Chapter 10: Making a Man Fall

While following Bors, Ryu hiked up a dirt path that forked off the Brown Forest’s main road. Maintaining a steady 20 feet behind, he opened up his Titles Descriptions menu. A virtual window appeared, listing “The True Identifier” as the only item on the menu. He selected the title and a message appeared.

The True Identifier
You see through the nature of all items you Identify. As such, you will know all pertinent information for any item you Identify.

Bearing the title of The True Identifier also allows you to reveal the Implicit Rarity of any item you Identify.

All equipment items Identified by you will be tagged as True-Identified. Additionally, they have a small chance to gain an extra provisional stat or benefit upon being Identified.

Seeing these perks, Ryu was thrilled. He had never possessed a title in a VRMMO. He was one of the early players in Dream World, but he never obtained one during all the years he played. During the early days, he’d been focused on leveling, so he spent his time grinding or questing. Meanwhile, title hunters had already been scooping up the early content titles. When he had finally reached a decent level the only titles left to get were from high-level content, which required multiple-person effort, like that from a guild. And by that time the major guilds had already been established, so there had been no chance for him. Coming into this new game truly was a fresh start for him, and he was happy it was turning out for the better.

Ryu also decided to take this time to Identify his sword, which he had neglected to Identify for the most mundane reasons. “It’s just a sword. I’ll get a new one eventually,” he had thought, or “I can already tell it looks average. No point in Identifying it.” When he identified it, the sword’s stats didn’t impress him much. However, there was a line of text that piqued his interest. 

Copper Sword
Level Requirement: 1

Agility: +2

Speed: +1
Item Innate Ability: Return
This ability allows the wielder of this item to recall the item back to its wielder’s hands.

Return’s maximum threshold: 75 feet
Durability: 6/11
Weight: 2 lbs
Quality: Poor
Explicit Rarity: Common
Implicit Rarity (Hidden): Brown
This item is True-Identified.

An ability? Hmm… I wonder how useful this’ll be.

He put the sword back into its sheath and followed Bors. He took a moment to think about the items in his possession and grew curious. He took out the bronze emblem he’d received from Mirvena. He went ahead and Identified it, but when he attempted to do so, he received the following message:

You do not possess the requisite stats and knowledge to Identify this item.

And being that this item is Unidentified and is neither an equipment item nor a consumable, it has completely no use.

Seeing this, Ryu stared blankly at the little token in his hand.

Do I more Intelligence?

The small thing in his hand seemed to be just an ordinary item. There didn’t seem to be anything exuding or emanating from it. Ryu would’ve felt it if that were the case. All he could do was look at the dull thing.

I’ll ask about this later.

He put the token back in his bag and continued on with his long hike.

After ten minutes of walking, Ryu finally came out of the forest. Bors had led him into a large clearance located on the side of a cliff. There was a giant but gentle waterfall flowing down from an upper ledge and into a river, which in turn flowed down the cliff, turning into another waterfall. It seemed to be flowing endlessly through the forest. Below, Ryu saw a sea of endless green, which stretched for leagues. The forest canopy filled his entire view, and in the far distance, there were mountains.

How high up are we? Seven hundred—No… Eight hundred feet?

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Bors said.

“Quite,” said Ryu, amazed by the enormity of the landscape.

“And quite dangerous, too,” said Bors. The corner of his mouth turned upwards. “But I guess it won’t be as dangerous for you now.” Bors turned his back, casually trudging through the moving water. He hopped onto a large rock in the middle of the large stream. “Now, come. Give me all you’ve got.”

“Is this really necessary?” said Ryu.

“Of course,” Bors said.

“You have the advantage though,” Ryu said, eyeing around Bors to see water all around him.

“I know,” said Bors. “But if you can’t even overcome a little thing like this, how are you going to deal with all the things out there?”

Ryu stood with no expression. He looked out at the vastness of this newfound world, thinking about the truth behind Bors’ words.

He’s right… Sooner or later I’ll be putting myself in dangerous situations.

“Don’t worry. I won’t use natural energy,” Bors said. “And you only have to make me get off this rock. If you do that, you win.” He then smirked. “You can even use your sword if you think it’ll help.” He raised his arm, motioning his hand for Ryu to come forward and engage. “Come. And don’t hold back either.”

Understanding the situation he was in, Ryu let out a sigh. “Very well.” He took one deep breath, set all but his sword on the ground, and rushed towards the smug instructor.

Ryu gave no thought as he stepped into the water, but he instantly realized he had made a mistake. The river seemed gentle by the looks of it. But in reality, the strength of the current was stronger than it appeared to be. When he stepped in, Ryu’s right leg almost collapsed into the water. Had he not tensed his leg in time and fortified his position, he would have slipped into the river.

I didn’t think the current would be this strong. I need to be more careful.

Bors’ smug face grew even more smug. “My regimen doesn’t focus on leg muscle training. Besides the running portion, of course. But running can only tone the leg muscles. So, all the time you’ve been with me you’ve never properly strengthened your lower body.” A large grin grew on his face. “Of course, this was all on purpose.”

Figures.

Ryu lifted his leg out of the water. He scooped a couple of stones out of the river, and wasting no effort, threw them using energy-imbued strength. Much to his expectations, though, Bors dodged or deflected them all.

Bors yawned as if bored. “You have to do better than that, kid.”

Immediately in response, Ryu lowered his body forward and extended his right leg back, readying himself in a dashing pose. With all the leg strength he could muster, he lunged forward, jumping over the water. This move from him impressed Bors quite a bit, as Bors didn’t think he would take this sort of action so soon. It was a gutsy move to get into your opponent’s range. As soon as he was within reach, Ryu pulled back his right arm. He inhaled, and with full force, he swung forward, aiming straight for Bors’ face.

Hmmph,” Bors scoffed to himself. “Aiming straight for the face. He’s serious. That’s good. He understands after all.” Bors, noticing the strength with which Ryu struck, adjusted his position firmly. As Ryu’s fist was mere inches away from his face, he raised his right hand and caught the fist. Then he used his left hand to push Ryu back across the river.

Powerless to counter it, all Ryu could do was let himself be shoved across the water. His body was pushed back exactly in the direction he came from, and he stumbled an extra ten feet from where he originally dashed off. The force of Bors’ push was powerful enough that his feet skid across the ground as he landed. Ryu glimpsed down to his feet and saw that they were bleeding as a result of the friction. He wasn’t at all phased by it and slowly approached the river once again.

His slow pacing soon turned into sprinting, and once he reached the edge of the river, he dashed once again to attack Bors. Upon being two arm’s lengths from the rock, Ryu kicked his legs forward with the intention of landing. Bors had no intention of letting him do such a thing, so as soon as Ryu was about to land, Bors kicked him in the abdomen with the intention of kicking him away. However, just as his kick landed—and it landed in every sense of the word—Ryu grabbed ahold of his leg and maneuvered himself onto the rock.

Shocked, Bors thought, “He actually baited me into kicking him!

Ryu grunted in pain but bore through it. He lifted the grown man’s leg and titled it as high as he could to set Bors off balance. When Bors’ back was parallel to the water, Ryu pushed against the instructor with all his might.

Bors’ reaction changed from one of shock to one of grin. He smirked. “Like I said, you’re gonna have to do better than that.” He tensed his body and strengthened his position in place.

Ryu tried several times to push him over, but Bors hardly moved. Not being able to push him off, Ryu swung his left leg across Bors’ single-standing leg. Bors still had no reaction, so Ryu kicked again, this time much harder. Bors let out a faint murmur, which Ryu took notice of. Then focusing his energy into his leg, he kicked Bors’ leg again.

“I don’t think so,” said Bors.

All of a sudden, Ryu felt a force coming down on his shoulder. The leg he was holding up dropped down like a bulldozer onto him. He was about to brace himself, but he hadn’t reacted quick enough. As a result, he stumbled back and fell off. As he was midair falling over, he saw Bors’ body rise up with a grin on his face. The stubbled man extended his right leg back. What happened next happened in an instant: Bors swung his leg across and kicked Ryu in the side of the abdomen. Ryu felt a shot-gunning pain as if his ribs had cracked, and he was sent skipping along the water in the direction of the edge of the cliff.

Bors’ grinning expression turned grey, his eyes widened. “…Oops.

Choking and in pain, Ryu’s body flipped about over the surface of the water for a good twenty feet until it finally plunged into the water. He became dazed and lightheaded, all the while being carried away by the current. Having come so far, he couldn’t allow himself to get carried away by the river, and so mustering all his strength, he unsheathed his sword and stabbed it straight down. The river wasn’t deep at all. Maybe three or four feet. But considering that his body was centered by his grip on the sword—which was now ground level with the bottom of the stream—he was practically drowning himself. Water continuously rushed in his face and he could hardly keep his head up to breath. He couldn’t move much, either, because he was still recovering from the blow he’d just received. He was like a fish stuck mid-stream swimming against the current. Unfortunately for him, fish don’t have to worry about gripping onto the handle of a sword.

Shit!

His hand slipping and being too boggled from the earlier impact, Ryu could do nothing but struggle to maintain his hold on the sword handle. But he held on for only so long until ultimately, his hand couldn’t keep it anymore and he drifted away.

This damn current… If only I wasn’t in so much pain.

The river’s gentle but strong current cascaded against Ryu, and bit by bit he was being pushed back further away. He tried standing up but suffered severe side cramps from his injury. All he could do was flow with the water…in the direction of the cliff.

Drifting away, Ryu looked into the horizon of the tree-topped landscape, imagining a 700-foot fall to his death. Dying reminded him of his somber past, and he was bitter for being reminded of such things. Because dying now meant that he’d lose his chance for redemption—his chance to start over. But what was more of a pressing issue for him—and it was truly an unfortunate one at that—was that if you died in this game you wouldn’t be able to play anymore. At least, that’s not what Orchid—the forum user from last week—said. This game turned out to be the most enjoyable game he’d ever played. He was only beginning to scratch the surface of it, too. But now here he was, drifting towards his death.

While this was happening, Bors stayed calmly on the rock looking like he had no intention of helping Ryu. It was then that out from the shadow of the trees that Roland appeared from behind. “Shouldn’t you help him?” he said.

“Hmmph. Look who finally decided to come out,” Bors scoffed. “You told me to train him, didn’t you? This is me training him.”

“What is it? An 800-foot drop? He’ll most certainly die,” Roland remarked.

“He will. But if he dies here, then he’s not what I thought him to be.”

“He’s still young. You needed to teach him better.”

“Look who’s talking,” Bors said, implying that their past student-teacher history wasn’t an orthodox one either. He smirked and said, “Don’t worry. This one’s strong. It was right to be hard on him. You were watching him earlier, weren’t you? You saw for yourself.”

“Ah, yes. He does have a natural talent for fighting, just like you said,” Roland said. “I can see that he’s quick on his feet, judging by the way he engaged on you.”

“And he’s smart, to boot,” Bors pouted, in slight disdain that Ryu was essentially the perfect combatant.

“Yes. He did have that impression when I met him,” said Roland. “Does that bother you?”

“Tch. As if.” Bors puckered his lips and rolled his eyes to the side trying to his hide embarrassment and jealousy, to which Roland smiled.

“He does need help with his sword skills, though. You should send him to Voruna. I’m sure there are plenty of schools who’d be glad to take him in. I could even write a letter of recommendation.”

“Voruna? That city is full of prunes,” Bors snorted. His mouth then turned into a mischievous, devilish smile, and he said, “No thanks. I already have somewhere in mind. And it’s much closer to here than Voruna.”

“Oh? And where’s that?”

“The School of Li Lin,” said Bors.

When he heard those words, Roland’s face ashened, and in a nervous manner, he choked. “D-d-did you say…Li Lin?”

“Why do you sound so nervous?” said Bors, sounding oblivious. But he knew full well of Roland’s history with the aforementioned school. Still, he continued on to tease Roland. “If I remember correctly, you and Madame Ying had a sort of…close relationship in the old days.” His smile broadened, as he knew he had struck Roland in a weak point.

“Ah, shush, you!” Roland exclaimed. “Don’t bring up her name again. That woman is troublesome, and just hearing her name gives me a headache.”

“Hey!” Bors exclaimed. “Remember that you sent me there, too!” His face became pale like a traumatic memory had just resurfaced. “I’m not the only one who’s scarred….”

Roland grabbed his chin. “If I recall, you spent only half an afternoon with her… And if I also remember correctly, it was to punish you for slacking in your studies.”

“Tch. I hated your studies.”

Roland simply smiled at that remark.

Annoyed by such a bashful look, Bors rubbed his pinky inside of his ear. “Anyways, shouldn’t you get going now? You only came to check up on the kid, right? Well, you’re here and now you see he’s doing well.” Bors looked back at Ryu’s current status and re-evaluated that statement. “Err… Well… Maybe not right now… But he’s been doing fine so far, so you can leave now. I’m sure Lady Mirvena’s wondering where you are, too.”

Roland busted loud with a laugh. “Ah,” he sighed. “Yes, you’re right. I should be taking my leave now.” He started to leave but stopped in his tracks. Not looking back at Bors, he said, “Make sure he doesn’t die.”

With a serious look, Bors replied, “Don’t worry about that.”      

And with that, Roland’s mouth turned slightly upwards and he continued his elderly walk into the shadow of the shrubs, disappearing into the darkness of the forest.

With Roland gone, Bors turned his attention back to Ryu, and with a glaring smile he said to himself, “Let’s see how you get out of this.”

Ryu had drifted 65 feet from where he’d stuck his sword. He gripped onto the side of his chest, covering his injury while trying to stand up to the current. But every time he rose up, his lower body wobbled like cardboard and he was pushed back. He tried grabbing onto the bed of the river but couldn’t hold on for more than a few seconds—not to mention that it also drowned him whenever he tried. He did this over and over until he was finally brought five feet from the edge of the cliff. 

He looked out at his doom.

Shit… Am I really going to die?

Ryu looked back up the stream to see Bors, still smug.

He isn’t going to help me, is he?

His eyes zoomed back down to the part of the river in which he had stabbed his sword, now 70 feet from him, closing in on 75 feet. Now in a more recovered state, but still cramping with his side injury, Ryu had regained a bit of his stamina. If he had his sword at this very moment, he’d stake his way across the riverbed back to land. But all he could do was watch as he was about to fall to his death. 

In mere moments, he drifted off the cliff.

Still watching from the rock, Bors stood, expressionless. “Oh? So this is all you can do?” He scoffed and began to move, finally making his move to save Ryu from his grave fate. But just as he raised his foot to step down, he noticed peculiar movement at the water’s edge. All of a sudden, an object flew out of the water and zoomed down over the cliff. Bors remained where he was and observed the curious sight before him. Moments later, he saw the object in a person’s hand as it was plunged back into the river. He saw a black-haired head creep up from the edge of the cliff, and an unwavering set of eyes.

Ryu was on the very edge of the cliff, his lower half dangling off. He looked down behind him only once, seeing a daunting sight before him. He gulped and appreciated his good fortune, but he wouldn’t allow any thoughts or obstacles to perturb him at this crucial moment. He bore through the intense pain of his right abdominal injury and the waterfall’s rushing water and pulled himself back over the cliff. There at the very edge of the cliff, he managed to grab hold of an old tree root that protruded through the bed of the river. It was just barely thick enough to leverage him to get his body over. But it quickly broke off and rushed down the waterfall, so he resorted to staking himself in a good position with his sword. The water before reaching the cliff wasn’t as raging as the water on the very edge. It was still the heavy current he had experienced, but it was enough for him to get a good deep breath in.

Whew. That was close.

Just moments before having fallen over the cliffside, and just when he had given himself in, Ryu remembered his sword’s ability. In that breath of an instant, he had recalled his item. As soon the handle had landed in his palm he instantly jabbed it in deep into the cliff, which had left him dangling over on the side of the cliff.

If it was appropriate, he would facepalm himself right now. It was foolish of him to forget such a thing as an item’s ability. In any normal situation, it would’ve never slipped his mind. This close-to-death encounter smacked him with a good lesson that he would never forget.

Seeing this, Bors put his foot back down on the rock, crossing his arms. A proud smirk appeared on his face. “He’s truly blessed.”

Ryu struggled in the water for a bit, his wound still thumping with pain. But he slowly approached land, staking his sword inch by inch until he finally reached a water level where he could safely wade his way back onto land without being ravaged away by the innocent-looking current. As he got up, he staggered all the way to where the fight had begun and collapsed, his face planting into the ground. He lay there, breathing heavily.

“Wohohoh! Impressive!” Bors blurted. “Didn’t think you could do it.”

Bors moved his foot with the intention of getting off the rock, signaling to Ryu that the fight was over. But before his toe touched the surface of the water, the weary young man on the ground interrupted. “Wait!” Ryu gasped. “It’s…not…over…I…can still…fight.”

Understanding Ryu’s resolve, Bors lifted his foot back up onto the rock. “Oh? You think you can do anything when you’re like that?”

Exhaling, Ryu said, “Yeah. I think I can.” He stood up, his legs wobbling at first, but they soon straightened firm, like the trunks of a good healthy tree.

Bors’ curled his lips upwards, fascinated by the young man before him.

Ryu took a deep breath and once more approached Bors. Learning his lesson from before, he left no room for error this time, and so he used the abilities he had on hand. It was his greatest lesson learned this entire fight. If he truly wanted to win, he had to use everything available to him. And now determined to, he dared not hold anything back.

Recognize.

A virtual window appeared before Ryu.

Name
Bors
Title
None
Level
25
Affiliation
Albamanian
Alignment
Moratia
Race
Human
Profession
Special Basic Training Instructor
Fame
???
HP: 485/485 Energy: 102/102
Physical Stats
Strength: 70 Speed: 14
Endurance: 60 Stamina: 30
Quickness: 48 Agility: 12
Hardness: 5

Physical Hardness: 5 ???
Toughness: 10

Physical Toughness: 10 ???
Mental Stats
Intelligence: 97 Wisdom: 130
Perception: 97 Insight: 130
Misc. Stats
??? ???

He’s only level 25? To think he’s this strong… I’m quicker than him, though. That will be the deciding factor in this fight.

Ryu grunted with pain from the side of his chest.

I have to finish it quickly. There’s no room for error.

Ryu dashed from his original spot, jumping over the river once again.

“Do you really think that approach is going to work again?” said Bors. “You need to rethink your strategy, kid.”

Ignoring Bors’ remarks, Ryu attacked, following the same approach he used last time. This time he drew out his sword and swung it at the grown man. However, Bors hit the hilt of the sword before the blade made contact and it flew ten feet behind him. Ryu used this opportunity to recall the sword, which Bors noticed, so he punched Ryu lightly in the stomach to destroy his balance. Then using his other hand, he raised his palm and shoved it against Ryu’s forehead, slamming it straight down. Ryu fell, but before his feet hit the surface of the water, he projected his natural energy to his lower body, all the way to the soles of his feet. Upon making contact with the surface of the water, his feet became repellant for just a mere moment, which allowed him to spring his feet off the surface of the water and back onto the rock.

Bors was completely thrown off by this. “This is natural energy projection!

Seeing Bors startled, Ryu took advantage of the moment, instantaneously repositioning himself. He grabbed Bors’ arm and used it as a bar to loop himself up. He flipped himself over the man, hopping four feet up while at the same time kicking against Bors’ chest as a springboard to send himself up. When his body became longitudinal, he crouched himself mid-air and then ‘bam’! He dropped both his legs down onto Bors’ face, still with energy-imbued leg strength, and Bors was sent plummeting into the stream. All you could hear was the large splash and distinct gurgling noises as the man hit the water.

Bors eventually got himself up, coughing and spitting out water. “Brat. I saw your feet repel the surface of the water. Where did you learn how to do that?”

Ryu half-smiled. “Just earlier.”

“When?”

“When you sent me flying across the river,” Ryu said. “I figured if my body could skip across the water under specific circumstances, then under another set of circumstances, I could replicate a similar scenario of walking on it, or at the very least, springing against the surface. Using natural energy, of course. But it seems I still need to work on it.”

Bors laughed maniacally for a moment, then straightened himself, looking intently at Ryu. “He’s the real deal, after all,” he thought to himself. “Come. We’re going back to the training area.”

Ryu nodded and recalled his sword. He went to pick up his items from the ground where he laid them, and then followed Bors back to the training grounds, stumbling in pain all the way back.


Bors sat down on a rock; Ryu lay down against one of the trees. Bors took a moment, staring intensely at Ryu with a furrowed brow. “I need to ask: Where did you learn martial arts? You don’t look like you’ve ever left the city, but based on what I’ve seen, you were clearly taught before.”

Verklempt, Ryu looked down for a moment, then spoke. “My grandmother was head of her own school. She’d drag to me lessons three times a week when I was young.”

“You don’t practice anymore?”

“No. It’s been a long time. My grandmother’s been sick for many years, and I haven’t bothered to practice since.”

“Ah… I’m, sorry to hear. I hope she gets better.”

“Yeah… Me too,” Ryu said, with a sad look on his face.

Trying to change the topic and lighten up the mood, Bors opened up his waist satchel and tossed Ryu a vial filled with a red fluid. “Drink it,” he said.

Ryu did as he was told and gulped down the contents of the vial. It was almost instantly that his injury from Bors healed.

“Quite a marvel potions are,” Bors said. “Quite expensive, though. But Roland keeps me well stocked for situations like these.”

“He sounds like he’s a very important person. Roland, I mean,” Ryu commented.

“Not particularly. But he is well known among the Moratian scholars. There aren’t many who follow scholars these days, though,” Bors noted. “It’s all about monster killing and leveling and more monster killing and more leveling. These days not many people care about adventure.”

Hearing those words brought a closing discomfort to Ryu, as when he first entered this game, he came in with the expectation of hardcore grinding. But now that he had played for as long as he did and gotten to know the game a little bit better, he came to understand that it wasn’t all about all that Bors had just mentioned. And now, for him, the aspect of adventure came to be the most enticing thing about this new VRMMO. There was still so much to explore about this world.

“Nonetheless,” Bors continued. “Roland’s standing in the scholar community gives him a relatively powerful position. It’s one of the main reasons Durn has had such great business over the years. That and Lady Mirvena.”

“Lady Mirvena?”

“You have no idea who she is, do you?”

“She’s Roland’s wife,” Ryu commented.

Bors chuckled. “She’s much more than that.”

“Is she important?”

Bors’ mouth turned into a broad smile. “Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll let you find it out on your own.”

Ryu simply nodded at that remark, now a little curious about Mirvena’s background. But that was the least of his curiosities for the moment, as there were still many other things he needed to explore.

“Anyways, here.” Bors tossed Ryu a gold coin emblemed with a dragon on it.

Ryu caught the tiny token with both his palms open. “What is this?” Ryu asked.

“You’ll need it when you get to your next training place,” said Bors.

“I thought I was done.”

“Pfft. Hah!” Bors blabbed. “You’re never done training. Ever. Besides, you said you wanted to train your sword skills, didn’t you? I’m sending you to a place where you can do just that.”

“Hmm.” Ryu pinched his chin. “Is it far?”

“Not very, no. As a matter of fact, it’s located here in the Brown Forest. However, it’s in a very special region.”

“Special? How so?”

“You’ll find out when you get there.” Bors smiled, ladened by a tone of mischief. He then tossed Ryu another object: a rolled up scroll. “You’ll need that, too.”

Ryu rolled the scroll open only to find that it was blank. He blinked a few times expressing his bewilderment.

“Special region, special map. It’ll become active when you’ve entered said region,” Bors pointed out. “Only a handful of people know about the place you’re about to venture to, so don’t lose that map. It’s more valuable that everything you have on you.”

Curious, Ryu took out the token he had received from Mirvena. “Even more valuable than this? Granted, I don’t even know what this is. I can’t even Identify it.” He extended his hand out, which Bors took and examined.

“Hmm. I’ve never seen this before,” said Bors. “…But it does seem to be a badge or an emblem of some sort with Meleander engraved on it.”

“Meleander?”

“Aye. The Lord of Protection. Also, the patron saint of Moratia.”

“So a god?”

“For all intents and purposes, and according to our belief, yes.”

So there are gods in this game after all.

Ryu continued by asking, “Do you have any idea of where it was made?”

“I’m afraid I don’t,” replied Bors. “May I ask where you got this?”

“Mirvena—”

Bors coughed. “Lady Mirvena.”

“Yes… Lady Mirvena gave it to me. She told me to find out its origin.”

“Huh. Is that so?” Bors said. Upon learning that it was a gift from Mirvena, he examined the token again, zooming in closer with his eye. “It looks like it’s made out of bronze or copper, but I’m not too sure. But it may be made out of another material. I’d suggest consulting a craftsman. When you’re done with your sword training, you should head out to Voruna. It’s the crafting capital of this kingdom. I’m sure you’ll find someone that’ll give you some answers.”

“I’ll do that. Thank you.” Bors handed Ryu back the token, and Ryu put it back in his small leather bag.

Bors then stood up and looked up at the glinting light that shone down through the trees. He took a deep breath. “Anyways, you should get going now. Your training with me is done. For real this time.” He paused briefly and his expression turned proud.

Ryu stood up, as standing showed respect. Bors extended his arm out and placed his hand on Ryu’s shoulder. He patted Ryu and said, “You’re quite the fighter, young man. But don’t let that get too much to your head. I’m sure Roland’s told you this, but I’m not even that strong. At least, not compared to the ‘monsters’ out there. Take your time through this area and keep training and leveling. Then move on to the next area and level there. Keep doing that to get yourself strong, and maybe, if fate has it, we’ll meet again.” He then smiled wholeheartedly for the first time since he’d met Ryu. “…And if we do, I’d like to have a proper fight with you.”

Ryu straightened his posture and most humbly took a 70-degree bow. “Thank you. I won’t forget what you’ve taught me.”

Bors turned his back, not wanting to face Ryu. He tossed a tiny sack up, which Ryu caught with both his palms. “There’s a map of the Brown Forest in there. Keep heading north on the main road. When you get to the crossroads, take the third path. That is all I can tell you. Now go.”

Ryu picked up his things and headed out. But before leaving, Ryu turned his head and gave a farewell salute, saying, “It’s been a pleasure, sir.” 

And with that, he left, heading toward main forest road. As he did so, three virtual messages appeared.

Congratulations! You have completed your first quest: Find Bors.

You are the first player to complete a quest.

As a result, you have earned the title, The Seeker.
Congratulations! Completing the quest, Find Bors has triggered a chain quest.

You have triggered the chain quest, ???.

Your chain quest, ??? can be located in your Scribe Tome—if you have one.
Congratulations! You have triggered your first chain quest.

You are the first player to trigger a chain quest.

As a result, you have earned the title, The Seeker Who Seeks Beyond.

Ryu smiled, continuing on his way, turning another page in this new story of his.

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