My sulk lasted about an hour before I decided I couldn’t just sit there looking shiny and sad, and that I needed to do something. What to do in this circumstance I didn’t know, but something was certainly called for.
I spent a few minutes carefully looking around the room. Nothing new really jumped out at me except that it appeared that the room was oddly uniform even as it was clear no tools had been used to form the room. It appeared to be solid stone without joinery, a few meters on a side although the scale was difficult to tell given my change in perspective.
After focusing on the glowing lines of force, my magical straight jacket, I noticed that the slowly shifting fog like glowing twine of magic was not actually visible. They were there, they existed, they bloody well held me down, but they were not visual in any way. Whatever I was doing to ‘see’ them, I wasn’t actually ‘seeing’ them. Again, it was more of this “it is but it isn’t” stuff that was making me feel like it should be driving me crosseyed. Considering I lacked eyes and apparently was still able to see everything in the room at once, it wasn’t that bad of a sensation.
With a mental sigh, a verbal one being something I couldn’t do, I started to try and flail around in an effort to do something, anything. I didn’t move an inch, and I couldn’t actually see anything moving, but I could still feel the magical glowing lines pulling and stretching around me. I was still held down tight, but it actually felt like something was being pulled around.
Grunting hard (mentally) I increased my efforts to jerk and twist and whip myself around in as fast a manner as possible. It took a few minutes, minutes where I kept expecting to become tired but never seemed to, but I noticed there was a delay from the magical lines of force.
I would pull in one direction, and moments later the glowing strands would start resisting and pulling…something…back in the other direction. With that my plan was born.
I was going to jerk one direction and the moment when I was feeling the push in the other direction I would then push in that direction! If I timed it right the lines of force would start helping me out instead of holding me down. The real issue was that while the lines of magical force held me down, the pushes back and forth that the lines caused were oddly subtle. It was like someone pushing through layers of blankets. It still pushed me around, but detecting the pushes was harder to feel then I would have expected for something so overwhelming.
It took some practice and more than a few false starts before I got a feel for the timing. After a few seconds of practice, I was swinging…something…back and forth with some real energy behind it. I still wasn’t moving, but I was obviously doing something the magical lines of force were trying to prevent so I counted it as a win. Then the damn window was back and it threw my timing off entirely. It felt like leaning up against an object that then moved. My whole body expecting something then some flailing and splat! Only mental, which didn’t make it any better. Worse in fact.
Mana Sensing allows a ‘Dungeon Core’ the innate sense of mana and its actions, direction, effect, magnitude, and duration. A rare skill highly prized by magicians, crafters, merchants, and even warriors. Allowing for improved spell construction, the improved construction of magical devices, identification of enchanted artifacts, and even detection of the nature of hostile spells as they are formed. While this skill provides no help in spell construction itself, the ability to understand what is formed is of immense assistance.
Again with the wholesome wonderful not-voice combined with grating mechanized words ‘Dungeon Core’. At least this time the result actually did something useful. The lines of magical force made more sense now. More, not a lot, but more. The big glyphs directed the effect of the little glyphs from around the room onto the pedestal in the middle which effected whatever was resting on it. The little glyphs kept me from doing…something…to the room. The best I could guess was making the room mine. How that worked or what it meant, also no clue, but hey, it was a start.
It took a few further false starts to get the swinging back and forth against the force of the glyphs but it was a lot easier after my first try and now that I could sense the magic shifting against my efforts. After I got things going it became clear that this wasn’t going to work. I was straining at the edge of each pull, but the magical lines had some kind of self-dampening effect going on. I could literally watch the glyphs' glow dim and brighten as I swung around and while I’m sure there had to be some giving point somewhere, it was also clear I wasn’t going to meet it.
Now that this plan failed I reverted to my previous plan. Sulking.
I still couldn’t keep a good sulk on, I was far too impatient and hyperactive for that to last. It was actually kind of comforting to realize that even though I had died, I was still very much still the same person personality wise. Arms and a voice would have been nice, but still being me was also good.
Ok, new plan. If I can shake and move around, that means I have some give, and if I have some give…can I do something in the small little area where the magical lines don’t have control? Can I gain something there?
Struggling for another hour showed me that this was also a resounding failure. It wasn’t from a lack of trying either, I struggled to push, pull, or even think really hard at the small area around my surface but nothing seemed to happen. It wasn’t until I shifted my power around slightly in frustration that I realized that I didn’t actually have any available space! The magical lines of force hugged to my facets like water, not like a blanket. My pushes and pulls were more like making a small bubble of space that then collapsed in, not unlike huddling under a blanket and making room underneath all propped up by my imaginary knees.
So my plan changed, I would shift and try to fight the magical pull and then try and shift…something…around to make a bubble of space for myself. This plan worked out far better than the previous attempts (though I would argue my sulking plan was also effective).
After a few tries I finally managed to shift around and tuck, yes tuck was about the best way I could describe it, something into the magical places around me in a way that wasn’t there before.
Oh dear god! I’m held confined in a place against my will and I’m resorting to tucking things into a ‘magical pocket’ to hide it from the warden…I’m in prison!
Hysterical giggles induced from mental exhaustion and a difficult situation sound even odder when it’s entirely inside your head and you can’t even close your eyes for a mental rest.
After I had rested for a bit and took stock of how ridiculous my situation was I noticed that my pocket of closed in…something…was getting smaller. Whatever I was doing was also straining the glyphs around the room, they had all started to glow brighter after I had created my little free area but it was barely noticeable.
“So…let’s keep this up then.”
Great, now I’m starting to talk to myself in my own head. I’m going to end up crazy from this I just know it. Although being a magically imprisoned gem, it’s probably not that far of a journey to ‘go crazy’.
So I went back to working on my half-baked escape plan. Push, stretch, and then twist and tuck! Each time I gained a little more of whatever I was doing although what it was and what I was doing was even less clear then my swingset plan. After half an hour of struggling along, I had enough room inside the area ‘tucked in’ that I could start pushing from the inside instead of pushing against the magical lines of force outside.
Pushing from inside my magical pocket felt oddly different though, some part of the pushing wasn’t against the outside of the pocket, it was against something else entirely. What that was, or even what that meant wasn’t exactly clear. I was still getting used to these new sensations and I didn’t really have a vocabulary that explained it. It became far more clear when misses blue-window that’s not a window came back.
So, I’m actually creating a ‘magic pocket’. Interesting, and I’m certain it will definitely help me somehow, but I’m not sure how it will help me right at this moment. I mean, it had the potential to do it for certain. A nice portal jaunt or a bit of teleportation would solve my problem quickly (if I could jaunt), but the ‘Level 1’ hinted that I wasn’t very good at it so far and that I would probably have to get much better before I could make a portal.
But that pushing I was doing inside my pocket dimension, this being the arbitrary name I had decided to go with instead of ‘magic pocket’, seemed to be when I gained recognition in this skill. It was only while I was doing the pushing to expand it that I got the blue-box which was not blue recognition.
Holding my pocket dimensions outside steady I tried pushing only on one side of the inside, maybe shifting in this way I could ‘tunnel’ my pocket out of the room? I had little hope, but it seemed to be working and things seemed to be going well enough. Shove, push, tunnel, direct…something.
I became so focused, so tunnel visioned on what I was doing that I didn’t notice how bright the room had grown, how the glyphs were shining like halogen lamps overloading until the door to the room slammed open and my warden and an older man rushed into the room.
“What did you do!” screamed the older gentleman as he waved his hands around with tiny sparkles of magic dripping off his hands.
The older man was a stereotypical wise wizard. Picture any movie in which a young man goes to the elder teacher and asks for wise words of wisdom. This old guy was that man. Grey hair, long beard, big bushy white eyebrows, the whole thing. The pimple-faced teenager from earlier was screaming something about the technical details of my imprisonment but whatever they were talking about, I had tuned it out. I was focused at this point. I was lost in my efforts and barely aware they even existed. I just kept pushing, dragging something out and out and out, I was tunneling to freedom, despite the fact that I hadn’t even moved an inch and I wasn’t sure if whatever I was doing was actually going to help me free.
“It’s built up a huge amount of magic but the containment is fine. I can’t figure out what it’s doing. There shouldn’t be this much magic being drained out and even then, it shouldn’t matter, but my [Danger Sense] is screaming!” hollered the old man as he threw up some kind of glowing barrier around my pedestal.
I don’t know what that shield was supposed to do, but whatever it was, it clearly wasn’t supposed to do what it allowed me to do. All the effort I had been putting into tunneling my magical dimension out of my containment suddenly went from what felt like lifting rocks, to a sudden fall. I wasn’t tunneling forward anymore, now it felt as if I had been slowly stretching a rubber band and someone cut it.
My dimension expanded, whipping out a distance I couldn’t even conceive of, the weird bubble the mage put up popped almost instantly, the runes flared brighter than the sun, and suddenly that super long tunnel was fixed and held tight way on the other end. My end, the end held tight by those glowing runes, it was fixed to me…but I wasn’t fixed to anything but the pedestal and the room around me. Me, my pedestal, the glyphs, and the room around me -one wizard and one apprentice- all experienced exactly what it meant to be the stone in a sling.
The next few moments were horrific for the room and everyone in the room, but oddly enough, I didn’t actually appear to be entirely in the room. First, the walls of the room slammed forward and towards my pedestal. This alone would have killed me since some of the chunks of stone were the size of the wizards head, but when they reached the surface of my pedestal they inexplicably slowed down and drifted towards me and into my pocket dimension. Well most of them, the back half of the stones instantly exploded into a pancaked powder. Unfortunately for my two unwilling companions, they were outside my pocket. While they slowed down when they hit the surface of my pocket dimension, they were far less robust than magically strengthened stone. Apparently, human beings under high acceleration tend to act like water balloons. They deform until a certain point, then a pop and splash!
You have killed an enemy 253 levels above your own.
Oooouch. Mental note, blue screen spam hurts. Where ever I was, I was surrounded by stones and not much else (besides pulped wizards). I was hurting. Nothing seemed to be broken, my gem was nice and shiny and clear (under the dust and wizard slime). All the same, I was still in pain. The world became silent and the stones surrounding me slowly settled down. Then the nice lady in the blue screen decided to hurt me even further.
If it was possible for a stone to throw up, I think I would have. It’s deeply disconcerting to have a headache without a head. Normally this kind of pain would cause a throbbing in my noggin, a sensation that I had become intimately familiar with since I had become far too fond of alcohol of late, but this pain had no outward representation. I also lacked hands to throw over my eyes (which I also lacked) so I couldn’t moan (lacking a mouth). I couldn’t even use my normal cure, which was to roll over and try and go back to sleep.
“Ok, that hurt, I think I pulled something”.