Monstrous Compendium Ch4 bit – Hostages

“Damn it.” Agil rubbed the top of his shiny head, frustrated. “Field bosses don’t usually have hostages.”

“I’d kind of like to have a wizard fireball it too.” Klein looked over the dozen or so hastily-assembled clearers, and the even hastier map they’d drawn up in this clearing on a deer-path; hopefully far enough away from the nest that roving soldier psiwasps wouldn’t come looking. “But Kunimittz and Dynamm aren’t fireproof.”

“We should fix that.” A stocky Knight of Blood chuckled as he stroked his reddish beard; Godfree, Kirito thought his name was. “It’d make messes like this so much simpler.”

On the edge of the group with Kirito, keeping watch for stray mobs, Tae’s wings flared. She bared fangs-

“Don’t.” He kept his voice low as he almost touched her shoulder, but kept his hands in sight, away from vulnerable wings. “Save it for another time. When we have time, before we fight.”

“The NPCs aren’t fireproof,” Tae muttered. “And….” She swallowed, face pale.

“If there’s a nest, and they’re breeding, then they have to have taken other people. I know.” Kirito nodded. “Tinctoria Village had a lot of people go missing. I guess it wasn’t just the weretiger rogue…. We’ll get everyone out we can.”

Silver eyes flicked at him, haunted. “Even NPCs?”

“We’re all real here.” He wasn’t sure if a smile would help or not. “It’s the only way to stay sane.”

“All right!” Agil clapped his hands together, drawing everyone’s eyes to him. The merchant had cleared out Giant Wasp nests himself more than once, Kirito knew. It was a running joke among the clearers that the tough gray paper Agil kept his permanent ledgers on was the last remnant of some of the shop’s previous occupants. “Given the numbers Fuurinkazan took down without the psiwasps even blinking,” the axe-wielder stated, “there’s a lot of psiwasps. You look at the size they are and the size of that nest in the Giant Spruce, and there’s for damn sure not much room to maneuver inside. Anything we can’t lure out here is going to be close-quarters fighting in the dark….”

Kirito let Agil’s words roll over him. He already knew his part in the plan. It wasn’t the physical part of the fight that worried him.

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19 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch4 bit – Hostages

      1. >But Agil’s there, so there’s a Plan.>
        Agil: “Remember everyone: Pillage then</strong? Burn. Let's be in the black at the end of this. Both in the number of people we get back and the amount of valuable materials retrieved."

        Tae: "Are we sure he isn't half dwarf?"

        Kirito: "No, just a skin-flint."

        Agil: "I heard that!"

        Liked by 3 people

  1. It wasn’t the physical part of the fight that worried him.

    It usually isn’t. That part can be easier – just keep moving. The other aspects . . . . much harder.

    “We’re all real here.” He wasn’t sure if a smile would help or not. “It’s the only way to stay sane.”

    That all real thing is more true than you think it is Kirito, and not just as a way to stay sane.

    I wonder, after they learn that Eberron is real and that people like Stheno aren’t just really well programmed AIs, if anyone is going to make the leap that it might not just be people Stheno who are literally real. Not from Earth but still a real person. And what ignoring that NPCs are in the line of fire than implies . . .

    And if at some of the NCPs are real people, are they here voluntarily or were they tricked like the players? Or a combination thereof?

    Because there are a lot of possibly unpleasant layers to Kayaba’s Cunning Plan – and they are going to need to know them to be able to counteract with their own Cunning Plan . . . of course, as mentioned before, they aren’t the only ones with a Cunning Plan . . . also stated before, this situation has “cluster” written all over it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Through one also worries since said red dragon has likely been tangling other people up in Cunning Plans for a long time.

        Not saying our heroes aren’t clever enough (and desperate enough) to do their own tangling, just that the opponents they need to thwart in the Cunning Plan arena are rather formidable.

        Also dragons don’t, generally speaking, react well to be stymied or thwarted. So our heroes will need to be on guard against that too.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Agil, for being a voice of reason, sanity, and tactics.

    Godfree, I like you, and I understand where you’re coming from, but no.

    Tae, be less obvious if the hostages other than Fuurinkazan were just local wildlife like bears, foxes, wolves, and the like you’d probably agree with Godfree. He doesn’t know that NPCs can be people and not just the digital equivalent of well trained work animals.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe it! Though I am curious about these Siren Sisters I kept hearing mention she used to occasionally party with…

        Liked by 2 people

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