Saturday, November 19, 2016


Julian glanced behind him. 

He had felt someone or something watching him for some time now, but whenever looked around, there was nothing there. He informed the others, of course, and they promised to call out anything they saw, but so far there had been no response.

The feeling of being watched still remained, but as the night wore on with nothing to show for it, he slowly grew numb to it. Eventually, he wrote it off as simple fatigue.

And indeed, he was justified in saying so. They had been walking since the sun went down and well into the night. Such was the disadvantage of being the sole human among a group of demihumans (Igni was technically a humanoid too, but he was as tireless as the mountains), but Julian was also an adventurer, and he could keep going in spite of his fatigue.

Truth to be told, this journey would have been tiring even under ideal circumstances, but the situation now was decidedly not ideal.

Their first and greatest foe was the terrain because walking through a swamp was a very draining experience. The treacherous terrain required care and agility to navigate, and it was a plain fact that the sticky mud which coated their booted feet weighed them down and made every step an ordeal. 

The combined physical and mental strain was doubly exhausting to travellers. Worse, tired people made mistakes, which were fatal in this place.

Yes, the land itself was actively dangerous too. One false move could lead to a traveller plunging into a stinking morass of half-liquid earth and rotting vegetation, with no footing underneath and countless clinging branches to drag one down into a muddy grave. 

Sometimes the mud was as slick as water and as clingy as treacle - a man could fall into a hollow barely seven feet deep and drown in the mud without the people beside him noticing that he had disappeared.

After that, the next biggest hazard was the light -- or the absence of it. The canopy above was so dense here that the bright full moon he had seen before entering this place seemed like a distant dream. Instead, this place was dark enough that a man could put his palm on his face and not see his fingers.

Carrying light sources was not a good solution to that problem. In fact, it was actively hazardous - being the sole source of light in a world of darkness not only ruined one's night vision, but it drew hungry nocturnal predators from far away. The drawbacks of being a monster magnet outweighed the meager radius illuminated by most torches and lanterns.

Fortunately, Julian's goggles -- the Eyes of the Owl -- gave him the same darkvision his colleagues enjoyed, though its effects only extended up to about 20 meters away from him. It restricted his peripheral vision and rendered everything he saw in shades of black and white, leaving him essentially colorblind. Still, it beat being completely blind, especially in a place like this.

The effect was quite unsettling, though. It was as if the world was only 120 feet across, most of it taken up by gnarled hulks and the shifting silhouettes of his friends. Beyond that was blackness.

Julian imagined all sorts of nameless horrors in the darkness beyond, and he wondered how Arctos was guiding them through this lightless oubliette.

Like many demihumans, Arctos could see in the dark, but that had its limitations as well. Darkvision did not let one see through fog or foliage, and the dangers of the swamp lurked below its surface. In all likelihood, he was not relying on darkvision alone.

Julian had once heard that Wolf Beastmen like Arctos had an incredible sense of smell, so accurate and acute that they could practically use it as an alternate form of eyesight. Indeed, there was more than one occasion when Arctos had guided them out of dark catacombs by scenting the faint movements of fresh air in musty tunnels, and he had even managed to catch hiding monsters by literally smelling their fear. 

Arctos sometimes spoke of "seeing" colors by smelling, how angry people were wreathed in red and how each individual had their own unique scent/hue that he could tell apart provided it had not faded too much. Julian did not quite understand the ability, but he trusted the man.

Therefore, he -- and the others -- followed closely behind Arctos, trusting in his nose and his instincts to lead them in the right direction and over comparatively solid ground. Granted, in waterlogged wetlands like swamps, the definition of "solid ground" was quite tenuous, but Arctos had not led them astray so far, and Julian was confident that he would continue to come through for them.

Speaking of which, there was no chatter from Arctos at all. The wolf-man's eyes were focused and his expression was deadly serious. In this place, their lives essentially rested in his hands, and all his energies were devoted to not only finding their quarry but keeping them safe as well.

Behind him, Pardus had rotated out with Nishiru once the darkness of the interior had become apparent. The druid quietly incanted a spell every now and then as he walked. This was followed by a small animal running up to or perching on his hand. He would then whisper to it in some bizarre language and then release the creature, which would run off. Shortly afterwards, it -- or a very similar relative -- would return. Nishiru would then speak to it -- if speaking was the right word for the hushed animal noises he made to them. After that, he would tap Arctos on the shoulder, and sometimes their course changed and sometimes it did not.

Apart from those noises, nobody spoke throughout all of this. Any communication between them was handled by a system of hand gestures, which was incomprehensible to anyone who had not spent the past few years adventuring with them.

Julian scanned his assigned arcs again -- right and rear. As he found nothing once more, his eyes glazed over from fatigue and boredom, and his mind began to wander.

Let's see... what monsters dwell in swamps?

The images of various inhuman beings ran through his mind; Manticores, Griffins, Catoblepas... but Julian forced himself to concentrate, weeding out those creatures which did not lair in these wetlands.

Trolls, possibly. There was a troll for just about any kind of environment; in this case, Swamp Trolls lay in wait under the water to pounce people during a difficult crossing. Leeches and their Giant Leech counterparts could suck a man dry if they were not caught in time. The aforementioned Catoblepas with its eyes of death... though if they saw it, it might already be too late.

And then, of course, there were the undead.

In this world, death was not the end of everything. Poorly reverenced corpses or people who met violent ends often rose as twisted mockeries of their former selves, animated by unholy power and a hatred of the living.

This was not a big problem in the Agrand Republic thanks to the Dragon Lords and their households, but there were lands where they did not have easy access -- like this swamp, for instance.

The swamp was a dangerous place, and as mentioned above, it claimed lives easily. Those who died often did so in terror and agony, and with nobody to lay them to rest, they often returned to unlife to drag more living creatures into the grave.

Worse, the nature of undeath in this world was like a spiral. In places where many undead gathered, they gave rise to stronger undead, and those strong undead -- in sufficient numbers -- induced the genesis of yet more potent undead creatures.

This swamp was dark and mysterious; its interior had not been fully explored, and a disturbing amount of people had vanished into its depths over the years. For all they knew, there might be a supreme overlord of death sitting at the top of a pyramid of undead servants, biding his time to swarm out and slay everything that lived --

--Hang on.

Julian blinked. Something was wrong.

He had gotten used to the buzzing and chirping of insects and other small creatures on the way in, but now the air was deathly silent.

The feeling of someone watching him had not gone away -- if anything, it seemed to have gotten stronger.

Apparently the others sensed it too, because the signals to "halt" and "circle up" came down from the front. Julian flashed them to Igni, who was walking behind him, and drew into the huddle with the others.

Once they were gathered, Arctos spoke, for the first time in hours.

"You'll notice there aren't any more animal or bug noises in the air," he said in a grave tone. "Means there's something nearby that they're avoiding. In addition, I found a bunch of big footprints going up ahead."

Arctos pointed forward, where the impenetrable darkness seemed to give way to a faint glimmer of light.

There was apparently a clearing of some sort there, because the light of the moon leaked through the canopy of trees.

Then, it was Nishiru's turn to speak.

"You may have seen me sending out animal messengers during our trek. I had some of them scout ahead of us, and they verify what Arctos said; there's a large cave in front of us, with no other creatures around."

"Picked a scent up with the footprints too; something... bluish. Fairly fresh too. Going the same way as the footprints."

Everyone's face was as hard as stone. They knew what this meant -- their quarry was near.

"Well, there's some good news," the Lizardman continued. "No other creatures nearby means we probably won't be ambushed or flanked."

"Hopefully," Pardus muttered. As a professional ambusher and flanker himself, he knew well how easily wars were won when the enemy did not know they were fighting.

"Tell us about the footprints," Muk-tuk said. "Rough size? What kind of creature is it?"

"Seems to go on all fours, and it has a big tail. Pretty huge; maybe 20 feet long, 10 at the shoulder? Oh, and it seems to have webbed and clawed feet."

"Quadrupedal reptile -- wait, don't tell me it's a--"

"A Dragon? Are there even any wild ones out here? Thought the Obsidian Dragon was in charge of them... Still, it's true that Black Dragons like marshes and jungles, but I don't think that's the case here. They like stagnant ponds to pickle their food, for instance, and they dislike densely forested areas."

Arctos made an expansive gesture all around him by way of emphasis.

"Hampers their mobility, see. Though they're naturally amphibious, so they might be hiding underwater..."

"Still, I doubt it. They say Black Dragons breathe acid, right? Don't smell anything like that around here," Pardus added.

"That, and there are distinctive splash patterns for dragon breath weapons. I haven't seen any of them around," Muk-tuk commented. "Means they weren't discharged recently."

"Won't hurt to assume that's the case, no?" Igni chimed in. "We're not here to fight, though. Anyway, if what Arctos said is true, then any big beastie is going to have problems moving through the trees. Just need to run back through them if they show up. And if it is a Dragon... cover would be good. Damn breath..."

"Yeah, that's a big concern," Julian nodded. "Stick to the trees, maybe?"

"I can summon Swamp Elementals if it comes up," Nishiru said. "They won't beat a Dragon, but they can try to ram themselves down its throat or block its breath. If I'm not wrong, they exhale in a line, so even if a single Swamp Elemental takes the full brunt of it, the rest of us will be safe."

"Sounds like a plan. Anyway, once we break, we won't have time to slowly fumble around in the dark; we have to find a safe path, but the monster only has to find us, and it's probably big enough to step over the more dangerous turf," Arctos continued.

"Hm, yes," Pardus said. "What can we do about that?"

"Before we left, I asked Anthy at the Temple of the Moon for this..."

The wolfman held up a small phial of some kind of powder, and a transparent crystal.

"Lunar moth wing dust. Enchanted so that it'll stick to anything for a few hours and it lights up when you shine this light on it."

Arctos squeezed the crystal, and a faint blue light glowed at its heart. The powder phial suddenly lit up like a flare, and Pardus winced from the side at the intense radiance.

If the wolfman had not been hiding it under the folds of his cloak, surely everything around the party would have seen it. He then shone the crystal on the ground, revealing a shimmering, sparkling trail that extended away from Arctos.

"I scattered the dust along our route here, because I was lazy and didn't want to find a path back. As it turns out, it makes a pretty good trail marker for us too."

Arctos tossed the crystal to Julian, who caught it with a yelp.

"Wait, why me?"

"Just hold on to it, dad. You'll be lighting the way back if things go bad."

"But shouldn't you..."

"Take it," Muk-tuk smiled.

Julian looked down at the crystal. The knowledge of how to use it immediately filled him; by concentrating on it, he could make it emit a cone of invisible radiance, which would cause the dust to shine brightly. The radiance had a range of about 20 meters, which was about as far as his darkvision extended.

Don't lose it, he thought, and tucked it into a safe place.

"So that's our exit plan. Our payday is in front of us (probably). Shall we?"

Everyone nodded at Pardus' suggestion.


The swamp grew brighter as the adventurers forged ahead. The moonlight which broke through the thinning canopy above lit up an expanse of muddy ground, dotted with scattered trees.

Before long, they reached the lair of their prey... or not.

"Wasn't there supposed to be a cave here?" Muk-tuk whispered, peering out from behind Pardus.

Their new formation had Igni at their head, screening Arctos and Pardus, who were in turn in front of Nishiru, Muk-tuk and Julian. This was their standard fighting wedge for when they expected problems in front. Only...

The clearing before them was a flat expanse of waterlogged, clayey soil, lit by the moon. No trees grew in this area, which was around 50 meters across.

The eerie silence from just now remained, but now there was a tangible tension in the air.

"That's what the animal scouts said," Nishiru replied. He seemed quite baffled himself. Arctos continued:

"The tracks lead here. They go straight ahead and then they just... stop."

The wolfman indicated the ground. A set of large water-filled footprints -- big enough for Muk-tuk to hide in -- proceeded about 50 feet ahead of them and then simply vanished. The ground beyond looked completely undisturbed.

"I don't get it," Nishiru said, a baffled look on his face. "The bats I summoned and sent out reported a clearing and a cave. The first is here, but not the second."

"Well, they're dumb animals, no offense," Igni replied. "Maybe they got it wrong?"

"Hard to figure out how they'd miss an entire cave, though."

"Something doesn't smell right," Arctos grumbled. "The scent's heavy here, but there's nothing to be seen."

"Aye," Pardus said. "Someone or something is watching us."

"There's magic here," Muk-tuk added. "Powerful magic. I need a bit of time to try and determine what it is, but it seems to be coming from all around..."

"Maybe we should go," Julian ventured. "We don't know what the hell's going on and if there's magic involved..."

"Seems a little iffy to retreat based on a hunch, though. Then again, we're all getting bad feelings about this place..."

Arctos' voice trailed off. Then--


Pardus' voice reached the group a split second before a bestial roar split the air and a serpentine head lunged out of the darkness behind them. Its eyes glowed an evil yellow as its champing jaws closed around Julian's mid-section.

The human bard shrieked in wordless terror as he felt himself being bodily lifted off the ground, and as heaven and earth whirled around him, he saw another snake-like head descending upon his head.

"Get him out of there!" Arctos shouted, and then Julian felt himself fall as the beast's jaws slackened. Though the soft ground cushioned the impact, he was still briefly stunned, during which time he got a good look at his attacker.

It had once been a long, sinuous neck with a serpent's head, but then Arctos had gotten to work on it with his twin kukris. The incredibly sharp blades had cut its spinal cord and nearly severed the neck as well, leaving its head barely attached by a thin strip of flesh. The glow was gone from its eyes, but as everyone looked up, more and more snake-heads emerged from seemingly nowhere, followed by a huge, four-legged body from which sprang nearly a dozen necks and a long whip-like tail.

Realization hit Julian even as Nishiru pulled him behind the solid wall that was Igni.

"Hydra," he breathed, and everyone frowned.

Hydras were multiheaded monsters which were essentially one-man armies. Each of their heads could deliver a deadly bite (Julian had only survived because of his mithril chainmail, and because the Hydra was merely holding him to bite his head off) and they were both mighty and tough, but what truly made them formidable was their fast healing ability.

Such were their powers of recovery that they could heal from all but the deadliest wounds in seconds, and their most famous feat was the ability to sprout two heads from the stump of one.

Julian quietly breathed a sigh of relief that Arctos had not completely cut off the head; that would have given it a net total of one more, for a total of... 11.

"There's our monster," Igni said. "I think we can leave now!"

"Bastard's between us and our escape route," Arctos said. "We might have to fight our way through!"

"Sounds like a plan," Pardus said. "Fighting wedge, on Igni! We push past its left!"

Oh! the adventurers shouted, moving with practiced efficiency into their battle formation.

"Got to seal the stumps with fire or acid! They heal fast so don't commit until you can finish it off!" Julian shouted.

But something's strange, he thought. It came out of nowhere... and we didn't see it when we came in. How?

"[Earth Bind]!"

In response to Nishiru's spell, ropes of mud lashed out from all around the Hydra, binding its limbs with an iron-like resilience. The beast was probably immobilized now, but its necks had a long reach, and they still posed a formidable obstacle.


Everyone immediately averted their eyes as Muk-Tuk launched a glittering ball of light at the Hydra. This was a suicidally short range for discharging a [Fireball], but this was not a [Fireball] spell; it merely covered all creatures within its bursting radius with brightly-shining magic dust. It did no damage, but it could blind a large group of creatures at once, and it stuck to invisible creatures and made them easy to spot.

Their objective was not to fight, but to flee; by pinning down and blinding the beast, the adventurers hoped to escape without having to engage in a pitched melee, which would be very bad for them.

Truth to be told, the fact that the Hydra had managed to get this close was actually very unfavorable for them.

One of the few saving graces for adventurers taking on Hydras was that they lacked ranged attacks and moved slowly; many parties could volley them full of arrows, bolts and spells before they came close. Even their fast healing could not stand for long against a barrage of fireballs, flame arrows and acid flasks.

However, once they got in range -- or worse, managed a charge -- the tables were turned. The attacks from their many heads could tax even the most ironclad of defenses, and their toughness meant that they had a lot of staying power.

There was actually an adventurer term for monsters like those -- "closet trolls". It referred to powerful, melee-oriented monsters that were not too hard to deal with in the open, but which were incredibly devastating in close quarters -- like if one were trapped in a closet with them -- or like now.

The Hydra's many heads roared as one, thrashing around wildly as the blinding particles filled their eyes, and then it did something bizarre.

One of its supposedly-blinded heads sank its fangs into the half-severed head while another held it by the neck. With great effort, they pulled apart and wrenched the head off the stump, tossing it into the midst of the adventurers.

Igni braced his shields to take the impromptu projectile and bounced it away, but it had merely been a distraction. By the time he looked back again, the ragged stump seemed to bubble and swell as new flesh grew in torrents and spurts, until the beginnings of two new heads had sprouted from the stump.

"What the fuck," Muk-tuk swore. This was a very out-of-character action for the typically level-headed Kobold.

Julian could understand what he might have been thinking. Hydras had animalistic levels of intelligence, and while a dog might gnaw its own leg off to escape a trap, this Hydra had essentially mutilated itself on purpose to both make itself stronger and to defeat Muk-tuk's [Sparkledust].

In other words, this was no ordinary Hydra.

As if to drive the point home, the Hydra swung its necks like a series of logs at the group. Accurately biting was impossible with blinded heads, but a massive sweeping motion would connect if the adventurers were within range.

No run-of-the-mill beast would have done that with their heads.

Igni cursed as the impact from the log-like necks physically drove him back across the sod. His stance held and his arms were firm. Before the impacts could push him back into the group, he unleashed the power inside him in a surge of heat that seemed to root him into the very world itself.

"[Invulnerable Fortress]!" he grunted, and he suddenly stopped moving. The heads bashing at his shields suddenly bounced off like they were beating themselves against a brick wall.

"Son of a bitch, what the hell is this!" Arctos shouted.

"We've got no choice!" Nishiru replied. "We'll need to cut off and seal those heads or we'll never get past. I'll try and bind the necks in place, but you'll have to cut them, Arctos!"

"Roger. Light me, Muk!"

Arctos held his kukris crossed above his head, and Muk-tuk cast a spell.

"[Flaming Blade]!"

The kukris blazed with lambent orange fire, and Arctos twirled them into icepick grips, his eyes narrowed with savage calculation.

"Outgoing!" Pardus yelled, and lowered his spear so Arctos could hop onto its haft. While that would normally be a risky and foolish move, Arctos' boots were enchanted for stability and balance, so he managed to remain perched on the spear as Pardus whirled and hurled Arctos at the Hydra.

The wolfman caught the Hydra by surprise; he sank his blades into one of its necks, braking himself as the magically sharpened steel unzipped the side of the sinuous flesh and sheared through the scales. Then he repositioned himself, and with a forceful flip, he severed the head while launching himself at another neck on the other side of the Hydra. 

The smell of burning flesh filled the air, and the seared stump bubbled and swelled. But no heads sprouted, which proved the effectiveness of the attack.

Several heads went after Arctos, just as Julian gave voice to a queer snatch of rhythmic sound. That caused everybody's movements to speed up, gaining speed and precision. 

The Hydra struggled against its bonds, but Nishiru gritted his teeth from the exertion and managed to keep the Hydra pinned down.

"Pardus, get ready!" Muk-tuk said as a ball of green energy sizzled in his palm. The pantherman nodded and put away his spear, reaching underneath his shield.

"[Acid Arrow]!" cried the Kobold. The green energy sphere emitted a pair of glowing emerald projectiles, which seemed to be dripping some kind of liquid as they shot into the nest of heads going after Arctos. 

At the same time, Pardus hurled a brace of hand axes. Boosted by Julian's spellsong, the weapons struck true; they opened up yawning gashes in a pair of the necks, and the [Acid Arrows] filled them, pumping a stream of acid into the wounds. The corrosive fluid ate away at the damaged muscle and sinew holding, and eventually the useless heads fell off, leaving acid-burned stumps.

The Hydra roared and reared up, because it had lost another head from when Arctos had basically sawed it off with his flaming blades. The wolfman dropped to the ground, nimbly dancing past a pair of blind heads which had slammed down where they thought he was, and slid through the mud under the Hydra and came out the other side, where his friends were.

Igni raised a shield to cover him and Arctos gratefully scuttled underneath. He was followed by several Hydra heads, but they were too slow to catch him.

The Dwarf grinned as the familiar warmth flowed through his body.

"[Greater Ability Boost]. [Instant Counter]. [Flow Acceleration]."

The heavy shields on Igni's arms blurred into motion as he met the Hydra's barrage with a flurry of his own. The crunch of muscle and bone smashing against tempered orichalcum filled the air, and the half-dozen heads flew back with broken jaws, smashed teeth and cracked skulls.

"All right! We're doing it!" Arctos shouted as he sprang to his feet. The Hydra was a sorry sight now - four heads missing and the rest in a bad state. The glow seemed to fade from its eyes and it pulled away from the group; exactly what they had been hoping for.

"Let's go!" Igni said, raising his shields in preparation to move. The others nodded, forming up behind him in a wedge, ready to break out--

--And then the second Hydra appeared.


Unlike its colleague, the other Hydra did not announce its presence with a dramatic roar or step out of the darkness. It simply reached out of thin air with two of its heads and closed them around Muk-tuk and Nishiru, then pulled them back into the empty clearing from where its heads had emerged.

There was a series of splashes from what seemed like flat ground, and then silence.

All this happened so quickly that it was only Pardus' keen instincts that let him realize that their two spellcasters had suddenly and mysteriously vanished, and it was only his quick reflexes that allowed him to swat away the third head that would have grabbed Julian.

"We've been flanked! Muk and Nishiru are gone!"

"The hell?!" Arctos shouted, looking back.

There was nothing there; just the flat expanse of muddy ground they had seen earlier... no.

Some of Muk-tuk's pouches had fallen off when he had been grabbed; they formed a trail which led into the clearing... and disappeared halfway inside it.

Julian was not an expert magician, but he had spoken to Muk-tuk enough to know what was going on.

It's an illusion, he thought, and suddenly everything made sense.

Someone had cast an illusion to hide the first Hydra, and another illusion to hide the second. In all likelihood, the cave was there as Nishiru had said; after all, the bats he used were blind, and would not be fooled by something like that.

It was simply that they could not see as clearly as the bats could.

However, could Hydras create such convincing illusions? They might have been magical beasts, but they only possessed animal-level intellect. There had been no Hydras on record which could use spell-like abilities.

That meant there was some kind of master directing these creatures--

Julian turned pale as he realized the implications. Before he could say anything, however, Arctos looked to Pardus.

"Pardus, now."

The pantherman nodded grimly, and then grabbed Julian by the collar. Julian was too shocked to realize that Igni and Arctos were running interference for him with the Hydra and that Pardus was dragging him around it and out of the fight.

"Wait, what are you doing? Muk-tuk and Nishiru--"

"We'll get them back," Pardus said. That was a lie -- holding just one Hydra off had been hard enough with a full party. At half strength and without the spellcasters, it was almost impossible.

Julian knew this, and he saw that knowledge in Pardus' eyes. Yet the panther-man's serene eyes were not panicked, or even despondent; he seemed at peace knowing that he would meet his end in the middle of a godsforsaken swamp like this.

"We agreed on this, dad! Not you! Go back and tell them what you saw here!"

After saying that, Arctos grit his teeth as he narrowly deflected a smash from a rapidly-healing Hydra's head. It had been battered by Igni's shields earlier and had its jaw smashed in, but even that was slowly returning to its normal shape. The wolfman cursed as he realised that he had to keep himself from wounding the creature too deeply, lest he cut its head off and give himself an additional threat to deal with.

Without Muk-tuk to sustain it, the flaming enchantment on his blades had faded, which meant that he could no longer deal any meaningful damage to his foe.


A somewhat strained Dwarven voice cut Julian off before he could say anything else.

"It happens, lad. We all knew the score. But you've got people who'll weep for you if you're gone. Go on, get out of here!"

Igni was still holding his own against the first Hydra, but he could not cut off its heads, and any damage he did ended up healing too fast enough to make it worthwhile. At best, he could hold it off... but with no way to deal a decisive blow, he would be forced to burn through his stamina just to stay in a stalemate and keep his colleagues alive.

Pardus was on watch against the other Hydra, but without knowing where it had come from, he had no choice but to entrust his back to the other two and hope he was not taken by surprise, like Muk-tuk and Nishiru.

Without the magic casters, they could not finish the beast off. As a bard, Julian knew some spells, but they were mostly of a non-combat nature. None of them were useful against a fast-healing monster like the Hydra.

Therefore, it made the most sense to send one of them off to call for help and at least tell their tale. The group had discussed the possibility of a total-party kill before they had entered the swamp, and their decision on what to do in that case was unanimous.

They might not be able to guarantee Julian's life, but they would at least give him a shot.

"Go! Run!"

Pardus shoved Julian. A split second later, his shield came up to deflect a hissing head.

"Remember the crystal!" Arctos shouted as he leapt back, a second too late. A set of broken - but quickly-recovering -- teeth closed around his forearm and lifted him off the ground.

"Gaaaaah, you son of a bitch let go--" he hissed, stabbing at the head holding him with his free hand. His kukri missed its mark and scored a deep gash on the side of its eye socket.

"[Fang Thrust]!" Pardus shouted, and his spear punched a neat hole through the spine of the Hydra head holding on to Arctos. The jaws fell open and the wolfman fell to the mud, bleeding from a badly-mauled arm.

"What are you waiting for? Go!"

Julian watched as Arctos picked himself up and scrabbled behind Igni. Then he ran, holding the crystal before him and following the glittering trail as best he could.


  1. it is awesome as always :D

    but i do miss ainz-sama
    and the real story :C

  2. thanks as always, this is seriously great for a fanfic!


  4. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. It's a fanfic, Ainz will probably not be involved in this. Tbh I hope it stays like that since it would be non-canon and the story is (at least in my opinion) good the way it is, being staged in the same "universe", but not really involving the other story (unless it'd be for references, I wouldn't mind that).

  5. Keep em' comming. I like these a lot!

  6. Thaankkk waiting for entire week.

  7. Hey guys, keep up the great story! There were some typos I pointed out in the previous updates. Mimd checking them out?

    1. Typo thread:

      It restricted his peripheral vision
      Typo: Double space between 'it' and 'restricted'

      animal noises his made to them
      Typo: 'he' not 'his'

      a a hatred of the living
      Typo: Double a

      "Wait, why me?""
      Typo: Double quotation mark after 'why me?'

      in front of us (probably). Shall we?"
      Typo: Double space after the period

      nothing to be seen. ."
      Typo: Double period

      we'll never get past. "I'll try and bind the necks in place
      Typo: Unnecessary quotation mark

      with a forceful flip, he severed the head
      Typo: Double space after the comma

      "All right! We're doing it!"Arctos shouted
      Typo: Missing space after quotation marks of Arctos' dialogue.

      such illusions? They were animals
      Typo: Double space after 'such illusions?'

      she saw that knowledge in Pardus' eyes
      Typo: 'he' not 'she'

      but they were mostly
      Typo: Double space between 'but' and 'they'

      second too late. A set of broken
      Typo: Double space after the period.

  8. I think they are all gonna die.......because I have a feeling it's demiurge is behind this.