The walls of the dungeon didn’t glow, and there were no windows or sun roofs. Yet for some reason, I could still clearly see up to fifty feet away. I had appeared behind my two new child-teammates in a plain stone brick tunnel about 10 feet wide and tall. Before we start to fight, however, we need to first determine a strategy.
<Kyuu> “What level and class are you two? I’m level 1, and I have 10 for all my stats. My class is Time Wizard, but don’t let it fool you, I can’t do anything with it.”
<Lola> “Eh?! Time Wizard? I’ve never heard of that class. Reena is a thief, and I’m a Star Priest. We’re both level 4. The only spell I can cast is minor heal, and only once an hour because of my low MP. Reena can use her MP to cast ‘steal’, which sometimes generates bonus leet from defeated monsters.” Lola explained.
<Kyuu> “What monsters are on this floor, and how should we fight them?”
<Reena> “The enemies on this floor are only little ugly lizard people that fight with sharpened sticks, and slimes.”
<Kyuu> “Do you mean kobolds?”
My dream is really quite unoriginal, throwing kobolds and slimes at me as the first enemies. Let me guess, the second floor has giant wasps?
<Lola> “Yes. Though from my world, kobolds were dog people. In this one, they seem to be lizards. Also in my world, slimes were hated by women because they ate clothes. Fortunately, that isn’t the case in this one.” Lola continued. Reena just nodded in agreement at the word ‘hated’.
<Kyuu> “So avoid the pointy ends of their sticks, and stab them with the pointy ends of our own sticks? As for slimes, they are blobs, so just don’t let them… what, ram into you?”
<Lola> “Kobolds are fairly intelligent, but they don’t work well with each other. We’re unlikely to run into more than one at a time. Surround and take down. As for slimes, they tend to stick to the ceiling, and plop onto your head as you walk by. That way they can suffocate you. If this happens, immediately cup your hands over your mouth and nose before they have a chance to completely cover your head. We’ll help you pull the slime off, and then step on it. After each monster is killed, you’ll automatically be granted experience and leet. Just check your status at that time.”
<Kyuu> “So… are either of you secretly beastkin that can sniff out monsters?”
<Reena> “Ha! As if something so convenient would be true. If we could find enemies, we’d make more leet. Dispatching them isn’t all that hard. It’s just finding them that is troublesome. We keep getting lost, too.”
<Kyuu> “Wait, do you not map out the dungeon as you explore?”
<Reena> “There is no point. It just changes every day.”
<Kyuu> “What?! That just means you’ll get lost every day unless you map it out!”
<Lola> “We don’t have anything to map with.”
<Kyuu> “Fine. Today, let’s just stick to the right hand walls, and follow around as far as we can. Have you been to the second floor? Or higher?”
<Lola> “No. You have to finish a floor before the gate will work for the next level. We’ve never found the gateway down.”
<Kyuu> “Okay, since we don’t have any way to write down where we are going, then we’ll just need to be careful. Let’s move quickly. Tell me if you get tired.”
Since I’m older and using my much more fit 15 year old body, I should be able to keep up a faster pace than they can handle. Or at least that is what I thought. As it turns out, these two girls had been running around this maze for a month trying to find the way down, fighting monsters all the while. They were in much better shape than was to be expected. Unfortunately, despite jogging for nearly half an hour, we still hadn’t come upon any enemies. I was sweating and short of breath, so I stopped, putting my hand on the wall to help keep steady. It was unnecessary, since I wasn’t dying of exhaustion or anything, but my condition was still worse than Reena and Lola. They seemed to be fine.
<Lola> “Let’s walk instead, to cool down a bit. It wouldn’t do us any good to be dead tired by time we meet up with a kobold.” Lola offered. It was a kindness, to be sure, since clearly they weren’t tired at all.
<Kyuu> “Sorry for slowing you girls down. You’ve got much more endurance than you look.”
<Reena> “Ah, thank you big brother, but this is hardly something to be proud over. After all, we’re level 3 compared to your level 1. Comparing us is a little unfair.” Reena says, somewhat bored.
I doubt two levels makes that big of a difference.
With the ground rumbling at the sound of his voice, a certain chili-bowl kid appeared in front of us.
<Chili bowl> “Kyuu! I want action! Get on with it! You’re supposed to be entertaining me!”
<Kyuu> “I can’t fight what I can’t find, dude! We’ve been running around for half an hour.”
<Chili bowl> “I know! I’ve been alive for millenia, and let me tell you… this has been the longest half an hour of my life! Its like Tantalus and his fruit! You keep coming SOOOO close to monsters, and you just run right past them!”
<Kyuu> “I’m sorry my dream bores you.”
<Chili bowl> “Me too! Though this isn’t technically a dream. Here! Take it! Take it take it take it! Find something to fight and kill it!”
From the mouth of the boy flew out a glowing orb that then rammed hard into my forehead.
<Skill acquired: Mapping>
My status window popped up to tell me. By time I looked up, the boy was gone and the girls were standing there with their mouths gaping.
<Reena> “Was that teleportation?! Why didn’t you tell us you had such a ridiculously leveled friend, big brother?!”
<Kyuu> “I don’t know him. He’s just someone who expects something unreasonable from me.”
How to use this skill? Just say its name? Mapping!
At my thought, my status screen appeared with a second tab selected. It showed the path that we had already traversed overlayed on top of a greyed out completed map, as well as numerous red dots on the pathways we hadn’t moved onto yet. I found the shortest route to the closest red dot.
<Kyuu> “Follow me.”
I started jogging again, occasionally checking the map to make sure I hadn’t deviated from the proper path.
<Kyuu> “Around this next corner, there is a monster.”
<Reena> “How do you know?” Reena asked as she drew her dagger.
<Kyuu> “The boy gave me a skill. Didn’t you see that glowing orb?”
<Lola> “I didn’t know what that was, but did he really give you such a convenient skill? I didn’t know skills could be transferred like that!”
We stopped when we reached the corner and peered around it. A three foot tall lizard-man was standing at the ready, with a wooden stick pointed in our direction. It must have heard us running. Upon seeing the kobold, Reena darts out and towards the monster, widely dodging its first thrust of its stick. Once she was up close, she punched it in the hip with her empty palm. I slight glow emitted from her hand.
<Reena> “Success!” Reena cried out, stabbing her dagger towards the kobolds throat. It yanked its head away from her blade and backed up to get some distance, putting the pointy edge between them. Lola, at this time, ran wide around the kobold, and got behind it. I moved towards it as well, realizing I didn’t just want to be a spectator in my dream, and brandished my blade. I moved to beside it, and blocked off the last remaining route. Sensing danger from Lola, it turned and stopped her advance. Unfortunately, when it turned its back on Reena, she lunged forward and tackled it from behind. Grabbing it around the heck with her left arm, she stabbed roughly into the kobolds chest at a downward angle. Letting go of her prey, the kobold fell to the ground, vanishing in a glittering light show. Where the remains would have been found, instead nothing was left. Not even blood.
Checking my status, I saw I had gained 1 exp and 5 leet. I also noticed my MP was really low.
Ah! Mapping takes MP, doesn’t it! I left it on for 5 minutes straight now!
Quickly figuring out the shortest route to the next red dot, I cancelled Mapping.
<Kyuu> “Follow me!”
This pattern followed for the next few hours. From our first half an hour, we had mapped half of the entire outer ring, so we spent the rest of the time moving from red dot to red dot, and killing the enemies there. The slimes were much easier than the kobolds, since we knew where they were. If we lured them into dropping from the ceiling, we could just dodge out of the way and punt them into the wall. Reena and Lola were ecstatic, dancing with glee every time they looked down at their own status screens. While I was happy to get the exp and leet, I was a little less excited about just being a mobile GPS unit while I had a little girl engage all the enemies.
Unfortunately, I simply wasn’t able to actually hurt the enemies. Whenever Lola or I would strike at a kobold, they would dodge with superhuman/superlizard reflexes. Whenever Reena would strike at them, a kobold would get stabbed. The strangest part was, she wasn’t really moving faster than us, she was just much more successful.
Even more unfortunately, I simply wasn’t able to not get hurt by the enemies. Whenever a kobold would strike at Reena, she would just not be where they were attacking. Lola kept away from them until she could get behind them, and never was successfully attacked. I was stabbed or scratched repeatedly, always requiring healing from Lola. Basically, I was only useful for finding enemies. When it came to actually combatting them, I was useless. Completely useless.
After we had killed our fiftieth monster, we came across a stone archway.
<Reena> “Is that the entrance we came in?” Reena asked, tapping her foot in impatience. She seemed to want to go fight the next monster, and didn’t feel like waiting.
<Kyuu> “Nope, according to the map, this is a different place.” I responded after activating the Mapping skill.
<Lola> “Then we finally found the second floor! The monsters are a little tougher, but the exp and leet gains are even better. Also, they start dropping items!” Lola seemed pretty excited.
<Kyuu> “Any idea why these monsters here don’t drop items?”
<Reena> “Ah… well… it’s called the first floor, but it is really just considered an entranceway by other adventurers. Most parties only stay here for a day or two before finding the exit.” Reena laughed nervously,
<Kyuu> “Well, I’m still fine to keep exploring, so we can move on. Do you know anything about the next floor?”
<Lola> “No… I’m afraid not. But I do know that when we pass through the archway, we won’t go straight to the second floor. First, we have to clear the floor boss. It is apparently a kobold and a slime together, and they are a little stronger than usual.”
<Kyuu> “What have we got to lose? Let’s check our levels and do this.” After all, Reena way outstrips the kobolds, and the slimes are barely even a nuisance. More exp and money on the next can be made on the next floor.
[Name: Kyuu of Reena’s Party
Class: Level 3 Time Wizard
EXP : 50/100
Age: 15 (30)
HP: 10 MP: 30 STR: 10 AGI: 10 VIT: 10 INT: 12 MND: 12
Spells: Anchor Moment (10 MP), Recall Moment (3000 MP)
Equipment: Chipped Gladius (+4 stabbing/slashing)