Being A Mage Is Boring, So I Created A Class For Myself
Chaos Year 3, Day 110, 12:33 am.
The sounds of continuous footsteps echoed throughout the tunnel. Flambeaus, hanging on the wall, generated flickering shadows that danced back and forth, as the seven of us walked down the stairway we climbed earlier. Staying right in the middle of the marching squad, I explained my new playstyle to my squadmates.
"So, I got this passive ability." I showed them my system interface that viewed the details of the ability. "As you can see, now I can use 5 of my skills with no cast time."
"So, that's what it was," Lynx said, accepting the fact with no surprise at all.
Hmm, they probably half-expected it, watching me jumping around and casting skills instantly.
"Sheesh! However you slice it, it's too OP." Shinji added.
"But there are some restrictions to make it not so OP," I said, throwing an irritated look at Shinji. "I'm sure no one here knows this, but actually there are cooldowns of our mage skills."
"What are you talking about?" Boss frowned.
"We used to think that mage skills don't have a cooldown time, because they already take a long time to cast. But actually, there are cooldowns, just hidden behind the casting time. Let's say teleport takes 7 seconds to cast. After it's used once, to cast again we need to wait for another 7 seconds to finish the chanting. Between that time, the skill gets refreshed, meaning the cooldown ends. That's why we never really understood, there always was cooldown time."
"So that means your skills might not have a casting time, but the cooldown still remains?" Hikari concluded.
"Yep, so I can't abuse the ability, casting skills again and again like some of you guys are thinking."
"Okay, that makes sense now." Lynx nodded. "Chaos suddenly being so generous, giving away OP stuff, doesn't make sense."
Our conversation came to a stop when we reached the flat ground where the staircase ended. On the opposite side, another stairway descended into the darkness. For some reason, only that area had no light whatsoever.
"So that is the way we go?" Pika asked, turning back from the forefront. The worried expression returned to her face.
"Well, no use going that way," Boss said, pointing at our left. The pathway lying in that direction would lead us to the large battleground arena.
"What about the tunnel you two were in?" Annette-san asked, fixing her gaze on me.
"That place is full of traps. I think it's just there as the wrong path." I sighed, disappointed again with my disastrous luck.
"Alright, way down we go," Boss said, taking the lead. He snatched one of the flambeaus along the way.
Following Boss, we stepped down one by one. The stairway was a bit narrow for two players to walk side by side comfortably. If we get ambushed here, it would be a real pain to deal with.
Pika settled herself behind Boss, the light bearer. I again remained in the middle trailing after Annette-san. We took steps carefully, wary of the dark. With no chatter, the quiet surroundings came off creepier than expected.
"Alright, let me start where I left it before," I began, breaking the silence. Everyone else also seemed too eager to listen, as they drew closer. "So, my skills still have cooldowns. And the only way to decrease that is obviously the cooldown reduction."
"So that's why that armor…" Lynx nodded, with his fingers touching his chin.
"Yep," I confirmed.
"Wait, what about armor? Did I miss something?" Shinji frowned.
It will be faster if I show them, I figured.
"Riri, open my armor details."
A blue screen, the system interface, appeared before me. Then I tapped on one of the names.
(One of the set items of Skogon's Light Armor Set)
Item Type: Armor
Rarity: 4 star
Requirements: Dexterity ≥80, Agility ≥80
This armor was produced by Gridor, one of the most revered blacksmiths of all time. It was created using Skogon, the ancient sky dragon's scales. These scales were light as feathers but tougher than orichalcum ores.
Main stat: Physical Defense +670
Sub stat :
Movement Speed +60
Cooldown Reduction +8%
2-set bonus: Agility +20
4-set bonus: After using a dash skill or teleportation skill, movement speed +150 for 3 seconds.
Shinji, Pika, and Annette-san took turns to read the details, as we walked forward without any pause. I had absolutely no sense of direction anymore, thanks to the narrow staircase endlessly spiraling downward.
"Four of the same set with the same sub-stats makes a total of 32% Cooldown Reduction. Next comes the regular CD reduction based accessory, 'Slasher's Bracelet' which gives me 15% more. So finally now I have 47% cooldown reduction."
"Hmm, these make sense, yeah," Boss said, keeping his eyes forward. "Since you're focusing on Movement Speed and CD Reduction."
"So it takes a bit less than 3 seconds before I can teleport again now," I added.
Alright, done explaining the stats part, now comes the important part, the gameplay mechanics.
But before I could begin, Lynx initiated a different topic, the one part I did not want to touch upon.
"Say, Rio, wouldn't it be better if you just selected all your top DPS skills? I mean, that way you could cast all of them at once and deal an insane amount of damage in a snap of a finger, right?"
It is true. If I still played like a normal mage, I might even become one of the top DPS players in the whole game.
"It's also less risky and easier to build the team around it," Boss also added. "It would have been just like before, we would corner them. While you would just need to wait and deal that big damage at the right moment. It'd be a lot easier to synchronize too since you don't have to chant now. You are our team's DPS player, and now boosted by your new ability, your DPS could be doubled. Our squad would grow leaps and bounds easily if you just properly played as the elemental mage.
"Yeah, why the hell you gotta jump around like that and use that burning sword anyway?" asked Shinji.
I stayed silent for a moment. Then straightening my back, I raised my head high, with the most serious expression that I could manage.
"It's because I do not want to keep playing in the old style," I said loud and clear. I needed to voice out my determination, and that I would not go back on my decision no matter what. "You guys probably did not know, but I always hated playing as a mage. I detest the very idea of standing back in anxiety, waiting for the right moment to come. Some people might take this as laid back and peaceful. But for me, at the same time, it is both exhausting and super boring."
Everyone stopped moving. They listened to my every word without interrupting. It was a bit nerve-wracking, with all their eyes fixated upon me. But there was no going back.
Directing my gaze toward Boss, I continued, "It's nothing against you, but completely personal. I don't like being led around while fighting, It kinda feels unsettling. Today, when I played on my own with no directions or rules, I felt free, I felt alive. Today, I truly enjoyed the game, for the first time in the last three years."
Beneath the light of the flambeau, everyone's expression seemed grim, as they kept staring at me.
"This is gonna be selfish on my part. I know If I played normally It might be better for the team." Then bowing my head, I said, "But still please let me continue with this new playstyle. I can not bring myself to play in the old style when I finally have a chance to play differently."
I kept my head down, waiting for anyone to say something. But no one uttered any sound. The whole area was quiet, except for the continuous burning sound of the torch.
A few seconds later, a strong large hand grasped my right shoulder. I raised my head a bit and spotted Boss, standing before me with a kind gaze.
Then he said, "It's alright, Rio. I have no right to stop you from playing like you want. It might take a considerable amount of time for the squad to get used to a completely unknown playstyle like yours. And it might not be as destructive as the older one. But I do believe, once we adapt to it, the uniqueness and surprise elements of the playstyle are gonna be very useful to the squad."
"And we have Hikari and Lynx as pure DPS players anyway," Annette-san added, smiling gently. "Rio can be our trump card."
"Yeah." Everyone else also agreed, nodding together.
I heaved a sigh of relief. They took it better than I expected.
"Thank you everyone for understanding." I bowed again, this time with a big smile.
Everyone smiled in response. We took off again moving forward through the dark tunnel. Suddenly a strong jab on my back shook my whole body, almost making me stumble down. Then a steel armored arm wrapped around my neck.
I peeked over my shoulder immediately. Behind me, Shinji was leaning against my back, with a grin on his face.
"Man, I always thought you were born all gloomy. I didn't know you had this thing weighing you down." He said, hovering over my shoulder. "From now on, you and I can fight together in the front line."
Does this guy know his own strength?
"Y-yeah" my voice cracked under the pressure. "Anyway, let go now."
"Oh, oops, sorry." He backed away.
After a while, Pika moved back a little, nearing me. Even in the dark, she looked really cute in that maid dress. Staring into my eyes, she smiled sweetly.
"I'm very happy for you, Senpai. You finally found what you always desired."
Hearing her words, suddenly I recalled the conversation I had with my own subconscious. I didn't remember much, but a few sentences hopped around the corner of my mind.
"You are just running away… Because you don't want to face reality… Deep down inside your heart, something is hidden there, something you are crazy about, your true passion… What do you truly desire?"
Indeed I sought after a different class for years. But was that the only thing I ever desired? Why does it feel like something is missing? Something very important to me. I can't quite piece it together. Over these years, exhausted by the mage class, I forgot all about that.
Soon my chain of thoughts was cut short when we finally reached the end of the tunnel. Exiting the tunnel, where we stepped in, turned out to be an enormous bridge. It was just a wide horizontal pathway, connecting two sides of a huge pit.
Wait, isn't this the same one from before? We are only a lot deeper into the hole this time.
We stepped forward carefully, sticking together, keeping away from the edge. We thought we would have to fight swarms of monsters here, making it challenging to cross the bridge. But none of them showed up.
Weird, something doesn't feel right.
In this game, when we didn't get ambushed for a while, that meant something was really wrong. And my hunch was right on the mark. The whole bridge began trembling violently.
"Move it guys!"
We dashed at the top of our speed. Behind us, the bridge started breaking down. Cracks on the ground rapidly closed in and chased us.
The other side was still too far away to reach with teleport. Without looking back we just sprinted on. But it was too late. Soon the ground beneath our feet scrambled down to pieces. And all seven of us dropped into the bottomless abyss.
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