I’ve received a sword? What is it talking about?
“It’s in the pouch I just fixed to your waist,” the voice, which apparently belonged to the god of Alcohol and Crafting, spoke to him once more. “Go ahead, stand up and pull it out.”
Lee did just that: he stood up and reached for the brown pouch that had appeared on his waist. He opened up the container that, on the outside at least, did not’ appear to be big enough to hold more than someone’s wallet, and possibly have enough room to toss in some loose change. It was essentially just a brown leather sack the size of a man’s front pocket on their jeans. Yet, as he opened it up, a window with a grid popped up, and he was able to see a short sword taking up three of the little squares on the grid that appeared in front of him in a three by one format. He tried to grab the sword out of the grid, but nothing happened.
“Put your hand into the pouch while looking at the sword, grab, and pull up,” the voice instructed him. “Easy enough for even you.”
Lee did as he was told, and as he pulled, a full length short sword came out of the pouch. Holding it in his hands, he felt somewhat powerful, safe, and right with the world. That is, until he saw the zombie’s expression.
“You gave him a weapon? So, what, you want this to be a fair fight? Do I get a weapon too?” the zombie asked. “No, no I get it, pick on the harmless guy who lived a good life and got dragged back into reality by a used car salesman of a god.”
“Well, we have the colosseum, we have the participants, and I have my drink. I say, let’s begin this. Round one, fight!” the god called out.
The Zombie didn’t hesitate, and he proved quickly that when it came to the bumbling slow walking zombies or the runners of TV, he might not be one of the full on speed demons but he definitely wasn’t a walker. He ran across the field, jaw open, teeth ready as he chased Lee. Lee, who hadn’t been in a fight since his dad made him take martial arts lessons after being beaten up a lot during school, panicked and started to run the other way.
“Seriously? You’re going to run? You have a sword!” The god called down. “And why do you think that’s going to help? He’s a zombie, he doesn’t need stamina, you do! By the time he catches up to you you’ll be out of breath, tired and defeated. He’ll be still just as fine as he was when he started you freaking imbecile.”
I don’t want to die, Lee chanted in his head as he ran, but listening to the god it made sense. He’s right, if I don’t want to die, I need to face him now, he gulped, turning around to meet the Zombie face to face who was chasing him.
“Just keep running, it’s fine. Look, I’m too scary, boogah boogah boogah,” the Zombie taunted as it closed the distance between the two. Thankfully, since Lee had been scurrying back for quite a while before the Zombie started his death charge toward him, there was still some space between them, even if Lee wasn’t the best runner.
Lee took a deep breath, raised his sword, and charged the Zombie. He swung as hard as he could at the Zombie’s incoming hands as they reached to latch onto him. The blow connected, knocking the hands to the side as the zombie growled out in pain.
“Ugh!! Don’t do that,” the Zombie complained. “That’s not cool, I don’t know how long it’s going to take to regenerate from those scars!”
Lee, ignoring the Zombie’s words struck again, slicing at the hands and backing up as they once more reached out for him.
“This is not fair and equal representation! Give me a weapon so I can show this noob how to fight!” The zombie growled as its continuous attempts to grab and latch onto Lee were met with a flurry of sword swipes.
He’s moaning, and complaining, but it’s not doing much. I’m barely hurting him! Lee’s brain kicked into overdrive as he tried to figure out a way to kill the thing in front of him.
“Fine, fine, I’ll even this up,” the god called. “It was getting boring watching anyway,” he said, and a sword fell from the sky and landed right between the two. “One time I watched a dude with a spoon murder a fully armed barbarian, yet you can’t even kill an unarmed zombie with a sword? For shame.”
Crap! Lee’s eyes shot open as he saw the sword fall and land blade first into the ground between them, penetrating the earth by a good foot. As the Zombie reached for it, his hand clasping onto the sword, he swung downward as hard as he could with the blade, slicing the zombie’s hand clean off at the wrist, leaving the now dismembered zombie hand sitting there firmly on the blade.
“I’m going to have to teach you manners,” the Zombie grumbled as he charged, shoulder first into Lee, who was momentarily shocked from the success of his swing, and knocked him back onto the ground, and then using his remaining left hand grabbed onto the sword and pulled it out of the ground, his hand covering up his old hand. While Lee fumbled to stand up the Zombie was busy using his teeth to pry his amputated appendages off the blade so he could better hold the grip.
“There,” the Zombie smiled, teeth showing pieces of his own flesh from where some of the fingers he had lost picking up the sword had gotten caught in them. “Time to kill you now and see just how little brains you had.”
Lee hesitantly backed up as the Zombie came closer, flashing his creepy grin as he gave the sword a few practice swings. “Die!” Lee shouted as the Zombie came in striking range, hoping the words would give him courage as he once more thrashed and lashed out at the zombie. His sword went in a straight path, stabbing toward the zombie but the Zombie used his own blade to neatly parry the attack to the side.
“Wow, you really are bad at this. Have you never used one before?” the Zombie laughed, his jaw opening slightly wider each time as it slowly unhinged a little. The Zombie then swung again, horizontally, knocking Lee’s sword to the side.
As Lee tried to pull his blade back in front of him, the Zombie’s right hand, or rather right arm without a hand, to strike Lee’s arm and block the blade from returning, as he then used his Right shoulder to smash into Lee, and for the second time send him falling back onto the ground.
“Don’t worry, all that experience with the dirt will prepare you for what’s next,” the Zombie taunted as he pulled his sword and lunged toward Lee, who was still lying down, in a chopping motion. Lee rolled to the side, spinning in what he believed was the most athletically impressive moment of his life, over his blade before raising it in a thrust that pierced right between the Zombie’s ribs.
The Zombie, rather than showing any signs of pain or fatigue, simply grabbed onto Lee’s hand as Lee’s edge dug deeper, held it firmly, raised his own weapon and struck down.
“Here, got one more function fixed,” the god called out right before the Zombie’s own sword returned the favor and stabbed Lee in the stomach, right next to the kidney. He could feel the cold blade slide in, sending a wave of sharp pain and dull throbbing at the same time through his body.
A notification popped up to remind him: “You have been stabbed and are now bleeding. You have taken 51 points of damage from the stab and are losing 1 point of health per second from the wound.”
How many points of health do I even have? Lee asked, but no sooner did he think the question than a bar became visible, letting him know the answer: 37. He had 37 out of 100 hit points left, and they were bleeding off quickly. He only remembered seeing the prompt from the stab wound, but he guessed that the earlier knockdowns had actually done damage too.
Lee didn’t know what to do, so he did the only move he still remembered from years of martial arts classes that cost him hours and hours of his life for a hypothetical fight that never occurred, he used his head. Literally, smashing the zombie in the face, right on his decaying nose with his forehead. The prompt appeared again, letting him know that in the process of smashing the Zombie, he had taken a point of damage, but that only increased the urgency. He didn’t care either that every time he moved the sword in his stomach hurt him enough to make him want to die, he just did it again, gulping as he watched his health drain two more hit points, one from bleeding, one from smashing his forehead into the Zombie.
“What the-” The Zombie tried to say something, but Lee just continued to use his forehead to strike the Zombie over and over again.
“I. Don’t. Want. To. Die. Dangit!” Lee shouted, his words punctuated by his forehead smashing through the Zombie’s skull. It took a minute, and he could feel himself on the verge of death as he continued to bleed out, but after ten or twelve hits, he could feel the skull crush in where the zombie was laying on top of him and the body go limp.
Thank you dad, he thought as his dumb move paid off. A lifetime of forced after school activities finally came in use.
The blue message appeared again in front of him: “You have killed the ‘Zombie Priest, You have been awarded 59 experience. You have reached Level 1! You are 91 experience away from Level 2.”
“Huh, now isn’t that funny. He was only worth 59 Exp? I thought he would have been worth way more, given your level difference. Oh well, let me heal you up as a reward, cause we got you past level zero! Hooray for that, right? Let’s check out your stats, maybe now they won’t have the same common denominator of 0 as your online dating inbox,” the god chortled.
“What? My level!? You think healing me is just going to make this alright? I ALMOST DIED YOU FREAKING JERK! What the hell are you thinking!? I don’t know who you are, or what sort of ‘god’ you claim to be, but you have no right to just grab random people and-” he started to yell as the sword and massive bleeding wound in his abdomen faded instantly, but then he went mute again.
“You know, if you keep that yelling up, I’m going to summon five or six more zombies. But the big evil mean kind that can kill entire squads of knights, you know, like zombie bunnies?”
“Zombie bunnies? Are you kidding me with this? Not Zombie bears, not giant zombie dragons? Zombie bunnies is what you’re threatening me with?” Lee yelled back, his frustration growing. “Look, man, woman, whatever you god’s are, just send me back already, I lived through your stupid trial didn’t I?”
“You don’t think Zombie Bunnies are scary? They have teeth like .. . they can leap like, look at the bones!” the voice said in a Scottish accent.
“Huh?” Lee looked around for bones, but didn’t find any.
“That you don’t get my reference, makes me want to kill you with a horde of zombie bunnies even more, or at least manifest a centurion or two to throw you to the floor. Well, unless . . . you don’t happen to have a holy hand grenade on you? No, of course not. I’d have noticed,” the voice laughed at its own joke.
“Just send me ba-” Lee started until another blue screen popped up in front of him.
“There we go, your stat screen. Here, take a look at it,” the god said.
Looking at the blue screen, that’s exactly what it was. A giant stat screen. It had all his attributes listed, which was a much larger list than he could quickly go through, his level, his EXP, his inventory, and even a special note about his lineage. But what caught his eye the most was where it had his name. ‘Lee the NPC.’ What? I’m not an NPC? I am a player if anything. I’ve been playing games for decades, how can I suddenly be an NPC? Lee looked at it with curiosity.