We began to move towards the bank. The nearer we got to it the more cautious we became. Even a simple thing such as the trampling of a dry leaf could alarm the Raks. My heart was more at ease now though, since I knew that even if I died I would just respawn back in my room.
Finally we reached a point along the very edge of the woods. We were depending on the shadows to hide us from the prying eyes of the Raks. Not a long way away, I saw one Rak sitting near the fire over which the monkey was being cooked. The Rak was tending to the monkey and at the same time examining the contents of our bags. I saw him pull out my sword and then swing it. I gritted my teeth. I made a mental note to kill the particular Rak playing with my sword.
“What next?” I whispered to Grimguy.
“We will use our spells,” he said. “You have to use paralysis on that guy checking our bags with his filthy hands. Then run to him. Kill him and take the bags, then run back to a different spot in the woods. I will lie here and if any of the other Raks pursue you I will use my spells on them.”
I nodded. After I get my sword, I would be much more powerful than what I was presently.
“Okay then,” I said to Grimguy.
I threw paralysis on the Rak near the fire and then ran as fast as possible to him. Thankfully the other Raks were some distance away, and by the time I reached the fire they only saw me. I snatched my sword from the frozen Rak and hit him multiple times so that he died. I didn’t bother picking up the loot. Instead I picked up the bags and then began running towards the woods as fast as my legs allowed.
I failed to notice a wet patch of the bank in front of me.
I slipped. I skidded and then fell face first on the ground, my mouth full with dirt.
I pushed myself up. The Raks were mere metres away from me now. Suddenly one of them froze and caught flames. Grimguy’s spell. I raised my sword and let electricity hit another of the Raks. By the time that one died, the others reached me. Now it was going to be hand to hand combat.
I got hit several times as three Raks of high warrior levels came at me together. By the time I finished the third one, my health had dropped sharply and I only had 75 health remaining. Luckily one of the Raks had dropped a health vial and now I drank it, so that my health was replenished.
The plan had been to run back to another portion of the woods, but then I saw Daddy1 in the distance trying to wave at me with his tied hands. I ran towards him. Just then I received a message from Grimguy.
“Look behind!” he said.
It was one of those giant warrior Raks who had the big swords that they never dropped even after dying. He hit me square on the face with his mighty fist. The impact was so great that I staggered back and fell. My health dropped by a hundred immediately. I tried to get back to my feet. Too late. The Rak grabbed my feet and began tying a metal chain around my legs.
I tried to use the electricity of my sword. But I missed the Rak completely. Just then I recalled my Paralysis spell and used it on him. He froze, but I knew that the effect would be over in seconds. I had barely taken off the metal chain tying my legs together, when the Rak came back to life with a roar.
He brought his massive sword down on me. I raised my own sword just in time to block the attack. He was the one with the superior strength, and I watched in horror as his sword came closer and closer to my eye.
Just then the Rak became paralysed and caught flames.
“Thanks,” I messaged Grimguy.
I hit the Rak a few times before he died and dropped loot. It sucked that the mobs I was killing were dropping so much loot but I couldn’t pick it up because I didn’t have the time, and any such unnecessary delay would result in me getting attacked by the many Raks fast approaching me. They had thankfully not seen Grimguy who lay hidden in his spot and kept casting spells on unsuspecting Raks. I broke into a trot towards the struggling Daddy1. I turned my head towards the river and was shocked to see many canoes coming towards our bank from the Rak side. All of the canoes were full with Raks.
I reached Daddy1 and began cutting his ropes with my sword. I had only freed his legs, when I felt pain in my back and turned to see five Raks. I paralysed one of them, and then faced the other four. My health was down to just fifty by the time I did away with the four and the fifth one sprung back to life. I finished him off. None of them had dropped any health vials so I fished into my bag and took out one. My hands were shivering so bad that I dropped the health vial and had to pick it up again. I drank it, and with my health restored I felt rejuvenated.
I freed Daddy1’s hands.
“Thanks,” he said.
I saw Grimguy giving up his hiding position and come running towards us. A Rak blocked his way, but he paralysed the mob. He was panting when he reached us and he pointed towards the many canoes which had just reached the bank.
“Shit,” I said, “this is a full blown invasion, isn’t it?”
“I am surprised no other players have turned up,” Grimguy said.
“It wasn’t even in the newspaper,” I said.
“Not all quests come in the newspaper,” Grimguy said. “Now ditch everything. Let’s save our lives by getting the hell out of here.”
Just then another giant Rak came hulking towards us.
“Oh, man!” Grimguy lamented.
“Use your spell,” I commanded. But before he could do that, an arrow came whizzing and hit the giant square between the eyes. The giant pulled it out, but the arrow had lowered his health significantly and only his 50 health was remaining. It was easy for me to finish him off with my sword.
I whirled around to see who the archer was. It was a player emerging from the woods. I also saw other figures emerge: healers, multi-taskers and wizards.
“Looks like other players knew about this invasion after all,” I said.
“Fuck them,” Grimguy said, “there are still too many Raks. We need to get out of here.”
The other players were coming towards the bank, and we on the other hand ran towards the woods. Some of the players cast glances at us as though we were some kind of low level creatures. No wonder because some of them were as high as 70 or 60 levels, and there was one girl who was at level 130. She was strikingly beautiful, possessing silver hair and dressed in tight fitting leather pants and jacket.
Daddy1 stumbled again, and we had to pick him up.
“Can’t you stop falling down?” Grimguy yelled at him.
“Sorry,” Daddy1 said and we kept moving into the woods. We didn’t even take a glance behind as we ran… until we heard the sound of lightning.
The three of us froze. I turned around and so did Grimguy and Daddy1.
Just above the Blood River, the hooded man was hovering.
“Death,” Daddy1 said in a frightened whisper. This was the person we had really come to meet.
Suddenly a fist hit my neck. Wincing, I whirled around to see a Rak. I killed him hastily and turned to look at Death.
Lightning leapt from the hand of Death and struck the Raks, incinerating them.
“This guy is on nobody’s side,” I heard Grimguy comment with a shiver in his tone.
Some of the players ran to the Raks. The players seemed infuriated that Death was wiping out the Raks, leaving few for them. A big mistake on the part of the players. I watched as Death sucked up their karma and destroyed them with his bolt of lightning.
Most of the players were not perma, so I didn’t know if the ones Death destroyed were deleted from Prithvi altogether. Perhaps they were forcefully logged out instead, and woke up in their capsules? I hoped so at least.
“I am afraid, guys,” Grimguy said.
“You told me to call him,” I said with a hint of sarcasm, “and now he’s come.”
“Tonight I shall meet my daughter,” Daddy1 said.
“Are you mental?” Grimguy said. He seemed to have become really frightened seeing the havoc Death was causing, “You will be destroyed.”
Daddy1 let out a laugh.
“If you are afraid, you can go.”
“Shut up, both of you,” I said. I was going to take charge of the situation. No blatant heroics or cowardice. Death was my friend, after all. Grimguy and Daady1 looked at me with puzzled expressions pasted on their faces. “I am friends with Death,” I told them, “I’ll ask him about the whereabouts of your daughter. He just might tell. But if you ask, he will probably kill you.”
“How are you so confident?” Grimguy said, the lightning bolt Death was using to kill the Raks flashing in his eyes, “What if it was just by chance that he let you go the last time?”
“It couldn’t have been so,” I said. “For whatever reason Death didn’t harm me that day and I am sure he wouldn’t harm me today. But if either of you go near him he will wipe you from the game world. Also, remember, you both are perma players, I am not.”
“But-but, my daughter…” Daddy1 tried to argue, though he was hesitant because he perhaps saw the logic in my words.
I put a hand on his shoulder.
“Your daughter is fine. I will ask Death about her.”
Daddy1 nodded reluctantly.
“Grimguy, take him away with you,” I said. “I’ll wait here for Death to come to me once he is finished with those folks.”
“I wish you the best,” he told me and turned to Daddy1. “Come let’s go.”
So Grimguy and Daddy1 went towards the road. I stared after them for a while until it was no longer possible to see them due to the trees. I turned back at the scenery of rampage going on in the river bank. The players seemed to think that Death was an NPC associated with some kind of a hidden quest. They were hence trying to kill him, hoping they would get a reward. Some were attacking Death with arrows, while others were trying to jump and grab his legs since he was floating above everyone else. Most of the Raks meanwhile had been destroyed by Death, and the lucky ones were fleeing in canoes to the other bank. The players who tried to grab Death’s legs were sucked off their Karma and destroyed. Strangely none of the other players seemed bothered despite this.