46 Going beyond
First, the amount was a very small fraction of the entire lifeforce within them, most of it would disperse and be absorbed by dungeon.
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Second, this force carried the last resentment of its previous owner with itself, so essentially it was designed to harm the one who was unlucky enough to inhale this toxin.
Third, besides the malicious intent, it carried a mark that would identify the killer upon investigation.
John analyzed: "It seems that the dungeon, recycles the life forces from anyone its premises. If I had not stolen the energy of the one's hunted, dungeon core would have them now. It should be enough to prove the theory, I should absorb the rest, with my control the speed of dissipation has been reduced to a very slow pace. Since the goal was proper observation, reducing their speed is only a natural course for me to take. However, this gives me a great idea, in the future we can infect the mainframe with a small virus, but for such feat, our strength should be much more. Such an option should be added to possible future actions, targeting the system, the day we overcome this obstacle is not far"
John moved his puppets to shape the battleground differently, framing the neighboring country. After which the group hastily left, leaving all the valuable tools, they were too risky to take, thus only money and small assets were taken. Nothing that could be traced back to them, bringing unnecessary troubles.
As John absorbed the remainder of energy released in the air, the group moved past the checkpoint towards the unknown. However, strangely no one asked the carrier Rod, about his calm in such time, they did not even doubt the abnormal behavior of their two carriers. This was due to the level of shock and fear of consequences crippling their sense of logic, and John had used this chance to rid their minds from any seeds of doubt about helpers. With such meticulous soul in control of the entire situation, nothing would go unexpected, John planned for every scenario. He even had a plan in case of his exposure to the core, or being tracked down by higher beings, yet they were in the worst of cases.
After some time, the group pushed the dark thoughts to the back of their minds, the water had been spilled, no point crying over it. After the acceptance period was over, they started to understand the golden opportunity presented. The chance to visit parts that only those with privilege could go to, young masters of influential families. If the powerhouses changed too often, who would be able to keep order?
Part of being strong was to tightly hold onto methods of gaining power; after all, in a game with high stakes, a wrong move would be catastrophic. Those who believed in equality and goodness of heart had long been turned to dust and their thrones been seized by ruthless killers. The road to the top was treacherous, filled with bloody battles and bodies lying at every sight, above the families sat the king atop a mountain of corpses.
In order for their successor to be capable, how could they rely on external forces, they would surely raise them to be heroes. The best place to do so was in a dungeon, which helped them in growing mentally and physically.
John had deduced such results much earlier and he slowly inserted this ideology in their minds; by suggesting small phycological hints. He wanted the group to be eager about this little adventure of theirs, as a hesitation in the future could add an extra variable to his plans. He was trying to decrease his intervention in their actions, to get raw data, thus some fundamental changes were needed to the mind of his subjects. They needed to be on board with the plan and try their best since John needed the measurements of their limit to compare others with. Tapping into the greed of humans led to amazing results, as John expected, they did not disappoint, rapidly gaining courage in the face of gain.
As the team of adventurers was climbing higher towards the core, John had his influence spread, similar to a hungry beast looking to find preys. He would completely devour any life form, be it plant, insect or monster. He had concluded:
"Since now I process foreign entities as a host, the system does not have jurisdiction over me. In a small environment, I can absorb anything, they would assume it to be either a powerful magical artifact or an individual. In any case, they will send someone to investigate and tighten the security. Once I extract their power and frame soldiers it will Lead to more friction between the kingdom and dungeon master. Also, the royal family will send investigators, I will study them and discard the remains. As a battle between monsters and them can easily be replicated each power will suspect the other, before long there will be a full-blown conflict. Those with power take offense much easier and hold grudges. Many good specimens will be lost in such senseless acts of aggression, such travesty"
If this comment was heard by outsiders, John would be labeled as a heartless person, not caring for all the lives that would be lost due to his actions. Only feeling slightly regretful in the missed opportunity of examining more guinea pigs. However, John had transcended the status of a human, not considering himself as one. Yet even as a human, he had no regards for the life of others, this was the way of Sir Jonathan North, in his past life.
Due to the special network designed by John, his influence had been multiplied, not giving any chance to anything; leaving only death and destruction after himself. Suddenly he noticed a goblin village nearing, after reading the stats of every member in the community John pondered:
"They are all very weak with low stats, but they have many in their midst. Quantity can lead to a qualitative change; it is important to consider the strength of groups against each other. However, I believe these vessels will be able to take care of themselves, in the worst case they can run. In the event of losing a member, I can intervene, as they are all needed to hold the array I designed. Furthermore, I suspect there to be a highly skilled monster at the end of this level. How else can the social hierarchy be implemented? These monsters need a manager, thus the existence of the boss level beast. Having my powers multiplied, the chance of passing such hurdle will become much higher"
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Getting closer, John found some elderly inside the village, doing many their part in helping their community. In truth, if they were turned senile and useless, the result would be banishment or being eaten. Finding food was difficult, those who helped could eat and others were expected to accept such a reality. However, in such a day all the elders of this small village took their last breath and dropped on the ground, never to stand again. Shouts of shock and pain filled the air, this event would remain in the minds of survivors as the curse of decrepit.
John has extracted their life force from afar, as he calculated their influence in the future battle to be negligible. He analyzed:
"I had to leave the mana imprint intact as there should not be a link between this incident and the controlled area. In the future, this style can be used again, yet for such weak targets, raising suspicion is not desirable. Taking out the older generation would not negatively affect the upcoming fight; the data will remain pure. At worst they will assume the new faces to be the cause of this incident and attack with more vigor. However, taking out the children would make them rally, blowing the matter out of proportion. Also, I need the new generation to grow more, maturing for the best result; harvesting now will not lead to enough energy gain"