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Chapter 5: Dungeon Crawl

There was a satisfying crunch sound as Luigi's plunger whacked the first giant rat that leapt at him.

"Nice work, big guy!" called out Toad as he shot a bolt from his crossbow. Unfortunately, the rat dodged the missile and scampered back into the darkness. The short cleric grumbled and turned to find another target.

Meanwhile, Luigi took this opportunity to pull out a second plunger and began swinging both of his weapons at the three closest rats. A few swings connected, bludgeoning the rats, killing one, but only angering the other two. They scampered behind him quickly, their mouths drooling and their small, clawed feet clicking on the wet stone. "OW!" screamed the plumber as the two rats bit his arm and leg. Luigi turned, swinging his plunger, but the bite left his arm sore. As he swung, he lost his grip, sending the plunger across the room and sticking to the far wall, its handle oscillating wildly.

"You ok, Luigi?" Toad called out, killing another rat with his crossbow.

"Um, I'm not feeling too good, Toad," came a weak reply.

"You want me to heal you, or keep fighting these things?"

Scanning the room, Luigi saw there were four rats left. They were all injured, but they still outnumbered the heroes two to one. "I could use some healing..."

Toad shot one more bolt, dropped the torch, then inched over to the tall plumber. Trying to keep his eye on the hairy beasts, he muttered a few words in an arcane language Luigi didn't understand. Toad reached out his hand, touched Luigi's back, and immediately, the hero's wounds began closing.

"Thanks!" said Luigi with a smile. His grip tightened on his remaining plunger and just as another rat lunged at him, he swung hard, knocking the rat into the wall. The rats circled them, hissing, their red, beady eyes glistening. Toad put away his crossbow and procured his mace, a large wooden handle with a hefty metal mushroom attached to the top. The two heroes finished off the remaining rats, suffering only two more bites before the room went quiet. Luigi limped to the far wall and -PLOP- pulled his plunger from the wall. Bloodied and bruised, they slowly made their way out of the room and into a long corridor.

"Which way?" asked Toad, seeing the hallway split into two directions.

"Um, left," whispered Luigi. The two turned down the dark hallway until they reached a large wooden door. Hearing nothing from the other side, they hesitantly went to open it, and found it unlocked. Inside the room was a giant pool of water and a door on the far side. The two peered into the water, but could only make out a small, dark shape at the bottom. With a Perception roll of 11, they thought it looked like a chest, but wasn't sure. "Could be a trap," warned Toad.

"Yeah," agreed Luigi, "Let's just go." So the two walked slowly around the narrow ledge of the pool until reaching the door on the other side, which led to another dark hallway. Toad led with his torch, Luigi walked behind, holding his plunger ahead of him. The hallway was quiet and damp and seemed to go on forever. Suddenly Luigi heard the sound of something wet lurking behind them. The two turned just in time to see a large, purple and green gelatinous cube come squirming up behind them. Toad yelped, dropped his torch and the two heroes began attacking the acidic monster. With each shot, little bits of the ooze flew of of the creature, hitting the ground with a sizzle. The cube tried to hit Luigi with a long green tentacle, but the plumber ducked just in time. Instead, the cube lunged at him, attempting to swallow him whole. Luigi jumped back, but unfortunately, Toad was not so lucky. The small cleric was engulfed by the cube and began screaming as the creature's acid began eating away at his flesh.

"Let him go!" cried Luigi and he swung his two plungers angrily at the monster. Each one connected, spraying bits of slime this way and that way around the corridor's walls. Finally, enough of the ooze had been destroyed, that Toad could escape and shake off the globs of muck. Luigi watched as the ooze collapsed, melting into the stone floor.

"Are you ok?" asked Luigi, looking over his friend.

"Ugh," grunted Toad, spitting out some slime from his mouth, "no."

"Well, on the bright side," smiled the plumber, "I think we're here." The two peered further down the hallway. Just at the end of the torchlight, they could see a set of wooden doors, much larger and more ornate then those they passed before. Engraved on the doors was a large circle with small arrows surrounding it, pointing in almost every direction. "The Wendigo Compass must be in that room!"

"Ptoo!" spat Toad. "Goody".

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