SHOULD WE HAVE A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL?
Heck yes!
27.89% of votes
Hella no
34.2% of votes
You doing me a bamboozle. I don't know!
37.91% of votes
Total: 1377 vote(s)
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A note from MinningDragon

Hello guys! I have finished (somehow) the 34th chapter! Now, I think there was a missundrstanding: The adventruers go into the dungeon FOR the nobles, they wont dive into the dungeon WITH  the adventurers. Sorry if that was missunderstood. 

Anyways! time for a poll! Should we have a christmas special? Let me know! 

Big update: TUESDAY DECEMBER 5TH WILL NOT HAVE AN UPDATE. I HAVE DECIDED THE REWRITE THE LAST FEW CHAPTERS TO ACCOUNT FOR INCONSISTENCIES. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE 

Ella strode confidently through the dungeon at a quick pace, side by side with James. Behind them, the team known as the Black Widows followed. Though they had a shady reputation amongst adventurers, they were also recognized as one of the teams to have risen to B rank the fastest over the last decades, managing to reach the B rank bracket in just a few years after the formation of the team. The Black Widows was an exemplary team, at least when it came to teamwork. The team consisted of three women, none of which specialized in direct offense like James or Ella. As a matter of fact, their composition was more suited towards infiltration than for direct confrontations.

The team members were essentially a witch, an assassin, and a ranger. An odd combination to be sure, especially for a high-level adventuring team. How they had reached B rank without a frontline teammate was a mystery to Ella. It gave them a certain aura of mystery, which was accentuated by the fact that they were wrapped from head to toe in black clothing, even going as far as wearing black veils to hide their faces. Considering that they all had similar body shapes, heights, and didn’t talk much, it made it hard for Ella to distinguish who was whom.

However, it was due to the fact that the Black Widows were reputedly such a strong team that Ella was confident in guiding them with James. The Black Widows may have been a B rank team, but their physical capabilities should not be on par with either her own or James’, and therefore, should trouble arise (for instance, should the Black Widows abandon them, or try to use them as bait), then James and Ella should have a decent chance of escaping if they worked together. Such were Ella’s thoughts when she had agreed to guide them through the dungeon.

“That’s the last room of this floor,” Ella said, pointing ahead. “Beyond that, there is a stairwell that leads down to the second floor. That’s where we will find the hall of traps.”

Only silence met her words, but she did not mind. She knew that the Black Widows had heard her, they were simply the silent type. She had barely heard a handful of words come from them since they entered the dungeon, and most of them had been single word commands or warnings. Perhaps they were indeed silent by nature, or perhaps they had honed themselves to make as little noise as possible. What with their air, skillset, and team name, the latter made the most sense to Ella.

When they got to the stairwell, they could hear distant booms and curses, making it fairly easy to determine what was happening.

“Seems like we are just behind the first groups,” James grunted as he started to make his way down the stairs. “Come, let's get downstairs. If we are lucky, we can get there before the traps reset.”

“Indeed,” Ella agreed, following after him, as she turned her head partially to talk to the Black Widows. “The hall up ahead is full of traps, as I am sure you know. However, we are not sure what the reset time for them is. We identified at least thirteen types of traps last time we were in there, but there might be more. It is in our best interest to get past that hall before all the traps reset.”

Nodding silently, their contractors move behind them, following as obediently as ducklings following their mother… If the ducklings were armed to the teeth with daggers, arrows, and all sorts of other nasty, pointy things, that is.

Despite their odd silence and eerie demeanor, even the Black Widows had to pause and gaze upon the epitome of beauty that was the stairwell. Ella thought she even heard tiny gasps coming from them at one point. That soft gasp made Ella chuckle lightly, even as she walked quickly down the stairs.

I suppose that even hardened veterans can’t suppress their every emotion, Ella thought to herself, Or at least, not when faced with something like this.

It was oddly refreshing to know that she wasn’t the only one to react so strongly to this dungeon. It served to reaffirm some sort of unknown feeling that was holed up inside her. Minor as that feeling may be, it was still pleasant to have it be affirmed.

The walk down the stairs was brisk but silent, giving Ella plenty of time to reflect on what needed to be done to survive the hall of traps. Her mind did stray a few times, wondering how the other half of her team was faring with the Panthers team, but such thoughts were short lived. Soon, they reached the second floor, and it was clear that someone had been through the place recently.

Patches of what seemed to be soot covered the ground sporadically, scattered debris hinted at explosive pillars, and even some darts remained strewn about the floor. There were even hints of blood and pieces of fabric left behind, indicating that even B rank adventurers were not immune to the hall of traps.

“Look,” James exclaimed, pointing at a half-destroyed pillar. The surface of it was smooth, despite being at the epicenter of one of the patches of debris. “It seems that its already restoring itself.”

“We are lucky then. Not all the traps have reset,” Ella nodded, and turned to look at the three women. “Come, let us take advantage of this. James will take the brunt of the damage, but we must follow closely.”

Without further ado, Ella and the rest surged forwards, rushing head long into the danger.

0-0-0-0-0

Two days into the king's challenge

Smit sighed as he observed the adventurers move deeper and deeper into the dungeon. The first groups had already worked their way into the fourth floor, while the rest were scattered around the third floor. Most teams had managed to survive the greeting hall without too many serious injuries, as Smit had predicted, but surprisingly, three adventurers had died already. The irony of the matter was that it wasn’t even really how Smit expected them to die at all. It was more of a series of unlucky events.

One of them had died from an infection, as silly as it sounds. A wound near the eye that the adventurer had deemed as minor, had ruptured during a fight with a simple kobold, blinding the adventurer as he was about to slay the beast. A few drops of the foul liquid from the wound landed on his eye, and that was all it took for him to shut his eyes in surprise, and fall towards the spear of the kobold, impaling his own throat on the weapon.

Truly a pitiful end for an adventurer.

Another adventurer had died simply because he had become drunk. The overconfident fool had brought mead into the dungeon instead of water. Unable to find proper balance, he was simply bitten to death by wolves as his partners tried to rescue him. How or why such an adventurer had even come into his dungeon it was a mystery to him. More than that, Smit felt offended at the fact that he had been underestimated so much that an adventurer had dared to drink so freely in his dungeon. True, the adventurer was strong, but that was no excuse to throw up in his dungeon, much less against one of his walls that he had crafted so carefully.

The last one was due to sabotage.

This one was the one that surprised Smit the most. He knew adventurers. True, they were historically competitive, he had expected them to trick one another, but he had never expected them to go as far as sabotage another team.

The event unfolded in a way that was peculiar. A team of adventurers identified one of Smit’s traps, a simple hallucinogenic dart trap. However, instead of just avoiding the trap, the team of adventurers had layered illusion magic over it, making it even more difficult to identify. In addition, they added a thin trip wire across the floor, just beyond the hallucinogenic dart trap. In itself, this alone shouldn’t have been enough to kill an adventurer.

Except that events unfolded unexpectedly.

The team that fell into the enhanced trap had a team member with the jobber berserker, a powerful specialty that allowed a man to turn himself into a killing machine, dulling the sense of pain and turning rage into pure bloodlust, allowing the user to fight without break for far longer than the average warrior.

This berserker was struck by the darts, and promptly fell nose first into the ground. Hallucinating and in pain, the berserker went into a frenzy, turning against her own comrades with vengeance. Though her teammates tried to restrain her, that endeavored backfired, causing her to panic and fight harder, fuelling her berserker rage. Her own team was forced to put her down after she seriously injured their healer.

Truly a sad fate, but Smit could not help but wonder why the team did not have counter measures against her. Berserkers were known to sometimes lose themselves so deeply in their bloodlust that they could not distinguish friend from foe. What on earth could have possessed that team for them to think that precautions were not necessary?

At any rate, Smit was pleased to see that though his more common monsters were no match for the adventurers, the puzzles and the compound traps were proving to be a match for them. Some of the teams were truly composed of just muscle heads that tried to brute force their way through several obstacles, which served to exhaust them and, more often than not, make them regret trying to force their way through without thinking.

For instance, the Iron Belt team had been in the lead for the majority of the challenge so far, but had fallen behind when they were trying to solve one of the puzzles that opened the way towards the second floor. Frustrated by a simple riddle, they attempted to break down the door that block their way after just an hour of guessing randomly. They succeeded in breaking the door down, but they had not expected a group of ten wolves and five goblin mages to be waiting for them, pouncing on them from the other side as soon as the door opened.

They paid dearly for their stupidity, sustaining multiple injuries, the worst of which involved one of their members losing an arm in the process.

It truly baffled Smit how they thought that there would be no repercussions for ignoring the riddle and simply breaking down the door. The puzzle literally had a warning against ignoring the puzzle. He didn’t put the warnings up just for fun, they were meant to be read.

Or could it be that they were too stupid to read…?

Dear god, I hope not, Smit thought, aghast. High rank adventurers are surely not that incompetent. Right?

After pausing to think about it, it was more likely that they had underestimated Smit, or perhaps they had forgotten about the warning in their frustration. Either way, that would teach them a lesson.

Grumbling to himself, smit crossed his arms as he sank in thought.

“Father!” Arturs said as he bounded up to him, his furry tail wagging happy as could be. “I have done it!”

Pulling himself away from his thoughts, Smit turned to his newest child and blinked. “Oh? Already? I did not think you would work out a solution this quick. Tell me, what have you come up with?”

Puffing out his chest, Arturus sat down proudly. “It was hard managing two separate species at once, but once you realize you don’t need to relay orders to both constantly, it’s a lot easier. I can just give the wolves some set of instructions to follow and then the bears another. Then, as the situation changes, I can just switch back and forth between instructing them.”

“Hmm… sounds reasonable,” Smit said thoughtfully. “But what if the situation changes too quickly? Wouldn’t having to switch back and forth between the two species take too long?”

Arturus nodded vigorously, agreeing with Smit. “Yes and no. I figured out that as long as I can see my units, I can pretty much contact them instantly. But if I can’t see them directly, my instructions are not as clear and take a few seconds longer to reach them. I am not sure why it works like that, but as long as I can see them, it should be fine.”

“Hm…” Smit hummed out, looking over Arturus. “I see. Still, I would work on your spatial awareness if that’s the case. The more and better aware you are of your surroundings, the better.”

“Spatial awareness?”

The look of confusion was clear from just his words, but the face of giant bear-wolf tilted to the side with curious eyes was rather… disconcerting. In an adorable kind of way.

“As I said, it’s your awareness of what is happening around you at all times. This skill is very useful for warriors, but in your case, it is even more so. The more aware of you are of the battlefield, the more information you will have at your disposal, allowing you to make better decisions and subsequently gain the upper hand.”

Wagging his tail excitedly, Arturs nodded his head seriously, taking care to remember that. “And how do I work on that?”

Smit laughed at that question, and shook his head. “Your senses boy, your senses. You must train your sense of hearing, sight, and smell. Feel the air around you. Be aware of everything. That’s all I can tell you.”

“Yes! I will start on that right away!” And with those words, Arturus bolted out of the room, leaving Smit to shake his head at him with a smile.

“So, this is what its like to have children… Not bad,” he chuckled as he stretched his hands before him.

“Right, that’s enough examining the situation. Those adventurers should be stuck there for a while,” he said to himself as he rolled his shoulders. “Let’s begin the expansion.”

Next up, a distillery!

Clearing his throat throat, Smit began to hum a tune, letting his voice bounce through the walls. A thought sneaked into his head as he felt the mana gather up around him, getting ready to do his bidding. Perhaps he should make gifts for his children? They had no concept of what a birthday was, but he felt that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to introduce it to them. However, the actual date of their births troubled him a bit. Should he celebrate when he first created them? Or when they had finally gained full sentience? Or maybe the day he had accepted them as his children?

Decisions, decision.

Chuckling to himself, Smit guided his mana outwards, and began to carve a new room right beside his core room. A distillery would be very welcome during a birthday party.

Happy days were coming.

 

Hopefully.

 

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A note from MinningDragon

I know it doesnt seem that eventful, but I am sure some of you can pick a few hints to where I am going right? Wink


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EpicKiller11 @EpicKiller11 ago

doot

Spoiler: Spoiler

 good chapter need more skeletons

AnthonyL @AnthonyL ago

I thought being willing to risk their lives in the dungeon for the sake of the country was part of the test to find a worthy noble.

Without it it's just a coinpurse measuring contest and calling dibs on the best adventurers first.

    jacobpaige @jacobpaige ago

    Yeah, I was basically expecting that too. I figured it was also supposed to test their leadership ability, since it'd be super easy to get themselves or the team they hired killed if they were a bad leader.

    jjemmett @jjemmett ago

    I agree. I always assumed that the noble in question was required to dive into the dungeon with some adventurer bodygards. Without risk to their life and limb what's the point exactly?

      serviet @serviet ago

      Oh but I just realized that something like 2 chapters ago, it was mentioned that the rules were slightly changed as the dungeon was growing too quickly. Maybe they considered that it was too risky for non-adventurers ?

      Toralk
      Premium

      Toralk @Toralk ago

      I thought the same thing at the time, but it's becoming clear that the King messed up when he came up with this scheme. Looks like it's up to Smit to save the Kingdom from its too-clever-for-his-own-good King.

      morvian666 @morvian666 ago

      why should he save that kingdom?

      if I'm not wrong, he didn't quite like this king~

      Toralk
      Premium

      Toralk @Toralk ago

      Well, I'm assuming the Black Widows and similar teams picked by the worst nobles will end up doing things that utterly infuriate Smit. He strikes me as the type that, while he may not go looking for evil to fight, he wont ignore it if it happens right in front of him.

      morvian666 @morvian666 ago

      while i think he will not save kingdom, I'm sure he will save that first team if they get sabotaged~

      maybe~

      flssdd @flssdd ago

      Yup, I agree, and I just said pretty much the same things in the comments in the last chapter before realizing it was not the last chapter. This is the point where everything in the story starts to lose sense and reason, but the plot is still rushing ahead just to have more things happening while the holes get more and bigger.

      I guess it really was "ok till a point and then all went downhill". Sorry, I'll follow for several more chapters, but I honestly don't expect much and probably will drop it in the future.

      MinningDragon, heartfelt advice - don't stress and push yourself too much with school and around the holidays, give yourself breaks if needed and maybe rethink and rewrite some things when and if you can. All your readers like the story, otherwise we won't be here. It has a great potential and we all prefer the quality to rise, not to drop. If the price for that is some time off or unscheduled slow releases, we won't mind it and gladly wait, cause it will be worth it.

    Brian P. @Brian P. ago

    Yep. It's also a new dungeon so the B rank made sense if they were babysitting nobles. Having dozens of B rank adventurers go through a three month old dungeon, one that hasn't even been delved by B ranks before, seems pretty damned stupid without that.

    Michizure @Michizure ago

    I also thought the same.

    callmesteve @callmesteve ago

    I agree. Not sure when the rules changed or if I was wrong initially, but there's not much point now.

    The teams are also OP if they are not needing to act as guards. There should have been a level cap for those entering.

    Heey, maybe that can be a skill upgrade for Smit...

    Well, this increases the chance of his interference in the plan...

    Faruel @Faruel ago

    Good story but this is a massive plot hole "The adventurers go into the dungeon FOR the nobles, they won't dive into the dungeon WITH the adventurers"... but you literally stated the opposite of this!!!

    Chapter 20 - This is where we also test their wills. Who will be willing to risk their lives to enter a dungeon personally? Who is willing to step up to the challenge and risk their lives for the kingdom? This is the true test of their courage. It will weed out those who are weak of heart, and narrow down our selection.

    where is the "risk of life to enter a dungeon personally"... if they don't personally enter a dungeon?

jacobpaige @jacobpaige ago

Christmas wouldn't really make sense in universe, but a birthday party for all the dungeon bosses I'd totally support.

jjemmett @jjemmett ago

Thanks for the chapter MinningDragon! Glad to see you back in the saddle so to speak.

Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

I would enjoy a Christmas event, it would be really cute to see Pala, Echo and Artemis experience it.

And you could have some fun with it and make santa a god like being of goodness Very Happy

    Alexis Keane
    Premium

    Alexis Keane @Alexis Keane ago

    • And you could have some fun with it and make santa a god like being of goodness Very Happy

    This! You could call him Satan!

      rusticsoldier @rusticsoldier ago

      So you want the author to write a story where he will sacrifice his good quality. To make a story that make satan look good. This story is good enough he can make money off of it.

      2/3rd of the english population is a christian of some sort. Supposedly. If a mother bought his book and then see that line celebrating Satanism. There a good chance she would chuck it into the trash. And any books after that he wrote those kids might not get to read also.

      Alexis Keane
      Premium

      Alexis Keane @Alexis Keane ago

      1: it's obviously a joke, riffing off the ironic anagram of santa. Secondly, John Milton did just that with Paradise Lost. One of the greatest books of all time.

      2: the population is nominally christian, what they really are is a chimeric hodge-podge of abrahamic and pagan religions, who call themselves christians. It is more a case of collective identity than rigid adherence to a set of 2000 year old doctrines

      3: of the sort that would throw a book in the trash, they would likely be the hardline christians that wouldn't approve of santa anyway. Very few people would bin paradise lost.

      rusticsoldier @rusticsoldier ago

      That was a well thought out reply.

      Christian are a collective identity.

      But i still believe if you throw a celebration of satan at young adults. Parents will toss the story.

      Also my local library does not carry paradise lost. Only ebook format. They already tossed it.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Rusty I don't really know where you got that number from. Unless You are only counting countries like America or western countries but even thenthat number is way too high since atheism is growing every year, nowadays Australia is over 50% aeithirst I think.

      Even during its peak back in the medieval ages 2/3rds of the population would not have been Christian.

      Also most parents from what I've seen if they saw satanism in the book, then spent a few minutes realising it's a joke, would say "Neat" then stop caring. The amount of parents who would do as you say would be the 4%

      Also since this story is targeted at young adults/Adults i doubt any parent would baby sit there kid that hard when they are nearly grown up.

      So in conclusion 

      All Hail Cthulhu

       

      Pertinax @Pertinax ago

      Boy you are not the brightest,

      "The 2016 census identified that 52.1% of Australians classify themselves Christian: 22.6% identifying themselves as Catholic and 13.3% as Anglican. Another 8.2% of Australians identify themselves as followers of non-Christian religions. The second-largest classification was the 30.1% who categorised themselves as having "No religion."

      30% to 'over 50%' is a huge bloody jump. And thats coming from a western country not deeply rootedin religion like some European Countrys and Nations "founded under God", AKA USA.

      Plz check your facts before you start to saying others are wrong.

      Pertinax @Pertinax ago

      "Even during its peak back in the medieval ages 2/3rds of the population would not have been Christian."

      Go back to the text books, people who where not Christian were killed. In hundreds to thousands. And Christians would kill other christians over a few slight diffrence on there religion

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      The Australian one was my mess up, but there's no need to be rude boy.

      And even if 2/3rds of the English population is allegedly Christian how Christian are we speaking?

      we speaking "KILL ALL THE GAYS HOO BOY FOR JESUS"

      or we speaking

      "Yo Matt you Christian?"

      " I beleive in god"

      "Oh you go to church?"

      "Naw fuck off that shits stupid"

      since if half of those Christians were the latter I beleive they would give no fucks about SATIIIIIIN

      also I forgot what we are debating, tho when you decided to be rude I guess you wanted to be an argument, so I dunno if that's relevant and I really can't be fucked looking over the other comments.

      Lord Of Mild Interest @Lord Of Mild Interest ago

      Btw I don't think they were very good at the whole killing non Christians thing, maybe after the 4th failed crusade most people would take the hint.

      "TIME TO RETAKE THE HOLY LAND"

      *one failure later*

      "LETS TRY AGAIN"

      * another failure later*

      "GET THE CHILD SOLDIERS HAHA"

      *that was one persistent pope*

      "LUCKY NUMBER 4"

      *You get the point*

      Btw i dont really fact check shit, im good at modernish history not crusades, i just like yelling DEUS VULT, and the amount of shit I know about religion is even less so.

      So imma say right now please dont take the stuff I say seriously, I would rather not get into a big argument that lasts 18 bloody comments about somthing that i dont know too much about so which trust me, arguing against somthing who acts like they know stuff isnt fun so neither of us want this.

sincron @sincron ago

thanks for the chapter

Fin Ze Bar @Fin Ze Bar ago

"and five goblin mages" I thought Smit hated goblins?

Zyront @Zyront ago

We need moar chapters!

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