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Dreamweaver Chapter 129

 

 

 

In the Ever dungeon Continued…

 

 

 

 

“How bad is it?” I asked.

“It’s not too bad, just a scratch,” Jimmy said.

Oh good. Even though Jimmy and his big dark passenger are pretty awful having less manpower for offense is a big risk.

He’s wiping up the blood as we’ve slaughtered another ten kobolds. They are harrowing us non-stop now. We engaged this group about ten minutes ago and we’ve been mopping them up. But even though they are kobolds, they are tough as hell and kicking and screaming every bit of the way as we try to send them to hell in a handbasket.

I had used my axe on the kobold I’d faced.

By the time I was done the others were already killed.

But there was a cost.

We lost two more guys. It’s suspicious though. And I have so much to worry about that I can’t guard all the sheep while there are two mangy hungry wolves among them.

Moose swings very wild and wide with a long handled weapon. I don’t point it out but I think one of our guys was killed by friendly fire while I wasn’t looking just by colliding with his massive swing. I had to worry about the kobolds in front of me after all. And being at the back means I also have to watch out for stuff trying to flank us from behind.

The evidence looks uneasy to deal with. When kobolds claw and scratch up a guy, they do so with their nails or rusty throwaway knives or daggers mostly with either being slash weapons. Often they have bone weapons, too which I find interesting. Bone weapons are repulsive in many ways, but I find it curious that they have some kind of industry to try to reshape bones into ornately made clubs or other types of weapons with various ornaments and crafty violent symbols on them. They are scavengers and would recycle and use whatever they are given, so it isn’t surprising they’d sharpen bones and use them for either blunt or piercing stuff.

But the ally from our team was crushed so I’m forced to not worry about kobold ecology anymore. But kobold blood is also red, unlike goblin blood so it’s hard to nail down with perfect accuracy where they might have come from.

Why isn’t their blood more like a goblin’s blood?

“Let’s move. Keep moving!” Jimmy barked.

We don’t stop because the kobolds don’t have much that’s valuable and the adventurer looting enchant is active picking stuff up for us so we don’t have to stop very often. The men are too scared to stay here long too, since the last group of kobolds had sounded of some kind of cheap horn from a mountain goat. And because it’s a dungeon their bodies evaporate into smoke.

I did wonder if the horn is worth something though, and managed to scavenge it even though I don’t dare use it without a thorough cleaning.

“Got it,” the dwarf said. “I think I have a signal.”

We then followed his signal quickly to try to also leave the arrow before the next group of kobolds would hit us. We also worry that with the warning signal from their horn, that the next groups might be bigger and more scaled up for advanced warfare maneuvers.

We had another skirmish ten minutes later. This time the dwarf backstabbed one for the first kill and Moose and Jimmy got the other four, and I hit the last one with my starry missile energy spell. All three missiles hit him face first killing it instantly.

“Nice,” Jimmy is impressed. He’s now seeing I’m not a reject. Of course I want him to underestimate me.

“It’s not that good. I got three of them,” Moose gave me a mean look.

I don’t say anything. He could take it as a challenge. He seems like the type to get jealous easy. I also wonder why he covers up his face so much.

“Hey we got a piece of ore this time,” the dwarf nods to us. To a dwarf finding something mineral related is like a sign from heaven. Even with the team deaths, he’s now smiling with a goofy look.

“Good, keep moving but pick it up fast,” Jimmy said while annoyed for no reason at all.

The next tunnel we came across two young looking kobolds. I feel kind of bad because it looks like a female and child kobold. The female looked like she was put into motherhood a bit too early in her life actually. We surrounded them and have blocked their escape while we debate it.

EH? What do we do? I’ve never been in a situation like this before.

“Do we have to kill them?” One of our newbies asked.

The other team members laugh at him as we have the two kobolds cornered against the wall with no way to run.

“Dude, did you not see they are trying to kill us? This whole place is a murder den,” Jimmy laughed at him.

“I wouldn’t put it in those words exactly but you do have a point, Gyle said.

“But we are invading them aren’t we?” one of the newbies countered.

“You aren’t going to defend the kobolds rights are you?” Jimmy said with a disappointed look.

“That’s bullshit, we aren’t invading. Jeez do you believe this guy?” Moose asked.

Hearing Moose’s deep violence ridden voice I think both the kobolds just peed themselves right then and there even though they probably have no idea what we’re saying.

“Why do you think we’re invading them? They’re kobolds! They are the vermin here! Also did you naively think the kobolds didn’t steal this place from whatever was here before them?” Jimmy sneered.

Actually Jimmy had a pretty good point on that and he probably doesn’t even realize it.

“But can’t we like make peace with them?” he asked.

“I guess it all depends on if they are children of the creator. And that’s another way of saying; if they are children of a good creator they might have capacity for peace and not be total animals. But in this case kobolds don’t do peace very well if at all. They war among themselves as much as they do anyone else,” the dwarf said diplomatically. I was surprised to hear that from a dwarf though since they are so war like.

“Eh?” Both Jimmy and Moose are shocked.

“Well to sum things up, according to dwarven theology goblin races are not children of the creator, nor of any good God so taking them out isn’t murder,” Gyle said finishing.

The team laughed at him.

I didn’t think it was that funny.

I wasn’t into dwarven religion but what if there was something to the physics of good origin being able to influence whether or not a type of creature could keep peace with itself and others from a scientific perspective? Maybe there was such a thing as a gene that allowed cooperation and the ability to live and co-exist with others and goblins, kobolds, and who knows what else just didn’t have it?

“Hey you laugh at me, but did you notice the young female kobold there has a human arm in her bag?” he said.

The freak did he just say??

“Eh?!” many of us once exclaimed in shock.

Fudge that’s nasty; he’s right, as he kicks at the bag so it opens up more so we can see it.

Sure enough, one of the newbies also used his rusty pitchfork to poke open the dropped bag while the two kobolds that looked ugly but innocent before are quaking and shaking with their knees knocking together. As the lip of the sack is pushed open a bit further we’re in more shock.

“Yep, it’s definitely a human arm,” he said to confirm it openly.

“I’ll be damned. He’s right. That is a human arm. And they look like a kids too,” Jimmy said in awe.

This situation just got even weirder than it already was.

That got everyone riled up. It’s bad enough that it’s a human arm, but for it to belong to children…now everyone is staring at the little kobolds with looks of revenge.

The two young kobolds were immediately disposed of, after the human arm is revealed. I didn’t really want to watch. Defending our world from evil is all right but messing with the young doesn’t sit well with my stomach.

The two kobolds couldn’t look us in the eye after it was shown still. But I kind of wished I could have asked them how they got it and where.

How does a child’s arm end up in a dungeon? That shouldn’t have been able to happen unless something else we aren’t aware of is also occurring. I hoped it wasn’t one of the other team members but it’s possible. Our team didn’t keep the bodies of our people either, since it would have slowed us down too much.

On the next tunnel section the dwarf picked up some change in air flow. We give each other high fives. It’s a good sign. A surge in air pressure flow with an increase means we’re close. It’s not windy but there is a bit of a breeze.

The dwarf is also making cross cut symbols in the walls or wherever he can to mark where we’ve gone and our direction.

But then we hit the next section.

It’s a surprising and bizarre turn of events. There are both goblins and kobolds together this time. And that has everyone nervous.

I don’t like it. The goblins are bigger and tougher than the kobolds. It’s a platoon of like ten kobolds and five goblins together. It also seems like the lead goblin is in charge of both groups. He screams at us and they start charging before we can move.

Moose is the lynchpin and leads.

Both sides are scared of that long handled huge ass mallet. He swings it so hard that five kobolds die instantly.

I hear men on our own team swearing. We all have to avoid the front line because he’s too wild in his fighting. Jimmy threw throwing daggers and two more die.

I unleashed starry missile energy and sent three missiles to three different goblins. They scream in fury and cower for defensive positions but are still alive. Before I can react another guy on our team dies again, under the lead goblins having grabbed one of Jimmy’s throwing knives and throwing it into the heart of one of our newbies. It unfortunately caught him straight in the throat and impaled him into the wall also after.

Within another couple of swings Moose has finished off the kobolds before they could run. Jimmy got one more goblin, and I finished off the other three goblins with my streaking bolts of starlight energy. The energy darts zapped the heads right between the eyes of two of them and the third in the neck.

I think the starry magic missile spell has picked up well on the damage to finish off the previous three that had only been wounded.

“Nice work,” Jimmy is looking at me with new respect as the fighting has died and he’s picked up his lost throwing daggers.

“Thanks.”

The dwarf nods at me too before marking our path.

But then the dwarf voices his concern, “kobolds and goblins teaming up doesn’t look good.”

“Just keep moving. Nothing we can do about that,” Jimmy said.

We don’t run into any more goblins or kobolds from that point on for awhile. But I catch glances of Jimmy at me when we’re moving. Still, we had to work for that. It’s like we have mixed feelings about running into them. It’s always a risk that even though they are small and little that they still might pull of a sneaky move that hurts or injures someone. And we do want to trim down their numbers a little bit too, but not run into a whole pack of them. And the more we run into them the greater the likelihood that they can coordinate a massive attack on our position.

So we stay moving, and even double back on some areas to get to new tunnel networked areas that look safer or less patrolled.

I don’t have a good feeling about this. Too many people die on this team.

Some of the other newbies pester me to teach them magic, but I don’t have the ability to teach. There’s no way of testing them anyway and there’s more to it than just elbow grease. I sort of blew them off but I felt guilty about it. Even though I didn’t have any hope of finding anything good among them I should be better suited to help them. And I had Fox and Sunghee to coach me.

Moose and Jimmy give me ugly looks when the others are looking up to me.

Is it wrong of me to reject them and not heal them either? I know it will put me in danger if I do, but my conscience has a hard time with it. I don’t have the tools to test my theories or test them for magic either but…I can’t exactly hang around them either because of my…medical condition.

“Just don’t get in my way,” Moose ‘encourages’ me after that fight ended. He leers at me a bit longer than he should have.

Gulp*

We wander for another hour before we finally hit the exit.

But like before it’s guarded and not by ‘friendly’s.

The kobolds and goblins have a chokepoint here in this massive part of the cavern that opens up much more than the other areas around the exit, because they know it’s the only way someone can get in and out. There’s quite a few of them here with leadership sub-chiefs of some kind and they are organized. They have a really good block on the exit, complete with little foxholes and other minute quickly made fortifications.

If the dungeon changes every day…do they have to move every day to, I wonder? Or do they have some kind of local ownership skill over this part of the dungeon that lets them find the exit quickly? If I had to think about it, the likelihood of the second part of that thought seems very possible.

They haven’t spotted us yet while we hide under cover. We’re at a sort of overhang that is above the cavern but not close enough for range warfare either. There’s a good distance here and then the huge caverns winds around a large slope that descends until rejoining the cavern below where the kobolds have two huge bonfires that lit up the area like a homeless camp. It’s a good sixty meters away, but we can pick it up because the kobolds keep bonfires where they are guarding.

“The hell?!” One of the newbie rednecks is shocked.

“Stay quiet,” someone returned back at him.

There’s like two full platoons of twenty each here. It’s not going to be fun. They are also fully armored and have good weapons. They look hardened with cold looking eyes, they are also a bit tougher looking in muscle tone, and look disciplined compared to the ragged bands we’d run into before. These are obviously veterans.

“What’s going on here? I thought this was supposed to be like quick money!” exclaimed one of the newbies.

“Shhh! Keep it down! You don’t want to reveal our position till we’re ready to move,” Jimmy growled. He’s already moved the torch to not give us away and I’ve also put my hovering light ball inside a bag really quickly.

The newbs are in a panic and ready to shat themselves. They’ve never seen this many of anything up close I suspect.

“We should find another way,” one of them whimpered.

“Stop you fool!” Moose growled right before the other two were about to slink off. “There isn’t another way out. That’s the only way through.

“Forty versus six or seven of us isn’t good,” one of them said with his knees shaking.

“Of course they would want to protect their territory. If others have free range of coming in and out of this place then their hold over this level could be shaken free,” Gyle said cryptically.

“He’s right,” someone said.

“Jimmy, I noticed those guards aren’t like the previous undisciplined troops. Look, they’re all alert and keeping good watch and appear to have good weapon skills. They aren’t like playing cards or fooling around. This is a border watch team or elite team with a lot of skills,” I said.

Jimmy swore, “damnit, you’re right.”

“Guess we better smash them before they can see us. If we have the upper hand we can smash through,” Moose said.

“I don’t think I’m going to enjoy this part,” the dwarf said.

He pulled out a crossbow. But does he know how to use it? I hadn’t seen him use it before. In fact, where did he have it stashed anyway? Maybe he’d been saving it for the real fights.

The fight started out good. Both the dwarf and I fire from range; him with his crossbow and me with starry magic missiles. We hit about five of them before the kobolds can start charging up the cavern towards us. Overall, I’m over powering the dwarf’s crossbow offensively .

It’s working well. When they finally hit us, we’d killed eight of them already. But that’s not enough for them to not also make a good show of force. They also charge us like they have no fear at all. They wouldn’t have no fear, unless they knew they also meant business.

Then Moose closes the distance. He swings wildly and kills four immediately, which splatter. Jimmy can use his throwing knives and is littering the air with as many as he can throw and gets three of them dead quite fast.

But at that point our luck ran out.

Moose swings so violently he can’t distinguish friend from foe. He ‘accidentally’ kills the two remaining humans besides myself. Now only the dwarf and I are left besides him and Jimmy with their duo. That’s the worst luck we could have. And the kobolds were emboldened and energized in morale when they saw us take out two of our own. But they now know to stay away from Moose.

The kobolds are a bit shocked from his callousness at the same time. They hesitated more from our friendly fire killing than from killing their own, despite also being energized by the fact that we’re killing us more than they are. The massive heavy weight plus the heavy mallet is the meaning of true fear. He’s even worse than that ogre that I’d fought way back a while ago with the goat man, Akira back when we first were learning about this world and escaping from the orc armies.

Moose’s next swing kills three more kobolds and then two more fall from Jimmy’s knives. As usual Jimmy is purposefully timing his knife throwing to act like a crowd control to keep the kobolds off Moose. They are an effective team, and it’s clear that they’ve been together for a long time.

How does Jimmy avoid friendly fire so easily though? He must have spent a lot of time with Moose, I conclude.

I have to save the dwarf. He’s also having a rough time avoiding Moose’s mallet too. He’s going to be hit next from either Moose’s swing or the kobolds swarming him. Right now the swarming kobolds are spreading out to take down as many of us as they can and go around Moose. Jimmy tried to stop them on his side but the dwarf isn’t near Jimmy and still exposed.

I whistle to him to cover him me and to signal I’m coming close to him. As soon as I grab him by the shoulder I hit my dimension door spell to land him and I on the opposite side of the cavern behind the kobolds. I was lucky that he had enough trust with me to let me grab him though. If he’d resisted or been distrustful even another second later the kobolds might have grabbed both of us.

It’s a tricky maneuver but we land in a safe position with a good surprise move. The dwarf is able to get rid of two more kobolds and I let loose starlight magic missiles into four others over the next minute sending them to an early grave. I’ve put us on the other side of the huge cavern. We’re about two hundred feet away, and now it’s safe for me to get my light spell out again, though the kobold bonfires do let us aim at the enemy well enough already.

Sure enough, Moose’s mallet did pass over where the dwarf was standing. And I’m not sure it was by accident. Nobody should be that wild with their swings. And even if he is a powerful goblin and kobold killer the risks now are too high to stay with them.

But I’m tired from using so much mana so quickly. Even though I have plenty, it’s not like I chain stuff nonstop without an effect on my body. I feel all sweaty and hot like I’ve just ran three miles.

I need to rest.

My personal kill count went up by another four or five kobolds after that. It’s hard to keep track because I’m more worried about skill timing and coordination than numbers.

The battle ends quickly.

When it does I gesture for the dwarf to stay quiet and hide.

There are only four of us left now; me, Gyle, Jimmy, and Moose. It’s too quick for only four to be alive. And half of the deaths are friendly fire not the kobolds. But is it murder or criminal negligence? Should I try to tell the authorities about Moose? His friendly fire incidents are too many…per day…to be ignored.

What am I thinking? I keep feeling sorry for them and pitying them for the enemies that they are. There’s no way it was an accident that Moose killed our own team. Sometimes when you see a pathetic loser your own desire to want to believe in them can cloud your judgment and I believe I’d almost fallen into that trap here.

I need to turn them into the authorities.

My desire to avoid killing them was probably wrong too. I was shirking my duty and by not wanting to deal with them, I would have allowed the number of their victims to rise exponentially if they go free after this.

We can hear them talking ahead of us and below. They are both confident enough that they don’t even bother to keep their voices down.

Jimmy is excited and whoops and hollers a lot as he checks the auto loot enchant for an update tapping a blue screen. “Looks like the guards have got some money. So it was worth it, and our friends have made the great sacrifice so we can live another day! Those poor guys, we’ll of course cry over their loss when we see the dwarven authorities,” he said to Moose.

Moose laughed horrifically. Yeah, something is wrong with his head.

How come they were so bold they didn’t confirm if we were dead or alive yet? Are they sloppy or just high on something? I did think that Jimmy was sipping something that smelled of herbs and alcohol together earlier, but hadn’t really thought to identify what was going on until now.

But that was when the next phase of the trap was activated.

It turns out there was another platoon of goblins on the other side of the exit that are surging into the room with a loud charge to try to save their allies. There’s also like an antechamber between the exit and a middle exit chamber before those exiting it come out on the outside.

These goblins are also well armed and trained.

That’s where they were hiding, ready to ambush and move quickly and with sneakiness. They probably also have a pretty decent officer leading them, though I have no idea who it is still.

And they will hit us first before reaching Moose and Jimmy, so our hiding place is compromised.

They came out and nearly got the dwarf with throwing javelins. I guess it was partly the dwarf and goblin hatred for each other that made them target him first even though they weren’t directly by him.

I hit him with a runic shielding spell. I just hope Moose and Jimmy don’t see it. Because I don’t trust them I can’t use it on them and if they realize what it is they’ll be mad as hell.

I pulled the dwarf back and we use my dimension door again to go back across the other side of the cavern, but in a different place from our original position.

The goblin team is pretty good. Because we’re gone they surged forward to Moose and Jimmy. They stuck spears into Moose who is still killing them easily with no remorse, nor is he slowing down despite being wounded. Jimmy dodges and hides behind him, and seems to be the only one that can dodge his wild friendly fire swings.

I’m pretty sure Moose has some kind of armor with damage absorption. Or he has something to absorb damage. I wonder what it could be?

Jimmy killed a goblin with a thrown dagger through the eye of a goblin. Then he continues dodging and circling with an occasional parry or block.

Then Moose hits and kills two goblins, but sends two others to the ground with mild injuries. These are steadier on their feet though and they make the kobolds seem like mice in comparison.

By then I can let loose another volley of magic missiles striking another kobold down. But the magic tends to concentrate them on the same target when they won’t go down in one hit with only one energy dart. So all three darts did kill a goblin but they all went to the same goblin. They are way tougher than kobolds, I confirmed.

And Jimmy and Moose are getting cut up badly and nearly surrounded. I can hear them cursing us for abandoning them too. Then there’s some kind of muttering about spilling our blood.

The dwarf has wide eyes as both him and I try to keep picking them off since the goblins haven’t been able to close the distance to us because of my dimension door spell work.

“Shit. I think they’ll kill us if they have a chance,” he said. It’s clear he means Jimmy and Moose, not the kobolds.

“Probably. Maybe we can find another team to latch onto and follow?” I suggested.

“That’s not a bad plan. But it may take some convincing and its unorthodox. We won’t gain directly from it and neither will they. But indirect gains are possible,” he said.

“So you agree?” I replied.

“It might be the only way to stay alive. I think the friendly fire kills were on purpose earlier too, just to confirm and speak of it openly,” he said.

“Damn. I was hoping I was wrong about that. But I knew something was wrong,” I said.

“Me too. But it kept happening and I thought that didn’t make any sense to be occurring that much by accident. Plus Moose is a left hander, so it would have been very difficult for some of those hits to occur by accidents with the way that cavern wall would have made that kind of swing unbelievably hard unless you were doing it on purpose. Some of the hits I am sure would have been difficult for a left hander to do on accident even with his massive power swings,” he concluded.

That’s a valid point.

“You are pretty good with your logic. I guess that’s the scholar training?” I suggested.

He nodded. “Logic and information with knowledge of monsters can be quite beneficial for gains here.”

But we have to dodge and hide now, going off on our own. Moose and Jimmy killed the entire goblin team themselves. They are searching for us now while we flee in the tunnels ahead of them.

Like hell will I want to fight that freak.

I’ve gotten lucky that the dwarf is good at hiding in dark tunnels and shows me where to go and how to position myself. With his help, both of us can somehow manage hiding a few times from both groups of enemies. Of course I put away the light globe spell. At the last part we were hiding up high above an arch with a hidden pedestal atop when Jimmy and Moose passed right under us less than ten feet away without seeing us while we held our breath.

“I’ll kill them. I’ll kill those fuckers!” Moose growled. He’s pacing left and right searching for any sign of us.

“Not if I do it first!” Jimmy said in response.

“They had to have passed this way,” Moose’s deep baritone echoed.

“We should have gotten rid of those two first. I knew something wasn’t right about that mage kid. He seemed too confident and at ease. Everyone got scared easy except him and I should have paid attention to that,” Moose said.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take them out. They can’t survive for long in here alone,” Jimmy said.

“We have to find them before they can tell someone. We need to guard the exit,” Moose said.

Crap…if they stay close by we’ll not be able to do much. 

Will they kill the other team’s people too?

Moose and Jimmy have stopped in the trail below. Why won’t they leave?

And my muscles ache and I need to relax. But if I even budge an inch they could discover us.

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