After spending such a large amount of experience to increase his attributes, Thomas felt a stream of warm and comforting energy flow through his body. He let out a soft sigh and relaxed his whole body, even his wings drooped a bit. Oddly, the warm flow of energy even extended to them. After reveling in the comfortable feeling for a while, he realized that his Magic attribute was getting closer to breaking through the 'Superhuman' realm and entering the 'Lord' realm. He briefly wondered if his body would go through a change similar to the time he became 'Superhuman'.

If so, then that was something else he needed to add to his list of complaints when he logged out again. Though, it clearly didn't seem to be too much of an issue since he'd completely forgotten about it the other times he had logged out. With a shrug of his shoulders, all concerns over a brief moment of pain were dismissed. Virtual games had long ago introduced the feeling of pain and he'd played in several games that didn't have options to lower the pain settings. Pain was an old and helpful friend. In a game with no health bars, it was also a necessary friend for understanding his bodies condition.

Thomas relaxed for a bit before he peered into his inventory to check out how many mana crystals he had collected so far. The inventory didn't have traditional slots and was just a large area he could store things inside of. However, it did let him automatically know how many copies of a material he had. That being the case, just a glance let him know he had 193 kobold mana crystals and 65 elite kobold mana crystals. He wanted to turn in the quests related to them and gain some more experience but half of them belonged to Selena and he'd never bothered to ask what she intended to do with them. Hopefully, she wanted to increase her rank in the Adventurer's Guild and would let him turn them all in since they were in a party together.

Thinking about turning in the quests also made him wonder what would happen with the experience he got from quests. Would he just get it all? Would it be split between the two of them? Would they both get the listed amount? There was really no way of knowing what would happen until he actually turned in a quest. If she did get bonus experience from the quest it would open up a lot of possibilities for the players and the NPC's inside of the game. He doubted the NPC's would get experience though. After all, after just a moment of thinking about it, he'd already thought of a very simple exploit.

All a player would need to do was offer to turn in a group of NPC's quests. The NPC's and the player would both get free experience. Sure, it helped both parties grow stronger together but the player wouldn't have to do any work at all to gain the experience. That was just something game companies didn't like at all. Well, that's if they didn't program in a failsafe of some kind. He shook his head and made his way towards his bed. There was really no point in thinking about it. Most likely he would find out what happened tomorrow after they finished their tour of the dungeon.

Thomas met Selena at the gate the following morning and together they made their way toward the Adventurer's Guild. Yesterday they had managed to do alright on the fourth floor of the dungeon, but if they wanted to progress to the fifth floor they were going to need some help. They were heading to the guild to fulfill that need.

When they arrived at the guild it was as busy as ever with early morning traffic. Selena led Thomas to a section on the opposite side of the guild from the quest notices. As they approached it she explained, "There's no fixed system for finding companions or vetting them so we need to be careful about who we decide to take with us." She gestured to the wall they were approaching and the ground of people standing around it, "Over here we can look at posts placed by people looking for others to join. We can also put up a post about ourselves and what we're looking for and want to do."

She looked at Thomas as she said, "I suggest we look for a pair like us. A long-range fighter and a vanguard. With two of us at a distance and two in melee, we can handle the elite kobolds without issue and even take on the Kobold Chieftain as a group."

Thomas nodded in agreement. When they arrived at the wall he could see a decent number of paper pages stuck to the wall advertising individuals and groups that were looking for others to join them or looking to join others. Many of the posted notes were asking for help completing specific quests and even listed how the rewards would be split. The two of them ignored any posts asking for help with specific quests that didn't relate the to top five floors of the dungeon. Instead, they just looked for posts that wanted to hunt in the dungeon, there were plenty of those. The dungeon was a good source of income and experience for anyone who could dive into its depths.

It took a bit of effort to sift through the haphazard postings but they eventually found a few that had individuals, duos, and groups of three looking to fight the Kobold Chieftain. Though it wasn't the first one they found, Selena insisted on checking out a duo of women. Thomas had nothing against women, and would be quite happy to dive in the dungeon with a trio of pretty women, but he couldn't help asking, "Why them first?"

Selena didn't even bother looking at him as she plainly said, "Women are just better than men."

It didn't take a genius to understand why she would prefer women. He could easily see how men might focus more on trying to flirt with her than actually getting the job done. It was pretty easy to understand how annoying that could potentially be so he didn't argue with her. It made her happy and he would be with a group of pretty women. There was absolutely nothing to complain about. Well, unless the two women actually couldn't fight. That would be pretty annoying.

Thomas let Selena take the lead as she went to various women and asked if they were the ones on the post. It was definitely a lot less efficient than party matching systems or even a general chat where people could ask for parties. No one wanted to stand around and literally shout at the top of their lungs to find a pick up group (PUG) though.

It didn't take too long to find the pair of women that posted their request on the board. Selena approached them with a smile, "I'm Selena and this is Thomas. We saw your post and wanted to see if our pair of duos would make a good fit."

The two women were, as expected, rather beautiful. The first to respond was a rather mature looking woman with long curly brown hair and hazel eyes, "Nice to meet you Selena. I'm Victoria and this is my friend Janice."

Janice looked a lot younger than Victoria with long straight blonde hair that reached down to her waist and bright blue eyes that only paled in comparison to Thomas's. Victoria stood at around 180 centimeters and wore a breastplate made of metal over her ample chest as well as metal greaves and forearm protectors. A lot like Thomas's own configuration. Sticking up over her right shoulder was a long and thick handle attached to a massive greatsword that would be completely impossible to wield back in the real world.

Janice was a lot shorter standing at about 160 centimeters, close to the same height as Selena. She wore some simple clothing with a thin layer of leather armor over it. In her hand, she held a staff topped with a dark red crystal. Thomas actually found himself more attracted to the crystal than to either of the women. He couldn't help wondering what it was made of and what possible uses it might have in crafting. Other than being used as a magic staff topper of course.

Selena carried the conversation forward while Thomas observed the red crystal, "We're looking to go down and defeat the Kobold Chieftain ourselves. However, Thomas can only teleport down to the fourth floor so we'd have to start there."

Victoria crossed her arms beneath her bust as she contemplated for a while before saying, "That shouldn't be too much of a problem. We'd have to make our way through most of the fifth floor to get to the boss anyway, though this will make it take a few hours longer." She shrugged her shoulders, "It just means more experience in the end." She turned a little serious as she said, "We'll split all drops evenly."

Thomas interjected, "I need four more kobold hides to complete a quest."

Victoria glanced at him and nodded, "No problem. Janice and I already completed that quest and wouldn't touch it again with a ten-foot pole. It took us ages to complete that quest."

Thomas sighed heavily and nodded in understanding, "Yeah, we've killed nearly two hundred kobolds and nearly a hundred elites and only got one so far."

Victoria threw her head back and gave a hearty laugh while Janice looked at Thomas with a hint of pity. After she finished laughing at him, Victoria said, "Your luck is even worse than ours! We only had to kill about six hundred total to get all five of ours. You've killed nearly half that amount and only gotten one!"

Victoria laughed again at their misfortune, which annoyed Thomas. Victoria waved her hand in a placating manner as she said, "Don't worry kid. We'll see if we can't get you the rest of them."

Thomas bristled a little at being called a kid. However, he knew that any attempt to deny it would just make him look even more childish so he kept his mouth shut. Seeing how Victoria was treating Thomas, Selena smiled mischievously before she addressed Victoria, "Is there anything else you want to discuss before we register the party?"

Victoria nodded and looked dead serious as she pointed at Thomas and said, "If he touches Janice I'll cut his balls off."

Janice turned beet red as she yelled, "VICTORIA!"

It was the first time Janice spoke and even though she was yelling, Thomas found her voice to be rather pleasant if a bit high pitched. Victoria looked to Janice and exclaimed, "What? You know you can never trust the pretty ones."

Janice crossed her arms beneath her chest and turned her head away from Victoria with a huff. Thomas wasn't entirely sure how he felt about being referred to as 'pretty'. When designing his character he'd gone for 'handsome'. Maybe his perception of the two was a little skewed? Or maybe it was just that his avatar didn't look mature enough yet? Either way, it was frustrating!

Thomas decided to defend himself and tease Selena all at once as he said, "Don't worry. The only one here I'm interested in is Selena."

Selena turned to glare daggers at him while simultaneously blushing. Victoria glanced at him and gave him a sly grin, "Oh? No interest in me eh?"

Thomas waved his hand in a casual and dismissive manner, "You're completely not my type."

Victoria looked at him intently for a moment before she once again threw her head back and let out a loud guffawing laugh. When she finished laughing she looked at Thomas while licking her lips, "That's alright. I prefer my men to have a little meat on their bones!"

Thomas looked down at himself and sighed. Though he had increased his Power and Endurance attributes by a fair amount, he'd also done the same for his Magic attribute so his physique was still rather thin for his tastes as well. His muscles were still well defined and powerful, they were just too small visually. He sighed while muttering, "I need to increase my Power and Endurance more for sure."

His poor Agility was in for some more neglect it seemed. With everyone on the same page, they made their way towards the registration counter to register their new party. Thomas and Janice walked behind Victoria and Selena. Janice glanced at Thomas as she said in a soft voice, "Sorry about Victoria. She's always like that."

Janice seemed to be somewhat timid as she spoke so Thomas gave her a warm smile as he said, "Don't worry about it. I have a friend just like her. Though he is a bit more vulgar." Thomas tilted his head up as he said, "I wonder where he is in this world." He turned to look at Janice, "Have you and Victoria been friends for long?"

Janice smiled and shook her head, "Only a couple of weeks. Some guys were giving me a hard time when I was in the dungeon alone. She came along and beat them all up to protect me from them."

Thomas realized he hadn't checked to see if the two women were players or locals so he quickly sensed the two of them and noted that they were both players. Knowing that he said, "So you didn't know her before you were summoned here. Are any of your friends from the other world here?"

Janice smiled warmly as she said, "A few friends from my school are here too but they're far away. A couple are even on the other side of the ocean on a different continent. We're all trying to get stronger while we look for a way to find each other."

As they got to the counter to register the party Thomas said, "I wish you luck in finding them."

A note from thomasdarkrose

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About the author


  • Georgia, USA

Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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