Since the reunion between the twins and Kiro, a few days had passed. The first few days had been training, but after a while the twins had asked Kiro if they could do something else. He had readily agreed, conscious that not everyone liked to train like he did. So since then, the three of them had wandered through the city, doing little quests or just talking. On a particular day, the subject turned to the items that Kiro possessed:
“So, what do you have in your bag?” Asked Taname in a curious voice.
Deciding it was easier just to show her, Kiro pulled everything out of his inventory, forming a gigantic pile of items.
A player’s inventory had a default of 100 slots, each able to carry up to 99 of the same item.
Kiro had been travelling for the better part of 5 years. Even if he hadn’t focused on killing and looting monsters, he still had accumulated a variety of stuff.
First, he had some coins, close to 400 golds worth. It wasn’t too much, considering that it was amount of money a determined player could accumulate in a few months. But Kiro had never spent much time accumulating money.
(*Note: 100 copper is worth 1 silver, 100 silver is worth 1 gold, and 1000 gold is 1 platinum)
There was training equipment, which included rope, pouches of stones or sand, weird high-heels to work on his balance, a gigantic log, which he’d have to replace as it was too light for him, his wooden weapons and his book that could hold 10 books.
There were also fur pelts, hides and skins, from a variety of monsters. Most had already been treated by him, to be used as clothing. Speaking of clothes, he had four sets: the ones he was currently wearing, made out of hide, two others of the same kind, as spares, and the clothing he had received from the Master Training Center.
He also had a sleeping bag, which looked like a long bag made of fur. He had made it from the pelt of a bear-like creature. He also had a tent made out of fur.
Aside from these he had several types of raw and smoked meat, the base of his diet (which would be a terrible idea in the real world). He had several types of meat, from rabbit meat and dear meat to various kinds of – let’s say - exotic meats. All of these he had gathered as he hunted monsters.
To complement his diet were several edible plants, roots, spices, berries and nuts he had gathered in the forest over time.
The biggest advantage of the inventory was that the things that were stored in it never deteriorated. It had allowed Kiro to store impressive amounts of food, just in case.
The only downside is that all these items took some space inside his inventory. 60 slots to be exact.
The rest of his inventory was a collection of items he had picked up here and there.
Most were swords and daggers, as Kiro was uncomfortable without spare weapons in case his broke. Even though the ones he got from the training center were incredibly durable, they weren’t indestructible, unlike his trusty wooden weapons. So keeping two or three swords and twice as many daggers made him feel better, despite the space they took in his inventory.
There were also other more unusual items. They were the items he had decided to keep after identifying them. Most were valuable, or at least rare.
A gigantic stone, which was valuable for its use as a crafting material. A weird amulet restricted for a priest class. Some other baubles.
Jinandis picked up a sword that looked different from the others. It was emitting some kind of hot, glowing aura. It was clearly a cut above the rest.
“What is this?” He asked.
Taking the sword, Kiro identified it.
|Name: Aldus’ Firespire Sword (rare)
Damage: 150 – 300
Additional Effect: +15 fire damage.
Skill: Can shoot a cone of flames at the enemy, causes 750 fire damage. 120s cool down time.
Description: A rare sword that once belonged to the legendary swordsman Aldus. Using it, he defeated countless enemies (except the last one). A fearsome weapon. It’s only fault is that the strong fire enchantment placed on it causes the durability of the sword to drop considerably.
Requirements: Swordsman’s class, 300 strength, level 200.
“Wow!” Said Jinandis, his eyes shining at the awesomeness of the weapon.
“Do you want to have it?” Asked Kiro, who couldn’t care less about the sword.
“Me!?” Asked Jinandis. “Why don’t you use it?”
Kiro just snorted. “Why would I?”
“Because it does such high damage! Seriously Kiro nii-chan, I am sure that if it’s you, you could easily reach level 200. So why don’t you use the sword? It even has a cool skill!”
“It’s simple. Because I can kill any enemy using even the weakest of swords. Why would I bother with using such a sword, especially one with such low durability? Besides. I don’t need whatever flashy skill it has, why should I bother? I have my own?”
Indeed, Kiro was a person who trained his abilities to the outmost. For a person such as him, relying on the abilities of a weapon to the detriment of his own was synonymous with blasphemy. What was the point of all that effort if the skills you raised were left unused?
Also, the swords durability was ridiculously low for its level. For Kiro, which tended to fight for hours without rest, such a sword would definitely break before the end.
For those reasons, this sword was useless to him.
Understanding his reasons, Jinandis dropped the subject.
That is when Taname interjected: “You’ve changed, Onii-chan. If it was you in the past, you would have surely used the sword.”
There were some truth to her words. Before, when Kiro still played rpgs or mmorpgs, although he didn’t go out of his way to procure such items, he definitely would have used it if he had procured it by chance.
“You’re right”, he answered. “I guess ever since I realised how dysfunctional this game is, the only thing I have put my trust in is in the abilities I myself cultivate.”
“You really don’t like system assist, do you?” She asked.
“No, I really don’t.” He answered.
“Why?” This time it’s Jinandis who asked.
Kiro took a moment to collect his thoughts. His eyes went soft for a moment, as he revisited a cherished memory.
“Some time ago, I meet a very talented warrior. She was beautiful and strong, and very skilled with the sword. Every enemy she fought, she defeated in an instant. No matter their level, skills, or class, all of them fell to her sword. Do you know why?”
Both twins shook their heads. But interiorly, they were very excited, because they realised he was talking about Anamai.
He continued: “No matter how strong they were, it didn’t matter. Because she knew their weakness. System Assist gives a player a particular… rhythm, let’s say. It controls the way the player moves in a particular and systematic way, which is the same as every other player that uses system assist. No matter how much strength, agility or dexterity a player has, even if he uses a skill, this rhythm remains. It makes the player’s movements predictable. Easy to follow, and to interrupt. She had an instinctive grasp of that rhythm, so the timing of her attacks were always perfect, while they couldn’t hope to strike her with theirs. I can also perceive this rhythm.”
The two twins were looking at their big brother with shock. He almost looked like a teacher in front of a class.
But he wasn’t done. “Tell me, what separates us players from monsters.”
His question caught them off guard, they weren’t sure how to respond.
“Think about it. Just like us, monsters respawn. They can get experience.” That was true. If monsters in a dungeon killed many players, they would get stronger thus making the dungeon more difficult, until someone cleared it, thus resetting the difficulty. “So once more, what is the difference? The fact that they are computer programs and we are thinking humans, right? But when if use system assist, then we let the system control our bodies, then how are we different. I, for one, prefer being a human than a monster. Besides, system assists makes fights boring. It controls your body for you, and you don’t learn anything from the fight. So, to answer your question, no, I do not like system assist.”
Besieged by this onslaught of words, the two younger siblings struggled to regain their bearings. But Taname wasn’t done asking questions.
“Is that why you don’t distribute your stats?”
Distractedly, Kiro opened his status window to take a look at them.
“In part, but there is another reas… huh.”
“What is it?”
“I have three points in the leadership stat. When did this happen?”
“It was probably because you’ve been the leader of our party for several days.”
That made sense. Being a leader gave you points in the leadership stat. It also explained why he had never gained one in all his time playing solo.
“Your right. So, what was I talking about?”
“You were about to tell us why you didn’t distribute stat points.”
“Ah, that’s right…” Kiro glanced down at his arms. “The answer to that is somewhat complicated. At first, I didn’t just because I wasn’t sure in what to put them. But now, a part of it, a big part of it actually, comes from the fact that up until now, every stat I have I have gained with hard work and effort. I feel that using stat points to increase my stats would cheapen the efforts I have made to raise them in the first place. Also…”
“I don’t trust the game system of this world. How can you become stronger by adding to a number in a table? It makes no sense.”
“It does in a game world.” Retorted Taname.
“Yes, but we have already established that the game system in this world isn’t worth sh*t. So your argument doesn’t apply.”
“But, but, if stat points didn’t increase your stats, then I am sure someone would have noticed by now! Users would have complained to the company.”
“Oh, I have no doubt that it works in system assist. But as to if it helps without it rests to be seen… Actually, we can find out right now. Jinandis.”
“Yes?” He answered, confused as to why his brother called his name.
“You still haven’t distributed the points of your last level up right?”
“Good. Do you mind using them for an experience?”
“No… I don’t, why?”
“Because I want to find out if stat points help boost non-system assist attacks. The experiment is simple. Take this sword and strike the wall with it, first using system assist, then without. Then, put all your stat points in strength, and do the same thing. Understand?”
Grabbing the offered sword, Jinandis nodded his head. “Why don’t you do it?”
“Because I have over 900 strength. Putting all my stat points in it won’t do much of a difference.”
“Oh.” That made sense. Without further ado, Jinandis did what he was asked. They were all currently in an alleyway, so there was no one around to protest as Jinandis striked repeatedly at the stone wall.
The difference was obvious. The first two strikes were identical to each other. And to the fourth. Only his third strike,
done with system assist after increasing his strength by 5 stat points, had caused a deeper scratch in the wall.
“What does this mean?” Asked Jinandis, baffled.
“It means that I was right.” Answered Kiro. “Using stat points only increase the stats when using system assist. This also explains why most people keep using system assist. There are probably a lot of people like me, who would like to fight without using it. But these people probably distributed their stat points when they levelled up, and as a result they were weaker, slower, etc… after removing the system assist. So, they abandoned the idea of not using it.”
“But doesn’t that mean that someone who trains like you do, then distributes their stat points and uses system assist would be stronger than you, Kiro-nii?”
Kiro snorted. “First of all, someone who puts all that effort in his training definitely wouldn’t rely on system assist. Second, if he did, his movements would adopt that weird rhythm I told you about earlier. And finally, even if someone manages to gain more stats than me by levelling up or through items, which may well be possible, I still think I could beat them. Because I have worked hard to gain my stats. I have forged my body and as a result I can control it much better than someone who strengthened theirs with unnatural means. I definitely wouldn’t lose!”
With that last challenging statement, the subject was closed.
The city of Mutianelis was in a frenzy. In the aftermath of Kiro’s victory, hundreds of players that had been forced to stay logged out of the game because of DrakeXScales tyranny now logged back in all at once.
Also, from around New World, thousands of players that had seen or heard of Kiro’s exploits were now converging on the city.
All those people soon discovered the corpses of the DrakeXScales members, along with the unusual amounts of loot scattered on the ground.
As most of the players in the city were those that had been too weak to flee it when DrakeXScales had first taken control, the high leveled items were things that they would normally have no chance of getting their hands on at their low level.
To them, that had suffered under the thumb of the guild, this unexpected gold mine served as just compensation for their suffering.
They scoured the entire city and the woods, finding and taking all the items the members of DrakeXScales had let there after their death.
And perhaps the influence of Kiro was still present in their mines, for no player tried to be too greedy, or attack others for their loot: they all had a clear image of what had happened to DrakeXScales after they had let their greed control
Then, about a week after the war was over the soldiers that had left on an expedition returned to the city to find their leaders slaughtered. The situation almost turned ugly until a few Npcs, primarily merchants and other businessmen, told the soldiers the tale of DrakeXScales’ treachery, and of the lone warrior that had punished them for their wrongful actions.
They didn’t believe it at first, but as more and more people confirmed the story they were forced to admit it was true.
Soon, a new city council was elected, and order was restored to Mutianelis.
But the citizens, players and npcs alike, were restless, for the presence of Kiro couldn’t be confirmed. No one knew if he was still in the city or not.
The people of Mutianelis weren’t the only ones looking for Kiro.
In the offices of Sun Television, Me-Ling, the reporter that had been covering the war in Mutianelis, was currently sweating bullets. She was in the process of being chewed up by her furious boss.
It wasn’t every day that a simple employee like her got to meet Derek Somers, the big boss. She just would have preferred slightly better circumstances. As in when he was not so mad veins were bulging out on his forehead. If she wasn’t so worried about her job security, she might have been fascinated by the sight.
As things stood, she was hunched up, as if trying to disappear into her chair.
In a voice that was eerily calm, interrupted the silence that had before now permeated the room. “Now. Explain to me again, please, why you didn’t manage to get close enough to him to as much as speak to him, let alone request an interview.”
Me-Ling shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “We… well, you see, Mr. Somers. Sir. I… I was scared that he might… kill me?” The last part had sounded more like a question.
The veins on her bosse’s forehead seemed to multiply. “…Kill you?” He repeated. “YOU F*CKING TWIT!!! YOU WERE IN F*CKING NEW WORLD! IN A F*CKING GAME!!! SO WHAT IF HE HAD KILLED YOU? AT LEAST WE WOULD KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM THAN WE DO NOW. WHICH IS ZITCH, NADA, NOTHING!” He took a deep breath. In front of him Me-Ling was cringing in her seat. He continued: “He disappeared without a trace. I want him found. We need to have him agree to give us an exclusive interview. If some other media station got a hold of him before us…” He didn’t finish his thought. “Did you at least get a good look at him?”
“Yes.” Me-Ling breathed out in relief. It seemed the worst was behind her.
“Good. At least that’s something.” Most of the videos about Kiro on the internet could only generously be dubbed “low quality”. It was difficult to see his face clearly. “This is what I want you to do. You will go back in New World. You will find him. You will get him to agree to an exclusive interview with us. Am I clear?”
Me-Ling’s eyes bulged. Even someone as unexperienced in New World as her could tell that this would be an arduous, if not impossible, task. “But, but sir, what do I do if he already left Mutianelis?”
His eyes were cold. “Then I suggest you track him down.”
Me-Ling swallowed her protest. They would do her no good. With heavy steps she left, grateful that she had at least retained her job. For now.
Of the Guild once known as DrakeXScales, little remained in New World. Not only had it been completely destroyed, banned from ever coming into existence again, but the players that constituted it had been scattered, decimated, impoverished. Weakened. And those are the ones who chose to keep their character.
Here are some of their stories.
Xyz logged back into the game exactly 72 hours after he died. In those three days, he had spent equal amounts of time being angry at the player named Kiro for imposing such a penalty on him and fearful of the same Kiro, just for being such an OP player.
Most of all, he was anxious to see the effects of the penalties he had received. What items he had lost, and most of all, where he now was.
Once the login sequence was finished, he opened his eyes.
If he could describe it in a word, it would be plains. Plains, plains, plains.
That went on and on and on, all around him.
Only green grass, as far as his eye could see. Except for the stone that Xyz found himself standing on.
|You are the first to discover the continent of Ahnrakas!
You gain 2500 fame.
|The continent of Ahnrakas is a desolated area. Unimaginable dangers reside here. Travel at your own risks!|
|You are the first to discover the plains of Gertinum, the Man-Eating Plains!
You gain 500 fame.
|As you have no respawning location set, this location is automatically set as your respawn point.|
Xyz couldn’t contain his excitement. Fame was a useful stat, which had many advantages. If he managed to make his way back home, he could get tremendous benefits.
But first things first, I have to get out of here, he thought.
He opened his inventory. For some reason, most of his precious items where still there. His armor, his rare sword, even some valuable quest items and expensive health recovering potions had stayed.
The only thing missing was all his food items. He had had several bundles, of cakes, bread, meat, fruit and other snacks, all of which were missing.
It’s annoying, as that is the only thing that I really need at this moment. He thought.
Ah, well. I will just have to start walking and hope to find food and water soon. I wonder why this place is called the Man-Eating Plains?
A second later, as he stepped of the rock, he had his answer. His last thought, as the grass around him rose to swallow him full, was: I really have sh*tty luck!
Scales logged back into the game as soon as he could. Like many others, he felt the need to confirm the damage with his own eyes.
So he logged in, to see where he had been sent to.
But never would he have imagined the scene before his eyes.
Snow, pure white snow.
He was in a cave. Directly in front of the entrance, from which he could see countless snowflakes spiraling down. So many, in fact, that nothing else was visible.
The air was cold. Bitterly cold.
Where am I? He thought.
Suddenly, he heard a growl.
|You have discovered Mother Mobzilla’s cave!
You gain 100 fame!
|This cave is the home of Mother Mobzilla, a monster famous for her… amorous tendencies.
During the mating season, Mother Mobzilla searches for a suitable mate. Once she chooses a mate, she will not let him escape from her loving embrace until the mating season ends.
|As you have no respawning location set, this location is automatically set as your respawn point.|
Scale cringed. He had a sudden dark premonition. A sense that he had to get out of there fast.
But he was too late. Even as he tried to rush out of the cave, huge, hairy arms wrapped themselves around him, half smothering him. He was crushed against an equally hairy chest that had nothing feminine to it. The smell, of wet and dirty hair mixed with the pungent smell of unwashed teeth almost made him lose consciousness. He couldn’t see.
|Mother Mobzilla has chosen you as her mate. For the duration of the mating season (6 months, 16 days and 4 hours remaining) she will not let you out of her sight.|
F***************************************CCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!! He thought.
Drake logged back in inside a cave. As soon as he opened his eyes. He was greeted by the sight of gold. Gold, gold and yet more gold. More than he had ever seen in his entire life, more than he had ever imagined he could ever set his eyes on in his entire life.
And there were also other things. Other treasure. Such as jewels.
Gigantic diamonds. Huge rubies. Priceless sapphires. Pearls. Hundreds of other precious materials that Drake didn’t know the name of. And other precious metals like silver and platinum.
There was also art: paintings, statues, jewelry, beautiful furniture, ornate swords, shields, armor.
In one word, it was wealth. Crazy, out of this world, insane, outrageous, opulent wealth.
Drake started laughing as if possessed: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”
Who cared that he had lost some of his inventory, a lot of levels, had been cursed, and lost his guild. With such a wealth,
no, even with just a fraction of this wealth, he had enough to buy himself another guild. A hundred guilds. An entire
|You have discovered Archmage Teritan’s Treasure cave!
You gain 300 fame!
|During his long life, Archmage Teritan accumulated a great fortune. However, he became fearful that others would grow jealous of his wealth, and attempt to rob him. To prevent this, he has placed his entire fortune in the safest place there is.
A cave deep underground, which is impossible to get in or out of without the special teleportation spell handcrafted by Archmage Teritan himself.
|As you have no respawning location set, this location is automatically set as your respawn point.|
As he saw the message, Drake’s face paled, paled, paled.
He now possessed incredible riches, for all the benefits he’d get from it.
Somewhere else, a DrakeXScale member logged in on top of a gigantic volcano, in his underwear.
Somewhere else another came into being in a forest, surrounded by monsters, with no weapons. He ran as hard as his legs could carry him, only to stumble on a suspicious merchant offering him a dagger for 10 levels.
At another place, someone else came into being on a thin sheet of ice in the middle of the ocean. For some reason, he had managed to keep his entire set of thick plate armor…
All over New World, those DrakeXScales members courageous enough to do so logged in to find themselves in uncomfortable situations. It was enough to make one believe in the existence of karma.
Of those, many of them opted to simply recreate their characters, as others had done. And even those that stubbornly persisted had lost a lot from the entire ordeal.
DrakeXScales was finished, completely and entirely.
At Samurisa High, the place where Mina and Jinan went to school. It was now lunch hour. Mina was seated at a secluded table at the edge of a big schoolyard. The table was half obscured by the low hanging branches of a nearby oak tree.
Sitting across from her was a person she considered a friend, albeit a weird one. His name was Demian and he was a High Schooler. In terms of physique, he could be considered handsome, with his muscular frame, sharp brown eyes, blond hair and even a hint of beard to give him an air of maturity.
But he had shifty eyes, and was considered by some as somewhat of a creep. For one, he tended to always hang out around the younger middle school kids, especially girls, even though he himself was a high-schooler, something that had gotten him several warnings.
In fact, his presence in the schoolyard despite it being the middle schooler’s lunch hour was a break in school regulations.
To Mina, however, who was the kind of person that never judged others based on rumors, he was a friend, and one of her main sources of information on New World. Ever since the beginning of the school year he had delighted her with the tales of his many exploits in the game. As a high levelled player, he had a wealth of knowledge, which he had shared with her. His class was hunter, and his enthusiastic description of its advantages was the main reason Mina wanted to take an archer class as well.
Right now, Mina was describing some of the quests she had done during the past few days. Animatedly, she gave vivid descriptions of her daily activities with her two brothers, while Demian was playing the captive audience.
His attention was focused on her.
Eventually, she started talking, bragging really, about Kiro’s exploits against the DrakeXScales guild.
The fact that her big brother was the same Kiro that had devastated an entire guild was a secret that she and Jinan kept from almost everyone. The reason for that was simple. Her big brother couldn’t benefit from it in this world. He would gain no advantage. So there was no way she would offer him to the media’s scrutiny. They would pester him for interviews and such, the fact that he was hospitalised would be exposed, he would be pitied, yada, yada, yada. It was all a big hassle and she wouldn’t let her big brother go through that if she could prevent it.
In front of her, Demian’s eyes narrowed in irritation. Kiro was the only subject she could talk about that really annoyed him. But he gave no other sign of his annoyance and Mina failed to pick up on it.
“… And today Jinan and me are going to go get ourselves our classes!” She concluded.
“I see”, Demian said. “Does that mean you have decided on your class?”
“Yes!” Answered Mina. “I have decided to do like you: I am going to take an archer class!”
“Really”, he said, amused, “that’s great!”
Far away the sound of the bell could be heard.
“Oh, I have to go.” Said Mina said, as she stood up. “Bye bye!”
As she hurried away, he started to chuckle. “An archer, eh? That’s funny.” He said under his breath. “But Mina, you are no
hunter.” He declared, as his smile turned predatory.
…You’re the prey.
Had Mina glanced back at that moment she would have certainly felt some unease by seeing his expression. But she didn’t, all her thoughts turned towards her future adventures with her big brother and her twin.
(*Note: Once more, as the chapter has almost 5000 words, I decided to post it. So basically dealing with the aftermath will take 3 chapters!!! (Although to be honest, anyone can tell I’m basically setting the plot for the rest of the story in these chapters, so bear with me.) )