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A note from puddles4263

I AM late, but again, travel kills me.

And hopefully this will make up for it! A belated Merry Christmas.

1/10

Randidly ripped their bodies to pieces as he fell to the ground. Although they were illusions, they still seemed capable of hurting him. Perhaps it had something to do with a skill though, that affected him mentally, causing him to think he was wounded or something dumb like that…?

Which also didn’t make sense. Why wasn’t his high Willpower or Resistance negating this…?

“Point me to them, I can’t see them.” Randidly growled. At least Simon’s distance was convenient for this. Otherwise… Randidly supposed he could use Hammer of the Dawn repeatedly, carpet bombing until he destroyed them, but it would hard to know if he ever killed them.

Without knowing what they looked like…

Several arrows formed mid air, pointing towards the monstrosities. The arrows were wobbly, but they all appeared to point towards the eyes of the monstrosities. So that was their core? That would make this easy.

Randidly twisted, avoiding a swing of the scythe limb from one of the monsters, and stepped towards another, using Talon Strike to strike the eye. As his hand ripped into its body, he felt a soft tap, as he encountered something strange. The monstrosity wavered and winked out, leaving a thin, gray little humanoid shape, the size of a meerkat.

It looked up at him with scared eyes and Randidly crushed its body, his expression even. As he did so, that fear disappeared, replaced by hatred, and then it was nothing but mush. Snorting, Randidly turned to the nearest monstrosity and approached it faster than it could avoid. It began to spin, its limbs lashing out, but Randidly’s hand accurately ripped every limb out of his way and stabbed into the eye.

Nothing happened.

Randidly frowned as it continued to flail at him. Rapidly, the wobbly arrow moved, along the monstrosity’s body. Gritting his teeth, Randidly tore into the monstrosity’s body, until he finally found the small grey humanoid, crushing its skull.

Unfortunately, this gave the other two time to approach, and now the headache was increasing to the point it began to throb, a vicious, insidious pain.

“Fuck it.” Randidly spat out, and 4 Hammer’s of the Dawn crashed down, smashing the ground to pieces, annihilating the two remaining monstrosities with fire. The ground burned, the flames licking upwards, and Randidly watched it for several seconds, his expression intent. But he could sense that his skills stopped activating.

The bird reformed in the air in front of him. “You okay? You’ve got that expression.”

“I’ll be fine,” Randidly said grimly, turning to look towards the direction the monsters departed. He quickly did some mental math. Yes, Mending Fluid would help him now, and if he had enough of it, he could probably force Curse Resistance to being healed, and lower the amount of shrapnel in Mental Strength.

But that would give the monstrosities, and the Raid Boss spawning them, several hours to strengthen themselves, and grow in numbers. Although the damage they would do to him was lower, there would be more… and based on what Randidly knew about Raid Bosses, the worst part of them was when they started creating Lieutenants, which would possess the Raid Boss’ ability to grow, and could lead others of its kind.

In addition, these monsters… if you weren’t prepared for them, they would absolutely rip through a village. Hell, even if Donnyton faced these, they would probably suffer heavy losses before they found out ways to deal with them, and Randidly didn’t know much about this “Refuge”, they sure as hell weren’t Donnyton.

He had the strength. The headache was annoying, but it was just pain, something that Randidly had a lot of experience with.

And he had Simon on his side. Apparently his Astral form was immune to the illusion, or the distance was enough to make the skill ineffective. Either way, their duo was uniquely capable of handling these threats. Randidly couldn’t afford to take a break now, not while these absolutely fearsome monsters rampage, killing these people.

Randidly took a small vial of the Extracted Mending Fluid and took it, which almost instantly took him back to the baseline, with some remaining in his system to combat the beginnings of pain the last time.

Then Randidly moved, activating Empower to the max, ripping forward. Now wasn’t the time to care about Stamina, it would come back fast enough. No, this was a race against time.

****

“What’s the situation?” Thea asked, bringing Simon’s attention back to his body. He was getting much better at moving his consciousness between his Astral body and his physical one, and now he could practically teleport his focus between the two, while maintaining some awareness of both.

To everyone’s shock, most of all his own, his Skill Level in Astral Projection had grown to 52, where it had begun to slow down, but still. Astral Manifestation was nearing 30, too. The huge amount of PP had enabled him to finish off a Path, and start him on the Astral Body Path, which was giving him increased Intelligence and Wisdom.

Simon was finding some strength, and it felt… really great.

“He… uh… David fought something, but it was weird. He couldn’t hit them until I pointed them out, and he kept attacking the air. It sorta seems like… these monsters use illusions.” Simon said, feeling extremely embarrassed in front of Thea’s intense gaze.

“Alright, I’m going ahead then. Keep us informed. You can see them right? Just point them out.” Thea said, hopping on Chrysanthemum’s back.

“Uh but-” Simon began, trying to explain that based on David’s expression, he really didn’t want any help, but Thea was already riding off, her bear bounding forward with more speed than he would have expected.

Cursing, Simon focused, his consciousness leaving his physical body and returning to his Astral one. With an act of will, that body moved from the quarry David had left it, rushing forward to catch up with him. Within seconds, he had found the other man, who was methodically tearing into the air, seeming to search for something.

The small, grey monster beneath him was hissing and spitting, but even as it dodged side to side, David’s strikes got slowly closer. Then he found it, and killed it. Simon reformed his projection. “Thea is coming.”

“Why?” There was a hard edge to David’s tone, and Simon abruptly realized that there were at least a dozen of the small bodies crushed around, as David blurred to rush forward. The other man had torn through a dozen in the time that Simon and Thea were speaking, and was already moving forward. And at this speed…

Simon began to sweat. He should have hopped on the back of Chrysanthemum. If they got much farther away…

“Uh…” Simon realized he hadn’t answered when David gave him a look. “Well-”

There was a screech, and suddenly from several bushes on the slope ahead of them, there was a rustling. Then fully 30 of the small grey humanoids dashed forward, aiming for David.

Immediately, David’s face scrunched together, and he waved a hand. 6 Hammers of the Dawn crashed downward in the thick of the creatures, probably killing almost 10. But they rushed forward, and a few dozen more followed them, rushing downward.

Slowly, ponderously, three more creatures left the brush, looking towards David with glowing eyes. Two of these were around double the size of the grey humanoids, and had a copper tinge to their skin. The final, which stood in the middle, was as similar size to the grey monster fodder, but was slender, and had golden skin. Small tentacles wriggled from its head, giving it a strangely feminine vibe. A Lvl 32 floated above its head.

It hissed, pointing, and its two copper attendants rushed forward, aiming to swarm David.

David was lashing out left and right, fighting against things that weren’t really there, as the grey humanoids crowded around. It was actually slightly comical to watch, or it would have been, had the outcome if David fell not been so scary.

But even surrounded, he was an absolute machine twisting and attacking, eliminating one monster at time, although each time it took him around 10 seconds to find the bodies.

Focusing his will, Simon created arrows near the ones closest to Randidly, and instantly he began to rip through the surroundings, killing the monsters. But Simon couldn’t help but notice that there were several long cuts on David’s arms and legs, although he could see nothing attacking him. Was he… being damaged by the illusions….?

Then the two copper skinned monsters arrived, and the grey ones dived to the side. David looked up, high above their bodies, at least 10 meters into the air, and then he was just abruptly thrown backwards, smashing into a nearby tree. There had been nothing for Simon to see, but there was clearly a huge impact.

With a grim expression, David got up, rubbing his neck. Thea was rushing forward, but would take another few minutes before she would arrive. Her max speed was much lower than Davids.

In the meantime… Simon needed to figure out what the fuck was going on. And what he could do to help.

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puddles4263

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