Chapter 3:

The First Boss

35 people.

One month in DHO and 35 people in server 27 were dead. Seven of them were Beta Testers who thought they could solo and survive. Sixteen were newbies who were caught off guard or were overwhelmed by monsters that travel in packs.

The other ten were suicides.

The seven had had their first taste of watching someone die two weeks into the game. A Beta Tester named Byron Golligot had been soloing in an area of the forest near a pile of rocks called Zeus' Fist when he was swarmed by a pack of Hellhounds. The gang heard him screaming and ran to help, but they were too late. The group had entered the clearing to find Byron on the ground, a Hellhound crouched in his chest, red polygons floating from multiple cuts across his avatar, and his health bar in the red and falling. He made eye contact with Percy before bursting into countless blue polygons.

The sound of glass breaking filled the clearing. The friends stood in shock. A teen, no older than them, was dead just because he wanted to play a video game. Percy had talked to Byron before. He was a nice guy and an Apollo kid. Was.

Nico was the first to react when he noticed the Hellhounds turn to face them. It was a small pack, only five monsters, and they had been weakened from fighting against Byron. The monsters attacked.

"Guys! Move!" yelled Nico while deflecting the glowing claws of one of the smaller Hellhounds. Annabeth and Katie ran past him, charging the largest Hellhound- the leader of the pack. Percy was next. He tried to get to the girls to help, but was shortstopped by another monster. Thalia turned and ran to the tree line, climbing an oak to get a good bow shooting position. The last two Hellhounds challenged the twins.

Percy mentally thanked his ADHD. It kept him moving, kept him alive. Percy sidestepped a lunge by the monster he was fighting and sliced a gash into its side. It howled in pain, but was cut off abruptly by the 'twang' of Thalia's bowstring and the 'thunk' of her arrow nailing its windpipe. As it broke Percy heard Nico gasp. He turned and charged at the beast that now had Nico pinned under its paws. He also noticed that what appeared to be vines were wrapping around the largest Hellhound, but that wasn't his immediate concern. Percy stabbed his new opponent in the butt causing it to jump and yelp in a way that would be comical outside of a life-or-death situation.

It turned and growled, lunging at Percy. He sliced up on instinct, cutting the beast's head in two. The headshot caused double damage, killing the monster instantly. An arrow that had been aimed at it flew through the polygons left behind and, in an amazing show of luck, nailed one of the mutts the Stolls were dueling with in a front leg, causing it to fall and trip it's companion. Nico gave Percy a quick 'thanks' as the twins quickly dealt with their two grounded foes before everyone (minus Annabeth and Katie) turned to the final monster. It was trapped in vines and had both Annabeth's knife and Katie's sword stabbed in it's throat. It made no sound before it broke like the rest of its pack.

"Well that was fun," Nico commented dryly.

A giant gray owl swooped down from the trees, causing Thalia to fall out of the tree in shock. It gracefully landed on Annabeth's head as a gray glow surrounded her. At the same time glowing vines and stalks of wheat sprouted around Katie. A message appeared in front of each of them simultaneously. Annabeth's read 'CONGRATULATIONS! You have been claimed! Your parent is Athena: Goddess of Battle Strategy and Wisdom!' Katie's message was similar, but said her parent was 'Demeter: Goddess of the Harvest'. After closing their messages, Katie received another saying 'Skill Unlocked: Plant Control'. The girl's cursors changed to take the form of the things that clamed the girls, a gray owl for Annabeth and wheat for Katie.

"Well," said Nico as Thalia jogged up to them and the owl flew away. "I'm gonna start calling you Owl Head." Percy started chuckling, but managed to pass it off as a cough.

"What?! Why?"

"'Cause of that owl that landed on your head and your new cursor. Thus: Owl Head."

Annabeth then shot Nico a glare causing him to hide behind the person closest to him, said person being Percy. Once Annabeth stopped glaring she received another message. This message said 'Congratulations! Skill Unlocked: Athena Glare!' Annabeth clicked on her new ability, wishing to read its description because its name was not as self-explanatory as Katie's Plant Control.

The description read: The Athena Glare - a glare that, if strong enough, can freeze opponents in fear for up to half a minute. Skill only available to claimed children of Athena.

Afterwards they returned to camp still shell-shocked. Five of the group went to cabin 11, the Hermes cabin where the unclaimed players slept, while Annabeth and Katie went to the Athena and Demeter cabins respectivly to get acquainted with their new pseudo-siblings.

The next day, none of them had wanted to fight. The will had been sucked from them after watching someone die. They only returned to the forest for EXP after Nico, who was less fazed than the others for some reason, reminded them the only way out was to win. This snapped them out of their depression and reminded them of their new purpose. The group farmed EXP for the next week and all of them grew to level 12, one level above the dungeon's suggested level.

One month after the game began, a meeting was held in the pavilion. About a quarter of the players were there. Conor Akeas, an Ares camper who was one of the strongest at level 15, led the meeting. He had been a Beta Tester, and was, like the other B.T.'s as they were called, respected around the camp.

"Hello everyone! My name is Conor and my parent is Ares." He paused as a round of loud applause arose from a group of large, buff kids who looked like they would fit on a football team. All of them shared matching cursors- a boar's head crossed with a staff. He continued after the cheering subsided. "I was a Beta Tester, so I've got more than a month's experience in this world. Unfortunately, Kiyaba Akihiko seems to have changed the layout of all the floors. Dungeons now have different patterns than in the beta and the Boss Room, I'm guessing all of them, have been moved." Percy noticed that all of the Athena kids, Annabeth included, got thoughtful looks upon hearing this information. Percy was so absorbed in watching her think that he almost missed Conor's next words. "Luckily, we have found the Boss Room and have called this meeting to give you this information and form a clearing party." Percy thought about that. They'd found the Boss Room. Once the Floor Boss was defeated, they could move on to the next floor. Their journey to freedom would begin.

"I would like all of you to break into squads, preferably with similar abilities like defense, short-range offence, or long-range offence."

Instantly, six of the seven turned to each other. Percy offered to form the party and invited his six friends. All except Thalia accepted quickly. Thalia declined the invitation, telling them that it would be better if she joined a bow-and-arrow party. Within minutes the squads were complete and Conor gave them a number to distinguish each. Percy's group was Squad 6. Conor then dismissed everyone and told everyone to train and prepare for the raid the next day.

LINE BREAK

The raiding party, about 50 players, was walking through the Boss Dungeon. For most of the players it was like a casual stroll because, following Conor Akeas' orders, the squads switched out with each other every 15 minutes to clear the monsters, yet keep health up. The mass of players was rounding a corner on the tenth level when they entered a long and wide corridor. In the distance, the leading players could see a large door set into the far wall. As the crowd got closer, Percy noted that the door was made of a black rock and was carved with intricate designs that would be beautiful if the rock didn't give off a creepy feeling, like death and despair. Conor stopped in front of the door and turned to address the group.

"This is the Boss Room. Inside should be a Hellhound three times the size of any found in the Camp Forest. It will have Sentinels, usually smaller versions of the Boss. I want groups 2, 3, 5, and 6 covering them. Group 7, you will provide cover fire with your bows. Go for the minions first. Groups 1 and 4 will fend off the Boss' attacks until most of the Sentinels are defeated. Group 8, the medics, will run in and provide Ambrosia and Nectar (the healing items) to players whose health falls into the yellow.

"After the Sentinels are defeated, we will use hit-and-run tactics until the Boss' health is in the red. Follow my orders for those. More minions could appear then, but it's unlikely. Groups 2, 5, and 7, they are your job if the show. After that we will kill the Boss and clear this floor. LET'S DO THIS!" The party cheered as Conor pushed the Boss Room doors open. The giant doors swung inward with no sound to indicate their movement.

The crowd moved forward silently. The floor changed from the rough rock of the cave to a beaten-down wheat field. Poplar trees grew randomly around the edges of the room. The sound of running water quietly came from a stream off to the left of the players. A black mass at the opposite side of the field shifted, standing up on four legs. Percy assumed that was the Boss when it began panting like a dog, its tail swinging behind it, uprooting an unfortunate tree that burst into particles after landing some feet away. A cursor appeared above its head saying Persephone's Pet. Smaller Hellhounds of all sizes flashed in around the Boss. Each of their cursors read Hellhound Sentinel.

When they stopped appearing there were about the same number of Sentinels as clearers present. Both small armies looked at each other for a few long seconds before the Boss howled, the Sentinels around it joining in. After this display, Conor gave his first command of the battle.

"CHARGE!" he shouted, the order barely carrying over the battle cries of the players rushing forward to meet the running Sentinels. The armies were glowing multiple colors due to the wide variety of Sword Skills (and Monster Skills) being used. The groups met in the middle, slowing to a stop as they fought. Every 30 seconds a small barrage of glowing arrows (seventeen to be exact) would fall into the middle of the mass of Hellhounds, wounding or destroying the unfortunate Sentinels they hit. Groups 1 and 4 followed their orders and fought the Boss, switching every couple of minutes to heal.

In fifteen minutes, the mass of Hellhounds had been reduced to less than ten stragglers. The Boss' health had fallen from two full bars into the yellow of its second bar. Percy's group worked together flawlessly, switching between themselves to conserve energy. After the last Sentinel broke into polygons (courtesy of Nico), the party began its hit-and-run attacks on order of Conor Akeas, quickly reducing the Boss' health into the red. The Boss howled, causing the closest players to back away. One demigod, a buff girl who Percy vaguely remembered from the group that had cheered during yesterday's meeting, rushed forward with her spear glowing, yelling defiantly while leaving her group behind.

She faltered to a stop when the Boss avoided the Sword Skill from her spear by jumping higher into the air than should be possible. As the monstrous hound returned to Earth, Percy began running. The girl, still in mild shock, was unprepared to dodge or block the strike Persephone's Pet was readying. As the Boss swung its paw to claw the girl's head and end her life, Percy appeared between them. His glowing sword took most of the damage before snapping and bursting into countless polygons.

The Boss' paw was still moving, though slower, and cleaved into Percy's chest leaving three red cuts and sending the black-haired boy into the person he had saved. She was knocked back only a few feet and onto her butt while losing her grip on her spear, but Percy was sent flying toward the left wall, his health falling from high green to low yellow in the air, and yellow to red as he hit the ground, rolling a few feet into the stream.

The Boss was preparing to finish off the girl who was retreating backwards on her hands and feet when a yell caught the attention of everyone in the room including the Floor Boss. They turned to find Percy standing in the water, his health bar rising from red to high yellow without stopping as he attracted the Boss' attention. The giant dog began walking toward the boy standing the water, narrowing its eyes as it locked onto its target.

Annabeth, thinking at a hundred miles per hour, followed quietly as water began swirling around Percy, whose health was now in the green. He had no idea what he was doing, but it seemed to be working. As the guardian of the second floor crept closer to Percy, Annabeth readied her knife. Percy noticed her and gave her a nod when he was ready and together they struck. Percy aimed a wave that crashed into the hound's head that removed the last of its health left from Annabeth's stab into its side. A glowing green trident appeared over Percy's head as Persephone's Pet gave one last mournful howl before expanding and bursting into the blue polygons that accompany the sound of breaking glass.

For a couple of seconds nobody moved. The sound of a trumpet fanfare played as 'CONGRATULATIONS' appeared in the middle of the room. The party burst into cheers as people began celebrating, hugging each other, and breathing sighs of relief. A little screen appeared In front of each person congratulating them on leveling up. The bottom of the screen had a list of the items that each player received. At the bottom of Percy's screen it read 'Congratulations! Skill unlocked: Water Control!' When Percy closed that screen, a new screen appeared saying 'Congratulations! You got the Last Attack Bonus. Item received: Anaklusmos'. Under that is said 'English translation: Riptide'.

Percy became curious about what he received. He clicked the name of the item. A sword about three feet in length materialized in his hand. Greek letters, Percy guessed the spelled out the sword's name, were etched into the blade. Despite the carvings, the blade was perfectly balanced. It's sheath materialized next to his left hip connected to a belt around his waist after he clicked 'equip'.

Then yet another screen appeared before the boy still standing in the stream. This one read 'Congratulations! You have been claimed! Your parent is Poseidon: god of the seas'. There were images of aquatic animals and horses all around the boarders. Someone then cleared their throat behind him. He turned, the symbol above his head merging with his cursor and the message fading as he did so. His friends, Thalia included since the archer party disbanded, were standing there looking at him.

"Uh . . . Hi?"

"That was so cool!" shouted Nico, sounding like a little kid. "You were all like 'watch this,' and Annabeth was all like 'sneak, sneak, I'ma ninja. You can't see me.' And then you were all 'take this! BAM!' And Annabeth was all 'surprise! STAB!' And-" Nico was cut off by Annabeth who smacked him in the back of the head. Nico's health bar appeared, lost one health point, and faded away.

"So . . . Your parent is the god of the sea. That's pretty cool," Annabeth said while Nico grumbled, mentioning something with 'Owl Head' in it and rubbing the back of his head. Before Percy could respond, a holler diverted his attention again. When the group turned, they found Conor Akeas walking toward them with a smile on his face.

"That was quite the show you put on," he said. "What's your name?"

"Percy. Percy Jackson."

"And your name, Blondie?" he asked turning to Annabeth.

"It's Annabeth. And DON'T call me Blondie," the gray-eyed girl responded, Athena Glare-ing at him due to the nickname.

"Well it's nice to meet you," he replied unfazed. "Ya know, back in the Beta, we had this tradition. The person who finished off a Floor Boss was the one to open the door and be the first to enter the next floor. It's a big honor." He paused, letting that sink in. "You got the Last Attack Bonus, so you get to open the door."

Percy thought about that before smiling. He walked past Conor while heading toward the door. Percy's friends followed. As they walked, Katie invited Thalia into the party and she accepted this time. Standing around the door was a group that Percy assumed were the B.T.s from their server; they parted for him as he climbed the steps to the large doors. Percy had barely pushed on the doors when they swung outward with a creak.

Percy stepped onto the field behind the doors. He breathed deeply. New smells, different than the ones he had started associating with Camp Half-Blood, assaulted his nose. 'This is it,' he and everyone else thought. 'Our quest for freedom has begun.'

End of Chapter 3


A/N: This was originally two separate chapters, but I came to the conclution that chapter 3 was too short and combined them. On another note I realized I had no disclaimer and went back to add one so I can't be sued. Also, I am quite disappointed in the number of reviews. The only review I got I have messaged and asked for, so REVIEW!