Luna sat at the inn, waiting for Yu Chi and Liolac to show up. She wished she’d had more coffee before logging on but it was 8:10AM already and she didn’t feel comfortable logging off for coffee. She was frustrated. She had spent hours scouring the forums, Google, anything, for answers and had found nothing. She had reported the bug and still not received a reply from anyone when she’d woken up this morning. There had been no information of a “special event” quest or NPC, no mention of NPCs “coming to life,” nothing that could help her figure out what was going on with Chi. There was nothing she could do for now but help him or leave him and she knew she couldn’t leave him. Although undoubtedly an NPC, Chisa had moved something in Luna. She couldn’t break her promise to get Chi back home to her.
“Mornin’ Luna! You sleep well? Let’s get some breakfast!” Liolac sat in the chair across from Luna, smiling brightly. Luna was sure Liolac was at least two hours behind her time zone, and marveled that he’d gotten up so early to get online.
“Aren’t you tired? It should be 6AM or so for you, if I calculated correctly.”
Liolac grinned. “Yeah, but I gotta get up around this time for school everyday so it’s not a big deal. I went to sleep early last night after finishing my homework so I could spend the day playing! Have you seen Chi yet?”
Luna shook her head. She was a bit annoyed that he was late despite the fact that he was the one who needed help. She glanced around the inn and spotted him coming in through the front door. “There he is.”
Chi sat at the table, dumping a pack on the floor that fell with a thump. “Did you go shopping before coming here?”
Chi nodded. “Sorry I’m a bit late. I wanted to be able to leave as soon as possible, so I went out to gather some provisions. I have food, water, snacks, tonics, bandages… pretty much anything we’ll need until we reach the next town. Luna, could I ask you for a favor?”
What? We’re taking you to SunYan, what other favor could you possibly need? Luna could feel herself getting irritated due to her lack of sleep. “What do you need?”
“Remember when you got Momocha? I told you she’s a storage creature… if you summon her she could store these things without any burden. We would probably move faster if I’m not carrying this. And you can summon the items you need rather than me rummaging through the bag.”
Luna felt herself calming, then felt a wave of shame overcome her. She’d promised Chisa she would help Chi get home and yet she was being unreasonably selfish with Chi. She knew that she wouldn’t even have Momocha if not for Chi, that she would have been heading towards SunYan anyways, and yet she felt resentful towards this man who only wanted to do what was best for his siblings. She vowed to do better and be better. She summoned Momocha by pressing the “pet” icon floating in front of her. There was a small swirl of blue lights and Momocha appeared.
“Mornin’ Luna! Momocha hungryyyyyyy!”
Luna grinned. She couldn’t help but love this little blob that hopped around her as though she was a bouncing ball with constant rebound. “Hey, Chi, you got any more berries? I don’t have any.”
Chi nodded. “I picked up different types of berries for her. Some of them are special and will give her different effects so I’ll let you know as we go. Here, she should like these, they’re called baccate.”
Luna held out her hand full of berries to Momocha. “Momocha, do me a favor and try not to eat my whole hand this time?”
Momocha grinned and chomped down on Luna’s hand whole. Luna grimaced as she pulled away her now spit covered hand. “Mmmm, yummy! Like!!!”
Momocha hopped around the table, obviously excited to be munching on the baccate berries. Luna wiped her hand on a napkin and turned to Chi. “Any way to get her to stop doing that?”
Chi shook his head. “They’re all different. At least you got a friendly one.”
“How do I… store things in her?”
“Just ask her to go to storage mode, that should work.”
“Momocha, could you go into storage mode please?”
“Momocha, storage mode.” Momocha glowed for a few seconds before there was a flash and in her place were three smaller version of her with what looked like glowing plates above their heads. Luna picked up a bottle from the bag Chi had and placed it on the plate.
“Registered: 1 Health Tonic.”
Luna picked up two more items and put them on the other plates. “Registered: 1 Bundle Waterbloom, 1 Bundle Etsic.”
The plates flashed and the items disappeared. “Hey, what if I just… dump everything in the bag here. Think that’ll work?”
Liolac jumped up. “Let me do it!”
He grabbed the bag and turned it upside down.
“Registered: 49 Health Tonics, 9 bundles Waterbloom, 9 bundles Etsic, 50 Mana Tonics…”
Momocha rattled off the items as the plates flashes rapidly. “Momocha, end storage mode!”
Momocha glowed. “Voice unregistered. Invalid command.”
Liolac pouted. “I can’t even do that?”
Luna smiled and repeated Liolac’s words. Momocha glowed and in a flash of light, she was back to the bouncy little blob that liked to bounce around. “Luna!! Luna, Luna, Luna!”
Momocha seemed to enjoy just chanting Luna’s name as she hopped around. “Well, let’s get breakfast before we head out.”
Luna wiped her brow. After turning in multiple quests on their journey to SunYan, Luna and Liolac had reached level 20. At least leveling’s quick at this point. We should hit 40 pretty soon barring any complications.
Liolac was proving to be the type of wizard that would annoy any tank. He charged forward before anyone else, hitting any mob he saw. Luna was getting a heavy virtual workout trying to keep up with his pace. If only exercise in this game equated exercise in real life. I’d lose so much weight.
She wiped sweat from her brow and watched Chi from where she stood. He’d proven to be… mostly useless in battle. Despite his obvious skill with the sword, he barely did any damage. Is it because NPCs don’t gain experience points? I really wish he could kill something or heal or… anything, really. He’s like a walking potato at this point. We can’t keep going like this, he’s aggroing half the mobs we go near, we don’t even need to kill most of them but have to because of him. I wonder if gear would help.
“Hey, guys! There’s a town up there! I think we can turn in these quests!”
Luna let out a sigh of relief. A town meant no mobs to fight. She needed a break.
After turning in their quests, they walked around the town, checking out the merchants and buildings unique to the town. “I guess we should go do the next round of quests?”
Chi and Liolac nodded while Momocha hopped onto Luna’s shoulder. When questing and fighting monsters, Momocha seemed to prefer being on Luna’s shoulder to anywhere else. In safe areas, like towns, Momocha charged ahead, jabbering in her high voice about this and that, pointing out anything that caught her interest.
“You three, come over here.” The three of them stopped and turned to look at the old lady beckoning them into her house.
Liolac walked over to her and bent down to meet the old woman’s eyes. She was hunched over, making her seem even shorter than she actually was. She barely reached Liolac’s waist. “You need some help, granny?”
Liolac’s eyes twinkled in anticipation. She had a quest icon over her head – a silver quest icon. So far the only ones they’d received had been bronze level quests. Silver meant better rewards than bronze while gold meant the best quest rewards in the game, but they wouldn’t be able to access any gold level quests until they reached level 60. He wasn’t sure how they’d missed this quest on the map but was excited to carry it out.
She gestured them into her home and they followed her in. She sat at a round table, indicating to them to sit down.
“I am Merati. I have a granddaughter who left my home three days ago. She should have arrived at her parent’s and sent word of her arrival by now. I heard from a traveler that a girl fitting her description had been kidnapped by the Hesiod followers. Would you please scout their area and check if she is there? Her name is Rina. Please rescue her if she is being held captive. The Hesiods are terrible, they dabble in black magic, commit horrible atrocities in the name of ‘advancement,’ sell people into slavery… Rina cannot be left to that fate! Please, save her. The Hesiod’s lair is just north of the town.”
Luna mulled it over and turned to her party members. “What do you think, Liolac, Chi?”
Liolac nodded happily. “What’s the reward, granny?”
“5 gold 50 silver for each member of your party, the choice between a Sword of Fenric or a Staff of the Phoenix, and a choice between two potions. The potions give random effects – one has a physical effect while the other alters the mind.”
Liolac and Luna’s jaws dropped. They had maybe 2 gold between the two of them. Chi obviously had more but it was his gold and they didn’t feel right asking him for any. Well, Luna didn’t feel right. Liolac still thought Chi was some special escort quest NPC. Luna wondered when Liolac would realize what was going on and if he would be able to cope with it.
“All right, we accept the quest. We’ll be back with your granddaughter soon, granny!” Liolac practically skipped out the door, thinking dreamily of the gold and Staff of the Phoenix he would receive.
Merati grabbed Luna’s arm as she turned to leave. “Luna, you must choose the purple potion and give it to Yu Chi.”
“Ex-excuse me?” Luna paled as she tried to pull her arm out of the lady’s surprisingly strong grip.
The old lady repeated in a loud whisper, “You must choose the purple potion and give it to Yu Chi once you complete the quest. You must.”
Luna nodded hesitantly, willing Merati to let go of her. Merati looked into Luna’s brown eyes for a moment, as though searching for sincerity. She seemed satisfied as she gave a small nod and let go of Luna’s arm. Luna rubbed her arm where Merati had held her. Hope it doesn’t bruise.