More time had passed, Roland felt like his adventure was slowly coming to an end as after about half a year he had hit his level cap. Their adventurer party had ventured to the third floor of the dungeon. They decided on not moving past this level as the monster attacks began to be more vicious and troublesome. The monster types increased and with those the defensive tactics had to be changed, they couldn't just keep doing the same thing over and over again.
The strongest monsters around that level were the Wereboars. They were creatures with gorilla-like bodies and the head of a boar. Roland also finally saw Sahildr's large magical hammer at work. The rune was activated by her mana and when she connected with the target a small explosion would occur. If she timed it well it was able to take out a wereboar in one hit or at least incapacitate it. The problem was that it required a lot of mana, mana that a warrior class didn't have much of.
'I guess a weapon like that is situational, have to make it count, unless you have enough mana to spam it constantly.'
Roland was sitting in the room that he had rented while thinking to himself. The candlelight danced around while the youth was looking at a piece of paper. He had a quill in his hand and he dipped it into some ink. His digits moved smoothly as he started writing on the parchment, the words came out clear and the penmanship was satisfactory.
|Basic Calligraphy L9 reached.|
He heard the familiar voice of the system and he gave out a sigh. He almost threw his quill to the side, his fingers were a bit cramped up from the hours of writing he forced himself to do.
"Finally... this took way too long..."
He looked at the stack of papers on his table. There were no comfy cushioned chairs here, the light was dim and the room was windy and cold. He had spent months writing down characters over and over again before going to sleep, just to get this darn calligraphy skill up to level 9 as it was the requirement for the new class.
"Ugh... I'm afraid that this will be how my life looks from now on..."
He closed his eyes and rubbed the space between the eyebrows and his nose that was called the glabella. He looked up to the ceiling and watched the shadows dance around while the candlelight was pushed around by the wind in his room.
"I'll have to tell them sooner or later..."
He thought to his party of misfits, he had spent some quality time with those three girls and they were slowly growing on him. He knew that his stay in this city would be temporary and he needed to move on. The place to train his crafting classes wasn't here, he wouldn't be able to sell his spell scrolls here that well either. He did his research and no one would buy anything from a no-name like him, he needed to attach himself to some well-established company. Plus you needed to actually pay for a permit to sell, which cost quite the penny.
"I wonder if they will force me to sign a contract or something, could always try peddling at the market...not."
He shook his head while imagining sitting on a rug and trying to sell some mana arrow spell scrolls for the whole day. He placed his coin sack on the table and let the system count the coins.
"Not nearly enough..."
He started out well, he was making enough coin to even save up. Later on, the repairing costs came biting him back with a vengeance. His short sword didn't last past the fifth month and his leather armor was already broken in a couple of places. He had to replace his boots and other various things.
Adventuring as a Bronze or Steel grade adventurer wasn't a high paying job, from what he had gathered he wouldn't really start earning more until he became a Silver rank. At that rank the better-paying jobs opened up, the requirement was having a tier 2 class though so that was still a long way off.
"Bronze and Steel is For Tier 1 classes, Silver and Gold for Tier 2..., From Platinium start the Tier 3 classes..."
Adventurers mostly ended up at the Silver rank. If you managed to get yourself into gold you were considered slightly above average. Anything past Platinium was considered the elite and veterans. The number of adventurers at the highest class could apparently be counted on one hand, those were the true titans of the industry. Even countries or empires would have to bow their head to individuals at that level.
"Adamantium huh? Do you need to be tier 4 or 5 for that? I should probably forget about that..."
Roland had slowly steeled his heart about becoming a craftsman. He had fun with his new Party and fighting monsters was less boring than writing scrolls but it was also a lot more dangerous. He didn't delude himself into thinking that he could come out in one piece every time. He could see adventurers dying in various ways, this was a serious and dangerous profession.
'Becoming a smith, earning some coin, and then finding a nice voluptuous wife ... sounds like the plan for me. You don't earn as much experience as a crafting class while fighting monsters either.'
Roland rubbed his chin while looking at his stats.
|Name :||Roland Arden Mage L25|
'My mana stat is still stupidly high... I guess I'll be able to create a lot of spell scrolls a day. Read that the more mana you infuse into the writing, the stronger the spell will be.'
'First I need to change my class though, still think I should buy an item with a rune...'
He asked Sahildr about lending him that large hammer of hers. The woman didn't want to give it up, saying that she would only lend it to him if he beat her in arm wrestling or in drinking. He gave up after the first try, he had no way of winning in either situation so he didn't even try. He knew that the woman was only teasing him and would probably give it up if he asked enough.
He looked at some more runes afterward, but he needed more time to experiment. He decided to get an item for himself, one that he could disassemble. This wasn't something he could investigate in a short span of time.
He bothered the girls about helping him find the cheapest item with a runic enchantment. For some reason, he didn't get the same feeling when glancing on items that didn't have runic enchantments but instead the regular ones. The normal ones were cheaper but were considered weaker. They also covered more surface area on the items so you couldn't place as many of them on one.
He was hesitating as he didn't want to just blow his hard-earned cash on a useless item. His curiosity was peaked though, he needed to examine a runic object, he had just enough to get a knife with a lesser rune of sharpness. It was an item that would be the most useful of the ones he could afford. He nodded to himself while thinking about his adventurer work.
'I shouldn't go to the dungeon before changing my class, I'll lose out on a big chunk of my experience.'
Just like before the ascension ritual, his experience would somewhat be saved over but only to a certain point. In the long run, it would be a big loss in experience points, so he needed to change his class fast.
'I'll go to that log cabin in the morning, then buy that knife.'
Roland blew out his candle and went to sleep, the next day he got up early morning and was sure to eat breakfast before going out. He got used to the gruel that was served here, the bar lady even started improving on her recipe. The older lady gave him a wink after he finished up eating and even offered him some free water to wash it down with.
"Heading out early in the morning boy?"
Roland looked at the woman, her name was Hilde and the bartender that was her husband was named Boris. He had been living in this inn for close to half a year now and knew them well. He managed to haggle the price down a bit, people that stayed longer and paid monthly were graciously allowed a 5% discount.
"Something like that, have to visit the west woods for something, I'll probably be back in a couple of hours."
The lady nodded while cleaning up, he didn't waste any more time as he headed out. He passed by the gate guards that knew him well by this point, the two gave him a nod while he was passing by. He looked at some carriages that were lined up at the entrance and walked passed them, his next destination was the log cabin in the woods.
Unbeknownst to him, a certain person was watching. The figure walked past the gate guards and watch from afar as the boy disappeared into the distance. The person clenched his fist while looking down to the ground as if he was deliberating on something. He soon left not long after.
'Should I run there? My running skills leveled up past the basic ones.'
He deliberated but felt kind of lazy so he decided on walking instead, he would get there within an hour so it wasn't that bad. His basic skills were now able to level up to the regular versions. He even received a free stat point here and there after they evolved. Skills like basic sneaking would raise his agility, while basic swordsmanship his strength.
He hadn't been on this path in a while but thanks to his high intelligence stat his memory was great. He remembered to follow the dirt road and even recalled that day while he was sitting in that carriage.
'Heh, I thought that guy wanted to murder me at that time.'
He laughed to himself while moving forward, when he arrived he was greeted by the same log cabin. It looked even worse than he remembered, there was clearly no one taking care of it.
'Man, why would you leave a kid here alone?'
He crossed his arms over one another while thinking back to his family days. He wondered if they even remembered that he was living here. He didn't think that his siblings would care much about him, they avoided each other like the plague back in the day. He was glad that they all left after attaining their classes and only came back sporadically to the mansion.
'What was his plan anyway... well, I should probably get my things and get back, no use staying here.'
He didn't leave anything inside of the log cabin as he had carried everything over to the inn within the first couple of days of him moving. He entered the wooden house, the wooden door creaked open.
'I'm sure there was one here...ah there it is.'
He grabbed a rusted shovel, it was in the same place that he had left it. This place looked abandoned, didn't look like even bandits would ransack it. There were just old rusty pots and pans left here, the dust had piled up and made Roland think that no one besides him had visited this place in a long time.
He glanced at the cabin one last time before leaving and heading into the woods to get to his hiding place. It didn't take him long to find the tree he hid it next too.
'Doesn't look like anyone did any digging, I guess it was the right thing to do.'
He hesitated about taking the class change stone sooner, they were quite costly at two small gold coins a pop. This was the price of more than a monthly income of a whole commoner household. Most people were only able to earn one small gold coin per month. Of course, if you were a high-level adventurer, a merchant, or a noble then it wasn't such a big price to pay.
'I'm lucky that I swiped it, I wouldn't be able to class up this soon otherwise. I have barely half of that saved up.'
Roland smirked while finally managing to dig up the blue quartz looking crystal that was used for changing your class. He held it for a moment before placing it into his pocket. He was done here, he placed the rusty shovel over his shoulder while intending to bring it back before heading out.
He strolled through the forest and kind of underestimated the sheer amount of branches in the way. His shovel got stuck on some of the trees and he came to an abrupt stop, this was the thing that saved his life. The same moment he heard something flying in front of his face and embedding itself into the nearby tree. He looked at the item that flew and discovered it to be a throwing knife, it was still wiggling back and forth on the tree trunk.
He quickly became alert and ducked behind another tree. He could hear some rustling in the distance, someone was there and he was trying to hurt him, probably even kill him. He gulped hard while tossing the shovel away to the side, he had come with this adventurer gear he grasped his short sword but didn't pull it out from the scabbard just yet.
'Was it a goblin? I don't remember them sneaking up on people like this.'
It wasn't strange for goblins to use throwing weapons, the strange part was that there was no high pitched scream following the knife throw. A regular goblin would charge in right afterward and not hide, it might even be some kind of evolved variant.
'I should probably escape, don't know what I'm dealing with...'
He looked up to the trees, he deliberated climbing it but then gave up on the idea. That was a good tactic for waiting in hiding but not really if you wanted to escape. He dropped down and started slowly sneaking away, his basic sneaking skill had leveled up so he was now much harder to spot.
His steps shuffled around without making much noise, the only problem was that he couldn't go back the same way that he had come from. His enemy looked to be coming from the direction of the cabin, he might have been followed here.
'I need to get back into the city, aw shit.'
While thinking he stepped onto a small branch that made a snapping sound. The moment the sound occurred he could hear some rustling behind him, whatever was there had started running towards his position.
He stood up and started running with all his might. His smaller stature allowed him to slip between the branches and the bushes but in his slightly panicked state, he was getting scratched up. He couldn't see his opponent but by the sound of his or her steps, he could tell that it was someone heavier and bigger than he was.
'Who is it? Is it really a bandit or a robber?'
He wanted to look back and see but he was worried that if he did that the person would catch up to him. He continued running, heading towards the main road. He wasn't that far away from the city maybe if he made it far enough this bandit would abandon his robbery attempt.
He continued running but he could tell that the person behind him was coming closer. Even though he had trained his sprinting skill and running past the basic ones the person behind him was much faster. In no time he felt someone's gaze on his neck, he dodged to the side as another throwing knife flew past him. It grazed his shoulder and managed to cut open his leather armor slightly.
Roland tumbled to the side, his opponent was finally revealed. The man was taller than him, at about 183 cm of height or close to six feet tall. He was wearing the usual black hood to cover his face, in one hand he had another throwing knife. To the side he had some kind of long thin-bladed weapon, on further examination, it turned out to be a heavy rapier.
"What do you want, I don't have any money!"
Roland left most of his cash at the inn, it was safe enough to stash it there. He was only carrying some pocket change and the class changing crystal.
'Did he see me dig it up and now he wants the crystal? How did he know that I was even here?'
The man moved in closer while finally speaking up, his hand still gripping the throwing knife while ready to throw it.
"Who said I wanted your money, like a little bastard son like you even has anything I want!"
Roland became confused, if this wasn't a robbery then what was it. Then he realized something strange about how the man referred to him.
"Bastard son? Wait... did the Baron send you? Why would he want to kill me now of all things?"
Roland asked while backing away and keeping to the trees, luckily those made it hard for him to get hit by those knives.
"Heh, I guess you aren't that dumb like you look. It doesn't matter though, I have enough of staying in this forsaken town!"
The man finally removed his hood and revealed his face, this was someone that Roland was familiar with. This was someone that after being here for half a year he had forgotten. It was the man that he saw keeping tabs on him before, for some reason he was now trying to kill him.