"How did you come to that conclusion?" Izroth asked.
"I... I don't know. I guess I can just sort of feel it? It's like watching an endless amount of puzzle pieces fall into place as if it were a natural occurrence." Valentine had a challenging time trying to describe the sensation.
As Izroth and Valentine discussed the Egg of Chaos, Halls was busy searching around the room for a way out. However, no matter which corner of the room he looked in he could not find an exit.
As Halls made his way back to the group, he told them about his findings. But, there was a part of everyone that was not at all surprised by that result.
From the way the Chaotic Dogma Realm functioned so far, they understood that there was a reason they were led to this specific location.
After he observed the Egg of Chaos for a while, Izroth turned his attention back towards the six stone tablets. When he touched the stone tablet that represented soul, it caused something to occur. He was curious as to what would happen if he touched the stone tablets that represented the other senses.
Izroth lightly pressed his palm up against the stone tablet that had sight carved into it. He chose this one because it was the sense that was taken away from him earlier.
As soon as Izroth's palm came into contact with the stone tablet, he instantly felt a powerful force wash over his entire body. It was similar to trying to stand up straight as the waves of an ocean crashed into your body without mercy. However, Izroth was able to withstand this overbearing force.
〈System Alert: You have successfully passed a Willpower Check〉
〈System Alert: You have successfully passed a Willpower Check〉
〈System Alert: Your Level is currently too low to possess a stronger Soul Essence.〉
The longer Izroth kept his hand against the stone tablet, the more Willpower Checks he had to go through until he reached the twelfth check and it stopped. The powerful force was soon replaced by a pleasant and refreshing feeling. Afterward, Izroth received a surprising alert from the system.
〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have unlocked the hidden trait «Soul Essence〉
Izroth possessed no previous knowledge of anything called Soul Essence that was related to RML. He opened up his character interface and checked what this new Soul Essence trait was.
Trait Name: Soul Essence
Trait Level: 12.0
Essence Regeneration: +1 per minute
Trait Effect: The user has unlocked the mysterious Soul Essence that raises the overall strength of their character. The stronger one's Soul Essence, the more powerful one becomes. When the user reaches level 20 Soul Essence, the user will unlock an additional effect.
-«Flow of Essence»: All Stats are increased by 6%.
-«Soul Empowerment»: Increases the effectiveness of your skills and attacks by implementing Soul Essence. Every 1 point of Essence boosts the skill effectiveness by 5%.
-«Soul Weakness»: If the user's Essence is drained too rapidly or drops below a certain point, the user enters into a weakened state, which reduces all stats by 75% for 5 hours.
-«Soul Sense»: The user is able to sense things, that are normally hidden from them, by using the strength of Soul Essence.
Special Note: The soul has no limits!
'A trait with no limits?'
Izroth was a little disappointed that his level was too low to further increase his Soul Essence. Otherwise, who knew how far it would go?
Another thing that was interesting was the fact that the level actually had a decimal attached to it. This was unlike any other form of levels Izroth had seen before within RML. Though, it may be due to the fact that it was a trait.
'My Breaker off Limits skill did not break through the parameters set for this trait. Could it be due to the fact that it has no limits?'
Although the skill mentioned "no limits" within the special note area, Izroth was skeptical. He understood that it was naturally limited by the level of the user. So whenever he reached the max level, the strength of his Soul Essence would be limited by that factor.
'I wonder if the level will rise by itself when I level up. Or is there something I unique that I must do in order to level up my Soul Essence?'
Izroth still had a few questions that needed to be answered, but for now, he was curious about something else. Was it possible for everyone present to obtain this Soul Essence? There was only one way to find out.
"Everyone, come and touch the stone tablet of whichever sense was taken from you." Izroth said.
Everyone had been staring at Izroth standing there motionless with his palm against the stone tablet the entire time. He was completely silent and he appeared to be focused. Therefore, they remained quiet to let him concentrate. It created a peaceful and serene atmosphere. However, when he spoke and suddenly told them to touch the stone tablets, everyone snapped out of it.
"Is there something special about the stone tablets?" Halls asked as he moved towards the stone tablet with speech carved into it. Everyone else was also curious as to why Izroth made such a strange request.
But, they still went along with it since they knew Izroth would not do anything to intentionally harm them. Plus, he had already done so himself, therefore, there could not be any danger to it.
Zi Yi went up to the hearing stone tablet. For Luna it was smell, Guan Yu was touch, and Valentine was the last one, soul. Soon after everyone's hand came into contact with the stone tablet, that same overbearing force descended upon them.
The first to remove their hand was Valentine. After that was Halls, followed by Zi Yi and then Guan Yu. Surprisingly, the last person to remove their hand from the stone tablet was Luna.
Izroth was a little surprised by the results. He had expected Guan Yu to be last with Luna as a close second. But, it seemed that he had underestimated Luna's willpower.
The first thing everyone did after they removed their hand from the stone tablet was to stare at Izroth as if he were a freak. He had casually kept his hand on the tablet as if it were nothing. The pressure of coming into contact with the stone tablet was not light at all. Each and everyone one of them was pushed to their limits and tried to hold on for as long as possible.
Yet, none of them managed to last even half the time that Izroth did. They could only sigh helplessly at how wide the gap between themselves and Izroth was. However, this experience did not cause them to be disheartened. In fact, it made them want to work even harder so that they would not be left behind by Izroth.
"You- A warning would've been nice!" Zi Yi pouted. Zi Yi felt that if she were prepared, then the chances of her making it further would have been higher. She could not help but pout a bit since she was caught off guard by that crushing force.
Izroth only gave a carefree smile in response. Zi Yi wanted to continue, but she was unable to say anything else.
"I finally understand that saying about the weight of the world crashing down!" Guan Yu stretched as he felt incredibly stiff.
Halls was gloomy at the moment. He had only managed to beat out Valentine and was the second person to remove his hand. He thought that with his training, he would be able to do better than that. However, he could not be blamed. It was just that the three people after him led very unique lives that he was unaware of.
Valentine, on the other hand, was completely fine with his results. After all, it was not like he was unable to make any progress in the future. He felt that if he studied and trained hard enough, eventually he would reach a higher level.
Luna smiled a little. It would be a lie if she said that she was not happy with her results.
"This trait is incredible! I've never even heard of traits within RML. Just from this alone, even if we don't reach the end and someone else does, this trip to the Chaotic Dogma Realm would be worth it!" Guan Yu said in an excited matter.
This gave Izroth and his party one more reason not to fall within this place. After coming across such a strong trait, the party was even more motivated to survive.
"I was able to reach level 4.4, what about the rest of you?" Guan Yu asked curiously.
Everyone then stated their levels, even Halls who was reluctant to say so at first. It turned out that Valentine reached level 2, Halls level 3.2, Zi Yi level 3.5, and Luna level 5.1. Though, everyone was not satisfied with that alone. They all set their gaze on Izroth.
Izroth shook his head inwardly. "Level 12." When those words left his mouth, everyone had a look of disbelief written on their face. Level 12?! What kind of Willpower did he have?!
Luna and Halls, on the other hand, actually thought that it would be something more along the lines of level 100 or some other ridiculous number. After all, they would not be surprised so long as it was Izroth who managed to do so.
However, Izroth left out the part about the system limiting his Soul Essence level due to his character level being too low.
After all six stone tablets were used, a few moments later the entire temple began to shake violently. All of a sudden, everyone was pulled towards the Egg of Chaos and sucked into it. Before they knew it, they had arrived back outside of the temple.
Their current location was at the surface of the temple just before they descended down the steps and towards the stone door. However, the steps that led downward were no longer there.
"We're back outside?" Zi Yi examined her surroundings. Things had happened too fast and they had no time to react. Luckily, it only placed them outside of the temple back to where they started.
"What happened to the stairway?" Halls looked around and did not find any type of stairway or a hidden door.
"Who knows? Maybe it was all one big illusion and it was never really there to begin with." Zi Yi responded. Even though it was meant as a joke, it was a possibility within the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
Izroth stared at the spot where the door used to be located. He had only come out of that place with more questions than answers. Now that he was able to acquire the mysterious Soul Essence trait, he became even more curious.
Izroth then turned his attention towards the party.
"We'll continue to search for a way to reach the end. Two hours have already passed and the other teams may have already covered a lot of distance. We'll have to hasten our steps." Izroth said.
Just because they had received such an amazing reward, that did not mean that they were ready to give up on the main prize. They were fired up and ready to continue their exploration of the Chaotic Dogma Realm.
Izroth and his party walked with hastened steps towards a tall tower that was in the distance. It was reached into the sky and one could not see where it began and where it ended. It was the only visible landmark that appeared when they broke free of the illusion. They decided that it would be their next destination.
However, unbeknownst to Izroth and his party, certain changes were happening within the Chaotic Dogma Realm. While it went unnoticed at the moment, in time it would have Izroth and his party's full undivided attention.
Meanwhile somewhere near the front gates of Amaharpe...
"Is everything in place?" Vault spoke to one of the shadowy figures behind him.
"Yes. However, there have been some unexpected movements by Cross Haven and Blue Oasis. We may have to alter our original plans." The shadowy figure responded.
Vault had a displeased look on his face, but there was still plenty of time to try and salvage that part of the plan. "I'll make contact with Slayer of Sage Falls and let him know that there may be a slight change of plans. I doubt he'll take it very well with his impatient attitude." Vault let out a sigh.
"For now, I'll speak to Menerva about how to proceed from here. We have already come this far and expended countless resources for this moment. We will not fail." Vault had a serious expression on his face.
"Understood." The shadowy figure soon vanished from where he stood.
"One of the top ten guilds... Heh, my Headhunter Syndicate will soon have that honor!" A large grin found its way into Vault's face.