‘Wow, I didn’t know there were any parts of the dungeon that were made of stone. Everything I learned said that the surroundings were always wood. First, the section out there made of packed dirt and now an area made of stone? Is this still the same dungeon even….?’ He pondered silently as he took in the hidden passage.
Unlike the dungeon known to his home town, this section was made of rough stone blocks held together by what looked like a crude cement. There was no glowing moss in this section to light his way but he could see light coming from the room ahead.
Without any other choice, Alex once again began creeping forward trying not to disturb anything again like with the minotaur. ‘I still have no idea how it even knew I was coming.’ He thought ponderously. ‘Could it smell me? I'm sure I was moving quiet enough that it couldn’t hear me. I’ll have to ask some of the adventurers when I get back.’
Alex came out in a small bare room that, unlike the rough stone passage he had just left, seemed to be made of a perfectly polished white marble. “Wow…” He muttered under his breath to himself. As he looked around he couldn’t see a single speck of dust or spider web in here either, as if it has been perfectly sealed until his entrance.
At the far end of the room was the only area that didn’t look like it was carved out of a single massive block of marble. There was an indent in the wall about the size of a normal human door with two torches on either side that seemed to burn without fuel. These had been seen a few times in dungeons before, but usually near rooms of great importance!
Many efforts had been made to remove them for use outside the dungeon but every experiment shows that if removed from the wall the flame goes out, unfortunately. ‘I wonder how this door opens? If it even is a door, it looks like solid marble. No, the torches wouldn’t be there if this place wasn’t special. Hmm.’ He tapped his foot on the ground lightly while resting his chin in his hand and thought.
He slowly walked up to the door while putting one foot forward and pressing down hard first in an attempt to trigger any pressure plates without getting killed by whatever trap they might set off. Surprisingly there were no traps and he was soon standing right in front of the door gently running his hands over its surface.
The marble felt warm to the touch despite the surrounding walls being a very cool temperature. As he felt the smooth door his hands brushed some indents and suddenly glowing green words appeared on the door! At the same time, Alex heard a loud boom behind him and spun around to find the room sealed off!
The path he had come through looked as solid and smooth as the rest of the walls with no sign that there had ever been a hallway there at all. ‘Well I guess it’s not like I could have gotten past the minotaur anyway, but I might really be screwed now.’
Unlike the usual runes found on the magical scrolls from dungeons, these words were more like the voice of the System and the Architect. If Alex were to try and copy them down as written he would be unable; the words morphed into his preferred language on the wall as he read. He knew they were alien and yet he understood them perfectly.
‘Within lies one of the true tools of the Architect. Only those who are on the path to ascension may enter. Prove your worthiness to receive such a tool. All others will go no further and perish here for their folly.’
Alex read the words a few times over in his head. ‘Did the Architect know I would discover this room despite it having no clear entrances? Also, one of the true tools? I wonder what could possibly be back here.’
Underneath where the writing had appeared a handprint sized indent had sunk into the wall. Smiling Alex placed his hand on the indent while visibly shaking with excitement. Slowly however his smile vanished and began turning into a frown. Nothing was happening. Nothing at all.
Alex took his hand off the wall and thought about what the words had said. ‘Only those who have started on the path to ascension?’ Suddenly a lightbulb went off in his head. ‘It must mean my ability to use mana from the new class! The Architect had said that this ability was one of the steps. ‘But how do I project it? Maybe it works similar to how the combat trainers described Ki channeling. Hmm.’
Since this area seemed to be safe from the minotaur and the only entrance left was the sealed door Alex decided to make camp and try to find out how to use his mana. He was careful to set up camp in the far corner from the entry so he would have as much time as possible if he heard something coming. He laid out the bedroll attached to his backpack and set to the task of taking care of his injured arm as best as he could first.
He only had basic bandages and ointment however which was proving a problem. ‘Hmm… First off I’d better try to inspect the damage I guess.’ He thought to himself with a grimace. He gingerly handled his arm and tried to remember as much as he could from class about how to tell what might be wrong.
‘Aha, there we go! Thank god it’s not a break.’ He let out a sigh of relief and slumped slightly. ‘Just a very bad bruise and maybe a crack but I can’t tell more with my expertise. It should be usable, albeit painful to do so, after a good night of sleep.’ He decided to have a small meal consisting of some hard bread designed to last for weeks and an apple.
It wasn’t much, but he hadn’t been expecting to be away from town for more than a few hours and only had the standard two days of supplies that trainees were made to always carry in their packs to get used to the weight so he was attempting to ration it in case it took him a while to find his way out of here.
Once he finished his small meal Alex sat cross-legged on his bedroll and began to meditate as he had been taught. ‘I need to look deep within myself and find the power within my soul. If mana works similar to Ki I will likely find it the same way.’ Alex thought as he slowly breathed in and out. ‘In… and out… in… and out…’ After a few minutes, he fell into a rhythm and quickly stopped having to think about breathing slowly or emptying his thoughts.
Time passed while Alex sat there and meditated trying to find the power within himself. “Aha!” He suddenly yelled aloud, breaking his concentration and pulling him out of his meditative state. “Damnit…” He muttered. ‘I finally found it and in my excitement lost my focus. This time I won’t make that mistake!’ He thought with confidence as he resumed his meditation.
Deep within his being inside his soul itself, Alex could sense an enormous ocean of power that he assumed had to be his mana. ‘I truly have this much? I had heard that when beginning ones training with Ki the power is often perceived as a small pool or pond. But an entire ocean? I’ve never heard of that.’ He thought in confusion with a bit of pride mixed in.
Alex came out of his meditation again but this time with a wide grin on his face and eyes sparkling with excitement. Unknown to him the sparks of mana within his eyes sparked extra bright for a moment along with his mood. “Well now that I can locate it and sense it, let’s see what we can do with this stuff!” He said aloud and pumped a fist in the air, before settling back down and preparing to start experimenting.