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Hilda prepared to kick in the door, but Medvak placed a hand on her shoulder and shook his head. She let him pass and watched with amazement as the bearlike man picked the lock with the alacrity of a pixie. Instead of opening the door, he nimbly removed it from its frame and moved into the room, holding the door like a tower shield. Hilda followed.

The room was surprisingly lavish, almost like a temple during a wedding ceremony. It smelled really nice too. A long purple carpet led from the entrance to an altar shaped like a scaly hand with different dragon heads for fingers. Hundreds of dusty candles of various shapes and sizes littered the floor.

Because most of the room was hidden by the barbarian’s massive frame, Hilda could only see a single kobold. It had alabaster scales and held a crystal staff with a claw-like metal tip. The creature screeched furiously and pointed its weapon at the dwarf.

Instantly, the sturdy paladin slipped and fell up, crushing painfully against the ceiling. The impact knocked the wind out of her and left her dazed and struggling for breath. The kobold giggled and replaced its staff with a small crossbow. Ah well, at least I can see the whole room now...

Another kobold, this one salad green and armed with a black wand the size of a pencil, aimed its weapon at the barbarian. It barked a shrill incantation and a green ray shot forth and hit the door. The wooden surface shimmered for an instant and then scattered like dust in the wind, leaving the barbarian blinking and exposed. Another kobold, this one bright crimson, peeked from behind the altar. It was naked save for a loincloth and held a sturdy wooden staff in both arms. It aimed the staff at the barbarian and cackled. A black ray shot forth and hit the man square in the middle of the chest. He staggered and fell to his knees, suddenly looking old and haggard.

The last kobold, this one sky blue and dressed in an ornate cloak, crawled from the other side of the altar and aimed an elegant ruby wand at the still gasping dwarf. The little monster grinned, exposing a line of jagged teeth… which it then swallowed as a flying hammer made paste from its face. Critical. Nice!

Hilda cried in pain as a small, obsidian-tipped bolt bit through her cuisse and into her thigh. She was so occupied with saving Medvak, she forgot to save herself. The kobold beneath her was loading another bolt into his crossbow while the kobold that zapped the barbarian charged forth, using its staff as a spear.

It aimed for the man’s throat, but Medvak parried the attack with his exposed left forearm. Blood gushed from the wound and the man howled in agony. The kobold viciously yanked the staff, showering itself and the floor with blood, and prepared for another stab. An instant later, the thing disappeared under a sturdy door, wielded by the barbarian like a huge flyswatter. When the door came up, what remained resembled an overturned bowl of spaghetti bolognese.

Meanwhile, the green kobold picked up its fallen comrade’s wand and aimed it at the dwarf. Seeing the fate of its two comrades, it decided to forgo the theatrics in favor of a quick shot. The tip flashed brightly, and the room was filled with sparkling confetti and dancing lights. The world began to ooze and everything went spinning.

Hilda tried to hurl her hammer at the little freak but found that she couldn’t move. Her body was no longer her own. The kobold gently placed the wand on the altar and started walking toward the prone barbarian with a crude obsidian knife dangling from its paw.

A second later Hilda fell to the floor like a chandelier in a bad halfling comedy, landing a few meters from the alabaster kobold. Pain shot through her neck and shoulders like molten lead poured into her veins. A ton of damage and the stunned condition. Crit’d by the damned floor! Now, in addition to the cartoonish display of sights and sounds inflicted by the wand, she also had to contend with a good, old-fashioned concussion.

The creature grinned viciously and replaced its crossbow with a wickedly curved obsidian dagger. Hilda tried to raise her shield, but her body didn’t obey.

Medvak staggered to his feet, cursing in his guttural tongue, and started shambling in the direction of the tiny assassin. He took a few steps in Hilda’s direction before collapsing face forward on the creeping killer. The green kobold stood behind him, its little eyes burning with hatred, the tip of its weapon glistening with blood.

Meanwhile, its light-skinned comrade struggled to crawl from under the human even as the dwarf struggled to break free from her paralysis and stunned condition while simultaneously trying to hold back the encroach of nausea and vertigo from her head injury. If she threw up in this condition, she’d simply drown in her own vomit: hardly a death befitting a knight of the moon.

The green kobold stabbed the barbarian again. Hilda was relieved to see blood gushing from the new wound: it meant that the human was still alive.

Aided by its comrade, the alabaster devil finally managed to free itself from beneath the unconscious human. With a victorious howl, it jumped on the dwarf’s breastplate and opened her visor. Its toothy grin filled her vision as it raised its jagged little obsidian knife over her face.

“Great dungeon master!” it cried in high-pitched Draconic. “I pledge this servant of law and goodness to you! Let her death elevate me!”

With these final words, it plunged the knife with an orgasmic cry. Something green smashed into its side, however, causing it to merely rip the dwarf’s cheek instead of piercing her eye. Hilda didn’t feel a thing, probably on account of her small body having only so much capacity for different kinds of pain and terror. She couldn’t even grunt as she mentally struggled to break the mystical bonds holding her captive. The only thing she managed to do was produce a single tear that left a bloody trail as it crawled down her cheek, escaping from a head with no future. How embarrassing: this isn’t how dwarfs die. Dwarfs die in their bed at the age of 400...

“Two eyes!” the green kobold hissed at its confused comrade, holding two claws in the air. “We pledge together, get strong together!” Hilda would have cried with frustration, but she couldn’t even do that. No. Wait. Was it just her imagination or did her nose just twitch a little?

“Okayyyyyyyyyy!” the alabaster kobold’s assent turned into a descent as Hilda kicked its feet from under it. Not trusting herself to get up, she rolled over the surprised monster and tightened her gauntleted fingers over its pale trachea. The creature tried to struggle, but it could as well have tried to overturn a mountain with a spoon -- the battle sapped most of Hilda’s strength, but her weight was as, um, adequate as ever. The scrawny monster frantically clawed at the paladin’s vambraces and sprayed spittle all over her face. After a few more seconds, there was a wet little pop and it started gurgling blood.

Hilda got up on groggy feet, leaving the thing to complete its suffocation on its own and commenced searching for the last kobold. It was nowhere to be seen.

The sickened, giddy and aching dwarf staggered towards her bleeding and unconscious companion and cast heal wounds on his body while he still had some blood left in him. It wasn’t much, but it would prevent him from bleeding to death. Hilda gently touched her face and winced. She hoped the scar on her face wouldn't be too terrible. The potency of her spells depended on her Charisma score. Besides, she quite liked her face. She needed to cast heal wounds on herself as well, but the words kept getting sucked into a vortex of throbbing agony.

Not sure in her ability to remain standing, the dwarf leaned over the wheezing mountain of flesh that was her ally and closed her eyes in an effort to force the world to stop spinning. Her medallion now informed her that the most precious treasure in the room was a silver cup worth 750 gold pieces. The staves and wands were all single-use items. After being fired once they were nothing more than fancy butt scratchers. The kobolds, being barely first level monsters, were barely worth any experience.

This was truly a shit encounter and I jumped into it like an elf princess into a bad romance, Hilda thought as the wave of nausea and headache turned into a tsunami and carried her away into unconsciousness.

 

Current Loot
Purse (750 gp)
ESP medallion (500 gp)
Silver cup (750 gp)

Progress: 20%

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A note from Urikson

In retrospect, there was no need to break the chapter into two parts. Oh well...

Also, I think I'll add a loot table to each chapter from now on to see how close our poor heroine to her heart's desire. Maybe I'll also add a scoreboard for other, unseen heroes competing for the same prize?


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About the author

Urikson

Bio: I like going to cool places and then making up stuff about them.

Criticism is very welcome! :)

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