Bitter 124

The kobold priest had mentioned Charmer’s Fandango as a side effect of having too many buffs at once. Britta hadn’t bothered asking for more details as she hadn’t been affected, or so she thought. Apparently, she’d been mistaken. It had been waiting for the Great Blessing to wear off and then it was time to dance!

Her feet were doing some kind of crazy jig, kicking and tapping and stepping over each other. The top half of her body was fine—she had normal control over her head and arms—but everything below the waist had gone all Happy Feet.

She hopped, skipped and shimmied across the platform, dangerously close to the edge. The devs probably thought it would be hilarious to have someone lose control of their lower half in the middle of battle.

They were probably right, but it was the sort of thing that was funnier when it wasn’t you on the receiving end.  She was glad no one was here to see her, she must have looked insane, but then she realised she wasn’t as alone as she thought. Dr Reedy and the rest of mission control probably had her up on a big screen. They were certainly recording her. YouTube fame awaited.

Britta tried to hit the button on her status screen to find out exactly what the effects of the Fandango were and how to turn it off, but it was hard to aim accurately while she was doing the Highland Fling. She finally managed to hit the right button and a screen popped up.

Charmer’s Fandango. The curse of too much of a good thing. Lasts 24 hours and can only be stopped by death.

Was she really going to have to put up with this for a whole twenty-four hours? That seemed excessive. That was twenty-four actual hours in actual real time. There was no way she could handle that much dancing.

She checked her status screen again. There had to be a way out of this. Games always had a solution for every problem. Regular games. That weren’t full of bugs.

There was one spell she hadn’t checked yet: Eternal Healing. The kobold priest had given it to her but for some reason it wasn’t a passive like the others. She had to cast it. It would be nice if it was a general cure that got rid of the curse, but that would be a bit too convenient. She touched the screen anyway and on the third attempt, got it.

Eternal Healing. Survive Death with 1 HP. Cast: Obrigado.

Did that mean she would die and come back to life with a single hit point? That would cancel the curse and then she’d be able to carry on, with a sliver of life. Could that really be what was supposed to happen? She found it hard to believe this was what the devs had intended, but it gave her some hope. Now she just had to find a way to end her own life.

Her feet carried her all the way around the platform, spinning and twirling until she was back to the cliff edge. If death was the answer, she could drop off the side and respawn tomorrow. At least she knew how to operate the bridge now. She could run the dungeon again with a much better chance of success, especially with the kobold ring.

She danced along the edge and then back towards the door. She had no control over where she went so she’d have to wait for the Fandango to take her over the edge, which could take hours. It may even have been programmed not to kill the curse victim, for added troll value.

At least the dwarf wasn’t still after her. She wouldn’t have lasted long if the curse had taken hold earlier. Then again, now she wanted the sweet embrace of death. Never a deranged dwarf around when you needed one.

As she passed the big door for the third time, she called out. “Hey, kobolds! I took care of the dwarf. Let me in. I have a ring from Derik.” She was whisked away and grabbed the post of one of the torch stands to stop herself. She kept dancing, but managed to circle the torchlight, like the old guy from Singing in the Rain.

There was no response from inside the treasure room.

She felt ridiculous. Twenty-three more hours of this would be unbearable. She could log out, but that wouldn’t kill her, which meant she’d just carry on disco dancing when she logged back in. She had to die.

If she timed it right, she could swing round and round the post and then slingshot herself out over the bottomless chasm. She didn’t enjoy the idea of killing herself, but she didn’t really have any other choice. And at least this way she’d see what was down there.

She let go of the stand and momentum hurled her towards the edge. Just as she was about to leap into the abyss, her feet decided to dig in and launch into a backflip. She landed doing the splits, which she’d never been able to do, and then rose to her feet while moonwalking away from the edge.

She cursed the devs under her breath. She could just imagine them congratulating themselves as they coded all this nonsense.

It looked like her only other option was the most unpleasant one. She took out her dagger. She really, really didn’t want to turn this into a suicide simulator. The dagger shook in her hands as she tried to aim it at her own throat, but not because of nerves, it was the Macarena.

“Why did you even come up with something like this?” she said out loud.

There may well have been another way, another puzzle to solve that would cure her, but it was hard to think clearly while she was being forced to get her groove on.

With one final deep breath she plunged the knife towards herself. Her right leg did a high kick like a Rockette and kicked the knife out of her own hand. It landed on the ground with a clatter. It wouldn’t even allow her to take the coward’s way out.

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