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163 Storm labyrinth

 Dave arrived at the Undead Frontier and waited for Lone to log in. When she appeared he greeted her and gave her another teleport scroll to replace the one she had just used to join him.

Lone had new armor. A set of blue and green leather, fitted to emphasize her slim feminine figure.

The Undead looked at Lone with all the hostility they usually harbored for the living. But because of Dave's presence they didn't accost her. It was a disturbing sight, seeing one of the living in the land of the dead, but Kis'Shtiengbrah was trusted and she was safe with him.

"Okay Davey, where are we going today?"

"Let's go to the Red Fortress. I haven't fully explored the area around it yet, so we might find something interesting."

"Oooh, the fortress in the videos? That was badass when you helped capture it. I still can't believe how you escaped from that chaos entity."

"Heh, thanks. Let's go," Dave handed Lone a teleportation scroll for the Red fortress.

Lone didn't have permission to use the Undead teleportation gates, so she had to use the teleportation scrolls to move from a place to another instead.

Dave went first, his avatar disappeared. When he was gone, the undead started to look at Lone with more hostile intent, some of them even approached her threateningly.

Lone quickly tore the scroll and appeared inside the walls of a fortress, with undead all around. Some of them were guarding the gates, others were training, and more moved about on various tasks.

Dave was right next to Lone, behind him stood two dunlords.

"We have to go hook up with my regiment," Dave jumped on Stinger's back. Pointing at the other dunlord he said, "This one will carry you."

"For real!?" Lone squealed.

She jumped onto 'her' dunlord's back. The dunlord was agitated, clearly annoyed at having to carry a human.

"Waaa!!! You look sooo deadly! But so cuuuute too!" Lone kept squee-ing, praising her mount as she stroked his carapace.

The dunlord snorted, visibly calming down and becoming less sullen.

"What's his name?" Lone asked Dave

"Uh, he doesn't have one. You can name him if you want."

"Hmm, how about Pincher, because you have those big sharp pincers?"

Dave face-palmed.

'Gah! Her naming sense is worse than mine.'

However, Lone's dunlord didn't seem to mind the name, he even did a little prancing dance step in place.

"Good, you are Pincher from now on!"

Dave shook his head and ordered Stinger to head out of the Red Fortress.

Lone's followed behind on the newly dubbed Pincher.

The duo moved across the plains and headed toward a nearby hill. Ranks of dunlords and undead stood alertly in formation, waiting for them.

"Wow, that's a lot of Undead. Are they all your troops?" Lone asked.

"Yep, they're all mine!" Dave said in a gloating voice. He urged Stinger to move faster.

"Whoa, really?"

Dave brought Stinger to halt in front of the regiment.

"Undead!! We march south!" Dave hollered

The Undead shouted back wordlessly in unison and started moving south.

Dave headed to the front of the column and Lone followed.

"What is that?!" the archer had spotted a new type of creature among the Undead.

"Oh, that's Dog the dullahan, and he's riding a basilisk. Which he tamed for himself. Somehow." That was still a bit of a sore point for Dave.

Lone inspected the basilisk and her eyes widened.

"That is just broken, the basilisk has so many skills!"

"Yeah, basilisks are very powerful. I'm going to breed them. As some point I will have a bunch of them as mounts. Basilisk heavy cavalry."

A ghoul on a dunlord approached Lone.

"Pretty-elf...wel...come...back."

"And who is this charming fellow?" Lone cooed, already won over by the 'pretty elf' statement.

"This is Bud, he's one of my first undead. You probably don't recognize him because he's evolved a few times since then."

"Hello again, Bud. Your new 'look' is so cool!" she gushed at the oversized Shadow-Ghoul.

Dave could've sworn Bud blushed at Lone's compliment. But that wasn't possible.

"So, what now Davy? Are we going somewhere in particular?"

"I haven't explored much to the south, so I don't know what we'll find. At the very least we'll find some 'free-range' mobs to kill."

"Why not go to the third Raid Zone?"

"Tch, I'm not going back there for a while. That place is dangerous, we had to fight our way through thousands of mobs when we tried to explore it."

"Thousands?"

"Yeah, literally. Maybe even tens of thousands. I'll send you a clip of the feed, you can watch it while we travel."

Several times the regiment scouts came across and reported spoor from lone shadow-tigers. But Dave wasn't interested in tracking down single weak mobs.

Lone finished watching the painted dogs video he'd sent her.

"That was way cool but risky, Dave. You could have died and lost everything."

"Heh. Yeah, I don't have to worry anymore about losing the Legacy if I die, or my rank in the legion. Hell, even the Undead expansion is no longer linked to my death."

"WHAT!?" Lone reached across and punched his arm. "That's for letting me worry!" Then she punched him again, "And that's for not telling me until just now!"

The Undead had heard her first exclamation and started looking around for an enemy, ready to defend against an attack. When Lone punched Dave they were unsure how to respond.

Since their Death Knight leader just rubbed his arm and smirked, the undead took their cue from him. They ignored the 'incident' with the Living elf and resumed marching.

A little later Lone exclaimed, "Hey look over there!"

Dave looked where Lone was pointing and saw pillars the size of skyscrapers rising up from the scorched land. Some them were upright and some had fallen, the debris spread all over the area.

The regiment moved in closer to the pillars.

Dave and Lone both received a notification.

You are the first to discover the Storms Labyrinth.

All kills award double EXP for seven days (in-game time).

The first kill of any monster inside the Storms Labyrinth has a 100% chance to grant the best loot.

Lone was almost vibrating with eagerness, "It's a dungeon, Dave! A dungeon! So where's the entrance, where!?"

Dave was also looking for the dungeon's entrance, he didn't see anything but the pillars.

Only a single pair of the enormous pillars were still standing and more or less intact, and the regiment was about to pass through them. The moment Dave crossed between the two towering structures his vision blurred and the world darkened around him.

He looked back, realizing the two pillars were a gate to another place.

They were now marching on a paved stone surface instead of bare ground.

The stone road led to a gate made of solid gold, the surface decorated with patterns of inset jewels in all colors. But what caught Dave's eyes were the two Drahma-size statues standing on either side of the gate.

The one on the right had a wild mane of reddish hair, his body was taut with well-defined muscle, including an impressive six-pack of abs. The other statue was bald with the build of a powerlifter, including the belly of a happy Buddha. He carried some sort of bag across his neck and shoulders and heavy, spiked cestus encased his thick forearms and fists. Both were depicted wearing only loose Arabian-style pantaloons with wide cloth belts wrapped around their middles.

Strangely, a metal hoop rose up around the lion-maned statue, spaced evenly along the ring were many small drums. Appropriately in his hands were a pair of drumsticks with massive spherical heads. They looked like they would serve just as well for beating drums or bashing in heads.

"I know these guys!" Lone said, looking at the two statues. "From mythology. These guys are Raijin and Fujin. They are the protectors of the gates to the Otherworld!"

"Okay, I'm impressed. Let's just hope these really are statues. That they are here JUST for decoration, not to come alive and gank us all. That would be A Bad Thing."

Dave moved closer to the gates while prudently keeping an eye on the statues, hoping they don't move.

When he got within a few paces of the gates, they opened silently on their own.

Dave's heart jumped, "Gah! Creepy."

He looked around again for anything that might be getting ready to jump out at him. Seeing nothing, he shrugged and led Stinger forward, followed by Lone and the regiment.

After the final member of the Undead regiment passed through the gate, the doors slowly and silently swung closed. Thus, there was no one left to witness the two statues turn their heads in unison to look across at each other and smile in sinister fashion then disappear, leaving behind only echoes of eerie laughter.