Chapter 42 - Leisure
I keep Lola clutched to my chest while I walk over to the tree. She is struggling but I am not letting go until I know why she is here. I put my free hand to Tree’s trunk and push a trickle of qi through. I feel the forms of my disciples sitting around. They are in another small room with two doors and a hallway on opposite sides. This must be level twenty.
I jump through the dimensional portal and see six dark figures lying on the ground. Shit, are they breathing? Yes, they are just totally exhausted. I drop the struggling Lola and force some qi into their unconscious forms and check their conditions. They are totally devoid of any energy. I pick up my Tree medallion from the floor and smile wryly while pulling the entire dining set from my ring again.
My silent humming, while I'm setting the table, wakes them one by one. I pull out a big pot of stew and ladle some into the bowls. Lola gets another pile of leafy greens. I put some Heavenly Grain bread on the table and pour myself a nice glass of spirit wine after sitting down.
My sorry group of students seat themselves one by one. They eye my smile with suspicious faces. I can't help but be happy right now, deal with it. Bord has emptied his bowl before everyone is seated and is now scarfing the bread down.
Tess replies weakly while picking up her spoon. “Thirty.”
“Wow, that's impressive.”
I did not expect them to have such tenacity.
“Any big problems?”
Ket replies with his mouth full. “I predict we will be able to reach level forty with our current strength.”
I nod my thanks. “Enemy types?”
It seems to be Angeta’s turn to speak. “More animals. Mirror maze at level nineteen. Level twenty-five was just clouds. They get faster or stronger or bigger each level down, but not both.”
They all nod with tired faces, agreeing with the beast woman. We eat and drink with only slurping and chewing sounds sounding out for twenty minutes. The entire pot of stew is empty at that point and Bord is scanning the table for any leftover crumbs. Their bodies are fully restored now. I sense a lot fewer changes in their physiques, so one more cycle will take care of their biggest problems. I see that they have all developed some muscle and Bord is still as fat as ever.
“Alright, have fun on the next decad!”
I skedaddle back to my Tree dimension after taking care of the dishes. I am in the mood to use my augur for something constructive, let’s go craft shit.
Massive green mandibles snap close around Bord’s arm. Before he can shout out in pain, a metal ball punches through one of the eight eyes that stare at the fatty. The torrent of brain ichor now gushing from the back of the massive spiders head shoots towards the blue-haired girl. Before it can reach her, a lightning fast handwave scatters the goop like dust while a small stream of water joins the tiny lake floating above Selis.
“BORD, NEW GUYS!” Ket’s voice booms through the marble rooms. A stream of colourful spiders is gushing out of a small hallway and on command, a large figure barrels into them, each step crushing a spiders' head.
“ANGY, BIG RED ONE.”
A roar drowns out the chaotic noise, followed by the groaning of wood and crunching sounds. A water torrent picks up another spider behemoth and slams it into the wall while Vox is shooting white light beams at the party’s meat shield. Something that could very well be called an ent - a walking tree - rampages across the room.
As if in response to that command, loud stomps are heard. From the farthest doorway, a spider larger than any the group has seen so far comes to join the fun. A dark flash above the spider reveals a black haired girl who is wielding a single long spear. She points the spear down and silently drops, spearing through the multi-eyed head in a single move. The spear immediately vanishes and the girl nearly stumbles while riding the spider down to the ground. A beam of light surrounds her and some of the fatigue is wiped from her face.
Five figures throw themselves to the ground the moment they hear this single word. Just as the last one lies flat on the floor, hell truly breaks loose. A metal storm rampages across the room, small chunks of metal punching hole after hole through the shining spider carapaces. Absolute silence follows, the dripping of blood and rough breathing the only audible sounds.
“Sure, we can handle up to level forty no problem!” If there was an Oscar given for most sarcastic performance, Angeta would win it with that single line. Ket throws her an annoyed glance while retrieving his metal weapons from all over the room. The beautifully polished ball bearings are now reduced to pieces of scrap metal, but Ket doesn't mind. What these smaller fragments lack in punch, they make up in sharpness.
“You left fifty for yourself?”
Tess finished counting all the spider corpses and came to the conclusion that Ket must have taken care of the last fifty with that final barrage.
“You are burning through your qi like that, we could have finished it together.”
She crosses her arms and stares at Ket. Angeta just growls while stretching her arms, the wooden armour is very effective but it makes her stiff after long use.
“Please drink.” Water balls float in front of each young face. They all grab hold of it themselves, the rudimentary water control they all decided to learn useful for things like this. They take small sips, the tea is long used up but Selis’ cup keeps making water. Lola hops around the room, avoiding any gore and ichor, and makes her way over to Selis. Bord has finally pulled his leg from the spider's abdomen that he was stuck in and looks around. “Still no loot?”
“It's still night, normal people can't see in this, you know,” Selis speaks again while waving her hands around. She walks to the next tunnel while forming new glasses in front of her face.
Angeta decides to add to the conversation. “We nearly died fifteen times now. It's a good thing that Vox can heal us, I’d rather die than lose an arm permanently.”
She rubs her left elbow, a faint scar circling across it is still visible through the fur. Ket tries to perform a motivational speech for the first time in his life. “We only have three more floors to go. And didn't Lola save you? It was only your own stubbornness that caused you to lose an arm to that blade rhino.”
He is met with angry stares from everyone, thus he deems this motivational speech a failure.
“If Bord didn't distract me BY FUCKIN’ FARTING AGAIN, that stupid rhino would have never clipped me.”
Ket runs some simulations in his head on other cheering up attempts but is met with virtual failure every time. He decides to just talk from his heart for once, instead of over-analysing every syllable he says in advance. “Teach… the weird guy must have a reason right? Every other thing he did or said has loads of meaning behind it. Why did he give us just enough food to repair our bodies?”
Replies follow instantly.
Tess: “That is just giving me more reason to stab him.”
Vox: “I want to connect his pain signals to his penis.”
Selis: “He is a big meany!”
Angeta: *fierce growl*
Bord: “Cause he’s a sadist?”
Ket shakes his head. He is starting to understand why his teacher is so aloof and treats a lot of things frivolously. Ket assumes that he is one of the most powerful figures in the entire kingdom. He did not understand why that didn't show at all. His teacher looks like a forgettable guy. There is no fierce aura of power, just another fellow busy with something.
But if his teacher interacts with people in this manner, Ket understands why he doesn't want to be found. If Ket had such a talent of pissing people off, he would be as low key as possible too. He smiles after comprehending another piece of that puzzle and walks on towards the next fight.
Aaah, gardening is so relaxing. Just what I needed. I do feel a cold shiver now and then, but let's ignore that.
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