“…ugh.” Kukis woke up with a start. Her head was pounding slightly, and her midsection felt like something had ripped right through it. Not surprising considering she took on the Shark alone. The only solace was that there was something warm covering it, giving her slight relief.
“Wakey wakey sleepyhead.” A gentle voice came from above her.
Kukis felt a finger poke her cheeks and she looked up to see a serene smile. For a moment she thought she was dreaming as seeing such a smile was incredibly rare. Then she realized this was indeed real, as the smile shifted into a mischievous grin.
“You sure did a number on that thing, there was blood and guts all over the place! Mostly the Shark’s. I think… Anyway, I should probably stop messing with you so much in this place.” Q spoke with a solemn tone, but her fingers continuing to poke Kukis’ face indicated she felt otherwise.
“Something tells me you’re not doing that anytime soon.” Kukis tried to push away Q’s hands, but the previous fight left her weak and unable to muster any strength.
“Of course not.”
“Because it’s way too fun!” Q switched from poking her cheeks to rubbing them instead.
“I’m gunna shlap yuu lahter…”
“Now now, is that any way to act in front of your little sister?”
“Huh? Oh yeah, Sunflower! Where is she?” Instead of answering, Q propped up her head and she saw Sunflower currently hovering over her body, wings splayed out over her midsection. It was then that she realized she was lying down sandwiched between Q and Sunflower, her head atop of Q’s lap.
Currently Sunflower was channeling her healing spell, but Kukis could see that she was slightly trembling, as if she was about to explode… And then she did.
“That was too dangerous! What were you two thinking!?” Sunflower shouted with an intensity neither of them had ever seen before.
“Uh… boss battle?” Q had no reasonable explanation.
“Um… that was my skill taking over. Definitely not me.” Kukis tried to shift the blame, but to no avail, as it only served to further her wrath.
“I don’t care! That was reckless! You two are too reckless! You’re… you’re… UGH!” Appearing to have given up on words, Sunflower began lightly pounding Kukis’ chest.
Unfortunately for Kukis, her wounds hadn’t quite healed and she began to cough. Sunflower immediately stopped and muttered a “…sorry.”
“I’m sorry too. It’s my fault for forgetting the Release rune…” Q said apologetically.
“No I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let the blood get to my head like that…” Kukis was also looking remorseful.
“…Hehe. Hahaha! We’re all sorry!” Apparently finding this funny, Sunflower began to laugh. With her laugh as the starting signal, the other two joined in. The three variously wounded girls shared a moment, simply happy to be alive from that encounter.
“Hahah… ha… how do we get out of here?” Q suddenly asked.
A half-hour of backtracking later, the trio somehow managed to leave the dungeon. They emerged from the giant tree the Squibbles called home and were greeted by a procession of Squibbles that lined up in a neat row. Sunflower approached the row in hopes of finding the previous Squibble she was acquainted with, while Q and Kukis checked over their various rewards.
Obtained 3000 experience!
Level up! x2
Learned [Swimming], [Lightning Rod]
You may now Learn [Quick Draw]
Obtained [Rune Shards x13], [Shark Teeth x7], [Rune Grimoire (Unidentified)], [Blank Runic Pages x2]
Your Myth, [The Brightest Light] has gained new properties.
The previous fight had managed to push Q to level twenty which gave her ample points to put towards her stats and class skills. It turned out that applying points to her ‘Favored Stats’ would increase them by two, or sometimes three rather than the regular amount. As for her class skills, Q thought about it for a moment, and decided to put them towards Draw Rune and Rune Mastery to increase her Runes effectiveness. Once this was done she looked into the other, far more interesting rewards listed.
Her new skill [Swimming] was fairly self-explanatory, but the moment she opened it up it immediately got absorbed into the [Free Movement] skill. The description was updated to add swimming, and Q was perfectly fine with that. The next skill, [Lightning Rod] was quite intriguing. According to the description it allowed her to more easily use Lightning type spells and skills, and also attracts and absorbs lightning damage. She had no idea where that excess lightning would go, but was eager to test it out. [Quick Draw] was something that all Rune Meisters could learn at level twenty, and it increased the speed of drawing runes in battle – something she would have appreciated an hour earlier.
As for the items, she left the Rune Shards and Shark Teeth in her inventory, but brought out the grimoire and pages to inspect them. Unfortunately since the grimoire was unidentified she couldn’t do anything with it, but the Runic Pages were definitely a boon. The pages were described as a reusable item which could store a rune formation. Now instead of having to draw new runes on her leaves she could keep some preset formations for constant use. Finally, she read the description of her Myth.
[The Brightest Light] – No matter what adversities she faces, her spirit will always shine bright and strong. She is a source of comfort, able to brighten the world with a smile. May her light shine everlasting.
- Increases intensity of any spells or skills which generate light.
- Adds a slight regenerative property to yourself and nearby allies
“Holy shit that’s awesome!”
“Language Q!” Kukis smacked her on the back of her head. Fortunately Sunflower was preoccupied with finding a Squibble, so she didn’t hear anything. In a quieter voice, Kukis asked, “what did you get?”
“My myth now gives passive regen! It’s not a lot of regen, but it’s something… Well alright, it’s not that impressive but I’m pretty excited that my Myth has progressed. Not sure how it upgraded though…” Q was puzzled and didn’t quite understand how it became like that. My smile giving comfort? How can that be? Helen’s always saying how I look like I’m up to no good when I smile.
“What a coincidence. So did mine. Turns out I can take other people’s things now.” Kukis tapped Q’s crown, then walked a few meters back. She extended her hand and the crown flew through the air and landed in her palm. Tossing it back she continued. “I can now pull objects that I touch. It doesn’t last long though.”
“Are you sure about being a Barbarian? Now it feels like you’re more suited to being a Thief.”
“It sounds weird for me to say this, but I kind of like hitting stuff. I’m not exactly… physically fit in real life so it’s pretty fun to do it here. Anyway, besides that I also got this thing which only incentivizes me to continue hitting stuff.” Kukis pulled out a long triangular blade that looked very much like a shark fin.
“Ahh… that. Yeah.” Q scratched her head. “I regained consciousness pretty quickly so I ended up seeing what you were doing at the end. I don’t know if you were aware of it, but you literally ripped off that Shark’s fin and used it to stab itself. That’s metal as fff- ….frick.”
“…I really need to get that Rage skill under control.” Even Kukis seemed taken aback from her enraged actions.
“I found her!” Sunflower’s voice broke up the conversation. Looking over they saw Sunflower triumphantly holding a Squibble over her head, like she’d just pulled it out of a chest or something. She excitedly flew over and Kukis was about to hand over a regular acorn, then thought of something and took out a golden one instead.
Sunflower fed the Squibble and watched it intently as its cheeks were becoming progressively more stuffed. Kukis felt that the two kinds of acorns had some sort of effect on the taming process, but couldn’t make any conclusions with just two examples. Keeping a mental note to share her findings on the PMB, she watched the Squibble with rapt interest. Once it ate the entire acorn the Squibble froze, then looked up at Sunflower. After going through a few windows, Sunflower suddenly said, “Your name is Pamela!”
It appeared as though the contracting was complete, as Sunflower happily tossed up Pamela who squealed in delight(?). Pomelo popped its head out and the two Squibbles seemed to have some silent interaction before chittering and settling in their respective masters arms.
“Are you sure you don’t want one Cookie? We could like, get a matching set.” Q suggested.
“I think I’ll refrain for now. If I want one later I can always come back here. More importantly… I want to fix my armor.”
The group made their way to Foria unimpeded by any monsters, mostly because other players had long since sweeped the area clean. To Q’s knowledge they would respawn eventually, but the rate at which monsters appear in the field was far too low compared to the amount of players running around. Speaking of which…
When they got to Foria’s outskirts, they were immediately made aware of a large commotion at the main square due to the sheer amount of noise coming from there. With unspoken agreement the three made their way to the plaza and found a gathering of astralites, forming two distinct groups. Similar to the Breckden and Velorie families, the players also adopted their clothing style and it was easy to tell a player’s affiliation just from their garb alone. On one of the spawn pillars was a large wooden board with a list of names on it.
“Alright everyone, settle down and listen up! We, the Palladium Guild, have been selected as the astralite representatives to explain the rules of the upcoming event, and handle registration afterwards.” A man dressed in heavy armor stood atop a small stage and his voice boomed throughout the square, causing the crowd to gradually grow silent. His bright red eyes and equally bright horns jutting out of his head served to add to his intimidating aura. “If you’ve got an urgent quest don’t worry, we’ll post it on the PMB as well.”
That drew a few chuckles from the crowd, but no one made a move to leave. Seeing that he had everyone’s attention the man nodded and began to speak once more. “Excellent. Before we start I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Peshram, leader of the Palladium Guild. If any of you are interested in joining, we will be holding a recru-”
“Get to the details already!” A voice came out from the crowd.
Peshram glared at the owner of the voice and saw a long-eared elf wearing a scarf that completely wrapped around the lower half of his face. Despite hiding a good portion of his features, Peshram’s eyes went wide as he saw the star on the figure’s forehead and recognized the name. “Bronzell, I didn’t think that the lowly Highjackers were in this town as well.”
“And I didn’t think that your keyboard trash-talking translated to speech as well. Get to the point already, some of us don’t have time to waste exchanging pleasantries.” Bronzell lowered the scarf on his face and sneered, shifting his handsome features to a more sinister appearance.
“…then you should just wait for the PMB…” Peshram muttered under his breath. Though he wanted to continue exchanging words, he knew from the impatient looks in the crowd that he should first share the event details. Sighing, he opened his mouth and projected his voice across the entire square. “After much debate between the two families, and input from the players, this event has been decided as… A team-based battle royale!”
His words sent an excited buzz through the crowd. Peshram continued, “This will take place next week. The objective is simple. The respective factions will send out their different forces and duke it out in the plains outside the town. Players will be split up into teams of no more than four, and one member will be designated as a leader. You gain points by defeating enemies. Leaders are worth more points and earn more points if they take down an enemy. Also, you earn bonus points if you wipe out an entire team. Once defeated, players will respawn after five minutes, and the battle will go from midday to sunset.
“Whichever side ends up with the most points at the end will be declared the winner! There will be prizes at the end which can be exchanged for points, so make sure to work hard and fight! There are no clear details on what will be available, but we have guaranteed confirmation on one of the top prizes being a high grade Magical rarity equipment. Others include special skill and spellbooks, and other unique items. So tell me, are you ready?!”
A thunderous roar came from the crowd as they cheered, looking forward to the rewards they can get from this event. They immediately began searching for their friends and allies to make preparations for the upcoming battle. Others left the crowd and returned to their regular activities, uninterested in participating.
Q looked to Kukis and Sunflower, and asked, “Should we join?”
“I’m not sure how the Primrose faction would choose a side, but I think it’s worth a shot. If we find someone else to join we might have a chance at getting some of the prizes.” Kukis felt that they should at least try to participate in the event.
“I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’ll follow you two!” Sunflower chirped.
“Hmm… I don’t know…” Q felt hesitant to join.
“That’s surprising, I thought you’d be all for this thing.” Kukis raised an eyebrow.
“Normally you’d be right, but Palladium and Highjackers… I really don’t want to deal with them so early on.”
“Oh, you’re right, I completely forgot about that.”
“What’s Palladium?” Sunflower asked.
“Honestly, they’re a bunch of hard-headed stubborn idiots.” Q grimaced. “If I were to compare them to something… Yeah, I’d call them bees. If you leave them alone it’s fine, but if you ever happen to poke their next they’ll start coming out in a swarm and won’t leave you alone until you’re full of holes.”
“That sounds bad…”
“Highjackers are worse. They love to, well, hijack player rewards and hunting grounds. They keep butting their heads in places they shouldn’t be and keep employing underhanded methods to win. I hate ‘em.” Q shook her head, as if trying to shake away bad memories. “Anyway, that’s why I’m not going to participate this time around. I feel sorry for Mod, but there’s no way I’m sticking my neck deep into these waters at such a low level.”
“Hmph, I feel disappointed now. Though I suppose that’s my fault for getting my hopes up in the first place.” A sharp voice rang out from behind the group, and they turned around to see a white-haired wildling, and a construct dressed in servant’s clothing.
[Brie] – Level 31
[Rain] – Level 30
“Apologies, I mean no offense. I just thought there might be some people worth fighting, but it seems that’s no longer the case.” The white haired wildling, Brie, spoke sincerely, but her words were laced with sarcasm.
“…What did you say?” An angry aura began to emit from Q.
“Ah, it’s too late. Her switch is flipped.” Kukis lamented.
Q – Level 20
Myth: The Brightest Light
Class: Rune Meister
|| Dagger Mastery Lv.3 || Throwing Mastery Lv.2 || Staff Mastery Lv. 4 || Unarmed Mastery Lv.2 || Arcane Mastery Lv.2 || Rune Mastery Lv.3 || Synergy Lv. ✦ ||
|| Free Movement Lv.3 || Vigorous Lv.3 || Detect Trap Lv.2 || Deflect Lv.2 || Draw Rune Lv.3 || Analyze Lv.1 || Quick Draw Lv.1 || Lightning Rod Lv.1 ||
Spells/Arts: || Spark Lv.4 || Ember Lv.2 ||
|| Gathering Storm Lv.3 || Rising Storm Lv.3 || Stormbird’s Flight Lv.2 ||
|| Strike || Barrier || Self || Gather || Hold || Release || Surround ||
|| Fire || Water || Wind || Earth || Light || Dark || Lightning ||