While traversing the labyrinth, the three participating parties from the Crimson Hounds had caught up and taken the lead while the other parties were busy blocking off the entrance. It seemed that it was impossible to overtake the people who were experienced with the dungeon. However, this was still within my expectations as I had another plan for our current situation.
Although it was possible for us to overtake them while handling monsters up ahead, they had three parties consisting of 12 members. It was a simple task to handle the monsters in the dungeon, however, while we are preoccupied with the battle it was possible for them to lure monsters into our battle without us noticing. Thus we will be preserving our stamina while stalking behind them as I hadn’t expected the girls to accumulate this much fatigue experiencing multiple consecutive battles.
[Yuuya, I can see our goal. I feel an extremely powerful presence behind the door.] (Luna)
As Luna had mentioned, the end of the labyrinth appeared. A door similar to the one at the entrance had appeared however the main difference was its material as it was made of a red metal with magical properties as mana could be felt radiating from it.
[In front of that door is a magma river about 20 metres wide. The road leading to the door extends to the east for about a kilometre before one can actually enter the door.] (Yuuya)
From this point on, there won’t be any monsters appearing making this our first and last chance to pull out ahead. On the road at the east, two parties from the Crimson Hounds were grinning as they held their weapons guarding the path. Their third party must be well on their way to the entrance since there weren’t any monsters guarding this area.
[Just give up old man. This is the end of your little play session.]
[You did a great job, for a nobody anyway. On the other hand, we are certainly interested in how an old man like you managed to enter the dungeon, If you don’t want to experience a world of pain, you know what to do.]
They were laughing mockingly at us although they probably resorted to this plan as they were cautious of our actions. If they were to continue on as a large group, there was a possibility of them pulling a huge blunder and allowing us to grab the lead. However, even so, they still made a crucial mistake. If they were to interfere with us, they should have done it right from the start instead of dragging it to the end and preserving their parties’ stamina.
[Yuuya, what should we do? Luna has come too far to give up now.] (Luna)
[No matter how, eight people is too much. It is hopeless for us to catch up right now.] (Til)
[I guess there’s no other choice. It’s frustrating to be stopped right here without a fight.] (Selene)
Luna, Til and Selene entered their battle stances as they muttered out their thoughts.
[Calm down. You should remember how we got here in the first place. The geography of this area is similar to the entrance. Look carefully and its painfully obvious how shallow the river is. This is why I decided to lay low until the end. Once the path is open, we’ll break right through!] (Yuuya)
Luna’s fox ears twitched as Til and Selene smiled towards me. It was child’s play for us to enter the labyrinth, and it’s that same gimmick which is giving us the comeback at the end. Thank you very much, for the leeway to reverse the situation.
[Ice Age] (Yuuya)
A snowstorm began to form as the lava solidifies, forming a road towards the other side of the river. This is the comeback.
[Let’s go!] (Yuuya)
[As expected of Yuuya-ojisan.] (Selene)
[Even I am surprised.] (Phil)
The moment I cast my spell and we began to run, the two parties who were guarding the path began running towards us. However, the distance was too great as they were unable to catch up to us. After crossing to the other shore I turned back to see the crying look on the acting leader of the party who had continued ahead.
[What in the world. What is going on! Wait right there, the boss is ours!]
Now that I think about it, he dropped a bombshell on me earlier. It’s about time to return the favour.
[You tried your best. Regretfully, it seems your head was just a little lacking.] (Yuuya)
His face turned red as Luna stuck out her tongue gleefully. I placed my hands on the door as I prepared to push it open.
[Everyone, get ready. It’s finally time.] (Yuuya)
The girls nodded as I pushed open the door and entered the room. The moment we stepped into the room, the door began to close as only one party could be in the room at any given moment until either the party or the boss ceases to exist.
Based on the guide back in the game, each boss was rated based on their difficulty when challenged at the recommended levels. For this boss, it was given a C grade when challenged by a party with Water (Ice) types of equipment as the boss was heavily biased towards the fire element. However, there was a second grading given based on the boss battle without possessing the corresponding weakness to the boss, and this boss was considered the second most difficult, an A grade battle. This was a boss with a variety of flame-attribute attacks and overwhelming attacks and health.
Since we hadn’t the time nor the money to obtain a set of Water (Ice) equipment, we’ll have to obtain the victory somehow. This is a special boss who must be defeated no matter what.
The other side of the door was a dim cave lit by a faint light with a ceiling at least 20 metres high. I instructed the girls to drink a mana recovery and stamina recovery potion before we proceeded deeper into the cave. The sounds of our breathing became louder and louder until we appeared in an open area and it could be seen.
A pure red dragon, at least twice the size of the Flare Wyvern with menacing red eyes and a pair of wings which grew independently from its limbs. Their difference in authenticity could be seen just by looking. As compared to its inferior counterpart, this was a true dragon in every sense, the Fire Emperor Dragon, Corona Dragon which had the rating of A-class when challenged without any flame-resistant equipment. It wasn’t a monster we could take lightly as I looked towards everyone for affirmation. I had devoted the entirety of yesterday not just to take a break, but to confirm the battle plan against this foe. Normally I would have never given the girls any information beforehand about our enemies, however, that wasn’t a luxury we had against this enemy. This is a battle that I had to take measures beforehand to have a chance at victory.
I stepped forward past a small cliff at the front of the entrance, signaling the start of the battle.
[GRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYY] (Corona Dragon)
I felt my body stiffen at the volume of its roar as my entire body refused to move. Nevertheless, I forced my body forward against its will.
Erik bestowed his Blessings of the Dragon increasing our entire party’s flame resistance albeit slightly. Normally, Phil and Til would begin pouring down their rain of arrows however this time, only Til’s arrows and her spell Lightning Arrows were being fired.
The dragon doesn’t flinch to her attacks as an ominous blue flame leaks from its mouth. It was an indication of a breath attack capable of ending the battle right there. However, if its colour was blue, then there wasn’t a need to worry as the blue fireballs fired from its mouth exploded before even leaving its jaw.
[GYUUUAA?] (Corona Dragon)
[So long as I’m here, that skill won’t work!] (Phil)
The blue fireballs fired from the dragon were set to explode upon impact and Phil made use of that knowledge, exploding them as it came out of the dragon’s mouth. That powerful attack which dealt both direct damage from its flame and indirect damage from the subsequent explosion both had an extremely high attacking power capable of mortally wounding a person at worst was also difficult to dodge due to its explosive radius, was rendered ineffective by Phil. On the other hand, it was advantageous for us as it was actually damaging the dragon instead.
In this battle, such a feat could only be done by Phil as she had completely taken a back seat to this battle, focusing on supporting the party with her Magical Enchantment: Water and Icy Veil while shutting down the dragon’s explosive breath. This battle is made that much easier just by crushing that one skill.
As the dragon recoiled from the explosion, me and Selene formed the front-line as we both rushed towards the dragon while Luna stuck behind me. After recovering from the recoil, the dragon began its breath attack once more as red flames began leaking from its jaw. I began running towards Selene as she stuck her spike towards the ground and widened her stance.
As the blue light formed around her buckler, a torrent of fire collided against her shield spreading all around us as Selene grit her teeth. This breath attack was the breath attack meant to spread and eliminate nearby targets. Although it isn’t as deadly as the other explosive breath, it was still capable of killing me and Luna in a single breath or render us unable to battle even if we had Icy Veil in effect. The only defense we had against that was Selene’s Fortress, and lucky for us this breath attack had a cooldown as well.
Just as the torrent of flames disappeared, me and Luna jumped out from behind Selene to decrease the distance by even a step.
The battle against this boss was a matter of fighting around its breath attacks and with its long cooldown and Phil’s ability to stop the blue breath attack, we have a chance. Although it would have been much easier with flame-resistant equipment, there isn’t a reason for us to think about it as just one mistake will cost us the battle.
As I ran towards the dragon, it rotated its body swinging its tail directly past my position. Looking ahead in time, I jumped up as I saw it wind up its body. As its tail flew under me, the wind pressure produced from its sheer power pushed my body further into the air while I shudder thinking about what would happen from a direct hit. After dodging its attack, I continued forcing myself forward until the dragon was in my range and swung down my sword as ice began to form around my sword.
[It’s our first hit. Bash!] (Yuuya)
My sword cut through its soft stomach, producing a large gash.
Attacking the dragon’s soft belly with its elemental disadvantage seemed to inflict a large amount of damage as Luna immediately popped up next to me. Luna’s instructions were to always stick close to me as a gap would always be formed whenever I landed an attack. Naturally, Bazerato was also cladded in ice.
Ringing sounds began to play as the dragon began thrashing wildly around it, trying to shake whatever that was under it. Shockwaves began to form as the gravel under the dragon began to crumble, blowing me and Luna away as we fall to the ground.
[Che. Phil!] (Yuuya)
[Please leave it to me.] (Phil)
As me and Luna were defenseless on the ground, blue flames began leaking from the dragon’s jaw as it tried to fire its blue breath onto us but to no avail. He continued to fire a second and a third, but Phil countered all of them flawlessly, exploding it right after each of them left its mouth.
Its irritation rose through the roof as it looks towards Phil who shot down every single one of its breath and flapped its wings. Suddenly, the dragon’s body which was facing a different direction twisted and flew towards Phil. Selene who managed to catch it’s movements activated her skill.
[War Cry!] (Selene)
The dragon despite its irritation towards Phil was forced to channel its aggression towards Selene as it turned once again to rush towards Selene, crashing against her shield with its entire body while Selene received it by piercing her spikes into the ground. However, it was impossible as expected the ground was gouged out, throwing Selene into the wall.
However, that created a gap for us as me and Luna both landed our attacks onto its weak point, causing the Corona Dragon to lose its balance and fall onto the ground.
[Selene, are you okay?] (Yuuya)
[Yes but I’ll have to recover for a while.] (Selene)
Selene spat out blood as she activated her healing magic onto herself. Without using Fortress, it isn’t possible to defend against the boss without taking a large amount of damage.
Luna and I jumped behind Selene as she immediately activated her skill, holding off the torrents of flames. Her Fortress was our only defense against the dragon’s red breath and we had to avoid using it for its basic attacks. If we were ever forced to use it against a basic attack, then that would be the end of us. This was a somewhat tight situation as expected of a boss rated this high. It was recommended to challenge this boss once you were above the recommended level. It was ridiculous of us to challenge it with our current levels. However, this was the fastest way for Selene to gain experience before her inheritance ceremony and the best way for the girls to gain battle experience. I hope this much wasn’t too unreasonable for us to handle.
[Everyone, it may be difficult but we’re succeeding so far! Keep this pattern up and we’ll win this!] (Yuuya)
[Uhn. I will continue to assassin until it falls!] (Luna)
[And I will continue to shoot!] (Til)
Luna and Til raised their energetic voices in response as I thought that the rest of the battle should go smoothly for this phase.
It has been twenty-five minutes since the battle against the Corona Dragon began. Although it was stronger than the Magmarock Golem we fought, we seemed to have an easier time as everyone had became significantly conditioned to this sort of battle condition. And the one who showed the most growth was surprisingly Selene as she defended against another attack from the dragon. Just by looking, I could see that the number of attacks she was defending while reducing the number of spikes needed was increasing. Thanks to the effectiveness of the spikes, Selene became capable of defending ridiculous attacks which weren’t supposed to be defended against. This, in turn, caused her to rely too much on her spikes even against a weaker monster.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as she was definitely nullifying the attacks, however by using the spikes unnecessarily you make it difficult to transit into your next movement, making counter-attacks impossible. Ideally, the spikes should only be used against attacks which required it. Now that we were in a situation where Fortress could only be used against the red breath, we have begun to see the benefits of utilizing a small rounded buckler as Selene began defending against the boss’s smaller attacks. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge that I have been trying to teach her have finally begun to surface in this battle.
[Selene, there’s an opening, go for it!] (Yuuya)
Selene nods her head as she immediately counterattacked after receiving an attack from the dragon’s hand.
[Shield Bash!] (Selene)
[GYAAAAAAAAAAAAA] (Corona Dragon)
After her attack, the dragon retreats and roars as its whole body became cladded in flames. It became even redder than its usual crimson red as if it was cladded in flames of blood. Its scales were standing upright, its muscles became bulkier and its nails became longer and sharper.
At long last, after thirty minutes it has finally bared its fangs. I thought as I felt my entire body shivering, letting out cold sweat from all over my body.
[Everyone, it’s finally getting serious. It’s in its Wrath mode now. Be sure not to die.] (Yuuya)
[Uhn. We’ve heard the pattern from Yuuya numerous times.] (Luna)
[Yes. If Yuuya-ojisama said that we can win this, then we’ll definitely do it.] (Selene)
[From now on, please be sure to defend me and my sister okay~.] (Til)
[Til. Basic cooperation is expected…. But do whatever you like. I’ll be sure to support you.] (Phil)
The moment its health drops to 20%, the Corona Dragon enters a state called the Imperial Wrath state where everything, its attack power, speed, defense, resistances, and skills become stronger. Everything becomes improved.
This is where the real battle starts.