The sound of a few hundred golems hobbling down the hallway was deafening. In that case, the only way I could give orders was through Slave Master. The golems came from every direction, but we didn’t stay around the lure this time. Rather, the goal was to lead them to a hallway that went past us. In this way, we were running around the dungeon, setting up barriers and walls to redirect them on the path we wanted them to take. I sat in the main area, my eyes locked on the map as I tried to navigate the girls around.
I had gotten the idea when we battled the Treasure Hunter. These guys could move better than the Treasure Hunter did, but overall they did not have good mobility. Rather than trying to face them head on, it was better to lead them all to a spot where they’ll become congested and unable to move. That’s why the attractant was released right in the middle of a four-way intersection.
Of course, we surrounded that intersection with traps. Most of those traps were set to further slowdown, hinder, and otherwise trip the golems up. When four waves of golems all crashed at the center of the intersection, there was a horrific grinding sound. The golems from behind were pushing on the golems in front, and along with a few well placed and timed traps, it became a meat grinder, or perhaps I should call it a rock grinder.
If Raissa was here to see how we were dealing with this large rush of golems, it would once again break her common sense. She would definitely sputter in disbelief as she witnesses hundreds of golems being handled like lemmings.
However, our hopes weren’t to destroy golems with traps and tricks, but to down as many as we could ourselves. Once the flood stopped coming, and they finally grew congested in four lines each leading back nearly a kilometer. Terra then created walls preventing them from having any release. About 200 golems from each side were now slammed in the middle, desperately trying to turn around and escape their confines.
I gave the order, and the six of us attacked the golems from each side. Celeste and Terra each got one row, as Terra’s abilities made her uniquely powerful and safe against her inferior golem cousins and Celeste’s ability to shrink and fly made it easy for her to stay out of danger. Lydia and Shao worked together on one of the other corridors, and Miki and I worked on the last.
The reason I stuck with Miki was because of her spirit attacks. They worked well with my monster tamer job. I wanted to see if it was possible to take control of a few golems and turn them against each other. Also, I had to admit that Miki was the least efficient at killing monsters, which gave me more of a chance to earn experience. If I depended on Lydia or Shao, chances are I wouldn’t get any kills on my own.
That’s right, I couldn’t afford to be a support always. Sometimes, I had to leap right in!
Although I say that while trying to look impressive, I was leaping right into the backs of unsuspecting golems who were further being attacked by Miki’s attempts to confuse and disorientate them. I swung my sword as hard as possible, using rapid attacks to aid in bringing them down quickly. Even with that, it took multiple hits per golem.
That could be considered incredible since golems are creatures with high vitality designed to soak up damage. Perhaps True Hero was more powerful than I gave it credit for. Even though it started at level one, by the time I took down five golems I was already up to level three.
I continued to swing my sword, knocking down golem after golem. It was only about fifteen minutes later, when the golems were finally able to figure out what was going on and start turning around to defend. Even so, I pulled out every trick I had to keep bringing them down.
When the pressure started to push outward and I was being pressed back, I backed up with Miki, selecting the Golem in the front.
“Miki, try to confuse it,” I ordered
She cast a spell of confusion while I used the Monster Tamer ability, Weaken. Essentially, to tame a monster, it had to be placed into a vulnerable state. Celeste achieved this with songs, but Miki could also do the same with her spiritual attacks.
As a Monster Tamer of level 15, I currently had fifteen skills designed around controlling and then using monsters. There was Submission, Weaken, Restrain, Low Tame, Order, Charm Up, Train, Share Experience, Loyalty Up, Track, Relax, Location, Steal life, Tamed Status Up, and Release. At the moment, I was using Submission and Weaken on him. As he got close, I also tried to Restrain him.
“Come on! Low Tame!”
I was hoping this monster would be low enough to tame. A siren was considered a mid-level, so I suspected a golem, which was basically just an automaton, should be fairly easy to control. Of course, this was level 14, not level 4. I probably would have had a lot more luck on a higher floor than here.
Remarkably, the golem stopped in place, lowering its arm which it was preparing to use to smash me. I had succeeded. The golem behind it shoved the one waiting on me forward. I jumped back as the golem I just tamed nearly fell on top of me.
“Order, hold them back!”
I switched my Job to Basic Magician while the tamed golem got up and began to bar the movement of the others. Along with Miki’s attacks on their minds, it further confused and slowed down the golems. I began to send spells flying at the golems over my golem’s shoulders. With him as my tank, I slowly whittled down one golem after another until they collapsed.
The work went on for a great amount of time. I found myself drinking the Water’s of Life many times to keep up. When my golem fell, I captured another, sent it as my tank, and then continued to attack. Meanwhile, I occasionally checked on the other girls to find them doing well.
After many hours of battle, the last golem finally fell. The six of us met in the middle intersection, surrounded by broken rock that piled nearly up to the ceiling, forcing us to find another route to meet with each other.
When all of us finally met back up, each of the girls was covered in dust and wore an exhausted look on their faces.
“What now, Master?” Celeste asked, looking like she was about to tip over at any second.
“Let’s go back to the mansion. We’ll handle the rest tomorrow.”
We had leveled a bunch, so tomorrow we could tackle the fifteenth floor. I had prepared as much as I could.
We took a brief dip in the hot springs, but everyone was too exhausted to play around. In the end, we all nearly collapsed in my bed in a heap. It was only a little later that I summoned up the strength to check through the statuses and see what advancements we had made during that battle.
Slave Master reached 28, True Hero reached 10, Basic Magician reached 23, and Dark Priest reached 13. Lydia’s Thief skyrocketed to 15 and even swordsman went up to 43. Miki’s spiritualist was 41 and her Basic Magician was 24. Celeste’s Master Wind Magician was 20, and her Magic Singer was 13. Terra’s Earth Manipulator didn’t change, but her Mineral Appraiser was now 15. As for Shao, she had Shadow Knight at 28, and Pugilist at 15.
Simply put, everyone had made great progress. Every job involved an increase in status, so as far as their top-level jobs, they were all about as powerful as anyone at that level could be. That meant that overall, the power of my party was around 50. Although, I was probably the weakest link with my White Mage only at level 30.
Every level contributed to increasing your status, even in jobs you don’t keep equipped. However, every job also had not only the skill-related reinforcements but its own bonus just for having that job equipped.
Each level involved a greater boost in status, so someone with two jobs at level 2 is not necessarily equal to someone with one job at level 3. The easiest way to determine someone’s strength is to see what their highest job is first, and then consider how many other jobs they have levels in. This is where the tier system comes into play because you can assume a mage like me has at least three jobs, with one of them up to level 50. Normally, that would be the requirement to reach White Mage.
This is why the girls weren’t overwhelmed even though I nerfed them into lower-level jobs. It wasn’t like their gains in their main levels went away when I switched their job. They might not have access to all of the skills they were used to, although if they were familiar enough with a skill, they could force it into functioning. All they lacked was the particular boosts that a certain job might grant them. For example, a magician job would give someone a boost in mana absorption and use.
However, if you equip a different job with a similar type, that boost probably won’t get noticed. For example, when an Adept Magician becomes a Master Magician, although their job changed from level 50 to level 1, they aren’t any weaker. In fact, despite being level 1, they should still be stronger. That’s because the boost from the final tier Master Magician to mana is much greater than the boost of an adept.
That might not be the best example, because a magician would lose access to some of their skills when they got a new job, but the general assumption is that they wouldn’t have unlocked that job unless they already had a mastery over many of those skills. Technically, wind control is all you need to do any wind technique, but it’d take a master to have the control to pull off said techniques. In that way, the skill system is a crutch, with the inevitable goal to gain pure control over your skills so that you don’t need to activate the aids.
While going over this concept in my mind and thinking about how I wanted to advance myself and the girls, I nodded off to sleep. The girls had all passed out before me.