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Thaezos was running in front of a wild boar while Anya was shooting. It was a Level 1 creature, but more dangerous than the packs of wolves they’d been hunting the previous day. It looked menacing, being more than six feet tall and ten feet long, and covered with brown fur. It had two long, curved fangs, and it stared down the dwarf in rage.

Wild boar

Level: 1

Health: 170

Mana: 1

Stamina: 60

 

Damage: 12/30

Defense: 10/18

 

Abilities:

Trample

Lonely

 

 

Thaezos

Level: 3

Experience: 50%

Race: Dwarf

Class: Not unlocked

Fame: 0

Survivor bonus: 0%

 

Health: 88

Mana: 1

Stamina: 60

Physical condition: Normal

 

Strength: 11

Intelligence: 8

Agility: 8

Wisdom: 0

Dexterity: 8

Charisma: 0

Constitution: 13

Endurance: 10

 

Attack: 22

Magical attack: 15

Defense: 25

Magical defense: 8

Critical: 2%

Evade: 1%

Block: 17%

Carrying capacity: 59 pounds

 

Free stats: 10

Build level: 9

 

Equipment:

Hatchet, shield, pants, boots, shirt.

 

Possessions:

Regenerative potion x4, fishing rod, wolf skin x7, wolf meat x3.

233 Bronze.

 

 

Three days had passed since the encounter with the PKers. Anya and Thaezos had been farming, doing missions, and leveling up. In fact, Thaezos was now Level 3 and Anya was about to reach it. This morning, they’d gone deeper into the forest until they found the wild boar in a clearing and put into practice their new tactic. Thaezos attacked it and ran while Anya shot. As the arrows aggroed the creature and it turned to face the archer, Thaezos attacked it with his hatchet, drawing its attention away from Anya.

Suddenly, the beast trampled against the dwarf. He couldn’t dodge it and had to tank it with his shield. His health points went down, and he started running again. Finally, Anya’s arrows killed the wild boar and it hit the ground with a boom. Seconds after, the creature dissolved into brown dust, leaving behind three items:

Wild boar meat.

Wild boar fur.

Wild boar fang.

Three pop-ups appeared in front of Anya:

Congratulations!

Archery Skill has increased to 4.

Effect: +2% damage bonus.

 

Congratulations!

One of your spells has leveled up.

Curse level 3: You bring bad luck to nearby enemies.

Effect: Bad luck to enemies or hostile creatures.

Area of Effect: 4 yards.

Probability: 5%

Passive.

 

Congratulations!

You have leveled up.

Your health, mana, and stamina points are refilled.

Your maximum health points have risen.

 

 

Another pop-up emerged in front of Thaezos:

 

Congratulations!

You have learned a new passive spell: Stone Skin.

Your skin has been blessed by the brown god Hagafestuss. Its toughness has increased.

Stone Skin has increased to 1: Your body toughens, making you more resistant to physical damage, as if your own skin turned into an armor.

Effect: +2 defense.

Passive.

 

 

“We did it!” Anya shouted, thrilled.

“Well done, Little Red,” he winked.

“And I just leveled up.”

Anya

Level: 3

Experience: 00%

Race: Human

Class: Not unlocked

Fame: 0

Survivor bonus: 0%

 

Health: 82

Mana: 1

Stamina: 63

Physical condition: Normal

 

Strength: 6

Intelligence: 13

Agility: 7

Wisdom: 1

Dexterity: 8

Charisma: 1

Constitution: 12

Endurance: 5

 

Attack: 13

Ranged attack: 22

Magical attack: 22

Defense: 14

Magical defense: 9

Critical: 2%

Evade: 1%

Block: 1%

Carrying capacity: 59 pounds

 

Free stats: 10

Build level: 5

 

Equipment:

Short sword, bow, pants, boots, shirt.

 

Possessions:

Regenerative potion x3, fishing rod, wolf meat.

236 Bronze.

 

 

“Congrats! Anya,” he continued, “can you show me all that you learned? Look, I’ll show you my spells and skills.”

He accessed his menu and selected a list:

Earth Control level 3: You can manipulate earth. You can harden or loosen it.

Effect: Harden or loosen earth.

Size: 3 cubic feet.

Reach: 15 yards.

Active.

 

Stone Skin level 1: Your body toughens, making you more resistant to physical damage, as if your own skin turned into an armor.

Effect: +2 defense.

Passive.

 

Block Skill level 4.

Effect: +0.4 % blocking.

 

Fists Skill level 3.

Effect: +1.5% damage bonus.

 

Axe Skill level 5.

Effect: +2.5% damage bonus.

Effect: Bleeding. DoT: +2% of the damage dealt in the last hit. +3% if the target is moving. Duration: until the wound is bandaged.

 

Physical Resistance level 10.

Effect: +1% physical damage reduction.

 

Shield Skill level 2.

Effect: +1% defense bonus.

Effect: +1% damage bonus when the shield is used as a weapon.

 

Trade Skill level 1.

Effect: +1% price reduction for buying.

Effect: +1% price increase for selling.

 

Herbalism Skill level 1.

Effect: Knowledge of herbs and their possible uses to treat illnesses. Herbs discovered: Sytta’s Leaf – unknown use.

 

Cookery Skill level 2.

Effect: Knowledge of the practice of cooking.

Effect: Knowledge of the necessary ingredients to cook different dishes and of their different buffs/debuffs that will affect the eaters.

 

Fishing Skill level 2.

Effect: Knowledge of the practice of catching fish, the better use of the angling zones, and the correct use of baits.

 

 

After that, Anya opened a screen for him. She had the same level in Herbalism and Trade since Thaezos had taught her when they had found the Sytta’s Leaf or gone to the vendor.

Archery Skill level 4.

Effect: +2% damage bonus.

 

Curse level 3: You bring bad luck to nearby enemies.

Effect: Bad luck to enemies or hostile creatures.

Area of Effect: 4 yards.

Probability: 5%

Passive.

 

Trade Skill level 1.

Effect: +1% price reduction for buying.

Effect: +1% price increase for selling.

 

Herbalism Skill level 1.

Effect: Knowledge of herbs and their possible uses to treat illnesses. Herbs discovered: Sytta’s Leaf – unknown use.

 

 

“You’re improving your archery skill quickly, well done,” he praised her.

She decided not to protest about the difference in number of the skills acquired, but she couldn’t bite her tongue about the spells.

“But Thae, I’m the mage and only have one spell. You have two.”

“Well, I imagine that’s because I’ve been casting my first spell each time I recover my mana.”

“Well, my spell is passive and doesn’t waste mana, so I have been casting it all time, too.”

“But, first, you need an enemy or hostile creature to cast it and, second, it has a low occurrence. How much was it? 5%?”

“Yes.”

“Then there you’ve got your answer. You aren’t always cursing enemies and hostile creatures.”

“I want to learn my second spell too.”

“I know. Be patient. Any other questions?”

“Yes. I have some free stat points, and as you told me the other day, it’s better I don’t use them, right?”

“Exactly. Right now, you want to be an archer, so you’d use your 10 points to raise your dexterity skill. But maybe you’ll change your mind later and want to be a mage or a warrior. You won’t have those points to raise your intelligence or your strength. It’s better to save your stat points until you’re sure of what class you want to be.”

“I see,” mused Anya. “You also told me something about passive points. In fact, I have passively risen my agility and dexterity stats from six to seven and eight, respectively, my intelligence stat from twelve to thirteen, my strength from five to six, and my charisma and wisdom stats from zero to one. And how, by the way, did I raise these last ones?”

“I’ve read on forums that all the players start with 0 points in those two stats and that we level them up by interacting with the NPCs. You do talk a lot so…” he teased.

Anya laughed. It was completely true.

Thaezos continued explaining. “And about the passive points, I will tell you again. It’s easy, listen. Let’s take for example your intelligence. As a human, you don’t have intelligence bonus but, as you are really clever in real life, you started with twelve intelligence points. When you reached level two, you could have used your free five stat points in raising your intelligence stat to seventeen. But, as you can win two intelligence stats per level passively—just for leveling up—three of these points would have been wasted. No one knows much about the mechanics of this game but, for example, suppose that you can achieve Level 100 and that they continue letting you passively gain two intelligence points per level. Then, at Level 100, you can have 198 intelligence plus your initial 12 points. That’s 210 intelligent points! Next, you could use your 495 saved points to raise it to 705. Then, you would be one of the more intelligent players in EO”

“Aha!” Anya liked the sound of that strategy.

“Besides, remember my theory about that high initial intelligence of yours? I think it gives you more passive stat points than, for example, my initial intelligence of eight. But, that’s all a guess based on what I’ve seen so far. I can’t be sure because the game is so new and Black Scythe is so quiet about the mechanics of the game and the EO world. It’s the same with the ability tree; we know nothing about it and must learn while playing. There are some dwarf warriors in forums and streaming that, as they are not allowed to use footage from the game, just explain their gaming experience; but they are around my level.”

She beamed at his patience. “Thanks. I’m really lucky for having you to teach me.”

“No problem! It’s nice to party with you. I think I feel a little as if I was one of your brothers.”

She remembered what Sam had told her to do and asked, “Do you have any sisters?”

“No, I am an only child,” Thaezos replied, shrugging.

“I see. And would you like it?”

He laughed. “Life is complicated enough without a Little Red like you to protect.”

“Hm… You are in a gang, aren’t you?”

Thaezos shrugged again.

It was like the other times she tried to learn more about him; he just closed up.

“You can tell me, I won’t judge you. You know that Sam is in a gang and got wounded.”

“Yes, the Crimson Bulls. He needs to be careful, his leader isn’t very reliable.”

“So, have you heard about him?” Anya perked up. “Are you in a rival gang?”

“Don’t be so curious Little Red. You know what they say about curiosity and cats.”

“I am not a cat,” she protested, “and you are being rude.”

“Don’t exaggerate, I’m just trying to keep you safe.”

“Okay, but you’ll end up telling me. You’ll see.” She stuck her tongue out at him.

He smiled. “By the way, can I take the wild boar meat and give it to Drooly?”

“Of course!” Anya took the meat out of her inventory and gave it to Thaezos.

The slime, which was still on Thaezos’s forearm fighting him and raising his physical resistance, jumped onto the big chunk of meat that he offered with his other hand. The creature covered it all with his gelatinous green body and, once it finished eating the meat, jumped onto Thaezos’s shoulder.

A screen popped up:

Congratulations!

The slime belongs now to you.

Give it a name.

 

“Anya, Drooly is now my pet,” he said, both pleased and moved. “I will name it Drooly.”

The slime is now called Drooly.

Drooly’s level is 5.

Drooly will not gain additional experience until his owner gets to Level 5 or higher.

 

“I’m gonna look at his stats,” Thaezos explained as he opened a screen visible to both him and Anya.

Drooly (Thaezos’s slime)

Level: 5

 

Health: 68

Mana: 1

Stamina: 18

Physical condition: Normal

 

Damage: 8-17

Defense: -

Magical defense: 3

 

Abilities:

Polymorphous

Cohesion

Physical invulnerability

Elemental vulnerability

Corrosive attack

 

 

“His damage ranges from 8 to 17. Were you really receiving all that damage when he was on your arm?” she asked curiously.

“No, because I have armor and physical defense. Besides, while he was on my arm, I was drinking regenerative potions.”

“So that’s why you put him on the ground, calm and sleepy, after giving him meat or fish? Because you wanted to rest? With your armor, how much damage did Drooly do per second?”

“My total armor is of 25 points, of which 13 are from my equipment”.

“The leather armor we bought?”

In town, Thaezos advised her to change her initial clothes for leather ones and to also use the leather robe she’d looted, although at the beginning it was uncomfortable when she was shooting.

“Yes,” he answered. “Drooly gave me from 0 to 3 damage points. Symbolic damage, I think. Besides, you should keep in your mind that those 25 armor points are not real because there are many kinds of attacks. Do you remember the PKers?”

She nodded.

“I killed one of them with some hatchet strikes in his head. His level was upper than mine, and I could do it because a hit to the head ignores a great part of the armor.”

“I see. And you said about drinking regenerative potions… how many do you have?”

He laughed. “I just drink them when I’m fighting with several creatures or alone with the slime but at half life. But, I must confess that it’s a relief that he is now my pet and won’t attack me anymore. What about if I find another little friend to continue raising my physical resistance and I also search another for you?”

“Blech… no thank you!” Anya frowned and made a face like she was disgusted by the idea.

The dwarf smiled and the slime, which was following the conversation with his eyes wide open, jumped onto Thaezos forearm. It seemed that, attacking or not, he was used to being there and didn’t want another creature to replace him.

“I think Drooly is even a little cute. But only a little,” laughed Anya.

“See this?” Thaezos pointed at the bottom-right side of the screen that was still open. “Drooly has an ability tree. He is just at the initial level. Maybe when he levels up, I’ll be able to choose the ability to raise for him. I hope so.”

“Cool!”

Level 1 - Corrosive attack

Level 6 - Specialization

 

“By the way, my hunger bar is almost empty. I’d like to cook something.”

“Perfect, mine too.” She smiled.

This wasn’t the first time Anya saw Thaezos light a fire, take out a sauce pan, and start cooking. This time, he was cooking a fish and some potatoes he’d bought in town.

The girl was sitting on a stone, thinking about what she’d experienced since she entered EO. The stew’s smell streamed in the air. She felt relaxed.

“Thae,” she said, “why are you playing?”

He did not look away from the stew and answered. “For fun. Playing is a great way of disconnecting from stress and the real world.”

And because I have some suspicions I want to confirm, he thought. What that friend of mine told me about his relative working in the design of the capsules… Yeah, I do want to confirm it.

“It’s fun but I’m not here for that. I… I just want the opportunity of winning big amounts of money.”

“It’s an incentive, I won’t deny it.” He smiled.

“Don’t you need the money?”

“Of course, as does everyone in this city. But, I have other ways to obtain it.”

“Your gang…”

“Yes.”

“I knew it.”

As he didn’t want to talk about it and Anya was thoughtful, silence settled again between them. Later, while they were eating the delicious dish (and after a ‘Your Cookery Skill has increased to 3’ pop-up), Anya finally spoke up about what was bothering her.

“My family took their savings and paid for two months of game time. This is all the time I have to do something that helps me earn enough money to continue playing. I’ve spent five days playing and I am still a low-level player. I thought this would be easier.”

Thaezos drank a gulp of water before answering her. “Well, it’s not easy, but I think you’re doing great. Two months can be enough time to obtain some valuables items from a boss. I’ve read on some forums that some players are already trying to enter the local dungeon or tower.”

“I heard about that too, but I didn’t know what the tower was,” Anya explained.

“If a dungeon is a dark underground area full of monsters, a tower is similar but built as a skyscraper. However, as the players who found the local tower said that it’s not very tall and we know nothing about the dungeon, I think that we should try the tower.”

“Has anyone done it?”

“No. As all the players are still low-levels, not many of them have tried it. I read that a party from Europe defeated the dungeon’s keeper near their starting town, but they all died before reaching the second basement. Some Asian players are also trying to clean a tower.”

“Eek... And do you think we can do it?”

“Well, the tower isn’t far from here. After eating, we can continue farming and at least have a look.” He opened the local map and showed it to her. “See? I think it’s by here,” Thaezos explained while he pointed to an area of the map.

There was the forest, the town, the fields, and the river. The tower and dungeon’s location weren’t on the map because they hadn’t discovered it yet. However, as he’d seen in forums, it was in the north-west direction and not far from their current location.

“Ok, that sounds good. Let’s do it!”

With Thae by her side, she thought that everything was possible.

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AngelDraconious

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