"You’re awake? Come eat something," Garen said with a smile. He loosened his left hand and pushed the cup towards her. The water inside was boiling, with some radish, cabbage and scallions floating on the surface, and expanded jerky at the bottom. The water in the cup had also turned into a pale milky white.
Reylan looked touched. She got up neatly, her hands cupping around the glass and feeling the heat it emanated.
"Your body’s a lot better, huh," Garen said softly.
"Mn," Reylan nodded. "My injuries have more or less healed, and there’s no problem with my stamina either. It’s just that the scars got left behind, so many scars…" Her emotions sank in an instant.
"If I want them to heal, I’m afraid…"
"Don’t say such negative things so early in the morning, you’ll have a chance." Garen rapped the table. "Alright, the others haven’t woken up yet, so let’s start today’s lessons."
"Sure, we’ll talk as we eat." Reylan quickly took a petite little red leather notebook out from beside her, putting it on the table next to Garen.
"I had collected these from my own memories, they’re information about biological engineering. Silver Totems and the research regarding the Derivator, all of it is very complicated, and dabbles in content from many fields. Biological engineering is just one of them, after that you still need to learn about material and energy science, as well as advanced mathematics. Of course, you just need to understand it, it’s enough for you just to be able to tell what’s good and what’s not."
"Biological engineering, material and energy science, advanced mathematics? Are these three subjects enough?" Garen asked.
"Of course, these three subjects are actually umbrella terms, if you want to be more specific, there are even more branches of study." Reylan nodded. "The Obscuro’s way is to evolve creatures, it’s different from the Royal Alliance’s way of tools. Obscuro seeks to use totem techniques to finally increase the level of their own lives, that’s why they developed creature totems."
The Royal Alliance, on the other hand, uses White Silver Totems. In other words, they develop the primitive totems to a certain peak, and their final path is to use the peak-level primitive totem to boost the original totem user in return."
"Both paths seem clearer now. They just use the same power differently." Garen nodded.
He picked up the Reylan’s notebook, and read through it carefully.
Because he had basic knowledge in advanced maths and physics from Earth, as well as some research knowledge here on this world, he went through the notebook in no time. Other than some extra formulas to do with totems, he understood the rest easily.
He had also studied biological engineering with his teacher Emin, just not as deeply as this.
"I’ve already taught you some of the earlier basics," Reylan said calmly. "Now I’ll tell you about the main points in this book. Once you got a hold of that, you’ll be considered a Beginner in biological engineering."
With that, she started to explain some of the important formulas in detail to Garen.
As she spoke, Garen quickly understood these formulas completely.
Finally, he saw some change in the skill pane at the bottom of his vision. A new skill icon slowly materialized, and lined up together in a pane together with the other knowledge types.
"Biological engineering: Beginner. (By understanding this, you have understood the principles of a creature’s internal and external structures; one of the compulsory studies in totem research.)’
It finally became a skill.
Garen also heaved a sigh of relief. Now that it was a skill, that meant he could use potential points to level up. As long as he had the follow-up knowledge, he could improve rapidly.
As for the other two subjects, as long as he understood it all, he just needed to find an opportunity to grab some research materials from the Royal Alliance and his old man. With that, he should be able to reach extreme heights in no time at all. He would then have a certain level of confidence to solve the Derivator’s secret problem.
He might be no good at everything else, but his ability to learn was nothing to scoff at. With enough potential points, it would be a cinch for him to steal research, systems, knowledge, and experience from others.
His potential points allowed him to drastically reduce his studying and comprehension time.
So far, the Derivator seemed to be lagging, so the other two Generals hadn’t contacted Garen for now, giving him a short buffer time. He needed to use this time to quickly solve the secret problem.
Based on his conjecture, the reason he didn’t develop a skill when he was studying biological engineering with his teacher Emin was because he hadn’t learned all the basic knowledge in this field. Now, with Reylan’s teachings, he had finally completed it, and obtained the skill icon.
Biological engineering, materials and energy science, advanced mathematics. Garen had learned some basics in all three subjects before, but in order to act normal, Garen purposely controlled his learning speed, so that Reylan wouldn’t notice that he was too fast.
Today, however, Reylan was tossing out all the last bits of knowledge, so Garen threw caution to the winds, memorizing and comprehending everything about these subjects immediately.
His body had now reached the peak of human understanding, achieving the uppermost limit where he didn’t need to worry about the subject requirements.
He completed the Beginner level in no time. Each of the three subjects became skill icons, one after the other, in less than four hours.
From the knowledge of these subjects, Garen also obtained a deeper understanding of Silver Totems. He especially understood a lot more about the key to how the Derivator controlled Silver Totems.
All the way until noon, the carriages finally continued moving on automatically under Garen’s control. He used the Derivator to control the horses pulling all three carriages, so he could carry them forward without a driver.
The sound of coughing came from the first carriage again. Lala had been transferred to the first carriage. Her condition seemed to have become even more serious.
Garen woke up from his calculations, frowning slightly.
But there was nothing he could do. He looked up to glance at Reylan in front of him, but she didn’t seem to hear a thing.
"Totem users have their core totems, that’s why they can avoid infections from most of the outside bacteria, and be unafraid of diseases." Garen sighed inwardly. No wonder all totem users seemed to be looking down on others, the reasons came from all areas.
"Forget it, it’s more important to upgrade my core totem now. Without real power, I can’t do anything even if I found the medicine." He didn’t really know how to deal with this sort of bacterial infection either, and looking at Lala, it seemed to be more than just asthma.
He calmed his heart, his gaze falling on that part of his totem pane.
‘Core - Black-Striped White Tiger: Form One totem, upgradable. Probability of successful evolution: 11%. Potential point cost: 700%.
Ability: Tail Whip, Puncturing Crunch.’
After Garen’s gaze rested on the totem for three seconds, the entire icon become blurry, and then quickly cleared up. It was as though nothing happened, if he hadn’t lost seven potential points, Garen might even have thought that his eyes were the ones that went blurry.
"Once more." He was already numb to it. After throwing more than a hundred potential points last time without a successful evolution, this time it was mere child’s play to him.
Second attempt, failure.
Third attempt, failure.
Fourth attempt, also failure.
He didn’t know if it was a trick of the mind, but Garen vaguely felt as though his core totem changed a little.
Fifth attempt. Failure.
Suddenly, a description in tiny red figures slowly appeared behind the icon.
‘Missing core: striped crystal. Unable to evolve. Begin returning of consumed potential points, a portion of the potential points caused a catalytic effect.’
The Black-Striped White Tiger’s icon instantly dimmed.
Garen paused. In that instant, he felt an enormous gush of clean, cool air gush out from the icon. After taking a round inside his body, it returned directly to his brain.
His potential point value shot up madly.
From a little over 130, it rapidly increased to 150, 170, 190, 210.
And only stopped at 213.
Garen’s heart settled.
"As I thought, when I evolve a core totem with potential points, there’s an accumulative mechanism to it. Looks like if I try to evolve it without the critical core, the potential points I pile on won’t disappear totally. Instead, they would be stored in the totem, becoming an accumulative power. This is just like before, potential points that didn’t successfully upgrade something would return to me naturally. Looks like the potential points I put on those failed evolutions didn’t disappear, nor were they wasted, they merely gathered inside the totem, and were used to accumulate power."
"Then why are there these probabilities?" He frowned again. "Or are these gene fragments different? Is it a problem with the activation probabilities? Is it a random chance of activation every time, or will it only activate and evolve after accumulating to a certain level?"
He suddenly remembered the biological engineering he just studied. Putting it together with the basic genetic knowledge he had from Earth, he suddenly made a bold conjecture.
"Could it be that each activation attempt is activating a gene fragment, and failure to activate means it would go to waste? Successful activation means successful evolution? That so-called probability, is perhaps decided by the total number and quality of the gene fragments. Failed activation would remove these gene fragments. In that case, how are the standards for success and failure decided?"
Garen fell into deep thought.
The activation mechanism for these potential points seemed to be all murky, as though there were some complicated calculations and rhythms to it.
"It’d be all clear if I explained it like this. Activation and evolution were always meant to choose the best direction from all the countless genes. And in order to evolve these certain genes, we would certainly need a certain amount of activation energy. These two aspects decide how the potential points evolve the totem."
"Firstly, there are the potential points needed to perform the lowest level of evolution. Just like how so many points were stuffed into the Black-Striped White Tiger before it finally started the first activation. The potential points before that weren’t evolving, they were accumulating the energy required for the first evolution. I will probably need some techniques to figure out if it’s evolving or accumulating."
"Secondly, there are the probabilities. After achieving the required number of potential points, it will start attempting evolution. If successful, the points will be utterly used up. If unsuccessful, some of the points will be returned, just like with the Black-Striped White Tiger. In that case, the primitive totems and Silver Totems should be using different evolution mechanisms."
Garen was beginning to understand.