Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 16 - Kill


"Are you sure this is the right way?"

"Don't worry, we mapped it out with Dosnak."

A group of five shadows is walking in a cavern, with specks of light sparsely lining the walls and ground. Unlike others that opted to use a torch or have the light source near the party, Bell modified Kun's «Stardust» into a lighting spell that spreads everywhere. The reasoning was simple, having the only source of light in a dark cave on them would just make them sitting ducks. By spreading the light in a wide area in a diffused form, they level the playing field. Kun is using a modified version of the archer's «Hawkeye». In addition to seeing into the distance, he's also lighting the spot up with persistent specks of light that follow his sight.

The cavern is located a kilometre or so east of the [Barghest Dungeon], still in the arid part of the [Field of Ashes]. Going on the hunch that all the caverns are either connected or close to each other, Bell had been examining the terrain with Dosnak while the others were doing different preparations. Dosnak would try to squeeze into the cracks in the ground from the surface, and if there's a cavern underneath, Bell, and occasionally Kun, would go be his bodyguard if it proves promising. This cave is the fruit of their labour.

"The air is fine now, we made some ventilation shafts and forced some air in. There's even water flowing from the direction of the dungeon, the speleothem here is a little unique since the cave is located underground and not in a hill. But it shouldn't be a problem, just don't mistake the raft pools as floors and don't touch the frostworks, actually, just don't touch the walls in general."

[Note: Speleothem is also known as cave formation, consisting dripstones, flowstone, cave crystals and so forth. The most commonly known ones are dripstones (stalactites and stalagmites) and cave crystals (geos).

Rafts are calcite crystals are formed on the surface of quiet cavern pools.
Frostworks are needle-like growths on cavern walls.]



"Yeah, damn, this is awesome. Imagine having a restaurant in here."

"Are you hungry Rick-ni~?"

"Hm...? Rick-sensei is hungry?"

"No, why... wait, I'm not an animal."

"Eh? Rick's hungry already?" Bell gives a look over her shoulder.

*fusa fusa*

"No, ignore her." Rick is giving Till a nuggy while replying.


The group chats idly as they tread in the cave, with Kun keeping a look out in the middle, Bell as the vanguard and the other two as the rearguard. Normally, Kun would be in the back to prevent any sneak attacks, but he's in charge of recon at the moment, so they'd swapped places. Dosnak is with Kun, adjusting him whenever there's any obstacles in the way as he peers ahead.

"Who knew there's such a place underground?"

"Well, it's a given, since the [Barghest Dungeon] exists in a similar system and is close by. We were just lucky we had Dosnak to poke around so we didn't have to dig pointlessly."

Kun suddenly stops with one of his hands up, everyone freezes as he tries to look at something.
He gives a *fu* as he relaxes.

"Saw something?"

"Not sure, but if there was something, it's gone now."


"How is our position? We should be nearby already." Bell is looking at one side of the cavern with interest.

A ball of light drifts from Kun to the walls, a little further back and higher up. "Damn it, we overshot it a little."

"Nah, we are fine." Rick pulls out a map he had bought for the dungeon. "See here, this part runs parallel to the tunnels here." He points at one of the numerous large corridors on the map. "I think Kun said he left the marker at the second bend?" The youth looks at Kun expectantly, who gives a nod. "So if we just dig diagonally up from here, we'd end up this in part of the tunnel."

"Alright, let's go with that." Bell drops the large pack that she had been carrying, Dosnak joins in and lays out various tools that were wrapped tightly with cloth.

The other three gather around, looking at the various tools with curiosity.

"Normally, we would drill into the wall with a large diamond drill bit powered by a boring machine. And then mix a weak explosive compound on the spot, pour it into the hole and then set it off from a distance. But I'm going to be trying something different, put these on." Bell picks up some finely threaded cloth and hands them out to everyone. "Don't take it off no matter what. Till, please create a draft."

Grabbing a chisel and hammer from the laid out tools, Bell walks up to the wall as a light breeze stirs.

*kan kan kan*

Using the head of the hammer, she gently knocks the frostworks off the wall. Marking an X on several parts of the wall, she gets to work right away with Dosnak providing assistance. Making thirty pinky-sized holes slanted slightly downward, 3 columns of 6 holes, spaced 2 hands apart, the wall looks oddly like something one would use to keep track of scores in certain board games.

"Pins." Handing the hammer and chisel to Dosnak, Bell starts inserting plain looking wooden pins into the holes after squeezing them. After putting a pin into each hole, she fills them with water. "Okay Till, focus the draft along the wall and guide it to the entrance. Everyone stand here to stay upwind." The group did as told, after checking that everything is in order. She turns back toward the hole-filled wall, "«Tri-Element Pulse»!"



"Hmm? Nothing is happening?"

"Look closer Rick-ni."


"Ah!" x2

A muffled sound of stone cracking echoes in the cavern as the water turns to ice and expands a little outside of the holes.


*ka kasha*

A dim light like that from embers glow from the holes, the ice starts cracking before finally exploding with bursting steam.


A flash of light like a blown fuse flickers from the holes, each of the holes are becoming noticeably larger.









The group had watched initially with interest, but they got bored as time went on. Aside from Dosnak, the group started a mini-picnic, munching on various snacks that Kun was carrying.

*ga ga gasa*

The enlarged holes have spider cracks surrounding them, they finally merge together and the entire section gave way, collapsing onto the floor. Powders and chunks of limestone of various sizes crumble away. A sudden stronger gust of wind drags the dust cloud away from the group.

"Damn, that took longer than expected."

"bori bori gokun*

The others quickly finish chewing and swallow their food. Rick is the first to finish, "yeah, longer than when you took that dump when yo-" *pyu* *dan* *bata* A piece of rock flies through the air and strikes him in the head, shutting him up and causing him to topple over from his sitting position.

Kun gets up and inspects the wall after handing the tired looking catwoman a waterskin, who takes it thankfully. "What did you do here...?" Kun looks at the the pile of debris before peering into the meter-deep hole in the wall.

Bell stops drinking from the waterskin, "I was thinking of combining chemical and physical weathering to bore a hole. Lower chance of a cave-in since there wouldn't be any sudden physical stress like from digging."

"Chemical and physical weathering...?"


"Chemical weathering is when you've things in the environment reacting with each other, usually water and minerals. Physical weathering is um, um, like when you repeatedly do something and wear the object out. Right, Bell-ne~?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"But wouldn't the thermal shock also cause a cave in~?"

The felinoid does a double-take, "um, yes, it can happen, that's why I didn't really let the heat get too high."

"Hm... so you are using thermal expansion to cause cracks first, then induce carbonation by burning the wood and melting the ice. But why electricity~?"

"You need oxygen to make carbon dioxide... wait, what grade are you in again?"

"Ohh! Eh, I think I'm in middle 2, eh.. grade 8?"

"Sorry to interrupt, but wouldn't it be faster if you just make the holes deeper Bell-ne?"

Kun couldn't really follow the conversation aside from the cave-in part, so he tries to think of a way to improve the situation instead.

"We don't have anything to make a deep hole." Bell points at the tools that Dosnak is taking care of.

"Why would we need tools for that?"

The catwoman's face falls into a deadpan expression, a *pan* follows as she smacks her paw into her forehead. "Right, what do you have in mind?"

"Can't I just push a stream of water into a hole, kind of like how a waterfall wears away a cliff?"

"Waterfall, why don't you just make a waterjet, Kun-ni~?"

"Water jet...?" Kun shows a questioning expression at Till.

[Note: Till is saying waterjet, as in the water jet cutter, whereas Kun's like "what water, jet"?]

*PA* *pi pi pi pi*

A loud smack echoes in the cavern, causing water droplets to fall rapidly somewhere nearby.

"Right! Nhya nhya nhya nhya!" The catwoman laughs with a fist in her paw. The toppled boulder stirs as the rest of the group looks at her. Grabbing the tools from Dosnak, she runs into the hole, Bell makes 5 rough holes making a square with a mark in its center. "Kun, set up a spell to shrink the output size and increase the speed for «Water Beads» aim slightly upward into the holes, use your «Homing Beacon» to guide your angle. I will give you the formula in a bit, just slightly different from your «Spell Amplifier». We will cut a square by connecting the outer 4 dots. Till, send «Water Beads» into Kun's spell when we are ready, we will take turns so we can rotate to regen our MP." *doka* She gives the lump on the floor a kick, "that includes you."

* * * * *


"Okay, that's the last of it. Let me finish this last bit here. «Tri-Element Pulse»!"

The group had rotated, with Kun and Bell using «Spell Modifier» while Rick and Till took turns using «Water Beads». The result was a stream of water about a millimeter across that sharply cuts into the limestone wall. The first cut ended up cutting all the way through the wall, into the other tunnel. There was a risk of someone discovering them, but considering that the upper level of the [Barghest Dungeon] was evacuated, the group continued their work. Within the hour, they managed to cut a meter-wide, square block all the way to the other tunnel on 3 sides that's 8 meters deep. The bottom has been cut 3/4th of the way, leaving the center part intact; this was done to hold the block in place and to prevent it from sliding down toward the group.

Dosnak was looking at the group work with intense concentration before walking a little distance away and started to punch into the wall. If one pays attention, one would notice the numerous holes of varying depth and size displayed across its surface.

*ga ga gan*

"«Tri-Element Pulse»!"

*ga ga gan*

"«Tri-Element Pulse»!"

*ga ga gan*

Bell recklessly uses «Tri-Element Pulse» to break the limestone. Since the stone was cut from the wall, the threat of the ceiling collapsing from thermal shock drops. This is due to the fact that the stone would slide down before it gets the chance to transmit any major changes in temperature.

"This is awesome! Teach me how to do this spell later!" The revived Rick has been repeating that since he woke up and started helping them.

"You've been saying that for a while Rick-ni, it's studying you know~"

"I will learn it anyways!"

"Hmm... Why? I don't see what's so good about this aside from a good cutting tool." Kun is slightly baffled by his enthusiasm.

"Come on guys! We can make a water jetpack with this! We can fly on water!"

"Umm... I can sort of fly already, Rick-ni." Till gives Rick a look with half-closed eyes.

"The students can fly us around already..." Kun gives him a questioning look with a raised eyebrow.

"But you'd control this! And we will be FLYING, like *byun*, not *hora*."

[Note: like *fast* and not *glide*/like *zoom* and not *flutter* ]

"Till, can you give me a hand here?"

"Sure thing, Bell-ne~"

"Actually... keep that thought Rick, we can probably do something. We will be glad to teach you."

* * * * *

"You sure you don't need an escort, Dosnak?"

"It's fine, the cavern looks to be safe and I can take care of myself. Take care, senseis."

The translucent humanoid loses its shape, going into the hole before dragging a carefully crafted limestone cover over the hole that's 9 meters long. It was crafted while the group was making the hole, after Dosnak finished testing out his new technique.

"«Homing Beacon»!" Kun marks the cover, just in case.

"Good idea, «Homing Beacon»!" Rick marks the cover as well.

"Okay, you guys know the drill. Let's make a killing, stay close in case any of us need help." Bell gives a mischievous smile as Rick and Kun double-check their packs. Both of them give her a nod, "alright, let's go."

* * * * *

"Get your [Warp Scroll]s here! The entrance is being blocked by a cave-in! Get your [Warp Scroll]s here! One per customer, 3 gold a piece! Get it while supplies last!" A youth with a red bandana over his head is shouting in one of the few safe sections inside the lower section of the dungeon while walking around. Next to him is a lithe beast covered in green hair, following him, giving off the impression of a powerful bodyguard. Although it's called a safe section, it's merely where a large number of users gather to rest, should any monster show up, everyone will just gang up on it without regards to kill-stealing.

[Note: In online games and especially first-person shooter games, MMORPGs and MUDs, kill stealing is the practice of obtaining credit for killing an enemy, when another player has put more effort into the kill. An example is when a player in a first-person shooter whittles an enemy's health down and is about to kill them, when another player comes along and shoots that enemy once. The second player gets credit for the kill despite having done almost none of the work of killing that enemy. Kill stealing occurs when the rewards for defeating a foe are limited or highly desired, and many players are competing for that same reward. The term is most often heard in MMORPGs and MUDs, where rewards of items and experience points can be substantial, but can also be found in first-person shooters where players are rewarded a point for a kill. Many players feel that kill stealing is a dishonorable practice. (Wikipedia)]

"Wait, what?! Cave-in?"
"Quick, go check!"
"You are kidding me! We just got here!"

Word spread quickly among the various users resting in the area. After confirmation via PM and such, a few users walk up to the two.

"Oy, merchant! Where does the [Warp Scroll] lead to?"

"It's just outside the entrance, don't worry, you are not outside the teleportation range!"

The users looks at each other with some doubts, before one of them hands over 3 gold pieces.

"Thank you for your custom! Here you go!" The youth grabs a folded sheet of vellum from his pack and hands it to the archer.

"I will test it out, will let you guys know in a bit." The archer unfolds the sheet, laying it on the ground before stepping on it. The intricate magic circle gives off a soft light before the vellum disintegrates as the archer on top of it fades away.

One of the users stops moving all of the sudden, then nods once. "Alright, seems safe, 6 please."

"Sorry, 1 per customer only!"


"Fine! 1 for each of us then!"

"Thank you for your custom!"

* * * * *

"[Warp Scroll]! Selling [Warp Scroll]~!"

A sweet voice drifts throughout the various tunnels as a young girl and what looks to be her father are strolling through the cavern. They walled off any monsters that approached them, staying out of combat.

"[Warp Scroll]~! 1 per customer, 3 gold only~!"

A middle-age woman and her party walk up to them after finishing their fight with a pack of hounds. "Why are you selling [Warp Scroll] here, honey?" The woman gives the man accompanying the girl an accusing look. "Did your stupid father actually think anyone would buy that here?" The others that are accompanying her relax as a gentle breeze from somewhere flows by.

The girl gives a pout, "eh? Didn't you know the entrance caved in? There's no way in or out now~"

The woman scowls as the rest of her party starts murmuring and checking PMs. One of them
whispers something into the woman's ear, causing her to scrunch her face.

"Fine, I'll buy 7 then."

"Sorry, one per customer~"

The woman's face twitches, "okay, 1 for me then." She hands over 3 gold pieces.

The hooded-man behind the girl shakes his head. Replying in a deep voice, "4 gold pieces."

"What?! That's highway robbery, you-"

"You what? Stupid father was it? 5 gold pieces."

"You! Go-"

One of her companions hands over two more gold pieces while apologizing as the rest of them grab her from behind and cover her mouth. He hands over 5 more gold pieces to the girl, who in turn runs to the man. "Where does this [Warp Scroll] lead to? You know those things have a really short range, right?"

The man takes the money from the girl and gives her 2 sheets of folded vellum. "It's just outside the entrance, we had a [Scribe] make the portals there."

The girl runs back and gives the man the vellum and 2 gold pieces. The man can only give a wry smile at the implication of those 2 gold pieces and thanks the little girl. The man gives one vellum to one of his companions before stepping on it. A soft glow comes from under his feet before he disappears.

A short while after, the group lay out the second vellum and make the woman step on it. She gives the hooded man the stink eye before disappearing. The rest quickly buy their scrolls from the girl and, who they assumed to be, her father before thanking them and disappearing.

* * * * *

"The area's cleared, monsters are starting to flood back into the safe areas. Let's meet up." Bell is PMing Kun with a hand on her right ear.

"Got it, we haven't seen anyone for a while now, let's head back then."

"Yeah, let's me-"

Several groups of people shows up, blocking her and Rick. Some of them have a [Murderer]'s mark on them, looking closely, she recognize them as former members of the [Dawn's Moonlight] and [Monochrome Blades].

"Meet at the second safe area, we have company, will be running to you guys hot." With that, she gives Rick a look before both of them starts running.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chapter!
    Well that another clever way of milking for money. :)


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