Boxxy and Jones stared at each other for a few tense moments, both of them too stunned to see the other’s innards to take any meaningful action. Boxxy in particular had no idea how to react to this. The initial plan had been to confront and make contact with the target in an effort to get under their skin. That was clearly no longer an option, as the target had proven to be completely different from what the Mimic had expected, causing a number of very good questions to pop up in its mind.
Was it a Doppelganger? A Ranked-Up mimic like itself? Either way he was clearly a shapeshifter, so how come this guy was working to expose his own kind? And just how in the hell was he capable of using lightning magic to begin with? Whatever the answers, Boxxy could see only one course of action - to fall back on its ‘capture, control and contain’ backup plan.
Unfortunately, Jones had made the first move and hit Boxxy with a point-blank burst of lightning from the charged orb of electricity he had conjured moments earlier.
You have been violently electrocuted. HP -740.
Your flesh has been mended. HP +200.
The offensive Spell bore into Slums Hoodlum B’s chest, causing the victim to stumble back while howling in pain. Boxxy lashed out with an unnaturally extending arm as the hand rapidly shifted into a steel sickle-like blade. Jones hopped backwards, avoiding the wide swing while simultaneously preparing another Spell.
Boxxy would not let him have his way, however, and lunged forward while sprouting three bright-red tentacles from its back as it shed any remnants of humanity in its disguise. That Thunder Lance had hurt like hell, and this particular ex-mimic wasn’t about to risk losing its life just to maintain a disguise. At the same time, it couldn’t allow the enemy to escape, so the creature gave chase, swinging its blade-tipped limbs at him like a tornado of steel.
As for the spectators, they were already dispersing through the surrounding streets and alleys with practiced ease and a good deal of screaming. None of them even thought about trying to stop the fight since they had no idea about the powers they would be dealing with. They clearly stood only to lose by getting involved. Still, if forced to pick a side, they’d probably go with the Wizard that was very obviously not a monster.
Especially considering how adept said Wizard turned out to be at dodging. Jones ducked and weaved and swayed sideways through the deadly typhoon Boxxy unleashed upon him without suffering a single scratch. Unlike his opponent, Jones seemed determined to maintain his Facade even under these circumstances, although the way his torso and limbs twisted around themselves made it even more obvious he was no ordinary human.
The Mimic then realized its approach was wrong. While using a flurry of attacks like these was a quick and easy way to overwhelm a human fighter, its opponent had an MLG at his disposal. He was doubtlessly able to accurately grasp the trajectories of all five bladed limbs because of that sensory organ. Not only that, but he had the Agility (AGI) and reflexes to put that information to good use and slip between the gaps. Even trying to change up the angle of the attacks mid-swing didn’t seem to perturb him.
Whoever he really was, this Jones Alexis was no stranger to close quarters combat.
Now that Boxxy had a chance to calm down a bit, it abruptly retracted all of its additional limbs and shifted its body to a slimmer and shorter one, much closer to its natural proportions. When it was done changing shapes, it looked like a young lad on the cusp of manhood draped in torn-up rags of his own. It was a filthy appearance that was entirely mismatched with the jeweled mithril rapier that had appeared in the boy’s right hand.
Jones had taken this brief respite to throw up his Mana Shield - every Wizard’s go-to defensive barrier. He then fired another Thunder Lance at Boxxy, but the Mimic was ready for it this time and blocked the incoming bolt of lightning by throwing a Mirror Image at it. The Hylt Creeper’s body double leapt out in front of the original and took the full force of the attack and collapsed on the floor. It hadn’t had the chance to insulate itself with Bouncewood yet, so the highly-charged Spell was able to instantly paralyze and cripple it.
Boxxy wasn’t quite finished, though, as it used a third of its remaining MP pool to conjure three more Mirror Images. One of them assumed the same form as the original and grew a steel rapier out of its own body, while the other two ran off into the alleys on either side of the creature. The pair of identical, half-naked swordsmen rushed the Wizard and thrust their respective swords at his magical barrier in unison. The deadly points slammed into thin air, sending numerous cracks through the Spell-slinger’s bubble-like Mana Shield, but were unable to pierce it.
He attempted to electrocute Boxxy once again, but the Mimic had slipped to the side moments before the chant completed, allowing the stray lightning bolt to pass by it and blow a hole through a nearby shack. The body double, in the meantime, had thrust at the caster once more, further cracking his Mana Shield, prompting Jones to throw a basic Lightning Bolt at it. It served to throw the Mirror Image backwards, buying the Wizard some extra time. Even if it was moving at only a fraction of the original’s Attributes, it was not something he could ignore so easily.
Just then, his MLG detected a many-limbed blur moving straight towards him at breakneck speeds. He threw himself to the side to dodge, but Drea’s back-mounted scythes had ripped through his Mana Shield as if it were paper. The defensive barrier shattered with a loud crash, causing its owner to recoil slightly.
Your body speeds up to match an unheard rhythm. DEX +30%.
Boxxy used that opening to unleash its body-strengthening Skill while simultaneously striking at Jones’s body with a weapon wreathed in ice-bearing magic. It was a sharp swing that was significantly faster and deadlier than anything it had used beforehand. The difference in speed caught Jones off-guard, allowing the mithril rapier’s dazzling blade to cut through his leather armor and dig into his left shoulder.
Your flesh has been mended. HP +200.
You have inflicted a deep cut. Target HP -237.
You have partially frozen your target. Target HP -177.
However, rather than slice the limb off in one go, the thin piece of metal stopped dead in its tracks halfway through his shoulder. If Boxxy’s opponent were a regular adventurer or soldier, that full-force blow would’ve easily cut through both flesh and bone, but this guy’s body was way too tough to allow that sort of thing. It was a clear sign that Jones’s Endurance (END) Attribute was through the roof, likely overshadowing Boxxy’s own. Not only that, but the damage inflicted was much lower than what the Mimic was used to.
Well, hoping that he’d have the relatively fragile body of a Wizard was too much to ask for at this stage, wasn’t it?
Boxxy withdrew its weapon from the man’s shoulder and spun around to continue the Winterlich Waltz and strike at his neck from the man’s right side. At the same time, Claws had come around to his back in an attempt to impale him with each of her blades. The rapier-wielding Mirror Image from before had regained its footing, and was currently dashing towards the wounded man in an effort to impale him throm the left. Unfortunately, while all of those sharp objects collided with the man’s body and cut into his armor, all of them were repelled with a series of clangs, almost as if they were nails clattering against a clothed rock.
Almost exactly like that, actually.
“That was my favorite suit you just ruined!”
With a roar of genuine anger, Jones made a fist and struck at Boxxy’s head. The Mimic was able to avoid the bare handed punch by leaping backwards, but was left with the distinct impression that a meteor had just flown past its face. The Mirror Image wasn’t as lucky, as it was struck with a backhanded punch that sent it flying into a nearby building, while Drea was forced to back off in order to avoid a reverse roundhouse kick to her jaw. She tried clawing at the man’s foot in a counterattack, but only managed to rip his pants without drawing any blood.
This only seemed to anger Jones further, as he focused his attention on the skittering demon. He rushed forward and kicked at her midsection, but the agile Stalker was able to barely sidestep it. Jones then kicked at her face once again, although the speed and upward angle forced the slightly off-balance Drea to try and parry it with her scythes. And while she was successful in intercepting the blow, her opponent’s physical strength proved to be far superior to her own. Not only did he crush most of her scythes, but he also knocked her off her feet and onto her back. He moved in and raised his foot to stomp her head flat against the cobblestone pavement, but was rudely interrupted by a watermelon-sized steel ball that slammed into his exposed back.
You have suffered blunt force trauma. HP -305.
He fell forwards on top of Drea, who used the much sturdier claws on her hands to try and impale him by using his own body weight against him. That proved to be a futile effort, however, as Jones slammed his own fists into her hands with enough force to break the demon’s wrists, then viciously kneed her in the stomach. The Stalker demon howled in pain as he kicked off her body into the air in order to avoid the massive flail Boxxy had forged out of its own body. His rage had momentarily blinded him to his true opponent’s sneak attack, proving that even creatures with an MLG could get tunnel vision if provoked significantly enough.
It was a weakness that both Jones and Boxxy were currently aware of, and a weakness that the former decided to eliminate immediately.
The Mimic watched curiously as its opponent suddenly opened a Storage portal of his own and slipped inside it. It ordered the crippled Drea off the field as it reclaimed the massive flail and absorbed it back into its body. Boxxy had no way of knowing what sort of tricks that guy had up his sleeves, but it was painfully obvious that excessive brute force would be necessary to break through whatever defensive Skills he was using. Fortunately, it knew just the muscle-head to do that.
When Jones emerged from his Storage portal a few seconds later, it became apparent that the reason he went in there was to change his equipment. Or more specifically - to change out of his precious leather armor. It was a finely crafted set of gear that was the only memento he had left of his father, so it was only natural he’d be upset when it got slashed, pierced, battered or otherwise damaged. That anger had caused him to lose focus in the middle of a fight, but now that his worldly possession was safely tucked away in a pocket dimension, he could fight without losing track of his enemy.
In other words, he had cast completely cast off his veneer of vanity.
What emerged from that swirling abyss no longer had the appearance of a human, but that of a monster, although one would be quite hard pressed to pinpoint exactly what type of monster it was. It was definitely humanoid, although its upper body and arms were much larger and thicker than its lower half, almost like one of the gorillas from the southern continent. However, rather than fur or leathery skin, his body was covered in dense spiky scales that were a dull red in color in all places except his forehead, chest, forearms and shoulders. Those areas were instead protected by solid growths that resembled stone slabs.The hands and feet were all tipped with sharp talons, and a bulbous black growth like a spider’s abdomen was dangling from the back of his waist. The head and face looked like they belonged on a bird of prey of some kind, what with the sharp beak, piercing eyes and bright yellow feathers covering the scalp and thick neck.
“Wow! You are uuug-ly!”
As this abomination landed on the ground with a heavy thud, he was greeted by the jeering words of Kora, who had been called out using her master’s Artifact-grade staff. The owner of that woefully underused item had quick-changed into its Sandman appearance and was already chanting a Spell while using the Archfiend for cover.
But even if he looked like this, the being that passed itself off as Jones Alexis was still very much a Wizard.
The black flames enveloped the bizarre chimera’s body, but were almost immediately extinguished by his counter-magic. Kora moved in immediately afterwards, but her triple right uppercut was deftly blocked by Jones’s thick left arm. His knees buckled slightly due to the Archfiend’s absurd physical strength, but he managed to avoid suffering any real injury. He slashed back at her with his claws, but the demon chose to ignore defending and instead swung her other set of arms back at him. Talons cut through flesh and metal fists clashed into scales and carapace as the two monstrosities exchanged greetings.
They kept on trading blows for a few seconds at high speeds, both shaving away at the other’s HP. Jones made sure to keep himself firmly positioned between the fiend and her master, preventing the latter from firing Spells at him.
Or at least, that’s what he thought.
Jones was assaulted by a sense of confusion and a skull-splitting headache as Boxxy’s rarely used Domination magic assaulted his consciousness. Confusing visions flashed by his eyes and even his mimicked mimic MLG was reporting bizarre shapes all around him. With his mind momentarily unable to form a coherent thought, all he could do was flail randomly while Kora continued to tenderize his tough hide.
Boxxy had taken advantage of a demon’s near-immunity to mind-altering effects to hit both Kora and Jones with its magic. And while the demoness was left wholly unaffected, the shapeshifting abomination was left almost completely defenseless. The Mimic took this opportunity to reposition itself to get a clear view of its opponent and activated its Level 10 Power Overwhelming Skill, which increased both the damage output and MP cost of its Ruin Spells by a whopping 500%. It ordered Arms to clear out of the way and unleashed the strongest single-target Spell it had at its disposal.
It swung its staff in a downward diagonal arc, and an invisible guillotine flew out of it. It carved up the street, sliced clean through Jones and went on to utterly demolish a row of houses and buildings behind him. Numerous screams rang out as a direct result of the devastation, as dozens of bystanders had been caught up in the destruction. As for the Warlock’s primary target-
Your target has been split asunder. Target HP -2,494.
-his torso slid off his lower body, collapsing onto the ground with a disgusting wet thud. The supercharged Spell had gone through him like a hot knife through butter. True, it depleted much of the Mimic’s MP and left it with barely 1,000 of it, but the result was clearly devastating.
Even then, it was not devastating enough. The horrible pain Jones had suffered at his opponent’s hands snapped him out of his Delirium, and he immediately counterattacked with a wide-area suppression Skill.
The chimera’s bird head was still very much alive, which it demonstrated by letting out an ungodly noise. Windows shattered, the earth shook and blood vessels popped as Boxxy was subjected to a Thunderbird’s Thunderous Screech. The supernatural noise was so strong that it left the Mimic temporarily stunned, allowing its opponent to reconnect to its severed lower half before it had a chance to decompose. Kora was able to withstand the noise, however, and moved to kick his head as if it were a rubber kickball.
Jones was having none of that, though. He slammed the ground with his fist, causing the already straining street to crack open and collapse, dropping the fiend into the sewers before she could react. This gave him precious few seconds to rejoin with the severed part of his body while maintaining the auditory assault on Boxxy, who had curled up on the ground while writhing in pain. The shapeshifter’s abnormally high Perception (PER) Attribute tempered by its Ranger Job was once again working against it. Even though it had gotten rid of its ears and even stifled its MLG, it could still ‘hear’ the violent vibrations in its blood and bones. It was gradually getting used to it and managed to get back on its feet, although its opponent had already regained his previous form and was bearing down on it, showing no intentions of stopping his voice.
Just then, a pair of arrows embedded themselves in either side of his throat, puncturing the abomination’s trachea and robbing him of his voice. He coughed and sputtered, but was unable to resume his infuriating voice due to the barrage of arrows that began assaulting him from both flanks. Jones had done away with its own MLG to prevent sensory backlash from his Thunderous Screech Skill, which in turn made him unable to pick up on the incoming hostile projectiles - just as Boxxy had hoped. As for the source of those ranged attacks, they were the duo of Mirror Images the Mimic had sent out earlier to ‘procure’ some ranged weaponry and provide covering fire when the time was right. They ran a bit late and were therefore unable to shut Jones up right away, but they still got the job done.
The monstrous Wizard gargle-chanted ‘Mana Shield’ as he brought his defensive barrier and his MLG back online. The plain arrows may have punctured his vulnerable neck muscles, but were unable to penetrate the magic bubble. The monster in front of him was already recovering while the fiend from behind was rapidly making her way out of that improvised pitfall. The sword-wielding Mirror Image and Stalker demon from earlier were nowhere to be found, so they were likely preparing yet more traps and ambushes.
And yet, even though his beak made it near impossible to tell, the abomination that had tried to pass for Jones Alexis was smiling. He couldn’t even remember the last time an opponent had put up this much of a fight. Granted, it wasn’t like he was actively looking for fights to get into, but it was still a strangely refreshing experience. Surely if it was this opponent, then he could finally cut loose.
In the next instant, the chimera’s eyes shifted in structure. The yellow and black concentric circles of his irises turned a putrid, muddy green with a black vertical slit. He then directed a basilisk’s Petrifying Gaze directly at the crafty shapeshifter it happened upon. The creature’s body began turning gray and solid, but the progress of the petrification was slowed due to its outstanding vitality.
As expected, it quickly caught onto what was going on and retaliated by throwing out a metal capsule of some description. The device popped open with a blinding flash, but Jones had expected this and had already closed his eyes. He launched a deluge of spider webbing from his arachnid posterior, instantly wrapping the six-armed demon in sticky thread and halting her approach.
He then used a combination of Liquid Mimicry, Slipstream and Hydro Hand Skills to create a geyser-like eruption of water beneath his feet. The magically-generated aquatic pillar propelled him high into the air, twisting and turning as if it were a living creature. Jones rode the unnatural wave closer to one of the bow-wielding body doubles. His left arm morphed into a bright green blob like a slime’s, and he swung it diagonally at his target while letting out a thin, highly pressurised jet of liquid. The Water Slicer Skill mercilessly cut through the ill-prepared Mirror Image, much like Boxxy’s Reality Slash had run through Jones. The being somehow survived the attack, but was diced into bits with two more Water Slicers, which depleted its HP and caused its body to rapidly decompose into nothingness.
Jones then turned his attention towards the other bow-wielding apparition and attempted to take it down in much the same way, but he had already shown his hand. His target had fortified its body by covering itself in a Hylt tree’s Ironbark, of all things. And judging from how it was able to withstand the Water Slicer without suffering almost any damage, it was more than just a pale imitation. However, Jones proved he had yet more tricks up his proverbial sleeve, and bathed the Mirror Image in a torrent of flaming breath, eerily similar to a dragon’s. He finished it off by calling down a lightning bolt on top of it by using his Lightning Strike Skill. It wasn’t as potent as his Wizard Spells and had a cooldown period, but he could use it instantly and without chanting so long as he was outdoors.
Down on the ground, the main target had changed weapons into using a bow of its own, clearly intending to take advantage of the weapon’s longer range to shoot Jones down. And while its arrows were definitely deadlier than those of its lesser counterparts, they naturally had trouble hitting a target that rode atop a snake-like pillar of water. Not only that, but his Wind Wall Skill made sure to knock any and all physical projectiles off-course.
At least as long as said projectiles were not a 250-centimeter tall pile of muscle and rage.
Jones was caught completely unawares when the fiend from earlier suddenly tackled him from the side. In a move that had surprised both her master and her opponent, she had leapt 15 meters into the air to intercept her target and knock him off his aquatic foothold. Her already ridiculous strength had been further amplified by her Rank Up into an Archfiend, so there was no way that webbing would hold her for long.
The two of them fell down to the ground, with Kora body slamming her target into a nearby rooftop. The structure gave way under their combined weight, and the two of them crashed into the two-story blacksmith’s workshop. Jones temporarily dissolved into an amorphous blob and slithered his way out from the fiend’s pinning hold, reforming into a strictly lizardman-like shape. The green-haired woman rose to her feet with a vicious smile on her face and rushed him with a storm of punches just like before.
Her attacks shattered his scales, rattled his bones and cut up the insides of his crocodile-like mouth, but Jones kept on hitting back and trading blows. He tried to match her ferocity and savagery with his own, answering violence with violence, but quickly realized this was not a contest he would win. Her attacks hurt like hell, boring through the combination of Natural Armor, Spiked Scales and Harden Skills as if they weren’t there. And while he did rip out chunks of her flesh with every swipe of his red-hot claws, her onslaught only rose in intensity due to the characteristic traits of a Berserker. He might’ve handled her toe-to-toe under normal circumstances, but that Reality Slash from earlier had taken a big chunk out of him, and his Mend Flesh Skill was still repairing the damage.
Well, that just meant he didn’t have to face her on equal footing. That sort of prideful thinking was what got him sliced in half in the first place. He collapsed on the ground into the same pile of bright-green goop from earlier and went to wrap himself around her legs. The demon tried to counter with a War Stomp, but Jones’s slime body simply made a hole where her foot fell, meaning the only thing she accomplished was cracking the wooden floorboards and dropping both of them down into the building’s basement.
When her body collided with the ground once again, Kora found herself lying on her face and already halfway enveloped by her opponent’s goopy body. She instinctively started thrashing about in an effort to shake it off. She rolled on the floor, slammed herself into the walls and even punched at her own body, but her opponent took very little damage. And throughout all this, she felt pain stab into her goo-covered skin as Jones used a combination of Corrosive Touch and Deadly Poison Skills to flood her body with toxins.
It was only natural she would be outmatched though. Trying to take down a Queen Slime through physical force was like trying to extinguish a forest fire by peeing on it. Something her master was able to witness directly, as it had crept into the ruined building and was watching the two struggle against each other. It felt momentarily jealous, as the other side’s shapeshifting abilities were far more versatile than its own. No matter how hard it tried, it would be impossible for Boxxy to transform into a slime like that and take advantage of its near-imperviousness to physical injuries.
Then again, just like any monster, slimes too had their weaknesses. And there was no way a self-taught shapeshifter expert like Boxxy would not know of their vulnerability to magic. Its opponent seemed to have realized this, as evidenced by the Mana Shield he erected around both himself and the fiend while he was trying to subdue her. Punching through that would prove difficult to be sure, but Boxxy didn’t necessarily need to do that.
After all, Mr Alexis wasn’t the only one with a formidable bag of tricks.
At the Mimic’s behest, Kora’s red skin momentarily glowed with an intense green light as the demonic energies in her body ran rampant and out of control. The Archfiend exploded violently in the next instant with a flash of bright green flames. The force of the explosion blasted the Sandman-shaped shapeshifter out of the smithy, across the street, and into the house on the opposite side. It crashed through a window on the second floor, finding itself in a small, dingy bedroom. It quickly rose to its feet and somewhat groggily ran to the windowsill, watching in stunned silence as an emerald-colored inferno was steadily turning the site of Kora and Jones’s brief duel into an ash pile.
The hell was that?! it complained inwardly. It’s way too strong!
The sheer amount of energy released by causing Arms to self-destruct was well beyond anything it had expected. It was at least twice as potent than the last time it tried using that Spell. The lingering flames that were rapidly spreading to other buildings were an entirely new aspect of it. Was it because Arms was an Archfiend now? Punchy did seem to have a natural aptitude for fire and Arms was supposedly related to him, so it could be that a propensity for arson simply ‘ran in the family’ as it were. Or rather, there could really be no other explanation.
Not that Boxxy was complaining. Since his opponent was wrapped up tight around the demon, then it probably took the full brunt of that explosion and was scattered to bits. It was a bit regretful that he had to be destroyed, but Boxxy deemed it impossible to capture a threat of that magnitude alive. Well, at the very least the XP it gained from killing a tough opponent like that was bound to be tasty.
Except that he wasn’t quite dead.
Boxxy’s reflexes sharpened to a point when it heard that dreadfully familiar screech. A huge hawk-like bird flew upward out of the blazing inferno, the green flames clinging to its golden plumage giving it an almost ethereal presence. It dived straight at the Sandman with its wings tucked in, threatening to pierce the humanoid creature’s large torso with his beak, almost as if he were an oversized arrow. Boxxy reacted by tapping into its Phytokinesis Skill and throwing the wooden bed in the room at its opponent, but the horse-sized Thunderbird smashed it to bits without even slowing down.
Boxxy was able to leap to the ceiling and dodge the sharp beak and talons by the skin of its teeth while the enemy tore through the building as if it were made of paper. He left gaping holes on both ends of the second floor, causing the already rickety house to creak and groan ominously as it started to collapse in on itself. The Mimic leapt down onto the street before it got buried in the rubble while the flying shapeshifter made its way around for another dive attack.
“Master?!” called out Xera. “What’s going on over there?! I can see the smoke from here!”
“Things got a little out of hand!” answered Boxxy as it braced itself for the next attack.
“Then I should-”
“You stay where you are and maintain the Facade! And don’t bother me unless it’s life-or-death!”
While having an extra pair of hands to help with this guy would be welcome, it was an undeniable fact that Snack would be useless here. If the demonic flames released by that extra-spicy Demonate weren’t enough to take him down, then it was a safe bet that her Pyromancer magic would be just as ineffective.
“… Understood, Master.”
Just as Xera offered that weak-willed response, Jones swooped in to attack Boxxy once again. The Mimic had dug its feet deep into the cobblestone road and had quite literally rooted itself in place. The outward layer of Ironbark grew rapidly thicker as the enemy approached at breakneck speeds. It seemed like it would try and take the enemy charge’s head on, but that was just a ruse to goad Jones into a head-to-head clash.
And just before said clash would happen, Boxxy opened its Storage portal right in front of Jones’s path. The enemy shapeshifter was physically unable to change his course on time, and fell into the swirling black abyss. The dimensional gateway was then closed, trapping him inside the Mimic’s pocket dimension. Boxxy breathed a sigh of relief as it unrooted itself off the ground. No matter how much he flailed, Jones had no choice but to suffocate in that confined space. Even if he didn’t need to breathe, that abomination would surely starve to death eventually.
Except that the abomination in question knew all there was to know about trapping things in such volatile spaces. Breaking into pocket dimensions was nigh-impossible, but breaking out of them? All he had to do strike out against the walls of its new prison with all its might. This caused a rip in the fabric of reality, which allowed him to escape Boxxy’s Storage, causing the shapeshifter a great deal of pain as a result of the magical backlash. The thing calling itself Jones appeared next to the momentarily stunned Mimic in the same reptilian shape he had when fighting Kora, then delivered a full-force punch to the monster’s ribs. Or at least to the area where the ribs would normally be located.
Your Storage Skill has backfired due to improper use. Your body suffers from the feedback. HP -200.
You have suffered blunt force trauma. HP -674.
Your flesh has been mended. HP +200.
Caught completely off-guard by this series of events, Boxxy was sent flying to the side from the sheer force of the blow. It had prematurely undone its Ironbark carapace, so it took the full brunt of the attack upon its malleable flesh. Satisfied that he had finally gotten a solid hit on the slippery creature, Jones allowed himself a small measure of celebration as he watched it tumble head-over-heels down the road.
The crafty shapeshifter proved it wasn’t quite done yet, as it seamlessly transformed itself into a large steel ball while abandoning the Sandman’s trappings. It kept rolling down the street and away from the dangerous chimera. Realizing that his quarry was trying to run away, Jones quickly chased after it on foot, confident he could catch up to the runaway pinball without too much difficulty.
Rather than slow down as he expected, however, his target actually sped up. It suddenly adopted a distinctly more cubic shape, sprouted a quartet of wooden wagon wheels and kept rolling along the paved street. It sprouted a pair of arachnid legs from its undercarriage, which it used to propel itself even faster. Jones was inwardly impressed yet again at this thing’s ability to mold its own body. There was no way he’d be able to match that sort of creativity and ingenuity.
Then again, he didn’t necessarily need to.
The humanoid lizard began shifting, rapidly adopting the form of a fully-grown, green-furred janther. Using the large feline’s trademark six legs, it rapidly accelerated and started catching up to the runaway box-on-wheels. Due to the absurd speeds they were going at, they had already left the deserted areas of the slums and were rapidly approaching a crowded street with a lot of traffic. Jones’s bosses would be rather displeased if this scuffle got any more public than it already was, so he put his all into accelerating even further and closing in on his target.
Just then, the top of the steel box popped open as if it were a treasure chest, and the upper body of a humanoid figure rose up from it. It was the shape of a naked albino woman with excessively large breasts, waist-long straight hair, an impossibly thin waist and a face so gorgeous that lesser men would instantly fall for her. Boxxy wasn’t sure exactly why it had slipped into its old habit of using Snack for a basis of its humanoid appearances, but it didn’t matter either. What was truly important was the skull-tipped staff in its slender hands and the Spell it was going to unleash upon its pursuer.
“Mind Blast ~?!” chirped the pseudo-succubus, slamming the psychic equivalent of an anvil directly into Jones’s consciousness.
Your target has been stunned for 3 seconds.
Chaotic energies swirl around you. Your body has been revitalized. HP +9999. MP +9999.
“Alright ~?!” cheered Boxxy as the janther’s gigantic body tripped over its own limp feet and tumbled on the ground.
It was a bit out of character, but the Mimic could be forgiven for unwittingly expressing its joy. Not only did it manage to lure in and disable its opponent, but the Chaotic Disposition Skill actually proved itself useful for once. Now that it was back in peak condition, it stabbed the ground to its left with a metallic tentacle and did an abrupt U-turn towards its opponent. It came to a screeching halt in front of the collapsed beast, who was still trying to recover from the mental shock. Jones groaned and shifted its limbs around pathetically, and could only dimly process the sight of Boxxy activating Power Overwhelming for the second time in the fight.
Your target has been split asunder. Target HP -3,294.
With a downward swing of its demonic staff, the Mimic once again grievously injured its opponent. It ripped apart not only the janther’s upper body, but dug out a deep crevice into the road while slicing a nearby building clean in half. However, it still hadn’t finished it off, as evidenced by the total lack of XP gain in its Warlock Job. The half-box half-woman brought its staff around and prepared to repeat the mystical assault-
-but was suddenly interrupted by an incoming volley of projectiles from the side. The monster easily dodged the incoming attacks by leaping backwards and out of the way, but was unable to finish the Reality Slash chant. It angrily looked to the side to realize that a 20-man detachment of Azurvale’s city guard had finally arrived at the scene of the disturbance. Their arrival was very ill-timed, as it gave Jones the precious few moments he needed to recover his senses. The janther didn’t rise to its feet immediately, choosing to instead invoke the Lightning Strike Skill on top of its opponent.
You have been violently electrocuted. HP -503.
Your flesh has been mended. HP +200.
The literal bolt from the blue struck Boxxy dead on, but it had managed to maintain its subdermal layer of Bouncewood so it was barely hurt by the attack. It still momentarily staggered it, which allowed Jones to rush it with its lizardman form. Rather than punching the albino succubus lookalike, he instead chose to pierce its chest with his clawed right hand.
You have suffered a major stab wound. HP -794.
Your flesh has been mended. HP +200.
The Mimic dropped its staff and let out a painful scream as Jones quite literally grasped its insides. Dark red blood gushed forth from the open wound as the thoroughly confused guards launched another volley of ranged attacks at them, all of which crashed uselessly against the bipedal lizard’s Mana Shield. Boxxy wasn’t sure what its opponent was planning, but there was no way it would miss from this intimate range. It sprouted a trio of spear-tipped tentacles from its back and tried to pierce into Jones’s torso and neck, but they bounced harmlessly off his incredibly tough scales.
“Give it up,” he muttered while lifting the Doppelganger by its insides. “You can’t beat me, so I suggest you come with me quietly.”
“Khah! Khahaha! HAHAHAHAHA!”
To his surprise, however, the creature laughed mockingly at his threat, made all the more irksome by the fact that it used that particular face and voice while doing so. In the next instant, its wide smile disappeared somewhere, replaced by a cold, murderous glare.
“No,” it whispered, then spat at him.
A torrent of corrosive, putrid liquid courtesy of Boxxy’s Acid Spray Skill spouted forth from its plump lips, bathing the unprepared lizard’s face and shoulders in the stuff. Jones screamed in pain as his body started dissolving with a loud hissing noise. He was already weakened form that Reality Slash, so there was no way he was in as good a shape as he made himself out to be. The fact that he was forced to leave half of his body behind was proof enough that he was far from peak condition. For all Boxxy knew, he just needed a little love tap and he’d keel over.
Unfortunately, Boxxy was wrong.
Its opponent was a Wizard, one that was tough enough to chant his Spell despite being drenched in corrosive acid. The bolt of lightning shot out of his hand, which was buried inside the Mimic’s chest cavity and completely bypassed its defenses, shocking it literally down to its very core.
You have been violently electrocuted. HP -3,692.
You have been stunned for 5 seconds.
Your Skills have been disabled for 5 seconds.
Boxxy’s mind went blank as it temporarily lost all muscle control and reverted back to its base form. It felt numb and limp, almost as if its mind had been completely severed from the rest of it.
“You little worm! I’ve had enough of you! Know when you are beaten!”
Its high Mental Fortitude (MNT) allowing it to maintain some semblance of consciousness, which allowed it to process its opponent’s distant-sounding complaints. In its dazed state, it unwittingly let out two words. Two syllables that it would never utter under these circumstances if it were in its right state of mind, but that simply wasn’t the case.
You have been violently electrocuted. HP -4,205.
You have been stunned for 5 seconds.
Your Skills have been disabled for 5 seconds.
You have died.
The gray-skinned Doppelganger went completely limp as gray smoke rose from its body. Its killer stared blankly at its featureless face and its exploded yellow eyeballs, as a notification popped up into his consciousness.
Congratulations, you are now a Level 63 Wizard! INT +12. END +8. WIS +4.
Feat of strength performed! You have unlocked a new Perk: Hero Killer.
“… I overdid it again, didn’t I?” he muttered with a somewhat pitying tone.
Your Mana Shield has deflected an attack. MP -206.
Your Mana Shield has deflected an attack. MP -246.
Your Mana Shield has deflected an attack. MP -104.
That’s right, those guards were still battering its defenses. It had momentarily forgotten since they were too weak to do any real damage to its magical barrier. Well, he could contemplate his lack of self-control all he wanted later, right now he still had a job to do. Which is why he unceremoniously tossed the dead Doppelganger sample into his Storage, turned around, and set about eliminating as many eye witnesses as he could.
|General Information||Attributes||Job Information|
|Species||Changeling (Artificial)||STR||800||LCK||244||Doppelganger||5||MAX||Big Cat||25||MAX|
|Guild||Household of Tol-Saroth||END||1200||AFF||137||Queen Slime||25||MAX||Salamander||25||MAX|
|HP||1962/6800 (+12.0/sec)||INT||980||Giant Spider||25||MAX||Basilisk||25||MAX|
|MP||1534/4900 (+9.1/sec)||WIS||611||Wizard (+)||63||60%|
|Precise Muscle Control||10||MAX||Magic Absorption||10||MAX||Petrifying Gaze||10||MAX|
|Storage||10||MAX||Unrelenting Storm||4||25%||Patient Predator||10||MAX|
|Water Slicer||10||MAX||Feline Evasion||10||MAX||Tectonic Shift||10||MAX|
|Corrosive Touch||10||MAX||Deep Wounds||10||MAX||Shapeshift||10||MAX|
|Liquid Mimicry||10||MAX||Apex Predator||10||MAX||Webspinner||10||MAX|
|Mend Flesh||10||MAX||Thunderous Screech||10||MAX||Lightning Affinity||10||MAX|
|Assassination||10||MAX||Eagle Eye||10||MAX||Water Affinity||10||MAX|
|Natural Armor||10||MAX||Wind Wall||10||MAX||Fire Affinity||10||MAX|
|Arachnid Strength||10||MAX||Lightning Strike||10||MAX||Earth Affinity||10||MAX|
|Deadly Poison||10||MAX||Hydro Hand||10||MAX||Stealth||10||MAX|
|Arcane Stability||10||MAX||Deep Thoughts||10||MAX||Meditation||5||20%|
|Mana Shield||10||MAX||Slipstream||10||MAX||Projectile Mastery||10||MAX|
|Arcane Attunement||10||MAX||Paean||10||MAX||Arcane Mastery||9||30%|
|Glyphcraft||10||MAX||Fire Breath||10||MAX||Primal Mastery||16||85%|
|Lightning Overload||10||MAX||Spiked Scales||10||MAX||Basic Mastery||6||29%|
|Chant Reduction||10||MAX||Searing Claws||10||MAX||Spatial Mastery||8||50%|
|Student of the Mind||10||MAX||Emergency Escape||10||MAX||Brawling Mastery||10||MAX|