Chapter 1: Hopeful....
Kashi’s shoulders shook with rage. “The hell is a Dimension Painter! Of course anything would sound cool if you add dimension in front of it!” He almost tossed the scroll across the room, but stopped at the last moment.
There had to be some perks to this class right? Just like warriors gained a boost in attack when wielding their classes’ weapons and mages had exclusive spells. There had to be something to this dimension painter business.
Muttering a curse, he chose to keep on reading.
The world descends into chaos. The balance held up by my wife and I crumbles. If there is to be salvation for our world, then it must come from the ‘summoned.’ Oh, how it woes me to put my faith in the very people who betrayed me. But, my responsibility as a creator must come before pride. To the brave one who finds this, I bestow upon you a power that can rend or create; save or desolate. I pray you make the right choice.
Wow, Ferulic’s a drama queen. Kashi replaced the scroll and inspected the remaining items. He did a double-take. The books ranged from brown covered to platinum. A grin crept up his face as he started with the platinum.
Ferulic’s Spirit Technique
To be powerful, one must be of sound body and mind. This technique allows one to absorb mana from his surrounding to make it his own. The increase in one’s power depends on the size of his mana pool(MP).
Intensive training increases the soul’s mana. (MP).
Passively increases STR by 10%
Passively increases DEX by 10%
Passively increases WIS by 10%
Passively increases INT by 10%
Passively increases VIT by 10%
Additional 30% in STR & DEX increase when active
Realm Piercing Bow Technique.
A technique created by Ferulic to combat invaders. Attack with bows increases with level in Painting Mastery by 1%
Comprised of five attack moves, one breathing technique, and one footstep.
20% increase in attack power when Ferulic Spirit technique is learned.
Earth Shattering Martial Arts.
A technique created by Ferulic for close quarter combat. Attack with fists increases with level in Painting Mastery by 1%. Comprised of five attack moves and two footsteps.
20% increase in attack power when Ferulic Spirit technique is learned.
Angel Step Technique.
Passively increases movement speed by 5%
Increases movement speed by 50% when active
Increases movement speed by 5% when Ferulic Spirit technique learned.
The last book burst into petals of light when the daeben was done. He stared blankly at the floating petals. Words refused to form as he struggled to come to terms with what he had obtained.
He looked up at the angel encased in ice. The ice cracked open, then exploded, and the winged man fell. Kira caught him halfway on her back, then placed him gently on the floor.
“...Thanks,” Kashi managed. He squatted next to the ‘angel’ and tapped his shoulder. “Hello...”
The stranger grimaced, coughing as he opened his eyes. Sky blue eyes turned warily and rested on the daeben. “Who.. are you?” He winced as he sat up, folding his wings about him.
“I am Kashi of the dark elves.” Kashi bowed. “I am the one who released you from our prison?”
The angel coughed heavily and struggled to his feet, despite the daeben’s protests. “You defeated Nekark?”
“It was a most difficult battle.” Kashi grimaced, clutching his sides. “But I was motivated in my desire to rescue you.”
“For this, you have my gratitude.” He bent his head in a mini-bow. “My name is Fermes. I oversaw communication before my family was destroyed. Tell me, Kashi of the Dark Elves; what is your true aim”
Kashi hesitated. If this guy was anything like Fladnag, lying would be detrimental. Then again, there were always loopholes to exploit. “I seek power.”
Fermes’ gaze soured. “So, you choose destruction too. How disa-”
“You misunderstand my intentions,” interrupted the daeben, hand raised. “Since the disappearance of your family, this world has been embroiled in ceaseless warfare. Many have died, most without true purpose. To end this, I shall unite this world under my flag. But valor without power is useless. If I am to complete my goal, I will face foes much more powerful than I am. I require strength to unite the land. In this I am not ashamed!”
A warm smile lit up Fermes’ face. “You have great spirit child.” He looked to the chest. “I see you have already acquired my father’s legacy. Tell me, what do you think of it?”
“To be honest, I was disappointed at first. But, I understand. No matter how powerful he is, he sought to beautify and create--not destroy.”
Fermes nodded. “Good answer. Here, take my hand. And place the other on your friend.”
Kashi did as he said. A magic circle appeared below them; purple light burst out and encased them. A second later, they stood in the fields outside Aktaver’s lair.
“It was an honor meeting you, Kashi of the Dark Elves,” Fermes said, as he released the daeben’s hand. “I will be watching over your progress.”
“I will not disappoint,” replied the daeben.
Fermes smiled as he shimmered, then burst into petals of light.
Kashi watched the petals climb into the morning sky. “Well, then. Let’s head to Fladnag’s shall we?”
Main Conference Room,
Public Relations Building,
Ten elders sat about the long rectangular table. Around them stood warriors clad in intimidating red armor; an ‘A’ crossed out with two swords was painted onto the walls.
A cleric walked into the room and stood to the side. “All rise. Absalon-sama is about to make his entrance.”
The elders grumbled under their breath as they rose to their feet; The mahogany doors swung open.
Their grumbles died out as a man in blood red regalia strode confidently into the hall. Scalding red eyes judged them as he flicked his pigtail over his shoulder. The man took a seat at the head of the table, accompanied on both sides by his trusted generals: Nyte and Asha.
“Welcome gentlemen,” Absalon started. The elders could see that in his eyes, they were less than insects.“I am glad to see you answered my summons.”
Bastard! You threatened us! You gave us no choice!
“We could not possibly refuse the summons of the mayor of Kerta,” said Dreifus, the spokesman for them all. “If I may, why have you called us away from our towns? There is much work to be done.”
“I will be seizing the capital soon. I require extra swordarms.”
Dreifus paled. “You already have more than half our able-bodied men. The few we have left can barely keep monsters at bay. I ask that you reconsider.”
“This is not a request.” His tone was deadpan. “You all will cooperate... or face the consequences.”
“You... what about those left in the towns?! How do they fend for themselves?”
“I will compensate for any lives lost. Their sacrifice is for the greater good of this country.”
Dreifus’ knuckles whitened. There was nothing he could do or say to change the tyrant’s mind. If he refused to cooperate, his village would be burned to the ground for resisting. Sighing, he resigned to his fate. “Very well. We will-”
The door swung open, and a man ran in. He fell to his knees and bowed. “Urgent report Absalon-sama!”
“We just received word that the Rinks are once again functioning!”
The room exploded in a flurry of shouts. “Impossible!” “They have not been functional for centuries!” “Unbelievable!”
“Silence!” Absalon commanded. The room went deathly silent. He regarded the messenger. “Can we contact other nations with them?”
“N-no my lord! It appears they have all been reset. We can only configure them manually.”
“Then nothing’s changed,” Absalon stated. “First, we recapture the capital. Then we look into the matter of the Rinks.”
“B-but my lo-”
The messenger shivered as he stood up. He backed away from the room, and the door shut in his face.
Absalon got to his feet and placed his hand on the table. “My army will be marching on the capital in ten days.” His voice lowered, yet carried an unbearable force. “For your sake, I hope your men sign up by then. Dismissed.”
Dreifus and the rest of the elders exited the room, all sharing a common thought: they needed to find the location of the true prince.
“Hmm. What do we do about this?” Asha asked, taking a seat. Nyte did the same opposite her.
“First the circle.. And now the Rinks,” Absalon mumbled, tapping the table. “We need to find out what’s going on. If players are responsible, we need to know how they are doing it.”
Nyte frowned. “What are Rinks exactly?”
“Oh, yeah,” Asha said. “You didn’t play the last game. They’re basically cellphones for this world. Runs on magic though.”
“Hmm, pretty convenient. It’ll be great if we could control them. Y’know, charge players a lot for it.”
Absalon burst into laughter. “Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? Bring me Verul.”
Asha sighed. “You executed him two days ago.”
“Wait, then who’s in charge of commerce?”
“Some new guy. Name’s Shigul I think.”
“Bring him then.”
Kashi and Kira stopped in front of Fladnag’s home. The wizard awaited them outside.
“You survived,” Fladnag cheered. “How do you like your new class?”
Kashi was conflicted. On one hand, being a painter was complete shit. On the other hand, the class had gotten him some overpowered skills. How long he would remain OP was unclear. His class would receive detriments to natural increase in certain stats. Warriors on the other hand, gained at least a fifty percent increase in ATK power when using their class weapons. Well, in the end it mattered on how smart he was.
“It’s not so bad,” he said.
“Hoho, you’re not convinced I see.” Fladnag chuckled, stroking his beard. “I understand. What if I told you Ferulic defeated all his foes solely with a paintbrush?”
Kashi’s brows furrowed. “You’re saying this class has secrets?” Now that he thought about it, there had been something about unique skills. Hm, maybe it wasn’t called Dimension for show.
Fladnag’s eyes sparkled. “Plenty.”
“I suppose you’re not going to show me?”
“Now where’s the fun in that? I will give you a hint though. Won’t do you good to bumble around blindly.” A branch appeared in his hands. It eeringly resembled Rosario’s branch. “You remember this, don’t you?”
Kashi accepted the branch. It identified after several failed attempts. “Rosario’s branch. But I thought I left it in Aktaver’s lair.”
“There are seven of those. Each will grant you an extra power. You must find and join the remaining five.”
“Remaining five? That leaves one.”
“You already used the first to obtain Ferulic’s legacy,” Fladnag explained. “Look out for this mark.” The back of his robe turned transparent, revealing the tattoo. “The branches shouldn’t be too far from them.”
Kashi frowned. “What is that?”
“All in good time. For now, focus on finding the marks.”
He nodded. “Thank you.” He looked down at the branch. “Um.. how do I activate them?”
“Ah yes, I completely forgot.” Fladnag took Kashi’s hand in his, and wrapped them around the branch. He mumbled something under his breath.
The branch took on a bright glow as it metamorphosed into a piece of broken wood with archaic text etched onto it.
Unique skill learned: Teleport
Ability to instantly travel to any scene painted onto canvas.
“Oh...wow,” Kashi muttered. He placed the broken wood into his inventory, hands shaking in delayed shock. If this was a power from the first, he wondered what the remaining six abilities would be. Not a bad class at all.
“Now that you have a taste of power, where will you go next?” Fladnag asked as he knelt in front of Kira. He stroked her fur, tickling her behind her ears.
A smile formed on the daeben as he watched the scene. “The capital. I plan on conquering the capital.”
“Will you be joining the main army then? I hear they are recruiting.”
“No. I have a separate course of action.”
The wizard paused, his eyes narrowing. “As I recall you haven’t joined a guild have you? You won’t get any honors in such a large scale battle without one.”
Kashi shrugged. “I’ll figure something out. I can’t join a guild cause I’m banned from Kerta. No other major towns close-by where I can sign up.” Actually, the only reason he could sign up in Kerta was because the capital was lost.
“After how long we’ve known each other.” Fladnag sighed as he got to his feet. “I have a stake in you, daeben. I’ll offer my assistance should you require it.... to a extent of course.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I can easily get you into the city. Any amateur illusion mage could.”
Kashi raised a brow. “You could? How?”
“Oh ye of little faith.” Fladnag snapped his fingers.
Brilliant white light enveloped the daeben, lifting him. He felt his hair grow out, as well as some other odd changes as the light died down. He looked at his fair skin in surprise. That was.. hm? Something was odd. His chest felt heavy.
He looked down. A high pitched scream rang through the forest to the adventurers outside. “Wh-what did you do to me?!”
“Just what this tale needed. A good gender-bender tag.” He stroked his beard, laughing. “Marvelous don’t you think?”
Kashi grabbed and pulled on the wizard’s beard, eyes burning. “Change. Me. Back!”
“No.” He flicked the daeben’s forehead. “You have about ten hours before you return to normal. I suggest you get going.”
“You look much cuter as a girl,” Kira commented, laughing madly.
“Shut it!” Kashi sighed as he released his grip on the wizard’s beard. “Whatever. This isn’t enough to faze me.”
“Of course. That freak out does not count as fazing.”
“Oh, he is not alone in this,” Fladnag said.
Kira’s eyes widened as she took a step back. It was too late. The wizard snapped his fingers and her appearance changed to an average white dog. “What is this?!”
Kashi laughed out loud, totally enjoying her expression. After a while, he calmed down and focused on Fladnag, bowing politely. “I cannot thank you enough for your help. Though I may appear rude, I will forever be in your debt.”
The wizard chuckled. “Worry not. You have already begun to repay me.”
Kashi glanced at him with suspicion. But he decided against confronting the wizard. “Thanks again. I should be on my way.”
“Aethir guide your path.”
3rd Floor Cat’s Glass
A female halben and her cute white dog walked up to the clerk. “Hi, I would like to form a guild please.”
The clerk, a red fox-woman gave the halben a once-over. Ugh, another poor one. They all think just anyone can start a guild. “That’ll be one thousand syros.”
Kashi nodded. “That’s no problem.” He removed a purse of gold and dropped it on the counter. “Is there anything else?”
The clerk gaped. The nonchalance in the way the girl had coughed up the gold suggested she had much more. Now that she took a closer look, the daeben was kind of cute. She cleared her throat to dispel the thoughts in her head. “I need the signature of at least one other member.”
“I don’t have anyone else.”
“I’m sorry then. Guilds need at least two members before they can be formed. Was once five, but recent times have forced us to reduce both the requirements.”
Kashi gnashed his teeth. He did not have much time left. He could always pay a random stranger to sign with him—but it felt wrong. He was deep in thought on how to proceed when he remembered. There was someone he knew without a guild.
He quickly scrolled through his friend list, but to his dismay, she was offline. He debated further on what to do, then opted to wait. At least till he had only an hour left.
In the meantime, he took a seat by the wall. His breath evened out, as he sunk into deep meditation. Three hours later, he received a notification.
Ferulic’s Spirit: Level 2
A wide grin spread across the halben’s face; the skill was really broken. With this, he would not have to slave away reading in order to raise his mana. Sure, it was boring, but it would make a real difference in the latter stages of the game.
He stretched his sore body as he got to his feet. A glance through the friend’s list showed his savior had come online. He contacted her and asked her to meet him at the counter.
A few minutes later, Leila walked out of the elevator. She scanned the room searching for the daeben Her gaze settled on an unfamiliar female halben waving at her. Is that... No, it can’t be. She walked up to the halben, brows drawn together. “Kashi?”
Kashi panicked. “Shh.. keep it down. I don’t know where Absalon’s goons may be.”
“Oh, okay.” She looked him over. “That’s... an in-teresting look.”
“It’s not what it looks like! Fladnag did this.” He pointed at the uncomfortable lumps of fat he had been lugging around. How the heck did women live with them? “Let’s just forget this ever happened. I need your help.”
“What with? I owe you for the Spriggans.”
“Are you in any guilds right now?”
“No. Haven’t found any that suit me.”
Kashi took a deep breath. “I really need someone to help in forming a guild. Can’t do it without a partner.”
“Why not just pay some random person to sign up with you?”
He shrugged. “It doesn’t feel right.”
Her eyes narrowed, but then she relaxed. “Now, I’m not saying I’ll join. But if I wanted to, what’s your guild’s main purpose. I won’t join you if you’re just forming a guild for the sake of having one.”
“To put it simply... World Conquest.”
She nearly choked. “Sorry. Did you just say world conquest?”
“Like rule the world, overlord, and all that?”
Coming from anyone else, she would have laughed him off as delusional, but his eyes told her he was dead serious. “Okay,” she conceded.
“You’ll do it?”
“Yeah, sure; why not? Sounds like it’ll be interesting.”
They returned to the counter to sign up.
Uwaah, are they a couple? They go so well together. The clerk shook her head. SHe had to stop reading those books. She walked them through the procedures, rules and regulations of forming guilds.
Half an hour, and an increasing hate for paperwork later, they were finally on the final question. “What is the name of your guild?” asked the clerk.
Kashi thought long and hard on it. He had never really been part of guilds so he was not well versed in good guild names. The ones he could think up where Squad of skulls; Nightstriders; Battleborn; Wasted Brigade.... there were so many to choose from. Might as well call themselves Hopeful Maggots with the time it was taki-
“Hopeful Maggots it is,” announced the clerk as she penned the name down.
“Wait! I didn’t mean to say that out loud!”
“I’m sorry, but once you’ve chosen a name, you can’t change it until death or disbandment. And as stated earlier, you cannot disband until at least five months after being formed.”
Kashi cradled his head in his hands, as Leila patted his back.
The clerk beamed at him. “I look forward to seeing the future of the Hopeful Maggots.”
Ugh... kill me now.