Shenlong, Peter, Carly, Dubaku, Eboni, Ebba, and Amara all wore the best gear currently available in the tower. Jason, Olivia, Roy, and Cheslov’s equipment was a few notches lower. If everything was sold, they would easily be billionaires.
Shenlong and Peter each brought one of their subordinates. Carly was a relatively new recruit to Peter’s guild, but her talent was limitless. Her grasp over her allies health and the timing of her skills was incredibly high.
Shenlong’s guild was filled entirely with his disciples. Back before the tower arrived, Shenlong was the master of a dojo for many decades. Everyone in his current guild are former members of that very dojo. The first disciple under him was only second in strength to Shenlong. His name was Zhen Hu.
In all they numbered twelve. Their combined strength was enough to crush any military force in the world. If they had any thoughts of world domination, it would be a simple matter.
Underground in a dimly lit tunnel, next to a glowing blue portal, stood Jason and his allies at fixed positions. In the center of their formation was Ebba. She no longer wore a cloak to mask her appearance. Her hair was dark, her skin pale, and her eyes black as night. At first glance she looked deathly ill, but she was anything but. Currently her eyes were unfocused, her mind in some far off place.
Ebba was the key to their confidence in clearing the floor, so they surrounded her as soon as they arrived on the floor. Since then less than five minutes have passed.
Everyone focused on Ebba when her eyes suddenly grew clear. Ignoring the attention, she pulled out a large piece of paper and began drawing a map. A few minutes later, she used a magic tool to copy and paste the contents onto other pieces of paper. Upon finishing, she handed out the crudely made maps and said. “I explored as much as I could before my minions were killed.”
Jason and his group quickly inspected the maps. With their powerful stats, they easily memorized its contents in a few seconds.
Shenlong turned to Ebba with a serious expression. “What of the monsters?”
A summoning circle full of lines and patterns appeared at Ebba’s feet as she reported. “I encountered four different types of monsters. A large spider, a dog, a humanoid scout, and a flying drone. All of them were robots and had various technological weaponry. The spider, drone, and dog had guns mounted on them, while the scout shot out laser beams from its palms.”
Shenlong nodded. This was the same as what Index’s guide reported. Although this time, that was all Index had to offer. They would have to move forward blindly from now on. For Shenlong, this wasn’t anything special. He had been ascending the tower blindly since the beginning. Slow and steady was his motto.
Shenlong turned to face the tunnel to the left and commanded. “Take your positions, we’re moving out. Amara, light up the path.”
For the week leading up to this operation, Shenlong learned everyone’s abilities in order to assign them the best role. Hearing Shenlong’s orders, everyone got into position. Jason and Zhen Hu took the lead, Peter and Dubaku took the left, Amara and Eboni the right, Carly and Roy in the center with Cheslov and Ebba just behind them, while Shenlong and Olivia took the rear.
Cheslov stood in front of Ebba and knelt down. Ebba hesitated before she reluctantly hugged him tightly from behind. While they walked, Ebba continuously summoned her undead minions and sent them wherever she could. Her role was a scout, albeit a unique one. She had a rare skill to see whatever her minions saw. Unfortunately, she had to see through all of their eyes or none. There was no inbetween. As such, all of her attention went to her minions, not her body.
Less than a minute after they began, Ebba announced. “Two spiderbots, one dog. A hundred feet ahead.”
Shenlong promptly reacted. “Jason, solo tank them and learn their skills and stats.”
“Leave it to me.” Jason responded.
A few moments later, an undead skeleton ran up to them with three monsters following behind.
(Elite) Mechanical Spider K-Series - Level 90
(Elite) Mechanical Dog C-Series - Level 90
The spiders were the size of an overweight rabbit, while the dog was half the size of a human. The spiders were equipped with a small turret atop their heads, while the dog had massive metal teeth. It could easily tear through flesh and bones.
Jason strode forward without hesitation and used killing intent to take the aggro from the undead skeleton. The turrets atop the spiders swiveled to Jason and immediately opened fire. A barrage of bullets rained down. Endless sparks surrounded him as the bullets collided with his shield.
After two seconds, the spiders stopped to reload. Before Jason could move forward to attack, the mecha dog arrived. It pounced, its jaws opening wide. The dog’s teeth emitted a jarring noise as they began to move like a chainsaw. Jason lowered his posture and took a step forward while letting out a chop. There was a loud clang. A cut no deeper than an inch was the only damage to the monster. Its defense was frighteningly high.
Another round of bullets began. Jason dodged by using burst to move erratically, while at the same time positioning himself so that the dog took friendly fire. A few bullets nicked his body, but he recovered quickly from his powerful defense and natural regeneration.
Jason continued to play around with the monsters, trying to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, this was more for his companions than himself. He already knew everything about these foes.
A few minutes later, Shenlong shouted. “Alright, that’s enough. Everyone, Attack!”
Everyone here were true experts. During Jason’s brief exchange with the robots, they fully glimpsed everything about the monsters.
Hearing Shenlong’s command, Amara promptly used her strongest single-target skill, flame lance. It flew forward faster than a bullet and collided into a spider. It was knocked off the ceiling, the metal on the surface of its body on the verge of melting. Dubaku and Eboni worked with Jason to defeat the dog, while Peter took care of the other spider. Cheslov and Ebba stayed still while Shenlong and Olivia protected the rear. Roy and Carly kept a close watch on the battle, prepared to heal at a moments notice.
In less than a minute, the battle was over. The robots dropped scrap metal; a crafting material. Only Jason knew that this was this floor’s currency.
Shenlong glanced at Ebba. “Anything?”
“No movements.” She responded.
“Continue!” Shenlong pointed forward.
Jason and Zhen Hu continued to lead the way. Slowly but surely, a map of the floor was beginning to form. Larger groups of monsters began to appear the deeper they went. The largest battle was against six spiders, three drones, and two dogs. Still, against Jason and his comrades, it was a slight struggle, nothing more.
A few hours after they entered the floor, Ebba’s eyes suddenly widened. “There’s a fight!”
Jason paused, a faint smile appearing on his face. We finally encountered them, huh?
Shenlong turned to Ebba, bewildered. “A fight? We should be the only ones who got this far.”
Ebba’s eyes flickered in and out of focus as she explained. “Not ascenders. I think… I think they’re residents of the tower.”
“Residents?” Shenlong gasped. He didn’t expect this. Residents of the tower rarely appeared on floors. The thirtieth floor was an exception. He quickly asked. “What’s the situation?”
“They’re fighting a new type of monster. It looks like a scout, except sturdier. Also, it has… a lightsaber?” Ebba’s voice was full of doubt.
“A lightsaber?” Roy’s suddenly shouted in jubilation.
“They’re losing. And fast too.” Ebba narrated the fight as it happened. “I don’t think they’ll last much longer.”
“We’re going!” Shenlong immediately made a decision. “This is now an escort mission. Move quickly!”