10: Low Charisma

I got a notification shortly after I’d named myself.

The system recognizes your attempt at making yourself an individual. It has deemed you ‘Flake (Elden Keep Guard)’.

For becoming a named NPC, you have been awarded +3 in all attributes and a certain skill or spell of your choosing!

The tingling came instantly, covering every inch of my body – including my brain. My thoughts became clearer and faster, my muscles stretched and bulged, and my sense of balance became firmer. All in all, I just felt all-around better.

“Status menu,” I muttered, glancing over at Crystal. She was rolling her shoulders and lightly hopping up and down – she’d gotten the same reward I did, apparently.

Name: Flake (Elden Keep Guard)

Class: Guard

Level: 2

HP: 140/140 (+30)

SP: 140/140 (+30)

MP: 10/10 (+3)

TP: 0

AP: 0

STR: 14 (+3)

END: 14 (+3)

AGI: 10 (+3)

VIT: 11 (+3)

INT: 10 (+3)

CHA: 6 (+3)

Skills: [Measure Bribe] – 1; [Lesser Radar] – 2; [Thrust] – 1; [Burst] – 1; [Charge] – 1

Spells: –

Next up was the skill tree.

Skill Tree

Available Skills:

[Parry] – 1 TP

[Sweep] – 3 TP

[Toughen] – 5 TP (Requires Defense Attribute)

Upgradeable Skills:

[Measure Bribe] – 2 TP

[Lesser Radar] – 3 TP

[Thrust] – 2 TP

[Burst] – 3 TP

[Charge] – 2 TP

I used my free choice to get [Toughen]. I didn’t know how I’d get it naturally, so I just assumed I’d have to spend precious TP on it.

You have received the skill [Toughen]. Skill info: Boosts DEF by +5 and VIT by +3 for 3 seconds. Emits a sheen of armor that blocks 10 damage as well that lasts for 1. (Active; +1 Attribute boost each level, +2 seconds each level, +10 blocking) Costs 10 SP to activate.

You have received the Attribute (Defense). Info: Reduces damage taken and lessens the chance of taking a critical hit. It also makes skin harder to [Pierce].

Smiling, I closed the boxes. Things were looking up! I’d gotten a major attribute upgrade plus an incredibly useful skill. Now, though, I was wondering what Cyrstal’s attributes and skills were…

“Crystal,” I yelled, walking closer to her. “Can I see your status?”

She hesitated. “I…don’t know how to let you see it.”

Oh, I hadn’t thought about that. Hmm. “Maybe you just have to think about letting me see it?”

“I’ll try that.”

As I waited for her to figure it out, I thought back to our past conversations and cringed slightly. We talked like freaking robots although…I didn’t really know what robots were. Did it have to do with my low Charisma? Probably. Charisma had to do with how much of a smooth talker you are, right? That sounded reasonable.

Low charisma meant really awkward speech. Maybe my CHA would raise by talking to Crystal just like my physical attributes did by working out? Maybe. I’d have to test it. After I saw her status, though. And we sparred.

really wanted to train now that I felt a bit stronger.

Finally, Crystal gasped. “I think I’ve got it! Status menu.”

A familiar-looking window shimmered in the air, although I could read the wobbly text from where I stood. I walked up next to her and turned so we were standing shoulder to shoulder. Er, well, shoulder to head. I’d never really thought about how tall I was – I didn’t have to, before – but now it occurred to me that either Crystal was really short and, looking her over, that didn’t seem to be the case, or I was really tall.

“Flake,” she said, drawing my attention. “Are you checking me out?”

I blinked. “No. I’m comparing height.”

“Why?”

“…I don’t know? It just…felt like something I should do.”

“Oh.”

Yeah. Really awkward speech. I pushed whatever had just happened out of my mind and looked at her status.

Name: Crystal (Elden Keep Guard)

Class: Guard

Sub-class: Fire Mage (New!)

Level: 1

HP: 90/90

SP: 100/100

MP: 15/15

TP: 0

AP: 0

STR: 9

END: 10

AGI: 6

VIT: 7

INT: 15

CHA: 10

Skills: [Measure Bribe] – 3; [Lesser Radar] – 1; [Thrust] – 1

Spells: [Fire Bolt] – 1

“What? How’d you get a sub-class?”

Crystal shrugged. “Well, I wanted to check out the spells so I focused a bit on the spell bit. It unlocked the spell tree for me. That’s when I spent my free choice on [Fire Bolt] and got the class. What, you don’t have one?”

I shook my head.

“Huh. That’s weird.”

“Yeah…”

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Before we could lapse into another uncomfortable silence, I said, “Let’s spar, then.”

She looked at me incredulously, knitting her brow. “Why would we do that?”

“To train, duh.”

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“I…I mean, I guess, I just thought that maybe we should focus more on watching for enemies than-“

[Lesser Radar] activated just then.

“Way to jinx us, Crystal,” I muttered, picking up my spear.

Due to repeatedly interacting with another NPC, you have gained +1 Charisma.

Guess I was right, then.

— New chapter is coming soon —
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