7 Chapter 7 Well, Sometimes

With the extra Golems, especially the greater Golem that was doing a wonderful job as main tank, with the warrior taking up the secondary position, the increased pack sizes between the first and second boss proved not to be an issue today. The greater golem easily held the Wolves, their teeth and claws leaving deep furrows in the soft clay, ones that rapidly filled as the Golem healed, while the warrior took up the goblins.

It felt odd to Cain, calling him warrior or tank, but it was clear he somewhat regrets his character name, so everyone quietly stopped using it, but nobody was creative enough to come up with a good nickname. 

The Golems matched Cain's level, and with the extra points he had put into strength since he started the second dungeon their damage output was pretty respectable. Close to being higher than both mages put together, though that was entirely due to their strange build choices and lack of mana. 

His poison arrow ability has also improved somewhat, his Stat changes increasing the base damage but not the poison. Cain is hoping the poison damage as a percentage of health per second goes up at some point, but that might be too much to ask of a Rank D skill.

The Greater Golem tanked the second boss, its interrupt ability drawing enough aggression from the boss Wolf that the warrior's attacks, having switched to a large two handed sword, didn't draw it away.

Without the need to absorb hits, he proved to be a capable damage dealer and Cain's worries about this group started to fade.

"Can we try double golem pulls?" Tank, also known as Joop42 asks after the second boss.

"Little guys right, big one left?"

"I don't know if the little guys will hold the pack though" Cain shrugs. "If we all focus the left group first, we might be able to do it that way. But be prepared to rescue us from the right pack, Tank"

It works for a few seconds, but the little Golems aren't seen as a big enough threat and the packs quickly merge, leaving Tank and the big golem to sort things out. It's not a bad pulling strategy though, as if things go wrong and you accidentally pull a patrol, everyone is still back in position, not over extended and able to be surrounded.

So, the tactic is changed to have the small ones pull, then quickly retreat, leading the wolf packs to the desired positions. Done this way, the initial damage while all the monsters in a pull are up and uninjured is greatly reduced.

Everyone's mind is on the final boss when a notification pops up upon the final death of the last pull.

Player Misha has received [Protective Aura] Rank A aura ability book. Reduces all damage taken by party members within 20 meters by 20 percent. Usable by all classes.

"Turn that book over so the party can roll on it" Joop42 demands.

"The agreement was you keep what you get, right? She got it." Cain counters, but everyone starts talking over him.

"She's barely high enough level to be here, and she can heal. We all need it more than she does." One of the mages shouts. That's clearly nonsense, she's as high of a level now as they were a few days ago when Cain joined them.

"Yeah, and mages with A rank party buffs can get into any guild they want. I'd never have to run with a random group again. Now turn it over or pay the price" the other adds.

Cain can see where this is going, so he's ready when the notification comes in.

[Player Misha has been removed from Party]

Cain acts as quicky as he can to save the friendly Healer. And cute, just his type with an amazing body. Did he mention that part? Because that part definitely played a role in his decision making process. 

[Player Cain has left the Party]

[Player Misha has accepted Cain's Party Invitation]

[Only one party may be inside an instance, removing all players in 30 seconds.]

Both mages are casting flame strike, so Cain has the greater golem interrupt them, buying 5 seconds while their mana recovers. Tank charges at her, hoping for a quick kill which will give him her tradable inventory on last strike. Items don't stay tradable long though, it's more of a convenience function of being in a group, simplified item interactions without physically removing from inventory and then handing the items over. 

"Use the book" Cain calls, turning the Golems on his former party members and firing poison arrows into the mages.

The big golem has the Tank held up for now, and the small ones are harassing the mages, but the advantage won't last long if those two get flame strike off.

The mages health is dropping fast though.

"Flee!" The tank calls and runs for the exit, the mages right behind him.

"They'll be a big problem in the future" Misha sighs.

"Maybe not. They're Red Flagged right now, because they initiated the attack while in a party and that portal exits into the middle of town. If anyone cares, they can kill them on sight or imprison them as attempted murderers for the reward."

"But what do we do now?" Misha worries, wringing her hands. "There's still a boss to clear, and if we don't finish it will remain up for 7 days."

"I say we finish" Cain says with determination. "I do more damage than those idiot mages, and the poison effect works really well on bosses. The big golem can hold the boss and I'll poison it while the rest kill the puddles."

"Also, there's an option to hide your buffs from party members. Turn it on, just in case. They'll still get the buff, but they won't immediately see it and know you've got a high rank skill."

"Yeah, after this it might be best. Skill books bring out the worst in people."

The fight immediately turns messy. The Greater golem has the boss shaman without any issue, but it takes all four lesser Golems to take care of the adds, as Cain isn't noticing the puddles fast enough. Cain ends up dragging them all over the room, while Misha is constantly running away, trying not to get noticed and squished. Cain gets sporadic poison arrows in and within 5 minutes the main boss is dead and the greater golem takes over the second group of add-ons that they shouldn't have allowed, bringing things back under control.

After that it's a smooth fight. Misha can finally recover a bit of her almost depleted mana supply and Cain can properly stack poison buffs when they don't have the puddles taking up so much of their attention. 

[Level Up]

[Level Up]

"Wow", Misha says, looking at the experience rewards. "There's a huge bonus for surviving 3 player desertions during a boss fight. Maybe because nothing else was left alive?"

That's great, 2 more levels each puts them strongly into the levels nobody would question grouping with here. Most respectable groups demand members be at least a level higher than the targets they're killing for safety's sake. 

Cain puts his new stat points into CON for extra survivability and the two bedraggled transfers head for the exit, ready for anything. After all, their former party members may still be right by the exit, or hiding in a nearby alley.

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