Sample from Load Custom Character
Please enjoy this sample of Tyler R Lee’s upcoming Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel, Load Custom Character.
"You...sons 'a bitches," Peter growled as he looked on as the unparalyzed players readied their weapons. However, the Guardian didn't immediately attack. Instead, the ghosts that formerly held the flames that now danced on the walls emerged from within the stone. They hovered for a moment before taking part of each flame and replacing it in their lanterns.
"Something's...happening. Look...out," Lysander said through his gritted teeth as more paralyzing pain racked his body.
At that, the ghosts encircled the Guardian before entering into its armor one at a time. When the final one entered, the Guardian's armor began to flicker quickly between the four colors of the flames. Then, it started to transform. With looks that could best be described as regretful, Anthony and Samuel looked on with the others as the Guardian grew several feet in height. However, that was the least of its changes. The armor took on the form of solid bone. It's arms and legs elongated, ending in razor sharp claws. Its torso grew as well, taking the sword into its body and producing a sharp, greatsword-like tail. Finally, the helmet morphed into a long maw with rows of teeth and two deep sockets filled with darkness. Around the head, like the mane of a lion, spun larger versions of the colored flames.
"Shit," was all Anthony and Samuel could utter before the hulking monstrosity lumbered their way.
Without giving the players much time to gawk in fear at its menacing form, layered health bars, and new moniker of Guardian of the Vessel, the boss made for the closest group of players, Josh, Henry, and Marcus. The three dodged out of the way in panic, with Josh and Marcus only just avoiding a large claw ripping into their armor. Henry, however, was too slow. Faster than should have been possible for something its size, the Guardian slammed its clawed fist into Henry crushing him into the wall and tearing into his armor. The halberd wielder let out a faint cry of pain before his health dropped to negative numbers and the light went out in his eyes as blood trickled from his mouth and his wounds.
"Henry!" Marcus cried as he witnessed his friend killed in an instant. Without thought of the consequences, he raised his sword and charged the monster, roaring with anger as he ran.
"Stop!" Josh called out as he tried to grab Marcus by the back of his cloak, but he was not fast enough.
Marcus approached the beast and thrust his sword into its side as hard as he could. If it made a dent in the boss's health bar, no one could see it. With a lightning fast swipe of its large, clawed fist, the beast sent Marcus flying across the room and smashing into the opposite wall. Blood flew from his mouth as he gasped from impact before he fell face first to the floor. His health bar plummeted to zero, and then all the way below.
"Da...dammit..." Lysander groaned as he desperately tried to get to his feet, but the paralysis was still in effect.
"Do...do something!" Peter cried out as best he could to Samual and Anthony before another jolt of pain skittered through his body. If they heard him, Peter could not tell through the horror frozen on their faces or the visible quaking of their virtual avatars, now understanding their error in thinking this was going to be an easy encounter.
"Dammit," Josh muttered, the fear evident in his voice. He then turned to Anthony and Samuel. "You two! This is your fault, get over here and help me!" Again, the two just stared at the creature and shook with fear.
"HEY!" Josh's anger rose up and he dashed over to his scared companions, who were briefly shaken from their fear induced paralysis in time to see the rageful knight grasp them both by the front of their armor and pull them to his face. Their hybreed forms were taller than Josh, but they were still pulled down to the knight’s height. "This is no time to freeze up like the cowards you have proven yourself to be! If you don't help me at least hold this thing off until the others can recover from your paralysis bombs, we're ALL dead!"
Samuel and Anthony, both still quaking, looked at each other, then to Josh. After they repeated this once more, they nodded, reluctantly.
"Good. Then let's go." Josh released the two of them and turned to face their adversary. As he turned, he grabbed his swords, banged them together, and charged the creature, with the twins jogging behind him.
"Keep your distance, he's strong! Follow my lead!" Josh said, turning his head to direct his commands at his companions.
As they approached, the boss turned quickly and whipped its tail in their direction. As it did, its razor sharp tail extended with a speed that surprised all who saw. Not expecting this, his head still turned for that brief moment towards Anthony and Samuel, Josh felt the sting of something sharp entering his abdomen, then exit his back before he could fully take in what had happened. The creature was so far away. Surely a physical attack couldn't have reached him. He coughed up blood as he looked down to see the greatsword like tail from the Guardian of the Vessel piercing him all the way through.
The knight only had the strength to gasp, then turn his head to his paralyzed companions before the Guardian whipped its tail the other way, flinging Josh off like a mere annoyance, sending him slamming into a wall and to the ground.
"God dammit!" Lysander was able to yell above the paralysis, but nothing more. He clenched his fists as he felt moisture on his face.
"Damn...you..." Peter muttered to the twins as he saw Josh’s HP drop as far below zero as it could. "God damn you two. He just wanted to help. Now you've killed us all."
"We just...we..." Anthony muttered, clearly in shock.
"Look out, you idiots!" Ariel cried through the paralysis as the beast made its way over to Anthony and Samuel. With a yelp of fear from both, they split up and ran in opposite directions around the room. The Guardian chose Samuel.
The hulking creature dashed forward to cut off its prey, who fell back, weapon quivering out in front of him. As the figure approached, it raised one of its deadly claws to smash Samuel into the floor. However, not about to let his friend die, Anthony had approached from behind and thrust his sword into the beast. Again, the damage was minimal, but it was enough to stop its attack on the other.
The Guardian swung a claw at its attacker, but Anthony remembered what had happened to Marcus, and narrowly escaped by jumping back and stumbling to the ground. Now it was the other’s turn to cower as the brute approached. However, Samuel was now on his feet, rushing in to repay his friend. He swung away with his sword, landing a few quick blows before he backed off to avoid a claw attack. As the Guardian turned, the other player took the same opportunity and used the same tactics. With this, they were able to fight the creature for a few moments, seemingly gaining something of an upper hand.
This short lived advantage was abruptly brought to an end by the Guardian extending his tail and then swinging it at Anthony, who was poised for attack behind the beast. He narrowly avoided the tail by dropping to the floor. As it passed over and slammed into the wall, it cut through the stone like it was styrofoam. Samuel, who had launched an attack of his own when the tail swipe began, was sliced in half. His lower half fell to the floor, and his torso came a second after, the look of surprise frozen on his tiger-like face.
At the sight of his friend's demise, Anthony dropped his weapon and fell to the floor. As the dungeon boss turned and stalked toward him, he crawled back until he felt his back against the cool stone of the wall. The Guardian wasted no time, raising its large, talon like foot into the air. Anthony uttered some form of pleading for his life in between sobs before the powerful foot slammed into this body and smashed him into the wall. Quickly, his HP dropped to zero as blood flowed out of the stone, then all the way down.
With all of its immediate threats eliminated, the Guardian of the Vessel stalked its way over to the still paralyzed group of players. With each step it took, hope escaped their bodies, leaving a cold emptiness in its wake. Its low growl echoed off the tall chamber and mixed with the ever present sound of the four flames surrounding its head roaring and whipping back and forth.
"Dammit," Lysander whispered when he saw that the beast had set its eyes on him first. He tried, desperately, to move, but jolts of paralyzing electricity still pulsed through his muscles.
"No!" Ariel cried out as she also saw the beast's target. Like Lysander, she tried to move, tried to grab her sword from her back, tried to drag her body towards her friend, but it all failed.
“Get away from him!” NoScope cried out to the creature. “Lysander...you have to move…”
"Hey!" Streak yelled, trying anything to shift the monster's attention away from his friend. "Hey, you...ugly son of a bitch! Why not...why not come over here!?"
"Yeah," Gunner chimed in. "Yeah! Come fight me!"
"Tony," ValCary growled through gritted teeth as she tried to move her body into a spell casting position. "Tony. We have to cast...cast something."
"I'm trying, sis," Tony responded, grinding his teeth as he forced every muscle in his body to move, but to no avail.
"It's no...no use, guys," Glitch said as she struggled against the paralysis. "I still can't move a muscle...not even a little bit."
By this point, the Guardian had made its way over to Lysander. It lifted its massive foot, ready to stomp the helpless wizard into oblivion. Lysander, never the coward, eyed the creature with a look that showed none of the fear he felt in that moment. "Come on...you...mother fu--."
Before the foot could make contact, and before the wizard could complete his curse, a roar of anger and desperation echoed throughout the chamber. The other players’ confusion did not last long as the source of the battle cry was soon revealed as Peter, ablaze with his shield aura surrounding him, slammed into the side of the Guardian with force of bullet train. The rest of the group looked on in surprise and awe. Peter had somehow broken his paralysis. And now, his face a mask of rage, would fight the boss alone.
The shield surrounding Peter, who was still pushing into the creature from his powerful rush, began to flicker and break apart. However, it was also slowly chipping away at the creature's life bar. Not only that, but the others noticed that the boss was beginning to slide back from the force being exerted upon it by Peter, still raging, still crying out in pure hatred for this thing that tried to kill his friend.
"Of course...of course that's the reason," Lysander grinned.
"What...what are you talking about?" NoScope asked as she tried to force herself to her knees, but still could not.
"Peter is a martial artist class," the wizard answered, as if the reason was obvious.
"So?" NoScope asked, clearly not picking up on the answer.
"Of course," Ariel echoed. "Martial artists have a natural resistance...are resistant to paralysis. It doesn't last as long."
"You were prettier as a statue covered in mulch," Peter said through gritted teeth as he continued to push against the creature, his shield deteriorating at a much faster rate now. His confidence grew as he watched the beast’s feet grind against the floor, leaving deep scars where it was sliding backward.
Once the shield started to disappear, the creature ceased its backward motion and began to push back. It then whipped its tail around, the same motion Peter had seen a couple of times already. "Not this time. I've been wanting to try this out since I leveled up," Peter growled as he put all of his strength into his legs to steady himself, hands placed firmly on the Guardian's abdomen where he had been trying to push it farther back. Then, in a flash, a burst of white energy erupted from both of his hands, pushing his enemy back and slamming it into the nearby wall, taking a chunk out of its HP count.
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