“Welcome back, Kashi-dono,” Elecurb greeted.
“It is good to be back,” Kashi humbly replied.
The mayor looked over the elf’s shoulder at his companions. “Jero and the others?” he asked, crestfallen.
Kashi placed his right hand on the man’s shoulder. “There is no need for concern. They are all alive and well. In fact, they are in control of Fort Norcha as we speak. Hektor here can attest to that.”
Elecurb’s eyes widened. His mouth opened and shut as words struggled to come out, but his voice failed him. Instead, he turned to Hektor. The teenager nodded and he fell to his knees, tears pouring down his cheeks. “T-then, that means.. they are gone?”
“You will never be bothered by the likes of them again.”
“Oh.. Oh, sweet Mera! You have not forgotten us!” He clasped Kashi’s hands. “Kashi-dono, we will forever be in your debt. If there is anything you want of us, just ask.”
Quest Complete: Liberate the Atled Delta
You have saved the Atled Delta from the terrors of the pirates. They will sing of your heroics by the campfire for years to come.
Your influence in the Atled Delta has reached 80%
1st: Kashi (80%)
2nd: Lunette (12%)
3rd: Absalon (8%)
“I only did what any half-decent man would do,” Kashi said, as he helped Elecurb to his feet. “I wish to stay here for a few days. A place to lay my head will do just fine.”
“We already prepared a house for you. You are welcome to stay there anytime you want. Truth be told, it would be our honor.”
“You have myvgratitude.” Kashi said.
“Ah, yes. A boy and his friends came by earlier. Said his name was Stryke.”
“Yes, they are comrades. I hope they were received well.”
“No worries. They are currently assisting us in obtaining the materials required to rebuild the village.”
“That is good to hear.”
“Now, come. Let me show you to your new dwelling.”
Three men assisted Kashi in carrying the sacks as he followed the mayor. His new house was much larger than the others and was obviously new. He frowned, confused, but then remembered it was a game. They were not actually going to spend several months building objects.
Once they entered, Lunette left to take a bath, eager to get the smell of swamp off of her, while the men gathered in the living room. Kashi emptied the bags.
“What now?” Shadow asked.
“I have a few days until the limit on my quests,” replied Kashi. “In the meantime, I would like to raise as many crafting skills as possible.”
Elecurb perked up at this. “Did you say crafting, Kashi-dono?”
“Then, you are an artisan?”
“Sadly, I am currently classless,” Kashi said. He smelled a secret quest, so he added. “However I am at Intermediate in most. Sculpting and painting are my lowest at level nine beginner.”
Elecurb stroked his magnificent beard in thought. “I have a request, but it was supposed to solely be for actual craftsmen.”
“I may not be one, but my skills will fail to no one.”
The mayor eyed him, conflicted. “This may be impertinent of me, considering all you have done, but I am afraid I will have to test you.”
Kashi smiled. “I understand. A skilled sword arm rarely constitutes fine penmanship.”
“Wise words, Kashi-dono. All I ask is a portrait or sculpture of yours.”
Kashi remembered the last painting he drew, and took it out. He also removed one of the animal sculptures and handed both of them to Elecurb.
He inspected them, then nodded in approval. “These are excellent.”
“What is it you require of me?”
“You have seen our empty courtyard, no? A statue of Fera – twin to Mera, and our patron goddess of the hunt – once sat there. The bandits destroyed it when they invaded.”
“You wish for me to restore this statue?”
“Yes, I would be most grateful.”
“Is there anything else you require?”
“We would also like a painting of the goddess Mera to hang above her shrine.”
Kashi folded his arms. He had six days left until Fladnag’s quest was done. It would be close, but he should have enough time. His arms dropped to his side. He regarded Elecurb with assurance in his eyes. “I’ll help you with that.”
New Quest: Cultural Restoration
The people of Ranad have requested you restore a statue of Fera and a painting of Mera. Their blessings should speed up recovery of the town.
Reward is dependent on result.
“Thank you, Kashi-dono,” Elecurb said. He bowed, then left the house.
“I guess we know what you’ll be doing,” Shadow said, shrugging. “Do you know any dungeons around here? I have some skills I want to raise.”
Kashi turned to him. “Yeah, I do-”
“Kashi-san!” an enthusiastic voice called from behind. The elf turned to see the Stryke and his entourage. They all sported new gear which revealed their apparent rise in levels.
“Hey Stryke, long time no see,” Kashi said as he firmly shook the kid’s hand.
“Yeah, its been a while eh?” He had the largest grin Kashi had ever seen. “What’s this? You got your own party? I thought you said you played solo?!” He pouted.
“Various things happened,” Kashi said in an attempt to placate him.
Stryke was not one to fall for such obvious fallacy. “Heeh? Various things huh?” He turned to
Shadow and Hektor. “The name’s Stryke. I’m the man who will become the strongest knight.”
“That line sounds awfully like a certain anime,” Shadow said, a wicked glint in his eyes.
The young knight flushed. “I-I-I-It’s the greatest anime out there!”
Shadow chuckled. “Relax kid, I’m just playing. The name’s Shadow and my class is ninja. The guy with the giant axe is Hektor.”
Stryke noticed Hektor for the first time – which was odd considering the brute’s size – and gaped. “Uwaah, that axe is badass! Where’d you get it?”
Hektor took a step back, overwhelmed by the youth’s enthusiasm.
Kashi laughed at the sight. “How have you guys been?” He asked Craig.
“Too many close encounters,” Craig replied. “… but it’s been fun.” His features warmed into a look of affection.
“What have you been up to?” Sara asked. “You suddenly went AWOL on us.”
Kashi looked away, scratching the back of his head. “Was on a chain of quests. Sti-”
“Hey, Kashi!” Lunette called walking into the room. Her head was bent as she towel dried her hair. “Please tell me you have something decent to w…” She froze, as everyone turned to her. Her eyes went from her brother, to Kashi, to the girls, then rested on the elf. “Didn’t know you were expecting company.”
“Are we interrupting?” Sara asked, voicing her teammates thoughts.
“What would you be interrupting?” Kashi asked.
“Don’t bother with him,” Lunette said when Sara stared at him at a loss for words. “He’s denser than a brick.” She walked up to the girls. “My name is Lunette. I guess you’ve already met my brother.”
Uwaah, she’s pretty.
“I’m Sara. She’s Yuna, that’s Craig, and the drooling kid is Stryke.” There was a slight edge to her voice, but it went unnoticed.
“Nice to meet you. What were you guys talking about before I interrupted?” Lunette asked.
“Shadow wants to go raiding,” Kashi jumped in. “How about you all go together. It’ll give you some time to get to know each other.”
“You sure you’re not trying to get rid of us?” Her eyes were ice-cold and challenging.
“Of course not. Shadow’s the one who wanted to go.”
She eyed him with suspicion, then relaxed soon after. “Okay, then. But can you sell me something less revealing. I would wear my old clothes, but this one has higher stats.” She rubbed her forehead. “Game logic.”
Everyone present nodded in acknowledgement.
“I’ll have one ready soon,” Kashi said. “In the meantime, you’ll have to make do with that.”
“Well, there are no players this far south. I should be fine.”
“Yosh!” Stryke cheered, raising his fist. “It’s decided then. Everyone follow me!”
“Is he always like that?” Shadow asked on his way out.
“You have no idea,” replied the elf. He turned to Hektor, the last person left. “Why don’t you go with them?”
“I don’t know dem.”
“I won’t be fighting anytime soon. You’ll be bored out of your mind if you stay here.”
Hektor weighed discomfort versus boredom. The winner was easy. “Okay, I’ll go wiv dem.” He jogged outside to catch up with the others.
“You didn’t strike me as the social type.”
Kashi turned around to see Lunette at the doorway. “You’re not going with them?”
“Nope. Just took a bath to get the swamp off me. Last thing I want to do is enter a smelly dungeon.”
“Isn’t that a bit shallow for an adventurer?”
“I chose to be a bard. I’m not obligated to enter any dungeons.”
He had to admit; she had a point. “In that case, want to help me out?”
“Sure, why not. What with?”
“Need a model for a -”
“W-what kind of pervert are you?!” She cried, covering her breasts with one hand.
Kashi sighed as he rubbed
his sore cheek. “Not that kind of model. I just need you to pose for a
“Oh…” She mumbled, mortified by her error. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine,” Kashi said. “It’s a common error.”
He led her out of the village to the nearby grasslands. Kira scampered off to go hunting, leaving the two.
Once he found a spot that matched his tastes, he took out the high level painting materials he obtained from the fort. This time, he used a human sized sheet. He wanted the painting to really pack a punch. “This may take some time,” he warned her.
“It’s fine.” She took a seat on the warm grass beneath the shade of a tree. “You don’t mind if I sing do you?”
“No, not at all. Do as you wish.”
Kashi rapped his brush against the blank sheet as he pondered on what a portrait of the goddess of earth should look like. He had never been big on religion but even he could hazard nature would have to be depicted in the painting.
Her song carried over to him; it soothed and calmed his hand. He recalled where they first met and his brush sprung to life. With careful strokes, an image slowly formed on the canvas. A figure of peace and beauty clad in green stood by a gentle stream. She caressed a white dove as birds hovered around, charmed by her splendour.
Fine Piece: Painting of the Earth Goddess Mera
The painting of the Goddess Mera, though not perfect will fill all those who gaze upon it with a sense of peace.
Effects:Increases chance of rare item drop by 20% for 24 hours.
The effect does not overlap with another painting.
Number of Fine Pieces Created so far: 2
Kashi smiled, pleased by the results.
“Can I see it?” Lunette asked, when she saw him packing up.
He grinned. “Same time as everyone else.”
“That’s not fair! How do I know you didn’t mess it up?”
He placed the painting in his inventory as he said, “You don’t. That’ll make the unveiling all the more fun.”
Grumbling, she conceded. There was nothing she could do now that it was in his inventory.
Upon Kira’s return, they headed back to the village; then walked to the village square, where the residents had already deposited a huge rock.
Kashi circled the boulder, wondering what to craft that would fit a hunting goddess. Leila flashed in his mind, looking fierce and intimidating with her bow. “That ought to work.”
He took out a hammer and chisel he had obtained from the fort.
*Clang clang clang!*
He set to work, carefully chipping away at the stone. He relied on the system’s auto-guide, but still held himself back. It was nerve-wracking. One misplaced chip and the crack would spread throughout the entire rock. At least with painting he could cover it up or work it into the painting.
Lunette watched him work. Five hours later, he had barely thinned out the rock and there seemed to be no progress at all. “I think I’ll go meet up with the others,” she said, bored out of her mind. If Kashi registered her words, he did not show it. She sighed and turned to Kira. “Want to come with?”
Kira looked from her to the working elf and instantly made her choice. She accompanied Lunette out of
The first day passed and it seemed the elf was no closer to completion. His zeal for perfection prevented him from rushing, careful consideration in each strike of the hammer.
A corner of his mind noted how unfair it was that whole buildings could be made in hours, but he was forced to overwork himself for one statue. Pushing the thought out of his mind, he focused in on the image he wanted.
Unlike her twin sister, Fera should be feral, with a striking presence. How about a partner? A wolf maybe.
*Clang clang clang clang*
His strikes picked up speed as his thoughts took on a 3-D form his head. He did not notice the small
crowd that formed around him on the third day. News of the new statue had quickly spread. Visitors trickled in from all over the delta to bear witness to their saviour’s work.
Not only did Kashi not notice them, but he had forgone food for over five days. So far gone was the elf that he did not notice the notification telling him he had completed Fladnag’s quest. If he did not possess the vitality he did, he would have died already.
On the seventh day, the statue’s outline began to surface. Terrifying, yet assuring; wild, yet homely.
The warrior elf, accompanied by a direwolf had its eyes transfixed on the horizon. Clad in dragon scale armour and a hood, she brandished a fully drawn bow. The direwolf circled her snarling at any would be attackers.
As opposed to Mera’s comforting smile, Fera smirked with confidence. The villagers halted their construction work to stare, amazed.
“Would you look at that!”
For the first time since Kashi started working, he stopped. His hands shook, his vision was blurry and his throat was hoarse. He had fallen into his habit of becoming over-engrossed in an activity, but even he dared not finish up in that state for fear of a mistake.
Kashi stumbled to his home, made a hearty meal, then joined Stryke and the others in his dining room. It was an unfamiliar yet welcoming sight. Hektor had warmed up to them, and he, Shadow and Stryke were engaged in arm-wrestling. Sara told them off for playing at the table, while Yuna and Lunette played with Kira. Craig shared a look with the elf, and Kashi smiled. He retired to his bedroom and fell into heavy sleep.
He woke up half a day later, then promptly returned to the statue, determined to finish it. The chisel chipped away, fining out the details. Nothing was left half-assed. From the engravings on her arrow, to the wolf’s molars, every nook and cranny received the utmost care and attention.
Kashi struggled to calm his shaking hands. He had spent over nine days on the sculpture, and it was almost finished. With a final touch on the goddess’s smile, the goddess was complete.
Elecurb gazed up at the finished work in amazement and bowed, crying, “It’s Lady Fera! She has come down upon us!”
“Oh, mighty Fera! May my arrow strike true!”
Fine Piece: You completed The Statue of Goddess Fera.
The statue of Goddess Fera, in all of her ferocious command will forever hold the public eye. It will strengthen the people as they hunt.
Effects: Increases ATK by 30% for 24 hours if you look at it. Effect does not stack with other statues.
Number of Fine Pieces Created so far: 3
Level up: Intermediate Sculpture Mastery
Kashi gazed fondly at his work filled with an uplifting sense of accomplishment. He sauntered to the renovated temple and placed the painting of Freya in a specially crafted frame. He hung it behind the alter, a symbol of warmth and love to all who gazed upon it.
Quest Complete: Cultural Restoration.
The painting and sculpture in Ranad will galvanise the people with bravery and warmth.
Your Influence in Ranad has reached 90%
Ist: Kashi (90%)
2nd: Lunette (10%)
Kashi grinned wickedly. He had successfully gained the trust of the southwest. Strategically, it was beyond a heck of an achievement. Absalon had gone for money, forgetting that without the people on his side, his reign would be temporary at best.
There was a short celebration, but he was too distracted to participate. He finally noticed he could go meet Fladnag for his class. He bade good-bye to the party, giving them permission to use his house as they pleased.
“I’m coming,” Hektor insisted but Kashi shook his head.
“I must do this part alone. I’ll contact you guys in a few days.”
“Sure thing bro! We’ll be waiting,” Stryke declared, thumping his chest.
Kashi turned around and sprinted, fingers clenching and unclenching rapidly.
“Chapter Forty ,” Fladnag mumbled, sipping his tea. “Not too bad if I say so myself.
Would have sworn his tale would have ended much sooner.”
“What is this chapter you speak of?” Yankal’s ever-present voice asked.
“Hoho, it’s my little secret. Anyway, it seems our young friend is back.”
“… Hmm, he has the wolf with him. I stand corrected.”
“What did I tell you? My eyes never lie.”
Kashi and Kira stopped in front of Fladnag’s home. The wizard awaited him patiently at the base of the stairs.
“You seem to have had quite the adventure, Darkling,” Fladnag said.
“It was eventful,” Kashi replied. He had no desire to tell the crazy coot more than he had too. Though a part of him told him he did not need to.
“I guess you want your quest now?”
“Yes!” Kashi cried.
Fladnag grinned mischievously. He enjoyed toying with the elf. “Okay, then. Go to Aktaver’s lair. You will see a slight denture on the west wall on the bottom floor.” He tossed Rosario’s branch to the elf. “Place this in there, and defeat the monster that lies within. Be warned, you must do this on your own or you won’t receive the class.”
Kashi gripped the branch, his lips parting in a bold grin. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Well, then. The location is marked on your map. Get going now.”
Kashi turned around and was about to take off when…
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