The front lines. This is where Reinhard belonged. He had been working steadily for weeks now to get here. Despite all the peril that front liners faced, Reinhard felt a growing sense of belonging as he inched closer to the dungeon, following Elise closely. Each gave the other a challenge, and Reinhard wouldn't have it any other way. Elise had a competitive spirit. He liked that. Though he would admit it was quite strange to see another health bar in the corner of his HUD. It's vivid green matched his own. Hopefully it would stay that way. Reinhard had never truly partied with anyone, having remained quite the solo player since the beginning. His friends list was bare, having only a few people on the list with the majority being shopkeepers he returned to as a regular customer. Part of Reinhard liked Elise, from what he saw of her. She was a skilled player, having survived as long as she did, and she was a loyal friend to those in her party. He knew she had his back. Protecting her was the least he could do in return. Worst case, he will save her and she will owe him twice. Reinhard did save her friend…Krissu was it? Reinhard wondered how she was doing these days. Hopefully she was still alive, at least.
Reinhard knew when he reached the boss room. He could smell it. A lumbering, snake-like behemoth, the monstrosity loomed over the party of hopeful monster slayers, her face of twisted evil staring into their souls. Reinhard hid his sliver of fear that was deep within his heart. It was his first front line boss raid, and the reality that he could be unprepared becoming ever more apparent. Salathar was its name and its many life bar revealed itself soon enough. Despite the fear, a small bit of humor kept Reinhard grounded: She was nothing more than a Medusa rip off. It was a lame, dark joke but Reinhard's concentration needed all the help he could get.
Reinhard stood back, keeping his defenses up as he observed Salathar's fighting style. It was important to gauge how she moved and attacked, as well as any abilities that Reinhard was unaware of. She charged forward through a pack of players swiftly, barraging them with her snake like hair. She was quick, but her attacks seemed to lack range. What was interesting was her attacks were capable of hitting multiple targets at once. This made surrounding her almost pointless, since she could break an encircling strategy with relative ease. At least approaching her was easy. No range, no problem.
But then, Reinhard caught a glimpse of what Elise was eyeing with so much attention. A scrappy, skilled player was fighting the boss with some degree of success. However the tides of battle abruptly turned against him. While catching his breath, he looked into Salathar's eyes. The gaze of Salathar froze the player in place and with a presence as dark and sickening as Reinhard could imagine, hypnotized the player. With a ghastly look, the player grasped his sword tightly as he plunged the blade into his own chest repeatedly until his untimely demise. There was no stopping him, as his friends leapt into action pleading him to stop as he chipped away at his own health. Reinhard could swear he saw the player bat away his friends so he could continue to kill himself. When the final blow was struck, the player fell back, his face pale, his mouth agape as he stared into the ceiling, spending his final moments contemplating. Like everything else in this perverse world, he shattered into bits of data, glimmering in the dim lights of the dungeon. Exchanging glances was fatal. Something Reinhard had to keep in mind.
Reinhard wanted to deliberate with Elise to formulate a full proof strategy, but he was too late to the punch. She charged forward, avoiding eye contact (which meant she likely caught on to some of the things that Reinhard had learned), as she engaged Salathar in battle. All things considered, Elise did well. Reinhard watched as she blocked and dodged several attacks as she slashed away at the creature. Reinhard quietly cheered her on, but some anxiety filled his heart when he saw Elise's health drop to yellow.
Reinhard was going to leap into action, hoping to finish what Elise started, but other groups joined the fray. Many focused their attention on the tail, which was smart to say the least. The sweeping motion of the tail covered a lot of ground, and swatted away players around like flies. Removing the tail from the equation was necessary. The snake hair was also a problem, but he saw a number of players being led to take that out too.
But what was he doing? Nothing. He watched as the battle took place in front of him. He was a spectator at a sporting event, sitting in the front row, wondering why he wasn't competing. Wondering why he couldn't play with the big kids. Why am I watching? Why am I not fighting? What the hell am I doing?
Reinhard's eyes burned with anger. Anger at the boss. Anger at the others. Anger at himself. He had enough of waiting around. Salathar's health was nearly gone due to the focused attacks of the others. At the very least, Reinhard was hoping to redeem his cowardice. Reinhard drew his Arctic Blade in front of him, keeping the blade held tightly in his sword arm as he rushed Salathar head on.
Avoid eye contact. Dodge tail. High jump. Lob off snake hair with sword arts. Repeat.
It was a simple plan that he followed to a tee. Reinhard kept his eyes focused on the torso of Salathar, realizing any attacks would likely be telegraphed from any subtle motion of the creature's core. Salathar caught wind of Reinhard's bold charge and swung the tail widely knocking around a few players would attempt to butcher it earlier. It was a easy, nimble dodge for Reinhard. Not only did he expect it, the attack was slow at this point, as Salathar was on her last "legs" at this point. Reinhard mounted the tail of his opponent, slashing it twice as he used it as a boost to jump onto the back of Salathar, joining a few players in a crusade to bring the creature down like every other boss in this damn game.
Reinhard stood his ground on the back for the time being, burying his sword in the creatures back for support as he climbed higher and higher. Reinhard gained some solid footing, barely balancing his large frame on Salathar as she attacked with her serpent strands of hair, Reinhard took a few cheap shots as the hair surrounded him, snacking away on his health. He watched as his health was inching closer and closer to yellow, until Reinhard used a defensive sword art [Counter]. His blade had a bold glint to it as Reinhard as he slashed away the three hairs, doing a fair share of damage to the creature.
Powered by his anger, Reinhard decided to be shamelessly reckless. The next wave of attacks followed soon after, and Reinhard slashed away a few before grabbing one of the hairs. Using it as a rope, Reinhard used the hair to climb closer to the head, hearing the creature scream in frustration. Reinhard swatted away snake hair after snake hair as he approached, consuming the creatures attention. Soon enough, she would be bald as Reinhard would give her the closest hair cut he could manage if given the chance. As Reinhard neared her head, he made a daring leap to the top of Salathar's head, where he would focus his attacks on the eyes hoping to prevent her from hypnotizing any more players.