After being eaten by the Starfish Larvae, we were teleported into a hidden dungeon and began to explore the labyrinth within the dungeon. The Starfish Larvae is a being that eats everything including monsters, the monsters that we encountered inside the dungeon were all monsters that was eaten by the Starfish Larvae . However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing inside the dungeon. A unique trait of underground labyrinth type dungeons is that they do not have very good visibility. In addition there is a curse placed on the dungeon where your body will begin to become heavier after half a day, causing you to have difficulties in walking just after one day. And after three days, your life will be forfeit. Although it looks like the labyrinth is inside the body of the Starfish Larvae, the labyrinth is extremely huge, much larger than its actual body.
Even a first-rate party will take at least six hours to clear the dungeon. For our current party, we should be able to clear the dungeon within 10 hours, if there aren’t any unexpected incidents.
Luna’s fox ears began twitching and her movements changed.
[Youya, I can sense a monster at the turn ahead. Feels like a boar monster.] (Luna)
Looks like we found our prey right from the get go. It’s time to hunt.
[Is the prey asleep? If it’s asleep then Luna will go alone. Erase your presence and approach it cautiously without waking him up. Usually all boar-type monsters have a weak point between their brows.] (Youya)
[Leave it to Luna. Luna will go now!] (Luna)
Luna began to run towards the target. Although she was running on the stone pavement in an enclosed area, I couldn’t hear any sound at all. Her unique trait as a fox allows her to land softly on the ground while running, producing no sound at all. This was a demonstration of her talent at work Luna did not bring along a light crystal with her as she is able to detect the monster’s location and the surroundings with Presence Detection, akin to having a radar of the surroundings within her head. That is why she is able to locate the monster without a light source. It was also easier for her to land a surprise attack.
I heard a ringing sound unique to landing a critical hit and Luna came back. It seems that it was successful.
[Youya, the drop item is a meat. Pork (Average)] (Luna)
[Well done, it’s an item that we need for our quest. Now, let’s continue.] (Youya)
[Uhn. Luna will continue to assassin!] (Luna)
That is a good sign for our start. Let’s continue on at this pace.
From that point onwards, Luna and Til both played an active role to our success as they were not affected by the darkness in the labyrinth. For Luna who is able to sense her surroundings with Presence Detection and Til who possessed the jade eyes unique to elves, the dark surroundings was actually advantageous to them. Thanks to that, I didn’t have a chance to participate at all.
[Youya,Til. A herd of boars are coming over here! We can’t see them because it’s dark but they are extremely close.] (Luna)
[Ah. If it’s a group of them my bow won’t be that useful.] (Til)
Til began chanting after Luna’s warning was issued. A couple of seconds later, a herd of wild boars appeared in front of us. Til fired arrows at the herd while continuing her chant. Thanks to the special ability of the class exclusive to elves, she is able to fire arrows while simultaneously chanting a spell, allowing her to have twice the firepower of a standard class.
After several tens of seconds, Til completed her chant and casted the advanced magic Heavenly Thunder, the only area of attack spell that our party had. Numerous lightning bolts descended onto the herd, striking the entire herd altogether.
The electrified wild boars screamed as the lightning bolts struck. However, the monsters here were around level 25, it wasn’t a level where they would be taken out by attack. Those that were damaged beforehand by Til’s arrows collapsed, however those that were still alive were placed under paralysis from the lightning bolts. While they had their movements sealed, arrows flew towards them. However there were still many of them alive and it is impossible for us to handle all of them with just Til’s arrows. Some of them who had their paralysis wear off began charging towards Til. Luna and I intercepted the charging boars.
Bash is a skill that doesn’t have any special effects but it has a high attacking power with efficient fuel consumption while Luna released Assassinate which has a high attack power when landing a critical hit. Similarly, both of us landed attacks onto the weak point of the Horned Boars between it’s eyebrows, releasing a ringing sound. After finishing off one boar, we quickly moved on to the next. Thanks to the damage taken from Til’s ranged attacks, we were able to defeat each of them with a single blow. Shortly after, the entire herd was annihilated.
[We did it! We have plenty of meat!] (Luna)
[Fufufu. Youya, it’s fine to praise me you know! After all I was almost able to defeat all of them by myself!] (Til)
With high spirits, Luna and Til ran towards the herd of Horned Boars to pick up the Pork (Average) dropped around everywhere, placing them inside their magic bags.
Looking at the ground in front of them, I felt cold sweat flowing down my back.
[Don’t move!!] (Youya)
I shouted at the top of my lungs, however they were slow in reacting due to their excitement from the recent victory. If this goes on….
I pushed opened the door and my body was covered in the white aura. I focused the white aura around my body onto my legs and stepped in using the high-speed movement skill Ground Shrink, grabbing their collars and throwing them behind me. Luna and Til landed on ground with a loud slam as I couldn’t afford to spend any time to soften their landing.
After confirming their safety, I closed the door and the white aura dissipates. I can’t afford to leave the door open for too long and risk losing my stamina here.
[Youya, it hurts.] (Luna)
[Ugh, I think my butt is swollen.] (Til)
The two of them stared at me grudgingly.
[I apologise, but I had not choice. Take a look.] (Youya)
I picked up the body of a Horned Boar that was on the verge of death and threw it onto the floor ahead of us which had a slightly different colour.
The ground opened up and the dying boar fell through the hole. After awhile, the sound of fleshing being pierced could be heard. Luna and Til peeked into the pitfall. At the bottom of the pitfall, spears were lined up with the Horned Boar pierced between several spears.
[This pitfall was designed to work against adventurers. If the weight above the trap is too heavy or too light it won’t activate. Earlier, the herd of boars were too heavy and the trap didn’t activate, but under both of your weights the trap will definitely activate. The two of you should have the mentality that every labyrinth-type dungeons will have a trap.] (Youya)
It is commonly known that labyrinth-type dungeons have traps that are targeted specifically at adventurers, however it seems that the two of them made the rookie mistake of advancing forward without caution due to their excitement. There weren’t many traps present in the beginner dungeons at Rumberg, but there will be many more traps present in dungeons once you hit the intermediate level.
Although, placing such a trap in a dungeon with low visibility is just bad taste. This is the reason why the survival rate of adventurers in the Starfish Larvae is so low.
[That was close. If we fell then Luna would had died.] (Luna)
[Uwah. What is this? It’s so scary.] (Til)
Both of their faces turned blue and the ground in front of us rumbled before closing again.
[Youya, the battle earlier raised our levels and there are skill points. Trap Detection was also unlocked. I’m scared.] (Luna)
[No, it’s okay not to level it. It is definitely convenient to learn Trap Detection, however it is possible to notice traps in the dungeon just by looking at the surroundings. You should focus your points onto other skills. I’ll teach you the method to find traps so that you do not rely on skills to detect traps.] (Youya)
[I understand. Please teach Luna how to do it.] (Luna)
For hidden treasure chests, there might not be any hints about their location, however for traps there is always a way to notice where they are. If it is only possible to detect traps by having the necessary exploration skills, then it would be impossible to clear dungeons safely without inviting a specialised class into the party. That would just be a horrible game design, and all game producers and players would know it. Therefore, it was made so that it was possible to clear dungeons even without exploration skills. The variety of exploration skills a Thief possesses is huge. If possible I would like to avoid wasting skill points onto skills that can be supplemented by experience. Example of skills that can’t be supplemented are Increased Drop rate and Summon Rate.
Note: I am unsure about Summon Rate so I’ll just leave it as that. If the skill comes up again I’ll rethink its name.
As we progressed deeper into the labyrinth, I explained the different commonly used traps as well as the way to disable them to Luna and Til. Although…
[Why are the two of you clinging onto my back? You two are making it hard to move.] (Youya)
[But it’s scary to walk ahead of Youya!.] (Til)
[Uhn. Youya continue walking forward. Luna doesn’t know about the traps.] (Luna)
The two of them seem to be significantly affected by the earlier incident.
[Only for today. However, if we come across a trap I will show you how to distinguish and disable them. Next time the two of you will be the ones identifying the traps.] (Youya)
The two of them nodded.
Now then, let’s continue to collect plenty of meat for today. Thanks to the herd of Horned Boars, we have gotten one step further as an adventurer.
We continued to encounter multiple monsters as we ventured deeper into the labyrinth. We have had countless battles ever since we encountered the herd of Horned Boars as there were countless swarms of monsters in this labyrinth. To have this large number of monsters for us to hunt without encountering any other adventurer is a luxury that other adventurers may never experience.
Til shot an arrow towards the monster approaching us from the front, however the arrow was off-target. It was a first time for me to see Til miss an arrow. It is a bipedal monster that gives off an extremely unpleasant vibe, a Puncher Bamboon. Luna ran towards the front, releasing Assassinate as usual, piercing the Puncher Bamboon’s stomach, however there wasn’t any ringing sound released. Her attack was no different from an ordinary attack. The Puncher Bamboon didn’t falter despite directly receiving Luna’s attack and attacked Luna with a right hook on the side of her head, blowing her small body away.
[These girls haven’t had much experience being driven back by a monster. As expected when being mentally cornered they wouldn’t last very long.] (Youya)
I stepped forward towards the Puncher Bamboon and it threw a left jab in retaliation. I twisted my head, dodging the jab while slashing the tendon in it’s arm. It screamed in pain after getting it’s arm slashed. While it recoiled from our exchange, I closed the distance and released a thrust towards it’s heart. The critical ring can be heard as the Puncher Bamboon collapses and turns into blue particles.
[Luna, Til. Are the two of you at your limit?] (Youya)
[Not yet. I can do it.] (Luna)
[It was just a fluke. I will hit the next one.] (Til)
Even though they are hiding it, they have clearly reached their limits. Asking for anymore than this is unreasonable. The near-death experience from the trap earlier must have activated the adrenaline in their body, causing their senses to be heightened from fear. Having their senses heightened will cause their fatigue to accumulate constantly without them noticing it, and that causes your legs to weaken even quicker. Although it’s been a while since we’ve entered the labyrinth, we haven’t arrived at the exit and since it’s already been more than half a day, the curse has already kicked in.
Our bodies are feeling much heavier to the point that it doesn’t feel like our own bodies. Receiving a one-two punch from the combination of fatigue and the curse, it is difficult for the two of them to exert their usual abilities.
[In that case, let’s continue to push onwards towards the exit. Let’s aim to reach the exit by half an hour.] (Youya)
Lacking the energy to reply, the two of them nodded. This will be a good experience. For them to train both their spirits and bodies, it is necessary for them to push themselves beyond their limit. This whole time, they have been thriving under my lead and I wasn’t able to let them experience any true hardships. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, let’s utilize this opportunity as much as possible and explore as much as possible. Luna raised her face and shouts desperately.
[Youya, it’s a super strong spider! It’s coming close really quickly. Above. The ceiling!] (Luna)
Luna desperately sent a message despite her fatigue about a powerful spider. I have an idea of what monster that spider might be. In the forest of God Trees, there was a powerful spider whose favourite food was human flesh, the Hunting Spider. The threads it produces can not be cut by ordinary swords and anyone who touches it will be inflicted with paralysis.
When it is hungry, it would consume its defeated prey on the spot and when it isn’t, it would wrap it’s prey in it’s paralyzing threads and carry it to it’s nest to store it for another meal. It is a terrifying experience to be caught by it as you will be restrained by it’s paralyzing threads, making it impossible to recover from the paralysis naturally, waiting to be devoured.
The forest of God Trees has a recommended level of 25, however the Hunting Spider’s strength is equivalent to a monster at level 30. Many adventurers have been killed by this monster after underestimating its strength.
The next moment, It finally appeared.
If Luna hadn’t warned us about its presence, I would not had noticed it. It was moving silently on the ceiling. Then, it stuck the thread from it’s rear onto the ceiling. I actually wanted Luna and Til to experience a difficult battle like this but right now, I can’t expect them to do such a thing. Relying on my intuition, I threw my sword towards it’s threads without looking at it, severing its thread with my trusty enchanted longsword.
Having it’s thread severed unexpectedly, the Hunting Spider landed on his head, leaving a large opening.
[Napalm Strike.] (Youya)
I aimed my glowing hand at it’s head. We didn’t have the leeway to prolong this battle. There is always the chance we may get defeated if we do not defeat it immediately. The weak point of the Hunting Spider is it’s head and it is weak to the Fire element. It would definitely be killed if it received a super high power fire magic onto its weak point. The palm of my hand landed on its head, causing his head to blow up with flames. However, even if its head is gone, it’s body will still be able to move for a short time. In order to prevent any accidents, I took out my second blade, the black magical blade and pierced it’s body before it finally stopped moving.
[Thank’s to Luna’s warning I managed to notice it on the ceiling. Thanks Luna.] (Youya)
[Don’t need to thank me. Luna could only notice it.] (Luna)
The Hunting Spider’s body disintegrates into blue particles. The items that were dropped are it’s evil-looking eyes and it’s thread, which are useful items that can be used in alchemy. And also..
[This isn’t an item is it?] (Til)
There were cocoons left on the ground. The Hunting Spider was probably on it’s way back to it’s nest as it often wraps its prey on its back on the way to the nest. It is difficult to tell if the people were already caught by the spider before it got eaten by the Starfish Larvae or the people were caught while wandering around the labyrinth after getting eaten.
Regardless, I put on a pair of leather gloves so that I wouldn’t be affected by the paralysis threads and cut open the cocoons. Two of the men inside the cocoons were already dead. Their skins were as black as charcoal probably due to the curse of the labyrinth taking effect. The hunting spider does not kill its prey who were caught in its cocoons,thus it’s highly likely that the cause of death was the curse of the labyrinth. The two victims appear to be intermediate adventurers with decent equipment and items. I took their equipments gratefully and opened the last cocoon at gasped at the third victim.
[Is it, the princess..?] (Youya)
[Youya, she is extremely pretty.] (Luna)
[Amazing, it’s a beautiful lady. However, she looks a little bit black.] (Til)
We were unexpectedly reunited with the silver-haired princess that we saw at the restaurant in Rumberg.
The princess of the Laluzulu Kingdom was also eaten by the Starfish Larvae. Why did a princess come all the way to the forest of God Trees? Wasn’t she supposed to have an escort? How did she end up getting eaten by the Starfish Larvae? There are still many questions left unanswered.
This incident reeks of conspiracy. Most likely, we will be caught up in a complicated situation if we rescue her. However, I’m not heartless enough to leave her in the dungeon just because of that. Besides, I made a promise to her back when I last saw her during the quest and I intend to keep it. I carried her with my body that became heavy from the curse.
[I can’t let her die here. Let’s carry her and get her out of here.] (Youya)
During the recommended quest at the Laluzulu kingdom, I was asked to be her bodyguard. It was back then when I made the promise. I had forgotten about it, but now I remember. That is why I will save her. Her body is already turning black due to the curse. At this rate, she will lose her life in about three hours. We have until then to conquer this labyrinth.
[Luna,Til. Let’s hurry. We’re almost to the exit. Give it your all!] (Youya)
[Uhn. We’ll try our best!] (Luna)
[Awawa, it’s a bit difficult but I can still do a little more!] (Til)
Our aim is the exit. Worst case scenario we will have the three of them use the Return Stones to go back to the town except for me. While I was thinking about our options, I placed more strength into my legs to go forward