After a little more chatting Thomas and Selena decided to get to work on their training for Fulin. First, they would head to the adventurers guild to pick up some quests, mostly for himself. After that, they would head to the dungeon and get some experience. Selena didn't think they would be able to get past the fifth floor alone so that would be their goal, to begin with. For today, Thomas needed to examine the rest of his body before heading out into the city to get himself a new set of armor.
With their plans solidified, Selena finally took her leave from his room and left him alone to examine himself. Once Selena left, he stripped off the remainder of his clothing and looked over his naked body to the best of his ability. His body hadn't changed as far as he could tell. He still had what he'd call a swimmer body with well-defined muscles from head to toe. He even double checked that his genitals hadn't changed and fortunately they hadn't. Not seeing anything else different about him on the exterior, he let out a sigh and started to get dressed again.
When it came time for him to put on his shirt he forced his wings to sink into his back so they would be out of sight. Having to constantly flex his back was going to be annoying as hell. Once he was completely dressed again, including his kukri hanging from his hip, he left his room and made his way out of the academy. It only took a little asking around to find directions to several different places he could purchase leather armor. He decided to visit the most highly recommended place and headed there. He didn't have much gold on him but if he found something he liked and couldn't buy right away he could just head to the bank for the remainder.
He made his way through the bustling city towards a place called Zevor's Light Armor. After stepping inside, he was surprised by the large selection of various armors available. The store carried everything from small thin breastplates to full head to toe leather armor. Thomas gave a polite nod to the man working the sales counter and started looking at the leather breastplates. Fortunately, each breastplate had a tag attached that described its construction and materials. He ignored the simple molded and hardened leather armors and focused on the more supple ones.
He spent a good twenty minutes looking at various pieces of armor until he found one that caught his interest. The leather came from a creature called a Brutal Assassin Serpent. The name was a bit odd, were there Gentle Assassin Serpents? Joking aside the leather was pitch black and seemed to absorb light. In the dim light of the dungeon it could come in very handy for sneak attacks. The leather itself was somewhat thick but still very malleable.
The craftsman had designed it much as Hyde did back in Ulvstad, using multiple layers to build it thicker in more important areas without compromising flexibility. The layers had been positioned over the pecks and abdominal muscles with minimal gaps in between. To top it all off layers of steel had been glued into each area for added protection. This was his first time coming across actual steel in AoG, which meant he wouldn't need to invent it and could probably save some time just getting steel ingots later on.
The only drawback of the armor was the relatively high price tag of 450 gold pieces. Nothing he couldn't afford, though it would mean a trip to the bank to purchase it since he didn't have that much on him. He walked out of the store and quickly got directions to the bank, he found some armor he liked so he was determined to get it. He didn't rush and stopped at a few street vendors to buy some food made out of various monster meats. Why monster meat was so much tastier than regular animal meat was still a mystery to him. One he wasn't really concerned with solving.
He munched on various street foods until he finally arrived in the bank. Like a real-world bank, he was forced to wait in line for an available window. This was a feature he could have done without. Not everything needed to be this realistic. Finally, he got to a free teller window and presented his bank card to the goblin working behind it, "I'd like to withdraw two-thousand gold please."
The goblin accepted the card and said in a bored voice, "Just a reminder, we will be charging you five gold for the withdrawal."
Thomas nodded and waited while the goblin made the withdrawal for him. When the goblin returned he placed a small bag containing the coins and his bank card on the counter, "Anything else I can help you with?"
Thomas picked up the bag of coins to store in his inventory while shaking his head, "That's all I needed. Thanks!"
He picked up his card and checked his balance. He was surprised to see that his balance was over sixty thousand gold but thinking about it he realised it had been over a week since the last time Rock had made a deposit. Judging by the amount, Rock's sales must have been pretty great. Thomas stored his bank card in the hidden pocket and left the bank to head back to the armor shop. He made his way to the sales counter and greeted the sales clerk, "I want to buy the Brutal Assassin Serpent armor."
The clerk looked Thomas up and down, "I didn't expect you to come back. Thought you were just window shopping since you didn't ask any questions or anything."
Thomas chuckled, "Just needed to go to the bank to get enough to cover the cost."
The clerk nodded and went over to remove the armor from its stand and bring it to the counter. The transaction was quickly completed and after thanking the clerk for his help, Thomas left with the armor safely stored inside of his inventory. Thomas thought about what else he might need before heading to the same alchemy shop he'd visited previously. He'd decided he should pick up a few mana potions and health potions. The city dungeon sounded bigger and harder than the one in Ulvstad and he wanted to be fully prepared.
He easily purchased twenty health and twenty mana potions good for people around his strength. He then continued to a general supply store to pick up some dry rations to chew on in the dungeon, he couldn't just leave the dungeon for lunch. Well, he could but it wouldn't be very efficient. He bought enough rations for three meals a day for up to two weeks. He wouldn't need it all, of course, but it was good to have extra in case of an emergency. He also grabbed another hundred crossbow bolts, some rope, and some other miscellaneous items that might come in handy in the dungeon. At the end of his shopping spree around the city, he spent an additional 400 gold on various items and supplies.
He returned to the academy in time to eat dinner before retiring to his room for the night. He considered spending some time experimenting with his 'Transmutation' but decided to work harder on his mana control instead. He sat cross-legged in his bed and took deep calming breaths as he decided on how to work on it. He lifted his right hand and summoned up his mana. He started to convert his mana into earth, then rotated it through fire, wind, and water. He did this over and over as his mana drained out. He did his best to keep control of as much of his mana as possible while creating the various elements.
By the time forty-five minutes had passed, his mana was nearly drained. He stopped his practice and opened his character sheet to check his progress. He was rather surprised by the amount of progress that his mana control had gained. Granted it had only gone up a single rank, but it usually took him almost a full day of practice to gain that much experience. He pondered on that for a bit and came up with a theory. When he was casting spells for practice he was always focusing on casting the spell as quickly as possible. The speed of the spell casting shortened the duration he had to control his mana leading to less growth in the skill. On the other hand, practicing like this let him devote all of his mana and attention to control causing the skill to grow relatively faster. In theory anyway.
He would have to give this a try again in the future to see if it held true. He stripped down for the night and climbed into his bed where he opened his character sheet once again. Unfortunately, he hadn't won the duel and the consolation prize had been a measly one thousand experience. He quickly spent 680 of that experience to increase his Magic attribute by a single point. Sadly, he didn't feel a rush of soothing energy this time. It was more of a slow trickle. He figured that the feeling must come from investing a large amount of experience all at once. With that done, he closed his eyes and used 'Serenity' to drift off to sleep for the night.
When morning came he was happy to find that his wings hadn't come out in his sleep. It seemed like as long as he didn't want them to come out when he was asleep or unconscious they would remain in his back. He got dressed in one of his newer outfits, his new leather armor, strapped his kukri to his thigh, and strapped his wrist crossbow to his wrist. He also strapped on his greaves and just one of his arm guards. He didn't intend to fight in melee much, it wasn't his strong point so just the kukri was more than enough for now. He'd probably upgrade it to something better later. He also decided against enchanting his armor, for the time being, he wanted to sit down and really think about it before deciding what enchantment to add. He had plenty of ideas for it, but he was limited by his ranks. Despite Magitech Engineering being over rank fifty, his enchanting knowledge and skill within the game were still the same. Besides, he wanted a good look at the monsters within the dungeon before deciding on an effective enchantment to use against them.
Prepped and ready for the day, he made his way out of his dorm and toward the cafeteria. After his breakfast, he was set to meet Selena at the gate to the academy so they could head to the adventurers guild. When he arrived at the gate, Selena was already waiting for him. He was rather surprised at first since she was wearing clothing he'd never seen her in before.
Selena was wearing a dark leather breastplate that wasn't quite black, tight black leather pants, and dark brown mid-calf boots without much of a heel on them. Strapped to the left side of her waist was a long thin sword that reminded him of a rapier, though it was a little too thick to be a proper one. In the center of her back, hanging from a mount attached to her armor, was a two-handed crossbow that he wasn't even sure if he would be able to draw.
Thomas walked up to her and gave a little hello wave, "Good morning, Selena."
Selena turned to look at him and give him a once over, she smiled and nodded in approval, "Your new armor looks a lot better than your old armor did."
Thomas pouted playfully as he said, "That hurts. I made that armor myself."
Selena nodded in all seriousness as she said, "No wonder it didn't hold up."
Thomas sighed and just replied with, "If I had something tougher than boar leather to work with I could have made something better. Anyway, we should make our way to the adventurers guild. I need to pick up some quests before we head into the dungeon. You might not need it, but I could always use more money and experience."
Selena tilted her head to the side, "What do you mean more experience?"
Without taking even a moment to think he just plainly replied, "From turning in the quests." After he said it he realized something wasn't right and his fear was confirmed by the look of surprise on Selena's face. He swallowed before asking, "You don't get experience for completing quests do you?"
Selena slowly shook her head and Thomas began to seriously wonder if he'd just royally fucked up. He started looking around nervously for any sign of an admin or a system notice informing him that he was banned. While he was trying not to freak out, Selena calmly said, "Must be an otherworlder thing. Well, if you all were meant to be heroes it makes sense that you would have access to more experience than us. Otherwise, you would never catch up to us."
With no signs of an incoming ban, he refocused on Selena and nodded. It was odd to hear an NPC making such a deduction but it made perfect sense to him as well, "Let's head to the guild and get to the dungeon before it gets even later."