Bitter 149

“Okay,” said Lord Jim in businesslike fashion, “let’s review.”

He made it sound like he wanted everyone to stop and listen but apart from Britta, everyone kept moving, even the tiny fairy. They went over to the large vases by the entrance and began moving them one at a time, tipping them on an angle and rolling them on the rims of the base.

When Britta had been here before, there had only been one vase. There was a second one but it had been smashed. In this version of the dungeon, they would be able to activate the bridge without having to leave someone behind to stand on the pressure pad.

Of course, Britta knew another way to fix the bridge in place and wanted desperately to show them. To show off. But they had everything in hand and she’d look pretty dumb if the jumping on the pad mechanic didn’t work in this dungeon, so she didn’t say anything.

Lord Jim, on the other hand, carried on talking like he had everyone’s undivided attention.

“Once we get over the bridge—they’re about to activate a bridge, as you’ll see in a minute—we’ll face the boss, the Kobold King. I don’t suppose you’ve been in a boss fight yet.”

“No,” said Britta. “Not really. I fought a giant zombie made of a bunch of smaller zombies.”

Everyone stopped, vase in mid-roll, and stared at her.

“You were part of that fight?” asked Lord Jim.

The looks she was getting made her feel a bit self-conscious. “Yes. I didn’t do much, mostly running around. I only got one hit on the giant. Not very much XP.”

“Right,” said Lord Jim. “I see. I heard it was Ramdam and his crew that took the zombie down.”

“Yeah, he was there, too. Do you know Diana? She saved me from dying.”

Lord Jim nodded. “You know Diana? Right, right.”

The vase began moving again, its base sounding like a saucer being slid across a table. They got it to the pressure pad and stood it up. There was a click.

“Anyway,” said Jim, “this fight will be a little different. A bit easier, I hope. There’s two stages. Once we get the King down to half his health, a bunch of kobolds will come running out and we have to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Easiest way is to push them over the side.”  He pointed at the chasm. “Make sure you don’t go over with them, though.”

Britta assumed he was just joking, not make a pointed reference to the fact she had already done just that. She nodded.

“Then, when he gets under twenty five percent health, there’ll be a bunch of elite kobolds that’ll come out and join him.”

“Like the ones upstairs?” asked Britta, keen to show she was paying attention.

“Exactly. We were quite lucky with them, usually they have the shaman with them, but thanks to you two dealing with him early, we avoided him. But when these guys appear, they’ll have another shaman with them.”

Two shamans. She hadn’t expected that. Derik had been the High Priest but that didn’t mean he was the only priest. In fact it made sense there’d be underlings for him to be in charge of. Hopefully, that meant they wouldn’t be as strong as him.

“We’ll be using the same method as before but maybe you’d like to try tanking, B. What do you think.”

This was her chance to prove herself and maybe even earn some decent experience points. Do her bit for the team. There was only one problem. She wasn’t a tank. She wasn’t a fighter of any kind.

Admitting it now would be horribly embarrassing and awkward but what choice did she have?

“Fizz will help out when the adds turn up, but the boss doesn’t really pay her much attention. If you can grab aggro, we should be able to focus him down pretty quick.”

She didn’t want to lie to them but she already had, sort of. If she owned up now they’d think she was crazy. If she agreed to take the tank role and screwed up, they’d be mad at her. Of course, if she took on the role and got away with it…

She looked around. The others weren’t even paying attention as the rolled the second vase into place. They pushed it upright and the bridge emerged, grinding and groaning, and began its journey across the chasm.

She looked back at Jim. There really was no point trying to bluff her way through this, she would just die and get them all killed in the process. Time to fess up.

“Okay, I’ll do it.”


She had no idea why she’d agreed. She had meant to refuse the offer and then explain why and hope they’d understand. But when it came to the moment of truth, the truth didn’t seem such a good idea. She had her shield. It was only a first level dungeon and they had done this many times before, there probably wouldn’t be that much for her to defend against. Surely she’d be able to last a few minutes.

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