Widow’s Dungeon was a surprisingly different sight to see. The dungeon was covered in greenery, making it feel like an arboretum. Of course, it still had corridors, but they were lined with impassible bushes, roots, and vines. Although the place was green, it wasn’t very bright, so it still had the imposing nature of most dungeons that attacked your psyche.
“We’re going to progress slowly and safely. Just a level or two a day,” I explained.
In the past, there was always a bit of pressure. We were either being chased by a Bandit King, or running out of supplies, or trying to save someone. This is the first dungeon I entered where I could enter and leave it freely. In fact, it was advantageous for me to leave it because no one would suspect I had the Portal spell.
As long as I was seen in the small miner’s town, then Lord Reign would think he was successfully stopping me. In other words, he wouldn’t be trying to cause me any more trouble. Therefore, it was my plan to teleport back after a bit.
First things first, we explored the fifth floor where we entered. The monsters on this floor were called Glimmer, which looked a bit like pixies, and a type of rabbit. The rabbit’s fur was apparently quite comfortable and thus valuable. I guess that was what made this level tempting. You’d come to hunt rabbits for their pelts, only to get trapped by the floor boss. I wondered if every level had such temptations, or if it was reserved for the boss levels.
I actually didn’t have True Dungeon Diver equipped right now. I was still leveling Cook when I noticed that the rabbits also dropped rabbit meat. Raissa was really excited about it and said it was a rare drop, but the fifth time a rabbit dropped it she started to doubt her memory. I’m sorry, Raissa! It’s just my Cook job that increased food drops! I wasn’t quite ready to explain all of my secrets to her.
Either way, Raissa was pretty useful. I was depending on her to detect traps and sense enemies. Her instincts were good enough that I wasn’t worried about the higher floors. As we went deeper, I might need to switch back to True Dungeon Diver. It’d be nice if I could get one of the girls to learn that skill. In fact, Lydia already had Basic Monster Identify and Sense Life. If Scout got her Detect Trap, maybe I should depend on her more. It should, I’d think, but I didn’t know what level.
Well, even if she had the skill, if she didn’t know how to use the skills, they’d be useless. Thus, I encouraged Raissa to show Lydia the ropes of Dungeon Diving. As for me, I was happy continuing to cheat by combining detect traps and sense life with maps.
“Beyond level ten, this dungeon also has treasure chests,” Raissa explained, mostly to Lydia. “However, you must be careful. Some of them are mimics, and others are trapped! Many of my party… they lost their lives because they were eaten.”
“Does Sense Life work on a mimic?” I asked curiously.
“Only once they’ve begun attacking,” Raissa explained.
“Ah… then how do you detect them? Basic Monster Identify?”
“You’re familiar with the Dungeon Diver job as well?” Raissa’s eyes brightened.
I made an awkward laugh and scratched my chin. “Something like that.”
“There is a high-level ability called Sense Danger. That can also be used, but you’d need Moderate Monster Identify if you wanted to detect a mimic before it attacked. If you can detect a trap in a chest, you know it’s not a mimic. Well, then you’d need someone with a Disarm Trap skill. That’s another high level for Dungeon Diver. Otherwise, avoid treasure chests. I always told people this, but there are one or two always tempted by the promise of loot.
“Ah, we’ve found a safe zone.” She stopped, gesturing to a door. “Let’s take a small break.”
It appeared to be one of the Kiosk rooms. It looked like Dungeon Divers called them safe zones.
The safe room resembled all the previous safe rooms I had seen. That was to say it was a big open space with a kiosk platform for registering and transportation, had a means of closing itself to protect from enemies outside.
In this one, the ground was brick, and there was a fountain in the middle. Although it was covered in moss, it still ran quite beautifully. There was a light scent of dirt and flowers. Along one wall was a small flower patch. The girls all headed over to it, excitedly picking flowers and putting them in their hair. Raissa assured me the flowers were safe for that kind of thing.
“Don’t drink the water from the fountain, though,” she explained. “It is quite deadly.”
If I drank any of it, I would have Cured Poison and Removed Curse anyway, but it was nice to know that the fountain was another one of those temptations. Someone who didn’t bring enough water might stumble in this room, dying of thirst. They’d immediately drink a few mouthfulls, only to keel over dead. There could also be the desire to bathe in the fountain.
“I really want to go up to the first floor,” I said. “That way, we can activate the whole teleportation system as we go down.”
“If you want to go, it wouldn’t take more than half a day. I’m already familiar with the top ten floors.” Raissa explained.
“Seriously? You are?” A thought suddenly humped in my mind. “Couldn’t we save time then? What’s the lowest floor you’re registered with?
“Fifteen,” she said, looking uncertain. “That floor is too difficult for me, though. I only made it there once when most of my party was wiped out. I was fleeing the floor boss.
“I have a skill that allows me to swap myself with one of my party members. If you transfer to the other floors, I can swap us, and that way, I can register in the other kiosks… I mean safe rooms.”
Her eyes widened. “I heard Heroes could swap with a party member to save lives… I didn’t realize it could be used in this way… Wait! That’s what you did in the Dirage when you ki-ki-ki-kissed….”
I waved my hands. “That was a misunderstanding!”
Shao was giving me killing intent now. I didn’t expect that trying to take advantage of such a skill was going to come back and bite me in such a way. Now, Raissa was looking at me tearfully! It really was a mistake! I’m sorry, I don’t even know her very well, so how could I have any kind of an attraction to her?
“Can you do it?”
“Y-yes… I’ll go,” Raissa said sadly. “Ah… when I leave, can you give me a few minutes before you come?”
“What? Why?” I said, frowning.
Her face turned red. “D-do I have to say it? I-it’s safer… in a safe room…”
“Huh?” I didn’t get what she meant, but she was moving her legs awkwardly like she needed to pee.
“Oh, you need to pee…”
“Y-you… stupid!” She stormed to the kiosk. “Five minutes!”
With that, she disappeared. When it came to the other girls, they had no problem finding a corner and relieving themselves. Well, Lydia and Miki were lifetime slaves. I wasn’t sure if Celeste even went to the bathroom, but if she did, it was quite small. As for Terra, she didn’t go. She actually could crush waste into a pellet and then expel it from any part of her body, not that I had asked!
Raissa wasn’t a slave, so naturally, she’d be uncomfortable peeing in front of a guy. Although, she used to be a slave, so maybe it was just me, or some kind of wolfgirl thing. I had never asked Shao before, but considering she came from Earth, she may also have issues peeing around me.
“Shao, did you want to pee?” I asked.
Shao suddenly blushed. “I-I didn’t know Master also had these desires. Then if you please, lie down.”
It turned out she didn’t. Now, let’s never speak of it again.
“Master, does the mural have a story?” Lydia asked, thankfully cutting into the awkward atmosphere.
“Ah, that’s right. I’d like to learn a bit about this place.” I decided to give Raissa ample time to finish her business and instead went to check out the mural on the wall.
Like the rest of the room, it was covered in leafy vines, and I had to push them away in order to see the pictures themselves.
“A man and a woman fell in love and got married,” I said simply.
“A-and?” Miki looked on eagerly.
“No, that’s all it is.” I shook my head, pointing at the image. “This image is them meeting, this is him proposing, and this is them marrying.”
“A-ah… well, that’s sweet.” The girls seemed unsatisfied.
Well, this was just one part of the story. Since this was a thirty-floor dungeon, there would be 7 of these in all, and each one would tell more of the story. After I swapped with Raissa, I’d be able to check out the kiosks on floors 1, 10, and 15 as well. With that, I could start forming a more satisfying narrative.
However, that also left me a little worried. Should I remind the girls that this dungeon was called the Widow’s Dungeon? It may start with a marriage, but it definitely wouldn’t be a happy ending. At some point, her husband definitely dies. If that was it, it probably wouldn’t be tragic enough to cause a curse. For a curse to occur, the story had to be a lot more complicated. I also imagined it’d tie into the central theme, temptation.
So, the lord cheated on his wife, or maybe his wife cheated on him. Then, he died somehow… Well, that was all I could figure out. If I was going to solve the lore… would that mean marrying the widow? Enough of that, I wasn’t interested! Not just in getting married, but I also had no interest in solving another lore. My body was already covered in tattoos, and painful “blessings”. I didn’t need to add another one.
I decided not to reveal my thoughts to the girls just yet. Let them dwell on the story themselves a bit. I didn’t want to spoil the mood tonight. Perhaps, I’d let them know more about the story tomorrow. After unlocking the floors, I decided we were going to portal back. I didn’t want to stay too long in the dungeon, especially since the mine collapsed. If we were declared dead, I might end up losing all of my stuff.
With that, I stood up. “I’ll be swapping with Raissa now. If she’s… ahem… well, it’ll still be all girls, so it’s fine.”
I just didn’t want to end up standing in her pee. That would be the worst. When I swapped, I didn’t change positions into the position they were in. In fact, I was in the position I was in. There might be ways to take advantage of that. Like, if I held out a sword and swapped with someone close enough the sword would impale, could instantly defeat an enemy? Eh, that might be future considerations. I was stalling because I didn’t want to embarrass Raissa.
I swapped with Raissa. My body immediately appeared in another spot. Before I could even look around, a hard thing poked my ankle.
I turned around, and I saw some guys who looked like the Knights we had run into outside. There were five of them in all. Three of them had their things out. One was on his knees, and his thing had just poked me in the ankle. They looked just as shocked to see me as I was to see them.
“Wh-where’d she go!” The man on his knees shouted.
“Were you guys trying to rape Raissa?” My brain slowly started to connect the pieces.
Lord Reign had sent men into the dungeon after all. Raissa had transferred to a kiosk full of Knights. Probably the first floor. They might have been waiting to ambush us. A disreputable bunch run by a corrupt Count. A lone female in a dungeon with no escape. It didn’t take a genius to realize what was happening.
“Kill him!” the lead Knight pointed and shouted.