Chapter Twenty Seven – A Horrible Plan
I raced through the woods and caught up with them quickly. I had run madly the previous night and hardly remembered just how far away Dungeon Home actually was from Shady Wood Copse.
It was far enough for me to catch up and get ahead of them, anyway. They weren’t walking very fast, and I found that if I tried hard, I could easily run through the trees and underbrush without making much noise. Probably a result of my high dexterity stat, now that I had seen it. I was attributing the speed at which I was adapting to this body to that too, and considered putting those “Unspent Stat Points” I had into dexterity. Something about doing that bothered me though and I decided against it, instead just leaving them alone.
The five invaders were still bickering but every minute brought them closer and closer to Dungeon Home. Closer to killing Bugbear again. It was frustrating how lighthearted they all sounded when I had to hurriedly think of anything I could use to hurt them. This would be so much easier in my… old… body.
The inklings of a plan began to form as I recalled what Iron and Amy had told me about myself. I was an NPC. NPCs were quest givers. Quests rewarded experience when completed, and Adventurers and Invaders alike both loved experience. That’s what gave them the level ups with the loud trumpets that they craved so much.
They had also implied that quests could give new bodies, like my own… character? Was that what they had called it?
I darted ahead out of sight of the group of players, hoping that they were… dumb enough to believe this stupid, horrible lie that was definitely going to get me killed.
The sun was shining down on the woods, casting rays of light through the thin canopy above. The late afternoon was beautiful. A gorgeous thirtieth cycle. Crickets chirped in the distance, and I idly wondered what a cricket was as I ran. My mind filled with inane thoughts… anything to distract myself from the idiocy of this plan.
Once I was sufficiently far ahead of them, and pretty sure I hadn’t been noticed by any of them, I stopped and began to prepare as best I could. What that amounted to was basically looking through my bag, realizing there was nothing of value to help me there, and wishing I had so much as a sword.
I took on a bearing of regal poise. Elegance. Something that would look majestic, shining in the afternoon sun, and began to walk slowly through the woods in a direct path towards the slow-moving party of Invaders.
They approached all too soon, spotting me quickly as I walked at a slow steady pace towards them.
‘Oh god they’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me!’ I thought frantically.
One of them whistled, and accompanied the sound with a leer that made me uncomfortable.
“Well, who is this! Boldy, you didn’t tell us anything about a hidden race living out here!” Bald Fist cried.
“I… didn’t know there was one!” Half Bold replied, staring at me just as stunned as the others.
“She’s beautiful!” said the healer. I preened inwardly but let none of that show on my face, waiting for them to approach me, rather than the other way around.
“Well! What’s your name?” the healer asked, running up to approach me, heedless of the danger I might present. The only one who didn’t seem enthralled by my appearance was the archer girl. Well. Four out of five wasn’t bad.
My first interaction with Amy and Iron had involved them admiring me, not attacking me. As far as I could tell, invaders admired other invaders if they looked strange enough and I didn’t look like any other invader I’d seen.
“I… am a Faeling,” I said, careful to leave out the Jelly part. Half Bold might recognize it. Also, shit shit, a name!? “My name… is… Amy. And who are you, adventurers?”
I suspected they would prefer to be called adventurers to their faces.
“Something about this seems fishy,” Half Bold said warily as the others approached in a group.
I cursed inwardly.
“I’m Bradlicus015!” Bald Fist said before slapping Half Bold on the back, jostling him. “We’re here to help Boldy here reclaim a stolen horn and maybe capture an epic mob! What about you? What brings you here?”
“I… have a quest!” I squeaked. “Those who complete this quest may be rewarded with the ability to… switch races, and become a Faeling as I am!”
‘Buy it, buy it, buy it, oh please buy it!’ I thought furiously.
“I’ve been here loads of times, and I’ve never seen you before. Where did you come from?” Half Bold asked, staring at me in suspicion.
I winced, scrambling to come up with a lie. “I… apologize, adventurer. My kind may only appear during the thirtieth cycle. I wish to spread word of my kind to the greater world! But as full Faekin may only materialize in this world during the thirtieth cycle, word of us remains hidden. Only brave adventurers like you, once belonging to other races, could remain permanently in this world! Would you like to become as I am?”
There! That sounded sufficiently questy, right?
“Holy shit, is this for real!?”
“That… seems way too easy.”
“I’ve heard of hidden classes but the only hidden race out there that I’ve heard of is Werewolf!”
“You think we might’ve been the first to discover this!?”
“Oh my god, I love this game.”
Apparently they believed me. Most of them. Dull Beauty hadn’t said a word.
Annoyingly, despite all the cacophony of words that erupted, mostly to each other as if I wasn’t even here, none of them actually spoke to me in affirmation. I decided that an En Pee See would follow their instinct and simply remain quiet, waiting for an adventurer to accept their offer, and did so.
“Fuck it, I’m doing it,” the healer said, actually jumping up and down with excitement.
“Yeah, me too!” Pointy Hat said right on top. “What do we have to do?”
“Wonderful, adventurers! But it is not so easy as a simple touch of the hand. Prove yourselves worthy of the trickery of the fae,” I intoned gravely.
Traditional Fae were supposed to be tricksome. My knowledge told me so.
“Only two shall receive my gift. And only after the rest lie dead. Choose wisely.”
They all blinked. Then looked between each other.
Suddenly an older voice, but one that sounded a lot like Miss Tutorial, echoed through the woods: “Bald Fist has dissolved his party.”
“Son of a… I’m a healer! Someone party with me! Aghhh!” the healer screamed as he ducked, not quite managing to dodge a sudden punch from Bald Fist and tumbling to the ground.
“Sorry Healz! I ain’t missing out on unlocking a race change!”
“She’s lying! It isn’t a new race, she’s the friggin Jellyf– waggghh!” Half Bold screeched as he was immolated by a fireball that Pointy Hat seemed to have been holding at the ready. He screamed in pain and I almost let a grin slip onto my face.
“You and me, Bradlicus?” the mage asked with a grin, holding up a huge staff that seemed to appear from nowhere, a gem at the end glowing with a menacing light.
“Look at your freaking names!” Half Bold shouted. “It’s just like I told–!”
He cut off dodging another fireball from the mage before holding up his middle finger strangely. The fireball slammed into a tree and charred it, but didn’t catch, unfortunately. If the trees lit on fire I could hide safely within them.
“Fools,” said the archer as she backed away. Meanwhile, Half Bold had already scrambled for the safety of the trees, his body burnt but not at all dead.
“Get Bellcandy! I’ll take Zephyr-Bird down!” Pointy Hat shouted with glee as he began casting towards the archer.
Had her name been Zephyr Bird? I honestly felt a bit sad about renaming her. That name sounded cool, but Dull Beauty fit her better.
Bald Fist turned on the healer, who I now assumed was named Bellcandy, and lifted a menacing foot to stomp on the downed healer. He jumped back suddenly, barely dodging an arrow that would’ve skewered him.
“I would take your aid against these idiots,” Dull Beauty called out to the healer before rolling out of the way of a bolt of fire with grace that reminded me of Red Thorn.
All in all, this could not have gone better.
As they began to fight in earnest, lines being drawn in the sand between the four opponents, I quietly began to slide behind the nearest tree.
“And where do you think you’re going, Gell the Jellyfae?” demanded a singed yet grinning Halfling Beastmaster as he pitched one of those spring-loaded nets in one hand casually and held a horn in the other.
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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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