Chapter 53: The Plan
The group waited for Brandi and Thomas to return with the bats. While waiting, Derek pulled Gracefall’s storage ring out of his bracelet and went through it. There was some good stuff in the ring, but Derek could only sigh because he knew he would not be keeping any of it.
“I goooot them.” A small, feminine voice rang out behind them. When Derek turned around, he saw Brandi and Thomas back from their task. “That was hard, they were scattered everywhere.” Brandi said.
Derek just nodded and smiled. “It’s good that you thought to collect them, they are all level 100. You should be able to make some good stuff.”
Brandi’s eyes shone. “That’s great.”
“Okay, it’s time to go. We’ve been away from the village for too long already. I’m sure that someone probably thinks that the adventurers ran into trouble by now.” Derek said, and the rest of the team agreed.
“Let’s go.” He walked forward and placed his hand back on the dungeon orb. The others followed, mimicking his movement. Soon, the orb found that everyone was there and gave him the options. Just to make sure, he checked the status of the dungeon. The status had changed from ‘Extreme Overflow’ to ‘Stable.’ Relieved, he let out a breath.
Rayna also looked happy, as she must have also checked the dungeon status. “Now, we can only hope that this stops the spread of the disease.”
Derek nodded and focused his attention on ‘Leave Dungeon.’ The countdown began, and before too long, the light overtook them and they disappeared.
The team soon found their footing, and they were back at the dungeon entrance. A notification appeared in Derek’s vision, but he promptly ignored it to focus on what had to be done next. He looked around for the best place to use for his plan. Not far in the distance, he found a tree. Actually, upon looking, he could tell that the tree had already begun to heal itself, and the dreadful aura that had been emanating from the dungeon orb had lessened considerably. It was now almost nonexistent.
Derek walked over to the tree. After a shake of his hand, the noble’s body appeared. He gently sat the body down, leaning it against the tree. Then, he took two storage rings, one of his own and the one Thomas gave him, and laid them onto the lap of the corpse.
Following that, Derek pulled the storage ring that belonged to the noble out. He began pulling out health potions that the man had stored. Bringing one to his mouth, he tested it to make sure that it was a healing potion. He removed some empty flasks from his own bracelet and emptied all the healing potions into his own vials. No sense in letting all this go to waste.
After emptying all the noble’s health vials, he dropped half of them on the ground beside the corpse. Then, he took about a third of what he assumed was mana potions from the noble’s ring. Verifying their contents, he stored them into his own bracelet. Got to make it look like he at least used up a bit of his supplies while in the dungeon.
Derek continued doing small things like this for around ten minutes. Soon, he found that everything looked ready. Grabbing the hand that the ring was originally worn on, he placed the ring back on. It pained him that he was going to be losing three storage rings at once, but with his new Void Storage, it made it somewhat easier.
Now for the final steps. Derek poured mana into his storage bracelet once again. This time, the severed hand of the Acidic Ghoul appeared. Carefully, he took the tip of the blade-like fingernail and cut a small slit into the side of the corpse’s neck. The acid began doing its thing immediately.
Why did I have to break this guy’s neck? It would have been easier if he would have died of internal injuries. At least then I could have let the acid run rampant in his body without having to worry too much. Derek carefully watched the acid spread. Soon, it was through the body’s neck and began eating away at its spine. The break in the neck soon vanished.
Here goes. Derek began casting Cure Toxin on the acid. The acid visibly slowed, but continued eating through the body. Soon, he cast the spell again, then again, then again. After a few more casts, the acid slowed to a crawl. At this rate, it will be weeks, maybe even months, before the acid is able to spread through to the rest of the corpse.
Based on his previous experience with the acid, Derek had made it look like the healing potions and the few poison cures he had found had healed the man long enough that the spread of the acid had been reduced. Unfortunately, the adventurer seemed to have run out of potions before the acid had run its course.
Other materials laid beside the noble, making it seem like he tried everything he could to remove the acid. There were remains of clothing where he had tried to wipe it off, only to spread it further. It was too bad that in his panic, he never thought about trying to cut the toxin out. If he would have done so before it spread, he would have been able to heal himself from the self-inflicted surgery.
Or at least, this is what the carefully laid story seemed to tell. Derek looked down at his finished project and nodded. I think this is as good as I’ll be able to do. Hopefully, they don’t send someone out who investigates things like this for a living.
After finishing, Derek turned and looked at the others, who had been quietly watching him all the while. Rayna visibly shuttered when his gaze caught hers. “Remind me not to piss you off in the future.” She said.
Derek laughed. “Noted.” He continued. “Brandi, come here. The rest of you, make your way out of this clearing. I don’t see or hear anything, but you should still be careful. I’m going to cover our tracks, then follow you out.” The group all consented, then began slowing moving back into the forest.
Derek lifted Brandi up and began removing the traces of their team from the clearing. Soon, they were all back in the forest and Derek had caught up. “Alright. It’s time to head back to the village. Let’s see if we can’t get this girl to level 10 while we’re at it.”
With that, the group’s dungeon farming was over. It was time to head home.
One week later, a group of tired individuals stepped out of the forest. They had hurried back and had not gotten good rest in the last week, well, they had not gotten good rest for far longer than that, but the anticipation of returning home had made them all fidgety and kept them from having a good rest while in the forest.
“Finally! We’re out!” Brandi jumped for joy. She had been level 10 for over four days now, but Derek had talked her into waiting until she got home before choosing her class.
“Almost back. I hope the village has been doing well while we were gone.” Rayna said. She was clearly nervous about her village. She and Derek had gotten a lot closer during their time in the dungeons. She did not act anywhere near as cautious around him now as she did before. She had actually hit level 50 too and was waiting to return before upgrading her class.
“A bath. That would be nice.” Thomas said. Derek was happy with the boy’s progress. He had matured quite a bit since the first dungeon he ran with him. He had taken to the spear quite nicely. It was almost like the weapon was made specifically for him.
“Something other than monster meat would be good too.” Malorie spoke up. She had never expected to reach level 30 in her lifetime. Now, she was the second strongest person in the village, and she loved using the bladestaff.
“I’m just disappointed that the unicorn boar meat tasted identical to regular pork. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon and pork chops as much as the next guy, but I was hoping for something… magical.” Derek replied. Derek had actually had quite a bit of fun on these dungeon runs. It was the first time in a long time that he felt good in a group. He actually looked forward to chatting a bit with the bartender back in the village.
“It would be nice to sleep on an actual bed.” Derek said. He had been lookout the whole time they were gone, so he spent the majority of his time in meditation. It was about time for him to actually get a good night’s sleep.
Soon, the group arrived at the outskirts of the village. Rayna sighed in relief at the sight. “Whew. At least it’s still standing.” She said as they walked towards the front gate.
The normal duo of guards were waiting in their positions when they approached. The gates opened without a word and the team walked inside. The guards greeted Rayna before closing the gates behind them and getting back to their duty.
“Finally! Come on, let’s see what I get.” Brandi yelled and began sprinting to her residence.
Derek smiled and jogged behind. This was something that he was quite interested in too.