The next few days seem to be fairing quite a bit better. We still have dealt with quite a few Oni, but nothing on the scale of the first night. I figured if the location Madam Erin is sending us to really is the source of the Oni then heading there in a straight line would mean all the Oni meant for our forest would pass by us, so we are taking a bit of a roundabout way.
We are getting pretty close to the location Madam Erin described, and the Oni have begun to pick up, but not near enough for me to think that this would be the source in which they all come from. When we round the bend of a small hill we see a large two-storied building, or at least that is what it used to as it has been mostly burned, and it doesn’t look recent.
There are quite a few Oni milling about that haven’t seemed to spot us yet, which is odd considering their normal behavior they usually seem like they can just sense me. We then notice next to the ruined building there is a small opening in the side of the hill that appears to be some kind of mine or tunnel and we spot a few Oni exit from within.
Yuji: “This really can’t be the source of all Oni could it?”
“I wouldn’t think so, and the Oni are even acting strangely.”
Akane: “Well their numbers don’t seem to be enough to cause us a problem should we take them out and have a look?”
“I don’t know their behavior is worrying to me…”
Yuji: “That amount is not a problem even for just us, so why don’t you hide here just in case something is up, and we will make the first move.”
“I don’t like to be treated like some delicate flower, but most Oni would have sensed me and rushed already, so I guess it could be some kind of trap.”
Akane: “Leave it to us Mistress.”
Yuji and Akane quickly jump up from the hill and start to move forward with their weapons drawn, but then the Oni do something that is truly disturbing. They quickly run away retreating into the tunnel…
Yuji: “That’s new… What do we do now?”
“I don’t like this… Not one bit…”
I draw my staff and move forward joining the others. We keep an eye on the mouth of the tunnel, but we investigate the ruined building and the surrounding area.
There is remains of campfires, bones of animals, and even a few adventurer remains. It looks to be something like you would see from a normal goblin cave that isn’t part of a dungeon.
Akane: “If Oni really do come from a dungeon you don’t suppose these ones were released do you?”
“I don’t know, none of this makes any sense…”
Yuji: “Well isn’t that why we are here?”
“I guess you’re right, but I still don’t like it.”
We regroup and make sure we are prepared and then enter the mouth of the tunnel. From the opening it appears to be the remains of a mine, but the tunnels have been altered since the time it was a mine. We don’t find any Oni right at the beginning, but there are sounds being made that make it seem like there are some not much further ahead.
We decide to press on and eventually run into a small group of Oni. Combating them is quite simple, but they don’t appear to be fighting like the Oni we usually encounter, more like the typical monster. We look around the area a bit more finding more scattered hides and bones of small animals. We come up to an area that has a door leading from the main shaft.
Quietly and carefully we check it out pretty good then open it up, but as soon as we open the door small daggers pour though the door. We quickly jump back but it doesn’t appear to be a trap… It looks like someone just filled the room with daggers over and over again till you couldn’t possibly fit another in and then shut the door.
“They look to be just standard iron daggers…”
We spend a few minutes looking them over but every one of them is identical as the last, not even any tool marks so they appear like they have been summoned with [Menu] and not crafted by hand…
Satoshi: “I believe there are more here then there was before…”
“How could you possibly tell? There are literally thousands of them.”
Akane: “He is right… When we first started looking at them the bottom of the stack was only to the third binding of the door, now it’s up to the fourth.”
“Maybe it just shifted.”
Akane: “I don’t think so…”
We sit there for a bit longer just staring at the daggers. Even without touching them one will tumble from the stack every so often yet the top of the pile doesn’t appear to be diminishing in the slightest.
Yuji: “You don’t think it’s a treasure rift do you?”
“It seems like other one appears every minute, how much would that rift cost with almost 1500 per day at thousands on thousands max limit.”
Akane: “I think we should push some of these out of the way and shut the door back… If not we might not be able to get back through here later.”
For now I agree and after clearing the way enough to shut the door we do just that. As we progress deeper into the mine we encounter several more groups of the normal like Oni, and even several other types of monsters like giant bats and slimes.
“If you threw everything we know about Shima out the window, you would think this is a typical dungeon if it wasn’t for the fact that it appears the monsters actually had to sustain themselves.”
Yuji: “But if it’s not a dungeon these types of monsters wouldn’t coexist with one another in a natural setting, and they would all attack and try to eat one another. Instead it looks like the Oni are taking care of the other monsters bringing in animals and there are even some remains of what looks to be more adventurers or merchants.”
We continue on for several more hours encountering varies types of monsters, and even a few more of the side rooms one containing endless amounts of iron swords, and another stuffed full of leather armor.
The monsters are already pretty skittish, but once we are fighting a pretty large group of Oni we start to hear a rumble and they really begin to panic. They decide to then completely ignore us as they run to the nearest uneven area of the wall hugging it.
Akane: “This doesn’t look good… What do we do?” –She says as the rumbling continues to get louder.-
“I don’t know… Just run!”
We then start to run back towards the mouth of the mine, but not before we catch glimpse of a horde of Oni charging behind us. When one of the charging Oni clips one of the ones we were fighting that was huddled against the wall, and they swiftly trample it and keep up with their charge.
I don’t exactly how big the horde is but they fill the entire mineshaft as they charge closer and closer to us. If we get out in the open then there might be too many to handle, but if we make a stand here then perhaps we might be able to prevent them from overrunning us.
“Just up ahead is that curve, it gets a bit more narrow there. I think are best bet is to try to hold them off there.”
Akane: “What if there are tons more behind them?”
“Then maybe we can block their path with the dead ones. If we get out in the open we might get surrounded and really be in trouble then.”
Yuji: “At least let us be up front they might ignore us like before.”
“I don’t think it matters this time, there are so many you would end up like that other Oni that lost its grip on the wall.”
Akane: “Wait! Instead of the curve, what the dagger room? We can fling open that door and make a stand there, If we can’t block their path with their bodies maybe the daggers will do the trick.”
“The tunnel is pretty narrow there, but it could take hours for enough daggers to appear to block off the path. It might be able to increase are chanced though even if it is by only a small amount…The only thing is that is quite a bit further ahead, can everyone keep up till then?”
Saki: “I should be ok Mistress…”
“Alright then I might have an idea…”
We continue on, the room with the leather armors is already behind us, but we pop open the door to the iron swords as we go past as well. The tunnel is really wide there so it probably won’t do us much good, but who knows.
As we start to approach the dagger room I can tell Yuji and Saki both are quite tired. Once we reach the door Akane flings it open and I quickly cast another [Stone Pillar]. I don’t have any point of reference just targeting inside the room a few feet.
There is an awful screeching and grinding sound that fills the mine as the stone pillar forms in the middle of what must be thousands of daggers, but with nowhere else to go the daggers pour into the shaft. It doesn’t slow down the Oni at all, but they have no protection on their feet so as they plow through them quite a few shred their feet and legs causing them to collapse.
The other Oni just trample over the top of them, but that alone is enough that half of the tunnel is already full of daggers and bodies. Using another [Stone Pillar] I try to narrow down the path even more. I then fling other spells through the gap making sure to recast [Stone Pillar] as every third spell.
With the others help we manage to block off the path completely, but the Oni are still trying to force their way through. I eventually forgo the [Stone Pillar] and after a long winded fight I don’t know if we cleared them all or there are just too many corpses for any Oni to get through…
“Don’t let you guard down, but we should take a moment to catch our breaths now…”
After collapsing on the floor Akane says. “They seemed to be like the Oni we are used too… Just what the hell is going on!?”
“I don’t have a clue, but they came from deeper within, so that means after we rest a bit we are going to have to clear the tunnel and go check it out.”
Yuji: “This is getting to dangerous, maybe we should tell Madam Erin what we learned as say it was too much for us…”
“No, I have to do this to help Daddy! We have been in this mine for half of the day. If they only attack that way once or twice a day we should be able to handle it.”
Akane: “Now that we know about it we can also be more mindful of choke points, and places to make a stand if we are forced to deal with another horde.”
Yuji: “You are both crazy! There is a literal wall of corpses right there, and we don’t even know if there are more Oni still alive behind it or not!”
Satoshi: “I don’t like it either, but I think if there were any more alive they would still be trying to push through, and I don’t see or hear anything…”
Yuji: “I will do it if that is your order Mistress, but let’s make it clear right here and now that I think this is a very bad idea…”
“I’m sorry Yuji, but we must…”
Yuji is sitting next to the wall, he sighs, closes his eyes and lightly hits the back of his head against the wall a few times, and then jumps up.
Yuji: “Fine… We should start clearing these bodies then, we don’t know when the next wave will be and we need to be able to be able to see.”
I don’t know how many Oni we killed, but they are packed so tight into the tunnel that it takes us two hours to clear enough of them to make a path large enough for us to squeeze through. We also don’t want to get stuck behind a wall of daggers, so we spend another 30 minutes clearing the area enough to shut the door back.
We then work our way back though the tunnels. When we arrive back at the door we flung open from the sword room, not many have appeared, the swords must be on a slower spawn rate. Either that or there is just something about it we just don’t understand.
Quite a few Oni sliced themselves up on the swords though so it looks like it was worth opening the door, we do decide to clear the area and shut that door back as well. By the time we reach the area we started at when the horde of Oni tore through it looks like the other Oni we were fighting have moved on and only a few remains of those who fell during the swarm remain on the ground.
“We need to push forward a bit more to try to find another location to hold another wave off, but after we do I say we get some rest. It is already starting to get quite late.”
We get lucky because it takes us another few hours before we find a suitable location, and still have not encountered another horde of Oni. We have however encountered several groups of the other types of monsters… leaving us to wonder how they managed to survive the horde.
We take turns keeping a watchful eye for Oni, but manage to make it the entire night without another incident. The next morning as we start to progress deeper the “non-dungeon?” monsters seem to be picking up in difficulty.
We also find to more locations that would be suitable to make a stand against another horde, but we haven’t had any indication of their being another horde. We encounter a few more of the rooms stuffed with items.
One of which was full of bows, another full of light iron armor, and one full of flawed and uncut gems. I have to admit though even though we passed by the equipment rooms, we all at least loaded up a few of our pockets with handfuls of gems.
“Yuji that’s enough… I said the gems were ok because they won’t weight us down like the equipment would, but if you stuff that much in your pockets it will become a problem.”
Yuji: “I wanted to take enough back for Chika, Hotaru, Rin, Yuzuki, and Kaori as well.”
Akane: “You’re not going to impress them with gems of that quality…”
Yuji: “At least I am trying to be nice!”
Akane: “Nice would have been mentioning Akihiro as well, but you only mentioned the women. That means all you are trying to do is get in their pants!”
“What is the deal with you two? I thought you two were a couple?”
Yuji: “Mistress that has been over for weeks…”
“Weeks…? Not even a few days before we left you were still going at it!”
Akane: “You expect us to give up sex completely until we find someone else? No thanks… Our situation works our fine… But I think I about got Akihiro just where I want him, so after that your own you own Yuji.”
Yuji: “That’s why I was going to take the girls some jewels!”
I let out a deep sigh… “Just don’t overdo it… But Satoshi, now that we are on the subject what about we work the kinks out till I can finally convince Takeshi to come off his high horse?”
Saki jumps forward blushing with her arms raised and objects. “Mistress Inari, you…. You can’t have him!”
“Can’t is a strong word. All I have to do is simply command.”
Saki: “Please I am begging you Mistress no!”
“Damnit I knew I should of gave you the same command as Akane… Fine, but you owe me big time!”
Saki made the bold claim like it was natural, but I think only after Satoshi said her name that she realized what she just did. She quickly turns looking at him with a horrified expression and can’t possibly blush any brighter as she quickly squats down covering her face with her hands.
Satoshi: “Saki-san…” –He says again placing on hand on her shoulder while taking one of her hands that she is using to cover her face.-
After taking her hand he pulls her back to her feet. She lowers her other hand but is still blushing profusely, and she turns look away from him. He raises the hand that is on her shoulder up caressing her cheek.
With how tall Satoshi is and how short Saki is he practically has to take a knee as he brings his lips to hers kissing her.
I sigh… “Really… You are going to do that here, and now?”
Satoshi: “You’re right Mistress… I’m sorry.” –He says standing back up straight. He then tries to take a step back but the hand that holds Saki’s in it doesn’t budge as she doesn’t turn it loose.-
Satoshi then smiles at her caressing her face again, she then just nods and after a tight squeeze of his hand she lets it go. Finally we are able to resume our trek though the mines, but as the time starts to approach that the horde of Oni attacked us yesterday draws near we begin to get nervous.
Akane: “The last area that made a good staging area is quite a ways back…”
“Let’s just keep pushing forward. We don’t even know if it’s a once a day thing or if it was something completely different. Even if it is once a day maybe we will get lucky and find another good spot before they arrive.”
As we keep pushing forward though it seems the shaft is getting larger and larger. Even the narrowest point is still larger than the main shaft was by default now. After fighting a group of Oni with monstrous looking dogs, who turned out to be much tougher then the Oni themselves, we know that at if the horde of Oni goes through once a day it should happen at any moment now…
Akane: “This doesn’t look good Mistress. If they attack us now there is no way to prevent them from getting behind us.”
“We will retreat before it comes to that, but I don’t want to waste the last few hours of travel if we don’t have to.”
However before long we start to hear the low rumble through the mine.
Akane: “Let’s go back now, we can get back to the last location and they will still be far enough back that we will have a chance to catch our breath before the fight.”
“Damnit… I guess we have no choice.”
We start the retreat… At a much hurried pace we reach the last fortifiable location after thirty minutes. We then try to catch our breath while the rumbling continues to grow louder and louder. We don’t have the advantage as we did the day before with the dagger room, so we just start to prepare for a tough fight.
I quickly decide to empty my pockets scattering the oddly shaped gemstones across the ground.
Yuji: “Mistress! What are you doing!?”
“They truly aren’t worth anything anyway, and the Oni have no protection on their feet, this should be at least enough to slow down the first dozen or so.”
Saki and Satoshi nod and quickly empty their pockets as well scattering their gemstones as well. Akane follows suit but Yuji looks on rather disappointed. Pouting he starts to scatter gemstones covering twice the area that the rest of us did combine… Just how many of them things did he pocket…
As soon as the Oni come into view Saki and I begin casting spells. Once they start to trample the gemstones many stumble and fall. We don’t even have to deal with them ones as the Oni following closely behind them just trample over the top of them.
We end up having to fall back a few times, Saki is completely drained of magic, and I am not in too good of shape either, but the flow of Oni eventually stops even without us ever managing to completely block off the tunnel this time.
After a short rest I find Yuji pouting as he picks through the bloodied gemstones.
“Just let them be Yuji, maybe we will find something more worthwhile further in.”
Yuji’s shoulders slack as he drops one of the stones back to the ground and sighs.
After resting we slowly start to head back deeper into the mine, but trying to conserve stamina and letting our magic return it takes us almost two hours to return to where we started. We continue on for a few more hours but having to fight a few more of them beastly dogs we no longer have enough magic to risk pushing in too much deeper at the moment, and we still haven’t found another location good for bottlenecking the Oni.
“We should be fine resting here for the night if the Oni only do press through once a day, but everyone sleep with one eye open, just in case… Satoshi you take the first watch with me, and the rest of you can get some sleep.”
Saki looks a little worried as she looks between Satoshi and me.
“You really think so little of your Mistress that I would try to steal him away from you after being so adamantly refused?”
Akane & Yuji: “Yes…”
“For that comment Satoshi, Saki, and I will all go to bed, and you two can take the first two watches.”
Yuji: “That’s no fair!”
Akane: “What about having a magic user available?”
“We didn’t get attacked last night, and if something happens you just have to wake us up.”
Akane: “As you order Mistress…”
“You two go ahead and lay down and I will catch up” –I say to Saki and Satoshi.-
I watch them go lay down 10 feet away from one another and shake my head.
“In a few hours wake me up and I will take care of the rest.”
Akane: “But you said…”
“Are you going to ignore one of my orders?”
Akane: “No Mistress…”
As I move over to Saki and Satoshi their distances couldn’t be any further apart but they are staring straight into each other’s eyes and blushing.
“Come on you two of we are too far apart something might sneak into camp and take us out one at a time without anyone being the wiser.”
They start blushing even more, Saki curls up in a ball and Satoshi rolls over.
“Fine I will lay right here then!” –I say laying just a few feet from Satoshi.-
Saki quickly jumps up moving between Satoshi and me lying back down, and you can even see Satoshi jump as she lightly reaches forward grabbing the hem of his shirt.
“That’s a bit better, but more like this.” –I scoot over pushing Saki right against Satoshi’s back so now she is sandwiched between us. I then stretch out..-
Stretching out has giving me a bit of distance, but even from here I can practically feel the heat from Saki’s blushing cheeks as she is curled into a ball at the small of Satoshi’s back. After feeling quite pleased with myself I then try to get a bit of sleep.
I have never worried too much about comfort, I just have a standard bed in the core room that I sleep in, but I am starting to reconsider after resting for a few hours on the rock floor of the mine. It is by far a restful sleep and I am still a bit tired when Akane moves over to wake me, but I have no problem getting up.
“Alright, you two get some rest now.”
Akane and Yuji nod then go lie down…I don’t understand it. They are no longer dating, but still sleeping together, and even now the embrace they are sharing in the floor of the mine is enough for me to feel jealous… Are they really not still together…?
After I am sure they are well asleep I move back over to Saki and Satoshi. Saki is still curled in a ball, but Satoshi has rolled over and is curled up around Saki. Without disturbing Saki I shake Satoshi awake. When he realizes the situation he is in he quickly jumps up while blushing.
“We need to talk.”
Satoshi looks a little worried as he looks down at Saki’s sleeping figure and then nods and we go sit a couple feet away.
“I didn’t give her enough credit, I thought with her personality and body I would have nothing to worry about… I can’t get you to change your mind?”
Satoshi: “I will do whatever Mistress commands, but as Saki-san said. I too ask you please…”
I let out a deep sigh and my shoulders droop.
“Fine… Then how do I get Takeshi?”
“Takeshi… You both are a lot alike. I am asking what do I do to make him mine?”
Satoshi: “That’s not a fair question… Mistress only needs to be herself.”
“No matter who it is Mommy and Daddy, Tatsuo, the villagers, I am always what they need me to be but for Takeshi I have tried all that and nothing works, so I am just myself, and that’s the person he doesn’t like the most…”
Satoshi: “Mistress you don’t give yourself enough credit. Takeshi will never look at another the way he looks at you.”
“I am not saying the way he looks at me! He looks at me like a finely crafted doll. He enjoys what he sees, takes good care of me, but always keeps me on a shelf at arm’s length. I want to be like the one he plays with, the one he squeezes all the stuffing out of. The one if he is running through the mud he is dragging right along with him, the one that if he is asleep is there in his arms, and the one that if he cries is the one there to bring him comfort. I want to be that doll, how do I become that doll…?”
Satoshi: “Mistress… I don’t know…”
I let out another deep sigh.
Satoshi: “But what about when we left the village?”
“What do you mean?”
Satoshi: “He didn’t squeeze out the stuffing, but you definitely made it off the shelf. What did you do different?”
“I don’t know…”
Satoshi: “Maybe if you find the answer to that then maybe you will be taken off the shelf more.”
“Not as helpful as I would have liked. I wish you just said shove my tongue down his throat or something, but I guess it wouldn’t be that easy…”
Satoshi: “Please Mistress, don’t try anything so reckless…”
“Don’t worry, to do that he would have to at least kiss me, and I can’t even get that out of him… Then again I think Aoi has a bit of binding magic. Maybe use it to pen him to the bed and then…”
Satoshi: “Mistress please! Instead of being on the shelf I would think that would get you locked in the cupboard for trying something so reckless!”
“Ugh… It’s so frustrating!”
I accidently said that so loud that it woke up Saki. She quickly looks around noticing Satoshi and my absence. After finding us she quickly approaches.
Saki: “Is everything alright…?”
Satoshi nods and we then finish the next few hours of the early morning watch till it’s time to wake Akane and Yuji. Still a bit frustrated from the conversation with Satoshi when it’s time to wake them I kick Akane in the backside.
The gasp that escapes her mouth as she digs her hands deeper into Yuji’s kimono only serve to frustrate me more however.
“Get up you two!”
That is enough to cause Yuji to jolt awake, but it still takes a few more tries before Akane gets up as well.
“We need to put as much distance as we can in before the next horde of Oni attack, that way we have a better chance of finding another narrow spot.”
All: “Yes Mistress…”
After that we set out…