A note from Mongoose

A short extra chapter to satisfy the curiosity of some of you. (Or increase it, depending on how you see it)

The wall right next to where the tiger had been when I shot it had a large crack in it. I noticed that when I walked past it, and I couldn't help but shake my head. That monster was stronger than I thought. Thank god it never reached me.

I'd already checked the room through the walls to make sure that there weren't any hidden dangers, so I confidently entered the large chamber. Up close, the statues looked almost life-like. That's how well they were sculpted. That thought birthed a horrifying idea in my mind.

What if they came to life when if I took whatever was in that altar? I'd seen movies where things like that happened. I didn't know if things like that happened in real dungeons or if that was just a fictional thing, but now I couldn't get the thought out of my mind.

I looked over at the altar. The steps were made out of elegant marble, and every step was covered with different writings. At the top of the platform stood the altar, a waist-high cylindrical stone with writing on its sides. From here, it looked like there was nothing on the altar.

I glanced at the statues again, then shook my head. It wouldn't do to miss an opportunity like this just because I was overly paranoid, although it won't hurt to be cautious...

Gradually, I walked closer and closer to the altar. When I placed my foot on the first step, I turned my head around and got ready to run. But nothing happened. I calmly walked up all of the steps until I stood before the altar, but the statues remained unmoving. Feeling a bit more relaxed on the inside, I turned back to the altar to examine it. The stone was covered in writings that I couldn't understand, but there were also small black crystals set into the stone — four of them, one facing each direction.

I knew what those were. They were called magic crystals and could only be found in dungeons and towers. They were mainly used as a power source in magical engineering or to create new items. Depending on their size, they could be worth a lot. They weren't super rare in instances, but there was quite a market for them. I had no idea what these four crystals could be worth, but it was more than what I right now, that's for sure.

But usually, the things adorning the altar couldn't stand up to the thing atop the altar. Unfortunately, that didn't hold true in this case, because there was nothing on top of the altar. Instead, there was depression in the stone that formed a basin with water in it.

Water. That was all.

No ancient treasure. No powerful relic. Just water.

"Are you kidding me..." I couldn't help myself but groan.

I covered my face with my hand and rubbed the bridge of my nose. I had to think about this logically. There was no way this whole room and everything in it would be here for a small puddle of water. There had to be something special about it. Maybe it was holy water? Water that could heal any injury or something like that.

"Hope, can you detect anything special about this water?" I asked, my voice filled with slight concern.

[Yes. The liquid is magical by nature]

I let out a relieved sigh. If it was magical, it was bound not to be entirely worthless.

"Oh, it is water, isn't it?"

[The Authority of Hope can not determine the structure of the substance without further analyzis]

"Right. I guess the only way to make sure would be drinking it, but I'm not doing that..." I mumbled to myself.

Then I realized something and paused. How was I supposed to bring this with me? The magic crystals could fit in my pouch, but I couldn't bring the water with me like that.

I glanced down at my waist, where my magical canteen hang. It could store up to five liters. This puddle of water looked to be a bit smaller than that. But if I were to use my canteen, I wouldn't have any water left for the rest of the challenge. There was almost one and a half days left.

In the end, I chuckled. There really wasn't any question about it. This was a magical treasure found in a dungeon. While one and a half days without water will definitely be uncomfortable, I'm unlikely to die from it. It was an easy sacrifice to make for something like this. Without hesitation, I brought out my canteen and took a few heavy clunks. I then poured out the rest on the ground.

Because I couldn't get the idea of the statues coming to life out of my mind, I also moved to the other side of the altar so that I could see the statues in front of me. I then proceeded to lower the canteen into the puddle and scooping some out. None of the statues moved. Letting out a relieved sigh, I focused my attention on my canteen and the water. But despite my having scooped out some of the water, there was no water in my canteen.

I tried it again. When the canteen came underwater, the water flowed into it, but when I brought it up again, the water inside flowed out immediately. It looked almost like the water that flowed out was attached to the water in the puddle. I tried scooping out some water again, and the same thing happened.

Was this really water? I pushed the canteen deeper into the puddle. Instead of scooping out the water, I'd let it seep into the container. Bubbles appeared at the opening of the canteen and flowed up to the surface. The water level of the puddle slowly began to lower as the bubbles kept floating up. After a while, the pool of water had diminished enough that the top of the canteen was above the surface.

This time, when I lifted up the canteen, instead of water inside flowing out, the remaining water in the puddle followed the canteen and flowed inside of it. It was the weirdest thing, seeing water act like that.

Now that all water was gone, I once again looked at the statues with apprehension. Thankfully, they still weren't moving. By this point, I was fairly sure they were just ordinary statues. But once you've imagined them becoming alive, you just can't get it out of your head.

I closed the lid of the canteen and attached it to my waist again. Then, I bent down and tried grabbing one of the black magic crystals. It was lodged into the stone pretty hard, but after some prying, I managed to get it lose. I did the same to the remaining three crystals and put them into my pouch. With a satisfied smile, I looked around the room. It seemed like that was all in here. I wasn't sure about the water yet, but just the crystals themselves were a decent find.

Although hopefully, I'll be able to find something a bit more treasure-like and concrete than this water further into the dungeon. There was another entrance on the other side of the room, which I promptly started walking towards.


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