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“We have the maps for the first thirty-two floors.” I explained, “Well, I heard great dungeons put out stronger enemies than your standard dungeon, so perhaps we should see how difficult the monsters on this level are before we progress.”
With Terra here, I could be a total support finally. I equipped White Mage, True Dungeon Diver, and Slave Master. Of course, if I could level up Slave Master, I felt that would help in the match tomorrow the best. True Dungeon Diver was about taking advantage of the many skills which synergized well with my map. Then, there was also White Mage which was to keep everyone going healthily.
As we went deeper into the first level, I performed Sense Life, Sense Traps, and Detect Treasure. There was not a lot of treasure on this level. I went to where Sense Life indicated, only to run into other parties. A few were rude and offputish, while most of them were nice. It seemed like most of the monsters on the first floor were dead. We decided to quickly go around snatching up whatever treasure was left on this floor before heading down to the next floor. I ended up finding some gold and a rather weak magic item.
There was more on the first floor. It was absolutely massive, but it seemed like a waste of time, so we headed down to the second floor. We had already wasted about two hours and had yet to battle a single monster.
“Miki… do you remember anything like a monster attractant in the alchemy books?”
Miki thought for a moment and then nodded. “Mm! There is such a thing!”
I just said it casually, but she pulled the alchemy book out of her storage ring. She carried them along, huh? She quickly found it too. It wasn’t even that complicated. Fortunately, the ring I gave Faeyna wasn’t my good one. She said that most rings held a chest-load, and she was right. The rings I gave all the girls could only hold so much. The ring I had gotten when I conquered the dungeon, however, could hold a cartful. That’s why it had so much more value than the other rings.
That ring was filled with different reagents I had accumulated in the last three dungeons. I quickly brought out what Miki requested. We only had to make one substitution which she insisted would work. The means of creating it was actually rather easy. We just had to mix the parts and then set it on fire. I had Celeste use wind to spread it out quickly. At first, I was disappointed to hear nothing.
A few moments later, the ground started to rumble. I smiled and then nodded to the girls. I could see a dozen monsters coming from one of the hallways. We could finally start leveling properly. Then I saw another dozen coming from another hallway. Still more were coming from somewhere else. However, I didn’t feel threatened at all. Rather, this is what I was waiting for. If things really did get dangerous, I would just use Return and take the girls out of here.
The girls didn’t appear worried either. Lydia was flexing her hand on her sword. Terra was straightening her gloves. Celeste was dancing around excitedly. Meanwhile, Miki cast something that suddenly gave us a boost of spirit. I didn’t know she could do that, but even the slight worry I had seemed to diminish after her spell. I made sure to pat her head efficiently. The monsters burst around the corner. It appeared to be a pack of wolves. Some of them appeared to be mounted by goblins.
“Attack!” I gave the order.
“Terra, create a barrier. Don’t block them directly. Rather, slant it in so that they are forced to fight one at a time.”
“Celeste, can you work up a wind current? Throw dust in their direction. It’d best if their visibility is broken.”
“Mikki, rather than trying to damage their spirit, just give them a feeling of hopelessness or something like that.”
“Terra, hold them off, but allow one at a time for Lydia to cut down. If you get a cut, let me know, I’ll heal you immediately.”
Using the map, I put us in a corner. Perhaps this would be a dangerous situation for other people, but with the ability to cast a Portal or use Return, this was fine for me. I had always read about those armies against a small group in a fort thing, so I understood that numbers were basically useless in a dungeon. After using barrier myself to survive impossible fights, I naturally would take advantage of Terra’s powerful earth ability. We could literally shape the dungeon to our advantage.
Well, that was only because this dungeon looked like a dungeon. Some dungeons supposedly looked like forests with open skies. The same technique wouldn’t work in one of those. The walls were brick and it had a dank moldiness to it. There was also a heavy theme on bars and chains. I didn’t know what the kiosk room would look like, but I heard it looks like a torture room. I didn’t bother with it because we had the portal ability. As for the murals, those were all drawn already in books. I was a little curious as to why this dungeon existed, but long-winded history books already had long discussed the nature of this dungeon and why it exists.
As for the kiosk room, I heard that in the great labyrinths, they charge people to use them. Truly, this is a place that tries to nickel and dime you. Since getting to the bottom of solving the curse lore proved impossible, that’s why the dungeon exists in its current state. I wasn’t so pompous as to believe I could solve what thousands before me couldn’t. This was just a casual visit anyone hoping to earn some levels. Perhaps I would buy one of the books so I didn’t have to pay a fee just to get into the kiosk rooms.
“Master, I’m injured!” Terra said.
After I scolded her for getting hurt on purpose or bugging me about trivial cuts while in combat, I knew that she’d only cry out if she was genuinely wounded. I didn’t hesitate to provide her with proper healing.
“Miki, I’m going to switch you to Basic Magician so you can gain some levels.”
Miki had done her spiritual attacks, so there was no point in keeping her with that job. I was too worried about being overwhelmed so I only changed one person’s job at a time, allowed the death of a few dozen monsters, and then switch to someone else. When the last monster fell, we had defeated nearly 100.
“Isolate the air, I don’t want to attract any more monsters,” I ordered Celeste, who nodded and immediately cast one of her skills.
Slave Master had gone up two levels. Slave Master was now 12. I ended up with Locate Slave and Increase Slave Experience. The girls already had increase slave experience as part of a curse. I wonder if this will be cumulative. As for Locate Slave, I had been waiting for this one for a while, so I was glad that I had it now.
As for the girls, Lydia’s Scout ended up at 11. Miki’s Basic Magician ended up at 10. Celeste’s Master Wind Magician went up to 5. It was clear that Master Wind Magician leveled much-much slower than Basic Magician. Well, it was the difference between a final tier job and a starting tier job. As for Terra, her Earth Manipulator job only went up a single level. I really needed to get her some more jobs. It should be noted I left Faeyna in the party just to see, but she ended up getting none of the experience.
“Let’s do the same on the next floor.”
Since I had enough ingredients to do the same thing a few times, we went to floor 3 and then repeated the battle. This time, all the wolves were mounted with goblins and we had to contend with goblin archers too. Since we had perfected our technique, I simply had Celeste commit time to knock arrows out of the air. It went particularly well. Well, Terra ended up hit by an arrow. I was very scared for a bit but she doesn’t experience pain like we do. With some quick healing, she was back to normal.
“I won’t let it happen again!” Celeste seemed more upset than Terra was.
Afterward, she worked much harder and the arrows never even got close. By the time the last goblin fell, I nodded in affirmation and continued on.
On the fourth floor, the goblin riders were replaced by a larger-looking creature called a Goblin Elite. Combined with the archers, they were quite deadly. I had Terra create a small ceiling wall which all but made the archers useless. More often than not, they ended up shooting their own guys in the back. It was kind of embarrassing. I probably shouldn’t look down on them, but it was really hard not to.
The elites took a little more effort to kill. Lydia did a lot better job knocking them out with her speed and superior swordsmanship. As for Terra, she took more of a beating and I had to heal her more frequently. This was definitely getting more challenging the lower we got. It was also getting pretty late.
“Good job, everyone. Let’s get the nearby treasures and then we’ll go.” I said.
I had about ten gold now, and atleast another ten gold in ingredients, potions, and items which were found around the dungeon or dropped by the monsters. In the future, I should buy one of the guide books for the dungeon. I heard someone selling them in the bizarre. They’re supposed to tell you who drops what and all kinds of information like that.
As I was checking the map for treasure, I suddenly noticed a life form we had missed. I had noticed it before, but it was really faint so I thought it was just some kind blip or maybe a rat or something. However, it was very clearly following us. The boss was supposed to be on the next floor down. However, I remembered those shadow bunnies with the expensive fur. Maybe this would have something of value.
“Celeste! Terra!” I whispered to the two girls. “Capture, there!”
I immediately had them create a barrier of dirt and air on either side of where the hidden creature was. Mikki also attempted to attack the spirit, and Lydia ran forward, drawing her sword smoothly.
“Ahhh!” Rather than an animal growl or squeal, I ended up hearing a girl scream.
“Eh?” I’m glad I tossed out a net instead of a knife.
I had hoped to identify the monster before I killed it. However, it wasn’t a monster at all, but a girl in black clothing.