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Dreamweaver Chapter 203

Fae Cultural Re-education Center AKA the Fae Gate Fortress

A random group of ‘interns’ conversation in the fae ‘citizens to soldiers’ program for rehabilitating humans. In the current building and others just like it, many are in training in martial arts specialized training and facility centers. Each are clustered around job classes like their own with other clusters around for each adventuring job with several other fighting class job specialized training centers.

“Heh, I’m the best check that out,” martial artist Surin cracks his joints after knocking another opponent down, KO’ed into the training mat. The KO’ed go is still down with his eyes unfocused while others are coming over to administer first aid and take him to the recovery station.

“I can see you are humble too,” one of Surin’s friends joked from the side of the mat training area.

“Shut up prick or your next,” Surin said.

“He’ll be OK,” one of the emergency aid workers responded to the concerned looks of others close by in regards to the injured person that felt no mercy from Surin.

“Of course I wasn’t going to kill him,” Surin said haughtily. “Any new takers? Come on I’m still fresh,” he added.

So far nobody has stepped forward.

“Still you could go a little easier on him. You knew he couldn’t even touch you,” the worker grumbled under his breath. The worker looks at him a bit accusatory in perspective but Surin’s pride misses it.

“What was that?” Surin asked.

“Ahh nothing…” the worker was a bit intimidated even.

Around him dozens of other fighters are training in a big training room inside the fae fortress. Many are spectators on bleacher or gladiator style benches as they observe trying to pick up skills or see how to chain moves and survey opponents. Also there are three boxing style rings, one with Surin in it in an arena like structure all with padded mats. Each ring is busily occupied with trainers and trainees of all levels. They also try to take wages against one another, and figure out who are the up and coming new fighters.

Typically the groups are organized by class to learn from each other first combating other humans in nonfatal combat. Then, as they train and get stronger learning how to support themselves injury free they begin to learn how to fight daemons and other goblinoids. Martial artists will typically fight martial artists, knights will face knights. Then only later in advanced levels will they cross class fight when the risk for injuries is sufficiently mitigated; but not until they’ve gone over their basics with their own classes thoroughly.

The room has a high vaulted ceiling in a box shaped room shaped like a giant barn, to allow for all the sweat and BO to ventilate properly with many fans circulating with water and air misted currents by strange fey mana powered machines.

Instructors are taking notes on clipboard like objects, sometimes while chastising martial arts trainees. Other times they are able to say an occasional, ‘not bad but don’t get soft’ comments. They are supposed to put down valid comments to help each fighter overcome their weak spots so the fortress has a strong defensive force but too often they get caught up in trying to finish their reports as early as they can in the day.

All the fighters here train ruthlessly. For some reason particularly martial artists seem to be overly aggressive compared to other job classifications.

“How did he get so good? Surin is unreal,” a girl said to the girl next to her near the front row on the spectator area where trainees observe each other. Both of them are also mana martial artist fighters, and like everyone else here most of them also, came from another world through mana summoning from various cultures though not all of them came from the Egyptian summons, some of them came from a dozen other different slavery practicing cultures before finding their way into the hands of the fae.

These two are just random trainees not unlike the others around them with very little successful fighting experience, yet like all the other fighters in the training room each of them goes through a full days worth of martial artist training, instruction, fighting regimes, rapid regeneration therapy so they can press tighter schedules, and a full docket of instruction on how to fight demons.

“Surin already has a girl I hear Murza, so trying to gain his attention is worthless. He might even try to lead you along hoping for extra benefits, so watch it. Plus we suck and have crappy techniques, so the training buddy approach won’t work either. He’s going to want someone who can keep up with him on missions and defending the fae wall,” Sally said to the other one in reply.

“So he’s that committed? Are you sure? Dang…and I thought if I kept up my martial arts training I might be more appealing…” came the reply. Her head sunk to her chin.

“I wasn’t going to do the training buddy approach,” she added right after blushing so profusely it was obvious she was clearly thinking about it.

“Yeah, I don’t get it. They seem to be obsessed with it. How are we supposed to have a life if only the war gets attention? And I have heard their arguments but I haven’t seen any daemons yet so how do I know they really exist? But from the look of things the officers, guards, and top brass seem to really believe this is the worst threat they’d ever faced. So what do you do?” she said.

“Ahh that’s too bad. I haven’t seen a demon or daemon either, however you say it. But then again we’ve been here only a couple months. And they tend to use the veteran skirmish parties when they can instead of our noob groups. Hey are you sure this is a escalation year?” she frowned.

“Who knows? They think it is. I’ve been told by several people that this year the enemy will surge more than previous years. But I don’t want to talk about that now. For now, about your question on Surin….yeah still Surin is kind of rough with people. Seriously he knocked a few teeth out and didn’t need to be that aggressive,” Sally frowned.

“I get it. We don’t have to talk about the war right now. It’s already depressing. And yes he is rough on people…that one guy is going to be limping for a month. So brutal,” Murza replied shaking her head sadly.

“Dentists probably make a lot if they have a shop near the martial arts center huh?” Sally joked.

“That’s not funny…”

“Still it’d be cool to be with a guy like that,” she said.

“What are you joking? Battered boxer wife syndrome is sure to happen,” came the response.

“Yeah but he’s rich!”

“What am I going to do with you seriously? It’s OK to look but some things you get burned to touch,” came a sigh.

About a dozen paces away in the center, Surin beckons others forward. “Next please.”

“How did he get so good?” Sally asked Murza, who had just replied to her.

“There must be some kind of secret to it. I’ll have to ask around,” Murza answered her friend saying.

“NEXT PLEASE!” Surin shouted out again. But his efforts are wasted. After going through a dozen challengers and wasting them with no mercy, no one wants to try to beat him anymore. He was almost afraid he’d have to finish training early with nothing going on.

“Looks like you’ve had your turn, time for someone else to give it a go,” one of the instructors encouraged Surin to leave. Surin pouted in response.

“Wait, what the heck?” Murza heard Sally say. “Hey do you see that up there?” she pointed up at the ceiling.

“What? I don’t see anything.” She frowned.

“There’s a new name on the leader boards,” Sally said.

Murza frowned. “No. You must have read it wrong. And, which leader board was it? The one for overall or for each class?” she asked.

“I think this is …for overall?”

“No, I’ve got good eyes. I’m sure I didn’t read it wrong. Look,” she pointed.

Murza’s frown twisted into surprise. “What?”

“Is that the one that updates after fights or that randomly scans the population?” she said.

“I think it’s the one that scans the population, but I’m not a technical person. I didn’t pay very good attention when they explained how it worked,” she replied.

Both of them stare.

The top ten leader board for all kinds of dozens of different classes fighting and competing with one another indeed has changed. There were also separate top ten leader boards for each class faction, in addition to the overall cross class leader board. So Martial Artists had a top ten leader board while adventurers had a top ten leader board, knight class trainee, sorcerer, mage apprentice, specialist, strategist, general, hero, assassin, alchemist, and ranger classes each had their own leader boards each. Only support classes didn’t have their own leader board, since it was accepted that they were too weak to fight and would stand in the back supporting others.

Each of the leader boards updated automatically via a mana network as soon it was possible for the sensors to pick up the changes. The update was recently, within today in fact.

“So why do they want to be on the leader boards anyway?” Murza asked.

“Are you kidding?! There are prizes and stuff. They use those people also to form leadership for the different platoons. And then they use those to foment positive competition and skill building against the enemy,” Sally said.

“Oh is that it huh? Is that some gimmick where they call you in to sell you a car using a win a free car bull shit? And what’s to say they actually give out the prize? It could be like saying you won something that brags a prize but you never hear of the winner being someone real and verifiable,” Murza said.

“Huh? Are you by any chance….did you …are from Earth aren’t you,” Sally said back to her. She gave her an odd look. You had to be careful suggesting if someone came from Earth because of Otherworld Syndrome accusations.

“Yeah, that must mean you are too?” came the reply.

“Nope, but Earth people always keep mentioning strange words like kar or kart something whatever it is, trukx, and elektronikks, whatever elektronikks is anyway. And there are lots of your type here. So we recognize you pretty fast,” Sally said while not saying the foreign words right. To her they were foreign words, and Earth …Otherworld Syndrome types always had to correct it.

“My type? What’s that supposed to mean. You better be careful what you say. Oh…actually its electronics, not elekktronikks. We don’t say the consonants that heavy like you are doing now.”

“Whatever…”

“Just saying…Earth people are all pretty noticeable.”

“Are you making fun of me? If you push me I’ll…”

“No, why would I? I would never do that. Really! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it that way.”

“Whatever…”

“Shut up. So tell me are the prizes real?”

“Well basically the prizes are real. They really want people that can fight and train for the war effort. So of course they have to offer something good for incentives,” Sally said.

“Like what?” Murza bit her lip while both of them watch two newbie boxers trying to dog fight each other in the martial artists ring.

“Well stuff like slaves, magic items, houses, spells, equipment for combat, basically you name it and if people can covet it, it’s a prize. But well those are the ones listed but it depends on what they have at the time,” Sally said.

“No way! No freaking way! I heard they practiced slavery on this world but sheesh, I can’t accept that it’s real!” Murza said.

“Deal with it. You can’t fight mana powered slave collars. And they’ve always had it here since time began practically. They mess with your mind too. Some mages have spells that can make you WANT to be their slaves,” Sally said.

Murza’s face intensified into fear. “That…that sounds bad. Screw that.”

“Well…some slaves live like princesses for the right people…if their owners are rich, then guess where they are living,” Sally said.

“Hmm good point. You totally have like a prince fantasy don’t you? You know that’s not real right? They’ll in reality probably send you to the mines,” Murza said.

“Oh come on, every girl has a prince fantasy at some point. Don’t most people have a fantasy of someone wanting to be with them? And I’m not a princess so isn’t that …you know…the next best thing?” Sally asked.

“Whatever. As long as we don’t go to the mines we should work it out. Oh back to the leaderboard…how come we don’t recognize that name? See its up there now,” Murza said.

“Which name? I don’t recognize any of them. But I don’t check it often. Has it really changed?” Sally said.

“Well there it is at number 9 from the bottom, as in 9th spot out of 10. It’s some kind of weird characters, in a signature I don’t know the alphabet for,” Murza said.

“What, wait is that the potential leaderboard or the actual proven leaderboard. There’s one of each you know,” Sally asked.

“Duh, stupid. I taught you that, not the other way around. And I think that’s the fae combat potential board that measures people before they actually fight,” Murza scratched her head.

“Yeah I’m not sure how that works either. But that board is sometimes wrong you know. It can measure raw potential primarily but doesn’t account applying that raw potential. So it can be skewed. You remember there was that one guy. He claimed he was German or something; Ferdinand or Frieder or something that didn’t do so well but had the number two spot on potentials but then got himself nearly dead on his first battle?” Sally.

“Oh yeah that’s right. I heard he’s like disabled now huh? Did he even survive a first wave encounter?” Murza asked.

“No I don’t think he did. We stopped hearing from him pretty fast. But I don’t know if it was pride that went to his head that caused his downfall or just not really being combat ready.”

“And what does that say again?” Murza asked.

“Oh you didn’t pay your enchant recharge yet on your translation chip did you?” Sally chuckled.

“Well when it costs the same as two full blown meals, that’s expensive and not to mention paying the treatment room people when we get knocked out. You know how it is,” Murza groaned.

“Man, you really have to not skip out on that. It can affect your life choices. What if the bosses send you a message and you click on the wrong choice thinking its asking about food or housing, when its asking if you want to go to the front lines for a ‘bonus’?”

“They can’t do that can they?”

“They could. I’ve heard of it before.”

“So what’s it say?”

“It says S H U N something. It looks like an Otherworlder Syndrome name. Oh no offense for saying that by the way. The translator has a hard time with that name for some reason,” Sally said.

“Shun? What class is he?” Murza frowned again.

“Support class buffer is what it says? What the hell? He’s a support class?! Oh my gosh that’s funny! Is this a mistake? It looks like they need to repair the board. Some glitch huh,” Sally laughed nearly falling out of her chair.

“So it’s a bug of some kind?” Murza questioned but then laughed. “Ok this time the board is clearly wrong. There’s never been anything come out of support classes. Buffers don’t even solo combat anymore. I can’t remember the last time a support class did anything good. I mean I like support buffers to but those people worry so much about buffing that they probably couldn’t defeat a kobold on their own.”

Near them other newbies were also laughing at the buffer / support class classification next to them when they noticed it after overhearing them. Several people are pointing and wondering what happened to the board. People hadn’t realized what the support buffer acronym stood for since a lot of them rarely see it.

It’s also popular to make your head slave your buffer. The cultural has shifted to moving a trusted slave to that position, or a household slave or indentured servant, while the person in charge will often choose glorious sounding classes like knight, adventurer, assassin, or champion. And in this way a whole job class was being neglected.

“So easy… if its only a support class then…we could take a prize from the leader board couldn’t we? If I knew it wasn’t getting attention to the point that some support buffer could steal a spot I would have jumped in on this long ago,” someone said.

“It’s got to be a joke right? The fae could be tricking us maybe?” someone else said.

“Maybe it’s an event like in a game? They want to encourage us to challenge the people at the top? Maybe it’s like a fake person or an illusion even! Yes, I bet it’s an event!” someone else said after that guy, also a newbie, three weeks from being summoned from Earth.

The excitement was picking up as people speculated on the ‘game that’s not really a game event’. Many more are clustering around and looking up at the leader boards now. Surin was even puzzled why no one was paying attention to him anymore.

“Oh yeah, it has to be an event huh? And the fae are the ‘GMs’ of this stupid survival non-game game in hell world. Hey everybody! There’s an event! We’re all supposed to challenge this SHUN guy! He’s probably not even real! It’s a magic illusion to fight!” some yelled.

And just like that, the ‘Fight Shun’ event had started.

Delusional reasoning, partly influenced by Otherworld Syndromers;

Support buffers aren’t a real class…

Support buffers don’t really fight…

If support buffers don’t really fight then this is an anomaly.

The fae test us and want us battle ready. Sometimes they trick us ‘test our worthiness’ with making sure if we’re ready to fight an enemy at all times. They’ve also tested us in the past. (Although nobody has seen a test involving a combat buffer before…but a real combat buffer couldn’t really happen so isn’t that proof it’s an event?!)

This must be a fae ‘test’ EVENT in order to test if we’re paying attention!

What kind of prize will they offer for participation of this ‘event’?

Unknown to the population of the fortress, to the fae Otherworld Syndrome actually meant not that they were crazy, but that Earth transfers had strange pre-programmed delusions based on being transferred to another world was like something they kept hearing about called a ‘game’?

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