How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord
The third floor took a shorter time to find than the second floor. The descent down was short, and led to a larger cave tunnel. The walls and ceiling were different from the first two floors, they seemed sharper. Stalactites hung down, looking like they were chipped at. It seemed as if a liquid was running through the walls and ceiling, dripping down the stalactites.
Tivis had talked on and on since their first fight. She had explained most of the basics, the elements, the different types of spells. Eventually Rath had absorbed so much information he felt like his head would explode. The ranting went on even in the fights, Rath moving to just using his sword while he recharged.
“I feel like I can cast again.” Rath said, the mana in him feeling rejuvenated finally. The group were barely into the third floor, Ion and Jeel watching the walls more closely than before.
“That's great!” Tivis said. She had stayed close to Rath until a fight broke out, Rath giving her a share of the cores he got for the assistance she gave. He noticed Jeel, Ion, and Malphis were less giving. “Though you should be careful of Zero Point. It could cause more issues than its worth.”
“Zero point?” Rath had asked, watching the wall to see what Ion and Jeel were so interested in.
“Yes, it's what happens when you cast too much magic too fast.” Tivis said. her attention was hard on Rath. “Think of it like running, you can sprint hard till your drop, then get back up shortly after and sprint again. But if you do that, you break muscles and become unable to even move for an extended period of time. It's part of why Mages use batteries.”
Rath thought back to his training with Barder, where he would cast his spell until he had gone through his reserve. He usually stopped after that but sometimes he would continue later in the day, but never hit the limit again because of how tired he tended to feel. He realized this Zero Point was something to be avoided, and would have to get that battery as soon as possible.
“You could always just join the Priesthood.” Ion called back. “We don't have any Zero Point.”
“How?” Rath asked, his attention shot to the man.
“We aren't spell casters like Mages.” Ion laughed, pulling his amulet out. “Just my Lord's gift.”
“I have heard that Clerics use the power of a god.” Rath began, taking note of Malphis following up behind him. “But I don't know exactly of the abilities of a cleric.”
“It depends on the Lord who gave you their gift.” Jeel said, looking annoyed at the wall, before lighting up in delight. “Got something!”
The party all gathered behind Jeel who was around a small crystal formation on the wall of the cave. The crystal was a deep yellow, and seemed to twist with energy, but seemed so small.
“A magic crystal!” Jeel said happily. “Finally! We could actually make a little money today, Ion you got the pic?”
Ion pulled out a small pickaxe from his bag and began to carefully chip away at the base of where the crystal met the wall. Malphis seemed to chuckle to himself, stepping away from the group and looking around. Rath decided to join him and watch the party from attack.
“Oh!” Jeel yelled out, bolting away from Ion who still chipped away. “Got some loot!”
“Oh Lords.” Tivis said annoyed. “You have to keen of an eye for our liking, share the wealth.”
“Yeah yeah.” Jeel said, running up to what looked like a sword next to a set of armor. “Armor is too busted up, sword is good though, looks like elven make.”
Rath approached to take a look, the armor was laid out as if someone had worn it, the sword left in a spot that would be its right hand. A bag laid on top of the armor, a money pouch at its hip.
“This was a person.” Rath said, looking flabbergasted.
“Yeah?” Jeel said, shifting through the bag. “Just grab its memento and we'll take it back.”
“How can you act like that!” Rath stated angrily. “Where was the person who carried this?”
Jeel tossed the bag down annoyed, then got up, looking Rath dead in the eyes. “You really don't know? Okay you noticed how the monsters sunk into the floor when they died? Well that happens to everything that dies here, flesh bone and all the living bits sink into the floor, where do you think the loot comes from?”
“So we're just grave robbing?” Rath said, knowing he had no place to speak.
“Sort of.” Jeel said. “It's the code of the adventurers, if you fall another adventurer can pick up your stuff to carry on. The only thing that isn't taken is the memento.” Jeel lifted up a small necklace from the armor, a bead on a string. “This we take back and the Mages will identify who it belonged to, and who to send the bad news.”
“So you all carry one of those?” Rath asked.
“Yep.” Jeel said. “Tivis got her battery, Ion his amulet, and me.” Jeel pulled out a small locket made of bronze from under his shirt. “This is mine. I'm guessing you dont got one, but you'll probably make your battery one.”
“Probably.” Rath said, turning to Malphis. “What about yours?”
Malphis tugged at a string from under his armor, not revealing what lay on it. “Don't worry, I won't be dying any time soon. And if I do, I don't want mine going to no Mages got that?”
The group nodded in agreement. Ion had finished taking the crystal off and placed it in a bag with a metal lining. Jeel grabbed the bag from the adventurer and placed the coin purse in it, the sword also sitting outside it.
“We split up the loot at the end.” Jeel said. “I sell off anything we don't want to keep and split the money equally, cores are separate and crystals are divided equally.”
Malhpis raised an eyebrow. “Your group works that way huh? Normally it's all whoever gets it keeps it.”
“Maybe that isn't a bad idea.” Jeel laughed.
The group carried on, the monsters that appeared were bigger than the first, looking more like wolves with blades coming out of their backs. The fights were intense for all but Malphis, Rath having to fight the beast’s in a melee, the beast attacking viciously. It took longer than before, and alot more energy, to beat the assaults. A few crystals were gathered, one an ashy black, and the others being a crimson red. Intotal they had found around five, one for each member. Jeel had decided to have everyone turn back to the surface for the day, as Tivis' mana battery was running low.
It felt strange to return to the surface, the sun getting ready to set. Rath kept turning back and looking at the dungeon, wanting to go back. He realized he needed to prepare more, he had new knowledge and would need to reflect on it and improve.
Jeel and Tivis took the loot and crystals to be sold. Rath took the time to bring Kider the monster cores he had gotten. He noticed that the cores of the wolf creatures were larger than the kobold-like ones. Kider was happy to see his success and took the cores, calling his debt paid with a few more cores.
When Rath had returned the money was ready for him. The group all drank to their success and ate large meals. Malphis sat quietly, eyeing the group and drinking modestly. Ion and Jeel laughed and sang songs the sailors would sing. Tivis, her face red from drink, explained more and more magic to Rath, who tried to understand but got almost none of it.
“Mas, Master Orize said I made the prettiest sculptures he ever saw.” Tivis said with hiccups. “I can make you one, what do you want it to? How about a swan! I like swans, Master Orize said that swans are the creatures of the water element. You'd think it would be fish?” She carried on as if Rath was responding.
The next morning, Rath got out, shaking off his grogginess. The sun was just barely cracking and Rath caught sight of several Adventurers gathering in the open courtyard. He decided to walk for a bit, catching sight of Ion.
“Morning to you.” Ion said, not a bit of his hangover showing. “Care to join me? I am heading for the shrines for morning prayer.”
Rath shrugged. “Sure why not, maybe I could get some blessings.”
“Most blessings are short term, I can provide them easily.” Ion said as they began walking. “What do you want? Speed? Strength?”
“Is that how your power works?” Rath asked. “You enhance the body?”
“Most mages can do it too, its a neutral power.” Ion began, looking at a fruit stall that was opening. “It is just a small part of my power. I can heal wounds, destroy the dead, summon light.”
“I see that you have many talents.” Rath said, looking at a group of adventurers passing by. “But cant Mages summon light to?”
“That is true, though Clerics summon better light in comparison.” Ion said, stretching his neck. “And we dont have a limit to spells we cast like mages do, just as long as our Lord allows it.”
“You serve Orize right?” Rath asked. “The Lord of Justice right?”
“Yes he is.” Ion said, the amulet of Orize, a set of balanced scales, hanging proudly. “I have severed him for five years now, and he has returned my devotion.”
“Maybe I could become a Cleric.” Rath said, looking ahead at the shrine that was approaching.
“You could, just require time and dedication to the Lord of your choosing, maybe they will choose you back and you get gifted with their power.” Ion said.
The temple wasn't as large as Rath had thought it would be. The bar of the Young Dragon was larger than it. Different sets of shrines sat along the walls, one for each of the great gods. Ion sat in front of Orize shrine, putting his hands together in prayer and went silent. Rath watched as others came and did the same, most went to either Orize shrine, or Kotin’s shrine, or Ulith’s shrine. Kotin was the Lord of war, and Ulith the lord of Protection. It made sense for them to receive prayers before heading into the dungeon.
Rath split up from Ion and began his shopping for magical items. Ion had said he was planning to get his armor looked at. The plan was for the group to meet up around midday and do another trek down to the third level, make money and come back. Rath took the time to look for his battery.
“You should get this one.” came the voice of Malphis.
Rath was in a magic shop, looking at a collection of magic stone necklaces that were all batteries. Along different shelves and walls were different magic items, wands, rings, robes, orbs. He had not expected Malphis to appear next to him so silently.
“Why this one?” Rath asked, lifting the black crystal sphere that hung from a silver chain.
“It fits you.” Malphis said. “Dont you feel how it pulls you?”
Rath did feel the pull from the sphere, it felt right to have it in his hand. The rings were next on his list, looking for one with a spell he had an interest in. Most were out of his price range, but the rest left him just enough to scrape by for a few days if today's expedition didn't do too well.
“What is your plan with the Depths?” Malphis asked.
“Reach the bottom.” Rath said, lifting up a ring with a spell labeled ‘Mudis’.
“Oh? Not many people plan to do that, why do you?” Malphis asked.
“Because no one does.” Rath stated, lifting another ring, this one had Agnibolt.
Malphis laughed, then picked up a ring, handing it to Rath. “This one is good, it is an instant spell, no casting time, and its an enhancement.”
Rath checked the spell, ‘Longjump’ was the name. He took the ring, it was very cheap, the cheapest he had seen. He looked at the Goliath as if confused.
“It's not a combat spell.” Rath said, getting ready to put it down, but instead taking it back. “I doubt i'll master it quickly.”
“Give it time and you will.” Malphis said. “Not every spell needs to kill, remember that.”
The band was an orange metal, with a blue gem at the tip. The band fit perfectly on Rath’s middle finger, he chose the left one. The money was exchanged and the battery began charging around Rath’s neck.
“Lets go.” Malphis said. “Our group will be waiting.”
Rath, feeling more confident, began his trek back to the Young Dragon. This day would be filled with fights, and learning. He had reached the third floor yesterday, how long till he reached the bottom? Eight was as far as anyone got, what would it take for him to reach the tenth. He continued questioning as he entered the tavern, looking at his hungover allies.
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