The black dot appeared again. I still had my second armor charge, and since it wasn’t a wraith that could ignore armor, I started to build confidence.
I had a plan to let it attack me, and when I teleported, I would use my knowledge of its position to attack it with my recently charged bow. The glowing arrow now had twice as much silver crackling through it. A perfect plan which would net me 700 Death Saving Crystals.
I floated down, destroying magma blocks as I went.
The black dot blinked in an out.
“Come on you creep, I’m right here. The perfect snack.”
I concentrated so much on the appearance of a black dot that I nearly ran right into a scorpion. When I saw its giant stinger about to attack me, I released my arrow. The energy decimated the creature, leaving only a small ruby. I watched it fly into my inventory.
My vision suddenly changed. On instinct, I pulled out a recharge cube.
My bow charged again, and I fired it at where I had been.
I licked my lips and waited. Had I gotten it or was I too late?
After about a minute I began to feel a little stupid and climbed back up to where I had been. There was no trace of the still man but in this realm that didn’t mean much.
Bug-eyed hands appeared in front of me.
You are about to die. Want me to save you?
I observed the hands as the crystal rewound time. They didn’t reach from behind me as I thought they would. Instead, they were there one moment and gone the next.
It hit me then, the reason the creature was so hard to beat was because it teleported!
The area around me turned to glass. No, the Still Man wasn’t embedded in any of the blocks. Its teleportation range must be enormous.
I needed to try and get away from it since I didn’t want it to consume me again. That was disturbing enough once.
With a few well place Haste casts I flew further into the fourth floor; unfortunately, I completely missed a darkened square and rammed straight into a trap. Shadow tentacles gripped my wrists and waist and sucked me toward its center. My skin and bones felt heavy as if I’d been caught in a riptide or the gravity of a black hole.
You are about to die. Want us to save you?
In the span of what felt like years my body shrank and lengthened. My bones cracked and shattered. I screamed. Skin tore away from the dust that was my bones and the gore that was my muscles. My whole self was sucked into the center of the dark trap.
When I appeared in the space between I just stared at Mr. Black for hours or maybe days. He didn’t ask me if I’d care to continue. I think he saw on my face that I needed time to process what had happened.
When I was finally ready, I cleared my throat. “That was a hallucination right?”
He didn’t respond.
“At least tell me I didn’t literally take years dying in there.”
“I believe it took several minutes.”
I nodded. “At least I didn’t waste years.”
“Not physically, anyway.”
“I think I’d prefer being eaten to that since the Still Man had severed my spine.”
“Would you care to continue, Miss Knight?”
“Not just yet. I need to learn the next two spells. Because I’m going to need them if I’m to kill the Still Man.”
I read over their descriptions, and Mr. Black peered at them from over my shoulder.
Range: 8 Blocks
Description: A tiny bolt of lightning escapes from your fingertip and hits a target that you can see within range causing the target to stand still for 20 seconds. You must have line of sight to use this spell otherwise it will hit anything that is between you and your target and stop. May cause some damage but will not kill.
Range: 3 Blocks
Description: Allows you to teleport to a block within range. Can only be used to teleport into a safe block. If there is anything within the area where you teleport to this spell will destroy it. There are some items which cannot be destroyed by this spell and so teleporting to that square will not work, but the price of the spell will still be paid.
“At the rate you’ve been going, it’s going to take you awhile before you have enough mana to cast these.”
“I know. Can’t I just stay here and cast haste a bunch of times until I’ve leveled my mana enough?”
“I’ve actually looked into that. While you could indeed spend years here casting nothing but haste repeatedly to earn more mana points, it’s not good for you.”
“Here you’re more soul than material, and within the mines, you’re the opposite. If you’re constantly using this place to level your mana quickly, there will be consequences to that.”
“But it should be up to me if I want to pay those consequences right?”
“Since I’m the one keeping you here, it’s actually up to me, and I say they’re not worth it.”
“Hey, don’t I deserve to at least know what they are?”
He shook his head. “They are the type of consequences that don’t sound bad until you’ve experienced them.”
“I don’t know.”
“Please, trust me on this.”
I eyed him. “Okay. But what about what I’ve already learned here?”
“You were at such an insignificant amount that it didn’t affect you much back then, but the more mana you earn here, the worse the consequences will get.”
“I still think you should tell me what it is.”
He stared at me for a moment then smirked. “Imagine a karmic force editing your external fortunes, so you inevitably become something like a professional karaoke singer.”
I snorted at the lousy joke then got back to memorizing the increasingly complex spell diagrams. If he didn’t want to tell me, then I couldn’t force him.
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