“Well, we have plenty of time,” you said, gesturing to the pace of the wagon, “I’d love to hear it.
“Ok, well, this happened when I was only just a level 20 player. There were a fair few people vying for top player status at that point and I was in that forerunner group. A group of us had stopped at an inn on level 17 and they were discussing rumors of a quest that gifted you a sword that had the power to deal critical damage to creatures of the undead.” He spoke so nostalgically about it it almost felt like he was reliving the tale himself. “It had been said that everyone who took on this quest failed and it had been labeled an impossible quest.”
“And so naturally you wanted to give it a try?” you said with a cheeky smile.
He nodded. “Yes, I was curious, so I asked where I could find the NPC (non-playable character- the usual quest dealer) to take on the quest. They told me it was on level 17 deep in the forest. So I went searching.
“Did you find them?”
“Yes, I found the NPC. She was- well, she called herself a ‘light bearer’ and that one of her daughters had been kidnapped by the haunters of the shadow realm and being held captive on level 19,” he said,”I asked how many there were in the clan and she said something close to 15 so I asked if I could bring a group to help fight and she told me to complete the quest had to do it solo.”
“Ahhh, so that’s why it was so hard. Taking on 15 people by yourself.”
He nodded. “She then gave me the Holy Sword of Light to help complete the quest because it was the only thing that would be able to defeat the creatures of the undead. And so I made my way to level 19.”
“And long story short, you whipped their asses, saved the NPC’s daughter and she let you keep the sword?” you asked.
“Basically, yes. But it was indeed a tough quest and I only just made it out alive. I don’t like level 19,” he added with a shudder, “since then, a PK group have set up residence there and if they don’t like the look of you as you pass through they are liable to target you and try to take you out. They’re called the Tormentors, and rightly named because they put your name on a hit list so that anytime they see you again they’ll automatically target you, even if you’re not on level 19.”
“Well, that’s not fair,” you frowned, “should we teach them a lesson? You could wipe them all out easily!”
“I could try, but they do respawn so it’s not like I just need to take them out once and that’s it… it’s best to just keep away from them at all costs.”
You pulled a face but didn’t say anything. You really did want to teach them a lesson though, for being such assholes, but decided to follow Butterfli3’s wishes.
The wagon rolled along and you cleared the levels quickly and all too soon you had reached the trail that led to level 19.
Everything started to get colder and a thick mist enveloped the wagon as you descended into the level.
“Man this is creepy,” you whispered.
Suddenly a shrill, witch-like laugh, cackled in the silence and you jumped violently.
“It’s ok, O/N, there are witches on this level but they don’t attack.”
“God, I just want to get through this level as quickly as possible,” you whimpered, “I can see now why you don’t like this level.”
You looked around fearfully as the horse picked its way gingerly along the track, walking deeper into the dark forest.
Visibility was almost O but through the mist and fog you could sometimes see the movements of grotesque looking creatures and see the blinking of red or yellow eyes.
“Butterfli3, I really don’t like this level,” you whispered in fear as you slid closer to him.
“Don’t worry, O/N. I’m here,” he whispered back comfortingly.
The deeper you got into the level, the thicker the mist got, and you almost felt like it was harder to breathe too.
“Can we hurry a bit?” you asked nervously, jumping in your seat as a huge bat flew out of nowhere and nearly slammed into you.
Butterfli3 didn’t reply as he was too focused on something up ahead and his steadfast gaze drew your attention.
“What is it?” you asked him, upon seeing movement on the side of the track.
“I’m not sure, but I can see it has a green icon so it’s either a player or something friendly?” he replied.
He slowed the wagon as he drew closer and you peered into the semi-darkness ahead.
“Is it an animal?” you asked, “wait…fox? Is it a fox? What’s it doing here? Why does it have a green cursor? Is it a pet?” You were confused for a bit then you gasped, “did that asshole Anarchy bring another animal down?! That motherfucker promised to—,”
“It’s injured, O/N, I think it’s a tamers pet?” Butterfli3 cut in.
“But where’s the tamer? Are they around?”
There was silence as you both contemplated what to do.
“H-hello?” you called out gingerly into the darkness, I-Is anyone there??”
You slid along your seat and leaned over to get a better look at the fox, it was a juvenile one and had a large gash across its shoulder and a few stab wounds in its back. It’s health bar was orange and it looked pretty miserable.
“Awww, Butterfli3… we need to save it!” you wailed quietly.
“It could be a trap, O/N,” Butterfli3 cautioned as he looked around, “although this poor fox does look like its in a bad way with no ulterior motive…”
The little fox looked up at you with pleading eyes and let out a sad little noise.
“Butterfli3!” you wailed as you looked at him with puppy dog eyes, “we can’t leave it here!”
“Ok,” he resigned, “pick it up.”
You cautiously hopped off the wagon and scooped the young fox up and cuddled it.
It snuggled into you immediately and your heart melted.
“I’Il give it some healing potion,” you said as you climbed back up onto the wagon seat.
Butterfli3 urged the horse forward and you made your way out of level 19 safely.
“I wonder what happened?” you mused as the little fox fell asleep curled up on your lap.
“It looks like it got separated from its tamer?” Butterfli3 said, “but that’s unusual.”
“Where could their tamer be?” You asked.
“Well…they either got attacked as well but managed to get away and left their pet behind, or they got killed and their pet survived…” Butterfli3 said, “we’ll put the word out when we get to level 20…”