I had everyone follow me over to the door and opened it quietly but dramatically. We all stopped a moment and gazed at the sight before us. I do not know what the others were thinking, but I was calculating the fastest way to get to the middle island which seemed to be the largest and from here looked like it had a raised platform similar to the return pad after the dungeon boss. Ok, first thing to check is to see if teleportation or blink works. I try to get to the center island first with teleportation. No luck, seems that magic is still shut down. I try and blink a few feet to the side, and find that this still works. I hear several gasps behind me.
“Don’t worry it is just a skill. I wanted to make sure it still worked before we got on a bridge. I still cannot teleport though. I am going to try and fly to the center island, you guys advance like we discussed.”
I silently cast mana wings of air on myself and proceeded to fly to the center island. There were no restrictions and it was a very easy and quick flight. That is weird, why would it block teleportation, but leave an obvious shortcut like flight available? I reach the island and look back at my little group. They are on the third island advancing quickly and nothing has happened to them either. This is starting to creep me out. Nothing in a dungeon should be this easy, what is going on?
I start exploring the center island and reach the raised platform I spotted from a distance. Attached to the platform is a plaque that simply states: “To start the Dungeon Waves Step on the Platform.” Dungeon waves, what are those? Could it be like the old games I used to play where you had to defend a certain place against wave after wave of enemies? That seems like the most likely scenario to me, but I better wait for the others to get here before I make any decisions.
Ten minutes later a confused looking group reached the center island. I quickly asked them my questions. “Has anyone heard of Dungeon Waves? That is what happens if you step on the platform.” I could see Elise go pale. “Elise do you know something?”
“Yes Mark, I know what dungeon waves are. I never even considered them as the final challenge. I have never heard of them in a dungeon under the level of 200. They are called Hero Killers more commonly.”
When Elise mentioned Hero Killers, I could see the other two also get nervous. “Alright, someone please explain what a hero killer is.”
“A hero killer is a dungeon that sends wave after wave of monsters at a defending group until they are overwhelmed. There are very few that are able to survive these tactics as the time to recover between each wave goes down by one minute for every wave. For instance, if there are fifteen waves, then you have a fifteen minute rest period after the first, fourteen minutes after the second, and so on.”
“Well how do you find out how many waves there are?”
“The only way I have heard of is to survive and then spread the information.”
“Alright here is the plan. I assume the bridges are here to help the monsters whatever they may be cross and attack us. First I am going to try and destroy the bridges to see if we can limit the ways the monsters can come. If that doesn’t work, I will leave traps on the approaching bridges which will take several hours so I can recharge my mana. Your only job is to make sure Ivan does not get near that platform until I am ready. Do you understand?”
I could see Ivan turn red with shame and embarrassment, but I could hardly care right now. I had to survive this. I mean I would survive no matter what, but if I came back without the group and from outside the dungeon I would not be able to explain it and there would go my easy entrance to society and learning. Come to think of it, if I can’t teleport in a dungeon, can I switch to another virus? Would I permanently die if I died in a dungeon? Oh crap, I never even considered that. I definitely have to live through this and do some research on dungeons before I attempt harder ones.
The first thing I do is cancel my elemental wings. I need to conserve my mana. I then shoot some Improved Annihilation Spikes at the center of one of the far bridges. Nothing, this is the first time that Annihilation has failed to dissolve something. I was kind of expecting this. There must be magic restrictions or something that do not allow the destruction. I am sure if I was a high enough level or had a more powerful spell I might be able to overcome them, but not at the level I am currently at.
Alright landmine spells it is. There are three separate bridges that access the center island we are on. If I can set landmines on all of them, it will make things much easier. Some quick math later and I figure out that I can make 20 landmines every 30 minutes and have them last 6 hours. So if I make landmines for 3 hours I can have 40 landmines on each bridge with a three hour window of them still being useful. That should work. I can place 20 on one end of the bridge and 20 on the other. That way they will not all go off at once. I explain what I am doing to the three with me and task them with laying the landmines together. Then I sit down and start creating.
3 hours and 30 minutes later I have finished all preparations and I have a full tank of magic. No more putting it off, we need to start this thing before my spell wears off.
“Ok, everyone onto the platform and remember the farther things die away from us the better. Ivan we are counting on you to protect us if something gets through our defenses. Here we go.”
With that everyone ascended the platform and a roar came from the north. We all turned and saw 20 smaller red beings start running across the bridges towards us. Inspect.
Fire Imp Level 75 Magic: Unknown
Great this must be a scaling wave attack. Each wave must get a little harder. I yell out my thought to everyone and let them know that we definitely need to stop them before they reach the last bridge. The longer we can hold on to the landmine surprise the better. They all nod and Bo and Elise start their long range attack. I join in with volleys of ice spikes and ice orbs. The fire imps defense seems to be lacking along with their intelligence. There was no dodging or other strategies involved, they just charged until they die. This first group made it to the start of the third bridge of five.
“Ok let’s rest for as long as it gives us, the number of minutes rest should indicate the number of waves.”
Ten minutes later A roar, this time from the south, rings out. Ten minutes means ten waves. This is the second of ten waves. We have a chance. I explain my reasoning to the group and spirits pick up. I then take the time to inspect again. Inspect.
Lava Golem Level 80 Magic: Unknown
Well there are still 20 enemies, so that number will probably not change, but each one is five levels higher than the fire imp group. So does that mean each wave scaled up by 5 levels. Hmm, that would mean the end wave would be level 120. That might be a little hard to deal with if there are still 20 of them. Oh well nothing to do but wait and find out. Everyone starts shooting long distance and soon enough the lava golems go down. We actually managed to take them out around the same spot as the first wave. These guys were much tougher, but also a lot slower. The problem is that Elise and I used up a bit of magic.
I can get most of my mana back in the shortened time, but I have no idea of Elise’s recharge rate. She may run out and become useless pretty quick. After nine minutes this time wave three emits a roar from the east. Inspect.
Fire Warrior (elemental) Level 85 Magic: Unknown
My guess must have been right. Another 5 levels to our foe, it must scale up for each challenge. The fire warriors make it to the end of the third bridge before falling. Eight minutes go by, and howling from the north again. It looks like more fire imps. Quick check. Inspect.
Fire Imp Level 85 Magic: Unknown
Alright, we already saw these guys, take them out. This time they make it to the start of the fourth bridge. Not good they are getting farther and farther each time. 7 minute’s rest and then Lava golems appear in the south. Another repeat, I bet it just cycles through those three for the first nine waves and then something different or mixed for the final wave. This wave goes down at the fourth bridge. 6 minute’s rest and then yep, a roar of fire warriors from the east. They go down after the fourth bridge. They almost made it to the fifth and Elise is starting to look tired.
“Are you okay Elise. We have made it through 6 waves, only four more to go.”
“I am fine. I am just low on mana. After the next fight I will take a mana potion and recharge.”
“You have mana potions? Can I have one?”
“Sure Mark I have three and should not need more than two to reach the end of this dungeon wave.”
I gingerly take the bottle of rainbow colored liquid and place it in my inventory so it will not break. This is going to help tremendously. I should not have to worry about magic for the final wave now. 5 minute’s rest and wave 7 more fire imps arrives. They make it past the fourth bridge, but luckily only set off a couple of landmines. 4 minute’s rest and Elise had to take a potion. Lava golems this round and they were stopped cold by the landmines at the end of the bridge. We have only one set of landmines on that bridge now. 3 minute’s rest and the 9th wave of fire warriors sets off both landmine formations on their bridge approach. I can only hope that whatever is the last wave comes from one of the other directions. 2 minutes later my hopes are crushed as I hear not one set of roars but three sets.
I look around and yep all three fire imps, lava golems, and fire warriors are out to play at the same time.
“Ivan you will fight against the fire warriors that make it past as we have no landmines on that side now. Everyone else concentrate on the fire imps for one round of spells, the lava golems for two rounds of attack, and then we will all face the fire warriors. I am hoping that the landmines will slow down or kill whatever is left after our first attacks on the other groups. Remember we survive this we can get out of here and beat up Ivan.”
Everyone laughed and then implemented my strategy. Our first volley only took down 2 lava golems, but injured a couple more. The next two volleys killed 6 fire imps, I hope that is enough. Next we turned to see that the fastest group was already at the fourth bridge and going strong. Elise let loose with every lightning spell she had and I did the same with ice. The warriors started to go down. After firing a couple of arrows Bo joined Ivan on the front line to block. It soon became a horrible melee. Parry, slash, smash with hammer, dodge, turn and shoot a spell at an imp attacking from the back, and then repeat. It was exhausting. The levels of these guys were just enough above us that melee attacks were not as useful as I hoped. I saw Bo go down under two fire warriors and Ivan went to try and rescue him. Elise shouted a warning to look out and I ducked but felt my left arm go numb.
It was the single lava golem that had survived. It tagged me hard in the left shoulder and if I hadn’t moved would probably have taken my head from my shoulders. I retaliated with the hammer of smiting and knocked it back far enough to launch a scattershot at it. That almost does it for my mana, I have perhaps two spells worth left now. I look around and realize that the golem was the last opponent standing. Ivan was wrapping Bo in bandages, Bo was passed out, Elise was sitting slumped over, and I could finally take a break. These kids really are not that bad. We all survived. I honestly did not think that was going to happen. I had been mentally preparing myself for the death of one of my companions and how I would explain it. Instead we would all be going back to the surface.