My goal here is to humanize Daniel and make him more relatable. Let me know if it worked.
Yawm leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He rested his chin onto his hands,
“Really now? Would you mind describing how you’ve been lying, though I may already have a general idea.”
I took a moment, my heart pounding in my chest. Thump, thump, thump, adrenaline flooded my system, my hands growing sweaty in seconds. I took a deep breath, letting me get control of myself. It amazed me that a conversation like this had me much more nervous than a battle to the death did.
That was the reality though as I continued,
“Alright, I guess I’ll start from the beginning. When a quarantine was issued for your visit to earth, no one on earth could leave. Your damn plague destroyed my home town, and it killed my friends. In all likelihood, it killed my father too.”
Honestly, I could give a damn about my dad. I was trying to get some sympathy points however I could though.
Yawm tapped his hands together, “So you intended on killing me for revenge then?”
I shook my hands, “No. Schema put out a mission for killing you. Your plague looked like it was going to destroy the damn world, and I couldn’t leave either. I didn’t have much of a choice but to accept. “
I raised up my hands in exasperation, “Here, I’ll give you a some context. I was level, like, 100 when I accepted this mission. I had no idea what the hell I was getting myself into.”
Yawm scoffed, but his expression didn’t change.
I pointed at him,
“You laugh now, but I worked my ass off to get to this level. It’s not easy making that happen in less than a year. I ran around the entirety of Springfield, clearing out your plague. It wasn’t until we met your followers that things got complicated.”
I lowered my hand, “After that, I had a training montage in a dessert rift. I even managed to finish off some of your followers after that. Before I killed any of them, they would deform into these disgusting eldritch. That’s the perspective I had going into meeting you for the first time.”
I leaned back in my chair, raising my hands again in exasperation,
“Ajax betrayed you. I didn’t kill him. He came up with a plan where I would lie until I was strong enough to defeat you. That sure as hell worked. Yeah, I only need to gain about 10,000 more damn levels and learn to create gravitational singularities. Sing-u-fucking-larities.”
I let my arms flop on the chair, my weight cracking them,
“This whole time I’ve been bullshitting about how strong I was. Sure, I’ve got a few things going for me, but I can’t beat someone who’s 10,000 levels over me.”
I pressed a finger onto my chest, “I was a normal guy a year ago. A normal, non monster eating guy. I have no idea why in the hell everyone thinks I’m able to kill a literal god.”
I shook my hands at Yawm, “That’s the thing. You fit the actual definition of a god, did you know that?” I raised a hand, counting on my fingers,
“Immortal? Check. Can destroy the world with ease? Check. Can control the weather? Of course you fucking can. Can evaporate my ass? With ease.”
At this point, I was entering full on tirade mode. A lot of this had built up over the last few months, so letting it out was liberating. Yawm had a way of making himself easy to trust as well. Because of that, I couldn’t help but go on a tangent about everything.
Because of that, I leaned towards Yawm, “I live with a lich and revenant that are over a 1,000 years old. I am only eighteen years old. Why in the hell do they expect me to be able to do a damn thing to you? Our plan was garbage, but I couldn’t think of any other way. I had zero options.”
I shook my head, laying back into my chair, “And now everybody is calling me Harbinger and acting like I’m supposed to be able to do this shit.”
I moved both my hands to one side of me, “Not only am I supposed to be a hardened war hero-” I moved my hands to my other side, “But I have to be a spy, craftsmen, and god-slayer too. I stood up because no one else would, the whole time my back against a wall. I never wanted to sign up for all this.”
I sighed. My throat was on fire, like someone had made me swallow a hot coal. It surprised me how emotional I was being. I guess I was like this because Yawm wasn’t relying on me to make some miracle happen.
Riding on those emotions, I continued, “And I failed...I failed man. I tried so hard for so damn long. I was a machine. Some days I didn’t think I was even human. I sure as hell don’t think I’m human now though. There’s no question about it.”
My voice laced itself with venom, “No, I know I’m not anymore. I bleed silver blood. My skin and bones are metal. Monster’s don’t eat me. I eat monsters.”
I gestured a hand to Yawm, “And look at what good that did me. Now you’re going to wipe me off the face of the earth. Pa-Blow, then I’m gone. Over two years living in hell, disintegrated in an instant. All that hard work just gone. It’s hard pill to swallow.”
I leaned my head down, holding in my tears with my artificially enhanced willpower. It was like I wanted to cry like a baby, but I couldn’t.
“Go ahead man, Do your worst. I’m done with all this lying. Right now, I’m just tired.”
A long silence stretched out. It was the kind of silence that was hollow and biting. It was like learning of some deep hurt that someone hid. I had no idea what Yawm was thinking about as I said it. Besides for that single scoff, he didn’t say a word or change his expression.
It was the weirdest damn thing. I just gushed out stuff I’d been holding in for months. I hoped it was because Yawm’s charisma was high. For some reason, I doubted that. Either way, I settled back into my chair, a sense of relief coming over me. Even though I was probably going to die, at least I got all that off my chest.
Yawm sat back up. He laid his hands onto the armrest of his chair with his back upright. He spoke,
“That was...uh, well, more than I anticipated hearing...Wow.”
I guess the stress got to me or something, but I laughed. Yawm scratched the back of his head,
“I believed you were an agent sent by Schema or perhaps an avatar of an old one.”
I scratched the side of my face, “Well, I am...sort of. Etorhma sent me to kill you. He didn’t give me a damn thing to help with doing that though.”
Yawm’s eyes opened wide,
“Really now...That’s quite the predicament you’ve found yourself in then. It seems as though all these powerful forces around you are relying on you to fulfill some sort of preordained destiny. That sounds like quite the set of burdens for anyone, let alone an adolescent.”
Yawm leaned back in his chair, “How exactly did you strike me with such force when we first met then?”
I sighed, “It was a bullshit perk.”
Yawm tapped his chin with a single finger, “And what about your mana regeneration? It’s far higher than my natural generation. There must be something to it.”
I shrugged, “Let’s just say I’m a regen specialist.”
“And your durability? I couldn’t seem to hurt you with my strikes unless I applied real force.”
I banged one of my shoulders, the clank of metal on metal coursing through the room.
“My armor is hard. That’s it.”
Yawm nodded. He snapped his fingers, calling Keeja into the room. Keeja walked inside, bringing us two more glasses of Yawm’s favorite tea.
“There’s many more questions I’d like to ask, if you have the endurance to answer them.”
I laughed, “If there’s one thing I have plenty of, it’s endurance.”
Once that was done, Yawm asked question after question. It was a mild mannered interrogation, his questions pointed but never probing too deep. I ended up describing how I grew up. I detailed how sinister Baldag-Ruhl was, keeping quiet about his runes. I described the horrors of Yawm’s plague.
By the time I finished, it was morning in Yawm’s personal rift. It was nice to tell him my story. Something about it was liberating, especially when it was someone like Yawm. He had this way of listening that made me open up. Once again, it was probably his charisma squeezing information out of me. At this point, I was finding it hard to care.
At the same time, I kept the most important and private details to myself. I wasn’t about to tell him where Althea and the rest were. I also never told him about my arcane blood. I didn’t want to become some sort of mana battery for him.
Once I finished discussing everything, Yawm stood up from his chair. He opened a palm towards the doorway,
“If you wouldn’t mind waiting, I need some time to decide what to think of all this.”
I nodded, “Yeah, sure. I don’t mind. If anything, take your time.”
I walked out of his room, closing his ice door behind me. I had no idea what was going to happen. I could try and run, but I doubted that would work very well. In the end, Ajax could always warp me out at some point.
In a way, I hadn't failed. I stopped Yawm from spreading his plague across the world. He hadn’t destroyed everything or tore everyone apart just yet. That was the entire point of this venture. Now that I knew Yawm, I understood just how impossible it was to push him into a different dimension.
Ajax was suicidal if he thought I was going to pull off something like that. I mean I tried. I gave it my best effort, but it wasn’t enough. Yawm wasn’t just powerful, he was clever too. It wasn’t all over just yet though, so I walked back towards my room.
Once there, I opened my status screen. I sent out a message to Torix, Althea, Hod, and even Kessiah. It let them know that the situation might devolve soon and that I might need Ajax to take me out of here. After finishing that, I focused on doing what I could at that moment.
I had two options. One was to try and improve my current rendition of my cipher. In my opinion, that wasn’t likely to give me immediate returns. Instead, I had a different plan. It was oriented around a part of my legendary skill, Force of Nature. One line of its description mentioned that it could improve my current skills.
It’s why my unique skill Overwhelming Pressure was so good. It used to be called Overwhelming Presence. In that form, it helped me intimidate people and monsters alike. After Force of Nature amplified the skill, Overwhelming Pressure allowed me to disperse my weight out into an aura.
Considering I sunk into the ground otherwise, it was crucial for my build. Just like that ability, I had plenty of other skills with each of them having room for improvement. It seemed like an easy way to get a power boost for now.
After mixing the skills, I would focus on re-writing the cipher on my arm. My writing of the language improved. That meant I might make improvements in my inscriptions that are meaningful. With this plan in mind, I looked down a list of my unique skills.
The first in line for improvement was Tactile Cognition. I used that skill all the time, and improving it in anyway would be amazing. Being mindful of that, I reached out with the skill. I sensed through the walls, using subtle shifts in temperature and wind to scope out my surroundings.
Once fully extended, I focused on Force of Nature. It was a passive bonus essentially, not needing activation or something of the sort. If I kept Tactile Cognition active while training Force of Nature, it might organically evolve the skill.
With this theory in tow, I went through my fighting stance. I shifted and moved on my feet, molding gravity and using telekinesis as if I were breathing. I kept at this process, moving faster and faster. After about an hour of trying this out, I got the notification I was looking for.
Unique skill Upgraded! Tactile Cognition is augmented with your legendary skill, Force of Nature. This converts Tactile Cognition into Restless Senses. Restless Senses retains the same skill value as Tactile Cognition.
Restless Senses(lvl 52) - Many lower their guard given time. Your senses won’t allow you to lower yours. Increases the passive perception of your senses. Effect increases with level.
I had a mini celebration before looking around and trying to discover the difference in the skill. I couldn’t actually figure it out at first. When I stopped trying to activate it, the sense of awareness didn’t go away. I could still sense the hallways, the marine life outside my room, even the breathing of Amara in the room beside me.
It would take a while before I got used to this feeling, but it was an amazing bonus in the long run. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to sleep in any raunchy motels ever again, but I wouldn’t be killed in while unaware either. It could be worse.
With that in mind, I looked at my next skill in line, Gravitational Flux. This was the unique skill that I used to enhance my movements while fighting. If I could fuse it with Force of Nature, it would make the skill infinitely easier to use at the very least. Understanding that, I trained the same motions as before but this time while using Gravitational Flux.
This skill was much newer than my other skill, so I figured it would take longer to enhance with Force of Nature. Still, it was something worth doing in the long run, so I grinded the skill out. It was awkward at first, juggling gravity and antigravity into my normal fighting style. On simpler maneuvers it wasn’t that hard. As the complexity ramped up, it became arduous, however.
It was like wearing a combat exoskeleton, if that made any sense. The mechanic apparatus of a combat exoskeleton helped with moving. The gravity and antigravity streams were the same way. The key difference was that I made those streams as I went. I couldn’t leave it up to some suit I was wearing.
After several hours of working with the skill, I discovered why the skill wasn’t being improved yet. I wasn’t even thinking of using them against an enemy. Even when I sparred against Yawm, all my focus was on using gravity to help me move. It was like I was using half of the skill’s potential in a way. Since that was the case, I relied on an old skill form long ago - Shadow Boxing.
It’s a time tested ability I used to ramp up my skills when the system started. As the enemies became less and less human though, it became a damn hard thing to keep using. In this case, I could get an idea of how to use the skill against a person. After mastering it against that kind of opponent, I would apply what I learned on different opponents.
Before doing that, I sat down on my bed and opened my dimensional storage. I pulled out one of Torix’s rations, a reddish, milky liquid, and poured it down my throat. It went down like chugging a dozen raw eggs.
I shook my head, shaking off the disgust before standing back up. I spent the next few hours honing in on disrupting an opponent while helping my own movements. As I suspected, this wasn’t the kind of skill I would gain over the course of a day, however. It would take time which was something I didn’t have at the moment.
Instead of panicking though, I pushed all my doubts and anxiety out. Yeah, I wanted to sit down and cry myself a river. I chose not to. Something I learned a long time ago was that crying was like throwing myself a pity party. I was the only one showing up, and I was the only one who cared about it too. In other words, it was a waste of time.
So I kept on the grind, honing in on disruption. I got a few tricks as I went. One of them was what I called a gravity press. I would use a skill called mana press that extended the effect of spells in a certain area. By using that in conjunction with a gravity well, I could snap streams of gravity onto an opponent. These would pull them in different directions, throwing them off balance.
Another useful tactic involved telekinesis. A lot of my telekinesis was like hitting invisible plates. I hit one plate and a different plate somewhere else would be shot forward. In this case, I incorporated my footsteps as disrupting tools. I transferred the kinetic force of my stomping feet into confusing pushes against my opponent.
This is how I thought about it. Imagine stomping your feet on a glass floor. If I stomped on a glass floor, it wouldn’t crack because that energy was transferred into my opponent’s face. It was a lot like what I used to bounce across the deserts of Hod’s home world, just adapted to fighting.
I gained dozens of other little tricks on top of those techniques too. I incorporated them into my style as I went. By the time it , my imaginary opponent would be jerked around like nobody’s business. That’s when I got my second notification from that training session.
Unique skill Upgraded! Gravitational Flux is now augmented with your legendary skill, Force of Nature. This converts Gravitational Flux into Kinetic Leviathan. Kinetic Leviathan retains the same skill value as Gravitational Flux.
Kinetic Leviathan(lvl 36) - By manipulating the latent energy in the physical world, you conquer your foes and your movement. +36% to ease of using gravity and antigravity. +36% to use of gravity and antigravity to manipulate opponents.
After the notification appeared, all the extra tricks with gravity and telekinesis became easier. If anything, I expected some enormous increase in the skill considering the name. I mean Kinetic Leviathan sounded like a mythical or legendary skill. It was strong still though. Either way, I’d have to wait until I was in combat before I could see its full effectiveness.
With that handled, I homed in on the last unique skill I intended on improving, Gorger of Mana. It was a powerful skill, allowing me to drain the mana of foes if I could dig my armor into them. Enhancing that skill may even allow me to enhance Event Horizon or squeeze more mana from my foes. Either of those effects bolstered my growth, so I brainstormed a few ways of gaining the skill.
That’s when an obvious idea popped in my head. There were plenty of eldritch right outside that I could practice my ability with. I just needed to ask Yawm if that was ok. It could be super awkward, but that wasn’t going to get in the way of my power boost.
So I walked out of my room. As I opened the pale blue handle of my room’s door, Keeja’s stood in front of me with one hand primed to knock. Keeja’s expressionless eyes met mine. He gestured down the hallway. I took a step back, giving the creepy and wiry creature some space.
Keeja gave a short bow, pointing towards the hallway. I followed. We walked through the icy hallways, the view of the underground lake no longer amazing me. It had become a part of life here. As we walked, I preemptively prepared a message towards Torix and company about getting me the fuck out of here.
I would mentally send the message at a moment’s notice. As I finished the message, we reached Yawm’s study. Keeja knocked on the door,
Yawm’s voice muffled through the door,
“You may come in.”
Keeja opened the doorway, showing Yawm hunched over a plate of marble. On it were many complex markings of the cipher. Yawm walked out from behind his desk, unlatching a wooden bridge connecting two sides of it. He lowered the wooden entrance, walking up towards me. Once there, he motioned for Keeja to leave.
With the smell of yellowed paper and powdered stone in the air, Yawm turned one his massive palms to me,
“Hello Harbinger. It’s good to see that anxiety didn’t eat you alive.”
I shrugged, “I’m not one to worry.”
Yawm nodded, “Neither am I. I did, however, dwell on what you said yesterday. It seems as though you’ve been placed in an uneasy position. I can offer you a way out as I still believe that we can coexist.”
I frowned, “I’m just being honest here, but how in the hell do our goals align? Mine was to kill you.”
Yawm laughed, “Hah, I admire your candid manner of speaking. It’s refreshing. You’ve an equally blunt manner of being, both honest and direct. Besides for the lies about your strength and origin of course. Besides for that hiccup, that directness is why I think we can come to a compromise.”
He walked towards a window, facing outside. He stood there for a moment, debating with himself. He laid a hand on a panel of pale ice,
“Do you know what I was thinking when Amara said you were level 3,000?”
I shrugged, “Probably something along the lines of, ‘This piece of shit thought he pulled one over on me.’”
Yawm laughed again, “Hah, hah. Your sense of humor is better when you’re being honest.”
Yawm gazed out into the distance, “I was thinking about your future. Your abilities are far beyond any other level 3,000 being I’ve ever met, eldritch or otherwise. I couldn’t help but imagine you as a fully leveled with knowledge of the cipher in tow. You would be a fearsome sight to anyone or anything, even Schema or perhaps the Old Ones.”
He turned towards me,
“I fear what you may become as well, yet there is an excitement in me as well. You mentioned much of your journey to me yesterday. Like a warrior, you took a road less traveled. You were brutal, efficient, and violent with crushing your foes. Unfortunately, I am one of those foes.”
Yawm opened both his hands outwards, “Surely you understand why I am uneasy with letting you leave here unscathed? You will grow into someone I need to be wary of. To let you live is a risk, a dire one.”
I was so close to sending my message to Althea and the others. So damn close.
Yawm let his arms flop against his sides, “Yet we aren’t enemies by your choosing. There is no hatred in you towards me. By taking that creature from my back, I regained my old self. You saved my life. That proved to me that you are no pawn of Schema’s. You even knew the cipher before we met. That results in exile.”
Yawm shook his head, “No, that isn’t what you intended. Our problem is that you cannot live as you choose too because Schema is forcing you down a path that isn’t your own. You have as much a reason as anyone to hate him.”
Yawm walked back towards me, “I empathize with your predicament as you may imagine. The issue is that I too have my own goals and aspirations. After thinking of the issue, I came to a conclusion.”
Yawm lifted the marble plate beside him, “It’s this marble plate. It will allow us to function as two independent entities and help one another until we no longer need each other. At that point, we may part ways as equals.”
I frowned, “It’s gotta be more than just a marble plate.”
Yawm clicked his fingers, forming a table of ice between us.
“It’s not a chunk of stone.”
Yawm placed the marble onto the table, turning the inscriptions towards me,
“It’s a contract.”
Yo guys, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. It was pretty damn enjoyable to write.
Either way, remember there are ten extra chapters on my patreon for donators. Donations fuel the story, so here's a link to show your support: Patreon
If donating seems like a little much or just can't afford it right now, that's totally fine. Voting is another excellent way of showing your support. My goal for this month is #23 on the website. We're really close to #24 guys, and it would be amazing if we got there by the end of today/tomorrow. Here's a link for voting guys: Voting
Have an awesome day regardless guys.