Saturday, December 5, 2015

In That Moment of Suffering Chapter 19 – Meeting in the Dungeon Depths

Next chapter is up. Author note with various info below.




Chapter 19 – Meeting in the Dungeon Depths

Several hours later, Senna awakens staring at a dark purple colored ceiling. She slowly turns her head to the side as her mind kicks into gear. {Ahh…I broke down again…} She gives off a long sigh remembering what happened.

A sense of dissonance runs through her mind as she looks at the ceiling. Senna shifts her hand feeling the smooth stone beneath her body. {I’m lying down. The ceiling is a dark purple with traces of black. The stone I’m laying is too flat and smooth to be the same uneven stone floor.} Senna jumps up and looks around the room. She’s no longer in the tan colored room with the mural. The room is built from purple-black colored bricks that give off <Dark Magic>.

Dark Stone
Stones reinforced with Dark Magic to the point they’re indestructible by normal means.

Senna slides off the stone altar. Another stone altar lies next to her. Looking around the room, Senna notices how ancient the room is. One chair has a leg missing with the wood rotting in the back and seat. A collapsed table and a broken chair lie on the ground next to the standing chair.

Senna looks around the room relying on her [Detection] skills. Senna’s face pales as she facepalms. {I got captured!} She mentally kicks herself for letting her guard down in such a dangerous place. When she composes herself, she discreetly releases another <Scan>. {I’m caught by the inhabitants of the real dungeon. I don’t know what kind of method they used to move between the 2nd and 3rd floor, but I’ll burst through the floors if I have to. There’s 10 meters of stone between the floors, but I can erode most of it with <Earth Magic>. Ugh!! Why do I have to be on the 4th floor?! Did they notify the dungeon lord already?! I don’t want to fight something like that!!}

Senna stops and composes herself when she detects several presences approaching the room. {I’m still dressed as a mage. So attacking with weapons can be a good sneak attack. I don’t think <Severing Wind> would survive the dungeon lord though… The weird thing is why nothing is red even after I was captured. Is the skill failing on me again?} Senna can only question why every presence in the area is displayed with a non-hostile gray color. Nothing triggers her [Danger Detection] regardless of the magic she pours into the skill. She checks her [Status], but finds no mention of magical binds or restraint.

The door opens and two bone-white skeletons step into the room. Senna tenses up tightly clutching the dagger hidden under her robe. Both skeletons wear steel chest plates, gloves, and boots. Their exposed abdomen area reveals their spine. They stand on both sides of the doorway with black spears pointed at the air.

Status
Name
N/A
Level
34
Race
Skeleton Knight
Age
147 years old
Description
A skeleton knight that has changed forms from the lower Skeleton swordsman and basic Skeleton. This knight is employed under Baron Thorn. It patrols the corridors of the estate staving off intruders. While its bones appear to be a weak point, it has strengthened its body using <Dark Magic> over time making it as hard as iron.

A transparent man steps into the room following the skeletons. He is dressed in a butler uniform that looks oddly new. Both his body and his clothes are translucent with his feet being completely invisible. The butler looks quite refined with his uniform and styled gray hair.

Status
Name
Watson
Level
54
Race
Specter
Age
224 years old
Description
The higher form of a Ghost. He retains most of his living memories despite his extended life. Watson has pledged eternal loyalty to Baron Thorn and continues to serve him even in the afterlife. The other servants frequently call him the ‘Demon Butler’ for always finding a speck of dust from long distances and heavily punish them for the mistake. 

“So you have awakened Miss.” The specter bows to Senna.

“Ahh… Yes I have.” Senna gives a surprised look to the three of them. Despite meeting her face to face, they show no signs of aggression. {Actually, when did I learn to talk with a ghost? That sounded different from the languages I know.} Senna secretly brings up her recent status changes.

You have understood the communication by the <Skeleton> Race. Understanding is dependent on the level of the skeleton and the degree of damage to the skeleton’s skull.

Note: You are unable to mimic <Skeleton>’s method of communication due to the presence of muscles in the jaw and damage that will be incurred to your teeth and flesh.


You have acquired <Undead Language>. You can now understand ghosts, ghouls, and other residents of the afterlife.

{That explains it. It must have been when I was unconscious.} Senna keeps her dagger ready just in case. She mentally runs through a few spells to cast instantly. {A strong <Flash> spell to blind them, make an <Earth Wall> to stop them from chasing me. <Fire Magic> would be bad. I don’t want to burn all the oxygen and suffocate.}

“So Miss. What are you doing here?” The specter questions with a stern gaze. The skeleton knights behind the specter slightly shift their spears.

Senna looks at them, but her <Danger Detection> still remains inactive. Instead of hostility, they seem to be wary of Senna attacking them. “Um… Before I was brought here… I noticed the presence of someone I knew. So I came to investigate this dungeon, keeping it a secret from the group I was with.”

“Hoho… And who would this human be?” The specter asks.

“Ah. He’s not human. His name is Umbra, the Dark Elemental. I’ve never met him before, but I’m acquainted with his siblings. I wanted to say ‘Hi’ since he’s in the area, but my emotions… got the better of me.” Senna calmly explains her reason for coming here.

“Is that so?” The specter asks looking at Senna probing her honesty.

“Yes. Though I should be the one to ask why I was brought down here.” Senna asks with a smile. A drop of sweat runs down her cheek in worry.

“The Lord noticed you intruding on the Baron’s home. He thought you were an interesting individual and wished to have you brought down to speak with you.” The specter answers.

Senna’s smile twitches as she tries to maintain her smiling expression. Her face pales as she tries to maintain her calm and formal method of speaking. {It’s the worst possible situation!! This is no joke!! I thought for sure I was careful enough, but I got caught right at the start!!} “I-I s-see…”

“Now that you’re awake. We can go see the Lord. We’ve kept him waiting long enough.” The specter smiles at Senna.

There’s no malice in his voice, but hearing his response makes her want to faint in fear. “U-U-Understood.” {Why did I have to come here?! I should have left things alone!! It’s not like Umbra will be affected by anything here!!!} She mentally wails in her mind. Brushing off her dress, she tries to act as calmly as possible.

“Then let us proceed.” The specter replies. He opens the door allowing one of the guards to leave first. He indicates for Senna to go next. The specter and the second skeleton guard follow behind Senna.

Senna quietly walks as she runs through every possible item in her arsenal. {I have all sorts of potions, but I only have one or two bottles of Holy Water, with the highest being Advanced grade. There are 12 people in the Lord’s room with the weakest being around level 60. At best, I would only damage the weakest one, so the Holy Water is not usable. If possible, I need to avoid fighting and find an excuse to escape. If we fight, I’ll use a strong <Light> spell to blind them and run away as fast as possible. If I hurt them, then they might pursue me even to town. Collapsing the dungeon is a last resort if I have no other option. Ugh… I can probably fight with a level 60 monster, one on one easily, but under the eyes of everything else in the room that’s only asking for trouble. Not to mention how much stronger this Lord’s men are compared to that level 58 monster I saw with the entire clan.}

Senna silently memorizes the floor plan of the 4th floor appending it to her mental map. Along the way, various skeletons and ghosts stop to gawk at Senna. None of them show any signs of aggression yet, which greatly puzzles Senna. They only show some wariness towards the unknown Senna. They quickly arrive in front of two large double doors.

The specter knocks on the door. “My Lord, I’ve brought the human being.”

“Enter.” A voice from the hall speaks a single word, but easily makes the hallway shake with that one word. Senna moves her leg to stabilize her balance. Her face is even paler than before after seeing the power of their Lord.

The specter backs up as the two skeleton knights open the door. He turns back to her. “Come. This way.” He smiles kindly, but Senna feels like he is her executioner before the chopping block.

“Y-Yes.” Senna nods. She tightly grips her shaking arm. Her entire body feels frigid standing before the entrance. Strongly repressing the desire to bolt away, in fear of angering the dungeon lord, she steps forward entering the room. The magical pressure in the room is incredibly stifling. The inhabitants of the room leak out their magical power without restraint making Senna feel like she’s deep underwater. Her first reflex is to release her own magic and reduce the pressure. However, she quickly represses the idea looking at the inhabitants of the room. If she hadn’t been trained to endure terrible atrocities, then Senna would have followed her instincts and run away screaming.

Senna collapses to the ground kneeling halfway into the audience hall. The pressure becomes too heavy for Senna to continue walking without releasing her own magical power. Instead of releasing her own energy, she silently endures the choking pressure. Her breathing is labored making it feel like a large hand is crushing down on her neck. Her bones creak unnaturally feeling as if her entire body will fall apart with the slightest disturbance. She waits for their response before deciding to retreat or release her magic. The specter stops and turns back giving Senna an odd look.

“Ara. What a weak human?” A woman’s voice comments.

“What do you expect? Humans are weak after all.” A male voice comments.

“Waste…*clack*…time…” Another voice responds with the clacking of its skull.

“Oi... Stop pretending. My family wouldn’t reveal themselves to such a weak human.” An annoyed boyish voice yells at Senna.

“Child…I do not enjoy the presence of liars. It’s time you show your hand.” The same booming voice follows shaking the room.

“…Understood.” Senna releases a large amount of magic from her body to ease the pressure on her body. Activating [Magic Body], she reinforces her body before retracting the leaking magical power. Standing up, she approaches the group unhindered and sees 13 individuals before her.

On the far left of the room sitting in a chair is a dark gray colored skeleton. Wearing a black cape and gold crown, he turns his attention away from the pile of magical items to look at Senna.

Status
Name
Baron Thorn
Level
65
Race
Skeleton Baron
Age
413 year old
HP
3790
MP
249
Strength
380
Endurance
410
Agility
160
Dexterity
150
Intelligence
70
Wisdom
50
Luck
22


Skills
Sword Lv. 6
Danger Detection Lv. 4
Tactics Lv. 5
Retreat Lv. 3
Poison Resistance Lv. Max
Disease Resistance Lv. Max
Reading Lv. 6
Persuasion Lv. 5
Bartering Lv. 5
Appraisal Lv. 5
Improved Memory Lv. 4
Description
An advanced form of a Skeleton Knight that has survived countless battles. He dedicates himself to maintaining the territory given by his king, Aran Rindal. After receiving the territory, he rarely participates in battle causing his strength to wane. His time is busily spent managing his territory and improving the production of goods.

Next to him stands a muscular male with his lower body dressed in armor, while leaving his upper body exposed. He glares at Senna with his pitch black eyes. Tightly gripping the halberd in his hand, he’s the only one displaying open hostility towards Senna. Traces of red enter her vision indicating a possible danger.

Status
Name
Mortimer
Level
71
Race
Revenant
Age
403 year old
HP
5210
MP
421
Strength
760
Endurance
530
Agility
350
Dexterity
405
Intelligence
102
Wisdom
64
Luck
32


Skills
Spear Lv. 5
Axe Lv. 7
Dark Magic Lv. 5
Stealth Lv. 6
Magic Spell Proficiency Lv. 4
Magic Power Lv. 5
Enemy Detection Lv. 4
Self-Recovery Lv. 3
Enhanced Strength Lv. 6
Description
An advanced form of a Specter that has absorbed enough <Dark Magic> to be corrupted by its power. It moves along the shadows striking down its foes, but boasts a strong physical force in direct combat. He has a longstanding dislike of humans and constantly wary of deceitful attacks. It serves under its king, Aran Rindal, as a leading commander.

On the far right stands a black smoky figure in the shape of a teenage male. He scowls at Senna with irritation before averting his gaze. Senna can only bitterly laugh seeing his gaze. {He probably thinks I’m here to pester him for a Blessing. It’s embarrassing to think I was worrying about his safety in this situation.}

Status
Name
Umbra
Level
187
Race
Dark Elemental
Age
19804 year old
Description
A sentient collection of <Dark> element that controls everything related to its element. The youngest of the Elementals. He quickly becomes angry when he is compared to his older siblings. His relationship with his sister, Sol, is strained because of the negative view humans have about his element. In contrast, Sol is highly strengthened because of the Church’s proselytism of <Light Magic>.

Next to Umbra stands a pale skinned woman. She wears a low cut black dress emphasizing her cleavage. The faint blue colored skin, red eyes, and fangs give Senna an accurate guess to the woman’s race. Her magical pressure is much more subdued compared to its comrades, but looking into her gaze confirms that she’s merely enjoying the show without exerting herself.

Status
Name
Natalia Cernea
Level
79
Race
Vampire Queen
Age
721 year old
HP
3640
MP
1204
Strength
490
Endurance
418
Agility
540
Dexterity
475
Intelligence
650
Wisdom
341
Luck
46


Skills
Dark Magic Lv. 7
Null Lv. 5
Magic Spell Proficiency Lv. 7
Magic Power Lv. 7
Magic Manipulation Lv. 6
Magic Body Lv. 6
Magic Attunement Lv. 4
Incantation Omission Lv. 3
Magic Detection Lv. 5
Self-Recovery Lv. 5
Enchanted Eyes Lv. 5
Transformation Lv. 8
Mind Resistance Lv. 5
Enhanced Body Lv. 5
Bloodlust Lv. 5
Description
A high ranking vampire that has advanced significantly in power to be considered one of the lords of the Vampire race. Excelling in <Dark Magic> and physical ability, they are a dangerous foe to fight and difficult to capture after transforming. She fervently serves under her Lord, Aran Rindal, and hopes to earn his favor.

In the center of the room sits the most oppressive presence out of all of them, a large skeleton twice the size of the Baron. Only his skull face is visible with the rest of his body covered in a long mage’s robe. A large black crown saturated in dark magic rests on his head adding to his oppressive presence. With a large red cape down his back and two large bird skulls set on his shoulders, he almost gives a regal feeling to Senna before she’s bombarded by the pressure.

Status
Name
Aran Rindal
Level
94
Race
Lich King
Age
992 year old
HP
5180
MP
2178
Strength
157
Endurance
573
Agility
207
Dexterity
97
Intelligence
967
Wisdom
790
Luck
55


Skills
Dark Magic Lv. 8
Necromancy Lv. 7
Magic Spell Proficiency Lv. 8
Magic Power Lv. 8
Magic Manipulation Lv. 7
Magic Body Lv. 6
Magic Attunement Lv. 6
Identification Lv. 6
All Magic Resistance Lv. 5
Tactics Lv. 5
Etiquette Lv. 7
Magic Tool Creation Lv. 6
Enhanced Intelligence Lv. 7
Enhanced Wisdom Lv. 5
Description
The highest form of a Lich. After countless years, it has mastered <Necromancy> and <Dark Magic>. Ruling over the undead, he boasts a large army spread throughout the continent. Because of his memories while living, he retains much of his original personality. Instead of dominating over human beings, he chooses to amuse himself with the arts while recruiting retainers who catch his eye.

Behind every individual, except for the lone Umbra, stand two retainers of a similar race. But the retainers are not as advanced in their forms as their ruling race. (Vampires follow the Vampire Queen. Regular Lichs follow the Lich King.)

Senna can only breathe a secret sigh of relief seeing everyone retain a neutral color and not becoming hostile. The specter stops and bows to the Lich King and then to its Skeleton master. “I have brought the human milords.”

“Excellent. Thou may leave.” The Lich King replies. Senna secretly gives a shiver hearing his powerful voice. If she had to endure his voice without magical support, all of her blood vessels would rupture alongside all the pressure. The specter turns and exits the room.

Senna standing alone quickly bows to them. “My apologies for my rudeness. I am uneducated in the proper etiquette for such a situation and did not wish to come off as a hostile figure.”

“Hmm…” The Lich King mumbles releasing a large flux of magical power that causes even his comrades to take a step back. The retainers of the leaders take the full brunt of the force collapsing to their knees. In contrast, Senna casts a thin <Barrier> spell to protect her body. She keeps the spell discreet limiting it to extend only a centimeter away from her skin. She gives a light mental cheer for all the practicing, bordering on obsessive compulsive, she did to skillfully improve her defensive skills. As a result, she endures the flux without flinching. “Interesting. Fair enough.” The Lich King comments. “Why hath thee intruded on our subject’s territory? We hardly think an unknown human wishes to celebrate his Death day.”

“My purpose? I felt Umbra’s presence when I was surveying the area. Since I am acquainted with his family, I thought it would only be appropriate to say ‘Hi’.” Senna replies with a smile doing her utmost best to hide her fear. Umbra scoffs hearing Senna giving her a short glare.

“Doeth thee disagree, friend?” The Lich King glances at Umbra.

“No. She’s most certainly here to see me, but I expect she is here to request a favor.” Umbra coldly responds. They turned to look at Senna.

“Well… I suppose that’s true.” Senna turns to Umbra and bows. “My name is Senna Galstyan. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Your sister Sol is very annoyed that you’ve been ignoring her. She would like you to visit and have a long chat within the next century.” Senna turns back to the Lich King. “That’s all I had. If you don’t mind, may I be excused? I would like to head home now that I’ve completed my work.”

“Oi! Wait a second! What game are you playing here?!” Umbra asks glaring at Senna.

“I’m assuming you’re talking about the blessing. Sol and the others did that on their own when I asked about improving my skills for my magic. I also requested to be friends. Currently, you’re not very happy with me. There’s no point in forcing you to be my friend, so I want to be allowed to go home. That’s it!” Senna replies mixing the truth in with a few half-truths. If she mentioned that she wanted to save him, she was certain that every one of them would drop to the floor laughing. Considering the situation, her target of rescue would easily be able to save her, not the other way around. Umbra stares at Senna, partly in amazement at her response and partly in anger because of the attitude she gave him in her response.

“Very well...” The Lich King replies.

“Wait, my Lord! We can’t trust that this human won’t divulge our location!” The Revenant yells glaring at Senna. He picks up his halberd and points it at Senna. “We must silence her.” Senna’s [Danger Detection] finally activates as the Revenant’s presence turns red.

{Crap. So much for an easy exit.} Senna stares back at the Revenant.

“She can be trusted. *clack* The human didn’t spill the location to the other humans. *clack* Even about the trap chests. *clack*” The Skeleton Baron replies with a glance.

“Ah. So you did see that.” Senna gives the Baron a mischievous smile. “I hope you enjoyed the show.”

“Ha *clack* Ha *clack* Ha *clack* Ha *clack*” The Baron responds with a loud laugh clacking his jaw with each laugh.

“I agree we should hold her back for a time.” The Vampire Queen interjects giving Senna an amorous gaze. Senna feels a slight chill from her gaze. Looking closer, Senna notices the Vampire Queen’s gaze is a little too low to be looking her face. Tracing back her gaze, Senna realizes that the Vampire Queen’s gaze isn’t aimed at her face, but her neck.

{Ahh…Vampires drink blood. And a rare human is delivered to her doorstep. But I’d really, really prefer to not be food. Hahh…… I guess I can forget about getting out diplomatically. Time to run and pray for the best.} Senna sighs. “I would rather not be held prisoner for the rest of my time. After all, a human’s lifespan is much shorter compared to any of your illustrious lives. And if you plan to kill me, I will fight back with full force.” Senna tone changes as she resolutely glares back at the Revenant. Her meek demeanor disappears as she prepares for battle.

“You finally show your true colors brat!” The Revenant charges forward thrusting her halberd.



Author's Note
Here's chapter 19. Table hell. Filling streams of tables got so complicated. It's a nonstandard meeting in a dungeon situation. I've made a lot of alterations from when I first plotted out this scene in my outline. It makes much more sense now compared to previously with Senna going to the dungeon to have tea with the Lich King. Lol! Each of the paragraphs below covers some details I wanted to cover, now on to it!

First, I played around with making the Lich King speak in an archaic English style. I look up a few details, but I know it's far from a perfect representation of the speaking style. I wanted to keep it simple, so I mostly used thy, thou, and a few verbs that seem like they fit. The plural form of speaking when the Lich King refers to himself is what I remember seeing in Coiling Dragon back in volume 9, so I made use of that as a way to try and portray his regal demeanor.

Second, I'm sure you noticed that aside from Umbra, the Dark Elemental, I chose to refer to most of the inhabitants by their Race rather than by their name. Mostly because I felt it would be easier to remember which character is what monster. That way readers are not forced to remember their names and also have to remember the connection with their Race. If I'm making too many wild assumptions and the Lich King's speaking style and the non Name usage is annoying, I can go back and change it if it's a significant problem for everyone.

Finally, I'm wondering if I should make a Q/A post? Not sure if there are any details that are unclear that I should answer? Or people that would like minor spoilers about the direction of the story? If the question is a bit too deep of a spoiler, I'll refrain from answering to avoid creating temptation for those that want to wait.


6 comments:

  1. thanks for the chapter and looking forward to more as usual :)

    on a side note, "It makes much more sense now compared to previously with Senna going to the dungeon to have tea with the Lich King." would have been an interesting and possibly amusing scene xD

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Yeah it would have been. The logic of doing it would be completely off though considering the flow of the story. Also, it would rely too much on idealism, something Senna scolded Innar's group about multiple times.

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  2. I have a feeling that Senna could easily placate the vampires with the utilization of her Max Blood Manipulation, but I can't quite think of how.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Senna has all sorts of things in her [Storage]. Goblin blood was one item, probably not what the Vampire Queen wants though. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Senna stored the blood from the Thieves she killed, mentioned in chapter 14. I wasn't planning to have things play out that way though.

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  3. Thanks for the chapter.

    ReplyDelete