Britta had the rest of the day to do what she pleased. Nothing came to mind.
Her plan had been very much predicated on one thing leading to another. Whatever Dennis would have told her would have guided where she went next. Telling her to meet him later left her with a big gap in the schedule.
She stood outside the post office feeling a bit rudderless. She could check out the Auction House, which was basically window shopping. She could go to Sonny’s and try something else off the menu. These weren’t exciting options for life in a fantasy world. She might as well go home and come back when it was time for her meeting.
Of course, she could go and try to fight monsters and earn XP. She blew air through her lips. She didn’t really fancy it.
Britta looked up to find a towering female barbarian looming over her.
“Oh, hello, Diana. How are you?”
“Great, thanks. That a new outfit?”
“Yes. No more rags for me.” She did a little twirl for Diana’s benefit. She felt silly and pleased to have someone to show it off to.
“Love it. I don’t think I’ve seen a robe like that before.”
Britta held up the leather strips on the bottom part of the robe. “I sewed these on myself.”
“That’s awesome,” said Diana. “You must have high agility.”
Britta hadn’t considered how her agility stat would affect her ability to sew, but it made sense that it would. “Is that a Gift Box?”
Diana was carrying a large box with a red bow tied around it, the same as the ones Britta had received when she levelled up, although not when she hit Level 4 she now realised. Maybe they stopped giving them out for free. You could buy them, too.
“Yeah, I just levelled up,” said Diana, not sounding particularly impressed with the present.
“Me too,” said Britta. “I’m Level 4.”
“Hey, cool. I’m Level 15.”
“Wow.” It was hard not to be impressed. She was light years ahead of Britta. She must have killed everything in her path. “I wonder why I didn’t get one.”
“You don’t get one for Level 4. You should get one for five, then ten, and so on.”
“Oh, right. You got it for fifteen. You must be invulnerable.”
Diana smiled. “Only round here. I still get my ass handed to me when I go to any of the high-level zones.”
This was a low-level zone for beginners, but high-level players still came here for the new version of the mine. No one had managed to beat it yet.
“Are you here for Epic Korlath?” she asked.
“I guess. It’s pretty intense. Wait till you try it.”
“I still haven’t completed the basic version,” said Britta.
“No? Well, I suppose that can be intense too, with that dwarf everyone was talking about.”
It was a shame Diana couldn’t enter the basic mine—you had to be Level 10 or lower. A Level 15 player could probably handle the dwarf, no problem.
Diana had opened her gift box and was rooting around. “Hmm, usual garbage. I don’t know why they even bother giving us these.”
“Even at your level?” Britta would have hoped there’d be something decent in a Level 15 box.
“Here, want some dye?” Diana held out a bottle of pink dye.
“Thanks, I’ve got some already.”
Diana laughed. “Me too.” She took out a big floppy sun hat, a scroll, a large key and a floppy sword.
“What’s that?” It didn’t look like it would be much good in a fight.
“It’s a skin. Makes your sword look nice. And of course, these.” She held up shiny metal carrots.
“Are those steel carrots?”
“Yeah. You want them?”
Britta opened her inventory and dug out the recipe she’d got from Marj at the Ranch.
Royal Orange Soup
Steel carrots - 4
Dung weed - 1 bushel, strained.
Corn on the keb - 1 peeled
Rice water - 2 cups
Cloud salt - 1 pinch
Liver flowers - 4 petals
She’d been on the lookout for the ingredients ever since she got some money, but nowhere sold any of the items listed. She was beginning to think they didn’t exist. She showed the recipe to Diana.
“Oh, wow,” said Diana. “This is amazing.”
“It’s just soup.” Britta couldn’t help but get a bit excited. Maybe it was magic soup.
“It’s soup, sure, but not really.”
“No, this is a potion recipe. They’re super rare.”
Britta was trying not to get her hopes up, and not doing well. “What kind of potion?”
“No idea,” said Diana. “You won’t know until you make it.” She scanned the list of ingredients. “I think I have most of these. Want to give it a shot?”
“I wouldn’t want to waste your items on something useless?”
“Not a problem. Just stuff I’ve picked up, not really worth anything. But, it could be totally useless, like you say. You could just sell it in the Auction House. They usually go for five hundred gold.”
“That much without knowing what it does?” It was a lot to pay for something that could turn out to be worthless.
“It’s risky, but if it is a special one, you’re set for life.”
Sell it off and let someone else take the risk, or take the gamble herself? Sensible Britta would have made the sensible choice. But for Fantasy Britta, there was really only one way to go.