Hey look, another chapter. God I’m slow… But I have an excuse! I had to draw a new character! Yeah! Totally a good excuse… Just… Check the character profiles… Hopefully I can get a better schedule of posting shit. Sometime! Just enjoy what I’ve written so far, kay? Cool. If I made a horrendous error or anything like that, feel free to tell me.
“Thank you,” I said to the shopkeeper as I walked out of the store. I had sold the contents of my inventory save for the potions and the gemstone I took from ShadowSam. As I had lost my knives, I didn’t sell his steel sword either. But as the sword was equipped, it didn’t take up any space in my pouch. Once I got into the middle of the town road, I took out the orangish gemstone and held it up in the sun. It glowed faintly in my hand.
“You know, you could have equipped the gemstone too…” Daemon said with a sigh.
“I know, I just didn’t wanna wear those heavy gauntlets or use the spell book. Those were the only items with gem slots…”
“So instead of taking advantage of an extremely useful ability attached to the stone, you’d rather just keep it in your inventory because you didn’t like the gear you could have used it with?”
“Yes, exactly, I’m glad you understand.”
“Whatever… If a thief comes by and pickpockets you, it’s not my fault…”
I waved Daemon off. “Blah, blah… Just navigate me to Incipio. But a way that avoids the main routes.”
“Because of the convoy?”
“Yeah,” I answered with a nod, “I don’t wanna accidently run into it when it passes this town. Higher level players are most likely following along and I don’t wanna be picked off. Plus I can kill off more monsters on the back routes. I still wanna get to level 20 before getting to Incipio.” A sly smile spread across my lips, “While everyone is distracted by the tournament I’ll be making progress in the Tower…” I mumbled to myself.
“Got it,” Dragon said as a light blue trail leading to a waypoint in the distance appeared in front of me. While I could have set a path for myself using the map given to every player at the start of the game, players almost always had their guide set waypoints for them. Especially in the over world as map data is complete from the get go. Players had to collect map data for themselves in dungeons and levels of the tower. Though most of that information was available on online forums.
Right before I set on my way to Incipio, a thundering voice echoed behind me. “Hey! Psycho Android! You’re the twat who attacked in me in the woods and stole my shit!”
I turned around to see a large, muscle bound ogre staring me down. “Oh hey,” I began, “you’re the dude who had that fire mallet. That was a really good weapon. I sold it at the shop for good amount of gold.”
Smoke shot from the ogre’s nostrils. “Dude! That mallet took forever to forge!”
I shrugged. “Well it isn’t gone. I just sold it, so you can easily buy it back.”
“Aw hell no!” The ogre yelled. “I ain’t gonna pay for it, imma kill you and use your money to pay for it!” The player cracked his knuckles then charged after me.
I immediately bolted, not wanting to fight the higher-level player in the middle of town. Having PvP battles in an open, public area caused a dome to surround the battleground so that no other players could interfere or get wrapped up in the battle. While that aspect wouldn’t be a problem, I knew the ogre would be able to take me in an area without places to hide. When I jumped him in the woods I had the element of surprise to my advantage.
“Hey, get back here! Let me kill you!”
“Get off my ass!” I yelled back, running trough a crowd of players and NPC’s. Expletives from the ogre and players I shoved out of the way were thrown at me. I just needed to get out of the town and into woods. I’d easily be able to escape then. Just as I got to the main road however, I was stopped short by a series of guards walking beside several horse drawn carriages and more military style vehicles. “Dammit, it’s the convoy…” I spun around to see the ogre only a few feet behind me.
“I’m coming, you twat!”
“That’s what your mom said last night!” I retorted, jumping onto the nearest carriage.
The ogre stopped short, confusion clouding his thoughts. “What the…? What kinda girl would say that?!” He then noticed where I was standing. “Hey! Get back here! I’M NOT DONE WITH YOU!!”
I stuck my tongue out and lowered my hand to my crotch, making a jerking motion. I was then shot in the arm with a crossbow by a solider. While the arrow only did minor damage, it had enough impact to cause me to fall. Crash more like. Right through the top of the carriage I was standing on. Once the dust settled, my red eyes met a pair of light blue eyes. I immediately straightened myself out and gave a quick bow.
“I didn’t mean to intrude,” I said to Princess Sheol and Aegis, Sheol’s personal guard. “I was being chased by another player, uh, I mean… chased by an ogre. And I got away by jumping on… on the carriage… I had no idea it was your carriage though! I just needed to get away and… But I didn’t expect to fall through! One of the soldiers walking beside the carriage shot me and… and I fell because of that. So if you’re gonna blame anyone you should totally blame that soldier… and the ogre. Blame them both. Throw them in the royal dungeon or something. Yeah.” There was a moment of silence in the carriage. I proceeded to give the other occupants of the carriage a wide smile. Aegis responded by pulling out his crimson dagger, holding the blade to my throat.
Since the princess and her guard were just NPC’s, their actions were preprogrammed. It all depended on what I said and how I acted. If I did anything wrong, Sheol would have Aegis kill me on the spot. Apparently a long explanation followed by an overly cheery smile was the wrong thing to do. I closed my eyes and accepted my fate. My gear, items, and half my current gold total would be left behind as my character respawned at where I had last logged in. And all the experience points I gained this level would disappear! I’d be a fresh level 17 with absolutely nothing…
“Should I kill the intruder?” Aegis asked the princess without taking his eyes off of me.
I swallowed hard, waiting for Sheol to respond.
“Just kick him out,” the pale princess responded.
Aegis gave an acknowledging grunt as he opened the door of the carriage and booted me out. I landed directly on my face as the convoy continued to Incipio.
I looked up to see Daemon staring at me. “Well that went well.”
“That was… weird actually.” I stood up and dusted myself off. “Why was I just kicked out?”
“I think you might have somehow triggered a secret side quest,” Daemon answered, motioning to a letter at my feet. A small yellow exclamation point was floating above it.
“What’s this?” I picked up the letter, looking over both sides. “There aren’t supposed to be any sidequests here… This must have been added in the latest update.” My eyes widened as I read over the name written on the front of the letter. “What!? This letter is addressed to Gnatz!”
Gnatz was the fabled blacksmith who could craft custom weapons made from the bones and hides of legendary beasts at an extremely high price. But he was a hermit who lived in a cave deep within the Orelt Mountains. Players had to find him and get on his good side before he’d even think about making a custom weapon. It was surprising to see a letter addressed to him by the princess herself…
“He’ll probably be at Incipio for the tournament,” Daemon mentioned. “Sheol must have wanted to give the letter to him there.”
I nodded. “Makes sense… But it’s still surprising that Gnatz would come out of isolation for the tournament…”
“Well it’s the 2nd Anniversary Tournament. The 1st Anniversary Tournament was a big deal so it makes sense that this tournament is an even bigger deal. Anyways, getting the letter to Gnatz seems like the next step of this quest so make sure to do that when we get to Incipio.”
Daemon looked down the road then back at me. “Yeah, we should get going now.”
I looked down the road as well, seeing a mass of players charging towards me, including the ogre from earlier holding the mallet I stole from him high in the air. “And on that note…” I sprinted up the road for a bit before curving down the side of the hill to the wide-open fields below. It would take about an hour in real time to reach Incipio by foot so I couldn’t afford any more disruptions.
Even though I had been playing for a couple hours already, I couldn’t log off until I got to Incipio. Well I mean I could log off, but I really didn’t want to. When players logged off, their bodies stayed in place. Logging off in a public area was huge risk as other players or monsters could easily loot or even kill the body. There were only a few ways to log off safely; doing so in an Inn, in your own or a party member’s residence (a party member you trusted that is), or in danger free zones where no monsters roamed and PvP wasn’t allowed. As I wasn’t in a danger free zone and I didn’t have my own home or any party members, I had to get to an inn in Incipio to safely log off. So I had to keep playing for yet another hour. But it wasn’t like I had anything important to do in the real world…
“Alright… “ I said though heavy breathes, “I… I think I’m far enough away…” Once I got a few more breathes of air, I began to survey my surroundings. “These are the Clara Fields, right?”
“Give me monster info.”
“Low level enemies include goblins, gremlins, and wolf packs. Mid enemies are Slingshot Satyrs, Poison Jack-in-the-Pulpits, and Hellhounds, though the hounds mainly appear at night. The only high-level enemy you might encounter is a Horrent Minotaur.”
“Alright, that ain’t bad. Let’s get some exp!” I yelled as I reached for my daggers. My hands then fell motionless at my side. I lost my daggers in the woods… The only weapon I had was ShadowSam’s steel sword. I pulled the sword out and swung it about. While it was a good weapon, I preferred dual wielding. “Well,” I said to Daemon, “Remind me to buy a pair of daggers when we get to Incipio…”
“That’s what you get for having terrible aim.”
“Yeah, I know! I guess I’ll buy some cheap projectiles too… I can work on my aim in the training yard…” I threw my arms up in fake excitement as I walked down the blue path leading to Incipio Daemon had set out earlier, “Whooo….”
“Well, I’m surprised we made it.”
“Oh… Shut up…” I said as I wiped blood off of my forehead. I sheathed my sword as I walked up to the large gates of Incipio. “Hey, check my stats will you?”
The red dragon pulled up a virtual chart for him to read. “While you only got to 18, your attack, stamina, and strength went up some. You got two skill points but no new abilities were unlocked. And your skill with swords went up a bit.”
“Okay, that’s all good I guess. Put both skill points into defense.” Daemon gave me a nod as the gates to the city slowly began to swing open. Incipio was known for many things; first and foremost it was the capital of The Desolate Lands. Vendors and shops lined every street selling goods from all over the lands. Inns and bars and even restaurants were available to players provided they could pay. Training yards, apartments, stables; Incipio was filled with all those and more. One of the biggest features was the Desolate Coliseum, a large arena where large events took place, including the 2nd Anniversary Tournament.
“Hey Daemon,” I said under my breath as I walked into the city, “Do you know if Gnatz is here?”
“Uhhh…. I don’t know. Because there was no information of him even coming, I have no information of where he’ll be. And since no other player has any knowledge of him being here, there’s nothing in any online databases.”
“So I gotta find him somehow? Maaan….”
“You know, you could ask the Princess where he could be.”
“Oh yeah, totally. The Princess would be just delighted to see me after I fell on her!” I bit my tongue all surrounding eyes locked onto me. “Daemon, direct me to the nearest inn,” I muttered.
My guide rolled his eyes, “You idiot…”
A few minutes later I was checked into the inn. Luckily the one I ran into was cheap and a room was open. As long as my character was in the room I wouldn’t be kicked out of the Inn. I wouldn’t be offline for long though. I just needed to get some sleep. In the morning I’d be back online ready to complete my current quest.
Before I logged off for the night I checked the DLO Daily, a virtual newspaper containing information straight from Absolute Medium, the company that created DLO. The paper usually contained news on upcoming events, what big name shops were currently selling, top rated quests of the day, interviews with high-ranked players, and the leaderboard of the Desolate Tower. I checked the leaderboard to see if anything had changed. The username WarHawke was still at the top of the list. WarHawke was a member of the Ten Warlords, the ten strongest players in DLO. What made him special though, was that he was the leader of DLO’s largest guild, The Gray Militia. He and his guild made it all the way up to the 74th floor. While they were currently unable to find the boss of the floor, everyone knew they would reach the 75th floor soon. I just hoped they wouldn’t succeed before the Tournament. I wanted everyone to be focused on the Tournament instead of the tower. Being able to clear the first several floors alone would be great.
I closed the newspaper and rubbed the bridge of my nose. “Alright D,” I said out loud, “I’m logging off. See ya soon.”
“Yeah, yeah…” Daemon responded.
“Asshole…” I muttered.
“Takes one to know one.”
I flicked Daemon off as I brought up the virtual menu, logging myself off. The virtual world around me melted into nothingness almost instantaneously.