OriginStory 020: Decoding the Ancients

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Chapter 20: Decoding the Ancients

“Uotto-!”

Because of the uneven footing in this… grotto? dodging is not so easy.

Instead, I’m tumbling as the large scorpion’s tail shoots out and stabs at me.

What is with being attacked by the tail all the time…?

Maa, the tail does have better reach than the rest of it, though.

But it’s also softer than the rest of it, too!

Because there are so many joints in that area, I don’t even have to aim properly for a soft spot.

Soon enough,

Clang, Clonk, Zubbbaaaaa-!

Fen flinches as a freshly dismembered scorpion stinger flies past his face.

And he had only just managed to extract himself from the corridor of set-off traps, lol.

The scorpion hisses in pain, then turns its claws onto me.

Right! Left! Left!

Uuun, it’s getting a little difficult to fight this armored thing, with it focusing its claws and fangs on me.

Although I can dodge it, or block it, I can’t deal any decent damage.

Thwip! Thwipthwipthwip!

Kshaaaa-!

The sound of metal cutting through the air distracts me, and the scorpion stumbles with a screech.

Aiming at the joints in its legs, Fen has thrown his knives, and one of them actually severs a leg off of it.

The scorpion begins to foam at the mouth, and turns its frenzied eyes towards Fen, but -!

BASH!

Oooh? I hit it in the face so hard that I stunned it! Lucky!

Gritting my teeth, I take the opportunity to firmly grip the axe in both hands and, with a golf swing, I wallop it under the jaw.

Bam!

Oooooh-!

“Hahaha-!”

I laugh wildly as it leaves the ground, tumbling back first into the wall.

Although he’s shocked, Fen launches more throwing knives into the fleshy parts of the scorpion’s abdomen.

Just a few seconds later, I leap towards the scorpion, who is now bleeding out and struggling to right itself, and …

Zubaa-!

Off with its head!

“Un… it would have been nicer if it were a little tougher to beat. I thought this would have been the instance boss, since it’s so deep in the map.”

Because the secret entrance wasn’t the way were supposed to come in.

Although I don’t know exactly where the main entrance is, from the unmapped parts compared to the mapped parts of this area’s map, it feels like this should be the deepest part of the ruins.

“… You wanted it to be more difficult? You’re aware that your strength isn’t normal, right?”

Fen gives me an incredulous look.

“Still…”

I look over the scorpion’s drops.

Stinger. Meat. That’s it.

Even the drops aren’t boss-like…

“Scorpion meat? How would you even use this?”

Fen gives it a look of disgust.

“Scorpions are basically land crabs, right? So … nabe?”

“… Land crabs are land crabs. And no thanks, I don’t want any of THAT nabe.”

Hm… so blunt, Fen.

I leave it at that, because there are other things of interest in this little cave-like area.

Namely, a dig point!

In a bunch of rocks…

“… So how do you think I should go about digging here?”

I ask.

“… You’re not able to just dig through rocks with your bare hands?”

I don’t know if he’s sarcastic or not, but I think I’m already at the level of a youkai in Fen’s eyes.

Let’s see… I have that spear … no wait, I deposited that in the Bank. I don’t really want to damage my Beginner’s Axe, which is my spare weapon … Oh!

I pull out the prybar from my Wayfarer’s Bag.

Chink! Chink! Chink!

You are not using the correct tools.
-20% ExP. -10% Acquisition Rate.

You are not using the correct tools.
-20% ExP. -10% Acquisition Rate.

You are not using the correct tools.
-20% ExP. -10% Acquisition Rate.

Bah.

I ignore the notifications and keep on “digging”.

The durability of the prybar isn’t going down too quickly, thank goodness.

After getting a modest amount of unknown stones and ores, I decide not to identify them, since they’ll all go into one slot this way, and put them in the Item Bag.

Next is …

“So what do you think this is?”

Fen had idly explored the tiny cavern while he was waiting for me, and now he held out two glittering crystal stone.

They had been carved into a jewel-like shape, with tiny carvings of a mysterious bird flying over … mountains?

I assume Fen had appraised it too, but I took a look myself.


Mysterious Crystal
Important Item

A mysterious crystal, carved into a fine jewel.

“… Useful information. Maa, it’s an ‘Important Item’, so we shouldn’t throw it away?”

That’s all I know.

I have a few ‘Important Items’ myself, so I guess they lead to other quests?

“I guess so.”

Fen put one into his Item Bag and handed the other over.

There’s nothing else around, so we leave the little cave.

I can cut through the wooden stakes and arrow hafts with my axe, but I have to wiggle through the stone pillars that had shot up through the floor.

… I am slightly regretting springing all the traps.

After a little bit of time, we return to the formerly scorpion and worm infested room.

And, up the stairs!

————–

————–

I sigh as I flick my axe, as if to clean it.

Although game monsters don’t leave gore on the blade… maa, don’t mind it.

It’s been about half an hour since we left the lower level where the scorpion/worm room was.

There are three “stories” to these ruins.

The lower level was scorpions and worms.

The middle level was snakes.

The top level, where the main entrance was, was frogs.

It was completely uninteresting combat-wise.

There were areas where stone carvings made murals on the wall, but there wasn’t much else.

I do need to take rubbings of them for quests from Nortius, but generally speaking…

It was completely uninteresting. (Loot-wise)

“This is … kind of tame for an instance. Ku… that other instance was the same!”

I complain, but technically the other instance I went into wasn’t really an instance but a secret path between beginner’s areas, so maybe the complaint is unfounded.

What’s REALLY annoying is that, my map is at 100% completion, but nothing’s happened.

Fen is just as upset about it, and he clicks his tongue, then says,

“… This can’t be all. Can I see the map?”

“You can see it, but we’ve definitely been everywhere…”

I grumble a bit as I respond, and make the area map visible to party.

Fen leans in to take a closer look.

“.. We really have been everywhere…”

“Gah, I told you so.”

It’s always like that, when you’re the navigator. No one ever believes you, and they always think you missed something!

But, it’s still weird that neither of us has finished our Talent quests…

I mean, the map is at 100%, but the quest isn’t progressing…

“I guess they want 101% completion, huh?”

I mutter that darkly.

Seriously. I’m about to bust some walls…

“… Hey. If you think about the blank spaces on the map… isn’t this spot in the middle too big?”

“Hm?”

Ah, a hidden room route?

Certainly, if you looked at it and squinted a little bit, there might be a hidden spot in the middle there.

It’s just…

“Even if you spotted where there’s a hidden room, how do you suggest we get in there?”

“…”

Fen averted his gaze.

No plan, huh?

“Can’t be helped. Let’s do it the dumb way and check all the walls around there… geh. We’ll have to check both the top and middle floors…”

Complaining loudly, I head off to climb the stairs to the top floor. Might as well start at the top and work our way down…

I sigh.

Even though you can say I’m pretty thorough when I do instances, I HATE going back through the entire instance just because we missed something that the devs didn’t make clear.

“… Do you think these might have anything to do with it?”

Fen turned to me, his Mysterious Crystal in hand.

“…uuuuuun. Maybe. If we didn’t fall into the river, we would have come from the top floor, gone all the way down to the bottom floor, and got the crystal. Un. It does seem like a “key item” template.”

I pull out the other Mysterious Crystal and look it over carefully.

“… Hm?”

“What is it?”

Fen looked over and asked as I narrowed my eyes at the crystal.

“Nah, just these birds kind of look like…”

I dragged Fen over to an area with ornate stone pillars carved into the walls every few meters.

“Oh. That’s true. They look like the birds on these pillars.”

Fen compared the Mysterious Crystal to carvings on the pillars.

Meanwhile, I walked around, eyeing each and every one.

I quickly found what I was looking for.

“Oi, over here. These two pillars are incomplete.”

In two consecutive pillars, there were identical indentations where the birds should have gone.

Fen’s shoulders sagged.

“How did we miss this?”

He said, in complete and utter defeat.

“Well, if you’re not looking for it…”

Maa, in this case, I say it’s because we’re given no info from the beginning about this kind of thing… but it’s rewarding like this in its own way.

Now, if we had to give up and start trying to bash walls down… then I’d be pissed.

“Anyway, let’s just hurry and get this over with. I have to get up early tomorrow.”

… Fen sounds a little tired… and exasperated.

“At this point, won’t it be ‘stay up’ instead of ‘get up’?”

I can’t help asking.

Ah. He glared at me.

Not one who does well with little sleep, huh?

Clink!

The crystal fits in the indentation perfectly.

Or like, it was like it got sucked into the pillar.

Clink!

I hear Fen’s Mysterious Crystal clink into place, and then in the next instance…

FLASH!

“Gyaa! My eyes!”

In the semi-dark ruins, a blinding flash erupted from the crystals.

I’m definitely going to have to put in a complaint ticket about this…

I blink and rub my eyes with the heel of my hands, shaking my head to get rid of the pain.

When my vision clears, I glance over at Fen.

He’s crouched down, hands pressed down on his eyes, trying to endure the pain as well.

Yeah, definitely going to have to suggest they recalibrate this.

It might not actually be that bright, but with the dim ambience of the room, it was too much stimuli.

With my eyes watering, I turn back to the pillars…

“Whoa. Hey, hey Fen, look.”

I ignore his bleak, “How?”

Once the painful flash was gone, the birds on the dimly lit crystals expanded their wings, and flew inwards along the stone, towards the panel of wall between the two columns.

As soon as they hit the wall, the light from the birds dispersed and their light traveled throughout the designs on the wall, coursing through certain pathways.

A slight hiss sounded, and a door embedded in the wall opened noiselessly.

It was a little eerie, and I had goosebumps as I moved towards the door to finally get a look at the hidden area.

It was a little room with a very high ceiling, and from that ceiling a light was shining down.

It looks like, way up there, it opens out into the sky.

Ping!
You have completed mapping [The Hidden Ruins].
This map has been automatically added to you list of Maps in the Map Interface.

Ping!
You have completed [The Hidden Ruins in the Valley of the Fire Worms].
This completes [Path of the Scribe] [1/3] and unlocks [Path of the Scribe] [2/3].
Open Quest Log to confirm:
Y/N?

“Oooh, finally, we’re starting to get somewhere.”

I grin broadly.

Seeing the results is very satisfying.

In the Quest Log


[The Words of Those Before Us]
This is Part 2 of 3 for the quest, [Path of the Scribe]

Discover the identity of the people who left these ruins behind.

There are four passageways from the hidden room.

Above each of them is a different mark.

“A leaf, a paper and quill, a … bear trap?, and a jewel. Ah, no, with how things are going, that would be a crystal, huh?”

I muttered.

“So it must be for the Talent quests. The leaf would be for [Herbalist], the paper for [Scribe], the trap for [Trap Master], and the crystal for [Crystalographer]… Oi, what are you doing?!”

Fen called out in a panic.

“Um… checking things out?”

Maa, I understand his confusion, since I’m trying to go down the passage with the leaf over it.

There’s a distinct feeling of discomfort that triggers a ‘don’t go this way’ feeling, but that just makes me more interested in going down it…!

At the end of the passage is a stone wall with a crack running down through it.

Is this a door…?

Right when I think that,

You do not meet the qualifications to enter this area.

Cheh.

I’m guessing it’s impossible to go down any of the others except for the [Scribe] passage…

When you go down the … ‘right’ passageway, as you approach the stone wall with the crack running through it, the two sides of the wall rolled aside, leaving an opening to walk through.

It’s kind of like an automatic door.

Inside, there’s a wall that’s covered in engravings.

In the middle of the room is a raised platform, about the height of a low table, with two crystals and a flat wooden … box?

The wooden box is embedded into the table.

On top of the box is a crude, compass-like star, but where the needle of the compass should go was just an opening and indentations where 3 crystals might go.

When I touched it,

Would you like to use the Decoder?
Y/N?

“… Well, I guess yes.”

A holographic screen opened up above the little wooden box – er, I mean the Decoder.

There are two options on the screen.

Make a Crystal Key

Use a Crystal Key

I select the “Make a Crystal Key” option, but it tells me to insert a blank Crystal Key and input all known words or letters and their corresponding meanings … ah, yup. Not helpful.

Then… “Use a Crystal Key”…

Insert Crystal Key(s) of the corresponding language.

“Yeah… I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about, but … okay.”

Complaining towards the inanimate object, I stick the two crystals in two of the slots.

Identifying…

You have inserted [2] Crystal Keys corresponding to the [Faerkin Ancients] language.
Is this correct?
Y/N?

“…Sure.”

Initializing scan.

Waa… it’s so sci-fi like…

What is this? Is this a tutorial? This is totally just a tutorial, isn’t it?

… Maa, whatever.

It seems to be scanning the wall…

Scan confirmed.

Results pending….

Finished.
Show results?
Y/N?

Welcome ye who have entered our tomb,
the memorial that we have left behind.

We seek the shores past the sea of mists.
and bury our culture here behind.

If future peoples may find our traces,
know that we have taken the greatest ahead.

The things that you may find in these lands
will be improved upon in our future ahead.

If ye wish to seek our fate, speak

“I am willing”

And thus shall we acknowledge your efforts.

We are the Faerkin.

“What the heck?”

I can’t help saying out loud.

It feels like they’re just bragging… but if we think about it in game terms, it’s foreshadowing a new area, right?

But first things first.

“I am willing.”

When I say that, the … words? on the wall light up, and a rumbling sounds.

Is it okay that I didn’t say it in whatever the heck language?

Thinking that kind of sarcastic thought, I look over at the panel of rock that has slid aside.

It’s not really a room, it’s more like a closet.

Within is … well, it’s loot.

More specifically, it’s like a [Scribe] beginner’s kit.

A wooden Decoder that can take up to 5 crystals, 10 blank Crystal Keys, 10 blank Map Crystals, and 10 Recipe Crystals.

Recipe Crystals?

Whatever, I’ll pocket them anyway.

I wonder why the symbol for [Scribe] was a pen and quill, when you totally don’t use paper or writing utensils at all… eh, don’t mind it, I guess.

Uotto, I spoke too soon.

Behind the crystals and Decoder, there’s a stack of papers.

… Hm. I’ll go over them later. I don’t want to keep Fen waiting… although his might take longer, depending on what kind of tutorial he has to go through.

Dismantling and making traps, right?

That sounds like it might take a while.

Once I store everything into my Item Bag (4 slots left… eek), I turn to go, and

Ping!
You have completed [The Words of Those Before Us].
You are now able to acquire the Talent [Scribe]
This completes [Path of the Scribe] [2/3] and unlocks [Path of the Scribe] [3/3].
Open Quest Log to confirm:
Y/N?

“Alright!”

I pump my fist in the air in victory, but I go ahead and check the Quest Log first, before I take [Scribe].

In the Quest Log,


[Leaving the Ruins Behind]
This is Part 3 of 3 for the quest, [Path of the Scribe]

Safely leave the Hidden Ruins without dying. You only have one chance to do so and receive the rewards. Failing [Leaving the Ruins Behind] will not invalidate your ability to acquire [Scribe].

…Um…

Hang on.

Something about that doesn’t sound that good…

No, it’s not like I have any complaints, but there’s something to be said about not making the quest description sound so ominous.

————–

————–

—-

TALENTS

[Axe]Lv20
[Bolstered Endurance]
Lv22
[Sharp Senses]
Lv19
[Scavenge]
Lv20
[Spirit of the Wild Hunt]
Lv18
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]
Lv19
[Discovery]Lv14
[Bolstered Dexterity]Lv15
[Counter]Lv14
[Mine]Lv9

Avg Lv: 17
TP: 12
—-

—-

EXTRA

Shortly after Naru’s expedition through the Hidden Ruins, the Xmas event wasn’t implemented.
That there was a certain dev in tears due to the work … is another story.


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<a/n: Thank you Rash and RS for your donations!
I am shortening the chapters a little, because I have a short attention span. Maa, it’s only by 800-ish words, but still.
New 5th Son chapter up as well>

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28 comments

  1. I am not really feeling the ding! so I made my own update list. I hope this isn’t presumptuous on my part.

    I get most of it, but how did inheritance go up by two with no bear action? Or is is just regarded as a passive skill so it has constant levelups even if you are not using the skill-specific activated ability?

    So is it time for Naru to cheat mercilessly and have the full party attack the Hydra that was supposed to be the super-tough 3/3 boss monster? Will she avoid the path of the muscle-head and take the secret route that she entered through? Will she just go full-bear and wrestle the hydra into submission before throwing it into the river? Will she ignore Fen’s warnings and get crushed by a stone pillar 5 seconds after leaving the room and never find out what 3/3 does? Will she fail in her first true test as a navigator and just get so hopelessly lost that she would rather suicide against vermin, respawn, and miss out on Scribe 3/3 than keep wandering the halls any longer? To find out the answers to these qquestions and more, I will need to tune into the next exciting episode of “the story with chapter titles under ten words in length”!

    [Axe]+2
    [Bolstered Endurance]+1
    [Scavenge]+2
    [Spirit of the Wild Hunt]+1
    [Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]+2
    [Discovery]+3
    [Bolstered Dexterity]+2
    [Counter]+5
    [Mine]+4

    Avg Lv: +3
    TP: +5

    Like

    1. Any killing of monsters will grant minimal exp to all talents, it’s been stated both in-story and in a previous extra section at the end of a chapter. even if she doesn’t use inheritance (or even any of her not combat skills, they’ll still slowly rise as long as she slaughters the hordes of enemies she tends to come across.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Inheritance goes up because all Talents increase when you kill something, and Inheritance in general is a STR and END heavy Talent, plus a minor DEX Talent, so since she uses those stats liberally, while it’s minor ExP inc, it still increases from that a lot.
      Basically, it’s OP.
      Well, she’ll soon reach a point where the stat use incr doesn’t matter much

      Like

  2. In typical Naru fashion she’ll go out the front door and take out all the small fries from the back. She’ll also trigger a one in five hundred thousand to one chance encounter of the drake Vs Hydra Vs worm Vs bandits. She and Fen will just stand there shocked as they ahniliate each other and they get tons of ex points.

    Like

    1. ….. That’s a greater chance that her previous encounter you know. The drake/bandit/betrayer event had a chance in the millions I believe when I calculated it, but I might be wrong. Too lazy to check.

      Like

      1. Yeah, I think you’re right. Maybe the odds would go down since it happened once before. Weird things do tend to follow our heroine. I could just see some ridiculously high chance encounter happening again and have the devs start contacting her to ask how she keeps managing to trigger events that should only happen once every other millennium.

        Like

      2. @junior1210: odds of something happening “again” aren’t lower as the odds of them happening once. If you roll a six with a six-sided die, you still have 1/6 chance of rolling a six on the next throw.

        There’s a mathemathical 1/36 chance of rolling two sixes in a row, only because the outcomes of both rolls are unknown. Once you roll the first die, it’s no longer subject to chance after all.

        Or we could get technical and say the true chance of any protagonist getting rare stuff is 100%, but where’s the fun in that?

        Like

  3. They’re probably not expecting the person to be Naru, of course…if nothing else she can just Bear Form it up, after all……………and shock Fen (and reveal who she is to him) in the process. 😄

    They’ll either go out through the hole in the central room for acquiring the senses…or go back out through the underwater passage, imo. It might be possible for them to get through it without drowning this time, heh.

    Either that or Tooru will show up to fight the Hydra that was SUPPOSED to be the thing they fight at the end or some crap.

    Either way, I can’t see her NOT succeeding at this point, given how she is.

    …….unless klinH is a troll, that is. 😄

    Like

  4. Also klinh can you please draw Naru’s bear form, its sorta getting vital. Actually more drawings period plz. Really missing them and somethings have happened in your stories that deserve drawings

    Like

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