Scattered blades of grass flew through the air as a warm wind brushed across the landscape.
The Tower is separated into “Floors” where the landscape and monsters change; right now I am on the lowest Floor in the Tower.
I was surrounded by grassy plains and open areas with large white trees nearly twice my size. The silvery leaves rustled occasionally which created a sharp sound as the silver leaves shook back and forth.
Over 2 weeks ago I turned 16 and became eligible to start entering the Tower, finally making me a full-fledged Adventurer!
My name is Rei Alos; I live in the lively city of Istoria and grew up there since before I could remember.
I can’t say I have too many great memories growing up but I was never bored, how could I be when I was in the city of Adventurers?!
I had always pressed my dad further on late nights to read just one more chapter from books about them or even wait outside the Tower so that I could catch a story or two about the tales inside of the Tower.
Since before I could remember I had wanted to know what it truly meant to be an adventurer, the best the world had ever seen.
However that future… seems impossible for me.
A fluffy tail perked up from under the large patch of grass ahead of me, as I took a step closer to it, it popped up with a pair of floppy ears hanging over its face. The small furry creature observed me from the grass with its black button-shaped eyes.
Its body was long and fluffy with brown fur covered in small patches of white across its ears and body.
It may be a monster of the Tower but something like this is pretty useless in combat. Besides running away really fast, they don’t do anything but graze the opening field of the First Floor.
Just keep standing there, I can’t risk you running away. It should be jumping in 3, 2, 1…
As I walked over to it I saw the hairs on its body and tail stand on edge. I reached over to my dainty sword hanging from my waist and continued to progress as slowly as I could, but…
Just as I entered a one-meter radius from it, the monster leaped out from the grass away from me with both of its front paws aimed away.
With all my strength I shot myself forward and threw out the rusted silver blade towards it, smacking it in the side with my weapon it went flying to the ground.
“That didn’t feel solid at all; I don’t think I managed to cut the skin either.” I said with a cringed expression.
This is the most a skill-less runt like me can manage, without any strong abilities I’m left with fighting these small fries.
The tube of fur rolled around in place with crazy erratic movements; the adventurers around me passed by with watchful eyes and murmurs. I didn’t need to hear them to know what they were saying. Anyone can tell that I’m a complete noob after all.
It’s not like I haven't been trying my best these last weeks, I just haven't grown any stronger. Other adventurers have at least moved up to the later sections of this floor by now where as I can barely swing my sword.
Upon entering the Tower humans gain The Blessing which allows us to grow stronger and gain abilities to fight these monsters. I don’t feel much different though, I’ve heard about some slow beginnings but this feels unrivalled…
I grit my teeth and forced my pride down my throat as I held the sword up above my head.
The tip of the sword sunk into its body with a slight resistance but with some further effort, I managed to force it all the way through and kill it. It was by no means a clean kill but I couldn't let it suffer any longer.
“If only I had some strength of my own. I’ve heard of people able to summon lightning or pillars of fire…If only I had a skill of my own.” I muttered bitterly.
The monster that I had just struggled to kill was known as a Funk, the weakest creature on the Floor and consequently the entire Tower.
My sword was covered in dark red blood and chunks of entrails that dragged along the blade as I pulled it out. The sword had already been covered in shallow scratches with chips on stains all along the edge from earlier ventures.
“This thing is on its last legs…what do I do now? What am I going to do, this was super expensive too!”
It may not look like much but this cost me an arm and a leg from my savings…I only get about 500 Rhan from the orphanage but after a couple of months of saving, I was finally able to get my hands on it in preparation for entering the Tower.
Even if it isn't the highest quality, a weapon is a necessity for adventurers. That and…monster drops, ugh!
I took a big gulp and leaned down to the bloodied fur of the Funk.
This has to be the worse part of the job, I want to vomit!
I hesitantly tried reaching into the cut so that I could pull out the meat but at the last second, I pulled my hand away. Seeing as I haven't managed to kill too many Funks since starting, I haven't needed to do this more than a handful of times.
I ended up using the tip of my sword and made a complete mess stabbing the clumps of meat and storing them into the pouch along my waist.
It may seem gross but this is how monster drops are taken care of, using these drops from the monster I can sell them to vendors or many stores in Istoria. In fact, Magnolia Street is an entire section of the city dedicated to stores willing to do such business.
“I doubt I could even get 50 Rhan for this, Funk meat is barely selling these days anyways. Sigh~.”
Suddenly an ominous beat flooded my ears as it repeated softly over and over like a pair of drums far off in the distance.
Since I haven't progressed any further than this point for the last week I know it like the back of my hand.
I know everything from the number of people that pass through, the timing of the Funks, and even the direction of the wind.
“So where did those trees come from?” I asked with a curious expression.
Two trees with crisp white bark and silver leaves, no taller than a meter from the grass stood perfectly aligned with one another ahead of me.
I was ready to turn away but the subtle sound echoed through my ears again becoming even louder as I approached the trees.
My eyes were locked on the twin figures, after another step I noticed a snow-colored leaf fall from the branches and brush against a solid surface in the air between them.
What was that, it almost looked like water?!
I gingerly held out my hand to the space between the trees and watched it disappear into a ripple in the air.
“Wh-what is this, is it magic or something?”
I walked through the rippling wall until the last inch of my heel passed through and I was greeted by a dim room covered with moss and vines from every direction.
Ba-dump Ba-dump Ba-dump Ba-dump
In front of me was no longer a peaceful view but rather a closed-off dreary dome.
All around me were brown leafy vines woven together into a circular wall that caved into a curved roof over my head. The only source of light in this leafy death trap was the small cracks and gaps between the greenery that light shone through.
A dungeon…no matter how I look at this I managed to step into an undiscovered dungeon!
Dungeons are labyrinths, mazes or rooms closed off from the rest of the Tower as they have mobs and usually a Boss waiting at the end. The only reason adventures bother entering them is because of the hefty rewards.
I don’t care about rewards though…I’m not even strong enough to be here!
“A human has found me first; I might be saved after all.”
My eyes raced across the room to the origin of the ethereal voice. To my surprise, it was an old man dressed in long red and white robes that look to be expert-level equipment.
He was lying against the wall with a hand over his chest and another pointing towards the side of the room. He was well into his years and displayed a mature masculine face.
From across the room, I could tell that his crimson-red eyes seemed to be glowing, it was something I had never seen in a person before.
My eyes followed his fingers to the side and widened.
A large humanoid figure taller than a great oak tree made completely of wood with mossy clumps growing over its body squirmed under the massive amounts of restraints holding it against the wall.
Glowing red chains linked from the ground and wall kept it in place. They seemed to be a sort of magic or spell but it was definitely out of what I had ever seen.
The monster flailed about trying to break free, creating the sharp sound of rattling chains. It jolted its arms in every direction causing the chains to stretch to their limits.
I’ve never seen that monster before…he looks huge! Something that big shouldn’t be on the first floor should it; this has to be some sort of irregular.
The repeating bloodied coughs snapped me out of my thought, I quickly ran over to him sticking close to the wall as I ran. Even with that thing in chains, I wasn’t able to convince my body not to be on alert, my legs wouldn’t stop shaking.
The closer I got to him the more I noticed, the most important being that his skin was completely grey like ash. As he coughed again, a splatter of purple liquids stained his hand.
I followed the purple splatters and stains under his hand and noticed a pool of purple blood beneath him.
The old man lifted his hand from his chest which resulted in the repeated beating to cease.
So it was him making that noise, did he do it to lure me here?
The cracked corners of the old man’s mouth straightened out as his face turned stern.
“I know that my eyes haven’t grown so weak as to imagine it…an empty vessel within the Tower?”
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