The walls shook under the relentless pounding of the invaders. The ancient stone and steel door, which looked like it had been present for all eternity was showing cracks all across it, the steel had begun buckling under the immense pressure and was no the only thing holding the stone from crumbling entirely.
BANG, BANG, BANG.
Sweat beaded on Oliver's forehead as he watched the door strain one last time before with a resounding crash it collapsed, only to throw up a great cloud of dust in its wake.
Well, I guess it's now or never huh.
Seeing the invaders had paused before entering, probably to avoid any last minute sneak attacks while in the obscuring dust, Oliver began frantically giving orders to his comrades. Silently, of course, it wouldn't do for the invaders to know what was up.
As the dust finally began settling Oliver took one final look around the room, 50 metres deep and about 15 metres wide. Large columns stood to either side of a corridor which lead all the way from the old bulwark of a door to a small pedestal, upon which floated luxuriously a purple crystal. It pulsated with beautiful and mesmerising lights while it spun slowly.
Whatever else happens, it was all worth it. Whatever happens...
Oliver snapped out of his reverie as the invaders came forth, the first evidence of their existence after the destroyed door was a roaring shout.
Which was followed by a much louder and more fervent repeat, the fanaticism in their voices obvious to any onlookers.
And with that they came striding in, 15 people dressed in the shiniest clothing and armour Oliver must have ever seen. 8 people were in heavy metal plate, half carrying greatswords and the others holding stout war hammers. The plate was heavily ornamented. Golden swirls and lions covering almost the whole surface. It culminated in the image of a golden dragon breathing what looked to be a beam of light emblazoned across the chest. Likewise, the greaves, gauntlets and helmets were also heavily embossed and looked thicker than a main battle tank's armour. The greatswords all looked like typical Excaliber look-alikes but the war-hammers appeared to have seen some use.
Not unexpected, after all the stone they had to pummel through. Somehow just seeing them so unpolished makes me happy when I realise it was me who caused it. That's the problem with skeletons though... they leave no marks. Maybe zombies would be good? I wonder how much they would enjoy being covered in rotting juices. Sure would take the edge off of that shiny armour heh.
Following bulky warriors were 5 people dressed in what could only be called ceremonial robes. There was no armour on them as far as Oliver could see, and he could see quite well now that the dust effect was gone. Dressed purely for casting spells these war-priests looked completely in their element following on from the Paladins. Their golden staffs were each unique and boasted so many jewels and precious metals it was a miracle they could hold them at all, let alone in only one hand. Before they had even finished entering the room Oliver could observe they had already started chanting spells, their two hands, one holding the holy staff and the other making strange sigils in mid-air with one of those mage-pens.
However, it was the 2 who entered right afterwards that had Oliver a bit confused. No weapons, magical or otherwise were being held, instead, a large, heavily ornamented box was being carried by both of them. It did seem to have some magical arrays engraved on it, but other than that not much came to mind gazing at it. I mean they had brought a box to a battle? What kind of strangeness was this?
Unless... has that old fool finally gone off his rocker? Don't tell me he is actually going to try and capture me? Does he think he can hold me hostage with something?
With a dry grin, Oliver concentrated again on the group as a whole. They had apparently stalled as soon as they entered, surprised by the lack of resistance. But now the initial rush of breaching the door had subsided and there was no immediate threat their eyes couldn't help but be drawn to the beautiful, mesmerising gem floating softly on the rustic, stone pedestal. A soft lilac light gently flowing ov-
Hey hey! Why the hell are they squinting their eyes?
"Even worse than I had thought. Truly a corrupted Core must be one of the most disgusting sights in Aeterna. I can barely keep myself from destroying that affront to nature right now. Quickly go and claim it, clerics. We must bring it to the Archbishop post haste." With a disdainful sneer, one of the priests sent the two unarmed individuals, clerics, with the box stumbling forward, his heavy staff slapping one on the arse which elicited a nervous yelp from the afflicted boy.
Looking around nervously at the shadows behind the columns they edged forwards, the fear on their drawn out faces a clear contrast to the loose and now bantering paladins and priests.
"H-h-hey. D-don't you think you should. Uhm, I mean what about checking the, you know, whole room first?" One of the boys eventually managed to stammer out. Slowly getting quieter towards the end as a particularly gruff Paladin gazed at him with scorn plastered across his features.
"Dammit boy, just do your job and we'll do ours. What undead dungeon do you know who saves troops for after the core has already been taken? It's obvious we got rid of all of the troops already and there's none left. Now don't test my patience again or we might have to report some losses to the Archbishop after all." As he came to the end of his speech the paladin drew his greatsword from its encrusted scabbard a bit, showing off a few inches of steel to accentuate his point.
The terrified cleric could barely let any words out as he stumbled backwards, tripping over the box in the process.
"Of-f-f-f c-course S-s-sir Roland, Sir." Keeping his response short the cleric suddenly looked to the side, now enjoying a bugs eye view of the stone room.
However much to Oliver's chagrin he had not anticipated anyone looking at the columns from ground level and as suddenly as the Cleric suddenly caught sight of the glowing runes peppered all over the columns and the undead hiding between them, his voice caught in his throat and the face which had previously shown a fearful expression was warped in absolute terror. As though it had been petrified the young man's face lost all blood and was twisted into a caricature of a human face as he jerked backwards.
And with a simple thought, the elite undead which had been kept hidden from the view of the invaders due to some extremely high-quality magic runes and arrays suddenly charged forward.
The first hint the holy war-part had of their impending doom was when a priest suddenly jerked upright, blood leaking out of his mouth before the tip of a sword emerged from his neck, glistening a dark red. The arm and then body of the Skeleton Knight were revealed as it stepped out of the darkness between the columns, appearing to the shocked onlookers to have come out of thin air.
"I-in the shadows! Undead in the shadows!" With a short scream, a surviving priest alerted the rest of the group to Oliver's comrades' whereabouts before another black sword quickly lopped off his head, and thus a deadly struggle ensued, there was however only one outcome from the offset.
A whole elite skeleton troop had been held in reserve for just this moment, superbly trained and armed they were the treasured jewel of Oliver's dungeon and as they came forth from the shadows they displayed their uncanny proficiency at killing.
Bolts of darkness flying from the undead archers, who stealthily jumped from column to column, appearing to stick to them as though gravity was of no consequence, attaining perfect angles for all of their shots.
Swords of obsidian wielded by skeletons in heavy black plate armour; thorns and spikes taking the place of the ornamentation on their holy counterpart's armour. They wielded their heavy swords deftly, and the armour was effective not only at defence but once close enough became yet another terrifying weapon in the undead's arsenal.
And lastly; unholy fire, glowing sickly green, emerged from the top of the withered staffs held in withered hands. Skeletal mages, garbed in robes so dark that emerging from the illusion offered barely any change to their guise. Forbidden words and incomprehensible phrases mingled in the air as they cast their ancient magic.
Of course, the well-trained paladins and priests had attempted to fight back but caught unprepared, and unready there was little they could do. And over half their number had already been felled by the time the first paladin could unsheath his sword and let loose a swing; the priests had already died, being as weakly armoured and unprepared to fight next to their much more armoured brethren.
It showed in plain obviousness that these people were not adventurers, trained for their lives to fight in the desperate throng of a dungeon, where danger lurked around every corner. Instead, these were crusaders, sent as hit squads to kill the mindless undead who emerged from ancient battle sites and graveyards. This lack of understanding in what a dungeon was capable of and the intelligence with which it could wield its minions was what had lead to the Crusaders not realising the danger they were in, and allowing the ambush which would otherwise have not accomplished much at all to result in this complete massacre.
With the loss of only 3 Skeletal Knights, the whole party of Light had finally been vanquished and Oliver could breathe again. To be honest he had been lucky none of the priests had bothered to pre-emptivly cast holy judgment or smite as that would have disrupted the illusion and exposed his troops much earlier than intended. And that would have been a fight which Oliver very much doubted he would win.
But his luck had held out, and as the head of the last Cleric rolled across the floor to join the rest of the massacred holy warriors Oliver let out a whoop of joy.
Standing up shakily after the hours-long gaming session Oliver grinned at the words plastered across his screen once more.
[LEVEL UP x3]
It had gotten increasingly harder to improve as he hit the deadlock all undead dungeons faces at this stage. Becoming too powerful to evade attention by the Church, and not yet powerful enough to face them off head-on. But now he had passed the test and it would all become much easier.
Reaching up to turn off his computer, Oliver's smile turned upside down as he considered school tomorrow. He hadn't yet finished his assignment, again.
Not that it would make much difference anyway...
Oliver considered himself quite smart. And he did, in fact, excel at school projects and large more practical assignments. However, he had a deep-seated dislike for the current education system built around essays and exams. Oliver found exams and essay writing to be both boring and pandering, as a result he could never make himself buckle down and donate proper amounts of time to maintaining a high level of proficiency in either. And while this had been alright for high-school and college it just wasn't cutting it at university, and his studies were suffering. In fact, it had gotten so bad now that he was at risk of dropping from his course.
And once that happens I can say goodbye to any more support from good 'ole ma and pa.
Remembering how disapprovingly and badly his parents had taken his admission of not planning to study Law, like both of them, but rather Biomedical Engineering, his face twisted into a scowl. His parents had argued with him long and hard on that point, and now all he had to show for it was a failing course, and estranged parents.
Now thoroughly drained and with tears threatening to spring from his eyelids, with a defeated sigh and all earlier elation at levelling up gone Oliver settled into a troubled sleep, feelings of hate, loneliness and hopelessness circling in his dreams over and over again.
|Candidate  Located.|
|Suitable Candidate Selected.|
Had anyone been standing in Oliver's bedroom at that moment they would have witnessed a blue light envelope his body, and become bright and brighter until with a flash his body disappeared and the air cracked like a whip as it rushed in to fill the vacuum his body left behind, crumpling his clothes and bed as it did. This very same process happened all over the world to exactly 100,000 people in fact, and within 5 seconds of the first disappearance, all had gone.