Adamas opened his eyes and was greeted with darkness. The slow *Shiiin* sound of his capsule could be heard as the lid opened. Adamas tried to sit up and was met with mild stabbing pain from every muscle on his body. Oh yeah, the capsule has that feature where a 10th of the exertions you make inside will be felt in RL… He barely manage to sit up right and he was already breathing hard in exhaustion. The room was shrouded in darkness and when Adamas checked his watch he realized it was past midnight.
Adamas was about to raise his body out of the capsule but in the end he decided against it. He laid back down in the capsule and with him the lid followed locking in place above him. Right before he closed his eyes he saw and heard a message hovering in front of him.
|Activate REM_PLAY mode?|
Adamas was too tired to ponder the message, only hearing REM and catching sight of “MODE”. He concluded that the capsule system was asking him if he wanted to sleep so he quickly mumbled a “yes” and drifted of into dream land.
***1 hour later***
Adam found himself on a sidewalk holding hands with beauty incarnate. He couldn’t help but wonder how he found himself walking hand in hand with Kandy but as soon as he made eye-contact with her he decided not to dwell on the matter anymore. Her smile blew away all and any doubts within. Adam breathed in her scent and held it in afraid that if he let it out he would never get to savior it again. His eyes drank in her figure never having enough of her lush and full body that would make any man’s head turn. The warmth that spread from their joined hands only furthered the feeling of security within Adam. Adam looked up and a smile was pulled out from his heart and painted his face when he saw Kandy smiling once more.
It felt like everything was right where it should be at that moment until the floor beneath Adam gave way. The ground sank down breaking into numerous pieces leaving him suspending in the air for a split second before gravity worked its magic. Adam quickly let go of Kandy’s hand on reflex in order to avoid dragging her down with him only to be grief-stricken when he looked back up in assurance of her safety. Adam found Kandy in Liam’s arms, passionately sucking mouth with him and all signs that she ever loved Adam were gone as if he never existed.
Adam’s heart fell with him as the ensuing scene faded away from his sight. The surroundings were shrouded in darkness and the drop looked bottomless. As soon as Adam gave in to the inevitable and endless fall an unseen force grabbed a hold of him, pulling him down even faster. He flailed his arms and legs trying to repress the force but it was all to no avail. He tried to look down towards the source of the pull for an answer but only darkness greeted his endeavor.
What the hell is going on!! Please let this be a dream! ….Wait!! That’s it!! I must be drea-
Adam woke up with a start, quickly sitting upright on his bed breathing hard as if he had just run a marathon. His chest hurt, or to be more accurate his heart hurt. He felt hollow inside as if everything in his chest was ripped out from within, and the tears that fell from his eyes were the vestiges of his remaining heart.
After calming down and cursing both Liam and Kandy inside his head Adam looked down at himself and realized that he was a child!
Wait.. Am I back in the game?
Now Adamas instead of Adam slowly slid to the edge of the bed and stood up. He looked around the place and noticed Grant’s sword lying on the floor from when he came up to go to sleep before he logged out.
Didn’t I log out and go to sleep?
Adamas looked all around him in confusion until he realized the words on the top right of his vision spelling out “REM_PLAY MODE“.
REM_PLAY!? Rem? As in REM sleep? So is this like being able to play while you’re asleep? How come I couldn’t do this before…? Well… I guess I haven’t really tried to sleep in the pod before but i never really heard about any REM_PLAY mode either… Maybe this is a new update from INTERACT? Oh well, it’s not like me to stare a gift horse in the mouth.
Adamas headed towards the stairs and descended into the living room in time to see two flashes of light.
“Ady? What are you doing awake baby, did I not tell you to go get some sleep?” Said Elian in a scolding tone.
Adamas hesitated before responding, “Ah, I couldn’t go to sleep mother so I thought I might go outside and take a bath.”
Elian placed her finger on her chin while scrutinizing Adamas, “Hmmm, you do look filthy…. and that putrid smell! Ugh, intolerable. Follow me baby, Ill heat up the water and while I do so, I want you to remove your clothes and dispose of them in the basket outside. I’ll attempt to mend the damage.” In the middle of her dialogue Elian strode outside with Adamas in tow.
Adamas quickly spoke up before his mother reached the outdoor shower, “Mother, before you start, could you tell me where those two girls left to?”
Without turning around Elian answered, “You mean Lindsey and Hailey? They both returned to Anilare, the goddess of Destiny, just like you will when you are of age.”
“Oh”, I guess that’s how NPC’s make sense of us logging out but who is goddess Anilare.?
Elian then placed her hand on the metal cylindrical container full of water. The metal on the container slowly began to turn red and when it seemed it couldn’t turn any redder Elian removed her hands and turned around to face Adamas, “Well baby, what are you lingering for, off with your clothes and into the shower.”
Adamas removed his gaze from the container and proceeded to shed his clothes, placing them into the basket which was swiped by his mother on her way inside the house. He quickly scrubbed himself with soap that was found inside the shower and rinsed himself off.
He walked out and found a towel with some clothes under it. He dried himself off and dressed within the portable shower. He walked inside the house to find his mother sitting in one of the couches across from the fireplace mending his clothes with a needle and thread.
Adamas quietly seated himself near her and closely examined his mother’s work. He was baffled by what he saw. Her skills were exquisite. Her aim with the needle was precise and her spacings were consistent. In only a few minutes, Adamas’s shirt looked just like new.
Elian noticing her son’s interest spoke up, “Ady baby, do you perhaps want to learn the skills of a tailor? I could teach you all about it?”
Adamas smiled and nodded his head just like an enthusiastic kid and in response Elian told Adamas, “Wait right here, I’ll be back.”
Elian smiled as she placed her current work aside. She headed straight into her room and quickly returned to Adamas with a bundle of clothes, paper, and a human sized mannequin in her hand. She dropped them all in front of Adamas. She then handed him a pencil that surprisingly looked a bit modern, a roll of measuring tape, a wooden ruler, and a pair of scissors. “The first thing every tailor must know how to do is measure. I want you to accurately measure the mannequin ten times. Don’t stop until you get the same exact measurement ten out of every ten times. Once you’ve accomplished measuring the mannequin precisely we will move on to the next step.”
Elian then proceeded to show Adamas where on the body the measurements should take place. After she made sure Adamas understood how and where to measure she returned to her work on the couch.
You Have Been Taught the Tailoring Sub-Skill MEASUREMENT!
Adamas slowly read the notifications and grinned after he closed them. He picked up the roll of measuring tape and approached the mannequin. It took Adamas five tries for him to get the same exact measurements ten times in a row on the mannequin and a *Ding* rang out in his ear signaling his accomplishment.
Tailoring Sub-Skill Measurement has been mastered!
Afterwards Elian showed Adamas how to draw out designs and patterns according to measurements on paper using the wooden ruler and pencil. She quickly drew out a shirt design and taught Adamas how to draw out a basic thread pattern. Once Adamas understood everything, his mother handed him the ruler and pencil along with a huge blank paper.
“Now Ady, in order to draw a correct design, none of your lines can be crooked and you must map out the exact measurements for the shirt! I enchanted the paper to become a meticulous learning tool. It will remove your design every time you perform inaccurately. You must understand baby. First-rate tailors can not afford to make even one mistake. It would ruin their reputation and decrease the quality of their clothes. Now then, get to it!”
You Have Been Taught the Tailoring Sub-Skill DESIGN&PATTERN!
Adamas was all over the paper with his ruler and pencil flashing across the blank canvas below him. For every mis-stroke the paper would erase his design forcing Adamas to start all over. For every millimeter he was off in his measurements the paper would erase itself as if laughing at his incompetence. Just when Adamas was about to explode, his mother called him from the kitchen. “Ady, how about you take a break from that and come help me out in the kitchen!”
Adamas put down his pencil and ruler and headed towards the kitchen. His mother asked him if he wanted to learn how to cook and Adamas nodded his head in reply.
Elian lectured, “Well then the first thing every cook should know is how to pick the best ingredients so I’ll first have you learn the identification skill since it takes too long to be taught.”
Elian opened up the highest cabinet and pulled out a small thin brown book from inside. “Here, this is the beginner’s identification skill book. Since Basic skill books sell for about a house worth of gold and there are only a handful of Intermediate skill books this was the only one I could obtain. In order to advance your skill you’re going to have to use identification continuously whenever you can.”
Huh, so you can skip levels by buying more advanced skill books! That’s cool and kind of unfair at the same time. I wonder how much this cost?
So Adamas inquired his NPC mother. “How much did this book cost you?”
“Well these skill books usually sell for about 5 Gold coins, but I acquired this one when I was adventuring around Galea with your father. *Sigh* Those days were full of adventure and excitement. Just the two of us! Your father and I against the world!”
Elian had a nostalgic smile until her eyes met Adamas’s and she picked him up and gave him a hug. “But I wouldn’t trade what I have now to go back in time! Ever since you came my days have been full of nothing but happiness!”
“haha, I love you to mom” Adamas couldn’t help but get caught up in his NPC mother’s mood. Even though a part of Adamas’s mind told him it was weird to have feelings for a mother that was made up of endless strands of data Adamas decided to ignore it since in the end his feeling were real and that was all that mattered.
Unlike Kandy and everyone else, at least I know that Elian won’t ever betray me…..
Elian then put Adamas down and handed him the book but not before giving him a kiss on the cheek. Adamas replied with a happy “Thank you mother!”
Elian smiled and ruffled her little baby’s hair, “You are welcome my little pumpkin.”
Adamas put his hand on the book and instead of yelling out “learn skill” like some cartoon hero, (I was too caught up in the moment last time, I’m never doing that again) he cleared his mind and filled it with only the thought of learning the skill identification. The book began to shine until finally his hand sank into it and the book collapsed into dust.
You Have Learned the IDENTIFICATION Skill!
|Beginner||Level 1 (0%)|
Adamas gave himself a high-five and grew wings in order to fly towards the sky inside his head in celebration. Unfortunately his wings were clipped and he was brought back down to earth when his mother spoke up. “Remember to clean that up young man. I’m not going to always clean up after you!”
“Good, now after you are done, I want you to come over here and identify the baskets of vegetables and meat and pick out the best one of each ingredient accordingly. Here is the list of all the ingredients I need. Once you finish, head over to the spices and identify them. They’re all common but you should still familiarize yourself with them.”
After Adamas cleaned up the remains of the book he dived inside the ingredient closet room. Inside the spacious closet there were two sides. Located on the right side where the temperature was cold (35 degrees F), was meat, and a select number of vegetables. The left side of the closet however remained at room temperature. It was full of vegetable and fruits.
Pretty cool, I guess their lack of scientific technology doesn’t hold them back when they have magic to use.
Adamas could only shrug and move towards the left where some of the vegetables were located. When Adamas identified the vegetables he would usually just get the name and info on whether or not it was edible;
|Edible healthy food|
Sometimes Adamas would get an adjective before the vegetable name;
|Fresh(or Nutritious) Carrot!!|
|Edible healthy food|
So Adamas only picked out the vegetables with adjectives before their names in the description and the same thing applied with the chicken breasts on the right side of the room. Instead the adjectives were “Tender”, or “Succulent” which meant the same thing but Adamas decided not to think too much on it. He just chose those as well. After he was done identifying all of the vegetables and meats a *Ding* rang out
IDENTIFICATION Skill has leveled up!
|Beginner||Level 2 (0%)|
|More details whenever you identify obvious goods.|
…… obvious? Seriously! If the goods were obvious I wouldn’t need you to identify them!!!
Adamas sighed and closed the notification. He gathered his ingredients and headed towards the back of the room where bottles were lined up side by side with different spices in each bottle. Adamas identified them all and picked out the 5 bottles of spices his mother needed.They were basil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a spice indigenous to NLR, luneard.
After Adamas handed all of the ingredients to his mother she proceeded to teach him how to use a knife when cutting and shredding vegetables, meats, fruits, and everything else imaginable. He received the Slice&Dice sub-skill and he mastered it in one hour.
He was in the middle of learning another sub-skill called measuring when his mother told him to stop and help set up the table.
As soon as Adamas had the table set for two people his mother entered the room with pots full of food. “Mother, is father not eating with us today?”
Elian set the food on the table and shook her head. “No, he’s staying the night over in order to prepare for the monthly goblin raid. He’ll be back tomorrow afternoon.”
Adamas could only nod in response. Deep inside he was a bit disappointed since he was looking forward to showing off how strong he became to his NPC father. He repressed his thoughts and went to the kitchen to help his mother bring out the food.
Today they were eating chicken breast filled with vegetables. White rice was added as a side and water was place on table. For dessert Elian place a bowl of fruit on the table. His mother held his hand in thanks to the gods and goddesses for the meal. Once they started digging in, Adamas told his mother everything that happened since he left the house.
How he met a strange girl in the city, and how he followed her to the training hall where he met Grant. The part where a guild chased him all over the city and how he trained with Grant in Hell’s Ground. When he encountered trouble in the form of three people on his way home and accidentally fell down inside a mini-dungeon while running away from them. By this point in the conversation they had already finished eating and were just sitting down talking.
He continued talking about the remains of the blue alae (Andrew) he found in the mini-dungeon and what he wrote in his journal. When Adamas got to the part of him seeing Cannibal-Rab for the first time his mother had a worried look on her face which scared Adamas into thinking she might keep him in the house forever. So he just skimmed over the battle and when he told his mom about the Amantes shard she told him to stop and show it to her.
Adamas took off his shirt and his mother came closer in order to examine the shard. She touched it and tried to move it, but it was locked tight inside of Adamas’s chest. She whispered a few unrecognizable words and her hands shined but nothing happened to the shard. After 15 minutes Elian finally stood up and looked at Adamas with an unreadable expression.
Adamas looked at his mother in worry, “What? Is there something wrong mother?”
“No, not really, Since you have already stated the effects of the shard I’m somewhat sure that nothing unpleasant should occur within your body….” Elian paused as if not knowing how to continue
“But…. what mother?” Adamas asked confused at his mother’s reluctance.
Elian hesitated a bit more before sighing in resignation. “That shard is a piece of the Amantes’s Gem. Amantes is the goddess of love and beauty and she is rather well-known for her playful and mischievous nature. Despite her godly affiliation she neither blesses anyone who is beautiful nor in love. She only blesses those that arouse her interest but the conditions of attaining her attention are unknown….”
Adamas absorbed everything his mother said like a sponge and spoke up with a question of his own, “What exactly is this “Gem” you speak of mother?”
“Well, every god and goddess has a materialized object of their affiliation on this world which turned out to be gems in different shapes and sizes. Only those who meet certain requirements are able to wield or sometimes fuse with these gems. Those who aren’t compatible wield greater strength but they go crazy and lose themselves in madness. I have only ever heard of the gem that belonged to Zon, the god of sun, war, and justice. It was whole when it was used by the leader of the seven heroes, the only being who was compatible with it. He embedded it into his great-sword which made his strikes split the earth and evaporate the sea.”
“Woah, that sounds cool. So how many gods and goddess are there?”
Elian smiled and began her lecture. “Well there are the “Supreme Seven” Gods/Goddess. The highest tier gods/goddesses. Their names are Zon (War, Sun, Justice) Maia (Birth, Fertility, Hearth, and Growth), Amantes (Love & Beauty), Evones(Any body of water) Anilare(Destiny and Adventure), Agreya(Agriculture, Domestic animals, and the Seasons) , and Dodth (Death). Then you have the Greater gods, Common gods, and Lesser gods. Their home which is rumored to be located high above us where no being can reach is called Abhuvan. Lesser gods though uncommon are known to sometimes come down to our world since they wield zero to little power and influence, but the rest of the gods are unable.”
“Why aren’t they allowed to come into our world?”
“Because the gods made a pledge to never directly interfere with the affairs of this world since they knew they would eventually fight each other for dominance. However they alway manage to find ways to indirectly interfere with the world. For example they sent down gems that personify their power or sometimes they select prophets to be their voice and champions to be their hand.”
Dang, these gods/goddess sound like nothing but endless trouble. And this Amantes goddess! Love!? Seriously! I know I like Elian and Rand but come on! That’s family!!! Love is only a broken promise…. It only leads to pain… So what the hell does this stat do!!!
Adamas looked up an asked his mother. “Is there any way to remove this shard from my chest?”
Elian quickly replied. “Well, according to the legends people compatible with the gems were able to control it completely in order to draw out the maximum available power. I’m guessing you would have to find the rest of the shards to make the gem complete or you could talk to a priestess in Amantes’s temple and have her look at it. All seven gods/goddesses have their own temple’s in each of Alvernon’s major cities so we can go to Greenage if you want.”
We? Ugh, I should’ve seen this coming when I told her about the battle… dammit!
Adamas then continued on with his story of how he escaped from the mini-dungeon and fell upon some people in the woods. He told his mother about how the group that attacked him was going through some internal strife and how one of them betrayed the girls. When he finally finished recounting everything that happened his mother wore a troubling expression. “So those two girls attacked you?”
Adamas replied seriously to his mother. “Yes I’m pretty sure Lindsey was one of the attackers and I think it was Hailey that nailed me with that arrow.”
Elian face was red with anger, “How dare those hussies harm my child!! Ohh, when I get my hands on them I’ll ma-”
Adamas cringed from the pressure his mother was emitting and quickly interjected, “Mother relax, I’m okay now and that’s all that matters.”
Elian held eye-contact with Adamas for a few seconds before relieving her self of some of the anger she felt, “Why on earth did you help them Ady?” His mother was genuinely confused. If someone had tried to kill her she would have responded in kind if she had caught them off-guard like Adamas did.
“Don’t get me wrong mother. I really wanted to leave them by themselves to let them suffer, but I got the feeling that they were after my life for a reason since I know I haven’t angered anyone. I guess I brought them here in order to find out why they wanted to kill me.” and because it just felt wrong leaving them their……
Elian couldn’t help but see her son in a new light. He didn’t act on emotion but instead he analyzed the situation for the best result. She smiled and ruffled her son’s hair. “Come help me pick up the dishes so we can head to bed, you need to wake up early tomorrow in order to make a grave for Andrew.”
Before, while they were discussing Adamas’s short journey, Elian suggested Adamas bury Andrew on top of the small hill that lies right next to their house. Adamas fancied the idea and agreed to start in the morning.
Adamas and Elian did quick work on the table and dishes. When they were done with everything Adamas went straight to bed and fell asleep….
In the tall watch-tower that reached out towards the heavens on the first floor where the structure looked more like a huge fort. Rand sat in his desk writing out the day’s report. He hated spending the night in here, but sometimes it was just unavoidable. He needed to spend more time with his men. They were his shield and sword, but most of all they were his friends. Cohesion of the group was what kept them alive these two years and if he had any choice it was going to keep them alive until they retired.
Rand took a break from his writing and stretched thinking about his men. He had 20 humans, 15 wood elves, 5 night elves, 5 high elves, 3 mountain dwarves, and 2 wild dwarves. They were all in top condition and most of them were almost level 50. His corps was rapidly leaving behind the other corps that were also manning watch towers on the borders of the kingdom.
Their stats were unusually high and their teamwork was perfect. Rand smiled reminiscing how they all first met. All of them were a rowdy bunch that he had met on his travels with Elian. When word got out that he was demoted to captain of a watch-tower, all of them signed up for his corps.
Rand sat up straight once more and picked up his quill. As soon as he dipped it into the ink his door burst open with his high-elf friend Mars at the door. “Captain, Nell just returned from her scouting mission and it’s a lot worse than we thought.”
Rand quickly stood up grabbing his coat from the chair as he followed Mars. “Is she unhurt?”
Mars quickly replied, “She took one of their arrows to the shoulder, luckily it wasn’t poisoned or tainted by dark-magic. My sister Mir already healed her.” Mir is Mars’s adopted sister. Mars’s father picked Mir when she was only just a girl after her village was raided by hobgoblins, the evolved form of goblins.
Rand let go of his breath in relief, everyone here was a friend and he would rather cut off his own hand than lose one of them.
Mars continued talking, “Nell wouldn’t speak to any of us about what happened but when I was with Mir as she healed her she told the two of us that what’s coming is more than we could have ever imagined.”
Rand grunted in annoyance. His son was just born this month and now he had to deal with this. He was hoping for a small raid, but now it seemed like it was a lost-cause.
When they finally arrived at the court-yard where the soldiers usually practice Rand found all of his men, and their family’s standing waiting for the news that would either relieve them or make them want to pull out their hair. At the head of the crowd was Nell, who was being supported by Mir.
When Rand walked up to her Nell let go of Mir and saluted him with her fist to her heart. “Sir!”
Rand returned the salute. “At ease, state your report soldier.”
Nell lowered her hand and took a deep breath. “Captain, when I arrived at the enemy’s camp one week ago, I counted 500 goblin warriors, 10 goblin-shamans and one hobgoblin.”
The crowd gasped. 100 was always the expected number of raiders. Sometimes there would be 200 raiders. They rarely faced 300 raiders and never before have they faced 400 raiders. But 500! They were all stunned into silence. Their hearts beating hard against their chest.
Nell continued on with her report. “They should be here in ten days time sir, and they’re only the vanguard. Behind them is an army of 1,000 goblin warriors, 100 goblin-shamans, 10 hobgoblins a-a-an-and 1 bu-bu-bugbear sir.” Now even Nell was sweating in worry.
Several women in the crowd fainted and curses could be heard. Rand was unable to shake off a cold feeling of dread that encroached him
The morning(5AM) was met with Adamas waking up and heading out with the two wooden swords that Grant gifted to him. He faced the wooden dummy and released a triad of assaults. Visualizing Grant as his opponent and the dummy as Grant’s body Adamas danced through the air dodging unseen attacks and attacking with strikes powerful enough to shake the dummy. He kept this up for an hour before cleaning up and helping his mother prepare breakfast.
Adamas mastered the Measuring Sub-skill and moved on to the Mixing Sub-skill of cooking. Before he could get past 12% his mother called him to the table for breakfast.
When Adamas finished his breakfast he headed out-side with an engraving knife given to him by his mother and looked around for a flat stone to use as a tombstone. After a good while of searching Adamas found the perfect stone to use as a tombstone. He hauled it up the hill where he wrote out an inscription:
After writing the inscription Adamas used Grant’s sword as a shovel. He was crying through the whole dig because of the disrespect he was showing his instructor’s sword, but he eventually got over it. After he finally accomplished digging a decent hole in the ground Adamas took all the bones from his bag and buried them within the hole. When he almost filled up the hole Adamas took the tombstone and forced it into the remaining space so that it wouldn’t be moved. Once Adamas was satisfied with the arrangement he stood up and dusted his hands off.
|You have completed the Dying Wish quest!|
|You have gained +10 affinity to nature.
You have gained 1000 Blue Alae Contribution Points
Adamas closed the notification and walked back home. The rest of the morning was spent learning the Design&Pattern Sub-skill along with the Cutting sub-skill.
It took Adamas two hours before he finally mastered the Design&Pattern sub-skill. His mother then showed him how to use the design as a blueprint when cutting the clothes and how the cuts should be straight with no deviation. Measurement also reared its ass as she gave him a long 15 minutes lecture about how cutting the exact length and width was necessary for every “first-rate” tailor. Another three hours flew by when Adamas finally mastered the cutting sub-skill. Just in time for him to help his mother with lunch.
Adamas mastered his mixing sub-skill in no time and before he could take the final step and cook something in order to acquire the skill his NPC mother Elian asked for his help setting up the table. Dammit! So close!!
While they were setting up the table two flashes of light announced the arrival of Hailey and Lindsey. Thankfully this time they were dressed in some of Elian’s older trousers, and shirts. Elian shot them a glare but before they realized her expression did a 180 degree turn into a smile. Before Adamas could get a word in Elian spoke up “Welcome back Hailey and Lindsey. Pull out two chairs and make yourselves comfortable at the table. Lunch will be served soon.” If smiles could kill then this one was definitely one of them.