“Ah… th-thank you…” I had two bags of gold, totaling about 1000 gold coins.
Compared to before, I was definitely back to being wealthy. However, it was still nothing when compared to the combined wealth needed to run Chalm. Every lord had to find his own sources of income by taxing the residents, exporting and importing goods, and various other exercises. In my case, that turned out to be dungeon diving.
The Siren didn’t just hand us some of her gold, but also various pieces of equipment. I took the magic items that looked good, but eventually I started pulling back when she kept trying to hand me things. It was her own hard-earned wealth. From what I understood, Sirens were a lot like dragons. Wealth mattered to them. Although she wanted to impress me as her new master, she would be miserable if she didn’t possess any treasure. In the end, we took far more than we would have obtained from any normal boss fight anyway.
After putting everything away, I patted her head. “If a group of Knights come, please delay them as long as possible. If it comes to wiping them out, don’t hesitate.”
That felt a little cold ordering her to kill, but she was a monster and those Knights weren’t good people. I guess I was really changing. Baby steps.
As far as taking her with us, I felt a little awkward doing so. Although many of her movements had seemed human, she really wasn’t. In line with the Monster Tamer ability, she really was just a creature. She had the intelligence of about a dog. She could handle simple commands, but if I spoke too complicatedly, she’d cock her head.
In fact, it took a while to even get my simple orders across. In the end, she didn’t feel like she’d be a fit for my party. I was thankful she got me the Monster Tamer job, but I decided I’d probably cut her loose. I could sever the bond since level five of Monster Tamer had given me the Release ability. Therefore, I could break it off once we finished the dungeon. I’m not even sure what would happen to her once we completed the dungeon.
As she noticed us leaving, her expression falls, and she puts her hands together as she gazes at me lovingly.
“You can’t keep her, Master,” Lydia explained. “She’s a temptress. Even if you’re her Master, she’ll definitely manipulate you and make you do her bidding.”
“That’s… I won’t be manipulated,” I responded, watching her as her lower lip quivers.
“Master, she’s a high-level monster. You’re not powerful enough to handle her! Your Monster Tamer leveled quickly because of her high level, but it’s not high enough to handle a monster like that,” Miki pleaded, grabbing my arm.
“Ah… We’ll be going then.” I responded as the girls pulled me away.
Gah… why did it feel like a scene from one of those movies where I had to let the dog go? She was even looking at me with teary eyes.
“Let’s go, Master…” The girls were all pushing me or I wouldn’t be moving.
Did her eyes get bigger? They are definitely getting bigger. That slow, sad violin music was also tugging at my soul. Wait, isn’t she making that music on purpose? Ah! She took a step forward and twisted her ankle! Now, she’s on the floor, reaching out for me, tears in her eyes as I walk away. I can’t say goodbye now!
“I can’t! Siren girl, let’s be tog—guh!”
I turned around to reach for her, only for a foot to kick me in the chest. I fly out the door as my girls callously slam the boss door shut. The last thing I saw was the Siren making an annoyed tsk as she crossed her arms unhappily.
“So? We’re moving on?” I pretended nothing had happened, even though there were four girls sitting on top of me.
Since we were on floor 11, the difficulty would naturally increase compared to the previous levels. The thing I noticed most was that the treasures were much, much more difficult to obtain. There were many traps, and they were often placed before obvious treasure. Some of these traps were very insidious. If I didn’t have the Detect Trap ability, I wouldn’t have noticed them at all. Many were extremely vicious, triggering moments before you could get the item.
A few were even impossible to bypass, making the item you wish to obtain a dream. The only thing that seemed more insidious than the traps were the quality of the items. Horrific traps were often where they put the best items. Rare ingredients. Magic weapons. That kind of thing. Even knowing that the treasure couldn’t be obtained, I still had to gnash my teeth to turn away.
Had I not already obtained so much wealth from the Siren, I might have genuinely already fallen to temptation. Well, the girls were helping too. They remained honest with me. When we could extract the treasure safely, they would let me know. When it was impossible, they were honest about that as well. This was definitely a dungeon of temptation and very true to that theme.
The monsters on this level were hidden, but they were two types of insects. If you attacked them, they’d run and try to lure you into traps. Otherwise, they were quite weak and harmless. When we had killed one instantly, we found that the insect had a special carapace that was used by Blacksmiths. Supposedly, it was a good medium for Blacksmiths to use when training to become Magic Blacksmiths. It used a bit of magic, but when compared to the likes of orichalcum or mithril, it was much more affordable.
I decided to collect as much of this as we could. “Should we clear this floor?”
By that, I meant using the monster attractant as we had done in the past. The girls gave a nod and we found a spot to prepare. Terra created some barriers. Lydia and Shao prepared their weapons. Miki readied herself. With that, Celeste sent the scent as far as she could. This dungeon wasn’t as large as the one in Dirage, so it wasn’t long before insects started coming out way.
“Ah… this is scary.” My face went white. “This was a bad decision; I see that now.”
I was looking at the map, and more and more life signs were filling the corridors around us. The crawling noises of innumerable insects were clicking away in the darkness and echoing through countless corridors. The girls all began to sweat as the sounds grew closer and closer. At this point, all I could see was a flood of red coming in our direction. Insects, even the ones the size of small dogs, were not like goblins. Their numbers were extreme.
“Prepare yourself!” I cried out.
Insects flooded around the corner. They were covering every wall, including the ceiling, and were in such a quantity that they looked more like a flood than a stampede.
I had made a mistake. This was the dungeon of temptation, after all. If you succumbed to temptation, it might very well take your life! I had gotten greedy and complacent, and now we were in trouble.
“Celeste spread my flames. Fireball!”
I wasn’t a powerful enough mage that I could do more than throw a fireball, but I still decided to equip it and send it down the path. Using Celeste’s wind, we could create a flamethrower effect. Celeste had tried to push them back with just wind, but as soon as they were blasted, they took to the air, and then it became a truly terrifying sight. Adding flame to the wind was the only way to hold them back.
Miki’s attacks were basically useless, since the insects didn’t have much of a response to soul attacks and she couldn’t stun them. Thus, she focused on fireball to help me, but her Basic Magician was only at 15 and she didn’t have the high mana jobs like Hero and White Mage. Her magical strength was below my own.
Similarly, Lydia and Shao weren’t able to do much. There were hundreds of thousands of creatures, and any given swing could only kill one or two at a time. Terra did her best, but she similarly couldn’t keep them back. Any barriers she created they’d just climb right over and continue on.
As a result, if it hadn’t been for our fireballs and Celeste’s wind blades, we would have fallen already. Unfortunately, it was hard to see a party’s weaknesses until they were suddenly exposed. It turned out we were weak against a large quantity of rather weak enemies. Had I known it would get this bad, I definitely wouldn’t have tried it.
“Shao!” I called out. “Come here.”
My only option right now was to depend on a combination skill. I could pick either fairy dust or spirit fire. Since fairy dust seems to lean to a more restorative effect, I decided on spirit fire which contributed to a more offensive ability like we need now. I glanced through her abilities quickly. I finally found a level 12 Shadow Knight ability. It was called Shadow Poison. It essentially poisoned monsters by attacking from the shadows. For the weak insects who hid in the shadows, it would be extremely effective.
“Cast Shadow Poison!” I instructed while pulling out the magic dust.
“Yes!” Shao did as I instructed, raising her hand and beginning the spell.
I had Miki cast her spirit fire and throw it at Shao. Immediately the magic began to change.
“Shadow Flames!” She instinctively called the name of the new spell.
Instead of poison, the shadow became dark flames. Anything residing within them let out a screeching cry. The flames spread out across the shadows from one to the next. The flames attacked indiscriminately, and I saw them igniting Lydia’s shadow as well.
“Light!” I immediately cast light around us.
The shadow flames were instantly vanquished for us. However, my lights spell only went one way, so the flames continued to ravage the insects, it burned more and more, becoming a dark inferno of black. The screeches and cries continued, but the thing that continued faster was the death of the insects. They were weak against flames, and they were creatures that hid in shadows. Shadow Flames was a spell they definitely couldn’t fight against. Even if they could have resisted the poison, the shadow flames raced down the hallway.
I hadn’t expected this effect, but it was definitely strong. There were nearly a million insects, and they all died in a spreading wildfire of shadow. The flames were so powerful they seemed to be trying to eat the light around us. This spell was extremely powerful in a dark, shadowy labyrinth, but it was also just as dangerous. I began spamming orbs and making a circle around us to keep the inferno at bay.
Meanwhile, just about every insect on the floor died in the span of ten minutes. When the fire finally died, I realized that we had destroyed over half a million insects. Their experience was rather tiny compared to harder monsters, but at this number, that didn’t even matter. For the girls with 4X experience, they gained the equivalent of killing over 2 million insects. As for me, with 10X experience, I gained the experience of killing over 5 million!
The levels began to race across my vision.