Ch 139 -- Magic Item
Next 'morning' after breakfast we paused in front of the boss room of the 25th level while I took a look inside...
"The room's even bigger than the last one." I said dispiritedly. "And the number of monsters has also gone up."
"Umu." Fer concurred, his muzzle lifted high as if he was sniffing the air while he used his monster-detecting sense. "That's what it feels like to me too."
"1, 2, 3 ... ah, I count 10 Spriggans." It was unfortunately quite easy to count them as the immense Spriggans stood head and shoulders, literally, above the mob of other large monsters that packed the correspondingly immense boss room. Was it because this was the last level of the Giants Zone we were getting a special offer sale, Everything Must Go! deal? Had the dungeon put all its leftover giant monsters in this room just for our benefit? Did Not Want, but they were standing there, between us and the stairs to the next level. I sighed, did the dungeon really have to be so nasty to its visitors?
"Fuuuh, no matter how big the giant monsters are, they're still not that much of a challenge." Fer said with a tinge of disappointment in his voice.
"That's true, big guy. On the other hand they'll be good exercise.” Dora-chan was looking to burn off some excess energy, apparently.
"Sui is ready to knock down more Bad Guys too-" Darling battle maniac Sui-chan added, her Acid Bullet-shooting sniper tentacle at the ready.
Yeah, the mob filling the boss room would be a challenge for most parties of Adventurers but my contracted monsters didn't think they posed any sort of a problem, and they were probably right.
"Well, let's go." Fer said, rushing into the room.
"Charge!" Dora-chan piped, flying in behind Fer.
"Hooray-" Battle maniac Sui pyonged through the doorway behind the other two. I heard Fer's wind magic blast the mob of giant monsters, scattering them around the immense dark room as the unequal contest began.
I wondered if my three contracted monsters ever feared anything, like I feared pretty much everything in this danger-filled world. They were strong, of course and me... yeah, I was weak, I admitted it to myself. I had expected the dungeon to be exciting but with those three accompanying me and fighting all the monsters it had been almost boring, a stroll in the park. If I had been by myself, yeah I'd have been knocked back by a grasshopper, never mind the giant monsters we had been encountering for the past few levels. I peered into the room where the battle was raging, exciting and heart-pounding and all the things I'd played games to enjoy at a safe remove. If I didn't hurry it would all be over soon. I braced myself, made sure I had a firm grip on my Mithril short sword and edged into the boss room.
"Gooah!" A Troll spotted me and headed in my direction. Huh? The pounding of its footsteps sounded faster than the Trolls I had encountered in the recent levels. Were the monsters in this last Giant Zone level boss room faster and more dangerous than in the previous levels? The dungeon was trying to trick us, it seemed.
"Goooooahhhh!" the Troll shouted while it raised both fists and swung them down at me in a double hammer-blow, moving faster than the Trolls of the previous levels...
"Still not fast enough!" I shouted back, "I can easily dodge that!" I stepped to one side as the Troll lurched past me and I cut into its side with my outstandingly sharp Mithril short sword, slicing a gaping wound in its belly and ribs and leaving great ropes of grey intestines hanging out.
"Gooooh" the Troll moaned, swinging a massive fist at me but it was wounded now and slower than before and again I avoided its attack easily. I stepped quickly behind it and slashed at the back of its legs, severing the great muscles in its calves, chunk chunk. The Troll fell forward and I plunged my Mithril short sword deep into its back around the area where its heart should be. I hoped.
"Take that!" I cried as the Troll shuddered and then died.
"Yosh-!" Thump. While I was celebrating my victory over the Troll I was hit by something from behind and knocked onto my backside.
"Wh-, what was that?"
"Bumooo!" I looked up to see a Minotaur swinging a massive axe down at me.
"Ooooh" I covered my head with my arms and closed my eyes. Was my Perfect Defence Skill really working?! I had become over-confident fighting the Troll and this morning Fer had decided that he wouldn't provide me with his Barrier any more because of my Perfect Defence Skill. I knew it had worked before but would it work now? Perfect Defence Skill, don't let me down!
Thump--. The Minotaur's axe hit my arms but... nothing happened. I felt the blow but it didn't hurt or do any damage to me. I moved my arm aside and looked up, seeing the Minotaur shaking his head, enraged. It swung the axe at me again and again, thump, thump, thump-- and again it had no effect. It was like a series of gentle taps, no more. I realised the force that had knocked me on my butt was probably the Minotaur's first attack on me from behind, doing no damage but pushing me down.
Thump, thump, thump--. The Minotaur persisted in its useless attacks on me and I decided enough was enough, now that I had more confidence in my Perfect Defence Skill to protect me.
"Take that!" I cried, standing up and stabbing the Minotaur through the heart with my Mithril short sword.
"Bomoo 'o 'o 'o--" The dying Minotaur fell backward onto the floor and lay there motionless.
"Yosh, I did it!" I picked up the Troll's Poison Claw and Minotaur Horns left as the monsters evaporated, items drops from monsters that I had fought and defeated. Me, monster killer Mukouda-san...
"So are you going to fight a bit more from now on?" Fer asked, approaching me where I stood, still excited and shaking with fear and strangely exhilarated too. Was this how real Adventurers felt after they won a battle with monsters? I looked around but all the other monsters in the boss room had been defeated by Fer, Dora-chan and Sui-chan in less time than it had taken me to fight just two of the smaller monsters present.
"Well, a bit more, maybe." I agreed. "I'm still not used to fighting and I'm not that good at it yet but I can't leave it all to you three, can I?" Fer nodded, as if satisfied at my words.
"Aruji-, I've picked up all the things left around-." Oh, it looked like Sui-chan had collected all the other drops, the room's floor now left bare.
"Oh, you picked them all up for me? Thank you Sui." I took the drops and put them away in my Item Box as Sui-chan pyong-pyonged, happy to be thanked by me.
"Hey," Dora-chan shouted telepathically as he buzzed around, "I can see a huge treasure chest over by the wall!"
"A treasure chest? Let's go!" I followed Dora-chan over to where the treasure chest stood with Fer and Sui-chan following along.
"As Dora-chan said it's big," I muttered, "A lot bigger than the treasure chests we've found before..." A treasure chest about 1 meter square and about 50 centimeters high was sitting there all innocent-looking and tempting. I wanted to throw the lid back immediately and see what was inside but I Appraised it beforehand. Safety first after all. Sure enough...
[ Treasure Chest ]
It releases a Fireball as soon as it is opened and then emits a cloud of poison gas after that.
...... So it emits poison gas as well as a Fireball? Amazing. I was suspicious to start with because of its size but I might have been fooled -- I'd open the lid, dodge the Fireball and then go back thinking it was safe and the poison gas would get me. Sneaky. Without my Perfect Defence Skill and status change invalidation it would kill me outright, one way or the other.
"The insides of that treasure chest has a real nasty trap built in..." Fer said after studying it from a safe distance like me.
"I Appraised it too, Fer. It's got poison gas as well as shooting a Fireball." I shuddered. "We'd die if we didn't have the Goddess' protection."
"Oh yes. It would be possible to avoid the three Fireballs but the poison gas would have an immediate death effect and it will squirt a lot of it." Fer answered.
...... What? "Huh? Three Fireballs? Not just one, and the poison gas has an immediate death effect?" I hadn't seen that in my Appraisal... "Oh, that's the difference in levels between us, isn't it?"
"Oh, yes. As the level goes up, things that can be done with your Skills increase, as I told you before." Fer looked smug, well smugger than usual. "My Appraisal is usually quite detailed in that regard."
So this chest releases a poisonous gas that has an immediate death effect after three Fireballs come shooting out when the lid is lifted. I really didn't want to open it now but, thinking about it coldly, we were all actually safe, what with my Perfect Defence Skill and the blessings from the Goddesses protecting us from the poison gas. So, I could open it after all. Really. I could. Just lift the lid, I didn't really need to do it at arm's length with my eyes closed, my teeth clenched and my hand shaking...
Sure enough when I finally, slowly, lifted the lid of the treasure chest three Fireballs shot out just as Fer's Appraisal had said, in a wide spread that would have hit anyone standing to the side as well as in front of the open chest. A few seconds later a large cloud of dark poisonous gas spread around the area.
"Gaah, cough cough. It smells terrible." I was still alive though and it didn't seem to have any sort of effect on the others too. I peeked into the chest and Yosh! Treasure! There were gold ingots and a large gem and a ring. Using Appraisal on the gemstone I discovered it was called an Imperial Topaz. That sounded very impressive. The ring though, on Appraising it I found...
[ A Ring of Magic Recovery ]
A magic item that recovers magic power a little faster after use.
Wahoo! I got a real magic item at last. Well, I got that magic bag earlier but it wasn't something like this. I asked Fer to Appraise it as well as "a little faster" was a bit vague. He told me the ring improved the rate of magic recovery by about 20%. That sounded really good and I quickly decided to use it myself rather than sell it. I put it on my finger and at first I thought it was too big to fit properly but being magic it shrunk to the perfect size. I admired it for a second then put the gold ingots and Imperial Topaz in my Item Box before we all headed down the stairs to the 26th level.
"Huh? What is this place............" At the bottom of the stairs was a thick forest, dark and foreboding.
"Would you look at this? The dungeon is getting more interesting." Fer said, looking around with a fascinated gleam in his eyes.
No, no, no Fer-san, it is not interesting at all. I had been told by Elland-san that the dungeon had levels like this but isn't this a bit too soon? This level should be like the previous levels, stone walls and rock tunnels. Why is that forest suddenly there, in front of us?
"Hey, get on. I can sense a lot of quite strong monsters around here. Let's get going." Fer's muzzle swung around. "That way." Fer sounded eager to go and have fun. "Hurry up and get on, you."
Yeah yeah, I straddled his back and he rushed off towards the forest edge. I held on grimly, wondering what sort of monsters were waiting for us up ahead...