It was just over another hour before the other group arrived to the good natured taunts of my group who made it first. Teacher Sven gave me another bewildered look. I guess he did not think I would be a very good leader or something. I looked around and cleared my throat to get everyone’s attention.
“The center passage before has always held the dungeon boss. I do not think that has changed. However, with the changes in the numbers of enemies in each cave, I am sure there is something different with the dungeon boss. Before it was a level 120 Fire Drake. If you manage to get through its defensive scales, it is rather easy to take down. The problem is doing enough damage in a specific area to break through the scales. All mages and long distance damage dealers should focus on the same spot. I will let you decide which. My guess is that there will either be two drakes or that the level of the dungeon boss will have increased. I do not know which. Teacher Sven do you know?”
“No Mark, both of those situations have been encountered in the past. It is random whether it will be two lower level bosses or one higher level boss with large dungeon groups.”
So he did have knowledge about what was going to happen.
“Very well then I recommend that if there are two bosses that each group takes a different one. My group can take the left and Teacher Sven’s group the right. If it is a single boss I recommend that you all either aim for the chest or head. Be very careful of its fire breath and it also has an ability called boost. Is everyone ready?”
After getting a positive response from everyone I headed over to the center exit and proceeded down the corridor. When I got close to the cavern I signaled for silence again and crept forward. Two bosses guarding one door. I crept back to the group.
“It looks like two bosses guarding the treasure room. My group will hit the one on the left. Questions?”
There were none and the large group started forward once again. My group peeled off from the others with practiced efficiency and started dealing damage. It looked like the other group was a step behind. I decided to help out and sent 4 improved ice spikes at our designated target as fast as I could and then moved out of the way of the inevitable retaliation. My group saw the drake inhale in preparation for fire breath and scattered. They were really starting to think and work together well. I glanced over and saw that the other group was struggling a bit.
Oh well, my group could rescue them or Sven could if it went too badly. After dodging the fire breath, my groups frontline fighters ran up to keep the drake’s attention and the long range and spell user kept pounding the head. More people really made the boss fight easier. It went down in under a minute and I turned to check the other group and saw Sven jumping up and landing a huge blow on the other fire drakes head. Looking around I saw a very bedraggled and smoking group of people. I guess Sven really did have to rescue them.
“Do you wish for any help Sven?”
“No lad, I got this lizard.”
Indeed he did. It looked like he used some sort of amplifying or boosting magic to either increase damage or hit harder. It only took two more chops of his axe to cave in the drake’s head and kill it. Note to self, even if Sven is a little untrustworthy, he is still strong. Do not make him mad with my current strength. After the drakes cores and valuable bits had been looted, it seems that the drake cores are the academies portion, the group entered into the treasure room. Sven spoke up at this point.
“There are typically three chests in each dungeon. The Wealth chest, the strength chest, and the knowledge chest. Since we have such a large group the amount of wealth in the wealth chest will increase and the strength and knowledge chests contents will double. There are a limited amount of items or books that the dungeon will give out. The school will always choose the wealth chest as it is easy to distribute to students. On your first run you also get access to a second chest. The school opens the strength chest and rewards the top contributors on each dungeon field trip with whatever might appear. Questions?”
One young lady spoke up, “Sir why doesn’t the school ever take the knowledge chest?”
“Good question lass. The reason is the school already has every book from the dungeon in the library. We would not bring you to a dungeon that has not been fully explored several times. During the exploration phase by school officials they always take the knowledge chest until it repeats and then donate the contents to the school for some compensation.”
I was wondering about that also. It seems like an extremely fair way of doing things. Sven walked over and opened the wealth and strength chests and then divided up the coins between all the students. I refused any payment saying I already got the cores from the first room. He just nodded his head and then made another announcement.
“The two weapons and one fire resistance potion will go to the top three contributors over the next three days, and no neither I or Mark gets counted.”
You could see the relief in some of the student’s eyes. They realized that if I or Sven wanted to we could just bulldoze through and claim the top two spots and the rewards.
“Next we will get up on the platform in group of four and select to go back to the entrance. At no point think about trying the final challenge. You lot are definitely not ready yet.”
Sven stepped up on the platform and asked me to go with the last group. I replied that t would be no problem. Sven’s group disappeared, the second group stepped up and then disappeared, the third group stepped up and disappeared. Finally, it was our turn. I motioned for everyone to follow me on the platform and then started to think about returning to the dungeon entrance. Before I could even materialize my thoughts, we shimmered out as a group and reappeared in some place I did not recognize. Great.
“Who was the idiot who thought about the final challenge even after being told not too?”
Two of the people just glared at the final person. I walked over and in my most intimidating manner and said, “What were you thinking. Do you have any idea how far past screwed we are? I have never even seen the final challenge.”
“I’m sorry I was just wondering what the final challenge was, since nobody seems to know, and I could not get that thought out of my head. I guess it just assumed I wanted to challenge it.”
“What is your name anyway?”
“I am Ivan.”
One of the other students chipped in, “Most people call him Idiot Ivan, because of all of the mistakes he makes.”
I respond, “Anyone can make mistakes, and since this is you first one with me, I will let it go. However, if in the future you put me or another student in such a dangerous situation I will eliminate you as a threat. Do you understand.”
I think I got my point across as Ivan just nodded his head.
“Alright what do we have to work with. Please tell me your names again and what role you play in battle.”
“I am Ivan and I hit things with my mace and block with my shield.”
Oh goodness, Ivan is really a little simple in the head, but I can work with that.
“My name is Elise and I am a lightning mage.”
Right lightning mage, definitely useful.
“My name is Boreander Heftonic Throttle and I am a scout.”
Elise chimed in, “Just call him Bo, everyone else does.”
“Are you okay with being called that Boreander?”
I think he was surprised to actually be asked.
“Yes that is fine.”
“Excellent, now if you would please, stay here while I move ahead and check out the situation.”
Once they all nodded their heads or stated that they understood I approached the only door I could see in the room we teleported into. I opened it carefully and saw a room filled with platforms, bridges, and pools of lava. Oh this cannot be good. I closed the door and came back to the little group.
“Alright through the door is a very large cavern with multiple pools of lava, islands of stone, and bridges between them. To me this suggests that our foe whatever it is probably lives in the lava since this is a fire dungeon, and we have to make it across the bridges safely to somewhere to either get out or satisfy some requirement of the dungeon. Does anyone know of anything that lives in lava or have any ideas before we move forward?”
Elise spoke up, ”I know that Fire Elementals and Lava Golems both live in lava, and I think that I have heard of this type of set up in dungeons. If I remember right you have to battle something on each island after you cross the bridge. Once you cross the bridge falls down behind you.”
“That is excellent information Elise. Does anyone know of anything else?”
“I think I have heard of fire fish living in lava, but I doubt that it would be that if we have to battle one at every island.”, said Bo.
“Once again, good to know. Ivan do you know of any fire monsters that live in lava?”
“Yes sir, I like studying monsters. The other two besides what Elise said would be the Lava serpent and the Fire giant. The lava serpent is a really big snake made out of lava and the fire giant is a really big person that is strong and is not hurt by fire. Oh and red dragons, but no one has seen one in a long time so I don’t think it would be that.”
I can’t believe it. Idiot Ivan had some great information followed by some terrible descriptions. I looked at the others and asked, “Is he always like that?”
“Yes Mark, he has occasional flashes of brilliance and so is barely able to meet academic standards in the academy. His real strength though is combat. He may not look or sound like it, but he is a monster with that mace and shield.”, replied Bo.
“Well I will see what we can do to play to his strengths then. Does anyone know if flying is prohibited in dungeons?”
“What do you mean Mark”
“Well when I tried to teleport earlier, I could not as there was some sort of restriction in place to prevent me. What I am wondering is, do you think I would be allowed to just fly to the middle island and complete the puzzle or whatever it is and skip the whole bridge thing?”
They all indicated that they had no idea if this would work.
“Alright then here is the plan. Ivan up front, Elise in the middle, and Bo you bring up the rear ready to do distance damage or protect the back. I am going to try and fly to the middle island. If that works we should get out of here quickly, if not then I will take the front with Ivan. Questions?”
Nobody had any questions and it was time to start the Final Challenge.