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58 Outplayed

 The air became ominously still and electric as if they were in the eye of a storm. There was a faint sound, like rapid drum beats, coming up from the lower depths of the dungeon.

"Here it comes, Killer! Stay away from the middle and brace yourself!" yelled Monsune, moving even closer to the edge of the stairs.

"I'm good!" Pain Killer checked his footing, and glanced over the edge. Then he did a double take. Instead of impenetrable darkness there was a glowing...something coming toward him from the abyss.

"What the hell is that?"

The glowing skull crossed over the edge of the stairs moving in on him.

He he backed away, inspecting the apparition.

"Hey, what are you doing? It's coming!" Monsune called out.

"A skull just came flying at me from the chasm!"

"Just stay close to the edge!" Monsune roared.

Then Monsune noticed a glow from the abyss on his side, "Hey! There's a skull here too!"

In a crescendo of hoof beats the giant boar appeared, galloping up the stairs.

Rogue Boar of the abyss.

Level 250

HP 300 000.

Skill [Stampede]

Dave carefully watched the boar close the distance to the players, waiting for the right moment.

Now.

He snapped his fingers, smiling.

Both skulls exploded in red fury. The blasts hurled the players into the boar's path. Staggered by the Skill, they glared helplessly at the rhino-size boar.

Bowling through the frozen players, the boar swung its head like a wrecking ball. The tusks swept to one side then the other, launching them up and out.

Thrown far out into the darkness they began the long fall, screaming all the way. The sounds dwindled quickly until they were swallowed by the abyss.

For a moment Dave grinned, then he realised the boar wasn't slowing down, and he was standing directly in its path.

"OH SHIT!" he turned to run.

"Shit, shit, shit!!" Knowing the boar would inevitably catch up, he activated [Stampede] to boost his speed. He was still losing ground, but he was just trying to buy time...

Before he even got close he started screaming repeatedly, "GET OUT OF THE WAY! MOVE TO THE EDGE!"

When he came into sight waving his arms wildly, Lone looked at him like he was crazy, "What's got you all in a-- SHIT!" she turned to sprint up the steps.

"What the hell did you do!" she yelled over her shoulder at Dave as he caught up with her.

He didn't bother answering her, he just kept ordering everyone to move out of the boar's path. If she didn't figure it out from his screams, it was too late for her anyway.

Lone Arrow finally moved over to the side and slowed to a stop.

With Lone and his squad away from the center of the stairs and 'safe,' Dave moved over and stopped also.

Panting, he turned to watch the approaching boar. He shuffled to the very edge of the stonework, waiting for it to pass them on its headlong charge straight up the stairs. Instead, it locked him in its beady red gaze and veered toward him.

"Oh c'mon! You're kidding me!" he screamed.

Lone was plinking at the boar with her bow to no apparent effect. Just before the boar barrelled into him, Dave sidestepped and turned, "[Rising Strike],[Spectral Bomb]!" He didn't expect Strike to do any damage, but it gave him a crucial moment of invulnerability. The boar blew past, grunting in surprised fury, and Dave snapped his fingers. Dave had deliberately cast the skull on the side of the boar's head. The explosion pushed the boar's head toward the edge and the boar swerved out into empty space.

Hooves churning uselessly in the air, the boar's forward charge finally came to end, and it dropped squealing in high-pitched rage.

Level Up

Level Up

Level Up

Level Up

...

Dave stared at the notification window.

He leveled up six times to level 71 and had 86 stat points to distribute. There was also a pop-up notification from when he was running from the boar. It informed him he was 40 contribution points richer. He grinned, Pain Killer and Monsune's donation to the Dave fund.

Lone Arrow looked up from her own status screen, stunned.

"That's so awesome! I didn't expect to level up at all from an assist, let along multiple times."

"How many levels did you go up?" asked Dave

"Ten. You?" she asked

"Six. The thing's level was higher than the dungeon boss." He remembered reading the boss was around level 80.

Lone shrugged, "Maybe it's not supposed to be killed, just put here to scare people and keep them on their toes."

"I wonder if we can farm it. It could help us level up quickly for many more levels." he said thoughtfully.

Lone was looking around, "Wait a sec. Something's missing."

"What's that?"

"The loot!" she said, crestfallen.

Dave looked around finding nothing.

"It must have gone down with the monster. Do you want to follow it and check?" he smirked.

"Nah, let's just get going,"

"Yeah. Time to head down and meet that boss," said Dave.

Before they proceeded he ordered Bud and the elite skeleton to carry lighted torches.They moved down the steps briskly until Dave recognized the place where Pain Killer and Monsune went over the edge..

"Okay. Those two players did us a favor clearing the werewolves up until this point.

"From here on we'll have to fight the mobs. But I don't want to end up between them and the werewolves if they come back to try the dungeon again after respawn. So we're going in quick and dirty."

He led off immediately, not giving Lone an opportunity to use his ill-considered choice of words against him.

They moved down the stairs as fast as undead could move.

Distant howling brought Dave to a stumbling halt. He ordered Bud forward to take his place in the lead.

Lone Arrow was giggling at Dave's antics."It's so funny that a pack of dogs scare you like that."

"Dogs?! Wait until they bite your head clean off." He shuddered.

They advanced again, and soon heard clawed footsteps coming toward them, clicking up the stone steps. One of the fearsome canine-beasts came into view, the light cast from Bud's torch making it even more ghastly.

Dave inspected the hideous mob:

Malformed Werewolf

Level 70

HP 20,000

Damage 1500-2000

Damage nullification 350

Magic absorption 350

Skills [Howl] Staggers enemies and pushes them back.

[Maul] savagely tears and lacerates a target dealing 300% basic damage value.

Half of the skin and flesh was rotted or missing from its large frame, leaving bone and putrefying organs exposed.

Dave was already terrified, and now he could barely control his disgust too. He was prepared for the fear but the revulsion was unexpected and it frayed at his already weak control.

"What is worse than a werewolf? An undead werewolf!" Dave answered his own question in a shaky high-pitched voice, moving farther behind his Undead.

I'll hang back just this once, let Lone and my Undead Boyz handle this. They need the practice and EXP anyway. Yeah.

Then three more Malformed Werewolves appeared out of the darkness, following behind the first horror.