Overlay

Overlay

NaNoWriMo for 2017

Nel Wed, 11/01/2017 - 19:34

Overlay - Part 1

Overlay - Part 1

Prologue - Sage’s Gift

I was eight when it first appeared. I think all of us remember it. The sky shimmered with gold and silver. The wind suddenly blew in a gust knocking me down. Then a flash of light obscuring my vision completely. When I could see again the sky was back to normal but I could see things, shapes and objects floating in front of my eyes yet not real. 

Status Magic

My name, Lanette, it was up in the top left corner of my vision and no matter how I turned my head it was always there. Before that moment I would not have been able to recognize my name but now it seemed completely natural. Beneath my name were the words “Level 1 Child”, I never really questioned why I understood what I saw or how strange it was that I had become literate in one moment. And not just me, everybody in the world, in that one moment had gained the ability to read.

Now it seems so natural and so strange to consider the idea what people previously were not able to read. Now literally everybody is capable of reading, a side effect of the status magic that affects us all. 

I remember my parents being confused and not understanding what had happened to them. But that moment was just the beginning, at that moment nobody understood the full depths of what status magic meant for our world. And I was a child full of wonder not realizing the true dangers of the world. 


When I was twelve I was in Heithstar. Through the bars on my window I was able to see out across the city. I was able to see out when the Sage appeared in Heithstar. A giant figure robed in black appeared above the city. It hovered there waiting long enough for everybody in the city to realize that it was there. 

It’s name was clearly visible above it. “Third Sage, Level ??? Great Sage”

It spoke and its voice could be heard all across the city, “Children of this world who have received our gift, disaster soon approaches. A great calamity that threatens to drown the world in sorrow. But do not despair because heroes will emerge from the darkness to save you and lead you into the light. Prepare yourself to aid theses heroes. Until Then.”

And then as suddenly as the sage had arrived, it was gone, leaving us with more questions then it answered. 

Later I learned that the sage that I saw was one of nice that showed up in major cities across the lands and although that each said the same thing their names were different. The Nine Great Sages I heard them called however I didn’t have much time to think about it because my life was about to get much worse.

At that moment I was a Level 5 Cursed Blood. 

What the sage said eventually filled me with hope and despair. I kept hoping that a hero would come and rescue me and each day I desperately kept hoping. But with each day I sank deeper into despair wondering where the heroes actually were and if I would ever be saved. One day I eventually just gave up waiting. 

I was seventeen when my hero finally came. 

 

Chapter 1

I stood in a dark forest. Owls hooted, shadows cast strange shapes on the grounds, and I was under attack by wolves.

Normally I would say that this was totally normal except I was actually holding my staff. I could feel the gnarled wood in my hands, rough and hard. Given that I should be a spellcaster however I had no idea how to cast spells. 

And I was screaming because there were wolves, real in the flesh wolves, attacking me. All I could do was freak out and hit the wolves with my staff as hard as I could. 

I could see my hp bar in the top left of my screen… vision going down as the wolves attacked me. If that emptied would I really die? I didn’t know but I feared that it would be true. This was almost certainly not a dream, dreams didn’t have wolf teeth hurt this badly. 

A swift smack with my staff sent one of the wolves down, dead maybe. However there were still three more and my hp was down to maybe fifty percent. At this rate I wouldn’t be able to defeat the third before I ran out of hp. 

I was still freaking a bit out, see wolves, however desperation had caused me have to suppress my pure terror and think. I knew how to do this stuff… probably. There was a blue bar under the red bar of my hp. Probably mana or energy or whatever it would be called. 

A staff and robes meant I was a spellcaster of some kind but the question remained whether I was a healer or a dps. The next logical place to look was near the bottom of my screen-vision. A bar, excellent, with several icons on it. Those must be my abilities. 

Red ball moving in a direction, bluish horizontal crystals, swirling white symbols. Three icons, three abilities.

Maybe Firebolt, Ice Shard, Wind Gus? First guess, I could be an elemental mage.

Next question, how do I activate them, really wish I knew. It would certainly help with these wolves.

I had managed to defeat a second wolf but my hp was dangerously low. I estimated maybe 10% remaining. Learning how to use these abilities would certainly be helpful. 

“One” I shouted, “Firebolt, fireball, fire ray!” Trying to activate the first icon. Normally I would just press a hotkey and activate an ability but considering everything was real that didn’t seem to be an option. My words however didn’t seem to activate it either. 

Things were desperate and I only really had one lost shot at this. I took one last deep breath and drew upon all my concentration and knowledge of fantasy anime before pointing my staff at one of the wolves and shouting as loudly as I could manage, “FIREBALL”

It worked.

I ball of fire appeared near the edge of my staff and streaked toward the wolf slamming into it and sending it flying. The last wolf leaped at me and bit painfully into my other arm. I moved the staff to point at that one and shouted again “FIREBALL” 

With that it was over. The last wolf fell and it it I fell too. My hp was at maybe 5% if I was being generous. Close, too close. 

I lay there on my back breathing painfully. Now that I was no longer in mortal danger I was able to think back and try to figure out what had happened and was happening.

It had been after dinner. I had gone up to my room and changed into my pajamas. I had sat down at my computer to play games but before that I had checked my email. What had it been, a promotional email for some new fantasy game. I had clicked on it and it had brought me to a website. There had been some service agreement that I quickly clicked past and then I remember clicking create account.

Then I was in a forest and there had been wolves.

I was pretty sure that there was a moral in that story somewhere, probably something about making sure to read service agreements before clicking accept. Although, had it said I would be fighting real wolves using real magic in a real fantasy world I would have probably clicked accept anyways. Crummy moral. 

Having finally connected how I got here…. or at least close enough, it was time to take stoke of my situation. My hp was still at 5% so I clearly didn’t heal out of combat or if I did it was not very fast. I press my hands against my face and ran them through my long hair and into my mouth just to be sure. Yup, I was me. 

There had been a chance I was somebody else, like a character that had been created for this world, but instead I was just me. Kinda disappointing really. Maybe I was a prettier version of me but that seemed unlikely. 

I was wearing a brown robe which had red trim. I certainly hadn’t owned anything like it so I must have gotten it when I entered this world along with the staff that I was still holding in one of my hands. I was wearing very practical looking fantasy boots with laces although the grey knee length stockings were not that practical. 

There was a small satchel back that was hand a strap over one of my shoulders. I guess there won’t be an inventory system if I had that. I pulled it open and looked inside. Because of the weight I was not surprised to find it basically empty. There was a glass vial full of red liquid and a smaller bag. I picked up that bag and my suspicions were confirmed when I heard a clinking sound. I used the string to open it to find a bunch of coins inside, silver and gold, around ten each. 

I didn’t really know how much money that was, in some games that would be a long, in some it was almost none. 

Then there was the potion, it has to be a potion. Healing probably because it was red, red meant healing, usually. There wasn’t a label but I figured it I started with it then it was probably safe. I popped the cork and took a small sip. There was a tingling sensation and I felt a little better. Sure enough my hp bar got a little fuller. I drank a little more until my hp was full which used about half the potion.

I pushed the cork back in tightly and stowed the potion and the wallet back in the bag. Those were helpful but they didn’t really shed light on what was going on. The next step was figuring out how the user interface worked. 

It had been taunting me since the beginning but I was only now getting around to completely looking at it.

In the top left was my name, Veronica. It was only showing my first name though. Under that was Level 5 Adventurer. Starting at level 5 felt a little bit like cheating but it wasn’t that unusual in rpgs. It also said Adventurer, was that my class or something? Beneath that was hp and then mp.

My hp was full and my mp was down around 10%, my fireball must use a fair amount of mana. That would mean I would get around 20 casts before my mana emptied. I still didn’t know how to trigger my other two spells but I figured it would be about the same. 

It was a pretty minimalist gui all things considered. The part that still interested me were the icon on the top right. If I had to hazard a guess I would say they opened menus, or at least they would in an MMO. However I didn’t know how to click them. 

One of them was a little head silhouette, probably my character sheet. I stared at it and thought really hard about opening a character sheet. My efforts were rewarded by a screen popping up in the middle of my view. I scanned over it.

It showed a little picture of me staring back at me. Then a bunch of stats. There was also appeared to be tabs for jobs, skills, talents, and abilities. There were a lot of numbers, way more complex than most character sheets in video games. My strength was apparently nine and my magical power was twenty three. I wasn’t really certain how those compared yet but I could only assume one was bad and the other was good. 

Nel Wed, 11/01/2017 - 19:34

Overlay - Part 2

Overlay - Part 2 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:14

I looked over the statistics trying to get a feel for them. I had 56 max hp, 83 max mana, and I was 17% toward gaining my next level. My general sense was that I wasn’t a very balanced character, that would make soloing rather hard so I would need to get a party. Assuming that things here worked like a video game, maybe I was the only person who worked like that. I would need to find somebody else to find out.

The next tab was jobs. I had two jobs it seemed. Hero and Elementalist and I was rank 1 in both of them. I concentrated on Elementalist and more windows popped up. That job apparently gave me the elemental magic skill and access to basic elemental spells at rank 1. I was also 9% of the way to ranking up the job. At least I assumed that was what it meant and that I was using the right terms.

Then I checked on Hero because that seemed important too. It listed the features of a rank 1 hero. Starting equipment, bonus starting stats and skills, and improved level up. The first one was self explanatory and the second just seemed like a justification for letting me know things when I first came here rather than having to spend a lot of time learning them. The first one however seemed more special.

I had started to get used to control the menu with my mind so I was able to bring up deals about what that talent meant. It read the follow, “A hero and their party members gain skill points upon leveling up which they can allocate to any skill they have access to.”

There was a lot of implied context there. I mulled it over while switching over to look at my skills. I only had a few skills.

Melee Weapon: Staff — Rank 2 [25%]

Elemental Magic — Rank 7 [34%]

Mana Reserves — Rank 4 [9%]

Three lonely skills. All three of them had been granted to me by my Elementalist class. I had begun to formulate an idea about how Improved Level Up worked and if I was right then it was a dangerous talent to possess.

Sure enough when I switched over to my Talent tab the only item there was Improved Level Up. Abilities was equally predictable. I had three spells, Fireball, Iceshard, and Gust. Fireball was listed at costing 4 mana which was around how much I had estimate it would cost. It seems that abilities didn’t have ranks like jobs and skills though.

I closed out of that menu and began looking at the next one. A party screen, currently only containing me. What a surprise. It didn’t seem to have an associated friends list however.

The last item looks like a gear and indeed when I opened the menu it was a settings page. Mostly it seemed to contain gui options, convenient. I make sure to toggle showing my actual hp and mp total instead of just giving me a bar. There was even a log what I enabled which gave me useful information about the wolves the had attacked me.

For some reason “Show Enemy Status” was turned off. Clearly must have been an oversight to not have that on by default so I made sure it was on.

There was however no option to turn on a map and no other pages that I could find. A pity, maps were always helpful. Maybe I would have to buy a map before I got access to the ui that let me view it constantly, some games were like that. Although I wasn’t certain if this even qualified.

I considered trying to call Iceshard and Gust but decided against it. With only 75 mp remaining it I ran into trouble I wanted to keep it all available. Once I got somewhere safe I figured I could try them out.

There wasn’t any particular reason to head in any direction so I picked one and just started walking. It wasn’t long before I started getting tired. My character sheet had marked my stamina as 11 only a little better than my strength. If I had to hazard a guess I would say that would be the equivalent to what I had back on, well Earth I guess. Things would be confusing if the people here also called their planet Earth.

It took me about two hours before I left the forest. During that time I was attacked by wolves and a bear. Was the wildlife in this world supposed to be this hostile. Normally it would seem normal but with everything being real it felt odd that animals attacked this much.

Now that I knew how to use my magic the battles were quite quick. With my options configured correctly I was able to tell that the wolves were level 3 and the bear was level 6. The encounters brought my level percent to 58% and also gave a little progress to the Elementalist job and Elemental Magic skill. Given the rate of the improvement I had to assume things slowed down at higher levels, it often did in games.

The bear had been a drain on my mp and I was left with only 39 mp remaining. I also learned that my mp restorted itself at 5 per hour or close enough. My character sheet said it was 6% of my maximum mp per hour which seemed rather slow.

But now I was free of the trees and hopefully violent wild animals. If fact my direction finding must have been lucky because up the hill that was in front of me I was what I could only assume was a road.

I pushed myself a little bit longer to bring myself to it. It was farther away then it has looked since it look me another hour to reach it. With that I found a nice spot near the edge of the road to sit down and take a break. I had been walking for quite a while now and needed one.

It looked like the sun was a quarter away from setting. What did that mean, like 3 hours of sunlight left? I would have spent more time outdoors if I knew that this was going to happen to me, probably. The next question was which way to travel. I scanned the horizon looking for what might be a town. Hopefully I was close to one and wouldn’t have to camp outside alone.

Smoke, coming from what was probably the east. If there was smoke that probably meant a town, or a fire, hopefully the first one. After a few more minutes I stood up and began making the trek, if I could see the smoke that probably meant that I could get there tonight.

After an hour I realized that I had vastly overestimated my endurance. I must have used up what little I had making the walk through the forest and now I just felt fatigue in my inch of my body. Weren’t humans supposed to be endurance predators, I remember hearing that somewhere.

My breaks became more and more frequent and I could only hope that I would reach the town in time.

When I was startled by a bay and creaking of wheels. I turned around to find a horse pulled wagon coming up alone the road behind me.

Horse, Level 2

However more interestingly was the driver of the cart.

Herbert Southmoor, Level 7, Merchant.

I could see other people’s statuses too, how convenient.

As the cart neared me he slowed down and took a look at me. He scanned me up and down before finally looking a little bit above my head. So he could see my status too.

“Quite the walk you are trying to make. You seem to be having some trouble.” He had a friendly, chatty voice.

I inwardly groaned, I never really got alone with friendly, chatty people.

I did my best smile before saying, “Yeah, my bad, I didn’t realize how long it would take.”

“Are you heading to Dungeonkeep to become an apprentice?”

I didn’t know what he was really talking about but Dungeonkeep seemed like a good place to want to head. “Yeah, that is right.”

“Level 5 is pretty low to want to do that, although since you looked like you can cast magic I’m sure somebody will accept you as an apprentice.”

“That is what I have heard.” Doing my best totally not lying voice, “Do you think you can give me a ride? I have some coin if you want.”

He laughed a little, “Sure, hop on, although I’m only going to as far as Tortburg so you will have to find the rest of the route there by yourself. It will be two copper for the rest of the journey tonight and if you want the rest of the way it will be another two silver. Although you will need to provide your own food and lodging.”

I gave him my best smile, “You really are a merchant” I reached into my satchel and pulled out a silver. “I spent all my copper so you’ll have to take this. I have another silver once this one is done.”

He took reached out and took the silver before moving one side of seat and motioning, “Welcome aboard.”

I was thankful when I climbed up next to him. I was thankful but I did need to still keep my wits about me. He seemed nice but that didn’t necessarily mean much, friendly looking people were the most tricksy and manipulative of people.

As the cart began to move he deciding to make some small talk. This was going to be troublesome wasn’t it.

“You look rather young to want to be an adventurer.”

I spoke the best excuse that I could think of, “My parents died.”

“Ah, sorry.” That kept him quiet for a while.

While truthfully my parents were still alive it was highly unlikely I would see them again, unless there was some way out of this world. I would probably start missing them once everything sunk in but currently everything still felt so, unusual, that everything hadn’t quite hit me yet.

Finally he broke the ice once more, “And you don’t have any other family?”

“A brother, however he is still an apprentice so he wouldn’t have been able to support me.”

He seemed a bit relived to find I wasn’t completely orphaned.

“Still, life as an adventurer is rather dangerous. You might die and he would never see you again.”

“Yeah, I know.” I probably wouldn’t see him again away ways so that was hardly a problem.

“You could have gotten married instead.”

All I could do was make a disgusted face, me, marry? That was such a joke, besides, I was too young to marry. Although based off most fantasy stories I was probably old enough here.

He got my feelings, “All right, all right.” He laughed a little trying to lighting the mood, “You youngsters always wanting to seek our your fortunes. Not that I can blame you, I probably would have done the same at your age if I had Status Magic then.”

I did my best not to freeze. That was something extremely interesting. Status Magic, I could only assume he referred to the gui but the way he said it implied that he hadn’t always had it. I wanted to ask more questions but I couldn’t think of any good excuse to explain why I wouldn’t know about it.

Then having at least some common sense the man changed topics to less dangerous conversion topics like the weather and the travel.

I did my best to nod when he spoke and responded in as little words as possible to avoid giving too much away about myself.

A couple of hours later when the sun was just beginning to set we reached the town. It was a small, at least to my eyes and had all of the trappings of a small fantasy town.

Overlay - Part 3

Overlay - Part 3 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:17

If I had to describe it then it would be a quintessential fantasy rpg town. A blacksmith hammering away only a few shops down. A large tavern inn, children playing in the streets.

Honestly it felt weird and surreal, like it couldn’t possibly be a real town. Each of them had status information above their head. Most of them were low level like me, between 3 and 6 the only one who wasn’t was somebody who look liked a guard and he was level 10. They also had their name and what must be a profession.

Herbert had the horses pull the wagon up to the side of the inn before he stepped off. “Here were are, our first stop. Meet me here tomorrow at noon to take a ride or to get change if you changed your mind.”

“Thanks” I replied before getting off myself.

Getting a room in the inn was easy, it was only five copper which I think was a good deal. I still had plenty of money but I knew it wouldn’t last unless I had some source of income. Dungeoncity sounded like a good destination.

I still needed to figure out the rest of my spells though. When I asked the innkeeper where an acceptable play for me to practice was I was directed out back and told not to damage any of the buildings.

While I did expend the last reserves of my mana I did learned several important things. I was able to figure out how to cast my other two spells. The second thing that I learned was that my skills and job were definitely proficiency based. While I didn’t get any of them ranked up I did make some percentage progress.

There was a problem however. Once I was out of mana I couldn’t practice my spellcasting anymore. Being limited like that was quite annoying. I would need to figure out some way to practice them either without expending mana or to get mana back quicker. 6% per hour was too slow.

Since training those skills wasn’t going anywhere I decided to practice with my staff. I had a skill for using the staff as a melee weapon so I thought I should practice that too. It was most of the way to leveling before I ran out of energy. It was quite dark and I realized that I was very hungry.

I hadn’t eaten anything all day and the last thing I remember eating was back at my home, or former home. I returned to the inn and managed to get a meal. It seemed the place was open for food very late at night and many people had gathered there to get food and alcohol.

I was too young for the later so I just got the food. It turned out to be a generous portion of roasted vegetables with a small portion of a gamey meat, probably deer. It was far better than I expected it too be.

While I eat I contemplated whether I should have done something about the wolves I had killed in the forest. Their meat could have been valuable. I should probably get a knife in the morning before I headed out. Even if I never used it for butchering an animal I was sure it would be useful.

After eating I headed to the room that I had been allocated. I didn’t have much stuff but I tucked my wallet under my shirt before laying down to sleep. It was all I really had and I need to make sure nothing happened to it.

As I lay in bed I realized that it was only 10pm. I could tell because on my gui there was a small display on the right that showed the time. Normally I would stay up much later than this playing video games but I was basically in a one now and I was exhausted for doing physical activities all day.

I was asleep before I knew it.

If I had any dreams I didn’t remember them when I woke.

That was strange, well different everything was strange. There was something new a blinking dot near my settings. I opened it and was greeted with a toolbar of what looked like applications. There were only two of them but I had I feeling I already knew what both of them were.

The first was a clock symbol and sure enough when I opened it there were all the features I would expect from a clock application. A timer and alarms. Useful although I wondered what would happen when one went off, was my gui capable of making sound, would only I hear it?

The other was a note taking application. One which I was capable of mentally dictating too. That was extremely cool.

I checked my other menus and sure enough I found something else new. A third jobs, Traveler. It listed the two applications I had as features as well as a Long Distance Walking skill.

Was it common or rare to gain jobs like this? There was still so much I didn’t know about how everything worked. Did other people get updates to their gui like me? Was what was happening to me special or not, well obviously a bit special. I didn’t think anybody else came from Earth like I did.

It was early in the morning. Eight o’clock. I had things to buy before meeting back up with Herbert for the next stage of the journey.

The first stop was a tailor. My clothes were not in great shape. Given that I was attacked by wolves they were more whole then they could have been. A few copper later they were patched up and I was able to head to get a knife.

I was able to find something small and sharp for five silver. I was assured about its quality not that I trusted the guy much. Maybe there was some kind of appraisal job that I could get, maybe I could try getting Herbert to tell me some tricks, merchants probably have an appraisal skill.

Next up was some food supplies. I got what I could fit in my satchel, hopefully enough to last the day and a little longer if needed.

While looking through the different stores I noticed a potion that looked like the one that I had in my bag. The person selling it was trying to get 2 gold pieces for it. I didn’t know whether it was a fair price of not but it gave me a context about how much my 11 gold pieces were worth.

I hadn’t had to use them yet but I was beginning to run out of silver. I would need to start earning money soon although unless I got robbed I expected my gold to last long enough to get to Dungeoncity.

Then finally it was time to meet up with Herbert and travel onward.

I arrived at the inn a little before the departure time and was able to pay him the extra copper I needed for yesterday’s journey. And with that we were off.

One were were on our way I asked what I hope was not a dangerous question, “You must have an appraisal skill right?”

He didn’t look that surprised so I must have been save, “Yeah, it comes with being a merchant. Were you thinking of trying to be merchant instead of an adventurer, I guarantee that it is less dangerous.”

“No, I was just thinking that it would come in handy to appraise stuff I might find to know how much it was worth.”

“I’m sure that there is some adventuring job which gets appraisal as a skill. You should probably ask an adventurer when you get to Dungeoncity.”

I nodded and responded, “Yeah, I’ll do that.” Good, at least he confirmed that jobs and skills were things that everybody have. A strange world indeed.

Most of the day was quiet, with Herbert occasionally chatting and telling me about some of the different places that he has visited. I thankfully listened and was glad that he was the kind of person who liked to talk about this kind of stuff.

At four o’clock Herbert suddenly stopped the cart. He seemed intent and looked around quickly. I didn’t disturb him and instead looked around myself but didn’t see anything.

“Darkness, this is bad. I hate to say this but you should prepare yourself just in case.” He said as he turned toward the cart and fished around inside it before pulling out a sheathed sword.

“Oh,” I grabbed my staff tightly, “What is it?”

“A birdcall, several of them in sequence.” He said. Now that he mentioned it I realized that he was right, there had been several bird calls. I hadn’t thought anything of it but now I was on edge too.

“What does that mean?” I asked in basically a whisper.

“Goblins most likely. They shouldn’t be in this area but that just means it must be a new tribe. What is your effective range with your spells.” He had also pulled out a small crossbow from the card and a quiver of bolts. It looks like he was prepared for this eventuality.

There was a little bling and a small message saying, “Party Invite” appeared on the bottom left of my vision. I quickly accepted the invitation and Herbert’s name appeared just under my own with his own little bars about hp and mp. Because of my settings I could see the numbers. He had maybe 20% more hp than me and only 20 mana.

I had done a few tests yesterday and the results were quite favorable. “My ice shards are pretty accurate. I can probably hit at 40 yards. Anything beyond that is questionable.”

He nodded approvingly, it was hard to tell if he thought that this was impressive or not. He had changed modes into somebody trying to keep their life in tact.

“Hopefully they will not attack and instead try to weaker targets.” He said as he pulled the reigns to get the horses to start moving again. “Then we can report them and they will be dealt with.”

“How many to you think there are?” I asked straining to see them but they still hadn’t appeared.

“Goblin tribes are usually half a dozen to a full dozen. Will you be able to keep your mana up long enough?”

“Maybe, if there is more than a dozen I definitely will have problems.” Iceshard was a little bit more expensive than fireball. It had much better than however due to the faster speed that it shot at.

We waited with baited breath until finally Herbert shouted, “That way.”

I turned and faced the way he was looking to see ten goblins jump out of the bushes and begin to charge us. A couple of them had bows. Herbert began aiming at one of the ones with a bow and I aimed at the other.

My icebolt flew through the air at almost the exact same moment that Herbert’s bolt. The two goblins fell like synchronized swimmers, or maybe like some better metaphor which I couldn’t think of in the moment.

Now that they were charging us and I had a moment I was able to see what the goblins looked like. They were short greenish people. Were they scaled, I wasn’t able to tell and didn’t have much more time to examine them.

I waited for Herbert’s next bolt to fly toward the goblins before calling upon my gust spell. It didn’t really do damage but it worked wonders as crowd control against a horde of small enemies. That gave Herbert enough time to load another bolt and we both let out another volley against the goblins.

Two more fell leaving seven remaining. Herbert didn’t have any more time to find bolt so he slung his crossbow and drew the sword while I fired another ice bolt.

Overlay - Part 4

Overlay - Part 4 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:28

With them reaching close range I switched over to using Fireball to attack the goblins. Herbert took the front line fighting off the goblins with his sword while I peppered them with fireballs and keeping him protected using gust. Still it was impossible for him to contain that many goblins by himself and one of them got past him and engaged me in melee.

However then I arrived in this world I got to experience the dangers of melee combat and this time I felt in control. The goblin was also not as fast as the wolf and I was able to use my staff effectively to knock the goblin back long enough to invoke fireball.

Once that was done I returned to providing support for Herbert.

As quickly as the encounter had started it ended. The goblins were down and we were safe. I wiped my brow, “Whew”. Everything had gone well. My hp had only taken the smallest amount of damage and Herbert still had around 60% of his. A successful encounter indeed.

I pulled out my healing potion which was near the top in my satchel and handed it to Herbert, “Here, there isn’t that much left but you took most of the damage.”

He waved his hands, “No no no, that stuff is expensive isn’t it. I shouldn’t take that from you.”

I glared at him, “We just fought goblins together didn’t we? Don’t merchant me right now. If there are more goblins I can’t have you hurt like that. I don’t have enough mana to do another engagement like that.”

He took the potion and I noticed that he seemed different than his normal self, more shaken. I suppose we did just fight for our lives so that isn’t too much of a surprise.

I left him to drink the potion while I knelt down next to the goblins and began shifting through their pocketed. They were covered in blood from the fight but looting your enemies was a time-honored rpg tradition.

Over all not a huge haul. They had some copper in their various pockets but no huge amounts. They however must have had some kind of camp and probably near by. I called out to Herbert telling him to wait for me while I searched for it.

Behind a nearby hill I was able to find it. Some crude tents and a fire pit. A quick search of the camp turned up quite a bit. Nine silver and a few handfuls of copper. Most of everything else was probably not save to take. The goblins didn’t seem to be the most hygienic of people. I had been hoping for some magic items but I fear that was too much to ask for.

When I returned to Herbert his hp had been restored. I had already known that of course because I had been watching his hp because we were part of the same party.

“I found some silver in their camp. All told it looks like it is seven silver each.”

He shook his head, “No, you keep it.”

I glared at him however he shook his head, “No really. I misjudged you, you really are suited to be an adventurer. You kept your cool better than me. Without you I certainly would have died to that attack.”

“It wasn’t all me, you fought the goblins well yourself. You are a higher level than me too.”

“Higher level doesn’t mean everything. Once they were attacking me in melee I lost all track of everything. They could have killed you and I wouldn’t have noticed. Yet you kept attacking the ones on my flanks making it easy for me to fight. It was all you.”

“Alright, then. I’ll consider it the payment for the potion. That is fine ok?”

He smiled weakly, “You are giving me quite the deal there but I’ll accept.”

“Good.” I said. I wanted to give him more credit for the battle but he wasn’t wrong. At the beginning of the fight he had kept his head and target the most dangerous enemies but once later he was just fighting to stay alive, not to win.

I didn’t think my actions had been anything unusual for me though. I had played several major mmos and party fights were important. Keeping melee characters from being overwhelmed was important. Gust was my crowd control skill and it had been quite effective.

It would have been nice it Herbert had any tanking prowess but he probably didn’t have any useful fighting jobs. I didn’t judge him for that but his prioritization after that first go had been less than good. However he was a merchant not an adventurer so I hadn’t said anything bad to him about it.

I mentally added to my notes that I should figure out an issue with healing. Natural healing was way too slow and currently healing potions seemed too expensive. Even with the silver I had gotten from the goblins that probably only barely paid for the half of the healing potion that Herbert drunk. Maybe I could get some training in a healing magic job but I would need more mp for that to be a good option. Honestly mp regenerated too slowly as well.

I had a skill that gave me a bigger mana reserve but I wanted to try and find one that let me regenerate it faster.

Herbert and me climbed back onto the wagon and continued our journey to the next town. While that happened I looked back over my log and checked over my status just to see if I missed anything.

Indeed, it looked like my Elemental Magic skill had ranked up to rank 8. My level was very close to going up and so was my staff skill. Mana Reserves seemed to only be very slowly increasing in percent. It was probably a slow growth skill since it would improve no matter what kind of magic you were using.

The journey for the rest of the day was very quiet. Herbert had previously be quite chatty but now he was more contemplative. The battle must have frightened him more than I thought.

Maybe it was strange that I hadn’t felt scared, I had felt scared back in the woods the first time I was fighting wolves but back then I hadn’t known what I could do to protect myself. Or maybe because everything strangely felt natural for me like I had been training my whole life to be here right now.

Once we had finally reached the next town and checked in at the inn Herbert quickly informed the town guard about the attack and then retreated to his room. Yesterday I remembered seeing him chat up the inn patrons like a good merchant.

I made sure to spent some time training this night as well. If I was going to actually be an adventurer toward would only be the tip of the iceberg in many ways. However I tempered by training a little bit this time. Since mp regenerated so slowly I left enough that I would have most of my mana available when I woke up.

That night there was no bonus job that I got access too, sad.

In the morning I went to check the market. Last time I chose not to purchase a new healing potion but this time I decided not to take that risk, with all the potion down I didn’t have a way to heal and that was unacceptable. I got a new potion and safely stored it in my bag. I was able to haggle down the price a little bit which meant that the goblin loot basically paid for it.

When I returned to the inn I was glad to see Herbert talking and laughing with another person. It seems that a good night’s sleep had let him get back to normal. Not long after it was time for us to leave.

As we took off Herbert said, “It looks like it will be our last day together. We should arrive in Tortburg before the night falls from there you should be able to find a caravan heading toward Dungeoncity and the journey there will take you another two days.”

“Thanks for all your help.”

“No problem. Honestly I should be thankful for finding you. If you ever need my aid again you can contact the merchant guild and I’m sure they will be able to send a message to me.”

“Tortburg is big isn’t it?” I asked, I had gotten the impression from how he spoke about it that it was a big city.

“Quite big, not nearly as big as Heithstar mind you but it is getting bigger every day. It is the closest major city to Dungeoncity and is used as the main trade up for everything found there. If you are looking for gear replacements I suggest looking for it in Tortburg instead of waiting to Dungeoncity. The merchants tend to inflate the price in Dungeoncity.”

“Thanks, I’ll see what I can do about that. I expect to spend a few days there looking around before leaving.”

We continued to chat about Tortburg as the journey continued. Herbert made him money but buying produced good in big cities then going out to the smaller towns where he sold those goods and then buy raw materials which he brought back to the city.

The journey was over faster than I expected. Since we were closer to a big city today there were more people on the road and it was probably safer from attacks by creatures like goblins.

As the city came into sight I was actually kinda surprised how big it actually was. There weren’t any walls because it looked like the city was expanding with new buildings being built on the edge of the city. We past a bunch of buildings before finally getting to what must have previously been walls to protect the city.

Inside Herbert lead me through the streets while he tried to explain the layout of the city. Finally he stopped in front of a large building. The merchant guild headquarters he said.

“If you ever need me this is the place to contact. They will be able to tell you what my route is and how soon it will be before I get back.”

“It is more impressive then I expected it too be.”

“Well, the merchant guild basically runs the city. Sure the Duke is supposed to be in charge but the merchants control the money.”

“It has been nice traveling with you. If you are ever in Dungeoncity I’m sure you can look me up. Although I’m not certain how you do that.”

He nodded and said again, “Thanks”

“No problem, adventurer remember, doing that stuff is my job.”

“Yeah,” He said, we smiled at each other and I waved as he left and entered the merchant’s guild building.

And with that I was alone again. I had known it was going to happen but it still pained me a little. We had only been together a few days but I had already though of him as my friend. Lack of a friends feature was annoying.

I took a walk through the city toward the inn that Herbert has recommended. I was planning my next actions. However before I made my decision about what to actually do I needed to answer an important question that I had.

The thing I needed to do is finish gaining this level and figure out if Improved Level Up did what I thought it would do. After the goblins I was close to gaining a level but not all the way there yet. One thing I noticed however was that practicing combat skills did give me a little bit of progress toward the level. If I worked hard I could probably gain the level with a few days of practice.

Overlay - Part 5

Overlay - Part 5 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:29

Since we had arrived in the early evening I spend the night practicing with the plan to explore the city the next day.

When that day came my first order of business was the Adventurer’s Guild. From what Herbert has said they had a small office in the city. It was for recruitment and to organize with the Merchant’s Guild for supply delivers to Dungeoncity.

I stopped by and officially registered myself as an adventurer. It was a momentous occasion. For me mainly. I told them I was planning on heading to Dungeoncity in the next few days and that I would be looking for a party then. I also had to pay a silver.

Next step was the markets. I had some equipment but I didn’t know how good they were. However going through the markets didn’t really help that much. There were just so many options and I couldn’t tell what was better than what. I really needed some kind of appraisal skill.

All of the stuff that looked good was all outside my price range. I did however find a book about Life Magic. The merchant that sold it to me for only a gold said that I was guaranteed to become a Life Mage if I studied it well enough, a shady claim if I had ever heard one.

I considered buying mp potions but these were even more expensive than healing potions. Buying one of them would never be worth it for training however if I was actually doing adventuring it could be considerable but only if the payout was high enough.

Another thing I learned was that the practice of slavery was still alive and well in the world of fantasy. It was a terrible thing but at my current level it was outside my power to do anything about it. From what I could tell it was mainly used as a punishment for criminals and some kind of magic was used to enforce obedience. The ramifications of such magic was dangerous though.

There was still so much I didn’t know about this world.

While there was still a lot of time in the day I used that time practicing what magic I could and then swinging my staff until I was exhausted. One thing I had learned about levels today was a general understanding of what level qualifies as high.

For my age level 5 was quite good and it seemed that more of the general population was somewhere between level 5 and level 8. It seemed that most people didn’t really gain levels as part of their general profession. The town guards and people who looked like soldiers or adventurers seemed to cap somewhere between level 15 and level 20.

However there were several major exceptions. While I was at the adventurer’s guild I saw a senior adventurer who was level 34. The question of how high in level people could get was still up in the air but that adventurer had seemed very impressive. It was a good goal to set as my first goal.

Once I had exhausted myself I took a break in studying the life magic book. I didn’t really understand much of what it was talking about but I pressed onward learning everything I could about it. My elemental magic was known just by some kind of innate understanding on my part because of my job probably.

The day was hard but my progress on the various skills ranks was good. I got my staff melee skill up to rank 3 and at this rate I should get another rank in Elemental Magic before my level went up. More importantly I was expecting to get to second rank in my elementalist job.

Interestingly Hero had no progress to ranking up and I didn’t know how to get progress on it. My Traveler job hadn’t gone up in any of the training but it had progressed a little during the journey since I got it. Like skills they seemed to gain experience when you do actions related to them.

The next day I was rewarded with my second rank in elementalist like I expected. My hope for more spells was rewarded. Earthshield was a defensive buff and Waterblade was a close range offensive option. Apparently for elementalist water was a different element than ice. I also gained the Elemental Sense skill.

There was no immediate change upon getting that skill, maybe a tingling when I cast my spells but nothing more than that.

However when the day ended and I slept things changed. When I awoke I found that there had been changes to my gui once again. I now had an elemental overlay which I could enable. It showed the flow if the winds and water, although faintly.

The gui seemed to update over the night, was this an integration function of the magic or what is me creating the interface unconsciously during the night. Enabling the elemental sense overlay however cost a small amount of mp to sustain, about one mp a minute which prevented me from keeping it up all the time.

I wanted to experiment with it but today I had the goal of gaining a level. I was 98% away from leveling and given my rate during the last two days I thought I could manage it.

By noon I had pushed that number up to 99% and four hours after that the reward I had long been waiting for.

A strange magical sound, the sound of gaining a level. I could hear it and I could literally feel it in my bones like I shiver that spread throughout me. My log show me the level and a list of improved stats. It felt strange and surreal but as the same time reinvigorating.

Then what I had expected the message, “You have unspent skill points”

The log said it clearly, “Improved Level Up has granted you 12 bonus skill points”

I opened my skill menu and looked. 12 skill points. My fears had been confirmed, Improved Level Up was dangerous, extremely dangerous. That talent made me valuable, the talent said that it worked for my party which meant that anybody in my party also gained bonus skill points when they leveled up.

If a world where all your skills seemed to rank up purely from proficiency I had the ability to power level. If the rates I had experienced where a good benchmark then training to gain skills was slow. I had gained two skill ranks in the time I had gained one level and here I was with 12 bonus skill points.

Now that I had truly confirmed by suspicious I had to enact my plan. Something I had been putting together since I entered Tortburg. If I was going to be an adventurer, and I was, I needed allies that I could trust with this secret. A public party would certain involve somebody trying to take advantage of my ability.

I needed somebody that I could absolutely trust. I could only trust that eight gold was enough.

Chapter Break

I was in the slave market. The man in charge was showing me around and I was doing my best not to look uncomfortable. I hated the idea but it was the only way I could think of to ensure loyalty. I promised myself I would set the person free as soon as I was high enough level that I could avoid being taken advantage of.

I had told them I was seeking a slave capable of fighting in the front lines. The person in charge didn’t ask any questions. That was probably usual in this line of business. He showed me several people who were within my budget, such a terrible thought.

“They all seem pretty low level.” I commented. That was harsh, most of them weren’t really any lower level than me but nobody really caught my interest. Although more likely it was my morals crying and telling me that slavery was wrong.

“Unfortunately it is hard to get ones with high level, most of them are purchased right away.” Said the slave merchant, then there was a long pause, “Although, we do have one that you might be interested in. Level 12 and cheap too.” He said.

I started paying attention to him. It was a flag, it had to be a flag. “What is the catch?” I asked trying to sound as suspicious as possible. However secretly I was feeling like this must be it.

“No catch, no catch.” He was making it sound even more suspicious, “A girl like you, young too, she has a rare job too. I’m sure she will be perfect.” I didn’t know if he could make it sound more suspicious if he tried However I could see the flag super clearly. She was going to be perfect, I could tell.

“Show me.”

“Yes my lady.” He said bowing before showing me the way. He lead me down into what must have been a dungeon of some kind.

“Why is she down here.” I asked.

“Superstitions and nothing more I assure you.” He said as he picked up a torch and began walking through the dark halls. All of the cells that we passed by were empty. My guide even looked a bit spooked looking into the different cells as he passed them.

Finally he stopped at the last cell and shined the light in.

I could see the woman in the cell. She was hunched against the back wall. As the light fell upon her she looked up and our eyes meet. Even in the badly lit room I could tell that her eyes were a bright eerie green.

She looked maybe eighteen or twenty, a bit handful of years older than me. She looked haggard and ill-kept but there was something strange and alluring about her.

Lanette, Level 12 Cursed Blood

“How much?” I asked.

“Eight gold.”

“Six”

“I can’t part with her for less than seven.”

“Fine”

With the way he spoke I expected that I could have gotten her for cheaper, he was happy to have gotten rid of her.

He unlocked the door and called out to the woman inside, “Get up, it is time for you to go. This is your new master.”

Lanette stood and walked toward the cell door. She stood in front of me, she was quite a bit taller than me. “How long until you too give up on me.” She said.

There was a tingle up my spine, this, this was it. I was smiling, “No, you are perfect.”

I turned my head slightly to speak to the slaver without breaking eye contact with Lanette, “How does the transfer work?”

“Just had over the coin and I will transfer it to you immediately.”

I reached into my satchel and pulled out the coins, handing them it him. A few moments later I received the message. “Accept ownership transfer of Lanette?” I accepted.

With that the slaver chuckled and said, “Good luck. Feel free to get aquatinted, she is your problem now.” He then ran off leaving us alone in the dungeon.

“It seems that he is quite frightened of you.” I said.

“I am cursed, he is right to be frightened.”

I however was smiling brightly, “I’m just amazed at how perfect this is. Cliché maybe but perfect. I didn’t except such a perfect flag to fall into my lap. I have so many questions to ask you but I think I’m supposed to take it slowly, being to aggressive tends to lead to bad ends.”

She just stared dumbfounded at me, “What?”

“Come on, let’s go. We don’t have all day. We need to get you something better than those rags. After all we are leaving for Dungeoncity tomorrow.”

“Ah, I see. If you need me to fight then I will do my best.” Her voice had changed to a more obedient monotone.

Overlay - Part 6

Overlay - Part 6 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:29

“I have many questions but first let us get out of here. Also” I looked her up and down. “We need to get you cleaned up. The inn had a bath option for a little extra so we will need to use that. Also clothes. Wearing rags is totally unacceptable.”

I turned and began leaving the dark moldy dungeon and Lanette followed me, “Wasting such money on me is pointless.”

This was going to be tough, “There are so many reasons that you are wrong I don’t know where to begin. Mainly I suppose it is because every girl deserves to look cute.” Not that I had really cared about my appearance outside of games but this was basically a game so it qualified.

“Ccc… cute?” She stammered. “Are you some noble’s daughter or something playing adventurer?”

“While I admit you might find me rather eccentric I can assure you that I am not a noble’s daughter. We are going to be adventurers because without that we would run out of money and starve.”

“Then why are you wasting money on clothes for me?”

I spun around and pointed my finger at her, “Because we are not going to starve. We are going to get you clothes and be successful adventurers. What would people say if we become successful adventurers and you were still wearing rags”

“I think you may be insane. You could have just joined a party. There was no reason to buy me.”

“Ah, the important question. The short answer is that I have a secret that I can’t afford to let other people know about. As for what that secret is, you will have to wait until we have left Tortburg for me to share it. People my accidentally overhear it. For now just answer any weird questions I might have and I’ll explain everything later.”

“Yes”

“Oh, and dream big. I intend to make us the best heroes that have ever existed.

Chapter Break

I was pretty sure that my new master was insane. She used strange words that I had never heard before. While she denied being a noble’s daughter she seemed well educated although a bit out of touch. So far she hadn’t used any of the slave contract features which made her significantly better than the previous master who had owned me.

Her name was Veronica and she had brought me to a clothing store. Her choices of clothing for me were somewhat questionable. She had asked what kind of weapon I preferred and when I had said short sword she had quickly picked out some pants and a shirt. Not too strange, certainly more easy to move in than the robe that she was wearing.

I questioned the completely useless decorative belt but she had just said, “It is very important.” She then went on to getting some cheap leather armor however she paid extra to have the armguards dyed purple. Such a useless waste of money.

When looking at shortswords she asked whether I had any appraisal skills and seemed disappointed when I said that I didn’t have any although she didn’t say anything about it.

With that done she lead to the inn that she was staying in, a rather upscale one. She spoke with the innkeeper for a bit before they shooed me off to the bathroom. In this one way I did appreciate how she seemed to care about appearances. The dirt and grime had been a near constant presence for a long time and it nice to be free of them, at least for a while.

I made sure to control myself and not break the mirror in the bathroom. It was difficult.

With the bath done and wearing clean clothes I got fussed over by she as she adjusted the belt. The belt wasn’t that important was it? She the showed me the new room she had moved into, one with two beds. An inn bed was a luxury for a slave but I didn’t question it since she already seemed to be rather odd.

“I’m going to go out back and do some training. You can join me if you want, or do whatever you want to do.” She said.

“Whatever I want to do?”

“Yup, enjoy.” And she was gone.

She continued to baffle me. Let me do whatever I wanted? Who bought a slave and then told them that. Although it wasn’t like I could just run away. The slave contract could paralyze me from anywhere. It wasn’t like I had anything to do anyways so I just followed her out into the back.

Given that Tortburg was close to Dungeoncity a fair number of the inns catered to adventurers it wasn’t surprising that there was a place to train. There was some target dummies which had been setup which she was using.

I had expected Veronica to be a mage because of her clothing and I was not wrong she was an elementalist. She was practicing casting spells against the target dummy which seemed to have been treated to resist magic. I watch her for a few minutes before noticing something strange.

I couldn’t stop myself from asking. Normally I would consider it inappropriate but Veronica had never preventing any of my question, “How much mana do you have?”

She turned around and finally noticed me, “Oh, you were watching. Was there something strange about my casting?”

“You have just been casting a lot for somebody who was only level 6.”

“Oh, yeah, I have 138 mp.”

“138?! Are level 6?”

“Elementalist gives me the Mana Reserves skill which adds to my maximum mp.”

“I know about that. Most casting classes get that skill. But still, 138 is extremely high, that would me you have somewhere around 18 ranks in it.”

“Only 14 actually. My innate mp is fairly high.”

“How did you get it that high while still only being level 6? Mana Reserves is notorious for being difficult to rank up.”

“Ah, yeah, about that. That is another one of the questions I’m going to have to wait until you have left Tortburg before I answer. Sorry. Part of the secret.”

What sort of secret did she have. It must be pretty important to hide it this much while in a town. Maybe she had a skill which let her hide her level, that was possible. If she was level 15 or so her rank in Mana Reserves would make sense. I had heard rumors that such talents existed.

“Although..” She said, “There is important things we need to talk about. What our jobs and skills are that are useful in combat. If we are going to fight together then we need to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

She was right but it had not been my place to mention that.

“As you probably just saw I’m an elementalist.” Then then proceeded to explain what her different abilities and skills did as well as how she planned on using them in battle. I was suprised how thorough she had thought this out.

She finished with, “And I’m been trying to study life magic to add healing capabilities but that hasn’t yet born fruit. Other than my secrets which isn’t relevant to combat tactics that covers everything. Oh, I also have the Traveler job but that also isn’t relevant to combat.”

“Then I guess I should explain what I can do.” I said taking in a deep breath and resigning myself to having to explain.

“First I have the Quick Blade job. As it sounds it specializes in quick movements and usually uses light weapons. It is a pretty generic combat job. I am rank 5 in that job. It gives me Short Sword, Quick Movements, Feint, Dodge, Parry, Footwork, and Improved Reflexes. Plus a few other weapon proficiency skills which I am less good at.”

She whistled, “That is quite a lot of skills. I guess job rank really does make a big difference. However do you think you could explain what each of those skills do since I’m not to familiar with how martial jobs work.”

I nodded, I had left some of that out since most of it was not too uncommonly know but I went through the motions of explaining what each of them did, along with how I could use them in battle.

“However Quick Blade is not my only combat effective job. I have the rare Cursed Blood job.” She looked excited, please don’t look excited about this job. It is kind of a spell casting class. It allows be to apply curses to opponents. The curses provide a variety of negative effects and they last around half an hour each however the mana cost of each of them is high so I can only apply around two before running out of mana.”

“Oh, a debuff class. And one that specializes in bosses as well. Awesome! I assume your debuffs stack?”

“Uhh… debuff?”

“Your curses. A debuff is a generic term for bad effects you can apply to the enemy that don’t involve damage. And stacking mean whether you can apply more than one of your curses to the same target.”

“Oh, yes, I can do that. Against a single strong opponent the curses are quite effective however against multiple opponents it is not very useful.”

“That is why I said bosses. Ah, when I say bosses I mean single strong opponents or a very strong opponent with weak ones supporting it.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Her words were always strange. There was also another aspect of the curses that I needed to mention. If I didn’t and she later found out I could get in a lot of trouble. “Another feature of the job is self cursing.”

“That doesn’t really sound useful. Why is it?” She said. Like she expected there to be some compensation for it, which there was of course.

“I can apply my curses to myself to regain the mana cost of the curse. However the duration of such curses lasts round six hours so it isn’t something I can do very often.”

“Ah, very risky and the extended duration prevents you from using it to regain mana quickly between battles. Everything is really stingy about giving mp recovery. I can see why mp potions are so expensive. Can you explain what each of your curses do.”

I nodded, “Yeah, I’m rank 7 in that job so I have quite a lot of curses.” I then proceeded to explain what each of my curses did, in detail after some prodding.

“However there is a disadvantage about the job. It gave me the Cursed talent. Terrible bad luck is bound to befall me and those around me.”

“Really? Is that what the talent actually says.”

“Might as well. It actually says, ‘Inescapable Curse. Those bound by this face cannot escape their destiny’”

She paused like she wanted to say something but thought better than to say it. Finally she said, “Any other jobs that I should know about?”

“I also have a Noble job and a Farmer job but those aren’t useful in combat.”

“Noble? Does that mean you used to be a noble? How did you end up becoming a slave like that?”

“Adopted only. Some noble had high hopes in me but the curse was too much for them and I was thrown out. Mainly it just gives me some knowledge skills.”

“Ah, interesting. Well that is probably enough of a break from practice. Thanks for sharing. Tomorrow I’m going to get the remaining supplies needed for the journey to Dungeoncity and then we will be leaving the day after that.” She pulled out a silver and handed it to me. “Use this to get anything else you think you will need. Although try to be frugal since I’m getting rather low on spending money.”

I looked at the coin, surprised that I had been given money.

Overlay - Part 7

Overlay - Part 7 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:30

I felt like I should question her actions but it was keeping in line with how she had continued to act. She continued to train while I returned to the room and tried to figure out what to spend the money on that would be useful.

While later Veronica returned to the room. She raised her hand in greeting before collapsing on her bed. It looks like she had trained more than just her magic, probably excises of some kind. She had fallen sleep almost immediately after that.

I struggled to sleep on a bed. It had been years since I had slept on something comfortable. Finally I managed to drift into a restless slumber.

When I finally woke from my nightmare it was to somebody shouting, “Ha, amazing.” Before slamming the door on their way out of the room. I pulled myself out of the bed trying to remember where I was and what was happening. It must have been Veronica. She was my master now, and a strange one.

I looked around the room. Veronica did not seem to have much luggage and she had put me in charge of buying some stuff today. I pulled out the silver coin she had given me for shopping. Veronica had mostly seemed to be making due with just carrying food and water with her while traveling but that would have problems if they had to camp outside.

When I headed downstairs I was stopped by the innkeeper who said that Veronica had mentioned that I should get fed before I head out. The meal that was set in front of me was actual food, eggs and bread mostly but it was still more than I had expected. I ate quietly wondering if this was some kind of cruel dream.

The last bite was left on the plate far too long and it had gotten cold by the time I actually ate it. However even then it seemed to be more tasty then any of the previous bites.

With plate empty I left to do the shopping that Veronica expected of me. Since the goal was apparently Dungeoncity getting a backpack fill of useful supplies was probably in order. I wasn’t able to get everything I thought would be needed with only a silver piece but several essentials, like rope, were stuffed inside a backpack.

It took many hours to find everything especially because I was trying to keep the prices as low as I could. When everything was done I returned to the inn. I found Veronica in the room reading a book which seemed to be about life magic. She had mentioned that she was studying it. “Ah, welcome back.” She said as I entered.

I set the backpack down before beginning to take everything out of it to organize it. During the shopping I had just placed stuff into I as I bought them.

“Oh, a regular adventurer’s backpack.” Said Veronica as she set down her book and looked over what I got. “A good selection of stuff there, I’m surprised you managed to get that much out of one silver piece.”

“Most of it is used. The flea markets have good prices as long as you don’t want everything used.”

“Flea markets, that sounds exciting. Sorry I couldn’t join you. I went to find a library. Not much luck I’m afraid I had an acquaintance in the merchant guild so I was able to get access to some of their books.”

“Did you find what you were looking for?”

She shook her head, “Not really. I…” She paused for a moment. “I’ll tell you what I was looking for tomorrow. You made sure to get breakfast right? I realized that I had forgotten to make sure you got something to eat yesterday.”

“I’m used to it.” Was all I could say.

“That is no good! Eating is important! I can be terribly forgetful about these kind of things.” She pulled out another silver and handed it to me, “Use this to get whatever food you need to tell me when it runs out.”

“You really shouldn’t be trusting me with this much money. Aren’t you running low?”

“Money is meant to be spent.” She said waving her hand, “Besides I am budgeting the money. However I was told on good authority that the prices are lower here then in Dungeoncity so all of the important spending should be done before we leave. We will have enough to reach the city with some to spare. I don’t suppose you know how well paying being a rookie adventurer is?”

“With the two of us, maybe a silver a day? Assuming we don’t die.”

“Good enough I guess, we will have to work hard to get higher level so that we can get payed more.” Her excitement was palpable. Was it really that exciting to go and become an adventurer.

“Do you have any experience is real combat?” I asked her. She didn’t feel like she had.

“Sure, some wolves and some goblins on the way here. There were some dangerous moments but I didn’t have reliable backup then.”

She had fought, strange, she seemed too chipper to go off and fight more. I guess it must be another part of her eccentric behavior. I could only try my best to avoid getting us both killed. Hopefully she would accept understandable attempts to retreat. I had bad memories about one master who didn’t realize when it was time to retreated except when it was too late.

Before too long Veronica went out to practice more and I decided to take up her offer to spend the silver and got myself a dinner in the inn. Although I did choose a cheap one, it was best to make the money last as long as possible. What I got had mashed potatoes and some small amount of meat and butter. It was delicious.

With the food finished I needed to do some of my own training. I had been in the dungeon for a while so my skills were probably a bit rusty. Mostly I needed to go through the different motions. Yeah, it had been a while. There were a series of training forms that I went between, one after another.

Once I was done I was greeted by some clapping from Veronica. “Wow, amazing! I didn’t realize how much of a difference actual combat jobs and skill ranks made. I’ll have to put in some more work to keep up with you.”

“Those were just training maneuvers. Those kind of movements are harder to actually pull off in the head of combat. And there are people and monsters whose skills far surpass my own. I would say that I am actually a little subpar for level 12. I had some skilled assistance in the combats which were used to gain my level so my skills are not as high as they should be.”

“Power leveling huh? And your skills couldn’t keep up because of that.” She was quiet and contemplative for some time after that so I went on to another one of the training forms.

When I was done with that one Veronica was back to practicing her own magic. She spells kept sputtering out midway. Since they had been perfect yesterday I could only assume that she was trying something strange with them. However she was sweating and I could on the party screen that her mp was almost empty. She would probably be stopping soon.

Since it was rather late at this point that mean it would be time to retire and rest for the journey tomorrow. And since I was already pretty sore and knew better then to strain my muscles too much after not having used them much for a while.

I called out to Veronica, “Don’t spent too much time practicing with your staff. There is a lot of walking to do tomorrow and collapse half way do you?”

She looked over and nodded, “Yeah, just a little longer.”

However she didn’t look like she was planning on stopping any time soon. I wasn’t in any position to say more than I already do so I returned to the room to make any final preparations for the journey and to check if there was anything else important that we needed to buy in the morning.

It was several hours later when I was just beginning to nod off that Veronica finally came in, collapsed on her bed, and fell asleep. I wish I could do that but sleep had never been something that came easy to me. Too many monsters waiting in my memories and nightmares.

When the morning finally crawled through the window to wake me up I noticed that Veronica was already gone from the room. I crawled out of the bed and grabbed the bag. As I brought it downstairs I saw Veronica at one of the tables.

She waved to me and as I got closer she said, “They have pancakes today! Pancakes! Well, almost pancakes, close enough certainly. Here have some. She shoved her plate over to me and motioned to the innkeep to give her other plate.

They were round bread circles with butter on top plus a couple slices of fruit. I took a bite and it was extremely good. Fluffy, hot, and the fruit added a little bit of sweet.

Veronica continued to chat, “I would normally prefer mine a little bit sweeter but they don’t have any sirup and that would probably be more expensive anyways. Oh, thanks.” She took the new plate and began eating that one.

Despite the workout she did yesterday she still seemed very energetic. Once we had finished she asked, “Is there anything else that you think we need before heading out?”

“No, we have everything for the journey.”

“Then let’s go!” She raised her hand to indicate probably excitement.

I followed her out of the inn, making sure to have them fill up our water containers. Water was important for a long journey. It was a bit slow getting out of the city which was crowded in the morning but once we finally got outside of Tortburg Veronica began to pick up the pace.

She was walking very quickly however since she was smaller than me the pace was a bit slower than the one that I would have set.

I waited for her to believe that we were far enough out of the city for her to tell me whatever it was that she was planning on telling me. I had some ideas of what it might be but I didn’t know for certain.

After around three hours she finally stopped. She was looking tired and she said, “Here is a good place for us to take a break and talk.”

“Alright” I responded non-commitadly.

“Now it is time for me to reveal my true identity.” She struck a pose. “I am not just a cute Elementalist seeking to become an Adventurer. I am actually a hero from another world come to save this one!” She sounded very falsely dramatic.

Ah, she really was insane.

She seemed to sense my disappointment and she broke her pose and grabbed my shirt pulling on it, “No, really, really. I didn’t actually come her to save this world, well not intentionally, but I am really a hero. I have the job and everything. And I did actually come from another world.”

“If you say so it must be true.” I said. However internally I was upset. A hero, impossible. What sort of fool did she think that I was with a lie like that.

“You don’t believe me.” She had a mopy look but she hadn’t yet given up, “However I will be able to prove it. My hero job gives me a special talent. It grants bonus points to be spent on giving ranks in skills. How do you think that I got rank 14 Mana Reserves. Through that talent!”

That was fishy, a talent that gave you improved skill ranks when you leveled. There was no way that such a convienent talent existed.

“Can you see the exact number of my mp?” She asked.

We were in a party so I glanced up at her icon at the top. “Yeah, 138 mana.”

She smiled brightly, “Now watch as it goes up!”

Then impossibly it went up to 143 mana.

“You saw that didn’t you! I saved a couple of my bonus skill points and just spent one improving Mana Reserves to rank 15.”

Overlay - Part 8

Overlay - Part 8 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:31

“You could also have done that if you had some kind of status hiding skill.” I said still trying to deny it. That had been pretty hard evidence. But a hero? Impossible..

“Oh, you will see. After all Improved Level Up applies to party members as well. Once you get to your next level you will know for certain that I am telling the truth.”

A hero from another world. That was impossible… wasn’t it? A hero, how could this be the person that I had been waiting for.

Chapter Break — Level 5 Demon

Jack, Level 5 Demon.

It was the first thing that I noticed when my eyes began to flicker open. My head hurt and even though I was sitting down the world was spinning. Had I been drinking too much again. That was the only possible explanation.

I blurily remember buying some new video game and stumbling home. Then nothing else. Now I was somewhere damp. I rubbed my eyes. There was still that strange text, was I still partially asleep. It was my name, maybe this was a dream, Jack. It wasn’t my full name but what few friends I had called me that and I had always used it when I played games.

Then there was a bright light and I had to cover my face. That was strange, my arm looked different than I remembered it looking, of right, the dream. It said demon so I must be a demon. I had always liked playing edgy characters like that.

Then I heard heavy footsteps. A big form appeared in front of me but I could barely make it out because my eyes were still adjusting to the new light. It grabbed me with a big hand and pulled me to my feet. Its grip hurt a little bit. Were dreams supposed to hurt, I couldn’t remember.

Once I was on my feet the enormous figure pushed me toward the light and I heard a gruff voice say, “Go, it is your turn.”

I stumbled a few steps before finally catching myself. After that I was able to make the rest of the way myself. It was rough stone walls. I passed by a portcullis and it slammed shut behind me. Then I stepped out into what I could only call an arena.

The place was only lit with torches but it seemed extraordinarily bright. It looked like a picture I had seen of the old roman colosseums except there was a stone roof. There were also not really a place for the audience. Just one box up high where I could barely make out the figure of somebody watching.

A thought was beginning to struggle at the back of my mind, a fearful whisper. But that was impossible so I continued to ignore it. There was a rumbling and I noticed another portcullis open up. There were more than a dozen of them along the edge of the colosseum.

A beast like shape emerged from the new opening. It would have probably been twice as tall as me if it hadn’t been hunched over. It had giant thick hands. It bellowed as it became free of the confining passageway and its red eyes immediately locked onto me.

Fuck.

That little thought in the back of my head was now beginning to scream loudly. It was saying, ‘This is not a dream.’ As the beast began to charge me I began to heed the voice. I jumped out of the way as fast as I could.

The beast barreled past me crashing into the wall that was behind me. I looked up at the box where the person watching was and shouted, “You need to stop this. I’m not supposed to be here.”

A cool, calm, voice spoke from up in the box, “Oh, it retained an ego and memories, how novel. I have high hopes for this one.” The voice wasn’t speaking to me, more like it was vocally commenting its own amusement.

I didn’t have time to ponder more. The person was clearly not going to help me. I was on my own. The beast had righted itself and turned once more to face me. It watched me carefully this time stepping forward slowly. It wasn’t going to be avoided the same way twice.

It would be impossible for me to defeat such a big thing with only my hands. I kept most of my attention on the beast while I scanned the colosseum for a weapon. Nothing… unless….

I backed away from the beast until my finally bumped my back against the colosseum wall. I did my best impression of being surprised and startled. Sensing weakness and distraction the creature charged me. This time instead of dodging to the side I placed my hands upon it and pulled myself up onto its back.

The maneuver was something I had expected to be risky and dangerous but when it actually came to pulling it off it was surprisingly easy. Then from my new vantage point atop the beast I leap up the wall and grabbed the torch.

I yanked it out of the sconce before beginning my fall back to the ground. How the beast was already waiting for me. I could possibly dodge off of it but that would certainly hurt me. The other option was to use the current advantage I had.

Gravity.

I fell with the burning part of the torch pointed down. I aimed deliberately and with one sickening thump we impacted each other. I flew a few yards onto the painful ground but it howled in pain. I had managed to crash the torch into its eye socket.

It had knocked be to one side before it had gone all the way in but the fire and wood had caused it considerable pain and it was howling to horrible pain. I wanted to use that moment to run, to escape, but I knew there was no place to run to.

My only exits were blocked and the person watching did not care at all about me. It was either me or this beast. So I pulled myself to my feet and walked toward it. I had tried to forget this part of me, to leave it behind, but here it was what was going to keep me alive.

The beast was pulling the shard of wood out of its bloody eye when I had gotten in front of it. I raised its arm to swat me aside once more but I was already inside its guard. My hand reached up and crushed its windpipe. It was remarkably fragile.

With that down I jumped out of the way of its last desperate swing. It gargled before collapsing as its blood began to pour across the ground.

I looked up at the figure up in the box and I could hear it laughing. A dark creepy laugh, “Amazing! Excellent! Fight, survive, become the strongest. Only then can you go free.”

Then a portcullis began to rise. I returned to a fighting position fearing what might come out of this one. But there was nothing. I realized that this was the one that I can come from. Whatever was up in the box was done with me. At least for now.

I passed through the portcullis and into the dungeon cell that was apparently mine. The big person who had shoved me out was gone. Instead there was a small chunk of meat and a bowl of foul looking liquid.

It was a reward, a reward for surviving. But it looked disgusting and I had standards.

Those standards lasted six hours. Eventually hunger and thirst overwhelmed common human pride. It was the most disgusting thing that I had ever eaten in my life. More than the fighting, more then being torn away from my previous home, more then being treated as just a weapon, this made me angry.

I would kill that man in the box. I would be free. Then I would eat something worth eating.

Chapter Break

The portcullis opened again. I scratched another mark on the wall. It was beginning to get quite full.

I picked up the spear that was besides me. It was fashioned by me using the broken teeth and claws of some of my bigger opponents. Each time it had broken I had made a new weapon with whatever that opponent had provided.

I stepped through the portcullis the torchlight once again.

My warning senses began to tingle. Today was different then the previous fights. Today each of the portcullises were opening. A battle royal was the challenge of the day.

My opponents were also no slouches this time. They were all above level thirty just like me. Large creatures of gnashing teeth and racking claws. Their bulk strength made them difficult opponents. However I was almost disappointed, each battle seemed easier than the last. Not that I wanted to complain too much. The less I had to show to the master the better.

The other demons immediately turned on their closest rival. This included the one closest to me. A strange snake monstrosity. Fangs as long as my arms. New weapon material. It coiled before it leap through the air at me. Didn’t the creature know that airborne movement like that made it extremely hard to maneuver.

I braced my spear and at the last moment dodged to once side, cutting through its side and long its length. The skin was extremely tough but the tooth my current spear was made out of lasted the impact. The bulk of the monster crashed into the ground.

However it was not dead yet. The demons that I was fighting now were creatures that had also survived many battles. It wouldn’t be defeated by just a cut like that. It spun almost too fast for a creature of its size. It opened its mouth widely trying to swallow me whole.

Poor thing, it must have only fought creatures its size. I on the other hand had constantly been fighting creatures like it. I let its mouth begin to envelop me before I thrust my spear into the roof of its mouth.

It almost completely swallowed me at that point but I was no longer in any danger from it. It was already dead. The only thing remaining was its momentum.

I crawled out of its mouth and pulled my spear from it before I surveyed the battleground. Combat was raging. I could have waited until it was down to only a couple before intervening but I would lose valuable experience by doing that.

Now I was trying to find the highest level ones among them to choose as my next target. Instead however I saw something that took my breath away. Atop a bulky carapaced demon was smaller form. A small humanoid demon like me. She had her arm elbow deep in her opponent’s chest.

Another demon with a giant beak took a snapping bite at her but she neatly jumped out of the way instead causing the bite to hit her previous opponent.

I smiled for what was probably the first time since I had come to this world. An opportunity. One I had not considered until that moment.

I approached slowly while watching her fight. She was nimble, that much was required to fight opponents of the size she was but she was also strong. Unlike me she did not use a weapon instead punching through her opponents with her razor sharp claws.

She was also clever. Leading her opponents into battles with other demons before moving in to claim the kills.

After I had watched her enough I interrupted her. She had weakened one of her prey and was about to claim the killed when my spear appeared in the chest of the victim. I had thrown it to make the kill myself.

She turned to survey me for the first time. Those eyes. All the demon had red eyes, probably including me, however hers were a deep crimson. I pulled out my second weapon, a knife, and with my second hand made a motion. Come and get me.

It was pleasing to me that she didn’t immediately rush in. She first pulled the spear out of the creature next to her and broke the shaft near the tip making the weapon completely unusable. She was getting better and better.

Overlay - Part 9

Overlay - Part 9 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:32

With my better weapon disposed of me she began to move closer. She was keeping her distance, trying to size me up while I was doing the same to her.

She was the one to finally break the silence pushing in. She used one of her hands to attack while keeping the other one to defend with. My hands were no where near the lethal weapons that hers were but I was about to parry and make attacks because of my slightly superior speed.

Her hands were tougher than I had expected able to block my knife almost completely. In fact she was slowly pushing me back because I was lacking my weapon with superior reach. Unlike most of the other opponents that I had faced she had skills and she knew how to use them.

I used flash step to get behind her however she had access to that skill too. We danced around the battlefield basically ignoring the other opponents. To use they might as well not have existed. Only the two of us were worthy of each other’s attention.

Flash Step, Rank 6 was what I estimated the skill to be at.

Previously I had viewed my Battle Analysis skill would only mildly useful but now against an opponent like me, one that focused on skills, it was able to give me accurate inside into how good they actually were.

Danger Sense, Rank 4. I allowed her to notice previously unnoticed threats even when they would be outside her normal senses. This let her avoid the other demon effortlessly while we traveled the arena.

That was a skill that I did not possess, instead my Gladiator job gave me Battlefield Awareness which made it easy to keep track of all the opponents even in the heat of battle.

Her Combos skill (Rank 9) allowed her to keep up the assault for extended periods of time, moving from one set of moves into another, barely letting me get any headway. Fortunately I was able to counter her combos with my Dirty Tricks. Sand in the eyes, breaking line of sight, improved feinting. They were all techniques that she had very little experience in countering.

She had a large repertoire of different combat techniques. Her job must have given her access to quite a number, almost as many as my job which specialized in diversity of techniques.

However it wasn’t really a tied battle. She was missing an important element that I had and she did not. I had thought she might have had it since her form was more like mine but she did not have it. She must been a genuine humanoid demon.

None of the skills that she had used exceeded rank 12. Mine however were mostly in the 30s. My flash step actived and hers did was well but then there was a look of surprise on her face when I was behind her. My knife cut a small line before she escaped.

But she could not escape me. I tracked her every moment and once we engaged in melee once more I began to use my true skills. A knife may look like a knife but in the hands of a Gladiator is can function was the most dangerous of weapons.

Her blood began to flow but my attacks were mostly aimed at her hands, wearing down her endurance. After all I didn’t want to kill her. She was beginning to realize that she was outmatched and I could tell that she was panicking.

She began drawing me toward one other demon after another. However they were just backdrops. From the beginning I could have killed all of them even if they worked together to fight me. They will all missing what I had.

It was my special unique job. The one that let me keep winning. Hero.

I had retrieved the broken shaft of my spear. Even just the bone that I had used to make the shaft was a dangerous weapon in my hands and one that it was better suited toward not killing her.

She was back into a corner. The other demons were all dead. There was only me and her now. In threat of lose she actived a skill she had previously kept as a trump card. Berserk. She charged me using overwhelming strength, enough to fight even the larger demons here.

It was not enough. My bone staff struck true three times and she was down. Another good hit to ensure that she was unconscious before I finally let my guard down.

From up in the box I heard the voice of the Master call, “It left that one alive.”

“She is mine.” Was all I said in response.

The Master only laughed. Apparently it had approved my claim because the portcullis to my cell began to open. I was the victor one more. I gathered some more demon parts before grabbing the woman and bringing her into my cell with me.

She woke later in my cell to the smell. Seven battles ago I had fought some demon capable of breathing fire. I had taken its dead body back to my sell and had harvested the oil that is produced to break the fire. That had provided me the first cooked food that I had eaten here.

As she regained consciousness she immediately went on the defensive. Pulling back and hiding in the corner.

“Relax.” I said, “You are mine now so I won’t hurt you. You can talk right?”

Her eyes darted around the small cell before she finally said, “Yes, I can talk. You did not kill me.” It was a statement of fact but also a question about why this was true.

“Because I want you.”

She looked down at her form and then back at me but I shook my head and said, “No idiot, not for that reason. I need you to fight with me. All the other demons that I have fought so far were basically mindless brutes. Little more than animals. But you… With you we can win.”

“You are strong. You do not need me.”

“You might be right but you also might be wrong. I do not know the true strength of my enemy.

“Your enemy?”

“The Master. I intend to kill him.”

Her eyes widened, “Kill the Master? Is that even possible.”

“Not yet but I believe that it will be. Have you wondered why he is making us fight each other?”

She didn’t response but I am sure that she had though about it a lot. I certain had. Finally I said, “He is creating a weapon. We are going to be that weapon. And when he says that we are ready to be used. That is when we will kill him.”

She stared at me for a long time before she finally said, “Very well. You were the victor so I will obey you.”

“Good. My name is Jack. What is your name?”

“I do not have one.” She said.

“How about Alice? Alice is a good name.”

“Understood. I am now Alice.”

I pulled the meat off the oil fire. It was dark and crispy. Demon meat did not cook well. I picked up a pinch of ground mushroom seasonings and scattered it across the meat. Then I handed it to her. “Take it. Tonight we celebrate our allegiance.”

She took the meat suspiciously and glared at it with her deep crimson eyes. “What is this?”

“Cooking. Eat it.”

She took a bite of the meat and there was a look of surprise. “This… this is….”

“Terrible. But much better then anything they offer us.” Although she wasn’t listening to me anymore. She was stuffing the meat down her mouth as fast as she could. For the second time today I smiled.

For me getting the cook job had been more of a disappointment then anything else. I was able to make the horrible food marginally edible but my memories of much better food tainted the experience. I could only curse my lack of ability. But for her you probably had no reference what I was giving her was better than anything she had experienced.

“Just you wait.” I said. “Once we get out of here there will be much better foods awaiting us.”

Chapter Break

“Lanette, to your left.” I called out and she jumped to one side narrowly avoiding the attack from the giant ogre. It was the second one. However that wouldn’t be a big deal.

“Hold them off while I finish my chant.” I called out while I began my chant.

While I had a skill that let my short cut the longer casting time Elementalist spells that I knew that make it take large amounts of mana. It was far more efficient for me to actually finish the chant. I trusted that Lanette would be able to hold them off long enough.

She fought while I chanted. Her parry skill had gotten quite high and she was able to effortlessly parry the blows of the two giant ogres that she was fighting in single combat. There was yet another reason that I continued to use the long casting time versions of the spells. Low intelligence enemies such as ogres rarely noticed my spellcasting until I began shooting them. If I cast too early then Lanette would have trouble keeping aggro.

Defending against such powerful attacks however was quite draining and she could only keep it up for so long. But she had more than enough energy to last until I have finished my chant.

“Twin Fire Lance” I called out the name of the modified spell and flung it at the ogres. It wasn’t as strong as it could have been if I didn’t twin the spell but this way a large lance of fire flew at both of the ogres, piercing them and causing them to fall, now mostly ash.

With that the battle was over. Lanette sunk to the ground to rest while giving me a thumbs up, a gesture that I had taught her. Then she jumped immediately back up to her feet, “I got it.”

I smiled back at her, I had noticed. The number next to her name now read 20. “Congratulations. Now we can finally start taking advanced quests.” I did a small clap to show my support.

I was still level 18 although I was close to 19. Lanette’s higher level when we had met was still there but the distance had closed. Thankfully the adventurer’s guild only required one member of your team to be level 20 before talking advanced quests.

Lanette had sunk back down to the ground to continue to rest, “You’re pretty close to getting a level yourself right?” She said. “Do you think we should stick it out a little bit longer?”

I did some mental math with my mp before coming to a conclusion, “No, we had better not. I wouldn’t want to risk an expensive potion of mana just to make sure I got my level today. We can leave it for a our next expedition.”

She nodded understanding. Normal adventurer pay was good but not good enough to continuously buy things like potions of mana. The potions were for emergencies like getting ambushed on the way back to Dungeoncity. We had already had one such experience and we had spent the next week scrimping and saving to afford another mana potion.

As Lanette rested I approached her and called upon the Life Magic that I had so earnestly worked toward learning. Her wounds disappeared rapidly as I used my most mana efficient spell to heal her. While I was no where near as good at Life magic as I was at Elemental Magic it was very good in situations like this.

I cut off the ears of the ogres to be able to confirm the kills with the Adventurer’s guild. Ogres could be dangerous opponents for unprepared and lower leveled parties.

Overlay - Part 10

Overlay - Part 10 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:32

With those collected we began to head back to Dungeoncity. We were in the canyons, one of the terrain features surrounding Dungeoncity. I felt that the name it was given was highly appropriate. The route from Tortburg to Dungeoncity was through a very narrow pass. On the other side was wild untamed wilderness which had all kinds of strange fantasy terrain dotting it.

This wasn’t even including the near countless underground labyrinths in the surrounding areas. It was enough to make me question whether the place could have ever naturally existed. I had questioned Lanette about it and she had said that 10 years ago the mountain range was considered impassible and only when status magic appeared had the pass become known.

There had been a ruined city on the other side and the Dungeoncity was built on those ruins. It all seemed suspicious to me, maybe something to do with the Sages that Lanette had also told me about.

The canyons were along one of mountain sides and it was close walls and steep dropoffs. A dangerous place but safer than some of the other locations. It was frequented by lower level adventurers because of that. As me and Lanette had also learned to was also a good place to power level. Most adventurers did not use it like that because they lacked the bonus skill ranks when leveling up that we got and there wasn’t much of value to be found in the canyons.

“So are we going to go visit the jungles next time? I remember you saying that you thought that would be a good challenge.” Said Lanette and we made our journey back.

“Probably. However there is the other matter that I think we need to deal with soon.”

“The third party member?”

I nodded, “Yeah, it has been getting tougher just trying to do this with just the two of us. Plus most of the advanced quests won’t let you accept them without at least three people.”

It has started to become an issue. No matter how strong a party was more people made encounters easier. Without a full party we were at a disadvantage. Even one more person would make a big different.

“I want a tank. After that a dedicated healer would be good.”

“You have been saying that, yes.”

“Basic party composition. We can only do so much with just CC and DPS.”

“The only probably is finding somebody worth inviting. Most people already have a team or couldn’t be trusted.”

I nodded along, “Yeah, at least we don’t need to be too picky about level. We will be able to power level them pretty easily at this point.” Although mentally I laughed at that. Being level 20 was hardly a level where we should be talking about power leveling.

We debated the merits of what kind of person we would want to accept into our party. The biggest issue was that I still wanted to keep Improved Level Up secret. There were still probably plenty of higher level adventurers who would want to take advantage of it.

There was the option of buying another slave but I dismissed that option. Using the same flag too many times was terrible. No story worth its salt would do that. I would need to find a new plan.

We managed to reach Dungeoncity without any distraction that couldn’t be easily dealt with. The city was a bustling pot of complete lack of city planning. The roads were only straight because it was built on an old city. Stops were just haphazardly placed next to each other. The only thing that was well designed was the guards watching the entrances of the city. Without those the city could easily fall to an manor of monster attack.

As we reached the main square where we would turn to head to the inn that we were staying at I stopped and took a deep breath. “That one… that one!” I shouted gleefully while tugging at Lanette’s sleeve.

She looked where I was pointed. “I’m sorry, I still don’t think I understand your aesthetic. Can you explain to me why that old man looks special to you.”

“Are you even looking at the same person as I am? An old man wearing fairly heavy armor, however he is leading a child through the street trying to help them out.”

“That kid is obviously a duping him in an attempt to steal him money.”

“Obviously. But don’t you see, he is clearly an unusual character. He is well groomed too. And it is rare to see people that old attempting to be adventurers, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is rare, and I suppose that he is surprisingly high level.” The old man was level 16.

“What do you say? Rescue the old man from the child?”

“You keep saying the weirdest sounding things. But sure, I’ll bite.” Said Lanette before she began jogging toward the old man. I followed quickly behind her but since she cast a much more intimidating visage than me she was the better one for doing these kind of thing.

“Excuse me.” She called out as she got close to the two of them, “You two seem to be having some trouble. What is going on?”

The old man looked up and smiled at her but the kid froze in his tracks like a deer in the headlights. I need a better metaphor considering headlights don’t exist here. It looks like Lanette’s reputation had been spreading. Long duration curses can be scary.

“Ah, yes, Jonathan here has had his dog run away and we are looking for it.”

“Oh really?” Lanette smiled at the kid, “A missing dog. Well I certainly hope that you find it quickly. Do you need some help? My and my companion can help if you want.” She continued to smile, her smile could be terrifying.

The boy recovered enough to respond with, “We don’t need your help. If you helped I’m certain that my dog would just end up dying.”

“Now now,” Said the hold man patting the kid on the head, “No need to be mean. I’m sure she just wants to help you just like I do.”

I was hanging a little back snickering as quietly as I could. That poor kid, trapped between the old man and Lanette. Time for me to step in and solve their problems.

“If you need help I could use some wind magic to scout the city and find your dog if you want.”

“See they can be of help to you Jonathan.” Said the old man.

The kid looked toward me with a special kind of hope in his eyes. “You can really find him that way?”

I pounded my hand against my chest and said, “Leave it to me.” I raised my staff and began to chant. There was whirling of the wind around me as I called upon my wind elemental magic. As that continued I said, “Is your dog brown?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, he is!” Said the boy.

“It looks like he is in the meat market begging for scrapes.”

“Thank you.” The kid shouted and began to run in that direction. Of course there was no dog, there had never been any dog.

As the boy rounded the corner the old man said, “He told me that he dog was gray.”

“Gray and brown are pretty similar colors.” I held out my hand and said, “Nice to meet you.”

He held his hand to shake mine and said, “Yes, a pleasure. I am Sterling, but of course you already knew that. Old habits die hard.”

I did already know that. After all his name was floating above his head in my vision. It was the same reason I didn’t tell him my name since he would be seeing it above my head.

“What brings you do Dungeoncity?” I asked although it seems reasonably obvious.

He laughed, “Why to be an adventurer of course. Although it seems that you kids have already beaten me. I had hoped that my experience would at least count for something but I have once again underestimated young people.”

Lanette waved her hand in dismissal, “Don’t use us as a benchmark to determining appropriate levels. This one here is a work-a-holic and spends all of her time practicing.”

“No all of my time.” I said pouting.

“My apologizes. She also spends too much money on sweats.”

Sterling laughed again, “How every energetic. If only my grandchildren were as energetic as you too.”

“Have you already signed up with the Adventurer’s guild?” I asked.

“I was just doing that when young Jonathan asked for me help.”

I smiled as widely as I could, “We can lead you there. Do you want to join our party?”

“Your party? Certainly you wouldn’t want an old man like me on your team.”

Lanette looked down before saying, “Here is comes.”

“No, no, no, no.” I said, “You are absolutely perfect. It was pretty easy to tell that you are a good and honest person which are relatively rare here in Dungeoncity which tends to draw people who are just looking out for themselves. Also you look like you were make an excellent tank. Heavy armor with a shield. That kind of defensive build is exactly what we need. What kind of jobs to you have?”

He stepped backward a little a bit overwhelmed by my relentless assault. “I am a Knight. Used to be an actual one too back in my youth.”

“Your eyes are sparkling.” Said Lanette.

“A Knight? That sounds like the perfect job. Does that have many defensive abilities? Bonus health? Aggro pull abilities?”

“Calm down.” He said holding his hands up to block me, “Don’t you want somebody with a higher level then me? I’m sure you can find somebody who higher level than me.”

I dismissed his argument with a wave of my hand, “That isn’t an issue. After all I’m only two levels higher than you so I’m sure you will fit right in.”

He looked between me and Lanette trying to make up his mind. He would obviously need a party to adventure so considering us as an option certainly was possible. Finally he smiled and said, “All right you have got me. It isn’t like I could refuse the genuine offer to help you two. I may not be much but please take care of me.” He did a small bow.

“So perfect, like a butler. Is this what a true Knight is like?”

“Please control yourself.” Said Lanette and she grabbed me roughly by the head and pulled me back from him a little. “We appreciate it. However if you change your mind you are under no obligation to keep helping us.”

“No! You are under tons of obligation! Your honor will be besmirched if you change your mind now.” I said pleadingly.

Lanette boxed me aside the head, although softly. “Please ignore Veronica. I usually do. She can get a bit intense some times.”

The old man Sterling just began to laugh. After a moment he wiped the tears from his eyes and said, “No it is good. You have convinced me to stay. People this sincere can not be bad people.”

Lanette said, “Thank you.”

“Then off to the Adventurer’s guild we go.” I raise my hand in a charging motion before leading Sterling and Lanette to the adventurer’s guid.

As we entered the incredibly crowded Adventurer’s guild I raised my hand to wave toward one of the scribes, “Jered! Jered! Over here.” We pushed our way through the crowd before getting to the scribe who said,

“An Veronica and Lanette. Plus somebody new. Ah, I see that Lanette has finally managed to hit level 20. That means you qualify as advanced adventurers now.” He had a practical calming voice. “And you found a new guy, I haven’t see you around before. Welcome to the Adventurer’s guild.”

Overlay - Part 11

Overlay - Part 11 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:38

Sterling nodded to the man and said, “Greetings. Sorry to inconvenience you but I needed to sign up to become an adventurer.”

“Sure, let me just deal with Lanette and Veronica and then I’ll get you all signed up.”

I pulled out from my satchel the pouch where I kept monster parts and handed it over before saying, “We were in the canyons when we ran into some ogres. There is still a bounty on those isn’t there.”

“More ogres in the canyons huh? Those have been getting more common. At this rate we will start having to recommend that new adventurers avoid the canyons.” He looked into the bag counting the ears before pulling out six silver. “Anything else?” He asked.

“Not unless the Adventurer’s guild is offering market value on Silverweed.”

“Unfortunately not. Demand for it has been high so prices are raising.” Silverweed was one of the ingredients in high quality healing potions. We typically didn’t need that because of my healing magic so it was good money to sell it. The Adventurer’s guild provided healing potions to new adventurers but they needed to keep the price low so they usually used cheaper ingrediants.

“Now about the advanced Adventurer’s license?”

“Sure.” He pulled out some papers and handed them over to Lanette to fill out. “While you meet the requirements can I provide some friendly advice?”

“Sure”

“There is a high death rate in new advanced adventurers. You have been gaining levels quickly so I recommend that you spend some time raising your skills before heading to the jungle. I would hate to have such promising new adventurers die on their first advanced expedition.”

“Your advice is appreciated. But you don’t need to worry too much. Sterling here said that we is going to join our party and we aren’t about to bring him into the jungle anytime soon.”

Jered nodded, “Already, just be careful. The jungle is far more dangerous than anything else so make sure you have all the preparations before going there. Don’t skimp on healing potions and I highly recommend saving up for some magical items as well.”

Jered then turned to Sterling while pulling out a form from underneath the counter. The form when then handed over to Sterling who quickly began to fill it out. While that was happening I put my elbow on the table and leaned to to ask Jered, “So, any interesting rumors floating about?”

“I hear Red Blossom is going to make an attempt against Darkmaw.”

“What? Really? Do you think that Red Blossom is going to be able to succeed? Isn’t that quest restricted to level 60?”

“Apparently their leader finally managed to hit level 60. There was a huge commotion but you must have been out in the canyons if you didn’t hear about it. Their whole guild is gathering.”

“Do you think that they stand a chance against Darkmaw?”

“Hard to really tell. There hasn’t been a level 60 in Dungeoncity before so nobody has made an attempt since Darkmaw was restricted to that level.”

“Um, excuse me.” It was Sterling who was looking up from his form, “What is this Darkmaw that you are talking about?”

“Ah, you might not have heard of it. Darkmaw is a dragon.” I pointed over toward one side of the room. There was a wall of posters. “Over there is the list of special bounties. And at the top” I rose by finger to the poster at the top. “Is Darkmaw. The largest bounty and has ever been issued and the oldest bounty. With that much money your entire guild could retire for the rest of your life. What is the bounty currently at?”

“Seven million gold assuming the body is in tact.” I whistled. It had gone up since I had last heard the number.

I looked wistfully at the bounty board, “I kind of hope they fail though. It is quite a goal to want to achieve. I would hate to have that taken from me.”

Lanette softly boxed me aside the head, “Please stop using that as the point you want to reach. It makes you look too greedy.”

“Ha! Well than the joke is on you. Darkmaw as supposed to be the first stepping stone. Level 60 is far too low for that to be my goal. I’m sure there is something out there is even more powerful than Darkmaw.”

Lanette and Jered basically rolled their eyes at me in unison. Both of them were used to make lofty goals.

“Do you really think you will get that high?” Said Sterling as he was finishing up the form. “Wouldn’t that be extremely dangerous?”

“He hasn’t been in Dungeoncity very long has he?” Asked Jered.

“Nope, I think he just got here.” I responded.

“What do you mean?”

“People here always aim high. You don’t come to Dungeoncity to be second best you know. And it isn’t just the adventurers either, the merchant and everybody are here seeking their greatest fortune. Those that find that too lofty either die or leave. It is difficult to keep up. Do your best.” I gave him my most encouraging smile, “After all you will have me and Lanette. We will make sure you are strong enough to keep up.”

“The best huh? And the bards will sing tales of you?” He was hesitating for a moment before he finally smiled and said, “Being the best is the only way of being good enough isn’t it?”

“Ha! The best is never good enough, if you think like that somebody is going to end up beating you.”

Jered shook his head and said, “Don’t discourage him too much.”

“No, that is fine. I think that is what I want.” Said Sterling.

“See, exactly what I said. He is perfect.”

And with that Sterling the Knight joined our party. It was a momentous occasion so we help a party to celebrate. Soon we would head out and we would need to tell Sterling about our secret.

Chapter Break

“Today is your final challenge.” The voice came from the shadowed box. It seemed that the time had finally come. “Defeat your opponent today and you will join my army as the greatest general that has ever been made.”

It was appoint time. I was level 86 as was Alice. I had feared the battles would go on forever but the levels of my opponents had not be increasing the last couple of battles so I had expected the ending to be soon.

“Very well.” I called up to the person in the box. “Send out the opponent and I will show you how strong I am.”

I was already standing in the arena with Alice by my side. She was yawning, recently she had become bored of the battles since they had gotten easier.

Today my weapons was a pair of swords made from the sharp teeth of one of my previous opponents. However I had some spare weapons strapped on my back, it was never bad to be extra prepared. After all he wouldn’t do this final fight if he thought we were already worth.

The portcullis across from us opened and our opponent came out. It was larger than me or Alice but not by much. It was another fully humanoid demon just like us though. He wasn’t fully human-like though. His skin was almost like armor, a carapace. As he stepped into the arena his hand morphed and shaped in front of my eyes and became a long sharp sword.

He was also level 90, the highest level opponent that I had ever faced with a strange unique ability.

I smiled and laughed, “Is this all you have for me? I was hoping for a real challenge.”

I didn’t really expect the master to answer but surprisingly my opponent spoke, “And I though I would get a challenge. Two lower level enemies? This will be a slaughter.”

“Ahh, you speak, how nice. I don’t suppose you want to become my subordinate?” I asked him.

He instead laughed uproariously, “Your subordinate. What a joke. I only serve one master.”

“How disappointing. Alice, kill him.”

“No way. It looked boring. You kill him. I was going to take a nap.”

I sighed, she just wasn’t interested in fighting weak opponents. I couldn’t blame her though. Holding back was a bit dull.

“Fine, I’ll kill him them.” I drew my swords. Then I paused for a moment and said, “What if I let you go all out?”

She brightened up, “Really? I can do that? What about the plan?”

“This is the final battle right? No need to hold back any more.”

“Awesome! Then I’m totally into this. Sit back and let me handle everything.”

I stepped back and she passed me and began to make stretching motions.

“Are you weaklings done talking? If you think you can defeat me one on one you are deluded. Even together you will lose.”

“Really?” Said Alice as she walked forward, “You seem rather weak to me? I mean you haven’t even noticed that I activated my skills. I mean that armor looks so fragile.”

Then she flashed stepped in front of him and with a single blow his carapace armor shattered, torn ashred by her first blow. Blood splattered across her as his exposed fragile skin appeared beneath. “You should do better at dodging.” He barely managed to parry her next attack but that was what she had planned. Her shatter skill broke through his arm sword like it was butter, knocking him flying toward the wall.

“Is this really all?” She asked sounding bored once more, “I hope the next part is more interesting.”

I was already standing near the two of them, “It looks like I don’t actually need you poor challenger but I will still accept your surrender. I could use a manservant.

However the man roared and screamed, “You think this is all I have you are wrong. My shapeshifting is unmatched!” He screamed as he shifted and changed forms becoming large and groutesk.

“A pity.” I lifted one of my swords and with a single motion removed the giant head. Things really had become too easy.

I looked up at the master in the box and said, “We defeated it.”

There was laughter from the box, “Excellent, excellent. Both of you are extremely strong. However I only have need of one general. You two will fight and the winner will become my general!”

Alice broke free from her bored dazed and said, “I’ve been wondering this for a while, but are you an idiot?”

“What?” Came the voice in an outraged tone.

Alice continued, “I mean, you force us to fight each other gaining levels and then at the end just expect us to follow you? Who do you think I care more about, Jack or you?”

“I am your master and creator. You must obey me!”

“Really? Then come down here and force us? You were right. There is one more fight. You versus the two of us and the winner gets to leave this place. I wonder, what level are you?”

“I see. I made a mistake letting your will become too strong. I will do better next time. Unfortunately for you there is no way you want beat me.” The figure stepped out of the box and jumped to the ground.

Kreith, Level 97 Demon King.

“Oh?” I said smiling as I looked at him, “Level 97? That seems quite high. More than 10 levels higher than me. However I am not impressed. Let me ask you, do you have a skill which lets you tell what skill ranks other people have? Because my Gladiator job does have one of those skills.”

The broad shouldered man looked even more human than me or Alice. His skin tone was only slightly off tone, a strange silver. He did not hold a weapon but his hands were more like Alice’s with large claws that were growing bigger as the moments passed.

Overlay - Part 12

Overlay - Part 12 Nel Tue, 11/14/2017 - 01:44

“Are those your final words?” Asked the Demon King.

“Not particularly. I like talking. Although mainly I like complaining. Before this ends let me ask you a question. Your seem too specialize in the unarmed skill like Alice here since you have those claws. From my estimation you seem to have around 30 ranks in that skill. How many ranks do you think Alice has in her skill?”

“Really? This is how you wish to end it? I suppose I’ll humor you this one time. Given the amount of time she has had to practice her skill she would have around 12 ranks in that skill. Hardly enough to challenge me.”

“Did you hear that Alice? He thinks you have 12 ranks.”

She didn’t respond because she was too busy curled over in laughter. She was beginning to choke she was laughing so hard.

“You see.” I said, “This battle is barely worth having for us. We have long since surpassed you. I was worried you might be somebody actually dangerous but it turns out you were just a fool. I’ll let the foolish Demon King in on a secret. Alice’s unarmed skill is rank 73.”

“What is that? A joke? Because I’m not laughing.”

“You aren’t supposed to laugh. You are supposed to die.” With that I drew my blades and with my flash step I was in front of him. He was strong and had the reaction to block with one of his claws. He used his other to attack me but my second blade intercepted it.

I smiled at him. “You see, I have a secret that I never told you. I’m a filthy cheater.” Certainly that talent was cheating, something that made me and Alice impossibly strong. More than anybody we had faced.

With his arms distracted I brought my knee up into his chest. A dirty trick that he hadn’t expected. His chest was tough however so he was only push back a little bit from the impact.

“Pitiful.” He said and then his form began to glow as he activated several buffs. This time he attacked me with fury and powerful blows. I stepped back slowly while parrying with my swords. Then there were cracking sounds as the blades began to break under his powerful fury. When with one blow one of them broke and then the other in a second blow.

I leaped backward tossing the swords to the side.

“You were bragging a moment ago.” Said the Demon King, “Where is that bluster now?”

“Bluster? You can’t tell that I’m still just playing with you?” I reached toward my back and pulled out the next weapon. A small axe. “Did you know that I had the Monster Smith job, it lets me craft all of these weapons.” I moved the axe up and down, “And this weapon is a bit special, one of my more recent creations. Nothing like those previous weapons.”

“Playing with me? Your boring jokes continue.”

“I guess I just need to show you then.” And with that we leaped at each other. Our attacks clashed in the air before we both landed. There was a sharp howl in pain.

The Demon King was clutching one of his arms. The one that had tried to block my axe. Instead I had split his arm in two. In my other hand was a small round shield, make from the shell. It had some scratch marks from where he had hit it but the durability was still at the maximum.

“It looks like your buffs weren’t enough to protect you. Or were those offensive buffs?” I said nonchalantly. “I assume you went through some kind of trial just like I did to quickly raise your level? Although I expect that you were too cowardly to risk your own life when doing that.”

With a quick flick of my wrist I removed the blood from my axe. Then I took a combat pose once more. “How about we finish this? I’ll show you the true monster that you have created.”

The Demon King’s eyes smoldered. He must have been activating some new skill or talent. I could feel the heat radiating off him. His arm that I had split has already regenerated, it seemed he did have some actually dangerous skills.

“All right then.” I said, “I guess I will become serious too.” A gladiator is their weapon and all weapons were the gladiator. My weapon glowed, I glowed, we were the same.

For the first time there was fear in the Demon King’s eyes, an uncertainty that he would win.

Indomitable, Undefeatable, the king standing in the center of all. All his foes lay dead.

“I have changed my mind. You are both worthy of being my generals.”

I am destruction and nothing will escape. The world will shake and change before me for I am chaos.

“Actually, no you can be the new Demon King. Please don’t kill me. Forgive me.”

“You are the only person that I can not forgive.”

I raised the axe, and brought it down. It contained the full weight of my skills and my jobs and my hatred for this person. Alice, sensing the storm, leaped up into the box the the demon king had previously been in.

Then I brought down the axe, committed regicide. And the entire colosseum collapsed around me from the force of the destruction.

Nothing survived of the former demon king.

I felt the sun for what felt like the first time. Above me was a large broke section of the ceiling. I was looking up toward the sky. We were free.

The box that Alice had retreated too had also collapsed. However she just pushed her was free from the stone rubble and stared around the ruined colosseum.

“Wow, you really did a number on this place? Do you think I could create this much destruction if I tried?” She jumped down to join me on the floor.

“This much? Probably not. This kind of destruction is the special feature of my Chaos Originator job. But I’m sure you will be able to do this much too with a little bit of practice.”

Her dark crimson eyes stared intently at me, “I know I told the demon king that I wasn’t going to fight you but right now I really want to try it. I haven’t been able to let loose at all. I want to see if I am as strong as you.”

I laughed a little before saying, “We can have our match later. Right now there is something more important to do.”

“Oh, right! We should get going then.”

There might have been an exit out the back of the viewing box but that route had collapsed so we had to get through the hole in the roof. It was quite a large jump but the two of us were skilled at doing those kinds of jumps so we were able to escape through the hole fairly easily.

As we reached the top Alice stopped to say, “Oh, we reached level 87 from that fight. I wonder where I should spend my skill points on.”

“You should probably save them. Since we won’t be getting into big battles anytime soon.”

She nodded, previously we had keep some of our skill points in reserve to spend if we had gotten new job ranks unexpectedly. Honestly given how hard the Demon King actually turned out to be we could have saved a lot more of those points.

As we stood on the roof of the colosseum we could not see too much honestly. The place seems to have built at the bottom of a valley. There trees surrounding us. The colosseum was built into the ground so only the roof was visible from the surface and that was mostly hidden by the trees. A secluded place.

“The top of that mountain looks like a good place to get our bearings.” I pointed to the peak that was closest too us. In a previous life it would have seemed like an exhausting journey but the two of us made it to the top in less than an hour. We ran the entire way without tiring.

From the top we were able to get a good view the land around us. Mostly mountains and forests. As I was scanning the scenery looking for civilization Alice said, “Oh, your title changed.”

“Huh, your right. It looks like I’m now a Demon Lord. I guess I didn’t quite qualify to be a Demon King. Although it seems that you are still listed as just normal Demon.”

“Ahh, now I regret leaving that fight to you. I want to be a Demon Lord too.”

“If we fight another Demon King then I’ll make sure you get to fight them.”

“Thanks Jack!”

I pointed off toward one of the further valleys. “Look, that looks like a town doesn’t it?”

“Oh, so close! I expected one to be farther away.”

“Humans like to expand into any place they can. I am not too surprised that it exists this close to a Demon King’s lair. Actually I doubt they even know that the Demon King was that close.”

“I’m excited. You have told me all about towns and I am looking forward to it.”

“Well this looks like just a small town so I don’t know it will have everything we want but it is a bit exciting.”

“I’m drooling already. Do you want to race there?”

“No need to rush. It doesn’t look that far away. Plus you and me racing will probably do terrible things. Best to leave that for later.”

Still even though we didn’t race we did run the entire way there. For the non-demon me that I remember this would have been impossible. Several hours of a full run, leaping through the trees. But for the current me this was a light exercise, a slow jog.

We arrived at the town at 5pm. It was a quant renaissance looking town. A rather nice with farmers and townsfolk wandering around.

At least until they started screaming and running away from us.

“Jack, they are running away from us.”

“I’m not too surprised. We are demons and super high level. I did kind of expect this.”

“But, but, but, what about…” She trailed off looking dejected.

“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. Look, the inn is just right over there.” I pointed and before I had finished she had flashed stepped into the inn. The screams began in the inn too. While she was clever in many ways she really had very little common sense.

I walked over there myself taking my time to look at everything. Sure everybody was running but they would calm down eventually. I pushed myself through the door. Alice had taken a chair and was looking around expectantly.

I looked around at the people who were cowering in fear.

“Who is in charge here?”

Everybody was silent. That was a problem. I stepped up to the counter and looked down at the person hiding behind it. “You.” I said down at him. He looked up hesitantly. “Are you the person in charge here?”

The man stammered, “The Duke, the Duke is in charge.”

“No, no, no. I don’t care who is in charge of the area. Who is in charge of the inn?”

The man stammered, “Me, I’m in charge of the inn.”

“Good,” I pointed over to Alice, “You see she is really hungry and we want you to make your best food and deliver it to us. Two plates. Can you do that?”

“Food, you don’t mean…”

“Just normal food. Just treat us as normal travelers. Nothing more.”

“Food, I’ll get you your food. It will be out quick.”

“Thank you.” I smiled at the man.

Then I walked over to the table that Alice was sitting at. “I placed the order. Now all we need to do is wait.”