Wilbert shook his head and muttered, "Close", successfully closing the status screen.
Glancing around at the lifeless corpses of an entire village, Wilbert turned around and ran back to the forest. He did not want to see much more of that horrifying scene, and he planned to observe what happened next—to see if these villagers would be replaced too.
As he crouched in the bushes, the anger coursing through his veins was still there. It seemed killing that little gnome had not helped ease his pain.
'I've killed both bastards involved in my parents' deaths, but why don't I feel better?'
A few minutes later, the gnome respawned at the top of the hill next to Alfatar, who was spamming the [Rolling on the Floor Laughing] emote.
"Oh, Alf, knock it off. It's not that funny."
[Rolling on the Floor Laughing] continued.
"Alf, stop it!"
[Rolling on the Floor Laughing]. [Rolling on the Floor Laughing].
"I'll tell Mom."
[Rolling on the Floor Laughing].
"Fine, I'm going to tell her."
"No, please don't. I've stopped."
"Humph! Good. Did you see what happened, or were you just laughing at my death?"
"I saw. To be honest, I didn't know NPCs could do that. I've never seen one trip before."
"Is that what happened?" Pu55yDestr0y3r replied. "I didn't exactly see how he avoided my attack. I wasn't really watching for anything like that."
Alfatar sent a sniggering emoticon. "Did you start spinning in your chair like Oldest?"
"N-no! I was just looking at a bird out the window."
After a little more teasing, Alfatar commented, "It's quite interesting actually. After the kid killed you, he stood on the spot before running back to the woods."
"What?" Pu55yDestr0y3r seemed annoyed about one part of that comment. "What do you mean he ran back? You didn't avenge me?"
"Eh? It's just some small fry. You wouldn't bother with him if not for this challenge."
"Yeah, but he made me lose XP. How can I sleep knowing that kid's still out there?"
"It's just some XP. Better than if you'd died to a player. Anyway, he's probably despawned already…" Halfway through his words, Alfatar paused to think for a moment before continuing, "Actually, why didn't he despawn before? He should have been inactive long enough, and his instance should have refreshed. Interesting…"
Looking at the pondering emoticon above Alfatar's head, Pu55yDestr0y3r asked, "What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking, what if the devs have added a hidden boss to this challenge?"
"What do you mean?" Pu55yDestr0y3r did not get it. A boss, especially a hidden one, should be a high level, capable of dispatching all but the best players. No matter how he looked at it, the kid did not meet that criteria.
"What if the devs have added a weak NPC that only comes out when a player wearing no equipment wipes out a village in a short period of time?"
"A hidden boss just for this challenge…"
"Exactly. The village should reset in a few minutes. I'll have a go at the challenge and see if it triggers a similar enemy."
"We should ask on the forums too."
"Yeah, I have the recording of your attempt. Do you have Oldest's?"
"He was streaming it, so we should be able to find a copy."
"Cool. Record my attempt, and we'll post about it after."
After saying that, Alfatar began to strip down. While he was doing that, Pu55yDestr0y3r put his equipment back on. Glancing at the system log, he noticed he had a system message.
[Congratulations, you have gained one new title.]
"Huh? A new title? I wonder if they've added some secret title for the Village challenge…'
[Lost Jewels]: Your crown jewels were violently stolen. You no longer have 'That' Critical Spot.
"Crown jewels? Violently stolen? Alf, you don't think…"
"I didn't even know you could get hit there…"
While hiding in the trees, in the space of an hour, Wilbert's world view was shattered.
The bodies that lined the streets, the blood that coloured the ground like a red carpet, the claw marks in the dirt from where the villagers had tried to escape—all of that disappeared almost instantly. As if the ground was quicksand, the villagers' bodies and blood were swallowed by the earth, and the gouges were filled up like sand pouring into a hole at the beach.
Once the village was 'clean' again, while Wilbert was still reeling from the shock, the doors to all of the houses opened, and a hundred or so villagers poured out onto the streets. They greeted each other like they had known everyone for years and went about their business. Soon, there were blacksmiths hammering, bakers baking, and hawkers hawking, all where corpses of the previous residents had been just moments earlier.
'What… Where did they… Why didn't they…' Filled with questions he could not answer, Wilbert could only gawk at them. Before he even had chance to process what he had just witnessed, another massacre began.
Stupefied, Wilbert stared at the scene blankly, having the most bizarre sense of deja vu. This time, it was that human bastard who had been with the gnome before the last attack. He used his fists, feet, knees, elbows… basically any body part that could harm someone. In just a few minutes, almost everyone in the village was dead again. It was clear that this human was far more skilled than the previous two.
'Wait… skilled? He's more skilled at killing villagers… Just what am I thinking? Have I become numb to this?'
Lost in thought, Wilbert did not even notice the scream of "You bastard!" as a man rushed at the human wielding a sword.
He only returned from his thoughts when he heard two people conversing.
"It looks like that ignorant mortal will not appear before us."
"Perhaps you did not perform the ritual correctly. He's struck down two of our kind twice before, so there must be a way to lure him out."
"We should depart for now. I shall activate the teleportation."
'Stuck down two of them? It sounds like they're talking about me…' Wilbert looked up and saw the human talking to the gnome that he had killed earlier.
'What? That bastard's still alive?
'Does this mean that other bastard's still alive?!'