It was that day of the year again, but this time it was his thirtieth birthday. He didn’t look forward to work in the slightest, especially today. It marked his tenth year in the same company under the same tyrant, Mr. Travis. He was a small, lecherous sadist who enjoyed watching others suffer, especially Kaden.
Work was tedious all day, with his boss yelling and threatening to fire him on more than one occasion. The humiliating tasks and comments weren’t far behind either. Kaden had had enough by the end of his shift, so he walked over to his boss’ cubicle to quit his job. The lecherous creep just stared back and sneered as if a nobody was standing before his great self. Instead of acknowledging the presence of another human being, Mr. Travis went back to reading some random magazine.
‘Mr. Travis? Can we not do this, please? Today is the tenth anniversary and if nothing else, do it in the name of all that I have done for this company,’ Kaden pleaded. The magazine dropped a few centimeters so they're eyes could meet again. Suddenly, he dropped the magazine to the mahogany table and stood up, spitting at the young man standing in front of him. All Kaden could see was red as a rage filled his heart and took over. Kaden jumped over the table and hit the smaller man with two fists that moved like pistons. The years of humiliation, the overtime jobs he had to take, the pay cuts and a dozen other things came to the surface wanting justice.
‘Kaden! What the hell are you doing? Get off him!’ a voice yelled as four hands pulled them apart. By then, Mr. Travis was already unconscious and bleeding profusely.
‘Fuck man, what the hell did you do that for? I know he is a bastard, but you will be lucky if you don’t end up in jail for a long time!’ a second voice yelled at him. Slowly, everything began coming back as he started to shake uncontrollably.
‘Go, we didn’t see anything, the pig deserves it, but you’d best not show your face for a while mate,’ the first voice said again, pushing Kaden out of the small cubicle.
Before he knew it, he was standing outside what had been his personal hell for years, the night breeze cooling down what fight he had left in him. The gentle rain stung as it fell on his bleeding fists. What seemed like an eternity later, a taxi stopped in front of the corporate building.
‘Need a ride?’ the taxi driver said through the partially open window. Kaden just nodded and got into the yellow cab.
He was sweaty, his short, black hair slicked down by the rain and his dark brown eyes were unfocused and dull.
‘Where you going to mate?’ the taxi driver asked.
‘Sorry, what?’ he asked, looking up at the man.
‘I said, where do you need to go. ’
‘Can you take me to the crossing of fifth and seventh? I need to get my medicine there,’ Kaden replied, feeling for his wallet. He was lucky it was still inside of his jacket pocket. Before he even knew it, they were speeding down the street.
The lights flashed by as the driver floored for the second time, going faster than he should. A few minutes later, and they had arrived. Kaden paid the man and walked over to the drugstore. A loud bell chimed as he pushed open the door, drawing the attention of the older woman standing behind the counter.
‘Hey Kaden,’ the woman said cheerfully. Susan, a long time employee had been working there ever since the store opened years ago. He flashed her a weak smile and a tired greeting.
‘Hey Susan. Can you get me the usual?’ he asked, more subdued than usually. She looked back and frowned.
‘They returned? The nightmares I mean?’ she questioned, obviously worried. Kaden nodded once and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to block out the nightmares that came creeping back into his head. ‘Hey what’s that on your hands,’ she asked, walking around the counter and looked at his bloodied fists for a moment. ‘Have you been in a fight?’ A short and uncomfortable silence followed.
‘No. Well, yes. I beat up my boss just now. The cops will probably show up soon at my door, but I couldn’t care less, not today.’ Susan closed her eyes and whispered something before shaking her head. ‘Say, could you clean and wrap them up for me? I would appreciate it,’ he asked her with a weak voice. The adrenaline had left and all that remained was a weakness and a pressure from within, a weight that slowed his thought process and movement. The same doorbell chimed again, drawing their attention.
‘Sure, go into the back room, alright?’ Susan motioned for him to move it and turned towards the newcomer. He couldn’t move however, as a woman so beautiful she could eclipse the sun stood in the doorway, staring back at him. His heart skipped a beat, recognizing the beauty with long brown hair and violet eyes. Her skin was slightly tanned and she was built like an athlete. A short black dress hugged a perfect body as if it had been created just for that sole purpose. At the same time, it showed off everything and nothing at all.
‘Can I help you?’ she asked, her voice sounded like a choir of angels singing in his head. Without realizing it, he took a step and pointed his finger, trying to speak.
‘Y-You are that woman from my dreams! From my nightmares!’ She rushed over towards him and leaned in close so Susan couldn’t hear what was about to be said.
‘Shut it and come with me,’ she ordered pulling at the pointed finger and walked outside of the drugstore. The medicine was left on the counter in a small bag as Susan tried to call after them.
Running past pedestrians and getting yelled at more than once for bumping into them, a new strength rose up within kaden. Without even noticing the time go by, they suddenly stopped in front of a restaurant that looked as if it was closed. As the door opened, a bright light escaped the room beyond.
‘Welcome,’ said an invisible voice. Breathing heavily, Kaden walked after the woman who had ran ahead and disappeared into the light.
‘Right, thanks. Go along with whatever then, I guess. It’s not as if I have my own questions,’ he murmured sarcastically.
The restaurant was decorated with various antique looking furniture from what he could see at the door. The scent was very strange but pleasant, slightly spicy. A butler appeared seemingly out of nowhere and took his coat. His face was obscured by a white mask, only showing off the dark blue eyes hiding behind it.
‘If you will follow me, sir Kaden,’ the man said emotionlessly, motioning for Kaden to follow him. The brunette already sat at a table with an older, white haired man when he was brought forward by the butler.
‘Kaden! Please take a seat, my dearest friend,’ the older man said, gazing at him from behind strange looking glasses with his green eyes. They seemed to be scrutinizing him, but on a much deeper level than humanly possible. As Kaden took his seat, a very uncomfortable feeling came over him as he had no idea what to say. A silence followed before thoughts settled down.
‘How do you know who I am, if you don’t mind and what do you want from me?’ Kaden asked, trying to get some information out of the older man. He just kept on smiling and nodded his head in a constant rhythm.
‘Tell me about your dreams, will you?’ the man asked.
‘My dreams? How do you know about them?’ Kaden replied, frowning at the man.
‘Please forgive me,’ he replied with an innocent laugh. ‘My name is Lobos and I am, as you humans would call me, a God.’ Kaden almost choked, he didn’t know whether to laugh, cough or cringe at the man’s statement.
‘God Lobos? How come I have never heard of you before?’ A look of disbelief and fear replaced his curiosity as some things clicked into place within his head.
‘Why would I, a god have to explain anything to you. If you need it however, I will give you a small demonstration.’ Without waiting for a reply, Lobos winked and Kaden’s soul seemed to be ripped out of his body. His body dropped face first onto the table and lay there motionless, while a white aura floated above it, screaming in pain. Kaden tried to speak out but couldn’t. An agonizing five seconds later, Lobos waved his hand, forcing the white aura back into the body. Another second later, he could breathe again.
‘Why?’ Kaden cried out, ‘why would you do that to me? What have I ever done in my life to be tortured by a god? My life is miserable enough as it is!’
‘I am the one asking questions. Not you,’ Lobos cut him off with an angry retort. ‘Now, if you will, please tell me about your dreams. What do you dream about?’ The woman seemed to unfreeze as she leaned in as well to listen to what Kaden had to say. She had been frozen like a statue for the entirety of their conversation. Kaden looked down at the table and took a good deep breath before he started his explanation.
‘I dream of a strange world filled with monsters. And in it, I am fighting them and other humans and… things that look like humans, but aren’t. Wars are being waged, we are dying and reviving over and over again. After all of that, i start dreaming of her,’ he whispered as if embarrassed, pointing at the woman sitting opposite him. ‘She fought with me against those things. Then everything is blurry for a while and she kills me, starting everything from scratch.’ Lobos and the woman looked at each other for a moment. He had a look of triumph on his face while she seemed to be ready to cry any moment, but still managed to give Kaden a look that was hateful to say the least.
‘It has finally come to this my dear Laney. Your time to join the game is now like many before you have, and like many after you will too.’ Lobos started laughing like all of this was a joke to him, but Kaden didn’t understand anything at all.
‘Wait, what is going on? Why is she looking at me like I just killed her pet?’ he shouted. As he got up, he knocked over the the chair taking a step back.
‘Because you just killed us both! Why couldn’t you have kept your mouth shut when you saw me!’ the woman called Laney cried out. She was shaking and refused to look at either of them as she sobbed. Kaden’s eyes narrowed, as he stared at Lobos.
‘What does she mean, if I’m allowed to ask?’ Kaden stuttered. He had a feeling that the woman wasn’t acting, that in turn meant he would die? Lobos grinned wickedly and cupped his hands in front of him.
‘Just what my daughter dearest said, Kaden. You two are destined to be together, so I will grant you what your soul is yearning for. Today really turned out to be something spectacular huh? First you beat up that scumbag of your ex-boss and now you get to die because you were at the wrong time at the wrong place. I would die if I were you right now!’ Lobos exclaimed, and laughed like a maniac. When the two just looked at him angrily he stopped laughing and murmured something about people not appreciating his jokes.
A bartender walked over towards the table and stood there motionless for a few moments before he leaned down and spoke. ‘What would the condemned like to eat and drink? So to say for their last meal that is.’ Kaden closed his eyes and started crying. Tears streamed down his cheeks and into his shirt. He had just witnessed his own soul being ripped out and returned with nothing more than a flick of the wrist. If it was real, he had all the more reasons to cry.
‘Oh it’s not all that bad my boy, you will get to live in a better place!’ Lobos mocked. ‘There is a whole world out there to explore and to make a name for yourself. What happens there is up to you. Everyone is getting the same chance,’ Lobos said with a calmed down tone. He went serious and waited for Kaden to stop crying. ‘You and Laney will be sent there together. You will even spawn next to each other, but what happens afterwards is up to you two.. Will you part ways or stay together? I won’t force anyone to do something against their will once on Maelstrom.’
‘Why me? Why do I have to be the one?’ Kaden asked still sobbing.
‘You know, they always ask the same question. Why me? Why me?’ Lobos replied with a mocking voice. ‘Do you think that it is you who matters here boy? No you do not. I plant nightmares into people’s heads randomly. Each bigger city has ten of them, smaller cities have five and even small towns one. You see the one from your dreams, they can feel it and by my order, are forced to bring you here.’ Lobos explained. It was very stupid, but then again, someone who took people to another world and let them fight for their lives didn’t deserve to be called anything less.
‘Damned idiot. If you only hadn’t said anything,’ Laney murmured. Kaden just sat there, all fight had left him at this point.
‘Alright then. I think this concludes our little chat. It was a pleasure seeing you two. After you eat and drink, sleep will grab ahold of you for a few days until I decide where to put you and what goals to set. As long as you play by the rules and do your best to entertain me, maybe, just maybe I will make life easier for the both of you down there.’
As Lobos disappeared, three waiters appeared carrying food and drinks. It was their favorites, though they hadn’t even ordered. It had all been done by the host in their stead. Just went to show that all of this was real after all. Neither of them felt any hunger, but they knew that this meal would be the last for a long time. If what was coming to them was real, they wouldn’t taste something like this for a long time.
The food was delicious and with a few drinks inside them, both started talking. It started with random comments and ended with them in Kaden’s apartment. Both were naked, lying next to each other, breathing heavily. Neither seemed to remember anything about it, but the sensation that lingered somewhere within told them it must have been good, whatever had just happened. A musky scent which hung in the air bore witness to the act. What followed was a very long and uncomfortable silence.
‘I am sorry,’ Kaden finally said. ‘I truly am, but how could I have known? I was just blown away by your beauty and by the fact you have been visiting me in my dreams. How could I have known any of this would happen.’ His words were honest and emotions pure, but that didn’t change the fact that he had just killed them.
‘You know, I have been dreading this moment for hundreds of years and -’.
‘Hundreds of years? Are you immortal or something?’ Kaden interrupted, more intrigued than anything else.
‘No and yes. Lobos he-’ she trailed off, refusing to meet his eyes, ‘he punished me for indulging in humanities sins. I was one of his favorites, but then he cast me away. Once I had beautiful white wings and a burning crown atop of my head, but now, I am nothing. Just a fallen angel who threw everything away to try the forbidden.’
‘Man this is just too much to take in. god, angels and what’s next? Demons? Satan? Monsters from my dreams? This is too much to take in for one day.’
‘Yeah well, when you wake up, all of this is going to be just a dream,’ she said with a comforting smile, caressing his cheek as their gazes met.
‘You have such beautiful eyes,’ were his last words before a wave of drowsiness so strong swept over him, he could no longer keep his eyes open. For the last time in this world, he drifted away into the land of eternal nightmares.
‘Wake up already Kaden, please!’ Laney yelled, desperately trying to rouse him. She was already bleeding profusely by the time he opened his eyes and looked around. An arrow slammed right into his shoulder a second later, shattering the bone beneath the skin. Pain shot through his body and a dull cry left his mouth. Laney’s voice rang out in the background, crying and screaming.
For the second time in a minute, he struggled to regain some sense of awareness. Laney's cries and screams were basically moans by the time he could see again. Eyes cloudy and filled with tears, but the color was gradually coming back to them. All he could see however, was dry earth, sand and rocks covering a vast area. The occasional hill and tree stump were all that graced the land, together with a few vultures that were picking at corpses.
Laney lay a few meters away from him, multiple arrows protruding from her body. She was lying in a pool of her own blood, trying to stand up. By the way it looked, she would die soon. Eyelids were almost closed, her breathing very shallow. Kaden tried to search for a way out but there was nothing he could do. He stood up and trotted over to Laney and lifted her up for a split second before dropping down as two arrows had found the back of his head. Laney fell first, crushing her skull on a sharp piece of rock before Kaden’s body covered her. Their first death was lasted only seconds.
‘Laney?’ Kaden muttered as he came to and saw her lying asleep a few meters to his right. She was naked all but for a shield and a sword she seemed to have been reborn with. A shrieking sound drew his attention where a large group of small monsters were jumping around and dancing. They looked somewhat like Goblins though quite a few were larger. Small and hideous, green and brown, pointy eared and screeching. There was a variety to them, some holding small bows with quivers strapped to their backs while others wore spears and some swords with shields. Among them, there was one different from the rest. He was big and green, holding a staff in both hands while he was yelling at the Goblins.
‘What in Lobos’s name?’ Kaden asked out loud. He caught himself cursing the God who had sent them here and looked around as if afraid of divine retribution. Laney groaned beside him as she tried to stand up. To their front, some twenty meters ahead lay two bodies, riddled by spears and arrows. Squinting his eyes, he tried to focus on the bodies ahead. ‘The hell, that are our corpses up there!’ Kaden said out loud. He breathed heavy as his heart threatened to burst out of his chest. ‘Laney?’ he said, shaking her shoulder. Laney didn’t reply as she was still groggy from their last death. A painful laughter greeted Kaden as a bolt of thunder hit him head on, paralyzing his left arm.
‘Get up!’ Laney yelled as she crouched next to Kaden, who was staring up at the sky, observing the clouds which flew by. 'Get up you idiot! Do you want to die again?' Laney’s voice brought Kaden back to his senses.
‘What just happened?’ he asked, trying to sit upright. His arm was regaining its sense, but not fast enough. Panic hit him as he stood, accidentally evading a spear thrown his way. It landed a few meters behind them, waiting to be used as an instrument of destruction.
‘As I was to get up, you got hit by a lightning bolt. That big green thing there was its origin I think.’
‘I see. That spell hurt like a bitch.’ Kaden stopped for a moment and looked at her. ‘Spell? So magic is real here on this world?’ he exclaimed. Another spear passed within a few inches by him. Without thinking, Kaden ran over to the spear and grabbed hold of it as if his life depended on the weapon. It actually did.
Laney ran forward towards their corpses and plucked the five spears sticking out from their corpses, evading two more as they passed right past her head and right shoulder. She ran back, hoping nothing would hit her, the short throwing spears in hand. Making it all the way to Kaden, she turned them around and slammed them speartip down into the soil. It would be much easier for her to pick them up that way and throw them at the Goblins. Kaden looked at her in awe before returning his gaze onto the Goblins. He was both impressed and frightened at the same time, not knowing what to think of her.
‘What do you make of this?’ he asked after she was done. She gave him a funny look as if not sure where the question came from.
‘You understand we are in a lot of shit, right?’ she replied sighing at the question. Kaden cringed at her comment. What was with the foul language, he thought to himself.
‘Yes I do, in fact. In a lot of shit I mean.’ They looked at each other and Laney spit to the ground as if annoyed by his reply. ‘You know, that attitude of yours won’t do us any good.’
‘Shut it. It is your fault that we are stuck here, so deal with it or get lost. You need to grow a pair and man up as in right now. You do realize we have died already once, right? Just how many times will he revive us?’ She had a point, but Kaden couldn’t just switch off his humanity. To kill and hurt other people, or in this case, Goblins, was wrong. It didn’t matter where you come from or what the situation might be, killing is always wrong. A spear streaked past Kaden's head so close he could feel the breeze caressing his cheek. He flinched and fell on his ass.
‘Alright, fuck that. I don’t want to die.’ Laney chuckled at his change of heart.
‘Good boy, now go kill em.’ He frowned at the lack of, whatever it was. How could someone be such in one moment, and different in another?
‘Can we do this another time?’ he asked, ducking a moment before another spear would have sliced his head in two. He stepped back a few meters, whirled around and ran before he threw the one spear that had been in his hands. He aimed straight at a small group of the creatures, and a few seconds later, the spear found. It decapitated one of the smaller goblins at the front and killed another one behind it. A chime rang out within his head as a message appeared in front of him.
[You have gained 220 experience. You have gained one level and one skill point.
Please choose a subclass by learning one of the three basic skills.]
It would be an understatement to say the few lines of text weren’t responsible for what happened next. Arrows flew straight towards the two, bringing them back to reality as multiple arrows embedded themselves into Laney’s bare skin. She howled and dropped to the ground. Kaden stepped towards her and got impaled on a falling spear. The things were short but nasty with a thin tip that could penetrate the bare skin easily. His body fell on top of Laney’s, embedding the spear within her shoulder. She cried out in more pain and yelled at him, but it wouldn’t matter much as they would be dead soon if this went on any longer.
‘Are the wounds deep?' Kaden gritted through his teeth, trying to get up. She shook her head and looked at the band of Goblins harassing their corpses. They tore them apart, limb by limb and the head at the end. Kaden gagged within himself and turned away, trying to imagine anything else that might get him his bravado back.
‘Just look at the damned things. They quartered our bodies as if it was nothing!’ Laney cried out in rage, but she couldn’t move from the pain. Kaden turned his head towards the horde and could only guess that there were more than a hundred of the things opposing them. Not that it mattered if the group was fifty or a hundred fifty strong. It had been an unfair matchup from the start.
‘Did you get those messages as well? The ones about gaining a level and to choose a skill?’ Kaden asked. His voice was high pitched as it was all that he could do not to fall unconscious. The blood loss was getting to his head, making him drop on top of Laney, making the spear penetrate her arm fully. She cried out in pain before she whispered back.
'The same message appeared in front of me as well.’ She chuckled weakly before going on. ‘So he spoke truly when telling me about the world he created. A world unlike any other, almost like a game.’ As his life force left him, Kaden’s eyes closed as a storm of projectiles impaled the two.
[Would you like to view the skill tree before re-spawning? Yes/No?]
‘Yes,’ Kaden thought to himself gasping for air. A new window appeared in front of him, filling the entirety of his view. To the right were three branches that went far down the screen. On the left part, there were numerous descriptions explaining what each of the skills would do. To their side, there was some writing and complicated looking formulas that Kaden didn’t care about. Finally, coming to the skills themselves, he cursed as he had been given a job he always hated in games.
[Class: Elemental Magician (Path not chosen)]
‘I get to be an Elemental Magician? Why not a class like a warrior or an archer? Everything but a Mage!’ Kaden yelled out enraged and disappointed at the same time. This wasn't something he would have willingly chosen for his new life, where if someone hit you a little harder than intended would probably kill you. The anguish of death and the pain suffered while getting impaled came back to him on instinct.
If you compared the two lives, the new one was nothing worse than the old. No one really liked him, he had no family and no real friends. His job was horrible, and he hated it as well as most of his coworkers. Perhaps he could give this a chance if he could get over the fact that being a magician was his only choice. He cried out in frustration for the second time.
Calming down some moments later, he observed the skills again, which were as basic as the elements. The left skill tree was fire, the middle was air, and the right was water. For the fire tree, the first skill to choose from was [Fireball], from air it was a [Thunder Strike] and from the water branch it was [Ice Orb].
Kaden inspected all three skills which were basically identical in power, with different debuffing statuses added to them. Each Fireball added one stack of burn damage for fifteen seconds up to ten stacks. Thunder strike added Paralysis with a duration of three seconds. Ice Orb added one of two debuffs at random with up to ten stacks of Frostbite or Slow debuff with a duration of five seconds.
His biggest problem was the choice of only one of the skill trees. Maybe at a later date, he could choose multiple elements, but for now, it was only one. Fire magic looked like it would do a lot of damage. Air magic did quite some damage as well and paralyzed while water seemed to do the least damage of all but added two debuffs at a time. Kaden sighed looking at the skills. There was no right and wrong skill tree, but what if he would lose Laney for one or the other reason and needed to fend for himself? The right choice would be self sustainment. If you didn’t rely on others too much, you would have an easier time after losing them.
Upon making the choice of Water and adding a skill point into [Ice Orb], his hair turned an icy white color. A chime alerted him to a new system message.
[Congratulations. You have become an Elemental Magician]
[You have learned a new skill: Ice Orb. Skill description: Launch an Ice Orb at the enemy inflicting 180 damage and add one of two debuffs, Frostbite or Slow. Usable: 25 times.]
[SKILL TREE WINDOW - ELEMENTAL MAGICIAN]
[Ice Orb][LvL 1]
A white aura appeared around Kaden for a moment and then entered his eyes, giving them a frosty glow. He shuddered for a long moment and then relaxed, letting the newfound power course through his body. The surrounding darkness disappeared and a bright white light took its place.
Taking everything in as fast as possible, he found himself to be in the same place as earlier, only further away from his attackers. The previous time he died, the distance in between the monsters and him was about thirty meters open land. The same thing happened this time as well, but now between his corpse and new position he was reborn at. The same dull sand and scorched earth stretched as far as the eye could see, an occasional tree or rock obscuring the flat view.
His eyes found the Goblin Horde a mere heartbeat later just as Laney appeared beside him, crouching and looking around her. She shot up and sprinted towards their corpses for the second time. Kaden shook his head and ran after her.
The speed with which Laney ran was astonishing, and by the time he had made it to their corpses, she had taken all of the throwing spears into her arms while dodging incoming projectiles. With great precision, the same weapons flew towards the enemy line, killing at least one Goblin each time a throwing spear came down. Chimes of incoming system messages distracted Kaden, but he closed them away somewhere in the back of his mind for the time being. He grabbed one spear while dodging an incoming arrow and without even realising it, infused ice magic into the weapon.
Laney’s throwing skills were very impressive, and they kept increasing as she hurled her ninth spear towards the Goblins, impaling another one. A smile crept onto her face as she seemed to enjoy the killing. Evading another two arrows, the tenth spear came back flying into the horde. It decapitated a Goblin archer and ended up skewering two more spear wielding Gobs. She chuckled at her prowess as time seemed to slow down to a halt and looked around for Kaden. He was standing beside her and cast a magic onto his weapon. Did he prosper as well? Her good mood evaporated as she seemed to figure out what he was doing.
Kaden got up and hurled his spear straight into a group of six Goblins. Upon impact, the spear shattered and released an icy shock wave, freezing the surrounding Goblins. One tilted over, making the others topple and shatter upon impact with the ground. The flying shards from the dead creatures damaged even more surrounding archers. They did not die, but were out of the fight for now.
‘That's what I am talking about!’ Kaden shouted joyfully. More chimes followed. He frowned at them and willed for the chimes to stop as the sound was very irritating.
‘Neat little trick you got there, magician,’ Laney hissed at him. He did not understand where the attitude came from, but he had been overjoyed when she started killing the things. Why would she be mad at him for doing the same? Lost in thoughts, an arrow screamed down and embedded itself into his arm, bringing Kaden back to his senses.
Laney laughed and ran off to grab more spears to throw while Kaden grabbed hold of the arrow and pulled it out, screaming all the while like a child. The pain was all so real, just as Lobos had promised it would be. Nausea gripped him and he lost self-control for a moment.
He didn’t like where it was going at all. The enemy Horde was getting smaller, but they would die a few more times most likely. It wasn’t as appealing as living.
'Right, I guess it is time to do or die,' he said to himself as his hand rose, palm extended toward the Goblins. [Ice Orb].
A small white snowball formed at his palm and frosted over, spikes appearing from all sides. He grinned as the Ice Orb flew straight into the opposing line. The spell slammed into the shield of a Goblin and punched a hole right through it, embedding itself in its torso. The poor creature frosted over and exploded into shards of ice and meat, peppering the surrounding Goblins. The damage by the shrapnel was higher than by the pure impact of the Ice Orb, which was a nice addition as a dozen of enemy combatants got shredded by the flying debris.
A Goblin tried to throw his spear, but being slowed, the throwing movement was slow and weak. The spear landed a meter in front of him, making Kaden chuckle. It was the right choice taking the water element, he thought.