The sound of hammering echoed through my newest room. Two vampire blacksmiths were at work making tools and weapons for the others. I now had forty-seven vampires under my command. Seven of them were using pickaxes to work the tunnel while the demons hauled the material back in a rudimentary cart. It sped up the process considerably. According to Losa, I should reach the outside world in just over a day.
My castle, as I had started referring to it, was growing nicely as well. From the central coffin or core room, I had my main passage that was connected to the tunnel being dug to the outside. From there a square like structure had been dug around it with the gallery room being the first room in the branch. I had added another vampire spawner, a smithy, and a few blanks that I hadn’t decided what to do with yet. The next room would likely be for an armorer.
“Its like constructing a town,” I mentioned to Losa.
“Very much so.”
“How far can my monsters go from my aura before they start to suffer again?”
“Roughly fifty kilometers. That is usually plenty for luring monsters, adventurers or whatever into your real area of influence. There are ways to extend this, but they are expensive resource and mana wise.”
Tossing a hundred point mana stone in the air, I leaned back in my seat. “If fifty kilometers isn’t enough then I’ll just have to give up all hope.” I would have to accept that I was truly trapped in this game. Not matter how little sense it made.
I was letting the turns go by as a strategy gamer might say while I waited for things to get taken care of. Since I couldn’t leave my aura, there was little to do outside of working on my dungeon. Since I couldn’t personally specialize a room, even that required me waiting. I had considered several times digging straight up, consequences be damned, but… the more the evidence pointed to me being trapped in this world, the more I felt that idea was stupid beyond belief.
“Only an hour…” I moaned as I checked the time. Time went by when you’re having fun, but when you’ve nothing to do, it crawls by like a snail. I could go paint, but I didn’t want to risk going into a trance this close to the outside world. Besides, no matter how great a work I created the system wouldn’t designate it legendary. I had a cooldown on that.
I groaned again as I slumped in my chair. To pass the time, I was summoning random vampires whenever my mana permitted. Watching my mana bar inch up was another way to pass the time. Thus, I was watching the bar when it went from seventy to a hundred in a split second. I sat up wondering what I had just absorbed that could make it move so rapidly. Another few seconds went by and it shot up another fifty points.
“Losa, Come with me.” We rushed down the passage to the absorption point. One of the demons was emptying a cart with black rocks into the hole. I reached out and grabbed one before it vanished. Coal - Level one magic material. “Coal is a magic material?” I asked Losa as I handed him the rock.
“Yes. It is used to create the level one magic metal called steel.” Losa handed it back after a quick inspection. “Though, I don’t know the exact process.”
“That’s why we have Ta’ot and Reit for,” I said tossing the stone into the circle. I wanted to smack my forehead since I could have just checked my menu but the excitement had gotten the better of me. From the carts, it looked like we had struck a decent vein of the material.
I turned on my heel to head to the smithing room when I felt the ground shake. I paused and looked at the door leading into the natural tunnels. My basic vampires lacked the skill to map or navigate the labyrinth that it led into and I was forced to call them back. Another shake told me that something was really heading this way from the tunnels.
Calling for all my vampires, except for a few that I left near the core room, my forces were soon standing around me. Most of them were armed with swords, but a few were going to have to rely on their claws. Thankfully, my vampires were many times stronger than most creatures.
The shaking grew freicer until it seemed to stop directly on the other side of the door. I gulped wondering if the goblins had brought a troll or something to deal with me. “Prism!” I shouted and a multi-faceted magical structure formed right in front of the door. Something heavy struck the other side and completely annihilated the low quality iron door with ease.
Goblins began to pour in. They looked nothing like the ones I had been dealing with so far. They were dressed in armor with nice looking weapons. The wall I built was further kicked in as a goblin that was almost too large for it to fit in the cave made his way into my dungeon. The spell I cast triggered at that moment. All the light was sucked into the spell before being pushed back out as darkness.
My vampires moved like shadows. The part of me that was a dungeon core was able to see everything around me with crystal clarity. The goblins dwelled in the dark underworld, but their sight appeared to rely on at least some light. My vampires could see the very blood in their veins.
My forces rushed through the goblins sending blood into the air as throats were slit. These goblins weren’t stupid though. As soon as the darkness overwhelmed them, they grouped together back-to-back. We only managed to take out the strays easily. A few of my vampires attempted to take out the large one, but they were sent flying usually in two pieces.
“Death!” I screamed targeting any goblin that my eyes landed on. I wasn’t surprised when I only caused the goblins I hit with the spell to cough up blood or have random cuts appear on them. I was lower level than them after all. Still, the attacks helped my minions to attack the enemy force in front of us.
Next I aimed at their feet and used the earth spell that Dersoa had taught me. The ground vanished from under their feet, turned to sand. They dropped down getting caught in the sand, struggling to stop from being dragged under the grains. The boss goblin managed to avoid the ground attack. His eyes locked on me with malice. I guess he knew I was in charge and where I was even in the pitch black world around us.
He leveled his sword at me before he charged. Any of my vampires that got in his way ended up in two pieces. We were far underleveled for this monster. I reduced the ground at my feet to a pit with stone spikes at the bottom and used my wings to stay in place. The trick worked as he stepped into the pit and fell. The goblin gained a spike directly through his skull and stopped moving.
I carefully flew over to the edge of the pit. Still getting used to the foreign limbs. I dismissed my Prism spell, glad that I had gained it when I had became a Night Queen. The natural light returned to the dungeon. The attacking goblin force along with their leader laid dead.
There was a rush inside me and I felt both my personal level and the dungeon level rise. I looked at the monsters that had became my exp and started laughing. It soon became a bit crazy. But who could blame me!? This whole situation was crazy! Fighting monsters as a dungeon core! I should be back home… What was back home? A lawsuit that I may or may not win… An empty house… A name that would likely never see respect again in the artistic community. Why shouldn’t I laugh at the idiocy of it all!
I spun around and kicked the wall forming a half a meter deep crater as my anger built and built. I would break this world! My last world broke me! I would do it in before it crushed me! I hope the game masters take note of me, because otherwise… They would come to regret it.
“Master?” Losa asked. I jerked my gaze at him. He flinched but held his ground. I smiled, the anger receding just a bit. Reaching out, I pulled him into a hug.
“Everything is okay. I’m fine.” I pulled back and took a deep breath. I would make sure never to take my anger out on any of the beings that I create. That wouldn’t be fair to them. NPC or not, Losa has already shown me much more emotion than even a few of the people I knew back in the real world. “Have the demons clean up this mess. Finish the tunnel but hold off on breaking into the surface.” I looked down at the large goblin impaled at the bottom of the pit. He wasn’t a king. Just a captain. “We have some business to take care of.”
I bowed my head for the twenty vampires that had died at his and the other goblins’ hands. If this was just a preview of what to expect then I was severely lacking. I think its time we changed that. Steel would be the first step of many to come.