Chapter 146 -- Giant Sand Golem
The desert level's freezing cold night finally came to an end as the "horizon" glowed with the rising "sun". I cooked Bloody Horn Bull steaks for my companions for breakfast but I settled for onigiri rice balls with wakame seaweed and sardines I made for myself. After filling everyone up with more isotonic sports drink we headed off into the hot desert again, to where Fer said the level boss should be waiting for us.
Like the day before we encountered Giant Sand Scorpions and their lesser scorpion mobs as well as Sand Worms but they were easily defeated by Fer and Dora-chan. I collected the drops quickly and we pressed on. We stopped briefly for lunch, tonkatsu rice bowl using the Orc meat I had collected from drops earlier in the dungeon, topped with a light shoyu steak sauce dressing and grated veggies. I bought some high-quality ice cream from the Net Super to finish off the meal.
"Oh, this cold food is delicious." Fer said, "I was getting tired in this heat but this is really helping."
"So cooooool~" Dora-chan announced. "I can feel myself reviving, yay!"
"It's cold and sweet and delicious!~ I want to eat more!" Sui-chan demanded. Yeah yeah, I opened up Net Super and bought more ice cream for the three monsters, and myself of course. The desert heat was intense now even through Fer's Barrier and the cold ice cream really hit the spot.
After taking a short break and topping up with more isotonic sports drinks we pushed on through the seemingly endless desert. As usual Dora-chan was flying ahead of us, scouting out any dangers.
"Hey, a big snake monster's coming!" Dora-chan reported telepathically. We looked ahead where Dora-chan was flying and spotted the threat he had warned us about. Sure enough a really big snake, maybe three metres in diameter and impossibly long was slithering towards us in an odd wriggling manner. What was it?
[ Death Sidewinder ]
So how would we fight this A-rank monster? I thought to myself. Maybe Fer could-
"I'll get it! " Dora-chan suddenly announced, diving towards the giant snake. Zash! Dora-chan's Wind magic sliced off the Death Sidewinder's head in a single strike and that was that.
"Amazing, Dora-chan." I congratulated him as he performed his usual celebratory aerobatics. The Death Sidewinder's drop was a magic stone, a Poison Sac and its skin which I put away in my Item Box before we started off again. We ran into more Death Sidewinders as well as Sand Worms and Giant Sand Scorpions as we progressed. The monster fights only really slowed us down because I insisted on waiting for the dead monsters to disappear so I could collect all the drops. The fights themselves only took a second or two.
As Fer had predicted the "sun" started to disappear below the "horizon" before we got to the level's boss so we spent another cold night huddled together in the darkness waiting for the "sun" to rise again over the sandy desert landscape. After breakfast and more isotonic sports drinks we headed off again, collecting more monster drops on the way. As we crested a rise in the sand dunes Fer slowed to a stop.
"There's something up ahead, I can detect..." Fer wrinkled his nose. "It's got to be the level boss. We arrived here quicker than I thought. There's still plenty of time till nightfall so we should just fight him now." As Fer finished speaking the level boss rose from the sand in front of us.
"Gruuahh!" came an ear-shattering roar from the monster, an enormous humanoid figure made of... sand? What-- it had to be twenty metres tall, what was it?
[ Giant Sand Golem ]
This level's boss is S-rank just like the bosses of the last few levels? I wasn't surprised but it would have been nice to face a lesser opponent, just once.
"Dora, Sui, let's go-" Fer commanded, bounding towards the Giant Sand Golem as I leapt off his back. Safety first, and I'd just get in the way after all. Even my Mithril sword would have little or no effect on such a monster, I decided.
Dora-chan wrapped his body in powerful Fire magic, eye-blindingly intense even in the desert sunlight as Sui-chan leapt out of her leather bag and pyonged across the sand towards the level boss, following Fer and Dora-chan.
"Hyaah, chaaaarge!" Dora-chan shouted, flying like an incendiary bullet into the Giant Sand Golem's torso. He punched his way through the monster's body, leaving a gaping hole that I could see all the way through... which immediately filled with sand again leaving the Giant Sand Golem intact and undamaged.
"What?" Dora-chan looped back and blasted his way through the Giant Sand Golem's head this time but to no avail as the destroyed area filled up with sand again.
"Dora, don't bother. Its entire body is made of sand. Any holes will be repaired as soon as you make them." Fer said, circling around the monster. The Giant Sand Golem was standing on an endless desert of dry sand, it could probably suck up as much material as it would ever need to repair itself no matter how much physical damage Dora-chan and Fer could inflict on it. It was dry sand, though...
"Water-! Dora-chan, Sui, soak the Giant Sand Golem in water!" I shouted. If it's wet then maybe it can't regenerate itself properly from the dry sand all around.
"Oh yeah, water!" Dora-chan said, his Fire magic disappearing as he hovered above the Giant Sand Golem.
"Sui understands, aruji-" Sui-chan added. Dora-chan and Sui launched Water magic attacks on the Giant Sand Golem, Dora-chan's Water Bullets and Sui-chan's Water Balls punching into the immense figure and solidifying the sand it was made from. When it had absorbed as much water as I thought we would need I shouted to Fer.
"Fer, use your Lightning magic now!" The monster's body was sodden and damp, that should-
"I'm on it." Fer answered tersely.
Crash! Crackle crackle crackle crackle crackle... Fer blasted the Giant Sand Golem's water-soaked head with repeated strikes of Lightning magic, aiming for where, presumably, the monster's brain was located. Did it have a brain? I wondered as the monster staggered around, smoke and dust obscuring its figure. If this didn't work, what should we try next? Did the Net Super sell cement maybe, how many bags would I need to petrify the Giant Sand Golem, how could we get it to stand still while we mixed the wet sand of its body up with the cement? Fer continued to deliver more intense Lightning magic strikes to the immense figure and then...
Crunch! The Giant Sand Golem fell to the sandy ground, breaking apart as it hit the desert floor, its damp body smoking and steaming from the energy of Fer's magic blasts. The impact raised a cloud of desert sand and dust that obscured everything, leaving me coughing and my sight obscured.
"Cough cough cough." I wiped grit and sand from my eyes, looking around worriedly. "Fer, Dora-chan, Sui, are you all right ?!" I called.
"Huh, of course I'm all right, like always." Fer answered peevishly. Yeah, well it wasn't like I was really worried about you after all, Fer. Baka.
"Me too, I'm fine as well-" came Dora-chan's answer.
"Aruji, Sui is okay-" Sui-chan said.
The cloud of dust and smoke around the fallen monster dissipated and I could see everyone was okay even though they were all covered with a whitish coating of sand and grit. I looked down, that included me even though I had been keeping well back from the fight.
"Hahaha, everyone is covered with sand." Dora-chan laughed loudly as he flew triumpantly around the broken remains of the Giant Sand Golem.
"Nuh, you're covered in sand yourself." Fer responded, shaking himself to clear his coat of as much dust and grit as he could. I jumped up and down and beat at my clothes with my hands to try and remove as much of the sand from myself only for more sand to drop on me from the spinning and tumbling flying form of Dora-chan overhead. Sui-chan vibrated her body vigorously and the sand covering her just fell off leaving her gleaming Slime skin spotless in an instant. That was cheating, I though to myself, spitting out some sand that had made it into my mouth.
As we tried to clean ourselves up as best we could the Giant Sand Golem's remains disappeared, leaving a magic stone like a giant eyeball and five diamonds as drops, befitting its S ranking as a boss monster. Yosh!
"There's something else here-" Sui had found something, it seemed. I went over to where Sui-chan was happily pyonging and sure enough, there was a treasure chest half buried in the sand.
"Well spotted, Sui." I praised her.
"Ehehe~" Sui-chan pyonged even more at my words.
Okay, it was a treasure chest. That meant it was time to use Appraisal, a necessity in this sneaky and devious dungeon.
[ Treasure Chest ]
It releases poison gas when opened followed by Wind magic attacks.
Ho hum, yet another poison gas trap? I wondered why all the treasure chests in this dungeon were loaded with poison gas. What was going on? Had Dungeon-san got a special limited-time deal on poison gas traps from its supplier? Would it really hurt to provide treasure chests that can be opened without the risk of me being killed, Dungeon-san? Just once would be nice, that's all I'm saying.
I sighed, so this treasure chest is set to release Wind magic as well. Will that just spread the poison gas, or will it be like a blade, a Wind Cutter spell? Or both? In this dungeon probably both, I decided. Well, okay, I had Perfect Defence and status change invalidation and the traps shouldn't affect me so I should just open it anyway.
Clack went the lock, creak went the hinges as I lifted the lid, Boosh! went the cloud of dark red poison gas. Instant death poison, I presumed, I had no way of truly knowing what sort it was but, well, Dungeon-san was predictable in that regard. All it did was make me cough and obscure my vision. After a couple of seconds, sure enough, chunk! chunk! chunk! chunk! chunk! I felt five blows like light taps on my body, five Wind Cutter blades from the treasure chest's second-stage trap but my Perfect Defence skill prevented any damage. The Wind Cutters dissipated the cloud of poison gas around the area so it was both effects as I had thought. Thank you Dungeon-san...
Never mind, I thought gleefully, that's the traps out of the way, now what was in the treasure chest? I looked in to see a necklace and a cloth sack as well as a gemstone. I Appraised them one by one as I took them out of the chest.
[ Detoxification Necklace ]
A magic item that invalidates the effects of any and all poisons.
[ Magic Bag (medium) ]
A magic hemp bag that can hold twenty times its size.
[ Yellow Diamond ]
A large teardrop-shaped yellow diamond.
...well, it's not a disappointing haul as such but I already had total status change invalidation so the detoxification necklace wasn't of any direct use to me. For the same reason I had an Item Box skill which seemed to have no capacity limit so the magic bag was no real help either. I'd probably just sell them, I decided, along with the diamond and most of the other drops we had collected once we were back out of the dungeon. I wasn't in any great hurry after all, I could decide what to do with them later.
"Hey are you ready?" Fer interrupted my thoughts. "We're finished here, let's hurry up and get going." He already had his paw on a rock with the magic circle engraved on top. I checked first that Sui-chan was in her bag again, I didn't want to leave her behind by accident as I climbed onto Fer's back. Dora-chan clamped himself onto my back, Fer poured magic energy into the teleport spell and we all descended to the 30th and (presumably) lowest level of this dungeon. Behemoth, here we come.