Chapter 7:

Dungeon of the Dragon Zeryis

Real Life Starfight

June 19th 2018 - At school during lunch, Seiji walks up to Hanabi’s desk, asking where she wants to eat lunch today. However instead of answering, she apologizes, telling him she promised to meet Sun for lunch to discuss Starfight. She hands Seiji a boxed lunch she made for him this morning and gives him a smile before leaving to meet Sun in the cafeteria. Once she leaves, Seiji hangs his head and whines, “Hannnaaa~~”Bookmark here

Meanwhile in Sun and Ryuuji’s classroom, Ryuuji walks up to Sun's desk and gets her attention as he’s holding up his own boxed lunch.Bookmark here

“Lookie here!” he says, proud. “My first homemade lunch.”Bookmark here

“Wow, I'm impressed.” Sun says, surprised. “This works out too, now you won’t distract us since you can just eat here.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

Sun then thinks back to last night after she spoke with Hanabi and realizes she never told him their plans. “I guess I didn’t mention it. Hana and I are meeting in the cafeteria today. Well enjoy your lunch, see ya.”Bookmark here

Sun says with a wave as she walks out of the classroom, leaving Ryuuji to pout “ first homemade lunch.”Bookmark here

Sun and Hanabi wind up meeting in the hall and walk to the cafeteria together, leaving the boys behind in their classrooms. Sun mentions that Ryuuji would normally go to the cafeteria as well, but he brought in his own for the first time so they lucked out. Considering his personality, Hanabi wonders if Ryuuji was excited to show off his lunch if it was the first time he made it himself. Sun realizes she may have a point. Normal people wouldn’t care, but she knows Ryuuji likes to get attention whenever he can, which in part may be due to his home situation. She decides to at least apologize later for leaving in a hurry without hearing him out.Bookmark here

Once they take a seat in the cafeteria they immediately get into what they wanted to discuss.Bookmark here

“So you wanted to learn a new spell right?” Hanabi asks.Bookmark here

“Yes! I’m not the best at learning all the offensive spells Ryuuji keeps suggesting for me and wanted to try something different. I was really impressed with the one you used last night!” Sun says, getting excited just thinking about it.Bookmark here

Watching her reaction, Hanabi can’t help feeling some jealousy. “I wish Seiji would react like you and Ryuuji did once in a while, but nothing surprises him anymore.”Bookmark here

“It sounds like you go on missions like that often, I guess he’s used to it.” Sun says.Bookmark here

“Yeah well...” Wanting to complain more, but realizing they got off track, Hanabi changes the subject back to new spells for Sun. “Ah- anyway, spells for a new hunter. Your class has more limitations than mine, but I know a few that have a wide range due to your arrows. Do you want healing or a barrier? The range will widen the more you work on it too.”Bookmark here

Amazed by her knowledge, Sun says “I can’t believe you know so much about a class you don’t use.”Bookmark here

“When I started playing with Seiji, who is the ‘Hero Hargrave’ I would sometimes feel useless even though it didn’t matter to him. So I decided I would research everything available for the game so I could be of better use to him. I didn’t want to be in Hargrave’s shadow forever.” Hanabi explains. “I keep up with all daily player discoveries too!”Bookmark here

“Here I’ve always been the opposite. I was just happy talking with my friend Steve in Starfight, not taking part in much fighting, but now that we have such a large group, I want to be more useful.” Sun says, almost embarrassed to admit compared to Hanabi’s passion.Bookmark here

“Then do you want to meet in the game tonight? Just you and me.” Hanabi suggests, “I’ll guide you through the quest to learn the spell and help you master it.”Bookmark here

Delighted by the idea, Sun jumps at the idea of just the two playing. Hanabi, feeling the same way as this is the first time someone has asked her for advice, says they can meet at the ‘Village of Lost Spirits’. Although Sun will still need a map, she says she has been there before. Steve brought her there to scare her, but of course it didn’t end well on his part. Bookmark here

Deciding to meet a few hours after school ends, the girls continue their lunch and discuss a few other topics to pass the time. Just regular girl things they wouldn’t normally discuss in their large group, including who this ‘Steve’ person is. Sun describes him as a friend from childhood that resides in America, adding that they play as much as they can. She hopes to introduce them one day. Once lunch ends, they walk back together until they get close to their classrooms, separating at a stairwell. Bookmark here

When Sun walks into her class, she sees Ryuuji sitting with his arms crossed, simply looking at his empty lunch box, trying to ignore Sun as she walks up to him. She asks how his lunch was in which he responds, in his usual dramatic nature, “It was like a box of loneliness.” Bookmark here

At that point Sun would rather walk away, but decides to give him a second chance, suggesting he make another tomorrow and she will give him a proper grade. In a high pitched tone, Ryuuji responds,Bookmark here

“I suppose I can give you a second chance.” almost as if he read Sun’s mind.Bookmark here

Frustrated by his remark, Sun glares and says “Well when you put it that way then nevermind.” and walks away, ignoring any of his comments that follow.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Hanabi enters her classroom and takes a seat, practically glowing with happiness. Seiji notices and asks how lunch went. She says it was great and that her and Sun plan to play Starfight together tonight. Slightly surprised, Seiji can only watch as her joy unfolds. Noticing his reaction, Hanabi asks what’s wrong, but Seiji says it’s nothing, leaving the conversation with that.Bookmark here

After school, Ryuuji is walking through the hall, heading to the exit, when he spots Seiji just outside the door seemingly watching someone. He shrugs and decides to walk up to him to see what's going on. Considering his relationship with Hanabi, he assumed they always walked home together, so it’s strange to just see him. Initially standing slightly behind him, he looks ahead to try and pinpoint what he’s watching. That’s when he sees Hanabi and Sun walking side by side, talking as they leave.Bookmark here

“Instead of watching, why don’t you just join them?” Ryuuji asks, trying to understand what he’s thinking.Bookmark here

Seiji glances behind him to see Ryuuji, "Hey Ryuuji." He says, then looking in front once more. Bookmark here

"You should add senpai to the end of that." Ryuuji suggests. Bookmark here

"When you deserve it." Seiji says before answering his initial comment, “Apparently they plan to play Starfight together tonight. Hana was really excited, I didn’t want to interfere.”Bookmark here

Ryuuji tries to think back to if Sun mentioned that, but all he remembers is that she was annoyed by his comments after lunch, and only said ‘bye’ when school ended. He didn’t feel like bothering with it anymore and just let her leave without saying anything, assuming they would be back to normal tomorrow.Bookmark here

Seiji then says in a solemn tone, “It looks like we were both left behind today.”Bookmark here

“Actually I don't have work today so Sun and I would have parted ways here anyway.” Ryuuji explains with a shrug. After a bit of silence he then adds, “I hope you don’t expect me to keep you company.”Bookmark here

“I would rather delete my character.” Seiji says in a sarcastic mannerBookmark here

Acting surprised, Ryuuji says “What a bold statement by Hero Hargrave.”Bookmark here

Getting back to the original topic, Seiji explains he just wanted to watch Hana walk with a friend of her own for a minute. Ever since they met, he has never seen her with anyone other than himself, knowing she struggled to fit in for most of her life. He’s just glad she was able to find someone else. Ryuuji considers what he says and then looks at Seiji, knowing he isn’t much different compared to how he just described Hanabi.Bookmark here

“And what about you.” he says.Bookmark here

Surprised to hear that comment, Seiji looks at Ryuuji and responds without thinking. “Me? …being alone is nothing new.”Bookmark here

After realizing what he said, he then changes his tone, “Besides I have a test I need to study for and I know you can’t help with it despite being a grade above me.”Bookmark here

Though that response just frustrates Ryuuji. “If that’s what I get for ‘worrying’ about you then I shouldn’t bother next time.”Bookmark here

Seiji then laughs and walks away, saying “See you later, senpai.” in a cheeky tone before leaving.Bookmark here

Ryuuji glares at Seiji’s back as he leaves and thinks to himself, ‘Yup, still a brat no matter the situation.’Bookmark here

-----------------------Bookmark here

Later that night, Sun and Hanabi meet at the ‘Village of Lost Spirits’. Just like before, Hanabi sent Sun a map making it easier to find. It’s an area where no light reaches no matter the time of day, cursed to forever be in darkness. As the name suggests, it is a village, but of many run down homes as it was abandoned long ago. Looking through the area, you can see something glowing of white pop up and quickly disappear. They are said to be the spirits of the villagers who once resided here and were unable to escape a beast's wrath. Sun feels a chill just from being in the area.Bookmark here

“This place is as creepy as I remember.”Bookmark here

“True, but the spirits are very helpful!” Hanabi says. She offers Sun a holy blade which she accepts and immediately wields. It has a black handle, light blue blade, and flows slightly just as the spirits do.Bookmark here

“Strike the spirits with that blade as we walk to our destination. When you purify them, they have a chance to drop a stone.” Hanabi explains. “It’s very rare though.”Bookmark here

Since it’s an easy task, Sun takes Hanabi’s advice and strikes any spirit that appears near her as they travel. Since they’re everywhere, she does so almost every other second. However, after about 30 spirits with no drops, Sun starts to question why she’s doing this. Hanabi tries to reassure her,Bookmark here

“These items will actually help you strengthen the spell you're about to learn, rather than following the usual method. It’s kind of like a cheat.”Bookmark here

Right after she’s finished explaining, Sun gets a dropped item and reads it’s name. “A spirit stone. So lame.”Bookmark here

After about 5 more minutes they reach the start of the quest, with Sun able to get 13 stones total. Sun looks to see it’s another rundown home in the village. It’s a large two story home in slightly better condition than the rest and clear that someone is actually living here as you can see light from the window. Not understanding how quests work, since Steve or Ryuuji would always start them instead, she then asks,Bookmark here

“Do we just enter?”Bookmark here

“No, if you look there should be an option to knock on the front door. After that the NPC should come out to start the quest.”Bookmark here

Sun looks around the screen to see there is a button to knock on the door. She clicks the button and shortly after, the NPC rushes from the side of the house rather than the front door, startling Sun and causing her to jump. It’s an older man with a scruffy beard.Bookmark here

“What do you think you’re doing?! Get off my property!” The NPC shouts. “Oh I know, you’re just here to try and get me to teach you my unique spell aren’t you! Well too bad I don’t do that anymore. Now scram!”Bookmark here

Still scared by how he suddenly appeared and just started yelling, Sun whines, “Why is he so mad?”Bookmark here

Hanabi can’t help laughing at her reaction, regretting not warning her ahead of time. “Just continue the conversation and depending on your choices, he’ll explain why.”Bookmark here

Just then, a pop up window appears with two response choices. 1: Yes, I’m very interested in the spell you mentioned. Will you please teach me? 2: I’m sorry to bother you like this. Do you mind if I ask why you live out here by yourself?Bookmark here

Sun decides to go with the second option. Although she would rather be blunt and get this nightmare over with, she was also wondering why he would be living in this horrific environment.Bookmark here

“Why am I living here?” The NPC says, repeating the question. “I guess it may seem strange to an outsider, but I’ve always lived here. Even after the beast attacked my village, killing most, I couldn’t just leave it behind.”Bookmark here

Another pop up window appears with 2 more choices. 1: How did you manage to survive? 2: Have you always lived alone?Bookmark here

Once again Sun choses the second option, considering this home is too large for just one person to live in.Bookmark here

“ I used to live here with my wife and daughter. My daughter was only 6 years old when she was taken from me.” The NPC then mentions the spell Sun is here to learn. “You see, the spell ‘Frost Barrier’ is one that is normally passed down in my family from generation to generation. We have always followed this tradition, but after losing my family I had no way to continue it. That’s probably why the rumors that I would teach anyone started to spread, though it’s a complete lie.”Bookmark here

Another pop up window with 2 choices appears; 1: I can't even imagine. I’m sorry to hear all that. 2: Why not start a new family? Surely there’s someone out there who can help.Bookmark here

Sun choses the first option. While she doesn’t exactly think the second is wrong, it’s not worded at all how she thinks it should be.Bookmark here

“I can tell you're a good kid.” The NPC says. “Alright, I’ll teach you my family’s spell. I just need you to gather a couple items for me. Also, I’m sorry for yelling at you.”Bookmark here

Just then another pop up window appears, this time asking Sun; Quest for Frost Barrier is available. Items needed: 4 dragon shards. Accept? Yes/NoBookmark here

Before hitting yes, Sun comments on the story portion, stating she didn’t expect it to be so tragic. Hanabi explains that there aren’t too many quests that are this in-depth, but that the reward will be worth it. Already knowing what items are necessary, Hanabi asks if Sun has any, but she admits that she does not. Bookmark here

“That’s fine. To get those shards we will need to go to a dungeon just north of here. It’s where the beast that attacked this village resides, the dragon Zeryis.” Hanabi explains.Bookmark here

“Another giant lizard? Why are there so many in this game?” Sun complains.Bookmark here

Passing by her silly comment, they make their way to the dungeon. It takes about 10 minutes, having taken the longer route so Sun could gather more stones. To her disappointment she only received 8 more. To get to the dungeon, they need to cross the sea and rent a boat. Before departing, the NPC at the shop warns them;Bookmark here

“If you’re headed to that cavern let me give you a piece of advice: don’t go in too deep. The dragon Zeryis has taken many lives. Plus it would be nice to get my boat back.”Bookmark here

“I can’t tell if he’s more worried about us or his boat.” Sun says, bothered by his comment. She then considers all the warnings and starts to get nervous, “Hey Hana, is this lizard really that difficult?”Bookmark here

“For us it will be.” Hanabi says, bluntly. “With your inexperience and my spells that are mostly to support an offensive player, to be honest we are a terrible party.”Bookmark here

“Then maybe we shouldn’t have done this without the boys.” Sun wonders out loud.Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?” Hanabi shouts. “You told me you wanted to be more useful which means you also don’t want to rely on them as much right? Then let's try it ourselves! Besides, we should be able to get through this without having to fight. Trust me!”Bookmark here

Feeling motivated by Hanabi’s enthusiasm, Sun quickly calms down. The two get on the boat and steer towards the dark cavern. When they arrive, they leave the boat at a run down dock. You can easily tell that little to no maintenance has been done here. Before entering a pop up window asks; Do you want to enter Zeryis’ domain? Yes/No. (Suggested Level 110) Without asking, they both click yes and enter. Bookmark here

Despite all the darkness outside, the dungeon is a bright white on the floors, walls, and ceiling, almost as if it's covered in snow. Hanabi then explains how this is different from past dungeons. Unlike before where they would enter one area, this entire dungeon is Zeryis’ domain. He continually wanders around which is why you need to watch the map that appears in the upper left corner. The red dot is Zeryis, showing that it is quite far from the two. Hanabi explains that they need to get to a specific area to get the shards, and luckily it’s to the right of where the dragon currently is. She warns to not let her guard down as it could appear at any moment. Taking in all the information, Sun says she understands.Bookmark here

With their goal in mind, they start to move, keeping to themselves this time, concentrating on what's going on. Like normal dungeons, there are still small beasts to fight. This time it’s penguins with sharp teeth named ‘Pengys’. Sun thinks they’re creepy, but they are weak and she is able to easily defeat them with her myne blade, while Hanabi just strengthens their defense and leaves the fighting to her. Bookmark here

“Just a little more and we’ll arrive.” Hanabi says, breaking the silence.Bookmark here

“Good I’m tired of these creepy things.” Sun says as she defeats another Pengy.Bookmark here

Going through the dungeon, they reach the 3rd section, getting closer to the dragon, but getting further from the smaller beasts. Even they know to steer clear of the dragon. Hanabi says this is the area, but Sun doesn’t see any shards. Hanabi then tells her to look up. Sun changes the direction on her screen for her character to look upward. In doing so, she sees many clear shards piercing the white ceiling. Bookmark here

“It’s not a monster drop?” Sun asks.Bookmark here

“Actually it is. The shards are scales from the dragon Zeryis.” Hanabi says, then explains how they got there. “Once a year there’s an event where the dragon completely takes over this area, sometimes even leaving the dungeon temporarily to get the player's attention. After it’s defeated, which can take a while, the dragon sheds it’s scales in the area and then goes into hiding. Though if you encounter it again, it will still attack.”Bookmark here

Considering all she said, Sun then asks, “Does that mean you and Seiji took part in the event?”Bookmark here

“Yes! Seiji and I have defeated it twice so far!” Hanabi says, proud.Bookmark here

‘I should have known.’ Hanabi thinks to herself. However, distracted by the conversation and with the view still at an upward angle, the two didn’t notice the dragon Zeryis entered the area they are currently in. Before it attacks, a warning pop up appears on the screen. The two quickly react and attempt to dodge, but the dragon attacks Flora and deals a decent amount of damage. Bookmark here

“Are you okay??”Bookmark here

“I can’t believe I was so careless. I’m alright though.” Hanabi says.Bookmark here

Hanabi heals her character and puts up a small barrier to stop a second attack as the dragon Zeryis follows her, clearly only focused on her at the moment. Hanabi still takes this as a good thing, swiftly defending herself as she tells Sun to shoot arrows at the ceiling to loosen some scales so she can gather them. Sun, knowing she needs to move fast, does so and is able to get 4 to drop from her first shot, the exact amount she needed.Bookmark here

“Okay Hana, I’m all finished!” Sun shouts.Bookmark here

“Good job.” Hanabi says. She then tries to maneuver around the dragon so they can escape, but it easily follows her movements. Surprised, Hanabi then thinks to herself, ‘Come to think of it, I never fought this dragon after it shed it’s scales. Does that make it able to move quicker since it’s lighter? This game is stupid accurate sometimes.’ She complains, feeling a mix of frustration and joy over the accuracy.Bookmark here

Hanabi then remembers Sun learned some offensive spells and asks if she has anything that could change it’s target to something besides them. Looking through her meager list of 4 spells, Sun doesn’t have anything like Hanabi inquired. Instead she settles on the one shot kill spell ‘Single Cell’, remembering that Ryuuji taught her this to help take down major bosses with accurate aim. Not to mention even if the aim is off it can still deal a lot of damage. Sun has never been able to activate the one shot kill part, but knows this is the best to help them escape. Bookmark here

Sun clicks to use the spell and aims at the dragon, which is still focused on Flora. The arrow begins to glow and, when it’s finished charging, she lets it loose, resulting in hitting the dragon and chipping away at it’s health, but not killing it. The dragon roars from the damage and turns it’s attention towards Sun. Instantly recognizing the spell. Hanabi speaks up.Bookmark here

“Sun, was that ‘single cell’?” she asks.Bookmark here

“Yes it is. I’m sorry, I’m not that good at using it yet.” Suns says, ashamed that she failed again.Bookmark here

“Try the spell one more time, but this time aim for it’s center.” Hanabi suggests.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“It may sound silly, but imagine the center of the dragon in your mind, it’s heart so to speak, and I know you’ll be able to hit it.”Bookmark here

Encouraged by Hanabi’s advice, Sun clicks to use the spell once more, aiming at the dragon as it rushes towards her. She repeats ‘aim for the center’ over and over in her head until her eyes are able to focus on one point and, once it’s finished charging, releases the arrow. Sun successfully hits the dragon, seemingly in the center, and it falls to the ground, moving no more. Speechless, Sun just watches as she receives rewards for defeating the dragon Zeryis. Bookmark here

“I actually did it?”Bookmark here

“You did!! That was amazing!” Hanabi says to cheer her on.Bookmark here

Sun then laughs and tells Hanabi that she's a way better teacher than Ryuuji. Hanabi thanks her, but also tells Sun to be sure to mention that she has such a powerful spell next time. Bookmark here

“Sorry, I was embarrassed to mention it since I failed to kill the monsters each time.” Sun admits.Bookmark here

“Don’t be! I’m here to help, remember?” Hanabi says.Bookmark here

After accomplishing more than they expected, the girls leave the dungeon and go back to complete the quest, this time taking the quicker route. At the man’s house, Sun knocks on the door expecting a jump scare again, but is surprised he opens the door like a normal person. Without initiating a conversation, a pop up window asks; Give (4) Dragon Shards? Yes/No.Bookmark here

Sun clicks yes and the NPC speaks up.Bookmark here

“So you brought the items already, good work.” Then as if reminiscing, the NPC continues, “You may have been able to figure this out already, but these ‘shards’ are actually dragon scales. That damn thing destroyed so many lives...I hope you punched it a few times at least.”Bookmark here

Sun laughs at his comment, thinking to herself, ‘Actually, I defeated it.’Bookmark here

“Anyway, let me teach you the spell, it won’t take long. Good luck and stay safe.” The NPC says, thus ending the quest.Bookmark here

A pop-up window appears stating; You have learned the Frost Barrier spell. Congratulations!Bookmark here

After reading that, Sun lets out a sigh, happy to be finished. She then says, “That was a lot of fun. Thanks again, Hana.”Bookmark here

“Anytime!” She says, cheerful. “And now you can brag to Hargrave that you defeated a monster he didn’t even fight yet. It’s definitely a bit more difficult even without the scales.”Bookmark here

“Would he really be surprised though?” Sun asks, honestly.Bookmark here

“ he may be jealous instead.” Hanabi says.Bookmark here

Breaking out into laughter, Sun opens her spell list to now see 5 with the new Frost Barrier included. Although excited, she asks that Hanabi keep this a secret and just tell the boys they went out to gather and happened to come across the lizard that she defeated. Hanabi agrees with that plan, adding that it will be fun to see their reaction tomorrow.Bookmark here

Hanabi then shows her how to level up her spell using the stones, taking her to a training area in the main town, and then they go on a small quest to try it out. At the end of their session, Sun is able to reach level 62, getting a huge boost from defeating the dragon Zeryis.Bookmark here

Starfight Tips;Bookmark here

-Few quests have a story to go with it and require you to gather items to learn the skill or spell. If it does require items, it typically involves the beast from the NPC’s story.Bookmark here

-Normally skills and spells are leveled up through training at places for each specific class. Despite being labeled as training, all you do is say you want to enhance a certain spell/skill and agree to training, with it only taking a few seconds. The speed at which it levels up depends on your character's level and how much meel you are willing to spend. You can also hand the trainer certain items specific to that spell/skill which helps increase the level slightly more than regular training would. Only few from certain quests have this option and the drops are extremely rare.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.