Legend of Heroes Fanfiction: Hound - 3. I Didn't Get Scammed!
It was an early day of Spring, the birds were chirping on their perches and the sun was starting to shine its bright rays onto the grounds of Thors Military Academy.
In one of the many building that littered the campus. A pump boy in a yellow jumpsuit looked pensively at the small crystal between his fingers.
“I don’t know what to tell you, Krist, it just looks like a normal master quartz to me. Standard issue, well as standard as master quartz can get. Now if you really want to get into it, the way master quartz are manufactured is anything but standard. It takes-“
“I-I get it, there’s nothing wrong with it, right?” I hurriedly stopped George as he was winding up his lecture, I guess people don’t consult him on this stuff often. “Then can you tell all it’s effects?”
“Of Megalith? Well… it’s an earth element master quartz so I guess you can cast earth arts more effectively and it’ll strength your body a little bit if you have an affinity with earth. Nothing flashy like ordinary quartz. After all, the role of master quartz is supposed to supporting the connection between the arcus and the user.”
George continued. “Sometimes the connection isn’t stable because the user and the quartz aren’t the right fit for each other. That’s pretty common, it’s not like the academy can magically tell which to give quartz to each of you. We can issue you another one if you want, Krist. but it’ll take a couple of weeks to-“
“N-no I’ll good thank you.” I interrupted again, damn he’s really going off. Guess Towa, Crow, and Angelica aren’t ones to appreciate the topic, huh. Actually, no one else in our class seems to be too concerned about their quartz either. Guess it’s a boring subject. “I can solve this problem on my own.”
“Also you can just call me Kris, it rolls off the tongue a little easier,” I added.
“Sure,” George said cheerfully. That lecture must’ve done something good for him.
So what is my problem with Megalith?
Well, we have to go back a few weeks ago. When Sara threw the thing at me.
I was having a perfectly fine day until I remembered what Megalith did.
Didn’t that thing do nothing but increase exp gain? I remember getting it and dropping it in favor of other quartz in like two seconds because literally anything is better than that.
Plus, the way a lot of things work here has changed since the real Erebonia not bound by game rules.
Quick example, in the game a single tear balm heals exactly 1500 hp.
But here a tear balm is advertised as a sanitizer that kills bacteria and speeds up natural healing.
Why? Because this isn’t a game anymore.
If a medic came up to me after I’ve been wounded and asked me ‘how much hp do you have? I need to know if I need to use tear or teara balm.’ If the enemy doesn’t shoot him I will.
So by basic logical reasoning, why the hell would some rando scientist make master quartz that increases the gain of something that only exists for me.
It’s obviously a scam!
So I was planning to replace it, maybe steal one when I was out on a mission if I saw one.
Over the next couple of weeks, I really felt like I was leveling faster. Normally killing random monsters in fields and forests rarely levels me up. At this point, I just do it for some extra practice here and there.
However, I started leveling semi-regularly every other day. Obviously, I was surprised and checked the notebook immediately.
And under the new section that appeared after I received my Arcus.
Megalith lvl 5
Increases exp by 1.5 per battle
HP/EP/CP regen during battle
Enemies are less likely to notice you.
What the f***
And so I came to George to check my quartz. If some mad scientist actually made quartz that increases exp. Then that person might know something about why and how I’m here.
And the fact that it was sent right to me might mean that someone is watching my progress.
But according to George, the Megalith quartz is perfectly normal. Moreover, he didn’t even say anything about the exp gain or any of the other effects.
I mean, he could be wrong. But since I know he was able to easily perform maintenance on something as mysterious as Valimar The Ashen KnightTM. As well as being the former student of a great scientist. I’m inclined to believe him.
Ah well, I’ll figure it out slowly. There really no need to rush. Meanwhile, I’ll thoroughly enjoy the benefits, heh.
1.5 times per battle sucks in the game since it’s mostly because it’s a tiny percentage for a single character.
But here, I slaughter like 50 rats a day on average. A 1.5 percent increase on that every battle is invaluable. Totally worth the senseless killing.
Am I a bad person?
As I said goodbye to George and walked towards the exit. The door opened and Rean stepped in.
“Is this the engineering club room?” He asked, looking around the room.
“Yep, you’re in the right place.” George nodded. “Rean right? Towa told me you were helping her with requests.”
Hey good for you George, two visitors in one morning. And only one was blackmailed to be here.
At this moment, Rean seemed to finally notice that I was in the room and almost tripped over himself in shock.
Rean face darkened and I could swear his smile became a little strained.
“Ah right, could you wait just one second, George?” Rean said, walking over to me, grabbing my arm and started dragging me out of the room.
“I finally caught you,” Rean said when we were outside, somehow he gained an extremely tired expression in the past few seconds.
“Eh… did I do something?” I probed cautiously, it’s not like I committed any crimes or anything right?
Well not with my current identity at least.
“You…” Rean’s eyes looked as if he was looking at an idiot. “You haven’t been in class for the past three days! If Instructor Sara hadn’t convinced us that you’ll show up eventually, we would have reported you as missing!”
Oh right, Vita told me to keep guarding the excavation area to make sure the plan worked. So I took a couple of days off school before this. No one from the RMP came near it after that. But I had just discovered my master quartz’s power so I didn’t let that time go to waste.
I mean, it’s in a forest filled with monsters. I even increased by 3 whole levels! About half of that was the exp from fighting the RMP captain.
When I saw the increase in my notebook, I freaked out thinking I actually killed him. It wasn’t until I found out through Ouroboros’ information network that he was recovering in a hospital that I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Maybe I didn’t have to kill enemies to get exp, I just have to incapacitate them. That’s something worth experimenting later, too.
“Oh. Well, it’s pretty normal to take a few days off in school if you’re sick or something right?” I joked, returning to the conversation.
“We live in the same dorm.” Rean sighed, seemingly giving up. “When one of your dormmates disappear for a whole two days, isn’t it natural to think something’s wrong?”
Seeing his tired look, I laughed and explained.
“Sorry, I was just messing with you. Actually, my friend got into big trouble and was hospitalized so I had to rush back. I applied for a two-day absence with the principal. Since I was in a hurry I didn’t have time to say goodbye. I thought Instructor Sara would tell you guys.” I quickly explained. That was the excuse Vita and I came up with, I’ve got ‘proof’ with hospitalization records and everything. For such a scary lady, she and I sure work well together.
During that explanation, Rean face changed from tired to worried and with my last sentence, straight back to tired.
“Instructor Sara again…” Rean whispered the name like it was the name of his eternal enemy.
“Haha, you must’ve had it rough, huh.” I laughed.
“You… have no idea.” Rean sighed again.
Hey, don’t look so down. Where’s the charismatic protagonist from the game? Who’s this depressed teenager?
I mean it’s not the start of the second game yet. lol
“Here.” Rean straightened up and held a small leather book out to me. “I was handing these out to the others last night. But you weren’t in your room. Obviously.”
“Oh thanks, Rean. Must be troublesome part-timing as Sara’s gofer.”
Ah such is the fate of the main character, getting roped into things that don’t involve you at all. Though with the amount of free time I lose to Ouroboros work, I’m just the pot calling the kettle black.
“No, it’s fine. As much as I want to agree with you, I did promise Towa to do this. And holding on to a small book for a single night is not too much hassle.” Rean paused before clearing his throat and walking towards the engineering club room.
However, at the door, he stopped and turned around.
“One more thing. This time you have a good reason. But even before this, you’ve skipped a lot of classes. You know you’re a Thors student, Krist. And not only that, you’re part of Class VII. The expectations placed on you and all of us are enormous.”
“Yeah, I get it.” I nodded. “If there’s anything I can do to make up for my behavior in the past few weeks. Don’t hesitate to ask. And call me Kris, it sounds way better.”
And I meant it too. The whole reason I’m here at Thors is to have fun. What’s the point of even coming here if I’m losing free time to continuous jobs. I’m gonna pay a visit to Vita later and tell her I’m only going to respond to the important stuff from now on.
I mean, not to brag but I’ve become quite the popular muscle for hire for Ouroboros. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I usually work alone. Or the fact that I’ve never failed a job (since I only take the easy ones). Or the way I present myself as Hound. But I even heard random townspeople talking about me.
Is this what being a celebrity feels like?
“Alright.” Rean agreed. Then his eyes lit up like he suddenly thought of something, “Well Kris, there is something you can do to prove you’re serious. I have a request to search the old schoolhouse from the principal. So far I think only Elliot and Gaius are coming to help. You seemed pretty tough the last time we were there. So what do you think?”
After a moment, he seemed to realized something.
“Uh, not that I meant you looked tough, I was just talking about your fighting ability, not appearance!”
I stared at him speechlessly.
Dude, if you explain yourself that much it just sounds suspicious.
I’ve never thought about it before. But do other people see me as some sort of gorilla?
I prepared a whole speech about independence and democracy and whatever to assert my freedom. With that in mind I immediately… filtered down to a respectful letter and left it at Misty(Vita)’s office before running away.
Well, it’s just formality anyway. Vita’s not the one that I actually answer to, I’m one of Campanella’s… henchmen I guess. So it’s not like I have to do what she says.
I just find it hard to refuse such a scary person.
After that, I picked up a few things in the shops around Trista Park. And right now I’m sitting outside the abandoned schoolhouse, waiting for Rean and the others to show up.
This is the perfect time to think about something that had been bothering me ever since my conversation with Rean.
Why didn’t Sara tell the rest of Class VII the ‘reason’ for my absence?
Rean’s answer seemed to be that she’s trolling again. But I don’t think that’s it.
He’s only met Sara for like two weeks at the very least and probably only interacted with her a few times. But I’ve known her for two whole games. Sara might seem like a carefree screwup but she’s still an A rank bracer. She’s way more sly than she lets on.
She’s good at joking around but I don’t think she’ll joke about the safety of a student.
I have a bad feeling.
Maybe the reason she didn’t tell Class VII was because she didn’t buy into my story.
She sounds like the type to disregard anything that she doesn’t personally believe. Much less spread it around.
“A bracer’s strongest skill is their intuition.” I murmured. I forgot where I heard that. Maybe it was in the game, maybe it was on one of my missions.
But if Sara’s intuition is telling her that I can’t be trusted then that might be a problem.
Of course, I might be just overthinking this. Maybe she just had a hangover and forgot. But, it might be worth it to be careful around Sara. Just in case.
When Rean, Elliot, and Gaius finally arrived, I had just finished fiddling with some of the trinkets I brought earlier.
“You were right Rean, she really showed up!” Elliot exclaimed surprised. Gaius who was next to him showed a similar expression.
“What are you guys so surprised about?” I asked helplessly, I seriously need to turn my image around. “Why does everyone have such a bad impression of me?”
“Well… you haven’t exactly shown yourself in the most responsible light.” Gaius explained. “If I were to liken you to someone else. It would be Instructor Sara.”
“Wow, that bad?”
“Unfortunately. Haha.” Elliot laughed.
“That’s why I warned you earlier.” Rean cut in. “And why I invited you. I don’t know if you know this but we have some sort of practical test on Wednesday. Helping us explore in the old schoolhouse could help you make up for the practice you lost.”
“Mhm okay,” I replied. I think I’ll be okay though. After that whole fiasco with Megalith, I went from level 42 to 45. I’m already way past the power level of the beginning of the game. Well, not like the monsters in this world have ‘levels.’
Instead, I’ll take this chance to conduct a quick experiment. I made a quick trip to the shops around Trista for all sorts of trinkets to test in battle.
Shortly after we all met up, we quickly got to the point and waited for Rean to open the doors of the old schoolhouse with the key the principal gave him.
“Wait is it just me or has the whole place changed since the last time we were here,” Elliot said.
“Hmm, I think your right. I don’t remember this building structure during our fight last time.” Gaius replied.
“Well, all the more reason to check it out,” Rean said. “There’s four of us here, we’ll be fine if we take advantage of our combat links.”
“So what’s the game plan then?” I asked.
“I’ll obviously be in the back, right?” Elliot said. “I focus all my efforts on supporting you guys.”
“I’ll cover him then.” Gaius joined in. “So we’ll link together.”
“Right, that leaves me and Kris for the vanguard,” Rean said and gestured to me.
I clutched my Arcus and concentrated. Imagining a path forming, connecting me and Rean’s thoughts. Soon the device in my hands glowed faintly and a combat link formed.
Rean nodded and moved ahead. There was no need for any commands. The link would inform us of each other’s intentions.
After that, not much of interest happened.
We just fought. There were monsters crawling all over the place so we barely got any breaks.
Elliot used his crafts, soft melodies would flow out of his Orbal Staff. And the rest of us would feel the fatigue from fighting slip away and our bodies grow lighter.
Gaius’s cross spear decimated any stray enemies that tried to sneak up on us. Despite his spearhead rarely ever touching his enemies, they were sliced apart by the raging winds it produced.
Rean’s taichi almost danced as he cut apart a path for our advance. The speed of his sword was so quick that it took monsters almost a few seconds before they realized they were cut into pieces.
I smashed things with my staff.
Even though I was contributing just as much as the rest of them. Somehow… I feel inadequate.
Is this my NPC syndrome flaring up?
A couple of hours in, we finally had the time to take a break.
“Huff huff, I’m seriously about to drop.” Elliot panted.
“I never thought the monsters would stop coming.” Gaius agreed.
“Hehe, you guys need to get out more.” I laughed at their exhausted forms while stretching. Half a dungeon is nothing for me. Unlike these guys, I’m used to fighting endless waves of monsters to level up. I have experience with this kind of thing. For example, while Rean, Gaius, and Elliot’s moves were flashy, they made way too much unnecessary actions.
Monsters that could’ve been killed in one attack were killed with three. Monsters that could’ve been decimated in a group were dealt with individually. And wounds that could’ve been avoided were sustained in a panic.
Looking at them now, I realized that they are truly just newbies just starting to gain experience.
But, I know for a fact that in the future when they’ve developed and gained that necessary experience, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
There’s nothing I need to do but to watch them grow.
“What are you laughing at?” Rean asked. “And how are you so energic after all that?”
“He he, that’s a secret,” I replied. I then reached into my pockets and took out some glass containers. “Here put this on any wounds you have.”
“Oh, tear balms. You came prepared.” Elliot took one for the bruise on his knee. “Thank you, Kris. You told Rean you rather be called that, right?”
“Yep,” I said as I handed Gaius one as I walked by him.
“Much appreciated.” Gaius thanked.
“I’ll take two, I got careless once or twice,” Rean said.
After I gave him what he wanted. Rean rolled up his sleeves and uncapped the salve.
“It’s a shame that these uniforms are damaged again,” Elliot said. “It was like this for me the last time, too.”
“Just hand them in at the shop in the Student Union. They fix it for you for a small fee.” Gaius suggested. “This is a military school after all. Damaged equipment must be pretty common.”
“Wow, they’ve really thought of everything, huh,” Elliot said, amazed, as he applied some bandages to his knee.
Ignoring the two chatting in the background, I focused my attention on the wound on Rean’s arm. As the tear balm’s contents were emptied on the cut.
The gel contained in the item slowly dripped out, making contact with bloodied flesh. And then…
“What are you staring at?” Rean finally asked, awkwardly. It looked like he was watching the entire time as I was creeping closer and finally decided to speak up.
“At the store, they said it could heal all wounds so I brought a bunch of it. But it doesn’t look that impressive in action.” I said, quickly coming up with an excuse.
It was convincing but…
“You do know that… all advertisements like that are exaggerated right?” Rean said slowly. Elliot and Gaius seemed to have heard me and stopped their conversation.
All of them looked at me with pity in their eyes like I was the biggest idiot in the world.
“A-anyway… check out these bracelets!” I took some accessories from my bag, desperately trying to change the subject with part 2 of my experiment. “These bracelets can apparently boost your fighting capacity! Let me know if you feel any changes after wearing them!”
Guys, those stares actually hurt.
Things were pretty quiet for the rest of our exploration.
Look, I don’t want to talk about it okay.
When we finally came out of the old schoolhouse it was already dusk.
“Wow, I can’t believe we took this long,” Elliot said.
“It was a tough journey, it’s not surprising we didn’t notice time passing,” Gaius commented.
“Well, I need to make a report to the principle,” Rean said. “Would you two mind coming with me?”
“Not at all,” Elliot replied.
“We all went through this together, so we’ll make sure to fill any details you might’ve missed,” Gaius agreed.
“Let’s go then.” I cheered, this is the perfect opportunity to prove my trustworthiness to the school.
“Not you, Kris.” However, Rean denied me instantly. “You go to the infirmary and get that wound checked out.”
He pointed to a deep cut a monster made on my thigh.
“That wound is too deep for a few tear balms to solve,” Rean said. Then he smiled smugly. “Shouldn’t have tried to show off during the break.”
“Shut up.” I pouted and pointed at the bracelets around their wrists. “Are you sure you guys don’t feel any different after wearing those?”
“Kris, like I’ve told you. I’m still at the beginner level but I’m still a martial artist. I trained to notice any changes to my body easily. And I’m telling I noticed no increases in my combat strength.” Rean said confidently.
I looked towards Gaius and Elliot.
“I didn’t notice anything either.” Gaius got the hint and replied.
“Haha, I’m not a martial artist but I don’t feel any different.” Elliot agreed. “I’m sorry to say this Kris but I think you got scammed.”
I processed the information for a second.
“Fine then, you guys can just keep the bracelets then.” I huffed.
Thanks…I guess” Rean said and walked off with Elliot and Gaius to report to the principal. “I’ll see you in class tomorrow, right?”
“Yeah yeah, I’ll be there,” I said as I waved goodbye.
A few seconds after the boys disappeared from view.
“I didn’t get scammed!” I shouted to no one in particular.
I know how to fight too okay? I’m an infamous mercenary. I know how to detect changes in my body too. And I’m telling you guys…
I took out the notebook in my pocket and opened it.
Kris lvl 45
Coral Bracelet- STR +10/Prevents Seal
That I definitely got stronger because of the bracelet. Not just on paper but in practice too. I felt a boost of strength immediately after I put it on!
So what does that mean!
I sighed and uncapped a tear balm. And tearing off the makeshift bandages that Rean put on when I got hurt.
“I should probably disinfect it again, it’s aching a lot,” I said to myself.
I watched the contents slowly pour onto my leg. The gel making contact with my wound.
…The wound closing immediately.
Leaving unblemished skin like nothing was ever there.
The numbers in the notebook changing to HP 7500/7500.
…I’m the weird one here, huh…
AN: Update after a long while. Evidently, my updating schedule is not the best. Reviews and criticisms always helpful.