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Rated: 18+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2317135
Carter finds himself fighting with more creatures of the Tower.

*TowerG* Tower Floor 10

Carter pulled back his pock-riddled hood and let the fresh air course through his nose. He was finally alone and could show off his manly jawline. He touched his chin with his hand, rubbing his nascent chin hairs and flakes of dried blood.

The climate was warmer on this floor, and Carter began to sweat. Clouds covered the sun, so it was hot but not desert-hot. The staircase had exited at the peak of a bluff, so he was privy to the panoramic view of the floor below. Off to the south, he saw a small rain shower escaping dark, pregnant clouds. The diversity of the Tower floor's weather was unbelievable.

"What is that hideous smell?" said Carter as he twisted his head around, looking for the pile of decaying carcasses that was the source of the toxic smell. He paused for a moment and took another deep whiff.

"Oh, nature, that rotten smell is me," said Carter, plugging his nose with his fingers.

His vision focused on the green plains of the gentle rainfall. "Where there is rain, there might be a pond or lake to bath in," said Carter. He started trekking down the hill and then headed south. The land was covered with soaring green grass, yellow wheat, and tall trees spread out in small copses, allowing this floor's creatures shelter from the heat. Under one of these groups of trees, four large boars the size of cars rise to their feet to introduce themselves to their odoriferous prey.

"That would be me," said Carter to himself. He pulled out his sword, stopped walking, and waited. There is no need to bring their food to them on a golden platter. Their bodies faded under the tall grass, leaving only their large, upright, bulbous heads sticking out. Their tusks were the size of baseball bats, and their protruding teeth were very sharp and deadly.

"Dire boars," said Carter. The largest boar let out a loud grunt, and the other three boars responded by stopping. The alpha boar took a few steps forward toward Carter and stopped. It lifted his hoof up and down. The beast then let out a rather ominous grunt and rushed toward Carter. The creature was fast. Carter assumed a defensive stance and swung his sword at the appropriate time. The boar twisted his head at the last moment, and its tusk went into Carter's leg. Carter's sword bounced off its tusk, and he flew backwards and landed on his back. Carter pushed himself up just in time to skirt the beast's stabbing sharp tusks from hitting him directly. The giant boar hit him with the side of his face and knocked him down again.

"I can't fight him head-on," said Carter. His leg was bleeding, and he didn't want to use his healing yet. The Dire boar was getting cocky, and it waited until Carter was standing. It gamboled in its apparent dominance over its prey to his subordinates, who grunted with applause. After accepting its accolades, the pleased boar looked back at Carter and grunted loudly as it started to lope towards him without fear.

Carter feigned a slow sword swing and then jumped out of the way at the last moment, missing the blood-covered, deadly tusks by inches. Carter then took the opportunity and jammed his sword into the boar's shoulder. The momentum of the boar pulled the sword out before it could go deep enough to hurt it badly. The boar turned around in pain and acted a little more unhinged. The maniacal beast didn't waste time on theatrics and rushed towards Carter this time. Carter dodged the tusks again, deepening his sword into the overgrown pig's side. He held it in as long as possible, creating a big hole along its side. The Dire boar released screams of pain as it stopped and fell.

The other Dire boars screamed grunts in reprisal and then ran pell-mell towards Carter. Utilizing his knowledge of the fight with the Alpha boar, he made short work of them. The lucky bastards hit him several times with their haphazard attacks, but he killed them all by cutting their sides wide open.

Carter's haversack sucked up the coins and boar meat as he walked towards the boar's copse of trees, where they were lounging a few moments before. He slowly lowered himself to the ground and started healing slowly.

"The next level has Dire wolves," said Commander Shi.

Carter let out a small moan. "Those were only Dire Boars. How much harder are the wolves going to be?" asked Carter to himself. He stared across the Tower's floor. In the distance, a small group of Bugbears appeared on the horizon. He was starting to rethink his plan to clear every floor of its monsters.

The lights in the sky dimmed. Carter blinked a few times before realizing he was surrounded by four Dire Boars again. The Tower had Reset.

"Oh, shit," said Carter as he whipped his sword out, lifted it over his head, and shoved the tip into the head of the nearest unaware Dire Boar. It let out a scream as it fell to the ground dead. The Dire boar to the other side of Carter hit him hard with its head thrust. He flew several heads from the copse of trees into the opening. Another large hole wound appeared on his chest, bleeding profusely. He ignored the pain and killed the other three boars using his side-step technique. Given enough practice, he could kill these beasts without getting hurt. Not this time. He crawled back towards the copse of trees and laid down again. His chest turned bright white as his healing spell started to fix him up. He leaned against a solid tree and stared at the horizon.

"Lovely," said Carter. About a thousand heads away, six Bugbears were heading towards him. They must have been alerted by the noise of the fight with the Dire boars. He lifted himself slowly and readied his sword for combat. This was going to be a long day.

Several bugbear groups, Dire Boar bands, and a Giant Toad later, Carter's battle-ravaged body came upon a small cabin by a large pond. Slightly delirious from the Giant Toad's poison, the domicile could have been a fevered mirage. He knocked on the door, and nobody answered. Pushing the creaky door inwards, a table, bed, and chest came into view.

"Oh, a treasure chest," said Carter as he walked towards it. He lifted the lid, and the light exposed an empty chest. His body gave out, and he plummeted to the floor. It was a perfect ending for a perfect day.

The everlasting light poured through the windows, flickering with the leaves of a tree that covered the cabin, giving Carter a light show as he opened his eyes. There wasn't a nighttime to gauge how long he should have slept, but his body said it was enough. Carter sat up, shook his head, and looked around. He wondered how long he was out. He had no reference to tell the time in the Tower. As he lifted himself, a dark stain made of blood, dirt, and sweat appeared on the floor.

"That took a while to sully the floor," thought Carter.

The ordinary cabin wasn't a mirage but a cozy cabin built next to a stagnant pond in the middle of a magical and dangerous Tower.

His mana had returned, and he started to mend his several wounds. He wondered why he was still alive.

The wooden chair beside the stone-top table creaked as he sat on it. A small, dirty window dulled his view of the pond and the surrounding area.

"Something's wrong with my vision," said Carter, leaning towards the window and spitting on it. He tore a piece of his slashed shirt and wiped the small pane of glass he spat on. The opaque windows started to become clean enough to see through it.

"Naked women swimming. I knew it," said Carter as he stood up. He placed his tattered hood over his head and walked outside the cabin. The sounds of people laughing, splashing, and gleefully prattling in the water came to his ear. He walked to the edge of the somewhat hazy lake and saw about twenty women bathing. Each woman was better alluring than the one before.

"Come in! The water is nice!" shouted one of the women. Carter knew he couldn't strip down and jump into the inviting water without being discovered as a male.

"Nobody is looking!" said another.

Carter needed a bath but couldn't take his clothes off. He slowly walked into the pond, tattered clothes and all.

"Come in! The water is nice!" shouted the same woman again. The other women were talking to each other and hadn't noticed him yet. The woman speaking to him looked at him momentarily and then returned to talking to a blond beauty beside her.

"Who are you people?" asked Carter. He didn't want to be rude, but what were these particular women doing on the tenth floor of the Tower? Were the women he met before weak and couldn't make it here? He barely survived the creatures on this level; these women took a leisurely bath without fear.

The woman turned towards him again, said, "Come in!" and then froze. Carter's vision directed him to a small light flickered on the pond's edge, which turned off, and the women disappeared. He pulled out his sword and prepared to fight.

"A trap?" asked Carter.

A suction-cup-covered arm came flying out of the middle of the pond and wrapped around Carter and his sword, squeezing him tight. His air was released from his body, coming out from both sides. He tried to pull down his sword that was squeezed up against his barely covered chest. The double-sided blade cut the creature but also cut into Carter. He stopped pulling.

He inhaled as much air as he could before being pulled under. He gathered enough concentration to garner a Fireball and launch it toward the creature holding him. The large ball departed Carter's chest, sizzling the water as it vanished into the murky depths. A loud explosion, muffled under the water, blew up, and a pool of ink bubbled toward the pool's surface. Hopefully hurt, the creature still held on to Carter, whose luck was running out.

"Ink? This is a giant octopus," thought Carter as his lungs started to feel the need to breathe again. It seems the water had affected his fireball in terms of how strong and far it could go. His brain started getting fuzzy, and he decided to go with the painful plan: free his sword. Carter pulled his sword from between him and the squeezing suction-covered arm, slicing his chest and amputating the octopus's arm as he released air bubbles filled with screams. Red and blue blood mixed as the octopus pulled back its residual, bleeding arm, and Carter headed for the surface.

He gasped on the surface as his bad air came out, and he inhaled a new batch. The water was deep, and Carter found it hard to swim with a sword in one hand. Another octopus arm popped up behind him and pulled him back under, and then he felt a sharp bite on his leg. He lifted his sword and used the pain to assist his aim. The sword guided through the water and cut through the octopus's head, releasing a giant blue plume of blood. The octopus's arm loosened its grip and started floating to the bottom. Carter grabbed ahold of one of the arms and swam to the surface. He paddled as best he could until he reached the edge. He pulled up the Giant Octopus and threw it on the ground. It was twenty heads long, had eight long arms, give or take a few pieces that Carter had cut off, and a giant beak the size of the hole in Carter's leg.

He fell and started healing his leg and chest. A light flickered, and the twenty phantom beauties bathing appeared once more to frolic in the water. "Come in! The water is nice!" she said again. Her friend then called her "Montgomery."

"Montgomery," whispered Carter as he watched her jump up and down and splash the other women. Her breasts were bouncing wildly around, and she splashed everyone around her. A symbol of a goat on her arm. "Come In!" she said again. Carter stood up and walked to the flickering light. He pulled it out of the ground and held it in his hand. It was a little bead the size of the vegetable he hated, a pea.

"Nobody is looking!" repeated the buxom beauty from the water.

The bead flashed brightly and disappeared from his hand. He felt a little bit stronger in his mana amount. He must have absorbed the bead's energy. The women were gone, too.

He looked around again, and seeing nobody, he coyly undressed and jumped into the warm pond. The water felt good on his skin as a haze of dirt floated off him. It was going to take a while to get himself clean.

He ran back to the shore, reached into his haversack, and pulled out one of his bars of soap. He scrubbed everywhere twice, even the hard-to-reach spots he wished those phantom bathers could have reached. He felt clean again as he bounced on the floor of the pond. His toe hit something hard under the water, and he submerged and pulled out a gold coin. He looked back to the shore and saw the festering carcass of the octopus. It wasn't part of the tower's denizen. It was summoned from somewheres and brought here. He danced a little more on the sandy underwater surface, using his toes as treasure detectors. He felt another object under his toes. He dove under and brought up a bugbear's dagger.

"How long has that creature been killing creatures indiscriminately? He swam over to the side again and grabbed his haversack. He jumped back into the water, held the magic bag over his head, and opened it. The purple mist floated around the water's surface and then dove into it. Gold, silver, and copper coins floated up from the depths of the water. A few hundred bugbear daggers, boar meats, and wolf pelts floated up, too. A small treasure! He started dancing in the water again. He twirled and pranced around like a ballerina as coins flew from everywhere. When the last gold coin flew in, he headed for the shore. His arms were quite tired from holding up the lightweight haversack for that long. It had all those coins in it and still weighed the same as it did before.

"Glorious bag indeed," said Carter, placing his clothes back on.

He said goodbye to the cabin, pond, and his history-encrusted dirt. He felt fresh and clean. That would change fast, and he knew it. He took extra whiffs of the clean air in preparation.

After a few more groups of Dire boars and bugbears, he came up to a depression on the land: a basin of death. Four rather large wolves sat next to a stream in the middle of the basin. To the north, a group of bugbears, in the dozens, entered the Dire Wolves' territory. Tempted by trespassers, the wolves propelled themselves from their lair and attacked the small army of warriors.

"Interesting. Does that mean the wolves are real? Or are the Tower creatures programmed to act like real animals and attack each other?" questioned Carter to himself.

The wolves moved swiftly in an attack pattern reminiscent of an elite team of warriors. The dagger-swinging bugbears didn't know what hit them. The bugbears were shredded and disappeared, while only a few wolves took hits. They limped back to their den and took care of their wounds. The sun poked its head out briefly, and the basin glowed with a kaleidoscope of tiny sparkles. It took a few moments, but Carter finally realized the glittering was gold and silver coins littering the wolve's battlegrounds. These wolves must have been killing for a while.

"Treasure must not disappear during the resets," said Carter to himself.

It was instinct for wolves to protect their den, the same for Carter to want to take all that gold. He pulled out his sword and readied a Fireball. He would only get one off before he depleted what little mana he restored during his rest in the cabin. The Fireball went flying and hit its target. The wolves cried to the air as they burnt to death. Carter's sword tip lowered as a smile went across his face.

Behind the giant plume of smoke and dust flying around, two wolves with smoking fur ran towards Carter.

"Tricky bastards," said Carter as his sword came forward. He would try the trick he mastered on the Dire boars: dodge and stab. This was quite hard, though, as the Dire Wolves were much faster. Carter jumped out of the way at the last second and stabbed towards the wolf's side. The large wolf dodged sideways at the last moment, and the sword missed.

While Carter compensated for the miss, the other wolf attacked and bit him on the leg. Once attached, the wolf shook his head vigorously to swallow a manageable piece of Carter's leg. Noises of muscle tearing and bone cracking sent Carter into a panic. Carter brought his sword down on the top of the wolf's head hard and broke its skull. The large wolf disappeared, leaving Carter with a broken and bleeding leg.

The other wolf did not wait. It swooped in from the other side, grabbed Carter by the torso, and picked him up. It ran towards his den as Carter hit the wolf on its head with the hilt of his sword. The Dire Wolf let out a small whimper and tightened his grip every time the hilt hit. Blood poured down the Dire wolf's face, covering his vision as he went to jump over the ravine that protected his den. He jumped that a hundred times, but this time he missed.

Carter and the wolf plummeted twenty feet into the narrow ravine, hitting the ground with a thud. The wolf made a loud whimper and Carter a painful grunt.
Carter's eyes were wide open as he watched the small patches of clouds float over the dark-sided ravine. The wolf was the first to get up. Carter turned his head, tightly gripped his sword, and saw the wolf looking around—its hair was standing up. It heard a noise and took off running. The impatient wolf stomped on Carter's chest as it ran in the opposite direction of the perceived danger.

"What now?" said Carter, lying on his back as the glow from his healing lit up the ravine. His eyes fluttered shut as he again removed his spirit from his body to heal himself.

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