Chapter 9: The Endless Trail of Blood

Before any other investigations, my first priority will be to find my previous lower half. I’m not 100% certain whether it’ll still be in one piece — or any pieces — but I’ll be able to scavenge my clothes off of wherever it ended up, at least.

While I don’t feel particularly disturbed about having no clothing on down there since there’s no one around, the Graveyard isn’t exactly what one would call warm. It’s only a couple of degrees off of seeing one’s own breath, in fact. Not having anything to cover my lower half would also bring up an awkward situation if I were to come across intelligent life at some point.

Unless public nudism is widely accepted on Ariot, which I’m going to assume isn’t the case until proven otherwise.

And so, I’m walking towards the place that marked the start of the Treant’s lethal combo-attack. It’s quite easy to make my way back considering I only had to follow a trail of broken Gravestones with a slightly red color to them.

◇◆◇

It’s only been a couple of minutes worth of walking, but I’ve arrived at the split-point (provisional name). Expecting the Treant to have thrown me much further than this would be foolish, so I’ve simply accepted the distance. Anyways, now that I’m here, I can’t help but wonder how other individuals would see this scene. Personally, I feel that it fits the sort of scene an investigator walks into, takes a tissue out from their overcoat, and covers their mouth with.

In other words, it looks like a scene straight from a murder-esque chop-shop. In this case, however, the props (as in intestines, strands of skin, blood, etc.) littered along the ground and surrounding gravestones are real. Such things are everywhere.

Well. This seems like quite the mess to clean up, doesn’t it?

What, that’s a weak reaction? Excuse me for not throwing up when I haven’t even had a single meal on this planet. Blame my lack of reversed-digestion on this body, not me.

I casually walk into a particularly large bloodstain, my footsteps making odd *squelch* noises which increase in volume as I walk to its epicenter. If I’m to find the trail to my former lower-half, the best place to start would be where the event occurred; that much should be obvious.

Turning around and scanning the surroundings, my attention is drawn towards the trail of blood leading away from this “murder scene” — of course, it’s not the trail I came from. If I couldn’t guess where the trail led, I’d no longer be a detective.

Not that I was a detective to begin with, mind you.

Stating so to no one in particular, I begin walking along the trail — to the side of it, to be exact. It seems that my lower half traveled through just as many gravestones as my upper half, so there’re too many fragments to walk in comfort, especially barefoot.

Now, while I walk, perhaps I should investigate Core EXP a bit more thoroughly. Not as a subject (given the fact I have no idea how I would go about investigating that), but rather in how it’s distributed. When I had looked atZombie Core Capacity it had mentioned distribution with a ratio of sorts, so it should be possible. Furthermore, because I’ve had Ether Absorption on all this time, my Core EXP ended up reaching 100C/100C a while ago. 

So, how should I go about testing this, I wonder… Hm…

Mh. I’ll try that method. That as in the protagonist method — i.e ‘concentrating and trying my hardest’. I won’t try my hardest, however. Doing so would require me to stop walking.

— Ah. A bar appeared.

It’s identical to the bars on the Semi-Passive Ether Abilities, but this time it has an ‘OK’ button for confirmation. There’s no ‘cancel’, but I suppose pushing the bar to 0 and confirming it would work just as well, so there’s no problem. Anyways, the bar only required me to look at the ‘Command Progress’ for a couple of seconds to appear in front of me. Moving the bar to the right increases the amount of Core EXP I want to put into the Ability, and the left decreases it.

For the sake of experimentation, I left the bar at 5 and looked at my Core EXP storage on 「Quantitative Menu」, but the Core EXP doesn’t seem to decrease until it’s committed to the Ability, just as expected. And so, I select ‘OK’ and, sure enough, 5 Core EXP disappears from the main window of 「Quantitative Menu」, and 5C / 2,500C is written inZombie Core Capacity‘s Command Progress.

Mh.

That investigation was finished in no time at all.

As a result, I once again have nothing to do while I walk.

Hm… If I’m to be an Oracle I should leave my Monster Abilities alone, but at the same time… I really wonder whether leaving my Core Capacity as-is is alright. — Of course, I’m not thinking so because it’d be a waste to leave it alone; I don’t care whether it’s at max level or Lv1, given the fact that I won’t be using Core EXP for anything in the foreseeable future.

Instead, it’s from my belief that Core Capacity Abilities are connected to my Level.

I have no idea what level range on Ariot is acceptable for a civilian currently… But I can’t help but think that it’d be more than 1. And, as vague as ⟨Appraisal⟩ was, given the description from its heightened 「Quantitative Appraisal」, I feel as though the individual’s Level would be one piece of information it would retrieve.

If someone used ⟨Appraisal⟩ and found my level equal to or possibly even weaker than a baby’s, I’d be hard-pressed to explain why it’s so.

Given the fact that me defeating the Treant earlier didn’t grant a level up or even any EXP of any sort, I can’t exactly go around MMORPG style to grind my Level up to par. That being the case… I should go with my hunch level upZombie Core Capacityto see what happens. Given the fact it (supposedly) only increases my capacity to store Core EXP, it’s safe to work with for when I proclaim myself as an Oracle and if it doesn’t have an effect on my level I’ll simply move onto my next guess for leveling up:Zombie Physique. Its effects will warrant an explanation, but I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

With that settled… I should do something about the slow absorption of Core EXP first — if only for the sake of convenience.

I believe I had briefly mentioned that Ether Absorption cannot gain levels, but it can be modified. I didn’t go over the repercussions or benefits gained through doing so, however. Because now’s a good time, I might as well examine its Ability box in a bit more detail.


Rⅹ

Ether Absorption

!!!
ERROR: SYSTEM FILES CORRUPTED. CANNOT DISPLAY D://3S.C
!!!

The Skill can be toggled by Speaking/Thinking the Skill Name or the designated keyword.

Affects:
When this Command is ON:
     Ether will be Absorbed by the surroundings
     Focused Absorption is possible
          For Absorbing Mortal Shells: +10% Maximum Core EXP/sec by default
               Increasing the Core EXP/sec from the Default will decrease the User’s Level Stats
                    -1% ALL Level Stats per 1% Increase
               Decreasing the Core EXP/sec will increase the User’s Auxiliary Stats
                    +1% expense per 0.1% Decrease
               The limit of Core EXP/sec modification is: 50% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 1% by default
                    Breaking this limit will instantly cause the user to lose HP proportional to the amount modified
                         The new limit will be obtainable without HP loss after it has been reached
                         Current Limit: 50% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 1%
               Once all Ether has been absorbed, this Ability will change its Focus to the Surrounding Ether
          For Absorbing Monster Cores: +50% Maximum Core EXP/sec by default
               Increasing the Core EXP/sec will increase the User’s vulnerability to All Debuffs
                    Users with Debuff Immunity will be exempted from this effect
                    +5% vulnerability per 1% Increase
               Decreasing the Core EXP/sec will decrease the User’s MP and SP expenses
                    This effect applies to all Commands
                    -5% expense per 5% Decrease
               The limit of Core EXP/sec modification is: 100% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 10% by default
                    Breaking this limit will instantly cause the user to lose HP proportional to the amount modified
                         The new limit will be obtainable without HP loss after it has been reached
                         Current Limit: 100% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 10%
               Once all Ether has been absorbed, this Ability will change its Focus to the Surrounding Ether
          For Absorbing the surrounding Ether: +1% Maximum Core EXP/sec by default
               Increasing  the Core EXP/sec will increase the Damage dealt to the User
                    +5% damage per 1% Increase
               Decreasing the Core EXP/sec will decrease the rate at which Fatigue Debuffs will be applied
                    Users with Fatigue Debuff immunity will be exempted from this effect
                    -5% vulnerability per 0.05% Decrease
               The limit of Core EXP/sec modification is: 10% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 0.1% by default
                    Breaking this limit will instantly cause the user to lose HP proportional to the amount modified
                         The new limit will be obtainable without HP loss after it has been reached
                         Current Limit: 10% ≥ Core EXP/sec ≥ 0.1%
          If there is no Ether in the surroundings, this Ability will automatically be toggled OFF
Current Effects: [Default]

As a Racial Ability, this Ability cannot be removed.

Prerequisites for the use of the Ability:
The User’s Race must be categorized as a Monster


The Ability is quite complex compared to other Semi-Passives, but I suppose that’s inevitable given the nature of the Ability. If it didn’t have this many effects, obtaining Core EXP for certain unintelligent Monsters would be incredibly difficult, after all.

While I think that reaching my lower half may take a while, I don’t think it’ll take long enough to look over everything in detail, however. I’ll simply examine the effects revolving around “the surrounding Ether” for now, and look at the other types later.

Starting from the top, the information given is that 1% of the Maximum Core EXP is the default amount that the Ability will provide the user. Watching my Core EXP increase via 「Quantitative Menu」 after dumping a couple into Zombie Core Capacity, I can see that I’m receiving 1C per second, so this default is in effect.

Looking below, it lists the merits and demerits of adjusting the amount of Core EXP gained per second. For the demerits, seeing as I’m not in immediate danger, an increase to the damage I sustain isn’t all that intimidating. This is furthered by the fact that even if I do sustain damage, it’s of no consequence in the end. So long as the damage is fatal, I’ll be revived in top condition (minus my MP).

As for the merits, I won’t see their effects at all.Zombie Physiquealready provides immunity to Physical and Mental Fatigue Debuffs, after all. While it’s possible that there may be other types of Fatigues, I would consider it better to be vulnerable to them to know of their existence at this point. So this “merit” is actually a “demerit” in my eyes.

Anyways, neither effects will see any tremendous change unless their “limits” are broken. Naturally, losing one’s HP every time the limit is broken would limit how often most Monsters would be able to do so. It would be even more so to Monsters in my situation, with only 9 HP.

However, looking at it from a different perspective, even without the inability to die I could safely break the limit 8 times, then simply wait for the HP to regenerate. For normal monsters, thinking along those lines would be suicidal…

But I’m not a normal monster.

If I really wanted to, I could reduce my HP to 1 over and over; if I’m killed due to that weakness, then I’d simply revive. That being said, decreasing my HP to 1 and waiting for it to recover would undoubtedly take a large amount of time. My rate of recovery is unknown, so I can only imagine the wasted time would be astronomical. Because of that, I plan on abusing my ability to revive in top condition.

My only question is… How will the HP loss feel?

Looking at Death Count’s 152 counted Deaths, I’m already no stranger to receiving heavy damage, but that doesn’t mean I’ve experienced every feeling of pain imaginable. To be clear, I’m not a Masochist. I’d rather live without pain at all, but up until now it couldn’t really be helped.

I’m worried about whether my mental fortitude will remain after feeling hellish pain. I may be able to feel pain without showing any conscious or even subconscious bodily reactions, but in the end I still “experience” the pain.

For now, my mental state has remained strong… But I’m not sure whether that will always be the case.

— Ah, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter, does it?

How foolish of me, for putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

If I fade away or am driven insane, then that “me” will no longer be “me”. In such a case, “I” will have completely disappeared, as I had planned on Earth.

It’d be different if I was a well-known Oracle, but out here in the Graveyard where no one knows of my existence, vanishing into nothingness is of no consequence. Mh.

In that case, I can experiment without reserve. I should have arrived at such a conclusion far sooner.

With that, I “grasp” the slider from 「Quantitative Menu」. Taking a deep breath of the graveyard air, I make sure I’m still following the bloody trail while I push the slider to the right as much as possible.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

As I move the slider, it continually increases the limit that I can slide, much like how scrolling down certain webpages increases their length whenever you go downwards. Google Images, for example.

Receiving a slight sense of nostalgia from my former life, I continue to hold fast and increase the limit, which has already been increased to 16.8%.

As for the feeling of pain brought about from this experiment… Would insects crawling within one’s stomach, piercing and peeling away at its walls only to reach into greater depths suffice?

Ah, but said insects would have to be venomous, given the constant stinging sensation spreading out from my insides. There’s also a heavy ringing I’ve begun to feel in my ears, but I’m not sure what would equate to such a thing.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 184Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

As I continue to increase the percentage, now exceeding 30%, I notice that while the scrolling speed hasn’t changed, the pain has increased about threefold since the start of the experiment. Due to this, I can’t help but wonder what sort of creature would naturally give themselves a limit like this.

Well. It’s also possible that methods other than 「Quantitative Menu」would be painless.

What said methods are, however, I have no way of knowing. To begin with, I’m not an expert on Monsters, so all that I know is that such a method would need to have something to do with the Monster’s Core (because it relates to Core EXP) and Ether (for obvious reasons given the Ability’s purpose).

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 200Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!

Noticing a slight blur in my vision, I reach a hand towards my eyes while thinking that a subconscious reaction — crying — has been triggered. Upon touching below my eyes, however, I notice that the tears aren’t the usual kind. Instead, they’re tears of blood. I had always considered such a thing a myth, but I suppose it’s possible that such a phenomenon would occur in situations like this, where it feels as though one’s body is being broken apart atom-by-atom, only to be reconstructed and broken again not even a second later.

As for my guess as to why the blood continues to flow despite my constant Revival: it’s likely related to the source of the HP drain… A bar that should be sitting somewhere in my psyche without a definite form. Perhaps the damage has finally breached the walls of my subconscious, and is now wreaking havoc on my physical body?

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

As I start approaching 60%, I notice that not only my eyes, but now even the undersides of my fingernails have started leaking the iron-scented liquid of life. I can’t be sure of the reason why it’s started flowing from such a place, considering the fact the unimaginable pain I’m experiencing isn’t focused there, but I suppose questioning it won’t get me anywhere. I can only trudge forward.

As for a description of what I’m feeling, let’s just say that it would make the burning sensation felt on Charon’s ship seem like a soft, cuddleable puppy that nibbled on one’s finger in comparison.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 235Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

As I continue to close the updates notifying me of my damage — courtesy of what can only be called torture exceeding that of the highest caliber — I take note of how True Death Count is increasing in tune to the limit breaking.

It would be wise to distribute the Death Count to its related Commands once it reaches 500Deaths, I think. I don’t plan on making full — or perhaps any — use the related Skills, but having the Commands related to The Choice of the True Dead — most of which involve Passive increases — working at 500% wouldn’t be ideal. To avoid that, I’ll drain the deaths into lesser abilities — ones that have either no permanent effects, or will simply be less visible than the 5× Passive boost would be.

I wipe the blood out of my eyes to make sure that I’m following the proper trail, and then continue while thinking so.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

As I continue to manipulate Ether Absorption via 「Quantitative Menu」, I take a short look at my Core EXP, which has been filled. I distribute a couple to my Core Capacity, and the Core EXP is filled up a moment later.

While it might be fine to just leave the Ability as-is, I decide to continue the process.

There’s no real reason for the decision, other than the fact that I’d rather not it unfinished. In other words, it’s a whim. As an aside, looking down through a coating of blood, I find that small splices of my skin have started peeling off as though a thin wire has been dragged across my flesh’s surface.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 249Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!


Shortly, I pause the manipulation. The reason is simple: I’ve approached within 2 damage of 250Deaths, that is, the point where ⧼Soul Damage Ⅳ⧽ is to be applied. I had almost forgotten about it.

All the other levels of the Debuff (excluding and ) passed by during my battle against the Treant, so I had blocked them out and sent them back into my Psyche in order to concentrate on my opponent. It was slightly regrettable, but I simply didn’t have the time to read through hundreds of ‘damage received’ messages.

Still, my State remained at – / – once I checked it, so it’s not the end of the world. For this Death, however, I might as well watch as the Debuff is applied/resisted.

I slowly break the limit through the remaining two. In the time that I had stopped, blood had stopped flowing from every surface of my body, so upon starting it again, blood made a small *Psshshhh* sound as it spewed out of my veins.

What am I, a fountain? — isn’t the retort that surfaces as the windows appear before me.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 250Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!

The Debuff: ⧼Soul Damage Ⅳ⧽ has been resisted!

I see.

With just that thought, I once again move the slider as far as it will reach to increase my Ether intake from the surrounding air, but not before taking the chance to distribute the Core EXP to Zombie Core Capacity properly.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1

◇◆◇

After what many beings would claim to be an eternity of punishment too grave for even denizens of Hell to suffer, but what I would know as “a little over 3 minutes”, I gain the ability to restore 100% of my Core Capacity every second. The Death Count had reached 267 as soon as it finished.

With this, I no longer have to wait for my Core EXP to fill up, provided the Ether in the surroundings can fill my maximum capacity immediately, of course.

I also received a Title in the message notifying me of my achievement, but I don’t really know what it is. That isn’t to say that I don’t know it’s effects, but… Well, looking at it, anyone would understand what I mean.

The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has been broken!
1 HP will be decreased per 0.1% exceeded!
HP - 1
Your HP has fallen to 0!
True Death Count’s Death Count has risen to 267Deaths
You have been revived at Lv.1!
The limit on Surrounding Ether Absorption from the Ability: Ether Absorption has reached the maximum limit of 100%!

You have obtained the Title:
♉♌:☋♃☿ㆍ♊:☋♄☿ㆎ♒♌:☊♆☿ㆍ♍:☋☿ㆍ♌♉:☋♆☿ㆍ♋♉:☊♃☿ㆍ♊:☊♇☿ㆍ♊:☊☿ㆎ♉♌:☊♄☿ㆍ♋♈:☊♅☿ㆍ♉:☊☿☿ㆍ♋♓:☋☿☿ㆍ♒♌:☋♅☿ㆍ♋:☋♁☿ㆎ♈:☋♇☿ㆍ♊:☊♁☿ㆍ♒♌:☊♇♁
Stockpiling Core EXP beyond your Maximum Core Capacity is now possible. Core EXP can be stored to a maximum limit of 100,000,000C

I’m not sure what language that’s written in, or even if it’s a language at all. It could very well be some new form of Error-coding, similar to the result of writing in English earlier… But I suppose it doesn’t matter. The effects are quite nice, regardless of the Title’s name.

Regardless, my visibility has become a great deal clearer asEther Absorptionhas started depleting the miasmatic fog in the surroundings. I’m no longer bleeding from every orifice on my body, either. So that helps.

As the view clears, an oddity is revealed a couple of Grave-rows ahead.

Well, even if I call it an oddity, I was looking for it to begin with, so even if it looks odd I’m not very bewildered. Just slightly.

※ ※ ※

Ensig:
That Title’s name is another code I developed, by the way. It’s the hardest one I’ve made so far… So good luck~

Also, it took REAAAALLY long to reformat this…

| Main | ⟶

46 thoughts on “Chapter 9: The Endless Trail of Blood”

  1. Obviously I’m not cut out for cryptography…I don’t even know where to begin. There are zodiac signs, a few of which are colored…hmm, the colored symbols are always on the left of a :… perhaps the vertical lines separate words, while each : formation represents a letter. Then, four words, of two letters, six letters, six letters, three letters. But none of the patterns are repeated, so even if I had a clue to one of the words, it wouldn’t help with the others…

    Sorry, I give up. But thanks for the chapter! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kuhuhuhu.

      This time, you’ve only guessed the information regarding the : correctly. Each “formation” is, indeed, a letter.

      But for this code… Only one letter is actually in the proper English order, so the length of the words you guessed is incorrect~

      Like

  2. Lol I wonder if it’s just going to be the cloth and shoes that were on her lower body laying on a smashed grave. That’s when she realises that she’s been walking barefoot through the graveyard with her ass hanging out all this time xD

    Like

  3. Gah… I need to sleep… well preliminary findings for the sake of anyone who wants to take a stab at it.

    There are 4 colors, each color uses a Zodiac sign (probably has no meaning) however there are 8 different signs used. Each sign has a color that they abid to giving each color two values, Yellow is Taurus and Virgo. Green is Aquarius and Gemini, Blue is Cancer and Pisces, red is Leo and Ares.

    The other values consist of 8 different values… ☿ left most icon, at most 2 in pattern. ☋ or ☊ right most icon only one or the other no repeat. the remaining 6 values are all in the center.

    The Zodiac signs and the other 8 values don’t mix unless a ㆍ,ㆎ, or : is present.

    Examining the colors, there is no hierarchy, there is a value of two blues, the red and yellows switch orders at one point. and in that case the same signs are used.

    Zodiac Signs are in combination of either 1 or 2 values and are placed after the remaining values going by the separation.

    ☿ value is always present in non zodiac values… if that’s the cause there should be a total of 24 combinations along with either 1 or two zodiac symbols could make the total of 26 values equating the alphabet.

    unfortunately, the currently findings aren’t enough to get a code out of it since there are values that would make the last comment incorrect I believe. I’ll be digging into this tomorrow… when I’m awake lol

    Like

    1. I decided to just be lazy for now until there are more samples of the codes I didn’t solve yet. Hopefully being able to cross-reference different samples will make it easier… Or so I hope. :p

      Liked by 1 person

                1. ♌♊:☋♁⚷ㆍ♎:☋♄⚷☿ㆍ♍:☊♄⚶☿ㆍ♒:☊♁⚵ㆍ♌♉:☊♇☿ㆍ♌♉:☊♁⚸☿ㆍ♑♌:☋♃⚴ㆍ♌♉:☋♄☿ㆍ♒:☊♁⚷ㆍ♊:☊♅☿ㅣㆎ♑:☊♃⚴ㆍ♌:☋♁⚵☿,ㆎ♌♉:☋♇♁ㆍ♋♉:☋♁☿ㆍ♌♋♋:☊☿ㆍ♋:☋♃⚶♁ㆍ♊:☋♃⚷ㆎ♊:☋♁⚷☿ㆍ♋♌:☋♁⚸☿ㆍ♈:☊♅⚴☿ㆍ♈♋:☊♁☿ㆎ♌♒:☊♄☿ㆍ♌♒:☊♁⚴☿ㆍ♌♉:☋♁⚴☿ㆎ♓♋:☋♁⚵ㆍ♎:☊♄⚷ㆍ♌♒:☊♅⚵☿ㆍ♒:☋♅⚵☿ㆎ♊:☊♅⚵ㆍ♎:☊♄⚸☿ㆍ♌♑:☋♄⚷ㆎ♎:☊♃⚸ㆍ♌♑:☋♄⚶ㆍ♑♌:☋♃⚸ㆍ♊:☋♄⚶☿ㆍ♋♓:☊♁⚷☿ㆍ♒:☋♅⚴☿ㆍ♌♋:☋♄⚴ㆎ♌♒:☋♃⚶☿ㆍ♌♋:☋♅⚵ㆍ♌♑:☋♄⚷♁ㆎ♓♋:☊♅⚶ㆍ♋♋♌:☋♁⚴ㆍ♌♊:☊♃⚶♁ㆎ♊:☊♅⚴ㆍ♎:☋♅⚶ㆍ♌♊:☊♄⚴ㆍ♌:☊♄⚷♁ㆎ♋♈:☊♁⚶ㆍ♌♈:☊♄⚶ㆍ♋♓:☋♄⚸☿ㆍ♑♌:☊♃⚶ㆎ♌♉:☋♃⚶ㆍ♋♊:☋♆☿ㆍ♍:☋♅☿ㆍ♌♒:☋☿ㆎ♌♊:☊♄⚷☿ㆍ♉:☊♃⚷ㆍ♒:☊♃☿ㆍ♌:☋♅⚴ㆍ♎:☋♁⚶ㆍ♊:☋♁⚸,ㆎ♈:☊♆☿ㆍ♌♊:☊♇♁ㆍ♌♉:☊♃⚶☿ㆍ♊:☋☿☿ㆍ♊:☋♃☿ㆍ♌♉:☋♇☿ㅣㅣㅣㆎ♍:☋♄⚸ㆍ♍:☊♄⚸ㆍ♉:☊♁⚵☿ㆍ♎:☊♁⚸ㆍ♌:☊♁⚴ㆍ♌♉:☊☿☿ㆍ♑♌:☊♄⚸♁⁞

                  Have fun now~

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. i found somethings out(nothing useful i think)
                    if you forget the zodiac things, for the simbols combination that come after ☊ or ☋ there is always a another combination with the other one of the ☊ or ☋, like
                    ♌♒:☊♅⚵☿ㆍ♒:☋♅⚵☿ on the 5 line or
                    ♑♌:☊♃⚶ㆎ♌♉:☋♃⚶ on the 9 line, these are easy to find since they are close, but all of them have a pair, aside from the last one.
                    also some simbols only appear 1, others only 2
                    only the ☿ repeats itself on the same combination or appear alone
                    only ☿ and ♁ appear as 3 , or 2 when 1 is ♇.

                    is all that useless?

                    about the zodiacs, i didn’t find anything.

                    Like

                    1. An astute observation. It’s key to this code, so as a reward I’ll give you a hint as to what that stuff on the right side of ‘:’ is.

                      It has to do with the order.

                      Like

                    2. that hint is totally unhelpful, i already got that after finding out more about the symbols
                      a colletction of what i know
                      there is 12 simbols(aside from zodiacs and the nodes(acending☊, descending☋) that showed up until now,
                      1 and probably the most important ☿
                      2 ♁
                      then 2 groups of 5
                      group that only appear as first(important to note, ♁ and ☿ also appear as first)
                      ♃ jupiter
                      ♄ saturn
                      ♅ uranus
                      ♆ neptune
                      ♇ pluto
                      group that only appear as second
                      ⚴ pallas
                      ⚵ juno
                      ⚶ vesta
                      ⚷ chiron
                      ⚸ black moon lilith
                      note all symbols for pair, for exemple: ♄ and ⚵
                      when a pair of g1 and g2 already appeared then you add ☿ at the end, if the pair appear again you add ♁ instead of ☿

                      i’m still trying to determine the order of each symbol, or what value each one have, how the nodes are used, and how the zodiacs are used, what is special about ☿, why ♋♋♌ was used, the hell this ㅣ is, the difference of ㆍ and ㆎ and ⁞, the rest of my doubts i don’t remember right now.

                      i will put a little bit of the table i made on the notepad here, maybe it will help others have some inspiration to solve this
                      the n° after the nodes is the order the 1° of the pair appeared on the text
                      the n° after the dots is the order the whole sequence appeared on the text
                      ♒ :☊34 ♃ ☿ ㆍ59
                      ♊ :☋34 ♃ ☿ ㆍ67
                      ♑ :☊ 7 ♃ ⚴ ㆍ11
                      ♑♌ :☋ 7 ♃ ⚴ ㆍ7
                      ♑♌ :☊32 ♃ ⚶ ㆎ52
                      ♌♉ :☋32 ♃ ⚶ ㆍ53
                      ♌♉ :☊26 ♃ ⚶ ☿ ㆍ65
                      ♌♒ :☋26 ♃ ⚶ ☿ ㆍ39
                      ♌♊ :☊14 ♃ ⚶ ♁ ㆎ44
                      ♋ :☋14 ♃ ⚶ ♁ ㆍ16

                      Like

  4. >After what many beings would claim to be an eternity of punishment too grave for even denizens of Hell to suffer, but what I would know as “a little over 3 minutes,”…

    Ha. This humour is reminicent of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchet. I love it. I hope you keep up this story and ignore the (surely professional) editors in the comments section. I do enjoy our immortal MC’s thoroughness and forethought with a healthy dose of nihilism.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i wonder how long it would take for reddit to solve this code… also

    I wonder how long this code will remain unsolved until you give up on people solving it and just tell us…

    all of this and more, once someone does this thing😀

    Like

    1. also, love the story, hope you keep writing it, and why do i have the feeling that the MC is gonna end up going to 500 deaths and being like, well, that sucks, I guess i really am stuck in existence

      question: will there be a supplementary chapters with Charon’s Viewpoint anywhere in the foreseeable future? I would love for him to feel shocked and find himself realizing what he just set upon the world

      Like

        1. Ah, I’d usually accept that, but… Unfortunately, formatting isn’t the only thing I do when I take a chapter over from Google. I make a lot of changes to the chapters themselves (because I end up stockpiling a ton of chapters on Google Chrome, then being all ‘Oh, that’d be pretty convenient if it happened earlier’). I sort of include details like that in the ‘Change to WordPress’, which is why I didn’t elaborate.

          Thanks for the offer, though!

          Like

          1. Ah, gotcha. A shame, I was hoping to get an inside source for new chapters. Oh well, hope to see a new one soon. This is in my top five stories out of about a hundred, so know that you’ve got a fan out here.

            Like

        1. *shrug*

          I may seem like a shoddy Author for saying this, but I feel highly unmotivated to release any chapters of Undead(?) Life currently. There’re a bunch of reasons for that, including:

          – I’ll need to reformat the new chapters
          – I’ll need to edit over all the new chapters
          – I still need to make a good 100+ bits of information that won’t be on the foreground of the story (like Commands)
          – I need to break through the braindead-moment I keep having whenever I look at the newest (unpublished) chapter.

          And so… It might take a while, but unfortunately, I have to do stuff like this myself. Sorry.

          Like

          1. Understood, but I do hope you know that I appreciate your work and am glad that you make it. If it takes a little longer than you first thought, so be it, but I do hope that you don’t give up on it and that you keep on trying.

            Like

  6. hey author something i don’t get, the whole i don’t want to be immortal thing, her skill mean that she won’t forget things and this world has seemingly many undead, if we assume this means that the usual fantasy ways of becoming immortal (or at least keeping ones eternal youth or not dying of old age tropes) are in the world, then her argument of not wanting to watch people around her die doesn’t work. not to mention that from the perspective of immortals you will always find out new things, there will always be new people and things to discover.

    Like

    1. The MC can still forget things, but most of the other Undead races aren’t intelligent, and are in fact hunted down with extreme prejudice by Ariot’s living races. There’s a specific reason for that, and it relates to Miasma, but it’s not explained yet.

      As for her argument of not wanting to watch people around her die… I don’t recall her mentioning such a thing. At best, she would be of the ‘preference’ to not watch people die, but wouldn’t be completely against such a thing. Being the pragmatic individual they are, they’d think along the lines of ‘It’s a shame, but it can’t be helped given the fact I’ll be living forever.’

      Like

      1. “Every time on Earth that I was asked whether I wouldn’t like to live forever, my answer would be a resounding no. Who’d want to live on as everyone close to them died?” Or something along those lines. Of course, she* followed it up with an “Well, it can’t be helped if I have become immortal”, huh.

        The fact she* continues inflicting severe self-harm despite claiming to be neither a masochist nor interested in using those cheats is…

        *Zombies don’t appear to reproduce like animals so can you really say they have genders?

        Like

        1. Her self-harm is for the sake of future preservation and knowledge, as well as convenience.

          Most of what the MC is doing right now is for the sake of investigating how their body works in Ariot — as to not be completely out of the loop once she finds a proper place to become an Oracle. A good example of this is the current investigation of how her Level increases for the sake of others not asking why her Level is 1.

          By breaking the limit on the Core EXP she gains, she can more efficiently investigate her racial abilities, and thus investigate their relevence to her Level among other things.

          While efficiency is gained at the cost of possibly bolstering her cheat abilities in the future, that isn’t her objective, nor does she plan on making use of the abilities stemmed from ⟨Choice of the True Dead⟩.

          Also, in regards to whether or not Zombies have Genders… They do. When a body becomes a corpse, it doesn’t suddenly lose its gender, it just loses its sexual organs’ functionality.

          Like

  7. Hmmm. I like the premise and such, so lets poke around at the balance of this world for now from a mechanical perspective.

    Appraisal, if used continuously had… 10xp/success, 1scucess /10 attempts, and 3500xp required off the top of my head, so 3500 attempts to go from level 1 to level 2. Attempts required (9*10+1*48)/10s (also off the top of my head, but approximations are fine for this.) Thus avg of 13.8s, therefore a kid with 12 hours of curiously looking around and trying to examine everything could gain a level, thus within a month kids would probably be expected to have maxed it via curiosity alone right? (You know how kids like to poke about.) :p

    Considering it takes a month (with lots of leeway unless the leveling cliff is steeper then I think) to master a skill and folks oft have many non-mastered skills, your average bloke would have tens of skills if they’re rather lazy, hundreds if they’re normal, or thousands if they’re really diligent by the time they hit adulthood. Thus we look at novice, advanced, ect. This, if it presents a steeper cliff, could be applicable to certain skills, and because it would take longer to train them they’d be seen as more desirable skills. After all, everyone can appraise, not everyone can XXXXX, thus XXXXX is of shorter supply. Likewise it’s worth considering that if any inquisitive kid would have maxed appraisal it’ll affect the extent to which folks both expect, and guard against it.

    Next monster capacity… So, we’ve got base capacity of 100, base absorption of 1%, max absorption without physical harm of 10%. Lets say you’re a newly awakened treant with such stats. So, without giving it undue thought you stick with 1% which is 1Cxp/s, which lets you expand capacity in 100s. So within 2 min of being born you get a capacity upgrade which, since absorption is proportional to capacity, gives you twice the absorption rate. Now we don’t know the rate at which capacity increases , but the treant having only 347/ 37,500, would have been absorbing 347/s by default, and within 2 min would have hit max like any idle monster, thus suggesting our treant was actively pouring points into abilities. 37500 Cxp is also enough for a level 15. A newly formed monster takes 3500s to increase capacity the first time, that’s a bit under an hour. Given that capacity increases a grand total of 10 times, that means, again, barring a steep xp cliff as level rises, that the level 15 treant probably formed really recently, which, together with the above, suggests that the average level in this world is rather high. Naturally capacity capping at the tenth time folks take it would limit growth substantially setting an arbitrary plateau at this explosive growth rate, but it shouldn’t halt growth, monsters will still be absorbing hundreds of points per second.

    I’m gonna pause for a moment to comment that our protagonist is absorbing 100% max capacity/s, but their max capacity is still 100, so they’re absorbing 100/s whereas the treant was absorbing 375/s, thus the mist probably shouldn’t be clearing up more from her maxing it, but rather less after the treant died… perhaps we should edit in her having upped her capacity a few times first? Also worth noting that upping the storable C xp as the special bit for having hit the 100% absorption from air that things shouldn’t naturally reach… isn’t really that great… I mean, eventually dumping points into max capacity will get you there anyways and will be increasing your absorption rate as well. Moreover, since it was reached via increasing absorption rate, wouldn’t it be more normal to have the bonus relate to absorption rather then storage, such as to be able to directly apply points from the air to skills? Er… I hope this is constructive advice and that it doesn’t trip you up that she’d then have to be pouring the points from the air into skills to clear the fog…

    Lastly I’m gonna comment on miasma/monster density. Another way to limit monster level is to limit miasma availability, likewise her rapid absorption rate depleting the air of the small usual amounts might draw some interest as “purification” when she goes oracle. In any case, we’ve been provided with a few sources for miasma.
    1) it naturally occurs in the air
    2) it is denser in the copses of beings with souls
    3) it’s held in monster cores
    4) monsters can release some which multiplies by a factor as large as 1000 when released (considering the possibility of release&reabsorption this would be an infinite source for any monster.)
    With 4 we end up with the possibility that miasma exists in the air strictly because of monsters and thus is denser where there are more monsters. Alternately it may be denser there because it’s leaking out from the bodies which are decomposing rather then being eaten and thus releasing it into the air. With this in mind they probably would have kept the cemetery away from the town, and maybe even set soldiers as guards to keep monsters out since that’d allow rather explosive monster growth were 4 not in effect. Also because our protagonist only saw the life of the treant in a void of lifelessness it suggests that sense life wasn’t detecting the trees, which may or may not mean that they don’t have souls. The same may apply to wildlife, even the maggots in the ground. If perchance they did have souls, and thus their bodies were a source of Cxp, or if their decomposing bodies were to release miasma, then that’d suggest that the wilderness where there’s always an abundance of things decaying, would be where the strongest monsters would naturally grow and wish to remain, again barring 4.

    I hope this numbers game isn’t discouraging enough to dampen your spirits and slow your release rate, but as one who generally likes these sorts of explanatory chapters and who likes there not to be potholes in it I hope that either this helps or that you’ve already foreseen these from the start. I confess, I suck at code breaking (and have fallen out of touch with the friend who was into it), so that’s not for me, but props for putting extra effort into it, and hope to see more of this series in the future.

    I don’t wanna read into this too much, but the one chapter in the last few months, and the listing of this series under the archive suggests to me you might be lacking in interest/motivation to continue it. I’ll file it so as not to get my hopes up, but I do hope you find your motivation, and while I don’t check my e-mail too much I’ll try to get back to ya if you wanna bounce ideas or such. On the other hand if it’s less posting on account of the school year starting up, then I apologize for prying/assuming. In any case, best of luck.

    Like

    1. First and foremost, thanks for the long comment. Secondly, because it’s important, just note that I haven’t given up on this story, but rather I’m in the process of reworking it — that’s the reason why this old version is archived. When I stockpile enough chapters and feel that the plot is being properly developed I’ll release the story again in an improved state, so look forward to it!

      Now, on to my reply, starting with Appraisal.

      There’s actually a bunch of information regarding it that wasn’t mentioned, because I withheld the information — or more accurately, the MC didn’t bring up the details, as they felt no need. The raw version of the Skill box (straight from my Google Docs) looks like this:

      (The highlighted stuff is information that changes depending on the level of the Skill).

      The PS equation at the bottom would be PS = (2,500 * S) + (1,000 * s). As the MC has speculated, it has to do with Proficiency. The PS equation is an easy way to find the proficiency required for the level of the skill (x * S), with an additional sum slapped on the side as a baseline (y * s). So, in Appraisal’s case, when it becomes Lv2 it requires 6,000 Proficiency; when it becomes Lv3, it’d require 8,500 Proficiency, and Lv4 is 11,000 and so on.

      For Lv1, assuming you start with no proficiency, you’d have to appraise common items a total of 350 times, with a 10% chance of success and a cooldown of 540sec every time you succeed. Furthermore, in the case of common items, only one success would count for proficiency (this fact was mentioned with Mortal Souls as an example, the list of the uses on a specific item/being are here). This is important, because it means that after that single success, Failures will be the only thing that’ll give proficiency from that specific item (i.e after successfully appraising a Red Apple, any other Red Apple will give you nothing upon success other than a description and a long cooldown).

      For example, if a kid appraises a bunch of Apples and succeeds 5 times in a row he’ll gain 10P. If the kid succeeded twice and failed three times he’d gain 40P. If they failed all 5 times, they’d get 50P. As you can see, failure with common items is equivalent, or even better than succeeding… Which is what would make Appraisal so difficult to level as time goes on. Remember, its success rate raises with its level (and conversely, its failure chance decreases), and if you do succeed with an item you’ve already appraised, the Success Cooldown would rear its ugly head.

      At Lv9, unless one went on a grand adventure to seek thousands of new common items, then chances are they’d be spending a lot of time looking at spoons, forks, or other common household items while praying to RNGesus that they fail the Appraisal to fill up the Lv9 requirement: 23,500P… Or otherwise, 2,350 failures. At that point, they’d only have a 10% chance of failing, and a whole minute of waiting (and nothing else) for the remaining 90% of the time.

      But looking at new items and succeeding 100% of the time would also work, right? It’d just take 60sec of cooldown per success 2,350 times… So 141,000sec worth of pure cooldowns. That’s ~39 days worth of appraising 2,350 new items and not failing once. Statistically, you’d fail 235 times, so… It’d actually be 139,590sec worth of pure cooldowns.

      And remember, that’s only in case you have 2,350 new items sitting around even after filling the proficiency of all the previous levels of Appraisal, which would amount to a whopping 124,000P.

      Looking at it that way, the MC having a Godly Item was a considerable cheat. In basically any other case this Skill would be absolute hell to train.

      Now, moving onto the Monster Core capacity/absorption bit, I’d just like to note that the MC’s method of measuring and dealing with their absorption rates is highly irregular compared to any other Monster on Ariot. To be blunt, their methods are insane in the eyes of other monsters. Why? Because most Monsters subconsciously limit their absorbed Ether to specific amounts rather than changing them by percentage.

      Most Monsters have no ability to look at their own Core capacity, much less their limits on how much they can absorb. Instead, they start off absorbing a certain amount of Ether — one that would supposedly increasetheir chances of survival (sometimes resulting in downward limit breaking) — and stick with it… Sometimes permanently.

      The Treant, when I invisioned it, actually only had 2C/sec going on, with the odd numbered ‘347’ simply representing the fact that the MC looked at it half a second before its absorption per second did a full cycle. Just so you know, that’s 0.0053% — that’s right, percent of its Core Capacity. The MC, who can absorb 100C/sec is so far off the norm that it’s not even funny.

      Now, in regards to the comment about changing the title from stockpiling to something more absorption related… The stockpile is actually due to a quirk of most monsters. That is: they don’t always use their Core EXP when their capacity is filled. It’s entirely possible for a monster to just sit at Lv1 for an indefinite amount of time — millenia even — if they don’t feel the need to level up.

      In regards to the Undead Treant, it actually leveled itself up twice while the MC was around, due to the fact that it instinctively felt something was off about them. Considering the fact they watched the MC bash their head in, die, and repeat the cycle, their decision to bulk themselves up was pretty smart, I think. Returning to the topic, a good way of looking at Monsters in regards to levels and capacity is: if the monster needs to level up, it will. Otherwise, the chances of it remaining stagnant are high.

      Now, onto Miasma (or Ether)… I won’t actually tell you much about it, because it’s a core part of the story, but as mentioned in Charon’s book and referenced by the MC Ether is everywhere on Ariot. For your thoughts on how it’s generated, one is actually false, but the rest are true. In regards for your thoughts of where the Graveyard is located, you’re correct in that it’s away from civilization, and that there’s a measure of security in the area.

      As for the detection of Souls, Detect Undead and Detect Life only work on beings with Monster Souls, Natural Souls, and Mortal Souls, with the system exempting things like bugs from showing up on the radar by default. In regards to how much Ether would be produced in forests… I can’t tell you, because it might give stuff regarding Ether away. Just know that it’d be less than in the Graveyard.

      Hopefully this is a sufficient response. Thank you for reading.

      Like

      1. No, by all means, I’ve a bad tendency towards verbosity, hardly a praiseworthy trait after a few times. In any case, glad to hear what archived means. I noticed the mention of new version in the prologue, but with the other archived series having been handed off I wasn’t certain. (admittedly I didn’t scour the site either, so I’m sure you’d probably mentioned it somewhere.

        The Ps equation: Wow, after noticing what most of it was I’m kinda surprised that hadn’t clicked in my head.

        Gain progress on failure: Ahhh. Now I know my reading perception has dropped… Ah well, it was nice having one dense enough to keep my mind occupied, so I did loose myself a bit. All the same I was referencing to the identification of new items. Children, from the moment they’re born questionably examine and scrutinize the world around them going from one item to another, thus it would hardly be surprising were they to have “appraised” tens of thousands of items by the time they’ve come to master language. I suppose that was one of my points, but indeed with the aforementioned reading fails on my part, that certainly does mean that the number of skills/person would be somewhat more moderate then I suggested.

        Core xp: Ah, that makes good sense. I’d fully neglected their low intelligence and instinctive nature. Rather I’d neglected the possibility that they’d potentially stop collecting more if their core was full, figuring those name survival instincts that make them gather no faster then 1% would also prompt them to use it once collected. Yeah, that’d fix it, though it’d also make high intelligence monsters extra scary. (after all, menu gives a visual, but controlling the value, even in broad strokes, is part of the racial trait.) Still, that percentage sounds pretty low. Perhaps the bounds are set different for different races, but outside the bounds in either direction is probably equally suicidal…

        Souls, life, ether, and miasma: Ah, whoops, I accidentally probed there with one of those four. It’d be bad to feed my intuition extra factors to consider before we get that far in the story.

        Sufficiency: Yup, more then sufficient. Faster then I expected too, and rather then reading, thanks for writing. Reading’s the easy part.

        As a naturally paranoid and suspicious person I’ve another bad habit after all, shaking foundations I find to make sure they can withstand it. Glad the mechanics of the world seem to have been well thought out, it’s always a bit of a drag when they leave a gaping mechanical pothole that you don’t find until around the end.

        Like

  8. Ensig, I’m dying here. Can you give me a word, a date, an emotion? Any hint at how the rewrite is going? As disappointing as hearing you have no plans to release anything for the next few months would be, at least I’d know I don’t need to check daily, so really any news is good news.

    Like

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