As Raine purred to Pufflewink, I worried that she might fall asleep before we even headed off, but Raine merely yawned and started on her way. Cosette and I quickly followed on our characters.
Listening to Raine ramble on about the different types of materials we might find was priceless. She was obviously quite excited at the prospect of getting any of them. “Eternite”, a stone harder than any steel, was my favorite of the possibilities, since she’d be able to craft a new type of forge which would grant bonuses on all things she crafted or repaired at it. “Stardust” was actually a possibility. Stardust was an irradiated mineral that could be used for many types of fire enchantments on weapons. “Celestine” was a metal that granted “heavenly properties” to any items forged with it.
There were so many times I was tempted to ask Aaliyah for spoilers, but I wasn’t going to give into that temptation, not with how unfair that would be to other players. Running the largest guild on the server, I had considerable impact on the world with everything I did already. If I started using spoilers to boost my guild further, the other guilds would be left too far behind, spoiling the fun for everyone.
“Are you two ready for this?” I asked as we reached the edge of the civilized area.
“Of course.” insisted Cosette.
I heard Raine take a deep breath and looked over to see her nodding. Had she been out this far even since the beginning?
The wilderness of Ancient Tribes of Earth could be a dangerous place with such a small group. The farther from civilization one adventured, the more dangerous the creatures that would lurk around.
We hadn’t traveled very far when a group of goblins set upon us. I easily incinerated them on sight.
“T-that was… t-that was kinda… m-mean.” mumbled Raine.
“Huh? They were going to attack us.” I replied.
“B-but w-what if… if t-they w-wanted to… to t-talk.” she suggested.
“I’ve never seen goblins wanting to talk before, and we need to be careful.” I insisted.
She huddled down more in her chair, not looking very happy.
“I’m sorry. I’ll try talking first next time.” I assured her.
Cosette was doing her best not to laugh, which was somewhat disturbing to see. Her lips had vanished entirely. The idea of altering one’s own body in such a way was bizarre to me, but I kind of envied the ability. Having seen Cosette turn into a bear in real life made me wonder how it felt. Could a person sleep more comfortably as a bear?
We pressed onward, eventually encountering another group of goblins. I dodged their first couple attacks while trying to speak with them quite unsuccessfully when I heard something strange coming from Raine’s mouth.
“Whoa. You actually speak goblin?” asked Cosette, having a mouth again.
I caught Raine nodding out of the corner of my eye as I continued avoiding attacks. Surprisingly, several of the goblins stopped to scratch their heads, staring at Nekopawpaw, Raine’s character. Some dialogue was exchanged between Nekopawpaw and one of them.
“T-they… t-they…” muttered Raine. “w-want to eat us.”
“I guess we kill them first then.” I stated, preparing to strike.
“N-no!” exclaimed Raine. “I-I’m g-giving them food… i-instead.”
“Oh. Sorry.” I told her.
After the exchange was made, most of the goblins cautiously backed away. One little fellow lunged at Nekopawpaw though. I panicked, knowing my character wasn’t that fast even though I was.
I found myself staring, replaying what just happened in my mind. Nekopawpaw had stepped backward, drawn out a giant smithing hammer, and bonked the goblin on the head midair. Stars swirled around its head, indicating the creature was dazed.
“B-bad goblin.” rebuked Raine.
“How did you learn to speak goblin?” asked Cosette.
“T-the l-library. M-most languages c-can be f-found there.” she explained. “Aalilyah t-told me. H-her c-character always t-talks her way out of t-things.”
“I honestly had assumed that was just some GM ability.” I admitted, watching warily as the goblin stood and ran off.
“N-no. I-I’ll get b-better.” insisted Raine.
“I’m sure you will.” I assured her.
“Know any of the other rare languages?” asked Cosette.
“All t-that are in the g-guild library.” mumbled Raine.
Looking impressed, Cosette said, “Whoa. You’ve been busy. Mind showing me sometime?”
“I-I’ll g-glady show you.” replied Raine with a smile.
“Mila, how many books on languages are stored in our guild library?” I asked.
“Three hundred and one, master. I would be happy to teach them to you.” she replied.
“Not right now.” I told her.
“Three hundred and one!? That’s crazy!” exclaimed Cosette with a grin. “And they’re really full languages?”
“Y-yes.” stated Raine.
At the same time, Mila said, “Of course. What else would you expect from mother? Her father is a linguist, you know. I will warn you that their use in everyday life will be slightly cumbersome, since she created no words for things that are not found outside of the game. Some of the languages are limited even within the game. Goblins, for example, have no word for ‘door’. They don’t use doors, make doors, or care about doors, so they never bothered with naming it.”
“Aww… I still feel we could have fun with it.” insisted Cosette.
“I should also warn you that learning the language yourself doesn’t count as your character learning it.” explained Mila. “If you were to speak goblin as Raine did, your words will sound like nonsense to those around you unless your character has the skill.”
“Why did you offer to teach me then?” I asked.
“Because you know I’m far better than a book, master.” she teased.
Cosette giggled and said, “Who can argue with that?”
I certainly wasn’t willing to try. We continued farther and farther into the wilderness, letting Raine talk down numerous creatures on the way. Though even Raine couldn’t talk to giant frogs we encountered near a river, she actually didn’t complain about killing them. She did, however, insist on us killing them without magic, since she wanted their meat for cooking.
Hours after we set out on our journey, we were finally getting close. Seeing what was ahead, I wanted to turn back. The land was corrupted precisely like what had happened when demons entered the world.
“We’re so close though! Can’t we just be careful?” asked Cosette.
“We can try, but we’re goners if we encounter the creature. This might be the one that escaped last summer.” I told her.
“Wasn’t playing yet. How bad was it?” she asked.
“The guild formed to fight them, and every last one of us died during the last battle, trying to fight two demons at once. We did manage to kill one of them though.” I explained.
“What!? How much of the guild was there?” she asked.
“Over twenty thousand members.” I stated. “Ancient Tribes of Earth somehow manages full army combat without crashing the server or causing low end PCs to freeze.”
“I kinda want to see this. That sounds so cool!” she exclaimed.
“Y-you d-didn’t have to d-do so many r-repairs for people.” muttered Raine.
“Oh. Yeah. I suppose we did make you a bit busier than normal even.” I admitted. “Sorry!”
“I d-don’t mind.” she replied.
“Let’s do this!” exclaimed Cosette, heading onward.
I sighed, hoping I didn’t lose all of my gear. Worse would be losing the traveling stone I carried. Even the loss of one would make conquering this demon harder. Following Cosette into the tainted lands, I felt we most certainly were having an adventure.