Broken Horizons – Vol 9, Ch 6

“Or we could just all blacklist them couldn’t we?” Rip said.

It was one of those moments where the conversation pauses just so one is able to take in the enormity of how silly they’d been.

Blacklisting was a simple act, and a reversible one, with simple consequences. For any two people, if either appeared on the other’s blacklist, they simply didn’t exist as far as the other was concerned. In some cases that meant they were forced into separate layers of the world, similar to how the [Adventurers] had been split into different layers of the [Great Hall] when enough of them tried to enter it. In other cases, both people could be present in the same location, but were rendered invisible, inaudible, and intangible to each other.  That seemed to also be the case with the ghosts of people who were blacklisted from each other.

“Sure. Yeah. That would work too,” Tessa said, feeling just incredibly foolish. The blood feuds and inter-guild warfare that she’d been so concerned about wasn’t going to be a problem. The [Fallen Kingdoms] had that covered.

“That’s why I was thinking a big [Guild] would be okay,” Rip continued. “I know being a leader is tough, but if we do things like this, we’ll have a channel to call on for help if we need it, but we can stick with the [Alliance] like we have now for all the ‘what are we doing today’ stuff. Right?”

Rip looked nervous, despite the plate pancakes she was in the process of devouring. Tessa suspected that was her own fault. She hadn’t been angry, or even grumpy at the revelation of their guild swelling in size overnight. She’d been reserved though. And wary. And Tessa suspected that Rip came from a background where those traits were a prelude to much worse reactions.

Forcing herself to throw away the panic and fear that had gripped her, she let the joy at Rip’s cleverness bubble up instead.

“You,” she said, gesturing to Rip with her fork. “Are a genius. And you’re a hundred percent correct. I was stuck thinking of this like a social group back home, but armed with magic and knives.”

“I would be opting out of that right away,” Matt said. As a [Metal Mechanoid], he didn’t need to eat, and, in fact, couldn’t, which put him near the top of Tessa’s list for ‘people she should see about sharing her body converting trick with’.

“I’m going to guess none of us were wildly social creatures on Earth?” Lady Midnight asked.

The team from the previous evening had gathered for a late breakfast, minus the Spacers since Baelgritz needed to check in with the other Spacers and Illuthiz and Hermeziz opted to back him up. Yawlorna and Glimmerglass were also missing, though Tess had overhead them talking about the intricacies of healing spells throughout the night. It wasn’t the weirdest apprenticeship Tessa could imagine but it ranked up there.

“I had friends,” Pete said, speaking up telepathically for the first time in a while. “A whole three or four of them. That’s plenty for a D&D party right?”

“You’re trying to make my case for me aren’t you?” Lady Midnight said.

“Pretty much, yeah,” Pete said but added, “To be fair though, that’s just me. Starchild had a whole Circle back when she was in training.”

“Social dynamics within a [Druid Circle] are closer to your high school home rooms though,” Starchild said. “Given that our work often involves long periods of solitude, I believe we would generally not be described as ‘wildly social’ either.”

“It probably won’t hurt to be a little more outgoing here,” Lisa said. “Rip’s right about the value of having people we can call on, but looking around this table, I think we’re probably the highest level [Adventurers] in town, barring  special cases like Glimmerglass.”

“So we’ll be the ones other people are calling on when they get into trouble?” Obby asked.

“If we let them know that’s okay,” Lisa said. “Which means we need to decide if it’s okay with us?”

“I don’t mind helping out,” Rip said. “It’s what [Adventurers] do, right? We travel the world and fix the problems other people can’t?”

“Three hundred people could be a lot of problems to deal with,” Lady Midnight said. “Take it from me, you do not want to spread yourself too thin trying to take care of everyone else. That does not lead to good outcomes for anyone.”

“We may be okay on that front,” Tessa said, her spirit feeling much better after the original shock. “First, we know [Adventurers] are, by and large, idiots, who will beat a path through a brick wall with their foreheads if they think there’s treasure on the other side.”

“There’s no lie there,” Lisa said. “Most of them will never call for help, and if they do, the odds are it’ll be for something we want to get involved in anyways.”

“Right,” Tessa said. “And not everyone who joined is a ‘find things to stab’ type [Adventurer]. We got a bunch of crafters to join too, didn’t we?”

“You practiced the deep magic to make that happen,” Carrion Baggage the [Chef] said as he delivered another plate with a heap of pancakes and bacon on it.

Carrion was a [Dwarf] and, while [Dwarves] were well known as crafters, most pursued the [Blacksmithing] and [Engineering] disciplines. [Cooking] was an unusual choice for an [Adventurer] though not an unheard of one.

Tessa had met him at the party for a brief moment and was happy to learn he’d joined them. He’d been making sure that the party’s food was brought to people tending the wounded, which was exactly the kind of thoughtful consideration that Tessa wanted in the [Guild].

“I don’t recall ensorcelling any of you?” Lisa said.

“Of course you did,” Carrion said. “You gave us the crafting materials you gathered. Do you know how much easier that makes it to skill up? Like mana from the heavens I tell you!”

The lack of supplies was a common complaint among crafters. At low levels the problem wasn’t supposed to be too bad, and if the regular auction house services had been available, the fledgling crafters would have been able to skill up just fine. With [Sky’s Edge] suffering the [Wraithwing] attack early on though, the crafting enthusiasts had been cut off from the usual unrestricted piles of cheap ingredients and had been forced to make do with what they could buy in town.

“That was just random stuff we got from the Walkers though,” Rip said. “Was it really that useful?”

The idea of finding a full sack of flour on a moldy corpse was both weird and gross, but since the flour appeared directly in the inventory, Tessa found she was able to ignore any disturbing associations between the two.. Rip seemed to be struggling with the idea more though. Not enough to avoid eating the pancakes, of course. No one would be that bothered by it.

“I should say ‘no’ so you don’t start charging us buckets of gold for it,” Carrion said. “But, yeah, it’s that helpful. The battle classes can all level up by just finding something to beat with a stick, but for me I can get stuck until I find a new recipe to work on, and even then I need the right ingredients to get anywhere.”

“I don’t think we can help you with the recipes, but if you can give us a list of the [Uncommon] and [Rare] ingredients you need we can keep an eye out for them,” Lisa said.

“That would be wonderful,” Carrion said. “We don’t have a ton of gold though, so we probably won’t be able to pay the market rate for them.”

“Forget gold,” Lisa said. “I’m looking at this as an investment in making another [Grandmaster]. If you can cap [Cooking] there’s all kinds of amazing dishes you can make.”

“Even a cure for [Vampirism] if I remember right,” Carrion said.

“I was thinking more along the lines of the [Unconquered Sun’s Feast],” Lisa said. “I’m fine with being a blood-sucker for now.”

“The [Unconquered Sun’s Feast] takes more than max level [Cooking],” Carrion said. “If I ever get there though, and if you can provide the ingredients, I’d be happy to try making it for you.”

“What does the feast do?” Rip asked.

Tessa knew this one, despite the food having been aded to the game after she quit.

“The feast bestows the [Blessing of the Sun],” she said. “You become an avatar of the [Unconquered Sun], which is basically an indestructible being of pure fusion.”

“Also, anything you hit that’s not a god or something stronger will explode,” Lisa said. “In the game you could only craft it in certain locations and if you took it out of those places, it would spoil.”

“What’s the point of it then?”

“It’s a tool for beating stuff that’s impossible to tackle otherwise,” Lisa said. “The first raid it was introduced in had ten thousand enemies appear and you got one serving of the feast. So someone got to eat it and go god-mode to buy time for the rest of the [Alliance] to break into the boss’s change and kill him. I leveled a dps alt just to have a chance to do that.”

“Well, like I said, I’m happy to give it a try months from now when I’m capped out, but there might be something useful I can do for you sooner than that,” Carrion said.

“Filling us with food is already seriously useful,” Tessa said.

“That’s easy,” Carrion said. “What I was thinking of was XP drinks!”

Tessa felt like it was shaping up to be the day where all the obvious things she’d forgotten about were brought back to her.

XP drinks were a special [Cooking] product. They didn’t give experience points directly. Instead they amplified any experience that was earned which was part of what made leveling so much quicker than it had been when Tessa had first been starting out.

Of course that was only true if you remembered to use the XP drinks in the first place.

“You can make those?” Lisa asked.

“Not yet,” Carrion said. “I’ll need to skill up a bit with the stuff you brought us last night, but I’ll have access to it in a few [Skill Levels].”

“What will you need once you do?” Lisa asked.

“I’ll get you the list,” Carrion said. “A lot of it is stuff we already have, but there are a few items I can’t get.”

“They’re grown too far away?” RIp asked.

“No. They’re pretty ubiquitous, they just require combat,” Carrier said.

“Which is where we come in,” Obby said, a trace of glee in her voice.

“Can you benefit from the XP drinks too?” Tessa asked. She thought she remembered that the answer was yes, but figured she could trust a dedicated crafter more than her own memory.

“We can, but those are harder to make,” Carrion said. “Not higher level, but more ingredients.”

“Send us that list too then,” Tessa said. “I’m guessing the world’s going to need all of us to be the best we can be as soon as possible. [Chefs] included.”

“I think I’m going to like being a part of this [Guild],” Carrion said and left to make more food.

“I guess that answers my question then,” Rip said.

“Which question was that?” Lisa asked.

“What we’re going to be doing today,” Rip said.

“Do you think he can skill up in a day?” Starchild asked.

“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Lisa said. “We’re all dealing with this differently. I think focusing on creating things is probably one of the healthier approaches.”

“This isn’t his first time either,” Tessa said. “He said Carrion was supposed to be a tank but when he woke up here for real, he decided to follow in his main’s footsteps and become a [Chef] instead. So he know what it takes to level one up.” 

“And helping him level up is going to do the same for us,” Lisa said.

“Shall we get to it then?” Tessa asked. “I believe there’s a dungeon in the forest that’s waiting for us.”

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