The Firebrands

January 23, 2018

Lazarus (ATK: UNKNOWN, DFS: UNKNOWN, PWR: UNLIMITED) had always lived in the Game. Like every other human alive, he had built up his skills, defeating enemies in order to gain items necessary for survival. The Game was designed for constant entertainment, simply an escape. And the only thing that mattered to the humans of x_2847_x was escape. The Earth became both overpopulated and overexerted at around x_2659_x. Coincidentally, that was when the Game was developed and released. Subsequently, all 25 billion of Earth’s humans plugged into the Game.  But things were different for Lazarus. He was number 1 on the Rating Board, the AI system that gave virtual humans the constant urge to compete with their kin. Someone’s immortal life in the Game would revolve around getting as high as possible on the Rating Board, and ultimately, defeating Lazarus. In the 188 years that passed by, Lazarus had made friends, enemies, and experienced life many times over. But he was as youthful as the twelve year old self he and his schoolmates left behind.

His quest log awoke him from his stupor, stating, “Raid scheduled, x_1400_. Group: 15G.” He awoke his wife, Andromeda, and his guild members, Simon, Myles, and Zion. Their guild, The Firebrands (GP: 9987), planned to join at least 30 other guilds of similar format to take down perhaps the fiercest challenge of the game (until the next patch). Before the raid, however, the guild had to fight across a plain of enemies.

Autosaving…Perracso Plain, x_0800_x…

The Firebrands roared to the plain, half on mounts, half on vehicles. On a speckled T-Rex (ATK: 4568, SPD: 135) and bearing the mythical Cthullu’s Blade (ATK 2899; POWER(s): GIGANTISM, TRANSFORMATION) Lazarus led the charge against a horde of Prabhuu (ATK: 67, DFS: 30), a rare ,grotesque, piglike creatures with crab pincers as hands.

“Charge!!!!” bellowed Lazarus, as his pets (DRAGON, GRIFFIN, MOSASAURUS, ULTRA PRABHUU) and guildmates followed, routing the Prabhuu horde, and obtaining precious Lacrimas, crystals that contain the material that grants supernatural powers to the user.

“Did you see what I-“ “That was really-“ “We totally annihilated-“  collectively exclaimed the guild members as they waltzed towards the raid site.

As Simon, drunk on his victory, waltzed to the raid site, he tripped on his foot. “Man, that was incredib-AHH! Oh, sorry Lazarus.  Are you ready for this raid? I’m kind of nervous. I know, we’ve done this around x_100_x times, but still, it’s an worthy experience.”

“I get what you’re saying. It really is an experience.”

Simon settled in to his mount, a large lizard-esque creature. “ Do you have any idea what the boss will be, Lazarus?"

“No clue. The only thing I know is that the raid takes place at the Corpse of Albion, and that the prize is Albion’s Lacrima, which can give you the power of changing the game. Oh, and there are at least 500 players in each group, so, there’s going to be a lot of competition. “

Andromeda overheard the conversation, and added. “The enemies are all maximum level, and in the final stage, there will be at least 5 maximum level bosses.”

After the staggering revelations, the guild arrived at the Corpse of Albion. They were greeted by an overly calm man in armor, who then directed to their Raid Gate.

And then the Firebrands entered the Corpse of Albion.

Autosaving… Corpse of Albion x_1400_x

The first stage was easy for the guild members of Gate 15G, although the assault of monsters killed over 150 players immediately. The survivors were then treated to a swarm of Jagirs (ATK:13), small, insectlike creatures, which killed another 150 players. The remaining 200 players were yet to face there greatest challenge.

The Onslaught (ATK: 8903, DFS: 9902). A horrid creature with a mouth that extends to the far reaches of its cheek. Can teleport, but not very often. The mouth is its primary form of attack. Splits into five.

As this amalgamation sprung into view, the 200 players quickly sprung into action, quickly discovering that the Onslaught had split into five forms. War, Pestilence, Death, Famine, and Ignorance. All 200 players were swiftly executed, except for five. Lazarus, Andromeda, Simon, Zion, and Myles.

Lazarus rushed up, and fired his signature Fire Blasts (PWR:9999), incapacitating the Famine, while Andromeda used her power to drown the War in a stream of toxic liquid (PWR: 4650).

“Hey… I’m not doing anything!” yelled Zion, as he dodged an attack from the Ignorance.

“Well, you’re doing something now!” quipped Lazarus.

Zion then proceeded to destroy the Ignorance with his Explosion (PWR:8873), as Myles ravaged the Death with his Cut (PWR:9472). Finally, Simon finished the fight by suffocating the Pestilence with (ironically) Blades Of Grass (PWR:3810). Just as the Firebrands thought they were through, a light shone through the enemies they had just defeated, and transformed into a human wearing a suit.

The human whipped out a remote. “ I am the Creator of the Game. Yes, you may be surprised to see me, but… I am here to eradicate the Game. The survivors of this Raid were meant to be my personal helpers in the real world. And yes, there is a world to go back to. A lot has changed in 188 years, Firebrands.”

The next several minutes were filled with hysteria, due to the fact that the Firebrands did not want to leave their virtual world. The Creator silently watched, as society’s five idols were reduced to panic. After an eternity of waiting, the Creator finally pushed the button.

“Wait a minu-“ said a confused Zion.

“No… this can’t be happe-“ rasped Andromeda.

Simon and Myles soon followed.

Lazarus watched as his friends disintegrated into pixels, fading away from a virtual world into a real one. There would be no more powers, or pets, or even guilds. He contemplated this, as he faded away into a black abyss.
Autosaving… Game Over x_0000_x

Game Crash. Reload: Y/N.

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