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[F11-PP] Beating Heart Fist [Martial Arts Grandmaster Thread] [Completed]


Beat

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"Floor 11!" 

Beat concentrated on staying relaxed as he was transported from the safety of the first floor, up ten floors. He arrived within a safe zone, of course, but the trial ahead of him was one he was bot excited and nervous for. Becoming a grandmaster of any weapon fighting style was an achievement on its own due to the skill point investment and the trial that accompanied the acquisition of the final rank of mastery. The trial for martial arts was on the eleventh floor, a place that he would have never dared show his face until his recent ascension to the second tier. Still, Beat was unsure of his ability to whether a blow from the caliber of creatures from the first second tier floor.

Fortunately, I'm allowed to bring a companion as long as I'm doing the majority of the damage.

He sat on a bench within sight of the teleporter pad, waiting for @Shield to show up. Beat's promptness for this was unprecedented, but his nervousness had made it impossible to forget about such an event, which was the reason he was often late to other things.  

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Shield stepped out of the doorway of the nearby inn, pausing when he saw Beat waiting on the bench outside. He was used to always being the first to show up for quests, though he supposed it made sense that Beat would have an unusually high incentive to be punctual this time around.

"Looks like I shouldn't have anticipated a late arrival," he said aloud to himself.

He walked his way over to the bench, taking a seat behind his travel companion. On his back, Norbert the grumpy snapping turtle protested at being stuck against the backrest of the bench. Shield had more or less learned to ignore him by now.

"How are you feeling?" Shield asked, giving the martial artist a sidelong glance.

The younger man had been training his martial arts since their very first quest here in Sword Art Online, so it stood to reason that this would be a big deal to Beat.

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Beat let out a nervous sigh as he looked upwards, Horus doing what he always did to try to help, look out for trouble. As his falcon familiar flew in a patrol pattern high in the sky, Beat stood up and began to stretch, ready to begin their journey. He had read the details, or what details he had, of the quest, knowing that it entailed a good deal of danger. He spoke as he continued to limber up. 

"I'm a little nervous, but I got a good night's sleep and I'm well fed. I really don't think I could be more ready than I am now." 

He began to run in place to get his blood pumping and to work out the sense of restlessness that was refusing to leave him. He looked to Shield, appreciative that he had agreed to accompany him. They had only really known each other on a personal level for about a month, but Beat would be lying if he said that he didn't care about what happened to the older player. Risking your life for and with someone as often as they did inevitably created a bond of comradery at the very least. 

"Ready to go and see what floor eleven can do?" 

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ID# 77979 results: Loot: 4 + 3 item + 1 skill + 1 skill item = 9 - No materials (0 total)

Shield gave a nod, standing and taking his typical long strides towards the safe zone exit. Although the two of them had taken more than their fair share of woodland walks, the forest on this floor was very different. Part of it may have been the mountains that rose behind them, but also likely a factor was simply the knowledge of the endless tunnels that likely stretched from one end of the floor to the other, like some impossibly large ant farm, teeming with insect-like creatures.

"How does it feel to be the first of us to be approaching grandmastery in a skill?" Shield asked, a little smirk at the corner of his mouth. 

The subtle competition between the two of them had never died away between them, and although Shield had definitely done a good deal more moonlighting, he still had a little time before he would be able to grandmaster the first of his ranked skills.

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ID# 77980: LD: 15 (11+4) = 1 T2 mat found (1 Total)

Beat laughed as Shield acknowledged their still somewhat existent rivalry, though it was safe to say that they were certainly encouraging one another rather than hoping the other would fail miserably. He pulled up his menu as continued to follow the map marker for the quest as they walked.

"Well, I'll know for sure once we finish this thing, but I'm pretty happy about it. You sleep so much less than I do, I have to beat you at something right?"

Beat chuckled and gave Shield a friendly jab on the shoulder as his eagle engraved ring began to glow, indicating that something valuable was near. He checked his map to make sure it had nothing to do with the quest before spying a purple mushroom with no like-colored spots anywhere on it despite being covered in them. He admired the unique material before stashing his first second tier crafting material.

He grinned as he eyed the older player, "First!" He then burst into laughter as he continued to choose to enjoy himself rather than feel overly-nervous about a test he was sure to be ready for. He settled down after a few moments and decided to actually make conversation, "Seriously though, it looks like the higher level materials are more exotic and unique looking. That pretty much fits with my experience in other games too."

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ID# 77981 results: Loot: 17 + 3 item + 1 skill + 1 skill item = 22 - +1 Material (1 total)

There was definitely quite a bit to say about the material that Beat had discovered. However, the thought of eating anything made from a mushroom that colorful made him feel uneasy. He hoped it was more of an alchemic reagent than a cooking ingredient. It was just about this time, however, that he noticed the familiar glow on his own shoulder. He glanced around, peering behind one of the nearby tree trunks, and sure enough, at its base, unearthed by a growing root, there appeared to be a crystal of some sort. Although rough in shape, it was identical in hue to that of a teleport crystal.

"Odd," he thought aloud. "The color must be a coincidence. Teleport crystals are made from tier one materials, and yet this is a perfect match."

He shrugged before plucking up the crystalline formation and squirreling it away. Although he owned a number of tier two items, this was the first tier two material he had personally handled.

Before he had much time to marvel, however, there came a rustling in the brush on the far side of the nearest collection of trees. Keeping his eyes forward, he navigated his menus, swapping in his battle items to replace his scouting set. As an afterthought, he removed his beaded bracelet, Finder's Keeper, and passed it over to Beat.

"Higher tier enemies mean higher tier drops," he whispered. "You'll want this."

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ID# 77982: Taking no offensive action cuz I don't want to die.  MD: 12 (9+3)

All mobs have +3 Acc

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 [290/290]: 120 dmg before mitigation and regen

Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 [290/290]: 120 dmg before mitigation and regen

Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 [290/290]: 120 dmg before mitigation and regen

Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 [290/290]: 120 dmg before mitigation and regen

Using action to swap Crimson fists (+1 bleed +1 Dmg) for Finder's Keepers (+1 S&D)

Beat readied himself as he heard the noises coming from the nearby brush. He quickly accepted the offer from Shield and swapped his tier one hand wraps out for the lucky item. They were in uncharted territory in terms of loot drops, so he was excited to see what they would find. A mundan animal leaped from the bush and ran past them as a rumbling through the ground grew more intense until a group of four monstrous Antmen burst through a nearby tree and directly towards them. Beat shouted as he took his post behind Shield while he finalized the item swap. 

"Jesus those are ugly! You don't see that on lower floors!" 

The fight had only begun, but he could already tell that the intensity of the monsters on the higher floors made the lower floors look like the tutorial level. The ant-men swung their cleaver-like arms towards the level twenty-nine tank, looking to cleave him in half. 

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ID# 77983 results:

Shield:

Lv 29 HP 580 Tier 2
DMG 3, 24bleed(8+) LD 1 SP 90
ACC 0     Spent 81
EVA 0     Remaining 9
MIT 96        
NRG 58        
      Thorns 28 dmg    
             
  Stealth   Healing    
    10   Energy/Turn 1+1 on a CD 6+  
        HP/Turn +54 when hit  
             

Combat Action: Howl

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 - HP: 290/290, EVA: 0, ACC: 3, DMG: 110
Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 - HP: 290/290, EVA: 0, ACC: 3, DMG: 110
Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 - HP: 290/290, EVA: 0, ACC: 3, DMG: 110
Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 - HP: 290/290, EVA: 0, ACC: 3, DMG: 110

"You can say that again," Shield exclaimed, screwing up his face a little as the insect creatures advanced.

The tank held up his shield and brandished his hooked axe, positioning himself in front of Beat. The gruesome beasts continued to advance, clicking their massive mandibles. With a draw of his breath, Shield howled at the hideous things.

"Hey, bug-brains!" he shouted, tightening the grip on his axe. "You ear that? I'm calling you ugly! Those right there are four faces than NO queen could love!"

Confused, but clearly angry, the four of them closed in , surrounding the tank and, through whatever their language of clicks consisted of, coordinated a series of attacks that struck at each of Shield's limbs with their powerful jaws. Unfortunately for them, the protective exoskeletons they possessed had nothing on the thorny defenses of Shield.

"What do you think?" Shield taunted. "Is that meatball a little too spicy for you?"

Spicy meatballs? Oh brother... if it wasn't already obvious to Beat that I'm a dad, that line would definitely broadcast as much.

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ID# 77984: BD: 6 (2+3+1(for concentration))   MD: 7 (4+3) 

All mobs have +3 Acc

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 [184/290]: 110 dmg before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 [184/290]: 110 dmg before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 [184/290]: 110 dmg before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 [184/290]: 110 dmg before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Tornado Kick - 1x6 - AoE - Dmg: 13 * 6 = 78

Beat: [500/500] [38/50] -12 EP

Beat's right eyebrow shot into orbit at Shield's taunt. The older gentleman's taunts were normally a little silly or punny, but that sounded like something his dad would have said in his happier days. Beat snickered as he leaped into the air, flying into the middle of the group of grotesque insect-humanoids. 

"Jeez dad, I think you really pissed them off with that one!" 

Beat laughed as he spun around, his leg acting as a steel ship, crashing into each of the ant-men and taking a reasonable chunk off of their life bars and evoking a gurgled hiss from each of them. Beat landed in the middle of the scuffle, finding all of their legs difficult to manage in such a small space. He deftly maneuvered back behind Shield in order to ensure his safety, not wanting to suffer the wrath of a floor eleven mob. The sound they had made against his shield and armor was intimidating to say the least. 

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ID# 77985 results:

 Battle: 3 - Miss

"Less talk-y, more punch-y," Shield drawled, shoving each of the creatures off of him, one at a time.

He swung his axe, forcing the nearest of the ant men to jump back. The creatures here were certainly tough, but it was reassuring that their attacks were still not strong enough to do more than leave temporary dents in his health bar.

"It's hard to imagine that dopey beasts like this are going to be capable of dropping tier two equipment," he wondered aloud, shoving hard against the nearest one with his reflective shield. "Still, if we want a fight to push you to that next level, we're in the right place for it. Look at how much health they still have, even after those direct hits."

The further they advanced, the closer the monsters pushes Shield towards his maximum mitigation. It wouldn't be long before they fought creatures that could leave actual damage on him.

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ID# 77986: BD: 13 (10+3)   MD: 6 (3+3) 

All mobs have +3 Acc

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 [66/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 [66/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 [66/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 [66/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Tornado Kick - 1x6 - AoE - Dmg: 15 * 6 = 90

Beat: [500/500] [27/50] -12 EP | +1 EP

Beat nodded as he watched their blows actually make the tank of their party try. Shield had them well handled, but Beat could certainly see the difference in power. His legs glowed that familiar ominous glow as he prepared to strike. 

"Well, this is just the first tier two floor. I imagine the drops will seem more justified once we ascend a little higher." 

With those words, he leaped over Shield's head and put his hips at head level to the creatures swinging mercilessly at the older player. His legs snapped out four times as he spun, catching each of the ant-men squarely in the head, causing them to stagger sideways, stunned as Beat's critical hit managed to do a nice amount of bonus damage. He chuckled as he resumed his post behind Shield again. 

"Man, too bad Teion isn't done with my weapon yet! That would have been amazing!" 

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ID# 77988 results: Battle: 3 - Miss

Even without his weapon skill being maxed just yet, Shield couldn't help but be impressed with Beat. Even having come up to a completely new level, he was keeping pace. Although he hadn't exactly written the younger man off, they had definitely seen different amounts of SAO. This was further affirmation that the dedication of his old rival really was a force to be reckoned with.

Once again, as the mandibles of the clicking monsters clamped down on Shield, he had to pry their mouth parts off of him in order to breathe properly.

"If you think those things are ugly at the distance of your feet, try having them right up in your face," Shield said incredulously. "They are much less pretty up close."

He swiped harmlessly at the creatures with his axe, driving them further back just to have a moment before having to deal with their onslaught of jibbering and clacking once again.

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ID#77989: BD: 1 (Screw you roller) MD: 8 (5+3)

All mobs have +3 Acc

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 [38/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 [38/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 [38/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 [38/290]: 110 dmg to Shield before mitigation and regen. Takes 28 thorns damage.

Miss: -2 EP

Beat: [500/500] [26/50] -2 EP | +1 EP

Beat grimaced as he looked at their faces, realizing just how grotesque they really were. Monster on the lower floors typically represented variations of existing creatures in reality or at least common fantasy. These creatures were getting closer to the things nightmares were made of. He made his move and began weaving through the dozens of legs scrambling about as the ant-men attacked Shield. 

"Yeah, well down here, they smell really terrible. I didn't even think bugs had a stench by nature."

As he spoke, one of the soldiers flinched, having taken damage from Shield's armor. The change in pattern was just enough to throw Beat off and he was suddenly being battled around by the multitude of legs dancing around. He shielded himself and waited for an opportunity to jump away, eventually getting his opening. He scoffed as he prepared his next attack, his eyes focusing more and his plan to attack more safely next time. 

"Lucky bastards."

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ID# 77990 results: Battle: 6 - Hit ant man 1! 3 dmg.

Seeing Beat's predicament, Shield had to act. There was not yet room enough to swing his axe in the center of the hoard of bugs, but with a shove of his shield, he pushed one of the creatures back enough to find room to pull back his arm. He swung with his axe and he swung hard, actually connecting with one of the creatures. The damage was insignificant, but the strike still stunned it, sending its many feet stumbling back a few steps.

The extra room was all Shield needed, and with two wide, sweeping arcs, his axe drove back the chittering nightmares that had been gathering around them.

"You alright?" Shield asked, jabbing out with the head of his axe to keep the things from getting too close. "Ugh, it's like looking at something out of H.P. Lovecraft!"

Shield shuddered a little, very happy that the things could not harm him, but not as happy as he would be if they were gone.

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ID# 77991: BD: 10 (7+3)

All mobs have +3 Acc

Monstrous Soldier Antman 1 [0/290]: Dead

Monstrous Soldier Antman 2 [0/290]: Dead

Monstrous Soldier Antman 3 [0/290]: Dead

Monstrous Soldier Antman 4 [0/290]: Dead

Tornado Kick - 1x6 - AoE - Dmg: 13 * 6 = 78

Beat: [500/500] [15/50] -12 EP | +1 EP

Loot: 

Loot Roll 1: ID# 77992: LD: 10 (5+5) CD: 7 = 1 T2 Material  + 870 col

Loot Roll 2: ID# 77993: LD: 10 (5+5) CD: 1 = x2 Col (5x col total) = 1450 col

Loot Roll 3: ID# 77994: LD: 24 (19+5) CD: 1 = x10 col (13x col total) = 3770 col

Loot Roll 4: ID# 77995: LD: 11 (6+5) CD: 5 = 1 Rare Armor + 870 col

Total loot: 1 T2 Material, 1 Rare Armor and 6960 col

“Teach them to use me as a soccer ball...” Beat growled as he glared at the ant-men.

He was somewhat surprised that the spines on the monsters’ legs had not done any damage, but he wasn’t complaining. He figured that the game had an idea of what counted as an attack and anything else wasn’t capable of inflicting damage. Eyeing the health bars of each of the ant-men, Beat smiled as he leaped into the air.

“Let’s roll those dice!”

His glowing leg whipped around, cleaving the heads from each of the monstrous insects. They each fell to the ground with a thud that shook the ground around them before they, like all other dead monsters, burst into a shower of red pixels.

“Aaaaaaaand?”

Beat anticipated the loot screen, excited to see what sort of loot would drop. He noted that the loot was a little more varied, which indicated that something had changed. He quirked his eyebrow and looked to Shield to make sure he was seeing the same thing.

“Did they...patch the loot system?”

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ID# 78015 results: Loot: 8 + 3 item + 1 skill = 12 - No materials (1 total)

Shield inspected his own window, looking over the drops from the battle. Indeed, the Col drop exceeded usual amounts, and the materials were in shorter supply than was typical, at least of the lower floors.

"It's really impossible to say," Shield said with a final shrug before closing the window. "Until we try again on lower floors, or until we get information from a broker, we can really only speculate. There really isn't much as far as communication from the dev team."

With that, Shield swapped out his axe for his seeking aura earring and started walking again, keeping his attention on the path ahead and the noises of the forest. They had been fortunate enough to hear the most recent group of mobs coming. He did not want to have to say otherwise about anything else they found along the way.

"All things considered, the floor hasn't been too inhospitable," Shield said with a shrug. "Other than visually, I suppose."

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ID# 78016: LD: 6 (1+5) = no mats (1 Total)

Rest: 1/3

Beat shrugged as he closed the rewards window, pleased overall with the seemingly more nuanced loot table. Shield was right about the table possibly being unique to the upper floors, but it would be simple to test, something Beat knew they would get the opportunity to do at some point. Beat spoke as they continued walking towards the marker on his map.

“That’s true, aside from the occasional server-wide message, we really haven’t heard anything since Kayaba’s announcement on day one.”

He crossed his arms as Horus continued to scout for enemies and things of interest. He was pleased with their first experience with the new loot table and he hoped their luck would continue.

“Oh, here.”

Beat pulled up his menu and unequipped the lucky wristband Shield had loaned him before opening a trade window and sending the item back to its owner.

“I suppose I really only need this when we’re in combat. I imagine my trial will entail some fighting, but until then, there’s no reason for you to do without.”

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ID# 78024 results: Loot: 3 + 3 item + 1 skill + 1 skill item = 8 - No materials (1 total)

Shield accepted the item and slipped it back on his wrist, unequipping his shield in the process. At least right off the bat, it did not seem to have immediate impact. The earring that served as his warning of valuable items did not show any signs of luminescence.

As they walked, they drew nearer and nearer to the mountains, and Shield couldn't help but wonder whether the tunnels under the ground were becoming more dense and plentiful. The thought of dozens of chittering monsters hidden in the dark beneath their feet gave him a great deal of discomfort, and he had to continually remind himself that those tunnels were stationary and that the ants weren't actively tunneling.

"So have you done your research on the next set of sword arts for you?" Shield asked, eager for any change in the subject to keep his thoughts above ground. "I mean, unless you pick up a new weapon, this is the set you'll have for the rest of the game."

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ID#78023: LD: 12 (8+4) = no mats (1 Total)

Rest: 2/3

Beat nodded as he pulled his menu up, reading through the list of grandmaster sword arts. He smiled at the strongest and simplest one. Each of the grandmaster sword arts were single target, though one was designed to temporarily incapacitate the opponent, which was good for bosses who were not immune.

“Well, they’re all single target, but compared to many of the grandmaster level arts for other weapons, it has the most straight attack power.” Beat said with a smile, excited to finally be able to use something with so much power.

Up ahead, just coming over the horizon, the two of them would see an incredibly large building shaped like a traditional dojo, built on the side of the road. It was still a good distance away, but it was still impressive. Beat’s stride took on a bit of a bounce as he found it harder to contain his excitement.

"There it is!"

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ID# 78025 results: Loot: 6 + 3 item + 1 skill + 1 skill item = 11 - No dungeon

Shield quickened his step to keep up with the younger man, keeping an eye off to either side of the road as they moved along. On his back, the otherwise slow-moving Norbert complained at the increased pace, opening his jaws and letting out a groan of protest.

"I don't much like it either, buddy," he mumbled to the turtle before turning his voice towards Beat. "Don't get too ahead of yourself, Beat. I can tank those monsters just fine, but you still don't want to get caught in an ambush of those things."

The closer they came to the dojo, the more imposing the building seemed. Whatever was inside was sure to test them, particularly Beat and his martial prowess. The curved roofs tapered up into narrow points, although the building was aged, and large sections of wood and shingle seemed to be missing.

That opens up possibilities of what could be inside. It could either be some sort of martial artist monsters, or they could be spirits or zombies since this place seems forgotten and lost to time.

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