Volume 5 – The Adventures The Young Dragonborn
Chapter #177 – The Deadliest Hopscotch Game Ever! (2)
Thirty meters long this time but it looked rather scarier than the first section.
The floor was a bit lower than the level of the threshold and was filled with a water-like substance. From the scent, Jon realized that this is a flammable substance. On the corners of the room, very small green flames were being kept lit on a few millimeters above the flammable oil surface.
This was a clear message, ‘make the slightest ripple into the oil and get your ass grilled’.
Jon had a strong urge to cry but it was already too late. In his life, he regretted giving himself the surname ‘Dare’ a few times and this is one of them. Still, he had his reputation to live up to.
Jon checked the place again and noticed that the movements sounds from a while ago came from these sections, there were some Dwarven spiders behind the walls but it seemed like they aren’t triggered yet.
Jon looked up to the ceiling and down on the oily floor and noticed something strange.
On the ceiling, there was a map for the sky constellations, the ‘Mage’ constellation was glowing then dimmed after a while, the following constellation was the ‘Shadow’ then the ‘Steed’. With every constellation glowing, some small tiles pop out of the flammable oil pool and then they go down when another constellation glow and another set of tiles pop up instead.
“So you want me to curse out loud, don’t you? Is this a Sage-Level Hopscotch?”
Jon was infuriated, he was walking on the threshold and grinding his teeth but managed to calm down at the end and started analyzing the constellations.
They were going around in an orderly fashion and nothing seemed to be wrong with them, each constellation lasted around ten seconds.
Jon started to calculate the tiles he should jump on and it seemed easier than what it looked like at the beginning. But all his plans went in shambles at the end.
The reason? Well, it is pretty simple, the ‘Serpent’ constellation. The same bloody stars he was born under.
The ‘Serpent’ constellation appeared between the ‘Tower’ and the ‘Atronach’ constellations and lasted five seconds before the circle went back to order once again.
Jon observed the next circle of constellations and this time the ‘Serpent’ appeared between the ‘Lord’ and the ‘Mage’.
“Oh boy! This is annoying!”
Jon sat down and kept observing for an hour until he understood that the ‘Serpent’ constellation was random, a pattern didn’t appear even after thirty circles.
Jon gave up and tried to focus on the regular constellations until he decided to give it a try. He waited for a constellation when the ‘Serpent’ appears as early as possible and his wish came true when it came between the ‘Lover’ and the ‘Lord’ constellations. Jon hopped on the nearest tile and jumped as fast and as skillful as he could, there were no feet restrictions this time so it was a piece of cake… until it happened.
Halfway through, Jon couldn’t go forward anymore. The tiles on the right side of the room were rather close to each other but didn’t seem to be reaching the second threshold soon.
Jon was vexed so he tried to return before the circle ends.
What made the matters worse was that the tiles behind him were getting lesser and lesser until he ran out of foothold. Now with the timer in his mind, he already had six seconds for the next circles’ first constellation, the ‘Ritual’ to come up.
Once the timer reached zero, Jon jumped towards the place where he knew that a tile should go up.
It was weird… but the tile didn’t show up!
It didn’t come out at all.
Jon had the spell ‘Haste’ on him and looked around with panic to only find that the first constellation this circle was the ‘Serpent’.
It meant that the ‘Ritual’ won’t come up for the next five seconds.
Jon was in a great deal of trouble. His vision shook and he suddenly wanted to quit as soon as possible but there was no way he could escape.
He had no options left.
With the power of his body, Jon managed to flip around in the air and succeeded to cast ‘Featherfall’ one meter above the ground.
It was a slow fall but still falling.
Jon was descending on the flammable oil just like that and he had no choice but to give it his all in his dire situation.
He burned all his Magicka and supplied the ‘Featherfall’ spell with all the power he could. His falling speed was reduced but still… was it enough?
Jon still had one card in his sleeve but he kept telling himself ‘Not just yet!’
He gritted on his teeth and spread his body horizontally to avoid any contact with the oil pool as muc–
The constellation changed!
Jon’s only thought was how to maintain his position without any contact to the oil pool. He reached his hands towards the coming tile and firmly held onto it.
With all the power of his body, Jon managed to keep himself standing on the tile with one hand. With his breath turning haggard, Jon gritted on his teeth then pushed himself in the air and flipped his body to stand on a tile. Some acrobatic moves later, Jon reached the threshold once again.
He just lost all the power in his legs and fell on his face.
“*sob* *sob* I want mommy!”
After he managed to get collected, Jon already came to a better plan.
When he was standing on his hand he managed to see the tiles from a different angle and understood one bizarre truth.
The ‘Serpent’ constellation is not there to hinder the bath, it actually was there to make it easier.
The ‘Serpent’, both in reality and in the Oil Pool Constellation, was the longest constellation even though it was made of four stars.
What Jon had to do was like how it follows.
He jumped on the nearest tile he could reach and kept waiting in the range of the ‘Serpent’s’ first star. Once it came, Jon had to wait five seconds on it before proceeding to the next, following the same pattern to the third and then the fourth.
In the end, he finished the second section with the flying colors after spending four circles on it.
Now Jon stood on the threshold between the second and the third sections.
He looked at the third section that was around fifty meters in length. This was as long as the previous two combined.
Jon didn’t find any clue on how can he go past this section. He looked on its walls and saw a lot of beautiful treasures that were sparkling like crazy.
The previous two sections also had treasures but they didn’t stand out as much as this section. The artifacts here gave off a majestic and a profound feeling as if they were crafted by a God.
Still, Jon’s eyes were set on the Dwemer Cube that can be carried in hand. Shadow gave a hint that this was the best artifact and it was indeed in the center of the most guarded spot.
The third section had all the Dwarven Spheres and Centurions staying dormant and waiting, all that with the Cube at the furthermost area in the third section guarded by three dormant Dwarven Centurions.
The Dwarven Spheres are a common form of the Dwemer Animunculi that have proven to be agile fighters and are much stronger than the smaller Dwarven Spider. Dwarven Spheres patrol ruins in a spherical form until they encounter an opponent. At this point, they will erect into their semi-humanoid form and attack. There are different kinds of Centurion Spheres. Some are armed with an extendable sword and a shield, while others have a crossbow mounted on their off-hand arm instead.
The Dwarven Centurions are heavily armored gigantic constructs with either an extendable mace on one arm or a hammer on one arm and a spring-loaded spike in the other. Some are even able to emit a scalding blast of steam. They are not as common in Dwarven ruins as the lesser Dwarven automatons.
Jon only calmed his head and started looking around the place for anything to be wary of.
He as later amazed when he found out that the whole walls and floors were all trapped with high electrical shock attacks. This was similar to the ‘Tesla Tower’ project he was planning on but it was rather meant for another purpose.
‘Odd! Now that I look at it, I never thought Lord Fyr would be so obsessed with Dwemer artifacts and mechanisms. He is a sorcerer that devoted all his years to study magic? Why is this obsession with Dwemer tech all of a sudden?’
Jon arrived at a certain point and inquired on it. Divayth Fyr was indeed not a user of Dwemer technology as Magic was his pride and joy.
The real trap shouldn’t be to awaken the large horde of the Dwarven Animunculi, they are here for distractions.
Jon checked the nearest Dwarven Centurion with detection and found a lot of its part was actually enchanted with simple enchantments.
“Let’s see, they are Resist Shock Damage and Fortify… Gravity? Why would the enchanter want to Fortify Gravity?”
Jon started thinking about the reason behind the enchantments and thought of a weird idea. He then took out a small piece of paper from his small bag and threw it into the room.
“Oh my God!”
Jon didn’t see the paper fall but fly unhindered in a straight line.
“This is… a Zero Gravity room?”