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Chapter 1: The Old Life

In a massive hall with stone walls seemingly older than time itself, mountains of coins of different shapes and materials seemed to illuminate the room golden. 

Paintings, statues, different gems and furniture, a few bejeweled swords and shields adorned the room fancy.

A giant red-scaled lizard slept on the golden hill, its wings hardly visible. The heat radiating from the lizard reddened the gold coins, but not enough to melt them.

By the corridor outside, clashes of swords, crumbling rubble, and foreign screams disrupted the Dragon's slumber.

Two men and a woman fought off creatures made of fire and lava, still a while away from the treasure hall.

Light, the woman of the group, summoned a blazing fireball, dancing over the ruby tip of her ebony staff, a vivid contrast to her simpler white robes, and her goldish-purple runes lit up simultaneously.

She aimed for the floor under them, as fire would have no effect on fiery creatures. She tried to topple them, giving the men an easier time fighting those creatures.

Holding a longsword in the right and a shortsword in the left, Dark slashed in a flurry, unleashing a bluish hue with each cur. He wore similar gear as to Light, with the added benefit of a flexible leather armor.

Clad in red full plate armor, Ameanum held a longsword in his left and a shield in his right. No runes to be seen on the warrior. The shield resembled the armor while the sword had runic imprints, emitting a bluish light upon each successful slash.

Even though the creatures' magical nature seemed to be made of fire and lava, their weapons were effective against them. Ameanum, with his shield, drew the majority's attention to protect his two companions. The tremendous heat these creatures produced did not affect his armor and shield.

After a while, the last creature fell, and they caught their breath before continuing towards the treasure. 

A roar rumbled from the mountain of coins. The Dragon, hidden from their sight, fired an enormous fireball towards the trio.

Surprised by this mighty creature's unexpected appearance, Light and Dark froze in fear, hearts heaving with horror. Still, Ameanum, seemingly unaffected by it, defended the pair with his shield as sweat slivered down his neck. His knees buckled, but he held on for their dear life, trying to cover every vulnerable position.

As the fireball bashed his shield, he embraced himself, closing his eyes as his breath buckled.

"IRON WALL Activate." [Ameanum] 

He cried, pushing against the flames with those words, his shield lit up for a second, and then the fireball lost its shape, withering away into an explosive burst of ash and smoke.

The fire would typically go past the shield from the space at its side, but an invisible wall, larger than the trio, offered its protection. As a result, the fire soon wilted away.

With no delay, Ameanum charged towards the Dragon.

Lost in his sprint, Ameanum looked over his shoulder towards his teammates.

"Are you going to stand there watching it, or you going to fight?" [Ameanum]

The shout snapped them out of their fear, and they dashed towards the Dragon.

Light knew her fire magic would be useless against this Dragon. The tactic they used for the minions they just dealt with would also be ineffective against that colossal creature. All she could do was grant protection from the fire element as the Dragon's scales produced heat, now that it was awake, rose in temperature over time.

Ameanum and Dark closed the distance, one from the left and the other from the right. This made it a hard task for the Dragon to target both of them.

Instead of throwing another fireball, the Dragon shook off the coins covering its body and stepped forward to be in front of it and entirely outside the mountain of treasures. Yet, even this creature wasn't able to cover all of it.

Ameanum and Dark slashed the Dragon immediately, though Ameanum was slower because of his gear, but only slightly.

Hitting a huge target like this one wasn't difficult, but each slash required perfect and control of his technique and power; otherwise, it couldn't pass the scales' natural hardness.

Fortunately, Light's fire protection made the heat bearable, but it was only temporary.

At first, it took them just a few seconds to find the right amount of balance of technique and force to pass its defense, and fortunately, the Dragon stood still. But then it counterattacked, swinging its tail towards Ameanum.

In any other case, he would try to deflect it with his shield, but against a creature of that size and strength, it was suicide. Ameanum tried to avoid it to the best of his ability. He fell prone to the floor, but the tail hit him on the way down. He rolled a few times, noticing the dragon ready to devour him.

At the last moment, he shielded himself.

"RECHARGE... IRON WALL." [Ameanum]

Again an invisible wall extended from his shield, seemingly as wide as the Dragon's mouth. He jumped to the left as the invisible extension seemed to vanish as the dragon chewed air.

Instead of stopping right there, he moved across the dragon's body, slashing here and there, making his way behind it.

After sniffing the air, the dragon snapped its tail vertically. Ameanum was ready this time and rolled under the Dragon, slashing the beast as he quickly got up and crouched on the rest of the way. The brave warrior continued dodging its tail, luring the dragon in for swift attacks.

Dark damaged the dragon multiple times effectively as the dragon focused on Ameanum. Ameanum fought a battle of attrition, focusing on diverting the dragon's attention as Dark tried to finish it off.

After an hour, there was finally a result as the dragon roared for the last time. The temperature, leaving Ameanum and Dark with burn, cooled down as the duo respired in relief.

After making sure no enemies remained, they moved away from the source of heat. They drank from a vial containing a red liquid, and their burns and wounds healed at a visible rate.

After waiting for the area to cool down, Dark and Light looked around the treasure. In contrast, Ameanum took off his armor, repairing the damaged parts with a hammer that appeared out of thin air.  A smirk stretched his lips as the parts slowly returned to their former glory until the hammer burst into a glint of magic, disappearing.

"I need to level up my crafting skills, or else I will spend all my money for the repair hammers I am using."[Ameanum]

As he muttered this to himself, he summoned another hammer and continued his repairs. Finally, after using six more hammers, he was done.

He turned around as he heard footsteps of one of his teammates towards him

"Found anythi..." [Ameanum] 

He gasped as a black dagger sunk into his forehead. Usually, an attack like this one wouldn't be much for him since this isn't the actual world but a VRMMO game called ENERIAS TOWER. So even if it were a sneak attack by a high-level rogue, it wouldn't kill him right away. But this was different. Ameanum froze like when stunned by a skill.

There was normally a countdown for how much time he would remain stunned in these cases, but nothing was available on the game's UI. So instead, pain prickled all over his paralyzed demeanor, swarmed by a sea of sadness.

One could only play the game through a V-Capsule. The user could fully rest in it, like in a bed, and use it in many functions, and that most common one was to play VR games like ENERIAS TOWER.

The capsule kept the vitals of the users steady, maintaining the averages. It could also read the user's brainwaves, which enabled the user to control their in-game character without using a controller. The controller was the brain of the user.

The user, instead of intense pain, felt small pinches. Losing a hand in the game led to no pain or damage to the physical body.

Ameanum felt a unique pain plaster over him. True dreadful pain. Its intensity heightened, and he couldn't even scream.

Dark smiled at him while still holding the dagger.

"I want you to know, it isn't personal; just pure business." [Dark]

Then he turned the dagger, pulverizing Ameanum with a fresh wave of pain as one red-lettered system window after the other bombarded the warrior's eyes. His heart rate dropped to dangerously low levels. Typically, in this case, the system would automatically call the emergency numbers assigned to it and eject the user. Still, a warning of the system's failure to comply appeared one after the other. A trickle of electricity rattled among his body as a form of the capsule's self-defense, but to no avail.

Ameanum lay lifeless. The last thing he saw was his surroundings going from grey to white, the capsule's lobby mode, and another red warning mode system window.

=================================

ΤΗΕ ACCOUNT FOR THE GAME OF ENERIAS TOWER GOT BANNED BY THE SYSTEM FOR VIOLATION OF THE TERMS OF THE GAME. YOU CAN CONTACT...

=================================

Before he could finish reading the rest of his warning, another shock, one strong enough to puncture his lungs, lapped around his body, releasing his air supply.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
TheShingPen TheShingPen

And here goes the first chapter of my story. It is something I've been thinking to make for some time and will try to write as much as possible. Hope people will like it and open to comments and suggestions

Chapter edited at 14/08/21

You can join my discord server. Link in the synopsis of the novel

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