They didn’t bother clearing the zombies from the rooms on the ground floor right away. Instead they headed into the lobby area where the four vending machines stood. Two soda machines and two snack machines, split into two groups one on the right side of the room one on the left side of the lobby, with a square shape in between them, made from couches and cushioned chairs.
All the machines, had a complex geometrically patterned circle rotating under them. The circles, glowing as they were, were strangely reminiscent of graphics in a computer game. Specifically making Mike think of a save point.
The group traded looks, a mix of confusion and excitement on their faces. Nobody spoke for several seconds, only to have Mike break the tension with a shrug as he stepped forward, crossing the plane of the circle to stand in front of a snack machine.
Immediately the feminine voice spoke out in his mind.
|Congratulations! You have successfully visited a vending machine shop.
Achievement: You are the 1st player to visit the store in your「System」district.
As the 1st player to reach this achievement you may select one free [Rare Rank] reward…
A short screen appeared in his mind with a list of categories, including items, skills, jobs, and bloodlines.
Mike wasn’t sure exactly how good a rare rank reward was, but he was fairly certain it would be better than anything he could purchase with his current credits. With that in mind he decided to take the most advantage possible and quickly selected jobs.
A rare item or skill might give him a temporary boost, but a job would help him grow with a more solid foundation, making it infinitely better in the long run. Since he didn’t intend to die, it felt like the smarter choice.
A bloodline would have been even better, but Mike was shy of bloodlines having already experienced the uncommon rank bloodline of the half orc earlier. He might have been willing to bear the pain, had he been sure it wouldn’t turn him into some sort of monster.
The jobs list was quite extensive and Mike soon grew bored, looking off to the side and then across the room he saw everyone else had taken a machine. Amy and Yuki being basically inseparable anyway shared one.
Everyone was just as absorbed as he was.
Fortunately the rings that surrounded the vending machines would keep all「System」created entities would be kept from crossing them.
He didn’t know where the knowledge of the rings came from but Mike was confident it was accurate. Just as he was confident that anyone who spent more than six hours at a time within the circle of a vending machine would be vaporized by the「System」for attempting to cheat.
Knowing no one was waiting on him, Mike felt a little relief as he waded into the job list again.
It was impressive in its depth, there were no basic jobs like [Warrior] or [Barbarian].
As it only included the higher tier jobs of the rare rank the jobs were more like [Imperial Guardsman], [Warlord], and [Master Archer].
More surprising was the inclusion of jobs that had modern or even science fiction type basis like [Elite Special Forces Soldier] and [Space Pirate Captain]. There were even obviously non combat role jobs like [Starship Engineer] and [Master Craftsman].
But despite all the fancy names, Mike kept being drawn to one job in particular, [Monk].
At first glance there was nothing special about it at all. It even had the feel of a basic job. But looking closer he couldn’t help feeling it fit somehow. The strengths of the [Monk] job class filled in his weaknesses quite nicely.
[Monk]s knew four skills; [Meditation], which would allow him to rest without sleeping to recover physically and mentally, [Martial Artist]-[Novice], which exactly as it sounded, would allow him to learn the basics of martial arts, [Qi Manipulation]-[Novice], which again offered a basic understanding of manipulation the life energy known as Qi, and lastly a negative skill [Unrestricted], which limited him to cloth type armors, robes, and ordinary clothes.
But the part that really captured Mike’s imagination was the enhancement of +0.1 Qui, and +0.1 Spi, given by the job every level he gained. It was too good to pass up, even considering losing the option of wearing armor.
Armor is probably hot, clunky, and expensive anyway, Mike decided as he finally convinced himself to select [Monk].
The rush of warmth that spread out between his eyes, caught Mike off guard and his whole body shuddered.
The warmth continued down toward his navel where it seemed to grow hotter for a moment before exploding out along several pathways in his body.
Without knowing how he knew, Mike realized it was opening his Qi channels, clearing his meridians and preparing him to walk the path of the cultivator.
Mike grinned like an idiot even as the energy dissipated.
At the novice level, he didn’t have enough Qi for it to be amazing. At best he might block the energy of a few blows or enhance a few of his own. But the greatest thing about Qi was it could be built up outside of the「System」through breathing methods, absorbing spirit stones, or taking spirit pills and elixirs.
He’d never need to spend another credit directly on the skill to make it grow.
The same was true of his martial arts skill, using it in combat would naturally raise it over time. Though in the case of martial arts, there were many skills that could be learned to improve its power and versatility.
Having selected his reward and opened the store menu, a large floating screen that appeared in front of the vending machine with the thought of buying or selling items, Mike decided to look through the skills first.
It didn’t take him long to find two, [Breeze Step] and [Tiger Stance] for 500C each.
The first, [Breeze Step] was both an active evasion skill and a passive movement skill that could be upgraded from common all the way to divine rank.
The second [Tiger Stance] had less room to grow, only being capable of reaching the rank of rare, but as a passive combat skill that increased his strength by 10% and his Quickness by 5% at its most basic level, it seemed more than worth the cost.
With only a few hundred credits left Mike shifted his focus to the cheaper general skills, which granted knowledge that would take years to learn under normal circumstances, instantly for between ten and fifty credits.
Mike selected five skills almost immediately, [Cooking], [Camping], [Hunting], [Tracking], and [Language Comprehension].
[Cooking] and [Camping] would allow him to survive without power when the time came, allowing him to be able to start fires and turn random items into a gourmet meal, helping to eliminate hardship.
[Hunting] and [Tracking] were two sides of the same skill, one for finding hiding animals, the other for finding hiding humans. Both potentially very useful.
Finally [Language Comprehension] allowed him to learn five languages instantly.
Seeing the list of possible languages Mike was a bit intimidated but after taking Russian, Mandarin, and Spanish, he decided to branch out a little and added Elvish, and Galactic Trade Basic as well. The last two were unlikely to ever be useful but then elves and aliens were unlikely to care that he also knew French or Japanese.
With roughly three hundred credits left Mike decided to upgrade his ax, the thought triggered the menu to open a section on weapon upgrades, which amazed him. He hadn’t known the menu could react to his thoughts like that, likely it hadn’t been able to because he hadn’t really known what he wanted specifically until he thought about getting a better ax.
Unfortunately the weapons upgrades all required he know at least [Craftsmanship] if not [Smithing], [Smelting] and [Enchanting] as well. So with reluctance he closed that section and searched the weapons section for axes.
He was flooded with a few hundred choices, but there were only two that stood out within his budget, [War Ax +1] and [Sonic Ax]-[Low Grade].
Basically the choice was between magic and science. Without being able to actually test them, Mike’s caution won out. The sonic ax might be amazing, but in the end it was listed as low grade. So he took the [War Ax +1].
As the ax materialized in his hand he had to smile.
It was a thing of beauty, with a half moon head, and a wicked back spike, the haft gently curving down into an oval bulb for better grip.
The whole thing was light, lighter than his fireman’s ax.
Giving it a few experimental swings, the blade whistled as it cut the air.
Mike was in love.
Author : The Steve