Stage 5: Unnamed Village

After a week of finally leaving her little corner, Anthea had returned to the Vender NPC village. The village had no signs of heroes, but NPCs going about their business, which included creating items and selling items to NPCs getting ready for a quest programming. Anthea drove her cart through the busy people with a smile.

“Anthea!” called a familiar sing-song voice. Anthea turned to the right and saw a fellow male NPC, Kermit, running toward her from his stand. He had short, curly green hair and his clothes resembled Pongo’s clothes. Anthea stopped her cart and smiled at Kermit.

“Hello Kermit,” greeted Anthea. Kermit greeted back and glanced at her cart.

“I see that you finally returned from your Vender journey once again,” stated Kermit. Anthea nodded and stated, “It was quite enjoyable.” Kermit chuckled, but frowned when another voice called out Anthea’s name. This voice belonged to none other than: Pongo.

Pongo stood next to Kermit and stated, “I thought you would never leave that spot.” Anthea giggled saying, “I had to leave some time.”

Pongo nodded, but suddenly went into a glaring battle with Kermit. Anthea didn’t know why, but ever since the game got a mind of its own, Kermit and Pongo had become sworn enemies. She did ask them before why they fought, but none of them answered and just continued their rivalry. Anthea just accepted it as a daily occurrence.

Anthea smiled at the two getting their attention and stated, “I have to go see my father, so you two play nice.” With those words, she moved her cart forward leaving the two behind.

Anthea turned a corner and was greeted by a building of white. This house was made of stone unlike the other houses, which were made of oak wood. Anthea stopped her cart in the front and then leapt off. She opened the door of the house and then called out, “Father, I’m back.”

Inside the house, a man who looked more like a wise sage greeted Anthea with a smile as he stood before a black cauldron. Anthea closed the door behind her and ran up to her father, the old man at the cauldron. Anthea peeked into the cauldron and asked, “Are you making another elemental stone?”

“Not exactly. I decided to try making a stone to increase the power of alchemy.”

“Alchemy? That sounds amazing. The Alchemist Hero will pay high for that item.”

Her father nodded and added, “I just need to get it right.” Her father added a powder into the cauldron, but that caused the contents of the cauldron to burst and cover her father’s face in soot. He coughed a bit, while Anthea giggled in amusement.

Her father, Moogle, wiped the soot off his face and stated, “Remember that practice makes perfect.”

“Of course father,” stated Anthea. Moogle nodded, but then took notice of the Goddess Flower in her hair.

“Where did you get that?” asked Moogle. Anthea touched a petal of the flower with a light blush on her cheek.

“I bought it from Sky,” stated Anthea.

“Sky?”

“I mean the Swordsman,” stated Anthea quickly, but her blush was apparent in her face. Moogle raised an eyebrow at his daughter’s strange reaction, but then he let it go realizing that lots of things Anthea does is strange, even for an NPC.

Moogle continued to mix the contents in the cauldron and stated, “Go move your cart back in the warehouse and then head to the bakery. Jemima needs lots of help to make barley bread.” Anthea nodded and then ran out of the house leaving her father with his work.

Anthea had placed the cart back in the warehouse of Moogle’s place and then dismissed the horned donkey back into the wild. After doing so, she made her way back to the main market place of the village heading in the direction of the only bakery: Jemima’s Bakery, where all the healing items were made.

Anthea entered the bakery and was not at all surprised to see Jemima, a red haired NPC Vender, at the baking counter kneading five pounds of barely bread dough. Jemima, unlike other female NPCs, was huge for her size, but that gave her strength when it came to her cooking skills.

Jemima slammed her fist into the dough before finally taking notice of Anthea.

“Anthea dear, you’re finally back. Nice to see you dear.”

“I’m happy to see you too, Jemima,” stated Anthea and then stated, “Father mentioned that you needed help to make barley bread.”

“Oh I got the barley bread covered, but it would be nice to have the egg bread cooking. You know how much those heroes love egg bread, especially that conniving little Thief!”

Jemima’s fist slammed into the dough with such great force that the dough began to ripple from the force. Anthea giggled and asked, “Were you robbed again by the Thief when you went outside to sell?”

Jemima nodded and stated, “If it wasn’t for the programming on NPCs then I would have choked the life out of him.”

Jemima slammed her fist into the dough again and then smiled saying, “At least I have a stress reliever.” With that, Jemima pulled out a piece of dough and tossed it back hitting a picture of Hazel, the Thief, that was pinned to a dart board covered with knives and darts. Anthea had to wonder where Jemima managed to find a picture of Hazel.

Anthea tied an apron on herself and stated, “Well I’ll get the egg bread ready.”

“You’re such a dear,” stated Jemima happily before separating the dough into different loaves of barley bread.

Anthea went to a different counter and began to make the recipe for egg bread that recovered more than half the HP of the heroes when eaten. As Anthea kneaded the dough of the egg bread she began to wonder if Sky liked to eat egg bread. Just the thought made her heart race, but she had to face that a hero and an NPC were never meant to be, no matter how much the hero liked her…how much she liked him. Anthea could feel her heart race and began to knead the dough quickly making Jemima stare at Anthea with a bewildered look.

“Anthea dear, are you OK?” asked Jemima. Anthea nodded as she began to braid the bread, but Jemima noticed the blush on Anthea’s face and smirked.

“My, My; could it be…are you finally in love?” asked Jemima with eyes that sparkled in excitement. Anthea could feel her face getting hotter and stated, quickly, “It’s not true.”

“You are,” stated Jemima and then elbowed Anthea’s side playfully asking, “So who won your heart? Was it the ever shy Kermit or maybe Pongo the straight talker?”

Anthea’s face looked bewildered as she looked at Jemima.

“Are they the only choices?” asked Anthea. Jemima gasped, but there was still a smile on her face.

“None of those two? Then who swept you off your feet?” asked Jemima, the tone of her voice growing more excited as she spoke.

Anthea sighed looking away as she continued to braid the bread.

“I wouldn’t call it love. I see it as an admiration since he was the first to attempt to get to know me without even caring that I was an NPC.”

Jemima’s eyes widened and stated, “Are you saying that it’s not an NPC you admire, but a hero?” Anthea nodded with redness in her cheeks.

“He’s the Swordsman and he told me to call him by his name: Sky,” stated Anthea and placed a hand to the flower in her hair, “He even gave me this as a present, but of course I paid for it because of the programming.”

Jemima giggled and patted Anthea’s shoulder saying, “I can tell that flower he gave you is a unique item, so him giving you that must mean that you are important to him.” Jemima’s words made Anthea blush and Jemima laughed in amusement.

Jemima left Anthea’s side allowing Anthea to continue to make the egg bread, but it was harder considering Anthea could barely focus since her head was beginning to fill with thoughts of Sky.

Towards the end of the day, Anthea had finished baking and was offered baskets of barley bread and egg bread that would last a month. Anthea headed home with these baskets of bread, but suddenly heard a ringing sound. The next thing she knew, an inventory screen had appeared before her eyes making her gasp in surprise and drop the baskets. She looked around and noticed the others hadn’t seen the screen before her.

Anthea touched it to see if it was real and then grabbed a piece of barley bread from one of the baskets. She pushed the bread into the inventory screen making it vanish and then appear in the inventory as Barley Bread X1. Anthea could hardly believe it. There was an inventory screen before her.

Inventory screens were meant for heroes of the game and NPCs, like herself, had no access to this feature of the game and yet here was the inventory screen floating before her eyes and no one, except for her, could see it.

Anthea was suspicious about this feature of the game she now had access to, but she did find it convenient since she had two baskets of bread to carry home. She held the baskets to the screen making the baskets vanish and enter the inventory.

Barley Bread X50

Egg Bread X50

Anthea nodded in approval and then the screen had vanished before her eyes. Anthea clenched her hands wondering if she should tell someone about this discovery, but then realized that it might be a glitch and would be fixed eventually and it wasn’t a problem, so she continued her way home.

When she was home, she saw that her father was still at the cauldron and giggled before entering her bedroom. She sat on her feather bed and then glanced at her hand. She looked forward toward an empty wall and muttered, “Inventory.”

The inventory screen appeared followed by a high pitched ring. The inventory still had the items she placed in and so she began to place other items in as an experiment. She grabbed three dresses made to withstand against certain magic attacks and pressed them to the screen. The dresses vanished and appeared in the inventory screen part labeled: clothes.

Agni Gown X1

Aqua Gown X1

Rupa Gown X1

Anthea examined the screen and concluded that the inventory screen had categories to follow when items were placed in. She then noticed the money pouch and pulled out a gold coin from her pocket. She held it to the screen and watched the coin vanish and appear in the money pouch.

1 G

Anthea concluded that G meant gold, so she began to wonder about the other symbols for the currency. She pulled out a silver and copper coin and tossed it to the screen. The two coins vanished and appeared in the money pouch.

1 G

1 S

1 C

So “S” meant silver and “C” meant copper. Now she knew how the heroes could manage to hold so much money when Venders had a limit on how much they could hold. Since it was a glitch, she thought to have some fun with it. She placed all the money she had into the inventory and then a few items she created.

Under the clothes, not including the dresses she first placed in:

Goliath Armor Plate (Female) X2

Silver Winged Boots X1

Fire Rat Pants X2

Fire Rat Cape X1

Angel Winged Bracelet X1

Angel Winged necklace X1

Under the weapons:

Silver Winged Dagger X2

Heaven’s Might Bow and Arrow X2

Angel’s Fang Blade X1

Diamond Shield X1

Under items, not including the bread:

Fish Cakes X60

High Potions X100

Special Potions X100

Revival Potion X50

Bandages X25

Under money pouch:

5,000,000,000 G

10,000,000 S

7,500 C

Anthea’s eyes were sparkling with excitement at the thought that her cart would not have to hold all the items she could sell and with this inventory, she could also carry more money around, but would still need to keep a budget.

Anthea suddenly took notice of an arrow and touched it with her right hand. The inventory screen disappeared and was replaced with a screen showing her current stats and name. Anthea couldn’t believe it. NPCs had stats, which they never considered since they weren’t playable characters. Anthea read what was on the screen.

Anthea (NPC Vender)

Level 1

HP 90,000

MP 70,000

Speed 600 (intermediate)

Strength 900 (intermediate)

Awareness 900 (intermediate)

Intelligence 900 (advance)

Charisma 500 (average)

Luck 400 (average)

Anthea did find her stats incredible, but she was disappointed in her low luck, since she believed that she had been lucky since the game gained awareness. The title was no surprise since she is an NPC Vender. She then noticed other information on the screen besides the stats.

Skills

Animal Whisperer 20% (beginner)

Wind Barrier 20% (beginner)

Healing Touch 50% (beginner)

Picklocker 10% (beginner)

Spirit Summoning 20% (beginner)

Angel Flight 30% (beginner)

Ocean Wave 20% (beginner)

Messenger 50% (beginner)

Anthea believed these were skills that she could do, but then noticed secondary skills.

Secondary Skills

Barter 100% (advance)

Blacksmith 100% (expert)

Cooking 100% (expert)

Sewing 100% (expert)

Observe 100% (advance)

Swimming 100% (expert)

Dancing 100% (advance)

Crafting 100% (expert)

Anthea felt proud that her secondary skills were very high and then suddenly realized that the skills before had no MP consumption. Anthea believed it to be another glitch and was about to close the screen until she noticed another arrow. She clicked on it and was surprised that it was an ALLY LIST and QUEST LIST. Of course these were empty since she was still an NPC.

Anthea clicked another arrow that led to a map screen of the whole world. Anthea’s eyes lit up at the largeness of the game world and realized that there were many places that she hadn’t visited yet. Just the thought of visiting unknown places made her excited and tempted her to leave her home right away, but considering that she had been away from home for so long, she decided to stay for another week before journeying again and enjoying this glitch. She prepared to close the screen, but then decided to go back to the inventory screen. She placed a hand to the golden flower in her hair and removed it. She held it to the screen making it vanish into the inventory screen labeled: Key Items.

Goddess Flower

“Goddess Flower?” muttered Anthea. She touched the flower lightly on the screen and then another screen appeared:

Use

Examine

Anthea realized this was a choice screen and decided to click on “Examine.” A new screen popped up revealing the information on the Goddess Flower.

Goddess Flower

This flower has been guarded for centuries by the Badger Rabbit King of the Hills of Melancholy. He had sent out clones of himself to fight the heroes, so no chance of the flower falling into their hands could occur. This flower holds a secret of the Dragon Lord. One of Seven flowers of the Dragon Lord.

Anthea felt her heart race after reading the description. The Goddess Flower from Sky was actually a puzzle to the secret quest of the Dragon Lord.

Anthea gulped and touched the flower once again. The same choices appeared on the screen, but this time she clicked on “Use.” The Goddess Flower emerged from the inventory and landed in her hand. Anthea stared at the flower wondering how it could be a puzzle. Anthea shook her head and placed the flower back in her hair.

“This is a gift from Sky and I’m an NPC so there is no reason for me to be a part of the quest,” stated Anthea. Anthea finally closed the screen and gave out a yawn before lying her head down to sleep. She was so deep in sleep that she didn’t notice the flower give off a bright glow in the darkness.

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