Chapter 4: The Defining Battle

I wake with a jolt the next morning completely drenched in water I quickly jump out of bed, and there stands Thirty-seven holding the towel to her chest in one arm and an empty bucket in the other.

“What was that all about?”

Thirty-seven: “You said to wake you.” -she turns and walks out of the room. I wring out my shirt and follow her heading to the dungeon.-

After I catch up to her outside in the hallway I say. “You know you could have just shaken me.”

Thirty-seven: “Noted.”

As we enter the dungeon core room she sets the bucket down, and goes and sits in the chair I put in the middle of the room for her.

“Here let me see the towel so I can dry off.”

Thirty-seven’s face quickly changes to a shocked expression, tears well up in her eyes, and she grips the towel tightly.

I seemed to have upset her by wanting to use the towel so I simple say. “Ah, never mind I will manage.”

I have never seen her without that towel except when we first met before I handed it to her. I wonder how Madam Erin got it from her to turn loose of it long enough for me to use it on the day I woke up. She seems awfully attached to it I kind of feel bad for using it at that time now.  Maybe one of these days I will be able to ask her about it.

I use the magic spell [Clean] to dry myself off and it only takes a few brief moments for me to be clean and completely dry. I find it rather odd using a water spell to dry off, but it worked so I won’t look too much into it.

After that I then double check everything in the dungeon. I do a little rearranging by moving the monsters into their final positions, and then ask Thirty-seven.

“Well how much time we got left till the attack?”

Thirty-seven: “When I got the bucket of water to wake you up, Madam Erin said if I used that I could let you sleep an extra hour, and that was 21 minutes ago. That leaves 9 minutes until the attack begins.”

So the idea of the bucket of water was Madam Erin’s. I am starting to see she has a rather cruel sense of humor. I hope it’s not revenge because I didn’t take up her offer regarding her breasts. I shudder at the thought, but I then start thinking of Thirty-seven’s causing myself to blush, and I actually find that it sounds appealing for some reason.

No, I quickly shake my head trying to put it out of my mind. That’s what got me in this mess to begin with. I quickly open the message to Thirty-seven making sure no messages where sent. After a small sigh of relief escapes from me as I close the screen, I sit back waiting for the attack to begin.

Intruders have entered the dungeon.

When Madam Erin says she goes all out she means it. One. Two. Three. Four. There are four crimson kobolds entering my dungeon each of them carry better equipment then the last. Three of them are wearing chainmail armor. This time however none of them show any signs of rust or ware.

One of the three wearing the chainmail is carrying a great-sword it too is new and not made out of iron but of steel. Another is sporting a large steel shield and a steel sword. The last of the armored crimson kobold has a large curved bow and dagger on each side of his waist.

The final crimson kobold is unarmored, but wearing a type of mage robe. It too however looks like a lot finer quality then the last ones and he is carrying an iron rod but it is laden with gems and has a large stone on the head of it.

After all four of the crimson kobolds enter Thirty-seven jumps to her feet quickly looking over at me then back to the screen and sits back down. I guess she is a bit shocked as well.

Three of my little Kobolds charge straight down the center of the room at the group. While two sneak in from the sides both aiming for the unarmored mage. With one arrow from the archer, one swing from each the small sword and the great-sword, the three small kobolds charging straight ahead are brutally massacred.

The two tiny kobolds attacking the mage swing their swords several times into the mage I can’t tell if they did any damage, but the archer crimson kobold pulls both daggers burying them both in one of the tiny kobold’s back. The mage then freezes the last one solid with a spell. Just like that the first room has been cleared and the intruders move on to the second room.

“I can’t tell if the mage even took any damage. This is not looking good if they can they at least need to do something about the mage.”

The crimson kobolds enter the next room but this time watch the corners as they enter but all five tiny kobolds stand at the center of the room. The two crimson kobolds with swords swing and the tiny kobold as they charge past but both manage to miss.

The archer however does not miss as his arrow pierces the tiny kobold so deeply that it pins his corpse to the floor. The four remaining tiny kobold dog pile on the mage whacking, slashing, and shield bashing the best they can.

After all the tiny kobold have been dealt with all four crimson kobolds still stand, but the mage is starting to look like he is showing some signs of damage.

“I now we only have the one room left, Well it looks like we are not going to win the bet, but Madam Erin promised to tell me how Alfread got a boss monster and over 5000xp after the battle so even if we lose maybe I can do the same thing he did.”

Thirty-seven: “He died.”

“Well you do make a good point. I would like to avoid that part.”

As soon as the crimson kobolds enter the crystal room the battle instantly heats up. The level 2 goblins with the sword and shield, and level 3 goblin with the great axe both square off against the crimson kobold with the great-sword.

The two tiny kobolds with spears start piercing the mage while the tiny kobold mage manages to set the archer on fire. The slime drops onto the face of the crimson kobold with the sword and shield while the level 1 goblin tries to attack him while he is distracted.

Even on fire the crimson archer is fires an arrow at one of the tiny spear kobolds and kills it. The other tiny spear kobold gets turned into an ice sculptor, as the level 2 and level 3 goblins slowly begin to cause damage to the great-sword wielding crimson kobold.

The sword and shield crimson kobold drops his equipment as he tries to pry the slime from his mouth and throat. The tiny kobold mage keeps hitting the archer over and over with fire spells until the archer fires an arrow back at it killing the tiny mage.

The crimson kobold with the great-sword hits the level 3 goblin with the axe bringing it to its knees, but finally succumbs to the two goblins. The crimson kobold being choked by the slime finally hit the floor flopping around as it continues to pry at the slime.

The mage decides to end them both by freezing slime and the crimson kobold’s head killing them both. The crimson archer falls to one knee but fires another arrow at the gravely injured level 3 goblin with the axe.

The axe goblin dies when the arrow hits it, and the level 2 sword and shield goblin ends the archer. With only the level 2 goblin with the sword and shield, and the crimson kobold mage remaining they face off. The goblin swings at the mage but the mages spell hits first. The goblin freezes solid and the kobold brings its iron rod down with both hands into the head of the goblin shattering it.

“We were so close… It was the damn mage.”

Thirty-seven slow stands up and sets the towel down on the chair and pats it. She looks at me with anger in her eyes as she says. “Send me!”

“What do you mean?”

Thirty-seven: “No time, just send me in now.”

As the crimson mage begins walking over to the crystal, Thirty-seven rushes across the dungeon core room grabbing me with both hands by the shirt. “Please! Send me before its too late!”

I tightly close my eyes and send Thirty-seven into the crystal room and hear a chime… I keep my eyes closed for what seems like forever, but when I slowly begin to open them I see the message.

Intruders neutralized.

Battle results:

Acquired: 65xp, 11  worn leather armor, 9 Iron swords, 9 small iron shields, 2 Iron spears, 1 mage robe, 1 iron rod 1 iron great axe, 1 worn rusty chainmail, 3 basic chain mail, 1 steel great-sword, 1 steel sword, 1 steel shield, 1 large stout bow, 2 steel daggers, 1 magician’s robes, 1 gem studded iron rod

Losses: All dungeon monsters have been eliminated.

Due to the state of decline in the dungeon xp consumption will be reduced to 1xp/7days no xp will be refunded and the new rate will take effect in 4 days.

New items available

Steel shield                   Cost: 100xp

Steel dagger                 Cost: 25xp

Steel sword                  Cost: 50xp

Steel great-sword         Cost: 100xp

Gem laden Iron rod    Cost: 100xp

Large stout bow          Cost: 75xp

Basic chainmail           Cost: 150xp

Magicians robes         Cost:  100xp

 

New monsters available

Crimson Kobold Mage    Cost: 200

 

I quickly look to the screen that shows the crystal room and see Thirty-seven casts a spell cleaning the blood from her hands. The crimson kobold lays dead inches from the crystal with one of the steel daggers the archer had plunged all the way to the hilt in the center of its back. I quickly use [Menu] to collect the equipment and clear the dungeon of bodies, then pick the towel up from the chair and join Thirty-seven in the crystal room.

Thirty-seven quickly walks over to me taking the towel in both arms clutching it tightly to her chest. “Madam Erin is going to be upset.”

“Well nothing can be done about it now. I guess we should go speak with her.”

Thirty-seven and I make our way to the throne room.  Madam Erin is sitting in the throne when we arrive with her arms crossed in front of her. When Thirty-seven bows and begins to walk out of the room Madam Erin stops her. “Wait, you stay here for this as well.” Thirty-seven turns back around but remains a few feet behind me.

Madam Erin: “Well pup, I am not sure if I should congratulate you or not. You prevented your crystal from breaking but you had to cheat to win.”

Madam Erin uncrosses her arms and leans forward on the throne speaking in a lighter voice. “I guess however in a battle of life or death there is no such thing as cheating. There is only winning or death.”

She then leans back in the throne, crosses her legs and a big smile creep across her face. “I guess we will just call it the debut of your boss monster. Yes, that ought to work just fine. Well pup, a promise is a promise.”

She instructs me to open [Menu] and with the crushing of a small jewel between her fingers I watch my xp value rise from 68xp to 8068xp.  “I decided to give you a bonus for your efforts.  Now, for the rest of the promise, I assume since you have found Dungeon Core Information you have also looked up your own number and its past?”

After I nod she continues. “Well truth be told pup, I lied to you. You see Elder Leland was a dear friend of mine, and I wanted you to prove you could live up to his number so I only started you with 2000xp instead of the 10,000xp you were supposed to start with. I also did not give you a boss monster, but that seems to have worked itself out. Three days is rather impressive with the limits you where given so I decided to acknowledge you and give you what you were due. However that doesn’t mean I will go easy on you the rest of the month, so you and your boss monster there better head back to prepare for tomorrow’s attack. Now scoot scoot pup. I can’t wait to see the results.”

Thirty-seven and I start head back when Madam Erin stops us when we get to the door. “Oh, and one more thing. You will need to move into your dungeon for the rest of the month. I am going to fill the halls with monsters tonight just in case you decide you want to gather some extra XP. If you need to contact me just use [Communication].

I scored a bunch of xp but things are going to get tougher now.  I will not even be able to leave the dungeon now without getting attacked by monsters. I guess it doesn’t matter much it’s not like I have to leave the dungeon to get food or anything like that. I haven’t even traveled more than just a few hallways of Madam Erin’s dungeon except the one time we went to the lower floors. Thirty-seven and I head back to bedrooms I stop outside her door.

“I will wait here for you to gather your things. I don’t have anything in my room anyway.”

Thirty-seven: “I have nothing as well.”

“Nothing? You have been here five years and have nothing? What did you do all this time?”

Thirty-seven: “I awaited Madam Erin’s instructions. She asked me to do things for her once or twice a week.”

“What about all the rest of the time? Did you just sit there and stare at the walls?”

Thirty-seven: “I also slept when I would become tired.”

“I don’t even know how to respond to that…Oh, I wanted to apologize. I know you are the one that wanted to help me in the fight earlier, but sorry you got stuck becoming the boss monster for my dungeon. I am sure being a dungeon core yourself being stuck as a monster for another core is not pleasant.”

Thirty-seven: “On the contrary. I find it to be a rather… Enjoyable.”

We enter the dungeon core room and I open [Menu] the first thing I notice I have no contacts under the friends tab anymore. Thirty-seven has been moved to monsters tab, and Madam Erin has moved to a new tab that just says Neutral.

“Well, shall we get started? I am sure there is a lot of things you can help with.” after saying that a message appears.

Would you like dungeon monster Thirty-seven (boss) access to your dungeon [Menu]?

“Yes”

Would you like to set restrictions to monster Thirty-seven (boss)’s access? For example you can limit the amount of xp they can access or limit them only to specific pages.

“No.”

No [Menu] restrictions set for monster Thirty-seven (boss) restrictions can be added at any time.

Thirty-seven: “My first suggestion. Never give a monster full access to your [Menu]

“You are the boss of my dungeon though shouldn’t you be able to access everything?”

Thirty-seven: “Then I suggest setting it like this.”

Monster Thirty-seven (boss) [Menu] restriction added. Dungeon core approval required before finalization of any purchase. Admin privileges for monster Thirty-seven (boss) revoked.

“Well, if you are fine with that I guess its ok. How should we start?”

Thirty-seven: “Fortunately, you have acquired quite a few weapons even if they are not that great that will save the cost of monsters by half if not more. If you plan to continue using goblin brutes I would suggest purchasing a few rifts. There cost is far greater but you don’t have to keep purchasing every day.”

“I haven’t seen any rifts, what are they?

Thirty-seven instructs me on to finding the rifts in [Menu], and when I select information on it another screen appears.

Rifts summon monsters every single day. A standard rift is x10 the cost of xp for the monster and produces 1 monster/day for a maximum of 1. As long as the maximum amount is met no monsters will be summoned.

Rifts functions can be changed during placement for additional cost. For every parameter that is changed. It increased the cost by x2 the standard monsters cost.

Opening my [Menu] I now see the option to select rift next to each monster selecting goblin brute rift a new screen appears

Goblin brute (Rift)                [1/day]     +       [1 total]        =        250xp

I mess around with the settings a bit to see the cost difference

 

Goblin brute (Rift)                [2/day]     +       [1 total]        =        300xp

Goblin brute (Rift)                [1/day]     +       [2 total]        =        300xp

Goblin brute (Rift)                [2/day]     +       [2 total]        =        350xp

I could of probably saved a lot of xp if I done this from the start.

Thirty-seven: “I should warn you only named monsters can leave a dungeon and rift monsters cannot be named. Leveling also works differently for rifts. The max level of a monster is much lower, and the rift itself levels instead of the monster.”

“What do you mean only named monsters can leave the dungeon?”

Thirty-seven: “If you want to hunt outside your own dungeon to gather xp, you can gather a group of your monsters to take with you, but only monsters with names can leave the dungeon. Rift monsters are bound to the floor there rift is on, and are unable to be named. There have been instances where there is an exceptional rift monster where you can pay double his value in xp to unbind him from the rift, but he then becomes a normal monster. “

I then begin rebuilding my dungeon. The blue slimes actually preformed really well when not dealing with magic so I place a Blue slime rift 1/day total 2 in the crystal room costing me 600xp. When the slime is born from the rift I move it to the first room. Next I place a goblin brute rift 2/day total 4 in the crystal room costing me 450xp.

Monsters born from rift requires equipment, would you like to set equipment? Any equipment set will be pulled from the dungeons inventory. If set equipment not available in inventory it will automatically be purchased for new creature. If equipment exceeds available xp monster will be born unequipped. Only one set of equipment can be set per rift.

I go ahead and set the brutes up with the worn leather armor, iron sword, and small iron shield. And move the first two born up to the first room. I next set a young kobold mage rift 1/day total 2 costing me 540xp in the crystal room. I set the equipment to mage robes and wooden staff, and move the first one up to the first room. Next I set a standard hobgoblin rift in the crystal room costing me 500xp and set its equipment to iron great axe and worn rusty chainmail. The hobgoblin is only slightly larger than the goblin brute but its skin is more of a grey color instead of green. I move him as well to the first room. Next in the middle room I summon the same group that Madam Erin used against me today except I double it, costing me 2,225 xp. Next I place three weak spike traps side by side just past the pit trap in the front room using the tile switch I still had left over and buying two more cost me 115xp.

 

Current consumption changed to 1xp/day. 1 xp consumed now, next 1xp to be consumed at the beginning of the day.

 

New traps available

Covered pit trap                          50 xp

Spike trap                                     50xp

Dart trap                                       50xp

 

Trip wire                                       20xp

Tile switch                                    40xp

 

 

I wish they would have unlocked before I bought traps. Oh well I guess once the weak spike traps break I will replace them with the better ones. Well I think that will do it for now. With this we should still be able to win even if the attack is double tomorrow as it was today. Although I hope it doesn’t get that much harder in one day.

“Madam Erin said she will fill the halls with monsters tonight, so I guess for today we rest. After the battle tomorrow we will see how much damage is done then decide if we want to go hunting in the hallways or not. Oh I almost forgot go ahead and pick out the things you need and I will let you summon them.”

Thirty-seven: “There is nothing I require.”

“Nothing you req…..You don’t even have a place to sleep.”

Thirty-seven: “I will be fine with this chair. When I get tired I will lay down.”

“Lay down where? On the floor? Alright I will take care of it.”

I access [Dungeon Core] picking out a bed I spend the 35xp on it setting it down on the other side of the room for Thirty-seven, and after looking at it decide to store the cot and buy one for myself as well. I also buy a small table putting it next to her bed for 10xp and put a small flower & vase for 1xp on top of it. I then sit down on my new bed it is by far better than the bed in the old room, or the cot.

“Well it’s still pretty early but not much we can do till tomorrow so let’s get some sleep for now.”

I watch as Thirty-seven stands, moves to the bed and lays down. She even sleeps with that thing. I watch Thirty-seven’s back for a few minutes, and it looks like she went right to sleep. Although she doesn’t move while sitting in a chair either so she may still be awake. I finally roll over and drift off to sleep.

I slowly start to wake as I can feel something grab my shoulders then all of a sudden I start getting frantically shaken.

“Wow! Stop. I am awake.” I open my eyes when Thirty-seven lets go of my shoulders then she moves over to the chair where the towel is sitting. She picks up the towel then sits down.

My eyes still feel like they are rattling around and the room finally quits spinning as I sit up. I know I told her to wake me up by shaking me, but even still that was harsh. I get up and walk over to her placing on hand on her shoulder.

“From now on, like this.” -I lightly shake her for a second. – “That should be more than enough.”

Thirty-seven: “Noted.”

“How much time do we have until Madam Erin’s monsters show up?”

Thirty-seven: “Twenty nine minutes”

I check the screens and see the other slime, two goblin brutes, and young kobold mage standing in the crystal room. I then move them to the first room.

I look around the room and decide to buy another chair for 5xp and set it next to the one Thirty-seven is in. I sit down next to her and wait for the battle to start.

Intruders have entered the dungeon.

The first two waves are identical to day 3 and both perish without losing any monsters however there is no longer a break between waves. As soon as the second wave is down the third wave hits, and it too is like day 3.

It is also quickly dispatched but the crimson kobold managed to take out two of the goblin brutes, and one of the slimes fall to the spells of the mage. After the battle I get a message about acquiring my first small wooden bow and can now craft it for 25xp.

Now the fourth wave hits. Thirty-seven and I are both shocked to see the same setup as yesterday with the 4 crimson kobolds enter the dungeon. They manage to break two of the spike traps and clear the room but once they enter the next it’s literally two against one and the intruders are all injured, so they eventually fall without me loosing anything else.

Intruders Neutralized.

We wait for a few more minutes to wait and see but no other intruders enter. I manage to acquire 130 xp and some gear. After spending 30xp to heal my kobolds I notice the new great axe hobgoblin waiting in the crystal room and send him to the front.

More monsters will come from the rift tomorrow but to maintain the same head count I am forced to summon a blue slime. I replace the broken weak spike traps with the normal spike traps, I store the faulty tile switches and buy two regular ones.

I leave the one unbroken weak spike trap and faulty tile switch alone. I am now 225xp in the hole for the day but I did manage to get more equipment and replaced the spike traps so not to bad so far. We wait another 30 minutes just to be sure, but no more attacks come.

Now we are left with the decision, do we rest up, try to gather xp in Madam Erin’s dungeon by attacking the monsters she has placed inside.

“What do you think we should do? Do you think we should try should try taking out some monsters in Madam Erin’s dungeon? We managed today very well, but it’s only going to get harder.”

Thirty-seven: “Our xp is so low even if we manage to survive for a few days, eventually the monsters Madam Erin sends will become too much for our rifts and we will not win a single fight after that. I don’t think we have much choice but to gather any and all the xp that we can.”

“You think just the two of us can handle it?”

Thirty-seven: “By no means should we risk that. There is a penalty however if we take a lot of monsters with us so we should limit it too three. That is if you can at least learn one of any of the basic attack spells. I would rather you not have to fight at all, but I am afraid at this moment we are left with few options.”

“When I bought spells before, I learned every one available to me, but none where attack magic.”

Thirty-seven: “That can’t be right, you should have at least some of the basic attack spells available to you.”

I decide to look in [Menu] again and sure enough there are three spells available that were not there before.

Fire                    Cost: 75xp

Fireball              Cost: 100xp

Freeze                Cost: 100xp

 

Fire (Fire) (Cost 5MP): a small burst of fire at targeted location up to 30 feet away. Causes minor fire damage, and may inflict [Burning] status.

Fireball (Fire) (Cost 10mp): A small projectile of fire can be fired at a target up to 50ft away. Causes moderate fire damage, and may inflict [Burning] status.

Freeze (Water) (Cost 10MP): Ice forms at targeted location up to 50 feet away. Causes minor water damage, and will likely cause [Frozen] status.

 

“I don’t know how this works, but I promise they were not there before… [Fire], [Fireball], and [Freeze] are now available.”

I decide to learn all three spells then afterwards I tell Thirty-seven. “I learned all three, and now we just have to earn 500xp to break even for today. At least the magic will not go away at the end of the month. It won’t right?”

Thirty-seven: “Right, once you learn a spell you keep it for the rest of your life. You are actually quite lucky. Most attack spells are either fire element or water element, so being able to cast either is great. Most mages favor either fire or water so are unable to cast the other. Even though dungeon cores element is chosen by birth still over half either favor fire or water.”

“Oh, I don’t have a favored element.”

Thirty-seven: “That’s impossible, every creature, even ones that cannot cast magic has a favored element. Your predecessor had the shadow element so you might have a rare one like him so that’s why you can cast fire and water but you have to have must have a favored element.”

“I learned the basic spells of all six elements. I even got a skill for…” Thirty-seven cuts me off.

Thirty-seven: “Ok, I won’t ask any more about it.  Remember I may be your boss monster while you are here training, but once you are on your own you will have to summon your own. I will stay here with Madam Erin.”

“It should be ok to tell you or Madam Erin though.”

Thirty-seven: “Like the depths of a dungeon, unique skills, spells, and abilities are closely guarded secrets. You should tell no one. I am curious however if you really do not possess a favored element I wonder what your dungeon crystal will be.”

Thirty-seven thinks about it for a moment then switches gears. “Now, back to fighting in Madam Erin’s dungeon, for now I think we should take a few of the crimson kobolds. I think we would be ok if we took the mage, but you filling that role should suffice, so name the other three.”

“I still haven’t given myself a name, and now you want me to name the dungeon monsters?”

Thirty-seven: “Their names are of no coincidence, they are just kobolds.”

“I guess I can just call them Archer, Block, and Slash then.”

Would you like to register Crimson Kobold’s name as Archer?

Would you like to register Crimson Kobold’s name as Block?

Would you like to register Crimson Kobold’s name as Slash?

After I agree.

Name has been registered

Name has been registered

Name has been registered

“What kind of gear do you suggest I use? Should I go with what the kobold mage uses?”

Thrity-seven: “As a dungeon core you should be able to use any type of weapon or armor, so I would rather you stay protected in the chainmail, the iron rod however should suffice.”

“Alright, now we just have to get ready.” I take out one of the basic chainmail and the extra gem studded iron rod out of storage. I start to pull on the chainmail fighting with it trying to get it on. “What equipment do you want?”

Thirty-seven: “If it is ok with you I will take one of the worn leather armors and one of the steel swords.”

Monster Thirty-seven (boss) is requesting equipment Worn Leather Armor, and Steel Sword. Approval required.

As I am standing there fighting with the chainmail trying to get it on I approve the equipment for her and Thirty-seven instantly equips the items from [Menu]. I slowly set the chainmail down add it back to the dungeon’s inventory, and then equip it with [Menu]. ”So… Are we ready then?”

Thirty-seven begins walking to me then stops looking down at the towel. Her facial expression seems to announce a change of mind about the journey out into Madam Erin’s dungeon. I walk over to her lightly take the towel away from her as she stares with sad eyes I place it on the table next to her bed.

“It will be ok. It will be right here when we get back.”

Thirty-seven however looks torn. She walks over to the towel gently caressing it then nods, and with that we leave the dungeon core room.

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