I was glad to finally be out of the barracks and away from Centurion Markus. It’s not that I particularly hate him or anything, I will simply never be able to get along with him.
Pulling the oversized hood of the ‘White wolf winter cloak’ over my head, it came down to just above my eye level, covering about the top quarter of my vision. Some strange icons appear in the top left of my vision, an outline of a person with a question mark in it and a figure of a stopwatch, I figure these are the mask identity and slow enchants currently on me.
It was certainly odd however as I don’t feel like I had been slowed down, at least not until I tried running and felt like all the air surrounding me at become a thick mud, to the point where moving in any direction was incredibly difficult. Understanding that this was the feeling of being ‘slowed’, I returned to walking for the duration of the time it took to enter the central courtyard.
At first I was a little surprised at how busy it was, the players crowded the area trying to get into the item shops they wanted. I guess this is End Online’s peak hour, it must be an extremely good server to handle this many people at once in a single area.
I weave through the crowd until I arrived at the weapon shop I had previously browsed through before my training began, coincidentally also before I had money too. But things are different now, I have three gold to my name and could buy one of the nicer looking weapons off the wall if I want to.
Inside the shop was exactly the same as I remembered, the only difference was spots on the wall had been emptied or replaced by new stock. The shop is considerably crowded just like everywhere else around here, I got bumped into and pushed around a fair bit while looking along the wall for a nice weapon.
I spotted a steel katana with a self-repair enchant that you would never have to sharpen or maintain, it did a base damage of 52 – 56 and would cost me twelve gold and forty silver. Far too expensive and outside my budget unfortunately, however, I consider a weapon that would never cost me any more to be rather tempting.
‘This is for the best.’ I tell myself slowly in my mind. putting some basic consideration into the fact that I was only currently proficient in short swords plus the purchase price of the sword is more money than I could even manage at this point in time..
Next to me I see the bin for all the swords costing seventy silver, the highest price of all the bulk produced weapons. In there, there is surprisingly only two short swords.
Short swords are not very popular in this game, next to nobody uses them due to doing considerably less damage than long swords and also requiring you to get even closer with the monster you are fighting. Basically less damage, and more risk of death.
Although in my situation short swords are ideal, mainly for the agility you can use while equipping them. I pull out the two swords out and inspect them away from the rest of the weapons.
Steel Kodachi A steel kodachi poorly forged using unrefined materials, the results match the lack of effort put into creating this sword. The blade is 40cm long. Requirements: - Level 4 - Dex 22 Weapon Type: Single Edge/Short Sword Attack: 17 - 20 Durability: 30/30 Weight: 1.9 lbs
Brittle Steel Wakizashi A steel wakizashi forged by an unknown person who put all their skills into creating this weapon, unfortunately their skill was far from adequate resulting in a blade that will break if overused. The blade is 52cm long. Requirements: - Level 5 - Dex 24 Weapon Type: Single Edge/Short Sword Attack: 19 - 24 Durability: 17/17 Weight: 2.2 lbs
The quality was somewhat a shock as was the fact that the length of the blades was different, one being about a hand span longer than the other. The damage however is nearly double the two training swords I currently have.
It is also fortunate that all the swords worth seventy silver had scabbards, most of the blades valued lower did not. The two weapons I currently have were much like that, no scabbards, only stuck through my belt. They were also all chipped and apparently could not be repaired due to the constant use in the military barracks, consistent re-forging has left them in a state where no more repairs can be made.
I was not going to get a much better deal than this and new weapons are direly needed, I decide to spend the money to buy them.
At the counter I present the weapons to the blacksmith, placing them on the counter in front of him. He looks at the weapons then gives me a quizzical look, as if he was trying to figure something out. Unsure as to whether it was the weapons I was buying, or the hood over my head, I am nonetheless happy that my ‘Aggravation’ skill appeared to not be coming into effect. Checking the progress of the skill towards skill level eleven, it appeared to be at a standstill, but I will have to check later on as well just to be sure.
“That’ll be one gold an’ forty silver,” The blacksmith informs me in such a strong voice I am slightly taken aback.
I remain silent and remove the three gold coins I had in the money pouch tied to my belt. Each pouch can hold a maximum of 999 coins of any type, however a hundred coins of copper will not automatically turn into a single coin of silver in the bag, and you had to go to a bank in any city or larger settlement to convert them. You can also purchase additional money bags from the banks if you require or for a fee you can open an account with the bank and securely keep your excess money stored with them.
Sliding two of the coins across the counter, I replace the last coin back in my pouch.
“Here’s sixty silver change, thanks for ya service.” Sliding my change back to me all I get is one silver coin with a little number 60 next to it, at least this solves the issue of giving me back a large pile of coins.
I receive a notification confirming the completed transaction and my new equipment. Dismissing it I equip the new weapons, one on each side of my hip. I no longer need the old swords so I place them on the counter and slide them towards the blacksmith, prompting a new transaction.
“What? I can’t repair things like these. Ya wanna sell ‘em?” I give a curt nod, enough to get the message across.
“No good, can’t buy ‘em either, they ain’t worth scrap.” The swords are pushed back towards me with the blacksmiths refusal to buy them. Can’t blame him though, they are complete rubbish.
“Then, dispose of them, please.” I push them back to him and use as little words as possible to avoid any possible recognition. At least I can’t seem to speak one word sentences, just the thought of it causes a headache and makes me rage inside.
He narrows his eyes, inspecting me closely. Surely I didn’t say too much and he discovered who I am through my voice.
“S’pose I can do that for ya, make sure ya come back here to repair those swords though.” That is a relief, I give another quick nod and leave the shop.
There is what appears to be trash cans spread throughout the city, but to throw an unwanted weapon in one. It just doesn’t feel right.
Next stop on my list is to get some recovery potions to use in any emergencies. I drift through the crowd of players, until I reach the store with a potion on the sign outside. Inside are benches everywhere covered in baskets of herbs, some possibly poisonous by the looks of them.
What I am looking for however is the corner of the shop with the crate full of minor healing potions that will heal anywhere from 150 – 200 health points over a period of five seconds. They were also an eye boggling forty silver each. I approach the counter and there is a small old lady sitting on top of a very tall stool.
“Yes dear, how can I be of assistance to you?” The old lady’s voice croaked out in response to me.
“Umm, how do I say this, I would like to purchase some potions, but they are somewhat expensive for me. I was wondering if there would be a way for me to aid you and earn some in any way.” Having never spoken to this lady before getting this cloak I had no fear of being found out by voice.
“Hehehe, looking to earn a living through hard work are we? I can respect that. How does this sound to you, my stock are currently running low so if you bring me twenty of both Green Medicinal Herb and Antidote Root, I will give you two minor healing potions and two antidote potions.”
Quest: Gather Herbs for the Apothecary The owner of the Apothecary has requested you to gather 20 Green medicinal herbs and 20 Antidote roots. Failure or refusal has no consequence Grade: White
“It would be my pleasure to collect them for you.” I am so overwhelmed to actually get a quest from one of the stores that I failed to realize I had no idea where to collect the materials.
On the way out I realized I still have no proper armour and haven’t even explored a fraction of this city. Considering how nearly all of the shops in this area were full of low level equipment there must be more areas with a higher grade of goods.
Taking the western exit out of the square I wandered the streets for some time, the area gradually began to fill with more and more players of a higher level than myself. Extravagant staffs with all kinds of gems engraved, swords of all shapes and sizes. One of the swords was twice the size of the person wielding it. Naturally it was attached to his back without a scabbard, there would be no way to draw it if it did have one.
Passing by a man dressed as a samurai I came into a bazaar twice the size as the courtyard I was previously at. There are market stalls set up everywhere in no particular fashion or order, with an enormous four story building positioned at the far end overlooking the entire bazaar.
These stalls being player run stalls is an accurate assumption taking into account how randomly they are positioned and the varied equipment the sellers are wearing.
Pulling out an apple from my inventory I nibble away at it while I look through all the merchandise that is for sale, I even spot the herbs that I require for my current quest, however the price of them is much higher than the rewards for the quest.
There is everything imaginable for sale at these stalls, but the majority appear to be selling various monster drops and crafting supplies. Coming across a stall selling various armours and weapons I decided to browse to try to find something in my price range.
Alas, there was nothing even remotely close within my budget and most I was also far from even meeting the requirements to equip them.
“Excuse me. Is there anything I can help you find?” The player on the other end of the bench gave a business smile that failed to reach his eyes. He had a steel plate breastplate on over the top of a light brown work shirt with matching pants. Black hair swept back and brown eyes stood the man in front of me.
“Well, I’m looking for a piece of torso armour with in the price range of one gold and sixty silver.”
“Hahaha, unfortunately you won’t get much for that.”
“I know, I’m only level 10 and only want something simple for now.”
“Do you have the heavy armour skill?”
“No, I don’t have any skills that give me proficiency in heavy armour, should I look at getting one?”
“Possibly, it is one of the required skills you need in order to obtain the knight class skill.”
There is no need to hide myself from another player as they are not affected by my skill, but I still have the hood up over my head, covering my face. Good thing as it hides the surprise on my face about hearing of a class skill, I have seen it mentioned in the forums but didn’t explore it too much.
“Class skill?” I cannot hold my curiosity back and have to ask.
“Yes, they are special skills you can obtain, similar to a higher tier skill that two skills can combine to form, such as ‘Physical Resistance’ and ‘Magic Resistance’ can ‘Skill Up’ into the skill ‘Tough Body’.”
The only difference is a class skill takes and combines usually seven or eight skill to obtain them. They consume two skill slots to equip and you can only have one equipped at a time but they have all the abilities and bonuses of the skills compiled into them, even if the effects are slightly weaker they can give altogether new bonuses and proficiencies.”
“The only current public known class skill, the knight requires ‘One-Handed Sword Proficiency’, ‘Two-Handed Sword Proficiency’, ‘Shield Proficiency’, ‘Physical Resistance’, ‘Heavy Armour Proficiency’, ‘HP Boost’, and ‘Charismatic’ skills to be mostly above level 35.”
“There are plenty of other class skills and many more undiscovered but the knight class skill is the only one that has been shared by the players.”
“Incredible, I can already see the benefits of having a class skill! It would also allow you to equip seven more skills to create an even stronger character!”
Maybe I should try to get this class skill. It would be a fantastic boost to my character. But wait, how am I supposed to train the ‘Charismatic’ skill when I already have the ‘Aggravation’ skill which would completely negate and overpower it.
There are plenty of other class skills out there waiting to be discovered I will just have to find one that doesn’t require the ‘Charismatic’ skill.
“Back onto the topic of armour,” The player brought us back to the main topic, “I do have one piece of armour I created that may suit you, it is simple leather armour I made while training my ‘Tailoring’ Skill. It is classified as light armour so even if you don’t have proficiency in equipping armour you will have next to no restrictions.”
It was a simple piece he placed in front of me. It did not even cover all my torso, just my chest and a small part of the stomach. The back is the exact same and only covers the main areas for protection.
“I will take it, how much do you want for it?”
“One gold, fifty silver, just for you.”
“You’re not trying to swindle me by selling poor quality materials are you?”
“Never! See that big building over there,” He points to the large four story building I saw at the rear of the bazaar when I first entered it, “that over there is the merchants guild, they overlook this entire bazaar and make sure everything is fair. Nobody here would even consider selling subpar merchandise for fear of losing the right to run a store.”
He does have a fair point, the wrath of a guild is not to be taken lightly. I hand him nearly the entirety of what money I had remaining as he operates some panels I can’t see and a confirm trade window pops up in front of me.
Accepting it the leather armour in front of me disappears into smoke, I find it in my inventory and use the equip command to automatically equip myself with it.
Light Boar Hide Armour Leather armour crafted from a boar hide. The material is sturdy and can resist a lot of impact, just like the boar the material came from. Requirements: - Level 7 - Str 15 - Agi 13 Armour Type: Light(Leather) Defence: 11(9) Durability: 35/35 Weight: 17.8 lbs Impact Resistance: 5%
Impact in this game is the equivalent of blunt attacks. It wasn’t very good however it was better than nothing if it also had a bonus like ‘Impact Resistance’.
“So I’ve been wondering, is there a reason you’re hiding your face with a concealment spell?” He finally gets to the point I was hoping to avoid, he mustn’t have spoken about it before due to wanting to sell his goods. But now that is over with.
“Oh, hah, no reason particularly. But it isn’t a spell, just an ability of this cloak.” Maybe I spoke too much, his jaw dropped and complete shock came over his face.
“Sell it to me! That must be a legendary item! I will give you a fantastic price for it, how does 400 gold sound?? or $900??”
“Denied! Sorry but I don’t plan to sell it for any- $900!?? You will pay that much cash for it? Is that even allowed?”
He was getting even more excited about buying it, unable to keep his eyes off me and my cloak.
“Of course, you have a virtual wallet in End Online that you can connect to your personal bank account to utilize the real money trading system. Naturally you can only do it with items and not any in game currency, although there are some people who have found a way to do so. There is also a fee of two percent on the trade that is paid by the purchaser.”
“That offer is just too good to believe! But would I not get more if I sold it directly to another player?”
“You can only buy and sell to traders like me, normally leaving your items with us and we sell it at your desired price plus ten percent. This way we pay the two percent fee for the transaction to the game company and the difference between what’s left and your price we get to keep. We pay a higher game subscription fee to be allowed to do so, but sometimes to make money you have to spend it first.”
“If you want to try and sell for a higher price you can choose to put the item in the auction house located in every starting city, there is potential to get a price exponentially higher if you do so. But you also run the chance of getting a lot less, it is a big gamble.”
“I still need the cloak for now. It has lots of good points to it that are useful to me. Maybe another time”
“Hmm, so there is more to it. What an incredible item, that would make the price go up. If you ever do decide to sell it, come see Mouse over here.”
Surprisingly the name Mouse seemed to suit him quite well. His speciality was in crafting weapons and armour but he had more knowledge than I originally expected. Apparently all the shops around the outside of the bazaar were also run by players.
It must be inconvenient for someone with a stall who crafts his own goods considering all the equipment he needed for it had to be installed in a personal residence, meaning he could not do any work while he was watching his stall.
“Also,” continuing my conversation with Mouse, “Would you happen to know where I could sell these,” pulling out one of the apples in my inventory I show it to him.
“Well, well. Aren’t you a mystery full of surprises. Most fruits are extremely rare, especially apples, in this frozen area. If you want to sell them, Peachstar over there will be more than happy to buy them”
My eyes follow his finger to a small girl barely over four feet tall with silky pink hair tied up in twin tails.
I give my farewell to Mouse and go speak with Peachstar.
“Hello, you must be Peachstar, it is a pleasure to meet you.” I give her a little nod. My hood is still up so I don’t want to completely scare this girl.
“Ohaiii there!! What caaan I help you with todaay?” First impression, her voice is high pitched and for some reason, it irritates me quite a bit.
“Well, I would like to sell some apples to you, I was recommended by Mouse to come to you.”
“Mousey recommended meeee? hooow sweet of him,” sticking her hand out over the stall she demands him to hand one over.
Peachstar turns the apple around a few times and took a good sized bite from it, instantly blushing.
“Ooh my! These are sooo delish! You can’t get stuff like these anywheeere. I will give you twenty silver, or a dollar each!” She is in complete bliss over the taste of the apple. But a dollar each is incredible!
I remove 75 apples from my inventory, the situation is the same with only holding one apple that has a number of 75 appearing just next to it.
“I will sell these for a dollar each please.” Just like Mouse she operated panels I could not see and a trade window opens confirming the sale. I accept the proposal of $75 for 75 apples and the money is transferred into my virtual wallet, checkable from the terminal in my locker.
I need to sneak back to that cave of the great white wolf and collect more apples, I have found a way to make money with my disability, selling in game items!
I walk towards the exit of the bazaar where I originally entered through. In an instant, all time slowed down. The noises in the area failed to reach my ears. The only sound was that of my own heartbeat. In front of me a figure wearing a cloak like me, hood over their head was walking in my direction.
The hood is the slightly larger size as mine, although it didn’t cast a shadow over their face. Curly brown hair flowed out the from the hood down past the chest of a steel breastplate, just visible underneath the cloak.
Framed by the hair and the hood, a soft jaw line consisting of the perfect angles shows through. The hood reached down to just above the cheeks but I still take in every detail. From the pristine white skin, to the small rosy coloured lips curving into the slightest smile.
This is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Like an enchantress she is drawing me in to her, every step closer making my chest thump harder.
She walks right past me and time returns, along with all the noises of players bartering around me. With my heart still beating in my ears, I turn my head to catch another glimpse of her behind me, however she is nowhere to be seen.
The time in the real world should be around midnight now so I log off for the night, planning to continue tomorrow.
Outside of virtual reality I use my computer to search the End Online wiki, I see a lot of notices for updated material that more had been either learnt about or had some corrections done to previous information to improve accuracy.
Information on the knight class skill was also here, in the game the skill is seen as ‘Class: Knight’ and all the information Mouse had told me remains correct short of being required to also have a strength stat above fifty and dexterity above thirty five.
Stats in this game determine a lot as to what you can do, not just requirements to equip weapons and armour. Your level determines your maximum health, mana, and stamina. For every point of strength you can carry ten pounds of weight, the personal inventory has infinite space for as many items as you can carry.
Agility determines how fast you can move and dexterity is for skill with weapons, the higher this is the more the system will assist you in helping basic attacks hit the enemy. Intelligence affect not only spell damage but also adjusts intelligence related skills such as ‘Literature’. Mind is your mental strength and assists with both being the base resistance against mental magic but also preventing spells being interrupted by an attack from an enemy breaking your concentration.
Luck is possibly the most peculiar skill in the game, which mainly affects the chances of rare loot drops. If you manage to improve it high enough, you may even occasionally find enemies stumbling and the incoming attack only grazing you if not missing entirely. However improving this skill is incredibly difficult, gaining rare loot and winning at gambling have been the only proven ways, but even then it is extremely slow progress.
Item classifications were also here on the site, the border around the item in your inventory defines its rarity. The classifications are white:ordinary, orange:rare, blue:unique, green:epic, purple:legendary and gold:divine. The divine weapons are not much more than rumours without any hard evidence, but the game isn’t even two months old yet.
The ‘White Wolf Winter Cloak’ had a green border meaning it was an ‘Epic’ item, not ‘Legendary’ as Mouse had thought.
I also read the Gladox, the strongest player in the game, has recently reached level 100 without any sign of slowing down. I can only imagine the effort he has put into his character to already be at such a high level.
An hour after I began delving through the wiki I turn off the computer and head into bed. Staring up at the ceiling I think of the accident that cost my legs, It is still a bitter memory but I have come to an acceptance of how things are. If it wasn’t for End Online however, I fear for the possibility of gradually forgetting what it even feels like to walk.
Slowly my vision darkens, wandering the stray thoughts in my mind until I enter a deep sleep.
I open my eyes to the first rays of sunshine entering my room. My head felt like it had an incredible hangover, most likely from not enough sleep.
First thing to do this morning is make something to eat. In the kitchen Joelle and Shari are putting bread in the toaster for breakfast. Already in their uniform, the girls have been behaving extremely well lately, I haven’t even heard a single argument between the two of them.
“Good morning Joelle, Shari. Please don’t make too much of a mess.” I know full well they will, but I smile anyway as it doesn’t particularly matter.
“Unn, we won’t leave a single crumb!” Shari gave me a face far too determined for the declaration.
“Haha, don’t worry about it too much. Hurry up and head to school or you’re going to be late!”
“No buts, I have to make myself some breakfast anyway so leave it to me, you need to be at school on time!” These girls are at a critical stage of life and need a firm hand to help them grow up and succeed in life.
“Okay! come on Shari, we have to go.” Joelle joined now that her toast is finally finished, grabbing Shari’s hand and dragging her out.
“”See you tonight Holly!”” They both call out before leaving the house, I honestly hope they have a good day at school.
Pouring myself a cup full of breakfast juice my toast also pops out of the toaster, coincidentally the doorbell also rings at the same time.
With a piece of toast in my mouth I wheel myself to the front door to see whoever had come visit me. As to who it could possibly be, considering my lack of friends or social life, I had no clue.
Opening the front door, two people dressed in suits are patiently waiting, a young woman in her mid-twenties and a middle aged man around forty.
The young lady has short brown hair a little past her ears, swept back behind her ears, she is a quite short but that may be due to the slightly greying man next to her being six and a half feet tall.
“Good morning, you must be Hollis Silvester,” the young woman talked first, “My name is Caroline Haper, and this man is Julius Rath. We are here from the department of childhood services.”
My world came crashing down, toast dropping from my mouth which could not utter a single word.
“I’m sure you are aware, but we are here in regards to Joelle and Shari Silvester.”
“W-What could you possibly want with them?” I stutter a bit but at least I manage to get the words out.
“We have been aware of your current situation since you had your injury, and it’s about time we stepped in.”
Julius stepped in and got straight to the point, “We are taking Joelle and Shari away, they need a proper home. Your Aunt originally approached us a year ago, but she could not take them away at the time as you were their guardian. Now, however, the court deemed you to be unfit to care for them.”
“N-no, I can look after them just fine! We have a happy family! You can’t just destroy that!”
Yes, I was becoming quite emotional over it, but how can I not when my two little sisters are being taken away from me! Especially to my Aunt who has loathed me for unknown reasons since I was little.
“You have done nothing for your family, I understand that you can no longer do the kind of work you used to, but you could still study to achieve some qualifications that would allow you to work in a position at a desk or such.
Our investigation has shown us that all you have done run away into virtual reality while your real life is crumbling down around you.”
He hit me right in a sore spot with that one, yet I could not refute his words. I knew I needed money, and I will get it, just a little more time!
“W-well can I still see them?”
Caroline was looking at me as if I was some pitiable creature and right now I did not feel much different, however it was Julius’s words that brought me down the most.
“Your Aunt wished that you do not meet with them, it is one of the conditions in taking in the girls. She will also be meeting the girls at school shortly and taking them to their new homes, she has already prepared everything for them to live there.”
“They will not be returning here. If you wish to see them again, you need to make something of your life, and you need to fight for custody of them.”
“D-do you just think I will sit by and let this happen!?” I am still stammering while trying to hold my emotions together.
“Unfortunately, this is a common procedure we use. It avoids complications that require police intervention if the adult refuses to cooperate.”
“I-is that all?” Complete defeat. They were right, and despite my words, I knew that right now I could do nothing to stop it.
“Yes that is all.” Turning around, Julius walked back to his car, Caroline only a few steps behind him.
Turning his head once before getting into the car he spoke to me across the yard one final time.
“Don’t misunderstand, work hard, prove yourself to be capable and I will support you, I am a family man after all so I hate to tear one apart. But it because of that I cannot allow this current situation to go on.”
Just like that they were gone, along with a part of myself I may never get back again.