The kick landed directly in Robin’s solar plexus, the blow forcing him to step backwards half a meter. The air was driven from his lungs, and he felt his vision go black, motes of light swimming in the blackness. He noticed, almost like he was an observer in his own mind, that the kick had not actually managed to do more than a single point of BODY, but that his PHYSTAM was depleted, and his MENSTAM was draining as well. Huh. I should do something about that…


With a detached whim, Robin activated Delay Response.


Immediately, Robin felt his thoughts clear, the fog evaporating like mist in the sun. He leapt backwards over the railing of the ship, slashing at Tao as he attempted to grab one of Robin’s legs. The handsome Asian man was forced to back up or be cut. He chose to preserve his good health, watching from the railing of the ship as Robin tumbled backwards towards the water.


Ah crap crap crap crapcrapcrap!


Robin hit the surface of the water hard, feeling the impact as if it were a solid surface. Robin saw his BODY decrease, the small, transparent notification blipping away a second or so after it appeared.


Woah. When did that happen? When did it start giving me updates? I wonder if some of my skills have…


Delay Reaction wore off without warning, causing the full effect of a Spartan-Kick delivered by a very strong man to the solar plexus of an off-guard teenager to take effect.


Robin felt his breath driven from him again, his chest constricting too much to take in a new breath. His vision was going black again, and he began to panic, desperate for a breath of air. He saw the lights of the ship above and began frantically clawing for the surface.


A sploosh in the water above him precipitated a change in pressure, and Robin felt both his ears pop right before something smashed into his upper back, cracking the armor and smashing into his shoulder blade. His arm hung limply, jagged bolts of pain ripping through his shoulder to tinge the rest of his body with the overflowing nervous signals.


The blow from above drove him down deeper, farther away from the surface, and Robin saw bubbles floating up from him towards the lights. His vision went dark for a split second, the darkness expanding, thinning into a trail as he watched it, and he realized it was his blood. He closed his eyes for a moment, considering the bubbles that were now tickling his face.


He opened his eyes and was momentarily shocked that the lights had vanished, only realizing that he was sinking into the water, face down, and the bubbles were from whatever he had left, trailing from his mouth.


Heh… It does feel kind of appropriate for the bug to drown, I guess…


Robin sank into a quiet, comforting darkness.


* * * * *


* * * * *


May was sick of this shit.


These pirates were the worst of the worst. May had encountered their type before. They were the exact same type of people that became poachers (the normal kind) - selfish, ruthless, and often entirely motivated by greed, whether it be for money, power, or sex. The fact that the one pirate that had actually spotted her had gotten out a large zip tie and a slap-baton spoke volumes.


No reason to be merciful, no reason to take prisoners. Makes this so much easier.


May removed the knife-blade from the man’s throat, quickly pushing him forward to slump awkwardly against the blood gushing from his throat dropped to the ground, transforming into skittering brown and black spiders as they splashed onto the cheap faux-marble linoleum tile.


She grimaced at the spiders, reaching down to pick up the zip-tie, tucking it into the Ranger’s Pack.


Never know when one of those will be useful.


She hated having to use the stupid Dagger of the Brood. Robin had offered to trade her his somewhat better Dagger of the Bloodbrood for it, but she had refused, following what was purely a gut feeling.


That gut feeling had vanished the first time she had to use the knife instead of the brightly-glowing machete and the spiders had gushed out of the lungs of a pirate.


The building was small, thankfully, and even more to her elation, it was not a dungeon. She had already taken out four pirates just outside the building and another three inside. She had hidden each of the corpses that she had created outside, stuffing three of the former pirates up trees and one under a large, prickly bush. Only one perceptive bastard had spotted her, and he hadn’t made a noise, so she was fairly confident that she was still undetected.


Okay, just a couple doors left. Bathroom first, before that sense of vulnerability fades. May moved decidedly towards the wooden door that was marked with a small plastic sign showing a picture of a male and female stick figure, keeping the class ability that she had acquired at level ten active.


Sense Vulnerability.


As far as her class powers went, despite the amazing mobility, speed, and perception she had gained… this one was the most useful. She had found, with practice, that she could sense not only what vulnerabilities a creature might have, but that she could also sense creatures that were currently in a state of vulnerability.


She could sense someone in the bathroom now. The feeling of vulnerability had not faded, and she quietly opened the door, grateful that it did not squeak. She slid into the room, letting the door close behind her.


The room only had two stalls, one of them a handicap stall, a urinal, and a small sink with a plastic soap dispenser over it.


The door to the handicap stall was the only one closed. May snapped a web to the opposite wall, roughly half a meter from the stall door. The occupant didn’t seem to notice.


May positioned herself into a crouch and then slid down the web using Web Skate, dropping from the web right in front of the door. She heard a startled yell as she was pulling her foot back to kick open the door, but it was too late for the unfortunate pirate that was sitting on the toilet inside.


The door flew open, the bottom hinge ripping from the cheap metal, smashing into the wall and hanging liltingly from the remaining hinge. The terrified pirate dropped the purse he had been rifling through as he stood up, the contents spilling on the bathroom floor.


He almost managed to stand upright completely before the Dagger of the Brood plunged into the top of his head, killing him instantly. May yanked the blade out with considerable force, taking a chunk of the man’s skull with her. She stared at it contemptuously and scraped it off on the pants of the dead pirate.


May gave the rest of the room a brief look-over before returning to the hallway and going to the last remaining door she had not opened yet. She could tell that there was no one in it just by listening, but she still waited and listened again, just in case.


When she was satisfied that the room was empty, she opened the door, peeking inside.


The room was a small storage room, or had been. The shelves looked like they had been ransacked, bits and pieces of office supplies here and there. There was a large fire axe in a glass case on the opposite wall, and that was fairly interesting to May, but what caught and held her attention was the massive barrel of what was marked with symbols that had no real meaning to her, aside from one.


Ammonium nitrate? Isn’t that used to make bombs? Shit. I need to leave NOW before they radio the pirates that were ashore, get nothing in response, and just set this damn thing off.


May was almost to the front door when it exploded.


The force of the explosion flung her from the doorway, and she flew through the air for a small distance before hitting the ground and tumbling. After she came to a painful, rolling stop, she hopped back to her feet, her entire body aching.




May heard the sound of gun fire from the ship and winced.


I guess it was probably too much to ask that the captain had been on shore. I was hoping, though… I was hoping he could make it a little longer without being discovered!


She ran to the shore, sprinting as fast as she could. She heard another pew, and then a moment later, a brief blast of what was clearly semi-automatic weapons fire. She heard three quick shots ring out as she reached the border of the water, snapping a web out and skating it upward immediately.


At the top she launched herself off of the falling pole of web, flinging herself out to meet the open air above the bay. Eight-Eyed Aspect: Sight!


She could see someone who was clearly better dressed than any other pirate she could see. The handsome guy with the blue vest has got to be the captain of the ship. She saw him catch Robin in the stomach or chest, she couldn’t quite tell, stunning him.


For some reason she couldn’t figure out, he jumped backwards off the ship. When he hit the water, he began sluggishly attempting to swim, only redoubling his efforts after a moment, seeming to realize the trouble he had found.


May had almost reached the zenith of her jump when she saw Blue-Vest shoot into the water once, striking Robin in the top of his back.


May blinked at the size of the impact, almost too shocked to carry out her plan.




May activated the Ring of the Spearspark, focusing her willpower onto it, and felt it tighten around her finger almost painfully, the metal growing hotter to the point that she thought it would sear her finger clean of bone.


Suddenly the bay was lit up by the magnificent white-blue light emanating from May, hovering in the sky. Shadows danced on the hills around the water, giants made manifest by the primal energy composing her form.


Tao snapped around to look at her, startled and unsure what he was seeing.


Balls of animate lightning have no mouths, facial features, or even faces. She looked down at the handsome, cursing man, and she smiled anyway, at least in her head.


That’s my target then.


A bolt of lightning slammed into the ornately dressed man, flinging him off of the ship and into the water near where Robin had sank, the severely burned chest framed by the gaping hole in the scaled vest.


May materialized where she hit the pirate, electricity snapping into a human form, still smiling.


“Oh? What is this…”


May bent down and picked up something that was shining on the deck, most likely dropped by the blue-vested pirate when he had gone flying off the ship.


She inspected the tiny pistol for a moment before shrugging and sticking it into her pack.


This is a tiny gun, even for me.


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About the author


Bio: Just read my stories and make wild assumptions, it's more fun that way.

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