When I appeared in the main cavern, I stared at Meeks, Phenic, and Korren. I don’t know why but it hit me that since I was so close to the end, I should make real plans for what I needed to defeat Nenvari. From what little I remembered about his battle with Matt he could take 84 hits before the player won. Knowing what I knew now about the game, that number staggered me. How did they expect any child to win with odds like that? Oh right, they assumed that no child could do it, at least not with only 3 tries. That was why they were always so confident.
Other than a battle like the one I had with Meeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I could only guess that I’d need at least 84 weapon recharge cubes for each of the three times. A number that came out to 252. I wouldn’t use all of them, but chances were I’d need extra for the later attempts when I regularly missed Nenvari. The first two times, I likely wouldn’t get very far so I’d have to be prepared to only go all out on the third one.
Another two upgrades on my range and weapon charge would be nice, but I wasn’t even sure the bow could upgrade that much.
As for Death Saving Crystals, to have eleven solid chances after my armor failed I needed 2047. That was 422 more than I currently had.
Meeks told me I needed more durability, and after thinking about it, at 64 blocks per energy orb, even if I were to score a hit on Nenvari every block I traveled, I wouldn’t kill him before I had to find an energy orb to recharge my pickaxe. This sounded like a nightmare to do while in the middle of a battle.
I took in a deep breath and stepped up to Korren. With a grin, I handed her the emerald key along with my bow.
She smiled at took out a purple crystal threaded with silver.
“So,” I started, “will this allow me to kill scorpions and those chest snakes?”
“Not exactly. It will still only daze slinfi but for far longer than your previous weapon. As for the scorpions, as long as they are in their giant form yes, but as soon as they separate you’ll have about a fifty-fifty chance to kill them.”
I frowned. This was the first time my weapon damage upgrade wouldn’t completely destroy everything on a floor. Was this not the last damage upgrade then? Or maybe it would have been if I’d chosen weapons instead of information. Either way that had been my choice and I didn’t regret it.
“How much are the next upgrades?”
“There a 5 upgrades in the emerald price range. The first two are a combination range increase and charge decrease. The next three are charge decreases.”
“How much are they?”
“4 emeralds each, but good luck finding them with any amount of alacrity.”
“I found my first one pretty fast.”
“An absolute fluke, I assure you.”
I sighed. “Don’t sugar coat it for me.”
With a heavy sigh, I handed over the jadinfray cave items I’d found to bring my recharge cubes back up to 64 and walked up to Phenic. I crossed my arms and grinned. With a flourish, I handed him the bell. It disappeared behind him, and another crystal shot into my inventory.
“A little bird told me that you were killed by a Still Man.”
My smile instantly disappeared. “That’s what that evil thing was called?”
“Not pleasant are they? And near impossible to kill.”
“So does that mean you’d be willing to give me say 422 Death saving crystals if I did kill it?”
His brows rose. “You have a specific number in mind?”
My cheeks burned as I realized my mistake.
His sharp teeth shone as he grinned at me. “I’d say, for such an impossible task as killing a Still Man you’d deserve at least 700 crystals.”
“Deal! No takebacks” I said before he could renege on the deal. There was no telling how many times I’d need to use a death saving crystal save myself from a ghost in the meantime.
He chuckled as I swiftly stepped over to Meeks.
He had another romance novel, which didn’t surprise me. The titles never seemed to overlap, as if there were an infinite number of romance novels out there.
He dog-eared his page and smiled. “Yes, Miss?”
“I’m going to earn 40 more durability points at least, but I don’t have enough for an upgrade yet.”
Someone tapped my shoulder, and I jerked around. The short artificer smiled up at me.
“Engra! You’re back sooner than I thought!”
“Hello, my dear! How could I stay away after I heard about your little bet with Phenic?”
I blushed. “Well, I knew I’d win,” I said more boldly than I felt.
She laughed. “Good! I have a little proposition for you.”
I swiftly sat down and nodded my readiness to listen.
“You see. I have an idea for a gift for a princess of a neighboring country. I’m trying to woo her business away from my horrendous rival. Since she just adores unique dresses, I have this idea to use some of the rubies that those scorpions horde to create a brilliant one. I want you to collect 42 of them, and in exchange, I will upgrade your armor and your mind map. Can you do that?”
“Absolutely, but it will take some time. Several days to a week at least.”
“Perfect. There is no rush, and I’ll just wait around here, annoying Merchant Meeks,” she said with a glint in her eye.
He groaned. “Ye know ye can wait in our break room.”
“Nonsense. It’s only standing around for a couple of days. Who couldn’t do that?”
“Your time is more precious than that, artificer,” Korren said.
Engra winked at me and waved me off.
With a grin, I strode to my mine.
Battle Miner Magus Kelly Knight
Ore Worth: 3125
Death Saving Crystals: 1626
Weapon Charge: 0/12
Weapon Range: 6
Weapon Damage: 4
Weapon Recharge Cubes: 69
Armor Teleport Radius: 4
Armor Charges: 2/2
Mana Points: 7/7
Spells and Techniques known:
Reaper Pen, Death Mind, Spirit Sleep, Candlelight, Minor Telekinesis, Minor Cleanliness, Personal Weather, Flameless Light, and Minor Haste.
Current Tasks and Quests:
Collect 5 sets of 4 Emerald Keys for weapon upgrades: 0/20
Collect 42 Rubies for an Armor and Mind Map upgrade: 1/42
For every 1 Bell exchange for 1 Crystal: 0
Jadinfray cave items to be exchanged for Weapon Recharge Cubes: 0
Collect Ore worth 3600 to add 2 to Pickaxe Durability: x0
Golems rescued: 1/?