Dave waited as the other players mounted the centaurs.
"We should get moving soon guys," Dave said.
"Before we do, could you share the quest and the location of the tomb, please?" Tess asked coming alongside him on Derin.
Dave fiddled with his map settings and shared the coordinates and the quest with Tess.
"That's a long way," Tess said.
"I thought Stan's centaurs were supposed to get us to the tomb," Flanker shrugged.
"Here name's Tess" Fortress snapped.
Tess shook her head "Don't pay attention to the poopy head, schmoopie. The problem is that I have the level two Stench debuff, it will override your level one, luring even stronger monsters into attacking us."
"We'll deal with shit when we find it. Let's just go now," Dave said
"That's not a plan, I thought you were the leader. The centaurs are fast but that's not enough to reach all the way to the tomb and when they are unsummoned, we'll be neck deep in monsters, very strong and high level monsters" Tess said.
Dave already knew this, but he had no way to change the current situation. Waiting until his level was high enough to roam the Wilds would take him years of gametime.
"But, we can probably make it with a bit of luck. Here," Tess said and waved a hand.
Nine scrolls materialized in the air in front of the sorceress.
Tess handed a scroll to each party member.
Dave inspected the scroll and read the description.
Magic Scroll of Haste
[Haste] (One Time Use): increases movement speed of the target by 200%.
Duration: 12 Hours
The [Haste] effect is cancelled when the target of the Magic Scroll enters combat.
"Magic Scrolls? You can't buy these anywhere. How did you get them?" Lone asked.
"I made them myself, I have the Inscriber profession."
Lone continued to ask questions about Tess's profession and its advantages.
Dave tore the scroll. A green aura enveloped the Spike and gathered at the fiends hooves. The same glowing effect happened with the centaurs.
"Thanks Tess, these will be a big help, maybe enough to change our chances. Everyone move out!" he called, nudging Spike into a gallop toward the forest.
Galloping through the forest the many glowing hooves looked like a trail of crazy oversized fireflies.
The scenery blurred as the party galloped through the forest with breathtaking speeds.
Surprisingly, the centaurs were keeping up with Spike, the fiend snarled and accelerated. He didn't deem the centaurs worthy to run alongside him. Dave was almost slid off the fiend by the sudden acceleration.
He patted Spike, "Easy buddy, I know you're fast, there's no need to make this a competition."
Spike slowed a little but kept the lead position.
"I see weretigers up ahead!" Perfect shouted.
Two weretigers were blocking the party's way. Their crimson eyes locked on the prey coming toward them.
"Avoid contact! Don't let the were-fuckers hurt your mounts," Dave shouted over his shoulder. Any harm to Spike or the centaurs would cancel the [Haste] buff.
Dave waved a hand and four magical orbs appeared. He gestured, sending the glowing spheres ahead, toward the weretigers.
Dave waited for the right moment. Then, with a satisfied, "Eat this, were-fuckers!" he snapped his fingers. The orbs exploded, staggering the weretigers for long enough for everyone to get past them safely.
Dave received a notification.
You have been Marked!
A weretiger has Marked you as its prey.
The weretiger will not stop hunting you until one of you dies.
"Yeah, well fuck you too," Dave cursed at the shapeshifters.
The weretigers quickly shook off the effects of the explosions and chased after the party. But thanks to their [Haste] buffs they were soon out of the weretigers' sight.
"More weretigers ahead!" Perfect shouted again.
"To the left," Dave called as he guided Spike to avoid the weretigers.
"I'm marked!" Demeri shouted.
"Same here," Ralph said.
"Aw man, every monster in the Wilds is going to be after us at this rate," Flanker groaned.
Dave ignored Flanker's whining.
They sprinted through the Wilds for hours. Thankfully, Spike and the centaurs didn't show any signs of fatigue as they continued to flee from the pursuit of the shapeshifters.
The weretigers followed them, their roars echoing through the Wilds. Whenever a new weretiger joined the hunt it used a Hunter Mark on one of the players. Every party members had several Marks on themselves.
The air became chilly and damp. The sunlight that penetrated the thick foliage waned as night time approached. The players kept looking over their shoulders nervously, holding to their mounts with a death grip. Things got much much worse in the Wilds when it was dark.
Tess spoke without her customary lightheartedness, "I have bad news everyone, my Stench debuff went up. It's at level three now."
"Fuck," was Flankers immediate reaction.
"Perfect, stay sharp and tell us if you see anything strange. The rest of you guys, defend your mounts no matter what. We are going Pirate's Code!" Dave shouted.
"What's Pirate code?" Tess asked, puzzled.
Fortress chuckled, "Anyone who falls behind is left behind, schmoopie."
"Exactly," Dave said.
"Hey, one of the Marks is gone." Perfect said.
"Same here, one of my Marks just disappeared. And another one gone. What's going on?" Ralph asked.
"Did they give up?" Flanker's asked hopefully.
"I don't think so. The notification says until..." Tess trailed off and she turned to look worriedly at the dark forest behind them.
"Either us or the tiger dies. Something must have killed the weretigers," Mercy finished Tess's thought in a grim tone of voice. She moved a hand to her dagger again, looking around. This was not her playstyle, riding pell mell through a dark forest waiting to be attacked. She was an assassin, an ambush hunter, not a defender.
The party's mood sank even further.
The Marks continued to disappear, one after another, but instead of being relieved everyone was more worried. Whatever was killing the weretigers was obviously also powerful enough to wipe out the party of Players.
"Just keep your eyes open. There is no guarantee that whatever killed the weretigers is coming after us. Besides, we are moving very fas-" Dave stopped speaking. Every hair on his body stood on end as he realized something was running alongside Spike, keeping pace with the fiend silently and effortlessly.
Dave turned to look, it was as big if not bigger than Spike. Long and low slung, the front of its torso was upright, it had large ovular eyes and held its folded, serrated forelimbs piously in front of itself. It was an insect. A praying mantis.
Danger level: ☠ ☠ ☠
Base damage : 200,000-300,000
[Flesh Severing](Passive) KuruKuru's forelimb blades Have a 50% chance to cause [Dismemberment]
[Consume and Adapt] Consuming recently killed prey regenerates up to 100% of KuruKuru's HP. While the skill is active, KuruKuru enters a state of immunity, blocking all physical and magical damage for 10 seconds.
[Steel Exoskeleton] (Passive) has 20% chance to completely physical damage from melee weapons.
[Evolve and Overcome] (Passive) KuruKuru can learn and evolve from the different types of prey it consumes, gaining new abilities.
[Fast Predator] When hunting prey, KuruKuru gaines 300% base movement speed. .
How KuruKuru came into this world is a mystery. At first he was weak and small. The animals he encountered were too puny to fuel the rapid growth he craved. KuruKuru turned his guile and his predatory nature on the most dangerous creatures he could find, risking his life to satisfy his hunger. After each kill he feasted and changed, becoming stronger, faster but ultimately only hungrier.
You have discovered a Unique monster
Killing a Unique monster will grant you a special reward!
'Kill THAT? The fucking system is trolling me!'
The mantis chose that moment to swerve toward them and scythe its forearms at the Player.
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