Pulling the dogman’s fangs and cutting off their claws took a lot of effort and only returned a few credits a piece. Mike didn’t let it annoy him. He took it as a learning experience. Now they knew some monsters gave materials they could sell to the system. They would be on the lookout in the future.
After a brief discussion on destination it was decided that everyone would continue on to Jessica’s family home. They were very near the monoliths now, but the danger hadn’t spiked or anything.
The dog men were bad, but Mike could take them one on one now. They didn’t like working together much it seemed, so he should be capable of handling them. If he wasn’t, Jessica had figured out her new cannon arm, and in the open Nikki’s arrows would have much better chance of taking effect.
Trisha’s bead control wasn’t too shabby either, Mike noticed, as she sent them spinning out in groups of three to destroy zombie skulls without leaving the safety of the middle of the group.
It was only Emma he was really worried about. Her reward had been the power to tame pets. It was a rare rank skill and her credits received were only a few hundred because of it. Nikki had bought her a slender crank-able crossbow and a small quiver of bolts with the rest. She’d practiced a few shots and wasn’t terrible.
Mike still wasn’t convinced she was up for everything. She hadn’t been physically enhanced at all yet outside of the 0.2AP of leveling up.
He hadn’t pressed the issue though, not when she’d looked up at him and told him she felt safer in the group. That meant they all five went back to the apartments, instead of splinting into two groups. He didn’t feel right making that choice when Jessica still didn’t know the state of her family.
The actual final decision had been made by Nikki’s off hand comment that her parents lived in the same area as Jessica’s. Investigating further Emma’s house was also along the way. Only Trisha’s parents, who lived in the suburbs, were out of the way.
So they moved closer to the monoliths, keeping an eye on the time, and on not getting bogged down killing stray zombies.
Things went fairly smoothly. Trisha and Nikki both hit level two without much effort. Mike helped Emma get there too shortly afterwards by dismembering zombies for her to kill.
By the time they had to crane their necks upwards at ridiculous angles to see the top of the monoliths, the sun was starting to go down.
Mike did not want to stay the night under the huge alien constructs. So he called a halt outside a luxury hotel.
He ordered everyone to get to cleaning out the top floor, via the stairwell. His reasoning being simple; the top floor would have the best suite, and leaving monsters on the lower floors might act as a buffer between them and any really dangerous things.
The girls listened to him.
Later on, towards the end of their quiet supper, Mike dropped a bombshell on the group.
“I’m going to head towards the monolith tonight, I want to see if I can learn anything about it.”
Everyone protested at once, but Mike just gave a half smile as he cut them off, saying, “I won’t do anything stupid. I just want to get close enough I can see it. Obviously it’s important to this whole thing,” he gestured vaguely out the window indicating the city as a whole. “Don’t worry I’ll be back in a couple of hours max. Make sure you guys keep a watch just in case. And we’ll move on in the morning.”
“Take me with you,” Jessica said, a command not a request, but Mike just shook his head.
“No. And before you start pouting, I have two reasons. One, [Darkvision] is one of my racial traits, I can move without light to attract attention if I’m alone. And two I’m the only one who can recover from not sleeping for a night with an hour or so of [Mediation].”
Nobody had any arguments for either point. Jessica did try to get him to take her plasma pistol since she wasn’t going. Mike waved it off and gave her a bear hug, more brotherly than anything, shocking her as he whispered, “Keep your pea shooter, I’m a terrible shot. Protect them while I’m gone, yeah?”
Jessica nodded with a half smile.
Closing the doors to the suite behind him. Mike hefted his ax with a grin as he made his way to the stairwell. He intended to hunt himself up to at least level seven while he was out too.
Staying on guard and making sure on one got bitten, etc. left less time for grinding. He was also pretty sure the zombies were giving him less experience per kill since he’d passed level five, further limiting his growth.
On the street level Mike darted from building shadow to building shadow, reveling in the clarity of the night under his orcish eyes. The black and white landscapes might have lacked a little depth, but in exchange, it felt like nothing could hide from his gaze.
Moving at a steady speed, he casually destroyed zombies in their twos and threes, ignoring any potential loot in favor of keeping on the move.
It wasn’t long before he arrived at a block the monolith was actually touching down on. Slowing down, still moving in the shadows, Mike approached with every bit of caution he could muster.
The caution turned out to be justified. Halfway down the block a strange coldness sprang up from seemingly nowhere. Shivering Mike shifted his attention to the monolith just in time to see a large circular hold upen up on its side.
From the dark abyss beyond the entrance, a single large monstrous thing emerged.
It had the upper body of a gorilla, with the lower body of a giant spider.
In place of its right hand was a large crab like pincer.
Its eyes glowed a faint red.
Mike noticed the eyes last, as they stared directly toward his hiding spot.
His heart began to beat faster than it ever had before in his life as Mike turned and ran. He didn’t even bother to make sure the monster had seen him. He just acted on instinct, running away fast as he could manage.
Invoking his demonic transformation, Mike called upon the breeze step and fed it all the qi he could muster. Soon he was half a dozen blocks away, hiding in a shrub. His was body soaked in sweat. His lungs were working like bellows.
The apartment building was just a block away but Mike stayed put, forcing himself into calm, from calm into mediation. Working his breathing exercise on a subconscious level, he sent his senses out along the path he’d retreated.
He cursed when he found the monstrous gorilla trailing him by sniffing the air like a big dog.
He couldn’t bring this fight back to the girls.
He refused to have another troll or wolf man situation.
Nobody else would die because he was curious.
Reaching into the bag of holding Mike pulled out the useless pistol and one of the hundred credit frag orbs Jessica had shown him. Moving as stealthily as he knew how, he approached the monster from the side. Gently rolling the orb under it, from his position to its left rear, inside another bush, he took careful aim with the pistol and let loose.
Never one to over estimate himself, Mike unloaded the clip into it, letting numbers make up for accurately. Several bullets sparked against the orb and in the next moment it went off spectacularly.
The terrifyingly-mighty “Spider-Monkey” screeched in pain as its spider like lower half was blown into fist sized chunks, only its two front legs managing to remain somewhat intact.
Mike not showing the slightest hint of mercy, drew Brandan’s knife from his belt with his left hand and holding his ax in his right fist, he rushed in from its rear.
Through the smoke, and carpet of squishy spider bits, Mike charged, gaining its back before it was even recovered enough to look for the culprit of the bomb trap. Stabbing and chopping, Mike gave it little chance to do more than scream, before covered in thick green ichor, Mike severed its head.
The familiar system message for killing an elite monster was followed by a level up screen. Mike absently noticed his spirit was a little higher than it should be as he added his AP into Quickness and dismissed the screen.
| Name: Mike Tanner – Race: Half Orc
Occupation: Monk – Level: 7
Purse: 820 Credits
STR: 2.4 / QUI: 2.3 / BOD: 2.1 / SPI: 2.1 [AP: 0.0]
It was time to get back to the girls and apologize for being stupid.
Sorry guys. I finished the chapter last night fairly early in the morning then set it to come out at one thirty… one thirty on mothers day in may.I don’t know why. But then I went to bed. When I woke up to approve comments etc. I didn’t notice right away either cause I was still out of it from sleeping all morning and afternoon. It was only just now that I rechecked, got confused and rushed this new author’s note to explain before posting.
Oh and as mentioned in the original note, I never really checked this chapter for odd wording etc. My earlier reason was I was tired. Now my reason is it was already late cause I’m a dork. Sorry.
Author : The Steve