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From The Start, It Wasn't Meant To Be

Chapter Text

CHARACTER PROFILE: profile shown was of the present's

GAME INFO - LETHEAN OF RIE

The story's inspiration is Waiting For You Online; however, I'm only borrowing the idea but the story will be completely different.

Lethean of Rie was inspired by the games Toram Online and Eternium, as well as 1/2 Prince and other manga/manhua/manhwa with Gaming as a genre. 

Chapter Text

A young boy with a few months left before becoming an adult took off his sweat-soaked white shirt and panted as he looked around his childhood bedroom. There was a space where his now dismantled bed used to be. The frames and the mattress were packed up for donation. His clothes were also packed in his newly bought luggage. Team thought that everything of worth was ready for their move, but his parents have sold this place where he spent most of his life and the new owners do not need their old furniture.

The next matter of concern was sorting out the dust-covered bookshelf and the unused study table found in one of the corners of his room. When his parents signed him up for tutoring classes and other extracurricular activities during the past 4 years, this little space was ignored. To catch up with his peers, Team would attend 2-hour tutoring after class and is used to doing his homework with the help of his tutors. He was also part of his school’s swimming club, so he was exhausted every day. When he entered his bedroom, it was only to sleep. Why would he browse through his bookshelf and read at his study table? He already does enough studying at school. 

Team sighed and began dusting the top of the bookshelf. When he was done, he sat on the floor in front of it and pulled out the books one by one. Most of the books were of Japanese manga Naruto . There were magazines about sports, a dictionary, and novels that he couldn’t remember the story. He set aside those he wanted to keep after reading their plot summary. To Kill a Mockingbird , The Book Thief , The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy , The Outsiders , Lord of the Flies , The House on Mango Street , and Howl’s Moving Castle were chosen to be kept. He would rather donate them, but he remembered his English teacher telling him to read English books out loud (something to do with getting familiar with pronunciations). 

He moved to the last shelf and noticed the difference right away. Instead of books, the top shelf contained miscellaneous stuff such as Action Figures and a small Teddy Bear. After dusting them off and carefully putting them in the “donation box,” Team took the last of the items - notebooks. Each notebook was labeled with a year from when he was 8 years old until he was 14. After wiping off the dust, Team opened the notebook labeled 2010. On the first page read My Diary Teerayu Siriyothin  Grade 03 Thai Language and Literature Class . Team turned the page and laughed.

~*~*~

July 03, 2010

Dear Diary,

Today, my mom gave me lunchbox. There were many meat, but my classmate took most of them. I think I’ll ask my mom to give me money tomorrow instead. I think they were jealous because they buy food in cafeteria and their mom didn’t cook for them. Anyway, I don’t know why I write this here. Teacher will read it later, a. But I dont want to write again. Good night.

From,

Team

I read your entry, Team. Are your classmates bullying you? You can respond to me here. -Teacher Bell

No, teacher. They just tease me.

~*~*~

It was assigned homework. Maybe they were required to write a journal. He took the other notebooks and opened them one by one. His hands became sweaty, and his breathing became erratic. It seems like his younger self wrote a journal every day religiously. They also became more detailed and some were written with deep thoughts. He carefully put the first 4 journals in his backpack and gazed at the last three anxiously. These three notebooks contained parts of his lost memories, and he wanted to read them right away. He wanted to know what he was… his thoughts, his dreams… He opened the 2014 notebook and was about to read., but he heard a knock on his door. He lifted his gaze and saw his mom.

“Team, are you done cleaning up here?” 

Team gathered the rest of the notebooks and put them on his backpack. “Mae, I just need to clean the study table, then I’m done.”

“Do you want to rest for a bit? You’re sweating a lot.” His mom asked concernedly.

“It’s fine, Mae. I’ll be done soon.”

“Okay. You’re done with your clothes, right? I’ll bring them downstairs and have your dad put them in the trunk.”

Team nodded. “Yes. I’ll bring the blue one when I move to the dorms. I’ll leave the black one at home. Oh, and I’m bringing these books with me, too.”

Mrs. Siriyothin smiled. “Bring them down with you when you’re done here.” When Team nodded, she took the suitcases out of the room with her as she left.

Team watched her leave before dusting the study table. The journals were on his mind, but he wanted to finish up, so he can read them uninterrupted later.


Unfortunately, it would be a week later before he found the time to read the notebooks. Between his family moving into a new house, enrolling at Pinyo University, making sure that he received his scholarship money, and reserving a dorm room at Sunflower Dormitory, Team was swarmed with new responsibilities, and he was quite overwhelmed.

He moved into Sunflower Dormitory Room 919 one week before classes started. After placing his clothes in the provided closet and covering the mattress and pillows with his bed sheet and pillowcases, Team went to a nearby 7-Eleven to buy his dinner. A blonde hair was caught in his periphery when he paid for his purchase, but he ignored it. He walked out of the store and crossed the street towards the dormitory. He was so hungry, that he didn’t care about anything else. 

While eating his meal, Team opened the notebook that contains the memory of a 12-years-old him. All the journals after the one meant as homework started every January 1st. Sometimes, he would smile and laugh at this person’s silly thoughts. But while reading the journal, Team couldn’t help but think as though he was reading another person’s diary - completely disregarding their privacy. The Team from five years ago was a happy kid with funny thoughts. Compared to the sullen and introverted him, the young Team was a mystery. He was unsure whether he should read more, but he couldn’t stop himself. 

After washing the dishes and taking a shower, Team began reading the journal again.

April xx, 2014

It’s the last day of elementary. The next school year will come, and I’ll be in junior high. I’m not sure how I should feel. I was reading Naruto yesterday, and I remembered that he was around my age when he officially became a ninja. He was clearly a child, but he already has a job, right? I know I won’t need to find a job until I get a degree, but a job means responsibility. Am I ready to be responsible? I can’t wait to become an adult with my own money to spend. I convinced my mom to buy the next book in the series as a gift for my graduation, but I’m not sure how I’ll convince her next time… Do I need to wait for my birthday?

But tomorrow is the start of Summer. I’m planning on spending it at the nearby swimming pool. I need to improve my time if I want to enter the swimming club next school year…

April 29, 2014

USERNAME: Can’t Live Without Lays

Password: Swimlord0110

Hey, Diary. So I began playing this game called Lethean Of Rie. I was curious because Marc and the others kept on talking about it. It just came out today, so I’m not sure where they got their information. I know I said before that I’ll spend my summer practicing, but I think I’ll be addicted to this game. I was only supposed to play until 10 PM, write today’s notable events, then sleep, but it’s already 3 AM, and I can’t keep my eyes open anymore… I’ll recount what happened tomorrow, I mean later, okay? I’m sorry I didn’t write yesterday. Hope you understand… Good night.

Chapter Text

April 30, 2014

Good morning, Diary

I woke up at 8 AM today as usual, and I felt sluggish. 5 hours of sleep is not enough, but my body clock is already set. After eating breakfast, I set out to write what happened yesterday. As I mentioned, I downloaded Lethean Of Rie on my phone last night…

5 years ago…

Team went to PlayStore and was about to search for Lethean Of Rie on the search bar, but it was advertised on the homepage as one of the biggest and most promising MMORPG of the year. MMORPG, as explained by Marc and the others, is a game where you can be anyone you want to be. You build your character and go on adventures with your friends. It sounded exciting. It sounded like something he needed. 

As a child who always wanted to do his best in his studies, Team grew up in a lonely house. His father was an office worker who leaves the house before he wakes up and comes home when he’s already asleep. His mom was a housewife who regrets wasting her degree and not looking for a job. Her hope was for Team to graduate and get a stable job before starting a family. Team knew that his parents supported him in everything he wanted to do and didn’t expect much from him other than following the right path, but that itself made him want to give his best for them. Besides, he enjoyed their praises when he was a kid; however, he always wished to go on an adventure like Naruto . He wanted to do missions and make friends with people from halfway around the world. 

Team smiled when the app was downloaded and installed. He tapped the app icon and waited for it to load, reading the tips that showed on a banner.

[[ Using a normal attack on an enemy will help you gain back your MP or mana points. Mana is used when you use certain abilities. ]]

[[ Turn on the feature DASH in the Settings. When you manually walk in one direction, your character will eventually run. ]]

[[ Use HP potions when you’re running out of health points. Effectiveness depends on Synthesis Skill level. Bought HP potions have different effectiveness, too. ]]

Team read the tips diligently as this is his first online game. His knowledge of RPG was non-existent. He wanted to be a serious player even if he’s just playing casually. He paid more attention when the introduction scene came up. His eyes were shining from the beautiful graphics and blood-pumping BGM.

[[ A thousand years ago, the Continent of Lethe was prosperous. The kingdoms were at peace with each other. But peace was not forever…

The demonkind living in the cold, barren land of the North Lethe attacked the existing kingdoms. They brought fear and darkness throughout the land. They brought chaos and sickness…

Brave warriors were called to fight the demons. Every family should be ready for their men to be called to the frontline and for the women to work behind the scenes…

In these groups of warriors, a young man and his wife stood out from the rest. They hailed from a little town called Gavin in the southeastern part of the continent. Arthur was a great warrior with equally great leadership skills. His wife, Rie, accompanied him to the frontlines and helped heal the injured…

After decades of fighting, they were able to drive the demons back to the Northernlands and sealed the demons away for eternity. The magicians worked hard to erect a barrier, and the priests strengthened it with their holy powers. The demons are gone…

And so most of the people of Lethe. Arthur and Rie went back to their hometown only to find that everything was in ruins. Dead bodies littered everywhere. Almost all of the buildings were demolished. Their victory wasn’t a victory at all…

Arthur and Rie traveled around their ruined kingdom, helping those in need. People from destitute places began following them, and they settled in an area where everywhere is a sea of green. A city was founded in Apuy Plains, and it was called Rie. ]]

Team frowned. So… is this story about demons versus humans? Sound cliche, but okay… He pressed on the [Next] button after watching the whole thing.

[[ Not long ago, the Elders of Rie noticed that something had gone wrong. The once peaceful animals began acting strangely. Adventuring, a job that was safe even for young people, has become more dangerous. Some people became noticeably more powerful and skillful than others. They feared that it signals the return of the demons…

During this time, you, my dear, were born in the City of Rie… tell me your name, gender, your class, and your race. 

Press next ]]

Team pressed [Next] and sat up straighter. He leaned his upper body on the headboard, put a pillow on his lap, and propped his elbows on it. 

[[ What is your name?]] Team typed Can’t Live Without Lays on the space provided before pressing [Confirm].

[[ What is your gender? [Male] [Female] ]] Team chose ‘male’.

[[ Which race do you want to be born as? [Human] [Elf] [Celestial] [Beast] ]] Team pressed on all of the options to see how they looked. Humans, elves, and celestials almost look the same except for a few minor changes such as the pointed ears on elves and fifty percent more beauty of the celestials. The Beast class, however, prompts you to pick between [Land Animal] [Air Animal] and [Sea Animal]. Those options brought him to more options, and he was forced to spend almost thirty minutes in the Lethean of Rie forum reading articles and known information about the races. Humans were given extra luck and spirit stats. Elves were given extra intelligence and agility stats. Celestials were given extra wisdom and charisma stats. And Beasts were given extra Strength and Stamina stats.

To figure out which race he should pick, he went ahead and read about the classes, too. He spent another thirty minutes reading about them. The game was on, but his phone was connected to the charger because it was losing battery life. After reading the information, Team decided on becoming a mage. According to the descriptions written, they dealt a lot of damage and didn't need to face the enemies head-on as tanks do. He felt like it matches his personality well. They’re also a good class for leveling up. He closed his laptop and chose [Elf]

[[ Which of the following would be your main job [Knight] [Archer] [Priest] [Healer] [Mage] [Berserker] [Thief] [Assassin] [Ranger] [Summoner] ]] Team chose Mage right away.

[[ Do you want to use the default face for your character or do you want us to base it on your real face? ]] Team thought hard and decided to choose ‘based on my real face.’ Maybe seeing his face on screen would make it feel like he’s going on an adventure. 

He was prompted to allow the app to access his camera, and he pressed [Yes]. He pressed the record button and followed the instruction given to him. He was asked to smile, laugh, frown, cry, and show an angry face. [[ Please wait for a couple of minutes as we transcribed the data into our system. It might take a while, so please be patient. ]]

Team got up from his bed and opened his bedroom door quietly. He sneakily went down the stairs to get some water. It was already 10 PM. He was supposed to be sleeping, but he hasn’t even finished creating his character yet. He put the glass back to where he got it from, and hurriedly went back to his room. He saw a dialogue box and pressed [Yes] without reading it, eager to start playing.

[[ The system detected that you’re a girl. Do you want to change your gender to female? ]] Team pressed [Yes].

[[ Welcome to Rie, Dear Lethean! I hope you have an exciting adventure and that you help our kingdom solve the mystery. Enjoy! ]] 

Team waited for a bit as the game loads. He blinked when he saw his game character. “Why am I a girl? I’m pretty sure I chose male.” Team searched for a Customer Service option but was distracted by a red exclamation on the upper left corner of the screen below his in-game name. He pressed on it and was surprised.

~Hidden Quest: The Omniscient~

Because you listened to the story of the origin of Rie City without pressing the next button, you were able to access this quest. Talk to the residents of Rie City and learn more about the area and the mysteries of this world.

Task:

Talk to Storyteller: Xamira

Talk to Sentry 1 & 2: Uzziah and Uzziel

Talk to General Merchant: Ban

Talk to Restaurant Owner: Oheo

Talk to Pub Owner: Maxx

Talk to Trader: Kadir

Talk to Engineer: Zero

Talk to Realtor: Julian

Reward: 

Title: The Omniscient

3,000 Gold coins

100,000 EXP

[Accept] [Decline]

“Even I’m not stupid to decline,” Team murmured. He pressed [Accept]. His screen dimmed and a little fairy popped out of nowhere.

[[Navigation Fairy]] : Welcome, adventurer! I am the navigation fairy. I would be teaching you many things about the buttons present on your screen. [Next]

[[Navigation Fairy]]: On the upper left corner, you’ll see a triangle. Pressed the triangle.

Team pressed it and there were new icons. It was like a hidden toolbar.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The scroll icon is a calendar. Press it and claim today’s gift!

Team opened the icon and saw a calendar with items that he can get if he logs in every day. He pressed the flashing claim button and got ten HP potions. He closed the Calendar by pressing the [Close] button on the upper right-hand corner. 

[[Navigation Fairy]]: Congratulations! You get a reward for logging-in today! Claim your reward by pressing the trophy icon (Achievements). 

Team opened the next icon and claimed the Achievement called ‘New Adventurer.’ He was given 100 Gold coins and 100 EXP. He saw a light embrace his character and words that said ‘Level Up’ on his screen. The 100 EXP made him Level 1. He closed the Achievement by pressing the [Close] button on the upper right-hand corner. 

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The next icon is your bag! You can find all of your items here.

Team pressed on the bag and saw the HP potions bottle that he got from Calendar. 

[[Navigation Fairy]]: To use your item, simply press on them and there will be a prompt asking you if you want to use it. If you want to add more space to your bag, just press the plus sign button. You will need to pay with gemstones to do so. If you want to see the materials that you will use for crafting, just press on Materials. If you want to buy gemstones or coins, just press the plus sign button next to them. If you want to put on your equipment, you can drag them from their item slot to their specified area. Another option is to press on the equipment and there will be a prompt asking you if you want to equip. 

Team carefully read all of the words. He felt like it was simple enough, and that he can just learn along the way. But if watching the introduction video gave him a hidden quest, maybe listening and following all of the Navigation Fairy’s instructions will reward him, too. He decided not to skip.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The next icon is where you will find all of your quests! Other than the Story Mission, you can accept up to ten side quests at a time!

Team pressed on the next icon and saw the Hidden Quest on it. He also saw the Story Mission in it. He wanted to start the Story Mission right away, but he thought that it might interrupt the Navigation Fairy’s explanations. Also, he decided to begin the actual story once he’s done with the Hidden Quest. 

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The envelope icon will show you your friends list! You can send your friends a message or gifts, and add them to your party. A party is a group of characters adventuring together in a role-playing game. You can play with up to 4 of your friends at a time.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The last icon is for your Settings. You can control your game condition. If you want to only see the words of your party members on the chatbox, you can set it up in the setting. If you want to sign out, you can do that, too! If you want to bind your account to an email, so you won’t lose it, you can set it up in Settings. 

Team pressed the Settings and looked for that option quickly. He pressed it and typed in his email address and a password. He pressed the [Submit] button. 

[[ A confirmation was sent to the email provided. Please check and confirm your identity. ]]

He put down his phone and opened his laptop again. He went to his email and saw a letter from the company that owned the game. After confirming that he’s the owner of the account, he closed his laptop and went back to gaming. He pressed the [Close] button and the Navigation Fairy began her instructions again.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: To close the toolbar, just press the arrow once again.

Team did as instructed.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: If you pressed on the picture of your avatar, it will show your Character Profile, Stats, and Abilities. The red bar shows your health points, while the blue bar is your mana points. The golden bar in the button of your screen shows how many percent away you are from leveling up.

[[Navigation Fairy]] : On the upper right-hand corner is a button called SAY. Click this button if you want to chat. You can also choose who to chat with (Normal, Shout, Whisper, Party, Guild, World). You will see your words in the chatbox below. Normal would be in white. People around you can read whatever you typed. A shout would be in gold. Everyone on the map can read anything you typed. Whispers would be colored pink. Only two people conversing with each other can read it. Party would be in blue. Only you and your party members can see your words. The guild would be in green. Everyone who is part of your guild will see what you typed. World would be in red. Everyone who is currently playing, no matter where they are, will be able to read what you typed.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: The next set of buttons are your shortcuts and action button. The brown ones vanish whenever you’re in a Safe Area. The red one is the action button. Press it when there’s a monster, and your character will execute a normal attack. If you’re talking to an NPC, press it for more options. The yellow box contains more shortcuts.

[[Navigation Fairy]]: You will see the map on the lower right. It will show where you are in the area (yellow dot), your point of view, the monsters around you (red dot), other players (white dot), your party members (blue dot), treasure chests (green dot), and warp zones (purple dot). Currently, you only have access to the Rie City Map. Explore the Kingdom to access more! Or you can talk to Storyteller: Xamira for more information. On the lower-left corner are arrows pointed in different directions. Press this and your character will move in the direction you want them to

[[Navigation Fairy]]: That’s it for now! Do you want to repeat the tutorial? [Yes] [No]

Team pressed [No].

[[Navigation Fairy]]: Have a great adventure!

The screen went back to its original appearance, and an announcement unfurled across the screen. 

[[ Thank you for going through our walkthrough! Claim your reward under Achievement ]]

Team pressed the triangle, and then the trophy icon. He pressed on the claim and got 10,000 gold coins as a reward. He was disappointed because he was expecting EXP, but he thought that they were generous with the gold coins. After that, he took time scrolling through the available ‘achievements’ and reading the goals. They include Perfect Attendance: log in for 30 consecutive days; Stamina Rookie: play for 1 consecutive hour; Playing Dead: experience 100000 deaths and other goals that ranged from normal to weird. Team pressed [Close] and pressed on the Quests icon. He reread his Hidden Quest, closed it, and started his adventure.

His first target was the Storyteller: Xamira. He found her near the warp point towards Apuy Plains. The NPC looked like a kind elderly dressed in a mixture of a Renaissance and Medieval fashion. He's not completely sure. When he got near her, the red button on his screen that says [Action] flashed. He pressed on it and he was given the options [Talk] and [Quit]. He pressed talk and prepared himself to once again listen and watch long cutscenes again.

.

.

.

After an hour of walking around the city and looking for the NPCs, watching the cutscenes, and reading everything, Team learned almost everything about the Kingdom of Rie. Storyteller: Xamira explained to him that 4 mountain ranges are surrounding the city, and they’re home to legendary beasts. Sentry 1 & 2: Uzziah and Uzziel told him that they’ve met a lot of adventurers while guarding the city. These adventurers shared to them the best spots to grind, and the two sentries shared the information with him. General Merchant: Ban explained to him where he got his goods. He secretly told Team that some of his items can be crafted. Restaurant Owner: Oheo entertained him with her cooking, told him some of her recipes, and taught him the Art of Cooking. Pub Owner: Maxx shared to him some gossip about the NPCs in Rie City before telling Team that he can tell Maxx his secrets, and he’ll keep it for sure. When he was done watching the in-game cinematics, he pressed the [Action] button again and saw [Tell a secret] added in. 

Team shook his head on that. He thought that Maxx shared information about the people of Rie so easily, how trustworthy can he be? He’s not going to use that function anytime soon.

The cinematic scenes for Trader: Kadir showed him how the trader’s family lived in Hidden Oasis, their journey across the Serket Desert, and their discovery of Rie City. Engineer: Zero told him that the Rie City is having an expansion soon for new adventurers like Team, and that he should talk to Realtor: Julian if he wants to buy land. Finally, Realtor: Julian showed him how the Housing system works in Lethean of Rie. He was shown that all adventurers get a little piece of land, and it’s up to Team if he wants to have a bigger one. He gained access to the Housing system before the others could.

When he claimed the reward for the quest, the Title: The Omniscient automatically appeared under his character name. He now has 13,100 gold coins, and leveled up 10 times. On top of these rewards, he got the map of the kingdom, information on the best monsters to hunt to level up, information on how to gain Life Skills, the Cooking Skill and some recipes that have various effects, the [Tell a secret] function, a map to Hidden Oasis, and a piece of land that adventurers can access only at Level 30. The Title also gave him +30 Intelligence, +5 Charisma, and +100 Fame. Team thought that he lucked out.

Team noticed that he got many friend requests, and his chatbox was suddenly filled with normal chats asking him how he leveled up so fast and how he got his Title. It was announced in the World as he was the first one to get it. He pondered whether he should tell them about the Hidden Quest. On one hand, he didn’t want to be selfish, but there’s no point. He’s pretty sure that everyone has bound their accounts already… Team pressed [Say] and typed on the text box. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hello, everyone. No need to send me a friend request. I’m not accepting right now.

[Can’t Live Without Lays: I got the title by doing a Hidden Quest.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I got it when I watched the introduction cutscenes.

Can’t Live Without Lays: No. You need to watch the whole thing.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yes. No skipping.

Team declined all of the friend requests, turned off the chat function, and his world became peaceful again. He saw an exclamation mark on top of the drop-down button, so he pressed on it. He has a new achievement. He pressed on the trophy icon and saw that he fulfilled the goal for Decorated: gain a title. He accepted the reward (10,000 gold coins, 50 HP potions, 50 MP potions).

He was happy with everything he got, but there’s still a problem with his character’s appearance. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being a girl in a game or in real life, but why did they set my character like this? I chose male. Team searched for and found the [Customer Service] option under the settings. He pressed on it and was sent to a private chatbox.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hello! :) I have a problem with my character. I chose male when I was asked for my gender but was given a female character… May I know why is that?

[[ Thank you for playing Lethean of Rie! Due to the high density of messages, it would take a while before we can give you a reply. Please go ahead and play. We will send you an answer soon. ]]

Team closed the chatbox and began his adventure. First, I need some skills… He recalled what Storyteller: Xamira told him about it. He moved his character and went to the Library where he got a book of [Magic Skills] from Librarian: Quana. He also went ahead and bought [Survival Skills] and [Support Skills]. He didn’t forget to have a small talk with the librarian before leaving the area. When he was done, he visited Blacksmith: Sedgley, Synthesist: Nadia, and Seamstress: Gigi, talked with them, and saw what they have to offer. As a first time customer, Blacksmith: Sedgley gave him a magic staff (ATK 10), Synthesist: Nadia gave him 5 HP potions and 5 MP potions, and Seamstress: Gigi gave him a new outfit [Novice Adventurer Garb: Top] with DEF 10 and [Novice Adventurer Garb: Bottom] with DEF 10. Team quickly equipped himself with the new outfit and the magic staff.

When he talked with the NPCs, he saw [Trust: 1%] in the corner after he talked to them. He wondered what that was for, so he went around the whole city again. He saw that every time he talked to them, the trust would go up by one percent. What happens if I get it up to 100%? Is talking the only way to gain their trust? I should explore that tomorrow. Now that I have my skills and distributed my skill points, I’m going to do some quests and level up more.

CHAPTER 1 

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 11

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient

Job: Mage

Fame: 100

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 1

Stamina: 6

Agility: 11

Intelligence: 58

Spirit: 1

Wisdom: 1

Charisma: 6

Luck:1

BAG

65 HP potions (High grade): recovers 1000 HP

55 MP potions (High grade): recovers 1000 MP

Magic Staff: DEF 10 equipped

Novice Adventurer Garb: Top: DEF 10 equipped

Novice Adventurer Garb: Bottom: DEF 10 equipped

Gold coins: 23,100

Abilities

Cooking Skills 

  • Chicken Soup recipe: recovers 1500 HP
  • Acorn Cookie: recovers 100 HP
  • Venison: recovers 1000 HP

Magic Skills

  • Special Attacks
      • Multiple shots 
        • Arrow - attack the enemy with 5 arrows consecutively (+2)
      • Javelin - attack the enemy with a javelin that will fall on top of them (+1)
      • Barrier - cast a barrier around the character. Enemies nearby will rebound when they step on the barrier and lose health (+1)
  • Passive Skills
      • Magic Mastery - affects MATK, CSPD (+5)
  • Abilities
    • MP Charge - use to charge depleting MP
    • Chain Cast - can cast multiple attacks consecutively (+1)

Survival Skills

    • Play Dead - waiting time to revive goes down (+1)
  • Passive Skills
    • EXP Gain Rate UP - experience gain rate goes up 1% per level (+2)
    • Drop Rate UP - drop rate goes up 1% per level (+2)
    • Safe Rest - faster HP regeneration (+2)
    • Short Rest - faster MP regeneration (+2)

Support Skills 

  • First Aid - revive a party member 
  • Mini Heal - heal a party member (+1)
  • Life Recovery - create a space where members can recover HP, DEF goes down (+1)
  • Mana Recharge - create a space where members can recover MP, ATK goes down (+1)

Chapter Text

Team blinked his eyes and found that it’s already passed midnight. There was only a page left for the April 30 entry, so he decided to continue reading. But first, he needed the restroom. He put the notebook down and got up from his bed. When he was done with his business, he went to his little kitchen and got some water to drink. He scrolled through his Line before setting down the glass and walked back to bed. He settled on the bed and picked up the journal. He opened it to where he left off.

Almost three hours passed where I took all the quests available for my current level. I found that playing solo was really hard. I know that I said I want to make friends,  but online people are so scary. Some of them were even cursing me because they couldn’t access the hidden quest. They bombarded me with a lot of questions that sometimes, it’s hard for me to play… muting all of them was the best option. 

When I did all the quests, I found the ones that are easy but give a lot of experience. I listed all of them below:

  • Restaurant Owner: Oheo
    • Steamed!
      • Collect Rabbit meat x25
      • Rewards:
        • Rabbit meat steamed bun - recover 1000 HP
        • EXP 5100
        • 100 gold coins
  • Pub Owner: Maxx
    • New recipe
      • Collect Slime Jelly x25
      • Rewards:
        • Jell-O shots - +75% Attack,  -25% Defense
        • EXP 500
        • 150 gold coins
  • Trader: Kadir
    • Clear the way
      • Defeat Wolf x20
      • Defeat Infected Wolf x20
      • Rewards:
        • Ring of Darkness x1 - protection from Dark elements, +1000 HP
        • EXP 500
        • 200 gold coins
  • Blacksmith: Sedgley
    • Tough material
      • Collect Rabbit horn x10
      • Collect Buffalo horn x10
      • Rewards:
        • Spear x1
        • EXP 1500
        • 200 gold coins
  • Synthesist: Nadia
    • Poisoned!
      • Collect Aloysia citrodora x 25
      • Collect Cosmos bipinnatus x25
        • Rewards:
          • Antidote x5
          • EXP 500
          • 200 gold coins
  • Seamstress: Gigi
    • Soft Protection
      • Collect Rabbit pelt x20
      • Collect Buffalo hide x20
      • Rewards:
        • Rabbit Hoodie Cape x1 - Def 90
        • EXP 1500
        • 150 gold coins
  • Engineer: Zeno
    • Can’t progress!
      • Defeat Coran x50
      • Defeat Miniboss: Queen Coran x1
      • Rewards:
        • Earth Staff x1 - Atk 45, Def 70, increase Earth magic
        • Exp 500
        • 200 gold coins

All of these gave me almost the same amount of experience, but I liked doing the quests where I just need to collect stuff. All of the monsters were found in one place, so I can use attacks with a wide area of effect and kill a bunch in one attack. I leveled up a lot and made myself rich. 

I enjoyed it a lot that I only got out of my killing spree trance when I received a message from a GM. She told me that they were sorry for giving me a female character. When I used the real face option, it detected that my facial features were of a girl’s, and the system automatically asked if I wanted to change my gender to female. They reviewed my history and said that I gave my consent. She said that they could give him a chance to restart, but I might lose all my progress and will send me compensation to help me advance faster. I was tempted, but my character’s gender didn’t really bother me. I declined their offer and told them that it was my fault for not reading the question carefully. I thanked them for their time before logging off. I could barely open my eyes at that point.

And that’s my first game adventure! It was exciting. I’m going to play again today, but I need to finish my summer homework first. I’ll play after.

-Team

Team went to sleep after reading the last page of that entry. When he slept, he dreamed of a female character dressed in colorful skin matching another person’s male character. They were fighting monsters in harmony, clearly knowing and understanding each others’ moves. It was beautiful.


Reading the journal was the number one priority of Team. He planned to read as much as he could before the classes start next week; however,  his stomach protested. It’s used to him consuming a lot of food, so Team went to the store and bought a week's worth of snacks… for a normal person. He might finish all the Lays in three days. He also bought microwavable lunch boxes and stored them in his empty refrigerator. When he was sure that he’s ready for a week-long hermit life.

He ate a hearty breakfast and went back to reading.

April 30, 2014

Hello!

I finished all of my summer homework today. I can now play the rest of the holiday without any worries. And I was able to play LOR early today, so I was able to stop playing early, too. I am now level 25. Since I reached level 15, it has become harder to level up. After playing for five hours, I only leveled up 10 more times. But I heard from the others that they just reached level 15 today even if they didn’t sleep at all… and they cursed the person with the title The Omniscient. I’m so glad that I usually just listen to them before and not talk much. I guess a 10-level increase is a big progress…

Where should I start… I did a lot of quests right after I logged in, so I can get the rewards (10% EXP  increase for the whole day if you play for 30 minutes! Gold coins for doing 5 quests per day! Trust between player and NPC +2% every quest is done!). After that, I distributed my stat points and skill points to get ready for the story mission.

5 years ago...

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 15

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient

Job: Mage

Fame: 100

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 1

Stamina: 8

Agility: 13

Intelligence: 67

Spirit: 1

Wisdom: 1

Charisma: 6

Luck: 1

When he was done distributing his stat points, his health increased, the magic damage dealt increased, attack intervals were reduced, charge time and cast time also decreased. His dodge rate and accuracy rate also increased a lot. His only problem is the defense from both physical and magic damage. Team’s plan to increase his strength the next time he levels up.

He went to his list of quests and pressed on the Story Mission Chapter 1: Unnatural . His first task was to go to the Storyteller: Xamira and listen to her story. Team frowned. He didn’t want to watch that whole cutscene again, but he had no choice. He moved his character until he was in front of the storyteller. When he pressed on the action button and listened to the story… it was different from what he watched before. Storyteller: Xamira said that there was something wrong with the animals surrounding the kingdom. She went on an adventure no long ago and there was an unprovoked attack from usually peaceful animals. She asked Can’t Live Without Lays to do an investigation. 

Story Mission Chapter 1: Unnatural

Task:

-collect slime core x10

-collect one-horned rabbit core x10

-collect fire buffalo core x10

Collect and bring back to Storyteller: Xamira.

Team maneuvered his character towards the Southwestern gate and watched his character enter the Apuy Plains. He began his hunt. Cores were rare. So he hunted for a long time. He needed to go back to the city now and then to complete other NPCs’ quest with what he collected from the monsters. When he was done collecting all the core, two hours had passed, and he leveled up two times from all the quest rewards. He distributed his stat and skill points right away before continuing the story. He also bought more bag space using the 5 crystals he was rewarded with when he logged in the game for the day.

He got the quest reward from Storyteller: Xamira, then he was sent all over the city map talking and completing tasks from the NPCs. He was level 24 when he received the last quest for Chapter 1, which was defeating Fenrir. He was contaminated by whatever was causing the animals to behave erratically and was terrorizing adventurers. He set out for the Kitanomori Forest. Having experienced the map before, Team knew exactly where to find the godly wolf. After the cutscene, he was thrust into attacking the wolf right away. It took him 5 minutes to solo the miniboss. The monster was fast and kept on interrupting his casting. He used a lot of Rabbit Meat Steamed Bun and was so thankful for the Ring of Darkness for the extra +1000 HP. He nearly died many times. But the reward was great! He quickly went back to Trader: Kadir who gave him the last quest for Chapter 1 and was rewarded with a lot of experience. He’s now level 25!

Team glanced at his alarm clock and saw that it’s nearly 10 PM. He quickly distributed his stat and skill points and changed his equipped items to the ones he got from the miniboss. When he was satisfied, he logged out of the game. 

He went to his study table and began writing in his diary about what he did that day…

CHAPTER 2

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 25

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient

Job: Mage

Fame: 100

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 1

Stamina: 10

Agility: 15

Intelligence: 91

Spirit: 1

Wisdom: 1

Charisma: 6

Luck: 3

BAG

100 Acorn Cookie: recovers 100 HP

92 Rabbit Meat Steamed Bun: recovers 1000 HP

56 Jell-O shots: +75% Attack,  -25% Defense

65 HP potions (High grade): recovers 1000 HP

55 MP potions (High grade): recovers 1000 MP

100 Antidote: recovers from poisoning

Magic Staff: DEF 10 

Earth Staff: Atk 45, Def 70, increase Earth magic equipped

Rabbit Hoodie Cape: Def 70 

Fenrir Cape: Def 90 equipped

Novice Adventurer Garb: Top: DEF 10 

Fenrir Robe: Def 70 equipped

Novice Adventurer Garb: Bottom: DEF 10 

Fenrir Pants: Def 70 equipped

Ring of Darkness: protection from Dark elements, +1000 HP equipped

Gold coins: 251,865

Abilities

Cooking Skills (+5)

  • Chicken Soup recipe: recovers 1500 HP
  • Acorn Cookie: recovers 100 HP
  • Venison: recovers 1000 HP

Magic Skills

  • Special Attacks
      • Multiple shots 
        • Arrow - attack the enemy with 5 arrows consecutively (+10)
      • Javelin - attack the enemy with a javelin that will fall on top of them (+1)
      • Barrier - cast a barrier around the character. Enemies nearby will rebound when they step on the barrier and lose health (+1)
  • Passive Skills
      • Magic Mastery - affects MATK, CSPD (+10)
  • Abilities
    • MP Charge - use to charge depleting MP
    • Chain Cast - can cast multiple attacks consecutively (+1)

Survival Skills

    • Play Dead - waiting time to revive goes down (+1)
  • Passive Skills
    • EXP Gain Rate UP - experience gain rate goes up 1% per level (+7)
    • Drop Rate UP - drop rate goes up 1% per level (+6)
    • Safe Rest - faster HP regeneration (+5)
    • Short Rest - faster MP regeneration (+5)

Support Skills 

  • First Aid - revive a party member 
  • Mini Heal - heal a party member (+1)
  • Life Recovery - create a space where members can recover HP, DEF goes down (+1)
  • Mana Recharge - create a space where members can recover MP, ATK goes down (+1)

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

May 02, 2014

Diary,

Today, I found that it’s human nature to be envious of those who have been with better status than us. Playing solo means no one will take advantage of me. It’s sad because I played this game to make more friends. Anonymity just made everyone braver in doing the things that they couldn’t do in real life. I was ready to believe that no real friendship will come from this. I was thinking of deleting the app.

But I met someone who proved me wrong. Or at least, I hope he won’t betray me.

5 years ago…

Can’t Live Without Lays once again died at the foot of the Jian Bing Mountains. The monsters around the area have lower or the same level as him, but their attacks were powerful enough to make him flinch. Flinching meant that he couldn’t finish casting the spell of one of his most powerful attacks, which also happens to have a large area of effect. It’s really good for farming low-level monsters; however, it always resulted in his death.

Team glanced at the bottom of the screen when he saw someone whispered to him.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Player1: Hi! I’ve been watching you for 30 minutes, and you’ve died at least 5 times. Do you want to party with us?

Can’t Live Without Lays: … You still have space?

Player1: Yes! We’re planning on leveling up a bit before challenging Jian Bing.

Player1 : According to the data from those who already challenged the White Tiger, it’s hard to defeat. 

Player1 : More attackers are good!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Okay!

Player1: I’ll send you an invite!

Team accepted it.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Player1 : Guys! I found someone powerful to help us!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hello. Please take care of me.

Player2 : Hello, CLWL! No need to be formal. We’re now all comrades!

Can’t Live Without Lays : CLWL?

Player3 : Haha. Don’t mind him. He likes giving nicknames. Welcome to the team, CLWL!

Can’t Live Without Lays:

Player1 : We’re aiming for level 30 before challenging the boss. I’m level 24. Knight. Usually, tank.

Player2: Level 23! Healer. Pure support.

Player3 : Level 25! Ranger. The one who deals most of the damage.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Level 28… I’m also a long-range attacker… most helpful for leveling and farming.

Player1: Wow! Level 28. Have you not slept at all since the game began? The highest level is around 35-40 already. I heard they played almost 20 hours a day since… 

Player2: Idiot! He’s that player who got the first title ever! Pretty sure he got a lot of buffs from that.

I don’t know how but Player3 knocked Player2’s character on the back of his head.

Player3 : I’m sorry about him, CLWL. He didn’t mean to pry.

Team frowned. He’s prying?

Player1: Nevermind that. Let’s start leveling up. It will be long for us before we reach level 30. Let’s hunt the Goblins and Hobgoblins first. Player2, we’re counting on your support!

Player1 explained that he’ll pull the monsters’ aggro and pull a mob. Player3 and Can’t Live Without Lays will attack them once they’re within range with their most powerful attacks. Player2 will make sure that everyone’s health and mana points are full. The strategy worked really well. They were able to farm and gain experience continuously. They only left the area to submit their collected items to Blacksmith: Sedgley and Seamstress: Gigi, who had quests asking for players to collect Goblins’ used loincloth and Rock Monsters’ bronze metal, in Rie City.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Guys… I don’t want to leave you, but I really need to go to sleep.

Player3: Aow! We only played for five hours, CLWL. I only need 2 more levels, and we can go challenge the boss.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’m sorry. If my mom caught me not sleeping during this hour, she’ll make me delete the game. Really sorry.

Player1 : Let her go. Can’t Live Without Lays, thank you for helping us level up. Let us be friends. We hope to play with you again tomorrow.

Team didn’t bother correcting his mistake. He accepted the friend requests they sent before logging off. He felt that it’s really easy playing when he was cooperating with other players. Hopefully, their party can defeat the Tiger tomorrow, and they can continue the story mission together. He wrote the experience in his diary and went to sleep with a smile.


There was a passive ability that The Omniscient activated on its own. Whenever the user has it equipped, he’ll be able to read past messages that were typed in the chatbox while he was logged off from party and guild members. Normal players can access the texts that showed on the chatbox when they’re online. Chatbox messages when they’re logged off are not shown. Team has the ability to read back.

When he logged in at 5 PM, as usual, the others were not on yet. But he found out that he wasn’t kicked from the party, and that made him happy. While waiting for the others, he went to Apuy Plains and hunted again. He noticed that the amount of experience from the monsters was lowered. The experience bar didn’t even move. 

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Blue Eir : Hi! Saw you playing by yourself. Do you want to team up?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Sorry. I have a party already. Just waiting for my friends.

Blue Eir: Okay

Talking to the other player gave Team a chance to experiment. He found out that he could expand the chatbox if he drags it up. There’s an option where he could filter the messages. Playing around, he pressed on the buttons randomly [Shout Off] [System Off] [Say Off] . One by one, they disappeared on the chatbox… until the only one left was the Party’s chat history.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Player1 : She’s gone. Playing with her made it easy, right?

Player3: It’s fine. Felt like I dealt more damage when she’s not a party member. 

Player2 : I think she’s a noob. Everyone knows to use two alternate attacks to maintain the damage dealt, but she’s been using Barrier again and again.

Player3 : And she’s not cute at all!!! She’s so stiff ah! She didn’t even thank us with emoji.

Player2 : So formal. Could’ve been our mascot, but not fun at all.

Player1 : Forget it. Let’s just level up faster, so we can defeat the tiger with her tomorrow. We can kick her out of the group then.

Player2 : What a waste. I think the boss even likes her.

Player1 : Just want to ask her about her title. But she’s so tight-lipped about it. 

Player3 : We could’ve gotten the info if you let me ask about it.

Player2 : And I saw that she grabbed the Goblin sword when it dropped and didn’t even offer it to Player1! I asked about it, and she said she already processed the material. WTF!

Player1 : :( Nevermind! Let’s just play!

Sometimes, more knowledge will hurt you. Team frowned. Mascot? Cute? Are all girl characters treated this way? Team left the party and deleted them from his friend list. He turned on all the muted chats and looked for the ID Blue Eir . He pressed on the name and was able to open a menu. He decisively pressed [Send Party Invite] and waited for the other person to accept. He was relieved when Blue Eir did.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Blue Eir : I thought you have a party already? *curious*

Can’t Live Without Lays : Well, turns out I’m just their mascot! >:(

Blue Eir : I’m sorry?

Can’t Live Without Lays : TAT Was able to read back because of my title. Read their chat after I logged off yesterday. They just want a cute, girl mascot!

Blue Eir :... I’m sorry… If it will make you feel better, I don’t plan on making you my mascot. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : That’s great! 

Can’t Live Without Lays : So what’s the agenda? Are you leveling up?

Blue Eir : I’m just farming for the quests. I’m only level 15 right now. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : That’s fine! What quest are you doing? How much more do you need? I can trade the mats with you, then I can help you level up faster. Let’s hunt the wolves in Kitanomori Forest!

Team sent Blue Eir a trade request without waiting for the other person’s answer. Blue Eir declined the request.

Blue Eir : I’m also not here to take advantage of other people. You can just help me farm here, and I’ll be okay. You keep the materials you farmed. Lays, not everyone is out to use you.

Team felt ashamed. He didn’t want to be prejudiced, but he was really sad about what he read. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m sorry.

Blue Eir : No worries. I just need to collect 15 more Rabbit pelt, then we can go back to Rie City. After we get the rewards, you can help me level up in Kitanomori Forest. 

Blue Eir : But, I’m warning you! I can only give you a strength buff right now, and maintain your health point and mana point.

Can’t Live Without Lays: You can even give a strength buff?

Blue Eir : It’s one of the tier 1 skills I could learn. It boosts ATK and DEF.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Then that Player2 is a noob! He didn’t even know how to properly support his teammates! 

Blue Eir:

Can’t Live Without Lays: Sorry.

Blue Eir : Nevermind. Let’s play!

The two players farmed until Blur Eir was able to gather the material he needed before they headed back to Rie City. They submitted their quests, and Can’t Live Without Lays told Blue Eir to talk to the NPC even if they kept on saying the same thing every time. He told the other player about the Trust of the NPCs, and how he has more than 50% trust with all the NPC already. Team was still unsure what the reward for a 100% is, but he couldn’t wait to find out!

After submitting the quests and walking around to talk with the NPCs, the two went to Kitanomori Forest next. Team alternated the Magic: Barrier and Magic: Storm (as advised by one of the jerks) after Blue Eir gave him the buff strength. His new friend (he sent the other person a friend request) stood nearby, monitoring his health and mana points and giving him timely support. 

Two hours of peaceful playing was interrupted when Team’s previous party came out of the Jiang Bing Mountains and saw the two players playing leisurely. 

[[Chatbox: Normal]]

Player2: Well, if it wasn’t the deserter. Look, Boss. See who I found.

Player1: Can’t Live Without Lays. We’re not sure why you left the party and unfriended all of us. Did we do something wrong?

Player3 : I guess he found another man and couldn’t wait to get rid of us.

Player4 : San-san, who’s this person?

Player3 : Just some ungrateful b****h, princess

Player4 : Oh? Then why are you still talking to her? Didn’t I do good just now? 

Can’t Live Without Lays : She’s right. Why are you still talking with a noob like me? Why not go on your way? D:<

Player1 : We just want to know how we offended you. We were having fun yesterday.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Maybe not fun enough.

Player4 : Leader? We should go back to town now, yes? We don’t want to be around unfashionable noobs…

There’s no bad outfit in Lethean of Rie. The body armors made by Blacksmith: Sedgley and the skins created by Seamstress: Gigi were cute, tough-looking, modifiable. For kids like him, they were okay. Unfortunately, Team and Blue Eir equipped based on the attributes a piece of equipment has to offer. Compared to Player4 ’s fairy-like outfit, they looked like a Christmas Tree at the end of a disastrous party right now.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Where did you find her? She’s a good fit for your party. Now you have the mascot you want. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : Blue, should we go? Let’s challenge Fenrir, then head for Jian Bing Mountains.

[[Chatbox: Normal]]

Player4 : Who are you calling a mascot?!

Team and Blue Eir ignored her outburst. Team led Blue Eir to Fenrir's location leaving the three infuriated people and one who was curious.

Player1 : …

Player1: Didn’t you notice? Fun, noob, mascot… Aren’t those the words PLayer2 described her with when we talked about her last night?

Player3 : When she logged off? But how would she know?

Player2 : I don’t care! I just spoke the truth!

Player4 : Why are you guys ignoring me!  >.<  TAT

Blue Eir was quiet as he followed Can’t Live Without Lays . But in the end, he couldn’t stop himself from asking.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Blue Eir : I understand why you left that group. Thanks to their attitude, I gained a friend! (* o *)/

Can’t Live Without Lays : XD

Can’t Live Without Lays : We’re able to level you up to level 20. After we defeat Fenrir, we can go straight to Jian Bing Mountains.

Can’t Live Without Lays : But I need to log off when we get there. Need to go to bed at 10.

Blue Eir : That’s fine. I might gain a bit more experience before I log off. What time do you want to meet up tomorrow?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Around 5 in the afternoon.

They reached the godly wolf.

Blue Eir : Okay. I’ll wait for you then. Let’s kill this thing!

With Blue Eir ’s buff and support, defeating Fenrir was over in 2 minutes. It’s still a bit hard, what’s with being a tank and damage dealer at the same time. He lost the boss’ aggro two to three times, and Blue Eir nearly died, but they were successful. The two ran to the Jian Bing Mountains before Team logged off with a promise to meet tomorrow with his new friend.

 

CHAPTER 3

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 32

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient

Job : Mage

Fame : 100

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 7

Stamina : 24

Agility : 20

Intelligence : 105

Spirit: 3

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 8

Luck : 3

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 20

Abilities

  • Cooking skills (+6)
  • Magic skills
    • Special attacks
      • Multiple shots
        • Arrow (+10)
        • Lance (+2)
      • Javelin (+1)
      • Large AoE
        • Barrier (+1)
        • Storm (+2)
    • Passive skills
      • Magic Mastery (+10)
    • Abilities
      • MP Charge
      • Chain Cast (+1)
  • Survival skills
    • Play Dead (+1)
    • Passive skill
      • EXP Gain Rate UP (+10) 
      • Drop Rate UP (+6)
      • Safe Rest (+5)
      • Short Rest (+5)
  • Support skills
    • First Aid
    • Mini Heal (+1)
    • Life Recovery (+1)
    • Mana Recharge (+1)

Chapter Text

May 04, 2014

Dearest Diary,

I’m so glad I met Blue Eir. He’s the best support I could ever ask for. (I’m sorry for assuming he’s a boy because of his in-game character. I feel so guilty because he T.T still doesn’t know that I’m a boy). At first, he kept on refusing my help, but I told him that if he has the same level as me, then we can explore the game better. After two days of grinding, he reached Level 30!!! I gave him all the materials and made him level up through quests. And I’m now level 35. Leveling up has become slow for me….

May 06, 2014

Dear Diary,

I was able to gain a hundred percent trust with Blacksmith: Sedgley! He taught me the art of Blacksmithing. Right now, I can only process materials and refine equipment without needing to go to his shop. Hopefully, I can create my armor and weapons by myself soon. 

Another good news is that I was able to master my cooking skills! The buffs we get from the food I cook went up a lot. They helped us when we fought a boss. Blue Eir told me that his family has a Thai Restaurant, and he’s interested in cooking in-game, too. But, I don’t know how he can get the cooking skills TAT I told him how I got mine. He said it’s okay, but I felt that he’s disappointed.

When I got my Smith skill, I hurriedly told him that Restaurant Owner: Oheo might teach him the Art of Cooking if he gains a hundred percent of her trust. He said that he would focus on doing her quests so that he can get it. He told me that the Cooking skill is another kind of support. It’s not that he wanted to take over my position as a cook in our group, but he wants to become better support. Isn’t he the best? QAQ

May 09, 2014

Diary,

I was able to get all of my summer homework done. I have more time to play the game! It’s been exactly a week since I met Blue Eir. He worked hard to get that cooking skill from Restaurant Owner: Oheo, and today he did! I’m so glad for him. We also have the same level now. I don’t regret helping Blue level up because fighting the White Tiger felt like we’re bullying it instead. Two level 35 players versus one level 35 boss was a piece of cake even if I’m the only one dealing damages. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on people!

But this week, another problem arose. I hate my first party members! Today, the company did maintenance and introduced the Arena system. Everyone is excited because there’s no PK in Lethean of Rie. The only way to measure your strength against other players would be through the Arena. Players can fight individually or with their party members. When Blue Eir and I visited Rie City after challenging the Everchanging Cave, we saw Player2 challenging the two of us in a group fight…

 

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: World]]

Player2 : Where are you, coward!

Player2 : Everyone! That person with the title The Omniscient doesn’t dare to fight against me and my group. Look how they hide!

Player2 : Isn’t it better if your title is mine instead?! For sure, I’ll suit it better.

Can’t Live Without Lays : WTF! What are you going on about, pervert?

Player2 : Look who’s here. I thought you'd hide forever.

Team read back and found out that Player2 has been calling out a challenge for a while now. When he didn’t show up, he spread a rumor that Can’t Live Without Lays is a coward.

Can’t Live Without Lays : FYI, I wasn’t hiding from you! My partner and I were busy doing more important stuff than falling for your goading, useless!

Player2 : Just say that you’re afraid of our group. Are you not regretting not following us before instead of that weakling who kept hiding behind you and following you like a duckling?

Player2 : If you followed us, you would be level 40 now!

Player2 : We would welcome you back as long as you admit defeat and come back to us with your tail between your pretty legs ^^

Can’t Live Without Lays : F*** you! I don’t regret leaving your pigsty when I had the chance. Who wants to be grouped with you?

Player2 : Ha! You just don’t want to admit it! Then come back here tomorrow and let’s see how your pitiful group can fight against us!

Can’t Live Without Lays : No need! Give us an hour, and we’ll come back to decimate you!

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Blue Eir: Are you out of your mind? Where will we get new members in that short amount of time?

Can’t Live Without Lays : It’s fine. If we can’t find new members and train with them for a little bit, then the Arena system will partner us up with another party who only has two or three members in their group, too. If we’re really lucky, we can get one of those with high levels’ help.

Blue Eir : Why are you so reckless? TAT

Can’ Live Without Lays : Sorry

Blue Eir : And you said you won’t fall for their goading. Aow, Lays!

Can’ Live Without Lays : QAQ

[[Chatbox: Normal]]

Touched By Hel : Eh seems like I found the two players that Player2 has been looking for. Good luck! That person seems to be a little shady.

Can’t Live Without Lays : What little? He’s a pervert! Want girls to be submissive and weak, so they’ll look up to him!  A total scumbag!

LemOnsKI : Yah? Well, I hate that type of character! Why don’t I help the two of you defeat them?

Touched By Hel : EH?! But what about our quest?

LemOnsKI : These lovers need our help more!

Can’t Live Without Lays : He’s not my lover!

Blue Eir : She’s not my lover!

LemOnsKI : Are you sure? ;D

Can’t Live Without Lays : -_-

LemOnsKI: If you say so. Come! Let me disband our party, and we can join yours!

Touched By Hel : …

Blue Eir : Thank you!

Can’t Live Without Lays : … What about the two of you? Are you lovers?

Touched By Hel : Hell no! My beauty’s only meant for a handsome young man!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Sure.

Team quickly added LemOnsKI and Touched By Hel to the party. He told them about his experience with the opponent’s group, their races, their main jobs, their operations, the attacks, and their levels. After that, he also researched the average power of a Level 40 Healer, Ranger, and Knight. He doesn’t know if that group kept Player4, and there was no indication as to what job she has, so they’re blind on that part. They also don’t know if they’re now a 5-member party, or still a 4-member one. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’m called Can’t Live Without Lays. You can call me Lays, but never CLWL. I hate that nickname!

Blue Eir : Player2 gave him that name.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Ummm… I’m introducing myself here?

Blue Eir : Go on

Can’t Live Without Lays : Thanks! So, as I was saying, I’m level 36, mage, and my side job is cook. The food I cook has some amazing buffs. I’ll give you some later.

Can’t Live Without Lays : My strongest attacks include 1-monster focused and 1 with large AoE.

Blue Eir : Hello. I’m Blue Eir. Level 35. I’m a Healer, pure support. Other than heal, I can offer buffs. I can cook, too, but my food doesn't give us as much buff as Lays’.

LemOnsKI: Oooh! I love food * o * But where did you get the skill? I haven’t seen it at the Library.

Touched By Hel : I don’t care where they got it… I’ll never get the skill or I might suddenly poison myself.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Don’t worry. I don’t know how to cook in real life, but I can make food in this game. We’ll tell you how to get it later. For now, tell us about yourself!

LemOnsKI: Oh! Oh! I’ll go! I’m level 40! I know, I’m great!

Touched By Hel : She didn’t let me sleep for a day since I got to know her. “-_-

LemOnsKI : That’s not important!

LemOnsKI : I’m a thief, so I’m fast! I can make myself disappear for ten seconds and ‘borrow’ things from enemies.

Blue Eir : What do you mean?

LemOnsKI : It’s so cool. I was able to borrow a Goblin Bat from a goblin one time and beat him with it. I haven’t tried it on other players yet, but I was able to borrow things from Hel without telling him

Blue Eir : Oh…

Touched By Hel :  Tsk. She borrowed my agility crystal and bound it with her boots, so her agility increased. 

LemOnsKI : Thank you!

Touched By Hel : You should be careful or you might find your bags empty one day.

Can’t Live Without Lays : You don’t have any attacks?

LemOnsKI : I have a dagger that I swing with the normal attacks. Does that count?

Can’t Live Without Lays : … Hel, do you want to go next?

Touched By Hel :   Finally! ^^ 

Touched By Hel : I’m a Summoner. I’m also level 40. I can summon any monsters that I already defeated.

Blue Eir : Even bosses?

Touched By Hel : I guess? I haven’t mastered the skill, yet, and I haven’t summoned any bosses except for mini-bosses, but I might someday.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Do they have the same strength and attacks as normal monsters?

Touched By Hel : Yes. I can also do Imitate. My appearance will turn into the summon’s, and I’ll have half of their attributes.

Touched By Hel : But it has a lot of problems TAT They consume too much mana, casting spells is too slow, and summons is random. If the summon is weak, I can’t use Imitate QAQ

Blue Eir : It’s fine, Hel. We’ll base our strategy on the monster you were able to summon. How about we practice our teamwork on the White Tiger? We only have 45 minutes before that PVP starts.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Great idea! Let’s go!

The four left Rie City and dashed to the Jian Bing Mountains, hoping that they could practice as much as they could. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : Sh*t! T.T Why am I the tank? My defense and stamina are not that high.

Touched By Hel : Why are you complaining? You’re doing great!

Can’t Live Without Lays : You can say that because you’re not losing HP continuously! I can’t even finish casting a spell before getting knocked down!

Blue Eir : Nice critical hit, Lemon!

LemOnsKI executed a series of critical hits, lowering the boss’ HP close to one-fourth. 

Touched By Hel : Here’s the Dying Frenzy! Lays, get out of the way! Cast your strongest attack!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Why are you telling me what to do? I thought I’m the leader?

Touched By Hel : Who decided that?

Blue Eir : Guys! Focus!

Blue Eir cast Caring Hands and Rain of Mana simultaneously.

Blue Eir : Hel, please imitate and attack with your summon. Lays, cast Storm. Lemon, when your attacks’ countdown is done, a series of critical hits again, please!

The other three followed Blue Eir ’s instructions and watched as the White Tiger lost all of its health. They cheered when they defeated it.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I can’t believe that the level automatically goes up depending on the size of the party and the party members’ levels. I thought it would stay the same level as what’s on the screen. -_-

Touched By Hel : Those players were right. You’re such a noob.

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s not my fault that I’m a good kid and this is the first game I ever played! >:( Besides, when it was Blue and I, his level and attributes didn’t change.

Blue Eir : Okay. You’re our group’s baby.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’m not a baby! >:(

LemOnsKI : Are we a k-pop group? Do we have a leader and a maknae? If Lays is the maknae, then  I nominate Blue for the leader!

Blue Eir : Eh? Why me?

Can’t Live Without Lays : You’re right! Blue is great!

Touched By Hel : Sure. If it’s him, we won’t die. 

Blue Eir : …

Touched By Hel : As for my position, I can be the main dancer.

Can’t Live Without Lays : ...

The party challenged the boss two more times. Their teamwork got better, and they defeated Jian Bing faster each time. 

Blue Eir : Guys, we only have fifteen minutes more before the arena competition. I suggest we head back to the city, then do some research on the forums on how the Arena works.

Touched By Hel : Can’t we practice one more time before going back?

Blue Eir : It took us an average of seven minutes to defeat Jian Bing. We still need to run back, do some research, and prepare for the PVP. We need to change our equipment for something that will give us better buff, and Lays and I will give you food infused with lots of helpful attributes.

Touched By Hel : … okay, leader! Lead the way!


[[Chatbox: World]]

Player2 : Where are you, coward? Are you trying to run from the fight?

Player1 : Two, please stop this.

Player4 : Why stop, leader? Shouldn’t we speak the truth? Rats should stay in hiding or they will be hunted.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Oh. My substitute has spoken? Maybe the mascot should remain silent.

Player4 : You! Hmph! You were kicked out of the group because the leader knew I’m better than you!

Can’t Live Without Lays : FYI, I left the group because I don’t want to be a mascot like you!

Player1 : Enough! Can’t Live Without Lays, let’s talk it out. We don’t need to go to the Arena. 

Touched By Hel : You’re one to talk. Aren’t you people the ones who started this? 

LemOnsKI: He’s right! And now you’re acting humble and making our group bad.

Player3 : That’s not our intention!

Blue Eir : Let’s just enter the Arena.

Player2 : Oh? The sissy’s sissy boyfriend opened his mouth.

Blue Eir : I’m not talking to you.

Blue Eir: Party versus Party. Seems like you have five members in your group, Player1. Please wait for the system to assign us another member. See you in the Arena.


Team cheered when he saw the word victory across his phone’s screen. The fight was intense with a lot of unknown factors, but their research about the Arena’s Team PVP before the actual fight was fruitful. And their temporary teammate was a skillful Ranger called Nixxi. She used powerful artillery and claimed the heads of their opponents many times. They were also lucky that Touched By Hel was able to summon the miniboss, King Gob. He guarded their base and protected their crystal. Blue Eir ’s continuous Heal and Mana supply made sure that Can’t Live Without Lays could continuously use his powerful Magic Storm. But it was LemOnsKI ’s ultimate critical hits that broke the opponent’s crystal and ended the game.

[[Chatbox: World]]

Player2: F*** this! CLWL! Your group cheated! 

Can’t Live Without Lays: What the heck are you talking about? Did losing make you lose your brain, too?

Sidecommenter1: Player1’s group lost? Honestly, based on their group’s level, armor, and skill, they should’ve won.

Sidecommenter2 : That’s right! That’s right!

Sidecommenter3 : Can’t Live Without Lays’ group used a bot. Report to the GM!

Sidecommenter4 : Report to the GM! (2)

Sidecommenter#: Report to the GM! (#)

GameMasterAnna: After reviewing the data, we would like to confirm that Can’t Live Without Lays’ party didn’t cheat or use any bot. The results of the PVP were fair. I hope you have a good day!

Player3 : Impossible!

Player2 : Hey, GameMaster! I think your piece of shit game has a bug on it!

Player2: **** ****** ***** ******* ****

GameMasterAnna : Due to Player2’s bullying and disrespect to other players, he’s forced out of the game and can only come back after 7 days. Good day!

Player1 : Wait, Ms. Anna! We want to know how we lost!

Sidecommenter1: We want to know!

Sidecommenter2: We want to know! (2)

Sidecommenter3: We want to know! (3)

Sidecommenter4: We want to know! (4) 

Sidecommenter#: We want to know! (#)

GameMasterAnna : On the Lethean of Rie’s Forum, under the new thread about the Arena, it was mentioned that any buffs gained from Trader: Kadir, General Merchant: Ban, and the in-game store would be canceled to make the Arena PVP fair for every player.

Player3 : I was unable to see their stats, but I could see their HP and MP. It felt like we were up against a boss the entire time!

GameMasterAnna : Can’t Live Without Lays’ party members consumed foods that she made with her cooking skills. The system recognized it as using her skill, so it didn’t cancel the buffs in their stats.

GameMasterAnna : Ten minutes before the PVP started, we traced that Can’t Live Without Lays, and her members accessed the thread about our new Arena System. We assumed that they read and learned how the Arena system worked and used it to prepare against your group.

Touched By Hel : She’s (or He’s) right! I never studied hard in my life, but Lays and Blue told us to read the forum and share information that we think might be important!

LemOnsKI : Just because you feel like you’re invincible, doesn’t mean that you don’t have any weakness!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Those who prepare against their enemies and are not arrogant and complacent will always have the chance to win!

Blue Eir : Stop looking down on others. We’re all just players here.

Player4 : What do you mean by that?!

Player1 : Four, stop it. 

Player1 : Can’t Live Without Lays… and your friends, we apologize.

Player1’s character bowed.

Can’t Live Without Lays : … We’re good. Just don’t do it again. To us or others…

Player1 : Yes!

Team and his friends left the City and asked what quest Touched By Hel and LemOnsKI was doing when the two helped him and Blue Eir instead. The two said that it’s a higher level quest, and they would help Can’t Live Without Lays and Blue Eir level up first before they could all do it together. It was an hour later after his self-imposed ten o’clock sleeping time when he realized that he went over the time he allotted to playing. He shrugged his shoulders and bid his new friends goodbye.

Team felt that today was a good day. His only regret was that he was unable to find any means of contact with Nixxi . The player never said anything during the entire PVP, so he couldn’t check the chatbox. He was unable to give them his thanks.


Del reached for her phone when her big brother’s best friend handed it to her. “Thank you, P’Win!” She beamed.

Don rolled his eyes. “If you’re afraid of the Arena, then you shouldn’t have signed up!”

Del threw a throw pillow at him. “I wasn’t afraid! I went to the restroom!”

“You could’ve brought your phone with you!”

“Don, don’t rile up your sister. Del, go to sleep.”

“Okay, P’Dean! Good night, P’Win!” Del ran out of her eldest brother’s room while clutching her phone closer. They know she won’t be going to sleep. 

“I’m going to sleep, too. Good night, Phi, P’Win,” Don announced, followed by a yawn. 

Dean watched his brother close the bedroom door before looking at his best friend. After finishing the last of their summer homework, they decided to have a sleepover tonight. “You didn’t need to indulge her like that you know?” He sent his friend a glare. “I will never approve of you for her.”

Win snorted. “I watched her grow up, Ai’Dean. She’s like one of my younger siblings and cousins. Don’t worry, I’ll never take your princess from you.”

“Just make sure.” Dean laid on his bed and covered himself with the blanket. 

Win got up from the sofa and settled on the right side of Dean’s humongous bed. Two growing teenage boys fit on the bed with enough space between them. “Someone has already caught my attention that’s why I took Del’s phone.”

“Hmm?” Dean closed his eyes and relaxed. Sleep quickly taking him to dreamland. 

“In the game, there was a girl who got in a quarrel with another group. She said she won’t fall for the other group’s goading, but she did.” Win laughed. “She’s so interesting. I disbanded our party, so I could sign up on the Group PVP. Unfortunately, I was unable to become part of their party. To my surprise, I saw that Del was slated to be their temporary teammate, so I offered to play for her… Hey, are you listening?” His question was answered with a soft snore. Win shook his head and reached for the lamp. He turned it off and settled back on the bed. “She was so cute…” 

A few minutes later, soft snores were the only sound in the room.

CHAPTER 4

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 39

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient

Job : Mage

Fame : 100

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 15

Stamina : 28

Agility : 27

Intelligence : 110

Spirit: 3

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 8

Luck : 10

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 38

-Touched By Hel LVL 41

-LemOnsKI LVL 41

Abilities

  • Cooking skills (+9)
  • Magic skills
    • Special attacks
      • Multiple shots
        • Arrow (+10)
        • Lance (+5)
      • Javelin (+1)
      • Large AoE
        • Barrier (+1)
        • Storm (+2)
    • Passive skills
      • Magic Mastery (+10)
    • Abilities
      • MP Charge
      • Chain Cast (+1)
  • Survival skills
    • Play Dead (+1)
    • Passive skill
      • EXP Gain Rate UP (+10) 
      • Drop Rate UP (+10)
      • Safe Rest (+5)
      • Short Rest (+5)
  • Support skills
    • First Aid
    • Mini Heal (+1)
    • Life Recovery (+1)
    • Mana Recharge (+1)

Chapter Text

May 10, 2014

Dear Diary,

I met with Marc and the others in the swimming pool today. I spent five hours practicing. My mom picked me up, and we went to that small eatery inside the wet market. I never really liked going to that place because of the smell, but that eatery makes delicious food indeed. Five hours of practice made me hungry, so I didn’t complain. I even helped my mom shop for groceries, and carry a few plastic bags for her!

When we got home, I took a shower right away. I wanted to get the fishy smell off my body. After, I hurriedly put on my pajamas and brushed my teeth. I connected my dying phone to the charger and opened the Lethean of Rie App. The others were already on and have played for an hour already. 

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Touched By Hel : You’re late!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Sorry. My mom and I went shopping after swimming practice.

LemOnsKI: Oooh! You swim, Lays? How good are you?

Can’t Live Without Lays : ^.^ I was scouted to be part of my junior high school next year

LemOnsKI : Junior High School? Just how old are you?

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’m turning 12 in October.

Touched By Hel : What about you two?

LemOnsKI: 12

Blue Eir : Turned 12 last month

Touched By Hel : My gosh… you guys are babies. PC, it’s official. You’re the babiest.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I told you, I’m not a baby! Just how old are you to act like that?

Touched By Hel : I’d rather not say.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay, old man. What’s with the PC?

Touched By Hel : I’m still a teenager! And I’m not your old man, you potato chip!

Blue Eir : Everyone, can we concentrate on leveling up? Don’t see any of you moving except for Lemon?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Are you sure you have space on your bags left? You might need to run to the city to empty your bags first before I activate my powerful attacks :)

Blue Eir : ….

LemOnsKI : Our nong is right. We should sell unnecessary stuff.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Before you guys go back, give me any ingredients you have. I’ll make our food, and I’ll distribute them when you’re back. 

Can’t Live Without Lays received the ingredients from LemOnsKI and Touched By Hel . He refused Blue Eir and said that the other person should practice cooking to level up his skill. When the three left him, he sat on the ground and focused on cooking with the ingredients.

The process of cooking in Lethean of Rie was simple. Just make sure that you have all the ingredients, and press the right buttons as they show up on your screen*. It trains your reaction time and hand and eye coordination. At first, most of Team’s creations give negative buffs, but after actually taking the time to play the game, his skills became better every time.

By the time the other three were back, Team’s already up and grinding by himself. He only stopped to distribute the food he cooked. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Touched By Hel : Still can’t believe I don’t need to spend my coins for buffs ever again T.T

LemOnsKI : Free food is great!

Can’t Live Without Lays : When Blue mastered the skill, we’ll have more food! 

Blue Eir : That’s right! And it’s better than the potions.

Can’t Live Without Lays : But we’re still learning those skills, right?

Touched By Hel : We should. Whenever they release the Guild system, we can use those skills to make our Guild one of the wealthiest.

Can't Live Without Lays: You already started thinking about making a Guild.

Touched By Hel : Yes. All of you should be part of it. Blue will be the Vice Guild Master or whatever they're called.

Touched By Hel: The two of you can be co-managers or something. We'll talk about it when it's ready.

Touched By Hel: I'm hoping we can find someone good at managing money.

Can't Live Without Lays: … Then thank you for having us, Guild Master. Good luck.

Blue Eir : For now, we should level up, gather more coins, and gain the NPCs’ trust.

LemOnsKI: And finish the story missions when we're strong enough.

Can't Live Without Lays: Then ready your bags. I'm going to use Storm now.

And just like that, the party of four became permanent and spent the rest of the summer together. The four did a boring grind for hours every day, leveling up and stacking coins for their future guild. In the last week of the summer vacation, many things happened at once. First, they gained all the city’s NPCs trust and gained the title Talk of the Town . It gave them +500 Fame, +1000 HP, and +10 Charm. Second, the Guild System was introduced and Touched By Hel registered for a guild right away. He named it [Red Thread] . Blue Eir became the Vice Guild Master. Can’t Live Without Lays and LemOnsKI were tasked to invite players to join their guild. Third, all of them reached Level 50 (with varying percent of experience). And the most important event for Can’t Live Without Lays was that he met a player called Winnie The Pool.

CHAPTER 5

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 50

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient, Talk of the Town

Job : Mage

Fame : 600

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 30

Stamina : 41

Agility : 32

Intelligence : 115

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 18

Luck : 10

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 50

-Touched By Hel LVL 50

-LemOnsKI LVL 50

Abilities

  • Cooking skills (+9)
  • Synthesis skills: skill learned from Synthesist: Nadia 
    • Process Material
    • Item Synthesis
    • Novice’s Bottle
  • Sewing skills: skill learned from Seamstress: Gigi
    • Process Material
    • Design Skin
    • Novice’s Needle
    • Customize Skin 
  • Smithing skills: skill learned from Blacksmith: Sedgley
    • Process Material
    • Refine Equipment
    • Novice’s Anvil
    • Create Equipment
    • Customize Equipment
  • Bartering skills: skill learned from Trader: Kadir
  • Magic skills
    • Special attacks
      • Multiple shots
        • Arrow (+10)
        • Lance (+5)
      • Javelin (+1)
      • Large AoE
        • Barrier (+5)
        • Storm (+5)
        • Blast: blast the enemies away from you. (+2)
    • Passive skills
      • Magic Mastery (+10)
    • Abilities
      • MP Charge
      • Chain Cast (+1)
  • Survival skills
    • Play Dead (+1)
    • Passive skill
      • EXP Gain Rate UP (+10) 
      • Drop Rate UP (+10)
      • Safe Rest (+5)
      • Short Rest (+5)
      • HP Boost: Max HP increases. (+2)
      • Restore Blood: Regenerate HP during combat. (+2)
      • MP Boost: Max MP increases a little. (+2)
      • Calm Mind: Regenerate MP during combat. (+2)
  • Support skills
    • First Aid (+1)
    • Mini Heal (+1)
    • Life Recovery (+3)
    • Mana Recharge (+3)

Chapter Text

June 1, 2014

Dear Diary,

Today is an odd day. My friends in the game were not playing because of various reasons. Lemon said that her family is going on a 3-day trip before classes start. Hel told me that his classes start today, and he needs to get used to being a student again before he can start playing, or he’ll fail. And Blue’s been missing for three days. I’m quite worried about him as he didn’t send us a message before disappearing for so long.

Our guild is still new, and we only have around 20 members. Touched By Hel has set the Guild Rules and Requirements for all members.

 

Guild Name: Red Thread

Guild Master: Touched By Hel

Vice Guild Master: Blue Eir

Financier: -------

Recruiter: Can’t Live Without Lays

Recruiter: LemOnsKI

Guild Member Requirements:

 

  • Level 15 and Up
  • Active
  • 100 coins lifetime membership fee

 

Guild Member Rules:

 

  • All guild members should treat each other with respect.
  • All guild members must be active for at least 30 minutes every day. Send a message to the Guild Master for reasons of absence.
  • All guild members must contribute 1000 contribution points per week.
  • All guild members need to finish at least 10 floors of the Guild Maze every day. 10 floors are equal to 1 contribution point.
  • All guild members must be willing to help fellow members level up, gather materials, and collect coins.
  • All guild members must inform the Vice Guild Master if they’re going to use any of the materials found in the Guild Storage.
  • All guild members should offer their ‘unnecessary items’ to the guild members first. If no one needs the items, the member can now sell to General Merchant: Ban or Trader: Kadir, sell through the Consignment Board or the Guild Store, direct trade with other players, store in the Guild storage, deposit in their Storage, etc.

 

Guild Perks:

 

  • All guild members can contribute items in the Guild Storage. Maximum 20 slots per member. 
  • Note: Items in the Guild Storage become the guild’s property. Use the items with the approval of the Guild Master or the Vice Guild Master. 
  • Every other day, the guild will set a stat booster. All guild members will have the particular stat boosted by 10%. 
  • All guild members can sell in the Guild Store. Selling through the Guild Store instead of the Consignment Board will have a tax. 5% of the sales are deposited to the Guild’s Bank. It counts as a 10 contribution point.
  • All guild members can apply for a loan. Contact the financier. We need your game ID, the reason for borrowing the coins, an important item for collateral, and the detail of how the member will pay the loan. Pay the loan by:
  • Paying the same amount of coins before or at the agreed time. You can pay in installment.
  • Contribute a certain amount of contribution points on top of the required contribution points per week.
  • Give the guild materials with a value equivalent to the loan.

 

Hel said he’ll work on everything once classes are settled.

After visiting the Guild Bar and giving instructions to my fellow members, I set out by myself to Ling Guang Mountains. The monsters have five to ten lower levels than mine, but it’s hard to grind because they have powerful attacks that always make me flinch or stumble. Using attacks with a large Area of Effect will have me killed even before I finish casting the magic spell. I could only use the arrow, lance, javelin, and normal attacks to defeat a monster. One at a time. But I always get impatient and want to kill the flock of Harpies appearing on my screen. I’ve died a couple of times.

Imagine my surprise when someone sent for a Party Invite. I refused him, but he was persistent. He sent me a whisper. His words reminded me of my first conversation with Player1 so I didn’t want to trust him. But he was good. He was different.

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool : Hi! I’ve been watching you for 30 minutes, and you’ve died at least 5 times. Do you want to party with me?

Team read the message and snorted.  He chose to ignore the other person.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool : Are you ignoring me?

Winnie The Pool sent another Party Invite, and Team declined it directly.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool : … That’s right! Don’t talk to strangers. I approve.

If you approve, then why are you bothering me? Team thought.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool : But I might be a stranger to you, but you’re not to me.

Winnie The Pool : Your name is Can’t Live Without Lays. You’re the first player to get a title. You had a row with Player1’s group. 

Winnie The Pool : Did you know? That guy’s actually decent. I don’t know why he associates himself with the likes of Player2.

Winnie The Pool : In the Leader Boards, you and everyone in your party are within the top 50 in almost all categories.

Winnie The Pool : You’re part of the Red Thread Guild.

Winnie The Pool : You’re also one of the people who had the cutest avatar.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Are you a pervert?

Winnie The Pool : You responded!

Can’t Live Without Lays : You’re annoying me!

Winnie The Pool : Hi! I’m Winnie The Pool. You can call me Win ;)

Can’t Live Without Lays : I don’t have time for stalkers.

Winnie The Pool : …

Winnie The Pool : I admit it. I’m sorry for stalking you. I was around when Player2 bothered you last month. I read everything in the chatbox. I thought you were cool.

Winnie The Pool : I even played with you! During the PVP, my character was Nixxi!

Can’t Live Without Lays : From what I heard, that incident was shown on the company’s YouTube channel. They had a clip of the PVP there. For a stalker, you’ll have ways of looking that up.

Winnie The Pool : I’m not lying. Nixxi was my friend’s younger sister’s character. She went to the bathroom, so she asked me to play for her. I can have her attest for me if you like.

Team frowned. If this person was telling the truth, then the person he wanted to thank before was now in front of him.

Winnie The Pool : I’m sorry, I didn’t even communicate with your group during the fight. I made sure to move based on the situation of the battle though. When I was playing with your party, I felt that you didn’t coordinate well together.

Winnie The Pool : Your group was like a baby compared to Player1’s party, but you did a great job understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Winnie The Pool : That combo with the arrow and the lance was powerful. Once it started, they all hit Player3. During that time, I was also a long-range type of attacker, but my accuracy was pretty low.

Winnie The Pool :  I told Nixxi to add stat points on her Luck attribute, and she said most of her attacks now hit the target. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay. Fine.

Can’t Live Without Lays : You can really type huh.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Then thank you for playing for your girlfriend back then. Imagine if we got her as a teammate, but she didn’t do anything.

Winnie The Pool : She’s not my girlfriend. She’s just my friend’s younger sister.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Suuuuure… No need to clarify. So, are you sending that invite?

Winnie The Pool : You still don’t believe me. I’m not sending it until you do.

Can’t Live Without Lays : >:( Then don’t!

Winnie The Pool : I’ll be honest with you. I approached you because I like your personality. I want to get to know you better.

Can’t Live Without Lays : So you’re an actual pervert! 0.0!

Winnie The Pool : No, I’m not!

Winnie The Pool : I admire your strong character. You fascinate me, and I just want you to know that someone’s thinking of you. If it doesn’t work out, then it’s fine. We can be friends.

Can’t Live Without Lays : What if I told you I’m only 11?

Winnie The Pool : … You’re too young to date. But I can wait a couple of years. After all, I’m only 15. It’s only a four-year difference.

Can’t Live Without Lays : And if I’m a boy?

Winnie The Pool : That’s… I haven’t figured out my sexual orientation yet. As far as I’m concerned, all my crushes were girls. However, I don’t see anything wrong with liking a boy. :)

Can’t Live Without Lays : Mr. Win, I feel like you’ve been telling me the truth. But, I’m sorry. I’m too young to date anyone right now. I don’t want you to waste your time.

Winnie The Pool : We can still be friends. Is that alright?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Yes. Friends are good! ^.^

Winnie The Pool sent a friend request, which Team accepted promptly.

Winnie The Pool : So… Do you need help or do you want to keep on dying?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Help, please!

Winnie The Pool sent a party invite and the two began their joint grinding.


Present…

June 4, 2014

Dear Diary, 

It’s already been a week since I saw my party members. Lemon logged on today to tell me that she forgot to do her summer homework and needs to finish all of them. I’m always not on when she logs in ( I checked). 

Pharm got on yesterday and sent me a message. He said that it might take a while before he can play again. His father died. I sent him condolence, but I’m not sure he read it yet. Hopefully, he’ll be okay soon. 

Hel sent me a rant saying that they have an essay due at the end of the week. Who assigns an essay on the first week of classes? 

.

.

.

June 8, 2014

Diary,

I think I’m sick. I always felt this nauseous feeling whenever I party with Hia (he said to call me that because he’s older.). I was so shocked when he confessed the real reason why he approached. It’s the first time someone hit on me. I didn’t know what to feel. He took good care of me, and he’s great with his operations! He’s typing on the chat box while attacking simultaneously. I don’t know how he did it without dying.  As I learned about him, I found myself opening up to him. The comfort he gave was different from the comfort I felt when I’m with my friends.

If I was a girl… and a bit older, maybe I would have already fallen in love with him. What am I saying? It’s only been a week. And I only think of him as a big brother. Or a guardian angel. Or something.

But Diary, I began to notice that I laugh more because of him. I smile when I think of him.  I’m scared.


“Why do you look like one of your dogs died?”

Win looked up. His handsome face marred with a frown. “Remember that person I’m interested in?”

“You mean the one you were stalking?” Dean smirked. “Did you finally get the nerve to confess?

“Just see if I help you with that Geometry homework, jerk!” Win threw his ballpen at Dean. He watched as the other person dodged easily, and he could only sigh. “I have good news and bad news.”

Dean sat beside Win. They were in the latter’s house doing homework. “Tell me.”

Win smiled. “The good news was I was able to introduce myself to him last night. He’s better than I thought.” He paused as he recalled the long talks he had with the younger kid.

“But?”

Win frowned. “But he’s way too young.”

“How old is she?” Dean asked.

“11.”

It’s Dean’s turn to frown. “Win, that’s too young. When she’s fifteen or sixteen, around our age, we’ll be university students already.”

“I know.” Win bowed his head. “I like him, but he’s too young.”

Dean patted his friend’s shoulder to give him comfort. There was a moment of silence in the room, broken only by Win’s short laughter.

“I’ll be fine. At least I was able to add him as a friend. It was so hard trying to have him accept my party invite.” Win smiled at Dean. “And he began calling me ‘Hia.’ I just gained another younger sibling.”

Dean smiled, though a bit strained. “Just be careful. You might make her fall in love.”

“I doubt that. We already talked about it and agreed to stay friends. Falling in love with me… “ Win shook his head. “I’ve already started treating him as I treat everybody else. I swear I’ll never cross the line.” Win got up and pulled a pajama out of his drawer. “I’ll go prepare for bed.”

Dean watched his friend. “Treat her as you treat everybody else? That’s what I’m afraid of…” he whispered. 

CHAPTER 6

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 60

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient, Talk of the Town

Job : Mage

Fame : 600

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 30

Stamina : 46

Agility : 37

Intelligence : 125

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 18

Luck : 10

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 52

-Touched By Hel LVL 55

-LemOnsKI LVL 54

-Winnie the Pool LVL 65

Chapter Text

June 16, 2014

Dear Diary,

I survived the first week of classes. I made a schedule based on last week, so I can study and still have time to play. I asked my mom to buy me a planner, and she looked at me as though I asked her to get the stars for me. What’s wrong with having a planner?! My schedule this week (I’m writing it here, too):

Monday to Friday

-Wake up at 6:30 AM, get ready for school

-Breakfast at 7 AM, leave the house at 7:30

-Class 8 AM to 12 PM, 1 PM to 3 PM 

-After school activities/Swimming Practice 3 PM to 4 PM

-Dinner at 5:30 PM, put on pajama

-Review lessons/Do homework from 6 PM to 9 PM

-Play LeRi from 9 PM to 10 PM, write important details in my diary

Sleep by 10:30 PM

Do you think I’ll survive a seven-hour sleep? I hope so. My friends were back, and I hate not being able to spend time with them, even if it’s only an hour.

Saturday and Sunday

-I can sleep in! ・^ - ^・Get up at 8 AM! 

-Work on schoolwork and homework! (Get those things done, so I have more time to play!)

-Lunch at 12 PM

-Play LeRi after lunch until 2:30

-Swimming practice from 3 to 4 PM

-Dinner at 4:30

-Play LeRi from 5 to 10 PM

I’m hoping I can follow my schedule.

 

June 18, 2014

Diary,

Touched By Hel came back with someone in tow. Nixxi is his niece. What a coincidence! That means he might know Hia in real life, too! The world is really small.

Hemp Rope, Hia’s guild, was founded by Hel’s oldest nephew. I teased him when I found out. He kept on complaining about them before and cursing out Phi ODean0421 whenever their guild beat us in the weekly guild battle. It doesn’t help that Ari Yasa Kul, the person Hel was rigorously chasing but kept being rejected, was part of their guild.

Hia’s guild is really powerful. Their core members were part of the top 10 in the Leader Boards. Hia himself is in the top 2. He’s number one in terms of Wealth! Their guild is number 1 on the server, and top 10 worldwide. Our little Red Thread is full of casual players that we couldn’t compete at all.

 

June 20, 2014

Dear Diary,

My best friend said he’ll be more active from now on.  I sent him a copy of my schedule, and he said, he’ll try to be there during the hours I’m available. He thanked me for my condolences… I wish I can do more for him.

Today, we went on an adventure with just the two of us… just like the early days. It was more peaceful. I like it. But I also miss the chaos Lemon and Hel brought.

Hia sent me another Good Night message, as he always did since I met him. I miss him, too. Am I being greedy?

 

July 7, 2014

Dear Diary,

There’s a new event this week! Tanabata Day. According to the legend, the lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi were separated by the Milky way and were allowed to meet only once a year during this day.  The story is bittersweet, but the event is better. There were new skins available, there’s a new story mission based on the event, an event boss, and new quests. I want the Event Time-Limited Equipment. Everyone in the guild is working hard and helping each other get the materials for the equipment that the members want. 

I let the others party together, and Hia helped me farm for materials…

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : You don’t want to play with your friends?

Can’t Live Without Lays : We’re good, Hia. They’re helping the kids obtain better armor. These past few days, it’s rare for us to party together.

Can’t Live Without Lays : We’re always leading the recruits to guild maze, dungeons, killing bosses…

Winnie The Pool: I noticed. Then you’ll be mine today?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Yours?

Team felt as though someone was tickling his insides. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but he liked it.

Winnie The Pool : Your time

Winnie The Pool: You’ll spend it with me today, right? 

Can’t Live Without Lays : Yes

Winnie The Pool : Let’s go. You only have less than an hour before you need to go to sleep. Let’s hunt.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Then let’s go to Ling Guang. I need some Phoenix feathers for that robe.

Winnie The Pool : We’re not hunting for the mats of the Tanabata Equipment?

Team made his avatar shake its head left and right. 

Can’t Live without Lays : I’m more interested in the elemental-themed skin, but I don’t want to use my diamond carelessly.

Winnie The Pool : Which one?

Can’t Live Without Lays : The one that’s made for mages. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : Let’s go, Hia

Winnie The Pool : Hmn.

The two ran to Ling Guang Mountains. Defeating the Vermillion should have been hard with only two people who both have long-range attacks, but Winnie The Pool was able to control the boss and dealt more damage than all of Team’s party members combined. While the older teen got the boss’ attention, Can’t Live Without Lays did his task of breaking and defeating the Phoenix Guards. His higher level and better stats made it easier for him. However, Team could see the difference between him and Winnie The Pool

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : Got?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Need more.

Winnie The Pool : Okay

He watched as the other’s avatar walked towards the boss.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia, maybe we should change our strategy?

He continued when Winnie The Pool only turned to look at him.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I mean, you defeat the boss before I could kill all of the Phoenix Guards

Can’t Live Without Lays : Maybe I should get the Boss’ aggro, and you can kill the PGs?

Winnie The Pool : Okay. Let’s try it.

Once again, the two of them entered combat. Can’t Live Without Lays attacked the Boss and got its aggro. Winnie The Pool waited a bit to make sure that the younger got the boss’ full attention before attacking the Phoenix Guards. Team frowned and concentrated hard on the game, making sure that the boss wouldn't attack his partner. However, he died a couple of times. He felt sad and ashamed.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m sorry, Hia

Winnie The Pool : Don’t worry about it. I got four feathers with me. How much more do you need?

Can’t Live Without Lays : three

Winnie The Pool : Okay. Let’s farm it, then we’ll trade.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia, I think we should go back to our previous strategy? 

Winnie The Pool : Yours was much better. Don’t worry. I’ll support you. Come

Team followed him, and they fought the legendary bird once again. He reluctantly got the boss’ aggro and did his best to stay alive while attacking. Whenever he has a sliver of life left, Winnie The Pool would use Mini Heal on him, making sure that he won’t die. Team became more determined to not let his hia’s work go to waste, and he smiled brightly when they defeated all the enemies.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : Great work! :D I got what you need, Lays. Accept the trade request, please

Team accepted the request and received seven Phoenix feathers

Winnie The Pool : What’s next?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Mmm

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s already 10:08. I need to sleep now, Hia

Winnie The Pool : I see. Then, good night, Team. Sleep tight

Can’t Live Without Lays : Thank you for tonight, Hia

Can’t Live Without Lays : See you tomorrow?

Winnie The Pool : I’ll always be here. See you tomorrow, Lays

Team closed the app and placed his phone on his bedside table, making sure that it’s connected to its charger. After writing in his journal, he turned the lamp off and headed for bed. He fell asleep with a smile on his face.


Win checked out the newly released skin. There were three sets of skins that came out with the update. The first one was Tanabata Festival-themed, the second one was Goth, and the last one was Elemental (fire, water, wind, earth). He pressed the last one and found that the skins were made for mages who want to specialize in certain elements. Each of them gave 10% MATK, 10% CSPD, +1000 HP, and +1000 MP. He smiled when he remembered that Lays swims competitively. Without a second thought, Win bought the full Water Elemental skin. He’ll find a way to give it to the younger one without getting rejected later.

He closed the app and settled under his blanket. His favorite person logged off too soon, and he didn’t want to play by himself. He dreams of Can’t Live Without Lays’ reaction when he receives the skin.


[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia, I heard from my guild members that the event gives special buffs. I didn’t look into it that much yesterday.

Winnie The Pool : They’re right. There’s a bamboo tree on the Event Map. If you pay 5 gold coins, you can pick which buff you want, and your wish will be written on paper and hung in the bamboo. The buff lasts for an hour.

Can’t Live Without Lays : You already know about it?

Winnie The Pool : Hn. I played with my friends this afternoon. Do you want to play the Event Mission with me? We can farm tomorrow for the rest of the materials you needed. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay (^.^)

Can’t Live Without Lays : No problem.

The two ran back to the city where the warp for the event map can be found. When they entered the warp, they looked for the bamboo tree and wrote their wishes. With coins to spare, they made sure to get all the buffs offered. Their HP and MP went up. Their agility, strength, attack, and defense also increased. 

After, they went to talk to the Shinto shrine’s Miko and triggered the story mission.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: There was a princess who weaves beautiful clothes by the bank of Amanogawa. Her name was Orihime. Just like other girls, the princess wished to find a person whom she could love.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: Her father, Tentei, was concerned and arranged for her to meet the cowherd Hikoboshi. The two fell in love at first sight and married shortly thereafter. 

[[Miko: Kagura]]: When they got married, Orihime would no longer weave for her father, and it made him furious. It didn’t help that Hikoboshi allowed his cows to wander the heavens with no supervision.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: Tentei separated the lovers and forbade them to meet. Orihime lived on one side of the Amanogawa River, and Hikoboshi lived on the other.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: What happened greatly saddened Orihime. She begged her father to let them meet again. Moved by his daughter’s tears, Tentei allowed them to meet on the seventh day of the seventh month with the condition that she’ll work hard and finish her weaving.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: The next year, they wanted to eagerly meet with each other, but they discovered that there was no bridge. Orihime’s tears got a flock of magpies’ sympathy. They promised to make a bridge with their wings. With this, Orihime was able to meet Hikoboshi.

[[Miko: Kagura]]: … But the magpies cannot come whenever it rains and the lovers must wait until next year to meet. This year, the sky is dark. The cumulonimbus clouds are threatening to cover the whole kingdom. Orihime and Hikoboshi might not be able to meet each other again.

Event Mission: Part 1

Helped Hikoboshi control his herd of cows.

Task:

Defeat 10 Fire Buffalo

Reward:

Tanned Fire Buffalo hide.

EXP 200

[Accept] [Decline]

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : Let’s go!

Team gave his assent and followed Winnie The Pool to the Apuy Plains, but he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about the story of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl. Defeating ten Fire Buffaloes was nothing to the two of them, and they soon went back to report to the Miko.

[[Miko: Kagura]] : Thank you so much for your help. Orihime’s father won’t have more complaints about the Hikoboshi’s cows now.

[[Miko: Kagura]] : However, Orihime, in her despair, couldn’t prepare new clothes for her father. Please help us, dear adventurer.

Event Mission: Part 2

Helped Orihime prepare new clothes for Tentei.

Task:

Collect 10 Tanned Fire Buffalo Hide.

Collect 10 Sarimanok feathers.

Collect 1 Vermillion Bird Rainbow feather

Reward:

Lover’s Promise Fabric

EXP 300

[Accept] [Decline]

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : This is a chain quest. To collect 10 Tanned Fire Buffalo Hide, we need to ask her for the first quest first. I’m so glad it’s a stack mission though. 

Winnie The Pool : Let’s kill 90 more Fire Buffaloes, then let’s go back to Ling Guang Mountains. I have a feeling we’ll be farming the rest of the time. 

Winnie The Pool: As for the Vermillion Bird Rainbow feather, I still have the two from yesterday. Let’s farm for more though. We might need a lot of that Lover’s Promise Fabric.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’ll follow Hia. 

And so they farmed more Fire Buffaloes before going back to Ling Guang Mountains. Without their knowledge, it was already midnight. Their time was filled with quiet contentment. They didn’t chat with each other unless they’re informing the other of what they’re planning to do next. It was peaceful, and though grinding was boring for Team, his time was spent with the person who, without him knowing, became someone important to him.

The two of them went back to the Miko: Kagura and received the rewards. 

[[Miko: Kagura]]: Thank you for collecting the materials. Unfortunately, fabrics won’t turn themselves into clothes, and Orihime doesn’t have the time to finish the clothes before its deadline. 

[[Miko: Kagura]]: Please find someone who can make a Sky King’s Robe.

Event Mission: Final

Helped Orihime prepare new clothes for Tentei.

Task:

Create 1 Sky King’s Robe .

Reward:

Sky King’s Robe

EXP 5000

[Accept] [Decline]

The two accepted the last mission.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool : Lays, it’s already twelve. You go to sleep.

Can’t Live Without Lays : But, Hia! It’s the last one. We should finish.

Winnie The Pool : Lays, we still have tomorrow.

Winnie The Pool : I promise that I will be here. Go to sleep. It’s a school night. 

I get to play with Hia again tomorrow? Team thought, and he couldn’t stop himself from smiling.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Then I’ll see Hia tomorrow. Thank you for tonight.

Winnie The Pool : You’re welcome, Lays. Have a good night.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Un. Night~night, Hia!

CHAPTER 7

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 65

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient, Talk of the Town

Job : Mage

Fame : 1000

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 30

Stamina : 51

Agility : 37

Intelligence : 130

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 18

Luck : 10

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 60

-Touched By Hel LVL 63

-LemOnsKI LVL 63

-Winnie the Pool LVL 70

-Nixxi LVL 65

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

July 9, 2014

Hello Diary,

I’m sorry about last night. I was unable to write what I did yesterday again, so I wrote it this morning. Hia and I finished the Event Story Mission. It was so fun playing with him, but I was a fool for bringing up Orihime and Hikoboshi’s story.

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Thank you for accompanying me, Hia. The robe might have good attributes, but it’s not for me. I’ll keep it though. I look cute in it.

Winnie The Pool: Yes, you do. ;)

Can’t Live Without Lays: ////

Winnie The Pool: Haha I’m joking

Can’t Live Without Lays: XD

Even as he sent the laughing emoji, Team couldn’t help but frown at the piercing pain in his heart. 

Winnie The Pool: What do you want to do next?

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m not sure. I still need the next material for that equipment I want to craft, but I don’t want to spend our time grinding again.

I want to spend more time chatting with you. Team’s mind screamed.

Winnie The Pool: Then do you have anything specific you want to do?

Can’t Live Without Lays: …

Can’t Live Without Lays: What about Hia?

Winnie The Pool: I promised to play with you, remember? We can do anything you want.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Oh

Can’t Live Without Lays: Then, what does Hia think of the Tanabata story? Isn’t it sad that they’re only allowed to spend a day with each other?

Can’t Live Without Lays: I don’t think I can cope when the person I like is far from me.

Winnie The Pool: You have a person you like?

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s just hypothetical.

Team responded quickly.

Winnie The Pool: I see.

Winnie The Pool: Their story is sad. Long-distance relationships are taxing and hard to maintain. But Orihime and Hikoboshi don’t only love each other. They’re both loyal. 

Winnie The Pool: The two of them look forward to seeing each other. They didn’t betray when they easily could.

Winnie The Pool: And even if they only have that one day, at least they could look forward to seeing each other. There’s an assurance that they’ll meet again.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Then if I was truly a girl and let Hia be my boyfriend, he’ll be faithful even if he’s far away?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Please ignore that ////

Winnie The Pool: XD

Winnie The Pool: Can’t Live Without Lays, I don’t care about your gender or your sexual orientation. If I have you as a boyfriend, I will treasure you. 

Winnie The Pool: I’ll do anything for our relationship to thrive, and when I see you in person, I’m going to cry because I know how lucky I am.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, you can’t say stuff like that. It’s unfair. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: I know you mean it though. Whoever your partner might be in the future will be lucky to have you.

Winnie The Pool: It’s only hypothetical, right?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Right.

After that exchange, we decided to continue the Story Mission together. Our conversation revolved around tactics and the game. I tried to ignore the sadness that I was feeling, but when the hour is up, I said goodbye to him - still reluctant to leave him because there’s no guarantee that I’ll see him tomorrow, but our conversation was weighing on me. 

-Team


Win closed the app after watching Lays’ character fade in front of him. He was surprised when the little boy wanted to discuss the story of the cowherd and the weaver girl with him, but it made him think of their own situation. He wasn’t joking when he told Lays those words. It wasn’t even hypothetical as he claimed. Those were his real thoughts. He tried real hard to suppress what he felt for the boy. He knew it wasn’t right, so he put his feelings in a box, locked it, and shoved it in the furthest recesses of his mind where it lay forgotten. Win chuckled helplessly when he realized that despite burying his feelings, it still grew without him knowing. 

His crush has turned to something more. He knew he’s doomed, and he couldn’t do anything about it.


July 10, 2014

Hello Diary,

I logged in today and saw Hia waiting for me. I wanted to play with him, but I forced myself to do what I was supposed to. I told him that I have a competition tomorrow, and I was surprised to find that he’s also a swimmer like me! He told me to get off the game and sleep early. He said he’ll give me a gift if I won tomorrow. He even kicked me from our party! The jerk!

How did he expect me to sleep? He just told me he also swims competitively. That means there’s a chance I’ll see him in events. He even mentioned a gift if I win any place. The pressure I’m feeling! I was so excited, but now I’m nervous. I’ll try my best though. I want to tell Hia. I want him to be proud of me.

July 11, 2014

Dear Diary,

I won gold at the junior swimming meet today! I’m so happy. I logged in to the game right away when I had a chance and told Hia about it. Later that night, I saw a new message from him. He said that he knew I would do my best and that I would win. He congratulated me and gave me new skin! I tried it right away, and I was aghast! The skin is aesthetically pleasing and has a water theme. It also gives me +1000 HP, +1000 MP, 10% CSPD, and 10% MATK. And I know for a fact that it costs 900 Baht. I mentioned how I like how the skin looks to him before. I’m so happy he remembered, but it’s too much!

Picture: Mermaid’s Music

Suit Name: Ocean Melody. The name came from Winx Club Return to Me

I told him that I can’t accept it, but he said he won’t take it back. I reluctantly accepted and donned it right away to show my appreciation.  Diary, Hia’s too damn sweet. I don’t care about his grand gifts (this is not the first time he showed off his money), but he remembered every little thing about me. I treasure his attention more than these material things. I think I like him already, but we already said we’ll remain friends. I’m doomed.

July 18, 2014

Dear Diary,

Today is the first day of the high school swimming meet. I went to watch my idol, Dean Ratthanon Wongnate. He’s very famous. I sat near their school’s banner and was swamped with overly enthusiastic girls. Surprisingly, someone has more fans than him though. I saw a lanky teen came out of the lockers, and both women and men around me started cheering and shouting. What’s up with that? 

Let’s forget about him. My idol won the freestyle and breaststroke events! I’m really glad I found the time to watch it live. I couldn’t help watching that lanky teen though. Even if he only won silver, I thought his strokes were beautiful. I can’t help but want to emulate his swimming style, so I went to the nearest public swimming pool and tried it. Emphasis on tried. I’m hoping I can get their instructions someday. 

When I got online, I happily told Hia about the swimming meet I watched, and how my idol won in the events he participated in. When he found out that I’m a fan of P’Dean, his answers became somewhat bland? I thought he’s just not in the mood. I asked if he would like to grind with me, but he said he’s tired from their practice and logged off without waiting for my reply. I wonder if I said something wrong. 

Diary, why do I feel like my heart was crushed when I don’t have the qualifications to feel so?


At first, Win was happy when he found out that Lays went to the swimming meet he participated in. He was going to inform the boy that he was there and won second place in the events he was in when he learned that Lays was there for his best friend. His mood dropped, and he chose to leave the boy for the day.

Win stared at the two silver medals on his desk. He reached out and clenched them in his hand before throwing them on the opposite wall with all the strength he could muster. The loud impact echoed around his empty room but he didn’t care. He stood and left the room. The medals lay pitifully forgotten on the floor. 


July 25, 2014

Dear Diary,

It’s been a week since I last talked to Hia… I don’t know what I did… I hope he’ll tell me.


Win avoided Lays for seven days. At first, he didn’t know how to approach him after leaving abruptly the last time they talked. Then days passed by, and he didn’t know if Lays will still be happy to talk with him. Two more days went by, but he missed the boy greatly and left him a message instead.

He told the boy that he’s busy with school projects and studying for exams. Swimming practice is hell because the first meet of the year is happening soon. He promised the boy that he’ll play with him for a whole day if possible.

Ignoring the younger boy. Win thought it was possible, but he’s torturing himself. So what if Lays like Dean better? That’s fine. It’s him who Lays wants to play with. For now, that’s enough.


July 27, 2014

Diary,

Hia said he was busy because of a school project and quarterly final exams happening soon. He said he was sorry for not replying to my previous messages. When he has more free time, he’ll play with me for a whole day, if possible. He told me to study and finish my homework. He also said that I should make sure to stretch properly before practice. Why must he keep on reminding me? Is he my coach? =.=

But I feel better now. He’s only busy outside of the game. I’ll be able to meet him once the midterms and his projects are done. I can’t wait! I should set aside a day, maybe on the weekends, so we can play together. 

I really, really want to spend more time with him.

August 4, 2014

Dear Diary,

It’s a Monday morning and the first thing I heard from my Math teacher was that we have a 50 items quiz on Friday in preparation for the midterms next week. I’m all good with that, but he just reminded me of our midterms. >.< I’m going to be busy preparing for it T.T I told Hia when we played (for less than thirty minutes only!) about it, and he said it’s better if I don’t play until I’m done with my midterms. QAQ We had a fight when I said he just doesn’t want to make an excuse for not playing with me again. uwu He insisted that he’s not avoiding me, but I know he does. 

I said sorry because he might not talk to me again. I just hope I know why… Am I too clingy?

August 16, 2014

Dear Diary,

Midterms are done for almost all of us. Yehey!!! These past two weeks, I only logged in to do some quests. Today, I played to my heart’s content. I logged in early in the morning, right after I ate breakfast and played with my original party.

5 years ago…

  [[Chatbox: Party]]

Touched By Hel: I know it’s been a long time since we co-op, but this is a disaster

LemOnsKI: Can’t do anything about it, if one is not busy, the other is

Nixxi: And there are people here who like to party with a specific individual only ;D

Blue Eir: Not me!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Not me!

Blue Eir: ….

Can’t Live Without Lays: …. 

Touched By Hel: Guilty! XD

LemOnsKI: Guilty! XD (2)

Nixxi:  Guilty! XD (3)

Nixxi: So how was playing with my big brother?

Blue Eir: Don’t tease!

Touched By Hel: Are you having fun with Win?

Can’t Live Without Lays: WTH!?

Touched By Hel: Are you cursing me?

Can’t Live Without Lays: I meant, ‘What the? Hel!’

Blue Eir: Don’t be a hypocrite, please. How’s your cat and mouse chase with my uncle?

Touched By Hel: No comment

LemOnsKI: I still can’t believe all of you somehow knew each other in real life. I feel so left out

Can’t Live Without Lays: You’re not the only one TAT

LemOnsKI: You’ll be part of them soon enough

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yeah right. I was friendzoned when I told him I’m only eleven

Nixxi: Then why does he smile often when you’re playing together?

Touched By Hel: And try to match your gaming schedule

Nixxi: And leave his party a few minutes before you log in

Can’t Live Without Lays: Don’t give me hope

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s just continue the Story Mission. It’s a bit complicated than the previous ones, and we need to run a lot

Blue Eir: …

Blue Eir: Let’s! Come on! We’ll finish this new boss and continue the story. Hopefully, we can finish at least a chapter before…

Nixxi: My brother and P’Win come. 

Blue Eir: ////


His phone connected to the charger, Team cheerfully said goodbye to his party members. He and Blue Eir were teased when all of them got a notification that Winnie The Pool and ODean0421 were online, but they couldn’t care less. He cheered when he got a message from his Hia Win.

  [[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool: Lays, congratulations on finishing your midterms! I sent you a gift. Check it out.

Team checked his mailbox right away. He was nervous and was already thinking of a way to send back the gift if it’s expensive again. He couldn’t help but smile when he saw the gift.

Winnie The Pool: I know you were worrying about the last gift I gave you, so I thought you won’t hesitate to receive it if it’s something I made for you.

Winnie The Pool: How is it?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, the attributes are the best! My MP nearly doubled. My defense and MATK also went up. Even my cast speed! It’s less than 1 second. And I recover mana much faster than before.

Picture: Frost Skirt from Toram

Team said while trying out the new weapon Winnie The Pool gifted him.

Can’t Live Without Lays: It also compliments Ocean Melody. Spindrift's Song. A beautiful name for a powerful weapon. <3 Thank you so much, Hia! It might have taken you a lot of time and resources to gather the materials. 

Winnie The Pool: It doesn’t matter. :)

Can’t Live Without Lays: When’s your birthday? I need to prepare my gift. 

Winnie The Pool: You don’t need to give me one.

Idiot Hia. I just want to know when is your birthday! Team thought. 

Winnie The Pool: It’s May 7. Yours?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yay!!! I’ll do my best to give you a good gift, Hia :)

Can’t Live Without Lays: I won’t tell you my birthday. You’re too generous. I don’t think I can ever repay you.

Winnie The Pool: I never gave you things while expecting something. I’m just happy that you’re happy.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I still won’t tell! Come one! I’ve been playing for hours already. I just had short breaks. Play with me until 10 PM, Hia!

Winnie The Pool: That’s nine hours away!

Can’t Live Without Lays: So? Even during summer, I never indulge myself in playing more than five hours a day. Today, I just want to spend more times with you

Can’t Live Without Lays: *with friends

Winnie The Pool: …

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s go! Blue and the others helped me level up today. Can’t believe I’m already Level 72.

Winnie The Pool: Where to?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Meng Zhang Mountains! I heard that no one has seen the boss in the area yet, even if a lot of people have already visited and have reached the Level 75 cap. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s figure out where the boss is! Maybe one of us can make him familiar.

Winnie The Pool: Like how Artio Terra got Ling Guang as familiar?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yeah! And how AYK got Jian Bing

Can’t Live Without Lays: … The legendary beasts are all owned by people from your guild… maybe I should look for Meng Zhang by myself?

Winnie The Pool: Like I would let you go. Follow me! Let master guide you

Can’t Live Without Lays: Master?! Boo! XD

Winnie The Pool didn’t respond and moved towards the direction of Meng Zhang Mountains. Team smiled and followed him.

 

Chapter 8

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 72

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient, Talk of the Town

Job: Mage

Fame: 1000

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 33

Stamina: 55

Agility: 40

Intelligence: 135

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma: 28

Luck: 13

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 68

-Touched By HelLVL 70

-LemOnsKILVL 70

-Winnie the PoolLVL 75

-NixxiLVL 72

Chapter Text

5 years ago…

Unlike other games, the bosses in Lethean of Rie have many categories. There are minibosses like Queen Coran and Slime King. Mini-boss is always on the map, and players can fight them any time. There are minibosses like Fenrir and King Gobb who have the title “miniboss,” but only appear through the Main Storyline. Legendary bosses like Jian Bing and Ling Guang are encountered only after fulfilling some unknown requirements. Only then will other players be able to have a boss battle with them.

It’s still a mystery how Ari Yasa Kul and Artio Terra made a weaker version of the legendary bosses their familiars. A player whose sole hobby is game research theorized that Ari Yasa Kul received Jian Bing’s egg because (1) He’s the leader of the party who discovered and defeated Jian Bing for the first time, (2) He’s a knight, (3) Jian Bing’s element is metal, and Ari Yasa Kul was covered with it, being a knight and all.  But when Artio Terra got Ling Guang, it made the person confused. Until now, no one knew the real reason why both were chosen.

Today, Team and Winnie The Pool are trying to unlock Meng Zhang. The dragon lives in the tall Meng Zhang Mountains. The highest peak touches the clouds. A few days ago, someone in the forum said that there was a cave in the summit. He swore that he saw something passed by his avatar, but it was during the wee hours of the morning, and his companion said they saw nothing on their screen.

Team knew the person who posted the thread. It was Silver Wind , a mage specializing in Wind Element. Silver Wind was second to Team on the Mage Leaderboards even if his level is higher than Team. The person with Silver Wind when he ‘encountered’ the elusive dragon was an archer called Point Blanc . Coincidentally, he’s also second to Winnie The Pool on the Archer Leaderboards, with only a point difference. The two have been fighting for the top for a long time, and his Hia just happens to be number one right now.

Team shared his theory with Winnie The Pool

  [[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, I’m a mage. Silver Wind was a mage. He has reached the cap level of 75. I’m level 72. If we grind for a day or two, I’ll be able to reach Level 75.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m so glad it’s the weekend! If you’re free tomorrow, we can play the whole day!

Can’t Live Without Lays: His party member only includes Point Blanc, an archer! You’re also an archer!

Winnie The Pool: What if the dragon appeared briefly to Silver Wind because of his main element.

Can’t Live Without Lays: That’s fine. I still have my Wind Element equipment with me. I can just don them when it’s time.

Winnie The Pool: But they have a much lower attribute than your current equipment.

Can’t Live Without Lays: …

Can’t Live Without Lays: Don’t tell me Hia doesn’t want to see me put on clothes he didn’t give me himself?

Winnie The Pool: Lays!

Can’t Live Without Lays: XD I’m just joking

Can’t Live Without Lays: Okay! If Hia doesn’t want me to change, then I won’t.

Winnie The Pool: It’s not that I don’t. I’m just worried. This is a legendary boss, and according to what you said, you want to face it with just the two of us.

Winnie The Pool: If we want to defeat it, we need all the buffs we can get.

Can’t Live Without Lays: You believe me, Hia?

Winnie The Pool: There’s no reason to doubt. We’re just testing your hypothesis. If it doesn’t work, then we can do some trial and error.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Why even here I need to experiment? TAT

Winnie The Pool: If you need help with your homework or studying for the test, just tell me, okay?

Can’t Live Without Lays: You promise, Hia? No take-backs. 

Winnie The Pool: Come on! There’s a mob area in this mountain. The monsters respawn quickly. 

Team followed Winnie The Pool as he was brought to Meng Zhang Mountains: Level 2. 

The two ground for five hours. With the help of Scrolls and other Unique One-time use Items, Team was able to level up his character to Level 75. They agreed to stop after dinner and to prepare for sleep. 

Team had a smile on his face when he went to the dining table. His mother noticed it and couldn’t help but tease him.

“You spent your day in your room, but you came out smiling. Should I expect the phone bill to be high this month?”

“Mae!”

She ruffled her son’s hair while laughing. “I’m teasing you right now, but you’re still young, okay? No need to hurry about stuff like this. Focus on your study and your extracurricular activities.”

Team bit his lip. “Yes, Mae.”

“Okay! I cooked your favorite food for dinner. Finish everything on your plate.” She sat down and smiled when Team enthusiastically ate.


  [[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia! You’re here. Were you waiting for a long time?

Winnie The Pool: No. I just logged on.

Winnie The Pool: Are you ready?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yeah! I can’t wait to meet that dragon.

Winnie The Pool: Then, let’s hope this will be easy with just the two of us.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I believe in Hia!

Winnie The Pool: You should. Let’s go to the summit!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Mn

Team manipulated his avatar to run after Winnie The Pool. As they enter the Meng Zhang Mountains: Cliffside, Team noticed something different. 

  [[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, is it just me or the fog is denser than the last time we’re here?

Winnie The Pool: No. Something’s different. Be ready okay?

The two ran towards the next level of the mountain, Meng Zhang Mountains: Summit. An exclamation mark appeared on the warp portal.

  [[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia! We triggered a quest!

Winnie The Pool: Yeah! :D

Can’t Live Without Lays: Can’t believe my theory is right. But what do I have that Silver Wind doesn’t?

Winnie The Pool: Other than your position in the leaderboard, there’s one thing that you have that he doesn’t. Your title.

Can’t Live Without Lays: The Omniscient? But a lot of new players who followed my instructions got the title as well.

Winnie The Pool: Not all of them are a mage. Some don’t use the title anymore. I don’t know, but I’m glad it’s you

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia wants my luck XD

Winnie The Pool: Lays is always lucky. But I’m luckier than most, even Lays.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Your stat for Luck is high?

Winnie The Pool: No. Nevermind. Let’s go.

Team nodded absentmindedly before entering the warp zone to the summit.  The cutscene appeared, and he was amazed by the graphics once again.

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

A thousand years ago, when the demons invaded the Southern Kingdoms of the Continent of Lethe, the legendary beasts were caught in the middle of the war. The White Tiger, Jian Bing, was close with the humans. They revered him. For him, they were his precious people so he sided with them. The Vermillion Bird, Ling Guang, on the other hand, looked down on both demonkind and mankind. She concealed her fiery presence in her mountains and was content to pass the years as ashes. Zhi Ming, the Black Tortoise, was the first to encounter the demons and fell for their tricks. He was manipulated and when he realized what he had done, the blood of many innocent people covered his hard shell. He retreated on his lake never to be seen again.

Unfortunately, it was the dragons who were the unluckiest. Both humans and demons hunted them for their ores. Dragon ores are brimming with mana. Their skin is impenetrable to magic attacks. Their horns are sturdy weapons also filled with magic. In a world where the more mana one has, the more powerful you are, dragons are indispensable.

It was during this time when Xiao Zhang left the protection of his shell. Usually, when dragons die, their memories and experience will go to the next close descendant. For Xiao Zhang, whose every kin died, his innocent mind was bombarded with depressing memories. His mind shut down, and he spent three hundred years in a comatose state. When he woke up, the memory of his ancestors was completely sealed by the gods who pitied him.

A few more years have passed, and the young dragon ventured past his mountains. His mission was to find other dragons. It was not long before evil people began hunting him. Shocked by the hostility of men, he disguised himself as human and entered the City of Rie. There, he met kind people who gave him a hand. Clothing, food, and a place to live were given to him as long as he helps out. He lived happily as a human, but people began to notice that he doesn’t age. 

“My father was an elf. My mother was a human,” he reasoned out, but people have begun doubting him. 

I need to go. I need to find another place. Just when I’m starting to enjoy life, I forgot one important thing - humans change. Xiao Zhang thought to himself. But I also changed. I forgot why I’m here. I was overwhelmed by the feeling that someone cares .

The next morning, the little dragon went to the library. It was the place he loved the most in this place. There was a book, one only a person with all the requirements can read. Only a person with a high threshold of mana pool can open the book. Only a person with an innocent mind can read from it. Only then will it show you what you wanted to know about the most.

Xiao Zhang was a dragon with immense mana. Despite reading all the books available in the library, his mind remained innocent of what happened a thousand years ago. (As we know, all kingdoms and countries will tell stories based on their perspective. They can choose to reveal only the things they’re proud of and conceal those they found ugly or regretful).

The librarian doesn’t know what Xiao Zhang saw, but the young man left the kingdom and was never seen again.

Xiao Zhang didn’t read anything, but the seal suppressing the memories of his kin played in his mind - more orderly than the first time. He spent years in isolation “reading” the book, but he dreamt of his ancestors’ life. He left the kingdom in desolation and hid amongst the mist of the clouds covering his mountains.

He wanted to rage the kingdom to the ground. He wanted to kill the descendants of those who caused him grief. He wanted and wanted, but he was tired. Tired of hatred and pain, of suffering and remembrance. He just wanted to live anew away from the people’s eyes. With his magic and knowledge, he hid his summit from the people. He set requirements and sealed himself away. 

A hundred years later, adventurers discovered his summit, and he awakened from his slumber. He watched them wander around his forest and shook his head whenever they couldn’t find what they’re looking for.

He didn’t imagine that someone will unlock his requirements: 

  • The title “The Omniscient” was personally bestowed to him by the king after reading all of the contents of the library and showing a great understanding of them. The first person bestowed after him was certainly knowledgeable.
  • An innocent mind despite vast knowledge of the world.
  • A huge mana pool.
  • Something that will show everyone their undisputable strength.
  • A special bond with someone that shows high loyalty (Party together for more than 100 hours).

[Meng Zhang]: Humans, what brought you to my home?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Eh? Hia, is it just me, or can we freely answer? I only saw the text box. There are no choices.

[Meng Zhang]: How dare you ignore my question?

Winnie The Pool: I’m sorry, Azure Dragon. This is the first time this happened in this life. We weren’t sure how the system works.

Can’t Live Without Lays: He’s right! We’re sorry, mister!

Can’t Live Without Lays: As for your previous question, we were looking for you, of course!

[Meng Zhang]: Hmph! Impudent! How dare you invade my sacred place so casually? What are your qualifications?

Can’t Live Without Lays: We’re also not sure. We were only testing out theories. We didn’t think you would truly appear.

[Meng Zhang]: Now that you’ve seen me, what are you planning to do?

Can’t Live Without Lays: We… were going to follow the story and see where it will lead us?

[Meng Zhang]: Indecisive! If you have nothing else to tell me, then go!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Ah! Hia!

Winnie The Pool: Legendary Dragon! We… At first, we wanted to see if we could defeat you and maybe make you my friend’s familiar.

Can’t Live Without Lays: But after learning about your story, I think it’s inappropriate. We, humans, have already caused you too much grief. We’re sorry!

[Meng Zhang]: I received your apologies. You can see your way out.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Uhm, please take me in as a disciple!

Team made his character bow. He was kneeling on the floor, his forehead touching the ground. He saw Winnie The Pool do the same.

[Meng Zhang]: You were planning on making me your subordinate, but when you found out about my experience, you want to become my disciple instead? How are you qualified!

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s our mistake! Please forgive us and give us a chance.

Winnie The Pool: Please forgive us and give us a chance.

[Meng Zhang]: …... I won’t accept you unless I’m satisfied

Can’t Live Without Lays: We will do our best.

[Meng Zhang]: Get up. Your first quest would be to answer my questions. You have an hour to look for the answer in the library. Or you can choose to answer on the spot.

Can’t Live Without Lays: We’re ready, Master.

Team replied when he saw that both he and Winnie The Pool’s character got up from their current position.  

[Meng Zhang]: On the first time I arrived and stepped foot on the Kingdom of Rie, the king came from the line of which of the following children of Rie and Arthur? What was he famous for? Go and look for the answer. Come back before your hour ends.

Team was ready to go and start right away, but he saw Winnie The Pool stay in his place.

Winnie The Pool: Umm. The great dragon, I just want to be clear. For your second question, were you referring to the king when you arrived in the kingdom or the child of Rie and Arthur he was descended of?

[Meng Zhang]: … … Should I take an archer as a disciple? Why is the mage not thinking deeply?

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m sorry, great dragon. I thought you were referring to the child of Rie and Arthur because the question was asked after finding out who he is. I should have clarified.

[Meng Zhang] Archer, you did great for clarifying the question. Mage, you were right. The second question is “What was the child of Rie and Arthur, who the king of the kingdom on the first time I arrived and stepped foot on the Kingdom of Rie was descended from, famous for?” Now go and give me the answer.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool turn around and left the dragon. Once they were on the lower levels of the mountains, they decided to use a Teleportation Talisman. They arrived in the bustling town but ignored the messages sent to them by their guild members who called out to them when they arrived. Together, they entered the library. 

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

[[Librarian: Quana]] : Dear adventurers, the Book of Infinite Knowledge has been sending an energy pulse that causes the whole library to shook. It seems only the library is affected. I’m relieved that the whole kingdom is intact; however, the books my ancestors and I painstakingly organized are now in disarray. 

[[Librarian: Quana]]: I don’t think I’ll be able to help you right now… I need to organize them indefinitely or future adventurers will have trouble accessing our skill scrolls. I’m sorry, but we have to turn you away for now.

[Leave]

[Offer help]

Can’t Live Without Lays:  WAIT! Ms. Quana, my friend and I can help you organize.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Just show us where to start, and we will help you.

[[Librarian: Quana]] : That’s… Thank you, adventurer! Then can we send you to check on the Book of Infinite Knowledge? Our library has grown these past few years, and we have many librarians, but if we can’t stop the book from dispensing its massive energy, it’s no use putting the books back on the shelves. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: We understand. Please show us where the book is.

[[Librarian: Quana]]: Thank you, adventurer. It’s on the main library tower. The room on the highest floor house the book that was sealed by the last reader, Xiao Zhan. 

The whole library shook when a huge energy pulse was sent throughout the entire building. More books fell from their places, and Can’t Live Without Lays threw his body to protect the librarian. After the shock, the adventurer nodded at the librarian.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, let’s go!

Winnie The Pool: Yeah

The two ran towards the place the navigation arrow was pointing to. They followed it up to the tower until they stopped in front of a door.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s sealed! What should we do?

Winnie The Pool: There’s no option for physical attacks. What about magic attacks?

Can Live Without Lays: There’s nothing, too.

Winnie The Pool: There might be clues somewhere.

Team made his character send out a stream of mana into the seal. It flashed, and it rearranged.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Umm... Hia, there’s something on the seal.

Winnie The Pool: I can see it. It’s a riddle.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I-I’m not good at riddles.

~I turn once, what is out will not get in. I turn again, what is in will not get out.~

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia! I don’t know the answer.

Winnie The Pool: calm down. It’s no good if you’re panicking. We still have more than 50 minutes left.

 Winnie The Pool: I can see the riddle, but nothing else. What about you?

Can’t Live Without Lays: There’s… There are three hearts in the corner.

Winnie The Pool: I see. It might count as our lives. We don’t know what will happen if we lose them all, so we need to be careful.

Winnie the Pool: We don’t know how many riddles we need to answer before this door opens. It’s better if we get all of them right. Let me log out.

Can’t Live Without Lays: No, Hia! We don’t know the effect of you logging out while in the middle of this story arc. Let me use my laptop instead.

Winnie The Pool: Okay. 

After a few minutes, Team came back with the answer.

Can’t Live Without Lays: The internet says the answer is “Key”

 Winnie The Pool: I’ll enter it.

Winnie The Pool: Oh! We got it right!

They watched as the door opens. They looked around and saw a huge tome floating in the middle of the room above the heavy table it was on for hundreds of years. They went near it and saw that even the book is sealed. A new riddle flashed on the screen. 

~I have lakes with no water, mountains with no stone,

cities with no buildings, signs with no posts~

Can’t Live Without Lays: … I’ll go look it up

Winnie The Pool: A map?

Team saw this message when he went back to his phone.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Wow, Hia! You’re so smart! 

Winnie The Pool: These riddles are a bit logical after some thought.

Can’t Live Without Lays: But we don’t’ have the time to think it through. We don’t know how long this searching will be.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Information about the game NPCs might not be on the internet as this is a new story, but he said to search for the answer. The first thing that came to mind in Google D: I’m sorry for cheating.

 Winnie The Pool: No. You’re smart and practical. Let’s finish this thing and hopefully, we can get you a master by the end of this day.

 Can’t Live Without Lays: Yes! Thank you, Hia!

 Winnie The Pool: :D

 Team entered Map on the text box, and the Book of Infinite Knowledge opened. The pages violently turned and stopped.

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s a map! I don’t recognize it though.

Winnie The Pool: Let me see.

 Team hurriedly took a screenshot of the map before letting Winnie The Pool look.

Winnie The Pool: I think it’s a map of the library? See that corner over there is where the librarian usually sits. And that’s the lion statue. The painting of King Arthur is marked over there. There’s a crossed-out part here. We should go look.

Can’t Live Without Lays: the first floor of the library?

Winnie The Pool: Yes

Can’t Live Without Lays: But it’s a mess down there.

Winnie The Pool: Maybe it was meant to be a mess. Let’s go look.

 The heavy tome fell on the table. It has sealed itself again. The seal on the door reset itself when the two adventurers got out.

 The two ran down the stairs into the chaos.

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

[[Librarian: Quana]]: Thank you, adventurers! The energy pulses stopped. Please accept these as a reward.

 Reward:

Title: The Bibliothecary – 500 Mana points, 10% CSPD, 10% Mana regeneration

EXP 200

 [[Librarian: Quana]]: As you can see, we employed other adventurers to help out with the cleaning and organizing. Would you like to help?

[Yes] [No] 

Can’t Live Without Lays:  Hia?

Winnie The Pool: We would like to help, Ms. Quana. However, we’re currently on a mission regarding the activation of the book and the release of its energy. It’s best if we investigate first. We promise to come back and help when we’re done.

Team pressed [No].

[[Librarian: Quana]]: I understand. You must prioritize a more important mission. The energy right now… it can destroy the empire if the seals weren’t in place. Go and finish your mission, adventurers!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Thank you, Ms. Quana.

 They watched as the cutscene ended.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: I took a picture of the map. I can open it using the app’s image viewer.

Winnie The Pool: Quick thinking. Share it with me, so I can open it, too. 

Team did as was asked. He opened the photo and sent it to Winnie The Pool’s mailbox. 

Winnie The Pool: If we align the map like this…

Winnie The Pool: That’s the lion, the librarian’s desk, and the painting. The X should be on that side.

Winnie The Pool ran to the right side of the library. Team was following him behind.

Winnie The Pool: it should be around here somewhere. 

A desk, a lion, and a painting… Team kept on repeating in his head while looking for something they have no clue which, when something caught Team’s eyes. It was a poster of a cat sitting on a desk while looking at its reflection in the mirror.

Can’t Live Without Lays: … Hia? I think I just found our clue.

 Team showed the poster to Winnie The Pool.

Winnie The Pool: I see. Great job, Lays!

Team blushed and hid his face behind his hands even though the other person can’t see him. When he glanced back at the phone’s screen, he saw Winnie The Pool sent another message.

Winnie The Pool: There’s nothing special about this poster thought. There’s no seal or anything.

 Can’t Live Without Lays: Can we take it off from the wall?

 Winnie The Pool tried and was surprised when it came off.

Winnie The Pool: There’s something written in the back. 

~If you drop me i'm sure to crack, but smile at me, and I’ll always smile back~

Can’t Live Without Lays: A Mirror! It’s a mirror, right? 

Winnie The Pool: You’re right. But this time, there’s no text box where you can put the answer.

Winnie The Pool put back the poster in its place. Team’s eyes widened when he saw the cat looking at its reflection.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia! There are two possible places where we can find the answer to Meng Zhang’s question.

Winnie The Pool: It would’ve been better if we just ask the NPCs. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: >.< I think they’re not programmed to reveal us that information to. Come on! We have about 20 minutes left. We still need to run to the mountains.

Winnie The Pool: Fine. What’s your first guess?

Can’t Live Without Lays: See the mirror in the poster? With its angle, it’s pointing towards King Arthur’s painting.

Winnie The Pool: With the amount of librarians present, I don’t think they’ll allow us to touch that painting. What’s your next guess? 

Can’t Live Without Lays: Right across. A mirror image of the map. See, I was wondering why there’s only one lion statue drawn when there are clearly two of them.

Winnie The Pool: If it’s a mirror image, then it’s on the other side of the room! You’re a genius, Lays!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hehe. The cute cat gave me the idea.

Winnie The Pool: Good job! Let’s go!

The two of them run to the other side of the room. In the bookshelves, there’s only one book that miraculously didn’t fall. They reached for it and looked for the information they needed.

Can’t Live Without Lays: According to this, the King was Alberich when Meng Zhang first came to the kingdom. 

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

Autobiography of King Alberich the Seeker

For years I’ve yearned to seek and learn all knowledge of this world. I thought the throne would help me quench my thirst. In the end, it shackled me in this small kingdom. I fear that my perspective has become that of a frog in a well…

I admire the people who had time to learn, those who can pursue their passion. I love them. I envy them. I hate them. I want to obliterate all of them into nothingness… But, they’re the hope of the future. Without them, my people would fall into the same place as me.

So I revered them. Gave them the title that would enable them to roam across the continent and bring more knowledge to this kingdom. The Omniscient. That’s what I called them. The first person to ever receive the title – the only one who truly deserved it, Xiao Zhang, has vanished. I lament his disappearance. This wise dragon who chose to be one of the people and live amongst us… I fear I failed to protect him. I’m sorry my dear companion.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool: There’s a family tree in the back of the book. 

Winnie The Pool: Prince Hye, the third son of King Arthur and Queen Rie. He was famous for being intelligent, as his name suggested, but he was cast in the shadows of his elder brother’s swordsmanship and elder sister’s healing magic.

Can’t Live Without Lays: That’s it? There’s nothing else. Just famous for being intelligent?

Winnie The Pool: Yes. He didn’t write his biography, unlike most of these kings, but his vassal did. 

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

The prince I serve is nothing but a waste. He spends his days indoors doing nothing but reading. He’s being ridiculed not only by his brother and sister’s servants but also by his own.

  I can’t help but question his motives, too. “What’s the use of reading?” I asked him, and he only smiled at me. No wonder his wife pined for his brother instead. The young master was left to the nannies as both his parents don’t give a damn.

  I can only sigh whenever I walk the market street. Even the kids ridicule him.

The King is smart and strong

The Queen is a saint

Prince Guntram is powerful

Princess Guinevere is merciful

With them ruling

Our kingdom is blessed

But wait who’s this?

There’s another prince?

They called him Hye

Hye, what’s the use of reading?

I am ashamed, and I want to lash out. I also hate that my prince is like this, but these people shouldn’t judge. If only they know how my calm and intelligent master has the power to level this city with a wave of his hand.

Can’t Live Without Lays: So being intelligent made him a nerd and was bullied T.T

 Can’t Live Without Lays: Why even in ancient times, people were like this?

Winnie the Pool: I’m not sure, too. We can ponder on it once we give the dragon the answers he wanted. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: So the answers would be King Hye, and famous for intelligence.

Winnie The Pool: :( Having too much or too little of something will make you a target of people. No one wants others to be better than them, and they find those who are weaker than them as easy to bully

Can’t Live Without Lays: Tsk. Let’s go. We only have ten minutes left.

Winnie The Pool: Okay!

They left the city and ran back to Meng Zhang Mountains. They reached the summit 5 minutes before the timer ended.

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

[[Meng Zhang]]: Mortals! You’re cutting it close. I’m surprised you’re able to come back to this place before your timer runs out. Have you found the answer I’m looking for? 

The two of them typed their answers and submitted them.

 Can’t Live Without Lays: Prince Hye. Intelligence.

 Winnie The Pool: Prince Hye. Intelligence.

The countdown timer stopped at 1 minute before disappearing.

 [[Meng Zhang]]: I guess you’re passable as disciples. But did you really think it would be that easy?

Chapter 9

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 75

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient, Talk of the Town, Grand Sorceress, The Bibliothecary

Job: Mage

Fame: 4000

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 34

Stamina: 56

Agility: 41

Intelligence: 140

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma: 28

Luck: 13

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 69

-Touched By Hel LVL 71

-LemOnsKI LVL 71

-Winnie the Pool LVL 75

-Nixxi LVL 73

Chapter Text

The words Boss Battle appeared on their screen. Team was waiting for another riddle or question and thought that this battle was a bit of a surprise.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia?

Winnie The Pool : It’s fine. Let’s treat him as any other boss. I’ll get his attention first.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay. Shit, he has a lot of mana T.T And his HP!

Winnie The Pool : Focus. 

Winnie The Pool used a normal attack to catch the dragon’s attention. Team, on the other hand, found a place out of the dragon’s range and began chanting. He started with his long-ranged magic attack, Lance.

The dragon evaded most of the attack and turned to charge on Team’s character. Team began running away. Winnie The Pool activated his Rain of Arrow before attacking with another normal attack, effectively taking back the boss’ attention.

Seeing that he was free from the boss’ attention, Team began casting a support spell on Winnie The Pool . He used his mana to make sure that his partner will have full health and mana points for sixty seconds before pressing the mana charge. He would dodge Meng Zhang’s attacks now and then.

When his mana was restored, he used the Arrow and Lance combo before casting Storm. He kept on attacking and dodging. By the third time he needed to do another set of mana charges to restore his depleted mana, the dragon’s health point was three-quarters of the original. He watched and waited for a moment before opening his bag and searching for Mana boosters. Team used his mana to cast another support spell on Win. Right after he finished casting, a stray attack hit him, and his character died.

Team quickly used one of his Revive Talisman and joined the fight. Once again, he let out combinations of his skills. Winnie The Pool would die, he would take the tank position and run, Winnie The Pool came back and pulled the boss’ aggro, he would use his powerful attacks, give Winnie The Pool support, charge his mana, die again, and repeat.

It was at twelve minutes and forty seconds when the dragon used his most powerful attack that covers a wide area of effect. Before the release, Team used the support skill Soul Sacrifice and made sure that Winnie The Pool ’s depleted health points were fully restored. When Meng Zhang released the attack, Winnie The Pool ’s health points plummeted with just 2 points left. He used Rain of Arrow before dodging Meng Zhang’s next attack.

Team sighed with relief when the dragon’s HP became zero and the word victory appeared on his screen.

[[Meng Zhang Story Arc]]

[[Meng Zhang]]: It seems I’m a little bit rusty.

The two who had a hard time battling him: …

[[Meng Zhang]] : Mage. I’m saddened to say but you died before the battle ended. Only this archer can be accepted as my disciple.

Winnie The Pool : What! No! If he didn’t give up his life for me, both of us would’ve lost!

[[Meng Zhang]] : So it was alright for him to die as long as you fulfill your task?

Winnie The Pool : No, it wasn’t. I would never ask him to sacrifice himself for me. Great Dragon, if you’re planning to accept only one of us to be your disciple, then please accept Can’t Live Without Lays

Winnie The Pool : Although I was the one who dealt the blow, he was the reason why I was able to do it!

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia! Great Dragon, don’t listen to him! Winnie The Pool was the reason why we won. He deserves to be your disciple!

[[Meng Zhang]] : Stop!!! You’re making my head hurt. Tell me why you would sacrifice your life for him?

Team blushed. This dragon’s wordings are so ambiguous. It would be his fault if the other boy found out about his feelings.

Can’t Live Without Lays : He’s my friend. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : My best friend.

The dragon snorted. Disbelief shone through his eyes.

[[Meng Zhang]] : And you. Why would you sacrifice your position as my discipline for this weak mage?

Winnie The Pool : He’s my friend.

The dragon shook his head.

[[Meng Zhang]] : I was great friends with the king, but I don’t think we’ll sacrifice so much for each other. Well, if that’s what you say. Then adventurer with the name of Winnie The Pool, are you willing to transfer your discipleship to your friend, Can’t Live Without Lays?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia, no!

As Team sent his message, an announcement appeared on his screen.

[[Meng Zhang]] : From today onwards, Can’t Live Without Lays shall be my disciple. Accept now or decline forever.

[Accept] [Decline]

Team wanted to press the decline, but Winnie The Pool gave him this opportunity. He pressed accept.

~Congratulations~

[[Congratulations on Winnie The Pool and Can’t Live Without Lays for finishing the Meng Zhang Story Arc. Boss: Meng Zhang is now ready to battle all adventurers. Exchange pointers with him in the Meng Zhang Mountains.]]

Rewards

Egg: Meng Zhang

Scales of Understanding (+100 Intelligence)

500 gold coins

EXP 100, 000

These are the rewards that Team got.

Rewards:

Scales of Loyalty (+50 trust, +50 luck)

500 gold coins

EXP 100, 000

These are the rewards that Win got. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays : Hia, I got Meng Zhang as an egg!!! What should I do next? I thought he’ll stay in his form and be my master?

Winnie The Pool : Then even if he’s your master, he’s still considered as your familiar.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Oh.

Winnie The Pool : Quickly check the requirements to hatch it. Make sure to lock it, so you won’t accidentally trash or process it. 

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay.

Team locked the egg before clicking on the information tab.

Egg: Meng Zhang

The Azure Dragon Meng Zhang made a pact with an adventurer and turned himself into an egg. The egg would hatch by playing for five consecutive hours in five consecutive days with your ‘best friend.’ Make sure you carry the egg in your bag.

… …  Team’s nerve ticked when he saw the words best friend. Is this game joking with me?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Umm… Hia, I need to play with you for five consecutive hours for five days for it to hatch. 

Winnie The Pool : I see. It’s only seven PM. We can still play if you want, or you can use the remaining hours of playtime to do future homework. Tomorrow, we can play all day if you want.

Team thought of the project due at the end of the semester. He wanted to continue playing, but this best friend of his made sense.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’ll work on my end-of-term project then. See you tomorrow morning?

Winnie The Pool: I’ll be here at 8 AM. Good night, Lays

Can’t Live Without Lays : Good night, Hia.

Tea closed the apps and closed his tired eyes. He wanted to sleep, but he gave his word to Win, so he dragged himself up from his bed and opened his laptop. He began researching for his presentation.


Win looked at the Scales of Loyalty’s attributes. It’s the first time he saw the +50 trust. He equipped it and saw that he can set a friend as someone he can build a relationship with. He selected Can’t Live Without Lays without hesitation. 

Building trust with an NPC has long been discovered by all players. It’s the first time he saw this feature of building trust with certain players though. He wondered what would happen when it hit a hundred percent.

Win smiled at the trust meter he has with Lays. He wished it’s the same in real life.


Can’t Live Without Lays entered the game and took out the egg for further inspection while waiting for Winnie The Pool to log in. He woke up at six in the morning, to his mom’s surprise who knew he loves to laze around during the weekends, ate his breakfast, and locked himself in the room. There are fifteen more minutes before seven, but he couldn’t wait anymore.

When he saw that the egg’s information is the same as last night’s, he stood up and checked the area. A cave that wasn’t there before could be seen, and there were a lot of people rushing into battle with the boss.

A mage in white, flowing apparel, and an archer in all black approached him.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Silver Wind : Can’t Live Without Lays. So it’s you in the end

Can’t Live Without Lays : Silver Wind

Silver Wind : I thought I would be able to go above you in this matter. I didn’t think that you’ll be the one to defeat Meng Zhang in the end

Can’t Live Without Lays : You should’ve kept about the sighting of the dragon more closely. Once I knew it was you and Point Blanc who got a glimpse of it, I can just deduce things

Silver Wind : It was my fault. I shouldn’t have bragged about it when I haven’t gotten the prize yet

Can’t Live Without Lays : Don’t be sad. While doing the quest, we were told of the requirements unlike the other legendary bosses

Silver Wind : Oh? Care to share what I lacked?

Can’t Live Without Lays : a huge mana pool, party together with a friend for more than 100 hours, an innocent mind, and the title “The Omniscient”

Can’t Live Without Lays : the first and second requirements are easy. The third, barely. The fourth, impossible 

Silver Wind : Then it was fated to be yours from the start

Can’t Live Without Lays : I’m sorry. I can compensate you for the information you provided though

Silver Wind : It’s okay. It was due to my carelessness anyway.

Silver Wind : Thank you for opening the boss dungeon

Can’t Live Without Lays : No problem. I had Hia’s help

Silver Wind : Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. Hello, Winnie The Pool

Winnie The Pool : Hello. Are the two of you planning to battle the boss?

Silver Wind : Oh! Now that you reminded me. Blanc, let’s go?

Point Blanc : Mn.

The two nodded at Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool before leaving.

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Winnie The Pool : So five hours with me today? What should we do?

Can’t Live Without Lays : Continue the main story? I’m bored farming every day

Winnie The Pool : Sure. Let’s finish the next chapter before the game updates

The two began their way down the mountains.

Can’t Live Without Lays : I heard they’re not going to introduce or open new locations after Meng Zhang mountains open for everybody

Can’t Live Without Lays : They’ll focus more on introducing and improving systems like owning land, taming monsters, and more events until next year

Winnie The Pool : Well, they opened a lot of maps in these past 4 months. Most casual players are new players whose average gaming time is two to five hours a day

Winnie The Pool : Someone like I know

Can’t Live Without Lays : Don’t tease me, Hia!

Winnie The Pool : Still don’t know how you leveled up fast

Can’t Live Without Lays : If you want a thank you, you won’t get it!

Team focused on moving his character instead of stopping every second to reply.

Winnie The Pool : XD

Winnie The Pool : Go get the story

Winnie The Pool said once they entered Rie City. He motioned for the kid to go to the palace to trigger the next chapter of the Main Story.

Can’t Live Without Lays : You’re already done, Hia?

Winnie The Pool : Done a couple of days ago. Did it with guild members

Can’t Live Without Lays : Then please wait for me.

Winnie The Pool : Go. I’ll be by the General Merchant.

Can’t Live Without Lays : Okay.

Team left Win and went to the castle to have an audience with the king. Once he got the next mission, he went back to where Win was waiting for him.

 

Chapter 10

PROFILE

Name : Can’t Live Without Lays

Level : 75

Race : Elves

Title : The Omniscient, Talk of the Town, Grand Sorceress, The Bibliothecary

Job : Mage

Fame : 5000

Familiar : ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 34

Stamina : 56

Agility : 41

Intelligence : 240

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma : 28

Luck : 13

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 71

-Touched By Hel LVL 72

-LemOnsKI LVL 72

-Winnie the Pool LVL 75

-Nixxi LVL 74

Chapter Text

Team woke up with the notebook in his hand. He fell asleep right before he reached the month of October. In the diary, September was a bit boring except for disputes between the gamers and the game developer. The gamers who reached level 75 complained that playing the game is not as fun because they already got to the level cap. They demanded an increase; however, the developer refused to give in. The developer said that the reason they don’t want to increase it is so players who just downloaded the game have the chance to catch up and for players to actually enjoy the games’ features. 

“Leveling up is not the main purpose,” they said. “This game was created for players to experience a second life. We want you to explore the open maps; participate in events; develop your communication skills, social skills, and leadership skills; and many more. When you reach the maximum level, and you felt like the game is boring because you’ve achieved your goal, please click on the trophy icon to open your Achievements. You can get rewards by completing those assignments.”

This move made a lot of players leave the game, but Lethean of Rie welcomed a new batch of new players who were grateful for the developer’s decision. Those who didn’t leave the game also received multiple benefits one after the other. There are free gold coins after maintenance. They implemented treasure chests in all maps that can be opened with keys, glinting objects on the ground that you can pick up, gacha games, and many others.

The events also kept on coming one after the other. At the end of August, there was a collaboration with Hatsune Miku, whose birthday was August 31. The event lasted for 2 weeks before Chrysanthemum Day took over. Time-limited equipment was introduced, and Team and his guild did their best to get everyone the equipment they needed or wanted from the events. 

When Team was reading this part of the notebook, he couldn’t help but frown. The forgotten him seems to be enjoying these boring parts. When he looked back at the bleak life he had after the accident, Team couldn’t help but be sad for the friendship that he lost- for everything that could have been.

After eating breakfast, he decided to take a jog around the area first. He changed his pajamas to workout clothes and stretched his muscles before heading out the door. He nodded and introduced himself to the dormmates he met along the way.

Team closed his eyes and blinked when he got out of the building. After holding himself up in his room with the heavy curtain down the entire time, the sunshine hurts. When he got used to it, he began his jog. After a lap and halfway around the neighborhood, he met another jogger. 

“Hi,” the other person panted as he matched Team’s steps. “I’m Mew.” 

“Hello,” Team bowed his head. “I’m Team.”

Mew smiled. “I’m new around the area. I just moved in the dorms yesterday afternoon.”

“Same as me. I moved in a few days ago. I just found the time to explore the area. Are you residing in Sunshine Dormitory right now?”

Mew shook his head. “I’m on the Moonlight Dormitory.”

“Oh. Then, I’m leaving you now,” Team said when he saw Sunshine Dormitory. “I’m home. See you around, Mew! Nice meeting you.” He tilted his head before heading towards the dorm.

“See you, Team!” Mew watched him enter. Before he can jog back to the nearby Moonlight Dormitory, he saw a familiar blonde hair. “P’Win!”

“Nong, have you settled in?” Phawin asked the freshman he scouted himself.

“Yeah! I’m still sad we’re not in the same dorm.”

“I heard your room was given to the kid who got the scholarship. If you weren’t so indecisive in picking which university to attend, maybe they would have assigned you in Sunshine,” Win scolded.

“Nevermind. I think Moonlight is better.” Mew stuck out his tongue.

 “Ungrateful brat.”

Mew stroked his chin. “And I think I met the scholarship kid. His name was Team, right? He’s cute.”

Win knocked the back of his head. “You’re not here to flirt, idiot. Go back to your dorm.”

Mew rubbed the spot where he was hit. “Eh~ I think you’ll like him, Phi~”

“Whatever.” Win left the boy on the sidewalk. He wanted to stay as far away as possible from delusional people.


Team took off his shoes once he got in his room and went straight to the bathroom for a shower. He plans to finish the 2012 journal tonight.

5 years ago…

[[Chatbox: Guild]]

Touched By Hel: Surprising Lays for his birthday will be hard because he can backread anytime he wants to, so I’ll just say I here.

Touched By Hel: Lays, we’re celebrating your birthday on the 10th. Make sure to come

Can’t Live Without Lays: Okay! Thank you, Guild master!

Touched By Hel: You’re welcome

Touched By Hel: I’m spending our guild coins on that day. I’m setting up a +500% EXP, +200% Drop rate as guild benefit that day. Everyone who logs in can get these when you play

LemOnsKI: Wow! So generous

Blue Eir: So generous (2)

 Kiki: So generous (3)

 Pink Blossoms: So generous (#)

.

.

.

Touched By Hel: I’m also setting up the  Happy Birthday function. 

LemOnsKI: So good! T^T

Blue Eir: So good! T^T (2)

Elsinore Rosencrantz: So good! T^T (3)

Arm Strong: So good! T^T (#)

Can’t Live Without Lays: Isn’t that too much? The Happy Birthday function depending on how grand you want it to be, costs a lot of diamonds. The lowest one is a hundred diamonds! 

Touched By Hel: There is food, music, red envelopes. Of course, it cost a lot! But it’s fun. You’re one of the babies here. We can’t just let you celebrate your birthday dryly. Don’t resist

LemOnsKI: Don’t resist (2)

Blue Eir: Don’t resist (3)

RottenMeEr: Don’t resist (4)

WildFang: Don’t resist (#)

Can’t Live Without Lays: … You guys just want free stuff!

Touched By Hel: Don’t worry, guild members need to contribute guild points that day. So, everyone should play as much as they want. Play for 24 hours!

Blue Eir: ^o^’

LemOnsKI: Tyrant! 

RottenMeEr: XD

[[Chatbox: Whisper]]

Touched By Hel: Make sure to tell your uncle about our event. Tell him that Win needs to be there at the party with a gift for our baby. He can bring his whole guild, too

Blue Eir: … You just want the opportunity to talk to my uncle, don’t you?

Touched By Hel: Hmph! Why would I want to talk to that guy! That’s why I’m letting you go talk to him, okay?! 

Blue Eir: Sorry about how he treats you, Hel

Touched By Hel: It’s not your fault, Blue. Your uncle and I… maybe we’re not meant for each other

Blue Eir: My uncle is an idiot!

Touched By Hel: XD Of course, he is! He can resist the beautiful me after all!

 Blue Eir:  XD XD XD


Team smiled to himself as he watched his friends chat with each other during their downtime. Usually, everyone would be all over the map doing quests and leveling up, but most of them are in the guild house today.

Next week, he’s turning twelve. It’s the middle of the week, so he’s not celebrating it. More precisely, his mom will cook his favorite for dinner and his dad will be bringing home a cake. Last year, the same thing happened, and it made him sad, but he’s actually looking forward to it this year. Not celebrating means not having to entertain guests and having more playtime. 

He knows Win will be there, but the older boy doesn’t know it’s his birthday. It’s fine. His only wish is to spend time with his favorite person on his special day.


Team logged on right away when he was done with his only homework for tonight. Thanking all deities for being so fortunate . The birthday party was already in full swing. He was met with greetings from his friends, guild members, and from people he didn’t even know.

[[Chatbox: Guild]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Where is everyone?

Touched By Hel: We’re in the Everchanging Cave!

LemOnsKI: You’re so lucky, Lays! QAQ LeRi released a new collaboration event today

Can’t Live Without Lays: That’s the update for?

Blue Eir: Yeah. It’s Naruto’s birthday, too. There’s an even in Everchanging Cave! 

Nixxi: We can play against Naruto characters and get missions from Tsunade! 

Touched By Hel: You should come to join us or go look for Winnie The Pool! Asked him to take you around.

Touched By Hel: There’s a story mission, then after that, you can come to the cave and join our party.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Why can’t I join you now? I can just look for Hia later

Touched By Hel: No questions! The poor boy has been waiting for you. He only found out it’s your birthday today because his guild master is an ass!

Touched By Hel: Sorry Blue

Blue Eir: No problem

Can’t Live Without Lays: … 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool: HI! Lays, Happy Birthday!

Winnie The Pool: I checked the list and saw you’re in

Can’t Live Without Lays: … how many times did you check?

Winnie The Pool: …

Can’t Live Without Lays: XD It’s okay, Hia. I’m just messing with you. Thank you for your greeting!

Winnie The Pool: P’AYK conveniently forgot to tell me that it’s your birthday today, so I was unable to prepare something. For now, please listen to my birthday wish for you.

Winnie The Pool: I’ll make sure I’ll be beside you on days when you are tired. Whenever you fall, I will be there to pick you up. On days when you are happy, I’ll smile and laugh with you. I’ll be there to congratulate you every time you succeed.

Winnie The Pool: Happy Birthday, Lays

Can’t Live Without Lays: … thank you, hia

Winnie The Pool: …

Winnie The Pool: I promise to give you your gift tomorrow

Can’t Live Without Lays: you don’t have to give me anything

I already took a screenshot of your birthday wish. I’m printing it and pasting it in my journal. I’m going to read it every day…

Winnie The Pool: No. I need to give you something. Wait for tomorrow! Come, I’ll take you to the event. I’ll help you with the Event Story Mission before sending you to your leader

Can’t Live Without Lays: Did you guys talked about this?

Winnie The Pool: ? I chatted with P’Hel when he told me about your birthday. That’s it.

Winnie The Pool: I just know you would want to spend your time with them. I recognize I’m not your only friend, and I won’t keep you from them. You’re meant to be surrounded by people who love you.

Are you one of those? You said you liked me, but I’m not sure now. You’re so good to me, and I can’t help but feel something. Please stop being so kind.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Thank you so much, Hia!

You’re the best part of this day.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s go, Hia! I heard we need to talk to Tsunade for the Story Mission.

Winnie The Pool: Yeah. There’s an event portal near the palace. She’s supposed to be staying there as a guest.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Do you have any idea what the mission is about?

Winnie The Pool: Something to do with the movie they released last July.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Oh! I know this one. I was unable to watch it when it was released though

Winnie The Pool: Then it’s good that you have background knowledge

The two entered the event portal. They saw Tsunade and Shizune sitting on a bench. A bottle of sake in front of the Hokage, while empty bottles littered on the ground below them. Tonton was sleeping nearby.

Winnie The Pool and Can’t Live Without Lays approached them and it triggered the cutscene.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

The camera panned from the peaceful scenery towards the two people in the area. Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool approached them.

Tsunade: Shizune, this kingdom is a bit peaceful, no?

She tilted her head and drank directly from the sake bottle.

Shizune: Tsunade-sama, please stop drinking!!

Tsunade: I’m still fine. Rie’s sake is weaker compared to ours.

Shizune could only sigh.

Shizune: From the reports I got, their kingdom might not be as peaceful as we thought. Monsters spawn near and around towns and cities.

Tsunade: Oh?

Shizune: Hm. They adventurers to complete tasks like we have our ninja for ours.

Tsunade: I heard that they’re powerful, too. It’s good to make an allegiance with their king, then.

Shizune: Yeah.. oh someone’s approaching…

The two ladies watched as Winnie The Pool and Can’t Live Without Lays walked towards them. 

Can’t Live Without Lays/Winnie The Pool: Hokage-sama, Shizune-sama

The adventurers bowed.

Tsunade: It seems like word has spread around about our visit.

Can’t Live Without Lays shook his head 

Can’t Live Without Lays: We were just passing by. We hope that you’re enjoying your stay in our kingdom 

Tsunade: I see.

Shizune:  Then how did you know who we are?

Winnie The Pool: It’s known that a delegation from Konoha arrived earlier this week. Hokage-sama is popular, and the pig is a big giveaway.

Tsunade: HAHAHAHA You knew it was me because of the pig? I like that. How about I give you missions?

Tsunade: I just learned that adventurers are a bit like my ninja.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool looked at each other, then they looked at Tsunade and nodded their heads. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s our honor to help our guests with anything.

Tsunade : Hmmm…  

Team pressed on the Rank D mission as it’s the only one currently available.

RANK D MISSION

The monsters in the Apuy plains have multiplied in numbers.

Adventurers are overwhelmed. Help clear the area.

Tasks:

Defeat 99 slimes.

Defeat 99 one-horned rabbits.

Defeat 99 fire buffalo.

Rewards:

1000 gold coins

200 EXP

[Accept][Decline]

Team pressed the Accept button.

Tsunade: Then go. I’ll be waiting for your report.

The cutscene ended there. 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Are you ready, Hia?

Winnie The Pool: Yes. Let’s go.

 

Chapter 10

PROFILE

Name: Can’t Live Without Lays

Level: 75

Race: Elves

Title: The Omniscient, Talk of the Town, Grand Sorceress, The Bibliothecary

Job: Mage

Fame: 5000

Familiar: ---

ATTRIBUTES

Strength: 34

Stamina: 56

Agility: 41

Intelligence: 240

Spirit: 6

Wisdom: 3

Charisma: 28

Luck: 13

Friend:

-Blue Eir LVL 74

-Touched By Hel LVL 75

-LemOnsKI LVL 74

-Winnie the Pool LVL 75

-Nixxi LVL 74

-ODean0421 LVL 75

-Ari Yasa Kul LVL 75

-Artio Terra LVL 75

-Don Ron LVL 75

-Kiki LVL 69

-Pink Blossoms LVL 70

-Elsinore Rosencrantz LVL 72

-Arm Strong LVL 71

-RottenMeEr LVL 70

-WildFang LVL 70

Chapter Text

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool went back to the event area. Tsunade and Shizune were waiting for them.

Tsunade: You’re back so soon. Are the monsters around this area that easily defeated? Come and receive your reward.

[System notification: Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission. Rank D Mission completed. Rewards: 1000 gold coins and 200 EXP received.

Tsunade: Would you like to take on a harder challenge? 

Choose Difficulty

  [Rank S mission]

[Rank A mission]

[Rank B mission]

[Rank C mission]

[Rank D mission]

 

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Do we accept the rank C mission, Hia?

Winnie The Pool: Yes. Let’s open up all the choices. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: Okay.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool chose Rank C mission

Tsunade : I see that you want to challenge yourself. Escort Mrs. Sephaline Pana in retrieving the Penstemon barbatus

RANK C MISSION

Mrs. Pana wants to add a new plant to her collection!

Tasks:

Escort Mrs. Pana to Linok Fissure.

Retrieved the Penstemon barbatus carefully.

Escort Mrs. Pana to the Sephaline Gardens. 

Rewards:

1 Jar Beelzes Honey

5000 gold coins

500 EXP

[Accept][Decline]

Team pressed Accept.

Tsunade: Mrs. Pana is waiting for you near the Southwest gate. Please show her this mission statement and go perform your duties.

Shizune gave Can’t Live Without Lays the scroll.

Tsunade: Good luck!

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s go, Hia!

Winnie The Pool: Wait. Do we know anything about the plant? We can’t just go retrieve it.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Maybe the reason why we need to bring Mrs. Pana was that she’s the only one who can recognize it?

Winnie The Pool: Makes sense. Let’s go.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

At the Southwestern Gate, a kind-looking woman holding an umbrella was seen waiting patiently. Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool approached her.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Greetings, Mrs. Pana! My name is Can’t Live Without Lays. My partner and I will be escorting you to Linok Fissure. 

Mrs. Pana: Please call me Sephaline, young adventurers. Thank you for taking in this mission.

Mrs. Pana said while smiling.

Winnie The Pool : Sephaline, I believe we’re going to Linok Fissure for a plant called Penstemon barbatus . We are wondering if you can tell us more information about it.

Mrs. Pana : Of course. Penstemon barbatus is also called Iron Maiden. It has tall stems with bright red scarlet flowers. We’ll be able to find it along the fissure’s wall as it needs the sunlight and can’t live in the dark. 

Mrs. Pana: From what I heard, it is protected by the Queen Bee, Cyrene, and the Beelzes. Once upon a time, one of the Beelzes was attracted by its sweet smell and tasty nectar. The plant has trouble living in Linok Fissure because of other predators, so it made a contract with the bees. They’ll protect her, and she’ll give them her nectar. 

Mrs. Pana : The only reason why I know this was because adventurers have seen a part of the fissure covered in red. The plant has thrived and spread. The area is now covered with Penstemon barbatus and is guarded by Beelzes that made it their home. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’m really curious. What is the reason for your interest in the plant? It sounds dangerous. 

Mrs. Pana: I’m sorry. I just want one plant for my collection. 

Mrs. Pana showed a depressed expression.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Mrs. Pana! Please don’t cry.

Mrs. Pana: Please. Keep calling me Sephaline. I’m sorry I showed you a sorry sight. Being a collector is stressful.

Winnie The Pool: We won’t judge a person for what makes them happy, Mrs. Pana. 

Mrs. Pana: Thank you. 

Mrs. Pana: Another reason why I want the plant is because of its resistance effect. I heard that the adventurer who was able to bring home one flower petal from the plant didn’t encounter any one-horned rabbit on his way. It will be great if we can make a new repellant. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: That’s a great idea! Sephaline, why don’t we go to Linok Fissure right away?!

Mrs. Pana: Wait! Before we go, make sure to buy cucumbers first. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: Cucumbers?

Mrs. Pana : They help repel low-level beelzes .

Can’t Live Without Lays: Oh. Thank you for the advice, Sephaline! Let’s go buy cucumbers!

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool: Why don’t you go harvest some from your vegetable garden instead?

Can’t Live Without Lays:  Good thinking, Hia! I almost forgot about it. Sephaline was enthusiastic.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Then please wait for me to come back.

Winnie The Pool: Go on. I’ll be here. 

Team entered his land. 

The entrance of a grand traditional Japanese-style home greeted him. He entered the house to the garden to check his plants. He saw rows of thriving vegetables and large fruit trees. He quickly walked over to the cucumbers and pressed harvest. When he was done, he exited his land and found Winnie The Pool. He gave him and Mrs. Pana two to three cucumbers each which the two stored in their bags before they went on their way out of the city.


[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Cutscene...

Linok Fissure

They arrived at the entrance of the fissure. One by one, they went down the fissure wall using the thick vines hanging on the cliffside. When they reached the lowest floor, they were met with a wall covered in red flowering plants and the buzzing of bees grew louder by the second.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool stand in front of Mrs. Pana and took their weapons out. They quickly defeated the small army of Beelzes that came to defend their home. When they thought, they were done, they lowered their weapon. However, the three of them were suddenly snatched and were brought inside the giant, maze-like beehive. They were dumped in a sticky pile of Beelzes honey.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Uhh. It’s so hard to move. Where are we?

Winnie The Pool: It seems we’re inside the Beelzes’ beehive.

Mrs. Pana: We should apply the cucumber to our bodies while we still have time. It seems like carrying one or two won’t do the work.

The three of them took out the cucumbers, mushed them into a paste, and applied them to exposed areas of their bodies. A group of Beelzes came but was repelled by the green fruit. They all sighed in relief.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I’ll gladly smell like a pickle if I’m not attacked by one of those. But the honey and cucumber in my body make me want to go for a swim. 

Winnie The Pool: Let’s worry about that later. Let’s find the exit first. 

The three of them nodded at each other.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, do you have any idea how to get out of here?

Winnie The Pool: No clue. But we just need to avoid the Queen’s chamber. Anyway, I remember that the Beezle came out of that hole when it brought us here. It won’t hurt us to follow it.

Can’t Live Without Lays: But won’t we get attacked?

Winnie The Pool: I don’t think so. We have higher levels than them.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Oh. Right. I forgot. Okay, Hia. Please lead the way.

Winnie The Pool: Hmm… 

Winnie The Pool and Can’t Live Without Lays began their journey out of the honey chamber they’re in. But it was so complicated inside the hive, and it felt like all of the passages lead towards the Queen’s chamber on purpose.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, I think we’re supposed to fight the Queen. This is the fourth time that we found another way only to be led back to this place.

Winnie The Pool: I think so, too. Are you ready?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Yeah. Let’s finish this. We still have 3 more missions to do. It’s already a quarter to eight. I won’t have the time to play with the gang.

Winnie The Pool: Sorry. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s okay, Hia. I love playing with you. 

With that, they made a deliberate encounter with Queen Bee Cyrene.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Cutscene...

A loud screech came out of his phone’s speaker, and Team hurriedly lowered down the volume. He watched as the Queen Bee Cyrene flew all around them before stopping to screech once more.

Queen Bee Cyrene: Adventurers! I see that you have come once again to disturb the peace of my brethren. 

Mrs. Pana : Queen Bee Cyrene! We only came to get a sample of the Penstemon barbatus . We promise not to hurt any of the Beelzes. 

Queen Bee Cyrene: Silence! Did you think I would not know how an army of Beelzes workers died on your hands?

Can’t Live Without Lays: It was to defend ourselves!

Queen Bee Cyrene: To attack deliberately or to defend, I do not care! You shall be punished!

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Winnie The Pool: Get ready!

Winnie The Pool began shooting arrows at the Queen Bee, but most of his attacks missed. He barely got hold of the aggro.

Winnie The Pool: Lays! She’s too fast!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Please hold on, Hia. I’m going to change my equipment.

Team hurriedly went to his bag and brought out Blue Ember, one of the most powerful fire staff in Lethean Of Rie that he created himself. It’s carved out of Ironwood and bathed in Hellfire. After the blessing it got from the Temple of Helios, the staff’s color changed from burnt coal-black to swirling blue fire of a Wolf-Rayet.

Without missing a bit, he casted his strongest fire magic, Fallen Embers. The space above them brightened up as ten flickering embers formed. They began to fall like shooting stars aiming at the Queen Bee. While the attack was working, Team pressed Mana Recharge right away. He watched as Winnie The Pool began his assault on the slowed Queen. 

In three minutes, the word victory appeared on their screen.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Cutscene… 

Can’t Live Without Lays slowly approached the defeated Queen Bee Cyrene. He cast healing spells and watched as she slowly regained her strength.

Queen Bee Cyrene: … …

Queen Bee Cyrene: I lost. Take what you need and don’t come back ever again.

They watched as she flew deeper into the hive. 

Can’t Live Without Lays: There’s an entrance over there! Let’s go!

The three of them approached the light and were greeted by the Penstemon barbatus , the original one. 

Mrs. Pana: Wow!!!

She approached the plant hurriedly and excitedly observed it from every angle. Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool looked at each other before approaching the woman with stars in her eyes.

Winnie The Pool: Sephaline, maybe we should get the plant you need and get out of here. 

Mrs. Pana: As much as I want to take this plant with me, I guess I should be satisfied with one of its descendants.

They watched as Mrs. Pana left the beautiful flowering plant for a smaller seedling one. She carefully moved it on the little flower pot before putting it in her storage space. 

Mrs. Pana: Let’s go, Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool! Our work here is done. Thank you!

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Cutscene…

Tsunade sipped on her cup as she watched the two adventurers approach her.

Tsunade: Welcome back! Mrs. Pana was very satisfied. Come and receive your rewards.

Can’t Live Without Lays received 1 Jar Beelzes Honey, 5000 gold coins, 500 EXP.

Tsunade: Are you ready for the next mission?

Choose Difficulty  

[Rank S mission]

[Rank A mission]

[Rank B mission]

[Rank C mission]

[Rank D mission]

Team chose Rank B without hesitation. 

Tsunade: How about attending a meeting with Gaara of the Sand Waterfall for me at the Serket Desert Summit?

Shizune: Tsunade-sama!

Tsunade: I’m sure it’s okay. 

Shizune: They’re not even one of our citizens!

RANK B MISSION

The Hokage can’t be at two places at a time (She can, but why should she?). 

Represent Hokage Senju Tsunade of Konohagakure at the Serket Desert Summit. 

Tasks:

Infiltrate the Rie City’s entourage and be a spy on the Summit. 

Take notes of the Sand Villages’ important issues and movements.

Report back to Tsunade.

Rewards:

1 bulk of Sandworm silk.

10, 000 gold coins

700 EXP

[Accept][Decline]

 

Team pressed Accept.

Chapter Text

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool was brought out of the event area into the main street of Rie City. They followed the guiding arrow and stopped in front of Kadir’s stall.

Cutscene…

Trader Kadir was putting away his wares. He was closing the shop even though it’s still early. Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool approached him.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Sir Kadir! Isn’t it too early for you to close your shop?

Trader Kadir: Ah! If they aren’t my favorite customers! I was asked by the king to escort his delegates to Hidden Oasis. It’s been a long time since I visited my family. I thought it would be a good opportunity!

Can’t Live Without Lays: Is that so? When and where are you meeting the delegates?

Trader Kadir: I’m meeting them in the palace in… oh no! I need to meet them in an hour, and I still need to go home and tell my wife about this impromptu trip. Why don’t the two of you meet the palace guard’s captain? I heard that he’s looking for adventurers to act as guards during the journey.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool shared glances. They thanked the merchant and went on their way to the palace. Outside the palace walls, two guards blocked their way.

Sentinel 1: State your purpose, adventurers.

Can’t Live Without Lays: We’re here to respond to the call of recruitment, sir.

Sentinel 1: Call of recruitment? I don’t think we’re out of palace guards. Am I wrong?

Sentinel 2: Idiot. He’s talking about the escorts for the Serket Dessert Summit. I’m sorry.

Can’t Live Without Lays. My partner is out of date. Please come in. The Captain is in the training arena.

Can’t Live Without Lays: Thank you!

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool approached the training arena. When they got there, they saw a long line of other applicants.

30 minutes later… (only in the cutscene)

Can’t Live Without Lays: Oh! That was a long wait! A lot of people came and went, most of them are rejected. How strict can the captain be?

Palace Guard 1: Next five recruits, please come in.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool walked inside with three other people. They formed a line in front of a huge, intimidating man who holds a longsword in front of him.

Palace Guard Captain Reza: Applicants! Thank you for responding to our call. Later in the evening, we will be traveling to the Hidden Oasis in Serket Desert. We need men to help escort our delegates. But quality is better than quantity. 

Palace Guard Captain Reza raised the longsword he was holding.

Palace Guard Captain Reza: You must defeat me before joining the ranks. Are you ready?

[Rank B Side Mission: Defeat Palace Guard Captain Reza.]

Team prepared himself to attack as the mode of the story changed from the cutscene to battle. When he got in, he saw Winnie The Pool attacking Reza already.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia! What-?

Winnie The Pool: He attacked suddenly! Just deal damages, Lays!

Team used his Magic Arrow and Lance combo before running away from the Area of Effect of Reza’s next attack. He charged his MP before sending a Storm. Winnie The Pool, on the other hand, activated his Sleep trap and Sunrise Arrow combo. He depleted enough of Reza’s health that when Team deployed another Magic Arrow, he was defeated.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Cutscene…

Palace Guard Captain Reza’s knees gave out underneath him. He struggled to use breathe as first-aid responders began healing him. When he was feeling fine again, he waved the distressed responders away and stood up.

Palace Guard Captain Reza: The two of you!

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool stood up in attention.

Palace Guard Captain Reza: Your teamwork is the best! It’s only because of the two of you who survived and able to defeat me! You passed!

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool looked at each other and cheered! A palace guard approached them.

Palace Guard 2: Adventurers, please come this way for refreshments. We will wait for the delegates and other recruits for a briefing.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool bowed towards Palace Guard Captain Reza before following the palace guard outside the training arena into a tent set up just beside it. When they got inside, they saw 5 other recruits.

Palace Guard 2: We need two to three more recruits. Please have a rest.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool nodded. They watched as the palace guard left before turning to the other 5 recruits. They waved their hands at each other before the two approached the food table. 

Another 30 Minutes later…. (still the cutscene)

Two more recruits came in with the Palace Guard Captain Reza. Trader Kadir came rushing in after them while asking if he’s late. Sweat pouring down his face. Can’t Live Without Lays waved at him and asked him to sit down beside them. The trader approached the open sit. The two smiled at each other before focusing their attention on the people in front. The briefing is starting.

Rank B Side Mission:

Cross the Kitanomori Forest safely.

Cross the Serket Desert safely.

Arrive in the Hidden Oasis safely.

Rewards:

500 EXP

Palace Guard Captain Reza: This is the mission of the escorts. Please make sure that our delegates reach the Hidden Oasis safely. Trader Kadir, we’re counting on your travel expertise.

Trader Kadir: I’ll make sure everyone arrives safely, Sir!

Palace Guard Captain Reza: Thank you. Now, I would like you to meet Delegate Baldwyn and Prince Kaiser.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool looked at each other with questions. Winnie The Pool shrugged his shoulders before standing up from his seat when the others began walking out of the tent. The meeting is done, and everyone is getting ready. Can’t Live Without Lays also followed the crowd when Trader Kadir urged them to move.

Trader Kadir: We need to move fast. It’s already four in the afternoon. We need to cross the Kitanomori Forest before darkness descends. It’s hard to move around the forest at night.

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool nodded. 

Change of scenery…  

The group was following Trader Kadir’s direction. Trader Kadir was chatting with the two guards flanking him on both sides. The other recruit leading their group was attentively scanning his eyes around the surroundings. Delegate Baldwyn and Prince Kaiser’s carriage were flanked by two guards on each side. Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool were assigned at the back.

They’re now inside the Kitanomori Forest. Can’t Live Without Lays shivered at the sudden darkness. The silence was eerie. A sudden whooshing sound alerted him. Chaos ensued a second later as Trader Kadir screamed. 

Trader Kadir: He’s dead!

It’s one thing to defend against the creatures in Kitanomori Forest, but they’re being attacked by assassins! The assassins won’t come out of the dark, but they’re surely around. 

Winnie The Pool: They know where we are! We need to move! Trader Kadir, please enter the carriage.

Trader Kadir: B-but…

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s fine, Trader Kadir. We’ll lead the way!

Can’t Live Without Lays pushed the trader inside the carriage. He ignored the delegate and the prince’s questions and closed the door on their faces.

Winnie The Pool: Let’s go! We don’t know how many enemies we have. 

The coachman nodded before urging the horses to move faster. The guards kept up with the speed while defending the carriage from arrows flying their way. Can’t Live Without Lays and one other magician cast Magic: Vortex, a powerful attack with a large Area of Effect and can be used even if there’s no specific target. It would destroy the area, but it helped them escape into the desert.

Trader Kadir looked out of the carriage’s window when he felt that their vehicle has slowed down.

Trader Kadir: Is it done? Are we safe?

Can’t Live Without Lays: We were able to survive, but now we know that someone is targeting our delegates. We need to cross the desert as fast as possible. We’re in an open area!

Winnie The Pool: That just means that the assassins won’t have any place to conceal themselves.

Trader Kadir: There’s more to the desert than you know boy. Let’s go. I’ll lead the way to the Hidden Oasis. We don’t want to get lost in the desert.

The trader got out of the carriage and began walking. 

Trader Kadir: What are you guys doing? Let’s go. And your highness, please get down the carriage. Wheels are not meant for the desert.

Delegate Baldwyn: What? Are you asking his highness to walk?

Trader Kadir: There’s a small town a mile from here. I already arranged for camels.

Prince Kaiser: But the horses!

Trader Kadir: We’re only leaving the carriage here, your highness. We’re leaving the horses under the care of my friend. Don’t worry.

The Delegate and the Prince were forced to sit in Trader Kadir’s horse while the trader led it by the reins. The recruits tried to be more vigilant, but the tiredness and sleepiness were getting to them. They sighed in relief when they saw the town an hour later.

[[Chatbox: Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Was there always a town here, Hia?

Winnie The Pool: Maybe it’s just for the mission?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Would be good if it’s here in the normal setting.

[[Special Event: Naruto-Road to Ninja Story Mission]]

Trader Kadir: We’re going to rent rooms for the night. Be sure to wake up at four in the morning. We need to be moving before the sun is out.

Trader Kadir talked to his acquaintance and their group settled in the house. The recruits established a shift before they went to their respective rooms. Delegate Baldwyn and Prince Kaiser were rooming together so that the recruits can guard them easily.

The next morning…

Trader Kadir nodded at Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool who were guarding the important people’s room. 

Trader Kadir: Let’s wake them up. We need to get moving.

The Prince and the Delegate got out of the room after the trader went in to wake them up. 

Delegate Baldwyn: Was everything alright last night?

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool looked at each other before recalling the two assassins Recruits 6 and 7 caught sneaking in last night.

Can’t Live Without Lays: We caught 2 assassins, but they’re not problems anymore.

Prince Kaiser: Good. Let’s have breakfast before we travel.

Trader Kadir: My friend prepared a huge meal for everyone. Let us go!

Trader Kadir and Prince Kaiser walked away.

Delegate Baldwyn: They’re dead?

Can’t Live Without Lays and Winnie The Pool shook their head.  

Can’t Live Without Lays: No. We sent a messenger hawk to the palace, and one of the special knights came to get them.

Delegate Baldwyn nodded before following the Trader and the Prince.

By five in the morning, they were on the road traveling atop their camels. 

Trader Kadir: We’re going to travel for three to five hours, then we’re stopping to set up a camp.

Prince Kaiser: A camp? Why not go straight to the Hidden Oasis?

Trader Kaiser: It’ll be too hot, your highness. We’ll continue traveling around four or five in the afternoon. We’ll reach our destination tonight.

Their journey across the desert was peaceful with only the usual Scorpions and Quicksand Bears attacking them. By eight in the evening, they arrived at the Hidden Oasis. Their group was welcomed and escorted to the Rie delegates’ quarters.

[[Chatbox:Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Hia, I checked the Rank B Mission, but I’m a bit confused.

Winnie The Pool: What is it?

Can’t Live Without Lays: Task 2 was already completed, but not task 1. Maybe because we didn’t tell anyone that we’re Konohagakure’s representatives? How can we spy for her if someone finds that we’re working for the Hokage?

Winnie The Pool: … The letter. We received one that was addressed to the Hidden Oasis’s chief. We should bring it to him without our group noticing, I guess.

Can’t Live Without Lays: I thought this mission would be simple, but there’s a lot to it. I don’t know what will Rank A and S are going to be, but I hope they’re not this long.

Winnie The Pool: It’s already nine. I don’t think you’ll be able to play with your friends today. I’m sorry, Lays.

Can’t Live Without Lays: It’s alright, Hia. I’ll just send them a message, then let’s bring the letter to the chief. 

Winnie The Pool: Okay.

[[Chatbox:Guild]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Everyone! Thank you so much for celebrating my birthday with me. I want to play with all of you today, but I have classes tomorrow. Hia and I are still on the Rank B mission.

Touched By Hel: OMG! That mission was so long T.T I totally forgot about it

Blue Eir: Aww… that means you’re sleeping in an hour. QAQ It’s okay, Lays. We can play tomorrow.

LemOnsKI: Happy Birthday again, Lays!!! <3

Nixxi: Happy Birthday!

.

.

.

[[Chatbox:Party]]

Can’t Live Without Lays: Let’s go, Hia. I want to finish this one before I go to sleep.

Winnie The Pool: Okay. Let’s go find that chief.