Lava explodes from the mouth of the volcano, showering the landscape in a molten rain. From the pit of magma an enormous hand bursts forth, bare of flesh. Boney fingers as black as the volcanic rock dig into the side of the blazing mountain. Another hand breaks the surface, pulling whatever monstrous creature that dwells beneath the lake of fire out of its home. Shadows cast over the lip of the mountain, as an enormous skeleton emerges from the depths of the volcano. Even with only half of its body breaking the surface, it stands one hundred feet tall. The beast has three faces, each pointing in different directions. Eyes burning with the fires of hell fill its empty sockets. Steam slithers from its mouths, as it notices the humans at its feet.
A knight, with sword unsheathed, lunges at the titanic beast. Steel strikes the rib cage, slicing the remnants of tendons and muscle it once had, but shatters against the bone. The valiant soldier tries to escape, but the giant catches him in its massive hand. Lifting the man up to its face, it playfully observes the knight struggling to break free of its fingers. The creature strips the man of his armor, bringing metal and man to either side of its mouths. At once the knight is devoured. Screams fill the air, only to be drowned out by the gnashing teeth of the titan.
Blood filled saliva slips from its skeletal jaws as it eyes the rest of the warriors that dared to trespass in its territory. It eyes another man, much larger than the knight. He dresses in animal skins and holds a battle-axe nearly the same size as him. The colossal monster reaches for its next meal, but this warrior is a bit wiser. As the claws come for him, he takes a mighty swing of his battle-axe, batting away the hand. The creature pulls back and lets out a horrid scream. Its voice causes the entire volcano to tremble, knocking the band of fighters off their feet.
“What do we do?” the man with the animal skins asks the rest of the group. “My axe barely put a scratch on him!”
“And he ate Damien,” a woman, dressed in white robes screeches. “I hope Atlas gets here soon.”
“You put too much faith in him, Sophie,” a dark-skinned archer exclaims, grabbing a few arrows from her quiver.
“He’ll come, I know it,” Sophie argues.
“Either way,” the man jumps in, “We will have to handle Pallas for now…”
The creature they have named Pallas slams a fist into the mouth of the volcano, causing lava to scatter, nearly burning the trio. Other warriors around them are not so lucky. Some are melted by the magma, while others are sent falling down the side of the mountain, most likely to their deaths. A few try to attack the titan, only to be scooped up and consumed.
In the chaos, only the three warriors remain, trapped between two rivers of lava that slither like two fiery serpents down the mountain. Pallas eyes them, blazing with hunger, crimson saliva drips from its teeth. Rather than devour them, it rears back its head as fire builds in its center mouth.
Just before the titan can release its destructive blast, an enormous boulder crashes into the side of its face. Pallas falls backwards, releasing the beam of fire harmlessly into the air. It lays there, stunned for only a second, but quickly recovers. The monster bellows another ear-shattering roar. All six of its hellish eyes search for whoever threw the rock.
“Sorry I’m late, guys,” a heroic voice calls to them.
“Atlas, you came!” Sophie beams.
Their hero stands along the lip of the volcano. He is a fierce looking warrior with wild white hair. Tattered black robes hang over plates of equally dark armor. Blood red tint decorate his apparel. His right arm is encased in a metal gauntlet, an array of spikes climb up the blackened steel. The hand is fitted with razor sharp blades, making them terrifying claws. Covering most of his face is a dark gray helmet, void of any features, except for a pair of glowing red eyes that are as daunting as the hellish gaze Pallas has fixed on him.
Atlas seems to chuckle from behind the fearsome helm, reaching for his weapon. Strapped to his back is a pair of swords, both half the size of his body. The weapons appear to have been forged from the fangs of a terrible beast, yet decorated with stones of violet, crimson, and blue. A long steel chain links both blades by the ends of their hilts, which hangs at Atlas’ feet. Despite the weapons looking as if they are considerably heavy, he swings them around as if they were light as feathers.
“Alright, big boy,” he mocks the colossal creature, “Show me what you’ve got.”
The titan sees him as nothing more than another thing to eat, as he goes to grab the fighter. At the last second, Atlas leaps over the hand of the colossus, and runs up the arm. Using the bones as a bridge, he races up to the three-faced skull before Pallas realizes what is happening. Reaching the shoulder, he leaps into the air, driving one blade into the forehead.
Grabbing ahold of the chain, the masked warrior swings to the other side of the colossus’ head. The second blade pierces the skull. Pallas roars in pain, thrashing wildly to get the weapons out of him, but Atlas makes sure to hold on tight.
“Attack while he is weak!” he shouts to the others.
The others follow the command, relentlessly bombarding the titan with arrows, steel, and magic. Pallas continues to thrash, trying to escape the onslaught. Failing, the colossus falls over, too weak to stay upright. With no more resistance, Atlas rips his swords out of the skull. He stands on the cheek bone of the fallen titan, looking into the dim embers that are the creature’s eyes. There is no strength left in the beast, and Atlas knows it. The warrior turns his blades over, ready to deliver the final blow…
When everything turns gray, a young man stares at the computer screen, his mouth nearly touching his keyboard in shock. Looking back at him is a circle with a frowning face, as if it were sad for him. Underneath, he can read a caption that says Sorry, your browser has crashed.
“Are you freaking kidding me!” he shouts at his computer. “You stupid computer, I was just about to beat Pallas!”
His eyes are taken away from the mocking frowning face when he sees that a message has been sent to him on a social network. Changing the windows on the internet, he sees it is from his friend, Eric Winters.
“Hey dude, what happened?” the message reads.
“My computer crashed on me,” he writes back, as the name Darrel Flint pops up on the screen. “Did you guys beat him?”
“No,” a third party joins the conversation, simply named Alyssa. “He was able to wipe us all out with one last trick up his sleeve.”
“But we don’t blame you, Atlas-Baby,” a person by the name Alex Jones comes into the group. “We will try again later.”
“Yeah,” Darrel types, “By the way, I didn’t see Damien with you guys.”
Alex answers, “Ha, he died right away. The dumb-dumb got eaten.”
“Ha-ha-ha, that’s funny,” he writes back. “Anyway, I’m gonna reload and meet you guys at the tavern.”
Switching back to the gray screen, Darrel hits a few buttons on his computer to reload the crashed browser. After a few seconds of loading, the title screen for the game Quest of Kings appears. Underneath there is a spot for him to type his character’s name, Atlas Grey, along with the password. He hits enter, and finds something strange. Instead of the normal loading bar, he sees odd swirls of purple and black dancing. The computer begins to make strange noises, like that of a digital wolf crying in pain.
As disturbing as what he sees and hears is, Darrel is fixed to the screen, unable to shut it off. While the swirls continue, the cries disappear, but are replaced with odd mumblings, as if people are having a conversation. Still he does not stop it, only looks on. And then, something begins to appear on the screen, being typed one letter at a time.
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