Chapter 80
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Basically at this point I am just full on sprinting, burning the little energy I have left in my tiny rat body to escape. Just running and running as I look for a way out. The ice is everywhere though, the sounds of the monstrosity are everywhere. I wonder, how long have I been alive at this point? What a long life this is. I suppose the hero-party should be at the dungeon-master by now, if not they should be very close. Very, very close. Right?

 

  Just this once, I am thankful for that. Sprinting around another corner, I scan the room for any signs of an exit. For any signs of safety. I wonder, where could the secret stairs be? If they are beneath the ice I will never find them here. What a mess this floor is. But apart from the sheer horror that is my life, it’s an interesting one this time at least. I think so anyways. But yeah, I’m on a timer luckily. If the hero-party kills the dungeon-master I’ll just be able to respawn. Good as new. Hopefully somewhere nicer.

 

  The thought of being here, in this particular unpleasantness for a full ‘real’ life is pretty awful. The thought of running out of energy and slowing to a crawl, hour after hour as I starve in this frozen labyrinth, as my limbs are frostbitten and rot, as that thing crawls towards me, Follows me; those thoughts scare me. What a nightmare, yeesh. I look at the many bodies around me with no eyes and feel a great deal of sympathy for them and their last moments. I’d rather be cut in half by the hero, squished by the thief or even blown to pieces by the wizard. All of that is better than what dying on this floor would entail.

 

  I skid around another corner, listening to the sloshing grow quieter and quieter as I have now gained some ground again. But even now, I know it can hear me. It can feel the frantic heaving of my chest and the lurching pump of the heart in my breast, even now it can sense me. Taste me. It can feel my eyes. Nope!

 

As I slow down, but still don’t ever come to a full stop I wonder where my favorite adventurer is. I expected the thief-girl to be here by now as well, she’s usually hot on my heels. Then again. I know it sounds weird, but I kind of don’t want her to be here? She has nice eyes, it’d be a shame to see them get eaten.

 

Hmm. Well that sounded pretty creepy. Don’t judge me, okay? I can’t help the way the dark-lord made me!

 

  Looking up I stare at a corpse before me. One of many. A skeleton. I can’t help but smirk at the oddity. I wonder what she was thinking in her last moments? Then again, skeletons don’t really think, so. Guess not much. How strange though.

 

  There’s something else that’s bothering me. Didn’t the hero-party clear this floor? Didn’t they come through here? So why is that thing still alive? I mean, sometimes they skip creatures that are out of the way. It happens. We all have things to do, places to be. It’s a busy life down here, I get it. But… I listen to the sloshing slowly begin to resound around me once more. I feel like that creature is hard to miss, you know?

 

  There aren’t any other trash-mobs here as far as I can tell. There’s just… it. It and any all of the corpses in the walls. All of the eyes in the walls. Also, where are those stairs? Apart from the stairway I came up out of that trapped me here, I haven’t seen them yet and… I look up at the dark-furred minotaur above me trapped in the ice. The one I have seen before. And I’m going in circles. I’ve been over this entire floor by now it feels like. Where are those stairs? Not even the fake ones; no, the real ones. I haven’t seen them. Why am I not fading away yet? Haven’t they killed the dungeon-master? Where is the thief-girl, isn’t she chasing me? Why isn’t my map working here?

 

  At the way I went right before I now turn left, going down the other branch in hopes of finding something, anything except ice. Anything except eyes. Anything except the sound of sloshing meat, coming closer and closer from all directions. I hate this place. I wish I could have stayed with the cultists longer, they seemed fun you know?

 

  But those thoughts don’t distract me long from the doubts in my mind. The feeling that something is off. Something is wrong somewhere in the universe. Somewhere in this life of mine, in the dark, nagging corner of my brain that I can’t reach with active thinking, there is a tiny voice telling me one thing. Telling me that something is wrong. Very wrong. Something feels off and it knows what it is, but it can’t speak to me in words so instead it screams and bangs on the walls of my mind. But I can’t understand its primal shouts of dread. Real communication issues, you know? The basis of any healthy relationship is communication, guy. Remember that next time you talk to yourself.

 

  Instead of processing my feelings I decide to do the next best thing and ignore them entirely, opting instead to think about other more pleasant things. Like the queen. I miss her. I love queen-queen, you know? I wonder if I can ever make her like me again. Fondly I think back to the time I got to sit on her lap and be pet. What a life. I notice I feel a pang of jealousy at the same time though, then I realize that this rat is jealous of my last rat’s life. Haha, sorry guy.

 

  Walking past a frozen glob of green in the wall I notice it’s a hidden-village slime. What an oddity. It doesn’t even have eyes, so I suppose it's one the luckier creatures to be trapped here. Guess it just froze and that was it. How it got here though, dunno. Hard to say.

 

  After a few more minutes of walking through the bitter cold however, I come to a realization that I find rather unpleasant. As I stand there in the middle of the hallway, looking up at the same minotaur again as twice before now, as I realize, I can’t seem to find any stairs anywhere. Not real, ones. Not fake ones. Nothing.

 

  That nagging feeling arises again in my breast. That questioning voice that is making me wonder. Making me wonder why haven’t I faded out yet? Is the hero-party taking a day off today or something? Or is something wrong? Is something different I wonder as I stare down a hallway, down the last path I have left to take of the three; as the squelching around me grows louder and louder.

 

I have to wonder if I’m still even in the dungeon anymore?


Ooh, another even 10 chapters. Fancy! If you have the time and haven't already, please consider reviewing this story and rating the other reviews. I feel like that's a fair ask after 80 chapters, no? =)

We're getting higher and higher in the rankings. I can already taste victory. It tastes like eyes 👁️.👁️

 

*~+---SPECIAL THANKS---+~*

Henry Morgan,  Shadowsmage, The Grey Mage, Spencer Seidel

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