Kerta had changed a lot in the past three weeks; for one, there were far more players mulling around the streets. Several stores had been erected by the roadside where future merchants practiced their trade.The trade classes possessed a unique trait; unlike warriors or mages, they did not need to fight to increase their levels. Practicing their trade gave them direct Experience points to level up.
Whereas if a warrior or mage practiced smithery, tailoring or other similar crafts, his expertise only increased in the craft. There were no carry-overs to their actual exp points. Hence the reason most newbies tended to shy away from crafting until much later levels when prices for rare items began to skyrocket.Kashi knew from experience if he wanted to get gear similar to the one he had stored away, he would have to pay through his nose. Right now professional crafters were ultra-rare and he fully intended to cash in on the opportunity. Especially because it was a brand new game, even users who were trade-crafters in their previous games would be tempted to roam for a while before picking up their respective trades.
But first he had to generate enough revenue to start his monopoly…
After wandering around town for a while, he found what he was looking for: a request board. Common in most RPG’s, residents set up requests for certain tasks which were rewarded with both money and exp. Users could also post requests too, but they had to drop the promised payment with the Adventurers’ guild first, or whatever its counterpart was in this world.
He scanned the board and ripped off about five quests. They were all gathering quests for material obtained by killing certain animals located on the outskirts of town. It was essentially killing two birds with one stone; levelling and earning money at the same time.
He set out for the gates, a slight spring in his step at the prospect of finally hitting something alive. When he was close to the gate, a small gathering caught his eye. They seemed to be cheering for someone in the middle. Curiosity winning over his desire to kill, he walked closer, but froze in his tracks when the most beautiful voice he had ever heard carried over in the air towards him.
There were people like that girl too; ones who chose the music profession to be bards or performers. Their songs or instruments usually raised the stat points of allies and demerits their enemies. They were excellent support but utterly useless in actual combat.
It felt like the song she was singing was meant solely for him, and similar to when he activated keen sense, the world seemed to fade away leaving only him and her song in it.
But there was something wrong. The song… (or was it her voice?) tugged at his heart, unlocking something that should have been buried deep inside. The song was horribly beautiful, and just when he thought he could take no more, someone nudged past him, successfully breaking him free of the song’s spell.
For how long, he did not know; Where he did not know; he knew just had to keep running. When he was sure he was far enough, he finally pulled to a halt, sweat rolling down his face in showers and clutching his chest. He pulled himself together and caught his breath as his vision which had narrowed badly began to return to normal.
This was the first time he had ever had a panic attack inside the virtual world. Suzuki’s rule to keep his personalities separate was to prevent his episodes from slipping into the virtual world; his only true solace.
He calmed himself with the knowledge that it was a large continent. He would most likely never meet her again.
If only he knew at the time… what fate had in store for him.
It took a while but he finally regained full composure and decided to go about hunting since he was already outside the gates.
He started with the rabbits which he killed easily by running up and kicking them. They dropped several items, one of which included rabbit meat: an ingredient for a cooking dish.
He needed ten rabbit feet for some random resident who felt his luck had gone down recently and believed it would bring his family goodluck. Not every kill dropped the items a user desired, if any dropped at all. This is also what causes players to attack a certain type of creature multiple times to obtain items that were rare drops.
It took a while but he finally got all of them and decided to move on to bigger fish. Before that though, he pulled up his profile screen and added all the stat points he had saved earlier to his agility.
It got dark as Kashi searched the plains for stronger foes and nighttime was when the bigger animals came out to play
He opened his inventory window and picked the Recruit’s Bow.
Bow given to those who new members of the Hunters’ Brotherhood (+10 DEX)
“Hey you. You need a party?!” he heard someone shout out nearby. A vein popped in his head but he struggled to keep his composure.
“It would appear so.” He called out to the person who had summoned him so rudely.
The advertiser was a knight class. Excellent for tanking, they used their shields to block attacks then used rapid strikes with their swords to fell an enemy. They were the core of most parties with skills that attracted enemies to them. This naturally meant they had high HP compared to other classes. He was a young teenage human probably thirteen or fourteen with dark spiky hair. He seemed to have gotten himself some good armour and it was probably the source of his ego.
Beside him were two girls: one, a pink haired girl wearing a white robe, most likely a mage or healer.
The second girl wore a brown-battle top, shorts and shoes. On her hands were gloves with metal across the fingers. She was most likely a Pugilist. A class that focused on hand to hand attacks, they possessed the ability to increase her physical abilities during battle. They excelled in close combat, and because they needed to dispatch enemies quickly, they had to focus most of their stat on their Strength and a some on vitality to improve their chances to survive head-to head combat, sacrificing speed as a result.
They followed a simple motto. “Kill the enemy before it kills you.”
“We have a healer, knight and pugilist and mage with us.”
“I don’t see the mage,” Kashi pointed out.
“Yo!” Someone tapped Kashin’s shoulder and he turned to see a slightly older man, probably in his early twenties. He sounded like someone in his early twenties, but that was an easy option to tweak when creating a character. He had scraggly red hair and wore a red robe.
“I assume your element is fire?”
“You’ve got that. The name’s Craig, level 7 mage. The pugilist is Sara, level 7. The mage is Yuna level 7, and finally our leader Stryke level 8.”
“…What’s your name and level?”
“Kashi… level 3.”
“You’re an archer?”
“… Not exactly. I do not have a class yet.”
“Wow, you’re weaker than I thought.” Stryke said with surprise on his face. “Don’t worry, yours truly will protect you.” He burst out in laughter patting Kashi on the back.
“I’ll be relying on your guidance then.” Kashi struggled to keep his emotions in check.
“Yosh! Follow me!” Stryke cheered and his little troupe followed closely behind cheering aloud.
What a weird bunch.
“Let’s start with foxes. Since you’re using a bow I assume you put your first ten points in DEX. Kashi-kun, focus on levelling up till level six then put all your stat points in STR. That should raise your strength to 25. We’ll handle the rest.”
There were four major predators around Kerta. In their ascending order in terms of strength they were foxes, hyenas, wolves and the terrifying Direwolves.
Foxes usually roamed solo so they were easy targets and Kashi watched from a safe distance at their teamwork.
“Dodge it Sara.”
“Heal Sara, Yuna!”
Their teamwork was pretty solid. Stryke acted as a powerful tank using his loud voice to attract the fox’s attention. With his shield placed in front of him, he would block the fox’s attacks while Sara punished it from behind.
The fox’s attacks left him damaged badly, but Yuna replenished his vitality before it fell too low. Meanwhile, Craig released a fireball at opportune times to distract the beast and buy time for Yuna to healStryke.
The fluidity of their attacks was proof that they knew each other really well.
“It’s about time.”
Like clockwork, they all jumped back at the sametime and Kashi fired an arrow that pierced right through the fox. The poor animal never even saw the attack coming. It scattered into a myriad of light that slowly dissipated.
“Nice.” Stryke complimented him with a hearty wave.
From then on, he would wait till they had beaten the fox down to a certain amount of HP he would strike true ending its life in one hit. They repeated this until he got a message.
Bow Mastery Increased to 4
+12 % ATK SPD
You have levelled up
Kashi smiled at the notification. He placed three of his stat points in strength and accidently fired a little earlier than planned. His arrow pierced the fox, and it disappeared instantly.
What shocked the others in the party was that the wolf still had half its HP left and he had just K.Oed it in one hit. They attributed it to luck and decided to continue.
They lured in more foxes, which Kashi dispatched in a single shot once their HP dropped beyond 70%. After killing a few that still had just about half their HP left with critical hits, the party began to look at him suspiciously.
Stryke stood mouth agape at Kashi’s skill. The question in everyone’s mind. How the hell was he doing it?
The answer to their question lay in the training Kashin had undergone. When he started the game, he had 10 strength and vitality. However through constantly firing those arrows he had added 38 STR and 40 DEX, and invested his first set of ten points in agility, bringing his strength and agility to fifty-three and fifty-two respectively. His Dexterity of fifty also gave him a very high critical hit chance
To get the stats he currently possessed through normal levelling, an adventurer would have to reach the early level forties. And if all those stats were not enough, his weapon gave him an additional 10 ATK. Coupled with the increased 40 percent attack from bow mastery, the conclusion was simple: this was never a match for him.
“Watch out!” Stryke shouted and shielded him just as an unseen foe lunged at him.
As dangerous as it was ugly, the hyena was a foe not to be taken lightly. Past experiences with them in mind, Kashi quickly took charge. “A hyena will call for its brothers if it thinks its in danger, so you have to wipe him out before then!”
Hyenas were not as fast as foxes but they had much more strength and could easily chew through most low level armoury. With this in mind…
“Stryke how much HP do you have?”
“Three hundred,” he answered. As expected knights really did have more health than other classes. But that was nothing compared to Kashi who boasted close to 800 health, though he did not say it out.
“Let me tank from here on out,” Kashi offered.
“But archers are at a disadvantage!”
“I’m no ordinary archer. There’s no time. Trust me!”
The hyena lunged at him fangs bared, but he swiftly side stepped out of the way. The hyena bent its head as it passed him to bite his knee. The tips of its teeth barely touched him but it shaved 50 points off his 800 points. At the same time, Sara and Stryke attacked the beast from it side, but it swiftly spun around.
Its tail attack was critical and shaved 100 points of both Stryke and Sara, knocking them down.
It was do or die now: Death in this game meant permanent death. No revives. “I can’t die here!” Kashi yelled in frustration and dived at the beast which turned away just in time and bit him on the shoulder.
Kashi screamed as 200 points were taken off and quickly rolled to his feet before the beast could do any more damage. He righted himself and challenged the animal with a cold glare. It accepted his challenge and lunged at him – right into a fireball Craig had been boosting for
The beast cried in pain and hopped back raising its nozzle to the sky. That was the exaggerated signal the game had made for beasts to call their kind. Determined not to let it call its kind, Kashi dashed forward and pinned it to the ground using his hands to jar it’s mouth shut.
The beast clawed him for freedom 500, 300, 200, 100
“Now!” he shouted and they hit the beast with their strongest attacks.
“That was close!” Kashi exclaimed, lying back on the grass. “Who would have thought we would survive!”
“*Waah* That was so reckless Kashi-san. What if you died?!” Yuna wept
“Seriously. What were you thinking?” Sara chided. “It was kinda cool though.” She blushed, hiding her
He added them to his friends list. After a few uneventful fox hunts they said good-bye and returned to the city.
A few minutes after they left, an entire pack of hyenas came out of a nearby thicket. Their target was the lone archer weak at close range.
“Let’s go!” the hyenas charged at him, but at that moment, he turned his face to look at them.
“!” the hyenas froze in their tracks as an indomitable pressure that could only be bloodlust enveloped them. That they could have endured, but the look on the archer’s face was too terrifying. He looked like a demon, who had just received his next batch of torture victims. A sickening grin that revealed he had been waiting and could not hold in the need to slaughter them all.
“R-ru!” the pack leader yelped in terror as the archer that had once been several metres ahead suddenly had his hands around its snout.
Why? Why does someone who barely defeated one of our kind have so much power?
But it was a secret Kashi had no interest in revealing anytime soon.
“Die.” He broke the hyenas neck ending ts life in an instant.
He spent the rest of the night hunting down hyenas and wolves all around the forest. The yelps of terror could be heard all the way to the main gate.