As he walked into the city and looked for something delicious to eat for dinner, Thomas opened his character sheet. He hadn't gained a large amount of experience like earlier, but there was currently enough for him to gain two more ranks in his Magic attribute. Without hesitation, the experience was spent and his Magic attribute finally rose to seventy-five. That left him with just 467 experience that he could still spend. After browsing through his sheet for a bit, Thomas decided to save the experience for now. At the moment his Magic attribute had at least reached the bare minimum for joining the Academy. In the future, he wasn't entirely sure what he would need to increase as far as his attributes went so he thought it best to save the experience for now. Besides, it was only possible to raise one attribute by a single point and that wasn't likely to make a difference over the next few days.
As far as experience went, Thomas was getting a fair amount from killing the kobolds but he also had all the mana crystals needed for turning in the quests. He really desired to turn the one quest in a few times to gain some more experience but he was supposed to split the mana crystals with Selena. It wouldn't be bad to just turn in half of them right now, but that would require remembering how many belong to her and that was simply annoying. He'd just wait until they were done with the first five floors and turn in the quests all at once for a nice large chunk of experience to propel his attributes higher.
As he chewed on some street vendor food he thought about how he should spend his future experience. Though there was no telling what attributes would really be required, his hope was to spend a good amount to increase his Power and Agility. There were currently no issues with his stamina from his Endurance so he wanted to be able to move faster and hit harder. He couldn't help grinning at the thought of being able to move his physical body faster than the speed of sound.
That led to another thought though. The game had been pretty accurate about its physics so far. Setting aside stuff like magic as that always irrevocably broke the laws of physics. He didn't know the exact formula for it off of the top of his head but he knew that objects moving at high speeds could deal insane amounts of damage through sheer kinetic force. So if he was moving fast and punched something would his Power attribute override physics? Would physics override his Power? Or would they work off of each other and become even more devastating?
The only time he could recall having hit something while moving at top speed was during the fight with Jeko. That didn't make for a good example though since Jeko had clearly outclassed him pretty completely. There was also no way of knowing just how high Jeko's attributes were so he stopped thinking about that and instead tried to think of a way to test his theory. Sadly there was no such thing as force gauges here that he could just punch and get a simple reading from. As he chewed on a skewer of random monster meat the only conclusion that he could reach was practical testing. Punch something without moving, then punch it while moving and see if there was a noticeable difference.
After flicking the cleaned wooden skewer into a trash can, he started making his way toward the academy. It was getting late and a good nights sleep would be greatly appreciated before heading back into the dungeon the following morning. With a belly full of delicious monster meat, he made his way back to his dorm room within the academy for a good nights sleep.
The following morning Thomas woke up slightly earlier than usual. After a good stretch, he made his way into the middle of his dorm room while removing his shirt. After storing it away he slowly relaxed his back to allow his wings to appear. He let out a deep sigh as they were stretched and flexed. Even though they appeared to be made of pure flowing energy they still felt as if they had muscles within them as they were stretched.
With them fully stretched out, Thomas took a nice long look at them and smiled. He had to admit the wings were actually really cool looking, at least to his sense of aesthetics. As he looked at them there was no sense of his body losing any energy despite the constant flow of it to form his wings. He couldn't help but wonder where the energy forming the wings came from or where it went after the wisps at the ends and the tips of each feather faded away.
After looking at them for a while, he began to flex the wings. He wanted to get a better feel for them and their range of motion. It was like exploring a set of new limbs that had just suddenly appeared on his body and took a fair bit of effort. Even though they came with a bit of instinctual knowledge on their use, that didn't make him an expert at using them immediately. In fact, he knew that if he tried to fly with them right now it would lead to a nasty fall. His body had nowhere near enough Power or Endurance to allow him to fly, at the most they could potentially be used to glide to the ground while falling.
He spent a bit of time working his wings out before he stored them inside of his back. The pressure was still there but it felt like it had lessened a little, that or he'd simply started to get used to it. Feeling the pressure reminded him that he'd not felt that pressure when asleep and that his wings hadn't appeared while sleeping either. Maybe storing them was an exercise in mentality and not a physical one? He tried relaxing the muscles on his back while mentally willing his wings to say hidden. His wings didn't appear immediately after he relaxed the muscles in his back. He smiled at the discovery but the moment he did the wings popped out of his back.
With a sigh, Thomas stored his wings away again and kept his back muscles flexed to keep them inside. It seemed like there was a mental component to storing the wings, but he was going to need a bit of practice to get the hang of it. The more he learned about the change to his race the less annoying he found it to be. Though he was restricted in what he could do inside of a city, outside in the wild he could do whatever he wanted. With the wings stored he stripped down to nothing and used his shower spell to get himself nice and clean for the day.
About an hour later, Thomas met up with Selena at the gate of the school and together they made their way toward the dungeon. As they walked, he stopped at random food carts and grabbed some snacks to take into the dungeon. They hadn't taken a lunch break yesterday and had, instead, just eaten snacks while walking. Today he intended to have tastier snacks. As they were stored inside of his inventory he began to wonder if his inventory would prevent the food from getting cold. He'd know for sure in a few hours.
When they arrived at the dungeon, they signed in and then took the teleportation formation to the third floor. Although Selena didn't know the path to the lower floors she had been to them and could teleport to them, but she couldn't take anyone who hadn't been to them with her. When they arrived in the 'safe room' on the third floor Thomas turned to Selena and said, "Same plan as yesterday? Just torch the groups of Kobolds and make our way deeper?"
She nodded but added, "When we get to the fourth floor it may not work any longer. The fourth and fifth floors are filled with the Elite Kobolds and at the end of the fifth floor is the boss room with the Kobold Chief. He's a pretty nasty monster so we'll definitely need help if we want to take him down."
Thomas nodded and they made their way deeper into the dungeon following their usual routine. Sometimes they came across other players and NPCs and other times they worked together to torch groups of kobolds using their combined magic. Thomas hadn't really been paying all that much attention yesterday but today he noticed that the kobolds seemed to always be standing together in groups instead of spreading out. He wasn't going to complain about that since it made hitting them all with the flamethrower spell easy. He just found it odd. If the kobolds were spread out a bit more their tactic would be far less effective.
After several hours, a couple breaks, and torching about a dozen groups of kobolds, they found the entrance leading down to the fourth floor. Together they both opened their character sheets and checked their progress. Thomas was pleased to see that his fire magic had surpassed rank twenty-five and reached rank twenty-six giving him two of the four completed. His mana control hadn't grown as much as previously and seemed to be slowing down as it got higher in rank. He could feel a small difference in his mana expenditure thanks to its current rank, but he was still losing a fair amount of mana each time he cast a spell. Lastly, the experience he could spend on increasing his attributes had increased to over four thousand.
After deciding to hold off spending his experience right away he turned to look at Selena, "How's your progress?"
Selena let out a sigh and shook her head, "Still rank twenty-three in my wind magic. You?"
Shrugging his shoulders dismissively he answered, "My fire magic is finished."
Selena glared at him, "How is your magic progressing so much faster than mine?! I've got more mana and better mana control and you still outrank me?! How?!"
Thomas grinned at her with a playful glimmer in his eyes, "Secret."
Selena glared at him for a bit before she huffed and changed subjects, "We're about to head down to the fourth floor. The kobolds will be getting stronger and I'm not sure if our tactic will outright kill them anymore. And once we need to switch to the earth and water elements I don't think we'll be able to coordinate our attacks like we have been."
Thomas nodded in agreement. He could think of a few ways to combine earth and water, such as creating a mudslide or a bog, but those methods seemed like they would use a lot more mana than their combined fire and wind magic attack did. As they walked down the stairs he pulled out a skewer of unknown monster meat coated in a tangy sauce. As he chewed on it he silently complained about it being cold before saying out loud, "We can use the same tactic as an opening move until your wind magic is rank twenty-five. If they survive I'll fight them in melee while you pick them off from range. Alright?"
Selena nodded but warned, "Just remember, these kobolds will hit pretty hard and depending on what subspecies they could also be fast as well."
Thomas nodded and tossed the meatless wooden skewer into his inventory to throw away later, "I'm pretty tough, but if it's not enough I have healing potions and can use some of my experience to increase my Endurance."
They arrived in the first room on the fourth floor and located the teleportation formation before picking their pathway. Within the first room on their path, they saw a battle between a group of players and kobolds. The kobolds on this floor were noticeably bigger and stronger than the kobolds on the previous floor. Though this group of bear-headed kobolds looked similar to previous versions with the same head, they were clearly in a different class as they fought the players ferociously. The group of three players had some minor injuries but were holding their own and dishing out far more damage than they took.
When he was done observing, the two of them headed down another path to look for a group of their own to fight. With no sounds of combat coming down the pathway, they slowed down to peek around the last bend and observe their opponents. Inside of the room was a group of four large cat-headed kobolds. Seeing the feline heads, Thomas couldn't help but wonder if the kobolds would run away if he splashed them with water. He snickered a little at the mental image before Selena gave him a glare that put an end to his joking around.
Together they prepped their magic before running into the room to put the kobolds in range. Thomas ran slightly in front of Selena to take up the vanguard position. When the kobolds spotted the duo they hissed loudly and charged at them with their cat-like claws extended. As soon as the kobolds were in range, Thomas cast out his fan of flames and it was almost instantly boosted by Selena's wind magic. The kobolds yowled as they were bathed in the flames but continued to charge through them.
When the kobolds were getting too close for comfort, Thomas cut off his flames and drew his kukri in a smooth motion. Selena had been right. Although the kobolds were covered in blistered and burnt flesh, they continued to live and charge at them. Instead of waiting for the kobolds to come to him, Thomas decided to test out his theory on physics in the game. With a seemingly simple step, his entire body instantly accelerated to his top speed of nearly fifty meters per second.
Given that the kobolds were far closer than a full fifty meters it took far less than a second for him to close in on his first target. Instead of going for his usual tactic of decapitation, he aimed the kukri at the kobolds burnt chest with a chop. Mana flowed into the kukri as he activated the enchantment on it and cleaved into the kobold's chest with a surprising amount of force. The kukri easily parted flesh and muscle to collide with the kobolds rib bones. The kukri dug into the bones but became stuck due to the kobolds tenacity and was ripped clean out of Thomas's hand as he continued to move past the kobold.
The kobold gave a high pitched scream as it fell over from the force of the blow. On the ground, it clawed at the kukri embedded in its chest in an effort to remove the painful object. Thomas looked at his now empty hand and grimaced. This was going to be trouble. He had no backup weapon and was starting to realize just how complacent he had become in the month he'd spent playing AoG.