Servant / Master Of The Little Folk

Chapter 43 : Servant Of The Little Folk

The two ended up falling asleep once more and Agni was both surprised and annoyed to find that Katrin managed to sleep without elbowing her every 30 minutes.

*She was definitely doing it on purpose!*

The two arose and made ready for their daily schedule as usual only today things were different. Normally Bracha would meet them in the reception area, explain the day’s focus then they would have breakfast before tackling the rest of their training.

Today Bracha was found in the cafeteria, unchanged from her pajamas — in this case a see through night gown.She was enjoying her breakfast as the pair entered.

“Morning!” She said, with a bright smile to greet them. Unlike most days Bracha’s hair was down and frazzled. The mark of bed head and unkempt beauty. As the morning light filtered through a nearby window Agni couldn’t help but be caught off guard somewhat.

Seeing this dazzling sight Agni found it difficult to stay angry, though that was her original intent. Bracha with bed hair was simply too cute, and her gown made it even more difficult to maintain an angry mood. Agni nodded without saying a word, which in turn caused Bracha to grin. Bracha then nodded to Katrin and breakfast began in earnest.

After the two sat down and began their breakfast Bracha began to hum to herself. There was silence on agni’s part, but not in an awkward way. In fact Agni’s mind was racing as she struggled to figure out the best way to get back to normalcy. The one thing she learned from yesterday was that she needed to make a conscious effort to make her feelings known on any given matter. Her intuition led Agni to believe this was the step she should take yet now she was stumbling around for words. Fortunately this was circumvented when Bracha was the first one to breach the subject.

“Feeling better now? It can’t have felt good to have dealt with so much yesterday.” Bracha said as she looked up from her plate.

“Yea.. sort of..” Agni replied, though inwardly she still felt annoyed listening to the person who caused the drama say such a thing.

“Still the fact that you tried to compel me last night makes me so proud.” Bracha said, a strange smirk forming on her face. She looked like a proud mother and Agni couldn’t tell if she was being made fun of at this point so she put her head down and continued eating. In hindsight it was probably a foolish idea to ‘Whisper’ Bracha in the first place. She knew it wouldn’t work –she’d tried it multiple times every day for the past week. No dice.

*If you wanted me to ‘Whisper’ you..why didn’t you just say so..* Agni then thought. Although she was still sore at having been goaded into a reaction, she understood the reason behind yesterday’s hijinks. Direct attacks against the ‘passive aggressive’ mental complex she harbored. Pushing her until she erupted and became more comfortable speaking her mind, and it worked. Agni did feel better..to a degree. With that in mind, Agni resolved to work in earnest towards being more true to herself.

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“So, what are we doing today?” Katrin asked as the question had been on her mind for quite some time at this point.

“Today marks the eighth day of your two week training period. Starting now until the last day, you’ll be in charge of your own fate. Your goal for the next week is to grow in strength as quickly and as much as possible. By week’s end, I’ll appraise your progress. Keep in mind that strength isn’t measured solely by one’s level. It is the ability to do what is needed, yes?”

Bracha’s tone was more casual than usual and though Agni couldn’t help but feel slighted at having been made to cry, breakfast was beginning to make up for it. Besides, Agni could tell that Bracha had no ill will towards her despite yesterday’s outcome. And, in a way, Bracha’s methods did work….

“So, basically we’re transitioning into full time adventurers and you want to see how we’ll do on our own.” Agni summarized.

“Correct!” Bracha replied.

“Hold out your marks.” She then ordered before extending her own. Once the three marks came within proximity of one another a faint shimmer of energy signaled that they were connected. Bracha then waved her hand over her own Systema mark and both received an alert.

[8,321 Gol Received.]

“What’s this?” Katrin asked.

“That’s your share of Gol from monster drops over the past week.”

This somewhat changed Agni’s mood towards Bracha , forcing her to think, * She’s too good at making up. Good food…money…adorable bed-head…*

Agni shoved a piece of sausage in her mouth before further thinking *I should probably take notes.*

There were no morning training sessions, at least not ones guided by Bracha. She further explained that they were 100% free to go about things in any way they saw fit. She also told them that any advice henceforth would cost them. In Bracha’s own words :

“Experience is a sort of currency in itself. And not just the sort you earn from battling Grimlock, I mean the sort that comes from accumulating life experiences. Therefore, it’s customary that if you ask for something you must be willing to pay in exchange. This is an unspoken rule amongst adventurers. We only help others on our whims or when they are willing to compensate. Furthermore, the person accepting the request has the right to set a worth they feel is appropriate.”

After giving them their share of the money the two got dressed and headed to Gadsten’s. This was, of course after Katrin tested the waters by asking Bracha to give her a hint about what should be done next. A hint that cost 10 Gols.

“If I were you, I’d get some better gear.” Agni could see the glint of happiness in Bracha’s eyes as she took the Gols and skipped away. Agni couldn’t help but be drawn to the sight of Bracha’s thighs as her gown bounced up and down, nearly exposing her ass. Bracha was of course, not wearing anything beneath the gown.

——————————

Inside the shop the scent of polished leather and oiled blades filled the air.

“Welco– oh, it’s just you two. I’m surprised you’re still alive with that armor bought last time.”

*’Just us two’? What kind of greeting is that? And didn’t you SELL us that armor?*

Ren, the Tinkerer. The tan skinned, grey haired young man who looked more like a teen than an adult, and apparently acted like one too. He was the rude person behind the counter today.

“Ahem. Hi, I was thinking of getting some new gear.” Agni said, attempting to start the conversation off on a better note.

“Obviously. This is the smithy shop.” Ren interrupted as he turned away from a nearby table to face Agni and Katrin.

“So? What do you want? I’m busy.” He then added.

“You little s***.” Agni whispered through pursed lips. Katrin just chuckled and patted her on the back before moving through the store to check out some of the items on the shelves.

“Is there any way to determine what’s what? I can’t seem to get more than a basic description from any of these items.” Agni asked as she walked forward, determined to ignore Ren’s abrasive personality.

Ren folded his arms and glanced at Agni, sizing her up for a moment before he extended his palm and said. “ 25 Gols.”

“What?” Agni asked.

“30 Gols.” Ren then said.

Agni recoiled, gritting her teeth before she finally walked over to the counter and placed her hand into Ren’s palm. Unlike before with Bracha a new interface appeared with command prompts.

[Ren Kaito, Rank 1 Tinkerer is requesting 35 Gols to trade information about the “Systema features”. Proceed? Y/N]

Agni struggled to maintain a calm face. Inwardly she was now scowling as Ren constantly increased the price on the information she desired.

*Yes dammit!* Agni growled internally.

[-45 Gols deducted.]

“WHAT!” Agni shouted as she snatched her hand away and stared incredulously at the adventurer behind the counter.

Ren simply sighed before casting her a condescending glance and launching into his explanation.

“You wouldn’t know, because you’re a rank 0 but the Systema has certain safeguards in place in order to efficiently use energy. Have you ever wondered what the Systema is? It’s a complex magic spell that we adventurers share and use to make our lives easier. When we rest, we sacrifice small amounts of mana to maintain it for ourselves and others. This is how Systema is able to provide a service for us all.

Because the Systema has limited resources like any other magic spell, the features it will allow access to are limited based on necessity. The main reason is to efficiently use mana required to power the spell. The second is that all adventurers won’t need every single sub-system associated with full system settings. For example, how many items have you gathered? Probably none. This is because you don’t have the sub-system module to identify which items can be gathered. All areas have them, you just never noticed–right?

This is all explained once you reach a certain level of strength and the Systema allows you to upgrade it manually to suit your purpose. You can, however, make use of the modules you need even if they are currently hidden.”

Agni went from livid to impressed in a matter of moments. Despite his thorny demeanor there was a certain charm in listening to someone knowledgeable as they spoke. She wasn’t exactly sure of the value of Gols at this point, so that wasn’t the bother. What made her angry was that he kept raising the price! After hearing his explanation though she felt somewhat better as it was quite detailed.

“So how do I learn to use modules?”

Ren cut his eyes at her as a smirk creeped across his face. He held his palm out yet again before replying, “ 10 Gols.”

“You little!”

“30 Gols.”

“UWAH! Ok, ok stop raising the price! I’m sorry!”

All in all Ren made a sum of 100 Gols from Agni whereas she learned that modules were tied to general skills or level. Some general skills cost 0 potential to learn, but the main reason Agni never bothered with them is because their name and description were unclear. She had no way of knowing what they were or what they did — that is until she learned the exact name of the module she wanted, which was Gear Analysis 1. Upon having Ren explain and guide her, Agni finally unlocked the sub-system that allowed her to view detailed information about equipment.

[Beginner’s Halberd – R0
Atk – 8%
Crit Rate- 12%
Crit DMG – 1.10
Weapon Skills – N/A
Charges – 0
Desc : A halberd that most anyone can use provided they have a minimum of strength.] [Beginner’s Chestplate – R0
Classification : Light Armor
Dampen – 5%
Plate – 1
Abs – 0 / 0
Spirit – N/A
Recharge Time – N/A
Desc: A chestplate made from treated leather, layered for extra protection.]

Although Agni didn’t want to admit it, she had no idea what any of those attributes meant. Some were obvious to an extent while others would definitely require some explanation.Thus she sighed to herself, realizing what must be done. Agni turned around to notice the smug look on his face as Ren waited expectantly for even more of her Gols.

“Ugh.” Agni groaned as she walked over towards the counter once more, a somewhat dejected look on her face. Katrin looked on in amusement, chuckling to herself as she continued to shop–she was completely determined to stay out of it!



Chapter 44 : Master Of The Little Folk

“R- err, Mister Ren. I would like to know more about how to read the specs on weapons and gear. Could you please tell me?” Agni formed her words carefully as she struggled to control the twitching of her eyebrow.

“100 Gols.” Ren said cooly as he examined his fingernails for imaginary traces of dirt.

“Mister Ren, can we perhaps come to some kind of agreement?”

“110.”

Seeing that he wouldn’t budge an inch, Agni decided to retreat for the moment, instead turning to Katrin for advice.

“Hmm.. You’re still doing it.” Katrin responded, before continuing to browse the store.

“Doing what? What am I doing!?” Agni asked aloud as she clenched her fists.

“130.” Ren said.

*You’re being a marshmallow, and frankly it’s making my skin crawl. Just ‘Whisper’ him and take what you want!*

Agni stopped in her tracks as an unfamiliar female voice echoed from within her mind.

“What the hell?” She whispered, but the voice remained silent. *Did I just imagine that?*

“This is just business, it’s to be expected that you gain as much as possible while giving the least. If you keep letting him boss you around he’s going to continue.” Katrin said as she pressed her pointer finger against her chin. Agni felt awed by Katrin’s mature outlook on being swindled by a midget, yet in the same breath the advice didn’t sit well AT ALL. Agni frowned a bit, prompting Katrin to continue.

“You have to assert yourself! Let him know you’re not a pushover!” Katrin said, wagging her finger as she elaborated on her earlier statement.

*What the busty bimbo said!* The voice echoed in Agni’s mind once more.

“Excuse you? And who the f*** are you?” Agni practically shouted. Katrin shrank back slightly, a look of confusion on her face. Agni had to correct herself and try to explain.

“That’s not. I wasn’t talking to you Katrin–”

“Ahem. 210.” Ren said loudly, mistaking Agni’s outburst for defiance.

“No! Wait, that wasn’t meant for you!” Agni said, rushing to the counter and grabbing Ren by the hand.

“I’m sure we can work something out..right?” Agni said, giving her best to show some sex appeal. She opted to copy one of Bracha’s moves from a couple of days ago–unfortunately it fell flat.

“230!” Ren said as she smoothly freed his hand from her grasp, a look of disdain spreading across his face.

*Oh,ho HOOOOO — you little f*****.* Agni was practically fuming at this point.

*It’s your fault for being a marshmallow. SOFT, SQUISHY, MARSHMALLOW.* The voice taunted, practically stomping on Agni’s last bit of restraint.

“Tell me what I want to know, now you little shrimp! And you’ll do it for free! OR else I sock you on the top of your misshapen child-like head you little numbskull!” Agni’s eyes flashed ominously as she issued the command.

[‘Whisper’ Mastery has increased to 30%. You can now attempt skill activation at will.]

“Fine.” Ren relented as the skill took hold.

“Both weapons and armor will improve your performance by percentage. For example, the type of weapon you use will determine which of your stats is used to calculate the base damage. Using your halberd, or any heavy weapon as an example — power will be used as base damage. The ‘atk’ attribute of the weapon then boosts your base damage by various factors — for example, how skilled you are at handling your weapon, the chance of triggering a critical strike and also the amount of extra damage dealt when a critical blow lands.“

“Armor is a little different. Armor reduces any damage you sustain overall, armor can also nullify a certain amount of incoming damage when the blow strikes the armor directly. In addition, some armors have ‘Plate’ which is a sort of HP for armors. Damage sustained will be absorbed in this case, and the plate of an armor piece must be depleted before HP damage can be dealt.”

“Last, but not least– both armor and weapons have what are known as Alter Functions. Armors tend to house abilities that can defend, evade or otherwise save the wearer. As you may guess, weapons focus on offensive abilities. These can be used or triggered free of mana cost, at will. Alter Functions are extremely rare and valuable so consider yourself lucky if you find such gear.”

Finally, after saying a mouthful the Whisper effect ended and a mild look of confusion passed over Ren’s face.

“Hmmph.” Agni grunted as she turned to glance at Katrin, who was now giving a thumbs-up of approval.

————————-

With a bit better understanding of weapons and armor, Katrin and Agni were both able to make much better selections. Katrin chose under armour, leather bracers, leather boots and her normal Scribe’s dress. Her Mag-gun remained the same as, according to Ren (who had been compelled to explain for free–yet again) :

“Mag-guns aren’t traditional weapons. If you inspect this you’ll see that her gun’s attributes are way different.”

[Mag-gun(RK) – R1

Atk – Variable
Crit Rate- Variable
Crit DMG – Variable
Weapon Skills – Mana Infuse {Infuse elemental or non elemental mana into bullet constructs}
Charges – Infinite
Desc : A finely forged mag-gun, created by Ren Kaito.]

“The ability to deal damage will depend largely on how the wielder uses the weapon. Condensed bullets are slower, but more powerful. Shaping the bullets to be more pointy will lend piercing characteristics. Elements can even be infused into the bullets. All of these factors require the user to make use of their knowledge for –”

“Okay. You’re talking too much.” Agni interrupted.

Agni’s gear on the other hand didn’t change all that much, she simply got upgraded versions with more Dampen value, the attribute which decreased damage sustained by a percentage.

“All in all that comes to 22,595 Gols. Pay up, nubs.” Ren said after finally tallying their purchases.

“Wow that’s super expensive!” Katrin thought to herself as she picked up a few of her pieces and proceeded to place them back on the shelf.

“Wait. Hold on Katrin.” Agni said confidently as she gazed at Ren.

“Give it to us for free.” She commanded.

“Don’t press your luck, tit’s mc-gee.” Ren replied instantly.

“W-what? Okay.. seventy five percent off–”

“Nah.”

“Sixty!”

“Nope.”

“Fifty?”

“Get the f*** out.”

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Having become addicted to the sensation of imposing her will with whisper, Agni was now confronted by a new problem.

*Why is he talking back? Do what I say you little runt.* She thought to herself as her mind began to race.

*That’s because you’re pressing your luck. You gotta know what you can get away with.” The female voice said once again. This time it was louder and more defined, it sounded like…a kid?

“Okay. And what do you propose? Miss voice who’s living in my head rent free.” At this point Agni had no choice but to go with it, after all this was the lesson Bracha so desperately wanted to share.

*30%.*

“But that’s almost all of our money!” Agni retorted.

*Yea. But that’s all you can get away with, because you’re a MARSHMALLOW.*

*Why is everyone testing me lately?* Agni thought to herself before finally offering 30%.

“Done.” Ren said, his eyes glazing over with pink energy as they sealed the deal.

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