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[PP-F01] to fall by the wayside.

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Watcher | HP: 20/20 | EN: 20/20 | DMG: 4 | ACC: 2


  • [marseilles.]

    A black greatsword. Simple. Lighter than the typical model. Look no further; there is n̵o̷t̴h̶i̷n̴g̷ else to see here.
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battle-ready inventory

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01. 2H Straight Sword I




[Earning a Living: Fisher]
::: ::: :::

| ???, ??/??/???.

the name associated to the marked location in your trusty notebook spelled [anthony gill].

haha. funny. eleven out of ten character design. you bet somewhere in the black void that had been aincrad moments after being completely flooded and moments before being completely remade into whatever game board kayaba wanted to tinker around with for the next five years, cold unfeeling cardinal picked it out of a list of randomly generated names and patted its own back in praise of its wit. good cardinal. good job. now sans the skill point requirement, this lovely lovely old fart is the only way to getting the fishing profession of your dreams.

if you were alone, you would've latched onto that excuse to back down.

[but you had to keep walking.]

beneath you, the road begins to curve downward. you sight the shore of your destination, just only a minute off from where your feet are: the outline of a dock, a wooden house sat on stilts above the water that one of your informers had conversationally described as being 'one strong wind away from snapping in two and plunging the entire structure into the lake.' and a small fishing boat.

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level seventeen.

Mishiro | HP: 340/340 | EN: 52/52 | DMG: 16


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battle-ready inventory

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● 2H Straight Sword V
    -> Stamina
    -> Ferocity

01. First Aid V







"here; don't trip."

         . you blink once and pull the lens closer, to the spot just in front of where the steep descent before your feet leveled into flat ground, and the girl occupying that space, her hand held out to yours. probably, she mistook the pause in your steps as hesitation and wanted to personally ensure that you wouldn't hit your head on the rocky ground beneath and fail your quest before it even began. there are such things as accidents from overestimating simple distances -- though they are rarer than the counterpart.

even the smallest leaps make you hesitant, though had you been more attentive earlier, you would have followed the erratic whispers of your pride and tried to make your way down yourself anyway. you take her hand, unsure if you're grateful, mortified, or just both, and the cold armor of her gauntlet wraps around your wrist.

you nearly bowl her over as you jump, but somehow she rights you both with ease. the act brings you close, you realize -- too close, and you try not to pull back too quickly.


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there are actually two dwelling places in the area -- or you at least assume they share the same function because they look identical. small, square, made of wattle and daub (it must only be by the enforcement of cardinal of this place as a quest area that they look pristine despite their weaker make), the only difference you could glean from the two is that one is built further inland than the other. you are no scout nor lore-chaser however, and your appreciation of the build is only surface-level at most. 

"it's not inside." and not in plain sight either. the two of you stop by a wooden signage. for a moment,           sounds distracted; her gray eyes study the text on the board and she continues, "but on this time of day, its routine shouldn't have compelled it to wander too far."

you can't help the disappointment in your voice. "so, we wait?"

"mm. i'm certain it will circle back here eventually."

the question of 'when' rests at the tip of your tongue, but you decide against voicing it. you had visited hermes earlier, bypassing the library's closed doors with a wave of a borrowed card and a mention of a higher ranked member's name, and           insisted on escorting you after she handed over the latest draft of a quest file you requested, citing her discomfort with the idea of a low-leveled player venturing into the new combat zone by themself. you're keen enough on the guild's inner workings to know that for some reason she's a reserve member -- à la the last person they would allow to be sent out to the field, you've since reasoned out that anyone allowed walk underneath the flag of hermes would at least know what they are doing.

you spend the next couple of minutes in silence.           is quiet, busying herself with something in her interface, then checking about a small perimeter only she can see, and you train your attention on your notebook instead of watching.

you don't even notice that there's a second step of footsteps until a jolly voice cuts through the ambience.

"hello travelers! anthony gill, at your service."




he's... not an old fart with a cheesy name. you stare him up and down, unaware that he's doing the same (to the both of you;          immediately tenses but she stays rooted to her spot just a step in front of you), and you feel your ears turn warm. cardinal might just be forgiven of this slight.

anthony gill is fucking hot.

the npc turns his eyes directly to you and grins. "let me guess, not what you two ladies expected?"

--and you stiffen.

your joints lock up and your breaths are suddenly coming up short. "n-no," you squeak, "er, the people in town, i mean-- i-i- didn't have any impression of you, personally, though i..." a quick glance to your travel companion.           doesn't say a word, but you can tell she's watching the interaction closely. "...heard you were the guy to approach for fishing?"

189915: CD1


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it takes a couple more miscommunications and hurdles (none of which           decides is her business to intervene in), but eventually, it's over. 

you flee from the encounter at the quickest possible pace that one can still consider polite. fortunately, the quest doesn't entail having the npc follow you around for the entirety of it. unfortunately, the only place to possibly fish, in your eyes, is the dip in the steep rock encircling the lake, where one could manageably make their way down towards the fishing boat -- or to seat themself by the water. hassling           to take you somewhere else just out of personal preference is out of the question. 

the unwanted third party is still there, resuming his programmed routine of making rounds about the area...

you plop the tin onto the ground, and           seats herself further up the incline. she doesn't say anything about the exchange earlier, only adjusts her position to dangle her feet just above the water. "take your time," she says, bringing up her interface once again, "i'll be here."

will you, now?

this is fine. you simply have to turn your back and pretend nothing else but you and           exists in the here and now, so long as they are not within your sight. 

189917: LD 14


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a cheap fishing rod you'd bought from a random store in hand, you peer into the tin and wrinkle your nose. [blessed bait], your ass, they look like ordinary worms... that are still alive... and covered in soil... and wriggling... you have never been more grateful for your gauntlets. couldn't cardinal have gone for something cleaner? more enticing? gingerly, you take one from the container and lay your fishing rod on your lap, taking the hook and carefully piercing it in place. "so if this runs out..." you begin, too focused on your task to spare her a look.

"so long as you don't lose the tin, it's not an automatic failure,"           recites dutifully, "return it to the npc and it'll give you a new one."


well, you know how to fish. you've had a bit of an interest long before aincrad even existed -- meaning you've read books!

...one book.

you spare a moment to make sure that the hook is attached to the line (don't want that hard work to be all for nothing), before standing up and tossing the float with all of your strength. it flies into the air in an arc and lands with a splash a considerable distance from the shore. far enough? a hand raised above your eyes, you squint at the colorful little circle.

189918: CD6 LD19 [gleaming scale found]


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"use the rod next time."

you jolt. "but i am...?"

from her seat above,           tugs a broken branch from a small pile of leaves on the ground behind her and lightly taps one end to the surface of the water, indicating the point closest to the hook at the end of the line. then she draws her arm back, slowly enough for your efforts to visualize the movement of the line to catch up. her swing ends with the implement at an obtuse angle from the ground, and she pauses to tilt her head and confirm if you're still watching before she snaps the branch forward. your eyes follow the trajectory of the imaginary hook. "you'll get more distance. the rod is not just for reeling in, it's also for casting the line. though the system will recognize that [there is a line in the water] no matter what a player does prior -- real world rules still apply." she repeats the motion faster this time, and once the demonstration is done, she tosses the branch over her shoulder. "one of them is that fish are bigger and in greater abundance the farther you get from the shore."

"oh," you say, lamely, "...i threw it with my hand earlier."

your brain is short-circuiting for a better response from the earth-shattering fact that 1) you've apparently forgotten everything in that book; 2) hermes's youngest and most sheltered member knows enough about fishing to lecture an absolute beginner; and 3) you are getting lectured by hermes's youngest and most sheltered member.

perhaps if you had better reconciled yourself with the fact that there's a tier-wide level gap between you two earlier, this wouldn't've come as much of a shock.

"i'll give it a shot after this one?"

with how much you've done wrong, your first attempt is probably a fail anyway.

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"or, i'll just bring this in now--"

"keep it. give it a chance to roll."


the float stays in the water.


you really shouldn't be letting your travel companion dictate your actions so, regardless of how much she knows by simple association with hermes, but you have to admit, you're just jittery. from letting           help you down the cliff, to meeting anthony gill, to          's demonstration -- if none of these happened, or if you just disentangled the mess in your mind a little, you'd probably arrive at the same logic without her aid. you chew on your lip and retreat silently into your thoughts, leaving the peaceful sounds of the forest to engulf the gap in the conversation between the two of you.

it calms you, a little. 

still, when something tugs sharply at the line, you brace for criticism as you take a single step backwards and begin reeling it in.

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it's... light.

and it doesn't even struggle much, really. bringing it to the shore is an easy task, even for an absolute beginner like you, and the only possibility you can envision at this point is that you've somehow failed so hard that your hook didn't snag a fish but some floating piece of trash someone tossed in earlier. on your haunches, your gauntlet wrapped around the line, you try to peer beneath the surface of the water, then you chew on your lip and yank.

what meets your eyes is a splash of color. the creature wriggling slightly at your hook is shaped like an ordinary small fish, but has scales that glimmer like glass prisms under the light of the sun -- and you think you can safely assume that it's something that doesn't exist in the real world. 

could it be?

you reach out to unstring it, but before the tips of your fingers can touch its scales, the fish falls limp and bursts into little white flecks, and while you stumble back in surprise, a square window appears at the center of your vision.

[quest requirement fulfilled.]

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the [gleaming scale] slips between your fingers, but           is right by your side (when did she start moving?) and she catches it before it could fall back into the lake.

"this is..."

you're both at a loss for words. her eyes are on the window still hovering in front of you; though you had your preferences set so that no other player could read your system notifications but you, she glances down at the glimmering coin-sized scale in her palm and puts two and two together.


"um. wow."

"something like this,"          's voice trails off, then she pauses, lightly rubbing the scale between her fingers, "is also possible. no matter what you do, the system still registers the lure and rolls a dice, so if..."

it's not a surprise to you that she didn't expect this, but what does throw you off is that she doesn't come up with a full explanation as quickly as you thought she would. you hold out your hand to take the scale back and frown, "like... you decide to do something weird, and the dm rolls for it anyway and it comes up a nat 20," you try to fill in for her.

          tilts her head in confusion.

"nevermind," you say quickly. "what i mean to say is, i get it."

"if you say so." maybe you should've gone with that from the start;           doesn't look any less confounded with your deflection. she's staring at nothing in particular somewhere down and off to your side, her lashes lowered, something you only notice because the ledge you're both standing on doesn't give either of you much space and you're standing a little close. "anyway -- good work,      ."

you turn and climb back up the shore, tugging at your bangs. "nah. like you said, it's just luck."

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