After quietly verifying with Lola whether or not there was such thing as ‘friendly fire’ in the labyrinth, she informed me that it wasn’t possible to damage a teammate. Even in the case of full blown annihilation magic that you’re pretty sure you just watched a cut scene where the Earth exploded, no one but the baddies will get hurt. I readily accepted it because hey, I’m pretty sure I’ve played that game and watched that cut scene a bunch of times.
<Kyuu> “We’d be happy to have you. Just make sure to let us know if we are moving too quickly for you.”
Yeah right, this guy probably makes sonic booms when he runs. Of course, he isn’t boasting about how legit his stats are, so he’s probably incognito for a reason. Tricking us into the Labyrinth to kill us won’t do him any good. We’re weaklings, have no special items of note except possibly the Slime Stone, and even if we were on stilts we’d be up to our eyeballs in debt. What would he have to gain from that? So perhaps he’s just helping the lowbies? Those people exist in MMO’s too… so it’s not impossible.
<Brinly> “Of course. I’m Brinly, and I do hope you’ll take care of me.” He didn’t sound sarcastic at all!
<Reena> “I’m Reena, and I’m done eating. That’s Lola, my sister. Finally, that Kyuu. He’s pretty unreliable, and useless in a fight, but has an amazing skill.”
Lola kicked Reena’s foot after saying that, but it was too late. Brinly’s eyes raised as he appraised me. He realized pretty quickly that he was staring and averted his eyes with a smile.
<Brinly> “I look forward to seeing it. Shall we go?”
It is worth mentioning that we were easily able to train on the second floor. This was due to Reena, not Brinly, dealing each and every blow to the imps. Brinly was putting on a serious act of being pathetic. At first, he couldn’t unsheathe his sword. It got stuck or something, and he spent a good thirty seconds fighting with the handle to get the blade out. By time he got the sword out, looking proud of himself, I had already summoned Guppy and Reena finished off the ‘cement shoed’ imp.
For the second fight he tripped over his feet and fell face first into the imp, headbutting it. While it was dizzy, Reena ended it.
For the third fight, Brinly slashed wildly at the imp, but was missing by a huge margin. While it was distracted by him, Reena stabbed it in the back.
For the fourth fight, he swung hard at the imp with his grip reversed, and he elbowed himself in the stomach. Again, while the imp was just stabbing and clawing away at him, Reena finished the job. I performed another analysis on him. He was only taking one damage with every hit. He’s quite figuratively a man of steel. The imps could touch him… but they couldn’t hurt him.
No auto targeting in this game, huh? Is he being serious? Even as a joke, this is a bit much.
Reena and Lola, who hadn’t seen his status, were looking at him with their mouths gaped open. At first, Lola tried healing him. But he had no wounds to heal. He was stabbed with the pitchfork tail four or five times during the third fight, but there might have been sparks grinding off of him. This is why games with levels are unfair. He’s like a little kid playing on his older brother’s max level character.
<Brinly> “Incredible. This party encounters so many monsters! The last one I was in only ran into like two or three an hour, but you guys are just taking random turns and hitting all of them quickly! At this rate, I’ll become a master swordsman in no time!”
<Lola> “Yes. We’re always quite fortunate that way.”
<Brinly> “You must have a crazy high luck stat or something. Mine too, to meet you all. I’ll stop holding you back and take out some imps soon, don’t you worry!”
My image of gentleman swordsman is being shattered…
<Reena> “Er… well… don’t push yourself. You’re doing quite a lot already.”
<Brinly> “No need to be nice. I won’t get any better if you keep hand holding me.”
For the next fight, he declared that he would use one of his skills, shouted “Accelerated Movements!”, and simply vanished. Guppy had to come back out again for this fight, since even after waiting for a few minutes, he hadn’t reappeared.
<Lola> “Kyuu… can you find him on your map? I can sense he’s in… that direction, but there is no telling how far.” She pointed towards the wall we were standing by.
<Kyuu> “Ah, good idea!” I activate Mapping and look around the zone. The second floor also has about 50 enemies, as depicted by the red dots on the map. The party members have blue dots with little cones sticking out of them. I figured out the cones where what direction they were facing. Earlier, when I looked at the map, the thirty-five or so red dots on this floor were spaced pretty evenly around the maze. Now, however, about half of them were bunched up and moving down a tunnel.
<Kyuu> “Crap! Like half of the floor has aggroed onto something! Are we in combat? How can we tell if we are in combat? We need to get out of here! Go this way to the Gateway!”
Is this how he was going to kill us? Pretend to be an idiot and then agro the whole floor? It’s true he could easily defeat these enemies after we’re dead.
We full out sprint ran back down the corridors towards the Gateway. Occasionally I checked the map to see if we were about to run into the monster train, but it seemed to be on the opposite side of the floor from us at the moment. We made it back to the archway and shouted to get out, but when we jumped at the ripple effect, we passed right through to the other side.
Damnit! What to do… the only skill I can use is Guppy. It’s not like Guppy can anchor down 30 monsters at once! We never even got a weapon for Lola!
I checked the map again and saw the train coming back towards us. Leading it was a blue dot with a white cone, directed our way.
<Lola> “He’s heading right for us! Can you kick him from party?”
<Kyuu> “Party Formation! Remove Brinly!”
No… I still feel he’s in my party… Think… what can you do when someone is kiting a huge train of mobs? We don’t have a frost mage, so that option is out. What else…
I check over the map and find a large section of the labyrinth that loops onto itself.
<Kyuu> “Come on! We’ll try to continue to kite them and whittle their numbers away one by one! As long as the main horde is attached to Brinly, we won’t get hit by all of them at once!”
It’s the best plan I could come up with. With any luck, Guppy might slow a few of them down at a time, and Reena and I will take them out. Not that I can hit them with my Gladius, but I’ll try. At least Lola can heal me when I get stabbed eleven times by each imp. Imps have four claws to each hand, and a three-pronged tail after all.
<Kyuu> “I only have about 25 MP, so Guppy can only stay out for three minutes! Or I can level him up and keep him for just one minute.”
<Lola> “Don’t level! We’ll need more than three minutes to kill off a whole floor’s worth of imp!”
<Kyuu> “Not all of them have aggroed, but there is over 20, at least!”
Until we were out of time. But Brinly was not acting the way I expected when he came into view. He was running frantically, blood pouring out of his nose, and looking over his back at the swarm of coming imps.
<Brinly> “I moved too fast, got lost, and dropped my sword! Help!”
<Kyuu> “New plan! Brinly! Summon a new sword and turn to face them! They can’t hurt you! Lola, Guppy and I will distract any imps that pass by you while Reena dispatches them! If you think, you lose! No time to doubt it!”
Thus began the war of the imps. It was not as dangerous as we assumed. In fact, to call it a war would be improper. It was more of a massacre. Brinly didn’t activate “Summon Kingsword”. He, in a panic, activated “Sword wall” instead.
It was fast. Roughly equal to the amount of time it took the imps to run full speed at us, in fact. They charged, and immediately turned to light. I’m not even sure what was happening to them, just that when they got to around where Brinly stood, they got a hole in them and disappeared in a flash of light. I had already summoned Guppy, so it went and collected the remaining tails for ‘Imp-pale’. There was only one other tail dropped, so I gave it to the girls. Brinly was just looking around for his sword that he thought he summoned and didn’t really understand why all the imps suddenly died.
<Brinly> “You weren’t kidding about his amazing skill, Reena! I wish I could do that! It was awesome!”
We didn’t really know what to say.
<Reena> “Is… is this guy… like… a total moron?” Reena whispered that to Lola, who stood with her mouth gaping.
<Lola> “Just how strong is he? And yes… a complete idiot.”
<Kyuu> “He’s stupid strong…”
Brinly, after realizing he couldn’t find his sword, summoned it ‘again’ and left it on his hip. He smiled at us broadly like he hadn’t just made our lives flash before our eyes. He face apparently itched, because he wiped his sleeve roughly across his face. It just stained the blood along his cheek from his nostrils. Lola quietly informed him and he quickly cleaned it up.
Why is his face covered in blood? Nothing on this floor can possibly hurt him!
<Kyuu> “Let’s… um… yeah, let’s keep going. Brinly, please don’t use any more skills. It’s best to practice the basics before using the more impressive moves.”
<Brinly> “You got it Leader! Maybe later you’ll teach me how to do that flashing light thing!”
I really can’t tell if he’s doing it on purpose or not! You can’t just wake up one day and be OP!
Lola smiled and laughed awkwardly. Reena just beamed at me like it was a hilarious joke.
I checked the map, and we quickly mopped up the rest of the imps on the floor. Brinly finally managed to kill one himself, but it was because he accidentally let go of the sword and it flew and decapitated the unlucky thing. He smiled sheepishly at the accident and scratched his head like he was sorry but didn’t want to admit it. When we came across the Gateway, we didn’t bother trying to strategize the fight, knowing that Brinly would just ‘accidentally’ be directly involved in the boss’ death. If it was an act, it was pretty convincing. If it wasn’t, how?!
The room we entered was the same as the first floor’s boss arena. The imp standing on the raised platform was several times larger than the imps from the labyrinth, and it had a ball of fire formed on the tip of the center prong of its tail.
<Brinly> “Finally! A boss! I’m going to use my special boss skill! I’ve been saving it!”
He ran straight at the huge imp, struggling to pull the sword out as he did. About fifteen feet from colliding with the imp, he yelled “KILLING STRIKE” like a wanna-be LARPer and jumped straight into the air. His jump, though surely through coincidence, completely dodged the flying fireball released from the imp’s tail. It flew straight at us and we had to desperately dive out of the way to avoid it. Brinly raised the sword above his head with both hands and slashed downward at the floor… about a foot to the right of the imp. It easily side stepped the strike, which was way off to begin with, but got blown away by the pressure of the exploding floor.
I didn’t even have to tell her to. Reena just hopped onto the arena floor, sprinted over to the disoriented imp, and stabbed it in the chest a few times while doing her signature twisting pull. I barely had enough time to get Guppy summoned for the free exp before it was already over. The boss dropped its tail, but it was rigid and straight like a trident. After analyzing, I saw it bestowed a fireball skill when equipped. Lola took it, since she never had any healing to do and I needed to conserve MP for Guppy and mapping. We left the Labyrinth after activating the third floor Gateway, and went back to a restaurant to regroup.
The waiter offered Brinly a drink but declined on the grounds that he was too young to drink. Everyone present had looked at him confused. He realized his blunder, laughed about his ridiculous joke, and just got a cup of water.
<Kyuu> “How long have you lived her?” I asked of Brinly. I thought I had a pretty good idea of his secret, but I wasn’t certain.
<Brinly> “Ahahaha… I guess I should probably tell you all since you were so nice to me and all…”
Lola and Reena just frowned at him.
<Brinly> “I’m not from here… in fact, I was laying down to go to sleep at home when suddenly I was talking to a little boy standing on a cloud. He asked me what ‘class’ I wanted to be in his game, and I immediately thought of my favorite character on my tv show. He’s this butler that has a sword hidden in a cane, and he’s secretly super powerful and he protects the lord of the mansion! So I told him I wanted to be an overpowered swordsman that could produce his weapon out of thin air. The boy told me about how he wanted me to be his ‘Sword King’ and dropped me in that little arena looking place over that way.”
He told me a very familiar story.
<Brinly> “To tell you the truth, this is my second day here. Yesterday I ran with a different party, but they were extremely mean and yelled about how useless I was and stuff like that. You all were much nicer.”
<Kyuu> “I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. I was also summoned yesterday. One important note though… when I went to bed two nights ago, I was thirty years old. How old were you?”
At my revelation, the girls look surprised.
<Brinly> “Ah… see… does it matter? Well, I suppose I did say I would tell you all… I’m only ten.”
<Reena> “Eh!? In that old man body!?”
<Lola> “Reena! That wasn’t very nice.”
We probably won’t party with him again. He’s too childish, and his mistakes could kill us. If he hadn’t activated his Sword wall, we’d have been dead. All because he got lost using a different ability.
<Kyuu> “Oh! I’m reminded suddenly, but wasn’t your face covered with blood? How did that happen?”
Brinly looked embarrassed, but told us anyway.
<Brinly> “Accelerated Movement was too fast, and I collided with several walls. It made me pretty dizzy, which was how I got lost.”