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Arabelle

[PP-F1] Obligatory Tutorial Quest No. 1 <<The First Few Lessons are Free>>

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After that embarrassing mistake the other day (namely, the first dragon quest she took with a few of her guildmates), Arabelle decided that now was the time to stop lazing around and start leveling up. She'd joined a guild, and even if it was on a whim, she supposed she still needed to do something and pull her own weight. Guilds were made for people to help each other, and if she kept endlessly lagging behind, even Stryder would notice.

Quote

From: Mishiro

I'm busy with my shop. Ask someone else.

"I swear you're just copy-pasting that!" the small girl fumed, dismissing the PM window with a flick of her hand. Her uptight friend had used the same excuse when she asked her out that other day in the tavern with Dustin, and then when she asked her out on New Years (not New Years Eve, that was a complete trainwreck), and then when she asked her if that gathering trip was going to happen anytime soon. Apparently not. "I guess girls really change when they start getting popular with the boys~," Arabelle thought out loud with a slight hint of pride in her voice. She remembered the Christmas Festival and the moment her friend left their group to approach a cute boy. Who would've known her boring friend actually got game?

She locked her shop door behind her and took a few steps forward. The black-green skirt of her military-like uniform flared as she spun around to briefly glance up at the tall, narrow three-story building that currently served as her home in Aincrad. Then she turned around and with a semi-transparent window showing a map of the main settlement hovering in front of her, she went on her way. The first thing in her appropriately named Operation Pass-The-Other-Girl's-Level-and-have-her-favorite-guild-leader-look-her-way-instead was to retake that tutorial quest. She'd already taken it before and it had been the most boring thing in existence, so she flunked it on purpose to play around with her much more interesting companion. He never learned about that, so asking him to help her this time around was out of the question. And so were her guildmates. She would never tell them straight out that she hadn't even done the first tutorial quest yet. Still, she needed that SP bonus, and this was the easiest thing (with a level-limited SP reward) on the list. 

She didn't need anyone's help on a simple gathering quest. But as she walked, she couldn't help but think about how awfully quiet it was. 

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro stands outside of the shop he has heard about from so many people. Not people he spoke to, but instead people he passed on the street. His eyes scan up the door as they land on a sign. This is the place. They all look the same here, so I guess the sign is helpful. He walks up some stairs and opens the door walking in and turning to make sure the NPC doesn’t start talking to him. I’m sure if I ignore him the quest will just activate. Some games do that, and it would make sense if this game did too. There’s no dialogue options, or rather infinite dialogue options. His familiar’s blue glow floats out from his pocket and starts to dance around his head. It was obvious she was trying to get the boy to look at the NPC. Felli flew up to his ear as he felt her warmth brushing up against his skin. “What do you want Felli? I’m busy.” He whispers, turning and looking up at her. But apparently the playful nature of his familiar would be his undoing as she floated above his head. His eyes locked with the shop owner as he quickly turned back down and walked out. It’s completely reasonable to walk away, you don’t know what to say to activate the quest, and it appears the vicinity activation isn’t a mechanic in this game. This game is gonna be much worse than I thought. He sits by the entrance to the shop on the ground in a ball by himself. Except for the blue light floating above his head like his own little rain cloud.

@Arabelle

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Upon seeing something out of place, the small girl's sprightly steps slowed. There was someone curled up beside the quest NPC's door with a bright little cloud floating above their head. His black hood was drawn over his head and he had his head down so from her angle, she couldn't see his face. If she were to approach him right now and add in some rain (or that weird camera filter that layers a light shade of pink over everything), it would make the perfect, cliche boy-meets-girl scene. Arabelle giggled quietly to herself.

There were some people passing by, and they spared the boy some curious, maybe even a bit concerned, glances before walking away. Sheesh. Cry somewhere else where nobody can see you. I can almost feel the secondhand embarrassment. Arabelle passed him, ready to offer that sound piece of advice then push the NPC's door open and disappear into the shop (points for drama!), when he raised her head as he heard her steps and she saw his face. Now that she got a closer look at it... That cloud thingy - the Christmas event familiar - and the appearance she vaguely recognized. Right from when Mishiro abruptly cut off their conversation and ran off to meet a boy. From what she heard, they walked around the festival together after she and Claude totally ditched her decided to go home early.

NANI?!

The awesome, witty dialogue she had prepared for this moment evaporated and Arabelle simply averted her ashen gaze. She stepped into the shop and closed the door behind her. Yeah. She wasn't even surprised now. Her best friend was totally into the edgy type.

"Sa-lu-ta-tions, old man!" She grinned and gave a friendly little wave with her hand. "Remember me? I'm here to retake the quest."

"Ah, young adventurer! You're back again. And I see that you've gotten stronger since our last meeting," the generic tutorial NPC responded enthusiastically. Gotten stronger? The only difference was the armor she had equipped. "Yet you're still here to learn some of the basics are you not? A wise decision! A warrior from old once said..."

"I-understand-all-the-quest-objectives-so-I-accept-the-quest!" Arabelle blurted out without pausing. Tutorial NPCs and their endless babbling. Video games made this mistake a lot, in an attempt to introduce players to the world's lore right off the bat. The NPC only gave a pleased smile and nodded as a window appeared in front of her with the words 'Quest Accepted.' "'Kay, thanks. Bye-onara~!"

The impatient girl was out of there in a jiffy. 

The boy was still there. Geez. Go off and cry to Mishiro. Aren't you guys friends or something? Then she'll finally get over that stupid crush and look at someone else instead. Well, whatever his problem was, he was still her friend's friend. So they weren't complete strangers who have no relation to each other, at least...? "Hey," Arabelle greeted simply. He would look up and see a small girl dressed in a black military uniform lined with neon green - no, not the traditional one, the one they always use in anime; short skirt and schoolgirl-esque style and everything - standing beside him with gloved hands tucked behind her back, as if she were hiding something. Then in accordance with the somewhat childish, immature feel her appearance gave off, she continued with a playful smile. "Somehow, I have a feeling I would be lying if I said 'it's not everyday I see someone curled up in the streets like that.' This game really makes those types of things seem like a usual part of life by now. So? Did that NPC's ramblings scare you off? Or did she end up turning you down after all?"

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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The boy heard the girl walk past him, and he had no idea what to do. Damn it shiro, I’m sure she’s just gonna walk in and ask for the quest. Why can’t you do that? He sits in silence, playing with his familiar and watching the empty husks walking by, cause to him they were nothing, barely more than a distraction. So she goes in, asks for the quest and walks out, that seems reasonable. He hears the door start to move, so he drops his head back down to where it was before.

"Hey,"

Shiro was caught off guard by the word, most people would’ve just ignored him and carried on their business, which was what he was hoping for. His eyes move up, as he squints and moves sluggishly, like a boy who had just woken up. “Yeah?” He looks at her, she looks loud. All I wanted to do was wait until someone said something that made sense as the activation dialogue, then I would’ve gone in. But no, this game has a funny way of taking your plans and telling you to shove it. He stands up and turns, but then she speaks again. “Didn’t know what to say, so I came out here and listened for clues. These crowds of people may be annoying, but people talk, and that is helpful to me.” He steps up into the shop and looks at the NPC“I’m looking to get some basic knowledge about this game, heard you were the person to talk to.” His false sense of bravado keeping him just aware enough to remember that isn’t a real person, “I heard you ran the tutorial quest, wanted to give it a go.” He asks, and a window pops up as the shopkeep replies and he hits “accept” as he turns to walk out.

”Have a nice day ma’am.” He says, walking backwards, “Oh, and thanks.” He begins to walk away, not knowing what to take away from that interaction other than curling up in a ball is not such a good idea after all.

@Arabelle

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Man. The boy slowly rose to his feet and Arabelle took a step back to allow him more space. She maintained her hopeful, innocent smile as he moved toward the shop door, and then paused to answer her question like it was simply an afterthought. What a nice, friendly guy. And here she thought she'd gotten a bit lucky, finding a somewhat familiar face right when she was looking for someone to take the quest with. Instead, she ended up finding Generic Edgy Teenager with a Superiority Complex No. 23. "Ah, clues?" Well, Mister Detective. To anyone passing by, you totally looked like you were crying. The small purple-haired girl hummed and pressed two gloved fingers against her lips. She was already here, so she might as well impart some beginner's knowledge. "It's simple. Most of the quest NPCs on this floor are pretty generic. Either you say you want to learn something from them or you ask if they need help with anything. None of that complicated dialogue choice stuff you find in VNs."

The boy disappeared into the shop and Arabelle must've been feeling really lonely (and a bit curious) today as she idled around the shop front and waited for him to come back out. He did, then he thanked her formally whilst walking backward - we get it, you're supposed to be cool, but watch where you're going! Then he turned around and walked away. Which left Arabelle wondering just how her friend got along with someone who gave off that type of first impression. Well... in situations like this, there was only one reasonable conclusion! She tilted her head to the side and mumbled to herself, "A tsundere, probably...?"

"Say," the boy would turn to find that Arabelle had caught up to him. She smiled innocently, walking alongside him with her hands tucked behind her back. "You got that quest from the old man too, right? Well... we're heading the same way, so how about doing it together?"

@Huginn

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Shiro thinks for a moment. Of course; I’ve already made a fool of myself; and then tried to pull it off as being a dick. He tilts his head and looks up at the sky then rubs the back of his head. His eyes obviously balancing the options, as he nods and his familiar floats up and towards the girl like it’s analyzing her to see if she’s trustworthy or not. Oh shoot, if Felli doesn’t approve I guess she can’t come. The girl, not Felli. He wraps his hands around the blue glow as he pulls it towards him and chuckles lightly. What would Misako say? Let’s see... nice, considerate, scape goat. He thinks when his mouth opens and the first words that come to mind pop out. “Sure, why not? But the thing is I’ve made a... fool of myself already.” He says, turning and letting go of his familiar as it dances up towards his shoulder. That works, I guess. Er at least, I hope.

He spins and begins to walk out towards the edge of town again, opening his menu and searching through the names of nearby players. “The name’s Shiro by the way.” He looks through towards the quest log as he reads up on the requirements, and he looks towards the glow above his shoulder. Don’t you have a helpful little enhancement for this? He plays with the flame as they reach the edge of town and step out into the field.

@Arabelle

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Arabelle felt the boy's calculating gaze on her and the Christmas familiar lazily floated over, as if it was examining her too. It was a cute, playful little ball of blue flame and she found herself wondering if her hand would pass through if she tried to touch it. Or if it would end up roasting her glove. "Don't concern yourself over it. I'm honestly a bit over-leveled for this whole tutorial thing so if anything, you're gonna be the one holding me back." The small purple-haired girl sped a few paces forward and spun around to face him with a teasing smile. "Just kidding. The RNG would probably end up failing me this time around, too."

Then she heard him chuckle. The boy pulled his familiar close to him somewhat possessively, and his attitude seemed to shift slightly. Did it have something to do with her friendlier response or the little ball of light floating by his shoulder, she wondered. "Well." Arabelle dropped back and matched her step with his. She paused for a bit, then she cleared her throat, proceeding to do her best impression of the quest NPC they had both spoken with earlier. "A wise man once said: self-awareness is the first step to improving oneself!"

It was her roundabout way of saying 'it's fine.'

"Mm? Pardon? I thought you said your name was... Shiro?" Arabelle had to do a double take and a quick memory check to reject the assumption that this 'Shiro' guy was secretly her best friend, trolling her for all those times Arabelle teased her. First and most important point of all, her friend was just not that type of person. "Arabelle." The red ribbon at the back of her head bobbed as she nodded at him. So... if Mishiro and Shiro ever got together, would that mean their ship name would be Shiro x 2? She almost laughed out loud. "I know someone with a similar name. She's my closest friend, and I call her Shiro-chan." - Calling one Shiro and the other Shiro-chan would be confusing as heck though! - "So, what should I call you? Shiro-kun? Or something shorter, like Shi?" - No wait, she knew someone named Shi, too! - "Sh... How about 'sugar'?"

A whopping five minutes. New record for Arabelle! ...Not really. When she first met her wonderful guild leader, she had it done in two. She giggled to herself and made a dismissive wave with her hand. "Just kidding," she said softly. But it was mostly intended for an added point to her defense, in case her friend ever found out that Arabelle had met her boyfriend/love interest/whatever they were. 

They passed the invisible boundary that separated the safe zone from the outside and Arabelle materialized her scythe. A bright red color seeped into her ashen eyes as she turned her head and searched her surroundings for materials. Few mobs, no materials. Her gaze instinctively went to the upper-left field of her vision. "Oooh, almost forgot! Here." She opened her menu and swiped over a party request to the boy named Shiro. "Just a precautionary measure. Mobs in this zone are generally never aggroed unless you attack them first, but I'd like to know immediately if my teammate's HP starts to drop."

Spoiler

ID: 111851 | LD: 4

Quest Objective: 0/5 T1 Mats

[ooc: tag @Huginn]

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro was minding his own business when he got an invite to a party from the girl who had just tried to list off a few nicknames for the boy. But Shiro is already a nickname because Misako hated saying Yamashiro. He sits in silence then decides to weigh in on the subject. A quiet “I don’t do nicknames.” Falls from his mouth. Maybe she heard, maybe she didn’t, what did he care? His eyes scan across the ground as he looks for something out of the ordinary. It’d Be best if after this I never interact with her again, that’s how this usually goes right? Meet them, do something and never see them again. Kind of makes these things stupid.

 His familiar floats down and hangs above a small flower, Delicately the young boy walks over as he grabs it and breaks the stem. “Do you want this one miss?” He never forgot his manners. Even trapped in such a hell as this one, he always felt like the people who spoke to him deserved the respect of manners. Sometimes he refused to treat people with such respect, but only if they deserve it.

His emotionless eyes move up towards the girl, the only change from before is the tilt of his brow as he looks at her. It’s probably a weird thing to do, but it’s definitely the nicer route. And as she said, I am the one holding her back. He looks back down towards the flower and stands up. It’s a material, probably used for potions. It’s the most common use of plants, especially when chemistry was still called Alchemy. I wonder what effect this potion would have on a player. He pulls the flower up to smell it, maybe that would give him a hint. Nothing, never even smelled this before. How can a game give me this much information, yet skew it just enough so I’m lost? It’s kind of unfair. He stands and walks over towards the girl.

ID: 111860

LD: 13 + 1 = 14

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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"Then, Shiro it is! It's a bit confusing having to call two people 'Shiro,' with the only difference being an honorific at the end, though..." The girl tucked her hands behind her back and averted her gaze, her lips forming a small pout; a cute, deceiving expression that any ordinary man would have fallen prey to. Did Claude count as an ordinary man? Arabelle thought for a bit, then dropped the angry-cute expression once Shiro turned away. As she expected. Her attempts at breaking the ice or just generally getting a reaction weren't working. But from what she could recall from the Christmas Event... both he and Mishiro were smiling. Future blackmail material knowledge update: apparently, her best friend liked the difficult type. She blinked, a bit taken aback when he approached her again and offered her a small, white flower. Nah, bruh. Mishiro probably already likes you, bruh. "Charming, aren't you?" Arabelle took the flower and twirled its delicate stem between her gloved fingers with a small smile. 

Her gaze moved to the upper-left field of her vision, where his name and HP bar now appeared underneath hers. "Huginn..." she read out loud, following behind the boy. "Huh. So 'Huginn' is your player name and 'Shiro' is either your real name or a completely different name you chose to go by." Arabelle searched the area and once again drew a blank. She turned to Shiro and smiled. "Smart. Did you already know that giving out your player name is much more dangerous than giving your real name? I mean, there are a bunch of things people can do if they have your username. Pretty ironic, right?" In most online games, it was the reverse. A semi-transparent menu appeared in front of her and she deposited the quest material into her inventory. "Well, whatever caution you had was pretty much thrown under the bus when you accepted my party request. Not to say that what you did was wrong or anything. You probably figured I was too nice and cute to be a threat. And you got that right. I don't care about anyone's username. But, hypothetically, what would you have done if I was secretly an info broker?"

Spoiler

ID: 111904 | LD: 

Quest Objective: 1/5 T1 Mats

[ooc: tag @Huginn arabelle grabs huginn's material.]

Edited by Arabelle

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The boy’s eyes scan across the field again, and the girl behind him talks as he does this. This is true, if she is an info broker then I guess I’ll have an enemy. An awkward chuckle comes from the boy. “Then I’d have to disappear again.” He says, realizing he isn’t gonna find anything this time around. “It’s not like I don’t see you as a threat, it’s more like I don’t care.” He adds, sliding his hands in his pockets and standing around, his familiar just above his shoulder. Gathering is always boring, and even worse I have someone who’s always trying to make conversation. Should I cave and give her a conversation? Or should I just stay to myself?

”It’s not like I could do anything about it anyways.” His eyes still on the ground despite not having found anything. This game makes abusing power so much easier than in real life. In this game you get power just by doing small things like gathering, in the real world everything takes so much more work. He smirks a little, knowing he didn’t have to trust this girl who he was starting to question where she stood on the sanity scale, because it’s either she sells his info and he has people bugging him all the time, or she doesn’t and he has another person to avoid. 

ID: 111915

LD: 3 + 1 = 4

no mats found 

0 total

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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"Heh. Don't take it too seriously. I'm not raising a red flag or foreshadowing anything... Nope! Definitely not!" But, disappear again...? That was an odd way to put it. Arabelle casually bent down to pick a few berries - outlined in the yellow color of a quest objective in her detection - and laid them out on her hand, examining them closely. The quest material split into data fragments as she dismissed it to her inventory and turned back to Huginn, her red eyes holding a slight hint of thoughtfulness. "Yeah. This game really makes it easy, doesn't it? The Battle Axe's first rank had me struggling against the most basic of basic mobs but once I invested enough to reach the second, I could easily..." Shikama Douji appeared in her hands and she swung her weapon (no, not at Huginn, she didn't want to scare off her best friend's boyfriend, even if he didn't know who she was yet), its blade cutting through empty air with a sharp hiss. "Slice through them like butter!" She relaxed her grip on her scythe and sheathed it at her back again. "Pretty sure most of the high-leveled players have thought that. Not with mobs, but with players. And that's not even considering the game's effect on people's mental states and their moralities..."

"Whatever. That part's complicated. This game makes everything complicated. Remember when everyone just logged in and wanted to have some fun?" Arabelle sighed and spun around, looking for more. "People react to things like these differently, so it's hard to generalize. But! Here's a bit of a dilemma. With everyone having enough power to kill you, the first conclusion you'd arrive at is that you can't trust anyone. But with that danger being present, you can't go solo ride the whole time, right? It's just reckless and arrogant, kind of. We don't exactly have the skills to detect nearby players or the enhancements to endure a higher-leveled player's attacks. Dunno, just my opinion." The small purple-haired girl looked back at Huginn and while her usual smile was ever-present on her face, her singsong tone took on a slightly more serious note. "You can't exactly trust anyone but doing everything alone doesn't give you a better chance at surviving either. Troublesome, isn't it?" Noticing that her quest companion hadn't gathered any materials yet, she turned and pointed further out into the fields. "Let's go further out? Maybe we'll have better chances." She started walking and looked over her shoulder as an afterthought. "I know I was talking about usernames and stuff earlier, but call me Arabelle. Everyone calls me that, and someone as friendly as me can't possibly have any enemies~. So with that said, what should I call you? Shiro or Huginn?"

Spoiler

ID: 112302 | LD: 16

Quest Objective: 2/5 T1 Mats

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro stands up straight after coming up empty handed once again. The scythe caught him off guard, yet he stands completely still. Not out of lack of fear, he was afraid, but he knew even if he tried, nothing could keep her from killing him right there. She then sheathes the weapon after making a remark.“I guess we could head deeper into the woods, even though technically the odds are exactly the same.” He says. He begins to think about what the girl was saying before and then comes to a realization. “They day the best adventures are taken with friends, but the best journeys are taken alone.” He remarks, his tone a little more open than before, but his face immediately shows a regression into a more emotionless state as she finally asks what she should call him. His head tilts, as he squints his eyes. “Doesn’t bother me either way.” He says, his words carrying no emotion. He looks on the ground, sitting and leaning up against a tree, as he turns to the girl and looks around. This place would be nice to practice violin, but it appears that other people could be showing up here from time to time, so the need to move would be on my mind constantly. He looks up to the girl and tilts his head, “Why’d you ask me to come along? There’s a few thousand players in this world, all of which are probably better suited for this than me, and yet, here we are.” He looks towards her but not at her, more like through her, or behind her. “It could be because of what you said earlier, and I was the closest faceless blob you could have help you then never talk to again, but I think there’s another reason. Then again, I’m not good with emotions and deeper thought processes, I’m only good at what can be measured.” His vision focuses in as he realizes how much he just said, he looks embarrassed then to the ground. “Sorry, I won’t talk anymore.” He adds quietly.

ID: 112333

LD: 5 + 1 = 6

0 total

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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"Really? Never heard that before. If we're talking inspirational quotes, the best I can think of is something that went along the lines of... 'If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.'" Arabelle hummed, turning them around so they were heading deeper into the woods. There wasn't much she was worried about here. Mobs were basic, maybe there could be a player killer lurking but that was hardly the case in Floor 1. Low-levels had just as much importance as her weekly Pinterest mail. You know: largely ignored, sometimes she took a closer look but forgot about its contents quickly, and rarely had the potential to show something that was actually good? Anyways, what she meant to say is that the higher levels, most especially the ones actively clearing the game had more priority! And PKing a level 1 player with 20 health was a really, really weak flex. So, not many edgy kids in Floor 1. "Can be applied to this topic, right? Solo players aren't held back by their slower teammates, but risk a lot more in exchange. And, doesn't really work out in the long-term. Biggest reason people level is to fight to bosses way up there, right? Those things can only be beaten with raid groups, and I've heard of a bunch of quests where you could die if you're not with a team. That's a long ways away, though!"

She gave a dismissive wave of her hand and stood on her tiptoes, reaching up for a fruit hanging from a low branch. It came up too short. She gave a small pout and jumped. The branch sprung up as she tugged on the fruit and snapped on its stem. Arabelle brushed off a few leaves that had fallen on her head and dismissed the item. "Huginn, then. I already know someone called Shiro." Was she going to tell him now? What her link to him was? She pondered over it for a bit, then ultimately rejected it. Maybe it would be fun to mess with her best friend's boyfriend(?) a little more.

His next few lines had her thinking: 'man, this guy is totally depressing!' He was just as bad as Mishiro,  way back in the first few months of the game. For some reason, the socially inept and somewhat... sad? (she gave off that vibe often though) girl had thought it appropriate to apologize whenever she so much as lightly teased someone. Or even when she opened up to someone she was in the process of getting to know. It was a part of everyday conversation, and it took her months to get that in her head for some reason! And now this guy was apologizing for asking an honest question. 

Birds of the same feather flock together...? But! - and here, Arabelle's head was starting to hurt - relationships required some form of diversity. Person A offered something good and unique [something Person B did not have already] to Person B, and vice versa. Sooo.... she looked back at Huginn, scrutinizing the boy's blank expression. Maybe even searching for something that wasn't there. But to be honest, someone who offered nothing was better than someone who'd already made her cry twice. Arabelle averted her ashen gaze and looked around the forest for more materials with her usual smile. 

"Mm, like you said. I was alone and you were, like, right outside the NPC's place, I guess?" she replied innocently. "I know someone like that. They think with numbers and logic rather than emotions. I get along with them a lot so maybe I just ended up naturally drawn to someone like you! Hehe~."

Spoiler

ID: 112338 | LD: 16

Quest Objective: 3/5 T1 Mats

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro watches the girl for a moment as she speaks. His timid nature had seeped into the game and it always made him wonder if people were calling him weird behind his back. I’m probably not important enough to be spoken about. His emotionless expression changes for a brief moment, almost like he was disappointed. “Almost expected something more. Guess this isn’t that type of game.” A brief smile and chuckle can be heard from the boy as his familiar floats down next to him and then dances over to a plant on the ground. “So, I’m guessing by how much you talk you don’t do a lot of things alone.” He picks the flower up and looks at it, then at her.

His eyes bounce between her and the flower a few times before he squints and dismisses the item into his inventory. It’s time I start gathering for myself. He looks over to the girl and thinks for a moment. What would Misako say? Think Shiro, think. His eyes light up and he looks genuinely excited to ask, “So what do you like to do for fun?” He slumps down by a tree and pulls himself tight into a ball.

Spoiler

ID: 112347

LD: 15 + 1 = 16

1 total

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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The small purple-haired girl didn't respond to his first comment and continued looking for materials. A nondescript bush, no fruits hanging from trees (that she could reach, anyway), and Huginn was already picking flowers from the plant she spotted... "I can do things alone!" Arabelle huffed, crossing her arms rather cutely. "It's just a bit lonely. Sure, you can get lots of stuff done sometimes, but you don't get to share the experience with someone. That's what I think, anyway."

She spun around to look for more materials when he asked her a question: what do you like to do for fun? Overused conversation starter (that her best friend also liked using. coincidence? think not!), but it might possibly be the most positive thing he's brought up so far! Arabelle internally squeed. Progress! "I spend time with my friends, but I guess that one's obvious by now," she responded with a small smile he wouldn't see, as she was still turned away from him. "I play the piano, too. Most of the time, for shop requests - " Which she wasn't getting much of recently. But she honestly didn't mind. More time to slack off and it just so happened that the person she regularly mooched off of in the past was hanging around her little virtual home again. Man, this was the life! " - and for friends, and sometimes by myself, just to make some noise and practice." The small purple-haired girl spun around and struck a dramatic pose. "You're looking at someone who's won a few international music competitions back in the day! Surprised, weren't you? Yes, marvel in--"

She saw him curled up tightly against the tree with his familiar dancing comfortingly around him.

NANI?! Did she do something wrong?

"Hey, hey. Earth to Huginn. It's okay to not be okay, but we were talking about fun things, yeah? So you should try to be a bit more--" Arabelle inched closer and gave the top of his head (hood?) a soft pat. "--happy, I guess. Otherwise, I would be the only person having fun." She stepped back as quickly as she came and hid her hands behind her back. The next thing she said completely killed whatever he thought of her uncharacteristically caring gesture from a moment ago: "Did you have relationship problems, after all?"

Spoiler

ID: 112568 | LD: 9

Quest Objective: 3/5 T1 Mats

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro’s attention is grabbed by a word he knew very well. So she plays piano? Doesn’t seem like the type to me, but who am I to judge? “I tried piano once, the playful tunes and the light dancing of notes. It was beautiful until I messed it up.” His words carry a light in his eyes, like he was actually interested. “I instead chose to play Violin.” A brown shape appears with a black blob close to the bottom and strings to the top. A violin falls into his hands as the bow appears in the other. His eyes move up towards her. “I play it on my own because I don’t like people hearing when I mess up, it makes me want to quit.” He slips the violin into his inventory as he scans the area underneath him and manages to come up empty handed once again.

“Relationship issues?” He tilts his head at her and his voice slips back into the emotionless and empty sound from before. His quiet nature takes over as he slumps up against the tree and just watches the sky through the pin holes between the leaves. “I don’t have any relationship to have problems with.” He mumbles to himself as he thinks on whether she was talking to him or to herself.

Spoiler

ID: 112577

LD: 1 + 1 = 2

1 total

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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When he talked about music, the boy spoke in his calm, monotonous tone but it seemed to carry a little bit of life behind it. Something that was certainly much better than how he had been doing before. He pulled out a violin and a bow from his inventory and she raised a brow. Was he going to play a tune for her? Arabelle refrained from making her usual side comments. Music was a way to express things one can't normally say in words, and a person's preferences often told her much about their disposition. Moreso with this quiet guy. 

Then... his expression changed and he put the violin away. Playing on his own? The smile on her face twitched, slightly. Somehow, this guy always seemed to find a way to make something depressing! "Eh, everyone makes mistakes. I played a piano for a boy once." She hid her hands behind her back and didn't meet his eyes as she related the rest of the story. "It was for the Performer profession quest. He barely knew me but still came along after I asked for help. So when I was doing the first craft, I decided to pay him back and asked him to sit in. The first song was Beethoven's Fur Elise. Heard it yet? You're missing half your life as a musician if you haven't yet." She casually searched her surroundings and idly nudged a pebble away with her boot. Blank. "He asked for an encore, so I gave it to him. I played another song: Debussy's Clair de Lune. I recommend giving it a listen if you haven't yet. It's one of my favorites, for its soothing tune and some other reasons. Anyways! The first half went fine. Played it according to the song sheet. Second half, turns out the song got me a bit emotional." Behind her back, her gloved hands clenched into fists as she swung around and looked down at the severely unconfident boy with a guilty smile. "I got a bit swept up and couldn't finish the performance. What's even more embarrassing is that I barely knew the guy. He just, kinda, stood there and didn't know what to do. I think he forgot about it eventually, though~!"

"Point is, even the best people mess up sometimes. Not everyone has complete mastery of their craft as soon as they start it. I, as someone who's won a few awards from my school, am the source on this!" she declared proudly. "Music's made to be heard. Most things are made to be shared with other people, I think. So if you keep that thing to yourself all the time, you're kind of not living up to its purpose. Say, how about taking a class?" Arabelle paused and pressed a finger to her lips as she thought. "Everyone messes up in a class. If there aren't any here, you can do it after we clear the game or something."

Then she stopped. Huginn was still looking up at her, probably had his attention the whole time she talked. What was she - "Ah... I did it again." The small-purple-haired girl buried her red face in her hands. Why did she have that terrible habit of lecturing people she may or may not dislike?! "I - I totally... It's just my opinion on the matter, that's all! It's not like I'm always like this or anything!"

"Okay, wait. Ignore that. Ahem." She took a moment to compose herself and looked down at the boy. What was that thing he said about relationships? Did she get the wrong dude after all? No, wait. There was only one guy who won the Christmas familiar. The chances of another guy walking around with a similar appearance and a similar-looking familiar was smaller than the chances of Mishiro moving on from that guy. "Huh. Are you really sure~? Maybe someone you like, then? You can tell me. I may talk a lot, but I know how to keep a secret!"

Spoiler

ID: 112589 | LD: 10

Quest Objective: 3/5 T1 Mats

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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Shiro looks at the girl confused for a moment when she brings up taking a class and calls herself “the best” at Piano. “Well sharing my music is something I only do every once and a while. Only offered it to one girl.” He looks down at the ground and speaks softly. “And I’ve taken several classes, parents wanted their genius son to do more then just follow his sister around and cause trouble.” His tone as he speaks changing for a moment. She was getting to him. He looks up at her and tilts his head as she apologizes and then tells him to ignore something. “No need to justify the lecture. I rather enjoyed it. Gave me a new perspective.” He smiles to her, this smile looking genuine as it is. Innocent and full of life, unlike any smile anyone has seen from him before.

Then she asks if he was sure there were no relationships in his life. Even widening the playing field by asking if there was anyone he liked. Normally a quick “No, end of discussion.” Would’ve cut her off and he would’ve walked away, which would’ve been much better than what actually happened. “Wha- no way... girls are gross. Eww. Cooties and stuff? Stay away.” A blush covers the boy’s entire face, and his eyes read clear as day he was lying. It obviously wasn’t the girl in front of him, he’s too calm otherwise. Do I like anyone? I don’t think I do. Of course there is this girl who is nice to me. And she even took me around the Christmas party, but... I don’t like her do I? His face reverts to normal, scrunches up and he thinks really hard. “No! Girls are gross. She’s gross.” He smiles as he says this, not knowing why.

His eyes quickly glance around the new area he moved to as he leans his back against a tree and looks out into the distance for something out of place. Nada. “anyways, If you’d like, I’ll play a song for you. But the problem is, it’d be a waste of time, I couldn’t compare to the best.” He tried to use flattery and an entirely different thing to change the subject from anything remotely related to liking some girl he totally hates.

Spoiler

ID: 112590

LD: 5 + 1 = 6

1 total

@Arabelle

Edited by Huginn

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She only watched with a knowing smile as a flustered Huginn went on... and on... and on. He vehemently denied ever liking someone, paused, seeming to debate something within himself that she was one-hundred-percent sure was related to the topic at hand, and then turned to her, repeating what he previously said with a smile. It sounded like he was trying to convince himself, more than anything. "Hmm, I see!" Arabelle nodded, though the slight hint of amusement that slipped into her tone implied that she didn't believe him. At all. 

"Girls are gross? You're talking to one now. Dummy," she huffed and crossed her arms with a small pout. "And I never mentioned a specific gender when I asked earlier, which means you added that part yourself. Haha! Don't look at me like that. I was juuust putting that fact out there!"

The small, purple-haired girl looked around and found no materials within the vicinity. "No luck here. Wanna move deeper in?" She was already up and taking the first few steps without waiting for his response. Arabelle paused and looked over her shoulder. "The best, you say? Yes, the violin and piano are both instruments, but they're still two different things. So you don't have to consider my skill level or anything. Come on. This isn't really the best place to play, so how about doing a trade thingy once we're done with the quest? I play the piano and you play the violin?"

Spoiler

ID: 112591 | LD: 10

Quest Objective: 3/5 T1 Mats

 

@Huginn

Edited by Arabelle

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The boy realizes what happens as the girl calls him dummy and bring up what she said before. She’s right. But she’s also wrong. I don’t like her. Women are so confusing. He backs away from her, not knowing what to do about What he was thinking. Do I like her? He looks up at the girl with purple hair and tilts his head. “Fine, I’ll tell you.” He spins and starts to walk with her as he begins to talk again. “There is a girl, but I’m not sure if I like her.” He keeps walking his familiar floating by him like it’s trying to annoy him. So he waves the small flame away and he begins to think for a moment. “I definitely don’t...” his hands fidget together as he continues, “not like her.” The poor explanation was the best he could come up with as he isn’t able to emote as well as everyone else in the world.

The small flame moves over to the girl and looks back at Huginn, he had forgotten the familiar is a Will-o-wisp, which were like sprites. Plus, the familiar’s name is Felicity, so it was obviously a girl. “You’re right, I’m sorry Felli. Human girls are gross.” He says, looking over at @Arabelle“You’re not so bad. Still, you should keep your distance.” He spins and walks out further into the woods, a few steps ahead of the girl. His eyes land on a rock, as he bends down and picks it up, getting another material.

Spoiler

ID: 112640

LD: 15 + 1 = 16 (1 material found)

2 total

 

Edited by Huginn

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