40 Bolstering The Nullmancer's Offense (1)

Several minutes before...

It all started when Skullius received a reward in light of his previous 'hard work' from the guidance field.

[Due to repetition of the action of 'Running Away', the skill 'Artless Dodger' has been acquired!]

Skullius had scratched his head when he first saw it. It was great that he had finally attained a skill from repeating an action, but it was one he was not exactly proud of.

This was more so true when he read its description.


[Artless Dodger | Lv. 1]

When the odds are stacked against you, enemies of epic proportions coming for your life, summon a 25% increase in agility from the fuel of cowardice, to leave them all in the dust.

Mana Requirements: 30 Mana Points

Duration: 1 minute

Cooldown: 2 minutes


"It's not always....cowardice..." Skullius meekly defended himself.

He had escaped into a rather shallow gorge after a lengthy sprint from the conflict between the goblins and orcs. Now, he found himself getting genuinely curious about how the fight had ended. He assumed that Shirota would have the upper hand given his tier, but nothing was truly set in stone, even among the weak.

He had scaled up to see what lay beyond the slope on the other side of the gorge and found another expanse of forestry even more lush than where he had been.

Given the possibility of finding stronger enemies, Skullius decided to take a break and evaluate himself in the gorge.

He sat down on the hard ground, Red Rage sitting beside him silently.

"Hmm... so now you obediently stay put? As long it doesn't affect your own intentions, huh? You'll never be satisfied with me just patting your shoulder anymore, will you? Flesh you, intelligence stat! Give me back my loyal Apostle!"

Skullius finished his outburst under the emotionless sockets of Red Rage.

"Come to think of it, its been a while since I checked our statuses. Let's see."

Skullius opened the guidance field to check his and Red Rage's progress, nodding and shaking his head as he read the contents.


[ Name : Red Rage ]

[ Tier : 0 ]

[ Class : None ]

[ Level : 5 ]

[ Race : Null Lifeform (Bone Boar)]

[ Inv. Status : Murderous tendencies on hold ]


[ Stats ]

[ Strength : 30 ]

[Agility : 30 ]

[ Intelligence : 21 ]

[ Endurance : Infinite ]

[ Luck : 5 ]


[ Health : 50/50 ]


[ Mana : 1/60 ]


[ Skills ]

[ Null Life Aura | Lv. 1 ]

[ Storming Charge | Lv. 1]

[ Dead End | Lv. 1 ]

[ Flash Throw | Lv. 2 ]

[ Swift Stab | Lv. 1 ]

[ Dash in Dust | Lv. 2 ]

[Climb | Lv. 1 ]

[ Basic Bow Mastery | Lv.3 ]

[ Blessing of Serenity ]


"Hmm... hmmm Red bro, you have some skills that you haven't used before. Why?" Skullius asked his short Apostle.

All he received was a shrug.



[ Name : Skullius ]

[ Tier : 0 ]

[ Class : Vehement Bone Nullmancer ]

[ Level : 5 ]

[ Experience : 1600/8100 ]

[ Race : Null Lifeform (Boneman) ]

[ Inv. Status : Doomed (Adverse) x2 ]


[ Stats ]

[ Strength : 60 ]

[Agility : 30 ]

[ Intelligence : 75 ]

[ Endurance : Infinite ]

[ Luck : Atrocious? ]


[ Health : 50/70 ]


[ Mana : 100/270 ]


[ Null Life Essence : 1470/3000 ]


[ Skills ]

[ Basic Mana Manipulation | Lv. 2 ]

[ Flesh It Like You Mean It | Lv. 1]

[ Static Limbo ]

[ Null Extraction ]

[ Unbound | Lv. 1 ]

[ Null Life Aura | Lv. 1 ]

[ Greater Communication | Lv. 2 ]

[ Artless Dodger | Lv.1 ]

<Class >

[ Apostle Summon | Lv.1 ]

[ Apostle Armament | Lv.1 ]

[ Depths of Core | Lv. 1 ]

[ @%#^$% ]


"Oh, I have some skills that actually levelled up. I guess I have been using [Greater Communication] a lot."

Skullius analysed everything, once again almost collapsing face down to the ground when he saw the amount of experience he needed to reach the next level. Triple the amount!


Also, while looking at his stats, he couldn't help but remember that he truly was a mere Tier 0 at the end of the day.

His stats and power just weren't growing as fast as he wanted. Perhaps it seemed that way because he had a Doom Factor waiting for him tomorrow which he was less inclined to believe he'd survive as time raced forward.

"Wait, wait, wait! What's up with my luck?! Is even the guidance field confused or what?! Gah! I wish VOW bro was here!"

Even the information packet he had didn't have anything that mentioned anything about oddities in luck. Perhaps he was a special case.

"Well, let me see if I can dash my hopes even further. Might as well try to recover my arm now with the current streak of annoyances," Skullius said exasperatedly. It was just an attempt. Maneuvering with one arm was too inefficient.

Mana flowed from Skullius' white core and bathed his bones. The cracks began to vanish and the lustre of foggy grey returned from the black side that had been burnt.

When the mana reached his shoulder where the arm was missing though, it stopped. It didn't proceed to regenerate his arm as he hoped!

"Ah, of course! I can't regrow it. Flesh you all. Flesh you too, Somanda. Might as well," Skullius said calmly while slumping down and he allowed the lonely breeze passing by to wash over his bones. "This is... maybe fair..."

He had been expecting too much. Almost all of his mana was used up now and he felt that he might as well sulk in place, one armed.

Could an evolution fix this? The thought made Skullius yearn, but he didn't have the strength to experiment.

In a mash of boredom and loss of faith, Skullius picked up the crooked staff and scrutinised it. The phenomenon where his range for [Unbound] was increased was truly interesting.

The staff ignited with Null Life Essence. This time, Skullius paid attention to every detail that it gave off.

Strangely, when the Essence in the form of a dancing light flame that emitted no heat appeared on the stuff, he noted that his sensitivity to the staff grew.


He began to immerse himself in the feeling of the staff. He felt like his mind was sinking into the structure of the object.

He couldn't quite see in the literal sense, but he could 'feel' what made the staff a staff and not an ordinary stick.

There was a network of connections of mana within the staff that were not very complex when Skullius felt for them.

They were simply straight passages that sometimes intersected like a maze. A very basic one.

As he navigated through this connection of tiny passages, Skullius felt the Null Life Essence fill them. As soon he found a new passage to navigate through, the Null Life Essence followed greedily into it.

Several minutes passed as Skullius engaged in this activity trying to find what would be at the end of discovering all these passages and lacing them with Null Life Essence.

He got his answer soon enough, as a notification popped up when all the passages he discovered were teeming with Null Life Essence.

[You have mastered the skill 'Mana Bolt' from the crooked magic staff. Your understanding of the compounds of the world and mana increases!]


Skullius was drawn out of his trance-like state immediately!

He had mastered the skill within the staff?!

He immediately pulled up his status screen again and saw an additional skill sitting within his status panel!



[Mana Bolt | Lv.1]

Release a burst of highly condensed mana towards a target to deal damage that disrupts mana flow for a miniscule amount of time.

Mana Requirements: 20 Mana Points

Cooldown: 5 seconds


The skill had changed!

Its mana requirements had been reduced along with the cooldown. It could be levelled up now, and the biggest boon was that it had been enhanced.

Or rather, fully realised!

"Finally! Tktktktkt! Something is going my way! You see this, Red bro! I've got some good stuff too!" Skullius yelled while pointing at the Red Rage whose sockets were glowing intensely.




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