Chronicle of the Mad God
The people that sat before Sasaki were draped in dark brown robes. The windows to the small room were covered, letting only a tiny bit of light through. Various candles dotted the table in front of her, illuminating the entirety of the small space. The stench that filled the room was a combination of sweat and terrible body odor. These guys are more than just a little weird. Why did I agree to come to this again?
“So, what did you need me for Tansei-san?” Sasaki asked, trying to hide her disgust.
One of the men in front of her uncovered a board on the table in front of her. Small figurines dotted the top of it but she couldn’t ascertain what design the board itself was. “Might i interest you in a game of C&C?” The man uncovered his hood as he spoke, the face of a middle school boy greeted her.
“What is C&C?” Why did I ask? Now this whole interaction is just going to last longer. Sasaki agonized within herself as she realized her ill-prepared question opened the floodgates to her demise.
She saw the light brighten in his eyes as the question left her lips. Sasaki was convinced he had anticipated this question. “Well, Crypts & Curiosities, or more commonly known as C&C, is a fantasy role playing adventure. You get to choose your race, class and abilities as you and your friends go on an epic adventure to discover the deepest, darkest crypts and all the monsters that lie inside. There’s fun in the combat parts of the game but also in interacting with NPCs.” He spoke with an excited fervor. This game was his passion and the words felt entrenched in his deep love.
“NPC’s?” Damnit, I spoke without thinking again. His eyes still burned bright. She knew he used the word “NPC” on purpose.
“Non-Player Characters, or more commonly known as NPCs, are story characters that your hero will come across. They can be evil, good or anywhere between. It’s all up to a roll of the dice in the end.” Sasaki saw the dice on the board now.
“Di…” Not going to let that happen again. Sasaki abruptly stopped herself before asking about the dice.
“Oh, so you want to know about the dice?” Looks like it didn’t even matter if I asked. What a pain.
“There’s a twenty-sided die, a ten-sided die and a four sided die. All of these are used for different interactions, abilities and other story related items. C&C is a really flexible and immersive experience!” He shook his hands as his friends behind him nodded their heads in agreement.
“We’ve been really having fun playing with just us four but we really need more members for our C&C school club so they don’t shut us down. What do you think?” His eyes were eager for her response.
What in the hell are these guys supposed to be? The short, blond twin-tailed love goddess stood in a mostly empty tavern. The aged wood seemed to be barely holding the structure up as it creaked at her touch. A fireplace roared in the corner and she could hear the notes of a bard fill the space. Although, she couldn’t seem to find the source. In front of her stood three cloaked figures whispering amongst themselves.
“Foul knave, you dare to defile our sacred domain?” The robed figure in the middle dropped their hood as they spoke to her. He appeared to be some kind of green lizard person.
She looked up at the wooden ceiling, a small screen laid hung motionless. Through it, the love goddess saw her master Sasaki standing awkwardly. I was worried that these people were going to try to confess to her? I must be losing it. The love goddess bellowed out a deep laughter. The intensity of it drowned out the melody of the unseen bard.
“Do you seek a battle, weak little girl?” She heard the words but failed to see the threat in them.
“Nope, looks like it’s time for me to go home, you incredibly tough guys.” The words were submerged in sarcasm, they were nearly indiscernible as she spoke with such an intense irreverent passion.
She heard a growl from behind her as the other two cloaked figures dropped their hood, revealing their faces. To the left of the lizard man, a grey skinned dwarf with dark red eyes glared at her. To the right, an elf with long pointy ears stared her down with an emptiness that was almost unsettling.
“Let’s not let her disrespect us. Roll your die brothers!” The three cloaked figures revealed their hidden hands, each tossing a twenty-sided die onto the floor in front of them.
What’s up with them? Weirdos. The love goddess tilted her head as they seemed paralyzed looking at their thrown die.
“Crit 20! Crit 20? Crit 20!” The lizard man yelled at the results of each die roll, his hands shaking in front of him. “We all got crit 20? I can’t believe this!” His eyes looked like they were nearly going to pop out of his head with his excited expression.
Time to go… The love goddess held out her hand in front of her as a portal appeared in front of her. She nearly stopped before she heard the lizard man’s voice again.
“You running away from our fight!? I knew you were a weakling!” The love goddess sighed at the words as such imputence couldn’t be tolerated.
“Here!” The love goddess pointed at her chest. “Give me your best shot.” She heard him laughing at her response.
“Sure!” The lizard man nearly broke out laughing as he yelled in response.
“We all got Crit 20’s so we’re going to hit her with Holy Hellfire, okay?” The lizard man spoke with his comrades before they held their hands out in front of them. A small glowing circle appeared in front of them before they began to chant.
“For those who have come before and those who are yet to come, I request your assistance.” Their words became as one as they chanted in unison. A second ring appeared, rotating slightly slower around the glowing circle. It was adorned with runic carvings that the love goddess could not decipher.
They’re chanting a magic spell? The love goddess noticed that specks of light had been drawn by their incantation, attaching themselves to the glowing ring.
“The sanctity of this domain has been compromised by unholy hands. The gods of old live in the very ground I stand on. It has been defended with their lives, the blood spilled giving form to my power.” A third larger ring began rotating around the second ring at a slightly slower pace.
“The burning fires of holy light shall rain down on you! Holy Hellfire!” A fourth larger ring appeared around the third with a slightly slower rotation. The magic circle only lasted only a few seconds after their incantation finished. Quickly shattering, it sent a stream of raging fire at her.
That might hurt if I let it hit me...wait! I have a super fun idea! She stood as her body took the brunt of the attack, sizzling her flesh into a dark black ash. The seared statue of ash stood before the seemingly successful mages.
“That was so cool! We’ve never done that spell on a triple Crit 20! Look at her, she's completely scorched!” The lizard man laughed at the scorched body, his comrades joining in shortly after.
“What the…” The lizard man’s knees gave as they hit the wooden floor. He looked over to see his comrades had done the same.
“What a glorious idea you had. I loved your super cool spell.” The lizard man turned around before nearly throwing up as he lost himself in the endless abyss that laid where the love goddess’s eyes should have been. Only bloody holes remained where her eyes should have been. Her skin was ripped off and the bloody flesh underneath pulsated as the lizard man gazed upon her form.
“Goodbye.” She giggled before holding out her hand, a torrent of flame enveloped them whole. A complete incineration followed, leaving nothing behind. Her attack had obliterated half of the tavern as well, the void lying directly beyond.
“Now, it’s time to go home.” Skin sprouted up from her exposed flesh, crawling around the surface like thirsty roots desperately searching for water. They connected with each other, twirling and twisting into one another, rebuilding her facade. She held her hands to the empty holes where her eyes should have been and with a snap, her eyeballs returned. The perfection of her form returned.
She held out her hand as a portal appeared. “I guess that music was only an aesthetic feature? I can add music to my own domain?” She stood around at the open portal, musing to herself after she noticed she couldn’t hear the bard’s music anymore.
She entered the portal, closing soon after. A bard laid shivering on the second floor. She was an unwitting witness to her power.
His eyes dulled in front of her as he finished asking if she would join. “I’ll have to pass, unfortunately.” Sasaki tried to be as courteous as she could be.
“It’s fine, whatever.” He pulled his hood back over his head as he began fiddling unenthusiastically with the figurines laid on the board.
“I’m sorry for wasting your time. Have a great day.” Sasaki bowed as she walked out of the door.
“Tensei-san! Why did you let her go so easily!?” A hidden cloaked figure appeared from the corner.
“It just doesn’t matter, I guess.” The phrase was repeated by the two other boys that stood next to him.
What’s wrong with them?