Crucis looked through Storage, and picked out the [Silver Wasp] light sword. Finding that he could wield it now due to his Dexterity exceeding 350, he swung it lightly through the air, and it flew almost weightless through the still air. He decided to check on its stats further:

[Silver Wasp | Has a 40% chance to give user a +5% Agility buff after hitting an opponent successive times. Base power: 150. Base speed: 130%]

While it wasn't as fast as his dagger, it was still quite fast at this stage in the game. However, Crucis hadn't yet trained his light sword abilities much, and hence would be at a disadvantage using this for now. He would train light swords in due course, but for now he wanted to bring Cael across to Kruxol, so that he could take advantage of the many new players coming here for easier quests that had less chance of causing pain. Instead of attempting to train light swords, Crucis put the sword to use in another way: using the [Silver Orb] artifact, he transferred the special ability of the sword to his dagger. His dagger now looked like this:

[Silver Crucifix Dagger | Raises Agility by 5%. Deals 50% extra damage for 5 seconds when Agility is buffed by spells, skills, or non-equipment items, this does not stack. Has a 40% chance to give user a +5% Agility buff after hitting an opponent successive times (Silver Orb). Base power: 120. Base attack speed: 170%.]

This was an interesting set of abilities, however the Agility buff from the [Silver Wasp] would not trigger the 50% damage increase because that can't be triggered by equipment items. Nonetheless, it allowed for much faster and more decisive attacks. He also noticed that he had a few skill points left to invest. He sought out an appropriate ability, which could buff his [Agility]. He found that he could invest in an ability called [Dodge Step], which boosted the user's Agility by 50% and allowed them to step out of the path of an incoming attack. The Agility buff only lasted for the duration of the [Dodge Step] skill, but it would still be useful due to triggering a damage increase from the [Silver Crucifix Dagger] ability. The main issue with this was that it could only be used when under attack, since it was a dodging skill, and it would typically move you away from the opponent and hence make it less easy to launch an attack during the 5 second damage buff.

Thinking about this, Crucis looked through his menu and realised that he had unlocked the [Skill Mastery] feature again. Checking through his basic skills, he saw that when [Stealth] was upgraded, it gained an additional Agility boost:

[Stealth Cloak* | Makes the player invisible for three seconds. During this time, their Agility is buffed by 20%, and by 40% if they are under attack. They can use any dodging skills during this period, regardless of cooldown times.]

This would be useful to him, as he could easily use [Stealth] to approach an enemy and then unleash a fierce assault using the damage buff. Checking on the requirements to upgrade his [Stealth] skill, he saw that it required an item named [Book of Disguise]. This item could be used to temporarily blur other players' vision of you, for one minute, or to learn a skill which would do this for 3 seconds. Either use would consume the item. Crucis remembered that the Assassin Trainer NPC sold these books for 30,000 gold each, something that Crucis could now afford after his time in the labyrinth. It would generally be quite expensive for a new player.

While the [Skill Mastery] feature was officially introduced as a way for classes like Mage to use their surplus spell scrolls, for classes like Assassin most skills were not a result of scrolls. As such, the requirements for upgrading Assassin skills were slightly more creative and included skill books of a similar type to the upgraded skill, or rare Talismans. This could still be difficult to acquire at higher levels, but, like basic spell scrolls, most basic skills could be upgraded with items bought in Kruxol. However, upgrading a skill was permanent, and only three could be upgraded. Crucis decided that upgrading [Stealth] was still worthwhile, because it was a staple of the Assassin class even in the late game.

As such, he ran over to the Assassin Trainer NPC outside the Alchemist's Store, and bought two copies of the [Book of Disguise]. He eagerly used one of these to upgrade his [Stealth] skill, which evolved into [Stealth Cloak]. He used the other to learn the [Figure Blur] skill, which would blur other players' vision of him. He invested some skill points into this skill, increasing it to level 5, which increased the blurring effect.

He also picked up a new dagger skill, named [Silent Stab], which was a stab skill mostly focussed on being economical and quiet so as not to alert people nearby. In addition to that, the basic skill [Forceful Kick] would allow him to kick players and propel them forwards.

After these upgrades, Crucis wanted to test out his abilities. He quietly walked past the outskirts of the town, until he saw a group of drunk players talking and jostling loudly by the South of Kruxol. He couldn't quite make out their slurred, loud speech, but he saw a male and female separate off from the group and walk Southwards to encouraging shouts from the others. They may have been going to a famously romantic candlelit lake a short way South of Kruxol, where couples could have their names written together on one of the large columns around the area and set a few roses floating on the lake with messages attached. A few weekly events took place near that lake, commemorating these romantic escapades. In addition, during the early morning the roses were sold at a halved price, and couples would use the small shacks around the lake for privacy.

Crucis hovered around the trees just South of Kruxol, and as the couple drunkenly staggered South he crept closer to them while concealed behind the trees. He saw that the female, named [Leonie], had pale skin that looked almost sickly, and was bleach-blonde, wearing a light sleeveless white shirt. Her boyfriend, named [Zehu] had slightly darker skin, and a large nose. Crucis noticed that their names were both visible. They were both chattering excitedly and falling over each other. As they moved further away from their friends in Kruxol, they started to become louder and seemed excited about the lake. Zehu was level 18, and Leonie was level 14, they were both warriors.

As soon as Crucis was convinced that they were out of sight of the group in Kruxol, he used [Stealth Cloak] to quickly approach the couple. He grabbed Zehu's left shoulder and stabbed it with the [Stunning Dagger] skill, and was impressed that it knocked off 20% of the warrior's HP. It must be because of the 50% damage increase triggered by the Agility Buff of [Stealth Cloak]. He followed up immediately with a fierce [Ripper], flicking his wrist to send his dagger hurtling in a wide arc across the left edge of Zehu's neck where it connected to the shoulder. This triggered a +5% Agility increase, and the jagged cut removed another 60% of Zehu's HP due to Crucis still dealing increased damage. As Zehu attempted to turn around and attack, Crucis pre-empted him with a [Silent Stab] near the right of Zehu's neck, then used [Dagger Twist], killing the warrior.

"You should have at least given him a chance to get an attack off! You're just a bully!" screamed Leonie.

"Good idea," laughed Crucis.

Leonie had taken a few seconds to process what was happening, since she was drunk, but now she lurched angrily towards Crucis while raising her sword in the air to strike. However, Crucis was prepared, and had used [Figure Blur] to blur Leonie's vision of him further and make it harder for her to aim. As she clumsily went in to strike Crucis, he used [Dodge Step] to easily sidestep right and evade the attack, and this activated his 50% damage increase. He noticed that the drunk Leonie was slipping and about to fall after her lunge failed to hit him, so he used [Forceful Kick] to send her hurtling to the ground. Crouching over her, a sharp [Ripper] just below her neck was enough to deal 50% of her HP in damage, reducing her to 30% HP. Crucis grabbed her in a [Chokehold] and shoved her head bluntly into the grassy soil as she tried to scream. As she began to kick at him, he used [Black Spot] to slit her neck. This sent her down to 20% HP, and caused her to bleed.

Eventually, Leonie finally managed to land a kick, that sent Crucis sharply back. Using this opportunity, Leonie lifted her face off the ground and rolled onto her back.

"Ha! I got to attack you!" Leonie sputtered out.

Angrily, Crucis grabbed a sharp, small rock from the ground next to Leonie, and held it in his fist. He repeated a familiar maneouvre, using his [Punch] skill to strike Leonie with the sharp edge of the rock, aiming for the slit on her throat. The rock made clear contact with the slit, and tore roughly at the wound, causing strands of tattered, bloody skin to hang down. As Leonie lay down, making hellish gurgling noises, Crucis said, "Good for you, do it again," and held his arms out to the side as if to gesture that he was leaving himself open to attack. She could barely move, let alone attack, and she died in extreme pain.

Crucis heard some slight commotion from near Kruxol, and decided to run deeper into the woods South of Kruxol in case the drunkards of Kruxol came after him. He eventually slowed, after noticing that the group in Kruxol hadn't bothered investigating too deeply because they would rather go back to partying. Since he had a red name, he couldn't return immediately to Kruxol.

Passing through the woods, he found a few small wooden cabins. They all seemed locked, but he noticed that one had an open window, so he crept through it. It was a small, dark, cramped space, that was mostly empty. He found it slightly eerie, but nonetheless sat quietly for half an hour to ward off the red name. After that, he clambered out and made his way back to Kruxol, where he tried to enter from the Eastern entrance to avoid suspicion. He had heard players talk about draugr inhabiting small, out-of-the-way cabins, and wondered if there was a chance of them appearing in the cabin he had just hid in. He decided to keep this in mind, and check the cabins if he ever received a quest which required him to fight a draugr.


About the author



Log in to comment
Log In