Back after my short break. You can read all of this week's five chapters on my Patreon right now in one post. Read it at your own pace if you're a sub (all tiers).Preface from Mooderino
Britta reduced her saving totem to miniature size and picked it up. It had been exactly where she left it, sticking out of the grass verge by the side of the road. She put it in her bag and made a mental note to place it in a less prominent place next time.
Her saving totem was a lot bigger than the one Gabba had used in the mines — Britta’s was the seven -day totem rather than the twenty-four hours one — but it was still vulnerable to getting smashed up by some passerby and becoming useless. There were a lot of things she would do differently now that she had encountered someone like Gabba.
She checked her status screen.
Her health was still dangerously low so she took out the fungal paste the kobolds had given her and ate it. The taste wasn’t bad if you washed it down with plenty of water. Her HP started to slowly rise.
One attribute point waited to be assigned, and she still had no idea where to put it. The temptation was to stick it on Con and get some more hit points. The value of more HP was obvious, but that was probably why it would be a noob move.
She had a new skill called Arrival. This was the one N-28 had unlocked for her, allowing her to teleport directly to someone’s position.
There were also a bunch of unopened messages in her inbox. They had arrived when she levelled up, but she had immediately logged out so had missed the notifications. They informed her of things she already knew — you have a new attribute point, you have a new spell, and so on — but she went through them anyway. It was like getting junk mail.
The one message that did catch her interest was the notification of a parcel waiting for her at the post office. What would the Level 5 reward box be like? Something actually useful this time?
The road to the capital was long and straight, and very empty. The city itself was poking up over some trees in the distance, just the tips of some towers and spires. According to her map, it was only five kilometres away. That would still take her some time to walk.
Her butterfly brooch which allowed her to fly wouldn’t be available again until tomorrow. She could just log out and come back then, but tomorrow was Monday, and she had school. Her plan had been to get to the capital, make a save point at the local church or cathedral or whatever the big city had by way of saving locations, and then log out. That way, she could explore the capital whenever she wanted.
What she did still have access to, though, was ground transport. She summoned Donald. The goat appeared behind her, head lowered, sniffing around the side of the road. He seemed neither excited nor disappointed to be here. Just hungry.
Britta climbed onto his back and they set off down the road. Donald was able to maintain a decent pace on the flat surface, and Britta had her status screen open. Now was the perfect time to look over her skill tree to see exactly which quirks N-28 had chosen for her. She had no issue with his selection, which had given her a new and improved teleportation ability, but it might aid her understanding of how the skill system worked.
It was a little tricky reading the skill tree while bobbing up and down on Donald’s back, but she could expand the screen so the individual quirks were bigger and easier to see. She had previously chosen the Acrobat subclass and taken Promotion (10% to all attributes), Efficiency (10% off the MP cost of all spells) and Winged Feet (10% to movement).
These three mundane quirks, which were linked together, had unlocked the hidden skill Transporter, which allowed her to transport one person with her when she teleported. Not a bad skill to have.
The idea, as she understood it, was that as you assigned more quirks that were linked together, they would unlock more hidden skills. The longer the chain of quirks, the more powerful the unlocked skill.
Each quirk was linked to three more, creating an ever-expanding tree fanning out across her screen. The combinations looked limitless, and very complex. With no idea of what skills were available or what combination they required to become unlocked, it was a matter of guesswork and luck, at least until some nerds went through all of the possibilities and proudly put their findings on a wiki somewhere.
There were three new quirks selected, the ones chosen by N-28 on her behalf. But rather than extend the chain she had already started, they were completely unconnected to her chain of three.
When Britta had initially taken Acrobat, her first three quirks to choose from were Shield (10% to HP), Glow (10% to MP) and Promotion (10% to all attributes). She had taken Promotion. N-28 had now taken Shield and Glow, and an additional quirk coming off of Glow called Detective (+10% to all detection abilities).
Gabba had demonstrated how useful detecting things was, but as far as Britta was aware, she herself had no detecting abilities. And how had these choices given Britta a new skill when you need three or more to be linked together to unlock them?
There was no point trying to figure it out, the whole thing was far too confusing and ultimately pointless. Ten percent here, five percent there. She didn’t care. She closed the skill tree and selected an extra point in Int, raising her score went from 11 to 12. She had a ten percent passive bonus to attributes, but that didn’t give her any extra points this time — presumably, her true score was under 12.5 since it only rounded up when you crossed the halfway threshold.
The increase in Int appeared to make no difference to anything, but that didn’t mean something hadn’t changed somewhere behind the scenes. She was a magic user and magic users needed Intelligence. She had no idea why, or what Int actually did for her magical abilities, but she wasn’t going to waste any more time min-maxing. She wasn’t here to confirm she was her father’s daughter. Those were the genes she should be trying to suppress.
She looked up, hoping to see the city a lot closer, but found herself facing a barrier across the road manned by a group of soldiers.
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Book One of Bitter, covering the first hundred chapters, is now free on all platforms. LINK.
Book Four (Ch. 301-400) has just been released. LINK.
Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon always appreciated.Afterword from Mooderino