Dragon

LitRPG/GameLit series: Age of the Behemoths - Chapter 1


Chapter 1

BETA TESTING

 

Noah ducked then rolled as the Urhzig's colossal hooves crashed down right next to his face. The ground shook and a cloud of dirt erupted from the earth like a geyser. He covered his face as debris and small rocks hurtled down around him. Noah could feel all the vibrations from his full-body, VR haptic suit.

 

 "Roh, watch out!" called a female voice. But before he had a chance to move, he felt a stronger vibration on his legs in the real world as the Urhzig's spiny, rock-encrusted tail slammed down on his legs in the game.

  

 Critical Damage Taken.

 

Noah checked his health points on his indicator bar above. His health was down to 50/100HP and his stamina was down to 10%. Another hit like that and he could fail this hunt. He had already fainted twice before during this battle. Now, down to his last vigor, he had to be extra cautious in his strategy. I need to play more defensively. The giant creature lifted its tail ready to finish Noah, but he anticipated this and rolled backward out of the monster's reach.

 

 "Shit! That was a huge blow!" cried the voice again from an outcrop some distance away. It was his party member Florrie. She crouched down and lowered her crossbow aiming at the large beast's underbelly. The only part of the beast that was exposed and not covered with rock armor plating. She closed one eye and took in a deep breath. She couldn't afford to miss her aim. Florrie pulled the trigger and unleashed a Tranq Bolt.

  

 Tranq Bolt

 Instant Damage: 35 Physical Damage

 Damage Over Time: 90 Toxic Damage over 3 secs

 Primary Effect: 80% chance of tranquilizing target for 15 secs

Side Effect: 10% chance of Hallucinogenic side effect over 5 secs

Secondary Effect: Due to the side effect, the target enters an enraged, trance-like state known as Bestial Rage increasing attack damage by 100% 

  

The Tranq bolt hit true, right in the left flank of the Urhzig. The beast instantly dropped to the ground, asleep. Florrie let out a deep breath. Noah could sense that she was not only relieved with her accurate and timely hit but that she was probably also relieved that her Tranq Bolt’s side effect did not trigger. Probably more so the latter considering that Elves had great accuracy, particularly Moonweave Elves like Florrie. Therefore precision was less of an issue for her.

“Thanks, I owe you one!” shouted Noah. 

He analyzed the motionless monster with his Analyse Species ability while he tried to recover from the earlier attack.

  

 Urhzig - Level 10

The Urhzig is a ground-dwelling, rock-encrusted monster with high armor and defense against physical attacks. Its appearance always resembles the stones around its habitat and surrounding territory, making it difficult to see until you are far too close to it to escape.

Species: Terra Behemoth

Size: Medium

Role: Omega

Status: Asleep

Element: Terra

Strengths: High Armour, High Defence & Camouflage

Weaknesses: Low AgilityAstral & Tempest

Resistances: Shock, Blaze & Torrent

 

 "I've got you!" called his friend Rye with his booming, almost guttural, voice originating from the Half-Orc in him. He pulled Noah up with his thickset arms covered in tribal tattoos and placed a healing pack on the ground. Noah moved within the radius of the healing pack to absorb the health being emitted. 

Rye continued, "Since we now know its weakness from your analysis, we know the best weapon attack would be your Astral Axe." The Urhzig roused from his slumber. Rye moved forward towards the beast and swung his hammer pounding the Urhzig's tail.

  

 Rye hit the Urhzig for 150 Blunt Damage! 

  

 "My turn!" shouted Arkie, their final group member jumping onto Rye using his Aero Flip. He made it look so effortless, which was partly due to his racial affinity in agility as a Drow elf and partly due to his elite skills as a hardcore gamer.

  

 Aero Flip Skill

 Allows players to use behemoths, the environment, or even other players as a makeshift springboard.

  

Arkie then dived down onto the Urzhig's back and straddled the beast as he tried to keep his balance so as not to fall off. The Urzhig tried to buck him off, but Arkie used his thighs and knees to squeeze the monster's sides to gain extra grip. He watched the beast's movements carefully to counter them. Then, finding the opportune moment, he drew out his dual blades and thrust one of them into the back of the Urhzig. This allowed him to create an improvised hook to hold onto with one hand so as not to fall. 

  

 Arkie hit the Urhzig for 75 Pierce Damage! (x 0.25 Added Multiplier)

  

 The beast shrieked and reared upwards, but Arkie held on. He then shifted his body to the side to reach the Urhzig's underbelly and stabbed at it.

 

 Arkie hit the Urhzig for 114 Pierce Damage! (x 0.90 Added Multiplier)

  

 The Terra Behemoth reared up a second time. Arkie pulled out the blade from its back and slid down. When he finally reached its tail, he let loose a frenzied four-hit combo attack on it, where he sliced manically with his dual blades and dismembered the tail.

  

Multiple Attack of 4:

For each hit, Arkie hit the Urhzig for 105 Pierce Damage! 

(x 0.75 Added Multiplier)

  

 "That's how you do it!" spat Arkie. His eyes as grey as his mood. Emotionless.

Noah couldn’t understand how Arkie could be so indifferent. Those moves were awesome! I’d be euphoric. Noah was in awe at Arkie’s maneuvers. This was the first time he had seen Arkie be so good at close quarter, melee attacks when his usual specialty as a Gunslinger was ranged attacks. I guess that’s the great thing amount multi-specialisms.

 

As Arkie bent down to pick up the loot, his long, silver hair fell forward, a vast contrast to his dark grey skin and the smoky black garb he wore.

 

 Arkie Picked Up Severed Urhzig Tail.

 

With a long shriek, the mammoth creature began its retreat to the cliffs. Florrie came running over, her long auburn curls bouncing as she strode over to Noah. His stomach knotted and to avoid her gaze, he looked over at Rye who followed closely behind with his dark, disheveled hair and his usual beaming smile. Noah responded with a half-smile. Nothing ever phases him. I wish I was like that.

“It’s trying to get away!” yelled Florrie. “Everyone attack!” The entire party chased after the Terra Behemoth and surrounded it, watching their positions so as not to get trampled. In quick succession, they all attacked at it. Noah watched as the Urhzig head-butted Rye, knocking the wind out of him and flinging him several yards away.

“Guys, a little help here,” said Rye, as he got back up.

“We need to do something before it charges at him and finishes him off,” said Noah keeping some distance away from the gigantic beast who looked about ready to lunge at Rye.

“I’ll use my combo attack to take aggro, said Arkie. Moving in at great speed, he interrupted the Urhzig’s attack as he targeted its hind leg with his dual blade combo attack.

 

Multiple Attack of 4:

For each hit, Arkie hit the Urhzig for 78 Pierce Damage! 

(x 0.30 Added Multiplier) 

 

The Terra Behemoth now focussed on Arkie.

 

 “Nice one my man!” said Rye as he joined up with the group and emoted a high-five.

Arkie left him high and dry. “Oh fuck! My blades are losing their sharpness!”

“Don’t worry,” said Florrie. “It’s almost down as it’s doing its final moves where it shakes boulders off its ba—”.

Massive rocks raced through the air all around them. One of them, the size of an average boulder, missed Noah’s face by mere inches. “Whoa! That was too damn close,” exclaimed Noah.

Arkie pulled out a whetstone and glided the blades along its edge until they sang. “Ah, my beauts.”

“Roh, you hit the final blow while we cover you,” ordered Arkie.

“On it!” said Noah as he unslung his Astral Axe and held it at the ready. The weapon, etched with runic markings along the haft of the ax, emanated an ethereal indigo glow with luminous particles.

The Urhzig lowered its head to the ground, ready to charge at Noah. Its eyes narrowing as it leaped towards him. With a hefty forward swing, he struck a finishing blow against its skull.

 

Critical Hit. Multiplier Applied.

Roh hit the Urhzig for 174 Physical Damage! (x 0.85)

Roh hit the Urhzig for 250 Elemental Damage!

Bonus 250 Damage from Astral weakness.

 

As the monstrosity plummeted to the ground, the earth beneath them trembled and a large cloud of dust arose as if suspended in the air for a short delay.

“Great job guys!” said Noah. 

Arkie merely nodded his approval.

 

“Yeah, go team!” shouted Florrie enthusiastically displaying a thumbs up.

“We did good,” said Rye. “Now to get me some loot!” 

Noah pulled out his carving blade and carved the felled beast’s skull as he hoped to gain an Urhzig nasal bone which had a higher chance if carved from the skull. He needed that bone material to craft an Urhzig crossbow that enables players to shoot forth rock bolts which were handy at stunning behemoths or any of the other fauna hoping to hunt Noah as their next prey.

 

Roh Picked Up Urhzig Pelt

 

Without even looking at it, Noah threw it in his pouch. Great, like I don’t already have seven of them. I guess it’s to be expected from a beta test. They really need to balance the spawn rate for when the game is finally released. I just need one more Urhzig nasal bone. We will need to do another run. 

Triumphant fanfare bellowed. Instinctively, Noah looked up as the popup displayed for the victory screen in golden lettering among a fireworks display.

 

Mission Complete – Victory!

1300XP Gained

150 Copper Coins Gained

Materials Gained:

2 x Urhzig Pelt

3 x Urzhig Scales

1 x Urzhig Eye

Time Taken: 57 minutes and 13 seconds

 

Noah then checked the time displayed on the HUD at the top right corner of his periphery.

 

In-game time: 1:27 pm

Real-World Time: 3:15 am

  

 “Should we have one more go?” asked Rye.

Crestfallen Noah looked down at the ground. “I want to, but I can’t believe it took so long. I have a big day at work with an early meeting so I can’t afford to be late. I better go get some sleep considering it’s already 3:15 am and I’m probably going to feel like crap in a few hours anyway.”

“That’s alright we can always do it tomorrow night. Same time?” asked Rye.

“Yeah sounds good to me,” said Noah.

 

Arkie logged out.

 

“Okay…bye then. LOL,” said Noah.

“Don’t take it personally. You know what he is like. A man of few words. Unless it’s about gloating of course, then he can’t shut up,” said Florrie.

“I guess.” Noah then turned to face Rye. “I had fun. Can’t wait until later so I can finally get my crossbow and we can move on to the next behemoth. At least it will be the weekend so I won’t have to worry about work.”

“Same here, see you then,” said Rye.

 

Rye logged out.

 

Urgh alone with Florrie. Could they make it any more obvious?! I swear they always log out quickly on purpose as they know I’m so awkward around women.

 

“That was so much fun. I can’t wait to play again,” said Florrie.

“Yeah…same,” bumbled Noah, followed by an embarrassing silence that seemed to last a lifetime. He was at a loss for words. He was very fond of Florrie, as were the others. They had mentioned it to him many times in the past. It was hard not to be when she had such a warm demeanor and looks that matched her in-game avatar. But ever since his heart was broken five years ago, and his world forever changed because of it, he found it impossible to ever allow himself to be vulnerable again.

  

“Good luck with your meeting at work,” said Florrie, breaking the silence.

“Oh thanks,” said Noah, turning back to face Florrie as his insides knotted.

“See you later!”

“Uh… yeah…see you then”. He felt his stomach lurch and his hands got clammy. 

 

Florrie logged out.

 

Noah logged out, turned off all his kit, and removed his VR headset as well as his haptic suit.

It felt like he had only just laid his head down and closed his eyes when his alarm wailed. The sun was shining through the edges of the curtains. Noah groaned as he got up and got ready for work. He hurried out the house at 6:30 am to try and avoid the early morning traffic.

The day was uneventful, the same old grind only with a boring meeting to start it off. He returned home at around 7 pm having been stuck in the late afternoon traffic for over an hour.

Oh, the joys of work and commuting.

 

He hated his job, but he stuck with it as it was a stable job compared to his dream job of becoming a video game designer. Society seemed to glamorize risk with all the success stories of those that grew into power from humble beginnings. He knew all too well how risk could actually destroy lives.

 

Noah shoveled some leftover pizza in his mouth and was ready to continue the virtual reality MMORPG ‘Age of the Behemoths’ from where he left off the night before, or rather the early morning hours. However, his eyes felt so heavy and his body ached. As much as he was dying to play the game to escape his long, monotonous day, he was too tired to focus on anything. I won’t be much help to the team today anyway. I better log in just to let them know I’m skipping a nigh—.

 

***

 

Feeling a sharp pain, Noah opened his eyes not realizing he ever closed them. His headset was resting sideways on his chest digging under his chin. Oh crap! I must have dozed off. What time is it?!? Checking his watch that he still had on, he noticed that it was already 5:55 am Saturday.

Damn it! I better try to log in. Don’t want to let the team down.

 

 Please enter your username and password.

 

Noah entered his username.

 

Sorry, the username "Rohgar" does not exist.

 - Chapter End.

 

 

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Amelia
Amelia

LitRPG and GameLit author of SFF.


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