Chapter 71 – Skill Magic
It was pretty late already, so everyone that came over stayed for the night.
The next morning I spent interviewing Moria-san, Huffman-san, Miguel, Donna, and Beck.
Old man Ganache was the only one who declined, citing his advanced age, but everyone else was done.
Eremia told me that she had something to discuss with me, so I scheduled her interview for last.
Speaking of which, all five of them had a pretty clear advancement path ahead of them.
Moria-san wants to keep being a front liner with her damage focused two sword style, Huffman-san and Beck are tanks, Miguel is close range fighter with his [Qinggong] Skill, and Donna will be a support member with the help of the [Compounding] type Skills taught to her by old man Ganache.
Moria-san, in addition to [Twin Sword Techniques], she also had [Sense Presence] and [Stealth Steps], so she was pretty well covered. As expected from an A rank adventurer with a well known alias. As someone who lost a mock battle to her, I can’t be acting too conceited either.
I didn’t think I had too much to add either, but I still recommended her to learn [Darkness Magic], which she had good affinity with, shore up her detection type Skills, and get [Steel Thread Techniques] for trap making and covert use. Also, since she had [Shuriken Techniques] as well, although at a low level, I gave her some Separation Barrier fragments that we have a ton of in Melby’s dimensional storage.
Moria-san thanked us while examining the fragments in wonder.
“If you are free sometimes, could you perhaps teach me the basics of [Twin Sword Techniques]?”
She agreed immediately.
Apparently, since her son, Miguel’s style was focused on unarmed combat already, she was starting to feel disappointed that she had no-one to teach [Twin Sword Techniques] to.
For Huffman-san, who fights with a shield and a one-handed axe, I recommended studying altering the battlefield via [Earth Magic], which came in handy even during the fire dragon fight, and asked him about how to use a shield.
I also got some information about the [Intimidation] and [Provocation] Skills, which are used against monsters.
As for the former youth brigade members, Miguel, Donna, and Beck, in addition to the [Lightning Magic] I taught them before, I advised Miguel to learn fire, Donna water, and Beck earth.
They each had their own specialities, but having them get used to magic as children, while they are more flexible, will most likely allow for more varied tactics in the future.
I also checked with their guardians, Moria-san and Huffman-san, if that was okay.
After that, I recommended the [Acrobatics] Skill I recently acquired to Miguel, any detection Skills Ganash could teach to Donna, and promised to show how to restrain enemies with [Grappling Hook Techniques] to Beck.
“Now that I think about it, what will you yourself do, Ed?” Alfred-tousan asked after everyone’s interview was over.
“It will take quite a bit of time to explain if it’s no problem.”
“Of course not.”
I called Julia-kaasan over, then started explaining about my current Skill composition, and also about how I was planning on developing in the future.
Do you remember that I received 【Skill Magic】 from the Goddess during my last growth sleep?
According to the Goddess it’s a ‘magic Skill that allows you to organize and even combine Skills’, which I got in exchange for a promise that I would seal away my unneeded Skills.
As soon as we settled in here in Phono city, I made my way to the local Temple of Samsara.
The reason for that is because I heard that just like with [Prayer], [Skill Magic] can only be used in a temple where you can reach the gods.
Since the Samsara temple here in Phono city is at the center of the city, it only takes around ten minutes on foot to reach from the Lord’s mansion, which is also the Chrebl mansion.
When thinking about a ‘temple’, I ten to imagine a magnificent Greek style building, but it looks more like a European temple from the middle ages.
It’s a gothic style stone building with thick walls and small windows, so even during the day it’s quite chilly and dark inside.
It gave off a feeling like you need to be brave to step a foot inside, but seeing how I could see some adventurer looking people go in, I judged that one could freely enter, so I resolutely did just that.
“――oh, a lost child perhaps?”
The one who called out to me was a young woman in priest-like clothes.
When saying priest-like, it was almost entirely the same as Father Solow’s clothes, so it’s unmistakingly a priest’s habit.
“No, I would like to pray.”
I won’t be just blurting out that I want to use [Skill Magic] of course.
That being said, I want to try out the [Praying] Skill as well, so I wasn’t lying either.
“How admirable for one still so young. Do you know how to pray?”
I shook my head.
“You can see the altar there, right? You need to kneel in front of that and call out to the Goddess of Samsara, Atrazenec-sama. The Goddess may even answer if it goes well.”
“Answer? And by call out, what exactly do you mean….?”
I haven’t prayed to any god in my last life either, so I don’t know the etiquette(?) of the whole process.
“You should praise the Goddess and just ask for her support.”
So she said, so I kneeled down in front of the altar and called out in my mind while recalling the Goddess’s appearance.
“Oh our beautiful, wise, and merciful Goddess of Samsara, Atrazenec, please listen to my prayer. ….uuhm, please let me know how to use [Skill Magic], to be specific.”
When this went through my mind, I succeeded immediately.
『――Be blessed, my devout follower.』
Accompanying the composed voice of the Goddess I was already familiar with, a soft light covered my body.
So I used 【Appraise】 on myself.
《Edgar Chrebl。 Status: Blessing of a Benevolent God (Accelerated Skill Growth, Time left: Half a day)。 Skill: 【Prayer】1 (NEW!)。》
I used another 【Appraise】 on the 【Prayer】 displayed on my Status.
《【Prayer】: You can pray to a God. However, it doesn’t have any effect outside the effective range of an altar. Depending on the contents and who the prayer is addressed to, a small buff called a Charm gets applied from a number of possibilities, such as Increased HP&MP Recovery, Temporary Max HP Increase, Monster Ward, and Accelerated Growth. Very rarely you could receive an answer from the God in question. It may even be possible to exchange words with a God, although for only a very brief time.》
Oooh, this looks useful.
This time it was a Charm, but I will also be able to contact the Goddess when necessary with this.
However, judging from the very un-goddess-like curt response to my first [Prayer], we might not be able to speak too freely either.
“――how was it? Were you able to pray like you wanted?”
The female priest from before asked.
“Yeah. When I felt like I heard the voice of the Goddess, I was covered in light.”
“Huuh!? You received word from Atrazenec-sama!?”
Damn. It looks like it was supposed to be a rare thing.
“Y-yeah, though it was just ‘Be blessed, my devout follower’.”
“That’s still amazing! Normally you would only receive her words after long years of practicing to be a priest!”
The priestess said with sparkling eyes.
Sorry to rain on her parade, but I can’t experiment with my 【Skill Magic】with her here.
“Uhmm, then I would like to express my thanks to the Goddess with a prayer, but…..”
“Ah, oh! I’m so sorry, I got a bit too excited there…..I’ve ended up disturbing your prayer it seems.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m thankful for teaching me what to do. Though I would like to pray for a bit longer this time, so…..”
“In that case, would you like to use a private room with a small altar?”
A private room! They even have something like that.
“Then, please. Is there a fee for its use or…..?”
“There is not, but if you have money with you, then there is a donation box in the private room. Any amount would help us out a lot.”
The reason why she said whether I had money on me must’ve been because I look like a child.
With my young appearance and the fact that my prayers were answered, the priestess is most likely watching her words carefully with me.
Guided by the priestess, I entered the mentioned private room.
It seemed to be about the size of a room at a karaoke place.
That being said, there was no table inside, only a single chair right in the middle of the room.
On the other side from the door, there was a small altar and a donation box in front of it.
“――Here, take all the time you need.”
I then waited for the priestess to leave, sat on the chair, and fixed my gaze on the altar.
I kept watching it….and had no idea what to do.
I had no idea how to use 【Skill Magic】.
For the time being I used 【Appraise】 to open my Status and look over the Skills I had.
When I did that, the listed Skills were colored with three different colors.
The colors were gray, white, and beige, with the gray ones being somewhat dark, while the white and beige Skills were shining a bit.
Also, when I focused my attention on a Skill name, the shining got brighter.
I tried focusing on the white colored 【Espionage Techniques】 as a test.
……yet, nothing happened with only that.
However, when I moved my focus to other Skills the shine of 【Espionage Techniques】 did not go away, and most of the other Skills got grayed out as well.
I moved my gaze to one of the few survivors―― the 【Stealth Steps】 that was shining with a beige light.
Suddenly, a sound rang out.
To my surprise, a window popped up in front of me.
《【Espionage Techniques】5＋【Stealth Steps】9→【Sneak】１
Would you like to merge those Skills? Yes/No》
I see, so that’s how it works.
I kept thinking for a while with that window in front of my eyes.
Could there be a demerit to merging Skills like this?
I suspect no.
The indicated end result of this merge is the 【Sneak】 Skill that was used by one of the Yatagarasu higher ups, Gazlow. It was because of this Skill that Eremia was caught off guard and taken hostage. It’s a powerful Skill that allowed its user to sneak attack Eremia, who specializes in detecting presences. It can be said to be the higher ranking equivalent of 【Espionage Techniques】.
I focused on the ‘Yes’.
I then heard a cha-ching sound.
…..uhm, was that all?
I used 【Appraise】 to check my Skills.
《Edgar Chrebl。Skill: 【Sneak】1 (NEW!)。》
Right, it seems I got it properly.
With this I think I know how this merging works.
I opened my Status again and focused on all the white Skills one after the other, while checking what changed in response with the other Skills.
I took out my notebook and jotted down the formulae for the possible merges.
Among the formulae, there were some that appeared incompatible.
Like this for example.
《【Fire Spirit Magic】5＋【Fire Magic】9→【Fire Spirit Magic???】5（Possible to rename.）》
Or like this.
《【Fire Magic】9＋【Water Magic】9＋【Wind Magic】9＋【Earth Magic】9→【Basic Four Elements Magic???】7（Possible to rename.）》
Both of those need 【Fire Magic】, so only one of those two can be chosen.
If 【Fire Magic】 can be relearned after merging one of them, then it’s a different story, but judging from the fact that 【Fire Magic】 will already be included in the resulting merged Skill, then it’s unlikely to be the case.
That means I can only get either 【Fire Spirit Magic???】5（Possible to rename.） or 【Basic Four Elements Magic???】7（Possible to rename.）.
With that in mind, did I mess up by choosing to merge 【Sneak】 right away?
While I was thinking about that I focused on 【Sneak】 again.
《Would you like to take apart the Skill 【Sneak】?（This will result in an unetermined minor loss of Skill levels.） Yes/No》
Another popup came up with a sound.
Hmm. So it can be broken apart into its constituent Skills, but that comes at a cost.
Well then, now that I know this, should I take 【Sneak】 apart, or….? I guess I’ll do it.
There is still a possibility that 【Espionage Techniques】 and 【Stealth Steps】 can merge into other Skills, so I need to break them up and check it out.
It’s a bit of a waste, but it will be also good to test how much loss there is during the process.
So I focused on ‘Yes’ and took apart the 【Sneak】 Skill.
A sound of cha-ching broke the tension somewhat.
《Edgar Chrebl。Skill：【Espionage Techniques】５(NEW!), 【Stealth Steps】８(NEW!)。》
【Espionage Techniques】 did not go down, but the Skill Level of【Stealth Steps】 has gone down by one.
If it’s only this much, then I can regain it in short order.
It’s not certain that the loss will not surpass this on future occasions, but it’s a relief to know that at least it’s not losing half of the Skill Levels at once.
With the Skills back to how they were before, I checked the available formulae for them.
I was disappointed to learn that 【Espionage Techniques】 and 【Stealth Steps】 did not have any other merging options, but I guess it’s fine since I couldn’t make sure of that after merging them.
As I kept repeating the procedure of ‘focusing on a Skill, writing down the related formulae, then canceling’ for quite awhile, an interruption finally arrived.
“――did manage to finish your prayers? The sun is going down already, you know?”
I jumped a bit when I heard the priestess hesitantly call out to me.
I came to the temple just after noon, but when I exited the room, I saw that it was already dusk.
“You spent quite a bit of time praying there. Praying so much at your age like that…..If you would like help with any kind of problem, you can come to me whenever you like, okay?”
The weirdly cordial priestess urged me not to keep problems to myself as I left the Temple of Samsara after leaving a silver coin in the donation box.
“――So, how went the Skill merging?”
Alfred-tousan asked me after listening to me recollect how my day went.
I answered with a ‘something like this’, then showed him the notebook I used to try to work out the best combination possible. While dad was reading my notes, I used 【Appraise】 on myself.
《Edgar Chrebl（Viscount Chrebl’s fourth son・Noble of Santamana Kingdom・《Baby Scarlet》・《Boundless Orochi》・《Negotiator》・《Dragon Buster》・《Friend of Fairies》・《Spirit Mage》・《Amitabha’s Envoy》・《Guru》・《Jack-in-the-Box Bastard》・《Tragic Hero》）
MP 6001/6001 (360↑)
【Spirit Magic】 5
【Sense Danger】 1
【Appraise】 9 (MAX)
【Telepathic Communication】 5
【Analysis】 1 (NEW!) (Able to further analyze the results of 【Appraise】.)
【Enhanced Sight】 1 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Mana Sensor】 1 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Magic Guide】 1 (NEW!) (Able to manipulate, limit, and disperse one or more magical phenomena. Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Sneak】 1 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Herbal Mortar】 1 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Throwing Techniques+3】 7
【Flying Sword Techniques+1】 5
【Steel Thread Techniques+1】 5
【Assassination Techniques+1】 5
【Fire Spirit Magic】 5
【Water Spirit Magic】 1 (NEW!)
【Earth Spirit Magic】 8
【Wind Spirit Magic】 3
【Light Spirit Magic】 1
【Darkness Spirit Magic】 1 (NEW!)
【Lightning Magic+1】 5
【Enchant Magic】 6
【Magic Language】 5
【Sense Presence+1】 5
【Acrobatics】 2 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Construction】 1 (NEW!)
【Martial Arts】 5
【Basic Six Elements Magic】 5 (NEW!) (Acquired via Skill merging.)
【Prayer】 1 (NEW!)
《Goddess of Virtue’s Blessing +1 (Atrazenec)》
《God of Virtue’s Blessing (Kanuman)》
Though it’s still quite long, it’s a bit more neat now.
Thanks to Skill merging, I was able to greatly reduce the number of Skills from 71 to 37.
According to the Goddess, the more Skills one has, the harder it is to get new ones, or raise the Skill levels of existing ones, so I merged as many as I possibly could and sealed away those that I wasn’t really using.
The +whatever after some Skill signifies that those were strengthened with the help of merging.
In the case of 【Psychokinesis+2】, by vertically merging the higher and lower ranking versions of 【Psychokinesis】, namely 【Telekinesis Magic】 and 【Physical Magic】, into itself, it managed to gain a roughly 30% increase in power. In exchange it became somewhat harder to control, however thanks to 【Magic Guide】 making it significantly easier to control, overall it became much easier to handle.
As for the ‘Acquired via Skill merging’, it means that I got a different Skill than those that went into it. So they aren’t simply cases of strengthening a Skill with merging; the end result may very well be a fundamentally different kind of Skill in the end.
For example, the 【Acrobatics】 Skill is not just a simple combination of the 【Leap】 and 【Triangle Kick】 Skills, but one that raises the overall coordination of the entire body. I thought it would be neat if Miguel and Eremia could learn that one, so during our interview I promised Miguel that I would teach it to him. In exchange, he will teach me 【Qi Control】. Though it seems kind of a difficult Skill, so it’s unknown whether I will be able to learn it or not in the end……
As for 【Basic Six Elements Magic】, I got 【Water Spirit Magic】 and 【Darkness Spirit Magic】 as a Counter Stop bonus when I maxed out 【Water Magic】 and 【Darkness Magic】, so that’s why I merged those in as well.
Rather than vertical merging (Eg: 【Fire Magic】+【Fire Spirit Magic】), I choose horizontal merging for that one, resulting in the 【Basic Six Elements Magic】 Skill at level 5. Apparently, it’s because I don’t yet know the best ways to combine the various elemental spells. That means that 【Basic Six Elements Magic】 is not just a simple composite of the 【Fire Magic】 and five other Skills. This is perhaps the Skill I’m most looking forward to raising among the ones I’ve merged so far.
The Skill I’ve ended up sealing were the following: 【Dragon Claw Techniques】 2, 【Dragon Scale Defense】 5, 【Cryptanalysis】 2, 【Carving】 7, 【Echolocation】 3,【Grappling Hook Techniques】 4, 【Woodcraft】 9.
Even if sealed, it’s possible to regain them in a short amount of time, so even though I contemplated leaving 【Echolocation】, 【Grappling Hook Techniques】, and 【Cryptanalysis】, I finally decided to seal them until they are truly needed.
――Right right, there may be some who would like to see, so here are my affinities to close things off.
A+: Lightning, Firearms, Throwing Weapons
A: Nearly everything
B+: Melee Combat
This is how it looks with the boost from the Goddess included.
This just makes it apparent how abnormal my family (+Melby) really is.