The God of Light fell.
The Demon Lord rules the world.
Sentient beings were forbidden to develop technology, and people were never able to shift from the steam era to the age of electricity and the internal combustion engine.
But as long as you are the Light host, you can hope for the best. Even if your house is burned to the ground, even if you lose your family, even if your overlord sends you to your death, the Black Guard never gives up and continues on his way.
Targeted Age Group:: adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired by D&D games.
Web of Worlds: Empire is the first project in which most of the main character’s decisions are made by the dice roll and readers' votes (at the end of each chapter). According to the simplified free-to-use d20 rules, I asked a question at the end of each chapter and wrote the next chapter based on the voting results. For example, once my readers chose a completely unexpected hero class for me. Because of the unexpected plot twist, I even had to change the book name.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It all starts with the e-sports championship, in which the main character, neglecting the instructions of the manager and the team leader, pulls out a hopeless match. The manager considers such behavior to be unacceptable for team play and expels the hero from the team. The hero finds himself alone in a foreign city and a foreign country, and even with a switched-off smartphone, he goes to the store to buy a charger and becomes an involuntary witness to a robbery, during which he gets a stray bullet. When he wakes up, he finds out that he is accused of robbery and murder of the owner of the store. Then, however, the charge is dropped, and even vice versa. Having found out the personality of the hero, and the fact that he will remain disabled for life, he is offered a new life. A virtual life.
“The fifteen minutes are running out,” the announcer said. “None of the Titans are defeated, and the monsters are eager to fight!”
“You’re right, John,” his partner echoed, “Well, our players are not wasting their time. Look, the blue team is pulling ahead!”
“That’s right! They have settled in the woods devouring their neutral enemies. We’ll see the epic end of the fight soon. The Reds just won’t have a chance to survive!”
“Meanwhile, the circle of the life is narrowing once again, reducing the maneuvering room, the Titans are regrouping! They aren’t so healthy yet…”
The guys competently riled up the audience, but their comments and the video feed reached them with a five-minute broadcast delay. It was a standard practice that prevented players to get hints about the overall picture of the battle.
I didn’t want to get distracted, so I turned off the live stream and radio, leaving only the voice chat on. Three Blue players were attacking very strong neutrals; they would surely win right before my eyes. If I didn’t get involved…
“Mikh, get back in line,’ our commander and manager Ron ordered sternly, “We need to keep the Titan.”
“Just a minute. I’ll just deal with these three…”
“Get back in line, quickly. Stop it! I see your stuff: a two-handed barbarian sword and breastplate. Any archer could take you down in a moment!”
He was right. There were no classes in the game. All the necessary weapons and armor were to be found right on the battlefield. This time I was terribly unlucky. I got… what was in stock, rather than my favorite crossbow. I had no choice. But I managed to get into the international tournament, being a kid from an orphanage, participating in free game sessions, and I wasn’t going to miss my chance. I turned off the chat in order not to be distracted. The female wizard, who had received a scroll with the training of fire magic early in the game, drank the potion of life. Everybody’s mana and health points dropped to a minimum.
The Hydra wasn’t a first level Wolf, but he was already dying. If they finish him and get rare items, we’re dead. But that's not going to happen. Three percent, two… I'm a retri-paladin, I can beat you, I shall win!
“I’ll stab you!” I shouted loudly.
The wizard shuddered, and the fireball flew just above the monster’s head. A tanking warrior wanted to run towards me, but then the monster injured him with his tail and threw him right under my sword. Damage!
“Scroll!” the archer ordered, making a correct prediction. I was healthy and unharmed, and they were losing. He barely managed to get the scroll out of his bag, not to mention reading it.
Jump. Roll under the arrow. The second minus! Fifteen killed in a game session and a five-second speed bonus. I’m sorry, dear, but you can’t leave either. Jerk!
A thick two-handed sword fell down on the wizard-girl who was trying to escape the blow. If I didn’t know that in real life the player was a hefty white guy, I would hesitate to strike. But it was the final game and all the players knew each other. Damage! I had fifty seconds left until three other gamers returned to the battlefield.
But this was not the time to gloat. The legendary seven-headed monster stood before me. What remained of his health was enough for only a couple of strikes, which he hadn’t delivered yet. Rollback. Despite his deplorable state, the Hydra furiously rushed towards me.
Should I take a chance to kill him myself and to take a legendary item or should I call my friends and get a rare thing? It was out of the question! Fight!
Every blow deprived the creature of half a percent of its life. It was constantly stinging me with its heads, leaving many small wounds. But I was winning in damage per second and health points. I chopped off half of his fluttering heads with my last strike.
The monster died in a beautiful pose, evaporating and leaving a chest.
Let it be a legendary item, please… Let me be lucky, lucky! YES!!!
The legendary artifact was the Radiant Sword.
Regeneration 1% Health Points per sec.
Damage 500 %
Type of Damage Light Damage
The grand shining message reported, Great! Your death has come! Five hundred percent of the damage was much more than one hundred percent made by an ordinary sword. Although I didn’t use much strength, only dexterity, it was more than enough.
“Mikh! Where the fuck are you?!” I heard him yell through the noise-canceling headphones and the booth wall. Ronald just didn’t curse that way for no reason. I whistled when I opened the general statistics. The Titans were already fighting, and we were losing.
The enemy probably somehow managed to break through our defense line, and now our leader was attacked by the mobs and players at the same time.
I didn’t understand how it was possible because my four buddies were supposed to protect him. Anyway, it didn’t matter. I had to go back to the base and protect… otherwise… Hold on. Why should I do it?
I’m in enemy territory now; my opponents are four times closer to me than my allies. I’m just pressed for time… But I can prevent the weakened opponent as all the monsters are on the attack, and three players are at the revival stage. How much damage can I do to the Titans with my legendary artifact? At least ten or twenty percent. The most important thing is time.
I was thinking about it on the run. My health was slowly recovering, while I was running past the bushes and trees. An eight-legged walking tower, shooting a blue stream of energy somewhere in the distance, emerged before my eyes. A red stream of energy was moving from the opposite side, both energies flows collided on our side of the battlefield. If the red energy flow prevailed and reached the Titan, we would be dead. But I wasn’t going to let that happen.
Running to the nearest tower leg, I violently plunged the sword into it, trying to hold on to my weapon. The advantage of the Light was that there was no need to wave it like an iron weapon. It was enough to break the top layer, or, as in the case of the giant Golem, just keep it in place. Damage per second would exceed the damage from normal strikes.
The effect was not immediately apparent, but even twenty seconds were enough for the Titan to begin limping noticeably. This was an advantage of modern games. Every time the Titan limped, the beam went down a little, away from our leader. Although, my teammates might have repaired the tower. In any case, I still had a dozen seconds to… No.
I must have timed it wrong. An arrow pierced my bare shoulder, taking off fifteen of my forty-five health points at once. Hold on! Another arrow. The enemy wasn’t risking anything, he knew my vulnerabilities. He was aware that skull damage only appeared half the time, and wouldn’t take the risk. Two seconds, just two, and I’ll melt his leg!
Hit! Forty-five percent of my health was gone. But still, I stood and could restore one pathetic percent thanks to my sword. It was enough to survive the hit. I got it! The blue Titan staggered! The red beam immediately struck his skull, which shattered into small pieces…
“We won! Unbelievable! At the last second, the Russian legionnaire Mikhail Serykh has pulled a stunning victory for his team!”
The stadium exploded in cheers. The helicopter cameras flew up to our faces. We all smiled happily, waving to the crowd. We all raised the Cup together, though it was Ronald that held it the longest. He—the team captain—was also handed the check for fifteen million. But as soon as we were alone in the locker room, the fake joy was gone.
“What were you doing out there, Mikh? Are you out of your mind?” shouted the thirty-year-old decathlete, slamming me against the locker. “What did I order you to do?”
“Fuck you! I carried the whole game, killed three enemies, took down the Titan.”
“You asshole! If you were a team player and didn’t do whatever came to your mind, none of this would have been necessary! We had a strict plan. We put you on trial period as a permanent member, and what do you do?”
“Hey, I saved everyone!”
“You…” Ronald swung to strike, but I immediately took a defensive stance. He might be twice my size, but I wasn’t anyone’s whipping boy. I could fight him.
“Fuck you. You fulfilled your contract. The percentage of prize money is yours. But we don’t owe you anything else. You can get back home on your own.”
“What? I don’t even know how to…”
“That’s your problem. Call a cab, you’re not a kid.”
He was right and wrong at the same time: according to US law, I was still a minor, and it was the same in Russia. I’d be twenty in six months, and I’ll be able to enlist. I would definitely go to the army because it was guaranteed employment and the money was good. I could pay for my tuition and buy a nice apartment with a hundred and fifty grand salaries.
But I didn’t want to go home alone at night. I used to live in an orphanage and had a hard time getting a tablet to play for fifteen minutes, not for fun, like the others, but for training. Now my past looked much prettier than it did a few hours ago. Even if I was no longer invited to the CKnD – the winning team, I could find a place in the top ten.
What’s more, I was going to the party!
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