Chapter 36
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Shining bright like the glow of the sun scattering over the dewy grass of a fresh morning the hero erupts into an explosion of light as he, in my opinion at least, somewhat melodramatically brings his screaming to an end. But again like I told you before, he’s real protective of his friends. I guess I can understand. I mean the thief-girl had it coming I think, but still. That’s just life down here though. I can’t see. The light is too bright, even with my eyes now closed I see vivid white shine in through my tightly scrunched eyelids. I guess this is it. Good bye papa! Good bye floor ninety-five! Good bye wizard-girl! Good bye jerky! I take another bite of the cured provision clenched in my claws, gorging in as much of it as I can for a final sensation of the taste. Who knows how long it will be till I get meat again?

  For just a moment the world falls silent, the deafening roar of the  magical energies surrounding the hero cut off. The sound of my wet chewing gone, the shouts of the last trash-mobs and the adventurers, the sound of papa’s furious roar as he charges the hero head on. Everything is gone, void, for that single second as if the gods themselves timed it with intricate precision, watching closely from above with mystical clockwork. And then, everything changes.

  White. Red. Gold. Streaks of every color I associate with the hero rush past my closed eyes in a luminous explosion so brightly like I was standing in the center of a great fire. Heat borne of raging magical energies touch my lizard skin even inside the shelter of the adventurer’s bag. A great burst of deistic fury ringing out like the crash of a humongous wave over my skull as the boundless, seemingly infinite magical aura of the hero fills the room, the entire floor if not the entire dungeon all at once, purging the sub-boss arena of anything unclean. Anything unwanted. Anything that stood against the hero. Eruption, a final clap of thunder and the toll of a second bell and I know it’s all over.

  The light dies down, I feel sick. Nauseous. The fading is starting, papa is gone. I haven’t seen, but I know. My sub-boss is dead and so soon will I be. Them’s the rules after all. I feel sick. The meat feels heavy in my little stomach, I regret eating so much now. I open my eyes now that the light has dimmed to let the solemn dungeon atmosphere finally return to settle back in. We’ve turned around again. I hear voices in the distance. All I can see from this angle is the empty room. The floor, purged of bones and bodies. Every single skeleton, goblin, dark-fairy, minotaur gone as if blown away by a cosmic gale. Even the single boot of the goblin champion he left behind. They’re all just… gone. The priestess is talking. I hear the familiar snappy tone of the thief-girl. Damn that healing magic is so overpowered. Why don’t we have healers?

  Ah, my body is convulsing. I feel faint, light-headed. Despite my efforts to fight it, I close my eyes nonetheless as my claws release from the side of the bag for lack of strength in my body. Landing on my back I hear a small clink as my scales hit some odd glass flask, one of a million others in here. Why is it so cold all of the sudden? Curling up into a ball, my small tail wrapping around to my belly I yawn with my final remnants of energy. I’m so sleepy. You did a good job papa. I hope I can be like you one day.

I die.

  The familiar pull of the ethereal void beckons me up to the place above, the dead-zone, limbo, whatever. I am here again as I always have been as always will be apparently. As above, so below. I want to sigh, but I can’t. What even was this life I think to myself as I float aimlessly through that place that is nothing. I miss demon-miasma. Sure our love was short-lived and crazy, but that’s just how young hearts work you know? How did you get out of here? Why didn’t you tell me, show me how to get out of here? You jerk. Well. No. Sorry demon-miasma, I guess you gave me your menu. No, I’m just bitter, don’t listen to me. I didn’t mean it.

  Nothing is here. Nobody to listen to my thoughts or apologies. It’s just me. Just little old me rambling. Rambling. Haha. Ramble ramble ramble ramble. What a fun word. Ramble. Ah. I didn’t achieve much this time again. I didn’t find the secret stairs and I for sure didn’t find out what the adventurers' trick was. As far as I could see their floor clearing speed was normal. About as normal as you would expect really. They didn’t have any crazy speed boosts, no amazing magic spells other than their usual amazing magical spells, no divine blessing. Nothing. They just… walked. Hell we even took a break to feed me during the walk. What the heck, guy? I don’t get it. None of this makes any sense. I guess this stuff is just above my pay grade. Not that we get paid mind you. Being a trash-mob is more of a calling rather than a profession after a-

  The lurch. Here we go. Time for a new life already? Guess there wasn’t much fight left in the drake. I understand that. It seemed like a logical stopping point for him really. Freshly orphaned, full belly, a nice long eternal nap. Living the dream. I wonder what I’ll be this time. I guess I’ll have to work my way up to ninety-five again though. Hope I’m something with long le-

  Ah. Oh. That feels nice. My eyes shoot open as I hear the many voices around me, my short stubby legs twitching as if hot lightning shot through my bones. All I see around me is a vivid multi-coloured liquid. Elf vomit? Ugh. Gross. Wait. No. No we’re fine. It’s just white-magic. White-magic? Wait. No. Oh no. No, you didn’t? You monsters. Just let me die. LET ME DIE. Noo-!

  A pair of soft hands picks me up off of the pile of clothes I was resting on and turns me around. In horror I see her bright joyous face gazing at me with a large, gleeful smile of relief. The red glow of her rosy cheeks bright like fire. The wizard-girl says something to me I can’t understand. It feels like it was a question given her body language and the sideways cocking of her head. I feel sick. My body trembles as an unnatural shudder runs through my flesh from head to toe. Why am I alive? What have you done? This is against the natural order of the dungeon. The dungeon-master is going to be furious! Forgive me dungeon-master, I didn’t want this!

  She turns me around still holding me out in the air towards the priestess who offers me a small wave and meek smile. I roar in annoyance which she apparently thinks is cute because she waves me away with a happy face. I wasn’t thanking you, damn it! I begin to kick and thrash around trying to free myself, but I am disoriented. Weak. Dizzy. My body feels wrong and my mind feels worse. I feel squished. Compressed. Dirty. I don’t belong in this body anymore. It is rejecting me, it doesn’t want me here anymore. This isn’t my place anymore. This run was supposed to be over. I can’t blame it. I can feel it, the drake, trying to worm around underneath the great weight of my existence. Two flames burning on one wick, struggling for room, gasping for air.

  She pulls me back and hugs me again and I feel the familiar warmth of her body against my back. The other adventurers and the hero are all together around the thief girl who is casually waving them off and swinging her arms around to display that she’s fine now. The monk pats the priestess on the back apparently a little too hard because she staggers forward a bit with an awkward laugh. The kind an introvert shares with the group of extroverts surrounding them. I suppose she and the thief are the quiet ones so it makes sense they always hang around each other. I wonder what she was looking for in the gold that made it worth ignoring the fight and putting herself in such risk?

  The wizard-girl merges in with the group joining the small-talk, me still held firmly in her grasp. Still struggling and kicking I try to look around her arms, to look behind us. I want to see papa. But she won’t let me. Whether consciously or not she is facing strictly forward, her grip noticeably tighter than it was before.

As if there was something she didn’t want me to see.