Chapter 1: introduction
In a dimly lit room with nothing but the bare grey wall and only nine metal chairs and the end of the long metal table the apparent video camera stood on, there was nothing but silence
"Okay, you all can come in" a mutter was heard from the side followed my light flooding in to the room and multiple footsteps, the screeching of the metal chairs being drawn back as multiple figures sat down, one was a young man wearing a casual green flannel shirt over a black t-shirt and brown messy hair was all that could be seen of the first person, the figure adjusted the mic on his shirt as the lights turned on, tan skin, a freckled face and emerald eyes could now be seen
"Start whenever your all ready, just introduce yourselves" the voice spoke again, one of the boys looking to the side then nodded before taking a deep breath
"Hi…" he said before continuing "My name is Henry Haddock, or Hiccup as my username is, we were asked to tell the story of my… well, our experience in the… other world" the other chair screeched as a black hair with a single white strip boy sat down next to him in a white biker jacket overtop of a blue jumpsuit with a black right sleeve and has blue eyes
"Artha Penn, dragon booster was my username and this is what happened, a virtual reality multiplayer RPG was released and it was a big thing, I was the first to get the game once it released, Hic here was a Beta Tester, This program was called World Of Warcraft Art Online, or WOWAO, was released with this thing called NerveGear, a helmet that stimulates the user's five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds." He took a deep breath as the others continue to introduce themselves
"Callum katol, callum was my username and I as well as a few others were a part of hiccup's guild right after his people joined in as well as artha's people" he said as he sits down in the third seat wearing a purple undershirt where it is tucked back by a black belt with a silver buckle and dark blue jacket, he also wears dark gray trousers with dark brown boots and brown fingerless gloves, a red scarf and a satchel as he gave a nod to artha and hiccup
"james lake junior, trollhunter was my username and I was in the riders of freedom with my girlfiend and my bestfriends as well as her best friends" he also takes the fourth seat at the table with nothing a blue zip up jacket with a white shirt, blue jeans and blue and white sneakers as he waves to the others
"Aja tarron, ajarron was my username" she took the sixth seat with the fifth one remaining open, she is wearing a red checkered button shirt, jeans and red sneakers
"Elsa winters, snow queen was my username" she also took the seventh seat next to Aja, wearing an icy blue dress with clear blue heels and a blue denim jacket
"rapunzel spring, flowerblondie was my username" she took the eighth seat while hugging elsa, wearing a purple dress, purple denim jacket and a small green chameleon on her shoulder looking around at the others
"ruby rose and littlered was my username" she took the ninth and final seat and gently pets the chameleon before waving back to everyone else while wearing a black long-sleeved dress with a high collar and red trim on the sleeves, a black waist cincher with red lacing up the front and around her skirt has a red trim. She also wears a pair of thick black stockings and black combat boots with red laces and trims around the top and red soles.
Her outfit is topped by a red hooded cloak fastened to her shoulders by cross-shaped pins. Her emblem appears as a large silver brooch and is pinned to a wide black belt slung around her hips on an angle, which also carries bullets and a pouch.
"and we are all part of the same guild the riders of freedom"
"On November 6, 12,000,000 players log into the WOWAO's mainframe cyberspace for the first time and discover that they are unable to log-out. We quickly discovered that val morando and others in his guild, had hijacked WOWAO and NerveGear from the original creators Aja and krel tarron, they must reach the 135th zone, while having cleared 44 of the game's raids and 121 of the dungeons in Azeroth and defeat the final boss, morando himself, if they wish to be free. Those who suffer in-game destruction or remove the NerveGear out-of-game will result in their real-life deaths." He spoke seriously, glancing at artha
"We lost a lot of people in that game" he muttered, eyes glazed over as he looked in to the camera
"five years can do a lot to a person, that much horror, the need to survive, no matter what, we have done some things we weren't proud of… and no one, and I mean no one… came out of that… torture the same… but I guess, here is our story"
Chapter 2: Vanilla
The year was 2022 and today was the brand-new release of a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or VRMMORPG, called World of War Online. The game was based around high fantasy role-playing game created in 2004, called World of Warcraft.
A fifteen year old was looking at his TV, which was showing a prologue of the game he was about to play. Once it was over a report appeared on the screen, she was setting behind her desk with a large monitor behind showing images of gaming stores with a large line of people in front of each and every one.
"Hi there," said the reporter. "Time for this week's MMO Stream. You've just seen a prologue of today's featured game and this is what last week's launch day looks like. Can you guess what everyone is waiting in line for? World of Warcraft online! The first person who stood in line said they camped for three days. Hey, if you're a hard-core gamer that's what you do."
As she was talking the boy was reading the article about the game. It showed an image of the creator of the game, a pioneer in VRMMORPG, Krel Tarron.
"On today's episode of MMO Stream, we'll be covering the internationally famous World of Warcraft Online, a.k.a. WOWO, up to now none of various software we've seen has taken advantage of the possibilities of the hardware."
"Son, I'm off to work," the boy's father called from behind the door. "See you later."
The boy looked out of the window to see his father leaving for work. His father was a mountain of a man with a huge red beard and he was so busy at work he only had time for himself and his employees.
"The beta testers say it's incredible," said the reporter excitedly. "I wish I could have got one. The first release was only permitted to twelve million copies and those fans in line snapped them up and online the game sold out in seconds."
The boy then walked over to a device that looked a lot like a helmet, it wasn't easy since he was missing his left leg, which he lost during a car accident. In truth it was a device called a NerveGear. It was invented by Krel himself it was designed to allow the user to enter into a virtual reality.
He placed the helmet on his head, plugging the cord, placed the World of Warcraft Online game in the console and lay down on his bed. About a minute later, his eyes closed and said, "Link start!"
In that split second he entered into virtual reality and once he selected his language, input his account and password and selected his character the game began. The first thing he saw was the big letters saying Welcome to World of Warcraft Online! then he found himself in a large city with the blue roof tops of the surrounding buildings.
He blinked his eyes just to get the feel of the surroundings and found that he had successfully entered the game.
"Hello world, I'm back," he said.
His name in the game was Hiccup and he was a human hunter. The game has two major factions: the Alliance and the Horde, with 6 main races between both factions and 4 additional allied races and twelve different classes. the classes were: warrior, paladin, hunter, rogue, priest, mage, warlock, shaman, monk, druid, demon hunter and death knight. There were a total of twenty one species for both factions: for the Alliance; Human, Kul Tiran Human, Night elf, Void elf, Dwarf, Dark Iron Dwarf, Draenei, Light-forged draenei, gnome and worgen and for the Horde; orc, Mag'har orc, Tauren, Highmountain tauren, troll, Zandalari troll, blood elf, nightborne elf, undead, and goblin. Each race has its own advantages and each class has its own specialization talent trees and abilities.
The main objective of the game was to conquer every single dungeon on all 135 zones of the world of Azeroth, Outland and Draenor. Each dungeon has its own boss or bosses and in order to move onto the next zone, you have to beat the final boss, naturally there will be no way you could do it on your own so you have to team up with other players.
Soon more people appeared and they too began to cheer as they successively entered the game as well. In fact you could hear their cries all across the city.
Hiccup hadn't wasted any time and began running through the streets and that caught the eye of a black haired human.
"Hey, wait!" the human yelled running after him.
Hiccup came to a stop. "What's up?"
"You're acting like you know your way around this place and I can only guess that you were one of the beta testers, weren't you?" the human said slyly.
Hiccup rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Uh, yeah."
The human smiled. "Cool, today is my first day and I was hoping you could give me some tips on the other zones."
"Uh… I don't know if I can—"
"Oh, I'm not asking you for something for nothing. If you help me, I'll help you in conquering the dungeons. You have to admit you can't do it by yourself and I happen to be a paladin and you know it's very rare to see a paladin of my skill set."
The human made a good point, having him on his side would help him enormously with conquering the zones. Trying to find another available mage would be next to impossible.
"You're on," said Hiccup extending his hand.
The human grabbed his hand and shook it. "Awesome, my name is Artha."
Hiccup then guided him to the outskirts of the city in the forest of Elwynn forest and they began training. It was then that Hiccup noticed that Artha wasn't using a sword and shield or a mace, he was using a two handed sword.
"I thought you said you were paladin?" he said curiously.
"I am, but I'm a retribution paladin and I find sword much easier to hold than a mace," Artha explained. "I do have a mace, but only to boost my healing magic and all. I rather not announce to everyone that I'm a dual talent paladin."
Hiccup could see the logic in that, paladins class may have powerful magic, but they can be weak on offence and defence if they become used to one spec. Normally they would hang back and help heal other players during the battle and they could still lend support.
But Artha was in the midst of battle where his magic could be more beneficial and easier to hit his mark. Of course, this meant that he was putting himself in danger, but from what he could see so far he was handling so pretty well.
"An interesting tactic," said Hiccup.
Artha shrugged. "You have to admit, it'll catch the enemy by surprise."
"Just remember that some enemies will have a resistance to magic or at least one type of it, like fire or ice," Hiccup advised.
Artha nodded. "Yeah, I heard there were special accessories that limited the damage to most magical attacks."
"Word of advice when dealing with an enemy. If you have your initial motion just right and activate a sword skill at the right time…" Hiccup and picked up a stone and then toss that the wild boar. As he threw it the stone had a red aura around it and it slammed into the boar with a great amount of force. "The system pretty much guarantees you always hit your target."
Thanks to the NerveGear the two boys were able to see the boar's health and saw a drop down the moment the stone slammed into it.
"Initial motion?" said Artha.
"Here is an easier way of looking at it," said Hiccup as he drew his bow. The boar then charged at him and he easily dodged it and when the boar charged at him once again he blocked it with his bow easily. "Right after you start your move, wait for a little bit and when you feel the skill start activate, drive it home."
Artha nodded. "Drive it home?"
He then raised his sword and it began to glow red and Hiccup smiled, releasing the boar and kicked it towards him. The boar charge straight at him, but before it could make contact Artha slashed his sword setting a powerful shockwave towards it.
The boar didn't stand a chance and it was sliced in half and seconds later it disintegrated. Artha then got a notice informing him of the amount of experience, Gold and the number items he got from slaying it.
"Not bad," said Hiccup, but he was slightly curious. "How are you able to do that? I mean, an attack that powerful requires training and you said you weren't a beta tester."
Artha shrugged. "Dumb luck?" He then looked at the other wild boars. "I take it that was a low-level monsters."
"Yeah, it was."
"Still, it was pretty tough."
"If you think that was tough wait until you see the bosses."
"I think I would prefer to wait until I'm on a higher level."
They both laughed.
"Tell me, how does the level up system work in this game?" Artha asked looking at his sword.
"Just like in normal games, but there is a limited number of skills which can give you bonuses as you level up. In fact there are some areas in the game where you can't enter without the right level and by mastering a number of professions you get a bonus."
Artha whistled. "Boy, they really outdid themselves when they made this game."
"Yeah, it is a bit much to take in."
"What do you say we move on?" said Artha sheathing in his sword.
"You're on," said Hiccup doing the same.
Later that afternoon they both stared at the sunset and looked across the land. The zone itself was large, in fact from where they were, they couldn't even see the sea, but they knew that it did surround the entire continent.
"You know, when I look around I can't believe it," said Artha as he lay on the grass. "We're inside a game. Krel Tarron is a genius. Makes you glad you were born when you did, doesn't it?"
Hiccup shook his head. "It's not that big a deal."
"Give me a break, it's my first full dive."
Hiccup looked at him. "You never used a NerveGear before today, huh? This is your first time ever?"
"My dad doesn't like me using one. In the end I had to buy one behind his back, in fact he doesn't even though I have one."
Hiccup stared at him. "Why would your dad not want you to use a NerveGear?"
Artha shrugged. "I don't know, maybe he's concerned for my safety or something." He then looked at him. "You know you're kinda lucky. I mean you got a beta test and only a thousand people got the chance."
Hiccup of the back of his head. "Ya, I guess I was lucky."
"So, how far did get in the beta test?" Artha asked.
"Uh, in two months and I can get any further than the eighth zone. But now I think I can get there within a month easy."
Artha smiled. "And I'll be there to help you along the way."
"I could always use the help. You know, ever since I got to beta test the game, WOWO has been on my mind day and night." Hiccup then drew his blade. "In this world a single blade or a single spell can take you anywhere you want to go. And even though it's a virtual world, I feel more alive here than I ever did in the real one."
He then looked down at Artha. "So? You want to go hunting?"
"I would love to, but I best log out before my dad shows. He's at work and he always comes back at five thirty on the dot. If he finds out I bought a NerveGear for me and my brother behind his back he's going to kill me."
Hiccup chuckled. "Yeah, I can see why you want to leave."
Artha then got onto his feet. "Anyway, the game can wait. It's not like it's going anywhere."
Hiccup sighed. "I guess."
This didn't go unnoticed by Artha. "It's something the matter?"
"No… it's nothing," Hiccup assured.
"If you say so," Artha shrugged.
Hiccup watched as Artha opened his main menu screen and began to walk away.
"What?" said Artha. Hiccup came to a sudden stop and looked at him. "Where's the Logout button?"
"It should be there," said Hiccup puzzled.
"Well it's not."
"It should be at the bottom of the main menu."
He then opened his main menu, but he only found three buttons and they were Options, Help and the Exit button, but no Logout.
"See, I told you," said Artha noticing the puzzled look on his face.
"You're right, it's not," said Hiccup confused.
"This is one heck of a bug and I'm willing to bet the server people are freaking out right now."
"You will too," said Hiccup gesturing to the clock which now said five twenty-five. "Look, it's five twenty-five."
Artha looked horrified. "My dad is going to kill me!"
"You could try contacting the Game Master," Hiccup suggested.
"I already tried, but nothing is happening," said Artha showing Hiccup the screen that contacted the Game Master. "I suppose you know if there is another way to log out of this thing?"
Hiccup thought for moment. "No, whenever a player wants to logout of WOWO the only way they can do it is by going through the menu."
Artha stared at him horrified. "So… what you're saying is were stuck here."
Hiccup rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm afraid so. I read the manual from cover to cover and there was no emergency logout."
"Please tell me you're kidding," Artha begged.
"I wish and what's worse is that you're not able to move your body in the real world once you're plugged in. The NerveGear intercepts all your commands you give from inside the game using an interface built into the rig."
"So you mean we've got to wait until someone gets around and fixing this bug."
"That or until someone in the real world comes along and takes the NerveGear off us."
"You know that's a very comforting to someone whose dad is gonna kill them the moment he finds out that they've bought the stuff to play this game behind his back," Artha sighed. "What about you?"
"Well, there's my dad and mum, but my dad spends a lot of time at work and my mother went missing some time after I was born and was presumed dead."
"Oh, sorry to hear that, my mother died from a form of cancer, two years after my brother was born." said Artha rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.
"Never mind that. Don't you think this is weird?"
"Only an idiot would believe this isn't weird," said Artha with a raised eyebrow. "You think it's more than just a bug, don't you?"
Hiccup looked around. "Yeah, if we can't logout it's going to cause serious problems for the game."
"You've got a point, I can only imagine how much the companies can be sued," said Artha rubbing his chin.
"I wonder if the developers know what's happening, because they can just shut down the server and log everyone out?" Hiccup pondered. "But why haven't they made an announcement?"
"Something is definitely up," Artha agreed.
Then they heard the gong of a bell and Hiccup felt an ominous feeling around. Next second both he and Artha vanished into thin air.
Seconds later, Hiccup found himself back in the town centre along with Artha and then all round them other players of different races began to reappear. Judging from their faces they had no idea what was going on either.
"This doesn't look good," said Artha.
"Someone forced a teleport," said Hiccup.
The bell then stopped and then someone pointed up in the sky. "Look, up there!"
"Now what?" Hiccup groaned looking up.
Up in the sky was a red icon that said Warning. Suddenly more similar icons appeared in the sky until the entire area was covered in them. The sky was now an eerie red and what looked like blood oozed out in between the lines of the icons.
The blood then began to take form and they saw sparks of electricity sparking the form.
"What in the hell is that thing?" said Artha.
Eventually the blood stopped pouring and it took the form of a large man in a blood red robe in his entire face was covered by a hood. Hiccup recognises it at once, it was the Game Master.
The players began to talk amongst themselves.
"Is that the Game Master?"
"Why doesn't he have a face?"
"Is this an event?"
"I'm scared," said a girl.
"Don't worry, it's part of the opening ceremony," said the young man next to her as he hugged her.
Hiccup had a feeling that it was going to be something more.
"Attention, players!" The Game Master announced. "I welcome you, to my world."
Hiccup like the sound of that. "What does he mean by that?"
"I don't know, but I have a feeling it's not going to be good," Artha whispered.
The Game Master then continued. "My name is Val Morando… and as of this moment I am in control of this world."
Hiccup gasped, the Game Master was Krel Tarron, the creator of the game and the NerveGear and he thought to himself, "who is this man and why does he have access to the admin controls of this game?" Apparently everyone else was surprised as they began muttering amongst themselves.
He then continued. "I'm sure most of you have already noticed an item missing from the main menus. The logout button." He then demonstrated by opening his own main menu screen. "Let me assure you, this is not a defect in the game. I repeat… this is not a defect. This is how World of Warcraft Online was designed to be."
Artha just stared at him bewildered. "He's kidding, right?"
"You cannot logout yourself out of WOWO and no one from the outside will be able to shut down or remove the NerveGear from your head. If anyone attempts to do so, a transmitter inside the NerveGear will discharge a microwave signal into your skull… destroying your brain and ending your life."
Hiccup can't believe what he was hearing this apparently everyone else was thinking the same thing. He noticed the boy and girl from earlier trying to walk out of the city centre, but they slammed into an invisible wall.
"Hey, I can't get out!" the boy yelled.
"I can't believe I'm hearing this," said Artha looking at Hiccup. "He has to crazy."
"I think he's deadly serious," said Hiccup darkly. "The transmitter signal in the headgear is just like a microwave, if the safety is disabled it could fry your brain."
"Couldn't someone try cutting the power?"
Hiccup shook his head. "That won't work, the NerveGear has got an internal battery."
"Okay, so he is crazy."
Val then began to speak again. "Despite my warning, the family and friends of some of the players have attempted to removing the NerveGear. An unfortunate decision to say the least… as a result the game now has two hundred thirteen less players when it began. They've been deleted from both Azeroth and the real world."
Hiccup stared horrified. "Two hundred thirteen."
"I hope he's lying," said Artha with the same horrified expression on his face.
Apparently Val thought everyone else was thinking the same, because he summoned up several news reports from the real world and displayed them in front of them. All of them were from different news centres, but they all have the same story. He was telling the truth.
"As you can see international media outlets have around the world coverage of everything, including the deaths. At this point it's safe to assume the likelihood of another NerveGear being removed is minimal at best. I hope this brings a little comfort as you try to clear the game."
Comfort wasn't quite the word Hiccup would use. He can only imagine the reactions to the friends and family of all those people who have died.
"It's important that you remember the following, there is no longer any way to revive someone within the game, if your HP drops to zero your avatar will be deleted from the system… forever… and the NerveGear will simultaneously destroy your brain."
Hiccup stared horrified at him. This meant that this game had now become a game of survival and they will have to take it seriously or they die.
"There is only one way for a player to escape now. You must clear the game." He then showed them an image of Azeroth and began showing a pathway through all the zones, the one hundred twenty one dungeons and forty four raids. "Right now, you're gathered in the zone known as Elwynn forest, the starting zone for the human race. If you can conquer the zone and vanquish the boss, you may advance to the next zone. Defeat the boss final in the final dungeon and raid and you will clear the game."
Again the players began to talk amongst themselves.
"Why should we believe anything you say!" the boy from earlier yelled.
"He's not asking for much, is he?" said Artha. "Even the beta testers never reach it that high."
"Last but not least, I have placed a little present in the storage of every player," said Val. "Please, have a look."
Hiccup opened his main menu screen and looked through his items. Indeed he had something in storage, a mirror.
"A mirror?" he said puzzled and pulled it out.
He looked at it not sure what to do with it and then suddenly Artha was covered in a strange light.
"Artha!" he yelled.
Before he realised that every player was glowing in the same light, including him. When the light faded he felt nothing wrong.
"You all right, Hiccup," Artha asked.
"Yeah," said Hiccup turning to look at him. However where Artha stood was a completely different person. "Wait, who are you?"
"I'm me, the question is who are you?"
Hiccup looked at the mirror and his eyes widened. His avatar had completely changed, he was now auburn haired with his bangs covering his face and emerald green eyes. It was his real face. He also noticed that he had shrunk a bit and as did his body type.
He noticed people having the same problem, though they kept their individual race features their faces were completely different and bodies. That wasn't the only thing that changed, most of them changed sex.
"Son of a—" said the boy from earlier, it was now shorter and fatter. He was staring at the girls I was next to him, who turned out to be a guy. "You're a guy?"
"You're not seventeen." the former girl replied.
Hiccup then realised, the mirror had changed their avatars to match their real bodies.
He then said at Artha. "Wait a second, Artha?"
"Hiccup?" said Artha.
Artha was now slightly taller and was packing a bit more muscle and his facial features had changed, except for his hair remained black with a white stripe.
"Okay, what happened?" he said.
"The scan" said Hiccup remembering all the features and the NerveGear. "There's a high-density signal device inside the NerveGear rig. It can see what faces look like, but how does it know our height and body type?"
"Don't forget when you first put it on, it asks you to do this calibration thing by touching your body all over," Artha reminded.
"That's it, that's how it got the physical data," said Hiccup.
"I still don't understand. Why would anyone do this?"
Hiccup looked up at Val. "I think he's about to tell us."
"Right now you're probably wondering why? Why would Val Morando, take over the developers of World of Warcraft Online and NerveGear, do this?" said Alvin. "Ultimately, my goal was a simple one. The reason I stole World of Warcraft Online was to control the fate of a world of someone else's design."
Hiccup glared. "Val."
"As you can see, I have achieved my goal."
Hiccup clenched his fists, point of the game was to enjoy it and there was nothing enjoyable about a game where you can die.
"This marks the end of the tutorial and the official launch of World of Warcraft Online. Players, I wish you the best of luck."
Suddenly his avatar began to fade in and out like a glitch and began sucking up back into the cracks of the ceiling. Then the sky returned to normal and everyone stood there speechless.
Hiccup had a feeling that they were all thinking the same thing. It wasn't a game, it was now real. Krel Tarron had created a virtual world, he designed the NerveGear rig, the kid's a genius. Hiccup himself had been a fan of his for are long-time now and someone just hacked in and stole it and also came upon the realization that if he died in the game, he'll die in real life.
It didn't take long for everyone to stop panicking and yelling up into the sky. Hiccup the noted the barrier around the square lifting.
He grabbed Artha's arm. "Come on, Artha."
Hiccup had dragged Artha into a nearby alley so they can't be overheard.
"Okay, listen I'm heading out into the next zone and I want you to come," he said.
"Okay, but why?" Artha asked.
"If what he says is true, and I think it is, the only way we're going to survive here is to make ourselves strong as possible." He then showed Artha of the surrounding area. "In an MMORPG, the money you can earn, the XP… once the game has started, there's only so much of that stuff to go around. Look, the fields around the city of Stormwind are going to be picked clean soon. If we head to the next zone now we will have an easier time collecting cash and XP. Don't worry, I know all the paths and places we should avoid. Even if we were level one we should be able to get their easy and there are no majorly important dungeons in Elwynn forest so we can move on to the next zone."
"You know, I feel kinda bad leaving all those people behind." said Artha looking towards the square.
"I know, but right now though in a panic will take a while for them to calm down and during that time others will take advantage of it. The best way we can help them is by conquering the dungeons and zones."
"You're right, but doesn't make it any easier." he goes silent for a moment before his face turns to shock and his hands shoot up to his face, "oh my god, I can't believe I forgot."
"forgotten what?" Hiccup said as he checked his map for the easiest route out of the city
"my little brother, I need to go get him before something happens to him, will you wait for us just outside of the city?" Artha said as he started to jog out of the alley and back into the trade district while Hiccup nodded his head as Artha stood at the end of the alley and looked at Hiccup curiously.
"What's the matter?" Hiccup asked.
"Nothing, just you look way cooler than your avatar," said Artha.
Hiccup smiled. "Yeah, your face fits ten times better too."
Artha smiles back as he took off back into the trade district to look for his brother while hiccup headed on to the route he had picked and within minutes Hiccup made it outside the city where he patiently waited for artha and his brother, after about ten minutes of hiccup waiting, artha turned up with three additional people: a short red headed boy which hiccup assumed was Artha's brother, a black guy, almost the same height as artha, with brick red hair and a girl the same height as the black guy, with purplish red and blue hair. Hiccup got up from where he sat down and approached the small group, "hey Artha"
"hey hiccup, thanks for waiting for us, this is my little brother lance and the others are parmon and kitt, who kept lance safe until I came for him." artha gestured to each individual as hiccup stuck his hand out to shake their hands
They look into the sunset and when he looked back at each other they nodded. Together they rushed into the sunset and from that point on the five of them knew that they had to win this for everyone.
Some time later
Since the game began, a whole month had gone by, both Hiccup, Artha and their new friends had gotten up quite a few levels just to begin the game, but many others weren't so lucky. At least two thousand people had already been killed and they still haven't found and conquered the final raid boss.
However, within that one month the five of them had improved their skills and magic. Artha had learned a few healing spells and the others had followed suit since they couldn't play around anymore they had to play it safe and smart.
Hiccup had been a beta tester and even with that advantage they haven't been able to locate the boss's lair. However, today they were meeting other players in a small town in order to locate and defeat the boss.
They have all gathered in a small ruin, all the best players had gathered. In the middle stood a worgen warrior with short brown hair and a firm look on his face. He was the one who had contacted every player here so in truth he was the leader.
"Okay, now that everyone is here, let's get this meeting started," he said. Both Hiccup, Artha and his friends sat down on the steps and listened to every word he said. "Firstly, I want to thank everyone for coming. My name is James and I'm sure you're wondering why we've gathered here."
"To find and defeat the bosses raid zone, what else?" said a very stern human. However, unlike any other human they've seen he didn't have the typical human body type.
"Straight to the point that guy," Artha muttered.
Hiccup leaned towards him. "I've heard of him, his name is dagur and he's not someone you wanted an enemy."
James face became serious. "Yes, that is why we've gathered. My party has found the boss lair in the northern section of the continent." Everyone looked up and certainly everyone became very interested. "First, we have to reach the max level and then defeat the boss and make it the next zone. The next step is we have to tell everyone waiting in the other major cities that it is possible to beat this game. Fact is it is our duty as the most capable players here, do you agree or not?"
No one disagreed and one by one they began clapping.
"Well, he certainly knows how to inspire people," said Artha clapping as well.
"Yeah, he's definitely a born leader," Hiccup agreed.
James gestured for them to stop. "Anyway, glad to hear that you all are with me. Now, let's figure out how we're going to beat the boss. First off, we will team up into parties of five. A typical party doesn't stand a chance against the raid boss, we need a raid group made of eight parties."
This was a problem to Hiccup. Artha, lance, parmon and kitt were already talking to a guy with white hair with purple themed gear and since they hadn't recruited anyone else on their journey. They watched as everyone else began to team up, except for one girl.
She sat at the other side of the ruins, motionless. Hiccup could make out, because she was wearing a cloak and had a hood over her head, but clearly she was human. He noticed that strapped to her back was a battle axe and judging from the blade she sharpened it regularly.
Seeing how they had no other choice, hiccup wandered over to her.
"Got left out or something?" Hiccup asked.
"No, I wasn't left out… just everyone else seems already friends," she said.
"So you're solo," said Hiccup. "You know you could join us." Hiccup gestured to artha and his small group
Judging from the way she was moving it was clear that she wasn't interested.
Hiccup then spoke up. "You heard what he said, we can't beat the boss on our own and it would only be for this fight."
She remained silent for a few seconds and then she nodded. Hiccup pulled up his main menu and sent her an invite to join their party and the girl press the okay button.
At once her health screen joined his and he could see her name was Astrid.
Once that was done james spoke up again. "All right, looks like everyone teamed up. Now then—"
"Hold on a second!" a voice yelled.
Everyone looked up and saw a very angry-looking human looking down at them. He made his way down the steps and approached the center.
"My name is Hans, got that?" he said. He then turned and faced the players. "Before we set out for the boss. I want to get something off my chest. We all know the two thousand people who died so far and some of you need to apologize to them right now!"
Everyone looked at him confused. Hiccup exchanged a look at Artha and he could tell that they both knew what he was talking about. Apparently, James also knew, because he approached Hans.
"Hans, I think I know who you are referring to," he said. "You mean the ones who were ex-beta testers, right?"
"Of course I mean them," he said bitterly. "The day this stupid game started the beta guys just up and vanished, right? They did squat to us beginners, they snagged all the good hunting spots and they grabbed all the easy quests to. They were the only ones getting stronger in here and this whole time they've been treating us like we're nothing."
He then looked about the crowd with resentment. "Hell, I bet there's some of them here. Come on out beta testers. We should make them apologize to us and we should make them give out all their money and the items they got. They can't expect the party to trust them when they don't trust us. Why should we?"
"I don't think he gives a damn about those two thousand players," Artha whispered. "I think he just wants all their loot."
"It would seem that way," Astrid agreed.
Hiccup remained quiet, he can't help but think that Hans had a point. He may have teamed up with Artha and his friends but they did very little to help the other players that inhabit the game and they didn’t experience it like they did.
"Can I say something," said a voice.
Everyone turned and saw a large muscular Kul Tiran man with a blonde rope-like moustache standing up. Hiccup recognized him at once, he was an old friend of his dad's and he had no idea he was in the game.
Everyone watched as he walked down the steps approached Steve. "Hey, the names Gobber," he said looking down at the human. "Hans, right? I want to make sure I'm on the same page. You say the beta testers should be blamed for the rookie's death, because they didn't help them andYou want them to apologize and give up their winnings. I leave anything out?"
"No. You didn't."
Gobber then pulled out a small handbook. "The item store hand these out for free. It's a guidebook, you got one did and you?"
"Sure I got one," said Hans angrily. "So, what about it?"
"You know who was handing these out?" Gobber asked. "The ex-beta testers."
Everyone looked stunned, except for Hans, who looked annoyed. It looked like Artha was right on the money and he only said those things so he could to get the beta testers loot.
Gobber then turned and looked at the crowd. "Listen up, everyone had equal access tor this information. Even so a lot of players still died. I didn't come here ter point fingers at anyone, I'm here because I want ter learn from these players deaths. I'm here because I want to find out how were gonna beat the boss."
He then glared down at Hans, who could tell that he had been defeated. He walked up and a half and sat down at one of the steps and Gobber returned to his seat.
Once everyone has settled down James pulled out his own guidebook. "Okay, can we get back to the meeting now?" Everyone nodded any that had a copy shared with them their copy of the guidebook. "For info on the boss, it's all in here. The latest issue of the guidebook you just heard about."
Everyone looked up.
James then opened at the guidebook and began reading out loud info on the first boss. "According to the book, the bosses name is Kel'thuzad the lich lord of naxxramas. He's a lich that is surrounded by four main undead minions. Kel'thuzad fights with his frost magic, but his strength is twice that of an ordinary mage, he has four health bars and when the last one turns red he summons more minions to distract his opponents. He can change as pattern of attacks too."
Everyone began talking amongst themselves, they didn't like how the first boss sounded. James then closed the book and looked at the crowd once more.
"That's it for the briefing. As for the distribution of loot money will be divided equally amongst everyone. The party that defeats the boss gets the XP and whoever gets an item gets to keep it. Any objections?" No one objected. "Good, we leave tomorrow at ten in the morning. Meeting adjourned people!"
People then began to talk amongst their parties, except for Astrid who just wandered off.
"That girl's cold," Artha noted.
"Yes, but something tells me she can handle herself in a fight," said Hiccup.
"Well, if she's working alongside us, we need to know if she's a team player."
In truth Hiccup wouldn't call himself a team player either. In all the games he's played he never actually joined a party and in fact he never really had a real friend, Artha was the first. He wasn't sure he was cut up enough to lead a group.
Later that night, the raid group began drinking, eating and talking amongst themselves. Astrid, however, was sitting by herself eating some spice bread.
"Those are pretty good, aren't they?" said a voice.
She looked up and saw Hiccup approaching her. "Mind if I sit down?"
Astrid didn't answer and Hiccup took this as a yes. However, the moment he sat down she moved further away.
Hiccup shrugged and grabbed some bread himself.
Astrid looked at him as he ate. "You really think these taste good?"
"Huh-uh, since I came to this town I end up eating at least one a day. Of course, I've got a trick to make it taste better."
Hiccup pulled out a small jar. "Try it with some of that."
Astrid looked at him wondering if he was serious or not, she then tapped the jar. The moment she did a bright glow covered her finger and she traced it over the bread. As she did a black jelly began to pour out.
Hiccup did the same with his and the jar shattered, because it was now empty. He then took a bite and reluctantly she did too and found the taste had improved. She then quickly gobbled up the bread.
"I got it from a cooking trainer back in Stormwind city," Hiccup explained. "Do you want to know which trainer it was?"
Astrid shook her head. "I appreciate the offer, but… I didn't come to this town to eat good food."
"Well, I guessed that."
"I'm just trying not to lose sight of who I am. I don't want to lock myself in a room in Stormwind city and slowly rot away. I'd rather stay the way I am until the last moment. Even if a monster beats me and I die I won't lose to this game or this world. No matter what."
Hiccup sighed. "To be honest, I'm actually quite scared."
Astrid snorted. "Then maybe you shouldn't be part of the boss raid."
Hiccup shook his head. "No, I'm not afraid of the boss. I'm afraid of failing to lead this party. In fact sometimes I wonder from better off by myself."
Astrid looked at him. "I find that hard to believe, you and your friend seem to get along quite well."
"I trust him with my life, but taking those first steps leading a team to the unknown that's what scares me. However, I will do whatever it takes to beat this game and free everyone trapped inside it."
Astrid stared at him, he didn't look that tough and yet he was the strongest person she had ever met. Maybe being a party with him wouldn't be so bad.
At ten on the dot they set out towards the zone in order to face the boss. Hiccup and his group were hanging back and he was giving them some last-minute instructions.
"Let's go over this again," he said. "We're the backup. So, our target is going to be the genlocks."
"I know," said Astrid.
"Hiccup, we've been through this a dozen times," said Artha.
"Give me a break, this is after the first time I've led a group," said Hiccup. "Anyway, Artha, your brother and girlfriend should hang back to give support to us, while you assist myself and Astrid. Astrid since you’re a warrior you're better at the frontline, you distract them and I'll attack them from far behind."
"You know it's fortunate that we have five classes in our party," said Artha.
Astrid stared at them. "Does that make any difference?"
The two boys stared at her.
"Okay, level with us is this the first time you've been with multiple classes?" Hiccup asked.
Hiccup and Artha exchange looks this was going better by the second.
Hiccup began to explain. "Well, paladins like Artha are excellent at giving support from the rear, a warrior like you are at your best on the frontlines and I'm a hunter we specialize at sneak attacks, pet combat and ranged combat."
It took about half an hour, leveling up as they went eventually reaching their max level of 60, but they reached the zone called the eastern plaguelands and were now standing in front of a large teleportation spire that led to its lair.
Before they entered James turned to face them to give one last speech. "Listen up everyone. I've only got one thing to say to you. Let's win!"
Everyone readied themselves as James opened the doors.
They soon entered inside and they quickly dispatched the other bosses of the raid and found Kel'thuzad floating there waiting along with a small group of undead minions. The hallway was dark and damp, but once they were all inside the entire place lit up and they got a good look of Kel'thuzad's ugly skeletal face.
Kel'thuzad was about twelve feet tall with a pair of horns that look like they could pierce the hide of an elephant. He was wearing barely any armor as well and was wielding no hand weapons. The genlocks were wearing armor and armed with swords. They could see their names and health bars and that when the battle started.
"Commence attack!" James commanded.
At once they all charged at their enemies and began to fight for their lives.
Five minutes into the fight and they were doing pretty well, James's action leadership was giving them the advantage. When one party looked worn out he sent another to give the other party time to recover.
"Squads A, B and C, switch in!" James ordered.
The tactic was working perfectly there were wearing down Kel'thuzad. He also could tell whenever Kel'thuzad was about to attack.
"Here it comes! Squad D, block! Squad E, keep guarding and prepare to switch. Everyone else when you fall back regroup and flank them. Squads F, G and H keep those minions of us!"
"Yeah, you got it!" Hiccup yelled.
His party were clashing with a few undead minions, Artha given support to the other tanks, while his friends kept shooting out spells just when it went for their blind spot. Hiccup was able to keep it on its toes and managed to push it back.
"I'm on it!" said Astrid rushing past him.
Hiccup stared at her at first he thought that she was a beginner, but she had excellent skills. He never seen anyone charging that much power in an axe before. He watched as she sliced through the undead's weapon and then sliced its head off with ease.
"We might actually survive this," said Kitt as she fired a fireball at Kel'thuzad.
Hiccup then knocked another arrow and then loosed the arrow, it had stabbed the last undead minion. Once it vanished he turned his attention to Kel'thuzad and saw that the others had finally managed to get into the red zone and began summon additional undead minions.
"Looks like the guidebook was right," said Hans.
"Stand back!" James ordered as he rushed to the front with his two handed sword in hand. "I've got it."
Hiccup stopped and stared, he thought the plan was for everyone in the group to switch around it. He then saw the smile on James's face as his weapon began to glow in a golden light.
However, Hiccup then notice that Kel'thuzad wasn't summoning additional minions, it was a large effigy of a giant frost undead dragon. This meant that there have been several upgrades since the beta.
Hiccup managed to loose another arrow into Kel'thuzad and turned to warn James. "Stop! It's no good! Get out of there!"
But it was too late, Kel'thuzad roared and thrust his hands towards James with his undead effigy. James realized too late what was happening and tried to block the attack, but instead was sent flying.
"James, no!" Hans yelled.
Kel'thuzad then began to send volley after volley at the other groups and without their leader they were disorganized.
Hiccup and artha rushed over to James, who was sprawled across the floor.
"James!" Hiccup yelled. They saw as his HP gate was dropping to zero and Hiccup quickly grabbed a healing potion. "What the hell were you thinking?"
However, James stopped him before we could administer the potion. "You know… you were a beta tester to. Weren't you?"
Hiccup then realized how well coordinated he was, it was because he had seen those faces before. He then realized why he moved the frontlines.
"You were after the last attack bonus. The rare item. You're just like me… a beta tester."
James smiled. "Please, you have to-to defeat the boss. For everyone here."
He then shattered into a million pieces as his health bar dropped to zero. Everyone stared in horror as they saw their leader die.
Artha then looked up. "I might be able to save him," he said.
Hiccup looked at him bewildered. "What do you mean?"
"Before we got here I make sure I learned the resurrection spell," said Artha extending his hands and they began to glow in a bright golden aura. "If a paladin uses this spell they can revive a fallen comrade, as long as they use it ten seconds after death."
Hiccup stared at him and saw that the pieces began to reassemble themselves. He was actually bringing James back.
Hiccup looked at the pieces that were reassembling to form James and remember the reason why he was here. He was here so that he can bring everyone back home and he swore to himself that he would do that no matter the cost.
He then got up to his feet and Astrid joined by his side knowing what he was about to do.
"I'm coming to," she said.
Artha began to sweat as he maintained his concentration. "I won't be able to move or while, though. So I won't be there to assist you in the battle until the spell is complete."
"Okay," Hiccup nodded. And the two of them charge straight towards Kel'thuzad. "We'll hit him just like we did with the minions."
Astrid nodded. "You got it."
Kel'thuzad saw them coming and his hands began to glow a very dark purple. Hiccup charged his arrows glowing a fiery red and blocks the attack. This left him wide open for Astrid, who's axe glowed a bright blue.
However, Kel'thuzad could see the attack and had enough time to raise his hands ready to counter with another volley.
"Astrid!" Hiccup yelled.
Astrid ducked in time and her cloak was shattered and revealed a golden blonde headed girl with steel-blue eyes glaring up at the lich. Astrid then slammed her axe into and he was sent flying.
Hiccup stared at her, he never seen someone as beautiful. He shook his head and remember the battle was still going on when he saw Kel'thuzad getting back onto his floating non-existent legs.
"He's coming back!" Hiccup yelled.
Both he and Astrid charged once again and use the same tactic again. However, this time he made a quick recovery and when he was about to attack Astrid, Hiccup placed himself in between it and her blocking his attack with his bow.
When he was able to quickly summon his ice chains, Hiccup attempted to get in below his guard, but Kel'thuzad had adapted to the tactic. He lowered his chains just enough for Hiccup's sword to pass over it and it slammed him in the chest sends him back toward Astrid.
The two of them landed on the ground and when Astrid looked back up she saw Hiccup's HP was dropping. She then saw Kel'thuzad towering above her ready to deal the final blow. She raised her axe to block, but Gobber appeared out of nowhere and sent him backwards with his massive hammer.
Then the rest of his squad charge straight towards Kel'thuzad with their weapons raised. He then turned and looked at Hiccup and Astrid.
"We can hold this bastard off until your health backup," he said.
"You got it," said Hiccup weakly.
Gobber then joined the rest of his squad on their attack on Kel'thuzad, but even with his health in the red zone he proved to be a difficult opponent. Despite all their attacks he was able to knock them aside easily and raised his enchanted chains for the final blow.
However, at that point Hiccup's health had been restored. "Watch out!" He raised his bow which once again fired a couple of arrows glowed a fiery red and loosed them straight at Kel'thuzad. "You're going down!"
The arrows pierced right into Kel'thuzad's head and chest and he was sent flying, but Hiccup wasn't about to let up. "Come on Astrid! Help me beat this sucker! One last attack!"
"You got it," said Astrid getting to her feet.
The two of them charge straight towards Kel'thuzad and when he tried to attack them with his ice enchanted chains, Hiccup slide aside. This allowed Astrid to strike him in the chest with her axe and Hiccup follow that up with another volley of arrows.
Hiccup then channeled the last of his remaining strength into an arrow and loosed it into the lich's chest. He drew the string of his bow back again and loosed one last arrow cutting the lich's head in half and everyone watched as Kel'thuzad exploded into a million pieces before the pieces reassembled in to phylactery a vessel holding the remains of the lich.
Then a huge noticeboard saying: "Congratulations" appeared and everyone cheered uncontrollably. Hiccup, was the only one not cheering he was still recovering from his last attack and he looked down to see that he got a notice saying: Congratulations you got the last attack bonus!
Astrid then approached him. "Nice job."
"That was some fine marksmanship, congratulations," said Gobber. "Today's victory is all thanks to you."
"No," said Hiccup shaking his head.
However everyone disagreed with him and began to clap. That was everyone but Hans.
"Stop your cheering!" he yelled. He then glared at Hiccup. "Why did you do it, huh?"
Hiccup stared at him. "What are you talking about?"
"You know what I'm talking about! You knew the technique the boss was going to use, you could have told us. Then James would have stood a chance!"
"He didn't tell anyone, because it was not in the beta," said a voice.
Everyone turned and found that James was still alive, though Artha had to support him.
"James?" said Hans bewildered. "But—but I saw you die."
"I would have been, if it was not for one of Hiccup's friends," said James looking at artha. "And if you have a bone to pick with the betas, then you have to include me. I was once a beta tester."
Everyone stared at him and Hans looked flabbergasted. Apparently he hadn't expected any of this to be thrown back into his face.
Hiccup then turned to face everyone, here now equipped the armor he had acquired from Kel'thuzad. It was pitch black and was clearly made with fine chain mail and leather.
"I maybe a beta, but that doesn't mean I don't care about the other players. I will complete this game even if I have to do this by myself and I will use any means. Even if that means using a few cheats."
"What do you mean by that?" said Hans.
"Most of the thousand people that took part in the beta were rookies. I, however, was not… I conquered more raids than any other player and I know every single shortcut on each of those zones I conquered."
"If that's true, then you're worse than a beta tester, your god damn cheater!" Hans roared.
"He is a beta tester and a cheater, he's a beater!" another player yelled.
"A beater, huh?" said Hiccup rubbing his chin. "You can call me whatever you want, but know this, I will do whatever it takes in order to complete this game and get everyone home. From this moment fourth the Knights of Freedom are formed and anyone is free to join us as long as they commit themselves to completing the game."
Hans laughed. "Who would join you?"
"I will," said Artha making his way over to Hiccup.
"As will I," said Astrid doing the same.
Hiccup look to the crowd and could see Gobber smiling, Dagur given him and respected nod, James saluted him as well as a majority of the party except for Hans and a few others.
Seeing how no one else was joining them, he decided to make his way to the raid exit. However Astrid stopped him.
"You called me Astrid," she said.
"That is your name, right?" Hiccup blinked.
"But I don't remember telling you my name."
"If you look right about here, you see another HP gauge under yours," said Hiccup pointing at his HP gauge. "There's a name written right next to it."
Astrid looked at her HP gauge and saw that he was right. Under hers was the others, Hiccup and Artha and his party. Since Artha's health hadn't really dropped, she guessed Hiccup was the boy right in front of her.
"Hiccup?" She then looked up at him. "Your name is Hiccup?"
"Yeah," said Hiccup.
Astrid then looked seriously embarrassed. "I can't believe I didn't see it before."
"Well, you'll get to know us after all, we just formed our own organization," said Artha placing an arm around each of them.
However, there was one thing Hiccup couldn't understand. How did Artha know about the resurrection spell and that it had to be within ten seconds of the players death. He was hiding something, that his thoughts disappeared when the seven of them made their way to the door that lead to the next zone and it closed right behind them.
Chapter 3: the burning crusade
A few months later they had managed to conquer all the remaining zones they were now over one tenth of the way to the final zone. Of course this meant that the battles were getting tougher and the worst of it was at the front lines.
The knights of freedom were constantly battling on those front lines and in fact it was them that had conquered most of the zones. The organization was not large, since many people feared their leader Hiccup, who had been classed a beater.
Despite that their little organization had grown and many people had joined them. There was Fishlegs, who is a pandaren shaman and spent most of his time studying rather than fighting. Snotlout, who was in fact Hiccup's cousin, he was a Kul Tiran human with a massive ego and constantly flirted with every pretty girl he came across. Among them were pair of twins mischievous gnomes called Ruffnut and Tuffnut and they certainly knew their way around explosives.
Artha had become a very skilled paladin and was in charge of logistics for the frontlines. His fighting style was a combination of magic and weapon skills and it was thanks to him that they had not lost many members. He had also become very close to Kitt, the fire mage, who is also a member of the knights of freedom, even going so far as to call her his girlfriend and had taken her out on more than a few dates.
Astrid had become second-in-command and she was a relentless warrior who commanded great respect among its members. She always fought on the frontlines and had led to major victories everyone respected her and feared her.
Hiccup was now one of the commanders of the knights of freedom, but he mostly acted alone. In truth he did not want to be in charge, but since he was the one who announced to the world the formation of this order and it can lead to infighting and swaying them from their path.
In truth he was one of the most powerful players in the game, his level was now sixty and most of his combat skills were at the max. He spent most of his time trying to locate the boss in the zone known as Shadowmoon valley and taking out very powerful enemies as well as finding other players and forming a council from some of the most powerful players he came across namely James or Jim, as he is known by his friends, the worgen warrior and his small group of real world friends which had been with him since before they had beaten the lich lord
Their headquarters was an abandoned stronghold, called Stonewatch Keep. Their uniform was mostly black and grey and their symbol was a grey dragon with its tail circling around its body. Hiccup and the other council members were sitting at their desks reading the reports from the frontlines.
"I hate paperwork," he groaned.
"Then maybe you should spend more time out on the field," said Elsa.
Elsa was a void elf mage that was among those who had recently join the knights and manages the spellcasters of their guild, along with her sister Anna, a Windwalker monk and her boyfriend Kristoff another hunter.
"I have to make it look like I'm doing something," said Hiccup. "Though sometimes I wish the twins wouldn't blow everything up on site and that Snotlout would quit annoying the other organizations that assist us."
"Maybe you should kick him out?" said Callum
Callum was a human mage among the most recent additions to the knights along with his younger step brother Ezran who was a gnome hunter and Rayla, a night elf rogue, who was once a part of a up and coming criminal guild that was quickly locked up after Rayla betrayed that guild and informed the knights about one of their raids on another guild.
Hiccup shook his head. "I can't do that. Despite his demeanor, he is one of our best warriors and we need every warrior we can get."
"We are fortunate that we have Astrid, Artha, Callum, myself, Aja, Elsa, Rapunzel and Ruby" said Jim. "Though I don't understand why you spend most of your time alone."
Hiccup looked at him and made sure they weren't overheard. "In truth I've never really had a friend."
Callum stared at him. "Surely you must have had one."
"I'm a bit of a geek and I spend most of my time playing games."
everyone blinked before Aja spoke up. "Somehow that doesn't really surprise me."
"Just don't tell anyone."
"I promise." the council members nodded their heads in unison
Then they heard a knock at the door.
"Come in," said Hiccup. The door opened and Snotlout entered, he looked quite furious and Hiccup sighed. "What is it, Snotlout?"
"What is it? What is it? I'll tell you what it is if those blasted Templars," he said.
The Templars was another organization that mostly dealt with magical enemies. They were experts in nullifying magic and as such it was handy having them on the battlefield when they were dealing with an opponent that specialized in magic. However, they didn't just focus on enemy monsters they also dealt with players with magical skills and because of this they made enemies with almost all spellcasters and rogues.
Hiccup could see where this was taking them. "What have they done this time?"
Snotlout then pointed outside. "Their demanding entry into the keep."
Hiccup got up and looked at the other council members. "I trust you can take care of things."
Ruby spoke up and nodded. "Of course."
He then left the room with Snotlout.
As they walk through the courtyard, Hiccup could see several Knights of freedom training or chatting. The moment he walked past they all stopped what they were doing, this happened every time you walk past and sometimes he wished he knew what was going through their heads.
"Do you know where Astrid is?" Snotlout asked.
"I believe she is on the front lines, I believe the Seekers of Truth have been having problems dealing with an ogre and astrid jumped at the opportunity" said Hiccup.
The Seekers of Truth were slightly different version of Templars, but instead of focusing on neutralizing magic. They handled the rift between Templars and rogues to make sure that they don't kill one another.
The main reason why the Templars and rogues hated each other was thanks to an incident in the zone known as the Stranglethorn vale. They were battling the boss in that and for some unknown reason a rogue turned against the Templar killing him. Things have gone downhill ever since.
Snotlout beamed with pride. "Of course she is, that's my girl."
Hiccup knew that if Astrid was here she would have thrown Snotlout across the courtyard for saying that she was his girl. Snotlout had constantly flirted with her and it always ended up with the same result, a twisted arm usually Snotlout's.
"Still, don't you think she deserves a day off," said Snotlout.
"I've told her to take a break constantly, but she says she is more relaxed when fighting," said Hiccup.
"She's definitely hardcore."
They soon reached the gates and found Dagur with a group of Templars. Dagur joined the Templars a few months after they were founded and was quickly given the rank of captain. Many of the younger Templars respected him.
Dagur had always been grateful to both Hiccup, who eased of the pressure of the betas, and Artha, who practically brought him back to life after a joint raid on one of the bosses they had located in the ruins of Auchindoun. They've met on the battlefield quite a few times after that, but this time you look quite serious.
"What's the problem Dagur?"
Dagur gave him an apologetic look. "I'm afraid it's the commander. She insists that you hand over all your rogues."
Hiccup stared at him. "You can't be serious."
"I'm afraid I am," Dagur sighed. "She believes that they will be a threat until they're properly trained."
Hiccup crossed his arms. "Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you but I can't allow you to do that. Besides, the only rogue in the keep is Blake, Eugene and Rayla, besides they spent most of his time here training and being out on the front lines with Astrid."
Dagur sighed. "Hiccup, you know how paranoid she can be and despite my attempts to reason with her she won't back down."
"Then remind her that rogues are needed if we are to clear this game. She can't let her fear control her."
"I will, but she won't like it."
Dagur then led his Templars away and they watch as he disappeared into the distance.
"Can you believe their nerve," Snotlout grumbled.
"its that new commander of theirs, she gets more paranoid by the day." said Hiccup as the gate closed.
"do you have any idea why she hates rogues?"
Hiccup looked at him. "From what I've heard I heard her sister was killed by one."
Snotlout blinked. "Yeah, I suppose that would be a good reason."
"She is now convinced that every single rogue is a killer and she wants them properly contained and trained in the Templar's HQ."
The Templar's HQ was a place where rogues and other classes train and study about all the different creatures within the game. In truth before they recruited Elsa she was part of their inner circle and she sometimes visited now and then with her being on good terms with them.
In order to maintain peace with the Templars, they allow the Templars to maintain security. However, this sometimes caused more problems since most of the Templars were bullies and picked on the low level classes.
"Someone's got to deal with that crazy lady," said a female voice.
Hiccup start and saw Ruffnut and Tuffnut approaching. He didn't know why, but every time he saw them he wondered what they had destroyed.
"Yeah, like blowing her up," said Tuffnut.
"No, no, no one's gonna blow anyone up," said Hiccup.
"Ah, you're no fun," Ruffnut grumbled.
"Hey, I let you test your explosive on the monsters we battle."
"Yeah, but it's not as good as a real person," said Tuffnut.
Hiccup shook his head. "Sometimes I worry about you two."
He then walked off heading back to a study leaving Snotlout with the twins.
A few days passed after that incident and Hiccup was now scouting Eversong woods. He had heard rumors that the boss was somewhere beyond the Open Plain.
It was dark and that meant that Hiccup could barely be seen thanks to his dark armor. He uses tracking skill to study the area around him to make sure that nothing snuck up on him.
He can't help but think about the meeting with the Templars at the keep. Things carried on down that path both Templar and rogues could find themselves at war and that's the last thing they wanted.
"Someone has to really do something about the Templars," he said himself.
He then heard an explosion nearby. "That can't be good."
It wasn't, he ran over towards clearing and found Artha, along with several other rogues doing battle with Templars. One of them he recognized as Commander Gothal.
"Capture those rogues!" she ordered.
Artha was the only one in decent fighting shape as he had a firm grip on his weapon. "You can't do this!"
"You find that I can, your rogues are a danger to everyone around you. I'm simply making sure that they don't endanger anyone ever again."
"But you need rogues on the battlefield. If it wasn't for the good rogues we all would be dead."
However, Gothal wasn't listening. "If they resist kill them."
One of the Templars approached Artha and was about to strike him with his sword. Fortunately, Hiccup appeared out of nowhere blocking the attack.
This surprised everyone and he was able to push the Templar back. He then glared at in Gothal's direction.
"Don't you think you're going a little overboard?" he asked.
"If you had just bought my request we would not be needing this farce," said Gothal.
Hiccup shook his head. "Gothal, listen to yourself. I understand your hatred for rogues, but we need them if we are to clear this game."
Gothal pulled out her sword. "You knights of freedom care for nothing except clearing the game. You ignore everyone else around you and have no idea how the people are suffering."
Hiccup studied the swords and it was realized what it was. The swords were glowing bright icy blue and it looks like it can make you freeze to death at any second. "Gothal, do you have any idea what you hold in your hands?"
Gothal pointed her sword at him. "The one thing I need to make sure that the terror of rogues is stopped."
"Hiccup? You recognize those swords?" said Artha.
"Unfortunately, it's known as the Blades of the fallen prince, they can only be obtained in one quest. They're extremely powerful and while the sword gives its great power and it also chips away at its users mental capacity."
Artha looked back to the blade bewildered. "Is she crazy?"
Hiccup tightened his grip on his sword. "Personally, I don't think she is in the right mind."
"Say what you will about me, but I will continue my campaign to eliminate every single rogue from this game."
Most of the Templars stopped and stared at her.
"Ma'am I thought we were arresting the rogues."
"You can't be serious that you want to kill every single one of them."
"Especially since they can use stealth spells and lockpicking skills."
Gothal then turned on Templars. "I see you have all taken to the rogues lies. They are a danger even if they don't admit it themselves."
Then they saw more Templars approaching them over the ridge and found Dagur leading them.
"Ah, my faithful captain," she said.
However, Dagur and his Templars began to surround Gothal.
"Commander Gothal, you are under arrest." said Dagur as he approached her with shackles.
"What?" Gothal roared. "You do not have the power to arrest me."
Dagur then opened up his menu and pulled out a piece of parchment. "True, but Lord Seeker Amaya, of the Seekers of Truth, was the one who gave the order. She says you are out of order and is ordering you to stand down."
Gothal contorted. "I will not!"
The her swords then began to glow icy blue. She then rushed straight towards Dagur with her blades held high and probably would have killed him if Artha hadn't fired a judgement hammer spell at her. She landed on the ground hard on the HP was now in the yellow zone.
However, despite this she got up and glared at Artha with vengeance. "I will not be taken down by a lowly paladin."
She charged at him, but Hiccup blocked it with his own bow. "That's enough Gothal. You only make it worse on yourself."
Gothal forced her blades down in order to overpower Hiccup. "I won't stop until I've completed my mission!"
She then pushed him backwards and punched him across the face. However as he was thrown across the ground Hiccup launched a arrow at her and it caught her on a shoulder.
At once Gothal collapsed unable to move her body. She looked at the health bar and saw lightning bolt icon there. This indicated that she had just been paralyzed.
She glared towards Hiccup. "What have you done to me?"
"I only shot a arrow spell that has the ability to paralyze anyone it touches," said Hiccup as Artha helped him onto his feet as kitt came up behind them and took Artha's other arm.
She snarled as two Templars picked her up and they watched them dragging her away.
Dagur then approached the two of them. "As representative of the Templars I hope you accept our apology."
Hiccup smiled. "Just make sure that next person that will appointed as commander isn't crazy."
Dagur chuckled. "No promises."
"What will happen to her?" Artha asked.
Dagur looked towards Gothal's direction. "Naturally we can't kill her so will have to lock her up. With any luck we can get someone to make her see reason."
"And I thought beating this game together was supposed to be a miracle," said Hiccup.
Dagur nodded in agreement. "Then well just have to keep on hoping."
They watched as he walked away and disappeared into the distance.
"Good thing you came when you did," said Artha as he went to see to the other players injured in the explosion.
"How did this happen?" Hiccup asked.
"I was just walking around with kitt as merrily as you can please returning from the front lines with several knights and other guildless players and next thing I know we were ambushed by Templars. We tried to avoid killing any of them to avoid another incident. They probably would have killed us if you haven't stepped in"
Hiccup shook his head. "No, we have the Lord Seeker to thank for that. Were fortunate that the Seekers has a level-headed leader."
Artha nodded. "I just hope she doesn't die. The last thing we want is all out war between the guilds." He then looked at him curiously. "What were you doing out here anyway?"
Hiccup rubbed the back of his head. "I've heard this rumor that a player is able to tame a Night Fury."
Artha stared at him. "Isn't that a dragon often known as the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself?"
"That's the one."
Artha blinked. "You're not serious are you?"
Hiccup sighed. "If we can have a dragon as powerful as that on our side we would get even close to completing this game."
"It could also kill you," Artha pointed out. "You don't even know what it looks like."
Hiccup then walked off. "It's a risk I'm willing to take."
A few months later
It wasn't until Christmas Eve that Hiccup would have a chance to tame the dragon. Since then they had conquered even more zones.
Hiccup was sitting on a bench in Ironforge overlooking the Plaza. He looked at the enormous Christmas tree and began to think about his family. This would be his first Christmas without his family.
It was brought out of his thoughts when Johann, an information broker, approached him. Johann had a vast network and grapevines on every single zone, a information broker on all new events in every single zone and that was what he was counting on.
Johann sat next to Hiccup. "I hear someone's been taking risks with his level raising."
"You've got any new info?" Hiccup asked.
"Nothing of any use."
Hiccup raised an eyebrow. "I thought nothing with beyond your reach."
"Hey, this wasn't in the beta test, it's a first-time event and you know that better than anyone. How my supposed to know what's going to happen? All I've heard is that tonight on Christmas Eve the Night Fury is going to appear and he's gonna show up in the blackwater cove in Stranglethorn vale."
Hiccup got onto his feet. "At least I know where to look."
"Word of warning, some of the major guilds like the Carta are heading there as we speak."
Hiccup knew of the Carta, it was a criminal guild and mostly handing things out on the black market. They were excellent smugglers and not someone you really want to cross if you can help it.
Hiccup began to walk off. "Then I'll make sure I give them a proper welcome."
Hiccup have been waiting to tame a Night Fury for a long time. He had to make sure his survival skill was high enough and he had no idea he was gonna walk away from this event, still he had to try.
Hiccup made his way down to Stranglethorn vale and into the large area known as blackwater cove. All the tree tops were covered in heavy rain as was the ground and the temperature was below freezing mostly because of the rainforest conditions. Still, he had to complete his mission or he might not get another chance.
Then suddenly he saw several figures teleport out of nowhere. He recognized the leader would once, it was Artha.
"I thought I might find you here," he said.
Hiccup raised an eyebrow. "You followed me?"
"You think we would let our commander head straight to sudden death without a bit of backup?"
"I can handle myself, Artha."
Artha looked at him firmly. "You don't even know what you're facing I'd rather not to explain to the other knights why their commander is dead."
Hiccup too looked at him firmly. "I would also rather not risk the lives of any of our men."
However, before Artha could respond several more players' teleported. It was the Templars, however this was a splinter group that was extremely faithful to Gothal. Instead of wearing the bright silver armor they wore red armor and they called themselves the Red Templars.
"Looks like you guys were followed too, huh, Artha" said Hiccup reaching for a sword.
"Yeah, it seems that way," said Artha as he pulled out his sword.
"Well, well, look what we have here." said the captain. "A bunch of knights and two of them are the reason why our commander-in-chief has been locked up for nearly a year. It looks like we can finally pay them back."
Artha looked at them and then turn his gaze on Hiccup. "Get going, we'll hold them off."
Hiccup stared at him. "I thought you weren't going to let me do this alone."
Artha shrugged. "You seem quite adamant in it and you're way too stubborn to be told otherwise. Just go!"
Hiccup nodded and ran into the forest. He could hear the fighting going on behind him, but he didn't dare look back as he kept on looking for the cove.
A few minutes later, he found it. It was breathtakingly beautiful, the sun made the whole place sparkle and the moment Hiccup stepped inside he felt so calm and carefree.
He then heard a roar and looked up to see a pitch black dragon landing in front of him. It had cat like eyes that were slits and razor sharp teeth. Its wings were joined enormous and judging from the shape of its jaw it could crush through wood.
"Okay, moment of truth," he said as he looked away and stretching an arm.
This could go down either two ways, either he would tame it or he would die. Seconds passed and yet nothing and then he felt something press against his palm.
He looked up and saw that the dragon had pressed its snout against his palm. When he looked at his eyes once more there were no longer slits, but resembled giant puppy dog eyes. He had tamed it.
Artha and his knights were sitting around recovering from their battle. They had managed to repel the Red Templars and even managed to capture a few, including the captain. The others just ran off and now they were just sitting around waiting for Hiccup.
Artha then heard a whooshing sound and before he knew it a dragon landed in front of them. All then quickly got to their feet and drew their weapons, but Artha threw out a hand to stop them.
"Wait, there will be no need for that," he said.
He smiled as the person riding the dragon jumped off with a proud look on his face and he simply crossed his arms. "Quite the entrance."
Hiccup rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, sorry about that."
All the knight stared in awe at the huge dragon.
"Quite the beast you tamed," said Artha. "Does he have a name?"
Hiccup nodded. "His name is Toothless."
Artha blinked. "Toothless?"
"Well, he has retractable teeth and it sort of stuck after I said it."
Artha rolled his eyes. "Not the most threatening name in the world."
Hiccup shrugged. "At least you know I won't be totally alone any more. Isn't that right, bud?"
Toothless just roared and some of the treetops shook as some of the birds flew off. Life with the knights of freedom had suddenly gotten more interesting.
Ellis was a human hunter, eleven years of age and was in Stranglethorn vale, in the small town called booty bay and was having an argument with their party leader, Cinder. She was refusing to actually hand over her shares of the healing potions.
Cinder was a black haired human mage and she was carrying a staff in hand. She was the coolest person Ellis had ever met, she let everyone else do the fighting while she hung back and then extorted them of their items.
It was February twenty-third 2024 and many zones had been captured they were now over half way to completing the game.
"Why should we have to share these healing potions with you? Your pet wolf has healing talents you know."
It was true that Ellis had a dire wolf she called Ava. She didn't have much fighting skills, but was an excellent best tamer and while it was true that Ava had healing abilities it was totally unfair to just hand over the healing potions.
"But you never fight on the front line," Ellis pointed out. "So who are you to talk? You don't need any healing potions."
"I've course I do," said Cinder rolling her hair around her finger. "You're the popular one around here, Ellis. I can't expect the boys to help me when I need it."
Ellis glared at her.
One of the three boys looked at Cinder. "Ah, come on it's not like that."
"Fine! I don't care!" Ellis snapped handing over all her healing potions. "You want my items, take them. But I'm never going to team up with you again! I know there's a ton of other parties who'd love to have me on their side!"
She then hopped on Ava ran off before the boys could stop.
"Wait! Don't go!"
A few hours later, Ellis found herself in trouble. It was night and she was surrounded by a bunch of murlocks. She done her best to fight them off, but she was now at half health and she had hardly done a dent on the murlocks.
The Alpha charge that raising its mace and she would have been wiped out if she hadn't dodged in time, but she had to quickly dodge again when another murlock made a swing at her.
Ava then ran over to her and cast her predator's thirst upon her. At once a health began to increase and she was back in the green zone, but she was still surrounded. She tried reaching for healing potion, but she was all out of them.
Then she was knocked aside by the Alpha and she slammed straight into a tree, her HP was now in the red zone and the murlocks were advancing towards her. The Alpha raised its mace, but before it made contact Ava placed herself between it and her and was sent flying away.
"Ava!" Ellis yelled rushing over to him.
She watched as her HP dropped to zero and as she cradled her in her arms he shattered leaving only behind a single bundle of fur behind. She was so distraught that she didn't notice the murlocks approaching and the Alpha raised its club once again.
She turned round just in time to see all three of them shattered and standing there in black leather armor was a seventeen year old boy. He held a bow in his hand and he looked at her in relief.
However, she was still distraught about losing Ava she was unable to thank him and tears rolled down her cheek.
"Ava." She picked up the bundle of fur in her hands. "Don't leave me all alone here. Ava!"
"What's that bundle of fur?" the boy asked placing his bow back on his quiver that was strapped to his back.
Ellis kept on crying. "It's Ava, my best friend."
The boy looked up. "You're a beastmaster hunter, aren't you?" He then closes eyes and sympathy. "I'm sorry. If I got here sooner I could save your friend."
Ellis shook her head. "No, it's all my fault. I was stupid to think I could make it through the forest on my own." She then looked up at him. "Thank you for saving me, you did what you could."
The boy then bent down to her and looked at the scale in a hands. "That fur, check and see that has item name attached to it."
Ellis blinked and press down on the fur and found that he indeed had an item attached to it and she began to cry.
"Hey, don't cry," the boy said gently. "That means Ava's heart is still here. There's a chance you can revive her."
Ellis looked up at him. "No way. Really?"
The boy nodded. "On the south western side of Nagrand there's a mountain called Oshu'gun. I heard somewhere in that mountain there are bless waters can help revive pets."
Ellis began to cheer up, but then she realized how high the level she needed to cross that island. "Nagrand, huh?"
The boy rubbed his head. "I'd offer to go and get it for you. All you have to do is pay for the trip. The thing is the waters won't be bless unless the pets master is there."
Ellis just smiled at him. "Thank you so much for telling me about it. If I work hard to raise my level then someday I could—"
"Sure, but the time where it is three days to revive it," said the boy closing his eyes.
Ellis looked at him heartbroken. "No way." She then looked down at the bundle of fur. "It's all my fault. I'm so sorry, Ava."
The boy then got to his feet. "It's okay, you have three days." He then opened up his menu and began scrolling down has item this next second she found that he was transferring items to her storage. "Take this equipment, it should boost you five or six levels and if I tag along I'm sure everything will work out."
Ellis stared at him. "Why would you do all this for me?"
The boy looked at her. "Because I'm a beastmaster hunter myself and I know what it would be like if I lost Toothless."
Ellis blinked and looked around for his pet. "But I don't see him."
"I left him with a friend, I'm on a scouting mission and he brings up too much attention," the boy explained. "Don't worry you'll see him eventually."
Ellis nodded and began to transfer him some Gold. "I know this isn't enough Gold to pay you back, but—"
The boy stopped her. "No, cool. Besides it works why I'm here. We'll be helping each other out."
Ellis stared at him again and smiled. "Okay then. My name is Ellis."
The boy smiled back. "My name is Hiccup. I guess we'll be working together for a little while."
They then shook hands and Ellis can help but think she knew the name Hiccup. However, her thoughts were mostly on Ava and she knew this boy could help her.
They soon entered into the city of Shattrath and had been there for ten minutes before two boys ran up to them.
"Hey, look it's Ellis!" one of them yelled.
"It took a long time to get back," said the other boy. "We were getting worried."
Ellis just starred at the two boys. "You want to join up with us? We'll take you wherever you want to go."
Ellis took several nervous steps back. "That's really nice of you to offer, but—" She looked up at Hiccup and clutched his arm. "I've sort of already agreed to be a party with him."
The two boys glared darkly at Hiccup.
"Okay, later bye," said Ellis dragging Hiccup away. She then looked up at him. "I didn't mean to put you in the spot like that."
Hiccup looked at the two boys that were still glaring at him. "Someone's certainly popular."
"No, they don't take me seriously. They want me to be their mascot… maybe they're right. They call me Dire animal Tamer and I guess—it went to my head."
"Don't worry about it," said Hiccup patting her on the head. "We'll make it in time, promise."
Ellis smiled at him. "Okay."
They continue walking around the city.
"Do you live around here, Hiccup?" Ellis asked.
"I live in Stonewatch keep, it's kind of far so I was thinking we get a room tonight," said Hiccup as they stopped in front of a tavern.
Ellis beamed. "If you stay, I'll take you out to some cheesecake it's really good here."
"Well, if it isn't Ellis" said a very familiar voice.
Ellis stopped and found it was Cinder and the rest of her former party. Cinder actually looked surprised to have seen her in the city, no doubt she thought that she would have been killed in forest truth she was right.
"Whoa, you made out of the forest alive. Good for you, girl."
Hiccup leaned down and whispered her. "Something wrong?"
"Oh no, nothing," Ellis assured, but Hiccup didn't look convinced.
Cinder approached and noticed that Ava was gone. "Hang on, what happened to your little friend the wolf? Did it run away?"
Ellis looked at her shamed. "Ava died saving me… but I'm going to get Ava back!"
Cinder raised an eyebrow. "Really? Guess that means you be heading to the mountain of Oshu'gun then. I wonder if you would be able to clear it your level."
Hiccup then stepped in. "Of course she will, it's not that difficult of a level."
Cinder stared at him and her face turned to amusement. "Oh, god. This girl seduced another player. No it's not difficult, but you don't look that strong."
"Looks can be deceiving," said Hiccup and he dragged Ellis away from her.
They later sat down at the table in a inn having a bite to eat.
"Why does she have to be so mean?" said Ellis.
Hiccup looked at her. "Well… is World Of Warcraft Online your first MMO?"
"Huh-uh," Ellis nodded.
"A lot of people's personalities change when they play games online and some actually like playing the games as the bad guy. You see how our curses are green?" Ellis looked up and saw Hiccup's green cursor. "Well, if you commit a crime against another player your curses gonna change orange. Then they become what is known as a red player the worst aka player killers they're all about murder."
Ellis stared at him in horror. "They kill other players!"
"In a normal game they'll roleplay as the bad guy have some laughs and it's cool, but…" Hiccup clenched his fists. "World Of Warcraft Online isn't normal. It's definitely not a game."
Ellis looked at him fearfully. "Hiccup?"
Hiccup realized he was scaring and relaxed. "I'm sorry."
Ellis quickly grasped his hands. "Well, I think you're good. I mean you saved me after all."
Hiccup blinked and smiled at her. "Looks like you cheered me up instead. Thank you, Ellis."
And once Ellis's face turned pink and she quickly pulled away from him. "Well, where the hell is our cheesecake already?" She then turned to a waitress. "Excuse me, our desert hasn't shown up yet!"
Later that night they booked a room at a city tavern and Ellis laid down in her bed. She can help but think about Hiccup.
"I wonder if he'll laugh if I told him I wanted to talk some more," she said.
Then she had a knock at the door and heard Hiccup's voice. "Ellis, you still awake?"
"Hiccup!" Ellis yelled getting up rapidly.
"I forgot to tell you some stuff about Oshu'gun, but it can wait until tomorrow."
Ellis and once got out of bed. "No, no, now's fine. Actually, I was just thinking I should ask you about—"
She stopped just as she reached the door handle when she realized she was in her underwear.
A few seconds later she pulled on her pajamas and Hiccup entered the room. Her face was utterly pink of embarrassment she couldn't help but think how close she was making the most embarrassing scene in her life.
Hiccup set up a table and placed an item on top of it. He then noticed the strange look on Ellis's face.
"What's up? Something wrong?" he asked.
"No, no, nothing," said Ellis quickly. She then looked at the item he placed on top of the table. "What's does that thing do, Hiccup?"
"It's a world map scroll," said Hiccup pressing a button on top.
At once the scroll shot up into the air and it began to sparkle the entire room as it produced a entire map of outland with another tab labeled Azeroth. Ellis had never seen anything like it.
"It's pretty," she said.
Hiccup began to trace his finger around the map. "This is the town area of Nagrand and that's Oshu'gun. I was thinking if we take this route we can—"
He certainly came to a stop and look towards the door.
"What's wrong?" Ellis asked confused.
"Shh!" Hiccup then rushed over the door and swung it wide open. "Who's there?!"
He heard footsteps and turned around just in time to see a shadow run down the stairs.
Ellis appeared out of the door looking nervous. "Hmm, who was it?"
Hiccup looked grim. "An eavesdropper."
"But they can't… I mean you can't hear through a door unless you knock first."
Hiccup closed the door. "But if you're listening skill is high enough you can. It takes practice, not that many players have it. In truth there is only one player I know who has that skill and that is the Inquisition's spymaster, Ilia."
Ellis knew all about the Inquisition, it was an organization that focused mainly on enforcing laws. They sometimes committed forces to the front lines, but after a massacre on floor twenty-five they pulled back to re-grow their numbers.
Ilia practically knew everything on every single floor and organization. If she wanted she could find out what player had for breakfast and when they went to sleep.
She then snapped out of her thoughts when she remember the eavesdropper. "Why would they listen to us?"
Hiccup looked at the door. "Because were after something they want."
The next day they teleported to Nagrand's alliance city of Telaar. Ellis was now wearing the new equipment Hiccup had given her and already felt stronger.
She then looked around the zone stared in wonder. The entire area was a huge flower garden with flower petals floating in the air. "This place is like a dream?"
Hiccup smiled. "I know, the whole city is covered in flowers. That's why they call it the Flower city."
Ellis looked around and couldn't help but notice that there are a lot of couples around. She suddenly turned a bright shade of pink.
"Anything the matter?" Hiccup asked.
"No nothing," said Ellis quickly.
Hiccup blinked and then shrugged. "All right, we'd better go."
They soon reached the bridge and Hiccup at once came to a stop and pulled out a blue teleport shard.
"What's that for?" Ellis asked.
"If anything bad happens while were in here I'm going to tell you to warp out, okay. When I do use this teleport crystal, you can jump to Stormwind city with it."
Ellis looked up at him. "But—"
Hiccup gave her firm look. "No buts. Use it."
Ellis looked into his eyes and saw that he was serious and placed a hand over the crystal. "I understand."
Hiccup then began to set off. "Let's get going. If we take this path it will lead us right to Oshu'gun."
Ellis then ran up to him and stared at him. She hadn't seen in this series before and was about as the reason why. "Hiccup—"
Before she knew it something wrapped around her legs and pulled up into the air. She quickly grasped hold of her skirt and screamed as she looked down to see a giant plant monster. She pulled out a dagger and began swinging it furiously.
"Calm down! That thing isn't that strong!" Hiccup yelled.
Ellis wasn't listening, she was too busy swinging her dagger in one hand and keeping her skirt up in the other. "Help, Hiccup save me! But don't look! Save me, but don't look!"
Hiccup covered his eyes with his hand. "That'll be… difficult."
"Damn you! Put me down!" Ellis yelled and she sliced off one of the tentacles.
The plant monster then released her and she began swinging her dagger around slicing up more the tentacles. She then used the sword skill and struck the plant right on top of its head and destroyed it.
Ellis then landed gracefully on the flower bed and looked it Hiccup with an embarrassed face. "You see anything?"
Hiccup still was covering his eyes. "Nope!"
They continue down the path and occasionally dealt with the odd plant monster. Most of the time for Hiccup these beasts were far to easy for him and she stared in awe as he knocked them aside them with a simple shot of his arrows.
He then allowed Ellis to deal the final blow allowing her to gain the XP. As they advanced Ellis began to increase her level much to her joy. Though she was still curious about Hiccup.
"I hope you don't mind me asking, but why are you so serious?" Ellis asked.
Hiccup looked down at her. "Why do you want to know?"
"Well, I've never seen anyone serious before. It's like you're on a mission and one you know you're not coming back alive from."
Hiccup closed his eyes. "It because I am. I just wish to see my family again."
"I know it's not polite to ask about you real-life, But… what are they like?"
Hiccup looked at her. "My dad is a detective and the mayor of my town and he gets his head wrapped around work so much that he's hardly at home. This caused my mum to leave and it took him a while to notice but by the time he did she was presumed dead. I don't really know what my mum did, but I know it's technical."
He then smiled. "Dad says I take a lot after her. You see I'm quite good with electronics that is why I like MMO so much. Naturally I saw it from time to time like during Christmas, but not as often as I like. Things started to get better after the accident."
Ellis stared up at him. "What accident?"
"My accident," said Hiccup. "You see I saw this girl crossing the road and this driver was rushing up the road, she didn't see him. I then rushed out and pushed out of the way. Obviously I survived, but I lost a leg in the process."
Ellis gasped. "What happened to the girl?"
Hiccup shrugged. "I don't know, I wasn't even able to see her face, it was so dark. Anyway, my father started to see me more and more I guess nearly losing me brought him closer to me."
Ellis smiled. "Maybe you'll find that he'll be paying more attention to you when you get out of this game."
"That's what I'm hoping and the main reason why I'm helping to you is because you remind me of a much younger version of myself."
Ellis blinked. "I do?"
"Yes, and someone should always stick by you even in your darkest times. I never had someone during those times I want to make sure you don't have the same experience."
Ellis just smiled. "I think you would have helped me anyway."
Hiccup smiled once more. "There you go again making me feel better. Maybe you're right I do hope that I would."
Ellis then turned and faced down the path. "Okay then I'm going to do my best too."
She only took one step and suddenly another plan creature appeared out of the ground. It then wrapped its slimy tentacles around her preventing her from moving.
"Hiccup!" she yelled.
Hiccup didn't waste any time and sliced right through the creature with his arrows. At once it vanished and Ellis landed on the ground on her butt. He then outstretched his hand and lifted her up much to her embarrassment.
A little while later they reached end of the path and found themselves in the mountain of Oshu'gun.
"Is the revival waters around here?" Ellis asked looking around.
"Yeah, over there," said Hiccup pointing.
Ellis looked and saw the bottom of the hill was an small pool of glowing water and at once she rushed over to it. The moment she reached it he began to glow more brightly and a small vial to contain the blessed water appeared out of nowhere Ellis stared at it in awe as it slowly filled the vial.
"Go on, pick it up," said Hiccup.
Ellis reached for the vial and picked it up. At once she got a message telling her she had received an item.
Ellis then looked up at Hiccup. "You sure this will bring Ava back to life?"
"Huh-uh," Hiccup nodded.
Ellis held the vial close to her heart. "I'm so glad."
"There's a bunch of strong monsters lurking around here let's revive it when we get back to town," Hiccup advised. "I'm sure Ava would want it that way."
"Okay," Ellis agreed.
Returning wasn't as hard as getting to the hill since they annihilated most the monsters. However, it still took a while for them to reach the bridge and then suddenly Hiccup came to a stop.
"Is something wrong?" Ellis asked.
"Whoever is hiding out there, come out. Now!" Hiccup ordered.
Cinder then came out behind a tree. "Cinder?" Ellis gasped.
Cinder looked at Hiccup impressively. "If you saw through my hiding skill so easily your tracking skills must be really high swordsman." She then turned her eyes upon Ellis. "Oooh, looks like you are successful in getting your hands on the blessed waters of K'ure, congratulations. Now hand it over before you get hurt."
Ellis stared at her. "What are you talking about?"
"No one is handing anything over, Cinder." said Hiccup stepping forwards as Cinder advanced towards them. "Not to you, or the Orange Guild or should I say the voids Hand." Cinder came to a sudden stop. "You're their leader, right?"
Cinder looked even more impressed. "Nice try but I'm one of her lieutenants and I'm afraid my boss won't be happy if I turn up empty handed."
Ellis was confused, because her cursor was green. "But Cinder's cursor is green."
"It's an easy trick, the green member find their victims then they lure them straight to the Orange players for the ambush," Hiccup explained. He then turned on to Cinder. "That was the inquisitor leader last night eavesdropping on us, wasn't it?"
Ellis stared at her. "Then—the reason you are in the party with me and the others was to—"
"How perceptive, I was observing their strength and watch them earn all that beautiful money," said Cinder licking her lips. Ellis stared at her in horror. "You were the one I was excited about and I was so sad when you left the party, but then you told me you were going to get a rare item."
She then turned her eyes onto Hiccup. "What I want to know is if you knew about us why did you bring her here? Are you dumb or does she have you wrapped around her finger?"
Ellis glared at her, but Hiccup shook his head. "Nope, you're wrong on both counts. You see I've been looking all over for you, Cinder."
Cinder raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"
"Remember ten days ago, you attacked a group of Templars, their leader survived four of them didn't."
"Oh, the losers with no money," said Cinder twirling her hair around her finger.
"Their leader went back-and-forth from the major cities to the front lines morning until night with tears in his eyes. He told the Templars, knights of freedom and any other of the organizations to avenge his dead friends, but he didn't want you killed. No, he wanted you to go to prison."
He then glared at her with anger in his eyes. "Do you have any idea how he felt?"
"Can't say I do," said Cinder emotionlessly. "Only idiots take this seriously. So what if we kill someone here there's no proof dying here means you're dead in the real world. Anyway, it's time you start worrying about yourselves."
She snapped her fingers and several armored thugs came out of hiding behind the trees. All of them were orange players.
Ellis back away fearfully. "Hiccup, there's too many of them. We should get out of here."
Hiccup however patted her on the head. "No, it's okay. You'll be safe if you stay here, keep the shard handy until I say so."
Ellis nodded and pulled out the terrible crystal. "Okay, but—" She then saw him walking up towards the thugs. "Hiccup!"
At once Cinder's and her thugs' eyes widened.
"Hiccup?" one of the thugs on in disbelief.
They saw him pull out his bow and knocking an arrow into his bowstring and approaching them without fear. They then saw him switch out his armor for knight of freedom armor.
"Dressed in black, armed with only a bow and arrow, human hunter, holy crap. It's the knights of freedom Commander!"
"Cinder, that guy, he's the beater that founded the knights of freedom, he's one of the most powerful players in existence."
Ellis stared at Hiccup. "No way, he is?"
Cinder, however did not look scared. "Why would the knights of freedom commander be all the way down here? Go on, take him out and take everything he owns."
Her thugs began to charge the sword skills into their weapons and charge straight at Hiccup. Hiccup did not move and took all the hits.
Cinder smiled and Ellis reached for her dagger. "I've gotta save him, he's not going to last." However, when she looked at his health bar she saw that it was replenishing his health in despite all these attacks. "What's going on?"
All Cinder's thugs stop their attacks and were utterly exhausted. They hadn't done a dent to his HP.
Cinder was extremely angry. "What the hell you idiots! Kill him already!"
Hiccup looks at the thugs. "Four hundred in ten seconds give or take. That's about total damage the seven of you can inflict on me. I'm level sixty-eight, I've got fourteen thousand five hundred HP, my battle gear skill also regenerates six hundred points every ten seconds. We could stand here all day and you wouldn't get anywhere."
One of the thugs stared at him. "That's not possible!"
"Want to bet? If your numbers are high enough you're invincible, MMOs that use leveling systems are unfair that way," said Hiccup turning on the thug. "And that's not the only thing you have to worry about."
He then snapped his fingers and all of them heard a massive roar. They all stared in fear as a huge black dragon landed just behind Cinder.
"Toothless?" Ellis gasped.
Hiccup then pulled out a teleport shard. "My client spent his entire fortune on this warp shard and he'll get his money's worth. It's been set to the coordinates to an Inquisition prison inside the Stormwind stockades and am sending all of you bastards there."
Cinder looked from Hiccup to Toothless. "Well, I'm green and if you attack me you go orange—"
Hiccup then moved so fast that no one could see him and Cinder looked down to see Hiccup's arrow tip inches from her throat. She looked in fear as she gazed into Hiccup's eyes. "I'm a knight of freedom and the commander to boot. I don't care If have play orange for a couple of days."
Cinder knew that she had been defeated and released her spear.
Later that afternoon, Hiccup and Ellis were back on in the Shattrath city inn sitting in Ellis's rented room. Toothless was sleeping by their feet and Ellis couldn't help but gaze at him.
"When you said you had a dragon I didn't realize he'd be this big," she said rubbing him on the head.
"I thought his presence would alert Cinder and her guild, but it looks like Ill have to keep looking for their true leader" said Hiccup. He then gave her apologetic look. "I'm really sorry, Ellis. This whole time I was using you as bait to catch them. I thought you would be scared if I told you the truth about me."
Ellis shook her head. "I could never be scared of you, because you’re a good person." She then looked at him sadly. "Do you have to go?"
Hiccup nodded. "Yeah, I'm still the commander of the knights of freedom and it will look bad for morale if their commander stays away from the front lines for too long."
"I think it's cool that you're a knights of freedom. I could try for a hundred years and never make it."
Hiccup smiled. "I have something to say about that. I've put a good word for you in the Inquisition or the knights of freedom and both of our organizations wish for you to join. I figured it's the least I could do for bringing you into this mess."
Ellis stared up at him. "Really?"
"They could really use someone with a heart of gold like you," he said tapping her on the nose. "Levels are just numbers and a person's strength in this world is just an illusion. Sure it's cool and all, but there are more important things than that."
Ellis stared at him and already made her choice of the guild she wants to join.
Hiccup then got to his feet. "Anyway, ready to revive Ava?"
"Yeah," Ellis said excitedly getting to her feet.
She then opened up a menu screen and pulled out Ava's bundle of fur and did the same for the blessed waters of K'ure. She promised the moment that she returned that she'll tell her the amazing adventures she had and this legendary warrior she met.
Single drop fell from the vial onto the fur and the whole room was covered in a golden glow.
A few months had passed since any of the guilds had found the final zone raid boss instance and it had been pretty frustrating to say the least. Hiccup and his fellow council members were pouring over all their available and up to date maps, trying to pinpoint the bosses location when one of their scouts burst into the room in the Stonewatch fortress.
"Sorry to interrupt but I bring urgent information and news" the scout bowed respectfully.
Hiccup, Elsa, Artha, Callum, Jim, Eugene, Rapunzel, Ruby and their newest addition Aja, All of them looked up from the table and at the scout before hiccup spoke up.
"Please tell us what information and news you bring."
The scout rose from his bow and made his way to the table and pulled out the continent map of the eastern kingdoms.
"I believe that we have found the raid bosses entrance in the far northern part of the continent, on an island call Quel'Danas, just on the other side of Silvermoon city in the region known as Quel'thalas" the scout opened the map and put it out on the table for the council members to see.
"And what's the news you bring?" Said Callum as he started composing a few letters to different guilds with a copy of the raid location attached
The scout carefully studied everyone in the room "well its good news and bad news, the good news is the instance is easily accessible even with everyone we are planning to bring."
"And the bad news?" Said Artha as he also studied the map
"The bad news is Gothal, Cinder and her party that were arrested and jailed, have escaped from the stockades in Stormwind city and have disappeared from their pursuers in a stolen air ship and their last known heading was in the direction of Kalimdor"
Hiccup slammed his fist down on the table and everyone flinches and reaches for their weapons and combat spells and turned towards hiccup as he sighs
"thank you for delivering the news, you may return to you post."
The scout bows his head as he heads out of the room as the rest of the council returned to the business of examining the new map data before someone spoke up "I guess we will be dealing with the Pker's either before or after we beat the raid boss in the isle of Quel'Danas?"
Everyone turned their heads towards Callum as he is the one who spoke and then they look at each trying to decide the best course of action
"before, we will be dealing with them before we enter the raid instance" said hiccup as he started to gather up some of his things while Elsa sent a message to the inquisition telling them of the break out and to watch out for the missing prisoners
"hiccup stop, I've sent a message to the other guild leaders and they will either deal with them as they see fit or just report their last known position, so until we know more about our enemies, we should go clear the final raid zone in Quel'thalas" Elsa came over and places her hand on hiccups shoulder and proceeds to create the raid group with the council members in the room and then she sent invites to the remaining forty seven knights with messages to get ready before turning to Callum.
"and Callum before we head out you should definitely send the coordinates to our ally guilds" Callum nods his head and sends the messages to the other guilds
A few days later the entire raid party arrived at the region of Quel'thalas and have made camp on the shoreline of Eversong woods, just north of the ruins of Silvermoon, multiple tents with different logos with the different guilds surrounding the knights of freedom much larger tent, as hiccup and the other council members gathered outside the tent and watched the sun rise on their camp site with Starfire espresso's in some of their hands.
Hiccup cleared his throat and takes a few steps forward towards the Sunwell and then turned to face the others and placed one of his hands on his hips while the other held the guide book as Elsa was the first to speak
"so do we know who the boss of this raid is?"
"as a matter of fact his name is Kil'jaeden the deceiver and he has three minions which are called 'hands of the deceiver' and they are extremely powerful and they can't be taken on together, they must be taken down separately and for the moment that’s all the guide book says" hiccup then closed the book and tucked it into his back pack as he readies his bow and arrows
"well you guys ready to clear this raid and move on to the next zone?" to which everyone nodded their heads and gathered their things and made their way across the water following the original path the death knight Arthas used to cross the great sea to get to the Sunwell
When the raid party arrived on the island they immediately began clearing the area of NPC's around the raid entrance and then they entered the raid only to find all of the bosses and most of the NPC'S cleared out and so they proceeded to clear the remaining NPC's until they arrive at the final boss room, they then found the door slightly open and a loud roar came from within
The entire raid party immediately sprang into action and ran into the raid boss room ready to fight, only to find the raid boss already defeated and not a trace of the players who defeated him.
Chapter 4: wrath of the lich king
The date was now March sixth and there was a meeting with the top organizations to discuss how to deal with the boss in Ulduar. All the major players were there knights of freedom, Templars, Seekers of Truth, Circle of Magi and many more.
They had set up in a cave as the temporary headquarters while they figure out how to deal with the boss. They kept on discussing the best way to deal with the boss until the second-in-command of the knights spoke up.
"I say we go with a full frontal assault," said Astrid.
"I'd rather have us hang back," said Hiccup. "We do not know what we're facing and it's best to send scouts."
Astrid was his second-in-command, but sometimes she acted as if she was in charge. They disagreed on many things, Hiccup would rather be cautious and use new stealth attacks while Astrid would prefer full frontal assault.
Astrid looked at him hotly. "We can't just hang in the shadows. We said we would complete this game at any cost or have you forgotten?"
The two of them looked at one another and everyone could feel the tension in the room.
After the meeting Hiccup and Artha exited the cave.
Artha shook his head. "Boy, you and the second-in-command are always get into a fight you're supposed to be in the same group."
Hiccup shrugged. "I guess we just don't click, Artha. You know as well as I, I am the first in surprise attacks and she likes to face her enemy eye to eye."
"Still sometimes it looks like you're about to get her on your side of the case when you argue," said Artha slyly.
Hiccup came to a sudden stop and start to blush. "What? No, no, Astrid wouldn't come anywhere near me, even if she was on fire and I was the only player with a bucket of water."
artha shrugged. "Just saying, I mean you've seen the way me and Kitt are like."
During the past few months they had gained more members, including a draenei hunter who was an expert marksmanship called Eret and Heather a worgen arms warrior who was previously a member of the templars. Both artha, kitt, heather and Fishlegs had gained a glowing relationship and it had caused much gossip within the Stonewatch keep.
"Only because someone argues doesn't mean they're about to kiss," Hiccup pointed out.
"Hey, I'm calling it like I see it and I know for a fact you've got a little crush on her."
Hiccup didn't answer which confirmed Artha's statement. He had a very secret crush on her, so secret even kept it to himself.
A month later, Hiccup was laying down on the grass under the shade of a tree in the zone known as the Grizzly hills just outside the small Westfall brigade encampment. He had both eyes shut enjoying the rays of sunlight that was his across his skin. Toothless was also sleeping next to him and was no doubt keeping an eye out on anyone that would sneak up on Hiccup.
"What are you doing?" said an angry familiar voice.
Hiccup opened his eyes and saw Astrid looking down on him with the face of disapprove meant. "Oh, hey. What's up?"
She narrowed her eyes "Everyone in the assault team is working their butts off to conquer the raid and where do I find you out here taking a nap. You're the knight commander, you should show a better example to your men and begin to take this—"
Hiccup then interrupted her. "Bet you didn't know that this is Northrend's best season. Today's weather is up to its optimal setting." Astrid stared at him. "It'll be a waste to have to go to work on a day like this."
Astrid crossed her arms. "Whatever? I can't believe you, do you even understand what's going on. You said it yourself, every day here is another one lost in the real world."
"You think I don't know that, but even we can't fight day in and day out we need time to ourselves." Then a gust of wind blew over them. "See, doesn't that breeze feel good?" And the sun?"
Astrid shook her head. "Oh, come on, the weather is always the same here."
Hiccup and stretched his arms. "If you lay down on the grass for a little bit. You'd would understand. Isn't that right, bud."
Toothless gave a soft growl.
He then closed his eyes and went to sleep.
About ten minutes later he opened them and yawned. He expected to see Astrid had left, but stared in shock, because at his feet was Astrid sleeping soundly.
He then saw two Templars walking past.
"Ah, man. You see that?" one of them said. "Taking a nap in the middle of the day."
"Some people sure got it easy."
"And I thought knights of freedom were focused on clearing the game."
They laughed as they walked past.
Hiccup rubbed his forehead in disbelief. "I can't believe she fell asleep."
He then looked down at her and couldn't help but think she looked beautiful when she slept.
The sun was beginning to set and Hiccup and Toothless was standing watch over Astrid. He was sitting cross-legged on a stone wall looking out towards the sunset.
He then heard Astrid sneeze. He turned and found her began to stir. A blade of grass was across her face and she began looking around confused. She noticed Hiccup sitting on the stone wall smiling at her and realization hit her.
"W-what?" she said.
He smiled at her. "Afternoon, you slept like a rock."
At one she reached for her axe and Hiccup quickly hid behind the stone wall. Toothless just snorted not wanting to get involved and laid his head back and on the glass.
Astrid however didn't pull her axe out, but still had a firm grip over its handle. "You get one meal," she growled. Hiccup blinked. "One meal, all you can eat, my treat. Then we'll be even. Deal?"
Hiccup stared at her blankly as she walked off. He then looked down at Toothless, who was looking at him curiously.
"What are you looking at?" he said.
Later that evening they stopped at one of Dalaran's more popular inn's and sat at the table waiting for their food and drinks to be brought to them. They sat there in silence and can help but notice that a lot of people were staring at them.
"Isn't that the warden commander and his number two?" a player asked.
"I didn't know there were a couple."
"They sure don't look like it."
"But you would have thought they would get along being the same organization."
The two of them ignore these comments and looked back at one another.
"Well…" said Astrid breaking the silence. "Anyway… thank you, for today."
Hiccup blinked. "Why?"
"For keeping an eye on me."
"Oh, sure," said Hiccup understanding what she was getting at.
"The towns are supposed to be safe zones and unless you agree to a duel a player can't attack or kill you, but when you are asleep your vulnerable."
Hiccup nodded. "Yeah, now with got player killers who can cheat the duel system. Duels are normally supposed to be tests of strength not a fight to death, but even if you duel in a safe zone your HP still gonna go down based on the damage you take."
"All sleep PKer has to do is manipulate the sleeping player's finger to click the okay button. The door begins like normal, but the sleep PKer is doing all the attacking. God knows how many times it's happened."
"Too many if you ask me," said Hiccup clenching his fist. "I never understand PKs I mean it's bad enough they do it in the real world, but here…"
Astrid could see that it was talking about this was very hard. "Anyway, thank you."
Hiccup shook his head. "There's no need to thank me when the same organization and any true knight of freedom would do the same."
Then they heard a scream.
At once they got up and rushed outside and began looking around for the source of the scream. Then they saw it, hanging by his neck on one of the towers connected to the violet citadel was a player in full armor and lodged in his chest was a long sword with spikes sticking out along the blade.
There was quite a crowd gathered at the base of the tower staring up and horror. All of them seem to stun to help.
"Hurry, pull it out!" Hiccup yelled.
The warrior looked down at him and attempted to pull the sword out, but it wouldn't move an inch.
"I'll cut him down, you catch him," said Astrid as she rushed inside the tower.
Hiccup nodded. "Got it."
He then rushed over to the unknown warrior. "Helps on its way!" However judging by the look on his face they did had much time. "Dammit."
Seconds later the warrior went limp and he shattered into a million bits leaving behind only the rope and the sword. Hiccup could tell there was no paladin or priest nearby and even if there was, they wouldn't be able to reach him in time to revive him.
At once people began to scream and Hiccup couldn't blame them. The only way he could have died in a safe zone is if he was beaten in a duel. He then began looking amongst the crowd trying to find a winner's icon.
"Everyone, look for the play with a winner's icon!" he yelled.
Everyone began looking around, but there was no winner's icon.
Astrid then appeared on the balcony. "There's no want here, the rooms empty!"
It didn't make any sense if there was no winner's icon then it could have been a duel, but then how did he die?
He soon met up with Astrid in the tower and saw that the rope was tied to a wooden post. He'd pick up the sword that killed him and began to study it.
"So, any ideas how this could have happened?" Hiccup asked.
Astrid looked thoughtfully. "Well, there's always the obvious there was a duel and the other guy impaled the victim with that sword. Then he put a loose around his neck and pushed him out of the window." She then looked at him. "When you say that's about right?"
"Yeah, but I couldn't see a winner's icon on anyone," said Hiccup.
"It had to be a duel, it's a safe zone and the player died. A duel is the only thing it could have been." They could hear the crowd panicking outside. "Or maybe not. Either way we can't ignore this and the Inquisition is already busy trying to locate Void Crows hideout."
The Void Crows was an assassins Guild and unfortunately they were extremely professional. No one had actually seen one of them let alone survive them and they specialize in the shadows.
"Agreed," said Hiccup.
"As it is a player take huge risks going outside a safe zone, but if someone has been able to find how to PK inside. No one is going to be safe is going to be safe in the towns either."
"Artha can handle leading the knights for few days and as it is we haven't found the boss so there's no rush to join the front lines. However the shows in good faith it's best that I send Toothless to them, at least until we need him."
"Then we're agreed," said Astrid walking up to him and her hand. "Just try not to fall asleep on the job."
"Okay, but last I checked you were the one that was napping," he said out stretching his own.
That was a terrible mistake, because the next thing he knew Astrid was squeezing his hand painfully. People could hear his yelled inside the tower and began wonder there was another murder.
Seconds later they walked back outside and Hiccup was rubbing his hand was still red thanks Astrid. They looked around the crowd that had gathered.
"Listen up everyone did anyone see what happened before that player died?" Hiccup asked. "If someone did please speak up."
Everyone began to look at one another and then a shy black haired girl approached them. She was human and judging from armor she was a rogue. She looked very nervous as she approached them.
Astrid gave her a sympathetic look. "Sorry, I can imagine how frightened you are. Could you tell us your name?"
The girl nodded nervously. "Sure… my name is Elissa."
Hiccup recognized the girl's voice, she was the one that screamed. "Was that you? I mean where you the one that screamed?"
Elissa nodded. "I knew him, his name was Aedan. The two of us used to belong to the same guild." She then began to shake uncontrollably which was understandable considering what had happened. "Anyway, we came here together today—we were going to have dinner somewhere in town. But we got separated in the Plaza, I looked around for him and then I saw him hanging from the balcony and—"
She then burst into tears and Astrid went over the comforter. "Was there anyone else out there?"
"For a second there… I'm not sure, but I think I did see someone standing behind Aedan."
Hiccup and Astrid exchanged looks, they were both thinking the same thing that must've been the killer.
"And this person… had he seen them before?" Astrid asked patting her on the back.
Elissa shook her head.
Hiccup wasn't sure how to ask this delicately. "Um… I know this is hard for you, but… think back and try and remember. Could there be someone, anyone with a reason to kill him?"
Elissa stared at him horrified, but shook her head.
Hiccup and Astrid exchanged looks again this made their job a lot more difficult.
Later that night they escorted Elissa to the inn she was staying at. "Thank you for walking me back. Sorry if it's out of your way."
"No worries," Astrid assured. "But we'd like to talk to you again tomorrow. If you're feeling up to it."
She then entered into the inn and close the door behind.
One she did Hiccup looked Astrid. "Our only lead is the sword. If we can find out where that sword came from it might lead us straight to the killer."
"We'll need to find someone with an appraisal skill," said Astrid.
Hiccup rubbed his chin. "I do spend some time blacksmithing, but my skill was not high enough and neither is yours."
Astrid shook her head. "I don't suppose you know anyone with an appraisal skill?"
"Actually I do, he's the guy who makes our weapons," said Hiccup. "You remember Gobber don't you?"
Astrid looked at him. "He's not someone you forget."
"Yeah, well he usually busy making weapons for the front lines, but he always has time for me."
Astrid blinked. "Why is that?"
"Because he's an old friend of my dad."
They made their way over to the howling ford and into a small fortified village called Westguard keep and in fact Hiccup owned a house here because it reminded him of his home back in the real world. They soon came to a blacksmith shop and they knew that Gobber was home because of the smoke exiting from the chimney.
They soon entered and saw Gobber hammering away at an anvil while singing a song. They could see weapons littering the entire place and all of them were made with the finest materials around.
"Oh I've got my axe and I've got my mace and I love my wife with the ugly face I'm a Viking through and through!"
"Hey, there Gobber," said Hiccup interrupting the next verse of the song.
Gobber had once stopped what he was doing and lifted his visor. "No way, Hiccup."
Hiccup looked at the weapons he made. "I see business is booming."
"I am never busy for you Hiccup." He then noticed Astrid leaning on the door frame. "Ah, I see you two finally got together."
Hiccup didn't know whose face was red, his or Astrid's.
"We're not together," they said in unison, much to the embarrassment.
Gobber raised an eyebrow. "Sure you're not."
They then sat down at the table and explain the entire situation to him and he stared at them. "His HP dropped to zero in a safe zone? You sure it wasn't at duel?"
Hiccup rubbed the back of his head. "Well, no one saw wins icon."
"We can also rule out the murder been a sleep PK," Astrid added. "He was walking with Elissa before it happened."
"And his death was to elaborate to be some random duel. The PKer who did this had to planned and also they wanted to make sure everyone could see his body."
Gobber rubbed his chin. "Sure doesn't sound like the Void Crows. They don't usually advertise, unless the client asked for it."
Hiccup then looked down at the sword they brought with them. "Which means their client is a cold-hearted killer and are only lead is this sword."
Gobber picks the sword up and began to study it thoroughly. "A player made this."
Hiccup looked up. "Really?"
"Who was it? Can you tell?" Astrid asked.
"Grimlock," said Gobber. "Never heard that name before. It's not one of the top blacksmiths that's for damn sure. As far as I can tell there's nothing special about this."
"Yeah, but it's something to go on right?" said Astrid.
Hiccup nodded. "Is there like an item name listed?"
"You'll love it, Guilty Thorn, there's a name for ya. It kinda fits though don't you think?" said Gobber.
"Seriously, Guilty Thorn?" said Hiccup taking the sword back. He then smirked. "You can come out now."
Both Astrid and Gobber stared at him.
"What you talking about, Hiccup?" Astrid asked.
"I'm talking to the eavesdropper that using a stealth skill," said Hiccup looking across the room.
"I should have known you would be able to detect me," said a feminine voice.
Astrid and Gobber got up at once as a woman in her early twenties appear out of nowhere. She was a night elf rogue and has a blade whip strapped to her hip. She was wearing a hood over her head, but they could see traces of brown hair.
At once Astrid reached for her axe. "Who the hell are you?"
The woman smiled. "You must be Astrid my dear your as beautiful as they say."
Hiccup had to grab Astrid before she charged it. "Relax, she's on our side. Her name is Ilia."
Astrid stared at him. "Wait, you mean the spymaster of the Inquisition."
"The same and I'm not surprised you're here."
Ilia gave them an apologetic look. "Forgive the deception, but I thought it would be best to linger in the shadows."
Gobber looked at her. "I thought the Inquisition was too busy trying to track down the Void Crows?"
"We are, when I got wind of a player been killed in a safe zone I decided this needed my personal attention. Then I heard you two were investigating I thought I'd shadow you."
Astrid reattached her hand from axe. "You could have just talked to us."
"I think the murderer is already nervous enough that both the Knight Commander and his second-in-command were taking up this lead. My presence would have jeopardized your investigation."
"I don't suppose you know anything about this Grimlock?" Hiccup asked.
Ilia shook her head. "I do know he was married to a woman called Griselda and that they were part of the same guild as Elissa and Aedan. His wife was murdered a while back, but my investigation when totally cold."
Hiccup rubbed his chin. "At least it's something ago on."
Astrid eyes widened and glared at Hiccup. "You knew she had been following us all this time."
"Yes, but I didn't want to blow her cover until we were in a secured location," Hiccup admitted. "and I wanted to see the look on your face."
Astrid looked like she was about ready to murder Hiccup, but Ilia stepped in. "I think it's best that we talk to the Elissa to find out more about why this poor boy was murdered."
"Agreed," Astrid nodded and then handed Guilty Thorn over to Gobber. "Gobber would you please hold onto this?"
They soon returned to floor fifty-seven and began to talk to Elissa. Ilia was listening in nearby cloaked so that Elissa didn't know she was listening in. They sat there in silence until Astrid spoke. "So… uh, Elissa we—uh, we were wondering if you heard the name Grimlock?"
They agreed that they would let on that they knew the connection between her and Grimlock. Ilia wanted to see her expression and get a feel of the tension around them.
Elissa's eyes widened. "Yes… I have. Actually, and to a few months ago he was in the guild with me and Aedan."
"Listen, we took the sword that impaled Aedan to an appraiser. We have gone over it pretty carefully and we found out that Grimlock made it," said Hiccup.
Elissa eyes were full of horror, but Hiccup kept on pressing the subject. "Can you… think of any reason why he did?"
"Yes, I can," said Elissa as if she was experiencing a painful memory. "I should have told you everything yesterday. It's just… I couldn't. It's something that I've been trying very hard to forget, but now I have no choice. I should tell you how my guild… was destroyed."
Hiccup and Astrid leaned in closer as Elissa began to explain. "When we formed it, Golden Apple was a name we chose. Six months ago we killed a rare monster, it dropped a powerful ring that raised the play's agility by twenty."
"Some of us wanted to keep it for the guild, others wanted to sell it and split the earnings. We couldn't agree and in the end we put it to a vote. It was five to three in favor of selling it. Our leader, Griselda took it to a large town on the front lines. She was going to sell it to a broker and was staying overnight."
"We waited and waited, but she never came back. It wasn't until later the Inquisition confirmed of worst fears… Griselda was dead. They were unable to find the killer and to this day we still don't know how she died."
Astrid exchange looks with Hiccup. "No one is going to leave a safe zone with a rare item like that. Too risky. You think someone pulled asleep PK on her?"
Hiccup shook his head. "Not unless it was six months ago. That method is sort of new, but she certainly wasn't a random victim. Clearly the killer was after the ring, it had to be someone knew she had it… which means…"
"The killer is one of the seven others in our guild… yes," Elissa finished.
"We have are suspects now we just have to figure out who didn't want to sell the ring."
"I doubt the killer wait until after Griselda sold the ring. She was killed before she sold it," said Astrid. "That's my guess."
"Probably," Hiccup agreed. He then looked back at Elissa. "Tell us what you know about Grimlock?
"Well… I guess the starters he was Griselda husband." She then saw the look on their faces. "Oh, but not in real life. Just in the game. Griselda was a powerful sword woman, she was beautiful and smart."
"Grimlock, was kind and I can't remember the day he wasn't smiling. They made a great couple and got along as husband and wife. If Grimlock was really the one that murdered Aedan then he's probably going after the three guild members who voted against selling the ring. Aedan was one of the three that wanted to keep the ring for the guild, I was the other one."
Hiccup and Astrid looked horrified this could mean that she was the next target.
"Then who's the third person?" Hiccup asked.
"The other is a human warrior named Kian and he, the last I heard of him, he's on the front lines with the Templars," said Elissa.
"Kian, huh," said Hiccup. "I've heard that name before."
"He's a captain in charge of the defense unit for the Templars, he's an excellent tank and a skilled swordsman," said Astrid.
He remembered seeing him during the last meeting and he did pass off as a powerful warrior then. "Ah, yes… him."
Elissa looked them. "Wait? Do you really know Kian?"
Hiccup blinked. "Well, not personally, but we have running with each other on the front lines."
"I need to see him right away. Could you please take me to him?" They stared at her and she calmed herself down. "If he's on the front lines properly hasn't heard about the murder. He needs to know for what happened to Aedan before it happens to him."
"We'll help you get in touch with Kian," Astrid assured. "I know someone in the Templars, he'll help us out. We'll visit their HQ."
"Okay, but first we must make sure she gets back to the inn." Hiccup then looked at Elissa. "Elissa, you have to stay there okay. Seriously, don't go anywhere until we get back."
Elissa nodded. "All right."
After they escorted Elissa back to the inn they met up in a dark alley along with Ilia. The entire place was wet thanked the rain they had.
"So, any ideas how a murder like this happened in a safe zone?" Astrid asked.
Hiccup looked thoughtfully. "I can only see three ways it could have, the first one is obvious you know a duel or someone took advantage of a bug that could combine a bunch of different kill methods."
Ilia nodded. "I can see that happening."
"And the third?" Astrid asked.
"You use something to bypass the protection of the safe zone, some kind of skill or maybe an item." He then shook his head. "No, on second thought that third idea is impossible."
"What do you mean?"
"Because it's unfair. I hate to admit it but it's true. The rules of WOWO are essentially fair for every player in the game. So there's no way the game would allow murders in safe zones."
"I have to agree," said Ilia. "I have a feeling that this murder is more complex than we imagine and I feel as if the answer is staring at us right in the face."
Later that evening Kian was sitting on a chair opposite Elissa fidgeting nervously. Hiccup and Astrid were also in the room along with Ilia, who was cloaked. They had just explained to Kian about Aedan death.
He looked adore them. "So… that's what killed Aedan and you are sure about the sword? Was it really Grimlocks?"
Elissa nodded. "There's no doubt."
Kian shot up. "Then why would he wait six months to kill him?" His eyes then widened. "Wait… unless, could he have stolen the ring? Do you think it's possible he killed Griselda after all?"
He sat down and slammed his fist on his chair. "Does Grimlock want to kill the three of us, because we didn't want to sell the damn ring? Is that why he's after you and me now?"
"Maybe Grimlock made the sword for someone else from our guild?" Elissa suggested. "Maybe they're the ones that killed Kian's or maybe… Griselda has come back from the dead to get her revenge."
Everyone stared at her. "A player can't kill another player inside a safe zone, but something else like a ghost could."
Everyone was just speechless. Elissa must be really panicking if she starting blaming ghosts.
Elissa got to her feet with a horrified expression on her face. "I couldn't sleep at all last night. So I stayed up thinking it was everyone's fault, everyone in the guild is guilty! Her blood is on all of our hands! Our fate was sealed when that ring dropped! We shouldn't have voted! We should have done whatever Griselda told us to do!"
Everyone stared at her, it was clear that she was cracking under the pressure. Though it was understandable with a killer on the loose that was able to kill someone in a safe zone.
Elissa backs away towards the window and sat on the windowsill. "Grimlock, was the only one… the only member of the Guild that said we should leave the decision to Griselda. You see, he's the only one of us that could avenge Griselda, he is the only member of the Guild that has the right to avenge her."
Kian was now shaking uncontrollably. "You've got to be kidding. You've got to be kidding. Why now? After all this time why kill us now?" He then shot up to his feet and stared at Elissa. "You can't be okay with this, Elissa. How could you accept being killed over some stupid vendetta?"
Hiccup had to grab his arm so he would rush over to Elissa.
That's when it happened, a sudden look of shock appeared on Elissa face with her eyes widening. Their eyes widened as she turned her back towards them revealing a dagger in the middle of her back.
"Elissa!" he yelled.
Hiccup rushed over to her, but she fell out of the window. He looked out of the window sill just in time to see a body landing on the street and then it shattered into a million pieces leaving behind only the dagger.
Hiccup had just witnessed Elissa's death and was now looking across the rooftops for the murder. Then he saw him standing on a rooftop about a hundred yards away. The murderer was wearing a black robe make it impossible for them to intensify them.
He turned Astrid who was standing next to Kian. "Keep an eye on him!"
Ilia then deactivated her cloaking skill. "I'm coming with you."
Hiccup nodded and the two of them jumped off the windowsill and landed on the roof on the house opposite. They jumped across the rooftops chasing down the murderer. Hiccup reached for his bow and an arrow, but then noticed the murderer was pulling out a hearthstone.
"Damn," said Hiccup.
Hiccup then shot several arrows straight at him and Ilia threw a barrage of knives. However, they bounced off him thanks to the safe's zone own security measures which appeared as purple warning notices. Then just as they were closing in on him the bell sounded in the distance and then he vanished.
"Shit," muttered Hiccup.
"He could have transported to any inn or nearby major city," said Ilia.
This of course meant that trail had gone completely cold and they both decide the return back to the inn. Hiccup had picked up the dagger that killed Elissa.
When they returned they found Astrid standing there behind Kian who was shaking uncontrollably. He was so freaked out that he didn't bother asking who Ilia was.
"Well, what happened?" Astrid asked.
"We lost him. He teleported off somewhere," said Hiccup closing the door behind him. He then clenched his fists. "The system is supposed to protect players inside the inns and taverns. I thought if anywhere she'd be safe here."
"We're certainly dealing with an unknown entity," said Ilia. "And whoever it was certainly her the entire thing planned. They knew Elissa would be here and found the perfect vantage point to take her out. Not to mention they had a teleport crystal on hand for quick getaway."
Hiccup slammed his hand against the wall and a purple warning notice appeared.
"That robe was Griselda," said Kian. The three of them looked at him and they noticed the mad look in his eye. "That was Griselda ghost. She's come back to get revenge on us. Think about it only a ghost could PK someone in a safe zone."
"That wasn't a ghost," said Hiccup. Astrid and Ilia looked at him. "Someone is using the system to kill. That's the only way these murders could have happened in a safe zone. I know it."
"Either way there's a murderer on the loose," said Ilia. "I personally do not believe in ghosts, but the fact remains a player can't be killed inside a safe zone. I'll head back to the hall of shadows and see if I can find anything in the archives. If you have any new information contact me."
Ilia then left the room leaving a conflicted Hiccup, a stern Astrid and a laughing Kian behind.
Later that night, both Hiccup and Astrid was sitting on a park bench in the plaza. They were thinking about everything that had happened.
"I don't know what to think," said Astrid. "Was that black robed figure really Griselda ghost. After seeing two people die in a safe zone mysteriously I'm starting to think it's possible."
Hiccup shook his head. "No. That definitely wasn't a ghost. I bet my life on it. Why would a ghost needed help crystal?" His eyes widened. "Teleport crystal?"
"What is it?"
Hiccup pondered for a moment, but shook his head. "No. It's nothing."
"Maybe Ilia will be able to find something out," Astrid suggested.
Hiccup didn't answer and opened his satchel. He then handed her a sandwich. "Here."
Astrid blinked. "Is that for me?"
"Either that or I'm showing it off." Astrid looked at the sandwich as if it would explode in his hands. "Well, are you gonna take it?"
"Uh… okay." Astrid then took the sandwich.
Hiccup then pulled a sandwich for himself. "You better eat it fast before it disappears, before Its durability goes down to zero."
Astrid looked at him as he took a bite of his sandwich and then she did the same to. It was delicious and she stopped to stare at it as if it appeared in a hand like magic. "It's delicious. Where the heck did you find time to pick this up?"
Hiccup swallowed his bite. "I had a feeling we wouldn't have time for lunch today so this morning I packed one for us. You better hurry up and eat it."
Astrid looked at him and said reluctantly, "I've got to hand it to you, for the commander of the knights of freedom you do an okay job."
Hiccup stared at her. "You know that has to be the first complement you've said to me since I became the commander."
Astrid then punched him on the shoulder. "Don't ruin the moment."
Hiccup began to rub his shoulder. "And she's back."
"Where did you buy these anyway?" Astrid asked that she took another bite.
"I didn't." Astrid stopped and stared at him. "I made it. Yes, I can cook. I spend most of my time alone and far away from towns so I needed to increase my cooking skill."
Astrid shook her head. "You just full of surprises, aren't you?"
Hiccup shrugged. "What can I say surprises is my middle name?"
Then his sandwich slipped out of his hand and hit the ground. Next second it disintegrated and Hiccup face palmed himself in embarrassment.
"What was that about being eating it before it disappears?" Astrid joked. She then saw that Hiccup eyes had widened. "Don't tell me you're going to cry."
"Shh…" Hiccup stared at the ground where his sandwich had disintegrated and realization hit him. "Of course, why didn't I think of this before?"
Astrid just stared at him in puzzlement. "What are you talking about?"
"We never saw a thing… we just thought we did, but we were seeing something else," said Hiccup. Astrid just stared at him and confuse meant. "I was right… the game doesn't allow killing in a safe zone there's no weapon or system exploit."
Meanwhile, in dragonblight, Kian was in a deep dark forest looking at a tree. He was kneeling in front of a grave marker that said Griselda.
"Griselda," he said. "The only way I can be safe now is if you forgive me. I'm sorry… I'm so sorry. Please forgive me Griselda. I swear… I never thought this was going to happen, you have to believe me."
"Oh, really," said a voice inside the fog.
Kian opened his eyes and began looking around, but he could see the source of the voice and fear covered his entire body. He then heard something behind him and turned, but relaxed when he saw it was just a rabbit.
However, when he turned back around he saw hooded figure wearing a black robe, but he knew that the person in front of him was female. He couldn't see her face, but in his heart he knew who it was. It was Griselda.
"What did you do to me?" she said. "Tell me, Kian. Tell me what you did." She pulled out a sword and recognized that it was the same one Griselda always used. "Tell me now."
Kian fell to his knees. "Okay, okay. The day we voted to sell the ring I looked at my belt pouch and saw that there was a crystal and a note with instructions."
"Who were they from? Who gave you them?" said a new voice.
Kian looked at nervously and saw another figure appearing out of the fog. Just like Griselda they were wearing a hood, but he knew who it was. "Grimlock? You were dead too?"
"Tell me, I want to know who gave you those instructions," said Grimlock.
"I don't know! I swear, I don't know!" Kian yelled frantically. "The note said for me to bind the crystal to Griselda's room in the inn she was staying at whoever it was could get in. Then I had to put the crystal in the Guild shared storage."
"That's all I did! I swear! I didn't want her to die, I didn't want to be part of that! Please, believe me!"
"We recorded everything you said Kian," said Griselda.
Kian looked up to find that the two of them had lowered their hoods. But instead of Griselda and Grimlock it was Elissa and Aedan.
Meanwhile, Hiccup had just finished explaining to Astrid about his theory.
"Wait? They're alive?" she gasped.
"Yep, they're alive. Both Aedan and Elissa."
Astrid just stared at him. "But—but—"
Hiccup began to explain in more detail. "In safe zones a players HP doesn't deplete on its own, but the durability of an object does. Just like that sandwich you gave me."
"That day the sword was sticking out of Aedan's armor. It wasn't raining his HP though, it was draining the durability of his armor."
"But then his body didn't disintegrate it was his—"
"Yep, just as armor, nothing else," Hiccup finished. "And at the precise second his armor durability expired… poof… Aedan used a teleport crystal to teleport out of his armor." Astrid just stared at him. "Sure, it looks a lot like when a player dies in the game, only he didn't die."
Astrid just stared at him bewildered. "Then… what happened to Elissa?"
Hiccup leaned back on the bench. "I figure she had the dagger was rigged to our back the whole time. She had it all planned out."
"But we would have seen."
"Only if she turned around though." He then looked at her as if trying to make her remember this evening. "Remember, she never turned her back to us. Not even once. She kept an eye on her equipment durability level while she was talking and when it got down to zero all she had to do was act like she was hit by a dagger thrown outside of the window."
Astrid had to admit what Hiccup said made sense, but there was still something bothering her. "Then who was the person in the black robe you chased?"
"It wasn't Grimlock I'm pretty sure that, but Aedan," Hiccup guessed. "He and Elissa are in it together. They figured out how they could use this method to fake their own deaths, getting people to think they were murdered in a safe zone was a calculated twist."
Astrid then leaned back on the bench realizing what Hiccup was getting at. "Everything they did was designed to draw out the person behind Griselda's murder and expose him. The only way to find out for sure was to faking their deaths and creating illusionary adventure."
"Kian was the person they had picked for. Probably since the beginning." He then looked at Astrid. "Hey, you still have Elissa on your friends list to you. I remember you telling her that you wanted her as a friend so you would keep tabs on her."
Astrid couldn't believe she hadn't thought of that. At one she opened her menu and checked her friend list and sure enough Elissa was among them, she then searched for her location. "Right now she's in the field in Dragonblight. It looks like she's on a small hill just outside of a horde town."
"I see," said Hiccup. "That's it then. I guess they can handle it from here. I mean our job was pretty much done now, when you say?"
Astrid nodded. "We best alert Ilia and inform her of this little ruse."
Meanwhile in Dragonblight, Kian was looking at both Aedan and Elissa bewilderment.
"Your recording?" He then noticed the device in Elissa hand and realized what was going on. "So, that's how it is, huh. You care about what happened to Griselda after all."
"Of course we did," said Aedan. "But you didn't betray her because you hated her, did you?"
"No, I didn't hate her, honest. I mean… sure I feel guilty about getting money from my part in it, but I was able to buy my way into the Templars. So—"
He never finished, because all of a sudden his entire body went numb. He then collapsed to the ground and saw a dagger lodged in his shoulder and on his help I could see the paralysis symbol.
"Paralysis," he said.
"One down," said a voice.
Out of nowhere two figures, they looked like shady and bloodthirsty undead NPC's. Then they noticed that they were orange players. One of them looked crazy and knelt down over Kian while the other one had pointed a sword at Aedan and Elissa.
Then a third figure appeared out of the fog, he was obviously the leader and in his hand he was holding a hatchet. "Now that's a hell of a catch. A big shot from the Templars."
Kian do need asked who they were, because all of them had a tattoo that resembled a crow. "The Void Crows. The assassins Guild."
There was nothing he could do, he was paralyzed and Aedan and Elissa were in no position to help. They were victims to the Crow.
One holding his sword to Aedan and Elissa turned his eyes upon their leader. "All right, what game shall we play with these three?"
"Oh, I know, I know," said one that had been kneeling in front of Kian. "Let's play the one where they have to kill each other, last one standing wins."
The leader sighed. "I know it's your favorite, but last time we did that you killed the winner anyway."
"Oh, come on. You spoiled it, it's no fun if they know they're going to die."
The leader approached Kian raising his hatchet. "All right, let's get this show on the road."
Kian prepared for the end, but then they heard a roar and the Crow stopped. They heard a whooshing sound heading straight towards them and out of nowhere a large black dragon landed in front of them. On its back was Hiccup, who dismounted and looked at all of them.
"Looks I made it just in time," he said. He then looked at Toothless. "Keep an eye on them, bud."
Toothless roared in understanding and the Crow quickly backed away.
Hiccup then began to approach them. "So, now what?" he asked. "I've got thirty players from the assault team, including the spymaster, coming. You guys want to stay and fight them?"
Hiccup then drew his bow and arrows and didn't take his eyes off them, you could feel the tension in the air. The Crows growled, no matter how skilled they were they were no match assault teams soldiers and the spymaster.
Reluctantly, the leader snap his fingers and the Crow redrew their weapons. "Come on," he said.
The three and then walked off and disappeared in the fog. Hiccup knew wouldn't get far thanks to Ilia's tracking skill. He sheathed his sword and turned to look at Aedan and Elissa.
"Nice to see you alive again, Elissa," said Hiccup.
Elissa looked ashamed. "You won't believe me, but after it was over I was going to tell you the truth. I am sorry that we had to trick you to help us out."
Hiccup smiled and removed the dagger from Kian's shoulder. He then looked at him in gratitude. "Hiccup, thank you for saving me… but how did you figure it out? How did you know those three would attack us here?"
"I didn't figure anything out, I was acting on a hunch is all," Hiccup explained and turned his eyes onto Elissa. "Hey, Elissa… Aedan… level with me. You guys asked Grimlock to make the sword and the dagger, didn't you?"
Elissa nodded. "We did, but he was against our plan from the beginning. All he wanted was to let Griselda rest in peace."
"He did forge the weapons for us, but only after we got down on our knees and begged him," Aedan added.
Hiccup gave them a sympathetic look. "Sorry… but he had a different reason for not liking your plan. Griselda had nothing to deal with it."
Elissa and Aedan stared at him. "He was worried faking PKs in a safe zones was going to draw a lot of attention, he didn't want to take the risk of someone snooping around for answers." He could see the confused looks. "We figured this out about half an hour ago."
Half an hour ago, Hiccup and Astrid were in the restaurant having some tea.
"We ended up playing right into Elissa hands, didn't we?" said Hiccup. He then smiled. "You know what? I don't really mind."
"Yeah, me neither," said Astrid.
"Well, I'm willing to bet that Ilia would be willing to recruit them. I mean they devised this entire plan all by themselves and it was well thought out. I mean if it wasn't for the sandwich disintegrating I wonder figured it out."
"The Inquisition could really do with players like them," Astrid nodded in agreement.
They sat there in silence for a few seconds.
Astrid broke the silence. "Hey, if you were in their Guild… and a super rare item like that dropped what would you have done?"
Hiccup crossed his arms. "The same thing we do with the knights of freedom, the player that got the kill receives the item or if two players fight over it they have a duel and winner gets the item is a prize."
"You know in WOWO when someone gets a drop and no one knows unless that person reports it, other guilds rules ensures that no one can hoard stuff, because they work out who gets what ahead of time."
She paused for a second before looking back at Hiccup. "Also, the rules they play by gives the concept of marriage real meaning. Think about it if you marry you have to share your item storage. If you're single you hide whatever you want, but you know if you're married you can't hide it anymore. I think sharing storage with someone you're married to is wonderfully pragmatic at the same time I think it's very romantic."
Hiccup stared at her. "My, my, my… I never would have taken you for the romantic type."
Astrid then grabbed his shirt and pulled him towards her and then said to him in a sweet and violent way, "if you tell anyone about this I'll make you regret the day you were born."
Hiccup gulped. "My lips are sealed."
"Good," said Astrid releasing him.
Hiccup took in a huge sigh of relief and then his eyes widened. "You think marriage in WOWO is pragmatic?"
Astrid crossed her arms crossly. "Of course, if you're married everything's out in the open. You know because of common storage."
She then noted the funny looking Hiccup's eye same look he gave when he saw the murder mystery. "What?"
"That's it… common storage," he said under his breath. "Okay say your spouse dies… what happens to the items?" Astrid just gave him a puzzled look. "Item storage is shared right? So… when one person dies what happens to their stuff?"
"If you're talking about Griselda and Grimlock…" Astrid pondered for a moment. "If one of them died…"
"Everything would go to the surviving spouse, right?" Hiccup finished.
Astrid eyes widened as she realized what Hiccup was getting at. "And if everything goes to the spouse… then the ring in Griselda's storage…"
"Should be safe in Grimlock's storage not the killers." Hiccup began to rub his chin. "It's been sitting on this whole time."
"It was never stolen in the first place," said Astrid.
Hiccup shook his head. "No… it was stolen it doesn't matter if it's still there. It doesn't matter if Grimlock is physically stealing it, the minute he put his plan into action…"
Astrid stared at him in horror.
In the present time Hiccup had finished explaining his theory and everyone was staring at him in shock and horror.
"It was, Grimlock?" said Kian. "Then it was his instructions and he killed Griselda too."
Hiccup shook his head. "No. I doubt he was the one that actually killed her, though I'm pretty sure he went and found himself a red player to do it for him."
"My God," said Elissa. "But then if he really had her killed why would he go through all this trouble just to help us out?"
"You explained your plan to him, in detail, didn't you?" Hiccup asked. "Your plan was the perfect chance for him to bury the ring incident and any witnesses once and for all. All he had to do is sit back and wait for you, Aedan and Kian to get together. You'd be sitting ducks."
"That's it? That's why they knew we'd be here, because he hired them," said Kian.
"Yeah, my guess is it was probably the same bunch she hired to kill Griselda."
Elissa can believe what she was hearing. "Oh, my God."
"Found him," said Astrid voice.
They turned and found Astrid shoving a human rogue into the clearing. If there was any doubt that Grimlock was part of this conspiracy then it here right in front of them.
"If you want more you can ask the man himself," said Hiccup.
Grimlock didn't look nervous or frightened, and said he kept his composure as if he had done nothing wrong. "Hello, long time no see comrades."
Elissa just stared at him. "I can't believe it, did you—did you really plan on this?" Grimlock's silence was enough. "How could you, Grimlock?! Answer me, why did you kill Griselda? Was it the money? Was the money so important to you that you kill your own wife for it?"
Grimlock scoffed. "Money? Did you say money?" He then laughed and then this expression became serious. "It wasn't the money. I had to… no matter what I had to kill her while we were stuck in this world. I had a kill her while she was still my wife… and because she was also my wife in the real world."
Everyone stared at him in shock and horror. "In a way she was the perfect wife, ideal, so pretty, so submissive. The whole time we were together we never had a single fight, but when we were trapped here… in this world… she changed."
“Here I was the one that was afraid, terrified of playing this death game. But she looks so much happier here… more alive than she ever did in the real world. There was nothing I could do about it, she changed, the Emilie I loved was gone. Gone!"
"But then I realized I didn't had to live with the way she was, murder is part of this game. If I couldn't have the Emilie I loved back I'd settled with the memory of her. And who could blame me?"
Hiccup had never heard anything so insane and sick in his whole life. "So that's why you did it? That's the reason why you killed your own wife?"
"It's reason enough. And some day you will understand too." Grimlock looked at him darkly. "once you've found love, believe me you do anything to keep it."
Astrid shook her head. "You're wrong, Grimlock. You've got it all wrong." Everyone looked Astrid and could see the anger in her eyes as she glared up at Grimlock while holstering her axe on her back. "You didn't love Griselda. That's not what you felt. You stopped loving her when you became selfish and possessive!"
Astrid's words hit home, because Grimlock fell to his knees heartbroken. He was nothing more than a broken man who had lost everything he loved and in some ways Hiccup felt sorry for him.
Then Aedan and Kian walked over to Grimlock and took an arm between them.
Aedan looked at them with a look of gratitude. "Hiccup, we appreciate your help, but I think this is our problem to deal with now. We'll take into the Inquisition and see if they can't help him."
They began to leave and Elissa gave them one last look and bowed to them and they returned her the same gesture.
The sun soon rose and that the entire forest.
Astrid looked at Hiccup. "Hey…" Hiccup looked at her. "Say it as you and you married someone and later on you found she had a side to her you didn't know about. How would you feel?"
Hiccup blinks. "If that did happen I would remember why I fell in love with her and keep those memories close to my heart. After all the reason you love someone is because you love that part of them."
Astrid smiled. "Good answer. Anyway, I'm hungry after all this. I didn't really get to finish my dinner."
"I forgot that," Hiccup groaned.
Astrid and stretched her arms. "We should get back to work tomorrow. We have been away from the front lines for two days."
Hiccup nodded. "Yeah, I was hoping to have this zone conquered by the end of this week."
They began heading down the path and as they walked Astrid looked at him curiously. "This something I've been meaning to ask."
Hiccup looked at her. "What's that?"
"If you don't believe in my methods why make me your second-in-command?"
"Because I trust you to get the job done and I love that determination of yours. If anything will need more that if gonna clear this game."
Astrid stopped as she watched Hiccup continue to walk. Maybe he was in a terrible commander after all, he just was different and in truth that's what she liked about him
The date was June twenty-sixth and Artha had just stepped himself off the ship as it slid into the port of Westguard keep and behind him was a sapphire blue haired human mage. Her name was kitt and she was the most beautiful woman Artha had ever seen.
"So what are we doing here?" kitt asked.
"I wanted to get something for Hiccup," said Artha as they walked through the village of Westguard keep.
"Why it's not his birthday, is it?"
Artha shook his head. "No, that was months ago, but I was unable to get him a present and with the tough monsters were facing he need something a bit more substantial that bow of his."
Kitt stared at him. "A bit later get him a birthday present, isn't it?"
Artha rubbed the back of his head. "Well, to be honest I didn't know his birthday had passed until discovered a few days ago."
"What makes you think that Gobber will make it for you?"
"Well, I won't know if I don't ask him."
They soon reached Gobber's workshop and just as Artha reach for the door there was a huge explosion that nearly knocked the two of them off their feet.
"Well, at least we know he's in," said Artha as he brushed the ashes of his face and clothes.
"Ya think?" said Kitt doing the same.
"God dammit!" Gobber's voice roared. "Why doesn't his bloody thing ever work?"
They walked inside and found Gobber cursing what used to be his forge. Apparently he was working on a new explosive and to blow up in his face. There was soot and ash everywhere and Gobber looked as though he just came down the chimney.
"Uh, hi, Gobber," said Artha giving him a nervous wave.
Gobber turned and lifted his visor and gave them to smile. "Oh, Artha. I didn't hear you come in."
Artha shook his head. "How could you hear anything after that explosion?"
Gobber slammed his fist on the table. "I was so close. I was so close to making the perfect explosive and then this happened."
"What did happen?" Kitt asked.
"Argh, a spark from the forge lit the fuse and I didn't realize until it was too late." He then looked towards Kitt. "And who might you be lass?"
Artha practically kicked himself. "Oh, I forgot you two never met. Gobber… Kitt. Kitt… Gobber."
"Nice to meet you lass," Gobber smiled.
"It's an honor to meet you, I've heard so much about your famous weapons," said Kitt bowing.
Gobber brushed the praise aside. "Argh, only the best for those on the front lines. And what would you two be doing here?"
Artha then looked at Gobber in a business-like tone. "I was hoping you can make something for Hiccup."
"What kind of something?" Gobber asked.
"The strongest bow and arrows you have ever forged and able to cut through anything even through the scales of a dragon."
Gobber blinked. "You don't ask for much do ya? Besides, I've only got the recipe for a one handed sword"
"Well, can you do it?" Kitt asked.
Gobber shook his head. "I've got the skills to make it, but I like the materials I need."
"What do you need exactly?" Artha asked.
"I've got all the materials I need, say for one," said Gobber. "I need the right metal for the blade itself."
"Can't you use Titanium or Saronite?" Kitt asked.
"Sure, if I was making any old blade, but if you want the best you need the best metal. And I only know one metal which will be perfectly suited for the job. It's a pretty common metal but the alloy is really resistant to most forms of attack that can be found in Icecrown. It's just that there aren't very many weapons recipes for this type of metal"
"Okay, but we don't know what the metal looks like," said Artha.
"Shouldn't be too difficult, if the metal is from an old god."
"I have a feeling it's not going to be that easy."
"It won't, there's a large amount of undead forces guarding the deposit sites, but I'm sure two skilled classes will be more than a match for them. Also it takes thirty pieces of ore to make the weapon, also if you find any rare items bring them to me and ill repair them."
Kitt looked at Artha. "If we survive this, you owe me big time."
Artha gulped. "Whatever you say."
Gobber watched as the two of them left a shop and he couldn't help but shake his head. "Kids these days, why don't they just go all out?"
Half an hour Artha and Kitt were at Icecrown and making their way to the western mountains. It was utterly freezing, Kitt had to continuously use fire magic to keep herself warm.
"It's cold," she muttered.
Artha was huddling close to Kitt. "I know, but we have to endure it if we want to get that metal."
"We could have at least brought Astrid, she likes adventuring as much as the next girl."
"I didn't want anyone to get hurt."
Kitt glared at him. "Then why did you invite me?"
"I didn't, you volunteered, remember," said Artha. "I insisted that you stayed, but you wouldn't stop nagging me until I took you along with me."
Kitt cursed under her breath. "I should get my head examined."
They continued walking until they reached the Mord'rethar: The Death Gate, the entrance to the Icecrown zone and there they found the largest deposit of Saronite. It was large and sat in a deep crater like surroundings and sat there as if it were waiting for someone to find it.
"Well, that was easy enough," said Kitt.
"Yeah, but where's the undead minions that Gobber mentioned?" said Artha looking around.
He was right, Gobber had said there was loads of undead minions guarding the deposits and yet they were nowhere to be seen. This was either really good or really bad and Kitt stuck with bad.
"Should I get our portals ready?" Kitt asked.
"Yes, and as soon as the undead minions appear go into the crater and get a few bundles of the Saronite ore. I'll handle the undead minions."
Kitt stared at him. "You can't handle all of them by yourself."
Artha pressed his hands on her shoulders. "I'll be fine, just get the ore and if it seems I need help you can jump in."
Artha smiled. "All right, let's get the ore."
They made their way over to the crater gathering the ore as they approached and at once they heard the undead minions roar. Artha then looked at Kitt. "Get to the crater."
"You got it." said Kitt and rushed over towards the crater and spotted a huge node of Saronite.
Then the undead minions started rising up out of the ground right in front of Artha, their armor were coated in ice and they brandished razor sharp axes and swords. they then stumbled as they walked closer and one of the larger minions a flesh giant opened its mouth to roar and perform an overhead attack with its decomposing hand.
"Watch out its attack!" Kitt yelled as she jumped into the crater and started to work on the large node.
Artha quickly drew his hammer and slammed it straight towards the flesh giant attack. There was a huge explosion and when the smoke cleared Artha completely unharmed.
Kitt could hear the battle from outside the crater as she chipped away at the large node. She knew that Artha's skill as a paladin was astonishing, she had seen him in battle. He was a culmination of both magic and weapons skills to decimate opponents. No one truly knows how he accomplished it and no other paladin seems to have that skill level.
Artha then started dealing magical hammer attacks straight at the flesh giant. Then when it staggered back in order to do another attack, Artha dodged its attack and ran across its weapon arm and sliced right through it.
At that moment Kitt had just emerged from the crater with a chunk of the Saronite in her hands. "I've got it!"
"Dammit!" Artha gasped. "Don't come out yet!"
But it was too late, Kitt was now in the flesh giant's view and charged straight towards her. Kitt soon realized her mistake and there was no time to cast an attack spell. The flesh giant sent a powerful stomp her way sending her flying.
Artha landed back on the ground and ran over to her. "Kitt!"
Kitt looked down and saw that she was directly above a huge crevice. It was so deep she couldn't see the bottom and found herself falling into it. She then felt someone grasping hand and looked up the find Artha, he had jumped in after her.
"Hang on to me Kitt!" he yelled, pulling her close.
Kitt grasped onto Artha's body and closed her eyes. She screamed all the way down and then everything went black.
When Kitt regained consciousness she found herself in Artha's arms. She looked at the HP gauge and discovered she had lost half and was in the yellow zone while Artha was dangerously in the red zone.
Artha then opened his eyes. "Are we still alive?"
Kitt quickly pulled away from. "Yeah, looks like it."
Artha then pulled out to healing potions and gave one to Kitt. "Drink one of these just in case."
They both began to drink in the HP increased until it was back to normal.
Kitt then looked at Artha a little ashamed. "Thank you, for… for saving me."
"It's a little early to be thanking anyone," said Artha. "We have to find a way to get out of here first."
Kitt looked at him confused. "Can't we just portal out?" She then pulled out her portal spell. "portal… Dalaran." However nothing happened and she groaned. "We're trapped here."
"If we can't use portals that means there should be another way out," said Artha as he got to his feet.
Kitt stared at him. "How can you be so sure there is? I mean… what if this is some kind of trap to kill anyone who falls into it?"
"Good point," Artha nodded. "But it's better than sitting around here waiting for the end to come."
Kitt shook her head. "Why do you always have to be the realist?"
Artha gave her apologetic look. "Sorry, I just like to know all my options before I can come up with an escape plan."
"Can't we use a spell to get us out of here? Kitt asked.
"We could, but we'd be waste our mana," said Artha. "And even if we did, I can't think of a spell that could assist us."
"Why don't we just run up the wall or something?" Kitt joked.
"Not a bad idea," said Artha.
Kitt studied him dumbfounded as she watched him attempting to run up the wall. He was moving fast, but not fast enough. When he was about halfway he lost his footing and began falling back towards the ground.
Kitt closed her eyes as he landed on the ground hard. When she opened them she discovered that he had created a Artha shaped hole in the snow. "I was only joking."
Artha pulled himself out of the hole. "Can't blame a guy for trying."
Kitt crossed her arms. "Won't stop me from trying."
Later that night, they created a fire and each of them had a blanket to sleep in. Having a good look at the stars above them. "Now I think about it this has to be the first time I think we ever slept together."
Artha gulped. "We are sleeping separately."
Kitt frowned at him. "I mean that it's just the two of us, normally we have a few Knights with us."
Kitt shook her head. "Anyway, none of this would have happened in real life. These crazy adventures of ours, fighting for our lives and death-defying stunts."
They then looked at one another and stared at each other's eyes.
"Artha, can I ask you something?" said Kitt.
"Ask away, I'm all ears."
"I can't believe you're just doing this for Hiccup. You're almost as driven as Astrid and you look at a situation the same way as Hiccup. It's as if you're trying to make up a mistake or something."
Artha closed his eyes. "Not my mistake, but I feel responsible for it. My father's friend did something terrible once and ruined a great number of lives, my families lives included and I feel as if it's my responsibility to undo his mistake."
Kitt looked at him and was feeling sorry for him. "You can't blame yourself something your father's friend did, I mean it's not like you knew about it."
"Tell that to the people whose lives he ruined, my father's friend is a crazy psychopath. Brilliant, but crazy and if anyone ever found out who my father's friend was they would all want to kill me."
Kitt looked at him with a look of sympathy. This must be the first time he ever talked about his father's friend, he probably didn't even tell Hiccup. Though she had no idea what his father's friend did, but she could tell it was something bad if everyone would wanted to see him dead.
She pulled away her blanket and made her way over to Artha. She placed a hand on his shoulder and looked into his eyes. "Artha, I have no idea what your father's friend did, but you're not him. If people don't see that then their idiots."
**warning there is smut/adult content ahead if you feel that this has no bearing on the overall story feel free to skip it, if not then please enjoy**
They looked at one another's eyes and then leaned towards each other into a kiss. They both ignored the cold and focused upon one another as they went deeper into a passionate kiss. Artha began to stroke her hair and she began to trace over his chest.
When they broke apart they looked into each other's eyes and could see the passion in one another.
"You know this is not the most romantic setting," Artha smiled.
Kitt looked at him seductively. "I don't know, me trapped with a handsome man under the stars in a deep dark pit with nothing but each other to keep warm."
Artha's face turned bright pink. "I suppose when you put it like that it does have a little romantic."
Kitt then opened her menu and before Artha could stop her she removed her clothing. He just stared at her dumbfounded tracing around her naked body. Her Sapphire blue hair covered the nape of her neck and her green eyes were beautiful. She gave him an innocent smile as if there was nothing wrong.
Kitt's smiled then turned into a frown. "Well, are you gonna take your clothes off or do I have to make you?"
Artha was totally dumbfounded, this was not how he would picture his first time. Firstly it was a virtual world so technically it wouldn't be his first time and second they were trapped in a deep dark icy pit. There again it was probably better than dealing with an angry paladin who was now looking a combination of embarrassment and anger.
"Okay, okay," he said opening his menu and removing his clothes.
The moment his clothes were removed, Heather pounced on him and placed a powerful and passionate kiss on his lips. As she was doing this, he traced his hand over her ass and squeezed it gently.
Kitt then removed one of his hands and placed it upon her breasts and he couldn't help but think how firm they were. Artha's mind had completely been blown away, the two of them had been in a relationship, but they had never gotten this far.
Kitt then pulled away and looked at him with that beautiful smile he loved so much. "You sure about this?" he asked.
Kitt frowned at him. "If I wasn't I won't have forced the issue."
Artha looked at her uneasily. "Yeah, I know, but I thought you would've preferred to do it you know in the real world."
She then leaned over to his ear and said seductively whispered, "We can leave that for we get back."
Artha wasn't sure how much more he could take, they only came here to get a chunk of Saronite and the next second they were making love. It wasn't that he didn't find the idea unappealing, in fact he loved the idea, but it just seemed weird making love in a virtual world.
He then looked at Kitt apologetically. "I'm sorry, I just can't help but think is a little weird."
Kitt shrugged. "Well, I find it pretty weird myself, but what does it matter."
Artha then grabbed her and placed her on top of his blanket looking at her hungrily. "Nothing at all."
He then slowly impaled her with his length and began pushing in and out. Their moans became one as Kitt got used to the pain. Artha had never done this before so he wasn't sure whether having sex in the virtual world was any different than having it in the real world though at this point he didn't really care.
Their moans filled the cave and he laid his lips upon hers. Their tongues danced inside their mouths as he kept on pushing. Kitt wrapped her arms around his neck and he did the same around her back. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the most amazing thing he had ever done.
They kept this up for about fifteen minutes before they were both completely exhausted. Artha laid next to her and wrapped his arms around her waist pulling the blanket over them. They remain that way for about a minute as they looked at each other's eyes.
"That was amazing," he said.
"It was," Kitt agreed.
Artha smiled. "I think it would be more intense in the real world."
She then looked at him seductively. "We'll just have to try it out when we get out."
Then they fell asleep within each other's arms in pure bliss.
**end of smut**
Kitt awoke to the sound of rustling and noticed that Artha wasn't with her. She looked up and found that he was fully clothed and digging in the snow.
Once Kitt put her clothes back on she approached him. "What are you doing?"
Artha looked at her looking very troubled. "I found the ground in this spot a bit too warm for nice cave."
Kitt blinked in realized he was right, the ground was warm even though it was covered in snow. "Wasn't that because the fire we set up last night?"
"Yes, but the fire is out now on the ground is still warm." Artha continued to dig and certainly came to a stop. "Oh no. This is not good."
Kitt looked at him nervously. "What's not good?"
"This hole isn't a trap as we thought."
Kitt blinked. "Is not a good thing?"
"Normally yes, but I just discovered why the ground is so warm. There's undead bodies below our feet."
Kitt's eyes widened and she shuddered. "You mean we had sex above a bunch of—"
Artha rubbed the back of his neck as he tucked a small battered hilt into his inventory. "Yeah, not so romantic now is it?" He then looked at her seriously. "And that's not the worst of it."
"How can it possibly get any worse?"
"Well, we're in the undead flesh giant's home."
Kitt's eyes widened in horror as her eyes went upwards. Then she saw something falling down towards them was the flesh giant. "It's here!"
"Kitt, perform your most powerful spell!" Artha yelled.
"What will that do?"
Kitt wasn't sure what he had in mind, but she put her faith in him. She pulled out her staff and created a fire meteor that landed and created and launched a bunch of snow around them. Then suddenly Artha grabbed her by the waist and jumped into the vortex.
His timing couldn't be any more perfect, they were launched into the air just as the flesh giant landed on the ground. Kitt realized he was using the momentum of the wind and the shock wave from the giant to increase his speed as he ran up across the wall.
"Hang on!" he yelled.
Kitt screamed as he pushed against the wall and fell back towards the flesh giant. With his free hand Artha pulled out his Hammer and stuck it right into the flesh giant's decaying back. It roared in pain and jumped up into the air.
"Almost there," he said.
Kitt was more focused on clinging onto him for dear life as her screams echoed into the pit. Then they exited the pit and the flesh giant came to a sudden stop throwing the two of them higher into the air.
Kitt opened her eyes to find that they were falling, but despite this she turned her eyes upon Artha. He smiled at her and reached for each other's hand.
"You certainly know how to show a girl good time." she said.
"To be honest, I am making this up as I go!" he yelled.
Kitt smiled. "But you do it beautifully!"
A few hours later they were back in Westguard keep and in Gobber's workshop. How they survived the fall neither of them knew, but they were grateful.
"One one-handed long sword coming right up," said Gobber as he began heating the metal.
"I hope so after what we had to do to get that metal." said Artha exhaustively.
"It wasn't that bad." said Kitt turning slightly pink.
"No," Artha agreed. "But I could've done something about the flesh giant."
Gobber had no idea what they were talking about and he didn't want to know, though had a pretty good guess. That just left Hiccup and Astrid, and those kids were both as stubborn as an ox.
He turned his attention onto the metal and slammed his hammer down upon it. With a few good swings it began to change form into a beautiful silvery long sword that has a curve to it with a glow at the base of the blade . Both Artha and Kitt stared at it they had never seen a sword like it.
Gobber then began to examine the blade. "It's called Quel'Delar, a one of a kind, and it's not even in the info broker's directory."
"You've outdone yourself Gobber," said Artha picking up the sword.
"If anyone has the skill to use a blade like this it's Hiccup," said Gobber. "You just tell him who made it."
"I'm sure he'll be grateful Gobber," said Artha the place the sword in his storage. "We best get back to base."
Kitt nodded. "Yeah, everyone will be wondering what happened to us."
"Well come on down any time," said Gobber. "My door is always open to the Knights."
They waved him goodbye and exited his workshop.
The sun was beginning to set as they headed their way to the flight master. As they did Kitt looked at Artha.
"So…" she said nervously. "What about us?"
Artha stopped and looked at her. "What do you mean?"
"I mean…" Kitt can't seem to find the right words and she felt herself become flustered.
Artha smiled. "You don't have to say anything." He then got down on one knee and produced a ring while looked into her eyes. "Kitt, will you marry me?"
Kitt looked at him speechless and tears of joy fall down her cheek as her hands flew up to her face. "Yes."
In no time at all they kissed one another passionately kiss and locked hands with one another with the new wedding ring on Kitt's finger.
The date was October the seventeenth and Astrid was leading her squad of Knights against the enemies in an Icecrown citadel dungeon called the pit of Saron. It had now been almost exactly five years since this death game had started and the one quarter of the way of escaping.
The only problem was the enemies were now getting tougher and tougher there has to be whole groups if you could stand against a single undead flesh giant. Fortunately the Knights of freedom were no ordinary players and they were the best at what they did.
"Charge!" Astrid commanded.
Snotlout changed swinging his mace around knocking away any undead minions that blocked his path. The twins were showing their own little bit of mayhem against a few ghouls. Eret was slicing through a couple of banshee's with his bow and arrows and struck them where their armor was weakest. Kitt, who is now wearing a wedding ring on her finger, was battling against an enemy with the most powerful spells she could conjure.
Astrid herself was battling against an alpha and when it made its swung at her with its mace, she ducked and sliced in half with her axe. Once the job was done they all began to congratulate one another.
"Okay, let's pack up and move out," said Astrid resting her axe on a shoulder.
"You got it babe," said Snotlout.
At once Astrid pulled him towards and gave him one of his death glares. "Don't… call… me… babe!"
"M-my mistake," Snotlout quivered.
Astrid then turned to Eret. "Eret, you go on ahead."
"Aren't you coming?" Eret asked placing his bow back around his quiver.
"I'm going to give this place a once over…" She then saw the worried look on Eret's face. "It'll only take a few minutes."
At once Ruffnut placed an arm around Eret's arm. "You heard her, she's a big girl and can look after herself. But if you want you can protect me."
The smile on Ruffnut's face was enough to terrify an ogre to surrender.
"I can't believe were related," Tuffnut muttered as they walked off.
Kitt hung back a bit to look at Astrid. "Are you sure you don't want anyone around. I don't mind staying."
Astrid shook her head. "I'll be fine, besides that husband of yours would be worried sick."
"If you say so."
Kitt then walked off catching up to the others and Astrid began doing some extra scouting in the caverns they were in.
An hour later, she exited the caverns after taking down a Wrathbone laborer and two fallen warriors. She still had yet to locate the final boss room, but decided to take it one step at a time.
As she was walking through the forest in dragonblight when she heard a noise and began to scan her surroundings. Then she saw the source and her eyes widened.
"You've got to be kidding me," she said and pulled out a couple of throwing knives.
She then aimed carefully at the creature that was huddled next to a fallen log. Then her dagger glowed a bright blue and she tossed it hitting the tree next to the creature. This startled the creature and it jumped out of its hiding place, but it came into view of another throwing knife of Astrid's.
An hour later, she hearthstoned in to the floating city of Dalaran and was face-to-face with Johann. She just showed him what she acquired from the creature she slain a few months ago and he was totally dumbfounded.
"No way," he said looking at her storage screen. "This is an S-class rare item. Holy crap, this is the first time I've ever seen one." He then looked at her curiously. "Miss Astrid, don't you have all the money you need. I'll buy it, but why would you have it for dinner?"
"Sure, it's just…" She hesitated. "Who knows whether I get another one?"
"So keep it," said Johann.
"What's the point?" She sighed and crossed her arms. "Look in order to prepare an item like this you need a high enough cooking skill."
Johann nodded. "Yeah, you're right. If we try we'd just burn it."
Astrid in like selling a night in this rare, but unless she found someone who be able to cook it there was no point in keeping it.
"Astrid?" said Hiccup's voice. At once both Astrid and Johann looked up to see Hiccup had just entered the trading shop. "I didn't expect to see you here."
Astrid stared at him manner smile cropped up upon his face. "Looks like I found my chef."
"Uh… what chef?" Hiccup asked.
"I'm just wondering how high your cooking skill level is," said Astrid curiously.
Hiccup blinked and looked at her in puzzlement. "I'd totally maxed it out last week."
Astrid and Johann's jaws dropped. "What?" they yelled in unison.
"There's no need to get excited about it," said Hiccup.
"It's just that, if you're that good, I need a favor," said Astrid smiling.
She then showed him her storage screen and his jaw dropped as he saw the item. "You've—you've got a pair rhino meat?!"
"Since I need someone to cook it, I was wondering if you would do it for me."
Hiccup looked at her. "Only if I could eat half of it."
She then gave Johann apologetic look. "Sorry, Johann, but you heard the man. Guess I'm keeping it."
Johann began to panic as he began to use all his business skills to use. "Yeah, but at least you could let me taste some of it, right?"
Astrid then walked away. "No can do."
Johann sighed as the door closed behind him. "Well, at least those to get a romantic meal out of it."
Hiccup and Astrid then began walking down the street discussing how they would prepare the food.
"We have to decide where to cook it, I do not have the suitable utensils to cook this thing," said Hiccup.
"Well you can make it at my place," Astrid suggested. "I've been trying to increase my cooking skill, but no such luck. I don't even know how to work some of the equipment."
Hiccup nodded. "Yes, Artha told me as much when he came round to your place for meal."
Astrid stopped suddenly. "He said what?"
Hiccup quickly turned and said rather quickly. "He just said that you're much better fighter than a cook."
Astrid shook her head. "Anyway, speaking of Artha, he and Kitt have become an adorable couple."
Hiccup nodded. "Yeah, and they still don't shy away from the front lines."
"Hopefully they won't become like Griselda and Grimlock," said Astrid.
"agreed, Artha is a lot stronger than he looks."
Astrid nodded and then looked at him curiously. "By the way, if you don't have proper cooking equipment how come your cooking skill is maxed out?"
"There are certain ways to increase your cooking skill that doesn't acquire the right cooking equipment. I mean creating a camp and cooking over a fire is one way."
"Well, at least this gives me a chance to see the master in action."
Later that evening they returned to Elwynn forest, to the city of Stormwind. It was beautiful and it overlooked the massive and the sun reflected upon it with the most dazzling grow Hiccup had ever seen.
He then noticed there weren't many people around. "Quite deserted isn't it, but it's rather cool?"
"If you like it so much, why don't you move here?" Astrid asked as she led him over to her house.
"I don't know, this city seems way above my price range."
Astrid looked at him. "But aren't you the commander surely you can afford to be up here."
"I just like my place in grizzly hills and I like to savor my money for armor, weapons and anything else we might need on the front lines."
Astrid smirked. "And to think I thought that you weren't taking your responsibility seriously."
Hiccup smiled. "Hey, I told you surprise was my favorite tactic."
Astrid shook her head. "Anyway we best get going, it's getting dark."
"As you wish m'lady," said Hiccup bowing.
"No need to go all formal, commander," said Astrid.
Hiccup grinned. "I'm the commander and I can say what I want."
Hiccup soon entered Astrid's apartment and at once it took his breath away. The place was beautiful and he could help but notice well-armed. The place was stocked full of weapons that were all mounted on the wall it felt more like an armory than a house.
"You've got a killer pad and I mean that in the literal sense," said Hiccup. You could tell by looking at the furniture that it was expensive. "Hey, how much this cost?"
"The room and the furniture cost two million gold," said Astrid. She then wandered off to the bedroom. "Anyway, make yourself at home."
"Sure," said Hiccup and sat down in an armchair. He still couldn't get over the fact how pricey everything was. "Holy moly… two million. Man, that's a lot of gold. I'm sure I have that much, but blowing it all on a flat."
He then heard Astrid walking back into the room and felt his face burning. Astrid was wearing a red tank top and a pair of blue shorts that showed off her legs.
"Are you gonna take off your armor or what?" she asked.
It was then that Hiccup realized that he was still in his armor. "Oh, right. Sorry."
Hiccup replaces armor with a green short-sleeved shirt and a pair of black jeans, he then wandered over to the kitchen and found that Astrid had indeed bought top of the range cooking equipment. Astrid then brought out the S-class item which resembled a large chunk of meat.
"So this is the legendary S-class ingredient." Hiccup then looked up Astrid. "Okay, how do you want this cooked out?"
"I thought I'd leave that decision up to the chef," said Astrid.
"In that case…" Hiccup pondered for a moment. "How about making it into the hearty rhino stew?"
He then brought out other cooking ingredient that he would need for the stew and pulled out a kitchen knife. Astrid watched as he began cutting up the ingredients with a single touch of his knife.
Hiccup then began to pour everything into a big pot. "In real life there would be a lot more steps involved in preparing this." He then close the lid and place the pot into the oven. "Cooking in WOWO is so simple. Believe it or not it's kind of boring."
He then close the oven and set the timer for twenty-five minutes. "That takes care of that and now for the next step." He then wandered over to the kitchen table. "I was thinking of creating several side dishes."
He then brought out even more ingredients and did the same old routine. Astrid just watched him in wonder as he worked.
Soon twenty-five minutes were up and the stew was ready. Hiccup pulled out the pot and lifted the lid and at once Astrid smelled the delicious food inside.
Astrid laid down her fork and knife feeling completely stuffed. She had never tasted anything like it and judging from the look on Hiccup's face neither did he.
"I've been here five years and this is the first time I've ever eaten S-class food," Astrid sighed. "I'm so happy I survived long enough to eat that."
"Yeah, me too," said Hiccup.
The two then began to drink some tea and began reminiscing on the delicious food.
"It's a weird," said Astrid. "Sometimes… I dunno I get this feeling that I've lived here my entire life. You ever feel like that?"
"Yeah, almost all the time," said Hiccup sadly. "In fact there are days I don't even think about the real world at all. And it's not just me… these days more and more people don't seem to care about clearing the game and going back to the real world. We're not getting as many recruiters we once did."
Astrid nodded. "I've noticed that too and I think it's the same for the Templars, Seekers of Truth and all those other organizations fighting on the front lines. It's like about five hundred and maybe even less than that. I guess their getting used to it… they don't care anymore."
Astrid then place down her cup and looked about Hiccup. "Yeah… well, I want to go back." Hiccup looked up at and she smiled. "I mean there are things I haven't done yet, I have to."
Hiccup smiled. "I know how you feel and when you stop to consider it there's everyone else right. All those people who still count on us, if we give up it's unfair to them."
Astrid then held a hand right out in front of him. "Don't go there."
Hiccup blinked wondering what he did. "What?"
"I've seen that same look on guys faces before… right before they propose to me." Hiccup nearly fell out of his seat and Astrid laughed. "You should see your face. I guess you never had a girlfriend before."
"Very funny," he muttered.
"But in all seriousness ever since we got to Northrend things are getting more dangerous, the monster algorithms are getting even more irregular." Hiccup can help but agree with that statement, he spent most of his time alone and he had one or two close calls. "There are some things a solo player can't handle, unexpected things. Sometimes warping out isn't an option."
"Astrid, you know I've been careful and besides I'm not alone I have Toothless," said Hiccup.
"Toothless is a big help I admit, but is not the same thing as having a player by your side."
"I specialize in stealth and party members usually getting away."
"Oh, yeah," said Astrid pointed a knife in his face.
Hiccup gulped. "Let me rephrase that, everyone except you."
Astrid pulled a knife away. "Good." Hiccup sighed with relief, but then Astrid said, "So what do you say, you and me team up again?"
Hiccup looked up dumbfounded. "Now hold on a minute, don't you have your own squad to look after. You can't just bail on them."
Astrid shrugged. "Artha can easily take over, he's done it before."
Hiccup grumbled and was about to have another sip of tea when he found out his cup was empty. Astrid smiled and filled a backup and then sent him an invite to join a party.
Hiccup look to the notice then back to Astrid. "The front lines are dangerous, though."
Next second he was face-to-face with Astrid's knife which was growing bright blue. But that wasn't what frightened him, it was the look on Astrid's face again in the heebie-jeebies.
"Okay… fine," he said nervously pressing the okay button.
Astrid just smiled and pulled the knife away as if nothing happened.
An hour later, Hiccup was standing in front of her front porch preparing to head back to his place. Astrid was seeing him off. "Well, I suppose thanks in order for the meal. So… thank you."
"Thank you for obtaining the S-class ingredient," said Hiccup. "Maybe next time…" He paused. "What am I saying? I'll never get my hands on something like that again."
"Thing you need S-class ingredient to make something yummy," said Astrid cheerfully.
They then looked up into the night sky and while they knew the stars weren't real but it was a beautiful sight to see.
"Looking at this world and seeing what it's become since we got here, is this really what Krel Tarron wanted to create?" Hiccup asked.
The next day, Hiccup was standing next to the dock in Valgarde in the howling fjord for Astrid. Toothless was sleeping at his feet yawning. "I know, bud. Where is she?"
Then he heard the ship pulling into port and next thing he knew Astrid was running into him. The two of them collided and Hiccup felt two soft objects poking him in the face. It took him several seconds to realize what they were.
At once the two of them pulled away from one another feeling utterly embarrassed. Hiccup do know which one of them were more embarrassed here more Astrid who was covering her breasts.
Hiccup decided the best thing to do was to change the subject. "Why were you running?"
That question soon answered when the warp point opened again and a Seeker of Truth appeared. Hiccup didn't like the look of them, he looked a bit sleazy and untrusting and Toothless share the same sentiment, because he was growling at the seeker.
The Seeker looked at Astrid. "Oh, there you are. There's no need to play hard to get."
At once Astrid got up and moved over to Hiccup. "I told you the answer is no."
Hiccup looked at the Seeker then back to Astrid. "Can someone tell me what's going on?"
The Seeker smiled and bowed. "The name's Arngrim Dammen and I'm a member of the Seekers of Truth."
"And what would you want with Astrid?" Hiccup asked.
Astrid glared at Arngrim. "He proposed to me and he won't take no for an answer."
"I just think it's a waste for her to be with the Knights of freedom some say they haven't lived up to their word."
Hiccup was starting to dislike this man every minute. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
"It's just that your order swore that they would complete the game and it's been five years and still nothing."
Hiccup raised an eyebrow. "You call capturing seventy-two zones nothing?"
"And who do you think you are, her bodyguard?"
"He's my commander," Astrid snarled.
Arngrim blinked looked at Hiccup and began to laugh. "He is the commander of the Knights of freedom? I'm so underwhelmed."
Hiccup frowned. "Whatever you think of me, you cannot have Astrid."
Arngrim glared down at him. "You think you can threaten me?"
Hiccup stood his ground. "I don't care who you are, but my second-in-command is with me you can't have her."
Arngrim growled. "You've got a big mouth kid." He then opened up his menu. "So, I'm going to give you a chance to prove how tough you really are."
Hiccup saw that he had just been challenged to a duel by Arngrim. He didn't like fighting over Astrid like she was a trophy and looked at her.
Astrid nodded giving her approval. "You sure?" Hiccup asked.
"Just beat this sleazeball."
Hiccup nodded and press the okay button. Then the HP and name became visible and time appeared counting down from sixty seconds.
"I'm going to enjoy this," said Arngrim pulling out his sword.
Hiccup remained silent and pulled out his bow and nocked an arrow on his drawstring and the other players that when the plaza had gathered.
"Hiccup's going to duel against a Seeker of Truth?" said a player.
Another one snorted. "This will be fun to watch."
Arngrim's frustration grew at those words.
The two of them raise their weapons preparing themselves and in the time of each zero. At once Arngrim used one of his sword skills and charged at one another. Arngrim looked confident as his blade began to crash down on Hiccup.
However, when his blade was close to hiccup, they spun around had their backs to one another. Arngrim stared in horror when he looked down his sword and found the blade had been cut off completely as one of hiccup's arrows fell to the ground with an extremely bent tip before it disintegrated.
"I can't believe it," he said and its hilt disintegrated. He then fell to his knees.
Everyone in the crowd just stared in bewilderment.
"Holy crap, he destroyed his sword?" said a player.
"How did he do that?"
Hiccup then sheathed his bow and turned to look at Arngrim. "This is your only warning, leave Astrid alone or I'll do more than shatter your sword."
Arngrim glared at him clenching his fists. "You haven't heard the last of this." He then made his way back to the dock and hopped aboard the ship as it redocked to Valgarde, returning to Menethil harbor.
The ship then slide out of the dock and disappeared on the horizon.
Astrid looked at Hiccup. "I doubt we've heard the last of him."
"No," Hiccup agreed. "But at least we've heard the last of him for today."
"Well, let's go and conquer the final raid zone," said Astrid already walking ahead. "I'm taking the lead."
"Now hang on," said Hiccup. "Who's the commander here?"
Astrid gave him a sly smile. "At the moment it's me."
The two of them kept on arguing as the exited the town. Toothless rolled his eyes, before running over to them.
An hour later, Hiccup and Astrid doing battles in the caverns of Icecrown citadel fighting against undead minions. Hiccup watched as Astrid fought against it with ferocity the likes of which he'd never seen and she seemed to be able to break through the ghouls defense's with just a swing of the axe.
"Okay, maybe having someone along who knows how to fight sure makes things easier," said Hiccup.
"Strike him now!" Astrid yelled.
"You got it," said Hiccup snapping out of his thoughts.
Hiccup charged at the skeletal warrior just as Astrid knocked away it's shield. He then dealt several blows with his bow and arrows and Toothless then came in with a plasma blast knocking the beast backwards and within seconds it disintegrated.
After that battle they continued exploring the caverns and were soon entering into uncharted territory.
Suddenly Astrid came to a stop. "Hiccup look."
Hiccup looked up from the map and saw the door that led to the boss room. Both he and Astrid exchange glances. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Uh-huh," Hiccup nodded. "We found the boss room."
Astrid clutched Hiccup arm. "What do we do? You think we should look inside?"
"Well, we came all this way. Besides, boss monsters never leave the rooms they guard, I think will be okay if we just take a peek."
Astrid looked slightly uneasy, but nodded in agreement. "Okay."
"Have a teleport crystal ready," Hiccup advised. "Just in case."
They each brought out a teleport crystal and made their way over to the door.
"Okay," said Hiccup. "Are you ready?"
Astrid nodded and they began to open the boss room and they slowly made their way inside.
At first there was nothing, but then the sky opened up and what they found was an utter horrifying sight. A giant spike of ice with a throne carved out of it. The boss was a giant human clad in black ice covered armor that had to be about twenty feet tall holding a large great sword it had a pale blue glow emanating from its body as if it had been holding unfathomable power and its name was Frostmourne. his eyes were icy blue and his name was the lich king, lord of the scourge.
Hiccup and Astrid stared up at the lich king and saw him raising his two handed sword. They didn't waste a second, they ran out of the chamber screaming and didn't stop until they were a good distance away from the boss room. Toothless followed close behind.
They laid down next to the cavern walls panting for breath. Toothless just laid down sleeping. "That one's going to be tough to beat," said Astrid.
"You're right," Hiccup agreed. "It only had that glowing two handed sword, but I'm pretty sure it's got some special attacks too."
"Were going to have to put tanks in the front row to pull aggro and our healers to support them while our ranged Dps attack it from the back row while our melee Dps assist the tank just wearing it down."
"Yeah, and it won't hurt to have about ten shield users."
Astrid then looked at Hiccup curiously. "tanks, huh?"
Hiccup blinked. "What? What's wrong?"
"You are," said Astrid. "You're hiding something, aren't you?"
Hiccup looked at her. "What are you talking about?"
Hiccup was never very good liar and after could tell he was definitely hiding something. "I just realize something. You're a hunter and so you specialize with speed attacks and yet you use a bow and arrow. To the best of my knowledge a hunter could use all other weapons except for wands, maces and two handed maces. That allows them to deal nasty bug bites to larger foes."
Hiccup crossed his arms and looked away from her. "And how come you're not using the sword Artha gave you." She narrowed her eyes. "Very suspicious."
Hiccup just remained silent, but she could tell that he wasn't going to explain himself. "Never mind," she sighed. "I'm sure you have your reasons, but I wouldn't mind if you share them."
"I have a very good reason not to," said Hiccup. He then began to open his menu. "Well, since it's so late we might as well have lunch here." Then a backpack landed in front of him and pulled out two sandwiches and handed one of them to Astrid. "Here you go."
"Thanks," said Astrid taking a bite out of it. "How do you do it?"
Hiccup shrugged. "Oh, I simply just calculated the parameters using flavor creation engine and… poof… delicious food."
"Simple?" said Astrid raising an eyebrow. "Sometimes I think you're the cook not the commander of the knights of freedom."
Hiccup frowned at her. "You know, it's not just me commanding the knights and with you it's hard whether it's an insult or compliment."
Suddenly they heard footsteps and coming out of the corner was Artha, leading Astrid's squad and the other council members. They certainly came to a stop when they saw Hiccup and Astrid sitting there.
"Hiccup? Astrid?" Artha, Callum, Jim, Aja, Elsa, Rapunzel and ruby blinked.
"guys?" the two of them said in unison as they got to their feet.
Elsa giggled. "Did we interrupt something?"
"No!" they both yelled, much to their embarrassment.
Snotlout looks heartbroken. "Why are you here with him?"
"Clearing the halls," said Astrid, with and irritated tone. "What else?"
"Doesn't look like you're clearing the halls?" said Ruffnut raising an eyebrow.
"More like you're having a good cuddle," said Tuffnut.
Hiccup didn't know whose face was red, his or Astrid's. "We were taking a break."
"Sure you were," said Ruffnut.
The conversation probably would have led to a battered and bruised Ruff and Tuffnut, but then they heard more footsteps. They turned and found Inquisition soldiers turning round the corner. They looked completely worn out.
Hiccup just stared. "What in the—it's the Inquisition."
"What are they doing here?" said Artha crossing his arms.
"They were almost slaughtered in Ulduar and they decided that they should focus their efforts on catching red players and other criminals while increasing their ranks," said Astrid.
"We haven't seen them on the front lines for a while," said Hiccup.
They suddenly came to a stop and their leader looked at his men. "At ease!"
Almost at once the soldiers collapsed, Hiccup didn't think there would be up to a fight. Then their leader approached the Knights of freedom and looked at Hiccup.
"I'm with the Inquisition, Lt Col Corbatz," he said.
Hiccup looked at him with a firm look. "I'm Hiccup, one of the commanders of the Knights of freedom."
"It's an honor Sir," said Corbatz saluting. "Have you clear the area up ahead?"
"Yeah, we also got a map with directions to the boss room."
Corbatz looked at him and then raised a hand open palmed and had a determined look on his face. "Right, then hand over that map and we will be on our way."
They all stared at him.
"You just want us to give it to you?" said Eret. "Do you even know how much of a pain in the ass mapping is?"
Corbatz glared at him angrily. "We share our information and resources with civilian players all the time. And we don't charge anything for it!"
He then looked at every single one of them. "We maintain order in the chaos of battle. So, all players can leave this world as quickly as possible isn't that the same thing you Knights of freedom stand for? Therefore, it's your duty to cooperate with us. So, handover that map!"
Astrid glared at him. "Listen you—"
The other Knights were reaching for their weapons, spells standing at the ready and Toothless growled at him. The last thing Hiccup wanted was an incident with the Inquisition, after all they were allies and they needed all the help they can get.
Hiccup raised a hand in front of them. "Relax, when I got back to town I was going to make this public with the map anyway. It's cool."
Hiccup then began transmitting the map to Corbatz. The Knights just stared at him as if he'd gone crazy.
"You're being way too nice to him," said Artha.
"I don't care about making money off map data," said Hiccup as he finished transmitting the data to Corbatz.
"Thanks for cooperating," said Corbatz turning back towards his men.
"By the way, if you're playing on hitting the boss I wouldn't recommend it," said Hiccup.
Corbatz stopped and turned his head towards him. "That is my decision to make."
Hiccup eyes widened. "Hey, I just took a look inside that room pal and you can't beat that thing if your troops are half dead." He then gestured to his men which were still completely exhausted. "Look at them there exhausted."
Corbatz quickly turned his eyes upon him. "Nonsense! My men are tougher than that! They won't quit until I say so!" He then turned onto his men. "On your feet! Come on, move!"
Clearly Corbatz wasn't the most experienced leader, his men were completely worn out, but he didn't seem to notice as they walked off.
"Are those guys gonna be okay?" Heather asked.
"I'm sure they know what they're doing," said Astrid. "They wouldn't rush the boss without checking it out first, right?"
Hiccup wasn't convinced, but surely Corbatz wouldn't be stupid enough to take on the boss with the forces he had. Then again he seemed quite adamant about it. "Maybe we should keep an eye on them anyway."
"We better move out," said Artha.
"Agreed, let's move out Knights," Hiccup ordered.
As they walk through the cavern Heather and the other single and not single female members of their large raiding party which consisted of Kitt, Minden, Ruff, Atali, Camicazi, Kitt, Rayla, Claire, Aja, Elsa, the sub teams RWBY and JNPR made their way over to Astrid. "So, when were you gonna tell everyone that you hooked up with the commander?"
Astrid's face turned pink. "We're not in a relationship."
"You sure? Because I can give you tips if you like." Kitt whispered into her ear before looking at the other single girls. "the same goes for you Minden, Ruffnut, Atali, Camicazi, Heather, Rayla and Elsa."
"No, no, no, I don't want to hear this," said Astrid firmly while the other girls nodded their heads.
Heather giggled. "You can't fool me Astrid."
Further along Hiccup and Artha were having a similar conversation.
"So, when he gonna pop the question?" Artha asked.
Hiccup stared at him. "We're not even a couple."
"You certainly argue like one."
"Only because two people yell at each other doesn't mean they're about to kiss."
Artha raised an eyebrow. "Then how come you're looking at her legs?"
Hiccup face turned the right shade of pink. "I wasn't looking… I glanced in that direction… just for a moment."
Artha shrugged. "Suit yourself, but I'm telling you, you're missing out in quite the experience."
Ten minutes later, they were battling against a small cluster of genlocks.
"That's the last of them," said Artha as the last one fell. "The only thing left is the boss' room. Maybe those guys used a mage portal to warp out of there."
Hiccup was is convinced and that was proven true when they heard a scream nearby. "Astrid!"
Astrid nodded and they rushed over towards the boss room. Artha and the other Knights followed as close behind as they could with Toothless just in front of them.
As they got closer they could hear screaming and saw the doors of the boss from the wide open. They stop just outside and looked into the chamber.
"Hey! You guys okay!" Hiccup yelled.
He didn't need them to answer the question, they were anything but okay. They were battling against the Lich King and they were losing. Most of them were lying on the ground exhausted and the others looked as if they were about to fall.
"Don't just stand there! Use your hearthstones!"
"We can't!" A soldier yelled with the grey stone in his hand. "The stones aren't working!"
They watched as the Lich King knocked them away with his runesword.
"But I thought the hearthstones worked everywhere?" said Snotlout.
Heather shook her head. "That's not entirely true, I've heard that there are traps that prevent you from warping out."
"She's right," said Eret. "In my old guild we stumbled into a trap like this and I was the only one who came out of it."
"But I've never heard of a trap like this been in a boss room before," said Astrid.
"The Inquisition doesn't know the word retreat!" Corbatz yelled. "Come on! Keep fighting!"
"They're insane," said Hiccup. "We could distract the boss, but going in there is too risky."
"We can't just sit around here and do nothing either," said Artha.
"Ready! Charge!" Corbatz roared. He and his men then charge straight at the Lich King.
"Don't do it!" Hiccup yelled.
It was too late, the Lich King used his summoning shambling horror ability and it blasted them with a shockwave attack. He then slammed his runesword right on top of them and all of them fell to the ground.
Corbatz tried to attack him while his guard was down, but he was swatted away and landed outside the chamber slamming into both Artha and Kitt.
Hiccup rushed over to him. "Hang on, Corbatz."
Corbatz helmet was destroyed and he at Hiccup with a face that read puzzlement. "I can't believe it."
He then shattered into a million pieces. Hiccup turned to Artha and Atali in the hope they can use a resurrection spell, but the two of them had been pushed so far away that they wouldn't reach him in time.
"No," said Astrid horrified.
Then they heard one of the soldiers screaming. The Lich King was now making his way through the rest and there was no way they would survive on their own. Astrid watched as he raised his runesword ready to do the final blow on a soldier.
"No," she said using all her willpower to not grab her axe. "I can't." Then just as the Lich King swung his runesword Astrid grabbed the handle of her axe and rushed into the boss's room. "NO!"
"Astrid!" Hiccup yelled running after her.
Artha sighed. "Oh, what the hell. Come on!"
Artha and the others followed them into the boss's room.
Astrid jumped into the air with her axe held high and slammed it into the lich king's back. This caused him to miss the Inquisition soldier, but he turned his eyes upon her instead. Astrid blocked the runesword with her axe, but could do nothing to stop him from punching her with his massive fist.
She was sent sprawling across the ground and she looked up in time to see the lich king raising his runesword above her. Hiccup then appeared out of nowhere and use all his strength to shove off the runesword a few inches to her right, missing her completely.
"Get out!" he yelled to her.
Astrid nodded and jumped back to a safe distance.
Meanwhile Artha and the rest of the Knights went to assist the Inquisition soldiers.
"I've got you man," he said as place Inquisition soldier's arm around his shoulders.
"Thanks," said the soldier.
The lich king then turned his sights upon them, but before he could summon additional minions Hiccup shot him in the back with his crypt fiend slayer bow. The lich king then turned towards him and the two began to trade blows with one another.
Hiccup knew that there was no way he would survive this. He then blocked the lich king's blade with his bow, but he continued to press down upon him. Hiccup could see his HP falling.
"Get out of there!" Astrid yelled.
"Hiccup!" Artha yelled.
Hiccup was able to push the blade away, but was trying to dodge another one of the lich king's swings. There was only one way they could survive this, but he was reluctant to do it. He looked at the HP of the others and while he and the other knights had nearly full health the Inquisition soldiers were dangerously in the red zone.
Hiccup quickly blocked another attack from the lich king and decided that he had no choice. He turned his eyes upon Astrid and Ragnar. "Astrid! Artha! Listen, I need ten seconds keep them off me!"
"Yeah, you got it," said Artha.
Then he and Astrid charged at the lich king while Hiccup Jumped back to a safe distance. He then began to open his menu and scrolling down his skills.
Toothless assisted Artha and Astrid by firing a plasma blast right into the lich king's face, but then he was knocked aside by one of the lich king's fists. Artha then struck him several holy weapon spells, but he knocked them aside with a single swing of his blade and the shockwave knocked Artha off his feet. Astrid dodged one of the lich king's swings and slammed her axe right into his wrist.
"Okay! I'm ready!" Hiccup yelled. "Get out of the way!"
Astrid knocked the lich king's blade aside and moved aside to let Hiccup pass. Then all of them saw him do something incredible just as he pushed the lich king's runesword away and a sword appeared right across his back. He grabbed its handle and the next second he pushed the lich king back with his sword and bow. The sword that Hiccup was holding in his left hand was Quel'Delar.
The knights and Inquisition soldiers just stared at him, Hiccup was using a skill that none of them had ever seen before.
Hiccup then brought us sword and bow up just as the lich king slammed his runesword upon him. He then pushed him back with all his might and his eyes were full of determination as if he knew he was going to win.
"Okay, here goes. Heroic strike!" he yelled.
He then began pounding the lich king with his blade and the ends of his bow at such a fast rate that it was impossible to see the tip of his blade with the naked eye. He also showed no signs of stopping, it looked as though he was in a mad frenzy.
"What the hell kind of skill is that?" Snotlout asked.
"I don't know, I've never seen anything like it," said Artha.
The lich king hit Hiccup across the face with one of his fists, but it didn't faze him. Hiccup was so focused on defeating the lich king that he didn't notice anything around him. Hiccup blocks one of the lich king's swings, but it knocked his sword and bow out of his hands.
However, he quickly grabbed hold of them and slammed them straight into the lich king's chest. The lich king recovered quickly and punched him across the face again, but like before it had no effect on him. Hiccup was now moving even faster dealing more damage upon the lich king.
Then the lich king grabbed the sword in his right hand with his bare hand and raised his runesword high. Astrid and artha rushed over to Hiccup, but they won't make it in time. However, they hand nothing to fear, Hiccup used the last of his strength and slammed Quel'Delar into the lich king's gut.
Everyone watched as the lich king disintegrated, but the battle had really its toll upon Hiccup. He just stood there in a daze and they couldn't blame him Hiccup had a small fraction of HP left.
"Is it… over?" he said.
Hiccup then fell to the ground in a crumpled heap and everything went black.
"Hiccup! Wake up, Hiccup!" Astrid's voice screamed.
When Hiccup regained consciousness he found Astrid looking over him with a worried look on her face and tears in her eyes.
At once he rubbed his forehead, he had a massive headache. "Man… my head." He looked around and saw the other knights and Inquisition soldiers looking at him. "Man… that was close. How long was I out for?"
"Just a few seconds," said Astrid brushing the tears out of her eyes.
She then punched him hard on the arm. "Ow! What was that for?"
"That was for scaring me!" she said furiously.
Hiccup began to open his mouth, but he knew he deserved it. Then Astrid did the most single surprising thing she had ever done. She kissed him on the cheek.
"That's… for everything else," she said. She then pulled him into a big hug. "Don't ever do anything so reckless again."
Hiccup just smiled. "Geez, take it easy. If you squeeze me any harder, I'll lose the last of my HP."
Atali began to heal him and Artha walked up to him. "Corbatz and two of his men are the only ones who did make it."
Hiccup closed his eyes. "We haven't lost a player in a boss fight since Naxxramas."
"That wasn't a boss fight. It was suicide," said Eret.
"He's right, Corbatz was a damn fool," Artha agreed. He then turned his eyes upon Hiccup. "Speaking of which, would you mind telling us what the hell did you just do right now?"
Hiccup looks away. "You don't want to know."
"You've got to be kidding. I've never seen anything like it."
Hiccup closed his eyes and sighed. "It's an extra skill I picked up. Dual Wielding."
Everyone's eyes widened.
"What other conditions to obtain it?" Snotlout asked excitedly.
"If I knew I would have shared them," said Hiccup.
Artha then began scrolling down the info broker skill list. "Well, there is no mention of it in the info broker skill list. I guess it's only exclusive to you." He then looked at Hiccup in amazement. "You've got a unique skill right there. How come you didn't share this with the other knights?"
"About six months ago I was scrolling through my skill menu and it was just… there. Dual Wielding." Hiccup explain. "But… if anyone else found out I had a skill like this…"
"They'd get pissed because you had something they didn't," Artha finished. "No right people would be jealous of you had that." He then eyes Astrid, who was still hugging him. "And that. Anyway, we'll go and trigger the warp gate, you coming?"
"Nah, I'll catch up with you later," said Hiccup. "I still need to rest for that."
"After all that I am not surprised," said Eret.
Artha then lead the knights towards the warp point. "I meet you back at headquarters. Oh, and Hiccup remember you acted like a hero today when you saved those Inquisition soldiers."
Hiccup just stared at him as he walked up the stairs, but then turned his attentions upon Astrid, who still hadn't let go. He could feel his cheeks turn red as he looked down upon her golden hair and all his thoughts turned upon the time they spent together. He began to wonder if Artha was right and that they were too stubborn to admit their feelings for each other.
The next day at Stonewatch Keep, Hiccup was sitting at his desk with Fishlegs. He was forced to remain there thanks to today's newspaper Fishlegs was now holding.
"A death knight that annihilated a big squad of Inquisition soldiers and a fifty hit combo from a Dual Wielder, who took the boss out by himself," Fishlegs read. He then stared up at Hiccup. "Man, I'm having a hard time believing this."
"Every word of its true," said Eret, who just walked in. "I know seeing is believing, but I was there and I still don't even believe it."
"Well, it richly blew up in my face," said Hiccup. "A butt load of swordsmen and info brokers showed up at my place this morning. I have to remain here because they know where I live."
Gobber sitting at a nearby chair reading the paper as well. "Maybe you shouldn't blab it out then. You said you gonna keep it secret."
Hiccup just leaned back into his chair muttering something under his breath.
Then they heard footsteps outside and Astrid slammed the door open. She was completely out of breath. "Hiccup, we've got ourselves a huge problem."
A few hours later, they were at Shattrath city and was standing in the headquarters of the Seekers of Truth. Hiccup and Astrid were standing in front of the desk that belongs to Lord Seeker Lucius and Lord Seeker Amaya.
"It's a pleasure to meet you again commander, but I wish it was not under these circumstances," said the Lord Seeker.
"You're the one who brought this matter forward," Hiccup pointed out.
"I know, but that does not make it any easier. As you know both our organizations contribute the most fighting forces onto the front lines and now were faced with a problem that can no longer be ignored. Communication between organizations are getting muddled and because of this we are losing more players as such we should have one commander in charge of the forces that lead on the front lines."
Hiccup crossed his arms and looked right into the commander's eyes. "I doubt you Seekers are to be trusted, not after what happened yesterday."
"You have my sincere apologies for any trouble you might have had with Arngrim and rest assured he has been dealt with a suitable punishment. But you must simply understand that we cannot allow this miscommunication go on any further."
"And you know I'm not going to give you full command of the knights of freedom."
"I expected as much, so I suggest that we should solve this on the battlefield. We will have a duel and the victor gets to command and all players on the front lines."
Hiccup and Astrid looked at one another. The Lord Seeker was a formidable opponent in fact he had never lost a fight.
"if I'm following you so far, you're looking to take command of both our organizations? "
The lord seeker nodded his head as astrid studied him carefully
Hiccup then turn towards the Lord Seeker. "It agreed then."
Chapter 5: Cataclysm
The day after the duel was declared, everyone gathered in the stadium on floor seventy-five. People had heard of the challenge between the knight Commander and the Lord Seeker and the tickets were selling like hot cakes.
Hiccup was in his chambers with Astrid and Artha.
"I can't believe this," said Astrid crossing her arms. "Why issue the challenge now?"
"I suspect he's doing what he feels is doing what is right," said Artha. However he did look deeply troubled. "Though, I have to admit I do not like this dual."
"Neither do I, but we both know it needs to be done," said Hiccup.
Astrid looked at Hiccup concernedly. "You know the other day when you used your dual wielding skill. I've never seen anything like it, but the thing is the Lord Seeker has its own unique skill too."
Hiccup nodded. "I know I've seen a bunch of times myself." He then closed his eyes and deep thought. "The Blade of the burning sun. It maximizes his offensive and defensive moves, his attack a strong, but his defense is incredible."
"No one's ever seen the Lord Seeker's health bar drop down into the yellow zone before," said Astrid.
"His invincibility is way beyond the normal game balance," said Artha.
Hiccup got up. "I know, but I have to beat him."
"Well, if you can get past that shield of his you will stand a great chance of defeating him."
Hiccup placed on his best confident look and looked at his two friends. "Don't worry, I'll beat him."
A few minutes later, both Hiccup and Lucius were standing in the center of the arena. All the seats were filled out as thousands of players watched in excitement for what could be the greatest duel ever held in World Of Warcraft Online.
"I'm sorry about this, Hiccup," said Lucius looking at the crowd. "I didn't think this would be such a big deal. This is crazy."
Hiccup smirked. "Maybe I can get a cut in the tickets."
"No, but when we are finished you and your Knights of freedom will be under my command." He then turned his eyes upon Hiccup. "I'll consider this your first mission."
Lucius then accessed his menu and sent a request to Hiccup to accept the dual, Hiccup didn't waste a second and accepted the duel request.
Then the timer began to countdown, Hiccup pulled out his epic blade and his bow and saw Lucius pulled out his shield from his back and pulled his sword out of its sheath on his hip.
Then when the timer his zero, Hiccup didn't waste a second and charge straight towards Lucius. He began swinging his blade and bow, but Lucius raised his shield blocking every single one of his attacks and then he tried to perform a shield bash.
However, this proved to be a faint and Hiccup had enough time to block his sword. Then when he tried to charge again, Lucius slammed his shield hard into his gut and pushed him backwards.
He got up in time to see Lucius charging towards him and their blades collided. Hiccup jumped back and the sword in his right hand began to glow and he tried to break through Lucius defense with as much momentum as he could manage. However, Lucius didn't move an inch and looked at Hiccup with an impressive look.
"Your reaction time is very impressive," he complimented.
Hiccup decided to give him a compliment as well. "Yeah, and your defense is impenetrable."
The crowd cheered as the two of them charged at one another again with blinding speed. moving so fast that no one could see their blades and in fact it was hard to who had the upper hand.
From one the arena's entrances, both Astrid and members of the guild were watching the battle from a distance. Astrid looked deeply worried as the battle continued.
"Be careful," she said.
Hiccup then managed to scratch Lucius face with the sword in his right hand. Then both his blade and bow glowed with a bright blue as he began pounding at his shield. It took some doing, but he was finally able to break through his shield and he prepared to deal the final blow with Quel'Delar.
That's when something unusual happened, Hiccup watched in horror as Lucius moved his shield arm in an incredible speed. He knew he would be able to strike him in time and it was proven when the shield blocked his attack and then reflected the other spells back at their casters.
Then Lucius stabbed him with his sword while his back was turned. He fell to the ground as his HP had hit the yellow zone, ending the dual.
The dual screen appeared announcing Lucius as the winner and the entire crowd cheered. Hiccup stared up at Lucius wondering how he was able to perform that move, it didn't seem possible.
Later at Stonewatch Keep, Hiccup announced to the other Knights of freedom that Lord Seeker Lucius was now in charge of the front lines and that they now answer to him.
"I don't believe it!" Snotlout roared.
"Well, believe it, Snotlout, because it's true," said Artha.
Snotlout glared at Hiccup in frustration. "How could you lose to him?"
"It wasn't like I did it on purpose." said Hiccup.
Snotlout was about to make a move against Hiccup, but Astrid cut across him. "Drop it, Snotlout."
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Fishlegs asked.
"I'm afraid not, we have already signed the treaty, before the duel started." said Hiccup.
"It's not your fault Hiccup," said Heather. "I doubt anyone could have done any better."
"Yeah," Astrid agreed. "I thought you were going to win when you were pushed back by the shield. I didn't know a warrior could move that fast. I mean, I would expect that sort reaction with a rogue, but a warrior?"
Hiccup shrugged. "Well there's nothing we can do now, but the Lord Seeker wishes a combined effort with both the Seekers, Knights and the Inquisition in order to take down the Void Crows."
Everyone stared at him.
"But the Inquisition has been trying to track down their headquarters for over a year," said Astrid.
"Well, apparently we've caught a break. A defector from the Crows has agreed to cooperate in exchange for amnesty."
Astrid stared at him in bewilderment. "Please tell me not actually buying this."
"They didn't at first, but Ilia can tell if someone is lying in an instant. And coined his records and his assassinations were on shady people, very corrupt players."
"Why would he betray his own guild?" Artha asked.
Hiccup now looks slightly embarrassed. "Apparently, he believes we can clear the game ever since I took down the lich king."
Astrid and looked at him seriously. "So, how many are we taking."
"Just us and Duncan's squad. I believe the Lord Seeker is sending the same amount of forces."
Snotlout then raised his mace. "Well then let's show these Crows what happens when you meddle with us."
A few hours later they went to Shadowmoon valley. They were inside Inquisition stronghold, the Wildhammer stronghold, which was a large castle looking over the valley.
Hiccup and his Knights were with several Seekers and he noticed that one of them was Arngrim much to his annoyance. Then the high Inquisitor Blake herself appeared and she was accompanied by Ilia and Yang, who left the Templars when she was offered the position of commander from Inquisition.
"Thank you for coming," said High Inquisitor Blake. "As you all know we are going to take down the Void Crows once and for all. Now just to remind you I wish to avoid bloodshed, but more than likely they will not give up without a fight and they are cold blooded killers. Don't let your guard down."
Duncan then raised his hand. Duncan was one of Hiccup's best captains within the Knights, he was very popular with the troops. "How can we trust the source?"
"Why don't you ask him yourself?" said Ilia.
Then walking into the room was a void elf rogue with a tattoo across his face. In some ways he reminded Hiccup of Eret, but he would bet Quel'Delar that the man was a womanizer. They were looking at his cursor Hiccup noticed that he was a green player, this was utterly unheard-of because the Crows were often either red or orange players.
"Allow me to introduce you to Viggo," said Ilia
"Thank you for the introduction," said Viggo with a bow. He then looked around the crowd. "Ah, I see the famous knight Commander is among us." after spotting hiccup among the crowd
Hiccup sighed as he felt every one's eyes gazing upon him. "I see my reputation precedes me."
Viggo smiled. "But of course, famous commander, swordsman, bowman and if I may be so bold and excellent specimen of manhood." At that point Hiccup wished he was dead. Then Viggo turned his eyes upon Astrid. "And not forgetting of course his lovely second-in-command."
Astrid's glare was enough to frighten anyone, in fact those sitting closest to her shifted away from her.
High Inquisitor Blake sighed. "Not now Viggo."
"But of course. Now you all probably wondering if you can trust me and the truth is you can't. You see I may have killed one or two… okay a few dozen. But each and every one of them were orange and red players that deserved what they got."
"We've only got your word," said Eret.
"But it's a word you can trust," said Viggo.
Yang stepped up. "Anyway, Viggo has given us the location of their HQ. It's somewhere in Zul'drak within a remote cavern. Now we've got the element of surprise and far greater numbers so we're going to hit em and hit em hard."
"The sooner these player killers are dealt with the better," said a Seeker.
"Agreed," said high Inquisitor Blake.
The next day they made their way down to Zul'drak and Viggo led them into a cavern. Hiccup didn't like it, it was a perfect place for an ambush, but they had very little choice.
Hiccup turned his eyes upon the men the high Inquisitor bought. They seem to be a mixed match of different species and classes. He could see a draenei warrior, a dwarf hunter holding a strange looking crossbow and a human mage who walked as if she owned the place.
They soon came to a large opening and then out of nowhere shadowy figures surrounded them. They didn't need to guess who they were, they were the Void Crows. All eyes fall upon Viggo, but he looked as surprised as they were.
"I swear this is not my doing," he said.
"If it's not him, then we got a leak," said Duncan.
"We can worry about that later once we deal with these guys," said Inquisitor Trevelyan.
That's when the battle started and everyone shifted and attacked one another. The Void Crows were certainly skilled, but he was willing to bet that was because their group were refraining from killing them. Despite this, they seem to have the upper hand when he saw that Draenei warrior toss one of them into the air and surprisingly Viggo was engaged against the Crows.
Toothless himself was causing quite a bit of damage firing plasma blasts at any Crow that came his way and those who were foolish enough to get close ended up having their arm bitten off.
Things started to look good, but then something unexpected happened. While Duncan had just taken down a Crow, Arngrim struck him with his sword and everyone stared as Duncan disintegrated.
"Arngrim! What are you doing?" his commander yelled. "The Knights are our allies!"
"Oh, they're no allies of mine," said Arngrim. He then removed his glove revealing a shadowy Crow tattooed on his forearm.
"You're with the Void Crows!" Astrid roared.
Everything started to make sense, it wasn't Viggo that led them into the ambush. Arngrim had tipped off the Crows about their plan.
"It really took you this long to figure it out?" said Arngrim killing two Seekers that charged him. "Why do you think I wanted to propose to you? It was all to get you to our headquarters, though we didn't know whether to use you as leverage or simply have your round for entertainment."
That's when he crossed the line. Astrid charged him at full speed and slammed her axe into him sending him straight into the cavern wall. He got out just in time to see Astrid pummeling him with her axe.
He looked at her fearfully and realizing he was outmatched, he was covered in scratches and was at the mercy of Astrid. "I give up!" he cried. "I surrender! Please, don't kill me! I don't want to die!"
Astrid hesitated for a second and it was in that hesitation that he knocked her axe away. He then raised his sword and looked at her with a murderous look. "The oldest trick in the book and you fell for it bitch!"
Then Hiccup shoved her out of the way just as he swung, but he lost his left leg, below the knee in the process. Though strangely enough it didn't look like it caused him any pain and before Arngrim could do anything Hiccup used his momentum and pulled out his bow and loosed an arrow straight into his head killing him instantly.
Astrid watched as Arngrim disintegrated and an old memory appeared in her head. A few years ago she was crossing the road and she saw a car heading towards at breakneck speed. Then a boy pushed her out of the way and before she lost consciousness she saw the car slamming into the boy and the only thing she could see was his emerald green eyes.
Astrid looked at Hiccup. "It was you."
Hiccup looked at her in puzzlement. "Sorry?"
She looked at him breathlessly. "You're the boy who saved me from that car… I-I thought you died."
Hiccup's eyes widened. "You're that girl."
They stared at each other's eyes not sure what to say. Neither of them realized that the battle between their raiding party and the Crows had stopped with the remaining Void Crows ending up in custody, they were more focused on each other rather than help with their newly acquired prisoners.
Astrid was the first one of them to speak. "All this time and I never realized and here you are saving my life again. I just don't know what to say."
Hiccup placed his hands on her shoulders. "I do."
Then Hiccup pulled her into a kiss, at first she was surprised, but slowly she relaxed into the kiss. Neither of them cared that people were watching them.
"Well, it's about time," said Artha while he man handled a Void Crow in shackles to the other captured Crows.
"No kidding," said Heather.
The two of them broke apart and therefore heads touched. "I love you," said Hiccup.
Tears filled Astrid's eyes. "And I love you."
**warning these next scenes are smut heavy if you like it let me know in the comments**
That evening, Hiccup and Astrid were having dinner at his house in the northern edge of the grizzly hills. Astrid took it in and couldn't believe how peaceful it was, with a warm fire and the crickets chirping outside.
Once they finished dinner Astrid got up surprised Hiccup. She then dimmed the lights and what she did next surprised him even more. She opened up her main menu and within seconds her close vanished.
Hiccup's eyes widened as he stared at her perfectly athletic naked body, her long golden hair cascading down her back, framing her face. He wasn't sure what to feel, part of him wanted the pin her to the wall while the other part was too stunned to move.
Hiccup gulped. "Are you sure?"
Astrid then glared at him. "You think I wouldn't do this if I wasn't sure?"
"I-I just don't want to hurt you."
Astrid shook her head. "Always the gentleman, but I am sure."
Hiccup got up and opened up his menu removing his clothes. Then before Astrid could do anything he tackled and pinned her to the wall and began attacking her neck.
He could hear Astrid moan as he licked, kissed and bit at her neck. His hands then moved over to her ass and he lifted her up. Astrid wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on the lips as he carried her to his bedroom. Their tongues dances inside their mouths as they fought over control.
Hiccup then laid her down on the bed and looked over Astrid's beautiful body. She gave him a seductive look. "You like what you see?"
Hiccup smiled. "More than you know."
She looked up at him one last time, reaching up and turning the light out as he pulled her panties down. It was almost too dark for him to see but after finding her thighs he managed to angle his head toward her center. Her skin was so soft, and so warm, he kissed her thigh like the posts online had said, moving closer and noticed that her breathing was shallow, just like the books he had found in ironforge’s archives had told him, hoping that whatever he was doing was right, starting by planting a few kisses between her legs and feeling her jerk slightly, gasping and trying to keep her hips from bucking upwards, moaning softly as he ran his tongue up and down her skin.
She tasted warm and he felt, what he had read was arousal fluid, against his tongue. He pushed his tongue forward and she gasped, her hips bucking up into his face, and he held her down with his hands, inwardly congratulating himself as he did it a few more times, moving his tongue around and making the alphabet, a tip that he had found on a few different pages. Her breathing started to become ragged and her hands felt for his hair, holding him against her as her knees started to press together. He felt her closing in towards his head and kept going, holding her open and going further until she was gasping and rolling her hips, jerking and moving against him as she rode his face. He stopped eventually, when it seemed like she was no longer enjoying it, and climbed up her body. She had one hand covering the top half of her face, breathing deeply and looking up at him a few moments later.
"Where did you learn that?" She asked, shaking her head and laughing. "That was amazing."
"I looked it up." He admitted. "I didn't want to disappoint you."
"You didn't." She sighed. "Wow." She shook her head. "10/10 would recommend." She gave him a thumbs up before both of them dissolved into laughter once again as hiccup flipped the both of them so that astrid was on top of him.
Astrid dived for his collarbone and started peppering his chest in kisses. Progressively going lower, her hands followed wherever her kisses went, scraping his skin and feeling the muscles underneath tense under her touch. With her knees touching the floor, Astrid looked up at him as he lay on the bed. Deciding to have some fun, Astrid changed her facial features to adopt a much more innocent expression.
With her hand slowly traveling up his thigh. She looked past Hiccup's manhood, that stood proudly above her face, and spoke. "Do you have any ideas on how I could possibly pay you back?"
Hiccup glared down at the teasing demi-goddess. He threaded one of his hands into her hair and growled. A threat in of itself.
Astrid gasped mockingly as she focused on his cock. "I have an idea." She said before her hand that had been slowly creeping up his thigh gripped his shaft at the base, making an effort to try and make her thumb and middle finger touch, but finding no success. Her mouth found one of his balls and she took it into her mouth. After giving the same treatment to the other, she slowly licked up his shaft and flicked her tongue over his head. Astrid kept eye contact with Hiccup as she opened wide and took him into her mouth. Her hands move behind him and shamelessly took two handfuls of his ass.
Using her hands, Astrid impaled Hiccup's cock down her throat with her nose brushing his pelvis as spit began to drip from her chin. She instantly recognized that she was taking more of him than she did in the restroom. Knowing she wouldn't last long, she used her throat muscles to rapidly relax and swallowed his cock.
Past her own choking, she faintly heard him gasp, "Fuck!"
Just as she felt his hot cum shot down her throat, the need for air became too much and Astrid pulled pack. Hiccup continued shooting as he was released from her mouth and Astrid wasting no time in pumping him ferociously with her mouth wide open. She was able to down a lot of his cum, but she still felt more on her face. Once he finished, Astrid used one hand to clean her face of his cum. She took only a moment to look at it before sucking her fingers of all of his delicious seed. While the literal taste was good, but nothing special. It was the thought that the cum came from Hiccup that made it truly delicious. When she finally focused back on Hiccup, her jaw dropped as she wrapped her fingers around his shaft again.
"You're still fucking hard!"
Coming to the same conclusion, Hiccup gripped her arm and pulled her back into a standing position. He looked at her face which still had some traces of his seed and grinned. "Round two." He said as he pulled down her jeans. Once she stepped out of them, Hiccup knelled down and lifted her over his shoulder. Astrid squeaked as she was carried up the stairs to her room. Just as he entered the room, Hiccup jumped at the feeling of two hands grabbing his ass. A feminine giggle followed shortly after. Rolling his eyes, he threw her onto the bed, taking a bit of pleasure in hearing her squeak again. Astrid obviously held no grudge for being manhandled like so as she spread her legs wide open and grinned up at him.
Hiccup dived down and caught one of her nipples in his mouth. At the same time, he probed Astrid's lower lips with the head of his manhood. Unable to handle the double assault, Astrid started to moan, and tried to find anything to hold onto. Only succeeding in giving Hiccup scratches down his back.
"Hiccup..." Astrid whined. Looking down, she made eye contact with him as he held her poor nipple between his teeth. He tugged on her before finally letting go and coming close to her ear. That's when she felt Hiccup grind his entire length up her dripping lips. Her mouth fell open at the sensations that continued to assault her.
"Is there something you want?"
“Who's the tease now?” She wanted to throw out, but she couldn't. Her mind didn't have the capability to speak at the moment, and throwing verbal jabs at him wasn't really the priority. She rocked her hips as hard as she could, and her eyes begged the question her mouth couldn't speak. Hiccup having had enough fun getting his own teasing, separated her pussy lips with the head of his cock. However, Astrid felt him stop inching in when only his head entered her. Frustrated, she started rocking her hips, but in the fraction of a second. Hiccup was buried to the hilt deep within her and began thrusting. His hands made their way over her breasts and he began to rub them gently.
Astrid rolled her eyes. "They're not breakable and neither am I for that matter."
Hiccup took that as a hint to push harder and he couldn't even describe the feeling as he pushed in and pulled out. His left hand was grasping her breasts firmly and his right was around her thigh. Astrid moans were like music to his ears.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Astrid cried as her hands grasp the sheets. "Harder! Harder!"
Hiccup obeyed and pushed as hard and fast as he could. He knew that since this was virtual reality that he couldn't cum and sooner or later he was going to be exhausted. Plus he wasn't sure how much more Astrid could take, but judging from her moans she could take quite a lot.
Astrid seemed to be able to read his mind and gave him her most seductive smile yet. "Don't stop on my account. I want to see which one of us gives up first."
Hiccup looked at her hungrily. "As you say babe."
In short, this was the best day Hiccup had ever spent in World of Warcraft Online.
An hour later, both Astrid and Hiccup were panting. Hiccup had his arms around Astrid, who rested her head on his chest while their legs were intertwined.
To say Astrid was exhausted would be an understatement. She didn't know Hiccup had this much stamina, but what he accomplished recently she shouldn't be surprised. Heather, Kitt, Anna, Claire, Rapunzel and Pyrrha had explained in great detail what sex felt in virtual reality, but experiencing it was entirely different thing.
"That was amazing," she said.
"I'd offer to do it again, but I don't think I have the energy right now." Hiccup panted.
Astrid just smiled. "I don't know if I could take much more either."
**end of smut**
Hiccup looked at her brushing her golden hair out of her face. "Personally, I don't think either of us could have lasted this long in the real world."
Astrid cuddled up closer to him. "Well, it's something we will have to try once we get out."
"Is that challenge babe?"
Astrid tapped him on the nose with her finger. "You bet it is." She then put on a serious face. "Listen, Hiccup. I was thinking… maybe we could leave the front lines for a while."
Hiccup looked at her. "What?"
She into his eyes. "I'm scared. I feel like if we return to the battlefield now something bad is going to happen again. Or maybe I'm just tired of it all."
Hiccup nodded. "I know what you mean. I guess I am." He then hugged her even more tightly. "In the north side in the Hinterland, there's this tiny little hill just west of an alliance outpost called Stormfeather outpost by a river and in a forest. Artha said that is where he went for his honeymoon. We could buy a house together and then—"
Astrid looked at him. "And then what?"
Hiccup took a deep breath. "We get married."
Astrid eyes widened and a huge smile appeared on her face as tears rolled down her cheek. "Okay."
The next day, Hiccup and Astrid were in the cabin perched on a hill in the center of the hinterlands which overlooked the large lake and a small encampment overrun venom spitter spiders and is surrounded by thick trees. Astrid looked over the balcony and wonder as she gazed upon the view.
"This view is amazing," she said.
"It is pretty awesome," said Hiccup as he placed his arm around Astrid. "But don't fall off the balcony, that would really suck."
Astrid laid her head upon Hiccup shoulders and they place their hands upon one another. She gazed down at their hands and looked at the two wedding rings they had on their fingers.
"We bought the best house," she said.
"And now we're totally broke."
Astrid laughed. "It's worth it though, because we can live in peace here." She then noticed Hiccup's expression could tell that something was bothering him. "Hiccup, what's wrong?"
"Well… I was thinking does our relationship only exist in this world."
Astrid glared. "I can't believe you'd say that… especially on our honeymoon." Hiccup was taken back by her mad expression. "I don't care if this is a virtual world, my feelings for you are real." She then clasped his cheeks. "If I learned anything in the last five years it's this… to keep doing the best we can until the very end. And if we make it back to the real world I promise I'm going to find you again… no matter what. And fall in love with you all over again."
She then pulled him into a kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck. Hiccup hesitated for a moment, but wrapped his arms around her waist.
Next morning, Astrid awoke to find herself naked behind the sheets and gazing upon a sleeping Hiccup, also naked. She truly never met anyone like him, he was brave and smart, but also nervous. She covered up close to him feeling his breath against her skin.
Hiccup began to stir and she quickly pulled away from him. "Good morning, babe."
"Morning, babe," Hiccup yawned. "So, what do you want to do today?"
Astrid shrugged. "I don't know, do a little exploring?"
Hiccup shook his head and looked at the wall where they had pinned a bunch of photos of themselves too. "Didn't we do some exploring yesterday? And the day before too?"
Astrid then glared at him and crossed her arms. "So, what you're saying is you don't want to have fun today."
Hiccup rolled his eyes and knew there was no point arguing with her. "Okay, I know of a place we could go to. Come on."
Once they got dressed they began walking down the pathway in the forest holding each other's hands.
"Where are we going?" Astrid asked.
Hiccup just smiled. "You'll just have to wait until we get there to find out."
Astrid then came to a sudden stop and Hiccup looked at her curiously. "Carry me on your shoulders."
Hiccup blinked. "Seriously?"
Astrid rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. It's no fun seeing this world from the same height all the time. Besides, with your strength parameter you won't break a sweat."
Hiccup rubbed the back of his neck. "Yeah, I guess… but—" He began looking around hoping that no one was watching them. "Aren't you a little old for that though?"
Astrid then placed a hand on her hips. "It doesn't matter how old I am. Come on, it's not like anyone's going to see us."
Hiccup sighed as he turned around and bent down. "Okay, get on."
Astrid lift up her skirt and looked down at Hiccup. "If you turn around I'll slap you," she warned.
Hiccup decided it was best not to remind Astrid that he had seen her naked more than once. "Are you gonna climb on or not?" he asked.
Astrid climbed onto his shoulders and Hiccup got a firm grasp of her legs. Astrid then patted him on the head. "Giddy up."
Hiccup really didn't like to be referenced as a horse, but he really didn't like getting beaten up by his wife. He stood up and Astrid gazed upon the new view ahead of her, she can now see the large ocean ahead of them.
Astrid looked down at her husband. "This is so cool you can see the lake from here."
"No… you can see the lake," Hiccup reminded. "I—"
Astrid then cut across him. "Okay, if you want you can climb on my shoulders later." Hiccup felt deeply embarrassed now. "Let's get a move on horsey. We're heading north north-east."
Hiccup groaned, but he began walking the direction Astrid was pointing at and she laughed the entire way.
They soon stopped at the pathway that overlooked a river leading to the ocean so Astrid could grab the branch of berries. Hiccup couldn't help but notice that there were some fishermen nearby and clearly they knew that they were newlyweds just by looking at them.
"We've got people staring at us now," he whispered.
Astrid didn't seem to care. "Our own audience."
One of the fishermen waved and she waved back. She then noticed that Hiccup wasn't doing any waving.
"Come on, way back or he'll think you're rude."
Hiccup shook his head. "I've already embarrassed myself enough today."
Astrid looked down at him. "Do you want me to get off you now?"
He then smirked. "No… you're fine right where you are."
Astrid nearly screamed as he ran down the path trying to regain her balance.
They soon entered a dense forest. It was so dense that there was barely any sunlight.
"I heard this weird rumor in the village yesterday," said Hiccup. "About how if you go deep enough into the forest you'll see—" He then paused. "Them."
"Huh, see who?" Astrid asked confused.
Hiccup then came to a stop. "Ghosts."
Astrid looked down at him and her voice had a touch of fear in it. "You mean like—those in game astral type monsters, right?"
Hiccup shook his head. "No… not those. Real ghosts." Astrid then smiled nervously. "They say tortured souls of the monsters hunted here come back to wander the forest at night."
Astrid can help but notice that the forest seemed to grow even darker and then she heard a noise close by.
Hiccup didn't seem to notice. "We're almost there."
Astrid gulped. "The place the rumor mentions?"
"About a week ago a carpenter hiked into the forest to gather wood for a project. He stayed so long and before he knew it, it was night. As he walked along he caught a glimpse of something white standing behind a tree."
Astrid was now looking very scared and began looking around between the trees. Then she saw something behind one the trees, something white.
Hiccup didn't seem to notice this and was carrying on with his story. "Was it a monster? Or something else? The white figure slowly walked towards some trees and—"
Astrid then panicked and pointed at the trees. "Hey! Look!" Hiccup looked, but he saw nothing. However, Astrid still panicked and was shaking so hard he was focusing all his efforts to keep his balance. "I want to get down! I want to get down!"
Astrid quickly got off Hiccup's shoulders and hid behind him.
Hiccup had never seen her like this. "What's the matter?"
Astrid then pointed him to the trees and used her detection skills and found a mysterious figure amongst the trees. "It's over there."
"What are you talking about?" Hiccup asked and looked through the trees. He then saw the mysterious figure amongst the trees. "You've got to be kidding."
Then suddenly the mysterious figure collapsed. "Hold on, that's not a ghost."
Astrid then saw him run into the trees. "Wait, Hiccup!" she cried and followed him.
When she finally located Hiccup, she saw that he had a mysterious figure in his arms. Mysterious figure in question turned out to be a little girl, who couldn't be more than eight years old, with light brownish-auburn hair pulled into two braided pigtails. All she was wearing was a simple white dress.
"It's—it's another player," she gasped.
"Yeah, but there's something really strange about her," said Hiccup.
"What do you mean?" Astrid asked.
"She doesn't have a cursor."
Astrid looked and saw that he was right, the little girl didn't have a cursor or a health bar. "Maybe it's some kind of bug?"
"Yeah, maybe it is," said Hiccup, though we didn't sound convinced.
"What's a little girl like her playing WOWO?" Astrid asked. She then looked at Hiccup. "I guess we'll find out when she wakes up. But we can't just leave her out here before she does. Let's take her home with us."
"Yeah, okay," said Hiccup lifting the little girl up.
Later that afternoon they returned the cabin and place the little girl one the beds opposite theirs. The young couple looked at the little girl with growing curiosity not sure what to make of her.
"Well, one thing is for sure she's not an NPC," said Hiccup. "We didn't have any trouble moving her here."
"Yeah, that's true. It can't be that," Astrid agreed. "If she were she would give another warning when you picked up. Like other NPC's."
Hiccup nodded. "You're right. And she's definitely not a quest giver either. Our quest log would have been updated as soon as we interacted with her. She has to be a player, she probably been out there for a while… wandering around lost. That's the most likely scenario."
"Yeah, but what was she doing out there?"
Hiccup shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. But she has to have a parent or guardian out there, right?"
Astrid nodded. "She had to log in with someone from her family much like Artha with Lance, Callum with Ezran, Elsa with Anna and Yang with Ruby. I just hope they're safe." She then looked at Hiccup with a worried look on her face. "Hey, do you think she'll wake up?"
"Yeah, if her body hasn't disappeared that means signals are still being transmitted to and from her NerveGear." Astrid then laid her head on his shoulder. "She's in some kind of sleep mode. I'm sure she'll wake up soon… and the sooner the better."
"Yeah," Astrid nodded.
Later that night, both Astrid and Hiccup were sleeping in their bed. Though Astrid couldn't fall asleep and she looked at her husband.
"Hey, Hiccup?" she said, but discovered that he was fast asleep.
She removed her covers and made her way over to the opposite bed where the little girl was sleeping. Astrid was worried that she logged into WOWO by herself and that she's been alone all this time.
She then climbed into the little girl's bed and snuggled up close to her just so to give a company. "Sleep well. Please hurry and wake up tomorrow."
The next morning when Astrid awoke she turned her eyes upon the little girl and discovered she was staring back at her.
Astrid quickly got up. "Hiccup! Wake up!"
Hiccup awoke with a start. "What? Who? Where?"
"Hurry and get your butt over here!" Astrid demanded.
Hiccup got out of bed and made his way over to her and he soon discovered while all the fuss was about. The little girl was a wide and wake.
"You woke up. Thank goodness," said Astrid lifting the little girl up. "Do you remember what happened to you?"
The little girl thought for a moment, but shook her head.
Astrid now looked very concerned. "Okay? How about your name?"
The little girl looked confused by the question. "My name… My name is… I think my name is? I think… um, Zephyr." She then looked at the two of them. "That's it… Zephyr."
Astrid smiled. "That's a cute name. Nice to meet you. My name is Astrid and this is Hiccup."
Zephyr blinked. "Arid… Hcup?"
"Try to remember. What were you doing in the forest and you know your mum and dad are now?"
Zephyr thought for a moment, but shook her head. "I don't know. I can't remember anything."
"Oh, no," said Astrid.
Hiccup could tell that Astrid was upset by this and sat down next to Zephyr. "Well… you're awake. Can I call you Zephyr?"
Hiccup smiled. "Okay, then you can call me Hiccup. Can you say Hiccup?"
Zephyr blinked. "Hcup?"
"Uh, not quite. Try again."
Hiccup sighed and patted Zephyr on the head. "How about you call me whatever is easy for you."
Zephyr pondered for a moment and then looked at him. "Daddy."
Hiccup's eyes widened. "Me?"
Zephyr then looked at Astrid. "Arid is Mommy."
Astrid stared at Zephyr and saw the tears building up in her eyes. "Okay… I'm Mommy. That works."
Zephyr smiled broadly. "Mommy! Daddy!"
She then jumped into Astrid's arms and she couldn't help but laugh. Astrid wrapped her arms around her and got to feed. "You must be hungry. How about breakfast?"
Zephyr smiled. "Okay."
Zephyr sat in the living room as Hiccup began making breakfast and Astrid looked at the newspaper. Hiccup then placed a plate of baked rockfish in front of Zephyr and a few grilled dragon flanks for astrid.
"Here you go Zephyr, this one is yours" he said.
At once Zephyr began to gobble up the scrambled eggs at an alarming speed.
Astrid just stared. "Sheesh, you got quite the appetite, don't you?"
"I want more, daddy," said Zephyr.
Hiccup sighed. "Fine, more baked rockfish coming up."
Both Astrid and Zephyr laughed as he went back to the kitchen to make some more.
After about five plates of baked rockfish, Zephyr fell asleep in her chair. Once they were sure she can't hear them Astrid looked at Hiccup.
"So, what do you think?" she asked.
"I don't know. She's a blank slate," said Hiccup. "No memories. It's really weird."
"Yeah, I know," said Astrid. "It's like she's a baby again. I just don't know…" She stopped to brush away the tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry… I don't know what to do."
Hiccup smiled at her gently. "I get it, you want to take care of her. At least until she gets her memory back."
"But we have to go back and clear the game, otherwise it'll take just that much longer for Zephyr to be free of it."
Astrid looked at her knee sadly. "I know."
"For now we'll do what we can." Hiccup then looked at the sleeping Zephyr. "Judging from the gear she's got in her storage she hasn't been out of the field. We'll check the city of Stormwind. Maybe there we can find out if she's got family."
Astrid hesitated for a moment before looking into Hiccup's eyes. "Okay."
Hiccup got up and placed his hand over hers. "Look, I don't want to say goodbye to her either."
Astrid stared at him. "You really don't?"
"I don't know what it is, I mean we just met her and all, but having her here it made a little cabin feel like a real home. Don't you think so?"
Astrid smiled and nodded.
"This doesn't mean we'll never see her again…" He then removed his hand. "But look if she's got a family out there they're probably worried about her right now."
Astrid got to her feet. "Okay. One she wakes up will go to the city of Stormwind."
"That places inquisition territory, it might be a good idea if we go fully equipped. Ready for anything," Hiccup suggested.
Astrid crossed her arms and nodded. "Yeah, we better be careful."
Zephyr and began to talking asleep. "Mommy! Daddy!"
The young couple smiled at the young girl and wished they didn't have to say goodbye.
A few hours later, the three of them arrive at Stormwind from on Toothless's back. Zephyr was now wearing proper clothes and Hiccup was giving her a piggyback ride.
"It's been forever since I've been back here," said Hiccup.
"Me too," said Astrid.
This is where it all began, this death game and ever since then they've been fighting their way for freedom. It wasn't the happiest memory of their lives, but they remain strong for Zephyr's sake.
Astrid then looked at Zephyr. "What do you think? Do any of these buildings look familiar?" she asked.
Zephyr looked around and shook her head. "I don't know."
"Don't get down about it, the city of Stormwind is a really big place," Hiccup assured. He then looked at Astrid. "So how about it? Shall we start at the trade district?"
A few minutes later though walking through the market and Astrid couldn't help but notice that something was way off.
"Yeah, Hiccup?" she asked.
"Yeah?" Hiccup asked.
"Do you know how many players are here, right now in the town?"
Hiccup thought for a moment. "Good question. Last I checked there were roughly six million players still alive in WOWO and about thirty percent of those people, including a garrison of Inquisition soldiers still live in the major cities. So, maybe a little less than five hundred thousand per city."
"Then doesn't it seem a little dead around here?"
Hiccup looked around and saw that she was right. The entire street was practically deserted. "You're right."
"Leave those children alone!" a voice yelled.
They look down a nearby alley where they heard the voice and heard several more.
"Look! It's that they day-care Bitch."
"We've been waiting for you."
Hiccup and Astrid looked at one another and they knew exactly what the other one was thinking. While the second for they ran down the alleyway.
Then they saw several Inquisition soldiers harassing a middle-aged woman. Behind soldiers they could see a group of children around Zephyr's age.
"Leave them alone and let them go!" the woman yelled.
The soldiers just sneered.
"You make it sound like we're doing something illegal baby cakes. We're just teaching them how things work round here making sure they pay their way. It's all part of the Inquisition's job ma'am."
"That's right, everyone's got to pay taxes around here."
The soldiers laughed, but the woman was even angrier. She looked over the soldiers shoulders and looked at the children. "Olaf, Sven, Ingrid! Are you okay?"
The soldiers then closed ranks preventing her from looking at the children and she glared at them.
"Help us, Atali! Please, save us!" Ingrid yelled.
"They just want your money, give it to them and it'll be okay," said Atali.
"We tried, but they said it's not good enough!" Sven yelled.
One of the soldiers smirked. "You know you deadbeats owe us a lot of back taxes."
"You need a drop all the equipment you got right there…" He then smirked. "Including your armor." Atali glared at him. "Come on honey don't be shy."
"No way," said Atali reaching for her dagger. "Let me through or else. Stand aside!"
Hiccup and Astrid had had enough and they ran straight towards them. Before they knew it the Inquisition soldiers gasped as they jumped right over their shoulders.
Astrid approached the children. "You guys are going to be okay now. Pick up your stuff."
"Uh… okay," said Olaf.
Everyone just stared at them dumbfounded.
"What the? Whoa, whoa, whoa… who the hell are you?"
"This is Inquisition business so get the hell out of our way."
Then the captain stepped up. "Hold on. I've got this." He then looked at the two of them. "I guess you are all new in town, yeah?" He then drew his sword. "Because we're with the Inquisition and you do not mess with us."
Astrid glared at them. "Hiccup, take care of Zephyr."
Hiccup nodded. "Of course, babe."
Astrid then pulled out her axe and approached the captain, who didn't look concerned one bit. That all changed when she sent him flying with a swing of her axe. She then did again before he could recover and he landed at the feet of his men.
Everyone just stared at her as she glared down at the captain. "Oh, don't worry. It's a safe zone, your HP won't deplete no matter what I do. There's just a feeling of getting knocked off your feet. Even so a fight with me is going to scare the hell out of you."
The captain quivered as she tightened her grip on her axe. "No! No don't!"
Before he could get away Astrid struck again and he looked at his men, who are also shaking uncontrollably. "Don't just stand there you assholes do something!"
His men reach for their weapons, but hesitated when they saw the determined look on Astrid's face. A few seconds later they ran away screaming.
Satisfied, Astrid turned her gaze upon the children who were staring at her open-mouthed. At first she thought she had scared them too, but then they smiled broadly at her.
"That was awesome!" Sven cried.
She soon found herself surrounded by the children as they showered her with praise. Atali then approached with a look of gratitude upon her face.
"Thank you for helping us out," she said.
Hiccup looked at Zephyr. "You see that? Your Mom is crazy strong, isn't she?"
However, her eyes were not up on Astrid, but upon the sky itself. She looked at it with a dazed expression as if it was some sort of dream.
"Their hearts," she said as if she was in some sort of trance. "Everyone's hearts are—"
Hiccup started looked worried. "Zephyr?"
Astrid looked up and noticed this. "What's wrong, Zephyr?"
She then began repeating the same thing over and over again which worried Hiccup and Astrid to no end.
"Zephyr, what's wrong?" Hiccup asked frantically.
"Zephyr? Did you remember something?" Astrid asked.
Zephyr tightened her grip on Hiccup's shoulders. "I-I-I was never here. In this place… I was always alone. In the dark."
Then suddenly something terrifying happened. Zephyr's eyes widened and she began to scream in pain and for brief a brief second it felt as if they were witnessing a glitch. Zephyr began to fall off Hiccup's shoulders, but Astrid was able to grab her in time.
"No, Zephyr!" she cried.
Suddenly the brief sensation stopped and Zephyr hugged Astrid tightly. "Mommy, I'm scared!"
Astrid just looked down as Zephyr cried into Astrid's shirt. "My God… Zephyr."
Zephyr then lost consciousness and Astrid just stared at her. "What was that?"
Hiccup had no idea, but whatever it was he didn't like it.
The next day they were inside Atali's orphanage, who invited them to stay overnight. The entire place was for children as they gobbled down their breakfast.
"There's so many of them, huh," said Hiccup.
"Yeah, there are," said Astrid.
"I know, it's like this pretty much every day," said Atali placing her cup of tea down. "By the way is Zephyr feeling any better?"
"Well, she got a good night's sleep so I think she's okay," said Hiccup looking down at Zephyr, who was eating a piece of bread. "I don't know. You tell me."
"Has this ever happened to her before?" Atali asked.
"We have no idea," said Astrid. "You see we found her in the forest of Hinterlands wandering around. The poor thing… she's lost her memory." Atali nodded in understatement. "It's the reason we came here."
Zephyr then presented Astrid with her piece of bread. She smiled and took it. "We thought that someone in the city of Stormwind might know who she is."
Hiccup looked at Atali. "You live here, you ever seen her before?"
Atali shook head. "Sorry, I haven't. I mean there are a lot of kids in town, but I've never seen her. When the game started a lot of the children suffered severe psychological trauma. I couldn't stand by and do nothing and me and several others created safe places for them to live and create memorials for those who died in the front lines trying to free us. I personally walked through the city every day looking for kids like these, but in all this time I've never seen her before."
Hiccup and Astrid exchange disappointed looks. "Back to square one," said Astrid.
Then they heard a knock at the door and when they went to open it they saw an Inquisition soldier standing there. The woman was golden haired human warrior, who looked familiar to Hiccup, he couldn't quite place of face.
"Sorry to bother you," she said apologetically. "I'm Yang."
Hiccup eyes widened now he knew how he recognized her. She was second-in-command of the Inquisition and there were rumors saying that she had a relationship with the high Inquisitor.
Astrid to recognized her, but she narrowed her eyes. "I know you, but I hope you're not here to start trouble because of what happened yesterday."
Yang shook her head. "God, no. It's quite the opposite, I'm here to thank you." They all stared at her, this wasn't what they expected. "You did right by putting in those men in their place. Actually, I came here asking the two of you for help."
Astrid blinked. "Seriously?"
A few minutes later they brought Yang inside and she began to explain the entire situation.
"Firstly when we congratulate you on your marriage," she smiled.
Hiccup groaned. "Our marriage seems to be the talk on most people's lips."
"It's making most people's hearts envious that you are able to create a relationship even despite fighting on the front lines."
"Enough about our marriage," said Astrid. "Why are you here?"
Cassandra nodded. "Of course, let's get back to the matter at hand. When the Inquisition was formed we…" She paused and collected her previous statement. "Well, actually it was our Inquisitor, Blake. She never wanted it to turn into the kind of dictatorial organization it's become. At first the mission of the Inquisition was to share information and food, equally as among as many players as possible. While also trying to capture criminals and bring them to justice."
"But then the organization grew too large, didn't it?" said Hiccup.
Yang nodded. "Right. And after much infighting one man looking very powerful. Jim tells me you know of him, his name is Adam."
Hiccup's eyes widened. That was a name he wasn't expecting to hear. "Yes, I remember him. He kept on trying to extort the beta testers with Hans."
"Indeed, but you put a stop to that when you formed the Knights of freedom. He then joined the Inquisition began to poison us from the inside. He and his group grew stronger and stronger, monopolizing all the monster spawn points. Their out of control now. Extorting players out of the pretext of collecting taxes."
"Ilia soon discovered that he had Carta connections, in fact he was one of their founding members. It's now clear that he doesn't care about clearing the game and that made a lot of people mad. He had to do something to put them back in his good graces so we sent the highest level players he had to the front lines."
Hiccup and Astrid stared at one another, she was talking about Corbatz and his men.
"Corbatz," Astrid gasped.
"Adam was denounced after spearheading that massacre and the ex-Inquisitor got a lot of people on his side after our guilds took down the Void Crows. People started to consider knocking him out of the Inquisition for good and now that he's scared and desperate, he's decided to eliminate Blake."
Hiccup began to understand why she need their help. "He set a trap and stranded the high Inquisitor deep inside a dungeon."
They all gasped in horror.
"Can't she teleport out?" Hiccup asked.
Yang shook her head.
"Does she have any weapons?" Astrid asked.
"She didn't take anything with her," said Yang. "Adam told her he wanted to talk and told her to come unarmed. Blake believed him… that was three days ago."
Astrid looked at her in horror. "She's been gone that long? Can't she find her way out?"
"The dungeon is the highest level we've seen so far. she can't get out of their on his own. As a second-in-command is my responsibility. My level isn't high enough to reach her and Adam is using his influence to prevent the rest of the Inquisition from coming to help. Jim, Ilia and many of our other friends are too busy trying to calm the chaos and expose Adam to lend any assistance."
"Then I heard two of the most powerful players anyone had seen were in town. I thought this was my chance… I tracked you down, because I need your help." She then got to her feet. "Knight Commander I beg of you for your help. Please, help me rescue her from a dungeon."
Hiccup and Astrid exchange looks and they both sighed and agreed that they couldn't turn away. However, they had no proof that Yang was telling the truth and they're very reluctant to put their lives in danger for someone they barely knew.
Zephyr then spoke up. "Mommy, Daddy, it's okay. Everything she's been telling us, is the truth."
Hiccup and Astrid stared at one another and looked at Zephyr.
"Zephyr—how you can tell?" said Astrid.
Zephyr nodded. "I don't know how I know she is, but… she is."
They all stared at Zephyr, who had a wide smile on face.
Hiccup laughed and looked at Astrid. "If anything I'd rather trust her and regret it than not trust her and regret it." Astrid just looked at him blankly. "Let's go, it'll all work out, right?"
Astrid looked at him for a few seconds and then smiled. "Whatever you say, babe." She then looked at Yang. "Okay, we'll help. I just were strong enough to do it."
There were tears Yang's eyes. "Thank you so much."
Astrid just smiled. "I know what it feels like to want to save someone. Especially someone you care for."
Hiccup rubbed Zephyr's head. "Stay here for us okay."
"No! I'm coming to!" said Zephyr firmly.
"Oh, come on Zephyr," said Atali. "Don't you want to stay here with me?"
Hiccup looked at Astrid. "Great, now we get to see how the rebellious side?"
Astrid glared at him. "Hey, this is serious!" She then looked down at Zephyr. "It's too dangerous for you to come along with us this time."
Zephyr suddenly wrapped her arms around Hiccup's arm. "I'm going too!"
They were soon fully equipped and followed Yang down into a dungeon below the waves in the zone of Vashj'ir off the coast of Dun Morogh. Zephyr, who had won the argument, was riding on Hiccup's shoulders cheerfully while they walked on the seafloor.
"I never knew this dungeon was under off the coast?" said Astrid.
"I now," said Hiccup looking around troubled. "There was nothing like this during the beta test."
"I think the dungeon opens up to reveal more as the zones above are conquered," said Yang. "I bet Adam plan to keep this place all to himself."
"Exclusive access to spawns can be profitable."
"The thing is… the monsters here are usually around level eighty. He wouldn't be able to do much hunting."
They soon reached the flight of staircases that led even deeper into the dungeon.
"This is the entrance," said Yang.
Zephyr stared down into the staircase and Yang look concerned. She still wasn't happy about taking Zephyr down into a dangerous dungeon.
Zephyr clearly noticed this and looked up at Yang. "Don't worry I'm not afraid."
Astrid just smiled. "No, it's okay. Believe it or not she's a heck of a lot stronger than she looks."
Hiccup nodded in agreement. "She'll make a fine swordswoman someday."
Zephyr nodded and they all laughed.
Yang however looked more serious. "We should get going."
Once they reached the bottom of the staircase they entered into the dark corridor and came face-to-face with several Gilblin collectors. Hiccup didn't waste any time pulled out his blades and began slicing through them like they were nothing.
Zephyr seemed to enjoy the slaughter, but Yang just dumbfounded and looked at Astrid. "I feel like I should apologize. He's doing all the fighting."
"Oh don't worry. He's happy out there," Astrid assured. "He loves getting his battle on."
As Hiccup was fighting Yang opened her menu screen and began to search for Blake.
"Were pretty far down. Are we almost there?" Astrid asked.
Yang pulled up a map and showed it to Astrid and Zephyr. "The high Inquisitor hasn't moved from this position for a while now. It could be a safe zone, but I'm not sure. If we reach it maybe we can use a teleport crystal."
"got them sorted," said Hiccup sheathing his sword and bow.
Astrid then turned on him with a furious look on her face. "Do you always have to jump in?"
Hiccup blinked. "Me? You're always the one that jumps headfirst into battle."
"Don't you go and blame all this on me!" Astrid snapped.
"I'm not blaming you, just simply saying that you're the one that always jumps in."
As the two were arguing Yang laughed.
"You smiled," said Zephyr.
Hiccup and Astrid stopped their argument and look down at Zephyr, was smiling at Yang.
"I've never ever seen you smile before," she said excitedly.
Yang blinked, but then smiled at the little girl. Zephyr smile grew larger and Astrid grasped her wrist.
"Come on," she said. "Let's go."
They wondered down deeper into the dungeon down more staircases and through more dark corridors. Astrid was now carrying Zephyr as she slept. Then they saw a bright room in the distance.
"Look, it is a safe zone," said Astrid.
Hiccup uses detection skill and found that someone was inside. "There's a player inside."
Yang looked up and stared at the room in front of them. "It's Blake!"
Then before they could stop her she ran down the corridor.
"Wait, don't!" Hiccup yelled, but Yang took no notice.
All this commotion had awoken Zephyr and she saw both her parents were running after Yang. They could definitely see the high Inquisitor inside room waving her arms around.
"Yang!" she yelled.
"Blake!" Yang yelled back.
At first they thought that she was waving at them to get their attention, but in truth it was a warning.
"No! Stay away! The corridor is rigged!" she yelled.
Hiccup looked up and uses detection skill and saw a warning notice right above Yang, who hadn't noticed.
"Stop! Wait, Yang! Come back!" cried Astrid.
Hiccup pushed Yang out of the way just in time as a magical blast shot over their heads. it left an enormous crater in the floor and Hiccup saw something move through the walls. He got up and drew his blade and bow
Astrid approached Yang with Zephyr. "Yang, take Zephyr to the safe zone and wait for us there okay."
"Okay," said Yang getting to her feet.
"Mommy!" Zephyr protested.
"Come on," said Yang dragging her way.
Astrid drew out her axe and once Yang and Zephyr were in the safe zone she joined up with Hiccup. That's when she saw the enemy, it was an enormous black dragon but it had no human-like features than any other monster they had come across and in its large claw it held a strange orb.
"Astrid, use a hearthstone and get Zephyr and the others out of here now," Hiccup ordered.
"I can't see its data with my ID skills, except that its name is Deathwing. It could be as strong as something from the final boss zone. I can buy you time, just get everyone out of here."
"No way am I leaving you here," said Astrid.
"I'll catch up… move it!"
Astrid hesitated and looked into the safe zone and could see Zephyr worried look.
"Mommy!" she said.
Astrid smiled and looked at the high Inquisitor and Yang. "Take care of Zephyr! Run while you still have a chance!"
Hiccup stared at her in horror. "Astrid!"
"No!" said Yang shaking her head. "We can't leave—"
"Hurry!" Astrid yelled.
Reluctantly they pulled out their teleportation crystals and nodded at her. Astrid nodded back and joined her husband with the fight against Deathwing.
Hiccup wasn't happy, but he knew there was nothing he could do to change Astrid's mind now. They watched as Deathwing raised the orb and it shot out a strange green magical blast.
Hiccup raises his swords and Astrid did the same with her axe behind him. The blast hit them and they were sent flying across the corridor. Astrid looked up and saw that her health bar was in the yellow zone and while Hiccup took less damage than she did, he was very able to move. She watched helplessly as Deathwing made its way towards him.
"Hiccup!" she yelled.
"Zephyr! No!" Yang yelled.
"It's dangerous come back!" the high Inquisitor yelled.
Astrid turned her head and saw that Zephyr had walked out of the safe zone just as Yang and the high Inquisitor teleported. Zephyr then faced Deathwing placing herself between it and Hiccup and Astrid, much to their horror.
"What are you doing?" Hiccup yelled trying to get to his feet. "Get away from it!"
"Zephyr!" Astrid yelled.
Deathwing raises the orb once again and prepared to fire the same magical blast as before.
Zephyr didn't move a muscle. "Daddy, Mommy… it okay," she said.
They watched in horror as Deathwing shot the magical blast straight towards Zephyr.
"Zephyr!" Astrid yelled.
That's when something very weird happened. The magical blast was repelled by some sort of shield around Zephyr and it sent Deathwing backwards. They stared as they saw a purple warning icon appeared over Zephyr that said immortal object.
Then suddenly Zephyr floated up into the air and outstretched a hand. Next second flames appeared out of nowhere and took the form of a large great sword and she reverted back into the normal clothes they found her in.
Deathwing looked stunned by this and Hiccup can really blame it. Then Zephyr raised her great sword and slammed it straight at Deathwing. Deathwing uses its wings to shield itself, but Zephyr kept on pressing down on its defenses to the all shattered and drove her blade right into its head.
Then Deathwing was consumed by the flames and within seconds it was disintegrated leaving no trace of it. Hiccup and Astrid got up and stared at Zephyr not sure what to make of her.
"Zephyr?" They said in unison.
"Daddy… Mommy…" Zephyr then turned to look at them with a small smile on her face. "Don't worry, I remember everything."
Five minutes later they were inside the safe room and Hiccup and Astrid were still not sure what to make of Zephyr.
"Zephyr… say something," Astrid begged. "You remember who you are?"
"Yes," said Zephyr, but the smile had disappeared from her face. "Hiccup… Astrid." The two of them gasped that was the first time that she call them by their names. "Everything in World of Warcraft Online is controlled by a single massive system. The system is called Cardinal, it was designed to operate entirely on its own without any human intervention."
"Its function is to regulate the balance of WOWO according to its own discretion. From monsters and NPC's to drop rates for items and money. Everything here is controlled by the processor that Cardinal executes. That includes psychological care of the players. Mental Health Council program prototype one, codename Zephyr."
She then looked up at the two of them. "That's who I am."
Astrid eyes widened. "You're a program? An AI?"
Zephyr nodded. "I was designed to put players at ease with me, that's why I was given the ability to emulate complex emotions. Nothing about me is real… nothing not even my tears." Tears and rolled down her cheek. "I'm so sorry… Astrid."
Astrid was fighting back the tears in her eyes. "Oh, Zephyr." She tried to reach out to Zephyr, but she just simply pull away. "But then… what about your amnesia? Can that even happen to an AI?"
Zephyr closed her eyes as if she was reliving the terrible memory. "Two years ago, on the date of the official launch… and for reasons I never understood… The Cardinal program banned me from interacting with any of the players."
"I wasn't allowed to assist them, I couldn't do anything except continue to watch their mental states. Their situation was… in a word… was horrible." She then shuddered at the memory. "Terror, despair, rage… people were overcome by negative feelings. Some of them can take it… they went insane."
"Under normal circumstances, my function would have gone to such players and immediately, but I wasn't permitted any contact with them. Little by little errors began piling up inside of me and I fell apart."
She then looked at the two of them with a large smile. "Then one day… I saw two players. Their mental parameters were vastly different from anything I've seen from the others. There was joy and peace… and there was something more." Hiccup and Astrid stared at her and realized she was talking about them. "I wandered through the playing field hoping to get as close to both of you as I could, without being detected."
Astrid was speechless and took several seconds to find her voice. "So… that's why you were in the forest."
"Yes, that's why," Zephyr nodded. Tears began rolling down her cheek at an alarming rate. "I've wanted to meet the two of you for the longest time. That strange isn't it… it should be impossible for me to think of things like that. I'm not a human I'm a program after all."
Astrid placed her hands over her heart. "Zephyr, maybe what you're feeling are real human emotions?"
Zephyr shook her head. "I don't know. I'm confused… nothing makes sense. I don't know what happened to me."
Hiccup then approached Zephyr and bent down next to her. "You're not just some program any more the system can't control you. Listen, if you want something all you have to do is say it." He then smiled at her. "Go ahead and tell us what you want."
Zephyr stared at him. "What I want…" She then outstretched her hands. "I want… I want to stay with you forever… Daddy… Mommy!"
Tears appeared in Astrid's eyes and then she ran up and gave Zephyr a big hug. "You will… we'll be together forever Zephyr."
Hiccup then wrapped his arms around them. "Yeah, remember your our child."
"It's too late," said Zephyr.
Hiccup and Astrid pulled away slightly and stared at her. "For what?" Hiccup asked.
"Look," said Zephyr she then placed a hand on the metal slab she was sitting on. "This is actually a console that the GM can use to gain emergency access to the system." They watched as a holographic keyboard appeared on top of it. "I used it to delete the monster in the corridor… and now because I disobeyed the Cardinal's directive the system is running a check on my program. It thinks I'm a foreign object now… I'll probably be deleted at once."
The two of them stared at her and horror.
"Oh, no," said Astrid.
"There's got to be a way around it," said Hiccup.
Zephyr looked into their eyes with a large smile as tears rolled down her cheek. "Daddy… Mommy… thank you. This is goodbye."
"No!" Astrid cried wrapping her arms around her refusing to let go. "I don't want that! Stay with us… please stay. We just started living like a real family."
Zephyr began to glow and slowly started to disintegrate.
"Zephyr, don't go!" Hiccup yelled placing his hands over hers.
"Whenever the two of you are around you have a way to make people smile. From now on and from me please continue my work, keep helping people. Share your happiness with all of them."
"I can't! I won't! You have to stay with us, I can't be happy without you!" Astrid cried.
Zephyr smiled and blushed her hand across her cheek. "Smile, Mommy."
Astrid opened her eyes and saw that Zephyr had disintegrated in front of her eyes. She then fell to the knees and cried like she never cried before.
Hiccup clenched his fists and glared at the ceiling. "Cardinal! No Morando!" He then rushed over to the console and began typing away on the holographic keyboard. "You're going to find out things don't always go the way you want them to."
Astrid looked up. "Hiccup, what are you—?"
"If I'm fast enough I might be able to use the GM to counter access the system," said Hiccup as he typed away like a madman.
A monitor then appeared in front of them showing a large stream of coding and a loading bar in the middle appeared. Seconds later there was a bright light and Hiccup was sent backwards.
"Hiccup!" Astrid yelled rushing over to him. "Are you okay?" Hiccup then handed her a small crystal that was shaped like a tear. "What's this?"
"The system was about to reject Zephyr admin credentials. The only thing I could do was take her program and turn it into a game object," Hiccup explained.
Astrid stared at the small crystal in a hand. "So… this is—"
Hiccup smiled. "You're holding Zephyr's heart."
Astrid stared at him and tears ran down her cheek as she looked down at the crystal.
About an hour later, after saying goodbye to the high Inquisitor and everyone else they returned back to Hillsbrad. Astrid was now wearing Zephyr's crystal around her neck.
As they walked back to the cabin Astrid looked at Hiccup. "Hey, Hiccup… if the game does get cleared and this world ends what's going to happen to Zephyr?"
Hiccup gave her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry. I fixed it so her data will be saved to local memory on my NerveGear. When we get back recreating her the way she was isn't going to be easy, but if there's a way we'll find it."
Astrid smiled and touched Zephyr's crystal. "Okay, as long as we can be a family again. We'll see her when we get back… our first child."
Hiccup placed his arm around her. "Yeah, we'll see her again."
They then slowly made their way back to the cabin knowing that one day they will see their daughter again.
Chapter 6: Mists of Pandaria
The date was November fifth and Hiccup was doing a spot of fishing at a lake to the north of their cabin. He had been there for several hours and hadn't caught a thing. He pulled the rod and looked at his empty lure.
"You catch anything?" a voice asked.
Hiccup nearly jumped out of his skin standing behind him was an elderly night elf that somehow managed to sneak up upon him.
The old elf chuckled. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you like that." Hiccup watched as she flung her lure into the lake. She then sat down next to him. "My name is Lujanne, I'm a mage and my profession is a fisherman, In the game anyway. Back in Xadia I was head of network security for company called TC High-Speed Internet."
"I'm Hiccup," said Hiccup. He then blinked. "Wait wasn't TC the company that—"
"Yep," Lujanne nodded grimly. "We were the folks in charge of network security for this game."
Before Hiccup could ask anything else, Lujanne got a bite. "It's a big one!"
"Yeah," said Lujanne as she struggled to pull the fish out of the lake. "But I've caught bigger."
She then pulled with all her might and the fish pulled right out of the lake. She then held it out in front of Hiccup, who looked very impressed.
"Awesome," he said.
"Thanks," said Lujanne before placing the fish in her storage. "I'm good at catching them, but cooking them. Not so good. I'd love to make a stew out of them, but what's the point when I can't make any special sauce or spices."
"Oh, I can help you there," Hiccup smirked.
Lujanne turned on him with her eyes widened. "What did you say?"
Later that evening, Hiccup invited Lujanne over to his place and worked his magic on the fish she had caught. Once they were finished, Lujanne leaned back into her seat with a relaxed look on her face.
"Ah, that was an amazing meal," she said. "Where did you find these sauces and spices?"
"Oh, my husband makes them himself," said Astrid.
"If you want, I could give you some," said Hiccup.
"Really? sir my taste buds bow down before you," said Lujanne.
"Out of interest, how high is your fishing skill?" Astrid asked. "I'm asking because Hiccup hasn't been able to catch anything yet."
Lujanne laughed as Hiccup angrily sipped his tea. "yeah Well, maybe if all the bodies of water in this zone weren't so hard," he muttered.
Lujanne rubbed the back of her head. "Well… actually that's not true. As far as fishing goes the only body of water that's tough to catch anything is the ocean you were at today."
Hiccup spit in his tea out and Astrid sniggered. "What?" he yelled. "Why would someone design it like that?"
"Good question," said Lujanne. "Well, you see it's the home of… the king of all fish."
"Seriously?" Hiccup asked skeptically while astrid asked excitedly.
"Yep, we're old pals. I've had him at the end of my hook quite a few times, but he's so strong he yanks the pole right out of my hand every time." Lujanne then leaned towards the two of them as if an idea had popped in her head. "I was wondering do you have any plans tomorrow?"
Later that night, the young couple were wearing their night clothes in their bed. Hiccup had his arms around Astrid and she snuggled up close to him.
"I don't mind helping the old woman out, but how my supposed to do a switch move with a fishing pole?" Hiccup asked.
"You're the only one I know can figure it out," said Astrid. She then looked into his eyes. "What if you catch it? Will you keep it?"
"Is that even possible?" He then looked at her eyes. "She is pretty cool, don't you think?"
Astrid shook her head. "When you both showed up I was like 'who was this person.'" She then looked up into the ceiling. "Isn't it funny? How people are living normal lives in this world and since were the ones on the front lines their lives have sort of become our responsibility haven't they?"
Hiccup face and looking grim. "For me? I was more content on trying to see my family again."
Astrid rolled herself onto his chest and placed her hand around his cheeks. "Everyone is expecting great things from you now and guess what so do I. Talk about pressure, huh?"
Hiccup touched Zephyr's crystal around Astrid's neck. "Yeah, I promised I'd save everyone. Hell of a thing to live up to."
"Oh, well. They'll understand if you take tonight off," said Astrid placing her head against his chest.
"Yeah," said Hiccup wrapping his arms around her.
The next morning they were down at the lake and apparently everyone had heard of their attempt to capture the king of fish.
"Oh boy," said Hiccup.
"Can you believe all these people who showed up?" said Astrid.
Lujanne then showed up. "Well, here we go! Thanks for your patience everyone, here comes today's main event!"
Everyone began to cheer, it's amazing how many people go crazy over a bit of fishing.
Lujanne then turned his eyes upon Hiccup. "Hiccup, let's catch us a fish."
Hiccup shrugged his shoulders and then saw Lujanne pulling out a large lizard out of nowhere. It took several seconds for Hiccup to realize that it was the bait and if that was just the bait he can only imagine how big the whole fish was.
"Huh, how big is this fish is supposed to be anyway?" he asked now looking slightly uneasy.
Lujanne didn't answer and turned to face the lake. She then raised her fishing rod up into the air. "Okay, here we go!"
She then tossed the lure with all her might and it went about six meters away from her. Now all they had to do was wait.
Everyone stood silent for about five minutes or so and then something tugged Lujanne's lure, but the fisherwoman wasn't reeling in the lure.
"Uh, shouldn't you reel it in?" he asked.
Lujanne shook her head. "No, not yet."
Hiccup the notice another tug and still Lujanne did nothing. "Uh, Lujanne?"
"Hang on, not yet."
Then seconds later there was a massive pull.
"Now!" she then pulled with all her might, but became clear that the fish on the other end wasn't giving up without a fight. "I've got the sucker." She then gave the rode to Hiccup. "Here."
Hiccup stared of the rod blankly. "Uh… switch?"
Next second he was almost pulled into the water, fortunately he was able to hold his ground inches away from the lake bank. He then began pulling on the rod with all his might.
"Come on, fishy come out and play," he said pulling with all his strength.
Then suddenly everyone saw shadow within the water as something large began to emerge.
"Look! It's coming up!" Astrid yelled.
Everyone crowded around the bank trying to get a look at the shadow and then they all gasped.
"I think I've tried it out," said Hiccup. He then saw everyone running past him, including Astrid and Lujanne. "Where are you going?"
Then suddenly the line snapped and he fell on his butt. "No, no ,no!" he yelled as he ran to the lake.
"Hiccup, look out!" Astrid yelled.
"For what?" Hiccup asked puzzled while looking back at where Astrid and Lujanne were standing.
He soon got his answer as something large and brass jumped out of the water. Hiccup stared in horror as a ten foot fisk landed on dry land. Unlike normal fish however, this one seemed to have purple scales on top and a brass under belly and it had very sharp jagged fangs.
Hiccup ran as fast as his legs could carry him and hid right behind Astrid. "You left me! You left me there to die!" he yelled.
Astrid just gave him an apologetic look then they heard the king of all fish roar and then it began, slowly, making its way towards them.
"Here it comes!" Lujanne yelled.
"Whoa, it can run?" said Hiccup shocked. "It's like a crazy lungfish."
"Hiccup, this is serious that thing is coming for us! Hurry, do something!" Lujanne yelled.
"Yeah, I'm still thinking," said Hiccup.
Astrid sighed. "Fine, I'll take care of this."
Astrid then pulled out her axe and turned to face the monster with a frighteningly determined look in her eyes.
"Run while you still can!" Lujanne begged.
"Nah, she'll be fine," Hiccup assured.
However, Lujanne wasn't looking convinced and grabbed his arm. "Save your wife, Hiccup!"
Lujanne then stared on in horror as the king of all fish pounced on Astrid, but with a swing of her axe she sliced the thing in half.
Everyone just stared at her speechless and the next second she found herself surrounded by everyone as they congratulated her.
"Nice job, m'lady," said Hiccup as he went to approach her.
Then suddenly he got a message and saw that it was from Artha.
Later that day the two of them wearing their armor and feeling a bit disappointed that they had to cut their honeymoon short. Hiccup was lying on top of the bed until Astrid entered the bedroom.
"Come on, you've moped long enough already," she said.
"I know," Hiccup grumbled. "But it's only been two weeks."
"Artha wouldn't have called us if it wasn't important. Why else would he interrupt our honeymoon?" said Astrid.
Hiccup sighed. "I know, but still."
"Let's at least go and hear what he has to say. Come on, it's time to go."
Hiccup took one last deep breath before getting to his feet.
"We'll take care of this and then come back," Astrid assured.
"You've got it," said Hiccup.
Lujanne was seen over at the flight master NPC and he was quite surprised to discover that the two of them were knights of freedom.
"Thank for seeing us off," said Hiccup. "I know we didn't get to spend much time together, but it was fun."
"Oh, well…" said Lujanne rubbing the back of her head. "It was an honor and a privilege. Actually, before I met the two of you I couldn't imagine what folks working together to clear the game were like, especially the knights of freedom. You might as well have been from another planet."
"Being trapped here for the past two years…" she hesitated as she tried to find the right words. "Even if I made it out alive I don't know can go back to my job. My old life… maybe deep down inside I've given up hope of ever getting out. I figured my time spending in the fishing pole between mitts was the best thing for me. Pretty sad, huh?"
Hiccup shook his head. "Uh-huh, that isn't sad."
"I get what you mean," said Astrid. Hiccup stared at her. "I used to feel the same as you, at first anyway, I felt lost and hopeless. Every night I cried myself to sleep, it felt like each day that went by in here was another day lost for my real life."
"So, I cry and afterwards I fight as hard as I could. All I cared about was winning, getting stronger and getting to the next floor." She then looked at Hiccup and grasped his hand. "But then I was walking along and I saw someone taking a nap in the shade."
"I was so mad, I told him he shouldn't waste his time like that… and then he said something I'll never forget it, 'this is Azeroth's best season and today's weather is at its optimal setting.' He said it would be a waste to go around the zone killing monsters on such a beautiful day."
Lujanne smiled, she had a feeling she knew who Astrid was talking about. "So I tried lying down to and you know what, I slept like a baby. When I woke up it was evening and he was giving me the weirdest look. Anyway, we formed our own party and that's when I realized something. Even in the world like this he was really living, he wasn't losing a day in the real world, he was gaining a day here. I learned so much from him and by him I mean Hiccup."
"When I thought about him before falling asleep I noticed I wouldn't have nightmares and began looking forward to seeing him again. It was like… for the first time I was glad that I was here." She then began brushing tears out of her eyes. "Hiccup is everything to me. He's what the last two years were about, he's proof that I'm a life. Why I put on the NerveGear on that day? It's obvious so I could come here and meet him." She then looked at Lujanne. "You're still alive, right? You must have something worth living for, too?"
Lujanne nodded as she smiled. "Yeah, you're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Life isn't so bad here. No it's actually pretty damn good." she then clasped her hand on top of theirs. "I wish there was something I could do to help, but… well, there it is. Good luck and be safe."
"Don't worry, we'll go fishing again," said Hiccup.
"Take care, okay," said Astrid.
Lujanne then stepped back allowing the two of them to hop of some gryphons. He waved goodbye as they disappeared into the bright blue sky.
They soon met up with Artha and the other commanders of the knights of freedom in Shattrath city outside the conference room where the leaders of the Seekers of Truth used to coordinate their attacks.
"I'm glad you made it, you guys are the last ones to arrive and I'm sorry had to cut your honeymoon shot, but things are dire," said Artha with Callum, Jim, Aja, Elsa, Rapunzel and Ruby standing next to him.
"What's going on, Arth?" Hiccup asked before they entered into the conference room.
"Lord Seeker Lucius can explain better than I. There's been a development and he's ordered all heads of each major organization here."
"What for?" Astrid asked while the others echoed her question in an unspoken fashion.
Artha stopped at the doors that lead into the conference room and looked at them. "To discuss how we deal with the boss."
He then opened the doors and they entered and they found that he was indeed correct all the commanders of each organization along with their lieutenants were sitting around a large table. They saw the Lord Seeker Lucius at the head of the table with lord seeker Amaya on his right, Dagur and Mala the commander and second in command of the Templars, Blake the high Inquisitor and Yang the commander and second in command of the inquisitors, Grand Enchanter Maria leader of the Circle of Magi and Jaune the military leader of Jupiter warriors with his second in command Pyrrha. Only one chair remained empty and Hiccup knew that was for him.
"Ah, Hiccup, Astrid," said Lord Seeker Lucius. "I apologize for cutting your honeymoon shot, though according to the Inquisitor it wasn't anything but dull. Anyway, no doubt Artha and explained things are dire and while he has been a capable leader during your absence, we need every top player we can get our hands on."
"Artha mentioned about dealing with the boss?" said Hiccup as he took his seat.
"Indeed," said Jaune.
"We've located the boss room," said Dagur. "However we do not know what we're facing."
Artha looked at them. "The entire recon unit was wiped out."
"What?" they gasped.
"They were scouting the upcoming boss fight," the Lord Seeker Lucius explained. "It was a party of twenty members taken from five different organizations. Ten of them reached the center of the room, then the boss appeared. That's when the entrance closed cutting them off from the rest of the party."
Hiccup's eyes widened. "They walked into an anti portal zone."
"Unfortunately," said the high Inquisitor. "It wasn't until five minutes after the doors opened. The room was empty, there wasn't any trace left behind of the ten soldiers or the boss."
"Your kidding?" said Hiccup.
"Now more than ever clearing the game should be everyone's number one priority. We're going to launch an attack with the largest group we can assemble," said Lord Seeker Lucius.
"You can count on the knights of freedom for help," said Hiccup.
The Lord Seeker Lucius smiled. "There was no doubt of that." He then looked at the other leaders. "Then we are agreed."
There was no one person that did not agree and so it was decided that they would take on the boss today.
Soon everyone began to clear out leaving only Hiccup and Astrid in the conference room.
"Three more hours of waiting," said Astrid and looked at Hiccup. "What shall we do?"
Hiccup just leaned against the window his expression was unreadable and at once Astrid knew something was wrong.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked.
Hiccup took a deep breath. "There's something I have to ask for you, but I don't want you getting mad at me." She looked at him in puzzlement. "Instead of going to the boss fight could you please stay here?"
"Why would you ask that?" she asked.
"We won't be able to use portals or hearthstones, so there's no telling what could happen. I'm scared… if anything happened to you I—"
Astrid then turned on him. "So, you want to go someplace dangerous alone and you expect me to stay here where it's safe?" Astrid then approached Hiccup and looked him in the eyes. "You know what will happen if you didn't come back, huh? I'd kill myself."
Hiccup stared at her in horror. "I'd never forgive myself for staying behind so what would the point been living?"
Hiccup gave her an apologetic look. "I'm sorry… I guess I'm losing my nerve. I've seen so much death in these last five years I feel like I'm going to break." He then grabbed hold of her hand. "I don't care if we don't make it back to the real world I just want to live with you in our little house in the woods."
Astrid smiled. "It'd be nice if we could do that… be together. Every day, forever." Her face and became serious. "Have you ever thought about what's happening in the real world? About what's happening to our bodies while we're in here?"
Hiccup knew what she was talking about. "A few weeks after the game was launched, do you remember what happened? Most of the players suddenly went off-line and stayed that way for a few hours. My guess is that's when all the players' bodies were being moved to hospitals in the real world. that's where we all are right now, in hospitals barely been kept alive by machines, it's hard to believe we're gonna survive like that for much longer."
Hiccup nodded, when that day happened he came up with the conclusion and that's what made him even more determined to complete the game. "Yes, whatever happens it doesn't matter whether we clear the game or not any more, everyone here is on a time-limit and once that's up—"
Astrid then cried into his shoulder and he began rubbing her head. "I-I want to stay with you forever. I want us to go on real dates and to really get married and for us to grow old together. That's why—that's why—"
Hiccup nodded. "We don't have a choice. We have to keep fighting."
Three hours later they met up with everyone else in the plaza and tensions were at its peak.
"Astrid!" Kitt's voice cried. They turned and found Artha, Kitt and the rest of the council their friends and loved ones came running up to them. At once Kitt wrapped her arms around Astrid. "It's good to see you."
"Nice to see you too, Kitt and everyone else as well," said Astrid hugging her back.
Kitt then pulled away. "From the rumors we've heard about your honeymoon it was a lot more eventful than ours."
Artha smiled. "Yeah, when we went for our honeymoon, we didn't end up running across a little girl who turned out to be AI and travel down into a deep dark dungeon looking for one of the most respected leaders in the game."
"It-it was eventful, I'll give you that," said Hiccup rubbing the back of his neck.
Soon the other knights of freedom approached them welcoming them back and much to Astrid's dismay the rest of the girls kept on asking about details about their sex. Hiccup was then tackled by Toothless, who licked him furiously.
"Toothless! You know that stuff doesn't wash out!" He yelled half laughing as he tried to free himself from Toothless
Astrid giggled and then saw that Gobber had showed up. "Well if it isn't the young and happy couple," he said cheerfully.
"Gobber, you're here?" said Hiccup.
"Couldn't let you youngsters have all the fun," said Gobber grinning.
Then everyone remained silent as the Seekers, with the Lord Seeker Lucius and Amaya leading them, their appearance indicating that the time was now to deal with the boss.
Lucius then pulled out a teleport crystal and used it to open the corridor that would lead them to the boss room. He then turned and looked at all the players that had gathered.
"Well, here we go," he said.
One by one they entered through the portal and found themselves in a deep dark corridor that resembled some sort of prison.
"You feel that?" Astrid asked. "There's a bad vibe in here."
"Yeah," Hiccup agreed and had a feeling that not everyone would walk away from this battle.
Everyone spent the last few minutes sorting out their equipment and stocking up on last-minute potions.
"Everyone ready?" The Lord Seeker asked five minutes later. Everyone nodded. "The knights of freedom will be out in front distracting the boss and blocking its attacks. The Circle of Magi will hang back and provide support from the rear with both healing and attack spells. The rest of you will have to remain sharp and figure out its attack patterns. I won't lie this battle will be hard, but I have faith that we can and will prevail. For our day of liberation!"
Everyone cheered, but Hiccup couldn't help but feel troubled. Astrid then grabbed his wrist and whispered into his ear. "Everything is going to be fine." He looked at her and she just smiled. "I won't let anything happen to you… promise. You just make sure you protect me too, okay."
Hiccup couldn't help but smile back. "Yeah, you know I will."
A few minutes later they entered into the boss room and everyone prepared themselves what they knew would be a tough battle.
"Don't die guys," said Hiccup.
"heh same to you, buddy," said Ragnar.
"Let's show them what we knights of freedom can do," said Snotlout.
"Forward to battle!" Lucius ordered.
At once everyone charged inside and found themselves on top of the tower, there was no sight of the boss. Then the doors closed and vanished completely there were cut off from the outside world.
"Nothing is happening, where is it?" said Cassandra.
Astrid wanted to know the answer to that question and then she heard the heavy stomping of feet. She then realized the boss was right above them.
"Up there!" she yelled looking up into the sky.
That's when they saw it, the boss. It looked like some mutilated orc warrior covered in purplish blue slime and most of the players quivered at the sight of it.
"It's the warchief of the horde, Garrosh Hellscream" Artha gasped.
"Stay away from it! Spread out!" Lucius yelled.
Garrosh then fell down towards them and everyone scattered except the two Templars were paralyzed by fear.
"This way! Hurry run!" Hiccup yelled.
His voice hit home in the two Templars ran for their lives, but then Garrosh landed on the ground and sent a powerful shockwave across the field. He then raised its razor sharp axe and send them flying.
Hiccup, Astrid, Artha and Snotlout stared in horror as they fell down towards them and then disintegrated.
"That was one hit," said Artha.
"Man, we are so dead," said Snotlout.
Then Garrosh made his way towards another Inquisition soldier and swung his spiked axe straight at him. The Lord Seekers Amaya and Lucius quickly moved and blocked the attack with their shields, but then he slashed his open claw like hand killing the soldier.
They watched as the mutilated orc hovered above them making it impossible for them to hit it.
"We can't even get close enough to hit the darn thing," said Gobber.
"Not for me," said Hiccup and he climbed onto Toothless and took off.
However before they could attack, Garrosh hurled his desecrated weapon straight at them. Toothless rapidly wrapped his wings around them like a shield, protecting them from the shadow damage, but the impact was enough to send them back to what the ground.
Hiccup was knocked off Toothless and looked up in time to see Garrosh raising its razor sharp axe straight above them. He quickly blocked it with his blade and bow, but it was so powerful that the axe was digging into his shoulder.
Then, while he was defenseless, Garrosh tried to hit him his other hand. Fortunately, the Lord Seeker Lucius appeared out of nowhere and blocked it with his shield and then Astrid slammed her axe into Garrosh's purplish body.
"If we block it together we have a chance," said Astrid. She then helped Hiccup up. "Come on, we can do this."
"Okay," Hiccup nodded. He then turned and looked at the other players while Lucius blocks all of the axe attacks. "Me and Astrid will deal with the sides everyone else flank it and attack!"
"You are the man!" Gobber yelled.
Everyone charged straight towards Garrosh and began pummeling him with everything they got. The Circle of Magi began rapidly fire spells just to slow the orc down while the warriors attacked it head on. The rogues flanked the orc and began digging their blades into his body.
"Hold still baby!" Gobber yelled as he came charging in with his massive hammer.
Garrosh saw the attack coming and managed to swung his open claw hand straight at him. Gobber was able to survive, the two warriors that were accompanying him didn't make it.
"Damn you!" Gobber yelled.
Despite the setbacks the players kept on attacking with everything they got. The Lord Seeker Lucius blocked its claw attacks with his shield as everyone else attacked it from the sides.
Artha and Kitt managed to get underneath the orc and blasted it with their most powerful attack spell they could muster. Then Gobber and Snotlout slammed their attack straight on its back.
Hiccup kept on blocking Garrosh's claw hand using all the strength he could muster while Astrid struck him with her axe. Then the two of them charged straight at the orc at full speed dodging every single one of its attacks and struck him in unison. However, deep in their hearts they knew that the battle had just begun.
The battle against Garrosh continued for what felt like hours. Everyone was being extremely careful when getting close to the massive orc since he's been able to kill players with just a single hit, but even with all the caution they still lost one or two players ever so often.
Eventually they were able to wear him down until it was in the red zone. "Everyone attack!" Lucius commanded.
They attacked with all their might and eventually they were finally able to bring down Garrosh making him disintegrate. Once the battle was done everyone fell to the ground exhausted, they'd won the battle, but not without a price.
"How many did we lose?" The high Inquisitor Blake asked.
Hiccup opened his map began counting the number of players still alive, the loss was overwhelming. "Fourteen of us died," he said gravely.
"Oh my God," said Gobber.
Everyone's face turned to horror they had never suffered this many losses in a boss fight before and there were just one quarter of a way to the final zone.
"We've still got twenty-six zones to go," said Artha.
"Twenty-six more zones," said Kitt as she wrapped her arms around Artha and a look of despair on her face.
"How the hell are we gonna make it for?" Snotlout asked.
Hiccup notice that everyone was falling into despair and then he looked at the lord seeker Lucius, who was the only one who didn't look concerned about the losses. Hiccup then remembered his fight against him a few weeks ago and realization hit him as if he ran into a brick wall. His eyes narrowed and he reached for his sword.
Astrid noticed his movement. "What's wrong?"
Hiccup didn't answer and rose to his feet and before anyone could stop him he charged straight towards Lucius. He outstretched his sword and Lucius had no time to raise his shield.
However, Hiccup sword didn't touch Lucius's face and bounced off him. Then a purple warning notice appeared saying immortal object. Everyone gasped when they saw the warning notice and all their eyes fell upon Lucius.
"An immortal object?" Astrid gasped.
Yang got to her feet. "Lord Seeker Lucius, what's going on?"
"I think I've got the answer to that," said Hiccup narrowing his eyes on Lucius. "The reason why the Lord Seeker's HP never hits yellow is because he is protected by the system." Everyone stared at him in puzzlement. "You know ever since day one, something is always bugged me about this whole thing. I was always wondering, where is he hiding while he watches us and controls everything in this world."
"Well… the answer is pretty simple. Its basic psychology, in fact so simple that every kid knows it. There's nothing more boring than watching someone else playing an RPG is there… Val Morando?"
Everyone gasped and then they heard Lucius clap as he smiled at Hiccup. "Well done, but just for my curiosity sake would you mind telling me how you figured it out?"
"The first time I knew something was up was doing our dual," said Hiccup. "Remember when you turn the tables on me that move was way too fast."
Val nodded. "Yes… I thought so. It was a mistake to think that went unnoticed by you. But you are so strong and so fast the only choice I had was engage the systems assist mode." This statement confirmed what Hiccup had said. Lucius smiled at everyone. "Yes, I am Val Morando. And now that my identity has been revealed it should come as no surprise that I'm the final boss in the last zone."
Everyone's eyes widened, but Hiccup kept a firm face. "So, the strongest player in the whole game ends up being the final boss. kinda cliché isn't it?"
Val shrugged. "Actually I kinda like that angle. But while we're installing plot twists into this game I have one of my own. Your best friends Aja and Krel are not from earth."
That was something that Hiccup didn't suspect and everyone turned their eyes upon Aja and Krel who were looking at their feet in shame. Hiccup then realized how Krel wasn't seen on any of the battlefields and how she was so good with a blade and how he was so good at playing this game type once before.
"guys?" the council members gasped as they all look at Aja and Krel.
Aja and Krel looked at all of them. "It's true… we are not from earth." Aja then looked at her boyfriend Steve. "Didn't I tell you because your government would capture and possibly kill me they found out where we are from?"
Val chuckled. "I guess you didn't know that Krel also designed most of the Cardinal system. In fact he's been spending most of his time trying to hack in and set everyone free. It hasn't been easy keeping him out, he was always a skilled hacker."
Aja and Krel then looked at Hiccup and Astrid before Aja spoke up. "I think the two of you should know that I was the one who designed the coding for Zephyr."
Hiccup and Astrid stared at him. They always thought that it was Val who created Zephyr, but in actual respect it was Aja all this time.
Krel then glared at Val. "It wasn't until the day of the launch that I realized why my guardian didn't want me to make the game and NerveGear. He knew what you were planning."
"Yes, Varvatos was always the observant one. It was too late for him to inform the authorities about my change the code, but he was quite adamant about not having you take part in it."
Hiccup looked at all the players and was starting to worry if some of them were going to attack Aja and Krel just in spite of Val.
Then Steve pulled Aja towards him and looked at her, straight in the eyes. "I told you before that you're not Val and the both of you didn’t original design this game to be a death game and if people don't see that they're idiots."
Then the two of them kissed.
Val chuckled at the site, he then turned his eyes upon Hiccup. "Now as much as I enjoy this little distraction I think we have much more to talk about. For one I always knew that you would be the one standing before me at the very end. You know Dual Wielding is a rare skill, the kind that only given to the player with the fastest reaction time. He is the hero of this story, the one that rises up to challenge the Demon King…" His smile then grew even more broader. "But you… the power you displayed exceeded my expectations. I guess these unexpected twists are turns are what makes MORPG's so thrilling to play."
Yang then drew her sword in anger. "Our loyalty… our hope… How dare you?" She then raised his sword and charged at Val. "How dare you?"
Val just opened his menu and next second Yang fell to the ground with a paralysis symbol next to her HP gauge.
"Paralysis," said Hiccup.
Then one by one all the other players began to suffer with paralysis, even Toothless. The only one still standing was Hiccup, who had a motionless Astrid in his arms.
"What's the plan now, huh?" Hiccup asked. "You going to kill everyone here and cover it up or something?"
"Oh, God, no," said Val shaking his head. "That wouldn't be sporting at me now would it? No, I have a better idea. I'm going to head for the top floor and wait for all of you there, I'll be inside the Ruby Palace. It's a shame I have to leave you also soon, I've spent a lot of time developing the Seekers of Truth and other unique elite players."
He smiled down at them. "Oh, well. You're all strong so I'm sure you'll reach me… eventually." He then turned his gaze upon Hiccup. "But before I go… Hiccup I feel you deserve some kind of reward for discovering my identity. So, I'll give you a chance."
"Chance for what?" Hiccup asked.
"To fight me one-on-one, right here right now. Oh, and my immortality will be deactivated." Hiccup stared at him. "Defeat me and you'll clear the game and all the players will be able to log out from this world. No strings attached. What do you say?"
Astrid looked up at Hiccup with a worried look on her face. "Don't do it, Hiccup," she begged. "I don't like it, we should fall back."
However, Hiccup thoughts were focused on all the players that were trapped in this world. He remembered what Astrid said about them being on a time limit and if the other bosses were anything like Garrosh, they'd be slaughtered.
He then thought about all those players who had made it this far and he knew he could walk away from this. "I have to," he said.
Astrid just stared at him in horror as he gazed upon Val. "Okay then, let's finish it."
"Hiccup?" Astrid begged.
Hiccup then looked down at Astrid with an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, I can't run away if it means ending this and setting everyone free."
Astrid knew that there was no changing his mind, he was stubborn like that. She then looked at him as if she was giving him an order. "Don't you die, you hear me."
"Fear not m'lady, I'm going to win this," he said confidently. "I promise I'll end this world."
Astrid nodded. "Okay, I believe in you."
Hiccup then laid her down on the ground and made his way over to Val unsheathing his blade and bow.
"Hiccup! Don't do it!" Artha yelled.
"Listen to the boy, lad," said Gobber.
Hiccup stood right in front of Val and turned his head to look at Artha and the other knights of freedom. "Arth, you're the first friend I ever made and I don't care if you or anyone else is from another planet." He then looked at Gobber. "Gobber thanks for supporting all the players in the game. If it weren't for you most of the players wouldn't have gotten this far."
"You better make it through this, you hear me, because I wanna meet you for real in the real world," said Artha and the others were incoherently echoing the same sentiments.
"You got it," said Hiccup smiling. "I'll see you all on the other side."
He then looked at Astrid one more time before facing Val. "If it's okay, I have a final request to make."
Val frowned. "What is it?"
"I'm not planning on going down easy. So, if I die today I want your word that you will fix it so Astrid doesn't kill herself."
Val stared at him and then smiled. "As you wish."
Astrid was now totally distraught. "No, Hiccup! That's not fair! You can't do that! that's not fair!" she shrieked.
"Astrid, the Knights of freedom need a leader in case I fail and you're the most qualified. I know you will stop at nothing until everyone is freed."
He then saw Val change his mortality setting and then a red warning noticed appeared saying, changed into mortal object. Val then drew his sword from his shield indicating that their battle was about to begin.
"Hiccup!" Astrid yelled.
Hiccup knew that only one of them would be walking away from this and he was okay with that. He never wanted someone more dead than Val and he was determined to succeed no matter the price.
He then charged at Val at full speed and the two of them clashed. Val's defense was even more impenetrable than the time they dueled one another. Hiccup narrowly missed swipe from Val's sword and continued to attack.
He knew the reason why Val was able to block every single one of his attacks. It was because he hacked the dual wielding skill and he knows all of its combos. The only chance he had was to beat him with his own power, without using the sword skills.
He attacked Val with full speed sparks flew in the air as he slammed his sword and bow into Val's shield. Despite his best efforts he was unable to break through Val's defense and then Val scratched him across his cheek.
Unfortunately, in his rage, Hiccup accessed his sword skills and Val smirked. Hiccup kept on attacking with all his might, but he was unable to break through Val's defense and it was then that he realized he had no chance of winning.
He tried a breakthrough with one more desperate attack, but his bow crypt fiend slayer shattered the moment it made contact with Val's shield. He watched helplessly as Val raised his blade ready to deal the final blow.
"Game over… Hiccup," said Val.
Val's sword glowed blood red and it fell down towards Hiccup, but then out of nowhere Astrid came and threw herself between him and Hiccup. Hiccup watched in horror as the sword struck her and she fell into his arms.
He looked at her HP gauge and was utterly horrified at the drop down to zero. Astrid looked up at him as she began to glow in a bright light.
"Astrid? You can't be—you can't be—" he said unable to form the words.
Tears rolled down Astrid's cheek as she looked into his face. "I'm sorry… goodbye," she said.
She then closed her eyes and the next second she disintegrated leaving only her axe behind. Hiccup desperately tried to grab hold of the pieces that were floating away and then fell to his knees.
"Now that was unexpected," said Val callously. "I'm sure that I never programmed a way for players to neutralize their own paralysis. I guess sometimes these things just happen."
Hiccup clenched his fists and placed a hand on Astrid's axe. He then got to his feet, but he had lost all the will to fight. He carelessly swung his sword around and Val easily dodged it.
Val sighed as Hiccup performed the same gesture again, he knocked the hiccup's sword right out of Hiccup's hand. Hiccup just stood there as if he gave up the will to live and Val impaled him with his blade.
Hiccup could feel the pain as his HP gauge began to drop and he closed his eyes just as it reached zero. He then got a warning message saying you are dead and he began to disintegrate.
However, then something miraculous happened. Hiccup's thoughts were upon Astrid saying that she believed in him and he knew that instant that he couldn't die yet. Somehow he was able to hold onto his avatar and placed a firm grip on Astrid's axe.
"Not yet," he said.
Val was surprised to see that Hiccup was still moving and stared on as he slowly advanced towards him. Hiccup then raised Astrid's axe and used the last of his strength to bring it down right on top of Val, who just stood there and took the blow.
Hiccup watched as Val's HP gauge reached the bottom of the gauge and he looked down at Astrid's axe smiling. They did it, they'd won. Hiccup then closed his eyes and seconds later he disintegrated along with Val.
The two of them scattered across the entire castle and everyone in the game could feel their presence and they floated out of the castle and into the sky above.
"On November seventh at two: fifty-five PM, the game has been cleared. Repeat, the game has been cleared," said a computer voice.
Hiccup opened his eyes and found themselves standing on a see-through platform. He had no idea where he was, but it looked like he was up in outer space. At first before that he had reached the afterlife, but then he noticed that he was still in his avatar's attire.
"Where am I?" he said to himself.
He then went to open his menu which proved that he was still in the game and some sort of a percentage count.
"Hiccup," said Astrid's voice behind him.
Hiccup eyes widened and turned to find Astrid standing behind him. He wasn't sure what to say and ended up smiling. "I'm sorry… I guess I ended up dying too."
Astrid shook her head as a tear ran across her cheek. "You stubborn idiot."
She then ran towards him and wrapped her arms around him. They then pulled each other into a kiss. Once they broke apart Hiccup looked at her quite puzzled.
"Where are we? Do you know?" he asked.
Astrid then pointed down over the edge of the platform and Hiccup saw directly below them was Azeroth and saw that it was slowly being invaded by thousands of black alien ships. They watched sadly as their little cabin was blasted by the ships in orbit.
"A stunning view, isn't it?" said a new voice.
The two of them turned and found a man standing right next to them looking down into the crumbling ruins of Azeroth. Hiccup recognized at once, it was Krel Tarron, but he wasn't in his avatar form and instead looked exactly like his real body, he even had a lab coat.
"Krel Tarron" said Hiccup breathlessly.
"At blizzard headquarters, the WOWO mainframe is in a room five floors below street level. And right now it's deleting all the data from its drives. In about ten minutes everything about this world will disappear forever but I have a feeling I am going to bring it back, better than before."
"And all the players? What happens to them?" Astrid asked.
"You don't have to worry about them," Krel assured. He opened his menu and showed a large list of players. "the six million one hundred thousand and twenty-seven thousand players, who survive the game up to now were logged out of here seconds ago."
"And what about the six million people who died? What about them?" Hiccup asked.
"sadly they'll will never return," said Krel simply. "In any world, real or virtual, once you're dead you're gone."
Hiccup just stared at him. "Why? What's the point? Why did he do this?"
"That's a very good question," said Krel rubbing his chin. "It's been so long I bet he has forgotten the reason. Isn't that strange?" He then looked up into the sky. "Even before I developed my own systems for the full dive environment, I dreamt of this. A world that wasn't governed by earthly laws and restrictions. I poured my life into making that reality but Val had stolen it from me. he stole this world from me and I got to see something that surpassed anything I could have ever imagined for it."
He then looked down at the disintegrating planet below. "My world, floating in the endless void. I don't remember how old I was when I became obsessed with it. I wanted to leave the material world and to fly the world, I would've wanted that more than anything else. For as long as I could remember. You know what, Hiccup. I want to believe that it's still out there. That's somewhere in some other galaxy my world is still standing, shining brighter than ever."
"Yeah," said Hiccup, not completely sure what to say. "Maybe it still is."
Krel then turned and looked at them. "Before I forget, congratulations on clearing the game, Hiccup, Astrid." He then turned away. "Well then… I should probably log out as well now and then get started on WOWO 2.0."
They watched as he walked away and he just vanished without a trace. Just as the planet finished disintegrating and the alien ships departed.
A few minutes later, Hiccup and Astrid was sitting at the edge holding each other's hand.
"I guess this is goodbye," said Hiccup.
Astrid shook her head. "This isn't goodbye at all? We're going to be together when we finally disappear. So, we're going to be together forever." She then looked at him straight into his eyes. "Hey, you never told me your real name. Would you please tell me before we go?"
Hiccup just smiled. "Henry Haddock and last February I turned twenty."
"Henry Haddock," said Astrid and she just smiled. "So, you are older than me. My name is Astrid Hofferson and I just turned twenty last month."
"Astrid Hofferson," Hiccup repeated tears then rolled down his cheek. "I'm so sorry… I promised that I would save you. Get you back to the real world, but—but I couldn't."
Astrid squeezed his wrist and she too was crying. "It's okay. I'm happy that I got to meet you Henry and to be with you and to live with you. This is the happiest I have ever been in my whole life. Thank you for that. And I love you."
The two of them then shared one final kiss just as a bright light enveloped them and they vanished completely.
Hiccup then opened his eyes and found himself in a strange room. He felt so weak and strange and judging from his surroundings he thought he was in the afterlife at all. Unless the afterlife was a hospital ward.
It took him several seconds to realize that he was in the real world, somehow he managed to return. He looked at his hand and at once he could see that he had lost quite a bit of weight. He was strapped to a life support system and his NerveGear was strapped to his head.
He then removed it and found that his hair had grown considerably and his thoughts were upon Astrid. He wanted nothing more than to go out and search for her, but he remembered that he was missing his prosthetic leg and even if he wasn't he was too weak to move and he didn’t have his prosthetic close by.
Though once he was back to full strength nothing in the world would stop him from fighting for Astrid. Nothing was going to stop him finding the woman he loved.