Having finally reached the northern plains, I quickly started my testing for the new unique skills I had gained.
The first one to try was………the safest option, [Hardening]. Let’s start there.
From what I could tell, this should be a higher tier version of [Skin Strengthen], and so its effectiveness and efficiency should be much better than said skill as well.
Saying the name inside my mind, I activated the skill.
When I did that, as expected the arm on which I focused [Hardening] at turned stiff and solidified but, it wasn’t just the skin that was effected but also the muscles underneath as well and under the effect of [Hardening,] I was unable to move anything below my elbow that had the skill active on.
Not my wrist, and neither any of the fingers moved, and it seems like it was impossible to make any kind of complex movement at all.
The level of hardness was not that hard either, and if I had to compare the arm I had used [Hardening] on was only slightly more harder than what [Skin Strengthen] would have done.
………..perhaps because I went through a lot of effort to get these skills, I had unreasonably high hopes but still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed by this.
I was confused why this even qualified as a unique skill but then again, not all common skills have the same level of power so I just have to assume I got a bad draw here.
It’s not like it’s unusable, so I pulled myself together and was about to check the next skill when suddenly——
A fallen leaf that was flying in the air from the wind just happened to land on to my hardened palm of my hand.
I didn’t pay much attention to it and went to pick it up with my other hand when…….
“………..is the leaf, hardened as well?”
Something completely unexpected happened, and I ended up muttering out loud.
The leaf that had coincidentally landed on my hand, had also been affected by [hardening] and had become completely stiff.
And here I thought this was a difficult to use version of [Skin Strengthen] but turns out, this was this skill’s actual use!
Not just yourself, but it could affect other items and make them much harder instead.
Suddenly, my evaluation of this skill drastically changed.
Deactivating [Hardening] for a moment, I checked to see that the leaf also returned back to normal, and then I unsheathed my steel sword and activated the skill again.
I realized that using [Hardening] on a sword would be extremely useful but it was hard to tell if the skill was actually working on an object that was already very hard in the first place and I couldn’t really tell the difference.
But after seeing the leaf, I’m confident that the skill must be affecting the sword as well, and from here on, whenever I fought a strong enemy, I should always use [Hardening] on my sword before fighting.
The next thing I wondered was how far was the range of things I could harden?
If it was dependant on my what I saw, that would once more completely open up another whole new way of using this skill.
Like, could I focus on an enemy’s leg and harden it to completely ruin its movement? Or could I use it on an ally to raise their defence?
With all sorts of ideas in my mind,………I tried various things and came to the conclusion that I had to touch whatever item I was trying to harden otherwise it won’t activate.
I guess I got a bit too excited but, even being able to harden anything I touch was still a great skill.
Giving my thanks to the random leaf that coincidentally happened to land on my hand, now it was finally time to try out the next unique skill I have, or so I thought but suddenly I came up with another idea.
The [Sticky String Manipulation] skill that I used against that owl monster.
I know I can harden anything I touch but, what about things I create with my own skill?
I activated [Sticky String Manipulation], and made it attach to a tree a little distance away from me.
And then I activated [Hardening] on the strings and………the strings coming out of my hand suddenly became completely stiff just like the leaf.
I deactivated [Sticky String Manipulation], and this time I decided to use it again while having [Hardening] activated from the start.
I aimed at the same tree and activated [Sticky string Manipulation] and when I swung my arm——-Hardened strings, like they were made of iron, were launched from my hand at a tremendous speed, and stabbed straight into the thick bark of the tree.
…………I could actually use this in real battles as well.
I could have never even imagined such a use when I first got the [Sticky String Manipulation] skill but, now I could use it as a kind of attack, and also as a restraining skill against enemies that could deal with the hardened version. A truly all-purpose skill.
This alone made it into quite the monstrous skill but, there was still one more thing I was curious about.
I know now that I can harden a skill, but, could I harden something that was wrapped with [sticky string manipulation]?
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I cut off the strings tied to the tree, and then picked up the leaf again and wrapped it in the sticky strings.
And then, I activated hardening on the sticky string while it was still wrapped around the leaf——even without touching it directly, I could tell that the lead had become completely hardened as well.
I don’t quite get the logic behind it but, I assume because I produce the strings with my own skill, it’s treated as a ‘part of my body’ as well.
The experiment was a great success, and being able to harden anything that was wrapped with the sticky string greatly increased the range of things I could use [Hardening] on.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that [Sticky String Manipulation] has fully unlocked the potential of [Hardening]. And the better and more proficient I get with using these strings, the more variety I could bring into my fighting style.
While feeling surprised by the potential of a unique skill, I already knew that I could get even more stronger as I get better and better at using these skills.
There were so many applications of [Hardening] alone that I wished that these skills came with some kind of instruction manual but……..unfortunately, I’ll have to slowly try things out and figure it all out by myself.
Finally ending the testing of [Hardening] for now, I moved on to test the next unique skill I have gained.
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