I pulled up my Slate, intuition telling me I could look at the same [Quest] completion for [Against All Odds].
Group Tutorial Quest Completed: [Against All Odds]
Quests are the main method in which the [System] bestows boons. A small armed force of tuskers threatens to wipe out your group, finishing the job that the environment couldn't. Survive their slaughter or slaughter them first.
Final Contribution: 16 Kills
[Tusker Archers]: 8 x 100 = 800 [Points]
[Tusker Warriors]: 3 x 150 = 450 [Points]
[Tusker Mages]: 4 x 200 = 800 [Points]
[Tusker Leader]: 1 x 500 = 500 [Points]
Total [Points] = 2250
Rewards: Nearest [System Shop] Location, 2250 [Points]
I nodded, the [Points] being what I remembered. It wasn't until after I thought about my balance that it actually came up in my mind by itself. Simultaneously, on the crisp playing card, writing scrawled across the card rewriting the [Quest] information.
I marveled at my Slate. Logic said having to pull out a deck of cards every time for information would be a hassle, but the perfect playing cards proved anything but in my hands.
Total [Points]: 2250
[Points] are an accumulation of value or achievement. A unit of credit to be used toward award or benefit of the individual. [Points] can be awarded for anything deemed appropriate and holding merit.
It was little more than a third of the original 6500 [Points] I had started with. I had an urge likened to desiring to leap off a great height; to gamble it all away. But if I had known the effect those initial 6500 [Points] would have on my day-to-day I wouldn't know if I'd have the guts to risk them. All I knew was that the desire would be there. Of that, I was always certain.
Unfortunately, nothing in the [Rare Lightwater System Shop] was in my price range.
I caught Kevin, marveling at all the choices. I hadn't noticed him earlier, so focused on helping Hale. But now the man was staring in wonder at the crystal. And then I remembered his choice of [Powers]. He had some water-based [Power] maybe [Water Magic] or something similar.
"This has to be right up your alley, right Kevin?" I said, pulling away from the shop.
He looked over at me, more emotion on his face than I deemed normal from my interactions. "You wouldn't be wrong there." He said. "I love the water. This place is beautiful."
"What, you swim or something?" I asked.
He chuckled. "Of course. Spending most your life on the waves, you'll need a backup in case you fall off once or twice." Looking at him, I thought I might've seen something of a saltwater spray on him.
Garth grumbled. "Bah. I have no [Points] for anything!" He harrumphed. "I imagine some of these might do well with my [Ranged Fists]."
John stepped away too, admiring the lights around us. "I don't have enough for anything either."
Timothy walked up, placing a hand on the shop. His eyes looked to be scanning everything before he eventually removed his hand from the glittering crystal.
I leaned against the crystal. It floated in the air as if carried by water, having some give when I pushed against it, only to center itself again. It bobbed up and down in a fashion not so different from the tide.
Hale grunted, causing everyone's eyes to gather.
"We need to move the camp here. Let's get the others."
What followed was an awakening. Suffice to say I had never handled a dead body, but the rest treated it as if it were normal. My stomach barely held on to itself, but I managed to get two bodies outside the cave. There weren't even guts splattered about in the way one might expect to induce a gag reflex. No, those were left for the others.
I had the frozen bodies, prying them from the roots I had sicked upon them. They were covered in orange paint and the sharp smell was one I'd forever associate with death.
John and I hauled it outside, throwing it into a mass grave with the others. It helped to think of it as it and not something else.
"That's the last of the ones at the mouth." John said, wiping his hands off in the snow. "Good work with these ones. Those roots really did a number on them."
"Yeah." I said dully. "Let's help with the rest."
"You can take a break, Vak." John looked over at me, he pulled at his furs. "It's your third day here. The rest of us usually had weeks before we came to terms with everything."
"I can't." I shook my head. "That'll leave me time to think about it." I turned again back into the cave.
Kevin was washing away the blood with squirts of water. It was such a mundane task handled with such a supernatural ability that I paused to just stare. His small wave of water he had gathered was pulling arrows in its wake, still littering the floor. It was blood red.
It turned out Hale could direct his [Gravity Field] any way he wanted, though his mind still struggled to wrap around the concept of working any other way than down. We were able to gather most of the arrows to the side by Hale just shifting gravity to the opposite side of the cavern. Then they just fell to the side and clumped up easily for us.
I helped pick up the arrows and bows that the drow had left us.
In the end, it took us an hour but the cave was cleaned up. "Why didn't we have the rest of your Northbounders help out?" I asked, not seeing the reasoning. My eyes locked onto the stained stone under my feet and I answered my own question before anyone could.
Hale was the one who answered. "Some of them don't need to see the blood." He said over his shoulder. "The death."
I left it at that.
John sat on a rock beside me as Hale and the others spoke about calling the rest of the Northbounders here. The trek wouldn't be easy and there'd need to be protection both for the traveling group and the cave itself, else someone else comes along and claims it.
Hale walked up to us. "Are you two fine with watching the cave? We'll gather up the rest of the Northbounders and come here. " He said to us. "They'll be more comfortable with familiar faces."
"You mean ones they can trust." John replied.
"We trust you both." He responded. "That's why we're asking you."
John nodded and I let him take the reins on this one. It would give me time to rest. With small goodbyes, we were promised they would return within a few hours maybe more. Large groups of people didn't move fast, and they've learned from it after a month or so. They waved as they turned around the cave entrance.
I summoned my Slate into my hand, a full deck of transparent cards. Again, I was amazed at the perfection that was each card, and, momentarily, wondered if everyone's Slates were so perfect.
A few of those cards were actually glowing. I pulled out the first.
Notice: [Only Fools Get Lucky]
Through the quick-minded good sense to hop on an opportunity as it arises and the better sense to not, both your [CUN] and [WIS] increase.
Effects: [CUN] + 1, [WIS] + 1
My eyes widened at the [Attribute] increases. I wasn't even certain you could increase them at all. [CUN] was new but I thought I might have an idea of it. Cunning, probably. Speaking of which, I might as well check the rest of my [Attributes] and what exactly they supposedly governed.
I pulled up my info, or what John had taken to calling it. My [Character Sheet].
[Class] : None
[INT] : 7
[LUK] : 12
[WIS] : 6
[CUN] : 7
Accordingly, it looked as if my [WIS] went up. Apparently, each [Attribute] was simply hidden unless you unlocked it somehow. I guessed the way my [INT], [WIS] and [LUK] were unlocked were through my [Powers]. [CUN] obviously, was by just now, but it was also telling that I already had some points towards it, even before it was increased.
First off, I checked the descriptions of each [Attribute] I had. This amounted to drawing a few cards with the information already there.
The ability to retain knowledge and apply it. The [INT] of an individual reflects comprehension, mastery, and expertise in a given field. To an extent, this [Attribute] also reflects power of the mind, command, and grasp and thus affects the corresponding governing [Attributes].
The ability to understand the underlying connections of events. The [WIS] of an individual reflects experience, judgment, and soundness of decision. To an extent, this [Attribute] also reflects insight and knowledge and thus affects the corresponding governing [Attributes].
The ability of an individual to affect the happenings around them. The [LUK] of an individual reflects improbability, opportunity, and chance. [LUK] affects success, advantage, and well-being.
The ability to think quickly and deceive your foes. The [CUN] of an individual reflects cleverness, imagination, and guile. To an extent, this [Attribute] also reflects wit and trickery and thus affects the corresponding governing [Attributes].
The descriptions were all interesting to me. My highest [Attribute] [LUK] however gave me no clues. I couldn't so easily go around questioning everything that's so far happened to me. The numbers given to each of the [Attributes] at least, I could test.
"You had [WIL] and [MND] right?" I asked John, who likewise, must've been looking at his Slate.
He glanced over. "Yeah, why?" He answered. "A few others, but those are the ones my [Class] helps with."
"I'm trying to understand these numbers. Do you have anything above 10?" I asked.
"Both of the ones you said." John replied. "I can keep up a handful of shapings because of it. It's the only reason I could have you using a sword and shield while holding a bow myself. And that [MND] stat, I imagine it's helping we cope with everything easier than most."
So I was as lucky as John was stoic and willful.
Well, that didn't really help me.
"Doesn't really help does it?" John said. "I've tried understanding it myself but it's hard to detect any changes."
"No kidding." I replied. "Maybe if I had any of the physical ones we could test them."
"Wish I did. It would give us a perspective at least. You were looking at your Slate right? " John said. "You see that [Zone Quest]?" He asked..
Zone Quest: [The Everlasting Freeze]
Zone Quests are specific to a region or locale. The Everlasting Freeze is the curse of cold that blankets the entire region. This region so long having been cursed that it has even adopted the name The Everlasting Freeze, both curse and place interchangeable.
Objectives: Remove the curse.
Rewards: 100,000 [Points] divided by contribution, [Zone Control]
"Yeah." I responded, looking at the card in my hand I knew was invisible to John. He, similarly, was holding something I myself couldn't see. "So we're in The Everlasting Freeze. Fitting." I added, blandly. All around us was snow.
"Who would've guessed?" John chuckled, shaking the snow from his shoulders. We were at the mouth of the cave entrance and slowly but surely being frosted over as everything did.
"What do you think that [Zone Control] is about?" I asked.
"Some type of deed to the land? Maybe?" He answered weakly. "It's got to be more than that though."
"No use thinking on it too hard then. Have you gotten some other [Quests]?" I prodded. "I've gotten one to buy something from the shop."
Quest: [Small Spender]
Buy something from the [Rare Lightwater System Shop] for less than 1000 [Points].
Rewards: [Lesser Health Salve]
John shook his head. "Nothing so simple." He replied. "I had one to kill the ashmen guarding the shop. See?" He pulled a small satchel from under his furs and showed me a pair of glowing rocks. "They're mana batteries. I can charge as I want, and can pull from them if I need to. They're small though, but something tells me they're pretty valuable since it was my [Reward] for doing all that." John waved at the pile of bodies not far from us. We had covered them in snow, but it was obvious to anyone looking, a thin veil that the Northbounders pretended to not notice.
"What it just showed up in your hand?" I said, incredulous. "Just like that?"
John raised an eyebrow at me. "That's what you want to get worked up about?" He said comically. "Yes, just like that. But it's not the craziest thing to happen so far."
"I reserve the right to get worked up about everything. How could you not be?" I said rubbing my face at the thought.
"My [MND] stat, maybe?" John rose an eyebrow eliciting laughter from me.
"The mind boggles." I said in wonder.
"Not mine." He said.
"Not yours." I replied.
"Keeps getting stranger and stranger." I waved, gesturing to everything I could. "This place."
"That it does, that it does." John nodded quietly. He broke the following silence. "Well, shouldn't you go buy something?"
"Probably." I shrugged. "I'll see this magically appearing [Reward] for myself then." So saying, I got up and made my way to the [Rare Lightwater System Shop].
I browsed through the [Items] menu after having placed my hand on the cool floating crystal. There weren't many things in my budget, in fact, most of the other things were completely out of my range. Everything seemed too exotic, but I was looking for something cheap and practical. I had to remember to spend less than 1000 [Points] and I finally came across something that fit all three criteria I had set myself.
A well-made backpack capable of holding all of one's belongings comfortably upon their back. It is capable of emitting a dull light and is completely waterproof even when submerged. Ideal for deep water dives.
Price: 700 [Points]
The backpack was nothing more than a small pretty vortex of multicolored light before its weight actually settled on my shoulders. Following that, I got a notice that my [Small Spender] [Quest] completed. A small red container formed in my hand in a similar fashion of that of the [Lightwater Backpack]. Opening the container revealed a thick reddish paste that I knew would have some healing properties. The [Reward] for [Small Spender] was a [Lesser Healing Salve] after all.
The next few days passed in a blur.