Chi hummed to himself as he walked up the small hill. There were fewer trees than the last time he’d been by this road, but he paid it no mind. His only goal was to pick more herbs on his way to the city where he would sell the herbs and find a magician to lift the rest of his curse. He cast out a bit of magic to check for monsters before heading to the Etsic he spied right off the road. “Just a moment, Luna! I’m going to grab some herbs. I think I see some berries, too!”
He took out his pocket knife and carefully cut the Etsic’s flowers. If he was careless, the flowers would live but the rest of the plant would die. The flowers might regrow by the time he headed back and he could sell some in a town on the way home. He pulled out a small pouch from his shirt pocket and put the blooms into it before imbuing the bag with a protective spell. He couldn’t have the flowers getting crushed in his pack now, could he? He licked his lips when he saw the berries in the bush next to the flowers. He felt as though he hadn’t eaten in ages. I wish I could hunt well… these berries would make a great sauce with some roasted Burick.
He jumped when he heard the roar. A monster? HERE? Oh god, is it the same monster those heroes were killing? How are there more of them, I’m pretty sure hundreds of them have been killed already. He backed away from the bush as Luna lept to his side. Her eyes were shining in excitement. “Stay back, Chi, I’ll fight it.”
Luna was giddy with excitement. The mob in front of them had the words Elite Burick over its head. It was only level 9, but she knew that elite mobs were stronger than regular ones and tended to drop gear. Chi was pale as he backed away onto the road. It was the biggest Burick he’d ever seen in his life – Luna had to be crazy! It was five times her size! He stood there with his mouth agape as Luna jumped around and stabbed at it with her sword. He let out a yelp when the Burick hit her with his giant paw and she flew back 10 feet. He froze – of course he had to go help her, hero or not, she was just a girl, but fear kept him in place. She stumbled back up as she wiped blood from the edge of her mouth. Luna eyed the Elite Burick as it started shuffling towards her with his arms up in the air. She’d killed twenty regular Buricks for a quest and knew it would bring its arms down to try to smash her. She waited for it reach her before she dashed behind it and brought down her sword into its back. It let out a pained roar but she knew she had it – its HP bar was down to half already. She yanked out her sword and jumped backwards. It turned slowly and let out another roar. Oh, shit. Apparently some of the Elite Buricks had a skill the regular didn’t – its roars could spawn regular Buricks. She realized too late that she should have stunned it during its roar.
Chi screamed when he saw the regular Buricks spawn. He could barely fight up to three Buricks at a time – there were five surrounding Luna, not including the big one! He forced his legs to move as he ran towards Luna to try to pull her away from the fight. He was a few feet away when flames erupted below the Buricks and the regular Buricks fell dead.
“Hell yeah!” Luna glanced at the player that had interrupted the fight. What the hell, this is my mob… whatever, at least I won’t have to spawn at the graveyard. She darted towards the Elite Burick and continued to slash at it with quick movements, dodging its paws. Parts of the Burick were singed as the other player threw fireballs at it. Chi stood in shock, watching as they brought down the beast. As it fell to the ground, he ran to Luna. “Are you okay?” His hands were shaking as he hovered over her. Luna grinned at him. “Yeah, I’m fine. I should eat though.”
He nodded. “I’ll cook some of this Burick meat. The berries will make a good sauce if we roast it.”
Luna’s eyes sparkled. You can eat the meat from this thing? Meat!! I hope it tastes good!
The player who aided Luna sauntered over. “You okay there? You woulda been toast if I didn’t help!”
Luna frowned. “I would’ve been fine. But thank you anyways.”
“I’m Liolac. You’re a warrior? I’m a wizard! So much cooler.”
Luna didn’t respond as she turned the Burick over. Where’s my loot? Oh, there it is.A chest was glistening under the Burick’s body. She licked her lips as she opened it. Be a sword, be a sword, please be a sword! Damnit.
She pulled out the staff and necklace. Wth am I going to do with a staff? Let’s see the stats on the necklace… Well, at least I can use this…
Her hp and attack would go up a bit with this necklace, but the magic power on the staff was useless to her. She turned to Liolac. “You want this?”
He pressed it with this finger to look at the stats. “Heck yeah! If you don’t mind, of course.”
His feigned humility made Luna’s lips twitch. How cute. He must be young. “Here. My friend is going to cook this mob if you want to join.”
Liolac was practically drooling as he took the staff. “Yeah, sure. I haven’t tried any of the food in the game yet. I heard it’s really good if you get ingredient tasting to a high level.”
Luna frowned. “A high level? So the food won’t taste good if ingredient tasting is low?”
Liolac nodded as he sat down. “The food just tastes all right if you don’t level it enough. It’s basically the cooking craft skill in other games. My brother started the game before me and he didn’t pick it up until level 50. Says food tastes like sandpaper if you don’t even pick up the skill. Tasteless pudding when you first start leveling it. People with high level ingredient tasting can sell their food for pretty good money because people want to have better tasting food.”
Luna eyed Chi as he began cutting up the Elite Burick corpse. She wondered how an NPC’s cooking would taste.
“Oh my god what level are you?! How did you get your ingredient tasting skill so high? This tastes soooo goooood.”
Luna winced. Liolac’s table manners were… lacking, to put it lightly. She had to agree, though. The food was melt in your mouth delicious.
“Level…? Ingredient tasting skill?” Chi didn’t understand what Liolac was saying. “I don’t understand… I grew up cooking for my siblings, so I’m a little better than average.”
Liolac stared at him with his mouth open. Luna turned her eyes away. Ew.
“You know real life skills don’t apply in here right? You could be a world class chef in real life but your food’ll taste terrible if you don’t level your ingredient tasting…”
Chi wondered if Liolac was crazy. “What do you mean real life? This is real life. And I’m far from a world class chef.”
Luna giggled. “Liolac, Chi is an NPC. I think he’s some kind of real event quest. This game is really awesome. Doesn’t he seem so real?”
Game? NPC? What? Chi had thought Luna was crazy when she’d decided to fight the giant Burick, but now he was sure. They’re both crazy.
Liolac looked at Chi with confusion in his eyes. “My brother didn’t mention anything like this… He doesn’t have a dialog box or anything. All I see is his name, just like a player.”
Luna nodded. “When I first ran into him, he was a normal NPC. Then he… glitched out or something and his dialog box disappeared, his name color changed, he started moving around and stuff. He did give me some quests though. I’m wondering if he’s some kind of special escort NPC.”
Liolac nodded. “Okay… that makes sense. I think.”
Chi shrugged. Heroes are crazy.
Luna’s HP recovered as she ate and she noticed that her stamina was going up as well. This is great. I didn’t have to spend any mats to make HP or stam tonics.
Once they finished, they got back up and started heading towards the city. Liolac suggested making a party and Luna agreed – until she got a new weapon or some new armor, she would probably need the help. Definitely an annoying NPC escort quest. He keeps stopping to get herbs. Ugh. They ran into some more mobs, but no Elites. Luna was getting antsy. The game was moving so slowly, she’d expected to hit level 20 at the very least before going to bed and at this rate, she wouldn’t even hit 15. Liolac seemed not to mind the slow pace as he whistled and teleported forward periodically.
“HEY! There’s a shiny plant here! I wonder if it’s valuable?”
Chi jogged forward and grabbed Liolac before he could touch the plant. “Don’t! That’s not a plant!!”
“Eeeeeh? But – “
ROOOAAAAARRRRR!! The small plant glowed brighter and grew to a towering size. “Oh, shit.” Liolac and Luna both froze before the giant monster.
Elite Level 18 Perrenis
They both had the same thought. We gotta run.
Chi sighed. Perrenis were known to chase you for miles – he was sure the heroes would escape, but he wouldn’t make it out alive without sacrificing one of his more valuable herbs. Luna grabbed his arm and started running. “There’s no point in running. Can you keep it busy for a little bit?”
Luna gulped. It was an elite with 8 levels on her… Would she be able to survive? “Liolac… let’s try keeping it busy.”
“Are you crazy? We need to run! Even with two of us, that thing’s name is RED and 8 levels above us. We’re gonna die!”
“Just keep dodging it.”
“Easy for you to say, you’re a warrior! I’m a magician – I have a base of 2 defense and 0 evade!”
At level 10, they were both too low to have even received any skill points. They were both stuck with their base stats. “I’ll tank it, just distract it when it looks like I’m in trouble!”
I partied with the wrong warrior. The graveyard’s so far… I should have set my graveyard at the last town I was in. He hadn’t expected to die before reaching the first major city since he killed most mobs with one or two hits at his level. “Fine! But if I die, you owe me some silver or something!”
Luna rolled her eyes as she ran back towards the monster. “All right, just back me up!”
Chi hunched over his bag, mumbling to himself. “Fraxina… fraxina… I know i had some somewhere… “ He almost teared up as he thought of the money he was losing. Obviously, it was better than dying but it was one of the more valuable herbs he’d found when foraging. “Found it!”
He grabbed the surprisingly grubby looking plant and ran towards the monster where Luna was barely dodging its attacks. Liolac was standing afar, periodically throwing fireballs at it even as he fought his instinct to run like hell. Chi threw the plant at the Perrenis and cursed as the Fraxina fell to the ground. Luna screeched. “Seriously?! That’s your plan? We should have run!”
Chi yelled back, “I missed! Give me a moment!”
He dove to the ground to avoid a swinging limb and grabbed the Fraxina. He ran a few feet away, grabbing a rock on the ground. He tied it to the Fraxina and threw it into the monster’s mouth.
The Perrenis froze and glowed. It looked like it was collapsing within itself and Luna let out a sigh of relief. Okay, looks like Chi does know what he’s doing.
Luna and Liolac stepped forward towards Chi, who had collapsed to the ground with a groan. “Hey, heroes. Sometimes these things turn into magical items to sell. Let’s see if anything happened.”
Luna and Liolac’s eyes sparkled. Magical items? Yeeees!
The glowing had died down and they walked towards the item. “Momocha? Momo! Momocha!”
Wtf is this thing.
There was a small… blob-like thing in front of them with big sparkling eyes. It was a sort of pretty, light shade of brown, almost like coffee with a lot of milk. Is that why it says mocha??
Chi smiled. “Well, you can’t sell this creature but it’ll choose an owner. It’s called a Meekokat. Much cuter than the Perrenis, isn’t it?”
Luna poked it with a finger. It was squishy. “What does it do?”
“It will pick up useful items for its owner and serve as storage. In the right circumstances they can aid you in battle. Many magicians seek to tame Meekokats because they are pretty rare but hard to tame. If they form from a Perrenis, though, they imprint onto someone nearby and there’s no need to tame them. Looks like this one’s name is Momocha.”
Was this like a Pokemon? Could it only say its name?
“Momocha hungry!” The creature chomped down on Luna’s finger. “You’re lucky, Luna! It looks like she likes you!”
“What does it eat?”
“I think they like fruit. I still have some berries left from when we cooked the Burick. Here, give her some.”
Luna pulled her finger from Momocha’s mouth and took the berries from Chi. She held out her hand towards Momocha, who promptly enveloped Luna’s entire hand, making her yelp in surprise.
Chi laughed, saying, “Don’t worry, they can’t hurt you. Meekokats are hard to destroy or tame, but they’re harmless. They’re also toothless.”
Luna pulled out her hand. “Ew, there’s spit all over my hand… “
Momocha smiled brightly, “Yum, thanky Luna! Momocha happy!”
Luna wiped her hand on her pants. “Uh… you’re welcome, Momocha…”
Liolac pouted next to them. “How come she didn’t come to me? I’m already running out of inventory space! I need that!”