Murphy’s Quest Ch 1: Exposure Therapy

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[Author’s note: I no­ticed I’ve been try­ing to be too origi­nal in my fic­tion writ­ing. This story is trash and so am I.]

My name is Mur­phy. I’ve been prepar­ing for this day since I was born.

I just woke up in a new world.

I’m stand­ing in line while a mean-look­ing dwarf shouted a stan­dard train­ing prep talk at us. Unity, courage, yadda, yadda, for the King!

Every­thing’s just like I ex­pected. I’m stand­ing in a line with four other boys. We’re cov­ered with ba­sic brown ad­ven­turer frocks, with wood clubs and swords hang­ing at our waists and small packs around our shoulders.

I can see stats float­ing over my arm like a fuzzy over­lay. Ba­sic noob stuff.

NAME: Murphy

RACE: Human

LVL: 1

HP: 1010

STR: 5

INT: 5

FTH: 5

AGI: 5

EQUIPPED: Wood Club (4 dam­age), Ba­sic Rags.

My grin spreads from ear to ear. Thou­sands of hours of jRPGs all for this mo­ment. Pre­pare to bow to the wiles of Dark War­lock Em­peror Mur­phy, plebs!

The drill sergeant dwarf is send­ing us on our first train­ing mis­sion: a sim­ple fetch quest.

“ – col­lect one thou­sand kobold ears.”

Nani?!

There’s no way out of the train­ing grounds un­til we finish this ridicu­lous fetch quest. Stone-faced Level 10 sol­diers stand guard at ev­ery en­trance.

After tak­ing a hope­less tour of the camp, I de­cide to grind out the kobolds. How long could this take?

Kobold Younglings spawn out of caves in the hillside, scur­ry­ing out ev­ery five min­utes. The other boys have already claimed the clos­est caves to camp. I take over the last re­main­ing one on the far side of the hill.

A Kobold Youngling (HP: 66) scram­bles out of the cave and makes a run for it. I step for­ward and smack it on the head. It doesn’t die.

The mean lit­tle thing claws me across the fore­arm. I scram­ble back, and smack him again. He falls over and dis­ap­pears in a puff, leav­ing be­hind a high­lighted green ear. I snap that into my pack.

I look down at my left arm.

Blood!?

I’m no good with real blood!

Uh oh.

I wake up that evening in my bunk. One of the other boys had dragged me away from the spawn point be­fore an­other Kobold ap­peared.

At least I kil­led the Kobold be­fore pass­ing out at the sight of blood.

The other boys all have 9 ears each. Kobold Scratch deals 1 dam­age, and you only heal while sleep­ing, so we could only farm 9 a day. There’s no way to avoid get­ting scratched at least once per fight.

I do a quick men­tal calcu­la­tion. This is go­ing to be a long 112 days.

On the bright side, miss­ing a day didn’t put me too far be­hind.

It’s time to con­quer my fear of blood.

I un­ravel my bandage all at once. The three long gashes look way worse than 1 point of dam­age. Fresh blood is still ooz­ing un­der the scab.

Uh oh.

It’s an­other hour be­fore I come to. The bandage is still un­wrapped, but the blood has mostly con­gealed. I’m hit by waves of nau­sea but main­tain con­scious­ness.

I grit my teeth and peel back one of the scabs. My flesh is ten­der and pale un­der­neath.

This is the feel­ing of gain­ing ex­pe­rience.

I calm my hy­per­ven­tila­tion by imag­in­ing a gold XP bar slowly filling up, and take an­other peak.

Hey, it’s not so bad.

Grow­ing bolder, I wig­gle the scab and try to pick more off. It’s stuck. I keep pul­ling in frus­tra­tion.

“Yowww!”

The whole scab tears off at once. Blood spurts.

Uh oh.

The next morn­ing, the boy on top bunk wakes me up for break­fast. I sit dazed, star­ing at him blankly. I’m still clutch­ing a long chunk of dried blood in my right hand.

You might ask: why haven’t I men­tioned the names of my fel­low trainees? The rea­son is: a Dark War­lock Em­peror can only meet so many Named Char­ac­ters in his quest to as­cen­sion. They might be im­por­tant later if I tell you their names now.

I’m sav­ing Named Char­ac­ter slots for girls.

After shov­el­ling down break­fast, the other boys go farm Kobolds and I re­treat to the bar­racks to con­tinue over­com­ing my fear of blood.

This time, I’m more me­thod­i­cal. Sure, I puke a lit­tle in my mouth, and I’m cov­ered in cold sweat. But two hours later, I’m star­ing at blood flow­ing out of an open wound with only a slight dizzi­ness.

Well, okay, the dizzi­ness might just be blood loss.

It’s day 2 of train­ing, and there’s not much to do. In the morn­ing, we trainees go out to the Kobold caves af­ter break­fast and col­lect 9 ears. But then we’re all scratched up at 110 HP. We spend the rest of the day chat­ting.

I ex­pect the other boys to be sus­pi­cious that I don’t know jack shit, so I spin them a tale about for­eign-born or­phan on a slave ship that ran aground, only sur­vivor yadda yadda. They look at me quizzi­cally.

“What’s a ship?”

Ap­par­ently there aren’t oceans in this world.

Any­how, now they just think I’m crazy. It’s prob­a­bly for the best.

Turns out we’re in a Church-spon­sored city-state called Bel­tine and we’re train­ing to join the Alli­ance bat­tlefront against the De­mon King. Turns out ev­ery sin­gle one of these boys is a poor or­phan who wants to be the next Or­dained Hero. When they open their mouths, all I hear is *trope trope trope*.

I have to get out of here!

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