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Maxwell

Rowena and I returned to the settlement once I had regained enough mana for a teleportation. The villagers were working hard to gather the quota of resources that I had put in. Several trees near the tents had been cut down and were in the middle of being processed. A few workers were heading out along the foot of the mountain to gather stone and iron.

I was glad that we were able to put the Gate down. Even if it might put pressure on our food stores, to grow the village rapidly, we needed manpower. We should have enough resources for a few buildings and the wall by tonight. If we could get a lot of wood, then I could at least upgrade the tents to something a bit nicer for the villagers.

A loud creak before the sound that was distinctly that of a tree falling sounded out through the settlement. The twenty- or thirty-meter tree crashed to the ground with a thundering boom. I had to hope we didn’t attract every monster in the forest with all the noise we were making. “About how far did you say that goblin camp was?”

“The first scout was nearly ten kilometers away. We should be fine, but I can understand why it would make you nervous,” Rowena replied patting my shoulder.

I watched the workers start to work on cutting the next tree down. The bark was thick and it took them a while to get through it with their low quality axes. Even the trunk of the tree took a while to get through enough for them to push the tree over. “Hey. What happens if I were to use my spell to cut a tree down?”

“It would come back in a day like a normal harvest node, I think. I remember seeing people using skills to mow down entire sections of forests. Not sure how that plays into a village or construction. I didn’t do too much research into that subject.”

“Its okay. That much is enough.” I walked over to the forestry team. “I’m going to cut a few down myself. You guys process those for me.”

“Do you need an ax, my lord?”

“Nope,” I replied waving the tool away. I walked over to the edge of the forest then rubbed my hands together. Time to do some lumberjacking with magic! I aimed at the tree in front of me then used Spatial Tear. The spell worked beautifully. There was a loud creak as the tree started to fall… directly toward me. I dove out of the way and the tree crashed to the ground with an explosion of dust and leaves.

The sound of clapping reached me as Rowena walked around the downed tree with a wide grin across her face. “That was epic. I mean it!”

I stood up and brushed the dirt from my robe. I needed to get something that was easier to move around in. I looked up to my friend and flicked her off. “Shut up!”

The workers were able to start processing the tree into lumber units. That meant that my theory had worked. I could speed up at least this part of the resource gathering by several degrees. It took the five workers about ten minutes to completely process a tree into ten units of lumber. Not too shabby. Now that I’ve cut out the fifteen-minute downing process that was on top of that, they were really bringing in the wood.

Doing the math, I decided I would cut down fifty trees. That would give the workers plenty to work with while Rowena and I went hunting. My growing village was important but my own level was just as critical. I took into account the direction the tree was going to fall this time, directly back since the Tear got smaller as it bored through the tree. With a swing of my hand, another tree soon joined the first on the ground.

“I’m going to get a few of these downed. Go take a break and I’ll join you,” I called to Rowena. She waved in acknowledgement then wandered off. I got back to slicing trees down. The Tear spell used roughly ten mana per operation, so I could cut all the trees in one go. Sadly, my mana hadn’t been anywhere near full all morning. After twelve trees, I had to take a break to allow my mana to regen.

Really needed to get an apothecary going. They would be able to create potions, at least I assumed, that could recover mana and health. I pulled my town menu up and checked the building’s requirements. For a level one building, the resources were easy enough. Just a few dozen of stone, metal, and wood. There was however a special requirement. A citizen that had herbology and brewing at least at level one.

I scratched my head on how to make that happen. I knew players could go to towns or cities that had existing places to learn the skills, but how did inhabitants of the world do so? I maneuvered through the menu until I was in the citizen roster. I just randomly clicked on a person to see what I was working with.

--

Name: Lyic Orfen

Level: 1

Race: Dark Elf

Class: N/A

Specialization: N/A

Total Mana: 10/10

Abilities:

Dark Sight

Basic Sneak

--

Man! That was empty. I almost felt sorry for the guy. He didn’t even have a class. I clicked on the class label and a list that equaled the one that I saw when I first joined the game popped up in front of me. Every class that had been presented to me was present. I clicked on Mage and a cost appeared. A thousand gold or five thousand mana.

Curious about something, I went ahead and put five mana into the option. I wanted to see if it had to be paid all at once or if I could pay in installments. When I stopped the value didn’t go down. My next test was to see if the mana spent was toward that class or to the person. I went back and selected Archer. This option only costed five hundred gold or twenty-five hundred mana. The five points were shown in the mana bar.

So, I could buy my citizens classes. The requirements for the building were skills. They likely didn’t have to have the class to work in the building. It was entirely possible they could naturally gain the class after being given the skills and enough time. The question was if I had the time to let things go like that. It was a very real possibility that people would start going… crazy with how the world has changed for them.

I cleared the idle thoughts. No matter what the situation, I was stuck here. Might as well make the best of it. Go with the flow and all that. I closed the City Management screen and got back to work. About thirty minutes after I started, all fifty trees plus a few extra that I got with a two for one attack, were laying on the ground waiting to be processed.

Waving to the workers, I left the forest heading back to the settlement. I found Rowena talking to a few of the citizens and moved over. “Something interesting?”

The dark elves bowed their heads to Rowena before moving off. I didn’t mean to interrupt them. “Nah, just chitchatting. Learning about their lives before they were forced to flee.”

“Cool. You’ll need to tell me some later. Ready to hit the forest?”

“Sure am! I can’t wait to see what Greavefeather can do,” Rowena exclaimed.

“Greavefeather?” I asked.

“The bird from this morning. His name is Greavefeather.”

“Ah. Yeah. It will be exciting to see him able to fly.”

We continued to chat as we moved out of the settlement. We went the opposite direction of the goblin camp since we didn’t want to risk alerting them. With all the commotion we were making constructing the village I found it hard to believe the goblins were aware of us, but Rowena was sure we would be fine for a while longer.

Hiking through the forest, we soon came to an obvious monster habitat. Tracks and other hints such as fur showed that there was something ahead that was defending the area from invaders. Going from the paws, I wanted to saw they were wolves, but I withheld judgment until we saw the creatures.

That didn’t take long. We heard some growling and we slowed to a crawl. Creeping closer to a bush, we peered over the hedge to see a small wolf pack fighting over a deer carcass. We hadn’t planned it, but we were down wind and thus they hadn’t detected us yet. Rowena lifted her hand and raised her fingers in rapid succession. She counted sixteen wolves. I glanced over the hedge then back to her with a nod.

She pointed to the sky as blue smoke started to rise from her hand. It rose into the sky before collapsing several dozen meters above us. The giant blue bird from the cave exploded into being with a loud cry. The wolves stopped fighting and took alerted stances. These beasts were smarter than they looked.

Rowena gestured and Greavefeather began to circle the wolves. She pointed at my gauntlet then at Greavefeather then at the line of the clearing the wolves were in. We had never discussed tactics, but I knew exactly what she wanted me to do. I nodded and pointed my hand at the wolves.

We waited for the best moment, just as the wolves were beginning to relax, then she whistled loudly. Greavefeather banked hard before diving into the clearing of agitated wolves. When all their attention was on him, I sent several fireballs around the perimeter to keep any of them from fleeing while doing some minor damage in the process.

A few of the wolves turned toward us with the fireballs and charged. I counted five that looked like they wanted to bite our heads off. Rowena rushed to take the front, but I didn’t give the wolves time to get near us. I aimed for the neck of the nearest one and sent out a Spatial Tear. I missed the neck, but still took out the front and back right legs. The beast crashed to the ground tripping two of the others in the process.

The other two streaked around the downed wolf and were soon on top of us. Rowena brought her mace around and slammed it into the wolf that was charging from the right, while smashing her shield into the muzzle of the left wolf. Neither were killing blows, but they did their job in stopping the charging beasts.

I aimed my hand at the left one and sent a point-blank tear into its face. It might be level one magic, but damn was it powerful. The spell tore through the beast’s face and then some. Blood splattered over us from the wounds. I was glad the spell only had a second cooldown. I was able to swing my hand around and send another Tear into the right wolf’s body effectively killing it as well.

“Your class is too OP!” Rowena cheered with a grin. The two wolves that had been tripped were already back on their feet and rushing us. A few more from the larger group seemed to realize that the bird was a distraction as well and had rounded on us. I cracked my knuckles while Rowena twirled her mace. “Here they come!”

The sounds of meaty bodies colliding with wood and metal mixed with the whines of dying wolves as Rowena and I fought for the next minute or two. Greavefeather joined the fight as well, swooping in and stabbing his talons into any wolf that was too far from the pack and distracted.

The two of us were breathing heavily once all the wolves were finally dealt with. Toward the end, the remaining wolves had begun to dodge my Spatial tear spell. It showed the frightening level of AI at work in this game, though I knew that from interacting with the villagers what little bit I had done.

“That was fun,” I remarked as I sat down next to a tree. My mana needed to recover some before I wanted to risk moving through the forest.

“Recover your mana.” Her main attacks were physical thus she mainly used stamina. She only took a single hit during the fight, mindless beasts or not that was some real skill. It also meant she had some energy to spare to do the looting. “The smell of blood might attract other beasts. We might be able to get some more experience without having to look for more monsters in the forest.”

“That would be nice. Oh. I got a level from that fight.”

“The first ten are easy. From what I researched, there is a cliff every ten levels. It will make you wish it was this easy.”

“Either way. It is nice to see myself getting stronger.” My mana went up by a hundred points. Not bad. It was too bad that I didn’t get another spell, but the two I had were already over powered as it was. My spells might be few and far between. “When do you get new spells?” I asked since Rowena was higher level and should have a few more by now.

“You get one automatically at level five, ten, then every ten levels after that. There are skill and spell books that you can get to get the spells sooner. Whether you’ll have enough mana to use them in another story.”

“So, if I had the right resources, I could potentially get all my spells in a few minutes.”

“Yeah. Ah, but. Most of the stores don’t sell anything over about what you’d learn by level forty. The auctions were a good source for loot drops, but I have a feeling people will be hoarding their books and other resources for a while.”

“Interesting. I guess it doesn’t matter since there doesn’t appear to be any civilization for leagues around us.”

“You can say that again. Pip has been flying for hours and hasn’t seen anything but forest and mountains.” She paused while in the process of looting. “Well, not just forest mountains. There are plenty of monster encampments.”

“Isolated…” I stood up and looked at the mid day sky. Being so isolated was good since it meant there shouldn’t be any other players nearby, but at the same time… It meant that development would rely on our being self-sufficient. We would need to tread carefully.

 

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