The afternoon looked like it would be a pleasant one. There hadn’t been a bad day yet, though knowing what she did of their host Alisea suspected a thunderstorm was only a matter of time. That made it important to utilize a day such as this. And after two full days locked in the library, she welcomed the bright day. At present she was sitting on a grassy field outside Genesis City, recording notes on her day’s research. “Limbs don’t break or tear away; perhaps there are specific skills for causing those conditions.”
Alisea’s finger tapped across the screen as she spoke, writing out her words in a message to Fyaira. “The boars react to a physical stimulus without damage, so their programming accounts for ‘pain’ as well as ‘attacks’--a strong indication there are non-damaging skills to pull an enemy’s aggression.”
To her side, a weak snort was all the cry a nearly-crippled boar could make as it tried to charge once more. Without even looking, Alisea raised a hand and cast Nether Push, halting the beast’s advance. Immediately she switched to a Nether Pull, toppling the boar forward and grinding its snout into the dirt once more. “The starting mob has no intelligence, so its attack patterns are discernable and predictable. Also, the terrain is capable of causing damage to the mobs, so it is likely the same for players; a bad tumble may cost you HP.”
The boar stood once more, its HP bar scarcely containing an inch of life. This time Alisea let it start into its charge, building some momentum. Then she Pulled it forward once more. Unprepared for the extra speed, the boar’s legs faltered and it tumbled to the ground, coming to a stop not a meter away from the magess. She was mildly irked it hadn’t slid close enough to allow her to remain seated.
Alisea twisted her body and reached out with her hand. The boar was trying to stand once more; a Shadow Bind brought that to a stop. Alisea’s hand drew near, but the creature couldn’t move a muscle. Panic filled its eyes--a feral look of a cornered beast. She devoured that look, her own gaze swallowing it without empathy. The magess placed her hand on the creature’s eye and began to drain the heat.
It tried to shut the eye against the pain. It howled from deep inside as best it could without moving its jaw. Everything that wasn’t locked in place by its shadow squirmed and fought, but her hand remained in place. She counted the seconds--five, ten, twenty--and pulled her hand away. The eye remained whole, undamaged. In one last effort, she jabbed her fingers into the boar’s eye with all her strength. The blow hit and bounced off, just as though she had punched its side. Its HP dropped the last portion and the boar tipped over, slain.
The magess let out a sigh and returned to her typing. “Similar to the limbs, eyesight cannot be impaired through simple damage; again, I suspect specific skills target these capabilities, and interfering with them is impossible without those skills. The only good news coming out of this is that the same will apply to adventurers: normal damage will not disrupt our capabilities. We cannot lose limbs (or the use thereof) nor our eyesight, hearing, smell, or taste unless a specific status causes it, and skills or abilities causing such will be limited and identifiable.”
The body of the boar shattered into droplets of light and disappeared. Sixty seconds after the time of death, every time. That didn’t answer definitely whether a player was killed right away or after those sixty seconds, but it just might
have been possible the GM left a grace period and some way to resurrect an ally--perhaps with a miracle. But that was one suggestion the magess dare not say aloud.
With that test subject lost, Alisea cast her glance around for the next. No more boars remained nearby; other players were pulling them away to train themselves. Embarrassingly, even though they were a week into this world, she had seen a player die under these simple mobs. As best she could tell at a distance, he had failed to maintain his gear and it broke during the combat. Foolish mistakes were certainly costly in life--especially this life.
Alisea sent off the message to Fyaira--now those notes would be saved for the both of them, at least for a month--and started another message. She spent a few moments in silence, pondering what to say. Finally her fingers began to move again.“I hope you did not mind my slipping out early, Aster. You returned so late yesterday, I wanted to let you sleep longer. And you had Kyo to keep you company; she is a good assistant. If you need to access the storage, or if you want to have some fun, I have almost finished out here in the fields. Maybe we can find a salon to prepare for tomorrow’s festival!”
She sent that message, then started yet again:“Reylan, I hope you enjoyed the trip! I have some thoughts to share with you when you have time--not the least of which is how adorable Kyo is! We had a lot of fun at the library yesterday, and she was a tremendous help! I hope you take good care of her today. Good luck with the search and everything else!
P.S. She may still be with us for the festival tomorrow, so make sure you plan for that possibility.”
Alisea nodded to herself as she sent the message. As it was for Reylan, leaving mention of the festival in the middle would be too little; tacking it onto the end should help the word lodge in his thoughts. She couldn’t count how many times she’d made sure to mention it over the last three days. Surely by now he would be thinking about it instead of worrying over Paralyze or other insignificant things. And as long as he was thinking about it, he would realize (he would, right?) he still hadn’t asked Aster to accompany him.
With her housekeeping finished, Alisea stood to look for another subject. More players had appeared on the field, so even fewer chances would present themselves; rather than waste time waiting, Alisea turned and started her jog back to the city. With the spare time she could…
An idea struck her. She opened her messages again, slowing to a walk only long enough to type out a short note.“Hello, River! Do you like pastries? Baker Josef has a special right now leading up to the festival, if you would care to join me.”