Chapter 5 – Companion of Loyalty

Logging out of End Online and returning to my locker, I decide it is about time to redecorate the place. Right now it is the dreary all white, not a speck of colour in sight.

Opening the ‘Locker Design’ menu the entire console surprisingly came off the wall and moved around with me.

First selecting the ‘Walls’ button I create some lines along the ground for walls to grow out of, extending all the way to the ceiling. My Locker now has three rooms, each with a single door in between them. First there is a reasonable sized kitchen, enough to fit everything in but not much bigger. A fridge, most of the cupboards and cooking appliances are on the bench top at the far end and in the middle is another bench that can either be used for preparing food, or as a dinner table.

Next is a large living room, same setup as before but the living room now was about thirty percent of my locker space. Due to it being so empty I place some bookshelves along one wall and even while being empty I could surely generate some books, just hopefully I won’t have to buy them. I also add in another two couches on the sides of the table and a television on a cabinet at the far end of the room.

Finally, well, I couldn’t think of anything for the final room, so at the moment it is basically sealed off space, leaving me sixty percent of my locker to model at a later date.

Next was to change the hospital like atmosphere, it is possible to personally shape each and every aspect of your locker but I’m not the creative type so I decide to go straight to the ‘Theme’ option.

Trialling a few different themes, each time I select one the typical virtual reality fog takes over my vision and slowly dissipates to reveal the new look. I am astonished every time by the amount of change that takes place just from selecting a theme. Some dropped out the walls and ceiling, replacing walls with short stone walls as all of a sudden I was in the middle of a lush garden. Obviously I couldn’t leave the confines of the locker and explore, but it was simply amazing. There was another one theme that changed my entire locker into a sky island.

Finally I try a theme called ‘China3′. The fog clears and any thoughts of choosing a different theme completely disappear.

A light brown polished wood floor, the doors replaced with intricate arches created with wooden patterns. The room emanates a warm yellow hue coming from rectangular box like paper lights lining the roof, even the furniture had changed to suit the theme, short legged two seater couches with seats stitched in the most luxurious leather.

The coffee machine on the now mahogany table is the only thing stayed the same.

The kitchen as well changed beyond description, the style of this place seemed to belong in some far eastern country, but the theme has such a strange name that I don’t recognize where.

I feel that a few quick final adjustments in the living room are needed, considering the floors have all turned into polished wood which is quite cold I manipulate the console still following me around and place a large rug underneath, the rug has simple yet soft yellow honeycomb design with a deep maroon lining throughout it.

I also install a window and some black out curtains onto the blank wall, selecting to look through at an image of the city of Taile. With the curtains open the sunset shines in through the window of what must be a high rise hotel in the central business district.

Placing the console on a wall in the living room, I sit down on the couch and operate the coffee machine to fill my cup. With no milk or sugar what came out was coffee that is quite bitter, but sitting in this silent room sipping this black coffee was incredibly peaceful on my mind.

***************************************************

Logging off it is late afternoon, the sun striking the city skyline on the horizon.

I decide I will run by the forums on the wiki for End, the majority of users went there to discuss and read up on the latest news across the continent. I myself am no different of course.

There are a large bunch of threads about class skills and those telling others how to get certain ones, however all the replies to those threads revolved around them being fake, destroying any credibility.

The most surprising however was the section in the forum for advertising weapons, armour and certain high level crafting materials that you have set up for sale for real money and the location of them. Most of them are placed by the merchants themselves, considering a well known merchant is more like to have players directly asking them to fence their goods.

I was shocked to see a thread about the apples that go on sale from time to time in Iceridge. A lot of discussion was directing hatred at the fact that they are not available at all times, but more people spoke about how delicious they were, incomparable to anything else.

The biggest surprise came when I see Gladox has already reached level 160, it is incredible how this guy can level so fast. I also read past a few threads started by the other players racing to have the highest level and how they plan to bring Gladox down, most of them involving unimaginative and repeated actions of violence.

Filled with new determination to get stronger, I have a quick dinner and return online.

***************************************************

Passing through my new locker feels somewhat uncomfortable at first, almost as if I am trespassing in somebody else’s home, but I should adjust to it with a little time.

The snowy city of Iceridge takes over my vision, I may not feel the temperature through my cloak but the sudden change in atmosphere sends a few shivers through my body.

My goals right now are to collect more apples and regain the levels I spent on my skills. Naturally I will have to get my skills stronger too, more so than just simply gaining levels.

A trip to the great white wolf’s den for apples proved to be as difficult as always, one drift of my scent and the wolf entered its ‘invincible’ mode that didn’t leave me a single opportunity to attack.

This time the wolf was prepared to prevent me reaching the trees, the result becoming a dance with the wolf’s razor sharp claws.

As caught in the moment as I am, I can’t help but notice the little notification in the corner of my vision stating that agility has increased by one point.

Either I was already incredibly close to increasing the stat or dodging the attacks of an enemy that can move faster than you is extremely good training, if it was the latter this could be some incredibly useful information. My higher my agility stat, the faster I will be.

With training through conventional means you can usually only train strength and agility to around fifty before you get to a point where they stop improving, dexterity is about thirty. After that they will slowly improve through fighting monsters but there isn’t any well known method of improving them faster, fortunately I discovered the weight training with the slow effect. Right now with the boosts from my skills, my agility is a massive one hundred and twenty three.

My speed is easily on par with the high level players, if not beyond them. My other stats thought are roughly average for a mid level player.

Occasionally, like right now the great white wolf will activate its extreme speed technique, launching an unavoidable attack. Well, that used to be the case, but I have figured a way to avoid the high speed attacks. I activate ‘Perceptual Sight’ causing the world around me to slow down, even the wolf and its attack.

There are two problems however, with my ‘Hunter’s Eyes’ skill at level 3 the effect was so minimal the attack was still a blur. Secondly with my enhanced vision I am slowed down proportionally. All I manage to do in using the skill is to get a slightly slower view of the incoming claws, like the moments before death if it wasn’t so exaggerated.

The wolf’s attack hits dead centre in my chest, I have only gained back a single level so being level 18 and suffering a critical strike from a boss class monster removes seventy percent of my health.

Fortunately for me the strike knocks sends my body about ten meters away, right underneath some trees. The wolf, being incredibly intelligent itself, understands the situation and attempts to move in order to prevent me from escaping but it is already too late. This time the attack didn’t daze me so I was up and inside the foliage before the wolf was even half way here.

In a vent of frustration, the wolf struck one of the nearby trees, sending powerful vibrations through it and causing most of the apples to fall down. It stood still and is looking at the fallen fruit, almost as if it is bewildered.

It then approached the tree I was in attempted to do the same trick on the tree to cause me to fall out. It could have worked, it did make my footing unstable after all, but I was already safely in another tree by the time there was any danger.

Repeating this is was a bit of cat and mouse of the wolf striking trees and me moving to safer trees. I collected what apples I could whilst I was moving around but thanks to the wolf about a third of what I would normally collect was scattered all over the ground.

I will cut my losses this time, making a break for the exit with just under a hundred apples. Once I become stronger that wolf won’t know what happened, I almost give a mad laugh as I make my escape.

I don’t know about all over the continent but these apple trees regrow their fruit every three days in real life after it is picked. Judging by that time constriction I need to level up ‘Hunter’s Eyes’ in three days enough to at least avoid major damage from the wolf. Fortunately I am able to use ‘Perceptual Sight’ twice a day in game, meaning I get to use it six times per day in real life, a total of eighteen times before my next encounter with the great white wolf, plenty of practice.

And so for the next three days of real life I hardly slept, grinding with wolves and not only reaching level twenty three but also ‘Hunter’s Eyes’ and ‘Speed Up’ grew exceptionally quick.

.

Name: Lost
Health: 284/307
Stamina: 161/161
Lvl: 23
Lvl UP: 87%

Str: 48 +6
Agi: 110 +16
Dex: 42 +14
Int: 9
Mnd: 29
Lck: 16

Fame/Infamy: 0
Alighnment: +0
God: -
Beleif: 0

Equipped Skills:
Aggravation            (SLvl 24, 13%)
Advanced Military Arts (SLvl 22, 64%)
Herbalism              (SLvl 3, 37%)
Potion Creation        (SLvl 1, 0%)
Hunter's Eyes          (SLvl 13, 11%)
Throw                  (SLvl 1, 0%)
Smithing               (SLvl 1, 0%)
Mining                 (SLvl 1, 0%)
Speed Up               (SLvl 11, 97%)

Reserve Skills:
[Empty]
Speed Up (SLvl 11, 97%) -Passive
 Your years as a child were spent running away from bullies, as a
 result your body is trained in speed and can move faster.
SLvl 11:
- Movement speed +11.4%
- Agility + 8
Hunter's Eyes (SLvl 13, 11%) -Passive
 In the wilderness only two kinds of beast survive, the strong, and
 the wary. You are of the wary kind, your eyes are capable of picking
 up the slightest movements and see better in the dark.
SLvl 13:
- Can see further the more proficient the skill
- Can use the sacred art 'Perceptual Sight'

Once ‘Advanced Military Arts’ had reached level twenty it gave more bonus points to stats. ‘Speed Up’ also did the same at level ten. It appears to me that every ten levels a stat will get stronger.

‘Perceptual Sight’ also got stronger. Instead of enhancing my sense so the world moved at ninety percent speed now it was around seventy percent. I could not say exactly due to there was no indication as to how powerful it was, but that is how it feels.

The effects on my body however are even more severe, being slowed down even more from the sacred art leaves me feeling like I’m in limbo.

All my training paid off however, I was ready for the great white wolf.

***************************************************

I take a step into the den, it was early afternoon with a light snow falling.

Taking a look around my surroundings, I begin to feel a little uneasy. The wolf hasn’t appeared yet. It usually would attacking me the moment I stepped inside of here.

Scanning in between the trees a quick glance causes alarm bells rang in my head. The trees don’t have a single fruit on them. Even if I was here a little early a few of the apples should have regrown at least. It can’t be someone that else beat me here. Firstly, to my knowledge nobody has knowledge of this place, and secondly all the wolves were on the path. But where was the great white wolf.

Creeping up to and inside the outcrop of trees I wander around for a while, no wolf, and no apples. I simply cannot understand what is going on in this place, it is eerily quiet.

Circling the cavern to avoid ambushes from behind, I reach the waterfall and small lake that is located at the other end of the cavern. Might as well sit down and have a break.

Removing the tools for making potions I currently have about sixty medicinal herbs and just as many antidote roots. Firstly I line up the empty vials and fill them with water from the lake, most people have to melt snow or cut into an ice river to make potions down in the south due to the lack of a normal river, how lucky am I.

My ‘Potion Creation’ skill provides a menu of recipes that I have learnt. A minor health potion consisted of two green medicinal herbs, ground up in the mortar and pestle, and mixed into a vial of water.

After making twenty minor health potions, unlike the red health potions in the store, these are not only considerably weaker but also a sickly green colour. It is grotesque enough to turn anyone off potion making.

Weak Minor Healing Potion
 A beginner potion anyone could make with or without
 the correct skills. The colour is a revolting green 
 and you may potentially throw it up.
   
Requirements:
- Level 1

Item Type: Potion
Health Recovery: 20HP
Recovery Time: 10sec
Weight: 0.1 lbs

It is a horrible potion, but considering the appearance I am at least glad it did not come with negative side effects.

I no longer need the potions as I will never consume these but I need the empty vials, so I tip the contents of the potions out back into the lake. Refilling the vials with water, this time I plan to use the antidote roots, two per potion, exactly the same as the medicinal herbs.

Weak Minor Antidote
 A beginner potion anyone could make with or without
 the correct skills. The colour looks like instead of
 curing poison it could cause it.
   
Requirements:
- Level 1

Item Type: Potion
Poison Recovery: Minor
Recovery Time: 5sec
Weight: 0.1 lbs

The antidote potions are just as bad, turning out the vile colour of a light brown mushroom. It also was giving of faint toxic fumes, the description says that in five seconds it can cure minor poisons but I have no doubts this potion must be poison all on its own!

Without a second thought these potions also returned to the lake, I feel a little bad for tainting the lake with such vileness but it had to go somewhere. With a final trial of twenty vials of water I closed my recipe window and decided to improvise. Each potion so far has taken two herbs, so following that principle this time I will use one of each to follow the two herbs rule and create something new.

I mixed one green medicinal herb and one antidote root together and then placing it in a vial, put the stopper on the top and gave it a good shake. Slowly it started changing colours, settling on a mix between brown and green, kind of like a swamp.

Yes, this is probably the most revolting one of them all!

A message appears in front of me with the completion of the potion.

You have discovered a new potion!
The recipe will be saved in your recipes menu
Cure Minor Disease
 A beginner potion created through experimentation
 by a novice potion maker, can cure minor diseases
 and illnesses, can relieve some symptoms of 
 intermediate ones. 
   
Requirements:
- Level 3

Item Type: Potion
Disease Recovery: Minor
Recovery Time: 1hour
Weight: 0.1 lbs

Incredibly enough as I created these potions my skill rises faster than before, I must remember to continue being creative in the future with my skills.

However, once again I have no need for these potions so I pour them back into the lake. My potion creation reached level 5 from all those potions. For some reason though the vials started to shine less and one was cracked.

I head to the centre of the cavern where I recalled the clearing that had a view of the sky. Soon it should be night, providing an excellent view of the stars.

Walking up to the clearing I took two steps in before stopping, dumbfounded.

On the apex of the small hill was an enormous pile of apples, the apples I had considered to be gone. But even more astonishingly was a great white wolf trotting circles around the pile guarding it.

Was it fond of the apples and protecting them from me, the thief who kept taking them? No, wolves are carnivorous so I don’t see why it would. Slowly events in my mind began to click into place.

Starting from my constant collecting of the apples. Ending with the wolf seemingly studying the apples it knocked out of a tree.

With the knowledge of my goal and new found method of collecting the apples, the wolf collected them all into a pile and guarded them, waiting for my return. Especially considering there was no point in escaping to the trees as right now my goal is on the grounds.

The wolf didn’t make any noise, just stood there looking at me, tail wagging slightly…

‘How proud can you be?!’ I shouted in my head.

“Excuse me, Mr Wolf. Would you please let me have those apples?” I had never tried speaking to the wolf before, but I believe right now I need to somehow get those apples. They are my source of income at the moment after all.

The wolf glances at the apples then emanates a low growl facing back towards me, clearly a no.

“Surely there must be some way for you to let me have the apples. Is there anything I can do for you?”

The wolf stopped as if giving it some consideration before giving a short bark. That must be a yes.

“Hmm what could you possibly want? A scratch behind the ear?”

The beast is stunned at first, but gives a more ferocious growl shortly after, clearly a little angry. If only it could see how much my face was sweating from the pressure.

“Can I give you anything?” I feel the wolf becoming more and more menacing with my incorrect questions. This is incredibly frustrating!

“Well what do you want?! Do you want me to waste my time and play with you or something??” Uh oh, I think I was a bit rash for the situation, I prepare myself for the attack.

The wolf however didn’t bother to make a response, nor did it attack either. It simply lay down on its belly, its massive head between its two front paws, tail gently swaying to and fro.

Unbelievable, that’s what this wolf wants, someone to play with? Well, this could definitely work to my favour, I need to train speed and so far it appears fighting an extremely fast enemy is currently the only way to gain that experience.

“Very well, but I have one condition,” Hold up a finger at the wolf only meters away I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of it biting the finger off, “No claws, and no teeth!”

The wolf brought its nose towards my hips and started growling. Clearly indicating my weapons, I had no problems putting them away in my inventory, but just so the wolf knew I didn’t have them I place them on the ground next to a tree.

Turning around all I saw was a wall of white, and being hit by it I flew backwards, tumbling about five meters from where I started. As I sit up I see the wolf casually licking its paw, at least there were no claws involved and I only lost two percent of my health.

“Hey that was a dirty sneak attack! Tch, striking me when I wasn’t expecting it!” The wolf gave a glare accusing me of being just as sneaky.

“Fine, fine. I did it once in the past too, no need to incriminate me any further,” it was the truth to say that I probably deserved a little bit, I did after all launch that surprise attack from the trees the first time we fought.

To return the favour I dashed at the wolf and threw a fist square with its nose. I nearly hit it too, until a paw came down and flattened me into the ground, squashing my lungs and leaving me gasping for air.

‘Calm, I need a calm mind’ I speak in my head to clear myself of stray thoughts and stop being careless.

A few paws came at me horizontally, even a couple vertically. Calculating each strike in a split second it took all of my agility to dodge them. Under, to the left, backwards, over, these we the only thoughts I have at the moment, nothing else mattered except for this.

Then it came, a slight crouch and it activated its high end speed technique. By focusing my eyes on the wolf and calling “Perceptual Sight” its movements slowed down to seventy percent speed.

There are two ways to activate sacred arts in End. One is to do the action related to the move, like the beginning of a sword’s sacred art. This became a lot harder trying to figure out the action that triggered a sacred art based on sight. The second was just to call out the name, the system although will not activate the skill unless you are intending to activate it, how the VL interpreted the mind to be able to do this only the creators would know.

The wolf, no longer a blur, has a paw swiping down diagonally at me from my right. My movements are incredibly dull due to the side effects of the art, but I spot a small gap underneath the strike, throwing my legs out from under me drop flat on my stomach and narrowly escape the attack.

Getting up however, I was far too slow on, I receive a full twenty two hundred pound pounds of wolf using the momentum of its attack to throw itself shoulder first into the me as I try to get up.

This didn’t do a small amount of damage, it near killed me.

Rolling over the wolf was once again lying down on its stomach, tail wagging even more quickly than ever. Clearly a one sided beat down has put it in a fantastic mood.

Even if our battle was short I had actually managed to improve my agility by one point, proving the theory at the very least of training against harder opponents.

“Okay wolf, that is enough for today. Do you feel like giving me the apples yet.”

No complaints, but the wolf did shuffle sideways to block me from getting to them. Tail still wagging, clearly it wanted to play more before it gave up the payment for my time.

“Come on, I can’t do any more today! Look, I will come tomorrow to play, okay?”

Giving it a little thought, the wolf moved aside and let me by to collect the pile of apples, putting on a sad expression.

“Don’t get like that,” Honestly I was afraid if it got depressed it would just decide to kill me anyway, which would not be good at all, “I will see you tomorrow and we will play more.”

Its tail wagged a few times, showing a slight improvement in mood.

Collecting the apples I wasn’t quite daring enough to get any closer the wolf, but when not in a battle of life and death with it I can admire its magnificent fur. The wolf is whiter than fresh snow and has electric blue eyes that sent shivers up my spine every time I look at them.

For a week in real life I repeated the process of returning to play with the wolf every day, twenty one contests of strength and speed. I could never match the wolf’s strength but each battle I increased my agility, getting a little faster and a little better at dodging attacks. Recently I can last about half an hour before I take too much damage and have to stop, not just due to my total agility being a little over 150 but I have gotten much better at reading the wolves movements and dodging them, even half of its high speed manoeuvres.

When I wasn’t training myself under the pretence of playing with the wolf I often hunted around the city and trained up most of my skills. I got my throwing skill up to level 6 by throwing rocks at wolves, but they were completely useless in terms of dealing any major damage, I could deal a maximum damage equalling twenty percent of their health with a critical strike, but most of the time however I missed altogether.

I spent a nearly all my gold I had saved up on a small portable smelter standing at the height of my knees, it weighs a grand total of 180lbs so once I took it out of my inventory there was no moving it. Smithing in this game was incredibly simple, all the equipment required is smelters of different sizes and grades, an anvil where you selected or design the weapon shape and a hammer to hit the hot ingots until they form the desired product.

All I had to do still was buy the anvil and hammer.

I also purchased a cheap pick but unsurprisingly I had nowhere to mine any ores. They boast you can mine anywhere you like but if you choose the wrong spot you can dig for days and receive nothing.

‘Potion Creation’ and ‘Herbalism’ both reached level 9, whilst I didn’t have any fresh running water I could use some low quality sticks lying around to start a little fire in the furnace and melt snow into water.

***************************************************

“You’re pretty good, I am possibly right now the fastest player in the game, nobody has trained their speed as well as I have.”

The wolf snorted as if making fun of me and my speed. Its true, if I was to remove this hood my speed would double. Even right now my speed is quite monstrous, I can cover a hundred meter distance in about four seconds, even running along walls for short distances of up to seven meters was possible.

The issue though, is that the wolf also appeared to be getting stronger as well. The speed gap between us was rapidly closing, but there is no changing the fact the wolf is becoming more powerful. I almost feel sorry for the next player to discover this cave.

To begin today’s battle I decide to make the first strike, closing the distance in a second I send a kick into the side of one of its legs, hindering its movements momentarily.

Half a second later it return an attack with its other leg, but I am easily fast enough to jump back and avoid the blow. What came next was new though, two large icicles, each the size of one of my arms, crackle through the air directly at me.

I dodge one of them, but the second icicle pierces through my shoulder, throwing me off balance and taking a good third of my health away. This damage was with the forty percent ice resistance my cloak gives me, showing me just how powerful of an attack it was.

Throwing my eyesight along the tree line I look for the interloper, someone else finding this cave isn’t so farfetched so it is the natural conclusion.

What I wasn’t expecting however is for three more icicles to materialize and take form in the air, aiming at me. Even more surprisingly was they are forming around the wolf, its eyes glowing slightly brighter than they naturally do.

The three icicles triangulated my position and attacked in one fluid motion. The only way to escape was the activation of perceptual sight. With ‘Hunter’s Eyes’ now at level 17 the speed decrease was considerable.

Taking the only escape I retreat backwards, avoiding the two that are coming at me from an angle. There is one more missile incoming directly in front of me that I attempt to get out of the way by moving to the side but it was too late, it strikes me directly in the chest. Shaving off a large portion of my health and leaving me flat on my back.

‘What the hell was that? The wolf is definitely getting stronger, but now using magic?’ I think about whether it could always use magic or if it was recently discovered. Either way, the power gap between the two of us has all of a sudden widened again, incredibly frustrating.

The wolf strolls over and looks down at me, eyes gloating. Once again I am back to lasting less than an instant. At least it is nice enough to collect the apples for me every time they regrow.

“I give up, you’re clearly stronger than me. That is enough for today, but have you always been able to use magic?!” It doesn’t even pay my question any attention, “Well, I guess even you have things you won’t talk about.”

“You know, I don’t even know what to call you.” The wolf gets comfortable with its head laying on the grass next to me who is still stranded like a turtle. The wolf is incredibly close to me, all I have to do is reach out my hand and I will be able to touch it.

“How about Fen? That seems like a good name.” I didn’t hear any complaints so I guess Fen accepts the new name. It was my natural choice considering I had heard originally that the great white wolf was supposed to be related to the great wolf Fenrir.

“It’s a strong name, such a powerful male like you should be proud of it,” Also no growls or displeased noises, I must have successfully guessed the correct gender of Fen.

All of a sudden a stalactite of ice larger than any before impales itself in the ground inches away from my head, close enough that I can feel the cold aura emanating from it.

“What I-I mean,” Oops, I stuttered, “Is that any powerful male would be proud to just know someone with such a strong name.” Rewording what I said as if I made a mistake, Fen appears to be somewhat content.

Moving slightly away from the pillar of ice impaled next to me, I bumped into Fen. A cold sweat broke out on my face while considering the implications of being so close to such a dangerous beast. Fortunately she has her eyes, opening one to glance at my presence that got closer, but shortly closing it again and returning to resting.

The feel of her fur is amazing, I sneakily run a hand through it over her shoulder. It feels like waves of silk yet at the same time is has an incredible tensile strength and is easy to hold onto.

I pretend to be asleep, or dead depending on how you look at it, until I hear what sounds like some form of snoring. Deeming it to be safe to escape, I creep away towards my weapons to collect them on the way out.

With a slight cracking in the air a solid line of what I have decided to call ‘Ice bolts’ cuts off my route. Slowly turning around Fen has raised her large head off the ground slightly and turned it to give me a prosecuting glare.

I slowly walk back and sit down next to her, resting my back against her body and staring through the hole in the cavern roof at the stars the littered this winter night sky. I stayed in this position all night, wide awake.

Two weeks, everyday returning to train with Fen, often even more than once time a day. Fortunately for me there were no more overnight detainments, perhaps due to how often I came to see Fen. My agility continues to rise at a fast pace as well, and with the new found ice attacks my mind stat rose a bit.

A few of my skills rose over level 30 which provided even better stat bonuses, and once ‘Speed Boost’ reached level 30 as well I got a message when I finished combat with some stray wolves.

Speed Boost has reached level 30
Prerequisites met:
Agility: 50
Dexterity 30
Would you like to upgrade 'Speed Boost' into 'High Speed'?
Yes / No

I decide to press yes, it was currently giving me a 17% boost in movement speed but I open my status to check the new skill and current status.

Name: Lost
Health: 214/366
Stamina: 135/185
Lvl: 28
Lvl UP: 12%

Str: 50 +10
Agi: 172 +21
Dex: 45 +20
Int: 9
Mnd: 39
Lck: 16

Fame/Infamy: 0
Alignment: +0
God: -
Belief: 0

Equipped Skills:
Aggravation            (SLvl 31, 12%)
Advanced Military Arts (SLvl 30, 26%)
Herbalism              (SLvl 12, 5%)
Potion Creation        (SLvl 11, 68%)
Hunter's Eyes          (SLvl 21, 61%)
Throw                  (SLvl 8, 15%)
Smithing               (SLvl 1, 0%)
Mining                 (SLvl 1, 0%)
High Speed             (SLvl 1, 0%)

Reserve Skills:
[Empty]
High Speed (SLvl 1, 0%) -Passive
 Your years as a child were spent running away from bullies, as a
 result your body is trained in speed and can move faster.

SLvl 1:
- Movement speed +5%
- Attack speed +3%
- Agility + 9

It was a shame I lost some of my movement speed, but at the same time I gained an attack speed bonus and the starting agility bonus is a lot higher than it was with ‘Speed Up’.

The sacred art ‘Perceptual Sight’ also upgraded slightly from ‘Hunter’s Eyes’ reaching level 20. If I choose so, I can now end the sacred art early instead of having to wait the full sixty seconds, a completely lifesaver considering I only ever require it for short moments and the rest of the time it is a hindrance.

I have also been able to move better under its effects with my agility increasing, I can currently move at a speed thrice as fast as a normal person. That is with a fifty percent restriction from my cloak and then everything slowed down by around sixty five percent.

Enchantments and status effects also operate in layers I slowly gained this knowledge through some odd trial and error. Under the assumption that my normal speed would be one hundred points. First skills are applied, ‘High Speed’ currently giving a five percent bonus giving me one hundred and five points in speed. Second is the equipment, my cloak halving that total to fifty two and a half points in speed, and lastly status effects are applied, such as the time slow. This takes what I have estimated to be around sixty five percent, leaving my speed at around thirty four points of speed.

There has been another new development during this time too. About a week ago I started to feel the presence of somebody watching me, following me wherever I went. I’ve turned around countless times, yet there was never anybody there, even in one of the great expanses of snow to the east of the city where there was nowhere to hide.

There was one evening in the cave I felt the presence. No doubt Fen would have noticed as well if not for her single minded pursuit of me through the trees.

I discovered fighting amongst the trees was fantastic for combating the ice bolts Fen shot off from time to time. All I had to do was time my speed right and the ice bolts would find their target to suddenly be a tree, I learnt this technique of throwing projectile targets with Centurion Markus and his ridiculous rock throwing.

Today’s battle was relatively short compared to most. My speed was the same as Fen’s so there wasn’t much of an improvement any more when fought. Even Fen no longer seeming to get any stronger, but I felt bad about just leaving her. I was no longer terrified by the wolf, I had somewhat come to like her, albeit still a little cautious when within swatting distance of her paws.

“Let’s leave it at that for today, we are both a little tired from that,” Not physically, you only felt physical exhaustion as your health dropped, but moving and fighting at such a high speed was extremely draining on the mind and your reflexes.

Just running in itself will never exhaust a player, I read online that they were planning on altering this with an update coming next month, but the details of the patch were never announced.

“I will race you back to the Green Parade!” Yes, I named that small hill in the centre of the cavern, I spent enough time there I may as well.

Racing through the trees I had the advantage of manoeuvrability through the trees being smaller, but Fen was no slacker, twisting her enormous body around the trees, she somehow manages to keep up with me.

Getting back to the clearing with the hill I head over to a nearby tree around the rim that I left my weapons and money pouch. Yes, I took off my money pouch, while they technically weigh nothing I find that when it is not hanging off my belt I can move slightly faster and move around easier.

‘Huh, that’s odd, where are they?’ A little puzzled about where my stuff was I searched another few areas around the trees. ‘Well, at least that annoying presence following me seems to be gone.’

Of course.. I face upwards and let out a hearty laugh, ‘I’m going to murder whoever took my stuff!’

*************************************************** ***************************************************

-Verde-

My name is Verity Lee, 20 years of age. However in End Online my character is only known as Verde. Due to being stuck with the looks we have in real life in the game I am incredibly beautiful, I would be ignorant to say I wasn’t.

With mahogany hair flowing half way down my chest, a face of the most perfect lines and not a single flaw. I broke the hearts of every man around me and I know it.

Unfortunately I had to use a hood to hide as much of my face as I could. My father is completely oblivious to me playing this game and if he ever found out my VL would be confiscated, no questions asked. Therefore if anybody who knew me in real life spotted me in the game and my father found out then it would be all over, I even picked the frozen south east where only ten percent of players start.

However due to my incredible looks there are a lot of people that approached me and were offering me free goods. I even had a few requests to join some guilds, there were very few guilds in the game so far and receiving an invite was said to be an honour but honestly it was more of a pain than anything. In this game I didn’t want to be given anything, ironically I had made my character with stealth skills useful for stealing things.

I was an impressive level 72 and even managed to unlock a blue bordered, unique class skill.

Name: Verde
Health: 894/894
Stamina: 230/230

Lvl: 72
Lvl UP: 35%

Str: 44
Agi: 57 +15
Dex: 62 +30
Int: 16
Mnd: 45
Lck: 31

Fame/Infamy: -320
Alighnment: -200
God: -
Beleif: 0

Equipped Skills:
Class skill: Thief      (SLvl 11, 12%)
[Unavailable] 
Archery                 (SLvl 24, 12%)
Eagle Eye               (SLvl 33, 25%)
Dexterity Boost         (SLvl 7, 67%)
[Empty]
[Empty]
[Empty]
[Empty]

Reserve Skills:
[Empty]
Class Skill: Thief (SLvl 11, 12%) -Active
 A dweller of the shadows, through you life of hands in other
 peoples pockets and selling stolen goods you have gained an
 understanding of the night, and are able to slip out of peoples 
 sight without notice.
SLvl 11:
- Fighting Prowess 
- Dagger proficiency
- Dagger damage bonus 2.3 X base damage
- Short sword proficiency
- Short sword damage bonus 1.7 X base damage
- Can not equip heavy armour
- 50% penalty on medium armour

- +15 Agility.
- +25 Dexterity.
- Movement Speed +10%

- Can steal any gold or jewellery, even from pockets and
  fingers, be cautious not to get caught however.
- Can use the sacred art 'Perceptual Sight'
- Can use the sacred art 'Critical Strike'
- Cam use the sacred art 'Flurry'

Bonus:
- During night skills are increased by 10%
- Ability to fade into crowds and surroundings, causing
  all eyes to naturally not look at you. A discerning
  eye may still spot you, entering combat or being caught 
  stealing will also break the effect.

The class skill of the thief was incredibly useful, being able to slip out of sight without anybody noticing was the best skill a thief can have. It also cost nothing and could be used as much as I like. The knight class skill was only of ordinary rarity and didn’t even have any bonuses.

A while into the game I met an incredibly strange man. He called himself Sir Laurence, quite a tall man. He had this wavy golden hair and equipped a full set of highly polished steel heavy armour, long sword, and a large steel kite shield.

I can’t remember when he started following me around, but he seemed to treat me like some kind of princess, fending off any people that got too close. He was a massive pain, but at the same time being a thief I was on the low end for defence and not only was he was well equipped but also prepared to take every blow that came my way, so I didn’t say anything.

I kept stealing his pouches of gold at first, but after his embarrassing, “Heroes don’t need gold,” I couldn’t bring myself to keep doing it.

Another interesting person I met was a stranger in the player’s market, or the bazaar as some people call it. Just standing there looking around like he was completely lost, but what caught my eye was his curious cloak covered in pure white fur, naturally it should be made out of some luxurious animal pelt. But most noticeable was the shadow that seemed to drop from the hood and completely hid his face.

Naturally I wanted to steal such an amazing item, as soon as I walked behind him I imagined in my mind nobody being capable of seeing me and silently caused the gazes of everyone to gaze anywhere but where I was. Standing behind the player I attempted to remove the cloak, unfortunately for me it was not something permitted to be stolen.

After that failure I wanted to kill him until he dropped it. Players will always drop their pouch, or pouches depending if the person had more, of gold upon death, but there was only a ten percent chance to drop one random equipped item.

I used a considerably powerful analyse scroll on him costing fifty gold but for some reason everything from his name to his reserve skills only showed question marks, like the magic could not detect who he was or his skills. A little afraid of how powerful he or this cloak was I decided not to risk it.

After that I lost him, I had no clue where he went.

Sir Laurence accompanied me south of the city every time I left and we fought various monsters such as goblins, kobolds, even frost trolls. It was about a month after that I started seeing the man in the cloak again.

I remember Sir Laurence was scratching his head at one point after hearing him speak in the people’s market one time. He reckoned he’d heard the voice before but he couldn’t remember exactly where it was, a pity considering the more I know about him the better.

It got to the point where I started following him when he went outside of town. I had told Laurence to stay behind considering my skill could only hide me.

However this guy seemed to be able to sense me watching him, either that or he was extremely paranoid as he kept checking behind his back as if he was looking for someone.

Every time he left it was always to the east of the Iceridge, a place not many people travelled as it was considered to be colder out in that direction, where spending a long period of time in that kind of weather could cause you to contract a cold and have your abilities reduced.

Still I started following him out the east gate. But then I had another problem, this person only walked in the city but once he was outside he broke into a run. Normally this would not be a worry, I have a rather high agility stat and even a bonus of fifteen extra points from my class skill, not many people could out run me. At least, not to any great extent.

But this guy! Ducking his head a little, leaning forward, he took off like a cannonball. Apart from kicking up small piles of snow with each bound, he almost seemed to fly over the snow. I was forced to spend a full week camping out at certain spots to watch him each time and locate where he was going.

From my hiding spots I witnessed a few of his battles. He would run around and taunt a large number of wolves with some unknown skill, then double back to attack. Running through the pack he wielded two single edged short swords to rapidly slash left and right, much like my sacred art ‘Flurry’.

His attacks however are amazing, one slash killing one wolf. Strength is used to wield larger weapons and deal more damage, if you have double the strength required to wield a weapon, you will be capable of dealing maximum damage with it, or in the case of a two handed weapon you can also wield it in one hand.

But the faster you are and the faster you attack you can ignore portions of an opponent’s armour, naturally you need a high dexterity to be able to control this but against heavy armoured opponents it was the best possible choice. With his incredible speed must be completely ignoring the wolves defences. ‘Are you above level 100 or something?! If so why are you in an area as weak as this?’

I can imagine they will be quite good weapons in that case, they look plain but looks can be deceiving. I finally tracked him to a hidden cave at the base of the far east mountains, I was quite possibly the second person to ever be here. This brings me up to the present.

***************************************************

I creep in through the entrance to the cave and I instantly start to feel warmer, this place must be completely isolated from the outside weather. I can hear some wolves dying in the distant corners of the cave where the player with the white cloak must be, although despite the nice temperature in here I can’t imagine why he would come here just to hunt wolves.

I hurry down the tunnels towards where I can hear him. Occasionally I take a wrong turn, but this cave is quite linear and the wrong turns end up abruptly in dead ends. Five minutes of quickly dashing down another tunnel I approach the player I have been trying to follow all this time.

He enters a well lit cavern at the end of the tunnel, a little concerned about losing sight of him again, I hastily follow behind.

Entering the cavern my breath is taken away from me. I even lose focus and stop my skill to ‘Hide’ seeing the sight. A luscious green grass covers the entire floor, dirt showing through in some spots. Considering the trees that begin only ten meters away and the fresh air, the inside of this cavern is in spring. A place like this should not exist in this area, it is uncanny.

Restarting my ‘Hide’ skill I travel under the trees towards the centre of the cavern. I start sweating and feel a chilling terror at the sight in front of me. The cloaked player is standing off against a wolf with fur extremely similar to his cloak. Only this wolf stands nearly three full meters tall, and is at least five meters long, as majestic and beautiful as it was, what a monster!

The man in the hooded cloak wasn’t too bothered. He put down a few items on the ground next to a tree and…

‘What has he just done?!?’ He placed down his money pouch and his weapons on the ground. Why would he approach that monster without any weapons?!

I watch and start to believe even less, the two of them start having a brawl. The wolf is extremely fast, a few of its strikes are simply a blur, but the cloaked man dodges each and every one of them. I see his fist connect with the wolf a couple of times but unlike the wolf, it looks like speed and probably dexterity is the only thing he has.

A few ice bolts come from the wolf but still the man manages to dodge them, retreating back into the forest with the wolf hot on his tail. This guy cannot possibly win such a fight, especially without his weapons. He is doomed to die.

Regaining my senses I realize his money and weapons are still on the ground near me, and he is nowhere to be seen, I can hear them in the distance but I can’t see anything. I sneak over to the stash he left and quickly inspect it.

‘Trash,’ that’s my first impression of the weapons. they are extremely low level and worthless even brand now. The pouch also only had thirteen gold, he was poor too!

Well he won’t be needing them in the afterlife so I may as well help myself, stuffing the weapons in my inventory and attaching the pouch onto my belt I don’t even feel a shred of remorse, people should be more aware of their belongings after all.

With the deed done I slip out of the cavern and start walking back to Iceridge.

I spend my nights in a tavern usually. I have a thing for sleeping in the game for some reason or another. Tonight is no different, and deciding to break in my new wallet I use a little of the money I had just acquired. The top floor of this particular inn was a massive two gold per night, compared to a standard room being thirty silver a night.

It wasn’t my money anyway so there is no need to hold back, paying the innkeeper got me a gaudy looking key which I take with me upstairs on the way to my room.

The inside of the room is just as flashy as the key, on the fourth floor all the furniture here was created from rare or exotic woods and even inlaid with intricate patterns. Looking through a window with two swinging doors to open outwards gave an excellent view of Iceridge’s central courtyard, overlooking all the shops and has a perfect view if the fountain of ice completely frozen in its movement.

With the sun setting I decide I may as well have an early night, I will have to lay low just in case that man knows who was following him and figures out I was the one to steal his stuff.

Closing my eyes I peacefully enter into a quiet slumber.

***************************************************

My eyes shot wide open! In the middle of the night something happened that should not be possible! Someone has just broken in, smashing the window and a small part of the wall to pieces in doing so!

This is a private room so nobody should be capable of entering, let alone this! My heart was beating like a frightened rabbit in my chest swimming in mixed feelings of confusion and fear. I feel like my entire body is petrified, I had managed to sit up against the back of the bed but I cannot bring myself to move an inch from there.

The oil lights along the street let enough light in throw the gap in the wall. In the room stood a girl with her face turned towards me. She is only a year or two younger than me in appearance and the same height as well. The most shocking part is she is completely naked, not even a pair of socks. Apart from the curvature of her hips she has an elegantly slender body, especially her limbs. Her chest is moderate, not exactly non existent, but not exactly large neither.

Her skin seems to have never seen the sun. It is a perfect pale white, lacking even the slightest mark on it like a perfect painting. Her whole body emits an aura of animalistic beauty, unparalleled by anything outside of nature itself, the feeling of a ruthless predator.

Her Hair is as white as snow and has some a large volume to it, the back reaching the bottom of her neck and the front it just covering her collarbone, cut at a perfect angle to blend the back into the front. The fringe is dead straight sitting just above her eyes, and underneath those eyes are thin lips with the slightest rosy touch, positioned perfectly on her face. But the most shocking part of her appearance are her eyes themselves.

Staring at me is a pair electric blue eyes giving off the faintest glow in the semi darkness. They look absolutely furious.

She looks down at the table where I left the weapons I stole from the cloaked man and picks them up with one hand. Walking over to me she whispers in a voice that while being quiet, rings throughout the room like a crystal glass.

“… Don’t ever touch my man again..”

“W-w-who are you??” I ask in desperation as her spare hand undertakes a sudden change. With the sound of the air cracking, ice forms on her fingers, turning them into long sharp claws about seven inches long each. Every cell in my body screamed to get away from this person as dread overtakes me.

“… You… Don’t deserve to know…” I managed to raise an arm up to stop her but she had already driven the icy claws deep into my chest, pinning me against the head of the bed.

Everything else was drowned out in my scream. The cold was penetrating my lungs, freezing me from the inside out. The worst of it was the pain, it didn’t quite feel real, but it was a pain that wasn’t supposed to appear in the game. The agony crept along most of my body, my blood freezing sending chills directly along my bones.

I could have cried in happiness when I couldn’t take any more and passed out, fading into oblivion.

*************************************************** ***************************************************

-Lost-

Finding my weapons and money gone wrenched my gut sideways, it seriously set me back. Losing just one of the two would have been astronomically better, with the money I could have bought two more cheap short swords, with the weapons I could have killed monsters to collect more money.

Sitting down against the tree where they were, in a daze I just stared into nothingness. Fen came over and used a paw to push me into tree, seeing me not resisting and in no mood to play Fen got comfortable with her head across my legs.

“They’re gone Fen, someone took my weapons and money. If only I had one or the other things would be much better.”

Fen rose her head and sniffed around for a bit, seeming to pick up something but putting her head back down over my legs as if to say it was nothing.

“Ohh what should I do.. This is horrible..” I sat in that one position as the sun sank and the light in the cavern faded, finally holding onto Fen’s head as I dozed off to sleep.

***************************************************

When I opened my eyes the morning light was shining into the cavern, a freshest of air circulated with the new light and a few deep breathes filled my chest with life.

Fen still has her large wolf head over my legs, looks like she slept in that position. But next to me for some odd reason is my two short swords.

“That’s odd. I wonder if the thief returned them? No, I seriously doubt that would be the case.” My mumbling woke Fen up and she raised her head slightly, only to use it to once again to squish me into the tree before placing it back down over my legs and refusing to move it.

The great white wolf 'Fen' has decided to join you!
Congratulations on gaining a loyal companion who will never
betray you. This is not like a tamed monster, the companion
will not share experience points, can not be controlled and
if the companion perishes they will not respawn. Treat them
valuably, mistreatment may cause them to leave.

“So, you want to come with me do you Fen?”

Fen nuzzles her head against me and I completely forget to think about who could have taken my stuff and why it was returned.

Next Chapter

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35 Comments

  1. Well, the synopses did not lie, he really escaped from reality.

    Anyway, even though Fen just tried to be good, when she said “don’t touch my man” I immediately got Yandere vibes. What’s more she is a white wolf. => conclusion I can’t help but think that there will be some ‘For the Watch!’ coming in the future.

    At the same time, because Fen is a killable character I am expecting more drama coming eventually, this time in game form.

    Like

    Reply

  2. OH GOD I KNEW IT THE MOMENT THE WOLF WAS REVEALED TO BE A SHE I WENT “I bet this is the love interest… Naaaaah, there’s no way.” BUT YEAH IT WAS!

    What is this, The Belgariad?

    Like

    Reply

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