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245 Never Fear Part 1

 Dave gestured with his head for everyone to spread out and move in, then inspected the boss.

***

Ashkar, the Necromancer King

Level: 520

Base damage: 220,000-250,000

HP: 1,500,000

DN: 80,000

MA: 100,000

Skills:

[Fleshmancy] (Passive): Ashkar can summon six (6) random flesh monsters every 10 minutes to help him fight.

[Flesh Explosion]: Ashkar can detonate the corpses of his slain summons, causing 250,000 HPs of Flat Damage in a 5-meter radius. Players will have a three (3) second warning before the corpse explodes.

[Flesh Incarceration]: The necromancer binds a randomly selected enemy in a cage made of flesh. If the target remains imprisoned for more than 60 seconds, they will be [Executed].

[Cursed Flesh] (Passive): When Ashkar loses 50% of his HP, he enters a second phase. Additionally, whenever Ashkar's HP drops below 10% he regenerates 1% of his total HP per second for 30 seconds.

Lore

In an age long past Ashkar, as a mere mortal, delved into the mysteries of the arcane. Using the knowledge gained from the pain and deaths of countless beings he became a master of the magic of body and soul. So much so that the Arch-Lich Dagla would have hesitated to challenge him. But eventually his studies of the eldritch went awry, resulting in the creation of an abomination that consumed the Necromancer King.

***

The glutovers and half born seers that spawned from Ashkar's six 'eggs' spread out and moved toward the players.

"You sure you don't want me to help?" Flanker asked hopefully, looking into the room around the edge of the doorway.

"I'm sure. Stay where you are," Dave answered without looking. Then he spoke to the other players, "Take the seers down first, their DOT is a pain." Receiving nods back he ran at the nearest seer, equipping his gauntlets. He threw a jab into its face, knocking teeth and eyeballs out of its head.

Mercy and Ralph split up, each of them squaring off against a half-born seer. Ralph tore into his opponent with [Rend-the-Flesh], chopping the seer's HP down to two thirds. Mercy vanished into stealth and appeared behind the other seer, her dagger gouging deep into its spinal cord. The half-born seer screamed in agony.

Dave was only a few steps away fighting his own seer. As they duked it out a glutover joined the fight. Dave sidestepped the glutover's rush and slammed a fist into the seer's face. The multi-eyed horror reeled back clutching at its bleeding face. Dave moved back, creating some distance.

"Fortress tank the boss, Lone, Tess, crowd control for him."

Dave ignited [Aura], burning the monsters and searing the flesh walls. The creatures stopped attacking the other players and converged on Dave, his threat level now at the top of their aggro priority.

"BURN NOT THE FLESH!!" Roared Ashkar, slamming a palm down on the floor. The impact generated a wave in the flesh covered floor that propagated toward Dave.

Before the wave-of-flesh attack reached him Dave activated [Approaching Dragon], teleporting repeatedly from monster to monster, striking each time. When the skill ended Dave spun into [Infernal Tornado], blasting away the monsters in melee range, high damage values rising above their heads.

Mercy vaulted forward into a series of back handsprings to land between Dave and the monsters. Spinning, she kicked up into the air. Jade daggers materialized in her hands and she started throwing them, her movements speeding up until she was just a blur of white and hundreds of jade daggers began shooting out in every direction sounding like a buzzsaw. Some of the daggers passed through the other players harmlessly, but every single dagger ended its deadly flight in a monster, turning them into bleeding pincushions. The dagger storm ended and Mercy hit the floor in a three-point superhero landing, poised with one knee and one fist on the ground. Ashkar was the only monster left standing after Mercy's barrage, though he was bleeding from the dozens of daggers embedded in his distorted flesh.

Mercy gave Ralph and Dave an arch look, "Meow," then she vanished into stealth again.

"Okayyy, now we know who gets to be Catwoman."

Ashkar shook and advanced toward Dave, the daggers impaling him vibrating with every step. Ashkar screamed like an angry lion, his muscles flexed and forced the daggers out. Then necromancer king screamed again and slammed both hands together in a thunderous clap and the bodies of the six flesh monsters started shaking.

"Get away from the bodies!" Dave shouted, bolting away from the corpses. Ralph turned and ran from the corpses.

Two huge damage values floated up over the boss's head in red.

-250,000

-250,000

"I think we can beat Ashkar's [Cursed Flesh] passive by getting him to blow himself up with the corpse explosion," Dave said over the party chat.

"Cover me," Dave shouted and used [Dragon Kick], flying like a bullet toward the boss. The Necromancer King crossed his arms and blocked the damage from Dave's [Dragon Kick] and the fire dragon that it conjured. Ashkar grabbed Dave by the leg and threw him into the nearest wall.

[-180,887]

"You okay Stroke?" Perfect asked.

"Shit. Yeah, no one told me the boss knows kung-fu," Dave stood up groggily .

"This is gonna be a tough fight without a healer, " Ralph said, glancing at the door where Flanker waited for them.

Dave's passive [Vigorous] kicked in, restoring 10% of his base HP. A green number appeared above Dave's head.

+44,450

Dave supplemented the boost with a healing potion.

"Everyone switch to party chat."

Mercy appeared behind Ashkar and stabbed her daggers into his kidneys. The king swayed, stunned, which gave Mercy an opening to 'slice-n-dice' him for some serious damage points.

When the stun effects ended the king swung a fist behind himself at the assassin, Mercy dodged the necromancer's flailing and entered stealth.

"I'm ready with a stun, Blaster. Go for it," Perfect said.

Ralph ran toward the boss and chopped with his sword activating [Silent Resolve].

"I got aggro," Ralph shouted.

"Fortress, switch with Blaster. I will tank the boss when my HP is full," Dave said.

Ashkar knelt and punched both fists into the flesh formed floor, causing the meat to bloat and spread from him like ripples. The writhing flesh crawled up the players, trapping them and covering them until only their faces were visible. Even Mercy was forced out of stealth, trapped in a cocoon of flesh like the rest of the party.

***

You have been Restrained by [Flesh Incarceration]!

Your skills and abilities have been disabled!

You cannot access your inventory!

You have 60 seconds to extract yourselves from the [Flesh Incarceration] skill or you will die!

***

"What the fuck!" Fortress shouted.

Timers appeared above each player and began ticking the 60 seconds down.

Dave struggled to release himself to no avail. Being bound and helpless like this reminded him of the smollzies and their ropes.

"Have no fear, Flanker is here!" the exiled priest burst into the room as he shouted the battle call.

The moment he stepped inside though, a notification popped up in front of Dave.

***

Attention! A new player has been detected!

Adjusting parameters.

Difficulty changed according to the new number and levels of players.

Boss (Ashkar) level increased by 10

Ashkar has recovered 10% of his total HP

***

"We told you to stay outside, man," Fortress said.

"Shut it, Stan-lover. You guys dropped the ball, which means I have to save your asses. Again!" Flanker spun his staff and ignited it, then struck at the flesh imprisoning Fortress. But the imprisoning flesh didn't show any signs of damage and the timers over the Players continued to tick down.

"Shit, I can't get this stuff off you guys."

Dave shouted, "Flanker! Use the frog stomach acid!"

The priest reached into his inventory and pulled out a vial of green acid and poured the contents on the meat imprisoning the tank and it melted away.

"Here," Flanker said, handing four vials to Fortress, "Use these on the others."

Flanker ran over to Dave and poured a vial on the flesh holding him. Dave took half of Flanker's vials and went to get Ralph free Fortress did the same and they freed the other players in ten seconds just before the timer was over.

"Invite me back into the party, man. I earned it," Flanker said

"Just don't slow us down," Dave said. He couldn't deny the priest was right.

The moment everyone was free, the kneeling boss stood up.

"Damn, what do we do if he uses the trapping skill again?" Ralph asked.

Dave shook his head, he still hadn't figured out how to deal with that skill without more acid vials.

"Surround the boss. We will fight using basic tactics, melee class tank the boss and the ranger class will support with stuns and interrupt skills," Dave said.

Demeri plucked at her harp, a notification popped up to the party.

***

Bardic Song of Courage

+10% Damage

-5% damage from attacks

***

"When the boss used the imprisoning skill he was stuck rooted in the same position. But I think I know how to escape his cage skill," Flanker said.

"How?" Fortress asked as he used [Block], nullifying an attack from the boss.

"I think if we jump over the ripples that start the attack we can avoid it," Flanker said.

"That's actually a good idea," Dave said thoughtfully.

"I guess that's obvious but so what? That will not change the situation we are in, the boss will still attack when he misses the skill use," Tess said , she waved her scepter and summoned black chains that wrapped around Ashkar.

"No, the [Flesh Incarceration] is a channeled skill, so the boss is stuck in one position for the length of the skill. If we jump over the ripples but let one player get trapped, we can attack Ashkar as long as he is stuck" Dave said.

The boss kicked Ralph away, shearing away two thirds of the swordmaster's HP.

Fortress tapped in, replacing the tank to let Ralph recover.

"We need to get the boss to just above 10% then make him use the [Flesh Explosion] near one of the corpses, the damage will kill him," Ralph said.

Tess's black chains tightened down on Ashkar even more, they glowed with a black light then dissipated, taking the Necromancer's HP below 50%.

Ashkar screamed and began clawing at his own face. Bones snapped out of the flesh on his back and tore his robes apart. Flesh vomited out of the wounds like lava gushing from the earth. The fresh pink meat covered the king, turning him into an amorphous four legged beast-like shape that advanced on the players.

"It's the second phase," Fortress backed farther away from the glistening slick-skinned flesh boss.

"Hey guys? FYI, I checked the boss's skill list again. He doesn't have [Flesh Explosion] anymore. So your glorious plan just went down the shitter," Flanker said.