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The staircase leading to the guest rooms on the second floor was narrow and barely fit two people squeezing through. The steps were creaky and groaned even under my relatively light weight of one-ninety pounds. I imagined Vern walking up these steps, and his foot became stuck in the broken steps. I chuckled to myself at the thought.
When I reached the second floor of The Noble Lady, I saw one long hallway with a window on either end. There were metal sticks protruding out of the walls between the rooms; presumably, the staffers would hang lanterns during the event to provide illumination in the hallway.
I made a mental note to ask if there was a curfew in this town. It would suck royally if I tried to return to The Noble Lady late in the evening only to discover the doors locked for the night. While the streets seemed orderly during the daylight hours, I suspected that the evening hours were a different matter.
I quickly located room "F." Each room had a large, red letter painted on the door leading to the guest room. The walls were painted in tan color, while the doors were dark brown. I assumed this color scheme was used to allow for the doors to be located by guests easily even in dim lighting. I had to give Vern credit, though; the floor in the hallway was relatively clean. I saw neither roach nor rodent scurrying about.
Before I unlocked the door to my room, I quickly counted the number of doors in the hallway. I counted fourteen in all. I assumed that some of the rooms belonged to Vern and perhaps some staffers too. I wondered how many guest rooms were occupied. Without delay, I placed the key into the keyhole above the door knob, turned the key, and unlocked the door.
When I opened the door, a faint but sour smell of lemon greeted me. While standing in the doorway, I looked around the room and I found myself delighted at its relative cleanliness. I also noticed that I had a window in my room. The window was kept closed.
My estimation of Vern just went up another notch. Obviously, he had someone do a quick mop up of the room before he handed me the key in person. Despite his looks, the innkeeper seemed to possess a lot of pride in his establishment and that, in turn, spoke volumes for the man’s character. If I ever decide to turn The Noble Lady into my base of operations, then it would be prudent to turn Vern into my ally or even my friend. But in order to make that happen, I had to treat Amelica, along with the other staffers, with the utmost respect and courtesy.
Once I entered my room, I closed the door behind me and locked it. I made a beeline straight for the bed and sat on the edge to test my bed. It had a nice firmness. I was afraid that it would be too soft because a softer bed wouldn’t be great for my back. After all, babies need soft beds while old men need hard beds.
Next to the bed were a small nightstand and a chair. On the table was a lantern. I opened the single drawer within the stand and saw a bunch of candles along with flint. Above the night stand was the aforementioned window, which could be opened by unlocking it and pushing the window frame outward. I did just that and a gentle breeze entered my room. I took a deep breath of the fresh air and I felt refreshed. The air smelled really fresh and clean because there was no pollution from automobiles running on the streets.
I looked out the window and I was rewarded with a nice view of a bustling town. There were buildings of various shapes, heights, and sizes. Apparently, there were no building or zoning codes dictating what could be built and where. The streets were busy with horse-drawn carriages, wagons, and wooden carts in the middle of the street while pedestrians walked on either side of the street. I looked up at the sky; from the position of the sun, I estimated that it was already late morning.
Although I could easily spend the entire day looking out the window, I reminded myself that I had more important things to do. With a fair bit of exertion of personal willpower, I tore myself away from the window and sat down on the chair. I started contemplating my next moves. What were my most important priorities now?
The very first thing I needed to do was to figure out how to recall my player status screen. The screen would provide vital information that I needed to survive in this new world. I tried touching my fingers on a make-believe keyboard in front of me but that didn't work. I tried closing my eyes but I didn't see a blinking prompt or mouse cursor. On a hunch, I reached up with my hand and touched the floating caption above my head and THAT did the trick!
On my player screen, I saw a 3D rendition of my in-game avatar on the left side of the screen. In the middle, I saw the following in a vertical row: "Name: Lawrence Eugene Mulligan, Race: Human, Alignment: Neutral, Profession: Undecided, Level: 1, Experience: 0/1,000, Reputation: 0, Attack: 26, Damage: 2-4 (Unarmed), 3-6 (Dagger)." On the right side of the screen, my player stats were placed in another vertical row: "Health: 26, Stamina: 14, Mana: 27, Strength: 12, Intelligence: 17, Wisdom: 8, Dexterity: 14, Constitution: 14, Charisma: 8."
If we went by Dungeons & Dragons rules, my starting stats were actually quite superb. I was fairly active in sports in my youth playing a number of sports including baseball, lacrosse, and hockey. Thus, my Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity scores were all reflective of my participation in sports activities. The high Intelligence score reflected my extensive focus on learning in high school and college; I was an A- student and my Intelligence accurately reflected that aspect of my life. The Wisdom score was below average and this reflected my relative lack of common sense. I was book smart but always getting into trouble due to my lack of common sense. The Charisma was also below average and, yup, I knew I wasn't a handsome dude. Oh well, no biggie. I won't be attracting ladies with my looks or my mouth because somehow, I always said the wrong thing to make people angry at me. But if Amelica's behavior was representative of the attitude of common folk in general, then I just needed to focus on becoming a very wealthy man and attract women that way.