Next to the wooden buildings in which the players were first taught the basics of their class was an open space. This one's air was nothing but normal as it had an orange hue to it. If one focused, they could see orange particles blinking and ascending the air currents. The place was surrounded by magical runic symbols, carved on the ground. These symbols glowed a brighter orange, showing any passer-by their might.
In the middle of the magical circle, a man held his sword with two hands. His eyes were closed and his breath even. He was at peace with his surrounding, almost merging with the air around him. Suddenly, his eyes opened, eyes of a beast which awakened. He slashed, a trailing green afterimage emerged, and then there was nothing.
A sharp whistle permeated the open place, showing the slash's might and speed.
Taking a deep breath out, Shesmu looked at the top of his vision. His energy bar of 70 quickly filled back to 100. The reason for this fast regeneration speed was the magic circle that surrounded him. This was set in place for new generation warriors to get used to their new skills.
Four out of attempted five… I guess it's not too bad for a start.
He attempted Empowered Slash Cancel five times, only to succeed in four. This was already a very impressive feat, as anyone who learned this high-level technique for the first time would have trouble even reaching a 20% success rate, forget about Shesmu's 80%. But to him, this was still not enough. To reach the level he had in his past life, mastering Empowered Slash Cancel was but walking the first step to the Stairway of Heaven.
Shesmu was deep in his thoughts when he felt someone touch the back of his left shoulder.
"Hey excuse me…"
Hearing the voice behind his back, Shesmu turned around to see who was talking to him. Suddenly, an illusion bewitched him. Red hair, orange eyes, clear and happy but mature face. The image of the person in front of him superposed with one from his memory.
"Leo.," Shesmu muttered.
To his almost inaudible whisper, the teenager in front of him was surprised and asked.
"Excuse me… That's my name but… Do you know who I am…?"
At that moment the illusion stopped. The mature face of Leo that he had in memory turned into a much younger version of itself. The dauntless posture that Leo always had turned more timid and shy.
To think that he would be here too. This face, this voice, I can never forget it even in a thousand year. You are definitely the Leo I know.
Shesmu's serious looking eyes turned softer in a second. He made contact with Leo's eyes and declared.
"You have such a "Leo" looking face, so it just came out of my mouth like that. Haha! You know, your orange eyes and red hair. You have a lion aura around you, so that's why the first thing I thought of when I saw you was "Leo". Y'know… Leo, lion, that stuff…"
Shesmu had to go out of his comfort zone and start talking a lot to explain things to Leo. They were best friends in his past life, and he didn't want to start off the wrong foot this time around. So, even though it was exhausting for him to talk this much for something as simple, he did it anyway.
To his declaration, Leo was surprised. For a second, he didn't know what to say, but in the end, he just laughed it off.
"So it's like that I see. I mean my inspiration comes from that one game a friend of mine used to play. I didn't think it was that fitting! Hahaha!" Hearing Leo's hearty laughter brought a gentle smile to Shesmu's face. But knowing that he shouldn't be too gentle and pushy when this was the first time they met in this new life, Shesmu turned a little bit more serious.
"So, is there anything I could help you with?" Shesmu questioned. He did think that it was fortunate for him to meet Leo this early in the game. But it's not as if Leo already knew Shesmu or anything and just came to say hi, there must be something that pushed Leo to come to Shesmu.
"Oh, about that. Hmm, how do I say this? I have seen your shadow in the tutorial training room, and your skills with the sword were awesome! Plus now that I could see you clearly, I know that you're some sort of pro. I understand that this is weird for me to say this, but could you please team up with us for the next tutorial phase?"
If it was anyone other than Shesmu, they might have been confused with this question. What teaming up? Was this phase supposed to have teams in it? No one told Shesmu anything about this information, so how could he know? But Shesmu knew that there would be teams for the second phase of the tutorial due to his past life.
But that's circumstances that are specific to me. How does he know this information? Maybe… Is he also from the future?!
Shesmu had to know. It wasn't far fetched for someone else to come from the future. He didn't think that he was this main protagonist of a series where every miracle happens to him and only him.
"Teams? I didn't know that we will be able to party up in this tutorial. No one told me about that, how did you know?" Shesmu asked.
To his question, Leo scratched his head for a second thinking before just laughing and answering.
"Well, a friend of mine went and asked around to find more information about the tutorial. You know, to see if it could be safely skipped… Actually, before that, let me check something. Do you know how to access your inventory?"
Well, wouldn't I be damned if I don't even know how to do that? Ahh! I will never get used to this!
As Shesmu lamented in his heart the inconveniences that come from going to the past. He didn't let his face betray him as he kept an everlasting smile.
"Yes, after I talked with the receptionist, I checked around to see what I can access. I did find my inventory." Shesmu answered. Even though what he said was a lie, it was a white one so he didn't feel bad about it. However, he did complain in his heart about this whole situation that made him lie to his friend.
Ahh, I would have never imagined that I would be put in this kind of situation…
"Oh, so you do know what's in there?" At Leo's question, Shesmu's heart rate sped up.
Shit, I need to check it fast. Who the heck even asks about the starting materials in the inventory?!
Shesmu focused on the plus sign next to his hp bar, and then automatically opened the inventory tab.
"Oh yeah, I do know. 10 bread, 20 bottles of water, a beginner chest and 10 coppers, right?"
As he was looking through his inventory, Shesmu's mouth didn't stand still. He just bought time with some "hmm"s and "Ah"s, before he started spitting out what was in his inventory.
"Yeah, that's the same as everyone. Well, my friend just put those 10 coppers to good use if you know what I mean, and brought us this information. Haha." Leo awkwardly laughed as he recited his friend's shady behavior.
To this confession, Shesmu just laughed and consoled.
"Well, isn't that an interesting friend you have there. Plus, for both of you to end up in the same town, isn't that lucky?"
"Yeah, we were lucky… Before entering the game, we did check out the map of Ashes of Gods on the website and decided on which city to go to. We've been fan of Omega9's games for a long time, and now that they created this new gen capsule with time dilation technology, we couldn't help but ride the hype train. Hahaha!"
Seeing Leo jumping topics, Shesmu could feel the latter's love for the game. It put a smile on his face. He then declared.
"Well, let's go see this friend of yours, maybe he has some more interesting information. Plus, you guys seem like an interesting bunch, so I don't mind tagging with you."
Hearing Shesmu's confirmation, Leo almost jumped out of joy. He then took the lead as he showed the way for Shesmu.