World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 22: Boss Monster
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March 15, 1:33 pm, London, England
"Ms. Kang, please come up to my office ASAP."
It was all I could do to keep the glee out of my voice. Sure, she could watch the whole thing on her own tablet, but I needed her to see it with me. In real time.
Irade was clearing out her first [Story Mission]. Sure, her first monster battle had been great, but THIS battle...it was beautiful.
Fiddling with that DDR machine to make it display capoeira moves really had been the right call. That, coupled with the [Monster Hunter] ability was a good way to make Irade nice and powerful, ready to handle anything we threw at her.
Of course, [Monster Hunter] was just an extension of her HUD; it wasn't really a Skill like [Flight]. I was just getting a bit bored of Irade's current rate of growth; we couldn't have monsters appearing everywhere, so we had to make the monsters that did appear have more value. I had already assured that there I would give Irade two more real Skills, on top of this passive [Monster Hunter].
"Yes?" said Ms. Kang, walking into my office, tablet in hand. I motioned towards the projection, and she watched alongside me, silent.
"She's gotten quite powerful," she remarked. "Do you think [Monster Hunter] was a bit too much?"
"She's only gotten that powerful today," I replied. "Before this her growth was infinitesimal."
"Exactly," said Ms. Kang. "Isn't she getting too powerful, too fast?"
I could see her point.
"OP protagonists are part of the genre," I countered. "That said, I do have something in store to give her a challenge. A prototype of sorts."
"Oh?" said Ms. Kang.
She didn't say anything more, and kept watching.
March 15, 8:50 pm, Beijing, China
Irade took a deep breath, calming her rapidly beating heart. She pulled out the Thiljar Fang from the monster's eye, and wiped it on her pants. At some point, she stopped caring about getting blood and guts on her uniform; it's not like anyone would think it's real blood. All worries about her 'mother's' scolding had mysteriously vanished.
Right now, Irade only had one thing on her mind.
She wanted to forget more. She wanted to be lost in focus more.
Previously, she had only been able to achieve this in video games. But that focus, that groove, was nothing compared to the high she was feeling now. The high of using her physical body to its limit, coupled with the quick reaction and battle management she had honed from years of gaming. With the increase of her [Agility] and [Speed], her physical ability was finally getting close to her mind's reaction times, to the point where her movements were starting to blur.
She needed more.
She stumbled a little as she walked into yet another office. Somehow, she managed to grab onto the doorway, and used it to pull herself back up. She closed her eyes, searching for that last piece of paper, but her mind was elsewhere.
Maybe she should take a little break first. Her arms legs were starting to shake a bit every time she took a step. Nothing a small break couldn't cure, probably.
For some reason, her HP and MP didn't increase with her level; only the maximum capacity. The higher she went, the stronger the monsters; the stronger the monsters, the higher chance of being KO'ed in a single hit. True, her defenses have increased; but with such low HP remaining, it didn't really make a difference.
Not that it mattered if none of them could hit her.
Irade picked up the latest piece of paper and shoved it in her bag. This was the second last one, according to the [Monster Map]. She followed the map out of the room, down the corridor and towards...
A set of stairs.
Irade stopped in front of the stairs. Unlike the others, this staircase wasn't spiraled, was made of pure, white marble, and headed straight up, to a set of impressive oak double doors.
Furthermore, on the [Monster Map] there was a faint yellow outline in front of it.
That could only mean one thing: the final page was in there. However, given the context – the stairs, the doors, and the fact that it was level seven of a seven story building – it probably meant that this was the Boss Room, and that inside would be a Boss monster. A monster many times more powerful, and more difficult than the ones she had been facing up until now.
She took her first step on the hard marble, and found to her surprise that it was nowhere near as slippery as it looked. As she walked up the stairs, Irade gripped the Thiljar fang tight as blue blood dripped doen the point. She couldn't help but shiver.
In anticipation. Her previous tiredness seemed forgotten, as her body felt like it was practically vibrating with energy.
She reached the landing, and stood in front of the doors, gazing at the simple carving of an Eastern dragon etched across the wood. The way it was framed looked like the dragon was looking down on her.
Irade looked back up in defiance.
With a creak, the doors slowly began to open, revealing only darkness within. The doors came to a halt without a sound, hanging eerily open.
Irade couldn't help it. She grinned, and walked straight into the darkness.
The doors behind her slammed shut with a boom, leaving Irade blinking in the dark. There was absolutely no light at all; she couldn't see a thing. She couldn't hear anything, except the sound of the wind. Maybe there was a window open? She could feel the breeze on her back. No, she needed sight. Irade closed her eyes, activating [Monster Map].
The room lit up with light. This room was large, much larger than she expected. There were four large pillars rising up from the center of the room, surrounding something that looked like a large gong. Irade could see a yellow folder on top of the gong with her [Monster Map].
An obvious trap.
Irade slowly scanned the room. She could see that it wasn't that large, but the ceiling was quite high. There were square windows just a little higher than her, patterned along three walls, but otherwise nothing else. At least, according to the [Monster Map].
The weirdest thing was that Irade couldn't see any trace of a red monster. From this whole set-up, one could safely assume that this would be a Boss Room.
So where was the Boss?
It was only then that she noticed the breeze was coming from behind her.
Slowly, Irade turned around.
Ah. That sure was big and red.
Before she could analyze what type of monster this could be, it attacked, slashing with a large claw. Irade stepped back hastily, almost tripping. The monster pressed its advantage, leaping forward with it's mouth open. Irade assumed; she could smell it's horrible breath.
Irade managed to dodge, spinning herself into a ginga. From this new angle, she was finally able to notice what kind of monster it was.
A Naga. Top-half human, bottom-half snake. With large claws. And a jaw that seemed WAY too big for a human.
Immediately the Naga whipped it's tail, catching Irade off guard. Thanks to her reflexes, Irade was barely able to duck, but that left her open for the Naga's top half to come in and slash.
Somehow, Irade was able to block it with the Thiljar Fang. Irade quickly disengaged, backing off to one of the walls. This Naga was fast, almost as fast as she was. This was definitely going to be a troublesome opponent.
Irade readied herself to dodge again, one hand on wall, other with the Thiljar fang ready, but...
To her surprise, the Naga simply hissed at her, and started curling itself around the four pillars. Its body wasn't long enough to reach completely around it; only about enough to cover two sides at one time.
Still, Irade got the general message; stay away from here. I'm not interested in you, as long as you don't come here.
Well, Irade could work with that. She lowered her Thiljar Fang and leaned back against the wall to think up a-
Faster than Irade could react, the Naga leaped forward, claw aimed straight for Irade's throat. Irade did the first thing she could think of; drop down onto her butt.
The Naga let out an unholy scream as it's claw sank into the wall, where Irade's head had been mere seconds ago. Not wasting the opportunity, Irade slashed at the Naga's underbelly before scrambling away.
That was close. Too close. Irade wiped the sweat off her brow.
This Naga was not like the other monsters. This monster was smart.
That meant Irade should deal with this quickly.
And the only way to do that was to…
Irade used ['Dash'], intending to slice straight through the Naga with the Thiljar Fang.
Somehow, miraculously, the Naga managed to rip its claw out of the wall, and block Irade's spontaneous ['Dash Slice']. Irade froze in suprise; this monster was way too quick.
Not one to waste an opportunity, the Naga attacked with its tail, but Irade was just as fast. They traded blows for a while, zipping around the room the whole time. Irade found that the most annoying thing was the co-ordination between the monster's top and bottom half. They simply moved too differently; when Irade was tracking one, the other would mess up her rhythm.
Luckily, Irade was just as evasive. Her [Speed] and [Agility] had increased considerably, and coupled with the moves she learned from DDR and an occasional ['Dash'] or ['Dash Slice'], Irade was almost impossible to catch.
Irade had to admit that this monster was just as fast and agile as her, and probably just as intelligent. It was reading her moves just as Irade was reading its. Not to mention, it was even changing up its pattern of movement and attack, usually just when Irade was getting the hang of it.
As the battle moved on, Irade was getting increasingly aware of the heaviness of her legs. Her head also seemed lighter, like she wasn't getting in enough air. It was getting harder and harder to dodge; she had to rely on ['Dash'] a lot more than in the beginning. Furthermore, there were a lot more close calls than at the beginning.
Irade just barely dodged the tail strike, which landed where she was standing just milliseconds earlier. For some reason, her legs hadn't responded as quickly as they had earlier. What was wrong? Was she poisoned? Sure, the Naga had given some scratches, but none that seemed to-
With a start, Irade realized what the heaviness in her legs was.
She was running out of stamina.
Of course; this wasn't a game. She was using her real body, not controlling an avatar on screen. Irade had forgotten a fundamental truth. She had gotten so used to seeing her stats on a screen, that she forgot that there were other factors included in maintaining a human body.
It had only been about an hour since dinner, but Irade had been on a rampage, killing six floors of monsters non-stop. She hadn't even taken a break for water. She was hungry, and her legs were killing her.
Irade knew that the longer she dragged this out, the worse things would get for her. She needed to end this, quickly.
The Naga, sensing Irade's panic, began attacking more ferociously, but never letting up on her rhythm. Irade couldn't keep up, her body getting more and more sluggish with every hit. She was forced to react instead of go on the offensive, getting caught in the Naga's attack cycle.
She couldn't rely on ['Dash'] as much either – she only had 6 MP left. That meant she could only use ['Dash'] 6 more times...
She began to take more hits, some of them getting a little too close for comfort. Her vision was starting to go fuzzy, and her head was starting to pound. She needed to focus, she needed to keep sharp, but her movements were getting dull, getting weak...
The Naga could sense weakness; she could tell that it would only take one solid hit to end things now.
That was what Irade was counting on.
Wait for the opportunity.
After all, Irade hadn't been idly twiddling her thumbs for this fight.
The monster wasn't the only one who could change up their rhythm.
Irade twisted her body to dodge, the Naga's claw, then immediately used ['Dash Slice'], straight up-
-and sliced the Naga's right arm clean off.
Blood spurted from the wound, but the Naga's furious gaze was still locked onto Irade. It lunged upwards towards the ceiling, claws outstreached.
But the sky was Irade's domain.
Irade used ['Dash Slice'] downwards, cutting down the body, stopping at the midway point,
She used ['Dash'] again to get some horizontal ground, then used ['Dash Slice'] diagonally up the monster's body.
['Dash']! ['Dash Slice']!
That was it. That was all Irade could do. She fell to the floor, gasping, her legs giving out underneath her. All at once, the impact of fighting six levels of monsters, and then a Boss monster on top of that hit her, causing her to fall flat on her face. Pain that was previously blocked out by adrenaline flooded through her body, making her gasp and wince.
If that wasn't enough to beat the Naga, then Irade was too weak. She would deserve to lose.
The Naga's body hit the floor with a WHAM, but Irade was too tired to look up. She closed her eyes, focusing on her breathing.
Please, just stay down. Don't get back up.
To her horror, Irade started to hear the sound of something moving. Slowly, but surely...something was slithering over.
Tears sprang up in Irade's eyes, mixing with the sweat dripping down her face. Why? Why couldn't the monster stay down?
She was so tired. Couldn't she just rest?
Just for a little longer?
She was so tired.
So, so tired.
She wanted to sleep.
She wanted to eat.
For a little longer…
Quietly, Irade gathered her shattered will, and slowly built it back up.
She slammed her palm against the floor, and slowly pushed herself up.
It hurt. She didn't want to.
But she had to.
She wanted to beat this.
She wanted to win.
She wanted to win so badly.
Irade couldn't even remember why. All she knew was that she HAD to win. No matter what.
With a roar, Irade propped herself up to her knees.
Only to find the Naga meters away, gasping its final breath.
Irade finally realized that at some point, a light had come on, right above the gong in the center of the room. She didn't realize it at the time, but it looked like she had landed right in front of the gong, under the light. The Naga, on the other hand, was crawling in the dark, a single, gnarled claw reaching out into the light.
For the first time, Irade could see the Naga with her actual eyes. It had the upper body of a rather beautiful woman, skin white as a sheet. Right now however, deep cuts ran along her face and body, oozing blue blood, her long, black hair strewn across her face.
"Y-you...human..." the Naga spat.
Irade blinked in shock. This monster...could speak?
"F-filthy...human..." it went on, eyes of hatred staring holes into Irade. "W-why...couldn't you...just...die!"
"I don't want to die," said Irade automatically. And despite everything...she found it was true.
"You...don't deserve to live..." said the monster. "Filthy...humans...destroying...the world..."
The monster coughed, hacking up blood. Some of it got on Irade, which seemed to make it slightly happier.
"Watch yourself...Uyghur girl..." it hissed. "W-we'll be...coming...for you..."
And with that, the light in its eyes died, and it's body went limp.
Irade sat there for a few moments, gazing at the body of her vanquished foe. No matter how she looked at it, no matter how much she tried, she couldn't see anything human about it. Despite it's human appearance, all Irade saw was a monster.
Was that normal? It was a monster after all, sure.
But in the back of her mind, a question popped up.
Irade shook her head. She didn't need to think about things like that.
To take her mind off it, Irade focused on something else. She groaned, and using the pillar, forced herself to stand up. She walked over to the gong, and took the paper on top of it.
[Story Mission: Monster Nest: COMPLETE!]
[Rewards: One Naga Talon!]
[Requirements: Unlock Quest: Achieved!]
[Story Mission: A Gaze Into The Past – Acquired! Would you like to accept? Y/N]
Huh. That was a weird Quest name.
Irade casually looked at the paper in her hand and frowned. She stood there for a moment, reading. Once she was done, she quickly went out of the Boss room, took out the papers in her bag, and started reading them all.
Irade's eyes went wide, and her hands started shaking. This couldn't be true. This isn't...what was…
On the other side of the world, a certain self-proclaimed Demon Lord grinned.
[*Arabic Writing*: Level 22]
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