Chapter 91 – Venting
“Re, what happened?”
The silence that went on for days is finally broken. Re-Haan is sitting next to a massive pile of books. She flicks a slender hand, shooting out a thin thread of purple. It attaches to a book, which flies she pulls over as she looks up. She purses her lips as she thinks for a few moments.
“I met someone…”
Unsure how to even begin describing all that has happened, her speech falters. Her uncle’s mouth twists into a smirk. “You met someone…”
“Yes…” She nods to herself, tilting her head left and right. “I think he’s not from around here. He can do things that… even we can’t do.”
She looks at the book in her hand and starts flipping through it. The old man opens his mouth a few times as if to begin speaking, but no words come out. The silence resumes for hours as Re-Haan flips through books, reading them at inhuman speeds.
“All done. Now uncle, thanks a lot for letting me read a bit without asking too many questions. Is there anything I can do for you in return?”
“Ho ho ho. Is the world ending? Re thanking me and asking if I need help? The dungeons must have stopped giving for this to occur, truly.”
Now looking annoyed, Re-Haan stands up and begins walking towards the entrance. “Tsk, never mind. If you insist on remaining in silence, I will at least fix up your room.”
Her back to the dark area, the air around Re-Haan explodes into violet shimmers. The carpet of books starts rolling in a wave, expanding outwards from her figure. Thin lines of deeper purple spring into existence as they rush towards the walls, where they disappear.
A large, square slab of stone slides from the wall. Then more rectangular bricks pull themselves free. The floating books swiftly fill these gaps, forming neat rows of tomes inset into the stone. Smaller chips of rocknow start flaking off the rough surfaces everywhere. The large chunks start sliding around as the floor smoothes itself out.
Slowly but surely, the rough cave turns into a neat looking room, bookshelves lining every wall and benches formed out of stone appearing here and there.
“He can do things, hmm. I think I understand a bit of what you mean now.” The old man looks around the dark space unfazed. Only when the few mana crystals lift from the floor and scatter into dust does an anxious expression come over his face.
The glowing clouds of dust then divide into four, one part going to a corner of the room. There they combine into bright points of light and set themselves in shaded alcoves, casting muted brilliance across the small library.
“This is the least I can do.” Still with her back to the room, Re-Haan touches the green gem on a chain around her neck briefly. Then she resolutely shakes her head and puts her hands to the stone door blocking the entrance. “I’ll see you later.”
With those parting words, she lifts the stone to the side, opening a gap small enough for her to squeeze through. No longer inside of the silence field she set up, a cacophony of sounds batters at her eardrums. Roaring and thumping sounds reverberate through her chest as she slides through the opening.
Silence reigns as she sees the group of gathered dragons. She sneers the moment a certain over muscled person catches her sight.
“You still dress like a pervert, I see. Oh, mighty All-Dragon.” The glistening muscles tense up as soon as she says this, sarcasm dripping from her voice. Everyone stops, both humanoids and dragons staring at her. Unruffled by becoming the sudden focus of attention, she strolls out through the opening, casually sliding the stone back into place.
“Re-Haan. I hereby judge you to be a tr-”
The muscled man receives a punch to the gut and shoots backwards, slamming into the opposite wall. He lands in a crumpled heap, a thin stream of blood trickling from his head. Not a single sound is heard as she walks over to the heap of man-meat.
Every step she takes causes a near invisible shimmer to pour from her form. Soft rumbles can be heard as she works the stone beneath her feet, carving a network of tunnels connecting the locked up caves that house the dragons she grew up with.
“Bring me bags.”
That nonsensical demand does not cause anyone to spring into action. Re-Haan glances at the baffled faces of the hangers-on and she creases her brow.
“Bring.. me… bags.”
Her words, now laced with qi, cause a flurry of activity. Moments later, she is standing alone, only the unconscious All-Dragon keeping her company. The ground rumbles some more as stone shifts under the command of a higher power than mana. She stands there for ten minutes as she finishes carving out a humanoid sized network of tunnels.
Then she walks back up the main tunnel, moving towards the large cave the now unconscious dragon woke up in days before. “I’ll need bags to bring along all those mana crystals, after all.”
“One moment, one thing I want to do before we leave.“ I stop a few meters away from Tree. Designing formation circles can be quite complicated, not this time though. I pull out all the forcefully fused pieces of mana crystal from my ring, a couple of dozen spheres, along with some fragments.
“Ah, please give me all the crystals you guys gathered. I can use them to increase the qi density here.”
A wave a tinkling sounds later, and each disciple has a pile of colourful crystals at their feet.
A circle forms in my mind. It’s a rather simple one for a rather simple purpose. Have you ever looked at a succulent plant from the top? They all have their fleshy leaves in a spiral-like pattern. This pattern is formed by using the golden mean, nature’s way of optimizing surface area for sun absorption.
A circle similar to that pattern forms in my mind. Instead of the usual five arms, this one has eight. A growing twister of semi-circular lines that spirals outwards. A snap of my finger later, it appears in front of me, formed of qi.
Choosing the largest compressed mana crystals I have, I place them at the points where the lines meet. The second largest group gets placed in the second tier. The piles of crystals start to move as I guide each one to their own crossroad of lines.
I stretch out a hand and squeeze, forcing all the wild qi in a radius towards a single point. A small orb of solid qi forms and I place that at the centre, making sure that my fingerprints are still there. The circle has grown quite a lot now, so I send it upwards while continuously placing the mana crystals at their proper locations.
I hang it above Tree. It now looks like some weird form of holy plant, a sparkling halo hanging above its crown. I activate it the moment all the crystals are in place. It starts slowly, small rivulets of power moving across the lines, but it starts picking up steam pretty quickly.
All the mana is guided towards the centre qi sphere, which absorbs it and releases it back out into the air, now transformed into a higher form of power. Doubling the qi generation of an entire dimension turned out to be pretty easy. I feel the excitement radiating off Tree at the power increase.
I smirk and pat its bark. “Come, Lola, let’s see how deep this dungeon is. And you guys, finish your houses. Bord, a hut made of mud is not a proper house for a cultivator. Make something better to live in.”
With that, I jump outside, landing inside the resting room between level forty and fifty. My students have spent most of the time inside Tree, only going through dungeon floors when they wanted to try something. They only cleared ten floors… Lazy bastards. Ah well, more for me.
They left the necklace in the middle of the resting area. A few days back, I moved the necklace to a corner and added a stealth field because I sensed some mages walking through. The levels in between decads must be dimensional neutral ground.
I wonder how the dungeon core solves issues like multiple groups arriving at the same time without merging the people once they step inside the room simultaneously. A good question to research later. Now I want to blow off some steam. Lola lands on the ground and looks at me while stomping her feet.
“You’re pumped too, right? Show me how much power you have gained since last time.”
I swear I can see a vicious grin on the cute rabbit face the moment I say this. I hang the necklace around my neck. Let’s go!
I look at the ceiling with irritation. I let Lola have some fun from level forty to fifty, but I saw that she was never challenged. So I started jacking the mana crystals from the ceiling halfway through that decad and we have been sprinting through the dungeon ever since.
The crystals got harder to pull down from level seventy on, but still doable. We are now at level ninety-five and I can’t get a grip on them anymore. The crystals grew larger or more numerous every level down, never both. They are now too big and too well entrenched in the ceiling for a single qi thread to pull them down. I have to focus on a maximum of ten crystals at a time to do this, and at that point, I might as well just beat the mobs as they spawn.
I pluck Lola from my shoulder to stop her gnawing on my neck. “I know you are bored, but as a civilized rabbit there are better ways to express yourself, like kicking monsters in the face.”
Glancing around the metal wasteland I’m standing in, I can see a large volume of the rusted debris shifting. I pull my Lola carrying arm back and hurl her at the forming monster. She kicks right through its barely formed face, horn shining brightly on her forehead.
I want to cover my face since the horn is both, you know, a fucking forehead horn and triangular, but the large metal pterodactyl rushing towards me prevents me from doing this. Actually, I can work out some of these frustrations now, so thanks for attacking me, oh rusty dinosaur.
I engage combat mode by swirling qi through my brain. The world slows down as my perception lengthens. Movement on the right, monster underground. Move to the right. Big bird-dino makes course correction. Tentacle centipede jumps at me. Move away. Watch dino and bug collide.
Avoid swarm of metal ants. Eliminate through magnetism? Eliminate through magnetism. Set up focussed field. Aim. Activate.
CRISIS MODE. Avoid storm of metal coming my way. Magnetism too effective. Adjust calculation algorithm. Account for relatively high magnetite percentage in metal. Use in smaller quantities. Make auto targeting process for small fries. Scan for priority targets. Massive sandworm is emerging, engage.
Curse at Lola for kill stealing. Stupid horn is still stupid, even if it is coated with a negative magnetic field. Gather scrap for small fry elimination process. Railgun construction is most optimal way of fighting here. Aim at all visible enemies. Activate.
I land, metal shards raining down around me. Another process catches all the falling mana crystals, so a stream of shiny shards is now pouring into my ring. Note to self, don’t automate the battle if you want to exercise some. Being too effective is also not good.
“Stop attacking me Lola. I’ll tone it down on the next level, ‘kay? And you stole my kill first, so don’t go complaining when I accidentally instakill the entire floor.”
She grunts and squeaks a bit at that. I pick up the irritated bunny and scratch her between the ears. She is immediately mollified once I start my ministrations. Walking towards the next level, I ponder about the apparent lack of normal loot in this dungeon. Maybe the mana crystals are the loot?
Ket makes another screen appear while the rest is still staring at the massive, slowly rotating formation their Teacher made in seconds. It hangs above the golden Tree, making the previously majestic perennial have an otherworldly air. The light from the small suns is refracted as it shines through the suspended solid mana, giving the entire clearing a magical lighting effect.
“He gets super enthusiastic about the lamest stuff, and then does something like this as if it’s not even a big deal.” Tess complains a bit as she sits next to Ket.
“The circle is rather simple. It just looks impressive.”
“Shut up Ket.” Tess looks at Lola rampaging across the levels with a small smile on her face.
Bord is looking at the hut he built. A fur covered hand pats him on the shoulder. “He just doesn’t like the materials. He didn’t say a thing about the design.”
With a single tear rolling down his cheek, Bord starts destroying the house made from triangular bricks.
“I can help you make wooden triangles, would you like that?”
In reply to Angeta’s smirking question, Bord slowly nods while sniffling.