Chapter 35:

Chapter 29: Lost

Your Healer

Chapter 29: Lost


After waiting for around two hours, I decided to take the stairs back from where I came from. Just as I expected, I ended up on a completely different floor with no other human in sight… but at least this time, I wasn’t alone since some mummy-like creatures were roaming around everywhere. It was quite dark, so I had my problems counting, but I was sure there were over twenty of them.

I let myself plumed to the stairs and rested my chin on my right hand. What should I do? This temple is huge, most likely containing several hundred floors. The sanest decision would be to simply wait since Jora´s guild is currently trying to find the dungeon core. But what happens if I am still inside when the dungeon starts to disintegrate?

It is not a good idea to put my hopes into them starting a search party for me. So I could try finding the core myself. There is some risk involved since I am fighting alone, but I would try to simply run to the next stairs if possible, avoiding combat as much as possible. And it is not like I can’t fight monsters on that level.

Yeah, I should just try to clear that dungeon on my own. I don’t really want to imagine how Kayla feels as soon as she gets the message of me gone missing. My heart felt like sinking the moment I pictured her face in my mind.

I want to see her

The air on this floor was stuffy. It smelled of mold and rotten flesh, similar to an organic garbage can that had been sitting in the sun for a week. I wanted to avoid fighting these mummies because if they stink like that from the outside, I don't want to imagine what it's like when I cut them open.

Running past them was easier than expected. They reacted slowly, and their movements were delayed, but they still damaged my nose. By the time I reached the stairs to the next floor, I was dangerously close to throwing up. Wanting to escape this stinking torment, I went down and entered a floor that was just as wide as the stairs but got narrower with each step.

After walking straight forward for more than five minutes, I reached a wall. The only obvious way was the one I came from, but as I looked up, I saw some sort of shaft, just wide enough for me to fit inside.

I collected mana in my legs and jumped up two meters straight into the hole inside the ceiling. I pressed my arms and legs against the walls around me and slowly moved upwards until the path curved so I could crawl on my stomach.

This floor was a nightmare for anyone with claustrophobia, even for someone like me who doesn't really have a problem with being cramped. This was quite daunting. Luckily, I reached an opening leading me into a more open area that was well-illuminated, but looking around, I couldn’t detect any stairs. I sincerely hoped that there was still a path leading off somewhere… I didn't want to crawl all the way back.

Without taking one more step, I concentrated and tried to detect any unusual mana densities inside the area. Stepping into a trap could easily lead to my death, and that’s obviously something I would like to avoid.

There was nothing that looked suspicious, but I detected something like a door on the opposite side of the place I was at right now. I sighed and started walking over there, invisible doors inside a dungeon. Not that creative if you ask me.

I walked leisurely towards the wall without giving it much thought. Only when my right foot and a part of the ground sank a few centimeters did I remember that there might be traps that could work mechanically without any mana.

My eyes glanced around, expecting something to happen, but even ten seconds after I'd pressed the button, I couldn't detect any movement. Perhaps the mechanism would only activate when I took my foot off the trigger.

I let mana flow into every single part of my body to strengthen my physical abilities for any potential attacks. I improved my reflexes so that every movement felt a bit like slow motion. I can't hold this state for much longer than fifteen seconds, but that should be enough. I took out my magic ore and changed its form to a sword then lifted my foot.

I could hear something flying in my direction even before I could see it. Thanks to my magic, everything moved slowly enough that I felt I had a few seconds to think about how I needed to move myself and my sword to dodge and destroy the projectiles as efficiently as possible.

The best option would have been to simply jump forward and just fend off the projectiles from that direction with my sword, but I didn't know if I would step on any more buttons when I landed. So, I decided to stand still and slash all the missiles before they hit me.

A mixture of arrows and bolts came at me, and although I had a plan in mind, I moved automatically, just like you don't have to think about putting one foot after the other when you're walking. The situation was over before I could take a full breath. Although nothing hit me, my body ached since this magic allowed me to move at a speed that was not meant for the human physique.

I can’t wait to get out of here for a healing session followed by a massage by Kayla. If I need to use this kind of magic regularly, I doubt that I will walk out of here, but apparently, I was very good at crawling.

Since my body was still magically enhanced, I decided to try jumping to the wall. I guessed it would be a twenty-meter leap without much of a running start, but I was going to do it anyway.

The most important thing was the moment and my posture when I pushed myself off the ground... If I'm not timing it well, I jump high rather than far, or far rather than high, and either hit the ground really hard or literally crash into the wall. These are things to consider when doing such things.

Thanks to my talent, but above all my experience, I made the leap. Yes, I only came to a halt a few centimeters from the wall, but in the end, it's the result that counts.

I touched the place where the invisible door was supposed to be and got teleported to another floor.

It looked like a huge stalactite cave. There were several small lakes and streams spread across the huge area in front of me and endless holes in the walls, which would hopefully lead me out of there at some point. Thanks to the fact that the water and many of the stones glowed in a blue-green color, it was anything but dark in here.

While I repeated the process of seeking out mana accumulations around me, only to realize that the water was basically a mana tank, the big question was what that meant. It was possible that drinking it would replenish my mana, but it was also possible that it would poison my mana system. It was possible that a bath in it would heal all my wounds and rid me of all pain, but it was also possible that it would etch the flesh from my bones. Too many "what ifs" for me to actually try to come in contact with this water.

At least the ground didn't look like there were any hidden traps, but I remained cautious and took one step at a time. There was no real reason to rush this except the desire to get out of this dungeon as soon as possible.

Passing the water, I tried to get a good look into it but despite the beautiful looking color it was dense, it wasn’t even reflecting a single bit. Definitely scary for everyone who was afraid of deep water. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of creatures could live in there.

As if I had invoked it, I heard a loud splash behind me as if a huge tank of water had been poured out, some of the water spilling over my feet like a wave. I turned around, expecting to see some overgrown monster, but this almost three-meter-high thing in front of me was just a crab claw emerging slowly from the water. I started to run. It would take a few more seconds for this massive creature to move out of the water. I looked briefly over my shoulder, and the crab, or rather its claw, had disappeared.

A moment later, everything around me darkened as if a shadow was spreading over me. This huge crab had jumped out of the water at a speed that, coupled with its sheer size, hardly made sense. And even before I could be attacked, the water that had been sloshed upwards by the crab's emergence swept me into the middle of the lake to my left.

I needed to get out of the water immediately. I didn’t care about its effect the slightest anymore, I just had to avoid fighting the crab in or under the water. I blasted wind magic out of my hands, launching me out of the water faster than I wanted, but I managed to get some sense of orientation and found the crab standing at the same place as before. I was flying in the air around twenty, maybe thirty meters above it, almost hitting one of the stalactites. I had to make a decision, and again I autopiloted. I took out the magical ore as my brain showed me hundreds of random pictures of crabs.

A harpoon?

I turned it into a normal-sized harpoon spear. That wouldn't be nearly enough to kill the thing, but I had an idea.

I threw it at the crab, and just before it left my hand, I changed its shape again, enlarging it as much as possible, hoping the momentum would carry over.

It was incredibly loud, almost reminiscent of an explosion. I now had to land, which I managed to do quite gracefully by using wind magic again. The dust raised by my attack slowly settled, and even before I could see the body of the gigantic crab, I noticed its blood flowing in my direction. The monster's legs and claws were still moving slightly, but it had no chance of moving.

The spear had pierced the crab's body in the middle and pinned it to the ground. The size of my weapon scared me more than the fact that I managed to take the crab out with one attack. This hand-sized piece of magical ore had become a harpoon spear at least fifteen meters long and suitably wide.

I always believed there was a limit, but maybe the mana-infused water played a part, I won't find out now, but I was happy that everything worked out the way I had planned. A true one-on-one fight would have been quite tough, so you could say I simply got lucky.

After waiting for all life to drain from the crab, I climbed onto its dead body to turn the harpoon back into a stone. My clothes were soaked, so I took them off completely and started drying them with a mixture of wind and fire magic, one piece at a time.

Looking at the crab, I found myself thinking about staying on this floor. I had food for months since I could always cut up the meat and freeze it, and the water hadn't had any negative effects so far either, so maybe it would be okay to drink it. But that still wouldn't eliminate the danger of someone destroying the core while I'm stuck in the middle of this dungeon.

Ahh, I don't want to think about what would be best anymore. I just want to get out of here.


"That makes no sense! We're already on the twentieth floor, and there's no sign of her."

It was already the middle of the night, and we still hadn't found any clues that brought us any closer to finding Miko.

"What worries me even more is that we haven't been split up yet," Wace said, looking tired as hell.

After he called me to tell us that his guild would not continue to work on clearing the dungeon, and I dismissed him with an insult, he texted me to tell me that he would continue to search for Miko with us despite his guild's decision.

"I just don't understand how this works," Kajsa said as she walked up and down the stairs on the floor we were currently on. "There are usually coordinates on the gates of dungeons, but I can't find anything on the stairs, and the mana density is far too low to create a portal."

She was right. Some things didn't add up at all. Why was Miko the only one who got separated from us, and why didn't we end up on random floors? Every single floor from number one to number twenty-five was marked by the King's Guild. It didn't prove that we were climbing in a straight line, but at least we could follow the path up and down.

"We should leave for now; our chances of finding her won't get any better if we become even more tired and risk getting hurt or worse." Wace was right, but it felt awful to leave, knowing that Miko was still in here alone. She had left her bag with a few food and water rations on the main floor, so she had nothing with her at all. No food was fine, but nothing to drink would eventually kill her.

My mind was racing as we started walking down all those stairs, trying to make sense of it all, but I couldn't. However, I theorized about the lack of mana at the staircases because I was so deep in my thoughts that I imagined that every time we passed the middle of one, mana was sucked out of my body.

"The portals use our mana, so we can't see a shimmer or anything."

"Sounds like a logical theory, but it doesn't really help us find Miko," said Wace, who was starting to sound annoyed with me.


“I’m going inside. I can’t wait anymore.” I managed to keep my cool way longer than I expected. Mostly because Lilith was really good at convincing me that Miko was strong, that she would be fine, even alone inside an A-Rank dungeon.

“Fine,” Luna answered, looking horrible. She took the blame for some reason.

Four days had passed since Miko had disappeared. Kajsa, Wace, and Luna had been in the dungeon every day since then and had made their way up to the 43rd floor. Even Kajsa, who liked to battle, no longer wanted to fight her way through the tower. But they didn't give up. They firmly believed that Miko was in there somewhere.

And so did I, which is why I couldn't wait any longer. I had to find her myself. I knew how selfish and stupid that was. I didn't expect the others to protect me, but deep down, I knew they couldn't let me go alone. They didn't want to lose another one of their friends.

When we arrived at the dungeon, there was no one to be seen except a single ministry employee who had been guarding the gate the whole time. Before we could even ask him, he shook his head and said that no one had left the dungeon.

I wonder if he felt something like sympathy for us or if Miko was just another stock torn from its life by unfortunate circumstances. That's how I used to think about the mages of the other guilds. I didn't care that they had loved ones, someone who would miss them, who would mourn their deaths.

I don't know how I could be so cold.

Wait... why am I even having these thoughts? If I can get Miko out of here alive, I don't care about anyone else. Who am I trying to lie to? I've never cared about other people's lives.

My mind is getting messed up.

The dungeon felt cold, and when I glanced at the faces of the others, I felt how hard it was for them to go in here every day. I tried to keep my gaze in front of me. Looking at them made me feel terrible.

There was only one person I wanted to see right now.

I took the first steps onto the stairs, and after I blinked, I found myself in a completely white space. This was what I would describe as infinity.

Only a few splatters of blood indicated that there actually was a floor that I was standing on.

It took me a moment to realize what was happening, but as I followed the trail of blood with my eyes, I believed that I was dreaming.

Miko was engaging a human-like creature in a sword fight, but without having much experience myself, I knew that she was about to lose.