United Nations, Seacliff Mining and Dungeon Town, Dungeon Level 12, Boss Room

The Lich King gave an unearthly cry, sending waves of goosebumps down Ciel and Justze's spines. They both froze in fear as they stared at the evil purple flames within the eye sockets of the Lich King's skull.

Both of them felt their consciousness been suck away deep into the eye sockets of the skull that seemed to pierce right into their very souls. They stood there shaking in terror like two mice caught in the glare of a very hungry cat.

"Don't stare at it!" Leon bellowed as he cleaved away the row of rotting skeletons before him. He grunted with effort as more skeletons pushed forward over the shattered bones of their brethren. "These... stupid... bones!"

"Dispel!" Yill chanted and pointed his staff at Ciel and Justze, causing their bodies to glow in white light for a brief moment. He continued pointing his staff at the two youngsters and chanted another spell. "Mind Block!"

Ciel and Justze suddenly fell flat on the floor as their shaking legs lost all strength. Both of them blinked in confusion and horror at the Lich King in the distance and quickly averted their eyes away from the undead creature in fright.

"Stupid children!" A loud growl of disgust came from behind Ciel and Justze as a shadow loomed over them. They both turned around and stared at the huge Orekin wearing a massive double bladed moon axe. The Adventurers' Inc. Team One leader and leader of the Orekins living in the United Nations swung his axe and shattered away the crowd of skeletons that was reaching for Ciel and Justze while they were frozen with fear.

"No look at death!" Turok yelled as he continued the frenzy swings of his axe. "Stupid! Idiots!'

The final boss of the Level 12 of the dungeon stood hunched over its throne made out of yellowed bones. The Lich King wore tattered remains of a once richly embroidery dress tunic, which colour and threads had faded over time. In its skeletal right hand, its clasped a bone staff made out from the entire spine to the skull of a person which contained a purple flame inside.

The boss room was some kind of rectangular ancient hall ending at the circular throne where the Lich King stood and an army of hundreds of skeletons warriors stood guard. All four teams of the Adventurers' Inc. had been dispatched to handle the final boss of Level 12 before they can descent to the final level.

The two machine guns clattered and the tracers stitched into the tightly packed crowd of skeletons, shattering the bodies of the skeletons whose empty eye sockets were lit by a purple flame. They ignored the losses and damages to their bones and rattled their way forward, reaching out with the sharp points of their boney finger tips. Others dragged weapons along and wore old fashioned armour, rattled their way towards the intruders.

"There's too many!" Someone from Team Two yelled in panic as he swung a mace wildly before him, smashing arms and cracking skulls. "The guns have no use!"

"Hold firm!" Turok yelled angrily as he cleaved another group of skeletons into pieces. "Shields! Form wall!"

Those with shields quickly came together to link their shields together, creating a flimsy defence against the skeletons that surged forward like a wave. The two machine guns of the Adventurers' Inc. continued their desperate fire, which felt like they were pissing into the sea as the rounds of the guns did not deal as much damage to the skeletons compared to a flesh body.

"This is crazy!" The men under the shield cursed as the skeletons attempted to rip the shields away. Explosions from grenades hammered the Lich King's skeletons without much effort and only certain spells were effective.

Ciel having recovered stood behind the tiny wall of shields, and she desperately tossed fireballs over the heads of the men. Justze also helped by creating a stone barrier on their flanks and forcing the skeletons to be able to enter through a narrow opening. Yet despite that, the number of skeletons that were forcing their way through the opening and also climbing over the side of the rock barrier was still too many, not allowing the Teams to catch their breath.

"No guns!" Turok suddenly yelled. "Useless on these bones!"

The gunners nodded grimly as they abandoned their weapons and switched to their melee weapons and joined the line, chopping and smashing at the clawing skeletons. The spell casters took over the role of long range support and lobbed their spells at the skeletons. Ciel continued with her fireballs while Justze switched to creating spikes that burst out from the ground.

After almost two hours of intensive fighting, the last skeleton crumpled down with a rattle of bones and suddenly there was no more movement before them. Ciel flopped down on her butt and let out a deep sigh of fatigue, "Is it over?"

"No, child..." Turok growled as he stared at the Lich King seated on its throne. "Dark Boss left..."

The Lich King seemed unperturbed as it lounged on its throne. It watched the intruders approach its throne before it raised its staff up and an unnatural cry came from the depths of its dark soul. The skull on its staff flared with a purple glow and the entire throne room seemed to pulse.

The Lich King's jaws rattled as if it was laughing at the mortals that dared stand before it as dark magic gathered upon its staff. Suddenly, the shattered bones of the defeated skeleton warriors started rattling and one by one, they reformed together and the newly reanimated skeletons pushed themselves up jerkily and glared hostilely at the mortals before them.

"Oh... shit..." Leon cursed as the skeletons surrounded them. "Again?"


United Nations, Seacliff Mining and Dungeon Town, Dungeon Entrance, Overseer Station, Ops Room

Inside the packed Operations Room, were dozens of techs and operators manning the stations filled with monitors and charts. Audio and visual for the Teams down deep inside the dungeon basically was severed each time they went beyond level five, due to the signals distorted by the giant doors, winding labyrinth corridors and stairs.

Hence communication between any Teams that ventured beyond the fifth level had to have runners at each entry and exit for any form of communication. Now, the last audio report was that the four Teams had entered the final boss area and everyone, including the CEO of Adventurers' Inc., Karl was waiting anxiously for further news.

Due to the Dungeon having been buried underground for hundreds of years, the concentration of mana within the Dungeon levels had evolved the monsters and creatures inside, mutating and even evolving the creatures to a higher level.

It significantly increased the dangers and difficulty of the creatures, like how Dr. Sharon explained it simply by saying it was like playing on Hell mode on Diablo. The creatures in each level differ greatly from one another with the environment mostly being caves or stone dungeons.

The hostile monsters inside the level were mostly the dominating species, while the other weaker creatures and flora served as a source of food. The Boss of the level will a similar creature but higher level and stronger.

Level 1 monsters were the spider ants, with a Queen Mother as the boss, Level 2 was occupied by dino lizards and Godzilla, Level 3 by bat like monsters that feasted on blood and Elder Vampire, Level 4 by minotaurs and a giant minotaur boss, Level 5 by giant snakes and a thirteen headed hydra, Level 6 by zombies and ghouls which flamers had to be brought in. Level 7 had two headed creatures of all kinds, ending with a giant two headed golem for dessert.

The easiest or maybe the hardest for some was Level 8 which filled with nothing but traps and literally mind breaking puzzles, Indiana Jones style. Level 9 only had a bridge spanning overflowing lava and guarded by hundreds of living armour that looked like something out of a Qin Dynasty tomb. Level 10 was filled with murderous puppets and a puppeteer with one hundred arms wielding blades and also controlled dozens of puppets.

Level 11 was inhabited by giant centipedes and burrowers and Level 12 was the filled with skeletons and a Lich King, which the Adventurers' Inc. was trying to defeat now. Level 13 was determined to be the final Level with the use of ground penetration radar and information on it was still totally blank.

Creatures that died in the dungeon will respawn in two to three days time from the magic provided by the Dungeon. Dr. Sharon had once theorized that a Dungeon was like a person's body, the monsters were the antibodies that attacked anyone coming inside and way in was through the mouth and the way out was through the anus.

So far, the deepest dive into the Dungeon had reached Level 12, which was where the current Teams were fighting the final boss. No one else has ever reached beyond that and even the final boss on Level 12 was a mutated monster as no one had ever defeated it yet.

New monsters that spawned back into the dungeon tend to be weaker than the ones that had lived for hundreds of years. Hence, it was always harder to clear a Level that has never been touched before, as the monsters there had many years to grow and even mutate or evolve.

Karl paced around the tiny space inside the Dungeon Overseer's office, his nerves tensed. It has been over three hours, and yet there was no news from the Teams. After Level 5, the doors into the Boss area will become sealed after anyone enters and could only be opened again after the Boss has been defeated.

Hence the only way the Teams to bring fore any news was to defeat the Boss first and send out runners to inform the communication party outside. If the Teams has been wiped out inside the Boss room, there was no way anyone will know and Karl did not want to sacrifice anyone to enter the Boss room to check if the Teams were alright, because if the Teams were wiped out, anyone going in won't survive to tell the tale either.

"Boss!" A tech suddenly called out. "Word just came in! The Boss at Level 12 was defeated eighteen minutes ago!"

The operations room immediately burst out in cheer as the people heard the news. Many started clapped and patting each other backs in celebration, even Karl broke out into a broad grin but his expression changed with the next words from the tech.

"Team Leader Turok is calling for immediate medical assistance," The tech voice trembled slightly as he read out the report. "They suffered nine deaths and five team members are in critical condition... The rest are all wounded too"

As the next sentence was spoken sunk in, the celebratory mood in the Operations Room died down as the people listened in horror. "That's... That's almost half the Team members we sent in... Dead!"

"Quick! Send in the recovery team to bring the wounded out now!" Karl yelled out. "Don't just stand there! Hurry up!"

The stunned operators and techs quickly remained to their stations and started calling the recovery teams to go in to retrieve the wounded and to the Town's hospital to ready themselves for several critical wounded.

Karl slumped down on his chair and sighed sadly, "Half the team gone just like that..."

He clenched his fists tightly, never had such a tragedy occurred despite the dangers of the Dungeon. There had been only a total of three defeats since the founding of Adventurers' Inc. two years ago. To lose almost half of his total manpower in just one run, made him feel terrible despite knowing that deaths will happen.

"Now... I fucking know how the Captain feels..."

A note from neo Koh

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