"It’s a Panaja Snake, a highly toxic amphibious snake! We need to get the poison out right away!" Garen instantly reacted and quickly recognized this type of snake. He had not been just blindly living his new life all this time; he had already memorized most of this world’s common knowledge. On top of that, the young Garen who grew up in the countryside had previously dealt with this type of snake before.
As soon as he finished talking, he kicked a cobblestone.
The stone landed beside the black snake. The snake immediately slithered into the stream out of fear, leaving behind only a trail of ripples as it quickly disappeared.
"How do I detoxify the venom!?" sobbed Fayne‘s cousin Enna, the only girl who had not been bitten.
"Rinse it with water, find some poplar leaves, then chew them to bits and apply them to the bites!" Garen yelled.
During this critical time, all the students were overwhelmed. This clearly contrasted the calmness Garen had as a mental adult. He directed the boys to acquire poplar leaves and asked the girls to help clean the bite wounds and squeeze out the venomous snake’s blood. Everything was dealt with rather quickly. The girls who were bitten seemed distraught, but they held it in.
Felicity stood up from the ground, groomed her messy hair, and adjusted her skirt. Looking at the well-composed Garen, she was a little surprised.
"I will remember how you helped out my friend today," she calmly said as she helped stabilize her friend with her arms.
"It’s not a big deal." Garen shrugged. With his mental age that was a few decades old, he naturally didn’t mind. "Of course, if you really want to show your appreciation, I appreciate antique jewelry. If you have any, I would love to borrow and admire them."
His gaze was softly placed on Felicity’s white neck, where a dark blue, almost black leather cord hung.
Just as he was getting closer, the Potential Meter appeared in his lower field of vision. The meter jumped by another two units, from 89% to 92%. He was certain that Felicity had a Jewel of Potential. This jewelry could be superior in quality compared to the black pearls.
"Jewelry?" Felicity softly frowned.
Fayne, who was on the other side, came over to explain, "Garen really likes jewelry from ancient times. Originally, he didn’t want to come, but I promised him that I would show him the jewelry my family passed down. If I didn’t make this promise, then this guy here would have definitely not shown up!"
"Do you want to be a jewelry appraiser or something?" Felicity asked. She thought about it for a second, then reached behind her neck with her two hands and unbuckled the dark leather cord.
Only now was everyone able to see the pendant attached to the cord. It was a diamond-shaped blue crystal the size of a fingernail. Surprisingly, inside the crystal was a tiny silver halo.
"This was an antique I bargained for a while ago. This is what you’re interested in, right?" Felicity handed the crystal to Garen.
Garen took the crystal and examined it. It did not appear to be very valuable other than the fact that it looked very antique.
"It’s very pretty…"
The moment his hand touched the crystal, however, he felt a breath of burning heat surging out of the crystal and into his fingers.
The Potential Meter in his peripheral vision was skyrocketing.
The Potential Meter gradually started to slow before stopping at 181%.
Looking at the crystal in his hand, Garen felt as if something within the crystal had gradually disappeared despite the lack of any physical change. Working hard to suppress the exhilaration, he carefully handed the crystal back. "This is a really nice crystal. If possible, can I hear the backstory of this piece of jewelry?"
Felicity took the crystal, paused in surprise, and asked, "You know what it is?"
"Know what? Does this thing have some sort of story?" Those who finally finished tending the snake wounds were beginning to relax. When she saw that the two people were talking among themselves, the red-haired girl suddenly felt intrigued. She walked over and joined the conversation.
"It has a little bit of a story." Felicity nodded. "The crystal’s name is the Halo of Tragedy. Legend has it that those who wear this pendant will run into all kinds of misfortune and eventually die an unnatural death, but I do not believe in these superstitions. However, I am very interested in these types of things, so I paid a lot of money to buy it. I’ve been wearing it ever since, but there are many forgeries of this Halo of Tragedy, and I am not even certain that the one I have is real."
Garen nodded his head. Behind this crystal was actually such a widely spread background story. The two Jewels of Potential he had absorbed before also had tales of superstition behind them. This added another conjecture to his theory: only jewelry with supernatural backgrounds would have Potential.
"You sure have a lot of courage. What if the rumors are true?"
"All the previous owners have died of unnatural causes, so is it real or fake?" Two girls, revitalized from their wounds, crowded Felicity to ask more about the crystal.
Garen, having consumed the potential, walked to the stream alone and pretended to wash his hands and face.
"I have already tested my strength the last time I did this and there really was a huge change. I wonder what kind of element I will receive today?"
In his vision, the four attribute bars rose.
"Physical attributes are my weakness, but fitness, strength, and agility can easily be improved with training. Intelligence, however… I’m not sure how much it can affect me."
Pausing for a moment, he placed his gaze on the strength, intelligence, and fitness bars.
"I think that spreading out my potential points wouldn’t yield great results; it would just make me into an above average but normal person. To really create an advantage, I must specialize. Since I’ve already added points to strength, adding to it again is one way to go. But… if only I could split the points and add them…"
As soon as he had that thought, the flow of essence that was twirling inside his brain split into three different segments and entered into each of the three elements: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence.
Garen felt his body rattle as a strange numbness crazily descended from his head down to his back.
After a few seconds, his body returned to normal.
He felt like his upper body increased in strength and toughness. His mind also instantly became a bit clearer. Suddenly, he could think through and answer questions from his academic studies that had eluded him before.
He took some time to adjust, then peeked at the meters that displayed the different attributes.
Strength: 0.44, Agility: 0.23, Fitness: 0.31, Intelligence: 0.36, Potential: 81%.
Strength increased by 0.03, Fitness by 0.03, and Intelligence by 0.04.
"They increased the points evenly!" Garen paused. "What’s the use of intelligence though?" he wondered as he examined the condition of his body.
The Shengying Nobles Academy used a standard noble’s curriculum. In other words, they specialized in developing geniuses. As long as the student had one particularly strong area, they could be accepted into the Academy even if their other areas were weak. However, Garen had no plans to attend Shengying Nobles Academy. That was a path paved out for the children of power, who had no worries about food or clothing. Ordinary students tended to improve their overall performances and apply to prominent schools.
To do so, the student had to be proficient in every element.
A little community on the south side of Huashan City, inside a red-roofed condo.
Garen sat in front of a desk in his room, his purple hair and burgundy eyes glowing dimly as he used the faint yellow lamp light to read the book in front of him.
The thin pieces of paper gently stuck onto his fingertips before turning and falling down again, soft and smooth. The book placed before him was a social history book.
Dong… Dong… Dong…
A dull clock bell faintly tolled outside the window.
Garen glanced outside. The building across from him was pitch black without a single ray of light. "Is it already midnight? Good timing, I finally just finished using the effects the potential had on my intelligence…"
A clicking noise came from his sister’s neighboring room. It was the sound of her flicking off her light.
Garen stood up and laid down on his bed. His two hands supported his head.
"My general memory abilities improved by a small amount. The time I need in order to logically assess a problem also decreased. But most importantly, my mental math speed has been greatly enhanced… I even reluctantly learned some fundamental knowledge in regards to my least favorite subject, social history. If we calculate based on the rules of this game system, I am currently only at the entry level for social history. There should still be three more stages: intermediate, advanced, and formal disciple."
As soon as he had these thoughts, the bottom of his peripheral vision flashed and a new symbol appeared flashing above the five attributes. Garen froze.
"Ah, sh*t, even this is allowed?" He jumped out of his bed and stared at the newly formed symbol without a word.
A light red symbol could clearly be seen in the bottom of his peripheral vision.
Mastery level of skill – (Social History: Elementary. Conditions required to meet goal: Intelligence level exceeds 0.34)
Garen repeatedly read this line of writing in awe for a full ten minutes before he was certain that these new symbols were real.
Similar to the other elements, it had a tiny symbol that could easily be missed if one was not paying enough attention. When he was not paying attention, these red symbols faded into a half-translucent status and did not obstruct his vision at all.
Additionally, after these new symbols appeared, Garen recalled information from the social history class. He could easily remember up to 70% of the content as if it was deeply imprinted in his brain.
"I only started studying this course today, yet I have almost achieved almost total recall of all its contents… I guess that this is the advantage of adding points to intelligence. With the differences in subject difficulty, I suppose the intelligence requirements also differ. The necessary intelligence levels also change based on the extent of subject comprehension."
Garen had no desire to sleep after that. He turned and started to gather textbooks for all the subjects.
He read through every single book, one after another.
Half an hour later…
"The condition required to establish a subject is to thoroughly finish reading a textbook. The previous Garen used one year to grasp a single subject, the study of ancient Chinese history… it’s also only at the elementary level."
Sighing deeply, Garen was speechless at his former self.
He watched the symbols in his peripheral vision.
Main subjects: (Math: not yet established), (Ancient History: elementary), (Social History: elementary), (Foreign Language: not yet established), (Physics: not yet established).
Math, ancient history, social history, foreign language, and physics were all mandatory subjects required by the school, with no exceptions. Throughout the entire country, students were required to pass these classes in order to graduate.
Garen did some calculation and comparison of his skills to his test scores.
"In the old days, for every ancient history test, Garen bounced between a score of 60 and 70 out of 100. This means that entry level is within this range. If there are no unexpected events, then my social history should also score between 60 and 70. With these kinds of marks, I would place in the bottom 10 in my class."
"For the prominent universities, according to the average Shengying annual scores, I need to place the in the top 100 to be admitted to a renowned university. To place within the top 100 in a school with a total of 1,000 students per year should not be too hard." He suddenly remembered how Garen’s parents worked overtime every day and only took one day weekends in order to provide tuition for him and his sister. They placed all their hope on the two siblings.
"To guarantee a ranking in the top 100, my average score for my classes needs to be between 70 to 80. At this rate, if I can reach an average level of Intermediate in all my mandatory courses, I can steadily gain entrance to a university. However, even if I work hard and improve, others will do the same. If the questions the students get on exams are relatively easy, then we must compete based on who is more meticulous."
Garen slowly and carefully analyzed all these issues, "If I were able to absorb more potential from the heirloom black crystal at Fayne’s place… If only I absorbed a bit more then, I would’ve been able to increase my attribute points again." He felt somewhat regretful when he remembered what happened at Jaderipple Lake.