Cold Steel Dig

by

DragonOfRochester

Chapter 30: Dumb Politics - Rougher Than Usual

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A note from DragonOfRochester

Warning: This chapter is a little rougher editing-wise than usual. If you're interested as to why please read the explanation in the post-chapter note.

After I collected its item I decided to work on upgrading my armor. I flew towards the closest bird nest and took out a cage.

It was not lost on me that I could use Telekinesis to move the cage from one block to the next, however, I could only use it to either move it or press the button. At this point, I didn’t have enough mana to cast it twice. Nor did I know if I could keep two going at once.

Since it seemed to work last time, I dropped the ball onto my foot until I heard the click.

The world vibrated and a flash of light blinded me. Pain shot through my foot. I screamed and dropped to the vines.

I curled in on myself and my injury and sucked in deep breaths to ease my pain. Soon my injury numbed like the last one had, but when I looked at it, I could only see charred raw meat again. At least this time it was my foot and not my hands.

Obviously, I needed to think of a better way to handle these things.

Perhaps I could throw it up in the air, try to use Telekinesis to activate it then, as long as it doesn’t blow up in my face, I could toss it to the nest. Of course, my aim wasn’t great. Or maybe... I flexed my arm and touched my puny bicep. Maybe, I just didn’t have enough upper body strength. When I returned home I should start lifting weights.

Naw. When I got through this I would go on a vacation, and just play games. That thought made me grimace. On second thought, no games. TV was good enough.

So, if I couldn’t toss it and press the button using telekinesis, then maybe I could hold it with that spell and press the button with my bow?

I took one out, cast my spell on it, stood as far from it as possible and pressed the button. I closed my eyes as soon as I felt the click but nothing happened. I then willed it to float over to the birdcage.

Before it could make it all the way there the cage activated. It attempted to create a cage partway around the nest then, when it wasn’t able to fully enclose around it, the pieces turned black and fell to the vine floor.

The birds didn’t like this and flew in a circle to kill anything that tried to harm the nest. Some of them saw me and entered my block. Before they could use their beaks and talons to sever my flesh I bolted away. Fortunately, they didn’t follow. My guess was that they refused to get too far from their home.

I was on the right track here, but the execution was poor.

I thought it over and wanted to slap my forehead.

Once more, I took out a ball and cast telekinesis on it, but this time I had it a little closer to me. I took my bow and held it like an awkward bat. Since it was made of shadows, silver, and magic instead of wood, I figured it wouldn’t get hurt if I used it like this. I then waited 30 seconds till my mana refilled and swung. The button depressed with a click and flew toward the birdnest.

I noticed it veering off course and cast telekinesis on it again, but this time I only used it to fly it closer to the nest.

The ball exploded and captured the birds.

As soon as it reached my inventory I threw up my hands and whooped. Then I did a little dance while hovering in the air. Only wincing slightly when I accidentally used my injured foot.

Three down, five or seven to go, with 9 cages left. I frowned. The next several better not explode on me or I’ll be out a much-needed upgrade to my armor.

***

I was able to kill another jadinfray and capture another two nests before I made it to the bottom of the third floor. When I saw the obvious room below I swallowed down my trepidation.

Soon I’d go down there and challenge Korren. It seemed like she would be the last boss before I reached Nenvari. I didn’t know if that was true or not. I doubted Engra was a floor boss, considering that she came and went at will. The others just stayed in their same spots, not really moving or going much of anywhere. I guessed Korren did leave to get supplies that one time, but was she really completely gone from this bubble or just gone from where I was in this ‘country?’

Mr. Black said that this mine was small, but small was a relative term. Earth was small compared to the sun, after all.

I did not break through to the next level. Instead, I made my way back up and mined as many boulders of copper as I could handle, bringing me up to 2150 coins before I trapped myself in between fallen light stones.

“Would you care to continue, Miss Knight?”

The gray surrounded me and I placed my hand on my hip. “Does a bird attack when it’s nest is disturbed?”

His lips curled into a smile. “The ones in this mine certainly do. Are you ready to go now?”

I shook my head. “I think it’s time I had another lesson. I’ve wrapped my head around the bubble concept for now.”

He nodded and we sat down.

“There are many kingdoms that consider themselves Light Fae or Dark Fae. There are much more that don’t consider themselves either, but those aren’t important to you now. Probably not ever.”

“Yeah. let’s skip over those and go straight to the kingdoms near me.”

“Very well. There are 3 kingdoms of Dark and 5 of light in the area near here. The largest and most furious with each other would be Goraitheshselan of the Dark and Seirei Vohinthaslan of the Light.”

“Vo what now? Sorry, what was that last one?”

He rolled his eyes. “Pronounce it Say-Ray Vo-Hin-Thas-Lan.”

“What is with all these weird country names?”

He sighed. “Don’t expect them to make sense to you. They make sense to the people who live there and that’s enough.”

“What do they mean to the people who live there? If I know that I’ll be able to remember then better.”

“Nice try, Miss Knight. If you hear what they mean you’ll remember that and not the actual name.”

I snorted and crossed my arms.

“If you have the names memorized the next I see you, I’ll tell you what both mean.”

“Fair enough.”

I said the new name in my head, over and over again. He waited for me and when I was sure I had it down I nodded at him.

“I’ll start with the country you know, Goraitheshselan. It is a vast country spanning at least 3 Earths worth of land with many resources and people; however, too many wars in a short period of time has lowered the population and the resources to a fraction of what they once were.”

“Wait, wars with who?”

“A small skirmish here and there with the other Dark Fae countries and some of the 5 close Light Fae countries but mostly with Seirei Vohinthaslan.”

“Which is why you mentioned them.”

He nodded. “Precisely.”

“So, why are these countries all going to war?”

“For the most part, Greed or a difference of opinion, or resources or jealousy of their brethren. And sometimes to control their populace if they seem to be on the verge of revolt. You know, the same reasons your countries go to war, but the people at the top of these countries should know better, what with the youngest being three thousand years old.”

I sighed. “What about religion?”

He smirked. “It’s not religion that forces people to go to war, it’s the people who use their religion as an excuse for war that causes it. But to answer your question, the Fae do not believe in any religion. That’s not to say there are not subsets within each country that believe in spirits, a god or gods. It’s just that the ones at the top do not.”

“Okay, so what is the difference between Light and Dark? It isn’t good versus evil is it?”

He shook his head. “No. It’s not about morals or who is better at one thing or the other as much as the Light Fae pretend that is the case. It’s actual literal light and dark.”

“Huh?”

“The Dark countries do not have a light layer in their country bubble. Or it’s so small that it doesn’t matter.”

“Are you saying the Dark countries are all underground and in darkness?”

“They have light sources throughout the ground but not an actual large usable layer of light. None, except for Goraitheshselan.

“Wait. If they’re considered dark, why do they have a bubble with a light layer?”

“Because it was originally a Light Fae country. Then some Dark Fae with superior weapons discovered it, massacred the few people who were there and took it for themselves.”

“That’s messed up.”

He just stared at me. “Do you not know your own country’s history?”

“Hey, I had nothing to do with any of that.”

“And I’m sure that’s what the Dark Fae who were born in Goraitheshselan think, as well.”

I sighed. “Go on.”

“Well, eventually other Light Fae Kingdoms found a way to travel to this country and when they discovered what had become of their unrelated brethren, they swore vengeance. But really, they just believed that a country that had once belonged to Light Fae should continue to belong to Light Fae. And thus, they have skirmished and had all-out wars off and on for millennia.”

I rubbed my temples. “Fae politics makes my head hurt.”

“Do you want me to stop here?”

“No, let’s finish this.”

He nodded and pulled out my book and opened it to a page with various portraits and names listed beside them.

“It’s better if you look over this section about the royalty of Goraitheshselan yourself.”

I rose a brow at him and he nodded for me to continue.

In the book, King Zoichenrei, who I assumed was Nenvari’s father looked like an older, less handsome version of Nenvari, with long pointed ears and bushy eyebrows. Oddly, he didn’t look much older than his son and could easily be mistaken for his brother.

Queen Fedreicio, was stunningly beautiful with very dark russet skin, pouty lips and a wry smile, but her eyes looked too calculating. Under her name, it mentioned that she was originally a princess from a different small Dark Fae kingdom called Braivou.

When I reached “Prince Walkornsi” I groaned. “These names are seriously the worst. You don’t expect me to remember any of them do you?”

“Just keep reading. If you’re going to deal with Nenvari it’s important to know who the people are around him.”

Prince Walkornsi had tan skin, in between his father’s and mother’s and a little pudge on his face. He also had sad but bright blue eyes and looked only a little older than Matt. It listed him as third in line for the throne.

Princess Gramalsa looked even more beautiful than her mother, with a genuine smile that reached her eyes and pointed ears that were a little too large for her face. If these fae aged in a similar way to humans then she was a few years older than me. She was listed as second in line to the throne.

Lastly, my eyes rested upon the familiar and far too handsome face of Nenvari. He didn’t look like the evil narcissistic child snatching thing he was. In the image, he had a gentle smile with dimples on both cheeks, a thin nose, and a strong jawline. I could tell that he was only the half-brother to the other two because his skin had no red-brown tones. He had the same blue eyes as the other two and his name was listed as first in line to the throne.

I frowned. Odd, how they sent the heir to go protect the country by being the final boss of the mine, but I guessed he might have considered it an honor or something.

I closed my book. “What next?”

“Are you sure you’re ready? Wouldn’t you prefer to go challenge the mine again?”

“Trying to get rid of me?” I smirked and he looked panicked. “Don’t worry. I know you’re not your sister. Anyway, I’d like to finish this lesson once and for all. No putting it off just because it isn’t filled with action and death.”

He chuckled. “You’d be surprised how often history is filled with gruesome deaths and the vilest actions.”

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A note from DragonOfRochester

Thank you so much for coming back after my break! I've missed you all so much!

I'm posting this chapter a little rougher than usual and a little early in the day for a simple reason, while my NaNoWriMo went well (34k words) I did run into an issue, namely, I was injured (I'll save you the details) and I couldn't write for almost 10 days. I did what I could to catch up, but I still ended the month 16k short of the full 50k. 16k also happens to be a close number to how much of the story I have left to write. At my current pace, I'll be finished in about 5-6 days. I'm still going to post the chapters for these 5-6 days (because you all deserve them for waiting for so long) but they're going to be a little rougher than usual because I need the time I'd usually spend doing 3-4 editing passes for writing.

I know I'm being utterly selfish here in not giving you the quality you deserve and expect from me but I'm on a roll and if I pause or slow down now then me writing this story's end will drag on until I'm writing each chapter the night before I edit and post, or worse, I'll forget all the amazing things I have planned for this story's end, which makes for an even poorer quality story. I sincerely apologize for the roughness and I promise to go back once I've finished writing to clean them up thoroughly. If you'd prefer to wait for that to happen then please pay attention to the tag at the top of each chapter. I'll remove them from the chapters that have been edited to my normal quality.

Thank you so much for your patience! You all are the best!

- Rochester


About the author

DragonOfRochester

Bio: Rochester has a degree in Videogame Art and Design and 8 years of industry experience. She challenged herself to write a LitRPG with a nonstandard game type and post the result here.

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