Chapter 24 – To The Bottom Floor
When we reached the 20th floor, the effect of the second monster potion ran out. It might be a considerably good pace to reach this floor while taking a few breaks; it only took us six hours.
Up until the 15th floor, navigation was easy, because the floors had been mapped by other adventurers. We sometimes passed by other parties as well.
Beyond that floor, there were no other parties at all, and we proceeded while mapping it ourselves. Fortunately, the layout of the dungeon has simplified. It might be because it’s near the bottom layer, but each floor is an easily navigable stone path.
「【Shield】 Okay, Lusha-san, the stairs to the 21st floor are just ahead. Let’s take a break there.」
After confirming that Lusha-san had defeated a large bear monster with a single blow, we proceeded to the stairs. They looked different from all the others.
These stairs seemed to be made of amber, and shone beautifully. They weren’t going straight, either, but curved in a spiral.
「Wow, amazing… I’ve never seen something like this.」
After looking around, Lusha gently touched the stairs. It was such an unusual sight, and she laughed unintentionally, saying, “Can I take it home?”
「We obviously can’t dismantle the stairs. However, for them to have become so beautiful here means the lowest floor must be close, right?」
「Yeah, the boss is on the lowest floor, but the dungeon itself starts to look gorgeous when you get really close. I’m sure we’ll be there in a few floors, so it’s probably a good idea to rest here today and continue in the morning.」
「I agree, so let’s go ahead and do that. Oh, but we don’t have sleeping bags…」
If you only sleep while sitting, your body won’t rest nearly as much as if you were able to sleep comfortably.
Our only food is water, bread, and dried meat. If I had any fire magic skills, I could have at least prepared a warm soup. Humans always want to eat delicious food, after all, though the kind of food that can be brought into a dungeon may not be the most luxurious.
We started eating, but it really wasn’t that good.
…Is it possible to go eat a bear that was defeated on the previous floor?
No, I have never eaten a bear even in Japan. I barely know how to cook, and most of all, the bear in here is a monster so it’s not worth risking it. Probably.
「Hiroki-san, are you okay? Are you tired?」
「Yeah, I’m okay, I’m just tired from walking. I should recover after getting some sleep. But you’ve been moving and attacking from the start, Lusha-san, and that was a lot of hard work, wasn’t it?」
「No, not at all! It’s really fun to know I can fight. Plus, if Hiroki-san is the Vanguard, I can shoot arrows worry-free, so it’s easy.」
A vanguard has its own pace, in terms of walking speed and how to confront the monsters. There’s also the important question of how many they can deal with at once.
In my case, I walk a little faster than Lusha while searching for monsters. Then, when the monsters swarm at me, I don’t move until Lusha defeats them all. It’s a flawless strategy.
「It’s almost a waste to be a Healer.」
「…Still, I’m satisfied with the current situation. As a vanguard, I don’t have to attack, because Lusha-san will defeat all the monsters alone. Since I’m also a Healer, we can recover even if something happens. The best merit is that we don’t need a pure Healer or a pure Vanguard, so we can just hunt as a pair.」
When I told her all this, she just nodded.
「Hiroki-san has performed the roles of Vanguard and Healer all on his own.」
「Two roles with only one person, that’s so amaziiiing… *yawn*」
「Hahaha, do you feel sleepy already?」
「A little. It’s been a long time since I’ve fought so many battles, and it feels rather satisfying.」
That’s right. Lusha had been carrying her party’s luggage for a long time.
「My stomach is already full, and it seems like I’m satisfied with this. So, good night… *yawn*」
「W-wait, Hey, don’t sleep! I mean, don’t sleep leaning on me!」
Lusha, who was already sleeping, had used my shoulder as a pillow without permission, rendering me completely unable to move. No matter how many times I said her name, she didn’t wake up.
There was nothing I could do about it, so I decided to close my eyes and rest. Of course, I don’t know if I can sleep like this…
◆ ◆ ◆
「Good morning, Hiroki-san.」
When she stood up, she stretched her body and smiled while saying, “Today’s the day we subjugate the boss.” Come to think of it, we’re in a dungeon, so the weather doesn’t matter to us, but somehow I know even that’s going well.
I remembered being nervous and unable to sleep at all, but I must have started sleeping soundly at some point.
After breakfast and warm-up stretches, we rushed down to the 21st floor.
Unlike the previous floor, the walls and ceiling were gorgeous. The ground and bottom half of the walls were made of stone, and the rest of it was like the amber stairs. The bright shine from the amber made it easy to see and move around.
「That’s a monster, right? A Black Dog!?」
「Sure seems that way.」
We were attacked by a Black Dog. It looked like a Doberman, about one meter high with vicious fangs.
I’d just keep my distance from those fangs ―― or so I thought.
My Shield took a hit from the Black Dog.
「―― !! Hiroki-san, I’m attacking it!!」
Lusha, who immediately sensed the situation, shot an arrow. As expected, due to her low accuracy, she couldn’t hit with certainty. Even when she fired several more arrows, none of them hit.
「It’s fine. Please calm down, Lusha-san.」
――And while I was saying that, the 5-layer Shield was broken, and the black dog scratched me with its claws.
「Ughh, 【Shield】, 【Heal】!」
Lusha was relieved to see me re-use the Shield. She immediately shot five arrows at once, making a direct hit on the Black Dog, killing it.
「Are you okay!?」
「The Black Dog seemed to have a fairly high attack. It wasn’t a problem, though, I only took a little damage, it just nicked me.」
Fortunately, this floor only has a small number of strong monsters.
「For now, let’s keep going. Surely, if we go down a few more floors――what’s this?」
「Hmm? Ooh, it’s a magic stone.」
A sparkling red gem appeared from the defeated Black Dog. Lusha grabbed it, wiped it with a cloth, and gave it to me.
「It can become a material for making equipment. It’s a considerably rare item, to the point that getting even one is difficult.」
「Ohh, so we’re lucky!」
If that’s the case, I can immediately ask the dwarf Oji-san to add an effect to my equipment.
I put it in our pack and we moved on to find the way down.
As expected, the Black Dogs only came out one by one, so by keeping the Shield up, most of their attacks could be defended against. Even if they managed to hit me once in a while, I was able to cure it with a Heal immediately, so we didn’t have any problems on that floor.
We found the stairs, and descended to the next floor immediately.
「Oohh, isn’t that the Boss room?」
There was only a single corridor with a red carpet that led to a door with gorgeous ornaments.
…I wonder what kind of boss it is.
Because the whole previous floor was just individual Black Dogs, I feel like the boss is also going to be a kind of dog.
If we can beat it, we’ll get its material drops and the contents of the treasure chest, so we might be able to prepare quickly for the Demon Continent.
With my heart full of expectations, I opened the door to the boss room.