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A note from InadvisablyCompelled

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Bel Aci and Sen Rii, their hundreds of elites, and their hundreds of thousands of monsters, had no chance. I didn’t understand how Ansae made it happen, but slimes dissolved, fire elementals snuffed themselves out, and the mage-kings themselves slumped over dead. She’d wiped them all out with a single word.

Holy shit.

The silver light faded, the moon moved on from the sun. The pressure eased, people started to breathe again. Life resumed.

“Is everything all right?” Taelah asked, while the rest of us were still stunned and staring at the devastation.

“Oh, um. Yes! Actually, it is!” I reassured her. Ansae nodded, satisfied, and with another not-exactly-a-teleport stepped back to her tower.

“Wake me up after a day has passed,” she instructed, and then simply flopped down where she was. Again. I didn’t blame her, since she’d burned almost all her stamina and mana. Both of them were under a thousand, which for her was just the tiniest sliver.

“Did you know she was The Silver Woe?” Iniri asked, though it wasn’t clear whether she meant me or Shayma.

“I don’t even know who The Silver Woe is.” I’d only been around for something like five months at this point and I’d never actually gotten a serious history lesson. Or a local legends lesson.

“He doesn’t know who The Silver Woe is,” Shayma said with disbelief, sharing a look with Iniri.

“She’s the oldest Power anyone knows,” Iniri said after a moment. “There are so many stories that nobody knows which ones are true anymore. She’s definitely the reason Powers have the reputation they do, though she’s special even for Powers. The reason that moon is called the Dragon’s Eye is that it’s hers. I never thought I’d see it used that way though.”

“Well, she is pretty terrifying.” Even asleep, her presence was palpable. Whatever she’d done to shield herself had been undone by destroying the mage-kings, so I had some inkling of what she was talking about when she told me she’d need me to protect her until she was Purified. There was no way the various powers-that-be had missed Ansae’s return. There would be people clamoring for her help as well as her blood.

The talk about Powers made a section of my overlay jump out at me. I couldn’t close it, but I did ignore it most of the time. Somehow I’d missed this particular bit getting added.

Power Records

Portfolio:

Strange Knowledge: This Power has knowledge and understanding not before seen.

Mana Dynamos: This Power has customized the dungeon system to produce excess mana.

Phantasmal Realm: This Power has access to a realm that emphasizes the divide between magic and mundane.

Bargains:

Completed

Shayma – Shelter for self.

Active

Iniri – Protect Tarnil for advancing Blue’s interests.

The Village – Potential for their best.

It wasn’t a very long section, but at least for the purposes of bookkeeping it was useful. The entry for strange knowledge implied both that some portion of the Akasha or magic or whatever was aware that I wasn’t exactly native, and the fact that it came first meant to me that I was technically a Power since day one. As Ansae had said, it was purely descriptive, and there was nothing in the tab section that let me do anything in particular, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was worse than a normal Power Status.

“I really should have known,” Shayma said abruptly. “She hinted at it, but she never actually told me. I think she was waiting to see if we would figure it out on our own.”

“It’s one thing to know there’s a dragon nearby, it’s another thing to know it’s The Silver Woe.” Iniri said.

“If you’re worried, remember that my Bargain protects Tarnil, and Ansae is on good terms with me, so I don’t think there will be any problems from her.” Shayma barely needed to translate that before Iniri was nodding.

“That does make sense, but when it turns out Tarnil is hosting The Silver Woe – and I know, it’s the Caldera, but close enough – we’re going to have a lot of visitors for her.”

“That’s going to be my problem to deal with. We’ll figure out some way to screen these people out, and if they’re unpleasant they’ll find out why it is that Tarnil could fend off four mage-kings at once.” I hadn’t quite caught up to where Iniri was – I didn’t know the reputation of The Silver Woe, after all – but I was on the same page at least.

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” Iniri said, but with a smile so I knew she didn’t really mind. In fact, I could feel she didn’t really mind, in a ghost of the sort of feedback I got from my breeding station. Which made me go back to the overlay, because there was a bunch of stuff that had scrolled past and I knew the new Power tab meant that something major had happened.

[Dungeon-Companion Linking] increases to 9.

Level 32 ANATHEMA Core defeated.

3 trait points awarded.

Size Requirements significantly reduced for next level advancement.

Level 31 ANATHEMA Core defeated.

3 trait points awarded.

Size Requirements significantly reduced for next level advancement.

Size requirements for level increase met.

Dungeon Level increases by 1.

Trait points increased by 1.

Dungeon has reached level 10! First Growth Marker achieved.

Calculating Rewards…

For crafting multiple Artifacts, you gain the title [Pinnacle Crafter]. All crafting rooms accumulate knowledge with use. Any linked companion has access to that accumulated knowledge when exercising their Skills.

For surviving a fated end, you may grow The Tree of Eschaton. It is the fate of heroes to seek it.

For having a Companion at rank 10, [Core Touched] is upgraded. Companions may use dungeon senses. Dungeon gains additional feedback from [Core Touched].

For creating Stellar Affinity, Unique Core Specialization: Stellar trait is available. Governed Affinity Core Specializations unlocked.

For refusing to create any Floors, [Floorless] title is granted. Dungeon advancement no longer linked to size. Due to [Blue Core] and [Purifier] titles, advancement linked to Depletion removal and Companion Advancement.

For refusing to choose an Affinity, [Null Dungeon] title is granted. Core can subsist on natural mana flows. Affinity specialization is no longer available. Dungeon mana flows merge with natural mana, increasing flow rate without increasing density. Merged mana is considered under dungeon authority.

For extensive use of Climates and Fields in traps, [Canny Trapmaker] title is granted. Fields and Climates are considered traps.

[Merciful] invalidates reward for killing over one hundred thousand monsters in a single blow. Alternate reward: fill enemies with dread when they work to harm the dungeon. Strength of dread increases with dungeon power.

There were a lot of gains, some of them more dramatic than others. Actually, everything was dramatic, but some effects were more immediate than others. [Pinnacle Crafter], for example, meant that my crafting rooms, the [Smithery] and [Alchemistry] and anything else I might get, were unaffected now but would get better with time. [Floorless] wouldn’t really come into play until I could see exactly how it affected my leveling. It wasn’t like I was exactly leveling quickly before. Though it was kind of annoying, because I could absolutely have exploited the floor requirements now that I knew about them. It wasn’t like I was lacking in area to designate floors in.

The upgrade to [Core Touched] was where my extra sense from Iniri came from. When I focused on it, I got a bit of smell and touch from Iniri and Taelah and Shayma too, nothing major and only when I focused, but it was there. [Null Dungeon] sounded like it’d be a strict downgrade, but when I looked the changes made more sense. Some of the pressure from my mana had vanished outside of the Caldera, but it still kicked the normal mana flows that cascaded across the land into overdrive. Though considering that a huge chunk of Tarnil was basically scoured down to rock or was molten crater, that was less of a benefit than it might have been. At least [Conservatory] was putting everything back the way they should be.

I teleported Iniri and Shayma back to the Palace, considering that I’d brought them out to the middle of nowhere and it’d be rude of me to keep them stranded. Especially since it seemed like there was still some devastation to come. Sen Rii’s island listed and drifted out of control, the damaged fortress smoking as it accelerated toward the ground and smashed into the foothills of the mountain range only a few minutes later. The sudden contact with another dungeon was a shock to my system, ANATHEMA rage tunneling my vision down to just the opposing force and nothing else. At least it didn’t knock me out entirely, but for the brief duration it was close enough.

I dumped my entire mana pool into the red core dungeon and it practically exploded. The surviving rock blew apart as my mana raced through the enemy dungeon’s biology, slagging everything in the core room while I took it over. By the time I got the notification that I’d taken over the core, most everything was wrecked and the core itself was at three hit points, prompting me to pull it out of there before any stray debris crushed it.

Level 30 Core converted.

3 trait points awarded.

Dungeon gains additional Core.

Unique Core Specialization: Stellar applied.

Apparently having a waiting specialization meant the next core I got was specialized then and there. The stellar specialized core looked quite a bit different from my other cores, with stars and nebulae swirling just underneath the outer layer of crystal. It looked rather like a slowly drifting window into deep space, albeit a deep space that was rather more energetic and interesting than most spots in the universe. Of course, I had to actually go to the traits section of my overlay to see what the heck a stellar specialized core did.

Unique Core Specialization: Stellar: Increases mana capacity, with additional mana capacity depending on use of stellar Affinity. Aids in governing use of stellar Affinity.

So as useless a description as I should have expected, and it didn’t have any sub-traits either. However, a quick check showed me that it added a cool hundred thousand to my mana cap. Combined with the bonus from Blue’s Sagacity, as well as a skillup that had happened somewhere during the battle, I had three hundred forty thousand mana capacity without storage crystals, with an additional hundred thousand if I maxed those out. Not quite there yet, but it was a definite step forward in terms of what I needed to Purify Ansae.

Once I started paying attention to something other than the overlay again, I saw that [Conservatory] was hard at work fixing everything that was destroyed, with two notable exceptions. The craters made by detonating my [Contained Stars] weren’t regrowing the same as everything else. When I looked closer, I found that blowing the stars up with [Starlance] hadn’t entirely destroyed them — instead they’d shrunk, becoming marble-sized and intensely white. From that alone, I knew exactly what they had become: neutron stars, supernova remnants made of materials that would rival even [Firmament] with their properties.

Maybe they’d change back to the normal type in time, but I didn’t think so. Magic or not, they were stars, and they’d become something new entirely. I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted to do with them too. Iniri may not need a defensive Artifact as much as before, not with [Guardian Constellation], but I was pretty sure between my materials, and crafting help from Ansae and my Companions, I could make something great. Especially considering the rest of my windfall.

Sen Rii’s fortress, destroyed as it was, had enormous amounts of high-magic materials as well as magic items and other valuables. I put my new Stellar core in the core room and sorted through what I had gained, needing a new room just to hold the spoils. Some of the magic items looked really useful, like the telecom-style networking gems, but others were only intended for interfacing with the magic setup of the fortress-islands and were probably useless. That said, a few of the spell artillery had survived and I figured I could gift those to Iniri.

A few minutes after the island crashed, Tarnil’s coastline was flattened by a tsunami, obviously from my poorly aimed smiting-by-star, and I was glad that I hadn’t put back any of the cities or villages yet. Also, that [Conservatory] worked. Towers were being rebuilt, the shoreline was being put back into place, and dirt and grass was springing up everywhere. The only problem was that it couldn’t replace the wildlife.

Now, I had moved villages and farms and ranches out of the way as the mage-kings had approached, putting them all in the Caldera, but all the birds and insects and things like rabbits and bear and deer had been pretty well wiped out in a huge area. There was nothing I could do about that directly, but surely magic would have some kind of solution. Plus, even without magic, creatures came back after natural disasters and that was without [Conservatory] ensuring there was a nice lush habitat to move in to. The two craters where the [Contained Stars] had been detonated weren’t growing back quite the same, so I smoothed them over manually and put a stele at the center of each. I wanted to be able to locate them later on just in case.

Satisfied that the landscape was recovering, I turned my attention to the last remaining island. This one was nearly untouched, most of its wards intact, and most importantly was still floating in the air. I wasn’t sure the exact mechanism it used to keep itself aloft, but I really hoped I could keep it intact. I really, really wanted a flying island.

“Hey Shayma, when my mana regenerates could I get you and maybe Iniri to see about that last island? I’m going to need you to convert it, of course, but I don’t know if you can get in easily. All the ward magic seems to be up still.”

“I certainly can, I think Iniri will need time to get the word out that everything’s over with.” She gave a questioning look at Iniri, who nodded.

“If you can give me an hour, I’ll be ready for whatever you need, Blue.”

“He wants you to help me crack open the last island.” Shayma grinned. “Should be fun.”

“It’s going to take more than just me,” Iniri said, then paused to consider. “Well, perhaps not. If it’s safe, I may need to bring other mages in. Or Cheya, depending on what kind of defenses it has. Though considering that everyone was killed instantly and at once, I doubt a lockdown was triggered. We might be able to just walk right in.”

“It’s outside of my [Genius Loci] so I can’t really help you,” I said. “Besides, considering how much mana regen all this [Conservatory] growth is taking up, it’ll be a couple hours before I’m topped off anyway.”

“Thank you for fixing everything,” Iniri said. “I know you made the Bargain and all, but…” She glanced out the nearest window, where across the lake the utter wreck of splintered trees and torn mud was slowly repairing itself. “It would be a long hard slog to recover from this much destruction, even assuming we could have won without you.” Then she snorted. “Well, you and The Silver Woe. What did you have to give her to show up?”

“Nothing I wasn’t giving her anyway.” It probably wouldn’t be difficult for Iniri to figure out that Ansae needed her Depletion fixed, but it seemed wrong of me to actually say so. It was a bit of an intimate admission, not to mention I couldn’t see Ansae wanting to even hint at having the slightest weakness.

“Mm.” Iniri said, noncommittally, but seemed to think that if I was dodging the question it was something to leave alone.

“Oh, by the way I hit level ten and got a chunk of stuff. One of the things I got for it is that Companions can use dungeon senses now. Not sure under what circumstances, like maybe you need to be at a core, but it’s worth trying out.” Shayma told that to Iniri, then the two of them spent a moment concentrating on their Skill.

“I think it does need a core,” Iniri reported. “It does sound like it could be very useful, though.”

“I’ll have to get Taelah in on that. Now that I have three cores I can kinda-sorta assign one to each of you. The Caldera is as secure as my core room, anyway.” That wasn’t strictly true, but I didn’t have to worry about people coming out of nowhere and tunneling through to wherever my core was held anymore, either. Having three cores helped, too, and made me somewhat less paranoid, though now two of my cores were permanently twelve hit points down.

I’d still be more than tempted to keep my cores hidden away under the strictest security I could imagine if it weren’t for the fact that my Companions needed access to them. Both for dungeon functions and as a reminder of my physical presence, since my sheer size actually diluted the idea that I had a particular location. Now that I had three, I could even put one by each Companion, and I figured I’d have four soon enough. Once Iniri finished her part of the post-battle cleanup anyway.

Before she started her victory speech, she made a little lightmetal rune circle with her new rune prowess and gave copies to various of her mages to carry over to the other cities. Then she stood on one herself as she addressed Meil, and an image of her appeared above the other rune-circles, which was as perfectly magitek as anything I’d seen.

What I found interesting was that the announcement of victory generated more relief than celebration. For Meil, there hadn’t been much of anything but magical artillery exploding above their heads and the ground shaking for days. For everyone else, there hadn’t been anything but a change in scenery. That said, there were some secret caches of liquor that appeared and got people happily drunk, here and there across Meil. Tor Kot’s cities had no such caches.

Maybe people were just overloaded with changes and shocks. I’d hardly blame them. Four or five months ago the entire country was under different management, and also not completely taken over by a dungeon that could teleport cities at will. Not to mention the weird mind control from the dungeon food. At some point most people would just go numb.

While Iniri did queen stuff, Shayma stepped out to catch up with her parents and I had her repossess the Whacker while she was at it. It had worked well enough, but it was too dangerous and unwieldy to be used as a normal weapon and besides I wanted that Firmament back. I still wanted to make Sienne a genuine rapier from it at some point, and now that the mage-kings were off my back for a bit I might even be able to figure out a void Source. If there was such a thing, the Ecological core should let me create it. When my mana ticked back up to its new maximum, I interrupted them.

“Okay, who wants to go dive into a floating island?”

“I’m going to bring mom and dad if there aren’t any Depletion Fields around,” Shayma told me.

“Not just to keep an eye on our little girl,” Giorn rumbled. “Sienne and I have more practical experience delving. Besides, Sienne’s [Spellbreaker] might come in handy.”

“Sure, the more, the merrier. I bet that Iniri will want to bring some people as well.” Only if it was safe, though. It was far above my mana so I couldn’t mitigate the Depletion. Except I could, taking into account my level ten benefits. “Oh wait. You should be able to use my Fields and Climates with [Dungeon Weaponry] now. I bet a [Panopticon] Field would be really useful, and even if there is Depletion stuff hanging around my mana should wipe it out.”

“Oh!” Shayma’s eyes lit up. “I’ll go try that first before we do anything else. Teleport me there?” I did so, dropping her off below the floating fortress. She’d have to use [Phantasmal Path] to get all the way up there, but once she did I could probably portal or teleport everyone else. Provided I could do so without coming in direct contact with the dungeon, of course. I wanted the fortress intact, not slagged.

Shayma vanished into the Phantasmal Realm, and I found it fascinating how she stepped upward, walking on nothing in particular, circling around the blazing outline of the magically infused fortress. While the substance of the rock and walls didn’t mean anything inside [Phantasmal Path], the wards and protections were quite solid. Fortunately, she could literally punch through the outer wards, Bane-enhanced mana letting her push through and drop into reality just outside the gates of the inner tower.

The courtyard interior had no greenery, instead just consisting of multiple terraces sweeping down from the walls toward the center. The terraces were bare rock, almost monochrome white save for dark lines that served to outline traffic paths. It looked like a massive parade ground, and almost certainly was, but it was hard to tell because everything was dead.

Fire elementals didn’t exactly leave corpses. Instead the inside was liberally coated in glittering dust and dark pieces of rock flecked with gems. It made me think that the elementals were actually something close to dungeons as life-forms, embodied in pseudo-living crystal or magical rock. The remains were probably pretty valuable, though I had to wonder what the difference between a living fire elemental and a dead one was.

“Hmm, I think there is a little Depletion here, but…” Shayma closed her eyes for a moment and a high-powered [Panopticon] Field appeared around her, stretching out some twenty or thirty meters in diameter. It was a weird sort of feedback, since it wasn’t exactly me doing it, but it was still using my capabilities rather than her own. Although the Field didn’t reveal anything, it did seem to thrum for a moment with what I assumed was a purging or negation of the Depletion field.

“Did it work?”

“Yes, that got it,” Shayma nodded satisfaction. “It might come back but at least I can keep everyone nearby safe. As for the rest of it…” She eyed the gates. “There are so many enchantments on that I don’t even want to touch it.”

“Good call.” I didn’t mention that she’d tried to tear apart the magics on the tower of Sen Rii’s island, in part because she didn’t get very far with it, but mostly because we’d been desperate. Plus, Bel Aci had seemed a lot sharper than any of the others, up there with Tor Kot in terms of intelligence, so I figured he’d be the one most likely to have traps and other assorted nastiness waiting.

“Now, how are we going to make a portal here? I suppose I could shift…”

“Umm, how about we make something to buffer and then do all the portal stuff on top of that?”

“Oh, right.” She rolled her eyes at the obviousness of it. A wave of one hand spewed molten lava over the ground, and a wave of the other covered it with water. Several repetitions of this mounded up enough cooling, brittle rock that I felt comfortable having Shayma act as an anchor for me to make a proper platform and a portal for everyone else. First came Sienne and Giorn, while Iniri gathered her Classers, sticking close to Shayma as they looked around.

“My gods,” Giorn said. “There’s more fire Affinity material lying around here than in the whole of the kingdom.”

“Ansae killed thousands and thousands of flame elementals,” Shayma pointed out. “The entire fortress is going to be like this.”

“Well, if nobody minds, I’m going to help myself a bit!” Giorn took out a pouch and started scooping elemental remnants into it, while Sienne just rolled her eyes.

“Some of us are still more shopkeep than adventurer,” Sienne sighed, and Shayma giggled.

“This is technically Blue’s, or maybe Ansae’s, so you might want to think twice about taking it,” she said. I didn’t really care, considering how much there was, but it was probably for the best not to let anyone get into the habit of taking my stuff. Giorn stopped gathering up the fire stones, made a face, and upended the pouch.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m not going to borrow that trouble.”

Iniri came through the portal a moment later, trailed by Cheya, Joce and two other mages from her circle. Joce whistled, looking around at both the materials strewn about and the intricate spellwork that comprised the wards and reinforcements.

“This is impressive work,” said one of the circle mages I didn’t really know. The overlay labeled him as Venn Radin, a level 57 [Ritual Battlemage], and a kirin-kin like Iniri. He must have been one of the Classers Iniri had gotten from Wildwood.

“Oh, and the portal out of nowhere wasn’t?” Joce grinned.

That was a Power. This is just spellwork. I actually know this stuff,” Radin said defensively. One of the other mages Iniri brought started to walk forward but Shayma conjured a clone of herself in front of him, holding up her hand to stop him.

“Everyone has to stay within about a hundred feet of me. Outside that, the Depletion put out by the red core dungeon can affect you.” Shayma instructed them. I took the hint and dismantled the portal structure. Radin glanced back at it and shook his head before focusing on the giant doors. Cheya kept pace with Shayma as they arranged themselves in front of the entrance to the dungeon tower.

“I can’t see much past the wards,” Cheya reported. “We’ll have to take those down first.”

“If we can,” Radin frowned. “This work is powerful and intricate, and it’s being actively fed.”

“I can break it,” Sienne volunteered. “But only if you want it really broken.” Redin looked at Sienne curiously, then paled as he realized what Sienne’s Affinity was.

“Let’s try first, but Sienne, if you would be ready to catch any retaliatory spellwork we may have missed,” Iniri ordered. Sienne nodded and pulled a handful of ash out of her pouch, stepping up beside Iniri as the kirin-kin made a ritual circle from lightmetal.

“Why does she use ash all the time? Seems a weird choice.”

“Void consumes anything she uses as an instrument,” Shayma murmured back. “Ash is cheap and sticks to things, plus it’s fine enough to spread out when she throws it.”

“That’s surprisingly sensible.”

The ritual that Iniri led was fascinating, even if I couldn’t understand much of it. It looked like a horrible topology problem with rules I didn’t know at all, with loops and knots sliding through each other or repelling each other according to whatever the whim of the moment was. I did catch the so-called retaliatory spellwork that Iniri mentioned – a separate coil of spellcraft that appeared and darted out at the ritual circle.

Iniri’s [Guardian Constellation] probably would have taken care of it, but a flick of Sienne’s finger erased it from existence before it could even get that far. I would swear she spotted it earlier than I did. That was more or less how the rest of the breaching of the door went, mages muttering at each other while Iniri headed the ritual circle and Sienne occasionally slapping down some malevolent bit of magic. It took maybe twenty or thirty minutes, but only covered some of the spells laid into the door. If they were to do the same thing to the whole tower it’d probably take years.

When they were done, Cheya slipped through the door. Without opening it. I really didn’t see her use her shadow Skills often, but they were pretty impressive. I wasn’t sure if her casual sweep over the physical traps that protected the door was a Skill, but watching her dismantle those in record time with a few tools plucked from her pockets was just as amazing as the magic.

Finally, Cheya pushed the door open with a strength that clearly came from her levels, and everyone filed in. The outer courtyard may have been sparse, but the interior, where Bel Aci actually made his home, was lavishly done up in red and green and gold. There were mosaics inlaid into the walls, paintings, and objects d’art on little pedestals. Not all in the entryway, of course, but with Genius Loci I could see a level up and a level down.

“Which way do we need to go?” Cheya asked.

“I think when Ansae killed him, the mage-king was below this level,” Iniri said thoughtfully.

“Down we go, then.” Cheya and Redin went first, scanning for traps both mundane and magical, with Iniri and Shayma following and the other circle mages bringing up the rear. I was far edgier than I really should have been, some of the ANATHEMA feedback making me twitch every time someone halted to deal with a potential trap.

They went down a couple levels, all of them furnished, before I could peek into the war-core room. Bel Aci was slumped on the throne-crystal, the only actual corpse in the whole fortress. I knew the room from my special surveillance ability, but I’d never seen the whole floor. The war room was only part of an entire suite filled with magical items and provisions, obviously meant to supply Bel Aci for months. I was impressed. They had obviously come prepared to siege me for longer than I’d expected.

“Okay, the war room is one level down. Bel Aci is sitting in a chair made out of red core.”

“That seems...” Shayma’s lips worked as she tried to find the right word. “Just silly, really.”

“Yeah, it’s overdone.”

The entrance to the war room had a similar, if lesser, version of the protections on the front door, but after another fifteen minutes and change they finally got inside. Shayma went for the core immediately, but Iniri prowled around the magitek controls the mage-king had used to fly the fortress. Cheya ignored everything else and made a beeline for a stack of documents on a desk behind the slumped corpse.

“Are we ready?” Shayma asked. Redin studied the corpse of Bel Aci, which was human-size like Tor Kot rather than giant like Vok Nal or Vok Lim, while Cheya made the documents disappear and looked around the room.

“Literally everything he’s wearing is a powerful magical item,” Redin said, reaching out to haul Bel Aci’s corpse off the throne. “But there don’t seem to be any traps now that we’re in here.”

“All right, Blue said he had no trouble converting the last core, so this one should be fine.” Shayma shifted her hands to Cultivated Steel rather than simple flesh and put them on the back of the empty throne, which was pretty ordinary to me but got some startled looks from Iniri’s mages. The ANATHEMA rage was actually muffled, doing it that way, meaning I could hold myself back from simply slamming my whole mana pool through Shayma’s hands. I still wanted to, but since I was braced for it, I could get away with only pumping maybe a hundred thousand mana into the core crystal.

It sizzled under Shayma’s touch, and I could feel its resistance simply washed away by the tide of Bane mana. The red crystal flushed blue, taking maybe a full second to change colors, and then suddenly my mana and perceptions raced outward through the dungeon biology laced throughout the fortress. Below the tower a lot of things placed in the subterranean chambers melted or vaporized, pieces of dungeon flesh that were designed to interact with monsters in one way or another. I wasn’t sure if it was because I didn’t have access to monsters or if it was a specifically red core thing and covered under ANATHEMA, but it sure didn’t last long when I took it over.

Level 35 Core converted.

3 trait points awarded.

Dungeon gains additional Core.

Just like that, I had a flying island.

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