“They are coming along well…” Alex commented as the party watched the villagers train. Humans and Martyrs alike all struck training dummies with various attack abilities and even some magic spells.
“Yes they are, it was a good idea to move the training ground,” James said with a nod to Patrick.
The village had finished building everything they needed that was available in James’s builder's interface and then some. Everyone now had a cabin to live in, Martyr tents were rebuilt so they would give a buff, and even basic facilities like the water well were improved. James didn’t have building plans for some of the improvements they made so not everything came with a buff, but he had plenty of free time and supplies, so minor useability improvements were made. Even the training ground was upgraded to an advanced level and moved from on top of the cliff to below it so Martyrs could easily train as well. James liked having the training ground right outside his cabin but admitted that it made more sense to move it now that they no longer had the time slowing effects of the spirit vessel to take advantage of.
Patrick nodded at the compliment, “What can I say, I’m an idea man.”
The party chuckled.
“Alright, let’s begin. Alex, you are up,” James announced to his inner circle, signaling the start of their new daily meetings. It had been a few days since their first daily meeting and now everyone was falling into a grove. The villagers mostly trained to get a feel for and level up their abilities. Occasionally, James or Torunn would lead a group training exercise inspired by actual fights they had in the past.
James’s party would even take turns giving briefs. Alex would update the party on his blacksmithing. Lilly would update everyone on any progress she made with discovering the secrets of the library. Patrick spent most of his time training and was quickly becoming the highest level earth human in the village so he would occasionally report on the mechanics of his class and level, but for the most part, he only provided comic relief. Omero would report on the personal progress of the villagers and their newest addition, Birger, reported on the progress of the Village’s construction. James’s brother didn’t have an assigned area of responsibility but was great at connecting the dots and picking up on things that other people have missed.
“My metal working is going slow still. It is a complicated process, and although I have leveled up a few skills in the class already, I am still just barely able to create good ore. Most of my smelting only yields unusable garbage. I predict that in two days, four max, I will be able to make something useful. That’s all I got,” reported Alex with a nod to Lilly.
Lilly cleared her throat, “I haven’t made any progress since yesterday. Every book I find just has a small amount of text that I can read. It is all almost nonsensical, but I will keep you guys updated when I have a breakthrough,” Lilly reported with a nod to Patrick, who immediately shook his head.
“I finally finished my first report,” Omero spoke up as he handed James a pile of maps filled with paragraphs and lists, “apologies for taking so long. The report gives more details, but essentially you find that the majority of humans are not high enough level for a class yet. We do have one woman that has an interesting magic based class, her name is Angela and you can find more about her and her class in the report. The most interesting information I discovered all centered around the Martyrs, however. I cannot be certain, but I have a feeling that their classes somehow combine together. Everyone here should know that you can choose a class at every tenth level. Some of the Martyr’s are very high level, Frode being the highest. He explained to me that the classes he choose when he was younger somehow affect his newer class abilities. It was tough to get the information from him in words that I understood, but I think I should spend more time investigating this mechanic.”
James cleared his throat, “Yes, please do so. If your hunch is correct then it means that the class system is much more complex than I originally thought. If we can get a handle on it then we should do so. Good job by the way! You seem to have a knack for this type of thing.”
Alex peaked over at the report in James’s hands and added, “Yea, seriously, this looks like a lot of good information, and I am sure it wasn’t easy to get it out of everyone.”
Omero took an awkward bow and smiled, “It was a piece of cake, I actually worked in human resources back on Earth. The only difference between this and what I did back on Earth is that we are now in a fantasy world,” Omero opened his eyes wide and fluttered his hands in the air with a magical wave.
James laughed at Omero’s dedication to role-playing, before an idea hit him, “Omero, you make another good point. It seems you are happy doing a job that closely resembles what you did back on Earth. Can you get everyone’s past occupation so we can try to match it with a job in the village? I think it might help everyone adapt to their lives easier.”
Omero laughed, “I already did that boss man! That is actually what took so long. A good deal of people held me up while they reminisced about their past lives. I didn’t rush them, figuring it would be rude to do so, besides it helped me build up a good rapport with them.”
“That’s great, I will look over this report right after this. Tell me, what is the general mood of the human villagers?” James asked.
Omero took on a saddened expression, “They are all determined to adapt and get stronger after being imprisoned for so long. Still, though, a lot of them had families that they miss. I think if we can help free more prisoners from the dungeon it would make everyone feel a bit better.”
“Understood, it is our highest priority, we just can’t step foot into the dungeon until we find a way to keep the Lich from stealing our souls,” James said to Omero.
The Italian then looked around conspiratorially and leaned into the group. The rest of the party leaned in as well, then Omero whispered, “We need to figure that out soon. I heard whisperings of villagers that want to grow stronger and then attack the dungeon anyway, even if they will die for real.”
James stood behind the bar in his usual spot and thumbed through Omero’s report. The cabin was quiet as the majority of people were going about their business. James’s usual daytime companions, Alex and Michael, sat at the bar, also interested in the information within the report.
“So this Angela girl that Omero was talking about has a basic Mage class that gives her enhanced mana regain and damage. It says here that she actually has water-based spells and that she managed to raise her mastery with the element because there was a puddle next to her cage in the dungeon…”
“What,” Alex gasped, “Is it really that simple?”
“I am sure it wasn’t as simple as it seems, but yea. I raised my fire mastery by just starting fires, so it makes sense you could do the same with other elements,” James replied.
Alex made a long drawn out thoughtful sound.
“I raised my death mastery by being around the undead, and killing a lot of them…” Michael said as he stared through the wall behind James.
James didn’t know how to reply to his brother’s words, so decided it best to change the subject. If Michael was having trouble coping with his time spent in the dungeon than he would say so.
“Frode’s class is also interesting. Instead of having a long list of them, Frode’s only class is Shaman,” James said.
“That is probably what lead Omero into thinking that the classes meld together,” added Michael.
Alex nodded in agreement, “We should try to get more information from him. The Martyr’s always had shamans in their clan’s right? Maybe there was some sort of shaman training were you select certain classes every ten levels to achieve the right class.”
James nodded as well. If the Martyr’s new of a certain way to achieve desired high-level classes than James needed to find out. He suspected that if the Martyrs did have that information, then other races would too. There had to be some sort of schooling for young kids in this world so they could learn the game mechanics. James refused to believe he was the first person ever to attempt documenting everything.
Suddenly, James was overcome with frustration and slammed his hands into the bar, “We need to get out of here. We need to leave the village and explore. Being cooped up in here isn’t doing us any good anymore. We can’t enter the dungeon and rescue prisoners until we find out a way to protect our souls. We can’t find a way to protect our souls until we either find someone that knows how to, or discover a class that can do it ourselves. Either way, leaving the village is the best way to accomplish both of those options. It is time to go.”
Alex didn’t seem phased by James’s sudden outburst and immediately added, “I think you are right, we can’t really build up any more defenses so we are as safe as we are going to be. Waiting for the villagers to get stronger will help if they ever need to defend the village, but I don’t think we have enough time for that. If we wait too long to go into the dungeon than the villagers will do it without us, so I agree, it is time we leave the village and do some exploring.”
Michael nodded, “Agreed. Let’s plan an expedition.”