72 One Punch Mage
A loud explosion occurred somewhere in the middle of the vast sky, sending Astrid freefalling to the ground. She hated being high up. Even plane rides and elevators got her nervous. Occasionally, she would force herself to get over her fear, like the time she jumped forty meters down from a tall tree during a summer camp. This time, it was necessary. Plus, she didn't really have a choice.
From high above, she could make out the sandy desert landscape. She was probably in the Nashid region of the artificial world Aries. There was no other location with this sort of landscape.
The Nashid region was an area far from Lamont, located around the edges of the world map. It was famous for its PvP spots and arenas that rewarded special gear for its participants. There were towns and interesting sites scattered across the barren desert as well as hidden bosses.
This is not good, she thought.
Astrid braced herself to cast a wind spell to cushion her fall. She knew that if it didn't work, she would die as soon as she collides with the ground.
She began the countdown.
3... 2... 1....
She activated the wind spell. A large tornado appeared which swept her into its center and safely dropped her to the ground, although she landed face flat on the sand.
"Thank goodness that worked," she muttered to herself as she spit out the sand in her mouth. She was glad to be alive. "I just need to figure out where I'm headed."
There was no sign of the others anywhere. She was all alone in the desert.
She pulled out her modified menu tablet and tried to start the app that connected her to Frisk. There was a faint signal, but it wasn't enough to even establish a decent connection. She gave up.
For a moment, she stood there and waited. It was quiet. A little too quiet to be normal. Although the current circumstance of hackers taking over the world allowed some degree of deviance from normalcy, the lack of monsters roaming the area made Astrid suspect that she was in a hidden boss area.
Unfortunately, she was right.
The ground rumbled as a giant scorpion boss emerged from underneath a mound of sand. It was ten times her size and was ready to attack her.
At that moment, Astrid wished she was back in the safety of her room.
In another region, Lyria and Epsilon found themselves on top of the purple leaves of a tree. They entered somewhat nearer to the ground than Astrid, so the leaves effectively cushioned their fall. They were in some kind of magical forest.
"This is bad. We got separated from the others," Lyria said as she examined her surroundings. She tried to use her map function, but it didn't seem to work. Attempting to communicate with Frisk didn't work either.
Epsilon pressed her cheek on a branch. "Aah. I miss my bed."
"I recognize these purple trees. We must be near Mir. Let's explore."
Lyria and Epsilon carefully climbed down the tree in case there would be fall damage. They definitely didn't want to have broken bones early on.
The forest was quiet and almost completely deserted. Avoiding the aggressive mobs proved to be simple. Eventually, they stopped at an area that was a gaping hole in the ground. It looked like the glitch that happens in a 3d game when a mod you're trying to install fails and corrupts the save file. A few trees were merely white silhouettes. The hole led to a seemingly endless white space, very similar to the cooldown area during the team battles.
This was probably a failed attempt to tinker with the code in this area.
"Let's keep going," Lyria said with an uneasy voice.
Epsilon merely looked upon it without saying a word and followed behind her. She held on to the strap of her leather bag that contained all her different poisons.
Lyria noticed some buildings from afar and squinted her eyes. "That must be the tree house town, Mir."
"There could be monsters over there or hostile NPCs," Epsilon warned.
Lyria remembered how Astrid, Luna, and Anna were attacked by the NPC there. "Let's not get too close then. But we might want to find some sort of shelter we can run to in case we get outnumbered by mobs."
"There should be a few houses around the outskirts of town."
Epsilon summoned her marionette just in case. She had a feeling something was going to attack them soon enough. She didn't want to take the risk of getting caught unprepared for an ambush.
As they approached one abandoned farmhouse, Lyria found a familiar looking object on the ground.
"It looks just like Amelie's sheep hat. If this is really hers, I wonder how it got here? Could Amelie have survived?" Lyria was beginning to have some hope.
Epsilon was a little doubtful. "Don't get your hopes up. Someone might have scavenged that and it just happened to fall here."
"You're right." Lyria continued to examine the hat. She looked inside and saw a clumsily scribbled 'Amelie' on a sewed on tag. "Looks like this really is hers."
Epsilon noticed a single plant in the farmland that was slightly shaking. Out of curiosity, she walked to it and bent down. "What's this?"
The moment she pulled out the mysterious crop, it started screaming.
"Shit. It's a mandragora." Epsilon hurriedly reburied the crop, but it was too late. The screaming alerted all the nearby monsters. In just a few seconds, they were surrounded by hostile spriggans and fairies.
"Run or fight?" Lyria was quickly in battle stance.
"Fight. We should be able to take them down fine with our enhanced stats," replied Epsilon. Her giant marionette stood ready by her side. "Marionette, crush." With one swing, several monsters were immediately defeated.
"Time to test out these new skills." Lyria cast her original skill, Heaven's Sanctuary, an area of effect skill that heals and buffs allies while greatly damaging enemies within range. Her skill wiped out the rest of the monsters.
"Holy shit. We're overpowered." Epsilon was happy about their new strength.
"So this is what it feels like to use cheats in real life instead of PC games," said Lyria.
"Hwa!" Epsilon punched a tree. The tree fell, defeated!
"What are you doing?" Lyria asked.
"I can defeat trees!" Epsilon kicked a fence. The fence fell, defeated! "And fences too!"
"We'd better be careful or we'll end up demolishing a whole town." Lyria looked around. "Let's start looking for the others."
"Sure." Epsilon punched one last tree.