Chapter 21:

Frozen Courage

11 Kingdoms


Report: Frozen Courage Bookmark here

Accessing Personal Logs: Princess Fawn MidinBookmark here

The ship creaks as it pushes into the dock. Compared to the ride to Perloud, the ride to Ruire was fairly short. Though I was still able to get a few hours of sleep, while Jilland and Tul took turns watching over me to make sure I didn’t jump ship. Unlike before we agreed to take a ferry to this kingdom. While they dished out extra funds for a private cabin I chose to nap on the bench in the hall. As flashbacks to my last private cabin on a ship brought back bad memories, of dealing with the undead pirate captain and why Riex now has a limp in his step. Tul is the one to wake me as the ship comes to dock at a mountainous cove. Bookmark here

The snow hasn't halted just lightened since we left. While taking the ferry to Ruire was a good plan for fast travel it put us well beyond our destination of Xain Lu, the capital of the kingdom which laid far to the south inland. Before I took my rest the team asked me my goals for where to go. I left out the purpose of who I planned to meet but made sure I left the capitals of both Ruire and Arguo as my destinations. I added a few other destinations on the map and it was agreed that our best plan was to hike to Xain Lu, then board the Steam rails. This was a sort of monorail system for the central-based kingdoms of Ruire, Cirturn, Topeal, Emrass, and Marion. While Noiox bordered Ruire we had a large portion of our land exposed to oceans. Along with that our allies Azurphire and Agruo are both island nations in themselves. Making the docks a vastly more important feature of our kingdom's alliance instead of the rail. Still, a nagging pain hit my stomach with the thought of traveling thru the kingdom of Ruire on foot, but it was decided to be the best way to travel and not draw attention to ourselves. Bookmark here

At least so long as the Chameleon pin continued to work. This, however, was an issue I didn't bring up with Jilland, or Tul. Mainly since I wasn't quite sure how it worked, but the recent damage it took from my battles with the gang hunting me has damaged the magical item. For some reason, I wasn't able to repair it with the genesis power like before. And it wasn't my only troubling damaged item. The magus staff took a great amount of damage as well from my last battle and much like the pin it wasn't able to be repaired for some strange reason. I first thought my power wasn't working, but when I tested it converting a pair of pistols I received in a treasure chest as an add-on for the gauntlets. The new weapon released a spray of bullets on impact showed it very much worked as it always did. Just these two items I have been journeying with for so long were not working for a change.Bookmark here

As the ship docked my friends took to choosing a side of me to guide me on the planned path. In many ways, the two of them were acting more as a set of guards, more than as my fellow party members. Jilland, had set a plan in motion that he was keeping secret from the two of us. He was determined to walk the two of us to a pub along the dockside. While it was a busy day for the town the pub was fairly empty except for a few patrons. Along with the oblivious computer-controlled bartender as he continues to clean the same glass over and over again with his repetitive motion. He acknowledges me as I unknowingly take a seat at the Bar with Tul, as Jilland, looks around. "What will you have?" I am sure if I had a monitor in front of me a menu of options would open up now, but since I don't have such a luxury I wait for Tul to suggest the two of us. Bookmark here

"I will take a Sangro Ale!" Tul responds. Part of me feels he is trying to get me drunk. While another part knows he is playing a game he has been doing since we have been reunited. The game is called what does this taste, smell, or feel like. Needless to say, after the second hour of this I was all too happy to play off my need for a nap to escape the new travel game, and now we are picking up where we left off. Only this time I try to slip a fast one on him. Bookmark here

“I will have a Dwarven Huen.” The drink was something I recalled Gavin ordering before and was currently hoping such a drink wasn't on the menu at a bar by the sea. It was written lore of the game that dwarves were not very keen on the ocean and boats. Perhaps due to the fact, their stubby dense bodies sunk far easier in the water than normal characters. Making swimming a chore for any dwarven player of the game, but the large stein placed in front of me proved my hopes were unfortunate in the matters of this establishment. I watch as Tul laughs and a bottle is placed at his side that is small in stature compared to my drink. I look around the bar and finally locate a straw as my only hope to land a taste of the drink, as I feel unable to lift such a mug by my hand without spilling its contents all over my outfit. And with a long journey ahead I wasn't about to spend the next couple of days reeking of strong dwarf booze. I take a sip and it is instantly clear that this was never meant for humans to taste. Once on a bet in college by some of my classmates, I was given the task to take a sip of acetone in a painting class. The flavor is not something anyone should experience, yet my brain has decided that I should indulge in this grand flavor taste a second time. I try to hold down the bowl of hot grains I had for breakfast while Tul is falling out of his chair laughing at me. Not one to let a paid item go to waste I package the rest of the drink as a possible chemical to use if I need to start a fire without magic for some reason. And I grab a bottle of fruit juice trying to rid my mouth of the burning horrid taste. As soon as the taste of the fruit comes into my mouth Jilland rejoins us with a tiny fey female dressed in a badly designed western cowboy outfit. Bookmark here

“Team, I would like you to meet our guide through Ruire. This is Silvy, she is a regular player here I met back in Beta when I first rode the Steam rails. Silvy looks at me up and down then does the same with Tul. “Silvy is a gunner class and will be a help for us as a ranged fighter to add to our numbers. This is Tul and Quinn." Hearing Jilland presents the false name of my cover Id tells me that trust with Silvy hasn't been established in how she would react. Given its likely the best option as I wouldn't care to find out how much of the kingdom of Ruire would handle having the now free to hunt face of their rival kingdom standing before them. Needless to say, I offer my hand for her to shake. Her hand placed in mine looks like I am shaking hands with a toddler, but since weapon damage doesn't scale with the size I try not to offend the pistol-packing pixie before me of her choice in character races. Bookmark here

Silvy pulls out a map and plops it on the bar. She hops up on the bar as well kicking at the computer NPC who stops wiping the glass in an attempt to shoo her off the countertop. "So the plan is to head south along the Gainzo river that begins just over the mountain ridge outside of town. Jill said he wanted me to find suitable shelter along the way but sadly if you all want to rest at all the possible stops, then you still will need some camping gear as we cross the mountains. The only shelter along the mountains is headed far west from the route we want to go. I watch with the intent of both reading the map and the new companion on our journey. Jilland keeping my secret from her nags at me a bit. While both Tul and Jilland know the risks of following me and each claiming that they would lay their life for mine, such is not the case with Silvy. Worse yet upon closer examination, I notice a symbol on her outfit that has a chill go down my spine. It's the royal symbol of Ruire. I don't know much about my former rival Min Gang, but I know he had his loyal followers proudly display the royal symbol on their character at all times. Till I can get to the capital and confront Min Gang on my grounds, then I would be at risk of perhaps even being discovered by the very people behind the hacker if Min is truly involved. The uneasy pain of my gut is growing worse from our new ally the longer I am with her. Bookmark here

But I don’t have much time to think about this as the group leaves the tavern to gather supplies from the local market. While Jilland and Silvy shop for camping supplies, I send Tul to gather food from the stores while I shop for new clothing and as many healing potions as I can, with my treasures from the dungeon battle. I hold onto the potions, scroll, and the new chaos gauntlets as I dubbed them, mainly as the shopkeeper doesn't know what to give me for them. Along with two new sets of clothing and a good dozen healing potions. I pick up a collection of ammo for my new weapon should I have to return to my normal form. I watch as Tul returns with a bag over his shoulder of food and I quickly drag him to a hidden alleyway where the two of us load the magical cloak I have storing the food. I do however grab a pork dumpling stuffing my mouth with it trying to remove the remaining taste of the drink from my mouth. We step out of the shadows just as the others join us. I feel a light tap on my shoulder from a messenger bird with a letter for me. I grab the message and place it in my pocket to read later. Bookmark here

“You don’t think it is important at all, Quinn?” Jilland asks with a concerned face that grits his teeth but words his lips in a way to tell me to let him in on the message. Bookmark here

“No, whatever it is can wait!" I reply, in all truthfulness, I can muster. This isn't hard as the last messages I have received have all been nothing but bad news again and again. So I have come to accept that whenever the bird appears it surely means bad news has reached me at last. It's a habit I am sure Jilland isn't happy about as I am shutting myself away from my connection to the team back at Noiox. After Rick's farewell letter to me, I just feel as if I read another such letter. Then I will be more than happy to call the hacker forth with her army to tear apart my body sparing me from the painful loss of my friends and family. Bookmark here

Sure enough, it wouldn't be till later that night when we had made our first camp on the peak of the third mountain. When Silvy logged off of the game, is when Jilland pesters me to open the letter, “It could be important information about the hacker Fawn. You can’t just ignore the messages that they send your way each time.”Bookmark here

“I think I can, Jill.” I pause starting to question my thoughts of the taste of the messenger bird roasted over a flame of burning letters. I instead take a bite of another dumpling that Tul had for me. “Look the letters are bad news, even if you aren’t hearing any news from the blogs across the net. I doubt they sent me a letter of good news or well wishes. I sit down and begin to sob thinking of one of the other letters I received in the dungeon. “I don’t want another letter like mom’s.” The letter my mom recently sent me was also like Rick’s in the form of a farewell. Only where Rick felt like my family at times by watching over me, my mother and father the very people who raised me were my family and now turned to move on with their lives. Given I can't fully blame them for the decision. There is no telling when or even if I can find a way out of the game and have a life worth living after that. No, I fear if I do get out of the game and back into my body, the damage would surely be done to the point where I may be conscious but wouldn't likely be able to move on my own. My life is surely damaged well beyond repair in the real world. And if I have another friend giving up on me, then I can’t help but think that I should also toss in the towel and surrender to the fate that the horrors of the game I have been placed in have in store. Bookmark here

“Let her be Jill, Fawn is unwilling to read then so be it.” Tul tries to calm the rising tempers of myself and Jilland while notably taking my side. Bookmark here

“No I made promises to be her in-game therapist and as such, I won't stand by and let her revert to a dangerous mental state by turning away from the world. From both worlds! Don’t think I didn’t notice how you kept eyeing me when I introduced Silvy, to you.” Jilland shows me in his statement that I am not the only one watching someone in the group for their actions with Silvy. Bookmark here

"I can't trust her. For one thing, she doesn't know the risk she is placing in joining us. Who knows when we might get attacked by a virus-infected creature or when the hacker may attack in some other way?" I shout but find Tul pushing me back from getting closer to face the slimy form of a head. Bookmark here

“Is that your only reason to fear her? I know Silvy, she is a good player. Sure she is from Ruire but she is from Nepal, not China.” Jilland tries to assure me but I don’t care to hear it. Bookmark here

"Is she an NPC player of the game?" The two of them look puzzled at me. "You said it yourself Jilland she was there at Beta, which means she either is a beta player or a Black Clover company member playing the game. Since her tower would also be Ruby along with others I can't help but question. Who she stands with? This isn't a game where I am on a mission to hunt down the person behind the hacker. I have it narrowed down to two strong choices." Bookmark here

"Let me guess, Min Gang is one!" Jilland responds. It's very well known the rivalry the two of us had so it should be no surprise that my actions to head to the capital involved a meeting with Min. Bookmark here

“He is a suspect but, I don’t know if he is the hacker. But he has experience hacking, even hacking the game before Beta to try and gain an advantage in the system. So it’s a good guess I can gain a strong lead on who the hacker is by meeting with him.” I say calming down and finding comfort in using a fallen rock as a stool. Bookmark here

"So you plan to just walk in the castle and demand to see him like that." Tul responds pointing at my current look, but I shake my head. Bookmark here

"No, I plan to walk in and drop the disguise once in the castle, while I surely will gather the attention of others including the hacker, little can be done as the castles are monster-free zones. The biggest attention I will draw is from the staff of Ruby Tower and leading the group will be none other than Min Gang himself.” I say with confidence at my plan. Bookmark here

"Then what?" Jilland responds with a cold stare back at me. "You get him, a bunch of other Black Clover members and possibly a bunch of players all after you in the castle. Many of which will want to kill you, what do you plan then. Taking a new disguise likely won't help till you get away to a private location to change form and the two of us are barely able to handle many of the normal monsters let alone a royal guard of a kingdom's main castle." I lower my head in shame for not having thought further ahead. "You want to speak to him let me think of a way till then, the best way to not get Silvy, to suspect you are up to something is to not act suspicious about her. She is helping us out sure she may not know all the risks, but she gets a thrill just playing against new challenges. Like I said I played with her before and I trust her. So perhaps you should have some trust in my instinct. Consider it your homework for the next few days. To trust her and trust my decisions for you, I am not out to bring harm to you, Fawn." Sure it's such an easy thing to trust him. After all, he and Tul haven't so much as let me make a trip to the bathroom unattended for fear I might run off and find trouble again. I walk over to my bedroll and throw the winter blanket over me. Bookmark here

“Are you cold?” Asks an oblivious Tul. Bookmark here

"Yeah, the night's temps are dropping." Tul takes the blanket off his bedroll he set up for decoration and wraps it around me. "We can't have you getting sick on tomorrow's travel. Perhaps you should sleep. I will stay up on watch till morning." Bookmark here

“Yeah, and I will get here before dawn, to be here when Silvy shows up so you don't look to be alone!" Jilland responds with a warm feeling in his voice almost mimicking the concern of Tul for me. Bookmark here

We chose not to say anymore that evening. Jilland was true to his word and woke me before Silvy appeared. I was eating a quick breakfast of a boiled egg and some grapes I had put away when she finally re-entered the game. The snow had tapered off and we had the pleasure of spending our days walk in the sunny and brisk chilled air of the mountains. Making our way to a small mountain town where it was decided we would stop for the day. The trip was quiet and only took a few hours. Something I came to enjoy as I didn't feel I had walked to the point of exhaustion in keeping up with the group. I gave up on counting the inclines of our trip through the mountains after the sun made its way down into the noon sky. I tried my best to follow Jilland's request and worked on trying to trust Silvy. But it seemed like she was also on the page to just avoid me in our travels. She led the group from the front despite her complaints of being a backline fighter in dealing with the random encounters along our way. For most of the part, however, the encounters avoided us, most likely for the level I carried and not the false image I have placed in people’s minds. Upon arriving at the mountain town Jilland looked a bit disappointed at there being no actual inn in the town, let me rest in a bed. But I figured I could make do with setting up for the night in the stable of the town. We expected Silvy to log off for the evening but she altered our evening of yelling at each other over my treatment of her as she stayed and tried to make up for our quiet day of travel as we dined in the town's pub. Bookmark here

“So Quinn, how long have you been playing, your character is pretty low level it looks like. Are you a wanderer like your brother here?” Silvy asks as she takes a large swig of her drink. I try to gather a collection of my dinner in my mouth while she isn’t noticing in hopes she won’t see me acting oddly from the rest of the players. For the moment I find a bit of success in choking down a small chunk of cheese, by letting it sit in my mouth and melt away its flavor slowly. Bookmark here

“Yeah I have been playing since the Beta, but this isn’t my first character. I decided to bring in a new one when the game launched.” Not completely a lie to her, since I did create this illusion the first night after the game launched. Bookmark here

“But surely you know that the Beta players that remained with the game gained a unique treasure for their class.” She replied puzzled at my cover story’s reasoning. Bookmark here

“No I must have missed out on that, Hey bro what did you get.” Trying my best to recall the days of improv training, that Gail instilled in me for public appearances. Bookmark here

Jilland reaches in his bag and releases the little metal bird I recall him having before in our battle to escape the gang. “I call him Beaker, kind of a joke on the class being called Scientist. He doesn’t count as a robot guardian thus I can have another if I go that route with the class.” I watch as soon as Jilland says its name it twists its head about looking for a threat to the group. Jilland taps its back and it returns to a frozen state of movement before returning him to his bags. Bookmark here

“So you missed out on what class you first chose. Which was?” I start to groan as the woman continues to pry in my cover story. Bookmark here

“Card mage, I just wasn’t having the luck in getting any good cards. But then my Luck stat was pretty bad for the class.” I bite my lip and pray that she moves on but she doesn’t. Bookmark here

"Shame they got a full deck of elemental cards or a rare summon card for their help. You made a big mistake going into mage!" I bite down harder on my lip and begin to stare down at my traveling companion. Bookmark here

"Hey, it was my choice, besides I like being a magic user!" I reply with a sharp twinge of anger in my voice. Bookmark here

“Fine whatever, at least you went to an easier class to master. You would have a hell of a time playing the mixed classes like Mage Hand.” I can’t take it anymore and rise from my chair ready to strike the smug look the girl gives me. Something in the pit of my stomach tells me she knows fully well, who I am. But reason hits me and I walk out of the pub. Tul follows me soon after. Bookmark here

“What is the matter?” Tul queries. Bookmark here

"That woman, I don't trust her. I never can trust her. Tul I don't know how but I know she is more than just a player, and that questioning is there. She is testing me. I can't go on like this." Tul doesn't respond. He just grabs me and embraces me till my tense upset mind relaxes in his hulking form. “Tul, I want to go on my own. I can’t have you all risk yourselves for me.” Bookmark here

“Not happening, Jill and I promised to protect you. You just need to find your frozen courage.” He rubs his arms across the back of my head and I release some tense tone in my muscles as I take in a smell of his body up against my own. Bookmark here

“Frozen courage?” I ask, what does he mean? I have no problem facing monsters or even moving forward on my quest to find the hacker’s identity.Bookmark here

"You do not fear to play the role you're given on your own, but this is a world of people. Of friends and allies, you need to be able to have the courage to trust others to help you. Many of us have the same goals for you, in your life despite what you may think. Even Silvy is working to get us to the capital, she is helping you to get to your goal but you must be willing to let her." I nod but don't move from Tul's warm embrace. When a cough comes from Silvy, who is heard from behind our linked forms. Bookmark here

"Don't mind me, lovers, go about your business. Of course, if you don't want others to see it maybe you shouldn't be acting this way in the middle of the town's only street." I look as Silvy walks along the porch of the pub and turns her gaze to the night sky. Bookmark here

"Look, Quinn, sorry if I was pressuring you. I guess I need to learn to be more forgiving of other players. I am not big on the whole making friends with other females. Look I figure it’s been a rocky start, so I tell you what. Since I forced you to sit through my question, you can ask me a difficult question.” I stand and the tension in my body returns despite the touch of Tul easing my muscles. I do have a question about her I very much would like to know, but asking it would surely get her to question my own identity. So I think of another. Bookmark here

“Where do you stand on the Plague attacks?” A far better choice than asking her if she is a member of Min Gang’s team, mainly as it helps me understand if she fears a very real threat the group of travelers in my presence faces. She seems to not look down from the moon in the night sky while she stands quiet for some time. "Sorry guess you don't.” Bookmark here

She interrupts me before I can finish my sentence. "No, the question is fine. It's a long-standing question of if it's a real threat here in Ruire. Some say it's very real others want to say it's a gimmick of the Kingdoms of Azurphire and Noiox to throw the rest of us off from gaining points for our kingdoms and countries respectively. It's not hard to believe the American players placing false info in the world. And now they have said the Noiox Princess is alive and stuck in the game due to the virus attack used by the hacker of the event of the Nook." I find her answer far from one I cared to hear. Not only was the truth told, but a good portion of the game believes it's all a hoax for my home country to gain points and benefit from the game's challenge of spreading Black clover contracts and aid around the world based on how a player plays the game. I wasn't surprised at the anti-American attitude as it has been a thing all my life. For many in the world, to hate America for being a thriving survivor of success. Given our political neutering in the past twenty years since the war, lowered us politically to being nearly powerless to the decisions cast down from the UN. But even still we remained successful in becoming a country of industry and ideas. While it wasn’t the most financially sound country, we had few starving people and our laws kept us from having massive killings in our streets from would-be dictators trying to rise in the ranks. "I guess I will fear the virus when I see it does something with my own eyes. But I certainly know that I doubt the Princess of the Noiox faced the virus. Nah she is the type that constantly had life handed to her. She never had to truly suffer or strive in this world." I start to cry at Silvy's words but Tul pulls me in closer with his strength. I begin to feel his muscles tighten though with me in his grip. Almost as if he was trying to hold on to me and keep me safe from the words Silvy was saying. Bookmark here

“You have no idea on the suffering that Fawn goes through. You deny what the company says and what the world tells you. But you believe the words of strangers from this world, from this kingdom.” I can feel the rage causing Tul to shake as he snaps at Silvy. Bookmark here

“Hey sorry pal, but I have my reasons to trust the people from this kingdom over the others. And what good is a princess that just gets injured even before the game launches, seriously? The world is better without her if she is gone that is." Tul releases me and marches over to Silvy his fist clenched tight along with the muscle beginning to rise. Bookmark here

"Enough Tul, I asked her a question, and you don't like the answer but let's not make this become a worse situation. We only have a few more days of travel with her then we can leave her." I try my best to hide my face from Silvy's gaze praying that her eyes are still locked on the moon, but as I stare at Tul's prepped action I can see our eyes meet and know very well she saw the tears on my face that were not there at the start of our conversation. "Now if you all will excuse me I will retire for the evening.” Tul walks with me as I make my way to the barn leaving Silvy standing there under the moonlight puzzled at what just went on. Bookmark here

I grabbed my bedding and drop it over a pile of hay in the barn when Tul walks in the barn with a sour look on his face. “Look Fawn I am sorry. It’s just what she said.” Bookmark here

"It's okay, Tul. I always knew my presence in Ruire wouldn't be a warm one, and now with all the rumors and lies out on the net it’s not hard to find people in the world that don’t want to believe the truth.” I sit down in the makeshift bed and wipe my tears. Bookmark here

“I just can’t stand someone talking like they know the pain you’re going through. Her arrogance will do her in one day.” Tul replies still releasing a bit of fury from the earlier conversation with Silvy. Bookmark here

"We must let it go. Jill trusts her for some reason, and we trust Jill." Neither of us talks for a good few moments and Tul begins to walk out the door of the barn when I call out to him. “Tul, wait a sec.” I get up from my seat and walk over to him. “Tell me do you know the legends of knights protecting their ladies.” I watch as Tul shakes his head no. “Long ago in the days of kings and knights. Knights would fight each other for many reasons, land, honor, money, and love. Knights that would fight for the love of a woman would ask for a favor from their lady and if she cared for him she would grant him one. If the knight one the challenge then he would take the favor from his lady. Do you know why I tell you this?” Bookmark here

"Not at all!" Tul responds but doesn't move as I move in closer. Bookmark here

“You have protected my honor just now. You are a loyal knight in the following of a princess. You have won the favor but meeting the challenge to claim it from me." I move in and touch the strong form of the man. I close my eyes and lean into him. In turn, I feel him lean his body in and our lips meet. His lips bury my own as they pass one another and he digs his hand in his grip of my arm only to surprise me and pull away. Bookmark here

“No this must stop I am sorry. You are promised to another and while I do have feelings for you. It will only make our journey harder the more I care for you.” I look up at Tul’s eyes filling with tears. “We cannot continue this relationship.” Bookmark here

"Why not if it's what we both want? With you, I don't feel an ounce of fear. See it's the frozen courage you talked about." I begin to well up in tears myself and my face cracks an uneasy smile trying to pull Tul in closer. Bookmark here

"No, it's not, you're creating a false sense of courage this is only the way to make yourself more worried in the future. You will begin to doubt the hard decisions and then one day when you need to face the toughest moments you will not be willing to let me do what must be done. For both our sakes please don't ask me to kiss you again. I cannot bear the temptation to my feelings for you." I lower my arm from his and walk away hiding my face from his. Returning to my bed and covering it as best I can from the view of all the world. "I am sorry my princess, but I can only be a loyal knight to protect your soul and mind. Your heart is not mine to guard for you. One day you will meet the one who will, but I am not that man." With his parting words, Tul walks out of the barn leaving me to my tears of poor judgment for loving him. Bookmark here

It's close to the morning when I finally fall asleep, so Jilland finds it hard to wake me this morning of our journey. But to my surprise when I do Silvy hasn't arrived either. I ask what time it is from Jilland and discover that most of the morning has already passed. Tul arrives late himself but does little to add to our quiet morning meeting over my breakfast. I begin to pack my things when Silvy finally arrives at our group, but with a look of panic across her face. Bookmark here

“Our planned path needs to be changed.” She states as she enters quickly pulling out a map of the area. “The kingdom is having issues with an incident on the road with a powerful monster. It’s been spotted on the road we are headed to.” Part of me is wondering how much of this is true. But my inability to look at chat rooms and message boards prevents me from finding out the outside rumors of the kingdoms. "Look I know you all won't like this. But if we head back and go west through the night we might reach the inn I was talking about before. It will be a long journey but it will be safer than confronting the creature on the road.” Bookmark here

"What is the problem, so it's a monster in the game not like we haven't faced a few?" I can't help but agree with Jilland on his words. The game hardly has any powerful monsters near the road. Most major monsters are in dungeons or on battlefields. But a loud ringing of a bell in the distance causes the group to question what is truly going on. Bookmark here

"It's not a normal monster. It's a creature the higher-ups thought would be locked away for some time now. It was meant to be a monster for a major event down the line." Higher-ups, Silvy just said higher-ups. My earlier distrust of her builds again as the question I felt I should have asked last night returns to the back of my lips. But in my concentration, I miss something that luckily Jilland didn't. Bookmark here

"What do you mean it was supposed to be locked away? What are you talking about?" A scream is heard from a computer-controlled character. Surely if it was an event creature they would also program a reaction from the game's controlled characters. The group all rushes out the barn to look leaving Silvy behind. We look out and see nothing but dark smoke in the distant skyline. "Fire? No, it can't be?" Bookmark here

"Well, this is a fantasy game what game wouldn't have one!" Tul replies as a townsperson runs to hideaway. While computer-controlled guards move in with weapons readying for the oncoming threat. Deep from within the barn, Silvy laughs to cover her nerves.Bookmark here

“A dragon, guess it was too much to hope it would stay on the road. Guess the town is in its sights, we should log out till the tower staff can remove it from the game.” Tul and Jilland look at each other than at me.Bookmark here

"No, we will not log out against the dragon." Tul proudly states causing my heart to break slightly. Bookmark here

“Are you stupid that thing is designed to take on at least six of the Grand Heroes easily in a fight! It is designed to drop the level of players that fight it and lose.” Silvy steps out of the barn to face Tul. Bookmark here

"You can leave if you want Silvy, but we will not back down even if we lose all our levels!" Jilland replies, catching Silvy's look of shock at his defiance. Bookmark here

"Jilland, I know you don't have the experience to face that thing and I am not going to help you all out. Quinn you should leave this will be the towers business soon enough." Silvy turns to gaze at me and I honestly see fear and concern in her eyes but I have to turn my head in shame at the info that Jilland, and Tul have kept from her. "You're going to stay with these macho fools too. Fine then as a member of Ruby tower staff, I guess I have no choice but to stand with you all till the dragon can be handled by the rest of the staff. But you all are in for a world of hurt.” Bookmark here

"You don't know the half of it!" I claim, reaching in my bag pulling out the new gauntlets, and putting them on. Bookmark here

“What kind of weapon is that? It looks like some kind of fist weapon.” Silvy asks as I load the gauntlets with the ammo. Bookmark here

"It's a backup plan just in case!" I say as I nod at Jilland, who has his robot Beaker out and has also pulled out a strange gun of his own, while Tul pulls out his massive ax from its hiding spot. As the dark clouds head towards town, the clouds of smoke trigger the hearts of the group to burn as we look at the oncoming threat. Bookmark here

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While the intention of our game design is so that any player can fight as a solo character through many dungeons and battles, some will be designed with the intent to bring players that not only have teamed up in parties before. But can join the battle of full-on kingdoms. These designed battle encounters are the strongest of creatures throughout the world of 11 Kingdoms. The monsters would require large groups of players to interact against the creature's wide range of attacks, defenses, and movements about the game. Truly skilled players will even find their skills tested to the limits. Let's use the Legendary Heroes as our base. If all twelve heroes gathered on one side of battle their highest leveled character is level 94, while the lowest is level 63. Thus their average strength is well advanced in facing many challenges in the game. But a war beast’s level tends to stand around level 120, making it not only a severe challenge for the weaker players but the advanced ones as well. Creatures of legend such as Kraken, Dragons, Titans, and even demonic lords are at the control of the company to release at random points, months after the game's launch, setting the world of players out to protect the kingdoms they stand loyal to. Bookmark here

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