Sammy’s Redemption – Chapter 68
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And its December! A new month is upon us so just to remind everyone, I have a Patreon. You can read ahead for just $5 and even if you don't want that there up to 70 free.

In other news I took advantage of cyber monday to order the last few parts of my new computer. One of them isn't in stock so that is still a couple weeks out but still got it on sale so thats what matters.

Enraged at the sudden death, the three remaining birds charge down the hall. Well, the right-most one tries to but it took one head-shot too many and only goes a third of the way before it falls over.

The remaining two make it to the front-line. Sammy meets her target first and it looks like she learned more of how to use a shield over the night. Instead of meeting it head on she shifts slightly to the side and has her shield at an angle to the beak. As she feels the impact Sammy puts her shoulder into it and with a shove forces the bird into the nearby wall.

To her right Ace clashes with the other bird in a similar fashion, except instead of a wall it throws the bird into the business end of Jack’s concrete mace. With a sickening crunch, the axebeak dies. After Ace is certain Sammy will be fine, he sends Jack down the room to take care of the conked out bird. It hasn’t died yet, but even if it is a monster there is no reason to let it suffer.

Back with Sammy, the last bird is looking worse for wear after having slammed into the wall. It turns to her and whips its head forward. She didn’t expect this attack, but Sammy isn’t one of the founders for no reason.  Knowing that her shield won’t be able to take the attack, she instead falls over backwards to get out of the way and brings her other hand up and around.

The axebeak’s head swishes over her body and it goes to pull back but is unable to complete the action. As Sammy was falling down and swinging her body around, her sword came up. Then it came right back down on the bird’s neck with all of her weight behind it. While this didn’t take the head off like Ruby managed with her magic, a broken neck does just as good of a job at finishing the axebeak off.

With the strike taking away most of her momentum, Sammy is able to safely fall on her shield. Resting on her shield she laughs, though this time the other can hear the relief in it. A familiar swirl of light appears next to her as she stands up. The second confirmed loot drop for the dungeon has appeared. Though this swirl of light is different from the one they saw when Jack received his bronze greaves. It has a gold and blue tinge to it.

Off to the side Ruby laughs, “Well I guess we know what your quest reward is. Kelly would know more about this but from what I’ve heard a blue and gold loot drop means it is the system doing it. Not only that, but only Sammy will be able to get it. Even if we all tried to reach in it would be like trying to grab a rainbow.”

Sammy shrugs, “the best reward is killing that bird before I get nightmares about it. Still, I won’t turn down some loot.” And she reaches into the swirl of light. After a few moments of feeling around, she grabs something and pulls. Out of the swirl comes a pair of iron gauntlets that are long enough to count as armguards as well. Across the metal are delicate engraved feathers and along the edges of all the pieces the metal picks up a hint of deep red.

Ruby whistles, “well now aren’t those high quality. Now the question is, do we wait for me to ID them or does Sammy just throw them on and we continue on with the dive?”

Sammy with a wide grin goes to put them on but Ace puts his hand on her shoulder and shakes his head. “If they had looked like normal metal gear, I wouldn’t mind you wearing them right away. They are a system reward after all. However that red edge makes me question if they are all that normal. Let Ruby check them out first.”

Sammy lets out a sad sigh but she knows it is a valid worry and so hands them over to Ruby who has already gotten her chalk out. After a bunch of chalk circles and chanting, she finishes the ritual.

{Iron Gauntlets of the Defender

Description: Gauntlets commissioned by the system from a master smith who wishes to remain unnamed. The system has awarded them to Sammy of Earth for overcoming the Axebeak which had brought her low before. The crafter has engraved feathers on them in memory of the Axebeak and they have tinted the edges of the metal red through an alchemical process as part of quenching it. This process provides the metal with superior toughness and aligns it with elements that represent life. Will heal strain to the arms slowly while resting. Any enchantments meant to heal or protect life will be easier to apply to the gauntlets.

Material: iron, cow leather, modified health potion

Craftsmanship: Low Masterwork}

Jack claps, “well you one upped my loot. It even seems to have a passive effect.”

Ruby nods, “quite the rare bit of gear. Slotless bonuses like this are quite rare. After all, who wouldn’t want an extra effect that doesn’t count towards your magic gear limit. Since it doesn’t work during combat or even just while doing stuff in general it would be worth more as a collector’s item. Whoever the system got to make it must have some special identity.”

Jack scratches the back of his neck, “so yeah, I have a question about that. My greaves are just marked as dungeon spawned while these are actually crafted. What’s up with that?”

Ruby shrugs, “while we got the gauntlets in this dungeon they are not from the dungeon. The system rewarded Sammy and while it could spin up a pair no problem why bother? It has access to all kinds of resources and can literally pop quests for people to make stuff, so it does just that.”

“We don’t have any decent crafters in the settlement or this sort of thing would have happened from the other end. A quest will pop up for the creation of some specific item. Complete the quest and the item disappears and what it promised shows up. A popular reward for that sort of thing is to have the system retrieve sentimental items that are lost.”

Ace sighs, “I can definitely see that being a widespread thing on planets like earth. With how many people we have lost, the system must have a glut of potential rewards for us. Anyway, once Sammy gets her new gear on we can move out. After the next room we have more birds to pluck and not only is the room shorter but there are two more axebeaks.”

After Sammy equips her gauntlets, they move into the next goatherd room. This time though the kobold is on alert for them and so only loses one goat before she calls them back. Of course an even fight isn’t very even when the enemies have a good number of levels on them. Though they do manage to get a few more shots in on Jack and Sammy.

In the next room the team line up like in the previous axebeak room, but this time they don’t get a chance to shoot first. With the axebeaks being closer to the group, they notice them and start to charge right away.

Ace had worried about this though, so he was prepared. He drops and slaps his shield into the ground. In front of the group, a large patch of vines spring up and coil around the charging birds. Two of them fall while the other four struggle to move through the area. This delay gives Og and Ruby time to kill the fallen birds from range.

Still four of the axebeaks crash into the front line. However, the vines had slowed them enough that not only was Ace back on his feet and ready, but all three of them held their ground.

Jack had blocked one bird by himself, but without a shield he wasn’t able to counterattack. Susan who was right behind him though was up for it. She slips in around his side and sinks a dagger right into the bird’s throat.

With a gurgly squawk the bird kicks out and sends her flying back. Susan hits the ground and tumbles back safely. The only thing hurt is her pride at being hit by such an obvious attack. Still her distraction gave Jack enough time to pull back his mace and give the bird a grand ol’ whack to the noggin. The neck wound might have eventually killed it but the mace left nothing to chance.

Off to the side the other three birds are in a bit of a tangle. Ace had dropped the vine field as soon as the birds passed it and instead channeled it through his shield. As the birds hit him and Sammy, the vines burst out from the shield and wrapped them up so they can’t move away. With the vines reduced to such a small area, they easily held on this time.

Behind the two Ruby is careful with her shots so as to not burn the vines, but Og is having a field day of it. Sharp pieces of scrap metal are slicing the birds up left and right. Then from the side Jack comes in with a powerful swing of his mace and takes out another of the birds. This loss marks the end for them as with only two left they don’t stand a chance. Ruby, tired of holding back, releases two large whips of fire and strangles both birds. Sure, it burns off most of the vines, but that doesn’t matter when both of the monsters are dead.

Fight over they collect the loot. Some of the birds had even dropped feathers, which Ace was certain Jim would find a use for. Fletching has to come from somewhere. The rest of the group has gathered up and are read for the next room but he stops them.

“So there isn’t anything new in the next room. Problem is there are a lot of old enemies all jumbled up. We have two waves of axebeaks and two waves of kobolds. Worse yet, the kobolds have ranged options. Sure they don’t have any magic, but a sling bullet will kill just as dead as the spell stone bullet.”

“Sammy, I want you to guard against ranged attacks. Og, you provide suppression so there is less for her to guard us from. Ruby, while I am going to be the tank I won’t be using my vines so feel free to let loose. Jack, without my vines I can only take one bird so pound the other. And Susan? Once again, do your thing.”

Plan in place, they advance into the ramp room. The axebeaks charge down as soon as everyone has entered and the closest kobold slinger fires off a shot she must have had readied. 

Sammy plants herself in front of the others and blocks the rock. Behind her Ace sets up as one bird slams into him and knocks him back a few steps. Jack has a better time of it as he instead dodges, swinging his mace around. With a solid thwack he caves in the back of the bird’s head and knocks the axebeak over dead.

Ruby sends out fire ribbon after ribbon, killing the other axebeak after the third shot as Ace holds it off. All the while Sammy is moving back and forth to block the kobolds’ potshots. With the birds dead the five of them charge up the ramp and around the corner to face the three kobolds.

Five versus three isn’t the fairest of fights, and so the kobolds soon fall. Ahead of the group are two dead axebeaks so they keep charging up the ramps and right at the distracted group of six, no, four kobolds. Susan is on the other side of them holding off the last four kobolds while two lay dead at her feet. The group continues their charge right into monsters. While the kobolds noticed them approaching, they had too much of their attention on Susan and so died between the two fronts.

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