Level 60.

Basil’s hands tightened on his halberd’s shaft. He had expected some challenge from the Christmas event, but nothing like this. The boss was the same level as Apollyon; the creature who had single-handedly laid waste to Paris and survived a nuke to the face.

Krampus didn’t appear as intimidating as the Horseman of Famine and the Bohens had grown far stronger since the battle for France… but he was not to be underestimated either.

“Krampus?” Vasi’s eyes widened in shock and, much to Basil’s confusion, recognition. “The Krampus? From the Winter Kingdoms?”

Krampus squinted at the witch in annoyance. “Just my luck,” he grumbled. “One of Baba’s brats!”

“Vasi, you know this guy?” Shellgirl asked.

“I do!” Vasi gathered a sphere of fire in her hand, but didn’t throw it at the monster yet. “He’s a Fomor!”

“A what?” Basil asked. Bugsy and Rosemarine readied themselves to attack the boss, but he stopped them with a raised hand. “Let them speak.”

“He’s a fairy lord like my mother!” Vasi gulped. “Their kind is as powerful as the strongest of dragons!”

Krampus squinted at Vasi. He seemed to have taken offense to her comment. “As powerful?”

Basil prepared to strike on a moment’s notice. He had the slight hope Vasi might talk things out, but if this creature was indeed an offworlder, then he had earned his sixty levels the hard way rather than having been spawned with them. That made him infinitely more dangerous than a normal monster.

“Lord Krampus, do you remember me?” Vasi forced herself to smile. “You offered me a wooden bear during last year’s Yule Night.”

“And Krampus hated it!” The boss cracked his whip and took a threatening step forward. “Your hag-mother owes me money!”

So much for talking it out, Basil thought as he leaped into the fray. He closed the gap between Krampus and himself in a single leap. Hasten accelerated his movements until he became a blur of speed. His halberd cut Krampus in the shoulder before the fairy lord could even react.

Basil felt as if he had hit a wall of stone. His halberd, which had sliced demons in half in a single swing, failed to reach Krampus’ bone. It cut through his cloak and the thick hide underneath, only to be stopped by oak-hard flesh.

Damage halved by [Fomor Lifeforce]!

Krampus glared at Basil. By the time the Bohens sprung to action all at once, the boss said a word that sent shivers down everyone’s spine. “Hasten!”

Basil’s eyes widened in shock as the boss’ movements grew more frantic. “Oh, shi–”

Krampus’ whip swirled around his ankle and threw him across the hall before he could even finish his sentence. Basil adjusted himself mid-flight to land vertically, his feet squarely on a stone wall, and then jumped back into the fray.

His allies had moved to attack. Shellgirl and Vasi opened fire at Krampus, the former with ice spheres and the latter with a fireball. The boss shattered and dissipated all their projectiles with his whip with supernatural speed, before dodging Basil’s sneak attack. The Dragonknight’s halberd hit the hall’s ground while Krampus waltzed around the room.

“Rosemarine, pincer attack!” Bugsy shouted. Rosemarine listened by charging at Krampus like an elephant while the volcanipede unleashed a breath of searing flames from the other direction. The tropidrake’s immunity to Fire negated any risk to herself.

Krampus answered the attack by inhaling and exhaling. His breath unleashed a cold blizzard that countered Bugsy’s fire. Then, without skipping a beat, he raised a free hand and stopped Rosemarine dead in her tracks. He grabbed her by a petal when she attempted to bite him, the same way one would grab a kitten by the collar…

And threw her across the room like a ragdoll.

The surreal sight happened so fast that Basil barely had time to duck to the side, as the boss tossed a giant tropidrake around with superhuman strength. Vasi and Shellgirl managed to dodge as well, but Bugsy took Rosemarine to the face.

“Mister, I’m flying!” Rosemarine shouted midflight. She and Bugsy crashed through a wall, shattering stones and windows alike. The blizzard from outside slipped inside the castle, while red dungeon particles immediately appeared to start repairing the damage.

“Holy moly, he’s strong,” Basil whispered in shock as he rose back to his feet. He activated Monster Cure to heal his allies.

“No kidding,” Vasi replied as she cast a spell. “Dark Spikes!”

Black spikes of energy surged from the ground across the hall as snow started to cover it. Krampus didn’t dodge them all. Some of the weapons tore through his clothes and grazed his furry hide without inflicting much damage. Shellgirl also bombarded him with ice spheres that shattered harmlessly on impact.

Basil exploited Krampus’ brief moment of distraction to examine him with Monster Insight. He needed to glean information about his weaknesses.

Krampus, Roaming Yule Boss
Level 60 Elite [Fairy/Demon]
Faction: Yule Night
HP: 6000/6000
Immune: Critical Hits, all Ailments, Frost, Wind.
Resist: Physical, Wood, Earth, Fire, Darkness, Mythic.
Weak: Fairyslayer, Demonslayer, Soul, Corrosion, Light, Lightning.
A fairy lord of the Fomors from Outremonde, who is constantly summoned by Systems across the multiverse during the Christmas season to punish the naughty and reward the nice; a job he has come to hate with a passion over centuries. Reducing him to half-health will send him running and make him somebody else’s problem.

“He’s weak to Corrosion, Light, Lightning, and Soul!” Basil warned his team as he adjusted his plans. “And immune to Frost and Wind!”

“What?” Shellgirl’s expression soured. “But I can only use ice projectiles!”

“Grab a melee weapon,” Basil replied before hitting the ground with his halberd’s shaft. “Runestorm: Lightning.”

Magical runes flared to life and danced around his weapon. The flames surging around its blade turned into shining electrical arcs.

[All for One] spread [Runestorm] to your allies. Their attacks with melee weapons will now inflict [Lightning] damage for five minutes!

Basil charged into the fray while Vasi covered him with fireballs. Shellgirl opened her inventory and materialized a police baton in her hands; one of the many tools gifted to them by the French army.

Krampus saw them coming and counterattacked with his whip. His own Hasten spell—it annoyed Basil that his team no longer had a monopoly on it—allowed him to keep up with his enemies’ movements, but only to a point. Basil cut the whip with his halberd, leaped in the air, and threw an Elemental Orb of Corrosion midway through. Krampus dodged the projectile with a step to the side, only to find himself right in the way of one of Vasi’s fireballs.

While the fairy protected his face from the blast with a hand, Basil activated his Double Jump Perk. He rebounded in the air, positioned himself above Krampus, and hit him in the back with his halberd. The fairy let out a snarl of pain and rage as electricity coursed through his body. The halberd drained both life and magic from the monster.

Supereffective hit! You inflicted 610 [Lightning] damage and drained half as much SP!

Barely six hundred damage? With a supereffective hit? Considering his various attack modifiers, Basil would have expected to do at least twice that amount. He had slain creatures with four-digit Health Points in a single blow before.

“Girls, he has damage reduction of some kind!” Basil warned as Krampus attempted to punch him. He backflipped with his halberd in hand to dodge, the fairy’s fist hitting the ground with enough strength to shake the entire hall.

“Fomors take half damage from all attacks,” Vasi warned. She blasted Krampus with another fireball that barely inflicted any damage, but distracted the fairy enough to let Shellgirl hit him in the groin with her shock baton.

“Give me my gifts!” Shellgirl all but ordered as she tased Krampus in the sorry place. “I made a full list of them!”

Shellgirl’s lack of weapon proficiency meant her melee attacks wouldn’t do much, but they inflicted supereffective damage all the same. If Krampus was bound to leave when reduced to half health, then four or so more blows from Basil’s halberd should end the battle. He raised his weapon and prepared to jump back into the fray.

“Krampus is so tired of you adventurers!” Krampus pointed at Basil and Vasi with his index finger. “Darkest Fear!”

Shadows swirled around Basil, only to harmlessly wash over his armor like raindrops. He smiled in triumph…


Only for it to fade away as Vasi collapsed to her knees. Shadows drained her of her strength until her deep purple skin turned into a sickly shade of pink. The magical flames in her hands turned into harmless smoke.

[Darkest Fear] reduced Vasi’s HP and SP to 1! Assorted ailments negated by [Death’s Banner]!

“Vasi!” Basil shouted in alarm. Worse, Krampus inhaled sharply. “No, no, no!”

Using all his speed and Double Jump, Basil crossed the gap between his girlfriend and himself in a single bound and took her in his arms. He leaped again right as Krampus unleashed a breath of freezing ice, narrowly dodging the attack and carrying Vasi to safety.

“Monster Cure, Monster Cure!” Basil repeated with frantic desperation, a green glow surrounding his girlfriend and healing her. Krampus kept targeting them with his breath, forcing Basil to leap around to avoid being frozen in place. Even a stray hit would be lethal to Vasi in her current state. “Monster Cure!”

“Draw Aggro!” Shellgirl waved her shock baton at Krampus in a desperate bid to distract him. “Hey, ugly! How dare you slack off mid-battle!”

To Basil’s surprise, the taunt worked. Krampus glared at Shellgirl, his bloodshot eyes almost bulging out of his skull. “Slack off?!”

Krampus is immune to [Berserk], but Shellgirl still hurt his feelings!

“Slack off?! Krampus didn’t ask for this job!” The fairy snarled angrily. “Krampus is overworked! Every System summons me for Yule season, without pay nor rest! Nobody appreciates my hard work!”

“That’s just a quitter’s talk!” Shellgirl taunted him, only to pale as Krampus charged at her, horns first. “Uh oh.”

Rather than attempting to run away, Shellgirl activated her Rainmantle Perk and retreated inside her shining shell. Krampus pummeled it with all his strength, to no avail. A layer of healing water coated Shellgirl and healed her wounds as soon as the boss damaged her. It would distract Krampus for a time.

Basil used the brief respite to hide Vasi behind the Christmas tree and kept applying Monster Cure to her. His girlfriend’s skin regained healthy colors, though she breathed as if she had just completed a marathon.

“Are you alright?” Basil asked in concern.

“I’ll live…” Vasi rasped, using the Christmas tree as support to stand up. “But I don’t have any SP left.”

Thankfully, Basil had potions in his inventory. He summoned one and offered it to his girlfriend. “What was that spell?”

“It’s a high-tier spell exclusive to Fomors,” Vasi explained in between sips. “Can’t miss, almost always lethal. But I don’t get it… it should only affect a very specific category of people.”

Since the spell had affected her but not Basil, he assumed Vasi was vulnerable to it. “Okay, stay here at the back, and don’t approach Krampus,” he said. “We’ll take it from here.”

Basil leaped back into battle before his girlfriend could reply. He heard the roars of Rosemarine outside the hall and saw flashes of fire through the snowstorm slipping into the room. The monsters outside had caught up to his allies.

Meanwhile, Krampus had lost patience with his failed attempts at cracking Shellgirl’s shell. “Enough of this!” he snarled before opening his sack. “To the naughty place with you!”

He opened the sack, whose opening grew fangs like a mimic. It immediately swallowed Shellgirl in a single bite, much to Basil’s horror.

Shellgirl has been added to Krampus’ Inventory!

“What?” Basil glared in shock at the notification. “You can’t add living people to an inventory! That’s illegal!”

“Krampus can!” the boss boasted as he turned around to face Basil. He put the sack on his back to free his hands for battle. “Krampus once stored thirty thousand naughty kids in one night. Thirty thousand!”

Gritting his teeth angrily, Basil leaped with his halberd. Using it as a spear rather than an axe, he slammed into Krampus’ chest at high speed. His halberd impaled the fairy deep enough to hit a rib, and hard enough to send both of them stumbling back.

Supereffective hit! 604 [Lightning] damage!

Krampus snarled in rage as they rolled on the ground and through the hole that Rosemarine had left in the wall. They fell on a layer of snow in the courtyard outside. The freezing blizzard slipped into Basil and chilled him to his core, while his halberd’s lightning illuminated the dark night.

There was one Dragonknight Perk Basil didn’t have many opportunities to use before, and he was now close enough to try it. “Dragonbreath!”

Basil exhaled, releasing not fire but a cloud of purple fumes. The corrosive smoke poisoned Krampus’ face, leaving scorch marks and skin rash all over his cheeks.

Supereffective hit! 81 [Corrosion] damage!

The Dragon Breath was weaker than the Elemental Orb, but since it cost no SP Basil could afford to spam it constantly. Why can I see the damage? Basil wondered. It almost never happened before.

Your Intelligence score and [Monster Insight] are sufficiently powerful to see Krampus’ health bar! Investing in your education paid off!

After having been mocked for his low intelligence score for months, the message filled Basil with immense satisfaction.

Krampus gathered his breath and forced Basil to leap off him to avoid being frozen by his blizzard attack. The dragonknight landed on the snowy courtyard before swiftly surveying the area.

The blizzard had buried the vampire castle under a thick layer of white snow. It melted around Bugsy, who had used his Heatriser Perk to coat himself in a layer of steam and flames. The Volcanipede was throwing magma bombs around while surrounded by scorched bones.

His foes were the wendigos Basil had glimpsed previously. From up close, the monsters resembled a scary mix between a man and a deer. Their white fur was streaked with icy leaves embedded into their flesh while their antlers were made of bark branches rather than bone. They screeched with maws full of predatory fangs and glared with red-rimmed eyes.

Basil wondered how they would taste with salt and pepper.

Cooking would have to wait until they won the battle. Basil counted almost a dozen wendigos, half of them struggling with Rosemarine at the other end of the courtyard. The tropidrake was crushing one underfoot while holding another in her maw, but the rest were biting her belly or punching her in the legs. Bugsy had better luck keeping them at bay, but numbers weren’t on their side.

And worst of all, the world appeared to accelerate around Basil. Once moving in slow motion, it returned to normal speed.

Your [Hasten] buff has run out!

I have to beat Krampus fast, Basil thought as he did some legwork and prepared to jump again. The Christmas Boss had gotten back to his feet too. Maybe I can free Shellgirl by ripping his sack open.

Between his assault and those of his allies, the Bohens had removed nearly two-thousand HP from Krampus. A few more hits would finish him off. However, the difference in damage between the halberd-based Lightning attack and the breath-based Corrosion one meant that only the former could end the fight quickly. Without all of Basil’s weapon modifiers, unarmed techniques simply struggled to get past Krampus’ sheer bulk. His Vitality stat must have been through the roof.

“Krampus feels all toasty inside!” Krampus complained. From his slowed movement, his own buff had run out. He glared at Basil, glanced at his allies, and then pointed at the Dragonknight. “Little Hell-pers! Spank that naughty boy!”

Three wendigos heard his call and turned to roar at Basil.

“You won’t escape me, you giant goat!” Basil leaped in the air again, ready to impale Krampus. He never got the chance. A wendigo jumped in the way at high speed and took the hit for his master.

Critical Hit! Supereffective hit!

Basil’s halberd bisected the wendigo in one blow and killed it instantly. At least they were all vulnerable to Lightning, like their master.

The monster’s sacrifice paid off however. Krampus scampered away from Basil to recover, and two wendigos surrounded him from both sides.

“Come on, Rudolf, don’t be shy,” Basil taunted them. He held his halberd with one hand and formed a fire Elemental Orb in the other. “You’re all ending up on the menu tonight!”

The wendigos answered his challenge with a smile, and Basil immediately regretted tempting fate.

“Windspeed,” the two monsters both said with all-too-human voices.

The cold blizzard swirled around the two monsters. Their movements became a blur, their body all but merging with the snow flying around them. Basil cursed as they vanished in a blink faster than his eyes could follow.

The wendigos [Hastened] themselves!

“So that’s how it feels, huh?” Basil complained. Now he understood what his enemies had gone through when the Bohens slaughtered them faster than the eyes could follow.

A wendigo answered by punching him in the face at supersonic speed.

A note from Maxime J. Durand (Void Herald)

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About the author

Maxime J. Durand (Void Herald)

Bio: I'm Maxime Julien Durand ([email protected]), a European warlock living in the distant realm known as France, spending all his time writing tales and forbidden scrolls.

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