The Aftermath Academy - CH34 (Olivia)

I kill the boss with a final magical sword strike, cutting through its fifth head with a flaming flourish. Smoke billows around me as I land nimbly on my feet. “Hell yeah, bitch!” I shout out with a laugh.

“You did it!” Lilith says in happy surprise, small avatar’s eyes alight with merriment. “I can’t believe you killed it by yourself. It’s a raid boss, you’re supposed to fight it with like thirty people.”

“I can,” Abe says. “Between the amount of money we’ve spent on experience potions, skill books and stat boosts? Not to mention the legendary armor sets and health potions you just went through. It’s good Krieg’s fucking loaded.”

I give him two middle fingers. “Fuck you, I just rocked that shit.”

“I’ll admit, it’s still impressive,” Abe concedes. “I can’t believe how much better you’ve gotten skill wise. You must have memorized every attack pattern tell down to a millisecond to display those sorts of reflexes.”

My victory dance is interrupted by an alarm I’ve never seen before, the entire world blaring sirens and the sky turning red. What the hell is this? Can’t a girl celebrate butchering a badass boss in peace?

The game dissolves and I’m back in the basement, where I see Krieg standing near our dive gear. Since mine isn’t a neural link I come out of it fastest, but Abe and Lilith are both emerging as well. “What gives?” I ask Krieg, annoyed.

“End of the world,” he says.

“So what?” I ask him. “We had one of those last month. It’ll be fine.”

“They’re releasing Graveminder from prison,” he says. “All hands on deck.”

“Still not seeing your point,” I tell him. “Graveminder’s an Untouchable. He’s only in prison because he likes it there.”

“Half the executioners are dead, engaged Hero guilds are at thirty percent casualties already. Jared’s up to ten bodies and he’s boosted every hero he trusts to handle it, May’s risking using my suit, God of the West is MIA and The Ash Raven is at least temporarily stunned,” Krieg continues passively.

“They’ve nuked it a couple times, and the sky fortress Azeroth is scorching the western perimeter while a boosted Nova is scorching the south. It’s pretty bad. I’m going to head over and earn some good will helping save the world and all. Might make Jared a little less likely to kill us later. I’ve arranged transportation for Lilith in case we need for her to put the thing down.”

“Oh, oh, then can I come?!” Abe and I say at the same time. If it’s really that bad, might be fun.

“Sorry Abe, if Jared’s already controlling ten bodies then he’s got his mind net going in full gear. We’re still not sure you’re immune to that-“ Krieg says.

Abe interrupts him “probably am, I’m not some empty shell.”

“Be that as it may, I’d rather not distract Jared in this situation. And Olivia, I have something more important for you to do. There’s a potential asset that might help us solve the problem of drawing out Void. Bone and Chain has shown up in Seed City 59. I would like you to retrieve him, alive, so go easy on him.”

“That’s no fun,” I say. “Isn’t he supposed to be super strong? If he’s really that much of an asset shouldn’t he be able to live through a little bit of fun?”

“It’s not his strength that’s of interest to us,” Krieg says. “And you may get to have some fun against other parties. The youngest executioner class may be deployed to fight him. Most of them would not be effective against the extinction level threat and Gravitas isn’t going to let this opportunity pass by. You’ve read their dossiers; you know which ones you shouldn’t kill. If any of the rest get in your way, go wild.”

Executioners… I smile. I hate executioners. I crack my knuckles in anticipation. Also, it’s totally hot that Krieg trusts me to remember which of the baby executioners I shouldn’t kill, like The Butler’s kid. Probably a well-placed faith. Maybe.

I wonder if Krieg has any of their brain scans in case I make a mistake….

“One question. Seed City 59 is three hundred miles away. How am I supposed to get there?” I ask.

“You know that thing I’ve been working on most of the year? It’s ready,” Krieg says.

“Bullshit!” I shout. “It ripped Abe in half when he tested it.”

“Totally exaggerating there,” Abe says, like he wasn’t ripped in fucking half.

“Also, you’re smaller than me.”

“Not by much, skinny butt,” I yell.

“Uncalled for, and the last test I only lost an arm,” Abe says. “Come to think of it, really hope that thing was obliterated and isn’t regenerating somewhere….”

“I made sure nanites with fusion charges were in you before the test,” Krieg says. “If it hadn’t been obliterated I would have finished the job… unless the signal to the nanites was interrupted. Hmm, well one extinction level threat at a time I say. We don’t even know for sure it’ll work on you Olivia, your Pride will protect you on the way through, but it might keep you from going through at all. In which case we really will need to use Abe, which would not be ideal. That’s a card we won’t be better off for showing.”

Abe doesn’t look like he’d mind showing it. He loves spending time in the virtual world, but he’s spent his whole life cooped up and now that the time for him to finally shine is coming up he’s getting especially restless.

“You ready?” Krieg asks me. I nod. “Ok, it’ll need fifteen minutes to charge. I’m heading out. See you all later.” Fifteen minutes…

“Dammit dude! So anti-climactic. Ugh, I’m taking a piss.” As I huff off to the bathroom, I get a brief chill of anticipation. This could be fun. Just got to wait a little longer.