Chapter Sixteen – Experience Points
“Come on! Attack the healer! The healer you moron!” I screamed in my head.
I shook with unbridled rage as Momma Bossbear went right on tearing at the tank’s impenetrable body. He was the warrior type, so he could dish out damage with maces, swords, or axes and usually dual wielded them, depending on his speed to dodge most attacks rather than a towering defense like the Paladins.
Momma Bossbear had only managed to graze him once, while this party of five was decimating her. The party hadn’t fit the stereotypes I’d come to expect from high level adventurers and I’d almost died myself more than once. The last thing I wanted happening was for someone other than Red Thorn to know how valuable my… eugh… my corpse was. If I died, even once, I suspected I’d have another Red Thorn in no time.
So I’d decided to sit this fight out, but watching as the group made mistakes that any competent invader would’ve capitalized on while Momma Bossbear just continued following the damn instinct was making me furious.
I couldn’t help it. It might’ve been a risk but I darted out anyway as soon as I saw an opening. I veered to the right, barely avoiding a fireball hurled by the caster before darting back into my torches.
I used the trick of flashing between the torches to obscure which one I was in and was relieved when the next fireball hit the wrong one. So, the caster was focused on me.
Well, as long as that was true, that meant Momma Bossbear was taking a little bit less damage. I couldn’t effectively hurt a party this size alone. What I could do was act as support for Ghoul and, more often than ever lately, Momma Bossbear.
As the cycles passed, the invaders seemed to learn what they would need in order to successfully kill Momma Bossbear. Namely, they had to look, or act, too strong for me to want to attack. If they were either of those, they’d find Dungeon Home incredibly easy to empty. It was only the ones I thought I had a chance of killing that got to experience Momma’s strength while I was supporting her.
This group though, had tricked me. Their clothes were worn and tattered, but somehow provided excellent defense. They had magicked their clothes somehow to look like weak invader armor instead of the grossly protective stuff it was.
Being the idiot that I was, I had attacked. And now they’d seen me. Now I was committed. Fortunately, they weren’t unbelievably powerful like the color coordinated groups that sometimes came through. They were prone to simple mistakes, and there had been a few close calls with Ghoul. If we could get rid of the healer, things would turn around very quickly.
And that stupid bear was still attacking the damn tank!
I saw an opportunity, not to attack but to distract, and I took it. I dashed out of the torch, another fireball singeing one nearby and covering my exit as I did.
I darted right across the healer’s line of vision. The girl was so startled she jumped back, exactly as I’d planned. That movement pushed her into one of her companions, a small person who wore incredibly dark clothing and seemed adept at sneaking up on his enemies. He was shocked when the healer stumbled into him and pushed her forward by instinct.
She tripped, sprawling to the ground with a yelp. That wouldn’t have mattered except she had managed to fall straight into Momma Bossbear’s sight.
‘Go on,’ I thought, taking in the results of my attack from the safety of my next torch hiding place. ‘Momma, attack her! Attack the damn healer!’
The warrior, eyes wide with panic, moved to intercept, but he was too slow to get between the fallen healer and Momma Bossbear!
I grinned, anticipating a return to the gentle blue torches after they were finally gone.
Momma Bossbear, stepped over the fallen healer, completely missing her in favor of charging down the screaming warrior.
My color bled a frustrated red. Why? Why were my former family so gods damn devoted to the instinct? Couldn’t they see that it only led to pain?
By luck, or chance, certainly not by any level of planning on Momma Bossbear’s part, she managed to land a devastating blow to the tank. The healer scrambled to her feet, but I was ready for that.
I stung her and dashed straight upward into the torches arrayed around the ceiling, just before Momma reared back for her wide range attack. I’d become very good at predicting those, both from Momma Bossbear and from Ghoul. The bugbears didn’t have any and I almost never tried to interfere with their deaths. Skeleton and Skeledog could occasionally get rid of the unlucky invaders, but even they were usually too weak to stop a party of five.
Not that any of them had ever had the bright idea of… oh I don’t know… attacking together?
I was beginning to hate my former family.
The healer cast her own wide area spell and that was what did them in. The instinct loved those wide area spells and the second I felt it trying to convince me to attack the healer, I knew it was all over.
Momma Bossbear changed targets and charged on all fours towards the startled healer, who was suddenly bereft of protection and couldn’t cast her healing lights for a few precious seconds.
Momma Bossbear’s claws cleaved clean through the startled healer and she slumped to the ground with a spray of red blood. I turned away, still disgusted by the gruesome way my family tended to kill the invaders. Fortunately, her body faded away.
I didn’t need to do much after that. I struck down the fire caster while Momma handled the warrior, the shady guy, and the last character who had been attempting, and failing, to cast spells that didn’t seem to do anything to Momma the whole time. Putrid lights would flash around her and then… nothing.
I turned to Momma Bossbear, watching as she roared in triumph while I felt disgusted.
“You wouldn’t have won. You were lucky. Why are you so happy anyway? Another group will come and chop off your head soon enough!” I screamed, coming down to hover near the huge boss.
She growled towards me but ultimately turned, slowly heading back towards her throne. She winced every now and then, her body dragging sluggishly. I knew from long experience that she would be fine again shortly.
No thanks to her own efforts.
“Why don’t you ever learn!? Why? Why aren’t you real? Why can’t I have what they have!” I screamed, rage filling me.
In a moment of anger I struck. My shocker stung Momma Bossbear and she crumpled to the ground. Dead.
Congratulations! You have earned 7392 Experience Points!
I screamed, diving for cover as a sound erupted in my ears and a strange caption blasted across my vision. Symbols I could somehow understand exploded into my field of view.
I hid among the stalagmites, going invisible, but the banners didn’t leave my vision. A golden box of light displaying the words blinded me to the rest of the world. I stabbed at it, poking at it until it went away, only to display another box.
You have gained a Level!
Again I slashed at the attacker, terrified of what I was seeing, and again it disappeared to be replaced by another banner displaying the same message.
You have gained a Level!
You have gained a Level!
You are now level 13.
“What the heck is this!?” I screamed, looking around in horror.
All of a sudden, the world… broke. I could see… lines. The colors of the room around me distorted. The reds from the torch fires suddenly slanted left and right, their light coming from the wrong places.
It was as if, suddenly, the whole world was made of a grid of uncountable lines and each line held a color. That color was nothing on its own, but with each square of the grid, my world became real.
Except now, the colors were out of place in horizontal lines. Some shifted to the right. Some the left. The world was… break… ing...
I turned to Momma Bossbear–!
I turned to.
My shocker–! Momma Bossbear crumpled.
Momma Bossbear sat on her throne.
“What is this?” I thought, suddenly cold–!
“What is happening!?”
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I'm Materia-Blade. I've been a long time fanfiction writer, and have recently decided to toss my hat into the original fiction arena. I love fantasy, sci-fi, and Lit-RPG's and have read hundreds of books from each genre.
My new story Artificial Jelly has released and is currently being pretty well received! Excited for it to hit trending! Thanks to those who support it, and me, and I hope it continues to impress!
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