“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.
“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.
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.