By time I had entered the boss room, Reena had already jumped up onto the raised platform and was sprinting at the Orc General. Or perhaps I should call it the “Orc Giant”. It was enormous, standing twice as tall as the tiny Reena. It had a massive cleaver in one hand, and a massive two-handed greatsword in the other.
<Kyuu> “Reena! Let’s abandon this boss and come back another time! This is insane!”
She ignored me, dodging at the last moment a crushing blow from the cleaver. The ground blew apart and bits of gravel hit me from forty yards away as it sunk a foot into the solid stone flooring. Reena turned her body and flicked her blade at the wrist of the Orc General, slicing a shallow line. It ignored the ‘damage’, swiftly pulled the axe from the ground, and swung the greatsword horizontally at the ant trying to fight it. Reena dove under the Orc General and rolled behind it. The greatsword hit only air. Turning with the momentum, the Orc General crushed the ground where Reena was standing with the cleaver again. She was slow to recover her balance from her roll and jumped back to avoid the blow. The explosion from the ground launched her backwards, with chunks of rock pelting her body. Her face was bloody.
Seizing the opportunity, the Orc General pounced towards Reena with both weapons raised above its head. Swinging both down on her, Reena stood defiantly with only her small Janbiya protecting her. A blue blob with bat wings appeared in front of Reena and launched a huge cone of ice at the Orc General’s face. Trying to protect itself with its weapons, it hit them together instead and missed both Reena and the ‘Ice Lance’. Reena steeled herself, diving at the Orc General and trying to slice the tendons behind its right knee.
Her cut is still a bit shallow, but it is enough to bleed. The orc starts favoring its left leg and tries swinging at both Reena and Guppy. Guppy flies above the greatsword’s arc, gracefully avoiding the attack. Reena falls flat to her stomach as the cleaver passes where her neck was. She scrambles to get back underneath the Orc General and cuts again on the right knee’s tendons. The monster roars in pain as it falls to the ground.
<Kyuu> “Get some distance and let’s regroup! If it can’t move, we can blast it with the Ice Lance and Fireballs!”
<Reena> “It might be able to heal! We have to kill it now!”
She ignored me and dove in.
Even emotional this is… unreasonable. One hit from this guy and Reena would be in pieces. How’s this then?
I pour MP into both Imp’s Revenge and Guppy, launching volleys of ice and fire at the boss from two different directions. The magical onslaught forced Reena to jump back away from the boss. She turned her back on the boss and came towards me, shouting in anger. I couldn’t hear what she was saying because I was at the same time screaming at her to watch out. The boss, in between explosions of ice and fire, had turned the blade of the greatsword and pointed it at Reena’s back. Fire ran along the blade and a huge ball of flame appeared on the tip. When the magic released, it was too late that the Orc General turned to light. It was too late for her to even dodge, since the spell was too fast and too close to simply skip out of the way of. There wasn’t even enough time to take her body to the cathedral to have it resurrected, despite having two hours from the moment of death to bring her back. Resurrection would surely require the body. Of Reena’s, nothing remained except a Jambiya and a Hachigane.
I collected her weapon, headband, and the greatsword the boss dropped and stashed them all in the Time Vault with my 29815 leet.
Activate Anchor Moment!
I thought hard about the moment before we started the boss fight. Feeling nothing different, I pressed on. Overcharging with 3000 MP from the Slime Battery, I dropped it in the Time vault too and dismissed the spell.
Activate Recall Moment!
I was up in the sky, falling from an incredible height. Except… I felt no resistance and couldn’t hear the rush of air as I flew past. It was almost like the sky and ground were rapidly moving upward, and I was standing still in the air.
In front of me, standing solidly on a cloud that wasn’t rising with the rest, was a young boy with a chilly bowl cut and t-shirt that said “It’s unfair how much cuter I am than your kids.” He was smiling at me, his smile growing broader the longer I looked at him.
<Enigma> “Time will soon catch up to us, you know. When it does, it’s best we’ve finished our business or you may be flattened. You should pick a class for living in my game world.”
<Enigma> “I’m just messing with you! You Recalled all the way back to the time we first met? That was a good idea!”
<Kyuu> “I just tried to redo the boss fight… why am I here?”
<Enigma> “Oh, the second activation of ‘Anchor Moment’ failed because it had already set a destination from the first time you cast it. You were thinking of this moment, weren’t you?”
Maybe? That was days ago… or was it actually a few minutes in the future?
<Enigma> “In all seriousness though, you really don’t have a class right now, since you came back in time before I gave you the class. What were you thinking you’d want this time?”
<Enigma> “With your really high MP and INT you could go caster class and nuke things.”
If I really started over my stats should be garbage. Activate Analyze! Oh wait… I shouldn’t have skill that ye…
The analyze screen popped up in front of me.
Class: Level 1 Dude
EXP : 0/10
Age: 15 (30)
HP: 95 MP: 300 STR: 28 AGI: 31 VIT: 27 INT: 66 MND: 66
Spells: Anchor Moment (10 MP), Recall Moment (3000 MP), Time Vault (20 MP/Minute), Time Cottage (1000 MP), Summon Slime (Level 1 Guppy, 15 MP + 3 MP/Minute)]
… Really Enigma… someone without a class is ‘Dude’…
<Kyuu> “Since my stats and spells are all still there, I want a class that can fight with both melee and magic. To be honest, that whole mechanic felt pretty dumb.”
<Enigma> “You don’t want to be a Sword King like Brinly?”
<Kyuu> “No… though his skills were amazing, I was getting pretty bored down there anyway. I’d hate to be completely broken and still have 50 floors of easy enemies to go through. I was hoping for something that can cast spells… but also use a sword. But also something that can evolve and learn more skills. Any ideas?”
<Enigma> “Bored huh? Well, just one. In return, tell me the rest of your thoughts on my world?”
<Kyuu> “Eh… I thought it was pretty bland. The buildings and decorations all look the same. There are hardly any people there, and they mostly just stand in place all day long. The city isn’t really designed well either. If it ever rained there, the streets would flood and the guild district is just total garbage. There were like 80 identical buildings there, and no trainees either. Just exactly one master of a class, and nothing else. Finally, the dungeon itself is pretty bad. All the floors are procedurally generated maps with the same walls, floors, and ceilings. The only exception was the pillbug floor because they could move through the dirt walls, and I guess the first floor because the slimes could fall from above. The leveling mechanics are a little off too, since the experience gains increased by 100 exp per floor, whereas experience required to level up was only increased by 50 per level. That doesn’t include the boss exp, which is probably why the girls and I way out leveled the dungeon.”
Enigma took a thoughtful pose.
<Enigma> “So you’re thinking a leveled enemy structure? If you are level 50, you fight level 50. If you are level 1, you fight level 1?”
<Kyuu> “No… I played that game before, and there is no real feeling of accomplishment there either. I’d always prefer to play the start over and over again because the leveling was more fun than fighting the high-level enemies with the same high leveled skills over and over.”
<Enigma> “I see… and what about classes?”
<Kyuu> “Too rigid, I think. Like I said, I prefer leveling to max level playing. If there was some bonus to leveling other classes, it would be a nice change from the duldrums. You know, you level thief to 25 and you get to keep a steal skill and one agility for every five gained. Something like that.”
<Enigma> “Maybe try balancing the leveling first, before making a change like that...”
<Kyuu> “Enigma, the city is about to hit us. Anything else?”
<Enigma> “No, I’m good for now. I know where to find you. Hexblade.”
The city was now around 1000 yards away, and it was flying towards me rapidly. I was going to be hit first by what appeared to be a huge coliseum type building without a roof. Right as the floor was about to collide with me, a white light enveloped me, and I was standing firmly on the stone floor of the coliseum. A large balding man quickly strode up to me and thrust a mechanical collar at my throat. I grabbed his wrist and twisted it back towards his own throat. It wrapped around and locked into place. The man frowned at me in terror.
“Second time’s the charm, eh Ian? Go fight in the labyrinth.”
With just a moment I could already tell. The world had become much more beautiful.