Since we had arrived in the early evening I spend the night practicing with the plan to explore the city the next day.
When that day came my first order of business was the Adventurer’s Guild. From what Herbert has said they had a small office in the city. It was for recruitment and to organize with the Merchant’s Guild for supply delivers to Dungeoncity.
I stopped by and officially registered myself as an adventurer. It was a momentous occasion. For me mainly. I told them I was planning on heading to Dungeoncity in the next few days and that I would be looking for a party then. I also had to pay a silver.
Next step was the markets. I had some equipment but I didn’t know how good they were. However going through the markets didn’t really help that much. There were just so many options and I couldn’t tell what was better than what. I really needed some kind of appraisal skill.
All of the stuff that looked good was all outside my price range. I did however find a book about Life Magic. The merchant that sold it to me for only a gold said that I was guaranteed to become a Life Mage if I studied it well enough, a shady claim if I had ever heard one.
I considered buying mp potions but these were even more expensive than healing potions. Buying one of them would never be worth it for training however if I was actually doing adventuring it could be considerable but only if the payout was high enough.
Another thing I learned was that the practice of slavery was still alive and well in the world of fantasy. It was a terrible thing but at my current level it was outside my power to do anything about it. From what I could tell it was mainly used as a punishment for criminals and some kind of magic was used to enforce obedience. The ramifications of such magic was dangerous though.
There was still so much I didn’t know about this world.
While there was still a lot of time in the day I used that time practicing what magic I could and then swinging my staff until I was exhausted. One thing I had learned about levels today was a general understanding of what level qualifies as high.
For my age level 5 was quite good and it seemed that more of the general population was somewhere between level 5 and level 8. It seemed that most people didn’t really gain levels as part of their general profession. The town guards and people who looked like soldiers or adventurers seemed to cap somewhere between level 15 and level 20.
However there were several major exceptions. While I was at the adventurer’s guild I saw a senior adventurer who was level 34. The question of how high in level people could get was still up in the air but that adventurer had seemed very impressive. It was a good goal to set as my first goal.
Once I had exhausted myself I took a break in studying the life magic book. I didn’t really understand much of what it was talking about but I pressed onward learning everything I could about it. My elemental magic was known just by some kind of innate understanding on my part because of my job probably.
The day was hard but my progress on the various skills ranks was good. I got my staff melee skill up to rank 3 and at this rate I should get another rank in Elemental Magic before my level went up. More importantly I was expecting to get to second rank in my elementalist job.
Interestingly Hero had no progress to ranking up and I didn’t know how to get progress on it. My Traveler job hadn’t gone up in any of the training but it had progressed a little during the journey since I got it. Like skills they seemed to gain experience when you do actions related to them.
The next day I was rewarded with my second rank in elementalist like I expected. My hope for more spells was rewarded. Earthshield was a defensive buff and Waterblade was a close range offensive option. Apparently for elementalist water was a different element than ice. I also gained the Elemental Sense skill.
There was no immediate change upon getting that skill, maybe a tingling when I cast my spells but nothing more than that.
However when the day ended and I slept things changed. When I awoke I found that there had been changes to my gui once again. I now had an elemental overlay which I could enable. It showed the flow if the winds and water, although faintly.
The gui seemed to update over the night, was this an integration function of the magic or what is me creating the interface unconsciously during the night. Enabling the elemental sense overlay however cost a small amount of mp to sustain, about one mp a minute which prevented me from keeping it up all the time.
I wanted to experiment with it but today I had the goal of gaining a level. I was 98% away from leveling and given my rate during the last two days I thought I could manage it.
By noon I had pushed that number up to 99% and four hours after that the reward I had long been waiting for.
A strange magical sound, the sound of gaining a level. I could hear it and I could literally feel it in my bones like I shiver that spread throughout me. My log show me the level and a list of improved stats. It felt strange and surreal but as the same time reinvigorating.
Then what I had expected the message, “You have unspent skill points”
The log said it clearly, “Improved Level Up has granted you 12 bonus skill points”
I opened my skill menu and looked. 12 skill points. My fears had been confirmed, Improved Level Up was dangerous, extremely dangerous. That talent made me valuable, the talent said that it worked for my party which meant that anybody in my party also gained bonus skill points when they leveled up.
If a world where all your skills seemed to rank up purely from proficiency I had the ability to power level. If the rates I had experienced where a good benchmark then training to gain skills was slow. I had gained two skill ranks in the time I had gained one level and here I was with 12 bonus skill points.
Now that I had truly confirmed by suspicious I had to enact my plan. Something I had been putting together since I entered Tortburg. If I was going to be an adventurer, and I was, I needed allies that I could trust with this secret. A public party would certain involve somebody trying to take advantage of my ability.
I needed somebody that I could absolutely trust. I could only trust that eight gold was enough.
I was in the slave market. The man in charge was showing me around and I was doing my best not to look uncomfortable. I hated the idea but it was the only way I could think of to ensure loyalty. I promised myself I would set the person free as soon as I was high enough level that I could avoid being taken advantage of.
I had told them I was seeking a slave capable of fighting in the front lines. The person in charge didn’t ask any questions. That was probably usual in this line of business. He showed me several people who were within my budget, such a terrible thought.
“They all seem pretty low level.” I commented. That was harsh, most of them weren’t really any lower level than me but nobody really caught my interest. Although more likely it was my morals crying and telling me that slavery was wrong.
“Unfortunately it is hard to get ones with high level, most of them are purchased right away.” Said the slave merchant, then there was a long pause, “Although, we do have one that you might be interested in. Level 12 and cheap too.” He said.
I started paying attention to him. It was a flag, it had to be a flag. “What is the catch?” I asked trying to sound as suspicious as possible. However secretly I was feeling like this must be it.
“No catch, no catch.” He was making it sound even more suspicious, “A girl like you, young too, she has a rare job too. I’m sure she will be perfect.” I didn’t know if he could make it sound more suspicious if he tried However I could see the flag super clearly. She was going to be perfect, I could tell.
“Yes my lady.” He said bowing before showing me the way. He lead me down into what must have been a dungeon of some kind.
“Why is she down here.” I asked.
“Superstitions and nothing more I assure you.” He said as he picked up a torch and began walking through the dark halls. All of the cells that we passed by were empty. My guide even looked a bit spooked looking into the different cells as he passed them.
Finally he stopped at the last cell and shined the light in.
I could see the woman in the cell. She was hunched against the back wall. As the light fell upon her she looked up and our eyes meet. Even in the badly lit room I could tell that her eyes were a bright eerie green.
She looked maybe eighteen or twenty, a bit handful of years older than me. She looked haggard and ill-kept but there was something strange and alluring about her.
Lanette, Level 12 Cursed Blood
“How much?” I asked.
“I can’t part with her for less than seven.”
With the way he spoke I expected that I could have gotten her for cheaper, he was happy to have gotten rid of her.
He unlocked the door and called out to the woman inside, “Get up, it is time for you to go. This is your new master.”
Lanette stood and walked toward the cell door. She stood in front of me, she was quite a bit taller than me. “How long until you too give up on me.” She said.
There was a tingle up my spine, this, this was it. I was smiling, “No, you are perfect.”
I turned my head slightly to speak to the slaver without breaking eye contact with Lanette, “How does the transfer work?”
“Just had over the coin and I will transfer it to you immediately.”
I reached into my satchel and pulled out the coins, handing them it him. A few moments later I received the message. “Accept ownership transfer of Lanette?” I accepted.
With that the slaver chuckled and said, “Good luck. Feel free to get aquatinted, she is your problem now.” He then ran off leaving us alone in the dungeon.
“It seems that he is quite frightened of you.” I said.
“I am cursed, he is right to be frightened.”
I however was smiling brightly, “I’m just amazed at how perfect this is. Cliché maybe but perfect. I didn’t except such a perfect flag to fall into my lap. I have so many questions to ask you but I think I’m supposed to take it slowly, being to aggressive tends to lead to bad ends.”
She just stared dumbfounded at me, “What?”
“Come on, let’s go. We don’t have all day. We need to get you something better than those rags. After all we are leaving for Dungeoncity tomorrow.”
“Ah, I see. If you need me to fight then I will do my best.” Her voice had changed to a more obedient monotone.