The Dungeon’s Secret
Rex joined us, and I had to tell him about the inefficiency of hogging prey and the importance of everyone gaining experience, as Manager and the others carved up the Arachne. To be honest, I didn’t want to carve up a monster that looked that close to a human. Which is rich, coming from the guy who killed it…
“Hmm…okay. So, Rex. We’ll be leaving then. Even though you have a map now, be careful.”
“Aye. I’m sure we won’t get lost, yet we’ll still have to be wary of monsters. I still can’t thank you enough for killing the monster for us… You be careful out there.”
Rex raised his fist and I bumped mine against it.
“Who do you think I am?”
“Haha. See you in the capital!”
“Yeah, in the capital!”
It reminded me of another parting. But this wasn’t as hopeless a situation. I was quite sure we would meet again as I watched them head for the exit.
So, we would continue on our journey then… Hmm?
Daniela looked towards where I was pointing. The webs had all been frozen by my magic. They were all harmless now, and behind one section, the floor seemed to have peeled off.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t stone, wood or concrete. A surface that was black and shining. I went closer to get a better look. The others followed me.
The frozen webs shattered easily as I moved through them. I could see it clearly now. There was a shining line drawn on the material that looked like black stone. And there was a light blinking as it moved along the line from the right to the left. As if it was heading somewhere.
“What the hell?”
Manager scratched her head. I could practically see the question mark floating above Lemon. Daniela held her chin and stared at it with concentration. Like she had seen it before…maybe. However, I was the only one that was certain.
“I found something just like this before by accident. It was when I was exploring through an ancient ruin.”
Manager and Daniela seemed shocked. Lemon looked at me and waited for me to continue.
“It was an ancient elven ruin.”
It had been bugging me all of this time. The dungeon being inverted. The lower floors rising.
Why should the most important part, the heart of the dungeon, rise to the top?
Usually, the deepest part would have the best security. Even with a labyrinth such as this. Traps would make sense. But inverting the layers? That didn’t seem right. Why would they move what they wanted to protect the most to the top?
“So this place…it is an ancient elven ruin too.”
“No… So this center that we are headed to, it’s not the real core?”
“It must be a trap.”
Once the dungeon is conquered, it inverts as part of a disaster. And then people are sent to solve it. And then when they reach the core and touch it, the real trap would activate… Considering this possibility, it felt like we were on a road to hell. The others must have been thinking the same thing because they now looked at the continuing passage with fear in their eyes.
“Perhaps there will be a guardian protecting it.”
“Considering how grand all of this is. It would not be off if there was a guardian or some kind of warden up there.”
“Yes… I doubt it can all be automated magic.”
That being said, if this was an ancient elven ruin, then it was over a thousand years old. Even though it was intact, the elves themselves were long dead.
“Can elves live for a thousand years?”
“Who knows? I have certainly not lived that long…and I have never met one who did. But I once met an elder who was over seven-hundred years old.”
Rachel had reincarnated eight-hundred years ago. But in human years, that was probably like a ten-year difference.
“Perhaps it is some kind of artificial intelligence…”
Manager muttered. I see. Yes, that seemed possible as well. It was an age of highly advanced magic tools. While it may be hard to have automated magic spells, it was a little different with machinery with independent features.
“Well, we still have to go forward. But not down this path. We go…”
I stared at the light on the floor.
“Just like before. Down.”
Pretend that it’s inverted and hide everything below. I wasn’t sure of it, but it was clear that we shouldn’t continue on to the center. In that case, we should go deep down, where no one could see. The ruin in Replant had been similar. There was a structure on the surface that hid the real thing underground… Though, that place didn’t have a core. But then again, there might have been a lower layer that I missed. There was no confirming it now.
No one disagreed with me, and so we decided to head downward. However, there was still only one route ahead. Manager suggested that the center might have means of going to the lower levels, but there was also the possibility of traps. I really didn’t want to go to the center… But it seemed like we had no choice for now.
We would go to the center in order to reach the bottom. By the time we made this decision, it was so late that no more light leaked into the dungeon from the outside.