Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 13 - Success/Failure

I change my gear to those that'd been worn by [Monochrome Blades] members as I go around looting the bodies and shattering crystals along the eastern edge of the former outpost. I grab one of the smallest, high quality mantles and wear it to hopefully confuse any survivors. Embroidered with a crossed pair of dao, vertically divided in half, the left has a white background with parts of the swords in black; on the right, it has a black background with the parts of the swords in white. I am also wearing a hood and veil that I found among the bodies, it might be hot and uncomfortable, but I'd rather remain anonymous for the time being if I can.

Taking a clearer look at the [Monochrome Blades]' emblem, I seriously think they need a new designer, but at least it's better than [Dawn's Moonlight]'s emblem. A full moon on a black background with the initials of the guild overlapping the image, saying "Bright Moon".

Emblems aside, there are unsurprisingly few survivors. There's about a handful of them, moaning and groaning. I deal with them one by one, no doubt they are high level users that are in critical condition, which I take care of by slashing along their throat. I notice one of the bodies starts standing up three dozen or so paces away on the right. It's a good thing I am keeping an eye out, since I would have never hear him coming. I'm pretty sure the fire's making a hell of a lot of noise as well, I can feel the ember crackling and rubble popping even if I can't hear it.

He makes an intense stance and looks to be screaming something — would it be loud enough to draw more attention? I look at the people approaching from the south, unexpectedly, they are still coming at a slow pace. — I guess the roaring fire must be overpowering his shout, not that I can hear him anyways.

I'm not sure what class he is, but he likely has the «Second Wind» passive skill that allows him to temporarily ignore his critical status. Brandishing his swords, he stops his screaming pose and rushes toward me. I ready a rod and high quality steel shortsword I looted from the bodies previously, preparing for a counter. I don't have the luxury of a drawn out battle, and he's already critically injured. I'm confident I can take him down even if he's twice my level, it seems the vast majority of users are under the impression that DPS, raw stats and equipment quality determines how powerful they are. I honestly think they are spewing nonsense, in a fight, all you need to do is to kill your enemy completely, even a bear will die if you manage to stab its vitals.

Shaking my head to clear out the useless thoughts, I crouch even lower, turning my body into a spring. He extend his leading sword overhead, revealing his full height, I am about to jump up at him when he unexpectedly starts going backwards. With a panicked and confused expression, he ends up being sucked into the fire tornado. That's when I realized I really should hurry up and continued to stay low on the ground as I go about looting, replacing the junk I've stuffed in my bags as I go along.

Users' body have a fixed expiry period of about 10 minutes. Once that time pass, the body fades away, leaving behind random items from the users' inventory. I was only able to take some weapons and jewelries away for the minute or so I had with the bodies, of course shattering crystals as I went along. It's regrettable that I had only managed to get to rummage through about a dozen bodies, but I had to make the necessary preparation since I could very well end up killed if I was not careful. The not-a-fight also took about a minute, cutting into the time even more. Still, I was able to kill some high level users and I can completely strip them of everything on their bodies. Well, save for the one that flew off. I shudder a little, thinking about if I had leapt up with my counter.

The distance between the two outposts is about 2 kilometers, since the ones approaching are likely wary and in shock, they are merely at the halfway mark. I am surprised they haven't spotted me yet, but I probably am not even in their field of sight, not with the inferno blazing like that.

One of the almost naked bodys -that I stripped- is starting to fade away, so about 17 minutes or so must have passed since I last launched the «Fireball»s. From their position, Bell and Rick would need about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the other outpost discreetly, assuming Rick doesn't get caught or something.

How am I going to cause a distraction...

I start running off at full strength to where we were hiding to drop off the loot as I go through my options. Throwing the ladened bags at the bush canopy where I kept the rest of my gear, I start taking some deep breaths. I feel stupid as I look at the towering flames, I wonder if this is how Rick feels most of the time.

There are about 20 users at the edge of a wall of fire burning to the south of the inferno, picking up loot left behind. A few of them stare at the flame, looking upward. Unexpectedly, they all stop what they are doing and start running back. Not good, the two probably got noticed. I'm not sure about this, but I guess I really don't have a choice at this point. I run back toward the inferno with nothing save for the armour I'd looted.

Slightly out of breath, I start forming the formula Bell had shown me for her «Chorus Strike» and combined it with aspects of my «Stardust», changing bits and pieces of it. Although I can cast two «Fireballs» with my recovered MP, I might accidentally kill the two of them as well, so I have to cause enough damage to draw attention without annihilating the remaining outpost.

Anchoring myself in a low stance, I stretch my arms out in front of me, spreading my fingers. Using the triangle naturally formed by my thumbs and index fingers, I use it to frame the northwestern rampart of the remaining outpost. The pose really serves no purpose, but it helps with my concentration, and it had helped me more than once when I was hunting, so I might as well use it.

I was experimenting with using the [Mage]'s «Fireball» from my new skill list with an expanded version of Bell's «Chorus Strike». Since I no longer have to do the formula for «Fireball», I tried adding additional parts to «Chorus Strike» to convert mana more efficiently and tried to remove the size limit. In short, I was trying to make a «Spell Amplifier» by using mana from the environment. It doesn't make sense that the «Fireball»s grew to that size, but I will worry about that later. Since I won't be using a «Skill» from my skill list, I can't use «Spell Amplifier», but I can still use the principles behind it.

Here goes!

From the inferno behind me, a small ball of fire spirals into the sky before flying toward a spot above where I was aiming. Adjusting and stabilizing the focal point, I release the entirety of the spell. Using the abundant flame behind me, I am forming a fireball to drop onto the rampart from the sky, causing the majority of damage to go into the ground and limiting collateral damage. It is unlikely the two of them will be in that part of the outpost, so they should be safe. Since I'm mostly just transferring mana instead of casting a whole new spell, I can do massive amounts of damage with my current amount of MP.

I can see a steady stream of small balls of fire flying toward the first ball that's hovering about. The numbers of them are steadily increasing as my MP trickles down. Unexpectedly, I can feel a force trying to drag me off my feet.

Oh shit!

I complete the «Spell» so that it would keep going without me as I become airborne. I desperately try to contact Bell, but I can't even breathe, let alone talk. Before I can make a proper connection, the large stream of fire consumes me, burning me completely.

[Personal Note: I was getting an image of the firenado tilting sideways spewing a bunch of small, twirling balls of fire to toward the beacon fireball before he got sucked in o.O]

It is surprisingly painful, I'm surprised at the amount of the details they put into this. The scenery went from the night landscape, into a fiery orange glow before fading into darkness in mere moments. The next thing I know, I am sitting straight up from the bed covered in cold sweat.

Wiping my forehead, I head toward the console. That was a total miscalculation! I knew about the fire tornado sucking things in, how can I not know that what I was doing will enhance its effect?! While berating myself, I leave a detailed message to all three of them describing what happened via the console. Till should be fine since she would be on her way back to the hideout if she followed the plan, I just hope the two of them manage to get out alive.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chapter!
    Gotta say, I like Kun's persepective the most currently...


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