I flew down several blocks and paused. Before I continued, I needed to put on my new armor.
Briefly, I worried about Mr. Black and the others but staunched that. If I survived, there would be time to worry later.
Engra had prepared four simple rings in the same ruby and steel style as the previous parts. They fit perfectly onto my ring and index fingers on each hand. There was also a circlet in the same fashion, which replaced my tiara.
My internal map became 4 times more detailed and expanded my radius by 4 blocks. It also included a top-down map, though it only showed a single line of blocks. I couldn’t help but think that it would have been useful in the fight earlier.
Best of all, though, the armor Engra had given me, increased my charges and range by 2!
All the blocks on the second line began to turn gray and within moments became cracked concrete. I moved down several more lines and watched them from my map. When the third line started to turn gray, I realized that I shouldn’t waste my time staring.
I cast Haste on myself, and when I’d recharged enough, I cast Teleport. My mind stayed focused on planning ahead and keeping a steady lead on the dying rows. That was until I ran into a sea of boulders that, without teleporting twice, there would be no direct path through. In normal circumstances, I would have teleported to save on durability, but I didn’t have a full minute to waste. With gritted teeth, I bolted around the sea. The concrete came closer, making me lose most of my previous lead. When I reached the sea’s edge, it started to hit my row.
I barely escaped onto an easier path and continued to cast Haste.
Mushroom traps and spiders flew past me. I collected whatever precious energy orbs I could to keep my durability up. Then I reached the sandstone where I passed badgers and destroyed any honey blocks that got in my way.
In the vines, I grabbed another energy orb and almost ran into a vine trap. Vindictively, I blasted it and moved past, casting Haste again to boost my speed.
I used a light boulder to destroy a TNT crate that blasted a box. The content, a diamond key, flew into my inventory. At the edge of my map, I saw a line turn to concrete and envelope a nest. It turned to stone and shattered. The loss of avian life hurt my heart, but I didn’t have the time to mourn.
When I reached the magma blocks, I immediately put up Personal Weather, but this also made it so I could only cast Haste when I absolutely remembered to which, as I passed scorpions and dark traps, wasn’t often.
The concrete formed around a slinfi. It turned to stone and shattered. With a heavy heart, I hoped the golem preferred death to being trapped.
When I moved farther down, lines of crystal blocks appeared on my map. Unfortunately, nearly every square had a wraith within it. A chill ran down my spine. How was I supposed to get through that?
Fear made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I stopped, too shocked and horrified to continue.
The ghosts stared up at me waiting. Did they want me to send them to the reapers? Did they consider this their last chance to move on? No, they likely believed this the final time they could steal my body, but I wouldn’t let them.
Briefly, I wondered if they became wraiths when something like the mine shutting down happened in the past. Would I share their fate if I didn’t reach the bottom?
The concrete moved to the next block reminding me that I had a time limit.
I gritted my teeth and fortified my mind for what I was about to do.
With a thought, my bow became a scythe, and I flew towards them like a Valkyrie. Well, a Valkyrie with a toy weapon.
They rushed toward me. I stole the death type mana from the area to make any of the ones who touched me fall to sleep. Bomping each head was barely an afterthought as I risked my life casting Sleep as fast as I could.
I pushed through the lines of ghosts and into an open room 6 squares wide but became surrounded in the process.
One ghost came after me, claws outstretched. Sleep. Bomp.
Then a second. Sleep. Bomp.
Then a third and a fourth!
On my sixth one, the reapers finally began to appear to collect them. But they didn’t help. Their eyes focused on me as I was continuously attacked by ghost after unending ghost.
The concrete hadn’t stopped its descent either, despite me wishing it would. The line of death was only four rows away. I moved down a little more.
When 30 reapers crowded my map, time stopped, and I couldn’t move.
“There should be enough of us now,” the first I’d called said.
Within the span of a blink both reapers and wraiths vanished. Time resumed. I shuddered and wrapped my arms around my body. That was too close.
Another line turned to concrete, once again reminding me that I didn’t have time to get emotionally stable.
I flew several more blocks and collected an energy orb.
That was when I saw the black dot.
Oh no! Not here! Not now!
But of course, it would have to be here and now when I was so close to the end.
I swallowed and cast haste on myself. When that hateful dot appeared again, I realized that it was much more detailed than it had been thanks to my upgrade. I could make out what direction it had come from and what direction it teleported towards. Judging by its movement, the Still Man was also attempting to flee the line of death. But I doubted that it would leave me alone to save its own butt. I had to do something before it did.
A desperate idea came to mind.
I waited. The concrete line moved closer. Still, the monster didn’t try to attack me.
When the feel of magic fizzling out of the crystal blocks above me ran over my skin, the Still Man struck. His hands appeared near my face, but I’d been waiting for this. I cast Minor Shock on its wrist and soared away.
The creature writhed in pain, unable to move or teleport as the concrete enclosed it and turned it to dust.
Many blocks later I came across the empty lines that represented the end of my long race and the beginning of my final battle. With dumb watering eyes and a heart beating super-fast I burst into the room.
Bio: I'm an artist and a retired game industry professional. I also enjoy drinking tea while I write/edit and sometimes coffee. If you enjoy my stories in any way and feel like treating me to some Matcha, Earl Grey (hot), Almond Milk Tea, or Royal Milk Tea then please support me on ko-fi. Your donation will go towards fueling me creatively, and if there are enough donations then I will use it for things like an actual illustrator to make a better cover. *This dragon author does not expect any donations, so any that are given are especially appreciated!*