Chapter 30: Dungeon? What Dungeon?
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Zeruna uses psionics to move the trees from her way, behind her are Vidir, Tina and Aema. They weave in and out of trees and over roots that sprawl themselves across the ground. Said ground is damp and blanketed in a thick mossy layer that consumes your foot if you press down too much. Covering the trees were fungi of all shapes and sizes. The air was so dense that it began to choke the four. 

Zeruna suddenly raises her arms as she ducks down, causing the other three to duck in conjunction. Her ears begin to rotate like a rabbit as they listen to the sounds of the forest. Tina's slightly smaller ears begin doing the same.. Slowly and carefully, Zeruna draws the bushes open to reveal a creature. 

A creature that doesn't have a name but is often referred to as Doom Shrooms by adventurers due to their appearance and their abilities to suicide bomb people if they near death. They have a gaping maw full of jagged and nightmarish teeth that could tear through an average person's arm off like butter. No wonder the trees are covered in so many fungi. These nightmarish creatures spores latch onto and drain trees of their nutrients and eventually make new Doom Shrooms.

This is another creature that Zeruna didn't want to engage in any way. 

"Amy, take out the Doom Shroom. You're a magic archer, thus, I wish to assess your skills," Zeruna whispers extremely quietly.

"I've never killed someone before," replies Aema timidly.

"Look at that thing, does that thing look human to you?" Zeruna returns. "This creature will and has killed animals and possibly humans to grow to that size. I crafted that bow for you to use so please do use it."

"It doesn't have a string to pull back on."

"You're meant to create the string from mana. You then create an arrow from mana and imbue it with an effect if you so wish."

"I, ah, okay."

Aema holds the handle of her bow with her left hand and pulls back. In her right hand, appears a thin string of light that stretches from both wings of the bow like how a bowstring would. A yellow arrow appears attached to the bowstring, its appearance similar to the hand casted version of a magic missile. Aema takes a deep breath and sharpens her eyes as she aims her bow at the Doom Shroom.

She leases the bowstring and the magical arrow soars through the air towards the unaware Doom Shroom and hits it directly in the eye killing it instantly. Zeruna dearly wishes she could say that.

Instead, the arrow hits a nearby tree, causing a loud magical explosion startling the Doom Shroom and causing it to immediately route. Before it could escape, Zeruna shreds the creature with nine sharp Psionic waves she was preparing the entire time; it's almost as if she half predicted something like this could happen.

[Killed Red Cap Doom Shroom, 15 SP gained

Current SP amount is 941]

"You missed?" spits Tina. "I expected more from you."

"That was disappointing. It was a STILL target! How did you miss it? Honestly, it requires skill to miss that bad!" Vidir yells. 

He would've continued if tears didn't begin to well up in Aema's eyes, "I haven't used my m-magic in over a c-century! Cut me some slack."

"Just don't let it happen again," Vidir mumbles. "We're more embarrassed than you. To be associated with someone so ditsy ruins my reputation."

"First, you don't have any reputation, you've just got here. Second, to us, you're the stupid midget who could die in a single hit. At least Amy's slightly competent, and not a total buffoon," says Tina.

"Tina–"

"If you're going attack me, call me Merille you fool."

"Merille... I can't think of anything, but I'll get you."

Tina rolls her eyes at the Dwarf;  her reaction only increases his resolve and his focus on thinking up an insult. 

They continue to traverse the dense foliage, occasionally stopping to kill a low-level monster. Aema's aim doesn't improve; she is yet to kill a monster so far. The closest she got to eliminating a monster was grazing the cheek; her other shots were far from the target.

All three of her friends were gradually beginning to lose patience and faith with her. The breaking point is Aema accidentally hitting Zeruna in the back with a magic arrow when Zeruna suggested getting Aema in a tree so she could have a vantage point. After this, she was relegated as moral support; in other words, all she was permitted to do is watch and stay silent.

There wasn't anything strange so far; however, there was the occasional rustle of the bushes and strange foreign scent in the air.

As the four were rounding a tree, they encountered a clear and tranquil clearing. In the centre of the clearing is a wooden cabin with a brick chimney. There must be someone who dwells there, a hunter maybe? No, the lord owns the lush forests in this area, so hunting here isn't exactly illegal. This area is relatively dangerous so whoever lives here must have guts.

"Perhaps they know the source of this magical phenomenon if there is one," Zeruna says.

"What do you mean by that?" asks Aema trying to speak without tearing up.

"Your speaking right has been revoked until you hit something," utters Tina..

'She hit me.'

"Agreed," Tina adds. "So much magical power and potential, and yet, you can't even use it efficiently."

"You're a disgrace to magic casters worldwide," continues Tina.

"Well, I never got formal training," Aema squeaks.

"I'll train you when we get back to Tevin," states Zeruna.

Zeruna approaches the wooden abode and knocks very softly on the door to ensure she doesn't accidentally destroy it with her strength that she is still learning to control. There is no answer for a few seconds; however, both the Elves hear activity on the inside. 

From the door comes a young and tall man, he has black hair and dark brown eyes. His hair is a state of absolute calamity and completely contrasts his sharp and narrow eyes that give of a feeling of confidence. The fact that he has no shoes on and his hair suggest that he has just recently awoken.

"Greeting, I am Shi Amare, and this is my adventurer group," Zeruna introduces.

"What is that you want?" he grumbles.

"I'm sure you're aware of the town Rigis, correct?" 

"Indeed."

"Well recently, there was a strange wave of mana detected. My employer, a rich landowner, wishes to know what caused the wave. He suspects that it could be a dungeon, as do we," explains Zeruna.

The man shows a look of shock for a few seconds. He then cups his chin and ponders on the adventurer's words, "I haven't seen anything suspicious or harmful around my area. Actually, that's a lie, Doom Shrooms are still a pain the ass. Nothing out of the ordinary, though. I can't say the say for other places, however."

"Do you about the other areas anything around there? Like animals running from certain parts of the forest."

"Nope, sorry I could be of any help."

"No pr–"

From behind the door bursts a red-haired female in a revealing nightgown. "Something wrong here?"

"Oh my," Vidir says with a wide grin.

"Keep your eyes to yourself, Dwarf," the woman hisses.

"Ah, sorry for intruding at such an inconvenient time," Zeruna apologies, almost dying in laughter. If she didn't have a mask on, everyone would see her puffed-up cheeks begging to let out the air.

"No, no, no, no, it's not what it looks like!" the man sputters frantically.

"Sure looks like something's happening," comments Vidir.

"This is odd," utters Tina.

"Yes, it is what it looks like!" the woman yells. "My darling here was expertly pounding my a–"

"S-stop!" the man pushes the woman back inside, his cheeks lighting up to a cherry red colour. 

""Ara, ara,"" say Zeruna and Aema in sync.

"A thousand apologies," utters the man. "She's always like that with new people."

"Sounds like a pain," Tina remarks. "At least you're not dealing with this Dwarf."

"I'm right here shortie," Vidir murmurs.

"Again, sorry for the interference, stay safe sir," Zeruna says.

"Let me assure you that me and my friend are perfectly capable of handling ourselves," replies the man bitterly.

Zeruna and the man shake hands before leaving. The four-member party then turn and continue their search. It doesn't take long for Tina to question why Zeruna didn't question the man more. Zeruna responds immediately and states she already scoured the man's mind while they were conversing and he had no information available.

For what seems like hours, they continue to search for anything that is out of place with no luck. Detection magic brings back no relevant results; the only thing it finds is more monsters. Zeruna has been allowing Vidir to get the majority of the kills to level him up. To help with this, Zeruna uses her skills Aura of Inspiration to increase damage and exp gain. However, with a level of 396, it'll still take a considerable amount of time to catch up.

Aema is still unable to speak, and at this point, whenever she does, she is merely ignored by Vidir and Tina. Most likely because one of her arrows struck Zeruna in the back.

After searching for a good four hours, Zeruna concludes that the forest doesn't have anything to do with the strange mana waves. No sooner than this thought crossed her mind, there is an ear splitting explosion not too far from them. 

Howeer, this explosion is different. Instead of the explosion pushing them away, it drags them towards the source. It throws everyone off balance, even dragging Zeruna a few metres through the dirt. The trees are affected by the strange suction as they bend towards the point of origin; some are nearly dragged from their roots. Everyone stays on the ground for a few seconds, utterly dumbfounded.

'Was that a vacuum explosion?'

Zeruna gets up and begins sprinting towards the source of the vacuum explosion. 

She skids to a stop, her eyes bulging wide as she gawks forward. It's the clearing where the hunter and his wife were residing; except now, there is a flawlessly cut cube in the dirt. Zeruna leans down and examines at the wall. The dirt is cut so accurately that it appears smooth.

Aema, Vidir and Tina catch up moments later, and they see the bizarre and fascinating site. They then look to Zeruna who has her legs dangling over the edge as she looks at the cubic crater. She's obviously in intense thought. Although they couldn't see her eyes, there is no doubt that they are narrowed and scanning the entire area intensively.

'Teleportation magic, but there were no spells in Chroniks that caused damage like this. This spell is incredibly powerful to be able to teleport a house; however, it is rough and unrefined. It took some the molecules from the air creating a tremendous vacuum. It must have been the work of that man or the woman. They could be associated with the dungeon master, or one of them could be the dungeon master. Majin can alter their form so they could be in disguise as a human. This needs to be investigate.

But first...'

Zeruna suddenly stands up and extends her hands to the trees. From them come a group of adventurers, a brown-haired female, a young blonde male that sort of resembles the king, a male with short black hair and a bald old man.

Zeruna wraps a tight Psionic grip around them. 

"No, no, no, no, I could've sworn I heard more of you," mumbles Zeruna.

An arrow flies from the treeline and towards Zeruna. However, the arrow is merely bounces of off Zeruna's cape as if the clothing was constructed of metal. Tina blasts a low-level fireball spell back to the origin of the arrow. The shriek of pain is confirmation that Tina hit her target.

"Why are you following us?" asks Zeruna.

"We won't say, big woman," says the female.

"Then I will make you talk," Zeruna's tone turns to one with a sadistic edge. "It is clear that you intend to harm my allies, thus I have no reason to hold back. Perhaps you may even know what is happening here."

First chapter of 'I refuse to be a helpless damsel will be published around the 3rd October so look out for that. We also reached 1000 favourites and 69420 views. Today is truly nice.

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