Bitter 53

The tunnel was cold and damp but, the spongy moss made it feel like she was floating along. She moved the ball of light around, scanning the ground in case there was a hole or plant that might trip her up. Or there might be a trap.

This was supposed to be where she was meant to go, to meet her god, apparently, but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be obstacles in her way. It was also a test. She needed to be prepared for some kind of challenge. Hopefully a verbal one, but it could just as well be a fight with a large fungus monster.

She wondered why the Great Gnome in the Sky was down here. She also wondered if it was a giant giant, or just giant in comparison to normal gnome size.

Up ahead, there was an archway at the end of the tunnel. Its outline was clearly illuminated. Not brightly, but enough of a glow to indicate there was some kind of lighting in the chamber it led to.

Britta stopped and considered her options. She could just walk in and see what was in there. If it was dangerous, she’d have to react on the spot.

On the other hand, she could try using one of her spells to aid her.

She opened her status screen and tapped the Shadow Guardian spell. A screen opened detailing what the Shadow Guardian could do. Nothing new, although there was no mention of how fast it used up her mana, something that had only become obvious when she summoned it last time.

“How much MP does the Shadow Guardian use?” she asked not too loudly, in case there were sharp-eared monsters nearby.

Shadow Guardian cost 10 MP to cast and 1 MP per minute to remain summoned, said the voice.

It didn’t seem right that this information wasn’t in the original description. She shook her head and checked her MP. She had 37 MP left after casting Glamor. That meant she could keep the Shadow Guardian active for 27 minutes which was a reasonable amount of time. But if she used up all her MP, she wouldn’t have any left to cast any other spells.

She also had a vial of blue liquid from the last gift box which she could use to replenish her MP, so that was something to bear in mind, too. There was a lot of resource management in running around killing monsters, it turned out.

Britta summoned the shade. It was even harder to see its form in the darkened tunnel.

“Go into the cave up ahead and check for any living creatures. Hidden mode. And as quick as you can.” Maybe there was speed mode they hadn’t told her about as well.

The shade floated away and disappeared from sight. She waited as the time passed by. It returned after a few minutes.

“No signs of life in the cave,” it said in its croaky voice.

Nothing in there? Or just nothing living? “Describe the cave.”

“Fifty metres in diameter. Illumination provided by luminescent toadstools. A large chair in the centre of the open area. A figure seated on the chair.”

“Describe the figure.”

“Three metres tall. Gnome-like.”

It really was a pain trying to extract information from these computer characters, whether they were people in the town or apparitions summoned by magic. Did it really have to be so hard to get a simple answer to a simple question?

“Is the gnome in the cave dead?”

“There is no gnome in the cave,” said the shade.

Britta sighed. “Is the gnome-like creature in the cave dead?”

“It is neither dead or alive.”

Well, it was a god, supposedly, so maybe that’s why it counted as neither.

She desummoned the shade. She still had 21 MP. Enough MP to cast her other spells, if she needed to. She decided to play it safe. She cast Mirror on herself, creating a second Britta, and then drank the blue liquid.

Now she had a decoy and a full tank of gas. She was as prepared to meet God as she was ever going to be.

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