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A note from Belgianfri

I created a Discord for the story! If you want to hang out and/or discuss skills and classes with me, you can do this here: https://discord.gg/58mtuVJU

About half an hour had passed since the party had entered the fortress. I was starting to hope the report would end soon, the anticipation was killing me.

As I was making conversation with one of the aged guards, some more members had walked up and joined. At this rate, it wouldn't take too long before I started to fit in with the witch hunters, hopefully.

At a certain point I felt like I was being watched. I looked around to find the culprit, but I didn't immediately find anyone suspicious.

 


 

Pov: Andros, the Reito guild master

 

As I stared out my window looking into the courtyard below, I reminisced on my time as a young witch hunter. Back then the world felt brand new. So much to explore, so much to experience... I had goals back then, ideals. People had done good by me and I wanted to do good by them. So many people join the witch hunters' guild with bitterness these days. Yet after a while the true spirit of the guild catches them. For many, this is a place of second chances, a place of hope, a place they can call home...

I helped build that.

Down there, I can see a young man talking and laughing with people I consider brothers. I can see another person willing to help build a home for others, if only we offered him one first. Just one chance. That's what he would get. Making a decision, I turned around and spoke.

"He doesn't look like much, does he?"

Garrett wisely stayed silent, though I could see him and his party tensing up. Clearly the boy had grown on them in just a short while. I had to admit, I enjoyed these rare moments where I could make Garrett sweat a little. I continued my verdict.

"But we'll beat him into shape real quick. I don't need babes fresh from their mothers' teats calling themselves witch hunters, after all."

At this point I could see the tension leave their bodies. Garrett, that ungrateful cur, had a smile on his face that looked like he managed to get one over me.

"So boss, what can the Steel Will party expect when it comes to rewards for bringing in fresh talent?"

Time to wipe that stupid smirk of his face. "Babysitting."

Garrett seemed to choke at that. "Uh...boss... kids aren't exactly our expertise."

"Well you've done just fine until now, haven't you? Don't worry, I don't mean right now. Since you get along with the kid, I'll request your party specifically if he needs to be escorted anywhere. That won't be anytime soon, though. He's green as grass and needs both training and guidance. He'll receive both, here at the guild. Once he successfully enters tier 2 we'll have him do his first quest with your group tailing him from a distance."

Garrett seemed to shift uncomfortably when he heard that.

"Yeah boss, see, the thing is... because Arthur beat one of the two bosses and that boss just so happened to be peak tier 3... he probably won't need many levels. It'll mostly be his skills that need to progress if he wants a perfect tier up."

I turned pensive at that. Considering the circumstances, he indeed wouldn't be far off from level 25. I would have to ask Doran to train his skills first. I'll just shove this task onto him entirely. He can probably make a good training schedule based on the kid's status. Speaking of...

"The kid hasn't had his status checked yet?"

"No, he hasn't, for security reasons."

"You made the right choice. Those greedy fuckers would be on top of him like a dragon on their hoard if they caught wind of his circumstances. Let's go do the appraisal now. I certainly hope the kid told the truth, for his own sake."

 


 

A few minutes after the feeling of being watched disappeared, the front doors of the guild swung open. The guards I was conversing with stood at attention, proving that the person walking in front of my party was someone of a certain status. The best way I could describe him was that he had the appearance of a lion turned into a man. His hair was white, notifying me of his advanced age, yet he still looked like he could lift a building with one hand.

The ball of muscle approached my group, Garrett and the others in tow.

"You are Arthur, correct?"

I tried to copy the guards posture and salute, but I got the impression it didn't look right, because Garrett sniggered.

"Correct sir!"

"I am Andros, the local guild master of the witch hunters' guild, tier 5 [Eruption Halberdier]. The Steel Will party has notified me of your circumstances as far as they are aware. Will you submit to a status check to prove your claims?"

"Arthur, tier 1 uhh, well, you know. Of course, sir. Would that be a problem? If I...told the truth, I mean."

"Not for you, it wouldn't. If you spoke the truth I can guarantee your entrance into the guild. If not..."

"I understand, sir. Let's get to it now."

The giant laughed upon hearing that. "Eager one, aren't you? I don't exactly dislike such an attitude. Let's get to it, indeed!"

 

With that declaration, the six of us set off, heading deeper into the fortress, supposedly to reach an appraisal orb. After a few minutes we arrived in front of an inconspicuous door, which turned out to guard just such an orb. The guild master, Andros, held out a hand to stop me from entering.

"Young Arthur, after this appraisal you will be eligible to enter the guild. Technically the status' of the guild's members are only privy to the guild masters. With that being said, if you do not want the Steel Will party to know the entirety of your status, then they would have to wait here. The decision is up to you."

Honestly, this decision gave me pause for a moment. The party had doubted me, even after I saved their lives, but at the same time they had shown me a large amount of trust afterwards, despite their hate for dark casters and creatures. I wanted to return that trust in some way and I had already shared the rough lines of my status anyway.

"I trust the team, they can come and watch if they want to."

The party seemed grateful at my words, while the guild master also seemed pleased.

"Your are very trusting, young Arthur. That isn't a weakness, in my opinion. That being said, don't extend that trust to people outside of the guild anymore. Guildmembers are held under oath not to reveal secrets pertaining to the guild or other members, after all."

"I'll try, sir."

 

Without further ado, we entered the chamber. The guild leader lifted his hand in the direction of the crystal, making it start to hum slowly.

"Just put your hand on the crystal, boy. I have the appraisal skill and will open your status so that the others can see."

Slowly, I put my hand on the crystal. A blue screen appeared out of thin air and became visible to everyone in the room.

 

Name: Arthur
Titles [Dark prodigy]
Class: [Death Knight] LVL 23
Strength 89
Constitution 92
Dexterity 87
Intelligence 25
Wisdom 25
Affinity 223
Free stat points 51

Skills:

Passive: [Simple dark core](59%), [Elementary dark sight](38%), [Novice Swordsmanship](43%),

[Novice lifespan](N/A), [Perfect physique](N/A), [Flexibility](N/A)

 

Active: [Dark augment](56%), [Shadow apparation](12%), [Meditation](62%)

 

The group inspected the status for a while, reading through my skills and class in the process. The occasional gasp filled me with a little bit of pride, despite the fact that I received most of these skills through luck. We can be proud of our luck too, after all.

A few minutes later, the guild master turned to me.

"You're damned lucky that you didn't spend those free stat points of yours yet, boy. You'll need those to reach 100 in all of your physical stats before tiering up."

I looked at him in surprise for a moment. I had never heard of such a requirement before. "Why is that?"

"When you reach level 25, you'll be offered to tier up to tier 2. Your level will then be reset to 0. To reach tier 3 you'll need to reach level 50, tier 4 requires level 100, tier 5 150 and so on, adding 50 levels extra each tier. Considering your level is reset after every tier up, that can take a while. The stat points and skills stay though, so it's not like you really lose those levels."

"Based on what your stats are and what your skill progression is, you'll be given a better class upon tiering up. Ideally you want to have tiered up all of your class skills at least once before you tier up, so that they're all at tier 2. Considering your shadow apparation and augment are already above that tier, you can ignore those for now."

After hearing his explanation, I slowly started to realise why there weren't a bunch of tier 5s and 6s running around. Monsters get progressively stronger tier after tier. If you don't optimally tier up yourself, you'll eventually fall behind the curve and die. I had a large advantage, but I could lose it just as quickly if I rested on my laurels.

"So what now?"

"Now, you rest for the day. Tomorrow morning I want you to show up at the training yard at sunrise. I'll have someone train you properly over the next few weeks. The yard is surrounded by powerful enchantments that hide it from outside observers, so feel free to use your dark aligned skills there. As long as there's no one else present, of course. As for me, I'm gonna drown myself in the paperwork necessary to allow a little system breaker like you to join the guild."

With those parting words, the six of us left the chamber. When we reached the entrance, the other party members left as well. They had family and friends in the city that they would be staying with, since they were Reito natives.

I was instead led by a servant to an empty room with a bed, a table and a desk as the sole means of decoration. The servant turned to me and explained how my lodging would work.

"This room will be yours for as long as you remain a member of the witch hunters' guild. The guild master must like you, since permanent rooms aren't usually a thing for normal members. You'll be responsible for its cleanliness yourself. Good day."

With that said, the servant scampered off. I noticed that the interior of the fortress was just as sparse as the outside, the furniture doing little to liven up the room. I decided to slowly add my own decoration to the room during my stay here. I wasn't quite sure how long that stay would be, considering that I had been told to start training tomorrow, but I would return here eventually anyway. Not sure what to fill my spare time with, I decided to head to the training yard and do some light training in preparation for tomorrow morning. After a few hours I returned to my room and went to bed early to make sure I would be well rested the next day.

 


 

Pov Andros:

I looked out of a window in my office, which gave a nice view of the castle grounds. I could see a familiar figure training in the yard, going through simplistic and straightforward sword forms. They were well practiced, but also a clear sign that no one with actual skill had taken the time to teach the boy proper swordsmanship. Doran would have to correct that tomorrow.

"Stupid kid, training even after I told you to rest?"

With a grumble, I looked over to the newly written letter laying on my desk, its ink still drying.

 

Been a long time, Rashid.

 

I'm writing you about a new kid joining my local branch. He's got amazing potential, but his class is going to be a little problematic for our church sponsors, which is why I'm gracefully willing to saddle you with the task of convincing them. You're the big boss after all, your mess, your clean up. Since the entire guild is your mess, you're gonna have to clean up this one too. Trust me, he's worth it based on his status alone, of which I've added a copy to this letter. I hope you'll make certain people aware...

...

 

Well, there wasn't much point in rereading the entire thing. I laughed a little, thinking of the amount of blowback the headquarters' guild master would receive for this situation from certain priests with sticks up their asses. It was almost funny enough to make me travel all the way to the capital, just to see the look on his face when he received this letter.

Rashid was a strong minded old codger, I was sure he could handle a little blowback.

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About the author

Belgianfri

  • Your holiness

Bio: I like fries. The belgian kind.

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