Слишком добрая для подобных зверств (теперь и на руссише)

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Слишком добрая для подобных зверств (теперь и на руссише)

Unread postby chebmaster » 08 Mar 2018, 16:20

Покуда суд да дело, да работа, да писательский блок, что-то меня занесло в сторону, и я породил эту вот нечисть: (не ваншот, но коротенькая история главы на 4..5, если не заглохнет) :greedy:

Слишком добрая для подобных зверств

Кровь! Так много крови! Трудно представить кого-то более неуместного в этом аду. Как она тут оказалась, одна-одинёшенька против орд бешеных зверей, которых она еле способна поцарапать? Чудовищный кроссовер, который не имеет права на существование: Шантэ и проклятие пирата (Shantae and Pirate's Curse) / Зверская ПогибелЬ версии 21, кампания «день истребления» (Brutal DooM v21, Extermination Day campaign)


Глава первая,
Свернула не туда

Chapter 1 in Russian: https://ficbook.net/readfic/6627014/169 ... rt_content

Chapter 1 in English: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12870466/1 ... -Brutality
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Re: Кроссовер, который не надо было писать (English)

Unread postby Parovoz » 08 Mar 2018, 23:20

Слишком много нерусских буков. Ниасилил.
А с чем кросс-то?
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Re: Кроссовер, который не надо было писать (English)

Unread postby chebmaster » 08 Mar 2018, 23:34

Дык написано же: Brutal Doom v 21, Extermination Day campaign
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Re: Кроссовер, который не надо было писать (English)

Unread postby chebmaster » 11 Mar 2018, 08:39

Русская версия второй главы: https://ficbook.net/readfic/6627014/169 ... rt_content

FYI: Hell on Earth Starter Pack is an unfinished alpha version of Extermination Day. It {i}does{/i} have the older version of this map but it is barren, without the “Hell is Vietnam” vibe.

{h1}{b}Chapter 2, {br}No Friendlies in Sight{/b}{/h1}

Shantae was sneaking through the jungle trying to be very, very quiet. Any dense forest is dangerous because of its limited visibility, you never know what is lurking a few meters ahead. Even the jungles of her home, the Sequin Land, hosted some impressive creatures, like giant spiders. This alien forest in an unknown Hell realm would be no exception.

The silence was really freaking her out. There were no insects at all, no bird calls, not even wind. The brown foliage was unmoving, the warm air permeated with stench of blood utterly still. You could hear your own heartbeat on the background of tension singing thinly in your ears.

Should she move down to the lowland, to travel along the criss-crossing channels of blood? On one hand, she'd be hard to surprise down there. On the other hand, she'd be in plain sight for anything that lurked in the jungle, hidden by the dense shrubbery. So no, she tried keeping to the top of this vaguely defined ridge. Without knowing what sorts of monsters lived here, without a way to replenish her supplies she had to avoid detection at any--

A branch snapped under her foot, angry hiss sounding immediately from her right.

Her heart pounding, Shantae took a combat stance. A brown, spiky ape emerged pushing branches aside, eerily silent. It blended with its surroundings so well she'd miss it until it was too late, if not for its hiss.

“Um, hello?” Shantae tried. Its bloody-red eyes were conveying unthinking aggression, but you never know until you try.

The brown thing, a head taller and probably three times heavier than the girl, snarled as it leaped at her, its outstretched hands bearing very large and dangerous looking claws. She dodged, whipping it across the chest twice. This one bled red. Snarling, it leaped again. She barely dodged in time, a bush getting in her way. Fighting this thing in this thicket was dangerous! Shantae began retreating rapidly. The spiky ape lit fire in its upraised hand, to lob a fireball at her a second later. She ducked, the projectile exploding against some bush to wash the bare skin of her back with a wave of heat. This one had ranged attacks too! Groaning, she went in close and personal, whipping and dodging frantically and even deflecting its slashes with her bracers.

This dangerous dance went for a while: unlike the monsters of her home land, who either were magical clones exploding into trash after a couple hits, or could get a hint and run away with a tail between their legs after a good whacking, this one fought stubbornly until she whipped it to death, its bloody corpse slumping to the ground. All in all, it took a dozen or so hits and too many near misses for her comfort. If all monsters here were so tough and so brutally single-minded, she was in trouble!

Shantae froze, listening. Have the racket attracted anything else? The silence told her otherwise, at first, but then there were sounds of something moving through the bushes. Something massive.

Playing it safe, the girl climbed the nearest palm tree to freeze right under its crown. Exposed like this, someone could see her from the distance. But she decided that watching out for sudden fireballs was better than facing a heavily stomping unknown on the ground.

What erupted from the dense foliage below resembled a four hundred kilogram gorilla. If one was pink, bald and possessed a ridiculously over-sized maw with fangs that belonged on a hippo. Oh, and it had small horns and its feet were bird-like, with three fingers and backward-facing knees.

The pink thing poked at the spiky ape's corpse in confusion, sniffed around for a bit, then returned to grab the corpse in its maw. Tearing an arm off with frightening ease, it just stood there chewing.

Nope, nope, no way. Shantae wasn't going to test how tough {i}this{/i} one was. Moving carefully around the trunk, she took aim then pushed off the tree with both legs, with a practiced motion pulling the pirate hat out of hammerspace to grab it with both hands. The pink gorilla grunted, agitating and scouring the bushes below. Thankfully, it failed to look up.

Holding the hat tightly, Shantae glided from the ridge down, over the slope and over the blood channel, to land on the opposite shore. Much closer to the channel now, because as good as the hat was, gliding it meant steadily losing your attitude.

She sat in silence for a long while until she was sure nothing else was chasing her. Then she began prowling again, cautious and nervous, afraid she'd only know of a spiky ape from its claws sinking into her back.

Half an hour later she was still sneaking through the jungle, having grown more or less accustomed to the silence. Nothing had jumped her so far, but on the other hand she found out she was on a small island surrounded by blood channels. There was nothing of use here. The question was: should she use the scimitar dash, making her more or less invulnerable and unable to sink however deep these channels were? But the move was very loud and flashy, it'd attract every monster around. Then again, what sort of things could live in the blood? Giant carnivorous leeches? Shantae shuddered scrunching her face in disgust.

Still, the desire to stay quiet won. The girl approached the shore with caution. The ground here was soft, squelching under her pirate boots, slimy like coagulated blood. Or {i}was{/i} it coagulated blood? Tense, she waded further, pushing reeds aside. Thankfully, the channel turned to be barely ankle-deep, its bottom muddy and slippery. She crossed it uneventfully, then sneaked deeper into the shrubbery. Was this another low island? How long would she have to sneak through this jungle with its deadly spiky apes? Wilderness {i}could{/i} stretch for hundreds of miles!

Wait, were these voices?

Doubling her caution, Shantae sneaked closer to whoever was talking. Peeking trough leaves, crouching low, she could make out three men in sort of blood-caked army uniforms, carrying strange thin muskets. They were milling across a small glade of sorts, separated from the channel by dense but narrow wall of shrubbery. Were they watchmen sitting in ambush?

She watched them for a while, more and more sure they were Zombies, not Humans. The overall shambling movements, the deep, unattended neck wound on one, the lack of visible breathing... Strangely, they weren't green as proper Zombies should be, but whatever. More importantly, she couldn't tell if they were wild mindless ones or sapient ones like Rotty. On one hand, mindless Zombies do not use tools. On the other hand, they never spoke, only grunting occasionally.

Deciding it was safer to check now, when there were only three of them, and making sure her retreat route was clear, Shantae tried:

“Um, excuse me?”

The trio of “You will die!”, “Mortal!” and an inarticulate growl were answer enough, all three muskets pointed in her general direction. Suddenly, her danger sense screamed at her to move! Unthinking, the girl launched herself from her hiding spot, the bushes there perforated a split second later by a hail of bullets. These weapons were roaring like gatlings, not muskets, flashing continuously! Panicking, Shantae ran out of cover, her boots splashing thick liquid. Her danger sense screamed again, she was practically feeling the aiming lines swinging around, searching for her. She dashed away along the shore, zig-zagging as her danger sense was prickling haphazardly with potential hits, bullets zipping by.

And if that wasn't enough, angry hisses sounded ahead just as she was about to hide behind a bend as the channel was making a right turn. Two spiky apes jumped at her, erupting from bushes on the opposite shore. Shantae still ran to the right, dodging one fireball. Then, more angry hisses from behind! Dreading what she'd see, the girl took a look over her shoulder only to see the two brown beasts stalking purposefully towards the Zombies, ignoring her. What had just happened?

Then it dawned on her: some bullets must have hit the apes! So, were they enemies of each other?

She had no time to ponder that, though, as rapid splashes alerted her to an incoming pink gorilla, this one's eyes solely on her. And it was so fast! Her frantic flight brought her back over the bend where the Zombies resumed shooting at her. The spiky apes were almost upon their hiding spot, lobbing fireballs. Getting an idea, Shantae executed a very risky maneuver, over-sized jaws snapping inches from her side, but she was now on the opposite side of the pink beast from the Zombies... It worked like a charm. A stray bullet hitting its meaty rump, it took offense and turned around, abandoning its pursuit of her.

The spiky apes were among the Zombies now, the bushes where they hid erupting with roars of pain, haphazard shooting and sounds of tearing. Deciding she didn't want to know, Shantae made a hasty retreat, turning left this time, away from the channel, to hide behind a cliff where terrain was growing high and rocky, with much less plants around.

Have they forgotten about her...? A sepulchral hiss made the girl jump whirling around... To see an opening in the cliff face, barred by columns whose faces were carved in the shape of rich blue skulls. There was a modest sized room beyond it, full of over-sized flying and flaming skulls. Shantae balked at that. She had seen many a weird cackler during her adventures, some of them with a candle on top of their skull, but these things were a bit too bizarre. Horned, too. They were just sort of milling around. One tried ramming her, its toothy maw opened wide, its eye sockets glowing like hot coals, only to bump into the columns barring the exit, spaced too close for the large thing to fit. It looked pretty dumb to her.

Her spelunking expertise told Shantae these columns were sort of a door, able to retract into the floor or the ceiling. Probably requiring a key of something like that. Also, there was an altar in the room, with a very obvious glowing yellow skull on top of it. Bring a key to get another key? Felt like usual dungeon trickery.

Just then the pink gorilla rounded the corner proving that no, it haven't forgotten about her. It was wounded but persistent. Luckily, one of the spiky apes followed close behind it, launching a fireball that naturally hit the pinkie's backside instead of its intended target. Roaring in pain, the beast turned around again.

Leaving the sounds of ferocious scuffle behind her, the purple-haired girl ran up a tentative path of sorts winding up a nearby large hill. But these things would easily follow her, there were almost no plants on the bare brown rock, and no cover. Unless... Thinking quickly, Shantae ran back down the rocky slope, gaining momentum to jump high and float on the pirate hat. The hill was steeper in some places, she quickly found a rocky ledge with a sheer cliff below it, a waterfall of blood gurgling nearby. Was she good?

The pink thing was chewing, its mouth full, its muzzle crisscrossed with deep cuts. The bottom half of the spiky ape was lying nearby.

Shantae sat down with her feet dangling down the cliff and her elbows on her knees, to stare at the grisly scene. This may be a vital strategy of survival. Monsters back home never turned on each other.


This unfamiliar hell was so horrifically brutal. And now she had to explore it, learn its secrets and find the portal or warp platform that led back to the Oubilette of Suffering. Which now felt cozy and safe in comparison, its monsters almost cuddly compared to the local denizens.

The thought that there may be no such portal was discarded as unproductive. She had friends back home who waited her back, who depended on her!

The pink thing, having finished with its meal, was running back and forth below the cliff now, growling, looking at her hungrily and even jumping at times. Utterly pointless with good five meters separating them. It couldn't jump well, too. Well, knowing these were dumb was a relief.

Shantae pulled out the pirate pistol and began shooting the pink gorilla. The glowing magical bullets were making it flinch and roar in pain. Id didn't stop its pointless running back and forth until it dropped dead, a dozen or so hits later. A dozen! Even as it began severely wounded and she had the pistol upgraded to the max. Were all monsters here strong like mini-bosses?

The confirmation came in the form of a stray flying flaming skull that came from somewhere to beeline for her with frightening speed. Dodging it proved almost insultingly easy, though, as the dumb thing could only fly in a straight line, bumping into the cliff face and hanging there, disoriented, for a few seconds. Some tedious hair whipping and pistol shooting later it crumbled to disappear in a burst of flame with a mournful screech. Definitely not something that dies easily, but not too dangerous -- while it was alone.

That finished, Shantae took notice of a disturbing pattern. So far, neither the boss, nor the regular monsters had dropped anything remotely useful, like spell scrolls or items. She had to hoard her supplies carefully or find what items this... let's consider it an extended dungeon... could provide.

Decision where to explore further was a simple one. The blood swamp was gross, her pirate boots now caked in sticky, drying mess. The jungle was nerve-wrackingly dangerous because the brown spiky apes blended into brown foliage too well.

The relatively open hill with sparse trees, on the other hand, would let her to travel in relative safety, unlikely to be ambushed. Her danger sense would warn her of anyone sniping her. And finally she could always use the scimitar dash to run back to the swamp and hide in the jungle.

With that in mind, Shantae began climbing the hill, striding silently but briskly, watching her back. The uneven rocky slope had sort of a beaten path winding up, rough but wide. No cart could pass here, and some steps were too tall for a human, but someone traveling here on foot. There should be something up there on this hill!

An uneventful climb later she found a castle built into the hill top. Massive walls of red stone were blocking gaps in sheer brown cliffs. The rough path she was following ended in a closed gate, familiar spiky apes manning the guard towers together with familiar non-green Zombies toting those deceptively thin tinkertech muskets. So these sorts {i}could{/i} get along? Go figure.

What to do next, though? Definitely not walking up to the gate and knocking. Shantae reviewed her options. Normally, she'd transform into a monkey, climb the sheer rock walls and be inside in minutes. Not having her Genie magic was making things harder, but not impossible. Human body is much less suitable for climbing, but she still had memory of doing it as a monkey. Plus, the pirate hat guaranteed she'd land safely even if she slipped.
Deciding to give it a try, Shantae sneaked along treacherous rock ledges far to the left of the gate. Huh, was the hill steeper on this side? Seeing details was hard because everything sort of blended into pitch black in the distance, but she got impression there was sort of drop in the terrain further to the left. More reason to climb up and see!

Replacing the pirate boots in hammerspace to climb barefoot, the lithe girl began trying to imitate a monkey. Huh, this wasn't as hard as she'd thought. Finding purchase in small bumps and cracks was a second nature to her, the human body felt ungainly and overweight for the task, her fingers and toes were smarting as she strained them to grip at the rough stone, but... it worked! She just had to be careful when judging distances, how far up could she leap to grab at holds out of reach.

Why haven't she ever tried climbing in her birth form? Maybe because transforming into a monkey was so easy?

Some effort and two near slips later, Shantae cautiously peeked over the edge. To blink in surprise: this wasn't a single castle but several structures blocking sorts of gorges cutting through a serrated mesa. There was one massive tower in front of her, kind of half-merged with the rock side, one far to the right and tops of towers sticking above ragged rocks far to the left.

Deciding to scout the general layout first, she went left, along the edge of the mesa. This way she could just jump off the cliff to get out of sight fast and land safely on some ledge below.

The towers turned out to frame an immense gate, a narrow bridge stretching from it into the distance. The terrain here was really dropping away into a titanic abyss, the hill dropping away into darkness below, the series of rock ledges fading out of sight.

The impossibly thin bridge was stretching towards a huge round tower a fair distance off, the crenelations of its crown the size of buildings. It was going down and down and down, disappearing in darkness as well. The scale was dazzling. There was a central structure on its top, probably the size of Sultana's palace's central tower, with wide cylindrical roof and some huge spikes protruding out of it horizontally.

Enough to say there was nothing else in that direction, the black-and-crimson clouds fading into sharp, perfectly level blackness of the horizon.

The air of it, the aestetics, this lone tower standing proudly all but screamed: “here lives the boss”. Shantae just decided it was the last place she'd visit if she had a choice when something moved. She rubbed at her eyes. No, they weren't deceiving her. A dull red shape taller than the high walls, more massive that building-sized crenelations, a literal mountain was walking there, circling the tower top unhurriedly.

Its shape humanoid, at least what was visible above the wall, from the waist up, its flat head bearing huge horns, its bulging muscles the size of battleships.

{i}That{/i} was the boss.

The brute she fought? It was but a mouse. That thing could have stepped on it without even noticing.

Gulping as her throat was suddenly bone-dry, Shantae crouched, moving away. Then she caught herself. She wasn't here to clear this, ahem, dungeon. She didn't have to fight the boss. Her goal was to watch, learn and find a way home. With as little fighting as possible.

Leaving the boss be, she sneaked to one of the towers framing the gate, peeking into the yard beyond it. To see a literal sea of pink. Meep. The spacious courtyard was packed with pink gorillas, just milling about, grunting and bumping into each other. So many!

Intimidated, Shantae was thinking of retreating to try in another place when she was suddenly enveloped in flames. Ack! Jumping to her feet, the girl sprinted away with inarticulate yells of terror. The flame was clinging to her, growing in intessity. Hot! Hot! Hot! It burns!

And then it was suddenly gone and she could breathe again.

Glancing over her shoulder, Shantae saw the flame just hang there in place, flickering before dying.

{i}What{/i} was that? What had just happened? Did she trigger a trap? Was it an enemy attack? Was there a demon that could just set her on fire with a glance?

Shaken, she stopped at the cliff edge, trying to gather courage to investigate the fortress further. Then it was shot and buried when she saw a numerous flock of large red spheres rising from one of the castles. Slipping over the edge to hang with her hands, only the top of her head visible, Shantae watched this new kind of monsters warily. No legs, no wings, just bumpy red spheres with horns and wide, wide maws, almost splitting in half when they opened. Big enough to swallow her elephant form whole!

A single flaming skull mixed in the flock provided her with useful insight as it bumped one of the flying heads, which took offense. Its maw lit up to belch a powerful thunderball. Outclassed, the skull none the less tried ramming the red monstrosity again and again. The huge spheroid displayed unexpected agility, dodging swiftly to the side. It took a lot of haphazard shooting but only three hits to destroy the skull.

Notably, neither the ball bumping into its brethren nor its thunderballs hitting them fazed them. So, these were immune to their kind's attacks at least. Good to know, provoking infighting could be not as easy as it seemed at the first glance.

Circling a couple times lazily, the flock of maws descended out of sigh. Shantae climbed back to the top to put the boots on and jog warily away, backtracking her steps. Investigating a fortress choke-full of monsters proved too dangerous, maybe she could find some safer options in the swamp?
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Re: Слишком добрая для подобных зверств (теперь и на руссише

Unread postby chebmaster » 16 Mar 2018, 19:33

{h1}{b}Chapter 3, {br}Struggling to Adapt{/b}{/h1}

Shantae actually glided part of the way down on the pirate hat, to better map out the lay of the land. It turned out that the jungle began right at the edge of the great abyss to her right, panning to the front and left of her out of sight. The swamp was just the lowest part of it where blood flowing down from the mesa was pooling.

The girl landed right where she began her ascent, the flaming skulls still milling behind those blue pillars. Hello, stench of blood, old friend. She was actually growing hungry -- and had nutritious lobster tails in her inventory to boot -- but couldn't find it in herself. Instead, she went on trudging along the nearest blood channel, having to step into it at times where bushes were too dense.

These channels were gross but provided a convenient getaway route for her trump, the scimitar dash.

So far, nothing had jumped the girl. She was even growing used to the eerie silence. Was there light ahead? She approached cautiously.

There were several candles lit on a flat section of the shore, surrounding a red magic circle framed by two bloody poles with series of mutilated and decayed heads stuck on hem like beads. Inside the circle, there was a mutilated corpse. She approached stepping lightly. This was a massively built man in green armor once, now his head and right shoulder were practically pulped.

Looting may be seen unethical, but any practiced relic hunter -- like her -- had well developed habits of grabbing anything that wasn't nailed down. A bit like kleptomania, to be honest, but all is fair in a dungeon.

So, looting a mutilated corpse would be gross, but Shantae had to learn what sorts of items and supplies worked here. The question was: was this a trap or not? Most likely it was, but she wasn't going to pass such an opportunity.

Tense, ready to bolt, the girl approached the body. Nothing was jumping at her. She stepped into the circle...

A nearby cliff face to her right unraveled, like it had been an illusion, revealing two familiar looking goat-headed brutes. Twin roars of fury made her jump. They were shaking with rage, their muscles rippling, towering over her.

Squeaking in terror, Shantae fled blindly, the disgustingly lukewarm blood of the channel splashing all over her harem pants. She even forgot to scimitar-dash. A torrent of lethal green bolts missed her wide, blowing some innocent shrubbery to cinders.

Two of them! At once! These nigh-invulnerable hulks could be just garden variety monsters, not even mini-bosses! Anyway, there was no way she'd take on these two. She survived against one by sheer luck and perseverance, fighting it because she was cornered and had nowhere to go. Not a case this time!

Lost in thought, glancing back to watch out for deadly bolts of green fire, Shantae rounded a leftward bend to bump into something rubbery! Bounced back, she slid a bit, barely keeping balance enough not to fall into the revolting channel.

“Moaaahh?” a bassy voice grumbled, the wall of obese flesh in front of her beginning to turn.

Eyes wide, Shantae backed away. This... This monster was as tall as the brutes, but it was also as wide as it was tall! Two or three times more massive! Disgustingly fat too, its hide all in sagging folds, its stubby legs almost invisible under it hanging belly. And its forearms were replaced with large cannons. She began backing away faster, glancing back. She couldn't just run to the side and hide in the jungle because the channel here was passing through a natural arch in a rock formation. Trapped! The fat hulk finished turning and aimed its cannons at her at the same time as the two brutes rounded the corner. Stupid, stupid! How could she let her attention lapse like that!


Abandoning all thoughts, pulling out the scimitar, Shantae ran as fast as she could, gaining momentum to activate the dash, blurring around the brutes, trying hard to steer to the right.

None too soon as a literal inferno exploded behind her, billowing flames engulfing the brutes!

Crashing through dense bushes she'd be unable to breach otherwise, Shantae canceled the dash and began climbing up the slope, her feet slipping, grabbing at tree trunks for purchase. There was no such thing as too much caution after seeing that avalanche of fire!

Roaring in pain, the brutes went on the offensive. Shantae found it prudent to follow the fight by listening to it from over a ridge. There were roars of pain -- the fat monster's voice quite distinct from that of the brutes -- explosions, hiss and roar of fire, sounds of tearing. One of the brutes screeched in pain, followed by frantic splashing steps ending in a loud splash-hiss. More tearing, the fat one voicing its pain. Then a wet gurgle... and silence.

Shantae waited holding her breath.

There were splashing steps receding into distance, matching the gait of a brute. So, one of them survived while another fell. As did the fat flame thrower.

What a frightening experience.

Standing up Shantae paused for a minute, pondering how to proceed. The tropical-like shrubbery was dense, with scratchy rigid bushes, large plume-like meaty leaves and other plants in that vein. Sneaking {i}through{/i} all that would be tedious and fraught with meeting a spiky ape face-to face. Not to mention getting scratched all over, what with her outfit consisting mostly of bare skin and thin, almost see-through silk. Only the bikini zone was protected by denser fabric.

She eyed a nearby palm-like tree. Normally, going the upper route would be much too tiring. But she could cheat using the pirate hat.

And so it went. Climb a tree, watch carefully making sure no one noticed you, glide to the next tree much further away than she'd be able to jump on her own. Repeat.

It worked like a charm. She was covering ground quickly, keeping the blood swamp to her left. A couple times spiky apes got agitated, hearing her but never looking up. And one time she had to drop into shrubbery as she saw incoming bluish white light. It turned out to be a perfectly straight and spaced stream of incandescent thunderbolts that charred, then sheared, the tree trunk.

So... She counted on her fingers. Disregarding The Boss at that tower, this was the eighth kind of monster she encountered. Or was it? She never saw who fired that.

A long, tedious and scratchy sneaking through the bushes Shantae dared to go to the treetops again. That incident never repeated itself. To her right, the jungle was stretching out of sight, all the same mess of crags and hillocks. To her left, the swamp was stretching on, blood channels separating the same crags and hillocks.

She came upon a gorge, cutting from the blood channels into a rock massif she just climbed. Cautious, she followed it: the rocks were nearly bare, no plants to hide behind. It made one zig-zag before opening into a large glade cut into the jungle, a stocky building of massive gray blocks framing its opposite side.

The glade wasn't empty: three zombies and three spiky apes were milling about. There was a large area corralled with low fence, an upraised wooden platform in its center and on the platform... Shantae gasped: they had a prisoner! There was a man in green armor, down on his knees, his hands tied behind his back to a bloody pole. His most distinguishing feature was a full helmet, one with a... curved glass pane in front of his eyes?

This was not the time to ponder on weirdness! She had to save him! Poles with decayed heads stuck on them decorating the area were a good hint of what fate awaited him otherwise.

Her eyes narrowed, Shantae began planning, playing different angles of attack in her mind. But... it wasn't working. She found herself hit by bullets due to many zombies' targeting lines criss-crossing. Or jumped by one spiky ape or other - she wasn't going to imagine further, thank you very much. Or scimitar-dashing into a cliff because there was not enough room, having successfully disposed of half the enemies only to be jumped by the remaining half during the brief moment she was stunned.

Frustrated, the pointy-eared girl chewed on her lip. There must be a way to save him! She just had to figure how. Making a racket to draw some of them away? That required {i}thorough{/i} checking around lest she attracts a herd of monsters from just a bit further away.

Would be a nice opportunity to train sneaking skills if that man's life was not depending on her!

She checked the blood swamp around the gorge mouth first. There were monsters down there, hiding in bushes along the channels. Some spiky apes, some pink gorillas, two fat flame throwers stuck on a bump in the middle of the channel and a badly burned brute wandering around aimlessly. So drawing those captors here was a very bad idea. She'd be lucky if none of the monsters she saw -- and didn't see -- here came as reinforcements during her daring rescue.

Returning to the glade she was relieved to find the prisoner still unharmed -- and alert, judging by his helmeted head turning around occasionally. It was time to check the jungle around the glade and the building. The intrepid girl soundlessly descended on the hat, a bit further away, out of sight of the monsters... to barely avoid impaling herself on a wooden stake sticking out of the ground!

Twisting her body to contort around the stake, she stumbled and fell. Only to freeze, the point of another stake inches from her face!

Forcing her breathing down, Shantae very carefully stood up. This entire stretch of jungle was one immense spike trap, stakes of all kinds sticking out of the ground and even bristling on racks tied to the bushes.

On the positive side, no monster could possibly hide here or pass through this obstacle. On the negative side, she had to reach that building somehow. Groaning, she began inching through the spiky maze. It may be impassable for the bulky monsters, but she was much more graceful. Not to mention flexible.

It only took her fifteen minutes or so and only cost her a torn pant leg. Then came climbing up the wall of rough stone blocks. Nothing motivates perfection like a spike trap below you!

Reaching the top, Shantae peeked over the edge. Nothing was there but a flat stone roof, this building was unsophisticated like a brick whose shape it was mimicking. There were no flying monsters in sight, good. Also, from up here she could see the top edge of a massive fortress sticking above the crags ahead. Beyond the building, there was another open space, with sort of a road coming from the building to a large gate-like hole in a cliff face, barred by thick columns of iron. Hmm. So, if you think of the blood channels as roads, this place was kind of a guard house on a road connecting the two fortresses. She sneaked closer to the edge. Uh-oh, there were monsters down there! Two brutes and two... brains on mechanical legs? Shantae blinked. Robots, she could get, because tinkertech was ridiculous. But a gray brain-like creature with tiny, stubby arms sitting on a four-legged tinker platform making it look sorta like spider...?

If those came running, her daring rescue plan would smoothly turn into a suicide. Shantae groaned. It could not be. There had to-- Wait. This building had an entrance, right? And that entrance was barred by sort of massive grate, right? And what was peculiar about that grate? It had inlays of a vibrant yellow color, quite distinct in this world of red and brown. So, that yellow skull behind that blue skull-grate...? It was a key for this building. And there must be a blue one somewhere too! Color-coding keys and doors... If she was a master of dumb monsters, she'd do that for sure!

She imagined herself commanding an army of Bolo clones and shuddered. No wai.

But more importantly it meant those brutes and tinker-spiders couldn't do a thing unless someone comes with the yellow skull-key!

Feeling a burst of optimism, she sneaked back to the other side to peer over the edge. The jungle on the other side of the building had spikes visible, so it was impassable as well. Which left her... back with a charade of how to deal with three zombies and three spiky apes, all at once. Fr-r-rustration. Unless... Yeah, that would be {i}risky{/i} but if that guy could fight -- and he looked like a warrior -- then sowing confusion, then untying him, then hoping it works in the end was the best plan.

Deciding to attack sneakily, like a pirate, Shantae glided the hat over the clearing to hover right above one of the zombies. Then she performed a practiced swap, the hat going back to hammerspace and out going the scimitar. Mounting it like a pogo-stick, she rammed the zombie's head from above. Something crunched and she bounced successfully, allowing her to ram a second zombie who happened to be nearby. This time, the scimitar sank into his head with a wet crunch making the girl shudder in revulsion, lose her balance and fall to the ground at the third zombie's feet. The hail of bullets he let fly passed harmlessly above her, making the spiky apes roar in pain. Perfect!

Running to the wooden platform, Shantae used the scimitar to hack at the man's restraints. It took him only a couple seconds to overcome the surprise of seeing her. Laughing victoriously, he pulled a... different musket out of his own hammerspace inventory to start blasting at the monsters. This thing was like a cannon. It shredded. There was so much blood... And chunks...

Two spiky apes came down quickly. The last zombie was at that moment running around on fire after it caught the ire of all three of the apes. Moaning, flailing and stinking horribly like burnt meat.

Then, things went pear-shaped. A pink gorilla came running from the gorge. Two flying skulls rose from the jungle. How have she missed all of those!

The guy in green armor focused on the pink gorilla, shooting it once, twice... It wasn't enough. The wounded beast crashed through the fence just as the guy's weapon went click and stopped firing. He began reloading it frantically, feeding something small and red into it, dropping some of these things in his haste.

Shantae intervened, pulling out the pirate pistol and shooting the spiky ape and the skulls then running away. They followed readily, fireballs and huge flaming skulls zipping past her as she dodged. Another shot thundered behind her, then again. Something hit all the monsters chasing her all at once. Wait, was that hand-cannon of his firing grapeshot?

The monsters turned and attacked the guy in green. All the three of them. He sundered the first skull, then his weapon went click again allowing the second skull to ram him at full speed. Ouch, that must have hurt! He fed his weapon yet another red thingy and blasted the skull, having turned around as it sort of slipped around him after it hit.

Ignoring Shantae's terrified “Watch out!” he began reloading again, only to catch a fireball with his face as he was turning back to the last spiky ape. That didn't kill him.

But the following two fireballs did.

His entire upper torso went up in flames. Screaming in pain, he dropped his musket to writhe on the ground.

Yelling in anger, Shantae pulled out the scimitar and ran towards the beast, activating the dash as soon as she had enough speed. As she rammed it, it exploded into a bloody mess, practically splashing apart around her, the forces of magic pushing it all away so not a single drop landed on her.

That was... much, much gorier than any such collision back home where ramming monsters was simply sending them flying. But this was not the time for reflection! She hurried to the wounded warrior.

He wasn't breathing. His helmet was a warped, blackened mess fused to his neck armor thingy, there was no way to make him drink a healing potion. His face visible through the melted, cracked glass... She really, really wished she haven't looked.

Sighing in defeat, her mood plummeting, Shantae sat down on the platform edge. The first non-hostile human... Was he, really, human? And was he really non-hostile? She didn't have a chance to talk to him, and now he was dead and she was all alone again.

Not that being the lone hero in a hostile territory ever bothered her. It was more lack of purpose for wandering this place that got to her. And not knowing if-- {i}how{/i} to return. Sigh.

She picked the discarded weapon. Lifting it up, she found it awkward. The weight wasn't bothering her: Shantae was stronger than she looked. But she was a petite girl and this thing felt oversized. Now, where had he been getting these... charges? Probably from his inventory, now lost.

And this was the wrong place to sit down figuring things out! Scouring around the platform, Shantae found many small red cylinders. Some empty, smelling funny, two heavier, sealed. Stuffing them and the weapon in hammerspace, she quickly looted the two unburnt zombies. The polite term was implying they “dropped” the items, even about monsters that possessed no hammerspace inventory.

One pistol, two tinkertech muskets and several curved thingies that looked like they may be ammunition later, the agile girl was climbing up the nearest cliff. None too soon as she saw that burned bruiser wandering through the gorge right after she flipped herself onto the cliff top.

So, what next? Shantae considered her options. She haven't seen any items of value, but these were probably hidden deep inside buildings and fortresses, just like valuable stuff back home was tucked away in dungeons. The problem was, she felt so ridiculously underpowered she had to retreat every time she met any monsters. Sneaking worked, to a degree, and she had good mobility advantage over the non-flying ones, and she had her trumps of the scimitar dash and the stealthy wrath-from-above hat-scimitar combo. But she'd lose if she ever entered into a confined dungeon, which she'd have to do. Eventually. Recalling the whole courtyard packed with pink gorillas she shivered imagining them stampeding her all at once, flooding narrow corridors.

There was also the problem of missing monsters hiding out of sight, this was the easiest way to get herself killed. Poor guy.

So, her aversion to such grisly methods notwithstanding, she'd have to study the weapons she got. She'd prefer not to make her enemies explode into bloody chunks, thank you very much, but she needed an edge desperately.

Now, where should she do that? She pulled one tinker musket out. These weapons looked complex, she'd probably fumble a bit and make a lot of noise before she figured how they worked. Simply stay up here, on top of the rocks? She recalled that flock of red spherical things. And the two skulls that emerged so suddenly. And the one skull that had attacked her out of nowhere. No, bad idea. She'd concentrate on the mystery weapons leaving herself wide open and blam. No, she needed someplace safe, somewhere she'd preferably be able to bar entrance... Hmm... Wait, the room she had been warped to! As revolting as it was, the door could probably be closed again.


Deciding to check around first, Shantae glided from the rock formation down to the middle of the blood swamp, landing at channel edge with a squelch of muddy ground. Yeech. No one tried shooting at her, though, which was good. She was going to return to the starting room along the other side of the swamp. Maybe there would be some loot lying around for picking, or another prisoner who wouldn't die when she saved them?

After some cautious walk she noticed a wide channel running through a huge arch in a tall rock formation, in the opposite direction from the second fortress and the gorge of recent altercation that led towards it. To think of it, she'd need some reference point.

“Let's say south is the direction I took the first look in, when I just came outside.” Shantae mumbled under her breath slogging down the channel, which was growing deeper. “Then the starting room would be to the north-east of the swamp and the first fortress to the south-east, the boss tower to the east of the fortress and that great rift running north to south.” She slowed to a crawl, not wanting to get bootfuls of blood. “That makes the second fortress north from here, the passage leading to it at the north-western side of the swamp. And this channel is curving to the south... Whoa, a whole lake of blood? Sheesh, they even got a pier with a dorry tied to it. I'd better go the upper way, who knows how deep this lake gets and I got no desire go take a swim in blood.”

The channel had, indeed, opened into a small lake as soon as it was out of the natural stone arch. The lake was surrounded by jungle, a wooden house standing at the far shore. No monsters were visible from here. This looked promising!

Shantae retreated into the swamp proper, then climbed the rock formation barefoot, the blood-soaked boots tucked away in hammerspace. Crossing the ragged massif uneventfully, she lied down on its edge, waiting and watching.

Nothing was happening, no one was moving. The hut was your typical jungle hut, with rough wooden walls, many wide windows and a flat thatched roof. A faint light was coming out of one of the windows on the near side. So gliding to the roof was out, it'd crunch loudly underfoot.

Eventually she glided to a small crag jutting close to the hut. Grabbing at a sheer rock wall was tricky but she made it and climbed to the top. Then she put the boots on and glided to the corner of the house, stopping there and descending naturally, without making a sound.

Then it was sneaking under the windows time! First, the window where the light was coming from. Huh, a golden chandelier? How incongruous. There were some armor pieces on a shelf but, more importantly, a lone zombie in a darker, almost black outfit toting a musket exactly the same as the one she inherited from the deceased guy. Ice-cold goosebumps crawling along her back, Shantae very, very carefully sneaked away. She had no desire to being exploded into bloody chunks, thank you very much.

That fright aside -- the zombie wasn't looking alert so she would probably be fine -- she went peeking into other windows. An empty room beyond the first one, then the front entrance... Oh. How disgusting.

There was a green marble pillar with a bloody, beating heart on top of it. Placed in the center of what could only be described as a rug of living flesh, pink and ridgy and stretched all over the floor.

Shantae hurried past. Nope, not poking that one.

The second window. Aha! There was a row of small white boxes with an unfamiliar symbol: a symmetric white cross in a green circle. Six of them in total. She hopped onto the windowsill to sneak inside, her steps light like a feather. The boxes were in her inventory faster than you can say “relic hunter”. Score! Whatever they were.

There was also a metal barrel full of glowy green liquid. Fascinating, but better not touch without more insight. She was here only to grab everything that wasn't nailed down. In the back of the room there was sort of windowless closet. Acutely aware of blood smears leading from it, she peeked inside. A vibrant blue skull stared back at her, glowing prettily on a shelf on the far side of this small room. She was so glad she didn't need it, because lots of... raw meat, literal raw meat piled on the floor in front of it was a fat hint that grabbing it was... fraught with peril.

There was nothing else here. Shantae peeked out of the room. The zombie was nowhere in sight, all was quiet. But there was an entrance to another room in the back of the house! Inching along the wall to keep as far away from the rug of flesh as possible, she slipped into that room. Oh yeah, score! Propped on a stand next to the right wall, there was some sort of tinkertech cannon, big and black, all dull shine and fiddly techy bits. Stacked on the floor were wooden boxes, some of them opened revealing kinda-drum-like things inside, each with six elongated... somethings. Considering one such drum-thing was sticking out of the cannon? Ammunition!

Giddy with success, Shantae pushed it all into her inventory in record time, throwing out flesh pops and meat chunklets when it wouldn't fit. Maybe throwing food out was foolish, but these weren't very edible to begin with.

And now was the time to make herself scarce and go study the loot! Grinning like a loon, Shantae climbed out of the back window, onto a narrow open space around the hut that was devoid of shrubbery. There was no one aro-- Her danger sense blared! Twirling to the right she saw a brute of a man in a dark red armor standing in shadows next to the wall, toting a sleek shiny gatling. This six-barrel thing was many times thinner than the ones she saw back home, but knowing what devastation could a single {i}musket{/i} wreak...

And it was being pointed at her, beginning to spin.

Shrieking in terror, Shantae assaulted him, whipping frantically. He flinched, stumbled, his weapon wavering. Then he just weathered her next two hits unflinchingly and her world exploded in excruciating pain tearing at her insides! It quickly gave way to terrifying numbness. The black and red sky swayed right in front of her for some reason, as her vision swam, filling with black spots, fading away.

Then, a green flash, a sound not unlike running water, and she was standing in the familiar room carved out of bedrock, the long forgotten dead brute at her feet.

Grabbing at her abdomen, her eyes wide, the dancer girl found herself whole again, healthy and clean. But also barefoot. The pirate boots were gone.

Checking her inventory, she found she now had four Auto-Potions instead of five. The boots weren't there either, she now only had the hat, the pistol and the scimitar. And all the loot she paid so dearly for.

“It seems I can either get {i}much{/i} better at spotting hiding monsters, or keep dying horribly...” Wow, her own voice was so small and trembling. “Four more times...”

Dying turned out to be terrifying. And very, very painful. But still, she was already thinking what moves out of her martial arts repertoire she should have used to beat that gatling zombie. Grappling had to be the key!

Because pessimism was, frankly, just stupid.
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Re: Слишком добрая для подобных зверств (теперь и на руссише

Unread postby chebmaster » 18 Mar 2018, 00:40

Русская версия второй главы: https://ficbook.net/readfic/6627014/169 ... rt_content
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