“You ready for this, Rivy?” Ryone asked as the took a deep breath, walking out into the field just outside the city gate. Accompanying them was Jelial, who was still acting as their tutorial for the moment. Of course, there wasn’t much that he’d be able to help them with once they actually got into the heat of battle.
“Girl, are you serious? I should be the one asking you that. Don’t forget who the Goddess of Dungeons is. I could be half considered as a battle goddess, you know!” Aurivy rolled her shoulder playfully as she said that.
Ryone simply let out a light chuckle, shaking her head as they walked along the dirt road. Already, they could see various monsters scattered about. Most of them seemed similar to wild boars, but with four horns that grew up into a sort of helmet over their faces. The only problem was… they were spaced worrying close together. There was typically not more than ten meters between each boar as they roamed idly about.
Immediately, that made the two girls quite nervous. And they weren’t wrong to be nervous. Thinking about it logically, there was no wild animal who wouldn’t notice a fight just ten meters away. Thus, even attacking one charger could result in an entire stampede.
Jelial glanced towards them when he noticed their pause, giving a knowing smile. “Remember, you have to apply game logic. Kiroa went through a lot of trouble designing the aggro formula. It’s still based on their sensory range, but it doesn’t extend the full range.”
“As an example… if you are directly in front of a wild charger like these, they will not notice you until you are six meters away. If you approach from behind them, the only way they’ll notice you is if you make enough noise, or have a strong enough smell.” Immediately both of the elven girls lifted their arms, checking how powerful their own scents were.
“Trust me, neither of you really meet those conditions. Of course, there is another way to activate monsters. If their hunger rating is low, they will enter ‘hunt’ mode. While hunting, they will seek out creatures or plants that are part of their diet group, and will ignore aggro distance. Certain predator species are considered constantly hunting, as they do so for sport rather than food.”
“Ah, you mean like people.” That comment from Aurivy brought a small grin towards Jelial’s face.
“Quite right. Like people. But you don’t have to worry about that here. Since the two of you are both first level, you won’t lose anything even if you die a few times. So feel free to test yourselves here.”
“I thought that we weren’t even combat classes to begin with?” Ryone pointed out, glancing back towards Jelial as she began to clench her fists repeatedly. “Will crafters and scouts even get experience for fighting?”
“Everyone can get experience for fighting, so long as they properly contribute.” Jelial said with a small nod. “However, for classes that don’t specialize in fighting, they have alternative ways to earn experience. For example, a merchant will earn experience from making favorable deals. A crafter well earn it from crafting. If you focus and pull up your character window, you should be about two thirds of the way to leveling up after that craft from before.”
“So scouts can get experience just by running around to new places?” Aurivy asked, stretching her legs out.
“Not even necessarily new places. If an area has undergone significant change, either through a battle or natural disaster, it will qualify as new terrain for any exploration-based class.”
Hearing that bit of information, both girls looked at one another and nodded. It was Aurivy who spoke first again, taking a step forward. “I’ll handle the melee, you back me up with ranged?”
“You got it, Rivy.” Ryone agreed easily, taking a step back. She brought her hands together, a blue circle spreading out beneath her feet. Gradually, lines began to take shape along its surface, forming a complete spell diagram.
While Ryone was preparing, naturally Aurivy did not sit idle. “Oh beastly spirit that slumbers within my body, undo your bonds. Let your power flow through me and strike fear into our prey.” Her body hunched forward, her elbows pulling back. Her pupils narrowed into slits while her fingers grew claws along their tips. Even her teeth seemed to elongate into fangs.
When she kicked off from the ground, it was hard to believe that she was only a first level character. The combination of her physical enhancement spell and her enchanted boots gave her a preternatural speed. Her target was the closest of the chargers, even though it was facing them.
As Jelial had explained, its lazy gaze seemed to harden once she was within six meters. It let out a low roar, kicking the ground as it began running. Its head angled down, the curved horns positioned to provide the best impact it could.
There was a feral grin on Aurivy’s face as she watched it charge. The moment before they connected, she lightly kicked off to jump into the air, flipping over the creature and sending it running beneath her. Straight towards Ryone. However, the caster seemed to fully trust Aurivy, focusing on charging her spell.
When Aurivy chased after the boar, her enhanced speed was enough to almost immediately catch up with it. Her claws sank into the flesh of the beast’s hind quarters, and its speed began to slow down. Now, it was dragging her, her feet planted in the ground. However, a health bar immediately appeared over the heads of both Aurivy and the charger. Naturally, the latter’s was decreasing more rapidly.
“Mana bolt.” Ryone spoke calmly, aiming her hand forward. This was the spell that she had prepared, one of the most basic attack spells she knew. However, given the conditions of ‘charging time’ and ‘ritual preparation’, she trusted the system to suitably enhance its power.
Sure enough, a thick ripple formed in the air in front of her, a nearly invisible ball of energy shooting out to crash against the ‘helmet’ of the charger. The last of its momentum was halted, and even though it didn’t take much in the way of damage from the spell, it had been dazed. This was more than enough of an opportunity for Aurivy, who let out a low roar.
Her muscles tensed up, and she actually lifted the charger off of its feet, throwing it a solid six feet above her head. The elf’s eyes had turned blood red, her feet kicking off the ground. The wings on her shoes shifted, curling forward as if to match the helmet pattern of the wild charger.
When Aurivy’s body began to spin in midair, her feet launched out in a series of rapid kicks directly at the charger’s underbelly. Each strike cut down a large portion of its health, knocking it just a bit further into the air. Ultimately, it was Aurivy that had touched the ground first, being sent back down due to the backlash of her kicks.
The beast was not far behind, though, as it crashed to the ground with a loud crack a moment later. The fall stripped away the last of its health, signalling its defeat. However, the health bar did not vanish. Instead, it began gently blinking, prompting Jelial to explain.
“When a creature’s health bar begins blinking, that means it’s ready to be looted. You have one minute to loot a creature before it enters ‘natural’ mode. If you get it before then, you could get drops like coins, equipment, materials, or recipes. Once it enters natural mode, though, the only way to harvest anything from it will be the hard way. Also, only those who directly contributed to the defeat of the creature are able to loot it.”
“I got it!” Aurivy grinned, the red vanishing from her eyes as her features returned to normal. She rushed forward, placing a hand on the beast. “Let’s see… you said earlier… it’s just ‘loot’!”
Jelial had explained some of the very basics on the way from the college to the city gates, so it was quite nice that Aurivy had been paying enough attention to recall the loot command. Even if it was almost painfully easy to remember.
The wild charger’s body shattered in a burst of green light. Once that light cleared, there were six items in its place. Four of them were simple copper coins. One was a large slab of meat on a single bone, while the last seemed to be a rolled up piece of parchment. Aurivy looked a bit disappointed at the loot, causing her to speak up in a sullen tone. “Aww.. no essence.”
“I… think you may need to reconsider your words.” Jelial spoke, walking casually over towards the pile of loot. “The coinage and meat are common drops. But anything not directly related to the creature is rather rare. This could be a skill or spell scroll, or a map fragment.”
“Ooh… gimme!” Aurivy changed her tune immediately, disregarding all of the other loot in order to pick up the scroll. When she did, a notification window appeared in front of her.
“Okay… spill… how do we identify items?” Aurivy turned to face Jelial, a renewed vigor in her eyes.
“It’s quite simple really.” He shook his head, lightly plucking the scroll from her fingers. “If you learn the Appraise skill in town, you’ll be able to identify dropped loot like this. Since I imagine we don’t have the time for that, let me just take care of this for you.”
His eyes glanced over the rolled up parchment for a brief moment before handing it back with a small nod. This time when Aurivy focused on it, an entirely different message window appeared.
Spell Level: 2
Base Damage: 6
By channeling the power of the Wild Charger through your body, you are able to grant yourself a quick burst of speed in a straight line. While running, you will have an increase in armor equal to the spell’s damage. Any impact during the charge will apply a significant knockback in relation to spell damage. If you collide directly with an object during the charge, you will take the spell’s full damage, and enter a staggered state.
“Question!” Aurivy raised the hand containing the scroll, causing Jelial to nod his head towards her. “What’s the point of a spell scroll, if spells only require our imagination?” Ryone also glanced over from where she had walked to collect the rest of the loot, similarly interested in the answer.
“Ahh, that’s actually a pretty common question.” Jelial nodded his head, crossing his arms behind his back. “If you get a scroll or a book that teaches you a spell, that spell will typically have more damage, or extra added effects compared to if you were to cast it yourself. In this case, it is the former. The difference between a scroll or a book is simply the rating of the individual ability. Powerful spells, such that would allow you to alter the weather or launch devastating attacks, are delivered through tomes. Meanwhile, smaller spells like this charge are given out as simple scrolls.”
Aurivy rapidly nodded her head, understanding the answer with that much. “Alright! Next question… how long does it take to recharge mana?” She gave a sheepish smile as she asked that, glancing off towards the side. She hadn’t really kept track of how much mana she spent during her first fire spell, or the time it took to recharge it.
Nearby, Ryone let out a light groan. “You spent all of your mana on that feral form, didn’t you?” Her words were met with an innocent whistle, prompting Ryone to sigh. “I think we’re done hunting, then. I just leveled up, so I’m back to full, but it looks like that’s not the case for you.”
“That’s just as well, anyways.” Jelial shook his head regretfully. “It looks like your Keeper’s ready to leave whenever you guys are done.”
“What?!” Aurivy looked to Jelial in surprise. “But we just got here!”
“Rivy, dear…” Ryone walked over, placing a gentle hand on Aurivy’s shoulder. “We’ve been in this game for two hours already…”
“Yeah!” She nodded, as if she understood that. “Like I said, just got here!”