Dustin only made it through a few entries of Ymma's diary before he arrived at the hospital and was discharged into the doctors care.
They took care of the arrow head in his shoulder and patched him up, letting him rest in a curtained off room. The police had escorted the ambulance to hospital, and were going through to ask further questions about what had happened.
One of the rewards for clearing a dungeon that everybody in the party received guaranteed was having it added to the compendium. When the police got around to his room, he just showed them the page about where they had been.
It listed the geographical terrain, including the likely locations of the boss spawn, hints about possible secrets, and the types of monsters involved. The police officers looked completely out of their depths at the new system that had popped up. The news was on the TV in the background where the anchor was talking about the display, and what some people had found.
Eventually the police were satisfied enough to leave, but told him that they would be in contact. Dustin was just glad that he hadn't been arrested, and opened the display to dig into spending his rewards.
It was very unlikely for anyone to have a higher amount of Dos than Dustin, or even close to it. The other students and Sam would probably have an extra couple of hundred from having cleared the dungeon as well, despite being carried by Dustin.
With four thousand Dos to spend, Dustin had plenty of options open for progression. Before he could go on a shopping spree, the status needed his attention. He had leveled up three times, awarding him 15 attribute points to appoint.
There was also a major increase from the titles, which was already added, displayed in a bracket next to the base number. He changed the display settings to remove the brackets and have them automatically added to the base instead, giving it a cleaner look.
Designation Code: XQB51 (Earth)
Intelligence: 15 (+10) → 25
Strength: 7 (+5) → 12
Agility: 8 (+10) → 18
Wisdom: 11 (+5) → 16
Charisma: 10 (+10) → 20
Constitution: 8 (+5) → 13
Dustin was close with his predictions, underestimating his wisdom and charisma levels by a couple of points. The biggest surprise was the addition of 10 Charisma from the titles, making it his second highest stat behind intelligence.
His agility was also quite high, which was a pleasant addition. He didn't need a high agility level for his plans, but it was never a bad idea to keep attributes up to date. Even with his previous record of 2000 intelligence, he still maintained a couple of hundred in several other stats. Perhaps if he had invested more into constitution, he might have had health to spare for his final spell, without it killing him.
There was no point worrying about it after the fact, so Dustin allocated the attribute points into balancing his current setup a little better.
Intelligence 25 (+5) → 30
Strength 12 (+3) → 15
Constitution 13 (+7) → 20
Strength was needed to equip certain pieces of armour, but could be left at the bare minimum since it affected the damage of direct attacks between the pioneer and the target. Dustin rarely used the weapons he wielded, they were merely devices to aid his spells, or to grant him powerful buffs.
Speaking of such, he needed to find another weapon. His main sword was taken by the police, and the back up one he had given to Sam.
[Welcome back Dusty.]
[0 Notifications remaining.]
[Promo code: XQB51 to earn 20% off your purchase. One time use. Expires in 148:15:00.]
Like many online shops, Dos gave users a one time coupon to use upon first signing up. The code was Earth's designation, the same given in his achievements.
Below the welcome messages were boxes displaying the daily sales, which reset every 150 hours. There were bits and pieces chosen from random sections, and given a 20% sale discount for the duration.
It was best to check this each cycle to find good deals, given that it could be anything. Dustin opened the sale tab to fill his display and scrolled through the list with a swipe of his finger. The physical items he could afford were mostly useless to him, as they required a higher attribute than he possessed, or they were just the wrong type.
Battleaxes and plate armour were too heavy for him to lug around, and things like crossbows and tower shields were clunky and slow.
He passed over the fancy icons and scanned through the consumables, tapping on a couple as he went through. One tap indicated interest in an item, and it would be added to a wish list. From there, it could be added to the cart, and purchased whenever.
Two taps would instantly add it to the cart, and holding down on the item would expand it, providing further information.
One could also use voice commands, which were useful when one knew what they wanted, but couldn't open the display, such as when they were in the midst of a battle, or had their hands otherwise busy.
At the bottom of his display was his current amount of Dos, a small star, and a shopping cart. The star and cart both had numbers next to them, indicating the amount of items in the wish list and shopping cart respectively.
Dustin currently had four items added to the wish list and one in the cart, all of which had come from the consumables. However the sales tab still went on, carrying Dustin through a plethora of other unneeded items, until he reached the spells.
Spells were categorized by their tree, or schools. Fire related spells for example, had the Pyromancy tag, and a small flame icon to identify them.
Others that weren't closely related to an element were those such as Necromancy, which used a skull. Dustin had memorized the icons long ago, giving him an advantage in the speed at which he could look through them, paying attention to the icons he was looking for.
The icons in question he needed were a lightning bolt, a red pentagram, and a green plus sign.
Any spells that possessed those icons he tapped and moved on, adding them to the wish list for sorting.
The number next to the star grew to eight, and the shopping cart remained at one. He tapped on the star, which opened up his wish list and revealed the items inside.
[Common Weak Regeneration Salve.] 50 Dos.
A weak salve that regenerates health over time. Increased effect of regeneration by 50% outside of combat.
Use: 15 Hp/sec. Lasts 30 seconds.
[Common Weak Meditation Tea.] 60 Dos.
A weak tea that regenerates mana over time. Increased effect of regeneration by 50% outside of combat.
Use: 10 Mp/sec. Lasts 30 seconds.
[Common Weak Health Potion.] 70 Dos.
A weak potion that heals health instantly. Increased effect of healing by 20% outside of combat.
Use: 180 Health restored.
[Common Weak Mana Potion.] 80 Dos.
A weak potion that restores mana instantly. Increased effect of restoration by 20% outside of combat.
Use: 120 Mana restored.
The names of different consumables were consistent across the board. Common was a modifier that affect every item, not just consumables. They generally indicated the level and power of an item. Common was the lowest tier, and the name spoke for itself. The others followed suit, as they grew harder to find in term.
Common. Uncommon. Rare. Secret. Legendary. Mythical. Forbidden.
Common items had less modifiers able to affect them, and their effectiveness was the worst of the lot. The Dos Shop offered varying tiers, of which the consumables also followed. The amount of available modifiers increased with each tier as certain modifiers could only be found on items of a higher tier.
Forbidden had a whopping 128 possibilities, of which at least four would roll. Items could contain two affixes, one suffix, and one prefix. Those that exceeded at least Legendary tier, could have one extra affix. Forbidden items could have up to four affixes, making them obscenely strong.
But for Dustin, buying the weakest was enough, his health and mana pool were low enough to justify using them. He upped the quantity to four of the potions each, and ten of the regeneration consumables. The total grew to 2760 Dos, which was already over half the amount he had.
Still, it was a worthwhile investment for survivability. The monsters in dungeons were scaled to the race that inhabited the planet, but there was always something wrong. Dustin remembered there being patch notes released to lower the strength of dungeons to better match the pioneers (humans) current level.
Whilst it would make dungeons harder to clear, it also offered larger rewards. Once the patch kicked in, it would be harder to acquire Dos, but easier to clear dungeons.
There was no doubt that humanity had failed to properly adapt to the new system. Dos was treated as some kind of game, and time was spent more on researching it, then on growing stronger.
Warrior societies had long died out, leaving many incapable of handling life or death situations, or even the ability to take another life. When the dungeons broke out, millions who had never set foot in one previously perished. There were not enough pioneers to defend them, losing over half the earth's population in a single week.
Dustin wanted to curse the fact that he knew their future. It was a monumental task to save an entire race, especially considering who they were up against. It would have been easier to fail without the knowledge that he could have changed fate.
Even now Dustin felt useless, dressed in a hospital gown with a dull ache in his shoulder. It was no problem to heal himself and leave, make a start on growing stronger.
But he couldn't. There were people investigating the incident and if he were to disappear, he would likely be arrested on the spot. He could grow strong enough to overcome police, as the guns would do little against the hardened carapace of dungeon monsters from anything above tier 4.
But soon it would escalate, armour penetrating rounds, grenades, tanks, maybe even missiles.
Dustin was supposed to unite and save the human race, not vilify himself against it. He needed to convince people to enter the dungeon, proving to others that the need to grow stronger was more important than politics or money.
Even now Dustin could feel the impact the Dos shop was making on the world. Every bit of news was focused on it, people in the hospital were playing with the interface, and dungeons were going ignored. Granted, their existence was only known to those who had escaped from one, which was, according to the achievements, only Dustin.
The TV silently shifted in the background as it covered the news story that had been concocted to cover up why university students had been endangered. Dustin was being hailed as a hero who had fought off some 'attackers' who invaded the drama faculty. In due time, the world would come to know what had really happened.
It had been Dustin who had changed the course of history by entering the Goblin Forest dungeon, providing proof of something far more sinister than just a place to buy goods. It would take a while for the dungeons to be realized. The ability to sense them wasn't available until one purchased the shop upgrade, or had mana perception.
[Common Weak Health Potion] (x4) added to cart.
[Common Weak Mana Potion] (x4) added to cart.
[Common Weak Regeneration Salve] (x10) added to cart.
[Common Weak Meditation Tea] (x10) added to cart.
Dustin sighed at the sinking feeling in his heart and added the consumables to the cart, moving to the next section of his wishlist.
[Spell: Storm Bolt.] 500 Dos.
Channel static electricity through your hands and around a target, drawing a bolt of lightning out of the targeted enemy, shocking them.
Use: 35 Mana.
[Curse: Sacrifice.] 1000 Dos.
Offer a target as Sacrifice. Sacrifice has increased chance to bleed. If sacrifice is slain within 5 + (Target Level) seconds, no Dos or experience is granted, but a lesser devil will be spawned in its place, attacking nearby enemies for the remaining curse duration.
Use: 60 Mana. Must be used on living targets.
[Aura: Terror.] 500 Dos.
Living enemies within 10 meters that look upon you feel terror. Terror increases chance of targets to flee. Reduces movement speed towards you by 10%.
Use: 10 Mana/s.
[Spell: Healing Orb.] 800 Dos.
Attach an orb of mana to target. Orb periodically pulses mana 1m around it, healing all targets for 10 health.
Use: 10 Mana lock per orb. Maximum 5 Orbs.
Dustin looked through the spells he had chosen and was mildly happy. Storm bolt was a good offensive spell, despite the hefty mana cost. He had 150 mana as a base, and 10 mana per level, giving him a total of 180. That meant he could cast it five times before running out of mana. It would take time to channel the lightning, meaning it was more useful against unaware enemies.
The Sacrifice curse was less useful, as the low level enemies he would be killing meant that the lesser devil would only be around for a maximum of 10 seconds. It would help against stronger targets, where even one or two of the devils attacks would chunk the enemies health before it disappeared. It was also expensive, making it even less valuable in Dustin's eyes.
The third item in the wishlist was an Aura, perhaps the most useless of them all. Auras on their own were either amazing, or terrible, very few could fit in the middle
Terror was definitely one of the least useful auras, sapping a hefty 10 mana per second of use, and providing negligible benefits.
Thankfully the final spell made up for the lacking occultism school, giving him a solid choice in health regeneration. Healing orb was similar to salves, providing health over time, rather than a large amount instantly.
The downside of it was that in the middle of a fight, the orb could heal both him and the enemy. Fortunately it was only 10 health, low enough to not make a major impact.
The fact that it used mana lock instead of a base amount like the aura was also a boon. Mana lock simply reduced the amount of mana he had available whilst it was active. It was possible to completely lock all mana out, but it took a considerable amount of spells to do so.
Healing Orb only locked 10 mana, still giving him 170 to play around with, plenty for casting other spells.
Dustin added both Storm Bolt and Healing Orb to his cart, pushing the total up to 2,560 Dos. The extra 200 Dos was from the consumable Repair Kit he had added to the cart already. It was invaluable for pioneers to keep them stocked at the appropriate levels. They could repair items up to five times. If Dustin still had his sword, it would have been in desperate need of repair.
The total had already applied the 20% sale on the items, and would be pushed down a further 20% if he applied his coupon.
This left him with 1465 Dos remaining.
A quick check through the near-weekly sales resulted in no other items he wanted. He would have to buy anything else at full price.
He already had an idea of what else he needed and went straight to the search bar instead of browsing.
First up on the list was a new weapon. Retrieving the sword taken as evidence was highly unlikely, and he had no idea where the one given to Sam was.
Using a sword was mostly just a pretense, he needed something that looked socially acceptable to have, if not a little weird.
They were certainly a good weapon, but ultimately not something he was accustomed to using. With a spell like Storm Bolt, he could forgo the use of a weapon completely if he wished, but it would reduce his killing speed dramatically. Spells were limited by the mana cost, and the cast time, meaning that often pioneers needed other ways to eliminate enemies.
Some stalled for time, waiting for mana or cooldowns to cast their spells. Others had a backup, perhaps a bow or sword, to hold the enemy at bay.
Dustin was used to wielding a staff, both in casting spells, and bashing heads. Unfortunately whilst they served well when casting spells, they were horrible to rely on as a main attacking weapon. It was also a terrible move to get close to enemies as a healer/support, putting himself in the line of fire for a slight damage increase was undeniably stupid. His bow skills were proficient enough to cover the downfall, but ranged weapons were more expensive than ones used for melee. The staves available for him to purchase would be less of a burden on his wallet, despite their obvious weakness.
They were blunt, meaning extra effort was needed to defeat opponents. When one used a spell, they didn't need to rely on the staff to kill, just to defend and attack.
That being said, Dustin was still leaning towards buying one, attempting to find something that would help with Storm Bolt. He had enough Dos to purchase one or two weapons, giving him a bit of freedom in choice.
There were a couple of staves that looked appealing. One was made from the leg bone of a large beast. It increased cast speed by 10%, which inherently helped Storm Bolt.
The second one was a burnt branch, which had been struck by lightning. It gave a simple 15% increase to lightning damage.
The last staff was more useful in combat, as it provided a light shock to enemies on contacting skin, but provided no benefits to Storm Bolt.
Despite his initial requirements, he decided on the third staff. It had no advantage when casting spells, but the shocking on touch was a great way of disorientating enemies.
[Uncommon Static Metal Staff]. 900 Dos.
Damage: 5.0 - 10.0 Physical Damage. 3.0 - 4.0 Lightning Damage.
A long, metal staff that seems brimming with static energy.
Static: Targets who come into contact directly with the staff are shocked.
The price was a little steep, but worth it in the end. His final 656 Dos was put towards finding a weapon he could use to kill.
Daggers and other smaller, sharp weapons were the top culprits. They were easy to pull out with one hand, and a simple strike on a target could bleed them, or kill them if the location was a vital.
Rather than just one, Dustin looked through the bags of throwing knives. They served a dual purpose in attacking from mid-range, and as a quick finisher.
[Common Light Throwing Knives.] 550 Dos.
Damage: 2.0 - 4.0 Physical Damage.
A collection of throwing knives that seem lighter than normal.
Light: Knives can travel further. Easier to dislodge.
The benefit of having light throwing knives was not in the distance, but the ability to remove them from a target after they entered. This was a prime method for bleeding a target, as it wasn't the entry of the knives that dealt the most damage, but their removal.
The durability on the knives would decrease every time Dustin failed to retrieve one. If Dustin snapped a knife in half, or threw one he couldn't fetch, it would decrease the durability by one.
Knives that had suffered scratches, or were bent out of shape were still able to work. There was still a catch, however, as enough damaged knives might add a negative modifier.
Something like 'Bent' would decrease their damage and speed. To remove the negative modifier would require him to enlist a blacksmith's help, or purchase an expensive item from the shop.
Repair kits could replenish the durability, but not remove negative modifiers.
[Uncommon Static Metal Staff] added to cart.
[Common Light Throwing Knives] added to cart.
Returning to the cart, Dustin was given the option to add his coupon before continuing. Without adding it, he would be left with 15 Dos left.
Thankfully adding the coupon still allowed him to add additional items, and as the price went down 20% he 'received' the Dos he saved, allowing him to spend it if he wished.
The total was 4050 Dos before the coupon, and 3240 Dos when it was applied. The remaining Dos changed from 15 to 810.
Dustin couldn't think of anything he needed immediately, except for a couple of spells, which were likely out his budget.
Fortunately there was always something to spend a few hundred or thousand spare Dos on, and Dustin flicked his display over to the upgrades section.
Inventories had a limited amount of slots, which could increased in bulk packages, or in single slots. This was one of the options Dustin considered, as it would allow him to bring more out of the dungeon, even if it wasn't worth much.
The overflow inventory he had activated earlier was unavailable now as it was only a first time function. If he tried to collect the remaining loot from a dungeon in the future it would simply fill to full, taking the items in chronological order, and leaving the rest behind.
Other upgrades included opening a mailing list, increasing the friends list limit, upgrading the loot filter to advanced, allowing customization on what was prioritized, and others.
There was one option that cost over a million Dos, which was impossible for any one pioneer to have at such an early stage.
It was a shop upgrade that affected the entire race, not just a single human.
[Upgrade Dos Shop to Tier 2]. 1,500,000 Dos.
Tier 2 Dos Shop allows further upgrades and sells more valuable items.
Upgrading to higher tiers was mandatory for survival, as the tier 1 shop provided items that were useless later on. The previous upgrades that Dustin had looked at as well were only a few of many available, most of which were locked behind tiers.
Inventory could only go up to a certain point before requiring a higher tier shop to upgrade. The way to unlock the upgrade was for the entire race to push for it together. Fortunately it was easier than having one person accumulate the currency.
Pioneers could donate to the Dos shop, decreasing the cost of the upgrade by same amount. Given the amount of humans on the planet, and their starting Dos amounts, it was very possible to reach the tier 4 or 5 upgrades instantly.
It was very unlikely for this to happen, as Dustin was probably the only person who knew of the method to unlock it. Donating to Dos was practically burning money as nothing was received from doing so. Pioneers could only see the benefit of doing so if they were looking at the tier upgrade.
Given the price of the upgrade had not fallen even a single digit, none of the near eight billion people had donated their Dos.
Eventually there would be someone who tested the option, decreasing it by whatever amount they chose. From Dustin's memory the tier upgrade was purchased at random, enough Dos had been donated over time, with no knowledge of its purpose, to make the upgrade free. Someone had taken the 'free' upgrade and upped the tier.
After that, it had progressed much faster, now that its purpose, and strength, was known.
Unfortunately the upgrade was accompanied by an increase in monster strength, making the dungeons much more dangerous to both civilians and the soldiers clearing them.
This was more apparent when the dungeons broke, and the higher monster level caused havoc among the under leveled population, which made up the majority of the race.
Dustin added the tier upgrade to his wish list so he could keep an eye on it and backtracked to the previous upgrades. He threw a couple of inventory upgrades into the cart at 150 Dos each, as well as some friend invites.
The benefits of a friend invitation over the regular friend request, was that it unlocked the friends list in their display automatically, without the need to dig through Dos to find it. It also added Dustin as a trusted friend without the need to search each other up. Trusted friends allowed him to see their location, whether it was the name of the dungeon they were in, or earth coordinates.
It was a breach of trust for Dustin to trick them into accepting it, but he prioritized their safety over their privacy.
Dustin planned to give one to his friend Ben, so he could keep track of him and send messages. Two others were for his mother and step-sister, and a couple of extras for later.
Had he enough Dos he might have even purchased teleportation requests, so that he could teleport straight to a trusted friends side if they were in danger. They were 2,000 Dos each, a high price to pay. It was unlikely that either his mother and step-sister, or Ben would find themselves in an accident early. He took the risk of their safety to purchase the other goods instead.
An early sacrifice was needed to speed up his rate of improvement.
Confirm Purchase? [Y/N]
Dustin tapped 'Yes' and felt the Dos painfully float away, leaving him a measly 110. A few notifications popped up on his display as he closed the shop.
[Spell: Storm Bolt] learned.
[Spell: Healing Orb] learned.
[Big Spender: You are the first pioneer to spend more than 1500 Dos. +5% discount on sale items. Contributions to Dos over 1,000 provide 10% more.]
[The First Sorcerer: Learning one spell marks a jump. Learning two spells marks an incline. You are the first pioneer to learn a second spell. +5 Intelligence. +10 Mana every level.]
[Upgrade!: Necessity is the mother of invention. You are the first pioneer to purchase an upgrade from the shop. 5% discount on shop upgrades (Tier upgrade not included). +5 Inventory slots, +5 Friend slots.]
[Double Dip: You are the first pioneer to learn two spells from different schools. Targets affected by a spell take 5% increased damage from schools other than the one the spell belongs to. Increases with each new school. Resets to 0% when spells from any of the previous school are cast.]
Dustin's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets as he read through the last achievement. The name was comical, but the effect was anything but.
An increase of 5% damage was unimpressive, but the ability to stack per different school used was amazing.
There were plenty of schools available, and some spells were easy to throw out whilst others were being cast.
Dustin could remember several occasions where he had cast several different schools in succession. He hadn't been paying attention, or counting, as he did not possess the achievement at the time, but if he had to guess, it was probably 5 or 6 different schools.
Even with just that many, it was a 25 - 30% damage increase, certainly nothing to scoff at.
The other two titles were nice bonuses, but nothing as mind boggling as Double Dip. If he had to rank them, First Sorcerer came second, and Big Spender after that, with upgrade being the last.
Pioneers gained mana per level, which was about 10-15 for Dustin's current level. An extra 10 was practically doubling it. It would help his early progression immensely, and even if it fell off later on, a base in increase in mana was always good as percentage increases worked best when the base amount was high.
Big Spender was amazing if Dustin donated a lot to Dos… which he certainly did not feel like doing. It was the entire race's responsibility to unlock the next tier, not just his own. He almost wished the achievement had gone to somebody else as it just added pressure for him to donate.
As Dustin closed his display, intending on having a nap, one of the doctors walked in and informed him that he would be free to leave tomorrow.
He waited until the doctor left and turned onto his side, staring blankly at the wall until his eyes closed naturally. His mind drifted off, first thinking of what he needed to do tomorrow, but fell further away from reason until he fell asleep. He heard a female voice calling his name, asking for orders.
He saw her lips, smiling at him despite the ash that had painted her face.