The tall guard had markings on his armor indicating rank, but Musette couldn’t tell what they meant. All she knew was that his voice was loud, and it carried. She had stopped in her tracks when he spoke, and someone behind her had bumped into her, causing her to stumble.
The guard laughed at this, saying, “You’re going to need better coordination than that if you want to be an Adventurer!”
Musette flushed with annoyance. Being laughed at, even ridiculed, by an NPC was preposterous. She lifted her head, and continued into the room with a dignified walk.
The guard didn’t seem to notice, and just continued on. “If you truly desire to be an Adventurer, you will need to learn many things. The first of which is how to use at least two different weapons with some proficiency. In these boxes are training weapons which the rest of us have outgrown, but they should be just right for you. Pick out which weapons you want to use and continue through to the training grounds. If you manage to pass that test, then return here, and we’ll see if you have what it takes.”
The guard waved towards another doorway leading out of this room, then held his arms behind his back, looking disinterested. Choosing to ignore him, Musette looked around the room. It was filled with flimsy wooden boxes, and each box had a random assortment of weapons tossed in there.
The majority of weapons were swords, which was fine with Musette. She’d planned to use a sword anyway. She had quite a bit of knowledge about swords from video games and novels, so she felt it’d be the easiest for her to use. The problem was finding the right sword.
At first she tried a longsword, as it was the most basic of swords. It was heavier than she’d expected. Not too heavy for her to wield, but she didn’t like the feel of holding it in one hand. It seemed that it would be better as a two-handed sword for her.
She held onto the longsword, but tried out several other swords. Broadsword, scimitar and katana, as well as pulwar, khopesh and shotei, there were a ridiculous number of sword types, many of which she’d never heard of before. The one she ended up picking out, however, was a sabre.
Sword (Sabre) : I
Integrity 50% / Durability 50%
A basic sabre made of bronze, sized for those who are just learning the sabre. Due to the low craftsmanship, it has low integrity, but it is also fairly cheap to repair.
The sabre had a straight, slender, double-edged blade, just shy of 3’ long, with a short hilt wrapped in leather. It was designed to be useful both for thrusting and slashing, and felt comfortable and light in Musette’s right hand. Musette wanted to try a few practice swings with it, but there wasn’t exactly room to do so, so she just slid it into her bag.
Right beside that box was a box full of shields. Sword and board was the most basic combat formation, so Musette picked through the box. Most of the shields seemed to be made of strips of wood held together with leather wrappings. They didn’t look like they would be able to protect from much of anything.
After looking for a bit, she finally found a small, rectangular shield that was made of solid wood. It had been polished nicely and had a wooden grip attached to hold it by.
Small Wooden Shield
Shield : I
Integrity 30% / Durability 30%
A small shield made out of a single layer of wood. It is not easily repaired, but will prevent most damage if used to successfully block an attack.
The next problem was deciding what her secondary weapon would be. She wasn’t sure that a shield would count as a weapon, so she had to find something else. She already carried a sword, so a knife didn’t seem like it would be worth it. A bow seemed really hard to use, and axes just felt awkward. Eventually, after picking up and putting down several weapons, Musette decided to just use a club.
The main reason for this decision was that she already had a sword, which could be used for slashing or piercing damage. In a game setting, there were often creatures who were immune to that type of damage, so it would be better to have her secondary weapon be one that could do bashing damage. That, coupled with the general simplicity of the club, made it the best choice.
Club : I
Integrity 100% / Durability 100%
A moderately sized wooden club. It is simple and wooden. Good for beating things. Really, what information are you expecting about a club?
Having chosen her weapons, Musette exited the room through the indicated door. There was a long corridor that curved a few times, and as she neared the end, Musette could see natural light ahead. Before she reached the exit, however, there was an odd tingling feeling on her skin, and she stopped to look around. Another player ahead of her did the same, but neither of them could see anything.
“What do you think that was,” Musette asked the other player.
“I’m not sure,” he replied. His character was a male craclau, and he was dressed in varying shades of blue. “This game doesn’t give a lot of information does it?”
“...yeah, I guess not,” she agreed.
The two of them continued on through the exit, and found themselves in the field Musette had glimpsed behind the guard hall on her way in. Near the door they came out of, there was a human woman in guard uniform, wearing metal armor like the previous guard. She was sitting on a wooden barrel, and playing a wooden flute, badly.
Out in the field there were what appeared to be scarecrows made of straw, and a bunch of people, which she presumed were players, beating on them with a variety of weapons. The field was large, and only about half the scarecrows were occupied.
“Oh,” Musette said, “that must have been an indication that we were entering an instance.”
“What,” the craclau asked, “I thought there weren’t instances in this game? It should all be shared field.”
“Maybe not out in the world, but the tutorial is clearly instanced, and look. Considering how many people were just in the lobby, no way this field fits all of them, plus everyone who already made it through the line. They probably just set up instances for busy locations on launch day. I mean, there are something like 50 million people playing right now.”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense,” he agreed.
“So...I guess we just start whacking on scarecrows until we pass the test or whatever?”
“Maybe? Let’s ask the NPC. Hey,” he said, walking up to the guard playing the flute. She glanced at him, but kept playing. “We’re supposed to be learning to be Adventurers, so what should we do?”
The guard stopped playing the flute and peered at the two of them for a bit. Finally she said, “The two of you seem to be newbies. If you want to be Adventurers, then you need to be ready for anything, and you can’t be ready for anything if you don’t know how to use a weapon. Go beat on the training dummies until you have at least two weapon skills. You’re not going to master a weapon swinging at stationary targets, but at least you can learn how not to cut yourself.”
Done talking, the guard put the flute back up to her lips. Musette and the craclau looked at each other, then walked towards the training dummies. Musette picked one at random, and he went to the one right next to her.
As Musette was pulling the sword out of her bag, he walked up to her and held his hand out. “I’m Lars by the way.”
“Oh, um…,” she awkwardly put the sword back into her bag and shook his hand. “Musette.”
~Deedlede~ Accept friend request from Lars? Y/N
Musette blinked at the tone and the message. She didn’t really have a reason to refuse, so she thought *Yes* and he was added to her friends list. As soon as she accepted, Lars was briefly surrounded by a green aura.
“Whoa,” he said, “you turned all green for a second.”
“So did you. Maybe it’s how you recognize friends in game, since it doesn’t have a name display?”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense. ...so, I guess we just hit the training dummies then?”
Taking out her sword, Musette gripped it in her right hand. “I guess so she said,” before taking a swing at the training dummy.
Lars followed suit, taking a large broadsword out of his bag, and swinging it at the dummy next to hers. The broadsword did more damage than her sabre, but it also required two hands.
Musette had done the weapon part of the tutorial, so she understood how to swing her weapon in the most basic sense, although the tutorial hadn’t offered a sabre. Swinging the sabre with one hand was a lot easier than it had been with a longsword.
A few seconds into her practice though, Musette had to move over a bit. Lars swung the broadsword in large arcs, slamming it into the dummy, just barely missing Musette on multiple occasions.
“Sorry,” he apologized.
“It’s okay,” she said, “I’ll just move over a bit. There’s plenty of room.”
Lars continued to swing in the same large arcs, but after a few horizontal swings and vertical swings with her sword, Musette began to experiment. She tried short, quick slashes, and longer, more powerful slashes. She tried thrusting attacks, and even tried moving around the dummy and attacking it from different angles.
~Ping~ Skill ‘Sword’ learned.
It was less than 10 minutes when the message popped up showing that she’d learned the sword skill. Musette was relieved. She’d envisioned training montages from anime, and having to do nothing but swing her sword all day for hours at a time to acquire the skill. Lars was still making his large swings though, so after checking her Experience, Musette continued to swing and experiment with her sword.
~Ping~ Sub-Skill ‘1-Handed’ Sword learned.
After about 15 more minutes, Musette’s Sword skill had hit rank 2 and was nearing rank 3, when she learned a new sub-skill. Musette was breathing heavily, and she felt an odd sense of accomplishment. Now that she’d stopped swinging, her energy was recovering rapidly. Each attack seemed to take 1 Energy, however she’d learned that if she did several attacks in quick succession, it was treated as part of a single attack. Such attacks actually cost 2 energy, but she could strike her target up to 5 times. Perhaps if she got faster at attacking with the sword, she could hit even more times with her attacks.
She’d also learned two sword based skills, but somehow her damage in her Status still showed her damage as ‘1-1’ even though the base damage on the sword was ‘1-4’.
“Finally,” Lars said next to her. He was breathing heavily just as she was.
“Oh, did you get your skill, too,” Musette asked him.
“Yeah, sword skill. That’s one weapon down.” So saying, Lars put his broadsword back in his bag and took out a piece of bread. Checking her satiety, Musette also took some bread out and ate it. Satiety really went down when you were active. She would need to buy more food soon.
Once he finished his bread, he took a spear out of his bag, then began poking the training dummy with it from a distance.
He kept doing the same attack over and over again. Shrugging, Musette took the club out of her bag and began beating the training dummy with it. She tried attacking different parts of its body, and swinging the club in different ways. She determined that it was possible to do heavy attacks and light attacks with the club, with a clear difference in the damage dealt.
After about 20 minutes of doing this, Musette had gained both the Club and 1-handed Club skills, but Lars was still poking away at his dummy. Finally she called out to him, “You know, if you change up your attacks, I think you learn the skill faster. It also levels up faster.”
“Really?” Lars tried poking a different part of the dummy with his spear, then tried swinging it. After just a couple of random attacks he smiled wonderingly. “Wow, that was a lot faster. Thanks.”
Musette smiled wanly. “No problem. If you keep going, you can level your skill up and maybe get a sub-skill.”
“Oh. Cool. I guess I should do that, then?”
“...it’s up to you, but I’m done so I’m gonna see what the next part is.”
Waving, Musette walked back to the guard who was still playing the flute, only she seemed to have gotten even worse at it. “I’ve learned how to use two weapons,” Musette announced.
Mercifully stopping her playing, the guard peered at Musette, as if evaluating her. Then she nodded. “It seems you are a bit more proficient than when you started. But using a weapon isn’t the essence of being an Adventurer. Adventurers often work alone, exploring the most dangerous areas of this world. In order to do that, an Adventurer needs to be able to do two things: to determine the level of danger they are in, and to defend themselves.”
Pointing to another doorway with her flute, the guard continued, “Through there is your next test. It’s a bit harder than beating up training dummies though, so hope you’re prepared.”
~Ping~ You have completed the first stage of the Class Quest ‘Becoming an Adventurer’. 100 Life Experience received.
Musette smiled, pleasantly surprised. She hadn’t realized she’d even received a quest, but just completing the first stage of it had given her her first Life Experience. Just a bit more and she’d get her first free skill point.
Musette went through the door indicated, which led through a tunnel that snaked around. There was the tingling sensation again, and she stepped out into a field that was very similar to the first one. There was even a female guard sitting on a barrel, except this one was red haired and she was playing a lute, also badly.
In the field itself, there were players dodging colorful balls that seemed to be coming at them from the far end of the field. Some were dancing around wildly, while some made smaller movements. Some were more successful at dodging than others.
Wincing at the out of tune playing, Musette walked up to the guard who was waiting there. “Um, I’m training to be an Adventurer. Is this the right place.”
With a sigh, the guard stopped playing her lute and glanced at Musette. “Yes, yes. Just go over there and try not to get hit. If you successfully dodge enough of them, then you pass.” The guard waved her away, towards the field, and went back to playing her lute.
Musette went out to the field, and found a clear area where she could move. One of the balls came flying at her, before she was prepared, and she awkwardly tried to dodge it, but it hit her heavily in the side.
Musette bent double, gasping. The balls were brightly colored, but they were made of solid wood! They were about the size of a baseball, and they hurt! While she was recovering from her shock, another ball hit her squarely in the shoulder and she winced, falling over backwards. She quickly scooted away, to get out of range of the balls being thrown at her.
Musette’s BP bar was right in her sight, and the first ball, which she’d almost dodged, had taken away 30 of her 340 BP. The second ball which had hit her squarely while she was distracted had done 50 BP of damage.
She expected to be laughed at by other players, but everyone was focusing too hard to even pay attention to her. One guy who’d chosen to play an Ogre got hit by four balls in quick succession and dropped to the ground unconscious, his BP depleted. He wasn’t dead, but he’d have to wait for his Energy to recover to full before his BP would start to recover. Once his BP recovered a bit he’d regain consciousness, but the penalty for being knocked out was pretty severe in Chronicles. He’d suffer from the Weakness status effect, which reduced all stats for a number of hours; four to start with. If you were knocked unconscious while still weak, the remaining duration of Weakness would double.
Musette ate another piece of bread, both to increase her Satiety and to heal herself somewhat. She only had one round of bread left, but she was sure she could buy more elsewhere. She then decided to take out her shield, gripping it in her left hand, then carefully made her way back into the area with the flying balls. She again aimed for an area that wasn’t too crowded so she had room to move. This time, when a ball came flying at her, she blocked it with the shield.
There was a solid sound of wood hitting wood. Musette’s hand tingled slightly with the force of the hit, and her BP decreased by 39. Well, that was slightly better than getting hit dead on. At least it didn’t hurt.
Musette proceeded to dodge as many of the thrown balls as she could. She kept her shield up just in case, catching the ones she couldn’t quite get away from fast enough with the shield. A glancing blow to her shield only did 9 damage, so as long as she moved fast enough, she could manage that. In between dodging, while she was standing still, her BP also slowly recovered, so she could afford to take a few hits, as long as it was on her shield.
A ball to the forehead not only did 50 damage to her BP, but also did 15 damage to her MP. That was dangerous, but it was good to know. When that happened, Musette started ducking under the higher balls. When her BP got too low, she took a break and drank some water from her waterskin while her BP recovered.
It took about 8 minutes for her BP to fully recover, then Musette went back out into the field. She began dodging again, doing much better this time. A few balls still hit her shield, but they were glancing blows.
~Ping~ Skill ‘Shield’ learned.
The notification distracted Musette slightly, and she nearly got hit by another ball, but managed to dodge it at the last second. Close dodges like that cost Energy, but mostly she was able to avoid the balls by moving well in advance, since they were all straight shots.
~Ping~ You have successfully avoided 25 attacks in a row. Your Agility increased by 1.
There was another notification, and Musette’s Agility increased. That was significant, as attributes did not naturally increase. The only way to increase them were through special quests and achievements. This had been a somewhat difficult test, but it had a decent reward.
Musette made her way back to the guard, who had actually gotten a bit better with the lute. She wasn’t able to play anything recognizable, but at least she seemed to be in tune. A few other players were there, and as they approached she stopped playing and glanced at them.
“It seems you all passed the test,” she said, pointing at the door they’d entered through, “if you head back through there, you can finish the final test. If you do well enough, you will have begun your path to being an Adventurer.”
~Ping~ You have completed the second stage of the Class Quest ‘Becoming an Adventurer’. 100 Life Experience received.
Musette smiled. More life experience, and only the 2nd stage of the quest completed. If this continued, the 3rd stage would be enough to get her a Skill Point. Of course, since she could have up to 10, she planned to hold on to it.
Following the other players, who were discussing what the final test might be, they all went through the doorway. Once again there was a tingle, and Musette noticed the other players had vanished. Had they entered another instance?
There wasn’t much she could do about it, so Musette continued down the corridor. It soon opened up into a round room, that seemed to be set up like an arena, with seating on an upper level.
The floor was dirt rather than the wooden floors in the corridors, and was covered with straw. There were a couple of guards sitting in the upper seats, each of them with pins on their chest that seemed to be rank insignia. In the arena with her there was a guard dressed in full plate armor, in the gray and watery blue that were the colors of Arkeport. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and she could see that he was an older human man, his hair totally white, including his mustache and short beard.
He was tall and imposing, built broadly. Carved into his armor were designs of fantastic fish that could only be real in a fantasy world. He also had insignia of rank carved into the chest of his armor.
“Welcome Adventurer,” he said in a deep, booming voice. “As Adventurer you will be. I am Duncan Advent, 5th Captain of the Arkeport Guard. If you wish to receive the blessings of the gods and the qualification to be an Adventurer, you must complete one final test. Survive.”
Duncan had such presence that Musette hadn’t even noticed the man standing next to him. He was wearing leather armor in the guards’ gray and blue, and he looked very similar to Duncan, but was younger even than Musette. He was holding a spear as he stepped forward.
“Well, what are you waiting for,” Duncan roared, “prepare yourself!”
The younger guard took a stance, and Musette hastily drew her sword and her shield, gripping them nervously. This was her first real combat in this game, and it was a completely new experience for her.
Suddenly the younger guard dashed towards her. He was fast, his spear blurring as it shot towards her. Luckily, he moved in a straight line, and Musette was able to dodge it, using her shield to deflect the attack.
Unfortunately, he’d thrust from quite far away, extending his body to thrust low, and Musette wasn’t close enough to attack back. She moved towards him, but he adjusted quickly, and swung his spear towards her.
Musette was advancing, so only the haft of the spear hit, but she blocked it square on with her shield. She still took 198 physical damage, but the attack brought the guard within range, and Musette attacked him quickly with a thrust of her blade.
He was still recovering from his own attack, so Musette’s thrust took him squarely in the chest. He backed up half a step from the strength of the thrust, but there wasn’t even a scratch on his leather armor. She’d done 0 damage.
~Ping~ Great achievement, you landed an attack on your Adventurer Instructor. Your reputation among the guards of Arkeport has increased. Your Focus has increased by 1. 150 Life Experience received.
Duncan called for the end of the match at the same time the notification sounded. Musette smiled, letting her arms drop, her muscles sore even though she hadn’t been hit directly. That was the effect of having low BP. Apparently all she had to do was survive an attack from the guard. Getting even one attack off on him had given her an achievement, and increased her reputation.
“Excellent, excellent! You have talent as an Adventurer. The core of being an Adventurer is understanding and surviving any threat. Always be aware of your surroundings, and never let your guard down. Let me teach you what you need to know to be an Adventurer.”
~Da-da-da!~ Your Class has become Adventurer. You receive a bonus to BP. You gain the Ability: Judgement. You gain the Ability: Power Strike. You gain the Ability: Sidestep. Please choose 1 attribute to gain a bonus to. Please choose one of the following skills to learn.
A message window popped up in front of Musette, and she read through it quickly. The NPCs in the room seemed to be going about their own business, so she looked through her options. She could choose any attribute to increase except Technique and Discipline, including Luck. Musette was tempted to choose luck, since it was the hardest attribute to increase. Strength was probably the best way to go.
After thinking about it for a while, Musette decided to go with luck. The chances to increase it were rare compared to strength, and this was a class bonus. If she changed classes later, she’d lose that bonus, and losing a bonus to strength would affect her gameplay much more significantly than losing a bonus to luck.
For the skills she could choose from, there were a list of various weapon skills, including the ability to increase the ones she already had by one. There were even subskills for the skills she already had. However, this ended up being an easy decision, and Musette quickly chose the Armor skill. Her defense was way too low, and she really needed to increase it.
Once she’d made her selections, Duncan patted her on the shoulder. “I believe you’ll make a great Adventurer. Would you like to become a guard for Arkeport?”
Musette blinked, astonished at this. “Um...no, I’d like to travel on my own for a bit.”
“Of course, of course. Well, you’re still young. If you’re ever interested in helping guard the peace of Arkeport, please return to the hall and I’ll gladly give you my recommendation. For now, congratulations, Adventurer Musette.”
~Ping~ You have completed the Class Quest ‘Becoming an Adventurer’. 200 Life Experience received.
“Congratulations Musette,” the younger guard said shyly.
“Thank you,” Musette smiled.
“We’re really busy today for some reason, so let me show you to the back exit,” he said.
“Ryan,” Duncan said, “don’t forget there are other Adventurers we need to test.”
“I know Captain, I’ll be quick,” Ryan said as he grabbed Musette’s hand and guided her out of the room, then out of the building. He seemed reluctant to let go of her hand, and by the time she got her hand back, they were both blushing profusely.
“Fare well, Musette,” he said, “Be safe. If you want to learn more about using a spear I’d be glad to teach you.”
“Um...sure, that’d be nice,” she replied. She continued to blush after he walked away, then scrubbed her hand down her face. Ryan was clearly an NPC, and yet he’d just awkwardly flirted with her. Musette could easily recognize awkward flirting, since it was the only type she had any talent with.
Thankfully, Ryan had led her out a back entrance, away from the crowds still inside the guard hall. Musette looked around nearby, and found what she as looking for, a general store. Inside, she was able to buy a belt with a sheath for her sword and a loop to hang her shield from. She also bought more bread and water, as well as some juice, which didn’t give her as much Hydration as water did, but healed about twice as well as eating bread. She also bought biscuits, which gave less Satiety than basic bread, but healed more even though they were smaller.
When she was done, she only had 12 Tin left. She would need to find more money soon, but for now, she checked the three new Abilities she’d gained.
The Ability to judge the strength of others. While active will display the relative strength of all targets.
Cost: 10 BP
An attack made with your entire body behind it. Can be used with any weapon. Sacrifices some of your health to do additional damage based on your Constitution.
Cost: 15SP, 5BP, 5MP
Allows you to immediately sidestep an attack, avoiding most damage. Best used in emergencies, as it places great stress on your body.
Seeing their effects, Musette immediately activated Judgement. Looking around her, she could see a marker now above the heads of everyone around. Above the head of the general store’s shopkeeper it showed ‘Threat 2’.
So the Shopkeeper’s threat level was 2, while Musette’s was still 0. Musette brought up her status again to check out her stats.
She’d gained a class, and her HP had gone up significantly, but there wasn’t much change in her other stats. She did have Accuracy and Critical stats now, though. In addition to that, she’d gained one Skill Point, and was only 85 exp away from gaining her second.
She was ready to go on an Adventure now. She was already at the southeastern part of town that bordered on the Makit Imperial State, so she decided to head that way. Jogging confidently, Musette left the city of Arkeport.