As I was pulled down, I was able to get a better look at the monster. It wasn’t an octopus. It had far more tentacles than that. As for the mouth, it was round and filled with teeth. If I had to give this creature a name, I would probably call it a Kraken.
At this point, I no longer cared about maintaining appearances. I was much more concerned about maintaining my life and the lives of my girls. Thankfully, the skills that seemed like they would be most useful in my current state were the Dark Priest skills. I began to target the Kraken with Weakness, Steal Life, and Drain. My goal was ultimately to weaken it as much as possible. I had a feeling that Miki was doing the same.
After all, rather than crush her or throw her in its mouth, its arm had seemed oddly lifeless. Miki, someone who could attack the soul and mind of a creature, must have kept it from dragging her any farther. At this point, the light above me seemed to go out as a dark wave exploded out and struck the Kraken. Shortly after, there was another beam of shadows that cut through it. At least five tentacles were severed as it was cut.
Another bubble appeared around my head, and I was able to take a gasp of air. We were extremely lucky to have a Sylph with us. Her control of the air was at an unbelievable level. To a normal Adventurer, as soon as a bubble of air was struck, the majority of it would have scattered and floated up and away. Our Sylph managed to have precision-like control of several different bubbles of air, allowing them to withstand the pressure and keep us alive.
However, we couldn’t keep going forever. We did have a limited amount of oxygen, and it was being consumed much faster now that we were actively in a fight. Despite that, I was feeling extremely vigorous. This was because I was constantly stealing life from the Kraken. Even if I didn’t have air to breathe, I would likely remain alive thanks to this ability.
At this point, I noticed a large eye open just above the mouth. My immediate inclination was that it must be the weak spot.
“Target the eye!” I ordered through Slave Communication.
Another wave of dark attacks came out from Salicia and Shao. This time, they were targeted at the eye. They struck it and I could feel the entire creature shudder as it received massive damage. As was, this was only a 10th level boss. Although it was massive, and the difficulty was enhanced considerably because of where we had to fight it, it ultimately wasn’t that durable. With a final roar which I could feel through the water, the tentacles lost their grip, and the Kraken finally dispersed.
The drop confirmed that it was a Kraken. It was a Kraken eye. I wasn’t interested in it, but Miki was excited. It was a rare alchemic ingredient.
Although the fight occurred suddenly and had caught us off guard, we had managed to pass through it without much more difficulty.
After we all found each other again, we swam to the end of the boss room. The room was quite massive, and just swimming across took about fifteen minutes. Considering we hadn’t gotten much rest and then had to fight a massive underwater beast, everyone was quite tired. We finally found a hatch leading up. It didn’t lead straight onto the next floor but dumped us into a pond. Thankfully, the pond didn’t have any monster fish, and we were able to swim to the surface un-perturbed.
As I broke the surface, the air never felt so fresh. We had been rebreathing the same air for several hours, and it was getting a bit thin. I wondered if we were more resistant to carbon dioxide because of our job levels. Perhaps, a normal human would have already passed out by now.
We emerged in a small pond. There was a small waterfall next to us that gave the entire environment a pleasant, beautiful feeling. Of course, at the depths of this pool was a powerful and dangerous Kraken boss, so the beauty was only a deception to the real danger. The group of us flopped out of the water while gasping for breath.
“That safe room was a joke,” Terra complained.
“It looks like there are loopholes to the idea of safe.” Lydia frowned.
They were right to be angry. Dungeons were supposed to have rules, and one rule was that safe rooms were safe. However, this safe room needed you to close the door to keep the water out, and then spawned a boss that might grab and drown you while you were trying to recover. It was malicious, although it probably fit Calypso’s personality quite well.
Typically, every ten levels had a boss that came after a safe room. On the final boss, there was no door between the boss and the safe room, meaning the door that you had to close was the outside door to summon the boss. As a general rule, the Dungeon Master didn’t enter the safe room. This was because they would be weakened by entering the safe room.
The same set up didn’t exist for every other boss level. These safe rooms had a door on both sides. As soon as you entered the boss room, the door behind you would shut, and the boss would appear. I had always thought the boss was in some way sequestered before you entered the room. I supposed there was no reason to believe that, other than experience. I had just never had an instance where the boss took the initiative to harass us in the safe room.
“What should we do, Master?” This was asked over the Slave Communication channel by Lydia.
In that fight, I had acted out in ways that didn’t fit my persona. I wasn’t even sure of everything I had said, and if any of it gave away the secret. There was also no guarantee that Calypso was watching us that closely. Just because she had awareness of the entire dungeon didn’t mean she was listening in during my fight. Even if she could listen in, wouldn’t my words be muffled through all the water and noise of battle? I just didn’t know enough about what it meant to be a Dungeon Master.
“We’ll keep on as before. Select a guard and we’ll rest until morning.”
Of any Dungeon Diver teams who ever dived into a dungeon, our group could have been considered one of the most relaxed and least stressful groups. After all, I could open Portals. We never needed to continue down the dungeon in a single go. I would always leave and we could rest in a nice bed every night. As a support, I had an assortment of skills that could fit our needs and keep us fed. I could cook our food, heal our wounds, make our fires, supply our light, and even refresh our spirits.
If things became too much, we could take a break and play around Chalm, enjoy our hot spring, or relax in the mansion. We could always return right where we left off. Even at its worst, we could always make the safe room our cozy little nest allowing us to lay back and rest in an environment free of conflicting miasma.
On this particular day, we had been forced into a wet, dank safe room, and then forced to abandon it all too quickly. After our boss fight, we set up camp and had to spend the night out among the monsters. Despite Terra building walls and Celeste diverting the wind so our scents weren’t transmitted, we still ended up getting attacked twice during the night.
To a normal Dungeon Diver, this might just be considered par for the course. To us, this was probably about as bad as we have had it for a while. Lydia, Celeste, and Terra seemed to be doing better than the rest of us. Perhaps, they had roughed it during their weeks-long expedition in the wilderness. As for Miki, Shao, and I… perhaps we had grown a bit too comfortable with a soft bed.
We started working our way down to the 15th floor. The monsters were stronger once again, and everyone had bags under their eyes.
If I Portaled, or overused White Mage spells, then our cover would be blown. I had to continue to act only passively while the girls defended me. It felt like fighting with a hand behind my back, and it was growing increasingly frustrating as the dungeon grew more and more difficult.
“How much longer is this dungeon?” I asked in irritation.
“It should only be twenty levels,” Lydia explained. “That’s what Calypso told us.”
We were on day three. At this pace, we should be able to break through to the final boss room in seven days. Although I complained about that, any other Dungeon Diver would consider that pace beyond belief. The first dungeon I had ever been in took nearly two weeks, and the second took over a month. This was a testament to how much better the girls were. Even with my support only being passive, we were able to progress this quickly.
We spent one more night sleeping on the floor before we reach level 15. Remarkably, we found the safe room before we had stumbled on the boss or the exit.
“You have to be kidding me,” I said, my mouth falling open at the sight.
Calypso had done it again. This safe room was both accessible and findable, but its location was completely unreasonable. A tree had grown out from the side of a cliff, a dead tree. The safe room was embedded in the tree, hanging a dozen meters over a bottomless fall. The tree creaked and groaned under the weight of a single person. In short, if we tried to stay there, the safe room would fall, and we would all perish. Was this really a trial to improve the levels of Bandits?