Full body virtual-drives did not just provide a more comfortable gaming platform. Their main purpose was to provide users with primary nutrients while inside the virtual world; This way, users could spend extended periods of time inside. The longest a user was recommended to stay inside was three days, though most pushed it to a week before it displayed a warning then forcibly ejected the user. Once ejected, a user would not be allowed back in the virtual world for twelve hours.
To prevent mental strain from over-use, it was also possible to sleep in-game. Because of his excellent physical form, he only had to sleep for half a day in-game which translated to roughly four hours of sleeping in reality.
Kashi planned on taking full advantage of the three in-game weeks he had.It had been a whole day since he started on the second gallery. He had chosen to sleep in the training hall, shaving off twelve hours from his three week plan. A short while after he woke up, he finally hit the bull’s-eye for the tenth time in a row.
Strength Increased by 1 (+1 STR)
Dexterity Increased by 1(+1 DXT)
Vitality Increased by 1 (+1 VIT)
For the next two weeks and few days, he alternated between firing his bow and sleeping; Only stepping out when he needed to buy something to eat.
While firing at the practice ranges he had noticed something peculiar; the practice hall was actually set up in order to teach those who could complete it new skills.
The third gallery had two sets of three targets lined up adjacent to each other. For the first set, he had to hit the three targets at the same time. The second set were lined up behind each other, and he had to hit them each rapidly or they would rise back up, blocking the target behind them.
He spent three days on the first set; he passed it by placing three arrows in his bow and firing off. It took three days to get his accuracy high enough to hit, but it was worth it.
Skill: You learned Multi-shot
Multi-shot: Simultaneously launches a volley of arrows at multiple targets
Maximum number of arrows that can be fired at once increases with bow mastery.
For the present time, his maximum number of targets per shot were three but he had a feeling it would increase by the time the practice session was over.
The second set had proved much more difficult and had taken him four days to complete. The uplifting fact about the time taken was that that practice finally increased his agility. In the second set, he learned not to always draw the bowstring till it was taught for rapid fire. Instead, once he fired off, he would quickly take another arrow and put it in before the string relaxed and fired off again.
When he finally had it down to a science, the game rewarded him once again.
Skill: You learned Rapid Fire
Rapid Fire: Fire off multiple arrows in quick succession
Reduces attack power (-10% ATK)
Bow Mastery Increased to 2
Increases Attack with Bow by 20% (+20%)
Increases Attack Speed With Bow By 5%
Reduces Reload Time by 5%
He practiced using the skill, and was impressed. If he got into a certain stance and invoked the skill command aloud or in his head, the game system automatically guided his hands, making clean swift strikes.
He spent two extra days making everything he had learned so far his own before moving on.
The fourth gallery boasted a single target that moved randomly. No matter how hard he concentrated, he could see no set pattern. He had wasted nearly five days already and while most people would have given up, he doggedly fired on, determined not to lose.
His persistence must have impressed Serti (the elf who had welcomed him when he first came in). On the fourth day in the gallery, Serti walked into the stall next to his with a magnificent longbow. Kashi watched out of the corner of his eyes as the elf lined up his target which was also moving randomly.
With a look of grim concentration, Serti released his arrow. To Kashi’s amazement, a blue light enveloped the arrow as it whizzed through the air. What happened next left Kashi staring wide-eyed and mouth wide open; the arrow changed its course mid-air and chased the target till it hit it.
Kashi felt utterly ashamed of himself. That a gamer like him would forget the basic homing arrow was unforgivable; though exhaustion from the previous practice might have been a key factor.
Now that he knew what to do, he tried firing off a few rounds, shouting ‘homing arrow’ in his mind- nothing happened. Confused, he tried again, shouting out loud this time; still nothing. He kept on trying, changing stances and positions, but it was to no avail.
Serti chose this moment to come up beside him. “Think of the bow as a part of you. Envision your arrow dancing through the open air, its sole target whatever you desire. Do not force the arrow… Be your arrow.”
Kashi took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, calming himself down. He notched an arrow, and drew it full length. His breathing which had been erratic, slowly calmed down. The world around faded away into darkness leaving him, his arrow and the dancing target.
“Fly.” He did not see it, but a black light similar to Serti’s enveloped his arrow as it zipped towards its target dancing to the same tune. It struck right in the middle and Kashi released a breath he had no
recollection of holding.
Fighting Spirit level up!
Strength Increased by 1
Agility Increased by 1
Dexterity Increased by 1
Vitality Increased by 1
Skill: You learned Homing Arrow
Homing Arrow: An arrow that will chase your target to the ends of the earth.
Reduces Attack Power by (-30% ATK)
Skill: You learned Keen Eyes
Keen Eyes: If target is too far, all you have to do is look closer. Ability to zoom in on an extended distance.
Skill: You learned Keen Sense
Keen Sense: Like a predator on its prey, your concentration blocks out all distractions leaving only your target in your sights.
Increases attack power by 30% (+30%ATK)
Restrictions: Must be stationary to use
It was all Kashi could do to stop himself from jumping up and down in glee – after all he had an image to uphold. But nothing could stop the tears of joy that trickled down his cheeks. The past two weeks of eating stale bread, sleeping uncomfortably, and firing at a cardboard cut-out had really paid off more than he could have hoped.
The final gallery was simply a combination of the first four, with various changing targets. It tested his ability to make snap judgments on which skill to use when. This one only needed two days till he was done. When he fired the last shot that hit the final target for the tenth time in a row, he fell back on his laurels.
Bow Mastery Increased to 3
Increases Attack with bow by 30% (+30% ATK)
Increases Attack Speed with bow By 10%
Reduces Reload Time by 10%
His clothes were completely soaked in sweat and had become heavy but he ignored it. Nothing could take away the joy of completing the task which had begun to feel impossible.
Kashi picked the rye bread he had been saving for that day. He nibbled it slowly, its taste a reward for his hard work and a reprieve from the constant ‘sand bread’ he had become accustomed to.
During the course of his three week training, his Dexterity had increased by 40; his Strength by 38; his Vitality by 37; and his Agility by 32. If he had practiced with a sword, he would have had higher Agility, Strength and Vitality but his Dexterity would have been very low – and he needed that the most.
“You completed it,” a voice said.
Kashi looked up and saw Serti looking down at him, his expression filled with swelling pride. He held out a hand to Kashi.
“It was no small task. Many-a-time this one feared he would give up.” Kashi slowly rose to his feet, accepting Serti’s help.
“But you did not. You’ve got the stuff of legends,” Serti praised. The overflowing joyous expression would make anyone think he was the one who just completed the impossible task.
“It was only thanks to your generous guidance.” Kashin bowed, thanking him.
“You mentioned this being Basic Practice?”
“Yes. There are several basic practice halls tailored towards different professions. As of now, you are the sole person to complete one. Advanced practice halls are scattered across the continent, but I am forbidden to speak of their location. One such as you should find them easily.” Serti’s smile was like a pride beam. Way too bright.
“I would love to celebrate with you but I fear I must find a change of clothes and a shower. My appearance is unsightly.”
“No worries. It is for that very reason I have come to see you. I would humbly request you join the Hunter’s Brotherhood. We are no guild mind you; just a gathering of people who love to explore the world and face its challenges.”
Guilds and clans were one of the major social gatherings in RPG’s., with their major difference being their size and parties. Depending on the weight of a guild’s power, they could directly affect the world’s econimic state and much more. The aim of most guilds was to erect an Overlord that ruled over large
provinces, maybe even the entire world.
There were also smaller clans like the Brotherhood that had no desire to lead, but instead had their own little tasks, most of which benefited the populace and its members in one way or another.
“Of course you will not go unrewarded. The brotherhood boasts a few establishments in major cities that offers a free bed and shower to members. We also sell equipment and armoury at reduced rates, share information and provide support when members need it. You would be the first amongst the ‘summoned’ to join.”
Kashi’s poker face betrayed nothing. “I do not believe this one is worthy of such
“It would be our honour,” Serti insisted. “We need strong and wilful adventurers like you on our side.”
“I have not picked my class yet. Is it alright for me to join still?”
“We are not the Archers’ guild so being an archer is not a requirement. You simply need to love your chosen class and possess the skills to us it in the world.”
“Then I shall accept this offer.”
Please Confirm Your Choice
Join the Hunters’ Brotherhood
YES / NO
Kashi chose yes.
New Group: You joined Hunters’ Brotherhood
A secret group that love action and adventure, devoted solely to honing their skills in combat. Small and tightly knit, this elite group only recruit members with great promise. Rumours claim they can stand toe to toe with major guilds in terms of overall strength.
You received Recruit’s set
You received Hunter’s badge
You received Map
Kashi used up every last bit of his self control in order to prevent himself from falling over and crying his heart out in joy. The recruit’s set contained a set of starter gear and weapon that he chose to try on later. The map was an invaluable tool that would have been expensive elsewhere, though he bet only the areas surrounding Kerta were mapped. Last but certainly not least was Fame: This was an attribute that had various perks, including reduced prices shops and residents talking about the player in public places.
Serti led Kashi out of the practice hall and through a secret door. On the other side was a long hallway with several doors. He unlocked one of them, gave Kashi the key and bid him adieu.
Exhausted and tired, Kashi dove on the bed.
In virtual online games, the act of logging out only removed your consciousness from your body. If you logged out outside of cities in the non-free zones, your body could easily be killed by anyone. There was no guarantee that logging out in a city either would protect you entirely from harm, hence why players logged out in inns or homes.
Kashi’s consciousness drifted away in the white stream that pulled him back to reality.
Suzuki opened his eyes as the helmet retracted off his head. His physical body had weakened from using the machine for too long, but it was nothing a day of hard exercise would not fix.