4: Player Encounter

I closed the status window, amazed I had such a thing at my disposal. I didn’t know what half the words meant, obviously, but I still had them and that’s what mattered here.

Before I could relish the odd power I held at my fingertips, a ringing bell went off in my ear. I looked up, thinking the keep might have a bell tower, but no. The ringing was coming from my head.

Frowning, I tried to tune it out. The ringing gradually got lower but it became a constant presence in the back of my mind; quiet, but not enough to ignore. What was this-

A piercing whistle reached my ears as something zipped through the snow toward my guard companion. My eyes widened as it struck her, penetrating through her armor and into her chest. I saw her shudder for a bit before collapsing to the ground.

Another whistle sounded but I had the good sense to drop to my knees, narrowly dodging the projectile. It harmlessly shattered against the keep walls and fell down into the snow. Snatching it up, I observed whatever the heck it was that just killed the other guard.

An arrow.

The keep was under attack! Was that what the ringing was trying to tell me? Cursing at my lack of observation, I snatched up my spear and kept low to the ground, ready to dodge should another arrow come my way.

I didn’t hear another whistle, but a black silhouette caught my eye. The ringing shut off as soon as I saw it, thankfully. It approached cautiously, giving me enough time to think about what I should do. I couldn’t let whoever was out there get into the keep; I was protecting it for who knows what reason, but something told me I could not let the gate be breached.

Determined to stop the invader in their tracks, I stood up and bellowed the loudest war cry I could manage. Hopefully, it would carry over the wind and alert whoever was behind the walls that someone was coming. Holding up my spear, I charged the approaching shadow. They stopped moving but I heard them shout, “[Pierce]!”

I jumped to the side when I heard the whistle, but the arrow still clipped my shoulder. Wincing, I shook off the pain and kept moving, ignoring the blood seeping through my gambeson. The shadow was close, now, and I could just make out the invader’s slim frame. They held a bow in hand and had a rather large arrow nocked. “[Double Shot]!”

The arrow loosed and I again jumped to the side but then it split into two. I couldn’t dodge the second projectile in time and it hit my chest but the thick fabric of my armor halted most of the arrow’s momentum. The point only just pricked the skin underneath, barely hurting me. I took a split second to tear the arrow out and toss it away before dashing toward the invader.

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I was close enough now to see that the shooter was a blonde male wearing leather armor. His face was obscured by a mask but I could feel a slight panic radiating off him as he backpedaled quickly, desperately reaching for another arrow. I didn’t let him get it, lunging forward while thrusting my spear toward his stomach. To both our surprises, the spear blade bounced off his thick, leather fauld.

He recovered faster than me, whipping out a knife from his belt and lunging forward. I hastily brought my spear up to parry the attack, eyes widening in shock as that tiny blade carved through the wooden shaft, neatly slicing it in half.

“Oh, fu-“

The man plunged his dagger into my neck, not even having the decency to let me finish.

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Player Barracupid defeated NPC [Elden Guard Keeper] (1). Player has been awarded 15 EXP.

Reviving NPC [Elden Keep Guard] (1)…NPC revived at full health and returned to location >Elden Keep Gate<.


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