「Just remembered. Thought Master would refuse.」
「C rank promotion, because will stand out.」
『Well, I guess you’re right, but I figured there wasn’t much point to it anymore. I mean, you want to participate in the martial arts tournament, right?』
『Yeah. Participating will make you stand out pretty much right away anyways.』
「Right. Will stand out if achieve victory.」
『Haha. Yeah, basically.』
We descended the dungeon’s stairs as we chatted. Naturally, we didn’t relax our guards while doing so.
It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the first floor’s entrance, a long, narrow passage constructed entirely of stone. It was far too short and thin for Urushi, so he had no choice but to return to his smaller size.
「Urushi. Training to fight while small.」
We didn’t need to light any torches or provide any other sources of light. Luminescent moss grew on the cave’s ceiling and provided the passage with a dim glow. It didn’t illuminate every last nook and cranny, but, was still good enough for our purposes.
『Looks like we’ve already hit a crossroads, and one that diverges into three different paths, at that.』
「Go down which?」
『Hmmm, well the rule says you should always go left.』
The rule I was referencing was the so left hand rule. It stated that you’d be able to find a path out of basically anything so long as you had your left hand against the wall and always turned left. I mean, it technically did work with your right hand as well, but yeah.
Naturally, the left hand rule wasn’t actually perfect and didn’t actually apply to every given situation. For example, it didn’t work if the place we were trying to get to required us to traverse a hidden room. It also failed to apply when the place we were trying to reach was the centre as opposed to an exit, when there weren’t any walls, and when we had move up and down stairs and ladders and stuff in 3D space.
Oh, and just to put this out there, we looked up all sorts of stuff so we could successfully complete our magic-beast related requests, but we didn’t actually spend any time looking at the dungeon’s layout, nor did we look for information pertaining to the traps within it. We figured that kind of info wouldn’t actually really help us given that we were trying to train ourselves in the art of detection. The whole point was for us to locate traps and magic beasts on our own, without any extra help.
「Then will choose left.」
I guess that works. I’m not really sensing any traps or magic beasts from any of the three paths right now anyways.
『Alright, let’s go.』
We popped our detection skills and began walking down the leftmost path.
Fran and I simultaneously detected something around three minutes after we started moving.
『So you managed to pick it up too, Fran? It looks like a Shadow Snake to me.』
A single black snake was hidden away in a dark corner that the luminescent moss’ light failed to reach. It was quite difficult to notice, and almost seemed as if it was blending into the shadows. Its name made me think it could use dark magic, but it couldn’t. It was instead something that stemmed from how it it slithered around in the darkness.
『Yeah. It is kind of the first thing we’ve run into though.』
It was about the same size as a Japanese rat snake, and had basically no offensive prowess whatsoever. Shadow Slip and Presence Detection skills aside, it was basically just a normal snake. Honestly, it would probably never be able to harm you so long as you just wore yourself a pair of boots.
To be frank, it was a magic beast that the average adventurer wouldn’t even bother hunting. It tasted like garbage, its magic stone was worthless, and it basically didn’t give any exp at all. To make matters worse, you actually had to go through its corpse and extract its magic stone too, a procedure that took much more time than it was worth. That said, we weren’t normal adventurers. I saw no reason to pass up a chance to potentially level up a skill while also getting free magic stone points.
And so, Fran murdered the Shadow Snake. It only ended up giving me a single magic stone point, but hey, one step at a time, right?
『Alright, let’s keep going.』
Time passed as we advanced.
Fran completely froze after we got a bit deeper into the dungeon.
『Ohhhh. I see it now.』
Looking at the place Fran had pointed to made me feel a sense of discomfort, as if something was just the slightest bit out of place. Activating Trap Detection and staring at the area with a more discerning eye allowed me to understand that the trap I was looking at was one would activate in response to weight. Specifically, activating it would release an arrow.
Fran seemed to have noticed the trap before me as a result of the Sole Sense skill, a skill that allowed her to detect oddities through the soles of her feet. It was really quite useful, as Fran could sense the vibrations she produced while walking around, thereby allowing her to derive quite a bit of information.
It was a skill I wouldn’t get any use out of unless I was dragged along the floor or walls, but that’d produce way too much noise for comfort, so yeah no.
『You want to try disarming it?』
Disarming traps was honestly pretty much my speciality due to my access to telekinesis. I could get rid of their mechanisms without much effort, and if I messed up, I could just choose to set them off from afar from without putting at us risk. That said though, we figured it’d be a good idea for Fran to get used to doing it herself as well.
『Good luck then.』
Fran pulled out the toolkit we got back at the Adventurer’s Guild. In it, she found a pair of tweezers and a thin blade. Both items were said to be necessities for adventurers with scout-type jobs.
The toolkit also included instructions on how one would go about disarming traps, and went over several different principles. The method Fran was trying now was specifically one that made the trap harmless instead of just flat out obliterating it. That is, she would figure out how it worked before destroying one of the key mechanisms that rendered it operational as opposed to just messing the whole thing up.
The trap that the two of us were looking at right now was activated through a weight trigger. That is, applying weight to the area it which it was set would lower it, thereby pulling a wire which in turn would release an arrow from a hole in the wall to our left. As far as I could tell, there were two ways to disarm the trap. The first was to plug the hole, and the second was to carefully cut the wire.
Fran ended up deciding to go with the latter of the two options, and thrust the blade she got from the toolkit into a thin gap in the floor that lay between the activation tile and the rest of the cave.
We were still only on the first floor, so the trap was still a relatively simple one that didn’t take much effort to disarm. The arrow was positioned so that it’d only hit people that were standing, so we honestly could’ve just crouched and had Fran press the tile in order to disarm the trap by setting it off had we been any lazier.
In fact, we didn’t even actually need to disarm it. We could’ve just avoided the activation tile and been done with it, but we decided to go through with the entire procedure because we figured it was a good chance for Fran to get some practice in.
『Yup, looks like you did it.』
The dungeon had the ability to repair itself, so the trap would end up getting rearming in a few hours time. In other words, we won’t be able to piggyback off other adventurers. All the traps they disarmed would be back to normal by the time we reached them.
「Let’s look for next trap.」
Apparently, Fran had enjoyed disarming the trap. She was scanning the area for more with an entertained expression on her face.
『Er, sure. But I think we’ll have go dive a bit deeper first if you want to find any.』
Why do I feel like she might end up wanting to choose a scout-related job for her next job change? Crap, what if she actually does, and stops wanting to be a swordsman?
「Trap found. Want to disarm. Okay?」
『S-Sure, go for it.』
Everything’ll work out just fine, right…?
『Is disarming traps really that fun?』
Fran’s eyes gleamed as she approached a hole in the wall. The way she stood in front of it with her arms crossed and her expression all serious almost made it seem like she was giving off the aura of a trap craftsman.
Is she this entertained because she finds traps to be like puzzles or something?
『I guess we’ll keep watch over our surroundings…』
That’s all for now. Merry Christmas, happy holidays. I’ll try cramming a few more releases between now and the new year. Peace.