We departed for the Crimson Volcano. As we approached the entrance of the dungeon, a large volcano was visiblet, spewing ash and black smoke up into the sky. At the bottom of the volcano facing the entrance, there was a tunnel which seemed to stretch all the way into the center of the volcano. As if it was telling us to enter the volcano, we entered the tunnel.
[Youya, although we are in a tunnel, it’s bright.] (Luna)
[The surroundings are bright thanks to the lava in the area. Look over there.] (Youya)
The interior of the volcano is similar to a natural maze, however there is an unbelievable trap hidden in this maze, a river filled with lava, a liquid burning at several thousand degree celsius.
[Intense heat. Hey, Youya. What will happen if we fall into the river?] (Luna)
[We’ll melt and die. It’s the number one causation of death in this dungeon.] (Youya)
As the area around the scaffolding was filled with lava, just one misstep could lead you to fall to your death. More often than not, adventurers make that misstep in their battles against monsters, not leaving behind even a single bone.
[That is dangerous. Youya-ojisama, doesn’t that mean we would have to worry about our footing while defending against the monsters’ attacks.] (Selene)
[Even that isn’t enough. It’s dangerous to leave yourself wide open to the lava. Albeit rare, there are monsters which dwell within the lava, occasionally jumping out and dragging adventurers into the lava. Rare monsters may be rare, however it’s that rarity that causes most victims to lower their guard against them.] (Youya)
Everyone gave a distasteful look as I explained about the dangers of the lava. The monster was a crocodile-type monster, called the Magmagator. It dwells directly below the surface of the lava, dragging unsuspecting adventurers into the lava. The moment it realises that it is detected, it immediately sprays the lava in an attempt to eliminate its prey. It is a difficult monster to defeat as the magma in the volcano was its home. So long as it remains in the magma, we are unable to approach it, and if we launch a long-ranged attack it’ll just simply dive back into the magma. The moment it senses it’s life at risk, it’ll swim away and escape from the disadvantageous battle. That is a monster that I absolutely do not want to waste my energy on, however it is difficult to ignore it if it should appear as it dropped extremely good items.
[Ah. I remember now. You’re talking about the Magmagator. It was such a pain to deal with back then.] (Phil)
[Leonard’s newly-bought equipment were completely burnt and completely unusable for several days.] (Youya)
Phil let out a smile as she faced me. Currently, the two of us were in a position to lead the other girls, however back then we had made a variety of mistakes and were lucky enough to encounter the Magmagator right off the bat. Recollecting these memories made me miss the old days.
[Now, let’s end the nostalgia and continue forward. Fortunately, we have Luna, so the chances of us being surprised are low. Let’s hurry, the monsters near the entrance are definitely hunted so we’ll have to go deeper.] (Youya)
Everyone nods and we continued deeper into the dungeon. Following my memories of the dungeon, we continued to transverse through the complicated maze. I had expected the monsters near the entrance to be hunted, however I didn’t expect that we wouldn’t encounter a single monster at the start.
After walking for about two hours, we encountered an unnatural room in the volcano. It was a room surrounded by walls made of marble that appeared completely man-made in this environment. Entering the room, a dragon was engraved into the back wall. This was our destination.
[Uwaa. Youya. It’s a cool-looking dragon! Will Erik grow to look that cool?] (Luna)
[Unfortunately no. Faerie Dragons barely grow in size as it grows up, so he’ll likely remain the same.] (Youya)
Luna and Erik appeared depressed knowing that Erik wouldn’t grow to a large dragon, however that was something that I thought was nice about the Faerie Dragon also known as the hand-held dragon. Large monsters were inconvenient as Magic Pets due to their size, however if it was small then we could bring it everywhere.
[What lies behind this door is a labyrinth filled with traps and monsters that are stronger than typical monsters. Once you arrive at the end, only then will you be able to challenge the boss. Since the door only opens whenever the boss is alive, adventurers usually gather here at the door before the monsters respawn and set out the moment the door is opened.] (Youya)
This place is where the decisive battles will take place and at the same time, it’ll be easier for the clan to monopolize the boss by interfering with other adventurers as it was the only entrance which led directly to the boss room.
[Youya-niisan, then we will be coming here before the respawns happen as well right?] (Til)
I shook my head to Til’s question.
[No. We will not be doing that. The aforementioned clan will most likely interfere with other adventurers such as ourselves with force. After all, all they need is one party to challenge the boss while the rest remains here to prevent other parties from entering. Which is why we will be taking a hidden route.] (Youya)
Everyone’s head recoiled in astonishment at the mention of a hidden route.
[Truthfully, this is the only path known to the public to the boss room but there is also another hidden path. Our objective today is to confirm the existence of this path. Since this path is unknown to other adventurers, there are most likely monsters present for us to hunt since other adventurers wouldn’t approach the path.] (Youya)
If the direct path is unusable, then we’ll just go through the back door. Although I called it a back door, it isn’t actually a shortcut to the boss, but rather a separate path towards the boss room. The difficulty of the labyrinth doesn’t diminish in the slightest. Although, just having the merit of advancing towards the boss without any interference was great.
[Youya-niisan seems to know everything. Where do you get all your information from?] (Til)
[I’m curious about that as well. Even I did not know about the existence of this hidden back door.] (Phil)
[In the ten years after separating from Phil, many things have happened.] (Youya)
I definitely can’t mention that it was information that I got from a game. Although I had told Phil about the level reset, as expected it was still awkward for me to tell that about my past life. It isn’t something that can be easily believed even if I mentioned it. The sound of footsteps could be heard as I signalled everyone to stop talking. It’ll be bad if anyone had listened in to our conversation earlier. The party that entered the room was a party of four, each of them equipped with expensive lightweight magical armour. Generally metal armours weren’t suitable for long-term dungeon explorations, however the story is different if it was made from lightweight magical metals. The downside to that armour though is it’s high cost, making it only available to the wealthy and is often bought as a hobby and decorated with flashy decorations.
[Oie. Small-fries. Get out.]
[This is our, the Crimson Hound’s territory.]
The men chased us out of the room before setting up four magical tents at the door. The tents which were more expensive than their magical armours showcased their tremendous financial strength and based on their conversation, they belonged to the clan which monopolized the boss. I felt sorry for troubling them but it’s still several days before the boss respawns and yet they were already preparing to set up camp.
[Ah. What are you looking at? You couldn’t be thinking of beating the boss next are you? Stop right there. So long as we are here, the boss and it’s rewards belong to us.]
The person talked in an arrogant and condescending fashion and appeared to be confident in their confidence in monopolizing the boss room. The person next to him had a tender smile as he looked at us
[He is just saying those words with good intentions. For you people, if you do not wish to get hurt then it is better to leave earlier. Wait.. Looking closely, isn’t your party filled with good-looking girls. Why don’t you girls join us and be our clan’s personal waiters? If you want to then we’ll be accommodating.]
This guy.. Is he serious?
[Nile. What are you saying. Actually.. You’re right. They’re some pretty jewels, and there are four of them to boot. We’ll welcome you into our clan if you serve us well, especially at night. Our clan’s expectations are high, no ordinary women are allowed inside our clan. Isn’t it a good idea? Of course, the old man is not allowed. C’mon girls, I’m sure your eyes are healthy enough to see that it’s better than being with such a sullen old man.]
The men laughed as Luna seemed to attempt something, however I stopped her with my hand.
[If you’ll excuse us, we’ll make a move first.] (Youya)
[Oi oi. The girls should stay here. The old man is already rotten, you don’t need him.] (Fuita)
[Fuita. It isn’t polite to say something like that. It’s extremely depressing to bully the weak and fragile. No matter how clear the difference is, how miserable it looks. You should respect your elders.] (Nile)
[Oh? But it’s such a waste to have that old man with such beautiful girls. How about it, come with us and we’ll be sure to make you enjoy it.] (Fuita)
The girls were clearly upset with the situation, however they followed my instructions and continued to follow my instructions. The moment Luna and Til exited the room, the guys were sticking their tongues out.
Those men can say what they want. We’ll be sure to return the favour in the race for the next boss.
After exiting the room, we continued to travel deeper into the volcano.
[Youya, why did you stop us?] (Luna)
[Exactly. Even though I wanted to put in one hit.] (Til)
Luna and Til began vomiting out complaints towards the previous situation.
[Sorry but it’ll be a bad decision to pick a fight with them in that situation. Furthermore, there is a better way to repay the favour rather than picking a fight with them. Selene, do you understand?] (Youya)
[Of course. It’s to best them in our next battle. That is the number one way to return the favour.] (Selene)
[Yes. Being underestimated like that, as adventurers we should pay them back by showing our ability.] (Phil)
Selene and Phil didn’t take any action earlier however they appeared to be extremely upset.
[Uhn. Definitely. We’ll beat the boss and show those people who dared to talk bad about Youya.] (Luna)
[Right. We’ll definitely do it!] (Til)
[I agree. This time, let’s defeat them with an overwhelming difference.] (Selene)
[Yes. That’s why, Youya. Let’s hurry to the back door.] (Phil)
I was stunned for a moment before I felt my chest warm up. Although they should be upset about being treated as comfort women, they were also upset at the men for bad-mouthing me in that situation. I was so happy that I nearly shed a tear. Really, these girls are too good to pass by. I won’t let their good-will go to waste, however I’ll let my actions show my intentions. I’ve taught these girls many things, and this made me realise that there were still many things I want to teach them.
After a while, we came to a dead end arriving at a river made of magma. Although we could see the other shore, we were separated by the river about 20 metres.
[Luna, do you think you can jump across the magma?] (Youya)
[Impossible. Luna will definitely fall.] (Luna)
Right, that is definitely expected. Even though her status and level were strengthened to a high degree, jumping this distance was still impossible.
[Actually, the back door is at the opposite shore beyond the lava. There are also untouched monsters and we can easily raise our levels there.] (Youya)
[Doesn’t matter how tempting the location is, if we can’t even arrive there.] (Til)
[That’s true. The monsters are untouched exactly because they can’t be hunted… There’s no way for anyone to notice the back door.] (Selene)
[Well, thats how it is. That is why, I’ll make a bridge.] (Youya)
After saying so, everyone turned around to look towards me. Let’s make the bridge immediately. I began to channel my magical power and chant for my customized version of the Intermediate Magic, Ice Storm, created by reducing the power to zero and increased its range and area of effect by lengthening the casting time.
Cold air and snow began to fall onto the magma. My magic power wasn’t high enough to completely freeze over the river of lava, however it was possible to cool it down, solidifying the lava as it becomes a bridge to the opposite shore.
[This bridge stretches all the way to the opposite shore. Since this river is shallow, not just the top but even the bottom is cooled solid.] (Youya)
The river at the opposite shore was about 2 metres deep whereas the shore on our side was about 30 centimetres deep. It is a trick that can only be done here as any other solidified surfaces would sink the moment we stepped on it. It felt intentional that this river was the only river capable of performing this trick.
[Since it’s hardened all the way to the bottom, it should be fine if we step on it.] (Youya)
As I planned to show by example, I began crossing the bridge to the other side. However, everyone else weren’t crossing the bridge after me. It seems that crossing the bridge still required some courage.
[If you’re too slow then the floor will turn back into magma.] (Youya)
[To show those people who made fun of youya, Luna will do her best!] (Luna)
[For me.. It’s for the meat!] (Til)
[Since it’s dangerous, both of you be sure not to rush across even if the floor begins to melt and sink. Be sure to move across carefully.] (Selene)
[It’s already dangerous as it is after all.] (Phil)
Everyone prepared themselves as they decided to cross the bridge made of solidified magma. After arriving at the opposite shore, Luna and the girls began panting due to a reason different from the heat.
[It was a little scary.] (Luna)
[Uhn. Even if it was safe, it felt uneasy to cross the bridge.] (Til)
[My heart’s still beating crazily fast.] (Selene)
[Although it was still nice to be able to cross safely.] (Phil)
Everyone seemed to be frightened as they appeared unusually stiff. However, there was a reward for crossing the bridge.
[Youya, it feels like there are a lot of monsters at the back.] (Luna)
[I see. As expected, there is no one else capable of coming here besides us.] (Youya)
If the clan occupying the boss room were to know about this hidden passage, it would be highly likely that they would come here every time the monsters respawn while preventing other adventurers from advancing. The fact that the monsters were still present here meant that they were unaware of this hidden passage. Our chance to win the battle for the boss room has been found.
[Now then, it’s time for us to hunt. Since there isn’t any magma ahead of us, let’s defeat as many monsters as we like. There will definitely be monsters that drop Beef (Excellent) from this point forth.] (Youya)
[Amazing meat!] (Luna)
[I’m feeling extremely motivated right now!] (Til)
The two girls’ spirits were immediately lifted after hearing about the delicious meat we were going to hunt. Upon viewing the two of them, even Selene and Phil began feeling motivated as our hunt was about to begin. The rest of our time in this dungeon will be spent hunting to our hearts’ content. While everyone is enjoying themselves training and defeating the monsters, let’s be sure to confirm that the path to the boss room is present and secure. Furthermore, if we were to obtain a Beef (Excellent), we’ll definitely host a party and nurture our party’s confidence and spirits.
<End of Chapter>
Hey guys! Sorry for the inactivity the past two weeks. I’ve been really busy with some personal things (mainly playing badminton for a match). For my eye, I’ve already gotten an appointment with an ophthalmologist although my eye seems to be back to normal.
I hope you enjoy the chapter!