Finally managed to find enough will to release two chapters in two days. Since it’s still in its early stages, it isn’t really that hard, but it’s not as exciting to write either. Can’t wait till I get to some more interesting parts and battles! Stay tuned guys and feedback is always appreciated! (I’ll probably draw some sketches soon enough, alongside detailing a map a little more, so stay tuned for that as well! … I guess …)
CHAPTER III – DUSK OVER THE PLAINS
“Someplace, far away, I would live a happy life. But nowhere, however far away, I’d have died a happier death.” – Y.R., ‘My Chronicles’, Year 261 of Moon-Lyn Calender
Eon, quickly upon returning to the Dusk Village, set aside all other tasks in order to read the book he’s been given: Growth and Bottlenecks. He was simply curious as to what did translate and what was different from the original game he had injected himself into. He had nearly forgotten about it, but a swollen reminder in his heart wouldn’t let go.
He set aside an entire evening, alongside some bad wine, and dedicated himself to study this rusty book. Hammers and saws echoed in the distance as men had already begun preparing for the sudden influx of population, expanding relatively small Dusk Village beyond the small, wooden walls. Even though the runic character should be impossible for him to read, just by looking at the word the meaning was struck inside his head, as if he had implanted translator within. Ramming himself through roughly four hundred pages took far less time than he expected, and by the time he was done, his knowledge had skyrocketed, and he felt somewhat excited.
As he initially learned, ‘Growth’ was rather similar to leveling within the game world. It indicates the base strength of someone and, although the book didn’t go into much detail, he had learned that average ‘Growth’ of the adult male is ‘Three Copper Stars’, which equated roughly to two-three levels. ‘Stars’ were means by which categories were separated, and it went from Copper, Bronze, Jade, Gold, Diamond to Amnesty. There was no one in the history who had ever surpassed Amnesty, but some had theorized that there are even levels beyond it. Each star was separated into four additional subgroups, one, two, three etc., but it wasn’t a true determiner of strength, even Eon knew that much. ‘Bottlenecks’ referred to the points where the ‘Growth’ would suddenly be stunned or even completely stopped. After some time, Eon figured that ‘Bottlenecks’ are heavily tied in to the game’s class advancing feature. In game, he remembered, you’d simply have to complete a quest and click a button, but he doubted it’d be that simple here. That is why most people within the entire continent were around ‘Bronze Star’ strength, roughly equated to level fifteen, which should make sense as the first advancement in the game would occur once a player hit level fifteen. His base class, Warrior, could still turn around to be a spell caster, but the two advacements that intrigued Eon the most were Berserker and Lython. Berserker was rather self-explanatory, but Lython is where the magic lay.
Lython class could only wield magic-enchanted items, both in weapons and armor, but each magic enchantment had double its strength. That was the main drive for Eon, alongside some other, small things, to wish to advance towards it. Yet, the moment you turned into Berserker, you’d have doubled your strength and, from that point on, each point of strength would equate to two, which seems rather insane. He was on the fences, so he decided to wait until he hits level fifteen.
The book mentioned only one person who had surpassed the first ‘Bottleneck’, G.H. initials stood next to the ‘Four Jade Stars’. This roughly translated to level thirty-five, when the second advancement would occur. Eon was certain more of them had gone far and beyond it, but the time to meddle with them hasn’t come around yet.
One thing that was rather different than game’s mechanics, was that every race and class was able to learn some ‘General Spells’. They were rather low-quality and ranked at the very bottom, but some were quite useful. Dragon’s Lungs was the one that interested Eon the most. Since his entire future is wrapped tightly around strength, anything that ties to it can be quite useful. Dragon’s Lungs would increase HP of a person by 10% for each 100 points of strength. Earlier on it must have its drawbacks, but as one progresses, it becomes insanely strong. The original description was rather vague as it seemed that no one really understood how it works. They’d have simply noticed that with the spell, stronger people would suddenly require more hits to be killed. Eon remembered similar spell from the game and based his calculations off of it. However, in the game, the spell was Demon race exclusive, so he was rather surprised when he heard about it. After all, such spell on Fallen race would make them nearly unkillable once strength goes beyond one and two thousand, which Eon considered rather possible with items and various spell boosts.
The knowledge he had gained from such a rustic book had surprised him quite a lot. It was good he learned about this early, since he’d probably have been confused as to why he suddenly stopped leveling once he hit fifteen. With this knowledge, he had decided to stay low-key for a brief time, since it seems that strength in hundreds was considered godlike rarity in this world, so he wouldn’t like this to spread around.
Taking the last sip of wine, he decided to look at how the building plans were progressing. Guard’s Headquarters had already been roofed and it would take two-three days for it to be completely done. Per Eon’s instructions, the rest of the cliff-side was left alone and people were laying foundations after cutting all the grass. He had initially planned two large domes that would each house around one hundred people, and from it expand as the days went on. After all, no one could work day and night, however strong they are, and accommodating one house per family seemed incredibly hard. He wished he had a spell to transport the entire Than Village in one fell swoop, but that was simply day dreaming. He approached Hawk who was overseeing the building of the first large dome, which would be considered a motel in his previous world, while Lye was overseeing the second one.
“How’s it coming along?” Eon asked, looking at twenty people that Than village had sent over, working restlessly. Their levels were similar to those of Dusk villagers, but they seemed to have been fed a little bit better.
“All according to the plans, my Lord.” Hawk replied joyfully. “I’m thankful to you.”
“Save it brat.” Eon’s plans on having iron-hand over everyone had completely failed, and more and more people had begun talking to him rather casually, including Hawk.
“Such a sharp tongue, my Lord,” Hawk smirked. “Have you, perhaps, lived as a snake in the previous life?”
“Snakes have toxicity within their tongues, not sharpness,” Eon replied. He realized that the best way to humiliate Hawk was to make him seem stupid. “Instead of training your muscles, you should train that brain of yours once in a while.”
“Lord’s knowledge far surpasses anything I’ll ever be able to achieve,” Hawk replied wryly. “So if I ever need an insight, I shall look at my Lord for answers.”
“Make sure that people rest and are well fed,” Eon replied. “Women had already planted three additional fields. With my help, they should be ready by the time the Thans move in with us.”
“You can’t conquer the world with such a soft heart, my Lord,” Eon considered Hawk to be rather spoiled. And, however much the young guard amused him, Eon had no doubts that he’d sacrifice the boy’s life come first chance if it meant propelling him further. “But you have conquered the hearts of your people.”
“Go help them.” Eon said after a short pause, surprising the boy.
“You don’t mean …”
“Such a healthy, young man standing at the sidelines while much older people work? Are you that shameless Hawk?”
“I should really stop offending my Lord …”
“You really should.”
With bitter face, Hawk moved forward and started helping the others. Around fifty men, from both villages, are assigned to digging up stone and processing it, as taught by Eon. Even when they build individual houses for the Thans, two, sturdy, stone-built buildings will come in handy.
In the distance, he suddenly saw a horse riding towards them. He had already told his men not to worry, and walked forward to welcome the newcomer himself. To his surprise, two people rode the horse. One of them was the Elder of Than Village, while the other, behind him, was an unknown girl, roughly his age. She had sharp look in her eyes and demanding aura around her. Her hair was neck-long and ruby-red, and her eyes as dark as the abyss. She wore silver armor, of the grade that surpassed anything Eon had ever seen in this world, his sword included, and had a steel sword in a rather adorned scabbard at her side, and shield hanging at her back. As they approached Eon, the horse suddenly halted, and the two hopped off, joining him.
“Is this the man that has threatened you, Elder?” the woman asked in harsh voice, not even bothering to be courteous.
“I already told you Elain,” the Elder replied, seemingly exhausted. “He hadn’t threatened us.”
“So why are you all complying by his orders and moving away from our homeland?” the harshness of his voice grew by each word she’d say.
“It’s fine, Elder,” Eon interjected, seeing as the old man was at his last wits. “Go ahead and rest. Ask Hawk to escort you to our village. I’ll deal with this beauty here.” hearing Eon’s words, Elder quickly departed without saying a word, leaving the girl behind rather baffled.
“What Fallen magic have you used on my family, you scum?!” Elain suddenly drew her sword and shield, entering a battle stance. The shield glimmered under the fading sun, and had gold-decorated eagle imprinted across. It was a really good item, worth quite a lot.
“If you had bothered investigating, you’d have learned I’m no Mage,” Eon replied calmly. “Even if I was, I wouldn’t bring people here that weren’t willing. I’d have simply killed them all on the spot.”
“You wretch!” Elain lunged forward, but Eon simply evaded. Her strength surprised Eon; she was level eleven, the highest he has encountered, and had rather high strength of fifty, with intelligence around forty-five. Her future seemed rather bright, and Eon decided he’d do everything to ally with her. “Stop running and draw your sword! Fight me coward!” despite her talent, she looked to be one of the headstrong types. Eon didn’t like them very much, as the moment they were provoked, they’d throw all calculations out of their heads and lunged headfirst into battles.
“I have absolutely no intention to fight with you,” Eon replied as he danced lightly around the girl. Her attacks were quite slow and Eon’s agility enabled him to move around at will. “So I’ll just hop around like a rabbit until you tire out.” the girl suddenly stopped and withdrew her weapons. “Good. Let’s go.”
“You wish to inspect your people, am I wrong?” Eon asked, smiling. The girl was extremely wary of him, going as far as thinking she’d kill him if she saw a single wound on one of her friends, but complied with his request and followed him.
They walked around the two future domes and further ahead to where the mining operation was. Most of her people were smiling and greeted her lightly, some even coming over to hug her. Even though they worked hard, they didn’t seem to mind it. They also told her that they’re getting three meals per day! Something that even Elain, the one who aimed to be a Knight, never had in her life! As they reached the mining operation, she was all but convinced of Elder’s words – that the Fallen of Dusk’s Village was a righteous man.
The mining operation simply blew her mind open. Even in the Kingdom’s Capital city, mining was done all with bare hands and pickaxes. Yet, here, she saw numerous contraptions that made the mining a mere breeze to what others needed to do. A minimized carriage, open-ended, would travel along two iron-basked lines that went into and out of the mine. Throughout the mine, the contraptions that were built with small wheels and rope would drive it up and down. Miners simply had to dig out the minerals and stone, put it into this small box, and then just pull the rope until the box reached the top. This innovations baffled her, and she was certain that King would pay hundreds of gold coins to get his hands onto it! She was certain that Dusk Villagers weren’t the one to come up with it, but rather the man that stood next to her. Seeing her shocked face, Eon quickly explained what this machine was. He explained it so plainly that even Elain was certain she could build it now, without failing even once.
“Fallen are truly terrifying…” she muttered. Eon wished to tell her that it had nothing to do with his race, but it’s best if everyone believes that’s the case.
“Production is quadrupled and men can work in shifts without exerting themselves beyond limits. We’ll slow down the production to just a few men once we finish building the domes, but we can always increase it.”
“Do you truly wish to simply unite our villagers, without destroying our entire identity?” Elain asked, level-headed.
“Yes.” Eon answered directly.
“Then I have no complaints,” the girl suddenly extended her hand and smiled. Eon had finally learned to appreciate her beauty: the smile was wide and teeth were snow-white, simply breaking all barriers he had within him. “My name is Elain Thar, twenty year old Apprentice Knight. Pleasure to meet you.” it took Eon a second to recover from the impact as he extended his own hand.
“I’m Clay Longsun, just another person, and pleasure is all mine.”
Eon had felt this girl would be one of the most important pieces in his growing army, and had decided to keep an eye out on her, even help her if need be in the future. What he hadn’t noticed is that, deep within his heart, a seed was planted. A seed that would wail out its thorns and scatter about like branches of the trees, until it had completely taken a hold of him.