Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 16:05

NaNoWriMo 2019

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 1

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 1 Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 16:07

The Beginning And Ending

“And Welcome Back Folks. We have managed to get our top reporter into the throne room itself.”

A white furry hand appears in front of the footage giving a thumbs up before disappearing back behind the camera. The camera moves to give a wide view of the throne room. What would normally be an opulent large room instead seems abandoned, large banners were torn or missing and several of the large pillars in the room had been toppled and shattered.

At the far end of the room on a raised platform was a throne. A black construct that seems out of place like it was once the possession of a demon king. Sitting on the throne, out of place from the black stone, was a brilliant golden crown.

“And this is what you have all been waiting for.” The voice of the announcer continued.

“The battle between the Dragon Knight of the Forgotten Saviors and the Silver Shield of the Guardian Lions. Everything is on the line here folks, the winner gets to keep the Crown and the right to rule Gwiazda.”

The camera began to zoom in toward the throne getting a better picture of the two figures that were facing each other.

The Dragon Knight was a man wearing dark crimson armor. Sprouting from his back was a set of equally red wings and coming out from his helmet was a pair of red horns. The final piece was the red scaled tail that came out from the back of his armor. His armor fit his dragon-like physique, layers of plated armor that looked like they were large red scales.

In his hands was a large spear. Unlike his armor the weapon was in a different style. It was made of a metal with a purple tint and the head was carved like a grotesque face. The warped length of the handle made it looks like the spear would be difficult to wield but the Dragon Knight carried it like it was the most natural thing.

The Silver Shield was opposite him, in many ways. Like her name suggested she carried a large silver shield which was polished to the point where it was almost a mirror. In her other hand she held a long sword which has many jewels studded along its length.

Her armor did not consist of plates of metal but instead silver-blue chainmail which she wore under a tabbard showing the crafts of the Guardian Lions. Her shoulder length black hair was held back by a golden circlet that she wore instead of a helm.

They stood on guard facing each other.

Another voice came over the broadcast, the other host, “Who do you think is going to win? My money would be on the Dragon Knight. The Forgotten Saviors are elites among elites and he is the leader of them. Plus his ability to flight would give anybody a run for their money.”

“I won’t count the Silver Shield out. She has an incredibly defensive build and if the battle becomes one of endurance then she will certainly come out on top. If the Dragon Knight wants to win then he needs to do it quickly and decisively.”

The camera had gotten closer to the two warriors, although still far enough way to avoid getting caught up in the inevitable conflict.

“Drake…” Came a voice, Silver Shield was speaking. “It has been a long time. I didn’t take you for a man who wanted to become king.”

“Gardenia, I see that you are still playing at guild leader. You used to be a lot more fun, and wild. After you lose I would be happy to take you back into the Forgotten Saviors, assuming you promise to stop being so stuffy.” Responded the Dragon Knight.

“I see you still haven’t changed. My answer has been the same at it previously was. Besides,” She smirked, “You are the one who is going to lose this battle.”

There was some minor shifts of their feet, inching toward each other.

Meanwhile the announcer spoke, “Did I hear that right? That the Silver Shield used to be a member of the Forgotten Saviors?”

“What?” Came a surprised response from the co-host, “You mean you don’t know about their history? This conflict has been a long time in the making, those two have been at odds for ages. While all that has happened between them it would be no stretch to say that this is their final and most important battle.”

“So how…” The announcer broke off suddenly, unable to continue his thoughts. Whatever the two has been waiting for, it has passed.

Drake, the Dragon Knight leaped backwards and up, and with flapping of his wings lifted up off the ground into the air. Gardenia the Silver Shield however did not give him the moment he needed to get airborne and rushed forward, her sword stretched out attempting to reach him before he got airborne.

The two hosts were silenced by the speed and strength of the two fighters, the pentacle of the game. The two that had come so far and had crossed so many times before….

Chapter #1 — Times Before

It was a little bit over two years ago. It was the release day of Annals. Gardenia, the player who would one day be known as the Silver Shield, is logging into the game for the first time. Her hair was longer than, reaching down to below her shoulder blades and she wore simple clothing that would suit a medieval peasant.

In the real world her appearance would be described as beautiful however here in Annals those kind of looks were a dime a dozen. Out of glowing pillars of light all around her were other beautiful people, men and woman, arriving in the game for the first time. In face if you had to provide a distinguishing trait for her appearance it would be her black hair, it was practically normal compared to the many other people that surrounded her.

Still she didn’t seem to be bothered by any of that. Instead she seemed excited to begin her adventure. She had in her hands a plain wooden rod, a classic piece of starting equipment. She looked around and followed the other players.

They had all arrived in a large plaza. Surrounding the plaza was a bunch of houses, most of which were only one story but here and there was a larger two story building. As Gardenia followed the other players out of the village she noticed that the town itself was not very large. Maybe a hunded houses but that would be it.

As she reached the edge of the town there was a large sign pointing away from the town. It read, “Trezy”. While that seemed to be the way that the road lead outside the city was a large lightly forested area. The players were scattering out into the forest rather than following the road.

There were a lot of players standing around a stern looking man wearing some kind of guard uniform. You could hear him talking to the crowd of people in front of him.

“The tunnel to Trezy is closed. A large monster has taken it over as it’s home. Until the monster is dealt with you will not be able to travel to Trezy.”

Some of the people around the man whispered, “A monster? Is this a quest? Surely this must be a quest.”

“I hear that during the beta the path to the main city was locked off until some dungeon was beaten.”

“No, this is just part of the free-roam tutorial right? If you aren’t strong enough to beat the monster then you haven’t learned enough to leave the tutorial zone.”

There was some nodding all around from the players surrounded the guard. One of the men, a man with spiky green hair, called out to the guard and said, “So, what if we beat that monster?”

The guard looked over and shook his head saying, “You are two weak to fight that monster, even if there were two dozen people as strong as you then you would not stand even a sliver of a chance against the monster.”

There was more whispering, “Two dozen? Does that mean this is a raid boss?”

“In the beta, I heard you only needed a full team to reach the next town.”

“Maybe they increased the requirement? I hear the number of people in the beta was quite small.”

Gardenia had already lost interest in the conversation with the guard. She had a staff and the will to fight whatever monsters were out there in the forest so she left behind the arguing players and heading off the road into the forest.

She passed players fighting the most classic of starting enemies, rabbits. These ones had large fangs although they didn’t seem to be much of a threat. Players were fighting them alone, or maybe in a team of two and nobody seemed to be having much trouble dealing with them.

As each of the rabbits died even more rabbits came out of the little burrows at the root of many of the trees. The spawn rate seemed rather hight for Gardenia but since it was still literal the first day the spawn rate was probably artificially high.

Soon enough Gardenia has found a rabbit of her own. She approached it cautiously before holding out her short rod toward the animal. She had watched the promotional videos so she had a basic idea of how to proceed.

She called out, “Fire Shot” And in the space of the moments of those words a small ball of fire appeared at the end of her rod and then fired out toward the rabbit. It ended up missing the rabbit by several feet. The fanged rabbit turned toward her and began bouncing, rather slowly, toward her.

As it got neared she called out the words again “Fire Shot”. Once again the small ball of fire appeared and shot toward the rabbit and once again she missed the creature. Her third shot managed to hit the poor animal but by that point the creature was already practically at point blank range.

Despite her knowledge that there weren’t any death penalties this early in the game she still took several frightened steps back away from the rabbit. Even if it was just a rabbit it was still trying to kill her and despite her long experience playing other games the sheer realness of the virtual reality made her uncertain.

Swinging her rod back and forward in front of her however was enough to defeat the animal. One of the swings managed to connect and send the small animal to the ground. Gardenia took a few calming breaths before leaning down next to the body of the rabbit.

When she did this a small screen appeared in front of her vision, almost breaking the illusion of the other world. One of the options was “Quick Loot”. She said those words and the window disappeared and the rabbit broke appeared into glowing digital fragments and then those fragments disappeared.

Despite the relatively acceptable results of her first fight she know that she had been a bit too reckless. It probably would have been better to get a feeling for how magic worked before getting directly into a fight.

Avoiding several more fanged rabbits she found a large rock jutting out of the ground. She took several paces away from it before calling out “Fire Shot”. The ball appeared and once again shot out. This time she managed to miss a rock.

She looked around seeing if anybody noticed her shameful display. Her face was beet red but all the other players seem to be engrossed in fighting their own rabbits. After composing herself she took several more shots at the rock. It took about a dozen shots but she finally managed to figure out how to aim the little fire ball.

It was like her rod was a gun and the fireball shot directly where it was pointing. However the ball seems to arc and fall just enough that hitting things at long distance was hard.

There was a little jingle and a message showed up in a message screen.

“Magic — Fire [Basic] reached level 2.”

She called out “Show Skills” and a screen appeared in front of her vision.

Gardenia

Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 2


Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 1


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 1

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 2

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 2 Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 17:27

There wasn’t much on the list yet, just her starting skills. She had selected Fire Mage from the list of possible starting classes, although from promotional materials she had learning that your choice of starting class didn’t do anything other than determine your starting skills.

She closed the screen and turned back to the fanged rabbits. This time surely, she was going to defeat them using magic.

“Fire Shot” she called out and the ball of fire strecked toward the rabbit. This time however it successfully hit the animal. As the rabbit began bouncing toward her she tried shooting it again with another ball of fire. While the ball was on target to hit the rabbit, it was dodged by the rabbit.

The first fire shot however hit the rabbit, causing the animal to die. It has been easier to hit with the third shot because it was much closer. Shooting spells was turning out to be much more complicated than she had expected.

Considering she opened up her spell list. “Show Spells”

As she expected the only thing on the list of spells was “Fire Shot”. It was a weak spell with low mana cost which was why she still hadn’t needed to worry about her mana uses. She wasn’t really certain if she got more spells by leveling up her fire magic or by learning them from the NPCs back in town.

Still “Fire Shot” was sufficient for fighting fanged rabbits and she could basically cast it as much as she wanted without running out of mana.

At least that is what she thought. Ten minutes later she had managed to get surrounded by five of the fanged rabbits and was teetering dangerously close to running out of mana.

Even if “Fire Shot” took very little mana it still took some time about a battle to recover that mana, especially for a starting character like her.

However she hadn’t taken that time and had just gone after one rabbit after another. Soon she was taking on two rabbits at a time. That was how she managed to get into this situation.

She called out “Fire Shot”, spending the last of her mana to defeat one of the fanged rabbits. After that she only had her rod to defend herself from four more rabbits, it seemed hopeless.

“Don’t worry, I am here!” Came a voice from nearby.

Gardenia turned to see a short girl standing on a rock nearby. The girl was wearing the same plain looking peasant clothing that Gardenia was wearing however she had long blond hair that was tied up into pig tails.

The girl jumped off the rock and drew the dagger at her waist. She began running to Gardenia’s aid but half way between them she tripped and fell face first into the grassy underbrush of the forest.

“Owwww....” called out the girl as she began clambering to her feet.

Gardenia had already been forced to stop paying attention to the girl and instead focusing on fighting the rabbits with her rod.

By the time the girl managed to scrambled to her feet there was already a rabbit upon her, however unlike Gardenia her weapon was a melee weapon rather than a casting implement.

She was able to quickly stab the rabbit that had reached her. It managed to bite at her ankle before the second stab of her dagger finished off the rabbit.

Meanwhile Gardenia was doing her best to fend off the rabbits that surrounded her. She had managed to beat up one of them with her rod but the other two had bite her several times and there were red stands on her peasant clothing.

She could feel the mild discomfort in her legs but that could only broadly be discerned as pain. Since players were expected to fight monsters and potential get defeated by them any pain that was caused was reduced to manageable levels.

Dispite their bad situation things quickly turned in favor of the two women, after all these were just beginner opponents which were not intended to be difficult.

Even though the rabbits bite them that amount of damage caused was negligible and even Gardenia was able to beat them using her rod in only a couple of hits.

Gardenia managed to beat another one of the rabbits just by hitting it enough times while the other girl was able to dash in with her dagger and finish off the last one.

With everything finally calm the blond girl finally said, “At you alright? They didn’t hurt you too much did they?”

Gardenia couldn’t take it any more and suddenly broke out into laughter, “Are you trying to be a knight or something? That was clearly over the top.”

The girl turned her face, hiding the embarrassment that was clearly showing on it. “No need to make fun of me. I just saw you in danger and decided to come to your aid. Is there anything wrong with that?”

“No, nothing wrong. We are just trying to have fun here right? However you want to have fun is fine, you just might want to work on your running.”

“Yeah... well, I didn’t realize how different things would be and I’m having trouble adjusting. I’ll be better next time, I promise.”

Gardenia held out her hand and said, “Nice to meet you, I’m.... uh.... Gardenia, right, that was my name here.”

The blond girl gave her own little smirk, “It looks like I’m not the only one flubbing stuff up. I am Iyrandrar Norra.”

“… That is quite the mouthful. Should I call you Iyan or maybe Norra maybe?”

“Well…. suppose Norra will be fine.” Said Norra with a rejected look on her face.

“Sorry you had to come and help me. I was doing all right until I ran out of mana.”

Norra pounded her arm across her chest and said, “Do not worry, I was just looking for somebody to protect. From here on out I will protect you and you do not need to worry.”

“Um… I don’t really need somebody to protect me for that long.”

Norra looked up at the much taller Gardenia will a pleading look on her face, “Please let me play with you. All of my other friends joined a different starting zone and by the time I tried to join the zone had filled up. Now I don’t have anybody to play with.”

“You know you are really flip flopping on that character of yours. Plus your choice of such a small character also seems at odds with your chosen persona.”

“Now you are just teasing me. I’m being serious here.”

Gardenia nodded, “Alright I’ll let you play with me. With two people we can go deeper into the forest. I think I see some wolves deeper in. With the two of us we can probably handle it.”

“Are you still teasing me? Didn’t you say your mana was all gone. Plus..” Norra looked over her and Gardenia’s bloody clothing. “We are both pretty injured. If we continue like this we are going to quickly die. It would be better to head back into the town to recover.”

Gardenia nodded, “Yes, that makes sense.”

“Have you played a MMO before?”

Gardenia cocked her head and said, “A little, but just casually.”

“I see, this will be a long journey. And I will be your wise mentor tutoring you on many subjects” She stroke her imaginary wise man’s beard.”

Gardenia was finally beginning to understand Norra’s personality. Mostly it just seemed that Norra was ditzy.

—-

The next day when Gardenia logged in she found Norra waiting for her. The two looked differently then they had the pervious day. Gardenia had a brown robe equipment, still novice equipment but better looking and more useful than peasants clothing.

Norra was wearing a set of simple leather armor. Defensive gear that allowed for easy maneuverability. Their expedition into the forest to fight wolves had gone well enough that they were able to buy these clothing with some of the profit.

“So, have you figured out what skills you plan on learning?” Asked Norra.

“Yes, I did some research and came up with the few options.”

“Call me master.”

“Master? Why?”

“If I am instructing you on the ways of the MMO then it is only proper for you to call me master.”

“But…” Gardenia looked down on the small girl before her, “I just can’t imagine calling you that Norra…. It just doesn’t fit at all.”

Norra let out a long disappointed sigh, “Fine, fine, just Norra is fine then.” She looked around. “However we should get out of the plaza it looks like things are going to start getting busy here again. It is about prime time for logins.”

Gardenia nodded and Norra lead her through the small town and into a building labeled, “The Muddied Horse”

“And this place is?”

“A tavern, haven’t you ever seen one before?”

“Only in video games.”

“This is a video game.”

“Yes but it seems more real seeing it like this.”

Norra could only shake her head and lead Gardenia into the tavern where the server showed them to one of the seats. The Tavern was basically deserted. Just the server and an old man eating alone in the corner.

“Alright, let us hear it. What skills are you planning on taking?”

“The first skill I think I should take is Life Magic. Potions were expensive yesterday and I think having some healing magic will up up. Since I am already a mage it is better for me to take it then for you to learn magic.”

Norra nodded, “That is a good choice. I hear a lot of mages are learning Life Magic. What else?”

“I wanted to pick up a weapon skill. Monster kept getting to me and I only had my casting rod to defend myself. From what I could learn casting rods make bad weapons so I could carry an actually weapon in my other hand so I can fight off monsters if needed.”

“Hmmm, not a terrible strategy.”

They were interrupted by the server returning with some water. The waitress placed down the water and asked in a pleasant voice, “What would you like to eat?” There was something a bit stiff about her sentence but that didn’t bother Norra or Gardenia.

“Rabbit stew. I’ll get that.” Said Gardenia.

Norra hummed and hawed for a moment before eventually saying, “Steak! It has to be steak!”

The server nodded before heading leaving them alone again.

“Steak, really?”

“I hear a lot of effort has been put into making food taste correct. Steak is usually well… not something I have very often so I wanted to have it here.” Said Norra.

Gardenia had some questions but realized that would be pushing too much into personal issues, something that would be better to avoid.

“Now, back on topic, your skills. While a weapon would be good I think that might be a bit too much. You would need to also learn duel wielding since you would have your rod too. I think getting a buckler would be better. That would be used to block attacks while casting your spells. It would also be used to protect yourself from ranged attacks.”

“A shield then?”

“It is a small shield but yes.”

“Alright, if you think that is a good choice I will go with that. The third skill would be either skinning or plant harvesting. That way fighting animals could get some extra profit.”

There was a contemplative humming before, “Rejected. No gathering skills.”

“What, why not?”

“If you think it is interesting then do it but if your only desire is save a little bit of money then I wouldn’t bother. Money made here will quickly be eclipsed and if you don’t plan on putting serious effort into becoming a gatherer then it will just be wasted effort.”

“Would I really need to put that much effort into it?”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 3

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 3 Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 17:28

Norra nodded, “My investigation has revealed what while it a good method of making money it is time consuming. Do you have any other skill ideas?”

“Those are all of my suggestions. The basic skills seem to be rather limited. Was there anything you saw that might be a good fit?”

“Well… steak!” Responded Norra taking the plate from the waitress who had just delivered their meals to the table.

Gardenia shook her head while accepting her own bowl. She dipped the spoon into the bowl and took a sip of the rabbit stew. It was surprisingly good, creamy and savory at the same time. “This is actually pretty good.”

“Dntg Gi Rells Goy.” Norra attempted to say but her month was full of food so she was unable to get the words out correctly. Finally she swallowed, “Didn’t I tell you? There has been some hullaballoo on the forums about the food.” She looked around the empty tavern, “Although it looks like it hasn’t spread to this town yet. But mark my words, in a few days this place is going to be full all of the time.”

Gardenia nodded, “You are probably right, although right now eating like this is probably too much money to be worth doing. This meal is costing almost as much as this robe after all, beginners that do that too much will have trouble progressing.”

Norra turned away trying to hide her second mouthful of steak. Her meal was certainly more expensive than Gardenia’s so if somebody was wasting their money here it was her.

“Never the less,” Said Norra once she had swallowed again, “You still have enough money for another skills even beyond the first two. Might I suggest Monster Identification?”

-----

They split up after the mean to go find the trainers for the appropriate skills. Life Magic was easy since there was a medical ward setup in the town for the players that got a little too risky fighting monsters. Norra and Gardenia has visited it yesterday and the trainer for Life Magic was the NPC that ran the ward.

The shield skill was equally easy to find. There was a field setup was a training yard. Probably a better way of practicing then throwing fire shots at a rock in the forest. Another guard in the town supervised the field and could also provide training for martial skills like shields. He was also able to recommend Gardenia a shop in the town who could sell her a small buckler.

The monster identifier was harder to find. When Gardenia finally met back up with Norra she still lacked the Monster Identification skill.

Gardenia


Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 12


Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 1


Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 9


Armor— Shield [Basic]: Lvl 1


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 7


Iyrandrar Norra


Weapon — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 13


Armor — Light [Basic]: Lvl 7


Stealth [Basic]: Lvl 3


Style — Duel Wielding [Basic]: Lvl 1

“A quest?” Said Norra.

Gardenia nodded, “It turns out the old man in the tavern with us was the Monster Identification trainer, however he refused to teach me. He would only teach me if I see the enigmatic master of the forest.”

“Hmm.. that is strange. I haven’t heard that any of the other skill trainers requiring quests before they teach you. If all the monster identification trainers required this quest then the forums would certainly already know about it. Maybe this quest is unique to this starting town?”

“It must be. Each of the starting towns is very different from what I hear. Well, if there isn’t any information on the forums about it we just need to do it ourselves and find out.”

With a quest in mind the two of them headed out into the forest to find the master of the forest. They were able to easily move past the area with the fanged rabbits, and into the territory of the wolves. Alone they would have been in trouble. Together however they were able to fight off the wolves who typically fought in teams of three or four.

They had to take occasional breaks for Gardenia to recover her mana but with the inclusion of life magic they were able to continue onward deeper into the forest. The players had spread out more since the first day they saw less people around because of it.

Still they occasionally came across small groups of players fighting wolves in the woods.

“So where do you think this master of the forest will be?” Asked Gardenia.

“Probably the deepest, darkest part of the forest if I had to guess. It is probably some kind of boss so that is the most likely place for it to be.”

The trees were getting larger and knotted the deeper they went into the forest. Norra who normally showed confidence was hiding behind Gardenia despite the fact that Norra was their front guard.

“Do you think there are ghosts in these forests? Not that I am scared of ghosts, after all this is just a video game so I wouldn’t be afraid or anything.”

Gardenia nodded, “Yeah, there might be ghosts. But you can usually just attack ghosts in video games so we should be fine.”

“Yeah…. fine. We are definitely fine.”

There were no other players to be seen at this point. Even the wolves had disappeared. The only enemies in this area were the occasional large monster tree. However they were weak against fire magic and the two of them only had to fight them one at a time so they were able to keep progressing deeper into the forest.

Then they heard the snapping sounds. Gardenia kept walking forward as if it didn’t bother her but Norra kept herself hidden behind Gardenia. As the got closer to the sounds they saw it. A giant boar with gleaming red eyes. It was biting into the dead body of an elk.

Norra made a frightened whimpering sound. Despite the distance the board heard the sound and turn toward the two of them. It ground the earth with one hoove and then charged the two of them.

Gardenia only had enough time to raise her small shield to intercept the attack but that wasn’t enough to stop the charge and she was sent flying. She could feel it but the pain was soft and mute even what she hit the tree that stopped her flight. Norra had barely managed to get out of the way of the charge and was not trying to stab the boar as fast as she could with her two daggers. The creature barely seemed to notice that attacks.

It simply turned its head and thrust one of its long tusks into Norra. It then lifted, removing her from the ground and with one motion tossed her.

Gardenia was stumbling to her feet and pointing the rod at the boar. Something about the previous attack was causing her vision to blur. Still she managed to call out “Fire Shot” and the ball of fire sped toward the boar. Her accuracy was bad but since the boar was so big she managed to hit is anyways.

It turned toward her and charged again. Gardenia know she couldn’t block this attack with her shield so instead she dove to one side. This wasn’t able to get her completely out of the way but rather than getting hit by the boar’s head instead she got shoulder checked and tossed aside, rolling across the ground.

The boar was about to ignore Gardenia and turn to Norra again. But Gardenia still had some life in her. Her expression had changed, she was staggering to her feet and called out to the boar with a smile on her face, “We aren’t done yet you dumb pig.”

Her rod wavered as she pointed it at the boar and called out once more, “Fire Shot.”

This time the close proximity made her accuracy better and she hit the boar directly in the head. It roared in pain and swung its head and tusks directly into Gardenia.

It was too much for Gardenia and she fell down to the forest floor. Try as she might she couldn’t managed the strength to strange up again. Her vision continued to fade until it was completely dark.

Then the light began to shine brilliantly once more. She was laying on the ground in the center of the plaza where she had appeared on the first day. A large stone monolith rose above her. Any vague pain that she had been feeling was gone and had been replaced with a dull exhausting feeling.

After the dark forests the bright sun seemed a little bit too extreme for her. She staggered to her feet, wobbling a little bit. Her log explained to her exactly what happened, she had run out of hit points and died. She hadn’t suffered any death penalty since she didn’t know any intermediate skills.

Her hands were shaking, not from exhaustion or fear but something else. She watched her hands and a strange half grin began to appear on her face. She shook her head and calmed herself. Stepping backward to make room around the monolith, If she had died then Norra would probably quickly follow after.

Not even a minute had passed before the beam of light appeared and Norra was there laying on the ground. “Nooooo!!” She screamed. “Beaten, the invincible me! Impossible!” It was a frustrated cry but also so very Norra.

“Do you want a hand up?” Asked Gardenia and Norra took the assistance up.

“It looks like that thing is beyond us. A monster like that looks like a zone boss if I had to guess. It probably isn’t beatable without mastering your basic skills, and with a.bigger party too.” She shook her hand at the sky, “But just you wait Boar King! We will take you done.”

“Isn’t that the master of the forest?” Asked Gardenia.

“Hmmm… maybe should we check out with your quest giver?”

The two of them returned to the tavern and approached the man in the back. He was still there, drinking. He was old and scraggily but his clothing looked like he was once a man of means that had fallen on hard times.

“Mister Avalo, I went into the forest seeking the master of the forest and found a giant boar, one larger than a horse. Is this the master of the forest that you were speaking of?”

The old man looked up. His face looked hallow and fearful, “Yes… he is the master. There was only a kind guardian of the forest that lived out there. But that monster, that horrible boar, slew the guardian. Now none dare challenge the creature. It is the reason who the woods continue to dark and untamed.” The man looked down with a depressed look on his face, “I know it is a lot to ask but you would please slay that vile beast? If you did that then the forest could be free again.”

It was Gardenia’s quest so she nodded and said, “Yes, I will kill the beast for you.”

The man looked up and with a cracked broken smile seemed to show a glimmer of hope, “Thank you. Please, even if it is not much let me teach you what you asked from me. Since you took the time to listen to my plea it is the least I can do.”

“Very well.” Said Gardenia and there was a flash around her. She had learned Monster Identification. “It might be a while for me to become strong enough to defeat that monster but I promise you we will defeat it.

The man nodded again. Then Gardenia turned and they left the tavern.

“So, kill the giant boar king is our quest huh” said Norra. “The main challenge is that powerful charge. Against a monster like that we need to recruit an actual tank. Do you want to aim for a full team of six?”

Gardenia pondered for a moment looking up at the sky, “If needed, but you are right, we will need a tank. The only problem is recruiting, aren’t tanks rather scarce.”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 4

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 4 Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 18:01

Norra nodded, “Groups tend to snatch them up pretty quickly. Still, with the temptation of a special quest field boss we can probably tempt one of them. There are two other problems that I can see as well.”

“Which are?”

“First, we aren’t currently strong enough to fight the Boar King. More training and raising our skills will be needed. I believe a full team with nearly mastered basic skills is needed to beat a boss like that. However this requirement is just an estimate.

“Second, you have heard about the Gwiazda dungeon correct? The path into the city is shut, guarded by a powerful monster. We need to defeat the Boar King before that monster is defeated.”

“Why?”

“This is because the elites have begun to gather to defeat the monster and open up the tunnel to Gwiazda. There are several large groups leveling and gathering gear to defeat that monster. Once it is gone they will be able to go to Gwiazda. However… we are attempting to beat a foe of similar strength, once they are finished they might set their new sights on the Boar King. Even if they done then our quest is mostly a bust, whatever allies we might recruit will have their own goals and staying in the beginner town is probably disadvantageous to them and us.”

Gardenia nodded in understanding, “Alright. Do you know how long we are going to have?”

“At least three more day, probably five. That is my estimate about how long it will take the elites to max their basic skills and become properly equipped. This starting town wasn’t part of the beta so we have the advantage there, that means the dungeon and the boss will need scouting. We should plan to start making attempted on the Boar King on day four.

“For the rest of today we need to find team members. The more the better. If we can’t get at least two more core members this whole thing is a no-go.”

“Just two more? Didn’t you say we should get a full six party members.”

“That is the goal, however if we can get two to commit now and then train to near basic mastery we can probably convince a couple of elites to join us at the last minute. Still if we can get more earlier that would be better.

“To continue… days one and two are just grinding days. On day three we need to purchase the best equipment we can afford and make sure we can properly use them. That is all.” Norra finally finished her detailed explanation, when she wasn’t trying to role-play too hard she was certainly competent at the game.

“Roger, I got the plan.” Said Gardenia.

“Alright, now we should split up and scour the town for potential party members. Since it is beginning to become morning all the players will be returning to town to logout. Remember we are searching for a tank but anybody who will join is good. I would suggest scouting players who are solo since they are less likely to already have a party. I’m going to leave checking the market area to you and we need to get some emergency consumables so buy them while you are there.”

With the plan made the two of them split up.

——

Gardenia was wandering the market stalls looking for players to join their team. She didn’t really know how to begin. While Norra had given her instructions on what kind of people to look for Gardenia was not really skilled at doing that. Her joining with Norra in the first place was more of a coincidence than anything else.

Eventually she decided to just keep an eye our for people while doing the needed shopping. Not only was she in charge of buying the consumables they needed but she had also been given the items drops from all the creatures the two of them had fought.

Enemies didn’t drop money but rather ingredients. Rabbits and wolves provided things like meat and hide while the monster trees dropped wood. While neither of them had the skinning or butchering skills it was still possible to get good drops from monsters.

Gardenia had found a market stall owned by an NPC and was about to sell there accumulated materials when a voice called out. “Wait wait wait! Don’t sell that!”

Gardenia turned to see a woman running toward her. The woman was a bit shorter than Gardenia but definitely an adult, unlike Norra. She had silver hair which was braided and hung behind her. She was also quite the beauty and was unusually endowed. Such looked weren’t that uncommon though, partially normal. The character editor let you build your character practically however you wanted.

The woman had clearly been playing the game a bit since she was wearing a set of leather armor like Noora rather than the starting peasant clothing. She has a bow attached her her back.

She was panting when she finally stopped in front of Gardenia, “Don’t sell those.”

Gardenia was a bit stunned, “What do you mean? Do you want to buy them instead?”

The woman shook her head, “No, no, no, just that if you sell them to that merchant you will only get 60% of their actual work. You can get much more if you sell them to the right people. If you let me help you I can get you much more money. Just… pay me a 10% commission.”

“Commission?”

“Yes, you will get 90% of the value of the item and I will get the other 10% and since it will be more than you would get from this seller you have nothing to lose.”

Gardenia looked to either side trying to decide what to do before finally saying, “Sure, that sounds good.”

The woman nodded, “But we need to do it quickly. I need to logoff in an hour.” The woman pointed and started walking through the market. Gardenia followed and continued to listen to the woman who said, “I saw you have rabbit meat and hides. Anything else?”

“Ummm, wolf meat and hides. Also monster tree wood.”

“What kind of wood? Dark Birch or Dark Oak?”

“I don’t know.”

“Alright, we can have Sanderman look at it. Eternal Baking will wand the meat and Neverland𝜶 will will want the hides.”

“And those are?”

“Crafting players. Selling to the NPCs will always get you less money then selling directly to the player that needs the item. The NPCs living here do not have much use for the items so they buy them for cheap and resell them at a significant markup. This means the crafting players prefer to buy directly as well since they too save money.”

Gardenia could only nodded at the explanation. It seemed that everybody knew how to play games better than her. All the previous games she had played had just been for fun and she usually dropped them after a while, she had never been very hardcore. It seems that she would need to step up her game.

“Umm.. I’m Gardenia, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, I am Evening Wanderer but you can just call me Eve.”

“Everybody’s names are so strange. I’m just having trouble getting used to them.”

“You haven’t played many MMOs then have you? Strange names are pretty common, I don’t believe that this one has name uniqueness but many players just can’t let their old handles die and keep bringing them from one game to another. I am not that different, although it has been a while since I have had a chance to play anything. The sleep play feature really is something. Without it I wouldn’t be able to find time to play a game like this.”

Gardenia nodded, she had plenty of free time but even so getting an additional eight hours of play time was the reason the game was so populated.

Eve led Gardenia through the market to meet the different players. Each of them called out to Eve who was apparently well know among them. With her aid Gardenia was able to sell all the materials in her possession. Each of the different crafting players was unique in their own way.

Sanderman was a tall bald man who practiced woodworking and didn’t talk very much. Eternal Baking wanted to open their own sweets shop and was currently level up her cooking skill until the opportunity presented itself. Neverland𝜶 was a short boy who was the leatherworker and tailer.

After selling all the items Gardenia paid Eve her portion before thanking her, “Thanks for your help. Without it I certainly won’t have this much money.”

“No problem. But it is getting early and I need to log off soon.”

“Before you go…” Gardenia has spend all the time she had been allotted selling materials and not searching for allies so she certainly wasn’t going to let this opportunity go, “Me and a friend are trying to gather some players to train and then fight a field boss. I was wondering if you wanted to join us.”

“A field boss… I only really have time to play during sleeping hours. Is that alright with you?”

“I think that is fine. The most players the better. I’m sure you would as least be more competent than me.” Said Gardenia.

Eve nodded and said, “Alright then, I can give it a try. Here, I’ll send you a friend request. You can send me the details later. I’ll contact you again tomorrow night. However I really have to go now.” She waved and then disappeared into a sparkle as she logged out.

With that taken care of it was time to meet back up with Norra. They were to meet at the tavern that they had eaten at before. When Gardenia arrived Norra was still not there so she took a table by herself but big enough to seat a few more people if Norra brought a new member of the team.

Gardenia had to wait for fifteen more minutes before Norra showed up. She was followed by a tall man wearing a very sooty apron. Despite the mess on the apron the man’s face was very clean and he bore a very wide and spectacular red mustache. His hair was red too but that was barely noticeable because of his mustache.

Gardenia waved toward Norra and Norra brought the man over to the table. She held out her hands and motioned at the man, “Tada, I have brought him. The man, the myth, the legend, Equinox!”

There was eye contact between Gardenia and Equinox but neither of them spoke. It was hard to speak after an introduction like that.

“Come on you too. Don’t get starry eyed. Equinox, this is Gardenia, our spellcaster and healer.. Gardenia, this is Equinox, our tank.”

“A pleasure to meet you my lady.” Said the man in a refined voice.

“Me as well. Please have a seat, we can have some food while we talk.”

“Very well.” The man took a seat across from her and Norra took another one of the seats.

“Well, aren’t you impressed? That I found a tank.” Said Norra.

“Good job, although I must admit you look more like a Blacksmith.”

“That is because I am a blacksmith. However little Norra here has convinced me to join in your quest. Since I can make my own tanking equipment it seemed like a good way of testing the gear that I can make. Business is currently rather slow and I expect to need the training in the future so I though it would be good to go alone with the little lady’s idea.” Said Equinox.

Norra nodded with a pleased expression on her face like everything happened because she wished it. “Indeed, that is how it is. How about you Gardenia, it doesn’t seem like you found anybody but I can assume you managed to sell all the materials?”

“Oh, but I did find somebody. Well, maybe. They can only play during sleeping hours but they did agree to give it a try. She is called Evening Wanderer and I think that she is an archer.”

“Not bad!” Said Norra giving a thumbs up and then she paused, “Evening Wanderer you said…” There was a long paused before Norra said, “Naw, it couldn’t be…”

Gardenia cocked her head and said, “Couldn’t be what?”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 5

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 5 Nel Tue, 11/19/2019 - 18:02

“Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter anyways. Anyway having four team members is good, especially with our smith here who can help make sure we have proper equipment.”

Equinox nodded, “Yes, I am happy to help however we will need to gather the ores ourself since I can’t make a profit by reselling my products.”

Norra nodded, “Yes indeed. Equinox here has explained to me that the ores we will need are in the opposite direction. Of the boar king and gathering the ores while training our skills will be of primary importance.”

“My smithing skill is fairly good but without mastering basic smithing any equipment that I would forge would be less effective than that the NPCs here sell. Right now player crafted gear is cheaper than NPC gear but isn’t as good.” Said Equinox.

Norra nodded, “Alright, now what is everybody’s schedule? Evening Wanderer can only play during sleeping hours which I assume everybody is available during. What time is everybody else available?”

“I become available at 8pm.” Said Equinox. “However I do still to practice my smithing so we should probably reserve training to during the sleeping hours. That will give me enough time to keep up with both.”

Gardenia nods, “I can be available at around 8pm too. Although, on day two of the schedule I’m not going to be available until 11pm but for the rest of the time I am available earlier. What about you Norra?”

“Oh, yeah, I’ll be available at those times too. You can contact me when you log in and we can meetup. If I have any extra time then I will try to recruit some extra players.” Norra clapped and said, “Alright then. Break team! Meetup at 08:00 hours.”

“Ummm… it would be 20:00 hours.” Said Gardenia.

“Whatever, you know what I mean.”

And with that the meeting was over.

——

The days passed but Norra didn’t managed to secure any other players to join their team. The team was able to properly level in the mountainous forests and caves while searching for ore to gather.

Evening Wanderer was a bigger asset then Gardenia has initially guess. She was an excellent archer character that had a bunch of gathering skills. Together with Equinox they had skills to gather anything that they came across. They started out as an unskilled coordination from players unfamiliar with each other.

Their composition was actually quite good however. Equinox tanked while Norra and Eva did DPS. Gardenia was in the back providing a mix of healing and damage when needed. With that teamwork they were able to get deeper and deeper into the mountainous forest. While there wasn’t anything quite as strong as the Boar King they did face a bunch of lesser field bosses.

It was the end of the third day when they gathered once more in the tavern.

“It looks like this will our be our last day of grinding. My reports from the front are telling me that the elites are done training and going to start making attempts at the dungeon boss. Tomorrow is going to be our best shot at beating the Boar King.”

“Do you think we can get anybody else to join us?” Asked Gardenia.

Norra shook her head, “I was too naive. I had thought the teamwork would be easy to meld in but I was wrong. Working in another player or two at this stage is just going to make things difficult. This game is different from the things I had played before and coordinating is much harder than I expected it to me.”

There were nodded all around. It had taken the full three days for them to get in a proper rhythm with each other. Adding another player without that rhythm would certainly be difficult to deal it. While that might make fights easier it might also make them harder.

“Do you think just the three of us can beat the Boar King?” Asked Gardenia.

It was Eve that answered, “In my judgement we can do it. Wouldn’t you agree Norra?” The two of them were basically the experts of the team. Equinox knew a bunch about crafting but it was Norra and Eve which formed the planning backbone of the team.

“Yes.” Said Norra, “But I do think it will be tough. We are walking a tightrope here and I expect several wipes before we managed to beat the Boar King. Equinox, will you be able to get us the proper gear in time?”

Equinox nodded “I am only a couple of hours away from mastering basic smithing. I took tomorrow off work to ensure that I have enough time to finished mastering it and to product all the required equipment.”

Eve looked concerned, “Are you sure that is alright?”

“Do not worry. I properly procured the time off work. I do not often take days off work so there will be no problems. Besides I am salaried and need to spend the vacation time.”

Gardenia shook her head and said, “I unfortunately can’t take time off like that but I can make sure I login at 7pm which is the soonest I can become available.”

Eve sighed and looked distraught, “I am a bit envious. Unfortunately I am still only available during the sleeping hours. I apologize for not being able to join you earlier but it really is impossible for me.”

Norra waved her hand dismissing the issue, “Don’t worry. I expected that from the beginning. We will just make sure to have all the preparations made before you login so that we can immediately head out to the Boar King once you login.”

“Thanks.”

“Now! Before Eve has to logout, we need to enjoy ourselves. Eat and drink until morning, for tomorrow we might die to the horrible boar king. Cheers!” Norra raised her mug and everybody joined her. They clanged the cups together.

Their skills were as ready as they were ever going to be. Both Gardenia and Norra might not quite have appropriate levels for an expert attempting the dungeon but they weren’t too far behind. Eve and Equinox were behind the other two but they each practiced other trades in the game as well as fighting so it wasn’t too much worse for them. The weakest link was probably Evening Wanderer but she was instrumental in gathering enough funds to purchase the none-smithing gear that the party was going to purchase.

Gardenia


Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 44


Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 47


Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Weapon — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 21


Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 36


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 28


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 39


Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 31


Iyrandrar Norra

Weapon — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Light [Basic]: Lvl 46


Stealth [Basic]: Lvl 27


Style — Duel Wielding [Basic]: Lvl 43


Arts — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 28


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 19


Evening Wanderer

Weapon — Bow [Basic]: Lvl 39


Weapon — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 16


Armor — Light [Basic]: Lvl 26


Gathering — Harvesting [Basic]: Lvl 32


Gathering — Skinning [Basic]: Lvl 35


Gathering — Butchering [Basic]: Lvl 35


Lore — Appraisal [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Equinox


Weapon — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 34


Armor — Heavy [Basic]: Lvl 41


Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 40


Style — Aggression [Basic]: Lvl 32


Gathering — Mining [Basic]: Lvl 41


Crafting — Smithing [Basic]: Lvl 48

During the day Equinox worked hard on raising his smithing skill so that he could master basic smithing. He took the slower, less expensive way since Eve wouldn’t be available until later. Once it was mastered he was able to purchase the required recipes for the different equipment pieces they would need.

Heavy armor for himself, a pair of daggers for Norra, a light shield for Gardenia and a heavy one for himself. After that he made some arrows for Eve. With those done the rest of his time until Eve logged in was crafting equipment for the elite team going after the dungeon boss.

While Eve was unavailable many of the crafters she was aquatinted with had also mastered their basic crafting skill. Sanderman was able to product a bow and Neverland𝜶 was able to craft leather armor for both Norra and Eve.

With all those purchases their funds were practically dry. Norra was able to acquire a handful of the highest tier potions that could be crafted in the beginner town but it would only be enough for around three attempts at the Boar King. They had expected to be able to purchase more then they did. Potion prices were at an all time high as preparations to face the dungeon boss also needed plenty of consumables.

Finally all of their preparations were complete. Eve had logged in and they were all gathered in the tavern. However this time it was not to eat and drink. Gardenia was then to say a final word to the old man who had given them the quest.

“Mister Avalo, today we are going to slay the master of the forest. Rest assured that it will fall this day.”

The old man nodded, “I see it in your eyes. You possess the will and the power to slay the foul beast. I wish you the best of luck. I will make sure to prepare a reward for when you return.”

“And then the team turned as one and walked out of the tavern, grim determination in their eyes.” Narrated Norra as the team did indeed leave the tavern, although the grim determination was kinda lost at her comment.

The walk through the forest was eerily quite, They were only interrupted by a couple encounters with wolves and evil trees. Soon enough they had arrived deep in the darkest parts of the forest.

“Alright everybody.” Said Norra and they huddled in a circle to listen to her, “I expect to make several attempts against the Boar King. Our biggest limiting factor is the consumables. My estimates put us at three real attempts. So for the first few times let us fight it without consumables, that will give us a good measure of its strength. Only after those two attempts should we spend any real resources.”

There was nodding approvals all around.

Norra continued. “Gardenia, there is a special job for you and Eve since you two are in the back. Keep an eye out on the Boar’s behaviors. Enemies like this commonly change their strategies after losing a certain amount of health. Me and Equinox are going to be in the thick of it so it will be harder for us to notice. If either of you see any changes in the boar yell it out right away. The earlier we are alerted the better.”

Eve also chipped into the strategy, “Also Gardenia, you are the only one with monster identification. The rest of us can’t judge how much health the master has lost. When it reaches half, a quarter, and ten percent health try to call it out. Those are the times when behaviors change, well, at least they were in other games.”

“Alright, I will do my best. I only have a bar that I can see so I can’t be certain about the remaining enemy health but I will do my best.”

Norra nodded, “Alright, now remember we have plenty of attempts without using potions so try to survive as long as possible. AND FIGHT!” She raised her fist. The other three did their best to mimic her.

Then the battle against the master of the forest begun. This they had all expected the first battle ended swiftly in the boar’s victory. Unlike some of the bigger enemies that they had fought before the boar gains and lost aggro incredibly quickly. It only took one mistake from Equinox for the Boar to completely ignore him and kill Norra. After that the team quickly collapsed and they were all sent back to town.

They still hadn’t gotten intermediate skills which couldn’t even be learned in the starter town so there were no death penalties and they were free to make attempts as many times as they wanted.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 6

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 6 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 12:58

“Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter anyways. Anyway having four team members is good, especially with our smith here who can help make sure we have proper equipment.”

Equinox nodded, “Yes, I am happy to help however we will need to gather the ores ourself since I can’t make a profit by reselling my products.”

Norra nodded, “Yes indeed. Equinox here has explained to me that the ores we will need are in the opposite direction. Of the boar king and gathering the ores while training our skills will be of primary importance.”

“My smithing skill is fairly good but without mastering basic smithing any equipment that I would forge would be less effective than that the NPCs here sell. Right now player crafted gear is cheaper than NPC gear but isn’t as good.” Said Equinox.

Norra nodded, “Alright, now what is everybody’s schedule? Evening Wanderer can only play during sleeping hours which I assume everybody is available during. What time is everybody else available?”

“I become available at 8pm.” Said Equinox. “However I do still to practice my smithing so we should probably reserve training to during the sleeping hours. That will give me enough time to keep up with both.”

Gardenia nods, “I can be available at around 8pm too. Although, on day two of the schedule I’m not going to be available until 11pm but for the rest of the time I am available earlier. What about you Norra?”

“Oh, yeah, I’ll be available at those times too. You can contact me when you log in and we can meetup. If I have any extra time then I will try to recruit some extra players.” Norra clapped and said, “Alright then. Break team! Meetup at 08:00 hours.”

“Ummm… it would be 20:00 hours.” Said Gardenia.

“Whatever, you know what I mean.”

And with that the meeting was over.

——

The days passed but Norra didn’t managed to secure any other players to join their team. The team was able to properly level in the mountainous forests and caves while searching for ore to gather.

Evening Wanderer was a bigger asset then Gardenia has initially guess. She was an excellent archer character that had a bunch of gathering skills. Together with Equinox they had skills to gather anything that they came across. They started out as an unskilled coordination from players unfamiliar with each other.

Their composition was actually quite good however. Equinox tanked while Norra and Eva did DPS. Gardenia was in the back providing a mix of healing and damage when needed. With that teamwork they were able to get deeper and deeper into the mountainous forest. While there wasn’t anything quite as strong as the Boar King they did face a bunch of lesser field bosses.

It was the end of the third day when they gathered once more in the tavern.

“It looks like this will our be our last day of grinding. My reports from the front are telling me that the elites are done training and going to start making attempts at the dungeon boss. Tomorrow is going to be our best shot at beating the Boar King.”

“Do you think we can get anybody else to join us?” Asked Gardenia.

Norra shook her head, “I was too naive. I had thought the teamwork would be easy to meld in but I was wrong. Working in another player or two at this stage is just going to make things difficult. This game is different from the things I had played before and coordinating is much harder than I expected it to me.”

There were nodded all around. It had taken the full three days for them to get in a proper rhythm with each other. Adding another player without that rhythm would certainly be difficult to deal it. While that might make fights easier it might also make them harder.

“Do you think just the three of us can beat the Boar King?” Asked Gardenia.

It was Eve that answered, “In my judgement we can do it. Wouldn’t you agree Norra?” The two of them were basically the experts of the team. Equinox knew a bunch about crafting but it was Norra and Eve which formed the planning backbone of the team.

“Yes.” Said Norra, “But I do think it will be tough. We are walking a tightrope here and I expect several wipes before we managed to beat the Boar King. Equinox, will you be able to get us the proper gear in time?”

Equinox nodded “I am only a couple of hours away from mastering basic smithing. I took tomorrow off work to ensure that I have enough time to finished mastering it and to product all the required equipment.”

Eve looked concerned, “Are you sure that is alright?”

“Do not worry. I properly procured the time off work. I do not often take days off work so there will be no problems. Besides I am salaried and need to spend the vacation time.”

Gardenia shook her head and said, “I unfortunately can’t take time off like that but I can make sure I login at 7pm which is the soonest I can become available.”

Eve sighed and looked distraught, “I am a bit envious. Unfortunately I am still only available during the sleeping hours. I apologize for not being able to join you earlier but it really is impossible for me.”

Norra waved her hand dismissing the issue, “Don’t worry. I expected that from the beginning. We will just make sure to have all the preparations made before you login so that we can immediately head out to the Boar King once you login.”

“Thanks.”

“Now! Before Eve has to logout, we need to enjoy ourselves. Eat and drink until morning, for tomorrow we might die to the horrible boar king. Cheers!” Norra raised her mug and everybody joined her. They clanged the cups together.

Their skills were as ready as they were ever going to be. Both Gardenia and Norra might not quite have appropriate levels for an expert attempting the dungeon but they weren’t too far behind. Eve and Equinox were behind the other two but they each practiced other trades in the game as well as fighting so it wasn’t too much worse for them. The weakest link was probably Evening Wanderer but she was instrumental in gathering enough funds to purchase the none-smithing gear that the party was going to purchase.

Gardenia


Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 44


Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 47


Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Weapon — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 21


Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 36


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 28


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 39


Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 31


Iyrandrar Norra


Weapon — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Light [Basic]: Lvl 46


Stealth [Basic]: Lvl 27


Style — Duel Wielding [Basic]: Lvl 43


Arts — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 28


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 19


Evening Wanderer


Weapon — Bow [Basic]: Lvl 39


Weapon — Dagger [Basic]: Lvl 16


Armor — Light [Basic]: Lvl 26


Gathering — Harvesting [Basic]: Lvl 32


Gathering — Skinning [Basic]: Lvl 35


Gathering — Butchering [Basic]: Lvl 35


Lore — Appraisal [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Equinox


Weapon — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 34


Armor — Heavy [Basic]: Lvl 41


Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 40


Style — Aggression [Basic]: Lvl 32


Gathering — Mining [Basic]: Lvl 41


Crafting — Smithing [Basic]: Lvl 48

During the day Equinox worked hard on raising his smithing skill so that he could master basic smithing. He took the slower, less expensive way since Eve wouldn’t be available until later. Once it was mastered he was able to purchase the required recipes for the different equipment pieces they would need.

Heavy armor for himself, a pair of daggers for Norra, a light shield for Gardenia and a heavy one for himself. After that he made some arrows for Eve. With those done the rest of his time until Eve logged in was crafting equipment for the elite team going after the dungeon boss.

While Eve was unavailable many of the crafters she was aquatinted with had also mastered their basic crafting skill. Sanderman was able to product a bow and Neverland𝜶 was able to craft leather armor for both Norra and Eve.

With all those purchases their funds were practically dry. Norra was able to acquire a handful of the highest tier potions that could be crafted in the beginner town but it would only be enough for around three attempts at the Boar King. They had expected to be able to purchase more then they did. Potion prices were at an all time high as preparations to face the dungeon boss also needed plenty of consumables.

Finally all of their preparations were complete. Eve had logged in and they were all gathered in the tavern. However this time it was not to eat and drink. Gardenia was then to say a final word to the old man who had given them the quest.

“Mister Avalo, today we are going to slay the master of the forest. Rest assured that it will fall this day.”

The old man nodded, “I see it in your eyes. You possess the will and the power to slay the foul beast. I wish you the best of luck. I will make sure to prepare a reward for when you return.”

“And then the team turned as one and walked out of the tavern, grim determination in their eyes.” Narrated Norra as the team did indeed leave the tavern, although the grim determination was kinda lost at her comment.

The walk through the forest was eerily quite, They were only interrupted by a couple encounters with wolves and evil trees. Soon enough they had arrived deep in the darkest parts of the forest.

“Alright everybody.” Said Norra and they huddled in a circle to listen to her, “I expect to make several attempts against the Boar King. Our biggest limiting factor is the consumables. My estimates put us at three real attempts. So for the first few times let us fight it without consumables, that will give us a good measure of its strength. Only after those two attempts should we spend any real resources.”

There was nodding approvals all around.

Norra continued. “Gardenia, there is a special job for you and Eve since you two are in the back. Keep an eye out on the Boar’s behaviors. Enemies like this commonly change their strategies after losing a certain amount of health. Me and Equinox are going to be in the thick of it so it will be harder for us to notice. If either of you see any changes in the boar yell it out right away. The earlier we are alerted the better.”

Eve also chipped into the strategy, “Also Gardenia, you are the only one with monster identification. The rest of us can’t judge how much health the master has lost. When it reaches half, a quarter, and ten percent health try to call it out. Those are the times when behaviors change, well, at least they were in other games.”

“Alright, I will do my best. I only have a bar that I can see so I can’t be certain about the remaining enemy health but I will do my best.”

Norra nodded, “Alright, now remember we have plenty of attempts without using potions so try to survive as long as possible. AND FIGHT!” She raised her fist. The other three did their best to mimic her.

Then the battle against the master of the forest begun. This they had all expected the first battle ended swiftly in the boar’s victory. Unlike some of the bigger enemies that they had fought before the boar gains and lost aggro incredibly quickly. It only took one mistake from Equinox for the Boar to completely ignore him and kill Norra. After that the team quickly collapsed and they were all sent back to town.

They still hadn’t gotten intermediate skills which couldn’t even be learned in the starter town so there were no death penalties and they were free to make attempts as many times as they wanted.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 7

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 7 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 13:14

——

“I can’t believe you went and just killed the Boar King without me.” Said the lively Norra when she and Equinox finally returned after reviving. “I didn’t even get to see your heroic victory! Argg…”

Equinox placed a hand gentle on Norra’s head before saying, “What she is really meaning to say is good job.”

Norra puffed up her checks and looked embarrassed but did not refute what Equinox said.

While they were talking Eve had been kneeling next to the dead king boar. She had a carving knife in her hand and she had been examining the Boar King. Back before Eve joined the team Norra had underestimated the value of harvesters on a battle team.

In their few days together the entire party had learned a great deal about the mechanics of the game. Unlike a lot of games enemies seemed to only give materials upon death. While any player could collect these materials a skilled harvester like Eve was essential, especially for a boss like this. Stronger enemies had higher quality materials and without a harvester only the smallest amount of collected.

This was fine when talking about enemies like rabbits and wolves. Losing a little bit of money of each of them could be made up with quantity. This was absolutely not the case with a field boss like the Boar King. Making sure to gather the highest possible materials was essential.

Gardenia asked, “Is something the matter Eve? You looked worried.”

“Hmmm, this is difficult. While my skills are sufficient to attempt harvesting this monster I haven’t mastered basic skinning and harvesting. Because of that I can’t guarantee that I will be able to get the best drops. Are you sure you want me to do this? There is probably a more experienced harvester, I wouldn’t want to waste any of these drops.”

Gardenia and Norra shared a glance before looking back at Eve who was visibly shaking. The thought of possibly losing money was driving her to ruin. Norra couldn’t find the right words, she was not serious enough to deal with Eve.

Gardenia placed a hand on Eve’s shoulder, “You have to do it. Since you joined the team you have earned a share of this reward.” She paused and then really jammed the dagger in deep, “If we got a different harvester just think of the fees we would have to pay to get them to harvest this boar?”

They had seen Eve fret over saving coppers when buying potions. Once she had spent thirty minutes haggling over a discount which the merchant gave just to be finished with the transaction.

Eve gulped doing the calculations of what a better harvester than her would charge. Her shacking quelled and she announced, “I am doing it.” Then she stabbed the boar with her carving knife. A few moments later the boar began to dissolve into motes of light.

She released her breath and said, “I got a good success on skinning and a mediocre success on butchering.” She took a few more breaths before standing up and showing off what she had acquired.


Giant Boar Hide [High Quality] x6


Giant Red Boar Tusk [Imbued, High Quality] x2


Tough Boar Meat [Medium Quality] x 10

“Any idea what this might be worth?” Asked Norra looking over the materials.

“The meat is cheap, maybe 5 copper each. The boar hide is more valuable, probably worth 50 copper each. I expect that the hide can make extremely good leather armor for this point in the game. As for the tusks, I have no idea. My appraisal skills isn’t giving me its value which means it is probably quite valuable.” Said Eve.

“Indeed, at this point in the game, the tusks are probably priceless.” Said Equinox. “It is an imbued item which means it is a top class crafting component. Items made with imbued components get extra qualities, or at least so I have heard.”

“Like magical properties?” Asked Norra.

“Yes, although I wouldn’t tell you exactly what these tusks would do. Each ingredient does something different and that changes based off what you make with it. At least that is what I have heard.”

“Priceless…” Eve was looking off to the side, “And I could have failed to harvest them…”

Equinox raised his hands to try and calm her, “I say that but seriously they are probably only worth 5 silver each. A large sum surely but not actually priceless. While they might make masterful equipment currently whatever they make would be masterful beginner gear.”

“5 silvers each is still quite a lot…” Moaned Eve. She wasn’t wrong. If you calculated the price of all the gear and consumables that the entire party had it would still come out to near 10 silver. Those two tusks were practically worth the same as all the money they had made since beginning the game.

“Rather than worrying about it we should celebrate!” Said Norra. “We killed the boar and even did it before the dungeon was cleared. Let us get drunk off the glory and party until morning!”

“And turn in the quest.” Said Gardenia, “We still haven’t gotten a reward for it.”

There was a moment of silence. In the victory they had forgotten about the rewards from the quest. They had gotten so much from the boar already, what could the reward be for competing the quest.

On the way back to the tavern Norra talked about the plans for the celebration. Selling the hides off quickly was probably the best bet. If the dungeon still hadn’t been cleared the value of higher quality armor would be much higher than normal. They could sell the tusks as well but simply selling off the biggest reward seems like a waste.

First thing first however was turning in the quest. They approached the old man in the tavern with Gardenia leading them. “Mister Avalo, we have done what you have requested. The master of the forest has been slain.”

The man looked up, a hopeful expression on his face, “Really, for truly?”

“Yes” Gardenia took out one of the tusks of the boar and showed it to the man.

First the first time the man smiled, “Thank goodness, now the guardian of the forest can rest in peace. I can not thank you enough for defeating that monster. I do not have much I can offer as a reward but please that this.” He pulled out a small bag that jingled with coins and handed it over to Gardenia.

The man stood up from the table. “Now it is time for me to leave. With that monster dead I must find a new guardian of the forest. May your future journeys be bountiful and the blessings of the forest be upon you.” He shook each of their hands before leaving the tavern.

Eve could only keep looking at the bag of coins, “What a kind old man.”

“Do you think we will see him again?” Asked Gardenia.

Norra could only contemplate, “ I’m been thinking about it but the NPCs in the game are extremely life like don’t you think. They act extremely, well… real.”

“You think?” Asked Eve, “They are a bit passive but I suppose you are right. There isn’t really a distinguisher between NPCs and PCs and the AI does seem pretty good. Although I don’t think I have confused any PCs and NPCs yet.”

“It might just be the visual part. Looking human makes it easy to believe they are.” Said Norra.

“Umm…” Gardenia said, “I seemed to have acquired a new skill. Did any of you get it too?”

Almost synchronized they all opened their skill lists to see it.


Forest’s Blessing [Intermediate, Rare]: Lvl 1

Norra pulled in her breath before saying, “A rare intermediate skill? What sort of strange special reward is this?” She examined the skill’s details before reading it aloud, “Slightly reduces the effects of debuffs.”

“Wow…” Eve and Equinox also seemed to be in awe of the skill.

“That sounds good. It is good right?” Asked Gardenia who was the least experienced member of the team.

Norra nodded, “Yeah, really good. Reducing debuffs is always exceptionally good even if the effect is very minimal. Plus a rare intermediate skill… talk about striking gold. We are probably the only ones in this town with an intermediate skill, and the quest giver just left.”

Equinox said, “Which means we are the only ones who have this skill. Who knows how long it will be before anybody else acquires this skill. And with it being rare…”

“Who knows if anybody else will ever learn this skill.” Finished Eve. “Because of that it might be best to keep the possession of this skill secret. At least for now.”

There was nodded around. Gardenia didn’t really know how important it was to keep quite about it but the seriousness of even Norra managed to convince her that their idea was probably right.

Norra clapped her hands, “Enough seriousness. Eve, take the hides and go sell them as quickly as possible. The longer we wait on those the less they will be worth.” Norra took the bag of coins from Gardenia and said, “I’ll take this reward and order us all of the food. All of it!” Norra cackled as she walked over to the server and attempted to order all of the food.

Eve looked ecstatic when she returned. She had managed to sell the hide for a total of 3 silver. The table was loaded full of different plates and dishes as the server continued to bring us food. Norra kept calling out “More More”.

While they ate and talked other players occasionally came through. They whispered to each other about the party that was happening in the tavern.

‘What are they doing? Isn’t that just a waste of money?’

‘I heard from the leatherworker that they fought some kind of large boar and got some good drops.”

‘I’ve seen them before. They were respawning after dying. Was the opponent that hard?’

‘According to one of my sources the leather from the boar was used to make some great leather armor that one of the dungeon folks bought immediately.’

Since the dungeon hadn’t yet been conquered the small party was like a minor celebrate. Tales of the monster they fought began to spread around town. In the grand scheme of things their party wasn’t that special but right now they enjoyed themselves.

The next day when they logged in they found that the dungeon had been cleared. Apparently a team of no-lifes had cleared it during the middle of the day, beating the other teams who were aiming for the glory.

“Are you sure I can keep them?” Asked the surprised Equinox.

“None of the rest of us are crafters. For the rest of us it would just be some money but for you it is your future. Take them.” Said Norra with the support of both Gardenia and Eve. They had decided to gift the tusks to Equinox.

“Thank you for this precious gift. I will never forget your generosity.” He bowed to them with an extremely serious look on his face.

“Remember, while we might part ways, we will always be together is spirit, and on each others friends lists!” Called out Norra in a dramatic fashion.

Eve chided Norra, “Coming from the one of us that is planning on using the big city to go play with other friends?”

Norra looked a little bit ashamed but it was true. The path to the big city was open and with it was teleporter points to the other city which had also been unlocked. Eve was planning on staying in the beginner town for a while to finish mastering her gathering skills, the boar king had been too much of a shock for her.

That meant it was just Equinox, and Norra and Gardenia that was heading to Trezy. They waved tearful goodbyes although it was mostly Norra that was tearful.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 8

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 8 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 13:25

It took a while to reach the city of Trezy from the starter town. The roads were packed with other players doing the same thing. The beta had lasted approximately a month before the full released and the second half of that time was spent in the cities and surrounding zones.

Norra explained that now that the city was unlocked there were Intermediate trainers who could teach Intermediate skills. Learning them required the player to have mastered the corresponding Basic skill. Still, Intermediate skills were the core of the game. Learning and mastering Intermediate skills was what distinguished you from other players.

She explained what she knew but that was skill lacking. Nobody in the beta had mastered an intermediate skill so nobody know what was beyond that. However something must certainly be beyond it since the name was intermediate.

As the traveled through the tunnel they passed by an old ruined archway leading sidewise.

“This must be the dungeon what was cleared. Previously it was the tunnel but after defeating the boss for the first time the tunnel to Trezy finally opened up. Apparently the Kobold Champion at the end is rather tough, maybe even stronger than the Boar King. It even looks like there is a tablet right outside the entrance with the name of the people who first cleared the dungeon.”

“Our victory seems to be pretty minor compared to their’s doesn’t it?” Asked Gardenia.

“We might not get the same reputation but we did get a rare skill. That is good enough for me.”

The travel continued toward the city. Eventually light could be seen coming from the entrance of the cave. The sky opened up above them and they could see off across the valley. Their starting town was surrounded by forests in all directions but this place was completely different.

The entire valley was almost covered with the city of Trezy. It had been built into the walls of the mountain and stretch up the side. There was a castle far up the mountain, almost impossibly high onto the steep cliffs.

The road that the players were traveling along lead down a winding path through many fields of some kind of root vegetable. The road split with one path heading toward the city and the other leading off to another passageway into the mountains.

“Wow….” They could only say as they looked up at the massive city.

“I had heard the cities were different but I didn’t expect them to be this different.” Said Norra as she looked dumbfounded at the vertical city built into the mountain. “This is completely different from the other cities that I have hear about.”

Their team was not the only ones stopping and marveling at the giant city. As they walked closer and closer to it the giant scale of the city became more and more impressive. As they entered through the city gates it was all they could do to stare up at into the sky at the castle far above them.

Eventually Norra broke the mood, “Well, I fear it is time for me to leave. My exciting tales are going to continue and I’ll be sure to send you the details of them.” She turned and there were slight glimmers of tears in her eyes, “One day we might travel again. Until then goodbye.”

Not wanting to show any more weakness she ran away. She waved back as she we about to get out of sight and Gardenia and Equinox waved back toward her.

“Are you leaving too?” Asked Gardenia.

“I don’t know about leaving, I plan on staying in the city for a while. I heard that there was land you can buy in the cities and I was hoping I could start my own blacksmithing shop. While fighting the boar is exciting, I don’t know if boss fights are really my thing. Once I set up my shop I’ll see you a message about where it is and you will have to come and visit. What about you? Do you have any plans?”

“Not really. For now I am just going to look around the city. I will probably solo some until I can get some intermediate skills then… who knows.”

“I’m sure you will do fine. However if you need anything then I will be happy to help. After all I got the greatest reward from our encounter.”

“Thanks I will. Now take care.” They nodded to each other and departed ways.

Gardenia was alone once again. She hadn’t really been certain of what to do in the game when she had first arrived and even now it was only a faint glimmer. Fighting the Boar King has sparked something in her and she wanted to follow that, even if she didn’t know where it would lead.

What she did know was that she needed to change her character, while she had spent a bunch of time nearly mastering those basic skills that what she wanted to do was something different. When she had arrived the though of being a wizard had been enticing but now she knew that the back line just wasn’t for her.

To begin with it was time to purchase some new skill training.

Part #2 — The Frozen Monastery

The chill caused Gardenia to shiver uncontrollably. Had she realized how cold it was going to be she might not have come in the first place. She even had a fire spell to ward away the cold but it was enough enough against the chill of these mountains.

The path above her had collapsed making it impossible to return via that route. She could only press forward. She could see the ancient structure out in the white expanses of the mountain. That was her destination and now her only options were to reach it or to die trying.

She was wearing thick furs, an even larger attempt to vainly fight off the cold. Beyond that everything was obscured, although she was wearing a sword on her waist and no magical rod was to be seen.

All around her was nothing but mountain cliffs and snow drifts. Each step was difficult as she was forced to pull one foot after another out of the snow. While she internally complained bitterly about the realness she was impressed about how true it actually was.

This zone has recently been added to the game with a bunch of others, extreme survival zones, places that tested both your mind and body. Rumors of new skills also getting added had spread as well which is what caused Gardenia to end up in this situation.

There had been others that had started this journey with her, other players interested in the skills that could be found in this remote region. Some had turned back almost immediately because they had not realized how cold things would be. Compared to now that temperature could have been considered warm.

After that they had been attacked by Yetis, large white apes which fought with vicious abandon. Whose who hadn’t managed to learn enough intermediate skills had been lost there. Then there had only been three left. Gardenia and two others.

When the avalanche came Gardenia had been caught in it any only managed to survive because she hit a big rock on a lower level of the mountain. Another player might have given up there, alone and in the cold but Gardenia had the necessary skills to continue onward.

Life magic had allowed her to regain the missing health and her fire magic was able to keep her warm. Although her fire magic had been lagging behind recently she was glad to still have it at this moment.

She could not longer see the other two which had been with her. They had seemed skilled so that might have also survived but there certainly weren’t on the same layer as she was. Without being quite skilled at climbing she wouldn’t be able to get back up to the originial path and would have to keep making her way on the current route.

It wasn’t too long while trudging through the snow that one of the large Yeti’s appeared in front of her. Gardenia drew the sword that she had been carrying and pulled the shield off her back. The shield was much bigger than the ones she had been using previously but it was stronger and more durable.

Gardenia

Magic — Life: Physical Enhancement [Intermediate]: Lvl 7

Magic — Life: Healing [Intermediate]: Lvl 9


Magic — Fire: Infusion [Intermediate] : Lvl 1


Forest’s Blessing [Intermediate, Rare]: Lvl 7


Armor — Shield: Deflection [Intermediate]: Lvl 3




Basic Skills


Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered

]
Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Weapon — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Arts — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 34


Weapon — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 39 [Disabled]


Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 46 [Disabled]


Armor — Chain [Basic]: Lvl 42


Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Compared to some of the most elite players her list of intermediate skills might be consider quite low, however those player probably didn’t relearn a bunch of basic skills. Besides having too many skills just made you improve all of them slower. Intermediate skills were much less broad then basic skills so rather then having just one skill related to each type of magic there were many.

Out of all the skills the intermediate magic skills was probably the most important. Without learning fire infusion magic she would not have been able to learn the spell which protected her from the cold. Another benefit was that having intermediate magic skills also boosted the strength and reduced the mana cost of basic spells.

The yeti bellowed, attempting to intimidate her but she had fought them before and knew that she could handle it. The most difficult thing about the yeti’s was the extreme cold, without proper gear, and cold resistance your movements were slowed and the creature would be able to easily kill you.

Not only did she have the proper spells and equipment but her Forest’s Blessing also counted the cold as a debuff and reduced the effect of the cold as well. Intermediate skills were also very hard to level up so only having lvl 11 in life empowerment was actually quite high for this point in the game.

Before the yeti could reach her she call the life spell “Physical Enhancement” on herself to improve her physical stats. The spell was a difficult intermediate spell which took a lot of mana, especially because she was casting it without a casting implement. One of the reasons she was here was that rumors told that the monastery could teach the Inner Focus skill, a type of casting implement that didn’t rely on actually having equipment.

The yeti raised its fists in a big double handed slam. Gardenia raised her shield to block the attack while swinging in with her sword at the beast’s legs. The attack did practically no damage to Gardenia because she blocked it however the sword strike was equally ineffective because of the creature’s thick hide. Gardenia’s sword wasn’t particularly powerful but it was sharp so she could still cut through their hide with enough effort.

Gardenia had another plan however. Because she had taken the advice of Norra and learned Sword Arts. They were special abilities that could be triggered using a weapon. Like spells they used mana. While not as powerful as spells they were more powerful than normal attacks, if you used them right.

It was easy to trigger “Flicker Strike’ when the Yeti’s guard was down. It was an incredibly quick attack that was hard to dodge or block. It return it didn’t too much more damage than a normal attack. While these weapon arts did requirement mana they did not require using a casting implement like her healing or fire mage.

She attacked as much as she could in the moments she got while defending against the yeti.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 9

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 9 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 13:27

When she pulled away from the yeti it watched the carefully. The one that came out better in the exchanged was the yeti. It had only lost about 50% of its health but Gardenia had lost around 70%. If things continued like that then the yeti would win.

However the skill that Gardenia was the best at had not really come into play. While it was slower and less powerful without a casting implement she could still cast her healing spells. With the time the yeti was giving her she cast the spell, instantly recovering most of her hit points.

Then the yeti bellowed and charged her again. It was just charging to its doom. Gardenia was able to follow the same sequence of actions and that was sufficient. The yeti collapsed on the ground, defeated.

When it was over Gardenia sheathed her sword. It was close, close to what she was aiming for, but she wasn’t quite there. She know she couldn’t reach that feeling again with her current skills and against enemies like this. Her skills with swords were just too low.

Once again she trudged through the snow. While she could see her destination off in the forest she didn’t know the way to get to it since she had fallen down from the actual path. She just had to make her way and hope things connected.

What could charitably be called a path continued alone the side of the mountain. Really it was just a less steep part of the mountain. She wanted to take a moment to recover her mana but it was just too cold to stay still for too long.

To her surprise the path turned and at the end was an opening to a cave. She could see blue crystals inside. She did really have any other paths so this was her only real option. She did hope that at least the wind was less severe inside the cave.

She walked into the cave, although she kept an eye open searching. While enemies seemed to be rare in this zone those enemies were stronger than many other enemies she had faced. While she might be able to beat a single yeti with great mp expenditure she was certainly going to fail to win if she fought more than one at a time.

The shining blue crystal lit the cave and drew her deeper inside. Then she began to hear a crashing sound, an irregular smashing of crystals. Hearing that Gardenia began to pick up her pace, moving faster through the tunnels. Soon the tunnel opened up into a larger cavern. In the cavern a man was running away from a giant lizard with the blue crystals stuck to its back.

The man wore extremely thick black robes and had black hair that partially covered his eyes. He had a gnarled wooden staff in his hands. As the monstrous lizard continued to attack him he could only run away from it to try and stay alive.

Gardenia remembered seeing the man before. He was one of the others who had survived the initial wave of yetis. They hadn’t been introduced but he had been a skilled wizard. Gardenia quick drew her sword and shield while running toward the lizard. She interposed herself between the lizard and the man while calling out.

“I will hold it off. Cast your spells now.” The lizard smashed into the shield that she was holding and she was pushed back from the force. Still she grinned, it didn’t feel as hard as when she had block against the Boar King.

She tried to swing her sword against the lizard but it was difficult to find the time. While the lizard’s attacks didn’t seem as hard hitting as the yeti’s it made attack after attack forcing her to continue guarding with her shield. It also wasn’t giving her time to cast any of her spells. The only thing she could do was activate her sword arts to keep herself alive while trying to chip damage at the lizard.

Behind her the mage in black was chanting a spell. Second after second he continued to chant before he finally called out, “Dark Tendrils”. As he finished the spell the shadows of the lizard leapt up out of the ground and began to wrap the lizard. In only moments the lizard was tightly trapped and wasn’t able to move.

Gardenia knew not to let this moment go to wait. Restainment spells like this had limited durations and she needed to do what she could while it was restrained. She activated the “Overwhelming Strike” art which was much slower than normal attacks but did considerably extra damage. Normally it was use against slow but high defense enemies and right now the lizard was the perfect target for it.

While she was fighting off the lizard the man had already started casting another spell. When he finished casting it a dark mist began to spread across the battlefield. He followed this up with a couple of very quick spell targeting both him and Gardenia.

The dark strands preventing the lizard from moving were quickly beginning to snap. Using her last free moments Gardenia cast the biggest healing spell that she had. Her mana was practically empty at this point because she hadn’t fully recovered from the previous battle against the yeti.

The black mist had covered the battle field and Gardenia noticed that her hit points were very slowly lowering, although it was practically nothing compared to what the lizard was losing. Its life was dropping extremely quickly. That put Gardenia in a good state. All she needed to do was defend.

She didn’t have any aggro pulling skills but whatever spells the man was casting caused very little aggro. Gardenia still needed to be careful however since her hp was lowering as well. But at this point the battle was already over, it was just a matter of time.

As the lizard collapsed and the black fog disappated Gardenia sheathed her sword and turned toward the man in black. “I’m glad to see that you also survived the avalanche. I assume you have not seen any of the others?”

“No, I did not see anybody else. After the avalanche I found myself alone on top of the ridge. I thought I was certainly going to die however you managed to save me this time.” Said the man.

“Your spells were pretty impressive. That was curse magic right, probably intermediate since I don’t recognize the spell.”

“Yes, I use curse magic. I am known as the Oblivion Shadow.”

Gardenia nodded, she had gotten used to some of the strange names players chose for themselves. “My name is Gardenia. Since we are both heading to the monastery do you want to team up until we get there. It is probably safer to travel together.”

“I would only be doomed to die if I traveled alone.”

“Alright, then that is decided.” Gardenia said, “If you didn’t get knocked down in the avalanche then this must be the main path right?” She looked around. The cavern was pretty big and there were several entrances. She could remember which one she had come in but she could only make educated guess about the others. “Which way did you come from?”

Oblivion Shadow looked around the room before shaking his head, “No idea. Once I entered here I just contemplated my own mortality while running away from a giant lizard. That messed up my sense of direction.”

“Right…” Said Gardenia, she decided she must have a knack for finding weirdos in online games, although they might just be common in them. “Well, this entrance seems the most likely.” She pointed toward one of the exits. It was an estimated guess that was probably in the direction of the monastery.

The man nodded in agreement and they both began traveling that direction. Gardenia tried to make small talk while they walked through the blue crystal tunnels, “So, if you don’t mind if I ask, what kind of skill are you hoping to find in the monastery? I heard they have an inner focus skill which makes it easier to cast spells without an casting focus but that probably isn’t what you are looking for.”

“I am searching for inner peace.” Said the man cryptically.

“Is that a skill?”

“The information that was released about the monistary is that the practitioners there meditate on the secrets of the universe and that reveals many mystical truths to them. I want to learn to do that.”

“That sounds like an important technique to them. Do you think they will be willing to teach it?”

“Not really… however I didn’t really have anything better to do.”

There was silence as the two of them walked.

“Well, I hope that they will teach it to you.” Said Gardenia. It was clear that Oblivion Shadow was no the most talkative person. If Gardenia didn’t keep up the conversation then he would probably just stop it after whatever he last said.

So Gardenia kept up talking by herself, “I’ve been searching for skills to help me create my build. I am seeking to become a Holy Knight. One of my friends suggested how I should adjust my build but the biggest issue has been the difficulty of casting spells without an implement. Have you had any trouble finding the right skills for your build.”

He just shook his head, “I’m basically just a pure curse mage. Although maybe you can say that I am searching for what else I might want to do.”

Gardenia nodded in understanding, “I can see that. When I first started the game I was a Fire Mage, although now I don’t really do that any more. It wasn’t until after my first real boss fight that I had a feel for how I wanted to fight. Since then I’ve been trying to adjust my build to accomplish that.”

“Hmmm.” Was his only really reply.

Gardenia wanted to speak some more but instead she saw something ahead and raised her hand. “Wait, it looks like some kind of structure ahead. We should proceed more cautiously.”

They slowed down as they got closer to the strange structure. It was like a temple built underground. A large empty platform was in front of a door. Along either side of the door was a serious of statues. They statues were old and worn, carved in the image of men and woman. Each of them wore exotic clothing and had a regal look about them.

“Do you think they are supposed to be depictions of gods?” Asked Gardenia.

“It is the eight forerunners. The champions that came before.”

“Who?”

“Right, you might not have hear of them but back in Trezy you could find a bunch of stories about them. The myth goes that long long ago the different regions were completely untamed, full of monsters with not a single human. The eight forerunners came from the Endless Realm, bringing humans to these lands. They founded the great cities and created the pillars. There are a lot if individual stories about them but that is the general gist.”

“Majestic heroes of the past huh. Does that make this some kind of hero worship?”

“You aren’t too far off. The forerunners are thought of like gods. Legends say that all the skills we can learn today were passed down by the forerunners. Of course this doesn’t really mean much to use players but is more like the lore of the realm. Following the trails of these great heroes will probably lead players to dungeons and great rewards.”

Gardenia looked over the eight carved statues. “I didn’t realize the lore was this deep. Where did you find this information?”

“The NPCs can sometimes talk about it. Also there is a large library in Trezy that I went to. A lot of the stories there are about the forerunners.”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 10

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 10 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 13:32

“Sooo…. I what are the forerunner’s thoughts on giant boss battle arenas?” Said Gardenia looking over the large platform in the center of the room.

“Yeah, that is definitely a boss arena. The forerunners were very big on improving yourself via combat. One of the forerunners was said to be a summoner, they crafting a bunch of summoning devices all across the zones as tests for those who see to improve themselves. This might be one of those devices.”

“Do you think we will be able to beat it?”

“No. I expect that both of us are going to die.”

“How reassuring…” Said Gardenia.

She took steps closer to the platform. Anticipating a fight she had already pulled off her shield from her back and had a hand tightly gripped on her sheathed sword. The drew closer to the platform and the door but it wasn’t until they stepped onto the platform that something happened.

“Those seeking Spokog, to enter your might must be testing. Only those who are worthy may pass.” Came a voice ringing out from the halls. It was a feminine voice but beyond that nothing could be told.

From behind the statues came two people. They were wearing very light clothing despite the bitter cold that still permeated the cavern. It was a man and a woman but both of them looked very similar. It wasn’t family resemblance however, it was the fact that they both had shaved heads and wore extremely plain loose fitting clothing. Beyond that they had nothing, no weapons of any sort.

It looked like there wasn’t going to be any monster summoning this time however Gardenia was even more uncertain because of that. At least against a monster she had some experience fighting. She had done no PvP so she was inexperienced fighting against human enemies, although these two were almost certainly NPCs.

They weren’t monsters though, that was for certain. Gardenia wasn’t getting any response from her monster identification skill so she would have no idea about how much hp these two would lose.

Gardenia drew her sword as those two stepped onto the platform with her and Oblivion Shadow. “Are there any rules?”

It was the woman who spoke and it was the same as the voice that spoke previously, “The worthy shall pass, the worthy shall survive. The worthy may spare the unworthy if they desire.”

“That is clear enough to me. Do you want to signal beginning or should I just start?”

They no longer spoke but just took fighting stances like a martial artist.

Gardenia spoke in a softer voice, “Oblivion, I will try to keep them off you as much as possible, you just do as much as you can. I’m counting on you.”

“I’ll see you at the revival pillar.” Was his incredibly encouraging response. However he did begin his chant.

Not wanting to give them more time Gardenia began running toward the two martial artists with her shield raised. Fighting two would be quite the troublesome encounter, however she could feel herself smiling. In the moments before she reached them she finished casting “Physical Reinforcement”.

The two martial artist didn’t not seem to be worrying. They wore light clothing instead of armor so it was easier for them to begin to flank Gardenia. It would be a problem if they passed by her to get to Oblivion Shadow so she activated one of her trump cards. One of the beginning sword arts that she had learned, ⎡Aggression Blade⎦.

She struck quickly with it twice at the two on either side of her before they flanked her completely. The man deflected it to one side and the woman dodges out of the way. This let Gardenia turn to face the woman, since she had dodged she was the most dangerous threat to Oblivion.

⎡Aggression Blade⎦ was an attack meant to draw aggro but it had a secondary effect. Those who were struck by it, even if they deflected it were afflicted by a movement debuff. Not only that the effect of the debuff was stronger the farther way from the user you were.

This let Gardenia keep control of the two NPCs. While normal monsters could be handled with normal aggro skills, NPCs like these needed more encouragement to attack specific targets. These skills also had great application in PvP.

Now Gardenia just had to survive against two combatants. Since the woman hadn’t been affected Gardenia focused on her. Moving in closer and attempting to strike with her sword. Gardenia wanted to keep as much mp as possible for when she had a better grasp of her foe.

The woman kept dodging the attack and staying just far enough outside of Gardenia’s reach that Gardenia had to keep moving forward to make more attacks. Still it was keeping the woman busy and Gardenia hoped that she had the upper hand.

At least until the woman called out “Ice Needles”. A spell quickly cast without any focus, internal Gardenia cursed for not expecting this. After all this was the very reason she had come to this location.

Shards of sharp ice began to form in the air and rain down on Gardenia. It was certainly an intermediate spell with the amount of needles and the area they covered. She brought up her shield to block which protected her from most of them however she could feel the chilly pain in her undefended legs as they stabbed into her.

This was dangerous she could not properly defend against that spell. Even so she was lucky. The fire spell she was protected against raised her ice resistance which also reduced the damage of the spell.

Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to win at this rate she began to trigger ⎡Flicker Strike⎦ to attack. She was able to draw close and then activate the art. Since it was a quick strike the attack was much harder for the woman to dodge than Gardenia’s normal attacks. While she still managed to dodge a few of the attacks cuts were beginning to appear on her arms and legs.

⎡Ice Wall⎦ called out the woman and in moments a wall of ice crystalized in front of Gardenia and blocked her forward charge against the woman. Gardenia turned her momentum as best she could to move around the side of the wall. In the spare seconds before she rounded the wall she managed to cast a healing spell on herself.

Once she had reached around the other side she realized that it was a mistake.

Wisps of air swirled around the woman and Gardenia could feel the cold emanating off her. She was clearly preparing a powerful spell. Gardenia had two choices in front of her. She could either escape to find a place to block and guard or charge the woman and hope to disrupt the spell before it was completed.

She chose the latter, how could she not. The cold was even chillier the closer she ran toward the woman. It was only a short run but she had at most seconds to disrupt the spell. She could hear the woman begin to say ⎡Avalanche…⎦ and knew that there was mere moments before the spell finished. The woman only needed to finished the incantation and the spell would happen and no amount of interruption would stop it.

Gardenia couldn’t even use a sword art to interrupt it since that too required a vocal trigger and she would end saying it long before the woman finished the spell. All Gardenia could do was thrust her sword at the woman and hope it connected.

⎡… Collapse⎦ And Gardenia was too late. The spell had started. Despite that fact that her sword was beginning to pierce the woman she spell had finished and all Gardenia would do was hope that she had enough cold resistance and hp remaining to survive. With that plan in mind she could only push forward with her plan and finished impaling the woman.

Ice forced in the air and struck Gardenia like a hammer. Even with minimal pain she could feel it and the intense cold. She could only grit her teeth as the chill settled deep into her bones. When the crashing of the ice finally subsided she found that she had somehow survived.

Her hp was even higher than she expected, a full 20% remained. To make matters stranger she was standing over the bleeding figure of the woman. The force of the avalanche had caused a simple thrust to turn into a potentially deadly injury but despite that the woman was trying to stagger to her feet.

Gardenia gave the woman the time but that was because she was using the time to cast healing spells on herself. When the woman had gotten to her feet and regained her pose Gardenia was back to mostly full health. Then facing each other Gardenia said, “Yield.”

There was a long drawn out silence as the woman looked to one side. After that she raised her hands and said, “I yield. You have beaten me.”

With that Gardenia let out a sigh of relief and turned to look where the woman was looking. There was a black human shaped ball laying on the ground. Above the ball was Oblivion Shadow. He looked as calm and normal however he had his staff pointed at the woman.

It was then that Gardenia noticed that she had received the effects of a buff spell, one that raised her magical defense. She didn’t think that was curse spell but it explained why she had survived the powerful magical onslaught.

“Well done. Not only did you manage to beat us but you avoided having to kill either of us.” Spoke the woman. “You are worth to enter Spokog. Beyond that door you will find rest.”

At that Gardenia finally sheathed her sword. She looked over at the black wrapped body of the man on the floor before she said, “You are sure that he is alive?”

Oblivion Shadow nodded, “Yes, this is a containment spell. It drains the opponent’s mana and if they run out completely incapacitates them. Since you delayed him I had enough time to cast my spells against him. Once he was restrained it was easy to beat him.”

Gardenia made a soft laugh before saying, “It looks like I got lucky in hitting him. Had it been the woman who got hit then she might have been able to win with her spells.”

The woman said, “Luck is a part of victory but it is our mistake as well. Had we ganged up on you instead of trying to take down the other then we might have won. However might is not did and you did win.”

She moved over toward the large doors and stopped in front of them. “It is the victors right to open the doors. If you would.”

Gardenia moved up toward the doors and Oblivion Shadow walked up next to her. As he went away from the man the black bindings around him began to unravel and he could begin to stand up.

The doors were large and imposing and Gardenia worried that she might not be able to pushed them open. However the doors moved quite easily and despite their size she was able push them aside. As she did she could feel an almost warm breeze drift into the chamber.

The man and the woman waited for the two of them to enter before following after and closing the doors behind them. Beyond the doors was a bunch of hallways made of stone brick. While the temperature couldn’t be called warm, it was certainly much warmer than it had been outside.

The woman said, “Please follow me. I will lead you to the master.”

The two of them followed the woman. As they passed through the structure Gardenia asked, “Is this part of the large monastery that we could see from the pass?”

“Yes, although this part is underground. Most of the structure is sealed off to keep the warmth in. Because of that you will not find any windows here and all of the doors to the outside are large sealing doors like the ones you came through.”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 11

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 11 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 13:42

The woman lead them past several doors and then up a flight of stairs. Eventually she stopped before an ornate wooden door. She knocked on it before saying, “Master, wanderers are here to train.”

An old soft voice spoke from inside the room, “Bring them in, no need to make them wait.”

The woman opened the door and motioned for the two of them to enter. Inside the room was a strange study. There were racks of scrolls alone the wall and some scroll painting depicting dragons, although it felt unusual to Gardenia for such an asian inspired room to depict western style dragons.

There were several cushions on the floor and one of them was already inhabited by an old man. He was bald like the two combatants but he had a wispy beard. He was also wearing the same plain clothes.

“Come, sit down. Elunial, you stay as well.”

The woman Elunial said, “Yes master.” She stood by the master’s side while Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow took seats on the cushions.

“So, how did these seekers do?” Said the old man, the question was directed to Elunial.

“The woman ’s skill is lacking but she mades decisions fast even if those are not the best decision. Also her luck was excellent. The man had excellent skills and practical usage but has trouble with forming his own direction.”

The old man nodded, “Ah yes, I can see that in them. Since you arrived as well they also have good judgement and kindness in their hearts.” Then he spoke to the two of them, “While I thank you for leaving my students alive remember that not all enemies can be dealt with that way and only the truly strong and save even their opponents.”

Gardenia did a small seated bow and said, “Thank you for you wisdom.”

The old man stroked his wispy beard and asked, “What brings you to Spokog? You are from Trezy are you not? One of the disciples said that the caverns have shifted and opened up the path once again.”

“Yes, I indeed came for Trezy although I am a Traveler.” Said Gardenia. She knew that Traveler was the world lore name for the players; “I came in seek of the Inner Focus skill. I saw Elunial cast spells easily with the need for a magical focus and I too desire that skill.”

Oblivion Shadow said, “I am seeking inner peace. I know not how to find it but I thought this might be a good place to begin looking.”

“Well the Inner Focus skill is one that we can teach you. It is difficult to learn but I am sure you can manage. Finding inner peace however is much harder, we can attempt to guide you on that journey but it is a path you but make for yourself.” Then the old man clapped, “But learning will come, for now you should rest. I am sure your journey through the mountains was not and easy one. You should have food and then rest. Once you awaken we can begin the training. Elunial, bring them to have some food and then find a room for each of them.”

Elunial had been standing this whole time and she moved to open the door to the room once more. The two followed her as she lead them again through the hallways. Eventually she opened another door to a large dining room. There were many other people dressed as monks here.

She motioned to one of the monks serving food, “While you might find the food here plain, I can assure you it is filling. I will return for you when you are done eating.”

They were served food and took seats at one of the long tables. They received many looks from the other monks in the dining room. Gardenia began trying the food while she spoke, “These are NPCs right? I am always impressed about how good the AI is in this game. I have a friend who believes there are a bunch of AI researchers working with the developers of the game trying to make the best and most natural AI.”

Oblivion Shadow responded, “It is possible. According to the legends the forerunners were Wanderers. Since all that happened in backstory however it is obviously not actually true but it sets the stage. All the human NPCs are supposedly descended from original set of Wanderers that the forerunners came with. Part of this is that human NPCs follow mostly the same rules players. They can learn and improve skills, although they improve much slower. If they die they can also revive at monoliths just like players. The only main difference is they they can’t log out.”

“Really? I didn’t realize that the NPCs were so similar.”

Gardenia was eating what was almost like fried potatoes although the flavor was a bit different. There was also some jerky although that wasn’t much to speak of. While the meal wasn’t exactly bland it also wasn’t that exciting. Gardenia could say that it filled her up but since she didn’t actual have to eat in the game it was more of a illusion than anything else.

Just as they had finished eating Elunial arrived one more, it was like she had been watching them eat. She lead them to an area with a bunch of doors leading off into clearly small rooms. She pointed to a couple of the rooms. “These are the rooms you will use. They aren’t very big but it should be sufficient. Is there a time you want me to come and collect you, I know Wanderers like you have some strange schedules.”

Gardenia said, “About 10 hours for me.” She had work but it was going to be Friday so in the future she would have plenty of time to play more.

“Just six hours for me.” Said Oblivion Shadow, “That should be sufficient.”

She nodded, “Alright, I will have somebody check on you then.”

——

When Gardenia logged back and left the room she had been assigned she found Elunial waiting for her.

“Your friend has already gone to do his training. I have been assigned as your trainer. While I am still an apprentice myself part of my studies is helping others to learn skills.”

“I had forgotten to ask but are there any requirements to learn the Inner Focus skill.” Asked Gardenia.

Elunial was already leading her through the hallways toward wherever the training area was. “You already meet the requirements, of that I am certain. The only requirement is to have completed mastering a basic magic skill. Since you are capable of casting intermediate healing spells you are already done with that. If you have also mastered a basic casting implement then it will be even easier to learn.”

“I have mastered a basic casting implement, although I haven’t used it in a while.”

Elunial opened up a door into a mostly empty room. The only thing that was here was a small table tucked away in one corner. On the table lay a small book. Elunial pointed at the book, “There is a training manual. If you read over it you should be able to understand the basics of the skill. After that we shall do some training to cement the skill and get you to level 1 with it.”

Gardenia was mostly familiar with the process since she had learned skills before. A book or trainer would unlock the skill, granting the lvl 0 version of the skill. Until you got the skill up to lvl 1 it was mostly useless so a short amount of training was needed to make the skill usable.

She looked over the pages of the book which were mainly diagrams of somebody doing martial arts poses. She didn’t really read anything but she still got the notification that she had learned the lvl 0 version of the skill.

As she was about set the book back down she was reprimanded by Elunial, “Read the book properly. Even if Wanderer are exceptionally good at learning skills you shouldn’t neglect the basics. Proper understanding of the fundamentals of the skill are required to unlock your full potential. Without properly understanding it you will not become a full master.”

Gardenia was a little surprised and was about to open her mouth to argue but eventually thought better of it. None of the other teachers had recommended this, was it better to do it. She raised the book again and looked it it. It wasn’t too big, maybe it would be best if she read it.

She watched the pages looking over the diagrams and the writing. It explained how to concentrate to activate spells. In the game skills had many supporting effects. While somebody just joining the game might not know how to use a sword as long as they acquired the sword skill they could swing a sword naturally. Initially it was a bit awkward, like your body was being controlled without your input, however as you got use to the feeling it was more like a tutorial system which you eventually learned to use by yourself.

Gardenia had experienced this too while she took time to master the basic sword skill. The focus skill should be like that but looking over all the descriptions she was uncertain how much aid was actually being given. Casting Implements were used to gather mana and transform it into the desired form. The runes and carvings on the rod helped give magic form. With Inner Focus the caster needed to craft those runes mentally to give the spell the appropriate power.

According to the skill book the early levels of Inner Focus only boosted the casting strength when no using a casting implement and it was only when you neared mastery did it start to speed up casting. Even with inner focus it was still more effective to cast using an implement however the skill helped close that gap.

When Gardenia finished reading the book she had a pretty good idea of how using Inner Focus was supposed to work. Elunial just stood back to let her practice. Gardenia began with her very first and most basic spell.

“Fire Shot” was normally quick and easy to cast. Without the assistance of a casting implement the spell was basically useless however. Offensive spells were basically impossible to aim without a casting implement, still Inner Focus was supposed to aid with that as well.

Gardenia tried to cast the spell several times, aiming at the target dummy that had been setup in the room. Activating Inner Focus wasn’t very difficult, she could feel the power of the spell growing beyond what it would be without the skill. However her aim was terrible.

After a few missed shots Elunial said, “Focus on your target and that is where your spells will fire toward. It is easier if you look directly at your target, the center of your vision is where you are aiming. If you get distracted the focus will wear off and your spells will be erratic and weaker.”

It took only a few more minutes for Gardenia to reach lvl 1 in the skill however her aim had only improved somewhat. Her spells were almost always off to the right of where she expected them to be.

“Listen, you have to remember the point of origin of your spells. Your fire shots are appearing off at your sides and are supposed to point inward toward your target. However your not estimating the distance right and the angles of your shot are all wrong.”

“Wait what?”

“Take about three steps closer and try again.”

Gardenia did as she was told and suddenly all her shots began to hit the target. After several adjustments of distance she was beginning to understand what Elunial was talking about. Aiming in the game was more complex then she thought it would be. Previously she had just used the rod which she held in front of herself which made aiming a lot easier.

Now she had to hold a sword, a shield, and cause fire shots to appear and fire. The best she could describe the experience is that she was using a limb that she never knew existed to move and fire the bolt and she had no idea how to operate the limb.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 12

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 12 Nel Sun, 12/01/2019 - 15:52

It took her two hours before she finally became comfortable with casting using Inner Focus. During most of that time Elunial had left to do other things but when she returned she nodded in approval, “It looks like you understand the basics of the technique. At this point you need more practical experience. The master has a quest he wishes you to undertake. Please follow me to him so that you can listen to it.”

Gardenia nodded and followed Elunial through the hallways back to the master’s room. However this time there were monks running backward and forward. Everybody seemed like they were in a rush.

“What is happening?” Asked Gardenia.

“A large group of Wanderers is approaching and they are all preparing for the challenge. The master expects us to be extremely busy for a while.”

“I guess the tunnels did open up recently, a lot of Wanderers are probably coming here to learn intermediate skills.”

“Indeed. Although I have never heard of a time when so many Wanderer have appeared at once. According to the master there are thousands of them in Trezy and apparently even more elsewhere.”

“Yes, I have heard the same.” Said Gardenia although she was a bit uncomfortable since she herself was one of those Wanderers.

“There are some of the students who claim that this is a harbinger for the end of the world and that the Wanderers are all appearing because they hope to stop it.” Elunial stopped for a moment and looked back at Gardenia, “Do you think the end of the world is coming?”

Gardenia struggled to figure out what to say. She didn’t know if the end of the world was coming, this was supposed to be a game but that kind of story was common in games. Eventually she said, “Not that I know. But I do expect things to change rapidly. However, you can rest assure that at the very least if the end of the world comes I will be there to try and stop it.”

Elunial nodded and then continued walking, “At your current strength you would be practically useless at protecting the world. As would I. You should aim to master your intermediate skills and move on to expert skills, at least then you could participate if such a thing came to pass.”

It was not long before they stopped once more before the room where the master was located. As they entered the room Gardenia say that Oblivion Shadow was already there.

“Good, you are both here.” Said the master. He motions for Gardenia to sit and she did. “You might have heard but there are a lot of Wanderers arriving. I expect at least some of them to pass the test just like you two did. However we are ill-prepared to support that many people here in our current state. Food is the most pressing concern, if I could ask your assistance in this it would be much appreciated.”

Gardenia nodded and said, “Sure, however I can help.” Oblivion Shadow nodded as well.

“There is a special of mountain yak that live nearby. I would like you to hunt them and bring back there meat it. The more you can bring the better but you should return before nightfall.”

“I can do that but I am not well practiced in butchery so I’m not sure if I am the best choice. We would need someone like that with us. Oblivion, do you have that skill.”

He shook his head but the master simply clapped his hands, “Do not worry. I will sent Elunial with you. She has hunted in the mountains many times as part of her training and has become quite proficient in harvesting yaks.”

“You want me to go with them?” Asked Elunial looking surprised.

“Yes, consider it part of your training. Wanderers are strange people, watch them and I am sure that you will learn something.”

“Very well master.”

“Umm…” said Oblivion Shadow, “Do we get some kind of reward for helping you? I don’t care too much either way I just wanted to confirm before hand.”

The old man chuckled a little before saying, “Don’t let opportunity slip away as they say. Consider it payment for teaching you the skills that we have taught you. And if you want to learn more, those who help out will be prioritized more then those who desire free lunches.”

“I suppose that is fair.” Said Oblivion Shadow. “Doing a few quests to learn skills is a fair trade. We will bring you back as much meat as possible.”

As they left the room Elunial said, “Do you know your way back to your rooms by yourself? If I am going to join you on the expedition then I will need to prepare. I can meet you there in around half and hour.”

Gardenia waved to Elunial as she left before walking with Oblivion Shadow back toward the rooms, although they really didn’t have anything to do that.

“So, what kind of skill did you learn?” Asked Gardenia.

“Meditation. It is a skills which improves mp recovery while resting.”

“That sounds like a useful skill, maybe I should learn it.”

“Don’t bother. It is probably incompatible with you. Besides the effect of the skill are weakened while wearing heaver armors so you are probably better off learning something else instead.”

“Fair enough. Learning too many skills can be a hinderance, especially if the skill isn’t very effective. Did learning meditation help you approach inner peace?”

“Not really. They said that there were more skills I could be taught but that I would need to master meditation before I could learn them.”

Gardenia nodded, she didn’t really understand Oblivion Shadow’s goal but her own goal was nebulous enough that she couldn’t really judge others.

“Oh… Elunial asked whether us players are here to stop the end of the world.”

“I wouldn’t be too surprised if that is the case. That sounds like a likely scenario for the developers to think up. Even more so if the NPCs have some concept of the end of the world happening.”

“Ehh… I was worried as much myself. She said we would need to have expert skills to even participate in the end of the world if it happened.”

“She is probably right. It is probably and event for even game players. Mastering expert skills is probably needed for something like the end of the world. In the lore I read there is some information about such as even. They say that when the world ends that the obelisks will fail and those that die will remain dead. That when that happens the monsters will begin to destroy civilization. Without obelisks there will be no hope to save the world.”

“That sounds like a pretty sketchy story. How would the game work if the obelisks stopped working. Anybody that died wouldn’t be able to rejoin the game. People would complain if that ever happened. The game would die.”

“Yes, it would… Although maybe that is the actual truth of the end of the world. The players stop showing up and when the devs start to disable the game the first thing that goes is the obelisks. Then when the servers are finally shut down the real end of the world happens.”

Gardenia shivered, “That seems a bit scary even for me. No, there is probably some end of the world event. We will just have to stop it and restore the obelisks. Then everybody will be able to continue to play like normal.”

“Such optimism. Still, whatever happens it is still far away. I don’t think anybody has learned expert skills yet and at the rate they are improving I expect it to be several months before anybody even starts learning expert skills. I hear that expert skills require multiple mastered intermediate skills to learn.”

“I should probably start looking into those skills then. Figure out what I want and start learning the prerequisite early. But what if there is some rare skills… maybe I should pick up the skills I am interested in and…” Gardenia began muttering to herself under her breath while trying to figure out what to do about her skills. There were a lot of options and she still didn’t have a fully realized vision about how she wanted to play the game.

Before she realized it she was interrupted by Elunial. “Are you two ready?” She asked, breaking Gardenia out of her thoughts. Elunial looked different then she had previously. While she was still wearing the simple clothes she had several tools strapped to a belt around her waist. It includes a knife and what looked like climbing equipment.

“Are you sure you won’t be too cold?” Asked Gardenia.

“I have trained in these temperatures for years. I will be fine. If you find it too much we can teach you the cold resistance skill.”

Gardenia shook her head, “I appreciate the offer but I will pass. It will just make it harder to learn my other skills.”

“Very true. Now come along. We will be leaving through the back entrance.”

She lead the way one more through the bustling hallways of the monastery. Up another set of stairs. The air grew chillier until they arrived at a set of stone doors. Elunial pushed at the doors and they opened to the snowing expanses of the mountain tops. As they stepped through into the snow Gardenia was reminded about how cold everything was here.

Gardenia began to cast her fire support spell. This time with the aid of Inner Focus the effects of the spell were a little bit more powerful and the chill was a little bit more bearable then before. She looked over at Oblivion Shadow and said, “Do you want me to cast warmth on you to?”

“I have some cold resistance potions but your spell would be better.” Said Oblivion Shadow. Gardenia hadn’t even known that cold resistance potions existed but he was right, spells were more reusable than potions. So she cast her spell on him as well.

“Elunial?” Asked Gardenia.

“Things aren’t particularly cold so there is no need to waste your mana. Save it for when we actually need it. Monster have been more commonly lately so keep your guard up.” She closed the door tightly behind them to keep the heat in the monastery.

She continued, “The yaks are a bit away so we will need to travel to find them. This section of the mountain doesn’t have enough vegetation for them so we will need to travel to their grazing zones. Keep an eye our for yetis and other monsters.

Oblivion Shadow


Magic — Curse, Empowerment [Intermediate]: Lvl 8


Magic — Curse, Efficiency [Intermediate]: Lvl 7


Magic — Curse, Swiftness [Intermediate]: Lvl 9

Magic — Curse, Refinement [Intermediate] : Lvl 7


Magic — Warding, Empowerment [Intermediate]: Lvl 4


Magic — Warding, Efficiency [Intermediate]: Lvl 5

Magic — Warding, Swiftness [Intermediate]: Lvl 4


Magic — Warding, Refinement [Intermediate] : Lvl 4


Meditation [Intermediate]: Lvl 1


Basic Skills

Magic — Curse [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Magic — Warding [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Casting Implement — Staff [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Lore — History: Lvl 44


Elunial Vernea


Magic — Ice, Empowerment [Intermediate]: Lvl 16


Magic — Ice, Swiftness [Intermediate]: Lvl 14


Magic — Ice, Refinement: Lvl 17


Style — Spokog Martial Arts [Intermediate, Uncommon]: Lvl 23


Refinement — Cold Resistance [Intermediate]: Lvl 42


Casting Implement — Inner Focus [Intermediate]: Lvl 32


Gathering — Ice Yak Specialization [Uncommon, Intermediate]: Lvl 14


Basic Skills


Magic — Ice [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Weapon — Unarmed [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Gathering — Skinning [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Gathering — Butchering [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Climbing [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

While traveling Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow got a good feel for Elunial’s skills. She was stronger than either of them, although not by much. Gardenia wondered if Elunial had held back during the trial to make it more fair.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 13

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 13 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 13:45

They had to travel for around thirty minutes to get to the grazing area of the yaks. There were several encounters with yetis and other monsters along the way however with the three of them combined it was pretty easy to deal with them. Elunial could seal opponent movements with her ice magic even though the monsters resisted the ice damage. Then she was able to use martial arts to fight.

Once they arrived they could look at the field of scant grass which poked through through the thin snow in this area. There were quite a few yaks grazing in the area. Gardenia hadn’t expected the yaks to quite be so big.

“Can we really fight those?” Asked Gardenia.

“It is no problem. Fighting one on one can be rather tricky but with three of us there is no problem as long as we don’t right too many of them at the same time. Try to limit us to fighting one or two at a time. Any more and we might lose.”

“Then pull them with long range magic?” Asked Gardenia.

“Are you sure that is safe? There are like ten of them in pretty close proximity.” Said Oblivion Shadow. “If we mess up then we will be trampled to death.”

Elunial pointed to one side of the group of yaks. There were a few yaks a bit away from the others. “Those are the ones we want to aim for. I can pull them. Ice magic does not do much damage to them so they don’t worry as much about it. That way less yaks will be pulled. Although if you are afraid we can go elsewhere. There is another location about an hour away that had less yaks and is safer if you want to go there.”

Oblivion Shadow shook his head, “No, we can do this. Just don’t blame me when you mess up.”

They moved around the herd of yaks until they reached the back of the region. Then Elunial had Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow hid behind a nearby rock. With less noticeable threats less yaks would be aggroed.

Then Elunial cast a long range ice spell against one of the yaks. It hit one of the yaks which turned and looked at her. It then began to run at her. She pulled back a little, getting farther away from the other yaks. When the yak was about to attack her, Gardenia ran out from behind the rock and blocked the attack. It was strong but not as dangerous as the Boar King had been.

After that it was just a routine fight. Three against one was unfair against any normal enemy. The second pull managed to get two yaks which moved it. While it was a bit more difficult it was nothing that the three of them could not handled.

Their strategy was not the most efficient however. Against the yaks Elunial’s magic did not do much damage so the team didn’t have and good dps but with two control characters and a tank they were able do well enough. It made it easy for them to lockdown one of the yaks while killing the other one.

The plan almost worked flawlessly. However at the end the herd had three yaks. While they tried to only pull one or two of them the last three all noticed. The three of them all rushed in and Gardenia did her best to guard against all three of them. However the problem was that she couldn’t generate enough aggro against all three of them so Elunial had to solo one of them while Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow fought against two of them.

It was the most that Gardenia could do to protect against the two giant yaks. Luckily they didn’t seem too interested in the whole strategy thing so they were both in front of her rather than attempting to flank her. That made it a lot easier to defend against.

One issue that she hadn’t realized was that activating Inner Focus to cast her spells was a lot more difficult in tense situations then she thought it would be. If she couldn’t activate it correctly her healing spells ended up much weaker than normal. It was all she could do to keep her hp full, especially because she was trying to also keep an eye out on Elunial and provide her with healing it she needed.

Luckily Elunial was quite skilled at avoiding the attacks of the yak and Gardenia was mostly capable of just paying attention to her fight. Gardenia was occasionally able to use one of her sword arts but mostly she was just blocking. Eventually Oblivion Shadow managed to deal enough damage to kill them. While his burst dps was not the highest both of the yaks died at about the same time from the different degen spells he had cast on them.

About when Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow finished defeating their two yaks, Elunial was also almost down fighting her yak. There was a moment of rest and then Elunial said, “Good job. I’m going to finish gathering. You keep an eye out for anything while I finish. Then were can see if there are any other nearby yaks.

Oblivion Shadow had sat down and seemed to meditating so it was left to just Gardenia to keep watch. Mostly she just stared off into white snowy fields and deep ravines. There didn’t seem to be anything dangerous around which was probably why the yaks were grazing here.

Then she heard the roar. Louder and more threatening then anything she had heard before. She shivered and not because of the chill. There off, away from here was a dragon, it held onto one of the mountain ridges. Then it dove off and flew down, at the lowest point of its movement it grabbed a yak from off the ground and then flapped its wings again pulling itself back into the air. It then flew off toward on of the larger mountains near the edge of the zone.

Gardenia could only stare at it in amazement.

Oblivion Shadow had been knocked out of his meditation by the roar and was now standing by Gardenia. “That was a dragon wasn’t it.” He gulped, “That thing looks terrifying.”

“It looks like you saw it.” Said Elunial who was now there with them, “That dragon has recently made these peaks its home. One of the reason hunting yaks has been hard is because that creature is eating many of the yaks.”

Something tickled in Gardenia’s mind. She could hold back so she said, “I want to follow it.”

“It will kill you.There is no way we are strong enough to fight it.” Said Oblivion Shadow. Elunial nodded in agreement.

“I know that. I just…” She looked over at the mountain that the dragon headed toward. “I feel like I need to see it up close. I know this could well be me killed but I feel like I need to do it. Both of you should head back with the meat, I won’t ask you to go with me.”

Elunial shook her head in exasperation, “You wanderers are certainly weird. Wanting to go see a dragon. Very well, I will take the meat back to Spokog alone. If you get yourself killed then I will just see you there when you respawn. What about you Oblivion Shadow? Are you going to go see a dragon as well.”

“Death comes to us all in our time. No use avoiding it.” Was his response.

Gardenia could only say, “Thanks.”

“You two are really fools. However…” Elunial paused, like she was holding her breath. “Maybe that is the real difference. I see, very well, I will come with you. The master told me to learn from you and this might be the best way to do that. Just know that I am not planning on actually fighting a dragon but I will help you get there.”

With that decision the three of them headed out toward the mountain peak that the dragon had headed toward. It was a fairly long journey, pass through various different peaks of the zone. Elunial insisted on fighting the yaks along the way claiming that, “If we are going to take this long we might as well grab more meat along the way.”

The trek felt exhausting, although Gardenia could only feel that mildly it was still surprising how realistic it felt. Eventually the made it to one of the largest peaks in the zone. They could all feel the menacing aura of the mountain.

“That is strange.” Said Elunial as she knelt down looking at the ground. “It looks like somebody has been here very recently. I looks like you are not the only idiot planning on meeting a dragon.”

Gardenia moved up the Elunial and asked, “How can you tell, do you have some kind of tracking skill?”

“Nothing so special. But if you look at the snow you can tell if somebody had been through the area recently.” She pointed toward a path of depressed snow. “A group of people came through here and it was recently enough that the snow indents are very visible. After a few hours the trail vanishes so it was at most that long ago.”

“I never knew you could do that. Where did they come from, they didn’t came through the monastery did they?”

“No, there was no group that arrived before yours so if they took that route then they couldn’t have come from Spokog. They must have used a different route through the mountains, there are a bunch of those so that is definitely possible. Or there might be another entrance into the tunnels between nearby that they used. I haven’t heard of another entrance but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

“I’ve heard that some tunnel explorers are among the Wanderers.” Said Oblivion Shadow, “They travel through the tunnels in search of hidden areas. Some people claim that have found them and are just keeping the zones secret. Although more often you hear about them getting lost and then having to die to get back to a city. It is extremely dangerous to explore the tunnels.”

Gardenia could only nod in acceptance, she hadn’t really been interesting in wondering through the mysterious tunnels that connected zones. Whenever she had traveled through the tunnels it had always been on predefined paths that were clearly marked. While going off the path sounded exciting, with a payoff it sounded like it would mostly just end in disappointment.

“Should we follow them then? They might know the way to the dragon.” Said Gardenia. Now that is had been pointed out to her should be distinguish the depressed snow that meant somebody had traveled that way.

Elunial said, “Yes, that is probably for the best. If they aren’t already dead they can distract the dragon.” She looked over at Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow, “Remember to be careful, a dragon is not just a normal enemy, it is powerful beyond belief. Normally they are challenges that should never be attempted even with expert skills. If you do insist of fighting the thing try to pay attention to everything, even if you die make sure you learn everything that you can otherwise you will have wasted your time.”

Gardenia nodded, although she knew that she would probably be ignoring this good advice.

They follow the path until it arrived at a extremely large cave entrance, certainly big enough for a dragon to fit into. The snow was mostly gone from the entrance and it was mostly dark inside although occasionally there was a mostly smashed glowing crystal in the wall.

“This is certainly the place. It reeks of death.” Said Oblivion Shadow.

Then they heard it again. The roar of the dragon. This time is was much neared and it reverberated through the caves in front of them. However it was not terror that appeared in Gardenia’s heard, it was excitement.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 14

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 14 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 13:46

“Quickly!” Shouted Gardenia as she began to run into the cave.

Elunial just stood there gaping as Gardenia’s form disappeared into the darkness of the cave. “You know, I think I just realized something about her.”

“Too late to worry about that. I’m following after. It might be better if you just stay out here. We won’t come back so don’t bother waiting for us to return.” Said Oblivion Shadow as he began to run after Gardenia.

“Is this what is means to be a Wanderer? Do they not have fear?” Then the roar came bellowing once more from the cave.

While Elunial stood by the cave trying to decide what to do Gardenia was running forward into the cave. While it was mostly dark the occasion glowing crystal gave her enough light to continue to see the passageway that continued forward. At this point she could also hear people shouting and the clashing of steel against something else.

The dragon roared again.

As she broke out of the tunnel and into a extremely large cave. At the far end was the giant dragon. Red scales glimmering in the glow permeating the cavern. The dragon stood atop a large pile of gold, not coins but more like melted gold slag that had hardened with gems glinting in the mix of the gold.

Around the dragon fighting it were six people. Leading the fight was a man wearing brilliant silver armor and carrying a spear, thrusting at the underside of the dragon as it reared up. Next to the spear wielder was another man who was wearing chain like Gardenia he had a pair of swords and was deftly blocking the incoming attacks from the dragon’s claws. At the back was a pair of men carrying staffs. One was casting healing spells at the two men in melee and the other was shooting bolts of lightning at the dragon.

There were two woman in the team. One was a woman wearing leather armor and carrying a mace two hands. The other one had a crossbow which she was feeding bolts into one by one before launching them at the dragon’s head. All together they made a competent team.

Gardenia however could tell that the battle was going badly for them. The one healer was having trouble keeping up healing the damage that the dragon was delivering to the three front line combatants. As a skills life mage herself she could tell that the spells that were being used were all powerful, and expensive, spells and that the healer would run out of mana soon at this rate.

Assisting the other party shouldn’t problem. While they were doing alright now Gardenia could see that the battlefield was soon going to crumble. Assisting another party that was doing well was considered bad manners but helping one that was losing usually was appreciated.

The dragon pointed its head to the roof and began to breath in. Gardenia could hear the man with the spear shouting, “Watch out, it is going to breath fire.”

That instruction was enough for the entire team so begin running in different directions, splitting up and attempting to avoid clumping up for an area of effect attack. It was a good move and would have been effective if the dragon had aimed for the tank with the fire breath. Instead as it lowered its head and began to breath fire it was aimed directly at the healing.

The fire was about to hit the healer and certainly put an end to his life when Gardenia intercepted the beam of fire. She stood directly in front of the healer with her shield raised and blocking the fire with her own body.

When the fire dissipated Gardenia was still standing there. She had lost over half of her health and the healer behind her had also last about the same but they were both still alive. While the healer had taken heat damage from the breath weapon Gardenia had blocked most of the damage.

Gardenia was glowing with flickering red flames. Her shield was melted in places but otherwise she was doing fairly well. Not only was she a healer she also had fire magic. Ice resistance wasn’t the only defensive fire spell that Gardenia knew, she also knew the Fire resistance spell. That combined with her higher armor defenses let her survive the attack with enough health.

The team that had been fighting the dragon looked her in surprise but not for too long. The man with the speak called out, “Stop wasting time folks. Keep up the assault.” With that all the members turned their attention back to the dragon who had used the spare moment to recover from the breath weapon.

The healer began to cast a healing spell at Gardenia but she only said, “Don’t bother healing me. I will do it myself. Save your magic for the others.” She didn’t want for a response and instead began to run toward the front line to directly fight the dragon.

The healer must has listened because Gardenia was never healed by him. Instead she cast the healing spells on herself as well as casting her physical enhancement on herself. As she go closer she could feel the intimidation radiating of the giant dragon. It set electric bolts down her spine, this, this is what she had been looking for. As the dragon was about to snap its jaws onto the man with the spear Gardenia interposed and deflected the attack with her shield.

The three front line members of the team all looks like they had good defensive abilities but none of them were strictly tanking builds. Technically speaking Gardenia was not a tanking build but she was closer than the others. She had an intermediate shield skill and the ability to heal herself. That made her more qualified to tank then the other three. She was able to use her sword art ⎡Aggression Blade⎦ to draw even more of the attention of the dragon away from the others.

To Gardenia is was like nothing else existed. Just her and the dragon. It was like all the others had vanished. Like the sounds of combat had disappeared. “Come at me. Let’s see what you can make me feel.” Said Gardenia as she stared down the dragon.

It stared back at her and she smiled. The crashing of its clawed armed into her shield was all that she could feel. Even though she had expertly blocked it she had still taken a significant amount of damage. It battered her one claw attack after another. She continued to block them.

Her sword was practically useless against the Dragon, however she still kept attacking it to keep its attention on her. It would be disappointing if it started paying attention to anybody else. She was being pushed back by the dragon but it followed after her. It was like a dance with the two for them turning around in the center of the cavern.

Gardenia’s health remained relatively high through the entire fight. With inner focus she was able to continue to cast healing spells on herself while still defending and making her own attacks. Gardenia was in a trance, she was moving rhythmically to the movements of the dragon. Even when it raised up to breath fire against she could feel whether it was aiming and was able to position herself directly into that line.

Other people might find that deliberately intercepting the fire would be a foolish action but Gardenia could feel that it was correct. If she was the one intercepting it then nobody else would be harmed. At the close range it would be difficult for anybody else to get armed if she blocked it.

Her moment of harmony was shattered as the dragon roared once more. Red tendrils began to wrap around the dragon and she could feel the temperature rising. It felt like her blood was boiling, like her skin was melting. Even with the pain weakened it felt like she was actually dying.

Then she was knocked over, there was the flapping of wings and another roar and the room was painfully quiet. Even laying on the ground her hands were shaking. She could still feel pain, like she was burning up.

⎡Chill⎦ came a familiar voice next to Gardenia and she could feel her body cooling down. The pain began to recede and she began to come to her senses. Above her was Elunial looking down at her with a concerned look.

“Are you alright? For a moment there I thought you had died.” Said Elunial.

“I think I am alive. However I can’t seem to move. What happened?”

“There was a field of fire that you were in and then the dragon flew away. I am pretty certain your chainmail partially melted and then fused together. It is a wonder you managed to survive at all.”

There was a laughing. A man’s voice. His voice was clear and strong. Gardenia looked up to see the man with the silver armor and the spear. “You did well. I was surprised when you just ran in and saves our healing. After that you did a brilliant job at tanking the dragon. Without you I it would have much a lot more difficult. When the dragon fled I was sure you were dead but it looks like you have a little spunk and managed to survive after all.”

“No, I’m sorry. Once I starting fighting the dragon I just completely forgot about all of you. Had I been paying attention we might have been able to prevent it from flying away.”

“Hah, don’t worry about that. The quest wasn’t to defeat the dragon. We were searching for one of the dragon’s treasures. Driving the dragon away was more than enough to succeed at the quest. Besides had we stopped it from escaping it certain would have gone berserk and killed us all.”

He looked over at the woman holding the mace, “Stella, do you think you can try to get this woman up? She seems to be melted to the floor.”

Steela shook her head and walked over to stand above Gardenia. “Yeah, this looks bad. Good thing you had your friend here with ice magic. Otherwise you certainly would have died. But it looks like both your shield and armor is toast. It will need to be completely replaced. What a cruel attack the dragon used to destroy equipment like this.”

She readied her mace before saying, “This might hurt a little but I am going to try and break you free.” She swung the mace softly, and then a little bit harder. There was cracking and snapping sounds. After a few more swings Gardenia was finally free of her melted chainmail. She was stuck with just her light underarmor.

“Thanks” she said as she shook some of the chunks of metal out of her clothing.

“Nah, as Drake said, we should be thanking you. While Drake might say we could have done it without you that would have been impossible. If our healer had died that would have been the end of us. Plus getting three more party members really helped stabilize the fight.”

“I’m glad to be of help.” She looked over and Elunial who was standing next to her and at Oblivion Shadow who was standing farther away looking aloof. “Thanks you two for following me. I kinda didn’t expect you to.”

Elunial shook a hand in front of her face, “Don’t worry about it. I was never the one in danger, it was you. Plus like the master said I learned a lot watching you. I am just surprised we managed to drive the dragon away, I was expected us all to get killed indeed. It really was a kind of miracle.”

Over at the pile of slag gold was the man who had wielded two swords. He had a pickaxe in his hands and was bringing it down on the gold one strike at a time.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 15

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 15 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 13:47

It took a while for the man to finish harvesting all the gold although it looked like the true goal of the team was some of the treasures that they found buried in the pile of gold. The man lifted the ruined form of a spear up. It ws broken and completely unusable but Gardenia could tell that the metal it was made of was not normal and it had a strange depiction of a face on the head which was like nothing she had ever seen.

The leader quickly stored it in his inventory. “It looks like we got what we were here for, finish harvesting what you can and then we will begin to head out. No need to wait for the dragon to return and get angry at us for stealing his treasure.”

He came forward once more to Gardenia, “You managed to escape your metal tomb. I am Drake and me and my little team are called the Forgotten Saviors. We might not be much now but we have big plans for this game and are looking for more strong recuits. You seem just like the kind of person we are looking for so if you are interested then I would be happy to have you.”

“I have my own quest to turn in back at Spokog but I have been looking for a good group to join.” Said Gardenia while she pondered the invitation, “How about we become friends and I will think about it and get back to you about my response.”

“Sure, just don’t take too long of the tank role might be poached by somebody else. I am looking to keep the team a little bit lean. I know some guilds like to just recruit everybody but I think just having a small core team is good enough.”

He waved to the others who were finishing up, “All right time, let us move out. The future doesn’t wait for any man.” He began leaving the cave and the others followed after him.

The man who had the pickaxe stopped in front of Gardenia before leaving and said, “Thanks for you help. Drake probably just forgot to offer you a fair share of the reward. While the treasures we found in the gold was the main goal of the expedition and we can’t offer you those, I can give you some of the gold slag. It probably isn’t worth as much as actual gold coins but you should be able to find somebody who can buy it.”

He offered a trade to Gardenia who accepted. It was a fair bit of golden slab but given the size of the pile it wasn’t surprising that they had gotten a lot of the gold. After finishing the trade he ran off following the others. That lefts Gardenia, Elunial, and Oblivion Shadow alone in the dragon’s lair.

“We should leave too. Otherwise we will definitely die if it comes back.” Said Oblivion Shadow. The other two nodded and they left the caves and back into the freezing snow.

Gardenia could really feel the child. The thick layers that she had been wearing had insulated her partially from the cold and now that most of those were gone she could really feel the bone-chilling effect of the snow.

“I really should have really brought another warm set of cloths with me. I guess I really didn’t expect to have my first set destroyed by a dragon.”

“Then we should keep moving quickly. The movement will keep you warmer and the faster we get back to Spokog the better. We have already been gone quite a long time.”

The began jogging through the snow. It was the fastest pace they could reasonably make. Any faster and they would just end up exhausting themselves in the snow. Without her fire magic to keep her warm it would have potentially been impossible for her bit with it Gardenia was able to survive the journey.

Elunial was a bit disappointed they couldn’t stop and hunt more yaks on the way back but Gardenia couldn’t handle waiting that long in the cold attempting to pull yaks. Only once they finally arrived back at Spokog and the door was shut behind them did Gardenia finally managed to start warming up again.

While Gardenia warmed up Elunial went off to deliver the supplies to the kitchens. When she got back Elunial led them once more to the master’s chambers where they were once again seated in front of the old man.

“Thanks for assisting in gathering more meat for us. The supplies you have brought us will last long enough. I also hear that you had another unusual encounter. Could you explain in more detail.”

Gardenia did her best to explain the encounter with the Fogotten Saviors and the Dragon. Elunial was able to add some additional points while Oblivion Shadow mostly stayed quiet.

“I see, you fought the dragon that had been pestering these lands. Hopefully it will go somewhere else after these. I’m surprised you managed to drive it off with just the nine of you. It must have been a juvenile for that to be true. Even so that is quite the achievement.”

Gardenia could feel shivers down her spine, “That dragon was a juvenile?”

The old man nodded, “From your description of its size and strength, almost certainly. They can grow to more than double that size and the flames of a full grown dragon and turn somebody into ashes. Although I am not belittling your achievement, full grown dragons are the things of legends.“

Elunial looked more worried than Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow before saying, “I had heard stories but I thought they were exaggerations. Even the one we fought was extremely intense. And you are telling me that an adult dragon is way more powerful than that?”

The old man nodded, “When I was a child there was a team of twelve who attempted to fight an adult dragon. These twelve were practically legends, the greatest warriors I had ever see. When I next saw them they were reviving at the monolith with despair in their eyes. They said it was impossible to defeat the dragon.”

There was a moment of silence in the room. Then the old master spoke again, “To defeat a creature like that you would need Master skills.”

That caused some interest in both Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow. There had been rumors about Master skills, a level about Expert but they hadn’t heard of any NPCs who could train somebody in master skills or indeed any NPC that had even learned a master skill.

Gardenia finally spoke, “Are master skills real?”

The old man nodded, “Indeed, although the knowledge of may of them had been lost to time some still survive. The master before me knew the pentacle of Spokog martial arts, a master skill. However try and I might I never managed to learn the skill. All I have of the legacy are the books he left behind explain the technique.”

There was a silence in the room as this piece of information was let forth. While neither Gardenia nor Oblivion Shadow were really suited to learning martial arts it was important that this location provided a clue to gaining a master skill.

The old man broke the silence by speaking again, “However worrying about Master skills is a way off for all of you. You haven’t even mastered any intermediate skills. Just train hard and I’m sure the future will open up to you. If you want to continue to train here then you may remain but I feel like this monastery will turn out to be too small for you. And as a reward for gathering so much meat, well, we do not have much money here so instead we can teach you a couple more skills before you go. Does that sound fair?”

Gardenia and Oblivion Shadow had kinda expected this kind of reward. Everything here was frugal so having some fancy reward seemed out of character. Plus they had a bunch of gold slag so the journey did make some kind of profit.

It wasn’t until the next day that Gardenia decided to leave. She had learned a couple more spell casting skills but most of the things they could teach her did not really suit her. Oblivion Shadow had retreated into practically being a monk here.

“Should we both remain alive let us meet again. For now I will continue to remain here and study. They have a lot of things I want to learn here and the master is a wealth of lore. I think I will stay here for a couple more days.” Said Oblivion Shadow.

“Then I will see you later.” Said Gardenia as she bid goodbye to him.

When Gardenia packed up to leave she could feel a presence watching her. She turned to see Elunial standing at the door.

“Are you here to see me off too?” Asked Gardenia.

Elunial nodded, “Yes, I knew you would leave sooner rather than later. What are you planning on doing from here on out?”

“I have a few more skills I plan on traveling around and picking up. After that who knows. Maybe I will take up Drake’s offer to join his team.”

“Maybe I will see you again sometime.”

Gardenia nodded “Sure, actually, how about we make each other friends lists… actually can you do that?” Gardenia honestly didn’t know if Elunial was capable of adding people to her friends list of it that was only an ability that only players had.

“I can do that. The master said you might offer to do that and taught me how.”

“Oh, good.” There was a moment as they both logged each other as friends. Then Gardenia waved at Elunial, “Well, if I’m ever in the area I will send you a message and you will know.”

“Thanks for showing me your fight.”

There was a moment of almost tearful goodbyes and then Gardenia pushed open the door out of the monastery and they had parted.

Gardenia could feel the chill of farewell mixed with chill of the air. Her new warm clothing only protected her from one of those. It hurt to part from people. This had happened before when she had parted with Norra, Eve, and Equinox. She could only hope that they would all meet up again in the future.

Then she began her long trudge back to the city.

Several days late, in Spokog, in the master’s chambers, sat two people. The master sat calmly sipping tea while Elunial sat in front of him looking incredibly nervous.

Finally the master spoke, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”

“Yes, I am certain. After seeing the Wanderers fight I made my decision. I wish to become stronger, much stronger. While the training I have received her I will remember forever I realized that just remaining here will prevent me from growing.”

“It will be extremely dangerous. You are not a Wanderer so you will need to put twice as much effort into it as they do. Are you prepared for that?”

She nodded.

“ I had hoped that you would want to stay and take over this monastery after me.” He took a deep breath, “Very well, then you must go. Find the power you are searching for. I alway suspected that this monastery would be too small for you. May all the strength of the forerunners follow you on your journey.” With that the old man gave a slight nod of his head.

“Thank you master. Someday I will return I promise.” She bowed deeply to the old man before standing and leaving the room. She walked through the halls. They were still busy, each day more Wanderers were showing up seeking to learn.

As she passed by several other disciples they nodded to her and farewell. Elunial had already gathered her things in preparation of this journey. As she grabbed her sack of supplies and left her room she saw Oblivion Shadow walking down the hall toward her.

“Are you planning on leaving?” He asked totally casually, “I was about ready to head back to the city myself. Do you need a companion on the road?”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 16

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 16 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 13:48

Part #3 — Differences in Opinion

“You have heard the rumors about what got released in the newest patch haven’t you?” Asked the man in while robes. They were all sitting around a table in a small room. Perfect Zanth was his name and he was the core healer of the Forgotten Saviors.

“Some new skills and zones got released right?” Said Gardenia. She was now a member of the Forgotten Saviors. It had taken her a while to join and she was the newest member of the team. Still, she had already been a member for almost a month now so the others had gotten used to her.

“Not just any skills!” Said Zanth with a tone of awe in his voice. He spent a lot of time on the forums, probably more than was health and he was a notorious gossip. “Legacy skills, They are skills that fundamentally change how you play your character. I’ve already heard that somebody has found the Dwarven Kingdom and is planning on attempting to join them.”

The larger woman next to the two of them leaned in to join the conversation. She had large muscles and a bright smile, “Do you know if they are intermediate or expert skills? If they are expert skills it will be a while before people with legacy skills become common. Compared to the general population we have pretty high skill levels and only Drake has managed to get an expert skill.”

She is Steela, one of the DPS members of the team and renowned for her ability to deal with monsters that have high defenses.

“From the rumors they are intermediate skills. Although…” He leaned in close and whispers to his audience, “The hard part is completing the quest required to teach you the skill. One anonymous source said their team of high intermediate players got completely wiped during the quest.”

“That isn’t that uncommon” Said Gardenia, “A lot of groups get wiped the first time they attempt a boss. Even we don’t win every boss fight on the first attempt.”

“While that is true, the source said that after they failed the third time they failed the quest and were told to come back in a few months in they wanted to try again.”

“Oouch.” Said Steela. “That is a harsh requirement. Do you know what legacy skill they were trying to acquire?”

Zanth shook hit head, “No, they were keeping it secret. Knowledge is a valuable commodity and they didn’t want to give away too much for free.”

The chat was interrupted at one of the other DPS members of the team arrived. He was the two sword wielding warrior of the team. Arthur Ironheart was his name.

“Good morning everyone. Already discussing the topics of the day?”

There were nods around the table before Zanth spoke, “We were discussing the rumors about Legacy skills. Have you heard anything about them?”

“Nothing, you know I don’t pay attention to that stuff.” Said Arthur.

Steela shrugged her shoulders and said, “We should have figured. Not even I managed to measure up to you in muscle-headedness.” There was some laughing that even Arthur joined in on.

Gardenia said, “I am sure that Vanishing will know more information. He is probably gathering information about the legacy skills even now. I know he loves it when new skills are added.”

Vanishing Doubt was the lightning mage. He had a hobby of collecting information about skills. Gardenia had heard that several other parties had consulted him about the location and method of acquiring certain skills. If there was anybody who knew information about skills then it was Vanishing Doubt. Even Gardenia knew how useful he was. Without him she would be missing several of the skills she now had.

There were several other members of Forgotten Saviors but the team that had been described were the core members. At least if you included Drake, the leader of the group. He hadn’t arrived yet but that wasn’t surprising, he always arrived later than all of the other members. Nobody minded because they had a chance to socialize. Once Drake arrived it was all serious gaming business.

When he did finally show up he was flanked by Vanishing Doubt. That brought everybody’s attention to the bare. Rampade speculation had already begun to happen in all of their minds.

“Alright everybody, take your places.” Said Drake.

Immediately everybody moved to make space for both Drake and Vanishing Doubt to take their place at the table. Once they did Drake spoke again, “I expect everybody has already head about the Legacy skills that were just released?”

There were nods around the table before Perfect Zanth said, “Yes, we were just talking about them.”

“Good, Vanishing, please explain what you learned.” Said Drake.

“I’ve been collecting as much data as I can. As part of the patch the libraries got updated with new books. While some talk directly about legacies whose that are directly mentioned are not too unusual. The elves and the dwarves both make appearances commonly in media and are equally commonly mentioned in those records. You might already know but joined a legacy is in theory easy. You just need to find an elder of the legacy and convince them to bring you into the legacy.

“Now this is the part that is interesting. There are more lore and legend books that have been added to the library. Specifically those regarding more rare legacies. Legends of demons, vampires, and dragons.”

“Wait do you mean…” said Gardenia hesitantly.

Drake nodded, “Indeed, I intend to join the legacy of the dragon.” Everybody already knew Drake’s interest in dragons, you could easily tell it from his name. However to boldly announce that he would be joining a legacy that they basically knew nothing about was even more bold.

“You said this was in the legends section. Does that mean we don’t know exactly how to join this legacy or did you managed to find a clue?” Asked Zanth.

Vanishing Doubt, “We do have a clue. While I mentioned the normal way to join a legacy, find an elder, there are mentions of other methods of joining one. Specifically for the Dragonic legacy there is a extremely special method of joining it that was mentioned in the legends.”

Steela placed her hand against her head before saying, “Why do I have a feeling I can see where this is going.”

Vanishing nodded, “Indeed, the method is to slay a dragon. Drinking the blood of a dragon can grant you access to the draconic legacy.”

“Are we even prepared to fight a dragon?” Asked Gardenia, “I know we already kinda fought one but that was a juvenile and we didn’t even managed to kill it that time. From what I understand we are not prepared to fight an adult dragon. Do you have a plan?”

Drake simply said, “There are several leads I am following up on regarding dragons. I’ve assigned Pristallia to the research of those leads so none of you need to worry about it. This meeting was to inform all of you about the plan so you can get ready. Prepare and then get ready to leave at any time.

Author Note: These lists of skills is incomplete. It mostly just covers the list of skills used in this arc.


Gardena

Magic — Life: Physical Enhancement [Intermediate]: Lvl 47

Magic — Life: Healing [Intermediate]: Lvl 45


Magic — Fire: Infusion [Intermediate] : Lvl 34

Forest’s Blessing [Intermediate, Rare]: Lvl 31


Armor — Shield: Deflection [Intermediate]: Lvl 44


Casting Implement — Inner Focus [Intermediate]: Lvl 45

Refinement — Endurance [Intermediate]: Lvl 42

Arts — Guardian Shield [Intermediate]: Lvl 43

Lore — Monster Encyclopedia [Intermediate]: Lvl 39

Basic Skills

Armor — Shield [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 46 [Disabled]


Armor — Chain [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Magic — Fire [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Style — Aggression: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Weapon — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 39 [Disabled]

Weapon — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Perfect Zanth

Magic — Life: Healing [Intermediate]

Magic — Life: Cleansing [Intermediate]

Refinement — Mana Well [Intermediate]

Basic Skills

Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Casting Implement — Staff [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Magic — Life [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Magic — Plant [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Steela

Refinement — Brawn [Intermediate]

Style — Zlamany Mace Style [Intermediate]

Basic Skills

Weapon — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Armor — Leather [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Mace [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Arthur Ironheart

Arts — Twin Blades [Intermediate]: Lvl ??

Style — Trezy Dual Sword Style [Intermediate]

Basic Skills

Weapon — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Armor — Chain [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Sword [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Style — Duel Wielding [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Gathering — Mining [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Vanishing Doubt

Lore — Skill Identification [Intermediate]

Crafting — Tea Brewing [Intermediate]

Basic Skills

Armor — Cloth [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Casting Implement — Rod [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Magic — Lightning [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Crafting — Cooking [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


Drake

Style — Nine Heavenly Spears Style [Expert]: Lvl 2

Weapon — Great Spear [Intermediate]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Great Spear [Intermediate]

Lore — Dragon Encyclopedia [Intermediate]

Equipment Affinity — Demon Great Spear [Intermediate, Unique]

Basic Skills

Weapon — Spear [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Spear [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Armor — Plate [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Pristallia

Lore — Cartography [Intermediate]

Weapon — Crossbow: Deadeye [Intermediate]

Basic Skills

Weapon — Crossbow [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Arts — Crossbow [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Armor — Leather [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Mana Reserve [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]

Lore — Orienteering

Alertness

Lore — Monster Identification [Basic]: Lvl 50 [Mastered]


The Forgotten Saviors were certainly near the top of skilled players. While there were plenty of elites all over the game it would be difficult to assemble a team as good as them. That wasn’t even accounting for Drake who was in the apex of players.

In the large crowd of players that played the game all over the world the number of players who knew an expert skill was probably only in the hundreds. While that number would surely grow as more players master intermediate skills at the moment is was an astounding feat.

He had learned an apex spear style that was currently unique to him, at least amount spear users. It was a special style of spear fighting using the unusual weapon, the great spear. According to Drake that what he had learned was just the beginning, once he masteres Great Spear Arts the skill would also grant him access to several special arts.

The very fact that Drake had an expert skill at all made him the envy of practically everybody in Trezy. They even had to block most communication to the guild mailbox because it was getting overrun with people asking to join the guild.

Drake took that as a given. Of all the description that were made about Drake, nobody could deny that he had an ego. His other main defining element was that he kept his promises. He might charge heavily for the services of the Forgotten Saviors but he always delivered on the promise.

If Drake was the fame of the organization then Pristallia was the brains of the operation. She ran the day to day business of the guild, not that there was much of that since there were only 7 members. Still she was in charge of selling off all the materials that they found during their adventures and making sure everybody’s gear was proper.

Drake had left giving everybody time to prepare but really there was not much for any of them to do. Pristallia would certainly do all the special organizing that would actually need to be done. Everybody else just needed to make sure their personal supplies were in order.

Gardenia herself didn’t have much that she needed to do other than ensure that all her equipment was in working order and that her personal supply of potions was full. Her current weapon and armor were pretty high quality for the current standards. All of it had been commissioned through Equinox Smithing. He had been earning quite a name for himself and Gardenia was happy to be one of his loyal customers.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 17

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 17 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:12

While Plate was the normal equipment choice for tanking it was practically impossible to create plate armor with bonuses to spellcasting or agililty. Since Gardenia’s method of tanking required her to heal herself she had taken to using chain instead. While the bonuses to casting weren’t as good as wearing cloth armor it was a nice middle ground.

Her shield was different however, it was made of a special allow which had higher magical resistance than normal metals. When she had defended against the juvenile dragon that shield had been destroyed and this was a countermeasure against more events like that. The special metals gave the shield a nice glossy silver color which she also liked.

Unlike her armor, her sword was nothing special. While there were many types of special swords that could be created hers was just a simple blade, a high quality blade but nothing particularly special. After all having a special weapon wasn’t really needed when being a tank.

Her selection of potions wasn’t particularly unusual either. Most of it was mana recovery potions, in two varieties. The first restored mana quickly and was helpful in a fight. The other was a much slower and could be used to help speed up mana recovery between fights. While the quick recovery potions were much more useful they were also much more expensive. No need to waste money when there was more time available.

She also had a handful of other associated potions. A couple of strong defensive potions for the really risky situations however those were even more expensive then the quick mana recovery potions so her supplies on those were always limited.

While there were more items she could plan for there wasn’t much more she could do until Drake knew where they were actually doing. There was a big difference between zones and each of them usually had different requirements.

Instead of spending even more time doing preparing Gardenia instead talking with the other members of the guild. While Drake was always off somewhere doing something the others did spend time in the guild room enjoying themselves with the other guild members. Perfect Zanth in particular spent a lot of time in the guild room, although honestly he spent most of the time perusing forums.

Steela occasionally hung out in the guild room. When there weren’t any planned events in the guild she spent time participating in PvP. There was an arena in the city and she spend a lot of her free time there. Her rating was pretty high but she wasn’t a full PvP build so some of the real experts could beat her. Still she kept trying and was slowly working her way up the ranks.

While Vanishing Doubt didn’t spend much time in the guild room he did spend a bit of time. He was a connoisseur of tea and used the guild room as a way to practice and enjoy the tea that he made. The fact that tea brewing was its own intermediate skill was always something that Gardenia was surprised about.

While Arthur Ironheart didn’t spend too much time around he did show up from time to time. He was a well known miner that Drake managed to recruit and when he wasn’t needed on one of Drake’s adventures he was working with other groups. A lot of smaller guilds didn’t have their own intermediate miner and Arthur was often hired out to join when going to certain locations that needed his skills.

All together it was a quirky team all gathered around Drake. Indeed when Drake called together everybody once more they showed up to hear his new plan. They surrounded the table with Drake at its head.

He laid out the map on the table. “This is Duzy jungle. You might not have heard about it since it is a few zones away from a different city but this is our target location.”

The map was pretty barren. There was the marker showing the entrance of the zone and a couple of points of interest but there was almost no detail, especially farther into the zone.

“And there is a dragon here?” Asked Perfect Zanth.

“Indeed. This zone has existed for a while now but it is a high intermediate zone which is fairly far from a city.” Pristallia had returned with Drake and she was explaining what she had learned. “ Currently the only real export from the jungle is wood although it is largely unexplored so there might be other goods which just haven’t been found yet. But that is just a quick background of the area. The important fact is that there is a dragon that lives here. Several reports from the region say they have seen the dragon flying over parts of the jungle. While it is not 100% certain it does sound like the dragon is also a juvenile.”

Gardenia raised her hand to asked a question, “Do you have a plan to prevent the dragon from escaping? While I believe it is true that we could beat a dragon of the same strength as the one we fought before, if it escapes when everything could be lost.”

Pristillia nodded, “I have acquired some extremely special bolts for just this purpose. When used they will knock the dragon out of the sky and keep it grounded for a little while. The only problem is that I could only get two of the bolts so we will need to make sure the dragon is dead before the second bolt wears off.”

There was a moment as the team pondered the setup. There were lots of variable when hunting dragons.

Arthur Ironheart finally made his voice heard. “Do we have a butcher lined up for this job? If we are looking to kill the dragon for a special drop we likely need an intermediate butcher to ensure that we get the proper item drop to make sure Drake learned the legacy skill.”

Drake shook his head, “No, I don’t have one planned. All of the high quality butchers are spoken for. Do any of you have suggestions?”

“I know one that I could probably convince to join us.” Said Gardenia, “The only problem is that I know she only plays during sleeping hours. I’m not certain how useful she would be in battle but her harvesting skills are top notch.”

Pristallia said, “An option but that time constraint is pretty limiting. Try to find out if she is available but know that her restrictions make her low on our priority list.”

Gardenia nodded, she had expected that but an butcher is better than no butcher when hunting such a valuable monster.

“Anything else we should know about the jungle?” Asked Zanth, “Common enemy times, things like that.”

“Normal jungle animals for one. Giant cats, giant snakes, giant apes.” Responded Pristallia.

“That is a lot of giants.”

“However the thing we really need to worry about is the lizardmen. They hunt is large groups and could easily defeat a surprised team. Because of that you need to make sure to stay alert in the jungle. Other than that make make your normal preparations.”

Drake waved his hand breaking up the meeting, “Alright, you all have the information you need. I plan on heading out tomorrow evening. It is the weekend so we can keep up at it as much as we can. Once I have an exact time for the meeting I will send a guild message and we can all meet up at the city teleport.”

Even with the knowledge that they were traveling to a jungle didn’t really make any changes for Gardenia. However she did call up Evening Wanderer to find out if she would be available for the journey. The responses was about what Gardenia had expected. Eve would be happy to join but she could still only play in the evenings.

Unfortunately as it turned out that was too much of a condition for Drake and they instead recruited a different independent players to help with the harvesting. It was a far too serious man named Leviathan. While his combat skills were as good as the rest of the party he did have the necessary skills and the available schedule.

The entire team of Forgotten Saviors, plus one extra, met up at the teleport point and paid the fee to transport to another city. Doing so wasn’t cheap but Drake said, “You can’t put a price an a Legacy skill” which was probably right.

Once in the new city they had to make sure to register at that respawn point. Although the goal was to avoid dying since the trip back to the zone would be untenably long. Then they took the Tunnels to another region. This particular region was very swamp like and could have been and issue if the team was not as experienced as they were.

They need to pass through the zone to enter another section of the Tunnels. Theoretically there was another route to their destination zone that didn’t go through the swamp zone but exploring the Tunnels was not something taken lightly.

After finishing the last trip through the Tunnels they finally arrived at Duzy jungle. In total it took around three hours to get from the city to the jungle. Not the worst travel time but definitely not quick. While there was penalties for dying everybody agreed that the primary penalty was the long travel times that were wasted.

As they emerged from the Tunnels into Duzy jungle they were struck by the thickness of the undergrowth. The area near the entrance had been chopped down leaving a small clearing near the where they entered. There was a wooden palisade surrounding an empty fire pit.

“It looks like a camp location has already been setup for us.” Said Perfect Zanth as he looked around the entrance area. “Do you think this was made by a player or part of the zone as it was created?”

“This is a wild zone so it probably was created by a player. One with a pretty high level carpentry skill too.” Said Vanishing Doubt as he looked over the camp. “Without a skilled carpenter the overgrowth would have reclaimed the palisade in short order. Still, this will be a good place to camp if it takes us a while to find the dragon’s lair. Unless it shows itself we will need to search the zone until the find it’s lair.”

Drake nodded, “Yes, however today should be focused on locating some landmarks and better filling out the map that we acquired. That was if the dragon does show up we can figure out where it is coming from and going too. We should also familiar ourselves with the local monsters. While we are still searching for the dragon our first objective is figuring out the local.”

With that they began exploring into the zone. Pristallia had the cartography and orienteering skills so she could keep track of all the locations they had visited. Most of the monsters turned out to be relatively easy for the eight person team however that wasn’t always true. The first time they got ambushed by lizardmen it was an incredible struggle. They got ambushed and nearly lost Vanishing Doubt before Gardenia was able to get into position to protect him.

That attack had only consisted of six lizardmen. It would certainly have been much more dangerous if there had been more of them. One of the things they discovered while exploring was an entire village of lizardmen. They gave the village a large berth. While they might be able to win if they took the village on carefully that was not their goal in the zone.

Another potential danger was the traps that the lizardmen had setup in the zone. The first time they accidentally tripped one of the traps it was Gardenia who took the brunt of the trap with large logs swinging out of the trees to crush her. She managed to survive because of her refinement which boosted her innate defense. Any other member of the team, except maybe Drake, would have certainly been crushed to death.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 18

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 18 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:13

Since she used a crossbow, Pristallia had the alertness skill but against traps in an intermediate zone that alone was usually not sufficient. Given a slow enough travel speed she could notice the traps before they triggered but that would have slowed the journey to a crawl. Eventually the team had to progress following Gardenia who continued to have physical enhancement spells active.

The traps were fortunately fairly rare an after triggering several of the traps, Pristallia could figure out what to look for. While this didn’t guarantee that Gardenia would not longer trigger the traps it did mean that no other one of them would trigger a trap.

After more traveling they reached beyond the zone that contained the traps. While still being careful they figured that the farther away from the lizardman village the less likely they would be to encounter traps. Still they tried to avoid letting their guard down since a mistake would result in one of them having to take a several hour hike back to this zone.

Beyond the region with the lizardmen there was a region full of ravine. The jungle trees bridges many of the ravines and while travel over the top was possible it was very dangerous. Although maybe not as dangerous as going through the ravines. Inside were snakes, a great many snakes.

Rather than attempt to pass through the snake filled ravines the party circled around the side. Pristallia had been marking all the important locations of interest on the map as they traveled and this was certainly an important landmark.

Beyond the ravines there was a large lake that reflected the light in an apparently tranquil scene until a crocodile around three times bigger than normal burst out of the water and attacked an animal which was drinking at the edge of the lake. After that the party kept a wide birth of the lake.

“Are you sure this is an intermediate zone?” Asked Perfect Zanth skeptically as their journey continued. “It feels more like an expert zone to me.”

“I said high intermediate didn’t I?” Said Pristallia. “That means that we are capable of surviving and winning against what can be found here using just intermediate skills. Since we are doing just that I would say that the estimate is correct. Obviously it would be easier with expert skills but that it true for basically everything.”

Drake scoffed at the exchange, “Honestly I had thought it would be a bit more dangerous. Were we not trying to explore quickly I think having a go at that lake crocodile would be fun. I don’t think it would be that hard for us to beat it.”

“Maybe, assuming it doesn’t ambush us and devour me right away.” Said Zanth hesitantly. While Perfect Zanth was commonly the one suggesting more caution action he could still keep up with the rest of the party when things got dangerous.

Certainly more nervous than Zanth was Leviathan. While Zanth’s cautioning words were good natured, Leviathan was more unprepared for the situation than he had thought. While his skills weren’t actually that inferior to the rest of the team their casual acceptance of the danger of the region grated on his nerves.

He tried to console himself that he wasn’t that behind everybody else but with else he felt like he was the normal person traveling with monsters. When Drake suggested that they could defeat the giant crocodile he could barely control his fear. While everybody else seemed to take it as fact that they would indeed be able to beat the monster, Leviathan had the feeling that any normal team would die horribly to it.

The think that made him feel even more nervous was the fast that they were searching for a dragon. He had been under the impression that the dragon would be the only real threat in the zone and that everything else would be fairly easy. However if the terrifying crocodile qualified as easy then how scary was a dragon actually.

Even the fight to the death against the groups of lizardmen had been only really a warmup to the rest of the party. He was figuring out that the stories that he had heard about the Forgotten Saviors were probably all true, that they were danger maniacs who did ridiculous deeds.

This was made all the more apparent when they wondering into a large next of flying creatures that resembled pterodactyl. There were more than a dozen of the birds that flew one way and another. Several times Leviathan thought he was dead only to have the monster that he was attacking either die abruptly from an attack or become blocked by Gardenia’s shield.

It wasn’t like the coordination between the members was especially good, they each basically just did their own things. It was just that each of them fought naturally like it was in their blood. While even the most basic player could take advantage of the game’s system to fight it was like these players actually knew how to do it and weren’t just using the support functionality.

By the time they had returned back to the starting camp Leviathan felt thoroughly exhausted and nearly collapsed when he heard Gardenia said, “Hmm, I am a bit disappointed. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Maybe we should have fought the crocodile, it might have actually been a challenge.”

“Don’t jinx it.” Said Perfect Zanth, “If something goes wrong then it will take too long to walk back, After we deal with the dragon we can fight it on the way home.”

Steela snorted, “Like we would lose against that monster. Maybe we should take on the entire lizardman village, now that would be an actual challenge. Fighting ten to one odds sounds like it would be fun. Plus there is probably good loot there.”

“If we are talking about loot then the snake ravines is probably the best location. There are likely mining nodes in that location and anything we fight here is probably rare and sells for a lot. Metals are always in high demand.” Said Arthur.

“No, no, no, while metals are valuable they take up too much inventory space.” said Pristallia, “Long lost ancient treasures are the most valuable per inventory space. We could see the abandoned city just before we headed back. Whatever treasure lies in there is going to be worth more,”

“Focus.” Said Drake, “The dragon comes first. After that we can hang around and fill our inventories before returning. Is everybody ready for the four hour break? Nobody needs more time do they?” He looked over the team and everybody shook their head. They had all planned on spending a lot of time exploring so a short break was all that they needed.

Leviathan secretly wanted a little bit more than that but his commission cost was earning him a quite a lot of gold so he wasn’t about to make them regret bringing him for such a minor reason.

After those few hours everybody logged in once more. They all found Drake had already logged in, assuming he had logged out at all. Once they had all returned it was back into the jungle. The abandoned city that Pristallia had mentioned as their next destination. Pristallia estimated that they had hit about 35% of the major land marks on the first journey into the jungle and they intended to see the rest of them on this voyage.

While there was still no sign of the dragon or the dragon lair, Pristallia wanted to make sure the map she was creating was as complete as possible before scouring the zone for the dragon. The city was overrun by giant apes. The initial battle with them was quite promising, uncovering several valuable treasures like Pristallia had mentioned but then the even larger leader of the apes showed up and the team decided to pull back, after all looting the city was not their primary objective and dealing with all the apes would probably take at least a day.

Although if you asked Leviathan they would have all died if they tried to take on that many apes and the leader of the apes at the same time.

As they approached the farthest reaches of the zone they were stopped by Pristallia who motioned for them to stop and then pointed, “Does that look like that I think it is?”

“Like decorated ape skulls hanging from the trees in a parameter telling you not to pass it or you will die? Yes, that is what it looks like to me.” Said Perfect Zanth as he stared off at the thing that he had just described.

“Maybe a town all the way out here? There wasn’t any reports of such a town existing were there?” Asked Gardenia.

Pristallia looked concerned, “No, nothing that was mentioned in what I heard, although this is pretty deep into this zone. It is also possible that the town was added by the same update that added the legacies.”

“Should we try and talk with them?” Asked Gardenia, “Maybe they know where the dragon is?”

“Talk with them…” Said Perfect Zanth, “Did you miss the ape skulls portending our deaths?”

“They might just be there to ward off the apes.” Gardenia said it but she still felt skeptical about that idea. It did seem more likely that they would try to murder the party.

Drake walked forward, “Come on. They will either answer or they won’t no need to debate about it. If they don’t want to talk we can just threaten them a little bit and I’m sure they will tell us where the dragon is.”

Gardenia was a bit uncomfortable barging in but followed Drake anyways as they passed through the parimeter of ape skulls and into jungle on the other side. It was only a few minutes later that they were surrounded by a bunch of people who were pointing a variety of crude weapons at them.

The people were all dressed in clothing made of plants or animal hides and the weapons were made of stone strapped to wood. However Vanishing Doubt whispered to the party, “Be careful, their actions imply that they all have intermediate skills despite their crude equipment.”

One of the NPCs stepped forward from the group and spoke. “Who are you intruders and why have you trespassed on our land? Speak quickly.”

Drake just casually placed his hand on his spear while he said, “We are Travelers and we are seeking a dragon that lives in these lands. Tell us were he is and we will leave your lands.”

There was some nervous glancing back and forward as they watched Drake carefully, clearly willing to start a fight at any moment if Drake decided to do anything with his spear. Still, the spear that Drake was using was much larger than any of their spears. After all the great spear that Drake used would be more accurately described as a polearm than anything else.

“You seek the sky terror? Then you see your doom.”

“I don’t need your commentary about the dangers of fighting a dragon. Just tell us where the dragon’s lair is or I will have to force it out of you. And don’t think I won’t be able to.” Said Drake in a threatening tone.

The man who had first spoke took several steps back. He consulted with a couple other members of the tribe before eventually stepping forward once more. “We will only show you the location of the sky terror if you want prove you are strong enough. If you can beat the strongest warrior in the village then we will give you the respect that you deserve and show you where the sky terror resides.”

Drake smirked, “Fine with me. Bring me your strongest warrior and I will defeat him.”

The man turned and pointed deeper into the jungle, “You will follow me to the village. It is there that you will do the battle.”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 19

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 19 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:14

The team followed the man who lead them through the jungle to a set of huts surrounding a large raised wooden plateform. The man motioned for Drake to step onto the platform and Drake obliged him by stepping up onto it and swinging his large spear back and forth several times.

After a few minutes an extremely large man stepped out of one of the huts. He was wearing crude armor which seemed to be made of large insect carapace. He also carried a hatchet and a shield covered with scales.

In the background Steela leaned over to Vanishing Doubt and asked, “What do you think of the skills level of that NPC? He seemed pretty intimidating.”

Vanishing Doubt could analyze what skills a player or NPC had although without seeing them in combat the accuracy was lower. He watched as the brute of a man stepped forward and stood on the platform with Drake.

“I would put their skills at about par. It doesn’t like the NPC has any expert skills but I can the feeling that he has multiple mastered intermediate skills. He is certainly a difficult opponent.”

Leviathan also leaned in to ask, “What do you think that Drake’s chances are of winning?”

Steela laughed slightly, “I expect Drake to win handily. If their skills are about the same then there is no way that Drake will lose.” The rest of the team nodded in agreement.

Leviathan wasn’t so sure however. If their skills were about the same it would fall back to luck or style matchup. He had seen them fight and while everybody was impressive the npc certainly looked impressive as well.

The man who had brought them to the village stood on the edge of the platform and said, “The fight continues until one participate surrenders or becomes unable to fight. Begin!”

With partially no waiting the man ran in with his axe and swung at Drake. Drake was able to sidestep around the attack and sent his giant spear snaking toward the man’s side. He blocked the attack with his shield but the force of the attack sent him back a few spaces.

It only took a moment for the man to stabilize himself and regain his footing but that was all the time that Drake needed. He brought back his spear and the tip glowed with black energy. He called out the name of the art. “Demon Strike” and thrust the spear toward the man at extreme speed.

Once again he brought the shield up to defend but against this attack it was basically useless. The shield shattered at the impact and the man as sent flying across the platform. However the battle wasn’t completely over yet. The man managed to catch himself and roll along with the ground before springing back to hid feet.

He spun to find Drake charging at him. This time however it was the man’s turn to activate an art. He gripped his hatchet in two hands and raised it up over his head before calling out. “Ancient Split” bringing his hatchet down. However there was a world of difference between the technique of him and Drake. Drake was able to bring up his spear and almost gently deflect the attack sending it to one side. The force of the attack still caused Drake to lose some hit points but it allowed him to keep moving and push the weapon out of the way.

Before the man could even respond the great spear that he was using thrust forward. “Giant Thrust” called out Drake as he activated an art once again.

“No wait…” called out Gardenia as she stumbled forward but she was too late.

The attacked pierced the man’s chest in one instant the man had lost all of his hit points and collapsed to the ground. There was a moment of silence as all eyes continued to stare at Drake. He pointed his spear at the man who had announced the beginning of the fight and said, “It is over, you can announce my victory.”

He had a sour look on his face. “You are the victor. We will show you the Sky Terror.” As he spoke the body of the defeated man began to dissolve into glowing particles.

Drake took a step off the platform and slung his spear over his shoulder once more. He looked over at Gardenia and asked her, “Is something the matter. You called out at the last moment?”

“You didn’t have to kill him. You could have just made him surrender.”

“Is there any point to that? He was just an NPC.”

Gardenia has trouble forming the words to explain the sinking pit in her stomach. Eventually she managed to say, “It probably dropped your reputation in the village.” There wasn’t much else that she felt that she could say.

He pondered that for a moment before saying, “You are probably right. Although I don’t plan on staying here to do quests so it shouldn’t be an issue. After all learning about the dragon was one of the conditions for this fight.”

Gardenia just let Drake past as she tried to wrestle with her own inner thoughts.

Meanwhile Leviathan was in awe of the fight, the actions of Drake were beyond what he could imagine. Not only had Drake beaten the man but he had done it without having to use his expert skill. He had watched several high ranking PvP battles before but nothing compared to the quick thinking and techniques that Drake had used. Before he had hired he hadn’t thought that such a thing was possible.

With the match over the team followed the man and Drake into a tent. Gardenia could feel the gazes of all the other people living in the village and wondered why nobody else seemed to be worried about it.

Once the leather door cloth closed behind her the man spoke, “I will answer you questions about the Sky Terror. Speak quickly so that you may leave quickly.”

“Give us directions to the Dragon and anything that you know about it or its lair.” Said Drake plainly.

The man nodded, “When you leave the village you will see a large tree. It is the biggest tree you will see. You must go in that direction. Once you pass that tree you will continue in that direction. When you get to the burnt lands you will know that you are in the right place. The Sky Terror lives within the burnt lands. As for information about the lair or the creature itself. It has large horns which it can use to gore you. Heat radiates from the burnt lands so we can not go within and find out about the lair.”

Drake nodded and turned away, leaving the hut. He was followed by most of the group. Gardenia stayed behind a moment and once all of the others left she said, “Thank you for your information. I am sorry about what happened to your warrior.”

The man stared at Gardenia, looking deep within her eyes. “It seems that not all Wanderers are completely heartless. I would be wise to abandoned this foolishness of fighting the Sky Terror. Its power is greater than whatever you think it might be.”

“We are going to fight it anyways. However thanks for the warning.”

Gardenia turned and began to leave as well. However just as she was about to leave the man said, “You must avoid its blood, whatever you do, do not let the blood touch you.”

“Thanks.” Said Gardenia as she nodded at him and left through the door flap. She hurried to catch up with the others who were already leaving the village. She turned to see the villagers all still watching them as they left and heading in the direction of the large tree.

She grimaced but followed her companions. They headed through the jungled until they reached the giant tree. It stretched up high in the sky. Drake stopped them there and said, “We are taking a break here. Everybody log off and make sure to do everything you need to once. After we come back we are going to going into the Dragon’s territory and I want to make sure everything is perfect. Be back in two hours.“

Everybody nodded one at a time before starting to log off. Eventually only Gardenia and Steela were still standing under the tree.

Steela moved over to Gardenia and asked, “Is something wrong? You have been a bit out of it since we went to the village?”

Gardenia signed and said, “I don’t know. I guess I am just a bit upset about how Drake treated the villagers?”

Steela leaned in closer to take a better look at Gardenia’s face before saying, “Hmm… you feel sympathy for them, the NPCs?” She seemed to nod to herself before continuing, “I don’t thing there is anything wrong with that. Although you shouldn’t be as worried. NPCs respawn just like we do.”

“I guess. Still I do feel bad for them, especially when we could have done something better.”

“Listen, it is simple. This world is a game, so just do what you want to do, what makes you happy. There shouldn’t be anything else you need to worry about. You joined us here because you enjoy fighting tough monsters right? That is just one way to play the game. Whatever you decide is the right way to play is the right way. Got it?”

“Umm….I think so but I don’t know if that really eases my concerns.”

“Maybe not right now but just think about it.” Steela waved and then began to disappear as she logged out. Gardenia still couldn’t figure out what she was really implying but logged out as well. She needed to make sure to get something to eat.

Gardenia returned near the end of the allotted time. Everybody else had already logged in and as soon as Gardenia arrived, Drake made a movement with his hand and everybody began to head out. After not to long they arrived at the burnt lands that had been spoken about.

The jungle just stopped and before them was a field of what could be described as ash. Immediately they could feel the head emanating from deeper in as they crossed over into the ash field. As they moved farther everybody took battle positions, with Gardenia in the front.

Drake spoke as they walked, “This Dragon is a horned dragon so be on your guard. Horned dragons have the highest physical attack damage of all types of dragons so make sure to guard or block the attacks. Also it seems that it has high fire damage too. This dragon probably don’t have any great weaknesses.”

He spoke using the knowledge from his Dragon Encyclopedia skill which provided him information about different types of dragons. Gardenia has a similar skills but her skill provided a lot less specific information in return for having information about all types of monsters.

Gardenia hesitated and then said, “Are there types of dragons that have poisonous blood?”

Drake turned his head oddly before saying, “Some dragons have special blood. Burning blood, poisonous blood, all kinds of things. But… that is usually reserved for adult dragons. Young dragons usually don’t have those features. Why are you asking?”

“The man in the village mentioned something as I was leaving the hut. To be careful of the dragon’s blood.”

Drake paused and said, “Everybody. Keep the utmost care. This will be the hardest battle we have ever faced. Leviathan, stay out of the fighting. Staying alive is your first priority.” Leviathan nodded, of all the members him staying alive was the most important. As long as he lived to harvest the dragon body it didn’t matter how many other members of the team died.

Gardenia kept the physical enhancement and fire resistance spells that she knew up on herself. It was normally a waste of mana but every second might battle when the dragon appeared.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 20

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 20 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:15

They crept forward through the ash. There was no obvious lair for the dragon to dwell in however this was obviously a place that it lived. The heat grew hotter the farther into the area the moved and Gardenia cast her fire resistance spell on every member of the party before quickly drinking a mana recovery potion.

“Hold.” Called out Pristallia who had the skilled needed to notice things quickly. “This is sloping down. You can barely see it but there looks like there is a hole just over there.” She pointed and others could barely see the black sliver.

Drake nodded, “That must be the lair. We need to get closer.”

The tension was palpable as the hole drew nearer and everybody could see it better. It went down into the ground and nobody could tell how deep it would go. Only that it must be the lair.

As the depths began to reveal itself there was an earthshaking roar and out of the hole came the dragon. It was big, bigger than the last one Gardenia has seen. The size difference wasn’t actually that much but ever a little bit of increased sized made it significantly more intimidating.

That wasn’t even mentioning the giant black horns that the dragon sported. The horns were bigger than an entire person. Having just emerged from the hole the dragon’s wings were pulled back keeping the body sleeker and more compact.

Rather than attempting to bite Gardenia it instead tried to use its enormous horns to gore her. She had been prepared for this can called out “Iron Shield” activating her shield arts and gaining more defense and stability. Even with that she was pushed back several feet however the damage she took had been minimal.

Drake shouted, “Split up and begin attacking it. Attack the sections of it away from Gardenia if possible.” As he yelled everybody split up to do their duty.

Gardenia pushed back at the Dragon, making sure to swing at it with her sword to help draw its aggro. Her shield arts not just reduced damage but also made her a more inviting target.

Perfect Zanth was her backup. While she could heal herself there were often times that she could not find the time to cast her own spells because she was so busy defending. He could also use his plant magic to help restrain the dragon, although the effects of those spells were lessened in the burnt ashlands they were fighting in.

Drake, Arthur Ironheart, and Steela had surrounded the dragon and were busy dealing melee dps to the monster. Arthur and Steela made sure to stay vaguely close to Gardenia so that if the dragon turned its attention to them she could interpose and protect them fairly quickly.

Drake was off by himself charging spear thrusts but nobody worried about him. If he couldn’t take care of himself against the dragon than everything would probably be doomed anyways. Besides he wore plate armor and could guard himself plenty well.

Steela had mace related arts that she was using which reduced the opponent’s defenses. The mace was an excellent weapon to use against heavily armored foes, especially bosses. The main issue was that is was more difficult to defend with a mace since adjusting the momentum of the weapon was difficult.

Arthur dealt quick repeating blows doing a decent amount of damage per hit. The attack effectiveness was practically the opposite of Steela. Two weapon fighting was about fast individual hits. It was usually less effective against a creature with high defense like a dragon but when combined with Steela’s defense dropping it did very high dps.

Vanishing Doubt had his lightning magic which he use conservatively. He had several powerful spells at his disposal but was saving them for the most opportune time. His spells had good interruption effects so saving them to break the dragon out of a particularly deadly skill was his primary job.

Pristallia was mostly a reserve member. While her crossbow did good damage her combat build was a bit specialized. She used rare and powerful special bolts which had unique effects. Most crossbow users instead used arts to inflict large damage at range. Her special bolts had the advantage over spells in that they did not use mp but instead needed to be acquired ahead of time. It was a powerful build, assuming you could afford it.

Leviathan’s only job was to stay far away from the battle and marvel at their fighting. While initially it might seem like everybody was just going their own thing it was much more complex than that. The fact that Gardenia was managing to keep the aggro from the dragon was a testament to the teamwork that everybody had.

That moment Arthur spent repositioning, the larger charge up attack that Steela used. They were all part of keeping the aggro on Gardenia. When the dragon had first burst out of the hole Leviathan had fought the fight would be hopeless for the team but instead it was feeling hopeless for the dragon.

The biggest wildcard was the dragon’s splattered blood. Many of the attacks were beginning to cause actual injuries to the dragon and splatters of blood were beginning to scatter across the ground. The team avoided those blood pools almost naturally and the green smoke coming off the small pools showed that their efforts were well rewarded.

Since, from the inside of the fight things weren’t going as smoothly as it looked for Leviathan. Everybody was straining at their edge to keep up with the giant monster. Each attack had the force of a trunk behind it and Gardenia had to successfully block every single attack. Her hp was remaining high purely due to the full effort of both her and Perfect Zanth. A single mistake from either of them could easily cause Gardenia to die and the entire team to wipe.

Drake, Arthur, and Steela had to also be extra cautious. While the dragon’s head was its most dangerous body part they needed to pay attention to everything else as well. The dragon’s tail, claws, and even its wings could cause serious damage if they did not dodge them properly. Each of them had taken small amounts of damage defending from the occasional attack however Perfect Zanth never had time to focus on healing any of them so they just had to keep up their own hp as much as possible.

When the dragon finally slammed its front legs onto the ground and began to breath in it was Vanishing Doubt’s time to act. He began casting a spell, one more powerful than anybody else was capable of casting. In the grand scheme of things the dps of the spell was not worth the mana cost however its real benefit was interrupting. Just as the dragon was pointing its face toward Gardenia and was about to exhale a giant bolt of lightning struck it. It got knocked to one side and the torrent of flames that was about to appear instead dissipated.

The dragon tried to turn its attention toward Vanishing Doubt from this attack but Gardenia used that moment to use one of her shield arts. “Anger Draw” which caused the dragon to turn its attention back to her.

While it looked seamless Vanishing Doubt only had a margin of error of about a second in recognizing the signs of the dragon and beginning casting the spell. Missing the timing would result in the dragon’s breath hitting Gardenia at full strength.

As the dragon slowly lost health Pristallia tried to call out the intervals of the health. While Gardenia could do it her hands were quite busy.

“75%” was the first call. Nobody knew precisely how the dragon was going to react to losing health so they had to be on their guard for any potential change in behavior. There was no possible way that a dragon with so much buildup could be simply slain with some kink messing things up at the last moment.

As the dragon began to lose more health the intervals between its attempted breath weapons got shorter and shorter. On the fourth attempted breath weapon the first mistake was made. Vanishing Doubt was in the middle of drinking a mana potion when the dragon began to breath in. He was unable to switch into casting his spell fast enough and Gardenia had to take the attack directly.

The heat was incredibly but she managed to survive. Perfect Zanth managed to perform a clutch heal and Gardenia received enough health to survive the horn attach which almost immediately followed. Had that been all they would have gotten off lightly, however Gardenia called out the probably almost immediately.

“The attack weakened my shield. I can take one, maybe two more of those attacks before I am no longer able to defend properly against the dragon.”

That put the fear of the dragon into them.

“60%” was the next call. While it was almost half way it felt like an endless path. If the dragon got any strong it was only a matter of time before a dangerous mistake was made and the team wiped.

They managed to continue with their same pattern until just after Pristallia called out “50%”

Just like that the battle changed. The dragon roared in anger and began shacking its body. Black droplets of blood scattered into the air. All the melee characters tried to fall back as much as they could but Gardenia was also busy defending and was only able to mostly escape.

Droplets of blood fell onto one of her legs as she tried to fall back and the was intense burning in her leg. The results were almost immediate. While the damage was quickly healed the intense pain did not fade and she found it difficult to move as easily as she had before. While it didn’t effect her ability to defend against the dragon it would greatly reduce her ability to defend for other people.

She could feel the risk and the danger of the fight previously and it had filled her will excitement. This was just making things even more threatening and she loved it.

“The blood got my leg. My mobility is decreased.” She called out. In one way it was good. She no longer needed to pay attention to everybody else. She could now just dance with the dragon.

The dragon’s movements were also getting stronger and faster. Not only that there were small speckles of blood that occasional traveled through the air. The entire battlefield felt like a war zone by this point. Pock-marked ground and stains of black smoking blood.

“40%”

Gardenia could barely hear it. She was having a staring contest with the dragon and it seemed like the dragon was losing. While she had trouble moving it was still enough for her to keep the attention of the dragon.

“30%”

It was here that the dragon had it. It opened up its wings and began flapping them. It was attempting to abandon the fight. Pristallia however had prepared for this. It was time for the special bolts she had prepared.

The bolt tore through the sky and it was like a giant wind storm kicked up around them. The dragon was buffeted in the air and came crashing back to the ground. Arthur yelled out in pain as he dropped one of his swords. The sandstorm had caused his arm to get splattered with dragon blood and he had lost the use of one of his arms.

It was a perfect moment to strike however. The dragon was still scrambling to right itself so the party moved in for the kill. They continued the assault however they still kept several of their trump cards at the ready. While the dragon was currently on the back foot, the most dangerous moments of any fight was alway as the very end when survival was truly on the line.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 21

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 21 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:16

Once the Dragon has regained its footing to returned to fighting. The main different was that ever moment was potentially lethal for everybody. The blood that has been rare before was now practically flowing from the giant monster. More and more of the battlefield became toxic pools of blood which could not be fought in.

Gardenia was trying to lure the dragon away from those pools but it was resistant to such actions, instead switching aggro if Gardenia pulled away. While they might have been able to move it with a different team composition the fact that most of their damage came from melee fighters made moving the dragon practically impossible.

“20%”

The dragon made an another attempt to fly away. It flapped its wings and again tried to escape. Once more Pristallia put her special bolt into her crossbow and fired. This time the party managed to avoid the ensuing blood splatters as the dragon crashing onto the ground once more.

While time however they did not hold back their attacks against the dragon. Vanishing Doubt had been conserving his mp but that was now over. He began unloading all of his spells at the dragon attempting to kill it as quickly as possible.

That second bolt had been the last of the special bolts needed to ground the dragon. If the dragon attempted to fly another time then they would have failed. Everything came down to this last push for damage.

Drake’s spear streaked with black as he began to activate the unique arts they he gained from his great demon spear. Special magical weapons like the one he used were extremely rare and presenting a unique opportunity. They skill the weapon provided was strong but should he ever decide to change weapons the effort he had spent leveling that skill will become wasted.

The arts were very powerful but making a mistake using them caused intense backlash to the user and it was incredibly easy to make a mistake. Even Drake had failed countless times practicing the arts.

Pristallia also had some trump cards hidden up her sleeves. While she did not have an more of the bolt which grounded the dragon, she still had plenty of other powerful damaging bolts. While the cost of each of them was quite high, failing here would be even worse than wasting those bolts.

While Arthur and Steela also began to use the most powerful techniques they had they could not compare to the burst DPS that Drake, Vanishing Doubt, and Pristallia could release.

Before the dragon had even managed to right itself, Pristallia called out “10%”. It was a frightening amount of damage in that short amount of time. However the would not be able to keep up the damage for much longer, just long enough to defeat the dragon.

At least they had believed it would be before the dragon roared again. The scales of the dragon began to smoke as blood poured over them. The air began to grow event hotter and acrid. Even this proximity to the Dragon was causing their hp to drain.

While the drain might not be significant for Gardenia who was already taking and healing large amounts of damage, it put a time limit on the other members, a short time limit.

Not only that but the attacks of the dragon were even more powerful than before. Gardenia could still survive them but it was a challenge each time. The dragon’s defense rose as well so that last 10% left was taking far longer to chew though.

It was then that the dragon began to breath in. Vanishing Doubt still had enough mana to cast his disruption spell once again. It landed perfectly times but the dragon simple ignored the disruption and breathed fire. Gardenia could only withstand the attack, activating a shield art and hoping that would be enough.

When the gout of fire disappeared she was still standing there. Her shield was looking in terrible condition and her hp was only holding on by a few shreds. Her only consolation was that whatever rage boost the dragon was receiving right now did not seem to effect the fire breath damage much.

Zanth was able to begin healing her but she had no time to attempt to heal herself because the dragon did not let up. Her life continued to teeter on the edge, just a hairs breath away from defeat at any moment.

“5%” called out Pristallia. It seems so far away.

Gardenia could just hold on as hard as she could and protect herself. At this point every single block she had to make needed to be a shield art or she would be dead. Her mana was getting perilously low as she had to trigger art after art.

Then her mana ran out. The first attack knocked her back but Perfect Zanth still had enough mana to save her from the next attack which sent her flying several feet from the dragon. She needed to crawl to her feet, she needed to get up and keep fighting. However her leg ached, making it impossible to stand up.

The dragon was breathing in, preparing for another dragon breath. Gardenia could accept herself dying, she was the tank after all, but she could tell that was not what was going to happen. The Dragon was aiming at Arthur Ironheart.

Vanishing Doubt was beginning to cast another interruption spell but nobody expects that to work. Gardenia couldn’t get up and reach him and there was no way for Arthur to get out of the way. There was only one last hope for him.

Gardenia called out, trying to ask him, “Drake!”

Her eyes locked with Drake’s for a moment. His great spear techniques were strong enough that if he made an attack perfectly he could turn aside the dragon’s head and save Arthur. He began to trigger and art but it wasn’t the one Gardenia hoped.

The blaze of fire shot from the dragon’s mouth and engulfed Arthur Ironheart.

Just as the fire began to dissipate Drake finished charging his spear art and called out, “Eternal Impalement” The spear attack pierced the Dragon’s neck and in that moment the dragon died.

However it was too late for Arthur. He had already hit 0 hp and would have to revive back in the city.

The battle was over and it was their victory but Gardenia could only feel the bitter taste of failure. What should have been great relief and happiness was simply the opposite.

Drake however raised his spear above his head and shouted, “Victory!”

The others joined him in cheering but Gardenia could only feel the voice that was missing. She knew it wasn’t totally logical to feel that. Arthur wasn’t really dead after all but he was missing this moment, this special experience.

She stumbled to her feel, discarding her practically useless shield.

“Leviathan, come, it is your time to harvest the body. Steela, Zanth, you two, check out the lair and see if there is any treasure that can be found.”

They nodded and began going over to the hole. There was still pools of dragon blood all around so it was tricky to navigate.

Gardenia was still limping as she walked over toward Drake. As she got closer to him he glanced over and noticed her expression, “What is wrong? Is it just your leg still not working?”

“You could have saved Arthur. Why didn’t you?” Was all she could ask.

“Is that it? I just judged that victory was more likely if I used the opportunity to charge up a finishing blow. Sacrificing him was the optimal strategy.”

Gardenia could only ball up her fists. “We would have won either way.”

“You can’t be certain. It is important to never let up until the very end.”

“Still…”

Drake however just laughed it off, “Don’t worry about it. You can tell him all about my glorious victory once we return to the city.” He brushed off her remaining worried and went to check on Leviathan who was examping the dragon.

As Drake got closer he was asked, “Which drop in the most important? Was it the dragon blood? I ask because there is something I can harvest call ‘Dragon Essence”. While I believe that I can get both only the first one has a 100% chance of success since the difficulty of the dragon is so high.”

“Dragon essence, this is the item I am looking for. Everything else is valuable but that is the item that I absolutely must get.”

Leviathan nodded and began harvesting the dragon. Less than a minute later the body began dissolving into particles. Leviathan handed over a large red jewel to Drake who held it up to the light to examine it.

“Perfect” he said before placing it into his inventory. “Now we just need to make sure the lair is barren and fill our inventories before heading back.”

Steela and Zanth returned to report there were a lot of jewels in the lair. They had taken what they could but a lot of the jewels had been damaged beyond value, probably due to the dragon’s corrosive blood.

With that dealt with the party began heading back through the jungle. They fought several monsters along the way making sure to collect what resources they could. By the time they returned to the camp at the beginning of the zone they had filled all their inventory with resources.

Gardenia was quiet throughout the last travel time back. Steela questioned her about it but she brushed off the question by saying that she had broken another shield and that this one had been expensive.

“At least you didn’t get melted to the ground this time.” Was Steela’s joking response.

Her mood did not improve until they finally arrived back in the city and met back up with Arthur Ironheart. Perfect Zanth then described the final moments of the battle to him and excruciating detail.

Pristallia went off to reserve a location for them to party at. This lead to a lot of the other members breaking off to go get preparations for the party. During that time Gardenia got a spare moment alone with Arthur where she managed to say,

“Sorry for messing up. Had I done better then I could have protected you.”

He laughed it off, “Don’t worry about it. You did the best that you could. The only thing that can be done is getting stronger.” He winked and said, “Besides, it is good to fail ever once and a while. Then you can figure out what is important to improve.”

Gardenia could only mutter thanks and nod but it did feel like a weight had been lifted from her back. She just needed to accept her failure and move past it, not that it was much of a failure in anybodies eyes but her own.

They gathering in the upper balcony of an expensive restaurant. This entire area was reserved for them, Pristallia certainly spared no expense for the party. After food was brought out Drake revealed the special item he had created which would grant him access to the dragon’s legacy.

He potion sparked red and in front of them all he opened it up and drunk the entire bottle. In only a few moments his body began to crack. Two red horns began to sprout from his head and he was forced to shed his chest piece as wings began to grow from his back.

A couple of minutes later the transformation was complete and the party applauded his transformation. He spent the better part of the new half an hour showing off his horns and wings. He had also gained access to the rare dragon legacy skill.

After the party wrapped up Gardenia could feel the fatigue getting to her. Despite the sleep functionality she was feeling like she needed a good rest. She bid the others farewell and logged off.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 22

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 22 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:17

It took Gardenia several days to come to her decision. Eventually she met up with the rest of the Forgotten Saviors so tell them.

“I apologize but I am going to leave the Forgotten Saviors.”

Drake was silent but Perfect Zanth said, “What? You will be leaving us? But we need our tank. What is a healer supposed to do without a tank?”

Steela just nodded and said, “If that is the decision that you came too.”:

Gardenia did her best to smile back at them but it was also hard for her to leave. This place had started to become her home since she had joined.

“Yeah, I am thankful for my time here but I feel like I need to do other things. The battle against the dragon taught be a bit about what I am missing and I want to go and try and figure that out. It might take a while and I didn’t want to inconvenience any of you.”

Drake stood up and said, “The members of the Forgotten Saviors will never be forgotten. May your journeys always be exciting.” Then without another word he turned and left the guild room.

Pristallia grinned and said, “It looks like you managed to make him embarrassed. He probably doesn’t want to say it but things will be harder without you around. With you here this reckless group of idiots were capable of just doing their thing.”

Arthur shook his head, “While I would like to deny the reckless idiot part be will certainly miss you. Make sure to come back and visit sometime. All of us, including Drake, are going to miss you.”

Gardenia smiled, “Thanks. I am going to miss you guys too. For a while I felt that things might be Drake’s fault but while he might be a bit standoffish it wasn’t really his fault. I just don’t really know what I want to do. I thought fighting tough monsters might be it but I think that is just part of it. Now I want to go off and figure the rest of it out.

Vanishing Doubt looked a bit sad when he said, “I hope you find what you want. It was good to have you while you did. Not many people can put up with us for as long as you did. We will always remaining of your contact list.”

Steela nodded, “Yeah, if you ever need help just send us a message and Forgotten Saviors will be right over. Even if Drake decides to drag his feet I will twist his arm and bring him over.” She raised an arm and made a twisting motion.

They looked at each other and all at once said the same words that Drake said, “The members of the Forgotten Saviors will never be forgotten. May your journeys always be exciting.”

“May your journeys always be exiting.” Said Gardenia is farewell.

Chapter #4 — Guardian Lions

Many chance encounters can build the future and turn into something that could almost be called destiny. It began with a girl running through the streets of the city of Trezy. She wore a plain brown robe, something that practically everybody would recognize as beginner clothing. She seemed to be in a panic as she ran down the street and ducked into an alley.

She ran through alley and was just about to turn the corner onto a slightly larger street when she bumped into a woman.

“I’m sorry.” Shouted the girl as she rushed by the woman, barely giving the woman a passing look. If she had the girl would have seen a woman with long black hair wearing silver chainmail. One her back was strapped a large shield.

Indeed, the woman who had been knocked down was Gardenia. Gardenia watched in confusion as the girl ran passed her and began to head down the street. Gardenia was standing up and was about to forget the entire thing when she saw black shadows dash across the nearby roof and follow after the running girl.

That immediately sent off warning bells in Gardenia’s head. She began to run after the girl and her pursuers. Gardenia definitely had more skills than the girl since she was able to close the distance fairly quickly.

The girl ducked into another alleyway and was running down it when her rooftop pursuers dropped down. There were two of them. One appeared in front of her and the other behind her. They were wearing black clothes like a ninja and drew duel swords.

She staggered backward but wouldn’t protect her since the second one was behind her. That one was already running at her. She screamed but in a moment everything changed.

There was a flash of light and the ambusher behind her had been cut down. There standing in front of her was the shining figure of Gardenia brandishing her sword. While she had been able to surprise the first ambusher the second one was now aware of her.

He watched her carefully, before rushing in using agile movements. He attempted to dodge past her just as she swung her sword at him. He also swung his swords but they were not aimed at her, instead they were aimed at the girl.

⎡Aggression Pull⎦

Rather than hitting his intended target his blades clattered against Gardenia’s sword. His vision was fogging over and all he could see in the alley was her. She swung her sword once again and he tried to block but Gardenia adjusted her footwork in the middle of the swing and the sword passed between his swords and struck him directly in the chest.

That was all it took for him to lose all his health and die.

Gardenia took a moment to glance around and when she confirmed that there weren’t any more attackers she turned to look at the girl who was still sitting on the ground after having fallen over.

“Are you alright?” Asked Gardenia.

The girl looked up at Gardenia and it felt like there were sparkles in her eyes. She looked like she was maybe twelve or thirteen years old. Her hair was short cropped and a strange dazzling blue. She was clutching the bag she was wearing in her arms.

“Yes, you saved me.” Said the girl.

Gardenia held out her hand toward the girl who relaxed the grip on her bag and accepted the hand. Once she had been helped up she brushed the dirt off her clothes.

“Wow…” she said looking at Gardenia, “You are super strong. You managed to beat those two assassins practically instantly.”

“It wasn’t anything really. I just saw them following you and decided to get involved.” She looked over the two dead bodies who were beginning to dissolve into light particles. “Were those players who were after you?”

The girl tilted her head before saying, “I think so? They didn’t really talk to me and I was trying to give them the slip but I am not the fastest runner so they caught up to me.”

Gardenia looked the girl up and down. To Gardenia’s eyes she looked basically just like any other beginner player who had just arrived at Trezy. Back when Gardenia first arrived in the city she looked about the same.

“What did you do to get on some assassin’s bad side? Attempting pvp in a city is risky after all.” Asked Gardenia.

The girl looked nervously around before finally saying, “I think they are after Mr. Pots.”

“Mr. Pots?” Asked Gardenia. She tilted her head in confusion.

The girl opened the flap of her bag to reveal a furry black ball. The ball twisted and turned in the bag before revealing itself to actually be an animal. It looks like a ferret except Gardenia could tell it absolutely wasn’t a ferret since her monster identification skills were saying that the creature was an ⎡Unknown Creature⎦.

“And this is Mr Pots?” Asked Gardenia looked at the creature. “And what is he?”

“He is my pet!” Said the girl.

“Your pet? Does that mean you have a tamer skill?”

The girl nodded, “Yup, although, Mr Pots does not listen to me yet. I got him before I got the tamer skill and my level is still low.”

Gardenia had heard of the existence of the tamer skill. It allowed players to tame and raise monsters as companions however she had also heard that the skill wasn’t very popular. It took a lot of time and effort to train a monster.

“And why were those assassins after you? Were they trying to rob you and steal Mr. Pots?”

“I think so… maybe?”

“You don’t know?”

“Well…” she twisted her foot on the ground trying to decide whether or not to tell Gardenia. Finally she made up her mind and said, “I was given Mr. Pots and told to protect him. He also said that I needed to keep him a secret. Then… well.. I might have let Mr. Pots eat dinner with me. I think that is where they saw me.”

Gardenia looked at the ferret-like creature. She couldn’t see anything strange about the creature with just her eyes but her identification skill was still saying it was unknown. “Protect him? Why would people be after him?”

The girl shook her head, “I don’t know. The man didn’t really say much else. Mostly I thought it was just the normal protect your pets thing but thinking back I believe he actually meant that I would need to protect him.”

“You are probably going to have a hard time protecting Mr. Pots. Taming is an intermediate skill but it looks like you just finished up the tutorial zone?”

She seemed a bit embarrassed before saying, “Yeh, that is pretty much true. I’ve learned a couple of intermediate skills but they are all still level one.”

“Did you get Mr. Pots in a special quest in the tutorial zone?”

The girl nodded, “Yeah, that is right.”

Gardenia nodded herself, “I see, do you want my help protecting Mr Pots?”

“Really? You would do that? You seem really skilled and stuff. Is it already for you to help a weak player like me?” She sounded excited.

Gardenia smiled, “Yeah, no problem. If assassins are attacking little girls in the streets that sounds like something that needs to be stopped. My name is Gardenia by the way.”

“Oh, yes, my character name is Moira.”

“Nice to meet you Moira. Now let us get out of this alley. I know a safe place nearby. You know, if case more assassins come after Mr. Pots.”

Moira followed Gardenia back out of the alley and down the street they had just traveled on. Not far away was a place Gardenia was very familiar with. Equinox Smithing. A little bell rang as they entered the shop.

Equinox looked over from the counter and saw Gardenia, “Back so soon? Did you forget something.” He noticed the girl following after Gardenia, “Or is there something else?”

Gardenia asked, “Can we borrow a room to talk in? This girl’s ferret is being chased by assassins.”

Equinox looked slowed from one to another before finally saying, “You are serious aren’t you? Wow…. Sure, you can use one of the rooms. Although if assassins break in I won’t be much use. I will try to scream loudly while dying.”

“Thanks.” Gardenia lead Moira into one of the back rooms. It was more like an employee break room than anything else but it had some chairs.

“He is one of your friends?” Asked Moira.

Gardenia nodded, “We go way back. When I started playing the game he was one of the players in the same starting town as me. Although the starting towns were probably a lot busier back then. What are they like now?”

Moira pondered the question before saying, “The people there were very kind but there weren’t many other players. The man who gave me Mr. Pots, I think he was an NPCs, he took me under his wing and taught me how to fight and use magic. Once I had mastered some of my basic skills he said that learning was up to me now. So he put Mr. Pots into my care and sent me off to the city.”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 23

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 23 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:19

“I guess it makes sense that NPCs are taking more of a role in training the new players since it is probably harder to form a group, especially given how many different starter towns there are. The man who trained you didn’t mentioned who was going to come after Mr. Pots so it stands to reason that he did not know who it would be.”

Moira nodded as Gardenia try to walk through the logic. Gardenia continued, “It looks like our only real clue to go on is that they looked like ninjas. I would put their skill level at mid to high intermediate. Practically impossible for a beginner to deal with but not a big problem for me.”

“Are you an expert player then? I heard they had moved on from Trezy to the more remote cities.” Asked Moira.

“A lot of them have. Normally I’m not even around Trezy but Equinox is a friend and I commission most of my equipment from him so I stop by occasionally. But yes, I am an expert player.”

“Wow… doesn’t it take like a year to become an expert player?”

Gardenia chucked a little before saying, “Well since the game hasn’t even been out a full year yet so that can’t be true. Besides the truly time consuming part isn’t getting to expert skills it is mastering expert skills. I haven’t seen anybody who has mastered an expert skill yet. Plus I do kinda play the game a lot.”

“Still, it is impressive. I wasn’t allowed to play until recently so I am going to have to do a lot of catching up.”

“You don’t need to take it too quickly. When I was about your level I went off to wander and arctic zone and fought a dragon. There are plenty of things of intermediate skilled players to do. Although we probably need to deal with the assassins first, I haven’t heard of any ninjas living in Trezy so there are probably from elsewhere.”

Gardenia contemplated the issue for a little bit before saying, “Well, I haven’t heard of anything personally but I do have some friends that might know something. Let me contact them and I’ll see if they know anything.”

Gardenia pulled up her friends list and checked who was online. The two friends who might know something about this were either Vanishing Doubt or Oblivion Shadow. She still felt a little bit awkward contacting any of the members of the Forgotten Saviors since she still hadn’t really found herself so she decided to send a message to Oblivion Shadow.

He knew a lot about the lore of the game so he would probably know if there were any groups of NPCs that did this. It took a few moments for the call to connect before Oblivion Shadow answered.

“Gardenia, it has been a while. I see you are still playing this game.” Was his greeting when he answered.

“The numbers of people playing is just growing so I don’t think it is that weird that I am still playing. How are you doing, still seeking inner peace?”

“I have been descending into madness, plumbing the depths of my own mind.”

“I’m not really certain what you mean by that but I hope it is going well. Mainly I called you because I wanted to know if you knew the source of something. I recently had a strange encounter with a new player. She received an unidentifiable black ferret from and NPC and now ninjas are chasing her down attempting to kill her. I wondered if you might know anything about that?”

“Ninjas chasing down a black ferret? That does sound pretty weird. Do you know if they are players or NPCs?”

“I don’t actually know. However they attacked in an alley in Trezy and we middle intermediate strength. There were two of them. My guess is NPCs and that this is part of some quest line but I am not 100% certain.”

“If they are just independent players then I don’t really have much information I can give you toward figuring things out. Now if those are NPCs or roleplaying players then I might have something. There is a secret organization known as the Darkside Maw. The operate around Trezy. Have you heard about Reverse Zones before?”

“No, what are those?”

“They are a special type of zone. Short story they are basically instance dungeons that need to be cleared in one attempt. There is a little bit more too them than that though. Unlike normal instance dungeons reverse zones are inhabited by NPCs.”

“Instance dungeons inhabited by NPCs, is that even possible?” Asked Gardenia.

“I can understand your apprehension but the records are pretty clear that they exist. From the scant rumors about them I have heard they are extremely dangerous content because they adapt and change to the people that are raiding it.”

“Alright, assuming this Darkside Maw is sending assassins after this girl and her ferret, is there anyway for me to stop them? After all, NPCs can keep respawning and continuing the attack.”

“Hmmm, that is. a tricky question. Normal NPCs don’t usually attack players. I will have to do some research about that. Also the route to the Darkside Maw, paths through the Tunnels to Reverse Zones are typically secret. Finding it might be tricky.”

“Are you fine with spending time looking into this?” Asked Gardenia.

“I don’t mind. Looking into things like this is one of my hobbies. The library in towns don’t cover reverse zones very much so this is an opportunity for me to discover new information. However you should take care, if what I have heard about Darkside Maw is correct then the enemies that you faced are practically rookies. Since you have proven capable of dealing with them next time they will send tougher opponents.”

“Thanks, I will keep that in mind. Good luck trying to find out more information.”

“I will talk with you later.” Said Oblivion Shadow over the call before he hung up.

Moira hadn’t been able to hear any of the conversation so Gardenia had to explain what she had learned to Moira.

“So these Darkside Maw folks want to kill me and take Mr. Pots? Why would they want to do that?” She said.

Gardenia shook her head, “I don’t know yet but according to my friend they will probably send even stronger assassins next time. While I can definitely protect you if they attack I don’t know if I also can defeat them. I wanted to call in reinforcements. With another party member I can allocate defeating the assassins to them.”

Moira nodded, “Alright, if you think they will help but is it really alright for a several expert characters to waste their time helping me?”

“It will be fine. I’m sure she will be totally interested in helping you. Give me a moment while I call her.”

It took very little time before that call connected.

“Yo yo, what is up? It has been like infinite time since you last called me. I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me.”

“I need your help protecting a girl and her magical ferret from mysterious ninja assassins.”

“Tell me where you are and I will be there immediately.” Demanded Iyrandrar Norra.

“Equinox’s shop.”

The call immediately ended. Gardenia looked over at Moira and said, “It looks like she is in, she will be here soonish I think. She probably needs to teleport in from another city but is otherwise available.”

“Alright, I’m still a bit surprised about how everything. Did I somehow become the important chosen one or something?” Said Moira.

Gardenia giggled a little bit, “Maybe, maybe, I will have to tell Norra about that when she gets here. I’m sure she will have something to say about that.”

There was a knock on the door and Gardenia said, “Come in.”

Equinox opened the door. He was holding a plate full of small cake slices. “I have brought some snacks for the guests. Please help yourself.” He placed the plate of cakes on the table between Gardenia and Moira.

Moira looked at the slices of cake with a hungering look in her eyes, “Really? Is it really alright?”

Equinox laughed, “Yes, it is fine. There is a cake shop a few shops down and I have several guests who like hanging around and chatting while I finish their job.” He winked at Gardenia while he spoke. “So please help yourself.”

“I invited Norra to join us so save a slice for her.” Said Gardenia.

Equinox was grabbing plates from the cupboard in the room. He placed one set in front of each of the girls before setting one aside for Norra. Gardenia helped herself to one of the slices while Moira grabbed another one.

“Anything I can help with?” Asked Equinox after everybody had been served. “About the whole assassin thing I mean?”

“How are your combat skills?” Asked Gardenia.

“Still lacking. I am close to mastering several of my intermediate skills but it hasn’t happened yet. Since I am mainly a crafter and not a gatherer I don’t have much opportunity to raise them.” His description made sense. He was an expert crafter however so he had certainly put a lot of effort into his chosen profession.

“Well, that meets the minimum criteria so sticking around shouldn’t be an issue. You can probably beat the assassins I saw earlier but I’ve been told that there might be much more dangerous assassins coming in later. That was one of the reasons I called in Norra as backup. Although if you were to hurry up my most recent commission that would also be beneficial.”

“There is only so much I can hurry. You are talking about an expert tier weapon. I’ll do the best that I can but I am pioneering new techniques here so I can’t give you an proper estimate about how long it will take. However, “ he paused, “I can close the shop a little early and start working on it now.”

“Thanks.”

He just nodded before taking his leave from the room.

Moira has a grin on her face before saying, “Is he your… you know.”

Gardenia did a double take before shaking her head and saying, “No, just a regular friend. Although, if you ask me, I think he has been getting rather close with the owner of the sweets shop and just uses the guests as a reason to keep buying her cake.”

Moira nodded with great interest. Gardenia had never been much for discussing this type of topic but she knew that many people were interested.

Gardenia tried to make small talk with Moira until she was eventually saved by a boastful announcement, “Out of the Darkness comes the world’s true hero.” The door practically slammed open to the appearance of, “Iyrandrar Norra.”

She still had her blond hair tied up in pig tails but her other equipment had changed a lot. She was still wearing what could be described as leather armor or maybe instead an idol outfit. It left most of her legs and arms exposed while covering all the vital bits with a golden leather. The strange part was the decorative fills while made it look extremely non-practical.

The other major change was the Norra had succeed to getting the elven legacy skill and now had pointed eyes to compliment her look.

Moira practically clapped upon Norra’s extreme entrance. Gardenia was practically used to the weirdness that Norra extruded so she basically ignored the entrance. “We saved you some cake. Also I’m pretty certain Moira is the hero in this story. She is the one with the mysterious magical animal who is targeted by unknown assassins.”

Norra fell to her hands and knees in disappointment. “No! Defeated once more!”

It didn’t take Norra too long to “recover” and she pulled herself up onto the chair before grabbing a fork and began to eat the cake. Once her had recovered some of her energy from the cake she spoke once more, “So, you called the great me to assist in defeating this evil assassin organization?”

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 24

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 24 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:19

“More or less. I am having another friend look into the origins of the assassins and where to find their lair.” Gardenia filled Norra in on the details about who the assassins might be and Moira’s backstory.

“I see. Quite the plot that is unfolding. You were right to call an additional team member. Although, you will probably want to call in some more. This might end with use having to raid Darkside Maw, it is probably inevitable. That is just they way these kinds of quests go. There is also another super important thing that needs to happen.”

Moira was hanging onto Norra’s words. Gardenia knew that the next thing that was going to come out of Norra’s mouth was going to be something stupid but Moira hadn’t realized that about Norra yet.

Moira gulped and asked, “What?”

“We are going to need to get you some new clothes. What you have now… it just won’t do. If you are going to be the hero then you need to look the party. If you were a boy I would put you in green but instead… hmmm. I have just the place for hero clothes.”

It was like Gardenia had known. In Gardenia’s opinion, Norra wasn’t exactly wrong. Moira was still wearing beginner equipment, getting her better gear was an important priority.

Gardenia made sure to include some other actually helpful advice. “Also you should make sure your skills are appropriate. If you don’t have three to four intermediate skills learned you should select a few more. More than that is fine but having a few intermediate skills is important. I am sure between me, Norra, and Equinox we can tell you where the skill trainer for the skill you want to learn is.”

Norra was practically pushing Moira out the door during Gardenia’s suggestion. She could only go, “What, oh, yes. Are you sure it is safe? Aren’t we worried about assassins showing up again?”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry. With Gardenia here they won’t hurt a hair on your head. She is a top class tank who can protect anybody.” Said Norra.

“I wouldn’t put myself that high.” Gardenia was following them as they began to leave through the front of the shop. Before leaving they made sure that Equinox knew that they were going it.

Norra marched Moira through the streets with Gardenia following closely behind. Norra was chattering aimlessly, mostly telling Moira stories about the times that she and Gardenia had adventured together.

Meanwhile Gardenia was sending mail messages to several of the people on her friends list. Norra was probably correct that they would need to assembling a raid team. There was already three of them and if it was a team instance dungeon then she would need three more. Oblivion Shadow was on the list of potential recruits since he had already been roped into this issue.

The clothing store that Norra was leading them to was practically a back alley location. There was just a little sign that said, “True Cosplay”.

Gardenia stopped Norra and asked, “This place… is this a real armor shop? Because it doesn’t look like one.”

“Hey, don’t look at me like that! The two owners are totally expert tailors. If we want good cloth armor that looks good this is absolutely the best placed to buy.”

“Alright then but please don’t dress her up as something weird.”

Norra looked away and was practically whistling as she opened the door and lead Moira into the shop. Inside it was practically normal. There were racks of clothing hanging on either side and a changing room in the back. The whole place wasn’t very big but it gave a cozy feel. Or at least it would but Gardenia could feel danger radiating from all the clothing around her.

The man at the counter looked more like a butler than a shopkeeper. He smiled as they entered and stood up. “My ladies. Welcome to this humble shop. Mistress Norra, it is a pleasure to see you again. How may I help you in this find day.”

There was shuffling in the back room and a voice called out, “Norra? Did you say Norra?” And out from the side room came a woman wearing a maid outfit. She also smiled and said, “Indeed, Mistress Norra and companions. Please, welcome.”

“Nope…” said Gardenia as she practically grabbed Moira’s collar. She tried to turn around and bring Moira back to safety but it was too late. Norra practically teleported to the entrance door and locked it with a click.

Norra had a giant grin and just said, “Too late. You are trapped now. The only thing you can do is give in.”

Gardenia and Moira (who was looking more confused than anything else) were trapped and could no longer escape their terrible fate. They (mostly just Gardenia) could only stand there as the three grinning people moved in closer for the kill.

—-

More than an hour later Gardenia managed to break free. She practically threw herself out the door of the shop. She was wearing a white dress what had a floral pattern. She felt incredibly awkward and defenseless because she was missing her chainmail.

Compared to the basically useless clothing that Gardenia was wearing, the clothing that Moira was wearing was practically utilitarian. Norra and the tailoring couple had still decided to go with green. The clothing was practically a dress covered in embroidery. It came down to around the shins. It had short sleeves and made Moira look almost like a princess.

Gardenia wanted to complain to the shop owners but she couldn’t manage to voice the complaint. She had seen the statistics of the green dress and it was top quality, practically the top of intermediate magical armor.

Norra had gotten in on the “fun” and was wearing her own dress… although cosplay school uniform might be a better description of what Norra was wearing. Gardenia could see the chuckling couple that ran the store through the still open door to the store. She privately swore never to visit that place again.

“Wow… this is amazing.” Said Moira in an act of betrayal to Gardenia as she spin around in her new dress. “Is it really alright for me to keep this?” She also had a new satchel that matched the dress. The head of Mr. Pots pocked out of the bag as it looked around the street.

“It is too late. I have already paid for both of those dresses. They are your’s now and you must keep them forever!” Gloated Norra as she looked in triumph at both Gardenia and Norra.

Gardenia’s groaning was interrupted by a call she was receiving from Oblivion Shadow. She answered the call. “Hey, did you figure something out.”

“Yeah, a little bit. However… well, I think I will take you up on your offer of joining the group. I’m on my way. Can you meet me at the teleport point in Trezy?” He asked.

“Sure, we can meet there. We just… uh, finished, with our current task. How long do you think you will be before getting there.”

“Thirty minutes probably, an hour max. And remember to keep an eye out. Darkside Maw might be even more dangerous then I initially suggested.”

“See you there.” She said as she disconnected.

She waved at Moira and Norra before saying, “Oblivion Shadow is joining us. We are going to meet him at the teleport point in half an hour.”

They began following the road down toward the teleport point. Trezy was a very vertical city and the teleport point was down near the bottom of the city. Currently they were about half way up the mountain and need to make their way down.

As they were passing through a residential area, heading down a flight of stairs, Gardenia paused as raised her hand stopping the others. She hadn’t seen anything but she had a bad hunch.

Norra whispered softly, “Is there an ambush?”

“I don’t know. I don’t see anything but… well… it feels like when I draw aggro and the monster is paying attention to me.”

“Killing intent… that must be it.” Said Norra.

Gardenia quickly swapped her clothing using the equipment menu. Her dress instantly changed into a set of armor and her sword appeared on her side. She drew the shield that had also appeared on her back and placed her hand on the hilt of her sword.

Then a man in black dropped from the top of one of the nearby buildings. His face was entirely covered with black wraps but Gardenia knew that he was the person that she had senses. Norra tensed up next to Gardenia and also placed her hands on the hilts of her daggers.

The man’s hands were free, not yet touching the hilts of his weapons. Suddenly he spoke, “It looks like I need to put some more work into hiding. I didn’t expect any of you to notice me. But since you did there is no point in continuing to hide.”

“What is it you want?” Asked Gardenia with a rough tone in her voice.

Even behind the wraps they could notice the man smile. “It is easy. Just give me the animal and I will go away and not bother you.”

“No!” Shouted Moira, “I am not giving you Mr. Pots. I am going to protect him.”

“Listen, you say that but you really don’t want to mess with us. It would be easier and quick for you to just hand the creature over and then everything will be peaceful.”

“Don’t mess with you? And who might you be? Not just random assassins right?” Asked Gardenia. “Let me guess, you are Darkside Maw?”

“Oh? You have heard of us? Then you should really know not to cross us. After all, we won’t give up until we accomplish your goal.”

“Is that so. Well, it looks like we have something in common.” Said Gardenia as she drew he sword slowly, “And I hope you are more fun then the last two that I fought.”

“Should I join in?” Asked Norra.

“No, in case there are more of them, make sure to keep an eye on Moira.”

The man shook his head and began to draw his own blades. They were shorter than Gardenia’s sword but longer than Norra’s daggers. They also had serrated edges. He took a fighting stance, one that Gardenia did not recognize.

Gardenia took a couple of steps down the stairs putting herself on the same landing that the assassin was standing on. Not letting her get good positioning the man immediately began to rush forward, he short swords moving in perfect harmony. They came from different directions but that wasn’t much of an issue for Gardenia who blocked one of the attacks with her shield and another with her sword.

However the assassins blades practically danced. The one that bounced off the shield snaked downward to get under her guard while the other sword weaved forward and backward threatening to strike at any time if Gardenia made a mistake. His two weapon style was incredible.

Yet his sword again bounced harmlessly of Gardenia’s shield. While the man’s movements might be top quality Gardenia had last since moved into the realm of expert skills and he would need more than slick swordplay to defeat her.

⎡Flame Arena⎦ she called out. The fires flickered around her and the encircled both her and the assassin, trapping them together in a small arena. The heat from the flames could be felt by both participants but Gardenia was used to it.

She grinned at the assassin, “Getting in close with a tank, not the best idea. Let us see how long you can last against me.”

“You think just because you have trapped me that you are going to win?” There was a hidden smirk that the man was making. “You are sorely wrong.” His movements began to speed up, the swords moving quicker than before.

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 25

Boundless Wanderers: Shield and Dragon - Part 25 Nel Thu, 12/26/2019 - 14:21

The clattering sounds grew louder as the swords continued to clash against each other. Occasionally the man’s speed could break through Gardenia’s guard but is wasn’t without hope. The holes that she was leaving were guarded by chainmail and the hits were fast but had minimal force.

Still she was losing hp slowly but she was not the only one. While she left opening so did the assassin. His movements were quick but light, Gardenia was able to activate sword arts to barely break through his guard and cause minimal damage to him.

Although any watcher would tell that with each exchange Gardenia was losing. She was definitely taking more hits than he was. It might only be a matter of time before Gardenia would lose. Gardenia however was still smiling.

This seemed to clearly frustrate the man who finally yelled out, “Why are you still smiling? You are going to lose and fail.”

“Is that so? Are you somehow under the impression that you are winning this battle? Let me fix that assumption.” Said Gardenia.

⎡Greater Regeneration⎦ called out Gardenia as she cast her spell. Expert healing magic was no joke and very swiftly all her wounds healed and she was the only one in the ring that had full hit points.

At that point the assassin because to fight harder. He back activating his own weapon arts but those seemed even less useful than normal attacks. After all Gardenia also had her shield arts that she could use to reduce even more damage.

As they fight Gardenia nodded to herself, “I see, you are only early expert. Not bad, but not enough to worry. I guess it is time for me to end this.”

⎡Fire Infusion⎦ she called out and her sword began to flicker with flames. The assassins next attack deflected again off her shield but she knocked it backward, pushing herself forward and through his guard. Her sword flickered in toward him. He tried to block it with his second sword but Gardenia’s fluid motions simply bypassed his sword and crashed into his body.

With a single blow the man was flung backward and through the wall of fire. Gardenia did not let him have any time and ran through the wall herself. It basically did not effect her as she swung down at his knocked-down body.

It was over and Gardenia. The man did not move any more and he body was beginning to break into glowing fragments. She turned to see Norra finishing off two other assassins. It looked like she was right to not have Norra interfere.

As it evened Moira simply stood there in awe before saying, “How are you so powerful? You two beat them like they were nothing!”

“I’m not really that powerful. I just have some high level skills.” Said Gardenia modestly.

“No no no. We are very strong. Practically super heroes!” Said Norra, not willing to let that amount of humbleness slide. “Listen there is a big difference between intermediate skills and expert skills and we were just showing that off. Plus Gardenia claims to be a tank but she is really an impressive all-rounder. Beating her one on one is practically impossible I would say.”

Gardenia shook her head, “No, I have many flaws. The battle could have been a lot closer, after doing the fight I am pretty sure that they are NPCs. His equipment was too shoddy, practically worthless. Had he been using better weapons and armor then I would have had much more difficult time beating him.”

“But you still would have?” Ask Norra with a grin.

“Probably.” She looked over at Moira and said, “One thing to know is that the higher levels of a skills are generally more powerful per level than the lower levels. As all the practical knowledge of the skill begins to come together you get a large boost as the end. My opponent was just barely expert but I am getting close to mastering expert skills.”

“It just seems so far away from me.” Said Moira, “During that battle it felt like there was nothing I could do since any of them would beat me immediately.”

Gardenia placed a hand on Moira’s head and ruffled the hair a little bit. “Don’t worry about it. One word of advice that I received is just do what you think is fun. If you want to fight, fight. If you don’t want to fight, then don’t. This world is a game after all.”

“But… I need to protect Mr. Pots.” She held her bag in her arms again.

“Then protect him. Remember not to give up until you have lost your final hit point.”

Moira nodded and said, “Alright, I will do my best.”

Norra was smiling at the exchange although she was muttering under her breath, “Stealing the best parts away from me. You are more devious than I thought Gardenia.”

Gardenia looked around again before saying, “I think we should have some time now. It will probably be a while before the next assassination attempt. Next time will probably be even more dangerous so we should meetup with Oblivion Shadow quickly. I also have another friend who has agreed to help and should be arriving at about the same time.

They arrived at the teleport platform with a little bit of time to spare before the thirty minute mark. The fight hadn’t actually taken that long. There were plenty of people here so they weren’t too worried about being ambushed. Still, Gardenia kept close to Moira just in case.

Just a few minutes after the minimum time Oblivion Shadow showed up. He was still wearing horribly dark clothing but the pitch black robes looked very well made with even blacker stitching. While his hair still covered most of his facial features.

Gardenia waved and he walked over. Moira was practically hiding behind Gardenia who told her, “Don’t worry about Oblivion Shadow, he looks scary but he really isn’t. Moira nodded reluctantly.

Oblivion Shadow looked around the crowded teleport platform and said, “We should find a quite place to talk.”

“I also invited Elunial to join us so we are also waiting for her. She should be here soon.”

“Elunial? Are you sure it is safe to ask her? After all…” He left the question basically unasked.

“I have already informed her about the basics. She has a strong sense of justice so she is on board for helping dealing with the assassins.”

Oblivion Shadow nodded in acceptance and they waited around until Elunial showed up on the teleport platform. She looked practically identical since they late time they had seen her. She was still wearing the simple clothing that she had brought from the monastery, or at least extremely identical clothing.

She ran up practically silently to the group. “It looks like I arrived after Oblivion. Sorry for the wait.”

Oblivion Shadow said, “Alright, let us find a quite place where I can talk about what I have learned.”

The team left the teleportation platform and traveled a bit before finding a restaurant that they entered. There were some private tables and their team rented one of them. After they all took their seats Oblivion Shadow clasped his hands together in front of himself in an ominous manor.

“As you might all know Darkside Maw is an assassin organization. However one thing that I have learned during my research is that they have begun to accept Wanderers as members.”

“Wanderers?” Asked Moira, “You mean Players right?”

Oblivion Shadow glanced at Elunial before looked back at Moira and saying, “Yes, precisely. Since players have a wide breadth of interests it is fairly natural that some people have accepted this offer.”