Level 42 Making Rydr
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Rydr stood up to let Hermes inside the tower. As the giant was about to leave the top room, Urginok shouted at him from behind.

"You have two Legendary feats, you lucky bastard!" After Syrna explained how she opted to keep her first Legendary feat a secret and was only allowed to do it once, the tank couldn't control himself.

Rydr paused to respond, "I'll tell you guys about it when I come back. No reason to tell the story twice." Before anyone could stop him, the Titan closed the door behind him and hurried down the tower's stairs. 

Now that the giant looked at the tower door, he saw burn marks on the old wood from Izor's explosive exodus. The top half even had fine dust of what Rydr suspected was mortar from the building across the road.

When the giant grabbed the door's handle, a small jolt passed through his hand before the door opened. Without using [Aetheric Eye], Rydr already guessed that Izor placed a "permission only" lock on the tower's door. 

Probably. Otherwise, I'm making too many assumptions about magic.

On the door's other side stood two men, although only one was familiar to the giant. 

Rydr nodded at the taller of the two, "Thanks for coming, Little John." Then the Titan turned to the much shorter man, "Hermes?"

Little John looked the same as the last time Rydr laid eyes on the diver, except he was decked out in black leather armor. While the set wasn't complete- Rydr noticed the streamer lacked bracers or a helmet- it was evident the streamer was doing well for himself.

The shorter diver, who had to be Hermes, wasn't anything like what Rydr expected. Somehow the teen created a silvery-blue hair color during character creation, floating around his head in a cloud of waves. While the teen's face was the same since it was based on their real bodies, he'd changed his pale blue eyes to a nearly colorless tone. 

If Rydr weren't looking for them, he wouldn't have noticed that Hermes even had irises. He looked the part of a blind man, with even his pupils barely visible.

Otherwise, the teen looked to be wearing the same starter set as Urginok. A blue tunic over brown pants and boots. 

"Duh! Let us in, man! I thought this was supposed to be a secret?" Hermes' attitude toward Rydr seemed to have become even more relaxed since entering the game. 

Rydr stepped to the side quickly, letting them in before he shut the door behind them. As the giant let go of the handle, another jolt passed through his hand. 

Definitely a "permission lock." Rydr confirmed to himself. 

Little John laughed as he turned to face the other two, "It's not much of a secret anymore. I bet every diver in Frontier Online knows Rydr is in this tower." 

The streamer thumbed his nose and pointed at Rydr, "There are videos of you arguing with that guard and dragging her through Grotto all over the net. Everyone knows you're a Titan, now." 

"But," Rydr stressed the word, "No one knows what my face looks like." 

Little John pursed his lips as he contemplated. After a moment, the man nodded, agreeing that the giant's face was still a hidden factor.

"Plus, it helps that I deleted the only video with your face in it- from when we first met."

Hermes tried to start asking questions, but Rydr waved his hands to stop the teen.

"Let's go upstairs. The others are there." 

"Others?" Hermes asked.

*****

The three of them ascended the tower in silence while Hermes peeked into every room they passed, except for those he couldn't get into.

Rydr noticed that the teen's movements were incredibly swift, faster than anyone he'd seen except Shining Star's guild leader Spectre.

I guess he ended up committing to Dexterity, then. During their break in Musculo's office, the two of them had plenty of time to discuss the game. The teen made it known that he hated pain and focused on speed to avoid getting hit.

It turned out to be true. Hermes was just as dedicated to becoming untouchably fast as Rydr was to becoming unstoppably strong. 

Happenstance, luck, and maybe even fate seemed to have a hand in Rydr's placement among the like-minded companions. 

It might go deeper than that. I wouldn't put it past Eve to place the extremists in higher difficulty areas. 

The [Area-Type] Dungeon, which raged around Grotto, certainly qualified as a greater difficulty. If Rydr weren't so lucky on launch night with his early feats...

The Titan shook his head to dispel the useless thoughts. All that mattered was that he did acquire those feats, and he had a fighting chance to turn the tide.

As the small group reached the tower's top floor, Rydr opened the door and allowed the other two inside before entering. When Rydr ducked through the door to enter, he found his companions on their feet in a tense stand-off.

Rydr raised an eyebrow and rumbled, "What's the problem?" 

Urginok huffed, "Oh, I don't know. Maybe, it's because you brought a streamer into a private meeting about our plans and builds?" Despite the tank's efforts to keep his tone civil, the brown-haired man sounded a little hysterical at Rydr's idiocy.

Although Syrna and Urginok clammed up when the door opened, both divers began to worry over their ally's common sense genuinely. 

"Are you streaming now?" Syrna demanded. 

Little John held his hands up, "I swear that I'm not. Rydr invited me here, at my insistence, to give me a chance to break into the streaming market. I'm not about to break his trust." 

The black-haired man turned and gestured at Rydr, "Rydr is the first legend in Frontier. In exchange for the chance to interview him, I've drawn up a contract. My job, as stated in the contract, will be to help him cultivate the image of 'Rydr, the Titan.'" 

Rydr interjected, "By giving the public a larger-than-life character to look for, I'll be able to operate normally under a different identity." 

Hermes looked back and forth between the groups, taking in the drama. Izor stood beside the teen, listening while he examined the teen's exotic hair color. The mage's eyes glowed blue for a brief moment before he frowned, shook his head, and stepped away from the teen. 

Urginok listened to the pair summarize their plan skeptically before he waved his hands a few times and sent Little John a friend request. 

"Send me the contract, if you wouldn't mind?"

Little John blinked, confused, but accepted the invite and sent over the contract after Rydr nodded at him. 

Urginok opened the menu interface and read through the contract. As he read it, the tank pulled up another contract. This was the one Urginok planned to ask his teammates about when the time was right.

As it happened, the opportunity presented itself much sooner than he expected.

The tank called everyone over to manipulate his interface and share the view when he realized Hermes was also in the circle. 

"Who are you?" Urginok questioned the teen. 

Syrna's face mirrored the question by the tank's side. 

Rydr tried to answer, but Hermes beat the giant to it.

"Rydr and I know each other IRL. We talked while I was taxiing him around last night and found out we both started in Grotto." Hermes shrugged as he finished answering, not sure what else to say to the other diver.

The Titan's brief social relief at not having to answer turned to jittery nerves as Hermes came close to letting the cat out of the bag. Rydr's heart shot into his throat as a panicked smile surfaced on his face. 

Urginok and Syrna glanced at Rydr, who nodded at them stiffly to confirm the teen's story.

Syrna looked back at the kid, "What's your build?" 

"Pure Dexterity." Hermes declared proudly, crossing his arms over his chest.

Syrna pursed her lips and shared a glance with Urginok before she stuck out her hand, "Welcome to the team."

As the two exchanged a handshake, Syrna sent a friend request to the teen, which he quickly accepted. 

Once all the niceties were out of the way, Urginok manipulated his menu to share the two contracts with everyone except Izor. 

*****

Urginok originally planned to speak with Rydr and Syrna about recording their gameplay. The contract he had drawn up stipulated that all of their gameplay would be stored on private servers.

At least half the tank's reasoning was to let them do what he did earlier and watch the streams to improve their own abilities. 

However, the other half was because Urginok believed that they would need the footage someday. He felt that their story might be necessary for the future. Whether to defend themselves from allegations or to inspire other divers. 

Syrna and Rydr balked at the idea, not wanting to pay the enormous fees to record and store their gameplay like Urginok and Little John had.

Urginok waved away their concern, "I want to pay for it. Everything would be kept on private servers and can't be shared with anyone else unless we all agree."

After that, Urginok had to talk his teammates down from the ceiling. They refused to accept what sounded like charity until the tank managed to convince them it wasn't.

It was truly something Urginok felt would be needed someday.

Then, the mysteriously wealthy tank turned his attention to Little John's contract. There were a few points he was concerned with. 

"First and foremost, Rydr can't agree to exclusivity with you. It's just not realistic to expect that he would, or could, manage to avoid all streamers- there's too many." Plus, it violated the right to record that was written into Urginok's contract.

Little John frowned, "He's my meal ticket. Why should I help him craft a public image if I only get a one-off?" 

Urginok nodded, "I thought about that, and what about this? Instead of getting exclusive rights to Rydr's story, he acts as your 'in' with the big players?" 

"My 'in?'" Little John was skeptical of Urginok's idea and showing it.

The tank nodded, "Think about it. After your interview, Rydr's existence is like a challenge to every diver. 'Here I am, the first Legend, and the ultimate measuring stick.'" 

As the streamer listened, he began to nod along, "They'll seek him out to challenge him. There are entire leaderboards for the most skilled and powerful players, and Rydr is firmly at the top of Frontier Online's leaderboard." 

"Exactly. So if these new Legends come to challenge Rydr, and he's able to point a couple of them in your direction..." 

"...Then I can build a career based around 'breaking' the stories behind new Legends. Maybe even be present to stream some of Rydr's duels?" Little John's eyes lit up as the idea took hold of his imagination. Because this game was the latest offering, many ranked players from past games would migrate here. 

Ultimately, Little John might be the first streamer ever to interview these infamous figures from gaming. The man began to salivate at the idea of it. 

"Alright, I agree. The exclusivity clause is null in exchange for the occasional favor. Anything else?" 

Off to the side, the rest of the group watched, bemused, as Urginok continued to perform the duties of Rydr's manager. By the time Urginok was finished, there wasn't a single clause he hadn't altered. 

While Rydr was perfectly capable of reading and editing his own contracts thanks to his peculiar upbringing, the giant sensed that Urginok had more experience dealing with talent contracts. 

Combined with his previous comments, wealth, and obvious experience, Rydr suspected that Urginok's real job had something to do with entertainment. 

I wonder if he knows Kayla? Rydr chuckled at the thought, amused that he might have a random connection to his old classmate. 

*****

When all the contracts were finished and signed, the group got down to business crafting Rydr's persona. There was a thin line between larger than life and plain campy, which they needed to finesse. 

Everyone present agreed that Rydr already looked the part, even the Titan himself. He wore three articles of "clothing." The [Alpha's Pelt] was uncured, with raw meat still on the underside, which lent a barbaric feel to the giant. 

With the hood thrown up, and Rydr's metal-grey hair pushed around its edges, he was given an unruly mane to frame his face. The hood itself exposed the Titan's face from the nose tip and down, effectively hiding his face.

The giant's tattered pants, coupled with his Runic Vambraces, further enhanced his muscle-bound barbarian look. 

Although Rydr himself was uncomfortable with the idea of going on "live TV," as it were, with no shirt on, Little John reminded him that there were already videos of his shirtless form. 

They even decided to frame Rydr with the window to his back, so the viewers got a grand view of Grotto in all its overgrown glory.

Eventually, Little John had to ask, "What is it that you want to say?" 

Rydr thought for a while before he answered, "I started playing to become the strongest in the game. More recently, it's become more important that I accomplish that goal."

"But," The Titan continued, "That's not the only thing I want. I want to overturn the modern way of thinking. Common sense says a player needs to be an all-rounder- able to function a little in every role."

Rydr shook his head, "What happened to the dream of unstoppable warriors? Of god-like wizards? Rogues so specialized they can carve their infamy in history?" 

"This world was made for those dreams. To take one idea, bending and breaking the game around it, until you can say no one is better than me." Passion oozed from Rydr's voice as he vocalized his ideals. 

To many, it was a childish dream, borne from reading too many fantasy books. 

But, as his team watched Rydr speak, he made them feel like it wasn't just doable. The Titan was already a living example of his ideals. One stumbling step at a time, his team witnessed the giant realizing his goal.

"Plus," The air around Rydr warped as steam poured off his body, "The guilds need to be brought in line. They have no respect for small teams, and I know of at least one Legacy being stolen by guilds so far." 

Rydr leaned forward in his chair, looming over the table they all sat around, "And, I'm going to prove it can be done." A savage smile spread Rydr's face wide, making his eyes look wild under the pelt's hood.

Despite themselves, his team found wild grins on their faces mirroring Rydr's. Their hearts began to pound as the Titan's energy infected them. 

Now that Rydr shared his goals and re-affirmed his dreams, the giant made a quick decision. The behemoth opened his character sheet with a thought and added all 20 free points to Strength. After a quick modification to collapse part of his character sheet, Rydr pulled up his new stats.

 

Name

Rydr

Level

5

4760/9378

Race

Human

Class

 

Profession

Aetheric Maker

Fame

270

Infamy

500

Health

690 (19.5/s)

Mana

710 (16.2/s)

Stamina

100 (9.75/s)

Free Points

0

Strength

179 (5)

Intelligence

61

Dexterity

53

Wisdom

71

Constitution

69 (5)

Charisma

17

Luck

7

Will

30

Balance

15

Intimidation

27

Skills:

·       Aetheric Eye (Lvl. 1 Beginner)

·       Reinforcement (Lvl. 3 Journeyman)

·       Empower (Lvl. 2 Journeyman)

·       Consume (Lvl. 3 Journeyman)

·       Peerless Physique (Lvl. MAXED)

·       Berserker’s Rage (Lvl. 3 Beginner)

·       Break Flurry (Lvl. 1 Beginner)

·       Aetheric Smithing (Lvl. 1 Beginner)

·       Aether Spirit (Lvl.1 Beginner)

·       Aether Conversion (Lvl. 1 Beginner)

Passives:

·       Paragon (Lvl. MAXED)

·       Savagery (Lvl. 5 Beginner)

·       Springform (Lvl. 1 Beginner)

Feats: [expand]

 

With the same savage smile still on his face, Rydr stood up and crossed to the window while his pride still showed on his sleeve.

"Let's do it."

AN:

Thanks for reading chapter 42! If you see a typo, please let me know, and I will fix it ASAP~

I will be posting the synopsis for my next novel on Patreon soon~ Hopefully, to release alongside [Frontier Online]!

[Frontier Online] Discord Server is online! https://discord.gg/5sqwPeJrYf

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