Dave thought for a moment then said, "Centaurs? That does change things. Okay then, let's teleport to Moria. We'll meet up at the town's smithy, fix up our equipment and wait for Fortress's friend to join us."
Dave tore a scroll and appeared in Moria. He walked quickly over to the blacksmith's shop and bargained, poorly, to have his and his party's equipment repaired as a rush job.
Ralph showed up next to him, a wide grin on his face.
"Oi, Mr. Moneybags, fix em up for me will ya."
Dave shook his head and took Ralph's equipment, adding them to the work order.
Another of Ralph's peculiarities, he was a communist. Not at all in the political sense, but in that he believed whatever belonged to his friends also belonged to Ralph. On the other hand, Ralph also considered anything that was his belonged to his friends too, so it was a fair and equitable philosophy. At least in Ralph's mind. The quirk was really just a reflection of Ralph's unstintingly generous nature and Dave appreciated it for what it was, though others might not be as understanding of it.
In just a short time the whole party was gathered around the blacksmith shop, waiting for their equipment to be repaired
Lone had very obviously not given Dave her bow but had handed it directly to the blacksmith and paid without even looking at Dave.
"Tess said she'll be here soon," Fortress said, a happy grin on his face.
Just as Fortress finished his speaking a voice yelled from behind them.
"Fucker! This time I'm going to kill your scrawny thieving ass."
Dave turned to see Bone Breaker in his white, full-plate armor. Behind him were dozens of paladins wearing the shiny armor and tabards of the Holy Church.
"Fuck-a-duck. I forgot about the Kill Order and my Hostile status with the Church," Dave muttered to himself.
"What are you going to do now, pretty-boy? Last time you got lucky and managed to escape. No one's gonna save you this time, Ha!" Bone Breaker bayed like a jackass.
"I remember that meeting differently, 'Bone Beater,' I kicked the crap out of you, at least until the city guards took you to jail and saved your ass," Dave said.
Bone Breaker had been in Moria restocking on potions when he received a quest notification to kill an enemy of the Holy Church in the city. He had accepted the kill-quest for the EXP, but he never dreamed it would be for the hacker asshat that 'stole' his legacy. And now his vengeance was finally at hand. Killing the little cheater was going to be a piece of cake with the help of the paladins. He'd even let the other players standing around the smithy join in the fun.
Afterall, there was a huge Kill-Order floating over the dipshit's head, he'd toss the scrubs a few coins from the 10,000 gold bounty afterwards.
"Kill the heretic!" Bone Breaker roared.
The paladins drew their swords in unison and advanced past Bone Breaker, beginning an encircling maneuver.
"Man, we can't catch a break!" Flanker groaned.
An observer would almost be able to see the light of comprehension appear over Bone Breaker's head at Flanker's words.
"Oh he, so you are his party! Then die with him," Bone Breaker's mocking tone sounded past the paladins.
"They're just level 200 scrubs, we can take them," Dave said.
"Not without my equipment, it's still being repaired," Ralph said.
"Use your spare set, think of it as a challenge. HA!" Dave snarked as he equipped his Sworn Stalwart gauntlets.
A feminine voice asked from behind the paladins, "Pumpkin, why are you always in trouble when I come to see you in Conquest?"
Fortress smiled hugely, "Hey Honey-Bunny, welcome to the party."
A human female in a red dress and a pointy purple hat stood behind the paladins, hands on her hips, shaking her head at Fortress.
The sorceress gestured with her hand, materializing a scepter from thin air. "Hold them still for me, schmoopie."
"Okay schmoopie." Then Fortress warned the other party members, "Everyone move back, please."
He used [Anchor Hall], hooked chains burst from the pavement, latching onto every paladin around him, pulling every paladins' aggro to Fortress. Meanwhile the sorceress twirled her scepter and chanted, "Twisted void and severed space, bring true the vision of ultimate end! EXPLOSION!"
Just before Tess the last word of her chant Fortress activated [Bulwark], giving him three seconds of immunity to all types of damage.
The paladins, who were about to attack the tank, were stopped completely, frozen in place by Tess's Skill. Then their armor and flesh simply disintegrated into swirling particles leaving nothing else behind. The only person left unharmed was Fortress thanks to his timely use of [Bulwark].
"What the...is that a legacy skill?" Ralph mumbled.
"Yes, she's the Destruction Legacy holder," Mercy said quietly. Her hands were gripped around the hilts of her daggers tightly, as if to reassure herself.
"The Sorcerer S-class legacy?" Perfect was flabbergasted.
Tess the sorceress skipped over to Fortress so she could give him a big hug and pinch his cheeks, "Oh you! You're schmoopie and I missed my schmoopie," she said.
"Ahhh god, I'm gonna hurl," Flanker said, making a finger-down-his-throat gesture.
Perfect slapped the back of Flanker's head, "Stop being an ass."
"Oww! I told you before, man, Fortress got no game. But here he is with a FINE lookin' S-class legacy chick like dat? No man. Helllll nawww. I'm telling you she's a 300 pound dude named Chuck Stan who lives in his mom's basement in suburban detroit. Guaranteed.
"So what if she's a guy? Are you homophobic or something?"
"No way, I have lots of friends who are gay! I am telling you, that is not a girl. When you ever seen a girl doin' that?" Flanker was pointing at the two 'schmoopies' cooing at each other.
Flanker threw up his hands and turned away, unable to watch his friend's PDA with 'Stan.'
After curling her fingers through Fortress's hair for a few intimate moments, the sorceress turned.
The foolish paladin was still standing gaping uncomprehendingly at the spot where his contingent of Holy Church paladins had last stood.
"You there," Tess barked at the Player.
Bone Breaker shuddered and looked at the sorceress.
"You ordered those nasty Church boys to hurt my honey-bunny."
"Uh, no I didn't…"
Before Bone Breaker could explain why he brought the paladins the sorceress gestured with her scepter and chanted quickly, ending with a gesture at the paladin Player and a vicious, "Die!"
An instant storm of lightning and hail broke over Bone Breaker in cacophonous thunder, turning him to glittering particles in an instant. The results of the sorceress's attack were undeniably effective, but strangely the players hadn't heard what she'd said clearly except for the final word, she'd chanted too fast for normal human speech. It was a Legacy Skill they all heard of, called [Rapid Chant].
"We should get going, Moria's guards will be here soon. PK inside the city is naughty," the sorceress giggled.
"Dave give me the gold for the repairs. You guys get out of the city. I'll wait for the smith to finish and catch up with you," Ralph said.
The party left the and headed for the town's exit. Everyone converged around Tess the newest addition to the group, asking about her Legacy, talking to her in general and getting to know her. Everyone except for Flanker that is, the pervert priest kept a safe distance from 'Stan.'
The girls were, of course, interested in more personal subjects, specifically how she and Fortress met and the details of the relationship between the two.
To the dismay of the blushing Fortress, Tess happily answered all the womens' intimate inquiries in excruciating and embarrassing detail. Many admiring and approving female glances were sent the normally stoic tank's way, making him squirm even more uncomfortably.
Perfect turned to Flanker and whispered, "You're an idiot. Bro-dude's a total stud, man."
"Hmph," Flanker sniffed, "That's impossible. He. Got. No. Game."
Perfect chuckled, "Well by my count, there are four 'FINE looking' women right over there that totally disagree with you."
Once outside the gates the gates of Moria the group waited and Ralph soon joined. He proceeded to hand everyone their repaired equipment, as if he was a big armored Santa Clause.
Dave turned to Tess and asked,"So, how do we go about getting a ride from the centaurs?"
"I have an item that can summon them anywhere in Conquest, but, there's a catch," Tess said.
"What's that?" Dave asked.
"We can only use the centaurs as mounts for one day.."
"One day is still great. That will get us halfway to the tomb if not farther," Dave said.
"Then it's settled. Should I summon them here?"
"No, better to wait until we are in Urburg," Dave said.
"Urburg? I've never heard of it," Tess said.
"It's a ruined city in the middle of the Wilds,"
"Whoa! You found a city in the wilds?" her eyes widened.
"Yeah, we'll tell you about it when we get there. Here you go," Dave handed the sorceress a scroll.
"Okay people, everyone have a scroll to Urburg? Then let's go," Dave tore his teleportation scroll and disappeared from Moria.
Moments later, everyone was gathered at the Urburg teleport gate.
"Hey, you need to invite me to the raid," Tess reminded Dave.
Dave sent her an invitation.
Player Tess level 421 has joined your raid group.
Tess took a golden horn from her inventory and sounded it.
A male centaur materialized in front of her, summoned by the horn. The equine part was larger than a Clydesdale with a heroically muscular human upper body in proportion. Across his back was an ebony recurve bow.
"Honorable sorceress," the centaur bowed.
"Hey Derin. I need to ask you for a favor," Tess asked.
"At your service, milady."
"My party needs a ride to a tomb deep in the Wilds."
The centaur looked around, "This is the Wilds, my peoples' safety will be at risk. But for your ladyship, we will try."
"Okay, we need rides for nine people."
"Just eight," Dave said.
Tess tilted her head in question.
Dave smiled and whistled loudly.
In response the pounding of massive hooves sounded, and from the darkness of the forest an antlered monster much larger than the centaur appeared, galloping toward Dave's party.
Tess was frightened, she gestured, materializing her scepter for a fight.
"Easy, he's a friend," Dave said as Spike skidded to a stop in front of his friend, throwing up dust and leaves. Dave petted the fiend and scratched under his chin.
"To befriend one of the proud forest pronged fiends is an impressive feat. Your friends are extraordinary, your ladyship," the centaur was a gazing intently at Spike in awe. Without any further discussion he lifted a horn even larger than Tess's to his lips and blew into the mouthpiece. Seven more centaurs materialized around him.
"Let's hurry up, time is accumulating on our Stench debuff," Dave said as he mounted Spike.
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