149. An In-Dungeon Encounter
We were steadily grinding our way through the dungeon.
The first floor’s traps were simple, and its magic beasts weak. Hence, we’d managed to reach the stairs leading to the dungeon’s second floor whilst remaining completely unscathed.
「Hurry to second floor.」
『The first floor kinda had this whole like testing ground-like feel.』
I mean, we were careful and all that, but holy crap that first floor was way too easy.
『Let’s keep going till things start getting a bit too difficult.』
Welp, onto the second floor we go.
We descended the stairs while keeping an eye on our surroundings, only to find a scene that could be described as relatively familiar.
That is, Fran, Urushi and I found ourselves in a small room with three paths splitting off of it.
『Sure, why not?』
I mean, we didn’t really know anything about this place, and it wasn’t like we could make a more informed decision or anything, so whatever works, works.
And so, just like that, we managed to breeze our way through the dungeon’s first 4 floors without even the slightest bit of trouble from any of the traps or magic beasts we ran into along the way.
We didn’t run into any other adventurers either. The first couple floors didn’t seem to have anything that’d provide an adventurer with any real sort of income, so most people probably just followed a map and dove straight down the shortest route or something.
Making our way through the dungeon without a map and disarming all the traps we ran into along the way filled us with a sense of idle curiosity.
The fifth floor was a slight bit different to the four that preceded it.
Namely, it’s traps were a tad bit more difficult to deal with; it took Fran quite a bit more time to disarm them. As a result, traversing the fifth floor ended up taking about as much time as the third and fourth put together.
『Man, putting a trap right in front of the stairs leading to the next floor is one hell of a dick move.』
『And it’s a pretty difficult one to disarm too.』
I checked out its inner workings by using echolocation, and turned out it was actually fairly complex. That said though, its complexity only ended up pumping Fran up the more.
「Will do best.」
And so, Fran started tinkering with the trap with a serious look on her face. She remained quiet throughout the process, hence causing the dungeon to be dead silent save for the trap’s metallic clanking and the occasional breath.
Both Urushi and I quietly stood by and watched over her as she went about taking the thing apart.
She and I both let out a bit of a noise about five minutes after she first got to work.
Three arrows flew out from the ceiling, their tips aimed straight at Urushi’s back.
『Are you alright, boy?』
It looked like he somehow managed to dodge them in time. Well, hopefully he learns his lesson, and stays on guard from now on even if we’re not actually having any sort of trouble.
「Sorry. Made mistake.」
It looked like she cut the wrong wire.
『It looks like it’s much harder to deal with than the all the earlier ones. It might be a bit hard for you to disarm with it unless you get a job that enhances your ability to mess with traps.』
「Will disarm next one. Without fail.」
『Sure. I don’t really see any issue with us going at it a few extra times.』
Attempting to disarm more complex traps is probably a pretty good way to train up the Disarm Trap skill anyways.
『You stay motivated too, Urushi.』
Alright, let’s go down those stairs.
『Looks like the sixth floor starts off pretty much the same way as the others before it did.』
「Three paths. Still left?」
It ended up turning out that the only part of the layout that actually remained the same was the first.
The sixth floor’s traps were much more difficult to disarm, and we only managed to successfully get four out of five.
They’d also become much more deadly. The arrows were coated in poison, there was a bunch more smoke, and the pitfalls were made twice as deep. I mean, they weren’t so bad that they’d cause instant death, but they were definitely deep enough to cause quite a few serious injuries.
The magic beasts ended up getting a good bit stronger too.
The battles functioned as yet another form of practice. That is, Fran was using them in order to better her sword drawing techniques.
We faced off against assassin slimes and chameleon lizards, just to name a few. The first of the two mentioned would crawl out of cracks in the dungeon’s walls in order to assault us, whereas the second would attempt to blend in with the walls themselves. All the magic beasts we met were like them, the cunning little bastards refused to play fair and kept trying to pull fast ones on us. Worst of all was the fact that most of them were ridiculously difficult to notice.
Yeah, I could totally see why training here would let you grind up your detection-based skills real quick.
That said though, they were still far from being our match. They were probably E ranked threats at best, so they didn’t end up managing to put any damage on us either. Honestly, I felt like the traps were more difficult to deal with.
『The magic beasts should get stronger if we dive a bit deeper, but they honestly don’t amount to much right now…』
I mean, it was still our first day here, so I didn’t really see any issue with us just sitting around and practicing stuff for a bit. We might end up having quite a bit of trouble detecting some of the stuff on the lower floors, so yeah.
Well, we might as well keep going for now. We can figure out whether we want to keep going or not when we actually do start running into the more difficult to deal with magic beasts.
Only after clearing the sixth floor did we meet our first adventurer.
A half dead, bloodied young man was sitting on the dungeon’s floor with his back leaning against one of its walls. A second, older man lay beside him, but unlike the first, the second had already breathed his last. Though, the first did look like he’d soon do the same if we just left him there.
It seemed he had the Appraisal Blocking skill, as I couldn’t actually appraise him at all, so the only thing I could do was go off his looks, which informed me he was some sort of beastkin. I didn’t really see any reason not to help him. There were three of us here, so we could easily just dispatch him if he turned out to be some sort of villain.
「Did… you just help… me?」
「I see, thanks. W-Wait, was there anyone else, or was it just me here?」
「One more. Didn’t make it.」
「Wha!? L-Leader!! Why did it have to come to this…?」
The beastkin boy began to cry as he clung to the corpse of the man he called his leader.
Fran immediately raised me and pointed me towards him. Her actions were merciless but also absolutely necessary.
「No evidence you didn’t kill him.」
There was always the possibility that the boy was just acting, and that he was a thief that’d traded fatal blows with the now-dead man. I mean, he looked like his feelings were genuine, but we couldn’t appraise him, so we couldn’t let our guard down.
「So you’re an adventurer too? You’re… so much more amazing than me.」
「I don’t know how I can make you possibly believe me, but he and I really were friends…」
『He isn’t lying.』
「Nn. Got it.」
「You’ll believe me?」
「Can tell is truth by looking.」
The boy seemed relieved despite the fact that we’d just totally flat out bullshitted him; he breathed a sigh as he unsteadily rose to his feet.
I kind of pity him, but I felt it was important for us to figure out exactly what happened.
The boy responded to Fran’s inquiries and slowly began filling us in on everything. The party he’d been a part of had been composed of four F rankers, an E ranker, and a D ranker.
They’d finished collecting all the materials they’d sought out to, and were on their way back.
「But we were suddenly attacked.」
「Humans. Magic beasts wouldn’t be able to wipe out a party of six even if they did get the jump on them, not on this floor. The people that attacked us were evil adventurers, thieves.」
Yeah, I figured there’d be people who did stuff like that.
The boy’s party had heard rumours of adventurers acting as thieves. They were also aware that the guild had even stated that bringing those guilty of the act would be rewarded. Hence, the boy’s party had been all gung ho about eliminating them, but they ultimately ended up finding themselves outmatched.
「They used traps to get rid of two of us right off the bat, then killed another two of our other members in the surprise attack that followed. There were still two of us left afterwards, but we weren’t able to do anything against the three thieves we were against. Leader had somehow managed to use a Teleportation Feather by mustering up the last of his strength. The two of us should’ve been able to teleport out…」
「Just you and leader here.」
「Attackers, what kind of people?」
「Their faces were masked, and their equipment didn’t really have any distinguishing features… so the only thing I know is that they were a group of four, and that they were all men.」
Hmm… what do? I mean, we could just have Solas, the boy, head towards the exit on his own, but he’d probably die if left all by himself. We kinda went out of our way to save him, so I don’t really want to just let him roll over and die after the fact.
In the end, we decided to accompany him back to town. I mean, a pretty fair distance for just a single day’s worth of adventuring anyways, so yeah.
「I’m sorry for causing you so much trouble.」
「Helping those in trouble, normal.」
「Thanks. I’d like to bring Leader with us too. I don’t want to let the dungeon absorb him if possible.」
The corpses of any humans and magic beasts would end up getting absorbed by the dungeon after about a day. This is only preventable by either taking the corpse outside the dungeon or dismantling it.
Soras was planning to carry the corpse out on his own, but that’d take way too long.
We might as well help him carry the leader guy out, even if we just leave the rest of his companions as is
There was no way for us to get the rest of his companions out, but I guess we might as well carry the Leader guy for him.
「Huh? What just…」
「Oh! That’s amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before!」
「Ah, yeah, wait up!」
And so, Fran started climbing back up the stairs with Leader’s corpse in tow.