Type Online: Pariah
Type Online - Pariah Online: Chapter 2
Outside the city was still as beautiful at night as it was in the day. The light of the moon cast down on what must have been a million hidden flowers, coming out only now to soak up its light. Little puffs of seed were rising into the air and spreading, and the quietness of the environment felt almost good against the skin. I felt like laying down in the lush and dewy grass and taking a nap even knowing I was already unconscious in real life.
WolfChaos had objected, immediately, to me calling him that, preferring the more dignified and common, Wolf. Somehow neither of them had noticed my name was Varnish, and if they had they decided rather nicely not to rub it in my face. As I thought that I realized again I was being rather rude to Wolf, he didn't deserve any judgment from me. I didn’t have any right to talk.
They took me to a clearing and Roni sat down, as Wolf took a more heroic stance, almost in unison. Roni actually laid down much like I had been thinking earlier, and yawned heartily. Okay, good, people still did that. I let out a sigh of relief, which also didn't really have any of the physicality or relief and felt a little more self-conscious again.
“Okay. So you have two big things you have to focus on as a Magic User Type.” Wolf began as Roni rolled off a little down the plains for no foreseeable reason and yelled in glee. It made me feel anxious, being around such weird people I didn't know, “First is giving yourself time to cast. If you can't get a cast off you're absolutely useless.” He stepped in front of where I was watching Roni, and completely blocked him from view. I looked up at him and gulped.
He closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment, a second later his sword was coated in fire by his side. It illuminated the patches of grass around us. As he took it out of its sheath it became even brighter. I could see little holes in the ground when I squinted.
“Secondly, you're going to need to know how to dodge. Me and Roni, we can take a lot of abuse, but you? You're gonna go down in just a couple of hits, even if you switch to your Defensive Sub.” He continued, stomping the ground a bit with his boot. I stepped back and gave him a little room, “You have some agility and shielding skills. I suggest you use them if you're ever in any sort of conflict outside of your level. Hell, even this. Unless you're over levelled for the content you're gonna need it when you're not with a group, trust me.”
Roni returned from his roll around with a few snarling, eyeless and skinless looking tiny monsters behind him. I actually screamed, stepping back and falling over on my butt. I struggled to right myself and continue getting away, whimpering. Wolf whipped his head around at top speed and put his body in front of me to shield me. After seeing them he relaxed but didn't change his stance.
“Oh good, you found some. Alright, switch to Holy Mage.” I got up and tried to run but tripped. Looking back I could see from one of the holes I had seen earlier another had emerged snarling, just as disgusting looking, “Jesus Roni I knew we shouldn't have taken her out here at night. These things even scare me.”
“Naw. We’d of had to wait an hour, it's barely cycled over. I'm sure this kid's got places to go, people to see.” I grasped my bag and started hitting the little demon creature. It nipped into the skin of my leg and my HP went down by a quarter, it hurt but somehow felt dulled, like I was dreaming. I screamed none the less. Roni jogged over with his little hoard nipping at his ankles and kicked it very gingerly. It screeched and fell over, exploding into pixely sparkles of light. “Oh, didn't mean to steal the little guy away from you. Sorry.”
Wolf picked me up by my underarms, stood me up, and took my stave off my back. He put it in my shaky hands and forced me to grip it tightly in both from behind me, “None of this stuff is real, just remember that.” After a moment, apparently satisfied, he let me go and took a few steps to the side of me. I nodded at him, faintly whispering heal, and feeling and seeing my HP shoot back up to full. My body felt warm and fuzzy as I did. I took a step forward towards Roni and the gang of horrifying little creatures he amassed.
“Switching, Attacker Type!” I yelled, and the glittering surrounded me again. I smiled, it worked just like the menus. I wasn’t sure I got the wording one hundred percent right, but approximating what you wanted to switch to seemed to work if it was in the general ballpark, “Okay. What can I do...” I opened my menu and looked through my skills. Only two so far, but they both seemed to have decent attack power, “Fire Ball!” I shouted, sending a quick and powerful shot of energy out in front of me. The creatures in front of me all exploded into glimmering dust, and Roni himself was lightly singed from the calves down. I could see from the light of Wolf's glowing blade that his eyebrows shot up.
“Cute kid like you a Death Magic Type? Huh. Never would've thought.” Roni equipped a different pair of shoes and dusted himself off. I heard a beep from somewhere- almost inside my head, but far away like an echo. I looked to the side where my icons seemed to open up from and saw a new one. Something flashing and glowing.
“Geez, you sure know how to pick 'em.” I heard an exasperated sigh. So people did that too, thank goodness. I focused in on the new icon and it brought up a screen I hadn't seen before. Skill distribution points. And my stats.
“Oh!! What should I level up? What should I pick?” My mind moused over all the different selections. There were seven I could pick from, and that was ignoring my stats entirely. I had three points I could use.
“Don't use one on your defensive SubType, that's not worth it at all...” Wolf looked a little annoyed. He was messaging the back of his neck and had opened his menus to scroll through them.
I could level up Fireball to Greater Fire Ball, and have that maxed out. It seemed like a good choice, my attacker stance was probably going to be my best bet as I levelled up, and joined exp parties. An image of Apostate flashed into my mind, seeing the knight woman's sword pointed towards him in rage. I scrolled past it, to the defensive SubType skill menu. Healing, level 2. It'd be worse than a healer's magic, but not unusable. I didn't want to ruin my character's build, though. Other skills included Minor Shield and Better Dodge. Both were pretty useless. Apostate might have used one. Apostate... I wondered what his build was...
“You can reset these any time for a half Gold.” Roni appeared to be on the final parts of dusting the ash off his shoes, “It goes up if you use it more than twice a month, but not by too much. You don't need to worry about it till you're in your thirties, I think. And even that's a little early. Some people only mess with it once they're doing harder content in their fifties.”
“Right...” I said, scrolling down more to Environmental Wizard. Just one skill to upgrade, and it went up to ten points. I clicked it, watching it fill up the first point. As I did it opened up another big branch of skills. Nature, Stone, Storm, Shadow, Light. I hovered over them, before settling on Nature, and trying to select Shadow next. It was blacked out, saying I needed to be at least level 5.
“These are confusing, which are the best ones for Death Magic Types?” I clicked back to Defensive and selected Healing anyway. I could always reset it, apparently.
“Your Attack SubType is gonna be the cream of the crop for damage. But, well, you know how that goes by now probably. You're gonna blow half of what a party wants sky high by the time any fight's through.” He walked over to lean over my shoulder and see my options behind me. “Probably Greater Fire Ball. And Thorns, which I think is Nature. If anything comes near you it gets hurt pretty bad and paralyzes it. Right now it'd only really work on these little mole dudes, but if you keep upgrading stuff in your Environment thing tree it'll get better overall, and it'll even work on end game guys.” he tapped on it on my screen, and I selected it. After my last encounter, I liked that idea a lot.
“They're not moles, Roni. Moles have little whiskers. And skin.” Wolf sheathed his sword, and the glow of his buff stopped illuminating him. The field darkened significantly.
I looked around. Twilight was starting to come finally, though a complete red instead of the warm orange and dusky colors I remembered from the sun setting. Wolf turned to look at the rising sun, and I followed his gaze.
“Huh?” He opened his menu again and started clicking through it. “Is this Notorious Mob weather or something? Sun shouldn't be coming up for a while.”
“Nah, they don't have 'em in the starting areas.” Roni looked up too, resting on Wolf's shoulder like an armrest to stare into his menus like he had done with mine. “New content, maybe? I don't know what it could be, though. There was that big patch without patch notes before we logged in.”
I turned my head back away from the glowing red orb coming over the countryside field and went back to staring at my new icons. I still had Nature selected and confirmed it.
My arms shot out to the side involuntarily, glowing, and the “Nature” around us flashed for a second. And seemed to bubble under our feet, like quicksand. I fell back again, thrown off by the ground's new texture, despite it returning to normal. Wolf caught me by the arm and righted me before I hit the ground.
“Well, my teleport options are gone. I guess it is an event.” We watched a couple of other players run straight towards the newly rising sun, one group looked maxed out, and covered head to toe in beautiful armor and robes. “Let's get him back to the city and check it out. It might be something decent-”
Wolf was cut off as the ground started to shake, “Knock it off with that!”
“I didn't use it this time, you're still holding my arm.” Wolf released me, and one of the trees beside us started to shriek and twist. Its roots emerged from the ground, and it started to contort itself and begin to try to pry itself up and out.
“Is that a Notorious Mob?” I asked, bracing myself and positioning myself to attack. Notorious Mob were rare and could drop all kinds of great items. I knew from what Diana had told me over one of our many strained dinner conversations. I selected Fireball and hurled it towards the thing. It took off maybe 1 HP. If I was being generous. Not a second later a beautiful giant ball of light erupted off the side of the tree, causing it to burst mostly into flames.
I turned around. A Support Type had run up behind us and had dished out a Holy attack the second he laid eyes on the monster. It turned around slowly, painstakingly, to face our group and the man that attacked it.
“What the hell, man, we were here first!” Roni spat at the other man. He twirled his Sythe off his back and flipped it around again, and it was a beautiful glowing katana. The man geared up for a second attack as Roni ran forward to try to slash the tree first.
“You should have been quick-” the tree shot out a few of its roots and Roni sidestepped out of the way narrowly having it miss him. Another shot straight into the Support Type, the delicate cloth of his chest not protecting him in the slightest. His HP slammed to zero. It didn't look like it even drained down like it had for me with the moles, or when Wolf ran into me. It was just gone it went so quick. The root shot back towards the tree, un-impaling the man, whose limp body slumped over. Roni jumped back, grabbing me by the scruff of my robes, and Wolf by the collar of his armor, he pulled his further back and turned to glance down at the corpse of the Support Type.
“This punk's not getting the option to Return or Revive.” One of the roots violently slashed towards us, but Roni had gotten us back just enough. I saw it cut the front of Roni's nose and a drop of blood trickle off. His HP dropped by a tenth. He stepped back half a step and watched it repeat it's slashing a few more times, before seeking out the corpse of the Support Type. I stepped forward instinctively, but Wolf pushed me back
“Shouldn't we help him?” I tried to get past him, but he grabbed me and picked me up in a swift motion. As I struggled and punched his armor, and his arm he seemed to be completely unaffected. His HP didn't even seem to tick down, “Hey!”
“This is- Well. Weird. I've never seen a monster act like this before. And in a beginner's area? It doesn't make any sense.” Wolf completely ignored me. The tree seemed to be dragging the lifeless man under itself. I could almost hear the bones snap as it drug him into the dirt. I felt Wolf flinch as he held me, “... He'll respawn once the event is over.”
“Let's head back to Jeon. Bet the gates are closed, but it's worth a mosey.” Roni motioned us back towards the path leading to town. The tree started to thrash about and dig itself out from the earth as we started walking away. Wolf put me down after we were a safe distance away from the tree. In the distance, we could hear a rough battle going on, probably with the maxed out levelled players that had run by us earlier. Explosions, healing chimes, attacks being called out. I kind of wanted to go run back and watch.
The gates were still open, though the giant oak doors that seemed like it'd usually be in place if the city was under attack had been practically blown off. Splinters of wood and iron that made them up when we had walked by earlier were now scattered across the ground.
“Is this normal?” I asked, kicking some of it aside as we walked into the city. Roni and Wolf didn't answer, but they stopped a few feet ahead of me.
“We should probably just head back to the starting field...” Wolf said so quietly I almost couldn't hear him. I moved out from behind his bulky armor and froze too. Everything was on fire, people left and right running around yelling and screaming. Even if it was fake it looked terrifying.
“Is this some Viral Marketing ARG bullshit?” “Death Mage max level big party time lol” “Is my shop staying like this after???? Half my inventory's totally melted and they killed my sales NPC, wtf!” “This event is cash as fuck cry more jew lord Merchant scum Type, welcome your new Wielder Type overlords!” “What the fuck did I log into?” “Some of or all of the other cities are shitted up by this stupid event too, just got PM'd my wife in Crescent about it.”
The guy that had just shouted the weird merchant thing was practically doubled over laughing, and it looked like he was feeling real enjoyment from it. Behind him, the figure of a scarily skinny, dark, tall man appeared. It was completely devoid of light and had no features. It moved in such a human way for a total void.
“Yo, antisemitic dude, watch out behind you!” Roni called out. Wolf was already pulling out his sword and charging forward, but it only took a second for the monster to strike. Before the guy could even turn around fully he was already being cleaved from behind, from his crotch up to his shoulder. The shadow's lower arm had transformed from something hand like to a sharp spike, Wolf stopped a couple feet from them as he watched the guy's HP crash to zero in less than a second, his body falling to the ground from both sides with a gross squishy sound.
“W-whoa!” Wolf backed up but didn't lose his stance. Roni ran up in front of him and took out his scythe in a twirl. It folded out to be even bigger than it had seemed from his back, coming out to click into place and looked gorgeous and ornate. As soon it was finished it clicked again into a giant shining axe. “Kid- Varn, stay back but don't go too far away.” Well, that was nice at least, he hadn't brought up the name thing. I didn't have time to really reflect on the gesture, though. The shadow slashed forward at Wolf, and Roni dove in front of him at the last possible second with his axe. It still bit into his skin and blood started to pour from his shoulder. Instead of being cut in half his HP dropped about a quarter, Wolf darted under the shadows spiked out limb still in Roni and slammed his massive sword into the other side of it with what looked like the full weight of his body. It cut through it like butter, dropping what looked like a gooey black arm to the ground, but absolutely nothing happened to it's HP. The thing pulled it’s appendage back like liquid pouring back up into it, and brought it and it's other arm up over it's head and over Wolf, still in front of it, getting ready to slam them down on top of him. Roni hoisted his axe into his arms at a weird angle and threw it in front of the thing right as it was about to hit Wolf, and the limbs both sloshed off onto the ground with a disgusting sound. Wolf was already up and getting away from it as it staggered from the force, and the axe returned back into Roni's waiting hands with a white puff of pixelated dust where it landed and disintegrated.
It didn't even seem like a fair fight, it was already regenerating, and it's HP was down maybe one percent. I grabbed my staff attached to my back and pulled it forward into my hands, “Greater Fireball!!” Roni and Wolf weren't in front of my field of view, they had both fanned out to the other side of the creature. It hit it in the head directly, and it reeled back and smoking. It's HP ticked down, maybe another percent more of its health. Its black body had given way to a scratchy white mesh of innards, though. Wolf took the opportunity to rush up to its side.
“Blood for blood!” He yelled, hitting it in the back, and this time cleaving it in half completely. It seemed to half evaporate into smoke, half liquefy and drop to the ground and begin to sizzle white and into nothingness. Wolf's HP dropped all the way from full down to one. He fell down and started coughing up blood. I rushed over and switched to Cross Wizard. The red ruby heart on top of my staff glowed and settled into a white opal color when I did I realized, “Heal! Heal!” his HP went up a quarter more than it did with each cast than before I had upgraded it, but not by much.
“Good work team!” Roni grabbed Wolf and half dragged him up as I continued chanting heal. It eventually stopped even as I continued saying it, and I looked over at my menus just to realize I had run out of MP. We looked down at where the sizzling bubbling goo was now starting to evaporate. It had left behind three little neat and tidy packages, “Nice!! One for each of us, let's all just grab a random one and find more of a safe space, we can look through them and trade later if we wanna.” He picked them all off the ground and handed me one, and Wolf one. It felt weighty but fit in the palm of my hand. A little box wrapped up in parchment and tied up with twine. I twisted my bag around and dropped it into one of the glittery cupcake side pouches.
“That was really lucky, I'm not sure we'll get a second one down, Roni...” Wolf had stopped coughing up blood, but he looked miserable, anxious. Roni nodded and started to say something, but he was cut off.
“You waste of space! What the hell did you do to Krel, get back here!!” It was far away, but loud. I looked past Wolf and Roni deeper into the city and saw Diana running by, following a shadow significantly smaller than the one we had just fought. It had the same dark void of light no features look and was fizzling from it's back. It was for sure the same mob type. I don't know what Diana would've done to inspire it to run, but it didn't surprise me.
“Diana!” I yelled after her, but she didn't hear me. She disappeared behind a building. “I should go after her. She's my sister. In real life, I mean.” Wolf nodded.
“We'll come with you, we might survive if we find more people that can help,” Wolf started jogging after her, and I followed. Roni did too but dropped behind us both a little. When I glanced behind to watch him, I realized he was scanning around and probably keeping watch to make sure nothing could sneak up on the two of us and pick us off like with that one antisemitic guy.
The road was littered with dead bodies once we got further into it. A few high-level players had made groups and were fighting the bigger shadowy guys, but even with them, you'd see a few people get knocked out or killed as their Holy Mage frantically tried to switch into Healing Mage. It was true what those people had yelled earlier, too. A lot of the shops had been totally burnt down, NPC bodies and inventory was littered on the sides of the road and sometimes melted or melting. I was at least glad I didn't stick around to do all those quests Diana had told me were so important...
We rounded a corner and saw Diana and that knight captain from earlier with the little shadow monster. A crowd of people had gathered just like before to watch her. The shadow itself was cornered, with it's back almost to a tall brick wall behind it. But it had in its weird shadowy arms that girl the captain had been trying to fight that Death Wizard guy earlier for. They were all still, Diana practically grumbling as she stood there with her staff in hand. It looked like an elegant assortment of plants frozen and tied together at the top like a bouquet, but the roots were growing down to make a grip. Her knuckles were white holding it.
“Are you controlled by a game master? Release her this instant!” Still dramatic, I thought. She unsheathed her sword and pointed it at the creature but didn't move. It only seemed to back up more. I ducked in front of Wolf and walked slowly over to Diana.
“What's going on?” I asked. I hadn't put my staff away from earlier and held it in front of me ready to strike. Admittedly less imposingly than Diana. I could assume I looked like a child with a stick next to her.
“Where the hell were you? Whatever, it doesn't matter. That thing completely destroyed Krel's shop, killed her, then ran over here and grabbed the Knight Captain's sister.” She exhaled sharply, “Once it drops her I'm gonna tear into it, watch.”
“I meant more- What's going on in general? Why is everything on fire?”
“How would I know?!” Diana snapped back at me. As she did, the shadowy dark creature moved back, releasing the girl, and the Knight Captain ran up to grab her. As she did, six of the far bigger ones stepped right through the brick wall as the little one backed into it and through it. Even Diana turned around to dart away at just the sight of them, only to see that behind us, Wolf and Roni included, even more, were rising up from the ground to block us all in. Wolf ran towards me, and Roni turned to face the mobs behind us. The Knight Captain switched to Axeman, her sister was already behind her. Diana stepped back, and looked angrier, “Okay, you and the armor dude should run. I think the Knight Captain, me, and that Christmas looking guy you brought, have a better chance at beating them if we aren't having to keep an eye on useless cannon fodder. I'm putting a shield on you two, so just run back out to the gates, okay?”
“What?! I can stay and help! It's just a game, why does it matter?” I said, feeling a little ridiculous for getting so into it. The atmosphere was really intense, but it was still completely fake. Diana sighed. Okay, in all the chaos sighing in game was just an acceptable thing to do at least.
“Yeah, I guess that's true. You'll just have to wait a few hours to log back in it looks like. It says Krel's off the server you'll just go off too probably. Maybe you can make dinner or something.” Her weapon changed to her support one, a ton of glowing dandelion seed puffs, drifting slowly into the sky replaced her frozen flowers and herbs. “Holy Shield.” She said, almost sarcastically. I felt warm and was suddenly surrounded by a beautiful glowing purple sphere. It shaped to my body after a second. She glanced over at Wolf briefly, “Holy Shield. Fine, have fun.” Her staff shifted back into the first form, “I'm bored! Let's get this started! Holy Ultima!”
Diana's staff suddenly shown with a beautiful golden light before rocketing off on the wall behind the shadowy monsters, it's blast crumbling it over onto them, three falling apart under the rubble, and two being slung aside by the force of the blast. The bricks themselves were melting onto the mobs, their HP melting off until they were all destroyed. “You two go off and kill that little guy! Avenge Krel and all her expensive glittery bullshit!”
Wolf and I darted off, my legs weren't tall enough to leap over the bricks like Wolf, and I almost fell trying to cross over them. Some more of the little packages laid on top of them from the shadows Diana had just decimated. I grabbed a couple more and stuck them into my cupcake pack. It never seemed to get any fuller or dirtied by anything. I was starting to wonder how Krel even made it. It would've been fun to be a merchant, but on the other hand, I guess it was the type of game where you could also have all your stuff melted by shadow demons.
“I think it went this way, Varn.” Wolf called over to me from a little further ahead. I turned around to watch Roni flipping his scythe out and whipping it around, hitting more target than one at a time, slowly chipping off their HP and stunning them briefly as he moved back. The knight captain was throwing cover over her little sister and heaving her sword through some if they walked close enough. It was taking off their health in droves, instead of like when Wolf and I tried attacking them. Roni using the axe and scythe was probably a pointed choice to try to protect the group from them advancing, as it didn’t seem to be doing much damage, but most of the attention was focused on him. They seemed more than capable of taking care of themselves. I jogged ahead to see what Wolf was looking at. It seemed like it had gone into some sort of little shop, based on a trail of... Glitter. That made sense. I laughed, it felt a little more connected than sighing. Maybe I was getting used to it.
We went in past a broken door. Nothing was melted, but everything was knocked over. It looked like a room full of charms and lockets, it must've been an accessory shop. I picked up a little necklace of a cute little slime and held it up by the chain in my fist. It had heart eyes, and wings. It said it was ten silver, on the little-broken sign beside it. I reached into my cupcake pouch and pulled out a little pouch of money. Diana said she'd give me a ton of money to start with before I even logged in, it was one of our prerequisites to me even playing. I picked up a gold coin and wondered how I could get some silver out of it. As I thought that it split into at least 100 silver coins and scattered all over the ground loudly. Wolf swirled around, terrified, “What the fuck are you doing?!”
“Uh,” I felt embarrassed, “I just wanted this, I was trying to pay for it.” I held it up to him, and he sighed. He held out his hand, and the silver launched itself into his hand and reformed into a gold piece. He put his hand into a little sack on his own armor's belt and pulled out ten silver coins, handing me back the gold.
“Just try to be careful, okay? Here, you can get me back some other time.” I stuffed the gold back into the pouch, and then back into the cupcake. I set the silver next to the cash register and selected the necklace out of my inventory to equip it.
“Thanks, it's really cute! I couldn't leave without it.” Wolf was already ascending the stairs in the corner, I followed after him, getting my staff back out.
“Sure. Let's be careful, though, I don't wanna get locked out of this event.” At the top of the stairs, one of the steps was missing. Wolf hopped over it easily, then offered me a hand. He ended up pretty much just hoisting me over the gap. I never thought about how inconvenient being short would be in a life or death disaster situation. The worst I had gone through in real life was having to ask someone to grab something for me from a tall shelf at a supermarket.
It was so dark we could barely see, but the purple shields Diana had put on us actually illuminated some of the walls and steps. There was something coming from the attic. It sounded like someone was talking in a low dark voice. Wolf pulled his weapon out and switched it from a sword to an axe, his defender and tanking SubType. I wanted to tell him I was fine with dying and he could just go on without defending me if need be, but that seemed so ungrateful. I stood behind him as we started heading up from the second floor to the third floor, slowly, and trying to make as little noise as possible.
The voice was so low I almost couldn't make it out, “two... years... two... …. years....” it said in a whisper. It was standing over the corpse of another person, maybe the person who owned the store. I felt scared. It was so silly, but I actually felt scared. I opened my menu and looked through it quickly. My stats said I'd be protected by the shield for up to 2000 damage. We'd probably be okay fighting for a while.
Wolf had been looking over his shoulder at me, I realized. His weapon clicked back into a sword, but the sound made the figure in front of us go stock still. It had heard us. Wolf charged forward past me, throwing the blade into the shadowy creature. It started to dissipate into goo and mist like the first one we killed, but then started to shake, “Y E A R S”
I felt myself slam back into the wall and barely saw Wolf go into another. As I started to try to right myself, an unbelievable pain shot through my chest, making me scream. I looked down to see a spike of wood from the wall itself impaling me to the rest of it, and looked up to see Wolf- Well, what was left of his armor and body dripping from the wall.
“Wolf...” I knew it was fake, but I felt my eyes tearing up. His body was complete mush. I couldn’t process it. It looked so real. My voice was so low. As I started to choke out a sob I noticed my shield had dimmed, and my health was now dipping down. My body was actually getting cold. It was so terrifying. I couldn't even yell for help or scream for help. I opened my menu to send a pm to Diana, but my voice had stopped working. I closed my eyes to just think, but my thoughts themselves became sluggish and eventually stopped.