I felt the familiar warmth of the light enveloping me, casting me down to the world of Vision Expanse. The game had been set to release at midnight, or at least the local midnight, which had a shared timezone with the city that I arrived in. This meant that the city was full of life from the… rigid NPCs that basically stood in place, staring at the crowd.
What city is this? I asked mentally, having learned from Vivi that it was possible to communicate with fairies just as a Keeper would their companions. Which was good, because I could already see dozens of fairies popping out of people’s shoulders as they were called out verbally, players quickly beginning to fill the streets one by one.
Welcome to the city of Xanjara! A high pitched, feminine voice spoke into my mind. The capital of Jarafa, once a vassal kingdom to the Endhoven Empire! Local trade specialties are unknown. Population levels are unknown. Military power is unknown. You will need to investigate more to learn additional information!
I shook my head, rather disappointed that the only thing I was able to learn was the name of the city and its former political relationship. Looking around, I approached a patrolling guard NPC, a demon draped in pitch black armor. There was a pressing need to get out of the spawn point before it became overrun by--
“Tank looking for group!”
“Scout for guild, message me!”
Yup, there it was. “Excuse me.” I addressed the guard, who stopped in his steps to regard me. “Can you give me directions to a merchant for general supplies?”
There was a brief moment where it looked like he was processing my request, before he nodded, his deep voice echoing from within his helmet. “Very well.” However, after saying that, he simply turned and continued walking along his patrol route.
Directions received! Would you like me to display the path, Tebor? The fairy’s voice called out to me, allowing me to realize that the confirmation was merely a way to transfer the information to the fairy. Maybe that was just a function of guards, or the fairies themselves?
Either way, I nodded my head, and a blue line appeared beneath my feet. I watched as it stretched out ahead of me, and began to follow it out of the public square. As I was walking, I heard a voice calling from behind me. “Hey, hey, wait for me!”
I thought it might be someone among the people looking for a group, but the voice was quickly growing closer. Turning, I raised an eyebrow, only to see a felyn woman charging over, her deep red hair seeming to glow in the dim moonlight. “Don’t go running off like that.” She panted, stopping just in front of me. It took me a moment to realize exactly who she was, until I saw her bright, green eyes.
“Yes. Call me Hela.” The felyn, clearly Terra’s incarnation, stuck her hand out for me. I reached for it, giving her my own name. As I did so, a prompt appeared in front of my face.
Hela wishes to add you to her friends list! Accept? Y/N
Naturally, I accepted her request, causing her to smile. “So, heard your talk with the guard. Looking for a merchant?”
“Yeah. I need some materials before I can use my skill, so I wanted to go and see if I could buy them, rather than running around a city that I don’t know to try and find them myself.”
“Makes sense.” Hela nodded with a shrug. “What skill d’you get?”
I figured that she was either just too lazy to look into my info, or just wanted to play it off for prying eyes as normal. “Inscription. I’m going to be making scrolls.”
There was an audible groan from next to me as she heard that, Hela’s shoulders lowering as she stuck her tongue out in disgust. “That means that you’re just going to be sitting in town all day, right? Well, I suppose that there’s plenty of time to learn new skills later on.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at that, glancing over towards her. “And I suppose you picked up a combat skill?”
“Actually… I don’t know!” She blinked, lifting one hand as if to manipulate an invisible interface. “I chose to start with the lottery option. Apparently, if you can’t decide what skill you want to start with, you can just tell the creation guide that you want something random. They’ll give you a ‘lottery’, where your starting skill is completely outside your control.”
“You might hit the jackpot and get a high tier skill… or…” The gloom that set over Hela’s face made it clear that she hit the other end of the spectrum. “They have a weed cutting skill. A supplementary skill to help farmers keep their fields clear.”
I held back the urge to laugh, silently communicating my amusement towards her. Aren’t you the goddess of luck? The irony of all of this was not lost on me.
Fate, but close enough. I was hoping to rely on that a bit to levy the odds in my favor… Maybe Vivi caught onto my cheat?
“Well, looks like you won’t be going anywhere until you get a new skill yourself. Unless you’re just going to remake your character?”
“There’s a week timer before you can delete a character profile. By that time, I could easily have already gotten myself a new skill or two, so it’s just not worth it… Maybe if I could guarantee a jackpot, but… eh, I’ll just figure something out. You said you’re a scribe, right?”
As the two of us walked back down along the marked path, I gave a light nod of my head. “That’s right. I’m wanting to build towards energy combinations again. This seemed like a good place to start. Plus… it’ll help me make some easy money once I get good at it.”
“Tebor… an artist, you are not. But… maybe the system will help you overcome.” By the time she finished saying that, I found myself standing in front of a store with an image of a cloth bag for its sign. The path along the ground took a sharp turn, guiding me into the store.
Once inside, I didn’t bother browsing the goods, instead moving towards the shopkeeper while conversing with my fairy. What type of paper is suitable for low level scrolls?
Checking information. According to your skill level, standard parchment is suitable for all recipes you are capable of producing!
With that answer, I smiled towards the shopkeeper, a red-skinned woman with her wings draped across her like a cape, a long black dress accentuating her figure. “Do you have any ember ink, by chance?”
“Five copper coins per vial.” She responded, her eyes fixed on me. I checked my inventory, discovering that I had a grand total of fifteen copper. That was… not enough to last me very long.
“What about a brush to write with, and parchment?” I had the distinct feeling that the game was going to try to force me to collect the materials myself, at first.
“Five copper coins for a writing brush, and one copper coin per parchment.” Or I could have just barely enough for five attempts, depending on how long one vial lasted me. Either way, I didn’t have the funds for a second vial, so I was all in.
I ordered five papers, the brush, and the vial, before turning to leave with Hela. “Well, that’s well and good and all…” She spoke up as we walked. “But where are you going to actually do it? You don’t have a workshop or anything yet, right?”
She… raised a valid point. One that made me immediately send a question to my fairy. Are libraries public access in this city?
Information unknown, please collect the information locally!
Groaning in dissatisfaction, I found another guard so that we could be led towards the library. Thankfully, the answer that the fairy had been unable to tell me was yes, as I was able to enter the library with my small bundle of items. “Surprised you aren’t going to train a new skill while I do this.”
Hela let out a soft grunt as she sat down at one of the tables near me. “I’ll do that after I let the traffic die down a bit. Or when people start storming the library to try to find secret quests.”
Well, I supposed that was a possibility as well. With the amount of people that would be flooding into this game, they were likely to start spreading out everywhere. I might only have a short while before even the library becomes noisy. Assuming that they don’t have rules to prevent that sort of thing.
“Either way… fairy, how do I draw this recipe?” As I sat down at the table myself, I spread out one of the pieces of parchment. The pyramid-shaped vial of red ink sat next to the paper, while my brush was laid out beside that.
Under the watchful eyes of both myself and Hela, the fairy flew out from my shoulder to land next to the paper. “Please specify which recipe you want to use.”
I rolled my eyes, already seeing how I might get annoyed with the fairies over time. Maybe it would be easier just to set up a direct link to Vivi, if it wouldn’t be too distracting for her. “I want to draw the Firebolt scroll.”
The fairy nodded her head, flying back into my shoulder. A moment later, I saw a blue pattern that seemed to draw itself into the paper. Curving lines criss-crossing it in an almost mesmerizing way. However, I knew that this was only a personal image, as Hela showed no reaction to it. Simply trace along the pattern! As you grow proficient in the use of this recipe, you may develop techniques to maximize the effect of the scroll. However, such hints are beyond your skill level at this time!
That was a starting point, at least. And, if all I had to do was to carefully trace the lines, then even I would be able to do that. So I did, dipping the brush into the red ink and brushing it on the inside of the lid to ensure that none of it would leak out onto the page. I did not want to ruin this scroll merely due to a small splotch of ink.
Tracing the pattern took… longer than I would honestly care to admit. Almost worryingly so, given that nearly the entire vial of ink was used in the creation of this one scroll. But, after roughly fifteen minutes, I was left with what looked to be a completed scroll, and a dirty, red vial.
Okay, now what? I asked the fairy, since I had already traced out all the lines. There simply didn’t seem to be anything left for me to do for this.
Now you just have to wait for the ink to dry! So, we were back to waiting. Though… as time began to pass, I noticed that the red ink on the page gradually darkened, turning into a more normal black. Only when it had fully settled did a message appear in front of me.
You have created your first successful scroll! You are within the first ten people to craft a scroll! As a reward, you will receive a small amount of bonus experience, and a Scribe Ticket.
...Fairy, please explain to me what a scribe ticket is? I communicated mentally, opening up my inventory window to see that there was indeed a new item present. One whose function I was unsure of.
Scribe Tickets are a form of skill lottery tickets, handed out as rewards for special achievements! With a Scribe Ticket, you can enter the Scribe’s Lottery, where you have the chance to randomly earn an inscription pattern, materials, or production equipment! At this time, you are only capable of entering the lowest level of lottery. For further access, either acquire more tickets, or increase your level!
“This game is really big on lottery rewards, isn’t it?” I found myself asking the question out loud once I heard the fairy’s description. I mean… there was no reason not to just save the ticket for now, right? Even if I were to win a good recipe, I’d likely need ingredients that were hard to come by. To me, the ‘jackpot’ would likely be the production equipment, but I wasn’t sure what kinds of items that meant. Just different sizes of brushes? A mortar and pestle to help mix the inks? Maybe a brush with a special enchantment, even.