29. Silkfall's Crevice
Now Entering [Dungeon: Silkfall’s Crevice]
The words resounded in my mind as I was lowered further down into the dark ravine. The light of day had disappeared far above; only the ball of fire on the palm of my hand illuminated the way down.
It was not long until I could see the bottom of the crevice. The gray stone floor was littered with strange dull white objects. They were ivory? Bones. There were all kinds of them spread throughout— some vaguely resembled the size of a Human, while others seemed more like animals, or even monsters.
My feet touched the ground right next to a pile of bones with a skull stacked on top of it. I inspected it for a moment— using [Identification] to see if I could learn more about it. I was hoping to possibly figure out how a Human died and lost all their fleshy bits.
All the Skill told me was that it was a skull.
I cast my fire’s light around me, seeing the ravine sloped into a damp and dark tunnel that curved downwards. I carefully stepped over the pieces of bones strewn about, trying to remain quiet just in case whatever was in this Dungeon was far beyond my level. I would probably be able to escape anything that was even 10 levels higher than me. Maybe even 20.
I had spent a lot of Stat Points on my [Agility], I had a Skill that was perfect for running away, and I was told that Demons typically could handle creatures in the Mortal Realm that were higher leveled than them. I stepped into the tunnel, following it as it led me further down and away from the rope. I paused after the first turn, narrowing my eyes as a strange, white pattern blocked my path.
I identified it before touching it, feeling its hard and stringy texture as my finger pressed into it.
[Web - A network of fine threads formed by a kind of spider, typically to catch prey.]
I frowned as I tried to pull my hand back, realizing that it was stuck to the silky substance. I dissipated the fire I was using for light as I pulled back hard with one hand tugging on the other to free it from the spiderweb. Eventually, I broke free, although a piece of thread still clung to the tip of my finger.
What is this? Why is it so annoying?!
I brought my claw down on the spiderweb blocking my path, shearing the intricate design into pieces I tore into it. It gave way with less resistance than Human flesh, but was strong enough that it didn’t feel like I was just swinging at air. I pulled my hands back and stared at the fine threads that were stuck on my claws, clinging onto it as it draped to the floor.
Ok, I’ve had enough of this. [Flame Coat]!
Fire came to life on my hands as I felt the magic take over; it incinerated the strands of silk or whatever else kind of string it was that clung to me, before spreading to the falling web on the ground. I watched in satisfaction as the fire quickly took care of the web blocking my path, only to hear a light skittering sound above my head.
I glanced up slowly, only to see four pairs of glowing red eyes stare down at me.
[Drop Spider - Lvl. 41]
He dropped down at me.
The [Drop Spider] closed his eight legs shut as his body reached me. I would have been crushed under the grip of the monster had I not leapt out of the way— each of its legs were as tall as Daniel, their width the size of a thin tree trunk.
He whirled around as I created a dagger made of flames with one hand, holding up my flaming claws with the other as I tried to get a better look at him. Is he just by himself? There were no other giant spiders with him. He faced me alone, having nearly snuck up on me when I was distracted by his webs.
I growled like a [Hellhound], baring my teeth as he charged at me.
The monster reached me a moment later, moving far slower than I had expected him to move as he swung one of his thick limbs at me. I ducked under the first swing and blocked the second with my dagger. The impact of the attack nearly caused me to stumble, but I quickly gathered myself and slashed back at him.
My burning claw was empowered by a [Fire Strike] as it cut deep into the [Drop Spider]’s face. He reeled back and swung once again, but I dodged it easily. I had gauged his speed and determined he was not fast, at all.
I sent a quick [Fire Blast] to the wound on his head, forcing him back before I closed the distance and slid under him. My fire dagger sliced open the bottom of the monster, digging deep and spilling green ichor all behind me. Just as I reached the other side of the large spider and picked myself up, he slammed onto me with his entire backside.
I went flying back as an aura flickered around me, dropping my fire dagger in the process. I slid to the stop as the wall touched my back, my eyes widening as I watched the [Drop Spider] leap at me. I kicked against the wall and activated [Double Step]. I stumbled quickly under the large, falling spider. He crashed onto the rock wall as I spun around a blaze already floating on the palm of my hand.
I had remembered what the bandit [Fire Mage] did— I had seen the exploding balls of fire he had thrown. I wasn’t entirely sure if what I created her was the same thing, but I tried making one anyway. I poured a large amount of mana into the fireball as it doubled in size and danced wilder than any fire I had ever conjured, before I hurled it at the [Drop Spider].
He saw it coming, but he was not fast enough to get out of the way. The fireball exploded, shaking the tunnel and almost burning me. It had been a larger explosion than the fireball the bandit [Fire Mage] was able to create, but I was expecting the monster to shatter into a flurry of parts with the amount of mana I spent into the attack. Instead, the blast was underwhelming, only collapsing him into a sizzling corpse.
Defeated [Drop Spider - Lvl. 41]!
More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels above you!
“...was that not even worth a level?”
I sighed, leaning against the wall. A retort made me jump and spin around in a panic.
“And you said you wouldn’t attack any monsters.”
Daniel stood behind me, a sword and torch in each of his hands as he shook his head. I scratched the back of my head.
“Uh… I lied?”
“...at least you’re honest.”
Edithe came down shortly after, having not finished her summoning spell for Durma before Daniel went after me. Both Humans somehow suspected me of lying, and decided it was for the best if the Human man followed behind me after he had lowered me to the Dungeon.
“How did you know I was lying?”
I stared at him, completely in shock that he could see through my carefully selected words of deceit.
“You said you wouldn’t attack any monsters and just check things out. And, well, whenever a child promises something, they'll probably find a way to break it in a way that doesn't actually 'break it'."
A child? I narrowed my eyes. A child is the young of a species— like an infant.
I folded my arms.
“I am not a child. I am a Lesser Demon.”
Edithe stepped forward, interrupting Daniel before he could reply.
“That doesn’t matter. Demons and Spirits don’t mature like we do, so yes you’re not a child. But Salvos, the way you said it was really mischievous. Anyone would know you were lying if you speak that way.”
I cocked my head to the side.
“Am I not a good liar?”
“You aren’t. And maybe that’s for the best. Anyway, what level was that Giant Spider you fought? It’s big. Looks like it could be a second evolution form, but I just want to be sure.”
The two Humans looked at me inquisitively as we stood at the ravine amongst the piles of bones. Druma and Mistshard waited by the tunnel going further down, just in case any monsters tried to sneak up on us. I scowled, remembering the [Drop Spider]’s level.
“He was Level 41. He gave me ‘more experience’ but I didn’t even level from it. That makes no sense.”
I kicked a piece of bone and sent it flying to the other side of the ravine. It knocked over another pile of bones, causing a light echo as they crashed to the ground. Edithe placed a hand on her chin as she considered this.
“So definitely a Gold Ranked Dungeon. This will be a little bit dangerous with only just me at above Level 40. Salvos— you’re a Demon so you can probably stand up to most of the lower leveled monsters in here. But Daniel, do you think you’ll be able to survive?”
The Human man nodded as he firmly grasped his sword.
“Don’t worry about me. I can hold my own.”
“Are you sure? You have no reason to do this.”
He turned to me slightly.
“I promised her I would help her get back to her home. So far, I haven’t done anything at all to do that. Right now, finding and beating Lucerna seems to be the only way to do that. And… I wanted to get stronger too.”
I raised a brow. Huh, I completely forgot about that. I wondered for a moment why Daniel even wanted to help me in the first place. He offered me his help after I had beaten him in a fight, but I never once asked him why it would even help him if he did that. Edithe nodded.
“Alright then. Just be prepared to run if things seem like they’re going south. I don’t want to be responsible for anything that could happen to you here just because you wanted to help a Demon… uh, Salvos.”
“Is there really anything wrong with helping a Demon even if it wasn’t Salvos?”
The Human woman considered it for a moment before shrugging.
“Probably. I’m still questioning why I’m even helping her— she says she’s fine with being evil after all. But I guess our interests line up, so it works out for the both of us.”
I looked at Edithe as she glanced away, before turning to Daniel who was rubbing at his forehead. I raised a hand.
“Now can we go into the tunnel?”
“Yes, yes. We’ll go and kill some monsters now, Salvos.”
I brightened and rushed in. Daniel called out after me.
“She meant together, Salvos.”
I paused right next to Durma who gave me a curious look. I turned around and smiled sheepishly.
“Right. We’re supposed to fight together.”
Our group of five entered the wide tunnel and passed the first charred body of the [Drop Spider] that attacked me. We made sure to keep our eyes to the ceiling in case there were more, but found nothing waiting for us overhead. We continued onward for a little while, turning left at a fork in our path until we reached another thick spiderweb blocking our path.
I quickly took care of it by burning it up, but we soon came across another layer just ahead of it. I had just been about to burn it too when I noticed a few creatures about the size of my head caught and stuck on it. Daniel stopped me.
“These are… [Crimson Bats]. Level 20-ish. What do we do?”
“They’re monsters. Just kill them, Salvos. They won’t give me much experience, but a few of them would probably push you over the edge to your next level up.”
“But why should I kill them? They haven’t attacked me.”
She sighed and shook her head.
“Do whatever you want.”
I glanced over at Daniel who just shrugged.
“Just burn the web, I guess. If they attack us after they’re free, we can deal with them.”
I nodded and touched the spiderweb with a burning claw. It immediately lit up and freed the [Crimson Bats]. They fell to the ground for a moment, squirming and rolling before they fluttered up.
The six monsters screeched and charged at our party—
Defeated [Crimson Bat - Lvl. 18]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
Defeated [Crimson Bat - Lvl. 21]!
Experience is awarded for defeating an enemy!
I sliced two of them in half as they reached me while Daniel ran one through with his sword. Edithe’s Spirit, Mistshard, simply froze the other three before they even got close. The monsters fell dead as we continued past them.
“That was easy.”
The Human man commented as we continued strolling through the dark tunnel illuminated by the fire on my claws and a magical ball of light Edithe conjured. Her eyes darted around as she spoke softly.
“Keep it down. And yes, that was easy. Some monsters are weaker than others even if they’re at the same level. Shade Swarmers are especially weak at their common evolutions like [Crimson Bats], relying more on a numerical superiority to overwhelm their enemies. They become dangerous at the higher levels however, and when you have to face an entire swarm of them? Even Platinum Ranked teams will perish to them without any backup.”
I frowned, looking at the blood staining my black claws.
“I didn’t level from that.”
“You’ll level soon. Probably. Look— there are more webs ahead.”
Sure enough, the tunnel curved further down into what appeared to be a solid wall of webs; I couldn’t even see through the thick, white sheet ahead of me. But even though I could not see through it, I could hear what was beyond.
Clicking. Dozens of soft clicking noises echoed from whatever was past the wall of webs. I whirled around as a click also came from my side, but it was only Edithe clicking her tongue. She had a worried look on her face.
“What’s wrong? Do you know what that is?”
She sighed, lifting up her staff as both her Spirits readied themselves ahead of us. The Human woman turned to me and spoke in a nervous voice.
“It’s a Lair. Probably belonging to the Giant Spiders. I didn’t think we’d run into one so soon. We should turn back— whatever is inside will overwhelm us.”