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“By my guess, this enemy was just about reaching your limits for fighting by yourselves. It stands to reason that the future bosses may require all four of us. I suggest you little ladies team up with us men to progress. It would be a damn shame if your progress was impeded by stubbornness.” Adento declared.
Miai didn’t answer him, but instead, she raised an eyebrow in Requiem’s direction. This seemed to irritate Adento.
Requiem spoke before he could open his mouth. “Miai and I already agreed to work together before the match. I was delayed so she managed to get ahead of me.”
Maia immediately responded with a sultry smile. Her curiosity about Requiem’s delay was evident. In the back of Requiem’s head, he could hear Clippy complaining furiously. He ignored her and kept his face from displaying any emotion as usual.
“Hmph… well, to each their tastes.” Adento snorted, before glancing at Sparrow suggestively. “Personally, I prefer a human woman. Surprised to see a woman as talented as yourself, ma’am.”
Sparrow turned away. “We should go.”
“She’s right. We’re still not in first. It’s probably those two super Androids. If we want any chance to keep up with them, we need to speed up.” Miai cut in before Adento could say anything else.
He snorted and gave a nod. He was a tough guy, but he also understood the situation. He was a professional at heart. The group joined forces and continued down to the next level.
Now that Requiem had joined up with Miai and the woman known as Sparrow, they were truly reaching the end game. He immediately found them to be better company than Adento, even though Miai was clearly spying on him with an interest in his secrets, and Sparrow seemed extremely jumpy and wary of him. She didn’t speak to him very much, and he could tell that her voice was altered as well. Requiem didn’t know if this was some kind of artifact in the game or if she had some alternative means to do this. It wasn’t his care to pry.
The difficulty level of each floor started to increase now that they reached the 36th level. There were 50 levels in all, so that meant three more bosses. However, the mobs on the 36th floor were easily as strong as the level 5 boss. Taking them down truly did require working as a group. The only saving grace was that the androids had already been through these areas, which were still growing smaller and smaller with each floor. However, if Requiem had to guess, he’d say that they probably ran past and avoided most enemies to progress as quickly as possible.
To a human, the stress of running forward and dodging hits nonstop was a bit much. They had to defeat their enemies just so that they could get a break. Only an android could fight so aggressively. Thankfully, this dungeon was built in a way that an android couldn’t just run through the entire dungeon without obstruction. Requiem was still calm because he understood the final boss wouldn’t be something the two androids could defeat.
Since Requiem was pretending to be a human, only Miai had an excuse to act this way, and she seemed content with the speed her human companions were moving. Adento seemed to hate androids, but he didn’t bother Miai. He was mostly just icy toward her. This was noticeable because of her beauty. Instead, he seemed more interested in trying to get closer to Sparrow. For her part, she only responded with single-word answers. Miai seemed to take a liking to her, as she would appear next to Sparrow and play reception any time Adento tried to get close to her.
As for what he did, it was usually an event where she’d be in danger and he’d pull her from it. Then, he’d press his body against her a bit more than necessary. Requiem already knew Adento had good spatial awareness and a tendency to manipulate the situation. He had tried to do the same to Requiem to get him to trust. However, while his intention with Requiem was to get him to drop his guard so that when Adento inevitably betrayed him, he’d have an easier time of it, his actions with Sparrow seemed to be just because she was a woman.
He would occasionally smile or wink at her, and try to impress her with his might. He still tended to take any equipment he saw before anyone else could claim it, but now he’d offer some to Sparrow with a predatory smile. Even if it was something that she wanted, she’d shake her head in vehement refusal. It was as if he was completely unaware that until the 35th floor, she had been beating him in this competition. Requiem didn’t believe this woman was simple or easy any more than Miai.
She had been extremely careful to keep her hood up, and to this point, Requiem hadn’t seen her face. Since her voice had been altered, her face could have been changed just as easily. Requiem didn’t see any point in trying to see the woman if she didn’t want to be seen. This also showed the differences in treatment from Adento, who had barely gotten a glimpse at Sparrow, while the beautiful, flirtatious, and exposed android Miai was mostly ignored.
“The androids have just gotten through the 40th level,” Clippy announced.
“That took them a while. We should be able to overtake them by level 45 then.”
They had just discovered the staircase leading to the 39th level. That meant that we were only about two levels behind them. It stood to reason that they would be able to defeat the 40th level boss much quicker than the two androids. Just the fact that there were four of them would open up the room for strategy and the damage for a quick defeat.
It was possible if they rushed that they could pass onto the 40th level before the boss regened, after all, the levels were very small right now. However, there was no way that Requiem could tell the group such a thing without revealing his own cheating. If he ran ahead on his own and they had already left and the boss doors closed, then he’d have to wait for the group to catch up, and it would become rather awkward.
The group continued through the 39th floor. While the enemies decreased, their difficulty increased. The party also had to be extremely careful. Now that the environments were smaller, it was all too easy to end up aggro-ing several monsters at once. If that happened, the difficulty would increase exponentially. However, they were able to progress and reach the 40th floor shortly.
Miai seemed to be a spell caster, although that was only how she chose to fight in this game. It wasn’t clear how her physical skills faired. Given that she was modded, it was probably a good idea that she didn’t try to fight physically. Although the game equalized people’s physical ability, it was possible that the way she handled herself would have made people wonder if she had greater than normal physical abilities, and lead to them looking into her. If they discovered the truth, it’d mean death for her and likely a major reprimand for her master.
Requiem didn’t wish for her to be destroyed, especially not before he knew what she knew about his current android body. Thus, he was fine covering for her physical shortcomings. The other girl, Sparrow, seemed to be quick on her feet, and she had a series of throwing knives and daggers. She had to recover her throwing knives whenever she could, but every once in a while, she lost one. At the start, she had twelve, but Requiem had been paying attention and she was now down to eight.
Requiem suspected that Adento might be pocketing them to push her into a difficult situation, but even under his eyes, he wasn’t able to see this happen. Nothing missed Clippy’s eyes, but ever since he had met up with the two ladies, she had grown increasingly silent. If he threatened her, he was certain he could get the answers he wanted, but he decided it wasn’t worth the effort. She had always had an issue with Miai. He was surprised that she seemed to dislike Sparrow as well. Maybe it was all women that Clippy didn’t like. Well, it was to the point that she seemed to like BL. It was enough to give Requiem a headache.
In the end, Adento and Requiem went first, with Miai in the rear while Sparrow was on the side. Her job was to move to the side and try to find a weakness. Adento and Requiem would keep it distracted, while Miai stayed in the back and prepared powerful magic. Requiem didn’t ask Clippy what the big boss was nor how to defeat it. When they were alone and the creatures were easy enough to defeat, he was happy to have this information, but under the eyes of Adento and the rest, it’d be all too easy to cause problems by appearing too prepared.
As they walked out onto the floor, the monster wasn’t there at first. The room was particularly large. There was enough space that another monster the size of the dragon could appear, but there was no treasure. It was just a giant, empty chamber.
“Is it invisible?” Adento asked, his voice echoing out across the empty room.
“This…” Requiem frowned, his eyes narrowed.
“Master, under you!” Clippy gave such a warning.
Requiem leaped up just as an ooze-like substance started to come up out of the floor. Adento jumped back as the ooze continued to rise. With his hand on his hilt, he backed up slowly while keeping his eyes on the rising stuff. It was black and jelly-like. As it rose, Requiem could hear a sizzling sound coming from it. It grew until it was nearly three times the height of Requiem, and possibly twenty feet wide. It was a massive, jelly-like blob.
Sparrow pulled out a blade and threw it. The blade struck the jelly-like creature with a thunk. The blade went right into the creature, leaving a wound that sealed up almost instantly. The blade began to degrade in front of their eyes. Within seconds, it was pockmarked and decayed. This was some kind of acidic slime monster.
“This one is going to be difficult,” Requiem muttered.
At the moment, a dozen tentacles shot out from the blob. Several of them aimed toward all four targets. Requiem, Adento, and Miai dodged. The only one who was a bit slow turned out to be Sparrow. She let out a cry as it struck her leg. She rolled away, but there was a hissing sound, and a piece of her pants was melted. She pulled out a potion and immediately poured it on her leg, which was smoking from a burn.
However, Requiem was shocked for another reason. Her hood had fallen back, and for the first time, he had gotten a good look at her. She had messy red hair and a somewhat innocent face. It was a woman he had spent a night with recently. It was the innkeeper, Ginger!