Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
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23 Daring Dive, Part Five
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Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
Author :Seshata
© Webnovel

23 Daring Dive, Part Five

TREASURETREASURETREASURE

My one-track mind doesn't stop to think about literally anything except how I'ma be getting me some treasure reeeeal quick.

I jump out of the sakura tree and roll upon impact, always moving forward. For a second, I have the strangest sensation that something *else* jumps from the tree right after me. I'd clambered all over that tree, collecting cherries, though, and nothing else had been hiding in the branches. Just in case, I look around while running, but see nothing.

Must be my imagination. Nightfall playing tricks on my eyes.

I shake off the unease still prickling the back of my neck, and return my focus to what really matters. LOOT.

From the forest floor, I can't see the pond anymore, so I do the hand signal that pulls up my Map in the bottom corner of my vision.

Grayed out. Of course it is.

In fact, not even the path or Foundation Village appear on the useless screen. Just me as a little blue dot, scurrying around a gray-black box.

Cool. Who needs a Map anyway? This is fine.

I do have a killer sense of direction, so I'm not particularly worried. At least, I'm sure I can eventually find the pond. My loot sense is on another level.

Finding the way back to the path, though...well. One problem at a time.

The canopy grows thicker the deeper I go, until it's so dark not even my Nightvision can make out more than faint shapes in the gloom. My Perception stat is high enough, though, that my other senses can pick up the slack, so I don't run into too many low-hanging branches or spiderwebs.

(And I definitely don't yelp in a high-pitched, undignified manner EVERY FUCKING TIME I run through a surprise spiderweb face-first (why always head-height, spiders?), because that would be very off-brand for Erebus, God of Shadow and Chaos.)

(I am the darkness.)

The downside to the super-sensory dealio, however, is that sometimes, high Perception makes completely normal things seem scarier. For example, the brush of a fern against my bare legs feels like a feathery beast lying in wait. And the sound of footsteps doggedly pursuing me sounds suspiciously like footsteps doggedly pursuing me.

Wait.

I freeze, listening with every bit of my heightened auditory senses.
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Nothing. No steps, so sounds of breathing, no telltale signs of life lurking behind me.


I let out the breath I'd been holding because clearly holding your breath makes you hear better, it's SCIENCE. Just like turning down the car radio helps you read road signs better. Obvs.

I continue on my way, but only a few steps later, the phantom footsteps are back, so I halt again, and again, nothing.

Clearly, this must be a case of super-hearing working against me. It's probably just a squirrel climbing a tree, but the sound is so magnified it sounds bigger. Or it's the echoes of my own footfalls as I tread through this creepy-ass forest in the middle of the night.

I walk on. The shuffling footsteps return.

You ever notice how hard it is to NOT notice something you really don't want to notice?

As I move closer to where I think the pond is, the phantom footsteps seem to also move closer to me. And they get louder, heavier.

This ordeal is not terrifying at all, so whew, thank goodness for that.

I pick up the pace, spiderwebs be damned.

The shuffling steps turn into more of a lumbering gait, so the shadow feet can keep up with me.

Goody.

Believing in my ability to sniff out treasure, I say "screw it" and take off at full speed. Let's see Spooky Stalker Steps follow me when I become THE WIND.

...

Ow.

By the time I finally burst through the pines into the pond clearing, I've hit three trees, tripped over two creature dens, and burst through so many spiderwebs I'm pretty sure every eight-legged bugger in this forest is now homeless, and my eyelashes are more spidersilk than keratin.

BUT.

I found the pond! And I lost the creepy invisible footstep stalker! And now I'ma get me some treasure, so honestly, life is looking up right now!

I gaze adoringly at the brilliant glow emanating from the still pond. This close, it looks even more like a mix between the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and a full-on supernova waiting beneath the surface.

Now, I know I'm a treasure nut, but I'm not such a damn noob I'm gonna dive right in to snatch my chest. (No matter how much that's exactly what I want to do.)

I carefully approach the glistening water. It's calm. Too calm. Not even a ripple crosses the glassy surface, and I don't like it. I pick up a rock and back up to hide behind a tree. Then I chuck the rock to splash into the center of the pond.

Nothing happens.

I try again.

Nothing happens.

I try again.

Nothing happens.

"For fuck's sake," I mutter with a sigh.

I come out from behind the tree, grab a hunkin' basketball-sized rock off the ground, and hurl it smack center of the pond.

Something happens!

Three somethings!

Three Level 15 water demons the size of alligators crash onto shore and gnash their glinting shark-like teeth at me!

"For fuck's sake," I mutter again.

I actually recognize these yokai. They're called Kappas, "river-children," and they eat disobedient human children.

Seems they're operating under the impression that tossing giant rocks into their pond-home and planning to steal their shiny shit falls under the umbrella of "disobedient."

These ugly dudes are yellow-green and scaly, with webbed feet and hands that also have long, razorsharp claws. Their heads are misshapen, with bulbous eyes, pointed snouts, and a weird, concave depression in their foreheads that looks like a bowl of water. They also have turtle-like shells, making them impervious to most physical attacks aimed at the body.

Yay.

They're essentially even-more-mutantlike Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I have no weapon. I have no pants. I have a ten-level deficit, and I absolutely should not fight these monsters right now.

With a fevered battle cry, I launch myself at the nearest Kappa. Daddy wants hisself some turtle soup!

...

Okay.

I regret even thinking that.

It was a "heat of battle" kinda thing, you know?

...

Moving on.

The Kappas' fighting style is a mix of sumo wrestling and bear-like claw slashing. They're slow out of the water, though, so it's not too hard to avoid most of their crazed charges. Unfortunately, their Nightfall-enhanced Strength stats are far superior to mine, so when I Block, their attacks still deal 25% damage. And my strikes aren't a threat to them at all; with their monster auto-regen, their HP recovers faster than I can deal damage.

Yet, neither of these facts concerns me.

Nope, what concerns me is the part of the Kappa legend that explains how the monsters prefer to kill their human victims.

You see, Kappas love to shove their claws where the sun don't shine to retrieve a "mythical organ" from their victim's anus.

Oh, then they disembowel the unlucky bastard.

Given how handsy these mofos are, I think the devs stayed a little too close to the source material!

"Fuck me!" I yell, then immediately regret that particular phrasing. "Fuck, no, no fucking! Just die already!" I yell in a special state of desperation.

Finally, one of my Blocks releases the vambraces' special lightning skill. It's the sole reason I kept blocking, even as my HP plummeted. As I'd guessed, the lightning strike deals triple damage to the water-based yokai. The Kappa crashes to the ground, and I pummel his ugly face with full-strength punches.

To my shock, it only takes four hits before the yokai howls in panic and disappears in a flash of blue-opal fragments.

What the?

The death of the first Kappa drives the other two into a rage, and I push my Agility to the limit, dodging claws and sumo lunges. All the while, I'm thinking as hard as I can. How did I kill that yokai? It was still at half-health when I started attacking. What was special about my last punch? Think, Erebus, THINK!

Inspiration whacks me over the head with a hefty thinking stick—oh wait, no, that's just one of the Kappas getting all creative and learning to use weapons—and as my health drops into the Yellow Zone (50% HP), I realize how to kill these perverted asshats.

I use lightning-quick taekwondo head-kicks to knock all the water out of the dogbowl-shaped depressions on the Kappas' heads. With agonizing yowls, both yokai explode into nothingness.

I give myself a firm whack to the forehead, too, beyond pissed at myself for forgetting the most important detail of Kappa lore. They can't survive on land without the special water in their special forehead bowls.

I don't even bother opening my Battle Log to check out my spoils.

I only have eyes on the pretty pretty chest that is now ALL MINE.

Taking a deep breath, I dive into the pond. I land on the bottom—ick, slimy, ugh—and heave the chest up from where it's half-buried in the muck.

I swim it to the surface and carry it to shore. The Celestial Chest is the highest-ranked treasure chest in the game. I let myself gaze upon its shimmering, jewel-encrusted glory for a whole ten seconds before I can't take it anymore and pop the chest open.

90% chance of gaining a top-tier Blue item.

9% chance of a Nova reward.

Literally couldn't have better odds if you begged the Gods themselves to align things in your favor.

And yet.

[ Zen'aku Twin Daggers ] { CURSED WEAPON }

|| Zen'aku Daggers, also known as the Blades of Good and Evil. These weapons are Cursed. Use at your own peril.||

1% chance of obtaining a Cursed-tier item.

What the hell kind of Luck stat do I have?!

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