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Some adventures may lead to much more treasure, others may be secret blessings in disguise, and some require more patience than most... but above all else -- when categorizing various adventures -- it's the size of testicles required to achieve victory that matters most. And it's this factor which ultimately determines the amount of sweet, sweet glory in the end.
With the bitter taste of a missed opportunity (and missed Hunter's Headdress) fresh in my mouth, I spend the next month stopping by Duke's Keep at least once a day, every day, hoping that he'd show his face again. I wanted a second crack at testing my metal.
On Day 31, I found what I was looking for.
This time he was part of the TB faction (instead of CoM), he still had no idea I had been lurking for weeks, and this time he wasn't alone.
Duke shuffles around the keep's south east tower and then stops. Shinedown pops out of hiding and dismounts his faction-red beetle. He then re-mounts and runs south, into another keep. Shinedown runs back up (leaving little room to steal and/or steal) and the ritual continues.
(Note to self: Shinedown = Duke's alter-ego.)
Shalimar of NEW soon shows up and instead of running back and forth, they begin gating between keeps.
"The Evil Shinedown, Legendary Necromancer."
(Note to self: Hiding, Stealth, Magery, Evaluate Intelligence, Necromancy, and Spirit Speak.)
(Good to know.)
His thief-hating senses were still on full alert and I never got a chance to steal. I return the next 3 days and on the 4th day, I was in for a surprise.
::Flash Forward to Today::
Gone! The keep is gone!
Not sold, not IDOC, just gone.
Zap. Pow. Poof.
Did I miss my opportunity 33 days ago? Were all of these trips to the Isle of Ice just a waste?? Will I never get my sweet, sweet revenge???
As if it were meant to be, Duke's alter-ego materializes right before my eyes.
(I missed you too!)
The frost troll next to me is equally intrigued.
I take a closer look and between myself and the frost troll, Shinedown doesn't move a muscle.
The forst troll misses three time in a row.
(Note to self: He also has very high skill in Wrestling.)
And just as I've given up on his backpack contents, he pops to life and I spot something of interest after all!
(Owned by... Snake Eyes?)
He wasn't going anywhere any time soon (and he was on foot) and his armor piqued my interest, so I follow close and wait for an opportune moment. The plan was simple:
When the time was right, mount my ethereal llama, throw a shuriken and chase down with mind blasts until dead.
I find what I'm looking for.
Shinedown begins casting a Revenant and I get into position.
He lets loose and... I strike!
I sprint a few steps forward and let my first shuriken fly. It misses.
With a mind blast prepped, I give chase! Instead of running for safety, he chooses to hide. And instead of running home, I hide next.
(What's this? A challenge!?)
He mounts, I dismount, and our roles have flipped. He begins by pre-casting another Revenant and then follows with earthquake after earthquake--the game was afoot.
(A battle of wits.)
He had an entire faction behind to back him up and I had a guild of thieves. A couple minutes pass and we soon realise that we were on our own (both of our back-ups were no where in sight). I get in close to grab some regs and he sucker punches me with a well timed earthquake. Each time I get in close, his earthquake timing is perfect... a little too perfect.
(I swear he also has Tracking on his cramped template.)
Stealther vs. stealther. Tracker vs. tracker. Thief vs. necro-mage. Neither one of us with back-up.
He stands still just long enough for me to get in close and then... casts another earthquake. I wanted his armor and he wanted me dead. I break the stalemate and rush home for some supplies.
I pick up a Bola (to dismount him), let Max Jr. out of his cage, and grab one of my many Pet Balls (to kill him).
Do or die time.
(My favorite time!)
I gate back.
It takes multiple attempts, but I soon grab him on tracking once again.
(I see you.)
And then something odd happens.
He was hidden, he was stealthing, and most importantly, he was on foot.
(He was already self-dismounted.)
I make a second trip back home and pick up some Conflagration Potions (to reveal him).
(I still see you.)
I get into position.
You are attacking Shinedown!
It takes three rounds of burns before he's revealed. I fumble my pet ball and he dashes 8 steps away and hides. I dismount and follow his lead.
--But maybe it was for the best!
I stealth away to the left. Now that I'm dismounted, he goes on the attack (right where I wanted him).
With both of us dismounted, he clips me with an earthquake and just as he begins to cast a second, I self-reveal and begin summoning Max Jr. For that split second we stand there, both casting at each other. He must have clipped a nearby healer in the process because "May the Wandering Healer" also gets in on the Shinedown-hating action.
Max Jr. materializes on top of me and Shinedown takes a scratch, a paralyze, a lightning bolt, and a cocktail of other minor spells to the face. Overmatched (and clearly out witted), he breaks for some much needed cover. I go for my shurikens but they aren't needed.
I loot everything but the scissors.
--And I go home victorious!
"Victory!" I scream of victory!
A few minutes later I catch him hanging around my tower asking for buy-backs. I ask him the "Question of the Day" and he only confirms what I already suspected -- the discrepency in his armor's "Owner" tags was due to an expensive Name Change Token used in the past. And you know what that means? These items were rare, extremely personal, and would fit nicely into my Collection of Laughs.
I end up selling back 2 of the 3 pieces and keep the last for myself. After 34 days and countless hijinx, I end up with something much, more valuable than a simple Cursed Hunter's Headdress.
"You mind selling my gear back?"
Round 2: Chad Sexington
'Til next time!
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