As Shesmu and Leo made their way towards the latter's mysterious friend, they chatted and talked about their past.
"So, Leo, what game were you playing before jumping onto Ashes of Gods? You talked before about Omega9 games." Shesmu then thought for a bit before guessing. "Wait, don't tell me yet. You were maining Hero's Journey Last Stand before this one right?"
"Haha, close. I did play Last Stand. It was one of the most enjoyable games I have played for the last two years. But I didn't main it. Actually, I don't think I ever had a main game. I always enjoy playing multiple games at the same time and I can't seem to stick with one. But if I were to choose which game I had put in the most hours the past few years, I'd say Demon's Heart."
At the mention of Demon's Heart, Shesmu heart skipped a beat.
Oh, I didn't know about this one. To think that both I and Leo had the same roots. Also, now that I think about it, Seth too…
Shesmu tried his best not to show his inner thoughts as he masked his surprised expression with a smiling one almost instantly.
"Oh, Demon's Heart. That was a pretty cool game. The combat in it was especially intense, but the last gen capsule made some parts lamer, you know… But yeah, I liked it too."
"Oh, you played it too? I guess that's to be expected. It was pretty popular, and it still dominates the MMO scene to a certain extent. I guess that you were pretty high up the rankings in that game too. Seeing how skillful you are with the sword. I'm sorta jealous."
At Leo's declarations, Shesmu just scratched his head and laughed awkwardly.
"Something like that. Hahaha"
"Well… I left DepressedRyan here-"
"That's me!" Both Shesmu and Leo jumped in fright as they heard a voice behind their back.
Shesmu turned around only to see no one. He looked left and right before a cough woke him up.
Shesmu looked down only to see the disgruntled face of a teenager. The boy in front of him was one head shorter than him. Knowing that he might have offended him, Shesmu just laughed awkwardly and apologized.
Noticing the tense atmosphere between the two, Leo stepped in to break the ice.
"Well, let me introduce you both. This shorty right here is DepressedRyan-"
"Hey, who did you just call a shorty?! Wanna fight?!!" At DepressedRyan's outburst, Leo just laughed and apologized.
"Haha, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But enough of that, this is the guy that I told you about. His name… His name is…" As Leo was about to introduce Shesmu, he finally remembered a crucial problem. He never asked for Shesmu's name!
"Wait, you went in, met with the guy, but never asked for his name? How much more of an airhead can you be?" Sighing at his friend's antics, DepressedRyan reached out for a handshake with Shesmu as he said.
"Name's DepressedRyan, nice to meet you."
Shesmu shook DepressedRyan's hand, as he acknowledged the greeting.
"It's nice to meet you too. My name is Shesmu."
At Shesmu's response, DepressedRyan had a big grin on his face. He then turned towards Leo and greeted him with a smug face.
"See, it wasn't so hard." He then jumped at Leo's head and scratched his hair.
"You're so tall and big, yet you're still afraid of talking to people? Why don't you give me some of that tallness? Haha!"
"Stop, that hurts." Seeing that DepressedRyan will not stop his antics, Leo grabbed him with both hands "I told you to stop!" He then tackled him onto the ground, leaving DepressedRyan in a comical state of pain. Leo then stood up and scratched his head as he looked at Shesmu.
"I'm sorry for what you had to see. He is always like this."
Shesmu was indeed surprised by how lively DepressedRyan was.
Makes you think how did he end up with such a name.
"Haha, no worries, no worries. It's no problem at all, in fact, I like it better this way." Shesmu laughed. He did like it better this way. The livelier and more outgoing the people next to him were, the farther he can stay away from depressive thoughts.
As Shesmu made his stance, DepressedRyan stood up in one jump, a proud smile covering his face.
"See, even Shesmu like me better this way. You should stop being so grumpy and put a smile on your face. Maybe that way you can finally get a girlfriend."
After teasing Leo a bit, DepressedRyan finally turned serious.
"But we can leave that for later. For now, we need to plan for the second phase of the tutorial."
As DepressedRyan became serious, Leo stopped himself from scolding him. He just looked at Shesmu and said.
"First, I guess we need to explain to you the situation."
"Oh, so you still haven't explained to him what will happen in the second phase?"
"Well, yeah. You can explain that better since you were the one who went and did all of that shady stuff."
At Leo's explanation, DepressedRyan just laughed.
"Hah, what shady stuff do you mean? I just went to the guard and asked him nicely about that beginning forest stuff. Then I just put those 10 coppers to good use and let the magic happen. He became happy, I was happy, and everything was good. You can't find such win-win deals even in the nicest places, you hear me?"
Shesmu was surprised by DepressedRyan's shamelessness. Turning white into black, and black into united nation blue was as easy as flipping his hand. Shesmu felt respect for such skills.
"But that's past stories, let's talk about the really cool stuff. This second phase is about using the skills we learned to survive through the dangers of the forest and reach the tower of might. From here we can't see it because of the ridiculously large trees, but once we go outside, you'll see it. From what I heard it's pretty tall and you can see it from anywhere in the forest.
"The weapons that we'll be getting is from the beginner's chest. Once we open that, we'll receive the beginner set including weapon, armor and all that jazz. We'll also get some pills, but the guard didn't want to talk about their use. He said that I'll know about them when I'll need to or something like that. But leaving that aside, the most important information that the guard gave me is this: There are treasures in the Forest of Beginning."