AN: This story is a bit of an AU, in which everything takes place in a simultaneously modern and high fantasy setting. But don't worry, all of the dynamics are pretty much the same. It's also a bit of a songfic, however, for "True Love Restraint" by Kagamine Lin. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't seek out the song. The story is told in the 2nd person, to reflect the nature of being the "adventurer" in the game. But there is a main character, so it's not "interactive" or "based on you". Also, I disclaim DragonFable. It's not mine, it belongs to Artix Entertainment. (If it was, there'd be less monster fighting and more monster dating, haha.)


-Impressive- Chapter 1


It is a cruel thing to do, to cage such a beautiful and passionate animal as if it was only a dumb beast. But humans do so all to often, they even cage themselves, though their bars are made of society, not of steel.

-Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

...

Face it, you suck at heroing. You refused to accept your place at the bottom of the social food chain, and now look where you are. Beaten down, bruises throbbing, and unable to stand under the weight of your shame.

You suppose it's not all that bad. Even though you got into a huge fight with your mom before running off, she'll probably let you come back provided you swear to never question your position again. As you peel yourself from the forest floor, you direct a particularly nasty look towards your wooden staff. What a shitty weapon. It's designed for what, level one heroes?

Unfortunately for you, you can't even get to level one. You don't have the money to pay for the experience points, so when you attempted to earn some yourself, well, this is what happens.

I can't go to college because I don't have money. I don't have money because I can't get a job. I can't get a job because I can't go to college.

Ah, the vicious cycle, the main reason why only the privileged get to become heroes. When you heard that commercial on TV, it's likeness to your situation was kind of creepy. Except, you know, you don't want to go to college. More than anything, you want to be a hero. A valiant protector, slayer of demons, and totally loaded. That last bit is, of course, the most important.

The staff, though useless in your inexperienced hands, makes for an excellent walking stick as you limp down the beaten path back to Oaklore Keep. But wait. Something, a gleam on the side of the track, catches your eye. Hope flares up within you, albeit against your will.

You've heard of stories of people who've found amazing things just abandoned on the side of the road. With all of the heroes and monsters running around and fighting and dropping things, it's not too surprising that some stuff would be left behind in all of the excitement.

Limping over, you dig your hands into the brush. They make contact with something hard, and with effort, you manage to extract... a box? Jeez, this thing is heavy. It's actually less of a box and more of a trunk.

You're pretty bummed that it's not a bag of cash or something equally rewarding, but the box's somewhat fancy exterior design keeps your spirits lifted. You run your hands over its smooth black surface, tracing the outlines of the golden dragon embossed on the clasp. You hold your breath and cross your fingers. The lid swings open with ease.

A gust of stale blows your blonde hair back a little as your jaw practically hits the forest floor. You can't believe your eyes. What who the hell locks a kid in a trunk and just leaves it for someone to find in a monster-ridden forest?

You think you might throw up. He's just a little guy, maybe two or three years old. His curled up body is a perfect fit for the interior of the trunk. Your bruised hands tremble as you haul him out of the box and into your aching lap. His neck is cold and clammy as you feel for his pulse. Is he even alive?

The feel his vein pulsating against your fingers is the best thing since sliced bread.

You finally exhale, and position the squirt so that he's facing you. God, he's so pale. Paler than any healthy person should be. You push the slightly curling bangs away from his forehead. At least his temperature seems okay, though chiller than you would like. But you tug on a strand of his inky black hair, perplexed. Normally people have all sorts of different colors blended into their hair, but this boy's is undoubtedly a solid obsidian. It occurs to you that you have probably just rescued a member of a different, entirely non-human species.

Which, of course, is a problem. "Monsters" of any sort are strictly forbidden to step foot in Oaklore Keep. But what are you supposed to do? Ditch him at the side of the road like the guys before you? It's true that you're only just scraping by financially, but as a waitress in the Mess Hall it should be pretty easy to pick up some extra food for the little guy.

He's so frail and thin in your arms. You can hide him for a while, sure, but in the long run you'll probably have to hand him off to one of his own kind (which you'll investigate later) or someone who can take care of him better than you can. You set him back into the box, arranging him just the way you found him.

After that, it's pretty easy to just load the crate into your inventory. You weren't sure if it could even accept anything alive, but since it shows up as an option on the interface screen you guess it's okay.

Despite the fact you're on a heroic rescue mission, your body continues to be battered and pathetic. You seriously think you might only have one point of health left at this point. When you finally drag your sorry ass through Oaklore's sizable gates, nobody bothers to give you a second look. Knights are rushing all over the place, and the Keep sort of resembles an overturned ants nest.

The air is alive with activity, but it just makes you hobble faster, dodging horses and people alike. Jeez. You'd think they were preparing for a siege or something.

Captain Rolith stands tall in the midst of all of the chaos and kicked up dust. He's handsome in a sort of knightly, rugged way but you're 80% sure he's just a prick. The guy won't even talk to anyone under level 3. You can't help but give him a dirty look as you scurry past his tanned form.

The west side of the Keep is pretty desolate in comparison to the hub of the main yard. Over here there's actually some grass off to the sidelines that hasn't been ground into dirt yet. You make a point to avoid Sir Vey and Sir Casm, who are the only other people around. The two idiots are working on their dumb catapult like they always do, but whenever you walk too close to them they always try to rope you into "trying it out". Yeah, like you want to be launched several hundred feet into the air.

Luckily they seem to be busy with a malfunctioning rope, so you sneak past them easily. You fling open the heavy oaken door to the infirmary.

"Junn!" you sob, staggering past the rows of white hospital beds. The red headed knight jerks up in alarm. His brown eyes widen in understanding, and he rushes your way, nearly tripping on his tan robes in the process. Two large, armored hands settle over your shoulders and guide you to the nearest mattress.

"Sir Junn..." you repeat, sinking into the white bedding. "I got beat up again."

The knight checks your temperature, tongue clicking in dismay. "It was the Sneevils again, huh? I can tell from all of the bruising on your legs. Short little buggers."

You nod, gratefully accepting the health and mana potions Junn shoves into your face.

A resounding bang from the front of the infirmary makes both of you jump. A knight is panting, clutching the doorframe with both hands. "Junn!" he gasps. "The Priestess has a-arrived, but she's hurt! Captain Rolith wants you to come to the small lounge immediately."

The red head's look of amusement vanishes immediately. He follows the knight out, calling over his shoulder. "Lita. I probably won't be back for a while, but you're welcome to stay here and rest."

And just like that, you're alone. Heaving a sigh of relief, you pull out your satchel and scroll through the inventory. But when you hit the bottom of the list (an easy task; it's not like you actually own anything), your heart freezes over.

"The box is gone!"

But you have the box; it was the last thing in your inventory like you expected. The thing is, the voice came from somewhere outside. You're not the one who said that.


AN: I'm writing this story for the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. So make sure you click that Follow button, because the updates are going to come fast and thick. It'd also help if I could get some reviews, lol. ;)

Oh, and PS, the chapters are pretty short. I'd keep up with the story at least till chapter 12, if I were you. *eyebrow waggle*