Rowana and Keira walked hand in hand while stretching their legs around the plaza containing one of Azurvale’s Forest Gates. It was still early morning and the winter season was already upon them, so the weather was quite chilly to say the least. There was no snow just yet, but their warm breaths were clearly visible in the cold air. The low temperature was also why they were wrapped up snugly in matching fur coats, with the elf wearing a dark green one to accentuate her eyes while the catgirl’s was a deep red to go with her signature hair color.
“I wish you didn’t have to go…” muttered Rowana for the upteempth time.
“I’ll be fine, Rowie,” said Keira while hugging her tightly from the side. “Mr. S will look after me, so you have nothing to worry about, okay?”
The tall, cloaked figure of the Sandman flashed across the elf’s mind. She still a bit felt nervous about his shady way of doing things, but it was impossible to argue with his results. Not only had he been subtly looking out for her girlfriend throughout the war, but he was also instrumental in bringing her back after she had gone missing for nearly a week. To doubt someone who’s done so much for her sweetheart would only make her seem like an ingrate. It was beyond rude, especially considering the girlfriend in question trusted him so much.
Still, even with his track record Rowana couldn’t feel completely comfortable with that hired killer lurking around her Keira. The fact that he took some of her parents’ money for this job did not help warm her up to the Sandman, either. Her rational mind told her that he was a trained professional doing dangerous work, so expecting compensation for his services was the most natural thing in the world. In fact, as Keira herself had pointed out last night, it would have been far more suspicious if he had offered to do it for free, and the elf couldn’t help but agree with her.
“I know, I know. It’s just… I’ll miss you terribly.”
“I’ll miss you too, but it’s something I have to do. Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you when I get back.”
The two then shared a short, sweet kiss on the lips while Keira continued to rub the elf’s shoulder reassuringly. Rowana sighed contently, deeply grateful she no longer had to feel ashamed about her being in a romantic relationship with another woman. She still came across bigots that gave her mean looks every now and then, but none of them were stupid enough to actually harass them. She had to admit, dating the Hero who brought about the end of that horrible war certainly had its perks.
“Ah, excuse me, miss Morgana?”
An unfamiliar voice called out from behind the pair, and they turned around to see a man in a long brown coat. He was pushing around a wheelbarrow with a large wooden cask the size of an average dwarf in it. Upon closer inspection, it was actually some sort of beer keg judging from the brass spigot on one end of it. The words ‘Thunderbrew Prime Ale’ were burned onto its surface in large blocky print, and it sloshed audibly from being moved around. Interestingly enough, Boxxy’s MLG had difficulty peering into it, as for whatever reason the container seemed to have been lined with bronze plating.
“Yes? Can I help you?” responded Keira, sweet as honey.
“Ah, uhm, y-yes. I have a delivery for you, care of a miss Hilda. Oh, I was also told to give you this.”
He set the wheelbarrow carefully on the ground, pulled an unmarked envelope from inside his coat pocket and handed it to her. The catgirl broke the wax seal on it, pulled out the folded piece of paper and gave it a once over.
Heard you were going after that trophy wife of yours and wanted to give my cute pupil a little help. Unfortunately I’m not allowed back into Horkensaft for another year or so (long story), so I got you the next best thing - a little social lubricant to help with the search. Trust me, one cup of this stuff will turn any dwarf worth his stones into your best friend. I know it seems like a bit much, but you shouldn’t underestimate how much drink we can put away! Have tall, dark and gruesome carry it around for you if it’s too heavy.
Good luck out there,
P.S. I’d appreciate it if you could get me a few dozen bottles of Firebrand whiskey on the way back. Just make sure you don’t drop em or anything, stuff’ll go up like a bonfire.
“Yeesh, she really outdid herself this time,” muttered Keira. “Guess I have no choice but to accept, huh?”
Of course there was no way Boxxy would turn down free booze. This stuff was basically liquid gold in terms of value, so it could definitely rake in a good amount of profit by reselling it later.
“Uhm, excuse me, but could you load it up on that cart over there with the rest of the luggage?”
“Sure thing, miss Morgana.”
“Thanks, mister. I really appreciate you doing this!”
“Haha! Leave it to me!”
The delivery man went over to do as he was asked with a goofy grin on his face.
“You are the worst,” commented Rowana with a wry smile.
“What? That thing looked heavy! What’s the point of being famous if I can’t have other people carry heavy things for me every now and then!?”
Keira was pretty much a celebrity these days, so her taking advantage of people like that had become surprisingly commonplace for her. It was only concerning small and seemingly insignificant things, but it was quite obvious from the elf’s point of view that the fame had gone to her girlfriend’s head somewhat. Which was exactly what Boxxy wanted her to think. After all, it would be weird for a young girl in her teens not to pick up some bad habits under these circumstances.
“Uh-huh. Just make sure you draw the line at delivery boys and restaurant bills, okay?” said Rowana with her arms cross and a raised eyebrow.
“What was in that barrel, anyway?”
“Ah, just a present from miss Hilda. See?”
Keira shared the letter with her, but the elf adopted a somewhat jealous expression when she started reading it.
“What does she mean by trophy wife?”
“It’s just what she calls Fizzy to tease me,” said the catgirl with a bit of a pout. “She keeps calling me ‘Merry Popper’ and ‘kitty-face’ too. It’s honestly starting to get on my nerves.”
“What, you seriously get mad at kitty-face?”
“Of course I do!”
“It’s cute, though!”
“It’s offensive! That’s like me going around calling your people, y’know… twigs.”
The catgirl practically whispered that last part so as to avoid anyone overhearing her utter a racial slur in public.
“S-sorry, sweetie,” apologized the elf awkwardly. “I had no idea.”
Truthfully speaking though, Boxxy had been in the same boat up until about 10 days ago when it came across a rare book titled ‘The Desert Nomads’ in the Slyth family’s library. It was a comprehensive study on beastkin customs, mannerisms and traditions. According to that book, it was considered extremely rude within beaskin culture to reduce them to their animalistic features. Doing so implied they were lesser beings undeserving of being treated as people, and was therefore regarded as an insult. The Mimic was planning on using useful tidbits like these to make sure there were no gaps in its Facade. Keira would probably have to meet with and talk to actual beastkin at some point or another, and she needed to behave accordingly when the time came.
“And I take it ‘tall, dark and gruesome’ is your escort?” continued the elf in an effort to change the subject.
“Where is he, anyway? I haven’t seen him all morning.”
“Mr. S said he’d meet me on the other side. He’s not much of a… people person.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” said the elf while rolling her eyes.
It was then that the nearby Forest Gate began its activation sequence, and Keira had to go attend to her luggage on the communal cargo wagon. She and Rowana exchanged another few sets of goodbye hugs and kisses before Boxxy was finally on its way to reclaim Fizzy. That was an important undertaking in and of itself, but the fact that it finally got a break from that clingy elf was just another reason why it was secretly eager to leave. After three solid weeks of wearing that mask, it was actually looking forward to being itself for a while.
A notion that started pretty much the instant after it passed through the Forest Gate and found itself in the town of Blackperch. Without wasting any time, Boxxy discreetly stowed away Keira’s luggage and Hilda’s gift inside its Storage. It found a suitably secluded spot, called out its favorite Snack and sent the djinn to go on ahead while it began asking around after Fizzy.
The Mimic was able to almost immediately catch wind of a mithril golem that had passed through here about a month ago. As expected, there was no way the shiniest of shinies would fail to leave a lasting impression. It even managed to find the adventurer escorts that she had hired for the trip. Something she had probably done to keep up appearances rather than to actually have them serve as bodyguards. The mere idea of her needing protection from weaklings like them was quite laughable, to say the least.
Not that it would say that to their faces, of course.
After talking a bit with them and applying some of Keira’s own brand of ‘social lubricant,’ it learned that they were actually not too fond of Fizzy. She had apparently gotten one of their companions killed during an improvised and unprovoked bandit subjugation expedition, so they were none too pleased with having her as a client. Boxxy also confirmed that she had a travelling companion with her in the shape of the blonde gnome with a thing for landmines that it met at New Whitehall. It was a lead that the shapeshifter would be sure to follow up on once it reached its next destination - the city of Steelhead that lay across the border.
The Mimic continued collecting information as best it could under the guise of Keira, but didn’t learn anything else that was of particular relevance. With its business here concluded, it used Transfamiliar to swap places with Xera, who had already flown out to about a distance of 80 kilometers away. That was the current maximum range of the body-swapping Spell, as dictated by the size of the Mimic’s MP pool. It was also a distance that the djinn could cover easily in just over two hours thanks to her ability to soar through the sky. Once its MP had recharged somewhat, it summoned her back and sent her ahead once again while it mostly just lazed around and idly hunted monsters for sport.
Proficiency level increased. Demonic Insight is now Level 8. INT +3. MNT +3.
You have learned a new Spell: Pandomenium.
Repeating the process a few more times caused the relevant Skill to finally advanced to the next Level. The additional 1% increase to the effects of the Intelligence (INT) Attribute was welcome, though not particularly noticeable. The subtle increase in the Mimic’s maximum MP pool and Spell damage paled in comparison to the main point of the Demonic Insight Skill - the acquisition of another tasty Spell from the Beyond.
Requirements: Level 8 Demonic Insight
Type: Area Effect
Cost: 35% of current MP
Range: 20 meters
Effects: Creates a 5-meter wide dome of chaotic energy from the Beyond, which will persist for up to 10 seconds.
Non-demonic Spells that pass through Pandomenium will have their forms and elemental alignments reversed.
The number and magnitude of Spells that can be altered in a single cast are proportional to the MP consumed during casting.
Unfortunately, the Mimic was having a hard time wrapping its head around exactly what this Spell was supposed to do. It would have probably grasped what it meant to have a Spell ‘reversed’ if it had studied up on general magical theory, but it never saw the point in doing that. All the relevant knowledge regarding a Warlock’s magic flowed into its mind automatically by virtue of simply Leveling Up its Job and Skills, so it saw that sort of stuff as nothing but pointless trivia. After all, one didn’t need to know the ins and outs of a horse’s anatomy in order to ride one.
But then again, horses didn’t burst into flames if you happened to put the saddle on backwards, so that comparison wasn’t really apt.
Not to be perturbed, Boxxy decided the best way to confirm what this awkwardly-sounding Pandomenium did was to simply test it out. The cloaked figure of the Sandman stepped off the international highway and headed towards what looked to be a pine forest in the distance. Snack was doing all the actual ‘legwork’ so it wasn’t like moving to a place well away from any potential prying eyes would be a waste of time. The Mimic had judged it had gone far enough away from the main road once it reached the outskirts of the forest. It picked a relatively flat clearing to use as a proving ground and unleashed its newest Spell.
A highly transparent dome suddenly appeared in front the creature with a barely audible popping sound. Boxxy could faintly see various colorful smudges crawl along its surface as the afternoon sun’s rays passed through that seemingly thin film of magic. It looked pretty much like the top half of a gigantic soap bubble, but the Mimic knew better than to trust appearances. Especially when it came to things that hailed from the Beyond. Remaining firmly outside the range of the Pandomenium itself, the creature unleashed the simplest, most basic Spell it knew into it.
The mass of darkness and shadow flew out of Boxxy’s hand like normal.
Chaotic energies swirl around you. You will be unable to see green for the next 60 seconds.
Well, apart from the Chaotic Disposition Skill making its presence known. The trees and grass surrounding the Mimic suddenly turned a dull, lifeless gray, with some slight hints of blue mixed in. Before Boxxy could begin to silently complain about this thoroughly useless and distracting effect, its magical projectile made contact with the edge of the magical bubble. It burst open on the spot, releasing a beam of pure white light that continued along the path the projectile would have traveled. It passed through the other side of the Pandomenium and hit a young pine tree that happened to be there. The altered Spell enveloped the sapling in the blink of an eye, causing it to explode into a million splinters with a loud bang.
Boxxy was struck momentarily speechless, as it had neither seen nor heard of a Spell like that. After several seconds the magical bubble disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared, and the Mimic cautiously approached the remains of that tree. It inspected the wood chips thoroughly, comparing them to the debris normally left behind by a Shadowbolt Spell.
Normally when that mass of darkness hit something, it tried to rip it to shreds from the outside, creating a mess not too dissimilar to this one. However, that beam of light hadn’t pulled the sapling apart, but rather forced it to burst open from the inside. It was a subtle difference that was difficult to tell from the debris alone, but Boxxy was able to spot it. The Mimic handled explosives of both a magical and physical nature on a regular basis, so it was quite fluent in the language of wanton destruction. It was also worth noting that, although warm to the touch, none of the remaining splinters seemed to have been burned or even singed.
Intrigued by this curious discovery, Boxxy decided to try a different Spell. It backed away from the blast site and used it as its target for experiment number two. It threw up a Pandomenium over the field of splinters and leaves, then unleashed one of its favorite Spells right in the middle of it.
Rather than a surge of darkness that scattered everything about, what manifested instead was a flash of semi-solid light that pulled everything around it towards the point Boxxy was aiming at. Grass, dirt and stone were ripped out of the ground and compressed into a single ball of compact dirt, which then fell into the newly created crater with a heavy thud. Once the magical inversion field had dissipated, the Mimic unleashed a regular Dark Explosion next to it. The resulting destruction created a much messier crater, but one that was quite similar in size to the first one, suggesting that the power involved was roughly equal.
With its curiosity piqued even further, what Boxxy needed next was a live target. Luckily, it knew just the woman for the job.
“‘Sup, boss?” asked Kora in a casual manner. “What are we gonna brutalize today?!”
The freshly summoned fiend slammed her fists together while sporting a toothy grin, clearly anticipating a healthy dose of physical violence.
However, the answer was not exactly what she was hoping for.
“… Come again?”
“I have a new Spell I need to try out. Stand still.”
It was at that moment that both color and enthusiasm began to drain from the fiend’s face. Repressed memories of her being repeatedly used as a test dummy over and over flooded into her mind, causing her to reevaluate certain things about her current life. Even if she was an Archfiend that could handle taking punishment better than any other demon, her pain tolerance still had a threshold. And being ripped apart, exploded, and otherwise smeared on the ground dozens of times in rapid succession was well beyond it. She dreaded what was about to happen so much that she began to wonder if maybe she should’ve taken Carl up on that dungeon mid-boss gig he offered a while back.
She didn’t get much of a chance to daydream though, as she had suddenly found herself enveloped by an oddly familiar feeling. It was almost as if someone had brought a piece of the Beyond into the physical realm, which made her feel comfortable and at ease, almost as if she was ‘home.’ Not the worst feeling in the world, to be sure.
“What’s all this, Boss?” she blurted out while looking around in a confused manner.
“How do you feel, Arms?” asked Boxxy.
“Fine, I guess.”
“Any physical abnormalities or difficulty moving around?”
The fiend stretched and twisted her body around, but found nothing strictly out of place.
“Nope, not that I can tell.”
“Your sight and hearing are okay?”
“Mostly. I mean there’s this sort of oily filter over everything, but all it does is make things a bit blurry. There’s also this funny smell, but I think that’s just general foresty stuff.”
“Okay. Try using a Martial Art.”
“Right. War Stomp!”
The two and a half meter tall mountain of muscle smashed the sole of her boot against the ground, causing it to tremble furiously and split open here and there, but that was the end of it.
“I see,” said Boxxy thoughtfully.
There didn’t seem to be any adverse reactions to her actions, suggesting that this inversion field did not have any effect on physical objects and did not interact with Martial Arts. This was kind of to be expected considering the description window from earlier specifically said ‘Spells’ rather than just ‘magic,’ but this was good confirmation. On the other hand, it was also possible that Pandomenium simply didn’t affect demons, so Boxxy was still wary about actually putting any part of its body inside the Spell’s area of effect.
“Alright, let’s move onto the next phase.”
Watching the cloaked figure become engulfed in the crackling arcane energy that followed the activation of the Power Overwhelming Skill made Kora realize her Master was about to go all out. She sighed depressingly as the Pandomenium was erected around her, followed by one of the most destructive Spells in a Warlock’s arsenal.
The supercharged invisible guillotine flew out of Boxxy, then disappeared when it made contact with the chaotic event horizon. Kora, who was still gritting her teeth in anticipation, felt something crash into her. Her head screamed out in pain as if it was being split open, and she felt herself being blown back and tumbling head-over-heels. Disoriented beyond belief, she looked down at herself in an effort to check her condition, but saw nothing but grass gently swaying in the wind. She then looked up to see her own body standing upright with its back towards her. The seemingly lifeless husk then tipped over backwards and fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes as she looked on in both shock and horror.
This sort of trippy shit was most definitely not in the contract.
She then felt her world spin around once more as her body pulled her consciousness back into itself. She immediately stood up while screaming, then began dry heaving from the overwhelming sensation of vertigo. With Boxxy’s urging, she then described the bizarre out-of-body experience she had just gone through, noting that her flesh was completely unharmed. This was very informative for the Mimic, because from its perspective it just saw the demon’s eyes roll up into the back of her head before she fell over for seemingly no reason. It didn’t even get a notification of damage done or a status effect being inflicted which did not serve to alleviate its confusion.
Actually, ‘confusion’ might have been an understatement. Boxxy had absolutely no fucking idea why or how that had happened, nor did it have the foggiest what ‘that’ even was. This was a huge problem in and of itself, as it realized this new Spell was much trickier to use than it initially thought. While Pandomenium had the potential to essentially double the amount of Spells it could use, the same could be said for any magic users it could potentially be fighting against.
And therein lied the biggest problem - uncertainty. It was impossible for the current Boxxy to predict how a given Spell would react to being reversed, which was a huge risk considering the sheer variety of magic available to adventurers and monsters alike. Observing and recording all the possible Spell interactions through trial and error was only asking to get a ball of lightning teleported into its head and fry it from the inside out.
Admittedly that was something of an extreme example, but Boxxy still made the probably wise decision to stop messing around with powers it did not understand. At least, not until it had a firm grasp on the fundamentals of magic. It groaned somewhat at the thought of having to do all that ‘pointless’ studying, but it couldn’t be helped. Besides, that knowledge might come in handy later when it decided to tackle the mystery of the pink gem it inherited from Faehorn.
Boxxy began wandering through the forest going due east-by-southeast while pondering how it would attain said magical education. Snack was still in-flight so it had quite a bit of time before it had to use Transfamiliar again. Speaking of which, couldn’t it get the former succubus to tutor it? She was surprisingly well versed on matters of magical theory and was a centuries-old Spell-slinger, so her qualifications definitely seemed apt. Then again, that demon was not the best choice of teacher in the world. Even if she was knowledgable, her personality was like that, and the Mimic couldn’t trust her to keep her mind out of the gutter long enough to teach it properly.
Thankfully, Boxxy knew just where to find a good instructor, though that would have to wait until after it had reclaimed Fizzy and returned to Azurvale. For now, it continued following along a forest trail while keeping an eye out for any meat it could munch on while it waited for Snack to travel her route. Kora, on the other hand, had been allowed to run wild and smash up anything she wanted for the time being since the Mimic no longer needed her. As it idly traversed the pine forest, however, Boxxy suddenly remembered what those adventurers back in the town of Blackperch had said concerning a certain gang of bandits.
The one that Fizzy had reportedly wiped out for no other reason than ‘they were there.’
The Mimic had recalled this piece of information because it had happened upon what was left of that criminal gang’s hideout during its walk. It was an overgrown stone ruin that had been some sort of fort or temple long ago, with its own fortifications and walls. Some basic repairs seemed to have been carried out by its latest residents, as there were some relatively new wooden ramparts and scaffolding running along the outside and on top of the rectangular structure. Even though the walls had mostly collapsed and everything of value had been looted, it definitely seemed like it could be used as a halfway decent shelter against the oncoming winter.
At least it would be, were it not for the curious gnome-sized hole in the side of the large stone building. Boxxy investigated the opening and went through it into some kind of large hall, which had been the scene of a massacre. Dozens upon dozens of dried up corpses were strewn about. Some had been picked at by the local wildlife, but the majority of them were left to rot. While thinking it was a horrible waste of good meat, Boxxy then began to recognize certain patterns among the bodies.
Almost all of them had either their arms, knees, skulls, pelvic bones, or any combination of those smashed up into dust. The wide-pattern dried-up blood splatter told an unspeakable tale of the sheer viciousness with which their lives had been ended. What few pieces of furniture were present at the scene had been smashed up into splinters by having either a weapon, a dead bandit or a very enthusiastic golem plough through them. There were also various cracks along the stone floor and walls doubtlessly caused by Fizzy’s dense body jumping around all over the place in order to keep her opponents off balance. The various scorch marks left behind here and there were evidence enough of just how many offensive Spells she had avoided while one-sidedly slaughtering her prey.
As someone who could teach a university course on the subject of murder, Boxxy could easily tell this was not the scene of something like an extermination or a subjugation. It was not a mission carried out for the sake of punishing criminals or collecting bounties - it was far too messy for that sort of thing. This kind of visceral violence could only be the result of a pissed off golem taking her frustrations out on a bunch of squishy meatbags. The Mimic could practically see Fizzy’s radiant mithril form moving from victim to victim, pummeling them into a thick paste while caked in delicious blood and brains. All while smiling wildly with that manic spark in her eyes, all because they happened to be there.
She had attacked them without warning and for seemingly no reason, just like a real monster would.
This wasn’t like her, though. Even though Fizzy was certainly a psychotic murderer that felt no remorse or guilt, she had never run wild to this extent before. She normally maintained a certain degree of composure and control over herself, but the golem that had ploughed through this place was not like that. The monster that had happened upon these poor sods was an unbridled monster that was no longer even trying to keep up the pretense of being a person for the sake of Boxxy’s Facade. It somehow made the Mimic rather pissed off, as it felt like it had missed out on a one-of-a-kind performance that could only be described as art in motion.
With its mood suddenly turning a bit sour, Boxxy decided to scour the place for any shiny things that might have been left behind. However, it seemed like the golem had already beaten it to the punch and taken everything of value. The store room had been ransacked, all the corpses had been searched over, and some of the presumably better quality weapons and armor were taken. Some of the victims even seemed to have had their teeth pulled out, most likely because they had gold on them.
The Mimic was honestly impressed at how thoroughly the place had been looted. It had been somewhat disappointed in Fizzy after finding out she had abandoned an entire treasure trove back in the tunnels beneath Azurvale, but this was a lot more encouraging. One area that she seemed to have more or less ignored, however, had been the partially caved-in wine cellar. Probably with good reason, too, as Boxxy found very little of value among the rows of rotten wooden casks.
Nevertheless, the Mimic did discover something of value while it was inspecting that basement. Tucked away in a corner of this confined space was an odd thing that looked like a makeshift altar or shrine. Someone had taken a bunch of displaced stone bricks from the ruins above, stacked them up to about 80 centimeters high, and then draped a suspiciously clean white cloth over them. A row of six candles were lined up on top of it, all of which had completely burned out and were left as nothing more but lumps of wax with no wick.
Using the Ranger’s Tracking Skill, Boxxy was able to determine that whoever made this place had been here up until 2 or 3 days ago, and haven’t returned since. This mystery person also seemed to have been obsessed with a certain image. One that looked like a caricature of a laughing face with a pair of bulbous horns on either side of it. It looked like some sort of laughing demon at first glance, but Boxxy couldn’t help but think it was actually intended to portray the Mimic’s shiniest shiny.
This odd graffiti had been carved a grand total of 64 times into the surrounding brick walls, wooden casks and stone floor. About half of those illustrations were found around the altar itself, while the others were placed seemingly at random throughout the cellar. While combing the area for any more clues regarding Fizzy, the Mimic had come across an old leather-bound journal tucked away beneath a loose brick in the floor.
Boxxy broke off the small lock on it and started listing through it out of curiosity. It seemed to have belonged to an adventurer called Mark Millhouse, a name that the Mimic had heard several hours ago. It was the Rogue that had went missing during Fizzy’s detour to this place. Apparently he had been sent with her as a guide and a scout, and was presumed dead by his former teammates when he failed to return. Those fools were actually still mourning him back in Blackperch, completely unaware that he was alive and well.
Though perhaps ‘well’ was too strong a word. He was probably still of sound body, but what he had written here made it clear his mind was in bad shape. The first sign of his mental decline was the fact that he had apparently been using his own blood instead of ink to write this journal. Not just the latest entries, but the earlier ones too, going as far back as three years ago.
According to his writings, something about witnessing all of the horrible things that Fizzy had done to those people had captivated him. He had become strangely enamored with the ‘whirlwind of pure violence,’ as he called her, and ended up carelessly approaching the rampaging golem. Which was when his head had been cracked open by what he initially believed to have been a stray wrench swing.
The journal then details how he woke up an unknown amount of time later while covered in his own blood and laying face-down in the wine cellar, with no idea how he had gotten there. From that point on both the words and the handwriting become erratic and disjointed as he described living in that basement for the better part of the month. At some point he had changed over to using monster blood for ink, because his own bodily fluids had, in his own words, run out.
It was at this point that Boxxy realized this Mark Millhouse had died by Fizzy’s hand, and had later risen as an undead being, though he himself seemed somehow unaware of that fact.
His second-to-last entry rambled incoherently about spreading ‘the truth’ among the populace and how he hoped to attain the ‘ultimate beauty’ that the ‘divine maiden’ had shown him. The next 50 or so pages were filled with bloody variations of the Fizzy caricature he had also etched into the walls and floor. The very last page was filled with yet more crazy talk about blood, violence, and death, punctuated with a rather ominous ‘It’s time.’ That was the last thing he had written before he had moved on from this place.
Even a monster as twisted and devious as Boxxy was able to recognize this creature was a danger to all living things. It wasn’t hard to imagine he’d go on to become some sort of serial killer or infamous monster, which would mean he’d get a bounty and Boxxy would be able to claim it. As amusing as that thought was, however, the Mimic was far more intrigued by something the oblivious undead dwarf called his ‘final treasure,’ which he apparently buried somewhere outside.
Elated that its search had finally paid off, the Mimic instantly left the filthy cellar and neglected ruins as it scoured the surrounding area for ‘the holy mark.’ It found said mark, which was really just another crude image of a laughing Fizzy, carved into an old pine tree. Boxxy eagerly inspected the surrounding soil for anything out of place, finding a large drum-like container buried nearby.
The creature’s enthusiasm disappeared instantly, as it had a pretty good idea what the ‘treasure’ was. It still dug it up though, only to confirm that the object in question was indeed a bronze-lined wooden keg with the words ‘Thunderbrew Prime Ale’ burned into it. This one looked slightly older and was significantly lighter than the one Hilda had given it, which did not help the situation at all. Feeling a bit cheated after getting its hopes up, Boxxy kicked the alcohol container in a fit of rage, sending it careening into a nearby tree. The old barrel cracked open from the impact, and a trickle of brown, frothy liquid began leaking out of it and spilling across the ground.
The thoroughly annoyed Mimic calmed down a bit as it watched the perfectly good drink waste away. It then realized it never even once thought of tasting this Thunderbrew stuff, which struck it as a bit odd. This was, after all, a creature whose first response to encountering something new was to inquire whether it was tasty or not. But it hadn’t actually done that this time around, because it had already dismissed it purely because it was an alcoholic drink.
Frankly speaking, Boxxy hated the taste of alcohol. It had tried various kinds of drinks, including ale, whiskey, bourbon, rum, even that weird gnomish liquor called vodka, but found all of them to be particularly nasty. It couldn’t even get buzzed let alone drunk, as it had way too much Endurance (END) for that sort of thing to happen.
At the same time, however, dwarven liquor was said to be the best across the continent, and was widely considered to be in a league of its own. Yet Boxxy had never even tried it, preferring instead to sell it for a tidy sum and expand its collection of shiny things. And since nobody in their right mind would buy a ruptured keg like this, it thought that it might as well give it a shot. After all, it wouldn’t want to miss out on something tasty because of some preconceived notions. Worst case scenario was it would be unbelievably nasty, in which case Boxxy could just cleanse its palate by indulging in its favorite Snack.
With that in mind, the Sandman-shaped shapeshifter approached the cracked keg, lifted it up off the ground and took in a small mouthful of the frothy liquid that was pouring out of it.
Boxxy woke up the next morning in the wilderness with no recollection of where it was or how long it had been out. It immediately leapt to its feet in a panic, only to realize that it had at some point reverted to its base form. It then quickly donned the Sandman disguise, but was then shocked to find out that a bunch of its shinies were no longer in its Storage. Thankfully, it didn’t have to search for its missing goods for long, as a simple look at its surroundings revealed their location.
Snack was on the ground in the face down ass up position, with a belly that had been stretched out to seemingly impossible proportions. She was licking up the mud her face had been buried in and letting out muffled moans while gently swaying her posterior left to right, grinding her nipples into the coarse dirt below in the process. Her hands were holding onto her plump butt cheeks and were spreading apart the pliable flesh as her exposed rectum expelled gold coin after gold coin from her overstuffed bowels.
Claws was also nearby for some reason, except that she had been stabbed through the chest by Keira’s mithril rapier and pinned to a nearby tree trunk some 5 or so meters up in the air. The Stalker blushed fiercely and tried to cover her face with her arms when she and her Master momentarily locked eyes. She also began chittering and squealing to herself while fidgeting around, although she failed to produce any meaningful words.
Turning around, the utterly confused Mimic then spotted what should have been the old ruins it had been investigating before it blacked out. Except that the stone structure had been razed to the ground, and the resulting debris had been rearranged into the crude shape of a giant treasure chest. The dessicated bodies of the bandits that used to be inside were now arranged along the upper part of the rounded lid, spelling out ‘SUCK MY DICKS.’ The whole thing was being held together by copious amounts of Stalker webbing, and Arms was standing on top of it while laughing maniacally without any clothes or armor on.
That was the day that Boxxy learned two very important things about itself. The first life lesson was that consuming an alcoholic drink that had been alchemically imbued with its Bane was a bad idea. The second one was that the Mimic was the type of drunk that thought everything sounded like a good idea, regardless of how idiotic it truly was.