Dreamweaver Chapter 210
“There he is. I can see it!” I said.
The others’ hopes are picking up now. But we’re still being chased by a lot of hellhounds. We also lost a couple people in the process, but for the most part I’m happy that most of us are still alive. That leaves six of us left, thankfully Detector made it since he’s useful even though his combat stats are crappy.
Briefly I remembered what we’d been taught about hellhounds in training. You know that stuff and the mission briefs with detailed file folders with captured images on crystals that detail monsters for training. It seems the fae have them for everything, including hell hounds.
Monster Class [C] Defense [D]
Evasion [D] Attack [C ]
Breath Weapon [C-B] range Health [B-]
Mana [D+] Treasure Varies*
But in person, hellhounds are much scarier than the file dossier really gets into. The dossier makes them seem like a normal C class monster that anyone can take on but that’s bull shit. Their breath attack can get up to a B class skill though on the more veteran beasts. On paper they sound weak, like any adventurer can take them down. I remember these especially because we were trained that sooner or later everyone faces them because they can appear on several scenarios. Basically all monsters can be encountered as roaming world monsters, monster pets, dungeon monsters, and summons. Those are four basic categories. And hell hounds are unique in that they can be encountered in any of those four groups.
And that’s not counting the elite hellhounds.
Damn…I hope there aren’t elite hell hounds here. Those can get almost as tough as a wyvern. I doubt most my men are up for a one on one fight with hellhounds.
And both types of hellhounds the dossier has one thing it forgets to mention…
They roam in packs!
“Help!” some of the men are screaming ahead.
If that guy doesn’t open up the barrier in time then…it will be bad.
“Sir, he’s surrounded by hell hounds too!” someone said.
“Great, how will we…” he’s too out of breath to finish.
“Keep running. We’ll deal with the hellhounds as soon as we can,” I said. “And we’ll figure something…out,” I gasped raggedly.
We keep moving forward, with occasionally swipes at hellhounds that get too close.
“We can do this,” I said.
The others are too tired to agree.
We keep getting closer.
A dozen meters…then …
A big explosion hits us. All of us were knocked off our feet. I’m not entirely sure how far I was knocked back but it was probably a good ten feet. It feels like my ribs are all bruised too and it takes a minute to get air back in my chest. Finally I managed to wheeze in some air.
Then I opened my eyes after seeing stars. By the time I figured out what happened I’m flat on my back. I can’t hear and it feels like half of my face is blown off or melted and I can’t feel anything on that side actually. The ringing in my ears won’t stop. Somehow I’m trying to get back up while the sense of hearing is still gone on one side of my face, but on the other I slowly hear the others crying out in pain.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Some kind of void element mana energy dispersion not far off,” Detector identified. He’s alive but one of his arms is hanging limply and broken with bones exposed with what looks like melted flesh. In fact I think he’s only alive and moving because he injected himself with some kind of expensive get out of jail free card in the form of a health potion, and an anti body shock resistance booster a couple minutes ago. But even with those, he can’t last long.
“Void element? Are you sure?” I wondered.
Ugh…it’s getting worse by the minute.
“Well not really. This isn’t full void but seems to be some strange mixture of tears in time space somehow. It’s definitely odd,” he admitted.
“Theirs or ours?”
“Probably their side since not many of our side are still alive,” he said trying to keep his voice calm. I can feel and hear the nervousness though.
As I look around a lot of us are torn up. A lot of those weaker than I took longer to get to their feet but some of them have higher magic resistance than I do; even though my body constitution is higher than theirs.
The men are getting to their feet a little at a time, while stumbling all over themselves, but it looks like we’re in a crater blast area. In fact we are in a crater I realized. And everything is smoking with a few hundred hellhound bodies vaporized and still disintegrating into ash. The huge crater is so big I can’t believe we’re even alive. In fact we shouldn’t be. The smoke and dust are still settling in the huge crater with a strong ozone like smell lingering in my nostrils that I don’t like.
“Why would an explosion kill the hell hounds?” I asked.
“Because their element is fire, not void or pressure; an explosion wouldn’t just have heat but massive pressure, not to mention I don’t think that their fire resistance is guaranteed when its mage fire though there probably is some bonus still to it. Such as in this case for example,” Detector said as he coughed trying to get fresh air.
“That makes sense. How come we’re alive?” I asked while huffing as we moved.
“I don’t know yet. We should be dead along with all the hell hounds,” he said.
Finally we can see it in the distance.
Ahead of us just one figure at the center of the crater, but actually he’s in a magic force field that’s on a piece of ground that is still above the bottom of the crater where the street level used to be.
It didn’t take long for us to surge forward using the gap in attacks caused by the hellhounds confusion. We edge closer and closer but we’re running out of time. Near us the hellhounds that were outside of range don’t like that they seem to see us getting farther away.
“Hey that’s that Shun guy. Isn’t he one of yours?” Detector asked.
“I think so.”
“But he was missing when this started right?”
“Well, we couldn’t locate him. It seems trouble found him too,” I said.
“Good, your alive,” Shun said once we were closer.
(Barriers don’t block sound I guess…)
“How come he’s alone with no help?” someone asked.
We stared in silence. And we still can’t see how to get in the barrier that’s at the center of this smoking crater. We had to be careful where to put our feet too since it’s making the soles of our boots sizzle slightly.
I can’t believe this guy. He’s the one I just interviewed and he’s looking down at us like we’re mice or something. I want to use violence on him but that’s my half ogre instincts kicking in. I suppress it like I do for other people.
“As you can see the hellhounds are gone. Well the first wave anyway. You can see the others are regrouping,” he waved his hands.
Unfortunately he’s right. There still thousands of them in this place. Hundreds right near us getting their courage back up. We have only a little time to decide what to do. If it comes to it having our backs against his magic barrier is more defendable than nothing…but is there a way for us to get inside it with him?
“Um, what did you do?” Detector asked.
This is so strange. I thought Shun was a small fry? But what’s this? A classy magic barrier?!
Detector specializes in mana detection, so he shouldn’t be confused.
“I just applied physics. Although that was a mess and risky and I can’t do it again since it was like trying to create a small black hole without getting sucked in. You are alive because I had wall of force activate right before the blast, but it couldn’t fully protect you since the back of it was opened so you could run in with that end connecting to an adjoining tunnel shaped wall of force but I couldn’t quite close it all off in time. Then that reduced the nearby hellhounds by about three hundred or so. That’s why you got singed and I didn’t,” he said.
So that explosion traveled that far and still singed us because…
Oh right…now that I think about it, his magic barrier actually has spidered cracks all over it as if it barely stood intact from that void element blast. He’s lucky he didn’t kill himself.
“You freaking asshole. You almost killed us!” one of my men seethed. He wanted to go bash the twerpy little mage but instead bumped his head on the barrier wall that’s still there and bounced off onto the grass.
Some of the others are complaining too.
“This is genius!” Detector realized.
Only a magic detector guy would say that.
Now that it’s been pointed out I can see how the ground we’re on and Shun is on are the only places in the blast area that aren’t totally blasted black and part of the crater, because that ground was inside the magic barrier.
“What? We almost died, how’s it genius?” I seethed.
“Two types of matter can’t occupy the same space. Basically putting one type of energy field in another is extremely unstable though you probably don’t understand what I’m saying right now. But the effect is like a small black hole caused by two overlapping magnetic fields that shouldn’t be overlapped,” Shun said.
“So that’s how you did it? That’s crazy but it actually works!” Detector is amazed as he looks over the huge crater that’s…wow thirty feet deep at least. I think Detector got it, but I didn’t.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“He blended magic to fuse and bend physics which caused the energy blast in a way that is …really freaking dangerous and insanely insane and something you should never do willingly. Although how he got it around the barrier sounds crazy too,” Detector said.
“Yeah pretty much,” Shun chuckled. “Sorry but there wasn’t another way to get you away from the hell hounds safely.”
“So two types of conflicting matter and energy pools trying to occupy the same space…caused the blast?” someone asked.
“Yeah, you can’t mash that many atoms or energy particles together and boom…” Detector said.
“I still don’t get it,” someone else said.
“Neither do I,” another said.
“I’m kind of glad I didn’t try to amplify the strength too much. That hurt even with the wall of force caging me in a safety net,” Shun said surveying them.
“I am so jealous to figure out how you did this,” Detector said.
“I thought you were a protection mage,” I said to Shun.
“In this case a very lucky to be alive protection mage. I’m lucky I didn’t blow myself up,” he said. He’s still looking around.
“Sir, other hell hounds are sure to converge on this spot soon. We know many of them are still out there and that they’ve flooded this city like locusts,” one of the men said.
“Yeah they’re already on their way but they are …full of fear from the blast,” Detector said.
“So two types of matter occupying the same space…? How did you come up with that?” Detector looked at Shun again.
“I’m not saying anything more than that,” came the reply.
My men looked at Shun like they are cats in front of dogs.
I won’t bend to him. I’m the leader…fuck this. He won’t take my spot.
Although I can see already the men are looking at him like he’s a badass and I’m super jealous. This is so humiliating.
“Can you help us survive?” I asked, forcing it out and overcoming my pride.
“Sure. But I need you to do exactly as I say and when I say it without me having to explain why or prove it to you. It will only work if you do what I say and when without question,” he said.
I choke on my pride. It’s hard to accept this when I’ve earned my spot living through tons of battles, with just one guy taking it all almost instantly. “Fine. Wh-what is it you need?” I forced out.
He must have read my reaction. “Relax, you are still the commander, but I just have needs right now and don’t have time to explain. You will still be your team’s leader, as I have enough to do already. I used a lot of mana in that explosion and the two barriers. I need to energy tap mana from your men,” he said with an evil looking grin.
“E-energy tap? What you mean like life tap?” Detector looked worried. His eyes glanced at mine. From what I can tell he knows what it is and its’ bad.
When detector said it like that already some are panicked. “You mean like life tap?” one of them gasped.
The men are scared hearing it said that way.
“Is it something we can survive?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, I just need to replenish some mana. And I don’t need all of it. But you should hurry the hell hounds are already almost here. I can hear them,” Shun said.
“We can survive the energy tap right? And it won’t cripple us?” I asked Detector.
“Yeah you should be OK, but…we’ll feel like shit for awhile,” came back his reply.
I could only energy tap 3 of them safely. The others are too wounded. Then I had them get into a circular hedge formation with me in the middle. I hope it’s enough. And I don’t want to blow my trump cards early; my other ‘pets’ that nobody knows about like Sylvie, Asakura and the others.
“Why do you get the middle? I should get the middle,” Lars growled.
“Yeah but you can’t cast spells. Plus if your in the middle and swing your arms around some of us could die,” Detector said.
“I can’t explain everything to you. But there’s a reason and method to this,” I said.
This Lars guy is reluctant to do this. I can see his attitude still all over his messy face. I guess it’s hard but you would think his men and he would want to live.
“Sorry but I have to conserve energy. This siege could last a long time. So in this case being lazy wins and I’ll look lazy. Also the rest of you should rest as much as you can while you can. We might be here for hours,” I said.
“Can’t you just set off another explosion?” Detector asked.
“Hell no. That costed a ton of energy. And you guys are lucky I wanted to save you. I’m also lucky I didn’t kill us all,” I said after releasing the barrier and getting them inside it and putting it back up.
I can’t tell them how I did it. Even if they saw me do it they won’t get it.
But the barrier finally got up again with all of them inside it. Of course they are poking and prodding the barrier to see what a magic barrier feels like. They are fascinated. And it’s totally cool too so I can’t blame them.
“It feels kind of like glass I think,” someone said.
“Nah, more solid than glass, but like I don’t know…it’s like it’s not real matter,” another said.
The poking and prodding against the inside of the barrier continued for a long time.
“I thought the teachers in class say barrier was a fail ability? I’m confused now,” another said.
“Yeah right, I know! I heard that too,” some of the others agreed.
“We won’t suffocate in here will we?” a superstitious guy said.
Then I lost five minutes calming them down so they didn’t think they were going to die in what looks like a giant gerbil’s ball spinner cage.
In effect having two types of matter occupying the same space was only part of it. In fact it was more of the opposite, but the same concept but overlapping energy fields that shouldn’t cross each other. I’d stuck an extended duration dimension door outside the barrier spell, then I overlapped another one a foot away from it but also parallel, and then had a third occupy the same region of space as the other two.
It was only a theory but I thought there would be some kind of energy reaction. Hell I thought I’d be lucky if it was even a reaction of energy but I hadn’t expected it to act like setting off a keg of dynamite.
If I hadn’t had my barrier sphere up protecting me in a safe cage I would have been blasted to hell so cleanly there wouldn’t even be scraps of flesh left in the next county.
And I will never ever do that again!
It was too dangerous and likely something that would go wrong easily.
As the hundreds of hell hounds around us finally got to this position where they can actually see us, I can feel the surge of heat and flames already while they pour onto what’s left of this street.
“Oh crap, here they come,” Detector said signaling wave two of the hellhounds was incoming.
Some of the men began screaming, since they are coming from all sides. They are still superstitious of if the barrier will hold. But it does. There’s also potential for hits of friendly fire if they swing their weapons too wildly and that’s my big concern.
But that brings me to another problem. They all stink, because they’ve been sweaty and dirty for a long time. So now they have terrible body odor, as I sit in the center of the sphere with them on the outer edges but inside.
The hellhounds are ravenously trying to get in the cage but can’t. They bounce off in droves just like flies trying to swarm at a light at night. It’s kind of funny watching them hurt themselves bouncing off the barrier ‘glass wall’. Endlessly on all sides of the cage they bounce off. But with that many dozens of thumps against the wall of force per second, you realize there are literally swarms of them out there in numbers that make an ants den look small.
“W-we’re alive! Yes!” Detector said.
“For now…” someone snorted.
“Um how long can you keep up the barrier?” one guy asked.
“Any of you have an accurate clock or timer?” I asked.
“Yeah but how long can you keep this up?” another asked.
“Just let me have a nap. Wake me up in exactly 55 minutes. And be quiet your are ruining my nap,” I said.
Then I ignored them.
Most of them are too scared to even talk back, the rest Lars growls at.
Fae command center, 3 hours later at a nearby location.
“Are they all in place? I want confirmation people, talk to me.” The commander asked from his captain’s chair.
Around him the fae are all observing the little miniature prison city being swarmed with evil. Each of them had little posts where they could watch what was going on in the simulation using crystal mirrors and a command center setup of organized desks and posts that almost looks sci-fi ish. And each desk has not only the crystal mirrors but other magic tools, and alchemy racks for potions.
“Pretty much, we’re almost ready sir. Wow, I’ve never seen so many hell hounds. I didn’t know it was possible to even have this many!” one of the techs said.
“Yeah, yeah, but they’ll be gone soon,” another said chuckling.
A few others are laughing with him but most of them are still nervous and fearful.
“So…sir, I’m kind of surprised but there are still a few pockets of resistance still alive in the simulation,” a fae girl said to the leader.
“I still can’t believe they made the simulation so real! All the mortals think they are in real time!” someone else laughed.
About half the room is laughing now with them.
“I know right? This is the best simulation yet. And to think that none of them have a clue! This is genius!” he said.
“I’m getting some strange signals near row 37 column 19 sir,” one said.
“Some of ours are still alive in the simulation at the grid coordinates I just read,” he confirmed.
“What that can’t be right,” another tech said.
“Sir, it is right.”
“But how could they still be alive with thousands of hellhounds swarming around like that?”
“Oh? Check the data. That can’t be right,” the leader said.
“It is sir, I checked it three times,” she said, handing him a viewing crystal.
“Let me see,” the commander barked. He then went and stood behind her making her more nervous.
“Hmm, wow. That’s amazing. Clever little ants aren’t they,” he commented.
“But shouldn’t we try to save them before we dump the simulation?” she asked.
“Well we could. It’d cost a bit of energy though. And it would add to the risk of other mortals on both sides seeing through the simulation. So we don’t have another choice sir. We can’t compromise losing the city. They will have to tough it out to the end,” one of the other techs said before the commander could override it.
“I don’t like it. But this is how the Soldiers to Citizens program works. They will have to risk the mental shock from the simulation terminating normally like the others. If they die, they die,” the Commander confirmed.
“Still to last so long with that many hellhounds, these mortals are quite remarkable,” the Lieutenant Commander said.
Of course the fae supremacists in the room are giving him odd looks, including the commander. He didn’t like taking care of the lesser races and wanted to end the simulation soon.
“Are we sure they aren’t going to send in another wave? If we dump the simulation now then the next wave won’t be captured in the ‘simulation’ sir,” another magi said to the commander.
“That’s be a waste of the simulation right?” someone else argued.
“You know these simulations cost a lot of energy. The energy we use to feed it for another hour or two is still less expensive than the collective energy from all the mages to activate a new simulation,” a female mage said from nearby at her viewing post.
“But I do get tired of simulations like this. We have to have it synchronized just right so we all can bear the load,” another guy said.
“You’re just tired because your new. You will get used to it,” the female fae mage said to him.
“I can’t believe that one pocket has held out for so long. The other pockets will eventually be killed but this one hasn’t lost any people in it for hours, while the others that started bigger keep getting smaller by the minute,” another said.
“You guys are so noisy. You know we have to swallow up as many enemy forces as possible before we dump the simulation and flush them,” the Commander said.
“Is that the protection mage again?” someone asked.
“Yeah, I wonder why we don’t invest more time into protection magic. It’s so valuable,” another said.
“Idiots! Illusion magic is the most versatile. And also attack magic is the best. We can clean out whole nests of evil with attack magic. This simulation of the city for example; we can flush it dozens of times without the enemy even realizing the whole city is a trap. Even if they could do something they are trapped in it before they can stop it. And when we flush it, everyone will be dead!” the Commander said.
“Sir, it’s hard to gain loyalty of the non-fae allied races. Even if you can replace them it takes time to cement their loyalty,” one of the prettier aides said.
“OK, fine then, we’ll save the allied peoples. Are you happy?” the commander spat.
The aid smiled broadly. “That’s like so generous sir! Thank you!” she clapped her hands.
The others also clapped joining in. Everyone knew the commander was prone to….moods. He sometimes needed a bit of encouragement in that area.
“OK, so what’s the soonest we can start the countdown to flushing the simulation?” the commander said.
“Well…let’s see… we could put an hour timer up with the programmed simulations settings to ‘flush them out’ if you are comfortable with it that way? That would give enough time for the enemy to setup another wave. Or we could just end the simulation, but if we do that without a programmed simulation ending it could damage the allied non-fae minds,” the secretary said after reading and checking her data.
“Sir, please let us have safeties engaged on the non-fae! I know you are generous!” the same persuasive aide pleaded to the commander, with her cleavage showing. She was actually planted here to purposefully induce more common sense in the fae commander, after past head injuries made him unstable mentally.
“Just so you know mind shock caused deaths are still going to be high even with the safeties on,” the Lieutenant Commander confirmed.
“It can’t be helped,” an advisor girl said while biting her lip.
“OK, fine then. I’m feeling generous. So let’s not kill the allies,” the commander waved his hand.
“I wonder what the survival rate is? You know they said it was classified, but you must know right?” The Lieutenant Commander whispered to the ranking advisor fae girl on duty, who was a semi-retired officer herself.
“Its….not good. That’s why we invented those safety triggers. But you know those aren’t as good as we hoped and we can only keep a small number of them on at a time because of the power draw,” she admitted.
The other fae instantly began clapping and giving him standing ovations to the Commander at the same time, while unaware of the true survival rate from the simulation dumping in mid cycle.
“Oh gosh, you guys are so nice to me! This is the best team ever!” the fae Commander said wiping away a grateful tear.
The others are hiding their astonishment. They weren’t actually trying to be his friends but rather trying to survive his massive mood swings. Thus, they had to do daily praise rituals en masse like this to appease him.
“So flush it is! And with safeties so we can save the mortal assistants,” the aide cried out with joy, accidentally giving out an order over the commander subtlely.
“What? But you said you would spare them,” the aide said in confused tone.
“Oh right, about that yes I will. But you called the mortals assistants. I just meant to correct you on that. I mean, aren’t they slaves though?” he asked.
“Well not technically…” the Lieutenant Commander said but the others are ignoring him.
“Well they don’t have slave collars but they jump when say, and respond with how high. Adventurers get so greedy that they don’t realize that they are falling into right what we want them to do,” an underling advisor buttered up verbally to the Commander.
“We shouldn’t call them slaves openly even if its here where none of them are around. You know we have to make the mortal Soldiers to Citizens program work,” the Liuetenant Commander objected openly to the fae Commander.
“What?! You think you can talk like that to me?!” the Commander was now openly enraged.
“Sir, the higher ups are clear that the mortals aren’t slaves!” he objected.
“Right…” the hot fae commander’s assistant on duty wasn’t sure how to respond to that. But right then the assistant did the right thing. She activated her wardrobe malfunction tease glamour right in front of the commander, which she often did at times like this. He was weak to cleavage on young fae girls too, in addition to his mental instability; but he was currently their only commander with such a good wins with no losses record.
He was almost instantly distracted.
“Oh right, what was I saying?” the Commander said.
“I believe you were about to flick the kill switch to flush the Simulator,” the head advisor reminded him while covering her smile.
“OK, do it. Now!” he barked.
“I would like you to confirm the command codes sir. Yours is the fifth from the bottom,” a technician said to the Commander.
The Commander read his off.
“OK then. And the Lieutenant Commander, please read off your authorization code, which is the third one down,” he said quickly. The others could see his hands twitching.
The room has a chill to it as the fae realize that flicking both switches means the deaths of thousands and thousands in the Simulator.
“Let’s do it,” the Commander replied right after the second authorization was confirmed.
Right then the locking mechanisms of the two triggers were released, one for each of them.
“Switch one has been activated,” the Lieutenant Commander said after pushing his whole weight into the massive switch. It then made an echoing deep but low pitched noise as it locked into the release position.
“Man, these switches get heavier every year right?” the Commander joked as he pushed his forward…
The whole room was holding their breath.
“I just hope this works…” a tech was heard near the front.