NaNoWriMo for 2017
Overlay - Part 1Overlay - 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.
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.
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”
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.
Overlay - Part 2Overlay - 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 3Overlay - 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 4Overlay - 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 5Overlay - 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.
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.
“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.
“I can’t part with her for less than seven.”
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 6Overlay - 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.”
“Oh, and dream big. I intend to make us the best heroes that have ever existed.
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?”
“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 7Overlay - 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.”
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“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.
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.
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.
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 9Overlay - 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.
“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.”
“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 10Overlay - 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 11Overlay - 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?”
“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.
“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 12Overlay - 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.”
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.”
Overlay - Part 13Overlay - Part 13 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:46
Pretty soon the Innkeeper was walking, very carefully, over to our table with a couple of plates. Just as it was about to reach it the front door of the inn slammed open. The innkeeper spooked and would have dropped the plates had I not caught them out of the air.
Several heavily armored soldiers stepped through the front doors. They then quickly moved aside for the man behind them. An extremely well dressed man stepped forward. From his clothes to his sword everything seemed perfect and expensive.
Bordo, Level ??? Duke
His level was hidden, that was strange. Nobody I had fought before had been like they and it had three digits. Was that just an artifact of the hidden level or did it actually imply that he had a triple digit level.
The Innkeeper prostrated himself before the Duke. I however turned my attention back to Alice who was staring at the plate that I was holding. It was a grilled meat dish with a gravy on top. I handed her the plate and said, “Make sure you use the knife and fork like I taught you.”
She had been about to shovel everything into her mouth with her hands before that so she paused and pulled the required utensils from the cup in the center of the table.
The Duke seemed to be annoyed that I wasn’t paying attention to him. His guards and him stepped forward to loom over the table that I had been sitting on. As he got there I lazily turned to look at him.
“Is there a problem?”
“You are to surrender to the Dukedom or face execution.”
I just blinked a couple of times, “For what reason?”
“Your crime is the crime of existence. Demons are forbidden within the Grand Kingdom. No further questions will be accepted.”
“I’m afraid you are going to have to wait until me and my companion are done eating. Otherwise I will never head the end of it from her.”
She looked up from her food. She was still having trouble with the fork but she looked excitied, “Jack, this is really really good! You should have some too. Otherwise I’ll eat your food too.”
One of the soldiers stepped forward and placed his large glaive like weapon against my neck. “Did you not heard the Duke. Either surrender or die.”
“Your guards are rather brazen considering I am sixty levels above them.” I placed a finger on either side of the blade and pinched. I then pushed the blade backward slightly forcing the soldier back a few steps.
The Duke however seemed unperturbed, “We have already seen through your deception.”
“Deception, I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. We are just simple travelers seeking to eat a meal as an inn. Nothing less nothing more. If there is a deception here then I expect you are the one initiating it.”
That seemed to insult the Duke too far and all his guards raised their weapons to attack. Then the weapons came crashing down around me. Alice had already escaped the area with her nearly empty plate of food and mine too.
I hadn’t really moved that much. Just enough to avoid the attacks and to push aside some of the weapons with my hand. When the assault was over the table was destroyed and only me and my chair were unarmed.
“If you want to pick a fight then I’m game but I would prefer not to have to fight weaklings. I’ve had enough experience doing that already.”
The Duke himself seemed furious, no, maybe frightened. Had he expected somebody who was level 87 to be weak? No that couldn’t be right.
“Jake, stop playing the man who is pretending to be strong and come eat with me. I really will eat your plate if you don’t finish soon.”
“Ha, you are exactly right Alice. That explains it. He thinks I must be faking my level. I guess that makes some sense. Two random level 87 people arrive in a town and nobody had ever heard of them before. Their level must be fake. What is what you are thinking right? I mean you have some means of hiding your level so it makes sense that there would also be ways of faking it.”
“If that is what you think then I will fight you myself.” Said the Duke as he drew his sword. Then in a fluid motion that was probably too fast for his soldiers to see he swung it at me.
I had already quick drawn a fork from the table and used it to parry his blow. The weak metal of the fork would have normally broken instantly but one of my skills provided increased resilience to damage and improved durability.
“Oh, not too bad.” I said, “Your sword skill is not that great. It probably puts you at level 40, no I shouldn’t judge you by that place. I’m going to guess 35 instead. Honestly it is a little disappointing. I have never fought somebody that is level 100 or higher.
He gritted his teeth. He must have been angry that I revealed his true level since he was trying to hide it.
“Also your sword is pretty good quality. It even looks enchanted. Are you disappointed that I can notice all these things? I have some pretty useful informational gather skills.”
The Duke was standing his ground, not yet believing that he would lose. That was a pain.
“Really, it looks like I will need to make a name for myself or boring people will never leave me alone.”
With one fluid motion I used my fork to disarm the Duke of his weapon, grabbing it in my other hand. Then I flash stepped behind him and pressed the sword against his neck. “Now to you realize that your are outmatched?”
There was finally terror that I could see out of the corner of his eye. Why did I keep encountering people like this. It felt like he was similar to the Demon King, although far less powerful.
“Now! Stab him!” Shouted the Duke and he soldiers quickly obeyed. I could have avoided the attacks but I needed to show my threat. So I just stood there. The swords wielded by people of that level were incapable of damaging me.
The swords hit my skin and stopped. Or bounced off. I had a Demonic Form skill which get me some natural armor but beyond that I didn’t have any real protection against weapons. All of my opponents that I had faced so far were at least strong enough to damage me. However such was the difference in level between me and these soldiers that they were completely unable to harm me.
I activated my Warrior’s Presence skill and spoke, “Now you have had your chance. Surrender and flee or face execution.” The intimidating aura pressed out against the soldiers and almost simultaneously they all dropped their weapons and fled through the door.”
Then I looked down at the man that I was still holding hostage with his own blade. “You too. If you ever bother me like this again. I will kill you.”
I then released him. Took his sword between my hands, and gently snapped it before dropping the pieces at his feet. He didn’t even pick up the pieces before fleeing out the door.
As they left the inn and muttered, “How annoying.” If I had to keep doing this in every town it would end up being really annoying. Hopefully building a reputation would restrict the interruptions to interesting ones.
I stepped over to the innkeeper who was still prostrated on the floor, “It seems that I am going to need another two plates since Alice is already finishing eating my plate. And sorry for the interruption.”
The man was almost pale from fear but he scurried into the kitchen.
When I returned the Alice I rapped her one the head, “Didn’t I tell you to use silverware?”
“I was, really, but then the table got knocked over and the silverware all went flying.” She was licking one of her fingers.
I motioned and we sat at a new table, “Yes, and this table also has silverware. You could have used that.”
“But I was busy watching you tease him.”
I snorted, “Yeah right, you were only looking at the plate weren’t you?” She was silent, partially because her mouth was full again.
Lots of new problems had presented themselves. My plan was going to be more annoying. Or maybe I could use it as publicity. Plus there was the problem with money, when I had started I had a small bag with some coins in it. Apparently my hero job provided that.
While contemplating the innkeeper brought another two plates. Alice got her third place and I finally got my first place. It was basically a steak with meat gravy and grilled potatoes. I took a bite. It was good. A relief after all the time I had spent in the dungeon.
Still my memories continued to betray me. The meat was overcooked and the gravy was poorly made. The potatoes were underseasoned. It was good but it could easily be a lot better.
“Hey, innkeeper, did you cook this?” I asked.
“Ye ye ye yes.” He stammered.
“Do you have a cooking skill?” He nodded and I continued, “What rank is it?”
“Ah, the explains things. Thank you.” I took out a gold piece and handed it to him, “You can go now.”
He stumbled backward and rushed to hide in the kitchen.
I did some private pondering while we ate. When we were finally done Alice stretched out on the chair looking satisfied.
She nodded, “Yup, it was worth living.”
“I’ve been trying to decide what we should do next.”
“Hamburgers! You said hamburgers were very delicious!”
I laughed, “Hamburgers huh? I don’t know if they even make them in this world. We will probably have to go to a big city to find the needed ingredients. Then cooking tools… Hmm, I wonder if I could make them using my Monster Smith job.”
“You are going to make them? Your food is the best!”
When my plate was empty it was time for us to leave. If we were going to do hamburgers then a larger city was one the menu.
Red Blossom failed to defeated Darkmaw. They had gathered the strongest force that had ever been seen in Dungeoncity but it had not been enough to defeat the dragon. However most of their team survived, their leader managed to hold off the dragon long enough for them to flee before escaping himself. His injuries were reported to be some of the worst people had ever seen but he had survived.
It was a terrible tragedy but the romance of dragon slaying survived. In fact it might have grown even stronger. The story of the fight spread but also exactly how difficult it was. One level 60 had stood against the dragon and managed to hold it off and survive. People whispered that maybe a full party of level 60s could have defeated Darkmaw.
My team was also slowly getting closer to that ideal. Lanette had hit level 25 while I was 24 and Sterling had reached 22. I had pushed him hard to level him up and it had shown great results. His skills had already been higher than his level suggested, probably because of his age, and the bonus skill points had done wonders to his build.
I had helped advise his build and with him as our tank our battle efficiency had increased dramatically. We had done our first expedition into the jungle recently and it was much easier than I had expected it to be. The entire team had the level requirement so there had been no complains from the Adventurer’s guild.
Then we started planing a larger expedition into the jungle.
Overlay - Part 14Overlay - Part 14 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:47
We were dipping into our accumulated money stockpile to purchase some magical items. I had acquired an Arcanologist job which gave me access to the Magical Appraisal skill. While it was no good for mundane items but I could accurately identify most enchantments on items. Some particularly unusual enchantments were difficult to discern but most things that were commonly sold didn’t qualify.
I had learned it by spending some money through the merchant’s guild to arrange a tutor. Herbert was apparently surprised that I kept leveraging him for more services but apparently he got some kickbacks from it so it wasn’t entirely on sided.
Mendel’s Magical Items was the shop of choice that I had picked up. The titualar Mendel was a portly man who had trouble being taken seriously in the more major cities however here is Dungeoncity the only thing that mattered for a prosperous shop was skill.
Mendel wasn’t the highest skill magical creator in the city but he had a sense of style and creativity that did not exist in the other shops. He went the extra mile and his items always had that special touch.
My staff was beginning to show its age. It was the second staff that I had owned. I had replaced my initial staff when I was around level 12 however when I bought it I hadn’t known about Mendel. The staff was worse quality then I had hoped but I hadn’t been able to tell at that time. After that I was basically forced to keep it because it was an expensive investment.
This time however I was going to find something good.
“Hey, Mendel, how’s the store?”
“Good enough. I hear your planning some big expedition.”
I nodded, “Yeah, there are a few things on the list that I need to buy so I wanted to consult with you.”
“Sure, what are you needing?”
“The first order of business is that I need a new staff. Something more appropriate for my level.”
He nodded, he knew I had been thinking about getting a new one. “So, an Elementalist focused one? Any other special requirements? I know you have also been practicing Life magic.”
“That is one thing too. However I don’t want the staff to deal with that. I just need a charm for my Life magic. One that emphasizes mana conservation. However about the staff I would prefer one that specializes in Fire magic. I recently got an improved Fire Elementist job so my fire spells are definitely my best offensive options.”
“Turning into a right good fire mage huh? Did you prefer an offensive focus on the staff or something else?”
“Yes if it can have a more generalized focusing effect as well as a fire damage boost that would be best but I know that is a lot to ask.”
He rubbed his chin contemplating, “I don’t have anything like that is stock. However if the expedition isn’t leaving for a bit I could make you something custom.”
“Custom? Don’t you have quite the backlog?”
“Some, but you have been a good customer. But more important than that I’m looking to the future. You have been progressing really well and it would be good publicity to have you do something big with a custom piece of gear.”
“I’m not going to have enough money to get everything custom but I could probably afford the staff.”
He nodded, “I’ll write up an estimate and get it delivered to you tomorrow.”
“Now about the other things? I also need the Life magic charm, one with efficiency would be the best but power is acceptable too. Sterling needs a magical shield, his current shield can’t handle the stain anymore so something with high durability would be good. The jungle also has a lot of poisons so something to resist those for Lanette, preferable resisting poisons that give speed debuffs.”
“I’ve got the Life magic charm and the shield. There are a few different rings with poison resist but I don’t have anything specifically to resist movement poisons. You can look at them in the case over there is your want to choose.”
I nodded and began looking through his stock. There were those items but sometimes there could be things that you didn’t realize you wanted. Most of the items I could ignore. They were minor magical items for more rookie adventurers, things that I already had. Like the robes that I was wearing which provided good magical resistance.
The other side of magical items were consumables. While I wasn’t going to buy any of those until the permanent items had all been collected it was good to alway have a feel for what was on the market.
While I was glancing over the items I stopped and leaned in too look at it. It was small stuff bear, about the height of a finger. It could tell with my skill that it only had a minor good luck charm on it. It was a kind of magic that was basically useless in combat but some adventurers took every advantage that they could get.
“Hey, Mendel, could I get this too?”
“That? What do you want that for? I don’t think it would be very useful for you.”
“I think it would look cute tied to my satchel.”
He paused for a moment then said, “Aye, that it probably would. It was initially made for small kids to tuck into their crib to protect them from harm however it never sold. I could affix a strap and you would be able to attach it to your bag.”
After that I looked through the poison resist items. Found one that looked good for Lanette and had Mendel tally up the price for everything. It was expensive but good magical items kept you alive. Normally I would haggle the prices but Mendel priced things fairly they were good quality.
Most of the items went in my satchel, to which I attached the tiny stuff bear that Mendel had quickly adjusted. It was indeed cute. The shield wouldn’t go over the bad and had to be slung over the shoulder.
As I left the town and began to head back to the inn that was our base of operations I was approached by a couple of men whose level compared to mine wearing pure black clothing. Normally this might be a cause for alarm but I recognized their insignia. The Ravens, an veteran adventuring group.
“Hey,” said one of the men fairly gruffly. “Our boss, leader of the Ravens, wants to meet with you. Said it was important.”
“Really? Do you know why?” I had heard rumors about the boss of the Ravens but I had never meet them in person.
“Information about your expedition.” He said.
We really must have started to make a reputation for ourselves since everybody seemed to know about the expedition.
“Should I go with you now then?”
“Dinner, 6pm, at the Cobelatte. The boss said to come alone.”
“Alone? Why alone?”
“Dunno, ask the boss.”
I nodded, the Cobelatte was as upscale as restaurants in Dungeoncity came. Doing something devious there would be hard to get away with. “Alright, I’ll be there.”
Six o’clock wasn’t that far away because I had spent so long perusing items. I had to deliver the items to the inn. When I arrived I found Sterling and Lanette huddeled around a table which had a map on it.
“How’s the route going?” I asked as I approached.
“Welcome back.” Said Sterling who nodded as I approached. He was without his armor today. He looked skinny but that was not exactly accurate. His frame was much stronger that it looked. There must be some kind of video game magic which made the levels more than just physical muscle.
“We have been debating whether to go through the gulley of madness or fog bank.”
“Well the first one sounds more dangerous.”
“The fog bank has larger concentrations of enemies…” Began Sterling.
I held up a hand, “I left this part of the planning to you two. I’ll go with whatever route you think is the more beneficial.” I probably could have participated in all the different planning activities but it was good to make sure everybody had some experience in this kind of thing.
“Understood.” Said Sterling.
“I got everybody their items.” I handed over my purchases.
“What about your staff?” Asked Lanette.
“Mendel said he wanted to make me something custom. Good product placement he said.”
“After strange phrase from you but I think I understand what you mean.”
“I also have a meeting with the leader of Raven later tonight. I believe she wants to talk about the expedition.”
“Raven huh? I suppose it is worth it to go. They mostly specialize in doing expeditions into the Jungle and they have a lot of level 20+ adventurers.”
“Yeah but I expect something more than just a simple meeting. I was asked to attend the meeting alone.”
“I’m sure everything will be fine.” Said Sterling. “Whatever it is you can just say no.”
Lanette however was more pensive. “Do you need a backup? Just in case things go sour.”
“No, it should be fine. It would probably be better if you just finished planning the route. I’ll give you the highlights when I get back.”
The items were distributed to them and I explained what I had learned about them from Mendel and from my own examination of the items. The two of them were about to order dinner from the inn when it was time for me to go and meet the boss of Raven.
The journey to Cobelatte was a big of a walk. It was on the side of the town close to the mountains, way from any potential monster invasion. The place was ritzy but some adventurers liked using either money to live up the big life and this was one place for them to do it.
As I entered the restaurant I was greeted by one of the servers who said, “As Miss Veronica, your table is this way.” I was lead toward the back of the restaurant where the boss of Raven was waiting for me.
She was a woman in her early thirties. Most of the time she wore black leather armor but now she was wearing a simple black dress. Although I did not doubt that she had some kind of weapon hidden on her person. She was level 45, very high level by Dungeon city standards.
“Veronica, please have a seat. I recommend the roast pork, it is quite excellent.” She spoke nonchalantly but her eyes constantly darted around the restaurant as if scanning for threats.
“If that is what you suggest then I’ll get that.”
“Good. Have you been liking your time in Dungeoncity?”
There was some small chatter before the server came and took our order. She listened as I spoke a little about our experiences in Dungeoncity.
Eventually it was time for idle banter to end and for business to begin.
“First, I would like you to quit your team and join Raven.”
“You do know that I am basically the leader of my team right? Besides I like my team.”
“Tsk, well it was worth a shot. Although Raven would accept all three of you if you want.”
“Again I will have to refuse.”
“Are you in charge of the training regime that your team uses? Your team very efficiently have been gaining levels this last couple of months.”
“I’m afraid I can’t say it is anything special other than extremely hard work. Maybe your people are just not motivated enough.” I lied as smoothly as I could.
“You might be right about that. Once a member reaches level 20 it is hard to keep that growth up. It is hard to force them without having them grow resentful and we have basically made a name for ourselves doing things approprate for that level so it is hard to blame them.” Said Stella the leader of Raven. “Still you would be quite a boon.”
“Is this going to be about trying to get me to join you or was there something else you wanted to talk about?” I asked.
Overlay - Part 15Overlay - Part 15 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:48
“You are going all the way to the ruined city aren’t you?” She asked.
“Yes, that was the plan,” I said hesitantly.
“I have a friend that I would like you to take with you.”
“A friend? Your team makes expeditions to the jungle city don’t you? Why can’t you bring them?”
She bit her lip, “There was a bit of an argument between my second in command and them so I can’t officially help them out as the leader of Raven. However I want to do what I can to help them.”
It all sounded pretty suspicious. “Who is this person?”
“Chisomo is, well, basically a historian. They are trying to figure out who previously lived in the ruined city and why it was abandoned. However… they are a bit eccentric.”
I hadn’t really considered why the ruined city was there. To me it had just been a feature, a dungeon in a video game. However while many things here resembled a video game there was probably more too the ruined city then just that. Plus even in video games places like that had backstories, at least in good games.
“A historian… Is there a reason that you want to ask my team. We aren’t very big you know.”
“To be honest, mainly because your team hasn’t seemed very interested in adventurer politics. There aren’t too many teams which journey to the ruined city very often and I felt that most of the others would take undue advantage from my request.”
Another companion, that would be a problem. It would basically be impossible to conceal my secret ability from them on a long journey like that.
“What level are they?”
“18, however Chisomo is does not have the best combat skills although they have enough to avoid being a liability.”
“That is a bit low.”
“I know but I owe Chisomo’s family a great deal and would greatly appreciate it if you took them aboard. While I can’t pay out of Raven’s accounts I have my personal pay which I can use to help your expedition as well as some of my personal accounts of the ruined city.”
That second part was tempting. Adventurers usually took detailed notes about what they found in different places. Those notes were valuable and qualified as a trade secret. Sharing them would be quite valuable.
“Taking on somebody I don’t know as an extra that we will likely have to carry is a risk business even with that generous offer. I’ll have to meet them in person and consult with the rest of my team before making a decision.”
Stella nodded, “Of course, that I do understand. It is a difficult ask but I would appreciate it if you considered it. I’m sure Chisomo would also be able to share a lot of their knowledge with you on the journey. They are quite knowledgable about all kinds of things.”
The rest of the dinner was a casual affair where we got to enjoy the meal and talk about our different experiences. I was able to learn about some of Stella’s travels in the jungle which were quite numerous. Once the meal was done she went off by herself, by her own admission to find a bar. I was much too young for that so I let her head off.
It was rather late at this point. The other two were almost certainly done planning by this point. I returned to the inn to find Sterling still awake at the table. He seemed to had his own drink of some kind but he was certainly old enough to have it.
“How did the meeting go?”
“No well then?”
“Stella wants us to take somebody alone on our trip but she is offering quite a good deal. If it wasn’t for one little problem I probably would have immediately accepted.”
“Ah, I see. That could certainly be problematic.”
I took a seat next to him, rubbing my eyes and trying to think through it. “Sterling, what do you think that I should do?”
“Well, I don’t knew the offer and it isn’t my place to divulge other’s secrets. But since you asked my opinion I’ll do my best to offer it. At some point you will need to reveal it. There are some secrets that can be kept in confidence but other secrets with grind away at your paranoia as long as you keep them. Every day you will have to diligently protect the secret and eventually you will fail. That is your kind of secret. Sooner or later it will be revealed, the question is just a matter of when and whether what you might do now is more important than that.”
“And is it?”
“I think that would depend on who Stella wants us to bring with us and why. Have you spoke with them personally yet?”
“No, Stella was going to arrange a meeting tomorrow.”
“Then that is when you will know what you should do. Whatever it is I will support you.”
I smiled at him, “Thanks Sterling.”
“It is my pleasure. Now you should probably get going to bed. Staying up too late can be bad for you.”
I nodded, getting up and heading to the room and me and Lanette shared. Sterling got his own room.
Lanette was already asleep. While she had apparently had trouble falling asleep on soft beds she now seemed to fall sleep almost immediately when laying down on one. She had came a long way. I also felt that she slept more soundly then she had when we first met, not surprising all things considering.
In the morning I received a message indicating when and where I would meet Chisomo. I had expected maybe an inn but apparently Chisomo was some wealthy noble family or something so they had a house that they were living in. I was to meet them there.
When I arrived I noticed that the place did look very fancy however it wasn’t that big. Space was at a premium in Dungeoncity so even wealth people thought twice about using more space then that had too.
It was about the correct time so I knocked on the door. There wasn’t an answer so I waiting a moment before knocking again. There was still no answer. Strange, they were supposed to be here.
I tried the handle of the door and the door swung open, completely unlocked. I became worried so I stepped into the building. The curtains were all drawn to the building was dark and gloomy inside.
“Hello? Chisomo? Are you there? This is Veronica. I was instructed to speak with you today?” I said as I stepped inside.
I nearly jumped out of my shoes when a voice spoke from in the darkness. “Despite the unlocked door you entered anyways. However not without your own preparation. Silent chanting is a hard skill to master isn’t it.”
The person stepped from behind one of the bookshelves that had been propped back to back throughout the room making the place a veritable library.
The person was fair faced with about shoulder length hair left hanging around their face. They seemed slightly more masculine then feminine to my eyes but I couldn’t tell for certain. It was Chisomo.
“Ah, hello, um, yes, silent chanting.” I said as I cancelled the preparation of the spell. “It is a skill that I have gotten fairly recently so I put some effort into at least being competent at it. Who knows when something like it will be useful.”
“Such skill so soon after acquiring the skill, it must have take quite some dedication.”
Chisomo was watching me intently as I squirmed under their gaze. “I am quite dilligent in my training. My friends saw I probably practice a bit too much.” While that was true I did have the advantage on certain hard to improve skills.
“You are the one that Stella sent to meet with me. You look acceptable too me. However do you still need me to convince you bring me along?”
“I, yes, I wanted to speak with you for a bit before making a decision.”
“Very well. Please, have a look at my books while I make some tea.”
Chisomo muttered some words and the lights in the room flickered to life. There were bookshelves placed basically everywhere in the room that they would fit and all of them were stuff with books. The book were all of interesting topics.
One corner of the room was filled with various fictional novels. It was suprisingly sparse with most of the novels being written by about twenty total authors. Where those just Chisomo’s favorite authors or where there not enough authors in this world.
I pondered that while I checked out the other books. There were a huge section of historical books and not just books. Scrolls, bound together piles of notes, and basically anything that you could imagine storing information. There were two sections to the historical books, things from more than 19 years ago and thing from after that point.
The items from after seemed to be more haphazard and contain more of the notes. I had pulled out one of better looking books from a pile and was pursuing it.
A while later I heard a voice say, “The tea is quite cold by this point. Are you enjoying yourself?”
I jumped, startled out of the revelry that I was in. I was sitting on a comfy chair in one of the corners of the room. I had been nose deep in one of the books detailing everything that was known about the Sages and their influence on society.
“I…” I took the book and waved it, “This is very interesting.”
“Normally I wouldn’t interrupt since I get the same way. However we still had something to discuss.” It looked like Chisomo was almost chuckling at my activity.”
“I have a Scholar job so I tend to be absorbed by this kind of thing.” It was something that I had gotten quite a long time ago when I realized that my education back on Earth had translated to more information then was usual to in this world. My hobbies probably had something to do with it too.
“Considering basically all of my jobs are like that I can forgive a bit of reading.” Chisomo motioned and I followed them into another room. This room was also stuffed with books but there was a table and a few chairs in the center of it.
“How were you enjoying Fredands observations of the influences of the Sages on society?” Chisomo asked.
“It was interested how the High Nobility of Jental designed magical items which hide their level in the same way that the Sages did and use that to prevent people from rebelling against potentially low level nobles.”
“Indeed, this kingdom doesn’t do it but rebelion of that kind hasn’t happened yet probably because of Dungeoncity. Keeping high level people occupied with important uses of the time is important. It also helps that the King had kept his level reasonably high through training from high level adventurers that he recruited from Dungeoncity. However there had been some shifts in society which are beginning to priorities high skill ranks more than level. The probably being that it is harder to know what somebodies skill rank is unless you have a specialized skill.”
“Yeah, it is very true. I can determine how good somebody is as magic though. That was enchantment that you used out in the main room right? Empowering the lights to, well, give off light. Are the lights here specially designed to accept your magic. They don’t looks like candles.”
Chisomo smile, “You seem to be a person of many talents. Fascinating. What job do you use to analyze magical skills?”
“Arcanologist. I learned from hiring a trainer through the merchant’s guild. Mainly it was to be able to identify magical items but I got all kinds of useful skills from it.”
Chisomo pulled out a large book from a bag that was stashed under the table. They flipped through the pages until their stopped on one, “What rank do you have in that job?”
“Rank 5. Why do you ask?”
“The reason I am in Dungeoncity is that I am archiving as many different jobs as I can and am finding out learned skills and calculating variations.”
Overlay - Part 16Overlay - Part 16 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:49
“Yes, one person’s job might not grant the exact same talents and skills as a different person’s job of the same name. Most of the effects however are the same. These are called job variations. From what I can tell the differences tend to be regional. Well, not exactly regional, more cultural. People from the same culture generally have the same understanding of what a job is supposed to do.”
“Really? This is the first time that I have heard about this.”
“Truely, the reason why you don’t hear much about it is that people who would normally talk about their skills and ranks usually have the same culture or trainer. Those are what mainly determine what skills and talents people get. The interesting parts is when you start talking about people who are self taught or who are rank 10 or higher in a job.”
“So self taught people are likely to have different skills then people who were trained. I guess that makes sense. And for higher rank people I guess that is more likely to be self taught since you wouldn’t really have trainers for that time.”
“Indeed, the higher rank somebody is in a job the more divergent they are. Their ideas of that the job means are different. This is also why jobs tend to cap at around 10 and instead of improving a job the person gets a specialty job.”
“Ah, that would explain my Fire Elemental Master job. Since my Elementalist job is rank 11 instead of improving that I got a second job dealing with a specialization.”
“Precisely! Speaking of which, do you remember what skills you got at rank 11 in your Elementalist job?”
“Universal Elemental Counter and Elemental Loci Absorption. Do you need to explain what those do?”
“Yes, as best as you can. I’ve had reports about those skills but I haven’t interviewed somebody about them myself.”
“Now keep in mind that they are both very edge case skills and I haven’t had too much experience with them because of that.” Chisomo nodded while I spoke, “Universal Elemental Counter is a counter magic skill which lets me counter elemental spells. It lets me counter elemental spells using elemental opposites. It needs to be combined with a high rank Elemental Sense skill to know what elemental composition the spell you are trying to counter is. Then it lets you create a mirror version of the spell to counter the spell.”
“Elemental Loci Absorption lets me reduce the mana cost of spells depending on my surroundings. More locations do not have enough elemental affinity to effect the spells. However, for example, near a volcano I could absorb fire elemental energy to power my spells, effectively giving me cheaper fire spells. It also seems to not be a percentage but instead a linear discount so cheap mp spells can become free in areas of high elemental affinity.”
Chisomo nodded more while they scribbled in one the books, taking notes. “Do you have a focus on increasing your mp and mp recovery? Elemental Loci Absorption tends to show up on people that like to focus that way.”
“Yeah, I’ve put a lot of effort into improving my mp because it helps me practice my spells more. It is one of the reasons I was able to get my Elementalist job so high.”
Chisomo raised their head to look straight at me for a while. “Your skill growth has been quite high I hear.” I froze for a moment but then Chisomo said, “Do you have any training or teaching related skills which helped you improve them?”
“Traveler gives me a time management skill. That has kept me organized, well, usually.”
“Hmmmm….” Chisomo was deep in thought.
“Um, why do you want to go to the jungle ruins? What do you expect to find there?”
“Oh, right, I haven’t mentioned that. I have a theory that everything on this side of the mountain range is not natural.”
“Not natural? In what way.”
“I think the Sages created it. Well, terraformed is probably the more correct word.”
“You think they made the jungle ruins, and I guess where Dungeoncity stands?”
“Yes, I’ve done what I could excavating in Dungeoncity but too many people live here and too many things have changed. The jungle ruins are comparably untouched. I have gathered all I could about the history of this region before the existence of status magic but it is extremely bare. However I did find a couple of things and all of it conflicts with what currently exists in this region.
“Mainly it has just been lack of records. Since literacy rates were very low before status magic there weren’t many books written about obscure subjects, especially in basically uncharted wilderness. I wanted to visit the ruined city and see if there was any information there that might link it to other locations. That way I can figure out if the place actually was real of just a fabrication of the Sages.”
“Why would the Sages do such a thing?”
“There are several theories. The one I support is that Dungeoncity is supposed to be a training ground for when the heroes arrive. A place for them to fight monsters and gain experience and skills before doing whatever is it they are supposed to do.”
That made a lot of sense. After all I had the hero job and that was basically why I was here. Although it was a bit more complicated than that.
I was pondering the question of if we should bring Chisomo with us. Given their scholarly nature however it was very unlikely that my secret would be able to withstand the encounter. Chisomo felt like the type of person who saw secrets as a challenge to overcome.
Still, Chisomo triggered all the right flags for me. Androgynous, scholarly, enthusiastic about their interests. They were somebody that I shared interests with, more like the type of person I could have been if I remained in my previous world.
I was weighing the options in my head. After much internal contemplation I finally asked, “Give me the most important reason that I should bring you with me?”
I could almost see the gears turning in Chisomo’s head trying to analyze the question, to figure out the true intent behind it. We both knew that their answer to the question would determine whether I would bring them with me or not.
Chisomo eventually smiled and said, “Because it will be fun.”
That was exactly what I need to hear.
** There is a large portion the the story here that was moved to the Epilogue after I finished the book. Because of that Part 16 and Part 17 are shorter than normal **
Overlay - Part 17Overlay - Part 17 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:50
** There is a large portion the the story here that was moved to the Epilogue after I finished the book. Because of that Part 16 and Part 17 are shorter than normal **
“Jack, look, look, were are finally here.”
The city was just beginning to rise above the horizon. It was a huge city, sprawling out from a series of towers in the middle, most of which seemed like they were still under construction. The building style was still in that same almost renaissance style.
The only question was how was everybody going to respond to us. In the previous towns there had been a bunch of stinks because of our levels. Hopefully your journey will have gotten enough attention that we would only have one major confrontation.
I heaved up my hydra-skin backpack. We had found the hydra on a side expedition. I had been able able to create the backpack which was quite sturdy and very fire resistance.
“Yes and it looks like we have a welcoming committee.”
There was a practical army outside the gates of the city. Several rows of knights and behind them many archers and mages.
“You don’t think they want to talk do you?” I asked Alice.
“Probably not. They should try to be more interesting though. There doesn’t seem to be anybody higher than level 40 in that crowd.”
“There are you going to leave it to me again?” I asked.
“Did we have any more of that Hydra jerky?”
I handed her the backpack and she opened it up and began to rummage through it looking for the jerky.
I began to walk down toward the army. Once I was where I just far enough I stopped and waited.
Then a man on a horse began to ride over toward me. It was a young man. He was well dress and like the previous man who was as well dressed his level was concealed. He was also clearly terrified of me. The last one had thought that I was also lying about my level but this man knew that it was true.
“The Grand Army of Jental stands before you. Turn back or we shall slay you.” Announced the man in as confident a tone as he could manage.
“No” I said plainly, “I am neither turning back and your paltry army here will not be able to kill me. However I have no desire to fight. Let me pass unarmed and all of you will survive this day.”
“The High Nobility has given a personal order. There is only black and white.”
“A pity. Then go and tell your High Nobility that if they do not let me enter the city I will kill each of them personally.” I said, waiting a moment and then continued, “What are you waiting for. Go tell them, I will wait their answer.”
The man still look uncertain but a moment later his horse spooked and he flee back to the army. “I will wait your response by night fall.” I yell back at the man.
With that I turned and walked back to Alice. She had finished off the Hydro jerky. Back when we had slain it I had thought that the meat would last for ages but apparently Alice had nearly boundless appetite. I wanted to ask her if she had a job related to eating but even I was not that crass.
“Alice, there has been an inpass. Can I ask you to do something for me?”
“As long as it is not fighting that army. You can do that yourself.”
“No, I have something more difficult I want you do to.” I pointed to the huge tower in the center of the city which was completely built. “I need you to ensure that building and the surrounding area is empty by sunset and I want you to do it without getting noticed. The only exception is if there are any High Nobility you can use your own judgement on whether you need to evacuate them.”
“Any not getting noticed? That might be hard. Sure.” She smiled, “But you had better get me something good to eat in return.”
“Don’t worry. Soon after sunset we will be walking into the city and nobody will stop us.”
Then she had disappeared. Her flash step had gotten even higher. I was having trouble keeping track of her.
The only thing left to do was wait until sunset. The army just stood their waiting. I on the other hand made myself a nice campfire and cooked a few eggs which were quite delicious. I didn’t have a great number of spices but it was far better than in the pit. It was a wonder how much of difference salt made.
When the sun was about to set I put away the cooking supplies. I put everything in the backpack and slung it over my shoulder. Then I walked back to the place that I had stood before. Right on schedule the man on the horse returned. He looked like walking death.
“The High Nobility have refused you entrance to the Royal Capital.”
“Ah, such a pity. Now I recommend you get down from your horse.”
I pulled a spear from the collection of weapons that I had. “No, really, I recommend getting off the horse. Otherwise you will die.”
He scrambled down.
I could see the army beginning to ready themselves for battle with me. It was too late. I waited as the last rays of the sun dipped behind the horizon. Then I pulled back my arm.
I pointed the tip of the spear directly at that giant tower.
I am destruction incarnate.
And I threw. The wind whipped and tore around me knocking the man and his horse to the ground and sliding them away from me. The spear tore through the air, straight and throw with ultimate power. It was light a streak of golden light while headed directly toward the tower.
Even the soldiers in the armor were buffeted by the winds and many of them were knocked down. Then there was an earth shattering sound and the tower began to crumble and collapse. It was like slow-mo watching the tower fall slowly. Then there was nothing that could be seen above the houses where that tower had been.
Then I began walking toward the city.
The man who has collapsed on the ground just gapped as I walked past him. When I reached the army the spread before me as I walked by each of them in turn. None of them wanted to dare fight me. They had been shown in that one instant that none of them could even compare themselves to me. That offering their lives to stop me wouldn’t even slow me down.
Overlay - Part 18Overlay - Part 18 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:51
As I passed through the gates and into the city Alice jumped down to join me. She was smiling, “That was quite the show that you made there. Your Chaos Originator job is as impressive is it was previously. I’m already itching for a chance to fight you all out. It would be exciting.”
Ignoring her challenge I said, “How did the evacuation go?”
“Well enough. Since I was evacuating I wasn’t able to go completely unnoticed. I had to give a few people a good scare. But I don’t think anybody would be able to identify me be sight.”
We were walking down the streets of the city. It was just after nightfall but the streets were completely empty. I wasn’t too surprised about that. After all we had been able to pass the army.
“Ohh, another guest. Will you have to fight this one too?”
“I don’t think so, I suspect this is just a fearless opportunities. Exactly who I was looking for.”
The man was short and had the look a merchant although everything was a bit more grimy then you were expect on an actual merchant.
Portman, Level 9 Scoundrel.
He actually had the title of Scoundrel, that was kind of impressive in its own way.
“Greetings travelers from afar, welcome to our fair city. How may I help you?” The man bowed a little as he was closer although he had made sure to avoid getting in our way had we decided not to stop.
“See Alice, some people know how to be polite.” I then turned to face the man, “A yes, we are looking for lodging and food for dinner. Nothing special. Just ordinary traveler fare.”
“Just ordinary fare?” He looked surprised before nodding, “Of course, of course, follow me. We followed him through several streets until we arrived at what must be a tavern. He knocked vigorously at the door. The door creaked open and there was a short whispered conversation between the Portman and whoever open the door.
After a few more moments the door opened completely and Portman lead us into the room. Everything was perfectly silent as we entered. There were other people who were now cowering in the corners. One group quickly vacated a larger table and Portman brought us to that table.
“So, Master Jack.” Said the man.
“Just Jack is fine.”
He paused for a moment and said, “Well, Jack, what is it that you would like to eat?”
“Whatever this place is known for making. Their specialty. Any… beer. Do they have beer? It has been ages since I have had a good beer.”
“Of course, I’ll make sure that you have the best.” Portman said and turned to go shout instructions at the man in the kitchen.
I looked around at all the people huddled in the different corners of the room. It was all very uncomfortable. I waved my hand and said, “You may all leave.”
And with that they all began rushing for the front door. There was a commotion as they got stuck trying to leave but I had already put them out of my mind. I hadn’t even really cared that much about them anyways but feeling like I was forcing them to remain feel a bit sour.
“Is this place going to be better than the last place?” Asked Alice excitedly.
“Maybe, although I don’t have my hopes up. Remember the main goal is to acclimatize the people living in the city to our presence. Humans are a resilient sort and will grow accustom to pretty much anything. I expect after a few weeks they will hardly notice our presence at all.”
“As long as I get good food I don’t really care.”
We waited for a new food but just as it was about to arrive we were interrupted. Was thing going to be a running occurrence. Through the front door burst a small kid, maybe ten years old. They were wearing a reasonable fine set of pants and shirt that was stained quiet dirty.
They were also holding a rather large knife. The kid yelled, “Give me back my father!” Before running at my the knife. I wasn’t certain whether I should laugh or not.
I caught the kid’s arm as he rushed toward me. He was basically frozen from my strength after that. “Sorry kid, I’m afraid I didn’t take your father so there is no way I could return him.”
“My father was part of the army and you mercilessly slaughtered them!”
“Any where did you hear that nasty rumor? Last I saw the army was alive and well. Although maybe a bit to ashamed to return home.”
“What? You lie!” Although all of the strength fled from the kid’s body. I guess news that I was planning on slaughtering the army must have spread faster than the news that the army was still alive.
Portman completely ignored the kid as he set the two plates of food on the table. Alice accepted the plates which had bowls of what was probably some kind chili in them. There was also a big slice of bread on the side. It looked good.
I let go of the kid’s arm and they sunk to the ground, probably still processing that I had said. “Your father will get worried if you stay out too late.” I said before grabbing a spoon.
The chili was indeed good. I had to give it too Portman. He really did find a good place to eat.
There was a horrible grinding noise as the door closed separating us. That was very bad, I hadn’t been expecting that. One one side of the door was Chisomo and Sterling. Sterling who had noticed the sliding stone door and had quickly jumped back through it to join Chisomo.
It had been good thinking on his part. If he hadn’t done that Chisomo would have been stuck alone.
Lanette was pounding on the door but we could only hear very muted sounds from the other side. Lanette looked over to me and asked, “Do you think that your magic can do anything about this door?”
I examined the structure before I shook my head, “No, it looks pretty solid. I still don’t have the Earth Elemental Master job. It is possible that I could break the door but those spells would also risk collapsing the entire ceiling. Which would be bad.”
“No kidding. Do you know how far underground we are?”
“You really don’t want to know.” I said. My elemental sense wasn’t a good indicator of how deep we were, only there the earth was above us as far as I could sense.
Lanette knelt down to examine the pressure plate that she had triggered, “Traps”
I bopped myself in the head with my palm, “Traps, I really should have expected traps. What kind of dungeon does not have traps. We don’t have anybody who is trained at dealing with traps. What a mistake.”
“Are you quite done yet?”
“Your ruining my fun.”
“I don’t think this is the right time for that.”
“But we are trapped in a dungeon and have to find our way out. Isn’t that even a little bit exciting to you?” I asked.
“Terrifying maybe. What happens if we get permanently suck here?”
“I suppose we will starve and die.” I said brushing the concern off.
Lanette sighed, “You really don’t take anything seriously do you.”
“Hmm. I take everything seriously. I mean we are definitely trapped here. It will take everything we have to find our way out.”
“Why do you treat everything like a game?”
The made me freeze. Treating this like a game, that was what I was doing wasn’t it. I knew it wasn’t a game but I kept acting like it was.
With that thought weighting on me I said, “Let’s go.”
The light that I had been using the lead the party moved forward into the darkness. We walked for a bit. The passageways split and I kept along the right hand side. Eventually we came to a large open area like a hall. There was a giant statue in the middle of the room, a woman looking up at the sky with her arms spread.
Looking at it I said, “Chisomo would probably love to see this room.”
“Alright. What is wrong. You have been gloomy since I last spoke. Is what I said actually getting to you? Normally you would shrug off that abuse like it was nothing. Your are almost making me feel bad here.”
I tried to chuckle and retort, “But not actually feel bad?” But my heart wasn’t in the words.
“Alright. It is serious.” She grabbed me by the shoulder and lead me to the base of the statue where she sat me down on the pedestal. Then she sat down beside me. “Alright then. Tell me what is wrong?”
“I’ve mentioned that I’m not actually from this world.”
“Yes, although I don’t know any details. You said it was called Earth but I don’t really know more than that.”
“Back on Earth I wasn’t anybody especial. Just a plain normal girl. No, I was a substandard girl.”
Lanette didn’t say anything. She was not one to speak bad about someone’s past.
I continued, “I tried to escape my terrible life by playing games, make believe that I was a powerful knight or a wizard. Then when I came here I was actually able to actually be that person that I always want to be. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really here and I didn’t just go completely insane. So it is probably true that I treat this place like a game. I’m not even certain if I would know how to deal with stuff if I didn’t.”
Lanette listened while I spoke but didn’t interrupt.
“This is the only thing I really have here. You, Sterling, this adventuring group, Dungeoncity. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world and I really really don’t want it too be a game but… games are the only thing I truly know.”
Lanette finally spoke, “Let me tell you a secret. I have a special talent. Is is called Genius. It has been the source of all my troubles in life. It really isn’t that good either. It just makes it easier for me to acquire rare and special jobs. When I was ten a Duke discovered that I had this talent. He sent soldiers to my parents to pay them off so that he could adopt me.“
“My parents had tried to convince me it would be a better life but there were tears in their eyes as I was torn away from them. At first I thought they could have been right. I large manor, servants. I thought I had it all. Except that I didn’t materialize that rare job that the Duke was seeking. He forced me through endless training but nothing happened.”
“Eventually he resorted to beating me and torture in an attempt to uncover my hidden gifts. It was then that cursed blood revealed itself. The horrible job that made everything much worse. Now I was not just worthless, I was damaged goods. Completely useless. Eventually that ended up with me being sold as a slave. But even as a slave I was useless. Nobody had wanted me.”
“Until you arrived. I had thought you were just another pointless noble who thought my rare job could give them some advantage. But you turned out to be different. You treated me as a friend, like a person.” Lanette smirked, “Although you wanted me job too.”
“But..” She said, “You gave me a home. For some reason the inn rooms I’ve been sharing with you have feel more like a home then the any of the pervious places that I have lived. I had never thought that I would be happy again but you changed that.”
Overlay - Part 19Overlay - Part 19 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:51
“Ahh, that is almost enough to make a girl fall in love.”
“We are both women you know.”
I cracked a smile and we both started laughing.
Once we had finally finished cracking up I stood back up and straightened my robes. “Alright, we had better get out of here. As much as I want to explore this place I wouldn’t want to keep all the entertainment to myself. I’m sure Chisomo and Sterling would be horribly disappointed if something exciting happened without them.”
A couple of hours later.
“Ummm… is that a dragon?” Asked Lanette.
“Nonesense, dragons have wings, and only one head. That is probably a hydra.”
“There is light coming from the door behind it.”
“Yeah, I noticed that too.”
“Do you think we can sneak by it?”
“Sneak by it? Why would we….” I paused before taking a deep breath and said, “No, there appears to be a gate over the exit. There even seems to be crank to open it. There is no way we could open that while the hydra is still alive. Maybe if there were the full four of us but with just us two it would be impossible.”
“Do you think we have a chance?”
“It is level 28. Plus monsters that big tend to be elite or boss monsters.” Then to clarify, “Team fights. Which means that it is probably strong enough to fight a full four or five people its level.”
“Then should we look for another way out? There were still some paths that we hadn’t explored yet.”
I was frowning as I looked at the monster. It was very strange. Not normal at all, or maybe too normal depending on your point of view. For a game this was a perfectly reasonable scenario. A boss at the end of a dungeon, it was traditional. However the other point of view was something that I had acquired from experience in this world and listening to Chisomo.
“But how did the hydra arrive here?” I asked.
“Its title is Guardian Beast.” Said Lanette. “That probably has something to do with it.”
“Yeah, but it all still seemed too convenient. Chisomo will probably use it as evidence for the theory that this place was created by the Sages. Either way it really isn’t relevant to the fight. But I think that we can win.”
Lanette and I had both been doing combat calculations in our head. “Really? Give me your reasonings.”
“Because it is big. Since it will have trouble moving in such cramped corders. With your speed and my range I believe we can out maneuver it and prevent it from being too much of a treat. If this was an outdoors fight I think we would have to run but here we have the advantage.”
Lanette nodded, “Yeah, I suppose that you are right about that. The only probably is the three heads. Keeping track of three heads will be difficult.”
“Right, I recommend that you use Shackles and Blur on it.” Those were two of Lanette’s curses. The first reduced movement speed and the second one effected vision making it harder to see. Lanette was still not able to use more than two curses in one fight effectively. Apparently the cost and effectiveness of the curses scaled as she leveled.
“Then I’m going to fill the room with fog.” I continued. “That will make it ever more difficult for the hydra.”
“Wind sight then?” Asked Lanette understanding my strategy.
“Precisely.” I responded. Wind sight was one of the buffs that I knew. It provided the ability to see without sight by sensing air currents. It was a powerful buff but didn’t actually see much use because of the huge ongoing mp cost. Even for me, somebody who specialized in having lots of bonus mp, I would only be able to keep the spell up on two people for a short period.
“Then I’m going to cast great inferno.”
“Great inferno and wind sight? Are you sure you are going to have enough mana?” She was right to be concerned. Great inferno was the most mp expensive spell that I knew. I learned it through Fire Elemental Master. Even casting it the slow and methodical way it took five minutes to cast and most of my mp. In return it was the most devastating spell in my arsenal.
“From my mental math I can use Quick Casting to cast in in three minutes. With the remaining mana I can still keep up your Wind Sight and summon the fog. Barely. However you are going to need to make sure it doesn’t notice me. I won’t have enough mp to also keep up Wind Sight on myself.”
She nodded, “Also the timing at the end of going to be difficult. Since you won’t have wind sight up your won’t be able to tell when I’m out of the room. I’ll have to know when you are almost done and escape then. But not too soon or the hydra will also be able to escape.”
“Anything else you think I am missing?”
“What if there are reinforcements?”
“I’ve put some air feelers out and haven’t sensed anything nearby. We should be fine in that regard.”
“And if the hydra has senses that can see through the mists?”
“Then we preform a full tactical retreat and create another plan. It won’t be able to follow us through the hallways very far.”
There were all kinds of problems related to monsters with unknown capabilities. All kinds of things could go wrong. However that was standard fair. Fighting monsters was always dangerous.
“Alright. If I make the call to retreat then make sure you follow.” Said Lanette.
“Roger.” I said giving a salute.
We waited until our minute timer on our clocks ticked over simultaneously and then I began to cast my spells. First wind sight on Lanette and the the fog to engulf the area.
As the final words of the fog spell left Veronica’s throat I rushed in to the room with the hydra. I needed to get its attention before its vision was obscured.
“Hey, big guy.” I yelled and its eyes all swiveled toward me. I threw a dagger straight at one of its six eyes. The head was easily able to dodge it but the dagger still managed to embed itself into the scaled flesh nearby.
Then I bite my thumb and as I tasted blood activated my first curse. Shackles was a dangerous curse which made the target fell like they were carrying a giant burden. The hydra immediately showed the effects as the curse kicked in, draining a little less than half of my mana.
One of the heads that had been trying to bite me instead crashed into the stone floor in front of me. The second head managed to adjust in time and I was able to easily evade that head. The third head however was farther back initially and had longer to prepare. Its large open mouth was squarely aimed at me.
However without the coordinated attack from the three heads the creature was too slow. I leaped up using the enhanced capability from my skills and jumped over the head. I landed on its neck and sliced other knife into the thick scaled hide.
I drew blood but knew that it wasn’t enough to kill this massive creature. I had to jump away before it could use its massive strength to throw me flying. Seeing only the minor effect of my attack I knew that my weapons would not be enough to kill it unless I attacked a vital area.
Good thing that wasn’t my current job.
I bite my finger again triggering the second curse. Blur was triggered making my remaining mana plummet. Just it time as the fog began to billow into the room filling it. With the fog and the blur curse the creature will be practically blind.
However was the rolling fog moved in the effects of Wind Sight become fully noticeable. The lines of moving air were visible to me. It was like the outline of the hydra was always visible even through the fog. Every time it moved it disturbed the air and become fully clear to me.
Then the next minute ticked over. Veronica will be starting her final spell now. I just needed to survive three more minutes again the hydra. I hoped I would be strong enough to withstand the assault for that long.
The heads continued to whip through the air seeking out me. Give the almost complete blindness the creature must be under it was surprisingly accurate. However it was not as accurate as it had been in that first assault. The lack of vision clearly effected it even if not completely. Maybe it was making up for the lack of sight with smell or was it some other sense. I couldn’t tell.
All I could do was keep up my defense and continue to annoy it with minor attacks. So far everything was going mostly smoothly but that was all the reason to keep my guard up. One wrong move meant certain death.
One hydra attack and then another I avoided perfectly. The creature wasn’t a warrior just a monstrous beast. It was coordinating the attacks from the different heads but other than that there was no tactics in the combat. It just kept pressing forward.
I managed to reach the next minute unharmed but as I landed from my last jump I felt a strange queasiness and stumbled two steps. Oh no, that was bad. I glanced down at the bracer that Veronica had gotten me and sure enough it was vibrating slightly and I could feel the warmth from it.
Poison. I hadn’t been hit so it must be something airborne. I focused my senses and there, one of the heads of the hydra, it was breathing strangely. Exhaling for long period. How had I not noticed. It was simple. Our greatest strength in this conflict had been the fog but because of the fog I must not have noticed the poisonous gas that the creature could breath.
If it hadn’t been for the bracer I might have already surcomed to it.
I avoided another attack from the heads. This time much closer than the previous attacks. My movement was slower because of the poison.
I had no choice. I activated one of my reverse curses with another bite of my thumb. I had no need for my sight with wind sight so I blurred myself. I could feel the strange pain in my eyes. This would be annoying after this battle.
However the benefit was immediate. My mana had restored to half again. I could have use it to bestow another curse to the hydra but I need the mana for something else.
The physical support ability was one that many physical classes got in some way. One of might resisted debuffs. I activated it and watched my mana begin to drain from the use. As soon as it activated I could feel my head clear again.
It wouldn’t remove the poison but it would reduce the spreading and counter the effects while I still had mana. Because of the strength of the poison my mana was decreasing quickly. Would it last long enough for another minute and a half.
I could only hope.
With my ability to fight restored, at least temporarily, I returned to the fight. I needed to keep the hydra away from the tunnel where Veronica was. If that poison gas got to her it would be bad. She wouldn’t be able to do anything about it while chanting her spell. I went to the other side and chucked another knife at the hydra. I had a few spares.
“Over here. You think your poison is going to defeat me. Well guess again. I only have survive it a little longer and then you are mine.”
Overlay - Part 20Overlay - Part 20 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:53
The time ticked down slowly in my vision but soon enough it was almost time. During the last minute I had to count the seconds myself because the menu only showed minutes. Five, four, I dodge the last series of attack, three, then booked it through one of the passages, two, I needed to get as far as possible, one. Hopefully I had timed this correctly.
I heard the words from the other passage shout, “Great Inferno!”
As that happened I continued to run and I could feel the fire from behind me and the intense heat of that super powerful spell. The blast wave knocked me more forward sending into another wall. It sent the wind from my lungs when my mp hit zero. What a sucky time for that to happen.
As the first began to die down I could hear Veronica calling my name.
I tried coughing out, “here” but it was muted and raspy. The poison must have been worse than I thought. In my blurry vision I could see a figure approaching me.
“Veronica, is that you? Sorry but it seems that I am out of mp.”
And with that I fainted.
Lanette’s hp was quickly dropping from what could only be poison. Without pondering the cost I pulled the mana potion out of my satchel and swigged a big draft of it. My mp was mostly empty as well and without enough mp to cast healing spells Lanette would certainly die.
As my mana began to surge, well a little bit anyways mana potions were not that efficient because of my large mana pool, I began chanting the words to the only antidote spell that I knew. There were all kinds of specialized antidote spells but the generic all purpose one was the one I had learned. It was mana inefficient but it worked against basically anything.
However that wasn’t enough to keep the hp loss from stopping so I activated duel casting and used a healing spell in addition. While I normally specialized is slow mana-efficient healing spells I did have an emergency aid one that I practiced and that was what I was using.
With those two combined her hp stopped dropping and I finally I could freaking out. Once the hp was stabilized I was able to switch to a better healing spell. The antidote was working but it was much slower than I had hoped. She must have gotten a large dose of the poison.
Finally after what felt like ages the poison had been neutralized. I took a deep breath and relaxed. Lanette was finally safe.
Then I turned back to the room where the explosion had gone off. I had one more thing to do. I drank the last of the mana potion before dropping the empty vial on the floor. I began casting as alternate version of the antidote spell which provided high resistances to poison.
I entered the room and the large squirming body began to move. While the spell had ruined large parts of the body it had protected one of its heads and it was still alive.
“You hurt Lanette. I’m not letting you get away with that.” I said staring at the beast who had realized that I was there to finish it.
Its last head had already begun to snap at me but I brought up an earth shield protecting me from the attack.
While the earth was crumbling under the assault I began chanting. I need to time it exactly right. Then as the earth wall crumbled I yelled, “Fire Lance” And a single ray of fire burst through the last head of the hydra and it collapsed onto the ground.
Then to ensure it was truly dead I called one last spell. Turning its corpse to ash.
My log printed out. ‘You have reached level 25’.
With that done I returned to Lanette. She was still unconscious. I wasn’t the strongest but I was able to sling her over my shoulder and head back to the room. I wanted to keep an eye on her in case more problems happened. With that I temporarily sealed off the entrances with earth magic so that we would be safe.
Now all I needed to do was keep a eye on Lanette until she woke up. While I could have possibly gone out to search for Sterling and Chisomo I didn’t want to leave Lanette alone or have to carry her while searching. This was the best option.
A while later Lanette finally began to regain consciousness.
“Wake up Sleeping Beauty.”
She groggly looked at me, “Veronica, I’m sure you are trying to mean something but that is completely lost to me.”
“A story from my world. There is a beautiful princess who gets poisoned by her evil step mother and there are a bunch of dwarves who act as her servants. Something like that.”
“Sorry I fell unconscious like that. How long was I out for.”
“A couple of hours. The poison you were under was mean. Nothing a little life magic couldn’t handle.”
“But your mana…” She was realized what must have happened. “Sorry to be such a drain.”
“No need to apologize. Your alive and that is what matters. Although if you want to apologize I’ll you work that crank over there instead of me.”
“A cruel master as always.”
I snorted, “You know as well as I do that I removed your slave contract ages ago. Now get to turning.”
She stood up before staggering a little bit. I shook my head, “Uhh, so useless. I’ll have to do it myself then.” I pushed her back down before walking over to the crank and beginning to work it myself.
In the previous world it probably would have been an impossible chore but I had been training in this one for a long time. I didn’t know if it was due to my level or just practice but exercise was no longer a big issue for me. Sure I still wasn’t a strongest but something like this was basically nothing.
“Princess, are you ready to go?” I said jokingly.
“Maybe you should carry me? If I’m a princess I’m sure that is fine.”
I threw up my hands, “Alright, fine, you beat me. I’m teasing you too much. As funny as it is I’m not carrying up up those stairs.”
We shared a little laugh and then walked up the stairs together. Hopefully nothing will have gone wrong for Sterling and Chisomo while we were down in that hole.
Everything was going wrong.
I help up my shield and blocked another attack from one of the scaled monsters called a dinosaur.
Chisomo was behind me granting me support with what little buff spells that they knew.
The magics were helping however I was able to keep back the monsters and occasionally get in a good attack sending them flying. Chisomo had a few attacks spells but nothing compared to Veronica’s offensive capabilities.
At times like this is was excellent that Veronica had ensured that I trained in ‘tanking’ which made it easy for me to protect Chisomo.
After the stone had closed between us and the other two we had been forced to backtrack and head back out to the jungle. Looking for the two of them would be a basically pointless endeavor so instead we had pulled back to the camp site that we had selected.
Unfortunately on the way we had attracted the attention of these dinosaurs and we were now having to fight our way through them to get to the more protected camp site.
To make matters worse the dinosaurs’s boss seemed to have joined in the battle. It was a larger frilled lizard that was standing near the back of the horde. It occasionally make whooping sounds which must have been instructions to the other monsters.
Chisomo spoke from behind me, “I think if we cal kill their leader then the rest of them will flee or at least be more disorganized.”
“Any plans on how to do that which do not involve killing everything to get to it. It seems to be maintaining a set distance from us.”
“Yes, sound.” they said, “They are communicating through sound but all of it is fairly low volume so they must have great hearing. I’m going to create an extremely loud sound. Then in the confusion we will need to rush the leader.”
“Any way for you to prevent both of us from also going deaf?”
“Nope, but we will have the warning and they won’t.”
“That is a terrible plan. However I don’t have a better one so we will have to go for it.”
“In 3… 2… 1… Echoing Cry!” As Chisomo cast their spell.
There was a horrible giant sound clap and I almost fell over. Then there was ringing, endless terribly painful ringing. Nothing else, just that sound.
But if it was bad for me it was worse for the dinosaurs who had all collapsed to the ground in pain. I didn’t wait more than a moment from the pain and ran toward the larger reptile. Normally I would listen to ensure that Chisomo was following me but that was impossible now. I just had to hope that they were keeping up.
The leader seemed to be recovering faster than the others. It was going to try and run away but I slammed my sword against my shield triggering an anger inducing move. I didn’t know if it would work without and audio component but I was trying it anyways.
However it did seem to have an effect. The monster delayed for just long enough.
Then I was on top of it and it was too late for it to escape. I started with attacks aimed at its legs attempting to either hobble it or keep it from trying to escape. As long as an opponent was with reach of my weapon it was easy to keep them engaged with me.
There was still the problem of the giant dinosaur. It’s shoulder was just a little bit lower than my shoulder and it had a big maw full of sharp teeth.
But that meant nothing to me. My defense was my best stat and while I might not be the best offensive something like sharp teeth would no get past my armor. I felt a speed boost effect me, Chisomo must still be supporting me like I expected.
I swung quickly with my sword. It took many swings but eventually the dinosaur leader fell. As it dropped I wheeled to the other side putting myself between Chisomo and the rest of the horde.
I didn’t need to have done that. With the leader down the rest of the monsters we fleeing. I was able to release my breath and begin to relax.
I spoke attempting to said, ‘We did it’ but no words that I could hear escaped my mouth. The ringing was still horrible but a little less so than it previously was. I still couldn’t hear anything though.
Still we needed to get to the camp site so I tapped Chisomo and pointed toward the ridge where the camp site was located. They nodded and together we made our way there.
The camp site was well fortified and was suggested by Stella as a good camp site in the jungle. Now that we had made it back all we needed to do was wait for Veronica and Lanette to find their were way here. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to worry about them.
I while later as my hearing was almost beginning to return to me they came back.
Veronica tried to say something to me but she was too far away.
I called back, “Sorry, I basically can’t hear you. Chisomo cast some spell against the monsters but it effected us too.”
Lanette seemed to have some smirk on her face but I wasn’t able to understand her quip to Veronica.
Overlay - Part 21Overlay - Part 21 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:53
The novelty of sleeping in a soft bed hasn’t worn off yet. We had the inn to ourselves. I took one of the rooms and and forced Alice to take a different room. The morning was quiet, and the bed felt extremely soft. The morning sun waking me up also continued to be nice. I could get used to this.
As I got up I noted that I really one had one set of clothes, as did Alice. We would need to get some more. A single set was terrible. Currently we were wearing clothes that I had put together but I was not the best as design although the clothes were sturdy because they were made out of monster skin.
I went down stairs to find Portman playing a game (maybe solitaire or something similar) in the corner. As he noticed me he climbed out of the chair and said, “Ahh, good morning Master Jack.”
“Yes, of course, how silly of me to forget.” He looked around the inn main room which was now completely empty. “It seems that the innkeeper has abandoned the place so if you want something for breakfast we will need to go elsewhere.”
“Portman, how much would you recon that this inn costs?”
“This inn? Maybe 2000 gold pieces all told, why?”
As I expected building were expensive, at least I felt that the number was expensive. I unstrapped the sword that was around my waist. I slid the sword out for a moment to examine the blade, a sharped tooth, before putting it back into the sheath. I then held it out of Portman.
“I would like you to sell this for me. If I am to stay in this city I will need money which I do not have much of. However I feel that the blade will fetch a high price. Find somebody who is willing to buy it for a fair price and then return to me with the money. If you wish me to retain your services then you can take a weeks worth of salary out of what you do.”
Portman hesitantly took the sword and said, “Are you sure it is alright to sell this?”
“Do you think that that sword is valuable?”
He nodded, “Yes, very valuable. I have an appraisal skill and this is the most expensive item I have ever held. It might, no it definitely is, the best crafted sword in this entire city. I don’t know if it will be possible to get a fair price unless the High Nobility want to buy it. And I doubt they would want to buy anything that came from you.”
I waved my hand, “Just get the highest price you can manage. I have plenty of other weapons and that one is not particularly special.” I neglected to mention that the sword was also a bit out of date. I had improved a bit since I had made that one. It was the oldest remaining weapon that I had taken with me out of the demon pit. The spear that I had sent against the tower was more powerful than it and that weapon was unlikely to have survived the impact.
He did a little bow and said, “I will do my very bust to get you a good price. I know a couple people who would be very interested in buying it.”
He turned and began to leave but before he exited the building I said, “Oh, and it should go without saying that if somebody tries to rob you of it then I will kill them.”
There was a moment of hesitation as he realized the implied threat that if he tried to cheat me then he would also be killed. He nodded and left the building.
With that done I headed into the inn kitchen. The place was empty of people but those people who had previously been here had not emptied it of food. There hadn’t been any new food delivered but there was still enough to make a meal for me and Alice.
Some eggs, some sausages, and a few potatoes. Enough to make a proper breakfast. Since I knew that Alice was going to want seconds I made sure to prepare plenty extra. There wasn’t quite as many spices as I had hoped but there was salt and pepper and that was good enough.
I heard the front door of the inn opening while I was cooking but didn’t worry too much. Currently I didn’t think that there was anybody in the city who would even potentially challenge me or Alice. I filled a couple of plates with the food that I had made and entered the main room of the inn.
There I was greeted with, “I’m extremely sorry.”
It was the kid from yesterday. He was bowing in apology to me. It was a little embarrassing actually. “Oh, yeah, uhhh, don’t worry about it.” Having said that I turned my head toward the stairs leading upward and yelled, “Alice, food!”
Then almost predictably there was a loud thump and hurried noises from upstairs. She was nothing it not gluttonous.
She was disheveled as she reached the bottom of the staircase. Her eyes immediately locked on the plate that I was holding and she almost ran to it. “What do we have here?”
“Eggs, sausage, and potatoes. Breakfast style.”
“Your made them?” Asked Alice as her eyes widen hopefully.
“Indeed.” And I handed the plate over to her.
I could feel the second pair of eyes looking at the food. The kid. He was eyeing the plate with a hungry look that I could easily recognize from my experience with Alice. They weren’t saying anything, resisting their urges, but I could feel the stare none the less.
I sighed. I was too much of a softy. “Here, you can have it. I made extras.” I forced the plate off to the kid given them no choice but to take it from me. Then I turned around back to the kitchen to get myself a plate. It had been a good idea to make plenty.
“What… I couldn’t possibly…” Said the kid in protest.
“I already gave it to you. Do whatever you want with it.” Was all I said. I wasn’t going to force them to eat it after all.
When I returned with my own (third) plate he were still standing there debating what to do.
“You should eat it or you will remain scrawny. Don’t you want to be like your father?” I was making a bunch of assumptions but they were reasonably safe assumptions. “Just take a seat. We aren’t going to bite.”
The kid looked up and said, “Are you like a good demon or something?”
“That is a complicated question I think. I would like to think of myself as a good demon. At least I would like to avoid being a bad demon.” I took my seat and the kit shuffled nervously before eventually taking a seat too.
“But, but, you are a Demon Lord. Aren’t Demon Lords supposed to be the ultimate evil?”
“Nah, in my case I got it because I beat up all the demons where we came from.”
“Why did you do that.”
Kids… “Because we were being forced to fight in gladiatorial fights.”
“And eat bad food.” Said Alice between bites.
“Don’t talk at eat. It is bad manners.” I said.
She just stuck her tongue out at me and said, “Demon.” I was never going to win against her on that.
The kid looked between us and said, “Are you two married?”
“No.” I said.
Alice however had a different impression, “Oh, married. We should do that Jack. Then you would have to make me food every day. It would be great.”
“That isn’t really how marriage works. Plus there are all kinds of other things involved in marriage too.”
Alice nodded, “Yeah, I know. I’ve been prepared for that since you first recruited me. But you haven’t seemed interested.”
She was staring at me. I coughed and turned my head. Was she really implying what I felt that she was implying? When I returned my gaze she had returned to eating like that had never happened. The kid however was looking embarrassed and was also starting to eat, it only to avoid having to pay attention to adult matters.
Even if Alice was interested in that kind of stuff I still had to wait. I had an authoritative role over her and it was bad to start a relationship like that. Once I was certain she could survive without me then I could consider more.
Finally the kid… so I should call them by their name. Finally Azar said, “So did you come to this city to take it over?”
“Didn’t I just say that I wasn’t an evil demon? Why would I want to take over this city?”
Azar was quite for a moment. Finally he said, “Because the High Nobility are evil.”
Ahh… a complicated problem. Azar didn’t think very highly of the nobility but his father worked for them. I thought back through my walk in the city to this place. It had initially seemed prosperous but maybe I had thought too many of the things I saw was because of me and not the general theme of the city. Maybe it was only the veneer of prosperity in the city that had once been prosperous.
If that was the case then what should I do. I hadn’t wanted to conquer the city plus I wouldn’t know what to do with it even if I did take it over. I was hardly fit for any leadership role.
“Azar, can you tell me everything that you know about this city and the High Nobility?”
“Sure,” said Azar and then he proceeded to tell me what he knew about it. I made sure to mark what he knew with a grain of salt because he was a kid but often kids also saw things unclouded by judgements that adults might have.
Much later in the day Portman came back carrying two large sacks. He was also looking thoroughly pleased with himself. I also felt like he was looking at me differently. He set the sacks down on the table next to me.
I opened one up and inside was not gold like I had a expected or even silver. But was similar to silver but slightly different and a more impressive crest on it. “And these are?” I asked.
“Platinum. Each is worth a hundred gold pieces.”
“Two bags full?”
“Indeed.” He seemed excessively proud of his accomplishment.
“Who did you scam to get this much for just that sword.”
“Scam? No, no, no. It was an auction. I never expected the price to get this high. However one of the High Nobility got involved and then the price skyrocketed.”
“I though that you said that the High Nobility wouldn’t get involved?”
“I had thought so too but it seemed that I was wrong. Apparently there is already talk about a fracturing of the high nobles. You have caused quite a stir and each of the high nobles are scrabbling to determine what to do next. I expect some of the high nobles to begin to approach you about it soon.”
“Is some of that your doing I wonder?” I asked.
He grinned, “Who knows?”
I reached into the bag and counted out thirty platinum pieces. “Make sure this gets to the innkeeper. Tell him that I am purchasing his inn. That should be more than enough to cover it.”
“You want to purchase the inn?” He asked.
“It seemed like an appropriate place to live. Lots of space and a good kitchen.”
“You could surely get a mansion with this money, especially if you gained the support of one of the high nobles.”
“What seems overly unnecessary. Plus way more space then we would need.”
Overlay - Part 22Overlay - Part 22 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:54
“You really are quite mysterious.”
Examining him I said, “You seem to have a question. Ask it.” Then I added, “I won’t punish you.”
He was hesitating but finally said, “What is it that you are after?”
Alice was still hanging out on the bottom floor and she shouted out, “Hamburgers, we still need hamburgers!”
“As for what we want. That is a not really that complicated. I suppose it can be summarized with ‘A pleasant life’. Alice had only really known hardship and I guess the same goes for me. I want us to know happiness. Even if that means having to do some drastic stuff.”
Azar had explained a lot about the Jental and I currently felt that it was missing some of the features we needed. I would probably have to work hard.
“A pleasant life…” said Portman. He ruminated that sentence for a moment before breaking out in to hearty laughter. “You know I think I had completely misjudged you. But I don’t think things will be as easy as you want them to be. You might have to end of conquering this city to get that pleasant life that you want.”
“That would be horrible.” I looked over to Alice. That might actually be what I had to do. With our levels and abilities it would be hard to life anywhere normal. Even if I didn’t conquer the city I would still need to do many things to make it a good place for us to live.
After a while of thinking I took out a list that I prepared and handed it to Portman. “I would like you do purchase these things if they are available. Its ok if you don’t know what some of them are. Try to get the food stuffs back here by the evening. It will be possible that me and Alice won’t be here then but just leave it in the pantry.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Pay a visit to some of the High Nobility.”
He looked over the list and said, “I’ll do my best to find these.”
Once he was done I called over to Alice, “Come on, I think we need to go start a revolt.”
“Sounds exciting. Will we be fighting anybody?”
“Quite probably. I don’t imagine the High Nobility are going to like what I plan on doing.”
Our first destination was at the edge of town. This area still had nice looking buildings but they were a bit more run down and less well maintained. There was a building that I was looking for. When I arrived we stopped outside the front door.
I knocked and was greeting by a familiar voice, “coming.” A moment later Azar opening the doors. He looked surprised to see me there. “Uh, Jack, what are you doing here?”
“Yes, I would like to talk with your father. Is he home?”
Azar shook his head, “No, dad is not here. The army has been on high alert so he won’t be home for a while.”
“Ah, yes, my fault I’m certain. You would say that your dad is a good person, yes?”
Azar nodded his head enthusiastically. “Yes, the best.”
“Excellent. He sounds perfect. Can you lead me to him? Actually first…” I quickly invited Azar to my party.
“Sure, I can lead you to him. Is there something you want from him?” Said Azar as he accepted my party invitation.
“For now it is a secret. If I revealed it too soon then it would be a surprise.”
I had Azar lead me through the city toward a section that was clearly designed for the military. There were many people here. The soldiers all looked nervous as they saw me approaching.
May of them drew their weapons but I just walked past them ignoring it. We headed through the barracks to one of the rooms. Inside Azar called out, “Nikias, it’s me Azar, are you here?”
There was some scrambling an a man stepped forward. He was maybe thirty, well build but not exactly handsome. He had a gruff look but was he not glaring at me I think he would look friendly.
Among the other soldiers he was reasonably high level, 12 which was pretty good considering.
However he didn’t back down as he stepped between me and his son, “What do you want to Azar?”
I nodded, “Good, you are like I have been lead to believe. You will definitely do. Please accept this party invite and then follow me. I promise I will do no harm to your of Azar.”
The man was clearly contemplating what I said but when I promised not to hurt his son he seemed to finally relent. He might be willing to fight to the death to protect Azar he wasn’t going to throw his life away just to oppose me.
He accepted my party invite.
“Excellent. Alice grab Azar, I’ll take Nikias. Oh, and you two should keep your mouth’s closed. You wouldn’t want to bite your tongue off.” Alice did I instructed and lifted up Nikias effortlessly.
Then before any of the other soldiers could do anything about it we were gone. As our near full speed there was nothing anybody in the city could do about us. In mere minutes we had left the city and were now far outside the city.
Once there we could speed up not needing to worrying about navigating the streets. The wilderness that we were heading was some place I noticed on our way to the city. A swamp that had been full of monsters. We had taken a short cut through it and it had been disgusting. But there was powerful monsters there.
When we finally stopped our two carried people fell to the ground. They seemed to be suffering from horrible motion sickness.
Azar managed to recover quickest. “Where, where are we?”
“Grandmoor swamps is what I believe this place is called.”
“But that is like 100 miles from the city.”
“Yeah, that feels about right.”
“You ran us here?”
“How powerful are you?”
“You can seem my level clearly can’t you?”
Nikias was also beginning to recover as well. However his composure was still quite pale. “What are you planning on doing to us here?” He coughed.
“Isn’t it obvious. I plan on level you two up. What better place to power level than this swamp. I don’t think there is any place better anywhere nearby.”
“Why? Why are you doing that?” He seemed a bit angry at me.
“Why?” I grinned, “Because I plan on making you the King.”
The two of them were just gaping at me but Alice burst out into laughter. She had already been aware of my plan but watching their reactions had caused her to lose control.
“What? King? Me… that is impossible.” Nikias couldn’t seem to process what I had told him.
“Sure, it is possible. Get you some levels and you won’t be able to be assassinated. Then I can force the high nobility into exile and make you the King.” I nodded to myself. It was an excellent plan, well maybe not excellent but acceptable.
“That can’t possibly work. The High Nobility control everything. Maybe if you became king it would work, but me, impossible.”
“Are you happy with the way things are?” I asked. He didn’t response.
“Don’t worry.” I said, “Unlike when I did this your lives won’t actually be in danger and you will be able to eat good food when you are done.” After all I wasn’t a monster like the Demon King was, well not in the same way.
“Monster killing time!” Said Alice excitedly.
“Make sure they are involved a little. I think they gain experience faster if they actually do most of the fighting.” I had a few of weapons that I had brought with me.
The weapons were, relatively speaking, weak weapons. However they were made to be easy to use and designed to be hard to cut your own head off with.
“Azar, do you have any combat related jobs?”
Azar shook his head, “No, I’ve done some practicing but I don’t have any jobs.”
“What kind of job are you thinking of acquiring?” Because of the versatility of my Gladiator job it was reasonably easy to train people if different jobs, at the very least the initial rank in the job.
There was some pondering before he finally said, “It is cool to have a big sword.”
“A big sword…” I grinned, “That is great. Do you want an extremely big weapon? I can make you one but it won’t be ready until tomorrow. I’ll let Alice handle both of your training today.”
Alice nodded and said, “Follow me.”
She lead the two of them off into the swamp. They were still trying to come to terms with what I was asking for them. I was glad they didn’t ask the problem I didn’t really have an answer for. It was if that Nikias hadn’t wanted to be king. That would have been a problem. But he saw the problems in the city was well as anybody and must have wanted to fix things.
With them gone I went off. There were bigger monsters farther into the swamp. I needed to find one with a really big piece to turn into a weapon. After a while I found a giant insect, at least three times bigger than me.
I was able to take it done quickly. I needed to avoid damaging its carapace too much so I had to hold back a little.
After I had defeated it I broke down the insect taking each of the pieces and cleaning it thoroughly. With the different pieces I began my first craft. It was a large sword which was mostly hollow in the center making it lighter than it should be. However the first attempt was probably a bit too big for Azar.
If he was going to be a big weapon wielder than large was good but I would need to slowly work up the size of the weapon. Because of that I made several different sizes, some of them quite large.
I buried most of the weapons for Azar to use in the future while I took the smallest one. It was still a very large weapon, a giant two handed sword for a kid like Azar. I could easily swing it in one hand but that was an oddity. I could swing the largest weapons that I had made in one hand.
It was getting fairly late by the time that I was done. I checked the status of our two trainees. Alice had done well. Nikias had gained two levels and Azar had gained three. Alice probably could have done it faster but doing that would have put the two of them in mortal danger.
I showed up where they were training. I could see that both Azar and Nikias were exhausted and panting. Alice of course was perfectly fine.
As I landed I clapped my hands and said, “That is good enough for today. I don’t want to press you too quickly.” The looked glad to be done and collapsed on the ground.
Nikias while collapsed called out, “Why do I have to be king?”
“Well if Azar can think of somebody else that would be better suited to be king then I will accept them instead.”
Azar shook his head, “No, my dad would make the best King.”
“See, now here you go. I made a sword for you.” I handed the sword over to Azar who tried to lift it and was barely able to hold it.
“Alice you can take Nikias back now. I just need to spend some time with Azar trying to get a job to use the sword.”
“No, if Azar is staying then I am too.” Said Nikias.
“Your call.” I said. “Now Azar, follow me and I will teach you how to use a sword that big.”
Overlay - Part 23Overlay - Part 23 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:55
The morning in the city was quiet. Like it was waiting for something. And the city would not be disappointed.
I walked down the main street with Alice by my side. We were wearing simple clothes which were similar to robes. Mine were strapped with weapons while Alice was unarmed. I’m sure we looked dangerous but our clothing was nothing to the two that came behind us.
It was Nikias and Azar.
Nikias was wearing silver armor that made him look regal and maybe a bit intimidating. It looks like plate but it was able bug carapace. It was one of my finest works. Nearly indestructible and very few weak points.
Beside him was Azar, who much to my surprise had turned out to be a girl. While Alice had complained about how I had been unable to tell it wasn’t really my fault. She was of the age were it was hard to tell and she had always been wearing pants and had a haircut befitting a boy.
I had made a battle dress of her. A long skirt make of tough leather and insect plate. It was also silver in the same way as he father. However the most impressive part about her was the sword that she was carrying.
It was bigger than her, bigger even than her father. It had been surprising how well she had taken to using large weapons. Unlike the training weapons that I had given her this one was not hollow in the center. It was immensely heavy and she carried it like it was nothing.
She had wanted a even bigger weapon but I had banned that. If she was carrying anything bigger then what she was already carrying people would stop being impressed and move into the realm of terrified. She had accepted me just making the weapon heavier.
They were also both a bit over level 40. I probably could have gotten them a little bit higher but that was basically the limit for the nearby locations that we could find. Higher level monsters were difficult to find.
From my estimation that was plenty high enough especially when combined with the equipment that I had made for them.
The four of us walked through the main streets toward the main towers of the High Nobility. There was a main square in the center of the towers.
Despite the quiet we had acquired quite the following. I had had Portman spread rumors about what was going to happen today. The actual details were still secret from most people but they all knew that I was going to do something insane today.
Portman had even spread the knowledge to several of the more understanding high nobility. It was going to be quite the spectacle.
We reached the center of the city. There were many people who had surrounded the main square. There was large balconies around the edge where the nobility would sit and watch when things happened.
We stood there in the center waiting. I left Nikias and Azar in the center. Once Nikias had realized that what I was attempting would actually be possible they become more accepting and supportive.
Today those two were the stars of the shows.
Once the sun reached its peak I looked to the different balconies. More than half of them were full. Those that were empty were probably in hiding, afraid of what was going to happen today. And they were right to be afraid.
I called out to everybody using an extremely loud voice, “Thank you all for coming today. There is something very important that I would like you to hear.”
I had everybody's attention now.
“Today, the High Nobility are ended. There are no longer in charge of this city.”
There were rumbling in the crowd. I had just upset everything. I had essentially just declared a rebellion against the current leaders of the city.
“However it is not for a demon to rule humans.” I spread my hand toward Nikias. “But the current state of affairs is broken. So I had found you a fair and just king. He will guide you into the future in a way the High Nobility would never had done.”
The mutterings grew louder and louder. Would they accept Nikias as their king, that was still to be decided. However there was still another important step that needed to happen.
“But he does not rely on my strength alone. Today I will give one chance for the High Nobility to assert their right to rule. If they can put forward a champion who can defeat my candidate for King then I will accept them as the true rulers of this city and I will leave, never to return.”
There was even more uncertainty and muttering in the crowd. They were trying to decide if I would really back down if somebody beat Nikias. I truly intended too, although I did not expect their champion to have any chance against him.
I waited. The High Nobility needed to find their champion. I could see some of them up in the stands. They were looking rather disturbed.
After a bit of waiting they seemed to come to a consensus. From one of the towards game their golden champion. Like the other High Nobility this one had its level concealed.
The golden armor, a shield plated gold, and a glaive that was extremely dangerous looking. I could tell just from initially examining them that they were extremely high quality.
As the champion walked toward use I could see Nikias look scared.
“Don’t worry.” I said, “You received my training and the benefit of my improved level up. There is no way that you could lose to him.”
“Easy for you to say. Lord Hardul is said to be undefeated.”
“Well, I guess he will have to change his title after this battle.”
“I can take over for you if you want dad.” Said Azar. She had been a bit disappointed that she wouldn’t be doing any of the fighting today. I think a little bit too much of Alice had worn off on her.
“But it has to be me.” He said. It was true. I wasn’t trying to make Azar queen, I was trying to make Nikias the King. He needed to show that he was strong. Otherwise he would never be supported since he came from outside the system.
“However, Azar, if there are any interruptions then I want to leave that to you. I want to avoid doing anything if I could.”
She nodded and said, “Got it.”
I judged the opponent as he stepped onto the platform with us. His weapons and armor were inferior to Nikias’ but I could see that he had other pieces of enchanted gear. Those would probably make his equipment overall stronger than Nikias. Enchantment as not within my ability to craft but my gear was top quality.
As for the man’s skill that was even harder to judge. My skills that judge skill levels were better against people once they had actually started fighting. However he exuded the skills of an experienced warrior. My rough guess was that he was level 35. If that was the case then Nikias would win handedly.
Still battled could sometimes be dangerous things. Rather than give Nikias unneeded hope it was better for him to understand that his opponent could be superior.
“You are the champion determined by the High Nobility?” I asked.
The man, Lord Hardul nodded.
I called out loudly, “I accept Lord Hardul as the champion of the High Nobility.” I held up a coin. “When this coin hits the ground then the battle will begin.
“Are you both prepared?” I ask the two of them. They both nodded. Then I threw the coin up into the air. As it began to rise I stepped backward toward Alice. Azar was also at the side where we would be watching.
The coin spun in the air and everybody in the square was watching it. Both of the combatants moving into battle poses, preparing.
Then with a clear ‘clink’ the coin hit the ground.
Nikias threw his sword at his opponent. This took everybody off guard. Who would throw their weapon. However the sword was not the weapon that Nikias was planning on using. Then he split the shield he was holding into two with one strapped to each arm.
The edge of the shield was sharpened but it was also hard and defensive. A deadly combination of offense and defense. It was a mix of Alice’s unarmed fighting style and my many weapon style. The style also allowed unarmed variations which meant that Nikias would never be at anybodies mercy.
The opponent’s shield blocked the sword flying toward him deflecting it and sending it flying away. I pointed toward it for Alice to ensure that it didn’t harm anybody in the crowd and she flash-stepped away to ensure that.
Hardul’s glaive swung it with a mighty blow. He was attacking recklessly relying on his massive shield to protect himself. The fact that he could even carry those two massive pieces of equipment proved how high level he actually was.
Nikias had trained extensively with Azar however and opponents with large weapons was not intimidating for him. He was able to block with one arm and begin to push in. While he could not do much damage at long range he had the defenses to force his way into opponent’s defenses and then once he had broken in he was extremely dangerous.
It was not going to be that easy however. Hardul threatened a large about of area with his glaive and the large shield could keep Nikias from getting too close. He could also quickly adjust his grip on the glaive to bring it closer to himself and even make attacks as close range. His still were truly excellent.
However I felt more at ease as the battle continued. My appraisal of his skills was a bit off, he was a little bit better than I had initially estimated but it was still within acceptable boundaries. Unless he had an impossibly effective trump card Hardul would eventually lose.
There was the second problem. “Azar, do you see them?” I asked to confirm.
“Yeah, people infiltrating the crowd. Maybe special forces of some kind. I expect they plan on assassinating my father if he somehow manages to win.”
“How many are you sensing?”
“You are missing a few. I’m sensing 15. Do you think that you will be able to protect me?” I asked. I didn’t want to interfere if I could avoid it but as long as Nikias won then I could potentially interrupt.
“I think I can handle it. They probably are using poisoned weapons but you ensured that our poison resistance is high so we should be fine.”
I nodded in approval while I turned my attention back to the battling pair. The end was approaching. Hardul was surcoming to Nikias’ greatest weapon, endurance. The dangerous shields required barely any effort to attack with and against large weapons like the glaive it could easily defend while at short range without using much fatigue. The end would arrive soon for the panting Hardul.
However I could tell there was one more important moment in the combat. Hardul knew he couldn’t win and was waiting for something, a single moment, probably to use an ultimate technique.
Then that moment came. The glaive was not restricted and Nikias had been force on the defensive for a moment. While a normal attack could not pierce Nikias’ defenses Hardul had on free moment to unleash the most powerful attack he had.
I could feel his energy gathering, it must be an attack with intense mana costs. The glaive began to glow as he poured all the energy that he possessed into it. I could see Nikias notice what was happening and pour his own mp into defensive boosts.
Unfortunately I noticed what Hardul was planning on during that Nikias’ actions would be pointless.
When in a blow that shattered my ego, Hardul brought his weapon down upon Nikias. In one giant blast the glaive exploded and with it the armor that I had so seriously crafted began to crack and then shatter. The shields had blocked the majority of the impact and those too broke under the impact.
Still Nikias was unharmed and he had been trained by Alice. With this opponent’s weapon gone he abandoned his broken shields and rushed Hardul. The man had put everything into that one attack and was completely exposed, his shield not in position at all. Then the blow ended it and Hardul collapsed as his own armor crumpled under the force of the impact.
Overlay - Part 24Overlay - Part 24 Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:55
I had to give some credit to Hardul. He basically sacrificed himself for the next attack to succeed. With the noble’s champion defeated it was time for the assassins to act. Maybe the High Nobility felt that if they were already doomed they might as well ruin everything… unless.
As the assassins began to reveal themselves Azar sprang into action. Nikias’ armor was broken so he wasn’t well protected against poisoned arrows. A single swing of her sword knocked the arrows from the air using just the strength of the wind from the swing. She was protecting her father from the assault.
“Alice, do you feel that?”
“Like my hairs are all standing on end? Yeah, I feel that. Do you think something big is coming?” She began to sound excite.
While Azar was protecting Nikias from the assassins I stepped forward. There was something important I needed to do before anything else happened.
I raised my hand and said, “I declare King Nikias the victor. His strength is beyond question. The High Nobility are no more. Thus I declare it to be true.”
Azar was still fighting off assassins at this point. Nikias had joined in showing that even without armor he wasn’t afraid of them.
“Jack, I don’t think the High Nobility care.” Said Alice as she was looking up into the sky.
I turned my gaze upward. We were in the center of the towers in the city and in the sky, between the towers, was a giant magic circle. At least I assumed it was a magical circle. There could really not be anything else that it could be.
“That could be a big problem.” I made my voice as load as possible, “As you can see, the High Nobility do not care at all for you, the common folk. Flee for your lives while you still can.”
There was panic however it wasn’t until another booming voice joined my that the people actually began to listen. “Be orderly!” It was the voice of Nikias. While he was only wearing the padding that you wore under armor he still seemed to have control of himself. The assassins had realized that even they were sacrifices and they were beginning to flee.
“Follow me, I will lead you to safety!” Then him and Azar leaped out to lead the panicking populous. I was surprised about how well it worked. Was there something about being higher level that gave people charisma bonuses, I supposed there must have been since there were stats related to that.
As the crowd flee, more organized now, Alice continued to stare up at the magical circle. She said, “So do you think it is summoning magic or more boom destroy everything.”
“Don’t know, although it is insane to do the second inside your own city. But I don’t know if the High Nobility care at this point.”
“Should we also flee then?”
“Probably not. The magic seems to be targeted on top of us. If it followed us when we ran then that would be terrible for anybody else. Besides we can probably dodge any offensive magic at the last moment.”
There was a moment of waiting then, “Also it seemed to be a summoning circle.”
“Wow, that is a really really big claw.”
It was true. Several big, scaled, arms began emerging from the magical circle.
“I hope that thing doesn’t disappear after we kill it. I would really like to see what kind of weapons I can make using claws that big.
“Come on… Be high level… be high level… be high level.” Chanted Alice. It had been a while since her last real fight against a foe she didn’t know she could beat. If there were two things I could count on for Alice it was her desire to eat and the one to fight tough foes.
“It looks like a dragon. Normally I would say demons are what you are supposed to summon but considering I’m the demon that would just feel weird.” The head was breaking through the portal and it was pulling itself free from the magical circle with its arms and its wings were beginning to become visible. Definitely a dragon.
As the giant form finally freed itself from the summoning circle the circle cracked and broke, dissolving into the air. The dragon crashed onto the ground roared a giant epic bellow.
Red Tyrant, Level 100 Dragon
Alice grinned by a little girl, a psychotic little girl, and leaped at the dragon. She connected on punching the dragon that was at least a hundred times bigger then her. The dragon stumbled a couple of steps before turning to notice Alice. It roared attack and then began to attack her.
Alice managed to leap off the dragon and dodge the bite that was aimed at her but she wasn’t able to adequately reposition in mid-air fast enough to avoid the claw that came after it. She did however block it but it still sent her flying through the air as she crashing into a nearby building.
With that obstacle dealt with the dragon turned to the fleeing crowds. However I was standing there in its path. I was holding an axe in one hand and a sword in the other.
“Come on Dragon, don’t think you have one just yet.” I said as there was some crumbling from the building that Alice was thrown into as she stood up out of the rumble, “And please be a bit more difficult than a Demon King, I’m counting on you to entertain Alice.”
Azar watched the battle between the demons and the dragon from a distance. It her mind is seemed like a battle between gods. The city crashed down around the combatants. It was a battle the like of that nobody had yet seen in the world before.
The dragon breath gouts of fire but Jack had managed to deflect it with nothing but a buckler. Alice had broken one of the dragon’s legs with a punch had had also knocked down building. They the dragon had been no weakling.
The two demon had become covered in blood and burns yet that just seemed to inflame them. Like this battle had been what they were living for. True monsters.
The battle inspired fear and awe in the many people that watch it but to Azar and some others it sparked envy. The thought that the limits they previously thought existed do not and that they could become that powerful too.
At the end it was a blade of black energy that extended to the sky. Held aloft by Jack. The dragon struggled but was held by Alice. Then the blade sliced the dragon’s head off and the demons were the victor.
Then they sat atop the corpse of the dragon and watched the sun set. One spoke to the other and said, “So what do you think a dragon will taste like?”
“Delicious.” Was all the other one said.
It was a giant wall carved with writing.
It had taken a day for Sterling and Chisomo to regain their hearing. Once that had happened we were able toe resume exploring the jungle ruins. The dungeon that we had been trapped in had multiple layers and we had only seen the first one on our initial visit.
This time we made sure to avoid traps like last time and progressed our way though the floors until we reached the bottom. That was where we had found the wall.
There were ruined murals on either side of the writing which seemed to show glowing figures.
Chisomo was practically giddy with excitement. It was an undiscovered treasure, not gold or magic but knowledge. After ensuring the there were no traps in the room we approached the wall.
“Amazing. This must be precursor writing.” Chisomo had pulled out a notebook and was writing stuff down. They were probably also taking notes in the menu but keeping was physical record was important to Chisomo in case something happened to them.
Lanette was examining the worn murals on either side. She said, “What do you think it means?”
Chisomo spoke excitedly, “No, not yet. These precursor writing had been found in several other places. And those places were only found after menu magic appeared. However they hadn’t yet been completely translated. I don’t think such a large piece of text has ever been found. With this who knows how well the study will go.”
I raised my hand interrupting. Something had been bugging me since they had started talking, it was very simple. “Uhhh… are you all saying that you can’t read this writing?”
Their heads all swiveled to me. I looked between then and they back at the writing on the wall, “I mean I can read it just fine.”
“Whaat?” Chisomo rushed over to me and stared my in the eyes. Then I was dragged toward the wall with excitement. “You really can read it? Really? Why?”
“I… um…” I was trying to sort my thoughts. I could read the writing but now of the others could. I was trying to figure out why. Then it hit me, something so simple. A passing interesting note that I noticed way back when I first entered this world. Something that I glossed over immediately as being obvious if this world was like a game.
“Chisomo, I’ve already told you that I have the hero job but there is more too it.”
“I figured out that much but you didn’t seem to want to talk about it so I hadn’t pressed. Did you now want to reveal everything to me?” Chisomo had taken out a notepad, apparently to record what I planned on saying.
“I’m not actually from this world. I somehow ended up in this world with the hero job.”
“Another world? You need to tell me all about it… wait, first things is first. What does this have to do with your ability to read this characters?”
“Well, I think it has to do with my being from another world. You see the language I know from my world isn’t the same as the language from this world. Something about my arrive here or maybe my hero job gave me the ability to understand your language and your writing. In fact I hadn’t even noticed it immediately. It was only when I reached a town and noticed that your characters were different from the ones I remember. But I still understood them.”
“Are you saying that you can read any language?”
“Umm… maybe? I can understand yours and the one written here but I don’t know about any others.”
Chisomo nodded, “Alright, we will have to test this when we get back. Does this mean you can understand any spoken language too? From my understanding menu magic lets you read any language you can understand so if that applies to you then…” They were contemplating. “Actually before that can you read what it says?”
“Let’s see.” I looked over the wall.
“Once the ancient lords of under rules the world. Theirs was a rule of blood and terror. Yet the spirit of those ruled could not be completely crushed. The nine stood up to face the ancient lords of under. The nine however were not strong enough to fully defeat the impossible. The nine placed them into a great sleep, one that would last until the nine found a way to truly stop them. The nine then left, gone to find a future that would truly defeat the ancient lords of under. May these nine be forever known as the great sages.”
There was a long silence as everybody absorbed what I had said.
“The Ancient Lords of Under? Great Sages? I feel like things are almost beginning to connect.” Said Lanette.
Chisomo was contemplating, “Does that mean that I was wrong? Maybe these places were just hidden not created. Either way I have a new line of research. I need to look into my notes and find out if there are any references to these Ancient Lords of Under.”
“These sleeping forms.” Said Lanette who was brushing dirt away from the bottom of the murals. “Do you think these are supposed to represent those Ancient Lords? They look rather sinister.”
They were painted in dark purples and were in contorted forms. They certainly did look sinister.
“I’ll let you record that Chisomo. I’m going to look around some more and see if that is anything else.” I said.
We looked around on this bottom floor but that was the last thing. And so our expedition into the ruined jungle city ended. We had gathered a lot of valuable materials and learned things could be dangerous in the future. If what was recorded was true then the Great Sages had probably brought me to this world as a hero to fight against the Ancient Lords of Under.
However at this point I could never have predicted what would become of me.
EpilogueEpilogue Nel Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:58
‘What do you seek?’
Those word were ones I remembered very clearly.
My sister had gone missing six months ago and she had not been found. It was a terrible experience but for me felt worse every day. It was like each day she disappeared from our lives a little more.
Our parents felt like they recovered faster than I had expected, they spoke like she must be fine where ever she was and it was probably better for her anyways. It might have just been their way of coping but it crushed me.
She had always been a bit of an introvert, hiding in her room and playing video games. But she had always called be Big Brother and relied on me when she needed help. With her gone I felt like the world had drained completely of color.
When our parents said that they would finally be disposing of things in her room I felt that I might have lost it. I had locked myself in her room. Not very adult for somebody who was planning on entering collage soon. But I just couldn’t let her go like that.
I had been sitting in her chair looking at the black screen on her computer. It was then that those words appeared on the screen.
‘What do you seek?’
Then there was a blinking dash like it was expecting me to type something.
I wrote in ‘I want to find my sister’.
Then it felt like my chair had dropped out from beneath me and everything went dark.
When light finally returned I was lying on my back and staring up into the star filled sky. I could feel grass beneath me. Strange, I could have sworn that I had been at my sister’s desk look at her computer when… something happened.
“What is this?” came a soft voice that somehow also sounded excited, “A human? How did a human arrive here?” Then a tiny face appeared in my vision and I bolted straight upward smacking my head into her.
However she was small, tiny really and she went flying through the air before she caught herself with the tiny wings she had on her back.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch, why did you do that? Are you a mean human? Is that why you did it?”
“No, no, no, I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to do that I was just startled. That is all. I’m so very sorry.”
She fluttered her way back over to me. She was maybe a foot tall. She had vibrant blue hair and strange perfectly silver eyes. She was wearing a green dress that looked like it was made from leaves.
It felt weird to say it was more strange but above her head were the words, “Cobalt, Level 3, Fairy”
“Oh, if you were startled then it was my fault. I am sorry for scaring the human.” Then she cocked her head to one side, “Are you alright? You did not get hurt by your impact with me did you? I did not get hurt, well maybe a little, but the pain went away quickly. Did your pain not go away? You look like you are in pain.”
“No, I am fine. Where are we?”
“Uhh, which forest?”
“The one where I live. There is the big tree on the hill and the waterfall where the deer eat. The mean hunter sometimes comes through frightening the deer. I don’t talk with him because he is mean.”
“Are we on Earth?”
“You are sitting on grass which is on the earth. I am flying. There is a difference.”
That didn’t really answer my question but I basically knew the answer. This couldn’t be earth. There wasn’t any fairies on earth. As impossible as it sounded I must have been teleported to some other world.
“Um, Cobalt, what else can you tell me about where we are.”
“Clever human, you read my name above my head. I can do that you. You are Triston.”
“You can see it too.”
“Silly human, of course I can see it. Did you think only humans could see the menu? That would be silly.”
Menu, now that she mentioned it there were other things. My name in the upper left along with health and mana. There were also some icons in the bottom and the top right of my vision.
“A menu, why is there a menu?”
“That isn’t very helpful you know.”
“I’m sorry, I like being helpful but people don’t want me help and the animals don’t seem to appreciate it very much.” She looked a little bit sad.
“No, its fine really. I just don’t know how I got here.”
“Maybe you were born here. That is what happened to me.”
“You were born here?”
“Yup. Fairies are born from magic. Although actually I was born closer to the waterfall than this. But you are not a fairy so you were probably not born here.”
“No, I was born somewhere far away. I, I came here looking for my sister.”
“Your sister? Do you need help looking for your sister? I can help you look for her. I am good at looking inside logs and up in trees.”
“I don’t think we fill find her in either of those places. For all I know she is far away from here.”
“Far away?” Cobalt looked sad again.
“Maybe, although I do think that she is in the world. Otherwise none of this makes any sense. I mean this doesn’t make much sense in the first place but it would make even less sense.”
“You just need to find her right? Then everybody will be happy, right?”
“Find her, yeah, that is what I need to do.” It was a resolution. I needed to find my sister. She had to be in this world, she had to be.
“Is there a village of humans nearby?” I asked Cobalt.
“Village… not a village. Some houses. Some people live there. They are a bit far so I do not visit them very often. They are sometimes kind, they sometimes give me cheese. I like cheese but not enough to visit them very often. I can take you there if you want.”
“I am helpful, that is why I help. Follow me.” Said the fairy as it fly off.
I got to my feet and began to follow it. As I did I noticed that my clothing was not what I had been wearing back in my sister’s room. It was a long brown coat that I was wearing. It was nicely made, sewn with a thick thread. It was a cloth coat, maybe wool but it felt like it was inlined with a thick hardened leather.
Who made it? My mind pondered this questions. I could hear Cobalt chattering in the background and occasionally responded to her but mostly I was spending my time trying to figure out how the coat was made.
I was broken out of my reverlry when Cobalt shook me, “Hey, we are here. Did you fall asleep while walking?”
“Humans can’t do that.”
“Oh, well, look.” Cobalt pointed toward a building complex that I was only now noticing. It was a series of building surrounding a central plaza all with a small stone wall around it. Since we were up on a ridge we could look down into the plaza. I could see a couple of people in the plaza. Were they practicing swordsmanship? That must be what they were doing.
“Come on.” Said Cobalt as she pulled my coat. She was so tiny that it didn’t do anything but I moved in the direction she was pulling and it made her look happy.
She lead me down the hill and toward the front gate of the complex.
The front gate was opened and so we just entered. I might have been more reserved if I had been alone but Cobalt said, “Don’t worry, that know me, it will all be good.”
When I reached the plaza I stopped. There was a raised stone platform which was quite large. On top of it was a young woman, maybe around my age. She was standing with a sword held in both her hands. She was swinging it up and down like she training. Her movements were well practiced, at least they seemed to be to my eyes.
Cobalt was about to fly off toward here when I grabbed Cobalt and pressed a finger to my lips to keep her quiet.
The young woman had long black hair which was tied up in a pony tail. She was wearing lose fitting clothes that reminded of the asian clothes I had seen back on earth. She continued to do swings with the sword. After what only felt like a moment she changed from doing just normal swings to changing between different techniques, forms I think they were called.
I continued to watch her, mesmerized. Everything was perfectly fluid and the entire thing felt like magic too me.
After what felt like no time at all she finished the form. She lowered the sword and in another motion she had sheathed the blade. With that done I began clapping, “Wow, amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
She looked over at me with a strange look of confusion, “Um, hello, can I help you?”
“Oh, yes, Cobalt, you need to wake up. This is where I need you.” After I had asked Cobalt to remain silent she had sat down on my head and then moments later fallen asleep. As she roused she looked blearily around.
She the flapped her wings to fly off my head and look around, then realizing where she was she said, “Oh, yes, cheese!” And then she flew off toward one of the buildings, leaving me behind.
I did a small bow to the woman and said, “I’m sorry. It seems that my guide just left me.”
“Cobalt brought you here? And how did she find you?” She sounded a bit suspicious.
“I know it is going to sound strange, but I am not from this world. I got teleported here from my world by some strange force.”
She hopped off the raised platform and stared me in the eyes, she was only the tiniest bit smaller than me it she managed to pull it off. “That does sound strange. Another world you say? Your clothing doesn’t seem to suggest that, it looks rather standard, if well made.”
“I can say that I wasn’t wearing this when I was in my world. When I woke up in this one I was wearing it. Whoever it was that teleported me here must have changed my clothes.”
She still looked skeptical. “All right then, tell me about your world.”
“Umm, well, there are all kinds of different things like cell phone and cars and computers. I assume you don’t have those here? Plus when I was in my world I didn’t have the funny message in the corner of my vision.”
“No status magic? Although I don’t know what those other things are. Are you sure you didn’t just make those words up?”
“I can draw pictures or something if you want me too. My sister always said that I was good at drawing. No, wait, that is why I am here. I’m looking for my sister. I think she was brought to this world and I want to find her.”
“Hmm.” She furrowed her brow looking like she was deep in thought. Like Cobalt she had the words above her head that said who she was. It said Sharyn, Level 7, Swordmaster Trainee. “I suppose it is possible you have come from another world. What jobs do you have?”
“Jobs?” I asked.
“You really don’t know what jobs are? The button in the top right that looks like a silhouette. Press that and go to your jobs tab and tell me what is where.”
“Umm… I see the button you mean but how to I press it?
“Just… imagine your are pressing it and it will open. Have you really never done this before?” She sounded like she could believe that I didn’t know how to do it.
I tried to imagine pressing it and just like she had said it opened up a screen. There was a bunch of stuff written on it but I find the tab that said jobs and imagined clicking that one too. I was brought to a page which listed my jobs.
“It says that I am a Seeker, rank 1 and a Hero, also rank 1.”
“Hero? It says that you are a hero? You didn’t misread that?”
“It definitely says Hero.” And with that she had also run off in the same direction that Cobalt had run.
They had all just run off away from me. I didn’t know if I should follow them or wait for Sharyn to return. I decided to follow them. They had both ran or flew off toward the larger building at the back.
I walked to it and up a few stair steps and entered the building. Then I could hear Sharyn saying to somebody.
“He might be lying. Don’t you think that somebody could have heard about us and sent somebody claiming to be a hero?”
“Don’t be so hasty Sharyn. We must first ascertain whether he is telling the truth.” Then there was a moment of silence and the other, probably an old female voice said, “In fact you should come in, potential hero.”
Getting permission I stepped into the room that they were in. The old woman and Sharyn were kneeling while speaking. In a bowl next to the old woman was Cobalt who was munching on a piece of cheese which was bigger than her head.
“Is being a hero that special?” I asked as I stepped in. I felt rude to stand while they were all sitting so I knelt as well.
The old woman nodded, “Indeed, a hero is a special existence. Once foretold by the Sages to save this world. Tell me child, what are the features that you have gained from your Hero job?”
I messed around with the menu so more before saying, “It says that it grants me starting equipment, bonus starting stats and skills, and Improved Level Up. The last one seems to be something called a talent.”
“Improved Level Up? Sharyn, have you ever heard of such a talent?”
“Indeed, such a talent does not exist. Yet my True Sight tells me that this person does indeed have such a talent.
“Does that mean he really is a hero?” Said Sharyn still a bit dubious.
“Maybe, I can not identify jobs with True Sight, just the talents that a person possesses. Child, what does it say that your Improved Level Up does?”
“You and your party members gain skill points upon leveling up which they can allocate to any skill they have access to.” I replied although I really didn’t know what that meant other than in the most general sense. My sister was much more into games then I was and this sounded like game terminology.
“That is what my True Sight determines at well. Cobalt says that you are looking for you sister, is this true?”
“Yes, in my world she disappeared six months ago. Not long ago I was in her room, when strange text asked me what did I seek. I said I was looking for me sister and then I was here in this world.”
“Six months ago, a lot could have happened in six months. What is your sister’s name?”
The old lady placed her hand on her chin thinking, “I have not heard of anybody by that name. Still if you were brought here then she is likely in this world. Then you plan on looking for her?”
“Yes, even if I have to look over the entire world.”
The old lady nodded to herself, “Very well. Sharyn, you are to go with him and ascertain whether he is truly a hero. When he find his sister if you do not believe that he is a hero then return to me.”
“Whahahat? You just want me to go with him just like that!”
“Ohohohoh!” This time it was Cobalt, “I want to come too! It sounds exciting!”
The old lady shook her head chuckling, “Isn’t it our duty to aid the heroes in protecting this world? Isn’t that why you have been training?”
“But nothing. You have already learned what I could teach you, you have all the jobs I wanted to give you. All that remains is your own experience. If Triston is truly a hero then you must follow him and if he is not then you must find the hero for you to follow.”
I carefully kept myself out of this argument. While I didn’t want to force anybody to help me find my sister I still would appreciate any help that I could get. Plus they seemed to have their own reasons for wanting to help me.
“Me, me, am I coming too!” It was Cobalt flying around my head.
“Sure, if you want too.” I said, “But I don’t really know where I am going. Where is the best place to start a search for my sister?”
“Finding a needle in a haystack with only a name and description can be difficult.” Said the old woman. “If you want to avoid pure chance then you should seek a Seer to aid you.”
“Yes, they can look into the fortunes of people. Predicting some portion of the future.”
“How do I find a seer.”
“With much difficulty. They went into hiding after their powers became known. Yet a hero should be able to find them. From what I last heard they were rumored to currently be dwelling in the Grand Merchant City Vilanto. That should be your first stop.”
The old lady paused, “However I will leave any future explanations to Sharyn. She will be your guide from no one and you should learn to rely on her.”
Sharyn straightened up upon hearing this and said, “I still haven’t approved you as being a hero. Keep that in mind and do your best to live up to my expectations.”
“I’m not really trying to be a hero, just find my sister. I explained that already you know.”
“The point still stands.”
It seemed that mearly having the hero job made me a hero in their eyes. If that is what they believed I couldn’t really correct them about it.
Soon enough Sharyn had bustled me out of the room and began preparations for a journey to Vilanto. Mainly it involved a bag of money which she said
“This will keep up traveling for quite a long time but we would still need to be frugal. I don’t want to waste the master’s money for no reason. If we need more once we reach Vilanto I have some merchant notes which we can exchange.”
While she was off gathering something else I examined the mint of the coins. They had an old man’s face stamped on one side and some scales on the other. There was no writing however. It seemed that the merchants had a lot of influence in this country.
There were gold coins and silver coins although I wondered about the purity of the coins. I remember something about karats involving purity of metals. I recalled 24 karats being pure, although I didn’t know if this world used that measurement system.
Cobalt was still determined to come with us. “Hey, I need a bag too.”
“I don’t think anybody had a bag that is in your size.” She seemed to deflate when I said that. But that gave me an idea.
The old lady was able to lend me some cloth and a needle with some thread. Then not long after I had a tiny bag made for Cobalt. It wasn’t that well crafted but she could sling it over her shoulder and fill it with stuff. I had used a button as the fastener and it looked very big on the tiny bag.
Cobalt was immensely happy with the bag and flew all over the room with it. She then proceeded to pack it full of food.
The old lady had been watching me make it and chuckled as Cobalt kept trying to fit more into it. “You are pretty skilled at that. Where did you learn to sew?”
“My sister liked wearing costumes from whatever she was interested at the time. She made me make them for her and I got a bit good at making them.”
“But you don’t have a job that grants you a sewing skill do you?”
“No, should I?”
“No necessarily, it is just unusual.” She looked like she was pondering something however we were interrupted by Sharyn who had brought a big pile of stuff into the room. She was very strong, probably from all that swords swinging she did.
While it seemed that Sharyn would definately have forced us all to leave just as the run was setting the old lady made her stop and waiting until the morning to actually leave.
However that didn’t stop Sharyn from forcing me outside to “Figure out what I could do.”
On one side of the complex there was a training area full of dummies.
“You said you also have the Seeker job? That isn’t one that I have heard of before. What does it do?” She questioned.
“Umm… lets see.” I looked over the menu to see what the Seeker job gave me access too.
“It grants the skills Detail Analysis and General Education. It has the talent, Jack of all Trades.”
“That doesn’t seem very useful for combat?”
“Why do I need combat skills?”
“Because your a hero. How can a hero not have combat skills. I have a general understanding of what your skills do but what does Jack of all Trades do?”
“It says that I learn the first rank of jobs extremely quickly.”
“Well that is something, only the first rank?”
“Yup, that is what it says.”
“Well, every hero has got to start somewhere, even if it is at the bottom. Hopefully I can get you the Swordmaster job quickly. Since that is the main job that I have I should be able to teach you.” She handed me a wooden sword from a nearby rack and said, “Start by swinging that a hundred times.”
The journey to mastery of the sword is rough indeed. I swung and I swung trying to feel the kind of magic I felt when I saw Sharyn swinging the sword but to no avail. Instead it was just painful and my body eventually collapsed before I even got to my hundredth swing. Turns out being a hero is rough work.
In the morning, once everything was gathered, we began the journey to find my Sister. Me, Cobalt, and Sharyn. I would have never predicted this kind of outcome when I first sat down at my sister’s computer. But if this would let me find her then I would do anything I needed to.