Chapter 029: To Kill a Giant
“We are going to what?!” Simea looked at me with her eyes wide. “We can’t fight him, he would massacre all of us on himself!”
“We aren’t going to fight him.” I responded. “We are going to fight him and his whole crew while they will return from the anomaly.” Her gaze became even more stupefied. “Give me a second. “
Avhar Khan [P]: Are you there?
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: Yeah, what is it?
I quickly told him what happened.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: Shit. Only an hour? Damnit. If I knew it would end like that…
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: It’s over now. I know that Randal guy. Brute bastard, but really tough. At least when compared to us. ._.
Avhar Khan [P]: It isn’t over, but I need your help.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: If it’s possible, I will do it. What are you planning?
Avhar Khan [P]: The simplest thing ever. I plan to kill him and his buddies when they will be returning to the city.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: What?! Are you crazy?! Even with all Crimson Blades this will be a massacre! O_O
Avhar Khan [P]: I don’t need Crimson Blades. We are doing to do it on our own.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: … Giant Killing? D:
Avhar Khan [P]: Aye.
Yeah, I was sure he knew the term. He played WR after all.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: Avhar, you magnificent bastard.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: I still think this is a suicide, but at least it will be a glorious one.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: And if you succeed, you will remove a significant obstacle for the Blades.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: I’m in.
Vasyr Mirenir [P]: What do you need me to do?
I quickly send him a list. It wasn’t long, but it had to be done quickly. I switched to another chat window.
Avhar Khan [P]: Situation changed. Are you inside Descent?
Leria Khan [N]: Yeah. For few hours now.
Avhar Khan [P]: I need you in Ambryxis. ASAP.
Leria Khan [N]: …
Leria Khan [N]: I have a sudden urge to brutally murder you.
Leria Khan [N]: Before that, a simple question. Are we going to fight evil?
Avhar Khan [P]: Aye.
Leria Khan [P]: Finally. I’m in. Expect me tomorrow at noon.
Awww, Leria. So predictable, sweet and dreadful in the same time.
“Em, Av? You are making a weird face.” Simea decided to interrupt me. “Can I know what we’re doing?”
“I could tell you right now, but it is so awesome and stupid at the same time that I simply have to wait for the rest to hear it.” I chuckled. “This way you and Leria will shout at me at the same time. I prefer to be done with it fast.” She simply sighed and shook her head. Yeah, she knew me too well.
“Repeat this. Slowly.” Leria regained her voice as the first one. “Because I think I misheard it.”
We all sat in a restaurant. One rather cheap, but to our surprise all workers were free people. Made dining there feel less criminal. Me, Simea, Leria, Lena and Vaera. The only fighter team our woefully skeletal guild could muster.
“We are going to attack and kill a group of adventurers returning from the anomaly, and liberate the slaves that will accompany them.” I repeated, with a grin on my face.
“No, not this part. The part when you say how strong they are.” Leria seemed seriously pissed off by my acting. Yeah, I expected that, but it was too amusing to not do this.
“Bear-morph beastman Brawler level 25. Crystalling Fire Sorcerer level 21. Human Knight level 22. Human Warrior level 22. Forest elf Archer level 21. High elf Martial Artist level 23. Dragrim Cannoneer lvl 24.” I answered. One of the things I required from Vasyr for the plan to work was info on Randal’s team. I got it quickly. Crimson Blades were useful.
“Let me be frank.” Leria leaned towards me. “Are you drunk? Simea, did he drink any alcohol?”
“No, he didn’t. But he might have took some drug when I didn’t see it.” Thank you for your loyalty, Simea. Ugh.
“I’m completely sober. It can be done.” I said, with seriousness in my voice.
“The only way for us to kill them is to commit collective suicide and hope that our rotting bodies will cultivate a deadly disease that will sweep through the city, killing most of citizens including them.” Leria said. “And you are smart enough to know that.”
“Yes, yes. That’s why fighting them is a terrible idea.” I answered her. “What we need is the Giant Killing.”
“What giant?!” Simea looked at me as if I lost my mind. “Ok, Randall is big, but I wouldn’t call him a giant!” Amateurs. Why am I surrounded with amateurs?! The only person in our group to play WR was Menara, and she spent her whole playthrough hammering stuff in the capital of one of Imperium’s vassal states. And she wasn’t even here!
“Eh. It’s a name of a tactic from the World’s Requiem. A very crazy one, but one that theoretically allows even a group of level ones to kill a person with level ninety. The whole point is to win the fight without fighting.”
“You mean, poison them? Kill them in their sleep?” … Simea, that was grim. Seriously grim. But also smart, I give you that.
“Yes, well, let’s consider this a plan B.” If my plan fails, we will try to assassinate them like that. “The whole point of Giant Killing is to launch a carefully planned ambush in a way that allows you to kill or cripple all your enemies before they understand what is happening.” I explained. “In short - you kill everyone before they activate their defensive magic. Without Aura Armour on, even a person with Aura Conductivity 100 can be slain by a complete noob.”
It was an intentional thing on DFI’s part. They gave both magic and aura such a weakness to make difficulty level raise together with people’s growth in strength. You reached a top 100 of players and gained awesome equipment? Good luck defending from weaker players trying to assassinate you constantly to steal your gear. It was bound to get worse in Gates of Eternity since you could get a sharp object in your eye while sitting on a toilet.
Suppress Presence was a major pain later on. Especially when coupled with Illusion Magic or stealth oriented species like mirrorlings, fox-morph beastmen or shapeshifters. Other deadly things were sniper rifles and antegnite bolts and arrows, that could pierce through Aura Armour and Magic Shield.
There were no unkillable people in DFI’s games. As long as you were lucky and ready to take risks, you could kill anyone. It included Uniques and mobs as well. We almost scored a Giant Killing on the Watcher. If only we were less surprised by the sudden encounter than him and I managed to cast Destroyer Lance earlier than he covered himself in Bend Reality… It was much harder with daemonic regeneration though, but if we managed to stunlock him with attacks, that would be possible.
“I see. Let me ask you straight.” Leria’s eyes meet mine. “What are the chances of this working?”
Uh. Don’t divert your eyes, YOU ARE A MAN.
“Ten.” I cleared my throat. Her gaze was relentless. “Ten percent.” I clarified.
“That’s… a bit low.” Lena spoke, for the first time in a while.
“So… certainty of death. Small chance of success.” Leria sighed. “What are we waiting for?”
What are you, Gimli son of Gloin?
Now Lena and Simea looked at both of us while making faces that suggested they began to doubt our mental health. Vaera probably did so as well but it was hard to see through his hijab.
Heh. Maybe she really is my long lost sister?
How to score Giant Killing for dummies - part one. Find perfect place to ambush and ensure you will surprise your enemy, rather than the opposite way.
It wasn’t easy, but I had Vasyr to help me. One of the Crimson Blades came close enough to one of Randal’s sidekicks to cast a localization magic on him. Vasyr gave me the compass that showed me the direction to Randal’s party and how far away they were. Since we knew he prefered to visit Starfall Tower, we also knew more or less which road he would pick.
He departed into Starfall Tower before we left the city. Not a big deal. We followed him, before we found a perfect site for ambush.
The road ran beside the crevice. Both of them bent a bit. There was a small cliff on the other side of the road, then the crevice. The ravine wasn’t very wide, which allowed us to position ourselves.
We prepared a camp near it, but far enough from the main road to avoid being spotted. Then we spend four days preparing for the ambush. All movements had to be planned in detail, since even a split second of delay would mean certain death. We also had to prepare for every possible formations they might take, while making sure everyone was ready to commit suicide in case of failure.
Let’s not think what was going to happen if they win. They were strong enough to easily take us alive. Which was a worst case scenario. With all the slaver bands operating from the Ambryxis, no wonder you could buy suicide pills in every alchemical shop.
Bunch of fucking hypocrites. SLAVERY IS A WAY TO WEED THE WEAK FROM THE STRONG BUT IF I TURNED OUT TO BE WEAK I’LL KILL MYSELF TO AVOID BEING ENSLAVED. If you truly believe that those weak are subhumans, at least have enough fucking decency to play along to the end. Ugh.
At the fifth day Randal’s party began closing in. We sent Simea - the fastest of us all - to scout and discover their exact formation.
Randall, Knight and Warrior in front, behind them Archer and Cannoneer, Fire Sorcerer and slaves, with Martial Artist as the rearguard. Sensible formation when travelling, since it didn’t matter from which side the threat emerged. There were always a melee fighter to keep it busy while ranged fighters and sorcerer rain death on it, and the rest of warriors regroups.
They were professionals. Average in skills, maybe, but professionals nonetheless. Amateurs in this trade died out quickly. Only those careful remained. Most of them earned enough money to retire early, rest hired themselves as permanent protectors of faraway villages. Few achieved greatness.
Professional adventurers. urgh. The most careful and vigilant people around, at least when in the wilds. This was going to be ultra tough.
Leria, Lena and Vaera hid themself atop the cliff overlooking the road. I was supposed to be a sniper, positioned on the other side of the crevice, in the place from which I could see the road well. Simea accompanied me, supposed to serve as a living camouflage device.
Fun thing - if she coated herself in Suppress Presence and stood in front of me, I was invisible to enemies as well. Of course, it gave me a serious case of mindfuck due to my mind constantly telling me that there was something in front of me, while my eyes failed to provide me with necessary visual input to confirm it. It looked like she kept disappearing and appearing at random.
I could see the target just barely while remaining invisible mostly because I was close to the disturbance. Which heightened my mindfuck but let me actually see something.
“They are coming.” She whispered. Yeah, I could see them already. The fact that I could see through her (from time to time), only furthered my mindfuck.
“Havoc Bolt.” I whispered, pointing the end of my staff at her. Of course, I wasn’t planning to make her explode in cloud of gore. I managed to anchor the hex on my staff, keeping it there through both my Mana Manipulation skill and constant concentration. Then I targeted the end of the staff on approaching group.
I felt like a kid with a stick, pretending that it was a rifle. I even kept the staff in a similar way.
The group kept getting closer. I could see ‘our’ slave, and the second one (catgirl) in a slightly ragged clothing, marching in the middle of the group obediently. Beastwoman looked like a mindbroken person, stumbling her legs a bit and staring emptily. Bluehaired elf was much more active, but terrified and, due to the fear, obedient.
Three. Two. One.
Curiously, I remembered the ambush as almost turn-based. As several scenes, played one after another.
Scene one. Simea calls off her Suppress Presence and runs sideways. I unleash the Havoc Bolt. Leria and Lena leap off the cliff’s edge.
Scene two. Havoc Bolt hit forward group and detonates. It exploded right above Randal’s head, just as I planned. Direct hit would absorb too much of it, as the body of its victim might shield others. Instead, it exploded above their heads, scattering shrapnels all around them, changing Randall and two humans accompanying him into a cloud of blood and entrails.
Scene three, Leria lands on the ground besides the dragrim, hitting him with a Smite Evil and instantly setting the dwarf on fire. He screams. Lena impales elven archer on her spear.
Scene four. Martial artist reacted, leaping forward without even cowering himself in Aura Armour. His duty was to defend the caster and ranged fighters from assaults such as this, so he did it, without wasting time. I fail to follow his movement. At least until he reappears besides Lena, breaking her neck with Aura-empowered uppercut strike into her jaw. Leria decapitates burning dwarf.
Scene five. Simea reaches her target and leaps over the crevice, targeting the fire sorcerer. Dragon Fireball explodes, scoring direct hit at martial artist’s head. He survived it, but was set aflame.
Scene six. Fire sorcerer hides himself behind Magic Shield, maybe a second before Simea got him. Her dagger bounces of the shield. Leria’s horizontal slash decapitates burning martial artist. We are screwed.
Scene seven. Fire sorcerer gathers magic. I can feel an AoE spell coming, one that will probably kill everyone beside him. He knows the rest are dead or dying, so it’s now his life or ours. Leria casts Fervent Accusation on him, he trembles and screams but doesn’t lose control over his magic. Simea tries to pierce the shield, but fails to even scratch it.
Scene eight. The obviously absent-minded beastwoman slave abandons the camouflage of idiocy, and jumps at the sorcerer from behind, taking advantage of the fact that he lacked time to cover himself in Magic Armor. Her jaws close on his throat. Blood gushes from the wound.
Scene nine. Fire sorcerer tries to unleash his magic despite his mortal wound, to take everyone around him with him. Beastwoman unleashes a flurry of unarmed blows, her claws shredding his face into bloody mess. His mind is disciplined enough to keep control over magic even when the attacks reaches his eyes and blind him.
Scene ten. Fire sorcerer magic begins to form as flames explode above our heads. A Fire Rain or Inferno spell. In a second fire will rain on us, burning everything within few dozen meters of the epicentre. Beastwoman resorts to desperate method and uses her claws on sorcerer’s groin.
Scene eleven. His control shatters due to pain accompanying sudden castration. The flames above our head dissipate. Sorcerer fells on the ground.
Jesus, all of that happened in… five seconds? More or less. We lost Lena, but we survived and succeeded.
Okay, mostly because the mindbroken catgirl turned out to be less mindbroken than her owners thought. Interesting.
Simea quickly returned and helped me get to the other side of the crevice. Leria in the same time freed both slaves. She took the magical key from the mess that the Randal turned into, and unlocked the elf’s collar. Only then she had enough courage to approach the catgirl, that still stood above the massacred fire sorcerer, her claws and mouth covered in blood.
She saw her unlocking the elf’s, so she let her approach and do the same to her.
Then we arrived. Simea carried me over the crevice with her aura. We landed right beside the now liberated slaves.
Species: Low Elf
Class: Theoretical Sorcerer
Active Effects: N/A
Known Spells and Techniques:
Species: Cat-morph Beastman
Active Effects: Moon Fever Survivor, Fylak Var
Known Spells and Techniques:
Theoretical Sorcerer. Right. In twenty or so levels there might be a reason to ask her about Vaera's curse, I guess.
The “???” as catgirl’s class was an immediate red flag. Something was fishy here. Not to mention her being level 17… such slaves weren’t classified as refuse, it was beyond wasteful. Did she manage to hide herself so well that no one managed to uncover the truth? Even specialists from the Lily?
Hmm… can I appraise her Active Effects?
Moon Fever Survivor
Despite overwhelming odds, she managed to survive being infected by Moon Fever, one of most terrifying diseases in the world.
While the diseases failed to kill her, it still left her with many scars.
Target loses all senses beside sight and touch.
Target loses ability to speak.
Target loses ability to feel pain.
Target’s level reduced by 50%.
Target suffers sanity damage when seeing reflective surfaces.
Target suffers from depression and apathy during New Moon.
Target suffers from maniacal episodes and rages during Full Moon.
Fylak Var (meaning “Buried Alive”) is a custom of Overtyrant’s worshippers from Aevaria.
Embracing Fylak Var means abandoning your previous life (together with a ceremonial funeral), and dedicating the rest of your lifespan to eradication of Evil in every possible form, until death finally unites you with Harmony.
Those that sacrifice everything for Overtyrant can expect being rewarded appropriately.
Sweet Mother of Jesus, she is a khardism adherent.
I didn’t see that coming. I smell Overtyrant’s fingers in that. Sure, coincidences happen, but this was too much of a coincidence for me to believe there was no god pulling the strings.
I couldn’t guess her age. Beastmen get older different than humans. Her cat morph didn’t settle too deep and she had cat ears, mouth filled with fangs and much sharper nails, plus a long tail, while the rest was completely human. Making her a typical example of a catgirl.
I would say she looked cute, if she wasn’t busy licking her fingers off the fire sorcerer’s blood. Plus I still remembered seeing her castrate a person without a second of doubt, not to mention clawing his eyes out a second earlier.
So, 20-40 years old. Definitely not younger, because she wouldn’t have reached level 34 (before it got reduced by 50% by the Moon Fever). Probably not older, because… well, I had no idea why, it was just a hunch. She was slightly disfigured by scars, several on the body parts that weren’t hidden by her ragged clothing, and one rather ugly on her face. It looked like she almost lost an eye.
I feel pity for the being that did that. You don’t disfigure a catgirl without killing her. That was a horrible idea.
The already terrible inhabitants of Ambryxis get a sudden diarrhoea when somebody mentions mountain elves. Mountain elves get sudden diarrhoea when somebody mentions wild beastman. Wild beastman get a sudden diarrhoea when somebody mentions the Overtyrant adherents of their species.
Both slaves didn’t have Menara’s luck. A single gaze on them and you knew they were raped. Probably many times. The relief of the elf when she got freed was almost palpable. Catgirl was much calmer, but she was eyeing Leria with a hint of curiosity.
Oh. Seems like somebody recognized Overtyrant’s magic. But she still wasn’t sure about us, so she remained calm and composed, pretending to be a simple slave who jumped on an occasion to murder her abusive owner. She had no way of knowing I could appraise her and learn her secret. Or at least some of them.
“So… we won.” I said loudly. Second later Vaera jumped off the cliff (merely three meters high), and gracefully landed behind Leria. “Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I only prepared a speech in case of our brutal murder.“
“Must be the first time ever.” Leria responded. “You know, when you don’t know what to say.”
I chuckled. “Touche. That’s one point for you. My company serves you well.” Leria grinned. “Alright, I’ll check their bodies for loot together with Vaera, you two get the slaves to camp, give them something proper to wear and suggest joining us.” They nodded. I pretended to not see catgirl’s eyes following my lips. Someone can read lips. Interesting.
I quickly opened Nexus and send messages to Leria.
Avhar Khan [P]: According to her active effects, she is an Overtyrant worshipper.
Avhar Khan [P]: Try to find a way to show her that you are a Chosen One, without betraying that we know she’s an Overtyrant worshipper. She might start suspecting us or something, if she finds out that we know too much about her.
Avhar Khan [P]: Maybe show them both, you know, that we are good guys because you are a Chosen One of a good God?
She read it and answered with a nod.
Unfortunately, a lot of stuff got ruined when my Havoc Bolt shred Randal’s vanguard into tiny little pieces. This hex ruined everything organic, leaving only metal behind. This, however, meant that both Knight’s light plate armour and Warrior’s chainmail remained behind. They were, of course, totally red and covered in rather gruesome things, but should be still usable.
I store them in the inventory. I also found several potions, pouches with money, some enchanted jewelry, two shields, longsword and and battleaxe. This wasn’t the time for a proper appraise, we had to hurry.
Despite almost zero chance of success, we were prepared for it. We had few buckets of water and cleaning equipment waiting on the road, on our side of the ambush place. I used it to clean all that remained of the vanguard. I pushed the solid part into the crevice, then mopped the rest.
Vaera had easier job. Her bodies actually looked like they were humans once. She store whatever seemed to have some value into inventory, and kicked bodies off the crevice. After half on hour there was no sign of the battle. Let’s hope that no one will find them, and instead the guild will marked them of as Missing in Action (forever). Everyone will assume they were murdered by daemons or beasts, and there would be no investigation.
Alright, time to join the others in the temporary encampment. And, perhaps, learn something about Syna.