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It was an overcast morning, Sofia walked behind the old paladin through the dim corridors of the Holy See. Her skeleton rat was already hiding in the room right next to the dungeon entrance. They had provided her with clothes more fitted for long walks after she had asked them, it was still all white but walking in the dungeon was easier without a robe, and escaping would be too. She thought the white tunic and pants made her look like some of those prideful noble youths that would sometimes go through the village, sitting in their carriages, rousing the envy of every orphan.

She did her best to stay as calm as ever as they walked past the paladins guarding the dungeon.

[You have re-entered the dungeon : Abyss of the Damned]

Every time, they had to go deeper and deeper in the seemingly unending dungeon to find new zombies to kill. Past the fifth floor, there were no longer simple ramps but a giant pit, directly through the mountain, with a carved spiraling staircase going around it. That was surely where the name Abyss came from, they had gone as deep as the fourteenth floor but no matter how hard she looked she couldn’t see the bottom of the hole. The stairs weren’t slippery but the lack of any kind of railing was worrying.

The zombies were gradually getting stronger the lower they went. According to Ovohen, the weaker ones would reappear in a few months, owing to the cursed nature of this underground abyss. A terrible monster resided at the very bottom, held by seals placed by the first oracle himself.

They farmed xp in the fourteenth level for a few hours, it was mostly clean of undead now, Ovohen looked a bit tired and would probably call it a day there, the zombies this deep had started being a bit of a workout even for him. Sofia used to be the one tired from walking but now he was the one tired from fighting. Oh how the tables have turned.

“Magisterium, may I suggest something?”

“What is it?” he grumbled, resting against a wall.

“Can we continue for a while? I’m almost at level fifty and I would honestly appreciate it if I never had to come here again. The smell is killing me.”

The old man grumbled for a while, drank some water and got back up.

“This shall be our last outing in this abyss then. I’ll have you know that I too dread spending more time in this damned place,” he said, stretching his shoulders, and paused for a while.

Let’s go! He fell right in.

“You are quite the involved Saintess, no other had reached fifty this fast, I hope you will diligently perform for the church until the day I die, so that I never again have to set foot in here either. Trudging through is certainly a trial, such was our given duty.”

Your wish just might come true, old man.

“May His will guide us!” Sofia performed the religious salute she had learned at the orphanage.

“May His will guide us.”

Ovohen in his golden armor observed Sofia for a while, sighed then turned and made his way to the spiral staircase with a heavy gait.

All the while, Sofia was frantically dumping mana in her newest skill.

 

[Lead the Dead] : The Saintomancer is the saint of the dead.

Nearby undead are more likely to be neutral towards the Saintomancer.

The Saintomancer may spend mana to influence nearby undead. The cost and efficacy will vary depending on the intelligence and level of the undead as well as the kind of influence being exerted.

With the zombies on this floor all being around level 150, each cast cost her hundreds of mana, but she had such a massive mana pool, she still managed to nudge the almost thirty zombies left on the fourteenth floor towards them. They slowly made their way through the dusty corridors. Sofia had about half of her mana left.

‘[Lead the Dead] reached level 14’

We will reach the stairs long before the zombies reach us.

The duo smoothly reached the abyss, they proceeded to go down another level. It didn’t take long for the few zombies to show up, they were still just as boring and stinky as the ones from the first levels, just way tougher. Ovohen was engaged in a fight against five of them, there were more a bit further that hadn’t been alerted yet. Sofia unsheathed her dagger and stabbed at the first fallen undead’s head. It took her a while to finish it, the thing moving until its whole brain was turned to mush.

‘Your party has defeated [Sinner zombie - lv. 158]’

The magisterium was still busy with the undead coming from the front. A few weeks back he would have just casually swung his sword and every low level zombie would fall, now he had to weave holy spells in between his sword strikes. He used two of them most of the time, some kind of holy strike, sending forward an arc of light cutting through the undead’s flesh, and some sort of regeneration spell, closing back any holes in his armor and cleansing him from the undead’s blood and gore that stuck to him.

Sofia used some more mana to lead the other zombies in the corridor closer. Dealing with so many at once wouldn’t kill the old paladin, but it might be enough to force him to retreat. These zombies were probably around his level after all, he wouldn’t intentionally fight more than a few at once.

He tried to hold for a while but he was getting slowly overwhelmed by the numbers.

“We need to retreat, go back to the stairs,” he yelled at her, in between two strikes of his sword at the group of undead, he still sounded confident.

“Yes!”

Sofia jogged to the stairs, she quickly checked her resources.

Health : 245 / 245

Stamina : 36 / 245

Mana : 8959 / 29000

This will have to do.

‘Your party has defeated [Sinner zombie - lv. 151]’

It only took her a few seconds to reach the stairwell pit. Without Ovohen around to light the place, her dagger was the only light source around, she couldn’t see very far but she could still make out the zombies coming from the upper floor. They were just a few steps up, all bunched up, completely blocking the way.

Sofia summoned blood, spraying the wall and stairs around, even sending some to the first row of zombies, who didn’t care and just kept slowly going down the stairs. She took extra care to have a lot flow down in front of the entrance.

She took a deep breath, then cried out as she threw herself toward the wall. She still tried to land not too harshly on the stairs but it had to look convincing. Face against the floor, laying ‘dead’ on the low sloped steps splattered with blood, she tried her best to be completely still as the zombies kept coming toward her. If she fell correctly her feet should just show up through the entrance for Ovohen to see.

The man was very quick to react, the clunking of his armor was clear as he rushed back to his Saintess. She had hoped the man would slip on the blood and fall straight down the abyss but despite his fast pace he managed to stop and be steady.

He had a quick glance at the Saintess down on the floor and the horde of zombies clambering down the stairs, some were even stepping on the girl’s back as they approached him with newfound interest.

“Shit.”

The zombies from the fifteenth floor were still tailing him too. He let down his sword to grapple and punch the zombies in front, the steps were too narrow to use the sword properly. He managed to push a zombie down the hole. Then another one. He did as he could but his massive frame was as much a handicap as it was an advantage, he couldn’t easily go forward without stepping on the Saintess too but doing that would be as good as snapping her in half. If there was a chance she could be saved he still had to try, that’s how badly the church needed to summon new heroes right now.

He managed to throw a good dozen of undead in the pit, sustaining a few injuries in the process. He was casting his regeneration skill non stop. The barehanded zombies, despite their frail looks, had enough strength to dent and bite through his armor when they managed to get a good grip.

He slowly advanced to get over the Saintess, it was a tough process getting his armored feet around her without crushing her while also grappling the zombies. But at least now they couldn’t stomp on her as freely. He hoped she was still alive.

The zombies from the fifteenth floor were there too now. Two of them squeezed through the doorway to the stairs and grabbed the man from behind. A blow of his armored elbow threw the ones from behind off balance, sending them stumbling down the steps, but two new undead came right after them. Slowly getting overwhelmed, the man was delighted to see a bright ray of holy light coming down from nowhere, shining brightly on his armor and around him.

“God is helping us!” he rejoiced, brimming with newfound conviction, as he threw one more zombie over the edge.

Contrary to his expectations, the zombies only got more aggressive under the holy light.

 


 

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Mornn

Bio: I hope you like reading my fiction as much as I like writing it

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