Chapter 133: The Storm Rages On

 

After the attack on our dungeon is determined to be by the primary boss monster of Maric’s old dungeon, she has pushed through the dungeon all the way down reaching the locked door just before the elemental orb door.

Using the [Gate] spell she brought forth a mix match of humanoid and demi-human creatures armed with mythril equipment. After finding out the door required three keys they split up in search for the keys.

One group took the path Hecate used when arriving only having to face off against 4 of the ogres, while Hecate and the other group went though the other path. Hecate was able to handle the ogres on the other side on her own, so with the assistance of the group backing her up they make short work of the hallway.

After heading upstairs and dealing with the orcs in the room above their path is blocked off by the locked door of the clockwork room. An hour has already passed since she moved the dial so it returned to the proper position of 3 O’clock, leaving the other group blocked off as well.

After another bit of time being wasted, they regroup and she uses [Gate] to return them all to the clockwork room. They then start at 1 O’clock and each group takes a pathway, even if they get blocked off Hecate will be able to [Gate] back and free them, so starts their true hunt for the keys.

After I found out that this might just be a big misunderstanding I sent a few communication parchments to several of the monsters. If I would have sent them earlier it might have worked because the adventurers did loot some of the monsters, but this new group doesn’t bother so they pass right over the communication parchments.

I don’t want to risk the danger of sending a sentient monster, but if worst comes to worst, once they reach Madam Erin’s monsters maybe they will be able to reason with her.

Hecate is by far stronger then the groups perhaps stronger then both groups combined, but they are no slouches either. Even with every room possessing double what we have for the normal adventurers, and most of which using the gear we have been embedding the magic stones in, they are still no match for the mythril clad groups.

They are not making it though the rooms unscathed, but after a bit of healing magic they keep pressing forward. Hecate took the 3 O’clock door, so she pushes forward until she reaches the monsters the hold the first key.

The two weapons Hecate exchanged for the thin blade seem to be some type of whips, she wields one in each hand with even more fluidity and grace then Lilah can manage with the simple barbed leather whip.

I am not sure how they work, but she can also use them as swords so they seem to interlock in some fashion to form a blade and then either by magic or design they elongate forming into dangerous whips. They both also seem very heavily enchanted and are bathed in flames when she uses them.

The keys are guarded by monsters that are even stronger than the ones that killed the dragon with close to a dozen trolls filling the room Hecate seems surprised, but doesn’t hesitate as she dives into the middle of the group whipping her whip/sword weapons around.

Lilah: “Master, acquiring one of her weapons must be a priority! Lilah wants one!”

“I would think your Master getting though this alive should be your #1 priority…”

Lilah: “Of course! But that doesn’t mean Lilah can’t get a whippy bladey thing as well!”

Lylah: “We have already got well over one million xp in return and the ability to summon a sentient dragon, so if we can manage to survive this attack we might come out of it that much stronger.”

“The new items and monsters might help, but we spend close to if not over 3 million xp to prepare for this attack.”

Lilah: “Most of the xp was spent on magic stones, items, and dungeon upgrades, so those things will remain and can be reused again. The only thing we will be out is the extra non rift monsters that we summoned.”

“That also includes the bosses in each elemental wing, and the entire bottom floor.”

Lylah: “Master wanted to upgrade them anyway.”

“Yea, but we need the monsters to upgrade them with first.”

Lilah: “Maybe she will get bored with us when she finds out she has to collect the elemental orbs as well.”

“I doubt we can get that lucky, she seems far too determined for that…”

Fighting without the dragon seems to benefit Hecate more than hinder her, and even though these trolls are stronger then the ogre lords which they were struggling with just two of, she manages to take all 10 of these trolls all out before her hour is even up.

That isn’t to say she didn’t take quite a beating, but with the armor she is now wearing it only took her a couple additional minutes after the battle was over to fully heal herself back up with healing spells.

“Now she has the first key… It won’t be long until they have them all at this speed, I think it’s time that we warn Doug and have the soldiers move out. We don’t want to risk this group bumping into them as they head back to the surface to hit the elemental wings.”

Belinda: “There are still a lot of mages left in the elemental wings, what about them?”

“It is late enough in the day that some of them have already moved out, but there is a chance there will be some left when Hecate gets that far, but there isn’t much we can do about that.”

Lilah: “There is the xp gathered from the adventurers that died, should the orcs and ogres be replaced?”

“Right now that is just slowing them down, I don’t want to throw any more xp at them that is just going to slow them down, we need to save the xp we have gathered to find a way to stop them.”

Belinda: “Slowing them down right now might be enough for more of the mages to finish for the day.”

“The sad truth is even if Hecate’s group kills a few of the mage groups that will provide us with xp we desperately need right now, so throwing xp away to save them at this point would be counterproductive.”

Lylah: “We could summon as many of the toughest monsters we possibly can and surely they can’t take 1 million xp worth of monsters at once, and it might save the mages.”

“The problem with the toughest variations of the monsters we have right now is that they are all huge in size. You couldn’t possibly fit that many together. They are not looting anymore so they are not finding the communication parchments, so I think our best bet is now that we know it is Maric’s boss monster we need to contact the elders, and maybe they can reason with her, but after the death of the dragon I don’t know if it will matter anymore.”

While Hecate and her groups tear through my monsters at a quickened pace I try to contact not only Madam Erin, but even try Lucille and Draco as well. By the time Hecate and her groups have managed to acquire all three keys I still have yet to hear from a single Elder, and I have even tried to leave a communication parchment on a door or two to get Hecate’s attention, but she doesn’t seem interested in hearing what I have to say.

After regrouping back in the room with the locked door, Hecate uses all three keys and says. “We should be getting close the trolls guarding the keys were already quite stronger then something someone of his age should have had, and this door must have been the last ditch effort to protect the crystal.”

I have never been to fond of traps as they seem far to ineffective and unpredictable when you weigh them against their cost, but using the runes makes them only cost the effort it takes to write the runes and the magic stone.

Even still the runic traps I have set up so far though the dungeon haven’t even seemed to slow Hecate’s advance. The runic traps are helpful because I can remove the magic stone from them and adventurers will never know they are there, but in the process of making the runic traps I have also unlocked quite a few new varieties of traps I can summon with xp.

One such example is the trap Hecate just activated. I couldn’t get the trap to work the way I wanted with the runes, but once I set it up I unlocked the ability to use xp to make it and it worked that way, so with little choice I used the most expensive trap in my new arsenal.

Hecate seems rather calm giving the situation, but the members of her group are starting to panic as the entire room quickly fills water. Hecate quickly casts [Shadow Pocket] causing much of the water to rush inside, but with a dragon already held within she must have reached her limit as the water remains waist deep and nothing else passes through her spell.

The group also realizes they are no longer alone as something pulls one of the group members under the water thrashing about. They mindlessly start jabbing at the water in their immediate vicinity. The water prevents the enchantments on Hecate’s whips to work, and she is forced to use them as blades as the water limits the capabilities of the whip like movements as well.

That doesn’t stop her from calling to the group to calm down, even after a second member of the group disappears into the water. Hecate quickly uses [Blink] to reach the other side of the room and through brute force manages to open one of the doors on the far side of the room causing the water to rush into one of the hallways lowering the water further.

The hallways are long but also narrow, so it doesn’t lower the water by a whole lot, but it is enough the fins can be seen circling the room. It also allows them to see the massive head of the water dragon as it snags a third member of the group in its jaws.

After Hecate reaches the second hallway door and opens it as well the water is low enough that the entire water dragon can be seen, although it still makes trudging through the water slows Hecate’s group down.

The water dragon’s scales are nowhere near as thick as the earth dragon’s, and the water was its main advantage it manages to take a total of 6 of Hecate’s group down, but Hecate and the other 8 remaining members manage to fell the serpent.

Hecate: “The dragon was quite a surprise, but that must have been his boss monster, that means his crystal is sure to be in that other room now.” –She says as she trudges though the shin deep water heading into the elemental orb room.-

After pushing against the door in the elemental orb room she says. “What the hell is this?! Another locked door? I don’t see any key holes this time, search for a way to get it open.”

Moving though the water made it difficult to see the mechanism in the floor, so they didn’t immediately see it, but it doesn’t take them a few seconds after they begin to search the room to notice it now.

Group Member: “There seems to be several semi-circular recesses in the floor, have you seen anything that might fit in them?”

Hecate looks them over counting them. “1, 2, 3, 4, Shit… This dungeon has separate wings for gathering elemental regents, but I thought was just to help the humans and I avoided them to push straight though. If there is one thing Two-Twelve has going for him he knows how to get the most out of his tiny dungeon.”

It is getting pretty late in the day, most of the mages, adventurers, and all of the soldiers have already left after Belinda contacting Doug, but there is still 3 groups of mages in the elemental wings that we can’t do anything about.

Hecate: “We have no choice, we are going to have to return to the beginning of the dungeon, and push through every room just to make sure there are no more surprises.”

Group Member: “That might take us all night.”

Hecate: “Then so be it.” –She says while casting [Gate] to return to the beginning of the dungeon sealing the fate of all those left in the dungeon.-

The first floor is nothing to them, and even while thoroughly checking the sides rooms it takes them very little time to reach the elemental wings, and they bump into the first group of mages as they leave for the day.

Looking at Hecate’s monstrous group in mythril armor the mages quickly begin to panic.

Hecate: “If you wish to live, run and don’t look back.”

The mages don’t need a second warning, and quickly flee past the group heading from the dungeon. I am surprised she let them live, but on the other hand, it would just been proving xp to me, so that may be the reason she let them leave.

Hecate: “These rooms are for helping the local mage’s guild so there should be nothing to powerful though here, so everyone split into pairs and we will hit all five at once.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “Are you sure it is wise to underestimate him again?”

Hecate: “I am sure he has already gathered a lot of xp from those that have already fallen, but if we are still here at midnight, who knows what he could throw at us afterwards.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “You are letting this dungeon core get to you to much. There are plenty of other dungeons we could hit to cause trouble to Dyson.”

Hecate: “But Two-Twelve was the one that distracted Master Maric with promises of becoming an Elder only to give Dyson the opportunity to strike him down. I don’t care how many more it takes I will take Two-Twelve down.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “I owe Master Maric everything, but I don’t owe you, so as much as I want to help you bring a hurt to the one that killed Master Maric, I will not risk any more of my men just to satisfy your blood-lust.”

Hecate: “You can’t seriously be afraid of a five year old.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “You have seen how the monsters fight in his dungeon, he has at least an advanced dungeon core room, and maybe even an expert one. Then there are the types of monster he is using. Dyson must be supplying him with a massive amount of xp for someone his age to be this strong.”

Hecate: “No amount of xp Dyson has given him could put him at my level.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “The rest of us don’t have 500 years’ worth of training.”

Hecate: “Fine all of you go together for all I care, but once midnight hits and he gathers all that extra xp don’t you dare run away.”

Dragon-like Demi-human: “You heard her! You four take that path, and the rest of us will take the next. I am sure you plan to take one on your own?”

Hecate doesn’t say anything but storms off through the door entering the wind wing, while the other two groups take the fire and water wings.

There is still a group of mages in the shadow wing, and one deeper in the water wing so there isn’t much I can do there, but for the others I add in the monsters I had set aside for the attack. Many of which are just an excess amount of the strongest type of elemental monsters I can reasonably summon.

Hecate taking the wind wing really proved helpful as that and the shadow wing are the ones we have the most variety of monsters in. Hecate’s entire group has weapons of mythril and even if some of them are of higher quality none seem enchanted so to be on the safe side I remove the mythril swords from the boss rooms as well.

As they work their way through the elemental wings I am surprised I still haven’t heard back from the Elders. So much for the protection of the Elders… I thought with Madam Erin providing the monsters, which she even views as an extended family I thought I would at least hear from her.

Even taking the possibility of [Communication] being blocked I even used the communication parchment I provided to Madam Erin, but still after three messages on it as well I have yet to hear a response.

The group of mages in the shadow wing manages to get lucky and leaves out never knowing the danger they were in, but the group in the water wing are far less fortunate. The group tackling the water wing moved though it faster because I couldn’t add extra monsters, so they quickly met up with the group of mages.

Being how that group consists of only demi-human like races the panicking mages attack the group. With many of these mages entering the dungeon on a daily basis and not dying within they have gained quite a few levels.

But with levels that are probably even close to my own boss monster’s levels, they are still no match for the demi-humans clad in mythril. High level mages losing their lives in the dungeon is not a common even so I manage to learn a few new skills for the dungeon, but that is hardly important right now.

In fact with the adventurers that died earlier and these mages here there are quite a few new skills available to the dungeon, but although some would help us, they won’t make the difference in a fight against Hecate if we were to battle her ourselves, so no use using the xp for them till we make it through this alive.

With the current position of the boss like monsters in the elemental wings I made sure to give all of them more than enough room to move around in, and as I couldn’t use the water creatures above I also add the extras I had summoned to fight alongside the crab.

Hecate is taking far less damage then the group in the fire wing, but the sheer number of extra monsters she has to deal with still leaves the group in the water wing far ahead the rest. Once they reach the boss room they are quite shocked with what awaits them.

Preparing these rooms for attack led to unlocking higher tier monsters so, along with the giant crab are a handful of massive lizardmen with sapphire like scales each wearing equipment that might not be as good as mythril, but quite frightening none the less.

Dragon-like Demi-human: “Damnit! She was wrong again. Everyone fall back, there is no use trying to handle this ourselves!”

Group Member: “It’s too late boss, the door is sealed shut…”

The water dragon was the same cost as the crab, and it managed 6 of Hecate’s group members before dying. Although most of its success was due to the surprise factor, but with the assistance of the glacial lizardmen, and lack of shadow type attack magic the four demi-humans fall in the water wing.

The group in the fire wing had to deal with much tougher monsters all the way through so they were far more cautious pressing on and they managed to scope out the boss room before getting trapped inside, and decided to fall back to the first floor.

The griffon has had the worst end of the deal for the boss like monsters, the size of the rooms has always left him taking far more damage than necessary. He has always managed to pull through for us though, and now he has plenty of room to move in for a change, but Hecate is just far beyond our scope of power and he can barely put up a fight against her.

Hecate acquires the wind orb then returns to the first floor arriving about the same time as the group from the fire wing.

Hecate: “You managed to get your orb as well?”

Group member: “Are you kidding?! There was a damn phoenix in the bottom of that wing!”

Hecate: “I was surprised by the griffon I had to face as well, but surely you were not scared off by a little bird?”

Group member: “Maybe if boss was with us we could have taken it, but he told us not to take the risk, he might be facing something just as tough right now, maybe we should go assist him?”

Hecate: “Fine you go help him and I will go take care of your little bird.”

The group then heads into the water wing while Hecate makes her way into the fire wing. I of course couldn’t fit all of the monsters I summoned for the water wing in with the crab, so to slow this group even further I add the frost lizardmen, and the last few glacial lizardmen as well.

Even if the normal mage groups didn’t already gather in the fire wing, I doubt the rift monsters would even slow Hecate down, so she has a clear shot straight down to the phoenix. Like the griffon the phoenix poses her no real threat and she manages to return to the first room before the other group even manages to reach the boss room in the water wing.

Hecate doesn’t wait on the others, and moves on to the earth wing. Constant combat has left the group quite fatigued and we are even able to manage to drop the werewolf before they reach the boss room of the water wing, leaving only three remaining members of Hecate’s demi-human group remaining.

“I don’t know what else she has in store for us, but we might just make it through this…”

Lilah: “Unless she has many more monsters waiting for her to call them.”

“The great big monsters are effective against the group, but against Hecate herself, many smaller monsters seem to be able to stack up more damage, but if she get surrounded by to many she uses [Dark Arcana Blade] which tears though them quick. I don’t know what her level is, but eventually she has to run out of magic if she doesn’t rest.”

The three remaining demi-humans are shocked to find their boss didn’t make it, and they quickly retreat back to the first floor yet again. Hecate meanwhile is shredding the earth wing, and once she reaches the small earth dragon she curses.

Hecate: “I will kill you twice I think…”

The dragon doesn’t pose any more problems for her then the griffon or the phoenix and it isn’t long till she places her hands on the earth orb and returns to the first floor.

Hecate: “Just the three of you? And what of the orb?”

Group member: “We are all that is left, and boss was gone before we made it to him. If boss couldn’t take the beast we sure were not going to try with just the three of us.”

Hecate: “You are all useless, but I can’t afford to send you back now, just wait here and I will go take care of it.”

Group member: “It’s a giant crab! If that helps…”

Hecate doesn’t say anything and enters the water wing. After a short time she now has 4 of the orbs and only the shadow wing remains. The wind wing might have a bit more variety of monsters, but the unique abilities of the shadow monsters, make the shadow wing far more difficult.

So much so, that only the strongest of the mages even attempt to gather regents there, and with the added security of knowing about the attack coming even Hecate should have some difficulty here. She can’t even use [Dark Arcana Blade] effectively against these monsters.

I have no delusions of being able to take her out here, but with each of the demi-humans providing as much as 50,000xp per death, and none of them even holding a candle to Hecate, there is no telling how much xp she will provide at midnight. Even she seemed worried about that prospect when she was discussing it earlier.

Midnight is still quite a ways off, and she will surely be done with this wing long before then, but then there is only the bottom floor of the dungeon left. I think I came up with a plan to protect my crystal that even Dyson would have quite a difficult time dealing with, so all we can do is wait and see.

I seem to have been right about the shadow wing being Hecate’s weakness, so this might be a bit helpful information if we do have to make a stand against her. Not they she is suffering much in the way of damage, but with all the different types of monsters to deal with she having difficulty dealing with them single handedly.

She hasn’t used much in the way of magic other than [Shadow Pocket], [Blink], and [Gate]. I am not sure about [Dark Arcana Blade], [Crimson Helix], and [Unyielding Barrier], but I believe when Listel used [Dark Arcana Blade] it was not necessarily a spell she knew but more like a magical version of a weapon technique.

Then again I guess there isn’t much of a difference between the two, but in additional to the magic cost of the ability it seems to have a limited number of uses as well. I don’t know if Hecate’s [Dark Arcana Blade] is the same because she has used it quite a bit, but other than the one use trying to save the dragon and then avenging its death she hasn’t used either of them abilities since.

The shadow wing is no exception, as her [Crimson Helix] would make her movement though the shadow wing so much easier, but instead she sticks to whipping her pair of blade whip like weapons around. Regardless of her level she is no longer bound to a dungeon now that Maric is dead so I can see fatigue beginning to build in her, and she has not even attempted to eat or drink anything since arriving.

Even though she has slowed down considerably and is having great difficulty clearing the rooms the death knights and liches are still unable to cause her much damage. Hecate then reaches the boss room.

The hellhound is the strongest of the boss monsters at double the cost, and although there is no worry on her face, she does seem surprised. Hecate’s slowed movement is enough to allow the hellhound to grab her up in its mouth.

The grinding and screeching noise of the hellhound’s teeth against her armor is intense. The hellhound drools fire, so not only is there the teeth, but the flames as well lick Hecate’s body. She doesn’t take getting eaten lightly however and lashes her whip like weapons around tearing hide from the hellhounds face.

With all the force of the hellhound’s teeth it still can’t seem to penetrate her armor and the damage it is sustaining is building up quickly so it shakes its head a few times and releases Hecate. Flying through the air Hecate uses [Blink] to return to her feet on the ground.

Although her armor is scorched and even melted in places with fire dripping off of her like liquid she just brushes the flames off of her and begins her own attack. She launches herself across the floor reaching the hellhounds front paw.

The hellhound swipes at her with the paw but she has disappeared by use of [Blink] reaching the back of the creature. The hellhound is classified as a demon type monster and even its fur is like razor sharp needles, so as she is straddling the hellhound like a giant mount she can’t be completely without injury.

Whipping both her blade like whips around the ends wrap around each other across the hellhounds neck like a razor sharp garrote, and she begins pulling each one at a time in an attempt to saw the creatures head off. The hellhound isn’t just going to let Hecate saw its head off though either.

It trashes about and slams itself against the walls and even rolls over several times in which the sheer weight of the monster along with the piercing fur would have been enough to kill me several times over, but Hecate just rolls with the damage leaning forward continuing to pull on the hilts of her blade like whips.

Even the blood of the hellhound is like fire, as it begins to pour from its neck, I can’t even tell if Hecate’s blades even have an edge anymore, but my sheer strength the hellhound finally collapses to the floor. It is quite impossible that Hecate didn’t suffer major wounds, but even though she is covered in her own blood she doesn’t seem fazed.

Trying to pull the whips apart proves no longer possible as the hellhounds blood burned so hot it welded them together, so she just drops them to the floor. She can’t heal herself, at least not completely because the hellhound’s spine like fur is jabbed in her all over her body like a porcupine.

Some of the spines are as thick as a finger as she yanks and pulls them out of herself. That process alone takes over thirty minutes, and by the time she heals herself up what she is wearing can’t even be called armor anymore as it is bent, melted, and riddled with holes.

The armor then joins the whips on the floor and she casts [Shadow Pocket] again. She retrieves the thin blade again, and another set of armor. The armor this time is more of an elven chainmail like design but like all of her other equipment so far, it is made from same unfamiliar metal.

The armor and whips are hardly workable now, and I doubt I would be able to learn to make those items if she left them behind, but the sample of the metal might be enough for my crafters to get to work with it, but before closing [Shadow Pocket] she throws the hunks of metal inside.

She then gathers the last of the elemental orbs and returns to the three demi-humans waiting for her on the first floor.

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