Chapter 11:

Chapter 10: Dungeons?

Your Healer

Chapter 10: Dungeons?

My training started four days ago, and while every kind of social interaction between Miko and me became a bit awkward after our ‘fight,’ I finally started to get used to my daily workouts.

We usually trained in the gym, and Miko insisted I use her self-built parkours every single time. She explained that we adults have forgotten how to move with our whole body and that this combination of running, crawling, and climbing would prepare me better than learning how to fight, at least for now.

Anyway, today I went jogging. The school had several routes to walk or run around their campus. Each track had a specific level of difficulty. Of course, I used one for beginners because it wasn’t nearly as long as the more difficult ones and was close to the school buildings instead of leading deep into the huge forest.

You can’t imagine how uncomfortable I was to jog in broad daylight. I ran like a freshly born fawn. Hannah called me Bambi after she saw me for the first time. But despite my self-doubt, the other students kept being friendly. No one laughed at me, at least not in my face.

I managed to get halfway until my stamina rapidly decreased, my breathing became louder and louder, and I prayed that no one would run into me... If necessary, I planned to hold my breath for a moment to suppress those disturbing sounds I was producing.

The only thing that kept me sane at the moment were the signs that came every five hundred meters, showing me that I was getting closer to the gym.

Only one more kilometer separated me from the end of this torture, and then, at the edge of my vision, I spotted someone sitting on a bench. I prepared myself to hold my breath, but as I approached the person, I recognized her. It was Nada, the young girl from the student council. She was holding a book in her hand, glaring at me with an expression that met the definition of being annoyed.

Would I just nod in her direction with a smile, maybe wave, and keep running? They say that small breaks in training are very smart and reasonable... so I decided to stop and walk over to her.

“Hey Nada, what are you doing?” I asked, wiping some sweat from my forehead.

“Huh? Oh, Kayla, it’s you...” Of course, it’s me. You just stared at me for at least ten seconds. She sighed heavily as she averted her gaze from me and let her head droop.

“What’s wrong?”

Again, she sighed and put down the book she held in her hands.

“I have to write an essay about dungeons. My professor wants me to write a thesis about whether they are man-made or supernatural phenomena.”

“Sounds hard. Is there even a right answer to that?” That sounded like an assignment I’d give to a student I want to see fail.

“No, I just need to explain my thoughts in a way that a person who is not involved can understand.”

She was pouting, “But I know nothing about dungeons. I major in magical items! This is so stupid.”

“Then don’t write it?”

I never went to university, but I played enough games with characters who did. So, I knew that there were also assignments that you didn’t necessarily have to do.

“That was my first idea, but the professor asking for it was the director of the school… So, I kind of must do it.”

Ah, an assignment from the principal. I understood that it was hard to turn that one down. I can’t really imagine refusing Lilith or Miko anything, and even if Eliza asked me to do something for her, I would probably do it.

“Maybe I can help you. What have you got so far?” I sat down on the bench next to her.

“Thank you… but you don’t need to do this.” She said, looking at me with a faint smile.

“So far, I did nothing but ditch my training, so don’t think about it.”

She snickered, pulled a tablet out of her bag, and opened her notes app. But before she started talking, she took one big sniff. I flinched and looked a bit puzzled; did she just smell me?

“Do I stink?” I asked, narrowing my brows.

“No, not at all. I just saw how sweaty you were and got curious… sorry.” She scratched her head and giggled.

"Lucky me, I couldn't live with myself poisoning your precious air."

“Come on... now you’re exaggerating.”

My first goal to lighten the atmosphere has already worked; I wouldn’t call myself a genius, but sometimes, even I know the right things to do.

“Since I never entered a dungeon before, I’ve read some essays from students that did. I looked at tons of news articles and pictures of the gates and about them suddenly appearing everywhere around the world. For me, both approaches make not that much sense at all.”

I activated my brain power, but since I never thought that much about the origin of dungeons, I couldn’t really help Nada. The knowledge I gained from learning to get my license was completely useless.

“Just from the look of it, a dungeon gate looks man-made, and the things inside the dungeon, meaning the materials you can collect or parts of the monsters, don’t disappear when you take them outside. But if they are still inside and the dungeon core is destroyed, the materials are gone, too. That’s strange, isn’t it?” she muttered while gesturing with her hands.

“It’s almost like they aren’t real as long as they are inside the dungeon but become manifested after getting outside. I’m curious what happens when a human stays inside a dungeon while is disintegrating.”

The thought of just disappearing was scary and strangely peaceful at the same time.

“I can’t believe something like this has never happened before, but getting first-hand reports could prove difficult.” She laughed.

Macabre, I thought, but had to smirk at the same time. Sure, she was a special 13-year-old, but who’s ordinary in the first place? And it’s surprising how quickly I got used to this new life, to talking about otherworldly creatures, dungeons, and death as if it were the most normal things in the world.

Nada sighed. “Right now, I feel like having some ice cream.”

“Should I get you some from the campus store?” I asked.

“Nah, thank you. First the work, then the pleasure,” she said with a weak smile.

She began to groan in annoyance, “I’m just writing whatever comes to mind now. Of course, I could start interviewing people who have more experience, do a whole survey about what they think about the dungeons, and create a beautiful diagram.”

When I heard her venting, I remembered my own school days. I know how she feels. She knows exactly what she needs to do to get a good grade, but she wonders if it’s worth doing the work.

Since I felt that I was holding her back from working, I announced that I would leave. “I should get going. Good luck with your essay.”

“Wait… I come with you…I have to buy some ice cream.” She pouted and started to put all the books and notes into her bag.

That’s how we started walking back together. Of course, I joined her in the conquest of the cold delicacies. I ended up getting an ice cream sandwich, and Nada went with a watermelon ice pop.

“Oh, what a duo.” A voice said from behind us as we sat on a bench near the store eating. It was Elliot.

“You don’t need crutches anymore? Congrats.” I grinned at him; I don’t know why, but I still wholeheartedly believed he deserved everything after hitting Miko in the face.

“...I had to beg Hannah for more healing sessions, but now I’m as good as new.”

“Do you want to sit with us?” Nada asked, looking somewhat annoyed by Elliot’s presence.

“No, thank you. I don’t want weird rumors to spread.”

The only thing here that was weird was Elliot himself. But I am sure deep down he already knew that.

“Too bad, have a nice day,” I said, raising my hand, ready to wave goodbye to him.

“Elliot, wait,” Nada stood up. “Can I ask you some questions about dungeons? I need to write an essay…and I need your help...”

“Of course.” He smiled and sat down between us. That was the sign for me to leave.

“I should get going. Good luck.” I said, standing up.

“Thank you for your time. I appreciate it a lot.” Nada answered, bowing her head a little. Her blonde braids bobbed as she lifted her head again.

So cute.

It was already afternoon when I went with Miko to eat in the cafeteria. We found a rather private place, as we were looking for the table farthest away from the other students. After we sat down, I told her about my encounter with Nada and asked her for her opinion.

"So, what are dungeons? Are they man-made, or do they just appear out of nowhere?"

Glancing at Miko, I noticed that she was thinking carefully about her answer. She propped her head on one hand and stared holes in the air. I just looked at her face and admired her beautiful features. Was it legal to be so pretty?

“What would you say if I told you that I know the answer to that question.” She grinned at me.

“Would not surprise me.”

“Lilith explained it to me some time ago, as I was curious about the same question. She also told me she would be able to summon a dungeon gate on her own if she wanted to.”

“Summon?” Okay, I got curious, too.

“Yes, do you remember these unrecognizable characters written at the dungeon gate?”

I nodded; these words were written in the otherworldly language. At least, that is the information I learned for my exam.

"These are also for using spells. They determine where the gate leads. So, it's theoretically possible to build your own gate that takes you from your bedroom to our guild building, for example."

“Sounds plausible, but why is this thing appearing in our world? Don’t tell me there are mages who run around summoning dungeon gates out of fun.”

"No, no, as far as I know, these gates stand around in the dungeon until they are activated because the mana density in the dungeon is high enough. So, after a dungeon core is created." Miko looked more puzzled as she continued explaining to me.

“But who built the gates? And why are they appearing in our world?” I asked. I could not quite follow yet.

"I don't know... I don't really understand what dungeons are. I was just telling you what Lilith explained to me. You have this area where monsters run around. It looks and feels like a whole new world, but it's just a huge restricted area... It still doesn't make much sense, does it?"

“How is it restricted? Is there a wall? A fence?” I needed answers because I have never seen the inside of a dungeon, and, by the way, I still don't want to. I remember the map of the dungeon where Sami's guild was, and there was definitely a line drawn there that showed the end of the dungeons inside. Until now, I thought it was simply the end of the records.

"I ... I don't know?" Miko looked stressed. "It feels like I have a big memory gap." She scratched her head. "What a weird feeling... Has it been so long since I was in a dungeon?"

Miko took a napkin from the table, grabbed a pen from her pocket, and started scribbling. After a minute, she showed me her drawing. "Let's forget about that part for now.... I've been thinking about how dungeons are connected. Do you think that's how it works?"

She had drawn a big circle in the middle that was supposed to be our earth. Around that circle, there were a lot of smaller circles, which were standing for the dungeons. The small circles were connected by lines to our world.

“But if you consider what happened at our last mission, it is also possible that the dungeons are connected with each other!” I took her pencil and drew lines between the smaller circles.

“That looks like there is a huge net of small worlds around ours, opening up the door for us from time to time…” Miko held her chin, staring at the napkin.

“It doesn’t have to be like that. The smaller circles could easily be inside the big one that is our earth.”

“So, do you think that the dungeons are a part of the earth?”

“No, that is not what I wanted to say, but it’s actually possible, isn’t it? Like magic is a part of our world, why not the dungeons and the creatures living inside them?”

My heart started beating faster; this discussion surprisingly became very exciting as we made more and more theories as time went on, totally forgetting to eat. In the end, we had our food packed and took it back to the dorm with us.

“It’s already 9 p.m.,” Miko said, looking at her smartphone.

“But it’s still so bright outside.”

It's not like we can't stay up late, but since we exercise every day, we rarely last longer than 10 p.m.

“You want to do something else before going to bed?” Miko asked, gazing at me.

"My muscles feel sore. A massage would be great."

"Forget it. I still can't trust your dark desires for my body, so I won't touch you."

I made a pout and tried to look at her with puppy eyes. "But... We still sleep in the same bed... And I've been behaving myself every night."

"I get the shivers when you act like that. Please stop it." She furrowed her brows and looked away.

"If I remember correctly, you started treating me like your cute little dog after we met. You even talked about it when I had the fever. So it's your own fault if I demand your attention now."

"Did I?" she asked, gasping.

"Yes, did you think I was asleep all the time?"

She turned her face away even more as her face turned a bright shade of red.

In the end, I laid down in bed untouched. Miko sat at the small table in our room and surfed on her smartphone.

“Should I tell Nada about our theories?” I asked, staring at the ceiling.

“No, I don’t think you should. It is her task to make theories herself. And to be fair, we had some info that she can’t have.”

“Aren’t there translations for this language? Since it’s written on the gates and items from the dungeons?”

"They exist, but these books are not open for us to see. If you understood the language, you could create any spell you could think of. The part about having to use your imagination for certain magic would be eliminated, and you'd just have to put enough mana into the words to do anything you wanted..."

“Are these spells so dangerous?” I asked, turning my head in Miko´s direction.

“I don’t know. I never saw anyone using one.”

“But I thought Lilith was banned because she used one.”

“Yeah, but I did not see or know what exactly she did.”

“You never asked?”

“Of course, I asked, but she wouldn’t tell me.”


I sighed. “I don’t know if I can sleep tonight. My head is full of exciting stuff.”

Miko giggled. "'Do you remember crying about not wanting to enter the dungeon? Now you wanna go, don't you?".

"I don't know... I'm still kind of scared." I smirked.

“But I will protect you.” She said, sounding a bit offended.

"Thanks," I replied with a big smile. I really love how cute she is when she gets upset.

“I write Lilith that your training is progressing well.”


"Oh, she's calling." Miko sighed and quickly fixed her hair. "Don't look at me like that. It's a video call." She noticed me looking at her with a smug face.

“Hello, how are you? Where is Kayla?” Lilith asked in a cheerful tone.

“The camera is way too close to your face,” Miko said, slowly walking over to the bed and sitting down beside me.

“Aww, look who’s tired.”

“Just a tiny bit. The training is exhausting.” I said, waving at the phone.

“So, how are my girls doing so far away from home?”

“We are doing good; how it’s over there?” Miko replied.

"Everything’s great." Lilith smiled and panned the camera around to show a table where Eliza was sitting. One important detail was the several wine bottles and two glasses that were standing on said table.

"You two are really enjoying me being away from home..." Miko smiled eerily into the phone.

"You'll understand when you have kids of your own!" Eliza exclaimed.

"I'm not your child!"

Thinking about it, Eliza and Lilith both act a bit like mothers to Miko. But wait a minute. Eliza and Lilith are just friends, right? I never thought about the possibility that they could be... a couple?!

I started blushing and held my hands in front of my face.

“What are you doing?” Lilith asked.

“Nothing…” I said out of my hideout.

Lilith chuckled, "Ok, it seems like you guys are having a good time. I look forward to your message tomorrow; sleep well, you two. Bye-bye."

And so, she hung up before we could say anything in return. This had to be one of the shortest video calls I’ve ever had. I bet she just wanted to check if we were hanging out with any guys.

“Miko… I am just curious… Lilith and Eliza… they aren’t a couple, aren’t they?” I really had a hard time asking this question.

Miko turned her head to the side and looked at me, confused.

"No! Eliza is married." She said, with a shocked face.


"To the dude who sat with you during my fight against Elliot."


"Why else would I know a teacher from here? Somehow, neither of them wants to give up their jobs, so they live separately."


“Can you stop?”


"Just because these lonely women pretend to be my mother doesn't mean they're a couple… This affectionate behavior always came from them, and not because I asked for it.” Miko tried to look serious but ended up smiling anyway.

"But never tell them that."

"Your secrets are safe with me," I promised, crossing my fingers.

“Great, otherwise I would have to kill you.”

“Oh no! Will you strangle me to death?”

“Hah! You would enjoy this, wouldn’t you?”

“What do you think of me? I’m not that kinky!”

“Close your eyes for a moment and imagine me strangling you! You would enjoy it!”

“I won’t!”

“Do it now!”


Anyway, we continued to do that for a while until we decided to sleep.

With as much safety distance as the bed allowed.