The group of the 6 of them arrived at Star Crossing, everyone in a rather good mood. They had encountered a recently spawned Tier I Raid Boss, taking it by surprise due to David’s quick warning, and were able to harvest three pieces of equipment from its corpse. One of which Thea offered to David, but he shook his head firmly, gesturing to Simon.
So Simon found himself with his first piece of System generated equipment.
Chainmail of the Metal Scarecrow Lvl 22: An armor made from the torso of the Iron Scarecrow. Powerful deterrent against flying opponents. Endurance +5, Stamina +30.
Simon couldn’t keep the smile off his face. The boost to Endurance could keep him alive, but the Stamina bonus helped him keep up his mobility for longer in a fight! With this alone, he definitely felt safer. For the first time, Simon felt like it was worth the effort to come out here to town.
And he hadn’t even gotten his Class yet.
“You can find the Village Chieftain in the lodge, he will take you to the Village Spirit.” Thea said, almost as if she could read Simon’s mind, as she waved to a few passing people. “I have to head up and back to the Wild Rider’s preserve, hopefully we meet again.”
She flashed David a smile and rode off on her bear, the pair lumbering forward. The two others split off, going their own ways.
Star Crossing was set up strangely because it was built on the bones of a weird corner of town that contained two gas stations, two motels, and a quaint little inn. The inn was called the Star Crossing, which was where the Village got its name, and the other buildings had been retrofitted to suit their new purposes. The motels had been expanded, and now seemed more like a dormitory than anything else. One gas station was a weapons and supplies store, the other food and storage.
The road between the two gas stations was filled with stalls, where people sold their wares. There was also a large, recently constructed stable at the far end of the road on which these buildings sat, and from what Simon could see, it was filled with some very strange mounts.
Evidence of the Wild Rider.
Apparently David’s thoughts had gone in a similar direction, because he was looking over towards the stable and frowning. Then his quizzical gaze shifted to Simon.
“...Probably built it for all the people pledging to the Wild Rider. Because it is so close to here.”
David’s gaze sharpened, and he made a vague gesture in the direction that Thea had left in. Simon’s eyes widened. If he was understanding the man correctly…
“You… don’t know about the Wild Rider? About Champions?” Simon asked, feeling confused. David shook his head.
So for 5 minutes they stood there and Simon explained what he knew of the Champions, both from the notifications and from gathering information since while people traveled through his small spring. Although he had only been gone for several hours, he already felt a small pang of homesickness. It had been… a rough few months, and that place had kept him safe, so-
But then he mentally chided himself at his diverted attention. Much more intriguing was the fact that David seemed so perplexed by the Champions. Had he somehow… missed their arrival…? But that didn’t really make sense. Unless he was held captive for a while before he was beaten and released…? But that would make his captivity at least a month…
At some point, David seemed satisfied, and just shrugged and then pointed towards the Star Crossing Inn. Back to business.
Nodding, Simon followed David, who walked confidently through the crowd towards the inn. It was… illuminating to see how people treated David. Simon had thought that Thea’s reaction was somewhat strange, especially since she hadn’t yet seen him in action. How had she so quickly known that he was powerful…?
But everyone here knew, somehow. Not in a direct way, Simon guessed, but through some sixth sense. Taller and broader men stepped out of the way of David, almost subconsciously, shooting him furtive glances once he walked past. Looking at David’s back, Simon once again reevaluated his companion.
This sort of comfort even with the scrutiny he was seeing, this confidence… perhaps he was famous before the System? Like a high ranking person in MMA or something…? It wouldn’t really explain the scars though, which were not wounds you received from fighting with fists…
When they arrived at the inn’s doors, a bored looking man scanned them both. “What are you here for?”
“I-” Simon gulped down his fear and tried again. “I want to get a Class.”
“Oho. Usually we don’t get Classless riffraff showing up these days. Everyone who wants one is already a member of a village. Everyone else is either settled or part of the Class research initiative. Why so late, boy?”
Simon frowned. He was 14, and the man in front of him was middle aged, but he had sorta assumed most of those dumb things had disappeared. Apparently, that was not the case. David folded his arms, standing behind Simon, giving him the strength to open his mouth once more and say, “Because I waited.”
Waving a hand, the man turned away. “Fine, fine. No need to unleash your pet dog on me. Jeesh. Standard procedure, an applicant has to select one of four roles to determine the test for the Class. Are you a Tank? Damage Dealer? Control? Or Support? Are both of you taking the test?”
David shook his head. Simon thought about it.
“I suppose… Support?” The man nodded, going over to a messy desk and rummaging around, before producing a piece of paper.
“Support eh? Alright… what kind? You can choose Physical, Mage, Healer, or Detector.”
“Like…” Simon hesitated, glancing at David. David pointed forward, mimicking Simon when he shot the blast of water at the monkey. Simon blushed.
“Mage, easiest test, too. Lucky you, you have a chance. Support type? Just show me what you can do.”
A flash of anger rose in Simon’s chest. But instead of lashing out, Simon felt profoundly sneaky. “David, punch him.”
David grinned, then walked calmly towards the man, his fists clenched. The man snorted.
“Nice try, but I’m a melee Tank. Clever, “support” kid, but-” The man hadn’t moved at all as David approached, and even let David karate chop him.
The bone shattered with an audible crunch. Screaming, the man fell to the ground. The inn went silent around them.
Simon was wide eyed, looking at David. David, for his part, seemed extremely confused. He looked at his hand, then at the man, then back to his hand. Then he turned to Simon, and of all things, shrugged.
“Oh for the love of-” Simon said, rushing over to the screaming man, pointing. He activated Mending Stream, and the water fell on the man’s body, very quickly numbing the pain and jump starting the man’s natural healing process.
“I was kidding earlier, I’m a Healer,” Simon said, thinking on the fly, his tongue feeling very fat and dry in his mouth. “I just wanted this to demonstrate my ability.”
“You…! You fuckers!” The man said, furious, his eyes hard, but he was trembling still, sitting on the ground, glaring at David. Luckily the break was a simple one, and within 30 seconds, the bone had healed, snapping back into place, restoring mobility. The pain was undoubtedly completely gone, but the man rose, cradling his arm.
“If you think that you can join the town after injuring me, you have another fucking thing coming!” The man bellowed, just as a group of guards, led by a familiar face, ran into the room.
“Heh,” Teo the warrior chuckled, taking in the scene with his direct gaze. “Causing trouble already? No wonder Thea liked y’all. What seems to be the problem?”