Point of Return
Plates and cups made a light clanking sound as Shin loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up the dining table. He paced over towards the TV to turn it off but was the news broadcast began to catch his eye.
e beginning to see what seems like the beginning of a massive crash in the economy. Stock markets have begun to show signs of destabilization and prices are beginning to surge as large swaths of people are panic buying supplies from local markets. We may be witnessing a historic event right before our eyes here, Sophie. ”
His eyes widened upon hearing the news. The Leung household was already in dire straits. Although his father and mother were both working, only his mother was the primary breadwinner in the household. Shins parental situation was complicated. For all intents and purposes, they were separated, but not officially. The only other form of income in the household comes from Shin himself.
In previous MMORPG titles, Shin participated in real money trading. In-game currencies such as gold and silver or resources and services can be traded for real world money. While many game developers often ban these forms of transactions, that never stops the community or third party websites and organizations from creating a black market for in-game goods and services.
With Shins mother unable to keep the household afloat and fleeting formal work opportunities, there was only one way Shin could keep his life afloat.
Shin promptly quickly turned off the TV and went back to his room and PC. With the messenger window still open from his previous chat with his mother, he messaged Qu.
”Dude, you saw the news right? ”
While waiting for a reply, Shin checked his online payment portal for the household bills.
”$3820.75 huh… ” scratching his head as he plotted.
”Yeah, lets meet up in-game man. This is real-world shit is stressing me out. ” Qu responded.
A world of lights surrounded me. As I opened my eyes again, the vibrant world of Mythos Online captures my senses once again. The contrast to the dreary world outside of the game could not be more obvious as I stood in the middle of Levendale. The game seemed to have placed me in the center of town though I disconnected in the middle of a forest instance. Maybe this happens every time I reconnect to the game? Either way, this makes things a lot easier to find Qu.
Ive known Qu for four years now. We met in the computer lab in high school during our first year. We quickly bonded over our shared interest in gaming and have been playing games together since then. He was never really good at games though funnily enough. He was often the supportive type while I would rush in and do as much damage as possible. What Qu really excelled at was breaking in-game systems. Hes what people often data-mine game files to uncover exploits. Weve got into a lot of trouble together through these exploitations. Banned from one game after another.
While I was reminiscing about the past, I got a notification from a social panel that appeared in the top right side of my vision. It was a message from Nightingale.
”Hey Shin, Ill meet you by the fountain in the central plaza of Levendale in a few minutes. There really isn any form of fast travel in this game from what I can tell. ”
I guess thats Qu. Unsurprisingly, he guessed my in-game nickname without even asking me. Anyhow, that works out well for me. This should give me time to figure out some of the game systems and get myself some weapons and armor.
It seems like the party I had with Hale automatically disbanded when I logged off.
Navigating around Levendale was quite the task. Although the town was small and compact, I really had to make an effort to find the armory as there wasn any form of minimap on the interface panels.
After wandering around for more or less five minutes, I stumbled upon the Levendale Armory.
The sign atop the entrance once again quickly automatically translated to English as I focused on the words.
The inside of the armory was a darker than expected. Unlike the guild hall and the merchants that line the streets of Levendale, the shopkeeper was player.
Unfortunately, I didn accept a quest earlier due to the debacle in the guild hall so I didn get any silver from defeating goblins. I pulled out a pouch from my belt strap and a inventory panel opened up while I was holding the pouch.
It seems all I had were a measly 30 silver and three rookie potions that restore 30 health. Now that I think about it, I haven even seen my health yet. It might be that I haven taken any damage yet. There were also a lot of attributes and stats that were missing from my attribute page. I guess they won show up there until I acquire some points in those attributes from equipment or skills.
The armory had a small selection of lightweight armor and rookie weapons. These items were different than the rookie equipment found on Hale and his party though. These were crafted.
[Specialization: Bandit, Savant]
(?) – Attributes of this weapon are reduced by 50% when equipped by a Savant
Seems like crafted rookie equipment might be a slightly more powerful than the rookie equipment that you
e given when you start the game.
I decided to purchase a dagger as it fit my fighting style that I was used to in previous MMORPG series. There goes 25 of my 30 silver.
Since I didn have enough money to purchase any new armor, I left the armory and head towards the fountain to wait for Nightingale. Its a little weird to not call him Qu considering I know him in real-life but Ill just convince myself to call him Nightingale for my own immersion.
Blue colored slime flew through the air and I was left panting.
[YOU REACHED LEVEL 5]
These slimes really didn give me much experience for how I killed. I mustve gone through thirty of them.
I don have any special skills yet since Im a Savant. However, this was the moment Ive been waiting for. My skill tree expanded.
When I was level 4, I didn see the rest of my skill tree. The branching nodes of the skill tree were visible but they were darkened to the point where I couldn read any of the skills.
Lets see what I have available to me next.
[Savant Skill Tree]
[Swift Strike] – Dash a short distance forward and attack enemies with your equipped weapon with 110% of your attack power.
[Retrieval] – While your equipped weapon is not currently held by you, call the weapon back to your hand so long as its within 3 meters of you.
[Efficiency] – When consuming a resource or ammunition, there is a 15% chance that you the cost will be refunded back to you.
These seem more interesting.
Savant has very generic skills but Im starting to get some ideas for how I could use some of these abilities.
Since I don have any offensive abilities, Ill learn [Swift Strike] for now. This should speed up how fast I level up.
Im not too far from the entrance gates of Levendale so it was only a five minute walk back following the road. After I returned to Levendale, I immediately made my way to the central fountain.
”Shin, yo, you kept me waiting! ” Nightingale waved at me.
Nightingale wore a dark metal plate over his torso but the rest of his legs and arms were what seemed like a dark skintight bodysuit. He was rather slender and held a teal codex in his right hand. His light skin was accompanied by his long black hair and green eyes. His hair was longer than I remembered, it went down to about his shoulders.
”Hey Nightingale! ” I smiled and waved back to him.
I made my way closer and sat down on the bench next to him. The fountains water was carried by the wind and lightly sprinkled on my left arm.
”So… did you find anything interesting? ” I asked.
”Yeah… well, this game seems like its pretty well built. Theres a lot of things that they accounted for but that won stop me. ” Nightingale said with a click of tongue.
”As expected coming from you. ”
”Right? You can still just call me Qu by the way. ” Nightingale replied with a slight hint of annoyance in his voice.
”Well, I like to immerse myself into the game. You can do the same you know? ”
”Ehh… I guess but- fine. Ill just deal with it. Theres not point arguing this back and forth for the 20th time. ” Nightingale groaned as he quickly gave up.
Weve had this conversation many times before in just about every single game weve played together. I was always the one trying to put myself in the game while he was spending most of his time researching the game and exploiting it.
”Anyway, you heard the news right? Theres a real big market in Mythos for RMT right now especially considering the rumors about the economy crashing in real-life. I think we outta exploit it early while we can. ” Nightingale said while crossing his arms and nodding.
”Do you have any ideas? ” I inquired.
”Yeah, wait till you see this! ” he said while smirking.
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