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Chapter 8 – New horizons

A few days has passed since we cleared the previous Graveyard. We tried to go back and enter it again, but we exceeded the level limit, so there’s no way of knowing whether the dungeon resets itself, a pity because that dungeon had really high quality materials for crafting. As for what happened during the few days that passed, we were basically experimenting and crafting with the materials from the dungeon.

Nic has gone ahead and made himself some really potent potions from the sample collected off of the needle used to poke Sloth, they inflict a level 5 ‘confused’ debuff when ingested or inhaled. He hasn’t thought of an effective way to use the fumes, but for now he’s just storing them as cards in his binder. His Scribing profession also came in really handy when he tried to map out the surrounding area of the Kingdom. There were maps sold by NPCs, but they were crude and weren’t to scale, Nic used that as a starting point and began refining the map. Eventually he managed to craft a [Magic Map], he suspects that it’s due to the ink he’s been using, the ink was made from plants collected from the dungeon. [Magic Map] automatically updates its contents as the user explores the world and has a zoom in/out feature, pretty damn high tech if I do say so myself. His Scribing profession also allows him to copy documents, he has a grand plan to make copies of his [Magic Map] and sell them once he’s explored a large portion of the world.

Dan cooked up the rest of the deer meat and stored the product as cards, since they’re cards, they never go bad, plus the +10 STR buff is always useful in combat. He’s tried experimenting with other herbs added to the meat, but they always gave STR buffs. Dan suspects that the buff provided depends on the type of meat used, rather than the accompanying ingredients, although the accompanying ingredients do work together to provide a stronger buff. Due to Dan’s acquisition of a bow, he’s been training his aim to provide ranged support instead of melee damage. He has a low hp and relies heavily on his high AGI to evade and dodge attacks, which is extremely risky in high level or magic fights, thus he’s changed his playstyle to be an archer instead. Contrary to popular belief, AGI did not increase his ranged damage, it just increases his fire rate, which is now an impressive 2 shots per second at full draw. His max speed is 4 shots per second, but the damage is weak due to a quick draw instead of a full draw.

Me? I used the normal ore I found in the dungeon to make a [Pickaxe] and started chipping away at the wedge of cave wall that I cut out. Turns out it contains an ore called [Quezacoatl Scale], I had enough in that wedge to craft new items for everyone, but the priority was Nic’s shield > my sword > Dan’s knives. Here are the new items I made –

[Quezacoatl’s Guard]
Shield
Req. Lv: 40
Req. STR: 60
Req. STA: 230

Temper: 120%

Defense: 224
M. Defense: 245
SPR: +15
Inscription: None shall pass. (Reduces knockback effects by 50%)
Effects: – Steel Body III (All damage received reduced by 6%)
– Reflect II (Blocked spells have a 20% chance to be reflected)

Enchantments: None
Made by: Foxxie

——-

[Quezacoatl’s Grandblade]
2H weapon
Req. Lv: 40
Req. STR: 270

Temper: 118%

Damage: 173 – 191
SPR: +15
Inscription: No fun allowed. (5% chance to inflict Berserk II debuff on enemy)
Effects: – Sharpness III (Damage output increased by 9%)
– Magic Coat (Grants ability to parry magic)

Enchantments: None
Made by: Foxxie

——-

[Quezacoatl’s Edge]
1H weapon
Req. Lv: 40
Req. STR: 135

Temper: 123%

Damage: 100 – 109
SPR: +15
Inscription: Stabby stabby poke poke. (Armor penetration +38)
Effects: – Weakness II (10% chance to reduce target’s defenses by 20%)
– Quickness II (Attack speed +10%)

Enchantments: None
Made by: Foxxie

As you can see, my tempering skills has improved and the [Quezacoatl Scale] seems to have strong magic resistant properties. The weapons are definitely upgrades to our current set, but we’re just a little short of the required level. The number of effects has increased, I’m not too sure if this is due to the ore being used or my smithing skills improving, but either way it’s definitely a good sign. I haven’t been too witty with the inscriptions and have absolutely no idea how they work, but I’m gonna try inscriptions in other languages the next time I craft to see if language affects the effect. Experiments await.

I learned a new passive skill Death Grip which allowed me to wield 2H weapons with one hand, however I lacked the STA to equip shields of appropriate levels, so I decided to go ham by dual-wielding greatswords indeed. Currently I don’t have 2 greatswords to wield, but once I hit level 40 I’ll be able to equip both my [Iron Greatsword] and [Quezacoatl’s Grandblade]. According to Daniroh, I should aim for 200 AGI so that I can get the dual-wield related skills Ambidextrous and Dual Wield Novice upgrades. I’m personally not too happy about sacrificing STA for AGI just for damage. Maybe I should take it slow? Damage penalty doesn’t bother me that much currently since my mainhand is a lv 40 weapon while my offhand is a lv 15, they’re already quite different in terms of damage output.

Our main goal for today is to swap out our current set of weapons to the new ones, hence, we’re off completing quests again. Due to our acquisition of the [Inventory] key item, we no longer have to frequently return to town, so we spent the last few days crafting up our raw materials and preparing for our exploration. We were told that we could turn in our quests at other branches of the Adventurer’s guild as long as we had our cards with us, thus, our plan was to pick up as many quests that were along the way as possible and go far out away from the Kingdom to explore the game world.

Once our preparations were complete, we set off south of the Kingdom. We took on a few quests that required us to clean up ruins, reduce the numbers of some giant scorpions and deliver some cargo to a town some distance away. Naturally, we also took whatever material collection type quests that were available since we can abuse the binder-card item system to full effect, but the guild only allowed us to take on 10 quests at a time. Our first destination was the ruins some distance southwest from where we cleared the Graveyard, there were supposed to be some ruins spawning minor undead. The undead die off during the day due to exposure to sunlight, so they can’t wander too far from shelter, but if left unchecked, greater undead could spawn with resistance against sunlight and cause trouble in the Kingdom.


“Hey Dan, got any more of dem meat left?” (Nic)

“What? NO! I’m not gonna give you anymore, you’ve already had 3 servings despite the STR buff not stacking.” (Dan)

“But it TASTES. SO. GOOOOOOOOOD.”

“Hey, if you want it so bad, you should have gone hunting to bring back more materials so I could cook your own personal stock. The ones I have right now are for buff purposes only, no eating more than required.”

“Fiiiinneee….”

“Hey Dan, is it possible to cook without a stove like we did when we first grilled the crabs?” (Me)

“Yea it is, but those items don’t give buffs, they restore a small portion of health instead. Nic’s already got hp recovery down with his potions, so I don’t have any of those.” (Dan)

“Yea, but if it satisfies Nic’s snacking urges I think it’s good enough. What say you Nic?”

“Naw it’s gotta be those stir-fried lambchops, the taste is just.. MMMM mmmmm!” Nic smacks his lips.

“I guess it’s more about the quality rather than the quantity huh? O well, you just gotta resist I guess.” (Me)

The ruins were about four in-game days’ distance away, rental mounts were possible, but we weren’t planning to go back to the Kingdom, so there was no way of returning them, hence we our remaining option was to walk. The road leading to the ruins weren’t meant for carriages, so they were uneven and tiring to walk on, but we made it anyway. According to the quest details, these ruins were from a time before the Kingdom was established. It was a monastery away from civilization where the monks could train and pass down their knowledge to the next generation of monks. Due to the not-so-glamorous lifestyle of monks, not many disciples joined and eventually there were no more monks left. It was tradition to bury the monks in the graveyard beside the monastery, so all that was left were the graves and with no one to scatter the malevolent magic, it congregated and started to spawn undeads. Which leads to us being here now to fix the problem.

No windows appeared as we approached the ruins, so this isn’t a dungeon.

“Oh man, a cave is called a Graveyard, but a graveyard isn’t a Graveyard, this game’s naming sense man.” (Nic)

“Hey, don’t question the game. As long as we refer to them in terms we understand, it’s good enough.” (Me)

*groan*

Zombie groans were echoing off the crumbled stone walls of the monastery but none of them were in sight. It’s hard to tell when we might be attacked so we had our weapons out while walking cautiously towards the building. The first thing to do in any ruin exploration is to roam the various rooms in the ruins in search of treasure. Towards the end of the monastery’s service there were no longer any monks to pass their secrets to, so they’ll definitely record them down and hope that someone of good character finds them and continues the heritage. Unfortunately for the monks, we are out here for fun, fame and fortune. Nope, no noble callings here. All secrets will be used to generate maximum enjoyment. Why do the monks care, they’re already dead right?

Inside the monastery the groans grow louder, and now we hear their shambling footsteps.

“No splitting up I guess, we’ll explore each of the rooms together for safety.” (Me)

“Okay.” They agreed.

The monastery had three floors, we start at the first floor and we enter room after room. Occasionally there would be some zombies in the room, but they were easy to deal with. The rooms were mostly empty aside from some wooden tables and chairs that have already rotted to uselessness, it appears the first floor was mainly for studies and crafting. However, there was one room which caught our interest. This room had large wooden barrels and kegs lined up along the many shelves. Upon further inspection they seem to contain some kind of liquid.

“Are these.. potions?” (Dan)

“Hmm.. Lemme check.” (Nic)

We take one barrel off the shelves and carefully broke the top. Nic scoops a small amount with his vial and tries to identify it.

[Crème de cassis]
Beverage

Drink to increase SPR by 10 for 30 minutes.

Without telling us what it is, Nic drank his vial up.

“OH MY GAWD WHAT DID YOU JUST DO” (Me)

“I figured you’d have learned from my exampled of drinking weird liquids, but you’re pretty rash.” (Dan)

“Chill guys, I successfully identified it. It says here that it’s uhh.. Creeem di kahsees.”

“Crème de cassis? If I remember correctly that’s an alcoholic beverage right? I think I’ve seen it before when I worked in some fancy restaurants.” (Dan)

“Yep, which is why I drank it. It also gives a buff of +10 SPR for 30 minutes, you guys should drink too!”

Everyone drank a small vial from the barrel, Nic tries to turn another barrel off the shelf into a card for storage, but nothing happened. Nobody knows why, so Nic uses some of his vials to keep a stock from the barrel we broke.

“Hey, if I remember correctly, some monasteries in the real world brew pretty good alcohol, maybe it’s the same in game?” (Dan)

“That could be true, if so, they might have hidden their techniques somewhere in the library or a secret room somewhere. Judging by Nic’s ability to identify the drink, I’d say this falls under the Alchemy profession, it could be useful if we had the recipe for Nic.” (Me)

“Hell yeah I get to brew my own liquor! Get drunk e’rryday!” (Nic)

“Not with that STA you aren’t. You’re pretty much immune to most low level debuffs already.” (Me)

We move onto the second floor, this time, the rooms were mostly bedroom types. They were all equipped with a bed, a small table, a chair and a closet. We searched all that could be searched, but only random scraps of papers turned up, so we hastily moved onto the third floor.

The third floor was more interesting, it had few rooms, but the rooms were big. The first room we went into was a kitchen, rusty pots and pans hung off the wall and rusty utensils were in the drawer. I picked up and stored one of the woks so that Daniroh could cook as we were moving, but I’ll have to scrub off the rust and repair it first. We searched the kitchen for any special recipes, but there was nothing of interest. The second room we explored was the dining room, it had a large central table with 50 chairs packed closely, side by side. There were probably more monks than this at the peak population, but to pack the seats so closely together meant that they were at least flourishing at some point in time.

Room after room, there were offices, meditation rooms, potted plant gardens? There was this room where many pots of dirt lined up neatly in rows, Dan said they might have been potted plants that were cultivated, perhaps for the brewing of the alcohol. The room’s roof was special, it was made of wood and could open upwards to allow sunlight in. The roof had rotted away though, so sunlight was streaming in despite them being closed.

Finally, we entered the library. The musty smell of yellowed paper and molding leather bindings fill the air, if there was a place to store secret information, this would have to be the place. We split up the library into three sections and began our search.

Intermission – The Kingdom’s worry

“Your Majesty, it appears that a Graveyard has appeared in the south woods of Drakonica. My men has investigated the surrounding area, but were unable to investigate the Graveyard itself. There was an invisible barrier preventing us from entering, I suspect that the sigil above the entrance had something to do with it, hence I requested help from some adventurers through the guild.” (Grauk)

“You requested help from adventurers?! Mmmhh.. Very well, they are costly, but they fear not death nor is affected by them. Such monsters, it’s a miracle that they have not yet gathered up to overthrow this Kingdom. So, how much were the expenditures?”

“Your Majesty please forgive me, but the total expenditure is 1500 gold pieces.”

“1500?!”

“I am deeply sorry Your Majesty, but there were 3 adventurers who accepted the quest, and they have absolutely no respect for your authority nor the Kingdom’s safety, hence they refused to do it for any less. I tried to convince them but to no avail. I will gladly offer up my own assets if Your Majesty wills it.”

Damned adventurers, why must they be so selfish?! Although this is within the budget that the King has allotted to me, but to spend three quarters of it just to rid one Graveyard?!

“No, it’s fine. The Kingdom’s safety comes first. As long as the Graveyard has been cleared, the monsters in the area should be less vicious. An important trade route runs through the south woods, as long as the route is safe, we can earn back the expense. Do you know what might be the cause of the Graveyard appearing?”

“According to investigations, it is rumored that Zark has been sighted, but nobody can confirm it. If this is true, then we must question the adventurers who cleared the Graveyard. Should I task my men to bring them in Your Majesty?”

“Hmmm… No it is fine. If it really is Zark, he should already be long gone. He leaves behind trifles for the adventurers, but they shouldn’t compare to the Kingdom’s treasure.”

The Kingdom’s treasure, Laevateinn. That’s right, the sword which the wandering mercenary Zark once used, Zark gave it to us in hopes that we would give up trying to convince him to be the Kingdom’s Hero, but nobody has been able to use the sword thus far. It is said that Laevateinn has a will of its own and would only allow someone worthy to wield it, as of now it sits in the Kingdom’s vault, along with other priceless treasures.

“Is that all for the report, Grauk?”

“Yes Your Majesty, I will report immediately if any news of Zark or Graveyards reaches me. I shall have my men patrol the surrounding area for another week.”

“Do as you see fit. You may go.”

“Long live Your Majesty.”


I gather up my men, the proud knights of Defender, tasked with the order and defense of the Kingdom and it’s borders.

“Men, good work on patrolling. We will continue for another week until it is absolutely safe and nothing is out of the ordinary, only then will we return to our regular schedule. Anything suspicious or threatening must immediately be reported to me. Understood?”

“SIR, YES SIR!”

“Dismissed!”

Graveyards has been known to aggravate surrounding monsters, causing them to be more bloodthirsty than usual, but yet adventurers seem to rejoice whenever one appears, is there no end to their greed?! The safety of the Kingdom and her people are threatened whenever a Graveyard appears. Thankfully, this one was mild and no monster attacks happened, but should the monsters have attacked, the problem would have been much more difficult to solve.

“Greetings Grauk.” (???)

“Ah yes Regus, I was just about to go looking for you.”

“I, too, have something to discuss with you, shall we talk over a meal?”

“That sounds like a good idea.”

Regus is the captain of the Third division knight squadron, Hunter, surely he has more information than I know of. They are not limited to activities within the Kingdom, but the surrounding unclaimed territories as well as the wilderness are all within his area of operation. The third division mainly consists of scouts and elite archers, very fitting for it’s name.

We enter one of the grander inns in town, The Sleeping Dragon, they serve the best grilled crabs.

“So what was it that you’d like to discuss?” (Grauk)

“According to my men, the giant scorpions in the wilderness are starting to become increasingly aggravated. This could be signs that a Graveyard has appeared there, but when my men scouted the area, nothing was found, there were no sigils, nothing out of the ordinary. Do you have an information on the behaviour of giant scorpions?”

“Giant scorpions huh, if I remember correctly they mostly prey on the shrews that also live in the wilderness. Perhaps there is a lack of food? That could be the reason that the scorpions are becoming aggravated, they are highly territorial creatures.”

“Hmmm.. So it could be a phase of the natural ecosystem, I see.. Well, I will update you further if I receive any more information. Why were you looking for me?”

“Ahh yes, the Graveyard in the south woods has been cleared by three Adventurers, their names are Foxxie, Nyctophobic and Daniroh. I need you to keep and eye on them for about one week. Especially on Nyctophobic, he seems to be the leader of the group. They shouldn’t be conspiring against the Kingdom, but I want to make sure. You have the best men for observation and scouting type missions.”

“I see, okay, I will send a knight to tail them. I’ll update you after a week.”

“Thank you dear friend.”

“We’re comrades after all, we have to help each other.”

“Aye. Cheers, to the prosperity of the Kingdom!”

“To prosper!”

*clink*

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