~ Side Story: What do you mean LAVA on the FIRST FLOOR?! (Part 1) ~
[Nanya’s point of view]
“Nyahaha! A dungeon! A dungeon after such a long time! Feels like the good ol’ days, doesn’t it?!” I laughed as I gave Tuberculus a pat on the back.
I was so excited to finally be able to explore an unknown dungeon after so may years that I didn’t care if it was one with 400 floors or just two! Illsy said it had only two, so we were expecting to finish it in two hours or so, maybe three if we looked around a bit more and made a complete map of the place.
“You always were the first one to get excited from the little things.” commented Rufus with his usual monotone voice.
I swear, that man only showed excitement when he found a new book! He and Zertan made a perfect match, the other was happy only when his plants bloomed.
Well, I didn’t let his words keep me from having fun. I was quite curious as to what sort of bosses we would meet and how complicated he made the whole thing. So far, we were just descending on a pair of very long stairs. This alone was quite unusual. In most cases, the first dungeon was a building or a cave on the surface. I never heard of an underground one, but then again, Illsy was a Godlike Dungeon Lord. There were a lot of things to expect from him.
“When will these stairs ever end?” grumbled Angius.
“The center of the world?” I joked.
“Ugh…” he groaned.
When we finally reached the last steps, we arrived at a big, empty room made out of granite. It was the first one, so we weren’t expecting to face too much in there. None of us was on guard.
“Any signs of life?” I asked.
“None from what I see… Is this just an empty room?” asked Angius as he scanned the room with his eyes.
“Sigh… First room and no trap? Maybe giving it two hours to clear was a bit too long? How about half an hour?” commented Rufus in his usual monotone.
Apparently, he got bored and pulled out his book from his bag to continue reading. I simply shrugged and moved on. He was there with us only as an extra, just in case there was a mechanism that required multiple triggers to be activated at the same time. In general, those sort of traps could be found from the third floor down in certain dungeons. Normal dungeons usually didn’t have anything on the first floor, barely a summoned creature or two, in rest, they created small habitats for random wild animals. Even normal villagers could venture into them up to the first two or three rooms without worrying too much about it.
“A hallway…” said Tuberculus when we walked out of the room.
We paid extra attention to where we stepped, but the area was clear. Still, it was getting a bit exciting.
A few moments later, we arrived in front of a big empty wall with two passages leading to our left and right respectively.
“Toss a coin and pick a side?” asked Angius.
“Left. Always go left.” I said and went on that path without bothering myself to listen to the result of the coin toss.
Following the path, we encountered the first trap. Three spike traps were laid in front of us with a clear dead end on the other side.
“Now what?” asked Angius.
“Are you wearing your Magic Armor?” I asked.
“Yes, why?” he replied and threw me a questionable look right before I kicked him in the behind and sent him flying to the other side of the traps.
He slammed into the wall and fell down on the floor with a groan.
“See anything there?” I asked.
“Stars…” he replied as he pointed up.
After returning to his senses, he looked around and saw a lever on the wall. He wasn’t so sure about just pulling it like that, so after he checked for traps, he used his boot and tossed it on top of it. The lever went down, and no other trap was activated. Nothing happened though, and the spike traps were still active.
“It must be a fake.” he told us.
“Keep it like that.” I told him.
My gut was telling me that there should be another lever at the end of the other corridor. Angius returned by making a power leap over the traps. He had enough strength to reach Medium Godlike Rank, but only in strength. Because of that, his Magic Energy couldn’t reach the point where he could attempt to learn Godlike skills, but if he were to train his noggin long enough, he had a good chance of being able to.
On the other side was a similar path, but this time, Angius didn’t need my help to get across. He pulled the lever in a similar fashion, and we heard the gate opening up behind us.
“It must have been a concealed gate.” said Rufus.
“But those appear only after the 30th floor.” noted Tuberculus.
I had to agree with him, the dungeon’s first few rooms were quite unexpected, but they were fun!
Walking over to the opened door, we stopped and stared at the sight before us.
“That’s lava, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yup, lava.” replied Angius.
“Those are timed platforms above the lava, right?” I asked.
“Yup, timed platforms.” replied Angius.
“Fascinating.” said Rufus, who finally put away his book.
Lava, in any form or shape only appeared after floor 50, and it was quite rare too. Few dungeons made use of it, yet right in front of us, at the very first floor of the dungeon, we were staring at a pit of lava over 6 m in length. The only way across appeared to be by jumping on the timed platforms, but the door on the other side was hidden as well, and there was no lever in sight.
We stared at it for over a quarter of an hour, trying to figure out how to get across. Angius went back to the first room to see if we missed anything, but he couldn’t find anything.
“Maybe it’s an optical illusion, and the other side only appears to be blocked by a wall?” asked Tuberculus.
“You might be fooled by that, but not me…” I replied.
Well done, Illsy. This is quite hard. I thought, but I was sure to scold him as soon as we went back. This wasn’t a dungeon for students barely handling beginner rank spells. Actually, even Master Rank adventurers would have had a problem with it.
“A hidden lever, maybe?” asked Rufus.
“Could be. I’ll give it a try. My Magic Armor can withstand the heat of the lava better than yours.” I offered.
“Please do, but look carefully for anything popping into view.” Tuberculus told me.
I nodded and prepared myself for the first jump. When the platform appeared, I went for it. They retreated fast, but I was faster. Keeping my eyes open, I searched for the button, but didn’t spot anything. When I reached the last platform, I jumped from it to the end. I couldn’t hold onto the wall, so I jumped from it to the other one. I jumped once more and landed on the second platform. From it, I took a powerful leap and reached the starting location.
“Well?” asked Tuberculus.
“Nothing…” I told him.
It was frustrating, but I didn’t give up. I tried three more times, but the result didn’t change.
“The Dungeon Lord sure built a surprisingly tough level. This isn’t something our students can handle.” said Rufus.
“I doubt they can even get past those traps back there.” said Angius with a sigh.
Looking back at the lava pit, I got angry and struck the wall. Because of the strength I put in the hit, the crack spread quite a bit, and the area where my fist touched the granite stone shattered. Somewhere on the other side of the pit, a small rock fell on the platform. I blinked and looked surprised at it.
Could it be? I asked myself.
With a smirk on my lips, I decided to give it a try. I timed my jumps well and reached the third platform. There was a hole in the wall and right behind it, a button. I grinned.
“Found it!” I shouted and pressed it immediately.
I thought I was safe, but then the platform slid from under my feet, and I dropped into the hot lava.
“KYA!” I screamed.
My Magic Armor was fading fast. When someone fell into lava, they usually got stuck in it like they would in quicksand. If they didn’t get out of there fast, it would stick to them and eat at their armor. Even for Supremes lava was annoying, but nothing they couldn’t handle. At least, it wasn’t enchanted with a Magic Energy absorption ability.
I pushed hard into it and jumped up, I struggled to reach the other side. It was getting to my boots, and it was getting hard to move, but I pushed it around me. Using my strength, I jumped up and landed on one of the platforms. I was safe, but my Magic Armor decreased considerably.
“Huff! Huff! Lava? Lava on the first floor? Seriously?!” I complained while breathing hard.
“Nanya… you lost a boot.” said Tuberculus while he pointed at something burning in the pit.
“Mou!” I puffed my cheeks.
“Hahaha! This is rich! Godlike Nanya lost a boot on the first floor!” laughed Angius.
“Grrr!” I growled but let it go and sighed “Angius?” I said looking up at him with a smile.
“Hm?” he looked at me.
“You stink! Take a bath!” I grabbed him by a boot and tossed him into the lava.
“Ah!” he screamed. “Hot! Hot! Hot!” he swam back to us as fast as he could and got out of the lava with the help of the other two. He had only one boot now, and his robe was a bit singed at the edges.
“I thought I was going to die…” he glared at me and started cleaning the lava off his clothes.
“It could have been worse.” I shrugged.
“How so?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
I showed him a big smirk and turned towards the opened door.
“Onward to glory and fame!” I said pointing at it.
They sighed and followed me on the timed platforms.
Illsy’s dungeon was really fun, but certainly quite dangerous. I was curious about what we would find in the next section.
Ten minutes later…
“Harpies… Flame traps… Spike traps… Arrow traps… Wind traps… Deadly chasm with spikes at the bottom… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS IS THE FIRST FLOOR!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
We didn’t move away from the platform at the entrance. We were timing the traps and trying to figure out the path we needed to take. There were three rooms in there, but probably only one was real. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out which one was which. They all looked identical. Meanwhile, Angius and me were fighting the harpies.
“Indeed. This is something for the 100th floor and beyond!” said Tuberculus.
“I pity the poor bastards who would dare enter this dungeon… And he said this was easy?” said Angius as he parried a harpy and then struck it hard with his fist. The monster was thrown into the roof and then left to drop in the chasm below. “Have you figured it out?” he asked.
“Yes, just one moment… there!” said Rufus as he showed him a small parchment with the map of the platform maze in front of him.
“Good. Left?” he asked.
“Yup! It’s always left!” I smirked.
It wasn’t left…
The path led to a mini boss room. I smacked the brute once and sent it flying straight into the ceiling. It was very weak when compared to me, but against a Master Rank, it was a monster. There were also a bunch of imps and harpies that spawned and attacked me. I used [Fireball] to destroy their circles. With the room cleared, it was time to leave, but I noticed a treasure room. I grinned at the idea and rushed into it only to be welcomed by a bunch of arrow traps. There was nothing in there.
After we got out of that room, we went for the right side. We didn’t find any sort of treasure there, but we did find a bunch of imps and gas traps. Our Magic Armor was quite high, so we weren’t bothered by the stench. We destroyed the imp summoning circles and walked out of there. We reached a slope. After reaching the corner, we heard a click.
“What was that?” I asked.
Looking back, I saw a big boulder and gulped. I was the first to run to the end. Rufus and Angius followed, only Tuberculus was the slowest to act.
“Huh? UGYA!” he screamed as the boulder went over him and then rolled with him. “Stop… this… thing!” he managed to mutter as he rolled down after us. If it wasn’t for his Magic Armor, he would have ended up as a squishy meat paste.
“The exit!” said Angius and jumped “Huh? AAAH!” he screamed and then I heard him hit every wall until he reached the water bellow.
As for Tuberculus, I stopped him alright. I stopped at the wall, turned around and punched the boulder as hard as I could. It wasn’t enchanted, so it was shattered by my punch. The old man got tossed into the ceiling, then bounced off it and dropped down behind me.
“Ugh… the world is spinn… BLEARGH!” he vomited.
“Ew!” I grimaced and walked past him.
“I think Angius is drowning.” said Rufus as he looked down the hole leading to the next floor.
“Join him.” I said pushing him over the edge.
“Huh? AH!” he screamed.
I grabbed Tuberculus by the left leg and jumped in after them. The water was cold as ice, and I quickly swam up. After tossing the old geezer on dry land, I went after Angius. Rufus handled himself pretty well and dog paddled to the shore.
“Whew! I thought I was going to die!” said the warrior after spitting out some water.
“Boulder trap? That was unexpected… His traps are a mix of complicated and deadly ones with simple ones. I don’t even know what to expect next…” I said with a sigh.
To make a comparison to other dungeons, Illsy’s was simply crazy. For example, the Ancestral dungeon in the Paramanium Empire had a simple plant and bug first floor. There were about fourteen chambers in total and continued to the second floor, where you could find rats and some snakes. The difficulty increased in monsters and number of chambers, but usually, the traps were after the first ten floors. The first trap that Ancestral dungeon employed was a simple spike trap. The first mini boss was at the 20th floor, but by then you also got arrow traps. The things Illsy added weren’t even met from the 50th level up, but going by their complexity, I’d bet my money on the fact that he could rival the 120th floor with his first one alone. It made me shiver only to think about what I would find at the second floor.
“What… What’s this?” asked Rufus surprised.
We were currently sitting in front of 3 m high metallic walls with an undulating pattern on them like waves on a lake. They were beautiful to look at, but that beauty was what made them dangerous. If that was a maze, then surely… it was going to be hard to complete. The reflection on its sides made it very hard for regular adventurers to go through. The dungeon’s floor was already past Master Rank adventurers, it was going steadily through the Emperor Ranks and pressing into Godlike Ranks. At the very least, there weren’t any enchanted walls or traps. Those might have been more dangerous than anything else in there.
“What does it look like? A maze.” I told him.
“Technically speaking, it could be a labyrinth.” commented the old man.
“We should continue.” I told them. We were way past five hours now.
“Let’s rest here for a bit, Nanya.” said Angius.
“Ah! My books!” shouted Rufus.
“What?” I asked surprised.
“My books are gone! I must have dropped my bag up there!” said the man as he looked up the shaft leading to the first level.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have Illsy get them for you when we return.” I told him with a smile.
“Sigh… very well…” he took a seat, and it was decided to take a moment to rest.
What a ridiculous dungeon… I thought to myself as I looked at the reflective walls.
It was quite amazing, but also very very dangerous. None of our students could finish even the first level. If they dared to try it, they would only end up as corpses. This dungeon was that dangerous.
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