Once the clerics arrived, we moved back to the side to allow them through. They took one look at the molten floor ahead of us and nodded with a small smile. “Sisters, guide our hands.” They prayed together, extending their hands forward. The three clerics were all beautiful women, one each from the felyn, kitsune, and lycan races.
A small golden light surged up from the floor, forming a thin path that led towards the pedestal at the far side of the room. I could tell that the clerics were giving it their all to maintain the bridge, so Nox hurried across it, ignoring the heat of the room. Rather than inspecting its contents one by one like before, he simply made sure that the pedestal itself wasn’t trapped, and then grabbed the entire chest to run back to us.
Once he was back, we hurried towards the previous room, finally dropping the barrier that had kept the slime goop out of the hall. With the door shut securely behind us, we were able to breathe a long sigh of relief.
Honestly, the room was hot, but it didn’t feel as hot as I would have expected, given the enclosed space and all the fire that was being thrown around. Figured it’d be like being trapped in an oven, but instead it was just making me work up a moderate sweat. Perhaps it was the result of my stats, or simply because the dungeon was self-regulating the heat to make the room more hospitable.
“Well, let’s see what we got.” Nox said with a grin, rubbing his hands together excitedly. He briefly checked to make sure that it wasn’t trapped, before carefully opening the lid. This time, he seemed a bit confused by what he pulled out.
“Shirt, bow, and a crystal orb?” He asked curiously, setting each item off to the side. It was the orb that seemed to give him the greatest confusion, and it was understandable why. Rather than crystal, it was made of glass, and had no extraordinary properties.
“Did it give us a piece of useless junk?” Kelly asked, glancing over the orb.
“Maybe it’s a component for a puzzle somewhere else in the dungeon?” Jiren suggested, causing the others to look at her. “I’ve heard of some dungeons having simple puzzles, like gathering items from bosses to unlock a room. Maybe this is that?”
I gave a small nod as I heard that, silently agreeing with her. Without waiting to be prompted, I walked over and identified the other two items. The shirt held the same style as the pants, so it was no surprise when it also had the same effect.
The bow, on the other hand, had a much longer string of characters along its limb. It was a longbow as well, so that only gave it more room for the writing. ‘Condenses ki into arrows.’
That description drew my interest, and I couldn’t help but pick up the bow to try it out. I had yet to see an enchantment that affected ki, only items forged with built in ki pathways. And as I studied the bow, I found that this was also of the latter type.
Once I fed a small bit of ki into the bow, I could feel a complex series of ‘veins’ throughout it, guiding the ki. Putting my hand on the string, I found that it also had a single vein running through it. And when I put some ki into both of them, a thin yellow arrow began to take shape, running between my two hands.
“Interesting…” I mumbled out, drawing the attention of the others. Turning towards them, I looked towards the archer, the monk, and Kelly. “This bow creates arrows by condensing ki.” Likely, there wasn’t a smith who could properly create an item like this, aside from a dungeon… or obviously Tubrock, who was likely the one that created the original this dungeon copied. Though, having the finished product to study would certainly make it easier.
“Can I try it out?” The archer, Nile, asked. Shrugging my shoulders, I tossed the bow over towards him. He caught it deftly in one hand, quickly pulling the string back fully.
A yellow shaft of energy formed from the bowstring to the grip, and when he released the string it shot off like a proper arrow. Although it shattered when it hit the distant wall, the sound of the impact let us know that it still carried considerable force. Nile nodded his head with a smile, turning to look at the rest of the group.
“Does anyone object if I claim this one, at least until we get out of here?” Seeing as he was the only archer our group had, it wasn’t surprising that nobody raised an objection. Especially since archers like him had a critical weakness when it came to the number of arrows that they could carry.
After this, we went to the wind room, where we encountered… you guessed it, flying slimes. They were just floating around, swimming through the air as if it were water. Some of them appeared little more than large bubbles, while others were bouncing back and forth along the walls.
Once again, there was an elemental ki slime mixed in with the group. While Nile was having fun shooting off a seemingly endless stream of ki arrows to handle the clearing of this room, a nearly invisible mass crashed into his side, sending him flying back to the wall. This was the first bit of actual damage that we had taken, but it didn’t seem like it hurt all that much.
Nile’s health bar appeared above his head, but only a sliver of damage had been taken. No doubt, the knockback was more powerful than the damage itself. Of course, it also made the others pay more attention to the surroundings, because the wind ki slime was practically invisible.
Rather than deal with the slime through carefully looking for it… Our two mages decided that it’d be better to just bombard the room with wide area spells. Not the smartest tactic, but it did work. Soon enough, the red health bar appeared floating through the air. Although it was also mostly transparent, it stood out considerably more than the slime itself, making it an easy target to aim at.
Once this room was clear, we gathered the loot and continued on. The next room, as I had guessed, held a King Wind Slime. Unlike the fire one, however, this one was far smaller. When it moved, we could barely keep track of it, forcing Kelly and our other monk to fight it in melee. Between the two of them together, it was still not really a threat, however.
Next came the earth room, where slimes rested on the ground like large boulders. This room was perhaps the easiest out of all of them, because the earth slimes were too slow to react. Their defenses were strong, but Kelly just walked around and punched each one once before we were done.
The King Earth Slime, however, was a bit trickier. Not because it was particularly powerful, but because it caught us off guard. When we entered the room, it appeared to be empty. Only once we stepped inside did we feel something was off.
Maybe it was because the floor was trying to eat us? Probably a pretty solid clue. Once the floor began to wrap around our legs, all of our melee combatants simply began to punch the floor with all their strength… Which was likely overkill.
The water room actually had a deep pool in it that we had to swim through. This proved rather unfortunate for most of our group, because they sank like a stone the moment they entered the water. Concealed beneath the surface were dozens of water slimes, each one blending almost perfectly with the water around them.
This room actually proved rather annoying, both because of the people who kept sinking and because of the sudden attacks that we faced from every direction. In the end, this was my turn to shine.
Most of our group was stuck at the bottom of the pool, trying in vain to punch the water, not able to see what they should be hitting. Every now and then, they jumped up to get a breath of air, but it was obvious that they weren’t actually making any progress.
Likewise, our mages weren’t of much help, as the only thing that they could use to fight the slimes was lighting. However, simply being in the water seemed to cause the slimes to recover quickly, so their spells couldn’t show the proper effect.
Seeing that we were getting nowhere, and taking our sweet time about it, Leowynn manifested the Tide. There was a sudden rush as the water rapidly spun around the room, surprising the combatants trying to fight within it. Then, just as suddenly, the water all lifted up towards the ceiling… leaving a series of utterly confused slimes sitting on the damp floor. Jiren looked at me in surprise, clearly wanting to say something, when she saw the glowing silver gauntlets that had appeared in my fists again.
Kelly, for her credit, simply grinned as she looked towards the confused slime, cracking her knuckles. “Payback time…”
Needless to say, the water slimes weren’t a problem after that. As for the water king slime… As soon as we rounded the corner to face the room, a certain pair of annoyed wizards filled the entire corridor with lightning. I don’t think I ever even got to see what the boss looked like…
“Is this the last one?” Jiren asked, glancing at the blue orb that was contained in the chest of the king water slime’s room. Unlike the other ‘king’ rooms, there was another feature on the far wall of this one. Four colored sockets set into the wall, one each of red, yellow, blue, and white.
Thankfully, they were clearly marked, so we could slot them in right where they were each meant to go. And once we did so, there was a low rumbling from the wall, which made me begin to wonder… What’s to stop people from just using brute force to punch their way through?
Ooh, ooh, I know this one! Aurivy chimed in, as if fighting to be the first to answer. You see, the corridor behind the door actually doesn’t exist at first. The dungeon keeps the next room completely separate from the dungeon, and then moves it in place once the ‘puzzle’ is solved, as well as creating the hallway. So even when people just keep punching away at the wall, they can’t find the room faster than the dungeon can repair it!
Ah… well, that’s actually kind of clever. I had expected that they reinforced the walls in some way to discourage people from trying, but to do it like that makes sense too.
A few moments later, the wall we were standing in front of began to sink into the ground, revealing a short corridor beyond. At the end of it was a large, glittering golden chest. A total of four feet high, and eight across, it was by far the biggest chest I had seen. And before anyone asks, it wasn’t a mimic… I checked.
In fact, there wasn’t a monster in the room at all… Which was disappointing. I had expected some kind of super-powerful slime. Well, sorry! Aurivy humphed into my mind. I’m still trying to figure out how to create a slime stronger than the kings, so this is just a treasure room right now.
Naturally, I wasn’t the only one suspicious of the chest, as Nox double checked and even triple checked to make sure that there did not appear to be any traps. And even then, he asked Nile to open it from a distance, using a ki arrow to knock the lid open.
Inside was… a small, leather bag. Now, to me, I knew exactly what this was. But nobody else did. “Seriously?!” Jiren shouted out, stamping one foot on the ground. “All that build up, just for a common little bag?”
“No…” Nox shook his head. “The bag has magic on it, too.” This immediately caught the mage’s attention, and Jiren’s head snapped to look at the bag.
“But… what kind of magic would you even put on a bag?” She asked, reaching in to pick it up. “Wait, I think there’s something inside of it…”
As she was reaching her hand towards the bag to pull out whatever strange artifact was inside, the bag began to glow slightly. Jiren let out a yelp and dropped the small bag to the ground, just as several items likewise clattered to the ground around her feet. Among them was a large staff, a broadsword, and a glass vial… which shattered and spilled its contents onto the ground.
Aww… That was a really nice healing potion made from a ki slime. Aurivy pouted. Guess I’ll have to keep it separate next time so they don’t break it…
“Did… did you all see that?” Jiren stuttered in disbelief, looking down at the items that had appeared out of nowhere. “T-the bag…”
“It summoned those items.” The other mage’s eyes began to practically shine as he realized the potential implications of that.