Chapter 84 - Discourse
Weird shadows all around, Tess is having the time of her life. Instead of sticking to the dark corners, she can - in this room - traverse all where the light normally reaches. She pops a hand from the middle of a large, square block, stabbing a slightly darker shade in the midsection. It collapses as the spear made from shadows attracts the very fabric the construct is made of, and a dark crystal falls from the ceiling.
Instead of crashing and breaking, it disappears the moment it lands. Only Tess can see this though, and she guides the speedy piece of mana through the shadows, making it shoot out of her hand. Against the back of Ket’s head.
Rubbing the back of his head, Ket looks at the smiling girl with an annoyed expression. “You are supposed to say that before you throw it.”
“I didn’t throw it though. I just re-routed its speed.”
“Don’t start lecturing me on technicalities, hurry up and kill those shadow things. You are the only one who can actually see in here.”
Smile on her face; she lets the shadows all around swallow her. She winks just before her head disappears under the dark surface and Ket is barely able to prevent another fragment of solid mana crashing into his face.
The half-blind group follows a grumbling Ket as they traverse the weird environment. Vox is constantly glowing, his shining exterior fighting the darkness pouring down from overhead. His pale face is even paler than usual. Occasionally, he puts the green gem in his free hand to his forehead, putting it away when they start moving again. He shifts his arm wrapped around his sister, brushing against Angeta’s fur who is holding Ares up on her other side.
“I'm getting worried, Ares has not said a single word since we left the resting area.”
“She’ll be fine. I can’t imagine that Teach doesn’t know what is happening right now.” Replies Angeta as she sniffs the air. “A bit to the left, I smell fresh air over there.”
“Lola, hold still. Why are you squirming around so much, whoops.” Selis barely keeps standing as the shadows hide an uneven patch of floor.
“Do we have any Ascending Rose Extract Water from a divine source?” Vox asks as the group waits. Tess throws a few more mana crystals their way, and they start moving again.
“Is that good eating?”
“No Bord, it’s actually highly poisonous, but it might suppress her symptoms. What about a fragment of an Underworld Stream of Sapped Souls? That would be useful right about now.”
“Do you see any underworld soul things around here?” growls Angeta as she kicks a square piece of floor from her path. The slightly glowing shadow under the cube disappears, and she keeps walking.
“No, but I don’t know what you all have in your rings. How about Moonling Dancing Grass of the Sickle?”
“Oooh, is that a white flower with sharp edges?” asks Selis.
“YES! Please give it to me.”
“I don’t have any, but Tree was growing lots of them in the garden.”
Incoherent sounds flow from Vox’s lips as he curses under his breath. Ares joins him with a weak groan as she hits her shin against a triangular black rock.
“Lola, hold still. Walking in this darkness is hard enough without you acting up. What’s wrong?” The small girl holds on to the struggling rabbit with all her might. The critter only calms down when they finally reach the entrance.
The shadowed stairway is a lot brighter than the previous room and sighs of relief can be heard as the group finally can see where they are walking again. Only Tess looks back at the room with a longing gaze while juggling some dark crystals.
“You got her?”
“Yeah Angy, thanks.” Angeta gingerly lets Ares’ weight rest against Vox’s side as they enter the downwards tunnel. Vox has taken two steps down the stairs when he trips over his sister's feet. The two lose contact, and the qi inside Ares goes on a rampage the moment contact is lost. Blood starts trickling from her nose as she crumples into a heap, rolling down the stairs.
Vox jumps after her, grabbing a leg and lying down just above her. He ignores the steps digging into his body while closing his eyes and flooding her with qi again. The remnants of his qi left in her body come under his control quickly, but the damage is already done.
“Lola, stop squirming!”
“Sis, please be alright.”
Ket frowns at the spectacle in front of him. “It’s all fun and games until someone dies from acute cell deterioration, huh. Maybe we should take-”
A spiderweb of cracks cuts his speech short. Four stubby lines in the air just down the stairs cause tears in reality. Slightly glowing, the anomaly is clearly visible to the light-starved group.
“LOLA STO- *HURK*”
Selis fails to keep hold of the struggling rabbit. Lola uses a bit of serious force to free herself, causing the blue-haired girl to plop her butt down on the stairs. Bord dodges the rabbit by instinct as Angeta’s grab attempt only catches air.
The rabbit kicks off the dungeon wall, leaving cracks in the compressed rock as she kicks off. Aiming for the spatial anomaly, the white streak disappears for a millisecond.
A sound so bizarre it would be hard to put into words echoes through the narrow tunnel. Before anyone can react, the world turns white.
I tuck myself in, forming a ball as I do multiple backflips while falling back down the stairs. I hug the fluffy bundle to my chest and land in a crouch. “I missed you too, you shitty rabbit.”
Putting her on my shoulder, I walk up the stairs. Reality broke slightly when I punched through the spatial separation, and I sensed the dungeon eliminating the overlap. A thin sheet of something incorporeal was in between me and my students. My fist cracked it, and the dungeon solved the impossibility of two spaces inhibiting the same space by removing this sheet.
“Hey guys, everything alright?” Which means I can now see the sorry group of idiots laying and standing on the stairs just above me.
Vox stares at me with blank eyes while he holds on to the leg of his sister, who is right in front of me. Selis rubs her butt as she looks at Lola with teary eyes while Bord rises from a crouch. Ket seems agitated, and Angeta looks at me with an indifferent gaze. I sense Tess appearing from a shadow behind me.
I grin at them while rubbing Lola’s head. She nuzzles my neck as she cuddles up to me. It’s good to be back. “I see you guys followed my advice of keeping out of trouble. Let’s first fix this, though.”
I snap my finger, sending out a small burst of qi towards the shivering, groaning, and generally pathetic figure in front of me.
‘ANTI QI, ONE PLUS ONE IS ZERO, ELIMINATION BY ADDITION’
“You can heal her now, Vox.”
The shivering stops as the rampaging qi in Ares’s body gets turned into ambient heat. Lights dance across her skin as Vox sends his healing qi inside her. I’d love to mention something about her pale face regaining a rosy complexion, but she is lying face down.
“Did the Tower explode again?”
“No, Tess. There was a nasty dragon infestation though, but I handled it.”
I start walking down the stairs to the next room. I wonder if the dungeon pulled my students into my possibility space or if I am in theirs now. The next floor is another water floor, the one where I crushed all the crystals in the ceiling already.
“Uuuh, what is happening?”
“Ares, you are okay! Thank the givers. How do you feel? Are you still sick?” Vox asks his questions in a rapid-fire manner. I ignore the chattering behind me while entering the water themed room.
There are a few crystals on the ceiling. Huh? Why are there crystals on a part of the ceiling? I snap my fingers and execute my grid-based scanning spell. Blue lines flash into existence and I feel Lola stamping her feet against my shoulders. I missed her on purpose, why does she hate that scanning method so much? “Stupid rabbit, why don’t you like those lines?”
She tries to nibble on my collarbone, but can’t get any purchase with her blunt teeth. I snatch her from my shoulder and look her in the eyes. Big eyes black eyes peer at me. I can see faint tears welling up in them as she acts innocent.
“You don't fool me with that cute face, don't bite me.” I glare at her, but she all she does is wiggling her nose a bit.
Placing her back, I look over the scanning results. The probable cause of the partially crystal covered ceiling becomes obvious when I think back on the relative positions of me and my students.
The dungeon must have eliminated half of our relative dimensions. I felt something happening, but could not grasp what it actually did. The partially crystal covered ceiling indicates the dividing line between me and my students' dimension, a clear line that ran in between the group and me. The staircase comes into this room at an angle.
A sword pierces the water just beside me as it chops a tentacle covered shark in two. Selis hops over the water surface to my position, her eyes on Lola. She casually waves a hand and a big deer forming from the water explodes into mist.
“Have you guys been clearing these floors in this manner?”
“What manner?” Ket asks as he grabs the returning sword from the air.
“Waiting for the monsters to form.”
“How else?” asks Ket while orchestrating his swords back and forth.
I launch a few qi threads towards the remaining crystals in reply to that rather dumb question. I pull and compress the shattered crystals into a small orb, which I present to the group.
Silence reigns as all my disciples stare at me. Bord scratches his belly while looking at the freshly made sashimi all around. Tess forms a dagger from shadows, twirling it around her fingers as she eyes the ceiling. Ket has covered his face with a single hand.
“No, no, don’t make the dungeon angry, please.” A weak voice comes from the redhead clinging to Vox’s back.
I stare Ares in the eyes. “How can I make a computer angry?”
She tilts her head. “What is an addition machine?”
I sigh. I will have to introduce some new words to this language. “Let’s just get a move on. I have a lot of things to discuss with you guys. Sel, the exit is below the surface over there, can you make us a bubble?”
The blue-haired girl in question opens her eyes wide. “You mean I can control water to go below the surface?”
I sigh again. “We have a lot to discuss.”
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