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180 A tale of Ice-Trolls and...bridges.

 The group of trolls led the way to the end of the long cavern. There weren't any more trolls imprisoned in the cavern. Most of the blocks of ice were empty. But there was frozen blood inside the ice.

The trolls stopped and put the three adventurers down. They approached the frozen blood and sniffed. The red-maned troll howled mournfully and the others joined him, then they drummed their chests in a display of rage. The trolls huddled together, grunting and barking in conference, then they rushed ahead.

"Why are the fluffies leaving us behind?" Lone sounded crestfallen.

"That blood must be from a troll. A troll tinkle has a strong kinship and camaraderie bond. Judging from their behaviour and this amount of blood here, the cell occupant must have died, now they went to investigate the cause of death," Jura noted impassively.

"Troll tinkle? That's so cute! But I thought groups of trolls were called flames..."

"I don't know about regular trolls, groups of ice trolls are deservedly called a 'tinkle' for several reasons, at least around these parts."

The three ran after the trolls. Surprised by how fast the trolls moved, the three were forced to pick up their pace to catch up.

The cavern extended a long way and ended in a dropoff at a wide chasm.

"Careful, slow down," Dave said.

They stopped at the edge of the chasm, at the foot of a bridge made of ice which spanned the gap between the two sides of the dungeon. But the bridge was broken, a large section in the middle missing. Across from them where the bridge met the other wall of the chasm was a steel door.

The ice trolls were clustered at the edge of the the broken bridge grumbling and hooting in dismay. Dave heard a loud howl. Looking over the edge of the chasm he saw Drahma climbing up the far side of the chasm.

"What is Drahma doing down there?" Lone Asked.

"He must have been too heavy for the ice bridge, broke through it and fell. But seriously, how the heck did he survive that fall?" Dave said.

Drahma climbed the steep icy cliff of the dungeon by punching holes in the wall as handholds and using them to pull himself up. He punched his way up until he reached the bridge, then grabbed onto the ice bridge with a single hand and swung himself up onto it. The ice underneath him started cracking as he made his way to the steel door.

Drahma punched the door twice, with no result. He brought out 'Paste-Maker' and swung it like a battering ram. It took him three powerful swings to burst through the door. Drahma looked at the opening, seeing the steel doorway was not going to accommodate his present dimensions he decreased his size again. Drahma was a tenth of his original size now, but that didn't mean his strength had decreased one bit.

As he proceeded through the doorway an ice serpent erupted from the ice under his feet and launched itself at Drahma. It coiled around him from knee to neck, trapping his arms against his sides. But Drahma simply lifted his arms apart, breaking the snake's hold and dashing it against the floor. He whirled Paste-Maker and brought it down, shattering the snake's head. He roared again and rushed forward beyond their sight. Roars and howls echoed back to them, blending with whining and the sound of bones breaking. Drahma was dispensing more monster ass-kickings.

"Now what? How are we going to cross?" Lone asked.

Dave looked up there at the other hanging bridges and said, "There should probably be another way. The old man said there were other corridors we could have taken, We should probably go back."

"How are we getting across that. Jump it?" Lone asked sarcastically.

"I don't think so. Not me at least, my [Immortal Apparition] and [Death's Descent] won't reach that far." Dave replied, unwittingly playing straight man to her.

Lone giggled and shook her head.

The red-maned troll scratched his head for a moment, then started howling to his pals.

"What are they doing?"

One of the trolls approached Dave and pointed at his ice club, then pointed at the draugr. Dave didn't understand what the troll meant and just shook his head at the troll.

Dave could have sworn the troll gave him an eye roll before hefting his ice club and heaving it across the gap to the other side of the bridge. The troll smiled then pointed at Dave and then back to the other side of the bridge.

"No! Hell no! No one is throwing this draugr across the chasm!" Dave said as he backed away.

But the troll didn't mind Dave's protests and grabbed him.

One protracted girlish scream later Dave landed on the other side of the bridge...face first.

[-1,000]

"God damn it!" Dave cursed as he stood up and brushed himself off. He looked over the distance he'd crossed, amazed at the accuracy and strength of the troll.

"Me too! Me too!" Lone demanded, jumping up and down, squealing like a preschooler.

The troll happily picked her up and threw her like a foot-ball. Lone spread her arms like wings as she flew across the broken bridge, laughing giddily the entire time.

Dave cursed when he saw the laughing elf-shaped projectile arc toward him. He opened his arms to catch Lone as she crashed into him and they rolled back across the icy bridge floor, finally ending up sprawled on top of each other against the gate.

"That was fun!" Lone yelled, bouncing up and down on the draugr's chest.

"Not for ME! Get OFF!" he groaned, pushing the archer off of himself.

Lone pouted at him and rolled to her feet.

Next, the trolls tried to grab Jura to throw him too. But, forewarned by the first two human catapult launches, he nimbly dodged the many grasping paws. Running to the broken edge of the bridge he quickly tied a rope to his spear then threw it like a javelin. The spear arced across the gap and embedded itself deep in the ice above the gate. Jura pulled on the rope, making sure it was secure then swung across. He pulled himself up the rope onto the remains of the bridge then retrieved his spear from the ice, looking back at the trolls with a derisive smile.

"What about the trolls? Are they going to throw each other across and make it rain? Like troll meteor-showers?"

"Aww hell no. No troll-cannonballs!" Dave said. He moved back, unwilling to risk being hit by flying trolls.

One of the trolls grabbed another and lifted him then gave up and put him back down, realizing his friend was too heavy to throw. The red maned troll started howling at the other trolls, he stomped a foot down onto the thick ice that made up the bridge. A pillar of ice rapidly grew out horizontally, crossing the gap between the broken edges of the bridge.

Inspired, the other trolls all started stomping their feet, causing their own ice growths. Eventually the two sides of the chasm were joined, the ice spanning the space between wasn't pretty. It was not a smooth finished surface by any means, but it was functional. As soon as it was finished the trolls capered across, hooting happily..

"Why couldn't they have done that in the first place?" Dave asked miserably, thinking of his bruised ego and the injuries he'd suffered.

"They're trolls, what did you expect? That's why I didn't want anything to do with them. I tried to warn you," Jura snickered.

Dave sighed loudly, "Let's just keep moving."

The hooting and howling trolls overtook them and rushed past, beating their clubs on the floor and walls, making even more of a ruckus.

"What a noisy bunch," Jura's expression soured even further as he watched the trolls move past.

The area beyond the gate was another room made of ice, cylindrical tanks lined the walls. There was a green liquid puddled all over the floor, apparently spilled from the glass tanks when they were shattered. Probably by a certain angry giant. In a corner of the room one of the containers was intact. Floating in the green liquid inside it was the body of a chimeric creature. It was a small lizard with the head of a snake, spider legs and a scorpion tail.

The next room was a repeat of the first. They travelled through a series of identical rooms. Sometimes the 'decorating' theme was different, instead of glass tanks a slab-table with drains leading to a hole in the floor and all around it were bloody chains, rusty saws and iron spikes hanging from the ice .

"Creeeepy! What the hell is this place?" Lone was disgusted.

"You see this type of thing horror movies all the time. It's very clichéd laboratory-of-evil stuff," Dave said.

He approached one of the intact containers and the creature inside suddennly jerked and smacked against the container wall, making him shriek and jump away. Plastered against the container wall, the creature shook in a seizure then stopped moving.

Lone was bent over, laughing uncontrollably.

"Cliché for sure! That thing just jump scared you like a face-hugger, you big baby!"

"Whatever! I wasn't expecting anything to still be alive, that's all..." he said defensively as he tried to inspect the creature, "Hey, the 'thing' just died." .

"How?" Lone joined him. She inspected the creature but nothing came up.

"It was probably put there just to scare players and I fell for it. Those damn devs. Let's keep moving," Dave said.

Jura lagged behind the two players, looking at the 'tools' and instrument hanging on the walls. But they heard him talking softly to himself.

"My lady, I hope no harm has befallen you. I, your faithful Jura, am coming to save you."

"That's sad. Let's hurry up," Lone whispered to Dave

"Okay."

They moved faster passing through more rooms with containers holding more of the strange chimeric creatures. Some rooms were littered with the bodies of recently killed chimeras. Probably Drahma or the troll's doing. The chimeras grew incrementally larger from room to room as they progressed.

They stopped at a broken steel gate that led to yet another room, but this one had had metal flooring. There was only one container, a broken one, in the center of the room. But it was several times larger than the containers in the previous rooms. A smashed-in door was on the opposite side of the adventurers. Drahma was nowhere to be seen.

Loud howls and screams echoed from within the room. The cause of the commotion shuffled into view from behind the enormous tank. It was the trolls, they were in deadly combat against an elephant sized chimera.

"Why is this mini-boss alive if Drahma went through the room?" Lone wondered.

The old man brought his spear around and twisted the shaft, the spearhead sprang open into its trident form.

"Maybe this monster was inactive, sleeping in its tank and your giant friend just ignored it. Or more likely the creature was too afraid to fight the giant," Jura said. He pointed at the floor, the metal was bent in the shape of footprints. "Obviously he's been through here, so we are still on the right track."

Dave inspected the giant chimera.

Monstrosity [Experiment number: 5547]

Level: 280

HP: 235,111/ 400,000

Tier: Epic

Damage: 25,000-35,000

DN: 12,000

MA: 13,000

[Poison Strike] The Monstrosity strikes with its tail applying poisoned state for 30 seconds and dealing 100% base damage. The Poisoned status can stack up to five times resetting the timer with every stack. Each stack of poison deals 5,000 damage over 30 seconds.

[Bone Crush] The monstrosity coils around a target dealing 200% base damage and applying one of two debuff effects, [Disarmed] or [Crippled]

[Spider Web] The Monstrosity uses spider webs, rooting a target for ten seconds.

"It looks like the trolls are having fun," Lone said.

Several trolls were poisoned, froth forming at their mouths. Others were trapped in webbing, struggling to get out. But the remaining trolls were beating the chimera to a pulp. Their ice-clubs smashed into the creature with debilitating force. The chimera hissed in pain every time a troll struck.

"We should give them a hand," Dave said, activating [Stampede].