“Can you really swing that hammer defensively.” I asked as Garnet.
“Are you kidding me?” She lifted the hammer half as tall as her and slung it back on her shoulder. “Do you know who I am?”
“I mean, you’re a blacksmith, I didn’t mean you can’t swing a hammer, but can you fight people with it?”
“If I swing the hammer and someone doesn’t get out of my way, they get hurt. There isn’t more to it.” Garnet sniffed.
She had her red hair up in twin-tails, and she wore some armor given to her by the blacksmith. She wasn’t wearing all of it though, as there were only a few pieces crafted small enough to fit her small form. I didn’t have any armor left in my inventory other than what I was wearing and the star pieces. I hoped I didn’t get into a situation where my armor got destroyed again. I needed to get a set crafted that fit me that wouldn’t be obliterated the first time I ended up in a dangerous fight. Of course, I could avoid getting into dangerous fights, but that was another matter entirely.
Before we left, the blacksmith grabbed my shoulder. “You take care of her, you hear? If she doesn’t come back safe…”
He squeezed my shoulder a bit harder than I would have liked. If it was the me from when I first came to this world, I definitely would have had a bruise later. I nodded, until he finally let me go, and then rubbing my shoulder I walked away. Rather than angry, I felt a bit of guilt. After this, I would return to trying to destroy the dungeon. I had no clue what would happen to these people after that happened.
The blacksmith truly really cared about Garnet. He wasn’t some NPC that I could pretend didn’t exist because he came from a dungeon. All the demons had started in dungeons, but Shao came from the same world I did. If she descended from demons, I didn’t know what that meant about the nature of creatures created by demons.
With a sigh, realizing I was thinking about the same things over and over in a circle since I had come to this dungeon world, I decided to try to put it behind me and just focus on the next step. As we started heading out of town, I was worried that Garnet wouldn’t keep up with me. It turned out, I was looking down on her small form, or perhaps dwarves in general. She seemed to be able to keep up fine, even while holding her large war hammer and her armor.
It was about three hours before we had finally discovered the burned ruins of what must have been the carriage. The people who were delivering the Silvthril were gone. There were signs of a battle, such as leftover arrows and some blood.
“They missed one!” Garnet cried out excitedly.
I looked to see her pick up a pure white stone that almost seemed to glow. Otherwise, it didn’t look particularly remarkable.
“That is silvthril? I wonder why I hadn’t heard about it in the other world?
“That’s simply because it doesn’t exist,” Garnet explained.
“The metal used to exist, but all of it was used up during a great war against some kind of malevolent darkness. Some Silvthril weapons still existed, but they were lost over time. Why do you think the world is covered in dungeons now? Silvthril, the greatest antidungeon weapon, no longer exists.”
“Except in this dungeon…” I added, looking at the white glimmering stone in her hand. “I think I’m beginning to understand why Demon Lord Aberis kept this dungeon.”
The pair of us continued our trek, following the direction the bandits had gone. I was no tracker, but I thankfully didn’t have to be one to be able to follow them. They were subtle about their movements. Perhaps, given the progression of the war, they were bolder about their movements. Ultimately, we ended up at a cave entrance. Using my sense life, I could detect a few bandits who were still high enough in the cave system I could detect them, but ultimately, it didn’t do too well underground, just as I found out in the keep.
“So, the Silvthril is in there?” Garnet asked, her eyes bright with excitement.
I nodded. “It seems like that is where they are hiding.”
“Then let’s go!” She took a step forward, and I just managed to catch her arm before she walked right in on the group of bandits.
“They were enough to knock out that entire shipment which probably included armed guards. There are only two of us!” I growled at her.
“Huh? Aren’t you like a really strong hero though?”
While she looked at me with a cute expression and seemed serious when she said that, I wouldn’t let it make me happy and forget the risk. I shook my head and didn’t let her attitude affect me.
“I may have grown lately, but we don’t know how large or how powerful this bandit group is. If we just attack without a plan, then it won’t matter how strong I am.”
“Fine…” She sighed. “Then, what is the plan?”
“Hmm… if they’re living in a cave, it probably means that they have lots of lights in there. The area is closed off, so it’s too bad we can’t just fill it with some kind of poisonous gas.”
“Gas… that’s not very adventurous at all!”
“Aren’t I the adventurer in the group. I’m rank C, I’ll have you know.”
“Is that high?”
If she didn’t know that C was barely acceptable as an adventurer, then I wasn’t going to tell her. Had we not left to deal with Lord Reign and try to infiltrate the bandits, then I might have been rank A by now.
“What about miasma?”
“While miasma here is very thin on the surface, I think I recall you mentioned that it doesn’t affect you much?”
The dungeon wasn’t devoid of miasma, but it tended to linger in patches. In the villages, there wasn’t that much, but in castles and underground areas, it could build up. During certain days, you could see tendrils of it in the forest, sort of like fog except black. The people in the dungeon seemed to be used to it and immune to it. As for Garnet, I was curious if she was willfully ignoring it or if she had a general reason.
“I’m… um… immune to miasma.” She explained tightly.
“A species trait?”
“Something like that.” She responded, but she seemed like she didn’t want to talk about it. “I mean, the miasma should affect them, can you put miasma into the cave.”
It wasn’t like I couldn’t. I was a dark priest and demonic knight. Either one could manipulate miasma. I could make miasma with one of my dark priest abilities as freely as Shao could. I could convert mana into miasma and vice versa now. It was then that I started to realize the possibility. If I filled the cave with miasma, it’d become difficult for them to see. It never got thick enough in the dungeons I had been in, but supposedly, it could get thick enough you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of you. There was a way we could blind the bandits!
I didn’t have my miasma affinity, but I wouldn’t need it if I was producing my own. The miasma I made through my spells was peaceful and didn’t affect me at all. Even if it did, as a white mage, I had many means of countering miasma, and as a Demonic Knight, I had even more ways of ignoring it.
If we filled the cave with miasma, we might be able to smoke them out. If enough miasma gathered, monsters would spontaneously be created. So, it’d be a mental attack, affecting their emotional and psychological state, it would blind them, and then there was a chance of monsters. I admit I had never concentrated miasma with the intent of making monsters though, except through the use of my dungeon.
“Alright, let’s try it out.”
There were two guards at the cave entrance, completely hidden and waiting in ambush. I took out one while Garnet took out the other. We tried to do it as quietly as possible. Once they were gone, I moved to the front of the cave. I could only detect a few faded red dots in their depths. They were too far in to see us or to realize what was happening.
I pulled out all of the mana and waters of life potions I had acquired recently. One good thing about an ancient dungeon on a battlefield, there was no shortage of curative supplies. I had spared a bit of fairy dust and made several jugs of waters of life, so I could drink it during difficult battles, but other than that, I hadn’t used any of the resources I had acquired since coming here.
Once I had prepared things, I raised my hand and started to create miasma. It was much like the create water spell, except that this was a gas. I couldn’t make it go anywhere and it sort of just drifted in the air. I had to simultaneously use a wind control to make sure that the miasma made it into the cave. Keeping a gentle wave carrying miasma into a place where it could escape. I continued to produce miasma as quickly as my fingers would make it.
It was two hours before I needed to start drinking something to keep my mana up. At first, Garnet had been pumped, holding her hammer fiercely and acting like she was going to protect me with her life. However, that ended after fifteen minutes, and now she was lying on a grass tuff, looking extremely bored. Another hour passed by, and while I was steadily taking sips of waters of life, she made a noise and approached me.
“How much longer is this going to take.”
“If I hadn’t spent countless hours filling and creating the fairy spring, I’m not sure if I would have had the patience to do this either. It was an unpleasant experience, acting basically as a mana conversion conduit to change mana from one thing to another.
I was about to answer her when I heard a noise from within the cave. There were footsteps and the sounds of someone coming.
“Boss says he detects something off about the atmosphere in the cave.”
“I didn’t ask why the entrance needed to be checked, I asked why we were the ones who had to check it!”
I grabbed my blade and moved to the side. Garnet got up and similarly took a flanking position on the other side of the cave. We watched as the two men left the cave. Their eyes instantly caught the lined-up potions on the ground where I had been sitting. They walked out to look at them.
“Who left these… wait… ahhh!” We descended on and cut the two men down.
Whether they were dungeon monsters or real people, I had gotten over killing when necessary. Ever since I had killed Lord reign’s Knights, I had accepted that I’d have to kill people from time to time, so the best I could do was be efficient so they didn’t feel pain.
“This is when things get messy,” I told Garnet. “If these guys don’t come back in a few minutes, they’ll be alert.”
“Then, what do we do?” Garnet asked.
I touched the bandit’s forehead, and his karma flooded into me. “We tell the boss that things going according to plan.”