2. A Tranquil Forest

“Augh… they really need to fix this transfer method. I haven’t felt this bad since I rode that rollercoaster seven times in a row…” Simon… or rather Q closed her eyes and waited for the throbbing in her head to fade. Once it did she looked around and found herself in a room made of stone with a single door. Glowing pebbles dotted the ground and walls which illuminated the area. Just as she was about to pick one of them up her attention was taken by a glowing window in front of her.

Welcome to the Tutorial!
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with your new body before moving on. Once you have done so you may access the icons in the ‘toolbar’ on the bottom right side of your vision. Further explanations will be given if requested.

“Nice, a tutorial that doesn’t bombard you with windows. Right then, let’s take a look at what we have here…” At the bottom right of her vision she could make out a faint outline of a blue bar and when she focused on it it became clear. “Let’s see… icons for status, inventory, social… yup, all the basics are here. Is it touch activated?” A similar window from earlier appeared asking if she wanted to set the menu access to touch, sight or voice controlled. “Even though I thought this earlier, the game developers are really going all out on customization.”

Q let out a gleeful smile and went about customizing her toolbar. During the process she found she could also customize her heads up display and she wasted no time in eliminating unnecessary elements leaving her only with the bare-minimum of things to look at (including health and mana bars). Once she was satisfied she called out “[Status]” and a large window appeared.

  • Q (Lv 1)
    • Titles: N/A
    • Class: N/A
    • Profession: N/A
  • Health: 201/201
  • Mana: 267/267
    • STR: 21
    • CON: 18
    • AGI: 32
    • AP: 27
    • SP: 24
    • SKL: 28

“I can’t tell if this is good or not… but what do these stats mean?” Her question was answered with yet another window.

Health: When this number reaches zero you die. Additionally low health levels often result in debuffs that last as long as your health remains low.
Mana: When this number reaches zero you may no longer cast spells. Additionally low mana levels often result in debuffs that last as long as your mana remains low.
STR (Strength): A representation of the amount of force you can exert with your body. Generally affects damage dealt with physical actions.
CON (Constitution): A representation of your body’s health. Higher CON can also lead to a resistance against poisons and diseases. Affects maximum health.
AGI (Agility): A representation of how quickly you can do things, ranging from actions both physical and magical (i.e. Spell travel speed).
AP (Aptitude): A representation of how much magical energy you can manipulate at once. Higher aptitude leads to increased magical potency. Generally affects damage dealt with magical actions.
SP (Spirit): A representation of how much mana your body can handle. Higher Spirit can lead to a resistance against magical debuffs. Affects maximum mana.
SKL (Skill): A representation of how well you can do complicated actions (both arts and spells).

“Thanks tutorial,” Q grinned and closed the window. “I suppose I should get used to my new body first… right? Actually speaking of my body, I’ve got a new voice entirely!” Far from her real life voice, her current one was high pitched and child-like. She silently admired the sheer amount of work it must have taken to achieve such a feat while doing stretches to get used to her body. While her new body was hard to get used to she fortunately had a lot of physical practice in real life and got the hang of it… besides her tail.

Her tail was a completely new sensation and felt similar to a third arm, not that it had anywhere near the same level of articulation. As Q decided to swish it around a little she suddenly realized she hadn’t even had the chance to touch it yet! Immediately following this train of thought she began to stroke her tail… and then collapsed onto her knees.

“I can’t believe it… to think that this level of softness could exist!” She wiped away the tears forming at her eyes and continually ran her fingers through her fur. “This game is sooooo worth it~” She found herself in a soft paradise and didn’t snap out of it until a while later…

*****

“Okay, I’m full of motivation now! Let’s head out and do this tutorial!” Q pushed open the door and found herself in the middle of a forest. The trees looked similar to willow trees but instead of the yellow/green colors they were known for, these ones were vibrant shades of orange and red. The ground was littered with countless leaves that swirled around with the cool breeze. Off in the distance Q could spot some large stone structures so she decided to head that way.

“Man this game is way too nice. To think my tutorial level would be during autumn. This is awesome!” Q walked with a skip in her step, taking in the sights. Unfortunately her little trip was interrupted by a swirl of leaves which revealed a pair of red wolves that seemed to come out of nowhere.

[Red Spirit] – Level 1

[Red Spirit] – Level 1

Tutorial: Analyzing Enemies
With your power as an Astralite you can vaguely understand the overall strength of an enemy which is represented by their levels. Please note that the numbers are not an accurate representation of the creatures true power, and should be taken as an approximation.

“Aaah! I trusted you tutorial!” Q screamed as she barely rolled out of the way of the wolves’ pounce. “Don’t show any windows while in battle!”

Are you sure you want to disable windows during battle?
You can change these settings later.
(Yes/No)

“Yes!” Q pushed the yes button and managed to avoid another pounce. “Alright, now that’s out of the way it’s your turn.” She narrowed her eyes and let out a low growl from her throat. The wolves seemed to take it as a sign of aggression and pounced once more, but this time Q was ready for them.

She dived down low beneath the one coming from her left and managed to give it a quick punch as it passed over her. The one on the right followed up with a pounce of its own and went right for Q’s neck. With a surprising level of flexibility Q managed to twist her body to avoid the attack and grabbed onto the wolf’s back fur in return, resulting in a yelp of pain. Just as she was going to continue her attack the previous wolf recovered and instead of pouncing it relied on a tackle to hit her.

Q responded by kicking off the ground and flipping herself around to the other side of the wolf she was grabbing, resulting in both wolves colliding with each other. She wasn’t unscathed though as the wolves also crashed into her sending them all tumbling through the vermillion forest. The first to recover was Q but instead of trying to take down the wolves that were now tangled with each other, she turned around and began running down a slope she saw in the corner of her eye. As for why this was

[Red Spirit] – Level 1

[Red Spirit] – Level 2

[Red Spirit] – Level 1

More wolves began materializing from the swirls of leaves and began to chase after her. “This is bullshit! A 5 v 1 isn’t fair at all! This is just the tutorial damn it!” Although Q was confident in defending herself against two enemies, this many was too much for her to handle, especially when she had just started out in the game. Not to mention more wolves might suddenly spawn. A situation such as this calls for a fool-proof plan… Run away!

Not even two seconds after she began descending the slope the group of wolves gathered up and began to run down the slope as well. Their fierce growls and ragged panting sent chills down Q’s spine. Her heart was pounding out of her chest and cold sweat ran down her cheeks, yet she couldn’t suppress the grin on her face. “Sure this is dangerous… sure this is deadly… but this sure is fun!”

She could practically feel the wolves’ breaths on her back and pushed her body to run just a little bit faster. Though for a moment it seemed like she might pull away from the wolves she knew that this wouldn’t last for very long. She kept her eyes open for anything that could help her and noticed a willow branch hanging at just the right height for what she was planning. Once she got in vicinity of the branch she crouched down as low as she could and sprang forward with all her might. The wolves, upon seeing this made a pounce of their own in an effort to catch Q before she escaped their grasp.

Luckily Q was faster and managed to grab the branch, avoiding the wolves. She wasn’t done quite yet though as she used her momentum to swing back around and kick the weakest wolf – the one which got tackled earlier. The wolf saw this and tried to move out of the way but Q swung her tail and altered her direction, allowing her to kick it directly in the snout. Surprisingly this resulted in a direct kill as the wolf exploded into red leaves. The other wolves were whipped into a frenzy upon seeing one of their own killed and ferociously snapped their jaws in anger.

Of course Q was already prepared for this, so using the rest of the momentum she had she swung herself to the closest branch and jumped over, continuing her journey above the wolves’ heads. The wolves all followed her closely, and though their jumps couldn’t reach Q it didn’t stop them from trying. In fact they got close quite a few times but Q always managed to evade them by pulling up her legs or moving to another branch.

Geez Tarzan, how do you keep this up? Despite swinging around for less than a minute Q was already beginning to feel tired. I can’t keep doing this. I have to either climb up a tree or find a safe place to go… Speaking of which… Q’s gaze focused on the stone structures a few hundred meters ahead of her. “Yup, as good a plan as any. Keep going, you can do it!” She encouraged herself to keep going

A few more heart-pounding seconds later she managed to reach the stone structures at the same time the willow trees ran out. With one last mighty swing she launched herself forward, but one of the wolves was waiting for her below. Q wouldn’t just wait to get chomped on though so with a flick of her tail she began to flip forward and hit the wolf directly on the head with a crushing axe-kick, severely wounding it. She didn’t have time to finish it off as the remaining wolves chased after her with increased vigour, prompting Q to make her way to the stone structures as quickly as possible.

Upon approaching the stones it turned out they were some sort of ancient ruins. Broken down and collapsed buildings which resembled houses could be found all over the place, and there were also stone pillars covered in strange markings as well. Q didn’t have time to admire them though as the wolves were just about to catch up to her. Her eyes darted to and fro, trying to find something, anything, that she could use to help her in this situation. Just as she was about to resolve herself to fight to the death with these wolves she noticed a still intact house with a slightly open door.

Changing her course, Q immediately dashed towards the house and practically bashed the door down, though lucky for her it didn’t break as she turned around and slammed it shut to prevent the wolves from coming in. Obviously this wouldn’t be enough to stop them so she took a quick glance behind her and found a simple table and some chairs to block the door with. Even as she pushed the furniture to the door it was already starting to crack under the attacks of the wolves, so she redoubled her efforts and pushed with all her strength to keep it from breaking down.

It took a very long time, but it seemed the wolves eventually tired of trying to break in from the front. Q finally let out a huge sigh of relief and sank down onto the floor. “That was… intense.” She panted and simply let her body lay flat in a comfortable position to regain her stamina faster. While she did this she noticed that there was a  flashing light on top of her toolbar. Focusing her vision on it, she found it was a summary of her rewards.

  • Battle Rewards
    • 175 experience
    • [Vermilis Umbrella Seed] x1
  • Q has leveled up!
    • +5 Attribute points
    • Learned Skills: [Running], [Jumping], [Kicking]

“I guess that’s an appropriate reward for such a crazy fight… Huh, apparently I got extra experience for severely wounding a wolf.” Q pondered aloud for a moment, “Would that mean that battle experience is based on contribution to the battle rather than just defeating enemies? That’s an interesting way to get players to actively participate in combat, but the production classes might have a hard time with it… Well, not my problem. Now what’s in this house?” Q picked herself up off the ground and began looking around the house she decided to hide in. While the wolves had backed off for now there was no guarantee they wouldn’t come back, and finding something she could defend herself with would be greatly appreciated.

Besides the table and chairs she used to block the door there were also a few shelves and cupboards around the area. There was also a stairwell that led to both an upper and lower floor, but Q decided to search the shelves first. Just as she suspected there wasn’t anything of interest besides a rusty spoon and some things that vaguely resembles coins. Since her inventory didn’t actually affect her carry weight she threw those items in there for fun and then headed upstairs.

To no surprise there was nothing left in the upper floor as the roof was completely gone. “Still though, this is a nice bird’s eye view of the place.” Q nodded in appreciation as she looked over the large expanse of red trees. She kept an eye out for any wolves but couldn’t find any, so she finally relaxed a little. With more luxury to look around she noticed that the whole area used to be a battlefield. There were tons of skeletons on the ground with crushed weapons and equally crushed bones that littered the area. There was even a large expanse of flattened buildings that looked like something had rolled over them. “There’s got to be some more explanation to this… in the basement!”

Q made her way downstairs and into the basement and to her joy she actually found something useful down there. There was a skeleton leaning over a table holding a dagger, which she gingerly pried off of its hands. “Sorry buddy, but I sorta need this. Take this instead.” She took the rusted spoon out of her inventory and put it in the skeleton’s hand. Though nothing happened, Q felt satisfied for some reason.

Returning her attention to the table she found that the skeleton was leaning over a book so she grabbed it and began to read. A large majority of the book was covered in red and illegible, though a bit at the end was still intact. “I think I have an idea of what happened here…” Q’s gaze shifted from the book to the skeleton which was previously holding the dagger. Shaking her head she began to read what little she could.

Orvix, 1-4

    As usual the harshest time of year brings its trials and tribulations to us yet again. The snow fall makes it hard for us to do anything, but thankfully we are prepared this year. With the new hunting grounds we found a few months earlier we have enough supplies to……… Also, father said he would train me when he’s not…

Orvix, 3-5

    There has been a fight with the Urka clan. Our hunters found them while searching for food……… things look bad. The Urka clan has never been so aggressive before though. What could have caused them to change?

Orvix, 4-2

    The Urka clan has openly declared war on us! Father told me about it while mother healed his wounds. They have a new……… can’t believe it. Though we have had rivalries in the past, it’s never been this bad before.

Orvey, 1-1

    The Urka clan has driven us back. Our hunting grounds, herb fields, even some of our houses on the outskirts of our territory have been taken or destroyed………. Hold on for much longer. The Elders say they have a plan. I hope it works.

Orvey, 1-2

    The plan is…………..

Orvey, 3-5

    So many are dead. What little is left of our clan fights amongst each other while the Urka close in on us. Father has told me where he keeps the weapons hidden… just in case. Of course it was under the rug in the basement. I always wondered why he’d spend so much time down there. I hope I don’t have to use them.

Orvey, 3-7

    Father has died.

Orvoz, 1-1

    This will be my last entry. The Urka have killed everyone I knew, including my whole family. I survived only because of my cowardice. While our last warriors met death with a dignified face, I hid in the basement. I could hear the fighting above, and even that horrible crunching sound whenever the elders would call upon that power. I even heard those… things turn on the elders eventually. How fitting, for the beginning of the darkest month to signal the end of our clan. I’m sorry father. Forgive me for being weak…

“Ouch,” Q grimaced and put down the book, “Rest in peace skele-bro.” She patted him on the shoulder and looked under the rug for that hidden stash. “Hope you don’t mind if I take this stuff. I mean, I don’t think you’ll need it anymore right? Right.” Reaching deep inside Q found another sheathed dagger which was slightly smaller than the one the skeleton held, a long staff, and also a book. The moment she picked up the book a window appeared.

Obtained: ★[Book of Spark]★
Would you like to learn the spell [Spark]?
(Yes/No)

“Uhh, yes please.” The moment she pressed the yes button a flood of information filled her head and she somehow intuitively knew how to cast her new spell. There was no need to chant or even ‘gather up energy’, all she needed to do was hold out her hand and call out the spell’s name. Upon reading the description of the spell it turned out it could evolve upon use, which was very much to Q’s liking.

Looking at the other items she found out that the small dagger was part of a set with the one the skeleton was holding earlier, while the large staff was something this tribes warriors used to do battle. She immediately equipped the daggers (using the sheathes that were also inside the hidden stash) and it apparently increased her stats, not that she felt anything different. What she was really bothered by was the staff though.

“What the heck? The staff boosts strength, but requires you to be strong enough to equip it in the first place? Video game logic I guess, but I can still keep it for later. It’s a big help since I mainly learned staff techniques back in my dojo days.” Q put it in her inventory and started to get excited. “You wolves better prepare yourself. It’s time for round two!”

Skill Details
[Running]: Allows you to move at faster speeds while running
[Jumping]: Allows you to jump higher
[Kicking]: Increases the power of your kicks
*Unique* Spell: [Spark]
Cost: 5 Mana
Cooldown: 1 second.
Deals very weak lightning damage. Has a chance to grow upon further use.
Vermilis Umbrella Seed
The seed of a vermilis umbrella. These trees grow after a large battle and the blood of the fallen soldiers become their nourishment. It is said that when the leaves fall off it resembles blood dripping down. Some particularly vengeful spirits live on inside the trees and manifest in order to continue their fight. This seed also contains a spirit within it, but what will come out depends on the actions of the one who plants it.
Unlac Ceremonial Daggers (Refined)
These daggers were meant to be given as a gift from a father to a son, the father holding the small dagger and the son holding the large one, to represent their mutual love and respect for each other. While they were meant to be used as decoration, they are surprisingly effective in battle – especially when used together.
+5 STR, +5 AGI, +8 SKL
Unlac Warrior Staff (Refined)
This staff is the traditional weapon of the Unlac warriors. Its metal core surrounded by a wooden exterior compliments their fighting style incredibly well, serving them both as a weapon to attack and defend. It is very heavy though, and an Unlac tribesman could only be considered ‘of age’ if they could wield this staff.
+10 STR, +10 CON, -5 AGI
(Requires 30 STR to wield properly)

Author note: Thanks for visiting everyone. I didn’t think there’d still be that many people who want to read my stuff, but here you all are.

On a side note, the ‘windows’ were originally supposed to be actual tables (since I wrote them that way in a word doc, <they looked nice too…>) but after copy pasting them into wordpress they ended up looking… less than flattering. Guess you’ll all have to make do with this. Don’t worry, her ‘stat window’ rarely shows up in the story since it’s not the focus. 


Actually I’m kind of curious. Do you think the ‘windows’ and stuff at the end are better than having them immediately in the story? I included them to make it feel ‘gamelike’ but didn’t want it to actually get in the way of the story, so I put them at the end. Tell me what you all think.

3 thoughts on “2. A Tranquil Forest

  1. it should be fine as it is, and you could just add in a chapter with the main feature being an updated stats table after every major stat or skill advancement or resolution to a major plot point? some of us enjoy things like that, but it’s not for everyone.

    Like

  2. Thanks for the capter, great story. I’m looking forward for more 😀

    As for the windows, for me personally, putting it at the end is better like you said, they won’t get in the way of the story.

    Like

  3. Tables are a good way to keep track of things but I don’t really care for it when they show up too often. It breaks the flow of the story a bit and ultimately? The numbers don’t really mean much.

    Like

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