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.
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.