Out of all the monsters Basil had expected to fight on Halloween, a spaceship mimic wasn’t one of them.
Basil didn’t know whether the Soyuz had been a trap from the start or if the creature had slowly taken over the shuttle like a hermit crab. It didn’t matter: at this point, the Soyuz and the mimic were indistinguishable from one another. The shuttle’s portholes transformed into globulous eyes and its hatch into a fanged mouth. Green slime tentacles surged from under the Soyuz to capture Basil and Plato.
The two barely managed to dodge the surprise attack by taking a step back. The mimic’s tentacles lifted its metal body above the ground, revealing its hideous alien nature. To Basil’s surprise, Monster Insight finally activated to analyze the creature.
Level 20 [Slime/Alien]
Immune: Corrosion, all Ailments.
Resist: Metal, Fire, Earth, Frost, Darkness.
Weak: Slimeslayer, Alienslayer, Light, Water, Wood.
A space mimic (because there’s a space version of everything) that adapted to copy astronaut suits, spaceships, and electric cars. Its key resistances allow it to survive both the void of space and atmospheric reentry, while passive Perks hide its true nature from onlookers. Though toxic, its slime can be refined to make some sweet potions and marmalade.
The creature roared at Basil and Plato with a maw full of sharp fangs. Both fighters raised their weapons, ready to fight for their lives and the honor of their house—
And then Rosemarine squashed the mimic underfoot.
To Basil, it felt like watching a big cat pouncing on a mouse… except the ‘cat’ in question was a giant flower dragon and the ‘mouse’ a slime monster probably less than a fifth of her weight. The ooze exploded into a shower of goo, metal shards and wire-innards. Green blood splattered all across the crater and stained Basil’s clothes.
“I got it, Mister!” Rosemarine chirped happily. Her root-claws were drenched in mimic guts and brain matter. “I got it!”
For a moment, neither Basil nor Plato uttered a word. They simply stared at the thousand pieces and mimic organs splattered all over the ground. Rosemarine wagged her tail, humming a tune to herself.
Plato broke the silence. “Wait, that’s all?”
“What do you mean?” Basil asked.
“Is it over already?” Plato squinted at the mimic’s remains with suspicion. “It isn’t regenerating?”
Basil carefully touched a few slime pieces with the tip of his halberd. Either the mimic was exceptionally good at faking death or even its alien biology had its limits. “I don’t think it will recover.”
“I can devour it, Mister,” Rosemarine suggested. “Just to be sure.”
“Rosemarine, I don’t think eating aliens is good for your health,” Basil replied with a sneer. The mimic’s stench was horrendous. “You don’t know where it has been.”
Plato’s shoulders hunched in sadness. “Uh… good job, Rosemarine. I guess?”
“Thank you,” Rosemarine replied before licking the alien blood off her leaf-scales.
“Don’t tell me you’re disappointed?” Basil asked.
“I feel cheated,” the cat admitted. “With that kind of presentation, I expected more.”
“At three-on-one with a nine level difference, it could only end this way,” Basil pointed out.
“You’ll get yours another time,” Rosemarine said.
“I know, I know, but…” Plato kept looking at the mimic’s remains, as if expecting a second round of battle. “It’s just sad.”
Congratulations! You earned 30,000 EXP (500 for you).
Basil struggled to hide his utter disappointment. A ninety percent experience penalty really limited his leveling options and the mimic’s remains were too damaged for harvesting. At best he could bottle up some of its slime blood. The creature didn’t even drop ghost candies, as it was unrelated to the Halloween event.
“Well, at least they’re avenged.” Basil glanced at the dead astronauts. He stored their remains in the Guild inventory until the party could give them a proper burial. “Well guys, time to clean up shop and join the others.”
Plato glanced at the night sky with a concerned look. “Basil, about that video…”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Plato.” Just looking up at the sun would give Basil chills from now on. “Not yet. Not tonight.”
“Right,” Plato replied with a low voice. Rosemarine swiftly grabbed whatever ghost candies were left from her previous kills in the palm of her root-hand. “Let’s kill monsters. That, I can comprehend. The rest is too big for me.”
Basil couldn’t agree more. He had already struggled to imagine the System’s influence on Earth, but to think the planet wasn’t even in its proper place anymore shook him to his core. And that… that thing holding the planet in the palm of its hand…
A creature at least twice the size of Jupiter. Basil’s mind couldn’t fathom the dimensions involved. That was it. The power of an Overgod.
Basil hadn’t understood what the term involved beforehand, but now he did. The only thing more terrifying than this entity, and the implications of its mere existence, was the idea of someone like Apollyon achieving the same power.
Basil never cared about the race for Overgod, but its true urgency now dawned upon him. He couldn’t allow either the Unity or Apocalypse Force to reach level 100. The consequences would be disastrous, not only for Earth, but the entire cosmos.
And more than anything, Basil couldn’t help but remember how Estrid illustrated her world’s destruction: by taking a stone in the palm of her hand and crushing it utterly. If Earth and moon were indeed within the palm of an Overgod… then her metaphor might have been more literal than Basil imagined.
Now I see why Captain Valentino suggested I sit before watching that video. Basil opened his status screen and prepared to test his Guild’s teleportation magic. He would need to watch it again alongside the camera’s backlog, but not before a good night’s sleep. I wonder if that’s how Job felt when God showed him the vastness of the universe: pitifully small.
Plato had a point. A good monster hunt would help clear his mind. Distract him from his cosmic insignificance.
The teleportation effect was as abrupt as Basil expected it to be. The Soyuz crater vanished in a flash of violet light, and the next thing he knew he was back in Château Muloup’s courtyard alongside Plato.
It was complete and utter chaos.
“Shoot them!” Shellgirl frantically shouted from the ramparts. Ice pearls and arrows flew up in the air, nailing zombie birds and skeletal bugs. Dinosaur screams echoed beyond the castle’s walls. “Shoot them down!”
“I’m trying!” Bugsy roared from atop the ramparts. Flames burst from his mandibles to incinerate a zombie thunderbird. The beast immediately exploded into a shower of candies. “There are too many of them!”
“Eat them!” Ronald snarled as he ate his way through zombies attacking the outer walls. None could scratch his invincible vegetable body, but Basil noticed that some of the monsters appeared to be skeletal versions of Apollyon’s drones “Eat them all!”
“What the hell?” Basil asked as he almost tripped on a corpse. The courtyard’s ground was covered in ghost candies and dead birds. None of them had landed around Vasi, who remained safe inside her magical circle. The witch chanted inside a pentagram formed of burning candles, eyes closed as if to shut out the outside noise. “Is it the Apocalypse Force?”
“Basil!” A rotting goblin zombie leaped off the walls and landed in the courtyard. It raised a dagger. “Do you remember me, Basil?”
Level 5 [Undead/Beast]
Resist: Frost, Darkness.
Weak: Deadslayer, Beastslayer, Light, Fire, Life.
Your table scraps.
“No, I don’t.” Basil frowned at the critter. “Should I?”
“You should, yes!” The goblin opened his mouth to show rows of rotten teeth. “When you cooked me with potatoes and pepper sauce, I looked like this!”
Basil looked down on the goblin with a shrug. “Alright.”
He cut the critter in half with his halberd without fanfare and promptly moved on to the next. Plato joined in the fun by Wind Slashing any dead bird coming his way. And there were many. An entire flock of death fell upon the cat in a wild suicide dive bombing run.
“Begone!” Plato snarled, unleashing wind slashes after wind slashes at the flyers. The cat was facing his worst nightmare: birds unafraid of fighting back. “I’ll hunt you and your entire feathered family!”
“What the hell is going on here?” Basil asked as he unstored his handgun, holding it in one hand and his halberd in the other. He didn’t miss the fact that Vasi’s magical circle had taken on the color of blood, nor the presence of ghostly presences floating around her. Now that he thought of it, her ritual appeared vaguely satanic…
“Boss, do you…” Bugsy cleared his throat in between fire bursts. “Do you remember all the monsters we’ve eaten?”
“No,” Basil replied with a scowl. “Don’t tell me—”
“They, uh…” Bugsy sounded a little ashamed. “They came back, Boss.”
Basil climbed the outer walls and watched the horde beyond.
Hundreds of undead monsters besieged the castle. Zombie goblins drowned in Château Muloup’s moat alongside skeletal dinosaurs and headless chickens. Reborn Apollyon drones and suicidal mummy birds banded into a flock of doom. An ogre ghoul struggled to escape a pit trap as Château Muloup’s defenders nailed him with crossbow bolts.
Rosemarine, who had teleported outside the castle’s walls, fought the mightiest of them: a gigantic, rotting brachiosaurus more than twenty-meters in length. The tropidrake tackled the green-skinned, long-necked dinosaur into the waters of the Etang Noir. Both beasts roared as each of their blows sent waves crashing on the castle’s bridge. The two titans bit into each other under the light of the pumpkin moon, each of them fueled by primal fury.
Level 20 [Reptile/Undead]
Dragon vs dinosaur.
The fight Basil didn’t know he wanted, but that he couldn’t stop watching. Yet he had to. For almost all of these horde’s members were familiar faces.
His party had eaten every last one of them.
“It’s our meals, Boss,” Bugsy said with a sigh. “They came back from the dead for vengeance.”
If there was karma in the situation, Basil missed it completely. “How did they know we moved out?”
The culprit sent him a notification.
Dismaker Labs wishes you a happy apocalypse.
Of course the System would direct all vengeful ghosts on Halloween night. Whoever programmed this System was a humongous dick.
“Okay, perhaps we should cut down on the meat consumption,” Basil said with a frown. His party was clearly a localized extinction event. “But I think I would remember killing a brachiosaurus.”
“That one is on me!” Vasi shouted from the courtyard. “I swear it was an accident!”
Basil looked at her in disbelief. “How can you accidentally kill a prehistoric giraffe?!”
“A traffic accident!” Vasi replied over the cackling noise of magical energies gathering around her. Creepy ghosts moaned around her. “He raised his head when I took a corner and I hit him! You can’t brake quickly with a flying broom, Basil!”
She had committed a hit-and-run on a dinosaur? Basil couldn’t help but stare at the brachiosaurus with pity. For such a noble creature to suffer a deer’s death…
“How long until you’re done?” Basil asked Vasi as he loaded his gun.
“I would say five… four…” Vasi smiled. “Straight to zero!”
A crimson thunderbolt fell upon Vasi’s pentagram after coming out of nowhere. The candles flared with dark flames and a cloud of infernal power swallowed the witch whole. The ghosts floating around her wailed before fading away.
Vasi metamorphosed before Basil’s eyes. Though her transformation wasn’t as drastic as Rosemarine’s or Bugsy’s, she changed a great deal anyway. Her green skin took on a shade of light purple and ram horns formed out of her skull right above the ears. A sinuous, black, forked demonic tail stuck out from under her dress. Her short black hair had lengthened and grown spikier, wilder.
When the smoke dissipated, only burning traces on the ground remained of Vasi’s circle and candles. The witch looked more sensual, more dangerous, and most importantly, brimming with devilish might.
Congratulations! [Changeling] Vasilisa Yaga metamorphosed into a [Night Hag] (Fairy/Demon)! She learned the [Night Terror] Passive Perk, the [Dreamrider] Active Perk, and the [Hasten], [Glamor], and [Shadowspikes] spells! Her existing Perks have also been strengthened.
“It worked!” Vasi grinned ear to ear. Her canines had lengthened, similar to a vampire. “Tier IV at last!”
“Vasi, are you alright?” Basil asked. Her new appearance slightly worried him, both as an Orthodox Christian and a fellow teammate.
“Alright?” Vasi’s hands simmered with magical, violet flames. “I’ve never felt better, Handsome.”
She snapped her fingers in Basil’s direction.
He felt her magic coursing through his veins and empowering him.
[Haste] buff! Dilated time will double your speed for one minute!
“Go get them,” Vasi said. Time seemed to slow down as she spoke, her words stretching on for what seemed like forever.
She didn’t need to tell him twice.
Basil leaped over the rampart and stomped on a mummy thunderbird which had the bad luck of flying too close to him. Both crashed on the ground amidst the undead horde, with the thunderbird serving as an unliving doormat to soften Basil’s landing. The beast dissipated into a shower of ghost candies.
Its zombie kindred flocked around Basil to surround him for all sides. Yet they all seemed so agonizingly slow to him. The world was slow. He could see the dust from his landing fall around him in slow motion.
Basil swung his halberd and tore a path through the undead, swift as the wind. His feet moved faster than Usain Bolt’s ever did. Basil flailed his halberd as he tore through the crowd like a tank through infantry. When he fired his handgun, he could perceive the bullets piercing through the air. Within seconds he had cut a line through the castle’s stone bridge, deftly navigating around the traps his team had set for the intruders.
He wasn’t the only one enjoying the fun. Vasi appeared atop her broomstick and floated above the walls. She cast her spell on Bugsy, Shellgirl…
And finally, she cast it on Rosemarine.
Quick as a snake, the tropidrake bit the Brachiozombie’s neck with her fanged maw, turned around, and tossed it over onto the shore of Château Muloup. The gigantic dinosaur’s fall sent clouds of dust into the air and shook the ground all around the dungeon. Vasi quickly finished the beast by summoning shadowy spikes from the ground. They impaled the beast and tore it apart into a rain of candies.
Vasi’s buff was incredibly powerful… but also just as short-lived. The rush of speed ended as abruptly as it started. To Basil’s senses, it seemed as if time caught up to him. Everything accelerated back to normal speed around him.
But by then, almost all the invaders were already dead—or deader, in this case. Shellgirl and Bugsy bombarded what remained with fast-paced projectiles, and Rosemarine simply had to walk on zombie goblins to finish them off. The difference in level, in buffs, in firepower, was simply too great.
Basil would have loved to say that he struggled for his life, that the battle was well-fought. But that would have been a lie. They came, they killed, and they returned to the castle with pockets full of candies. The end.
“I’ve learned a lesson tonight,” Basil said as his group gathered the candies they earned inside the courtyard. The pile was tall enough to rival the outer wall. “A very important lesson.”
“That we should stop eating sentient beings and become vegetarians?” Bugsy asked anxiously.
“What? No, of course not!” If global warming and the apocalypse couldn’t change Basil’s diet, nothing would. “Next time we eat something, we’ll use their bodies as crafting material before they can rise from the dead. That way they won’t come back to haunt us.”
“Oh, what a relief,” Plato rejoiced. Bugsy chirped in happiness behind him. “I love lessons that don’t involve us changing anything.”
Vasi landed her broomstick in the courtyard. “I think we sent them all running,” she said before elegantly climbing down from her ‘vehicle,’ “I expected more danger from this event, but I suppose we were overleveled for it.”
Basil suspected the rest of the world would have had a significantly harder time. His party was almost level 30, far above the Incursion limit. As odd as it sounded, they were among the world’s top dogs for the moment.
And Basil liked it. After the last few harrowing battles and the crash site’s discovery, it just felt good to bust skulls left and right. He had played through a beat ‘em up game in real life.
Still, Vasi’s new appearance unsettled him. She was as beautiful as ever, but Basil would need time to get used to the demonic features.
Vasi immediately noticed his unease and appeared a little disappointed. “You don’t like my new look?”
“Are you kidding?” Shellgirl glared at Basil. “Look at her! She’s wonderful! She’s beautiful! Don’t you feel your heart burning with lust, you cold-hearted man?!”
“She looks a little too demonic for my taste.” Basil cleared his throat. “I have to ask, Vasi: are you a succubus?”
Vasi laughed. “No, Basil, I don’t come from the below place. My mother was what you could call a hag. The fairy tale kind.”
“I expected more wrinkles.”
“No ancient crone is born old.” Vasi touched her new horns with curiosity. “I admit the ritual allowed me to skip certain… evolutionary steps. I shouldn’t have transformed into a mature night hag until a few centuries passed.”
She locked eyes with Basil. “I can cast a glamor spell if it’s really bothering you.”
“No need,” Basil replied with a shrug. “You’re my friend, I’ll get used to it.”
“Thank you. I appreciate the effort.” Vasi nodded slowly and turned her attention to the candy pile. “What do we do with them?”
“I’m sure an option will present itself shortly,” Basil said. The night was almost over, and since the System started awarding him experience, he assumed no other monster would dare challenge them until dawn.
Quest: The Eye of Brahma, complete! Your party earned 30,000 EXP (5000 for you) and a new video feed has been added to your Logs.
Your party earned 240,000 experience (8000 for you) from the battle. You earned a level (total 30).
A level which Basil immediately applied to his Tamer class. He had the feeling it would be the last one in a long, long while. Anything under level 20 wouldn’t provide experience now.
Level 16 Tamer Stat Gains: +1 STR, +1 AGI, +1 MAG, +1 CHA. You earned 20 HP and 10 SP.
“Oh!” Shellgirl moaned in pleasure. “I feel my assets titillating! Time for a promotion!”
[Clam Mimic] Shellgirl can transform into:
- Gemstone Clam (Aquatic/Elemental). With a shell of precious stones, the Gemstone Clam sacrifices its humanoid brand for increased firepower and defense.
- Mimic Booty (Slime/Aquatic). Half trap, half booty, and 100% mimic, the Mimic Booty walks around the battlefield to boost employees and sabotage the competition.
“Well, the Mimic Booty seems practical,” Basil noted. “But the Gemstone Clam would be better in a fight. I suggest—”
“Mimic Booty!” Shellgirl shouted. “It’ll boost my sales!”
Basil sighed and accepted her choice. Predictable. “As you wish.”
And so, the last of his monsters who had yet to transform joined that exclusive club. When the light of metamorphosis faded away, Shellgirl came out of her shell. Literally. Two legs carried her, alongside a belt of octopus tentacles growing from her waist; small barrels grew at the latter’s tips. The goo making up her body had taken on a shade of dark blue and her greedy eyes were now appropriately golden.
Her shell had also been streamlined. Its surface was now smooth and glowing with the rainbow’s colors. Its cannons had vanished, but it seemed harder than ever.
And most importantly, Shellgirl had legs. Two slimy legs, but legs all the same. No longer would she hop around at a snail’s pace.
Congratulations, [Clam Mimic] Shellgirl metamorphosed into a [Mimic Booty]! She learned the [Slimeshift] passive Perk, and the [Discord Bounty], [Draw Aggro] and [Motivate] Active Perks! Her existing Perks have also been strengthened!
Basil glanced at Shellgirl’s breasts, which had doubled in size. Since he couldn’t fathom why a mammary implant would make her a better fighter, he assumed one of the Trimurti System’s programmers had been a perverted deviant.
I should have known the devs would make her lewder, Basil thought with utter resignation. A lifetime of playing video games had worn down his expectations. At least she’s not a mermaid.
“Shellgirl, you are so beautiful!” Vasi covered her mouth. “You will make many fish blush!”
“Look at the size of these assets!” Shellgirl fondled herself and showcased her voluptuous curves. “You think I could charge customers for touching them?”
Basil didn’t like where this was going. At all.
“I can walk!” Shellgirl grinned and took a step forward. “Vasi, look, I can walk—”
She tripped and fell on the ground with a loud ‘thump’ sound.
Basil and the rest of his Party looked at her in embarrassed silence, except for Plato, who shrugged in sympathy. “First time on two legs, uh?” he asked. “It happened to me too.”
“Shellgirl, are you alright?” Vasi asked with concern.
“I’m okay…” Shellgirl said with a thumbs up and her face still against the ground. “I’ll train for it…”
Like human babies, she had one hell of a learning curve ahead of her.