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The roaring of a murder dragon continued in the floors above. Thankfully, it didn’t try to jump down the hole down here, and I also didn’t hear it thumping away to get down here. As for whether it realized that I was now in its nest, I was hoping the creature wasn’t bright enough to realize that. At the very least, it didn’t immediately return.

Taking a breath of relief, I waited until my sight recovered, and then I started looking for a way out of the basement. My eyes once again fell on the bomb sitting in the pool of water, and I had to wonder. The pool got there from a busted vein. As for the bomb, I guessed that it was on the floor I had fallen from, but as time passed and the wood weakened, such a heavy item proved to be too heavy, and it broke through, landing here.

A small nuclear device falling through three stories left me with a cold feeling up my spine. Thankfully, it seemed to be pretty strong, since it didn’t go off, even after shattering the ground below enough to burst a pipeline and flood the basement partially. Then again, it appeared to be leaking some radiation too. If my Geiger was to be believed, the radiation didn’t progress much farther than the pool, but it still left me feeling worried after falling directly in it.

I had already taken some of the medications of this world, so I should be resistant to radiation compared to someone from my world. That didn’t mean I wanted to test this to the limit. I could cure cancer, but who knew what else radiation might end up doing to my body. I had no desire to have kids, but if I became infertile, I’m sure mom would end up being sad that she wouldn’t have a grandchild. Well, those were thoughts I didn’t need to worry about right now.

“Psst.” I had been peaking over the pool when a sound came from above me.

I jumped nearly falling into the pool before looking up. I could just make out the head of Raven peaking down from the floor immediately above mine. He turned on a light, immediately killing my night vision as I covered my eyes.

“Ah! You’re alive.” Raven chuckled. “I heard something fall down the hole. I think the murder dragon tosses his prey down there once he kills it for later. What’s down there?”

“A pool of liquid. Radiation. A mini-nuke. Murder dragon eggs.” I responded, glancing around to see no clear way up. “No way up.”

“Makes sense. The murder dragons love radiation. That’s why I never would have guessed one was here because I didn’t detect any radiation during our scout. The basement must be shielding it. Plus, murder dragons are pretty loud and territorial. This one must have been laying those eggs until we just got here. Honest mistake.”

“You sound pretty chipper.” I frowned.

“How could I not be? We hit the jackpot. Grab those murder dragon eggs. They are a delicacy. We’re going to be rich!”

“Seriously? Those things are growing green and covered in mucous? We’re going to eat those?”

“I wish! However, the money is too good, we need to sell them all.” Raven declared. “Here, I’ll go get some rope. Put them in this.”

He tossed down an empty bag, and to my chagrin, it landed on the far side of the pool. I was going to shout something back at him, but he had already taken off. With a sigh, I went to work trying to fetch the bag out of the water while keeping myself from being irradiated a second time. Looking around, I could see a pole on the far side of the room. Rolling my eyes, I headed over to it. Just as I reached to grab it, I felt a hot breath blow across my face.

It smelled just like the murder dragon before. I stiffened, looking over to see that hidden behind the collapsed rubble was a massive form. It was lying down, and its breaths were deep and heavy. It was a murder dragon, but it was sleeping. More than that, it was about three times the size of the murder dragon I had seen upstairs. This one was much larger than the hallway. I was beginning to think that the thing that had made the hole wasn’t a lot of weight and a weak ground, but this thing burrowing into a building.

I slowly backed away, although I had the pole in my hand, too afraid to let it go now that I grabbed it. My eyes were attuned to the slow breathing now. I hadn’t noticed it before, thinking it was just the ambient noises of the basement, but now I couldn’t hear the murder dragons breathing. I slowly walked back up to the hole when something that looked like a firehose was tossed down. I stifled a groan as the nozzle hit the pool with a splash. The breathing stopped, and so did my heart. A moment later, it started back up again.

“You haven’t grabbed them yet?” Raven demanded.

“Where is everyone else?” I whispered up to him in a hoarse voice.

“Feather and Rayne are outside, keeping watch. Hunter is here with me.” Hunter poked his head out too as if to show himself. “We managed to block the thing off on the third floor. As for Husk, well, you saw what happened to him. We’re only here because we thought he might of… well… we were trying to retrieve supplies. You understand.”

“Husk is still alive on the third floor.” I hissed. “I managed to get him in a room and give him some RegenX.”

“Shit, you had RegenX?” He asked, and then coughed. “Well, let’s get the eggs first, and then we can try to pull him out the window, right?”

“Shhh!” I hissed. “Um… tell me about the breeding habits of murder dragons…”

I was extremely mindful of the creature sleeping only about twenty feet from me, but this guy didn’t even know it was there. I hadn’t notice before, but that mucous layer the eggs were covered in also wrapped behind the fallen debris. I had a feeling if I touched those eggs, it’d be like touching a spider’s web, alerting the mother.

“The male hunts for food, while the female protects the nes-“ He stopped as if he had just realized something.

“The females… quite large, right?”

He stared at me for a moment, and then slowly nodded. “Just get out of there. We’ll escape.”

“Did we… profit today?” I asked nervously.

“Ah… assuming we can get Husk out alive, you used a RegenX, so the cost will be a net loss overall.”

I nodded to myself. “That mini-nuke… do you know anything about them?”

He squinted and then nodded slowly. “It’s a nuclear bomb, but it doesn’t explode.”

“Huh?”

“It’s a nuclear implosion bomb. Before the virus, this building was likely slated for demolition. That bomb would be designed to take down the whole building.” He explained quietly.

I let out a breath. “Good. Exactly what we need.”

“But, those access codes-”

“Is it an Allco device?”

“Isn’t everything?” He asked.

“Then, don’t worry about it.” I nodded to myself. “Worry about getting Husk out. You have about ten minutes. If I don’t come out in ten minutes… I’m not coming out.”

He stared at me for another minute, and then slowly nodded. “You, be safe.”

It was strange hearing such words from a raider, let alone one I barely knew. Why was I doing this? I couldn’t say exactly. We were in a location not too far from my base. If these eggs were allowed to hatch, then it’d be a danger for everyone. Also, given how terrifying getting these eggs were, I had to believe the rewards were equal. The quickest way I could save the girls was with these eggs. Who knew, I might be able to trade an egg for a girl. At the least, the fame we gained from doing this would allow me to check.

I took one last look at the wreckage, and then I stepped into the pool of water. I could hear the static Geiger going up as I walked up to the bomb. Now that I got a closer look at it, I could see that although it was shaped a bit like a short missile, the bottom was boxy and it was meant to be placed somewhere in a building and then activated.

I looked around briefly and found the Allco universal jack, and I plugged my Perco plug inside. I was able to deliver the Master code and take control of the device, then set a timer. After setting the clock for ten minutes, I took a breath and activated it. How long did I need to get out of here? Would three minutes be enough?

I walked over to the eggs, staring down at the ugly green things with a bag in my hand. If even one thing went wrong, I’d be dragon food. It wouldn’t be easy, but there was money to be made.

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