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"You are not fighting me, Jabberwock," I didn't say. "You are fighting XXI century Earth's technology. Mixed with magic. Also, you are fighting a Dungeon. A smart one, if I may say so."

Without stupid artificial rules to make the game "fair", a Dungeon was free to do what it did best. send in hordes of beasts. While the lasers sent pulses to force Jabberwock to keep the darkness spell and the railguns shoved armor-piercing ammunition into its tentacles, I set out my trap. Because that's what I was. a trap Dungeon. I was the most unfair of them all. Bereft of monsters, all who walked my corridors would find only despair and nasty surprises.

I wasn't the soloist. I wasn't even the conductor of this orchestra. I was the musical producer, who set up the show and then sat back in the sound booth, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Now, to goad the beast into doing what I wanted.

The floating sword slashed from the edge of the darkness spell. sometimes it connected but Jabberwock hadn't screamed yet. Or better, it hadn't used its scream ability. I bet that using that last-ditch debuff put the thing into cooldown. Just like his summon. Go big and go broke, buddy. Learn from me. Quantity has a quality of its own.

A tentacle came out of the darkness to strike at the blade. The sword spun around and slapped the tentacle from behind using the flat of the blade. Three harpoons on rockets shot from behind the ground and struck the tentacle. The engines at the back reeled the cables back, dragging the tentacle. Thinking it would be as easy as with the rovers, Jabberwock pushed.

I know how strong you are, buddy. I learned a lot about you during our last bout. And these cables you are trying to pull? They are anchored in twenty feet of Dungeon walls, this time.

Another tentacle came to try and free the first one. Another three harpoons caught that one. You may have hundreds of tentacles but I have thousands of these. And much more should the need arise. Two other tentacles came. Both were harpooned but one was bisected by the sword. Jabberwock screamed. No debuff.

The very, very sharp sword. All my creations are infinitely disposable, recyclable, and repairable. I didn't need to worry about chipping the sword. Let it break, for all I care. But let me cut the damn tentacles too. The fast motors reeled the steel cable with power enough to counter the pull of the muscular appendages. But the severed tentacle? it shot away from Jabberwock, flying through the air.

No tentacles came to aid that appendage. Once it was out of the influence of the World Boss' aura, it vanished into nothingness. I earned no Resources from Infernale flesh. These harpoons receded entirely and the trap rearmed.

Ranger Ork ß dashed around the mass of darkness. I did two laps around the beast from a safe distance, preparing for the first incursion. If I couldn't send monsters into the darkness, I would do the next best thing.

The floating sword slashed the other three tentacles, leading them to the same fate. That's four. I'll keep a tally now. The sword was chipped, dented, and cracked. It flung itself into the air. I absorbed the metal and Replicated a new weapon in mere seconds. No tentacles came out. I could sense its fear (no, I couldn't). I found our weakness, Jabberwock. How did Marshall's father manage to cut a tentacle if he was but a mere (augmented) human? With Perks and Skills related to cutting things, obviously. But if you take away Jabberwock's size, what is it?

A giant squid-dragon. And right now, Jabberwock had lost its summoning ability, its MP to keep casting spells, and its size was somewhat neutralized. What could it do but huddle in comfortable darkness? Hope I wouldn't go inside?

I hadn't so far, right?

Fifteen hundred harpoons fired at once. Many missed, but enough sank into its flesh to matter.

Jabberwock screamed in rage.

In Soviet Russia, the trap triggers you.

Think about it.

The cables became taut. A few snapped, and others ripped the flesh away. But more than a dozen tentacles came out of the darkness. Some were cut off by the lasers, piloted by Dungeon Automation-Chan. A few were cut by the blade. Ten tentacles vanished. The upside of devouring Infernali flesh, which was worth nothing, was that it cost none of my Materialization speed bandwidth. Or an amount so small it was negligible.

The harpoons reeled back. A couple hundred were still stuck in the monster, a tug of war between it and the resilience of my traps. I repaired the damaged ones or just replaced them outright.

I am your Ahab, beast.

But you are the one who's swimming in dangerous waters.

Fifteen hundred harpoons fired at once. Many missed, but enough sank into its flesh to matter. If it works, it works.

 

*


*

 

This went on for hours. My tentacle tally was at eighty-seven. I had hundreds of cables latched to Jabberwock's flesh. Immobile. What did they catch? How was it resisting the pull of the electrical motors? Railgun shells would sometimes fly past the center of the darkness and exit the other side. Pulses from the lasers were now penetrating the darkness slightly. Dispelling some of it. I made the animated sword fly deeper into the darkness. Some blind slashes caught flesh. Never one of the cables, I knew where they were even from this far away by extrapolating the insertion vectors.

A single missile dropped from above, straight at the center of the darkness. Jabberwock screeched in surprise but couldn't do anything about it. I had it pinned down. The explosion sent a shower of gore out of the darkness. A shield appeared above the darkness. Why put it outside? Was it some constraint?

A few laser cannons started to heat up the shield. Another missile spawned upside down two miles above the boss and dropped. My impactor wrecking ball tactic wouldn't work here. It would be like trying to kill a healthy adult man by tossing beach balls at him. The shield broke but stopped the missile. Another shield didn't follow. I shot more harpoons. No tentacles were pulled out. I had a pretty good idea of what was happening there. But I couldn't see inside the darkness, and Jabberwock knew that. I was more than a mile away from it, after all. Feeling safe there already, buddy?

Domain Beacon.

The World Boss had wrapped its tentacles on other tentacles like a person would clasp each of their wrists in the other hand to prevent their arms from being pulled apart. I had a tentacle Popsicle all wrapped up, loops of tentacle being pulled away by the harpoons.

Time to give Jabberwock the French Revolution treatment. A massive guillotine blade appeared above but a bit to the side of the mass. The animated sword clattered as I relinquished control. Swapped control. Then I brought the blade down. It was three hundred feet wide and as sharp as a hooker's tongue. I meant the speech, not the... forget it.

It slashed down the tentacles like an Anatomy display. Several dozen bits of the monster were reeled away. Other bits fell down to the side. The blade sank fifty feet into the soft crater dirt.

Go ahead, buddy. I know you are hungry. Look, there's Kaiju tentacle there to be had.

What? You are not going to take a bite? Are you afraid of exposing one of your two remaining heads and getting harpooned to hell?

You got me! Tehe! Pero!

Robotic rovers appeared and rushed on six wheels. If one looked at them and said, "Hey, Joseph, look at those fancy metal robots there, don't they remember those NASA used on the Mars mission?" they would be completely right. NASA's rover design was way better than mine. More stable, and better suited for rough terrain.

These rovers entered the darkness and guided by me, they collected tissue samples. Their wheels sometimes got stuck in the blood-caked mud but they could be harpooned back to safety and recycled.

The guillotine blade was slammed out and down. Another blade dropped on the other side, earning me more biomass. Releasing the harpoons for the next round. I saw a tentacle bit sliding out of the others. Jabberwock was eating, the pieces of severed tentacles that remained tangled with the others. Naughty beast.

But despite the muscular action to close the blood vessels, Jabberwock was bleeding hundreds of gallons every minute. Another thing I noticed, it didn't recycle its blood. But it had blood so it must have some function.

The third blade dropped. Then the fourth. I squared the problem. The tentacles held firmly to one another. Rinse, repeat. Jabberwock became a skyscraper of cut flesh. Its width was compromised. More than half its biomass (by post-crater measurements) had been stolen by me. If it reconstructed itself, Jabberwock would be only three hundred feet tall now.

I created a sheet of metal, one millimeter thick by three hundred feet long and twenty feet wide. It had a handle and a cross-guard so I think it counted as a sword. Before it could deform, I infused it with Mana to become Dungeon Walls. I had a Perk from Wayfaring Dungeon that allowed me to create mobile Dungeon Walls. Why not abuse it. Nobody ever said a Dungeon wall couldn't be a trap. Case in point, squeezing wall traps. But those weren't really Dungeon Walls. At least not reinforced to the point of stupid.

Grasping the sword in Ranger Ork ß's hands, I stared at the monster. I ignited my jump jets and pushed all thrust forward. Like the Super Sentai giant robots, Ranger Ork ß dashed horizontally along the ruined landscape, down the crater, making Physics-Chan cry in outrage. I didn't find how to make the blade shine. Oh, a project for later.

I slashed the monster with the impossibly thin, impossibly hard blade. Impossibly light for its size too.

If Jabberwock wouldn't come to my Dungeon, I took the Dungeon to him.

In Soviet Russia, the dungeon delves you.

Finishing my ten-second flight on the other side, Ranger Ork ß bent its knees and dabbed. With the sword held in the extended arm. How's that for a dramatic pose? My Perk activated. Double damage, bitch.

Behind me, like every good Kaiju, Jabberwock exploded into colorful fireworks. Don't ask me why. It just did. I didn't look (with WHAT EYES) behind me. Cool guys don't look at explosions.

 

> For killing level 1,000 World Boss "Jabberwock" in a Raid Party, you gained 42,000 Experience points.

> You achieved a great feat! While your raid technically killed a World Boss, the others were just leeching Experience! You are the MVP! Name your reward.

 

"The entire GitHub database, all repositories, in my code library."

 

> You got it, boss. Say, will you plant the seed?

 

What?

 

> Will you? Wink emoji, wink emoji.

 

Dude, can you read my mind? Of course, you do, I doubt you shitty aliens wouldn't add spyware to your System. Yes, I'll plant that seed. You have my oath.

 

> Your Quest has been amended. Plant the seed in 1 year or you die.

> 28 million public repositories added to your Algorithm Encyclopedia.

 

Erm... thank you. But fuck you too.

 

*


*

 

Jabberwock was gone. Dead. Kaput. Muerto. Kyrie Eleison. We... we could rebuild the city. Rebuild the Dungeon. And I was contractually obligated to make the city anew.

Ranger Ork ß walked to the mountain of burnt flesh. I absorbed everything but the magic stone. Jabberwock's magic stone was a roughly spherical multifaceted purple gem with veins of a darker purple running inside. It was also thirty feet wide. It must be worth... millions of Dungeon Mana. Ranger Ork ß grabbed it with both hands and raised it above its head.

Then I walked back to the convoy, which was still going on its preprogrammed route of circling the crater, where 165,000 people cheered and cried. They were free from this threat.

Marshall was weeping, leaning on his aide-de-camp. "You did it!" He mumbled. "You did it!"

Ranger Ork ß jumped on the roof of the first wagon. Then I created a pedestal and put the magic stone there, on display, two hundred feet from the ground, for all to see.

The Mecha crossed its arms next to the glowing purple crystal and rode the humongous train full of freed, cheering people into the sunset.

The end.

 

*


*

 

But of course fucking no! Stay tuned for the next episode of... Play the outro. I'm gonna take a break to... drink orange juice (no mouth, throat, or... you got the gist of it).

 

A Dungeon Core with a mission in mind

Ranger Ork ß, its robot they'll find

With power and strength, it'll take on the fight

Defending the world... day and night!

 

[chorus]

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate force

With the apple at the helm, it'll stay on course

Their power will soar, as they save the day

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate way

 

With weapons and tech, they're ready to go

Against the dark forces, crawling so slow

With railguns and lasers, they'll lead the way

Ranger Ork ß will save the day

 

In the face of danger, never back down

Against Ranger Ork ß, they'll wear a frown

With every step, the apple takes control

Ranger Ork ß will save us all

 

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate force

With the apple at the helm, it'll stay on course

Their power will soar, as they save the day

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate way

 

An enemy so huge it defies reason

Ranger Ork ß, the Earth's liaison...

[A capella]

Who shall stand against the inexorable Jabberwock?

Only the mighty giant Mecha, Ranger Ork!

 

[Energetic Chorus with choir]

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate force

With the apple at the helm, it'll stay on course

Their power will soar, as they save the day

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate way

 

[Epic guitar solo]

 

Their cables are unbreakable, sword hits true

With Ranger Ork ß, they'll see it through

With every challenge, they'll rise above

Ranger Ork ß will lead the way to love

 

They'll fight for what's right, they'll never falter

With Ranger Ork ß, they'll always alter

At their destiny, they'll charge with speed

Ranger Ork ß will bring us the Exp!

 

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate force

With the apple at the helm, it'll stay on course

Their power will soar, as they save the day

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate way

 

[Slow tempo]

Ranger Ork ß, the legend will live on

With the apple at the helm, the future is strong

Together they'll fight, and the world will see

Ranger Ork ß, the ultimate destiny.

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About the author

MDW

Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.

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