Screaming filled the dungeon. Mine and everyone other monster in the dungeon’s scream mingled into what might as well have come straight out of a horror movie. Tears filled my eyes at the pain it was so intense. It felt like I was burning alive. A demon near me collapsed before bursting into purple flames quickly being reduced to ashes.
My monsters! I ground my teeth and focused on my dungeon. Some sort of… aura had overlapped mine. The only word that suited it was holy. I struggled to get out of my seat before I put everything I had into pushing back against the holy aura. I used my new demonic aura and Corruption to push the intruder from my halls.
It was tough going, but the aura didn’t exactly push back. As I channeled more of myself into the offensive, the holy aura covering my dungeon began to give way faster. Soon, I had managed to push it completely from my halls, but I could feel it just outside my aura. I fell to mu hands and knees as tears of blood leaked from the corners of my eyes. I still hurt all over! Why!? Why me!? I reared back and screamed for an all-new reason. Anger.
Finally, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking, I found a heavily burned Losa. “Losa dear!” I said as he collapsed. I caught him as he coughed up some yellow blood.
“I… I’m… alright, master,” he said haltingly. I sucked in a breath at the pain in his voice. His eyes closed as he fainted. I shook him gently, but there was no response. The only indication that he was alive was his shallow breathing.
“I’ll make them pay!” I growled hugging him gently to my chest. “Whoever is responsible will die!”
You have sworn a mortal enemy of Maxwell Orfen.
“Thank you, system. So, Maxwell. I hope you’re ready to face my wrath! Just you wait.” I carried Losa over to my coffin and laid him inside. It was about the only place that could serve as a bed in my dungeon. “Harvey!” The handsome vampire appeared limping a few moments after my call. He was badly burned as well. I glanced down at my own body and found that I was in much a similar state. “What is the condition of the dungeon?”
“We lost most of the demons. Only one managed to survive. All the vampires survived, but… we’re all badly burned. It was like being in the sun at midday.”
“I see.” I thought quickly about what to do. We would naturally recover with time but judging from Harvey’s wounds that were still there. The holy attack had caused our wounds to be contain stigma. It reduced vampire healing to worse than that of a mortal’s until the poison ran its course or was expelled. The best way to recover would be to drink blood. “How long until Roland returns?”
“He should be back in a few hours. I just fear he was caught up in the holy wave.” I hadn’t thought about that. Damn. When I checked, I could sense that even the tunnel leading into the natural caves was practically flooded with the aura. Roland was one thing, but the lower vampires with him would definitely bite the dust if he took them through it.
“We’re going to finish the tunnel to the surface. I was putting it off in light of the goblins, but we need the resources that might be found up there. Not to mention that my aura should cover a few dozen meters outside the cave. If we build something obstinate enough, we might attract some surface prey into the dungeon.”
“As you will it, my queen.”
“Another thing, hand me your coat.” Harvey tilted his head but did as told. I pulled off my tattered beyond recognition dress. In fact, the holy fire that had consumed me had pretty much finished it off. It might as well be just a few strings. I pulled on Hervey’s coat, not really bothered by the fact that it really didn’t cover much of my front, before I absorbed the remains of my dress. I was quite pleased by the fact that it unlocked a level three cloth for me. If I had known it would do that, I would have absorbed the material a long time ago.
I summoned a simple vampire cloth craftsman. I ordered him to claim one of the empty rooms then get to work making me some new clothes. I couldn’t walk around naked all the time. Though, I had to admit there was a sense of freedom to the action. “I’ve really gone off the deep end, haven’t I?” I mumbled. I had never been one for public nudity, but even in front of me monsters, I wasn’t that bothered.
Leaning back over the coffin edge, I stroked Losa’s hair one last time before I spun on my heel and left the room. All my digging demons were dead. I would have to do the work myself until I gained some more mana. My anger fueled my steps, and I was at the unfinished section of the first tunnel in only a few minutes.
Holding out both hands, I began absorbing my full capacity. Striding forward whenever I finished a ten-meter section, I continued this process for the next half an hour. The stink of the holy aura was getting stronger the closer I got to the surface, but it was from the distance and not directly outside the wall. I was surprised with how much I found myself absolutely hating the holy… element? Was that what it actually was?
Placing my hand on the wall, I felt out with my senses. Something that I had learned to do in the last few minutes during my anger filled excavation of the tunnel. There was only about another five meters of rock and soil before I reached the surface. From what I could tell, we were up the mountain face a good ways.
I pulled back my senses then headed back to the natural tunnel intersection. I needed mana, levels, soldiers and above all healing. I hoped that Roland and his band managed to bring back a good number of goblins. My teeth almost ached to bite into one as it was.
My timing couldn’t have been better. Roland was pulling a group of goblins tied up behind him. Carson, Derrick and Frederick were walking along the goblin train. As Harvey feared, all the lower vampires were nowhere to be found. I could only assume they were deceased since their number wasn’t shown to me while they were out of the dungeon. Roland and the others had several burns on their person as well.
“Welcome back, boys.” They had managed to capture twenty goblins and even a goblin captain. That would boost my mana up by a good deal maybe even fill me up once or twice. I strode past them without waiting for any sort of report. I violently kicked the captain’s leg out from under him to bring him to my level. Reaching out, I grasped either side of his head and latched onto his neck without any sort of precursor. The now familiar iron taste flooded my mouth as I gulped the lifeforce down.
The captain was massive, but that didn’t prove a challenge. When the body was a shriveled husk, I released it. The monster had been long dead, but I had consumed every drop of blood in the creature. I stepped back while licking my lips. Glancing down at my body, I found I had fully recovered from the burns.
“Hold them here. I’ll be back in a minute,” I ordered. I grabbed one of the goblins and used my claws to cut him from the rope chain. Dragging him by the neck, I hauled him to the core room. Losa was still breathing, but as I feared his wounds hadn’t recovered at all. It appeared the holy aura had been harsh on the imp which was considered a demon. I used my ability to transfer the goblin’s lifeforce over to the imp until there was only a corpse in my hand.
It was hard to say he made a full recover, but he didn’t appear to be in as much pain as before. I absorbed the corpse in my hand then reached into the coffin to stroke Losa’s head. I worried since he didn’t awake. Waiting for a few minutes, and still not seeing any signs of him waking back up, I withdrew my hand. I wanted to use another goblin’s life to see if that would let him recover, but that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of my monsters, some of which were suffering even worse injuries.
Dersoa, the only demon to survive the attack, was breathing heavily in the corner. I ground my teeth as I clenched my fist. I really would make this Maxwell person pay for this! I pulled back from the coffin then made my way back to Roland and the others. I stared at the quivering goblins that knew that death was upon them. I should have probably felt pity for them, but there was nothing.
I walked up to the first in the line and placed my hand on his head. With a single word, the black magic circle appeared around my hand before the goblin slumped forward no longer breathing. I continued this until the entire line of prisoners except for one was dead. “Roland. Take the goblins and recover the vampires in the dungeon. Start with yourself.”
“As you wish, my queen.” Him and the others grabbed a few goblins each and started carrying them into the dungeon. I would have to use one to recover Dersoa in a bit. He wasn’t a vampire and thus I’d have to use my Death Absorption to transfer the lifeforce to him.
“Tell me what you found,” I ordered Roland once the dungeon had returned to a semblance of normalcy. Losa still slept in the coffin, however, I was relieved that he was at least alive for the moment.
“Not much more than last time. We found an outpost they are attempting to establish. We waited for a while and captured one of their scouting parties. They shouldn’t be missed for a day or two, but after that...” He trailed off. I knew what he wanted to say. They might know about our location, but not that we are able to attack outside my aura. “The outpost was already on alert because of their continued losses to the dungeon.”
“How many do you think are in the outpost?” If I wanted to crush this place, I had to create a force that I was certain could take them. Goblins were weaker than my vampires, but the captains were another story. My Greaters were able to take the captains easily enough, but I feared there might be a Major or something that could repel them. Ah. Losa why weren’t you here so I could ask you?
“I’d wager between five hundred to a thousand. They appeared to be getting constant reinforcements from outside the Abyss. Most likely that village on the surface.”
“So… Even if we destroy the outpost, we might have to deal with a flood of the green monsters from the surface.”
“It is a possibility.”
I crossed my legs and leaned back into my seat. There was too much unknown, but fate favored the brave. The tunnels, even the large cavern the outpost was being set up in would make it harder on my vampires to use their abilities to their fullest. If the goblins managed to bottleneck my forces, it would come down to how had the most numbers. I’d rather take advantage of the open field that would be the surface. “The village…”
“My queen?” Roland asked, obviously not sure what I was getting at.
“We’ll attack the village. I’m sure that it’s not completely combatants.” I got about a third of the experience if the monsters were killed outside the dungeon, but that didn’t bother me now. I’m sure destroying an entire village would net my dungeon a decent amount of experience. Even if my personal level failed to go up any. I couldn’t leave my aura. Then I might as well level my dungeon.
“That is risky but given a pressed battle against a well-defended cave. It is the option I’d rather take,” Roland said after he thought it over.
“Glad you see it my way. I have enough mana to summon one Greater and a few normal vampires. Take this force and teach them a lesson in the art of fear.”
“That will likely put them on guard to future attacks.”
“I don’t care. I need levels for the dungeon,” I said, waving off his advice. “Also, if you find anything interesting and can bring it back, do so.” The captain they’d brought back had dropped a crystal. When I absorbed it, I found it to be a Weak Activation Crystal. The item said I needed for creating an Aura Forge. Now, I could truly join the offensive.