Gruger the Minotaur roared, releasing a column of fire from its mouth. Syèl and Ouiji dodged to the sides, continuing their charge, swords drawn. It saw them coming and charged forward at full speed, swinging it arc horizontally.
It was much faster than before and it the duo barely managed to block its strike, though it sent Syèl hurtling across the field. He stabbed his blood sword into the ground, stopping his flight and fell to the ground clutching his stomach.
Unlike other games, in there was actually pain in Live no Evil. Granted it was nowhere near as painful as a real sword piercing through one’s body, body attacks still hurt a lot.
Syèl struggled to his feet and Gruger’s eyes gleamed as it identified the straggler. It’s axe glowed as it leapt into the air, somersaulted and swung down towards the elf. He tried to retreat away from the slash but his legs buckled under him and he fell.
The axe of death halted inches away from his face, halted by the tip of Ouiji’s blade. She barely made it in time, and even then she had had to stretch as much as possible to stop the blow. “Move!” she ordered through gritted teeth.
Since it was only the edge of her blade fighting against the full brunt of the monstrous axe, she did not have much leverage. This forced her to exert far more power than she normally would to block, depleting her stamina in the process.
“Sorry.” Syèl forced himself to at least roll away, his features contorted in a mask of fury and pain.
“Damn it.” Ouiji’s blade snapped, crumbling under the pressure from the axe. However, she did not lose her concentration. There were a few seconds before a weapon or armour damaged beyond repair disintegrated, and she used them well.
When Gruger’s axe slammed into the ground, it released a shockwave that blasted Syèl even further back. The second his weapon hit the earth, Ouiji dashed forward, jumped onto its axe and shoved the entirety of her broken sword through its right eye.
It cried out in pain as it slapped her away with its left hand, tossing her across the field. She twisted in the air and landed in a crouching position. She clutched her broken ribs with her left hand and wiped away the blood leaking out from her mouth with her right.
While the beast was still distracted by the pain, she checked her inventory. She had a single elixir left which would fully restore her mana and health. The potion was very expensive as the materials required to craft them were very hard to find and only existed in the desert region.
She took the potion and walked over to the downed elf who struggled to keep his consciousness. “Here, drink this.” She helped him drink the potion, smiling as colour returned to his cheeks.
“Why?” Syèl asked, confused by her actions.
“As much as I hate to admit, I cannot defeat him on my own.” She sat down beside him, cross-legged. “I need you to buy me five minutes. Then I will end this.” She took in deep breath, and let it out slowly.
“Five minutes?” Syèl sprung to his feet, rage in his eyes. “This won’t take a second.”
“I admire your confidence, but be careful nonetheless.”
“I got you. You’ve saved me twice in one night. Taking down one mutated cow as payback is nothing.” Spark shot off from his hands as he stepped forward, eyes on the beast who had finally regained its senses.
Its skin turned red and it increased in size as it rage boosted its stats. It directed its rage to the girl who had taken its eye and dashed to her axe raised high.
“<<Spike Wall>>.” An ice cage formed around Ouiji with spikes jutting out around it, threatening anything that came close. “Your opponent is me!” Syèl fired off three fireballs around the Minotaur, but it dodged them all, edging closer. “Got you!”
The fireballs suddenly exploded, blasting the Minotaur from all sides. It burst out of the flames, its good eye still transfixed on Ouiji. “Was that too weak? Eat this!” Ice spikes jutted out of the ground stabbing through the beast’s legs. It stumbled and fell forward, where Syèl was waiting patiently.
“I warned you didn’t I?” He stabbed upwards piercing the beast’s good eye with his blade. As it reared back in pain, he launched a barrage of fireballs at its stomach, then summoned <<Blades of Blood>> using it to slice through the beast.
Once its health dropped below seventy percent, something odd happened. It roared with so much force, it
blasted Syèl away. It got down to all fours, crying out in pain and anger as its body morphed into that of a wild bull with the axe at the end of its tail. Its horns grew even longer and sharper as it bent its head and charged Syèl, having lost all reason.
“You’ve already lost,” Syèl said, but heeded Ouiji’s warning to be careful. He erected his strongest blood shield a few feet ahead of himself to test its strength. The bull broke through like rock through glass. “That was close!” Syèl dodged to the side, attempting to stab the beast as it passed him, but his sword shattered on impact.
It barely missed Ouiji’s cage in its blind charge and Syèl panicked. “Over here!” he called, running as far away from her as possible.
Gruger spun around and charged towards the voice. So began a game of cat and mouse. The elf taunted the raging bull and it would charge, barely missing its target then smashed into a building or lamp. Syèl made sure not to lead it too far into the village to prevent it from smashing the petrified villagers – there might still be a way to save them.
A light shot up from the field and he smiled as he led the blind beast back to the field. He saw Ouiji
standing with a weird aura around her. In her hand she held a sword with a blade of red colour, a pattern made of zig-zags engraved on it. The guard resembled a claw which clutched her hand protectively.
She crouched low, and leaned back with her left leg stretched in front of her, new sword held over her head, sharp edge upwards.
Syèl ran past her, the bull close behind as she whispered. “Ouiji True Style Endless Mirage”. A second Ouiji materialised beside her, sword raised in the same fashion.
The sword glowed as she charged the beast and swung skywards in an underhand arc. It clashed against the beast’s horns and they both momentarily lost control as the impact knocked them away from each other.
This was where the true power of the Endless Mirage skill lay. Once the duo were both rendered defenceless, the doppelganger rushed forward and unleashed a skill of her own which damaged the beast. As she froze from the attack, original Ouiji recovered and began her own series of attacks. The two Ouiji’s seamlessly alternated their attacks, until Gruger was severely weakened, staggering to keep its balance.
It fell to the floor and reverted to its original form, its breath coming out in heavy heaves. “T-thank you…” It whispered as the last bit of life escaped from its body. It turned into shards of light, returning to the heavens.
Quest Complete:Slay the Cockatrice
You defeated the cockatrice, but the townspeople are still stuck under the petrifaction spell. Also, the strange beast that attacked you, like the cockatrice is not native to these lands. Return to Fodam; There appears to be more to this town than meets the eye.
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You received Azure’s Gem.
Syèl looked at the message with furrowed brows; this was beginning to look like it would be troublesome. He obtained the beast’s axe, which he decided to sell at the next town and ten gold. The gem was apparently a quest item, so he could not tamper with it. He walked over to Ouiji whose doppelganger had begun to fade away. “That’s an unconventional skill. What’s it called?”
“Why should I tell you? I don’t even know your name yet.” She looked at him, question in her eyes as she sheathed her sword in a custom made scabbard around her waist.
“It’s Syèl. Does this mean you’re going to start calling me by my name?” They both had the same quest so they backtracked, heading to meet Fodam.
“No way. I would not sully my tongue with such.”
He sighed. I figured as much.
“…but you’re not so bad, elf. I almost needed your assistance.”
“Wait, what?!” he whirled around and blocked her path. He had not noticed it before, but she
was quite tall for a girl. She was only an inch or two shorter than he was. “Who was it that was all like Please buy me five minutes or I’ll perish in a conflagration of my own stupidity,” he said, putting on his best
impression of an egotistic prince.
“Pfft…” Ouiji clamped her hand over her mouth but her shaking shoulders betrayed her laugh. “How rude. I do not sound like that. To be honest, if you had not distracted me, I would have taken out those cockatrice and the Minotaur. Granted it would have taken me longer than it did with you, but I would have
done it nonetheless.”
“Heeh? Big claims. What’s your level?” Syèl asked, with a mocking tone as he walked backwards.
“I’m afraid I’m stuck at level ninety-three. I thought the cockatrice would give me a level at least, but no dice. I did gain a level from Gruger though, so I guess it was not a total bust. You?”
“My level, eh?” he turned red with embarrassment. She was so much higher than him it was not even funny; though it explained how she could dole out such massive moves over and over. They should easily cost a lot of mana.
“Yes, your level. Don’t tell me you are ashamed?”
“Who What What Where Naa Naaa” he spluttered waving his hands.
“Ho-ho? Did you just realize your weakness? I bet you were having many easy fights before you met me.” A smirk curled up the side of her mouth.
“Hey! To be fair, I did start much later than the rest of you, and I’m already at level sixty-three. You’re the one who’s abnormal for already reaching nineties… Do you have a life at all?”
“I’m going to take that as a poor joke.”
“We’re here.” She interjected and Syèl turned around, his brow instantly furrowing. The annoying geezer was still sprawled across the road. “I can’t get over how irksome that is.”
“I know right? I thought he was dead…”
“Why don’t you tell the lady how you screamed like a little girl,” Fodam said and sat up cross-legged.
“You did what?” Ouiji Chuckled.
“There was no screaming! I just reacted to an unsettling situation like any other person would.”
“His shrill was akin to a banshee’s. Never heard anything like it.” Fodam said, much to Syèl’s anger
“Enough! Old man, we’ve cleared out your town as promised. Fork over the key.” The elf’s temper had run thin. He held out a hand to the tiny old man.
I’m afraid I cannot do that yet.”
“My townspeople still need your help.”
“Hey, old man, I almost died back there. Either you hand the key over or I gut you Ouch!” He yelled in pain as Ouiji punched the back of his head.
“Let me do the talking. Barbarians should do as they are told and simply fight.” She stood between him and Fodam.
“Shh.” She placed a finger on his lips and winked. Trust me.
Dissatisfied, he backed off and watched the conversation.
“Hoho. If it isn’t Ouiji-chan. I did not think you would make it back after choosing to go alone.”
“I had help.” She smiled as she took out the strange object she had obtained from the Minotaur. “Your village’s predicament is no accident; we believe someone may be responsible for it. What can you tell me about this stone?”
Fodam’s face went white with shock as he took the stone with shaking hands. “No… no, it can’t be.. that’s impossible… they were supposed to only be legends..”
“What’s wrong? Tell us what you can and we will assist in any way we can.” A hidden smile played across her face which he tried to keep hidden behind a mask of concern.
“This is a class S forbidden item. It is extremely rare and can only be used by the highest masters of a certain destroyed guild of mages. To think it would show up here again…” He looked absolutely crestfallen, as if he had abandoned all hope of living.
“Get on with it old man.” Syèl cajoled, but a glare from Ouiji caused him to retreat.
“We have already defeated one of their minions. Do you have an idea of why they would attack this town?” she asked, placing a hand on Fodam’s shoulder to reassure him.
“The only thing that would bring them here is the destruction of Alure’s Crypt.”
“Now that we know what they are after, we can stop them. What else can you tell us of this guild?” her tone was light and carried a sense of warmth in it. Fodam found himself hoping again just by listening to her.
“They were called ‘Nigh Mortem’. They were a group of elves and humans obsessed with life after death. Their forbidden research took them far beyond the treacherous reaches of necromancy. They began to insert soul gems such as this one into living things and twisting them to their will. Once they achieved this, it is said Alure, goddess of the dead ordered their destruction for the sake of peace. No one has heard from them since.”
“Alure? Isn’t that the name of the Crypt you said you have the key to? Why is a crypt named after her?”
“Because she, like many of her brothers and sisters perished under the hands of the destroyer. After the Calamity, crypts were built in their name around the continent and in several hidden locations around the world. It is said a great deal of power is left to those lucky enough to find them.”
Ouiji turned to Syèl, who had been listening patiently. “I’ve been to one of those crypts. It was where I obtained the doppelganger ability.’
“The only way to undo the curse on your village is to find the one who placed the curse and force him to undo it. However, I will need the key to Alure’s Crypt. Since we know where they are headed, it would be best to have access should the need arise.”
Fodam scratched his chin in thought then sighed. “I suppose I could do as much, considering how much you are risking yourselves. To be clear, your mission, should you choose to accept is to identify an neutralise the threat to the town.”
New Quest: Liberate Neverun!
You learned from Fodam that the Azure’s gem is a ritual gem used in the control of living beings. It appears to belong to a group long thought dead. Return to Neverun and search Alure’s Crypt for further clues.
Ouiji and Syèl blinked in surprise at his sudden change in speech pattern as chorused, “Accept.”