5. New Friends, Old Friends

A/N: If you’re coming from the old story, there will be a lot of familiar names, but I’d like for you to think of them as different people. Also sorry about missing last week’s upload. I should really learn to stockpile chapters.



Congratulations on completing the tutorial!
Well done Astralite, you have proven yourself able to stand on your own feet in an unfamiliar land with nothing but your wits and skill. You now have a moment to look over your rewards obtained from the tutorial.. After confirming your rewards you may choose a starting town as your home base to start your adventure on.
Starting Town Options
Foria: A town located near a grassy plains. Well known for its pleasant breezes, and calming atmosphere.
Wuuly: A town located near a tall mountain. The cold living conditions are tough, but the residents are tougher.
Svelt: A port town with an abundance of maritime products. Half the town is built on top of the water.
Mizar: A town built near a precious metal mine. Many smiths flock to it for the superior metals it produces, and their products are in high demand.

    “I… I did it? Me?” Q blinked a couple of times in disbelief, and then a big goofy grin appeared on her face. “Hahahahaha! I did it! YES!!!” She jumped for joy and did a little dance before finally calming down.

Q slowly went down the list of windows and accepted her rewards, feeling satisfied that all her hard work had finally paid off. She then changed her current beginner’s set of armor into the warrior’s equipment, finally looking like a decent fighter. The equipment consisted of hard animal leather covering her torso, while her arms were wrapped with a long and vibrant orange cloth. On her lower body was a skirt that went down to her knees and short boots with fur around the collar. To top it all off an ornate headdress adorned her head (which thankfully didn’t get in the way of her ears).

“Yup, definitely feeling cooler. Also… this skirt is surprisingly comfortable.” Much to her surprise she felt no resistance to wearing such different clothing than she was used to, but she was confident that if someone made her wear a skirt in real life she would definitely refuse. That settles it, something is definitely keeping my regular impulses suppressed… but, so what? It’s making the experience a little more fun for me so I won’t question it. At least, not too much… Leaving her trail of thought behind she checked out the new staff and scroll, immediately realized she wasn’t a high enough level to use them, and promptly threw them back into her inventory. After this she distributed her stats and finally set about looking at her starting town options.

It was at this moment that Q suddenly became aware of a presence behind her, but this wasn’t any ordinary presence. Instead it felt like everything in the area was staring at her body and began licking her, with the strongest feeling coming from directly behind. Her eyes went wide as her body stiffened, unable to handle the sudden change in atmosphere. Completely flustered, Q panicked and ended up accidentally pressing one of the options for her starting town, and her body instantly disappeared from the area.

“Oh, It appears that I was too hasty.” A figure revealed itself in the now empty space. “That’s alright though. I’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future. Hahahaha…


*****


“Wooooah!” In a flash of light, Q suddenly appeared in the middle of a town plaza. “What the hell was that!?” She shook her body like a wet dog in order to get rid of the lingering disgust she felt. Once she recovered a little she began to take notice of the area around her and what she saw completely got rid of that earlier feeling.

The first thing she noticed was the cobblestone road under her feet, which for some reason was strangely uniform. Each rock was roughly the same size, as if they were grinded down to match each other. The most interesting part was that it spread out in a spiral pattern with the town square at the center. The plaza itself had four pillars which created a square, and every so often a flash of light would occur and another astralite would pop out. Guess this is the login point huh? Leaving the four pillars, it was as if she had passed through a barrier as the sounds of a crowd suddenly entered her ears.

Looking around, she noticed there were a few stalls opened up by merchants, all calling out to the wandering astralites or citizens trying to sell their wares. The astralites were quite easy to find, not only because most of them had stars she could spot, but also because they were strangely attractive. That makes sense I suppose. If you can make a new body you might as well look good right? She was lost in thought just taking in the scenery, when a voice called out to her.

    “Hey there, you alright?” The owner of the voice belonged to a handsome male human, sporting a head of black hair with some green streaks in between. And for some reason…

    Geh. What the heck is up with that sparkly aura? I feel this strange urge to punch him… While Q was unsure of whether it was a game-effect or just this man’s natural smile, she felt an incredible distaste for it. Despite that, she didn’t let it show on her face as she responded, “Hm? Yeah I’m fine. What’s up?”

    “Ahh, so you are alright.” *sparkle sparkle* “I’ve already seen quite a few people spawn in all confused and stuff, and was wondering if the same was happening to you. Anyway, my name’s Verne. Nice to meet you…” His gaze shifted to the space above Q’s head, “Q. What a funny name.”

    “How… oh right. Stars. Nice to meet you too Verne.” Q stuck out her hand.

    Shaking her hand, Verne smiled. “I gotta say, I never thought to put the star in my eyes. Real clever of you to do that.” He stared deep into her eyes to get a better look at her stars.

    “Yeah, well-”

    “Ah! Verne’s flirting again! Fort, get Neira!” A bright, lively voice rang out, breaking the awkward atmosphere.

    “Woah hold on, I’m not flirting! Wait, Neira, put the sword away!” Verne suddenly ran off into the distance, and Q caught a glimpse of a furious looking girl chasing after him. Q was left dumbfounded at this turn of events, only able to squeeze out an “Uh…” in response.

    “Hahahaha! Serves him right!” The bright voice from earlier turned out to belong to a short blonde girl with cat ears. Her ears and tail constantly kept twitching, almost as if to indicate her liveliness. “Hey redhead, sorry about that. The guys a natural gigolo so his girl’s gotta keep him in check y’see? Anyway, who are you?”

    By this time Q had regained most of her senses, so she scanned the cat girl and found a star on her cheek. Looking up she saw a window reading [Melun – Level 6] and looked down to see Melun was doing the same. “Hot dang, Level 10 already? Must have been one heck of a fight in your tutorial.”

    Q found Melun’s bubbly personality quite enjoyable. “It sure was. How’d yours go?”

    “Oh y’know, the good ol’ beasties. I had to fight a bunch of rabid dogs. You think it’s because I’m a cat?”

    “No way! I had to fight some wolves.” The two wildlings shared a moment, understanding the pain of being chased by a bunch of canines.

    “My my Melun, seems like you’ve found a new friend.” A busty woman with a pair of devilish horns and tail sauntered over. “And who might this cutie be?”

    “This girl is Q! Check her out sis, she’s real strong!”

    “Really now?” The woman scanned Q and settled on her eyes, then her own eyes widened once she saw Q’s level. “My my my! I really want you to join our party now. How about it? We’ve got five people so far, and could use someone like you.”

    “Aeryn, could you not add people to the group without asking the rest of us first?” A young man with a fair face and pointed ears approached the growing group of people. “Sorry about that,” the young man, which Q realized was an elf, flashed a smile, “my name is Fortis Caleron, a level 7 elf. May I ask for your name?”

    “You probably know from looking at me already, but since you’re the only one polite enough to actually ask for my name I’ll respond in kind.” Making a half bow, Q straightened her appearance and flashed a smile. “My name’s Q, a level 10 wildling fresh out of the tutorial. So… what’s your group about?”

    “We are the guild Crios Blades… or rather, will be a guild at some point. We’re all friends in real life so we decided to stick together in this game. I’m the party priest, Melun and Verne are our dps, Neira, the girl who ran off earlier, is our tank and Aeryn,” he pointed to the woman with devil horns, “is our magic user. Just from hearing your level I know you’re a force to be reckoned with, since barely anyone comes out of the tutorial with a level more than five and here you are with double that. I was a bit against it at first, but knowing this I would absolutely welcome you into our group.”

    “Haha, thanks but… I’ve got friends of my own playing so I plan on meeting up with them later. Actually speaking of which…” Q opened up the [Social] option on her toolbar. “…they probably haven’t changed their names. Or at least he shouldn’t have. This should be easy.”

    While Q was dealing with her friend list, the rest of the Crios Blades gathered together, namely Neira who was carrying Verne with a red imprint on his cheek. “Darn, she’s already taken huh?” Melun made a disappointed face.

    “With that kind of capability it’s no surprise. She must have done martial arts or something in real life.” Fortis took an analytical approach to the situation. “At the very least we should add her as a friend. It might be a useful connection later.” The rest of the members agreed, but they had no idea exactly how ‘useful’ their connection to Q would be until much, much later. Meanwhile, Q had discovered the use of a [Group Chat] and was talking to her friends.

Welcome to the Group Chat!

  • *Q* has been added to the group.
  • [Master of Disaster]: !!
  • [Master of Disaster]: A new challenger approaches! Who’s Q?
  • [Q]: Hey boys and girls, it’s meeee~!
  • [Master of Disaster]: Simon huh.
  • [Kukis]: Definitely Simon.
  • [Vamboree]: ‘Sup Simon.
  • [Rouland]: It’s about time you joined us bro.
  • [Q]: Way to ruin the mystique guys.
  • [Q]: Anyway, we sticking to usual roles or mixing it up?
  • [Master of Disaster]: Dunno about you all, but I’m going with magic. My tutorial kind of set me up with a burst dps build anyway.
  • [Rouland]: I’ll be taking tank this time around. Something just feels really nice about feeling the monster hit you back.
  • [Vamboree]: Dude…
  • [Rouland]: Hey!
  • [Rouland]: I’m no masochist alright?
  • [Rouland]: It just feels fun to tank here than it does in other games okay?
  • [Vamboree]: Deny it all you want, we all know already… heheh.
  • [Rouland]: Know what!?
  • [Q]: Vam, what’re you going for?
  • [Vamboree]: Usual dps. Kinda split between melee and ranged since I have options for both. I’ll pick one side depending on whatever else you guys end up as.
  • [Master of Disaster]: Cookie?
  • [Kukis]: Uh, is Alchemist a confirmed class yet?
  • [Master of Disaster]: Of course, good ol’ support for you huh.
  • [Kukis]: Yup.
  • [Q]: Do we have a healer? I’m not a big fan so…
  • [Master of Disaster]: Eh, we’ll figure something out. Besides, you’re way better on the front lines than anywhere else.
  • [Q]: True. I think I’m going for a sort of magic fighter?
  • [Master of Disaster]: Sounds good.
  • [Master of Disaster]: Vam, is archery alright with you?
  • [Vamboree]: Yeah. I’ll keep some daggers as my sub.
  • [Q]: Glad that’s all decided.
  • [Q]: By the way Mod, do the npcs actually call you “Master of Disaster” or what?
  • [Master of Disaster]: Thankfully no, they just default to “Mod”
  • [Kukis]: Lol I can’t believe you kept that as your name.
  • [Master of Disaster]: Hey, it got us all connected right?
  • [Master of Disaster]: Speaking of which, where did you decide to start Simon?
  • [Q]: I… don’t know?
  • [Kukis]: Don’t know?
  • [Kukis]: You showed up on my minimap when I added you as a friend. You’re in Foria dude.
  • [Master of Disaster]: That’s rare. I thought Simon would choose Svelt or Mizar for sure.
  • [Q]: Eh, I had my circumstances. Anyone else in Foria?
  • [Rouland]: Nope. We’re all in different places except for Cookie.
  • [Master of Disaster]: R.I.P. Simon.
  • [Vamboree]: R.I.P. Simon. +1
  • [Rouland]: R.I.P. Simon. +2
  • [Kukis]: Hey!
  • [Q]: R.I.P. Me.
  • [Kukis]: Okay that’s it. Just stay where you are, I’m coming to teach you a lesson!

Q chuckled as she closed the chat, and found all five players of the Crios Blades group were staring at her. “What’s up everyone?”

“We were wondering if-” Fortis began to speak, but was interrupted by Melun.

“Q! Be my friend!”

“Sure.” Q nonchalantly added Melun to her friend’s list while the rest of the group looked on in shock. “How about you guys? Wanna add each other?”

“Of course! I would love to have a connection with you…” Verne let out a dazzling smile, but it immediately collapsed the moment Neira’s elbow connected with his side.

Q continued to add the rest of the Crios Blades, then said, “I’d love to do some quests with you guys, but I have something to do in reality. Also… I need to leave to preserve my life.”

“What?” Melun was confused.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you all later!” Leaving with those words, Q logged out of the game.





*****




“Miss Eviss, your assistance is required immediately!” A man in a white coat burst into an office room.

A woman with long red hair wore an incredibly displeased expression. Her harsh glare caused the man to freeze for a moment. “What is it?”

“Ah, uh, yes. *ahem* C.I.M is operating strangely. There have been a few instances where she’s directly taken over some NPC autonomy, and for some reason has been storing data that we are unable to access. There isn’t any problems with the game so far, but this could cause problems further down the road.”

“Huh.” The woman seemed nonplussed. “I’ll handle it. Go back to work.” With that she began typing rapidly on her keyboard.

“Y-yes ma’am!” The man turned on his heel and left, almost as if running away.

“If C.I.M is acting weird, that can only mean one thing. He’s here…” For a moment her expression looked somber, sad even, but it was quickly replaced by a wicked grin. “This time, I won’t let you get away!”

6 thoughts on “5. New Friends, Old Friends

  1. Thanks for the chapter~

    Just a suggestion tho, it’d be better if you create a ToC soon. At this rate, a new reader would be lost somewhere in the home page trying to find the prologue XD.

    And oh, it might be late but, welcome back?
    -Shiki

    Like

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