Doc winced as his body slammed into a wall.
“Claire, what is he?” Doc asked through their mental connection. However, Claire did to answer as Gretony’s order still prevented her from speaking.
Doc wiggled his slime body out of the way to avoid a second tentacle whip. As he dodged, he used a bit of his power to form a second slime over his crystal. The new slime covered the portions of his crystal not touched by the invading monster, and Doc reasserted his control.
“Claire, talk to me!” he ordered.
“Good job Doc,” Claire’s voice finally echoed in his mind, “You’ve stopped Gretony from spreading his influence any further, but he’s already stopped you from controlling anything not in the heart room. Listen, this Gretony appears to be inhabiting on of your normal slime that has lived long enough to advance to the king slime stage of slime life. Doc, this is really serious! An over-slime grows into a lord slime, and a lord slime grows into a king slime. He’s on the same level as a queen slime, a patriarch of the slime race!”
“Claire, I need to know his powers!” Doc urged as he released a flurry of earthballs to destroy one of the king slime’s tentacles, “Can he make mini-slimes like a mother slime?”
“I can only offer a little. For whatever reason, this slime has developed consciousness and gained the ability to wield magic and formulate tactics,” Claire analyzed, “He’s still a normal slime though, so don’t expect any unexpected abilities outside that of a normal slime. I’m not sure how he can wield magic; it might have to do with that thing he was talking about earlier, fruit of knowledge.”
“Silence,” Gretony’s voice interrupted them again, emphasized by a punch that sent Doc hurtling into the ceiling.
“Be quiet you invader!” Claire barked back.
“Why are you able to talk now?” Doc pressed her as he squirmed across the ceiling, unleashing more fireballs.”
“You both currently hold control over the dungeon and its inhabitants. So long as you give a specific order, I can follow it. The more damage he takes, the more I and others can help.” Claire shut her mouth when she was finished speaking and looked on with encouraging eyes.
“Fine, then I just have to beat him. Gretony, this is my dungeon and I’ll beat that fact into you!” Doc roared.
Starting the battle seriously, Doc immediately divided his consciousness into working on specific tasks. His main-self formed 5 fireballs and sent them flying at Gretony while another part focused on regaining control over various dungeon abilities. The last part of his mind continued to meditate, increasing the size of the vortex within the slime body.
Gretony formed its own fireballs to counter Doc’s, and then counter attacked with waterballs, forcing Doc to leap away. Doc created five windballs while in the air, sending four toward the enemy king slime while using the last one to propel himself farther down the ceiling.
Gretony swatted the windballs with its massive tentacles and charged up the wall, chasing him. It threw itself at him, threatening to use its massive size to engulf Doc’s body.
“Slime summon, poison slime!” Doc ordered. Gretony had failed to corrupt the ability to create slime from Doc. In response, a poison slime materialized in between Gretony and Doc, forcing Gretony to leap off the wall and ceiling to avoid touching it.
“Unsummon,” Gretony ordered, and the poison slime disappeared. Evidently, it could get rid of Doc’s helpers.
“Firestorm slime!” Doc cried out, and the red-orange slime appeared beneath Gretony’s falling body. A brief moment later, it exploded and dissolved some of Gretony’s slime body.
It roared in anger, “CORRUPT SUMMON.” Doc felt his control disappearing over his summoning ability.
“Hey, that’s my thing!” Doc cried out in shock.
“SUMMON, HEAL SLIME,” Gretony commanded, forming two heal slimes over him. They fell on top and began to recover his missing slime.
Doc responded by unleashing a barrage of elemental attacks, but Gretony used its tentacles to smack the magic balls down. The newly freed portion of Doc’s mind turned to analyzing Gretony and its attacks.
“Gretony has all the mass of a king slime and the ability to wield tentacles; plenty of dexterity. Intelligence also noted from planning, reacting, and the ability to use magic. Wisdom is low however and it is easily angered. The heal slimes are focusing on repairing the tentacles after blocking my attacks. I need to eliminate them by avoiding its perception.”
Doc concentrated on the ceiling. He still had control over the trap dungeon function. The ceiling right above Gretony change into an aerial pitfall trap, including the premade normal slimes. The slimes fell onto the heal slimes and quickly devoured them. Gretony quickly ate them in response, but was too late to save the heal slimes.
Doc used two parts of his mind to cast fireballs, resulting in ten of the burning orbs flying toward the king slime invader. Gretony blocked five, but the remaining tore through its tentacles and smashed into its body.
As Gretony reeled from the damage, Doc summoned a larger fireball and launched it into the slime. To his shock, however, Gretony opened wide and devoured the fireball.
“NO MORE FLAME,” it taunted Doc up the wall after him. Doc flew onto the ceiling, his little slime body barely keeping ahead of the massive king slime body.
Claire could do nothing but watch as the two slime titans battled it out in front of her. She was powerless to do anything; she couldn’t even speak or close her eyes. Her slime prison continued to press its way deeper into the crystal, with Doc’s slime barely able to hold it off.
“Please be safe Doc,” she wished.
The battle in the tavern continued. In a surprising turn of events, Danny battled Anadine one on one and proved to be more than a match for her adventurer guise. Unable to use her slime powers, Anadine was forced to wield her fake sword made of slime. Even though she was a bit out of practice wielding a sword like a human, her form slowly improved as she swung blow after blow toward Danny’s body, only to be forced back by a clear force produced from his fists.
“Why is a martial artist so far south?” Anadine couldn’t help but ask as she parried another blow, “the monasteries are all in the mountains, aren’t they?”
“My school fled the empire,” Danny explained calmly, his face never wavering as moved in and threw Anadine over his shoulder, “Master Grecian helped my master set up Soria, and as to fulfill the debt of gratitude, I became Rolf’s follower.”
Anadine twisted herself in the air so she landed gracefully on the ground, skipping backwards. “Geez, are you really 15? That’s some arm strength.”
“I am only 18,” Danny said modestly, “However, I was told both one of parents was a gnome, so I fear I will never grow taller. Still, being a half-blood has some advantages.” To illustrate, Danny held out his fist and punched the ground. He sent a wave of energy hurtling through the tavern floor, creating a shockwave that blew the wood apart as it sailed toward Anadine. The adventurer disguised slime woman rolled out of the way just in the nick of time.
“That was an earth spell wasn’t it?” Anadine raised an eyebrow, “Only masters can send their spirit and mana out like that to attack.”
“Indeed,” Danny smiled softly, “I have a few innate spells thanks to my fae bloodline. I will do my best to hold back however.”
“Don’t,” Anadine advised, and she charged at him.
Across the room, Rowen caught Milly as she flew back into him and they both skipped backwards.
“You okay Milly?” Rowen asked as he grimaced from the hit.
“I’m fine,” Milly answered, wiping a bit of blood from her mouth, “He got a good hit it.”
“Can’t you use one of your spells to stop him?” Rowen asked.
“Can’t,” Milly quickly shook her head, “I don’t have the desire to see him really injured; my spells work on my corresponding desire.”
“That’s what I thought,” Rolf declared as he moved toward the duo. The young man was covered in a knight’s armor made of golden light, his face peeking out from his golden helm. He held up and pointed his lance of light at them, “My father heard from your father about your abilities. I always knew you were special Milly, but I didn’t think you’d become a chosen. I know you don’t want to hurt me, so please, come peacefully.”
“Over my dead body!” Rowen retorted.
“Funny, I really wouldn’t mind that,” Rolf chuckled evilly, “As noble a spirit as I possess, I still can’t help but feel a bit peeved that you stole the heart of the one I love. Come over here so I can show you; your darkness magic is not strong enough to defeat me.”
“Fine,” Rowen smirked, “if I can’t beat you with darkness, then how about necromancy? Summon!”
Rowen knelt and pressed his palm against the floor, a milky white light emanating out in a circle around him. From this, five skeletons appeared, each holding a sword.
“Blasphemy!” Rolf cried out, “You dare desecrate the dead?”
“Considering who these men were in life, I doubt anyone would complain,” Rowen muttered. Doc had gifted the skeletons of the ten traitor generals to him before they’d left the dungeon, allowing Rowen to finally have a source to practice his necromantic powers.
“Even if they were heinous criminals, the gods of order have long decreed the act of raising the dead to be sin most grave!” Rolf yelled at him, “Your soul has been tainted!”
“Well, he’s not wrong,” Rowen whispered to Milly.
“You do know I follow a goddess of chaos right Rolf?” Milly clarified.
“I heard nothing,” Rolf looked away. The noble in him had apparently elected to ignore Milly’s disposition.
“Biased jerk!” Rowen yelled, “Take this!”
Together with Milly, the skeletons rushed at the golden man with swords outstretched. Rolf snorted and grabbed his lance with two hands.
“Fall before my spear you cursed undead!” he cried out.
He leaned right to dodge Milly’s first thrown dagger. His spear leaped forward into the first skeleton, sending the ribcage out of its body. As the skeleton collapsed, Rolf swung his lance and knocked two skulls away with the tip, following through with the butt of the spear to smash the torsos into pieces. He then held his spear out with both hands like a shield to block Milly’s downward attack with her daggers. Pushing her back, Rolf speared the two remaining skeletons by the skull and caused them to explode into little pieces, their bodies falling into parts on the floor.
“Do you still wish to fight?” Rolf asked.
Milly cracked her neck, and Rowen summoned five more skeletons.
“So be it; En Garde!”
“Avoid it!” Fiora cried out, she too leap rolling out of the way as the Demon Prince Pride Sphinx dropped from the sky and smashed into the ground. The former witch was nowhere to be seen on the massive mutated body, and the demon sphinx certainly did not show any restraint toward murdering those it had once worked with. Opening its mouth, it let loose a torrent of lightening at the adventurers. The defender time adventurers were only just able to block the magic attack with their shields, but were forced to drop them from the shear heat they no emitted.
Meanwhile, Fred led the second regiment at the gate against the Demon Prince Envy Basilisk. While the demon thankfully couldn’t wield petrifying gaze as an attack, it was quick and able to vanish thanks to it’s ability to turn invisible. Fred already was dripping blood from numerous small wounds the demon had inflicted on him, but none fatal. The demon was playing with its prey, slowly injuring them until the all fell unconscious from the blood-loss and pain.
“Mages!” Fred commanded, “Smoke it out!”
At his order, the mages under his authority let loose a watery mist that surrounded them. The demon moved through the mist, unable to stop it from revealing its location. The warriors charged the monster’s silhouette, only to be sent skipping across the ground by a whip of its long tail. The demon hissed and back into view, releasing a mist of venom at the fighters. Fred cursed and ordered a retreat; there weren’t enough healers to cure that level of poison.
Over in the garden grounds, Mary led the last group of adventurers against the Demon Prince Lust Strider. However, Mary and her group was forced on the defensive as wave after wave of fist sized spiders swarmed their group. The demon screamed and laughed as it consistently gave birth to more spiders, each venomous enough to kill a grown man.
Mary narrowed her eyes as she opened more bottles from her adventure bag, releasing the blood she had stored to aid her. Under her control, the streams of blood formed a barrier around her and her men. It resembled a small fire, licking the air in waves. However, when a spider attempted to cross, the blood speared through it and cut it in half. A few spiders leaped high enough over the blood wall, only to be cut down by the warriors, mages, and archers behind Mary.
“How dare you kill my babies!” the demon hissed at Mary.
“How dare you masquerade as a human!” Mary answered her, “You’re different than the other too, Annabelle. You weren’t sacrificed, you’ve fused with that demon!”
The demon formerly known as Annabelle chittered and giggled, “Why of course I was! I remember being so scared, but my dear Alfred held my hand the entire time. And then, I realized. Why should I fear this? I love this power; it’ so, intoxicating, and my Alfred is so perfect!”
“He brainwashed you pitiful girl,” Mary sighed, “Though, I doubt you’ll ever understand that after having your mind ripped apart and mixed with that of a demon’s. I’ll set you free from this prison.”
“You will not separate me and my love!” the demon screamed at her. The monster grabbed two spiders and covered them in magical power. The spiders transformed into daggers with four l-shaped points on both sides. It ran at Mary, its spider legs moving master than its size would assume.
Mary was forced to drop her blood barrier to form two shields of blood, blocking the flurry of dagger attacks aimed at her. The lower spider’s head snapped her, seeking to plunge its venomous fangs into her body. The guild-master was forced away from her squad as the demon continued to attack relentlessly.
“Master Mary!” one of the adventure cried out, “Hold on!” He struggled to move toward her, but was forced back by the continuing wave of spiders. The man struggled to block the spiders with his shield, forced back with his fellow adventurers into a shrinking circle.
Mary clicked her tongue, opening two more bottles of blood to form a blood-sword. She manipulated it into attacking the demon, but the demon’s lower head reached up and crushed the weapon with its fangs.
The demon laughed as the blood vanished. “How many more bottles of blood do you have?” it taunted, “Might as well you your own blood; I’m sure it tastes so much sweeter than this old batch.”
Mary said nothing as she opened more bottled of blood, forming two more swords and another shield. The two combatants continued to exchange blows.
High above the fight, Alfred took a seat and smiled down at the scene before him. He noted the princesses being moved back to avoid the fighting.
“Collect them for me,” Alfred ordered, “we could use the additional royal presence to solidify the plan. I can take my time breaking both of them like Annabelle and summon more lust demons. I bet that royal blood and purity would taste, delicious.”
The shadows behind him shimmered to form two shadow guards. Unlike their original appearance, these shadow guards were covered in the tell-tale black garb of fleshlings, their invisible cords connected to something beyond sight. After bowing to Alfred, they vanished.
Alfred laughed darkly as he looked over at Prince James. While James stood as still as before, one eye was twitching and his left hand kept trying to clench itself into a fist.
“Don’t worry James,” Alfred taunted, “I’ll make sure you have a front row seat to your sister’s fall.”
Gretony’s tentacles slammed into the dungeon floor, propelling it up to the ceiling where Doc was hiding. Doc used windballs to propel himself away from the impact site, turning around to cast another spell.
“Iceball,” Doc muttered as he froze the ceiling surface around him. Doc’s lighter form could avoid slipping off the icy surface, but Gretony’s could not. The king slime slid off the ceiling and landed on the dungeon crystal, impaling himself up to the core. The pointed crystal stabbed into the monster slime’s core, creaking a crack. Gretony screamed in anguish and threw itself off the crystal, taking some of the slime that it had left on the crystal originally.
“Doc,” Claire cried out joyfully in Doc’s mind, “His weakness is his core! Unlike you, that isn’t his temporary body but his real one. Until he becomes the dungeon, he only has one life that depends on his core! Keep it up, his control is slipping!”
“Understood!” Doc called out in response, “I’ll aim for the core!”
“Earthball,” Doc formed five magical balls of earth and sent them burrowing into the screaming Gretony. The king slime’s body worked quickly to destroy the projectiles, but was unable to stop a few shards from hitting it’s core.
Gretony roared, and Doc felt his body regain control over the dungeon’s summoning ability.
“FIRESTORM SLIMES!” Doc concentrated. A mass of red-orange slimes appeared around Gretony, each beginning to shine. The explosion rocketed the room and the dungeon. However, Gretony shot out of the spoke, unharmed but quite angry.
“That won’t work anymore!” Gretony roared out, and it responded by shooting earthballs at Doc. Doc winced as his body was slammed by the orbs of dirt and stone, a few shards almost reaching his own core.
“He’s adapted to fire Doc!” Claire reported, “His special ability must allow him to gain temporary immunity to elemental attacks! Avoid using fire for now!”
“Ice slimes, spray slimes!” Doc summoned up. The spray slimes shot streams of water over Gretony, and the ice slimes froze it, trapping the enemy slime in ice.
“Rumble slime!” Doc continued. From the ceiling, the brownish slimes fell onto the ice block and sent out their vibrations into it. It cracked both the ice and the slime inside. Solid chucks of frozen slime fell off and melted into nothingness.
“WHY, WHY?” Gretony asked sorrowfully, “I AM SLIME. I AM GREED AND GLUTONY! I AM MORE DUNGEON THEN YOU. WHY I LOSING?” Gretony’s words became slower and less intelligent as slime disappeared from its body.
“I’m the dungeon, not you!” Doc argued in response, “You are just a part of me!”
“NO! I AM ME!” Gretony screamed and charged its broken body at Doc.
At that moment, the mage slime Doc was inhabiting vibrated and shone. It split in two, Doc’s mind controlling both of them. One of the formerly purple-pink slimes had changed into a deep purple color, with a mage hat on its head. The other had become a striped pink and purple slime, with the stripes moving inward toward its core.
“Wizard slime!” Doc roared out, and in response 4 other wizard slimes appeared behind him. Together, streams of elemental magic snaked out and slammed into Gretony. Gretony shuddered and shook as it was blasted into the wall. However, it wasn’t down yet. It formed five massive tentacles to block the attacks and recklessly summoned ten huge fireballs above its head. With a roar, the invading slime threw fireballs at the dungeon crystal.
“Mana slimes!” Doc responded, and the striped slime was joined by four of its brethren. Together, they five slimes released a vortex that sucked the fireballs in their bodies. Then, they attached a tentacle to a corresponding wizard slime. The mana slimes could not only absorb magical energy, it could also share it.
Together, the mana slime supplied the wizard slimes with the incredible power of the fireballs. The magical attacks being unleashed morphed together into a final, massive, beam of energy that obliterated the king slime.
With a final, mournful cry, Gretony melted down to his core, covered by a thin layer of slime. The slime on Doc’s crystal disappeared, freeing Claire. The Twins shook their heads as their minds returned to them. Doc’s mind and spirit flowed back into his crystal, illuminating the dungeon once more in purple light.
“I AM DUNGEON,” Gretony whispered, “NOT YOU. I KNOW NOW, I KNOW NOW. YOU . . . ARE . . . invader . . .”
“That’s impossible,” Claire denied,” I found Doc when he was a newborn. He has always been the dungeon.”
“Not true!” Gretony protested weakly, “I, remember. She pushed me away, made room for him. You should have been mine, my pixie.”
Doc shuddered, and his mind blanked out.
I'm walking through a strange land, Doc sensed. All around me there are moving images of things I have never seen before. I see tall plants, humans, and strange places. The road I walk takes me through all of them.
The path is long, but I manage to walk past everything without understanding anything. Should I feel accomplished? The strangest thing is that I feel like I should recognize everything.
Especially, that one human, that girl that seems to flit on the edge of every image.
The path is ending now; the images are different. One side blue, the other side red, they seem to be warring with each other. It feels kind of silly to be honest since I seem to be purple on the inside. As I walk by, the two sides appear to become subdued and join back together in harmony.
I reach the end of the path; someone is there waiting for me. He is sitting with his face resting on his arm which is on his knee while the other arm is on the floor. Strange human; he doesn't seem to be wearing any clothes.
"Who are you?" I ask the strange human.
He raises his head; his eyes are colored a sparkling purple. He grins with a strange smile.
"Why, I am you of course."
And everything goes to black.
Doc blinked as the memory of his journey came back to him. He turned his head to gaze at the strange landscape around him.
“I have a head,” he wondered to himself as he stared down. While indistinct and blurry, he was currently not a crystal body. He had hands, or at least something he could use to pick things up. They constantly morphed and changed before his eyes, almost as if his body was an illusion.
<MAKE US WHOLE,> Doc heard in his head. He turned to see the strange naked human sitting on the path again. There were two this time: a red human and a blue human. They looked identical except for the color.
“Who are you?” Doc asked them. As he asked, two new figures appeared next to the red and blue humans. They were green and yellow.
<MAKE US WHOLE >
<We are you, but you are not us. We shall wait, for we are waiting to be made whole.>
<MAKE US WHOLE>
Doc’s world returned to black, and he heard one last thing.
“We shall be free.”
A new scene began. Doc, in his incorporeal body, stared down at a weak looking man. The man shuddered and shook, small cracks appearing around his body. In one moment, he was an old, weak version of Doc’s body. The next, he was four different colored versions of Doc.
“Who are you?” Doc asked.
“We, I, am Gretony,” the weakened figure revealed, “I’ve, always been here.”
“You’ve grown from my kills,” Doc realized.
“Yes,” the figure nodded, “When I was cast aside to make room for you, I was merely a presence within mana. You absorbed me, so I did not die. When you ate the demon and human, I gained anger and wisdom. When you ate the dungeon, I gained greed and hope. When you ate the fleshling, I regained awareness. However, I could not be without help.”
“The fruit of knowledge,” Doc pondered, “What is it?”
“A thing passed down through generations, never the same, unique to each individual,” Gretony taught, “For me, the brains of adventurers.”
“You’re the beheading murderer, the one who framed me,” Doc accused.
“Yes,” Gretony agreed.
“Why tell me all this?” Doc asked.
“Because you have won,” Gretony sighed, his body further cracking, “When dungeons fight, the winner devours everything from the loser, even knowledge.”
“You say you were the original dungeon, that I replaced you. How?” Doc pressed.
“She cast me aside. She needed room for you. She made you with a purpose,” Gretony murmured.
“Who?” Doc raised his voice, “That girl in the memories, the one who cries? Who?”
“She will come; you have a purpose,” Gretony closed his eyes, and his body shattered
“You will remember this time,” his voice said with the wind.
Doc reopend his eyes, remembering everything. He stared down at Gretony in shock. However, the slime was silent. With its last bit of self revealed to Doc, its core broke, and Gretony disappeared.
Doc watched as the core shattered into dust. He hid his thoughts as he turned his attention to his pixie partner. “Claire, what was that?” he asked softly.
“I don’t know,” she said cautiously, “but, if what is said was true . . .”
Claire slowly turned to face Doc, “We all know you are kind of special for a dungeon Doc. You have changed and forgotten a lot since we first met, but back then it was fairly obvious you came into being with a soul, something almost unheard of in dungeons. Back then, I thought it was a normal dungeon birth, that you somehow, through magic, began life as a dungeon with a core. However, if Gretony was speaking honestly, then maybe you weren’t the original dungeon master . . .”
“That can’t be right?” Doc wondered, “but, I can’t recall anything before waking up as a dungeon. There’s only . . . it isn’t important. All that matters is that I’m the dungeon, and you and the others are my monsters.”
“You are poppa, poppa,” The Twins agreed.
Claire nodded, though clearly still thoughtful. “Whatever occurred, it’s obvious this Gretony was more than an ordinary slime. It was a natural king slime, as in it lived long enough and ate enough to grow from its initial form into its king slime form All slimes are capable of doing this in the wild, as rare as it is for any slime over lord to be found, but it should be impossible within the dungeon.”
“I scanned him before he died,” Doc lied, “he was the beheading murderer who framed me in town. His fruits of knowledge were adventurer heads.”
“Gross,” Claire made a face, “but odd. Slime don’t gain knowledge from eating brains. But, at least that’s one problem solved. Wait, a thought just occurred to me,” Claire remembered, “Doc, you never did dissolve my chair slime, did you?”
“Not according to my memory. I just let it be until you needed it,” Doc said, thinking over his memories.
“From now on Doc, it’s better to recycle all your slimes so nothing like this ever happens again,” Claire advised, “Recycling will prevent any slime from evolving through growth, so keep to that until you grow stronger. Hopefully, that’s the last we’ll ever see of it.”
“What’s going on outside?” Doc asked suddenly, “Claire, I sense a lot of fighting.”
Together, the two of them watched the scenes of carnage going on in town. At the town gate, a small army of shiny armors, church people, and pointy-ear adventurers were fighting to hold back a horde of demons and fleshlings. Arrows and holy magic shone down upon the horde, which was trying to climb the walls and break the gate. An older church person was leading the defense, light shining from his sword as he swung it down.
Meanwhile, the noble district was in full disarray as the adventure struggled to contain the three demon princes. Doc felt his mind turn angry at the sight of dead adventurers lying on the ground.
“Doc, it seems that Milly and Rowena are fighting too!”
“We’re wasting time here,” Rolf said exasperatingly, “Come on you two. Even with the three of us restraining our strength to avoid killing each other, I’m still stronger than you both.”
Milly and Rowen took deep breaths as they stared helplessly at the older boy. With Milly’s lethal spells or Rowen’s dungeon augmented power, neither of them could land a single blow on Rolf. The two teens struggled to come to terms with their level of strength, unwilling to admit they were not strong enough.
“Milly, Rowen, can you hear me?” Claire’s voice rang in their ears.
“Claire, thank goodness,” Rowen sighed mentally in relief, “I’ve been trying to contact you and Doc, but was unable to. Is everything alright?”
“We had a situation, but Doc solved it,” Claire answered, “Needless to say, your serial killer no longer exists. What’s happening with you both? Why aren’t you demolishing this church wanna-be?”
“He’s my friend,” Milly explained, “Since we don’t want to kill him, we’re holding back.”
“Well stop it,” Claire scolded them, “Look, not killing him doesn’t mean restraining yourself to defeat. Just beat him up until he falls unconscious.”
“Easy for you to say,” Rowen argued, “Milly uses daggers and I use lethal magic.”
“Huh,” Claire audibly sighed, “you both are still too inexperienced. Do you really think that boy’s armor is weak? Just blast it away until he runs out of mana! He’ll fall asleep like Milly did in the dungeon. Stop being so pathetic!”
Milly and Rowen were overcome with embarrassment at the revelation. They had assumed Rolf was too weak to face their real power head on.
“Rolf, get ready,” Milly announced, “we aren’t holding back anymore.”
“Really,” Rolf rolled his eyes, “and what does that mean?”
In answer, four daggers flew at him in formation. Milly crossed her fingers, and the daggers formed a net of red light between them. Rolf swung his lance to block the blows, but the magic net wrapped around his spear and then him, locking his arms to his body. Before he could do anything else, the shattered bones around his feet rose and clung to him, melting and merging to form an additional web of bones. As Rolf struggled to free himself of the cocoon like trap, Milly’s and Rowen’s fist collided with his face. The poor boy fell to ground, and the two delighted teens proceeded to pummel him like a sack of flour.
“Stop that!” Rolf roared, his light flaring up. As the bonds of his cage began to snap, Milly and Rowen backed off and made identical chants. Rolf paled as he realized what they were doing.
“Please don’t!” he begged, but the two teens only smiled sweetly at him.
“Explosion!” they cried out together, and the two cages glowed.
“No!” Rolf screamed as his entire body was covered in a double explosion of red light and bone. Milly and Rowen ducked as shard of wood and bone were sent hurtling through the air. When the dust settled, an almost unclothed Rolf staggered to his feet.
“Alright, that’s it,” Rolf clenched his teeth, “I’m not going to go easy anymore!”
“Now Milly!” Claire signaled in her mind.
“Take this Rolf!” Milly yelled as she ran at him, “The ultimate attack in my possession!”
Rolf crossed his arms and closed his eyes to defend himself from the blow, but nothing came. He opened his eyes in confusion and looked down at Milly. She smiled sweetly at him.
“Flash attack!” She pulled up her shirt and flashed Rolf. Rolf stared down in shock, completely freezing up and letting his guard down.
Anadine appeared suddenly behind him and thrust the side of her hand onto the back of Rolf’s neck. The boy’s eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed like a puppet without strings.
Milly lowered her shirt onto her under shirt and giggled, “Ha, never saw it coming!”
Rowen, who had hid his face thanks to Claire’s warning, looked over and held up his thumb.
“I don’t know what you did Milly, but excellent job,” he complimented her, “Just don’t ever use that attack on me okay?”
“No promises,” Milly laughed, confusing Rowen.
Danny walked over and slung Rolf over his shoulder. He sighed in disappointment.
“A pity,” he admitted, “that our fight concluded so soon. I will take Rolf to his father.”
“Tell him sorry when he wakes up,” Milly requested sincerely. Danny nodded, and he left with Rolf.
“Let’s go Rowen,” Milly commanded, walking over to pack the tavern’s valuables into the adventurer bag, “We’re off to save my father again, though hopefully for the last time.”
“Alright,” Rowen relented, “Oh, did you grab everything you need?”
Milly held up Mr. Bubbles and hugged him happily. “Yup. You coming Anadine?”
Anadine tilted her head, a sign she was communicating with Doc. “Doc is busy creating more tunnels into the town. By the time we reach the noble district, there should be enough ambient dungeon mana in the air to prevent me from falling unconscious.”
“Then let’s go,” Milly cheered. She led the two dungeon members out the door, giving the tavern one last, wistful look as the closed the door for the last time.
Meanwhile, in a hidden alcove above one of the pixie tunnels, a tiny bit of slime fell from the discorded cocoon husk. After a moment, tiny piece of core dropped down onto the slime. Together, the core and slime merged into one, forming a tiny mini-slime. It seemed to gaze around before dissolving into the stone.