Chapter 64: Playing Around In The Dungeon
Happy about completely demolishing her opponents, Nisha estimated that she still had a little more time left before she had to return to Luthais’ mansion. She was given a fair amount of freedom as long as she didn’t stay out too late or stir up too much trouble. Her freedom was also dependent upon the assumption that she would constantly and dutifully attend court, and that she would complete every miscellaneous task that was asked of her.
She had left for the dungeon early in the morning, and despite her visit to the guild branch and the Two Wood store, she still had a bit of time left until it would be noon.
That left her with a little more than half a day to explore the first layer of the dungeon.
Looking at the map, her best bet was to seek out the larger rooms, where there was a large chance for there to be more monsters.
The next chamber that met her criteria actually wasn’t too far away, she only had to pass through three rooms to reach it.
Still elated from her first victory in this place, she travelled across the room she came from and took another exit.
The next room was covered in vines and lush undergrowth, though oddly enough, there were no trees in the bright environment.
Not sensing any life, the dragon quickly advanced, not wanting to waste any time that might allow her to find tasty monsters instead.
Marching through the plants, she missed a wooden plate on the ground that she only noticed after stepping on it, when she noticed the ground giving way.
Alarmed by the sudden motion, she had the impulse to jump back.
Yet it was too late, as immediately after, a volley of wooden arrows – their sharpened tips not one bit inferior to the metal ones in sharpness – were loosened from a hidden set of holes in the wall.
There was no time to react at all, as their speed surpassed Nisha’s by several times. She only had the time to subconsciously rouse the aura in her body to form a protective layer.
Knocked back by the impact of several of the arrows, the dragon felt like thunder struck her body. Her leather armor was torn to shreds, with the wooden arrowheads stopping only when met with the resistance of her skin.
Nonetheless, the pain was astounding, considering the arrows were launched by a trap mechanism that didn’t contain much aura.
Slowly gathering her wits and sitting up, Nisha couldn’t help but flash a bitter smile. Along her left hip, leg, and shoulder, large, purple bruises began to blossom.
I guess I deserved that one.
Living in a human settlement dulled her senses. If it was Little Flame, a majestic dragon covered in black and red scales, a dragon governing her own domain inside the Wilderness, such a small trap would have been seen through the moment she entered the room. Everything out there was out to kill Little Flame, and staying vigilant was needed to retain her life.
She wasn’t able to deal with the holes in her equipment right now, so sitting down and fiddling with her clothes inside the dungeon wasn’t the greatest idea.
Borrowing the power of her [Spirit Sight], she looked around the rest of the room, looking for more traps.
The dungeon truly wasn’t simple! Despite being especially wary after just stepping on the wooden plate,, the other various plates could just barely be seen, even with her unique perception.Some of them were even covered with a thin layer of earth!
Her efforts to observe her surroundings paid off well.
On top of that, an anomaly appeared inside a greater heap of undergrowth, shown by her [Spirit Sight]. Contained in the same wooden material as the pressure plates, the items inside strongly irradiated mana.
Excited to see just what exactly she discovered, Nisha hurried through the room, avoiding the places she couldn’t step on.
Quickly tearing open the plants concealing her prize, Nisha grabbed the wooden box without hesitation. Without any designs or intricacies, the box was small enough to be held firmly in her two hands.
Opening the latch that sealed it, Nisha peeked inside.
I think those are potions … and is that another marble?
Unlike the stones she picked up from the [Mountain Gravellers], this one was pitch black, emitting small mana waves.
Despite being a rock, the black orb held an irresistible attraction to her, as her mouth just watering at the idea of consuming it. Without any hesitation, she flicked the pearl sized sphere into her mouth, immediately biting down on it.
To her surprise, her teeth were met with almost no resistance, and only felt a smooth flow of mana erupting and spreading throughout her body.
The mana’s composition was very similar to the dark runes living inside her core; however, it was many times weaker.
Not only did the energy stream calm her down a bit, it also reduced the painful bruises on her left side, and the gnawing ball of hunger in her stomach.
While she didn’t know exactly what the ball was, it still made her happy to have such a bountiful harvest again so soon, turning her attention to the vial of deep green liquid stored in the crate.
Nisha had heard of potions before. Unlike a priest’s healing energy, these alchemical concoctions were able to be stored and carried around on adventures, making it a life saving treasure. Created from different assortments of herbs, their efficiency and rarity depended on the ingredients they were made from and the skill of the alchemist. They varied from simple mixtures that helped speed up the recovery process to mighty elixirs that were able to regenerate lost limbs in the time to blink.
Of course, those mystical potions only appeared in stories, and the guild sold the lesser variants to its members.
At the lowest quality, a beginner potion was able to heal many small injuries while one was resting. They were priced at one silver coin.
Some of the higher grade potions costed as much as ten gold coins; however, their effects were unbelievable, and were well worth the price.
Eager to give the unknown liquid a try, Nisha removed the cork sealing the vial and gulped it down in the same manner as the black orb.
Immediately after devouring the last drop, she grimaced heavily, the unknown fluid did not meet up with her expectations.
Tastes funny. Did the potion go bad?
Nisha started to feel a burning sensation in her stomach, as the liquid rebelled against her body, attacking and corroding her insides.
Not only did it not diminish over time, the dragon experienced even more agony than the arrow trap had created.
As expected of a trap room. It wasn’t a potion, it was poison instead.
Because she was previously a dragon, her pain tolerance was massive compared to a normal beast. Even the mind numbing torture from the liquid overrunning her insides could do little more than immobilize her. With her unyielding spirit, she calmly analyzed her situation.
More often than not, the oldest dragon sibling had to fight against creatures stronger than herself, leaving her with broken scales and deep wounds every time she surpassed a stronger opponent.
Thankfully, the runes inside her core didn’t let down Nisha this time either. Reacting to the spread of corruption in her stomach, the dark letters flowed out endlessly, swiftly arriving at the source of the problem, and encasing it. Relying on their innate energy, the runes then dissolved the poison.
Shifting in a cross legged position, the elven girl urged her own energy to assist her power as well.
In a single candle, all of the poison was removed from her body, falling prey to the runes who didn’t let a single drop escape.
Having learnt a lesson from this experience, Nisha carefully checked the next room as soon as she was able to get up and progress further inside the dungeon.
Fortunately there were neither traps nor unknown items on her way until she arrived in the next big chamber.
The ever changing surroundings fascinated her deeply. Maybe it was connected to the ever flowing streams of mana and aura that clung to her figure, but the last room she had crossed had been filled with sand and a blazing warmth, a place she only knew from stories that she had heard: a desert.
This chamber, however, was filled in two equal parts with water and soil, creating a place akin to a coast.
Using her [Spirit Sight], the elven girl already caught sight of several figures hiding in trenches, as well as beneath the surface of the water.
Pretending to not have noticed them, Nisha bravely advanced as if nothing had happened. She headed straight for the water and kneeled down to cup a handful of water.
Just as she was doing so, a water ball burst forth from behind her. Without her omnidirectional awareness, the attack would have certainly knocked her into the water. The pressure from the ball alone tousled her hair, only by closely passing her.
Immediately rolling to the side, Nisha picked up the sword that she had placed beside her and hastily scanned the emerging figures.
With hunched figures and little mean eyes, most of the blue skinned figures wielded wooden spears and were even a bit smaller than Nisha.
The only exception was their tall, bulky leader who carried a large stone saber.
Judging from the position he rose from the water, he was probably the one who fired the water missile. Interested in seeing what the blue skinned [Water Goblins] were going to do, the elven girl simply waited with her trusty [Taurith Short Sword] in her right hand, shifting from time to time to give them the impression she was keeping all of them in her field of sight.
The appearance of their chief, the [Water Hobgoblin], filled the group with courage, as they scrambled to rise from their hiding spots and completely encircled the prey that delivered itself into their territory.
However, none of them made any sounds, and only brandished their spears to make sure that Nisha wouldn’t turn around and run away.
With their encirclement complete, the chief finally made his move.
Screeching a challenge towards the intruder, he leapt forwards, swinging his stone saber overhead.
His disgusting visage drooled with saliva when faced with the prospect of obtaining sweet elven meat, his intent clearly set on devouring his opponent.
Meeting force with force, she raised her own short sword to block the swing, holding it up with both hands.
As the hobgoblin’s weapon was about to land, a green rune lit up along the sword guard, without any other effect.
The resulting blow clearly astonished Nisha, as she considered the enemies on the first floor to not be that strong compared to herself.
Despite blocking, she was pushed back, proving that the blow was clearly strong enough to threaten her, even if it wasn’t stronger than herself.
By her estimation, her current strength was in the early stages of the fourth aura rank, while the hobgoblin should have at least used an ability around the middle of the third rank.
Why is there such a strong monster on the first floor? Didn’t the employee at the guild tell me that there were only monsters that even F class adventurer’s could handle here?
Gleeful from his last hit hitting, the blue leader raised his weapon again, intent on winning this challenge and claiming his prize, leaving Nisha unable to clearly think it through.
A group of adventurers was probably indeed able to deal with this room, given that they had different classes able to supplement each others strength. They would need a warrior to hold the first line of defense, a magician to tire out the hobgoblin, an archer to shoot down the underlings, and priest to sustain the warrior so their group doesn’t get overrun. While their chances might look bleak, if they played their cards right, they could just barely prevail over this danger.
The dragon on the other hand, was by herself, and her superior strength gave her reason to be confident. She was not invincible, however.
Apprehensive of his weapon now, she jumped to the side again, barely dodging as the green rune lighted up again.
Forming a circle around the combatants, the goblins started to cheer, their chief clearly in a favourable position against the intruder. Their power simply wasn’t enough to interfere in a fight of this caliber, and their only hope was to gain a bit of the scraps when the elf was going to be devoured.
Testing her ability to fight the blue monster, Nisha wasn’t willing to give up yet. She had blocked the blow and was clearly able to contend with it. The saber itself might also play a role regarding its strength, as the green rune was clearly strange.
Refusing to back away, she met the hobgoblin’s third charge, summoning her black and red aura in the very last second before their blades collided again.
The monster chief had all along believed himself to be superior, as he had prevailed over quite a few humans so far. This was the first time a single one challenged their area, and of course, he was certain to prevail with his cherished armament. Rousing the green power dormant in the saber, he wasn’t afraid of the murky aura that appeared on the elf’s blade at all, already looking forward to tasting her meat.
To his surprise, the force contained in the short bluish sword was now several times greater than before, sending him staggering.
Having turned the tables in a second, Nisha didn’t delay at all and pulled her sword back, using the hobgoblin’s imbalance to follow with a quick thrust.
Hitting him near the chest, a stream of blood spurted from the wound, the hobgoblin shrieking in agony.
Running away from the strange being, which was even stronger than himself, he broke through the encirclement and threw himself into the water, diving below the surface and shooting water balls at Nisha again, not daring to fight her in a direct confrontation.
“Good, good, not one of you should think of leaving here alive.”
Already thoroughly angered due to being pushed back by a weaker opponent, her pride just wouldn’t allow her to withdraw.
Sprinting towards the water, she parried the water ball, redirecting its flight path just enough to let it pass by her.
In her free hand, an arrow of darkness was conjured, inspired by the arrow trap that she had fallen into earlier.
After it was fully shaped, the arrow naturally left her hand, aiming for the figure of the [Water Hobgoblin], who believed that it had the absolute advantage in its own element, waiting to eventually strike her down.
Seeing the projectile coming in his direction, he quickly swam deeper inside the pool to escape it; however, the arrow seemed to have a mind of its own, and pursued the monster anyway.
Magic was one of the things monsters generally didn’t possess, and using it took the thrill out of a hunt. Therefore, the dragon did not want to use it at first. Unfortunately for the monsters, they had injured her pride, and nothing was off limits anymore.
Showing a sly grin, she sprung into action, sprinting for the next completely terrified goblin who ran away from her.
She knew the arrow would never miss, and the [Water Goblins] did not have their share of the beating yet.
Once I’m done here, I shall see how you taste.