A big thanks to NurseBold, Nicolas H, Tim M, ncskeeter56, Thomas D, Avo, S. Nutter, Lucy B, Lars H, Jesper B, Frogsamurai, Bunny Waffles, Kalafalafakah, Fabhar, Zach C, Dicky W, Sashank U, Patrick I, MidnightJayguar, Tyric Gaias, No Thanks, Michael M, Jeremiah Z, Alex G, Meadow, Spencer S, Taylor V, Jeremy H, Ethan S, Ben, Scott E, Johnathan C, Josh T, marcellis97, 0The Fool, Arcaryx, Powernap, rooster196, Johnathan D, Sukaleska, Ampharos3, Nick R, Tiemi, Fleshcrawler, Ryan S, Irene, Sarah D, Xegzy, Brad J, Leaveinlimbo, Zhanibek A, Earthpatriot117, CheesePie25, John T, Thundatwin, Deohn L, TwentyThousandCats, Nubice, Grimzero, MooMoo195, itsawaffle, Rafael B, Esquire, Ashby T, Mitchell S, Spencer Kohlman, Siphon Rayzar, Mrbucky92, ItsCool, wishindo, Vees, Sandesh, Seadrake, Obsidianking, Berd, Josh D, ToolsOfTrypticon, Jorge B, Nicolas G, Raycn, Alder, and Kyle P for being patrons.
An extra big thanks to Spartanstoryteller, Drekin, Teigen S, Lennert B, K, Andres, Stays Secret, Paul F, VandheerXLorde, Dusks_Lantern, AlthePal, xdra22, and Jordan M for being high-level patrons.
Last but certainly not least, a very special thanks to BrokenOlive for being a top-level patron.
Want to support me? See fuggmann on the place of patrons
Naruto lays back on his bed and stares at his ceiling, frustration bubbling inside him. He opens his menu, and looks at his status, or more specifically, his EXP.
Just three days ago he became a ninja, taking the first true steps towards Hokage.
The adventures he always heard about ninja going on when he was but a child fascinated him endlessly. Patrols through beautiful parts of the Land of Fire, daring rescue missions, guarding princesses, it filled him with awe. He could barely imagine how much his life was going to improve with a ninja salary, too.
No more thrift-shop trash for Naruto, thank you very much!
Then his team got their first mission, a D Rank mission to... carry rocks out of a farmer's field. A mission worth a measly 100 EXP in the eyes of The Game.
After that, they painted a fence, then walked some dogs. Then the day was over and he, Sasuke, and Sakura-chan were dismissed by Kakashi-sensei.
8 hours... doing chores. Chores that only earned him 300 EXP and roughly 1,200 ryo before taxes were taken out of it. After his taxes were applied, another portion was taken for his healthcare and retirement, leaving him with a paltry 800 or so ryo to take home at the end of the day. To make matters worse, now that he's an adult in the eyes of the law, Naruto's orphan stipend is set to expire. Some quick math instantly tells him that doing D-ranks is going to leave him with less money than his stipend gave him.
"Oh man, what am I going to do?!" Naruto cries in frustration reaching up at his ceiling as if to spite the higher powers. "I can barely afford rent, food, and equipment as it is! Cut me some slack!"
The boy ninja sits up, crossing his arms and huffing as he does so. 'I could ask Jiji to cut me a break, but I don't want to embarrass myself like that. I'm a shinobi now! There's gotta be something I can do.'
His eyes wander to the near-finished Fuinjutsu book on his nightstand. 'Maybe I could sell seals or something? The only ones I know are storage seals, though, and you can get storage scrolls at any equipment shop. Why would anyone buy from me?' Then he recalls a footnote in the book with a grimace. 'And I need a stupid license to sell seals anyway, and the test for it costs a ton. Damn it!'
Almost by instinct, Naruto opens his Game menu and navigates to his Friends list.
Both Archie and Laura are marked as BUSY, but sitting in the party chat alone is Dakki.
Like he did several days ago, Naruto hesitates, then joins.
"Hey, Dakki?" Naruto starts when there is no reply to his joining. "Are you there?" He asks, relaxing back down on his bed.
"What do you want, kid?" The man sounds tired. "I've had a long night, so make it quick."
Naruto mulls his answer over, idly kicking a leg hanging over the side of his bed. "D-rank mission pay is crap, and they give even worse EXP," he says bluntly. "Do you know a way I can make actual money?"
"Sell your fuinjutusu."
"I thought about that already, but I'm kind of broke, though. I've only got like twenty-five thousand ryo, and that's from a ton of saving," Naruto grumbles, turning on his bed and resisting the urge to take a nap. "The test costs something like ten thousand ryo, and if I mess up I don't get my money back."
"Have you not been to a dungeon yet? That can solve both the money and EXP problem in one go."
"Dungeon? Like the prisons in castles and junk? The nearest castle is a tourist trap a few cities over." The genin says, sitting up so he doesn't fall asleep.
"..." Dakki is silent, and for a moment, Naruto fears he misspoke, then; "No, not like that. As a Player, you can access spaces normal people can't, spaces that Players benefit most from. Hang on, it's easier if you see it yourself."
Before Naruto can ask what he means, there is a sudden puff of smoke in his bedroom, and Naruto immediately jumps up into a ready stance.
When the smoke clears, Naruto's hands fall when narrow, flinty eyes stare down at him as if daring him to strike.
Before him is a tall man, several inches taller than Kakashi with a square jaw, broad shoulders, and a face set into a scowl. His black hair is messy but shortly cropped and limp, while his smooth, shaved face is devoid of any facial hair. The man is clad in a thick, pocket-lined black coat that reaches down to his knees, and under that is a simple dark navy shirt. His legs are covered by a set of gray slacks held by a belt that his shirt is tucked into, and his feet have simple but polished black shoes. Around his left arm, a Konoha-marked hitai-ate is wrapped tightly. The man is... shockingly plain, despite how his presence seems to fill the entire room.
"Dakki?" Naruto asks with a blink, already casting [Observe].
Multiplayer Correction applied
Name: Dakki Makura
Level 84 Cyber Terrorist
Gamer's Body: Translates bodily damage to HP. HP, MP, and most debuffs are fully restored after 4+ hours of sleep in a secure, comfortable area.
Gamer's Mind: Grants EX-tier mind control resistance. Grants A-tier illusion resistance.
Cutting-Edge Cyborg Body: x3 modifier to STR and DEX feats. Grants S-tier poison and disease resistance. -25% electrical damage resistance. This trait degrades to [Advanced Cyborg Body] in 1 month, 14 days.
Cutting-Edge Cyber Brain: x3 modifier to INT feats. +25% EXP towards all skill gains. Grants MAX level [Eidetic Memory]. Grants S-tier illusion resistance. Can use remote [Hacking] to interface with other applicable machines. This trait degrades to [Advanced Cyber Brain] in 2 months, 2 days.
Expert Gunslinger: x2 accuracy and fire-rate with one-handed ballistic weapons. All ballistic weapons degrade at half speed.
Professional Criminal: +40% success rate to all unlawful activities. -90% rep gain with Lawful characters who are aware of criminal activity.
Terrorist: +20% CHA when making threats or speaking in a hostile manner. Targets inflicted with [Fear] or greater become more compliant to demands and suffer an extra 20% duration to debuffs. Cannot rise past Disliked rep with [Faction:Japanese Government].
Naruto re-reads Dakki's stats to confirm that he saw everything correctly. 'Terrorist? Criminal? Is Dakki some kinda nuke-nin?'
The Academy always taught them that criminals should be given no quarter and that being a nuke-nin, a traitor, is a dishonor even among shinobi. If an entire government is hostile towards you, what can you be other than a nuke-nin?
"Are you going to gawk, or are we going to get a move on?" The man asks, his strange, dusk-toned metallic voice shaking Naruto from his thoughts."Gather your tools and be ready for combat. If I have to stitch you up after this, I'm going to be cross."
Naruto scowls right back. "You don't have to be so pushy," but he still takes his kunai holster from his nightstand and belts it on. His concerns regarding Dakki are pushed off to the side. He can ask Laura or Archie later.
"And I don't have to help you, but here we are." Dakki shoots back easily, crossing his arms as he talks. "Come on."
After a few moments of preparation, the unlikely duo find themselves walking down one of Konoha's narrow side streets, heading in the direction of one of the civilian parks.
Naruto: 'Are you sure there will be one of these dungeons in a park of all places?'
Naruto scrunches his face up in both concentration and skepticism as he follows a half-step behind of the bear of a man. In the corner of his eye, just under the words he sent in the text portion of his team's chat room, he sees a trio of blinking dots as his larger party member formulates a reply.
Dakki: 'I'm certain,'
Dakki answers, his face impassive, but Naruto can see the man's eyes sharply looking at every villager they pass, who in turn give Dakki strange looks.
'Probably for walking with me...' Naruto bitterly thinks.
After several more turns, the street lets out into a park nestled against the side of Konoha's border wall. The area is beautiful and green, with naught much else other than a swing set, some benches, and an open field to play in. At the moment, the park is deserted.
Dakki raises a hand and points at a spot above the park. "Look up there. Do you see it?"
Naruto follows the finger, and can't help but tilt his head at what he sees.
Konoha Park #4
E-tier Grassland Dungeon
Complexity level: 1
Rec Char Level: 5-15
Open and Ready!
"This will be an underwhelming experience, but should be fine for getting your feet wet," Dakki begins. He raises a hand and his Inventory flashes for a moment, leaving a plain, sheathed katana in his left hand. "Factoring in Achievements and the Quest you're about to get, we should be able to boost you a few levels and get you some gear that doesn't embarrass the rest of the party."
And sure enough, a blinking quest suddenly pops up before Naruto's eyes.
Budding Dungeon Crawler
Clear your first dungeon!
3000 EXP for clearing the dungeon
Bonus 200 EXP for every monster slain
2000 EXP for every party member who does not fall below 50% HP
Retreat or all party members incapacitated
Naruto glances at his own EXP bar, seeing it at 2,000 of 9,100 until level 14. If he and Dakki clear the dungeon without getting too banged up and secure a few kills, then that alone will carry him to his next level. Anything extra is just icing on the cake. With a grin, he reaches up and presses [Yes], then reaches out and presses [Enter]
Time seems to stop. The wind, the birds, the rustling leaves and grass, it all goes silent. Birds midair freeze, suspended by nothing, and the sudden stillness of the trees is disquieting. Naruto looks up at the unmoving clouds, feeling his body break out into goosebumps.
When he looks back down, he's no longer in the park.
The sounds seem to come back all at once, as the wind whistles through the stone ruins that now surround Naruto and Dakki. Primitive, dilapidated stone dwellings in the middle of being reclaimed by moss and vines stand all around them like an airy maze, seemingly with no rhyme or reason to their design. The grass at their feet rolls in waves with the wind and comes all the way up to their ankles, some of it getting up Naruto's pant legs and tickling.
"What the hell?!" Naruto cries, twisting to look all around him with wide eyes. "Where are we?"
Dakki, unphased, just grunts. "A dungeon. They all look different for the most part. If you were expecting the interior of a castle, then maybe next time."
"Could you be more helpful than that?!" Naruto snaps. "Are we even in Konoha?!"
The man's already hard face darkens, and for a moment, Naruto expects to be yelled at. At the last second, however, Dakki sighs and runs a hand through his short hair. "Dungeons are bits of another world," He bites out slowly, shutting his eyes and rubbing his forehead with the pointer finger and thumb no holding his katana. "Whether The Game makes them or just puts us in slices of somewhere else is up for debate. You can leave anytime in your Main Menu. There are enemies and treasure hidden around here, along with some sort of objective, usually a boss monster to defeat. Happy?"
Rather than answer, the blonde boy just looks around at the wind-worn stone buildings before leaping and running vertically up the side of one, scaling the three-story height with his [Surface Cling]
He ignores the message about [Surface Cling] reaching level 17 and surveys the area.
The eerie stone ruins stretch for some distance, making a small village. Some of the ruins are collapsed into piles of rubble, and near the center of the village, there is a larger ruin with a smooth, domed top flanked by featureless statues the size of titans, but something else jumps out at the young ninja even more than that.
The outskirts of the tiny village is simple grassland without any trees or other plants, but then it just... stops. The world just ends in a harsh drop-off as if all of existence is this flat circle of land, and Naruto can see blue sky meeting the minuscule horizon.
"Normally, dungeons don't let you see where they end," Naruto yelps and jumps. Turning, he finds Dakki at his side, who somehow scaled the ruin without him noticing. "These open ones are an exception, however. Not that it makes any real difference. Take a dive over the side at your own peril." The older Player snorts and shakes his head, as if remembering something. "I take it you've already spotted where we should be heading? Someplace that sticks out?"
"Erm..." Naruto looks around again, his eyes gravitating to the domed building. "Over that way, I guess."
Dakki just nods. "Lead. Check anything that seems interesting along the way."
The blonde leaps down to the grassy street below, landing with a muted 'thud'. A second later, his partner comes down like a meteor, his landing more akin to a feet-first crash that rumbles the nearby ruins and sinks him several inches into the ground.
As they slowly walk toward the center of the village, Naruto can't help but keep swiveling his head around to take in all the odd sights. The walls of the ruins are all eroded with time, leaving smooth stone behind. In the ruined, rubble-filled doorway of one, Naruto spies a tattered bit of red cloth hanging from the top of the doorsill and idly wonders what it was.
The remains of an ancient tapestry, handspun from cotton. What it depicted in the days of old is anyone's guess.
The scraps of cotton hold no other details, so Naruto dismisses it and moves on.
Just three more sets of ruins down, Naruto stops as they find an open doorway free of any rocks obstructing it. He looks back at Dakki, who in turn raises an eyebrow. "What? Are you asking permission? Don't. Go look if you want and I'll follow, just be wary." he sighs, gesturing to the doorway with the handle of his sword.
"You don't have to sound pissed off all the time..." Naruto grumbles, but nonetheless he takes a kunai from his holster and holds it in a loose reverse grip as he steps into the ruin.
The inside is dark, musty, and spartan, the genin decides as he looks around. He looks down at the rug covering the dirt floor, now bug-eaten and disintegrating just from being stepped on, then to the wooden furniture that looks as if it's barely holding together. The straw-filled beds in the corner are rotten and little more than dust, but what really catches Naruto's eye is the wooden box by one of the beds. It's condition is far better than everything around it, with the wood old and peeling rather than a loose collection of splinters like everything else.
"Go on," Dakki urges from behind him. "If it stands out, that usually means it's worth looking at. Just be careful for traps."
"Traps?" Naruto asks, stepping closer and carefully running his kunai along the sides of the box for a trip-wire of some sort. When he finds none, he taps the box with a finger, listening closely for the sound of anything springloaded.
"Yes, it's always wise to check," The cyborg nods.
Then without warning something wriggling drops off the underside of the ancient wooden table in the middle of the room with a shrill shriek.
Naruto jumps up and away from the box he was inspecting, then whips his kunai at the noise on pure reflex, sending the knife whistling through the air.
The little wiggling thing is speared right in the middle, and goes still with a final whispering exhale.
The blonde brings his hand to his chest to try and calm his suddenly racing heart, missing Dakki's vaguely approving look. Naruto steps closer to see the thing he killed in the dark room. When he can finally see it, it's a...
"...Big grasshopper?" He wonders aloud, looking at the forearm-sized insect pinned to the ground by the kunai. The huge thing is unmoving and its marble-sized eyes are glassy in death. "[Observe]!"
Level 5 Insect Monster
A locust of mammoth size. While a single specimen is visually frightening and has a nasty bite, it's no threat to a full-grown man. A swarm, however, is a different story. These insects move in swarms of 50 to 250, but larger swarms are not unheard of. When several are working in tandem, they can devour a human in less than 2 minutes.
"E-Eat a human in less than two minutes?" Naruto's eyes bug out. "This thing is only level 5?!"
"It's just a bug," Dakki rolls his eyes. "Trust me. In the coming years, you'll wish you were fighting these things. Now keep your wits-"
Another locust drops from under the table with a screech, it's wings flared and already flapping at full speed towards the pair of Players.
Dakki's katana leaves it's sheath in a flash of steel that Naruto can barely follow, bisecting the flying bug with a spray of green ichor.
Naruto flinches when the bits of locust pass by either side of him and splatter on the ground. The top half of the insect squirms for a moment, but the remaining sliver of its HP bar drains and it goes still.
"-About you. Now, your treasure?" Dakki cleans his sword with a flick and sheathes it again, falling from his stance into a relaxed posture.
The boy turns back to the box with narrow eyes. Before anything else, he gives it a kick, and when no more locusts pop out, he lifts the lid on it and peers inside to find...
...A few ryo bills and a pair of plain, dusty fingerless gloves.
"Oh man, all that build-up for this?" Naruto grumbles, reaching inside and taking his 'spoils'.
Found: 1000 ryo.
Found: Sackcloth Gloves
The money is promptly sucked into his Inventory, but Naruto can't help but scan the gloves with doubt.
Defense Rating: 1
A set of rough, primitive gloves. Itchy and none-too-comfortable, these gloves are only just better than bare skin.
"These things are just garbage!" Naruto growls, tossing the gloves back into the box. "You call this treasure?!"
For the first time today, Dakki's lips actually turn upward into the slightest of smirks. "Ah, starter loot. I don't miss it," he says, following when Naruto walks past and right back outside.
As he crosses the threshold back out in the sunny grassland, Naruto's danger sense tingles like a finger poking the back of his skull, and when he hears the buzz of insect wings, he jumps to the side.
A half second later, a monstrous locust dive bombs the spot his head occupied just a moment prior. The bug lands in the grass after it's miss, antennae twitching as it slowly turns around.
Naruto doesn't give it the chance and instead thrusts a hand out as his MP bar dips, launching a glowing golden chain tipped with a kunai spear-point out from his palm. The locust's wings flare open, but it's far too late to dodge.
The chain strikes with the speed of a viper, ripping the insect in half from the force and spilling green innards everywhere, but unlike the other two, the body of this one bursts into multicolored motes of light that lazily float away into the sky, leaving something else behind.
Scratching his head, Naruto bends down to the grass and lifts the things the bug left behind.
Found: 500 ryo
Found: Common Chitin x1
"Common Chitin?" Naruto asks himself, silently casting [Observe].
E-tier Crafting Material
The shell of a common insect. Fair at turning aside edged attacks, but this brittle material is vulnerable to blunt-force and piercing attacks. Can be used in the creation of potions, medicines, weapons, or armors.
"Potions, medicines, weapons, or armors, huh?" Naruto rolls the bits of the locust shell in his hand before opening his Inventory and depositing it and the 500 ryo bill inside.
"Don't worry so much about crafting yet," Dakki supplies gruffly. "Laura will get you started on that." His dark eyes move to something behind the younger Player. "Oh, and behind you."
"Huh?" Naruto blinks when he feels something touch his back.
"Gah!" The boy jumps when tiny jaws cut right through his jumpsuit and dig into his back. He flails, but can't dislodge the attacker before he's bitten again for another 80 HP. Above him, there are two more shrieks and the sound of beating insect wings, so he brings his fingers up into an ever more familiar cross shape. "[Kage Bunshin]!"
A trio of Naruto clones materialize behind the original in plumes of smoke, and the middle-most clone wastes no time in drawing a kunai from his holster and swiping it through the attacker on the first Naruto's back.
With a weak chitter, a bisected locust falls from the genin's back and onto the ground. A second later, it dissolves into motes of light that float away, leaving behind a pair of 500 ryo notes.
One Naruto clone can't move fast enough before one of the two locusts flying above dives down and latches onto his face. The clone can barely scream before a bite to the face depletes his meager HP and dispels him. The offending man-eater falls to the grass without a face to stand on, disoriented.
The last clone is quick to duck the other locust, following the bug's flight with careful eyes. The Naruto reaches out with a hand and fires a spear-tipped chain at the flying pest. The much faster chain runs the bug through, killing it instantly. A half-second later, the clones dispels in a poof of smoke, his MP totally drained from firing the [Adamantine Sealing Chain]
Before the locust that claimed a clone can spread its wings and fly again, the original Naruto lashes out with a front kick that removes the bug's head from its body.
[Adamantine Sealing Chains] is now Level 16!
[Kage Bunshin] is now Level 19!
Naruto dismisses the messages and takes a deep breath to try and control his racing heart. "Why didn't you help me?" Naruto turns to Dakki with an ugly look as he rubs his back. Already his HP is mostly regenerated.
"Are you seriously bellyaching about me not helping you with bugs?" Dakki asks with a raised brow. "They barely did a hundred damage each."
Naruto and the remaining clone both flush red and turn away. After dismissing his clone, the Players continue on to the domed ruin.
Along the way, more locusts accost them, but the now wary Naruto has his chains ready to be called at any moment and shoots ten of the bugs down for a pleasing 3,000 EXP before they can even get close. Of the ten, four of them drop a combined total of 2,500 ryo. He even gets a point of END for using the MP intensive chains over and over.
Three more accessible ruins are raided but yield worthless items like a Sackcloth Cape, a small, unbalanced copper knife with less attack rating than a common kunai, and an empty potion bottle. Regardless, Naruto stores them away.
The closer to the center of the ancient village they get, the larger and more ornate the stone dwellings become. Many are still totally inaccessible due to being totally collapsed, but when Naruto and Dakki find one with a mostly unblocked entrance, the boy can't help but dart inside hoping for something interesting.
As his eyes adjust to the dark, Naruto stops, his stomach suddenly filled with ice at the sight before him.
The ruin is obviously a home like all the ones raided before, but unlike the others, this one isn't barren. The same rotted creature comforts like beds, rugs, furniture, a worn wooden chest, and a crumbled fireplace are here, but so are a myriad of skeletons.
Human skeletons, in simple but tattered clothes, whose clean bones are covered in nicks and marks like they were picked clean by tiny, chewing jaws. They lay around in different spots of the room, filling the ruin with the vague stench of decay. One of the skeletons has its arms wrapped around a much smaller one, as if shielding the smaller form. Both are still and peaceful in death.
With a gulp, Naruto steps around the remains, keeping a watchful eye on them lest they hide any locusts.
Behind him, Dakki walks in and carelessly kicks any bones in his way aside with a loud clatter, drawing a wince from Naruto.
"Hey! Be careful!" The blonde genin yells with a frown. "You didn't need to be all disrespectful like that when we're already grave robbing the place!"
The man levels Naruto with an unamused look. "Get over yourself. If you have a problem with me kicking aside some bones, then enjoy dungeon-crawling alone. Countless people in the guild gladly pickpocket fresh bodies and rip apart tombs for treasure."
"..." Naruto doesn't answer for a moment, glancing over to the chest in the corner with a skeleton leaning against it. "Everyone in the guild is like that?"
"Players are just like that in general," Dakki corrects, tapping his foot. "Archie in particular is a klepto who steals everything not nailed down. If it makes you feel any better, there is a very real chance these aren't real bodies, but props The Game put here to make everything look authentic. Now look around and let's leave already."
The knowledge that the bones around them may not be real doesn't help much, but nonetheless Naruto steps over a skeleton and slowly prys open the unlocked lid of the chest in the corner, careful not to knock over the pile of bones sitting by it. The hinge opens with a creak, and when he looks inside, Naruto finds...
Found: 1200 ryo
Found: Copper Dagger
...Some money and another crappy knife.
With a sigh, he tosses the money in his Inventory and rolls the knife around in his hands. It's a simple clip-point blade on an unfinished wooden handle, and to top it all off the blade is crooked. It's more a tool than a weapon.
Naruto turns after tossing the knife in his Inventory and promptly trips over a bone.
"Gahh! Oof!" He hits the dirt floor and throws up a cloud of dust that burns his lungs and eyes, making him cough and chipping away a tiny sliver of his HP. When the dust clears, Naruto finds himself on his back staring up at an amused Dakki.
"What are you smirking at?" Naruto crosses his arms as he lay on the grounds
The man just turns away, his lips rising a little more.
The blonde ninja rolls to his side to stand, but stops when he spies something glinting under one of the rotted beds. Curious, he reaches under it and wraps his fingers around something cold and metallic. With the clatter of metal on metal, Naruto pulls the thing out from under the ancient wooden bedframe and stands up to inspect it in the light.
Scaled Bronze Chest Plate
D-tier Torso Armor
Defense Rating: 150
The chestplate of a young warrior of old. Interlocking scales of bronze on a leather cuirass makes for medium-weight protection from slashing and stabbing attacks to vital points. The flexible nature of scale armor means only minor concessions to mobility.
"And here is where you learn to look everywhere, not just the obvious spots," Dakki comments as Naruto admires the armor in the low light. "Loot in great, ornate containers that are locked and guarded can be worthless just as something interesting can be found under a dusty bed. Remember that."
With a grin, Naruto opens his Inventory. Off to the side where his armor slots are, he drops his new armor into the chest area, and when the prompt asking him what layer he wants the armor to be worn at pops up, he puts it over his undershirt, but under his jacket. Like magic, the armor materializes with a quiet jingle, perfectly fitted to him. The genin shifts on his feet, finding the added weight manageable. "It's probably not great for stealth, but this scale stuff should be fine for fighting bugs, right?" He looks over to the older Player.
Dakki nods. "Indeed. Don't fall into the trap of trying to have one loadout that is good at everything. Not only is that stupid, it just does not work. You have nigh unlimited carrying space, so a few sets of equipment is a smart idea."
After pushing aside his discomfort at the thought of moving bodies, Naruto shifts a few of the skeletons around and looks behind the furniture for anything of interest, but it looks as if the armor was the only worthwhile thing. With the room scoured, he leaves the ruin with Dakki trailing a few steps behind.
The domed building is less than a hundred meters out now, and Naruto, overcome by eagerness, races forward with a grin. Behind him, his cyborg party member just sighs and speeds up to keep pace. The pair run along a cobblestone path leading to the front entrance of the large ruin, which is open considering the wooden doors have long since rotted off the hinges.
Naruto skids to a stop before the entrance of the building, looking around at the eroded and crumbling statues that flank the entrance. Wind and water have weathered the stone statues down to the point of being just vaguely humanoid, making it impossible to tell what they were. The bases of the statues have copper plates discolored with a deep green patina adhered to the front. "Is this a temple or something? There doesn't seem to be much else here..." Naruto wonders aloud, wiping at the copper plaque on the nearest statue. A crusty layer of grime and patina come free, but the writing on the plate is still illegible.
"Possible," Dakki looks around at the outside of the supposed temple, but Naruto can spot nothing but plain stone as he follows the man's gaze. "Old cults and religious sects like wasted space, after all," he says with a scoff, waving a hand at all the open land around the outside of the temple.
After [Observe]ing one of the copper plates on the statues only to get nothing useful in return, Naruto hums in thought and turns to the entrance of the huge temple, hesitating slightly when he notices the inside is pitch black. "The best treasure is normally in places like this, right?"
"Usually," Dakki comments, stepping up to the statue Naruto is looking at. The man's eyes shine for a split second as he looks at the copper plaque. "Hero Blaytina, who gave his life to stem the flood." Dakki quietly reads. "Now, whether it was a literal flood or something else would be nice to know."
Naruto blinks and looks between the statue and Dakki. "You can read this? When I used [Observe], it was just gibberish."
"Keep leveling up [Observe], then," The cyborg sniffs. "Also, The Game doesn't tell you, but [Observe] scales up based on your intelligence. Be aware of that." He gestures inward to the darkness of the temple. "Let's hurry this up."
With a gulp, Naruto takes point and slowly walks into the darkened maw of the stone monolith. As he passes the threshold, which is large enough for a person ten times his size, the boy is assaulted by a sudden chill.
High above on the ceiling, where the dome of the building sits, stone grumbles and groans as small, slotted windows in the dome open, moved my unseen mechanisms. The sunlight outside pours in, illuminating the room.
Naruto gasps and Dakki's eyes narrow.
The entire temple is revealed to be a single grand chamber, with the ceiling standing well over a hundred feet upward, supported by two rows of pillars running lengthwise from one end of the room to the other. Rotted tapestries decorate the walls, motheatten and barely more the scraps. On the far end of the temple, a raised pedestal stands, and collapsed around it are the remains of a titanic statue like the ones outside.
"No big monsters?" Naruto questions aloud. "Huh, this'll be easy!"
Dakki groans and pinches the bridge of his nose with a finger and thumb. "Damn it all, kid. Way to tempt fate."
Just as he says that the entryway behind both he and Naruto shimmers with a bright light and the sound of glass breaking in reverse, making both Players whirl around to watch. When the light fades, a barrier of light bars the way out.
"Hey! What gives!?" Naruto runs to the wall of light and gives it an experimental kick, only for it to hold fast. "Did we just get trapped in here?!" He turns to Dakki.
The man's eyes just narrow a little more. "One of these, eh?" He ignores Naruto's question, making the blonde fume. "Get ready, boy. I've got a bad feeling," the cyborg reaches a hand out, opening his inventory and dropping his katana inside. He reaches into his coat and draws a curious L-shaped device Naruto has never seen before, but Dakki holds it with both hands in obvious familiarity.
"Get ready for what?" Naruto blinks. Then he hears it.
Wings. Insect wings.
From the open windows in the dome, countless Maneater Locusts surge in and hover above like a cloud. The drone of their wings in the enclosed temple drowns out everything. Naruto clutches his ears with a reflexive cry, but the sound is lost in the buzz of the locusts.
Then the locusts descend down on the broken statue.
They cover the stone in a wave of green and brown, and to Naruto's slowly growing fear, they begin to pull the statue back together.
In what seems like no time at all, the statue, it's limbs and body held together by writhing locusts working in tandem, begins to rise. Great stone hands articulated by green and brown bodies plant themselves on the ground as cracked stone feet find purchase and stand.
Up and up and up the stone giant rises, until it stands as mighty as a Konoha oak. The stone face of the monster, a man's head set in a stern frown, stares down at the Players damningly.
Naruto takes a step back with his eyes wide and full of terror. "W-What the hell is that thing!"
Dodoma, Locust Colossus
Level 15 Boss Monster
A monstrosity borne from the gluttony of the Man-Eater Locusts. Dodoma, the collective will of the locust swarm, sought to consume all in times long past. The beast could be pacified by the willing sacrifice of an entire season's harvest, seasoned with the flesh of a human. Each year, the people living under its will toiled in the fields so they might feed both themselves and the beast. At the end of the season, just after the harvest, one heroic person would give everything to stem the flood of Dodoma.
"That, kid, is the boss monster," Dakki brings his weapon up to bear with a scowl. "Here it comes."
The giant takes a single crashing step forwards, shaking the entire temple.
(SAVING... DO NOT TURN OFF GAME...)
Name: Uzumaki Naruto
Level 13 Genin of the Hidden Leaf (+10% to all Leaf Shinobi rep gains)
EXP: 6,800/9,100 EXP
Money: 30,470 Ryo
Available stat points: 5
Gamer's Body: Translates bodily damage to HP. HP, MP, and most debuffs are fully restored after 4+ hours of sleep in a secure, comfortable area.
Gamer's Mind: Grants EX-tier mind control resistance, grants A-tier illusion resistance.
Uzumaki Heritage: +5 END, +5 VIT, and +200 MP per level. Regenerate 0.1% HP per minute. +200% [Fuinjutsu] skill gain. Grants [Adamantine Sealing Chains] skill.
Kyuubi Jinchuuriki: +300 MP per level. Regenerate 0.1% MP per second. Regenerate 0.2% HP per minute until full when HP drops below 50% Grants A-tier poison and disease resistance. Negates muscle atrophy. Grants skill-set [Biju]. -50% to all (Konoha Civilian) Rep gains unless (Friend) or higher.
Sort by: Relevancy
[Observe] - Lvl 7 | 220MP | Magic
Take in all the details of an object before your eyes, divining it's true nature and history. Higher levels will glean more details and reduce the casting cost.
[Surface Cling] - Lvl 17 | 20MP | Ninjutsu
Circulate MP through your skin and into an object in a looping pattern to cling to it. Can be used to scale sheer surfaces and keep an ironclad grip on objects. Higher levels reduce wasted MP and count towards leveling up [Basic Chakra Control]. Costs 20MP to cast + 20MP upkeep per min.
[Kawarimi] - Lvl 14 | 10MP | Ninjutsu
Warp space and instantly swap places with a similar sized object within 14 meters to avoid danger. Higher levels increase range and increase object size tolerance.
[Henge (false)] - Lvl 1 | 20MP | Ninjutsu
Place a thin shell of chakra around yourself, taking on the appearance of someone else or a similar sized object. Higher levels make the illusion less likely to be detected and more durable. 2 MP upkeep per minute.
[Henge (true)] - Lvl 22 | 600MP | Ninjutsu (Macro: Oiroke no jutsu)
Transmogrify your entire body into something else. Higher levels allow more radical changes and reduces casting cost. 50 MP upkeep per minute.
[Kage Bunshin] - Lvl 19 | Variable MP cost | Ninjutsu
Create solid clones of yourself with 1/98th of your base HP. MP used is divided equally among desired clone amount. (Minimum 100MP per clone). Clones will return their memory and any gathered EXP to the user upon death. Higher levels reduce casting cost and increase clone HP.
[Killing Intent] - Lvl 6 | Variable MP cost | Ninjutsu
Project your desire to do harm upon others as a form of unblockable psychic wave, causing (Fear) or other debuffs depending on potency and target. Can be infused with up to 60 MP to increase effect.
[Adamantine Sealing Chains] - Lvl 16 | Variable MP cost | Kekkei Genkai
Spawn great, spear-tipped chains from any point on the body to use as weapons. The chains seal Biju chakra and act as conduits for [Fuinjutsu] and [Ninjutsu]. Higher levels reduce casting cost and increase chain strength. Costs 165 MP per meter of chain per minute.
[Biju Cloak] - Lvl 1 | LOCKED
Cloak yourself in the malevolent chakra of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, increasing STR, DEX, END, and VIT by 100%, but reducing INT and CHA by 50%. Fills (Corruption Meter) when used, and when the meter is full, user takes rapid HP damage. Higher levels increase bonuses and reduce penalties. Unlock condition: Form (Neutral) or better relationship with Kyuubi no Kitsune.
Sort by: Relevancy
[Konoha Academy Taijutsu] - Lvl MAX
A basic set of fighting principles meant to allow students to grow into their own fighting style. +5% poise and +5% unarmed damage. Transmigration Skill
[Beginner Shurikenjutsu] - Lvl 2
The ascended version of [Basic Shurikenjutsu]. +7% to throwing weapon accuracy and damage. Allows knife-like weapons other than kunai to be thrown with only a minor penalty
[Beginner Fuinjutsu] - Lvl 15
The ascended version of [Basic Fuinjutsu] Allows for the creation and dismantling of low level seals. User can glean more about seals using context learned from similar seals. +6% to seal creation, identification, and dismantling.
[Basic Chakra Control] - Lvl 8
The art of controlling one's chakra (MP). This skill works in conjunction with INT to lower casting costs for [Ninjutsu]. Current bonus: -4% casting cost for all skills.
[Beginner Lockpicking] - Level 19
The ascended version of [Basic Lockpicking] Allows for the picking and understanding of lower level locks. -24% time needed to pick mundane locks without security measures.
[Journeyman Stealth] - Lvl 29
The ascended version of [Amateur Stealth]. Allows the user to hide from detection, even from higher level foes with special sensory abilities. +172% chance to not be detected by a pursuer. +169% sneak attack damage. Adds bonus from current attire compared to the surrounding area. Current attire stealth bonus: -90%
[Adept Trap Making] - Lvl 14
The ascended version of [Journeyman Trap Making]. Allows successful creation of multistage traps with advanced mechanical components and volatile substances. +205% trapmaking speed, +205% trap laying speed, +205% trap damage, x2 chance of trap debuff, allows substitution of missing components with alternatives, targets are less likely to notice traps.