Dave walked the stone-floored hall of the tomb in anguished silence. Outside, the dragon was still shrieking in rage and slamming itself thunderously against the stone structure of the keep.
Lone tried to go to Dave, to try to console him, but Ralph put a hand on her shoulder and shook his head. He sent her message on a private line.
"Sometimes people need to grieve alone for awhile."
Lone's shoulders slumped but she accepted Ralph's advice.
The inside of the tomb was dark except for occasional pools of light that shone through cracks in the domed roof. Flanker cast a spell and used his staff to light their way.
Halfway down the hall Dave stopped abruptly, he crouched and picked up a piece of paper. It was old, torn from a larger piece. Most of what was written on it was faded and illegible, but some of the writing was still decipherable. Dave shared the writing through the party chat.
[Illegible]...My zeal for blood magic and necromancy has began to ebb, as each attempt invariably brings only failure, and disappointment…[Illegible].
"What does it mean?" Tess asked.
Dave answered in a monotone, "My quest is to fetch something called Miasmic Aether of the Necromancer's Tomb. This was probably written by the necromancer." He pocketed the paper and moved forward.
The stone walls were discolored and decaying, covered with growths of fungus and lichen. The air was musty and humid, though occasionally a breeze found its way through the hall from outside, clearing the stuffiness away for a little while.
"This place is like your apartment Dave," Ralph snickered.
Dave shook his head, "You're not wrong, but things have changed. I got a new place in the city a few days ago. It should be ready to move into tomorrow."
"Oh yeah, house party! Everyone's invited, right?" Ralph asked.
"Yeah, sure," Dave said.
Dave came to a wooden door at the end of the hallway. When he put his hand out to open it, the door disintegrated to rotten wood fragments. In the middle of the room the door led to was an iron cage with a lever next to it, an elevator. He'd seen something similar in the Ice Queen's dungeon.
He entered the cage and gestured for the other Players to join him. When they were all inside, he pressed the square tile in the center of the cage with his foot. It clicked and the cage slowly started to sink.
The elevator creaked and squealed as it descended taking them into the lower levels of the tomb. Finally the cage stopped. Flanker's light revealed a boarded up door further secured with chains and a lock.
Exiting the elevator Ralph found another piece of paper lying on the floor and handed it to Dave.
I failed, miserably so. Now a Devil walks these paths, paths I knew all too well once; now they are as twisted as my ambitions…
"And now we have to deal with a devil," Flanker gulped.
"Anything can happen, it's an SS ranked legacy quest, man," Perfect retorted.
"Yeah, got any last words, Flanker?" Dave joked morbidly.
"You're both jerks, who needs friends. Here, let me heal you up, Skelly. You're still down from getting chomped on by the dragon." The priest was trying to stay busy, keep his mind off the danger and creep factor.
"Thanks, I have a lot of potions, save your mana and cooldowns," Dave said. He took a potion from his inventory and chugged it, he waited for the cooldown to expire then drank another one. He'd been down to 1% of his total HP, so he needed several potions to fully restore health bar.
Demeri had taken her harp out and started plucking a joyful melody.
+10% HP/MP/SP regeneration.
+20% to any healing effects (excludes consumables).
Duration: 30 minutes.
"Thanks, Demeri," Dave said to the bard.
"Should I try to open this door?" Perfect asked.
"Can you?" Dave questioned. The door was heavily barricaded, he'd been prepared to break through it by force, but that would have left him with several Skills on cooldown and a lowered weapon durability.
"Yeah man, I have a Skill for getting past barriers."
"Then go ahead. Fortress, do you have [Guard Ally]?"
"Use your Skill on Perfect, he's going to be vulnerable. This is a perfect ambush set up. "
Fortress activated [Guard Ally], a glowing blue kite-shield icon appeared over Perfect's head for a second then dissipated.
"Everyone else ready up, there might be bad things on the other side," Dave said. Diving the tomb was part of his legacy chain quest. It would have been challenging enough as an S rank quest, but it had been upgraded to a double S rank quest in the Wilds. With that and having other people to watch out for Dave was doing things more cautiously than was his usual style.
Perfect knelt in front of the door and began working on the locks, shortly the chains and boards fell at his feet.
"See, that wasn't so bad," Flanker said just as the door burst into splinters and a tentacular abomination slammed into Perfect.
A blue-glowing barrier went up around the ranger, absorbing the force of the blow from the tentacle thing. The limb was a horrific patchwork amalgamation of oozing flesh, bare bone and bloody sinew; and it brought with it the nauseating smell of a slaughterhouse.
Dave drew his sword and called, "Perfect, get back here, Ralph, engage it first!"
Ralph ran toward the monstrosity, his sword glowing. But just as he swung at it, the mass of misshapen flesh melted into a puddle of rancid black ichor.
"The fuck was that?" Perfect asked, shaken and looking at the puddle of goo.
"I didn't get a chance to inspect it," Dave said.
Dave went through the door but stopped when he saw what lay beyond. Instead of brick walls, he'd entered a tunnel made of flesh. It was like standing in a giant's intestinal organs, the flesh pulsed rhythmically, like a heartbeat. The passageway split into several several tunnels leading off in different directions.
Ralph's voice came from behind him, echoing his thoughts, "It's like being in the guts of a monster. And you would be the one to know, bro."
"Ewwww, no, I'm not going in there!"
"That's just gross, I'd rather be killed by the bug-thing or the smollzies!"
"This...I need bigger daggers."
Flanker entered the organic tunnel, pale faced,with shaking hands he lifted his staff to better light the tunnel. Of course that was when the light waned and then went out completely.
"Flanker, the light!" Dave said.
"Sorry guys, I just got a system message saying I can't use any holy flavored skills in here," Flanker said.
"Well that sucks. I hope everyone brought enough potions to make it without an active healer," Ralph said.
"Flanker, stay at the back. Everyone light your torches," Dave said, lighting one of his own.
The torches filled the room with dim flickering light that just seemed to make more shadows, combined the natural rhythmic movement of the tunnel it created a disturbing environment.
"Should we send someone out to scout?" Mercy asked.
Perfect looked at her as if she were crazy, he wasn't going to go anywhere without the rest of the party.
Dave shook his head, "We don't know where these paths lead, it's better if we stay together."
"Hey guys, check it out," Flanker said, he was using his torch to burn a part of the fleshy wall. The area he was burning pulling away from the flames. Fluid dripped from the wound like oil dripping from meat on a grill, and the smell of barbecue pork filled the air.
"You shouldn't do that," Tess chided.
Flanker rolled his eyes at the sorceress, "Whatever. So which...uh, tunnel are we taking?"
Dave looked at the their choices consideringly.
"The middle one," he decided.
They moved through the tunnel in a line, almost noiselessly, their feet sinking into the springy surface of the tunnel floor. It was like walking on a wet cushion.
Perfect spoke over the party chat, "I hear something."
They continued cautiously and soon they could all hear the wet, sucking, tearing sound coming from ahead. Dave kept walking forward and the torchlight revealed a quivering lump of dark colored flesh, the color of raw liver, attached to the of the side of the pulsing tunnel.
A sound like snapping bones came from the blob of flesh and it tore open. Blood and viscera poured out, then gathered together and growing into something that resembled a man. Dozens of eyeballs looked in and blinked locking on him.
Dave inspected the newly formed creature.
Half Born Seer
Danger Level: Normal
Base damage: 1,000-2,000
[Fate Revealed] (Passive): drains 1% of the target's maximum HP per second whenever eye contact is made with the Half Born Seer.
[The End is Near] (passive): If the Half Born loses 50% of his total HP, he will detonate [Executing] himself, the explosion does 100,000 HP of flat damage to all targets within 5 meters.
Ashkar, the Necromancer King, captured the Wood Hag because it was rumored that she could foretell the future. The Half Borne Seers were the result of a failed experiment meant to reproduce the Wood Hag's prophetic abilities.
Dave's HP started dropping because of the monster's [Fate Revealed] passive.
"Okay everyone, we gotta do this bad boy fast, the longer we take the more HP we lose!"
The monster had low defensive values, they could take it but they had to do it fast, every second wasted fighting this creature would cost them HP.
Without wasting any more time Dave attacked with [Decimating Smash] and followed up with a continuous series of basic attacks on the stunned monster.
Tess shot her black orbs at the creature and Blaster lunged at it with [Rend the Flesh].
Your party member has killed [Half Born Seer]
"That was a piece of cake," Ralph said.
" We got lucky, that passive probably stacks. If there'd been more of them we would have died in seconds." Dave said.
"It dropped something," Lone said.
She retrieved two pages from the remains of the monster and handed them to Dave.
Most of the first paper was covered with blood, most of the writing couldn't be made out.
After many failed experiments, depression came over me [Illegible]
[Illegible] progress was halting, and the rapidly accumulating wasted flesh was becoming…burdensome. And so, I decided to do something with it.
Finally, the flesh wall came to be of use. By fusing the Wood Hag into it, I was able to wrest away her ability to prognosticate the future. Yet all I saw was doom, quite motivating...
"Creepy, man. What the hell is this quest?"
"Let's just keep moving guys," Dave said.
The Players walked through the flesh corridors. The sound of a heartbeat reverberated louder and louder as they moved forward.
Then a screech echoed from behind the Players, threatening to burst their eardrums. The fleshy tunnel wall contracted and spasmed around the players then tore open. Five masses of misshapen flesh were ejected from the torn flesh and fell to the ground. The lumps quickly morphed into more of the half-born seers and rose, facing the players.
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