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BIT 12: HOW THE HOLY FALL
Orion still over my shoulder, we made it to the shore. My arms were growing tired—Even in a game, I only had so much strength. Soon, I would have to put him down and take a break. And if we were attacked during those few minutes, I might not be able to defend us.
“Dammit,” I hissed as I stumbled onto the shore.
“What’s wrong?” Orion asked. “Do I need to start a diet?”
“Yeah, something like that.” I huffed, grabbing him and throwing him into the snow.
His head lolled on his shoulders as he stared at the sky. It wasn’t easy looking at him with his permanent injuries. One eye, missing his ear—Not a pretty situation.
“It sucks only being able to see from one eye,” he moaned.
“I bet, man. I’m sorry this happened to you.” I caught my breath.
He sat up, rubbing his marred face. “I couldn’t care less what’s happened to me—My concern is Joker. If something is chasing her and Zimea--“
“--I don’t know who that is, but if she’s a friend, she’s my concern too.”
I got to my feet. “That Giga-Claus freak has them in his sights and I can’t catch up with you over my shoulder. I need you to hide in the treeline and I’ll come back for you.”
He stood, wiping snow off his winter vestments. “You’ll need a healer Mr. Tank. That monster sounds pretty tough.”
“He is. He’s the zone boss—Just like Kilo and Mega.”
“Son of a—Are you serious? Then we gotta get going now!”
“Can you walk?” I asked.
He tested each leg, stepping forward and back, ending with a nod. “I can do more than that. To save my sister, I can run.”
“Then let’s hurry!”
He half-smiled and turned to the trees. “Lead the way.”
I burst into a sprint, running between the trees and into the clearing where I’d met Esmerelda. She was sitting on a log, with her lover Fredricirus beside her, playing a pan flute.
They turned their heads to watch us run past. Orion and I continued into the Crimson Pines area and followed the path. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, and my Holy Bishop companion kept pace, staying behind me on the right.
The growling of wolves came to ear as we booked it. There wasn’t time to stop to fight the fleabags—but they might try to attack—and might prove faster than either of us.
“Keep your eyes open, O!” I said.
“Eye. You mean EYE.”
A cringe of guilt ran through me. “Sorry.”
“Hey, I’m messing with you. This is a game. In real life I still have both eyes.”
I didn’t say anything as I fought to control my breathing.
He cried, “Wait, you don’t think I lost my eye in real life—do you?”
“No—I mean, that doesn’t make sense. But you can’t rule anything out with Z running the game. Remember, he’s killed thousands of people in real life.”
“Great, thanks for reassurance!” he shouted.
I chuckled, although I felt bad about it. It would suck if he had lost his eye IRL too. There was nothing that could be done about it for the moment. Maybe there was a potion of restoration, or the like.
We ran through the woods, and sure enough howls broke out around us. Frozen Werewolves burst onto the path a dozen yards ahead.
“Crap, Zycuh look!” Orion shouted.
“I see them!” I set my jaw. “Keep running no matter what!”
“I said keep running!”
Hell Charge. I burst forward swinging Supernova in a horizontal arc. I connected with wolves, who retaliated with claws. I brought up my shield and caught both attacks, sending sparks flying.
Both lycanthropes watched Orion as he came up on my side, but I roared and activated Battle Cry. Their heads snapped to me again, and the Bishop darted past. Behind me there were more howls. I’d just pulled more than a couple werewolves.
Orion made it at least fifty feet along the path and that was good enough for me. More wolves came at me from behind as the first two slashed at my shield over and over.
Star Cleave. I leaped straight into the air but instead of attacking, I angled my fall to land on a thick tree branch. The wolves all looked up, confused.
“Divine Lightning times two!” I cried and double-activated my holy spell.
Two bolts of lightning crashed right into the center of the group of five were-mutts.
The two I’d already attacked shattered and the other three were thrown back from the blast.
Time to run again.
I dashed down the path, heading back toward Axeington. Orion wasn’t in sight as the path twisted and curved.
Right when I thought I wouldn’t be able to run anymore—my legs and lungs burning—I emerged from the Crimson Pines, and right into a nightmare.
Axeington was on fire. More than several buildings near the edge of the town had sky high flames and thick black smoke rising from them.
“I thought this was a safe zone!” I said. “Dammit!”
I jogged across the threshold of the town and down the cobblestone streets where I found even more chaos. Bodies were strewn about. Dozens of bodies. I ran to the nearest one, a young woman. Her HP was at zero—It was a player. The one a few feet away? A player. The one across the street? A player. All the bodies were players.