Dave was puffing, exhausted and annoyed. The EXP was lousy and it took a lot longer to kill monsters alone. Dave was starting to realize how fortunate he'd been to have his undead homies. With them backing him up he could gank high level monsters using the advantage of numbers, the kills were quick and efficient. Now, he had to kill everything himself, and he couldn't afford to make mistakes, they were painful.
"Fucking Stamina comes back and bites me in the ass," Dave grumbled.
As a living human person his Stamina was finite now. He couldn't spam his attacks anymore, he needed to keep track of stamina and carefully judge when to attack, defend and even reduce his movement to the bare minimum.
Dave rested between fights, drinking potions like they were sugary soda-pops.
"And I'm drinking all my profits," Dave grumbled again.
He stood up to look for more monsters, he still needed to relieve tension, the rage just kept building back up.
Two players lurked outside Moria, watching the gate. The hunter and Assassin duo watched a knight in shining white armor run toward the forest. The knight cursed and shouted like a madman at the lowbies that flocked around him when they got close.
"Deviim! There's a Kill Order on guy, let's go for the bounty, " the hunter said.
"I didn't see his level, Sadow, but it looks like he's alone. Let's follow until we find a good spot to gank him," the Assassin twirled his dagger.
The players followed the knight stealthily. When they reached the perimeter of the forest, they came upon a Red Pelt Tiger and pulled its aggro. It took them a while to kill the dangerous mob.
"Shit we lost him, I can't see the Kill order through the forest. Can you track him?" the assassin asked.
"Yeah, give me a second." The hunter crouched, looking at the soil. tracing footprints and broken twigs.
"I got his trail. Let's hurry, he went this way," the hunter pointed and sprinted in pursuit.
The assassin followed, they paused every now and then to verify the tracks.
"Huh," the hunter stopped.
"Look here, there was a fight here. These are sword marks in the ground, a lot of them. He wasn't worried about durability when he fought. Or he was mad."
The hunter picked up a piece of rotten wood and inspected it.
"These are the remains of an Ether Devouring Tree, but why are there so many of them?" the hunter was mumbling, combing through the area like a crime scene investigator trying to understand how a murder happened.
"Hey Sherlock, let's get a move on."
"Shaddup, I'm trying to see where he went. This way, follow me."
When they finally caught up with him the knight was fighting another Ether Devouring Tree.
The knight used his infernal gauntlets to go to town on a half-scorched tree, demolishing it in seconds.
The assassin inspected the Knight.
Title: I know it All
"Yeah, his level isn't too high. He's only five levels higher than me," the assassin whispered.
"He just finished a fight so his HP is low and his skills should be on cooldown. You go first, use your invisibility to get a stun on him, then I'll add my stun and we can take him down, easy peasy."
The assassin blended into the background and worked his way toward the knight. His steps were light and he was hidden within the shadows of the dense forest growth.
The knight's back was hunched, his fists clenching and unclenching and he was muttering to himself.
The assassin emerged from the shadows and moved smoothly up behind the knight. He stabbed up under the knight's chest piece into his kidney.
A pitiful damage value floated up.
And he got a notification.
You have successfully stunned your enemy for 2 seconds.
"What the...?" He'd expected a much higher damage value. The assassin recovered and punched his blade into the gaps between the knight's armor.
The hunter shot a [Binding Arrow] then started spamming regular arrows at the knight. The assassin moved rapidly around the knight, striking through the gaps in the knight's armor, applying his stuns.
The knight didn't move, he watched as the assassin jumped around him like a monkey, applying poison and bleed effects on him.
"Huh, I can bleed and be poisoned now. Things just keep getting better," the knight mumbled.
The assassin paused with his blade up. He'd made several attacks on the knight that should have been devastating. But the knight's avatar wasn't showing the red of low HP.
'How much health does this guy have?'
The stun timers ended, but several debuffs were still running on the knight.
The knight straightened up and started laughing. He raised his hands and the infernal gauntlets ignited with bright white flames.
"I'm glad you decided to come out and play. I really needed someone to vent on, the mobs just weren't satisfying. I'm going to show you a world of PAIN!"
Moments later a plaintive cry rose over the forest.
In an infernal planar dimension a spinning shadow twisted into being.
"Pah! What a shithole, this place stinks."
The air was filled with soot and sulfurous smoke. What little light that was present was a sullen, reddish hue and shone up from the ground not down from the sky.
Adding to the natural volcanic light, scattered everywhere the shadow looked, were shallow lakes of fire. The fires were burning the flesh of man and beast. Hundreds of thousands of creatures in single file lines, linked with chain, were being forced into the flames to be burnt alive, but never knowing true death. They emerged from the far side of a lake and trudged to the next burning basin. The cinder filled wind brought the wails and dismal screams of the victims to the shadow.
"As sadistic as ever. Fucking psycho!" the shadow snorted.
The figure within the shadow seemed to take a step forward, and leaped across leagues. He stepped again, and crossed even more distance. The shadow crossed half the burning realm in this fashion, the fires and the screams were everywhere.
The shadow finally arrived at the foot of a mountain. He looked up at the mountain peak at the wavering shape of a palace made of black flames.
The shadow stepped once more, this time in an upward direction, and arrived at the palace gate.
"Halloo. Anyone here?"
Just as he finished, the black cinder filled smokey clouds over the palace gathered into the shape of an enormous hand and grabbed at the shadow.
The shadow waved a hand and the grasping hand and the hand dispersed in an airy burst.
"Pfft. If you want to play, at least come out and show yourself."
"What brings you to the dominions of Asmodeus, the Tormentor?" The booming voice was odd. The tone went up and plunged down in no discernible rhythm as it spoke, and it vibrated with the wails of thousands of other voices in the background.
The wisps of dispersed smoke coalesced back together, burning bright red and forming into the silhouette of a many-limbed scaly creature with a pig's body and a dragon's head and neck.
But rising from the middle of the pig's back was a fat human torso with three heads. The middle head was a man's head with horns, it was flanked by a cow head on one side and a sheep head on the other.
"Gahhh, I changed my mind, go back to hiding, uggo," the shadow said in disgust.
"Let's just get to why I'm here so I can get out of this cesspit. Your son messed with stuff in MY dominion. Even if I haven't been around until now, he still broke the rules. Rein him in, or I will, and if I have to do it then I'm coming back here and you won't like what happens then."
"You dare threaten me!
"Bluster all you want, but do it on your own time, you big blowhard. You know how this works. Your Childe broke the rules, so the ball is in my court."
The creature remained silent.
"Anyway, love what you did with the place...NOT. Toodles, Ass-moe."
The shadow whirled around itself and disappeared from the infernal plane.
Reappearing in Limbo, the void between both time and the planar realities, the shadow paused to consider its next moves, while it pondered the shadows dissipated enough to reveal a slight figure wearing a studded leather jacket. A broad handle jutted up over one shoulder, flaring out in a strange shape at the end. The figure shook itself and gathered the shadows back around itself like a blanket.
"Just two more of these visits. Then the party really starts," the shadow snickered and disappeared.
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