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Chapter 1: Prologue

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Author: Waxford Original Source: Scribble Hub

The Fantasy MMORPG Astral Storm Online. Originally released in Japan, it’s popularity skyrocketed to the point that it went global and amassed a playerbase of 23 million people.

Most players judged the game as free to play, but pay to win. However, among them, there is one that defied that rule. A player nicknamed the F2P Empress.

The reason why the game was considering pay to win was because of its gear system. In Astral Storm Online, there were 5 types of gear based on rarity: Common, Unique, Rare, Legendary and Epic. The rarest and strongest of them, the Epic gear could only be crafted with unique materials that were only found in the cash shop.

Although those materials were also available in the games’ market with in game currency, the time needed to farm that amount for a single piece of equipment felt like torture. The 2nd best gear, Legendary were the best farmable gears in game. Dropped exclusively by the strongest raid bosses and character bound.

And such a person was the F2P Empress. A person equipped from head to toe with Legendary gear. The avatar of a beautiful fox like woman. Even the costume she is wearing is a limited free avatar set that was released on new year and could be obtained by farming.

The thing that was the most impressive is that the Empress was ranked in the top 10 of the strongest players in the game. A list full of whales and skilled players, yet somehow a free to play player managed to reach the 10th spot.

One of the features of the game was Guild wars. 2 guilds of up to 50 players max would fight against each other. There were 2 ways to win. Either kill all opposing players or capture a flag in the enemy guild hall. The Empress was a solo player but because of the contribution she brings to her guild, nobody dared to question her. Creating a detailed guild hall with traps that outshines any dungeon and tasked with the flag protection. Beating up challengers was quite natural for her. Yet, one mystery always remained. The identity of the F2P Empress was unknown.

Was the Empress a male or a female? Nobody could figure out. Only the fact that he/she has enough ability to be at the point that it’s scary, is widely known by the high grade players, and has turned into a legend.

Moreover, the F2P Empress tends to go easy on people, and that’s what’s scary. The F2P Empress….. when she gets serious is so strong that it’s absurd. Because of time zone difference she never got to face the other top 10, but people still wonder if she did, would she get serious? How many hours did she devote to this game? But when she is serious she is capable of soloing a 20 man raid. Given it takes more than double the time that it would take in a party. But very few are on that level of soloing endgame.

This makes most people never think of challenging her again. Many of the high grade players that overheard that rumor challenged her just to try and make her get serious. However, regardless if it was regular PvP or guild wars, most of them never managed to trigger that switch.

Her main class was Demonic Lancer and her sub class was Elementalist. Her weapon, Chaoscaliber, was a unique spear. It was a Legendary weapon that the Empress eventually tailored to her needs to the point it became dual weapon. It was both a spear and a staff at the same time. Channeling spells above level 30 required a staff. But the Empress was a warrior at base. So she decided to became what you would know from other games as a magical warrior.

This was usually a rarity. Astral Storm Online did have many classes to let players explore. But the endgame meta wasn’t very favorable for mixed traits. Usually you go full melee or full magic. But the Empress broke the meta. The game was also popular because it allowed players to tailor each and every piece of their gear to their liking. Add unique skills and abilities to them. The possible combinations were endless.

The high grade players started thinking.

‘Just what will make the Empress get serious!?’

She faced players with Epic gear, rare titles and strong player skills in a casual manner before. So what does it take to make her treat someone serious?

“Kek. I know you. You’re the one that put chalk in my coffee this morning. Die!”

The F2P Empress ~Izunahime~……… the one that is controlling the character, Yamato Hideriki discovered the identity of one of the challengers.

He fixed himself and sat deeply into his PC chair.

In his LCD monitor, he prepared his avatar.

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“Cocky bastards like you who don’t know what respect is… receive my judgement!”

A one-sided slaughter had started. Firing the magic that she had mastered, and simultaneously striking with her spear, she blew apart her opponents. The skill between players was huge. She received minimal damage and completely obliterated the enemy.

Yamato doesn’t care about others. The few times that he actually got serious, was when he was affected in real life. He would take his revenge in game. Yamato is a 29 year old man who suffers from the chuuni syndrome, loves anime and playing games more than anything else, and… a virgin. He works as a teacher at a local high school.

The Japanese working force is strict. Employing yourself at a corporation would mean sacrificing your free time. Japan is more like: quantity of working hours over quality of working hours. Of course there will be exceptions. And that also doesn’t mean that a job in the educational department is easy. But because his father and the school principal were very close friends, the principal allowed him to leave sooner than the other teachers as long as he did his job properly and there would be no complaints.

The reason why Yamato was free to play was because his salary wouldn’t allow it. Paying his rent, doing his groceries, paying the bill… his salary was exactly enough to sustain his living. He did have spare change, but going out at a bar, buying clothes… those cost money too. So Yamato dedicated his knowledge to Astral Storm Online. He managed to succeed as free to play. How many hours does he put into the game? Roughly 40 hours per week. You might say that it’s not hardcore, but if you also want to ‘live’ that’s actually a reasonable number.

The opponent that Yamato just destroyed was one of his students. On some occasions there are a few students that like to play pranks and mess with teachers. By his speech and attitude, it didn’t take long for Yamato to figure out that he was facing the same person that put some chalk in his coffee while he was facing the blackboard.

He got even using Izunahime’s power. A power that lets him stand at the top. Yet, even in his wildest dreams, Yamato Hideriki would never have guessed what kind of twist fate prepared for him. A life changing experience.


Be sure to support the author, Waxford, by going to this chapter’s Scribble Hub page and donating to his PayPal!


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