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Ch 9: Ground Breaker

Tap tap tap tap. We hear the sound of hundreds of computer keyboard keys being pressed. On a computer screen we see an online Hero's Destiny discussion board appear. Green letters turn into full sentences as players discuss the latest news happening in Hero's Destiny.

Appearing on the computer screen, "Hey anyone here do the beast king's mini quest over by the eastern side of the kingdom?"

"Yeah, I was but all the beasts disappeared! Any updates on where they went?"

"I saw some giant beasts headed towards the north east side of the kingdom while I was raiding a bandit village."

"Hey! Yeah I got attacked by some giant beasts! They seemed to have some kind of red electricity ability to them. Any clue what mission they are related to?"

"Probably just a weakling to have trouble with some overgrown beasts. 😏"

"No I got killed by some beasts just like that too!"

"Me too"

"Me too"

"Same here"

Ping notifications from players liking and commenting ring throughout the night on the discussion board.

[Some sort of intro]

Jamal wakes up Sunday morning and does his morning routine. He logs onto google to search for any information that will help him identify the shadow creature and what is happening to his character. Online, Jamal types in searches for shadows, ghosts, changing stats and changing . The search results show objects that allow you to move some points in your stats, ghosts and monsters in the game that look like shadows, and updates to Hero's Destiny. However, none of the monsters looks like the shadow figure or the giant rats that Jamal has encountered in the past.

Jamal can not find anything built into the game that allows players to move all their stat points into one category. Players can generate electric powers through magic points, but the electricity is blue and cannot make the user grow in size.

One of Jamal's biggest questions is how he was able to change his main character mission. There are many players that have searched for a way to change their character missions, but the rules of the game are clear. The main character mission is the player's destiny and cannot be changed once assigned. Furthermore, there has not been any recordings of characters with missions beyond saving the kingdom. This is considered the highest of all destinies and is held by the 5 Guardians. Because they are expected to have grand adventures to save the kingdom, the guardians receive many views every day and have become gaming celebrities.

"If the Guardians are famous for saving the kingdom, then what will happen if I save the world?" Jamal asks while he resets google for a new search.

Jamal now looks for any y'all about giant beasts and the red electricity flowing through them. Instantly hundreds of message boards discussing the giant beast appear before Jamal. He reads as the conversations describe a large group of beasts with red electricity spreading throughout the northeast, killing players and interrupting all quests in their path. The message boards are filled with complaints and questions for different players who have come in contact with these beasts one way or another in the last 24 hours.

Nervous about what he is reading, Jamal decides that the only way to protect himself is to become a stronger player. He picks up his headset and logs into Hero's Destiny.

Waking up in the game, Jamal equips his heart and leaves the hotel. Jamal hears towards the bar for breakfast and to speak with the bartender again. As Jamal walks up to the bar door, he glances down the street and sees the old beggar NPC character again. Jamal ignites him as he walks into the bar and greets the bar keep.

"Hey Jamal. How's it going?" The bartender says while he polishes the bar counter top.

Jamal orders a drink and asks the bartender if he has heard anything about the magical beasts or the shadowy figure Jamal saw.

"Shadow monsters that control super beasts that shoot out red electricity, nope can't say I've ever heard of that. Sounds like a pretty interesting quest, but a little out of your league for a level 3." The bartender laughs while Jamal gets embarrassed.

"Speaking of my level", Jamal asks after clearing his throat, "where is a good place to farm around here?"

Experience farming or experience grinding is a term in the gaming world for spending a long time fighting weaker beasts in order to gain enough experience points to level up your character.

"Ooooh", the bartender says while putting his rag on the shelf. "So you want to level up and get stronger. About time your tiny body got a boost in power. I recommend going south to the starter fields in the grey territory. All the beasts that spawn in this area should be very low level sheep and boars. Once you've leveled up, you should be able to take on a wild dog or two deeper in the woods. However, don't go too far into their territory or else you might not come back out of there. You don't want to meet a wolf pack."

A wild dog is a line hunter that wanders the woods looking for food. They are very fast beasts with sharp, powerful jaws for biting their victims. A wolf is much more difficult to handle than a wild dog. It's speed is similar to a wild dog, but they always hunt in large packs and try to surround their prey.

Jamal thanks the bartender and finishes his breakfast. Before leaving, Jamal turns to ask the bartender if he knows anything about the old man begging outside lately.

"I don't really recognize him. Seems like just another NPC to me." The bartender and Jamal shrug it off and Jamal leaves the bar.

Jamal makes his way to the forge because the time has come to retrieve his new axe. At the forge, Jamal is greater by a huge hug from the blacksmith.

"Ho Ho!", the blacksmith chuckles as Jamal is lifted in the air. The blacksmith spins him around before setting Jamal on the floor. "Welcome back your warrior! I've been waiting for your return. This material turned out to be better than even I anticipated! Come, follow me."

The blacksmith leads Jamal to the back room. In the corner is a stand with something sitting on top covered in cloth. The blacksmith slowly unwraps the object to reveal a beautiful shiny axe. The detail and craftsmanship put into the axe could never be created so quickly outside of the game. The blacksmith hands the axe to Jamal and Jamal analyzes the weapon.

"Double Bit Axe: +5 attack; Special ability: Ground breaker. Send a shockwave of attack energy through the ground and into any opponent in your way. Not effective on flying opponents. The attack strength of this ability depends on the MP of the player. Current MP level is too low to activate special ability."

The blacksmith chuckles with excitement and pride at his craftsmanship. "This axe material is some of the strongest I've had the pleasure to work with. You really found a special item. With enough magical power, you will be able to use earth attacks on a wide range of opponents from a distance."

Jamal says, "I don't have enough MP to activate the special ability yet. What should I do to get more?"

"Don't worry. Just add some experience points to your intelligence stat to help raise your magic power." The blacksmith guides Jamal back to the front and the two say goodbye.

Jamal equips his new axe along with the remaining axe given to him by the squad commander. Jamal buys a few recovery potions and heads towards the starter fields in the south.

At the starter grounds, we hear a loud "Baaaa!" A sheep beast charges towards Jamal as he waits to defend himself. With one swing of his new axe, Jamal cleaves the sheep in two. It falls to the ground and disappears into pixels. Left behind are two coins and a pile of wool. Jamal quickly stores the items in his inventory and attacks the next sheep nearby.

"Baaa! Baaa! Baaaa!" Sheep after sheep fall easily to Jamal's new strength after applying all the experience points to his strength before logging out last night.

"Man, this is too easy. I'm gaining experience, but way too slowly. Maybe I need to move on to the boars now." Jamal collects all the dropped items and walks a little bit into the forest.

Thoughts of the giant beasts run through Jamal's mind and the hero begins to see hallucinations of the events that took place yesterday. Jamal hears swishing in the bushes around him and images of Brago being crushed run through Jamal's mind. Jamal tightens his grip on his axes in anticipation of a large beast attacking him.

The sounds of some creature running towards Jamal makes the warrior turn and raise up his weapons like a shield. A beast jumps out a nearby bush to head butt Jamal's guard and bounces back to land in its four feet. The beast is a normal boar beast that looks shaken after colliding with Jamal. Jamal calms down and attacks the pig, killing it in a few strikes. "Waaaaa" the pig squeals as it falls to the ground dead.

Jamal checks his experience bar after killing the beast and notices a significant increase. "Perfect, a few more of these and I can jump to the next level. Let's go find more of those boars."

"Waaaa! Waaa! Waaaa!" Pig after pig is slain in the forest by Jamal. "Bring!" Jamal's statistics menu rings with notifications that Jamal has leveled up to level 4. Jamal continues to slay pigs and collect item drops. Jamal remembers spending hours at the training camp during his last mini quest as a scout. "Waaa! Waaa! Waaa!" Pigs squeal as hours tick by. "Bring!" Jamal levels up again to level 5.

The board begins to give Jamal less and less experience points. Having almost doubled his strength category, Jamal decides now would be a good time to try his abilities against a wolf.

Jamal analyzes his axe after checking his stats and sees his MP has raised high enough for one ground breaker attack. Excited to try his new ability, Jamal heads deeper into the forest.

"Grrrrrrrrr" a Wild dog sniffs the ground as it walks through the woods. The beast picks up the scent of fresh prey waiting to be gobbled up. It begins running through the woods, it's razor sharp jaws dripping with drool from hunger. The wolf runs out into a clearing where Jamal stands ready for a fight.

Jamal yells a battle cry as the wolf pounces at his neck. Jamal ducks under the wolf and rolls away from where the beast lands. The wolf slowly turns around to snarl at Jamal. Jamal raises his double bit axe and slams it down on the ground with incredible force.

The ground tremors like an earthquake as the axe's ability activates. "Ground Breaker!" Jamal screams and jagged rocks burst forth moving towards the wolf. Suddenly the wolf is blasted with energy and stumbles backward, barely holding onto the smallest amount of HP. Jamal holds his throwing axe up in his right hand and chucks it directly into the wolf's head. It falls to the ground and disappears, leaving several coins in its place.

Jamal collects all the coins and checks his experience bar. Killing the wild dog has given Jamal almost ⅓ of the experience he needed to move on to the next level. Excited, Jamal closes his stats menu ready to head back into town.

Suddenly, Jamal here's a sound. "Wooooooooooo!" The sound of a wolf cry sounds off in the distance. Jamal's wrist rings to warn him that something has aggression towards him and is nearby. Jamal looks at his Painfully Aware bracelet to see which direction the threat was coming from, but the arrow jumps around multiple directions.

"Wooooooooooo!" The sound of wolves gets closer and closer to Jamal. He decides that it's better to run than fight a pack of wolves so he activates Nini's Favor and sprints away from the danger.

After a few miles of running, Jamal slows down to check his location on the map. He sees a cliff coming up on his right side and a straight path to town once he gets past it. Jamal walks to the cliff and examines if he would be able to climb down the steep drop. However, the chances of him making it down would be very slim.

Immediately, Jamal's bracelet goes off again. The wolves are not only group hunters, but also excellent trackers. They followed Jamal's scent all the way to the cliff! As Jamal turns around, he sees 10 wolves peak out of the forest shadow. Their mouths water and their eyes stare directly at Jamal.

Jamal checks his axe, but after the last attack Jamal had run out of MP to use Ground Breaker. Even if he did have one more shot, the power would not be enough to finish off ten wolves. The attack from earlier could barely handle one wild dog!

One after another, wolves begin to pounce at Jamal. He guards against the first wolf, knocking it back a few meters. Jamal dodges the second and third woods that try chomping at his legs. Jamal double jumps over the two wolves and strikes another with his axe. The shock stuns the wolf, but another bites Jamal on the shoulder.

Jamal shakes off the wolf and gets pushed to the edge of the cliff after dodging another wolf's claws swiping at Jamal's face. Jamal stands with his back against the cliff and surrounded by the wolves. Their teamwork overpowers the warrior and it becomes clear Jamal will not make it out of this alive.

The wolves slowly step closer to Jamal ready to finish their kill and Jamal panics. His breathing increases and his body begins to feel hot. Just when Jamal thinks this is the end for him, a red spark ignites in front of his face. Jamal smiles as his body is once again covered in red electric power. The electricity intimidates the wolves enough to stop in their tracks.

Jamal lifts his throwing axe up in his right hand and throws it at the nearest wolf to rip it to shreds, but the axe hits the wolf and bounces off its fur. This causes no damage to the wolf and only makes the wolves angrier. Jamal glances at his stats menu and sees his strength category at zero. All his experience points have been moved to his intelligence category. This made his MP almost triple and activated his weapon's special ability.

Jamal raises his new axe and slams it down on the ground just as the wolves try to jump on him. The ground explodes with energy around Jamal sending a huge shockwave that knocks back all the wolves. All ten wolves land lifeless on the ground after taking a point blank ground breaker attack three times more powerful than the previous one.

Jamal looks around him and realizes he is now safe. "Bring! Bring! Bring!" Jamal's stats menu rings with three more level up notifications from all the experience gained by the dead wolves. As Jamal calms down, the electricity and steam appear once again and Jamal's stats return to normal.

Jamal thinks, "my stats seem to switch when I feel most threatened. When the cat killed Brago, I got so angry that I didn't even realize I went through the change, and just now I was afraid I would die. Is the electricity linked to my emotions somehow?"

Jamal's thoughts are interrupted by a loud cracking sound. Jamal looks around him and sees cracks forming on the cliff side where he is standing. Jamal tries to run away, but the ground breaker attack has weakened the rock beneath him. The cliff side crumbles under Jamal's feet and the hero plummets over 50 meters to the ground below.


Jamal's Stats

Level 8

HP: 650/650
MP: 80/80

Nini's Favor: (+10% speed to the user whenever in danger)

Right on Target: (+5% accuracy to the user when wearing this item on the right hand)

Painfully Aware: (A bracelet that detects any aggression towards you. The range of this device depends on the user's level.)

Up Up and Away Boots: (The user of these boots is given the ability to jump a second time mid-air.)

Double Bit Axe: (+5% attack; Special ability: Ground breaker. Send a shockwave of attack energy through the ground and into any opponent in your way. Not effective on flying opponents. The attack strength of this ability depends on the MP of the player.)

Strength: 105
Speed: 46 (Nini's Favor +10)
Accuracy: 27 (Right on Target +5)
Intelligence: 8
Wisdom: 8
Agility: 71
Charisma: 8

EXP: 250
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