Chapter 134 -- Nasty Trap
Fer announced the 13th floor to be all 'small fry' after a quick scan for monsters so we gave up on exploring it thoroughly and instead headed directly for the boss room. There was no-one waiting so we went in straight away. The 13th level's boss room had 5 Ogres which were, of course, no match for Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan. I hurried to collect the drops which were Ogre skins before we went down the stairs to the 14th level which we also skipped exploring. Fer grumbled about the continuing lack of real opposition, saying it might be like this, just more 'small fry' until at least level 20. Even waiting our turn in front of the 14th level's boss room he declared "Nothing but small fry inside, disappointing." in a bored tone of voice. When we entered the 14th floor boss room I discovered that it held 5 Trolls. These hulking monsters were 'small fry', Fer?
"A Troll's got a big strong body but it's sluggish and easy to beat if you move fast. So which one of you wants to deal with them?" Fer asked.
"Oh, can Sui defeat them?- " Sui asked, poinging up and down.
"Hey, how about letting me take them on?" Dora-chan asked excitedly.
"How about we let you beat the bosses on the next floor, Dora-chan?" I suggested. "Is that OK with you, Sui-chan?"
"Yes, good-" Sui-chan agreed.
"Right then, we'll leave these Trolls to Sui-chan and the boss on the 15th floor is all yours Dora-chan, OK?"
"Yeah, can't wait." Dora-chan said.
"Right then Sui-chan, knock down the bad guys!" I commanded.
"Yes, aruji-" Sui-chan extended a familiar-looking tentacle. Pew, pew, pew, pew, pew.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Urgh, Sui-chan the Troll Slayer hit them with Acid Bullets, blowing a large gruesome hole in the belly of each Troll. The Trolls could only cry out once without doing anything before they fell down dead and that was it for them. Sorry, Troll-sans.
Sui jumped up and down happily saying "I did it, I did it-". Sui-chan is too cute, but not if you're an enemy I suppose. The drop from the Trolls was two small magic stones which I collected before we went down the stairs to the 15th level. The signs of Adventurers on this level were few in number compared to the levels above but Fer declared the level to be full of 'small fry' yet again. I had been hoping to find some treasure chests, especially now there were fewer Adventurers ahead of us who might have already picked them clean but it was likely that any treasure chests we might find further down in the dungeon would hold more worthwhile contents due to the increasing difficulty levels.
We went straight to the 15th level boss room where it was the turn of a hyped-up Dora-chan to beat the room's occupants this time. Inside the room were three giant bullheaded figures which my Appraisal Skill labelled as Minotaurs. Slobber sprayed from their mouths as they waved giant axes around in a frenzy. When we entered the room they roared like bulls, "Bumoo!" and ran towards us, swinging their axes ready to strike.
"Hiyaaaa, let's go!" Dora-chan flew into the room in front of us.
Boom, boom, boom!
Thump, thump, thump. Oh, the same result again... Dora-chan killed all three Minotaurs in a single attack, quickly shooting lightning magic at the charging figures as he flew at them almost too fast to see. Even a monster as strong as a Minotaur couldn't do anything but bellow once before being killed and falling down dead and that was it for them.
Even though Trolls and Minotaurs are truly dangerous dungeon monsters it was kind of sad to see them being defeated without being able to fight back or really defend themselves. I felt a bit sorry for them and I wondered if our small companions were TOO strong. Dora-chan was flying around saying, "Hachi-Ho, who's next?" and other things as the bodies of the Minotaurs slowly sank into the dungeon floor. I watched them disappear, thinking a dungeon was the epitome of the survival of the fittest, a testing ground where even the strongest might lose and die and go to Buddha. Amen.
According to my Appraisal, the drop was a [ Minotaur's iron axe ]
Iron axe wielded by a Minotaur. It is very heavy.
I tried to lift it but failed since it was too heavy for me, but the Minotaurs had been able to swing it around easily. The Minotaurs had been very strong. Dora-chan had killed them instantly which meant that Dora-chan was also strong. Basically everyone was strong, this party had no weak spots. No, that wasn't true, we had one weak spot. Me. I was the weakest of us all, sorry to say but it was something I had to accept as a fact. I'd have to be protected by everyone as we went further into this dungeon.
On the 16th level the the situation changed completely. First of all, it looked different to what had we had seen before. The previous 15 levels had been tunnels formed from stone walls but the corridors in the 16th level were cut from solid rock, like a drainage tunnel.
"Somehow it feels different now from the first 15 levels." I muttered, looking around. I had gotten used to the stone walls.
"Umu." Fer said, looking around too. "Well, it's a living dungeon and the levels can change. Sometimes a level can be a forest or even a desert area." Ah, just like the games back in my own world. We started along the rocky tunnel leading away from the stairs and we soon encountered a rough doorway-shaped hole in the right-hand wall. Peeking through the hole I saw a large-ish room with a dome-shaped roof filled with monsters. This time it was several Orc Generals surrounded by a large number of Orcs. We stepped back from the entrance to decide how to proceed once we were sure the Orcs wouldn't chase out of their room after us.
"Well it looks like there are fewer Adventurers on this level so let's spend more time collecting monster drops and searching for treasure chests." I suggested. Until now we hadn't bothered much with the drops from the minor monsters Fer and Dora-chan had slaughtered casually as we zoomed through each level, just leaving them behind for other Adventurers to pick up when they were found. Now we had reached this level I decided we should be more diligent and act like real Adventurers.
"It's bothersome wasting time on all these small fry..." Fer grumbled telepathically. I caught the word "Behemoth" in the back of his mind. Rita from Iron Will had said something about us going to the bottom of the dungeon and fighting the Final Boss and that comment had brought that particular S-class monster back to his attention. He was in a hurry but...
"What are you saying?" I replied. "The purpose of diving into a dungeon is to gather valuable drop items and locate treasure chests. Ignoring them means there's no point in going into the dungeon in the first place."
"I'm the one doing most of the fighting down here, you know." Fer pointed out, still not willing to agree to taking it slower on the levels to come.
"Oh, of course you are, Fer." I said, "But I want to collect the drop items and find treasure chests because they're valuable, you see." I offered him a concession. "I'll let you choose a particular dish for dinner if you agree." Fer's ears pricked up at this.
"Nuuu, really? I will do it then." Yosh! Fer was not that difficult to deal with as long as you treated him as an empty stomach on four legs. What he said next was a surprise though.
"I want to eat more meat from another world like the meat I ate before." Uh, domestic Japanese wagyu beef? Wyvern meat and Dragon meat is is obviously superior in taste and texture to wagyu, even A5 top grade meat. Eating food from the Net Super adds a little to our Status for a short time, of course but was there something else that made it extra-delicious for Fer?
"You want to eat meat from another world, Fer?" I asked. "Is it really superior to the meat we can get here?"
"I can only eat the other world's food if you get it for me." Fer explained. "Of course Dragon meat is the best but I want to eat different things as well and I want to eat other-world meat now."
Ah, that made sense. Fer and the others couldn't get hold of ingredients from the Net Super other than asking me to buy them. We had been eating meat from this world exclusively for quite some time now, high-quality meat but Fer wanted to taste the wagyu beef again. I nodded in agreement and Fer quickly entered the room. There was a flash and a Boom! and that was that, instant kills of all the Orcs.
The drop items this time were pieces of Orc meat and Orc General meat. Oh, and Orc testicles. I recalled Johan-ojisan, the Guild's disassembler at Carerina explaining they were much sought after as ingredients for aphrodisiacs. I had been paid quite a lot of gold coins for the testicles sold to the Guild from the Orcs Fer had subjugated, but now they were drop items just lying there on the dungeon floor. I went to pick them up but my hand froze. They're money, gold coins really, I told myself but I finally had to get some kitchen paper from my Item Box to wrap them up in before depositing them in my Item Box.
We picked up a few more drops as we explored the rocky tunnels and defeated any monsters that appeared. They were stronger than the ones we had encountered on the previous levels, of a higher level or more numerous. The traps were getting more dangerous too, flights of arrows and spears rather than single ones, even poisoned arrows. The pitfalls had spikes at the bottom now too. They were no problem though, Fer's Barrier fended off the projectiles while Fer leapt over the holes that suddenly appeared in the floor and Dora-chan flew safely over them, of course.
As we walked along one suspiciously-smooth long straight tunnel I heard a slight click.
"Nuuu, that sounded like a trap going off." Fer said casually, turning around as we heard a rumble and the sound of something heavy rolling towards us from behind, it sounded like... RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE...
"What's that?" I shouted, pointing at the large round boulder that completely filled the tunnel which was rolling towards us. We were going to be crushed! I turned back to start running away but Fer just said "No problem." and waved his front foot at the boulder, leaving an afterimage of sharp claws of light hurtling towards the rock. That was his Claw Slash skill, I had seen him use it before.
Smash. The sharp claws of light hit the boulder and shattered into pieces. …Huh? That technique, it worked on stone too? I stared at the collapsing pile of rubble, mouth agape but Fer being Fer, he just turned back and said "Let's go." I supposed that for Fer it wasn't a big thing, just a large rock and not any sort of a real challenge. Mister Cool, that's Fer. I told myself I should worry less when he's around but, well, all this dungeon stuff was new to me and I couldn't help being nervous. Please be careful, Fer.
We travelled around the 16th level collecting monster drops and dodging traps before we reached the level's boss room. It was almost twice as big as the boss rooms we had encountered on the previous 15 levels. It held a large number of assorted monsters, Orcs, Lizardmen and Ogres. Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan disposed of them all in less than five minutes. I helped in this fighting this time though.
I fought against an Orc, to test the sharpness of the Mithril short sword Sui had made for me. I had no real skill for using a sword, I hadn't even tried kendo at school but I think that I was able to remain relatively calm because I knew I had the Perfect Defence Skill and the Orc couldn't hurt me. At least that's what I told myself as I approached the monster.
The Orc I chose as my opponent was wielding a iron axe. The Orc hit me with it but I didn't even feel the blow. Yay for my Perfect Defence! I waved my short sword at the Orc as I was knocked back by the force of the otherwise-harmless impact. It wasn't any sort of a stroke that any real swordsman would recognise but the blade sliced through the Orc's arm and cut it off! The arm and the axe it held in its hand just flew away. I was amazed how incredibly sharp the sword was but I was distracted by the Orc's roaring so I stabbed the sword into its chest. The blade slid through the Orc's tough skin like paper, no, like a soap bubble and the Orc fell to the ground and died. It didn't leave a drop which was a little disappointing but I had actually taken part in the battle this time which satisfied me, and now I had a better idea just how exceptionally sharp and effective Sui's Mithril sword was. I had also learned that the Perfect Defence Skill provided by the God of Blacksmiths was not just for show.
By the time I had dealt with the Orc the others had finished the rest of the monsters in the boss room as expected. I picked up the drops left behind, skins and magic stones and a few other items and then we headed off towards the 17th level stairs.