“Josephine!” Jessica hears her mother call. “Why are we running? We can fight them!”
Jessica quickly shakes her head and continues pulling her mother away. “Quasi is the leader. He says run, we run,” she answers.
“She’s right, Jessica,” Deflon disagrees. “The [Assassins] are strong but I think all of us together could fight them off.”
“Keep running,” she orders while glancing back. The [Assassins] allow the motley group to flee, instead cautiously walking up to Quasi.
“This is wrong,” Deflon growls. “We shouldn’t abandon him like this, even if he’s telling us to.”
“Quasi knows what he’s doing,” Jessica replies quickly as she glances constantly in the distance.
“He’s sacrificing himself for us,” Fiona huffs. “He doesn't want us to risk our lives for him.”
“No,” Jessica corrects, “Quasi doesn't want us getting in the way.”
“Getting in the way!? What do you me-” her mother’s protests are silenced by a clap of thunder. The world trembles as a deep, reverberating tone swells through the earth and sky.
The group stops to turn around. A black-tinted transparent barrier forms in front of them, stretching high up into the sky. In the distance, the spectacle begins.
“Wait, is that-” Abernick’s eyes widen as another clap of thunder shakes the ground.
Jessica’s chuckles are drowned out by the violin crescendo. A box fills her vision.
You are under the effect of the Unique Spell: [Boss Music - Second Movement]
For all allies, all spells are [Extended], [Heightened], [Maximized], and [Quickened]
For all enemies, increase heart rate by 30%.
“Maybe we should hunt them down too. You know, fewer witnesses and all,” Raven 6 says
“Not job,” Raven 3 shakes his head.
“We’ve already wasted enough time. Let’s just destroy the body and report back to base,” Raven 7 interrupts. He scrutinizes the still body. “Right, he’s dead.”
“No,” Raven 4 stops him. Despite being dead, the target’s mana has yet to dissipate. In fact, it’s still circulating. “He’s got some kind of magic failsafe.”
Raven 9 tilts her head. “So? Just blow him up from afar then. Look, his body’s already turning cold.”
Raven 4 blinks. He focuses his mana sight on the target's body.
“No, we need to move. Now,” he warns them. With a flourish of his arms, he raises the ground around everybody and shifts the group away over a hundred meters, carving a straight path through the forest to do so.
“What's happening? What spell is it?” Raven 7 hurriedly asks.
“His hand moved,” Raven 4 claims while focusing completely on the body.
“What? That’s ridiculous!” Raven 7 declares. He waves at the body. “He may be a [Necromancer], but he’s-” On the left hand, the index finger slightly, almost unnoticeably, twitches. Raven 7 and the other [Assassins would have missed it if they hadn’t been alerted to it. At once, they all take a combat position.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the head of the corpse tilts up. The face of their target is revealed alongside two violet glowing eyes. With utter surety, bloody lips morph into an angry grin. The sky thunders with drums.
Raven 6 gulps as a violet mist rises in wisps into gloomy fog. The sky overhead darkens with the steady rise of violins. Only available to the ears of Raven 3 is the steady sizzle of the violet energy rapidly corroding the enchanted bolt. The dead man grips the rusted javelin, snaps the weakening metal, and pulls himself off the rest. Free of the one thing binding him, he lets his body be pulled up by the violet streams of power.
Coiling mana surrounds him, gaining solidity and losing transparency. The [Gentleman] lifts his hat with his left hand and places his right over the hole where his heart should be. He bows amid swirling radiant darkness and the introduction of the brass to the music.
“Magnificent. What an exemplary assassination,” a biting voice thrums through the music, “I find myself impressed. So impressed, in fact,” he stands from his bow and replaces his hat, “that I believe you all deserve a reward.”
The music slows, violins trilling as they reach higher and higher notes. The ribbons of dark violet envelop the [Necromancer] and expand. A new shape forms, towering ten feet tall. Nine wings flourish from the behemoth’s back, each one radiating mana in an aurora as the violins keep building, up and up and up until… silence.
The man is no longer visible, just his monstrous facade floating in the air on currents of potential. Blank purple eyes stare into the souls of the [Assassins] and find them disappointing.
And with that, the music resumes in full force, forcing Raven 7 to brace from sound alone.
“Need to run,” Raven 3 takes a step back. His usually calm and bored eyes are replaced with unprecedented fear. His instincts, honed through a lifetime of hunting, tell him of no possible way to kill this quarry. All that is here is-
“Too late,” Raven 4 says, his mana scanning through the earth only to be blocked a mere mile away; a mile in all directions. “The cemetery is covered in a barrier. We’re trapped.”
“What? When did he set that up? I didn’t sense anything” Raven 9 exclaims with worry. She looks around, finding only fog.
“The fog is filled with mana. My senses are disrupted.”
Raven 7 grunts. “It doesn't matter now. We’re trapped and the most likely way to escape is to kill that thing.” He looks at Raven 6. “If we can get you close, can you kill it?”
Raven 6 snorts and steps forward. His eyes are on the floating monster. Not with fear, but with anticipation. He unsheathes his rapier and the white weapon begins to glow with power. “With all my skills active, I can do over ten thousand thrusts in a second,” he says eagerly.
Raven 7 nods. “Then it's decided. Me and Raven 4 will get you close while Raven 3 covers us from range.”
He looks at Raven 9. “We’re going to need speed and defense. Get to work.”
Raven 9 nods and extends her hands. “[Greater Mass Haste], [Greater Mirror Image], [Greater Mass Blur], [Manifold Light],” she chants her skills and drops down on her knees. Over a hundred illusionary and blurred clones are created.
The [Assassins] and their illusions prepare to move, but they all pause as the voice returns.
“I was expecting a heart rousing speech, a captain to stand at the forefront and gallantly lead his brave men into the abyss to stab its eye.” The monster shakes his head. “I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up for simple cutthroats.”
The beast spreads his arms. From his body, a few strands of mana curl through the air to his head, where they weave together, forming a… hat. The creature’s mouthless face wrinkles into what could be charitably called a smile. “Your plan is simple, but elegant. Stabbing me until I stay down! Ten thousand times! It’s almost perfect, but…” the monster rises into the air, “you can only do ten thousand.” One of the wings on its back disintegrates into a flurry of soaring sparks. “I think I can do better. [Custom Magic: Unlimited Bone Works]”
The sparks arc through the sky and pepper the ground in time to the beat of drums. Where they land, pools of black spread and seep through the earth, searching for their target. The spell cannot go further unless it finds what it needs.
And what it needs is easily found in the wide cemetery of an old, old city.
An unholy choir sings through the Thoom! of the ground bursting apart in countless sprays of dirt. The dead are torn from their graves and into the sky, yanked upwards like a child roughly pulling a doll from their toy chest. Bodies fray apart as their bones powderize into a storm of bone dust. Ivory axes, pale swords, spears of marrow, a million instruments of war form from the cadavers of ages past. The dark skies turn black under the growing shadow of inordinate ordnance.
“Now,” the owner of the serene voice lowers its hands and points towards the [Assassins]. Every blade in the sky turns and points at them, “allow me to demonstrate.”
Juliana, Fiona, Abernick, and even Deflon stare aghast with dropped jaws. The sky is smothered with weapons, enough to equip several armies.
Only Jessica is unperturbed. She knows of Quasi’s skill and its activation requirements. What she only notices now is that his status is no longer hidden. [Analyse] is working without a problem.
Level 717 [Wraith King]
Which means that her mother now knows that Quasi is also a [Hero].
Her musings are interrupted by the start of the battle. Blades fire down like hail, smashing the ground with deadly force. From this distance, it’s impossible to see the battlefield through the falling arsenal, but they can clearly see the descending storm and hear through the orchestral theme the continuous slams of the ivory armory impacting the earth.
“J-Josephine, what-” Juliana struggles to get out. “How!? Is this- that's, what!?”
Jessica waits for her mother to remember how to speak. Funnily enough, Jessica knows that Quasi isn’t serious at all. He could just as easily have blasted the [Assassins] with enough magic to destroy the entire cemetery. Instead, the idiot just emptied the cemetery of hundreds, if not thousands of generations of dead family members.
Jessica finds this act unsurprising.
Abernick stares at the absurdity of power in the sky. Running through his mind is his first encounter with Quasi. He remembers the behemoth built to crush his ambitions. He recalls the fear when those monstrous eyes looked down upon him. When the beast opened it maw and-
Jessica watches with a frown as Abernick falls flat on his face. She walks up to him and checks his pulse, finding it to be slightly elevated and decreasing. He’s only fainted.
With a sigh, she looks around for a nice spot to sit and spies a stone outcropping. She treks her way over, reaches into her robe for a book, and plops down.
[Custom Magic] is an amazing skill that allows me to pre-create compounded spells. It’s like making a digital model for a 3D printer, where I just shove in mana once it’s primed and let it do its thing. It’s awesome, except for the fact that the spell can't be canceled and [Custom Magic: Unlimited Blade Works] has a limit on the number of projectiles that can be launched each second.
Yep. It really sucks.
I can only fire three hundred per second.
Which, honestly, is a reasonable number, so long as my ammunition is unreasonable.
A million weapons… I don’t think anyone could call that reasonable.
Considering that all the [Assassins] died within the first five minutes of my skill, I probably only needed a nice hundred thousand projectiles.
Not a million.
Welp, whatever. There’s no kill like overkill.
With the spell still going, I will my body to float towards my allies who are staring at me with both fear and curiosity. Except for Jessica and Abernick. Jessica is looking pissed at me for some reason and Abernick is enjoying a dirt nap.
As I descend, I revert my transformation to reveal myself in all my dead and injured glory. The only reason I can even move is because I’m still a [Wraith King].
I smile at them and land. “So, how's everybody doing?” I ask. “Y’all enjoy the show? It looks like he enjoyed it a little too much.” I nudge Abernick with my foot.
Fiona blinks, her eyes are focused on my chest
“You’re injured,” she states.
I look down at my wound. With one hand, I reach in and exit the other side.
“‘Tis but a flesh wound,” I answer.
“Your heart is gone,” she deadpans
I shrug. “It happens from time to time. Nothing to worry about,” I glance at Juliana because Jessica is still glaring at me, “so long as I can get healed up.”
Juliana slowly nods. She steps towards me and puts her hand on my shoulder. Her eyes glow as she calls up her mana. “[Spell Haste]: [Grand Working]: [Greater Regeneration]” she recites.
I watch, mesmerized, my body fixes itself. New organs, bones, sinew, and everything else I am missing stitch together. The magic enters my body, pushing it to heal its own wounds. It takes half a minute, something Jessica could do within seconds, but my body is fully healed.
I feel the first heartbeat, and then fill my lungs with fresh air.
Skill requirements for [Undying Apparition] are no longer met. Deactivating skill. Reverting classes and skills.
“Whew,” I say before I stretch. My body is back to normal, and without scars thanks to my [Smooth Skin] skill… or body hair. I still don't understand why the damn skill is considered legendary anyway.
“What was that transformation!? You looked like a monster,” Juliana exclaims, her eyes focussed critically on me.
“Just a skill,” I answer while rubbing my stomach. “It makes me impossible to kill.”
Damn. I’m hungry. That stupid javelin ruptured my stomach and knocked all the food out. I’m going to need another breakfast.
“Impossible to-” she stops her train of thought. Her eyes shift away from me to look at the continuing onslaught of bone weapons.
There's probably going to be a helluva large pile by the time the skill is done. I wouldn't want to be around to clean that up.
Her gaze shifts back to me. She smiles and quickly steps forward. Her hands rise to my head and caress my face. Then she pulls my head into a surprise kiss with a heavy dose of tongue action.
Not a second later, I hear an angry scream.