Author’s notes: First chapter of volume 3 is done. Had some set backs along the way, mainly work and some other stuff. As a result the chapter is 2.5 hours late, sorry guys o(╥﹏╥)o
But, on a positive note. I introduce my first and only editor, Vincent. I should possibly insert a big round of applause here, maybe some fireworks. Heck, why not some biscuits and dip. So, welcome to End Online Vincent. I won’t take up more of everyone’s time, I’m sure there are a lot of you eager for this chapter ^.^
Editors notes: …
As I turned my attention to the rustling in the bushes, a player stepped out in front of me. He was slightly shorter than me, equipped with a grey armour made from an unknown metal. Although, considering how much thinner it is compared to all the other armours I have seen, I gather that it must at least be a medium armour.
He wears some kind of broad rimmed straw hat that appears to just be for show, so I cannot see his hair, or even his face, very well. I did however, notice the symbol of Forste on the back of a hand wielding a white longsword.
All of a sudden I hear a voice call out from up in the trees.
“Hoh, friends! What brings you out here?”
Suddenly announcing that there is more than one, I lost my ability to talk. Inside my head played out all the possibilities as to why he would give away his position.
‘Perhaps there are more of them around. Give me a false sense of sense of security, then ambush Fen and I.’
Looking up in the trees I spot the second individual, standing on one of the branches. He wears a couple pieces of light leather armour, a light brown full torso armour as well as wrist guards. His armour appears to cover more of his body than mine does under the cloak, but it also seems to be thinner.
With short light brown hair, his whole character blends in quite well with the natural surroundings. If one wasn’t looking up, he would definitely be easy to go unnoticed.
With my hunter’s eyes, I spot a considerably large longbow on his back. The bow itself seemed to have been ornately carved with the finest craftsmanship. It must be either a decoration or a formidable weapon, neither of which I would put a gamble on.
“We happen to be going to a new dungeon. I suspect it may be quite tough though. Would you two care to join us?”
Deep in thought, he proposes for us to join them. As suspicious as I may be, it is a perfect offer for someone like me. Glancing at Fen next to me, I see her not showing any care. Accepting his offer, I will probably regret it later if I turn it down.
He tells me he doesn’t want to form a party. With his reasons unclear, I have my own reasons to not want to simply party with these strangers. If they discover my level, and it happens to be well below theirs, they may suddenly decide I am worth attacking.
I follow them for a few hours before we reach an incredibly dense thicket. Mason pulled out a large shortsword, cutting his way through the overgrowth. Before long we had encountered a small mausoleum that was slightly larger than my bedroom.
Apparently, this is the entrance to an underground dungeon called ‘Vexl Underground Prison’. The front gate easily swung open due to a broken lock, giving us entry to a flight of stairs leading into the ground.
Once we had fully gotten into the dungeon, I noticed just how different a dungeon can be from the outside world. As the torches lining the stone brick walls, the entire area had a chill that made me feel like the grim reaper was hanging over my shoulder.
I made sure to analyse the monsters that appeared in the dungeon. There were two types of monsters we experienced at the beginning, ‘Murderous Skeletons’ and ‘Imprisoned Zombies’.
Name: Murderous Skeleton Level: 92 Health: 781 Magic: 50 Stamina: 250 ??
Name: Imprisoned Zombie Level: 80 Health: 923 Magic: 0 Stamina: 0 ??
Mason and Matrix started their attacks first. I could have easily beaten them to the zombies, but I was more interested in the level of their skills.
Holding Fen back, Mason attacked first, shooting an arrow directly at the nearest skeletons chest. His arrow passing directly through its ribs only to hit a skeleton behind it.
Matrix charged forward as soon as the arrow was released, chanting magic as he ran. It was a considerably long chant, which usually indicates a powerful spell. Yet, something about the chant seemed strange.
I furrow my brows when he finishes casting the spell. After miraculously managing to continue chanting while being engaged in close combat, he released a simple fire ball onto the blade of his sword, wreathing it in flames.
I am no expert on the magic of End Online, but such an excessive chant did not exactly match the output of the spell.
Seeing the two show somewhat disappointing skill, I gave Fen the silent signal for us to attack. I was ready to pounce as soon as she let out an overwhelming barrage of ice bolts, annihilating the enemy. Through the companion window I read she even gained a level from it.
Giving her an angry chop to the head, I scolded her for taking all the exp. Companions don’t share any experience with their kills after all.
Shortly after, a collection of zombies ten strong came stumbling out of the mist further down the corridor. Taking the initiative I dashed at full speed towards them. Using my high speed I treated them like statues, weaving in and out as I hacked and slashed.
One zombie at the end managed to get close to grabbing me. But my concentration was already at its highest. Activating ‘Backstab’, I quickly killed it.
I see Mason and Matrix, the two brothers, staring wide eyed at me. Pride fills up in me that I have enough power to awe these two.
I’m starting to feel a little safer leaving my back to them. All Mason wants is to make a good video, while his brother Matrix will follow him.
At least, that’s what I have gathered from my impressions of them. If they do decide to stab me in the back, I am quite confident I am stronger than them.
“Come on, let’s keep moving. We have a lot of ground to cover.”
I want to clear this dungeon as fast as possible and get to Grenton. Speaking of which, Verde is still offline so I can’t talk to her to let her know I will be there after finishing this dungeon. Maybe I should just leave a message.
“Verde, currently in a dungeon, will be at Grenton after. Expect me soon.”
No, no, that’s a horrible message. I attempt to delete it, only to find that I can’t. My good mood fails in the face of my shame.
Walking towards the mist concealing what lay ahead, somehow the mist moves along with us. It created the optical illusion that we are walking down an infinite corridor, like we are stuck in an infinite loop in space.
All of a sudden a piece of the pavement beneath my foot sinks into the ground with no resistance at all. With my foot travelling down further than I had thought it would, I am stunned while falling off balance. At the same time, tens of stone bricks on the walls shatter as spikes stab directly at and around me.
I try to activate my speed, but with my mind a confused mess and my reaction being far too late, it is futile. The moment I try to move, my foot is trapped by the depression in the ground, causing me to trip and fall forward.
Slamming my eyes shut, I feel a slight pain in my leg.
“…LOST!” Fen screams in horror.
“Oh, wow!” “No way! How lucky can you be!?” Matrix and Mason’s voice also reach my hearing.
Slowly opening my eyes, currently facing the ground, I see a spike impaling my leg. I feel a little queasy at the sight, but it doesn’t particularly hurt. Surprisingly, I don’t feel any pain anywhere else. In falling forward, I have fallen in between the gaps of the array of lethal spikes. Currently, I am being pinned in position by randomly positioned earthen spears under and around me.
A notification in the corner of my sight repeats itself three times. Disbelieving my eyes, I feel like I have just won the lottery.
Luck has increased by one point...
In that one instant, my luck had increased by a total of three points!
Although, it doesn’t change the fact that I am currently trapped, incapable of any movement beyond flexing my fingers and twisting my neck. These spikes also appear to be a release once kind of trap. Once they are sprung, they must be physically removed or reset.
“Umm… Can you please give me a little help here.”
My voice comes out a quieter than I intend, But the echoes of the room are sufficient for the words. All of a sudden a barrage of ice bolts comes charging around me, randomly breaking the stone lances when they came into contact with them.
I finally spot that my health has dropped down to sixty percent.
‘Forty percent damage from a single one of these spikes impaling my leg. If I was hit with just two more…’
A cold shiver runs up my spine. The thought of how close I just came to being respawned all the way back in Iceridge was terrifying.
It only takes a few minutes until Fen finishes breaking all the spikes. In the middle of an area with mere stumps of the spears left, I face the others and casually brush myself off, trying to pass the incident of as no big deal.
“Well, shall we continue?” I incline for the rest of us to travel down the hall. Fen starts to pout all of a sudden.
“Ah, Fen.” I continue speaking, only directly to her this time, “Thank you.”
The wolf girl gives a proud look, almost as if she was never grumpy in the first place.
A cool gaze comes from the two guys, slowly easing off from the stunned expressions. They follow behind Fen and I as we start walking ahead, not speaking a word. What seemed like an endless tunnel abruptly turned into a wall.
Walking towards a dead end, a quick glance towards the walls reveal two new paths splitting off from the dead end, creating a ‘T’ intersection. From a distance, it was impossible to tell with the texture of the stone bricks intersecting so perfectly.
I sincerely hope that we don’t get stuck in some kind of labyrinth. To my knowledge, none of us have the ‘Cartography’ skill to create a map as we go.
“Left? Or right?”
I turn around to the others and pose the question. Fen just looks like she will follow me wherever I go, while the other two start to ponder.
“Well, let’s decide it the usual way.”
Mason pulls out a gold coin and flicks it in the air. As it falls back down, his hand flashes out, catching the coin and slapping it on the back of his other hand.
Lifting his hand away from the coin, he makes his decision.
“It’s a crown. I guess we should go left then.”
“Huh? What do you mean? And this is usual for you?” I am taken aback by how easily he decides on which direction to go.
“Well, no matter which direction you choose, it is still a gamble right? Rather than being indecisive, we usually just flip a coin to decide. If it lands on the blank side, we go right. If it lands on the side with the royal crown insignia, we go left.”
“We’re going right!”
My temper starts to get the better of me. There is nothing wrong with their logic, but I simply can’t agree with their decision making method. Feeling frustrated, I choose to go the opposite tunnel they decided on. Whether they follow Fen and I is entirely up to them.
“Heh. Well, I guess we will go right then.”
Mason’s face smiles, but I receive the sense that his face is resembling a mask, only showing the outside. Fen also seems to notice this and gives him an intimidating stare.
With me in the lead, we venture to the right. Another trap depresses beneath my foot, except this time I was paying attention to my footing. I silently activate ‘Perceptual Sight’, causing my world to start playing at sixty percent speed.
Bending my left knee, I spring backwards at the sign of danger. Fortunately for me, the trap this time is not an attack. Jumping back, I narrowly avoid the floor dropping out beneath my feet, revealing a seemingly bottomless pit about four meters wide, and endlessly deep.
With pale faces, everyone else comes to an abrupt halt as well. The collapsing floor stops only inches in front of their feet.
Mason would have fallen in if it wasn’t for my retreating leap colliding with him and knocking us both backwards.
“Ah, that is a bit embarrassing.” My heart is beating at a rapid rate, adrenaline from the danger rushing to my head.
“I guess we will have to take the left path after all.” Mason regains his composure, putting on the mask with a smile again.
“Why?” I ask directly before crossing the gap in a single bound. It is fortunate the roof is so high otherwise I possibly wouldn’t be able to do it.
“It’s easy enough to jump across, I would think having a trap means that there is something to protect behind it.”
Fen easily clears the gap as well, but the brothers seem a little nervous about the distance. Reluctantly, they give in and decide to make the leap.
Mason is up first. Taking a running start he leaps off the edge of the hole. Barely landing on his feet at the other end, his momentum causing him to fall and roll down the path for a few meters.
“Matrix,” He calls back to his brother, “Take off your armour. You won’t make it with it on, it’s too heavy.”
The person in question operates an invisible menu and changes his appearance to wearing just a grey tunic and equally loose pants.
Taking an even bigger run up than his brother, Matrix launches off from the same spot as Mason did. Only, his agility wasn’t as high as the other man. At the parabola of his jump peaking before half way, Mason suddenly panicked.
As if by pure chance, Matrix’s jump had just enough power to allow him to cling to the other edge of the pit.
Saddling his bow over his shoulder, Mason grabs the swordsman’s hands and pulls him up to safety.
With all of us past the trap, low groans echo from down the corridor. A large group of fourteen rotting zombies come storming at us. Following up behind them are a group of skeletons just as big, their cracked bones clattering between the zombie’s grunts.
With a large mob of enemies in front of us, and a bottomless pit behind us, we are in a rather delicate situation.
Mason takes the initiative first. Standing in the centre of the path, he draws his bow. I cannot quite understand what he is doing, considering there is no arrow in the bow.
The weapon in question glows with a blue hue, similar to the clear sky. In between the taut string and the handle, a thin arrow made of compressed air takes form. Both the zombies and skeletons are only fifteen meters away when he looses the string. The almost see through arrow launches with it, only to disappear moments after releasing it.
A sonic boom blasts its way past me. Where the arrow had vanished, a large cylindrical cyclone of wind comes to life, blasting its way down the corridor at the speed of sound. The violent winds tear up the mob in front of us, blades of wind leaving nothing untouched. With no exception, even the floor and walls are carved into as the blast travels past them.
“W-what was that!? Y-you can use magic too!?” I stammer at Mason, completely dumbfounded.
“Tch, I didn’t want to have to use that.” He ignores my question, and just mutters to himself.
“What the heck was that!?” Repeating my question, Mason finally looked at me.
“It’s a sacred art.” He looks rather grumpy, “But I don’t like using it. It uses 248 stamina just to use once. Right now, I’m completely out.”
“Are you sure you should be telling me that?”
I personally wouldn’t tell somebody else that I can only use it once. It leaves room for people to take advantage of that fact when it involves being attacked by another player.
Mason only shrugs his shoulders.
“It’s okay, I trust you enough. I will be editing all this out of my video anyway, I don’t want everyone else to see it after all. By the way, some of them survived.”
Turning my head, I see four of the skeletons slowly standing up. They appear to be incredibly damaged, from missing limbs to bones that crack further from just moving them.
They are clearly all nearly dead.
Slipping my hand inside my cloak, I draw a four of the five throwing knives holstered on the outside of my leg. My wrist technique has improved a lot with my practice in throwing the blades. Although, that could just be the system assist. It is incredibly difficult to tell if it was assisting you sometimes, it’s more like it directly affected your mind to correct your moves more so than forcing your avatar to perform the techniques.
It is great how the attacks feel like you are naturally doing them, even though by some form of compulsion you are forced to complete them once started.
All four of the daggers quickly fly at the skeletons. Three fatally hit their targets in the head, while the fourth narrowly misses. Clicking my tongue, I draw the last throwing knife and successfully kill the last skeleton.
My level finally rises by one at the last kill.
From that point on we walk through nothing but endless corridors that all look the same. Each and every single path is lined with the exact same stone bricks, enough of which I have seen to make my head ache. Every path also has the fog that prevents the eyesight from passing about twenty meters.
Turning left, turning right, go straight ahead, pick one of five different paths. This is the worst kind of dungeon, a labyrinth.
I am completely lost.
Each battle came and went quite quickly, I even gained about ten levels so far. Although, no matter how hard I look, I could not find any stairs down. I doubt I could even find my way back if I tried.
Fen has gained six levels since we entered, and that is with me holding her back from slaughtering all the enemies before anyone else even gets a chance to fight.
For a change, the tunnel in front of us does not break off into multiple paths, but a large dome shaped cavern. In the centre of this cavern is what seems like a circular tower fifteen meters in diameter, and thirty high. It is made of the exact same stone bricks as the rest of the labyrinth.
There are a few windows near the top of the tower. Although, they all seem not only unreachable but also too small to fit through. Not to mention, between us and the tower is swarming with ‘Imprisoned Zombies’ and ‘Murderous Skeletons’.
“Mason,” I speak in a polite voice, “Can you use that attack again? You know, that magic arrow?”
“I can,” He let’s out a sigh, “But it will be severely weakened, the space here is simply too large.”
Huh, what does he mean by the space is too large?
Nevertheless, he draws his bow and creates another ‘Wind Piercer’ while his bow reflects the clear blue light of the sacred art. Releasing the arrow which shortly disappears into nothingness, only to be replaced by another concussion of wind and sound.
However, this attack didn’t come anywhere close to tearing a hole through a whole horde of strong monsters like I thought it would. Instead, the wind blade ran wild in every direction. A few zombies are slain, but most remain unharmed as the air blades disperse in the large open area.
“I see… You’re an archer strong in confined spaces aren’t you?”
A small part of me lights up at thinking this guy’s fighting strength is unusually out of balance, just like how I am. He is the opposite of me, who is stronger in large, open spaces.
“Well anyway, let’s go.” I would be lying if I said I’m not nervous, but I am confident in most of our strengths. The two brothers are the only ones that concern me, even if it appears they are stronger than what they first appeared to be.
Fen and I take the lead. Her ice bolts rain down from the skies while my blades gouge zombies and skeletons alike.
A few arrows fly around and I hear Matrix chanting his spells in arduously long phrases. They seem to be holding their own against the enemies, but we are killing them much faster.
“Come on Fen. We can’t lose!” This is no time to hold her back and get the experience myself. Naturally, I urge her to fight harder.
“Unn…” She nods her head, eyes lighting up with new life.
The barrage of Ice intensifies. Not only that, but strange Ice Flowers bloom randomly amongst the enemies, mercilessly tearing them apart.
I start using my sacred arts more as well. Any enemies that get close to attacking me are taken down by ‘Backstab’. While my sacred arts which multiply the images of my body are useless against such a larger number of opponents, I am currently in my preferred environment with an abundance of space to move around within.
My afterimages are possibly my greatest weapon. Misleading enemies to attack places where I am not, it also prevents them from reacting to an attack that has not yet seemed to reach them.
Ten minutes passed by and the number of enemy forces had reduced by three quarters. I was completely out of stamina and everyone else had also been worn down.
Lost Lvl: 68 Health: 590/904 Stamina: 13/325 Companions: Fen Lvl: 58 Health: 905/1325 Magic: 24/489 Stamina: 312/392
Out of magic, Fen starts launching high speed attacks, chopping the enemies with her hands like blades.
I dance through the crowd with afterimages, swinging my blades with a steady rhythm. I have lost a considerable amount of health so far, but that is only from Fen’s careless rain of ice bolts. Not even I can avoid hundreds of small shards of ice attacking everything in a large vicinity, nor can she aim away from me when she can’t actually see me.
Mason and Matrix appear to have taken a bit of damage. Glancing across the cavern, Matrix is releasing some incredible feats of swordsmanship. I admit I was a little concerned at first as to what he could do with a sword but no shield. However, he is using it to successfully block the incoming attacks from the skeleton’s weapons.
Killing another zombie and gaining a further level, I stop moving in front of a skeleton. I want to know if I will be able to block an attack with my blades too.
It swings down a one handed hatchet, the perfect weapon for me to test blocking on.
The hand axe comes down as my two shortswords cross over my head to catch it. As the hatchet came down on the blades, a sudden force vibrated down my arms. The skeleton drove the weapon straight through my defence and carved a big wound from my shoulder to hip.
A full three hundred and fifty health points are taken off from the critical hit. The weight of the blow adds to my body as I feel incredibly weary from my lack of health left.
Making some distance in between me and the remaining enemies, I pull out two vile looking health potions. Losing my confidence to consume the horrid looking things, I put them back in my inventory and instead eat a bunch of green medicinal herbs to start recovering my health.
As my health begins to recover, I feel the weariness in my body slowly fading.
In a short few minutes, I am ready to enter the battle again. Except, all the enemies are finally dead.
Fen and I converge with the brothers, each taking out their own recovery potions. In front of us stands the stone brick tower like a giant pole stuck in the ground. Being directly in front of it, the construct is quite menacing. A faint foreboding emits from it, raising the hairs on the back of my neck.
I place my hand on the metal plate door. Trying to force the door open, I release a sigh at discovering it is locked.
“I don’t suppose anyone has a key by chance? I don’t think we could break this iron door.”
I look at the others who shake their head.
“Uh, if you would excuse me for a moment.”
The person that scantily talk, Matrix, speaks up. A little shocked, I move aside to allow him through.
Matrix goes down on one knee in front of the door. Pulling out two small metal needles, he places them in the lock.
A minute of rattling the picks in the lock and a dull click echoes through the metal. With a high pitch screeching, the iron door slowly swings open on rusted hinges.
Inside the tower is hollow, with a staircase spiralling downwards along the wall into this dungeon’s signature mist. The ceiling is comparatively low, only five meters above me. There is a trapdoor directly above us, but I have no method to get that high without risking falling to my death from the ledge I am currently on.
With torches lining the walls, we stroll down the staircase in a single file. There is enough room to walk two abreast. However, nobody wishes to walk that close the edge, considering the depth of the drop seems endless.
Just like in the corridors, the mist also retreats from us the closer we get to it, maintaining its distance. We reach a small platform similar to the one we entered from. From under the ledge we are on, the ground is still obscured beneath an insurmountable amount of fog.
There is another iron plate door in front of us, also locked. Matrix quietly steps up to it and unlocks it.
“Hah,” I laugh to myself, “The magic swordsman has magic fingers.”
Fen doesn’t seem to understand the joke very well, but Mason lets out a chuckle.
Beyond the door, torches light up a large prison devoid of mist. The room is about twenty meters and four stories tall, with doors made from iron bars locking up individual cells along the walls. Walkways and ramps criss cross in no particular order, allowing navigation around and through the large room.
Although, the walkways have been placed with no systematic order, resulting in a chaotic scene no less challenging than the labyrinth. There is the option to jump down to a lower path, but it may not be possible to jump back up.
I am a little curious about the odd zombie or skeleton walking around. They look exactly the same as the ones we previously fought, except these ones aren’t walking around in packs
Name: Murderous Skeleton Level: 157 Health: 1333 Magic: 124 Stamina: 512 The first inmates of the 'Vexl Prison' have long since perished. With all their flesh gone, only the bones remain. The insanity of the prison seeped into the bones of the criminals, forcing their souls to remain, even after death. Murderous Skeletons attack ruthlessly, even sacrificing their bodies in the process. They do not tire, pursuing their target until one of them is dead.
Name: Imprisoned Zombie Level: 139 Health: 1743 Magic: 0 Stamina: 0 The prisoners were starving. With the lack of food, some turned to cannibalism. Befouling their bodies with human meat, their drive to consume overcame them. With their bodies rotting, they still continue to search for food. The rotten flesh on their bodies is incredibly poisonous, any contact with it could potentially be fatal
My jaw drops and my eyes widen. I have killed enough of the enemies to be able to garner their background information. But what caused my shock, was the fact that they were multitudes stronger than the earlier ones.
“Fen, Matrix, Mason. Be careful, these enemies may look the same, but they are well over level 100. The earlier zombies and skeletons are much weaker than these ones.”
A hint of dread came from my voice, causing the others to stare wide eyed at the enemies.
“At least,” I continued, “They are by themselves, not in groups.”
“Well, we should try to take them out from a distance, those pathways only appear to be about one and a half meters wide. Not to mention the lack of safety rails. There is no room to properly manoeuvre in close combat, they will have the advantage.”
He has a fair point, it will be difficult to dodge their attacks when we may risk falling off to the bottom of the room.
“There appears to be more iron plate doors in here,” I count three in particular, “They probably lead off into other areas of the dungeon. We had best go directly to one and continue on.”
Following our current path across the room to the far wall, a few zombies come to the edge of their cells, shaking the bars on the doors as they moan at us. Attracted by the sounds, more zombies and skeletons come to the end of their cells.
‘If all these doors were to suddenly open, we would without a doubt be overwhelmed.
I lead everyone around past the enemies, trying to not let them get me on edge. I travel down a sloped ramp only to encounter a skeleton. Rotating its head in my direction, it raises a large curved sword and sprints at me faster than I could believe.
Without any time to react properly, I instinctively activate ‘Backstab’. Vanishing in the face of its downward sword blow only to attack from behind.
Landing the powerful critical hit across the back of its ribs, one cracks while the skeletons health visibly drops by a third. The skeleton ignores the damage and tries to twist its body to continue attacking me. In the same moment, an oversized spear of ice comes down and cracks open its ribcage while an arrow connects with the side of its skull, displacing its balance and causing the attack to miss.
A little irritated again thanks to the inconvenience of my skill causing the monster to be under the ‘Aggro’ status, I let loose on attacks as well. I don’t bother trying to be skillful with my attacks. I simply dodge the incoming blade, and swing my shortswords in the skeletons direction.
It was not my most impressive appearance, but I did bring the skeleton down.
The moment the skeleton died, seven of the surrounding cells make a cracking sound. Each has their iron door break off from the hinges, falling forwards and allowing the trapped undead out.
“Ah ****.” I curse at my luck. Not only are the creatures in front and behind us, but some even climbed out of the cells directly in the middle of us.
No one spoke a word. There is simply not enough time to. there are six enemies in total, three teams of a skeleton and a zombie each.
I have the pair in front. Meanwhile, Fen turns her attention to the ones in the centre of our formation, leaving Mason and Matrix to deal with the two at the back.
The sound of cracking ice fills the area as Fen creates stalagmites, launching them at the incoming enemies. I take the opportunity to throw all my easily available throwing knives at a zombie as I approach its skeleton partner.
The zombie is much slower than the skeleton, allowing me to have a few scant moments to fight it one on one. The speed of the monster is uncanny, releasing attacks faster than every monster I have met before. I can see how most players consider a shield to be much more effective than being fast. There are creatures that no matter how high one might have their agility, they still can’t compete in the terms of speed.
Well, that is in comparison to standard players.
Some attacks I could completely dodge, although I managed to ward off most with the weapon only grazing me. Nonetheless, it still did a great deal of damage, my armour is terribly poor for my level.
Bending my knees and dropping myself down to half my height, I feel the wind from the skeletons horizontal slash. Stabbing the skeleton in the sides of the knees, a sense of foreboding overcomes me.
The skeleton barely even prepares its next attack, almost immediately swinging the sword directly down on top of me. At barely sixty percent health, it could be a fatal blow. Almost as if by instinct, I push off my left foot and pivot with the opposite. While still crouching, the skeletons sword stops not far from the floor. The skeleton rotates the blade, only to swing a curved upward strike.
I activate ‘Perceptual Sight’ for the second time today. Gradually straightening my legs to stand, the blade tracks my every movement. Running out of options to escape, I give a final push and attempt to jump over it.
An almost feeling of weightlessness overcomes me the moment my feet leave the ground. My body floats through the air, allowing me to bend my back and spin faster. Narrowly, I clear the blade with a technique similar to that used in the sport where you are required to jump over a pole at a certain height.
I get halfway through the backflip, with my head facing the ground, when the wall starts approaching dangerously quick. I extend my four limbs against the wall to protect myself, landing with a dull thud. Pushing back off the wall, I reverse my trajectory before gravity takes hold. I see the zombie is now joining the fight, along with a second skeleton.
‘Damn it! My ‘aggro’ has caused the skeleton Fen was fighting to switch targets to me.’
Based on my current path, I am going to land in the middle of them. The only chance is to kill these two skeletons as I land, which should be easy considering they both have less than ten percent health left.
‘No! Wait! I know what to do.’
Focusing my mind and ignoring my fall, I create mental images of twin images of me on either side of the enemies. Once the prerequisite is met, ‘Pincer’ activates. The skeletons and zombie attack the falling ‘me’ which turns to smoke in the face of their attacks.
An image of me attacks the group from either side, but only one of them is a real attack. Only one skeleton attacks the ‘real’ me. Considering the low health of the skeleton, one blow is enough to finish it off. The second skeleton also perishes, and utilizing ‘Backstab’ multiple times, the zombie shortly follows.
Glancing behind me, I see the other three have long since finished their battles.
“…Told you… Lost doesn’t like… Interference…”
Fen states it as a matter of fact way to the other two who looked like they were ready to jump in at any time.
“You could of at least taken care of the skeleton that you let go, damn wolf!”
The culprit in question gives me a mischievous look while the two brothers give each other a confused look.
“Anyway,” I change the subject, “It is odd, seven cells broke open and only six enemies came out. Why don’t we take a look inside these cells.”
Following my lead, we each start poking our heads into the cells to inspect their interiors. They are all exactly the same inside. There is not a single window, with a bed as the only furniture inside. The beds are all long since rusted and decayed, no longer able to support the weight of a person.
There were no mattresses either. A couple of mouldy old fabric remnants are there, but nothing more.
The only difference was the cell which no undead came out from. In this cell, there was a footlocker at the end of the remains which used to be a bed.
“Everyone,” Sticking my head out of the cell I call the others, “We have a chest in this one!”
They all casually strolled in as I opened the chest.
Loot: ◊ 16 Gold Coins ◊ 45 Silver Coins ◊ 7 Tattered Mouldy Leather Pieces Take / Take All
Tattered Mouldy Leather ?? Requirements for Use: - Adequate Tailoring Knowledge Item Type: Crafting Material(Leather) Effects: ??
Everyone else seemed remotely surprised at the loot. It possibly isn’t that fantastic for a dungeon of this level. But compared to our current experience up till now, it is a lot.
“Well, I will take half, the other half is for you.” I decide on the distribution.
“Wait,” Mason interjects, “What about Fen’s share. Surely you aren’t going to take the half just for yourself.”
“Sure I am, why wouldn’t I?”
Shock overcomes the brothers’ faces. Seeing me as an incredibly greedy individual, who can blame them. Of course, since they are not in my party, they are unaware that Fen actually isn’t a player.
When the halves didn’t match up we decided on a coin toss which I fortunately won every time. It even increased my luck by a point!
The undead also broke out of the prison cells every time we killed one of the monsters walking around by themselves. Sometimes four broke out, other times as many as ten. I started calling it the ‘Jailbreak Phenomenon’.
If ten had appeared during the initial battle we had, surely we would have lost. Fortunately for us, we learnt from the first time and were already prepared for them. Using Matrix and his ‘magic fingers’ we opened the heavy plate iron doors, leading to other wings of the prison.
If the area we entered was the central area, then the east and west wings were similar in many regards. The sizes of the room were slightly different, but they were all four story monstrosities.
Most people would have avoided causing the ‘Jailbreak Phenomenon’ considering the disadvantages. If it was just the experience points I was earning from them, then I probably would have passed on half the fights and gone directly searching for the boss room. Except, inside some of the jail cells were extra gold and loot, something I could not pass up on.
The north wing was a little different from the others. It was more like an area designated for solitary confinement. With narrow, straight corridors, all the rooms lacked even a bed, let alone any chests. There were strangely yellow skeletons locked up in some of them though. I did an analysis on them and reveal they were ‘Decayed Yellow Skeleton’ at level 180.
Without the loot to gain, I had no interest in fighting something that could kill me and make all my efforts to get here count for naught.
We travelled the dim corridors for hours, occasionally encountering groups of enemies, but nothing we could not handle. By the time the brick texture of the walls had just blended into a single piece of grey to me, we arrived at a large double door. It was vaguely similar to the other locked doors, except, it gave me a bad sensation magnitudes higher than the other doors.
“I think.” I spoke up as we stopped for a moment of rest and recovery, “That we have finally reached the boss.”
“Indeed, I wonder what kind it is.” Mason ponders aloud at my statement.
“Well, just like players, there are two kinds of bosses. There are those that specialize in strength and crushing everything around them, and then there are the ones that focus on speed. The bosses with speed are the worst to deal with, not only are they incredibly faster than any player can be, they have inhuman reaction speeds. This is the main reason why next to no players fight with speed.”
“That does make sense, a computer program wouldn’t be limited by a brains reaction speed, but instead by the computer’s processing speed.”
Nodding our heads at each other, Mason and I got caught up in our own little world. Until, Matrix spoke up at least.
“I think we should, umm… Go in and do this.”
He seems a little nervous but we agree on his words and move forward to the large double door.
“Matrix,” I ask before proceeding any further, “If you are a magic swordsman and have magic skills, why didn’t you get a skill for healing magic rather than picking locks?”
The question isn’t really relevant, but it has been bugging me for quite some time.
“Umm, that is, well… Healing magic is more for stuff like paladins. And umm, lockpicking gives me a really high dexterity bonus. It’s good for wielding swords.”
I see, a little bit strange, but I get where he is coming from.
I put my weight onto the doors and they easily slide open. Clearly, there was no point in locking these doors.
Inside is a large round room, fifty meters in diameter. A light mist covers the entire area, except unlike the previous mist, this on stays in position and swirls around us as we move.
There are torches burning dimly around the walls, filling the entire area with an eerie light. It is hard to imagine that this strange room is a part of the jail.
In the centre of the room is a two and a half meter tall, menacing pitch black suit of armour wielding an ordinary looking round sword and shield.
If this was my first dungeon, I would no doubt walk up to it unaware. However, from my experience, I already know that is the boss.
“”Analyse!”” Both Mason and I examine the boss at the same time.
Overseer 'Law'(Boss Class) Level: 205 Health: 5650 Magic: 0 Stamina: 1200 ??
I am not the same player I was when I entered this dungeon. Fighting the endless amounts of undead while being lost in the labyrinth, and especially combating all the superior undead in the prison confines. I have killed more than the rest, and with my agility still growing thanks to my class skill effect, I have reached level 97.
I call out to the others, as I become the first person to enter the battle with this boss.
I leave an afterimage behind to confuse the boss as I close the distance between us. Unleash a lethal blow to the bosses neck, a metallic clang resounds as the force of hitting a solid wall transmits up my arms.
Somehow, the boss raised its shield and blocked me.
Not understanding how it could do that when it couldn’t possibly see me, I am at a loss for words.
I just back not a moment too soon as Law swings its sword down at me. The sword may look ordinary, but it gave off a nightmarishly menacing aura with that swing.
I make some distance between us and try circling the boss before charging. At this moment Fen and Mason start launching their projectiles attacks. A few got through its defence, but most of the attacks were blocked, resulting in its health dropping by only a few percent.
I charge in from the side ahead of my mirage and attack, which is once again blocked. I don’t understand how it is seeing through my attacks.
Law counter attacks by swinging his ordinary looking sword again, I try to distance myself but the blade slightly grazes my chest.
As soon as it did, the whole world went dark.
“Everyone, be careful. Its blade has a ‘blind’ enchantment.”
Twenty seconds pass before the world returns to my vision. The others are barraging Law with ranged attacks while Matrix gets up close and personal. I didn’t really pay much attention to it before, but he is incredibly skillful with a sword. He must either have a monstrous dexterity stat, or possibly train with the sword in real life.
Law’s health drops to eighty five percent as Matrix casts a fire spell onto his blade, wrapping it in flames. Although, this time there is no chant.
‘I knew it! So your chant was just trash talk!’ I convicted him in my mind.
Even when the boss blocked one of the magic swordsman’s attacks, the fire would flicker past the shield and do damage anyway. Strangely enough, the boss still hasn’t actually moved from his starting position. He turns around, but that is about it.
Law seemed to fidget a little as Matrix came in for another attack. Right after he started to swing, the boss turned into a blur. Circling the swordsman with an unparalleled speed, it quickly got behind him and tried to cleave him in two.
I seem to notice the trailing behind the boss’s movements, the mist gets disturbed. trails of whirlpools form in the mist wherever he moves.
‘Of course, that is how it knew where I was attacking from! My real body disturbs the mist as I travel through it.’
Matrix, realizing the danger he is in, followed through with his original attack and swung the sword over his head, blocking at least some of the attack by the boss.
“Matrix!” Mason called out from near the door, “It is a speed type! We need to use that!”
Making up my mind, I charge directly at Law, who readies its shield in wait for me. It is the same attack as the previous two, except, this time I also use ‘Backstab’
Right when I am about to hit its shield, the image of me disperses and becomes one with the mist. Meanwhile, I appear from behind law and start attacking with sacred arts. With no care for conserving stamina, I go from using ‘Cross X’, to ‘Triple Thrust’, to once again using ‘Backstab’.
My stamina completely drains in minutes, forcing me to momentarily retreat. Law’s health has finally dropped down below half way, and is currently having its movements restrained by Fen’s ice bolts. Mason is shooting arrows at it too, but they are mostly ineffective.
Matrix, standing next to Mason, catches my eye. His sword is now not only covered in fire, but also a crackling lightning. Yet for some reason, he is still chanting.
“- For thou art not yet prepared for battle, allow for thy weariness to heal and strength to grow. Allow thy to leave this place. Rabbit Flight!”
‘Rabbit Flight? Isn’t that a high class wind spell to escape any situation. I hear the chant is pretty long, but once finished, escape is nearly guaranteed.’
Showing a little scepticism at what Matrix was planning to do with a spell for escaping, I watch him slowly crouch down and bring his sword behind him.
The magic swordsman suddenly swings his sword, as if striking, from fifteen meters away. As he reaches the middle of his swing, Matrix dashes forward.
Directly in front of my eyes, he disappeared.
And immediately behind the boss, he reappeared.
The mist didn’t even get disturbed until after the attack was finished. Such a high speed attack was even beyond me.
The boss went down to its knees, before falling face first on the ground. Forty percent of its health, gone in the blink of an eye!
“W-What the hell was that!?” I stammer at Matrix, who seems nervous under my scrutiny.