“W-w-w-what is this?!” Elecurb screamed, eyes bulging out of their sockets. The cause of his surprise was the pile of loot that sat on the town square. He was not the only one dumbfounded by them; more than half the village was gathered around, pointing and whispering to each other.
Kashi smiled, pleased by their reactions. Once he had woken from his slumber, he had led some of the men to the hideout to claim the treasure he had left behind. “It is yours to do with as you see fit.”
“But this is too much. Why did you not take these for yourself?”
No, I could not possibly have carried all these. “How could I possibly carry out such a selfish act when people as good and kind of you need them much more than I do.”
“Oh, such kindness!” Elecurb cried as he fell to his knees, tears streaming down his cheeks. “To think I ever harboured such unfair hatred towards you… I am ashamed.”
Kashi got down on one knee and placed his hand on the elder’s shoulder. “Remember what you said to me: Stand proud. This prosperity was borne from your desire to save your village without letting pride or fear get in your way.”
Moved by his words, Elecurb stood straight and smiled brightly.
“We will forever be in your debt, Kashi-dono.”
“Consider us even. You saved my partner last night.”
Kashi rose to his feet and looked towards the east, his features creased in apprehension and worry.
“Where is it you’re headed?”
“My journeys will take me to Lew Creek where I hope to get a sturdy boat.”
“Why Lew Creek?”
“It is the closest. I wish to wipe out the remaining pirates around the Atled Delta else they might bring reinforcements to retake your town.”
“Oh my. You would go that far to aid us?”
(Of course not. My aim is the loot left behind by the pirates)
“My conscience would not rest easy if I left you to their mercy. I will wipe them out as swiftly as possible.”
“There are hundreds of them. You wish to go alone?”
The dark elf struck an impressive figure as he said, “If that is what it takes.”
“No! I will not allow that. You will be accompanied by twenty of our finest.”
“I cannot possibly separate that many from their families after they just reunited.”
“Then how about ten men?”
“It is -”
“Five then, and that’s as low as I’ll agree to go.”
Kashi sighed, then lit up in a bright smile. “If you insist so much, it would be callous of me to refute anymore.”
The real truth was he did not want to lead too many people because of the decrease in EXP points during hunts, the issues of loot and most importantly, secretly obtaining anything of true value among the pirates’ treasure.
“I am glad to hear that. I will summon those who will accompany you. In the meantime, I suggest you speak with Cera.”
Kashi struggled to remember the name but nothing came to mind. “My apologies. I am not familiar with that name.”
“Ah, yes. She is one of the women you rescued yesterday. She says she has something important to tell you.”
“I will be sure to see her.”
“Good. J Hektor here will lead you to her,” Elecurb said, and a teen not much older than Kashi stepped out from the crowd.
Hektorwas a heavily tanned young man with red, wild, spiky hair and eyes. He was dressed only in hide shorts, bone wristbands and a bone necklace. He boasted well-disciplined muscles that glistened with sweat.
“Oi geezer, I’m part of them five right’?”
“Not now Hektor. You are still too young.”
Hektor pointed rudely at the dark elf. “‘e ain’t older dan me. Yet you let them go on missions.”
Elecurb glanced apologetically at Kashi who shook his head to indicate he was not offended.
“He has proven himself in battle. When you’re old enough you will have the chance to do the same.”
“‘How I’m I supposed ta prove myself if ya don’t give me a chance.”
“Your time will come. Just be patient.”
“Che! You, follow me.” Hektor said and led the dark elf to a small transparent greenhouse. He entered the building, closely followed by Kashi who doubled over in shock as strong smells nearly knocked him out.
“Wh-what is this?” Kashi asked between coughs.
“I’m very sorry!” a tiny female voice called, accompanied by crashing sounds.
Kashi looked up to see a female wood elf face-flat on the floor, her hands in the air to prevent a test tube containing a weird looking liquid from falling. “Are you okay?”
“Y-yes,” she said as she jumped to her feet. “I’m a bit of a klutz.” Green eyes sparkled with curiosity behind a pair of oversized glasses.
“Cera, I presume?”
“Yes. I’m sorry about the smell. Hektor should have warned you.”
‘I don’t think he likes me much’. “It must have skipped his mind due to the festivities.”
“I didn’t forget. Seems this brat isn’t as tough as he thinks,” Hektor said, smirking.
‘Who’re you calling a brat, brat!’ “I do not know what it is I did to offend you but I apologise earnestly.”
“Never I thought ya’d break. Just you wait. I ma rip off that fake facade ya fooling all dem with,” Hektor said as he exited the greenhouse, leaving the elves alone.
“Sorry about that. He lost his father to the war, and his mother to the pirates. He’s looking for revenge, but is truly a good kid underneath,” Cera said.
“Your concern is appreciated but I am not offended. I cannot begin to imagine what he must be going through.”
“Thanks,” she said, adjusting her glasses.
“I heard from Elecurb-san you wanted to talk with me?”
“Ah, right! Completely forgot… I noticed you couldn’t help your partner last night.”
“Yes. Unfortunately, I am unversed in the art of Restoration Magic so I could not heal her.”
“Hmph. Magic. Who needs that when you have all that Mera has to offer.”
“I’m afraid I do not follow.”
“Do you know of Alchemy.”
A spark shone in Kashi’s eyes as he said, “I have some knowledge of it, but sadly am no practitioner myself.”
“Ah, is that so. Well, it’s much easier to show than explain. Drink this.” She held out the test tube.
Kashi accepted the concoction from her and downed its contents, smacking his lips at its terrible taste.
You are under the effect of Haste
Agility increased by 120%
Strength increased by 150%
‘Holy!’ “T-this is really high level! Y-you’re a Grandmaster are you not?”
Cera smiled wryly. “No, unfortunately I have not been recognized as a Grandmaster. My current project should help give me that status.”
There were four levels to skills: Beginner/Amateur; Intermediate; Expert; and finally Master. However, there was one extra status granted to those in each field that perform great tasks worthy of recognition and that was Grandmaster. This could only be obtained after maxing out the Master field.
“Still, as a Master you should be quite rich. What are you doing in a place like this. No offence.”
She chuckled. “None taken. The last ingredient I need can only be found here.” She turned around, motioning for him to follow. “Have you head of the Geruk frogs?”
“Um.. If I were to hazard a guess… they’re huge frogs?”
Cera laughed heartily as she opened a door on the opposite end of the greenhouse that led to an adjoining room. Kashi entered and would have thrown up had he not already seen something very similar.
The room had shelves with rows of animal and plant body parts stored in jars filled with preservative acids and labels for easy identification. They ranged from fish eyes to troll gut to many other disgusting items. This was one of the disadvantages of the physical loot system: it was disgusting for craftsmen.
“Hmm.. That’s quite the understated reaction.”
Kashi chuckled. “This is nothing I have not seen before.” Seriously, Razznik had dealt with much more disgusting things. If players knew what was really inside most of the potions they drank, they would all throw up on the spot. “You were saying something about giant frogs?”
“Ah, right, right. I get sidetracked easily. Wait, how did you know what kind of…. never mind. They are quite scarce and can only be found around the delta. They come in from the Forever Sea this time of year to lay their eggs, but even then, it is difficult to actually meet one in person.”
He could see where this was going. “You want me to keep a lookout and get one for you?”
“Oh gods no. You couldn’t possibly carry it all the way here. No, no, just the tongue is fine. Oh and if you can get its gall that’ll be good too.”
New Quest : Cera the Alchemist
An alchemist in Ranad has requested your assistance in obtaining the following items:
Compulsory: Tongue of Geruk Frog
Optional: Gall of a Geruk Frog
Kashi stared blankly at her. It did not matter how used he was to the body parts; hearing someone order them like they were ordering sweets from the local shop was just disturbing. “S-sure, but I’m afraid I’ll need to learn alchemy if I am to be able to get the parts you need.”
This was only half-true. As a rule, those body parts could drop as random drops. But with an alchemy skill, he would be able to take out certain parts specifically after each kill. The same could be said for Leather working, Carpentry, or Botany.
“Ah, I see. In that case, come let me teach you the basics.”
She directed him to her cauldron where she thought him the importance of balance, the science behind alchemy amongst several other things until he got a notification.
New Skill: Alchemy
A field to be walked only by the brave, it takes science from the old and new world to produce items of great power.
Increases Poison Immunity.
Can now harvest certain items from the environment.
New Stat: Gathering
Affects the quality of items harvested from plants, animals or the environment.
A smirk curled up the side of the dark elf’s face. He had never been so glad to be classless. His race had an innate ability to easily learn crafts faster than others, but even that ability would have been hindered or improved somewhat if he already had a class.
Since he was looking for a warrior class, it would definitely have hampered his ability to learn crafts. And while he did not have the boosts gained from obtaining a class, you could not unlearn what you already knew. As a result, the skills would stay with him even after he chose a class.
“You have my deepest gratitude. I will make it my mission to return with the items you seek.”
“Thank you. I will let you be the first to test it upon your return.”
Beads of sweat trickled down Kashi’s forehead. “S-sure, why not.”
The door slammed open, shocking them both and they turned to see Hektor standing there with a nasty look in his eyes. “Oi, blackie, They are waiting for ya.”
“Hektor! You almost knocked over the Ker Bear’s innards! Be more careful next time,” Cera reprimanded.
The teen shrugged. “Don’ know y you keep creepy things.”
Unwilling to stand through another banter, Kashi cut in. “Thank you Cera-san. I will be heading out now. I plan to back in nine days at the most.”
“Oh, good then. I will see you then,” she said and turned back to her experiments, the dark elf already erased from her mind.
Kashi followed Jero to the town square where Elecurb stood with five strong looking adults. They were dressed in gear looted from the bandits and held their weapons well.
“Your men know battle,” Kashi said to Elecurb, surprised by how formidable they actually looked.
“Yes, some of them fought in the war ten years ago,” Elecurb said. “It is difficult to forget the techniques one used to survive such dark times. From the right. Their names are Lason, Paris, Alex, Narkis and Jero. They served well in the war and will serve you as well.”
“It is an honour to be working alongside brave men such as yourselves,” Kashi said with a bow.
“Likewise,” they mumbled.
The chemistry was not there yet, but Kashi was not concerned. By the time they were done, he was sure he would win them over. “We’ll be heading to Lew Creek first. Are there any objections or questions?”
“In that case…” he turned to Elecurb and bowed one more time. “I pray that your town is well on its way to restoration upon my return.”
“As we will hold prayers to Mera to guide your path.”
Puzzled, Kashi said, “It is the second time I have heard that name today. Who is she?”
“She is the patron goddess of our village and several others. She watches over the lives of the trees and animals.”
“Ah, I see. Then, I will rely upon her guidance. Once again, thank you for all of your assistance.”
“No, Kashi-dono. On behalf of all my people…” Elecurb got down to his knees and touched his face to the ground. All the villagers around the square copied his posture as he said, “Thank you very much!”
New Title: Savior of Ranad
The people of Ranad consider themselves forever in your debt. They will assist you in times of need and sell items at very cheap items. It is now possible to do extra quests for the citizens of Ranad.
Friendship with Ranad Village
1) Kashi 400 Fame Points
2) Lunette 120 Fame Points.
Hmm? Lunette? Kashi finally understood why he had not gotten any extra points for being the first to discover the town. Someone had already beat him to it. “No, please, stand,” he said to the villagers. “I have not done anything worthy of such praise. However, I promise on my honour as a Dark Elf that I will liberate this Delta from the grips of evil.”
Kashi said goodbye to the villagers, then exited the village, stopping at the outskirts of the town. He called for Kira and a few minutes later, he saw her bounding down along the road towards him.
“You enjoy the hunt?” He asked when she reached him. He still could not get over how big she had gotten. Just a little higher and she would be taller than he was. Just a short while ago, she was a helpless puppy he could troll. I wonder if this is how parents feel?
She grinned, revealing bloodied teeth and he guessed the answer to be yes. “We’re heading to Lew Creek,” he said once again to the five men he would lead for the next nine days. “But, before that, I would like to get to know you more.”
The first to speak was Jero who was a half-elf. His head was shaved at the sides leaving a long, dark brown mohawk at the centre. He was quite lean and had chosen daggers as his weapon. “I am Jero, born of an elf and a human. I have lived thirty-three winters, and fought as an infantryman in the last war.”
The next to speak was Lason, a tall, muscular man with dark brown skin, and hazel eyes. His most outstanding feature was a black spiral tattoo on his bald head. Unlike the others, he sported a friendly smile. His weapon was a lance. “Name’s Lason, but you can call me Las. I’m twenty-eight, and fought for a year in the war.” His voice was not as deep as Kashi had thought it would be.
Alex and Narkis were twin male humans with lightly tanned skin and dark hair. They used swords as their weapons of choice.
“I am called Paris,” the last of the group introduced himself. For a man who had just come out of captivity, he was far too dazzling. Glossy blond hair accentuated by eyes blue as the ocean inhabited a smooth face that bore no signs of hardships. Even his voice itself was light and dreamy. “My age is of no importance, but I will assist you as aesthetically pleasing as possible.”
“It is nice to meet you all. Though we may only be together for a short time, you are already irreplaceable parts of me. As such I shall not allow any harm to come to any of you, and when this is over, your names shall forever be etched into my memory.”
They nodded, but Kashi knew they still had reservations about him. He sighed as he turned around and walked down towards the east where Lew Creek lay. Can’t force the issue.
Along the road, Kashi stopped. A familiar figure blocked their path, holding a huge irregular stone axe in his hand.
Hektor glared at the party, defiance and determination in his eyes. “I’m coming wit ya.”
“Now, now. Why don’t you go back? Elecurb’ll have a heart attack,” Las said.
“Oi old man, stay out of dis. This is between dis here brat .
At his insult, Kashi began to chuckle softly.
“What’s so funny?” Hektor demanded, hands tightening around his axe’s grip.
“You want to join us?” Kashi asked.
“It is fine,” Kashi said. Time to kill three birds with one annoying kid. “Kira, Do not interfere.” Kira took a step back as he suddenly dashed forward, fists drawn back for a full blow.
Hektor blocked the blow with his weapon, gritting his teeth at the unbelievable force behind it.
“Heeh? Not bad.” Kashi applied more pressure onto the axe and it knocked Hektor back a few feet. He dashed forward again, attempting another strike.
Despite being mid-air, Hektor swung the axe down towards Kashi who sidestepped out of the way easily. However, he was not done, and managed to swiftly change the direction of his axe mid swing to cut towards the dark elf.
Kashi saw the attack and rotated downwards beneath the strike, then kicked Hektor’s chin using the momentum from the spin. Unfortunately, his attack did not go through because Hektor had anticipated it and let go of the weapon to block the attack.
Tightening his grip around the elf’s leg, Hektor attempted to lift Kashi off his feet but the elf jumped and kicked him in the face with his free leg. Once he righted himself, Kashi attempted to kick Hektor in the abdomen, but he shielded himself with his hands, then tried to punch the elf.
Kashi winced as each blow passed by his head, missing him by barely a few millimetres. He kept dodging the brute’s blows, then connected his fist with Hektor’s in a show of strength.
Hektor fell to his knees, panting heavily from exhaustion.
Kashi patted him on the shoulder. “You pass.”
The five men cheered from behind Kira, impressed by the bout.