“Wait, hold on!” screamed Fizzy. “There’s no such thing as a God of Probability!”
“Masaka!” screamed Joseph.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” apologized Mulder. “I thought we were playing ‘Scream random things that make no sense.’ It’s one of my favorite games, you know.”
“I was doing no such thing!”
“Yes you were. I assure you I’m very much real.”
“Then prove it!” insisted the gnome.
“Try and say my name three times in a row.”
“Tyrone, Jose, Amy. Now wh-”
She froze mid sentence. The gnome was absolutely sure she was saying the name right, but it always came out differently. Even thinking back on it now she was certain she was referring to the same entity, despite that making no logical sense.
“Not convinced! You could still be messing with me! I won’t be fooled by some stupid illusions! I mean, I’ve even never heard of a God of Uncertainty!”
The same oddity seemed to apply to his title, too. She went and called him the ‘Goddess of Chance’ not ‘God of Randomness’ as he introduced himself just moments ago.
Daniel smiled back at her from his brick.
“Just because you haven’t heard of me doesn’t mean I don’t exist. Just like syphilis. Or the brain-sucking aliens from Ulk’Narob. I assure you not only am I real, but I’m perfectly capable of wrecking your shit with barely even a thought if you don’t watch your mouth. Like so.”
Linda snapped her trees, causing the gnome’s head and neck to disappear, leaving behind nothing but smooth skin between her shoulders. Her arms immediately went to grab her missing appendage, but failed miserably. It’s as if it was never there to begin with. Her headless body started squirming and flailing around, completely unable to deal with this situation.
Her head popped up from between her shoulders like it was a jack-in-the-box.
“Aaarh! Haah, haah, haah!” she panted.
“Are we clear, young Fizzlesprocket?”
“Haah, haah. Yes, crystal clear. Mister Goddess of Chaos, sir.”
“Much better. Now then, Boxxy. Ah, now that we’re face-to-face, this is a bit awkward. Talking to a chest like this is a bit weird for me.”
The gnome nearly made a comment about how hypocritical that sounded coming from a basket with legs, but held it back.
“Here, let’s try this!”
A finger-snapping noise was heard. The chest next to Fizzy flickered out of existence and a small naked child appeared in its place. It had brown skin, snow-white hair, red eyes and appeared to be about 6 or 7 years old. The face was oddly androgynous, making it hard to tell if it was male or female, but it was undeniably cute. It was making a sweet, innocent smile and had a thoroughly vacant look in its eyes.
“How’s that?” asked Kerry.
The child blinked a few times and stared at its fingers, then its lower body. Fizzy followed its eyesight and ended up staring at its crotch almost involuntarily. She almost turned her face away in shame, but realized that was a pointless gesture. After all, the child had nothing between its legs but smooth skin.
“Feels weird,” it said, with a fittingly neutral voice.
“Well, it’s only temporary, so please bear with it.”
“B-Boxxy?” stammered the gnome. “Is that you?”
“Yes,” answered the child matter-of-factly.
She turned around to stare at the God of Anarchy with accusatory eyes.
“Ah, this is simply what the Mimic would look like if it were human,” explained Estel. “This is merely an image I dredged up from its subconscious, so don’t look at me like that, okay? I swear I’m not into little kids or anything, alright?! I’m a firm believer in the glory of large chests!”
Kishralbadaz the Inheritor stifled a giggle at its own bad pun. She then leaned forward, put her salamis on the table and looked right at the Mimic. Which was impressive considering she had 3 and a half heads.
“Anyway, now that that’s over with I can finally have a proper chat with you.”
“You know me?” asked Boxxy.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve spoken, you know.”
The Mimic was pretty sure it would remember if it met something bizarre like Russel before.
“Hmm, technically speaking, I was the only one doing the talking at the time, so calling it a conversation would be hard. I also said some hurtful things, but I hope you’ll forgive me. I get just a little bit ABSOLUTELY LIVID when some random box tries to steal my dungeon core for no god-damned reason.”
It would appear the mysterious and slightly annoying entity behind that dungeon core had finally revealed itself.
“And sorry for trying to blow you up like that. It was uncalled for and totally my bad.”
“It’s okay. Got many tasty Levels.”
“Hahaha, that you did. I must say, you genuinely surprised me that day. Not everyone would be willing to blow up an entire city if the opportunity presented itself.”
“Blow up a city?!” butted in Fizzy. “You’re telling me this thing really did cause that Calamity?!”
“Uhm… Yes and no. It’s complicated.”
“And you don’t mind?!”
“Why would I?”
“Don’t you care that so many people died?!”
“Of course I do!”
“Really? Then I suppose you mourned and prayed for every last one of those 8,235 souls?”
“You only selfishly mourned your own father and brother, did you not? You’d probably put the incident completely out of your tiny mind if those two weren’t tangentially involved.”
Jack was right on the money. Even though Fizzy understood it was, objectively speaking, a horrible catastrophe, she just couldn’t bring herself to truly care about some humans being killed off somewhere. They were, after all, not her people.
“Now, do you have any more inane questions?”
“... Just one. Why this thing? What’s so special about it?”
“It’s consistently unpredictable, even before the big-bada-boom. I actually went and reviewed the dungeon’s logs and found them to be quite entertaining. Here, let me give you some examples.”
The flagpole pulled out a small booklet and started listing through it.
“This thing survived its first two weeks on this world through a mixture of luck and ability. It took all chances that the flows of chaos presented it with and latched onto them with all its might without any hesitation. I respect that sort of thing, you know. A chance exists to be taken, after all.”
The three-eyed fork turned the page on the pamphlet it was holding in its bottles.
“It then absorbed the Warlock Job from a corpse. You know what the chances of it succeeding at that were? 4,000 to 1! And it managed to pull it off on only the third try! Well, its current chance of succeeding at that same outcome is closer to about 400 to 1, but that’s besides the point.”
He turned the pigeon upside down.
“And that magnificent stroke of luck was right after it broke out of the dungeon through what I can only describe as dumb luck. I can’t say I’m not impressed. Then it sort of did its own thing outside the dungeon for a bit, fought some people, yadda yadda yadda. Oh, it also gibbed a dwarf just as it teleported away with a Portal Key! Her friends’ reactions when they saw a pair of disembodied legs appear out of nowhere was really something else, let me tell ya!”
Lawrence rolled up the parchment and put it away inside his igloo.
“So that’s roughly the time when I started keeping an eye on it. And here’s the really amazing part. I realized that I’d actually been sort of introduced to it before that Calamity stuff even happened! This thing right here somehow managed to forward me its Status when making a demonic contract! Do you know how many times that has happened?!”
“Never! It has never, ever happened! I have absolutely no idea how the fuck it actually did that, either!”
“Did I do that?” asked Boxxy with a stupid look on its face.
“Yeah,” said Nick. “Oh right, you wouldn’t know, but I’m actually Katorolomaongott’s boss.”
“Uhm… I believe he introduces himself as Carl to mortals.”
“You know Carl?!”
“Well, I don’t really ‘know’ the guy, he just works for me. All demons do, technically speaking. Even the Demon King.”
“Yep, that guy as well. You know, I was the one who created them in the first place. It started as a little experiment that went really out of control. They’re selfish, uncooperative and don’t give a flying fuck about mortals. Those kids, I’m so proud of them! Ah, I don’t often get to brag so I got a little sidetracked.”
Frank reigned in his enthusiasm and proceeded with the meat of the matter.
“Point is, I wasn’t actually planning on making an appearance at all. Sort of ruins the fun if I do that. But that’s when two particular demons started raising a huge fuss over ‘unlawful contract termination.’ I mean, the fact your random acts of violence somehow got a fiend and a succubus to agree on something is just mind boggling! So, all things considered, I decided I would help you out. And that’s why I brought you here.”
“Then you’re going to make me a Warlock again?!”
Boxxy’s face looked like it was about to explode from excitement.
And then sank into the depths of despair.
“I’m going to give you a chance. That’s the best I can do, and I’m only doing it because I like you. Also it’s partly because that bitch Teresa cheated, and I don’t like that. Therefore, I’m going to even the odds a little, as it were. So, without further ado-”
Defeat the lich
Time Limit: Until the God of Uncertainty gets bored
Reward: Your Warlock and Artificer Jobs will be fully restored
You will become the chosen Hero of the God of Chaos
Description: There’s an undead lich hiding in these mountains. It has been raising its own personal army of the undead in secret. Find it, defeat it, and claim victory for chaos.
“No rush,” said Chris reassuringly. “It’s a big undertaking so do consider it carefully.”
Boxxy understandably had a few questions about this proposition. The reward was pretty much exactly what it wanted right now, but that difficulty rating of six turtles was more than a little odd.
“What’s a lich?”
“Oh right, you wouldn’t know. Umm. Basically a super-powerful undead being that commands hordes of the dead. They also love throwing magical attacks at people’s faces.”
“Like Warlocks with skeletons?”
“Well… you’re not exactly right, but not exactly wrong, either.”
So it was a Spell-slinging opponent that had many familiars. Dangerous, as expected. Still, the Mimic would probably end up accepting the Quest anyway. The reward was way too tasty to ignore. Speaking of the rewards, though-
“Is being a Hero tasty?”
“Hmm… There’s a 64.255% chance of you finding it tasty.”
“What if I fail? Or give up?”
“Then you’ll just have to get those Levels back the old fashioned way.”
Okay, so there were no apparent downsides to this. Come to think of it, the quest didn’t ask for a deposit like those Mercenary Guild quests, so that made sense. Having the option of simply giving up was the last thing the Mimic needed to confirm before making up its mind.
“Okay. I accept.”
Boxxy T. Morningwood has undertaken a Quest: Defeat the lich.
Fizzy raised her arm as if a schoolgirl requesting permission to speak. It would appear she had finally realized that rudely interrupting an actual God was probably not a smart idea. Especially not one whose entire domain hinged on unpredictability and randomness.
“Yes, what it is, Fizzlesprocket?”
“Earlier you said the Goddess of truth and justice cheated. I find that a bit hard to believe.”
“Yeah she cheated! She got super butthurt her chosen Hero got one-shot by a box and revived him! If it wasn’t for that, then this guy over here would still be running free! Well, at least for a while longer. The trouble this thing gets up to really is something else.”
Nick turned his gills to face Boxxy once again.
“By the way, great work with that priestess from about a week ago. Oh man, you should’ve seen that stuck-up bitch’s face when I showed her the image of her faithful servant taking it up the ass like a champ! It got even uglier when I told her the one that killed her also stole a Holy Pearl and pinned the blame for the crime on that dead nun! That really rustled Her jimmies, let me tell ya! She got so mad that she threw a gigantic hissy fit, it was amazing!”
The sister Lyo incident was somehow staged by the Mimic. And yet that tidbit was somehow the least surprising thing Fizzy had heard tonight.
“Haah, I will treasure that memory for a long while. Honestly, I think that prude just needs to loosen up and get laid, but she doesn’t want to even hear it. Anyway, being the sore loser that she is, she went and sent a ‘divine revelation’ to her oracle saying ‘The perpetrator is in Erosa.’ That’s why that Edward guy was there a few days ago to begin with.”
The dumb smile that Boxxy sported instantly turned into a huge frown. The way it saw it, the whole reason it was in this position was because these Gods were having some sort of internal dispute that had nothing to do with it.
“Hey, you were bound to get found out eventually, so don’t put the blame on me, alright?”
It kept staring at it scornfully.
“Okay! Okay, I admit it was almost entirely my fault. I’m here taking responsibility for my rash actions though, aren’t I?”
“But did not help with escape?” it questioned.
“‘Course not! I don’t wanna stoop down to Teresa’s level and resort to cheating! I mean yeah, I could’ve set the Four Demonic Overlords loose in the city and create an opening for you to escape, but where’s the fun in that?”
The Mimic thought on those words. It considered its implications and came to a singular conclusion which it decided to share with this mysterious entity.
“I don’t like you.”
“Hahahaha! Well said, Boxxy, well said! That sort of straightforward attitude is exactly the reason I like you! Tell you what, since I was slightly to blame for that, I’m going to make things a bit easier on you.”
Jacob turned his attention back to the gnome.
“You there, Fizzlesprocket. Since you’re just an extra, how about you make yourself useful and help my friend here with its Quest?”
“What?! With fighting some mighty undead?! Nonononono! I have the combat ability of a flea! I have no place on the battlefield!”
“I know, but I have a fix for that. I’ll just make you a Paladin! Nobody can kick bony butt quite like a Paladin can! You even get to champion my name! That sounds fun, doesn’t it?!”
The God of Probability lifted an arm and went to snap its feathers-
“No, it doesn’t!”
-but was stopped by Fizzy’s outburst.
“I can’t accept such a thing!” she continued. “Why do I have to help this man-eating monster with anything?! Besides, you’re way too shady!”
He stared at her intently with his meatball-tipped toes.
“... Roll a D20.”
A fist-sized object fell down on the table in front of her, bounced a few times and rolled towards her before stopping within arm’s reach. It was a wooden shape with 20 faces and numbers etched on each side.
“Roll that dice. If you get 15 or higher, you win.”
The gnome swallowed audibly. This was a bit sudden, but it sort of made sense considering Craig’s occupation. She picked up the so-called D20 and gave it a roll across the table with her short arms.
And it landed on a 17.
“Oh, lucky you!” exclaimed Beatrice. “Congratulations! You win!”
A bright light briefly enveloped Fizzy.
Congratulations, you are now a level 1 Paladin! STR +2. END +2. INT +2.
The Faith (FTH) Attribute has been created through a special action. FTH +1.
The Luck (LCK) Attribute has been created through a special action. LCK +1.
Proficiency level increased. Champion of Chaos is now Level 1. FTH +2. LCK +2.
“What the hell?!” she protested. “I won the roll, didn’t I?!”
“Yes, you did.”
“Then how come you forced this on me anyway?!”
“Because I had already decided on it.”
“Then what was that roll about?!”
“To see whether I would shatter your fragile mind for daring to question my authority.”
“Good thing you won,” commented Boxxy.
“Yeah… Why me, though?”
“That’s the question everyone asks when things aren’t going their way,” said Lucy. “Why me? Why did this happen? What did I do to deserve this? The answer to all of those is really simple.”
A single silver coin fell from above and bounced on the wooden table with a small sound, landing squarely in front of Fizzy. She only had to look at it for a moment before comprehending its meaning.
“... There is no reason. Just the luck of the draw.”
Those words floated out of her mouth almost all on their own.
“Very good! See, you have a handle on this Champion of Chaos thing already!”
*Ding ding ding ding*
A small bell rang out of nowhere.
“And it would appear that is all we have time for. I guess I’ll be sending you two back to the physical realm now. Just watch that first step.”
He raised his left thorax and prepared to snap his leaves for the final time.
“It’s a doozy!”
A pitch black hole opened up in the pearly white floor, causing Boxxy, Fizzy and the table to fall through it. They found themselves high above the sky - higher than even the griffins flew - and were currently plummeting downward. The sheer speed at which they were falling was well beyond any reason, causing them to reach the ground within seconds and crash land into a couple of unconscious bodies.
They both woke up screaming, as if meeting with the God of Chance was nothing more than a nightmare. Although their current conditions left very little doubt in their minds that it was very much real.
“Okhsy? Haht? Hasha!? Haaaaaaaaah! His ishn’t hakkehinh!”
The Mimic let out a series of confused noises while the gnome stared at it with a stupid expression. She then looked at her hands, her legs, then back to the monster, then back to her own body. Satisfied with her inspection, she then raised her face and both arms to the sky.
“Willie!” she shouted. “Wrong body! Not mine!”
“Oh, shit!” came a disembodied voice. “I fucked that up! Wow! Here, let me fix it!”
Boxxy’s vision blurred for a moment and the world seemed to spin around wildly for a moment, but it ended up back in its own body. Fizzy must have went through pretty much the same, seeing as how she collapsed on all fours and started pounding the ground.
“I almost! Became! A fucking! Box!”
She then raised a fist towards the heavens.
“You incompetent divine bastard! I’ll get you back for this!”
“Hey now,” came the voice once again. “I’ll look it over this once since I was at fault, but take it easy with the blaspheme, alright?!”
“Fine, whatever!” answered Fizzy. “Then as your Champion can I just say I’d appreciate it if you took things more seriously?!”
“This God thing isn’t as easy as it looks you know! I’d like to see you try and pull off a double Reverse Astral Projection without messing something up. Anyway I seriously have to go now. You guys take care.”
Silence once again dominated the forest. The two mortals quietly stared at each other, now fully aware they were little more than a playthings for the God of Inconsistency.
“So… what happens now?” asked Fizzy.
“Time to teach.”
“Huh? Oh, right. You still want me to give you the Artificer Job.”
The Mimic had every intention of fulfilling that Quest and earning back what was rightfully its own. Therefore, it decided to do something that would be a lot more useful than waste time and resources on pointlessly raising the Artificer Job.
“... Then what?”
“You have new Job?”
“Yeah. I’m a Level 1 Paladin now, apparently. I can’t teach you that one, though.”
The Mentor Skill requires her to have Level 25 in a Job before she could pass it onto others.
“No, mistaken. I teach you.”
“Oh please! What could you possibly teach me!?”
“How to fight like monster.”
The gnome swallowed audibly. This wasn’t going to bode well for her. Especially since she just heard Bruce’s amused cackling somewhere in the back of her head.