Stepping into the dungeon, Rick had no idea what to expect. He'd wanted to wait for Sam to get done resting, but had been convinced by Beth that they could at least it out and they didn't have time to wait for Sam's lazy ass.
The entrance to the dungeon was at the bottom of an abandoned mine that used to produce low-level Energy Stones. Dark, dank, and damp it reeked of blood and the putrefying remnants of monsters. If he had to guess, Rick would say that the corrupted beings had everything in their path as they rushed through the surrounding the mine and into the marsh.
Inside the dungeon, Rick was surprised to find that it was well lit. Energy Stones were embedded into the walls at intervals, giving up a creepy purple light that seemed to scream of to his senses.
As Gunthar, Sarah, Connor, and Beth followed along behind him, Rick began to find the eerie quiet unnerving. It felt almost as if something was watching them, stalking them invisibly.
Behind Rick, Sarah shivered and said, "Something wrong."
Almost before she finished speaking, the worm's struck. They were massive, with mouths stretching wide enough to swallow any one of them whole. They somehow managed to shoot out of the rock ground without disturbing it before they into them. Beth didn't even bother to pull out one of her giant weapons, instead surrounding her fists in green light as she yelled out in rage and them again and again into anything that came near her, including Rick who came just a bit too close while she was rampaging while blocking three of the worms that'd lunged for him simultaneously.
Rick raised his shield, from the blow and continuing to fight with his mace. Meanwhile, Sarah turned into fire and the worms who attacked her found themselves rolling around on the ground unable to move. Connor moved so fast that none of the others could see what he'd done. A broken appearing in his hand before he waved it almost negligently, as if he wasn't even trying and somehow managing cutting down at least 5 of the worms in an instant.
Gunthar was the only one of them caught off guard, several worms erupting beneath his feet. All he could do was jerk to the right just enough to avoid being swallowed whole by the biggest of the worms. Instead of his body, the worm grabbed a hold of his left arm and bit through muscle and bone in an instant, leaving him gasping in pain as he tried to stem the flow of blood.
Despite losing an arm, Gunthar only needed a to before he roared and the image of a gigantic melded with him as he transformed and savagely bit into the worm while swiping razor sharp paws. A wounded is a dangerous , Rick never understood that saying until that moment when he saw the worm get torn to pieces in an instant.
A purple gemstone shot from the worm that ate Gunthar's arm, heading towards the depths of the dungeon before they could get a hold of it.
"FUCK!" Gunthar yelled in pain as Rick ignored a worm attacking him to run over to him. Rick had gained the ability to heal broken bones and cuts long ago, but regrowing a limb was still far beyond him. All he could do is heal over the wound, stemming the flow of blood. Thankfully the Alchemist's Guild should have a that'll regrow his arm.
Face white, sweat pouring from his brow, Gunthar refused to make a noise as the white, holy light covering his arm slowly knitted his flesh together. "This should last until we can get you back to the , we can be on our way back in a minute" Rick said as he continued to concentrate to make sure the healing held.
"Screw that!" Gunthar said even as Connor and Sarah started to get ready to leave the dungeon, "I can still fight!" Shoving Rick away with his good arm, he readied himself for battle as he stalked deeper into the dungeon with Beth leading the way, chatting happily to him as if he'd never lost an arm.
"What are you thinking?!?!" Sarah yelled as she ran to follow him, "You lost an arm, we need to get it regrown as soon as possible!"
Beth snorted at Sarah in disgust, "Gunthar is from Rafta, losing an arm is nothing. When you join a tournament you fight until you die and in order to leave Rafta you have to win at least one of them."
"You need to learn how to fight while missing limbs, on your dying breath, or you'll eventually die." Gunthar's face was still pale, but he looked at Sarah imploringly, trying to get her to understand. Even as they watched, his got better and his strength returned to his body.
Rick started to glower as he felt energy from deep within Gunthar being consumed to Gunthar's body and rid it of the shock it'd gone into in automatic response to losing his arm. "You're burning your life force!" He
Shrugging, Gunthar waved his hand as if it wasn't an issued, "As soon as I break through to the Essence Gathering Stage it will return, and there are and techniques to regain life force if it a problem."
As they were arguing, they walked through deserted room after deserted room. It was that up until recently all of these rooms had been filled with corrupted beings, the carcasses of monsters and the stink of sitting heavily upon the
Moving into another room, everyone gasped in shock as they came upon a tranquil garden filled with rare and a clear stream trickling through a grassy meadow. As they approached, Sarah about her anger at Gunthar's lack of self
"Yes, they're all here!" She shouted in excitement as she danced around the garden, carefully pulling up after and putting them into her bag of holding. She made sure not to take too much, having been warned by the Alchemist's Guild when they gave her the list of ingredients needed and techniques to retrieve them , that a powerful spirit watched over the garden.
Double checking everything, there was a final item on the list, the bloom of the tree on the water. The tree had some crazy name, but she found it easier to remember it as the only thing growing on the water. Walking over to it carefully, Sarah reached out to pluck the bloom. Just as she touched it a vine wrapped around her from behind, throwing her out of the garden.
"ARGGHH!" She yelled as she landed in the middle of a nesting ground. Standing up, she froze as cracking sounds emanated from the nearly 5 feet tall eggs surrounding her. Massive ant's started chewing their way out of the shells even as their mandibles stretched, trying to grasp onto the human that'd dared to intrude on their resting Before she could react the purple gemstone appeared, seeming to emerge from the stone ceiling as it embedded itself into the head of the largest ant. Giving off an extremely strong aura of , it took control and with it's increased strength the ant lunged for her.
Turning into fire, she dodged the attack to her face and dove to dodge another blow to her legs. Rolling out of the area, She found the vine from before stuck to the back of the tree while a tiny wisp of green laughed and waved at her from its back. Growling in anger, she pulled out her knives and tore into the non-corrupted ants savagely before the could spread to them while doing her best to dodge the nearly 15 foot tall corrupted ant as it scrambled behind her with ever increasing speed and strength.
Just as Sarah finished off the last of the ant's brethren, it lunged for her legs and she knew she wouldn't be able to dodge this time. Rick charged through the garden, dodging vines and tree branches to into the ant's side. back, Sarah saw the little green wisp seething in anger as she pointed at Rick. Before Sarah could warn him, a tree limb into Rick's back forcing his head into the gaping maw of the ant as it tried to bite down on him. At the last moment, Rick activated his Holy Shield and somehow managed to survive even as the corrupted ant started to smoke, trying to withstand the holy energy pouring off of Rick.
A high pitched, ethereal voice hissed as vines and sharpened tree limb's that looked like spears began to move throughout the garden and meadow. "Do not interfere with my games, silly humans!"
Despite his injures Gunthar had tried to break through alongside Rick, but got caught. He found himself hanging upside down as his Elemental Energy was sucked from his body. Thankfully, Beth had broken through on another side and was fighting another horde of worms, much larger than the ones that'd ambushed them at the entrance to the dungeon while laughing her ass off in her usual berserker glee.
Connor was the only one not moving, seemingly uninterested in his friends' plight as he stared a across the room in deep thought.
"If you wish to pluck the bud of my tree you must with me!" The high-pitched voice seemed childish now, as if it were throwing a tantrum.
Sarah suddenly remembered tales her grandfather had told her of the games some spirit's liked to , while sometimes degrading and torturous, they were almost never fatal and were usually rewarding.
"Alright!" Sarah yelled, even as she watched Rick activate God's Judgement to grasp onto the corrupted gemstone and begin refining it before it could run away this time after he smashed the giant ant to pieces with his mace. "I'll your game!"
"HEHEHEHE" The spirit's high pitched laugh seemed to turn sinister as she released Gunthar from the vines and said, "Let the games begin!"