Kayaba. Is. A bastard.
But the red haze seemed to clear a little, and he was still gasping for breath. Which meant breathing, which, hey, good thing-
His HP bar was still dropping, yellow and heading down. Issin was dead white.
Oh. Joy. “Didn’t-” Klein coughed, feeling like he was due to hack up a lung. “Didn’t work. Did it.”
“Just hang on.” Kunimittz was almost shaking, ready to grab him so they could all hold him down. “It’s DOT, if Issin can cast more Heals we’ll buy you time-”
“You’re going to need those for yourselves.” The rope was good stuff, Klein knew; Terrorantula silk and player-made on top of that. It might hold a weretiger. Might. “Don’t be stupid, get going….”
His HP flashed to red, and the world caught fire.
Hate and enemy and kill-
No. I won’t do that.
He wanted blood, like a man dying in the desert thirsted for water. But that want wasn’t him.
I’m Ryoutarou Tsuboi. Just a salaryman. But I was good at my job, I was going to be better….
I’m Klein. Guild leader of Fuurinkazan. The guys are counting on me. I won’t do this!
He could feel the ropes biting into him, tight against shifting flesh. Hear the rip of fabric, as fur and fangs and demonic will tried to reshape him. It’d be so easy to break loose….
But he wouldn’t. He was going to lie right here, damn it, against the call of moon and blood and burning muscles, and pray one of his people had the heart to do what they had to.
Damn you, Kayaba! Go ahead and kill me. I’m not going to let you make me a monster!
Bare fingers touched his chest, shocking cold against fur. Klein snarled, lunged-
No! No, damn it-!
Hit the ground hard, as someone yanked still-bound feet out from under him.
Even with everything stripped down to raw, red hate, something in that touch had smelled familiar. Like home. Like rescue. Like….
Cold. Sudden, tooth-chattering cold, the hate pouring out of him like swamp water out of old bones….
Klein blinked at stray bits of lichen and leaves on the ground, listening to steel clash against armor and wondering when a moonlit night had turned so bright. I. Hurt. Everywhere.