A trigger was pulled. That simple action initiated a basic mechanism that resulted in the near-instantaneous release of a latch, which freed a taut string from its grip. The horizontal wooden limbs on either end of that string sprang forward as they recovered from their malformed shape. The string that had caused this deformity in the first place through its pull was flung forward as well, pressing against the bottom of a narrow, wooden shaft. The steel-tipped object was propelled along a groove with deadly force and was airborne before the one that pulled that trigger had a chance at feeling the resulting vibration through his hands.
The crossbow had launched its bolt without a hitch. The projectile flew straight with considerably more force behind it than was scientifically possible as a direct result of the Martial Art that had been activated less than a blink ago. The physics-defying red-glowing bolt wobbled every so slightly as it flew improbably straight through the battlefield.
It passed over the corpse of a male elf whose once-shining silver armor had been split asunder and covered by blood - both his own and that of his enemies. The long-handled axe that had caused his mortal wound was still lodged in his chest, although its owner was nowhere to be seen. However, the traces of blood and torn skin on the handle suggested that the human in question had met with a similar fate as the elf that once stood in his way.
The wooden projectile continued its passage through the air, completely unhindered by the grizzly scene beneath it. Hardly surprising considering it was an inanimate object. It very nearly collided with a flying shard of jagged ice that was flying in a direction perpendicular to its own. The Spell in question traveled at a much slower speed relative to the bolt, almost as if one were comparing a run to a drunken crawl. The faster projectile managed to pull ahead and escape the icicle’s path before a collision occurred, allowing it to keep flying towards it target.
However, the would be victim was currently locked in close quarters combat. He had been kicked brutally in the abdomen just as the bolt was launched, and his head had swayed out of the way of that remote means of death-dealing. The Power-Shot-imbued bolt passed in front of his face without inflicting a scratch and continued flying unhindered for a dozen more meters before it finally struck something.
Something white, round, and metal.
Your body has been pierced. HP -107.
Or rather, someone.
“Oi!” cried out Fizzy through gritted teeth.
An arrow impact to the rear was not something she needed while she was struggling with some Monster Tamer’s pet janther. The much bigger, six-legged predator had its powerful jaws clenched around the golem’s signature wrench and the two of them were locked in a contest of strength. However, the smaller and relatively lighter Paladin had been pinned in place as the janther’s massive weight pressed down on her from above. If her body was made of flesh and blood rather than mithril, then she wouldn’t have been able to contest it at all. Rather than barely remaining on her feet, she would be nothing more than a bloody smear on the ground.
“Come on! You know we gotta do this!” echoed a voice inside Fizzy’s head.
It sounded exactly like her own voice, only back from when she was still a filthy meatbag - a gnome. And she hated that.
“I’ve! Got! This!” she answered while struggling with the massive cat-like monster.
Sensing an opening, the janther’s two left forelegs swiped at the mithril golem. The specially made metal claws covering its actual ones raised a few sparks as they clashed against Fizzy’s right shoulder and thigh.
You have suffered a moderate blow. HP -351.
The pair of custom-fit weapons dug deep into her already battered and dented frame. It was left technically intact, but another hit or two like that and it might just rip her apart. One thing was for sure - regular steel would have definitely been shredded to ribbons by now.
“Yeah, you clearly have this under control.”
“I could do with less sarcasm!”
“Then why don’t you let. Me. Help?! Do you want Boxxy to see us in this pathetic state?!”
Fizzy’s already straining and furious expression was momentarily overcome with pure, unadulterated terror. Somewhere buried inside her, she still had a certain fear surrounding that Mimic, although the nature of it had changed from over the last 2 months or so. She was no longer scared of being beaten, raped or otherwise abused by it, as she could no longer feel nor care for any of that. No, the thing she truly feared was that she might disappoint it, that Boxxy might think less of its prized shiny thing. Just the thought of appearing before that shapeshifter in anything less than prime condition was unthinkable.
Otherwise it just might not want to look at her ever again.
“Parallel One!” she growled.
After chanting those words, her left eye started glowing with a bright, yellow-green light. The same color that all her Paladin-derived Spells and Skills seemed to exhibit. The change was so subtle that the janther didn’t notice it and prepared for another swipe. Then again, even if it did, there was no way it could guess its significance.
Her voice rang out against her will, causing a large, half-transparent club made out of pure light to materialize out of thin air and smash into the janther’s head as if it were doing a golf swing. The sudden sideways impact knocked it off her, allowing the gnolem some metaphorical breathing room. She rebuilt her stance, with her permanently-affixed shield in front and the oversized wrench on her right. The janther draped in blue cloth - a sign of its allegiance to the Empire - had already shaken off the sudden impact and lurched forward in an attempt to bite her in half.
This time, however, the Champion of Chaos was ready for it. She wonderfully sidestepped its jaws with a twist of her body and came back around with a full two-handed swing. The nimble predator tried to put up both of its armored forelegs to block, but an unseen force pressed down on its limbs. As a result, it was too slow to block that huge blow, and the heavy wrench’s business end made contact with the right side of the beast’s skull.
“Grhaaaarh!” it half-roared half-yelled as it reeled from the blow. While it was able to reflexively throw its head back and avoid some of the impact, it was still left momentarily stunned. Not willing to let up, Fizzy caught up to it in a single step and activated one of her newly-acquired Martial Arts while gripping her wrench-turned-mace with both hands.
“Grand Slam! Holy Light!”
The weapon glowed red and swung towards the janther once again in a wide horizontal arc, while the bright flash of her divine magic enveloped her mid-swing.
The powerful attack landed full on, striking the beast’s fuzzy head with enough force to both crack its thick skull and very nearly sending it flying. At the same time, her own dents and scratches immediately buffed themselves out with a barely audible *Fwump* sound. Even the crossbow bolt stuck in her backside popped out without any incident as the divine magic healed her ‘flesh.’
Without breaking her stride in the slightest, Fizzy had spun around on her heel and attacked the janther once again.
“Grand Slam! Judgement!”
The next activation of a Martial Art was followed immediately by a Spell invocation, both of which closed in on the beast’s heavily tenderized head as if they were a vice. And in the next instant, they crushed the meatbag monster’s cranium into what could only be described as chunky goop, ending its life in an instant. Thankfully, the fact that the Judgement Spell - a physical manifestation of a Paladin’s holy power - had taken on the form of a plucked chicken was not detrimental to its effectiveness.
“See?! Was that so hard?!” said a smug-looking Fizzy.
“Ugh, don’t be so proud of yourself for chanting a Spell or two,” groaned the sour-faced Fizzy. “I did all the work!”
“Don’t be like that.” she replied to herself. “We all need that a bit of- INCOMING!”
Heeding her own warning, Fizzy turned around and covered herself with her shield as much as possible. A pure-white mass of cold struck the ground directly next to her. It exploded in a wave of cold and ice, throwing her several meters to the side. She landed on her back and tried to scramble to her feet, but her left arm and leg were no longer responding to her commands as they had been encased in ice.
“Fuck!” she cursed before she began chanting. “Cleanse!”
A wave of divine energy washed over her as it attempted to purge all hostile magic from her body. The ice crystals around her limbs shattered, but she still couldn’t move them. She used her still functioning right arm to toss her wrench into the air in front of her-
-just in time to collide with and deflect an incoming enemy Spell.
Holy light filled her again, and she regained most of the mobility in her left arm, although the leg was still barely moving. She used what mobility she had regained to put up her shield, trying to cover her head as much as possible.
Two voices rang out as one, and the bright blue beam shot out by the blue-robed Imperial Cryomancer hit her cursed and strangely sparkling shield. The Spell was deflected by the defensive Martial Art and was sent flying off harmlessly into the sky above her.
“Shit,” she cursed under her breath. “It would have to be- Cleanse! - a Cryomancer.”
The third attempt fully purified the lingering effects of being struck by ice and she quickly rose to her feet.
Cryomancers were a pain in the ass for Fizzy. Cold and ice-based magic was, after all, a metal golem’s Bane - her critical weakness. Not only did she take nearly twice as much damage as normal from such attacks, but they also caused her mechanical joints to seize up with great ease. Granted, the ability to restrict movement was the main strong point of ice magic, but it had a much more profound effect on a monster like Fizzy. It was honestly a huge problem to the point where there was serious concern if her body would survive the oncoming frigid winter.
In short, fighting the guy that tried to drop a Freezing Comet on her placed her at a serious disadvantage. Not to mention that her tussle with that janther as well as the general skull-smashing and spine-snapping she had carried out beforehand had left her MP in a rather dire state.
Thankfully, she had just the thing to address both problems.
A metallic clunk came from within her torso, followed by quiet, rhythmic clacking noises that were reminiscent of large gears one might find in a clocktower. In the next instant she flew into action by dashing at full speed to the left, avoiding the incoming Ice Beam completely. Even if it was incredibly fast, that Spell had no chance of hitting a target that had dodged it before it was even invoked.
Not to be deterred, the Cryomancer kept launching shards of ice at his target while she ran at full speed to his right, but failed to land any hits. To his great surprise, that monstrous metal golem kept using Holy Magic on herself as she sprinted at full speed. It was an act that defied common sense, and not just because of the type of magic. The mind literally did not have the leeway to be doing much of anything as it was preparing a Spell. One could maybe take a step or two to adjust their position, but something like mad rush across a littered battlefield while chanting magic was completely out of the question. But the human would not allow himself to be caught off-guard by something like that. He was this metal golem’s natural enemy, and she lacked the ability to attack him from a distance. Therefore, all he had to do was keep his cool and steady his aim.
As she was running circles around her opponent, Fizzy raised a hand towards her weapon and invoked the Magnetize Skill. The lump of metal encased in ice suddenly sprang to life and flung towards her. Once the wrench, or rather the ice covering the wrench, was glued to her palm, the golem relocated her arm so that it was pointing towards her opponent. She stopped ‘pulling’ and instead ‘pushed,’ which sent the wrench flying towards the Cryomancer’s upper body.
The magic user had kept his guard up and immediately responded with one of his Job’s trademark defensive Spells, which conjured a thin bubble of transparent ice around him. Although it looked incredibly weak, it had more than enough defensive power to deflect that incoming projectile. And just as he expected, even though it smashed into his barrier with great force, it wasn’t nearly enough to break through.
In the next moment, the incendiary grenade attached to the back of said projectile exploded and enveloped the shell in flames. Non-magical fire could not trump magical ice, however. The Crystal Shell was able to effortlessly repulse the damaging effects of the rampaging flames, even though the highly-flammable substance inside that grenade clung to its surface. Those flames died out almost immediately, but the ones that clung to the ground in front of him were a different matter. The rampaging inferno burned bright, which combined with the smoke it raised from the damp grass to obscure the Cryomancer’s field of view.
The human guessed correctly that this was intended as a distraction to allow that little golem to get close, but he wouldn’t let that lump of scrap have her way so easily. He reached into his side-pouch and pulled out 5 of his Spell Crystals and activated them. After ‘cooking’ them for a second or two, he disabled his barrier and threw them haphazardly in the general direction he was expecting his opponent to be.
In the next instant, his world was dyed white. The flames around him were doused, bitingly frigid winds whistled past his ears and the air was so filled with ice and snow that the morning sun was no longer visible. The five localized snowstorms caused by his pre-casted Whiteout Spells had merged into one gigantic blizzard. Although unlike the actual Blizzard Spell, this one was focused on restraining the movements of all caught within rather than pelting them with shards of jagged ice.
Your target is pelted by snow and ice. Target HP -316.
You feel a strong chill. HP -17.
And yet it still caused extraordinary damage. As expected, no matter how skilled or powerful a monster was, overcoming their Bane was no easy thing. Even if that golem could Cleanse herself out of the magically-induced frostbite like earlier, it wouldn’t be enough. Pretty soon she would be frozen solid and succumb to the snowstorm’s cold embrace, no matter how much she struggled. Even escape should not have been an option for her.
Your target is pelted by snow and ice. Target HP -331.
You feel a strong chill. HP -16.
As for the human, he was almost completely unphased. His Cryomancer-exclusive Skill called Eye of the Storm made it so he would feel almost none of the effects of his own Area Effect Spells and Skills. Granted, that Skill could not help him overcome the terrible visibility, but he felt that wasn’t necessarily a problem. His target had been caught up in his magic, so all he had to do was chill out while waiting for his opponent to ‘chill’ out.
Your target is pelted by snow and ice. Target HP -340.
You feel a strong chill. HP -16.
Or at least, that’s what he thought at first, but that queer-colored flash of light he spotted out of the corner of his eye proved otherwise. He sharpened his glare and turned towards it, ready to act the instant he had confirmation of his enemy. And indeed, barely a second later, was able to spot that troublesome golem. Honestly speaking though, there was no way he wouldn’t be able to make out the eyesore that she had become.
Fizzy’s pure-white frame had been dyed by multiple blobs of orange light that seemed to leak out from inside her frame. Her body had heated up to the point where any snow or ice it made contact with it was instantly turned into a puff of steam. What remained of her gear and clothes had already been reduced to ash, and even the wrench in her hand looked like it was about to melt.
However, the clearly unnatural heat was playing havoc on her mithril frame. Bits of her plating were coming loose, her right eye no longer moved the way she wanted it to and a trail of red-hot liquid was dribbling out of the corner of her madly grinning mouth. It also did next to nothing to help fight off the damage the surrounding magic was inflicting on her, as Spells attuned to the power of cold were, after all, her Bane.
And completely negating the effects of a monster’s Bane was impossible. It was an iron-clad, unwritten rule of this world. It was the price such creatures paid for possessing bodies that were stronger, faster and sometimes smarter than the enlightened.
As for the Cryomancer this particular monster was vehemently looking for, he had been momentarily taken aback despite himself. That obscured, glowing silhouette he spotted looked like a rampaging demon straight out of his nightmares. It even looked like it had horns, although those were just Fizzy’s deformed pigtails.
Your target freezes over. Target HP -337.
You feel a strong chill. HP -15.
Thankfully, the update he received in his mind helped him snap back to his senses, and he immediately took action. He held up his right hand and started preparing a Spell. A 90 centimeter-long icy needle formed out of thin air and floated above his open palm, although the soft blue glow that enveloped it was a few notches brighter than usual. The frigid environment he had created meant that all ice-based magic performed within would receive a significant boost in power. It was one of the Cryomancer’s favorite combinations and with good reason. He felt confident this attack would be powerful enough to pierce that golem’s torso. Doing so would severely damage her, or perhaps even instantly kill her if he managed to nail her core. And, given Fizzy’s softened-up frame, that outcome was more than just fantasy or wishful thinking.
He launched the projectile floating above his hand with a sudden throwing motion. It shot through the snowstorm while leaving behind a blue trail, cutting through the air with frightening speed as it headed unerringly towards the seemingly unaware orange blob’s center of mass. However, Fizzy’s Champion of Chaos Skill had seen it coming. She pivoted on her left leg, turned her body around and performed a backhanded swing with the nigh-indestructible shield on her left hand, right into the path of the incoming projectile.
The Spell was wonderfully bounced back in the direction it came from, and her fine-tuned hearing detected a delightfully painful scream a few moments later. She wasn’t sure where that special snowflake was in this infuriating snowstorm, but the moron had willingly revealed himself, just as she hoped he would. Before she did anything else though, she took a brief moment to top herself off.
Your body freezes over. HP -314.
Divine power has healed your wounds. HP +941.
Her damaged body instantly mended itself. The loose bits snapped back into place, she regained the function of her right eye and her molten drool disappeared. However, given her body’s current condition, this was more of a patch job than a fix.
The Engine of Destruction has caused your body to crumble from the inside. HP -194.
The Engine of Destruction has converted the excess heat into magical power. MP +60.
At the very least her latest Metal Golem Skill was doing good work, although the toll it took on her was steadily growing stronger, despite the copious amounts of snow she was wading through. Well, given the rather high temperatures that mithril could withstand, it was honestly surprising the environment restricted the damage as much as it did. But, since her body temperature would continue to rise while the Skill was active, she had to finish the guy off before she liquefied her insides for good.
Which was why she turned towards the source of that scream from earlier and launched herself forward with Armored Charge.
The Cryomancer had managed to rebuild his defensive barrier right in the nick of time, as the smoldering golem slammed into it shield-first as if she were a meteorite. The shock from the impact was enough to rattle and crack his bubble and cause his very body to feel the recoil. A reaction that did not help with his right leg’s situation.
He stifled a yell through gritted teeth as the vibrations that washed over him agitated the bleeding wound, making it throb even harder. He had expected that this golem - who somehow or another was also a Paladin - to somehow be able to defend herself with a Rebound, but the idea that she would be able to send his own Ice Spike back at him was unprecedented. He had fought quite a few mace-and-shield wielding Paladins and Warriors before and, while most of them used that anti-magical Martial Art to defend themselves, not once had something this outrageous happened to him. Yet the frozen, oversized needle that had pierced and lodged itself in his thigh was undeniable proof that that was exactly what had happened.
And he wasn’t given any time to think about it either, as the golem from hell slammed her superheated weapon into the side of his Crystal Shell. He refocused his mind, doing his best to ignore both the pain in his leg and the thoroughly disturbing wide-eyed smile on his opponent's face. He fortified his defenses, fixing up the wide cracks in his barrier as the snowstorm raged just outside it. Some part of him hoped his Whiteouts would finish the job for him, but the way that golem showed zero signs of stopping already made it crystal clear that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Fizzy struck the Crystal Shell yet again, but the damage she inflicted on it was steadily being repaired by the desperate Cryomancer inside. The man searched desperately for a way out of this situation, but he was already drawing a blank. Potions weren’t going to help as he was already on the brink of potion poisoning due to the protracted battle. The wound on his leg meant that he could neither run nor use Ice Slide to make some distance between him and his pursuer. At the very least his MP was in a good state, so his only hope for the moment was to maintain his defenses and hope his allies would come to his aid once the Whiteouts dispersed. That or the vague hope that the enraged golem would run out of steam before he did.
Unfortunately for him, Fizzy had no intention of turning this into a war of attrition. She readjusted the two-handed grip on her oversized wrench, raised it over her right shoulder and prepared to unleash one of her new favorite moves.
“Grand Judgement Slam!”
The Cryomancer’s thoughts of survival completely ground to a halt when he witnessed the impossible up close and personal. Time seemed to slow down as he stared blankly at the full swing coming from his right and the oversized flounder made of light coming in from his left. A single person combining a Martial Art with a Spell? How was such a thing even possible? The corners of his mouth twisted into a self-mocking smirk as he realized his own folly. He had seen the potential for this minutes ago, but his own naivete had dismissed the reality before his eyes. He picked a fight with a tired, battered metal golem thinking it would be an easy win, yet in reality he never even stood a chance. He closed his eyes as his final thoughts drifted to the wife and child he would leave behind.
Sorry, Timmy. It looks like your old man isn’t coming home after all.
Fizzy’s weapon and Spell struck from either side of the Crystal Shell, smashing it to pieces and crushing the human that had cast it, mangling his body and killing him in an instant.
Congratulations, you are now a Level 33 Metal Golem! STR +3. END +3. AGI +2. FTH +1.
Proficiency level increased. Parallel Plot is now Level 2. LCK +4. INT +2.
“Heh. Hehe,” chuckled Fizzy. “A fucking flounder! Hahaha! Hehahuhohohahehuhahehoha! Ohahehehahohuhuhuhahehaha!”
She then broke out into an irregular, high-pitched laugh as what was left of that damnable Cryomancer slumped to the ground with a wet plop. Her mad, tinny voice cackled ominously through the still-raging snowstorm while her heated frame continued to vaporize everything the human’s leftover magic threw at her.
This sort of unrestrained joy was not the behavior of a person who had just taken another’s life. Well, technically speaking, Fizzy was no longer a person in anything but shape. Although a tiny fragment of the original Cornie Fizzlesprocket had remained somewhere within her even after she cast aside her flesh, the monster’s Rank Up into a mithril golem had completely stamped it out. All that was left in that empty shell she called a head was the twisted, high-functioning psychotic monster. The creature created by the sole being that, ironically, now mattered more to Fizzy than life itself.
“Huehuehu- I don’t think it was that funny,” she interrupted herself.
Well, that and her newly acquired ‘companion.’
“The guy was fish-slapped to death! In what way is that not funny, you insufferable cunt?!” she snapped back.
“Hey now, there’s no need for that. Besides, you should probably turn off that Engine now.”
After briefly arguing with herself, Fizzy finally deactivated one of the Skills that made her survival possible.
Engine of Destruction
Description: Even a body devoid of muscle is capable of pushing itself beyond its limits.
Requirements: Level 30 Metal Golem, Advanced Joints, END 180
Activation Time: 6 seconds
Cost: 0 MP
Effects: Increases the amount of heat produced through friction of motion by 2,000%.
Recovers MP equal to 25% of the base damage caused by this Skill.
Reduces damage taken from this Skill by 5% per Level of this Skill.
Increases the MP recovered by this Skill by 10% per Level of this Skill.
As an Artificer that has experience with smithing, Fizzy was able to recognize all the side-effects of this Skill before she picked it up. Superheating her body could be used to stave off that dreadful frostbite, and transferring a portion of that thermal energy to her weapon through Metallopathy meant it could be used to essentially augment her physical attacks with fire. The Engine of Destruction allowed all that while also fulfilling its primary function - restoring the golem’s depleted MP pool.
However, while useful, this Skill was also a blatant double-edged sword that wreaked havoc on her body. At the very least, it allowed Fizzy to realize the connection between this Skill and Advanced Joints - its prerequisite. The engine in her chest that had been steadily chugging along until moments ago would not be able to function properly if it weren’t for her exceptionally sturdy and flexible means of motion. In fact, it was highly likely the old joints she was reborn with would have been broken and/or melted under the strain within seconds. Even her current ones would suffer that fate eventually if she allowed herself to run too hot.
Unlike regular golems, however, Fizzy was also a Paladin. Her ability to heal herself allowed her to maintain that overclocked state of hers for much longer than normal, although not indefinitely. During her experiments, she found that the absolute limit she could endure it for was about two, maybe two-and-a-half minutes. That was, of course, assuming that nobody was attacking her during that time. In practice she restricted its use to no more than 20 seconds at a time during live combat.
Well, at least until a certain someone showed up.
“Oh, it’s clearing up!” she exclaimed involuntarily.
The waning snowstorm had more or less cooled off both her body and her mind to the point where she wasn’t in danger of breaking apart. Therefore, she no longer needed that thing messing around with her body.
“Parallel Zero,” she chanted in a dull monotone, causing the emerald-ish glint in her left eye to fade away.
“Well, that was rude,” complained the voice in her head. “And after all the help I’ve given you!”
“That was then, this is now,” rebutted Fizzy with her still-hot arms crossed.
“Oh, come on! I deserve more than that!”
“Don’t forget who’s in charge here, yeah? You’re getting awfully cocky even though you’re just a Skill.”
Of course the golem wasn’t just talking to herself, such a thing would make her crazy. Well, crazier. The origin of the voice in question was not, in fact, the result of her fractured psyche, but was indeed caused by the effects of a Skill.
Description: The voices in one’s head can be surprisingly useful if allowed to take control.
Requirements: Level 35 Paladin, Champion of Chaos, Holy Scripture
Activation Time: Instant
Cost: 3% of max MP per second
Effects: Allows Parallel thoughts at all times, even when inactive.
Allows Parallels to assist with controlling the body when active.
Amplifies the effects of the Champion of Chaos Skill by 30% for each active Parallel.
Increases the MP cost of this Skill by 100% for each active Parallel beyond the first.
Increases all MP recovery by 5% per active Parallel per Level of this Skill.
Increases the total number of Parallels by 1 at Level 1, 7 and 10 of this Skill.
Having this ‘Parallel’ in her head was an experience she could not accurately describe. It was almost as if she was being possessed by a slightly different, more optimistic version of herself. The Parallel’s assistance was a definite boon in combat, as she could freely control Fizzy’s magic, including her Holy Spells and Magnetize Skill, while the ‘original’ focused on melee combat and Martial Arts. Not only did that make Fizzy’s survivability go way up, but it also allowed her to keep using Engine of Destruction for much longer in live combat.
However, this undeniably useful Skill came with some unexpected psychological downsides. The fact this voice sounded and spoke so much like her original, wimpy, meatbag self really rubbed her the wrong way. Not to mention that the mere thought of ‘sharing’ her glorious mithril frame with someone else was irritating in its own way, even if that ‘someone’ was technically herself. Still, even if the two of them argued to an extent, there were no real clashes of opinions and they could cooperate easily enough when push came to shove. All things considered though, she was gradually getting used to this voice and learning to get along with it. It was almost as if she was getting to know another version of herself.
Strictly speaking though, if Fizzy was still a person, then it would only be a matter of time before the Parallel Plot Skill would drive her insane to the point of mentally crippling her. After all, a Parallel was born from one’s subconsciousness, and your average run-of-the-mill meatbags had numerous doubts and worries tucked away in the back of their minds. How do others see them? Why did they act a particular way? Were their beliefs and morals truly the right ones? What the hell would ‘the right ones’ even supposed to be? If such things were given an audible voice, then the person’s transformation into a gibbering, suicidal mess was an inevitability.
But Fizzy? She had done away with such bothersome mental baggage when she abandoned both her flesh and her reason months ago. Even if she despised the weakling she once was, she unconditionally loved her current self with her entire being. Everything she did was right and everyone who thought otherwise (and wasn’t Boxxy) was wrong. The Parallel spawned of such thoroughly selfish and narcissistic thoughts had no choice but to ultimately agree and cooperate with her.
And the golem was gradually realizing that pushing her ‘other’ self away was not what she wanted to do. Although hostility towards something that was annoying was understandable, this voice was, ultimately, also a part of herself. As such, she was steadily starting to like it and would, in time, embrace it completely. That outcome was an inevitability at this point. Her harsh words were mainly because she had yet to completely adjust to its presence. And in order to do that, she first had to address a certain something that had been bothering her for quite a while.
“... You don’t have a name, right?” she asked her other self.
“Now that you mention it… no, I suppose I don’t. I could use yours, but that just feels… wrong. As much as I am you, I am also me. Therefore, I would much prefer a name I could call my own.”
“My thoughts exactly. Which is why I’ve decided to call you Plus.”
“Oh? Ohhh! That works on so many levels! I shall accept this brilliantly clever name from myself, on behalf of myself! Way to go, me!”
“Huhuhu, I am pretty smart, aren’t I?”
“Yup. The absolute best!”
“Ahem! Now then, Plus, I need to pay homage to Jordan while I have the chance, so do be quiet.”
“Aye, aye, cap’n!”
Fizzy quickly surveyed the battlefield around her. Honestly speaking, it was more of a skirmish than an actual battle as both sides had only about 25 to 30 people when it broke out. The dense pinewood forests of this region had forced the Imperial army to slow to a crawl as they steadily cleared them out and created a sort of highway they could pass through. The Republic’s initial hit-and-run operations had proven to be successful in delaying them even further.
That’s when the humans countered by deploying small groups of heavily armed units ahead of the bulk of the force. These scouting units formed a wide security perimeter, greatly reducing the mobility and effectiveness of the Republic’s guerrilla units. The elves had, in turn, momentarily given up on hindering the main force or their supply lines and instead focused on thinning out the enemy numbers by ambushing as many of those advance troops as possible.
Unfortunately for them, the Empire had already grown familiar with all of their tricks. Not only that, but their crushing defeat at Fort Yimin had served as a wake up call. Although they were still confirming the details of what exactly had happened in that hellscape, the Empire’s top brass had ordered the field commanders to put caution above all else during their advance through Republic territory. As a direct result, although many ambushes succeeded, an equal number of them failed. And when an ambush was thwarted, the two sides almost always found themselves locked in a brawl.
Which was exactly how the skirmish that Fizzy was caught up in had started. Normally speaking, the Empire would have the upper hand when it came to open combat with equal numbers, but Fizzy’s presence had tipped the scale in the elves’ favor. After all, she had taken down 3 significant threats and at least 7 soldiers all by herself. At that point it was only a matter of time before her side emerged victorious, although the humans probably hadn’t realized that quite yet. This was why the her immediate area was completely free of hostiles, which in turn gave her the precious few moments she needed. The Paladin went on one knee and began offering a brief yet sincere prayer to Carla, the Goddess of Variables.
She thanked Her for the upteempth time for her mithril body, which would not have come to her were it not for Her guiding hand. She thanked Her for her Artificer Job, which allowed her to gain unparalleled understanding of said glorious frame. She thanked Him for granting her the privilege of being a champion to such a simple yet infinitely complex deity. She also thanked Him for somehow ending up with a trio of disparate Jobs that, despite all the preconceptions she might have once had, worked together in perfect harmony. If anything was a working example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, it was Fizzy. In some ways, she was perhaps the crowning achievement of her own Artificer’s career.
But most of all, the golem thanked Him for her current lot in life. She was confident, strong, and had someone who she was precious to. It didn’t matter to her if this outcome had come about as a direct result of her deity’s influence or whether it was all blind luck. Regardless of which one was the case, or whether they were even separate notions to begin with, it was crystal clear that if anyone was deserving of her gratitude and reverence (besides Boxxy and herself), it was Crusty, the God of Instability.
A special action has been performed. FTH +1. LCK +1.
After ending her prayer by uttering her version of ‘amen,’ Fizzy received a silent confirmation that her words of thanks had been not only heard, but also appreciated. The fact she had gotten not one, but two Attribute boosts showed that Tortuga was extremely pleased with her actions, which in turn raised her own spirits. The golem opened her eyes and stood up, her fully restored and fully naked mithril body glittering radiantly in the morning sun. She put her shield-bearing side forward, threw her deformed wrench over her shoulder with her right hand and scanned what remained of the Empire’s forces, some 30 or so meters away from her.
“Now then,” she mumbled to herself, “let’s go find the sorry sack of fuck that dared to shoot me in the ass.”
“Yes,” agreed Plus, “let’s!”
|General Information||Attributes||Job Information|
|Species||Metal Golem (Mithril)||STR||399||PER||157||Arclight Artificer||58||31%|
|Age||22 years||AGI||148||LCK||51||Metal Golem||33||12%|
|Guild||Hammers of Horkensaft||END||315|
|Clockwork Expertise||10||MAX||Champion of Chaos||10||MAX||Advanced Joints||6||10%|
|Deconstruction||7||53%||Strength of Faith||10||MAX||Engine of Destruction||2||48%|
|Optics Expertise||5||3%||Holy Scripture||9||21%||Metallopathy||6||73%|
|Component Forging||9||42%||Bonecrusher War Art||4||55%||Dagger Mastery||4||6%|
|Tick Counter||6||91%||Parallel Plot||2||5%||Shield Mastery||9||85%|
|Upgrade||5||15%||Heavy Metal||10||MAX||Holy Mastery||11||53%|
|Electrical Expertise||3||33%||Armored Charge||7||46%||Mace Mastery||12||29%|
|Spell List||Martial Arts List|
|Holy||Other||Bonecrusher War Art|
|Holy Light||Parallel Zero||Grand Slam|
|Consecrate||Parallel One||Shield Wall|