**AN: I’m not sure if I’m happy with this title…but nothing else came to mind…

Another point is that while I am fairly confident in my spelling and grammar, I am no where near perfect. So feel free to point out any flaws you find.

Zareth walks into the Barracks and notices three doors in front of him. He notices the two doors on the sides are guarded and simply nods to the two guards and walks through the middle door. Inside, he notices a rather wide space with several dummies on the south-west corner, lined up in two rows of 5. There were only a couple of people training on the dummies and both looked to be Guards-in-training. They were both using a classic Sword and Shield combination.

In the south-east corner was an empty space. North of where he was standing, past a man that was armoured from the neck down was a door leading to what looked to be an archery range. Before that and a bit to the west, was an area that had markings that indicated a ring of some kind. It was probably the busiest place here today with a total of 5 people. There was a rack just on his left-hand side with various weapons for people to try. There were also some weapon racks with more commonly used weapons, such as wooden swords and shields, straight ahead in front of him as well.

He bowed politely to the armoured man and walks over to the rack straight ahead and picks up one of the swords. He steps back a bit and swings a few times to test how it feels. He grabs another sword and walks over to the empty space before swinging them each separately a few times. Takes a few deep breaths and starts swinging them together for a bit and stops.

“No…this feels fun but I don’t feel comfortable with them enough to use them fully. It just doesn’t feel quite right,” He says, “I think I’ll try a few more.”

He places the swords back on the rack he grabbed it from and then moves over to the rack that was near the door he came from. He noticed some axes of both one-handed and two-handed variety as well as some heavier and much larger wooden swords. He took each and went over to the empty space to try them out. Each time, he would return to the weapon rack while shaking his head while saying, “Nope…this isn’t it either.”

He looked around and noticed that there were no other weapons outside of some bows with practice arrows. He looks at those for a bit and then shakes his head again while saying, “Yea, right. No point in those when I can’t even hit the broad side of a mansion with em. Guess I’ll just ask the head honcho…”

He walks over to the armoured man and says, “Teacher, I was looking around and noticed that there are no wooden polearms or spears. Is there a reason for that?”

The man looks at him and says, “You can just call me Sir Isaac, lad. The reason that there are no polearms is because we have had to use them all to train our guards. Half of this kingdom’s army is made up of Spearmen that are trained in the use of polearms. Why did you want to try a polearm? A sword and shield is the most stable combination.”

“Ah, my name is Zareth. I tried using a sword and shield too, but it didn’t really feel right in my hands for me. Is there no way for me to try a polearm at all here sir?”

“Hm…unfortunately we really don’t have any spares. Even Thomas, the kingdom’s carpenter, has trouble making enough for all the trainees to practice with. You would pretty much have to try your hand at making your own if you want a polearm. The only other thing I can think of that you can try in the meantime would be to use a Bo staff. If you’re ok with trying one, I can get it for you but I’ve found that most people tend to look down on it. Probably due to most staves being used by Mages or Clerics.”

“A Bo staff…I suppose I can treat it as a spear with a blunt tip. Yes, I’ll try the staff.” he said while nodding his head in approval.

The man nods and takes out a wooden Bo staff from a pouch at his waist and hands it over. The Bo staff was made of the same wood as the other wooden weapons, which appeared to be a type of Oak. It’s size was fairly standard at 180 cm and was a bit taller than him. It wasn’t the perfect size he would have wanted but it would work for now.

“Thank you Sir Isaac.” Zareth says as he bows slightly and returns to the open space.

He starts by throwing a few thrusts out in front. Throws another thrust that angles up a bit but before finishing the thrust, he pulls down to make it strike down quickly. He then steps in and throws out a full thrust before returning back to his starting position. Looks down at the Bo and remarks, “Yea…this can work.”

He changes his settings quickly to hide any notifications that pop up other than messages from his friends. “Oh…right…I forgot to add Sky as a friend…I guess I’ll have to do it when I see him again.”

He starts again by throwing a single thrust before stepping in with a full thrust. He repeats the same thrust, step-in and thrust combination about 9 more times. He then steps in with a thrust and then steps back while letting one hand go and using the other to sweep the staff to the right while turning around to turn it into a horizontal strike. He quickly thrusts the staff back while loosening his grip and then grabs the staff with both hands before sweeping it down and upward for a vertical strike before returning to his starting position.

He thinks back to his time in another game, Legends online, where he had used a spear as well. He played the game at his own pace which usually meant that he was usually soloing on his own. He would occasionally party with Sky or join other parties but it was rather rare. And even though his pace was usually leisurely, he ended up in situations surrounded by monsters more than a few times.

He decided to try imagining some of the monsters he had fought there and entered into a trance. He would go from thrusts into strikes and back into thrusts fluidly while inside the trance. There would even be jumping thrusts thrown in here and there. One of the moves he did was a backflip while twirling the staff with one hand before landing and stepping in to a thrust. The staff in his hands didn’t stop for almost two hours.

********************

Sir Isaac de Tortalone had been an instructor for almost 20 years. He had served in the army for 20 years prior to becoming an instructor. Although he looked to be in his early 40s, he was actually approaching his 54th year in life. He was fairly proficient in many of the weapons that were here even though his best was the sword and shield combination. He was also experienced enough with his time in the army to be able to train the guards in the use of polearms.

He had seen many warriors in his lifetime so far. Some were as strong as 10 regular soldiers while others were sturdy enough to remain standing under many blows for half an hour. He knew that the adventurers that were foretold to come were stronger than regular people but so far, he had not seen anything all that impressive. There were a few who showed promise but the level of skill they displayed was not all that different than a recruit.

And just like the people of this world, some of the adventurers were polite and friendly while others treated him as if he was only there to serve them. He simply treated them as they treated him. The ones that were polite, he would introduce himself and help as much as he can and those that were rude, he would just point to the weapon rack and leave them to their own devices.

All of the adventurers that had come in so far, had headed towards the sparring arena right after choosing a weapon. He felt that it was rather cocky to do so as most of them seemed unable to swing a sword properly and would have gained more from practising on the training dummies first. But since these adventurers had been rude, he did not offer them any advice.

So when one of the adventurers had come up to him asking about the lack of polearms politely, he answered truthfully. He had offered his Bo staff to other adventurers and they had all refused with a look of disdain in their eyes. He was a bit saddened by this, as the Bo staff could be considered as the base of a polearm but many seemed to forget that. Thus, he was caught slightly off guard when the man, that had introduced himself as Zareth, accepted it with no hesitation.

Truth be told, although he was taken aback from his acceptance of the staff, he was not expecting much from the young man. He figured that he was not all that different from the adventurers that had shown some promise. And when he saw him practice the basic thrusts, he simply nodded in approval. While the form of the thrusts was correct, it was nothing spectacular. He was distracted when a pair of young ladies had politely introduced themselves to him and asked about the requirements to use the training centre. He again answered truthfully and watched them choose their weapons.

He was not really surprised when one of them picked a short sword in each hand as others had done before her but he did silently approve when the other girl chose a sword and a shield. He saw them heading towards the sparring area to train and stopped paying attention as he felt they were displaying a similar impatiences like the other adventurers. As they had been one of the polite ones, he had been about to stop them from going over to the sparring area but as he saw the way their equipment was being held, he kept his silence.

It was when he turned his head back to check on Zareth that he received his first surprise of the day. A veteran like himself was easily able to tell what was going on. Zareth was imagining himself to be in a situation where he was fighting many opponents at once. It was done so well that any veteran would be able to tell where the attacks were coming from as Zareth moved to dodge or block them. He could only imagine what kind of experience the young man had gone through to pick up the skills he was displaying. The level of skill being displayed was levels above any that he had seen in his lifetime. Sir Isaac watched Zareth practice for about an hour while thinking that at least one of the adventurers had some skill, when he heard some gasps of surprise coming from the sparring arena.

When he looked, he noticed that it was the pair of ladies that had introduced themselves before heading over to the sparring area that were sparring each other now. He noticed that each strike from the smaller girl, wielding twin blades, were very fluid. Each of the blades in her hand, seemed to have a mind of its own as each swing flowed one after the other repeatedly hammering away at her opponent. This was the second time today that he was surprised. The attacks had even kept hitting from seemingly random angles with little to no break in between.

But the third and biggest surprise came from the other girl who was blocking or parrying each swing from the other girl perfectly. At only a glance, it would seem as it the girl could do nothing but block the attacks and many would be quick to think that she would fall eventually under the onslaught. But those who are veterans of the sword and shield were able to see more. Not only were each block or parry moving to block each attack from the opponent perfectly, her arms were also moving in a manner to diffuse the power of the attacks coming in. She would extend her arms almost fully out to block the attack and just as the attack landed, she would pull her arm back while bending her knees slightly to absorb the blows while reducing their power. His intuition had told him that the two knew at least a bit about using swords but the level of expertise being displayed was much more than he had expected.

As if that had not been enough, the girl with the two swords started moving around her opponent as well while swinging the blades. The attacks before had all been only a frontal attack but it seems to have been only a warm up. Now the overall tempo of the match had been raised to another level. All those watching, including Isaac himself, could only stare in shock as not only the attacks but also the blocking kept getting faster. The level of skill being displayed, was one that had taken him over half his life to achieve. One was a Swordsman of great agility and the other, like an impenetrable fortress. Both had smiles on their faces as they kept going at each other in a high speed battle.

‘It seems that more than one of the adventurers that came here show a surprising level of skill. Some seem to have honed the skills through many battles while others seem to have refined it through years of practice. It would be good for our world if there are more out there with such skills,’ Isaac thought to himself.

Isaac kept switching his gaze between the Spearman that was taking on nearly impossible odds in his image training and the spar between the Swordsman and the Knight. That was the only way he can describe them. The weapons they had each picked moved naturally as if they had been using them their whole lives.

The spar finally came to an end after almost an hour when one of the wooden blades broke. The Knight spotted the opening and moved quickly by launching a bash attack with her shield, sending the Swordsman flying out of the ring. And when Isaac turned his gaze towards the Spearman again, he noticed that the image training had ended and the man was headed his way.

*******************

Zareth made his way back to Sir Isaac to return the staff. He then bows to him and says, “Thank you for lending me the staff sir. I guess I’ll probably have to make my own spear though since it seems to be the weapon I feel more suited for.”

Isaac looks at him with a blank look before bursting out laughing. “Lad, I saw you practice with my own eyes and I still have trouble believing how suited you are to it. How about this, you agree to make 20 polearms for the kingdom and I’ll ask Thomas to teach you as much as he knows about carpentry and get his help in making your own spear?”

Zareth quickly activated the notifications again just in time to get the quest.

[Quest received: An order of polearms

You have been asked to make 20 polearms to help supply the army of Zilis by Sir Isaac. Your reward is a dedicated teacher that will teach you carpentry as well as help to make your own weapon.

Accept?]

Zareth nods his head, “I will gladly help. I can probably use the practice too. But Sir Isaac, to make good polearms, should not I be learning Blacksmithing too?”

“Well lad, it would certainly help you out if you do learn it. But I’ll be honest with you. Most people are unable to devote the time and effort to learn more than one of the trades. Not to mention that for you, who seem to be skilled with a Spear in particular, carpentry would be a better route as most of the more powerful spears, are made purely through rare lumbers. If you do decide to make a metal spearhead, you would be much better off to find another person who is versed in Blacksmithing to make it for best results.”

“Thank you for your help Sir Isaac. I will be back again tomorrow to practice.”

“No you won’t lad. I’ll see you the day after if anything. You should probably rest tomorrow instead. But I guess you’ll see for yourself what I mean. Now off with you. You’ll find Thomas in the production district. Head west from the Goddess’ statue to find it. His shop will be obvious.”

Zareth bows quickly and heads off to the production district. On his way to the statue, he checks the log of notifications that had piled up. He noticed that he had gotten some gains to both Agility and Dexterity. He gained about 5 Agility but it was his Dexterity gain of a whopping 13 that surprised him a bit. He had just let the feel of having something similar to a spear, take him back to his memories in a previous VRMMORPG he had played. It hadn’t felt as good as it had here but it was where he first used a polearm. He had been obsessed with swords before that and hadn’t expected much when he picked up the spear in that game. Things changed quickly after he had started using it though. He decided to check his status again.

Name: Zareth Gender: Male

Race: Elf         Class: Novice

Title: None

Fame: 0

Health: 80        Health regen: 0.08/s

Mana: 120         Mana regen: 0.12/s

Stamina: 80       Stamina regen: 0.8/s

Strength: 8       Dexterity: 23

Agility: 16       Vitality: 8

Intelligence: 12  Wisdom: 10

Luck: 10          Charisma: 11

Asthetics: 10

Equipment:
Plain Robes

Looking at more of the notifications, he noticed that he had picked up some skills too. It seems that he had gained Martial Staff Mastery as a passive and Double Thrust and Piercing Thrust as active techniques. He could only laugh to himself at how easily he had learned the core techniques of the fighting style he had developed before. He decided to check the details of the skills at a late time and continued on towards the production district.

He bows to the Goddess statue again as he passes by on his way to meet with the carpenter. The wood shop wasn’t all that hard for him to find in the production district. It was pretty much filled with the smell of cut lumber near it. He wipes the smirk forming on his face before entering inside.

Inside, other than the smell of freshly cut wood, he saw piles of logs lying on one side of the room near another door in the back and cut lumber stacked on the other side of the room. The door in the back was closed. There were also several tables in the room, conveniently placed close to the pile of logs, where the logs could be cut and turned into lumber. On the other side and closer to the lumber, were work benches and tables for making finer products, such as various carvings. He noticed some people doing motions that seemed fairly automated. They were all wearing the same plain robes that he was wearing so it was fairly clear that they were fellow players that had taken up carpentry. He nodded politely to anyone that looked at him as he looked around for Thomas.

He noticed someone in different clothes at one of the work benches. Zareth wasn’t able to judge the man’s height as he was not standing straight up but he did appear to be middle-aged. He was wearing a beige shirt with some blue pants. On top of those clothes, was a work apron that had various cutting, shaping, and sharpening tools. He also seemed to be working on something that that looked to be a polearm. Zareth decided to move to the side and quietly watch him work. Not only was he curious on how it was made, but he also did not want to interrupt him before he finishes.

Looking on, Zareth noticed that the head had already been attached to the pole of the weapon. It looked to be a Halberd that was being made. As he watched, he noticed Thomas carefully sanding down pieces of the wood that looked slightly rough. He would sand it and then run his fingers back and forth over the area to double check how smooth it was before moving on to another spot. Once he was satisfied, he started to put on a layer of varnish to give it a glossy look. The wood he had been using was fairly dark and appeared to be of common Oak variety to Zareth. Or at least it reminded him of the Oak Spear he had used near the beginning of the previous VRMMORPG he had played.

Thomas looked up after finishing the layer of varnish and looks his way before saying, “Thanks for waiting. You seem like an adventurer although quite a bit more polite than the other riff-raff that came here.” Thomas tosses a glance back at the others that were grinding their skills.

“Ah, no worries. I was also interested in how you were making the Halberd anyway. I was actually recommended by Sir Isaac to come and ask you to teach me the ways of carpentry.”

“Isaac sent you? Now that’s a first. That old geezer wouldn’t recommend someone over to me unless that person was exceptional with a polearm. I’m guessing you managed to use that staff of his well enough to satisfy him.”

Zareth was impressed with the level of realism this game had as he noticed an endearing look pass through Thomas’ eyes when he was talking about Isaac. Zareth nodded and told him that he had spent a few hours training with the staff Isaac had lent him.

“He told me that I should ask you to teach me carpentry and to also help you out with making some of weapons going to the army. I’m not too sure how well I’ll do but I will try my best to make sure they’re of good quality.”

“Is that so. And what’s the catch?”

“Well…he said that you might be able to help me make my own weapon as well. I plan to be a user of the Spear and I was told that the best way to get a hold of a Spear was to make it myself.”

“Is that all. Helping you make your own should be easy enough. Knowing him, he probably told you to make a certain amount of the weapons too.”

Zareth nodded and said, “Yes, he told me to make 20 of them.”

Thomas barks out a loud laugh, scaring some of the grinders. He then says, “Well then…the sooner I teach you, the sooner you can start making those weapons. Now…come a bit closer.”

As Zareth went closer, Thomas pulled his head closer and started speaking in a lower voice, “I know you’re an adventurer, it’s easy enough to tell. And from what I’ve seen, there would be two ways for you to make the weapons. The quick and easy way would be to let the Goddess guide your hands as the others are doing. The other way is to make it yourself without any guidance. Which would you prefer?”

Zareth asks in the same quiet voice, “I’m going to take a wild guess that there’s a difference between the two methods?”

Thomas barks out another laugh as he says loudly, “Looks like Isaac sent a smart one to me. But yes, there’s a difference.”

Thomas lowers his voice again before saying, “The first, would allow you to make them quickly but they’d be stuff you can find in stores. The second, would allow you to control the level of quality the product will turn out to be. If you’re going to keep your word about making them of good quality, you’ll have to use the second way. So what will it be?”

Zareth grins as he replies, “The second of course. Quality will always be better than quantity in my book. I’m Zareth. Please take good care of me, Sir Thomas.”

Thomas nods in approval and says, “Just Thomas will do. I hate formalities. You’re going to have a lot of work to do to get things right. And don’t expect me to go easy on you either. Lets start with cutting the logs into lumber properly.”

Thomas puts the Halberd he had been working on to dry and takes Zareth over to the logs and begins teaching him the basics.