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The new temple was laid out in a large rectangle, built to stretch from one side of the pass to the other. Walking with his hand on the clear wall, Thorn found that it stretched the whole distance. Dropping his hand, he returned to stand with Velin and the Captain, watching as a greyish blue fog rose from the ground, filling the space where the temple would be built. Suddenly, dirt fountained from inside the layer of fog, jetting up into the air, where it disappeared.

[1%]

After thirty seconds, the large number in the center of the wall climbed from zero to one. Shortly after, large stone blocks began to fall from the sky, vanishing into the roiling cloud. As time went on, other materials like timber, brick, and metal would appear and drop into the fog. Every thirty seconds, the number would tick up, and the fog obscuring their view would climb.

As they stood watching, Thorn looked around.

“Where is Mina?”

“She logged out.”

“Is she mad at me?”

“Most likely. Please excuse her immaturity, she can be quite emotional, and I think she is fairly sensitive right now.”

“It is no problem. Would it be helpful if I sent her a message?”

“No.” Sighing, Velin tucked her hair behind her ear. “I think she needs time to think things through. Life has been moving fast since we climbed the tower with Ouroboros, and she probably just needs a bit of space to sort through the changes. Our relationship is not quite the same as it was, or as Mina hopes for it to be, and that is causing her some distress.”

“Alright.” Thorn nodded. “Let me know if there is anything I can do.”

“Thank you.”

After watching the gradually appearing temple in silence for a moment, Thorn changed the subject.

“I guess I don’t actually know much about you and Mina. You live together, right? Have you lived together long?”

“That is true, I guess we’ve never really talked about ourselves.” The corners of Velin’s lips curled slightly, her small smile lighting up her face. “Mina and I have been friends for a long time. Since elementary school, actually. We were roommates in college, as well.”

“Wait, that means you’re in your twenties?” Asked Thorn, not bothering to conceal his shock.

“Yes. I’m twenty-five, Mina is twenty-four. How old did you think we were?”

“I mean, I would have guessed around that for you, but I definitely thought Mina was sixteen.”

“Haha, that is sort of understandable. Most people take her to be younger because of her height. How old are you?”

“Uh. Sixteen.”

“No way.” Velin smirked. Seeing Thorn’s serious gaze, her smile faltered. “No way. You are sixteen? How…?” Trailing off, Velin held up her hand, as if she could measure Thorn’s height.

“How am I so tall?” Thorn chuckled. “I grew fast. Thankfully, I’ve stopped growing.” Seeing that Velin was distracted by his revelation, Thorn prompted her. “You were saying that you and Mina knew each other in college?”

“Hm, yes. That is right. We lived together in college. When we got out, we joined Ragnarok. That was about two years ago. Since we were already good friends, we got an apartment together. Since then we’ve been playing Nova Terra and trying to help Ouroboros grow his influence.”

“What did you study in school that got you a job with a guild?”

“I studied to be an information engineer. I was pretty lucky that I was hired as an analyst almost right away. Mina studied communications, but spent most of her time playing Nova Terra. She was hired as a combatant.” Seeing Thorn’s eyebrows rise, Velin defended her friend. “Don’t be fooled, Mina is an excellent player. She has great timing and her skill set is really good in group fights. Just wait until Ragnarok gets here. She earned her Ice Witch class by her own hard work.”

“Alright, I’ll pay attention. Both of you are great players, have you ever considered joining the Society of Roses?”

“Considered? What use would that be? They don’t accept new members. And even if they did, the application list would be at least twenty miles long.”

“Oh yeah? Are they pretty popular?”

“Popular is an understatement.” Velin pulled out her notebook and flipped to an empty page. “They are the most well known group in the game. It doesn’t hurt that the Queen of Roses is rich and powerful in real life, either.”

“Queen of Roses?”

“Ah, I forget how much you don’t know. The Queen of Roses is Athena, the leader of the Society of Roses guild. Her real name is Julia Lee. She is the CEO of Atlas.” As Velin finished speaking, her eyes went wide, and she shot a glance at Thorn, who was watching the glowing number counting up. With some effort, she kept her voice from quivering. “She is strong, pretty, and rich. The envy of pretty much everyone in Nova Terra.”

“I can imagine.” Thorn rubbed the bridge of his nose as he diverted the topic. “Looks like the temple is just about done. Let’s check it out.

*ding*

[100%]

As the glowing numbers reached one hundred, the invisible wall dissipated, and the blue fog rolled back, revealing Moon Wolf Citadel in all its glory. A tall stone wall towered above Thorn’s head, easily reaching twenty-five feet high. Four tall towers stood at the corners of the walls, providing an excellent field of view of both sides of the pass. Lit in a soft, blue glow by magical ever-burning torches, the citadel looked like something out of a fairytale.

The fortress itself sat in the center of the citadel, aligned with the two large metal-studded wooden gates that controlled the entrance and exit of the Moon Wolf Citadel. Stone walls radiated out from the fortress like the spokes of a wheel, dividing the citadel into six sections. Two walls ran from the fortress to the sides of the gatehouses, forming a funnel leading from the gate to a tunnel running underneath the fortress.

To the sides of the fortress were the various areas that Thorn had built in preparation for the influx of players who would be arriving in the valley. Apart from the pathway leading through the citadel, the rest of the space was divided into four distinct districts. On the right side of the main gate was the merchant square, packed with empty shops and open areas for trade. Based on what he had observed in Berum, Thorn expected that most players would be spending their time in this area.

On the other side of the entrance, Thorn had placed the residential and training districts. While there, players would be able to arrange housing, visit inns, or get training in a variety of different basic skills. Purchasing a training hall had added quite a bit of cost to the citadel’s price, but the fees Thorn would be able to collect from it made it an easy choice. Unlike the merchant area, Thorn had also left about half of the space in this section of the citadel empty to allow for future buildings to go in.

Behind the merchant area were the production buildings that Thorn had purchased. Much like the training hall, their cost had been high, but Thorn felt that the expense was necessary in order to create a solid base for his guild. This area also had a number of residences that could be used by members of the guild and natives who settled into the Moon Wolf Citadel.

The last section of the citadel was the reconstructed temple. The area the temple took up was bigger than Greymane Keep and connected directly with the fortress in the center of the citadel. It had been expanded to include quarters for the disciples in training as well as four sectors for the different courts. Additionally, the temple was connected to a subterranean area containing a barracks and extra storage. Connected with tunnels to various sections of the city wall, the subterranean levels allowed for quick access to every part of the city.

Towering over the center of the pass, the fortress was an imposing affair. Sitting squarely in between the two tall peaks, it almost looked like a new mountain had been added. The fortress sat over a large tunnel that connected the front and back gates. Thorn had made sure that the tunnel was big enough to move two wagons through side by side, but had also added six metal portcullises for a measure of defense. The inside of the fortress had the typical great room and ballroom, while the rest of the fortress was split up between the kitchen, a number of offices, bedrooms, storage rooms, and even a wizard’s tower.

After a quick tour of the citadel, the first thing Thorn did was head to the great room of the fortress. Taking out the [Control Orb] from his inventory, Thorn activated it, choosing to place the control point where the throne would go. With a flash of bright light, the process that Thorn had witnessed in the Keep reversed. Seeing the [Control Orb] melting and reforming the Wolf Throne, Thorn had a hard time keeping a grin off his face. As he stood watching the throne being reconstructed, Thorn heard hurried footsteps behind him. Turning, he saw Velin and Mina both rushing in.

“Thorn, the scouts have arrived! We need to get the army together since the main force will not be far behind. Wow, look at that view!” Distracted by the large balcony that ran the length of one side of the great room, Mina dashed outside, taking in the sight of the valley. Dark green forest stretched far into the distance, lying quietly under the twinkling stars. The soft breeze blew against Mina, causing her to grab her hat as she looked down. In the distance, the mountains cut against the sky, like jagged teeth under the bright moon.

“That is really pretty.” Mina walked back inside and started examining the tapestries that covered the opposite wall. “This place must have cost a fortune. Looks like we picked the right side this time. Ah, I mean…” Choking on her words, Mina blushed and looked away, her voice trailing off.

“It was expensive, but I think it is worth it.” Sitting on the newly reformed Wolf Throne, Thorn pretended he had not heard Mina’s last sentence to spare her embarrassment. “This will be our base of operations from now on. I was hoping to do this when Oberlin was back, but we don’t really have a lot of time, so I’ll just go ahead and announce the official formation of our guild.”

“We’re starting a guild?” Mina looked at Velin and then Thorn, confusion written all over her face.

“Yes, I told you that, didn’t I?” Thorn scratched his head. A lot had happened recently, and as preoccupied as he was with planning the valley’s defense, he had been quite distracted. “Honestly, I can’t remember. Anyway, we’re starting a guild.”

“Hey, that is awesome!” Mina cheered. “But there are only three of us so far. How are we supposed to get more people?”

“We’ll be recruiting mostly natives, actually. Wolfkin disciples who become Night Walkers.” Seeing Mina’s expression revert to confusion, Thorn sighed and held his forehead in his palm. “Disciples from the Moon Temple become Night Walkers when they finish their training. Since we will be housing them, and I am sort of their boss already, Elder Havva has agreed to allow them to join our guild.”

“Does this mean we will be getting players, as well?” Velin asked, getting out her notebook to scribble some notes.

“Potentially. We have the right of refusal, obviously, but it is conceivable that any player who succeeds in joining the temple will be able to graduate into the Night Walkers, and therefore, into our guild.”

“Oh wow, that is genius!” Mina’s eyes were wide with excitement as she smacked her fist into her palm. “The Temple of the Moon is the primary way for new Wolfkin players to gain classes and advance, which means that they are going to be walking right into our guild. It is like one of those spout things with water that goes straight from one place to your house!”

“A pipeline?” Velin’s face didn’t even twitch as she explained for Thorn’s benefit.

“Exactly, a pipeline.”

“Correct. My goal was to find a way to build a reliable pipeline for recruiting new members. We are not going to be Wolfkin exclusive, obviously, but since we are already in control of this region, it makes sense to use that to our advantage. Plus, since we can recruit natives, why not do so in a way that consolidates our control of the region?”

“So, what is our guild name going to be?” Mina was obviously much more interested in the answer to this question than she was in Thorn’s schemes to consolidate his power.

“Nova Luna.”

“Nova Luna? That is pretty.” Mina considered it for a few minutes, before nodding her head sagely.

“It means New Moon,” Velin tossed in without looking up.

“New Moon, right.” Mina pretended she had known that from the beginning.

“I was thinking that we would keep it in line with our moon theme,” Thorn said, trying to suppress a laugh. Opening his interface, Thorn clicked on his guild tab and activated it.

Guild Formed: Nova Luna

Congratulations! Your guild, Nova Luna, has successfully been formed. In order to grow your guild, the first step is to find members to join. Once you have found a new member, you may add them to your guild from the guild panel. On the guild panel, you will find everything you need to set the rules for your guild and to identify your guild’s operating region. This will give your guild members the option to use that region’s re-spawn point in addition to any other re-spawn point they have bound.

A [Region Management System] has been detected. Would you like to combine your guild tab into your [RMS]? Doing so will automatically bind this region as your guild’s operating region.

Yes

No


Immediately after Thorn selected yes, the guild tab vanished, replaced by his [RMS], which had gained a new tab. Selecting it, Thorn made a mental note to spend some time figuring out what the countless options were used for as he scrolled down. Ignoring the questions asking him about how he wanted to set up the guild, Thorn found the spot for adding other players and sent invitations to Mina, Velin, and Oberlin.

“I’ve invited you to the guild. Alright, there we go.” Seeing that Velin and Mina had accepted the invitation, Thorn set Velin as an administrator and gave her control of the guild settings. “Velin, when you have some time, can you set everything up? I honestly have no idea what most of these options are, so I’m probably better suited for guarding the gate for now.”

“Of course, it would be my pleasure. I’d be happy to show you how to do it, as well.”

“Thanks, maybe later.” Rising from the throne, Thorn summoned his silver wolf armor and drew his massive metal spike. “Right now, it is time to go greet those scouts.”

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If you've enjoyed what you read and are interested in reading more, please consider supporting me on Patreon where you can read all of Book #2 and advanced chapters from Book #3. Come explore the world of Nova Terra and help me determine where the story goes.

You can find out more about me at sethring.com


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WildCard

Bio: My name is Seth Ring and I am a writer. I create worlds and tell the stories of those who inhabit them. I love exploring these new worlds with other people. I post a chapter every Friday around 12 pm EST. To get advanced access to chapters you can support me on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/SethRing.

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