The giant rat’s head was mercilessly splattered against the rocky ground. Bits of its brain and skull flew everywhere, staining the floors and walls of the ‘Green Zone’ tunnel. Bogon grimaced at the pointless mess he had just made. Lifting his left foot, he shook it a few times in a futile attempt to shake off the filth, but to no avail. He gave up and settled for scraping off the remains of the former rat from the sole of his armored boot.

He sighed dejectedly. Even if he could kill the monsters here by simply stepping on them, they were still a nuisance. After all, no matter how weak an opponent was, washing off the blood and guts from his metal greaves still took the same amount of time and effort. The same could be said for the rest of his full-plate steel armor, but at least the small creatures in this weak dungeon were only tall enough to stain his lower half.

The short, muscular dwarf turned his head towards his human companion.

“Look Val, Ah’m tellin’ ye this job’s a waste of our time!” he complained for the upteempth time.

“You’re free to fuck off at any time, Bogon. You’re the one that insisted on following me here,” she retorted. The black-haired black-eyed woman was too busy inspecting the remains of five giant rats around them to pay attention to his whining. “Besides,” she continued, “it’s not a waste if I can find the cause of all these disappearances.”

“I’ll give ye the cause! Bloody greenhorns dunno what teh fook they’re doin’ in here! They get full a’ themselves and end up in some rat’s belleh!”

“It’s not that simple. The mayor said they’ve lost more people in here in the last two months than they have in the last two years combined,” she answered back without averting her gaze. “Something must’ve snuck in here. Something besides the sudden influx of Mimics. If I find it, it’ll do wonders for my- Ah, I mean, I want to do my part in helping the newbies grow!”

Her eyes shone dangerously for a second before she tried to change her words. Bogon sighed again. That woman’s eccentricities were always grinding his gears. If she wasn’t a promising spellcaster he never would’ve even bothered with her.

But she was. And he needed her help for his next quest. He had hoped to dissuade her at first, but that hope was now rapidly deteriorating. After all, he just saw her true intentions shine through her facade. She obviously took this as more than a simple job.

Bogan suspected she was hiding something ever since they teamed up two weeks ago. He also had a pretty good idea what that ‘something’ was - the musclebound dwarf was sharper than he looked. However, he also knew better than to poke his nose into this strange woman’s personal business. A Necromancer isn’t someone you want as an enemy.

“How can ye be so sure it’s not them Mimics that showed up recently?” he offered in desperation.

“The Mimics here are young so they’re very weak,” she explained. “Their HP is only about 20 or 30. One good hit from any offensive Job and they’ll be at death’s door. A Wizard or Rogue would probably one-shot them with a bit of luck.”

Once word got out that Mimics have started appearing here, the various adventurer guilds took action. They made a serious effort to educate and caution their newcomers about the new threat. After some time, those monsters became less and less of a threat. In fact, they actually ended up being more popular than the actual wooden chests they were trying to imitate. People these days were honestly disheartened when the box they attacked turned out to be just regular wood. They needed to defeat monsters to raise their Job Levels, so an easy kill was way more welcome than a scrap of worthless loot.

Most of the newbies even stopped looting the disappointing boxes entirely. A chest would disappear into dust soon after its treasures had been pilfered, so leaving it like that was a sign to others not to waste their time and effort on it. It was a sort of unwritten rule among them.

In fact, one such example was in this very tunnel, right next to Bogon and Valeria. A simple, unassuming box, closer to a crate than a treasure chest stood against a wall. The rounded wooden lid had been cracked and a long, straight dent was clearly visible on it. Someone had obviously already tested it with an axe or sword.

Valeria, having finished her inspection, stood up and turned to her annoyed companion.

“These numbers go far beyond simple carelessness. At least 45 people have gone missing recently, most of them reportedly seen heading towards this area. Whatever’s doing this is right here, and I’m going to find it! I’ll be fine on my own once I get my familiars ready, so can you seriously fuck off now?”

“Haaaah. Fine Val,” said Bogon dejectedly. “Ye win. Ah’m goin’ back ter town. Hit me up once yer done, aight?”

“Pay’s good this time, right? I’m not working for peanuts again.”

“Ye’ll find out later,” said Bogon while pulling out a Portal Key. He gripped the fist-sized stone with a bit of force, causing it to break and crumble to white dust. The dust swirled around him for about a second before there was a flash of blue light. The armored dwarf Warrior was whisked away back to the Waystone outside the dungeon’s entrance, leaving behind only a puff of white smoke.

“Finally!” spat out Valeria. “What a jackass! Why’d he even come here if he was just going to complain?! Now I can finally do what I came here to do. Heh. Hehehe! Uhehk hehkk hehk hehk!”

Now that the nuisance was gone, Valeria’s face twisted into a wide smile so crooked that it was completely mismatched to her lovely face. She cackled maniacally with a mad look in her eye. She was excited - she couldn’t help it. A new type of low-leveled monster was the likely perpetrator of this disturbance. Probably something that lost its way and snuck in here looking for easy prey. Valeria could not wait to get her hands on it.

She cackled for a solid minute before she was able to calm down. Her face quickly adapted the ‘cool and collected’ facade she had been wearing whenever people were around. She needed to be mindful of others. This was still a popular dungeon, so it was actually rather common to run into newbies who were still doing their first quests. Valeria had been one of those same newbies less than a month ago, but she stuck to a completely different part of the labyrinthine cave system. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that she got lucky.

She straightened out the black Apprentice Robe she was wearing. It was a low-cut, short-sleeved dress-like garment with a knee-length skirt. The edges of the skirt and the sleeves were decorated with black frills. Black leather bootlets with slightly raised heels led into fishnet stockings that continued up her pale legs, all the way to the lacy underwear hidden beneath her skirt.

On a whole, this outfit was entirely mismatched with its name. It didn’t look a single thing like the chaste robes one would expect a Priest would wear. That’s because the ‘Robe’ in the item’s name simply referred to its magic-boosting Attribute bonuses and effects, rather than the actual style of the garment. Truthfully speaking, the only thing that set Valeria apart from the prostitutes in the nearby town was the pointy wide-brimmed hat and the faint stench of rotting flesh.

“Status,” she chanted. A series of windows appeared at the forefront of her consciousness. She quickly verified the information.

General Information Attributes Job Information
Name Valeria Vortena Name Value Name Value Name Level Progress
Species Human STR 13 MNT 43 Necromancer 16 35%
Sex Female DEX 10 FTH -68 Monster Tamer 4 98%
Age 21 years AGI 10 CHR 34      
Guild Order of the Black Wand END 33          
HP 178/178 (+0.3/sec) INT 119          
MP 429/595 (+1.1/sec) WIS 119          
Skill List
Name Level Proficiency
Necromancy 5 43%
Hexcraft 4 23%
Forbidden Power 2 26%
Monster Domination 2 97%
Taboo 4 34%
Mana Affinity 3 45%
Staff Mastery 1 9%
Wand Mastery 2 30%

 A Necromancer with an overall Level of 20. In a place where the average monster was lucky to reach Level 3, she was unstoppable. Even with her pitiful physical attributes she could still easily punch anything in here to death.

This much was natural - both Jobs and Skills would provide an Attribute boost every time they went up in Level. Training and raising these was the best way of raising combat power, although not the only one. It was also possible to train one’s body and/or mind to increase specific Attributes, but it was not common practice. In the time it took for a warrior to gain STR +1 through the ‘special action’ of physical training, he could just as easily have earned himself almost six times as much through Level Ups. The difference in efficiency was simply incomparable.

However, anyone who looked at this Status Screen without knowing Valeria would be left scratching their head.

To begin with, Monster Tamer was an odd choice of secondary Job for Necromancer. The latter was famous for using waves of disposable undead, while the former revolved around painstakingly raising a small number of powerful pet monsters. There were merits and demerits to either approach, but they both amounted to the same thing - having something else fight your battles. Logically speaking, an adventurer would pick a secondary Job that either synergizes with their main one or makes them more versatile. Common sense dictated that this particular set-up was a very poor one.

The truth was that Valeria did in fact make a logical choice, albeit for very different reasons. The Necromancer Job, while well suited to solo adventurers, also caused side-effects like negative Faith (FTH) and a high proficiency level of Taboo. This ostracized these adventurers from most religious societies, which meant they would end up shunned and despised by almost every single Priest, Monk and Paladin. Even the paganistic Shamans and Druids would avoid contact with these self-proclaimed Lords of the Dead. And something all these callings had in common was that they were healers - Jobs that could instantly mend wounds and restore vitality through their magic. This meant that a Necromancer never had a healer with them, which meant that the vast majority of other adventurers avoided them on principle. After all, nobody in their right mind was willing to risk their lives on grueling Quests without the safety net of healing magic.

In a way, a Necromancer was almost always forced down the road of solitude. But that was perfect for them. Their desires were almost entirely selfish anyway, not to mention the questionable and unethical rituals they would sometimes perform were bound to shock and disgust others. In a way, the Necromancer Job was perfect for Valeria as a person. The Monster Tamer job, on the other hand, was perfect for her secret hobby.  After all, it was a simple fact that living monsters could do things that the rotting undead were ill-equipped to handle.

“Maybe the cause is a random Cave Troll that wandered in?”

Valeria shuddered at the possibilities. Her facade was quickly breaking down again.

”Huhuehehehe! Or maybe a Werewolf!? Either one of those would be perrrrfect!”

In truth, there were several ways of being saddled with negative FTH and Taboo. To Valeria, her Necromancer Job was an excellent way of explaining her Status to people with a high-level Appraisal Skill. If questioned, she could simply put on a ‘can’t be helped’ sort of attitude and blow it over. In some ways she was extremely fortunate the acts she committed did not put something truly damning on her Status Screen. Something like, for example, a Monster Breeder Skill.

Valeria desperately needed a new toy. Her last pet, a Level 7 Gray Wolf, could not keep up with her demands and had simply expired. It was a good ride, so his owner found it a pity when the beast’s life ran out from all the abuse. Just remembering those long nights was enough to drive her wet.


She moaned softly. It had been too long since the last session. She leaned absentmindedly against a wall and sheepishly snuck a few fingers into her damp panties. Two digits pressed against her sodden entrance, her lower lips quivering slightly in anticipation. She was in the middle of a dark dungeon where anyone could walk in on her. The excitement egged her on until she could no longer stand it. Her highly immoral fantasies ran wild. And just as she was imagining being penetrated, her dreams became reality.

Critical damage sustained. HP -145.
The overwhelming force of the blow has left you stunned for 5 seconds.

A sword had punctured through the nape of her neck. The sudden thrust had driven the blade completely through her throat, leaving the bloodied tip poking out from underneath her chin.

You are bleeding heavily from an open wound. HP -10.

The entirely unremarkable and wholly non-magical lump of iron was pulled out of her, leaving a large vertical slit on her bloodied neck. She collapsed like a puppet with her strings cut and fell to the floor with a thud.

You are bleeding heavily from an open wound. HP -10.

“Kuh! Kuhah! Koff!”

Valeria sputtered blood from her mouth when her head hit the ground. Her mind was still reeling from the effects of the Stun condition, unable to comprehend what was happening.

You are bleeding heavily from an open wound. HP -10.

“Keh… Ple-Kuh!” she coughed weakly, her blood splattering against the cold stone floor. She could not even muster a scream before darkness overtook her vision.

You are bleeding heavily from an open wound. HP -10.
You are no longer stunned.
You died.

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  • Chestiest Chest That Ever Chested

Bio: I'm a programmer, a mythical creature that survives completely on beer and cynicism. We skulk in the dark, secretly cursing and despising everyone else. Especially other programmers.

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