Chapter 1

The Tutorial

        It was December 18, 2033, and Chloe Marks lay in her bed wide awake. She stared at the ceiling, which was painted a light, sky blue. Today was the day that Chronicles of the New World, the most anticipated game of all time, was unlocking at 4pm. Right now it was barely noon. Chloe fully intended to spend an entire day playing the game, so she’d set her alarm and tried to sleep in, but she was too excited to sleep.
        She looked over to the Dreamcuff on its charging station next to her bed. It was an awkward shape, and her parents had gotten her the hardware that was done in purple and white, to match the purple and blue of her room. She was on winter break from her freshman year in university, so she was back in her bedroom at her parents’ house. She could put the DC on and play around with it for a while, but all that was there was a featureless room you could adjust with a menu. You could run and jump and do all sorts of movements, or create a variety of 3D shapes to play around with, which was kinda exciting the first three or four times, but wasn’t exactly a game, and she’d lost interest in it already.
        The DCs weren’t exactly cheap, and she’d had to beg her parents for one, swearing that she’d give up all christmas and birthday presents for a year if they would get her this one thing in time for her to be there on the opening day of Chronicles of the New World. When she’d gotten home for winter break, the box had been there waiting for her, and she’d literally kissed her mom in thanks. Of course, her thankfulness wasn’t enough for her parents, they had a lot of chores for her to do once she got back home, but she did them happily, and quickly, so she wouldn’t have anything to disturb her once she actually started playing.
        It was pretty clear that she wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep, so she tried to think of what to do to occupy her time until launch. She could read forums and discussions about the game online, but she’d pretty much already read everything there was to read, even the sparse official wiki for the game. There were no reviews for Chronicles yet, since no one had played the game yet except E-Prime Gaming employees and some Swedish girl who’d won the sweepstakes to get first access to the game. Chloe had read all her impressions already though, but hadn’t found them particularly helpful.
        She considered going out, but dismissed that idea yet again. God forbid she go out and get stuck in traffic coming back. She did not want to miss the launch. It was not so much that she cared about being one of the first to get into the game, but the payoff for the months of waiting was just a few hours away, and she needed to do something with all this enthusiasm.
        Finally she got up and went to her computer desk. It was a large wooden desk she’d inherited from her grandfather, and hadn’t really been made for computers, but it was incredibly sturdy. Her computer wasn’t top of the line, but it was a decent gaming system. Chloe decided to check her streaming setup and make sure it was ready to go.
        Chloe wasn’t a particularly popular streamer. She had a few followers who were mostly friends who never actually watched her play, and a few who followed her because she was a girl. Unfortunately, she didn’t stream that much, so she’d never built an audience. Her plan with Chronicles was to start streaming it regularly, in the hopes of upping her popularity. Although, it was less because of popularity, and really more just about wanting to chronicle her adventures and talk to others about them.
        Of course, she wouldn’t be able to do that perfectly. No one knew the exact details of how streaming from Chronicles worked, but they knew that you wouldn’t be able to see your stream chat from in the game. In addition, time in the game was dilated, roughly three times that of real time, so an hour of playing the game would either turn into three hours of video, or be played at three times the speed.
        Chloe made sure everything was set up for her planned stream, and that the DC was connected to her computer by the longest USB cord she could find. It would suck if she disconnected it accidentally while playing.
        After all that, Chloe finally decided to head downstairs and get some food.

        Chloe’s mom had no trouble in finding ways to occupy her time, and she’d had to help her dad with the Christmas decorations. It was only a week before Christmas, so preparations were truly getting underway. Chloe had already received her Christmas present though. When she’d realized the time she ran back up to her room.
        Chloe turned off the alarm she’d set, and started up her stream, smiling at the camera excitedly. “Sorry I’m late everyone. My genetic material donors kept me occupied. So we are at...13 minutes until game start. Like I said, I’ll be streaming for 24 hours, but since no one is sure how streaming from the game works, it might take a while for the stream to start. So, how is everyone else, y’all ready for the New World?”
        Chloe looked at her chat, but of course, there was no response. No one was watching her stream. Most likely, everyone in the world was either setting up their own stream or just preparing to play the game. Well, she didn’t have that many followers anyway.
        Keeping an eye on the time, Chloe checked the forums to see lots of other people announcing streams, or talking about the streams they were watching. Most people were talking about what species and classes they planned to play in game. There were already arguments about which classes were better, even though people barely knew what classes were in the game. There was speculation about hidden classes, but EPG had kept such a tight lid on information that there were probably several non-hidden classes that people didn’t know about yet.
        Chloe then did a quick search for updates, to see if there was any new information. Of course, the EPG company stream, with hosts Tory and Lee, would be streaming today with the launch as well. That stream would definitely get a lot of views. They’d started their stream an hour before the game launch, but hadn’t revealed any new information about the game, despite many attempts to ply them for information.
        The hackers and crackers had no new information either. People had taken the Dreamcuffs apart and been studying them since they were released on the market. The code they used was completely different from what people were expecting however, and no one had managed to crack it yet, so there were no hacks or extra information on Chronicles. A couple of game companies had managed to figure out the hardware enough to start using it to produce video, but no one had gotten to the point where they could produce actual interactive media on it yet. That was still exclusively the territory of EPG, at least for a little longer.
        Chloe checked the clock again. Only 3 minutes to go. “Okay guys, I’m putting my DC on now. Hopefully this stream won’t crash and burn, but if it does I won’t know, cause I don’t plan on leaving the game for a while. Ta!”
        Chloe leapt into bed, finding the most comfortable position to set the DC against her neck, then laying back on the bed and closing it over her eyes. Sliding her hands blind over the device, she clicked the power button and her consciousness blinked out.

        Only to return almost immediately, except now she was in the sitting room she’d set up inside the DC. There was a huge countdown clock on what, for want of a better word, she called the wall. She hadn’t put it there, but it was clearly counting the time to the launch of Chronicles, and there was less than a minute to go.
        Chloe was grinning like a fool, but she barely noticed it as the clock counted down, with mere seconds left. Then the login window appeared before her just as the countdown was ending. Her name was already entered, and she closed her eyes, imagining her password. The password for Chronicles was a series of images you imagined, making it incredibly secure, as it was practically impossible for anyone else to figure out what you would think of.
        When Chloe’s eyes opened, she found herself in another world. Above her there was a blue sky, with sparse clouds and a shining sun. Around her there were buildings and stalls, but before she could really look at them, a window popped up in front of her eyes.

Welcome to the New World! Please read the following information, as it is the most important information you will receive today.
The most important thing in Chronicles of the New World is CONCENTRATION. In this game, you will have a body, and you will have no trouble moving that body because you are used to having a body. However, this is a fantasy game, and in it will you will be able to do things you cannot normally do, and the first of those things is interact with menus and dialog boxes. In order to do that, it requires concentration. You can interact with dialog boxes by using your hands to press buttons,  swipe windows away or move them around, but it will be much faster to concentrate on the dialog box and then think about the option you want to select or whether you want to close it. Focus on this dialog and think ‘Close’ to continue.

        Chloe studied the message, then tried to focus on it as it suggested, thinking *Close*. It was easier than she thought it would be, and the window closed, only to be replaced by another window.

Excellent. Please remember that whatever else you do or learn in this game, every action requires concentration. If you are tired, it will be more difficult to concentrate, which will make it difficult to use Skills or activate Abilities, and you may even find it difficult to move if your concentration wavers. Please remember to take breaks and get rest, and not to play the game for too long at a time. While you are technically asleep while playing this game, it is not as restful as true sleep, and you will need to log out and get at least 4-6 hours of sleep. Time inside the game is a little over three times faster than time in the First World, so you should definitely log out at least every two in-game days to insure you get proper sleep.

        Chloe read the new message, then dismissed it as well. Of course, everyone had already heard the repeated warnings about spending too much time inside the game, and Chloe would follow the advice on most days. But this was her first day in a New World! She planned to play for the next 24 hours, which should be about 3 days in game.
        Shortly after the message disappeared, Chloe noticed an old man walking up to her.
        “Greetings, spirit from another world. My name is Alexander Trainer, but most simply call me Trainer. Welcome to the Holy Island of Tutoria. I am here to help ease your transition into Valia, our world.”
        Slightly startled even though she’d been expecting this, Chloe looked over at the old man. She’d watched streams of this game for months, but looking at this old man, he looked real. She almost reached out her hand to touch him, convinced he couldn’t be real. The difference between the streamed images and the images while inside the game was completely beyond even what she’d expected.
        Chloe quickly looked around her, and if it hadn’t been for the message windows that appeared earlier, she’d easily believe that she had been teleported to another world by some kind of magic. There was blue sky above her and green grass below her. A gentle breeze blew, and she could feel it against her skin...except she didn’t have skin. Right now, Chloe existed as a floating spirit, and if she looked down she could see right through herself.
        She was standing in a small open area surrounded by benches. On these benches were slumped forms that looked kind of like life size dolls, with blank eyes. They all had a strong resemblance to each other, and to her. Chloe had already made some decisions after watching the first runthrough of the tutorial, but she couldn’t contain her curiosity.
        She walked over to the doll directly in front of her, the one that looked exactly like her, a thought which made her grimace slightly. It was the human doll, and Chloe placed her hand on it, and after a brief moment of disorientation, she had a solid body again and was seated on the bench. She stood up, and looked around. The breeze she’d felt before felt even stronger now.
        Chloe tried out her body, walking, running, jumping around, and laughed out loud. It felt exactly like her real body, like she was really here, except she didn’t get winded after jumping around like a maniac. Still smiling, she turned to the old man who was patiently watching her.
        “Trainer, what can you tell me about Humans.”
        Trainer stroked his white beard musingly and answered, “Humans are a hardy species, with good survivability. They can find themselves useful in labor or combat. They are clever, but perhaps their greatest advantage is their adaptability. You will find humans nearly everywhere, and they are populous enough to occupy most of the continents of Valia.”
        Chloe frowned. She’d expected the human species to be the most average, but from what Trainer said, they had specialties, too. Still, Chloe was a human all the time, she didn’t really want to play a human, she’d just chosen this one to get a feel for what this game would be like. She walked over to the next doll on the bench. It was easier thinking of them as dolls rather than bodies.
        Chloe touched the doll, then stared at it for a bit. Finally she turned to Trainer, “Er...Trainer, how do I leave this body?”
        “Just concentrate on the body you are wearing and choose to leave it. This is an Ability only possible here on this Holy Island.”
        Right. Chloe concentrated, and she felt her weight vanish, as the human doll sort of flopped on the ground, exactly like a rag doll. It was a trifle unsettling, but back in her spirit form, Chloe touched the elf doll in front of her. Another perspective shift, and suddenly she was an elf.
        Chloe stood up, testing out her new body. She could immediately tell that she was shorter and lighter as an elf, but the weirdest thing was that her arms were definitely longer. She moved around a bit, testing out this new body, even picking up the human doll and putting it back on the bench. She noticed that her fingers ended in small sharp claws, rather than fingernails.
        With Trainer’s help she figured out that the longer arms allowed her to run on all fours, and when she tried it, she was able to run much faster. As an elf she was quick and agile, but quickly moved on to the next doll, the dwarf.
        In most fantasy literature, dwarves were stocky and solid, and while she was certainly curvier in this form, she didn’t feel at all stocky. Her balance was much better however, but she couldn’t run very fast. Nothing about being a dwarf seemed particularly interesting, so Chloe moved on to the goblin.
        As a goblin, she was even shorter than she’d been as a dwarf, but where dwarves had short legs, goblins were proportioned more like humans. When Chloe tried out jumping though, she quickly discovered what made goblins unique. She did a standing jump nearly triple her own height before landing awkwardly on her butt. Goblins had extra strong leg muscles, and once she got used to it she felt like she was doing super jumps more than 5 feet off the ground.
        Next was the Ogre, big and bulky and over 8 feet tall. It definitely felt different being covered in fur softer than velvet, and she could tell that she was pretty strong, but overall Ogres weren’t that interesting to her, so she moved on to one of the more exotic dolls here, the aviara.
        Aviara had huge feathered wings, and it took a while for Chloe to adjust to the fact that she had 2 extra limbs between her shoulder blades. Just moving the wings around was tricky enough to learn, and even with Trainer’s help it took her nearly an hour of experimenting to figure out how to fly. She still wasn’t proficient at it, but she was able to fly around for a few minutes at a time without crashing face first into the ground. With enough practice she might even be able to fly into the sky.
        Realizing how much time she’d spent on it though, she looked around, seeing there were still 8 dolls she hadn’t tried yet. So she finally went to the next doll, the centaur. In some ways, this body was even weirder than the aviara. She had 4 legs! At first, even just walking was difficult, as she had to sort out which leg she needed to move when, but once she got the hang of it, she was galloping all around the field, her hair blowing behind her in the wind. She laughed in pure joy at how incredible this was. It was beginning to get hard to decide on a species.
        The next doll was a small, dark grey body, shorter than an elf, but taller than a dwarf. It was the nymph, and though she moved around in it for a while, she couldn’t really tell what was different about it from being a very short human, so she asked, “Trainer, what can you tell me about Nymphs.”
        “Nymphs are a fairy species with close ties to nature, and they have many different races. Right now, it appears you are a Fungal Nymph an….”
        “Wait, I’m a what!”
        “A Fungal Nymph. They promote the growth and health of a variety of fungi, and can use them to accelerate decay in dead creatures and plants.”
        “Urgh, I don’t think I want to be a Nymph after all.”
        “Well,” Trainer smiled, “as I said, there are many different races among the Nymphs. From wood to fire to stone. Sadly I’m afraid the fungal is the only body we have for you to try on at the moment.”
        Dejected, Chloe left the body and went to the next one that looked like a giant butterfly, the cüeluri. Much shorter than the aviara, this body had 2 large, beautiful wings closely resembling those of a butterfly, but with a more rounded shape. She was also covered in small fine hairs from head to toe, looking a little like a furry caterpillar.
        Though the wings were broad to catch the air, even with their smaller bodies cüeluri wings weren’t meant for flight, but could be used to glide quite well. There were no good places to practice this, however, so Chloe moved on to the next doll, which looked more doll-like than most.
        The sprite was tiny, not quite a foot tall, and had 4 wings similar to dragonfly wings. Getting the hang of them took a few minutes, but once she did, she found flying much easier as a sprite than it had been as an aviara. Her wings held her up with barely a thought, and moving was a little like swimming, except it was much easier to move through the air than through water, and she zoomed around in a blue glow, having even more fun than she’d had as a centaur. Finally she landed and slipped out of that body, and went to try the next doll, which was the kraken.
        The kraken felt odd in a new way. She was now a human shaped plant, obvious by the green tint of her skin, and while her upper body felt extremely flexible, her legs were thick and rough, and rather than toes she had roots all along the bottom of her feet. Even more bizarre was that kraken didn’t have hands, instead she had five arms on each side, which were more like vines than real arms. Getting used to wings had been difficult, and having four legs had been weird, too, but figuring out how to use 10 flexible arms took a lot to wrap her head around. With a lot of practice she was able to pick things up and even grip them. The five arms could reasonably act like fingers with enough practice, but it gave Chloe a headache using them, so she moved on to the next doll.
        This next doll was called a miriam, and was one of the more interesting to look at. Chloe’s body was completely clear, like glass. Not only could she see the background quite clearly when she looked through her arm, but if she held it up to the sun, all she could see was the light, her arm was effectively invisible. It wasn’t just the skin that was clear, if she looked carefully, she could see translucent veins with translucent blood running through them, and translucent muscle and bones under that. Looking at it carefully, she could see that everything was very slightly distorted when viewed through her own body, but she had to concentrate to notice.
        Quite pleased with how it felt to move around as a miriam, Chloe practiced with it for a while before moving to the next doll, the craclau. Craclau were very similar to humans in body shape, but were completely hairless. Instead, they had hard, bony ridges around their crown and collar, as well as down the sides of their arms and legs, and along their spines. Aside from giving them an exotic look, the bone ridges of the craclau were tough and could easily be used defensively.
        The final doll was the gremlin, which was only slightly taller than the goblin, but considerably thinner. The most prominent features of gremlins, however, were their proportionally larger heads, with a long nose, large eyes, and sharp teeth. The first thing Chloe noticed when she became a gremlin was how much brighter the light was, so much so that it kind of hurt her eyes. In addition to fangs, she had long fingers, with long claws on them, and her spine had a strong curve to it, making her look even shorter than she actually was. Chloe played around as a gremlin for a few minutes, but except for the seemingly exceptional eyesight, there wasn’t much to recommend it, and finally she went back to her spirit form.
        Looking around, Chloe hesitated. She’d watched the preview stream showing off the tutorial, and hadn’t expected to spend this much time just trying out the different species. She’d kind of already chosen which one she wanted, but the entire point of the tutorial was to give players a chance to try out what the game was like before they actually created the one character they would get to play.
        After a bit of thought, Chloe drifted over to the doll she’d had the most fun as, the centaur, and put her hand against it. After trying all the other species it took her a few minutes to adjust to having four legs again, then she turned to Trainer, who had been waiting with unnatural patience for her. “So what do I do now, Trainer?”
        Trainer made a wide gesture, indicating the stalls and buildings that were set up somewhat like a carnival around them. “There are many things to do, young spirit, to help you get used to this new world. My personal recommendation is the obstacle course. It is the best to teach you how to move around properly in this new world.”
        “ probably a good choice. Um, which way is it?”
        Trainer waved her along, and picking her way carefully, Chloe followed him into one of the buildings. Inside there was a small area, that then opened into a large, open air obstacle course. Trainer directed her to the start, and Chloe began making her way through it.
        It was quickly obvious that most of the obstacle course was designed for more humanoid forms, and the large, bulky body of the Centaur didn’t fit in some of the obstacles, making them difficult to pass through. However, she was able to jump over hurdles and pitfalls with ease, and by the time she’d made it halfway through the obstacles, she didn’t even have to really think to change from a walk, to a canter, to a gallop. She managed to go through the entire obstacle course, making it back to the beginning, although there were several obstacles she had to skip entirely because of the major weakness of the centaur. She had strong arms in this form, but not that much stronger than human arms. She could jump quite easily, but climbing was practically impossible for her, unless there were stairs or a slope. There was no way she could hold the weight of her body with just her arms.
        Curious, Chloe ran back to the starting area, and switched to the aviara, then tried the obstacle course again. Aviara were fairly tall, but slender and extremely light, which made the obstacle course much easier. There were still a few obstacles she couldn’t fit through because of her wings, but there were also obstacles in the sky she could fly through. Or rather, there were obstacles in the sky to fly through, but she completely lacked the skill to actually pull it off. Still, by the time she had done the obstacle course twice, moving around in the game felt no different from moving her own body around.
        “Okay Trainer, what should I try next?”
        “Well spirit, unfortunately Valia is a dangerous world. There are many countries and factions, and monsters and beasts roam the wilderness outside the borders of civilization. It would perhaps be best to learn to defend yourself. Do you have a weapon you prefer?”
        “I...suppose a sword,” Chloe answered with uncertainty. She’d used all kinds of weapons and styles in a variety of games, but had no experience with real weapons.
        Over the course of the next several hours, Trainer took her through all the different buildings and stalls. There were training areas where she could use a variety of weapons against straw men, and even slow moving wooden golems. There were targets to throw things at, or shoot at with a bow and arrows or crossbow. There were even stalls to try lifting and pulling, places to run all out, to jump as high as possible or to dodge projectiles. Chloe tried them all, occasionally switching to a different species to test how they worked differently.
        There were even places to test out how magic worked in the game, and Trainer patiently explained the fundamental rules for using magic to her.
        “The most common type of magic in this world is Wizardry. There are many different types of Wizards, but how they use magic is generally very similar. Each magical Ability has a Cast Time, which is an indication of how long it takes to focus one’s mind and use the Ability. How you focus your mind varies from person to person, and it is up to you to choose for each magical Ability you learn. Some people choose a magical chant, others use gestures, or sing, or dance, or even cast their magic through a weapon or device. So long as your focus method is at least as long as the Cast Time, once you have completed it, you can then cast the Ability. If you have multiple Abilities with similar Cast Times, you will easily be able to use the same focus method.”
        To practice, Chloe was given three magic Abilities to play with. The first was a magic that could darken a small area with shadows. The second could light a small candle flame. The last was a more significant magic that could summon a strong wind.
        For the first two, which had a short 3 second Cast Time, Chloe decided to use a gesture where she drew a circle in the air with her hand, then pointed at her target through the middle of it. It took her a couple of tries to get used to actually getting the magic to activate, as it required you to concentrate on what magic you were trying to cast. One she understood it, the process was rather simple and elegant. Chloe would start the gesture which would trigger a casting glow beneath her feet, and that glow would remain until she cast the spell. It wasn’t necessary to decide what spell you were going to cast before completing the gesture, and more importantly, once the gesture was completed, the casting glow remained for several seconds, allowing you to essentially hold your casting until the appropriate moment. Chloe tested this, and found that at the limit you could hold off on casting the spell for about 9 seconds before the glow disappeared.
        Trainer was watching her patiently, but when he saw this he warned, “Be careful doing that once you have a true body in this world, spirit. Focusing magic without giving it form can sometimes cause dangerous backlash.”
        “Oh,” Chloe wondered, “what happens, will the spell backfire?”
        “Magical backlash is unpredictable. At the worse, you could nearly kill yourself.”
        Chloe frowned at this but continued experimenting until she had the casting down. She then moved on to the wind spell, which had a longer Cast Time of 7 seconds. It seemed you couldn’t just strike a pose and hold it while focusing the spell, you had to do something unique to trigger the system to put you in a casting state, and if you didn’t complete whatever you’d set up as a trigger, the casting would be interrupted. Once again, concentration was vital here. Getting hit by an attack didn’t automatically interrupt your casting, but if it threw you off balance, or just distracted you from your spell, that was enough to interrupt you. In that case, even a loud or unexpected sound could easily interrupt a spellcaster used at just the right time.
        For the wind spell, Chloe tried creating a chant. “Gather within me and around me. Take form and strike my enemies. Blow oh wind!” The chant took just slightly less than 7 seconds, but was long enough and was accepted by the system. Once Chloe finished chanting, there was a brief pause, then the wind magic activated, blowing from just behind her out to about three feet in front of her. It was just a light breeze at the start, but was enough to push back a heavy wooden golem by the time it reached its end.
        It was a fun spell, used to blow things around, but Chloe noticed an immediate difference. She wasn’t able to hold this spell like she had the two quicker ones. At first Chloe thought it might be because she didn’t have any other spells with the same Cast Time, but after practicing it for a bit, the problem became clear. Her magic chant was too specific; it called upon the wind, and so that spell was triggered automatically. Perhaps if she had other wind type spells, it would function differently, but for now, it seemed that using gestures or movements might provide better versatility for spell casting.
        Chloe spent a couple of hours in the tutorial, making sure she went to every stall and every building, trying out every feature she could. She also frequently asked Trainer questions, which he obligingly answered, and Chloe was able to come to several important conclusions about how things worked in this game.
        The first was that there was no automatic hit correction in this game for melee attacks. Whatever weapon  you were using, either you hit or you missed based on your own movements. There was also no hit correction on thrown attacks, you had to actually hit what you were aiming at, but the system did guarantee that a thrown blade would always strike with the bladed part rather than the hilt, even if it didn’t complete a full rotation. Bow attacks had very slight hit correction on them, but if you didn’t know how to properly fire a bow, it wasn’t nearly enough to make hitting a target possible.
        Magic had built in hit correction. You could basically target your magic anywhere, as long as you concentrated on the target. This was both easier and more difficult. If your concentration wavered, the magic would still activate, but wherever your concentration was directed. That could be on the wall beside you, a member of your own group, or even the air right above your head. Of all the types of combat, magic required the greatest concentration.
        Though there was no way to practice it on tutorial island, Trainer did explain to her about the other type of magic in this world, Sorcery. Sorcery was closer to true spell casting, differing significantly from Wizardry. Sorcery was built upon symbols, which you had to learn and discover for yourself. In order to cast a spell with Sorcery, it was necessary to combine these symbols in order to cast the spell. Each time you cast a spell, you would have to concentrate on the necessary symbols in the correct sequence, without getting distracted. Insert the wrong symbol, or end the focusing before the sequence was finished, and you would end up with the wrong spell. This could be anything from beneficial, to harmless, to disastrous, depending on what you ended up with. What’s more, Trainer assured her that there were thousands of symbols, and less than a hundred were commonly known.
        This intrigued Chloe as a computer science major. It seemed a little similar to building a program, but was probably more trouble than it was worth for just a game.
        Another thing Chloe learned was that attacking harder seemed to do more damage. By controlling how much force you used in an attack, you could deal glancing blows or deeper ones. Of course, this only seemed to be true, Chloe couldn’t tell if it was true for sure, since apparently damage numbers weren’t displayed. Instead, it dealt realistic damage to whatever you were attacking, but it was enough to tell roughly how well your attacks were doing. The wooden golems had a high defense, and she could easily tell that when she did a heavy attack it would leave a mark on the golem’s body, or even gouge part of it out, and if she did a light attack, the golem wouldn’t even be scratched.
        The final conclusion Chloe came to had to do with attack Abilities. She was given a few to play with for each weapon she learned. They had no Cast Time like magic Abilities, and could be activated instantly by simply concentrating on the Ability you wanted to activate. Of course, the easiest way to concentrate on an Ability was to shout it’s name out loud. When you did, the Ability would take over and if it were a particular type of attack, it would take over control of your body for the duration of the attack. This was disconcerting, and once it finished you could control your body again, but if you weren’t prepared for the movement, you would be off balance, making it impossible to continue attacking.
        However, if you practiced the ability enough, and learned the movements of it, you could trigger the ability simply by doing the movement of the special attack yourself. As far as Chloe could tell, the damage and effect were the same, which meant you could effectively auto-trigger Abilities.
        Chloe wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but she was sure she’d spent more hours in the Tutorial than she had planned. Probably more than was necessary, but she’d been having a lot of fun, and she wasn’t even truly playing the game yet. She hadn’t been given the option to start her stream yet, and even though no one was watching, she was starting to feel self-conscious about having a blank stream.
        “Okay Trainer, I think I’m done with the tutorial. How do I move on?”
        “Are you certain you wish to leave Tutoria Island, young spirit?” Trainer asked gravely.
        There was a brief pause, as if he were expecting more, then he intoned, as if ritually, “Then go with the blessings of the gods into this new world, no longer a spirit, but a new life.”
        And then everything went black.

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