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Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
Author :Seshata
© Webnovel

100 RIP Dignity

So that's how I accidentally flash the girl of my dreams, who also happens to be my long-lost childhood friend, while a minor gets the entire experience on film.

If I don't end up in jail for public indecency, Xiuying is going to murder me when she wakes up.

The damn game reads my horrified embarrassment and animates a blush so red, literal smoke rises from my head. Clutching the greaves over my exposed bits, I whirl away from Kara fast enough to get whiplash.

Nightfury snickers. "Aww, Lord of Darkness got so excited from a hug with Kara he blew his panties off."

If Smite weren't on Cooldown from the Boss fight, I would 100% Smite the shit out of that fucking dragon.

*Ding!*

There are certain things in life you never want anyone taking "artistic license" with.

Your dick is definitely one of them.

Trepidation squeezes my chest as I move the greaves and peek down to see what in the nine hells "Artistic License" means for Little Lieu...

"Kill me," I moan hoarsely. I have no idea whose dignity they're supposed to be "preserving," but it sure the hell isn't mine.

I consider the way the designers drew the drooping pair on poor Neko-chan the Tanuki to be "artistic license."

This is not artistic license. This is not even art.

My dick is a fucking emoji.

And it's fucking WINKING.

Nanuk coughs awkwardly. "Er...that eggplant is making a very suggestive face—"

"I FUCKING KNOW." I swipe open my Item Storage so fast you'd think my AGI was 100.

Taliesin snatches Kara's red beanie off her head, so he can hold it over his own heart and mournfully declare, "RIP the final dregs of Erebus's dignity."

"Oi, brat," I growl at Taliesin, who is now shaking with laughter, "I am going to kill you."

"Not without your AGI you're not." He just laughs harder, and I can't even do anything about it because my soul has left my body, and I am but a shell of a man.

Nightfury shifts uncomfortably. "You don't, uh, think everyone's is like that...?"

That shuts Taliesin up. He stares at Nanuk and Nightfury, then all three of them turn in different directions and surreptitiously look down their pants.

Nanuk groans. "Eggplant, no face."

Taliesin giggles. "Banana, and it's smiling."

Long silence from Nightfury. Then a gruff, "Nothing worth mentioning."

"Nuh-uhh, not how this works," Taliesin teases. "What is it, something weird, like a lemon?"

"No," Nightfury grumbles quickly. When he realizes everyone, even Kara, is staring at him expectantly, he rubs his face and mumbles, "No fruit. Just a straight-up frowny face."

That makes me feel better. "Aww! Grumpy Gus Jr!!"

Now it's Nightfury's turn to blush crimson. Feeling awkward, he unthinkingly gripes at Kara, "Well, what about you, then?"

His immediate regret at asking is animated by actual flames coming out of his scaled dragon ears.


Kara cuts off his stammered apologies. "It's all good. I don't even need to check; Jade and I went to an in-game bathhouse the first day. No emojis for us. Apparently Vir-Tech received the necessary licensing permission, so female avatars have mini Georgia O'Keeffe paintings."

I gape. "You mean those oil paintings of beautiful flowers that also definitely look like va—"

"Yep." Kara beams.

"No fair!"

Smirking, Kara looks up and offers a quiet thank you to whichever dev was in charge of the lady parts.

---

(Back at Vir-Tech Labs, Stacey and her designer friend Aditi high five over a job well-done. They spend the rest of their lunch break making fun of Benji, the artist in charge of the male-presenting avatars.)

---

Finally equipping my spare boxers, I feel much calmer.

Then I remember which boxers they are.

Pink fabric, giant peach with a tilted princess crown, gold, glitter bubble letters spelling out J·U·I·C·Y...

I swear I can hear Arachne cackling in my head. I'm not sure this is better than the winking eggplant.

|| Whoo-ee! You be lookin' fiiiine in your sun-ripened short shorts! +3 Vitality, +1 Charisma.

Passive Skill: Bubble Butt - Your bottom will look exceptionally good in all trousers, skirts, dresses, and shorts.

Auto-Skill: Petty Princess Counter - Induces DITZY DAMSEL Effect. For 10 seconds, Target's Perception will disappear, and they will become disoriented, scream hysterically, trip over absolutely nothing, and lose 50% of their Defense.

Automatically engaged when only boxers are equipped (no trousers) and another character touches you without your permission (whether an attack or not). Attacks Remaining: 3/3 ||

"Ahh, reminds me of my youth," Kara says wistfully. A spark of mischief wipes away the last of the sadness that had been clouding her expression earlier, and I'm almost glad I humiliated myself if it helped her feel better. "I, too, had a phase in middle school where I wore skimpy shorts that said "Juicy" on the ass."

I choke. "You did not."

"Didn't I?" She smirks, and it's almost up to her normal sass level.

It's so easy, the teasing banter, as if we haven't been apart for the last eight years.

"How do I not remember that?!"

"You never paid much attention to what I looked like," Kara reminds me, then she frowns. "Mostly you just kicked my ass at every game ever."

"Except when you and Xiu would cheat," I remind her with a grimace of my own.

"It wasn't cheating. It was strategy."

"It was ganging up on me."

She sticks out her tongue, and Taliesin jumps in, "So you guys know each other?"

I nod. "She was friends with my older sister. That's how I recognized her. She was using moves I've only ever seen my sister pull off." I grin at Kara. "Thief."

She rolls her eyes. "Please. I saw you use both those moves in competition. You're the real thief. At least I was actually there when she invented Impale. She got the idea from my manga."

While I make fun of her questionable taste in BL, a pensive expression settles upon Nightfury's face, and he stares at me hard from under the shadow of his floppy hat. Before I can ask what has him looking so constipated, a disturbingly familiar set of too-many hands settle on my head and shoulders.

"BINGO, BYE-BYE!" The sound of Princess Peach's infamous MarioKart soundbite fills the air, and it almost drowns out the freaked-out screech that comes out of my mouth as I scramble away from the always-creeptastic Anansi.

{Aether Alert: [IMMORTAL OBJECT] Detected! Petty Princess Counter invalid - Attack Aborted!

"That wasn't my fault!" I yelp at the terrifying tar-black spider God as I dive to hide behind Nightfury. "It's the boxers! They tried to kill you all on their own!"

Anansi tilts his head in confusion, one hand coming up to rub his chin while they other three strike poses in different directions.

"Dude, that's the lamest excuse on the planet," Nightfury hisses as he elbows me in the gut, hard. "No way he believes you."

"But it's trueee," I wail.

Nightfury, the traitor, uses his now-advanced AGI to move away and leave me exposed.

Not as exposed as I was earlier, though, so I figure it could be worse.

Anansi's eyes narrow, and he slowly circles me. I gulp, and my fingers itch to draw Zen'aku, but I know it's useless. He lingers for an extra moment, eyes on the golden letters splayed across my arse, and now I feel like I'm being checked out by a spider god, and what the actual HELL is going on with this game?!

A too-wide, fang-toothed grin stretches across his face, and I just *know* I'm about to be pounced on and eaten alive....

until Anansi snaps his fingers, and a Princess Peach tiara magically appears on his bald head, balanced at the same jaunty angle it is on my underwear.

"Um...?"

Then Anansi comes back round to the front and dives into his "Congratulations on another Nightmare Mode First Clear" speech as if nothing at all weird has happened.

I make eye contact with the rest of my Party, and they all look as baffled and off-kilter as I do, so I figure I'm not crazy, the game just is.

With a shrug, I give up trying to make sense of anything and thank my lucky stars I've managed yet again to get away with attacking a God.

"Now, for your rewards," Anansi says, and that snaps my attention back real quick. Everyone else crowds back around me, too pumped about goodies to care about being terrified.

He pulls up a Realm Map and highlights a location far away on the Southern Coast. The first reward for completing the third Nightmare Mode is a special brand-new Dungeon that never appeared in the beta!

It looks complex, a multi-leveled Cave Dungeon with at least two mini-Bosses. His loose description of the mobs makes me think they might be bugs of some kind, though, which puts a damper on my excitement. (Don't judge me; giant bugs are nasty, all right?)

For the next reward, Anansi reveals a Nova key, all glittery-sparkly-rainbow-y ooh ahhh color. "Realm Teleportation will officially Open when you Activate the Portal in Tara with this key," he explains.

Stars in my eyes, I reach out for it, only for Anansi's long arm to bypass me and hand it to Kara.

He grins wickedly down at me. "Too bad, Party Leader. The Key goes to the Player with the Highest Contribution...and in this Dungeon, that distinction goes to Kara Geir."

Sullen, I turn to congratulate Kara, ready for her gloat in my face (since that's exactly what I would do), except she's not looking at me at all.

Rather, she's staring down Anansi with a deadly smile that's somehow even more terrifying than his own fanged grin.

"I'm not saying I wouldn't have scored Highest Contribution all on my own," she says stiffly, ignoring the proffered key, "especially with my Kelpie-baiting trick, but we both know this Dungeon wasn't a fair competition for this honor." Her voice crackles in simmering rage, and her violet eyes gleam with murderous intent.

She is so hot.

Anansi returns her deadly gaze with a mischievous grin of his own, twisted and spectacularly creepy. "Oho? You believe an unfair circumstance occurred in Blackguard Bog?"

"The HinkyPunk's Counter-Curse," she snaps.

'Oh,' I think, suddenly at a loss. On instinct, I grab her hand. Kara's done so much for me already, even saved me from the darkness lurking in my own mind.

She doesn't need to stand up for me now and jeopardize her rewards from Anansi.

"It was just rotten luck," I say gently, linking our fingers.

Her electric gaze doesn't waver from Anansi. "Bullshit," she says calmly.

But her hand squeezes mine tight, and I feel her trembling.

I squeeze back, trying to reassure her I'm fine.

To my utter shock, it's Anansi who backs down first, bowing his head slightly as if acknowledging Kara's rage is justified. The bright jewels on his princess tiara wink in the shifting light.

His glittering black eyes turn to me. "Is there something young Erebus wants in compensation?"

"Could I forgo the auto-log out?" I ask hopefully. I really don't want to waste the time.

Anansi shakes his head. "Impossible. The minor deities require you to undergo a full analysis to ensure your safety."

I frown, unsurprised but still disappointed.

"However," the God continues, "I can give you all this temporary group teleportation scroll. It will allow you to wait until the last possible minute before you travel to your Lodgings in Tara, where your body will be safe during the analysis."

It's not perfect, but at least we'll be able to wait for Polemos and Company to finish their raid before we have to head out, which is important for my latest plan, so I thank the spider god and take what I can get.

Kara still refuses to accept the Key, so Anansi magicks it directly into her Inventory.

I nudge her in the side and Nanuk kicks her in the ankle to keep her from arguing anymore, in case the fickle Trickster God gets annoyed enough to just keep the damn thing and give it to the Four Horsemen instead.

Kara begrudgingly listens, but the fiery anger is still bright on her face.

To hurry things along, Taliesin then asks about the next stage of the LiveStream capabilities, which was also supposed to unlock after we cleared the third Nightmare Mode.

It's an awesome feature that allows for in-game viewing parties at taverns, guild halls, and town squares. It's like in the real world, when people go to bars or friends' houses to watch World Cup matches. The Host (either the tavern owner, guild leader, or a mayor who projects the Stream in Town Square) pays a set fee to project the LiveStream in their establishment, and then NPCs and Players go to the establishments to watch for free, and generally buy food and drinks so the Host makes money.

The Party LiveStreaming makes 75% of the profits from the fees paid, while the game makes the other 25%. If your Stream is REALLY popular, you can even ask that your Party receive a percentage of food and drink sales from the Host establishments, but the update description warned that would only be possible once more Players enter the game, in the later Realms.

Individuals can still pay to watch the Stream by themselves, but it's generally more fun to watch with a group, so these events are serious money-makers. Of course, the caveat is, people have to want to pay for the rights to watch your LiveStream. Your Party Leader has to have a certain number of successes to their name or you don't even get the chance to apply, and even if you meet all the requirements, if no one wants to pay to watch you, it's a lost cause.

Anansi's cryptic smile deepens, as if he finds the fact we rushed yet another Game Milestone so quickly deeply amusing. "Unfortunately, the minor deities are not quite ready to deliver on that promised reward."

I bet they aren't.

I feel a savage glee at the fact the devs are probably all shitting themselves in a mad scramble to finish updates they should have had way more time to prepare for. I'd feel worse for them if they hadn't so royally screwed me over just forty-five minutes ago.

Based on the way Kara's wings flutter and her grip tightens in my hand, I have a feeling she's thinking the same thing.

Anansi continues, "In recompense, Chaos Party is guaranteed first rights to use the new Feature when it goes Live next Friday. Once you choose the Title for your LiveStream Event, let me know, and I, the Great Anansi, shall share the news of your upcoming adventures far and wide, all across the land!"

Essentially, Vir-Tech is going to officially endorse the Stream, and we are going to make buckets of money.

Yay!

After a few more enigmatic messages about the Great Tumult, Anansi takes his leave in a cloud of mystical smoke. A little ding grabs my attention as he disappears, and to my shock, I find I have received a Friend Request from Anansi the God of Storytelling.

I accept in a daze.

I'm officially Friends with a Brownie, a Leprechaun, and a God.

Wut.

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