“Alright. Just toss it in there,” I tell Asku, all of us now standing before the world vortex with varying levels of wrinkled fingers from how long we spent in the water.
None of us wanted to get out after we got in. Even Asku and Thera were relaxing and didn’t want to leave.
Asku takes the caveroot out from his bags and holds it out over the vortex. “Do I just… drop it?” he asks.
“Yep. Drop it, throw it – whatever. Tenta will eat it up,” I answer.
“Tenta will eat it?”
“Yeah, his name is Tenta.”
“The vortex’s – well, the dungeon’s. They’re connected, and I guess that whatever you feed the vortex, you’re technically feeding to the dungeon as well.”
Asku doesn’t bother asking any more questions, instead just dropping the caveroot into the swirling vortex.
Once more, a prompt pops up asking if I want the item to be converted into a resource or material, or if I want it converted into mana and dungeon points. The former option is the reason we’re here.
“Alright, it’s added. Let me see how much it’ll cost to generate some more of it at will,” I say.
So, seven dungeon points to generate—what I’m assuming—will be about the same amount we tossed in there. Let’s test out how this works real quick. I press on “Caveroot” and then a prompt pops up asking me to input a number. I enter two and hit “submit.”
Two clumps of caveroot materialize out of what looks like the same sort of energy that the vortex is made out of, and then they fall down to the ground in front of me.
“It cost fourteen dungeon points to make two of them. Seven each,” I say, picking them up. “How about… ten clumps a week?” I propose to Syl.
Her eyes light up and she does a happy spin in the air. “That’s more than I was hoping for, so sure!” she says. “I would have been happy with just two or three a week!”
I probably should have let her make an offer first.
But, a deal is a deal, and she’s doing us a massive favor. It should be alright if the dungeon takes a bit to grow since she’ll be protecting it.
Just have to solve that mana problem.
Before I hand the caveroot over, I should probably try to learn some more about it. Might as well get some more experience.
Fortunately, instead of actually paying attention to it to try and learn about it the normal way, I can just do this.
This stuff isn’t going to make the dungeon drain even more mana, right? Fortunately, when I check up on that, it doesn’t look to be draining any more than before.
Oh, and hey, I leveled up. Seeing as how Feral Form replaces my physical attributes, I’ll just put these two points into knowledge.
“Here you go,” I say, handing the roots over to Asku whom places them in his bags. “So, what was that plan you came up with?” I ask Thera and Syl.
“We will use a spell of the fairy’s that affects a wide area to create an illusionary cave. She is advanced enough that it will deceive their six senses and produce false windows in case they try to check on where they are. They will treat a random patch of the forest as if they are inside of the cave,” Thera explains. “The only risk is their resistances potentially being more powerful than her ability.”
“So, they’ll just… think that they’re in the cave even if they’re in the middle of the forest?” I ask.
Everything around me changes.
I was in the room of the world vortex before, but now I find myself standing right back in the center of the fay’s village. Was I teleported? No, with the context of the conversation, Syl has to be demonstrating her power.
“I do not know what you see right now, darling. I was informed of a failed attempt at influencing my mind,” Thera says.
“We’re back at the village – well, not really, I guess, but it looks like we are. This is awesome,” I say. I even bend down to pick up some of the grass and—
“Darling!” Thera shouts, lunging forward and using one of her legs to keep me held upright.
All I wanted to do was try to pick some of the grass, so why did I just hear Thera shout out with more emotion than I’ve ever heard come from her before?
The illusion ends and I find myself staring down into the world vortex.
Yeah… I probably would have fallen right in if she didn’t stop me.
“Thanks,” I tell Thera, getting off of her leg and standing back up straight.
“You are lucky that I could not be fooled by such an illusion,” Thera says.
“She raised you well,” Syl tells Thera, flying closer only to almost get swatted away.
I’m sweating now. I have no idea what would have happened if I fell into the vortex. I seriously owe Thera; I’ll try giving her a massage later.
“Well… that should be more than good enough as long as they don’t resist it. Do we have a backup plan in case they do resist it?” I ask.
“Kill them,” Thera says.
“Yep!” Syl agrees.
The way that Syl can so easily get behind the idea of killing humans reminds me that I’m not dealing with humans here. Yeah, that should be obvious, but I’ve been treating them like humans even if they’re not. They’re still people, and I treat all people the same unless they deserve to be treated differently. But, Thera and Syl – they have no hesitation when it comes to the idea of killing humans.
“We won’t kill them. We’ll just… capture them in the worst-case scenario. Maybe try to convince them or bribe them to help us,” I tell them.
Syl raises her arms and shrugs, and Thera sighs and rubs the palm of her hand against her forehead. “If you say so, darling,” Thera says.
“What do you have against killing?” Asku asks.
“Killing. That’s what I have against killing. Do you want to be killed?” I ask him.
“Of course not.”
“Do you want anybody you care about to be killed?”
“No. What is your point?”
“That’s how everybody feels. You don’t want to be killed, they won’t want to be killed. You wouldn’t want anybody killing people you care about, and they’ll have people who don’t want them to die, too. Killing should only be done in cases of self-defense where it’s absolutely necessary.”
“Do not preach to me. I know you are new to these lands, and such a naïve view will ensure that you do not last long.”
“Then I’ll die sticking to my beliefs. I’m not going to kill people who probably have every single reason to be mad at me and want to kill me. If anything, I deserve it. They don’t.”
“Hah! See, this is what I like about you,” Frederick says from the room’s entrance, his clothes loosely wrapped around his waist. Now everybody else gets to see just how muscular this old man is, and they all look just as surprised as I did. “Don’t you worry about a thing. No matter what happens, I won’t be letting anybody die.”
Frederick sticks out his hand.
I grab onto it and shake, and wow this is kind of gross. He is so… wrinkly feeling. His skin just feels like a raisin! I can feel all the curves and bumps and ridges and just… this is gross. Dude seriously needs to not spend that much time in water again if he wants to shake hands.
“As you can see, darling is not the only strange human here,” Thera says with another sigh of hers.
“That just makes this dungeon even more interesting! Besides, this one is even nicer on the eyes! Sorry, Daymee, but you’re a bit young still,” Syl says, fluttering up toward Frederick’s face and checking him out up close.
Did… did a tiny fairy just say I’m too young for her, and that an old man is more attractive than me?
You go, old man. I lean in close to whisper to Frederick, “She likes it rough. Really rough. And messy.”
Frederick gives me a few smacks on my back before whispering back, “I told you not to worry about a thing. These bones might be old, but they still work.”
Yeah, I really want to be like him when I’m older.