Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chapter 4: Heat

"Hey, look there", a boy said.

"Wow! It's amazing!", a girl replied to the boy while looking at the scenery he had mentioned. They were both sitting on a tree branch, looking over at a rare sight for them. A golden ray shyly hiding behind the horizon, birds flying from one side to another, some leaves blown away by the gentle wind. They both speechlessly looked at the scenery.

The boy looked to his right and was even more amazed at what he was seeing. It was the girl who he knew from kindergarten, but he was seeing her in a different way. Her jet black hair let down to her waistline, a pair of eyes that sparkles off sun rays, and her smooth skin he touches with his forearm in an unintended manner. He felt as if he was dreaming.

"Umm.. Hey...", the boy started to speak in an awkward manner. The girl looked at the boy in a curious manner, which startled the boy for a second before he continued speaking.

"Umm... I really like the scenery here. It's like everything here is flawless.", he said. The girl nodded in agreement.

"You know, the sky is really unusual today isn't it?", the girl asked.

"Yes it is, but the skies matches your eyes.", the boy said while looking deeply into the girl's purple eyes. The girl was shocked. She immediately blushed upon hearing the boy's compliments. There was an awkward silence between those two as they just stare at each other's eyes.

I felt a breeze of air flowing through my nose. I realized I'm not dead yet, but my whole body can't seem to move. I decided to stay still for some time before trying to move my body again. After about 5 minutes of becoming a statue, I tried to open my eyes. A flash of light pierced through the moment I opened them. I was blinded for about 3 seconds before I gain my visibility.

"Ugh...", I moaned while covering my eyes. I tried to sat down but failed due to the pain I felt on my abdomen. I looked around while still laying down on the ground. I was in a forest, but different from the forest I was ambushed. As I look up, I saw the hill I was thrown from. There was no one at the top. I still had no idea who ambushed me. Another thing I was confused at is the fact that I wasn't killed by those who ambushed me.

It seems that I was hit by some kind of poison when I felt that sharp pain on the back of my neck. But how is it that I didn't die? A poisoned effect status will periodically decrease your HP until you drink the Anti Poison Remedy or use the Status Rune. I was probably out for more than 12 hours, which is more than enough time for even a light poison effect to kill me.

I fought the pain on my abdomen and I was able to sit down. I checked my HP bar and it was on the red bar, a bit less than a quarter of my full HP gauge. I opened my inventory and drank a potion to replenish my health. As my HP bar expands, I felt that my body starts to feel a whole lot better.

Since I was able to stand up and walk again, I decided to go to town and take the whole day off. I wanted to try "living" in this game for a day. I head back to my inn and took a shower since I literally slept on the ground for the whole night. I filled the bath tub with warm water and went into it immediately to ease my fatigues. I felt so comfortable that I was actually thinking about laying in the tub for the whole day.

I finally able to persuade myself to get out of the tub and flush down the water too the drains afterwards. I got dressed and head outside to get some fresh air and something to eat. I was thinking about eating at Ridgeview Crest, but I do want to try eating other stuff too. I finally decided to buy some deep fried dumplings sold by an NPC. It was good, but it isn't anything compared to Valeria's toasted sandwich.

I decided to go out on a stroll around Stoneridge. Simply sightseeing around town was actually quite relaxing to me. I started at the gates of the city, and walked aimlessly to who knows where. Eventually I finished my stroll in the square. I noticed a lot of people gather up on the district near the square.

It's probably normal since it is the easiest meeting place of all. In the middle of the square was a monument standing around 4 meters tall. At the top of the monument was a golden knight holding his sword and shield in a battle stance. It had a peculiar set of armor, which looks like what knights used back then in the Medieval Ages. The armor had spikes on it's shoulder pads, which I thought it's sole purpose was to cause damage while ramming someone with his shoulder. It's helmet surrounds the knight's face so that his face can't be clearly seen. The helmet itself looks like the Roman's battle helmet, only with a more enclosed look and without the signature Roman mohawk.

As I looked around at people, something caught my eye. It was someone wearing a similar cloak to the guy which logged out of this game. He seemed as if he's checking his inventory. I decided to use this chance and tail him in hope I might get some answers on logging out of this game.

I slipped out of his line of sight by going out of the square and into the crowd. As soon as I am in the crowd, I looked around if there are any alleys that might lead me to that suspicious man. Since I wasn't very tall, I couldn't really see, so I opted for any alley I can go into. I saw one on my right and head there immediately.

As I entered the alley, I noticed that it was simply just a dead end. No matter though. It seemed that the walls are close enough for me to double wall kick up the roof. As soon as I was on the roof, I took a stealthy approach towards that suspicious guy. He was already on the move and moving towards the outskirts of the city. I tailed him from the roof, jumping from one building to another.

I went down the roof when he was nearing the city gates in the east. I followed him but also trying to keep my distance from being too suspicious. He suddenly turned around, probably making sure he wasn't tailed. I was able to react quick enough to move my eyes to another direction and just walk forward as if nothing happened. I relied on my peripheral view to keep track of him. He did looked at me in a suspicious way, but looked away after a while.

He just simply walked toward the gate thinking there was no one suspicious around. As soon as he is out of the gate, he turned north and started to move away to a blindspot behind the city walls. I followed him, but loss sight of him when I looked left. Damn it! I would easily track him down if I was a rogue, since rogues are the most adept class to tracking targets.

I wasn't planning to give up, so I climbed up a tree and try to figure out which way he might've gone. I jumped down from the tree so that I could act as if I was a regular player trying to fight some monsters. As soon as I touched the ground, someone charged towards me.

I was able to react quick enough and throw one of my throwing knives at the guy. I ran to a nearby tree and kicked the tree to lunged myself to the attacker. He was able to dodge my throwing knife but wasn't prepared for the upcoming attack. I pull out both of my daggers, double slashed him, somersaulted forward, and used the momentum from that somersault to deliver a hard kick before he could pierce me with his broadsword. He fell to the ground hard.

I realized that he was the same hooded guy I was tailing. He didn't recover from the blow fast enough, which made me able to stick my dagger to his throat and try to get some answers out of him.

"I want some answers.", I demanded.

"No wonder you were tailing me. See if you can get some out of me.", the guy reluctantly said.

"Yesterday I saw a guy wearing a similar hood like you. He was able to log out of the game. How is it that he is able to?", I asked in a rough manner.

"I know no such guy.", he said arrogantly. There's a sense of him being calm from his tone. Almost too calm.

"You better give me the truth quick if you value your life.", I said while tightening the grip of my hand on his shirt and my dagger.

"You have no proof I know him. Just because we wear the same cloak doesn't mean we share anything in common.", he said.

So he's looking for proof huh? I tried to remember other things about the guy who logged out. I remembered that he had a skull insignia on his right upper arm. I glanced at the guy's upper arm and see the same insignia.

"Is that so? Well can you explain the same insignia you have on your cloak's upper arm?", I asked him.

"You do have a good eye kid. Problem is you're too cocky. You didn't even bring any back up when assaulting someone.", he said in the same arrogant manner he used for all the words he spoke.

"First of all, I work alone. Second, I didn't ask for your opinion. Third, I'm giving you-", I was stopped by a sudden kick from my right side. So the guy did call for back up before I attacked him. I was tossed away towards a tree.

He was loose from my grasps and took his broadsword from the ground. He was then joined by 3 other guys, 2 defenders and a rogue.

"You got some nerve to meddle with us, kid. Now, it's our turn to attack!", he said while charging towards me. The other 2 defenders also charged with him. The rogue however, was staying there doing nothing.  The 2 defenders charged with their shields looking to bash me. I dodged the 2 defenders, but I didn't manage to dodge the fencer's slash.

"Argh!", I shrieked in pain. I was pushed back a couple of meters, but a defender rammed me with his shield before I could regain my balance. I was slammed towards a cliff. Luckily, I was still able to regain my balance before falling over.

"You should give up, assassin! You're outnumbered 4 to 1!", the fencer said.

"I'm never going to give up, even if it takes the life out of me.", I said. I took in some breaths before continuing. I pointed at the rogue and said, "Nice trick. You used a disorientation explosive on me, other wise your boss will be humiliated by the way he missed.".

"You're sharp. That rogue is our support specialist. Just for your information, I might not be able to hit you if he wasn't helping me out there. Problem is we have practiced this tactics everyday, and we do have a strong teamwork.", the fencer said. "I'm thinking about sparring your life. You seem to be a tough combatant. I'm giving you an offer. Join our cause, and we will rule this world together.".

"Over my dead body.". The rogue suddenly tossed a small bag to the sky. The bag exploded and covered the area with a thick black smoke. The rogue smirked and started to run around. The rogue might've thought that he had the upper hand, apparently he was terribly mistaken. He attacked me from behind, causing me to be lunged out of his line of sight again. As soon as I was hit, I activated my Stalker skill and ran towards a defender who was coughing due to the smoke. I stood in front of him and get ready for the upcoming attack. As soon as I sensed the rogue was attacking, I dodged his attack and caused him to push his team mate off the cliff.

"Block!", the rogue exclaimed after the smoke had cleared out and realized his team mate was gone. Everyone was shocked, including me. I did plan to dodge the rogue's attack for him to attack his team mate. Rogues are able to tag someone, and the target will be highlighted, even through smoke or walls. I used his lack of visibility to my advantage, but I didn't expect the cliff was behind that defender.

"Impossible! Everyone, fallback!", the fencer commanded in horror.

"Y... You... You'll pay for this!", the rogue said while he dashed towards me. He was consumed by rage. He swung his saber like an enraged pirate trying to battle all out for a pot of gold. The look on his eyes simply said everything I need to know, he wanted to kill me for real.

"No, wait!", the fencer said. It was too late though. The rogue missed his attack on me and fell into the very same cliff his team mate had fallen into. I did try to pull him up, but I was only able to rip off some of his cloak.

"You'll regret this boy.", the fencer said. He ran away after saying that. Probably going back to his base. I tried to chase after him, but the swift slash that hit my right leg thought otherwise. I fell to the ground trying to chase him. When I looked up, neither the defender nor the fencer was in sight.

I drank up my potion and went back into town. It was somewhere about 7 or 8 p.m. I was exhausted and decided to go to bed immediately. I passed through Ridgeview Crest, apparently Valeria was just done locking up.

"X!", she greeted me with a huge grin on her face.

"Hey, what's up?", I replied.

"I'm just, you know, locking up the restaurant. How about you? You look umm...".

"I know. It's a long story."

"Are you going to be okay?", she asked with a worried face.

"I'll be after a good night sleep. I'm just exhausted that's all.". I took a step forward, but suddenly my right leg acted up again.

"Ack..", I shrieked. I was falling to the ground, but Valeria managed to help me stand.

"It was fine a second ago.", I said enduring the pain.

"Please don't push yourself too hard.", she said. She helped me sit on a bench near the front of her restaurant.

"Can you please tell me what really happened?", she demanded. I couldn't resist to say no. She did gave me an amazing free dinner yesterday. Not only that, I'm someone who always speak the truth when someone demands. I don't know why. I guess it's simply in my nature.

I told her about everything. Starting from the time I left her restaurant up to now. She looked worried the whole time, especially in the part where I was mistaken as a killer.

"I... I can't believe it.", she said after hearing the story.

"It's just how it is, and I didn't make this up.", I said.

"I know.".


"I don't know. I just have a feeling that your not lying.", she said.

"I see...".

"Thanks... for believing me", I said. She didn't say a word, but her smile answers everything.

"All right. Come on, I'll help you go home", Valeria suddenly said. She stood up and tugged my arm signaling me to stand up.

"Wha... You really don't need to.", I replied.

"I insist.", she said as she pulled me up and put my arm around her shoulders. I gave up trying to go back to my inn alone. I simply walked with her helping me and showed the way.

Right! Chapter 4's done and dusted. I might not be updating chapter 5 for quite a while though, as I will be busy with exams on the following weeks (ooo damn it...). Thanks for reading everyone! Please do comment on this so that I might know more about my not-so-amusing grammar and stuff, or even you may try to speculate what will happen (I might make a side story from your speculations haha).

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