I left the inn, traveling with a group of Knights all around me. It was clear to me that these men had ill will. Perhaps they knew that I knew but was helpless to fight it. They had grins on their faces and weren’t even trying very hard to hide their ill intent.
I was wearing my best equipment, an odd assortment of the armor, accessories, and items I had picked up in previous dungeons. Most of this equipment wasn’t top-tier, but more than a couple of the items might be called mid-tier items. These were extremely valuable. They weren’t national treasures, but to a low-level noble they were definitely desirable. I noticed a few of the knights hungrily looking at my gear with the clear expectation that they would be taking it from me shortly.
“This trip could take some time. Do we even know what floor we’ll find the knights?”
“Of course, we do. We already used the device to see that he was located on the first floor.” The knight leader responded stiffly.
The next question was an obvious one. If they discovered them on the first floor, why bother to leave and fetch me? It would have made much more sense if they had already retrieved the life recorder. Yet, I had the feeling that they hadn’t. These men weren’t good at acting. Had they known their fellow Knights had died by my hand, they would have been much more hostile. On top of that, they might have been wary.
Yet, if I felt anything from these guys, it was simply a condescending feel. They thought they were better than me, and that I was an insect they simply hadn’t squashed yet. In a moment, they were going to realize how wrong they actually were.
There were now a total of five Knights waiting at the gate to enter. They also had knowing grins and I even caught one winking at the others. I suppose, if by some fluke, I was to escape the Knights and make it to the entrance, these guys were here to kill me as I emerged from the dungeon. The two Knights Miki had put to sleep the night before were there. They clearly had no clue what had happened the night before. The pair had woken up before anyone caught them sleeping on the job, and perhaps decided to not report it. Their oversight meant that these men had no clue what was going to happen.
The gates opened and I followed alongside the men. I tried to be cautious, but there was no way the Knights allowed me to be in the back behind them, even though that was where I was most comfortable as a support unit anyway.
With a breath, I entered the dungeon. As the environment shifted from the open outdoors to the closed off ivy maze that I had already grown used to, my anxiety and concern only grew. They wouldn’t immediately attack me here, right?
“Come…” The lead Knight pointed down a hallway leading into the darkness. “It’s time to begin.”
“I agree…” I muttered to myself.
With the Map ability, I was very easily able to ascertain my own position. I also was able to determine where my girls were. On top of that, I now had Slave Communication. The moment I entered the dungeon, I greeted them.
“Girls, I just entered.”
“Ah! Master’s in my head!” Celeste cried out.
“We’re on route, Master!” Shao said immediately. “Don’t kill them all before I get there!”
“Master, we’re on our way!” Lydia said.
“Yes, Master, I’ll let them know!” Terra said.
“Master, be safe!” Miki stated.
I could talk to each of them or all of them at once, but it wasn’t a group chat. The result was that I got five responses overlapping in a way that nearly gave me a headache. I must have made an expression because the Knight leader asked me if I was okay. He must have been worried I was suspecting something or making a plan to bolt as the Knights suddenly tightened their position around me.
“Ah… sorry, this dungeon’s miasma is thick.” I lied.
“Haha… of course. I knew the rumors about you defeating dungeons were probably inflated, was it your slaves who did all the work for you?” the Knight spoke.
“Of course,” I responded, “I only know healing magic, so how could I do much?”
The men chuckled, but they were also giving me disdainful looks. They totally bought into the narrative that I just exploited the girls. It was a story I had seen before, and I suspected they believed it as well. I’d rather they underestimated me and continued to let their guards down.
While I was making the Knights think I was as dangerous as a fish out of water, I was still coordinating with the girls in my head using Slave Communication. I specified Lydia as the leader of the girls and I relayed everything specifically through her. It made my skill a lot easier to use, and the girls were able to move into position a lot easier.
“The signal should be just a little bit ahead,” the Knight said.
“Speaking of this life recorder, I had a question about it.”
“What is it?”
“If we have such a tracking ability, wouldn’t King Aberis similarly have one?” I asked. “It stands to reason that before entering the dungeon, he would have given someone the ability to track him once entering the dungeon. If that was the case, the most likely person to receive that would be Lord Reign, right?”
The Knights all froze, and then the leader turned around and a small smile formed on his face. “That’s true… you’re right. Lord Reign knows exactly where the King is!”
I raised an eyebrow. “Really? So, he’s definitely alive?”
The Knights all looked at each other and exchanged smirks. “Well, whether he is or not, that won’t matter to you.”
“Why is that?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
The men were fondling their weapons and their evil grins were no longer contained in the slightest.
“Because you won’t be alive long enough for it to matter!” the man yelled.
He pulled out his sword, immediately lunging toward me.
As his sword stabbed forward, it missed me. This was because I was no longer there. Instead, hovering a few feet above the sword, was Celeste.
“Wind… Tornado!” Her spell finished casting.
The ten Knights who had planned my assassination could never have predicted that at the moment they surrounded me and attacked, not only would I disappear and be replaced by a wind fairy, but she’d cast a high-level destructive wind spell called Tornado. It didn’t possess blades like some of her other abilities, but it was extremely good as a knock back. In fact, the men who had surrounded me at a four-way intersection to pincer me from every side were now tossed back hundreds of feet.
Three Knights were slammed painfully into the walls. The others were blown back down the hallways, instantly becoming separated from each other. There were two down each hall, with one hall only possessing one Knight.
Of course, the girls were there waiting to catch their falls. Shao’s hall got the single guy, who died before he even hit the ground. She immediately started running for the center to help Celeste.
Compared to before, these knights were a bit higher level, and they were also in their full equipment, so they could take advantage of their skills. Lydia took on two Knights at once as did Terra. Meanwhile, I had teleported next to Miki. I took up the fighting while Miki cast spells to disorientate the men and weaken their spirits.
In the center, Celeste began avoiding two Knights as they slashed at her. The third had been knocked out, but Shao casually sent him on his way with her dagger. It was only after her killing blow the other two noticed her there and attacked. However, as soon as they diverted their attention, Celeste began to launch a whirlwind of attacks at them. She also managed to send some blades down the hallways, hitting the other Knights in the back.
Unfortunately, at this distance, she couldn’t breach their armor, but it was still a distraction that kept the men unfocused.
In truth, the fight was about even. In fact, had we fought the Knights as a full unit together, there was a good chance they could beat us. Despite all of our experience, a Knight was an experienced soldier with good equipment. Even with our skills, they couldn’t be defeated easily.
How many Knights did Count Reign have while I was only given two? That was a good question and one that I didn’t have an answer to. Based on what I had seen, it looked like he had about thirty. Perhaps, that was the source of his power and confidence. He had found a way to give more people Knighthood than the regulated amount assigned by the King.
Well, thirty could be normal for a more experienced noble, so I had no clue. Since the equipment was important, it probably tied to how rich you were as well. With the Colosseum, Lord Reign’s territory brought in a lot of extra money.
Shao managed to kill her second Knight, and Lydia took one out as well. The remaining seemed to realize how they had been separated and started to converge back together, backing up into the middle.
“Mmm!” She created a wall, blocking off the men on her side.
I tossed down a smoke bomb, one of the alchemy products Miki and I had made. With the cover of the smoke, I switched from hero to Basic Magician. I then cast several fireballs in the direction intending to disorientate and delay them.
Lydia managed to cut down her second guy just as Shao took out her third. The two women dived into the smoke. The two Knights fending off fireballs didn’t last for another moment as the two girls cut them down.
She shot out an airblade, cutting down the barrier Terra had made and then used her wind to clear away the dust.
When the dust faded. Terra was on the ground. Her arm was gone.
“Terra!” I cried out, running over and grabbing her.
She looked over at me tearfully. “I’m sorry, Master. One of them got away.”
I quickly checked the map with Sense Life, but they were already gone. The one who got away was the leader. It only made sense they were stronger and had an escape method. However, something had been dropped in the process. It was the tracking device he was using.
“Should we chase him?” Shao asked as I healed Terra, using dirt to restore her missing arm.
“No…” I shook my head. “It’s too late for that. He’ll be back with reinforcements.”
“What do we do then?”
“We do what we came here to do. We beat this dungeon, and we find the king!”