched.

The one solace in his mind was that the System had said that the [Divine Investiture Array] was a rectification of regret.

If Alea had died in front of his eyes like that, then he would have regretted it forever. To be just too late to save her not just once, but twice would have been too much to take. The System was essentially omniscient and perhaps it had already known that things would end up like this. It did make him a bit pissed off that the System didn't provide a better solution to save him, but he guessed the System was more interested in making him stronger than it was in saving the poison mistress.

However, his actions had no doubt caused some complications to his plans. A lot of his materials had gone into the [Divine Investiture Array] in his frenzied attempts to save the demoness. It also meant that he no longer had any way to upgrade his axe, except letting it slowly eat various treasures. Of course, most items meant for Verun had gone to Alea, but he at least had the Dragon Core still.

The real question was what sort of item that he had created. He had initially just been focused on saving Alea's soul, but the array was meant to create a perfect Spirit Tool. This became doubly important as [Everlasting] had been thrown into the mix, leaving him without anything to activate half of his skills.

It might even affect his coming Class choices for all he knew, so he needed to understand what he was dealing with.

He tried sending his mind into the coffin to see if he could glean anything, but it was impossible. Zac suddenly had an idea and released a drop of blood onto the necklace, which was immediately swallowed.

A stream of information immediately entered his mind as he felt the same sort of connection as he did to his robes and [Verun’s Bite]. He couldn’t help but feel a sense of sourness when he realized that either Alea or the System had named the chain-covered coffin [Love’s Bond].

There was still no active response from the demoness even after having bound the treasure with his blood. The coffin was still in a “passive” state like his robes, where he could use it but he couldn’t sense any Spirit Tool's sapience. This was the norm for an E-Grade Spirit Tool though, with the tool awakening Spirituality usually happened at higher grades, if ever.

However, the stream of information had broadened his insight of what a spirit tool could do, and a mental command made two chains rush out from the holes on the side of the coffin and latch onto his left arm as the coffin rapidly grew in size.

It took just a fraction of a second before the coffin had become almost as tall as Zac himself while keeping the width of a normal coffin. But it was a lot thinner compared to what should be expected, with a depth of just 15 centimeters. It had actually turned into a shield.

However, that was just one of its functions, and another mental command prompted the chains to snake around his torso as the coffin moved toward his back. It grew a lot shorter as well, making it almost resemble a coffin for a child or perhaps a gnome.

Four more chains reached out from their respective holes, each of them dancing in the air as though Zac was a snake charmer. He was already used to this kind of fighting from the chains in [Profane Seal], and commanding them was almost as natural as moving his own limbs. The chains shot out in an instant, and four trees in his courtyard had holes punched through with such force that they barely shuddered before the chains had passed through.

The chains didn’t have the life-sucking abilities of the spectral chains, but there seemed to be some inherently corrosive effect attached to them, perhaps an addition provided from the mysterious fossilized bug he had thrown into the mix. It wasn't immediately noticeable, but the holes in the trees started to wither after a few seconds as well like they were being assaulted by some sort of invasive rot.

Furthermore, the chains were actual corporeal links made by top-tier materials like Neprosium, compared to the far more fragile fractal chains that his skill conjured. There was no way that a casual swing of an E-Grade warrior would be able to break them apart as they could do with the spectral copies.

That meant that the chains were essentially a combination of fusion of hardness and rot, which made them a perfect fit for using together with the Fragment of the Coffin.

However, Zac didn't take the time to experiment with all the possibilities of the chains at the moment, so he retracted them back into the coffin. He was extremely relieved that there was a second form of Alea’s new form since he was somewhat leery about using the coffin in its shield-state. What if he encountered some powerhouse that managed to break it? What effect would it have on his chances of restoring her to her demon form?

The chains themselves looked like his Neprosium shield but slightly darker, so they wouldn’t break so easily. Besides, Neprosium had excellent healing capabilities even if that happened. The chains would probably just reform if the links broke as long as he retrieved the material.

It still felt weird to consider using Alea as a Spirit Tool, but he also knew that was what she wished for. At least he prayed that was what that wordless spiritual connection meant. She wanted to accompany him in his journey, and leaving her in a corner of his Spatial Ring felt even worse than using the treasure.

He would need some time to think of the pitch-black coffin as [Love’s Bond] rather than Alea, but he would make the best of the situation. Besides, that might be his best shot at actually getting the poison mistress back.

Zac had asked about Spirit Tool upgrades while talking to Catheya since they had broached the subject when discussing the [Divine Investiture Array]. Much of what she said hadn’t been anything new, but one thing had stuck out. Using the same weapon a lot and for a long time gradually formed a bond that was helpful in all kinds of ways.

It would allow a warrior to squeeze out more potential during a battle, and it would even help with upgrading the Spirit Tool. That was why most elites wanted a powerful weapon that could follow them during their whole Cultivation Path, rather than repeatedly swapping out their weapon for a stronger one. Nurturing this bond was the same as nurturing the Spirit Tool, so using the coffin in battle might actually be the best method to heal her soul, odd as it might sound.

A chain snaked around his throat as the coffin shrunk again, and it soon enough had returned to its passive state. Zac finally tried imbuing the Spirit Tool with his three fragments, but he found that the coffin, unsurprisingly, resisted the Fragment of the Axe. Imbuing it with the Fragment of the Bodhi worked, but he couldn’t sense any direct effect when doing so.

But when he tried imbuing the skill with the final Fragment he was shocked. The surprise didn’t come from the fact that the defensive fragment entered the Spirit Tool effortlessly. After all, if the Dao of the Coffin didn’t fit this Spirit Tool, then nothing would. The surprise came from something else.

The Fragment of the Coffin had evolved.

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Comments (9)
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User #25293756 - 2 Oct 20 16:42
i would complain about this chapter but i’m always a sucker for a powerup. if you hadn’t said the fragment had evolved i would probably be more mad but making the cliff less suspenseful is good
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User #13553780 - 2 Oct 20 21:37
So the chains of [Love's Bond] are both poisonous and difficult to break? That's a hell of a metaphor.
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User #5446982 - 3 Oct 20 03:07
Perfect for bondage play. Talk about a goth girlfriend.
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User #5446982 - 3 Oct 20 03:06
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #7038833 - 2 Oct 20 16:21
Thanks for the chapter
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User #25997774 - 2 Oct 20 20:05
Thea best girl. That is all
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User #22143119 - 2 Oct 20 16:59
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #11280757 - 2 Oct 20 16:26
oh yeah !
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User #580244 - 2 Oct 20 16:59
Thank you!
Chapter 481. 2020-10-01T16:53:39+00:00

A/N:

2/2.

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Confusion plagued Zac's mind, but the deed was done, and he couldn't stay in this secluded valley and second-guess himself forever.

The two jumped onto Zac's flying treasure, immediately setting off toward Azh'Rodum. As they flew he got an update of the situation from the demon. Ogras had returned 30 minutes ago, at which point order was mostly restored to the island. The Valkyries had discovered the jamming array that blocked out any communication and teleportation on the island and immediately deactivated it.

They were still locked out from the rest of the world, but Kenzie and the other experts were working at solutions whereas multiple squads had set sail to look for hints of similar arrays. Even the Creators were furiously producing new vessels to replace the destroyed ones, and they had already delivered three Carracks in record speed.

They reached Azh'Rodum soon enough, and Zac was relieved to see that the miasmic clouds were mostly dispelled by this point. He saw hundreds of warriors walking through the forests in groups, likely looking for stragglers who had wandered off from the rest of the zombies. An inquiry told him that his sister and the demon generals had already returned to Port Atwood, and they took the teleporter back as well.

The scene in Port Atwood was pretty similar to the one in Azh'Rodum. The raging flames had been doused by now, but much of the southern edge of the island had been completely ruined by the wildfires. Thankfully they sat right on top of a Nexus Vain, and the dense energies would restore the greenery in a year or two.

The two walked over to the battlefield, where the bodies of the fallen cultists were still being examined for lingering threats. The few who survived Zac's onslaught had either tried to go out in a blaze of glory or were summarily executed by one of the demon armies. Zac didn’t care about that, as there was no middle ground with these two forces.

He saw his sister stand at the edge of the battlefield as a dozen drones roved back and forth across the area. It was the same ones who had stood sentry around the Technocrat incursion, and Zac guessed she was looking for any survivors who tried to play dead. The demon generals were nowhere to be seen though, perhaps occupied elsewhere.

Of course, her search was a bit redundant considering that demon warriors and a few nauseated humans were cutting the head off every corpse just in case. It was both to kill the straggles and to avoid any corpses from rising again.

Their approach was quickly noticed, and Kenzie ran over with worry written on her face.

“What happened? Is Alea okay?” she asked the moment they appeared.

“… It’s complicated,” Zac sighed. “We’ll talk about it later. How are things here? How are the losses?”

"Around 200 people died from the invasion, almost of them during the battles at sea before they reached our island," Kenzie said. "We mostly stayed within the arrays after they arrived though, so very few people were hurt."

Zac closed his eyes as he took a deep breath. Another 200 people dead, and that was probably just a drop in the bucket compared to the losses on the main continent. But he couldn't do anything about it, and he slowly opened his eyes and indicated for his sister to continue.

“The threat was essentially over after you arrived. We’re mostly cleaning up and rebuilding by this point. We've also figured out a means of communication, old-school radio signals. A few engineers and the Ishiate tinkerers have managed to strengthen the signals of old machines to the point we can communicate pretty great distances, but it's only in morse code."

"That's good," Zac nodded. "Do the ships you've sent out have these things?"

"They do, and we've actually found the missing Cultist Ship already thanks to Mr. Trang's Companion. It is sailing away from us, toward Mystic Island I think,” Kenzie sighed. “We have sent over half of our remaining ships to harass it though, but it will take a few days to catch up. Ilvere is leading those ships.”

“I’ll deal with it,” Zac said with a frown, preparing to take out his Flying Treasure again.

“Just let it be,” Ogras said from the side. “Our time is limited, and we can deal with the stragglers another day. It should take them a few days to reach that Island, perhaps over a week if they’re constantly under harassment. We already have elites stationed there, and they can just jump into the Mystic Realm and close the spatial tunnel, allowing us to reclaim the island at a later date.”

Letting the invaders have free reign in his Archipelago went against every fiber in his body, but he knew that he didn’t have much of a choice as there were bigger fish to fry.

“How long do we have until the realignment array activates?" Zac asked

“We broke a couple of key pillars before we had to stop,” Kenzie answered. “I can’t be sure, but we think it will take around 6 or 7 days to complete unless something changed the last day. But the sooner it’s stopped the better. It’s draining our planet, who knows what long-term effect that might have.”

“What about the arrays blocking our Teleportation Array?” Zac asked. "I heard you were working on some sort of solution?"

“We haven’t located any more arrays apart from the one on this island,” Kenzie said with some helplessness. “So we are still locked out from the main continent. Worst case you can try flying over to Cogstown and use their Teleporter, it's possible it hasn't been impacted by the spatial disruption."

"That will cost us a few days though," Ogras interjected. "And we don't know the situation on the Mainland."

“Calrin and I have looked into these types of arrays since what happened to Alea and the army,” Kenzie said. “I figured they might block out all teleporters around the Dead Zone after they activated the realignment array. They found a simpler solution though by just blocking this island though. But I do have something that might work.”

“You do?” Zac asked with surprise.

“Blocking arrays is a standard tactic during conflicts in the multiverse,” Ogras added from the side. “It’s almost impossible to catch your targets if they just keep teleporting away. Just look at the insectoids and their war. They have tried to catch the followers of the old Redeemer for months, but they just keep teleporting away from any compromised hive.”

“So there are solutions?” Zac asked.

“It boils down to whether your or your opponent’s methods are better, and that’s why I’m not sure,” Kenzie explained. “We managed to get our hands on a [Spatial Reinforcement Array], and it should technically be able to stabilize the subspace or whatever long enough for you to teleport to the main continent.”

“That’s great!” Zac exclaimed, a weight lifted from his shoulders.

“Well, it’s just that we’re dealing with two ancient factions, their jamming arrays are probably pretty strong. I’m not sure what would happen if our array breaks apart before your jump is completed. You might be thrown out in the middle of the ocean, or you might be torn to pieces by spatial rifts.”

“…Oh,” Zac muttered. “So it’s either waste a day or two getting to Cogstown in hopes that their teleporter still works, or risk getting ripped apart?”

“Pretty much,” Kenzie said with a weak smile.

“Just teleport,” Ogras shrugged from the side. “With your luck, you’ll be just thrown out right in front of the Lich King even if the array breaks.”

Zac only snorted in response before he turned back to his sister.

"Can I do anything to help with the spatial array thing?" Zac asked. "I've gathered all kinds of items during my climb."

"I don't think so," Kenzie said. "Some treasures might be able to make the array stronger, but I don't know how to do that."

“That's fine. Where are Thea and Billy?” Zac asked. "I heard they helped out while I was gone. Oh, and where are the Tal-Eladar? I haven't seen a single one since returning."

“Billy and Thea are recuperating in a mansion next to the hospital,” Kenzie said before her face scrunched up. "As for the Tal-Eladar..."

"They didn't come," the demon snorted. "I told you that you can't rely on those wily beast tamers."

"Is that true?" Zac asked with a frown as he looked over at his sister, and her face told him everything he needed to know.

"We sent a distress call, but they delayed and delayed until our Teleportation Array was blocked out," Kenzie said with some anger.

Zac knew that the Tal-Eladar just stayed behind as business partners, but he was still pretty angry that they simply chose to cower to the side when their ally was being attacked like this. This was the second time Verana had refused to get involved with the conflicts on Earth, and it had become abundantly clear that they couldn't be relied upon for anything important.

"Well, I'm sure they'll regret their choice sooner or later," Zac finally said after a short silence, which elicited a knowing snort from Ogras.

"So what happened in the Tower of Eternity?" Kenzie asked with some worry. "Ogras said that you caused a mess, but things turned out mostly fine?"

Zac glared at the demon who just grinned back at him.

"Well, I got a pretty good result and made some allies, but I might have also made some enemies as well. I had to suddenly leave due to getting a prompt about Port Atwood being invaded, so I don't know about the fallout," Zac said as he took out the [Heaven's Secrets Array]. "More importantly, can you install this thing on my Nexus Node later when you have the time? It can help with my evolution."

"Oh?" Kenzie said with interest as she looked down at the array. "It shouldn't take too long, I'll go deal with it right now. I'm done here anyway."

Zac nodded before he left his sister to visit his two friends, and two Valkyries immediately accompanied him and helped him catch up to speed as they walked. They reached the mansion soon enough, where the guards wordlessly let him in with a bow. He indicated for the Valkyries to stay outside as he entered, and he quickly spotted where the two were recuperating with the help of [Cosmic Gaze].

A few quick steps brought him to a large bedroom on the second floor, and he entered after softly knocking at the door.

“You’re back,” Thea said with a weak voice from her bed facing a window looking out at a beautiful garden. “Your intelligence was incorrect. They made their move early.”

“I heard,” Zac sighed as he sat down next to her bedside.

He was inwardly relieved though that Thea seemed fine, with all her limbs intact. He did spot a wound on her stomach that was lit up with miasmic energies though. But it didn't look as bad as the one he got himself from Mhal, and it should heal up as long as she slowly ground down the lingering Dao with her own.

“I’m sorry," Zac said. "And thank you for helping my people while I was away. Who knows how many would have died if you weren’t there.”

“So? Have you dealt with everything?” Thea said as she turned to look at Zac, her piercing blue eyes staring evenly into his.

Zac was silent for a few seconds thinking it over. There was honestly more he could do to improve his current power while still in F-Grade, a lot of untapped potential as Catheya would call it. But more importantly than that, there was a burning desire that was eating him alive.

There had been a desire smoldering in his chest since the events in the valley, the desire to unleash an unprecedented level of vengeance upon the so-called Lich King for what he or his subjects did to his island and Alea. Zac’s face was without expression, but a fire burned in his eyes as he looked down at Thea.

“I am evolving right now and heading toward the core of the Dead Zone the moment it’s completed,” Zac said, and he felt a momentum building in his body the moment he made his choice. "The Undead Incursion will be gone within a few days."

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Comments (31)
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User #9578630 - 1 Oct 20 17:43
Thanks for the chapters
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User #18251460 - 1 Oct 20 17:10
Not to be a downer but it really makes more sense to meditate an consolidate any Dao gains from the battle then Evolve but 🤷🏿‍♂️
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User #17138109 - 1 Oct 20 17:13
You’re probably right but unless he could upgrade another fragment to mid tier it wouldn’t make a difference in his class upgrade. I don’t think he’s made enough progress yet for that
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User #18251460 - 1 Oct 20 17:26
Keep in mind the Dao of War vision pushed the Axe Fragment to middle and pushed the other two up as well. Not Quite the whole way to middle But the groundwork was done.
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User #72934 - 1 Oct 20 18:18
his last estimate was months for that and he's just taken losses from overestimating the time he has left; there's no guarantee he'd push a fragment to mid in the days he has then still succeed in stopping the array in time
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User #11280757 - 1 Oct 20 17:53
i'm happy to have chosen to continue patreon, as this month gonna be soooooo good XD
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User #13763322 - 1 Oct 20 18:01
Eh, sucks that he has to evolve so quickly when all the elites can take decades to squeeze out every benefit they can. But that's what you get for being the guy who slaps the faces of young masters, as opposed to being a young master himself.
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User #72934 - 1 Oct 20 18:19
that's what stuff like the 'first to E grade' title are there to compensate for, though
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User #22092590 - 1 Oct 20 18:42
True, they normally have decades and Zac could still improve further, but he only wants an Epic class since anything higher would ironically stunt his growth at this point. He's already being offered those. The only point of improving at each grade is to set a path for your next upgrade and get a better class. His path is still changing but he hasn't come up with anything new so its pretty much set for E-grade, and he already has the level of classes available that he's looking for. It's honestly better that he upgrades now
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User #25555620 - 1 Oct 20 18:40
Wwww0000t! Evolution!
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User #22143119 - 1 Oct 20 20:09
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #26916748 - 1 Oct 20 21:58
Really curious if anything unique is going to happen once Zac filters the Fragment of the Coffin through his coffin necklace. Can’t wait to see if Zac got any new choices for his class evolution.
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User #12491961 - 1 Oct 20 17:03
Oooooooh evolution! So did he leave the coffin where he found it? I know that seems like a stupid thing to do but I didn’t see anything about taking it with him before he left.
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User #9149514 - 1 Oct 20 17:04
It turned into a necklace at the end of the last chapter.
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User #12491961 - 1 Oct 20 17:05
Cool thx.
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User #24359990 - 1 Oct 20 16:54
Thanks
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User #11280757 - 1 Oct 20 17:03
thx :D
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User #9040369 - 1 Oct 20 20:38
I've been waiting so long for an evolution and you had to cliffhanger it?! No joke though great story and I can't wait to read the next chapter
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User #38792334 - 1 Oct 20 21:38
Zac's stupidity is starting to really ruin the story. He can't get making poor decisions.
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User #40375755 - 2 Oct 20 00:11
The heck are you talking about?
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User #580244 - 1 Oct 20 19:07
Thank you!
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User #8796307 - 1 Oct 20 23:59
I suspect that Alea’s Spirit Tool will be some sort of Cultivation aid. We learned that he can cultivate by grinding poison through his Coffin Dao, perhaps the coffin will constantly generate poison for him to either cultivate or use in battle.
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User #5446982 - 1 Oct 20 20:45
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #11801336 - 1 Oct 20 17:31
Thanks for the chapter
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User #19375330 - 1 Oct 20 17:59
Called all the ingredients I think
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User #4570183 - 1 Oct 20 17:22
Fuckk yeah
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User #19771454 - 1 Oct 20 21:31
Found a little typo I think. "Thankfully they sat right on top of a Nexus Vain, and the dense energies would restore the greenery in a year or two." I'm talking about the Nexus Vain - should it not be Nexus Vein?
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User #5164795 - 2 Oct 20 02:07
It was corrupted by Brazla.
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User #40021505 - 1 Oct 20 17:26
Finally, Zac will evolve into Charmeleon.
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User #30094386 - 1 Oct 20 17:44
Surely with his classes it would be Ivysaur or Haunter? I don't know enough about the the later generations to suggest a Grass/Ghost type.
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User #247359 - 1 Oct 20 19:59
He's definitely a Shiftry. Grass/dark for sure.
Chapter 480. 2020-10-01T16:52:32+00:00

A/N: As always, thank you for re-upping!

1/2

-----------

Zac’s emotions were thrown into chaos after witnessing one snippet after another of Alea’s life pass by his eyes, but he still desperately tried to figure out a way to salvage the situation. One he was back in his own body again he immediately lifted the casket, only to be met by a horrifying sight.

Alea's body had been turned completely black, and dense waves of corruption and death were emitted from her body. Gases leaked out of her pores as well, and Zac was forced to quickly close the lid again as the noxious fumes almost made him keel over after a single breath.

That scene alone made him furious enough to almost spontaneously combust, but he restrained his anger as he searched for a solution. However, there were simply no treasures in his possession that would allow him to save her life. Her soul was falling apart, and her body was no longer fit for a living being as far as he could tell.

His first idea was to turn her into a Revenant somehow, as that would at least allow her to keep 'living' in a sense. However, not only would that erase Alea and create a new personality, but it might turn her into a subordinate of the Lich King. It was those robed liches who had initiated the process, which might have left some sort of mark.

Also, he had no idea how to actually turn someone into a Revenant.

“Follow me…,” Zac muttered as he stared down at the crystalline casket, and in his desperation he suddenly thought of something.

He didn’t have any idea whether what he did was insane or not, but he was unable to think of anything else as he took out an object and placed it on top of the lid.

It was the [Divine Investiture Array].

This the only way available to him. Her soul was already a problem that was out of his league after having lost the cherry, and with the Lich messing up her body she was way beyond his means of salvation. He wasn’t even sure whether a D-Grade healer would be able to bring her back from the brink of death, let alone his E-Grade pills.

But what if she became a Spirit Tool, a being that was essentially immortal? He had recently learned about two pieces of key information. First, living beings could be turned into Spirit Tools, or rather 'Sword Slaves' through sacrificial rituals. Second, the [Divine Investiture Array] could pretty much turn anything into a Spirit Tool.

If he turned Alea into a Tool Spirit she would be able to survive, just like Brazla. It was obviously a messed-up solution, but one that would fulfill her wish and keep her ‘alive’. The universe was full of magical things, and perhaps he would be able to turn her back into a living being again in the future.

He immediately infused a stream of Cosmic Energy into the [Divine Investiture Array] before he could change his mind. A massive pillar of gold shot down from the heavens and slammed into the valley with enough force to completely obliterate all clouds for kilometers in each direction.

A groundswell of energy rose from the depths of the mountain to meet the golden pillar, and Zac found himself submerged in a surge of power so dense that it was almost a liquid. He did not doubt that he would be able to gain multiple levels in minutes from staying in a magical place like this upon reaching E-Grade, but that wasn’t why he had summoned these energies.

He suddenly felt a spiritual nudge from beneath the lid, and Zac refocused on the coffin Alea lay inside. His eyes lit up in excitement upon sensing it. Zac couldn't be sure, but he felt it was as an agreement of his plan. Perhaps she could understand what was going to happen after being in the middle of it.

However, nothing happened with the casket, and the energies simply seemed to swirl around it as Zac felt the spiritual signal from within weaken. Zac's mind spun for solutions, trying to figure out what the problem was. Was the array wasn’t enough?

Zac emptied his Spatial Ring of anything that might help with her situation, and a stream of golden energy immediately emerged from the [Divine Investiture Array] and snatched a third of his Soul Crystals before starting going over the other things he had taken out. Zac didn't mind at the least, as he suddenly felt Alea's presence once more from within the coffin, making it seem as though the Soul Crystals had condensed her soul again.

The next thing to be selected by the golden tendrils was the fossilized bug that radiated an unceasing aura of corrosion. Zac had picked it up on the 3rd floor of the tower, but he believed that it was a lucky find as neither Ogras nor Galau had been able to even get close due to the aura it emitted. He thought it might fit with Alea and her constitution, so he took it out as well.

However, it wasn’t enough as he felt Alea's spirit slowly weaken again.

Panic welled up once more, and he grit his teeth and took out an intricately inscribed jade box and opened its lid. The tendrils of light immediately pounced on the contents, and Zac wasn’t surprised as it was the [Pathfinder Oracle Eye]. The Auctioneer had said that it was perfect to improve a Spirit Tool’s spirituality, and it might just be what was needed.

The cost was pretty shocking, but he had already gone so far as to expend his [Divine Investiture Array]. It was too late to hold back.

But Zac's eyes suddenly widened in alarm as another tendril reached out behind Zac and picked up [Everlasting] that he had poured out of his spatial ring along with the rest of the treasures. Zac was about to take the shield back, but he stopped himself after some hesitation and let the golden light use the E-Grade defensive treasure as another ingredient.

It wasn’t even a Spirit Tool, and he could always get another shield elsewhere.

The tendril also reached behind him and ripped off a few of the largest branches of the [Tree of Ascension] while a storm of gases was dragged out from the underground where the Amanita Mushroom resided. Only then did the array seem satiated, and the tendrils receded back into the crystal as a Golden Cocoon formed around the Stasis Array.

‘Thank you…’ a silent whisper suddenly echoed out in his mind, but its volume grew lower and lower toward the end, as though Alea was moving away from him.

“Are you okay?” Zac asked, but a sinking feeling spread through his chest as there was no answer. “Alea?”

The silence stretched on, and Zac started to panic as he couldn’t get an answer from Alea no matter what he did. He wanted to go closer, but he was instantly rebuffed by the powerful force from the [Divine Investiture] array.

Zac could only anxiously wait for the light to dissipate. Time passed as more and more energy was infused into the cocoon, but Zac didn't move a muscle. He knew there were no doubt a dozen things that needed to be done on the island, but he refused to leave until he had seen this thing through. Only two hours later did the lights finally dissipate as the cocoon cracked, revealing the item within.

The large crystal encasing Alea was recuperating inside was gone, as was his shield and all the materials he had poured into the array. In their place was only one thing, a massive black coffin.

The coffin was just over two meters long, and seemed to be crafted from a mix of the wood from the [Tree of Ascension] and some black crystal or smooth stone. The two materials formed intricate patterns all across the surface, though they didn't seem to be fractals as far as he could tell. They were more akin to the markings of the Stone Stele he had seen in the vision, though they obviously didn't contain that kind of power.

The coffin's shape was traditional with the top being slightly wider before narrowing again toward the bottom. It looked nothing like the translucent glass studded with Divine Crystals of before, but rather a rugged and completely opaque box that carried a heavy and almost solemn aura.

There were two sets of fractals covering the lid as well. First was a circle placed at the wider section toward the top, and the other set was two lines of inscriptions that ran parallel along the length of the lid. The fractals almost reminded Zac of a funeral wreath with two ribbons hanging down.

Finally, there were thick pitch-black chains that were wound around the whole coffin a few times, and Zac was surprised when he realized they actually emerged from holes on the side of the coffin. A quick estimate told Zac there were over five meters of links wound around the ominous item, and there were perhaps even more chains waiting inside the coffin itself.

All in all, it felt like an extremely somber item, and Zac was pretty shocked at how it had turned out. He wasn’t sure what he had expected the [Divine Investiture Array] to do, but at least it wasn’t something as drastic as this. It had completely repurposed the items he had thrown inside in just two hours, a feat that would no doubt be utterly impossible even for great artisans like the original Brazla.

But the amazing craftsmanship wasn’t really what Zac was interested in right now. He hurried over to the coffin and tried to open the lid, but no matter how hard he strained he was utterly incapable of moving it even an inch.

He growled in frustration as veins bulged across his arms, but he could eventually only give up. He tried peering into the six holes the chains emerged from on the sides, but there was nothing but darkness inside of the coffin. Zac tried shining a light inside with an illumination crystal, but it was as though the light was immediately swallowed the moment it entered.

Zac sat back with a blank look, his determination slowly being swapped out by confusion and depression. Just what had he done? Making Spirit Tools from living cultivators wasn’t just considered an unorthodox method, but a downright evil one. He felt like a mad scientist playing god, and he had no idea what would come of this.

“What have you done?” a furious voice said from the side, and Zac looked over to see Ogras walk over with bloodshot eyes, his eyes darting between the coffin and Zac.

“She said she wasn’t ready to leave, that she wanted to follow me,” Zac mumbled with a hollow voice. “Her soul was falling apart because of those damn liches. She wasn’t ready to let go, and this was the only solution I could think of."

The demon stared at Zac for a few seconds, while Zac simply looked at the coffin with a lost expression.

“So what is this?” Ogras finally said as he looked at the coffin. “Exactly what did you do? I can't sense her presence any longer.”

“I got something called a [Divine Investiture Array] from the eighth floor, it could turn anything into a Spirit Tool. I also added the [Pathfinder Oracle Eye], and it seems the process swallowed my shield along with a bunch of the treasures I have gathered so far,” Zac explained.

“This… This is not right,” Ogras said with disgust on his face. “It goes against the natural order. How will her soul find rest or enter the cycle of the Heavens this way? You have cursed her.”

Zac said could say nothing in response, bleakness washing over him as he felt some disgust with himself. The silence stretched on with one man brooding and the other man stewing.

“You threw a shield worth over a billion into this, and it was one of the cheaper materials?” Ogras finally said with a grimace. “The things you expended here would be able to pay for the foundation of a great faction.”

“I figured that if I could turn her into a Spirit Tool like Brazla, she would be able to stay alive. We could find a way to turn her back into flesh and bone in the future,” Zac sighed as he looked up from the coffin. “Do you know if it’s possible?”

“No idea,” Ogras said. “Anyway, we can’t stay here.”

“What’s going on?” Zac asked.

“We’re getting invaded, remember?” Ogras snorted. “There are still enemies to deal with even after your rampage, we need to clear them out so we don’t leave any hidden threats. Besides, we are running out of time to deal with the unliving. Your sister might have bought us some time, but we’re still cutting it close.”

Zac nodded before he walked over to the coffin. He silently looked at the beautifully crafted surface and the chains that kept the thing sealed before he slowly reached down to put it in his Spatial Ring.

But the coffin suddenly shuddered and started shrinking as the chains moved about. In just a second the coffin had shrunk to just half a decimeter's length, and one of its chains had formed a loop through the top holes of the coffin.

Zac immediately understood what was going on, and he didn’t hesitate to put the chain above his head to wear it as a necklace. The moment the coffin touched a chest a weak tendril emerged from the treasure, but there was no voice accompanying it this time. It still gave some comfort for Zac, and he desperately clung to the idea that Alea was still inside there, but that she was simply too drained to communicate at the moment.

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Comments (34)
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User #27833365 - 4 Oct 20 02:58
I strongly dislike this development. Alea has been turned into a literal object. She has no agency at this point and the last arc has been entirely undercut.
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User #12491961 - 1 Oct 20 16:58
Woah. This new spirit-tool-like entity will be AWESOME.
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User #13553780 - 1 Oct 20 20:36
It's also rather reminiscent of the vision Zac had from the Eight Calamities Titan projection; a poisonous lotus "sealed away from the world, but still very much alive" within a "black coffin".
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User #5763334 - 1 Oct 20 16:53
Let’s go!
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User #5446982 - 1 Oct 20 20:35
Seems to have added regret not removed it. Guess we will see. Thanks for the chapter.
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User #13553780 - 1 Oct 20 21:01
Never said it would be his regret. Alea regretted not being able to stay with him.
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User #5446982 - 1 Oct 20 23:47
But it is his reward. What good are rewards for other people if you are doing all the work.
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User #25293756 - 2 Oct 20 01:10
good to see Ogras being the voice of reason like always
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User #30866133 - 1 Oct 20 17:30
Great Chapter
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User #25555620 - 1 Oct 20 18:24
I’m pleasantly surprised at this turn of events!
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User #3712562 - 1 Oct 20 17:31
I am getting a little annoyed that Zac never seems to ever get to use whatever special consumable items he gets his hands on, since they pretty much ALWAYS get spent to stop or blunt whatever disaster he gets into or sudden crisis instead of actually using them as he intended to.
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User #24359990 - 1 Oct 20 17:34
There are still some from his inheritance trial that I hope he uses.
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User #13553780 - 1 Oct 20 21:52
I don't know. The only truly major cost was the [Divine Investiture Array]. If the coffin manages to functionally replace his shield in some way (which still remains to be seen) then it more or less was used as intended. Upgrading [Everlasting] was one of the best options he had for the array anyway. Since the Doa of the Coffin has been officially confirmed to be a defensive Doa, I think it's a very real possibility that a literal coffin could be used as a defensive item somehow.
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User #580244 - 1 Oct 20 18:17
Thank you!
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User #7038833 - 1 Oct 20 16:53
Thanks for the chapter
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User #9456193 - 1 Oct 20 16:54
Yay! It's the duality day of the month again...how time flies when you are in a giant tower arc. Thanks for the double chapters.
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User #11280757 - 1 Oct 20 17:02
yeah !
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User #36711084 - 1 Oct 20 17:21
This sucks, now zac’s going to be forever brooding on alea, it was bad enough just for the tower arc
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User #12788485 - 1 Oct 20 17:31
Na I don’t mind it, better this than a psycho who has no attachments
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User #13553780 - 1 Oct 20 21:04
Depends how "awake" and communicative she is. Verun is at least able to communicate his feelings to Zac. Alea might end up as a constant companion/ confidant if they're able to talk, kinda like Jeeves is to Kenzie.
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User #31811156 - 1 Oct 20 17:11
That's fucked up dude
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User #18703376 - 1 Oct 20 18:45
Not going to lie, this chapter was pretty lame. While definitely unexpected, it wasn't a good surprise. Alea being turned into a literal object seems like it completely undermines all the agency she had as a character. Even if as a "spirit tool" she would have some sort of sentience, that would at best be a downgrade from the mysterious and competent love interest into maybe Zac's own Jeeves(?). Her role in the story would be completely shifted in a negative way, and if that was the intended design then it definitely wasn't set up properly, because all the information and interactions that we've had from her character make this a pretty unnatural transition in terms of character development.
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User #12491961 - 1 Oct 20 19:22
If Zac had shown that up until this point he followed all of the rules of the system 100% of the time then that is probably what would happen, yes. However, with his luck and the amount of high tier creatures that he kills, even if she’s demoted to an object (and that’s a big IF), she’d still be an object that’s designed and created by both an array that makes spirit tools, AND a bunch of high quality spirit tool food objects. Personally I think she’s just gathering her strength in her new form until she “wakes up” later when Zac is inevitably still getting used to his new classes, and will save him in a deus ex machine move.
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User #29906590 - 1 Oct 20 19:30
Zac might kill the lich with the new weapon as a kind of poetic justice.
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User #13553780 - 1 Oct 20 20:21
Honestly, I don't think it's entirely clear yet if Alea herself is the new spirit/slave tool or if just the coffin containing her is.
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User #13620133 - 2 Oct 20 16:03
That would be pretty interesting if she were now contained inside the coffin.
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User #27764971 - 3 Oct 20 12:32
I agree with Ogras
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User #6857737 - 1 Oct 20 22:44
What a boring way to dispose of basically all the major loot from the last arc. I'm finding much of the narrative disappointing lately, sorry.
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User #2633998 - 1 Oct 20 23:20
I 100% agree this is really about to kill it for me tbh
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User #35001903 - 2 Oct 20 16:02
Gotta disagree with both of you. It was pretty clear there would have to be some shift towards undead considering his class. Now he has a potential undead alignment ally who knows his secrets.
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User #6857737 - 2 Oct 20 16:24
Its not necessarily Alea's transition that I'm fatigued about, you make some nice points, though I'm not entirely onboard with the result but as we don't know the full ramifications we'll see. The problem is the hype building, and the cheap payoff. The whole tower thing was dragged out, with the promise of unique and cultivation defining rewards that the elites of the sector consider a once in a lifetime opportunity. Then a significant part of the major rewards and loot are dumped into a single cheap and unforshadowed narrative shift. Basically all the hype around the eye, the shield and the final tower reward, as well I suspect the mushroom and the corrupted tree has been spent with this one event. Personal taste and unmanaged expectations I suspect lie at the root of my disappointment. But I'm disappointed nonetheless.
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User #9604668 - 1 Oct 20 17:02
Thank you.
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User #23245182 - 1 Oct 20 17:34
Well now zac, Verun, and Alea can all use his soul cultivation technique. I can only see that as a benefit and I would bet my left hand the a strong soul is needed to inhabit a new body. After each rebirth Alea getting a bit stronger and more able to help Zac in battle along with her being able to meditate on zac's doas.
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User #22143119 - 1 Oct 20 19:59
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
Chapter 479. 2020-09-30T16:45:26+00:00

”GET OUT!” Yasera screeched, her eyes muddled and unfocused from the Hera Leaves. “You keep taking up time and money, what are you good for?”

Tears pooled in Alea’s eyes, but she knew her mom was not herself at the moment.

“I’ll be useful, I promise,” Alea said as she shuffled out of their corner of the communal space, her eyes downcast to avoid the mean stares of the others.

She quickly found herself on the streets, the two burly guards at the door only sparing her a glance as she vacantly stopped after a few meters. What should she do? Mama was not well, and they had no money.

Alea already scrounged food outside most days, but the shopkeepers had started to become wise to her tricks. There was only one solution left. She needed to start working as well.

The madame had said that she should wait a while longer, but mom needed money now. So Alea tried to still her beating heart as she looked back and forth along the street to find a willing customer.

She finally spotted a young man who seemed to have recently passed the Age of Adulthood. He wore mostly ragged clothes just like most people in the slums, but there was something about him. There was an energy around him that made him feel the same way as the scary man who always followed the Madame around.

The energy of a cultivator. Besides, he looked very handsome even if he had a lazy expression, and the dirt on his body seemed to be recently applied compared to the ingrained filth some walked around with. He would no doubt have some coin to spare, and compared with most of the men who entered the Tea House this one seemed a lot better.

She slowly walked up toward him before he had the chance to walk away, and quickly gathered her courage as he looked up at the man who was over two heads taller than her.

“Yo-young master, ho-how about having a cup of tea with me?” Alea stuttered as she desperately tried to mimic the ladies of the White Lotus Tea House.

The young man with the lackadaisical expression looked down at her with surprise, and she tried to give off the innocent charm that Madam Sai said would be her best weapon for the next few years. However, Alea became uneasy when she realized that he didn’t have that gleam in his eyes that was so easy to discern. The expression that meant that the man was no longer thinking with his brain.

Was he too young to be interested in these kinds of things? Alea still wasn’t sure how everything worked, but she was confident she had seen even younger men entering the private compartment in the Tea House.

“Why did you call me young master? Do you recognize me?” he said curiously as he walked closer.

“Ah, no?” Alea said, some fear taking hold of her heart.

Had she made a mistake and said something she shouldn’t? Madam Sai always said that words were the most dangerous things, and one wrong word could cause a lifetime of suffering.

“Then how did you know that I am rich? I am not wearing anything expensive, and both my face and my clothes are dirty,” he said as he took another step closer.

“That,” Alea said, looking back and forth, trying to figure out a way to get out of the situation.

She pleadingly looked at the two guards behind, but they pointedly ignored her. Had they already realized that the young man was too dangerous to mess with?

“I’ll give you an E-Grade Nexus Crystal if you tell me,” the young man said.

Alea’s eyes widened in shock when she heard what he said. An E-Grade Nexus Crystal was a huge fortune. One aunty in the Tea House had been tipped one once, and she had been able to eat her fill for over a year on that, even after having given the Tea House their share.

Could she make that much money by just answering a few questions? Her instincts said no. Things that seemed too good to be true always came with hidden dangers. More than one girl in the Tea House had disappeared after being offered a handsome reward to visit a patron in their homes.

Some believed they had found a better life, but Madam Sai said they were usually sold into slavery, or even turned into some sort of materials for evil cultivators.

“My patience is only so long,” the young man said as he took out a shimmering crystal from nowhere and waved it in front of her.

Alea’s heart started to beat rapidly, and she was unable to take her eyes off the mesmerizing crystal in his hand. She had never seen anything so beautiful, and it radiated amazing amounts of energy.

“Your clothes look worn but they are new, the wear doesn’t seem natural. It is like you have rubbed the clothes against a stone to make it look worse than it is. It’s the same with the face, it’s dirty but your skin is healthy and clear,” she said, the words tumbling out of her mouth as quickly as she could form them.

“I guess I overestimated my disguise,” the youth wryly smiled as he threw her the crystal.

Alea’s eyes lit up as she clutched the crystal, quickly placing it inside a hidden pocket within her dress. The youth looked at her with amusement for a second before he seemingly had thought of something.

“Here, hold this for a second,” he said, handing her another crystal, though this one was a smoothly polished sphere that didn’t emit the same beautiful colors.

Alea didn’t dare to say no to the young master, so she gingerly gripped the ball, and she noticed that the young man’s eyes lit up when it started to gleam with a mysterious purple shimmer.

---

“Are you sure about this?” Ogras asked with a serious expression.

“What’s there to think about?” Namys growled from the side as she glared at Alea. “The Lord has spent so much time on effort on this. Why are you hesitating?”

“Namys,” Ogras sighed before he turned back to Alea.

Alea looked down at the large vat with trepidation, knowing that she might never be able to leave once she entered the bubbling pool.

The young lord didn’t know this, but she had found out that there had been three before her. Three young women who had died while attempting this. Her knowledge about constitutions was shallow, but she had learned from the old master that instructed the nine of them that the risk of dying was extremely high unless there was a great fit between you and the manual.

And that risk only increased when you were dealing with deadly poison.

But this was the path she had chosen. If she died she would at least died at the peak of beauty. Her thoughts went to her recent return to the White Lotus Tea House, the first visit in 6 years. Her mother, the beautiful goddess wrapped in the finest garments, was gone, replaced by a wretched hag.

Her face had been pocked by scabs, and her skin sallow from overindulging on alcohol and Hera Leaves. The lithe and graceful curves were gone, replaced by sagging skin and festering sores.

Yasera hadn’t cared where she had been. She hadn’t even bothered looking for her after she left with Lord Azh’Rezak. Her mother had only demanded money or liquor after having seen the quality of the dress and jewelry she wore. Alea had turned away without another word, ignoring her mother’s cries as her childhood crumbled around her.

“I’m ready,” she said as she let her dress fall to the ground, showcasing her pristine body.

“Good,” Ogras said, trying his best to appear unperturbed by the scene as he handed her a shimmering beast crystal. “The main component of the medicinal bath comes from a swamp creature named [Er’Harkath Marshwalker]. They are known for their ability to store all kinds of poisons in their body without harming themselves. Try your best to fuse with this thing as quickly as possible.”

Alea nodded and after one deep breath swallowed the crystal whole as she stepped into the pool. This would either be the first step on the path of cultivation, or the last day of her life.

------

“Is that him?” Ilvere whispered with incredulity as he gazed at the human in the distance. “I can’t believe that guy toppled the Azh’Rezak Clan singlehandedly. While wearing lady’s garments.”

“Progenitor. Odd advantages,” Janos muttered.

“Why is he even alive?” Namys growled. “He’s a threat to our Lord, especially now that he’s doubly weakened. Alea, shouldn’t you do something?”

Alea’s mouth curved upward as she looked at the man, trying to imagine the scene that Lord Ogras had described. One human dressed in Vesarith’s dress and drenched in blood, running around causing havoc. It somehow felt like the world had just turned a bit more interesting.

“Lord Azh’Rezak hasn’t told us to do anything, so why should I?” Alea smiled as she stood up and adjusted her dress.

“What are you doing?” Namys wheezed as she saw Alea skip toward the human.

----

“Are you heading to the mines again?” Alea said with a smile as she walked next to Zac.

“Yeah,” he said, looking a bit perturbed.

“Why don’t I join you?” Alea said, snaking her arm around his.

“I have a lot to do,” Zac sighed, helplessness evident in his eyes.

It was a refreshing difference compared to those meathead warriors at the compound she had trained with, a bunch of men with overblown egos and rampant aggression. This guy was the strongest warrior on the island, but he didn’t even know what to do with himself when she teased him. It was both intriguing and a bit frustrating.

“I know, learn about The Ruthless Heavens?” she said, pushing her breasts toward his arm, the response leaving nothing wanting. “I know. I know all that basic stuff as well, I can teach you just as well as Alyn can. And wouldn’t it be nicer with just the two of us?”

-------

Her heart hammered in her chest as she hurried away from the Gazebo, and she immediately jumped onto the teleporter taking her to Azh'Rodum.

Just what had she done?

This had been the perfect opportunity, but she had ruined it all by poisoning him because of that stupid impulse. She regretted stepping into that bath for the first time since gaining this odd constitution. For the first time, the gains didn't seem to match up to the costs. Of course, a larger part of her knew that absorbing the essence of the swamp monster was the only reason she had been able to save Lord Atwood at all during the final Beast Wave.

Without it, she would just have been another bystander.

She walked up to the secluded rooftop garden in her mansion and lay down on the recliner, her eyes absentmindedly looking up at the stars. The blue sky that once had felt so cold and glaring felt soothing for the first time since arriving to this odd world.

-----------

He was drifting away. The sturdy back kept growing, now towering like a mountain in front of her. It was this cursed situation that pushed him toward the Heaven’s themselves. It should be a joy seeing the man she loved growing stronger, but she couldn’t help but feel pangs of loneliness as the two drifted further and further apart. She simply couldn't keep up. No one on Earth could.

Zac was leaving again soon, this time for the Underworld, and a changed man would no doubt return. She had somewhat managed to improve their situation after her mistakes, and there was no longer that thinly veiled disappointment in his eyes when he looked at her.

But that didn’t change the reality they found themselves in. He was Lord Atwood, the de-facto leader of a whole world, and perhaps even a future elite that would make his name known in the whole Sector.

She was just Alea, a prostitute’s daughter who hadn’t even earned the right to take a last name. She had thought that becoming a cultivator would change her fate, but she was still that same dirty child from the slums looking up at the gods soaring through the skies toward their faraway palaces.

How long would it be until they looked at each other like strangers?

----

Zac was inundated in one vision after another, snippets of Alea’s life flashing past him. He had a vague understanding of what was going on, and the knowledge was terrifying. Alea’s soul was rapidly falling apart, and fragments of her soul released the visions for him.

He didn’t know how this was possible as it had never happened with all the people he had killed until now. But one thing was certain; Alea was not long for this world if this kept on. Suddenly another shudder emerged from the coffin, but this time Alea’s voice rather than another vision entered his mind.

“I’m not ready. I want to follow you.”


----------------

A/N: That's it for September! I hope you enjoyed the finale of the Tower of Eternity. I know it turned out a bit longer than initially planned, but I'm still pretty happy with the result and the things it has set up for the future.

Tomorrow and Friday will be double chappies for those of you who will re-up. As you can expect we will follow Zac as he deals with the various threats back on Earth (while numbers go higher).

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Comments (45)
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User #24359990 - 30 Sep 20 16:47
Thanks.
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User #5252963 - 30 Sep 20 17:44
Honestly one of the best chapters in whole story
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User #19375330 - 30 Sep 20 17:08
So if Zac turns her into a treasure with the divine investiture, what named items will be use?
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User #19375330 - 30 Sep 20 17:09
My guess: coffin, towershield, poisonous thing from the tower, and the eye treasure. EDIT: and the posionus tree right in front of him
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User #18251460 - 30 Sep 20 18:54
Forgot about the fact that she is literally in a coffin!
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User #10841787 - 30 Sep 20 17:21
Despite being a cliff, this chapter was still satisfying. Looking forward to the resolutions and more importantly LOOT and E Grade Evolution.
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User #18874146 - 30 Sep 20 17:49
I personally wouldn't mind if Alea were to become an Axe lol, especially if she could spiritually manifest like Verun
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User #22143119 - 30 Sep 20 21:37
Same!
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User #7038833 - 30 Sep 20 16:46
Thanks for the chapter
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User #580244 - 30 Sep 20 18:10
Thank you!
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User #11801336 - 30 Sep 20 17:26
Thanks for the chapter
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User #320936 - 30 Sep 20 16:46
Thanks for the chapter
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User #13553780 - 30 Sep 20 19:13
Was the limit on what can be a Spirit Tool ever discussed? The assumption is that you use it on weapons/armor, but could something like the Tree of Poison Ascension itself become a Spirit Tool (rather than a component of one)? There have been multiple instances of cultivators meditating under trees (bodhi's). Could they not be considered treasures/tools themselves and thus eligible to be turned into Sprit Tools with the Divine Investiture Array? If so, then maybe Alea doesn't become an axe/shield, but something like a dryad of the Tree of Poison Ascension.
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User #18251460 - 30 Sep 20 20:27
Seems possible, but the last line of “I’m not ready, I want to follow you” suggests she is likely coming along for the ride
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User #25590606 - 1 Oct 20 01:39
Maybe he has the ability to create undead and is just unaware of it
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User #34653838 - 30 Sep 20 17:21
Great chapter here- some good emotional depth to the writing. The story can be a bit “meathead’y” at times but this, in my opinion, showcases TFD’s writing ability. I’ve read it twice already and I’ll be in for another read soon. I swore I wasn’t going to re-up but man you are making me reconsider. Well done!
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User #15613739 - 30 Sep 20 17:30
Zac IS looking for a weapon for his undead form. Verun can't take the miasma. A poison axe might.
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User #36218265 - 30 Sep 20 17:46
Poison shield
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User #13553780 - 30 Sep 20 17:53
My bet would be on her being incorporated into [Everlasting] instead. It's been hinted that it is an ideal base for a spirit tool. Plus, it's a perfect setup for for a play on "everlasting love" or something sappy like that. Also, her constitution turns her into a giant plant monster that absorbs and stores poisons. That's pretty much an even split between the Bodhi and the Coffin. Plus the shield would literally become both the coffin for her spirit and the sanctuary (bodhi) in which it heals, which would likely increase his understand of both of those Doas.
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User #26916748 - 30 Sep 20 16:45
boomshakalaka
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User #5914542 - 30 Sep 20 18:19
O doubt a fractured soul would be useful for spirit weapon. For me that would ruin the story. The weapon slave thing to me seems like cruel punishment not something to be deaired. After all the materials of the shield would come only so far and the fate of being discarded amost inevitable. I think turning her to the undead would be best. Because to me after defeating the udead incursion I see earth becoming one of the planets where undead and non-undead mix. Because turning the arledy converted part of the earth back seems almost impossible, and when he is capable of that probably waste of resources.
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User #6730409 - 30 Sep 20 18:27
and as part undead part living it would be just rigth to rule a planet that has both
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User #4072834 - 30 Sep 20 18:43
Non-undead, also called 'living'
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User #5914542 - 30 Sep 20 19:40
Are undead, non living?? How do you define living. By beatin heart and flowing blood, so what about brain dead? Are they living or dead????
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User #26317809 - 1 Oct 20 01:32
A rock on the side of the road is not undead. Doesn't mean it's alive
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User #5914542 - 1 Oct 20 02:16
To me brain dead are dead. But also to me undead are alive.
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User #5914542 - 1 Oct 20 02:17
Atleast undead like they are portraide in this story.
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User #22955572 - 30 Sep 20 17:02
So, Alea will be refined into a Spirit Weapon, maybe even inhabit the Coffin she is currently in, and the thing with regret the System talked about when choosing the 2nd Reward from the 8th Floor in the Tower is because it foresaw that this would happen and by choosing that reward Alea can be "saved" This also allows a way for Alea to follow along with Zac without being left behind
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User #18251460 - 30 Sep 20 17:09
Yes to this! The fact that Sword Slaves were brought up for the Idea Not Living, Not Dead. Divine Investiture, (resolution of regret) I think he will bind her Soul to Everlasting and create a Life/Death Shield Slave/ Spirit. Fragment of the Coffin goes well with the poison constitution. Fragment of the Bodhi- One of the materials could be the poison attuned Tree of ascension right there
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User #34653838 - 30 Sep 20 17:26
I think you nailed it! Curious how her poison constitution now fused with death energy and being in a coffin will effect his Coffin fragment as well, when/if she gets fused in the array.
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User #13553780 - 30 Sep 20 18:01
I don't think it would even need the Tree of Poison Ascension to link with the Bodhi (though it would certainly help). Her constitution was already described as "full of thorns and vines", so Alea has a plant/life aspect to her constitution. I believe it was also mentioned that she specialized in Vitality too.
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User #26955678 - 30 Sep 20 17:13
I really hope Alex doesn’t get turned into an item, that would sorta ruin her character building and whatnot “I love you so much I wanna be turned into an axe for you” doesn’t seem that likely
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User #2633998 - 30 Sep 20 17:25
I agree that would totally ruin a very built up character for me. I would really question continuing this story if that happened honestly.
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User #36218265 - 30 Sep 20 17:45
Didn't she some time say she wanted to be his shield? It would be fairly ironic to really be remade into a shield for him on her dying breath
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User #7035807 - 30 Sep 20 18:17
really agree, i don't want to see her become some spirit tool or something. would be better if the fragments activated and healed her somehow. remember the husband and wife both walk the similar paths and the man from the shard of creation said the system was recreating the circumstances.
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User #18251460 - 30 Sep 20 19:04
Im okay with it. Wouldn't have been my first option but really depends how it is done. Plus if its looking like the two options are death or this. Oh and I doubt it will be an Axe, he has Verun. The only conspicuous absent spirit tool he doesn't have is the shield
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User #7778431 - 30 Sep 20 18:01
I'm glad to have confirmation that she wasn't manipulating him, was an actually interested in him more than his being the strongest or an elite. She didn't like falling behind him and was interested before he was a forgone conclusion as a sector powerhouse
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User #37462108 - 30 Sep 20 16:53
Awesome change of POV right to the end of the month. Nice to get to know more of Alea and of course a mysterious cliffhanger at the end: “i want to join you“. So, in which form is the question... Undead? Specter?
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User #13620133 - 30 Sep 20 17:03
Possibly even tool spirit with that divine investure array?
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User #37462108 - 30 Sep 20 17:10
Would be nice but sad. But surely Verun would gain a poisonous edge...
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User #23245182 - 30 Sep 20 17:10
I think if she does go undead it wont be as a specter that would give up the one thing she has worked so hard for, her poison constitution. Her constitution may have even been upgraded, or maybe refined getting rid of some of the rough edges, with the help of the mushroom over the last 2 weeks. Maybe Zac can give her some of his undead blood to help stabilise her into a mixed blood Draugr.
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User #20585040 - 30 Sep 20 17:18
Possible fusion with Poisoned Tree of Ascension?
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User #7035807 - 30 Sep 20 17:21
i think the fragments will wake up. maybe make her a dual class like Zac?
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User #36218265 - 30 Sep 20 17:47
Everlasting and Alea could be combined into everlasting love or something smootchi like that
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User #25827598 - 30 Sep 20 16:59
Damn, whether she goes undead or not is left till next time, solid cliff for leading into next month. Seems she will either go undead and still be independent and rational, the conversion material will be partly counted as poision and pull of some shenanigans with the tree for a hybrid, or some other wacky mix. My money is on the tree doing something, after all, you don't put a poisonous tree of asension on the mantle piece if your not going to use it.
Chapter 478. 2020-09-29T16:29:38+00:00

The air screamed around Zac as he shot toward the azure shield with the speed of an airplane, and even he got a bit worried he was playing a bit fast and loose with his life. However, he threw any hesitation into the back of his mind as he conjured a fractal blade that was as large as himself. He was perfectly capable of making it even larger, but he needed to contain the impact to a smaller area.

The blade first changed color to a gleaming silver as he imbued it with the Fragment of the Axe, but the sanguine glow quickly spread from [Verun's Bite] as well to cover the whole fractal edge. This was the most power he could release without utilizing [Hatchetman's Rage] or the slumbering remnants, and he could only pray that it was enough to punch a hole in the massive array.

The world froze for as Zac's attack cut into the shield with all the power he could muster, but an enormous shockwave that dispersed the clouds of miasma soon followed. Hairline cracks spread for hundreds of meters in each direction, and Zac managed to squeeze through the hole in the barrier before it healed.

However, the point of impact was over 100 meters into the air and he had no means to control his descent. The collision had also caused him to completely lose balance, and any hopes of a hero's entrance were dashed as he slammed into the ground face-first. Another shockwave, this one a lot smaller, spread out from the point of impact, instantly killing the closest zombies. He scrambled back to his feet while wiping away some of the blood running down his nose, and he took stock of the situation.

The insides of the array were shrouded by dense swirls of miasmic haze, and his skin crawled from the contact with the condensed death-attuned energies. The extremely limited sight made it impossible to see any clear threat to Port Atwood, and instantly getting mobbed by enraged elite zombies didn't make things easier to discern.

Fractal blades shot out in each direction as swathes of destruction were carved into the undead hordes. However, these were the best of the zombies as the fractal blades were whittled down before they reached too far. Each strike still killed over fifty zombies, but the blade broke apart from a storm of counterstrikes after that.

Zac activated [Cosmic Gaze] in hopes of making anything out, but everything became a haze varying degrees of grey. However, he did spot spots with more condensed energies, and he immediately shot toward the closest target.

A few seconds later he found himself in front of an Unholy Beacon, and Zac wasn't surprised by the sight at all. What did make him frown in consternation, however, was the array surrounding it. There hadn't been anything like that around the beacons he had seen until now, and he guessed it was some sort of secondary array that was powered by the beacon.

The beacon was guarded by a hulking Corpse Golem that immediately swung at Zac the moment he appeared. However, Zac's physique was beyond monstrous by now, with an effective strength reaching 2500. Zac countered the punch with his own, his fist not even a tenth the size of the massive undead construct.

A thundering explosion echoed out as the arm of the golem blew apart from the force, and it was cut in two the next second as Zac slashed it with a lazy swing as he stepped toward the beacon. He couldn't make out its purpose, so Zac simply cut a few lines to ruin the inscriptions before he ripped the beacon out of the ground at stashed it in his Spatial Ring.

Zac was a moving calamity as he moved from beacon to beacon at his utmost speed, and he had stolen ten beacons in less than three minutes. Some of them had launched massive outbursts of death-attuned energies at him though, but Zac had managed to dodge the waves of death with the help of [Loamwalker].

One of them had actually detonated just as he was about to stow it away, but the vibrant energies of the Fragment of the Bodhi were able to neutralize the attack. He still hadn't spotted any leaders though, so he could only keep going in hopes that they would be forced to show their hand sooner or later.

A large shudder echoed out when he ripped another beacon out of the ground, and he saw that the shield finally flickered before it dissipated.

It had been pretty smashed by his tremendous momentum when he launched himself at it, but it had soon healed itself after he pushed his way through. But now it looked like Zac had caused too much destruction within the shield, to the point that it could no longer maintain its functionality. The highly condensed Miasma started within the barrier to spread out as well, but Zac knew that it would sooner or later be cleansed by the pure energies of the world.

However, his confusion only grew while looking around as visibility steadily grew better. He couldn't see any high-grade siege tools or anything else that would separate the thousands of zombies from normal elites. But he finally spotted a group of hooded beings in the back of the army, guarded by five hulking E-Grade Corpse Golems.

Zac immediately rushed toward them, carving a line of true death through the zombie horde. The hooded warriors didn't react to his approach, but the golems readied themselves for battle and started rushing toward him. However, these golems were only marginally stronger than those who had guarded the Unholy Beacons, and Zac needed less than a minute to turn them into small hills of rock-hard flesh.

The hooded warriors had started fleeing but he effortlessly captured one of them while blocking the escape of the others. It tried to struggle out of his grasp, but Zac was surprised to find that it was pitifully weak.

"What are you planning?" Zac growled with anger as he ripped the hood from the lich's head.

However, what met Zac's gaze wasn't the Lich King or one of his generals, but just some random revenants that couldn’t have been higher than Level 60. Zac immediately crushed its neck in frustration before he captured the others, getting the same results.

Just what was going on?

It quickly became apparent that this was all a big diversion, and that the undead wasn’t actually interested in conquering Azh’Rodum. But what was the point of sacrificing their own without any gain? Was it to trick the Church of the Everlasting Dao? Or was the real mission taking place somewhere else?

Zac’s first thought was the mines, just like how Harvath had guessed. Were they trying to mess with his Nexus Vein somehow? If the real leaders had entered the confusing mess of subterranean tunnels beneath the island it would be extremely annoying to root them out, as his own force still hadn’t completely mapped the nigh endless number of narrow passageways that ran beneath the surface.

However, he suddenly saw someone running toward him, decimating all the zombies that tried to impede her path with a barrage of attacks based on the four elements. Zac immediately flashed over to Kenzie, who immediately threw herself in his arms. He really wanted to catch up and hear what had happened since he left, but he saw how frazzled she had looked as she ran toward him.

Something was wrong.

"Are you okay?" Zac asked. "What's going on?"

“I am fine, but someone is tampering with the arrays in the valley since some time ago!” Kenzie said with worry as she released him. “I stationed a few sentries on the mountain just in case, but I can’t get a hold of them now with the jammers. I’m afraid they’re up to something over there. I've been trying to head to the mountain, but the undead swarms anyone who leaves the town. We've tried breaking out but their shields were too strong.”

“I’ll deal with it,” Zac said as the leaf appeared again beneath his feet. "There are no elites here, it seems. I think this whole army is a diversion. I'll be back in a bit."

The next second he was hundreds of meters away, speeding toward the secluded valley.

Panic coursed through Zac’s body as he infused the flying treasure with the Fragment of the Bodhi. He had handed over control of the network of arrays he had erected around the island to his sister upon leaving, so he hadn't noticed anything wrong at all since arriving. His thoughts were a mess as he tried to figure out the purpose of whoever had breached the arrays.

Were they looking for Alea, or did they have some other agenda?

Was it because of the mutated Tree of Ascension? That thing would no doubt be of huge value for anyone dabbling with poison, perhaps even after having reached E-Grade. However, there should be no way that the Undead Empire knew about it as access to the valley was completely restricted after Zac took control of the island.

Besides, things wouldn’t end well even if the invaders weren’t there specifically for Alea. Would they simply let her rest in peace after seeing her next to the Tree of Ascension? Of course not.

Zac and his sister had placed strong protective arrays around the whole valley to keep people away, but the invaders were either extremely strong or adept at breaking arrays. The inner shield protecting Alea’s Stasis Array wasn’t much stronger than the outer one, and Zac was doubtful that it would prove a challenge to whoever had encroached upon the valley.

Less than five minutes had passed since he left the outskirts of Azh’Rodum, but he felt like it had been hours when he finally breached the crest leading into the valley. He immediately noticed that there was something wrong with the outer array covering the whole valley like a dome. It was still intact, but it felt completely drained of energy like it was just there for show.

The leaf shot straight through it, and he was at the core of the valley in seconds. However, his fears were immediately realized as he spotted four hooded individuals sitting in a circle around Alea's stasis array, right next to the [Tree of Ascension]. An intricate array covered the ground around the stasis array, and Zac sensed extremely pure fluctuations of Death-Attuned energies from the crystals powering it.

Zac jumped down from the flying treasure and rushed forward like an enraged beast, his axe already shining with a sanguine glow. The air popped around him as his aura billowed out without restraints, and even the slumbering Splinted stirred in his mind from Zac's towering fury.

“So you are he-“ the closest man said with a hoarse voice, but he couldn’t even finish his sentence before he was obliterated by a world-ending punch, turning into scraps of flesh that rained down upon the area.

The three others quickly rose from their seated positions around the array and unleashed what looked like a swarm of jumbo mosquitoes at him, but Zac ignored them as he unleashed a Dao field based on his strongest Dao Fragment. Many of the bugs died from the sharpness of the domain, but even more managed to resist as they assaulted every piece of exposed skin on his body.

The spectral forest of [Hatchetman's Sprit] rose from the ground, and an emerald shield protected Zac from the gnats as he cut through the swarm. The hooded warriors released another barrage of what seemed to be poisonous insects and airborne toxins, but everything was destroyed by Zac's furious assault.

The second robed warrior was quickly cut into a dozen pieces from a furious barrage of swings, and the third was literally ripped apart the moment Zac caught him with his free hand. Only one final warrior remained in just a couple of seconds, and Zac had him caught in an iron grip as he took ragged breaths due to barely restrained rage.

He had gotten even angrier as he had seen the Stasis Array at close distance, as it had obviously been tampered with. The golden glass was replaced by a murky black sheen, and he couldn't even see Alea's body inside due to an extremely dense violet cloud within the glass. He couldn't even tell whether she was alive or dead while standing just a few meters away.

“Tell me, what have you done?!” he roared as he ripped off the hood of the man, exposing a man that looked like a corpse that had been left out in a desert for weeks.

“Fractured soul, not living, not dead,” the man wheezed with a laugh. “I was anointing her to become an elite of our Empire, but now it’s all for naught. You might as well put the girl out of her misery.”

“Tell me how to fix this!” Zac screamed into the man’s face, his anger towering to an unprecedented degree.

“Death is the destination for all. You can’t fight fate,” the desiccated husk of a man laughed, and Zac’s danger sense soon erupted, forcing him to throw the man away.

The hooded Lich exploded into an enormous cloud of gasses that were no doubt extremely toxic, but a few wide swings with [Verun’s Bite] pushed the cloud north and toward the edge of the island.

Zac only took a cursory glance at the surroundings before running over toward the glass array that had kept the Alea's soul from crumbling any further. However, he stumbled after just a few steps, and his mind started to become cloudy. He quickly ate one of his best antidotes as he circulated the Fragment of the Coffin in an effort to refine the invisible toxins that must have made their way into his body.

Helplessness threatened to immobilize him as he looked down at the array. He somewhat regretted not bringing his sister in his hurry to get here in time, but he instinctively knew there was nothing she could do in front of something like this. He ripped out the four crystals powering the array, and they were no-doubt D-Grade Miasma Crystals from the fluctuations.

Extremely condensed streams of death-attuned energies tried to infect his body without him even trying to absorb anything, but his Specialty Core just trembled a bit as it absorbed the infiltration. Zac put the crystals into his pouch as he swung his axe a few times to ruin the intricate layout of inscriptions covering the ground, and the array immediately lost any remaining strength.

The array was stopped, but his heart still hammered as he gripped the cover glass coffin to push it away. But before he even had a chance to move the lid an invisible shockwave erupted from within, and his surroundings changed the next instant.

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Comments (44)
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User #580244 - 29 Sep 20 16:36
Thank you!
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User #12491961 - 29 Sep 20 16:30
They call me Johnny Fastguy
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User #3346488 - 29 Sep 20 16:40
Also can someone please explain how the undead seem to know so much? They know exactly where his island is plus all about Alea and the hidden valley. Seems like bullshit to me.
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User #37249430 - 29 Sep 20 16:42
I’m guessing the Church with their spies traded that info for help in attacking. Remember, the Church has been confirmed to have a spy on PA as well as generally being a specialized spy faction.
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User #3346488 - 29 Sep 20 16:43
Pretty sure they cleared out all the spies on Zac island earlier
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User #37249430 - 29 Sep 20 16:49
They thought they did, but in a POV it was stated they still had one.
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User #18949675 - 29 Sep 20 16:56
It took Ogras months to clear the spies, in that time they could learn everything from everyone on the island.
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User #239788 - 29 Sep 20 17:10
If I remember correctly, the undead left a mark on Alea and with it trace her to the island.
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User #3346488 - 29 Sep 20 17:13
All right I get it there are multiple plausible explanations as to how they found Port Atwood. They can still suck a fat one.
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User #18251460 - 29 Sep 20 18:56
There’s also a chance that spectral attack that fractured her soul marked her
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User #27030677 - 29 Sep 20 19:03
Ogras cleared out the shapeshifters. But they sent in a human spy along with Kenzie and her friend.
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User #27644885 - 29 Sep 20 17:22
I hope the whole undead empire is going down for this vile treachery! Blood feud time!
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User #34642712 - 29 Sep 20 17:28
Zac walks up to Adriel and growls, "You're dead!" "You're observant," Adriel replies.
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User #26130883 - 29 Sep 20 17:30
BLOOOOOOD FEEEEEUD! EVERYONE GET OUT HERE THERE'S A BLOOD FEUD GOIN' ON!
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User #22507016 - 29 Sep 20 19:19
This is weird to say but I truly hope Alea dies. The tendency in traditional Xanaxia is for characters to never truly die. Hence there never tends to be any character building through death which is a natural part of life. We have had 100+ chapters in a row of fighting and base building. Now let’s get a glimpse of the human beneath the battle maniac, show us complex emotions that isn’t just pure rage and anger. Let him feel grief, regret, guilt, melancholy. Let him have a legitimate setback and failure. Let that boy grow for clucks sake. I don’t know if I can stick with another month of a cardboard cutout of a character that just wordlessly slashes an axe.
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User #24359990 - 29 Sep 20 20:21
So he didn't grow when losing his father?
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User #7205316 - 29 Sep 20 20:33
Although I Agree with this I would not cry if he did this to Alea, but there could be interesting to see in what way Alea is going to transform, it might be a completely new version. I think let her die and make her come back as a sort of revenant. Let her lose most of what she was and turn into another person with maybe some specs from her past life. Like a pore conversion of a revenant. So let her die in this and a new Alea form, this could cause just as much grief and guilt. Not being there to help her, being forced to turn her into a revenant. That her turn into very much a version of the one the undead lady had at her side, but maybe with some specs of her personality.
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User #22507016 - 29 Sep 20 20:48
@Gabriel if you're referring to the brief moment of emotion displayed well over 200 chapters ago than yes. I've seen turtles with more emotional bandwidth than Zac.
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User #25293756 - 30 Sep 20 13:17
i liked the emotional conflict surrounding his former friends and their corruption/assassination plot
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User #27764971 - 3 Oct 20 12:08
Out of all the girls, I like her the least
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User #7038833 - 29 Sep 20 16:31
Thanks for the chapter
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User #26916748 - 29 Sep 20 17:26
Hm. Maybe Alea is gonna become an undead who exists outside the empire’s control like Zac? Zac is probably gonna do something to mess with the process and create an unexpected result.
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User #25288106 - 29 Sep 20 17:29
Yea I kinda called it, they’ve been going over how revenants are made way too much. Zac might manage to do it without losing ‘Alea’ though.
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User #34642712 - 29 Sep 20 17:32
Maybe Zac can make her one of his skeleton warriors.
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User #7976252 - 29 Sep 20 17:41
Zac gets the lich power?
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User #20585040 - 29 Sep 20 17:42
This would possibly lead to Zac learning how to raise the dead
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User #26916748 - 29 Sep 20 17:39
Has Zac had a chance to check and see if any of the treasures he gathered from the tower remain? Maybe he has something he can use from one of the higher levels?
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User #24359990 - 29 Sep 20 20:16
He did check while chatting with Catheya.
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User #5446982 - 29 Sep 20 20:45
He has checked.
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User #3346488 - 29 Sep 20 16:38
The undead really fucking suck
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User #37462108 - 29 Sep 20 16:39
And so results his problems with Alea...
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User #11801336 - 29 Sep 20 16:40
Thanks for the chapter
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User #30866133 - 29 Sep 20 16:48
That’s a good chapter. That cliffhanger is massive.
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User #3346488 - 29 Sep 20 16:51
If you enjoy cliffhangers I guess you’re in the right place...
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User #7038833 - 29 Sep 20 16:32
Zac crashing into the shield while screaming “Bring me Adriel!”
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User #26955678 - 29 Sep 20 16:30
Thanks
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User #20585040 - 29 Sep 20 16:57
Would it be possible to use the Divine Investiture Array on a person? Or the Pink Flash? I'm super curious to see what direction this goes
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User #10841787 - 29 Sep 20 17:01
I'm surprised but happy that the pacing of the story seems to have picked up again.
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User #26955678 - 29 Sep 20 16:49
Zombie waifu???
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User #12491961 - 29 Sep 20 16:52
Zaifu
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User #31288607 - 29 Sep 20 17:45
Mmm he know they are about the hidden mystic zone (and its more important to anything to them) and are blocked in their area in (door/authority/etc) and multiple entrance exist for this mystique zone and they can get them (location/open them) and he know not all boat come to his island and they blocked the teleportation and reked/damaged his boat and he still dont tilt their primary objective is his entrance to the mystique zone, sight still a no brain mc just reacting all time
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User #40593237 - 29 Sep 20 19:39
As far as i remember Zac doesnt know that the mystic realm is super mega valueable. Its not like he could go to that island and let his city be destroyed on the meantime even if he knew.
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User #9578630 - 29 Sep 20 18:28
Thanks for the chapter
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User #19375330 - 29 Sep 20 16:44
Now is the time to make her like him. Then be the starting point of the living dead, who will spread across the multiverse and destroy those who are living or undead. I like the irony of a group that annoys the undead in the same way the undead annoy the living
Chapter 477. 2020-09-28T17:05:40+00:00

The Bishop's golden array lit up the next moment, and a fiery meteor several times larger than the one that had slammed into the City Shield begun its descent, its fall accompanied by a rain of fire so hot that the air itself was incinerated.

Zac realized these maniacs weren't called zealots by chance, and over a hundred of their own would die if that thing slammed into the ground in the confined space of [Profane Seal].

"We wanted to use this strike on the native Lord, but taking out an elite from the five cursed races is a worthy trade," the Bishop laughed from the sky.

The meteor rammed into the miasmic fractal acting as a dome for the miasmic cage the next second, and Zac knew in ant instant that it would only hold for so long before cracking. Zac started running toward the edge of the cage along with the surviving cultists, but he was forced to carve a path of blood as the lunatics seemed ready to sacrifice their lives just to keep him within the blast zone.

However, the normal cultists had no means to even impede Zac's escape, and he reached the edge of his cage just as the azure fractal broke apart, transmitting a blowback to Zac that made him stumble for a second.

The meteor regained its momentum in an instant, but it actually managed to change its trajectory as it went straight for Zac. He growled in annoyance as he activated [Immutable Bulwark] and infused it with the Fragment of the Coffin. The fractal wall grew to its maximum size, reaching almost twenty meters across, but it could still barely cover a third of the meteor as the two collided.

Zac felt like he was being subject to the gravity of a sun as he was locked in a battle of man versus nature. His whole body trembled from the strain as the pressure was transmitted from the skill into his body. A few zealots tried to take the opportunity to strike while Zac was occupied, but they found themselves turned into desiccated husks from a few spectral chains that hovered around Zac like sentinels.

The meteor thankfully lost its momentum fast enough, and Zac pushed the fiery ball toward the largest clump of soldiers with a grunt, and it landed among them with a massive outburst of flames that rushed in every direction. The soldiers had desperately tried to erect some golden shields to stop the meteor as well, but they were nowhere near as powerful as Zac and his fractal bulwark.

The shields had broken in an instant and the cultists were either turned to paste or burned alive.

Screams could be heard from every direction, and not even Zac was completely unscathed even if he had managed to change the trajectory of the array. He had lost a large chunk of Miasma to maintain the massive shield as it was pressed against the flaming meteor, and he was still beset by the waves of flames that instantly covered the entire cage after the impact.

He also felt that the whole cage was being pushed toward its breaking point. The dome in the sky breaking had already damaged [Profane Seal], and cracks now covered both the towers and gates of the skill. The only thing maintaining the skill right now was probably the infusion of energy from the fifteen spectral chains.

However, Zac didn't enjoy that kind of energy boost as [Fields of Despair] was completely countered by the all-consuming flames. The miasmic haze hadn't been present at all during the battle, and he hadn't gotten even a smidgeon of Miasma from the large number of killed zealots. It was the first time he had met a perfect counter to so many of his skills in his Undying Bulwark form, and he felt it wasn't by chance that the Church of Everlasting Dao and the Undying Empire were such bitter enemies.

Zac quickly readjusted his shield so that it shrunk just to the point that it covered his body. It was just in time as well as waves of fire and molten stones shot toward him. The heat was blistering, but it was somewhat manageable by circulating the Fragment of the Bodhi through his body. His first instinct was to dispel the cage and regroup, perhaps even change back to his human form to gain some ranged capabilities to take out the bishop and the stragglers.

However, Zac eventually decided against that course of action. Instead of fleeing from the scorching heat of the meteor, he rather ran toward it. The ground shuddered beneath his feet as he ran as quickly as his bulky transformation allowed, and he ignored the burning heat that was transmitted straight through his armor as he started scrambling up the burning meteor.

The Bishop was still floating in the air, the flames seemingly having no effect on him, and he started to rise even higher when he noticed Zac's approach.

There should no doubt be a limit of how long an E-Grade warrior could stay in the sky, but Zac wasn't willing to let the Bishop run amok until he ran out of steam. He wanted to end things quickly since his sister was waiting for him, but he was out of offensive treasures that could kill the flying man in one go.

Hoisting himself into the air with the spectral chains had already failed spectacularly as well, so he could only move as quickly as he could until he reached the top of the meteor to use it as a springboard before it was too late. The bishop launched a storm of flames in his direction, but he simply punched through them as he jumped toward the lizardman in the sky.

The meteor cracked beneath Zac's feet as he put everything into the hulking leap, and his arm was already swelling in size in preparation for the final strike. The Bishop snorted and flexed his wings, but ten spectral chains whipped at him from behind to push him down. It was the final hurrah of the spectral chains before [Profane Seal] was destroyed by the flames.

Eight of the chains were incinerated as they tried to destroy the radiant sun that shielded the Bishop, but the sacrifice released a dense storm of Miasmic gases that allowed the final two chains to pass straight through the globe of fire unscathed. The Bishop was forced to stop ascending to avoid the attack, which kept him in Zac's trajectory.

The wings of the cultist suddenly his own body in an embrace and Zac realized the man was using some sort of movement skill. However, that was just what Zac hoped for and he immediately swung his axe as he saw a burst of flames appear in front of him. The massive bardiche fell, cutting straight through a golden fractal and luxuriant armor.

The large meteor lost most of its heat in an instant, and three thuds echoed out across the battlefield as Zac and the two bisected pieces of the Bishop landed on the scorched ground. A large surge of energy entered his body, but he also felt a backlash as the miasmic cage finally broke apart.

Zac would have thought that seeing their leader getting cut in two would douse the fighting spirit of the surviving zealots, but he had severely underestimated just how crazy these people were. Most of them started emitting extremely condensed fires from their mouths and eyes, and they heedlessly ran toward him as their bodies started swelling.

Some fell onto the ground before they even got close to Zac, their bodies turning into bloated balloons before exploding into cascading flames. It reminded Zac of the man that had exploded when he saved Kenzie from the New World Government at the border town. The whole area shuddered as dozens of eruptions went off one after another as the soldiers tried to bring Zac with them down to hell.

The pitch-black armor from [Vanguard of Undeath] was already in a haggard state after climbing atop the meteor, and the blasts were quickly ripping apart the remaining layers. Zac blocked out the attacks he could with [Immutable Bulwark], whereas the few remaining skeletons absorbed some of the attacks for him.

Thankfully enough the battlefield turned quiet soon enough, with just him and a few dying cultists remaining.

His hair was singed clean off and burns covered a large part of his body, but one of the two invading armies were dealt with at least. The cultists hadn't even managed to harm him apart from some surface burns, but they had been a surprisingly hard nut to crack. It looked like most, if not all, of the Incursion restrictions were gone by this point.

Normally he would have wanted to sit down and go over the battle at this juncture, as it felt like he had gained a lot from the fight. But there was no time, and Zac turned back to his human form before he walked back through the burning wreckage toward Port Atwood's Wall.

He jumped up with a grunt, appearing next to the demon captain and a few Valkyries that had waited for his return.

“I’ve dealt with the leader and the army, but be careful,” Zac said as he cracked his neck. “There might be more hiding.”

Harvath slowly nodded as he looked out across the destruction outside the wall, mute disbelief apparent in his eyes.

“Have you found anything about the array jamming?” Zac asked as he took out one of his healing pills to deal with the burns.

“I'm sorry, we didn't dare to leave the wall while you fought in case we would become a liability. We'll start cleaning up the battlefield and looking for the array immediately,” Harvath said as he started awake.

“That's fine,” Zac nodded as he took out his new flying treasure, the large inscribed leaf. “I’m heading inland. Be careful, most of the cultists chose to blow themselves up, but perhaps there are reinforcements on the ship.”

"We'll be careful," Harvath nodded. "Don't worry and let us deal with the aftermath."

Zac jumped on the treasure the next moment, and it soundlessly rose to the sky before it shot away with enough speed to rip the clouds in two.

It felt a bit bad to leave Port Atwood while there still were enemies remaining. He had dealt with the army, but who knew what other things the cultists had planned. It was all-too-apparent just how far they were willing to go to take out their enemies, and he wouldn't be surprised if they had more nasty surprises in store for his island.

However, there was only one of him, and he needed to prioritize where to strike for maximum effect.

The speed of Zac’s new flying treasure was just shocking, and he wasn’t sure whether he would have been able to hang on if it wasn’t for the protective array that blocked out any wind. He didn't have any means to make an exact measurement, but he felt that the leaf would be able to keep up with a modern fighter jet.

At least it felt like he moved a lot faster compared to when he had flown in a commercial airplane before the integration.

It wasn’t all thanks to the high-quality craftsmanship of the vessel though. He had actually noticed that he could infuse the leaf with the Fragment of the Bodhi, which boosted the treasure's speed by around 30%. He even believed he could push the thing even further if he had some Nature-Attuned crystals to feed into the sockets rather than normal E-Grade Nexus Crystals.

It would normally have taken Zac hours to reach Azh’Rodum by foot, even if he used [Loamwalker] to speed up, but he was closing in on the center of the island after just 15 minutes of travel. He was anxious to reach the demon stronghold, as he didn’t want to repeat the tragedy of arriving just a few seconds too late again.

Finally, he saw the battlefield ahead, or rather the massive clouds of miasma that covered a huge section of the northern parts of the island. The undead forces had no doubt set up a large array of Unholy Beacons to form such a vast cloud, but he frowned in confusion when he saw that there wasn’t much of a battle raging.

There was a hovering line of sentries protecting the whole flank of Azh’Rodum, and there were over a hundred craters on the ground outside, along with a few scorched bodies. It looked there had been a few minor skirmishes that had been ended with laser-beams by his sister, but the complete lack of damage to the town fortifications indicated that the undead army wasn’t even straining itself to take over the town.

However, the defenders were desperately launching attacks at an azure shield from the walls of Azh'Rodum, with dozens of projectiles hitting the barrier every second. It almost felt like the roles of invader and defender had been swapped. Zac guessed that something was brewing within the cloud of miasma that needed to be dealt with, and quickly judging by the fervor of the attacks.

He didn't even touch down inside the town to get a grasp on the situation, but he rather chose to fly straight toward the miasmic shield. Just when he was a hundred meters from the shield he pushed off while simultaneously stowing away the treasure. Tremendous amounts of Cosmic Energy swirled around him as he shot toward the shield while [Verun's Bite] drenched the area in a bloody hue.

This time he would be the meteor.

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Comments (40)
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User #40375755 - 28 Sep 20 20:42
Wait, HOW BIG is the island? If Azh’Rodum is in the middle of the Island, and the port is at the end, and it only took 15mins to get there, traveling the speed of a fighter jet (lets assume its around 500 m/h), that put the radius at least at 125 miles. That's bigger than the width of Japan in some areas. I get that 3 Worlds were fused, but I always assumed the island was a lit smaller, like maybe 50-60 miles from shore to shore.
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User #25429777 - 29 Sep 20 02:38
4 Worlds.
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User #25338106 - 28 Sep 20 18:07
If the modern jet has speed, for example, 5,000 km/hour. Then the distance between Port Atwood and Azh'Rodum is more than 1,000 km. Is Zac's island like Australia?
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User #5952424 - 28 Sep 20 20:34
5,000 kph is ~mach 4. The F-22 tops out at ~mach 2. Modern passenger aircraft (since that's the experiential comparison made in the text) tend to max out just shy of mach 1 to avoid issues with breaking the sound barrier. Assuming mach 2, 15m of travel would be ~600km, not 1,000, which would put the island somewhere in the size vicinity of Greenland.
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User #7038833 - 28 Sep 20 20:38
5,000 kmph is probably too high that’s around Mach 4 which would exceeds the sr-71 jet the second fastest jet known modern fighter jets would probably be around Mach 1.6 to 2.2 for average speed so maybe 2000 to 3000 kmph since Zac only spent 15 minutes that is 500 to 750 kilometers so his island is large but on the level of Madagascar not Australia
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User #7038833 - 28 Sep 20 20:39
Damn it Matt you were able to answer faster
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User #40375755 - 28 Sep 20 20:49
5,000 km/hour would be super top end planes pushing their limit. Its better to assume he's talking about a more common Jet at cruising speeds. Even still, that puts his speed around 804 km/h (500 miles/h). And still means the Island is massive compared to what we've thought previously. From Port Atwood on the shore to Azh'Rodum near the middle of the island is over 200 km (125 miles)
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User #5446982 - 28 Sep 20 20:55
The demon dogs are actually just regular dingos.
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User #24359990 - 29 Sep 20 04:17
As I am re reading all chapters, I notice that was mentioned by the NWG that there were two human incursion above ground. Who were the second and what happen to them? The first was EzMahel.
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User #14007177 - 28 Sep 20 21:45
that was a great way to end the chapter
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User #38792334 - 29 Sep 20 03:58
This feels like the best chapter for a while. TBH, in most of the recent ones the end of the bishop or just before the end of the bishop would have been the chapter ending.
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User #25293756 - 29 Sep 20 11:52
the fight in this chapter seemed kinda pointless but i liked the chapter. hope the rescue isnt too dragged out. classes soon, qnd at least one arcane because he will get amazing title from it
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User #22044238 - 29 Sep 20 05:30
this was a good cliffhanger, much less frustrating since we got to see the entire fight and the set up for another
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User #9578630 - 28 Sep 20 17:45
Lol thanks for the chapter
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User #8796307 - 28 Sep 20 20:09
With regards to Zac’s class selections, don’t forget that he got that item in base town that upgrades his array to provide a hint of Karma when looking at classes. I assume that will come into play when it is time to pick classes - I can see a few possibilities: 1. he will have 2 options, one for each race, with an Epic/Arcane split, and the Karma will help him pick. 2. He will have a single Arcane class to pick, but Karma will tell him to pick a non-arcane option. 3. He will be thinking hard about picking an Epic/Epic class, but Karma will convince him to go with an Arcane option.
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User #13505849 - 28 Sep 20 20:42
Also he got that random upgrade from killing the technocrat group that should come into play when he gets his class choices.
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User #37462108 - 28 Sep 20 21:07
The system could also overrule his choice and pick an arcane class for him to get more of his special fractals. Called a unique empowerment scenario...
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User #24359990 - 29 Sep 20 03:34
@Finn I think that be a better trolling of Zac by the system if all of his options be arcane rank.
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User #13763322 - 28 Sep 20 17:25
Poor Zac is bald again.
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User #36218265 - 28 Sep 20 17:50
Zac the blood drenched monk is on the roll again
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User #27030117 - 28 Sep 20 17:19
Very nice! Thank you for the chapter sir!
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User #22143119 - 28 Sep 20 22:18
Yey!! Finally Zac is bald again!!! Well, thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #7038833 - 28 Sep 20 17:05
Thanks for the chapter
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User #5446982 - 28 Sep 20 20:55
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #34642712 - 28 Sep 20 17:23
If the attack is a "meteor" and Zac can "push" it (and punch it), then it is not just fire. In which case, why did [Deathwish] not send a return meteor attack? It may not be able to send flames, but it should be able to send back a solid meteor. The attack hit and broke through Profane Seal. That is supposed to trigger [Deathwish]. The attack hit Zac's Bulwark. That is supposed to trigger [Deathwish]. Flames are just light and heat. They have no substance to push. A meteor is solid stone and metal. The attack was apparently a solid meteor with a burning outside layer. Zac was obviously pushing and punching the solid part, not the flames. If gadgets are so good at overcoming Epic skills, then the Technocrats should be unstoppable. Everyone should be ignoring combat skills and becoming crafters of gadgets.
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User #37249430 - 28 Sep 20 17:39
Array attacks can’t be countered, as they don’t come directly from any specific person but rather an item.
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User #18445789 - 28 Sep 20 17:10
https://defiance-of-the-fall.fandom.com/wiki/Defiance_of_the_Fall_Wiki
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User #11801336 - 28 Sep 20 17:46
Thanks for the chapter
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User #580244 - 28 Sep 20 17:24
Thank you!
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User #22143119 - 29 Sep 20 01:00
Yey!! Finally Zac is bald again!!! Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
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User #7038833 - 28 Sep 20 17:06
15 seconds that’s a new record😂
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User #4161638 - 28 Sep 20 17:49
I'm surprised he didnt go hatchetman on the way in to counter the undead, maybe hes waiting til last second. Almost time for the new classes, fingers crossed for an arcane
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User #7356791 - 28 Sep 20 18:01
Was just told a few chapters ago that taking an arcane class would lock him in the path which he is following. Even Zac admitted that he's not sure what exactly his path is and finds it too vague at the moment.
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User #272781 - 28 Sep 20 18:04
He is hatchet man, he changed back to human just after the fight against the cultists
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User #4161638 - 28 Sep 20 18:05
I think it's a misdirect. Not knowing his path only matters if he has the luxury of choosing, with things melting down he needs all the power he can get, hes probably going to have to take an arcane just for the power boost and figure out his path as he goes.
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User #4161638 - 28 Sep 20 18:08
Plus I think he can only take a single arcane if the way the fragments got used last time is any indication. Hes in pretty much the same situation in terms of layout just slightly higher up the power scale. His super powerful axe fragments and two less powerful others
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User #4161638 - 28 Sep 20 18:09
So he would still have an epic class that he could change more as went. I think hes going to need the juice from an arcane for the coming fight
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User #18251460 - 28 Sep 20 19:22
The caveats of Arcane have definitely been stressed recently but overall, depending on the options, he should go for it. His “creation” is very high tier if it was responsible for creating something the system itself wants. Plus the point that he should rather focus on Dao as opposed to a few extra attribute points misses the fact that Higher Tier classes get better Dao insights and skills.
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User #4161638 - 28 Sep 20 19:27
Plus it's a bit of a checkovs gun situation. They've been stressing what he needed to do to reach arcane at E rank for a while.
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User #37462108 - 28 Sep 20 21:04
Zac clearly got the chance to change his path by the array choice in the Tower. He did not do it and as there are highertiered classes after arcane in higher grades i think it would make sense to improve it.
Chapter 476. 2020-09-26T16:12:09+00:00

"How do things look with the Undead Incursion?" Zac asked after making sure that another molten ball wasn't coming their way. "Have you found out how long until it activates?"

"... The array has already been activated," the demon said after a brief hesitation. "Half the sky of the main continent is reportedly covered with a green array."

"WHAT?!" Zac almost roared, his eyes widening with shock. "Since when?"

"Four days ago," the demon sighed. "But it is not converting the world as of yet, it is currently drawing energy from the planet. Your sister and the human champions have worked hard to slow it down for your return, but I am not sure how much time there is left. Lady Atwood will likely know more."

“Ok, where is my sister right now?” Zac asked, his mind reeling after getting bombarded by a series of unwelcome news the past hour.

His miscalculation of the time he had remaining had caused massive repercussions for Earth, and he couldn't help but feel ashamed when he thought back to his meeting with Thea just before leaving for the tower. He could only pray that he had returned in time to set things right.

“She is fighting at Azh’Rodum,” Harvath said. “She is holding the invaders back with your swarm of flying machines.”

“My machines?” Zac repeated with confusion before he remembered the drones.

She had actually gained control of the drone swarms, which Zac guessed wasn’t surprising considering Jeeves. Some fear flickered in his heart, but he knew he couldn’t blame her for taking them out. If now was not the time to use it, then when? But another point of confusion suddenly entered his mind.

“Wait, Azh’Rodum? What are they doing so far inland?” Zac asked with a frown.

“We don’t know. They first tried bombarding us from a distance where we couldn’t retaliate, but our shields were too strong for those attacks. So two ships stayed outside this town while they prepared for a siege, while the largest ship sailed north,” the demon captain explained. “We believe they might be targeting the Vein through the mine.”

"Who went with her?" Zac asked.

"Most of the Valkyries, along with Ilvere and a squad of E-Grade demons. Azh'Rodum is not as strongly defended, and it is the gateway to the Nexus Vein, so most of our elites went there. Our task here is simply to hold out until you and the young lord returned, or until the threat inland was averted. The young master... Is he here?" Harvath asked as he looked around.

"Ogras is still in the Tower of Eternity, he is fine. I got a prompt that Port Atwood was under attack so I immediately returned. Ogras will return a bit later after he has dealt with some matters over there," Zac explained as his mind went over the details.

Some things didn't make sense. His force had been in combat for over a day. Why hadn’t the system warned him? He also suddenly remembered the spike in levels for Thea and Billy roughly twelve hours ago in real-time.

"Are Billy and Thea on the island?" Zac asked.

"Yes, it was only thanks to them we managed to sink one of the ships before we were pushed back," Harvath nodded, some respect shining in his eyes. "They are currently on bed-rest. Janos had to hypnotize the big one to prevent him from running out and bashing the invaders with that nasty club of his. They will be fine in a week or two."

Zac sighed in relief when hearing those two were fine. It looked like they actually had risked their lives to protect his people. But it made him all-the-more confused why the alert had only warned him just now.

“Did something change a few minutes ago?” Zac suddenly asked.

“A few minutes ago?” the demon repeated. “Nothing special has happened except our communications being blocked. They did also start shooting those massive balls at our shield recently. We can't see them any longer because of the flames, but the zealots set up large siege tools some distance from here."

Zac slowly nodded in understanding. It seemed that the System only gave out a warning at the last moment, which was a valuable piece of information. He couldn’t rely on the System as a warning call to protect his home. This time he was lucky enough to be able to get back to town almost instantly, but that wouldn't always be the case.

He really needed to erect a more permanent protection that would withstand any threat on Earth.

"I can't see anything in front of me, what are they doing on the other side of the flames?" Zac finally asked.

"Our vision has been blocked for a while now as well. It's almost exclusively the Cultists who have set up camp outside. We received a report that the situation is almost the opposite at Azh'Rodum before we lost contact. There's almost only undead warriors up there."

“I’ll deal with the attackers here before heading to Azh’Rodum,” Zac said. "Try to find out if they've erected some sort of array anywhere. We need to break the arrays blocking our communications."

With that, he simply jumped out from the wall and landed in a sea of flames that rose over a dozen meters into the air. He had just jumped twenty meters or so, but his vision was completely blocked in both directions, and he was forced to activate the Fragment of the coffin to not get burnt. A thought suddenly struck him and his Specialty Core activated.

The undead and the cultists might be working together on the surface, but things weren't very harmonious from the sound of it. Perhaps he could cause some confusion within their ranks with his alternate form while also letting his Hatchetman class rest for a bit. Both the main skills of Hatchetman were on cool-down, after all, along with [Hatchetman's Rage].

Granted, he was still pretty confident at defeating this army even with Hatchetman in a weakened state. His power had almost doubled in the ten short days since he left Earth, while the Invaders still should have some small restrictions to their power. Not only that, but he had also gone through all sorts of life-and-death encounters, sharpening his skills to the utmost.

His body grew as the pitch-black armor covered his body, and Zac caused the flames surrounding him to die out with one massive swing of his bardiche. It put him face-to-face with the Zealot army, and he was delighted to see their anger and confusion as a sea of miasma spread out around him as he started running toward their front-lines.

“You! What ploy is this!” a massive roar echoed out from the army, and a huge lizardman decked in a thick armor shining in gold and red pushed past the inquisitors at the front.

Zac didn't answer, but he rather took out one of the enormous Unholy Beacons from his Cosmos Sack and slammed it into the ground like he was planting a flag. It immediately started spewing out miasma, though most of it was burned away by the surrounding flames. But this was more about sending a message than getting more death-attuned energy, and the effect was immediate.

“Heretic! Your sins will be judged today!” the infuriated Bishop roared, and Zac couldn't help but snicker beneath his helmet as the undead liaisons were mobbed by infuriated cultists.

There was no time to waste though as his sister was fighting for her life as far as he knew. The only reason he didn't immediately rush to Azh'Rodum was that he believed her to be somewhat safe with the help of the drone swarm he had left on Port Atwood. She also had access to the Town Shop, meaning she could keep buying one defensive layer after another as was needed.

He still didn't want to waste time with the crazy zealots though, and he stomped down onto the ground to teleport into the middle of the army. However, he was surprised to find himself rebuffed, and he stumbled a bit as he appeared right outside a golden shield that had appeared in front of the army.

"We have fought your kind for millions of years. Did you truly think we didn't come prepared?!" the bishop roared with mad laughter.

Zac knew he was putting himself in a disadvantage by fighting as an undead against the cultists, as they had whole armies dedicated to fighting the Undead Empire. However, he saw it as an opportunity to fight in an adverse situation, and he still felt he had the strength to prevail. There was no way he wouldn't be able to deal with these guys head-on unless the leaders of the two Incursions had shown up on his doorstep.

But that would be fine with Zac as well, as killing those two would essentially end the incursions and threat to Earth.

His arm swelled as he forced his arm full of Miasma for [Unholy Strike], and the whole area shook as the shield was beset by a series of furious swings empowered by his improved Middle Stage Dao Fragment. Almost a dozen of the robed priests standing behind the shield hunkered over after the first swing, with a few even starting bleeding down their ears.

A storm of golden flames beset him as Zac tried to force his way through the shield, but he kept them at bay with [Immutable Bulwark]. However, he noticed with some surprise that the flames were like sticky napalm, and they stayed on the fractal bulwark and slowly whittled it down. It was like the flames and the Miasma canceled each other out, and Zac felt a far higher-than-normal consumption just to maintain the fractal shield.

His reserves of death-attuned energies were thankfully immense due to his almost inhuman attribute pool, and he kept providing the bulwark with more and more energy until he managed to create a crack in the wall. He forced himself through in an instant, he was upon the cultists like a fox in a henhouse.

Two burly clergymen tried to take him down by swinging scepters that contained the same fiery energy as the ranged attacks. Zac blocked one of them with his axe, and the other one got slammed with [Everlasting] with enough force to be thrown dozens of meters away. Zac heard a crunching sound after the man was hit with the shield-bash, and he felt a surge of energy not long after he fell onto the ground.

"Regroup!" the leader from before shouted, but Zac didn't want to give them any time to retreat to a safe distance.

He stomped his foot into the ground once more, and the cage of [Profane Seal] rose from the ground and captured almost the whole army along with the siege tools that had been shooting out the molten cores at the City Shield. However, he was unable to spread his corrosive breath along with miasma from [Fields of Despair] to cover the cage, as waves of flames kept dispersing the mists.

Zac finally gave up on his usual tactic, and instead started fighting by hand as he commanded the fifteen spectral chains to target the weaker warriors. Ghosts kept appearing in the cage as well as hundreds of the cultists tried to destroy the gates and the towers of [Profane Seal], only to hurt themselves.

A hundred skeletal warriors also emerged from the ground, and they formed ten squads that moved across the cage to take out stragglers and interrupt the zealot's attempts to form a proper defense against the chains. Unfortunately, it seemed as though the cultists were quite adept at fighting skeletons, and Zac felt himself losing subordinates at a rapid pace.

However, it wasn't like the life and death of the skeletons mattered, as long as they fulfilled their purpose. The whole cage was an utter mess soon enough with battles taking place everywhere. Errant flames and miasmic gusts made visibility almost impossible, and Zac was only able to make sense of the situation with the help of [Cosmic Gaze].

A tremendous wave of golden flames threatened to swallow Zac whole as the siege weapons launched a barrage meant for shield-breaking right at him, scoring a few over fifteen zealots by mistake. He swiftly cut the projectiles apart with a Dao-infused swing, and he started taking out the operators the next moment.

One siege tool after another entered his Spatial ring as the controllers were cut into two, and the situation was turning gradually into his favor as each chain soon held multiple desiccated corpses while they whizzed around. The head priest had been suspiciously silent until now though, but Zac finally spotted him through the flames.

Two wings sprouted out from his back, and he rose over a dozen meters into the air even after the suppressive effect of the azure fractal sealing the cage. A glowing orb of flames over fifteen meters across emerged behind his back, making him look like an apostle of the sun. However, it still looked a bit hollow in Zac's eyes as he had witnessed the true flames conjured by Iz Tayn.

“Weight of the Heavens!” the priest roared and a massive array appeared in the sky above the cage the next moment.

Zac’s eyes widened at the sight, but it still wasn’t enough to make him despair or even worry. He had faced a lot stronger arrays just a few hours ago, and Zac still had almost half his treasures remaining if need be. Besides, the restrictive array from [Profane Seal] didn't only put pressure on the people inside, it also acted as a protection from outside interference.

But Zac realized that the cultists were going all-out as he spotted nine priests who had kept out of harm's way until now, each of them holding a metal sun toward the sky that seemed to burn the controllers alive. He immediately directed a chain toward each of the priests, but they were immediately rebuffed by a fiery wall of flames whose heat was enough to turn the spectral fetters into motes of miasma when they got too close.

A few seconds later the nine priests were gone, replaced with nine hovering suns positioned in a circle at the edge of the cage.

The nine glowing suns were clearly related to the array that had lit up in the sky above, but the main controller was no doubt the Bishop who was still hovering up in the air. Zac growled in frustration over the lack of ranged options in his Undying Bulwark class, and he opted to try out his recently invented tactic again.

A spectral chain made a few loops around his chest before it hoisted him up, but he only managed to rise five meters before the Bishop launched a stream of fire that destroyed the midsection of the chain. Zac helplessly fell down again, wondering if he actually had to waste one of his single-use treasures on a simple general.

"A lowly cretin wants to rise toward the sky?" The Bishop roared. "The Boundless Heaven's won't abide!"

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Comments (57)
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User #18251460 - 26 Sep 20 21:47
I get that. But even defensively. Think about the third swing of deforestation. Is there anything even comparable defensively?
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User #25457522 - 26 Sep 20 23:08
Not likely but it's on cool down due to the curse.
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User #24467849 - 27 Sep 20 01:30
Okay but remember what happened when he actually fought with undead? He basically elevated all of them to tangible threats and gives them infinite miasma to work with. Zac just isn't utilizing the class to its fullest cause hes not with an army of undead which is why it seems lack luster. I think its worth the epic to make foot soldiers mini powerhouses
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User #7038833 - 26 Sep 20 19:55
Thanks for the chapter
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User #5446982 - 26 Sep 20 23:05
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 17:15
With Zac's immense strength, he should be able to jump high enough to reach those people. He should be like the Incredible Hulk who takes gigantic leaps that almost look like he is flying. Besides, Zac has that flying leaf that came from the mind mage's ring.
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User #25457522 - 26 Sep 20 23:07
That flying treasure is what he is probably going to use to reach the undead incursion on time. I doubt even his sister can identify all the array breakers he has.
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User #43020911 - 28 Sep 20 07:29
Not sure if I'd use a flying treasure made from a leaf against enemies that use fire as a primary weapon.
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User #34642712 - 28 Sep 20 15:19
It is in the shape of a leaf, but it is obviously going to be far tougher than a leaf. No rich scion would have a treasure that could be damaged easily. It will be tough, have defenses, and Zac also can extend his defenses.
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User #18251460 - 26 Sep 20 21:36
Tbh for an epic class the skills of Undying Bulwark are underwhelming. Comparing the skills of hatchetman and undying bulwark and you would think hatchetman is the epic one
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User #11417569 - 26 Sep 20 21:46
Bulwark is as its name a defensive focused class made to defend and lead a army not to single-handedly crush one. Different goals in mind for each class and the forester one better suit his fighting style meaning he gets more out of it.
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User #25288106 - 27 Sep 20 01:38
He’s using a defensive general type class by himself.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 16:34
Is [Deathwish] active? It seems like Zac forgets to activate that, which is crazy. If they are about to launch a big attack against him or the Profane Seal, he better have Deathwish active. At this point there is not much reason for him to endure a powerful attack. He should consider fleeing to where all the Undead are and getting the Church people to follow him. That would be amusing when he arrives at a large group of Undead with a horde of shouting Cultists heading straight for them.
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User #25338106 - 26 Sep 20 16:41
yes, active. " Ghosts kept appearing in the cage as well as hundreds of the cultists tried to destroy the gates and the towers of [Profane Seal], only to hurt themselves."
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User #22892883 - 26 Sep 20 16:51
Deathwish is active, notice how the cultists get attacked by specters when they try to break out. It just that the skill mostly procs off physical attacks wo we don’t see it against the flames
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User #29911934 - 26 Sep 20 17:30
Not to sure about revealing that there is a traitorous draugr
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 17:44
Numerous Church people have seen the Draugr. The Undead will hear about it soon enough, no matter what Zac does next. Well, unless Zac kills every single one of them before they can get a message out. Which seems unlikely.
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User #25378417 - 26 Sep 20 16:24
Wait, is this guy the same rank as the guy Ogras solo'd during the third trial?
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User #24359990 - 26 Sep 20 16:33
Yes, he appear to be a general, but not the same rank of power, as Zac easily dispatch the Corpse Lord that was also a general and the Undead Lady General appear to have being stronger (Kenzie fought her).
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User #11801336 - 26 Sep 20 17:46
Thanks for the chapter
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User #11280757 - 27 Sep 20 06:10
why do arrogant characters have to speak french ? :o
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User #580244 - 26 Sep 20 16:43
Thank you!
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User #25338106 - 26 Sep 20 21:59
"Two burly clergymen tried to take him down by swinging scepters that contained the same fiery energy as the ranged attacks. Zac blocked one of them with his axe, and the other one got slammed with [Everlasting] with enough force to be thrown dozens of meters away." Haha, Zac blocks with an axe, and strikes with a shield.
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User #26916748 - 26 Sep 20 18:53
Zac should go tell the Church members that their alliance is broke and that he is claiming the world for the Undead Empire. Sow dissension among these temporary allies. Make the Church think the Undead Empire has betrayed them.
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User #4131256 - 26 Sep 20 19:10
Pretty sure he has already achieved that
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User #24359990 - 26 Sep 20 16:30
Thanks
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User #37462108 - 27 Sep 20 18:52
By tge way: the term Terminus came up in Zacs Inheritage of Ylriel. He said that Zac should strive for the Terminus.
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User #24359990 - 27 Sep 20 22:53
I was going post something similar. I am rereading all chapters and noticed the terminus being mentioned for the first time in chapter 290.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 16:36
"Both the main skills of Hatchetman were on cool-down, after all, along with [Hatchetman's Rage]." Are the cool down times for the skills getting longer as they level up? That does not seem right. It seems TFD just arbitrarily increased the cool down times to make the fight scene last longer.
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User #25338106 - 26 Sep 20 16:42
Zac fought just an hour ago.
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User #18949675 - 26 Sep 20 16:45
It was told before that cooldowns change with power level, some become instant like Loamwalker and Chop, but the power of the skill remains while others, main damagers like the cage and rage stay active longer and stronger but get a longer cooldown, it's a balance thing that Zac mentioned several times before
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 16:45
It was more than an hour ago. And the skills never had a cool down over 1 hour before. And it was never stated that cool down times become longer as the skill levels up. You made that up.
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User #37249430 - 26 Sep 20 16:56
Verun, you really seem to have a problem with every chapter. I don’t really understand why you’re still reading, but I would hope that you could chill out just a bit. It has been just an hour, considering he went straight from the fight to Catheya and they talked for about an hour. The cooldown, at least for Nature’s Punishment, is around 8-12 hours. Rage leaves him weakened for longer than an hour, and Deforestation is unknown to my knowledge. In conclusion, please calm the hell down and read the story. Criticism is good but what you do is a step beyond it.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 17:02
Nowhere does it say Nature's Punishment has an 8-hour cooldown. You made that up. Hatchetman's Rage cool down is stated to be 1-hour. It has been more than an hour. He did not go straight from the fight to Catheya. He spent some time on the battlefield and even gave a speech. Then at least several minutes walking to the private room. He spent a long time with Catheya, talking and waiting around. Then some time with Galau, and a short time with Pretty. Then he spent time running around Port Atwood. Then talking to the Creators. It is definitely more than an hour. There is no need for you to get upset because I point out flaws in the story. If you do not like to see the flaws pointed out, then do not read the comments. You seem really high-strung. Try to calm down and not get so upset just because of a comment.
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User #29911934 - 26 Sep 20 17:34
Verun is such a pleb. How dare he reveal the plotholes the supremne being created. They are only for the chosen ones to savour.
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User #37249430 - 26 Sep 20 17:49
As I said, criticism is good but what you do is above that. I look at the comments cause I legitimately enjoy the story and want to see what people say about it. This includes negatives, but when it’s the same guy who makes up stupid problems every single chapter, it’s just annoying. It seems like you come at chapters with the goal of finding that problem, finding that thing to complain about. If you were an editor that’d be a great quality, but as a reader and member of the community sometimes you just gotta chill and accept that what you thought was wrong. Sometimes you have legit criticisms which I enjoy, but most of the time it’s just nitpicky bs. I’m not trying to attack you so I’m not gonna respond to the accusations of my personality that you made off of one comment. Now I’m gonna go find quotes to prove you wrong, brb.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 18:06
You really need to calm down. If you get so upset just from a few comments, then you seriously need to examine yourself and figure out why that may be. Or if that is too much analysis, you could stop reading the comments. You also need to take responsibility for yourself and understand that it is not my responsibility to change what I say in my comments because you cannot control yourself.
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User #37249430 - 26 Sep 20 18:16
Ok, personal attacks are cool. Gotta love it when your only response to criticism of your actions is to attack the other person. And why should you be allowed to dominate the comments section? It’s a community space. I’m merely asking that you raise your standards for a criticizable problem, not that you stop commenting in totality. I’m going to ask that you don’t make more statements about me as a person, as we both don’t know each other past our actions so it’s pretty rude. It’s also not just a “few” comments. Every time I look in the comment section there you are, finding something to complain about. It’s great that you love the story that much, but I’d hope you could say something nice once in a while, or give more substantive proof to back up your arguments then “you made that up”.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 18:34
Again, you really need to calm down and take responsibility for yourself instead of blaming me because you cannot control yourself. Also, you really need to do some self reflection, since while it is mildly amusing that you think I am attacking you because I am unwilling to completely change what I write in my comments, the fact is that you are the one who needs to take responsibility for yourself and recognize that the only person you can control is yourself. No one has an obligation to change just because you cannot control yourself.
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User #37249430 - 26 Sep 20 18:42
Ok, thanks for being so civil. I’ll just use the discord from now on, I guess the comments section belongs to you lol
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 18:50
If only everyone would follow your rules and not write anything that you disagree with, everything would be great, huh? LOL. I guess you could rule over your own comment section with an iron fist. If you could get a single Patron you could impose your will on. LOL
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User #37249430 - 26 Sep 20 19:19
Way to be toxic, mate.
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User #34642712 - 26 Sep 20 19:59
Dude, chill and reflect. The only thing toxic here is what you brought yourself. Think on it.
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User #27429630 - 26 Sep 20 20:14
Totally validnquestion. Everybody relax.
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User #20652425 - 26 Sep 20 21:41
Yeah says he faced multiple arrays a few hours ago and more powerful so probably 3-6 hours
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User #26571146 - 27 Sep 20 00:43
Don’t feed the troll, Dylan.
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User #34642712 - 27 Sep 20 00:49
Crawl back under your bridge, Evan.
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User #3572455 - 27 Sep 20 13:36
It's mighty amusing that someone so eager to criticize others gets so upset when they've received a critique in turn.
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User #34642712 - 27 Sep 20 14:26
The really funny thing is that none of the less discriminating readers have even given a pity subscription to help. Still zero. LOL
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User #37249430 - 28 Sep 20 16:07
Thx for reminding me, Verun. Since I stopped writing, I forgot to close down my creator page. Even if I was still writing, I don't think your childish insults would hurt. It's almost like you're lashing out at whatever you can because you don't want to admit you're wrong. Also, I'm looking at your amazing page and I don't see any patrons.... hmm. I wouldn't throw rocks from a glass house mate.
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User #34642712 - 28 Sep 20 16:13
LOL, you say I insulted you and then try to insult me? You're hilarious! If I had a creator page, then your insult might make sense. LOL.
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User #37249430 - 28 Sep 20 16:30
That’s the point, Verun. You’ve never tried to make anything. You’re a consumer who thinks he knows better then authors who have spent hours of their lives agonizing over every detail of their stories, just for you to come along and call it shit. Now, if you were to criticize normally that’d be ok. We need critics. But you rip into everything with the intent to destroy, and then, when proven wrong, you rip into those people that dared to call you out. And then you pretend you won the conversation with your LOLs and your smugness, but truly? You’re just showing everyone the child you are. As you would say, crawl back under your bridge, Verun. Come back out when you’re ready to be an adult.
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User #34642712 - 28 Sep 20 17:07
Dylan, Dylan, Dylan. I see now why you have so much trouble controlling yourself when someone points out flaws in writing. You are a failed writer and cannot help taking it personally and lashing out at what you see as symptoms of your failure. You really should have taken my advice and reflected on your behavior. Instead you continue to obsess over this comment thread instead of simply ignoring it as you said you were going to do. How often do you keep checking this thread? That is a symptom of obsession and possibly masochism since you keep complaining about being insulted. I apologize for laughing at you. You have my pity.
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User #37249430 - 28 Sep 20 17:17
Kk!
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User #9578630 - 26 Sep 20 16:12
Thanks
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User #9578630 - 26 Sep 20 16:23
Nice fight. Zac is still a bit of a meat head but he's got a really solid cover for it. Too bad he's getting out maneuvered in a lot of ways. I hope he learns to try to work together with people and explain what's going on. He's by far powerful enough to not worry about betrayal at this point but maybe he could avoid getting totally fucked by other people who actually think things through.
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User #22143119 - 26 Sep 20 16:37
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!
Chapter 475. 2020-09-25T16:57:04+00:00

Zac immediately found the demon sitting in the lobby downstairs, surrounded by a handful of scions. Ogras looked up and immediately spotted something was wrong with his expression and flashed over.

“The town is being attacked,” Zac simply said with a low voice. “I got a prompt by the System.”

“What?!” the demon said with surprise. “Who would be able to attack the island?”

“I’ll go deal with it immediately,” Zac said. “It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to get any force to help us out against that guy anyway.”

“No,” Ogras said with a shake of his head. “I asked around. It seems a few C-Grade forces in the sector have gone from rulers of their areas to beggars after having crossed that Clan. One weird calamity after another befell their factions until nothing was left. They are definitely not some benign monks, and no one wants to be the next one to fall.”

“You can stay behind a bit longer while I deal with this,” Zac said after thinking it over. “I got something that will be able to see karma threads at least. See if you can find anything else that can help us hide our planet better, like arrays or obscuring treasures.”

“I’ll make some inquiries. Many still want to make a connection to us even if they will stay out of the way of the Heliophos Clan,” the demon said. “I’m sure I can squeeze all kinds of good things out of the people here. There might be something useful in the sacks I looted as well, I haven't had a chance to go through them yet.”

“Might as well make the most of the situation,” Zac sighed. “I’ve already asked Boje Zethaya, but see if you can find any soul healing treasures. My soul cracked and I was forced to use the treasure during the climb and I don’t have anything to heal Alea now. And get some materials for upgrading weapons as well.”

The demon looked shocked, before he wryly looked at the people around.

“I’ll ask, but if the Zethaya Descendant can’t find anything I doubt I will fare any better,” Ogras said. “But the girl is strong and we still have time. We need to focus on that old bastard coming for us. I’ll see what solutions there are.”

“Good. I got a token from Boje anyway, so we can always send someone over for a healing pill,” Zac agreed as he took out the Tower Token. “When will you come back?”

“I’ll sort things out quickly before returning as well,” Ogras said after some thought. “Give me an hour or so.”

Zac only nodded and cracked his token, and ten seconds later he was back on earth.

It almost felt surreal to be back in his secluded courtyard after moving through dozens of worlds that might have either been real or imaginary. The experiences over the past 100 days had been life-changing. Some parts had far exceeded his expectations, but for other things he had come up short.

The increase to his power compared to when he left Earth just 10 days ago was almost incalculable, yet he had still failed in either getting a real solution in the fight against The Great Redeemer or a cure for Alea. It wasn't all hopeless though, as Ogras might be able to come back with something that would help them shroud Earth from any karmic trails.

But there was no time to rest. He was still not completely recuperated from the showdown outside the Tower of Eternity, but he had thankfully relied heavily on his accumulated treasures to tide that tribulation. It left him with a decent amount of Cosmic Energy to spare, though the side-effects of [Hatchetman's Rage] were still there to a certain degree.

There were no obvious sounds of battle that he could hear, so he immediately rushed toward his Nexus Node. His first instinct was that someone might be trying to tamper with his private Node while he was away, like a spy trying to snatch his lordship from under his nose. But the house with the node was empty, and it didn't look like anyone had messed with it either.

Zac quickly walked out of the building and was about to run toward the town, when a shocking explosion erupted to the south. Trees were almost flattened to the ground and Zac felt the shockwave deep into his bones even though the explosion came from hundreds of meters away. There was only one thing in that direction; the shipyard.

“The creators?” Zac muttered with confusion before he started running.

A massive plume of flames rose to the sky the moment he passed the final layer of trees, and Zac was forced to cover his face from the intense light. The explosion earlier must have taken place somewhere out on the water, but Zac could feel the heat all the way from where he stood.

Zac was about to rush toward the Creator Offices, but he noticed that a familiar figure had appeared in front of him without him noticing. It was Rahm, the Creator Liaison.

“Lord Atwood, it has been a while. I hope you are well?” the stoic Creator said, seemingly unperturbed by the fact that the whole area had been turned into a blazing inferno.

“I’m fine,” Zac said. “More importantly, what is going on? Are there attackers on the island? Or is this an experiment?”

“It is not an experiment, unfortunately,” Rahm said. “It would appear that you are being invaded. Multiple large ships have breached your shores, and there have been sounds of conflict for a while now. The explosion just now was one of the ships trying to breach our arrays.”

“Do you need assistance?” Zac asked.

“No,” a booming voice echoed as the familiar spider-golem emerged from the offices. “It’s so rare I get to see some action, and I hold no love for neither the fanatics nor the unliving. There is no way these children will be able to breach our fortifications, so you can rest easy. Nothing will be able to anchor this side of your living quarters.”

It was Karunthel, the Creator foreman who had shown up. He looked pretty much the same as before, with the noticeable addition of a cannon radiating a terrifying amount of energy that had been mounted onto his torso. The spider golem was turning more and more into a killer robot every day.

“What?” Zac blurted with confusion. “Are they both attacking us? They are supposed to be mortal enemies.”

“I guess you youngsters gave them a scare. Should’ve finished them off sooner though, now they’re crawling all over the island,” Karunthel shrugged as he inspected Zac.

“Brat, your aura is getting nice and condensed. But if you would accept a piece of advice, don’t get hung up on perfection. Cultivation might not be a sprint, but it is not a marathon either. You need to maintain momentum and keep pushing forward. The second you stop it will be much harder to start running again,” he said.

“Thank you,” Zac said, though he couldn’t really focus on the advice after hearing the whole island was under attack. “I will soon evolve. So you are fine here?”

“They have already realized we're a Mercantile Structure and will soon move on,” Karunthel laughed. “And I am not allowed to blast those rats who are staying outside the shields. Not within the job description. But I've expanded the shield to the maximum area that I am allowed, which will keep part of your coastline safe at least.”

“Thank you, I’ll visit you once this is dealt with,” Zac nodded and immediately started running toward Port Atwood.

Zac flashed through his private forest like a specter, each step with [Loamwalker] moving him fifty meters forward. Urgency and some confusion made his mind muddled as he tried to figure out just what was going on. Had the two bitter enemies really put their differences aside just for him? He had never heard of anything like it.

And more importantly, how the hell had they found these secluded islands so easily? It had taken months of exploration to find the mainland, so finding his small island would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

He could only pray he wasn't too late yet again. With both him and Ogras gone and Alea in a coma, there was pretty much no one who would be able to rebuff an assault. He could only thank the System that it was kind enough to provide a warning that his people were under attack.

Another massive shockwave erupted in the distance, containing enough power to almost throw him off his feet. A plume of golden flames rose into the sky, and Zac remembered Ogras’ descriptions of the zealot’s powers all too well. Fury started to smolder in his mind, fiery anger at the people who dared launch such a massive strike at a town full of civilians and non-combat personnel.

The world shrunk around him as he pushed [Loamwalker] to its limits. The towering flames came from the northeast, some ways inland from the coast. It was the part of Port Atwood that contained the Academy and the structures related to his army. It seemed the attackers knew what parts whey needed to take out first.

Was there really a spy on the island?

Port Atwood had thankfully overhauled its defenses since the last waves of attack though, and his people should at least be able to hold out for while even against the Undead Empire. Back then he barely had the resources to run a simple town protection array, but Port Atwood had been a World Citadel for quite some time now.

He had given his subordinates almost free reign with the town’s funds in order to develop Port Atwood, and he saw waves of flames slamming into a sturdy crystalline barrier as he approached the battlefield. Four massive fractals shone in the sky, and one of them suddenly lit up.

A tremendous surge of chaotic energies cut straight through the seas of flames with such force that space was ripped open, and a thundering explosion could be heard as the attack hit something on the other side of the ten-meter tall wall.

It was clear that the town had added some great new defenses, but both the Undead Empire and the Church of the Everlasting Dao were terrifying forces with extremely deep heritages. A golden ball slammed into the crystalline shield protecting the wall the next moment, causing massive cracks all over as streams of fire shot toward the people standing guard on the wall walk.

Zac’s eyes widened with anger as he saw the gouts of flames pour down toward his army who were desperately trying to maintain the barrier. The ground cracked beneath his feet as he leaped forward, and a storm of leaves spread out to create a vast canopy to block out the rain of fire.

“Lord Atwood!” a Valkyrie suddenly screamed, and hundreds of hopeful eyes were turned in his direction.

Zac only nodded in response as he flew toward the golden ball in the sky with furious momentum, and his body was hardened by the Fragment of the Bodhi as his fist slammed into the molten core. A shockwave spread out in all directions from his punch, and a few warriors were even thrown off from the wall as the golden ball was twisted and deformed before it was flung away.

Another shudder spread through the earth as the ball landed some distance outside the wall. Zac himself landed on the wall walk, and he tried to understand what was going on outside. However, the only thing that met his gaze was a sea of flames that spread in every direction outside the city wall.

The lunatics had set half the island on fire it seemed.

“What’s going on?” Zac asked as a familiar demon rushed to his side.

It was Harvath, one of the Demon captains who had accompanied him in the Underworld and the earlier Incursions.

“We discovered six massive ships heading this way about a day ago, carrying both the undead and zealots of the Church of Everlasting Dao,” Harvath explained between pants. “We tried to stop their advance with repeated raids using our smaller vessels, but we only managed to sink two of them before our ships were too burned to continue attacking.”

“The Undead Empire has really teamed up with the Chuch?” Zac asked incredulously, still having trouble believing it was true.

“It appears that way,” Harvath said. “Three of the remaining ships sailed for our island, with the final one veering off for some reason. We fear that other settlements might have been hit.”

“You don’t know?” Zac asked with a frown.

“They are somehow blocking our teleporters. It is like this island has become isolated from the rest of the world. We have lost connection to all other locations on our Teleportation List. We could still teleport within the island until recently, but we lost that ability a few minutes ago. We have sent out scouting vessels but haven’t gotten word back,” he said.

“How’s that possible?” Zac muttered with a frown.

“General Ilvere believes the ship might have dropped some manner of spatial disruption arrays into the ocean as they sailed toward us,” Harvath said. “But we don’t know.”

Zac frowned when he heard about the block. It seemed to be the same technology as that which almost got Alea and his whole army killed. He hadn't expected being troubled by such technology right as he returned, and he didn't have any real way to solve them. The simplest method would be to destroy the jammers, but he didn't even know what they looked like.

Were the Invaders trying to imprison him on this remote island?

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Comments (90)
user avatar
User #10841787 - 25 Sep 20 17:13
Well, he is at least back on Earth. Is anyone else looking forward to the class evolution more than the upcoming fight? I hope the fight can be resolved relatively shortly (a week?) then we get to the class evolution.
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User #30866133 - 25 Sep 20 18:42
I’m lookin forward to the class evolution, the fight but in particular when he goes over inventory lol.
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User #30866133 - 25 Sep 20 18:42
I’m lookin forward to the class evolution, the fight but in particular when he goes over inventory lol.
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User #29911934 - 25 Sep 20 19:42
Im definetly unsubbing if he makes the class selection as the hook for next month. stated that 2 weeks ago and have to remain honest with myself😑
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User #29911934 - 25 Sep 20 19:42
Im definetly unsubbing if he makes the class selection as the hook for next month. stated that 2 weeks ago and have to remain honest with myself😑
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User #10841787 - 25 Sep 20 20:05
Yea, I'm kinda in the same boat. While I enjoy the story greatly and have been a patreon for almost a year, I feel the daily posts are getting less substantial for some reason.
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User #10841787 - 25 Sep 20 20:05
Yea, I'm kinda in the same boat. While I enjoy the story greatly and have been a patreon for almost a year, I feel the daily posts are getting less substantial for some reason.
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User #580244 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
Thank you!
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User #7038833 - 25 Sep 20 16:57
Thanks for the chapter
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User #320936 - 25 Sep 20 17:02
You are so quick!
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User #320936 - 25 Sep 20 17:02
You are so quick!
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User #7038833 - 25 Sep 20 17:11
I am speed
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User #7038833 - 25 Sep 20 17:11
I am speed
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User #12491961 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
Finally.
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User #12491961 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
Finally.
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User #36711084 - 25 Sep 20 17:04
alea is so getting kidnapped and zac's going to proceed by running around the cosmos for another 100 chapter crying about it.
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User #29574763 - 25 Sep 20 17:08
Pray this won't happen.
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User #29574763 - 25 Sep 20 17:08
Pray this won't happen.
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User #36711084 - 25 Sep 20 17:09
me too, it'll really bring down the story for me
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User #36711084 - 25 Sep 20 17:09
me too, it'll really bring down the story for me
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User #25555620 - 25 Sep 20 17:17
I’d be surprised if they know where she is. I’m more concerned about the infrastructure and the wild resources that are gonna be damaged by all this.
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User #25555620 - 25 Sep 20 17:17
I’d be surprised if they know where she is. I’m more concerned about the infrastructure and the wild resources that are gonna be damaged by all this.
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User #36711084 - 25 Sep 20 17:19
they do, the undead guy has a mark on her it's the main reason they've come to the island and probably how they found it.. plus it's obviously the one ship mentioned to veer off on it's own.
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User #36711084 - 25 Sep 20 17:19
they do, the undead guy has a mark on her it's the main reason they've come to the island and probably how they found it.. plus it's obviously the one ship mentioned to veer off on it's own.
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User #11280757 - 25 Sep 20 17:27
i hope they do. the lady draugr will then fall to his manly miasma.
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User #11280757 - 25 Sep 20 17:27
i hope they do. the lady draugr will then fall to his manly miasma.
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User #25288106 - 25 Sep 20 17:30
Mmm true, they’ve really been going on about how revenants are made.
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User #25288106 - 25 Sep 20 17:30
Mmm true, they’ve really been going on about how revenants are made.
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User #13313927 - 25 Sep 20 17:39
She likely couldn’t survive getting kidnapped in the first place
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User #13313927 - 25 Sep 20 17:39
She likely couldn’t survive getting kidnapped in the first place
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User #37462108 - 25 Sep 20 17:49
Zac also has the herbs for the four season pill which opens nodes. He wanted to trade them with a quota with an experienced alchemist. If he finds one that alchemist may have one soul healing pill or can make one.
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User #37462108 - 25 Sep 20 17:49
Zac also has the herbs for the four season pill which opens nodes. He wanted to trade them with a quota with an experienced alchemist. If he finds one that alchemist may have one soul healing pill or can make one.
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User #4764413 - 25 Sep 20 18:52
1) The ship that veered off-course is heading for the Mystic Island; 2) Ales won't survive the kidnapping; 3) In case she would Catheya won't be tardy with sending her back
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User #4764413 - 25 Sep 20 18:52
1) The ship that veered off-course is heading for the Mystic Island; 2) Ales won't survive the kidnapping; 3) In case she would Catheya won't be tardy with sending her back
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User #29911934 - 25 Sep 20 19:40
Isn't the ship that veered off the one that gor wrecked by the creators?
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User #29911934 - 25 Sep 20 19:40
Isn't the ship that veered off the one that gor wrecked by the creators?
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User #11280757 - 25 Sep 20 17:12
thanks for the chapter !
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User #18949675 - 25 Sep 20 18:16
It doesn't seem like these undead folk are going to enjoy a long lasting victory on the island.
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User #42536361 - 26 Sep 20 07:05
I think a sentence is missing. He's talking to the creators and is confused why the 2 ennemies are working together. Except he's not supposed to know yet since no one told him. I think a sentence from the creators telling ng it seems the undead and the church are both attacking is missing.
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User #4246135 - 26 Sep 20 11:50
The Creator Karunthel, has initially called them fanatics and unliving at first, instead of explicitly saying the Church and the Undead. However, Upon hearing the words fanatics ad unliving, Zac’s or really anyone’s mind should immediately think of the Church of Everlasting Dao and the Undead Empire if you have those forces on your planet or simply nearby.
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User #12491961 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
Yay murder time.
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User #40448513 - 25 Sep 20 17:17
Chapters seem to be getting smaller or is it just .e
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User #25288106 - 25 Sep 20 17:28
That’s was like 1.5 min of reading, feels shorter is 2.3k words the norm? Idk
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User #25288106 - 25 Sep 20 17:28
That’s was like 1.5 min of reading, feels shorter is 2.3k words the norm? Idk
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User #7038833 - 25 Sep 20 17:47
Average is about 2k words so slightly longer chapter than normal
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User #7038833 - 25 Sep 20 17:47
Average is about 2k words so slightly longer chapter than normal
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User #18617815 - 25 Sep 20 18:01
Yep, same length as always. TFD is pretty consistant about chapter length.
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User #18617815 - 25 Sep 20 18:01
Yep, same length as always. TFD is pretty consistant about chapter length.
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User #37462108 - 25 Sep 20 20:02
If we have bad luck the evolution of Zac to E Grade is planned on exactly chapter 500...
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User #37462108 - 25 Sep 20 20:19
Which is on October, 24rd.
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User #37462108 - 25 Sep 20 20:19
Which is on October, 24rd.
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User #3994739 - 25 Sep 20 18:39
So pushing of the invaders and not finding the teleporter then leading to visiting his sister in the mystic realm as it activates?
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User #22143119 - 25 Sep 20 20:51
Thanks a lot for the chapter!!! Finally in the Earth!!
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User #22143119 - 25 Sep 20 21:03
Also... Yey!! Well done Zac!!! 《He had given his subordinates almost free reign with the town’s funds in order to develop Port Atwood, and he saw waves of flames slamming into a sturdy crystalline barrier as he approached the battlefield. Four massive fractals shone in the sky, and one of them suddenly lit up.》
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User #22143119 - 25 Sep 20 21:03
Also... Yey!! Well done Zac!!! 《He had given his subordinates almost free reign with the town’s funds in order to develop Port Atwood, and he saw waves of flames slamming into a sturdy crystalline barrier as he approached the battlefield. Four massive fractals shone in the sky, and one of them suddenly lit up.》
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User #5446982 - 25 Sep 20 21:29
Thanks for the chapter.
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User #34642712 - 25 Sep 20 17:13
"...and he didn't have any real way to solve them." He has all sorts of array breakers. He just has to get someone like Calrin or Karunthel to look at them and figure out which ones are best to use.
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User #25555620 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
He doesn’t have an instant way of solving them, that’s for sure. And if it takes too much time for him to arrange a counter then the enemy succeeds in keeping him occupied.
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User #25555620 - 25 Sep 20 17:16
He doesn’t have an instant way of solving them, that’s for sure. And if it takes too much time for him to arrange a counter then the enemy succeeds in keeping him occupied.
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User #19375330 - 25 Sep 20 17:20
Sow the karma that ends the undead empire!
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User #23245182 - 25 Sep 20 20:48
With the Dao of axe at mid he should be able to cut space now right, could that help him find the space distortion array?
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User #14331047 - 25 Sep 20 19:27
I don't remember, did Zac have a Dao Mirage after reaching the 9th level? Or does the person who conjured it not gain the benefits of it
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User #18382795 - 25 Sep 20 19:40
He got axe to mid
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User #18382795 - 25 Sep 20 19:40
He got axe to mid
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User #8214975 - 25 Sep 20 20:27
It was the giant tablet vision
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User #8214975 - 25 Sep 20 20:27
It was the giant tablet vision
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User #14331047 - 25 Sep 20 21:11
ooh ok thanks
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User #14331047 - 25 Sep 20 21:11
ooh ok thanks
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User #7976252 - 25 Sep 20 21:17
He is carrying billions, can he buy some quick upgrades on the city defenses?
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User #19917560 - 26 Sep 20 00:03
why would he need to, they are just cannon fodder, not the scions in the tower. He can just blast them with his own powers and be done with them
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User #19917560 - 26 Sep 20 00:03
why would he need to, they are just cannon fodder, not the scions in the tower. He can just blast them with his own powers and be done with them
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User #25263334 - 26 Sep 20 06:01
We kinda expected the same when he got out of the Tower, but somehow all the scions were working together in perfect harmony. So I'm willing to bet that some way, somehow, the invaders will have a never-before-seen method of oppressing his power, just to drag this out longer.
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User #732598 - 26 Sep 20 06:42
Like everything else with the system, no upgrades during battle. At least not to static defenses.
Chapter 474 REAL. 2020-09-23T16:34:43+00:00

A/N: This is the REAL chapter 474. The last post/email you got was 473.

2/2.

Next Chappy Friday.

--------------

Zac looked over at Galau, who shook his head in confusion.

"I thought they were all part of the same Empire as well, even if it was a pretty weak connection for local Kingdoms," the merchant said. “Perhaps that’s only true for the Zecia sector?”

"Where is Pretty Peak now?" Zac asked, dropping the subject.

Zac was a bit surprised that the token didn't lead to Catheya's home planet, as he would have expected her to want to stay in touch. But she probably believed that he would never go to the Empire Heartlands, and felt it a waste of a token.

She couldn't know that it was a place that Zac was actually interested in visiting sooner or later, in order to find opportunities for his Draugr class. That would have to wait until he got a surefire way to hide his unique condition though. Greatest was only a D-Grade warrior after all, and Zac doubted that the bracer he made would be able to fool anyone in such a place.

Twilight Harbor sounded like an interesting place as well though, and it might serve as a safer substitute to the Empire Heartlands. Leaving one's planet while still at the F-grade was nigh-suicidal though, as any random peak E-Grade warrior might be able to kill him. He needed to reach at least a level of Strength where he could escape from a D-Grade warrior if needed.

"Lady Peak and Lady Lioress are currently resting in a neighboring room," Galau said.

"Lioress? Who's that?" Zac asked.

"I'm not sure. Her first name is Leyara. My guess is that she is a disciple of some of the hidden peak experts of the sector judging by the way others treat her," Galau said with a low voice. "They might both be able to get in contact with the Heliophos clan for you, which isn't easy from what I've heard."

"Let them wait a few seconds more," Zac said as he indicated Galau to come inside instead. "Did you hear any mentions of The Great Redeemer outside? Are the claims credible? I'm thinking that cultivator who spoke up might have been messing with me as revenge or something."

"Have you seen the man you mentioned?" Galau asked, receiving a nod in response.

"Is this him?" Galau asked, and a face along with some text appeared on a screen the next moment.

"That's him," Zac confirmed with a sigh.

It was obviously the man he had seen twice, though his age was somewhat younger compared to the real-time avatar he had conjured when breaking the beacon. It looked like he wasn't lucky this time around, and the Redeemer really was part of the karmic cultivator clan.

"Well, his real name is Voridis A'Heliophos. He is not technically part of the Heliophos clan, hence the prefix. He is presumably an illegitimate son of one of the grand elders of the family. It's said that the elder came back to the clan with a 5-year-old child after having traveled for a few centuries, and he said the boy was his son," Galau started explaining as he took out a crystal.

"It's hard to get details since it seems like a touchy subject with the clan, but apparently the boy seemed to have some unique gifts, and he was heavily nurtured even if he wasn't part of the real bloodline. But something happened and Voridis couldn't form his cultivator core, so he fell out of favor within the clan, much to his and his father's dismay.

"He got desperate, both due to his own remaining lifespan growing shorter by the day, and to prove himself to his clan again. He left the clan and came back as a D-Grade powerhouse 200 years later. However, the elders noticed something was wrong with his karma even though it was covered deep. It was eventually exposed that Voridis had used a taboo ritual that was powered by the death of millions of people," Voridis said.

"So why is he still out causing trouble if he was exposed?" Zac asked with a frown.

"His father pled for leniency, and the patriarch relented and only exiled him after crippling his cultivation and putting a karmic curse on him. They planned to let him live out his life as a mortal on a desolate planet to understand the plight of those he had killed.

A thousand years later another sacrifice was exposed, and it became soon became apparent that it was Voridis who had regained his ability to cultivate and had just reformed his Cultivation Core. That was tens of thousands of years ago, and he still hasn't been caught by his family. There are at least 4 taboo genocides linked to him. The System has handed out multiple quests for his death as well, but he is still alive," Galau narrated, clearly reading off some information packet.

"Taboo?" Zac asked. "Like unorthodox?"

"Exactly. What he's doing is going against the will of the Heavens. That man wasn't talented enough to form a core by himself, but he didn't want his risk his life in Mystic Realms in hopes of finding opportunities that could allow him to break through. Instead, he chose to sacrifice mortals to change his fate. That is one of the most taboo actions to the heavens," Galau explained.

Zac slowly nodded as he went over the information that Galau had provided. The origin of The Great Redeemer didn't change anything. The good news was that the Heliophos Clan seemed intent on dealing with their embarrassment, but the bad news was that the father seemed ready to cover for him even after all his transgressions.

It also meant that killing Voridis might cause all kinds of issues for Earth, as someone like a Grand Elder of a C-Grade Karmic Clan probably could mess with a single D-Grade planet without much effort. Perhaps focusing on making Earth harder to find rather than dealing with the man himself was really the better course of action.

There should be no cause of conflict between Earth and the Heliophos Clan if Earth simply hid away until the Great Redeemer had died or moved on.

Zac also noted that the Merchant's wealth of knowledge seemed a lot broader right now compared to his comments after the fight.

"You've been busy since we exited," Zac commented.

"Ah, well," Galau coughed. "Gathering the information was mostly done by the two misses, I am just the messenger. Incidentally, why don't we head over and say hello?"

Zac shot an even glance at the merchant, waiting for an explanation.

"Well, you know what happened with the Tsarun Clan, and then the fight as we exited. I was afraid that it might implicate my family after all, but thankfully I managed to form a connection with the Peak Family. That way I won't return to my Family like a criminal," the merchant confessed. "I'm sorry."

"Isn't knowing me enough of a boon now that the bounty is lifted?" Zac asked with confusion.

He wasn't trying to be arrogant, but he was the first person to conquer the 8th floor in an extremely long time in the sector, which no doubt hinted at him being a future powerhouse. Shouldn't such an accomplishment be worth something?

"Honestly, it's still not decided whether knowing you is a boon or a curse," Galau said with a wry smile. "It's unclear what the attitude of the Heliophos Clan and the Dravorak Dynasty will be. That will affect whether you will be seen as a murderous fugitive or a pride of the sector until you are strong enough to speak for yourself."

"I guess I overestimated myself," Zac wryly smiled. "Before we head over, can you look into a few things for me?"

"Look into?" Galau said, his interest immediately piqued. "Treasures?"

"Exactly," Zac nodded.

He had spent over an hour with Catheya, but he hadn't been completely focused on their conversation. His hand had imperceptibly moved toward the Cosmos Sacks now and then, and he glanced at its contents.

There were a lot of things missing, but there was even more remaining. For example, almost the whole dragon was left intact, apart from some scales and the messy remains he threw inside at the end. Both the massive horns and the Dragon Core were still there, which was a huge relief as they were probably worth the most of the beast.

"Do you know what this is?" Zac asked. "Be careful, it comes from an elite assassin."

Galau gingerly took the spike and turned it over as his eyes flickered with light.

"There is a liquid inside," the merchant slowly said. "That is the real treasure. The young master from Zethaya might be more knowledgeable about it."

"I'm not comfortable with exposing what I found just yet," Zac smiled. "Please keep these things to yourself as well."

"Of course," Galau hurriedly nodded.

Zac took out one item after another from his Spatial Tools, and the eyes of Galau grew even wider.

"I've never heard of items with such craftsmanship appearing in the Tower of Eternity," the merchant mumbled. "Is it a special perk of the higher floors?"

Zac wouldn't expose the fact that he had taken them off the body of an elite from another part of the universe. He was afraid that would hurt resale value in case he decided to swap them for cold hard cash instead.

It turned out that over twenty of the odd trinkets in the Mentalist's Spatial Ring were Array Breakers that could take out specific types of formations. It wasn't anything related to evolving or fighting, but rather items that were probably used to expedite the climb for the young mentalist. Galau couldn't pinpoint exactly what sort of arrays they worked against though, as that would require some experimentation.

He was a bit surprised that there were no treasures geared toward evolving among the things he had picked up from the three elites. They should all have been right at the precipice before evolving, so why weren't they preparing? Or was there perhaps no point for people like them to carry around such items, as they could simply visit their clan's storage rooms?

Galau also had no idea what the odd heads that Zac found in Faceless #9's Cosmos Sack were. He could confirm that they were some sort of unorthodox arrays that had trapped the souls of the previous owners, but he said that experimentation was the only way to know for sure what the arrays did.

It was either that or to hand them over to an array master who could slowly decipher the inscriptions on the talisman, but Zac didn’t know anyone like that at the moment.

Zac could only nod with some defeat and hope that the Sky Gnome back on earth knew more even though the Thayer Consortia wasn't nearly as powerful as Galau's clan. They were however once a C-Grade merchant clan, and a lot of knowledge should remain even if they had fallen to their current pitiful state over the past centuries.

The two soon enough left the room. The Zethaya scion was actually waiting outside, and Zac already knew the results of the Alchemist's inquiries judging by his expression.

"I am afraid that there are no treasures to heal old wounds in the Base Town. Plenty of people have brought pills that can heal a recently wounded soul, such as our Zethaya's [Serene Soul Pill]. But you would normally only bring items like the [Prajñā Cherry] if you plan on selling or trading it," Boje explained with a pained expression.

"That's fine, I guessed as much," Zac sighed. "You don't happen to know a way to block out Karmic links for a whole planet?"

"Is this about the Heliophos Traitor?" Boje thoughtfully said. "It's an unusual problem. Perhaps there are arrays that can provide such an effect, but I would have to confer with a proper Array Master."

Zac nodded in thanks as the alchemist walked off again, and his eyes turned to a woman who stood in a doorway not far away. It was one of the two ladies who had snatched up Galau earlier, and judging by the trademark purple hair it was no doubt Pretty Peak.

“He’s happy you’re not holding a grudge,” Pretty smiled. “Outliers like you are a nightmare for large clans. Come inside, and we can discuss your predicament.”

Zac nodded and followed her inside where the second girl waited. She immediately stood up when he appeared, but Zac noticed that her smile looked a bit forced. Her eyes repeatedly went toward the various jewelry that decked his hands, while occasionally darting over to Galau to the side.

Had the merchant said something weird?

However, she soon snapped out of it and introduced herself as Leyara Lioress, calling herself the personal disciple of ‘The Void Priestess’. That didn’t mean anything to Zac, but judging by Galau’s reaction it seemed as though she was a big shot in the sector, or at least in the Allbright Empire. Zac marked down the information for later before he introduced himself.

“I’m Zac, nice to meet you,” Zac simply said.

“I am Pretty Peak, but you can call me Divine Fist,” Pretty added from the side, drawing a blank stare from Zac.

“Don’t mind her,” Leyara giggled from the side as she walked closer to Zac, causing a puff of perfume to waft over. “Pretty was finally allowed to change name a year ago after forming a Mid-Grade Fragment while still in F-Grade. But she can’t decide on a new name.”

“Yes, I’ve met your cousin,” Zac coughed, surprised at how much stronger she seemed to be compared to her cousin. “How is Average?”

“He’s current-“ Pretty began, but Zac’s attention was suddenly diverted by a System Prompt that appeared in front of him.

[Lordship of Port Atwood Challenged]

“Lordship challenged?!” Zac swore out loud as he saw the prompt as he glared at the two girls, his dense killing intent started leaking a bit. “Who?”

“It's not us. Such a prompt means your Capital is being attacked,” Pretty said, her equanimity slightly cracking in front of Zac's aura.

Zac immediately stood up in alarm upon hearing the news and started to walk out the door without another word.

“Wait,” Pretty said from behind, and Zac looked back to see both the girls throw a Cosmos Sack over.

“We’ll contact the Heliophos Clan for you,” Pretty said. “We should have heard back within a month. You can read in the crystal how to contact me without exposing yourself.”

“A small greeting gift from me,” Leyara added as well.

“Thank you both,” Zac nodded and left in a hurry to find Ogras.

"What did you give him?" Pretty asked her friend after Zac had left the room, noticing that her friend had acted a bit unnatural since Zac Piker had arrived.

"You heard the merchant's descriptions," Leyara said with a slight blush. "And you saw what he wore. Many geniuses have unique interests and tastes, and you have to adapt to circumstances."

"You didn't..." Pretty exclaimed, her eyes widening in disbelief.

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Comments (46)
user avatar
User #37462108 - 23 Sep 20 17:29
Can someone please tell me who planned to attack Port Atwood? Kind of forgot which force it was. The Church of Everlasting Dao or the Dominators?
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User #34653838 - 23 Sep 20 17:34
The Dao Church teamed up with the Undead - Sap Trang found them while yachting. The u dead are trying to restrict their teleporters (Zac has a fancy new flying treasure and can buy fast boats, so maybe that’s a waste) and the Church want to kill Zac and take their entrance to the Mystic Realm.
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User #22143119 - 23 Sep 20 17:35
The Church of Everlasting Dao andsome Undeaths
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User #37462108 - 23 Sep 20 17:57
Ah, thank you!
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User #11280757 - 23 Sep 20 17:41
... lol ! too bad, no more undead lady to flirt with :/
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User #23245182 - 23 Sep 20 17:16
It's probably the cultists that are attacking him as the undead have little interest at the moment.
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User #24359990 - 23 Sep 20 18:14
Is the undead, they stated earlier that they would invade Port Atwood and would try getting the user with incompetent poison constitution, so they will try to recover her body (they think she is already dead).
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User #3712562 - 23 Sep 20 17:26
So it looks like years down the line Zac is going to have a reputation for crossdressing that he absolutely hates but his habit of wearing whatever will give him an advantage no matter what it looks like will never let him dispel it. After all, it's his asskicking outfit bitch.
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User #13553780 - 23 Sep 20 18:01
He might have avoided wearing the mentalist's dresses when he exited, but it wasn't enough.
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User #40021505 - 23 Sep 20 17:03
It's good to see Zac make connections. I imagine most of the existing powers will treat him as an investment. A couple of treasures and some knowledge aren't much for them but the goodwill they will foster might become significant. Still happy we're getting back to Earth.
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User #580244 - 23 Sep 20 17:03
Thank you!
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User #14538869 - 23 Sep 20 16:42
Unique tastes? I'm confused. Thanks for the chapters!
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User #37462108 - 23 Sep 20 16:49
Does Zac not wear jewelry of a woman because they gave such a good boost? So maybe she thought he likes to wear dresses or women's underwear?!😂
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User #14538869 - 23 Sep 20 16:51
I would find that more annoying then funny tbh. The merchant guy should know enough about Zac to realize that he's a very practical guy. Granted he hasn't been with him long, but it's pretty obvious.
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User #37462108 - 23 Sep 20 16:53
Maybe. But they also were on a quest in the tower to steal underwear... And Zac otherwise did not give much intel on himself. Add the personality of Ogras and voila...
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User #9946352 - 23 Sep 20 16:54
I'm curious what Galau said about Zac, lol. I wonder if Ogras fed him some bad intel.
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User #37462108 - 23 Sep 20 17:00
Personally want to know what she gave him as Pretty Peak seems to have guessed it. And what it is is for myself totally unclear but now i am very excited for friday. But i bet he won't check the cosmo sacks until the attack is over...
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User #9578630 - 23 Sep 20 17:05
Marriage proposal
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User #10841787 - 23 Sep 20 17:11
Its panties.
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User #13620133 - 23 Sep 20 17:26
It's panties & bra with stats so good that he must wear them. :'D
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User #7038833 - 23 Sep 20 16:35
Thanks for the chapter
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User #28547166 - 23 Sep 20 17:19
"You didn't..." Pretty exclaimed, her eyes widening in disbelief. BAhahahahahahahahah - the great zac, destroyer of incursions, solver of the unsolvable, wearer of the mighty plot armor - will probably be embarrassed to the bone when he opens his 'gift' x)) Cant wait. x))))
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User #18489037 - 23 Sep 20 17:42
The great Crossdresser Zac And he'll open it near Alea or Thea, and it will contain undergarments ....
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User #23178324 - 23 Sep 20 18:07
Bruh if it’s a pair of panties I’m losing it, that’s the funniest shit Ive read
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User #28547166 - 23 Sep 20 18:26
Especially if they are so good that he actually has to consider using them. Well, there is hope, if kenzy is present and snatches them away, he'd get out of it without people thinking he is even more strange then he already is. ^_^ But no matter, if those are 'magic panties', hell hear jokes about in millenias in the future. x))
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User #61803 - 23 Sep 20 17:08
If Zac has *any sense at all* he'll give Pretty Peak's gift to the poison mistress sleeping in the crystal coffin when he gets back.
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User #25378417 - 23 Sep 20 17:30
Why would she want a communication crystal?