A Friend in Need, A Fantasy Game World, and a Reluctant Hero
Hal Dix had success at home after his initial outing into the world of Fantasma. He leveled up in both his job and at home. Everything was going fine in his life.
Then, the mage Tildi, the Elder showed up again with news from the other world. His friend was in trouble and only he could help. Hal didn’t want to be a hero, but he wasn’t the sort of fellow to leave a comrade behind.
Whisked away to the game world of Fantasma once again, Hal enters the role of the reluctant hero he thought he’d left behind.
Join the adventure in the second book of the Accidental Traveler LitRPG fantasy trilogy. Play along with Hal and his friends in Fantasma, as he becomes the Accidental Warrior, and discovers his place as the mythical hero of prophecy.
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Tildi the Elder, master wizard, tended the small herb garden in her tower’s central courtyard. These mundane plants were of little magical use. Still, they were tasty when added to her meals, and the simple activity gave her some peace.
A tinkling bell sounded from inside her tower. A wisp of blue smoke wafted from the open window of her tower’s upper room. Theran was here. That was a surprise. He didn’t usually drop in unannounced or uninvited.
Standing, Tildi brushed the soil from her knees and limped inside, her old joints protesting at the sudden change in position and movement. She groaned at having to hurry, but she ought to see what Theran wanted.
The tall mage was pacing the floor of her tower’s upper room when Tildi arrived. He didn’t see her at first. He was muttering something unintelligible under his breath.
“Good afternoon, Theran. This is a surprise.”
“What took you so long?” Theran snapped. “This is getting serious, Tildi. Emperor Kang’s thugs almost caught me today. I barely escaped with my life.”
Theran brushed at a strand of his gray-streaked black hair that fell across his brow. Underneath, dark blood was caked and matted in a small gash at the hairline.
“Good lord, Theran. Are you alright? Here, let me take a look at that wound.”
“He’s taken my tower, Tildi. Baron Norak and his mage hunters showed up earlier this morning.”
“I didn’t know he was that close to locating you,” Tildi said. She returned with a basin of water and a clean cloth. She began blotting at the head wound. “I’m glad you were able to get away.”
“It was a close thing, let me tell you,” Theran said, wincing as Tildi dabbed at the cut on his brow. “I think he traced me back to the tower after I went east. I had to check on rumors of a new army being raised there by the Emperor.”
“What did you find?” Tildi asked. “I heard rumblings of something going on in Hyroth, but I haven’t yet found the time to break away and look into it.”
“It’s a good thing you didn’t, Tildi. Baron Norak has his watchdogs out scouring the city for any magic use. They discovered me after only a day. I didn’t have much time to investigate anything before they caught up with me. Then I had my hands full, trying to escape.”
“You must have discovered something, Theran. What did you find out?”
“Emperor Kang has Norak in Hyroth. He’s training a special army, using the blood pit. Only the best survive. He’ll soon have a newer, more powerful force to march against Tandon and the other western cities in rebellion.”
“The fighting pit, that must be where she is,” Tildi said, snapping her fingers. “I thought I’d lost her, but the blood magic used in the fighting pit would have hidden her from my scrying.”
“Who?” Theran asked.
“Uh, no one,” Tildi lied. “Just a person I’ve become interested in.”
“Well, if she’s in the arena, it’s likely she’s dead.”
“I doubt she’s dead,” Tildi said. “The person I’m thinking of is very resourceful. She’ll find a way to survive, but she’s going to need help. I think it’s time to contact our friend Hal Dix again.”
“It’s been more than two years since he freed Tandon from the Emperor’s hold,” Theran said. “Why would he care enough to come back now?”
“Hal is, first and foremost, loyal to his family and friends. Hal will come because there’s a friend in need.”
“This is no job for a single thief,” Theran warned. “Your Opponent served his purpose and started the rebellion here in the west. He cannot just wander into the eastern cities and do the same thing. That is much closer to the center of Kang’s power.”
“You don’t know or understand the power of the Opponent, Theran. You never did.”
Tildi set the basin and cloth down and crossed the room to rummage through a leather satchel.
“I must travel to see Hal again.”
“What makes you think he’ll agree to drop everything and come help, even for a friend? He almost died the last time he was here.”
“I can be very persuasive, don’t you know? He will agree to come. Never fear.”
Theran snorted half a laugh and rolled his eyes.
Tildi gathered some things she’d need for the trip to the other world. She stuffed the items into her satchel. She looked over her shoulder at her guest.
“Theran, be a dear and call the others while I get ready to travel. I’ll need their power again, along with yours, if I’m to be successful. As you said, time is of the essence.”
Theran grumbled something about Tildi being an incessant busybody under his breath. She chose to ignore his complaints. Tildi smiled to herself as Theran, despite his muttering, stepped up on the conjuring dais and began the incantation of communication. Tildi, meanwhile, prepared to journey from Fantasma across the planes. She opened a chest in the corner. Inside, a double brace of throwing knives lay atop the armor and folded black leather garb of a master thief. Alongside the throwing knives was a pair of polished steel daggers.
Tildi smiled, reached into the chest, and pulled the daggers from it. She tucked them into her belt. Already formulating a plan, she chuckled. Hal would be so happy to see her, of that she was sure.