[Arc 3] Chapter 11: Intense Conquest
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...Noire, how can you make mince-meat outta someone that big with just arrows? No, don't answer that, I don't wanna know. For the sake of my SAN-points, I. Don't. Wanna. KNOW!

W-w-well... let's just stuff this into the Storage... and hope it works for plan B...

The takeover of the Dungeon worked though. All I need to do is to combine the separated Territory that the Lake's built on, and... done! Now I can mess with this place as much as I want! No extra options to create sea serpents? I knew this would happen already, but cooome ooon. Boring.

Speaking of, the sea serpents, which are called "Knockers" by the way, are happy to serve me. Did the lamia treat them badly? Or are they overjoyed over not suffering the same fate as her? I would have definitely changed sides if I were them if it meant to escape that kinda fate. *Shivers*

Relax, relax. Nothing bad will happen to you. Good boy, good girl, good crab... crab? Wait, let me check the Subordinate list...

155 Knockers!? And there's even something called Lake Crabs. It must be the guy from before... and there are 182 of them?! They reside on the bottom of the lake, so I didn't see any when we invaded the Lake. It didn't save them from the paralyzing poison. Speaking about that, I need to make some countermeasurements so I won't fall for the same trick...

Eh, that's problems to think about later. Ya-hoo! I got over 300 E-rank monsters as subordinates!! Plus some various thrash-ranked fishes, but who cares?

The Knockers, blue-colored sea serpents with fin-like limbs, and the Lake Crabs, that are big enough to outsize the Imps. They'll... probably be limited to areas with lots of water, but the Crabs can potentially be great tanks and patrollers. An unforeseen bonus~.

Wonder how the others are doing? Mira and co. should only be plundering the Bamboo Forest (temp.) for weapons, while also training the weaker members. The stuff we got from Armveil is good, but the equipment ain't limitless. As opposed to the need for new subordinates. 

Alf's group, however, they're attacking that snake-cave to defeat the Dungeon Master and obtain the Pseudo-Peace effect. Hope those guys don't screw things up...

Nothing else to do than wait for them to contact me...

The sun's a jeeeerk... just explode already!

---

Alf's PoV:

Hi-yaa!!

"Shaaa-!?"

And another snake bites the dust... and three more tried to take its place. Tch!

*Slash!*

I fended off the snakes by slashing into the skull of the first one, blocked the second with an Ice Pillar, and had the Shadow Familiars distract the third one. Better said, they were eating the snake alive.

And suddenly, a fourth snake came out of the shadows of the first three, so I parried it with the shaft of my halberd and sent it crashing into the wall. For the finisher, a serpent popsicle. Mmhmm, now I want one of those Marc served at his restaurant. 

"Switch!" - Alf

I destroyed the Ice Pillars and let the Cave Scorpions take the front as I went back to take a break and chug down some potions. The Lesser Fiends joined the scorpions, with some long-range support from the Zerbreuses and the Dark Elves.

The F- and E-ranked snakes had no chance against the monsters who had been hunting in the desert to grind levels and gain Skill Points, which were doubled thanks t0 that strange ability Garami has. I would have pitied the snakes, hadn't they tried to eat me at any given moment.

"Everything alright back there?" - Alf

"A-Okay." - Iron

R-really? It doesn't sound like so, despite the appearance.

The snakes tried to flank us, using the many smaller tunnels in the cave, but Iron and Revi repelled them without problems. Iron attracted the snake's attention, then Revi struck them with magic blasts that looked like vengeful ghosts... So that's what Garami meant when she warned about "flying skulls". Freaky.

*...rack*

This doesn't sound promising.

I transformed into mist right as the ground beneath me was broken in a fancy way. Did someone place Garami's explosives underneath there?

"!? Alfred-!?" - Revi

"I'm fine. And I keep telling you to call me Alf, didn't I?" - Alf

If I started retelling the many times I've fallen for a pitfall or something similar before joining the organization, it would be enough to fill a bible. I'm the kind of man who's capable of learning from his mistakes.

Still, what is this? A sand-colored unicorn-snake? It's pretty big, with its head alone being equal in size to the Cave Scorpion. And what's with the horn? It looks like a drill...

The "horn" grew all of a sudden. And it started to rotate...

It's really a drill!!?

Mist Form is not usable right now, so I made an Icicle Wall so to delay the snake and jumped to the side. Revi and the others entered a cleared tunnel to escape the drill-snake... even Iron got away from it. True, that snake may be the natural enemy for an animated armor like Iron.

The snake broke through the wall... and froze on the spot before it even reached where I was standing before. Is it shivering... Is it bad with the cold? Because it's a snake? Ah, it ran away. Or, it dug another tunnel and fled. It didn't go that deep, as the earth was pushed up as it left.

"What was up with that thing?" - Alf

"Suddenly appearing, then fleeing..." - Revi

"..Is it fine to let it leave?" - Iron

"Why're you asking?" - Alf

"No normal serpent could dig its way through the floor of a Dungeon." - Iron

Huh? Oh, right. Dungeons are practically invulnerable for anyone less than the God of Chaos himself, with the exception... except... the one with the rights over the Dungeon... like...

"G-get that drilling Dungeon Master!!" - Alf

---

Lily's PoV:

*Crash!* *Bang!* *Slash!*

Wh-why is a Sprite so much more destructive than any of the monsters I've ever seen!?

"Lily, you're falling behind." - Mira

No, isn't it you who is going too far?

Mira went back to clobbering Automatas and Goblins while advancing further into the bamboo-Dungeon. Or, slicing off their head with one stroke. Whoaaaa, she fits too well in this Dungeon. With that black katana and all...

I punched one of the goblins that tried to attack me with his katana, then proceeded to use the Art, Straight Strike, at the next goblin. One of the Automatas, who has the appearance of a Wakoku-armor, spewed flames from its barrel-like left arm. Sorry, but that won't work~.

I guarded myself against the flames with my arms. One of the abilities I was forced to obtain during the time I was kidnapped, [Underworld's Fur], protects me from any Fire- and Darkness attacks. Not that I feel okay about being force-fed monster meat I don't know where they came from. So glad that boss Blot saved me that time.

I used Triple Blow followed by Low Swipe, before finishing the Automata by crushing its head with Heel Drop... that hurts... 

My hands are stinging, so I used [Flare Breath] to try to scorch the Automata that came from the bushes... but it's not working! Argh, why didn't I think about it! A Fire-user would obviously have some sort of resistance to Fire, stupid me!!

*Slash!*

I-I'm saved... that strange spider with the swords defeated the Automata... not that I was in any danger, come to think of it. Damn, that's embarrassing. I punched some of the softer goblins to get the feeling back to my hands and to vent some anger. 

The big scorpion that followed us ain't doing much except carrying the many weapons the monsters drop, and the goblin on our side is making sure to collect them along with the Lesser Fiend. The Dark Elf gets head-shots on Automatas and goblins alike. while that blue-skinned demon and that big bat are weakening the opposing monsters with his spells, allowing the "smaller" scorpions to crash and thrash the weakened monsters.

*Ka-BOOM!*

Wha-wha-wha-!?

"WHO'RE THE BASTARDS MESSIN' WITH MY PLACE?!" - (angry) Lizardman(?)

A Lizardman came out of the walls of bamboo, fuming with rage... no, he's really on fire! Is it a skill?

"...Gwaa!? I forgot about the fire!!" - (stupid?) Lizardman

All of us, allies and enemies alike, were just standing there, watching the red Lizardman rolling around the ground in an attempt of extinguishing the fire. ...Is he an idiot? No, he is an idiot.

"Hey." - Mira

"Yikes!? D-don't start slashin' at someone right outta nowhere!" - Lizardman

"Why should I care about the enemy? Mister Wakokuian Dungeon Master?" - Mira

That guy's the Dungeon Master?! This stupidmander? And why does Mira knows he's... oh. I didn't notice because of the Lizardman's... sudden arrival, but he's wearing that traditional clothing from Wakoku. What was it called... a "kimono"? A white one with red flames and a black sash. He's even wearing wooden sandals.

"Huh? Dungeon Master? And I'm not from Wakoku, I'm from the kingdom of Lotain!" - Lizardman

He's not the Dungeon Master? And he said Lotain..., ain't that the dragon-centered kingdom in north-east Velantas?! The one who, along with Solomar in the south and Avalar in the north-west, can be considered one of the three mightiest kingdoms of the continent!?

"? Then what are you doing here?" - Mira

"Ain't that obvious? I'm the Chief of this foundry! Don't compare me to those cobweb-covered bastards that only sits in the depth of their Dungeon and wait for their monsters to take care of all their little needs!" - Lizardman

Then... he is the Dungeon Master, but he refuses to see himself as one?

"...There's a lot of things I want to comment on, but first: foundry? Not forest?" - Mira

"Don't pick on me for that! The seller told me the Core would give me a foundry if I used it out here in the desert!!" - Lizardman

No, no, no. Why would a Foundry-type Dungeon be made by building it in the desert... "seller"? Someone's selling Dungeon Cores!? 

"Anyway, may I ask you to-" - Mira

"Hah! As if I would do anything for some lousy thieves that try to steal my creations!" shouted the Lizardman while pointing at the bigger scorpion... he's the one who made the weapons? Mira was doing something behind her back, then-

"...In that case, I'll force you to comply." - Mira

With that, Mira rushed to the Lizardman as if she had transformed into light itself and slammed him in the stomach with the blunt edge of her katana.

"Gueh!?" - Lizardman

The Lizardman was sent flying into the wall made of bamboo-plants, which didn't break solely thanks to it being the walls of the Dungeon. That's that-

"That hurt, dammit!" - Lizardman

Huh!? He's still conscious after that!? I tasted that blow myself during the first day when I was transferred to Garami's division, so I know that strike just now does more than just some "hurt"!

Mira herself looked confused for a moment, but she got over it quickly and tried to knock the Lizardman out cold again.

"As if!" shouted the reptilian loudmouth and struck the ground, which ignited into a carpet of flames. Hot... not. Not for me, at least. But both allies and monsters are backing away from the Lizardman... wait, when did we start a ceasefire? 

Mira lept to the air and jumped off the bamboo-wall to escape the flames before she lodged a longsword, taken out of one of her Item Bags, into the gap in the bamboo-wall.

The flames aren't spreading... AAAH!! [Burning Ground]! It's a skill monsters back at Avalar loves to use! A specific area around the user gains the "Burning"-trait, or something like that, so it's not a real fire, but it can still burn you. Except for the user.

*CRASH!*

To fight back against the burning area, Mira made those strange, magic-like swords, or is it sword-shaped magic? Anyway, she threw the newly created swords at the Lizardman, who had to run away to escape from being skewered. And the fire got snuffed out. You have to stay within the area for the field to stay burning.

Then, the Lizardman grabbed one of the katanas that had been dropped to the ground. When he did, red, magma-like lines started to appear on it, before the appearance of the sword changed just a little. He then threw it back at Mira, who met it with a sword of her own-

*KA-BOOOOM!*

Gyaaa!! What now!? An exploding sword!? Then, those lines on the sword changed it to a bomb!? Scary!!

The explosion had blown me away from the battleground between Mira and the Lizardman, but not too far. And Mira... is wounded! She must have been blown off the wall from the explosion, or she jumped down before that, but in any case, her whole right arm has turned bloodied and wounded from the explosion! It's a miracle that she's still holding on to her sword!

Meanwhile, the Lizardman barely suffered any wounds. And he's holding two more swords that are going through the same transformation as the one before! Mi-Mira needs help-!

"...Orimaru." - Mira

A single word escaped Mira's lips, and all of a sudden, a black fog escaped from the katana in her wounded hand and took the shape of a ghostly, armored warrior from Wakoku. The image lasted only for a split second before the fog wrapped itself around Mira's right hand and transformed itself into something similar to the armor that the ghost from before had. 

"This should do," said Mira while doing some practice swings... wait, isn't that her injured arm!? Is the armor letting her ignore the damage? Then, Mira made an even bigger swing... and a black force wave flew towards the Lizardman, who barely escaped from it. Barely, as he was still blown a good ten meters away and crashed into the wall.

...I think I'm starting to lose the grip of what's normal or not. 

"O-ouch... you damn brat-*Stab*-GYAAA!!" - Lizardman

Something stabbed the Lizardman's tail, lodging it to the ground. ...I know that dagger...

"And what's the situation here?" - Garami

Yup. The boss. Riding on some ghostly horse. Glad I decided to stop being surprised by everything...

"Who are... EEEEHH!?" - Lizardman

Guess it was only me.

---

Alf's PoV:

"Wait, you bastard!" - Alf

"You bastard~!" - Revi

We chased after the damn bastard who had knocked Iron cold with a Rock Bullet. And right after he saved us from that pitfall trap that was filled with snakelings! Revenge for Iron!! He's not dead though.

The drill-snake, the supposed Dungeon Master, was so agitated that it had forgotten that it could escape underground. It makes it easier for us, so I'm not going to tell him that. The allied Dungeon Monsters were too slow, so we left them behind.

"After him, after him!" - Alf

I ordered the Shadow Wolf- and Shadow Bat familiars, but they just couldn't catch up to the slithering snake. The fear must have given it wings. It didn't turn it into a dragon, unluckily. 'Cause right now, I feel like even that wouldn't be able to stop me!

"Ghost Blast! Ghost Blast! Ghost Blast!! Alf! I can't aim!" - Revi

Revi complained to me while riding one of the Shadow Wolves, but what am I supposed to do with that? If I could, then I would have done something already! That slippery bag of scales... "slippery"?

"Revi, you still have those water barrels?" - Alf

"Yes, in the [Mirror Space]. Why so?" - Revi

"Take them all out on my signal. I've got a plan." - Alf

While not knowing what was going on in my head, Revi nodded and started to prepare the mirror that's inside the pendant around her neck. That she can use almost the same Storage-skill that Garami has with the sole assistance of a small mirror, that's both impressive and crazy. Not that I have time to think about that. Snake!!

And finally, the opportunity arrived. The snake was... running towards the staircase to the second floor. I was betting on the chance of this place being greater than Lv.1, and I got the jackpot of the year!

"Now!" - Alf

Revi accessed the Mirror Space and threw out several barrels filled with water. In the desert, they're more valuable than gold, but in here, they're worth more as ammo.

I swung my weapon's hammer-part at the barrels while using [Damage Area] to increase the area that the weapon and sent all the barrels flying at the snake, even those that the hammer didn't come in contact with. 

The barrel broke on the snake's stone head and drenched the staircase with its content. Following that, I slammed at the ground using the Quick Quake Art and [Ice Attack]. The result was a frozen staircase that the snake slipped and tumbled down on I jumped down, skating on the ice thanks to the many years of experience that the snake obviously lacked, and closed the gap quite a bit.

However, the contents of the barrels weren't enough to cover the whole staircase, meaning my "bonus-zone" ended too fast. Not caring, I transformed into mist, which makes me faster than in my human form for some reason, and closed in onto the snake, a move I've been refraining from using until now due to how the skill can't be used several times in a row.  

When I got close enough to the snake, and the Mist Form expired, I used the [Heavy Body] skill to increase my weight and the Spear Art, Falldown, a simple move that's basically just a downward swing, barely worthy of being called an Art. Still, it is the move I needed right now, so I'm not going to complain.

The halberd finally reached the snake, cutting into its body thanks to the force of the Art and its increased weight. With the weapon lodged inside, I used [Icicle Wall] to force my second "spear" to emerge from the inside of the snake, making it the final blow for the snake. 

Good work, me. Now, try to find a way to stop this runaway snake corpse, you knuckleheaded vampire!! The second floor is closing-

*CRASH!!*

---

Garami's PoV:

Hmm, hmm, I see...

DUNGEON MESSAGE:

The Dungeon has leveled up. Reached D-Lv.5

The Dungeon's CP-limit has increased by 100.

The Dungeon's FP-limit has increased by 10.

Due to reaching D-Lv.5, 1 Bonus Reward can be obtained.

Acquired 5 DP due to level-up.

Your subordinate has subjugated Dungeon Master: Sharkar.

Acquired 1 DP.

To perform [Separated Formation] on the Dungeon, locate the Dungeon Core.

[Unificate] the conquered Dungeon right away?

Y/N

Oh. Did Alf and co finish the job? Let's unify and get that Pseudo-Peace~.

"Hey, you following the story?" - Mira

"Yeah, yeah. So, Flint, was it?" - Garami

"Yes! Flint Solrah, ma'am!" - Flint

What a fitting name for a swordsmithing lizard.

I looked at the Lizardman, who had invited us to his residence after suddenly going dogeza when he got a look at Carnwennan.

It's a cottage that looks like those you can see in the movies about old Japan. More specifically, it's Flint's house/smithy. A small pond is found right beside the garden, with the Dungeon Core on a pillar in the middle of the pond... he's okay about showing that thing to us?

There's also a great selection of sweets in front of us, with tea brewed by some of the Goblins. Are they this guy's disciples or something? And these sweets, can they be counted as an offering? Is he trying to get the demon in me on his side? He's got my stomach at least. Mira's and Lily's as well.

"To summarize, you got into trouble in your home country, and since your dream since you were an itty bitty lizard was to forge swords and weapons that can compete with those that are mentioned in legends, you decided to start your career in the outside world, but no smith had the capability to teach you the arts of smiting to that levels, so you went out in the desert for some self-studying with a Dungeon Core you managed to buy. Is that all?" - Garami

"Y-yes... wow, you shrunk my dramatic tales quite splendidly..." - Flint

"And then? Your reason for dragging us to this place. Also, the meaning of this place?" I asked, spreading my arms to include the obviously Japanese-looking cottage, sweets, and the graveyard of katanas.

"? Because my teacher was from Wakoku." - Flint

Yeah, as if such a coincidence-

"So, you were studying in Wakaroku then." - Mira

"The port town in the east of the desert?" - Lily

"Yeah, that one. There's a safe sea route from there to Wakoku after all." - Mira

...Okaaay, not a coincidence then.

"And for the first one... please allow me to study that dagger of yours! And if you know its creator, please let me meet them!" - Flint

It's such a big that you need to go down on all four to ask about it? If he's got no ill will to us, then...

"Alright." - Garami

"Really!?" - Flint

"B-boss!?" - Lily

"On some conditions. The first one: hand over the Dungeon." - Garami

"Suddenly a big demand!!" - Lily

"Garami, you need to explain properly, or else-" - Mira

"Alright!" - Flint

"It's fine!?" - Mira & Lily

"...*Cough*, then, for the second condition: work as a smith for our group. We'll provide the materials, so no worries." - Garami

"By all means! No, please let me do it!!" - Flint

...Girls, don't back away from our future smith. Especially you, Mira. 

"...And the third and final condition: what are your Dungeon's stats and your current CP?" - Garami

"Excuse me?" - Flint

"What are you planning now?" - Mira

"If he's gonna give over the Dungeon anyway, why not have him produce monsters or items that we can't make?" - Garami

I'm planning on taking over the place through a Sub Master, so there's nothing wrong with maximizing the gains.

"Automatas! Those were awesome!" - Lily

"Ah, sorry. I was making them on my own, not through the Dungeon. I lack the resources to make anymore now as well." - Flint

I had the Dungeon Monsters go and scavenge the remains of the destroyed Automatas. Please let there be someone still working!

"In any case, how about you take a look for yourself," said Flint while showing us his Dungeon Menu. Now we're talking~.

Dungeon Menu:
Dungeon Name: none 
Dungeon Level: 1
Creation Points: 100/100
Dungeon Points: 0
Dungeon Status:
  • Strength: F
  • Mystic: G
  • Movement: G
  • Knowledge: D
  • Facility: F
  • Subordinates: F
  • Treasures: E
Creation:
  • Dungeon Customization
  • Subordinate Creation
  • Treasure Creation

"...Why Knowledge? If you're supposed to be a smith, shouldn't you focus on Treasure?" - Mira

I'm thinking the same thing. He could get the materials for his workshop, plus some "samples" of the more impressive weapons.

"Well, the problem before was that I had no clue in how to make the weapons of my dreams, so I thought putting the DP into Knowledge would be a good start." - Flint

...That's also a way to look at it. And since it means we'll be getting a smith/professor (limited) character for the price of one, then I've got nothing against that.

We had him open the various Creation-tabs. Dungeon Customization... ain't so important. I can alter the place on my own, as long as I don't change the Bamboo Forest-floor option. Treasure Creation is... all that I already can make. Eh, there's no difference between the Dungeons? And for Subordinate Creation...

For G-ranks: [Slime], 1 CP. [Jade Demon], 1 CP. [Greentree Rat], 3CP. [Greentree Lizard], 3 CP.

And the F-ranks: [Wolf], 7 CP. [Dungeon Goblin], 5 CP. [Magic Owl], 10 CP...

"Kinda normal." - Mira

Looks like he only has access to the Generic Monster-line, which is affected by the Bamboo Forest Dungeon type. Poor guy.

"Then, prepare some Goblins for the first batch, then we'll see afterward." - Garami

"Huh? We're not taking the Dungeon?" - Lily

"I've planned for the next 24 hours to re-structure the two Dungeons we conquered, so we can obtain the ownership of this one when 20 hours have passed, meaning that Flint will regain even more CP during that time. I want him to write down as much of the info from Knowledge D as possible as well." - Garami

"I see. There's no telling when we get this kind of chance again." - Mira

"I am happy to oblige, but answer me this: the two Dungeons you guys conquered?" - Flint

"Yup. A divide-and-conquer strategy." - Garami

"Boss, I think you're somewhat wrong there!" - Lily

"...And may I ask, what is your Dungeon's Level?" - Flint

"It turned to five just now." - Garami

"...So glad I got this chance..." - Flint

More CP means more materials to work with after all~. I expect some mass-produced Excaliburs by the end of the year~.

Ah, gotta distribute the DP. I have 8 of them, and I can ignore Knowledge for now. So, I can boost either Subordinates or Treasure to D~. The rest of the points goes to either Strength, Mystic, or Mobility. Or I can improve one of those three all the way to D. Hmm, gotta ask Flint if he knows if there really are bonus-abilities for stats that reaches rank D.

DUNGEON MESSAGE:

Select your Bonus Reward:

  • Additional Sub-Attribute:
    • Sand
    • Earth
    • Heretic
  • Additional Dungeon-type:
    • Mine 
    • Catacomb
    • Underground Lake
  • Additional Monster-line:
    • Generic
    • Mucus
    • Snake
  • Increase of CP upper limit: 100
  • Increase of FP: 100

Huh? What's this?

Kigal-Note/Scout Classes: Pathfinder

Class:
Pathfinder
Type: Scout Class
Rank: Intermediate
Unlock Requirements:
  • Having cleared the Legacy Quest: [Path to Light]
Effects:
  • Alters the growth of following stats:
    • SP growth increase [Small]
  • Unlocks skills related to discovery and safe travels.
Skills obtained by advancing in the Hunter Class:
Obtained from Main Class only: [Lesser Light Element Lv.1] Obtained at Lv.1: [Discovery Lv.1]
Obtained at Lv.1: [Presence Perception Lv.1] Obtained at Lv.10: [Danger Sense Lv.1]
Obtained at Lv.20: [Memory Lv.1] Obtained at Lv.30: [Knowledge of Nature Lv.1]
Obtained at Lv.40: [Hawk Eyes Lv.1] Obtained at Lv.50: [Five-Sense Reinforcement Lv.1]

Description:

The Pathfinder class is a type of Scout-line class that makes a living through finding safe paths that people can travel on. 

Unlike other classes of the Scout-line, Pathfinders are working to prevent people from falling in danger and/or traps, as opposed to classic Scout-line classes such as the Hunter class. They are highly valued by traveling merchants, and sometimes, people that tame monsters will train their partners so that they can take this class due to the merits it comes with.

Revi's comment: Iron... I will never forget you...

What stats would you improve? And what Bonus Reward? You can select three choices.
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