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Pixel Courage 7

The archers were attacking the dragon, but everyone else looked a little ridiculous — standing there, waiting to see if the dragon would land on the ground so we could attack it.

One elf looked even more ridiculous than the rest of us. She flung her arm out, attempting to Vine Smack the dragon. The vine would fly out of her wrist, only to fly about a foot before it fell to the ground. Made me feel good about not choosing that power. It was ‘long distance’, but not nearly long distance enough to attack the dragon.

That was the real problem with being a character from the Vine kingdom: our long-distance attacks just weren’t that good.

-1HP

-0HP

-3HP

-3HP

-1HP

-2HP

Tens of arrows were hitting the dragon every second, slowly whittling his HP Bar down.

The light emanating from the dragon was getting brighter.

I checked my powers, to make sure nothing could be used in a weird way that would turn it into a long-distance attack. Something that would help me do something.

I rolled my eyes to the side of my vision, toggled through the menu and looked at SKILL TREE.

There was THORN PUNCH, which was obviously a ground-based attack. And there was MILD EP REGENERATION, which had nothing to even do with fighting. The two of them were part of the typical SKILL TREE that I remembered from the Alpha and Beta Playtests: the first powers that would allow you to buy other powers on the branch.

Then there was the third branch that I was ignoring for now, which started with VINE SMACK.

But there was a fourth branch I hadn’t noticed when I’d been choosing my powers. It started with LIGHTNING EYES.

Didn’t that power belong to the Lightning kingdom? A Thorn player shouldn’t be able to use that power, and yet there it was. It wasn’t even like I had to purchase it. I already had it!

I exited out of the menu and looked at the dragon. Its light was only growing brighter, which concerned me. Standing in the middle of the crowd, I looked to my left and right. Began pushing through the crowd, moving away from it. Reached the edge of the sea of people, then moved past it.

-1 HP

-1 HP

-2 HP

-1 HP

-3 HP

-2 HP

-1 HP

The dragon’s light grew brighter. The archers continued hurling arrows. The dragon’s HP Bar was now only a third full.

Grass crunched under my feet. I wondered what other people thought of me. Did they think I was running away? It didn’t matter. Still, that’s what I thought about.

Using powers was weird for the first time, in pretty much any VRMMORPG. You had to learn to make your imaginary body do incredible things, things that didn’t really make any sense, when you came right down to it.

I focused on my eyes. Thought about the energy in them. Thought about how that might build.

I imagined lightning shooting out of my eyes. The visualization helped me believe.

While I did that, the dragon opened its mouth wide. It almost looked like its jaw had unhinged, the thing opened its mouth so damn wide.

The light had begun to crackle. Now it was obvious. That wasn’t light coming from the creature’s mouth and eye sockets; it was lightning.

The massive ball of lightning shot out of the dragon’s mouth.

My heart raced.

-50/20 HP

-200/10 HP

-300/10 HP

-175/10 HP

People were screaming.

-75/20 HP

-400/20 HP

-250/20 HP

-300/10 HP

The crowd I’d moved away from got decimated. The HP Statuses floated above the crowd’s head, conveying one powerful message: the PCs didn’t stand a chance.

Calling the dragon’s power a lightning bolt would’ve been gravely understating the situation. It was more like a tower of lightning — a block of lightning that was able to take out some twenty guys at once.

And it didn’t simply disappear like a bolt of lightning did.

The lightning continued to pour from the dragon’s mouth.

It craned its neck to the right, putting the lightning in the path of some of the archers who were still attacking it.

-250/20 HP

-300/10 HP

-500/10 HP

-75/20 HP

-400/20 HP

Luckily I was still to the left of it. I moved further to the left. In that effort I was joined by a couple of lucky archers.

There were about ten Stone players still attacking the dragon while on its back. But there were only five Thorn players now: me and four archers.

-1 HP

-1 HP

-1 HP

-2 HP

My fear fueled the lightning behind my eyes. I felt it growing stronger and stronger.

The questions came hard and fast: Would the lightning hurt? How long would it take until I could see again? Was this all a glitch? How could I even get Lightning Eyes?

Of course, none of the questions mattered. I slowed my breathing, letting the lightning build. Letting it grow.

The last of the archers on the dragon’s right side had been felled, which meant it was slowly craning its neck towards us. Its HP Bar was only 25% full.

If I die killing this dragon, some other asshole will take my XP.

Now that was a question that stuck in my mind. Almost made me turn tail and run.

But of course, it was too late. The dragon was too close. The lightning in my eyes was desperate to come out.

I unleashed it.

My eyes burned like mad, and I couldn’t see a goddamn thing.

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