I take the Isolation Pod I've been working on all this time out of my storage and allow my double to place it inside its own.

It blips away, back to the Wild Boar dungeon to perform its test.

I wait patiently for about a minute, then the memories of my body double successfully inputting the stone into the machine just like a mana crystal, then killing itself to quickly rely the information come rushing back to me.

"It worked."

I teleport the three of us back into the Wild Boar Dungeon, and sitting in the center of the 300-meter-wide dirt crater that's destroyed the jungle is a lightly humming isolation pod. At the sight of the massive hole, and the mana content in the air dropping by a noticeable amount, this test was a great success.

The Pod's door is left wide open, and the containment cell at the top is now magnitudes denser with mana than it was before.

White plumes of pure mana charge the shielding barriers, and it now looks a lot more like the Isolation Pods that we used back in the Galeheart Tower.


The glowing blue text only visible to my all-seeing eye hovering over the control panel now says [Current Dilation: 9.0957x].

I let the machine fall into my item storage then turn to Ember and place a hand on his shoulder while pulling another stone out into the open air.

"We'll do it again."

I imbue a nearly identical black flaming stone with Ember's Mythic grade Plunderer skill and dungeon walk us out of there before the reaction can fully begin.

A few minutes later, I dungeon walk back in to find the crater has grown far larger, the dungeon is less dense with pure mana, and another saturated stone sits at the crater's center.

The contained mana inside is similar to the last stone.


[Current MP Containment]: 7.4255B/7.4255B

I let it drop into my inventory and pull out another, wanting to saturate all the stones I can as fast as possible while it's working so well.

Another 5 tests go by, taking less than 20 minutes in total, and each of them saturates another stone with varying potencies between 7 and 8 billion MP.

Every time I return to the dungeon, the affected area grows less and less dense with mana.

Using my high level of perception, even the areas of the dungeon that are not directly affected by the plunder radius are weakening and becoming less dense with mana every time I return.

Even the levels of newly spawned in monsters are lowering.

What used to be a flourishing jungle region with level 50-60 boars quickly fell below level 30s for new spawns halfway through; on the test before this one, some of the mobs even spawned in at lower than level 10.

The dungeon is in bad shape. Its artificial landscape is ripped to shreds, and most of its mana completely absorbed.

As I walk down the crater to fetch the stone, I do a deep scan of my surroundings and find that there's more mana trapped in this single stone than there is remaining in the entire dungeon.This content has been unlawfully taken from Royal Road; report any instances of this story if found elsewhere.

The newest group of spawned-in mobs I detect are between level 2 and 3.

As I let the saturated stone fall into my inventory, I think about taking out one of the two stones remaining but turn to Ember before I do.

"There isn't enough mana to fully saturate another stone. Our best course of action will probably be to find another rogue dungeon to drain."

He nods, smiling with his arms crossed.

"Sure, it may be unwise to drop another stone and not allow it to fully saturate. Would you like me to collapse this dungeon for safekeeping? There's less than 3 billion mana left in here at the most; It'll only take a few minutes."

I shrug.

"Go for it; you've been wanting to do this for a long time, so have at it."

Ember's aura immediately pulses red, and a wave of strong mana erupts from him.

"Very well, I recommend the two of you wait outside. I'll be draining every last drop, so it's best you don't get caught in the crossfire. The natural dungeon mechanism will teleport me back into the desert once I'm finished."

Ember's cloud of red aura begins to grow, just like the times I witnessed it in the Titan's domain, however, now he's many times stronger than back then.

I dungeon walk with Arie back to the exit portal, and we hop out into the desert next to the dilapidated wooden hut.

The sun has almost fully set, making the fading orange glow the last bit of warmth in the air.

The small blue dungeon portal slowly spins, but it's barely producing any mana readings and is becoming smaller and weaker at a rapid rate as Ember plunders it from the inside.

While the portal shrinks and we sit and wait, I decide to take out the isolation pod again to begin placing the 6 additional stones inside.

The moment I place a new stone inside, the text changes again, showing [Current Dilation: 13.2606x]. At first, the number throws me off, because it didn't rise the expected 7.4255x amount. However, once I drop another stone with 7.9304B MP inside and the number changes to [Current Dilation: 17.2258x], things begin to make more sense.

I input another, and the rating reaches [Current Dilation: 20.4461x].

After the final three additional stones, it reaches [Current Dilation: 26.1005x].

After seeing the numbers rise in such odd intervals, I begin to do some math.

It took 1 billion MP for every additional 1x dilation interval for the first 10 levels. However, once the counter passed 10.0000x, each additional 1x in dilation cost twice as much. It took 20 billion MP to go from 10x to 20x.

Then, just to make it halfway from 20 to 30x, it took over 20 billion MP again, meaning it will take 40 billion MP in total to raise the scale from 20 to 30x if this process is repeated.

If this pattern continues, every 10 additional levels of dilation will cost twice as much MP to fuel.

"Now the old craftsman's note about higher levels of dilation not being profitable for selling to consumers makes sense," I mutter under my breath.

Content with how high I managed to get the machine already, I place the pod back into my item storage and begin to strategize in my mind how I'll be able to farm more of these fire stones at a steady rate.

At the same time, the dungeon portal that Ember is dissolving is beginning to waver and pulse before our eyes.

Less than another minute passes before it becomes so thin and transparent I believe an E-rank hunter without any perception skills could even see what's happening without enhanced vision.

Still, I keep all of my senses at the ready, because a rumor about what is left behind from collapsing dungeons continues to stir in the back of my mind. I'm hoping right here and now I'll get to see if it's true.

The portal gets smaller, spinning even less, and dissipating into thin air before our eyes.

Then, we're left in silence as the final remnants of it implode on itself and the portal completely vanishes.

A few seconds pass, and my gaze stays locked on the point where it disappeared with every bit of mana control pushing my All-Seeing Eye to its limit.

Then, a flash of light teleports all foreign dungeon matter back to the desert.

Ember materializes in front of me, still putting off an immense red aura, and brimming with newly plundered mana.

My heart skips a beat, and my eyes widen as I see a tiny shimmering fragment of a bright white glowing crystal falling to the desert floor.

It looks no larger than a fingernail, but sends out a unique aura that captures my interest. I watch it gracefully fall through the air for a fraction of a second, and see sparkling trailing mist dissolve off of it.

It looks as if the mere contact with the air is eroding it away at a rapid rate, and if I don't act now, whatever this material is will completely disappear before it even touches the sand.

I open a spatial magic portal right below the odd glowing mass, and it falls inside my storage.