Chapter 3: Kumatarou
“Ok, Kumatarou, I’m going over there, so see you I guess.”
I wave goodbye to the nonchalant bear who’s looking off into the distance.
<Enhanced Smelling> is going to run out soon, but it seems like it doesn’t matter. I don’t need it to tell me that the next place I should go to is the island out in the middle of the large lake.
After defeating the black thing, an ominous aura has begun to rise from the island.
Splash splash splash
The water is cold and refreshing, and it’s just deep enough to make a satisfying sound when you step into it, but not deep enough that it’s tiring to walk in.
Splash splash splash
I look over my shoulder.
Splash splash splash
… Why is Kumatarou following me?
“… Did you want to follow me?”
Kumatarou snorts, then brushes past me as if to say, ‘I’m not following you, I’m just going in the same direction.’
The two of us continue through the shallow water towards the island. The distance is a lot farther than it looks, so I pick up the pace.
Smaller versions of that black thing attack us every so often, but I’m able to take care of one in 2-3 swings of the axe, 1 if I manage to crit, so it’s not a problem. Actually, they don’t drop my pace at all, since Kumatarou takes one, and then I take the next.
Like that, alternating kills, we reach the island. <Enhanced Smelling> now runs out, and I’m kind of thankful since the source of that rotten smell stands right before us.
As soon as I set foot on the island, a cloud of dark aura rises from the ground, and a slimy, oily looking humanoid rises from the cloud, unfolding itself as if it was stretching.
I say humanoid, but it really looks like a floating, hooded mage’s robe with glowing eyes. Wraith, no, spectre? Hopefully physical attacks work …
“Pawn of the Forest, begone if thy art not deathless. If thee doth not depart, I, the Envoy of Corruption shall-“
Oooh, good. Physical attacks work. Eee… he was saying something right now … maa, whatever. I get first strike!
After my attack hits, Kumatarou gives a loud roar and rushes into combat too.
The floating robe launches magic attacks, after all. Annoying, the mobs that fire projectiles are annoying. Oh well. He’s kind of slow, so if you’ve done anything like before, you can avoid the attacks.
Between me and Kumatarou, I’m not sure, but I think we’re taking out his HP really fast.
I mean, Kumatarou is a giant bear. This kind of feels like cheating. At the same time it’s a little fun, since I’m not used to having an animal companion. Though, he’s doing most of the damage, so I don’t think I’d really like to have him around the entire time.
It’s like, you know, front-row attackers get competitive over how much DPS(damage-per-second) everyone does …
Well, Kumatarou’s a bit slower than me, so he’s been hit once or twice by the floating robe’ attacks.
All of a sudden, a black aura explosion occurs.
“Enough! I shall not suffer this insult!”
Both me and Kumatarou are blasted backwards. Ouch. We might not have been blown sky-high, but that forceful push back took out a quarter of my HP. Kumatarou looks to have taken some damage too.
The black aura from the explosion condenses and gathers around underneath the floating robe.
“I have my duties to attend to, I do not have time to play with thee!”
Aaaah! Don’t tell me that’s a portal! Bastard! I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to track him down again if I let him get away. If he’s going to escape and cause more trouble, won’t it be faster to finish this instance if I just take him out now?
“You’re not going anywhere…!”
I charge forward with a flying leap.
Ah, he plunged into the portal right before the Skill hit and my attack slashes only air.
I run forward into the portal, just hoping …
A dizzying sensation occurs, though it’s just for a second, and the scenery around me changes.
… I didn’t think I could actually enter the portal.
M-maa, it went well, so it’s all good.
“Oh, you made it too, Kumatarou. Where is this…?”
A damp cavern. You can hear water dripping from somewhere. … Are we under the island?
The walls look like they have a mystical blue-green glow, but an oily, black stain has begun creeping up the walls.
“To think that thou was foolish enough to have followed me into my lair! It shall be thine last resting place!”
Shit. It took me a bit to figure out where I was, so I was late detecting the floating robe’s attack and it hit me full on.
“…! What the-!”
That did a lot of damage though-!? And what’s this, I have Bleed on me now!? This is bad. Losing 5 HP every second is a lot when you only have 185 HP to begin with.
I dodge out of the way of the floating robe’s second attack, and Kumatarou charges ahead with a roar.
“Hey, Kumatarou, that bastard’s stronger than before, watch out!”
No good. Even if he’s fighting alongside me, I still don’t have [Animal Empathy] or [Beast Tamer], so he can’t understand me.
I take the opportunity to drink down another Beginner’s Potion while the floating robe is distracted with Kumatarou.
Sorry for using you as a decoy, but my HP’s already dropped below 40%, so with the Bleed, I’m in pretty bad shape. Luckily, the Bleed doesn’t stack, and it only lasts for 5 seconds… but it’s still pretty nasty.
Or like, this guy’s rage mode is really nasty for a beginner’s instance. If I didn’t have the reflexes from playing other VRMMOs before, I’d have been dead you know?!
The Beginner’s Potion only restored 25 HP, huh…
Then I better kill this guy fast, before he can do too much damage to me!
Shit, it looks like Kumatarou took a lot of damage. Hopefully he did a lot of damage too…
“Hey, you nasty floating rag, are you forgetting about me?!”
Hoping to take the aggro from Kumatarou onto me, I yell at the floating robe, launching myself directly at him.
After landing the heavy hit, I dodge around him to let the Skill cooldown(CD) timer run down before I can use another Skill. They have a 3 second cooldown between Axe Skills on top of having separate CD for each Skill, huh? I’ll have to check to see if I can use non-Axe Skills within the 3 second CD later.
<Power Slash>’s specific CD is 15 seconds, but I don’t have the time to wait for it, so…
“Now is … <Raining Blows>!”
Ooo, that was a lot faster than I expected. If this was real-life, I bet I would have disconnected my shoulder. The 5 axe slashes left glowing afterimages in the air. Only 1 of the 5 missed, so <Raining Blows> dealt a lot of damage too.
Kumatarous struggles in again, biting down hard on the floating robe.
“Yosh! Let’s finish this!”
The floating robe is struggling, giving off a nasty, damage-inflicting aura, but neither Kumatarou nor I pull back.
In case that wasn’t enough, I swing the axe normally, cutting deep into the floating robe’s body several times, but maybe it was overkill.
“How can … this … beeeeee!?”
The floating robe screeched, releasing its damaging aura, and was pulled straight up into the air by an invisible force, before its shadowy innards exploded into a million fragments, leaving behind only the empty robe that fluttered emptily to the ground.
“Haaaah! It’s over!”
It might have only taken a few seconds, but that was seriously stressful! After I had confirmed we were out of combat, I flopped onto the ground, legs outstretched and leaning backwards, face up and breathing hard.
I got hit a lot, so I should check HP … Whoa! 25 HP left and dropping!
I hurriedly drink 3 more Beginner’s Potions. It would be REALLY embarrassing if I died after defeating the boss.
At least, I think that was the boss.
I HOPE that was the boss.
Haaah… a beginner’s instance where you need to use 5 potions … What kind of sadistic devs are we dealing with here?
I turn towards the faint growl.
“Oi, Kumatarou… don’t tell me …”
He lumbered unsteadily towards me, and with the last of his strength, he flopped his massive head onto my lap.
His condition doesn’t look good at all.
“Potion… wait, does it even work on animals?”
I pour a Beginner’s Potion into his mouth, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect.
… No point in wasting any more, but it’s still really hard to watch someone, some bear, just fading away without being able to do anything.
It must be the Bleed. Even though he was still alive at the end of the fight, his life is coming to an end.
Without me being able to do anything, Kumatarou dies.
This … is too heavy for the beginner’s instance.
Behind me, a green-glowy portal opens up. I carefully shift Kumatarou’s head to the ground and move into a battle-ready stance, but I think it’s an ally. That particular green glow resembles the Shaman’s, after all.
“I see. So the Forest Guardian has succumbed to his wounds. I am too late.”
Shaman-san steps through the portal in front of me, shaking his head quietly.
“That … the potion didn’t do anything.”
For some reason, I feel like I have to tell him that I tried to save Kumatarou. If only for my own satisfaction.
“The Forest Guardian is a Spirit Animal. Medicine does nothing, only magic can heal him.”
So it was like that after all.
“Though it is right to mourn, do not be overly sad. It is the fate of all things to live the span of their lives. People die and return to the earth, spirits die and return to the Ether. That is the way of the world.”
There’s silence, and Kumatarou’s body has begun to disintegrate into many particles of light.
“Your trial is now over, and the Forest is in your debt. You have passed it well. Go now, and may the Blessing of the Forest travel with you in your journey.”
With a wave of his staff, Shaman-san opens another portal.
I silently step into it, still overwhelmed with everything that had just happened.
The dizzy feeling occurs again, and the surroundings fade away to an empty space with the same background as the character creation.
You have successfully completed the Unique Instance, “Source of the Forest’s Corruption”. Please choose 1 Talent from the following.
Those words floated up in front of me for several seconds, then were shuffled upwards as icons containing Talents appeared underneath them.
… Oh! There are ones that are color-coded!
I had read about this on the website. Though the general Talents have no differences, OriginStory Talents have different Rarities depending on how difficult it is to meet the requirements to acquire them.
The colors follow the usual MMO Rarity types. White is Common, green is Uncommon, blue is Rare, purple is High Rare, and gold (though it looks orange, so everyone calls it orange) is Legendary.
Let’s see. The Talents I have to choose from are [Reckless Courage], [Friend of the Forest] … EH.
What. Is. That.
The Talents are listed according to Rarity. There were 12 white, 7 green, 4 blue … and 1 orange?!
I rub my eyes.
Is that really a Legendary Talent? Right away?!
No way no way no way!
I really want to scream. I mean, it’s a super rare Talent! You don’t even get green weapons at the beginning of a game!
That Legendary Talent is …
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]Lv1: STR↑↑↑, END↑↑, DEF↑↑, DEX↑
— The Forest Guardian has recognized you, and with his last moments, he has bestowed his powers upon you. You have been given the ability to take Were-bear form.
… Say WHAT?!
Haaaaaa… my desire to delete this avatar and start over has been blown away somewhere.
As expected of a Legendary. It’s completely offset my first disappointment with style. Even if I deleted this avatar, there’s no guarantee I’ll get anything better.
Actually, it’s 100% certain I won’t get anything this good. The stats alone are over the top.
For a game with no character level and no character class, where only your Talents dictate how your avatar’s stats are, for there to be so many merits and no demerits in the stats is already ridiculous. And on top of that, to be given such an OP Skill …
… Let’s keep quiet about this for now, at least until I figure out how other people did on their second OS Talent.
Being called a hacker is NOT fun.
Anyway, I’m in the starting village to the east, waiting for various people before I start going off on my own.
This is one of the troubles of being a well-connected solo-player; everyone seems to want to hang out with you when all you want to do is go get lost in the environment for several hours.
Well, I’d like to make contact with the crafters I knew from other games, at least. Those are VERY beneficial relationships that would be best to keep up.
I texted Toru’s phone through the game, but he didn’t answer. He must not be done with his Unique Instance, or else he would have, definitely.
My too-competitive younger brother would definitely not pass the chance to compare Talents and brag. I wonder how I should fool him about my Legendary…
From behind, someone threw their hands around my eyes.
“Whoa! Oh, Chie, hi. How’s the game?”
Chie grinned, pulling away. Ah, she chose to be a Siren, huh? She has long, dark lavender hair, lilac skin, small feathery fins where her ears should be, 4 large feathery fins where wings would have gone, and scales sprinkled sparsely here and there. I thought she would have chosen to be an Elf, but I can’t say that this doesn’t suit her as well.
“Ah… I haven’t played a VRMMO in so long, it’s so much fun! That Origin Story system is really interesting! Ah, and it’s not Chie, it’s Cherissé!”
“Which can be shortened to Chie, ne?”
“Well, yes. That’s what I put for my nickname in the end… you’re Naruesin as usual, right?”
“Yeah, human, axe-warrior is what I was going for … but with the Origin Story, I might turn more Dexterity based or something. I’m going to have to rethink some of it.”
“You. Don’t tell me that you just randomly filled out the questionnaire.”
“… Anyway, Chie, you’re looking really sexy, huh? You already started crafting?”
“Fufufu, you noticed? My [Tailor] and [Weaver] Talents are already both at Lv3!”
Chie does a cute pose, sticking out her tongue and making a V-sign. She’s wearing a sexy-mage type outfit that shows off her legs, stomach, and cleavage. It’s a 3-hit combo.
“… You’ve played for an hour and you’re already at Lv3 for 2 craft-type Talents. Wait, you have 2 craft-type Talents?! What did you take?”
“I’m aiming to be a complete crafter, so it’s fine. I took [Water Magic], [Tailor], [Weaver], and [Scavenge].”
“And you got through the Unique Instance like that? I’m amazed.”
“[Water Magic] has healing Skills, so I ended up making a Train while running a lot and healing. Except for [Water Magic], all of my Skills increase Dexterity, so I’m pretty fast. [Tailor] and [Weaver] also increased Intelligence, too, so it was all surprisingly ok.”
“… I’m sure you know, but don’t do that out here in the overworld.”
“I know that! I only pulled a Train because I was alone. I wouldn’t do that here where I could cause problems for people. Actually, I wouldn’t go hunting alone out here. I have almost no Defense and Endurance, so it really would be death. Ah! So, Na~ru~…”
Uh-oh. What does she want?
“What is it?”
“Did you take [Scavenge]?”
“Ah… yeah, I did.”
“Please level it as fast as possible! You can’t get pelt drops until [Scavenge]Lv5, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that easily…”
“Oh, if that’s all you want me to do, then that’s easy. I’ll get as many pelts as Chie wants. I won’t have to figure out a way to get rid of them, so that will help me out too.”
I pat Chie on the head, and she blushes with happiness.
“Yay~! Supplier get~!”
If she’s going to focus solely on crafting, things could get difficult for her. She won’t be able to hunt and gather on her own, and she’ll have to depend completely on other peoples’ material drops.
It’s usually better to try to keep your combat Skills to at least within 80% Skill Levels of your other skills, but I’m not going to tell her how to play. I’m sure the shortie will tell her ALL about what she’s doing wrong later…
“Oh, Naru! Ara, who’s this lovely lady already out of NPC quest gear?”
A tall, broad-shouldered man, er, Elf, dark-skinned with bright red hair braided tightly back and metal gauntlets on his hands, came walking up.
Chie immediately went into cautious mode; she’s always so anti-men after a break up…
Well, I know this guy, so don’t worry, Chie. He’s an Elf this time, but the face is still the same.
“Yo, Jo. This is Cherissé, I think she’s going full [Tailor]. Chie, this is Jodie. He’s … well, he used to do alchemy in other games, but…”
“Ah, yep, I’ll be doing ‘Jo’s Salon’ in this game too! It was too bad Lorewind went under so fast … even though I had finally made something good…”
Chie was immediately interested.
“Yeah, Jo is an amateur stylist in real-life, so he started doing peoples’ hair in-game. Then he thought it was a shame that there was no makeup, so he started making goods with alchemy. His alchemy got so high that some of the effects of his makeup were like cheating.”
“Haha! Well, I tried it out here too, and [Alchemist] is even more free to mess around with than in Lorewind, so I’ll be able to make even better things. By the way, is your armor is self-made, Cherissé?”
“Yes, it is!”
“Wow, you’re already at this level~! Amazing~!”
Aaaaand there they go, a crafter+crafter discussion. I contacted Jo with this in mind, though, so it’s fine. If Chie can get to know other crafters, they’ll be able to team up against any sort of exploitation that usually comes up, and I trust him to look after her in case some bad bugs come around trying to hit on her like they always do.
I let the two go at it, discussing the crafting mechanisms they have found.
Haaa… Ok, I did one of the things I wanted to do before I really took off on my own, but as for the second thing …
If that shortie doesn’t get here soon, I’m just going to leave. It’s been at least 20 minutes since I’d finished my own Unique Instance…
At that moment, a message pinged on my Social Panel.
[“Oi, shortie, what took you so damn long?”]
[“Soooorry, I couldn’t decide what Talent to take at the end-! Where are you?”]
[“At the fountain in the East starting village.”]
[“Ok ok, I’ll teleport there soon!”]
[Spirit of the Wild Hunt]Lv1
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]Lv1 *New
The things Narumi doesn’t know about, Pt2
The requirements for [Inheritance of the Forest Guardian] are as follows:
Finish the “Source of the Forest’s Corruption” Unique Instance in under 20 minutes.
Receive [Goodwill of the Shaman] from the Shaman.
The Shaman will ordinarily not give a Blessing unless you voice your concerns about being able to accomplish the trial. If you displease the Shaman while voicing your concerns, you will receive [Shaman’s Blessing] instead, with a slightly lower buff.
Make the Forest Guardian your ally.
The Forest Guardian is a Spirit Animal, so while [Animal Empathy] and [Beast Tamer] can stop him from attacking you, they will not be able to make him a companion or temporary ally.
Ordinarily, if you kill the 1st Spirit of Corruption without killing the Forest Guardian, the Forest Guardian will simply cease to be hostile, but he will also not join you to battle the Envoy of Corruption.
The way to make the Forest Guardian an ally is to gain his respect by completely repelling all damage from an attack from him.
The developers never thought it would be accomplished so soon after OriginStory went live. They also never thought that someone would succeed without using a Skill from the [Shield] Talent.
Defeat the Envoy of Corruption in his lair.
After whittling the Envoy of Corruption down to 50% HP, he disappears into a portal in the ground. You are only able to enter the Envoy of Corruption’s lair if you dive in after him within 3 seconds. If you do not manage to do so, he will pop up out of the ground/water behind you and deal extra Sneak Attack damage, continuing the fight on the island. It is actually not favorable to fight the Envoy of Corruption in his lair, because he recovers 1/4th of his health bar, so he is now at 75% HP, and his damage becomes 1.5 times the normal and adds Bleed. If you do not follow him, his HP remains at 50% and his attacks remain the same after he pops back out of the ground.
Defeat the Envoy of Corruption with under 50% HP remaining.
That is, your HP needs to be under 50% when you kill the Envoy of Corruption.
The Forest Guardian dies outside of combat.
The Forest Guardian cannot be killed outright. In this Unique Instance, the only way that can happen is for him to die from Bleed damage after defeating the Envoy of Corruption. If he dies from Bleed while you are still in combat, it does not count. Even after he becomes an ally, if you attack, Poison, or otherwise inflict a Bad Status on the Forest Guardian, he will become hostile and attack you, so his death will be in combat.
These are the criteria for [Inheritance of the Forest Guardian], but they are by no means the only things that are considered when calculating which OS Talents are available to be chosen from.
For example, not killing any residents of the forest helped get Narumi the option for [Friend of the Forest]. There are also Talents that can be gained if you attack the Shaman.
The developers put a lot of thought into what the players might do and decided not to restrict them from some of the worst scenarios. However, it is strongly encouraged not to attack friendly NPCs, so the rewards from doing so are not very good.
For the record, the friendly NPCs in Unique Instances were designed to be easily calmed down from hostile to non-hostile in case of accidental attacks, so they all appear to be eerily patient people.
<A/n: two originals in an update is quite tough, so I think I will update this one with vending machine from now on.>