Proofreader: ATK-49 & Cal-Lei
Special Thanks to G.S. for supporting us!
Far from any city or town in Mirage of Eternity, there was a huge army marching over the lands on their way towards Crea City. Anything in their way was quickly wiped out by their might, be it a monster or unprepared players, and once these obstacles were gone, their ranks grew. With every death, their army’s numbers increased. It was an army of death led by the great lich twins, Shir’ka and Shei’ka.
Unlike the frightful and grand appearance of their army, the lich twins themselves were slouching in the seats of their carriage in a manner unbefitting of army commanders.
“Hah… We should have spawned the army right in front of Crea City instead of doing this march. To hell with the ‘grand entrance’ and ‘incoming danger’ feeling! It’s so boring to just sit around and play cards!”
It was Shir’ka who broke the silence and monotony of the seemingly endless hands of cards played as a futile attempt to stave off boredom.
“Uhu… If it wasn’t for the table tennis match I would have died of boredom long ago. I can’t stand it! Not even a minute longer… How about we log out and just create a second character…? The army can march without our avatars. I doubt anyone will notice our absence because of the carriage. Why don’t we add some curtains so no one can see into the carriage?”
After Shei’ka made the brilliant suggestion, Shir’ka, who checked the time, could only heave a heavy sigh. It was clear that their victim still wouldn’t be ready for the test and thus they would have to endure a bit longer.
“Gah, I even started to work on administration stuff… “
“Seriously?! Wow, it’s that bad already, huh?”
“Says the one who secretly watches a movie while playing cards…”
Shei’ka gave a look of surprise, or at least it appeared as if it was one. Even for Shir’ka it was hard to interpret what the flickering light in the hollow eye sockets of the other lich meant.
“You noticed, Shir’ka?”
“Duh! How long have we known each other? One doesn’t need a sixth sense to figure that out…”
“I wonder when Keruna will come online… I want to send Toriel out already and end today’s work so he better hurry up… I am slowly getting tempted to drop it off his head instead of following our actual plan.”
“Hahaha, yeah. Too bad we can’t let Maeda work on this alone; we might not get any results. He would die way too fast if he fought alone….. oh!!! He’s online!”
Just then, Shir’ka dropped the cards out of his bony hands and instantly opened a window to watch Keruna together with Shei’ka. After enlarging it to the perfect size, they abused their administrator rights and summoned some popcorn to go along with the show.
“Took him long enough! He’d better hurry towards the final boss so we can start this.”
“Hah! I feel like a stalker~”
“It’s for work~ Shall we record it? I bet this would turn out nicely.”
“Yep, we still need more footage for future videos of our employees enjoying their work~”
When I finished checking my stats and closed the information window, I suddenly felt a shiver run down my back. I looked around but I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Ever since I started working for NDC my survival instincts have been much sharper than before and I was sure that there was something dangerous nearby, but I couldn’t spot any monster or suspicious movements from the demon lord’s castle.
“My lord? Is there something wrong?”
Tian tilted his head in bewilderment when he saw me acting like this so I stopped observing my surroundings and decided that it was only my imagination.
“No, it must have been my imagination. More importantly, when we begin to recapture the castle I would like to concentrate completely on delivering the utmost damage to the enemy. Can you block any attacks which are directed towards me?”
In preparation for the beginning of the quest, I gave Tian some instructions to play my meat shield. I really don’t like getting any damage. After all, it means that I have to pay out money to restore my equipment’s durability to its prior state. Any way in which I can save money, I will, even if it’s just a single copper coin!
Should Tian use his future payment as a castle guardian to repair his own equipment? Considering that he’ll receive money every month from my guild and if he is so happy to serve me, then this bit of money shouldn’t be any issue for him!
“Of course, my lord! I’ll be your shield and sword to protect you! My life is yours.”
He said it with shining eyes, a truly loyal dog. It really looked as if everything was fine and going according to plan.
Tian, you’re now my most favourite NPC!
I nodded in satisfaction and we started to chat a bit about Tians old life and how happy he is to serve me now. While doing so, we sat on the ground so I could give Tian a few poisons that he could apply on his sword which could deal some additional damage and cause abnormal statuses.
Not far from us, a white light suddenly shone and a second later Sion appeared. Shortly after his sudden arrival, Sion looked wildly around, his gaze stopping on Tian and me happily chatting while puzzlement was written all over his face.
“Welcome back, Sir Sion.”
“Yo, Sion. Did you finish eating?”
I really wondered why he looked as if he saw something strange. It couldn’t be Tian’s greeting and his respectful way of addressing him.
After his gaze went back and forth between Tian and me multiple times, I raised one of my eyebrows and couldn’t help but ask what was wrong.
“Sion? Is something the matter?”
“No, I’m just a bit surprised that you two suddenly get along so well?”
Ah, so that’s what bothers you? Well, it’s true that I ignored Tian before, but everything’s changed!
Not long after Sion said this, it was Tian’s turn to look puzzled. Of course that guy probably hadn’t even noticed that I blatantly ignored his existence before…
Time to tease Sion a bit~
“No worries, Sion. You probably misunderstood! We’re getting along very well, right Tian?”
The moment Tian heard this, his puzzled demeanor changed instantly to one of pride when he turned back to Sion.
“My lord is right. I would sacrifice my life at any moment for my lord.”
Sion shot me a doubtful gaze but before he could question my sanity, I gave him a hint as to why my opinion changed so drastically.
“Did you know that Tian is a tank? He’ll help you protect me from now on~”
“Meatshield… I see…”
With that, he sighed dramatically and facepalmed. It seemed as if he finally understood everything!
“Keruna… you are so villainous… Tian? Don’t you feel bad that Keruna ignored you before?”
Ah, Sion, don’t open his eyes! I need him as my shield when you aren’t online!
“Why should I, Sir Sion? My lord is a perfect Demon Lord without flaws! Of course, he doesn’t have to pay much attention towards a mere servant like myself. But Lord Keruna is a very benevolent and kind Lord to give a mere servant like myself so much attention in the first place.”
Sion’s disbelieving face was priceless. I could read his thoughts like he was an open book. He probably wondered what I did to brainwash Tian like this, but I’m totally innocent. It’s probably all because of the mentality of the Demon race.
“A mere servant should silently follow every command and movement of their lord.”
Sion looked troubled as he heard Tian continue to speak, and I was delighted until…
“I’ll make sure to follow my lord everywhere as if I’m a shadow. Silently, without my lord even noticing so as to not disturb my Lord’s plans.”
…he continued further and I felt as though I gained some kind of dangerous stalker instead of a subordinate!!
Hell no! I don’t want you following me everywhere!
“Tian, please don’t follow me if I don’t give you explicit permission in the future. I like my privacy…”
Tian looked crestfallen and sad as if he was a puppy scolded severely by his owner. If he were a dog, I’d bet his ears would be drooping down by now too…
Now that I think about it, dogs are also like some kind of creepy little stalkers that follow you everywhere. I still remember the days when I looked after Maeda’s dog, when he was on holidays. His dog basically stuck to me like glue…
I do know why I prefer cats, even if they also loyally follow you, they at least give you some time for yourself. Looking at Tian like this reminds me that I will make sure to never own a dog in the future! No, to prevent my girlfriend even thinking about buying one, I better go ahead and buy a cat soon!
Meanwhile, Sion looked as if he couldn’t decide if he should comfort Tian or share in my stalker opinions. In the end, he decided to not to say anything about this and just looked with pity towards Tian for having such a bad “owner”.
That guys thoughts are too easily visible…
And what do you want to tell me with that disapproving look?! Don’t get taken in by the dog’s “my owner abandoned me” acting! In the first place, whose side are you in?!
After many “Keruna, you are so evil and mean” looks, plus some comforting words from Sion directed towards Tian, our last team member – Emeralda, also reappeared and hurried over.
“Looks like everyone is here, shall we start right away? Sion, you’ll tank, right? I’ll give you a buff to increase your defence and agility a bit so you can react faster. Please take good care of me~”
“Yeah, don’t let anyone near Emeralda, he’s our lifeline, Sion.”
“Uh, don’t pressure me Keruna, I always give my best.”
“Hehe. Keruna, as usual I’ll increase your damage. What about Tian?”
Emeralda inquired and I told him about Tian’s class and my plans to use him as a secondary tank for our group. Agreeing with me, he gave Tian the same defence buff as Sion.
Afterwards, out of habit, I looked to Emeralda for his opinion on how we should do this quest. He was, after all, the vice guild leader and together with Keradis the one in charge of all our dungeon explorations and raids. Thus, I was used to him being the one coming up with the strategies and plans.
Truthfully, I’m also too lazy to take command and it’s easier for Emeralda generally speaking, to take charge, because he has a better view of the battle from his position in the back in case of emergencies. Not to mention that he’s more experienced to this anyway because of being a vice-guildmaster. Sion also prefered to stay in the front and do his job, not bothering about anything else. Usually, I have to take command if we play together. This made Sion instantly look towards me and while I was looking at Emeralda, his gaze wandered over to our cactus healer.
Emeralda had no other choice but to take the position of our team leader. He noticed right then and there, based on previous experiences of playing together, that none of us had any interest in leading the group. So in the end, he took command!
“Then I would suggest that we divide into two smaller teams. Sion will focus more on my defence just like Tian will for Keruna. Like this, both of us should have more than enough defence and I can concentrate on healing our tanks. We should also be able to speed up our tempo of clearing the quest if we form two smaller teams and attack different enemies at the same time. Luckily Astral Knights also have a good attack power, so I’ll be fine. As long as Keruna and Tian stay relatively close to each other, I should be able cast some healing on them when necessary as well. Looks like the demon’s level range is between 60 and 65, so we should be able to deal with three demons per team.”
His plan was simple and no one had any complaints about it so we finally started to take over the castle!
To save on my future expenses I didn’t use poison on my daggers for the small fries. I instantly used my stealth skill, turning invisible, and walked in a fast pace towards the enemy, one of the demons serving the traitor who killed Tian’s companions. He was a tall demon with horns similar to a ram with greenish hair. Not far from him was a second with a darker green haircolor and ibex horns guarding the entrance. This made me wonder if green hair is common to that traitors clan.
Whatever, they will soon fall victim to my daggers and turn into EXP….
I walked right behind the ram-horned one without him even noticing and was ready to strike any time. While I waited for my team mates to draw closer I listened in to their conversation.
“Don’t you think that the boss is kinda weak? Actually I’m thinking about serving a different demon lord…”
“Hah… Yeah, I thought about that too. In the beginning he seemed like a reliable boss but lately he stopped improving and just spends his days drinking and counting money.”
He’s not popular huh? Well you guys would have been better off changing your lord sooner, now it’s too late. Moreover… What do you mean counting his money? Is he that rich? Can I loot the money somehow as well to make my own pockets thicker?
While I was wondering about this, Tian strolled over together with Sion and Emeralda. They sure take their sweet time, but with such weak level 60 opponents, I can feel the pain of dealing with them, even more so if the opponent isn’t really willing to work for their employee, so I won’t complain…
A part of me can even sympathize with these guards, but… EXP!
Sorry guys, but you have to die!
Now that my three teammates were plainly visible to the two guards, they instantly shifted on alert and prepared for battle.
“Is that Tian? Hah… the loser came back with some help? Do you think you can actually do anyth-”
Before the “ramhorn-guy” could finish his sentence, I had already struck him with my stun skill from behind and went out of my stealth state. I really don’t like chatty NPCs, at least if they are small fries, so before he can prolong the whole process by speaking even more, I took the initiative.
Soon after, Tian, who ignored the rude words of the guard, also rushed over with his sword at hand and slashed right at his opponent while he was still stunned for the next five seconds.
With Tian’s taunt skill being active the ram-horned guard focused immediately on him, things went just as planned.
As I didn’t see any reason to waste my mana on a low level NPC, I kept attacking with normal attacks instead of using skills and ordered Tian to do the same. Soon enough, a few more strikes from both of us had felled the enemy in a super anti-climatic way.
But what could a level 60 opponent do to a level 75 Twilight Assassin and a level 65 Tian buffed by Emeralda? This… it’s just too easy… I felt kinda bad for picking on a defenceless enemy.
When I glanced over to the Sion-Emeralda duo, I noticed they were nearly done with their fight as well. Sion continuously slashed at the poor guard and didn’t really receive any damage thanks to Emeralda’s buff coupled with him using an additional defensive skill unique to the Astral Knight profession “Earth Armour” which strengthens his defence by 10% until it’s durability is broken and it disappears. As it appears, the skill will be active for a long time on these battlegrounds with so little damage dealt by the enemy…
Unsurprisingly with such high defence and being at level 79, Emeralda was doomed to be a NEET until the damage finally accumulates to a number where it’s worth using mana to heal. As a professional healer, our little cactus knows how to deal with situations like this and… professionally started doing something else to fight his boredom!
Looks like he was taking his time browsing the forum while chatting with someone. Wondering what he was actually doing I couldn’t hold back and asked him.
“Anything interesting in the forum?”
“Well, I was checking if there is news on the lich event but NDC hasn’t revealed anything yet. But while I’m at it I’ll check out the forum dedicated to demon lords for some information on other demon lords and how they manage their territory and stuff.”
“That would be helpful, I didn’t have much time reading through it in detail yet.”
After Sion finished his opponent off, he also joined the conversation.
“Say… Isn’t this too easy for a quest to earn territory?”
“Uh… I ditched it for a long ti-….”
Then I remembered Tian standing near me and changed my sentence.
“…ditched it for a long time to train and finish them off in one go!”
While Sion gave me an all-knowing gaze of “true-it’s-you-we-speak-about”, Tian’s eyes sparkled with admiration. He’s way too easy to handle…
Emeralda only gave a small smile while continuing to read the forum.
Thus, as we were strolling deeper into the castle, we slayed the small fries on our way without any complications. Emeralda gained more and more knowledge about handling the demon lord’s territory and made plans on how to use it for the guild in the future.
But by venturing deeper into the castle, my mood turned sour. Not because of the easy to kill opponents but because of the fact that the insides of the castle showed a lot of damage. What the hell did these traitors do to the insides of the castle?!
There were broken figurines everywhere, trash was lying on the floor, the walls and floor had cracks or holes in it and even some paintings were torn to pieces. Moreover, it looked as if no one has cleaned it since the traitors took over!
I even had the honour to observe a few rats running around and spotted blood stains from the prior battle…
It was a wonder, that we didn’t receive a message like “because of heavy pollution you caught a disease”.
I know that a battle took place here before but why does it look as if they had a giant party turned into a rampage?
The more wreckage I saw, the worse my mood turned. After all, the guild and I have to pay for the repairs. I swear if any hero class player appears and dares to damage the castle after it’s fixed, I’ll honour my own class and will continuously ambush them when they least expect it! After all, the assassin part of my class isn’t just for show!
Finally, after slaying twenty low level demons on whom I unleashed my anger, we arrived at the throne room where the boss was located.
Before we entered, Emeralda healed us up for the first time and finally closed the window of the forum he was browsing a second ago. Seeing that the last opponent was a boss enemy, we didn’t intend to be careless anymore. Who knows what level he has?
Nodding to each other to confirm that everyone was ready, we opened the large doors of the throne room and….
…saw not a single soul inside.
I raised one of my brows in puzzlement and we went further in. Just when we reached the center of the room, a small door near the throne opened and an unsightly demon staggered out of it. He looked like a typical low class bandit boss who had drunk far over his limit. I really hoped… no, I actually started to mentally beg for him to not be the boss enemy but sadly, my hopes were crushed with Tian’s angry words.
“You!! How dare you disgrace his highness’ castle in this manner?! Moreover, how can you even show up in such an unsightly state when my lord is in front of you?! Do you even have a shred of dignity left!? Even as a traitor and mortal enemy, this…I can’t accept this behaviour in front of my master!”
Seeing that no one else spoke aside from Tian, who forgot all about his prior lord and revenge in a fit of rage, we were all too shocked to even voice our complaints until Emeralda suddenly started to laugh.
He laughed so much that he fell to the ground and rolled around. That in itself was a funny scene seeing a cactus in a poncho rolling on the floor but in this situation, I was still in a too much of a bad mood to laugh at anything!
I have to fill out a complaint about this and send it over to the coworker responsible for this… At least my dog, ah no subordinate, Tian voiced my anger out, while I was still speechless over this kind of quest setting. Did the situation inside the castle deteriorate because I delayed doing the quest?
“Oh god, I’m dying!! Keruna, I really love your luck! You always get such funny quests! Hahaha. This is too much… It’s good that I was secretly filming this for our guilds video collecting on the forum. Hahaha.”
Can we cut out this scene please? I think it’s better to get rid of this material to not embarrass our guild if you upload it on the forum…
Slowly but steadily even Sion recovered from the shock and felt pity towards Tian who was still angrily screaming at the traitor without rest and seemed to be spitting flames – at least in my imagination.
“Uh… I feel sorry for Tian. He suffered so much and then this…”
“Forget it… let’s just slay the drunkard and get this over with before my subordinate dies from a heart attack.”
Now that I saw the boss monster, I was sure we could instantly slay him and finish this off, so of course I already consider Tian as my pet…eh I mean subordinate.
Just when we intended to rush over to the drunkard who still was unable to notice the danger because of his alcohol consumption, something unexpected happened – again.
Right over the head of the “final boss” a red glowing magic circle appeared and something dropped straight on the demon boss and crushed him under it’s weight, literally.
Surprised as we were even Emeralda managed to stop laughing and stood back up. What fell on the now crushed to death boss was a giant glass object, more precisely it looked like a large coffin. A coffin made out of glass.
We looked at that object for a few more seconds until Tian broke the silence.
Good question. That is something I also want to know!
“Uh, did the boss just get crushed by a glass coffin falling out of a magic circle that disappeared right after?”
Yes, that is what I also saw Sion…
“Is this part of the quest?”
That is something I would like to know myself, even as a GM, I never heard of this happening…
“Ehm… Nothing is happening. It couldn’t be a bug and we can’t finish the quest?”
Sion looked helplessly over to Emeralda and me but even we were completely puzzled. After a few more seconds Emeralda came up with a typical solution, foolproof by all players, used since the beginning of MMO gaming history…
“Wait. Give me a few minutes, I’ll report this to a GM and see what they say.”
…the legendary support ticket!
While waiting for Emeralda to finish writing and sending it off, Sion and I continued to stare at the strange object from a far. This time it was Sion who broke the new silence with me getting more confused.
“The coffin. Doesn’t it remind you of the fairy tale about Sleeping Beauty?”
“You don’t know the fairy tale?”
“No, I do know it but… where do you connect the glass coffin to it?”
“Didn’t she sleep in a glass coffin?”
I froze. Then I instantly stopped looking at the coffin and turned to Sion. Just to see a serious expression in his face.
“…You should read the fairy tales again. It wasn’t Sleeping Beauty, but Snow White who slept in a glass coffin after biting a poisoned apple!”
Even Emeralda looked towards Sion by now and was troubled to comment on this, so he silently sent off the support ticket and tried his best to hide a wry smile.
“Sir Sion, it indeed is Snow White who was lying in a glass coffin from what I heard of the old legends.”
I was speechless once again. Even an NPC like Tian knows such details! And here it’s a fairy tale from my world. I guess someone added it as folklore in Mirage of Eternity as well?
“Hmm… okay, I was sure it was Sleeping Beauty…”
Sion, it really would be better if you read the fairy tales again or watch the dozens of movies based on them? I mean it’s common knowledge and part of our culture? Not to mention… that even an NPC knows this.
Our Astral Knight was still a bit confused over his mistake but to change the mood Emeralda finally spoke to us and confirmed that he sent out the support ticket.
Just a second later I got a new message and wondered who sent it, just to discover it was Emeralda’s support ticket which I received…
What the hell?! Just because I’m a GM standing beside the ones requesting help, why did I get the support ticket?! I can’t just say I’d log out for a bit to find a solution and return not long after the issue is fixed!
This is too suspicious…
Guess I’ll pretend I’m too busy and first see what happens if we get close to the coffin, then I can still log out and take care of this. If I ask nicely maybe one of my coworkers will fix the issue, waits for me to log in again and sends out a reply in my stead? That sounds like the best option to hide the fact that I’m a Hidden GM and avoid any suspicion.
With that I promptly suggested to go and inspect the strange coffin to my teammates….
Just a few steps away from the coffin we finally got a system message.
– Lich event mid-boss appeared –
After the lich twins awakened, they started to summon ancient fiends of the living all over the human kingdom as their generals in the upcoming battle. Heeding the call of the liches serving under the God of Death, these ancient fiends will spread terror and destruction to increase the ranks of the lich twins army.
Players are warned to be cautious around these beings, as mid-bosses they are worthy opponents.
Under these fiends is the vampire lord Toriel who finally is in the process of awakening from his 500 years of deep slumber.
In my panic I read the last sentence thrice before finally being sure that I was set up by my superiors!!!
They dared to send the event boss I was supposed to test out together with Maeda after I finished my work hours! In my free time, the sacred time of being released from the disasters. Not even that… Maeda wasn’t even there!!!
And they spawned this boss right on my quest boss eliminating him in the process!
There must be a limit to causing trouble for your employees! How could they destroy my quest in this manner?!
Wait… Do I have to fight the boss now? And…ah.. that name…
I’m sure I heard it before… Vampire lord Toriel… Toriel… To-ah… Isn’t he the strong boss they invested so much time and man…eh women power on?
I finally managed to look like a ghost, I paled so badly that my complexion was even whiter than the vampire’s skin before us. It felt as if the ground was breaking away under me and falling straight to hell.
Furthermore, there are players around. How could they spawn this boss with such bad timing?!
While I fell further and further into despair and noticed I’m still not used to my superiors mood swings and unpredictable actions, Emeraldas little cactus eyes send out sparkles and looked at the vampire in the coffin with greedy eyes.
As a player, he naturally understood that such a rare mid-boss of a NDC event would drop exceptionally good equipment. He could barely stop himself from drooling.
Meanwhile Sion already stood right beside the coffin and took a closer look at the sleeping NPC inside it. I followed suite and took a look of what the female employees of my company came up with.
Toriel wore typical vampire clothes with a black color and golden decorations, seemingly belonging to the baroque period. His attire looked as if it was made out of high class materials. And as one could already guess from our female staff, the vampire inside was handsome, very handsome… handsome enough for me to feel a deep rooted urge to kill the rival to get rid of any competition. If he was a women, it would be a different matter, but of course the female employees went all out and created a hunk!
I don’t want to boast but I do think I’m handsome myself but that guy…more than the word handsome maybe the word drop-dead handsome would fit him more?
I’m so happy that my girlfriend isn’t here right now.
Without a doubt she would enjoy this NPCs appearances to the fullest, damn these too handsome NPCs!
And that guy is also a vampire, which gives him bonus points for free…
Do they really want to release that guy for the event? The longer I looked, the more my killing intent rose.
“Wow, that guy is handsome… Night Dragon Corporation must have put a lot of work into this NPC. Do you think they also made some female vampires?”
“My lord looks more dignified.”
Let me just ignore Tians remark and that he used “dignified” instead of “handsome”…
Sion on the other side seemed deeply impressed and probably wondered how the female vampires looked like.
Now that he mentioned it, this is a good question!
But I somehow doubt that the female employees put much work into any? I mean they probably fully focused on this hunk here to drool over instead of increasing their own competition?
Why was there no meeting for the male staff members to create a sexy vampiress?!
This…is unfair! Is this what one calls a dictatorship led by women?!
Once again I can only praise the fact that my girlfriend isn’t around…
She’s quite sharp, she would notice what I think instantly and probably give me the cold shoulder. Provided she would be able to tear her eyes off of the handsome mid-boss to look at her own boyfriend…
“Maybe we’ll see some in the event~ But if they are as good looking as this guy I’m super satisfied! But… I must say “Sleeping Beauty” sure is fitting, haha. Moreover in the story she didn’t grow older for a long time, maybe she was also a vampire? Hahaha.”
Emeralda was happily replying, I on the other hand could only nod slightly in reply while in deep thought about these important matters and didn’t even react to the tiny teasing attempt on our Astral Knight. Sion was a bit embarrassed though.
“Okay, let’s try opening the coffin! This boss must be dropping amazing loot~”
Yes, let us bash up his good looks…eh I mean let us kill him for the loot!
At this point all of us completely forgot about the demon lord quest and that we didn’t get a system message about finishing the quest yet, thanks to the sudden interference.
We instantly started pushing the cover away and with the power of three people and a cactus we managed to open the glass coffin successfully. Right at that moment the closed eyelids of the vampire twitched shortly and then…
“Two more minutes please…”
….he turned to the side with a mumble and switched from lying on his back to turning to the side with his back towards us.
The mid-boss had no intention to fight us.
“Oh, please excuse my rudeness sir.”
Tian, don’t be polite in this situation.
This was the time when my anger – over first seeing my future castle being damaged, then facing off with the most disappointing boss ever, just to meet a face worth killing instantly without mercy and realising my superiors yet again messed with me – reached its peak. This was just too much for a single day!
I grabbed the shoulder of the mid-boss before anyone was able to stop me and shook him a bit while speaking in a slightly angry voice.
“Oi! We are here to fight you so wake up already or do you want to get impaled while sleeping?! If you don’t wake up now I really will search for a stake!”
Now there was a grumbling coming from the vampire lord as he slowly got up to a sitting position. Lethargically he opened his eyes, yawned then sighed and turned around to finally face my direction.
“Aren’t you an impatient one? It’s still too bright outside. I need my sleep else my mood gets affected-”
Once he opened his eyes a bit, he suddenly froze and after a second all his tiredness seemed to vanish. From one moment to the next there was a splendid smile as brilliant as the sun on the vampire’s face. I really found this sudden change in atmosphere a bit strange.
“Would you all please step aside a bit for me to stand up from my bed?”
Seeing him politely ask, we stepped aside more out of reflex and puzzlement than anything else.
“My deepest thanks.”
Right after thanking us he elegantly, with the demeanor of a lord, climbed out of the coffin. He first fixed his appearance by composing his clothing.
Honestly, for all of us this was the first time seeing a boss monster being so polite and first fix his appearance before engaging us to battle…
What the fake demon lord who was crushed by Toriel’s coffin lacked, he had too much.
We blankly stared in silence at him and observed his every movement, waiting for him to finish.
Just when we thought he was ready as we grabbed our weapons, Toriel once again threw us off of our pace.
“Before we conduct to such violence, won’t you spare me a bit of your time? We could solve this in a peaceful manner instead. Won’t you listen to my suggestion?”
With us still silent after getting thrown off once more, Toriel seemed to acknowledge our silence as an agreement to continue.
”I don’t see why we have to fight pointlessly.”
Now his red eyes focused on me. I involuntarily felt a shiver run down my spine.
“I really appreciate beauty, don’t you three want to join forces with me and serve under my humble self? You three possess enough beauty to fulfill all requirements to be worthy enough of belonging to my superior race.”
Shit! Now I know why that guy suddenly froze!! He instantly changed to recruitment mode the instant he saw my face, didn’t he?! How creepy is that vampire…
I may get tempted by a hot vampiress but not by a man!! I don’t swing that way!
“Eh? Is this a chance to change one’s race to a vampire?! I didn’t even know this race existed!”
Instead of being grossed out, Emeralda was surprised to stumble over a possibility to change one’s race after creating one’s character. Furthermore a race which wasn’t officially released yet. Guess my superiors are finally implementing the vampire race.
“Indeed, it’s possible to become a vampire if you are worthy enough.”
Toriel kindly answered but he didn’t even give the slightest glance towards Emeralda and instead smiled his brilliant smile towards Sion, Tian and myself instead.
“Amazing! Though I already created the perfect character~”
“Hm… Sorry, but I like being a Sylph.”
For unknown reasons Toriel still more or less pretended that Emeralda wasn’t there. After hearing Sion declining his offer, Toriel sighed regretfully and fixed his gaze again on me. He expectantly looked into my eyes, his smile growing more brilliantly… I felt grossed out to the core!!
But before I could deny, the vampire lord made an additional offer.
“I’m really fond of you, you seem to be perfect as a vampire and I have a preference for black hair, furthermore you possess these wonderful amethyst colored eyes. I’ll offer you a position as one of my personal attendants. While I do prefer women, I don’t mind handsome men around me.”
This guy… is really dangerous!!
While I fell into despair and slowly wondered what our female staff was thinking while creating this kind of messed up NPC, Emeralda once again couldn’t stop bursting out into laughter after his small cactus body shook more and more with every sentence Toriel said.
“Ahahahaha!!! No waaaay~ This is priceless! Keruna the vampire “bride”…ahahaha… I…can’t…anymore…. This is too much! For god’s sake…and what kind of attendant? A “night time” att-”
I couldn’t stop myself anymore, I instantly kicked our Priest before he could finish that bad joke of his. Even Sion was shaking and had a hard time staying serious whileTian… his face was pale ashe glanced over to me nervously muttering “if my lord is fine with it, as a servant I will naturally follow”.
Where do you intend to follow me?! The hell I do! Of course I’ll decline!
Though I do regret kicking Emeralda, after all as a cactus he had thorns all over his body and kicking against it does hurt if you don’t have much defence like Sion or Tian. At least I could stop him from finishing that sentence! Despite that, he couldn’t stop laughing but as long as he doesn’t speak it’s fine.
“I’m not interested! Can we start fighting now?!”
I snappily replied to the vampire before me with my anger resurfacing fully and a death glare unhidden.
“Ah~ Indeed, what beautiful eyes. I do feel great regret that you declined my offer but I have to be persistent on this. I don’t like using violence to reach my goals but I fear it can’t be helped, I shall hereby use force to make you three my subordinates.”
That’s when Tian suddenly noticed a detail which escaped our minds before.
“Wait, there are four of us!”
Oi, don’t stop him from finally fighting against us after I had to suffer so much and him being reluctant to fight in the first place!
“No, there are only three people and a cactus. How shall I snack on a cactus if they don’t even have blood? Moreover, even if he would have blood I wouldn’t bear to suck it. I mean, please don’t take it personally, but your looks… ehm.. aren’t up to my standards and I’m not into plants in the first place…so… It’s hard for me to accept a cactus as a “person”.”
Emeralda suddenly stopped laughing.
Despite Toriel being more or less polite and telling him to not take it personally…
Of course as a huge cactus fan and hobby gardener he will take it personally!
Now that our priest turned silent and put a cold expression on his face he finally seemed to be serious.
“Not to mention that my poor stomach can’t digest it and the taste must be awful…”
Sure enough Toriel put more oil into the fire by honestly answering Tian’s stupid question. He sure seemed to imagine the taste of “cactus blood” or better bodily fluids of the plant race as his face convulsed. Afterwards, he looked towards Sion, Tian and I and seemed to recover. Do we look that delicious to him or what?!
“Hm, any more questions?”
Tian shook his head towards Toriel’s inquiry and us players being silent after our cactus healer turned into serious mode, we could finally start our battle for real – that was what I thought but….
“Oh dear… Where shall I start?”
Our eccentric(?) vampire looked troubled and shifted his gaze between the three people he recognised. Was there ever a boss monster I encountered being troubled and worried over who spoke on whom to attack first?
Uh… wait… He won’t start with me?!
“Hm~ I think… I’ll start with the appetizer, the young demon knight? For the main dish maybe the nice looking Sylph and as the highlight, the dessert…”
His gaze finally stopped at me. At least I’m last? Should I be happy over this? But if he attacks Tian first and he dies, I’m screwed! I have to do something!
Thus I grabbed Sion in an attempt to avoid a catastrophe and pushed the confused Astral Knight in front of me while trying to advertise us as if we were delicious food.
“How about feasting on him first? Wouldn’t it be better to start with this tasty looking guy here and use my subordinate as the main dish? If I’m the dessert it’d be a smoother transition to use the same race’s blood first.”
Of course Sion panicked being the first victim to fall prey to such a nasty opponent, but as a tank, he should man up and get his blood sucked as his team’s role demands of him!
Toriel instantly considered my words then slowly nodded in agreement.
“That is indeed a splendid suggestion! You’re really fit to be my personal attendant. I’m looking forward to the moment you’ll serve me. Then, as you suggested I shall start with him~”
I inwardly sighed in relief because I could save Tian on the price of Sion’s chastity…ehm I mean sacrifice! And with a “Good luck Sion”, I pushed my Astral Knight friend right into Toriel.
“Wh- Wait, no!”
Sion who wasn’t prepared instantly crashed into the vampire. He raised his head in fear and was greeted with a happy and satisfied smile of Toriel. Sion’s face paled and in the next second Toriel started to try to suck his blood. The attempt failed because out of reflex – or was it survival instinct in the face of a predator? – the prey jumped backwards, but sadly stumbled and landed on the floor. In the next instant Toriel leaped over him and tried his second attempt to suck Sion dry, that vampire sure was persistent!
Because everything happened so fast Sion’s broadsword slipped out of his hands when he fell down and he was forced to push Toriel away with his bare hands. In a desperate struggle Sion fought to protect his body from being bitten and sucked dry.
Now that Toriel was fully focused on Sion, Emeralda rushed further away and narrowed his eyes dangerously. He was still holding a grudge against Toriel for looking down on his beloved cactus avatar and he focused fully on healing. With two of my teammates, more or less, focused on their respective tasks in our group I also decided to jump in as a damage dealer.
Of course I’ll make sure to always have Tian near me to protect myself in case that vampire lord suddenly has a change of mind and switches his target to me! In that case… I’ll gladly sacrifice Tian! As if I will get myself bitten by a male vampire!
“Ke- Keruna! Help me already!! I don’t know how long I can keep this up!”
Indeed, it looked as if Sion would lose the power struggle slowly while Toriel seems to enjoy the pointless escape attempt of Sion as he gave him a sadistic smile. It really looked as if a super predator was slowly driving his prey into a corner. I wonder if that is his real nature hiding behind that shiny, brilliant smile?
“If I die, then you’ll also fall victim!”
With Sion’s angry cry and myself fearing to get sucked dry right after him, I started my first attack. My daggers turned black and I instantly used my twilight dash skill and dealed…
….near to no damage?! What is that tiny damage number of 250?!!
My base attack is 455 so my special skill, one of the Twilight Assassins prouded skills, should deal at least double the amount! How high is this mid-boss’ defence?
After using my skill I reappeared at Toriel’s right side. He stood up after the attack to adjust his clothing which I had messed up a bit as if he wasn’t even scratched and doesn’t have the slightest bit of care handling us. While he was busy our victimised Sylph managed to grab his weapon and jumped up, just to swing his broadsword down onto the bloodsucking leech. To his surprise Toriel elegantly dodged his swing and after, made sure his hair band was also in place, he kicked at Sion who instantly received 1000 damage points and was pushed backwards by the force of the impact.
His previous earth armour’s durability was completely depleted in this split second and vanished. He instantly casted it again but his eyes were widened in terror. After all, with two defensive buffs he still received so much damage. As an Astral Knight he had twice the amount of my 3520 HP but just a normal hit caused him so much damage. I don’t want to imagine the damage of Toriel’s special skills now. That vampire was really fearful and worthy of being a mid-boss.
Honestly, I already began to imagine the lich twins’ skills… But I better stop and finish this fight before falling to the depths of despair. Maybe I should coincidentally visit the doctor on the event day after all?
While Tian attacked Toriel and managed to deal a bit of damage after a few more missed strikes, Emeralda casted a heal on Sion and noticed something bad.
“Eh? Why did you receive damage after I healed you?!”
Yep, I also noticed it. After Emeralda healed him back to full health Sion lost 200 HP afterwards. I wonder why?
“I- I don’t know?”
Of course Emeralda was already checking Sion’s status and noticed something we completely forgot about or shall I say I never noticed in the first place?
“Minstrel’s Curse Stage 2? Sion where did you get this? Keruna, you have it too!”
After he said it, I checked my own status and sure enough I saw it.
I thought the minstrel’s curse was over after an hour but it seems I underestimated my superior’s craftyness! I only noticed how grave it was after reading it’s description!
Minstrel’s Curse Stage 2
Everyone who once listened to the Sunken Moon’s Minstrel song is doomed to fall under the effect of his curse. Once the first curse was lifted and hope seemed to return, it was followed by impeding doom. Being secretly a follower of the God of Death’s religion the Sunken Moon’s Minstrel will assist bringing death upon the world.
While the first stage of the curse wore off, it entered the second stage and turned into something even more wicked. Staying hidden until the victim faces off one of the lich twins’ subordinates and activates the effects, it causes damage to anyone who receives healing spells which bless everyone with the gift of life.
The amount of damage after getting healed is randomly distributed, but won’t be exceeding over 50% of the healing spell’s power.
“Ah, seriously?! That damn fake Minstrel!!!”