Bitter 151

Britta had a strong sense of deja vu. The time when she’d fought the zombies, or rather, ran from them, they’d switched from chasing her to chasing Diana and her party. They’d aggroed onto the biggest threat, which was whoever dealt the most damage. Which was never going to be Britta.

If you looked at it objectively, the idea little B the gnome was a fighter who could tank a boss monster was plainly ridiculous. She was small, she was weak and she was horribly undergeared. But in a fantasy game appearances didn’t count for much. An imp could take down a giant if he was appropriately min-maxed.

Britta could have allotted skill points in the right attributes to take a hit from a truck and walk away unscathed. Of course, she hadn’t, but she could have.

“Don’t you have a taunt ability,” shouted Lord Jim as he ran around her in a circle.

“She hasn’t picked her perks yet remember?” said Tal.

Britta hadn’t actually said that, she just hadn’t denied it when Tal suggested it earlier. She knew what taunt was, it was when a player deliberately attracted a monster’s attention so it would only attack them and leave the rest of the party alone. She obviously couldn’t pick the taunt perk because she wasn’t a fighter and attracting a monster’s attention would only get her killed.

“I’m going to kite him,” yelled Jim as he ran by her. “Don’t worry, I’ve done it before. Just hit him when you get the chance.”

Plan B appeared to consist of Lord Jim staying just out of reach of the kobold’s spear while everyone else did their best to hit the moving target without hitting their moving friend.

The King Kobold didn’t have any interest in the rest of the party, he only had eyes for Lord Jim. The kobold wasn’t fast but he had longer legs and managed to get quite close to skewering Jim in the back, but every time he lunged with his spear he stopped first, giving Jim time to get out of reach again.

This was a much less well organised attack system than when they had faced the elite kobolds. Apparently cheese strategies only worked on lower level mobs and little Fizz had no effect in this fight. Defeating a boss required some decent DPS. Unfortunately, their biggest damage dealer was busy roleplaying bait. Their only course of action was to chip away. The crown over the kobold’s head went from red to reddish-brown to almost-orange.

Britta looked at the rusty sword in her hand. It was all she had and not meant for her class, but she could still use it the way any untrained noob could—by flailing wildly and hoping for the best.

The kobold lunged at Lord Jim and ignored the daggers and arrows coming from all angles. Some missed and even the ones that hit didn’t do much. They were experienced players but their characters were only the same level as her and just as weak. Well, not as weak, but close. She ran up behind the King Kobold and poked it with her sword.

She got it in the back of the leg where it didn’t have any armour, just a lot of fur. Her wrist buckled and she nearly dropped the sword but a small number 2 floated away from the small wound.

The kobold didn’t even react. Britta attacked again. At least she would get some experience points. The kobold set off after Jim again with Britta running behind it. If it stopped and turned around, she was dead.

But before it had a chance to notice her, Lord Jim suddenly turned around and ran straight at the King with his sword out in front. The King was taken by surprise and didn’t have time to deflect the blow. The sword struck the King’s stomach and a big, purple ‘20’ jumped into the air.

The King Kobold stopped moving. He placed the spear butt on the ground and held it like a staff pointing upwards. The crown over his head flashed from orange to yellow and the glowing force field surrounded him again.

Screaming and shouting, loud and angry, sounded from the doorway. A bunch of kobolds came running out, waving clubs and sticks. There were too many to count, at least a dozen.

“Take them out quick,” shouted Jim. Everyone turned their attention away from the King who was frozen like a statue. The incoming kobolds were the small variety, but there were a lot of them and they looked up for a fight.

Fizz flew into their midst and three immediately lost all interest in the battle and began chasing her like kids trying to catch a butterfly.

Arrows and daggers took down some more and Lord Jim’s sword hacked and slashed through the crowd.

One kobold made it through to Britta and came at her with a large club. She ducked behind her shield and ran into the kobold, sending it bouncing off towards Lord Jim who swiped his sword at it, cutting off its head.

Britta looked away. There wasn’t much blood, the head just popped off, but it was still pretty gruesome.

The kobolds were wiped out in a couple of minutes, a far easier fight than the King. As soon as the last one dropped, the King roared back into life. The glow around him faded and he charged at Lord Jim. Normal service was resumed as Jim set off at full speed.

More of the same followed. They nicked and clipped the King, slowly bringing his health down, Britta getting a few more hits in with the occasional lucky swing. The crown went from yellow to lime to green. And then he froze again.

They all looked to the door. This time there wasn’t any shouting or screaming. There was the thump of marching feet in perfect unison.

Six large kobolds appeared in the doorway, led by a smaller, older kobold in a robe, holding a staff. He looked exactly like Derik. Britta didn’t know if it was Derik, somehow resurrected, or just that she wasn’t good at telling kobolds apart, but he didn’t look like an underling.

He raised his staff and said something in a strange language. The elite kobolds seemed to get a bit bigger, their muscles swelling up like bodybuilders.

“Right,” said Lord Jim. “Now the real fight begins.”

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