“No, it seems this is generic floor with a varying pattern.” Anhel replied as he put the map away, “However, the map said the floors between 1 and 5 are simple and have a direct route to the stair-case room.”
“Straight shot.” William muttered with a nod. The tall beast-men lifted his nose and sniffed loudly for a few moments, moving his head back and forth. Jare and Anhel waited patiently for him.
William stopped a little later and pointed down the tunnel, “That way, next floor.”
His two brothers coughed and grinned at him.
“Thank you for pointing out the only tunnel in the room big bro Will.” Anhel said sincerely as he patted William on the back. Jare also came up and patted William on the back, wearing the same, honest grin on his face.
William’s face fur ruffled up, making him look like a rather fuzzy ball with eyes and a nose.
Jare bellowed his laughter and said, “No need to be embarrassed little brother; we all know you have the best nose out of the three of us. Come, let us put your nose to better use, yes?”
William nodded slowly, and the trio disappeared down into the tunnel.
"Big Bro, these slimes are really weird." Anhel observed as he shot fire-balls at the bug slimes, causing them to burn down to their cores.
"Indeed, this is the first time I've seen this species of slime." Jare agreed happily, "I'll be able to submit the report to that old coot without feeling like I’m wasting his time. That makes two new species now if we include those slimes that looked like armor."
"New species good." William agreed happily as he used his crossbow to impale slimes cores. The trio had never seen so many slimes before, and they were having a blast. Even William, who preferred his twin daggers, got in some practice with his crossbow.
"It's too bad slime dungeons are such a rarity." Jare sighed.
Anhel perked up as he blasted the last of the bug slimes, "I thought this was the only slime dungeon big bro? Are their others in the neighboring countires?"
Jare nodded, "This is the only slime dungeon known now, but in the past there were confirmed reports of other slime dungeons. Unfortunately, they all grew into corrupted dungeons and had to be but down before they could damage the area.”
“Why did they all have to be destroyed? I thought some could be maintained in areas using magic?” Anhel inquired with a tilt of his head.
Jare grimaced, “Because, unlike other forms of corrupt dungeons, corrupted slime dungeons devoured everything from rock to tree to animal and wiped out the area it existed. If we ever travel to other counties, I'll try to show you some of the dead spots that are still recovering from the disaster."
"This dungeon, become corrupt?" William suddenly asked, his eyes becoming alert as he scanned the dungeon.
Jare shrugged, "The demon we heard about was probably trying to seize the dungeon's power, but it was likely devoured instead in an ironic fashion. Still, its influence could be moving through the dungeon right now and changing it, which is something we have to keep an eye out for. Is this the last room of the floor Anhel?"
Anhel opened the map and checked, “You’re right big brother, the fifth floor boss should be just up ahead. According to the reports, it should be a new boss few have managed to beat so far. It should be a weird looking slime like the ones we just fought.”
Jare nodded, “Before we go in, did we miss anything?”
William piped up, “Other corridors, new smells.”
Jare raised an eyebrow and cocked his head to look at Anhel. Anhel took a quick peak at the map, “Um, it appears that this is the first floor to have paths that lead to treasure chests and traps. Nothing else about the floor.”
“So,” Jare mused as he tapped his battle-hammer thoughtfully, “The map becomes less useful after this floor because we are encouraged to explore for treasure. What a marvelously adventurous dungeon!” Jare let out a roar of happiness as his eyes glowed with excitement. For an adventurer at his level, the prospect of risking his own life for treasures and excitement filled him with joy.
Anhel rolled his eyes at his brother’s wander-lust, but smiled all the same. “Big bro, there was a branching path a room back from here, do you want to check it out before fighting the boss?”
Jare was already running back down the tunnel. Anhel and William exchanged a glance before rushing after their impulsive brother. They caught up with him down the new corridor, in front of a treasure chest.
Jare grinned happily at his two brothers, “Look, a real treasure chest! Shall we take a peak?”
Anhel shrugged and shook his head with a wry smile, “Go ahead big bro, don’t let us stop you.”
William merely grunted and made a ‘hurry up’ gesture.
Seeing their reactions, Jare flung open the chest and peeked inside. With a grin, he reached in and removed a potion and silver piece.
“Anhel, what kind of potion is this?” He asked, tossing the potion to Anhel.
The younger beast-man popped the top and gave it a quick whiff, “It’s a weak healing potion bro; likely made from the plants found in the dungeon.”
Jare flipped the silver coin and scratched both sides with his claw, “This will be my new lucky coin. Is there any other spot with a chest?”
Will pointed down a connecting tunnel, “That way.”
The three walked down and found the new tunnel a room away. At the end of the tunnel, another chest sat in wait. Anhel and William took a step, but Jare throughout his arms and caught the two before they entered the tunnel.
“Brothers, you can’t be so careless here; remember we are in a dungeon.” Jare reminded them, “Watch this.” Jare reached down and picked up a pebble from the ground. Eyeing the rock, he threw it down the tunnel. The rock bounced a few times before coming to a rest near the chest. As it stopped, two bug slimes in the forms of a beetle landed and began attacking the rock with their slime mandibles.
“Anhel, if you don’t mind?” Jare gestured.
The red-tailed beast-man nodded and began chanting under his breath. Holding open his book, he pointed his hand toward the slimes.
The typical ball of fire burst out of Anhel’s hand and zoomed down the tunnel, striking and destroying the two bug slimes. They gave off a hissing sound before their cores fell to the ground, as well as some miner loot.
Jare made his way cautiously down the room, eyeing each step as he made them. He finally breathed out his breath when he reached the chest. “Okay guys, the tunnel is clear for the moment.”
Anhel and William hurried down and joined him in front of the chest.
William frowned, “Bad chest.” He began to finger his daggers as he stared down at the chest.
“Big brother William is right, that chest doesn’t have a smell. What is it?” Anhel turned his head to look at Jare.
Jare frowned, “If this were a demon or undead dungeon, I’d say that was a mimic. That can’t be though, because not only are mimics not slime related monsters, they are also extremely powerful beings that can easily fight a B ranked adventurer like me.”
Anhel reached down to examine the cores dropped from the bug slimes, “Maybe it’s like a mimic then. These buggy slimes seemed to copy bugs; so why not chests?”
Jare narrowed his eyes and frowned, then raised his hammer abruptly and smashed it down into the chest with all his strength. The chest burst apart into slime as the former monster melted away.
“Looks like it was a slime.” Anhel observed, “Rather weak though wasn’t it?”
Jare didn’t say anything, but merely kept frowning at the disappearing goo. After a moment, he put his hammer back on his back and folded his arms in thought. “A normal adventurer would not be able to identify this without experience. It’s combat ability is likely the same as a normal slime, with the exception of the element of surprise though. This makes the third new slime we’ll need to report to the doc.”
William pointed, “Loot.”
Jare and Anhel turned their heads to look for the treasure. The chest slime had dropped a gold piece and an arm bracer. Anhel inspected the bracer.
“Decent piece for an archer, but not enchanted; the leather quality is high though.” He observed.
Jare turned and began to leave the tunnel, “That was likely from a fallen adventurer. We’ll return it after we finish this dive.”
Jare turned his head to grin at his two brothers, “Let’s see what this boss has to offer us.”