Thief Lord

by

SinWirk

Chapter 51 – Raincheck

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Chapter 51 – Raincheck

“Shit, shit, shit! Was that Greg and Kevin!? What the hell are they even doing- No, fuck. Focus! That fucker is catching up!” I keep sprinting down the tunnel as fast as I can. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever run this fast, either inside or outside a game. It wasn’t supposed to go down this way!

The plan wasn’t that bad. Really, it wasn’t. There is no reason to expect that me, a low-level Villain, would do something so incredibly stupid as going back to where a high-level Villain has made his lair. Hell, I even knew he would stick closely around now that he knew his secret is out. How could I have predicted he would put up extra countermeasures against me?

Damn it. I just hope Cobra manages to pull off his part, or else I’ll willingly enter the Hall of Fame for stupid people.

I skirt around my final line of glue traps, the only preparation I managed to get in place before the Plaguebringer noticed me. They saved my butt the last time I encountered the guy and I pray they will still help out. I can’t believe those two muppets had to choose this moment, of all the moments in the world to show up where I am and screw with my plans.

My hands are shaking as I recall my reaction to when my two recently summoned Spotters who were assigned to keep an eye on the sewer entrance to make sure no one entered. When they suddenly tagged two people entering by using their ‘Mark Target’ skill, I panicked. With my attention split like that, I failed to stop my half-orc Thugs from advancing and triggering some sort of alarm. We didn’t have time to even turn around to run before the Plaguebringer was upon us.

What should have been a simple and safe diversion to draw the Plaguebringer out so that Cobra and my Cutthroats could sneak in the backdoor and rob the guy blind instantly turned into a nightmare. I didn’t get time to place a GoD trap loaded with a quadruple dose of glue above the wooden door as I planned, and I didn’t get to carefully bait him from a distance. It all happened so fast. Curse those two fools. This is all on them. They even managed to trigger my second line of traps. I swear. If that trap they triggered is the only reason the Plaguebringer catches up to me, I’ll make it my life goal to grief those two until the day they quit playing the game.

Oh, god. There is just no way they didn’t see me. Shit! Now the Dark Pegasus guild knows that there are not only one, but two Villains aware of the sewers. Fuck! This thing just went from bad to worse!

I throw a quick glance across my shoulder, and my stomach drops as I notice the poison cloud moving ever closer to my position. Fuck. I can’t outrun this guy, can I? I need to go for plan B. I quickly open my up my friends list, writing out a message as quickly as I can without losing speed.

[Rynorn Stabberton writes: Help!!!]

It takes a few seconds for the response to tick in.

[Anna’el Windrider writes: Hey, what’s the matter? Are you okay?]

[Rynorn Stabberton writes: Villain sewers running!!1!]

Writing messages while running for your life isn’t easy, okay? Give me a break. I have other things on my mind.

[Anna’el Windrider writes: What, really!? Where are you?]

[Rynorn Stabberton writes: Close you almost exit 1 min!]

[Anna’el Windrider writes: Got it. Keep running! We’ll be there shortly.]

I grimace with disappointment that I had to resort to this tactic. I really didn’t want to notify the Dark Pegasus guild that there are Villains in the sewers, but this is the only chance I have of surviving. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay. I really didn’t want to have to pay it though. The only thing I can do now is to pray Anna and her team can get here in time. That Plaguebringer is getting scarily close.

I don’t have a lot of time. The sewer entrance is rapidly approaching, and I know I can’t bring my underlings with me if I am to head outside. The Plaguebringer is figuratively breathing down my neck which means my options are severely limited. I could order my underlings to sacrifice themselves on my behalf again, but that would be completely pointless as the Plaguebringer’s poison cloud would finish them off without him even needing to break his stride. I could always try, but that would also mean I have to sacrifice all their equipment. That’s also a no-go. I’ve wasted enough gold on stupidity as it is.

Since bringing them with me and sacrificing them is both pointless endeavors, my only option is to have them run past the exit and look for another way out. I might lose one or all of them this way, but at least they have a chance of surviving. Granted, their odds are not great since the corridor ahead leads to the sewers beneath the Market District.

I reach the ladder before I can make up my mind. With my hand clutching the cold iron bar, I throw some quick instructions at my underlings. “Keep running down the corridor as far as you can. Your only priority is to survive. Hide if you have to. We’ll rendezvous at the hideout.”

I throw a glance over my shoulder and I instinctively close my mouth as the poison cloud is only a few meters away. I desperately scramble up the remaining steps of the ladder, knocking open the hatch as I go. My muscles are burning from the strain as I pull myself out of the sewers and I immediately roll to the side just in time to dodge a pillar of poison venting from the open hatch.

I shakily get on my feet and stumble over towards a stack of crates before throwing myself behind them. Without missing a beat, I open up my character screen and immediately remove my Villain’s Mask. I can’t risk running into Anna’s party with the mask still on.

“Where the hell are they!?” I wheeze, desperately looking up and down the alleyway. The gigantic cloud of death is increasing at a rapid pace, gathering above the sewer entrance. My hiding place won’t be safe for long.

I sit still, carefully eyeing the cloud as it draws closer. The Plaguebringer is only seconds away, and I fear that I will have to make a run for it. I can’t risk it though. If the Plaguebringer even catches a small glimpse of my unhidden identity, he might release my information on the internet out of spite. Hell, people do it all the time. I’m not above admitting I would have done the same if our roles were reversed. We’re gamers after all. Half of our confrontations with other players are purely out of spite.

Soon after, the Plaguebringer’s head appears from the hatch. Looking around, he wastes little time pulling himself up and out. If I was supposed to run, then I’m already too late.

“Where did you go you little shit!?” The Plaguebringer screams, a thick wave of poison fog spreading from his position. I sharply inhale as I watch the poison cloud closing in only a few centimeters from my face. Fuck. I’m about to die, aren’t I? I close my eyes, waiting for the poison status effect to appear.

“Snipe Shot!” A voice cuts through the air, quickly followed by a snapping sound. A small shriek of pain erupts from someone nearby, and I open my eyes just in time to see the Plaguebringer reel backwards from pain. Oh, shit! I instinctively throw myself backwards, narrowly escaping the reach of the poison closing in.

“Ryan!? Is that you!? Hold on! Gust!” A strong wave of wind hits me from behind, knocking me to the ground, my head slamming into a wooden crate.

[You take 112 Elemental Damage from Anna’el Windrider(48).]

[You are Dazed. Speed reduced by 40% for one minute. Vision reduced by 30% for thirty seconds.]

“Ow, fuck! That hurts!” I hiss, grabbing my throbbing head.

“Sorry!” Anna shouts. Blinking twice while rubbing my temples, I quickly remember what I’m trying to escape. I throw myself backwards, desperately trying to evade the poison cloud that… isn’t there anymore? Oh, shit. So that’s why she targeted me with a wind spell. That’s pretty smart. Dangerous as hell, but smart.

Realising I’m safe, I throw a quick glance towards the fight with the Plaguebringer. I raise my eyes in surprise as I realise the guy is already dead. I guess that’s what happens when a level twenty-three Villain goes up against a party of six players who are just short of level fifty.

“Bwaha! Aye can’ believe it, lass. There really was a Villain ere’!” A thunderous laugh breaks through my splitting headache. Oh, right… I forgot how loud Marc can be.

“Keep it down you oaf!” A strangely familiar female voice shouts from somewhere behind me. “Is anyone hurt?”

“Aye, that Blight cloud took a few of me hitpoints. Ye mind?” Marc replies.

“Tssk. You’ll be fine. Anyone of importance? Daniel?” The female says.

“Oy!”

“Rachel, just heal the guy so we can have some peace…” A male voice says. I turn my head and look at the owner of the voice. A Wood Elf Ranger. That must be Paul.

“Hey, are you okay?” Anna says, running towards me. “Hey, Rachel! Can you heal Ryan? He’s almost dead.”

“You sure you want me to enchant your boyfriend like that, Anna?” Rachel smirks, giving me an exaggerated wink.

“He’s not my boyfriend!” Anna says, her face turning beet red.

“Sure, sure.” Rachel grins smugly. “And Marc is definitely Scottish as well…”

“Not this again…” Paul sighs, stepping up next to Anna. Our eyes meet for a second, then Paul’s eyes gloss over.

[Thief Lord’s Signet Ring special effect activated. You are immune to having your identity revealed for the next 10 minutes.]

“Huh. A Halfling Trap Maker? What an odd choice.” He muses. “Extremely inefficient. Are you a casual player?”

“Lay off him, Paul. Ryan is just playing this game for fun.” Anna cuts in before I get a chance to reply.

Paul raises his hands defensibly. “Sorry, sorry. Force of habit. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Paul.” He smiles, extending his hand.

“Ryan. Pleasure to meet you.” I say, shaking his hand.

“Pleasure is all mine. I guess I should introduce the party. You already know Anna and Brian. The cleric with an attitude over there is Rachel.” He points over to a gorgeous human cleric.

“Hey! What are you impl-”

“And that roleplaying little bucket of shamelessness over there is Marc.” Paul continues, completely ignoring Rachel.

“Aye! Pleasure ta meet ye, lad.” The stout dwarf chuckles. “Say, haven’t we met bef-”

“And lastly, The shy assassin who stands right behind you is Daniel.” Paul says, ignoring the dwarf.

Surprised, I turn my head, finding myself face to face with a human Assassin wearing a black bandana covering the majority of his face. “Uhm, hi?” I say carefully, edging myself back away from the odd guy. Unblinking, Daniel gives a sharp nod in reply. Creepy…

“Great, now that we all are friends, perhaps you could tell me how you managed to stumble across a high-level Villain and survive? With your meager health pool, the Plaguebringer should have easily killed you.” Paul says more seriously, gesturing for Anna not to intervene. Looking over, I notice Anna’s reddened face glaring at Paul, and surprisingly enough, she doesn’t say anything. That’s surprisingly uncharacteristic of her. Who the hell is this guy?

“Uhm...” I scratch my chin. “I sort of just ran into him by accident I guess.”

“Details, please.”

I sigh. “Well, I was exploring down in the sewers, intending to test some of my newest trap designs and grind some experience when I stumbled upon a wooden door blocking off the corridor ahead. Inside, I saw this huge bubbling cauldron and that guy over there doing… well, something. Inspecting him, I noticed he was a Villain, so I decided not to mess with him. The guy noticed me, but luckily enough, I had a head start. Five minutes later, here we are.” I smile weakly.

“You mean to say you were grinding, alone, in a leveling zone intended for a party of three people at level twelve? As a crafter?” He raises his eyebrow.

“Yeah, I guess.” I smile.

“How?”

“Don’t underestimate him, Paul. Ryan’s pretty smart with those traps of his. Remember how I told you he killed Pug beneath the Noob District by himself? Anna chimes in from the side.

“Yeah, so you said. But still. He’s a level eleven crafter. He shouldn’t be able to make powerful enough traps to kill all of them without filling a fifty-meter corridor with traps. He won’t have room to both set traps up and then aggroing them. It makes no sense.”

“It does if you use my GoD trap.” I say.

“A god trap? What’s that?”

I go into a short explanation of how I combine several traps into one, connecting them to one another. I also explain the possibilities of combining different potions to cause extra damaging effects. Paul is hanging on to my every word, not interrupting me even once.

“Wait, you mean to say combining traps like that is possible? That’s… That’s pretty impressive. Your horrible acronym aside, I have to forward this information to Benjamin. One sec.” Paul zones out for a moment, presumably opening up a chat window and writing to whoever this Benjamin person is.

Horrible acronym… how rude. I’m not sure if I like this guy anymore. Regardless, I have other fish to fry at the moment. My ring will only protect my identity for about four more minutes, and I don’t want to be anywhere near them when the timer finally runs out. Hell, my identity is hanging by a thin enough thread as it is. As soon as Greg and Kevin tell their sides of the story, it wouldn’t take a genius to put two and two together. Fuck. I need to get away from them and into hiding as soon as possible.

“So, what will you guys do now?” I direct my question to Anna.

She sighs. “I guess we have to investigate the location you encountered the Plaguebringer. That particular type of Villain can do some really nasty things, and if that cauldron you saw is what we think it is, we need to dismantle it as quickly as possible.”

“It’s that bad, huh?”

“Yeah… Damnit. This is going to take all night. I guess we’ll have to take another rain check on that dinner.”

“Hmm. I understand. Your obligations to your guild and sister should come first. Send me a message whenever you guys are back in town.” I say sadly while celebrating like a madman on the inside. A way out!

Anna smiles. “I can’t believe how often these kinds of things happen around you. First the Thief Lord in the Noob District, and now this. It’s like you’re a magnet for trouble.”

I chuckle. “It’s not the first time I’ve been described like that.”

She guffaws. “Ah, man. I bet.” She grins. “We definitely need to have a normal evening just chilling out sometimes soon.”

“Definitely”

“So, mind telling us where exactly you found the Plaguebringer?”

“Ah, yeah sure. It’s directly east of here, probably an eight or nine minute walk or so. It’s centered around the cistern of the area, so just keep following the tunnels that slope downwards. Can’t miss it.”

“Thanks, Ryan. I’ll be sure to tell Aria what great help you’ve been. Handing us a high-level Villain on a plate is going to buy you a whole lot of points with her you know. Probably even a reward. Are you absolutely certain you don’t want to join the guild?” She winks.

“Haha. Nah, I’m good. I wouldn’t mind collecting that reward though.” I smile mischievously. I did do them a huge favor after all, so I don’t feel particularly bad about it. It doesn’t matter what reason I did it for, and it sure as hell shouldn’t matter that I’m technically their enemy and deceiving them. A reward is a reward, no matter the claimant.

She guffaws. “I’ll tell sis to mail you an appropriate sum.” We both chuckle.

“Oy! Who goes there!?” Marc suddenly shouts. Turning my head, I try to look at whatever the dwarven warrior is looking at. His eyes are firmly locked onto something further down the alley. Peeling my eyes, my eyes go wide as my stomach drops. Oh, crap. I forgot about those two.

I clench my teeth as Anna’s party quickly converges on the two figures down the alley, and I wince as they make contact.

[Your underling (Human Spotter(1)) has been slain by UpYers(49).]

[Your underling (Dwarf Spotter(1)) has been slain by Shadowstriker69(49).]

Damnit. I completely forgot that I had stationed those two lookouts up here. Thank whatever ingame god is watching that there is no way for them to know that the Spotters belong to a Thief Lord, or even better, me. That could have turned out awkward. I’m glad I didn’t bother giving them any gear yet. Still, resurrecting them isn’t exactly free.

“Bwaha! Easy pickings!” Marc laughs out loud.

“Gee, you’re so amazingly strong, slaughtering those powerful criminals like that…” Rachel says flatly.

“Thank you, lass. I do me best.” He winks back.

“Alright, you two. Knock it off. We have work to do. Ryan, it’s been a pleasure. I hope to see you later sometime. It’s nice to work with someone serious for a change...” Paul says glumly, shooting venomous glares at his bickering teammates. “I think you’ll also have a bonus coming your way after the tip about your trap-combining idea. Our analysts are already working on a plan to maximize their efficiencies.”

Nice.

“Happy to help. You kids enjoy yourselves. Do tell me if you manage to improve on my designs somehow.” I smile, turning to leave. I only have about a minute left before my protection runs out, and I prefer to put as much distance between us as I can until then.

“Take care, Ryan! We’ll talk later!” Anna shouts after me. I smile warmly, giving her a wave as I go.

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About the author

SinWirk

  • Someplace in Norway
  • Long time lurker

Bio: Just a guy who loves GameLit books with a passion. My ideal book in GameLit includes:
1 - Realistic ruleset
2 - Realistic and flawed characters
3 - No Harems
The ideal MC requires:
1 - Personal growth
2 - Overcome obstacles by using his or her mind
3 - Stumble and fall every now and then

I will always try and follow these points when creating a story.

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