Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 34 – Mission: Obtain the Crystal Flower from the Manatite Forest (4)
With straightforward determination, the glimmering blue arrow flew. Relentlessly soaring through the air towards the non-existent heart of the enemy. ‘Glacial Enchanted Arrow’; upon reaching its mark, set off a vibrant explosion of blue diamonds. Carried by a cloud of white gas, the glacial- almost acidic- effects stretched over the area. The grounds, walls and even air became distorted in a temporary domain of ice.
Mordred had seen such scenes countless times behind a monitor. Witnessing them manifest for the first time as reality was a different experience altogether. He felt the harshness of the tundra brush up against his face. The smell of frozen rock was something rather unique, but not at all unpleasant. He admired and was drawn by the art of it all. How colourful all this display was.
The clouds parted to reveal that a few of the Red Skeletons had perished in that attack. ‘Strong defences’, or so this midget elf proclaimed but by this demonstration all that was drilled in his head was how like swiss cheese it was. That said, the initial attack was only good enough to leave a dent in their numbers. “Tsk, god dammit. These arrows aren’t cheap you bastards, just die!” Cecilia shouted from the top of her lungs. Her own voice echoed back from the edge of the cavern. She winded back a second missile and shot it without hesitation. She then repeated the process all over again.
The bombardment ended only when all that remained of the enemy were frozen and shattered pieces strewn upon the iced dirt floor- about an hour later. Seeing the fragmented pieces of the supposedly ‘fire’ attuned monsters, Mordred couldn’t help but let out a small, bemused chuckle. “And here I thought ice was ‘not very effective’ against fire.”
Cecilia turned back. Her bright red eyes glimmering through the darkness like a hidden blade. Yet in that sharp gaze was a puzzled expression, “huh? Which idiot told you something like that?”
“Poke… No, Nevermind. No one, please don’t mind me,” Mordred replied. Of course, the logic of games should not be applied to a world- even if that world so closely resembled one.
“Whatever, come on.” On the first glance, the second floor had been the most straightforward, yet, “don’t let your guard down. There are all sorts of hidden traps and pathways down here that it even gives me a headache. Navigating through this is no fun so just stay close to me and…” as she spoke, Mordred stepped upon a trapped tile on the floor. The moment he did, the floor glowed with a purple hue as a holographic magic circle was imprinted upon it. “Oi! What the hell are you doing?!” Cecilia shouted in that desperate voice. She rushed over and pushed him back as a noxious purple cloud erupted from the floor and walls.
The gas persisted in the air for a good five minutes before dissipating back into the walls. ‘Interesting,’ of course, Mordred had already been aware of the existence of the trap. His ‘trap detection’ along with the ‘intuition’ ability also allowed him to sense the hostile intentions of inanimate traps. He had simply been curious as to what kind of traps would exist in this world. At first, he thought arrows would shoot from the sides or the floor panel would open to drop him into a spiked pit. ‘Magical in nature, I suppose that’s logical from a mana-themed dungeon.’
Cecilia had still been sitting upon him. “I’m grateful that you saved me, but I would appreciate it even more if you didn’t use me as a chair.”
“Huh?” she glared back at him. Eyes showed signs of extreme annoyance. She remained seated upon him to deliver a swift punch to his helmet. “Don’t get cocky you idiot. If I didn’t save you right then and there, you would’ve died! Or at the very least, you would’ve been badly poisoned.” With that stern lecture, she got off and even offered a hand to get back up, though with that short stature she only managed to help him up halfway.
“Sorry, I’ll keep it mind.”
With the very well trained Elven dog leading from the front and sniffing out all the traps, there was no true challenge to this floor. Whenever Red Skeletons appeared it was the same pattern. Cecilia would bombard them with ‘Glacial Arrows’ until they were all decimated. If any managed to survive and get to them, then Mordred would step in to defeat the weakened ones. Rinse and repeat. Using this winning strategy, they had managed to almost conquer the second floor in a solid five-hour timeframe. “Well, if we had more people this would’ve taken even less time. I mean, five hours is pretty good for the set up we’re going with.”
However, as all adventures did, the ‘unexpected incident’ took place just as they were taking the last steps to this floor.
The final exits were just at the edge of their peripheral vision. The sight of a gigantic double-sided iron door opened to greet them to the final stage. They could smell the thick scent of nature blowing in from the other side. “We’re on the final stretch to this Labyrinth. I know that since this is your first time you might become a little excited, but don’t do anything stupid. You hear?” Cecilia turned around to warn. However, when she turned around the greenhorn mercenary was nowhere to be seen. “Huh?” there was no way she could’ve lost him that easily and she made doubly sure that she didn’t miss any traps. “What the hell? Where did that greenhorn… Oi! Stop being stupid and come out!” she shouted but only her echo replied. ‘Huh…? Did I miss some sort of teleportation trap or something?!’
Sweat gathered at the palm of her hands. Her eyes widened. She took a mouthful of spit and swallowed. “God dammit! This is why I told that idiot to stay behind me!”