The night continued to get more and more interesting as it went along. Indeed, someone else had beaten them to the punch. The message declaring the dungeon had been discovered was impossible to miss. Not that it bothered Elise any. Others could find the dungeon, that was the tedious part of it all. She just wanted to make sure that the boss didn’t escape her this time.
Reinhart teased her about being too much of a girl to take on such a challenge. That in itself was a challenge she could never turn down. If his goal was to bait her, he caught her hook, line and sinker. She wasn’t one to back down from such a statement.
“Oh, I’m up for it.” Her voice became elevated as she looked up at him in front if the city gates. Her right index finger poked him square in the chest as she responded. “The question is, are you ready to be shown up by a girl?” She dropped her hand and satisfied that her point got across, made her way to the portal allowing them to access the dungeon room. Confident that Reinhart was on her tail, Elise accessed the portal after a moment of slight hesitation. With a blinding flash, she appeared with others in front of the boss room.
There was a sense of eager anticipation in the air, a spirit of waiting as the doors opened and players began to funnel into the boss chamber. Elise stayed close to Reinhart, as much as she hated depending on others, they were in a party now, she had to make sure he was safe. The last time she was negligent, Krissu had almost ended up dead. It would have been her fault too, the death of another human being on her hands. How would she ever have escaped that feeling of blood-guiltiness? If Reinhart hadn’t been there, that surely would have been the case. The two of them had never really talked about what happened that day. Everything about what followed was such a blur, it almost didn’t make sense to her. It was as if a daze overcame her when she saw Krissu on the floor, her health reduced to but a minute sliver. Reinhart even gave her a potion. Elise had been more than useless, she had been a hinderance.
Now was not the time for such thoughts. Anymore lingering and she was bound to break down here in front of everyone. Then she would really hate herself even more. Looking to the top left of her HUD, she could see Reinhart’s health. It was currently full and luscious green, just like hers. She would have to make sure it stayed that way.
Raiders waisted no time as they marched into the chamber. Many of the regular front liners charged after the boss with little hesitation. It took Elise a second to spy it through the crowd. Her height kept it shielded from her vision for but a second. When it finally did become manifest, a slimy, repugnant creature presented itself. Not unlike that of Medusa’s visage in folklore and ancient history. The boss’ health represented itself in separate indicators all full as they began their assault.
Salathar slithered into action, not complacent herself as she began to be attacked. Her movements were quick and allowed her to traverse the battlefield in a precise and dangerous manner. The snakelike hair danced around her head, whipping back and forth as it struck her assailants. She was capable of attacking many people at the same time, it wasn’t as focused as the other bosses it seemed. Her reach left a lot to be desired, but Elise soon discovered why it didn’t matter.
A nearby player had been attacking the beast with all his might. Elise recognized him from a few of the prior boss fights. He was a front liner, a damn good one at that. The fight seemed to be going pretty well for him as it stood. A few scrapes and blows that dwindled his health, but nothing major as of yet. His mistake came as he paused to catch his breath and looked to the creature's face. Salathar made eye contact and didn’t break it for what seemed like an eternity. The man froze, body locked in place as he continued the hypnotic gaze. Within seconds, he looked down at his own body and then to the single sword that he held firmly in his grip. Quickly he turned it towards his chest and began to plunge its tip in and out with almost practiced and lethal precision. Elise couldn’t believe what she was witnessing, he continued to stab himself even as his friends rushed to stop him. One final stab and the blade stuck in his chest cavity, his mouth agape as he stared up to the ceiling as if in prayer. His body erupted into thousands of little data pieces, his blade clanging onto the floor and then following its owner into the netherworld.
Gritting her teeth in frustration, Elise turned her attention back to the boss. She was careful not to make eye contact with it as she charged toward its backside. One of the creature’s snake hairs lunged at her. Elise’s shield blocked it at the last second as a horrible noised permeated her hearing. The snake let out a shrill scream as it came in contact with the thick metal, like a starving beast lusting after its prey. Momentarily distracted by the hair, Salathar’s tail came in and swept her feet out from under her. Elise hit the ground hard, her head pounding against the thick stone clad floor. She spied her health drop a little as the battle progressed in front of her sideways. The tail came back, this time from above as it swooped down to crush her with its weight. Elise rolled out of the way just in time as it cracked against the floor, kicking up a fountain of previously undisturbed dirt.
Leaping to her feet, Elise found her moment of opportunity as she began to hack at the tail with her sword. The faint light of the room seemed to splash off the sword’s slight glow as it began to cut numerous red gashes of digital damage. Salathar didn’t tolerate this for long, her hand came sweeping back and threw Elise against the far wall with a resounding thud. She slid down the wall and to her knees as she looked up at the creature from behind. The system let out a little warning in her vision as she hit the yellow. That loathsome color again warning her of what limited mortality she had left. Salathar didn’t appear to have an exploitable weakness. With those extra snake heads, it was like it had eyes everywhere. Maybe if they could give the creature a hair cut, it would be easier to take her down? How in hell were they going to do that?