Oliver’s heart pounded in his chest as the group made their way deeper into the dungeon. His palms were slick with sweat, and he clutched his sword tighter than ever before. The darkness was oppressive, and the silence was deafening, broken only by the echoing footsteps of his guildmates and the occasional drip of water.
As they descended the staircase spiraling down to the second level, a strong metallic smell assaulted their senses, forcing everyone to cover their noses as they descended.
Richard’s sharp senses detected something, and the rest of the party froze, listening intently for any signs of danger. His eyes scanned the surroundings as his mind worked to identify the source of the disturbance.
Oliver’s heart pounded in his chest as Richard cautiously entered the dark room, torches illuminating the grisly scene. In front of them, a group of 20 goblins feasted on a pile of corpses, ripping off chunks of flesh and using the armor as a trophy. Oliver and the others gagged and retched at the sight, but Richard and Raphael remained unfazed, their eyes reflecting their skill and determination.
“These goblins are far smarter and more cunning than the ones on the first floor,” Richard explained. “They saw how many adventurers come through this passage and decided to catch them off guard.”
Richard drew his sword, and with swift, fluid movements, he cut through the goblins as they ate and danced around the corpses.
“How did they get down here?” Amelia asked Raphael.
“We came down through one of a few hundred entrances to the second level. Some connect to this stairwell,” Raphael replied. “This means there are only around 10 stairwells to each level.”
Oliver shuddered at the thought of being ambushed from behind and kept his guard up as they ventured deeper into the dungeon. The stench of blood and death hung heavy in the air, and he struggled to keep his stomach from churning.
“Let’s keep moving. Charles and Oliver, loot the goblin and adventurer’s bodies for anything they have. Leave their weapons and take any supplies, money, or other valuables,” Richard instructed. “I’ll scout ahead. Don’t split up, or we might end up like them.”
After gathering the loot, they continued onward, their footsteps echoing through the tunnels. Oliver felt like they had been walking for hours, though he knew it had only been a few minutes. The darkness seemed to stretch on endlessly, and the occasional drip of water only added to the eerie atmosphere.
As they approached the next intersection, Amelia spotted something moving in a small hole in the wall. Richard and Raphael investigated, their weapons at the ready, but it turned out to be just a rat.
“We need to keep moving,” Richard said. “The longer we stay in one place, the more likely we are to be ambushed.”
The group pressed on, navigating the twists and turns of the dungeon. Blood smeared the walls and floor, and groups of bodies littered the tunnels. Oliver’s fear and terror grew with each passing moment.
The quiet of the underground cavern was broken by the sound of heavy footsteps echoing down the corridor. Oliver’s heart raced, and he drew his sword, motioning for the rest of the party to do the same.
“Prepare yourselves,” Richard whispered. “We don’t know what’s coming our way.”
The footsteps grew louder, and Oliver’s mind raced with possibilities. Were they about to encounter another group of adventurers, or was it something far more sinister?
As the figure emerged from the darkness, Oliver’s fear gave way to confusion. It was a man, dressed in tattered rags and covered in dirt and grime. He stumbled towards them, his eyes wild and unfocused.
“Who are you? What are you doing down here?” Richard demanded.
The man’s response was a guttural growl, and he lunged at the party, his hands reaching for their throats.
Richard tackled the man to the ground, and they struggled. As they fought, the man’s eyes gradually regained focus, and he started babbling incoherently.
“It’s a degon,” Richard said, kneeing the man’s throat to the ground while stepping on his right arm. He took out a short knife and stabbed him in the throat. “He’s dead.”
“What’s a Degon, Raphael?” Oliver asked.
“A cave sickness, that’s all I know,” Raphael replied. “Wait, am I just going to be your dictionary?”
“Yup, oh, and thank you,” Amelia snickered.
“What she said,” Luis chimed in.
“A degon is someone who survived being bitten by a goblin. Think of them like zombies. Don’t let them bite you, or this whole place will be infested,” Richard explained, correcting Raphael. “Higher-ranked adventurers that come down here call this place the degon level due to the sheer number of them.”
Everyone was amazed by Richard’s knowledge. His 20 years of experience adventuring in the caves and joining parties had brought him a wealth of knowledge.
“Hey, I’m an experienced adventurer too. It’s just that I didn’t know that,” Raphael said, seeing everyone gawking at Richard.
“Alright, Oliver and Charles, what have we collected so far?” Richard asked.
Oliver and Charles emptied their bags and displayed their loot for the group. There were a few gold coins, some valuable gems, and a couple of potions. They also found a map of the dungeon’s second level, which Richard examined closely.
“This is helpful. But we already have one,” Richard said.
They continued down the dungeon, the tension palpable as they cautiously moved through the dark and eerie space. The degons were getting more frequent, and the group had to be extra careful not to get bitten.
As they entered a large chamber, they heard a rumbling sound from deep within the room. The group drew their weapons and looked around, searching for the source of the noise.
Suddenly, a giant troll, fat and ugly, emerged from the darkness, its eyes fixed on the adventurers. Its skin was thick and leathery, and it wielded a massive club in its hand.
“Get ready, Amelia, cast protection over me! This is going to be a tough fight! Raphael, I will need sharp rock spear points shot at it while I get in close,” Richard said authoritatively, stepping forward.
The group engaged the troll in battle, Richards’s swords clanging against its thick skin. The troll was strong and fast, and its club dealt heavy-hitting blows toward Richard, which he would dodge, moving swiftly in for a strike.
Oliver, Charles, and Leon stared on in amazement as Richard moved gracefully in perfect opposition with the troll’s heavy, ugly strikes and moves as it relies on its thick skin as armor. Richard slowly dug into the skin of the beast it started to scream in pain before using the beast’s massive thick arm as a shield.
Richard, with one massive swing down, yelled with all his power to strike into the beast’s skin, trying and cut off its arm. But his sword got stuck halfway in the troll’s arm. The monster began to grin and laugh as it rose his club. Richard pulled with all his might trying to take out his sword from the arm with no luck. Getting hit into the wall by the troll’s massive club.
Amelia rushed forward to cast protection over Richard, chanting incantations and waving her hands in the air. As she did so, a glowing shield appeared around Richard, deflecting the troll’s next blow.
“Thanks, Amelia,” Richard said, getting back to his feet, wincing in pain. “Raphael, now!”
Raphael, who had been waiting for the right moment, stepped forward and shot a volley of sharp rock spear points at the troll’s exposed back. The troll howled in pain as the spears found their mark, and it turned its attention to Raphael.
“Run, Raphael!” Richard shouted, lunging forward to attack the troll once again. This time, he managed to pull his sword free from the troll’s arm and landed a deep wound on its leg.
The troll stumbled back, roaring in anger, and swung its massive club at Richard once more. Richard ducked and rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding the blow.
“Come on, you ugly brute!” Richard taunted, his voice filled with confidence. “Is that all you’ve got?”
The troll charged forward, swinging its club with all its might. Richard dodged and weaved, his swords flashing in the dim light of the chamber. The other members of the group looked on, transfixed by the battle unfolding before them.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of fighting, Richard landed the final blow on the troll’s head, and it fell to the ground with a thud. The room fell silent, except for the sound of the group’s heavy breathing.
“That was… intense,” Oliver said, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, no kidding,” Charles added.
“We did it, guys,” Richard said, a smile spreading across his face. “We took down that troll. And we did it together.”
The group cheered and hugged, relieved and exhilarated after their hard-won victory. They had faced a formidable foe and emerged victorious, a testament to their skills as adventurers and their bond as friends.
The chamber they were in was vast, with high ceilings and torches flickering along the walls. The air was thick with the smell of damp stone, and the ground was slick with moss and water. The
As the group caught their breath, they took a moment to look around and take in their surroundings.
“It’s been a few months since I have faced a troll, but I guess we were able to defeat it as a team,” Richard said.
“I didn’t expect it to be that tough,” Amelia said, her voice still shaky with adrenaline.
“But we did it. Did you all see my precision with those magic shots,” Raphael said, beaming with pride.
Richard nodded. Everyone joined in laughing. In the laughter, Oliver looked on in amazement at Richard seeing his strength and how well those three worked well.