Real Life Starfight
June 18th 2018 - The school bell rings, signaling the end of classes for the day. Ryuuji doesn’t have work today so he won’t be taking the train, but he still leaves the school together with Sun as usual. In the hall, they hear someone shout their names from behind and turn around to see Seiji and Hanabi, both excited they haven't left yet. They run through the crowd to reach them.
“Kiyama? Hanabi? What are you two doing here?” Sun says, surprised to see them.
“You got here fast, did you sprint to our classroom?” Ryuuji asks, less than pleased as he thought this would be one day he wouldn’t have to see these two.
Admitting she is a bit tired from rushing, Hanabi says “Seiji was so excited he said we had to get here as soon as possible.”
"Something I've been meaning to tell you, just call me Seiji. My last name sounds like a girl’s name, I hate it.” Seiji says. “Hana is fine with being called by her first name just like you guys always do anyway.”
Sun and Ryuuji then look at each other trying to think of when they first started referring to each other as such, then realizing it’s been like that from the beginning. Ryuuji just didn’t care to hear his last name since it reminded him of the drama with dad’s company, and Sun is used to being on a first name basis after being raised in America and never complained. Not that Ryuuji plans to comply with his request, only ever referring to him as a brat.
Thinking the conversation ended with that, Ryuuji takes the chance to try and leave, but Seiji stops him right away in an overly excited tone he never heard from him before.
“Wait up! Did you hear about the new dungeon that was added last night? The great dragon Kur, it’s supposed to be really difficult!” he explains.
“Since it’s new, hardly anyone knows anything about it! A fun adventure!” Hanabi says, just as excited.
“Did your dad tell you anything about it before, Ryuuji?” Sun asks, knowing he was told about many updates before they were implemented due to his awful bragging.
Ryuuji thinks back to their last conversations about the game. He remembers his dad mentioned they were working on a difficult monster with a unique trait that they haven’t seen in a game before. Wanting to keep it a surprise, he wasn’t told anything more than that. However, that just makes the two first years even more excited, also making Ryuuji regret saying it since he'd rather not take part.
Seiji simply reassures him by saying; “What do you have to fear with Hargrave in your party?” in a boastful tone.
They only played together that one time when Ryuuji was trying to cheer up Seiji, and even then they logged off shortly after, so Ryuuji can’t help feeling skeptical that they will be able to beat a ‘unique monster’ as described by his father. Not even Hargrave could change that idea. Still, it’s not like he has work so he really has no reason to decline and reluctantly decides to join them.
“Awesome!” Seiji shouts.
“We just have to hope Sun can find where we are going.” Ryuuji adds. He would rather make a jab at her inability to arrive on time, but he knows she doesn’t react much to that.
Sun simply smiles and says, “Just tell me the place and I’ll figure out where it is.”
“We have to get you a map. One actually made of paper.” Ryuuji says with a sigh.
They decide to meet at the ‘Tree of Promise’ before entering the dungeon since it is close by. Legend says it's the largest tree on the planet, still growing even now with each promise that is made between people. Hanabi tells Sun she will tell her how to get to the location by sending a map in the private messages. With that settled, they go their separate ways. When the time arrives, Hargrave is the first there, with Akaninja and Sunshine soon after, leaving them to wait for Hanabi.
“Hey for once Sun isn’t the last one here.” Ryuuji says, genuinely surprised.
“Hana usually helps her brother with homework, she should be here soon.” Seiji explains.
Just as he said that, Hanabi arrives, immediately apologizing for the delay. Seiji makes Hanabi feel better by telling her that they would never leave without her as they’re counting on her as their healer, making her very happy. Ryuuji can only roll his eyes at their lovey behavior, even though this is more tame compared to Steve with Sun. 'How do I keep making weird friends like this.' He thinks to himself.
After forming a party they go around the large tree to the Blackened Dungeon. Since it’s new there are many players excited to try it, but they are still able to get through without interference, defeating a few lower level ghouls along the way. Once they reach a large cavern a small window pops up on each of their screens; ‘Do you wish to enter Kur’s domain? Yes or No’ (Suggested Level 120)
“Suggested level 120?” Sun says reading the pop up. “I’m still level 58, is my character really ready for this?”
“No, but Hana and I will help cover you.” Seiji says, reassuring her.
“What about you Ryuuji?” Sun asks.
“I may be able to here and there.” Ryuuji says after considering each party member. “I’m the quickest here so I’ll mostly be focusing on finding a weak point.”
“That would be for the best.” Seiji says, agreeing with his plan. “We did good to conserve magical energy up to this point too.”
After a moment of silence, Hanabi speaks up. “So, are we ready?”
“Not really, but I trust you guys.” Sun says in an upbeat manner.
“Let’s hurry up already, the more we wait the more excited I get!” Seiji says.
“Excited?? I just keep feeling more nervous!” Ryuuji admits.
“Then let’s go!” Hanabi shouts.
Almost simultaneously they hit YES and it only takes a few seconds until they enter the dragon’s domain. They initially only see that it's a large cavern with a few cliffs and before anything else, they are alerted to the fact that everyone has been poisoned upon entering. They look at their stats to notice the poison doesn’t even have a name, it’s listed as ‘unknown’ meaning it's a new type of poison they haven’t discovered yet, causing them to freak out.
“It’s new so it won’t even tell us what it is? Since when did this game have a dumb feature like that?” Sun asks.
“Since the beginning!” Ryuuji shouts.
“Calm down everyone!” Hanabi says, trying to get their attention. “It’s not draining any of our health yet so there’s no point in worrying. Now here it comes!”
Too distracted by their health status, they didn’t notice the dragon Kur was steadily approaching them, getting close enough to pounce. The dragon is a deep purple with holes in it’s wings and scars all over it’s body. It clearly can’t fly and crawls low on the ground, but still at a higher speed than one would expect. It’s wings also hang down low, making it difficult for the players to get close to it’s sides. To avoid a collision, they scatter all over the field. Seiji signals Ryuuji to find a weak point and he starts to rush around, attacking the dragon in different areas, but hardly does any damage.
“Even with all those scars it’s skin is tough!” Ryuuji complains.
“I may be able to weaken it a bit.” Hanabi says, looking for the right spell. In the meantime she casts a spell to boost their defense.
“What a huge turtle! What should I do?” Sun asks.
“What did you just call it?” Seiji asks as he dodges another attack.
“Just ignore her!” Ryuuji says, taking a short break and used to Sun’s strange comments. He then tells her; “Get to higher ground and distract it so it doesn’t attack Flora.”
“Got it!” Sun shouts, wasting no time getting on one of the ledges above the dragon. She starts shooting arrows opposite of where Hanabi is, hitting her target 70% of the time thanks to Ryuuji’s tutoring.
Ryuuji himself reinforces his blade to help against the tough scales and gets back to attacking it all over. Seiji asks if he found anything yet and Ryuuji tells him he hasn’t, but has also been unable to hit it’s stomach or under it’s wings.
“Here I’ll lift it up so you can.” Seiji says, bluntly.
“You’ll what??” Ryuuji shouts, not comprehending what he just said.
However with Hargrave’s strength it’s an easy feat. He rushes towards the dragon with his weapon in front and slides under its neck. Sacrificing some health in the process, he successfully lifts the dragon with a large swing of this sword, giving them a clear look at it’s stomach. To their surprise the same tough scales are there as well. They start to panic until an energy blast hits that area and they hear Hanabi shout,
“Try attacking now!”
Seiji, also using simple reinforcement for now, attacks that area with his sword and Ryuuji follows shortly after. They are able to scrape some scales off in the process and deal a decent amount of damage as a result. “Alright!” they both shout simultaneously, backing up as the dragon lands on it’s legs again.
“Let me know when you have another blast ready, Flora!” Ryuuji shouts.
“Alright, it will only take a moment. I’ll aim for behind it’s wings.” Hanabi explains. Not leaving anyone out, she also says “You’re doing great, Sun!”
“Thanks!” Sun says, excited that she is of use.
They continue their usual attacks to distract it, waiting for Hanabi. Once she charges the spell, she signals for them to get ready and sends another blast behind it’s right wing. Seiji uses the skill ‘Bloodseal’ on Hargrave’s sword and attacks at the base where the wing attaches to the body, cutting it off with one swift strike. Ryuuji, feeling relieved, starts to think this dungeon isn’t so bad, but he spoke too soon. With it’s health bar low and life in danger, the dragon Kur turns and roars towards Hargrave, activating the poison and paralyzing him, with his health dropping one point every 3 seconds.
“I can’t move!” Seiji shouts before the dragon attacks, simply crushing Hargrave under it’s front left leg, but dealing a lot of damage in addition to the poison.
“What’s going on, is it the poison?” Ryuuji asks, starting to panic again.
“It must be!” Seiji says. With his character pinned under the dragon, he can only watch as it turns towards Akaninja and roars, now paralyzing him and draining his health as well. It then gets off of Hargrave and walks to Akaninja.
“Now I can’t move.” Ryuuji says with a sigh, now sitting back in his chair as there is nothing they can do. “What happened to not having to worry with Hargrave here??”
“Shut up!” Seiji says, frustrated he let this happen. “Since it’s a new poison there isn’t even an antidote we can use.”
Sun continues to attack, but it no longer has any effect since it started paralyzing players. She stops for a moment and asks, “Should I keep attacking?”
The silent Hanabi then speaks up after considering what the best plan of action is. “Yes Sun, keep attacking. I have the perfect spell to help us.”
“Be careful!” Seiji shouts.
Sun tries her arrows once more, but it still has no effect. After the dragon stomps on Akaninja in a similar fashion, causing Ryuuji to shout after it drains much of his health, it starts to turn towards Flora. Sun then aims for it’s head and charges another arrow, this time with a level 5 skill ‘Exploding Star’ that she recently learned. She releases the arrow and the powerful blast is enough to make the dragon turn towards her. It roars in an attempt to activate the poison. Sun quickly leaps and is able to dodge, but accidentally jumps above the dragon and lands on it’s back.
“No way I didn’t mean to jump here!” She shouts.
Seiji can't help laughing at what he sees, but also tells her, “No that’s perfect!”
“Just hold on and attack with your myne blade! It’s still a distraction.” Ryuuji adds.
Sun switches the bow for the myne blade and starts attacking random areas on the dragon’s back. It does no damage, but as Ryuuji says, it’s still a distraction. The dragon turns it’s body from side to side until it’s finally able to remove Sun, flinging her across the field. She apologizes to Hanabi, but there was no need to worry as she just finished preparing.
Flora slams the bottom of her staff on the cavern floor and activates the celestial spell ‘Heaven’s Area’ which covers the entire battlefield. It successfully removes the poison, allowing them to move, and steadily increases their health and magical energy. Ryuuji and Seiji are both surprised, neither having seen this spell before.
“Try not to get hit again boys.” Hanabi says in a cheeky tone.
Ryuuji, surprised by her comment, then thinks to himself. ‘Never thought I’d hear that type of comment from her of all people. She’s really arrogant in this game….rightfully so.’ he admits.
“Now, let’s pick up where we left off!” Seiji says, rallying the party.
They get back to their earlier attack pattern, with Hanabi using her spell to soften the scales and they attack to deal damage. It’s a slow and steady tactic, but it works. Despite there being no poison in their system anymore, they still dodge each roar just in case. After a few more minutes of fighting, the dragon Kur is defeated. They then gather together to collect their rewards.
“I didn’t know you had a spell like that, Hana.” Seiji says.
“I was trying to surprise you!” Hanabi says with a giggle. “Celestial spells take a while to learn so I only got it recently.”
“We really would have been defeated without it.” Ryuuji admits. He then teases, “To think Hargrave had to be rescued by a girl.”
“What are you talking about? To be saved by Hana is a blessing.” Seiji says.
Ryuuji then regrets even saying anything, ‘I forgot, anything with her involved is a good thing in his eyes.’
Meanwhile, Sun is still in awe of Hanabi's play style. ‘That really was amazing. I wonder if she could help me learn something like that, rather than the simple skills Ryuuji has been teaching me.’
In the real world, Hanabi, blushing from Seiji’s comment to Ryuuji, starts swishing back and forth in her chair, thinking to herself ‘Seiji always says stuff like that, but it’s been a while since it was in front of other people, so embarrassing! At least they can’t see my face.’
Hanabi is then alerted to a message from Sun. It reads; When you have time can you help me learn a cool spell like that? I need a good defensive spell.
Embarrassment turned into excitement, Hanabi quickly responds saying she’s happy to help. She asks Sun if she would like to meet during lunch tomorrow to discuss it and she agrees. However they keep this meeting to themselves, forgetting to mention it to the boys as they receive their rewards right after and are easily distracted. The drops include a few rare items including the tough dragon scales and claws to forge weapons and of course, meel. They also now know the name of the poison and how to create an antidote.
“Woah, that's a lot of meel!” Ryuuji shouts. “Since it goes by involvement...does that mean Flora got the most?”
“Well, this is about how much I usually get.” Seiji says, satisfied with their haul.
“We seriously have to play more if this is ‘the usual’ for you.” Ryuuji says.
“Good to know you won’t complain next time I bring it up.” Seiji says.
Sun, unfazed as she doesn’t care about the ‘money’ as she still puts it, looks at the time and says she should be getting off for the night, adding that she had a lot of fun. Hanabi also has to get going just as they can hear her younger brother in the background asking for her help. They all say their goodbye and log off one by one. Ryuuji is the only one left playing as he sorts through the items he just received. He takes one last look at his meel and laughs, never having received so much from a dungeon or quest before. ‘Playing with Hargrave really is worth it I guess.’ he finally admits.
Once finished, he places his headset on the back of his chair as he gets up to get a drink in the kitchen. On the way, he is stopped by his father’s voice. He’s awake, still sitting on the couch surrounded by the usual empty bottles.
“What were you doing in there? You were very noisy.” He asks in a slur.
Despite living in the same house, they haven’t spoken to each other in weeks. Ryuuji shrugs his shoulders and decides to respond honestly, “They released a new dungeon in Starfight, against the dragon Kur.”
“That’s the last one I worked on before---” His father stops himself from finishing before, then switching to something else. “How did you overcome the poison?”
Surprised he’s actually holding a conversation, Ryuuji takes a couple seconds before responding. “My friend. She has a celestial spell called--”
However his father interrupts before he can finish, disgusted “Celestial spells. I was against them being added, they’re stupid OP...” his father says before dozing off again.
Watching his father fall asleep mid-sentence, Ryuuji is left wondering what he was even expecting, trying to talk to his drunk father. He takes a glass and fills it with water, drinking it quickly and then slamming the glass on the counter in frustration. He walks into the hall, taking one last look at his sleeping father before going to bed.
-Celestial Spells can only be obtained by completing 8-10 limited quests. There are only 5 of that type in the game total, one for each class and 2 for mages. When these spells were first revealed, the quests were always available, never limited, but many players complained the spells were too overpowered and at times made the game too easy. After hearing those complaints, the creators made the quests limited, having them appear randomly throughout the year.
-When a poison is listed as unknown, that means the players have yet to encounter it and the usual antidote won't have any effect. You must defeat the beast to receive a sample of the antidote or recipe to create it.