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Pixel Courage 5

I was no longer a silhouette. Sure enough, the guy staring at me was a white guy. I fiddled around with my looks a little bit more, then worked on my stats. I had 21 points to put in five stats: STRENGTH, DURABILITY, AGILITY, WIT, and CHARISMA.

Most of them were pretty self-explanatory. Strength affected how hard you were able to hit someone. Durability affected how many HP points you had, as well as how much you could use your magic before getting tired. Agility involved how quickly you could dodge out of the way of something.

Then there was Wit and Charisma.

Wit basically dictated how hard you had to work to solve a puzzle that’d been put before you. The smarter you were, the less points you needed in wit; you just had to solve harder puzzles.

Charisma dictated how much the NPCs liked you. I remembered it from the Alpha and Beta versions of the game. Low-Charisma players got shittier missions, but it wasn’t such a huge deal. The fact that it didn’t affect combat made it a weak Attribute, in my eyes.

A part of me was tempted to max out Durability, but that wasn’t even really possible. Every point you spent on Strength, Agility, Charisma, and Wit led to a point in that Attribute. But for Durability, you had to spend three points for every one point of Durability.

That was a pretty clear acknowledgement that Durability was important than anything else. Still, if I wanted an advantage over other players, I should try and be powerful in other areas.

Most players would focus on Strength and Durability, and I wanted to be competitive there. But my focus should be somewhere else, where it would still affect my fighting abilities.

For that reason, I put three points in Strength and nine in Durability. No points in Charisma and only one in Wit, because those Attributes were bullshit. Then I put eight points in Agility.

Satisfied with my character, I looked at the door on my right. Opened it, seeing nothing but darkness on the other side.

I walked through the door, and it brought me to another Waiting Screen.

“I’M AT MY BEST WHEN I FORGET THE ROSE SAGE, BUT THEN I REMEMBER AND IT HURTS ALL OVER AGAIN. IS THE PROBLEM THAT I FORGET? OR IS IT THAT I REMEMBER?”- THE THORN SAGE

The quote was a lot to digest. I didn’t really know what to make of it, and before I could give it too much thought, the game loaded.

— — —

Hustle and bustle of everyday life. The sun was beating down on me. A hulking green ogre pushed me out of the way. My first few seconds in the Thorn Sage’s kingdom proved a lot to take in at once, but that was a good thing. Things were so much less bleak and lonely here.

I was standing near the edge of a wall. In front of me was a bazaar — all sorts of people buying and trading stuff. Didn’t look like any players were there at the moment, but there were plenty of NPCs manning the booths.

At least I assumed they were NPCs. You couldn’t really distinguish between the two in-game, but I doubted Throne Quest gave you the option to run your own store.

That’s all I could use to distinguish NPCs from PCs, really: guessing games.

Someone else pushed me aside. A goblin, this time: short, purple little thing with gnarly skin and a dagger raised in the air. “Out of my way, white pork!”

White pork? I didn’t get the joke.

I looked at where the goblin was headed, in the direction of the wall. He was headed towards the gate. There was a stream of people going in that direction. Figured I’d better head there myself, but first I wanted to catch my bearings.

‘Catching my bearings,’ basically meant I was just standing there, dumbfounded. The graphics in the Alpha and Beta versions of the game had been absolutely shitty. But here everything was so clear and crisp.

I heard the boots of people running towards the gate. About six more players were making their way through.

I ran towards them, towards the gate. It was massive: set between the massive stone bricks which made up the walls on either side of it, the gate seemed more beautiful — a bit more ostentatious. It was a massive portcullis, with the bars having a gold finish.

Past the gate I found a mass of people — at least fifty, but maybe closer to one hundred — standing in a clump. There were a couple Yones off in the distance, but no one seemed to be paying them any attention.

Everyone was looking… somewhere.

I followed their line of sight and saw something in the distance, but it was little more than a blur: a speck in my vision that seemed to be in everyone else’s vision, too.

The speck grew closer.

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