515 Crushing the Trifecta Bonus XL Chapter

    "Oi... Shitty Bard!  Put the powder charge in first! Then use the plunger."  Rat-Nix shook his furry head while trying to be civil.  Apparently, following simple directions wasn't a prerequisite for being King. "Powder charge, plunge, payload, plunge."  Nix stood comfortably on the long barrel of the cannon he'd picked out.  It was roughly two meters in length, but it could be moved easily thanks to being mounted on wheels.  Despite the small stature of Duran, he was exceedingly strong.

    Duran finished plunging the payload and stepped back; the tune he played that showed his human form needed to be played every few minutes, or he would revert back to skelly shape.  "We still going through the bath?"

    "Yep. That's the plan." Nix hopped down from the cannon and went back to wiring explosives.  "Make sure you lock the wheels, or we'll be wearing our cannon for a hat."

    "Got it... Now what?"

    The Rat-King popped his head up from behind a large stack of powder charges. "Load all the other cannons."

    /Inferno: Ducky: Ready to go, Nix?  I've figured out the route you need to take back to the north wall.

    /Inferno: Nix: Nearly.  Good girl, tell me what I need to know.

    /Inferno: Ducky: The easiest route from the bath means heading up to the roof.  I'll be there to help you.

    "Roof?  Hmm."  Nix turned his gaze toward the ceiling and then the floor.


    "Shit..."  The old man stared at the Keep.  "My **ing broom needs padding.  Why make these things so damn uncomfortable?"

    Semmi shrugged slightly; she knew he was frustrated from having to watch instead of fight.  They couldn't cross over the shoreline.  "Why not throw some fire at them?  It will make you feel better."

    Pon stared at her for a moment before glancing back at the Keep.  "Think I can?"  The old man gauged the distance.

    Pon has cast [Meteor Storm].

    The sky above the north side of the Keep turned orange as fire rained from the sky, a good portion of the attack landed in the water, but both the roof and north wall were bombarded.

    /Alpha: Shae: Join us, Pon.

    Pon glanced over his shoulder where Fey was hovering effortlessly in the air.  Shae was standing near the top of her head.  He nodded and moved his mount so that he could step off.  "This isn't too much?"

    "No."  Silver flames erupted from her bone maw, bathing the north wall in her fiery breath.

    Shae watched them both attack, well aware that they had both grown substantially stronger since she met them. "We should join our flames."

    Fey has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Shae: Place one hand on Fey's head and hold my hand.

    The salamander knelt and placed one hand on Fey's head while gripping Pon tightly.

    Pon, Shae, and Fey have cast [Trinity Flame].

    A ball of white flame erupted from the trio and rocketed towards their target; it blasted through the outer wall of the keep and continued for several meters before exploding outward in a blinding flash.

    A wave of power erupted in all directions, sending Wind and Semmi a dozen meters off course.

    /Alpha: Wind: The heck was that?

    /Alpha: Semmi: PON!

    All three fire users fell lifelessly out of the sky, splashing into the ocean a few meters from where Soup waited.

    Semmi was the first to react; grabbing the old mage by the collar, she dragged him along the surface to Soup's shell and placed him next to Nix.  After helping Wind do the same with Shae, they turned their attention to Fey.

    /Alpha: Semmi: We'll have to drag Fey back; these two will be fine with Soup.

    /Inferno: Semmi: Darsi and Ronnie, get ready!

    /Alpha: Wind: What's the plan?

    /Alpha: Semmi: As much as I hate it, our melee fighters are useless if we can't cross into the keep.

    Wind glanced back at the house-sized hole that had been blasted into the Fortress.  "That was **ing incredible.  For a moment, I thought Nix was here."

    Semmi chuckled.  "No, kidding. We'll tow Fey back and then bring our two ranged fighters here.

    Ronnie has joined Alpha.

    Darsi has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Wind: Welcome, our mages are down; we need some ranged fighters.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Standby for pickup.


    Rat-King fell backward off the barrel of the cannon as the entire room seemed to tilt in several directions at once.

    /Inferno: Nix: Holy crap.  The entire Keep shook!

    /Inferno: Semmi: Our three mages did something.

    /Inferno: Nix: Have them do it again.

    /Inferno: Semmi: All three are down for the count.  Give us a few minutes to reorganize.

    /Inferno: Wind: Back in a bit.

    Rat-Nix examined his work, finally happy with the results.  "Ready, Duran?"

    Duran strummed his mandolin, not really sure what to make of the large black rat.  One cannon was pointed toward the floor, one was pointed at the ceiling, and the last two were pointed at the east wall.  He had also spent nearly an hour finding every explosive, ammunition, and flammable item in the armory.  Wiring them all together in a mess of webbing that resembled the work of a drunk spider.  "A drunk and crazy spider," Duran amended.

    Rat-Nix dug into the satchel and pulled out a small silver ring. "Take this ring!  It provides five seconds of unlimited shielding."

    Ring of Shields

    Unique Item

    Description: Provides five seconds

    of protection from all outside sources.

    Duran grabbed the ring and slipped it on his finger.  "Why do I need this?"

    Rat-Nix's furry shoulders shrugged slightly. "Because ** happens,  the Rat-King can't think of everything."

    "Just tell me when I should use it."  Duran took one of the tinder lights from a large box.  It resembled a foot-long match, but once lit, would be useable for several minutes.  "Which one should I light first?"

    Nix moved into an empty steel ammo-case.  "Light them all at the same time... Then use the ring!"

    "Huh?"  Duran watched the black-furred head disappear into the steel case.  "All the cannons at once?  Won't that set off everything?"

    "Hope not."  The Rat-King's voice echoed in his small hideaway.  "Drop the human form; skellies are more resilient to flames and ... things that blow up."

    Nix ducked down and listened for the sound of burning fuses.  A few seconds later, three cannons went off simultaneously. The ammo case he was hiding in was picked up and thrown against the far wall.  Uninjured, the Rat-King exited the case a few moments later.

    Large openings were blasted into the ceiling, floor, and eastern wall of the armory.  The two cannons facing the east wall had been completely destroyed.  Nix studied the cannons for a moment; the side of the barrel had blown out.  "How many charges did you put in this cannon?"  A moan from inside a pile of rubble turned his attention toward the barred door.  "Duran?"

    Duran sat up slowly, his mandolin was completely crushed, and his left arm was missing.  "I'm hurt really bad."

    Rat-Nix scampered closer, in skelly form, wounds didn't bleed out.  "You're fine.  Did you activate the ring too quickly?"

    "Forgot to use it," Duran admitted.

    "Oh..."  Nix's yellow eyes stared at the one-armed skeleton; the urge to blow him up with the rest of the armory was incredibly tempting.  "Get through the east wall, going to blow this place. Don't forget my satchel!"

    Voices could be heard from above and below.  Trifecta was already moving toward the openings. Nix led Duran through the eastern wall and proceeded directly across the bathing hall.  It was a series of circular pools sunk into a white marble floor.  The bath itself was empty, but the steam from the hot water hung in the air like a comforting mist.

    /Inferno: Ducky: Take the middle door to the hall.  Down the end of that hall are stairs that lead directly to the roof.  From there, you only have to head north, and you'll be over my window.

    /Inferno: Nix: Understood.  Thanks, Ducky.

    Nix ran through the steamy room and entered the middle door; they had just entered the hall when the walls shook with a deafening explosion.  The nether rat stumbled and took cover against the far wall as cracks appeared in the floor and walls around them.

    Duran was huddled behind the Rat-King, his broken mandolin in one hand and the leather satchel strapped to his back.  "Are Ratscues always like this?"

    "Yep."  Nix scampered down the hall to the stairs entrance only to freeze in place.  "Holy..."

    "What?"  Duran limped to the entryway only to stop suddenly.  "Where're the stairs?"

    The entire stairs had been melted away; the opening was smooth like glass for ten meters before expanding its destruction outward in all directions.

    "Looks like Dread flames... or something worse."  Nix scanned the area; the floors had collapsed beneath and above the attack, creating a wide-open gash in the otherwise sturdy Keep.  Several players could be seen sifting through the wreckage.  "Shit..."

    Duran ducked in the doorway.  "Plan?"

    /Inferno: Nix: Our mages did a number on this Keep. Where's my backup?

    /Inferno: Darsi: Got your back, Trip-7.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: That leaves me with the front.

    /Inferno: Nix: That tunnel that you guys made into the side of the Keep is crawling with bad guys.  I need to get through it.

    /Inferno: Darsi: Moving into position, standby.

    /Inferno: Ducky: There should be a second stair in the same direction you are heading!

    On the outside of the Keep, Darsi and Ronni had been given [Thine Enemy] rings and brooms.  After bringing Fey back, Wind and Semmi picked up Shae and Pon to transport them to camp.  They hadn't returned yet.

    Ronnie moved until she could see directly into the crater-sized opening in the Keep.  She released the broom controls and stood on the broom.  The dark archer was known for several things; one of the lesser-known abilities was her death-defying balance.  "A bit outside my range, but I can use suppression fire. Ready when you are."

    Unlike her partner, Darsi was lying prone across the length of the broom.  Her sniper rifle held tightly to her shoulder.  She instantly spotted the large rat and the skeleton he was escorting.

    /Inferno: Darsi: Cats in the cradle, Trip-7.

    /Inferno: Nix: I see the seconds set of stairs.

    "On me, Duran!"  Nix darted across the opening, tiny claws scratching the smooth glass finish.  Instantly the duo was spotted.

    "THERE!"  A blue-robed woman shouted from the floor above them.  She extended her glowing staff to attack but was forced to take cover when several impact shots landed right in front of her.

    /Trifecta: Sandi: Kill the skeleton!  Careful, they have fire support!

    Nix scurried straight across the opening; an archer popped up near them only to head his head blasted into a  crimson mist.  "There's our opening!"

    The two fugitives ignored Trifecta, every time one of them attempted to attack; they were dealt with.  After a few minutes, they entered the partially destroyed hall on the far side.  A moment later, another large section of the wall and ceiling collapsed downward, the effect dominoed as several tons of rock and rubble avalanched into the open space.

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Shit.

    /Inferno: Darsi: Not good.  Trip-7?

    On the outside of the Keep, Wind and Semmi had just returned.  They moved their brooms over Soup and waited.

    /Alpha: Semmi: We'd know if the Rat puppet was dead.  Nix would have sat up.

    Wind shook his head slightly; the Trinity flames not only burned through solid rock but had effectively weakened the surrounding structures.  The sections around the damage were collapsing. A half dozen men could be seen pushing a cannon at the top of the wall; before Inferno could react, the section beneath the armament and its team plummeted several floors in a thunderous crash.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Goodness...

    Rat-Nix pushed through the rocks, his yellow eyes searching through the rubble for the skeleton.  He found Duran buried up to his waist in rock; he was clinging to his broken mandolin and leather satchel like it was a lifeline.  "Still got my stuff?  Good job."

    Duran clicked his teeth weakly.  "Doesn't look good."

    The Nether rat nodded in agreement.  "My guys did a number on this place... Fuck if I want those Trifecta bastards to win this event."

    "Sorry, Rat-King."

    Nix scanned the area for a moment and then started digging the skeleton out of the rubble.  "I've got a plan."

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Say something, Nix.  We're worried.

    /Inferno: Nix: See that big cannon sticking out of the rubble?

    /Inferno: Ronnie: Sure.

    /Inferno: Nix: Cover us.

    Nix cussed under his breath when he finished digging Duran out; both of his lower legs were crushed.  In skeleton form, it looked like they might fall off at any moment.  The King was coughing and moaning with every breath.  "Stay with me, Shitty Bard.  I need you to crawl to the cannon!"

    Duran nodded and followed the black rat as it crawled on its belly through the rubble.  "You're very strong, Rat-King."

    "Yep."  Nix made it to the cannon's base; the barrel was pointed outward toward the ocean, while the lower half was beneath several feet of rocks.  "Think you can crawl in behind me?"

    "Huh?"  Duran watched as the Rat-King scampered into the open barrel of the cannon.  "This isn't a good hiding spot."

    "What's that even mean?  This is perfect."  Nix's voice echoed slightly in the barrel.

    Duran pulled himself up until he could see inside the large dark tube.  "I don't like this."

    "Don't be such a baby.  Get your ass in here."  Nix retreated down the barrel until he could go no further, then he turned and waited.

    Duran wedged his shoulders inside the opening, slowly squeezing down the barrel.  "I think I'm stuck."

    "Nonsense.  Come a bit further." Rat-King waited until Duran managed to get within a few feet of him.  "Hey, Shitty, Bard!  Still got that ring I gave you?"

    "The shield ring?"  Duran tried to nod but was unable to move enough.  "I got it."

    "Activate it when you are ready, and then tell me right away."

    Duran sighed heavily, a sound that was quite loud in the barrel of a cannon.  The Rat-King was completely crazy. He flexed his bone hand and activated the ring. "It's Activated!"

    "Hope you can swim, Shitty Bard."



    Nix popped his eyes open just as thirty feet of flames erupted out of the cannon; he brought out his broom and shot into the sky. "Follow me, Soup."

    He lost sight of the projectile but was rewarded with the sight of a large splash in the distance.  He accelerated toward the target,  more than a little surprised that Soup was able to keep pace beneath the water.  Duran was still clinging to his mandolin and satchel when Nix dragged him onto Soup's shell a minute later.  Apparently, the shielding extended to whatever he was carrying.

    A sobbing skeleton lay across Soup's shell.  "The Rat-King!  My friend... my poor Rat-King!"

    /Inferno: Nix: Meet us at the shore, Nez.

    /Inferno: Jun Li: We'll be there.

    Duran clung to Nix's arm while continuing to cry.  "My brave friend!  I don't understand what happened."

    Nix glanced over his shoulder at the four Inferno members following them.  He cleared his throat and lowered his voice.  "I'm the Rat-King, you **ty Bard!  That was an Emperor level Nether Rat puppet!  Do you know how much cost and effort goes into making one of those?"

    Duran stared at him for a moment; his voice still shaky.  "You're the Rat-King?"

    "Yes.  That was the only puppet in the Bone Fortress...  Oh, before I forget.  How was it being shot out of a cannon?  Fucking awesome, right?"

    "Not bad," Duran admitted weakly.  "Are we almost done?"

    "Yes.  I assume you know Edi and Alfie?"

    "Edith and Alfred Eidengal?  My sister's children!  They are here?"

    "Yes.  Let's get you back and patched up."  Nix sat comfortably on Soup's back, enjoying the last bit of daylight.  He leaned forward and rubbed the back of her head, noticing a gold mark that wasn't there before.  "Going to inspect you, Soup."


    Race: Bone Turtle (Empress)

    Class: Tsunami

    Immunities: Ice, Water, Control Effects.

    Special Abilities: Sonic Boom, Sea Shield, High Tide, Bone Focus.

    [Sonic Boom] High powered, short-ranged Sonic blast that stuns all enemies for three seconds.

    [Sea Shield] Group shield that mitigates half of all incoming damage.

    [High Tide] Summons a wave of seawater to wash away your enemies.

    [Bone Focus] All nearby enemies must attack you!

    "Holy crap, Soup.  Is this your Bone form? How come you aren't a skelly like the rest of us?"

    "Sea creatures don't follow the same rules."  Duran had rolled onto one side and was watching them.  "She's beautiful."

    Nix frowned at the Shitty Bard.  "Now you sound like, Gil.  What about that?  Gil's a Turtle Titan; why is he a skelly?"

    "You have Titans in your camp?"  Durhan struggled to an upright position.  "Turtle Titans aren't sea creatures."

    They arrived on the shores of the Fury Burrough (15) a few minutes later.  Both Alfie and Edi were present and helped bring the injured King onto the shore where Nezbit was waiting to heal him.

    Nix's hud buzzed, and he opened it to see the current manning strength of the Bone Fortress, along with a detailed blueprint.

    /Inferno: Nix: Lost my puppet, Ducky.

    /Inferno: Ducky: It's okay.  I'll keep doing my part here!

    /Inferno: Nix: You did great.  Thanks for the hard work.

    /Inferno: Ducky: I didn't get to see or play with you.

    /Inferno: Nix: Next time!  Take care!

    [Bone Fortress Special Event]

    The rightful King of Eidengal has been returned to his allies.  All Undead Allies will receive a tier 3 hardening.

    All members of Inferno will receive a permanent 30 percent increase in Stats.

    All Trifecta members will receive a 30 percent decrease in Stats for the duration of their time in the Bone Fortress.

    All members of the Trifecta will receive a permanent Disadvantage. (Awaiting)

    All members of Inferno will receive a permanent Advantage. (Awaiting)

    The Inferno Guild has received three Class tokens.

    All Inferno members have received [Undead Form].

    All Inferno members have received a new mount. [Bone Crow]

    You have received a new mount. [Raven]

    [You must now pick an elemental weakness to inflict upon the members of the Trifecta.]

    [You must now pick an element to strengthen the members of Inferno]

    Nix stared at the messages scrolling across his hud and motioned for Semmi.  "How's Shae?"

    "All three of them are fine.  They woke up a short while ago with severe mana depletion."  Semmi leaned closer to look at Nix's hud.  "Advantage and Disadvantage?"

    "Yep.  Ideas?"  Nix had his own thoughts on the matter but was willing to listen to other opinions.

    "Make them susceptible to fire.   That way, if they cross us sometime in the future, we'll sic you and Pon on them."  Semmi considered the advantage for a moment. "In the endgame, we're facing the Ice Goddess.  We should choose with that in mind."

    Nix nodded in agreement and made the necessary choices.

    [All Trifecta members: Slaughter, Road Kill,  and Raging One-Thirties have developed a weakness against Fire.]

    [All members of Inferno have received the Blessing Of Ice.]

    [Guild Chat limitations across Bone Fortress have been restored]
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