Chapter 69 — Arcane Missile
Soran eventually decided to pick Able Learner. The other three were all obtainable through training, but Able Learner, which was a Gifted Ability, was considerably harder to get. Most people learned it the moment they could.
After Soran chose his new ability, he leveled up Wizard to Level 4. At this point, he had already expended almost 3000 Slaughter EXP on his newly obtained profession. Multiprofessioning, as he had expected, was burning through his precious EXP; his reserves were getting low.
“The profession Wizard is now Level 4.”
“Received 24 [INT 19 + (INT 19-10)*0.5] Skill Points, HP increased by 9 [Profession HP 4 + (CON 20-10)*0.5].”
“Received 1 Free Attribute Point.”
Without any hesitation, Soran assigned his Free Attribute Point to Intelligence. Now that his Intelligence had reached 20, he would be able to retain a good portion of his spellcasting powers even when the Magic Network collapsed in the future. As for the Skill Points, he raised Literacy to 90, then spent 5 points on Spellcraft.
Soran doubled checked his status screen; the EXP required to reach Level 7 in Rogue had risen from 4500 to 5400 due to the multiprofession penalty.
"There's that twenty percent penalty, but having two Free Attribute Points is pretty nice," Soran mumbled. "It's not bad overall. Now that I can cast spells, my combat potential has risen considerably."
Having a twenty percent penalty was already pretty daunting, thus Soran did not consider taking another profession. The additional Free Attribute Points were useful in the early stages, but not enough to make up for the increased difficulty in leveling up and gaining advanced professions if he added a third profession. He would now focus on evolving one of his two professions into an advanced profession.
Attribute: Strength 14 (+2), Dexterity 20 (+1), Constitution 20, Intelligence 20 (+1), Wisdom 15, Charisma 16.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Profession: Level 10 Commoner (Max)/ Level 6 Rogue (0/5400)/ Level 4 Wizard (125/2750) 【Grade 2】
Health Points (HP): 90/90
Experience Points (EXP): 1875 Slaughter EXP, 150 Profession EXP 【Unassigned】
Skill Points: None
Attribute Points: None
Profession Skills: Sneak 113, Literacy 90, Steal 35, Pick Lock 45, Snare 55, Concentration 8, Diplomacy 5, Appraise 3, Deception 3, Intimidation 10, Taunt 5, Perform 1, Listen 9, Evasion 15, Parry 5, Block 1, Heal 11, Search 8, Spellcraft 10, Survival 2, Use Magic Device 10.
Legendary Skills: Omnipotent Hands 【Sealed】 (Weakened State)
Personal Abilities: Nimble Left Hand, Eidetic Memory, Perseverance, Able Learner, Elementary Rebirth
Profession Abilities: Grasp of Shadows, Martial Weapon 【Proficiency】, Curved Sword Mastery
Combat Skills: Shadowstrike, Sword Form—Heavy Hack
"Heh, that's eight abilities." Soran checked his stats in detail, then continued to murmur, "I only had six when I was this level back then. I should be a lot stronger than before if I reach the Realm of Legends!"
Soran closed the screen and began reading his spellbook. With his mind focused, he started to analyze the spell structure of Arcane Missile, the most frequently used Level 1 spell. It had decent firepower, and the casting time was only one second.
"Arcane Missile 【Level 1】: The caster gathers arcane energy to form spheres on his fingertips, then fires them at designated targets. The spell's spellcasting score is 5, and the base projectile count is one. For every two profession levels, the caster will create an additional projectile, for a maximum of five."
Despite being only Level 1, the information for Arcane Missile spanned over a dozen pages. Soran first glanced through the pages, then memorized the diagrams and descriptions. Afterwards, he closed his eyes and tried to create the spell model based on the information from the spellbook.
Time passed by quickly. When Soran opened his eyes after several attempts, his complexion was slightly pale, and he could barely keep his eyes open. He closed the spellbook and took a short rest.
Even though it was just a Level 1 spell, it was still an arduous task to construct the spell model in his mind, the main reason being the over three hundred spell nodes and fifty intertwining spell circuits needed for Arcane Missile. If not for his decent memory, just memorizing the basic structure would have taken several days.
The spell nodes were used to extract and compress arcane energy, then direct it through the spell circuits to form, aim, and fire the projectiles. If the spell model itself was a gun, the spell nodes processed arcane energy and turned it into bullets, while the spell circuits chambered the rounds and also created a laser pointer for aiming.
Seriously, it's like I'm building a complex beam rifle in my head.
Soran massaged his temples, then opened the spellbook and resumed his work on the spell model. Soon after, he felt rather dizzy; he instinctively knew his mind was reaching its limit.
"Not even one fifth, huh…" Soran flicked through the spellbook briefly, then closed his eyes. "I guess it will take five or so more days to learn the spell. I have 20 Intelligence and 90 Literacy, and also Able Learner and Eidetic Memory. If it takes so long for me, wouldn’t it take about a month or two for other wizards to learn a Level 1 spell?"
This thought was heading in the right direction, but the numbers were wrong. Normal apprentices who had just become wizards actually took roughly three months to learn their first Level 1 spell.
The number of wizards was scarce, and even fewer chose to become adventurers; they would rather spend their time learning and studying. However, no matter how hard they studied, a large portion of wizards would remain stuck at Grade 2 and fail to achieve the breakthrough to Grade 3, even if they dedicated their entire lives to the process.
It was getting late. Soran laid on the bed in the room, but he was so exhausted even sleep evaded him. It was a nostalgic feeling; he was reminded of the days when he tried to memorize lengthy research articles for presentations. He had crammed as much information as he could into his head, and that resulted in dizziness and headaches.
Mind exhaustion—that was the first thing he thought. He tried to alleviate the feeling through meditation, but he could not focus. Eventually, he gave up and simply closed his eyes as he laid still on the bed, hoping he would fall asleep soon.
It worked. When Soran opened his eyes, it was already noon. It was the first time in a long while that his biological clock had failed to wake him up. He only sluggishly left his bed when the owner, thinking something was wrong, knocked on his door to check on him. Fortunately, Soran's mind had pretty much recovered completely, and he no longer felt light-headed.
As the training methods of spellcasters and close-quarters combat professions differed, their growth rates could not be compared. A good example would be Soran; even though he had raised his Wizard level to 4, he still could not even cast a single spell.
Anyway, Soran quickly ate something in the inn then left the town for Whiterun. The lizardmen from the Dark Swamp were roaming in the nearby wilderness, and it seemed that the roads would remain blocked in the near future. He had no choice but to stay in Whiterun for a while; thankfully, back in the game, the city stayed strong even during the Times of Troubles. It meant that Whiterun should be fine even if it were to be dragged into wars and conflicts, and it would be safe to stay there for now. At the very least, Soran was sure it would not be destroyed anytime soon.
Soran had been away for a few days already. He planned to see how Vivian was doing, then start scribing some Level 0 spell scrolls. Although he had allowed Vivian to learn from Gloria, he still felt a bit uneasy; he still could not fully trust the woman.
When Soran entered Whiterun, he realized that the city officials had not spent too much manpower investigating the fire he’d caused. There were more important issues these days, such as the monsters blocking the roads, and the people were now all talking about some recently received news. It took a while for the information to reach Whiterun, but it was now known that Amber City was in ruins.
Soran, who had surmised that was the case long ago, still startled for a second when he heard the news. It was a city he had stayed in for a while; despite not having any lingering feelings, it was still a complex emotion knowing that such a prosperous city had turned into rubble.
No one knew the exact number of casualties, but Soran guessed tens of thousands of people were killed or injured in the incident. The fall of Amber City shocked the entire region; the Churches began sending investigators who had advanced professions, some even sending top-tier personnel who had reached the Realm of Legends.
The Churches sought answers from their righteous gods, but they received nothing but silence; it felt like the gods had all suddenly disappeared. They no longer replied to the prayers of their devoted believers, and the rituals used to call upon the gods ceased to function. Although priests could still use divine spells, even those lacked their usual vibrant divinity.
The Churches restricted the news, but many felt it nonetheless—something huge was going on among the deities. One after another, the deities fell into complete silence.
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