Tessa knew that she was going to be late, but it was only partially on purpose; she had told Randidly a slightly later time so she could stop by a friends place and borrow some makeup and jewelry. But she hadn’t accounted for the absolute swarms of people rushing around excitedly, setting up into a place by one of the many viewing screens that the city was setting up, at its own expense, for free viewing.
The concert was relatively expensive in terms of obtaining tickets, and Tessa herself had been straining for the past two weeks, working double shifts every day, just to be able to afford one. Buying two would have effectively put her down to zero resources, meaning she would have to work before she could eat, but for Randidly she would have….
Either way, Randidly had casually obtained two tickets, and backstage passes at that, leaving her shocked. With the money that she had saved, she had gone shopping, acquiring a cute white sundress covered in blooming pink lilies.
When she arrived, Randidly didn’t seemed worried, or rushed. He just seemed focused, his eyes following the hundreds of people that surged excitedly passed, talking and shouting.
“Hey Randidly-” But then Tessa froze, looking him up and down.
For some strange reason, he was covered in dirt. And smelled like he had been on fire. She had thought it strange that he was wearing furs, but had supposed that was just a part of living outside the city. But now, with the furs looking crispy and matted, she couldn’t help but wrinkle her nose. He also wasn’t wearing shoes.
“You….” Tessa struggled to find words to explain to him what was wrong. Sensing her gaze, Randidly looked down at himself, and then chuckled.
“…I didn’t even realize. Yea, this probably isn’t good apparel for a concert,”
Tessa was flummoxed, and then said hesitantly. “…there are bath houses that can clean you up at, but… obtaining new clothes at this hour…”
Now was Randidly’s turn to look uncomfortable. “I… Have other clothes. But they are just a bit….”
“Oh, that’s perfect then. The bathhouse’s does cost some tokens, but I can-”
Randidly held out a hand, which was filled with a dozen tokens, what Tessa would take almost a week to earn. “Is this enough?”
She just looked at him, her mouth hanging open.
Breathing heavily, Decklan stood over the cooling corpse of the Tier I Raid Boss, this one a centaur creature that had used a bow. In a frontal confrontation, he was probably extremely hard to deal with, as he and his minions fled from you while shooting arrows towards pursuers.
But for Decklan’s squad, that specialized in assassinations and quick attacks…
The Raid boss had been blasted and sliced up so many ways that it had died with its face locked into a confused expression, barely understanding what had happened to it. While the rest of his crew cut through the few enemies that he had spawned from the Raid Boss before they arrived, Decklan reveled in his stats, boosted by his recent position as Raid Boss Hunter.
Health(/R per hour): 198/319 (98.5)
Mana(/R per hour): 22/90 (19)
Stam(/R per min): 53/205 (33)
Skills: Sneak Lvl 29, Slash Lvl 27, Dagger Mastery Lvl 25, Backstab Lvl 30, Feint Lvl 17, Dual Wielding Mastery Lvl 24, Sidestep Lvl 28, Decapitate Lvl 23, Shadow Strike Lvl 14, Obscuring Mist Lvl 8, Sneak Attack Lvl 19, Tracking Lvl 11, Foraging Lvl 9
Luckily his recent killer bonuses had gone to Vit and End, which boosted his survivability and let him focus his stat gains on Agility, Perception, and Reaction.
Unfortunately, he only had two more non-class skill slots remaining due to his class limitations. But he was currently very pleased overall with his kit. Obscuring Mist was his one mana usage, summoning just a little bit of cover for him to approach. Then he chained Backstab, Shadow Strike, and Sneak Attack into rapidly rip through the Raid Boss’s health.
His two direct subordinates, Terra and Ivan, walked up to him, Ivan licking blood off of his knife. Ivan was Decklan’s direct disciple, using a mentor stone to take the Killer class from him. Meanwhile, Terra had obtained the strange class Juggler, which made her a magic based speed class.
She was his…
Decklan frowned. She was his…
“What is it?” Ivan asked lazily. “Another Raid Boss spawn?”
“We shouldn’t go after it. We need to refill most of our potions. Our healer is exhausted.” Terra said, sparing Ivan a glance. He simply snorted. They had settled into an adversarial role, but both of them respected the other’s strength to much to take it too seriously.
“No… We are heading back. The full Council is being called. We… are finally heading after a dungeon.” Decklan looked up at the sky.
Clouds were brewing overhead, with low rumblings coming from the north. They had been lucky, in terms of weather so far. There had been some scattered rain storms, but nothing serious. But this one…
Thunder rumbled, and Decklan saw a flash of purple lightning from the clouds.
This one wasn’t natural.
“Alright boys, we’re going home,” Decklan called, and then turned and started jogging. The rest of his team, tiredly joking and carrying various parts of their quarry’s body back to the base for Sam, followed.
When they arrived at the stadium the line was around the block, and a sea of people jostling to get closer to the gates. A dozen men with assault rifles stood by the entrance, glaring around, keeping even the most rambunctious concert goers in check.
There was certainly some similarities to a dictatorship in the post-system world. The constant threat of force hung over everyone.
For his part, Randidly was bemused. The people ran up against him and rebounded, their difference in stats showing even though Randidly didn’t exert any strength. But people clamored forward, pressing around them, and he was forced to extend his arms to keep Tessa from being crushed.
She looked at him gratefully, one more eyeing the very form fitting clothes made for Randidly by Sam from the fur of the shadow cats, and then leaned backwards into him, pressing the length of her body up against him. For a moment, Randidly’s thoughts shifted in a lustful direction, but then he just shook his head.
So much had happened, he had changed way too much to imagine ever being intimate with Tessa ever again, even if she was quite cute.
Randidly paused, wondering how to finish that sentence.
Luckily a nearby commotion distracted him from this train of thought.
“Make way! Make way! Freedom Fighters, coming through!”
Surprisingly, Randidly recognized the voice. It was that pessimistic man on the patrol, who had talked about there how there were two types of people, and he one was on the lesser ones, that it was useless to struggle against your role, etc.
Or something. Randidly honestly had a hard time recalling.
He shoved his way forward, followed by several athletic looking men and women in ripped clothes. Pistols and a weird, saber style weapon hung at all their waists. At the center stood an extremely tall man, probably almost 2 meters tall, with fiery orange hair. His arms were extremely long and lanky, and at his side hung two of those sabers.
As he passed, the patrol man noticed Randidly and Tessa, but his eyes went straight to Tessa, drinking in the curves of her with a lewd gaze, his smirk making him really seem like a sleazeball from a bad gangster flick.
“Tessa! What a coincidence. Did you manage to get tickets to the concert?” As he spoke, he reached out for her shoulder. Frowning, Randidly knocked his hand to the side. The man’s face fell and he turned to glare at Randidly.
“Alex-” Tessa started to say, but the man’s face was already red.
“You fuck, are you trying to say you are better than the Freedom Fighters?!? While you are sleeping safe at home, while your government is too scared to move, we are the ones risking our lives on the front lines! You have some fucking nerve!”
Randidly gave him a sidelong glance. The crowd had quieted around them, drawing back away from the confrontation. Although he hated to actually deal with this worthless person, since Tessa was here…“…weren’t you saying how struggling was worthless for us, just yesterday? You sure changed your tune fast. Now on the front lines? Very admirable.”
“You…!” Alex clenched his fists, eyes flashing. One of the bigger guys from the small group stepped forward, laughing.
“Common newbie, don’t be so tense. Hey man, I just think that’s Alex’s girl. She just needs to come with us, and everything’s forgiven. Otherwise…”
The man smiled grimly, the threat hanging in the air. The crowd around them began to mutter, but they kept their eyes on the ground, looking away.
Randidly just chuckled. “Do you think that if you say things nicely, that changes things? You want to take an unwilling woman with you. That’s rape.”
The man’s eyes darkened, but his smile stayed easy. “Haha, rape? Now, now, now, don’t throw around words like that. If it was rape, would all these people really stand by and just watch it happen?”
The crowd crept back further. The group of Freedom Fighters, aside from the tall orange haired man at the center, glared around, drawing their sabers.
No one spoke.
“Yes,” Randidly said simply. “For they are weak.”
Tessa was sobbing quietly. “I’m so sorry… I’m sorry…”
Alex leered at the two of them. “So, you are the only one who thinks somethings up.”
“Now he’s just a Newbie,” The man drawled, “But he is still a Freedom Fighter now, and afforded certain… protections. And one of those protections is against civvies like you stealing his woman while he is away, fighting on the front lines. And-”
Randidly blinked, and looked towards the central figure, the tall man with orange hair. He hadn’t spoken then entire time, but now he interceded, his tone brooking no dissension.
The orange haired man then grinned, and added. “The concert is about to start. I’m not gonna miss Raina because we were fucking around with some girl. Move.”
Unwilling, but ordered, the Freedom Fighters sheathed their sabers and pressed forward through the crown.
Alex, eyes bulging, hissed. “You’re lucky this time. Don’t you ever fucking let me catch you again, asshole, or else.”
Then he turned and left.
Randidly, still bemused, shook his head, then moved to follow.
“Randidly! What are you doing! They won’t do anything now, but after the concert- We should go hide-” Tessa’s voice wavered, but Randidly just yawned.
“No worries. I’m sure it will be fine. Besides, would you really waste these backstage passes?”
Tessa stood still, torn. But Randidly just walked casually forward, pushing his way right through people, and she was forced to sigh and hurry after him. After all, if he was going to waste his time rather than train, or search for Sydney or Ace, he sure as hell wasn’t going to waste his time in the nosebleeds.
Inwardly, she wondered when he had become so brave. Or so dumb.