1.9 – Floundering in the Deep

I was thrown into this world, unsure of myself. I knew not where I was headed, or even worse, how to get there. Someone somewhere had a plan for me. Why else was I given the skills I have? I am no hero. Yet my path says otherwise. I am no savior, yet countless behind me I have saved. Where am I supposed to go in this world? What was it I was meant for? I feel a lack of satisfaction for everything I do. Here still I am. Here still I’ll be, floundering in the deep.

– The Melancholy of Annabella, 656

 

Okay, okay, okay. Evolution is a pretty crazy thing. How much can I evolve plants, then? I mean, look at how my sliver fish changed just from adding on |ice silk| as an attribute. I got a notification not long after it evolved that the attribute changed into a skill called [ice silk weaving]. Will all of them do that? How come I don’t have that skill? Is it because it falls under [ice manipulation] somehow. That makes it so broad…

Now that I’m thinking about it, [ice manipulation] is colored blue under my status. Some other things are colored blue, but none of my other skills. [Karma] is colored purple. Could the colors mean something? I haven’t thought about it before.

Colors are used to indicate the rarity of a status item:
Common, Uncommon, Rare, Unique, Mythic, Legendary 

 

Oh, my gosh! That makes so much more sense now! So, the rarer ones are harder to get? And I’m assuming the rewards are better. Well, in most cases. [Karma] is debatable and |aura of fury|… well, it has some pretty obvious drawbacks. Man, now I kind of want a legendary skill. I wonder what kind of bad luck I’d have to go through to get one of those. No, never mind. I’d rather not get one.

Let’s think about something else. There’s too high of a possibility of jinxing myself. Yeah, um, let’s think of a name for mister gurnard, shall we? Um… Gurnard. Heck no! Flip the table! Can’t I do better than that? I mean come on! Even Fluffy is better than Gurnard. Niko? It sounds stupid. I think for a few more minutes, but I literally can’t think of anything better than Niko that doesn’t sound even more ridiculous. Am I really that bad at naming things? Really? Niko’s the best I can do? I’m sorry fishy.

“I guess your name is Niko now. You’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life. But hey, you’ll be like me! I have a name, even though my stupid status says it doesn’t. I bet yours will do the exact same… if you even have one.” Niko stares at me funny for a moment.

When she first came into the world, much mana was consumed by all of us there to give her a suitable name. And so was she named Annabella. – The Rise of the Hero, Annabella

Congratulations! Names are important in this world. They define the very essence.

[Epithet]: Allows the ability to give a name to a monster. (-15 mana (-5 mana extra for each rarity level above Common) every 10 monster levels)

 

You have chosen to give [Flying Silk Gurnard] the name of [Niko]. (-50 mana)
 Congratulations! [Flying Silk Gurnard] has accepted the name [Niko]. [Niko] is now designated as a named monster. [Niko] has evolved into [Greater Flying Silk Gurnard]. Designate [Niko] as a boss monster for floor (1)? –  (y/n)

[Niko] has room for one additional attribute:

|[|Ice Silk|] + [Attribute Slot] + [Locked]|

(22% evolution chance per slot) + (40% evolution chance (1st Named monster))

You have chosen |Jet Stream| as an addable attribute. |Jet stream| has changed to [Jet Stream I]: Propulse forward at a high speed towards a target. A stream of bubbles encases you and inflicts mild confusion on target for as long as the skill lasts. (4 sec/ 10 mana)

 

Listen, I know what was out there. I know what destroyed that village. It was something massive, something horrifying, something named. – Warren’s Warning

Congratulations! Monsters with names can never again be compared to those without.

Level [11]!: You have named your first monster. Named monsters can act as boss monsters on a floor. (+1 health; +1 mana; +10 path points; full restore; Named monster perks: +10 to intelligence; +10 to endurance; +10 to strength; +10 to defense; +10 to health; +10 to mana; [Leading I]; [Jet Stream I])

 

Ouch, that was a lot of mana. Good thing I leveled up and got it all back. I turn to Niko.

“Well Niko, what can I say? You got bigger. Way bigger. Yeah, you can be a boss monster for this floor, though I don’t really know what that means, but I think adding |jet stream| as an addable attribute was a good choice for the job. You’ll be a fast little bugger.” Niko nudges me in appreciation.

I must say, however, all this repetition of Congratulations! is really starting to grate on me. Come on, blue screens, can’t you think of anything more creative to say?

 

That’s a first… Huh, maybe the blue screens have some personality to them after all. That brings up a whole other can of worms, though. Who’s behind them? Did they have some thing to do with bringing me here? Can I contact them? Why do something like this now? Are they trying to be funny? Do they watch me? It certainly feels like they spy on people with all their weird and random texts or sayings from people. It even gives names and stuff. Why do they do that? Are they recording everything everyone does? Are they a god or something? Can they actually read my mind? That’s creepy. Am I over thinking this?

Okay, now I’m starting to feel paranoid. And angry. Why haven’t I ever gotten help if some thing  has always been watching me? ‘Cause I sure the heck needed it. Do you know what? Forget you! If you aren’t going to help me, I’ll just figure it out by myself. See how well I do without your help, you stupid person behind the blue screens!

Sigh.

Okay, maybe I am really over thinking it. It was just such a weird blue screen. Better not to think about it for now, since I can’t do anything about it. I sigh again.

Anyway, change of thought, I feel like there’s something I need to do. Something I’m missing, but so much has been going on the last couple of days… I need to sit down and think of all my options at the moment. I haven’t really had the time to do that. I feel like I’ve just been mostly going with the flow.

I could get started on another room and add a pond for my fishies. I could figure out my fresh water problem. My defenses still feel like they are lacking… I could spend some more path points, just to see what I get. {Beginner} will probably give me another plant going by precedence. I have enough for both {ingenuity} and my new {defender} path. I have no idea what they’ll give me, though, and I still feel like I’m leaning towards saving up enough for {valiant}. I can’t really say why, but I have a really good feeling about it. Maybe because it is a rare path.

Or, you know, I could try to complete non of them by adding points to all of them at the same time. Maybe I’ll get some bonuses for partially completing them. I kind of doubt it, since neither of the {beginner} paths I completed before gave me anything until after I completed them. I put the points in one by one…

I could try and level my skills. They’ll give me more path points, but some of them level up so sporadically. Like my [incorporation]. I’ve been eating ice. Lots and lots of ice, so much so that if compared to how I leveled my other skills, it should be way further than III. [Influence] has grown even less.

I could level up more to get path points, too, but that’s almost worse than leveling skills. I’ve been leveling up a lot recently, that’s true, but honestly, it’s been mostly for first time this, or first time that. It’s not really something to stake things on, since I can’t level up on those requirements. The only thing I can think of at the moment to level up from is either another floor or animals. Another floor doesn’t seem very viable at the moment. If my intuition’s anything to go by, something in the rules of this world will make it really difficult to add another floor, even though floor is kind of a nebulous concept. I’m not exactly sure what it will cost me, so expanding outward is a better option.

Animals on the other hand, should be easier… I think. I’m not exactly sure what they are, or really, how they’re different from monsters, but surely they’d be at the bottom of the ocean. Blue screens, do you know?

 [Animals]: The world gives natural danger ratings to creatures. Animals fall outside those ratings, as they are too week to pose any danger to the lay person. Animals serve as essential components to make an ecosystem thrive. While ecosystems can survive without monsters, it cannot survive without animals.

 

Oh, how nice of you to answer me. I was rather expecting you wouldn’t. I’m catching on to you, you know. You better watch it, blue screens. Don’t do any funny business, now, or you’ll regret it. Don’t think I don’t know there’s something fishy about you. I know fish.

In fact, I’ll go have my fish find some interesting animals and plants I can use right now. See how strong and independent a woman I am?

Where did Niko go? It… he… left sometime when I was ranting. Niko’s a he right? I… I can’t tell. I should be able to. I’m connected to him… her? This… this is a weird problem… uh… Let’s just go with him. Yeah, him seems like a solid choice… maybe…

Uh, there he is. He set up shop right above the hole? Okay, that’s cool I guess. Be the bouncer. Not a bad idea. He’s got a nice web going where he can drop down with |jet stream| straight into the hole. I bet that would hurt anything trying to crawl through.

I just wish I had thought of it earlier. That hole has literally become the bane of my existence. Not only has horrors crawled up it several times already, threatening my life, but I just can’t seem to think of any ways of trapping the heck out of it besides stuffing sliver fish down it. Maybe I’ll send Niko down it to web it up if the world system thingy allows that. Would that be considered closing it. My bead curtain didn’t count for my front door. Not that it did anything to keep the eira out.

Sigh, so many variables. My mind hurts from thinking too much, and on top of that, I haven’t gotten anything done. I think I’m finally over what happened with the eira. It was not… pleasant, to say the least. It was an eye opening moment for me, and loosing my fish still hurts. A lot. I need to get stronger. It can’t happen again.

But what can I do? I don’t have a direction to go in. I wish someone would tell me. I feel so lost and confused, and I feel like I’m barely holding myself together. I’m not okay. I lied. I’m not over what happened with the eira. I’m not over anything that’s happened really.

I can’t fall asleep. I haven’t slept since the time I was knocked out with mana deprivation. At first it was interesting to see how long I could go without sleep, but ever since Ah’m came… How long has it been since then? I’m terrified of what I’ll see in my dreams. I’m terrified I’ll wake up in the worst situation I’ve ever been. Everything I’ve been doing is just stop gap measures, not any real solutions. And the rest? It’s just been to distract myself from my growing fears.

What is this world? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? I’m scared. I’m not strong.

Breathe…

Just sit here and breathe for a second…

One step at a time… Just one step at a time.

Okay, Niko, next time you’re free, try out webbing the hole. In the mean time, Silt and water trips for my fish, while I finish my garden and start another room. Maybe try out some trap mechanisms. I wonder if ice hinges will work? One step at a time. Don’t worry. I’ll make it… Somehow…

I hope…

 Status Menu 
Name: [Locked] Race: Dungeon Level: 11*  Attribute: Green
Health: 67/67* (15/hr) Mana: 68/68* (15/hr) State: Normal
 Rooms: 4 Floors: 1 Named Monsters: 1*
 Monsters: 35* Animals: 0 Plants: 2
[Ξ]
Path Points: 56*
Paths: {Beginner III (0/12)} {Ingenuity I (0/50)} {Valiant I (1/100)} {Defender I (0/10)}
Skills: [Influence III] [Incorporation III] [Ambient Aura VII] [Earth Manipulation II] [Plant Growth I] [Green Thumb I] [Tamer II] [Karma I] [Ice Manipulation V][Natural Projectile III] [Core Teleportation] [Epithet]*
Achievements: |Ingenuity!| |Powerful!| |Dauntless!| |Against the Odds!| |Crack Shot!| |Breeder!| |Safe Guard!|

 

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AN – Sorry, I forgot to mention earlier that monster information screens only pop up when they’re being aggressive towards Dev. That’s why a screen never popped up for whale dog.

Not much really happened this chapter. More like Devin needed a breather to sort things out and get some piled up emotions out. I don’t think authors allow their characters to be scared of the future enough or to be unsure of themselves. Too sappy?

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