Chapter 127: Calm Before the Storm?

 

I have one more day before the day in which I am meeting with Maric, and there is a meeting with the Mage’s Guild today. I start the morning much like most ever other morning with a cup of coffee with Belinda.

It won’t be too long now that our entire situation is going to be quite different. I am sure there are dungeon cores out there that know how to deal with children. I even think I have managed to do ok while being around baby Listel, but my soon I will have my very own baby. This is a situation no other dungeon core has experienced before, and I am not too sure if I am ready for it.

With the death of Faron, the baby on the way, and the old gods poking around days like today are going to be few and far in-between so I should enjoy it as best as I can. After breakfast, or at least after my coffee, I head to the dungeon core room to check on the bunnies and the dungeon.

The bunnies have been holding the dungeon rather well, but every day the adventurers only get stronger. The clockwork floor has already been half explored already and there are 3 groups in particular that explore that floor each week, and each time they make it a bit further.

Lilah has built up quite a bit of xp for the next floor, so I decide we can begin working on it. From the small area behind the elemental orb locked door I make steps down to the new level of the dungeon. From the stairs I make a long corridor 50ft wide and 100ft long.

The main difference I make to this room is a very high ceiling making this room cost double, but that is still only 2000xp so I am far from worried. The adventurers that make it this deep in the dungeon are no joking matter so I am no longer going to pull any punches.

The floor itself has a steep slope, so even though the ceiling is at least 60ft above you after stepping off the stairs, it is only 30ft above you at the far end of the room. That will make the adventurers have to fight a literal uphill battle all the way through the room.

That also means every monster starting at the other end will have the high ground. I also place platforms running the entire length of the room halfway up the walls to place mages and archers to rain down on the adventurers as they push their way forward.

I even provide a half-wall along the platforms making it very difficult for the adventurers to return fire at the mages and archers. They can either hug the walls where only one side of the monsters have a clear shot or just try to push though as quick as possible. Monsters coming down the slope however will give the archers and mages more time to deal damage.

I will have Lilah add rifts as she builds the xp back up, but for now I am just adding monsters without them in hopes to acquire stronger evolutions, and to just give Lilah the idea of what I want. After all our elemental monsters evolutions have far exceeded that of my normal type monsters. Even my strongest non-elemental type monster, a Troll-Brute, is only as expensive as the monsters we have rifts of in the deepest part of each elemental wing, and that doesn’t even include the boss type monsters.

Adventurers will have to pass the minotaur to get this far, so a handful of Troll-Brutes wouldn’t be that hard on level ground, but with set up I think they will work for now. Trolls aren’t exactly sharpshooters, so I can’t use them for the raised platforms, but the monsters up there will be provided with a fair deal of cover, so I use the strongest form of orcs and orc mystics to line the platforms.

I then start working on the next room, and I make it massively large. I have quite a few rooms that are 100ft by 100ft, but they always have low ceilings, this room cost 5 times the amount because I give it a 50ft ceiling.

At least it is 50ft tall at the center of the room, as this room has uneven flooring as well. This time the entire things slope to the center of the room creating a valley of sorts, and along the walls I again add platforms for archers and mages.

This is a good place to utilize the feathered serpent so I throw it in the room and line the platforms along the walls with more orcs and orc mystics. The feathered serpent has the flight advantage, but is still the same cost as the minotaur, so I add a few more troll brutes for good measure.

The next room is quite a bit smaller, but not any less in height. This floor slopes to the center as well, but instead of putting the platforms along the wall they extended across the entire room from corner to corner.

This will give the archers a bit more mobility and won’t give the adventurers any place to hide, but it will also make them a bit easier to hit as well. Loading up the platform unlocks the orc hero and orc elder, but they only cost as much as ogres, so unless I unlock an even higher tier later I instruct Lilah to hold of rifts for a while.

I then grit my teeth as I summon in two minotaurs to guard the floor. That is 100,000xp, before my discount due to my Uniquely Gifted skill, just for the two of them, but if the adventurers made it this far, I don’t even know if that is enough to be honest. From this room I add a door on either side adding a small hallway with a couple more troll brutes in each one.

I then add two rooms to each of the two hallways. For those 4 rooms the floor is raised to the corner opposite of the door giving a handful of troll brutes I put in each room the high ground again.

Back in the room with the minotaurs I add one more door opposite of the entrance to continue on. This door leads to a hallway with three more doors, and when I add a handful of trolls to this hallway I finally unlock a higher tier of troll.

These merciless trolls are stronger than any trolls I have faced, but their cost is still less than the minotaur, earth dragon, or griffon, so I am not quite sure just how strong they are.

From the three doors I added to this hallway I put three more rooms. The two on either side are roughly the same size as the room with the two minotaurs, but the one between this is far more narrow. When I place doors from these rooms they are right next to the wall where the rooms come together so on the other side the doors would be practically side by side. These rooms as well all slope upwards to the point where the doors exiting the room are at the highest point and the entrance at the lowest.

Trolls are quite ugly by default, but these new merciless trolls are exceptionally foul looking as I add a few of them to each of the three rooms. We are running out of xp quite quickly now, so I need to start wrapping this floor up.

From the three doors exiting the last rooms I add a Y shaped hallway leaving a small area for the center door which I leave empty for now, and focus on the Y shaped hallway. The floor slopes upwards at a far higher grade then any of the other rooms where the adventurers will trouble climbing it if it was slippery.

To do just that I make a raised platform where the Y connects and fill a few buckets of oil that the mages and archers on the platform can use to slow down the adventurers. The oil is of course a flammable liquid so if all else fails the mages can light it up and the only place the adventurers have to go is back into the other rooms.

I am just about out of xp now so from the end of the Y shaped hallway I put a single room that has a steep slope to the center. I line the walls with more orcs, and that uses the last of the xp put aside for the new floor.

As for my crystal, I am not as worried about adventurers now as I am other dungeon cores, so using some of the xp to use in an emergency I put a very small room off of the back of this last room. I make the room small enough that it is only big enough to hold my crystal so you can’t teleport into the room and destroy it.

As for the door, it is locked by a three pressure switches on each of the raised platforms. I first tried to put a single switch outside in the small room at the head of the Y shaped hallway, but [Menu] would not allow that, so this will have to work for now.

This will at least prevent any one person from being able to reach my crystal by themselves. Even Dyson would be unable to reach the crystal alone now.

Lilah: “Master spent all of Lilah’s xp…”

“You have a bunch more monsters to play with now, and once you build up some more xp we will then discuss how to handle the rift situation on that floor. I do however agree that it was indeed a lot of xp…”

I visit with the bunnies for a bit and make sure they know what I expect out of the new floor, I then decide to work on my magic stones a bit more.

I make a few more stones that use spells that I know, but the main thing holding me back now is lack of magic stones large enough to use for more powerful spells. Even the strongest monsters in my elemental wing only drop magic stones large enough for me to make rune stones for spells that cost 50mp, and that is only 1/10th of the magic in which the [Gate] spell uses.

I do try something new with the [Shadow Pocket] I am not quite sure how it will work while using runes, will it slowly drain the magic and then dump everything once the spell expires, will the items disappear, or how exactly will it work?

Making after etching the last rune on the magic stone I however receive a message.

 

 

New Enchantment Available

 

Magical Storage                               Cost: 1000xp*

*Magical Storage enchantment creates a single cubic foot of useable space, the enchantment can be enlarged by an additional cubic foot for each additional 1000xp added at the time of adding the enchantment.

Well that is interesting. If this magic stone now has the Magical Storage enchantment then the question is how large is the space? I squeeze the stone on the sides activating the [Runic Activation] rune and a small line forms in front of the stone like when I cast [Shadow Pocket].

I don’t know if I can make the opening larger, because as it stands it wouldn’t be able to fit much though the opening, but first I need to find out how large the storage space is. I pull out a few worthless items from the dungeon inventory and push them through the line.

One by one they disappear though the line. I end up having to grab more items and begin shoving more and more through… Just how big is this thing? I finally reach a point when I can’t push anything else through.

I then start pulling the items out stacking it all together to see just how big the space actually is. Once everything is back out of the magic stone I have a small pile in front of me. The magic stone storage isn’t terribly large, but for only costing the price of the magic stone and the magic it took me for [Runic Writing] it is worth at least 3000xp worth of the Magical Storage enchantment.

The other runic magic stones power is based on the size of the stone, maybe if I use a larger stone the space will be larger? This stone was already a pretty big one, so I will test it out on a smaller stone and see how much it shrinks.

I make another one with a smaller stone and this time it holds about 2 cubic feet worth of items, I try an even smaller stone and predictably I can store only 1 cubic foot. I try an even smaller stone just to see what happens but it doesn’t seem to work.

I now at least know the smallest stone I can use for Magical Storage and how much it increases per increase in magic stone size. Runic magic stones I don’t use the [Runic Activation] rune on have seemed to used my magical power to gauge its strength instead of the size of the stone, so I decide to give that a try as well.

When I cast the [Runic Activation] spell on the stone without the rune for it the opening still remains the same size. I might be able to fit a sword though it, but something like armor or a shield would be quite difficult.

I then start filling the stone with items… I eventually give up removing at least 5 cubic feet worth of items back out storing back in the dungeon’s inventory and try a different approach. I transfer out to the lake just outside the mouth of the dungeon, looking around to make sure nobody is watching then hold the stone under the water.

The lake is rather small, it is more like a large pond, but even still to see the water level start to reduce was it enters the stone is quite frightening. I don’t know how much water entered the stone, but the level of the lake dropped by at least a quarter of an inch before it quit taking in any more water.

I don’t know how much water that is, but I am sure it is quite a lot, but how do I judge just how much? Well if anyone can figure it out it would be Lila, so I transfer back to the dungeon core room to ask her.

Lila: “With the exact measurements of the lake I could give you an accurate number, but I can’t guarantee anything more than a rough estimate without it.”

“It doesn’t have to be exact. A rough estimate should be fine…”

Lila: “Let’s see… The lake is pretty circular, and at any giving point it is roughly 300ft across… If you said a ¼ of an inch that would be… 1473 cubic feet, but that again is just a very rough estimate.”

“1400!?”

Lila: “1473…”

“That would make the value of this runic stone almost 1.5 million xp! Even teaching everyone the [Runic Activation] spell would make these stones far outweigh their cost.”

Lylah: “But what happens when the duration runs out?”

“When I used the spell to activate one of the [Light] stones it lasts over a month, and [Shadow Pocket] works quite differently than a normal spell, so I don’t even know if it will run out. There is a problem with the size of the opening though, if I can’t make the opening any larger I guess it doesn’t matter how big the storage area is.”

Lilah: “With most stones Master makes, the spell’s duration is based on Master’s magic power, but if Master’s magic power determines the size of the [Shadow Pocket] stone, what determines how long it will work?”

“I think they would both be based of my magic power, a normal runic stone using the [Runic Activation] spell increases in not only duration but strength when I use them in that way, but even if I have to recast the [Runic Activation] spell once a day for the stone to continue to function it is still easier than using the [Shadow Pocket] spell by itself.”

Lila: “If Master can make the opening larger…”

“Even using a couple thousand xp to make an item that just has the enchantment I learned, will keep [Shadow Pocket] from lowering our max mp, so if I can’t make the runic stone any better, that is still a viable option.”

If the duration does expire, and the items stored disappear, it is best to find out now instead of when an important items is stored inside, so I decide to do like I did with the [Light] stone and leave it in the dungeon core room for a while till we find out.

As soon as I turn loose of the stone as I set it down on the desk, it launches across the room as the opening of the [Shadow Pocket] on the stone opens wide and begins spraying water all over the dungeon core room. The twins start running though the jet of water while calling out happily, while the older bunnies try to keep an eye of the adventurers in the dungeon while getting drenched.

The water stops when there is only a few inches standing in the dungeon core room, but the worst part is the stone was flying all around the dungeon core room being propelled by the expelling water, so we and everything in the dungeon core room is completely soaked.

“Well that was unexpected…”

Twins: “Again!~”

Lilah: “Master, Please don’t…” –She says while water drips from the tip of her nose.-

The twins are happily splashing around in the water standing on the floor, and even Leila has joined them now as well.

Cleaning the standing water in the dungeon core room is as simple as a few clicks in [Menu], but it still takes quite a while afterwards  as I have cast [Clean] on everything. I give a few of the bunnies some of the [Clean] rune stones to help me out and we eventually get the dungeon core room back to the way it was before.

Lele: “Aww. Moss is right.”

Lala:  “Master is no fun!”

“Well the dungeon core room is not exactly the best place to play in the water. Besides when have you been talking to Moss?”

Lele: “Lala and I visit him when we don’t have to watch the dungeon!”

Lala: “He is really nice!”

They both quickly run to their room and come back wearing wooden armor. Other than the fact that the armor is made from wood the design is actually marvelous… Artistically it is even better than the armor Azami produces.

“Did he make that for you?”

Twins: “Yep!~”

“Well I was worried about him being alone all the time, so I am glad you two are at least talking with him. That armor is something else… I have been trying to talk him into going to train with us when we go to Shima, maybe you girls can talk him into it so he can start making real armor and weapons?”

Lala: “But Moss doesn’t like Master…”

“Well maybe you can talk him into it if is all three of you coming along. You 6 bunnies are always up here in the dungeon core room, but you need to gain more levels as well. Being in the dungeon core room so much you might even gain skills that would help with your work.”

Lele: “He will do it if I ask him!”

Lala: “He would do it for me before he would for you!”

Lela: “He likes me better!”

Lala: “No he doesn’t, he likes me better!”

“Wait… Should I be worried?”

Lylah: “Moss does seem to like them quite a bit, but I don’t think you have to worry about Moss. He treats them quite fondly, but I don’t think he has eyes for anyone other than Azami.”

“Well I think he is wasting his time there, because Azami has made it quite clear, but I guess if it keeps him occupied for the next few years it would be for the best. He is still a bit more mature then Lala and Lele, so can I ask you to keep an eye on them for me?”

Lylah: “Yes Master.”

The twins continue to bicker back and forth about Moss until they form some sort of agreement and then shake on it.

With Lala and Lele visiting with Moss that at least alleviates one of my worries, but it might end up becoming an even bigger one down the road. As all the bunnies go back to work taking care of the dungeon I return to working on the [Shadow Pocket] stone.

Now we know the spell only lasts as long as you hold onto the stone, and when the duration runs out it just dumps the items stored. The condition of holding the stone is quite a pain, but at least we know items won’t disappear.

For now I want to compare an item with the Magical Storage enchantment, and one of my runic stones, so I summon a small gem stone studded ring adding the Magical Storage enchantment to it. Using a jewelry item instead of any other kind of item reduces the xp cost of the enchantment by 50% due to my Dungeon Jewelcrafting skill, so even with the cost of the ring it is barely over 500xp.

Unfortunately the ring doesn’t bear any runes, so I can’t compare them, but when I activate the ring it functions just like the [Shadow Pocket] spell, so I can make the opening as large as I want. Using the runes is starting to look at a less viable option, but at least using the runes is what taught me the enchantment.

If I keep playing with runic stones I might learn quite a few more things, but I am still not quite satisfied with giving up on the [Shadow Pocket] stones just yet. I decide to work on it for a while longer, but I can’t seem to get the desired results, if I can get the stone to work at all.

When I finally decide to give up on it for the day I receive a message.

Dungeon Core #115 [Elder Fredrick] has perished at the hands of Dungeon Core #400 [Elder Dyson]

Fredrick as well? I quickly open [Archjusticar Menu] to display Dyson just in time to see him slam his fists into a stone wall. He quickly opens his [Menu] equipping his armor and teleports.

He arrives in snow covered room that is shaking which I can only assume to be inside Fredrick’s dungeon. He quickly looks around and another figure then appears in the room as well.

Lucille: “I knew it was you! You can’t deny it now, I caught you red handed!”

Dyson: “Don’t be stupid, I am here for the same reason you are, I missed the initial message on Faron’s death so I wanted to catch my impersonator before they left out, but it appears I was too late.”

Lucille: “You still plan to deny it!?”

Dyson: “If you want to have a go at me then be my guest, I already told you as much. Now if you are not going to do something useful get out of my way.”

Lucille: “You think just because you ae the strongest dungeon core I will cower to you, but there are ways to make you squirm!”

Instantly Dyson closes the distance between the two of them grabbing Lucille by the neck lifting her from the ground. Dyson is wearing his complete set of armor including the helmet so you can’t see his face, but he brings it quite close to Lucille’s face, and her cocky attitude quickly disappears as her face shows pure fear.

Dyson: “I could easily do away with you right now, but even you have your uses.” –He then tosses her to the ground.-

Lucille stands back up rubbing her neck. “I promise you will get what is coming to you!” she says resuming her cocky attitude before disappearing from the room.

Dyson then looks over the room and sighs. He teleports to a few different places within Fredrick’s dungeon as he seems to be trying to find any clue to who it was that killed Fredrick. After coming up with nothing he then heads back to his own dungeon, and he then starts going through several messages sent by other dungeon cores.

Most of the messages are similar to the ones he received after Faron’s death, and Madam Erin just simply asked him if it was him that did it this time. After denying it again, he then just closes the rest of the messages and opens [Observation].

I continue to watch him as he looks in on several dungeons including the other elders, Laura, Maric, and even several I don’t recognize, but nothing he sees seems to interest him. While keeping an eye on Dyson, I return to the house to let Belinda and the others know about what has happened.

Belinda: “I am starting to get really worried, that is already two of the elders, and what if whoever is doing this decides to come for you?”

“That is why I need to speak with Maric. Ceres said he might be able to help us find the answer.”

Belinda: “We don’t even know if we can trust Ceres, she could be the one doing all this.”

“Fredrick was the weakest of the elders and we wouldn’t have stood a chance even against him, so if they could not only take out Fredrick, but also Faron, what chance would we have? All we can do it hope what Ceres told us is correct, and then find out who did this so, the Elders can take care of it.”

Belinda: “What if it is Maric, and Ceres is just sending you right into a trap?”

“Maric seems under the impression that my meeting with him tomorrow is in regards to the Elders now being shorthanded, and he seemed pretty excited about it. If he killed Faron to become an elder, then I seriously doubt he would attack me, and why would he attack Fredrick now?”

Belinda: “Just be careful, ok? I don’t know what I would do if something happened to you again…”

“I think right now being near the elders would be far more dangerous than visiting Maric. I know the old me didn’t trust Maric at all, but at the moment he benefits more from helping us then harming us.”

Belinda: “Still please be careful.”

I pull Belinda’s head to my chest and kiss the top of her head. “Don’t worry I promise.”

There is still quite a bit of daylight left, and it is a day of the week we usually do some training in Shima, but after Fredrick’s death I am not sure it is a good idea. We finally decide getting stronger is the only way we are going to continue to survive, so Belinda and I gather Sofia, Bell, and for the first time we take along Lilah and Lylah.

Lilah has her armor and whip, but we have pull some items from the dungeon inventory for Lylah. Her armor is quite drab compared to Lilah’s but she doesn’t seem to mind as she is happy to get to go along with us.

I don’t remember ever seeing Lilah in her armor, or using her whip, but I do remember the fight when Thirty-seven died, so I only have a rough guess at her fighting capabilities. Like always however the Oni focus on me as the dungeon core, so even with their low levels and lack of battle experience, their armor serves more as decoration then actually a requirement.

Lylah uses a thin blade, while Lilah uses her whip, and although they don’t deal much damage with the help of Bell, Sofia, Belinda, and Myself we manage to raise their levels by quite a bit before the sun disappears.

That makes it really late by the time return home, but after scanning though the battle results I look over to see how much Lilah and Lylah’s status pages have changed. They each learned a new skill when they hit level 5, but neither of the skills are new to the dungeon.

They have still only reached level 8, but out of a single afternoon of training that is quite an accomplishment. We will just have to continue to work on it along with the other bunnies as well. Bell and Sofia didn’t manage to gain any more levels, and although Bell is a bit lower in level she still would hold her own among the groups in Tobes.

Maybe not the groups that reach the clockwork floor of the dungeon, but at least the average adventurer that enters. Sofia would fare a little better, but she too would struggle against the toughest adventurers.

Belinda is quite worn out after our training though, and I don’t quite know how many more sessions like this she will be able to do before having to wait till after the baby is born. If it wasn’t for the Oni focusing only on me I wouldn’t of even let her continue this long.

There is also the chance if the baby is indeed a dungeon core, at some point the Oni might decide to target the baby, so maybe we should make this Belinda’s last session until the baby is born. She doesn’t seem too fond of the idea of having to sit the battles out, but doesn’t argue with my reasoning behind it, and after the others go home or back to the dungeon core room, Vetala fills us in on the meeting at the Mage’s Guild, and then Belinda and I head to bed.

 

 

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