Chapter #2: My Friend, the Vampire Lord

I look around. It seems I’m in some kind of cavern. I feel cold suddenly, it’s as if the temperature dropped immediately once I was transferred into this massive underground chamber. A violent chill goes down my spine, something I’ve never encountered with another avatar. I must admit to the developers of this game, the sensation and the feeling is the best I’ve encountered so far. So, this game experience might have something to offer in the end.

I lay aside my thoughts, when a soft sound echoes inside the seaming empty chamber. “Who’s there?” I demand to know, but I get silence in return.

There’s no light coming here from the ceiling and there are no windows. I don’t have Dark Vision, so it’s impossible for me to see anything but a few feet away. I shouldn’t have chosen Hardcore, that was a mistake on my end. I’m certain there’s someone here, I can feel it.

Well, its time I set prepare my spell slots. I recognize most of the spells here. So if I’m in a cavern, probably I’ll have to face ghouls, vampires and most likely various undead. I don’t have that many options, as I’m Level-1 avatar at the moment.

I can select three cantrips. I choose Chill Touch, Light and Fire Bolt. I can also choose and use two level-1 spells as well. I add Shield and Catapult to my spell slot inventory.

A notification appears in my Neural Control Interface: You can use two Level-1 spells in a single day.

Ok, so far everything works as in Elysium. Known territory. No bugs.

I touch the stone bed I was laying a moment ago and cast Light. It’s an evocation cantrip that makes any object I touch shed bright light.

“At least some light,” I sigh relieved, till I notice a pale man in red clocked armor, ten feet away from me. “Who are you?” I ask the creepy man. It goes without saying that I activate my Insight skill to scan him for information.

A tooltip appears above his head: Vampire Lord, Threat Level-56, HP: 107/175

Fuck, I’m a goner! It’s the first time I’ve played a game where I’m Level-1 that my opponents start at Level-56. He seems injured badly injured, but still, I’m no match for him.

For some reason, my feet start trembling and something inside my chest beats hard, demanding immediate release. It must be my heart. I heard that real bodies have multiple organs. The pressure is so intense from the adrenaline rush, that my eyes are ready to explode. So, I’m in the Real World?

My predator looks at me like with his sharp, purple-red eyes “Oh? A mage? Down here? I didn’t know that Ambrosia was so desperate that decided to hire human mercenaries to aid her.”

“Look, I just appeared here, I don’t have any idea who you’re referring to. I was just leaving!”

“Don’t worry human, you can trust me,” the vampire lord tells me with his soft voice.

For some reason, I trust this guy. My heart beats decrease and my pressure returns to normal.

A notification appears in my Neural Control Interface: You have been Charmed.

How could I not be charmed? This guy is friendly and cool. Exactly the person I needed to help me in this new world.

“I’m Athanasios, I just woke up here. I don’t know Ambrosia.”

“Ahh, is that so?” He approaches me even more now, only two feet away from me. His fangs are visible. He smiles at me and licks his lips. The motion of his tongue resembles that of a creature, rather a human being. So funny, I think to myself, but I try not to laugh, it wouldn’t be proper to insult my new friend.

Another notification appears in my Neural Control Interface: You have been granted access to the Difficulty menu.

At last, probably the developers are fixing bugs as we speak. I access the Difficulty menu from my Neural Control Interface and change it from Hardcore to Casual.

Ok, another notification: Casual difficulty confirmed. I wonder what’ll happen now.

Hoofbeats reach my ears and I’m certain my new, vampire friend heard that with his heightened senses. This can’t be good.

“You hear that? Something is coming,” I warn him, but he ignores me and passes by me fast like the wind, heading at the opposite direction I’m staring.

I look back and I see that the place has been infested by ghouls, all of them ranging between Level 6 and 8. Still, however, I’m not a match for any of them.

“Ambrosia, come and face me you coward,” the Vampire Lord screams at the direction of the ghouls. “How many of your pathetic servants must I kill?”

The other Vampire Lord makes her entrance, clapping her hands slowly, as if she’s a spectator in a performance. “My dear Nestor, you never stop to amaze me. You came here all by yourself?” Then she stares at me. “Oh, forgive my insolence, I see you brought a toy with you. Is he your blood bag this time?”

I must say, I've never seen in my entire virtual life an avatar so gorgeous and hot as this one. I can feel my crotch hardening. So, this avatar of mine is made for other things as well. Not that it matters right now.

“Hi!” I greet her, smile on my face. “I just met him, but I think he’s a great guy.”

“Shut up!” They shout both in unison.

“Ok!” I reply.

I use the Insight on Ambrosia and the tooltip on her head informs me that she’s a Level-23 Vampire Lord. Her HP bar is full at 86, but still lower than Nestor’s. She must suck as a player, because all the babbling gave Nestor the time to heal 20 Hit points. Of course, there are thirty or so ghouls here at the moment.

The two vampire lords stare at each other. Both are predators, creatures of attack. Each measure’s each other’s strength.

“Enough talk, kill them,” Ambrosia commands her ghoul servants.

The ghouls attack Nestor, without any concern of formation or strategy, like the mindless beasts they are. What I admire though, it’s they speed and sheer strength. The vampire lord is strong and fast, yet, despite all his supernatural speed, they begin to tear his body achieving grave wounds, but he keeps pushing, killing one ghoul after the other with one hit.

I use my Insight, Nestor has 42 Hit points left, but for a moment it seems that he has taken control of the battle. And then, Ambrosia decides to make her move. She hisses and attacks at Nestor. They exchange a raging series of deadly attacks, each more powerful than the last. My eyes are impossible to follow their speed. I must act though, my friend needs me.

I access my Spell Control Menu and cast Catapult, the spell-level 1 transmutation spell that placed in my spell slot earlier. With this spell, I raise a 5-pound rock that I see besides me and throw it straight at the direction of Ambrosia. Unfortunately, a ghoul shields her and the rock crushes its head, achieving a critical hit of 24 Points, thus killing it.

My Neural Control Interface notifies me that I leveled up and now I’m Level 2. At least you level up fast in this world.

The ghouls which previously ignored me, now see me as potential threat. Two of them come against me. I use Catapult again and throw it against the first ghoul. It’s a direct hit on the chest and I see that his HP decreased down to 10 HP from 22 which was a moment ago.

Shocked by the impact, the ghoul falls down for a moment.

No more spells for today, it’s time I make full use of my cantrips. I cast Chill Touch and a ghostly, skeletal hand appears before the ghoul, achieving a 5-point hit.

The second ghoul charges against me, but I fall back, trying to gain some time before I activate my second cantrip: Fire Bolt. I hurl a mote of fire at the ghoul and I achieve another critical hit of 10 points, but it’s not enough to stop it. It approaches me and performs a vertical slash with its claws, achieving a 6-point damage to my avatar.

My skin is torn and blood gushes out. The pain is so intense, and I can’t control it. There’s no fucking option to decrease the pain level in this world. I must admit being an alpha or beta tester, it’s harder than I thought.

I notice that my vampire friend is at his limit as well, only 26 Hit Points in his bar, but he can win. He has Ambrosia cornered and only three ghouls still support her. The rest of them became minced meat by his claws.

But it’s not the time to worry about my vampire friend. I have two ghouls I must fight by myself. I start casting Fire Bolt again, but before I finish my move, something or someone hits my head and I lose consciousness.

The only thing I see, is a black notification: You have been paralyzed!

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