45 An Abundance of Bosses
When the third Hidden Boss shows up, I feel like I should have known better.
Really, this is my fault.
\"At least I won't get cursed,\" I had said, because I am an idiot who deserves everything that's coming to me.
\"Ouch!\" I hiss and flap my wings to dispel the glowing crimson fog curling around my ankles that's straight-up electrocuting me at this point. Aku screams with the force of a thousand slain warriors and thrums in my hand.
\"Yes yes, I know,\" I try to placate the dagger that is one failed battle with a Banshee away from ending me.
\"EEEEEYAAAAHHHHHHH!\" the dagger replies.
Hm. Distinctly not placated then. Cool.
\"EEEYAAHHH!\" the Banshee adds, just to rub it in.
\"Ugh,\" I groan.
Lialas frowns at my defeated expression. \"What's wrong?\"
\"We're all going to die.\"
I gesture at myself. \"Well, I'm going to die, and without me, you guys...\"
\"Hey!\" Nightfury yelps, offended.
Shadeslayer slumps. \"Oh man, yeah, we're definitely going to die.\"
\"Have some dignity, will you?\" Nightfury demands, shaking Shadeslayer.
\"We're definitely going to die, but it might take a few minutes!\" Shadeslayer says, with feeling this time.
Nightfury slaps Shadeslayer upside the head, so Lialas tugs Nightfury's hat into his eyes. \"Play nice,\" he chides, then turns to me. \"Any particular reason you think we're going to die, after all the insanity we've already survived?\"
Hesitantly, I explain that due to reasons, if I don't kill the Banshee this time, I'll die instead. And since she's the Harbinger for another Hidden Boss, she won't die, she'll just disappear into the fog.
\"Why not take out her final 10% HP at all once?\" Lialas suggests.
I shake my head. \"I tried that last time. But her AI is learning my moves, and I don't have any attacks that can take out that much HP at once anyway, at this early stage.\"
Nightfury huffs and swishes his tail. \"Isn't it obvious then?\"
\"Yeah. We're all going to die.\"
\"No, dumbass. Have the three of us fight her. With you. You've taken care of the battles alone up to now, so she won't recognize any of our attacks, and she won't expect coordination.\"
Surprised, I scratch my head with Zen. \"Um...can you coordinate?\"
\"Gods damnit, Erebus, we're all gamers!\" Nightfury snaps.
\"True,\" Shadeslayer agrees, thoughtful. \"Just because compared to you, we suck, doesn't mean we actually completely suck. Besides, compared to you, like, everyone sucks, right?\"
\"This game is not actually designed to only be playable by pretty boy geniuses,\" Nightfury grumbles.
\"Aww. You think I'm pretty.\" I flutter my long lashes and fluff up my wings.
\"Forget it,\" Nightfury says immediately. \"Just die.\"
\"I think you're pretty, too, Nightfury,\" Lialas says encouragingly. \"Especially in this super dark dungeon.\"
\"You can hardly see anything in this dungeon,\" Shadeslayer reminds him.
Lialas smiles. \"Exactly!\"
As Nightfury tackles Lialas and Shadeslayer yawns, I can't help but chuckle and shake my head.
So what if we're going to die? Might as well go out with a bang. If nothing else, it should be fun before it all ends in disaster, given these crazy mofos.
\"You in a better mood, Erebus?\" Lialas asks from what looks like a very uncomfortable position, face smashed into the stone floor by Nightfury's claw-nailed hands.
\"Fabulous,\" Lialas replies with a grin, then he pushes Nightfury off him and jumps to his feet like nothing happened.
We're still well out of the Banshee's aggro range, so we have a few minutes to make a game plan.
First, I have Shadeslayer allocate the 5 points he received for hitting Level 5. Then I have everyone look through the little loot they've managed to score so far and equip anything that will improve attack power. I pour over the Cù-Sìth battle rewards and divvy up the goods. Two claws go into Upgrade Storage, Shadeslayer gets armor, and a +2 Fortitude fang goes to Nightfury, since he's closest to having high enough Fortitude to withstand high-level Willpower Checks. The last two Hidden Bosses had had something to do with Willpower, so assuming we manage to defeat the Banshee, it would be helpful if at least someone in the party wasn't useless in the Boss fight after.
Shadeslayer passes Nightfury some arrows. Nightfury passes Lialas three Ice Runes, magic stones with a 10-second Freeze spell imbued into them.
\"Are you sure?\" I ask, shocked. \"Those are super valuable right now.\"
\"We know,\" Nightfury gruffly replies. \"They were part of the Normal Mode Boss loot.\"
\"The drop rate is so low on Normal, though!\" I exclaim.
All three of them just look at me with flat stares.
Guess I don't really have room to talk about low probabilities...
\"Anyway, it's no big deal,\" Lialas assures me. \"If we want to kill this mini-boss without her escaping, we might need to Freeze her. Even with all our firepower combined, I don't know if we can take out 10% HP all at once.\"
\"With those, we might actually have a shot at this. All right, here's the plan...\"
I tell everyone what to expect and have Shadeslayer repeat his instructions back to me twice.
\"What part of chemical engineer do you not understand?\" he whines the second time I ask, but then he does repeat back his part of the plan.
\"Good job,\" I say, proud, and hand him a shamrock lollipop.
For some reason, he looks like he wants to cry, or perhaps punch me in the face.
I pat his head reassuringly.
How sweet. He's speechless.
\"All right, that's everything,\" I say to the whole group, as I take a few warm-up swings with Zen'aku. \"Remember, I need one of those nasty snaggle teeth, so only low-power attacks in the beginning. We need that initial HP to last.\"
\"Roger that, Boss,\" Lialas says with a jaunty little salute.
\"Let's just get this over with,\" Nightfury says, already moving into position.
\"Mmghnnnrrm,\" Shadeslayer mumbles incomprehensibly, forehead all scrunched in scowl lines, mouth full of bright green lollipop.
I flash my widest, toothiest grin, and twirl my twin curses. \"Perfect! Let's go!\"
It's time to see if this whole \"Party Leader\" gig is all it's cracked up to be.