Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
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40 Reaping Dumbasses
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Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
Author :Seshata
© Webnovel

40 Reaping Dumbasses

When Kane dies, I maintain it's not my fault.

No, but seriously, I told him one hit tops against the Boss, and only when he was sure he had an opening.

He's the dumbass who tries to pull off a series of attacks right before Ankou drops below the 10% HP mark. Trying to score the Contribution Bonus for knocking the Boss into the Red Zone, no doubt.

Can't say I blame him; I was planning on doing that myself.

Difference is, I'm a total badass, and Kane is scraping adequate.

In our dearly departed Party Leader's defense, he might have pulled it off if it had been a different Boss, or if my Fickle Fortune hadn't nerfed my ranged attack ability.

(AGI, STR, and personal skill are the major factors behind whether or not a ranged attack lands, but technically, Luck factors in, too. It's only supposed to factor in when an attack is aimed at the very edge of the weapon's or skill's range, but my Fickle Fortune is clearly overriding that limitation. I'm missing one in four shots with my throwing dart, which is beyond ridiculous; but at the same time, no matter how I aim, the other three shots always end up headshots.)
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Unfortunately for Kane, he pays a steep price for the meager Contribution Bonus.

Turns out Nightfury remembered almost right when he mentioned the Boss might randomly aggro switch. But it's not totally random; whoever lands the damage that sends Ankou into the Red Zone automatically pulls the Boss's aggro.

Whoops.

To add insult to injury, it's not even Ankou's attack that kills poor Kane. In a rare show of skill, Nightfury lands a triple head-shot on the Boss that interrupts his combo attack, and Kane manages to roll away in the opening...

Right into one of the trash mobs he'd ignored in favor of attacking the Boss.

Kane only has enough time to look pitifully mortified before he's stabbed by a ghost wearing a kilt.

Ganked by a ghoul mob.

That stings, bro.

I'd seen the end coming and hurled Whistling Starfall at the ghoul before Kane died, but the throwing dart misses by a mile.

Then I'm penalized with the 5-second delay; by the time I can try again, Kane is already so much stardust.

Sucks to be him, but I gots me a Boss to kill, and his noble-yet-embarrassing sacrifice left me a glorious opening.


For the first time the entire fight, I don't hold Ankou's aggro, so he's not looking at me. He's actually gliding towards Nightfury since the Draegkyn's triple-arrow skill was the last attack that landed after the aggro-switch. I wait for the perfect moment; right as the Boss raises his skinny grim reaper-style scythe to let loose on Nightfury, I wall-run up his lanky body, then leap off to Fangbite both sides of his skinny bone-wrist.

Another wind-ghost-dinosaur scream fills the chamber, followed by the beautiful clatter of a Boss scythe falling to the stone floor.

Mission: Disarm, complete!

"Distract him!" I yell as I dive to the floor. I grab the scythe and Sprint to the opposite side of the crypt at maximum speed.

I open my Weapons tab and scroll to Zen'aku's Upgrade option.

[Upgrade Material Detected: Weapon of an Enemy Disarmed in Combat. Do you wish to store {Ankou Soul Scythe} as an Upgrade Material? Warning: Once stored as Upgrade Material, items and weapons can no longer be used as anything but raw materials.]

I hurriedly click [YES] and sigh in relief when the scythe disappears from my hands and reappears as a tiny image in the Upgrade Checklist.

"Erebus! He's coming!" Lialas warns me as the Boss comes shrieking in my direction.

Without looking, I toss Whistling Starfall in the Ankou's general direction and head back toward my party. I hear the distinctive explosion from a headshot Comet Burst and grin. When I'm close enough, I whirl around to face the Boss. I yell at Shadeslayer to finish dicing up the Adds, wait for the ranged attackers to snag me an opening, and when a hit from Lialas stuns Ankou for a second, I make short work of the Soul Collector's final HP.

The victory chime makes me cheer, and I turn to send props to the ranged fighters, only to find a snarling Nightfury all up in my face.

"You did that on purpose didn't you?" he growls.

"Of course," I answer automatically. I have no idea what he's talking about, but it's clear answering in the affirmative will further upset Nightfury, and at this point, it's instinctual.

The way his nose flares as he dramatically gasps is as hilarious as I could have hoped. "You admit it!"

"Was it a secret?"

"You douche!"

He gears up to punch me, but the PvP zones haven't opened in the game yet, and if he actually lands a hit, the system might chuck him from the dungeon.

I jump back, flapping my wings and raising my hands in the universal gesture of 'Calm the fuck down, bro.'

With the voice I use on Alopix when he's scared of a thunderstorm, I say, "Find your calm, NightZzz! We're already down to four, and don't know if you've noticed, but this dungeon is a bitch and a half. We're going to need everybody we have left to clear this run."

If anything, this only makes him look crazier. "Whose fault is that?"

I blink. "Huh?"

"Don't play dumb, asshole! You just admitted you let Kane die on purpose!"

Ohhhh.

He runs at me, and I easily sidestep. "Dude, seriously, chill. I was messing with you. I didn't let the idiot die on purpose."

Nightfury scoffs, disbelieving. "I've seen you land a perfect headshot while facing another direction, and yet, when Kane needed you, you miraculously miss that badly? Right."

"Hate to break it to you, but yes." I sigh. I don't want to explain the whole Fickle Fortune thing, since that could leave me vulnerable and I have trust issues. But I can kinda see where Nightfury's coming from, so I clue him in a little. "I'm under a curse-ish thing at the moment. Affects ranged attacks...among other things," I mumble the last bit under my breath.

"Yeah, right." Nightfury rolls his eyes. "Like I believe that! You just wanted Kane to die!"

Now I'm annoyed. "Why would I want that?"

"Because you wanted to be Party Leader! Kane was getting bonus EXP for being party leader, no matter how much you contributed, and he'd selected the option for him to receive all the Boss's Spoils of War. You just wanted to steal our loot!"

"Wait, what?" I ask, majorly confused.

"So you're saying you didn't know that when a Party Leader dies during a dungeon raid, the person with the highest Contribution Rating becomes de facto Party Leader."

Nope, did not know that.

Something about my dumbfounded expression must make an impression, because Lialas busts out laughing. "I don't think he knew."

Now it's Nightfury's turn to look confused. "How could he not know?"

I give him a flat stare. "Do I strike you as a team player, NightcalmZzz?"

Nightfury takes a deep breath. "Point taken."

"So you were never a Party Leader during the beta?" Shadeslayer asks, surprised.

I frown. "What makes you think I was in the beta?"

The other three shoot me with identical "Seriously?" expressions.

"Contrary to your obvious opinion of us, we aren't utter morons," Nightfury says.

I am legitimately surprised by this news.

It must show on my face because Lialas laughs self-deprecatingly, Shadeslayer flushes in embarrassed anger, and Nightfury looks like he wants to deck me again, system rules be damned.

"Kidding, kidding! I know you aren't utter morons!" Just mostly morons, I finish in my head. "And no, I was never a Party Leader. I just bopped around doing my own thing, joining up with already-established groups whenever I felt like doing a raid."

Curious, I open my Status Window. I ignore the others while Lialas tries to calm Nightfury down and Shadeslayer starts muttering about how he's a goddamn chemical engineer IRL, he's no moron, yadda yadda.

First, I notice that there really is a cool little icon next to my name that marks me as Party Leader. Then, when I open my Battle Log, I also find all of Ankou's loot.

Today is a good day.

"If you didn't know, you shouldn't mind making one of us Party Leader then," Nightfury says, finally calm again.

"Not a chance in hell!" I say cheerfully.

So much for calm. "You sonuva—you really do want to steal our loot, don't you?!"

"I'm not going to steal anything."

"Fine. Then you're going to keep it Contribution? You're not going to change the settings so that the Party Leader gets all the loot, even from non-Boss mobs?"

I tilt my head, expression blank. "...Is there a difference?"

Nightfury and Shadeslayer visibly blanch. Lialas slaps his chest like he's been shot, but he's still lightly chuckling. "It only hurts because it's so very true."

"I almost want to ask how much loot he's acquired in the run so far, but I think it'll depress me so much I may never want to play again," Shadeslayer says sadly.

Shrugging, I look back at my Spoils of War. I keep a single-use Skeleton Key that says it can be used to be open any lock in the game—I'll be testing that bold claim next Realm—and the Ankou Lantern. I don't need it, but it's still early enough I might be able to find a sucker willing to buy it for dungeon raids. I also equip the Death Shroud robe since I can't wear my Leather Cuirass yet. It has great defense, double against Undead NPCs, and it adds +5 STR, +3 INT.

Mostly, though, I want to see if I can use it later to upgrade my Damaged Tunic.

I split up the Wraith Remnants, the silvers, and the rest of the raw materials and pass them to everyone. "I'm giving you extra," I say to Nightfury, "so you can share with Kane when we finish the Dungeon."

He looks dumbfounded. "You're actually sharing the loot?"

"Well. Yeah," I say.

"Even with Kane?" Shadeslayer asks.

"He was an idiot, for sure, but his fuck-up helped me disarm Ankou, so of course I'll make sure he gets his dues," I answer. I pass Nightfury a jagged dagger drop. "Pass that to him, too, would you?"

Nightfury's befuddled face makes everything that's happened today so very worth it.

He doesn't seem capable of speech, so I ignore him and pass Lialas a reliquary imbued with a healing spell.

"Dude, sweet! Thanks!" Lialas says, pounding my fist.

"No worries. You probably can't equip it yet, but you should be able to soon."

"If I could raise my Intelligence, I could equip it way early. Know any shortcuts to raising INT?" Lialas asks.

"There's a few, actually." I tell him about fae quests that give items with Intelligence bonuses, though I warn him the fae are tricky bastards, so he'll want to stay on his toes.

During the beta, I lost my in-game equivalent to a firstborn child to a particularly nasty fae: I had to give him my first Blue-Tier weapon.

I may have cried. But like. Manly crying.

There's nothing else from the Boss, so Shadeslayer and Nightfury lose out this round, but that's just the way of things sometimes.

When the wooden chimes and black licorice scent sweep through the crypt on the back of a warm summer breeze, I figure it won't be long before everyone's rolling in loot, anyway.

----------

| Vir-Tech Labs |

An exhausted figure scribbles on a board labeled {PATCH THESE HOLES}; next to it is a second whiteboard labeled {F**K THESE TROLLS}.

"For crying out loud, Visby, how many is that now?" a man in thick glasses asks.

The exhausted man Visby sighs. "Sixteen."

"Shit. I'm never going to sleep again, am I?"

A woman covered in Cheeto dust peeks over her monitor. "It's not his fault. You realize thirteen of these are all because of one player, right?"

Thick-glasses guy groans. "What the hell's he getting up to? The game's only been up a day!"

Cheeto Dust Lady nods at the board. "My fave so far was when he found a loophole in the Safe Haven code. Made another player kill himself by letting him steal a Cursed blade."

The complaining thick-glasses man looks like he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. If he does a little of both, no one holds it against him.

It's been a long day already, and it's only barely begun.

Visby points to his latest scribble. "This time, it's not entirely his doing. Somehow, he's gotten the AI to reroute Field Boss monsters to show up as Hidden Bosses in the Dolmen Dungeon."

"How the hell did he manage that?"

"Mixture of bad luck and quoting a Murphy's Law death knell."

A scrawny intern covered in coffee stains frowns. "Did the idiot actually say something like, 'At least it can't get worse than this,'?"

"Essentially. You know even non-sentient AI can't help but respond to such an obvious challenge."

Cheeto lady pops another cheese-coated snack into her mouth. "No way our quasi-sentient AI would be able to ignore it."

"I thought Boss Zhao Jianyu said it wasn't sentience. That it was just special code we don't know about," the intern says, worried and confused.

"Ignore her. She's just joking," Visby says.

She looks at Visby, and her eyes say, "No, I'm not."

He looks at her, and his eyes say, "Shut the fuck up, Stacey."

She rolls her eyes and throws a Cheeto at him. He catches it in his mouth and munches it down. The intern is visibly impressed and forgets to be worried about the inevitable robot takeover.

Grateful for the distractability of youth, Visby heads back to his station.

Thick-glasses man points to the second board. "Is this crazy player one of our trolls?"

Visby shakes his head as he sits in front his monitors. "No. Just a player who likes to push the envelope, apparently. Not one of the corporate scumbags who's here to fuck up the world."

"Huh. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing."

Visby raises an eyebrow in question.

Thick-glasses guy shrugs. "I mean, obviously it's great he's not actively trying to destroy everything we've worked for and dismantle society, but...isn't it kind of terrifying to realize he's causing this much chaos without even trying?"

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