Dungeon Master Trilogy – Book 1 – Chapter 15 – Short-cut or no Short-cut?

The group then stops for a second after learning of a possible short cut through the dungeon and then determines what they want to do with this short cut, “Hmm, do we wish to take this short-cut as we do currently have the golden key for it?” asked Rheill.
“I would say no, but open it up anyway just to be safe in case we have to quickly get back to the water source on level 2. If we skip stuff; we may miss several Armour upgrades, Weapons and food that we will eventually need,” replied Karna.
“Good Idea, Karna,” replied Isai.
“Okay, Karna, place the gold key in the lock to see what type of short-cut it is,” suggested Sana.
“Well, let’s get our weapons out ready first before I place this key inside of golden lock,” declared Karna.
Next, Karna takes out the last and final remaining golden key that they currently possess. She slowly puts it inside of the lock it clicks and turns and is locked in place; suddenly, a swirling blue-hazed Vortex appears much like the dungeon puzzles they had to solve earlier.
“Ah, it is a teleportation Vortex,” explained Sana.
“I will go quickly through and come right back,” said Rheill.
“No, you will not go alone; I have said it too many times in the past. We should never split up, unless there is no other choice.
I hope you are hearing me nice and clear, Rheill!” demanded Karna to Rheill in a forceful tone of voice.
“Karna, let’s all go together to check what is on the other side, we have activated a vortex. We could get back-stabbed or ambushed by stuff?” queried Rheill.
“Yes, you are right, Rheill,” replied Karna.

After their little discussion, they decide to all go together, they vanish into thin air and then appear at a total different location; such powerful magic. They now stand within a new corridor facing a wooden door with a semi-circular window on the top of it; it is much like all, of the doors encountered on this level. The pathway also leads off to their right and there is some writing carved cleanly into the grey-coloured dungeon wall that is situated directly to the right of the blue-hazed vortex.
Sana, reads it out aloud, “Shortcut back!”
“Let’s please go and check the remaining area that leads off to the right, just past this, encrypted text that, Sana, just read out to us,” suggested Isai.
“Agreed, Isai,” replied Karna.
Karna then takes point and leads the group onwards they follow the passage that took a ninety-degree turn to the left and again to the right and headed towards a long passage to their north. Slightly further up the corridor it branches out to the right as the corridor turns into a wider passage, but alas there is nothing there. However, further there is another empty alcove on the right before it comes to another wooden door. All of them head towards the door and see it is of the same design again, and it is operated by a button, “Okay we know we are safe and as discussed we do not want to miss out on possible armour, weapon upgrades we should ignore using this shortcut,” declared Rheill.
“Yes, honeybuns, you are one hundred percent right on this,” replied Karna.
They all head back through the vortex they then appear back at a familiar spot, “We are back where we started now before taking the shortcut so let us press on,” stated Sana using her wisdom and intellect to know her surroundings for the rest of the party.

The group slowly presses onwards as they head north, which is shown by the compass that is possessed by Karna on her shield arm that is still wrapped around it tightly. The passageway is nice and wide, but it suddenly turns into a thinner corridor for a few paces and then extends into a small oblong-shaped room that turns to the left. They tread cautiously as they know what they have seen so far on this level; they have encountered three new creatures, the Magenta Worms, being the most deadly so far due to their highly toxic venom. They follow the passage out of the rectangular room, which lead into another large chamber. The area looked to branch off towards the left again. This chamber gets larger in certain areas, especially near the southern side; suddenly, they see two more long, Magenta Worms.
“Worms get ready, be ready to drink the anti-venom potions if you get hit immediately!” stressed Isai as he hands two flasks to both Rheill and Karna.
They both grab it quickly and place it on the ground to avoid them getting smashed in combat, “We will place them far away from the battle, I think you know why, Isai,” said Karna as she readies herself for combat.
Rheill joins her as well armed with his two-handed axe; Karna moves in first to grab their attention as one of the Magenta Worms strikes almost Immediately as she moved in. Karna was ready for it and quickly blocks it with her shield knowing these are quicker than they look, the force knocks her backwards, but her balance is unmatched by anyone in the whole land of Crom.
“Phew, that was too close again; be careful, Rheill! I will try to turn them so they face me, and then flank them!” stressed Karna.
Karna strikes at one of them knowing she probably will not hit it, but, shockingly, she hits a glancing blow on the head of one of them. This enrages the worm that was hit by Karna’s sword and it turns quicker than the speed of light and strikes at Karna. She hastily sidesteps to the left and it misses her; Rheill then chops off its head with his two-handed axe with one swift strike. Suddenly, the other Magenta Worm tries to bite Rheill, but not this time as Karna jumps in the way of its strike. She was quicker than a cat and blocks it with her shield. The shield that she now has is so much stronger even though it is smaller; it is not even in any danger of breaking as it was made of metal rather than wood. Suddenly, she counter attacks with a quick thrust which lands in its mouth, the worm shrieks out loudly; without hesitation both Sana and Isai throw their projectile weapons in the form of their daggers and shurikens, which both land in the head of the worm and it then dies instantly.
Isai quickly picks up the Anti-venom, glassed-flasks and puts them back inside of his backpacks for future usage.
“Rheill and Karna please cut the worm up, we need more food. These screamer slices are running out, they will last only a few more days. Luckily though, we do have some drumsticks, and cheese and apples; although, we need all the provisions we can feast our eyes on,” explained Sana.
Both Rheill and Karna chop up the worms to create some more worm rounds, they both then pass them to Sana to store inside of her backpack. The remaining screamer slices did not take up much room and the worm rounds took up the remaining space perfectly.

After they had packed all, of the food away; they then notice a steel portcullis on the northern side of the chamber, “Look, there is a door here,” said Rheill.
“It is button operated like the rest, shall we take, a peek inside?” replied Isai.
“Yes, and we need somewhere else to rest as well. We do not know what lurks ahead beyond this chamber, but we ready for anything inside this area beyond the locked door,” explained Sana.
Karna unsheathes her sword from her scabbard and raises her shield as Rheill pushes the button on the metal, portcullis, which forces it to open automatically. Karna moves in first to scout the area for signs of life and hostiles; however, she finds that is just an empty room. There are no objects on the floor or any creatures or monsters. Although, in a small corridor that lead to a dead-end to the far left of the room had a small brown grating much like what they had seen before. Inside a small Niche directly to the left, which was off a ninety-degree left was another one of those scary looking faces on the wall. It suddenly startles Karna, but she shakes it off and realizes it’s just a face on the wall, “Anything Wrong, Karna?” asked Rheill as he noticed Karna was shaken up by something.
“Nothing, just another stupid face on the wall… that is all!” answered Karna.
“Shall we rest here?” queried Sana.
“Yes, this sounds a good spot, Sana,” replied Isai.
“I agree too… I am getting a little bit tired myself, but would like to eat first before we go to sleep,” said Karna.
“Good Idea, Karna,” replied Rheill.
“I will prepare us, the last of my Screamer slices, Isai, has more in his backpack, but we need to use these up first,” explained Sana.
Sana finishes preparing the Screamer slices and hands them out to everyone. They also take a few sips from their water-bottles, before they get ready for sleep.
“Still no water either, these are running out, we can probably only go on a few more days, before we are completely out of water,” stressed Karna worryingly.
“Do not worry everything will be fine, the water I am not too worried about we can always head all the way back; but, the food cannot be filled up again,” stated Sana.
“Let’s not lose hope and sleep over worrying about such things, until we actually get to that stage,” replied Isai
“Agreed,” said all of them as the two couples sleep together as Karna lays her head down on Rheill’s chest. He strokes her silky, long, black hair until she drifted off into her deep haze; Isai did the same with Sana with her blonde hair and he tells her everything will be okay. Suddenly, Karna quickly gets up, “Karna what is wrong?” asked Rheill.
“Nothing, the door is still wide open, just going to close it, sorry if I wake you Sana and Isai,” replied Karna.
The door slams shit and awakes, Isai and Sana, which are startled, “Sorry you two, the door was still open. Please go back to sleep,” said Karna gently.
Karna then goes back to lie on top of Rheill’s chest as the entourage then sleeps for about eight more hours before they finally awaken again.

Sana lights up the area again once she is fully awake and all of them stretch their bodies out, which are getting worn out from sleeping on the floor all the time, but they do not have much choice in the matter.
“Let’s continue exploring now we are awake after we grab our equipment,” mentioned Karna as she grabs her small metal shield and her sword.
Rheill grabs his axe and both Sana and Isai grab their stuff; Karna then opens, up the door using the button and it automatically re-opens allowing them to leave the small room that they were just inside of.
“Close the door please, Rheill,” asked Karna nicely.
“Sure, sweetie,” answered Rheill as he pressed the button again and the door closed shut tightly, once again.
Karna takes point and keeps her sword out of her scabbard so she is armed for combat as this area is yet to be explored, “Watch the rear, Rheill, please as we did not explore here, which means evil creatures could have wandered to the places where we have already been,” suggested Karna.
“Good idea,” replied Rheill.
Rheill takes the rearguard and watches closely as Karna leads the group onwards; they then come to a corner that turns left and leads into a small, rectangular room and then heads forwards on the outside. They continue to investigate the dungeon as they move past the oblong-shaped room. The party, follows the corridor to the right, which leads to another long-shaped room and at the end is a closed wooden door with no means of opening it.
“Rheill, use your, Axe,” suggested Sana.
“Okay, Sana,” replied Rheill.
Rheill swings at the door several times until he cuts through it with his axe and then he chops a massive hole through both sides of the wooden door so they can get through it.
All of them then step through the door and notice that the passageway winds around two more right turns, which they tread lightly, being careful not to make noise as they have yet to encounter anything for a while. There are a few hooks on the dungeon wall; Rheill hastily touches one of them as he loves to touch things, “Rheill do not just touch things, how many times do I have to tell you!” said Karna with an angry looking face.
“Gosh, I never seen you this mad before, Karna,” he shudders after feeling Karna’s wrath for the first time.
Sana and Isai look at each other in shock at Karna’s outburst, “Remember to never make Karna mad,” whispered Sana into Isai’s ear.
They continue after Rheill had learned his lesson about touching stuff and hopefully this time, he will … learn to listen, to Karna; they then come to an inter-section to their left and semi-circular wooden door bars there away ahead. However, there is a button on the right side of the door, but they first decide to check the inter-section to their left; Alas, it lead only to a dead end after traversing around a left turn. There is horrible face again on the right wall of the turning, which looked the same as the ones that frightened Sana and Karna previously.
“Another face,” said Rheill.
“Why is your face on this wall,” said Karna jokingly, which made everyone laugh.
“You are mean, Karna, I will get you!” he said and then laughs at Karna evilly.
‘Hmm, I wonder how he will get me!’ thought Karna to herself.
Inside the dead end there is another empty alcove carved into one of the right walls; nothing was concealed inside of the alcove though.
“Looks like we have to go through the door, keep your weapons out,” said Isai.
“Good Idea, Isai,” replied Karna.
The entourage moves out of the dead-end and towards the semi-circular, wooden door ready to open it up.
“Ready?” said Rheill.
“Yes!” answered, Sana, Isai and Karna.

Rheill pushes the button and the door opens, “Charge into the room as there is a narrow part here,” declared Karna
They all heed her advice and rush into room around the narrow turning. Sana casts her (ZO) Rune to close the door from a distance.
“Oh wow, the (ZO) Rune closes and opens doors; that is good to know,” said Sana.
“Look out!” shouted Rheill as he sees two Magenta Worms approaching them.
“Just do the combat like we have learned and we will be fine, I still have the two anti-venom potions as you didn’t get hit at all last battle. This is just be safe, in case either of you get hit this time; or even Sana and I get hit on the flank!” explained Isai.
The room is pretty, massive and has several columns of wall in the middle; Both Rheill and Karna lunge towards the incoming Magenta Worms that are near one of the columns of wall and the narrow part to the south that separated part of the room in two. Karna lunges her sword at the worm to grab its attention; she misses it though. The worm roars at her, but Karna shows no fear, “Come get me, Worm!” she then backs off moving it into the larger area.
Karna then evades and blocks it; the two Magenta Worms are now separated.
Rheill decides to take the other on its own, “Assist, Rheill, please I can take care of myself, no way this is going to land a hit on me while I fight defensively,” shouted Karna in the heat of battle.
“Sure, Karna, we know how good you are, I will use ranged weapons as poison clouds will be ineffective against these, they are poisonous after all,” said Sana.
Rheill evade the attacks by jumping side to side and slashing, but is unable to get any hits on it; However, Sana and Isai aid him by throwing their throwing stars and daggers at the worm, which pierce its body and draw blood. Rheill then is, able to slice it in half with his two-handed axe and the worm dies instantly. Meanwhile Karna was keeping the other Magenta Worm at bay. Rheill moves in behind the worm and slices it in half again with his axe as he is so powerful when armed with a two-handed weapon as he proficient in that art.
“Great work you three!” praised Karna.
“You did great too, Karna keeping that worm at bay for so long!” replied Rheill stating how good of defensive fighter Karna really is.
“Let’s check this room in case there are more of the worms here and if any objects are here waiting for us.
They all look around the room and find in a dead end in the north-eastern section of the room a basinet helmet which offers even more protection than the full helmet that Karna is wearing as the holes are smaller around the eyes and nose. It is coloured grey as well like the other helmets they found in upper levels of the dungeon.
“Rheill, take my old Helmet,” as she removes it and her long and black hair drifts down her back as she hands it to Rheill.
“Yes, a good idea, Karna, you should definitely, use this helmet even though it is almost the same, it looks a bit more, sturdy” explained Rheill.
Rheill then takes off his old helm and places it on the ground as it is too heavy for Isai and Sana to wear. His brown hair is now visible for a short moment before placing Karna’s old full, plated helmet over his eyes and now his whole face is now covered minus the eyes and nose.

They explore more to the central area just west of where they found the helmet and see another pair of leather armour, the top and pants; it looked identical to one Rheill and Isai is current wearing, but it is too heavy for Sana, “I will take the top of this leather set and replace my old one; as it got burnt!”
Karna removes her basinet helmet, so she can remove her brown, leather jerkin that had parts of it burnt by the rock-pile on the floor above. She is now wearing only her corset top and she then fits the new leather-chest piece over her head and over her toned body. That Rheill was examining closely, she smiles at Rheill and she softly says, “If, I find armour that is suitable for myself… my figure will be hidden from you!”
“That’s okay as I can still see and imagine your beautiful curves from the armour design and what lies underneath it!” replied Rheill.
“Stop being a pervert, Rheill!” said Sana mockingly.
“Can you both stop wasting more time, already!? Our food is limited and we have not found much other than these horrid Magenta Worm, Slices!” said Isai
Karna, just ignores Isai’s too serious attitude; as they continue going left and come to another door with a semi-circular window and to the left of the door on the ground is another empty flask, which is made, out of glass.
Isai decides to take the flask so he now has four flasks. Two of the flasks are now contain the anti-venom liquid while the other two flasks are completely empty.
“Wait before we leave, we should cut up those two worms; like we did before for extra food. Also, you left your throwing weapons inside one of them as I do not remember picking them up, we should do this straight away before trying to get any forms of treasure/items and this was my fault, as I suggested we search the room!” explained Karna.
“Yes, Karna, we forgot to do that earlier and not your fault we should have all remembered!” answered Sana.
They then pack the Worm rounds, Karna takes them as they are light and she had loads of room in her backpack; also, Isai and Sana take their projectile weapons that are now laying on the floor.
“Let’s open this door and move forwards!” said Rheill.
Karna draws her sword out as she opens the door using the button on the right of the door and they enter through the archway and they then close the door from the other side. They follow the passage past an empty alcove to the right just next to the door. The passage winds around two left turns and then they notice they are in the same corridor as where the short cut took them to as they could see blue-haze vortex in the distance.
“We are back at the short-cut and we were right to explore as we found another flask and a better helmet. Both you and Rheill now have better head protection, which is most critical to our success,” explained Isai to Karna.
They move towards the other door, which seems to be a constant theme on this floor with semi-circular window on the doors.
“Get ready, all, anything could lie ahead!” said Sana as they prepare to open the door.

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Chapter 14 – View

Chapter 16 – View

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