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Pirates and Evenstar join a VRMMO in the Troubleverse
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She opens the ability menu and quickly slots the recommended starter spell, [Fire Bolt]. Fortunately she seems to have finished off the wolf that came at her so she's out of combat for the two seconds it takes to slot.

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Alright, who wants some?

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This other wolf wants some. It seems to think Hyacinth looks like easier prey than the Darkling girl, who's a bit bloodied but doing fine, judging by the three other wolf corpses on the ground.

"Oh hey, where'd you come from?", the girl asks. She leaps over a nearby wolf, slashes the flank of another, then briefly lights her sword up with sparking electricity before stabbing the wolf she jumped over, which spasms and limps away from her.

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She tosses a firebolt at the wolf with an effort of will, but the end of her staff is off to the side from her earlier cast and it goes wide. Shit, this is one of those games where you have to actually aim, like Terra Defenders. 

She runs to the side - always faster than backing up - and lines up the angle, then casts again. 

This time the firebolt catches it full in the face. 

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"Just spawned in, so sorry to interrupt!"

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The wolf she blasts howls and darts back toward the violet-haired girl. The one the darkling girl stabbed with lightning takes one more slash and goes down, and the girl spins and slashes the burned one, which quickly drops as well.

"Awesome. Welcome to Parcosia, I'm Sable, wanna party up?"

One wolf lunges toward Sable's thigh; she leaps out of the way. Another runs past Hyacinth, snapping at her as it passes. It has a large gash bleeding down its side.

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She darts sideways again and strikes with the butt end of her staff this time, keeping the focus on top relatively aligned. 

"Sure! At least till the wolves are down!"

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She tosses off another firebolt at one of the wolves Sable's dealing with as she gets a moment of alignment. She's worse at Terra Defenders, but not bad.

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The one Hyacinth whacks peels off with a yelp, but then darts back in toward her, lunging at her! The one she blasts, meanwhile, gets very unlucky. Her firebolt catches it directly in a wound, and it sizzles and falls.

"Sweet," Sable replies with a grin, and a party invite appears in Hyacinth's UI.

You have been invited to join Sable Inkheart's party.

Accepting or declining feels like a primitive mental action.

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Meanwhile, Sable laughs and vaults over a charge from the other remaining wolf, then stabs it from above.

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She accepts, and casts mana shield -  

Shit, wrong game - 

She stumbles backwards, and tries to get her staff between her and the charging wolf, but this doesn't look good. 

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The wolf ducks under Hyacinth's interposed staff and bites into her thigh, then bowls past her, knocking her to the side. It hurts. She can feel the way the teeth tear into her skin, the way the individual punctures tear into a larger wound.

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"Fuck!" 

That's way worse than anything in Realms of Dragons. She's used to light stings to indicate damage but this is on a whole other level. Who are CORA's devs, a bunch of sadists? 

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Shit, her new partymate is in trouble. She leaps off the wolf she just stabbed, which is quickly dying, and lunges in a wing-assisted charge at the final beast, slashing its throat.

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It falls in a bloody heap, and both girls get the chime of a level up notification. When inspected, it reveals that there's an attribute point and three ability points to spend. The former increase a character's basic attributes, while the latter allow purchasing new nodes from one's ability trees, to create new spells and abilities.

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"You okay?" Sable gives her an inquisitive look and steps over to check on her.

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She takes a careful step, and winces as her still-injured thigh stabs her. Another thing that's different in CORA. In Realms of Dragons you only took pain on a hit, not afterwards.

"Ow," she says eloquently. "That'll teach me to jump in without slotting any abilities." 

 

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On closer inspection, it looks like Sable's stepping a bit gingerly as well. She must've been doing a good job of ignoring it during the fight.

She nods. "Yeah, worth spending some time on that before you see combat. No idea why you landed in the middle of my fight with the wolves, rather than in a safer spot."

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"Maybe the gods think we'll get along," she jokes with a grin.

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"Yeah, maybe," Hyacinth grunts out. "Give me a second to go through my abilities and actually slot things. I wanted a shield-spell and didn't have one slotted, give me a sec."

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Okay, so the system shows her that she has got... Fire Bolt, Repel, and Shove/Leap. 

Fire bolt is easy. Fire node in ranged casting plus bolt node in the same ability tree. Very basic. (Ow.)

Repel is the defensive spell she was looking for. It uses a burst node from the Self tree and a Force node from the Ranged tree to throw things away that get too close. It's not the classic defensive ward she's used to, but she could've used it. Serves her right for not looking over herself during character creation.

Shove/Leap looks to be a strength buff that works by aligning force with blows or pushes. Force again, with Enhance from the Self tree and Sustained from the Sustain tree. 

All of this she could've used, but she is apparently a stupid dumb-dumb today. Her leg is making it hard to concentrate on anything other than that.

She investigates the Sustained tree, and indeed finds Heal Wounds in it. It's Light affinity so it'll cost a boatload of mana but right now she does not care. She unlocks it, and screw her Fire affinity.

What nodes can she mix with that? Self Burst makes sense. A ranged bolt of healing... less so?

She'll have to see if she can get enough power out of a self burst to not be fucking bleeding.

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"Come over here," she says a little woozily. "I can slot a healing ability but it'll be a burst close to me, no clue what the range will be."

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She'll get close enough to Hyacinth to hug her, but doesn't actually hug her. "Close enough?", she asks with a smile.

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She blushes a little. CORA avatars are hotter than she's used to, and... people didn't get up in her personal space in Realms of Dragons.

"Y-yeah." 

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She focuses her mana, and channels. It's going to take a hot second to work with this outside her affinities. 

But after pouring enough raw POWER into it - 

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