Chapter 13: Here Comes Halloween
“We made it~!”
Juri stood in the middle of the road into Nortius and yelled like a kid on a school excursion.
“Heheh, Juri, you really do some cute things, ne?”
She puffed out her cheeks and pouted.
“Don’t tease your elders!”
“I wasn’t really teasing, though? It’s okay for a girl to be called cute, right?”
Although that doesn’t suit me.
Even though I really wanted to stand there like her and yell,
“The escort quest is OVEEEEEEER!”
But somehow, I don’t think it will have the same cute feeling that Juri made.
“Well, we went through some rough spots, but you girls really came through. I’ll have to make a report to the Wayfarer’s Society … should I take Aurey’s pass to them?”
Jemino said, stepping away from the wagons, where the 3 blockheads were tending to the goat-horses and securing the luggage.
This question huh …
“No, that’s alright. I have some business with them myself, so I’ll take it. Where is the Wayfarer’s Society headquarters or building or whatever?”
“Back in the capital city of Karolstrem.”
“Ah… It might take me awhile, but since I killed her myself, I still feel like I should take it in.”
To be honest, I don’t really have that sense of responsibility. I’m just postponing the problem of that black letter…
“Right. Ah … but be careful. Even if she was with the bandits, the Wayfarers are … somewhat protective over their own…”
Uwaaaa, now it just sounds like a pain …
Let’s set that aside for now, let’s set that aaaall the way to the side for now!
“I have to say, we were certainly lucky that you joined our caravan. I was a bit worried since there was only one of you, but you really came through! A bit of a bonus for dealing with that drakeling … ah, and if you don’t mind, could you take this artifact to Researcher Byron over there? We have a lot to unpack, but after that attempt to steal it … you know, I’m getting pretty nervous holding onto it.”
“Oh, yeah, ok. I can do that.”
With that, 465 silver, get!
Juri’s eyes popped open wide when that amount registered in her money count.
Apparently, we got a 20 s bonus for the bandits, a 75 s bonus for protecting the artifact, and 150 s bonus for fending off the drakeling.
And as bonuses, 2 quest items, and a linked quest with the artifact!
Although Juri declined the 2 quest items, she and I share the quest to deliver the artifact.
Which actually ended really boringly without any reward, and Researcher Byron only said,
“Oh, Jemino sent you? Thanks. You seem like a trustworthy sort. I’ll let people know around here.”
It feels like a flag for more quests, but in the end he just turned back to whatever he was analyzing.
Maybe there will be a quest later…
Anyway, we finally reached Nortius!
It’s not really much of a “town” or “village”.
How should I say it …
It’s like a town from an old American Western?
Empty space, barren land, and few buildings; but the buildings are somewhat nicer-looking than the ones in the movies.
The biggest building isn’t the saloon or church though, like in those movies. It’s a building with a roughly cut wooden sign labeling it as “Trading Post”. The next two biggest buildings are labeled “Lodgings” and “Research Center.”
Aside from that, there are a few other buildings, like “Rangers Office”, “Warehouse”, and “Stables”. Otherwise, the buildings are small, house-like things that are not labeled.
They’re all built facing an open area, the town square I guess, and in the middle is a teleporter, like the ones in the beginner villages.
“We should hurry up and register the teleporter so we can come back quickly any time.”
Juri dragged me off towards it.
“Ah, no, it’s nothing.”
… Well, whatever. At first I was going to tell her off for telling me about registering the teleporter (however that works), but something like this will be mainstream information pretty soon, so there’s no need to meddle too much.
If anything, I’ll just text the chibi this information and he can spread it on the forums.
I reach out to activate the teleporter.
“Hm. I don’t really know how to use this…”
Because I didn’t bother with it back in the beginner villages.
Traveling should be done with your own feet!
… Is not what I’ll be saying.
Even if I use the teleporters more rarely than other people, there are just times when instant transition is easier.
I didn’t bother with it back in the beginner villages only because I was exploring the areas around them.
Juri points to a panel.
“Put your hand on that.”
“Ah, I see.”
It IS intuitive, and I probably could have figured it out after a bit by myself, but you still feel like an idiot while you’re standing and looking a teleporter all over because you don’t know how to use it.
A pale light rises around me and the teleporter, and the notification,
You have registered Nortius as a teleport point.
From the opposite side of the teleporter, Juri is touching another panel, and the light flashes up around her soon, too.
By the way, it turns out that Juri isn’t exactly a GM.
She’s kind of like, how would you describe it … a GM’s Assistant? A GM’s Scout?
Anyway, she’s supposed to stay under cover and investigate troublesome players or exploiters to either catch them in the act or find out the truth of the situation, and then secretly contact an actual GM to take care of the situation.
It’s the devs’ attempt to counter false-reporters or harassers that use exploits.
Somehow, after she explained it … Ah, so she’s supposed to be bait; that’s what I immediately thought of.
But anyway, Juri doesn’t actually get a lot of perks from her position, considering she’s supposed to be as close to a regular player as possible.
She has an invulnerability mode (versus player damage only), access to the GM only chat channel, and the ability to teleport any company player avatar to her location without any CD.
Probably the most OP thing she gets is that she’s friends with some of the programmers and scriptwriters.
Over lunch break, she begs them to tell her more about the game and help her … if it were anyone else I’d be thinking they were totally trying to cheat, but because it’s Juri, I can see her panicking with a notebook in hand, furiously taking notes and thinking that it’s all important information you have to know to be able play the game.
Naive, full-support, and new to gaming…
She really is “bait”, isn’t she?
Now then, since I’ve registered, what should I do?
Break the party and go exploring?
Even if it was a PUG (Pick Up Group), we did get along, and I’d feel bad about just leaving such an underpowered acquaintance…
… But you know, naa, the most dangerous places are probably going to be where I’ll be going to, and I’m originally a solo-player to begin with…
Just when I was agonizing it over in my head,
System Announcement: In 1 Hour, the Server will be Offline to Prepare for the Event Patch.
Once again, System Announcement: In 1 Hour …
That most elegant sound escaped my mouth.
“Ohh… was that tonight? I forgot to look at the News today.”
Juri is talking about notice that pops up whenever you log in. If you click on it, it will tell you the current events, updates to the games, current top rankers, etc.
Or you can be like me and just dismiss it immediately.
“Wait, Juri. An event? Already?! It’s only been a week, yeah?”
“… Well, OriginStory has the premise that there will be lots of events…”
“Well, yeah, but … it’s only been a week? People are still going to be figuring out their characters, and to distract players from getting new quests and equipment to level up …”
“It’s okay, it’s a really small event, almost like a sidequest. The patch is only supposed to take a half hour at most, and what it is, it’s-!”
I hurriedly cover Juri’s mouth.
“Haa… even though there are no other players than us here right now, Juri, you should be careful.”
“Pwaa-h! Eh? I-I’m sorry?”
“Juri, I figured out your problem… You just like giving too much information. Learn to answer in 1 sentence!”
“Eh? Eh? What do you mean?”
“You just almost told me what the event was going to be, before any other information came out! Next time, all you have to say is, ‘It’s a really small event,’ and that’s it. Or like, when I asked you how you got to the town I met you in, just say, ‘I ran all the way here,’ don’t talk about how you calculated the monsters’ active periods and non-active periods!”
“…Ah! Ah… but, if people ask…”
“You’re a GM (kinda), it’s ok to lie by omission!”
I ended up lecturing Juri a little longer, registered her into my Friends List, and then we broke up the party.
Juri needed to go back to the east beginner village in preparation for the event, and so I saw her off (well, she just used the teleporter) before logging out myself.
I’m so exhausted from today -!
“Oi, don’t bang the doors!”
I hear chibi’s footsteps thudding down the stairs.
He ignored me.
Before I started playing today, I told myself I was going to go out for a run after I logged off, but … un, if the server maintenance is only going to be half an hour, I just got to Nortius, you know? I want to look around more, you know?
I’m not just lazying around, drinking coffee and watching TV, just because I didn’t feel like getting changed into sportswear, you know?
Seriously. Putting on a sports bra at my size is horrible.
If it’s not tight enough it won’t help, but because it’s so tight, getting it on is …
“Chibi, you’re too noisy!”
“Nee-chan! Have you seen the Event Notification?”
“If there was one after they announced the patch, no.”
“Haa … here. They released it the minute they closed the servers down for the patch.”
Toru shoved his phone in front of me.
Ah… How should I say it …
“Are the developers pumpkin lovers?”
There are pumpkins all over this announcement; so many I don’t want to even try to read the words.
“Geez, Nee-chan, it’s for Halloween!”
Oooh. OOOOH. I see; that’s why they had to hold the event now.
“Ah, I see, so it’s a Halloween event. Chibi, I don’t really want to read this pumpkin-infested notice. What’s it say?”
Toru sighs, but he obediently turns the phone back towards himself.
“So it looks like it’s tournament-based, with 3-man teams. According to the event notice, you don’t need to worry about Items, Equipment, or even Levels.”
“What’s with that; so sloppy.”
“Well, y’know, it’s probably because they started an event a week into gameplay, so it has to be something that everyone has a chance to win, whether you were playing from opening day or not.”
I scratch the back of my head.
“But it’s tournament-based? How does that make any sense?”
“It seems it’s not centered around fighting. There’s a haunted house, and whoever makes it through the fastest wins. Ah, and there’s other prizes, like dealing the most damage, the most interesting video-playthrough, and more. By the way, the ‘and more’ part is actually written in.”
“Ah, so it’s kind of like Hidden Quests.”
“Why are you making so sure that I know all the information to the event?”
I sense an ulterior motive…
Normally he’d just yell down, “Hey, the event notice is up!”
Toru looks away.
“Don’t you have a ‘regular’ party already?”
“Er… see, we only have 5 people. We’re saving a spot for a healer. But that means we have a group of 3 and 2, and apparently you only get one chance to go through the haunted house, so recruiting someone whose gameplay we know would be better…”
“Ah … I see. If you’re looking for a designated healer, eh …”
I trail off.
I thought about tossing Juri over to Toru, but somehow…
Y’know, Toru’s all about gameplay optimization. To hand him a GM, even if she really isn’t a GM in the strictest sense…
“Is it really that important to be comfortable with your companions’ play-style? Level, equipment, and items all don’t matter, so it probably won’t be combat-based…”
“No, there’s a prize for most damage dealt too.”
“Ah… that’s right. Man, I just finished that escort quest and was just about to go solo out into the wilderness…”
But it can’t be helped. The event requires a 3-man team, and what true gamer would give up the chance to participate in the first event of the game, ever?
No one, that’s who.
To Toru, who was looking apprehensively at me, I finally give up my act and say,
“Fine. I’ll join you.”
“Yahoo! We’re definitely going to get that ‘Most Interesting Playthrough’ prize now!”
“Haa?! That’s what you were after?!”
Before I could say anything else, both Toru and my phones sounded as a mail came in.
OriginStory the VRMMO has finished its maintenance. Please log in to enjoy the new content.
When I logged back in, the entire area was covered in pumpkins and –
No, just kidding, I’m still in Nortius, and it’s still a wasteland.
I was expecting some Halloween decorations here and there, but, un. It’s a small update so there’s nothing here.
A small, flashing icon appeared.
“Oh? My first Mail, huh?”
I mutter as I walk over to the Mailbox in Nortius.
It’s right next to the teleporter, so that was like, 2 steps.
Trick or Treat! It’s Halloween!
Come to Karolstrem’s Main Square to celebrate with us!
Free ‘Treats’ and fun ‘Tricks’!
Hobble’s Haunted House is live!
Attached: Cosmetic: Halloween Set, 5 Candied Apples
Heh… They’re giving away some freebies, huh?
I detach the items into my bag.
A candied apple with a Jack-o-Lantern face.
Effect: Dispels all debuffs. Applies the ‘Satiated’ state for 2 hours.
Cosmetic: Halloween Set
A costume set for Halloween; contains 1 head cosmetic, 1 chest cosmetic, 1 leg cosmetic, 1 feet cosmetic, and 1 hand cosmetic
Special: Choose from 1 of 3 sets.
Oi oi oi, ain’t this too good for some freebies?
Usually they’d say it’s only for a limited time in the stores, and then make you buy them, either with in-game gold or real-life money transactions.
We’ve got some generous devs!
Cosmetics are nice. They have no stats, but you can ‘wear’ them over your equipment, so even if you change you equipment often, your appearance can stay the same.
But in other games I’ve played, the cosmetics are all costume-like outfits with almost no armor, so if you want to go around in armor, you were out of luck.
I’ll have to ask Chie and the other crafters about what they’ve found out in this game, later…
The 3 choices are:
A cute witch with the witch’s hat, a skirt, and thigh high stockings.
A mummy with torn clothing, an orange vest, and bandages all over.
A pumpkin-head with gothic suit-like clothing.
It seems like there aren’t any gender limitations… I wonder if any guys would choose the witch outfit, lol.
Un… although the mummy outfit is more my style … at the same time, I could wear a pumpkin on my head.
If I went into werebear form, I could be a bear wearing a pumpkin on my head!
Anyway, I ended up choosing the pumpkin cosmetic set. Kind of quickly.
Player Towol has invited you to a party. Will you accept?
Oya, the chibi logged on.
Haa, ok, ok.
I accept the invite, then use the teleporter to jump to Karolstrem.
So, teleporter’s are convenient, but they cut your inputs, pull your avatar out of the world, and then put it in the world, before putting your feedback back in.
It’s like logging in and out REALLY REALLY fast, and it’s not always pleasant.
But, well, I can’t deny that it’s convenient.
I can teleport to Karolstrem despite not having been there before because I already reached Avg Lv 5.
It’s because it’s the main city, and dead in the center of all the beginner villages, so the devs made it easy to get there so people can meet up easier.
And, apparently, the events will be held here.
There aren’t that many pumpkin decorations in the city either … but there are a lot of players running around as witches, mummys, and pumpkins.
Eh? There are SO many people!
Ah, the bouncing mummy-werewolf, waving his hand is Toru.
I thread my way through the crowd and reach him.
“I’m impressed you knew it was me.”
“Only Nee-chan would pick the pumpkin costume just for the pumpkin head, and only wear the pumpkin head, with the rest of her outfit the beginner armor…”
“I’m sure there are some others.”
“Not out of the girls that I’ve seen.”
“Anyway, this is Sylvestre, an archer. Sylvestre, this is my sister, Naru.”
“Hi, I’m Naru. Thanks for taking care of Toru.”
“Ah, he’s been taking care of me as well. It’s nice to meet you.”
Sylvestre has blonde hair and green eyes. An elf, huh?
He’s wearing the pumpkin costume, but without the pumpkin head.
There are a lot of people who are doing that …
Even though the pumpkin head is the best part of the costume.
“By the way chibi, not that I care, but Yoh isn’t with you this time?”
“Yoh went with our mage and utility player.”
So they split up as DPS/archer and tank/mage/crowd-control, huh?
“That makes sense. So I’d be kind of a tank in this group.”
“That’s the idea. By the way, Nee-chan, if you go up to some of the venders who are wearing witch’s hats and say ‘Trick or Treat’, they’ll give you candy consumables. Basically, HP and MP potions that refill your HP or MP bars by percentage.”
“Whoa! The devs are really REALLY generous, huh?!”
Since Toru and Sylvestre have already checked out where the event is going to be held, we leisurely make our way through the city while getting candy from the dressed-up vendors.
Our goal is the center of the city.
I’m following Toru and Sylvestre, since I don’t know my way around.
Through all the chaos of these heavily packed streets, in front of me I vaguely hear Sylvestre whispering,
“Your sister is … interesting. Does she look like that in real-life too?”
“Huh? What do you mean? She doesn’t wear a pumpkin on her head…”
“No, I mean…”
I roll my eyes, even though no one can see.
I need to ask Chie about some chest bindings.
In the dead center of Karolstrem city is a large open area, surrounded by most of the main player facilities, like the bank, crafting stations, and that kind of thing.
In the dead center of that area is a large field of grass, more or less fenced in.
In the dead center of that field is a house.
It’s a house that is perfectly “a haunted house.”
Around it is all the Halloween decorations I expected to find.
Tiny flittering bats darted here and there through out the pumpkin patches.
The house was run down and broken in places, and even the atmosphere seemed chilly and bleak.
Music was coming from the house. It’s Halloween-type music, but it’s not gloomy or creepy.
Like … a mischievous bgm.
“Yeah, usually this spot is just a bare patch of grass, with the fences, but they set up this haunted house in the maintenance.”
Toru gestures at the city square.
There is a MOB of people here.
“Ah… I wonder if we can get through any-time soon…”
“Well, we have to talk to the Event NPC over there. Well, one of them. Then you can enter the house. It doesn’t seem like there’s a limit to entering the house, so it should go fast.”
There are about 20 – 30 Event NPCs spaced out all over the front lawn of the house.
Even though there’s this many people, there are quite a few NPCs free.
Are most of the people just here to look?
There are probably a lot of people who want to wait until there’s information about the event before they attempt it.
Toru’s one of the people who prefers to tell people than be told, so that’s why we’re challenging it right away.
And I’m the impatient type.
I quickly walk up to one of the NPCs, a girl dressed in the cute witch costume, but in purple instead of orange.
“Well, let’s hurry up… Excuse me, pretty lady, could you tell us about this house that appeared here?”
“*giggle* My my, what a charmer. Welcome, are you 3 together? Who is the party leader?”
“Ah, that’s me. Yes, we’re a party.”
Toru said as he stepped forward.
“Well, we call this house Hobble’s Haunted House. Once a year, for 21 days, that is 63 hours, the house appears in Karolstrem. It’s the old house of an researcher named Hobble. People say the things he was researching were … better left unknown. Who knows, perhaps the remnants of his research are what causes the house to be like this…”
“Heeh… how interesting. Is Hobble still alive?”
The NPC shrugs at my question.
“No one knows. Only those brave enough to enter the house would have the hopes of finding out. However, the house … does strange things to people who enter.”
“They say the house turns you into other people who have tried to survive the house. Beat, Korr, and Illum were 3 explorers who were tasked with finding Hobble many, many years ago, before the house began to disappear and reappear. For some reason, those who enter the house take their place. Who knows, perhaps they also part of the reason as to why the house has become like this…”
She keeps saying “Who knows…” in a really theatric voice.
“Heh, you’re kind of having fun with this, huh?”
I say, laughing.
“Hehehe. Well, it’s been many, many years since the house began showing up, and since no one dies or anything, we’ve begun to have a little fun. Adventurers challenge the house now, every time it shows up, and we’ve begun making a contest of it. There are recording points all through the house, and how you challenge it will be recorded. There are prizes based on different categories, like making it all the way through the fastest, doing the most damage, and the most interesting playthrough, to name a few of the categories. The prizes all include a large set of Halloween candy and pet Jack-o-Lantern, among other things!”
“I see… anything else we should know?”
“Hm… The house only let’s you try it once. Even if you disconnect along the way, the rest of the party will just have to make it up for you, so take some precautions before you enter the house. None of your equipment, items, or talents will matter, since you are turned into Beat, Korr, or Illum. You will use their equipment, items, and talents. Although it might get scary, you won’t die or anything, so just have fun, explore the house, and try out the talents that will be given to you!”
“Ah, ok. Thanks!”
After I thank her and say good bye the 3 of us take our leave and discuss what we found out.
Toru looked over his shoulder at the NPC, where another party has already approached her to talk to her.
“The NPCs really are so realistic…”
“I know. So, what do you think about this event?”
“It’s actually made to be an event for beginners, I think.”
Sylvestre said, startling me.
He’s been really quiet this entire time, so I was wondering if he just didn’t like talking in front of me, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
He’s just the type that doesn’t like to talk if there’s nothing to talk about.
Toru looked at him.
“What do you mean?”
Sylvestre gestured towards the haunted house.
“The candy all have effects that are really helpful for people just about to leave the beginner levels, and setting it up so we play a completely random character … it kind of feels like they want to let people get a feel for different Talent sets. Since we can’t build alts, this gives some people a chance to try something completely different without having to completely delete this character to start all over.”
“Is that so…”
Toru scratched the back of his head.
“Hm. It’s true that levels and equipment don’t matter at all like this. So? Do you want to try it now? We have a little over 2.5 days to give it a go.”
“Yeah. Let’s do it. Sylvestre has a research paper to write, so it’s better to do it now, when we all have time.”
Even though Toru says that …
“You just want to be one of the first ones in, chibi…”
[Spirit of the Wild Hunt]Lv11
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]Lv10
Avg Lv: 12
Things Narumi Doesn’t Know About:
Some of the higher-ups among the developers are huge fans of parties, so one of the major pulls for OriginStory is that there are lots of events.
Some of the events are seasonal celebrations, while others are done to give the game a feel like it has an ever-changing environment.
For OriginStory’s first event, the event is very small.
Despite certain directors’ hobbies, the decorations were kept to a minimum in order not to disorient new players who are trying to memorize their ways through the city, and the event was carefully designed so that no one would have an advantage over anyone else.
At least in regards to levels.
The event is also very short, in order to avoid de-railing gameplay, and everyone who has made a character before or during the event will receive the System Mail Naru received, with the items that were attached, even if they weren’t able to log in or participate in the event.
The prizes are also mostly just fun prizes, so as not to un-balance the beginners who are unable to participate in the event. The best items are probably the very useful Halloween candies, which do not have to be won in the haunted house event, but can be received from ‘Trick or Treat’-ing certain vendors in Karolstrem.
<A/n: Thanks Random dude for your donation! Chapter 1 of 2 for this update>