Chapter 9:Mana Farm
“Mana farm?” Shiina asked.
Shiina looked around the cave,they seemed to be in a dead-end which is lit up by a glowing rock. Aside from walls that seem to extend infinitely outwards, there is no machinery or such to be seen.
“That's right! You did not hear wrong.” Lucas said in a enthusiastic-like tone. “Come on, let me show you around!”
Lucas turned around and pointed towards the other end of the cave “let's go.” Without waiting for Shiina to follow, Lucas walked ahead. But Shiina didn't follow, he simply sat on the rock bed without moving an inch.
Moments later, a red-faced Lucas walked back hurriedly.
“Why didn't you follow???” Lucas asked angrily.
“What if the metal gear tiger is there?” Shiina answered as if it was the obvious thing ever.
“It is not!” Lucas let out a retort. “Why else will I dare to go out?”
“I'm sorry.” Shiina stood up from the bed and apologised with a slight bow.
Seeing Shiina's sincere appearance, Lucas’ anger subsided.
Lucas gave a slight cough. “It's good that you understand. Come on now.”
Lucas turned around and walked away. This time, Shiina followed him.
“That is Billy in the centre, Bob on the left and John on the right.” Lucas introduced.
“Are you sure this is them?” Shiina asked carefully.
“Of cause it's them, I have known them for years!” Lucas exclaimed.
The people Lucas introduced to Shiina are 3 skeletons of different sizes. The smallest skeleton has a skull similar to those of a goblin, the middle-sized one has the skull of a lizard man and the last and largest skeleton has the skull of a gorilla. Based on the fact that there are skeletons leftover, Shiina has concluded that these individuals have already died for many years, if not decades.
Shiina looked at Lucas with eyes filed with pity.
“ Don’t looked at me like that! PLEASE!!!” Lucas cried out.
“Well…” Shiina awkwardly scratched his cheeks.
“What can I do! I have been stuck here for 10 years alone!” Lucas broke down and cried on his knees.
Without uttering a single word, Shiina squatted down and gave Lucas a pat on the back.
After 10 minutes of comforting, Lucas wiped his tears and stood up.
“Let's continue the tour!” Lucas said and led Shiina forward.
“To our left, is a small cave meant to act as a toilet.” Lucas introduced after they walked a few metres forward.
Shiina stopped in his tracks.
“What did you say?” Shiina’s face paled.
Lucas looked at Shiina in confusion. “To our left is a cave meant to act as a toilet?”
Shiina's face turned white as sheet.
“10 years of poop… possibly more…” Shiina muttered, his spirit seemed to be leaving his body…
At this moment, Lucas realised his mistake. “No no no, Shiina this is a misunderstanding!” He hurriedly said.
“That right! The truth is, everyday at midnight, whatever non-living thing that is in this cave disappears. Therefore, even if you take a shit in it, it will disappear the next day.” Lucas explained.
Shiina's eyes widened in shock. He rushed forward and took a peek into the cave. Inside the cave is a pool of mysterious liquid and a small pile of foreign matter. Shiina pulled back in disgust and looked at Lucas in anger.
“You liar! You liar! YOU LIAR!!!” Shiina pouted and hammered Lucas’s chest lightly with his fist.
“Well…when you got to go, you just got to go…” Lucas scratched his cheek and said awkwardly
“It feels just about midnight, wait here for a moment.”
Just a second later, the cave suddenly shook and the pile of foreign matter and pool of mysterious liquid were absorbed into the ground.
“See!!! I wasn't lying!” Lucas puffed his chest in pride, showing off his honesty.
This word appeared in Shiina's mind. Even if commoners don't know much about them, how can Shiina, son of a noble, not know more? At the stroke of midnight, objects like carcasses and ownerless equipment will be absorbed into the ground. That is one of the rules of the dungeon.
Shiina gulped. Even if this dungeon only has the size of a small cave, what does a dungeon represent? The appearance of a dungeon core, one of the greatest treasure desired by anybody in this world. By destroying a dungeon core, one will be able to obtain a large amount of mana to not only strengthen their body, but also strengthen their mana capacity and talent. It is literally the cheat code of this world.
“Why are you not moving?” Shiina woke up from his trance due to being shook by Lucas.
“Are you okay?” Lucas asked in concern.
“I'm all right.” Shiina answered with a smile.
“Well…okay then.” Lucas gave a slight nod before turning around to lead Shiina forward.
Behind Lucas, Shiina entered a deep thought. "Should I go and get the dungeon core? If I can get it, maybe I can get out of here..."
However after more thought, Shiina shook his head. "No I should not do it yet. Although it might seem like a small cave, it might actually be very dangerous."
“By the way, Shiina…” Lucas's sudden call awoke Shiina from his thoughts.
“…how high is your magic talent?”
“Huh?” Shiina looked at Lucas in confusion. One’s magic talent is usually kept a secret from others as it may reveal one’s mana capacity and might of one’s magic spells. Even if Lucas is a commoner, he should have known that he had just asked a very rude question.
“Low talent.” Shiina answered after some hesitation. After all, there was no point in hiding it. With such a low talent in magic, anyone will assume that Shiina has a low mana capacity and only can use weak spells. By answering truthfully, not only will he gain trust, Lucas will also lower his guard around him.
“At most once a week huh…” Lucas let out a soft sigh and looked at Shiina with pity.
“What is it?” Although Lucas muttered softly, what Lucas said did not escape Shiina’s ears. Although Shiina was curious about what Lucas meant, he could not afford to spoil his character now and demand an explanation. Therefore, he only ask cutely.
“No nothing…lets move on.” Lucas said as he pointed towards a small hole in front of him.
“That is the final attraction of this cave… the harvester.” Lucas's wide smile turned slightly grim.
“Yes that's right, this is where the metal gear tiger harvest mana for food everyday .”
“But we have not seen any farm-like machines though?” Shiina looked at Lucas in confusion. Throughout Lucas's introduction, the only things Shiina saw in this cave were a small living quarters, three skeletons and a cave-sized dungeon. There were no sign of holes dug for magic crystals or such that can provide mana. There was not even a single pick axe or shovel.
“You still have not get it?” Lucas asked in shock.
“What do I not get?”
Lucas pointed at Shiina. “Our bodies can recover mana from the air, we are the ones the metal gear tiger is ‘cultivating’ as a source of mana!”
“Huh?” Shiina's eyes widened in shock.
“Although it might seem absurd for a mere beast to do this, the truth is right here for you to see.” Lucas plunged his hand into the hole. He gritted his teeth.
*Grrrrr* a slight roar could be heard from the other side of the hole.
Particles of light could be seen leaving Lucas's hand and into the hole. After a while, Lucas's face turned pale before he collapsed on his butt.
“Lucas!” Shiina hurriedly rushed forward and hold Lucas up.
“Don't worry about it, I am used to this.” Lucas pushed Shiina’s hand off.
“My talent for magic is high…” Lucas started talking. “So I can only provide mana for 5 days in a row before being overdrawn of mana. Therefore, the metal gear tiger would only harvest mana from me from monday to friday before stopping for the rest of the week.”
After speaking for a while, he hesitated for a moment before continuing. “ I am sure that the metal gear tiger’s reason for kidnapping you is to fill up the rest of the days.”
At this moment, Shiina face paled. If Lucas, who already have such high magic talent which equals to an extremely high mana capacity, could only barely last 5 days of providing mana, how can Shiina last for even 2? It must be known that with each rise in ‘talent’ levels, one’s mana capacity will increase greatly by around 2 to 3 times. Therefore Shiina, who only have low talent cannot even last a day before dying due to severe lack of mana.
“Of course I will help you! If I try hard enough I will be able to provide enough mana for 6 days… but for the remaining day, I am afraid that only you can help yourself…” Lucas said after some hesitation.
“That is enough for me already.” Shiina forced out a smile.
Shiina and Lucas walked back to the living quarters in silence.
For the next 2 days, Shiina followed Lucas for the daily ‘harvest’.
The second day just happened to land on a Friday.
After producing mana in Shiina's place, Lucas’s pale face turned snow white and he spat out blood.
“Lucas!” Shiina cried out.
“I'm fine…bring me back to the living quarters…”
Shiina carried the weakened Lucas back to his bed.
The two of them sat in silence.
All of the sudden, Shiina asked. “ Lucas…”
“What is it?”
“Since you have such high magic talent, why are you breaking out of this place?”
Lucas looked at Shiina with a stunned expression.
He coughed once and replied. “ I offended a noble 10 years ago and ended up with serious injuries. The metal gear tiger found me then and captured me. After that, since that piece of shit tiger has been taking my hard recovered mana on regular intevals, how can I recover enough to get out of here?” Lucas said casually, but deep within his eyes a deep resentment could be seen.
Shiina lowered his head.
“For making you use more of your mana…”
“Oh…don't worry about that…I volunteered after all, my wounds cannot be treated with magic at this point anyway.” Lucas gave Shiina a wide smile.
Although Lucas meant to comfort Shiina, all that his words done was made Shiina feel guilty.
Lucas is in a deep sleep. Meanwhile as for Shiina…
“Aaahhhh!” Shiina let out a soft scream of agony while grabbing his head, he tossed and turned on his bed while occasionally experiencing spasms.
Shiina's eyes alternated between red and blue.
“What…are…this images? They keep entering my head…it hurts…Mother…help…” Shiina gritted his teeth.
At that moment, Shiina's eyes turned blank and remained completely blue. He stood up and said in a monotonous voice. “I am Saigo Masamune.”
However, just a second later, his eyes reverted back to red and Shiina collapsed onto his stone bed.