Bitter 108

The next chamber was another square room with exits north, south and east. Britta was hugging the edge of the map, working her way towards the top, hoping there’d be an exit in the corner. If it weren’t for the psycho dwarf, this dungeon would have been quite boring, even for beginners. No loot, no variety, one kobold.

Of course, that was assuming this was all normal and not some glitch caused by her presence.

Britta moved onto the next room, avoided more trip wires, and eventually came to the last room on the west side of the map. Now there were only two tunnel entrances; the one she came through and one going east. There was no sign of a way out.

She listened for any sounds but heard nothing, which was both good and at the same time kind of eerie.

She opened the map. She had gone west and up, missing out the middle. The east side was all filled in and showed Stan’s marker on the move. He was moving very fast, which suggested he was being very cavalier, or something was chasing him. He wasn’t heading in her direction, which was a relief.

If he had tried to bring the dwarf over to her, she would have left the party so he couldn’t see her on his map, but she still wasn’t sure he was a bad guy. He had done some iffy things, but this was obviously an unusual situation very probably caused by her, so she was still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. For now.

If the exit wasn’t at the top, it was probably central and well-defended. There were bound to be more traps at the very least, and more kobolds. What she needed was a scout.

She checked her mana levels and then cast Shadow Guardian again. Nothing happened. She tried again with the same result. Was the shade avoiding her? Could spells refuse to be cast?

“No questions, I just need you to help me out of here,” she said to the empty room. She tried once more.

The shade materialised, an inky black blob floating in front of her. Britta resisted the urge to demand answers.

“Find the exit, don’t set off any traps, make a note of any monsters. Double speed.”

The shade flew off down the east tunnel. Britta huddled in a corner of the room in the hope she wouldn’t be noticed by any passing unpleasantness. She kept her map open.

The shade was visible as a black dot. New rooms and connecting tunnels appeared as the shade made its way towards the middle. Stan was headed towards the same place from the other side. They would both get there at around the same time.

Britta checked her mana. It was getting low. Enough for the shade to get back, but she wouldn’t have much left and she didn’t have any potions left.

The shade reached the middle and a much larger room appeared on the map, three to four times as big as the one she was in. Stan entered the room just as the shade left to head back. Had they seen each other?

The shade returned in a few seconds. It had an arrow sticking out of its back.

“Are you okay?” Britta pulled the arrow out. It was one of Stan’s. The shade seemed to be alright, though. It wasn’t bleeding, but then it probably didn’t have any blood.

“Physical damage is negligible. Exit is marked on your map. Route without traps is also marked.”

Britta looked at her map. There was a white square in the middle room and a circuitous line showing the way. Stan’s marker was no longer visible.

“What else is in the room?” she asked the shade.


“Any treasure chests or valuables?”


“Thank you,” said Britta.

“You’re welcome.” The shade disappeared.

She would definitely need to sit down and have a serious talk with her shady friend, but for now she wanted to concentrate on getting out of here.

The strange thing was the lack of any treasure. Was it really that basic a dungeon that there wasn’t any loot? She considered opening a chat with Stan, but decided to wait. He was already out, by the looks of things.

She followed the line the shade had marked for her, moving quickly, confident there would be no traps. She reached the room without problem and found herself in a large hall with statues of dwarves carved into the walls.They were huge, which was very undwarflike.

And right in the middle of the room was a hole with stairs leading down. It wasn’t an exit out, it was an exit to the next level.

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