Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NEW LITRPG BOOK!!! Edge of Reality by Andrei Livadny series Phantom Server

Edge of Reality (Book #1)


Darkness hung low, veined with crimson, growing and swelling like an abscess. From time to time it spewed clouds of ashen discharge, rapid and greedy, that melted rocks and evaporated the cracked earth, then dissipated into a toxic gray haze.
The hill towered over a spine-chilling sea of statues.
The mist disgorged the petrified figures of warriors. Steel had crumbled to rust. Silver and mithril glistened defiantly.
The scarce reddish light seeped through the eternal fog, forming bloody droplets in the curves of my armor. It trickled snake-like down my sword blade, shaping a runic script on the moon silver.
The castle's ruins rose on top of the hill. Ramparts circled the slopes. A barely discernible ash-buried road led to the castle's main gates that were formed by two monolith ledges of limestone. Once snow-white, they now looked dull and ghostly, tinged with red. Above the gate towers' liquid outlines, the donjon loomed through the toxic fog.
I stopped, glancing over the statues' faces.
My heart was empty and cold. I must have known some of the petrified warriors in the past, but I couldn't remember any of them anymore. Where were those happy days when excitement ravaged my thoughts, its waves running up and down my spine, pushing me into the thick of events?
The ash reared up, its swirls encircling me, transforming into the figures of dark guards. Their eyes were ablaze with gloom.
They charged at me from every direction all at once. Playing solo, I performed a well-practiced combo, stripping the most brazen ones of their hits. The Sky Shield ballooned out, causing a dozen Curses of Stone and some weaker debuffs to dissolve into a fountain of pure flames as my Paladin's unique abilities transformed them into a cleansing wall of return fire.
The moon blade quivered, impatient to join the battle, but the monsters had already crumbled to dust. My level was way above their league.
I'd been trying to delay this moment for as long as I possibly could. The last quest castle. The last tiny blank space on the now completed map of the game's enormous world. Another reality I'd traveled far and wide.
I took another step. More ashen twisters flared up, disgorging the blurred outlines of new attackers, but...
Boring. Even my new sensation-enhancing device didn't help me much with its ability to experience things beyond the usual human range of feeling. My perception had been enriched with unique gameplay phenomena: I could feel energies coursing down my armor, the very fabric of Creation flowing in these veins of the level-430 Paladin that I now was.
My path led toward the donjon. There I would take out an artifact I'd found long ago and lay it onto the cracked altar. The crimson abscess of the sky would finally break, sunrays bursting through the parting thunderclouds. The disappointed screams of the dark guards being cast out into the gloomy depths of the virtual world would be replaced with a pure crystal chime. The castle's walls would shake themselves free from cinders and the bubbled molten crust as its majestic buildings would once again rise from the dust of oblivion.
The light would take me in - to no avail.
The game developers had nothing left to reward me with. Not one of them would consider creating a new patch for a single player, opening new mind-blowing locations or introducing new quests unachievable for all the other gamers.
I had made too much progress. Now I had to leave. To seek new experiences in the vast expanses of the Net - something yet unknown and unexplored. But was this at all feasible?
It had to be. It was purely a question of luck. And a lot of it. No matter how clever the game designers and script writers believed themselves to be, I didn't think they could offer anything truly new to my seasoned eye.

* * *

Still, the world of the Crystal Sphere offered me one last surprise, rekindling a weak spark of interest within me.
Higher up the hill, the earth groaned open. Lumps of dry clay showered my armor, revealing a dim crevice.
I shifted my eyes, pointing the cursor to this new object. Surprisingly, the interface remained dead, offering none of the expected information. Three of the dark guards aborted their attack and swung round, scaling the rockslide and diving into the gaping opening.
Excuse me? Who could have possibly taken my top place on the local NPCs' aggro lists?
I scanned through logs looking for a missed debuff that could have possibly reduced my stats, and found none. Everything seemed to be fine.
The next moment the depth of the crevice exploded in a series of rhythmical flashes of light. I could hear the earth grumble as the dark guards screamed their disappointment, dying.
I'd never believed in guesswork. Mechanically I renewed the Sky Shield when I saw a player, barely alive, crawl out of the narrow crevice. An unfamiliar avatar. His weird gear resembled an overall covered in engine oil. His face was engraved with a complex silver tattoo, distorting his features. An artifact lurked within his right eye socket - it must have been Dwarven craftwork, judging by the machinelike twitching of the wires that framed the transparent crystal. The stranger sported a thick collar - a slave's collar - complete with the remaining few links of a chain.
He struggled some more, forcing himself out, but lost his hold and rolled weakly down the slope. He tried to scramble to his feet but collapsed, convulsing, his fingers clawing the ash.
The interface remained unresponsive. It simply failed to identify the player.
I didn't think long. The Healing Hand, no doubt about it, then the Breaking of Shackles. Wouldn't you be interested to find out who he was?
The former ability, capable of healing all friendly and neutral players, sent fountains of sparks into the air, showering the poor bastard. To no avail. Either he had indecent amounts of hits or he was super immune to magic.
The earth crumbled yet again, spewing out three new characters. Just over three foot tall, squat and broad-shouldered, they were clad head to toe in an armor the likes of which I'd never seen before. It was made of an unknown glossy black metal which seemed to surge with high-tension energy. Their helmets immediately caught your eye: one couldn't see their eyes at all behind the thick blanked-out visors made of something that looked like tinted glass.
Immediately the dark casters that guarded the castle gates aggroed them, launching a torrent of spells. First, curses of Stone, Paralysis, Strangulation, Crushing; then the skies joined in, white-hot meteors searing through the heavy clouds and bombarding the hill, exploding into cascades of fire.
The three gnomes didn't look impressed in the slightest.
Finally, my interface kicked back in, sporting their life bars. Full life bars! The space below was hatched gray. Zero mana! It wasn't restoring, either! Their names were shown as sequences of unreadable symbols - definitely a bug - followed by something even curiouser:

Race: Unknown
Level: 1000+

While I was trying to fathom the meager stats, the "gnomes" (how else was I supposed to call them?) promptly distributed the targets. One of them hurried toward the slave; another one headed for me. The third one turned to face the castle gates and raised his staff that rather resembled some futuristic firearm, gunning the casters down with a long burst that reduced them to dust.
The gaming mechanics were bursting at the seams. I performed my signature combo. The moonblade ripped through the gnome's armor, sinking deep into his flesh.
He wheezed, squirting bubbling green blood everywhere. His legs gave way beneath him. Dropping to his knees, he instinctively raised his hands, clutching his severed throat. A human player, definitely. Reflexes don't lie. NPCs had a totally different body language.
The second one left the slave alone, quickly leveled his gun and gave me a burst of it.
My life bar shrank to thirty percent! It was a good job I always had scrolls ready in quick access slots. Old habits die hard.

The Healing Hand!

I darted up the slope, a golden cloud of healing sparks following in my wake, and performed a level-300 combo. My sword struggled to slice the armor that seemed to cling to it. I had barely had time to complete my combo.
And the crevice was crusting over! It was disappearing!
The third gnome began a hasty retreat, expertly ducking for cover as he ran. I cast Weakness over him. No good. Magic wasn't working.
He disappeared from sight. More gunfire flashes came from amid the ruins. My recent apathy faded into nothing, replaced by intense interest. The castle was already enveloped in the swirls of ashen discharge as more dark guards hurried from everywhere trying to attack the gnome. Pointless: he'd chosen an excellent position, mowing down his enemy from afar.
He's mine.
My hands closed around the scroll. My stare locked onto the target. The seal crumbled in my hands. A teleport popped open. Runes glistened on the moonblade. A combo!
This time the sword struggled with the black armor streaming with energy. The combo failed, my enemy's life shrinking by only one-third. Sturdy little bastard!
The gnome changed his grip of the weapon. Holding it like a club, he went for me. All the NPCs in the location were happily aggroing us, the ashen swirls around us obscuring the dim light of day.
I had to act fast.
Paladin's Fury performed with a moonsilver blade was a killer argument in any combat.
Bouncing off the rocks, his severed head still in the tinted helmet rolled down the slope, splashing green blood that hissed and bubbled in the air. About a hundred dark guards sprinted toward us in excitement, closing their circle.
I glared around me. Another seal crunched under my fingers. Another teleport popped open. From further up the slope came the disappointed wail of many voices that echoed behind the jagged walls of the castle's ruins.

* * *

Catching my breath, I crouched next to the freed slave, peering at the complex silver script of his unusual tattoo.
You can't surprise a player of my experience. Still, this time they'd done it. The gaming interface was still in a coma - so I had to strain my memory, rummaging through all the worlds I'd ever been to.
They didn't mean it.
The stranger's features were distorted by a web of sophisticated wiring. His slave's collar sparked defiantly, betraying its high tech nature.
The remaining two gnomes boasting an impossible level 1000+ were now bleeding to death, slaughtered by me. Their avatars, so obviously not of this world, were fading, disappearing. No, I had nothing against game developers flexing their imagination muscles, but you shouldn't forget that their efforts were restricted by the given game's conventions.
They simply couldn't allow a botch like that - neither as an insider joke nor for any experimental purpose. Cyborgs, stuffed with implants? In a world of sword and sorcery - one that had won over users exactly by the purity of its fantasy content?
What could have happened then? A hacking attack?
I watched the tunnel between the two worlds contract. The crevice was shrinking, its outline beginning to blur. Finally it turned into a fiery dot, flared up and disappeared, leaving behind only the sound of small rocks crumbling down the slope.
I had about a couple of minutes until the NPCs respawned. I glanced over at the cyborg-like monsters. What if they were NPCs too? Would they come back to life? Would this world's engine accept them?
Remembering my dangerously shrinking life bar, I decided not to push my luck. This definitely was an extraordinary event. Glancing over the screenshots I'd made earlier only confirmed my initial suspicions. Better safe than sorry. Picking the slave up under his armpits, I dragged his body further down the hill, leaving a good thirty paces between us and those squat implant-stuffed bastards.
He groaned weakly.
"Hey? You okay?" I peered into his face. This time the virtual cursor helpfully highlighted the crouching figure. $#$. Technician. Level 18.
The "tech"'s life continued to dwindle, losing its last hits. I tried to heal him. No way. The red bar kept shrinking slowly but surely.
Immune to magic. What a shame.
His eyes opened. The mangled lips twitched in pain. His hoarse whisper scorched the air. Blood bubbled up through his lips, preventing me from hearing him well.
"The Phantom... Server..."
"Say it again?"
He struggled to focus, blood gurgling in his throat, then wheezed,
"The Phantom... Server... find it..."
For a second, I remained speechless. A quest from a different world? Curiosity sparked within me. What if this was meant for me? An exclusive quest? A secret location? A gift from the developers attempting to keep the interest of one particular player?
I hurried to open the quest list.
As if. No new entries there.
"$#$" was losing his last hits. I made one more attempt to heal him. I had this one-off ability allowing you to restore a thousand life points. But the spell's aura bled through his body and impotently ran down the slope, radiating glowing golden circles.
A respawn.       
Ash swirled in the air. I was forced to jump to my feet, accepting the challenge.
It took me about thirty seconds to smoke the nearest guards.
I turned around. The slave was gone. So were the strange monsters. They had disappeared, leaving nothing behind but the gasping whisper echoing in my mind,

The Phantom Server... Find it...

A special pre-order discount! Pre-order our new LitRPG title Edge of Reality today for only
$2.99 at here - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WR7WRMS
The discount ends   on the release day of July 12 2015.

Happy reading!

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