41 Rude Nightfury is Rude
A thunderous rumble rolls through the dungeon, signalling a dark, disturbing change in combat music, and I suddenly understand how Simba must have felt in that gorge right before the wildebeest stampede.
I yank Lialas back behind me and sheathe Aku. I don't know what's coming, so I can't guarantee I can kill it.
I do not need another way for Aku to Curse me today.
I dim Lux and clutch Zen, mentally readying myself for whatever fresh hell my Fickle Fortune has in store for me.
\"Weapons ready!\" I warn everyone.
Then hell descends upon us, and I realize I could never have been ready for this.
A secret door opens in the wall halfway between us and the tunnel that leads onward through the dungeon. The yawning doorway is wide enough for five mobs to enter at once, and yet, the monsters still swarm over and into each other, each vying to enter as quickly as possible.
Their killing intent rises so thick in the air, even I find it hard to breathe.
\"Since when was Nightmare Mode so literal?\" Lialas asks, barely biting back a whimper as the crypt fills with deformed spectral beasts.
I want to give him shit for being a coward, but these monsters are legit terrifying.
[Level 10 - HP 600/600]
Some are more humanoid, some are purer beast, but they all feature rotting flesh, too many razor sharp teeth that jut out through scabbed lips, and glowing foggy pits for eyes. Their mismatched animal characteristics only add to the horror: wicked curved beaks on some, monstrous snouts on others, horns, claws, tails, you name it, they've got it. Black smoke trails off them, further darkening the dungeon.
There's over a hundred of them.
\"Fuckfuckfuckfuck,\" Nightfury mutters in a voice halfway between curse and prayer.
He's holding up better than Shadeslayer, however; the D'Raven looks a heartbeat away from pissing himself, regardless of whether you even can do that in virtual reality.
\"Hold yourself together, man. These creepy mofos got nothing on bloody dead baby hands, right?\" I say, trying to snap him out of it.
Shadeslayer squeaks, and his dark blue wings shake. \"Why'd you bring that up?\" he wails. \"I never wanted to think about that godsforsaken Quest of Daring again! What the hell is wrong with this game?!\"
\"It's mythology, my dude. Humans are what's wrong. We're the ones who came up with all this messed-up shit in the first place; the devs are just adapting what's already out there.\"
While I'm answering, my mind's racing to think of a plan. It looks like the horde's not attacking until we specifically draw their aggro, but the longer we wait, the more of them swarm to block our only exit.
Individually, their HP is low, but these numbers are impossible. There's only two AoE attacks between the four us, and the puny effects of Whistling Starfall are almost twice as good as Nightfury's shitty explosive arrow attack. Plus, the rest of my party is facing serious level suppression.
Definitely not enough to combat these odds.
Time to die, I guess.
\"What do we do?\" Lialas asks, piercing me with a wide-eyed, trusting stare.
\"Uh...\" I reply, biting my lip. I turn to see matching expressions on Nightfury and Shadeslayer's faces.
\"Yeah, what's the plan?\" Shadeslayer asks.
Nightfury grips his bow tight, his surly expression set in grim determination.
They think I can get them out of this.
'Accept the inevitability of our impending deaths,' I think.
\"Fight our way to epic fucking victory!\" I say.
Lialas cheers and Shadeslayer looks a little less like he's going to keel over. At least, he stops clutching his katana to his chest with both hands like it's a damned teddy bear and lowers himself into a quasi-ready stance.
I hear a light chime and realize Nightfury's sent me a private chat. I open the interface low, down at my right hip, and type one-handed so Lialas and Shadeslayer don't notice.
Nightfury: how in the 9 hells do we survive this?
Nightfury: i hate u
Erebus: don't be that way.
Erebus: what's life w/o a little challenge, amiright?
Nightfury: you're the one challenged. in the fucking head
Nightfury: we're gonna die
Erebus: for sure! horrible awful deaths
Nightfury: fuck it. let's go.
Erebus: that's the spirit!
\"All right, everyone, here's the plan—\"
—I begin, as if there's actually a \"plan\" coming. In actuality, I'm doing that thing where you start a sentence but you don't know where it's going, you just kinda hope it'll figure it out for itself by the time you get to the end—
\"—and it's a crazy plan, but all the best plans are, so try to give it a little faith, okay?\"
Lialas nods fervently. Hope and optimism have lit his face completely.
Boy is too freaking pure for this virtual world. Jeebus.
Shadeslayer nods as well, though less enthusiastically. \"Um, sure, but, you haven't actually told us the plan?\"
I rustle my wings and accidentally feather-slap him in the face.
\"I'm just getting there, no worries,\" I assure him. \"First, I'm going to rush ahead and pull aggro. Then once they're all focused on me, I'll hit the horde with my brightest Lux. Their eyes look similar to the Banshee's, so that'll probably disorient them for a hot second. That should give you three an opening to rush to the exit.\"
\"But then we're stranding you!\" Lialas says, because he's a gem.
\"Who cares?\" Nightfury says, because he's an ass.
\"Don't worry about me,\" I say. \"I have my own way to escape after you guys make it. Just make sure that when the Sluagh eventually notice you, you hit them with everything you've got. Focus on the ones most in the way of the tunnel. I'll save my Leeroy Jenkins until you're about to be overwhelmed, so the more mobs you can take out before I have to use my Taunt, the better.\"
As I say it, I realize it's not actually the worst plan.
Other than the part where I don't have a fucking clue how I'm going to survive once I've pulled aggro from 100+ bloodthirsty mobs.
But, like, other than that tiny detail, it's solid.
\"So when—\" Nightfury starts to ask.
\"No time like the present!\" I yell, and push off toward the monsters so fast, I leave an indent in the stones.