74 RIP Your Face!
I can't help myself.
I Smite the first mob I come across because I can't wait to try my new skill.
...It may be a bunny.
But like, a super fast bunny who kicks!
I mean, it probably feels fast to players who don't have my insanely high AGI.
And, you know, sure, my Defense is so high I don't think I could take damage from it even if I sat there and let it kick me for an hour...
I wanted to Smite sooo badly.
So I do. I Smite the shit out of that bunny.
It's fucking awesome.
Of course, the second Smite goes into cooldown, a giant bear shows up, but whatever.
Such is gamer life.
I practice my new ShadowSlice and manage to take the bear down without a direct hit from Aku; I only use the afterimage shadows to lay traps and trick the bear into running into them, then while the bear's stunned, I hit it with my throwing dart Whistling Starfall or with bolts from the Unseelie Crossbow.
The second the bear dies, the familiar wooden chimes and scent of black licorice tickle my senses.
The earth shakes, and a crack appears in a large boulder.
It's a "hit me with something heavy because I'm probably hiding secrets" kind of crack.
So, I whack the shit out of it with Wrath Reaper, the overblown weedwacker I scored from the Oni no Gekido.
After the fifth hard smash, the telltale "You have uncovered a Secret!" sound effect rings out, and the boulder crumbles away, revealing a cave.
The earth trembles again, and this time, roars from deep within the cave tell me a horde of creatures are about to burst forth from the shadows.
I check the time.
I still have twenty minutes before Little Dude's supposed to show up and whisk us off to the Dungeon...
With a wide grin, I unsheathe my dual blades, ShadowSlice a web of traps inside the dark entrance, and face off against the denizens of the dark cavern.
The mindless slicing and dicing with Zen'aku is exactly what I needed to reacclimate with my beloved blade babies.
The heaps of loot don't hurt, either.
Arachne and Vulcan are going to be stoked about some of the materials I gained! My [Tears of the Programmer Bonus] 100% loot drop rate for Fickle Fortune encounters really came through for me with this round of Combat.
I even scored the perfect Lvl 15 armor for my number one wingwoman Jade Thorn. It's mint green, and I managed to collect the full three-piece set. I don't think anyone found this cave during the beta, because I've never seen this armor before.
Satisfied with my loot haul, I finish making my way to the Fae Portal. Taliesin's running late, so I take the time to distribute my Free Attribute points. It doesn't take long, since I planned it out before I logged in.
With the increase, I can finally equip the Oni Cuirass I scored off the Wrath Demon. Not only does this bad boy increase my Strength and defense in general, it also increases defense while I'm in a Berserk State by 25%.
If things proceed like they did in the beta, at Fortitude 20, I'll unlock "Adrenaline Spike," a berserk state skill that only kicks in when my HP is in the Red Zone. At Lvl 1, Adrenaline Spike doubles Stamina for 90 seconds, though the price is entering a Severely Weakened State afterward.
Since Fortitude increases when you spend time fighting in the Red Zone, when you fight while in an Injured or Heavily Damaged State, and when you defeat Willpower Checks, most players eventually reach high enough Fortitude to acquire Adrenaline Spike.
Players can obtain berserk skills separate from Adrenaline Spike as well; for example, Valkyries and Rakshasa have racial berserk skills, and Masters in those races' Realms can teach berserk skills at the end of quests and such.
The leather cuirass protects my chest and back, and the second I equip it, the inky black Windflower Emblem appears like magic. I'm finally starting to feel like my old Reckless Ranger self, decked out in light armor and strapping all kinds of powerful weapons.
Class: -- Subclass: -- Title: --
Level: 15 EXP: 806800/10000000
HP: 693 SP: 134
It's nice my Chaos Incarnate Title paid out for this round of patches and updates, too. I ended up with almost 750,000 bonus EXP from all the chaos I caused on my very first day.
With over-30 AGI, I can ninja-run up trees and walls for a short time, so I run up the nearest oak and kick off into a twisty-backflip-thing I am sure looks badass.
When I land, I bust out a sweet Moonwalk, and glide into a perfect MC Hammer Shuffle.
My wings provide a little something extra those moves never knew they were missing.
"Fuck yeah, I'm great," I say to the trees.
"You keep telling yourself that," the trees say back.
Damn sentient foliage.
"All right, man's got moves," a familiar voice crows from the now-glowing portal. "But can he do this?"
I Michael Jackson spin to check out Taliesin flip into a one-armed handstand, then start break-dancing like a champ.
"Hot damn, dude! I thought you'd be riverdancing or some shit."
Grimacing, Taliesin freezes in an impossible, perfectly-balanced position. "Rude, man. Just cause I'm Irish."
"You're the one who got a hard-on for a leprechaun, Little Dude. How am I supposed to know which stereotypes are legit?"
He shrugs, somehow, even though he's balancing on his head at this point. "Fair."
He spins and then smoothly transitions into the Worm. He rocks it for a couple seconds, until he hits a dirt clod and gets a face full of earth.
"Blehhh, what the heck? The dirt actually tastes like dirt! Why would they code that???"
I hold out a hand to pull up the yellow-clad dance monster. "I been asking myself the same question, kid. Now you're officially on my level."
He materializes a couple blackberry juices from item storage and hands me one. We cheers and gulp them down, then Taliesin activates the portal, and we whiz off across Gael.
| Outside the Hermitage Ruins Dungeon - aka Redcap Castle |
A red-scaled Draegkyn awkwardly paces back and forth. At times, he seems ready to take down the castle dungeon all on his own.
At other times, he seems ready to bolt.
"What the hell am I doing here?" he mutters to himself.
The lavender-haired Valkyrie and the tall Angakoq Shaman turn to him, looking politely worried about his mental health.
Embarrassed, the Draegkyn lowers his extra-large floppy hat to cover his eyes, not for the first time wishing his buddy Lialas could have come with him.
The hat's now a faded red color—
(It's pink, it's 100% pink, and not a cool pink like coral or bubblegum; no, it's that awful Douchebro popped-collar polo-shirt pastel pink. He's just in such strong denial about this fact even the third-person narrator felt the need to call it "faded red.")
—after the latest steps he'd taken on his Cursed Hat Quest, so it matches the blush coloring his cheeks.
He looks incredibly stupid, but neither of his companions are rude enough to tell him so.
Then the Fae Portal next to the Dungeon opens, and two new companions join the fun.
"BAHAHAHA I FORGOT HOW STUPID THAT HAT IS!" one of them says immediately.
The D'Raven newcomer laughs so hard he's wheezing, and the Valkyrie thinks she sees a single mirthful tear.
Without missing a beat, the Draegkyn shoots an arrow at the D'Raven's smug face.
The D'Raven tilts his head just enough to let the arrow zoom past him; the air lightly ruffles the raven feathers in his black hair. Then the ground explodes behind him, sending flaming dirt clods in all directions.
Apparently it was an exploding arrow.
Honestly, the whole thing just makes the D'Raven look cooler, like those guys from action movies who walk away from explosions without looking back.
The Draegkyn sighs.
The D'Raven grins.
"I missed you, too, Nightfury."
"I hate you with the passion of a thousand burning suns," Nightfury deadpans.
"Moving on," the shaman Nanuk interrupts. "Erebus, we're here like you asked. Now, are we really doing this?"
Erebus pumps his fist. "You bet your icy Eskimo ass, we are!"
The Pu`ca Taliesin pumps his fist in solidarity.
Nanuk blinks, taken aback by the bizarre phrasing and the absolute confidence oozing from the weird D'Raven.
Kara the Valkyrie giggles, mostly at Nanuk's nonplussed expression.
Erebus glows like he's just won the lottery. His brain short-circuits, as a chorus of 'I made her laugh, I made her laugh, I made her laugh,' repeats in his mind, and he completely forgets why he's called them all to this castle ruin.
Then his chat function beeps, and he snaps out of it enough to accept the incoming video call from Lialas.
"Hey hey heyyy!" Lialas cheerfully greets. "You guys ready to run a certain death dungeon?"
"Gods yes," Kara replies. "That make-up Foundation Skill quest had me two seconds away from tearing my hair out."
"Ugh," Nanuk agrees. "At least we only had one each. Rah and Jade are going to be at it forever."
"Gee, I can't imagine how awful that must be for you guys," Taliesin says, drawing Excalibur. His voice sounds sincere, but his eyes are twinkling with the same smug light as Erebus's.
"Guess some people just do Foundation Village better," Erebus says, drawing Zen'aku. He doesn't bother sounding sincere.
The two "clink" their glowing Legendary-tier weapons together.
Nightfury, Kara, and Nanuk grind their teeth and shoot metaphorical flames from their eyes.
Lialas giggles and shoots a literal spark from his.
"Ooh, cool dude! Is that a new spell?" Erebus asks.
"It will be, once I finish this quest," Lialas excitedly explains. "If I raise it to Lvl 5, I'll have lazer eyes!"
"Duuuuude," Erebus and Taliesin say in unison.
"You've been spending way too much time together." Nanuk sounds pained.
"I'm a great role model!" Erebus exclaims.
"No, you're not," Nightfury, Lialas, Kara, Nanuk, and Taliesin reply.
"Ouch," Erebus says to Taliesin.
"Science," Taliesin replies, putting the word in air quotes.
"Solid point," Erebus admits.
"Could we possibly move on?" Kara asks.
"YES!" Erebus yells.
Nanuk rubs his temple and idly wonders if it's possible to get a headache in-game, or if it's simply a psycho-somatic response to being surrounded by such weird people.
"So who's going to be Party Leader for this ragtag operation?" he asks.
"Oh," Erebus says, as if surprised by the question. "Me."
There's a beat, as everyone else waits for him to elaborate.
He does not.
Nanuk clears his throat. "Okay, uhh, I'm just gonna ask then...Why you, exactly? It's not like the rest of us are like the low-level newbies of your last crew."
"Hey!" Nightfury barks.
"I'm not offended," Lialas remarks, unconcerned.
Nanuk nods an apology to Nightfury. "Present company excluded, of course."
Erebus pats Nightfury's floppy pink hat. "Don't cry, Mr. Dragon."
"Your face makes onions cry," Nightfury growls.
"I have it on good authority my face looks more than reasonably passable!" Erebus replies.
Kara gives him an appraising look, clearly checking him out. "Your face is just fine—"
Erebus sucks in a breath, surprised and overjoyed.
"—We just need to put a bag over that personality," she finishes.
And whooooosh, there goes all his air, and Erebus's poor soul with it.
"RIP, old buddy," Lialas says.