The Runesmith - Chapter 261: Helpless Adventurers

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Chapter 261: Helpless Adventurers


“Where the hell did these bastards come from? Why are there so many of them?”


Armand shouted while punting one of the blazing skeletal monsters away. To his dismay even though his opponent's body shattered from the powerful kick it just collided with a wall made of bones. This barrier of walking skeletons slowly closed in on them in this confined space.


“Just shut up and keep them away from the middle!”


Lobelia shouted while she and Jasmine continued firing arrows toward the monster’s weak points. This was not as easy as with the Flaming Skeleton variants that roamed the upper levels. The lesser versions of these skeletons were quickly dispatched by just shattering their flaming heads. These blazing ones on the other hand were more varied.


The weak point was still indicated by the flames but these spread out from their rib cages and spread throughout their whole body. With Lobelia’s keen eyesight she could see where these flames were focusing from. This was the weak spot that needed to be struck to defeat them. If the weak point wasn’t hit then the monsters could still move even if their bodies were shattered.


This was happening to the ones Korgak the half-orc was contending with. The large green man was just swinging a large two-handed battle axe around. Some of the monsters that were cleaved in half continued with their assault by crawling on the ground. He had to continuously crush their heads and chests with his feet to finally defeat them.


“We can’t just stay here, we need to push through, can you do it?”


Even though some of the skeletons could be tossed down into the chasm it was also somewhere they would end up if this continued. Lobelia could only think of one possibility and that was to use Armands and Wedamir’s strength to push the blazing skeletons aside while making a run for it.


Both of them had skills that could temporarily enhance their power and speed. In theory, it could work as their enemies were still only lower tier 2 monsters that were made up of bones. They weren’t all that heavy so pushing them aside through a combined effort wasn’t that outlandish.


“Need me to make some space?”


Armand looked at Wedamir who just nodded and pushed the tower shield he was holding towards the monsters. The tactic was easy, the dwarf would go first, and then Armand would burst through the middle right after. His martial artists-like skills required a bit of a charge-up but they were quite powerful. While he was gathering the required energy resource that his class specialized in, the dwarf was slowly pushing the monsters away with the help of his defensive skill.


Wedamir’s body gave off a faint blue glow as his skill was activated. His steps became slower but each time he took it the ground started to crack. The monsters that tried pushing toward him found themselves unable to, it was as if he had become a moving wall that they couldn’t get through.


The skill that Wedamir was using was called ‘Moving Fortress’ and allowed the tank from the party to increase their weight while also producing an area of impenetrable force around them. The increase in mass and density allowed the user to shrug off a lot of attacks and also go against larger beasts without getting knocked away. In this case, it was enough to push the mass of skeletons away while also managing to make them fall into the chasm.


Yet it had a downside of using up a lot of the skill user’s stamina in the process. The longer Wedamir kept it up the more out of breath he became. But his aim was not to push these monsters away but to force more of them into one concentrated area. Then it would be up to Armand who had a more penetrative skill at his disposal.


Soon it was time, Armand’s whole body began to expand and his skin became dark crimson. More veins than usual appeared as he had to initiate one of the berserker skills that he had grown slowly accustomed to. A red aura of swirling energy surrounded him and condensed around his shoulder area which would be used to focus most of the power too.


“Korgak, get ready, we are going to make a run for it!”


Korgak that had to contend with the backline alone, was already bleeding. Only thanks to his vitality and stamina was he able to last this long while going against a swarm of skeletons with almost no help from the others. After the signal was given he was quick to deliver a ferocious side cleave to the charging skeletons before turning around and running.


At the same time, he could see Armand taking off towards the condensed group of skeletons that were forced together by their dwarven ally. Armand’s enlarged body was giving of steam along with a strange reddish aura. This aura had formed into a face of a tiger that formed around the shoulder area that would be the initial point of impact.


Armand bolted forward while leaving the imprints of his feet on the hard rocky floor. Wedamir on cue stepped to the side to not get hit as he knew that his human friend would not be able to change his trajectory after activating this skill of his. A roar that sounded like a tiger flew by him and collided with the wall of skeletons.


It was working, the monsters were too feeble to block the ferocious tackle. It seemed that the group would be getting out of this alive. If they managed to get through the boney roadblock it was smooth sailing from there. Yet this wouldn’t be happening, about half way through the charge Armand noticed something, there was a spike in mana that even people without a proper mana sense skill could feel.


“What the!?”


He shouted as he collided with a wall made of bones. This barrier wasn’t that simple, it was composed of not only bones but some kind of green swirling flames. When Armand connected with it he could feel as if he collided with something made from magical metal. Instead of getting through, he could feel his own body breaking.


With all his might he tried giving it all but his momentum was stopped and instead of getting through he got injured himself. The rebound from this collision tossed him back into the arms of his dwarven companion that wasn’t far behind.


“Oh no, Armand!”


Lobelia screamed out as she could see her brother’s right shoulder and whole arm getting limp. Blood sprouted from it and was followed by a small fountain from his mouth. Their escape attempt had failed but the wall of flaming bones wasn’t the only surprise. Normally they expected the blazing skeletons to attack them immediately when they now had the chance.


“Wait… why did they stop?”


Instead of going right after them, the monsters halted their attack. Soon the group released why, the reason for them to halt, and for the wall of bones appeared before them. The monster that was probably responsible for the disappearances of the adventurers was there and it was not something that they were expecting.


“Is… is that a Lich?”


Jasmine stuttered as she was the first one to spot the monster that was floating above the whole scene. After the blocking spell was cast it made itself known to the adventurer party and it was clearly stopping its minions from attacking them.


“Why would a tier 3 monster be in this dungeon? Did the guild lie to us?”


Lobelia looked toward the floating necromancer that was just there staring at them. Even though she couldn’t identify the creature through an identification skill it was an obvious tier 3 monster. It was possible for a skeletal mage-type monster to exist but this one was certainly not acting like one.


Those variants were not able to control other skeletons, the ones that could were Liches and they only existed from tier 3 and onwards. The strategy was always to get rid of the Lich that was controlling the swarm of minions. They could multiply their ranks without an end and were considered more dangerous than most tier 3 monsters of the same level.


“Fuck, this doesn’t look good…”


Armand gritted his teeth while slowly getting of the ground. While the enemies stopped moving a different spectacle was taking place. Their master radiated a strange green flame that seeped into the destroyed minions. Soon the cracks that formed in their white bodies started mending themselves and the small army was quickly restored. All the ground that they managed to take back had been taken away.


“Should we try going the other way?”


Asked Jasmine while looking towards Korgak that was looking to the others for aid.


“I don’t think that thing will let us escape you saw that wall of bones… we might be royally fucked here…”


Lobelia commented while glaring at the monster. Both sides were blocked and running away was probably not an option. She expected the monster to put up another barrier if they went the other way. The small amount of space they had to move was the main problem here. The chasm was wide and also very deep, it was certain death if they fell down there.


However, Lobelia remembered something from the past. There was a person that managed to get back alive from a fall here and she knew him. Perhaps it was worth taking the plunge instead of contending with all of these monsters. Both options were really bad, either die from falling down or be devoured by undead creatures.


“If Wayland did it then perhaps…”


She looked towards the darkness that was below. All of her instincts were telling her that it was a bad idea. Perhaps it was better to toss themselves against these monsters, even with the tier 3 monster there one person might still make it out alive.


To her surprise when she was glancing down another option presented itself to her. Her eyesight was one of the best here and without it, Lobelia wouldn’t be able to see it. Yet there it was, a light at the end of the tunnel. The monster they were against was also acting strange as it stopped in its tracks and was actually looking down into the chasm instead.


“Everyone, you’ll have to trust me on this one… we need to jump down and do it right now!”



“Hm…”


“Awoo?”


Roland along with Agni stepped into the underground chamber. He had come here for the usual grinding session while his spider drones mined for more minerals. After being here multiple times he had an idea of the respawn times of some of the rarer metals. The red mythril ore for instance took over a month to appear again.


This was not the problem though, as he was going through the dungeon this time around there was a decrease in monster numbers. This did not affect the sword dinosaur boss and the lesser monsters in the tunnels. However, it was affecting this place as there was not even a single salamander or a slug creature to be seen anywhere.


‘The radar isn’t picking up anything either…’


This entire area had been equipped with his map-enhancing equipment. The sensors were dug deep into the walls and even people with enhanced mana senses wouldn’t be able to tell that they were there. Roland was concerned that if this place was discovered people could also find his runic equipment.


It wouldn’t be strange if they came to him to ask why there were runic contraptions in a secret mining area. If they dug in deeper and brought some specialists the runes would be attributed to him as there always existed a pattern. This pattern could be easily recognized by higher-level rune mages or runesmiths.


Thanks to these creations of his he could extend the range of his map. There he could see a clear lack of any monster in the vicinity. This was strange as there was always at least one salamander to greet them in the main chamber and then several other monsters in the tunnel leading to the chasm. Now on the other hand there was none here and only one in the tunnel.


‘Why is that monster at the edge of the tunnel… did it go for the camouflage I made?’


That was the original entrance to the mining area that he discovered during the expedition with his brother. To prevent people from getting here from the outside he had concealed it. There, it would mostly just look like a regular rocky wall but in reality, it was fake. Now a monster was standing in the spot it was not.


Roland gave out a sigh while ordering the golems to start mining. The number of the spider golems had also increased to ten and some of them were also working on the wall leading to the other dungeon. While they got things ready here he needed to see what that monster was up to there. If he had destroyed his camouflage then it just increased the workload.


“Let’s go Agni.”


“Woof!”


To Agni, it wasn’t a problem as he never really had much to do after getting here. The monster respawned after a day and fell to his fangs quite easily. Now that the usual salamander was gone he was itching for some action.


The two went towards the corridor and Roland kept an eye on his map for any potential problems. Even before getting in he felt that something was off, the mine looked the same as always but for some reason, he wasn’t feeling it. His hunch was a bullseye as when he got to the end of the tunnel the monster was not the type he expected it to be.


“Why is that thing here…”

Blazing Skeleton Warrior L53 [ Reanimated ]

There it was, a skeletal warrior with a flaming upper body and head. It was not something that should be able to spawn here and there was also another problem. Thanks to his high analyzing skill he could pierce through the truth, this monster was not an actual dungeon monster.The reanimated part in the name implied that this monster was raised from a corpse. This body probably belonged to one of the monsters in the dungeon. A summon skeleton spell was part of the necromancer repertoire. It could create a skeleton even from a monster's body, it did not require the skeleton inside to be from a humanoid, the magic would bend it into the required shape. This one’s weapon was also made from bone which implied even further that it had been created here.


“AWooo!”


Agni was quick on the uptake and more than this monster could ever hope to defeat. It took a moment for the skeleton to have its skull chopped into pieces and its rib cage smashed. The coast was clear but what could have made this creature and why was his hole cover gone?


He took a step towards it, and the opening that he tried to hide from the outside was clearly revealed. The map-enhancing devices didn’t show any more monsters but this didn’t mean that he could just relax. It was possible for the person who conjured this skeleton to be here. Perhaps some kind of necromancer was trying to make his mining spot his new lair?


‘Did they come from outside and left the skeleton here to guard it? But a reanimated skeleton can’t survive too long without the caster being near it… wait what if…’


Roland quickly looked in the direction of the mining chamber. There his spider drones were already working on the opening to his grind spot. In it, there was a Lich monster that would in theory be able to create these types of tier 2 skeletons from the monster scattered here. Was it able to cast its spell from within its dungeon or was it able to make it out here?


Before he could examine the issue any further he noticed that some smaller rocks and dust were falling. The source of the debris was from within the chasm and when he looked up there was quite an interesting thing falling.


“Huh?”


With a quick step back he watched the upper body part of a blazing skeleton falling down. It barely missed the opening he was in and continued to fall down along with more rocks. There was something happening up there as some more skeletal remains continued to tumble down into the abyss.


Thus the only thing left to do was to activate all the magical spells that could clear away the foggy surroundings and enhance his view. For a better vantage point, he even decided to create a temporary platform with the help of earth magic that he could stand on while looking.


“... What is happening up there… are those adventurers?”


While he couldn’t totally make out who it was, there was a fight up there and the skeletons that were falling down had to belong to whoever left this one here…


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