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Chapter 21 - The Reaper Appears.



After spending a few more minutes with Fluffernutter, Merlin stood up and made his way out of the courtyard. After traversing through the side streets he had originally come from, Merlin eventually made his way back onto the main street.

As he walked into view, he noticed a few figures making their way through town. Each one was equipped with beginner player clothing, the same clothing Merlin was currently wearing, they were all players.

One of the players caught Merlin's attention. A tall robust man with tanned skin and long straight black hair, a long wooden scythe strapped to his back. The man seemed to notice that Merlin was a fellow player, as his deep red eyes locked on to Merlin the second he appeared from around the corner.

Merlin knew who this man was, in fact, they were rather close in the previous timeline. This man was Typhoeus, the number one ranker in New Genesis, the man who came first in the beta test, and the guild leader of Hell's Benefit. The guild Merlin helped him establish and maintain.

Another thing to note about Typhoeus was his player given title in the previous timeline, The Reaper. He received this title due to his insistence on using a scythe, even when it wasn't efficient to do so, his only reasoning for doing so was because it made him look cool.

Merlin didn't know how he wanted to interact with Typhoeus this time around. In the previous timeline, Typhoeus had been one of the few players who adapted to the new world quickly, and used this to get an edge over the others. Merlin just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to receive some assistance from him, and their friendship grew from there.

Unlike last time however, Merlin was currently the front runner with a massive advantage, so he couldn't befriend him in the same way. Not to mention, his custom capsule and behaviour in the virtual lobby probably didn't give a good impression to a lot of people. Everyone in the first wave was either filthy rich or the child of someone who was filthy rich, and their egos typically reached the same heights.

Merlin gave Typhoeus a wave before turning the corner and walking away. He didn't have time to interact with him yet, he needed to abuse his advantage while everyone was still trying to figure out what to do or how to get quests.

Merlin made his way down a well-paved cobblestone road, the village had the general feel of a Victorian-era village, although the architecture was a little more Greek inspired.

Eventually Merlin had reached a large structure on the edge of town. The focal point of this building was that it was built around a large courtyard, and within this courtyard was several practice dummies and areas sectioned off for sparring. This was the village's barracks, and it served as a training area for players, granting them access to one of the most common beginner class souls, the fighter.

Merlin walked through the open doors of the barracks, and another set into the courtyard, there he was met with the sight of several armoured individuals fighting with various types of weaponry. Merlin's attention gravitated towards another man who was standing off to the side, barking orders at the younger knights fighting against the practice dummies.

Merlin approached this man, as Merlin moved within a couple metres of the man, a name appeared over his head, this man's name was General Perakeles. He eventually noticed Merlin approach and turned to face him.

"What can I do for you, young man?" General Perakeles spoke in an generic overbearing military man tone. Perakeles always felt like an uninspired character, created solely to check off an arbitrary character trope, especially when compared to all the other characters living their lives in New Genesis.

"I would like to receive basic combat training, sir!" Merlin knew he had to respond like a soldier to get a positive response from him, otherwise he'd receive a long lecture on basic military courtesy and etiquette. And if he failed to comply after that, he'd be forced to swing a sword at the practice dummy until Perakeles agreed to talk to him again.

Perakeles scanned Merlin's body from head to toe before speaking up, "Your body isn't strong enough for real combat, you'll start with some practice swings."

A quest window appeared before Merlin.

┌───────────────────

[Common Quest]


Training Montage I.

You've been given a task to strengthen yourself before you can start combat training. You can strengthen your muscles by swinging at a practice dummy.

Swings remaining: 100

• Reward: +1 Strength

└───────────────────

While it was a repetitive and boring quest, the reward of one free strength point was enticing even if he didn't want to go down the path of a fighter. Naturally the quest line for the various beginner quests also granted points in their respective stats.

Merlin grabbed one of the wooden swords provided for use within the training grounds and approached a vacant practice dummy.

Merlin lazily swung the wooden sword at the dummy, hitting it once before checking his quest counter.

「Swings remaining: 100」

It seemed that you couldn't skip this quest by being lazy, each swing had to have some degree of effort to count. Knowing this, Merlin took a basic combat stance and began swinging the wooden sword at the training dummy.

A single digit floated above the training dummy's head for a few moments before fading away.

「Swings remaining: 99」

Merlin swung at the training dummy once more, this time putting more force into the strike. The number two appeared above the dummy's head this time around, before fading away like the last.

Taking it as a challenge, Merlin swapped to more comfortable stance that would allow him to put his whole body's force into the strike, rather than just his arms. And when he struck the training dummy once more using the full power of his entire body, the number six floated above the dummy's head.

This was actually a pretty good tutorial, it taught players that your physical damage depended on how much force you could exert, rather than solely relying on the stats of a weapon, and the optimal way to swing a weapon to maximise damage each time.

Roughly ten minutes had passed, as Merlin took his last swing, dealing three damage.

「Swings remaining: 0」


「You have completed the quest, "Training Montage I", talk to General Perakeles to receive your rewards.」

Merlin stopped what he was doing, and as he turned around to walk back to General Perakeles, he noticed a small crowd forming at the entrance. It seems a couple players recognised that one of the knights swinging at the training dummies was actually a fellow player, and more people built up as time passed, all wondering how to receive some sort of quest in the barracks.

Merlin sighed, there was a learning curve when it came to this game, he had felt the struggle himself at some point, and it was just something the rest of the player base had to live with. That was just how the game was, it told you the most crucial information straight away and then threw you into the game to figure the rest out yourself.

The biggest hint this game gave you was that it was a new world, and the possibilities were endless. And when they said that, they meant it literally, it was not a marketing ploy.

At some point in the future, a guild that had a couple aeronautical engineers within their ranks decided they were going to follow in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers by completing a functional biplane. This was one of the many impressive feats accomplished by utilising New Genesis's freedom, it was stuff like this that really cemented the idea that New Genesis was a completely new world, not just a game.

Merlin approached General Perakeles, who turned to face him once more.

"Good job recruit, you're looking tougher already." General Perakeles complimented Merlin, but was still using his drill instructor voice, so it didn't feel like much of a complement. "Next up, lets have you spar one of the other recruits."

┌───────────────────

[Common Quest]

Training Montage II.

You've been given a task to practice your swings against a moving target. Hold your own in a spar with a military recruit to continue onto the next stage.

• Reward: +1 Strength

└───────────────────

Merlin accepted the quest. General Perakeles called one of the recruits currently swinging at training dummies over to spar. Eventually he was lead over to one of the assigned sparring locations.

"You may take the first strike." The recruit spoke up, sounding rather confident in his own ability. He looked to be in his early twenties, with olive tanned skin, a square jaw and curly black hair.

Merlin drew his wooden sword and entered his usual combat stance, his eyes glanced over to the entrance, where the large crowd was staring at him intensely, before turning back to his sparring partner. "Good luck."

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