Here’s the new chapter, I’m sorry for the late 😀
Chapter 18 – Demon’s Sacred Mountain Dungeon : Part 2
With the addition of Ren and Ruri, we’ve become a four-man party. The next problem was our formation, but it wasn’t terribly difficult. We went with the same combat method as before, just with two extra people.
First of all, I stood at the front. Ren was a semi-vanguard, followed by Ruri and Lusha at the back.
“Hiroki, is it really okay for you to walk in front of me alone?” Ren asked with concern.
“It’s fine,” I replied. I had a map of this dungeon in hand, so I wouldn’t get lost, and thanks to my evasion, I wouldn’t get hit no matter what monster showed up. The only things to watch out for were the Monster House and the dungeon boss.
While I was looking at the map, I narrowly avoided an arrow that flew by from in front of me. I let out an “Oops!” and Ren contributed a surprised yelp of his own.
“Man, Hiroki, that was amazing!”
“Haha, don’t be so on edge, Ren.”
I looked back at the monsters that had attacked us ― several demon orcs with weapons and armor coming from the depths ahead. Lusha was the first to move, stepping up beside Ren and firing several arrows. One of them hit a demon orc and killed it instantly.
“Alright, my turn! [Wind]!”
Ruri wiped out the remaining demon orcs with her magic. Lusha voiced her amazement at the mass of monsters getting annihilated with one move. Ruri replied, “Your firepower with single-target attacks is amazing, too. Reducing their numbers will always be helpful.”
Lusha replied, “Is that so? Thanks for the reassurance, then.”
They’re complimenting each other, so they seem to be working well together. In fact, they actually seem to have become quite good friends based on how quick they are to call out each others’ names. They spent a night in the same room, too, so they might’ve gotten along well then.
“Those two girls are strong, right…”
“Hmm? Yeah, they sure are.”
“I couldn’t do anything in that fight.”
I quietly averted my eyes from Ren while he doubted his masculinity.
◆ ◆ ◆
“Alright, Hiroki! Leave this to me! [Taunt]!”
Ren’s voice echoed through the dungeon’s sixth floor. Just over ten monsters were taunted and picked up their weapons to go after him. Before they got to him, Lusha showered them with arrows, and the survivors were showered with Ruri’s magic skills.
As for me, I just settled for doing one task.
Seeing Ren’s eyes sparkle after receiving my Shield made me glad I could still do something. Things are likely going this well so far because Ren and Ruri weren’t really accustomed to battle. An experienced adventurer like Dia may have established their own combat style, but Ren moved obediently at my directions, so our hunting was easy and efficient.
“I really envy that Taunt skill. I wonder if a Priest can learn it…”
It’s likely that hero or vanguard classes are the only ones that can get it. I pondered the other utilities of an aggro skill while looking enviously at Ren. If you don’t know much about the usefulness of an Aggro-type skill, you might be surprised to use it and suddenly have all the nearby enemies go after you! You might even be thinking you wanted to avoid it… but no, that’s not the point. Using a Taunt skill actually keeps enemies from going after the rear guard like Lusha and Ruri. If the rear guard is attacked, the formation will collapse.
“It seems like we’ve killed all the monsters around here. [Search].”
Ruri also had a useful skill called Search. It allows you to sense the position of monsters and human beings. I want to get my hands on that skill too, but I’m not likely to get it; supposedly it’s exclusive to Wizards. I asked about her results.
“The path to the next floor is only a little further. Do you sense any monsters ahead?”
“No, all the monsters around were gathered in this area, and we’ve killed them all. There’s nothing else.”
As she was listening to our conversation, Lusha wiped sweat from her forehead and relaxed her shoulders.
“Should we take a break now?” She asked.
“Yes. Let’s relax first while eating sweets in the dungeon’s safety zone.” I’d taken short rests several times on our way there, but now I was really tired for some reason. Everyone agreed with Lusha’s suggestion, and we decided to take a break.
The path to the next level was a safe zone where monsters couldn’t enter. I don’t know how it works, but it’s a little different from dungeon to dungeon. The deeper the floors, the more luxurious the architecture becomes.
The safety zone this time was a little large, and it was a great space to take a break. Ren stretched intensely and looked around before saying, “It’s a nice big area, great for taking a break. Well, I say ‘break,’ but it’s getting pretty late, isn’t it? Why don’t we just camp here today? It’s not good to overdo it on the first day, so let’s save our energy for tomorrow.”
“You’ve got a good point there.”
I nodded in agreement with Ren’s proposal. Even though we have a map, we can’t know for sure what we’ll find in a dungeon. It’s better to rest when we can rest, so we decided to make camp for the night.
Setting up didn’t take much work, though. It was enough to pitch a tent and prepare a meal.
“I’ll take care of the cooking.”
“Oh? Ren, are you good at cooking?”
“Yeah. I did a lot of it at home.”
“How about that~”
This Hero is a guy who can do anything, huh? Ren started the preparations and quickly told me to serve the ingredients which had apparently been put in my bag. I see, their luggage even had quite a few ingredients…
When I looked in the bag, there were several kinds of vegetables and bread, and many seasonings.
“Is this it?”
“Oh yeah, that’s the one. Thank… you…!”
When I tried to pass him one of the ingredients, Ren suddenly grimaced.
Ruri and Lusha also noticed there was something off, and came back from the front of the tent.
Ren grunted out an apology and reassurance. “I’m… sssorry… it’s al―hah, alright…”
“You’re clearly not okay! [Heal] [Regeneration]!”
I don’t know what happened to Ren, but all I could do was use my recovery skills. However, based on his expression, they did nothing to alleviate his pain. What’s going on…! Ren crouched on the ground and breathed haltingly while gripping his chest.
“[Heal] [Heal] [Heal] [Heal]! Hold on, Ren!”
I used Heal many times to help Ren, but Ruri stopped me. “Hiroki, Healing doesn’t work… this is the curse.” She must have seen this many times, based on her helpless expression.
She told me she’d tried everything, from healing skills to healing potions. This was Ren’s curse, the whole reason I had tried to find the Apricot Grass as quickly as possible. Ren strained out another sentence, panting. “I think it’ll be over… in a few minutes.”
“A few minutes! Damn it, I’m a Priest, but I can’t do anything to relieve pain!”
I punched the ground with my fist and lamented my powerlessness. Despite being a Healer, I still can’t do anything with just a barrage Heal as my strong point, huh?
“I heard from Ren that when the snake’s bruises spread, the pain is much greater than usual. After a little time, the pain subsides… he’s always like this, putting up a front while silently enduring it.”
Lusha covered her mouth and almost cried at hearing how serious Ren’s condition was. He’d been hiding his pain that well.
After about five minutes passed, Ren’s breathing had gone back to normal.
“Haha, sorry to make you guys so worried.”
“Don’t laugh, idiot!” When I snapped at him, he laughed even more. “What’s the big deal? I mean, we’re going to lift this curse soon, aren’t we?”
I had seen the extent of his pain, but I knew that he trusted us. There was a lot more I wanted to say, but there was no way I could let it out after hearing that.
“Of course. We’ll lift that curse right away.”
We resumed the preparations after that.