Chapter 7: The Seventh Day

I feel refreshed and confident when Thirty-seven wakes me. I check over my menu to make sure my surprises are set. Then with a smile I say. “I wonder what Madam Erin’s big reward is when we win today.”

“I believe Madam Erin has something special in store for today. I would not drop your guard.”

“I understand.” I nod but can’t help smiling.

I make sure everything is set up then await the attack.

 

Intruders have entered the dungeon.

Four of the small earth golems make their way into the dungeon, but I expected as much. I pull forward all the mages from the second room to help.

With the golems bumbling around falling into the pit trap and hitting the spike traps the 5 mages manage to bring down 2 of the golems before they even make it to them. The other two are just no match for all the mages with the rest of the monsters holding them back.

Once the intruders fall I instantly clear the room gathering the items they left behind, but with only seconds to spare the next wave hits.

Again it is another set of the four small earth golems and I begin storing [Freeze] spells in the 4 [Magic Stones] I just gathered. The group quickly knocks out the second wave of small golems, and I again clear the room. They do manage to break the last [Weak Spike Trap] though.

Next to enter the dungeon is one of the large earth golems that we faced inside of Madam’s Erin’s dungeon. I quickly pull the Crimson kobold mages including Mage back into the second room, and the blue slime back into the crystal room. Then continue filling the new stones I gathered.

“I figured this might happen now let me show you what I got.”

I finish filling the last stone, and the golem trashes the last of the monsters in the first room.

As soon as the golem enters the second room it is pelted by darts launched from the walls on either side, and as they hit the golem frost begins appearing on the golem.

Thirty-seven gives me a confused look as I message the archers forward.

Archer, and the other two bow wielding crimson kobold step forward. They each pull a frost covered arrow from their quivers and shoot at the feet of the golem. The golem manages to struggle a few more feet forward before ice covered spikes launch from the ground crashing into it.

The golem begins to freeze solid as I order the melee group to move in, but instead of drawing the steel weapons they all pull iron ones hacking and slashing at the golem breaking slowly chipping away at it. Eventually the golem finally collapses into rubble on the floor without losing a single non-rift monster.

“Alright! That went better then I even could have hoped.”

Intruders have entered your dungeon

…”Wait…What?”

Two more of the large golems enter my dungeon.

“Damn… it’s ok… We got this…”

I reset everyone to their positions, and reset the traps as the two golems make their way across the first room.

As the two golems enter the second room the dart trap activates again, but with the damage being split it doesn’t cause as great of effect.

The archers fire more of the frost arrows at the two golems, but the golems keep pressing forward. The frozen spike traps also do a little damage but it barely slows the golems.

The mages begin flinging spells at the golems as soon as they pass the spikes and the melee group pulls out their steel weapons.

“Ok… This is still going well.”

When the steel weapons hit the golems, ice and frost begin growing at the impact site. The golems start to slow, but begin their attacks smashing two of the crimson kobolds.

“I figured the new crimson kobolds would die with one hit, but I hoped the higher level ones would be able to withstand.”

The mages fire another volley of spells, and the archers loose more frost arrows.

One of the golems target Slash but he dodges out of the way the impact instead hit one of the [Lvl 2] Crimson kobolds crushing it instantly.  The second golem smashes the last [Lvl 1] Crimson kobold.

With only Block, and Slash manning the melee team I order a regroup into the crystal room. Block loses his shield as he is attacked suffering major damage, and we lose the 1 [Lvl 1] crimson kobold mage.

The injured Block, Slash, Archer, Mage, 2 [Lvl 1] archers, 2 [Lvl2] mages manage to make it into the crystal room.

“Everyone focus at one at a time, I didn’t want to use it but, here goes.”

Using one of the [Menu] items that Thirty-seven showed me the night before I pull a monster I had stored within the crystal out. Out of the crystal appears a golem identical to the ones attacking although his fists are frosted over.

Thirty-seven looks truly shocked. “How did…” -She stops herself.-

As the intruding golems enter the crystal room the mages release more spells, and the archers release more frost arrows.

My golem rushes across the room smashing one of the enemies instantly freezing over a shoulder joint. The rest of the group attacks the second golem.

Archer fires another frost arrow, but the other two archers gather around the crystal pulling their daggers. Mage likewise casts another [Freeze] spell, and his subordinates retreat to the crystal holding their [Gem Studded Iron Rods] in front of them.

Slash kicks Block away as a fist comes crashing down barely missing them both, and he slashes at a joint.

My golem and the other golem intruder duke it out pounding each other with their boulder fists. My golem manages to get the upper hand when he hits the frozen shoulder joint and knocks the arm off of the enemy.

“This is starting to look tight.” I quickly pull two swords from storage handing one to Thirty-seven. “It looks like we are going to have to get our hands dirty.”

I pull Thirty-seven and myself to the crystal room as Archer fires the last frost arrow and Mage casts his last spell. Afterwards both then gather behind us at the crystal. Thirty-seven charges forward without another thought, and I quickly follow.

Slash unable to get away blocks a swinging blow with his sword throwing him back to the floor alongside Block.

Thirty-seven reaches the golem slashing in quick succession at the frozen parts of the golem. When I finally arrive I raise my sword for the first time bringing it down against the golem as hard as I can…

The blow jars me, and before I realize it Thirty-seven kicks me back as the golem barely misses us. Thirty-seven continues to slash at the golem while I cast a [Freeze] spell then stagger back to my feet.

My golem is slowly making progress as he beings breaking off large chucks from the other intruder golem.

Thirty-seven’s swings manage to finally remove a leg from the golem we are attacking, as I manage to land another blow.

My golem plants both fists into the intruder causing it to crash down into pieces.

Thirty-seven then removes one of the arms of the golem and lets me land a final blow.

Intruders neutralized.

I quickly run to Block and Slash. Both are wounded badly but will recover. I then pull Thirty-seven and myself back to the core room.

“I don’t want to get stuck down in the crystal room just in case another wave hits. There is no way we could survive another.”

We wait a few more minutes but another attack doesn’t come. I finally go through the battle results window.

Battle Results:

Acquired: 500xp, 8 tiny magic stones, 3 small magic stones, 50 stones

Losses: 2 [Lvl 2] Crimson kobolds, 2 [Lvl 1] Crimson Kobolds, 1 [Lvl 1] Crimson Kobold Mage

Dungeon Core #212 [—–] participated in his first dungeon battle, and obtained victory. Granting a +5 bonus to Spell power, and granting the Sword Arts ability.

Thirty-seven (boss) has gained a level

Mage has gained a level.

Archer has gained a level.

Due to decline in dungeon XP consumption has been reduced to 1 XP/day

 

My consumption went back down to what it was before adding the golem and new traps last night. I also haven’t checked my status since I gained two new skills, so I decide to check it now.

 

 

Name: ——-                          Dungeon: Training hall                          Crystal:   Basic Training Crystal

Level: 1                                  XP till next Level  2                                   XP: 1418

HP: 20/20                               MP: 100/100

Strength: 25

Agility: 25

Endurance: 20

Spell Power: 55

Sword Arts: 25

Resistances: None

Armor: None

Equipment: [Old Cheap Clothes], [Steel Sword]

 

Skills:

[Recycle] (Rank 1): using parts from monsters and [Magic Stones] you can summon constructs and undead at a 50% reduced xp cost.

[Enchanter] (Rank 1): by combining [Magic Stones] with stored spells and items, the items gain the effect of the stored spell. The duration of the effect depends on the [Magic Stone] and spell that is used.

[Uniquely Gifted] (Rank 1): Most creatures favor one element above all others, and are unable to cast spells from the opposing element. You however do not, thus granting you a 25 bonus to spell power and 50 additional MP. The more magic is used the greater the bonus that will be granted from [Gifted]

 

Spells:

Clean (Water) (Cost 1mp): summons water to clean items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Heat (Fire) (Cost 1mp): summoning your mana with the power of fire you can heat items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Cool (Wind) (Cost 1mp): Summoning your mana with the power of wind you can cool items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Soil (Earth) (Cost 1mp): summoning your mana with the power of earth you can soil items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Light (Light) (Cost 1mp): Summing your mana with the power of light you can light items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

Shadow (Dark) (Cost 1mp): summoning your mana with the power of darkness you can cast shadows on items and objects up to ten feet away. This spell can be kept active by repaying its original casting cost once per second.

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 then receive a message from Madam Erin. “That is simply amazing pup. I would have never guessed. I have cleared the hallways for now, why don’t you come pay me a visit and let us have a chat.”

“Madam Erin is inviting us back to the throne room.”

Thirty-seven: “Very well, remember to keep your secrets to yourself.”

I nod and then send a reply back to Madam Erin that we are on our way. Thirty-seven make our way through Madam Erin’s dungeon. This time when we arrive in the large room before the throne room there are 2 golems towering on either side of the door. My golem and the ones we fought would each fit in the fist of one of these massive golems. Thirty-seven and I make our way inside…

Madam Erin: “Ah, Pup… Oh I see you both came.” Madam Erin seems a little vexed. “No matter, simply an amazing show you put on for me. The secret to your frost magic, and along with you being able to summon such a golem this early, I see you are clearly living up to your Dungeon Core number.’

“Thanks, by what I have read Leland that sounds like a great honor.”

“Haha, honor he says. That just goes to show that you never met the perverted old coot. He did make a good elder, and friend though. Of course that was when he wasn’t automatically trying to pass every female rookie core.”

Thirty-seven finally speaks up. “I believe you promised him a reward if he made it seven days.”

Madam Erin: “Yes, of course pup. A promise is a promise. Consider yourself passed on the evaluation. At least my vote, after the others see what you have accomplished in only 8 days I don’t see a problem. However don’t think you can just slack off the rest of the month either.”

Thirty-seven cuts in. “You can’t be serious.”

Madam Erin: “Well it is against the rules to give tangible rewards so my hands are quite tied.”

Thirty-seven speaks to me. “How are you not the least bit upset after all that?”

“Well anything she where to give me, would only last till the month was up anyway. It’s not like it makes much difference.”

Madam Erin: “That’s the way pup, forge your own path. Although I guess I can ease up a bit, I will resume the normal Rookie Core training tomorrow. I will also add some more goodies to my dungeon if you guys decide to explore. You will have to give me till tomorrow to set everything up though.”

“Thank you.”  I lightly bow to Madam Erin. Then Thirty-seven and I return to our dungeon.

“Well, not much for us to do today, so I guess we should just prepare the dungeon for tomorrow.”

I use two of the three [Small Magic Stones] that we gathered today, along with a heap of stones, and create two more of the [Weak Earth Golems]. I place two in the second room, and leave the one I created last night in the crystal room.

Using most of my remaining xp I summon 2 more crimson kobold mages. I place them along with Archer, Block, Slash, Mage in the second room with the two golems.

“Alright, we are now set.”

Due to the rise in power of the dungeon consumption has reached 2xp/ day.

I spend about an hour holding a one way conversation with Thirty-seven then decide to spend some time looking through the Dungeon Core Information book. Later that day I make sure all of the magic stones now hold spells, and then spend the rest of the afternoon practicing my magic.

After spending a few hours casting magic it really does wonders for helping prepare to sleep, so even though it is still quite early I retire to bed.

I wake the next morning as Thirty-seven shakes me. I get up to notice a window in front of me.

Dungeon Core #212 [—–] has gained a level

“I finally managed to gain a level.” I decide to check my status.

 

Name:   ——                       Dungeon: Training hall                          Crystal:   Basic Training Crystal

Level: 2                                  XP till next Level: 25                                   XP: 16

HP: 44/44                               MP: 100/100

Strength: 27

Agility: 28

Endurance: 22

Spell Power: 57

Sword Arts: 21

Resistances: None

Armor: None

Equipment: [Old Cheap Clothes]

 

“For leveling so much slower than the monsters, I am not very impressed with my progress…”

Thirty-seven: “It may seem like it now, but most dungeon monsters achieve a max level where they cannot grow any further. You however will never quit gaining levels.”

I nod and then move the newly spawned rift monsters to the front room, and wait for the attack.

Intruders have entered the dungeon.

Young kobolds begin to pour into my dungeon, after reaching numbers close to 20 the final kobold to enter is a crimson kobold.

“It looks like it’s the first 3 normal waves all rolled into one…”

My monsters begin firing arrows, and spells at the horde of intruders.  The melee fighting monsters wait for several of the intruders to be taken out by the spike traps before moving in.

The golem easily takes out one or two intruders per swipe of its massive arms, but there are so many a few charging through the group pass the dungeon monsters completely and enter the second room.

For the first time battle begins in two rooms at once.  The monsters in the second room quickly kill the intruders as they enter, but the first room struggles with the sheer number of enemies. Once the last enemy falls everything except the golem looks pretty ragged, but the second room is unharmed.

I pull the golem from the front room to be with the other two in the middle room while crimson kobolds enter the dungeon. The crimson kobolds seem like the standard fifth wave group.

The crimson kobolds eliminate the first room, but don’t stand a chance in the second room and they quickly fall without losing any more monsters.

After waiting for about five minutes after the intruders eliminated message I finally speak.

“Was that it?”

Thirty-seven: “Madam Erin did say she was going to return to the normal scheduled attacks.”

“If that was normal for day 8, then what I have been doing was just crazy.”

Thirty-seven: “Agreed, but most rookie cores make it to day 8 at least by the end of the second week. Now begins a test of endurance.”

“Well she also said she will be adding more things to her dungeon, so we might want to check it out as well.”

After gathering Block, Slash, and Mage, we enter into Madam Erin’s dungeon. Right away there is a large group of young kobold in the hallways, but they don’t even seem to be a threat anymore as they are quickly eliminated.

We check each door clearing each of young kobolds from behind each one. Once we make it to the end of the hall however we still can’t enter the final door on the floor. Moving on we continue the rest of the morning and well into the evening, clearing 4 more floors. Only in the last floor did the enemy’s difficulty start to rise enough that we became tired. We head back to the dungeon once the sun starts to set.

 

Monsters returned from battle

Acquired: 6 watered down healing potions, 1 [Leather Armor], 1 [Iron helm]

Losses: Thirty-seven (boss) sustained minor injuries, Block sustained moderate injuries, and Slash sustained moderate injuries.

Slash has gained a level

Block has gained a level

Mage has gained a level

550XP gained from external source. 55xp bonus for Dungeon Core #212 [—–] participation, 55xp bonus for Thirty-seven (boss) participation, 55xp bonus for no dungeon monster deaths, 110xp bonus for Training core training within parent dungeon.

825xp total rewarded

 

New items can be purchased from [Menu]

Leather Armor                    Cost: 100xp

Iron Helmet                         Cost: 50xp

 

“That’s it. It seemed like we killed a lot more than that. Well I guess they were mostly young kobolds”

I give the Iron helmet to Block, and the Leather armor to Thirty-seven.

“I think starting tomorrow I will go out in a set of the Magician’s robes instead of the chainmail.”

Thirty-seven: “I rather you stay in the chainmail.”

After a bit of canter back and forth I finally say. “Ok, ok. I will stick with the chainmail.” You know Thirty-seven has come quite a long way. It is still hard to get her to talk, but once she starts until her mood changes you can hold a decent conversation now.

For the rest of the week we continue to easily win the attacks sent by Madam Erin, and then we move out gaining xp in her dungeon. No matter how far we progress the last room of every floor is locked and we have still been unable to pass any of them. I even tried to use a few fire spells one day, but the door simply wouldn’t burn.

Things continue much the same as we reach our 12th consecutive dungeon battle victory, and I now only have half of the month left. Thirty-seven and the named crimson kobold are leveling up pretty quickly, but my progress still remains unchanged.

I continue to add new monsters and traps to the dungeon everyday keeping our xp reserve between 500xp to 1000xp, but with the size of the intruders entering the dungeon now it takes everything we got to stay at that level.

After victory 15 I send Archer, Block, Mage, Slash, and one of the golems out on their own to gather xp. While Thirty-seven and I take two new Crimson Kobold Brutes aptly named Hack and Bash, and a Crimson Kobold Elder named Caster that I newly summoned with us.

With two groups now gathering xp in Madam Erin’s dungeon you think we would start seeing quite the inflow of xp, but we still only manage to break even. I got a feeling Madam Erin has increased the difficulty of the intruders again just so that the fights are not boring.

On the day that marks one week from the end of my training I awake to a screen finally obtaining level 3. Thirty-seven on the other hand has reached level 8. With the dungeon battles now taking over half the day before it is over, the two exploring groups set out of the dungeon before the battle even starts without Thirty-seven or I.

We finally have achieved our 27th consecutive victory, but as it is our last day there is no use going out into Madam Erin’s dungeon anymore. I sit on the edge of the bed torn, as I stare over at the perfectly calm Thirty-seven clutching her towel just staring out at one of the screens. I don’t know when it started, but now she only holds that towel when she sits in her chair. I never did ask her what the deal with it was.

“You know, I never have asked you. What is the purpose behind that towel?”

Thirty-seven: “It was the first gift I ever received. I know now, that wasn’t your intention when you handed it to me, but all the same I think I will continue to hold on to it.”

…Wait all this time it was just because I handed it to her that day. Even so, she has been at Madam Erin’s dungeon for over 5 years, and trained at another dungeon before that. In all that time she never received anything?

I get up, move over beside her, wrap my arms around her pulling her head into my chest, and hug her.

“We have been through so much together, and I know it’s only been a month, but I am going to miss you, my dear friend.”

Thirty-seven never moves, or says anything, but after a few minutes. When I return to the edge of my bed and sit down looking back over at Thirty-seven. Her face remains the same but I see her cheeks and ears are a bit red.

“Promise me, after I leave, and start my new dungeon. You will keep in touch with me with [Menu].”

Thirty-seven simply nods, gets up from her chair, places the towel neatly on top of it, then goes to bed. I sit back in my bed and take a final look over everything in the dungeon. Hack, Slash, Bash , Block, Mage, and Caster are all in the crystal room staring blankly at the walls along with the rest of the monsters.

They helped me quite a bit, and even though they didn’t have much in the way of intelligence I feel kind of sad that they will be gone after today. I decide to spend some time looking at [Menu] for a while. I have quite a bit of xp stored up, but with no new spells available anything I buy will just be gone tomorrow so it is pretty much a waste.

I look over at Thirty-seven lying there silently on her bed wondering if she is asleep, I kind of feel I want someone to talk to right now, but I decide to leave her be and force myself to get some sleep. I am sure things will be quite busy for a while starting tomorrow so I could probably use the rest.

When I wake the next morning I find myself alone. Thirty-seven and her towel are gone, and even everything in the dungeon is just gone… I then see a message from Madam Erin.

Madam Erin: “It’s time. Meet me outside your door.”

I quickly look around the core room, it has only been a month but this was home. I guess you could say even though it has only been a month it has still been my entire life. I take one last look at the empty bed and chair across the room then head out of the core room and exit the dungeon.

After exiting the dungeon the door disappears… I see Madam Erin standing half-way down the hallway and I walk over to join her.

Madam Erin: “Are you ready for this pup?” –She asks me.-

“I guess I don’t really have a choice, now do I?”

Madam Erin: “Haha, I guess not. However you could choose to fail, and live here with me.”

I quickly think of living here close to Thirty-seven, but I shake my head.

“No, that’s quite alright.”

Madam Erin walks down the hallway. For being as large as she is I have trouble maintaining her pace, as we walk through the halls. One we reach the small room with three doors we take the one I haven’t used before and arrive in hallway I haven’t been to before.

This hallway looks to be from somewhere completely different then Madam Erin’s dungeon as it has darker stone walls and no windows. She leads me to an old looking wooden door.

Madam Erin: “You wait in there with the others, and we retrieve you when it is time.”

Madam Erin quickly walks off leaving me standing there. I enter to find a rather well decorated room with several couches and tables. There are also 8 others in the room.

One little blond girl with twin-tails comes running up to me as soon as I enter, and says very enthusiastically.

Hi! You must be 212! You’re the last to arrive. I am…Well just call me 712. I will be changing my name as when I get my dungeon.

A rude looking guy leaning against the wall cuts in. “If you get a dungeon Midget.”

Midget: “Eww, Don’t call me that Corpse.” She says as she pulls on both of her twin-tails

Corpse: “I am not worried about this name as my teacher forced me to toughen up. I was even able to Win 20 of my matches for the month.”

Midget: “I won fifteen!” She says bouncing with each word.

A dark haired pretty boy with dog ears sitting next to a cute blond girl with rabbit ears says. “Pay them no mind. They have been at it since they got here. I am Alex by the way, and this is my sister Alba.” He says while motioning to the rabbit eared girl.

A teenage looking blond boy sitting by himself, stands, bows, and says. “I am #12 Lance. “He then sits back down.

Corpse: “Pretender”

An older wise looking gentleman stands and says. “My father gave me the name Baron; it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, I wasn’t given a name by my trainer, and I haven’t chosen one for myself yet, so you can just call me #212 for now.” I bow to the room, and then the little blond Midget pulls on my wrist having me sit next to her on a fluffy couch.

A young lizard looking man and a dark haired girl with glasses don’t introduce themselves.

The next ten minutes pass as Corpse and Midget gripe back and forth at each other. Then a young beautiful woman with long flowing blond hair enters the room. Alex, and Alba both quickly jump too their feet and lightly bow, as the woman talks.

“We are ready for you all now. Follow me.”

Alba and Alex quickly rush after the woman as she walks out of the room, followed by Corpse, the two that didn’t introduce themselves, and the gentleman Baron. Midget pulls on my arm as we follow at the back of the group.

We enter a large room with ten chairs lined up in front of a podium with six chairs. Four of which are filled, and two empty. The first one is a large dark haired man covered in red scales, he has crimson leathery wings and yellow slitted eyes. Next is a proud noble looking grey haired man wearing a long blue robe. Madam Erin sits in the next chair, followed by a sickly looking man with scraggily blond hair wearing a thick puffy fur coat.

After leading us to the chairs having us sit in numerical order leaving the first seat empty. The goddess like blond woman that lead us to the room, then takes the second from the last empty chairs on the podium.

Off to one side of the room is a table with 6 other people sit at.

The large dragon-looking man stands and speaks.

Dragon-like Man: “New bloods, we have gathered here for you to prove your worth. Any of you that we deem unable to become one of us will leave here without obtaining their own dungeon crystal.”

He turns to the group sitting at the table. “Now Dominic what happened to Alfred?”

A young man wearing polished heavy armor stands and speaks.

Dominic: “After giving Alfred his dungeon he decided on his own to train in my dungeon to strengthen his monsters. He however ran into a group of human soldiers doing the same, and he didn’t live though the encounter.”

Dominic bows then sits back down.

Dragon-like Man: “Very well. Next is Lance. Maric, how did Lance’s training go?”

A tall proud looking mad with over flashy looking clothes stands and says with a smile

Maric: “Yes, like his predecessor before him. Lance brought great pride to the Lance name and the #12 dungeon. He was a very well rounded individual. He managed to win the first 5 days in a row, before suffering a loss. He would train hard on days that he failed, and even though he struggled quite a bit at the end of the month he managed to win half of the 28 battles.” –Maric bows then takes his seat.-

Dragon-like Man: “Not bad indeed. Bella, how faired your rookie #108?”

A gorgeous woman stands. She has long black hair that flows like water, a slender body in a tight silken dress, and with a voice that sounds like a song she speaks.

Bella: “Newt, he also managed to win 14 of the 28 battles, he took last years failed #108 [Frog] as his boss monster and together they fought bravely and even hunted two human groups within my dungeon.” –Bella bows and takes her seat.-

Dragon-like Man: “Two human groups before even having his own dungeon. Most impressive, next we have #212. Madam Erin how was his progress?”

Madam Erin stands and speaks “Well where to start. He has yet to choose a name for himself, He failed his very first day, he even choose that failed #37 core staying in my dungeon. You remember the one? The one terrified of humans. Well he took her as his boss monster.”

Corpse is audibly laughing two seats down from me and several of the people at the table are talking back in forth with jabs directed at me…

A sly smile creeps across her face then she continues. “Well giving the proud number he had to live up to I took it a little rough on him from the start. I only gave him 2000xp to start off with and no boss monster for the first 4 days. I even sent attacks over twice the agreed strength at him. However the pup never lost a single battle after the first day. 27 of 28 battles won.”

As Madam Erin sits down the table is abuzz with talk again while the other recruits sit speechless.

Dragon-like Man: “I am sure Leland would be proud to see such a man to take up his mantle, now Astar. You trained #344 yes?

A very nervous young man sitting at the table stands bowing twice before speaking.

Astar: “Yes, that is correct. Marge was very determined right from the start, but unfortunately she quickly ran out of xp and was only able to succeed 8 of the 28 days. –he bows twice more before sitting down.-

Dragon-looking Man: How unfortunate. Dyson, I am sure the same won’t be said about your #405?

A man with a slicked back black hair, beady eyes, and a crooked smile stands and speaks.

Dyson: “Corpse might not be good as the great 212.” –He says sarcastically. – “But he still managed to pull a solid 20 wins out of his ass, and of course all against human invaders.” –He then plops back down in his chair.-

Dragon-looking Man: “Intriguing, Lady Lucille, I believe you had both of the next cores #593, and #584?”

The goddess like woman that lead us to the room stands.

Lucille: “That is correct. Neither seemed impressive at the beginning, but once Alba ran out of xp. The two of them began working together pulling a solid 17 wins. Alba has also decided to give up her right to a crystal as long as she is able to stay with Alex.”

Dragon-like Man: “I see. Mason you had core #712?

The little girl with twin tails bounces excitedly as a man covered in a long black cloak stands and speaks in a raspy voice.

Mason: “Yes, annoying little midget… She filled her dungeon with little fairies and pink balls of fluff. Yet somehow she managed to still pull off 15 victories.” -When Mason sits back down Midget squeals with delight.-

Dragon-looking Man: “Hmm, Faron, I believe the last was with you?

The older man in the long blue robe next to the dragon-looking man nods and stands.

Faron: “A man after my own heart, #792 Baron fought the good fight, but I just don’t believe he was completely up for the task. He only managed 12 victories.”

Dragon-like Man: Very well… teachers I thank you for watching over our young bloods. You are now dismissed.

The six from the table rise and all bow expect for Dyson. Then they all walk out of the room while talking amongst each other.

Dragon-looking Man: “#344, you wished to remain with Astar if you failed? He has approved and is waiting for you.”

Marge stands and lightly bows leaving the room.

Dragon-looking Man: “#792, you choose to live among humans if you failed so.”

Lucille waves her hand and Baron’s chair becomes empty.

Dragon-looking Man: “#212, #405, and #594, you may return to the waiting room will we call for you again.

The three of us stand, and walk out of the room. As we head back to the waiting room #593 [Alba] joins us.

Alba: “He said with the agreement we made with Lucille I can stay with you.” She says as she grabs Alex’s arm.

Not an even a minute after entering the room and sitting down, the door opens and in bounces  #712 Midget. She sticks her tongue out at Corpse, then runs over and jumps onto the couch next to me rocking back and forth while singing.

Midget “I made it! I made it!”

“It looks like it is down to Lance, or Newt. Who do you think it will be?”

Midget: “Lance! He looks nice!” she says rocking back and forth on the couch laughing.

Corpse: “Idiot, surely Newt will join us. He has after all the only one other than me to take out humans already.”

Alex: “I have to agree with Corpse. In every other aspect they seem to be around the same, so I think the two human groups Newt killed will be the deciding factor.”

After 5 or so minutes we are called back to the main room, and when we arrive we see Newt still there. Once we enter the elders all stand, and all of them but Madam Erin move down from the podium, congratulate us, then leaves the room.

Madam Erin: “Well pups, you have made it this far.”

She steps down from the podium and moves over to the table. Sliding her hand across the table a large 3D map appears.

Madam Erin: “Now each of you will select your location to begin building your dungeon.”

A screen pops in front of me and by the other rookie’s reactions one opens for them as well.

Congratulations, you have succeeded your training and will now be granted your dungeon crystal. Once you select your location on the [Elder’s Map], you will be transported there and you will begin setting up your dungeon.

Corpse quickly looks at the map, points to a location towards the center of the map and with a nod from Madam Erin he disappears.

Newt and Alex both point to areas in the eastern area of the map, and likewise they disappear as well. Along with Alba who disappeared with Alex.

Midget looks at me and says. “Contact me once you get set up OK?” She then points to an area in the southern area and disappears.

I look over the map for a while… Trees, Mountains, Valleys, Plains, Cities, Rivers, Islands… I just don’t know… I look to Madam Erin for help.

Madam Erin: “Oh, no. This is a very personal decision pup. After all this is where you will spend the rest of your life.”

“How did everyone else make the decision so easy then?”

Madam Erin: “Just choose the location that calls to you.”

… I look at the map again… I spend what feels like hours just staring at all the little details of the map. Finally I find a little village at the base of a small mountain. From the village is a path leading halfway up the mountain where there is a large pond. Further up the mountain is a tiny cave, and somehow I just know. This is it.

“Thanks for everything Madam Erin, tell Thirty-seven hi for me.”

I point at the cave in the map and with a pull on my chest I find myself standing in a small, dark, smelly cave. It is at that moment I can hear breathing and I realize I am not alone here…

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