Breaker of Skulls (LitRPG)

by

HereBeTreasure

Chapter 4 – Gangsters and Bitches run the tutorial

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“Hey, are you thinking about taking on the HARD challenge?” Marcello asked for the fifteenth time.

This time, the white-collar worker archer didn’t even respond. He just looked at Marcello as if he was crazy, then passed him by.

Marcello let out a small laugh. He knew that the 90% survival rate EASY challenge would be a hell of a lot more popular than the 50% survival rate HARD challenge that mutilated the only person who went in and returned so far, so this was to be expected. Instead of walking around asking more random people if they wanted to take on the same challenge that caused someone to lose a hand in less than a minute, he decided to head over to the HARD door and hang around there.

Between the entrances to the two doors was the corpse of the dead preacher, his blood staining the floor. Nobody dared to move the body or clean up the mess, and so they just left a respectful amount of space around the body. Marcello walked briskly to the right of the body, slightly unnerved by the presence of an actual dead body but otherwise unfazed. Now was not the time to be shocked over a dead body.

He glanced at the two doors and the players congregating around them. The crowd around the EASY white door was huge, looking like a packed supermarket full of shoppers desperately looking for last minute nachos and chicken wings on game day. In comparison, the crowd around the HARD black door was virtually nonexistent. The few stragglers waiting outside the black door felt like a couple of seedy kids hanging outside a liquor store, waiting for their friend with the fake I.D. to come back with the alcohol.

Seedy was really the most fitting description for the crowd that gathered around the HARD room. Marcello focused on the most noticeable one first.

The gangster with short, bleached blonde hair and piercings on his face was leaning on the wall right next to the door. Just like Agnis, he had multiple tattoos across his body and neck, but he was much skinnier than that hulk and likely in his mid twenties. A bow slung over his shoulder casually denoted that he was an archer. There were several jewelry chains dangling around his neck.

“What’re you staring at, huh?” barked the blonde gangster at Marcello.

Marcello replied with unwavering eye contact. “I’m staring at whatever I want. Got a problem with that?”

Unexpectedly, the bleached haired gangster cracked a smile. “Now that’s a good reply.” But his next movement alerted Marcello. The gangster started rolling up his right sleeve, and Marcello’s hand twitched towards his dagger.

Before any further escalation could occur, the tense atmosphere was defused when a middle aged businessman standing to the right of the black door cleared his throat. Both Marcello and the blonde gangster turned to look at him in a who-the-fuck-are-you? kind of manner. With sleek combed brown hair, a pair of thick frame glasses, and a clean shaven face, it was clear that he worked in some kind of corporate environment before this whole mess.

“Boys, boys, there’s no need to fight,” said the businessman with a calm but authoritative voice. He had the vibe of a responsible albeit greedy boss at a corporate office, at least to Marcello. “The name’s Michael.”

Michael’s brief introduction was followed by a slight pause, as if waiting for Marcello and the gangster to introduce themselves as well. When he realized that he would only be met with additional silence and glares, the businessman hurried on to his main point. “Hey, look, we’re all here for the same thing, right? We want to challenge the black room. And just look around, how many other people do you think are going to attempt the black room challenge? Doesn’t seem like anyone besides us. So we’re going to need all the manpower we can get.”

It was true. There were only seven people standing near the door before Marcello arrived, and with the addition of him, the number was only eight. Not enough for a full party.

“If you two go off and kill each other, it just reduces the remaining party to six,” the combed hair manager called Michael finished off.

The blonde gangster smirked. “Relax old man, it’s not like I was actually going to attack our tall friend here.”

Marcello returned the words with a big grin. “We were just having a friendly chat, that’s all.”

He did not feel the slightest bit intimidated by the gangster. After all, when it came to stature, Marcello did not lack anything. He could hold his own in a fight. And most importantly, he saw that the gangster was looking for a fist fight out of his old gangster habits from back on earth, but Marcello already had the intention to draw a blade from the very first sign of aggression.

Looking at Michael again who the blonde gangster was currently addressing, he saw that the businessman wore dark robes over his suit and had a staff strapped to his back. If white robes indicated a healer, then dark robes were a clear sign that the businessman was a mage.

“Haha… hahahahaHa!” a female voice laughed. “Such a beautiful, irresistible hot young girl here and you men are just staring at each other, completely ignoring her. What, are you all gay?”

The speaker was an attractive black haired highschool girl in school uniform, complete with a short plaid skirt pulled up well above her knees, and a white top with the first two buttons undone. Her sleek black hair and bangs were accentuated by long eyelashes, as well as flashy earrings and long painted nails. She had a haughty expression on her face.

Wait a second… Marcello suddenly realized that there was something wrong with this picture.

“Why are you in regular clothing? And where did your equipment go?” Marcello asked, truly curious. She didn’t have a single piece of armor on her, and there were no indications about her class.

“Tch,” the girl sneered as she crossed her arms, looking a bit offended by the question. “That’s your first question when you look at me? Not if I want to come back home with you tonight?”

“Look, I’m just trying to be reasonable here...” Marcello replied, before deciding to add a little bit of spice to his response. “And plus, you’re in highschool. You’re way too young.”

The girl seemed a lot more receptive to that reply, her eyes laughing at him. “Well, to answer your first question, I put all my equipment in my inventory. All that stuff is just kind of annoying.”

“Second, I’m a senior and my birthday is in may. So... I already turned eighteen a month and a half ago.”

She giggled as her right hand went to her skirt, and she pulled up the corner ever so slowly, just a millimeter before stopping.

“Do you wanna touch me?” she asked in a soft voice to Marcello, then winked and tilted her head, her bangs swaying in front of her face. She pinched her skirt and pulled it up even more for a brief moment, before setting it back down and giggling at his stunned wordless expression.

Looking on at this absurd conversation in broad daylight, the blonde gangster shook his head in awe. “Damn, girl, you’re even more fucked up than me,” he muttered, loud enough for her to hear.

Marcello had to agree. Her words and actions seemed like some kind of taunt towards them, or even him specifically, and although he had to admit that her face and body were indeed very attractive, the whole air she was putting on was either some kind of elaborate exhibitionist display or she was straight up some brand of mentally ill.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t such a surprise that the players gathered around the HARD door with a 50% survival rate were far more likely to be crazy in some capacity or another.

Marcello took a glance back at the crowd in front of the white room. Overall, the people there seemed to be a lot more normal and diverse. There were timid people, old folk, social chatterboxes, responsible adults, the list went on. A few of them cast worried glances at the black room gang, although the archer girl that accidentally locked eyes with Marcello quickly broke eye contact and looked down, ashamed to have been caught checking out who exactly were the eight insane people who elected to take on the 50% survival rate room.

Yep. All the insane people were here. And the most insane one wasn’t even the suspicious blonde gangster, it was the highschool girl with bangs who was now happily humming to herself while playing with her hair.

Marcello sighed, feeling like he should at least speak his mind. “You know you really shouldn’t be trying to taunt guys like this. And seriously, I get that you’re eighteen now but you really shouldn’t be asking strangers to touch you. They might actually take up your offer..”

The highschool girl with bangs stopped humming as she raised her eyebrow. She spoke, her tone different now. “You think I don’t know that? I just wanted to see if you guys were creeps or not. If you actually came closer, I’d kick you in the balls.”

And with that said, she smiled again, maintaining a pretty face despite the hint of venom in her mockingly cheery voice. “I’ve never let any man touch me. If they do, I’ll rip them into shreds.” And on that note, she started humming again.

In a strange turn of events, Marcello turned to look at the blonde gangster, who looked right back at him and made a weird motion with his hand. The hand sign’s meaning was obvious– this bitch is batshit crazy.

After that, the rest of the people waiting around the black room introduced themselves. Including Marcello, there were eight people willing to try out the fifty percent survival rate black room challenge. He wasn’t sure about everyone’s exact motivation for their decision, but after that colorful discussion with the highschool girl he wasn’t sure if he wanted to dig too deep into anyone else’s motivation.

He learned that the highschool girl’s name was Emma, the businessman with thick rim glasses’s name was Michael as he mentioned before, and that the blonde gangster’s name was Trojan. The gangster did not seem to be very comfortable sharing his name, but after a bit of goading from Emma he finally gave in.

Marcello didn’t comment, but Emma had to butt in like usual.

“Pfft… Trojan, like the condom?” she scoffed with a tear in her eye from chuckling.

Honestly, Marcello had the same thought but he didn’t want to say it out loud. The name Trojan had definitely fallen out of popularity within recent history due to its association with a certain latex condom brand.

“Yeah, my name is Trojan like the condom,” the blonde gangster answered with a flustered look on his face. “My parents weren’t exactly the best parents, alright? Rough childhood and all. They probably thought it was a good idea to name me Trojan when they were high one day.”

“Oooh… that explains a lot,” Emma replied. “Poor baby.”

Marcello was speechless at how forward Emma was. It was like she was speaking exactly what he was thinking in his private thoughts, except she blabbed it out for everyone to hear without any sign of a filter.

“Yeah, yeah. So now you get it. You can laugh if you want, but it’s kind of embarrassing for me to admit my name. I ended up sticking with it as a last pay of respect to my folks, but it’s not like I enjoy being named after latex.”

Emma walked over and patted him in the head, standing on her tip-toes. “There, there.” She paused for a moment to think with a finger on her lip, then continued. “In the Odyssey and the Aenid, the Trojan horse was originally used to break into the city of Troy. The people of Troy were called Trojans, so it’s basically the same thing. So why don’t we call you Troy?”

Marcello was taken aback by her knowledge of Homer and Virgil. Maybe this girl wasn’t the ditzy crazy bitch he first took her to be? No… He groaned, realizing that the alternative was way worse. She was a smart crazy bitch who enjoyed pretending to be ditzy.

“That’s not half bad,” the blonde gangster said with a grin. “New world, new me. You guys can call me Troy from now on.”

“Alright, daddy Troy,” Emma replied teasingly.

After a bit more jesting, the other four people introduced themselves.

A blonde woman in her mid thirties introduced herself as Sarah, a healer. Next was a construction worker called Jason, a warrior. The third person was another warrior, professional swimmer Zack. And the fourth was a timid shorter man named Nolan, an archer. Oh, and Emma was a mage.

Marcello was not surprised to see a construction worker and a pro swimmer show up to the black door challenge, since they were physically powerful individuals who had chosen a physical class. Blondielocks Troy and ditzy bitch Emma needed no explanation as to why they were here, and Michael seemed to be an ambitious man which explained his decision to go for the more difficult challenge.

As for Sarah and Nolan, he honestly had no idea. Maybe they had the same line of thought as him.

In all, that made for two warriors, one thief, two mages, two archers, and one healer. It felt like a normal distribution of classes, although Marcello noted that having a normal distribution for such an abnormal challenge was abnormal in and of itself. A distribution of eight warriors and nothing else would probably be a lot more expected when you factored in the risk-seeking personality types most likely to tackle the black door.

Anyway, he wasn’t about to complain about a turn of good fortune. Maybe they could all end up surviving the challenge if they worked together with their great class distribution.

“You guys ready?” Marcello asked the rest of the gang.

“Yeah.”

“Hell yeah!” “

“Let’s do this.”

“I-I’m ready!”

With that, Marcello opened the ominous black door and swallowed hard, thinking of the bloodied corpse of the priest just a few yards away from them. And then there was that poor kid, kicked into here by Agnis for no reason at all.

That fifty percent survival rate sure as hell felt all the more real as he looked at the pitch blackness that lay ahead.

Marcello looked back over his shoulder. A steady stream of players were already funneling through the white door. Meanwhile, Agnis and his red haired bitch were still waiting in the back, observing.

And of course, there were his new teammates right behind him. A sharp poke brought him back to his senses.

“Will you hurry up already!” Emma said.

“Alright, alright,” Marcello replied. Facing towards the darkness once more, he took a step forward into the difficult trial room. A step closer to death, as the darkness enveloped him.

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HereBeTreasure

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