Bitter 100

Dennis came back with a padded envelope. “Here you are, miss.” He had recovered some of his composure and had his fake smile firmly back in place.

“Thanks. Be careful with the Mayor. You can’t trust him.” Britta left him with a shocked expression and his mouth hanging open.

She went over to the poster and took a closer look. Oswald Owlface did have a face like an owl. Big eyes and a pointy nose. He was almost like a cartoon character, designed to appear friendly and inviting. He was dressed like an admiral in a bright blue uniform and a big hat with fringes around the rim.

She wouldn’t want to follow someone like that into battle. Not just because he’d attract way too much attention in that ridiculous getup, but also because he looked like he’d be very annoying. Always saying positive things and making out everything was a battle to be won.

The envelope she’d received was also from Oswald. Most likely everyone had received one; more promotional material advertising their new dungeons. Like most things in the game, the first few seconds were spent admiring how real objects felt in your hands. The textures, the weight, the sounds as she ripped the envelope open. It was as satisfying as popping bubble wrap.

Inside, she found a rolled up parchment and a shiny brass key. The parchment had a long message from Oswald.

Greetings, Adventurer!

Epic Dungeons are now open all across this great land. For your chance to claim amazing loot, simply defeat the terrifying monsters standing guard over the epic chest at the end of each dungeon. They may be the hardest to beat monsters New World has ever seen, but that’s why we need great adventurers like YOU to lead the attack.

It read like marketing speak. There weren’t many details about exactly what made these dungeons so epic or what she would find in her epic chest, but it was probably decent gear. Better than anything she owned, for sure.

Epic dungeons aren’t for the faint of heart. You will need comrades in arms with you, a minimum of three and a maximum of twelve may enter the dungeon. A Spectral Key is required to open the Epic Chest, which can be bought in the New World shop, but the first key is on us!

Britta inwardly groaned. Another attempt at fleecing the players. She needed a key to open the epic chest and the keys cost money. Probably real world money. If the game was as realistic as it claimed to be, they should allow people to take an axe to the chest, but she doubted that was possible. They’d just claim it was magically sealed or something.

Your rewards are guaranteed to be Epic, as are the fights. You might need a couple of extra healing potions on this one! Prepare yourself for the fight of your life, Adventurer, and good luck.

There was a florid signature at the bottom, and under that, a tiny footnote.

*You must have completed the standard dungeon before you can gain admission to the epic version.

So after all that, she wasn’t able to try one of these epic dungeons until she fought her way through the standard version with, presumably, standard loot. Which made sense. She wouldn’t last very long against epic monsters with her current gear. Better to work her way up slowly, maybe learning two or three new spells that actually did some damage before trying to take on the hardest content in the game. No point rushing to a quick and not very epic death.

She turned the parchment over and looked at the map on the other side. It was your classic fantasy map with hand drawn roads and mountains and bodies of water, and a number of towns and cities. It was the first time she’s seen what New World looked like and she found it far more useful than the news about the dungeons. It was a big world and would take a long, long time to fully explore.

New Town was near the middle, and just to the north was a purple star indicating a dungeon. Mines of Korlath.

There were nine other purple stars dotted around the map. She would probably need a party to beat the basic version, although she had no idea how many people were required. More things to research. The dungeon didn’t seem very far, only a few minutes away by goat, so she decided to go take a look. The standard version was meant for beginners, so how hard could it be?

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