Tuesday. Week 1. Year 1.
No alarm sounded on this day off, but Clyde was up anyway, enjoying a breakfast of sausage, bacon, and eggs, and watching the news. A strange story made him a little nervous, as things in a real-life anime world could be unpredictable.
"We're still getting reports on sightings of strange creatures after dark. Authorities advise everyone to simply stay inside after dark until they can find the underlining cause of these events."
Clyde took that as a sign. Progression. Experience points. He needed to learn how to fight before going after the creatures. Maybe the Viper was responsible. The final boss before he could go home, saving the earth without anyone knowing. What a thankless burden. Is this how Superman feels? As if agreeing with his conclusion, a prompt appeared in his mind.
[Quest: learn combat. Practice your abilities. Reward: 25 EXP. This quest is mandatory and cannot be refused.]
[You've unlocked the quest log!]
Clyde wasted no time. Dressed in casual clothing, he set off to explore the city a bit. There was nothing special about it, just a Tokyo-styled or even New York-styled place of chaos. How would he pay for martial art lessons, anyway? His measly money wouldn't even teach him not to shit himself upon sight of a monster. Screw it. He'd simply watch, maybe come across a discount day or something for aspiring students. As if.
It took Clyde about an hour to find a dojo. To his surprise, they were having official matches this day and admissions were free. He enjoyed himself, nodding to some attacks, taking mental notes without even realizing it. The combatants moved with rhythm, performing a dance that spoke words Clyde could not yet understand, but appreciate. A poem of motion, a song of grace.
Something amazing happened when he left.
[Congratulations, you've learned basic combat. You will be able to attack enemies with technique, albeit standard, beginner-level. +5% damage for a physical attack. You can now combat nonhuman foes without immediately succumbing to the fear status. Let it be known that you can only raise your combat level once per day and if you're at the right level. Raise your combat level to achieve new styles and forms.]
[Quest completed! You received 25 EXP.]
Clyde couldn't believe it. He only had to watch to raise his combat level! This was amazing, groundbreaking, relieving. He just knew. Now the only thing he needed to do was find a place to practice his magic.
He had no luck with this. By late noon, Clyde decided to research remote locations. He found grasslands a few miles outside of town, but without a printer, he couldn't print the map. His measly money would not do.
[Quest: Buy a printer. Optional step: raise the money. Current status: $133/300.]
Clyde nearly had a heart attack. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A PRINTER? What kind of shit was this? The world would force him to buy a ridiculously expensive printer for maps…. Clyde muttered curses for nearly three minutes when a store caught his attention. Equip Masters. Not a name he would've chosen but why not?
The clerk was a big boobed anime girl with long black hair, carrying a bored expression. She quickly finished oiling the long sword she had on the table before addressing Clyde. The incredibly organized and clean shop made him reconsider buying for a second simply because he'd feel a little guilt at disturbing such order. Also, he didn't want to bother with a sword. Why use a sword when guns existed? If this was a stupid sword-wielding cliched anime, he'd flip. He would not be a Kirito. He'd rather be an overlord or something.
Clyde pushed the dark references out of his mind to determine what he could buy.
"See anything you like?" the shopkeeper said. Clyde gulped, averting his gaze away from the young woman's tight shirt and curves, and holy damn what was wrong with him. He also couldn't ask for a gun—what would that look like? He didn't see anything but air rifles anyway. Not very useful against freaking monsters. He…. was going to have to become a Kirito. If anyone called him an idiot or baka, he'd lose his shit.
"How much for that katana?" Clyde said, pointing at the sheathed blade hanging on the back wall.
"Four hundred," the shopkeeper replied.
"I guess I should've expected that. Anything priced at a hundred or less?"
The girl glared at him. Clyde quickly saved face. "I plan to buy more, but you know, waiting on payday and all."
"Oh," she said, face lighting up. "You're looking for something to hold you over, eh. Hmm, I could give you a discount on a beginner's sword. At exactly one hundred. But…you'll need to sign up for the membership."
"A membership?" Clyde said.
"Oh, it's free," the shopkeeper said, "With your purchase. I like to keep my regulars or would-be regulars in the loop. The more you shop here, the happier I'll be, and every now and then I'll throw in a discount or two."
The smile on her face didn't give him much confidence, but he took the paper, skimmed it, then signed away. She showed him a well-polished short sword. "It even comes with an instruction manual, though I doubt handsome collectors like you really have a need for it, unless you plan on killing people."
"Sorry to disappoint you there," Clyde said. "Just a collector, not a ninja."
The shopkeeper shrugged with nonchalance.
"As long as you take of my beauties, you're welcomed here."
Clyde handed over the money. In a way, ouch: that left him a measly thirty-three left, but it was better than being unarmed. A prompt appeared to reward the young man.
[Congratulations, you are now equipped. You have unlocked the equipment screen. With this, everything you wear will determine extra stats and perks. You've unlocked the secret sword and martial arts combination passive skill! You received 30 EXP.]
[Congratulations, you have reached level 4! Stats increased!]
"Maybe one day I'll teach you how to properly use your other sword," the shopkeeper said then laughed at Clyde's expression. "I'm just kidding." She winked. "Now if you don't mind, I'd like to take my lunch break."
"Yeah, yeah," Clyde said then muttered, "maybe close the shop. I'll show you how much my other sword—" He stopped when the shopkeeper's triumph smirk declared its victory. "Never mind."
"You're not that good, yet, but I almost considered it." The shopkeeper laughed as she locked her register. Clyde waved her off as he left.
[Your relationship with Clare has changed from neutral to curious.]
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