『Looks like we’re finally here.』
We finally reached the the dungeon’s 18th floor, the place that’d let us complete one of our overarching objectives.
The floors that extended beyond the 14th had given us one hell of an adventure. The number of magic beasts that attacked us multiplied exponentially, and we ended up activating more than 30 different traps as we traversed our way through the dungeon.
The most troublesome Magic Beasts we ran into were vapor-like creature whose species were simply known as “MIST.” They could disperse their bodies and make themselves not only invulnerable to physical attacks, but also entirely undetectable to any that relied on Presence Detection. They even had the ability to activate traps if they chose to condense their bodies down to a smaller size. That in particular was something the MISTs did to us like n times. God, they were annoying as all hell.
Disposing of the MISTs was, in and of itself, rather easy. All we had to do was blast a few AOE spells every time we entered a new area. They kinda couldn’t just stay in hiding if we flooded the entire area with our attacks. They’d more or less get destroyed immediately after two or three repetitions as their specs made it so that they weren’t really suited to battle.
In some cases, us firing off AOEs like crazy also allowed us to set off a few traps in advance and save ourselves from having to deal with them.
The only issue with us doing that was that we more or less deprived Fran of a fair portion of her practice. That said though, we were already pretty deep in the dungeon, so I figured it was about time for us to focus on making sure she stayed unhurt instead.
Besides, I figured that it was a much better idea for us to focus our efforts on finding the magic beast that’d give us the skill we wanted anyways.
Specifically, we were looking for Dirty Wisps. They were rare apparitions that looked like black balls of light.
We walked around the 18th floor for quite some time, but we weren’t able to find so much as a single one.
All our efforts ended up doing nothing but providing us exp and magic stones. Fran had leveled all the way up to 43, and I was on the verge of getting myself a rank up as well. Fran was pretty damn close to her level cap, and I was rather curious as to what would happen when she reached it. In fact, I was so curious that I even considered just having her grind out the last little bit on multiple occasions, but I ultimately ended up deciding against it..
『Oh well, I guess it can’t be helped. Dirty Wisps are elusive. If we can’t find them, we can’t find them. Let’s move on.』
『What’s wrong, boy?』
Urushi suddenly growled and used Dark Magic; he shot a jet black spear straight towards one of the dungeon’s walls.
『Dude, that’s gross.』
A large, purple and orange caterpillar suddenly seemed to phase into existence. It wriggled about as it clung to the dungeon’s wall and barged a strange, black liquid. A similar, putrid smelling substance spilled from the hole Urushi had opened up in the caterpillar’s gut.
『Wait a sec, did I seriously not notice that thing till it got that close to us? Did you catch it at all, Fran?』
Apparently the thing was called a Mimic Venom Crawler. It seemed to be the type of creature that’d wait for its prey to come to it. This was further evidenced by its skills, as it had Mimicry, Presence Isolation, and Muffled Action. As per its name, the Mimic Venom Crawler’s offenses mostly stemmed from abilities related to poison. That is, it had Poison Fang, Poison Magic, and Poison Spray.
It seemed that Urushi happened to notice it because he’d detected its scent.
The intel we gathered before venturing into the dungeon suggested that Mimic Venom Crawlers were the dungeon’s leading cause of casualties, and that adventurers should be as wary of them as possible. In fact, they were even thought of as more of a threat than High Ogres.
Now that we’ve seen them in the flesh, I pretty much came to the same conclusion. They were not only extremely stealthy but also had the ability to fell a man in a single blow by poisoning him. The only ones that could possibly deal with them were those that were highly skilled in detection, and hence, they seemed like they could cause an exorbitant amount of trouble even for adventurers of an intermediate skill level.
On the other hand, the materials you could get from subjugating Mimic Venom Crawlers made hunting them down well worth it. They were extremely useful, and four of the fetch quests we were assigned actually involved grabbing stuff from their corpses. Specifically, we needed their carapaces, their poison sacs, their venomous fangs, and their meat.
I couldn’t really see anyone wanting to eat one of these things, but they were actually considered quite the delicacy. They were said to be like pufferfish in the sense that they were delicious, but could screw you over pretty hard if you didn’t detoxify them properly.
Their magic stones didn’t really give that many points, but absorbing them gave me opportunities to level up Presence Isolation and Poison Magic, so again, hunting them was hella worth.
Alright Urushi! It’s all you, go go go!
「Urushi. Do your best.」
Do nose things!
We spent the next two hours having Urushi, who’d more or less become a professional caterpillar hunter, lead us around.
Our little adventure had taken us all the way to the stairs that led down to the dungeon’s 19th floor.
We had managed to take down a whole 10 of them. Hnnng.
「Master. What now?」
『Well, I mean, we’re already here, so we might as well just move on. Dirty Wisps are supposed to spawn on every floor after the 17th, and we’ve already got all the caterpillar corpses we’ll need, so there’s not really any reason for us to go out of our way just to sit around on the 18th floor.』
「Nn. Got it.」
And so, we began descending the staircase.
『What’s wrong boy?』
Urushi began barking at something. He seemed to be looking towards the ground.
I honestly couldn’t tell what he was barking at. To me, it looked like he was just making a fuss about the stones paved below us. Only after activating all my detection based skills did I finally manage to notice that there actually was something there.
Urushi shot a jet black spear straight towards the floor. Man, what’s with this deja vu? I swear this literally just happened.
The thing that Urushi had attacked screamed and almost seemed to ooze out of the floor in response to his strike. The form it took was like that of an orb giving off a dark light. Its identity was none other than that of the Dirty Wisp that we’d been looking for.
Race: Dirty Wisp. (Spirit/Magic Beast)
Presence Isolation: Lv 4
Thought Isolation: Lv 3
Resistance to Mental Abnormalities: Lv 3
Magic Absorption: Lv 3
Dark Magic: Lv 6
Dark Resistance: Lv 2
It seemed like the Dirty Wisp had used Dark Magic in order to hide itself in the shadows. Urushi had probably only noticed it because he himself was well versed in Dark Magic.
Man, I swear Urushi’s like perfect for this dungeon. I sure am glad he’s with us. Shit would’ve been terrifying without him; Fran definitely wouldn’t have been able to get this far unscathed.
『Good job Urushi! I’ll treat you to something nice later.』
『How’s some super spicy curry sound?』
「Mmph. Will also do best.」
Fran took a stance; it seemed that hearing about Urushi’s reward had gotten her all fired up.
『Make sure you don’t let that Dirty Wisp get away.』
The Thought Isolation skill that it had was exactly what we were after. No way in hell we’re leaving without it!
『Urushi, make sure it doesn’t teleport away!』