Light Novel – Zectas – Volume 01 – Chapter 09

Proofreaders: Vaanouney, ExperimentBL626, and Fireutsie

It started at the Diner

Sherry Levine was a love child born to her mother Laura. She inherited all of her mother’s looks except for her red hair which she got from her father.

Her mother used to work as a secretary for a big time business tycoon, her father, Tad. Her parents’ love story started on one of their long business trips.

Everything would have been perfect if it wasn’t for the fact that Sherry’s father was a married man with two children. Her mother used to think that only silly girls would fall for married men. But her mother realized that it wasn’t such a simple thing after all.

Sherry’s mother couldn’t leave her father until she was pregnant. Her mother asked him if he would finally leave his family for them but he told her mother that he couldn’t do such a thing.

His company stocks would plummet if the business world heard that he was getting a divorce, not to mention that he would lose 50% of everything he owned if not more. After hearing her father’s answer, her mother finally found the courage to leave him.

Sherry’s mother decided to live with her older brother Alex. Before she left, her father insisted on giving her some money for their child. He also wanted to see their child at least once every two months, but both these requests were denied.

Sherry grew up never knowing her father. All she knew about him was his name. Her mother didn’t speak ill of him but then again the subject of her father never came up that often.

Her mother’s genius business sense and her uncle’s restaurant connections helped them to open a diner. The diner was a hard business to start, but her mother and uncle still persevered.

Her mother never got married and only focused her time and attention on their business and on her.

Seeing such a hard working mother inspired Sherry to become a helpful and responsible child. She took her studies seriously. Although she wasn’t top one in her class, she was consistently an honor student.

She found that playing with kids her age was such a waste of time. So, on her free time she stayed in the diner and helped around instead.

It took five years to turn their business into a restaurant chain. At one point they had up to eight diners. Things were looking up for Sherry and her family.

They lived a quiet and joyful life. Sherry was well loved by her mother and uncle. However, their happiness could not last forever.

When Sherry was 13 years old, her family received tragic news. Her mother, was diagnosed with an aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and was only expected to live for another three years at most.

Sherry and her mother spent the next three years preparing for the inevitable. Her mother sensing that it was almost time, called for Sherry.

On her mother’s death bed, Sherry was told that since she was born, every day on her birthday, her father had been religiously putting $20,000 into a bank account under Sherry’s name.

“I’m sorry it took me this long to tell you. I was just afraid that if you knew maybe you would’ve chosen him, since he’s so rich. He offered to take you in and have you live with them but I never told you. I want you to know that I never took a dime of your father’s money. Your account should have $320,000.”

“Wow! That’s really a lot mom, but that doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want that money. All I want is you. If only I could trade that bank book to spend one more day with you, I would. You don’t have to apologize for anything and even if I did know about my father’s offer I would still have chosen you mom. You’re the best mom I could have ever hoped for.”

“I’m so happy to hear you say that, but still it was wrong of me to hide that from you. From now on, I want you to spend that money for fun. It was given to you as a birthday present so go wild with it.”

“Mom, can we not talk about money right now. Even if that bank account had one hundred million dollars I wouldn’t care. I just want you to know how lucky I am to have you. The sacrifices that you did in order to raise me. I want you to be filled with thoughts that I’m so grateful for everything.”

“How many times have I told you that you sound too old for your age? My dear, I want you to be more reckless. You’re too young to be so responsible. You made my job of being your mother too easy. I’m so proud of you and I know that you will take good care of yourself. I love you so much, my, Sherry.”

Sherry’s mother slept with a smile on her face and passed away the next morning.

Their diner chains could not stay afloat with her mother gone. She was the magic recipe that kept those diner chains going. They slowly started selling off their branches.

Sherry offered to use the money from her bank account but her uncle Alex refused her. That money was meant for her not for their business. In the end, all her uncle Alex could save was the original diner that they opened.

Going to college was one of the things that a responsible child would do. So, Sherry went to the nearest University and pursued Economics.

After her first year she felt that college wasn’t for her. The lessons were okay. She had read most of the materials from her mother’s books. She met some good friends but never really made any real connections.

Something was definitely missing. She needed to clear her mind, she needed some inspiration. She decided to go back to the diner to get some fresh perspective.

Sherry asked her uncle if she could do anything in the diner and her uncle told her that she could be one of the cooks.

Helping around in the diner instead of goofing around the playground gave her a lot of skills in the kitchen. She gladly accepted her uncle’s offer and was very excited to start.

On her first day as a cook, a young man who had been working as an assistant, introduced himself to her. He said that he used to be Mr. Cacoy’s fruits and vegetables delivery boy.

Sherry immediately remembered him. She found him quite interesting as he was very similar to her. Instead of wasting time in the mall, he was busy doing deliveries.

Weeks passed and the two of them got quite close. She found that they had a lot of things in common. They both love their families. They’re both hard working, and they both were too responsible for their age.

She grew to admire the young man as she learned that he turned down his opportunity to go to college but instead worked three jobs to support his family.

Yet one day, the young man started talking enthusiastically about this new VRMMORPG that he was playing. Sherry didn’t know what that game was. She just politely listened.

Apparently it was his new third job. Sherry didn’t know that people could get paid by just playing online games. She was happy for him because it was the first time she has seen him this enthusiastic about something else aside from his family.

In the next couple of days, all the young man could ever talk about was ZECTAS. Frankly, Sherry was getting kind of tired of hearing the same thing. All he was doing was fighting the same monster. She started to think that maybe they were not the same after all.

Then one day, the young man’s online game made him skip work. It made him upset, enough to actually skip work. Her impression of the young man and this virtual reality world of Zectas became worse.

Arriving at the end of his supposed shift, the young man was covered in sweat. He said that he had been jogging to clear his mind.

Sherry was actually more upset than her uncle Alex but she didn’t let the young man know her true feelings. Her uncle understood that this was something important to him and since this was his first time skipping work it shouldn’t be a big deal at all.

Irritated that her only friend was turning into a different person, Sherry decided to do some research about this VRMMORPG called Zectas.

Seeing the screenshots blew her mind. Everything looked so real. Next she clicked on the viral video post made by some noob, that was supposed to be hilarious.

She immediately recognized the person in the video as Nash. Although he had a dark purple skin and pointy ears his facial features were still clear.

She couldn’t understand why people were saying that his video was funny. From what she saw it was clear that Nash was giving it his all. Fighting this rabbit looking monster with a horn.

Sherry got angry at their comments. Why were they being so cruel? Is it funny seeing someone giving it their best? So what if he can’t ‘one shot’ this monster. Does that give them the right to make fun of him?

Sherry understood that this video must have been the reason why Nash got upset. This game requires an enormous amount of time and even if you’ve given that, there are some individuals out there who will still make fun of your hard work.

Although Nash was playing this game in order to support his family, he was actually being ridiculed by other players.

The people commenting on Nash’s video saw a clown trying to get views. All she saw was the hard working Nash that she knew.

While watching Nash’s video, Sherry heard a knock on her door. It was her uncle Alex, it seems like Nash decided to quit his job at the diner. He also stopped working at the construction site. Evidently the thing that upset him that morning was the cause.

Hearing this, triggered something inside her. He wasn’t coming back to the diner anymore. He didn’t even come to tell her personally.

Yet, she also knew why he didn’t come. Once Nash decides to focus on a goal, that goal will be the only thing on his mind.

He was like a horse with blinders on. He will just keep moving in a straight line towards his goal. To him this isn’t just a game. It’s a means of living.

Sherry didn’t quite understand why everyone else could one shot these monsters. All she got from that was Nash was probably at the bottom of the food chain.

She suddenly got the desire to jump into the game and help him. It has been six years since her mother’s death, she hadn’t been this inspired.

Zectas’ game pods costs a fortune! She would have never guess their price. The game pods’ price range started from $5,000 up to $50,000. There were some feature enhancements as the price range went up.

All of the units had air-conditioning inside the game pods but the ones in the $30,000 price range and above had Silk, Linen, and Cashmere Wool as the linings inside the game pod.

While reading the physical features of each game pod she saw a blinking link that said ‘latest special edition game pods’. These new game pods were priced at $100,000 they had the same look as the ones in the $50,000 price range but these ones had ‘in game’ enhancements.

There was a gamepad that would permanently increase all your elemental resistance by 20%. Another one would permanently increase your Strength by 100. However, the best thing this game pod had to offer was the hidden basic stat that you would get.

These hidden basic stats often act as a hybrid between two stats. One of the given examples was ‘Perception’ which had four sub categories, Unarmed Perception, Weapon Perception, Magic Perception, Medical Perception.

She thought that a very rich person could just buy all of these enhancement game pods and they would become the strongest person in the game. Then she read the notice. Evidently, these ‘in game’ enhancement game pods would only work on a game character once.

Therefore, the enhancements would not stack with one another. Only the first enhancement from this game pods will be reflected.

She decided that the only way for her to afford any of this was to use the money in the savings account that her mom left her. She remembered her mother’s words that she should be more reckless and have some fun. She couldn’t think of a more reckless way aside from buying this $100,000 game pod.

There were thousands of enhancements to choose from. There were ‘pure’ enhancements that would increase your attack speed, your dodge rate. your strength, etc… These enhancements would only focus on one stat but the enhancement increase would be high.

Then there were the ‘hybrid’ enhancements that would increase multiple stats but the increase of those stats were greatly lower compared to the ‘pure’ enhancements.

Sherry couldn’t decide what enhancement to get. She was deciding on getting one of these enhancements, movement speed, dodge rate, life, defense, dodge rate & movement speed, life & defense.

She still needed to go to the bank to create an online access to her bank account since all she had was the bank book. She turned in for the night and slept thinking about what enhancement to get.

The next day, her thrifty personality still took the better of her. She decided that this $100,000 would be the only amount that she would play around with. As for the rest of her money she placed it in a mutual fund account in order to get a higher interest rate. This account also had an online access and only took one day processing if she wishes to make withdrawals.

With her $100,000 game pod on the way, Sherry was running out of time to decide on which enhancement to get. In the end she decided to go with defense & life. She wanted to be a shield for Nash and she thought that these enhancements best fits her requirements.

Sherry was enveloped in a bright light. She saw her body from the outside. It was like an out of body experience. She then suddenly heard a voice.

“What is the race that you have chosen?”

“HighElf please.”

She chose a slightly different race as Nash since she thought that the Highelves could still maintain her real life looks and would make her easily recognizable by Nash. She also found that the magic affinity for the Highelves would blend well with her desired job.

Immediately her ears started to sharpened, her clothing changed into a ragged blouse and ragged skirt.

“What is your desired user name?”

She already thought about her game name in advance. Nash chose the name Smoke, she was guessing it was based from his family name. She thought she would base hers from something that would remind her of her mother. It would be one of her mother’s favorite places on earth. On top of a sierra mountain.

“If it’s not yet taken, I’d like Sierra please.”

“That Username is available. Which city would you like to start in?”

She remembered that Smoke said that he was somewhere in the Western Kingdom so she chose a city in the middle of the Western Kingdom.

“The city of Centeo in Chayotl Kingdom (Western Kingdom).”

“You have been registered as Sierra. Please remember that you can only have one account in ZECTAS.”

Sierra then awoke in the square of a big a city filled with countless players. At the center of the square was a tall statue of what looked like a female gladiator that looked like a mix breed between a lioness and a human.

Sierra couldn’t believe the world of Zectas. Everything felt real. She could feel the wind in her hair the sun on her skin. She tried pinching herself. She felt a little bit of pain but not the same kind if she actually pinched herself in the real world.

There were thousands of NPCs in the square ready to teach the new players how to play Zectas. Her research indicated that there were some hidden jobs that you can get depending on the NPCs you choose to guide you.

Sierra quickly took notice of all the known NPCs as thousands of players were flocking towards them. She wanted a hidden job but she felt that none of the NPCs in the square could guide her. So, she tried leaving the square to look for that NPC.


                    ! You need NPC guidance to leave the square.

    Forced to turn back, Sierra started looking for this required NPC. She started walking and checking out the NPC guides to choose from. She noticed that once an NPC guide reaches five persons. A countdown timer appears indicating 10 minutes.

    When the timer runs out the group leaves. The other scenario was when the NPC reaches 500 users, even if the timer hasn’t reached 10 minutes, the NPC gathers them and they are ordered to follow the NPC as they guide them to the stalls.

    Sierra read from the forums, about the common patterns on how the NPC guide works.

    First they are given a quest to try talking to a potions’ shop NPC just outside of the beginner’s square. The first time a player talks to the beginner potions’ NPC they give that player a basic healing potion. After receiving the potion the player immediately levels up to level one.

    Then for their second quest the players would be tasked to search for three NPCs out of the 100 NPC choices. All these NPCs have different basic jobs. But as an essential the three NPCs should be able to teach them how to attack, how to heal, and how to create a party.

    The players gained abilities before acquiring a basic job will depend on the type of NPCs that they meet. However, one thing remains constant, the player achieves level 15 after completing the second quest and meeting all three NPCs.

    After receiving the training from the NPC the players are given the possible options on what basic jobs to pursue. This is why it is important to choose the first NPC guide wisely. Because that guide will provide the list of the NPCs to choose from.

    Sierra spent the next couple of hours looking for her NPC guide. She didn’t want to join the hundreds of players swarming over one famous NPC guide.

    After completing 10 rounds around the whole square. Sierra noticed that her satiety bar for thirst went down by 20%. Fortunately she found an old lady NPC in one of the secluded areas of the square who was giving out water. The old lady with the appearance of a priestess was serving water to the incoming NPC guides who were done with their batch of novice players.

    “Excuse me, ma’am, I was wondering if I can bother you for a glass of water?”

    The old priestess looked at Sierra and smiled.

    “Sure, here you go my dear. I’ve noticed that you’ve been passing around the square for the past few hours. Are you looking for something? You know you can’t go outside the square without a guide with you.”

    “Yeah, I know. I’ve been trying to look for a guide but none of the guides feel right. I did see one who had three players with him. But he looked like he was some sort of a Barbarian warlord.”

    “Oh, that must have been Baskog. You were right guessing that he was a Barbarian warlord. He put down his sword when he met his wife Lizzen. She’s the Ranger about 200 meters away on your left side. Both of them became guides when they decided to have a quiet family life.”

    “I see. Hmm, perhaps you can help me find a guide?”

    “Alright, I see no reason not to help you. What kind of guide are you looking for?”

    “I want someone who can guide me to a job that has great support abilities but could also survive alone. You see I still have to travel to my friend’s location and I don’t know where he is specifically.”

    “Hmm, I think I know a couple of people who can guide you to the job that you are seeking. People around here call me Nenek. If you would follow me, I can take you to the NPCs who can help you on your path.”

    Sierra couldn’t believe her luck. Who would’ve thought that the NPC giving out water could also be a guide?

    “Great! I’m Sierra. Thank you so much. I thought that you were only here to give out water.”

    “Well, I don’t often leave my post. But there are some individuals such as yourself that spark my interest.”

    Nenek guided Sierra out of the beginner’s square. Instead of taking her to one of the potions shop. Nenek took her to an Alchemist Shop.

    An ancient old man with a funny wizard hat was standing behind the counter. He looked like he was about to die of boredom.

    “Hello, Zauberer. I’ve come with a guest. Do you have the time to teach her a few things?”

    “Of course! I’m always free for Nenek and her guests. Come in, come in.”

    “No, I won’t be staying long. Sierra, you come see me after you’re done here.”

    Sierra nodded and thanked Nenek as she left. Zauberer then led the way to his laboratory it was filled with flasks and colorful liquids and inexplicable aromas.

    “I’ll teach you a really easy trick. Just follow these instructions and make a ‘pure’ basic healing potion.”


    + Quest: Pure Potion Production
        Beginner’s Quest
        Level: F

        Follow the instructions indicated on Zauberer’s book and make 20 ‘pure’ basic healing potions.

        Quest Reward:
        Level up to Level 3

        Accept the Quest? [YES/NO]

    “Yes, please teach me how to create a potion.”

    Sierra was given a quest to mix 20 ‘pure’ basic healing potions. It took her a couple of attempts but after she completed it. She leveled up to level three and got the 20 pieces of basic healing potion for free.


    + Acquired Knowledge: Production of Pure Potions (Basic)

      You can now mass produce basic potions from the pure potions that you created.


    + Completed Quest: Pure Potion Production

      You’ve completed Zauberer’s quest. You are now armed with the knowledge on how to mass produce potions.

     Rewards:
     * Level up to Level 3

    Before leaving Zauberer told Sierra that she could mix in the pure healing potions into a flask of distilled water and it would have the same effects as a basic healing potion. Basically, one pure healing potion can make 10 basic healing potions.

    Sierra couldn’t believe what she just heard. One basic healing potion costs 50 zecs. Which meant she virtually gained 10,000 zecs just on her first quest.

    She thanked Zauberer and went to find Nenek. She wondered why Nenek’s NPC choices were not the same as the other guide’s, where they would give the player a list of NPCs to choose from.

    Nenek was waiting for her near the entrance of the beginner’s square. Nenek saw Sierra and waved at her. Nenek then told her that she was gonna stay near the entrance of the beginner’s square since she needed to give out water to the other NPC guides.

    She gave Sierra instructions on how to locate her second NPC. She was to look for a weapons’ master that specializes in maces, near the northern part of the city.

    Nenek taught her how to use the inter-city teleportation circles. These auto-programmed casting circles are powered by energy crystals and will take an individual to any of the four districts in the city.

    Sierra checked all the famous dojos in the northern district. She couldn’t find any weapon master that specializes in maces. She stopped by one of the black smith shops to ask for directions.

    The blacksmith didn’t know of any weapon master who prefers the mace either. Sierra visited almost all the shops in the northern district the only other place that Sierra hasn’t asked was the bakery.

    Sierra entered the bakery but no one was there behind the counter. She heard some commotion in the pantry and decided to try seeing what it was. There she saw an elderly baker beating the dough with his rolling pin. Immediately it hit to her. This must be the weapon master that Nenek was talking about.

    “Excuse me, Sir, Excuse me. I’m a friend of Nenek’s. She sent me her looking for a mace weapon master.”

    “Ah, hi, weapon master huh? That Nenek, always tends to exaggerate things. I’m just a humble baker. But I do dabble a little bit with the mace. So, you’re here to learn the ways of the mace?”

    “I think so. I mean, YES! Yes I am. My name is Sierra.”

    “Alright Sierra, come with me. I’m known as Vico, the mad baker. Hehehehe. No, it’s really just Vico. Well, come on.”

    Vico and Sierra went to the backyard of the bakery. In the backyard there were three training dummies. Vico gave Sierra a mace while he held one of his own.

    “Are you ready to learn the ways of the mace?”


    + Quest: Ways of the Mace
        Beginner’s Quest
        Level: F

        Follow Vico’s instructions. This quest is completed once Vico acknowledges your skills.

        Quest Reward:
        Level up to Level 12

        Accept the Quest? [YES/NO]

    “I’m ready! Let’s do this.”

    The three training dummies’ sizes range from small, medium, and large. This would serve as the common monster body types that a player would potentially meet. There he showed Sierra how to use the mace against the three body types. The training dummies’ eyes would light up every time Vico would hit a vulnerable spot.

    “Just like that. I believe that you should just feel the mace and let it guide you towards the ‘targets of light’. If you can make each dummy light up 100 times. Only then shall I acknowledge your understanding of the mace.”

    Sierra took up her beginner’s mace and started striking at the locations where she thought Vico struck. The training dummy’s eye didn’t light up at all. She thought that it would be as easy as her first quest.

    She read from the forums that getting out of a main city can be accomplished in less than 8 hours. But she had already been playing the game for 14 hours now.

    With her satiety bar popping up indicating that it’s time for her to eat. She decided to take a break and eat the bread in her backpack.

    Vico offered to show her how to use the mace again while she was resting. This time Vico deliberately slowed down the striking force on each of his attacks and still the training dummy’s eyes would light up.

    Sierra tried to analyze what was happening. She was wasting her physical strength when she kept hitting the training dummies with such force. Then she realized that the job that she was aiming for also needed have some sort of mana manipulation.

    After rejuvenating her satiety bar, Sierra took her mace once more but this time she tried pouring some of her mana into the mace. She found that she could only transfer her mana into the mace for about 2 seconds.

    These 2 seconds would just be enough for her use. Carefully, she calculated the timing of the mace’s point of impact on the target and released her mana into the mace.

    WHOOOK!

    The small training dummy’s eyes lit up. She finally did it. Now she just had to repeat this 299 more times. It took her another 12 hours in order to finish the 300 hits that Vico required of her.


    + Learned Ability: Energy Mace
        Active
        Level: Beginner Level 1
        Experience: (0/1,000)

        Deals internal damage to your enemy by projecting your mana into them.
        Using this ability drains your mana by 5% of your maximum capacity.
        Mana consumption decreases as the level increases.


      + Completed Quest: Ways of the Mace

        You’ve been acknowledge by Vico. You can now boast that you’re one of the students of GrandMaceter Vico!

       Rewards:
       * Level up to Level 12
       * (Hidden) Mace Mastery


        + Learned Ability: Mace Mastery
            Passive
            Level: Beginner Level 1
            Experience: (0/1,000)

            Gained from being one of the students of GrandMaceter Vico. You now have increased damage from mace weapons.

            Mace Damage: +2% Increased Damage

        System notification messages were popping out everywhere! Sierra couldn’t hold in her excitement. She felt so accomplished. She can’t recall the last time she had this much fun.

        She would’ve finished earlier if it wasn’t for her mana running out. She discovered that she was exhausting about 5% of her maximum mana on each attack. Once her mana ran out she would just sit down and day dream that she would soon meet with Smoke. She can’t believe how much she’s enjoying this game world.

        Finally, she understood why Smoke was so energetic when he spoke about this place. ZECTAS is truly a magical place. Sierra decided that she would devote herself to this game as well.

        Sierra bade her farewell to GrandMaceter Vico. she went to the entrance of the beginner’s square once more. But this time Nenek was in front of her table preparing glasses of water for passersby to drink.

        Instead, Nenek was wearing an priestess’ adventuring attire. She told Sierra that she would be the last NPC to guide her.

        “Are you ready to experience an actual battle?”


        + Quest: Healing Hands
            Beginner’s Quest
            Level: F

            Follow Nenek into the sewers and defeat 10 sewer rats.

            Quest Reward:
            Level up to Level 15

            Accept the Quest? [YES/NO]

          “Yes! Rats, you better run and hide cause Sierra is coming for you!”

          Nenek showed Sierra how to create a party and other functions within the party. All Sierra knew about a party was that you create it with other players and that you share everything with them. Such as food, supplies, loot, and experience.

          The old priestess then took Sierra to the entrance of one of Centeo’s sewers. Upon entering a system notification popped up indicating that the suggested level for entering this place would be level 30.

          Sierra was a bit alarmed, because her level was still 12. Nenek saw Sierra’s alarmed face. She assured her that she was there to protect her.

          Apprehensively, She followed Nenek into the sewers. Inside the sewers she smelled such an offensive odor. She wondered why the developers thought about adding such a foul smell. Couldn’t they have lessened the reality a bit.

          Taking a few steps inside the sewer summoned 10 sewer rats. Because of the monster’s ‘larger than expected size’ Sierra thought that these monsters shouldn’t be called sewer rats anymore they should be called sewer dogs.

          Sensing their presence, the sewer rats instinctively started running for them. Sierra was now terrified. She didn’t want to experience dying within the game at all. On the other hand the old priestess was as calm as a rock.

          Nenek released a series of small bright lights which aggravated the sewer rats causing them to focus their attention on the old priestess. Sierra panicked and didn’t know what to do.

          “Relax, take a deep breath and focus on what needs to be done.”

          As the sewer rats were only attacking Nenek, Sierra picked out the sewer rat that was separated from the rest of the rats and struck it with her ‘Energy Mace’ ability.

          + Attack hit sewer rat. Damage 32.

          – Nenek attacked by sewer rat. She has taken no damage. Health -0
          – Nenek attacked by sewer rat. She has taken no damage. Health -0
          – Nenek attacked by sewer rat. She has taken no damage. Health -0
          – Nenek attacked by sewer rat. She has taken no damage. Health -0

          + Attack hit sewer rat. Damage 32.

          The sewer rat’s lifebar indicated that it had (1,136/1,200 HP)

          “Why is your damage so low? Aren’t you already level 12?”

          Sierra was taken aback by Nenek’s question. Was this really the right time to be doing this? Shouldn’t they be talking about damage calculations in a safer environment?

          “Huh? Yes I am. This is my first time attacking a live monster so I’m not sure why it’s this low.”

          “Did you invest any of your stat points?”

          “Oh, I completely forgot about those. Where should I put them in?”

          “Well, that really depends on you. If you want to be a full support you would need Intelligence and Vitality. Intelligence so that your Healing Abilities will never run out of mana and Vitality so that you won’t die easily. Everyone always targets the Healer first.”

          “I see, but what if I want to attack as well? I do need some attacking power since I know I’m still searching for my friend.”

          “Then you need to invest on some Strength and a little bit of Dexterity just enough for you to hit the monsters.”

          Sierra opened her status window for the first time and was about to distribute her 120 stats. She noticed an Endurance stat that she hadn’t read in the forums and wondered what that stat was.

          She also noticed that her Vitality stat was already at 50 while her Defense was already at 30. This must have been one of the bonuses from the gamepod.

          “Do you know what this Endurance stat is? This is my first time opening my status window and I don’t have any idea what it is.”

          “Now I see why I’ve taken such a liking to you. That Endurance stat is a hidden basic stat. You would have needed to increase your Vitality and Strength to 500 and your Defense to 2000 before that stat appears. So, I guess you are blessed by the gods because you have that stat even though you’re still a novice.”

          “Okay, but what does this Endurance stat do exactly?”

          “Raising Endurance increases your health points, defense points, and makes you resist stun attacks. Of course the increase from Vitality would still give a much higher increase in health.”

          “Nice, this must be the bonus stat that I got from my special gamepod.”

          “Gamepod? What’s that?”

          “Oh, it’s just something I have back home. So should I raise this instead of Vitality?”

          “That depends on you. However, in my opinion raising it early on would be very beneficial especially since you’re still looking for your friend. The Endurance stat would give you the ability to do some solo adventuring.”

          “Endurance stat it is then.”

          Character Name: Sierra
          Race: High Elf
          Alignment: Neutral
          Level: 12
          Money: 0 Zec
          Fame: 10
          Job: Novice
          Title: None
          Pet: None
          Life: 2,500 HP
          Mana: 1,875 MP
          Dexterity: 10
          Strength: 30
          Agility: 10
          Vitality: 50
          Intelligence: 30
          Endurance: 80
          Leadership: 1
          Charisma: 1
          Luck:1
          Atk Speed:20
          Move Speed: 25
          Attack:45-68
          Defense:90
          Magic Resistance
          Fire: 10%
          Water: 10%
          Earth: 10%
          Wind: 10%
          Equipment Effects
          * None
          Skills Effects
          * None

          + Attack hit sewer rat. Damage 220.

          “Wow, there was such an increase in damage. Stats are amazing!”

          Sierra wiped the floor with the 10 sewer rats and a notification window popped up indicating that she had completed the quest and she has gained 3 more levels. She was about to open her status window when Sierra saw a drooling dog with its flesh all ripped up. By the looks of it, that dog should be dead not walking.

          “Umm, what’s that?”

          “That’s a zombie dog. There are a variety of undead in the sewers. There are zombie cats and actual zombies as well. This is perfect. This will make it easier for me to teach you this heal ability.”

          Nenek went towards the zombie dog and allowed the undead beast to attack her. She took some damage that ranged from 1-3 points.

          “Now, my lifebar is slowly decreasing. This is the perfect time for you to heal me. It’s a bit similar to how you use your ‘Energy Mace’ ability but instead channel your mana into a ball like object and project it out to heal me.”

          “Okay, let me give it a try.”

          Sierra spent the next thirty minutes trying to project a healing ball towards Nenek. Nenek was in no hurry since her lifebar indicated (2,994,600/3,000,000 HP).

          “Perhaps if I show you how, maybe that will help you figure it out. I’m sorry I forgot to do this in the first place. It’s been a long time since I’ve taught anyone.”

          Nenek slowly gathered her mana in her hand and projected it towards Sierra. Even though Sierra’s lifebar was still full she still felt that her body was being filled with Nenek’s mana. She also felt rejuvenated and re-energized.

          Sierra concentrated her mana into her hands again. This time she tried projecting what she just felt and a healing energy ball was released from her palms towards Nenek. The healing ball healed 300 HP of Nenek’s mammoth like HP.

          Nenek ordered Sierra to keep on healing her until she ordered her to stop. After 3 hours a notification message appeared.


          + Learned Ability: HealBall
              Active
              Level: Beginner Level 1
              Experience: (0/1,000)

              Heals allies and can cause damage against undead monsters
              Mana costs: 30 MP
              Mana consumption decreases as the level increases.

            After reading the ‘HealBall’ ability she decided to try attacking the zombie dog.

            + Heal Ball hit zombie dog. Damage 400.

            Because she was too close to the zombie dog, the monster switched its attack target. It was now aiming for Sierra. Nenek swiftly casted her Heal Ball and damaged the zombie dog for 50,000 HP. Nenek killed the dog instantly.

            “Wow. That was amazing. This has been bothering me for a while now. But your life. Is that correct? You have 3,000,000 HP?”

            “I don’t know if I could call it as normal but I do know that I’m in the top 100 individuals with the highest life in the whole of ZECTAS.”

            “So there are other people with a higher life than you?!”

            “Yeah there are a lot more and that list doesn’t even include the gods and the great gods.”

            “Amazing!”

            “Also, you should be careful when someone is tanking you. Some monsters change targets when they are attacked. I think that should do for now. Let’s head back to the surface.”

            Back on the surface. Nenek casted a cleansing spell which removed all the foul odors on their armors. She then motioned for Sierra to kneel down, hold both her hands together and assume a praying position.

            “Sierra, you have completed the requirements of taking the job of an acolyte. Will you accept this job?”


            + Job Change: Acolyte
                Basic Job

                You have completed the requirements of the basic job acolyte.

                Accept the Job Change? [YES/NO]

              “Yes!”

              Sierra thought that she had to go to some academia in order to get a job quest. The Acolyte job was also one of the basic jobs that she had in mind. Then her smile turned into a furrowed brow. She was a little bit disappointed though when Nenek didn’t give her a hidden basic job.

              “I thought you would be delighted. Most people have to go to the Church of Centivion in order to get this job.”

              “But isn’t that Church just in the southern district of Centio?”

              “Yes it is. But still, I’ve spared the time needed for you to get there haven’t I?”

              “I guess, but I was hoping to get a hidden basic job.”

              “Oh. You want more power then? If it’s power you want I do know of a remote village South of here that may hold that power that you are looking for. It’s called Repormatl Village.”


              + Quest: Immense Power of the Blood Moon
                  Racial Quest
                  Level: D

                  Go to the village indicated by Nenek.

                  Accept the Quest? [YES/NO]

              “Alright! Will I get a hidden job once I complete this quest?”

              “You’ll know when you complete it. Give me your map so I can mark the location of the village.”

              Sierra’s map was updated with the location of Repormatl Village. Nenek also gave her a shield to boost her defense.

              All her needed preparations were completed. She was good to go. Yet, she felt a little dizzy. She checked her status window for her satiety level. It indicated that it was normal. Then she remembered that she had been playing ZECTAS for over 36 hours. Sierra logged out to get some sleep.

              Sierra awoke at the entrance of Centio City. She was ready to go find Smoke and while she still didn’t know of his location. She would increase her levels and learn more about the game.

              While she was leaving the city, a party of a swordsman, an archer, and a magician noticed her and asked her if she would like to join them.

              “Hi, my name is KuroKen, and this is AkaneX, and SakuraZ.”

              The female archer and magician waved at Sierra.

              “My name is Sierra.”

              AkaneX went closer to Sierra to ask her a couple of things.

              “I’m afraid that we don’t have a healer in our party and you look you have a healing job right? We’re still level 18 ourselves. What’s your level?”

              “I’m still level 15.”

              “That’s perfect. Come and join us. We’re gonna hunt some saber gophers.”

              “Where is this hunting grounds located? Is it south of here?”

              “Yup, it’s a few hours walk but we can hitch a ride on one of the caravans going to a village in that direction and shorten the time to about an hour.”

              “Nice, how much does a ride cost?”

              This time it was SakuraZ who answered her.

              “That depends on the distance that you’re gonna ride in. But for our target hunting ground it’s only 20 zecs.”

              “I’m afraid I don’t have any zecs at the moment.”

              “That’s okay we can cover your fare. We’re really desperate for a healer since KuroKen here isn’t really a great tank.”

              “Hey! I am a great tank. I’m gonna be a knight someday. I just need to increase my defense but I also want to have some attack since the two of you aren’t online always.”

              Sierra joined their party and together they rode on a caravan headed south for Nalusac Village. The three of them spent most of their time talking about school and their upcoming project deadlines.

              From what Sierra understood they were all classmates. It wasn’t clear though what their actual relationship to each other was.

              At the hunting grounds of the saber gopher. KuroKen took the lead to play the role of the tank. Their party spotted two saber gophers scurrying. AkaneX hit one of the saber gophers with her arrow while SakuraZ shot the other one with a fireball, the attacks aggravated them making the monsters rush towards them.

              KuroKen was ready to intercept the the two saber gophers. The saber gophers focused their attacks on KuroKen. The saber gophers dealt 140 damage each.

              Sierra immediately casted her Healball which healed KuroKen for only 300 HP. The three friends all looked at Sierra. They couldn’t believe that her healing ability was this low. They expected to see at least 700 HP of healing from her.

              AkaneX couldn’t hold it in and just had to ask Sierra.

              “Is that your maximum healing?! You said you were a healer! Don’t healers give out at least 700 HP of healing?! Did you just want a free ride or something?”

              “Yes that was my maximum healing. I don’t know about other healers but that’s all that I’ve got.”

              While Sierra and AkaneX were arguing KuroKen’s lifebar was left with 30% of his total HP. SakuraZ was trying her best to kill the saber gophers quickly but at this rate KuroKen would die first before SakuraZ could kill one saber gopher.

              Sierra stopped arguing with AkaneX and took our her mace and shield. She ran towards KuroKen and attacked the two saber gophers.

              Sierra’s attacks triggered the saber gophers to switch targets. The monsters were now focusing on Sierra. She closed her eyes and  braced for the monster’s attacks. A few seconds passed and she still felt nothing.

              She opened her eyes and saw that the saber gophers were attacking her for zero damage. Her Endurance stat plus the shield was beyond the saber gopher’s attack.

              Envisioning herself as Nenek. Sierra continued attacking the saber gophers with her mace without using her ‘Energy Mace’ ability. She damaged the saber gopher for 40 points. She checked on the saber gopher’s remaining life (1,200/2,400 HP).

              The three of them were shocked. How could Sierra receive zero damage when their swordsman KuroKen took 140? KuroKen was the first one to snap out of it and yelled at AkaneX and SakuraZ to join in on the attack.

              Since AkaneX and SakuraZ were range fighters their attacks didn’t cause the gopher sabers to change targets. Sierra also kept on attacking the monsters to keep them focused on her.

              KuroKen would do a slash every now and then but made sure to take a step back in order to avoid being targeted. The four of them continued on and finished the 2 saber gophers in under 10 minutes.

              All four of them sat down to take a breather. After such a heated fight and a heated argument, they needed some rest.

              AkaneX approached Sierra and asked for her forgiveness. She didn’t know that Sierra was that kind of healer. She just assumed that she was a pure healer and not a hybrid type. Sierra understood, she also saw AkaneX sincerity in her apology and decided to forgive her.

              The four of them continued hunting some more for the next couple of hours. Until finally the three classmates decided to call it a night.

              They asked Sierra if she was also gonna log out soon. She said no. She still had somewhere else to go. They asked if they could register her as a friend and she agreed.

              Their saber gopher hunt increased Sierra’s level to 20. She smiled at her progress. She met a couple of nice enough friends. She recalls that when she was younger she didn’t bother with kids her own age but now she was quarrelling with them, playing with them, and making friends with them.

              She felt like her childhood was playing catch up on all the lost time that she should have been playing.

              Continuing on, in a southward direction. Sierra arrived at the village of Nalusac. There she sold her share of the loot from the saber gophers. They were gopher teeth and gopher pelt.

              In Nalusac Village. She met a couple more of players which asked her to join their party. She agreed but this time she knew what role to play.

              Sierra kept on playing ZECTAS. The days turned on to weeks and the weeks turned into months. Her name had become somewhat famous in Chayotl Kingdom.

              Players started calling her the ‘Impenetrable Wall’. When she reached level 74 her Endurance stat reached 599. She noticed that it now took 3 stat points to increase her Endurance to 600.

              She thought that this would mean that from stats below 600 would only require one stat point. However, now it takes 3 stat points from 600 above. She wondered until what value does the 3 stat points requirement hold.

              Sierra needed some answers and asked one of her ZECTAS friends for advise. Her friend was already above level 100 and was in one of the famous guilds. Her friend’s name was Magikera.

              Magikera happily gave her the information she needed about stats. Evidently after 600 points everything has a different computation.


                BASIC STATS CONSUMPTION OF POINTS

                000-599 = consumes 01 stat pt  to increase STAT by 1
                600-699 = consumes 03 stat pts to increase STAT by 1
                700-799 = consumes 07 stat pts to increase STAT by 1
                800-899 = consumes 13 stat pts to increase STAT by 1
                900-999 = consumes 17 stat pts to increase STAT by 1

                Sierra quickly took note that if a player maxes out their level at 1000, they would only have 10,000 stat points available to distribute. Which meant that they can only max out two stats to 999 and just distribute the rest of the 799 stats to other attributes.

                Taking note of this Sierra proceeded to invest her stat points towards Endurance. She continued towards the location of Repormatl Village. It was further than she had anticipated. She did take a very long route to get there.

                But she didn’t mind. She enjoyed meeting new players and NPCs. Getting some random quests and hunting monsters that were on her way to Repormatl Village.

                Sierra was now level 92 she had an HP of 148,100 and a defense of 3345. It took at least the level of a semi-boss monster to cause some damage to her now. She still had the job of an acolyte since she didn’t return to any of the main cities to get the job of a priest.

                After seven months of playing she finally arrived at Repormatl Village. It was a night with a full moon when she arrived in this small village. She found that the village was small, when compared to the other villages that she had visited.

                The village’s remoteness was not exaggerated at all. It was covered by mountains and forests. If she didn’t know the exact location of this place there was no chance that she could have stumbled upon it.

                When one of the villagers saw her, he immediately greeted her and welcomed her in. It was a great coincidence that they were just celebrating their festival ‘Blood Moon’ feast.

                She welcomed their offer. She was used to the hospitality of the NPCs. In most cases a quest would come up at the end of a feast. Requesting the player to vanquish some kind of monster that is harassing their village.

                As the villagers and Sierra were eating. A group of three witches stood at the village’s entrance. The Witch in the middle was conjuring something that caused the night sky to turn red.

                The Witch had actually started to cover the whole village in a dome of blood. The other two witches were casting paralysis spells.

                The whole village was encased inside a casting circle. The runes on the casting circle lit up. Which caused everyone inside to fall down.

                Somehow Sierra resisted and tried to run towards the Witch. But the power of the casting circle was too much for her. She started to tumble down. She tried to move forward by crawling. She thought that if she could just reach those witches she could cancel out their spell.

                Sadly, she didn’t make it in time. The Witch in the middle had completed her dome of blood. Once the dome was completed. Everyone inside the village started writhing in pain.

                Their bodies started changing. The sound of their bones cracking echoed throughout the whole village. Their bodies were expanding. Muscles started growing out of their bodies.

                Sierra’s hair started to grow into fur and started to cover all over her now muscular body. Her hands and feet started to transfigure into what looked like paws and claws were sticking out of where her finger nails used to be.


                + Transfigured into the Hidden Race: WereBear

                  She had transformed into a red WereBear! She still had no control over her body as she was still getting use to the body of a WereBear.

                  She looked at the villagers lying down and she saw that they were much smaller when compared to her. They looked like black and gray WereWolves.

                  The dome of red blood was slowly disappearing and a notification window popped up.


                  + Quest: Immense Power of the Blood Moon
                      Racial Quest
                      Level: C

                      To release you and the villagers from the curse of the Blood Moon
                      Hunt and Kill the three Witches of Wysteria

                      Accept the Quest? [YES/NO]

                    Sierra quickly chose yes and ran outside to look for the witches but she found no traces of them at all. Only the casting circle that surrounded Reformat Village remained.

                    Sierra went back to talk to the villagers. It seems that all of them had gotten the alignment of Chaotic Evil. She told the villagers to just stay within their village.

                    They now looked like a threat to everyone else and will most likely get killed before given the chance to explain their situation. The villagers agreed and decided to stay within the safety of their village’s forests.

                    It’s been a month since Sierra transfigured into a WereBear. She tried going to a village but her fear was confirmed. The sentry guards immediately attacked her. The same with other players as well. After all when a player kills a Chaotic Evil player they get some of their items and zecs on hand.

                    Although that didn’t really matter in her case since none of her equipments could be worn. All of them had been removed and placed into her backpack window which she can no longer open.

                    Sierra has been trying to track the Witches of Wysteria and she had a gut feeling to continue on downwards. It wasn’t all bad turning into a WereBear. For one she still kept the red hair or was it now fur that her mother loved.

                    She can no longer access all her previous abilities but now she has gained some new abilities and her stats had greatly improved as well.

                    Her vitality increased by 200 which now gave her a total HP of 238,100. Despite losing her equipments her defense still rose to 4000.

                    She could now solo most monster packs. Since they barely did any damage and the monster pack’s boss was like a piece of wood waiting to be sliced in half with her claws.

                    Though, there was one monster boss that she couldn’t kill. It was a monster called Maneator. She was just a bit smaller than the Maneator so she thought that she could take him.

                    Sierra was shocked to see that the Maneator managed to harm her for 23,000 points and she could only answer back with 4,000 damage points.

                    She knew that if they would continue to fight she would die. So she decided to make a smart retreat. She used her ability ‘Double Slash’ which pushed the Maneator back.

                    In turn, the Maneator activated its regenerative ability. Seeing this, Sierra immediately made a run for it and escaped the devastating boss.

                    Sierra continued on her search until her ability ‘Animal Instinct’ detected a horde of large monsters heading towards her.

                    It’s just been a week since she lost to the Maneator and she wanted to redeem her self confidence by wiping out this unknown horde.

                    She charged towards the direction of the horde of monsters and then she finally saw him! It was the person that she had been looking for these past 8 months. The reason why she played the wondrous game of ZECTAS.

                    Smoke was finally here. But what’s this? Smoke had just released eight arrows and attacked her. His one handed companion jumped high up into the air and tried to slash her down with his double bladed sword.

                    Sierra then realized that there was no way Smoke could recognize her, in her current form. So she parried the double bladed sword with her claws, careful not to harm Smoke’s companion.

                    “Smoke! It’s me.”

                    Smoke stopped. Adder also stopped his attack. Igniz just threw his fireball and cancelled his attack in mid-air. Smoke was stumped. Sierra understood that he still didn’t know who she was.

                    “It’s me Sherry. I’m called Sierra here in ZECTAS.”

                    Sierra was about to continue talking when the horde of varanus indicus came into view. Smoke quickly launched his arrows against the huge lizard monsters and asked Igniz to create a firewall to slow the monsters down.

                    “Sierra. If you really are who you say you are, then tell me my real name.”

                    “Nash, it’s me, your brothers’ names are Seth and Donny, and you have a grandma who you call Mima Daphne. We also talked in the supermarket when I asked about your location in ZECTAS, convinced now?”

                    “Wow! You’re really playing ZECTAS. You’re actually here and how in the world did you get the race of a WereBear. I didn’t know there was that kind of race in the game.”

                    “Let’s talk about that later. For now let’s deal with these monsters.”

                    “No. Let’s run these monsters are too strong. They have 80,000 HP.”

                    “I think I can handle that.”

                    Sierra stood her ground behind the firewall. Three varanus indicus were running ahead of the horde. As the three monsters leapt out of the fire. Sierra used her ‘Double Slash’ ability which caused one of them to be knocked back behind the firewall. The other two varanus indicus pressed on and attacked Sierra.

                    – Sierra attacked by varanus indicus. She has taken damage. Health -480
                    – Sierra attacked by varanus indicus. She has taken damage. Health -480

                    + Atk hit. Sierra damaged varanus indicus for 4837.

                    Smoke couldn’t believe what he was seeing. How could these boss like monsters only do 480 damage? Adder joined in the fray and attacked one of the varanus indicus.

                    + Atk hit. +FIRE DMG. Adder damaged varanus indicus for 5338.

                    – Adder attacked by varanus indicus. He has taken damage. Health -6000

                    “Adder, step back quickly. Stop attacking the monsters.”

                    Adder retreated at Smoke’s command. He was also shocked to have received such a huge amount of damage. Just what kind of defense does Sierra have?

                    Sierra quickly attacked the varanus indicus that was going after Adder. After hitting the monster, she quickly called for Adder

                    “No, it’s okay. Just make sure to step back once you’re done with your attack.”

                    Adder understood what Sierra meant and continued on with his attack. They were still not done with the two varanus indicus when Smoke saw that the rest of the horde was closing in on them.

                    He quickly ordered for Igniz to create multiple layers of firewall before the first firewall that he created. After Igniz completed his fifth firewall, Smoke released his special arrows into the firewall creating a wall of smoke made with mandragora flowers.

                    All four of them focused on one of the two varanus indicus that was in their side of the sea of flame.

                    + Atk hit. Sierra damaged varanus indicus for 4837.
                    + Atk hit. +FIRE DMG. Adder damaged varanus indicus for 5338.
                    + Atk hit. +FIRE DMG. Igniz damaged varanus indicus for 2338.

                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 352.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 348.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 356.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 342.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 352.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 341.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 355.
                    + Attack hit varanus indicus. +POISON DMG. varanus indicus has been poisoned. CRIT HIT. Dmg 350.

                    It took them about 4 minutes to kill the two varanus indicus monsters. Just barely enough time when they saw that the rest of horde was starting to come out of the fourth firewall.

                    “Sierra. Let’s go. It’s time to run.”

                    This time Sierra joined Smoke as they ran in the opposite direction of the varanus indicus horde.

                    <<< PrevNext >>>

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