~ Chapter 32: Fire. Blood. Trust (Part 3) ~
There had to be a way to get past this field of lava, but if there was a wall on that side, then surely there was a lever to lead to the other side. Every dungeon had one. Every floor had a logic, a maze with a single entrance and exit, but with multiple paths from one point to another. This was a rule no dungeon strayed away from, meaning there had to be a way to get through this, a way to open the path for Milord…
But what? I cringed my teeth and tried to analyze the room again. Where is it? I looked up, but there was nothing wrong with the ceiling Where did you hide it? there was nothing on the walls either Where? behind us was a clear path too, Does this mean that… I looked at the other end of the corridor. The platforms were identical. The walls were the same, but there had to be something off, something different.
“There must be a lever or a button hidden somewhere behind these walls. Start searching!” I ordered.
The soldiers searched around me, while Theyon, another commander approached me and patted me on the shoulder.
“Relax or you’ll grow wrinkles!” he said with a smirk.
“No time for either relaxing or growing wrinkles! We need to find out where that lever is hidden.” I said clenching the hilt of my sword.
Nodding, he patted me on the shoulder.
“Should I attempt to find one on those walls?” he asked me pointing at the platforms.
“Yes.” I told him.
With a smirk on his lips, he stepped away and made the first jump. He landed on the first platform and punched the wall, it cracked, but no hidden compartment could be seen there. At each platform, he repeated the process until he reached the last one. There, the piece of wall hiding the switch fell off, but he didn’t stop to press it. Nothing guaranteed the platforms would freeze in their place if he did so. He jumped on the wall at the end and back on the platform after it extended again. After pulling the lever there, he jumped on the platforms until he reached me. The wall at the end opened up.
“Good! Was it really that hard?” asked Milord as he walked by us, and with one jump, he reached the other side.
“No, Milord!” I replied with my head bowed.
I sacrificed three men already, and we aren’t even past the first floor! I thought, but I couldn’t say such traitorous things out loud… If I did, my head was the one to roll next.
After we passed the lava pit, we reached the next ridiculous part of the maze. It was something outrageous, something I never seen or heard of before. The path we had to take to reach the other side was a maze of walking boards. Underneath us only a pit filled with deadly spikes awaited us. There were monsters here as well, harpies flying about and screeching at us.
Two of them attacked Milord, but he grabbed them by the neck and crushed them in his hands. They didn’t stand a chance against him, however, my soldiers were having trouble defending against these things.
“Kill those things with ranged attacks! Form small groups and watch yourselves on the planks! Watch out for traps!” I ordered and the men spread apart.
“There are three paths here.” said Theyon.
“Take the right one. I’ll go left, and Zarus can take the front one. If we find the exit just come out and let Milord know about it. We’ll take a group of five soldiers each. The rest of them will stay here with Milord.” I ordered.
Zarus and Theyon nodded, and each of them selected their five soldiers. I did the same and then one after another, we walked on the planks. As soon as we took our first step, one of the blasted harpies attacked my group and pushed one of my men off. The lad fell screaming. His words were cut as soon as he reached the bottom, his body was crushed by the fall and pierced by the spikes.
“Don’t back away and keep pushing!” I ordered them.
“Yes, sir!” came their reply from behind their shields.
I heard another scream, but I didn’t look to see what group was met with the unfortunate loss.
When I got close enough to the spawning location of the harpies, I aimed a [Seeker Fireball] at the opening and let it explode inside. That was it for the harpies. We only had to slay the rest, and we were in the clear.
“GYAAH!” screamed another soldier behind me.
Looking back, I saw the man spitting out blood and then fall off the ledge. His back was pierced by enchanted arrows that ignored Magic Armor.
This dungeon is terrifying… I thought as I looked at the dead body below me. There was nothing I could do for him, so I pressed forward. We made sure to guard our backs as well for those sort of traps.
“NOO!” screamed another soldiers, and I could only cringe my teeth.
This one wasn’t part of my group, but still…
Until we reached this blasted Magic Academy, we didn’t lose even one single soldier on our entire journey form Teslov here! We fought bandits, monsters, sailed the seas and flew through the sky, but not even one fell prey to those dangers… I thought as I remembered with what ease we traversed an entire continent only to be struck down by a mere human Magic Academy.
It was shameful.
“That’s the end!” I told the soldiers behind me.
We hurried our pace and reached the door safely.
With a single push, we opened it and stepped inside. What we saw wasn’t an exit. It was a Boss Room. Harpies and imps glared at us, while the Minotaur in the middle huffed and raised its weapons up.
You have got to be kidding me… I told myself, but at the very least, it was an opponent we could handle.
“Kill them all.” I ordered and pointed my sword at the beasts.
The battle commenced. My soldiers stepped away and attacked the harpies and imps. The monsters were acceptable for the first floors, but still impossible to find on the first one of any dungeon.
While my men took care of the small fries, I jumped at the boss. Strengthening my body with a boost, I used [Dash] and plunged my sword in the beast’s belly. The cut was there, but it didn’t flinch. [Thousand Strikes] was next. The Minotaur stepped back and tried to block with its weapons, but it stood no chance. The rings that summoned the beasts were shattered and using [Lightning Dash], I slipped my way through its defenses and landed a strike right in its heart.
The beast was dead.
It was our complete victory.
“Good job!” I said with a smirk as I wiped the sword of the Minotaur’s blood.
“Sir! I think there’s something here!” said one of my soldiers.
“Be careful where you step in there.” I told him, but that was the last time I would get to talk with him.
At his first step in, countless small arrows flew at him, piercing his Magic Armor like it was nothing and stopping inside his flesh. They got through the cracks of his armor and killed him. The man fell on the ground without even shouting a scream.
I cringed my teeth at the thought of losing another soldier.
“Leave him there. We’ll return to Milord Dankyun and tell him this is a dead end.” I ordered them and walked out of the room, shield raised and prepared for a possible surprise attack.
Upon our return, the other groups had finished as well. Theyon lost all of his soldiers, while Zarus lost only one. It was a pathetic return, not one worthy of draconian commanders under a Supreme draconian.
“I found nothing on the left path, Milord.” I gave my report while kneeling in front of him.
“Right path led to Zarus’ group.” Theyon gave his report as well.
“Front path leads to the next floor.” said Zarus.
“Forward it is then.” Dankyun nodded and pointed his hand at the exit.
“As you command, Milord!” I said.
The entire group now followed him, while the injured soldiers tried to patch up their wounds as best as they could. Those with healing skills came in handy right now.
When we reached the pit leading to the next floor, I saw how Theyon lost the rest of his soldiers. They all ended up crushed under a giant boulder, now cracked in half by a strong punch. It made me wonder whether our men were actually a pathetic bunch or if this dungeon was indeed that dangerous.
We lost so many and we just began to explore this place… I thought as I looked down the pit, where a puddle of water stained by the blood of a draconian could be seen.
“I’ll set up the ladder.” Theyon said before taking a rope one from his storage crystal.
Using two big metal nails and his own fist, he secured it to the ground and then let it roll all the way down. It was a bit longer, so it landed in the water. Five soldiers used it first to make sure it was safe, Theyon followed next, then another five soldiers. They all climbed down safely and avoided to fall in the water pit.
When it was Dankyun’s turn, he didn’t need to use the ladder. Milord jumped from wall to wall until he reached the bottom, once more showing us the difference in strength and speed. I was the last to jump down, making sure no monster or trap was triggered after us.
What awaited for us was a strange, twisted maze, and at the very entrance of it was a scene worthy of turning even a warrior’s stomach upside down…
“Dungeon Lord! I’m going to KILL YOU! DO YOU HEAR ME?! I’LL DESTROY YOU FOR THIS!” shouted Milord Dankyun.
“Huh? Sorry! Did you say something? I wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, have fun in my maze!” the voice of the Dungeon Lord was heard coming from behind us.
We all turned around, but we didn’t see anything over there, however, our ladder vanished and slippery oil poured on the walls from the top, making the journey back up at the very least troublesome. He wanted to trap us here, to kill us.
By the gods… in what sort of dungeon did we land ourselves in? I asked myself as I felt a shiver of fear running through my whole body.
Indeed, for the first time since I stepped into this dungeon, I felt fear…
[Illsyore’s point of view]
Sometime before the two assassins entered my dungeon.
I found Nanya standing on top of my Green Crystal body and pushing us both through the tunnel on top of those rollers. Thanks to her inhuman strength, the feat was much easier to accomplish than it would have been otherwise. Either way, it was clear she needed my help.
“Sorry for being late!” I told her and quickly used [Telekinezy] to push my body and guide it on the right path.
“Welcome back, Illsy! I was this close to shattering your useless body to pieces! Couldn’t you have built a mine cart or something?” she asked glaring at me.
“I had a moment of lag when I built this…” I confessed.
Indeed, a mine cart would have made things much easier and simpler, but in all due honesty, I had no idea how I could build it. My mind only went around the idea of using [Create a Room] to create each individual part and then assemble it. It sounded very troublesome, but not impossible.
“Anyway, I opened the dungeon, now I just have to set myself up…” I told her.
“I’m going to undo my seal as well. It’s going to take a while, unfortunately…” she shook her head and crossed her hands at her chest.
“How long?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It’s been some time since I last did it, and the more you keep yourself sealed the harder it is to unseal yourself.” she tilted her head to the left, furrowed her brow and sighed.
“Who sealed you?”
“I did… I don’t really like my real form…” she shook her head and looked down.
There was no need to press the question any further, it was clear that it was something she didn’t want to talk about, but it did make me curious about her real form. My imagination was already running wild with different versions of her, most of them inspired by anime and manga, but I highly doubted any of them approached the real thing.
Ten minutes later, we arrived at my room. Nanya jumped off and took a look around at everything. It was a big circular room, quite spacious and with my body positioned at the very back of it. Numerous AGLMC Lasers were spread around the room, capable of aiming at any point on the floor. These were far stronger than what I had back at the academy. Just one of these things was powerful enough to shred to pieces the Magic Armor of a Master Rank in one shot. I probably needed two for an Emperor. They were slightly stronger than the other ones placed inside the dungeon with the purpose of lowering Dankyun’s armor. Once he reached the maze, I planned on using small spells to force him to attack and use up his Magic Energy. I had no idea how many of those crystals he had on him, so it was best if I did everything I could to weaken him.
After placing my body in the designated location, I rechecked all of the defenses and attack mechanisms I designed for this room. Besides the lasers, I also had enchanted Inconel shields that popped up from the ground in front of my body. An Electric Power Crystal was placed there with the sole purpose of electrifying the floor.
Everything else depended on my spells. This time, I was prepared to meet Dankyun with my auras fully charged and spells ready to blast a whole through him. Unfortunately, the maze in this dungeon wasn’t finished yet. I didn’t have the time to do it, therefore, I had to do something about it.
“I’m going to increase the room size and create a bunch of summoning circles with [Create Basic Summoning Circle for <Type> <Number> monster], but first, I’m going to upgrade this skill. Status.” I said, and the screen appeared before me.
[Magic Energy]: 8120
[Magic Energy Regeneration]: 30 Magic Energy Points per Second
[Available points]: 295
[Available skill points]: 180
Without delay, I used 250 points in my Magic Regeneration, and how 25 points meant 1 point per second, this boosted my Magic Regeneration to 40 points per second. Everything else was added to Intelligence, a total of 45 points, granting me another 225 Magic Energy points to my total pool.
The last thing I did was use up my skill points.
I selected [Infernal Glacier X10] chose to improve it.
The price was 25 Skill Points for each level.
[Infernal Glacier X10] > [Infernal Glacier X20] > [Infernal Glacier X30] > [Infernal Glacier X30] <Cost reduced by 25% and Power increased by 10%> >[Infernal Glacier X50]
These four levels depleted 100 Skill Points, but I still had 80 left.
I chose to improve it again, but this upgrade required 50 Skill Points.
I agreed and received:
[Infernal Glacier X60] <Damage Doubled. Liquid Fire Splatter Area Doubled. Cost Reduced by 50%>
A big wide grin appeared on my face the moment I saw this. I had only 5 skill points left, but it was TOTALLY worth it.
Now the skill told me the following thing in the description:
[Infernal Glacier X60] <Creates 60 spears of ice with a jagged tip and covered in liquid fire. The core of the spear is 150 degrees below the water freezing point. The liquid fire is over 4500 degrees above the water freezing point. Upon impact, the liquid fire spreads and sticks to the target, while the jagged tip of the ice spear detonates inside. Improvement ability: The damage done by each Infernal Glacier Spear is doubled. Liquid Fire spreads twice as far upon detonation. Cost: 100 Magic Energy Points>
One cast of this spell was the equivalent of 6 casts of [Infernal Glacier X10] and two times cheaper.
Thus, I ended up with the following stats:
[Magic Energy]: 8345
[Magic Energy Regeneration]: 40 Magic Energy Points per Second
[Available points]: 0
[Available skill points]: 5
Totally worth it! I thought with a smile.
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