Bobbing in and out of the tall grass, a small puffy tail shimmered under the moonlight. The trigoon was not a monster you could just rush up on because it would retreat quickly, and you would lose your chance to hunt it. All monsters in Alantina Online had different kinds of traits. Some were aggressive, while others were not. The trigoon fit in the second group as they mostly fed on smaller creatures and were solo hunters.

Because of this, it actually took a few weeks to even reach level ten during the opening of the game. People had a hard time figuring out how to fight each monster, and only a few people were willing to write up different details about these monsters on forms and how-to guides. It was also because of this that Alantina Online became so popular. It was a game with some of the best A.I. ever created. It was so life-like that no one would have thought that such things were possible.

As for Vance, he never thought too much about it. He never paid too much attention to the NPCs in town other than taking some quests here and there that were worth his time. When he started this game, he was doing everything he could do to learn about the class he wished to master. He set his sights on being number one in game and then when he did reach the top and was on the verge of the final evolution, he woke up in the body of an NPC, or at least he thinks. Until opening day, when the players started appearing, he would not know for sure if this was the game.

Of course, this will not stop him from wanting to continue his quest to become stronger. This was why he was silently walking through the tall grass as quietly as possible. If he could get a direct hit on the trigoon, he could quickly kill it.

Inch by inch, with each step, Vance closed in on his target. He knew the trigoon already sensed him, and he knew the only way to attack was to not allow it to feel any threat. He basically had to erase any thoughts of attacking before actually attacking. This was just how perceptive these monsters were and because if he was hit more than once, he was sure to die.

Right now, he did not wish to test the waters with a respawning NPC. After seeing blood earlier when he cut himself and felt the pain that came with it, he felt that if he really did die, that would be the end of it all. While there might be a chance that he would wake up in his room in the real world. He had no solid proof that this would happen since he had no idea how he even found himself in his current body. He couldn actually test any theories out without some facts.

Vance stopped in his tracks when he was only a few feet from his target. He quietly took a deep breath and slowly let it out, clearing his mind. This was something he had done many times when leveling up. When he felt he was calm enough, he leaped forward like a leopard attacking its prey. His fist clenched the knife in his hand as he swiftly brought it down.

”Cree! ”

[+10 XP]

The trigoon let out a pained cry as it took its last breath. The trigoons blood splattered onto Vance, but Vance did not care. He was just happy his current strength did not hold him back. He looked at the monster lying there and frowned a little when he did not see any drops. But luckily, the fur from a trigoon could still be used as a crafting item. Even its puffy tail was usable. With this thought in mind, Vance went to work skinning the trigoon with practiced movements.

[Skill Acquired: Skinning (LVL 1)]

”Good, it looks like this option is still available…. ” Vance smiled, seeing the new skill notification. Skills could be earned in two ways. Buying them with skill points or earning them by doing them. Trade skill type skills were best earned by doing them. It would save more points later on since skill points were only one point per level, and there was no way to get more. Sword mages needed all the skill points they could get if they wished to be able to survive later on since they needed to take a bit from each skill line.

His sword mage build had always been a secret. He never told anyone about it, even though many even offered him money for it. He refused to give it out since he was, well, selfish. He always wanted to stay at the top. If everyone started copying his build and got better at the class, than he, wouldn that make him lose his top spot? As such, he never told anyone about his build or what skills he took, which allowed him to stay at the top without issues and left most sword mages as alts that never got leveled due to their difficulty. And even those who were able to get to a decent level were not able to put out the power he could or solo the things he was able to solo.

”Right, on to the next one. ” Vance put the skin and puff into his inventory and moved on to the next kill. After many hours of some failures, he finally got the notification he was waiting for.

[Level Up!]

[Status Points + 5]

[Skill Points + 1]

The familiar notifications filled his eyes, making him smile. Luckily the amounts were still the same. If they were somehow less, he would have probably cried on the spot since it would make his life much harder.

”Five points for stats. I will go with what I did before…. ” When he first started, Vance already knew he wanted to be a sword mage, so he had a set build he used when first starting off. ”One to strength. Two to Vitality. One mind and one intelligence. This will give me a much-needed boost. ”

[Name]: Vance

[Age]: 20

[Level]: 1→ 2

[Race]: Human

[Evolution]: N/A

[HP]: 70/50 → 70

[MP]: 30/20 → 30

[Attack Power]: 30 → 40

[Magic Power]: 20 → 30

[Status Points]: 0 → 5 → 0

[Strength]: 3 → 4

[Vitality]: 5 → 7

[Intelligence]: 2 → 3

[Mind]: 2 → 3

[Agility]: 2

[Skill Points]: 0 → 1


{Skinning (LVL 1)}

Agility was something he would need to work on with some items. It was the one stat at low levels he could not raise very high. ”Hmmm…. I wonder… Since I know the spells I used before, can I learn them without skill points and save even more skill points? ”

This thought came to mind and was not a bad thought, but for now, he needed to wash up and return to the house. He had already been gone for six hours, and he was sure that Ricky and Maybel would probably be getting up soon. He knew farmers in game normally woke up before sunrise. He did not wish to get yelled at since he decided to stick around a few days to do his life quest. So the last thing he wanted was to anger this bodys parents.

Vance looked down at himself and saw the splashes of blood and mud on him. This was something that would not go away and was also part of the game. Dirt, grime, blood, and guts, depending on how you killed something, it would stick to your armor, clothes, and body. This added much to realism and also some annoyance because the smell sensors in the game would give off a stench if you did not bathe or wash your items. Of course, there was not much one could do if they were stuck in a dungeon, which led to some people wearing scented bags on their waists, mainly girls, which became very popular in game.

”I guess I will wash up in the stream over there…. ” Next to the grassy area, he was in was a small stream that the framers drew from. It was the perfect spot to quickly wash up in. His clothes might be a little wet, but for now, it would have to do. Tomorrow he planned to begin training in casting magic. If he could just cast a fireball, his life would be a little safer.

Vance stood on the streams shore and looked at the moonlight reflecting off its surface, and sighed in admiration. He never really took the time to take in much when he played the game before but now, seeing the beauty of things up close like this, he really felt this world was breathtaking. ”Does everything look this beautiful because it seems more real to me? ”

Crystal clear water, the glow of the moonlight as it reflected off everything it touched. The gentle wind that was blowing past his face. All of it seemed surreal. Vance sat down on a nearby rock and took some time to gaze up at the starry sky. He wanted to reach the top. He wanted to reclaim his previous glory, but he felt maybe… just maybe, he should take some time to take in the world he breezed through before now that he seemed to be stuck inside it. ”I will take my time this time…. ”

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