The Stalwart screeched against the defiant draugr, its granite skin burnt high, heavy, and hot. It clawed at the ground pushing its massive size out of the small trapdoor while breaking whatever boulder, rock, and dirt that stood in its way.
The Stalwart released heat continuously, it had definitely added to Bud's distraction, as the wails coming from upstairs and the increased pace of footsteps announced that the last of the occupants of the Church had left.
Dave lunged in at the Stalwart, smacking it on the face with Durandal's edge. The blow rocked the monster's face and cracked a large chunk of its face-off. The Stalwart retaliated in a heavy horizontal swing, to which, Dave poised his shield to block and used [Absorb] taking in the whole might and strength behind the blow into the shield.
The Stalwart lost balance when the momentum behind his blow suddenly disappeared, his arm felt limp and at the mercy of the draugr, the later didn't hesitate to capitalize on the mistake.
Durandal rose high and dropped heavy, in its motion, it carved through the Stalwart's extended arm, but failed to tear it off, its skin was brittle but the inside of its body was viscous magma that absorbed the shock.
Hot liquid lava poured out of the Stalwart's wounded arm, the later didn't even register the blow even if Dave's blow seemed to have cut off a major artery.
The Stalwart became wearier, giving up the attack momentarily to analyze the situation. Giving Dave more time to plan the next attack. The Stalwart's hesitation disappeared the moment Dave charged once again. He jumped up and swung with Durandal at the Stalwart's head. The later leaned to the side, dodging the blow, and lurch forward, his jaws opened wide in a chomp that could swallow Dave whole.
Dave didn't panic, in his attack, he made sure to not strike too hard or overextend himself in order to have more dexterity to move after the attack. The hot gullet of the Stalwart faced Dave, in which he pivoted, placing his shield between him and the Stalwart.
"Reject," Dave cast, and the absorbed blow from before burst out from the shield, the smack the Stalwart intended for Dave blasted the creature into the wall, the cracks on its face widened and more lava poured out.
Dave had the fight in hand, the Stalwart might be a beefy fighter, but it was too slow, too big and its attacks were easy to telegraph and dodge. It wouldn't take a professional player to take it down, the only downside to this was the continuous aura it released, sapping coldness and increasing heat in its vicinity, yet Dave was also immune to these flames, he had the [Infernal Tyrant's Oppression] to counter the stalwart's effect.
The Stalwart shook its head to shake off the dizziness of having received its own strike, it splattered the seeping magma out of its face and onto the walls of the flagellation chambers, the walls burned and melted once in contact with the hot stuff.
The Stalwart apparently had enough, it reared back on its self, its jaw closely touching its chest. White light gathered in the stalwart's neck and then it opened its mouth, shooting a laser white ray of concentrated flames to the ground under its feet, then moved its head vertically, causing the light to penetrate the ground, melting it in its wake.
Dave dove to the side, dodging the laser beam that cut right where he was standing and tore forward and up. The Stalwart hadn't finished as the ray of flames was still shooting out, it then moved its face sideways, forcing Dave to duck under.
The Stalwart's attack finished when it drew a cross in the underground of the church, but when Dave looked up, he could see the sky. The power behind the attack was enough to cut through the floor under the church and the building itself.
"Shit, that's Op," Dave commented.
The Stalwart's body heat decreased; its coal red color returned to black granite. It began huffing, having discharged such an attack had its toll on its body, giving Dave a chance to increase his advantage over the beast.
Dave charged in once again with more fury, smashing the bottom of Durandal on his own chest and casting, [Chaos] along with a deft rub on his left earlobe with his shield carrying hand to activate [Zealot]. Dave's body grew in size, his muscles flared to life thanks to the infernal and chaotic energy of his Chaos Runes. Red magmatic veins burst out from under his armor shaping it anew, his sword surged in flames as he struck at the beast.
The blow was staggering, both in the high number value and what it did to the Stalwart. This was of course thanks to having the Stalwart losing his passive ability [Granite Skin] enabling Dave to deal even more damage to the creature.
The fight-no-beating lasted for a couple of minutes, in that time, the Stalwart acted as the best punching bag Dave had ever the pleasure of beating the living hell out of, literally.
The Stalwart became slow, unable to counter or fight back for that duration, giving Dave hope that he might finish the monster off soon. Yet, a spark crackled out of the Stalwart's body, indicating a change in the situation.
While the Stalwart was receiving the beating of its life, it had enough time to re-ignite its body, churning more flames into itself and resuscitating the extinguished flow of lava inside it.
The stalwart screeched high, as its body burned and burned until it regained its full infernal appearance.
The creature smashed down on Dave, the latter dodged back, evading the sharp obsidian claws. The blow cratered the ground and caused the entire church to shake and shudder. Looking up, Dave realized that the whole god darned building was coming down.
One of the chamber's supporting pillars cracked and fell, causing a large portion of the church to fall down right on top of the Stalwart forcing a scream of panic and surprise out of it.
The other side of the church where Dave stood was still standing, but from the appearance of the slowly cracking pillar, it was going to last for less than a half a dozen seconds if not less.
Dave stomped his foot on the ground, summoning one of his underlings it was the dunlord that accompanied him for most of his nooby days at the Underworld.
"Stinger get us the hell out of here!" Dave called.
The Dunlord scooped Dave and placed him on his back then Dove down the ground. The motion was fast enough that the Dunlord had successfully saved Dave from a rocky grave.
The building fell down on the chambers burying the atrocities the Cathedral had enacted upon the NPCs for good.
Stinger swam through the mud, rocks, and dirt until he appeared on the outside of the church.
Once Dave was out, he was met with several exclamations, panicked screams, and even a fireball to the back of his head.
Turning, Dave realized that they had company, only it was much greater than he expected.
A large audience of players, church NPCs, and some random bystanders were watching the Cathedral of the God of Light falling to the ground after a ray of light cut right through it.
They came to investigate. But once the draugr appeared from underground, it surprised them even more, as his name was written in bright red to all the players.
"Shit, you hit skelly!" a player called on his friend.
Dave turned to the two, squinted his eyes in a displeased manner and then turned back to the church, he was perfectly sure that the Stalwart survived the building coming down on top of it. Unlike the last time, he faced one, that Stalwart had an entire mountain falling on it before it died. This one Dave doubted that so few rocks could kill it.
"The fuck are you doing here Skelly?! You really want it for us don't you!" the well recognizes the voice of Warlord sounded from the back of the players.
Dave didn't even turn to face him, he had more urgent matters at hand.
"Listen up, damn it, I won't allow you to come to my damn kingdom and do whatever the fuck you want, you screwed us over, royally so with your shit stunt. Who gave you the right to interfere and ruin the Ash-King's altar!"
"That altar was no good, if you made a contract with the Ash-King you'll all end up his slaves," Dave said.
"Fuck you!" Warlord shouted, "You're no fucking god to decide for us! We make our own choices!" Warlord added.
To this, Dave had no reply, it was true in a sense, the players had the right to do what they wanted, and in taking that away from them, he had harmed their advantage. Frankly speaking, if the Altar was not related to the upcoming assault on the Ash Kin's Demondom he wouldn't have cared.
But it was his quest, and it affected him greatly. Before he could answer the enraged Guildmaster, Valentine, the pink armored guardian came rushing and placed a palm over Warlord, he spoke a few words that made the wrathful expressions on Warlord ease up a bit, just a bit though.
"Skelly, that was not cool man, you now gave the other guilds the chance to have a greater advantage than us, your action will tip the scale of power, giving the other super guilds a greater hold of the world of conquest. You're just being oppressive this way, please leave," Valentine said.
"Sorry about that, I didn't think this through, but still," Dave said. "I'll be destroying all the temples. I tell you, the Ash King is not someone you want to mess with, he is a liar, and a scammer. Here, you can see for yourself," Dave waved a hand and showed a description of what the Chalice of the Son's Blood does.
Valentine frowned, then Dave said, "It steals your legacies, it takes away the hardest earned work you have done and forces you to follow the whim of the Ash King." Dave said.
"So what? That's what all kings do, they order, and the people serve." Warlord said, "If he was going to take away legacies, then he is bound to give something in return." Warlord said.
Dave shook his head, "Kings do not command!" he didn't even need to explain to him how the Undead King was to his people, he rarely ordered anyone around, he was a king of the truest meaning, loving his people, serving them, protecting them, fighting with them, even gave his life against both the Ash King and the Archangel for them. He was sure that Warlord was not going to explain even if Dave had the time to explain it to him, and time they had not.
"So, why are you not leaving? Piss off," a player said.
More players agreed to his words, as they didn't like the draugr's appearance here or the fact that he took an opportunity away from them. But Dave ignored them.
Just as a player gained enough courage to go and 'force' Dave to leave the kingdom, the earth trembled.
"It's coming, you better move out of here if you treasure your lives," Dave said.
"The hell are you talking about?" Warlord asked.
"Hell, itself is coming, better get your ax ready, or your legs moving, shit about to get real hot in here!" Dave smiled as the church's rubble burst out of the ground.
The Stalwart's claws bore through the rubble and it stood atop the church, its flaming body was like a bright sun illuminating the night.
A terrifying howl scared the players witless and the NPCs to a fearful sprint.
Warlord's eyes widened, "What in god's name is a Sworn Stalwart doing here!"
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