Chapter 3 – Worlds Apart
For Dawn Light, there was no class that could compare to the author. Sure, she was currently suffering extreme hardship from its low-level abilities and reliance on expensive items, but she knew deep down that it would be the most powerful class of all. If she could get twenty sheets of paper and some leather to bind them with, she could craft a special book that would let her replicate any ability she had seen of any class. Only abilities of a lower level than her own could be used, however, and at a reduced effectiveness, also. She also didn’t have any of the specialty equipment that those classes had, so she would have to buy those, also. Despite those setbacks she knew that, going forward, her class would show its worth. Even if the amount of paper she would need for higher level skills increased drastically and carting around books was heavy, they were small compared to the versatility her class brought.
So far she had the following books; Tinker: Carrying Capacity Boost, Tinker: Tinkering, Merchant: Expert Evaluation, Geomancer: Crystal Casting. The reason she had so many books already was because she was working for Fred. Every time she went to make a book, she would be required to make twenty of that book. The paper was pulped by her and other workers with wood and tools made by other debt-workers. Books were a surprisingly popular item, despite only providing the skill effect to two classes. Because a skill book contained a detailed analysis of how a skill works, people would often buy books on their own skills to get more competent at using them. The only class that could write a skill book was the author, but they weren’t the only class that could gain skills from using them. The loremaster was a class that could also do so.
Dawn had chosen the books she wanted fairly carefully. There were a number of skills that sold well and a number of skills that were useful to her, personally. Skills that were both had the highest priority. The skills that she got from Fred, carrying capacity booster and tinkering, were particularly important to her. Since she intended to carry a lot of books around with her she got carrying capacity booster, which she needed to be able to carry more. Tinkering was a skill that let the user craft any category of item with a higher difficulty when compared to more specialised skills. Having that let her craft the items she would need to use acquired skills, and pay off her debt sooner.
The merchant skill, expert evaluation, let her understand how much an item or service would be worth. It wasn’t a skill that she wanted to get, but Fred insisted that she get it and help out with the shop. The only combat skill she had, so far, was crystal casting. It was the core talent for geomancers, and let them convert power into crystals and crystals into spells. It was the reason geomancers were being called Money Mages, they had to convert valuables into energy. If a group found a large stone overflowing with fire energy they would have to choose, have the stone turned into a weapon, or useful item, or let the geomancer take the energy out, and turn it into a normal rock. It wasn’t Dawn’s first choice, but it was the first magic type she saw used, and was relatively simple to use.
She originally planned to stay at Fred’s place for a short time, but had already spent several in-game days there. Her debt loomed over her, as if daring her to make a break and escape. She may well have done that, if not for having seen what happened to the last person to try it. Instead, she was going to pay it off as fast as possible, while observing as many skills as she could. Once she paid of her debt, and after getting a few more blank books, she would start her adventure.
After working for Fred for nearly three weeks of in game time, she had finally paid everything off. With relief streaming from every pore, she stretched facing the rising sun and set off into the forest. The experience she had gained form working there had pushed her up a few levels and she had gained the second key author skill, voice. Voice was a form of magic that converted certain words into spells. Unfortunately, it was also very tiring. The highest level author boasted that he could use Voice three times without rest, but when told to prove it he fainted during the third. There was no doubt it was powerful, but fainting in front of a monster meant death. Instead, she used it to farm energy to use in crystal casting. All she had to do was command the ground to freeze, and then collect the energy as a crystal for later use. She had tried it with other elements, but ice was both the safest and easiest to work with.
It was a very slow, grinding process, as each time she did it she would only gain the smallest speck of a shard and then have to rest. During the time she spent at camp she had built up a small pile of crystals, a pile that would disappear quickly when she started to cast spells. After writing book after book to pay off her debt, Dawn was sure that she could stand repetitive tasks. She was sure that she could secure a supply of crystals.
Hefting her heavy bag and adjusting the weight, she walked towards a nearby forest. For the first time in a long time she would be by herself. Thoughts about the dangers being alone would bring floated into her mind briefly, but she shrugged them off like they were someone else’s concerns. The ground crunched and squelched under her sturdy boots, as she walked wistfully through the forest. It wasn’t long before she encountered her first creature. It seemed to be a large rat, about the size of a medium dog, with fur that stood on end. As she curiously approached she could hear a static sound, faintly but audibly, from around the rat’s body. Before she could react a bolt of energy struck her in her side and pushed her backwards. She rolled to her side as fast as she could, trying to get back onto her feet.
The rat was fast. The rat was way too fast. By the time she stood up it had moved from where it was. Looking around in terror, the rat was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly pain shot through her body through her back and she collapsed to the ground. Her body shook with a spasm, pain unlike anything she had ever felt rocketed through her body. Tears streamed from her eyes as she tried to manage the burning pain. As abruptly as it started, the pain ended. Turning around she saw the rat had been split in half and a strange woman was placing plants in her wounds.
The woman was shorter than her, and seemed younger. She had straight, long black hair that flowed all the way down her back. Her fierce green eyes seemed like jade, like the anger of the forest itself. A small shutter went down her back as she was both drawn to and repulsed by those eyes.