The Unhinged Monstrosity — Part 1
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
Rir’s lightning magic filled our surroundings with a blinding flash of radiance. The air crackled as a series of powerful bolts descended upon his target and sent tens of thousands of volts coursing through its flesh.
“Dodge, Rir! Get the hell out of there! Now!” I barked out an order between a series of deep breaths.
Because it wasn’t enough. His blinding bolt had done nothing to the towering beast that it targeted. Fortunately, he was able to activate his extreme speed skill and evade the creature’s counter.
The same couldn’t be said for anything else in his vicinity. The dark, misty orb fired at him had exploded into an all consuming field that rotted everything within thirty meters of its epicenter. It was dark magic, the same type of magic that the undying overlord, the demon lord whose dungeon I’d inherited, had used to eat through every watery shield I could conjure. That, however, didn’t mean that it was comparable. Because it wasn’t. If anything, it was far from it. The draugr’s dark spells hadn’t necessarily been fatal, but this creature’s were sure to kill any that allowed themselves to get caught, even in the case that it failed to land a direct hit.
“What the fuck!?” I cursed at the top of my lungs. “What kinda bullshit is that!?”
The thing we were up against was a monstrosity, a freak that couldn’t have possibly been born of nature. Its head featured dozens upon dozens of eyeballs. Its mouth was disproportionately large, and its mane, if you could call it that, was made up of nothing but thick, slimy tentacles. It looked far more like a cthulhu-esque nightmare than something that belonged amongst those who wielded might and magic. And yet, here it was, living and breathing amongst the rest of us.
Loosely speaking, I felt as if it would be best to classify it as some sort of beast. It was four legged, and the way it walked reminded me of both wolves and panthers. But unlike both aforementioned creatures, its body lacked a key feature that most other beasts tended to share.
Naturally, with no skin, there was no way for the eldritch horror to grow any fur. Its muscles were exposed to the open air, and in a way, almost reminded me of the creepy human models often placed in labs and other sciency rooms. I could even see its organs hanging around, which, needless to say, disgusted me. Wait, isn’t skin supposed to be an important defense mechanism? Goddammit evolution! Do your job, goddammit! How the fuck does anything end up with a body plan like that!? For fuck’s sake, I hate this thing! Just looking at it is slowly draining my sanity. Go back to the far realm, you cthulhu ass motherfucker!
Once I was done ranting internally, I analyzed the creature in order to gauge our chances.
Class: Unhinged Monstrosity
It had been quite a long time since I’d last seen something so far outside my league that its values were scrambled. I couldn’t even tell what level it was, but I was fairly certain that the first digit wasn’t a two, as I would’ve been more than capable of fully exposing it if that were the case. Damn it. This thing’s so much stronger than me that I don’t even know how much stronger it is! Though, that’s some pretty good intel in its own right.
Seeing something like this normally warranted an emergency escape. Warping out was by far the best move. But, this time, I was stuck answering Cthulhu’s call. Because, for whatever reason, Tentacleface was headed straight for Alfyro. There was no way that the humans could possibly handle it. I could absolutely guarantee that the city would be destroyed if it was allowed to run rampant. That, in turn, would mean that the few ragtag survivors would end up getting someone (read: Nell) to subjugate it. And that simply wasn’t happening. This eldritch fuckwad was way over my head. She wouldn’t stand a chance.
I would’ve felt a bit bad to see my acquaintances in Alfyro meet their untimely ends, but I wasn’t about to stick out my neck for them. Not against something like this. The same couldn’t be said for Nell. I had to deal with Squidward if I wanted to keep her out of harm’s way. Alright, some of you are probably wondering why I’m so sure it’s headed for the city. Easiest way to explain that is for me to tell you that we’re in the forest’s eastern region. And, as just about anyone can infer from its ridiculous power level, this tentacle monster comes from the west.
Each of the Wicked Forest’s four regions was effectively its own distinct ecosystem. Monsters simply didn’t move between them, largely in part because of major differences in the concentration of magical particles. Just about every monster preferred to stay where the particles were richest, which in this case was the forest’s western region.
My theory was that all the creatures that lived in the forest were likely drawn to it as a result of the western region’s abnormally rich mana, but not everything could actually compete. Those that were unable to find themselves an ecological niche or otherwise succeed in the game of life headed east, as it still happened to sport a weaker magical hotspot. This phenomenon was why the different regions featured creatures of distinctly different strengths. Leila even backed my theory with a supplemental explanation. She informed me that monsters living in uncharted territories like the Wicked Forest preferred not to ever leave their mana-rich habitats, and that members of the races had long capitalized on this behaviour by settling in areas with fewer magical particles in order to keep out of harm’s way.
Long story short, overpowered monsters stayed in the west. Any that left of their own volition, like our not-so-friend here, were abnormal. Most of the creatures that did wander were often just incredibly hungry.
Whichever he was, Cthulhuface was nothing but trouble. Go live out your sadistic power fantasies at home, goddammit! I totally saw you obliterate some of the stuff in the west with just a love tap too! So it’s not even like you’re too weak to do it! Fucking asshole!
“Orochi, Yata, Byaku, Wsprit, go clear out all the monsters between me and our home! Don’t worry about me or Rir, we’ve got this!” I broadcasted a telepathic command that bordered on a frenzied shout.
All four of the newcomers had gotten much stronger. But they couldn’t deal with anything like this just yet. They’d just get one shot if they messed up. Fuck, I wanna get out of here ASAP. Fuck it. If it comes down to the wire, I’mma just toss my pride away, head home, and ask Lefi for help.
My backup plan was looking more and more appealing by the moment. Things weren’t going well; I already had to down a potion because my right ankle had rotted off after being caught in the initial blast. Though that’s pretty much just how fighting the Wicked Forest’s monsters goes in general… Pretty much all of them have got the ability to blow you up if you get hit dead on. Meanwhile, I’m stuck dodging and countering. Ugh.
Fighting the Wicked Forest’s monsters had naturally upped my ability to observe my enemies and keep track of their attacks. And seeing as how I’m not dead, I’d say I’ve been making some pretty good progress.
I had actually gotten a lot stronger since I fought the black ass shithead that had tried to court Lefi, but I wasn’t able to use that experience to gauge my chances of coming out of this one. My inability to see Mr. Tentacle’s stats wasn’t exactly helping. What I did know was that he thought nothing of us. He wasn’t even seriously trying to take us down. He was kind of just (fatally) swatting at us the way one would a fly. His lack of attention was likely the only reason that Rir and I had managed to escape death so far.
Bastard sees us as nothing but bugs… I mean… he’s kinda not wrong. We can harass him all we want, but none of our damage is doing jack shit. We actually can’t even hurt the bastard. All we’ve managed to do so far is buy time… Alright, you know what? Let’s pull back for now. Wouldn’t normally work since we’d just get chased, but it shouldn’t be too hard this time around since he literally doesn’t give a shit.
“Gargoyles, Krakens, to me!” I offered a chunk of mana to the earth and water spirits gathered in my vicinity. “Chuck long ranged attacks at him. They don’t have to hit, just buy me some time! Retreat if he starts getting too close!”
I downed a mana potion as the pseudo life forms jumped into action.
“Rir, change of plans!” I said. “Stop attacking, just back off for now!”
The wolf seemed a bit confused, and barked questioningly as if to ask if it was really okay for us to leave this thing be.
“Trust me, I’ve got a plan!” I shouted confidently before switching over to telepathy. “Remember what I said about clearing a path just now? Yeah, my bad! I’m rescinding those orders. Yata, keep an eye on the ugly bastard from afar and let me know immediately if anything happens. The rest of you, go to the location I’ve marked on the map!”
While everyone else was executing my orders, Rir and I retreated to the closest warp point and proceeded to our next destination.