t184. The Dungeon’s Barrier
We immediately headed back into the dungeon the day after we ranked up, reason being that it was critical for us to get as strong as possible as quickly as possible given that the tourney was right around the corner.
Both Sword Lord Arts and Dimension Magic were incredibly potent skills in and of themselves, but we wouldn’t be able to use either properly if we didn’t first accustom ourselves to them. To that end, we decided to fight while purposefully imposing upon ourselves a series of heavy restrictions.
Doing combat training also doubled up as grinding magic stones, as we’d be able to earn another batch of self-evolution points if we did enough of it. Training was a reliable, proven way for us to get stronger. Though it was definitely important, it didn’t end up being the only thing we did. We had also visited the guild prior to heading out in order to check whether or not it’d be possible for Fran to undergo a class change and beef up her stats.
One would assume that obtaining the Sword Lord title would also unlock the Sword Lord class, but unfortunately, it didn’t. She did, however, unlock a whole slew of other classes, many of which centered around smithing or advanced magic. The training she’d gone through had also allowed her to unlock several stealth and scout-like classes as well, but none were to our fancy. Thus, she ended up remaining a Magic Warrior.
Upon entering the dungeon, we discovered that it’d turned back to normal. The Evil Beings that’d flooded it were nowhere to be seen. They’d been replaced by the magic beasts we saw on our first pass through. In other words, Rumina had reverted all the changes she’d made.
Knowing that, we cut our way through dungeon and slowly progressed towards its depths.
Fran needed to be back in town within 4 days, as that was when the tourney’s prelims were set to begin. For us, however, heading back to town was a trivial non-issue, as we’d already set up several beacons that’d facilitate the process. Specifically, we’d placed one at the inn and several others just outside the city. Thanks to that, we’d be able to keep training until the very moment we needed to show up in person.
That said, we did have something to do prior to actually heading back, so it wasn’t like we could just spend the whole four days wandering. Specifically, Fran and I had been planning on setting up an additional beacon inside Rumina’s room, as it’d make visiting her much more convenient.
We’d spent some time experimenting with the Beacon spell in order to figure out its limitations. It turned out that we could only actually have 8 active beacons at any given point in time. The skill followed a first in first out methodology, as creating a 9th beacon would immediately cause the 1st we made to disappear. Moreover, its range wasn’t actually unlimited. Beacons would only remain active so long as they were within a radius of about 10 kilometers.
Now, one might wonder how exactly we managed to figure out that 10km was our upper limit. The answer to that question was actually a rather simple one; we had Urushi grab a rock with a beacon on it and just run off into the sunset. We made him keep going until we could no longer pick up on the beacon’s signal.
We also discovered that Dimension Gate’s mana consumption varied with the amount of distance between it and its target. It normally ate up about 100 mana, but could consume up to 500 if we tried to jump a whole 10 km in one go.
I’d originally been expecting to be able to use the spell to teleport back and forth between Barbra and Alessa, but that unfortunately didn’t actually seem all that practical. That said, it could potentially be possible if we set up a whole slew of beacons along the way and warped between them till we hit our destination. Fortunately, that issue wasn’t one we had to consider when contemplating whether or not we’d be able to tele into Rumina’s room, as we’d only need to set a single beacon for it to be in range.
And so, with a clearly defined goal in mind, we spent the rest of our day grinding our way down into the dungeon’s depths. It was already our third time through, and we’d already committed all the traps to memory, so it’d ended up turning quite the easy excursion.
The manner in which Rumina greeted us this time around was completely different than it’d been just yesterday. Moreover, her expression was bright, and her skin, which’d been a bit darker than usual, had reverted to its usual shade. I was glad to see that she was in good health, and that the light had returned to her eyes.
「Welcome. And for what purpose should I attribute your visit to on this fine day?」
「Wanted to ask favour.」
I told her about the Beacon spell we’d recently obtained, and asked if we could put one in her room in order to make it easier for us to visit.
「I mind it not at all. In fact, I would have very much wanted for you to place one in my place of residence.」
「The answer to that question shall come to you should you make an attempt. Fret not, no harm shall come to you in the process.」
She seemed rather convinced that we’d fail, and implied it in her speech. However, we decided to give it a shot anyways since she affirmed it wasn’t dangerous.
I placed a beacon on the floor in one of the room’s corners and in doing so, made it so I’d be able to teleport back.
『Alright, let’s head back up a few floors.』
We made our way back up to the dungeon’s 14th floor before attempting to activate Dimension Gate — only to have the spell totally fizz out and fail despite consuming mana.
I could still feel the beacon we’d set, and Rumina’s room was naturally still in memory, so I didn’t really see why the skill would fail to function. We’d fulfilled all its conditions, after all.
I purposefully activated the skill several times, but to no avail. It was never capable of doing much besides just fizzing away.
『Yeah. It looks like something’s preventing the skill from actually activating.』
The sensation I felt was fairly similar to the one I had when we were stuck inside Rynford’s barrier. It was like something was getting in the way and interrupting the skill before it went off. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to discern exactly what that something was, nor even really sense its identity or location despite the fact that I could feel it interfering with the casting process.
Going back and checking in with Rumina allowed me to verify that I’d been in the right.
「It appears that you were unable to break past the Goddess’ barrier.」
Her words made me realize that her having a barrier of some sort should’ve been something I’d taken as a given from the very start.
Dungeons were supposed to be extremely difficult to conquer. Even something like a D ranked dungeon could lead to a whole slew of casualties. Higher ranking adventurers were generally better at eluding death, but even they could meet their ends if they got caught off guard by traps, or ran into a magic beast that just happened to be able to take advantage of their weaknesses.
That, of course, naturally begged a question: what was the most risk free way for one to conquer a dungeon? I was sure that many would claim that it’d best be done by training up one’s detection based skills, joining balanced parties or bringing a ton of potions, but none of those answers were in fact correct.
The simplest and safest way to conquer a dungeon was to not conquer a dungeon in what you’d call a traditional manner.
I could imagine a whole slew of methods that worked off that precise paradigm of thought. You could teleport into the core room, blast magic into said room from afar, or pull off many other similar tricks that’d allow you to destroy the dungeon’s core without having to go through a series of challenges.
Though the methods I imagined had many strict requirements, they were by no means unrealistic. Teleporting directly into a dungeon’s core room sounded like something that was honestly quite easy so long as one maxed out Dimension Magic and threw in a magic item or two for a bit of extra assistance.
Plus, it wasn’t like you could just not take the fact that Godblades existed into account. Godblades were known for their incredible power, and frankly, they seemed like items that could defy what one viewed as common sense altogether. Meltdown no longer existed, but its title had implied that it was nothing less than a veritable nuke, a weapon of mass destruction that was most likely capable of completely wiping a dungeon and everything around it off the map with ease.
I thought it seemed fairly logical for dungeons to have defensive mechanisms built in to prevent scenarios like that from happening. Dungeons more or less seemed to be equivalent to trials imposed by the Gods, so there was no way for them to not have mechanisms that would prevent you from totally cheating your way through them.
The barrier being something created by a God only made the fact that I couldn’t sense it all the more understandable as well.
「I advise you attempt placing the beacon just outside my room instead.」
『Iunno if that’s the best place for it. Someone might accidentally blow it up while fighting a boss or something.』
We couldn’t put it on any floor above the boss floor either, seeing as how people might see us using the gate and whatnot.
「Am I correct in assuming that it will function so long as the barrier does not prevent your spell from activating?」
「In that case, I ask that you wait while I make accomodations.」
Rumina headed deeper inside her chambers and didn’t come out until after we’d heard the sound of something heavy scraping against something else of equal mass.
A brand new corridor had spawned along a nearby wall.
「I thank you for your patience. The room that lies beyond this corridor is outside of the core room’s territory, and thus, is treated as any other one of the dungeon’s rooms would be. It will be possible for you to teleport inside of it.」
Rumina had made use of her Dungeon Master abilities in order to create a brand new room.
Man, that’s a Dungeon Master for you. She and I think on totally different scales.
「You need not thank me. As I stated prior to your excursion, our wills had happened to align. I too wish for it to be easier for you to visit.」
We ran a second experiment and confirmed that Rumina had been spot on.
The inn we were staying at was rather close to the dungeon, so placing a beacon in Rumina’s newly created room had made it super convenient for us to go back and forth between the two locations with ease. Moreover, it was basically impossible for anyone to catch us in the act. We’d ran into a few unexpected mishaps along the way, but ultimately accomplished our goal and met every single requirement we’d set for it along the way.
「Please, visit as you see fit. I will welcome you at any time.」
『Alright, see ya. We’ll make sure to stop by.』