[Arc 3] Chapter 26: The Genie’s Treasure
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"Just die already!!" - Mira

And with that, a poor group of Automatas got slain by the vicious Dark Knight...

It's the second day and our Party had been changed a little. Alf was taken off-duty and Mira had replaced him to help us find any treasures. 

Luckily for us, we were still allowed to use the staircase we had unlocked yesterday even if our party had been altered a little. And down here, Mira can really do her stuff. The mechanical parts on the floor work excellent as conductors for electricity, so all her Lightning moves are deep-frying the poor monsters. She doesn't even need her sword!

The downside is that we're also in the range of the lightning-blast, but Iron tanked them all thanks to the [Lightning Rod] and [Lightning Resistance] skills he bought just for this occasion. 

"Phew. It's been a while since I could just zap some bad-guys." - Mira

"Didn't you zap things while I was away?" - Garami

"Those bastards always used sand or some other way to block the discharge! Argh, it's always so irritating!" - Mira

I-I see... Lighting is a strong attribute, but there are many ways to block it if you know about it due to the skills being so predictable.

"That's why I am planning on taking a third attribute soon!" - Mira

"Really? What kind?" - Garami

"......That's what I'm still thinking about." - Mira

Hope she finds something good... though, I can't imagine Mira outta all persons failing to master any kind of strategy out there.

We moved further into the steam-punk factory while making a literal killing of EXP and scrap-metal. Iron's already earned enough to compensate for the skills he needed to buy...

As for me, the constant killing of Slimes with my Evil Eyes gave me some decent points in proficiency. I've also collected enough EXP to level-up once and gained the title [Slime Slayer]. Not sure if it's strong or weak... but Mira also leveled up. Twice. The gap between our levels just keeps on growing...

"Alright, to the left... stop!" - Garami

I was the one responsible for the mapping and guiding us on the right way, but I halted our progress as [Nightwatch] told me of some danger just in front of us.

"Ugh, yeah, that one looks nasty," said Mira, the other one of us with trap-sensing abilities. 

"How nasty?" - Iron

"See those pipes over there? They're going to boil us alive if we had walked onto the pressure panel right in front of us." - Mira

"Quite nasty." - Iron

Hmm, guess our only choice is to disarm it. Sprinting past that the traps ain't possible. There are more traps spread out on the corridor after the steam-one. Running will only trigger more and more busters. The problem here's that we can't disarm the steam-trap on this side... wonder if I can add [Fire Resistance] to my threads?

---

Revi's PoV:

"...They are not calling." - Revi

"That's a good thing. It means they're making smooth progress." - Alf

"What if they are in so much trouble that they cannot call us!?" - Revi

"Try to listen to yourself and determine if what you just said is logical or not." - Alf

Ugh, he's right...

No messages are coming from the exploration team, so the ones left outside, meaning me and Alf, had more time in our hands. So, we enjoyed the stalls around the small town around the Dungeon. 

Let me make this clear: we're not simply fooling around. We are looking for potential clues if Garami and the others require something on the inside.

The locals around the Dungeon told us yesterday that the various mechanics that affect the Dungeon outside here is only placed outside after the Dungeon's inner chambers were unlocked. Meaning, we need to look for something that looks out of place, or is newer than the other stuff in that area, or something that the locals have no memories of seeing before. Apparently, the switches and puzzles are replaced with each event.

Despite that... Alf is only using the shadow doggies to look for clues!! I understand that it is a useful tactic, but try to put more interest in doing your work! If I hadn't dragged him out of the inn, he would have stayed there all day! The doggies can't ask the locals whenever something is new there or not!

Also...

*Smack*

...Just let me pet you already...

"Strange that Polaris hates you so much." - Alf

"*Sniff*, but I'm just a cute little Dragonoid..." - Revi

What is with this injustice!? No fair! Let me pet that cute little bear as well! *Sniff*...

"...Yeah... except when you fight." - Alf

"Hmm? Fight?" - Revi

"Didn't you utterly trash a group of invading scorpion-monsters while Garami was away?" - Alf

"Huh? ...Oh, that time..." - Revi

"Alright, I know a problem brewing when I hear it, so spit out! What's the gimmick here?" - Alf

"D-don't shout all of a sudden! It's just... ever since... Tir na Nog, I have never remembered... well, 'battling'." - Revi

"...What's that supposed to mean?" - Alf

"I don't know. Whenever I was forced to the wall by the undead in the fallen city, I kind of... blackened out, I think? When I noticed, I saw the remains of the undead spread around me." - Revi

"......What the heck's that? Scary." - Alf

"I KNOW!" - Revi

"...Sorry. Wait, then what about when you tried to defeat one of those Dust Devils the day before Garami returned? I heard you got beaten up to a pulp." - Alf

"Don't remind me about that, please? And I don't know. That... 'fading out'-feeling never occurred." - Revi

"...Did something happen during the scorpion-attack and the Dust Devils?" - Alf

"Nothing. Except that I slept heavily for the next few days after that. Not so much now, when I think about it..." - Revi

"...Not to change the subject, but what are your feelings over Mira going into the Dungeon with Garami?" - Alf

"Ugh... I hate that I cannot join them, but there is nothing I could do. I am weak in a fight, and fire naturally reduces the effect of the Death attribute..." - Revi

"That's right... Death is essentially a loss of energy, so a place filled with it..." - Alf

Why can't I have some talents that could be of use for everyone? I will never get Garami to praise me at this rate...

"Now, now. Don't forget that the battlefield isn't the only way to earn prestige. Logistics are just as essential for adventurers... no, for everything. And you are making potions and medicines that can save our lives. There is no reason to feel that you aren't contributing." - Alf

"Yes... I get that..." - Revi

I get it, but it's not enough-!

*Beep*

["Ehm, excuse me, could we ask for some help out there?"] - Mira

"Something's up?" - Alf

["Just some traps... we need to have you two find ten different switches at some mausoleum, a handful of levers disguised as cactuses, some special coins that are needed to activate a few special trap-disarming machines, and-"] - Mira

...I know I wanted to show my worth, but give me a reasonable amount, please!!

---

Garami's PoV:

*Clank*, *clonk*, *crack*, *bang*, *bong*, *crash*...

"Th-this is quite the amount..." - Mira

"A trap bargain sale." - Iron

The two aren't wrong. Several dozens of traps are getting steadily disarmed as we speak, both due to the two outside messing with the mechanisms located in the town, and the group of Skeleton Thieves I created to throw our dirty work to.

"...Did that Djinn try to kill us with this 'reward'?" - Garami

"Seems like it. That's just low..." - Mira

"It was angry at the boss." - Iron

"Garami, is this your fault?" - Mira 

"Blame the Djinn, not me. And Iron, stop giving weird ideas to everyone." - Garami

After I stopped the two's stupid conversation, we walked past the trap-gauntlet of a corridor... only to be greeted with a boss-room. A small one. Practically a mini-boss.

"If that guy's not guarding the treasure, then I'm going to take this place apart." - Mira

From the looks of it, I would say it's a Flare Djinn. A huge, red-skinned guy with black horns that looks a little scorched. Looks like a warrior-type. He's buffer than the riddle-guy from yesterday and is dressed like some old-fashioned gladiator. He's even got three Warrior-line classes, one of them being an Advance-tier even, and he's armed with one nasty war ax. To add some extra stuffiness, he's got lots of nasty skills that give him an advantage in close-range, plus defensive skills to guard his sorry self against long-range attacks.

"Ugh, this is definitely a 'guardian', all right." - Mira

Not to mention that all his stats are further enhanced by 300 points, except LUC and INT.

"What shall we do? Turn back?" - Garami

"And leave the treasure? Never!!" - Mira

Fine, fine. Just wanted to confirm. 

Iron wasn't against the idea either, so after a small strategy meeting, we attacked the Djinn. First up, a shower of phantasmal swords, destructive bombs, and a group of Zahhaks for good measure.

The Djinn was showered with attacks, but he still withstood them all. Though, thanks to the Chaotic Zahhak, the Djinn's stats had been reduced by a little over a hundred. Still stronger than normal. but a much easier kill than before.

Iron went out after the dust had settled first, taking a position in front of the Djinn. The Djinn attacked Iron with his ax, but Iron blocked the attack with his shield. A large noise of clashing metals sounded through the boss-room and Iron... was pushed back by the attack!? No, normally that would have turned you into half the person you were before. Good job, Iron.

Iron didn't let it show on his face (not that he can), but the air around him told us clearly that he was pissed off for having his guard broken. The Djinn swung his ax again, this time with red-scorching flames enveloping it but Iron had been one move faster and had positioned himself to take the attack with his shield again. And this time, he used [Magma Touch], as if wanting to show the Djinn who had the hottest weapon.

Another noisy clash rattled our eardrums, but this time, it was the Djinn who was pushed backward. That Iron, he can't resist making a counter after being beaten once. Must have been the skill at work.

We're not only letting Iron do the hard work. With the Djinn's attention locked onto our knight in ghostly armor, Mira had prepared a dozen of phantasmal swords, all copied from a sword with explosive characteristics, handmade by Flint himself.

With a burst of electricity, a move possible thanks to [Discharge] and the Shock Strike spell from [Lightning Magic], the many phantasmal bomb-swords were sent flying at the Djinn, some of them were plunged into his body. Soon after, the second explosion of the day rung through the boss-room. 

...Yup. It happened. Someone must have thought "that did it!", right? Because the Djinn's still kicking.

He had sacrificed his left arm to the bomb-swords, and stood now one-armed in front of us, but still alive.

This ain't good. One of that Djinn's skills, [Retaliating Soul], improves his offensive abilities the more damaged he is. It's essentially a lower-ranked [Burning Warlust]. And true to the explanation, the Djinn's STR flew to the roof when the demonic spirit released a huge roar. 

Despite the opponent now having lost a hand, Iron didn't try to challenge the Djinn into another face-off and used [Cover Move], a skill that's normally used to allow the tank to quickly cover for their allies, to escape the worst attacks, relying on Mira's speed to help him. However, that skill got a nasty cooldown period. And during the first half, the damage that Iron takes is increased...

Mira kept on her attack, wielding that cursed katana of hers, her right arm dressed in ghostly samurai armor and the sword coated with light and lightning, the latter being thanks to her skills, [Lightforce Edge] and [Lightning Edge].

As they ran around the Djinn, slowly withering the boss' HP, the Djinn's patience finally hit its limits, and it used the [Scorched Ground] skill, the evolved variant of Flint's [Burning Ground] skill, and half the floor started to burn with damn-hot flares. Not caring about the MP-costs anymore?

Mira and Iron kept on attacking the Djinn despite having to evade the burning ground as well, but... yeah, none of their attributes are a good match against fire. Light and Lightning are energy-based attributes, the same as Fire, so there was little damage. Iron's [Iron Chain]s are good for slowing down the Djinn, but it has enough power to crush the chains once it sets its mind to it.

Hmm? What am I doing then? Obviously, a sneak attack. 

As the Djinn was completely preoccupied with the two knights in the front, I had used the cover of the explosions and the big moves to sneak around the Djinn and is patiently waiting for a chance to... there!

I dashed outta my hiding place behind the pipes by the wall and struck the Djinn in the back with Carnwennan, all while using the Backstab [Assassination Art]. which gives extra damage if used as a sneak attack from the back. I also used various close-range damaging skills, like [Aura of Darkness], [Death Touch], [Dark Drain], and [Addition Attack], to further improve the damage. Not to forget about Mana Burst and the Ailment-attack skills~.

The Djinn's body shook from the surprise attack and the heavy damage plus status ailments from the skills, but we're not finished yet, buddy. Using the Carnwennan as a catalyst, I invoked Zahhak again, whose cooldown period had ended while I was waiting for the Djinn to show a weak moment, and the dragon of Darkness was released straight into the Djinn's body, forcing itself out from the other side. Though, as it's just a cluster of "dark energy" or whatever it is, the Djinn's body wasn't damaged, but even so...

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Your level has increased. You have reached Lv.21.

You have earned a total of 0.8 Skill Points

Due to "Champion of Alvatria", an additional 0.8 Skill Points earned.

The skill, [Aura of Darkness], has reached its highest skill level.

You have earned 0.8 Skill Points

Due to "Champion of Alvatria", an additional 0.8 Skill Points earned.

And that's all she wrote, folks.

Damn, the Aura finally reached Lv.50. It's been a long while since I got this skill, so I'm especially touched at seeing it reach this stage. But still, no evolutions? Cooome ooooon~.

Well, I got two levels from that guy, so I'm in no position to mope.

Having gotten over the first disappointment, I went over to Iron and Mira and helped them in healing the burns from the battle with the Djinn-

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Conditions cleared.

Title: [Rescuer] has advanced into title: [Savior].

Through the new title, acquired skill: [Miracle Magic Lv.1], and skill: [Healing Reinforcement Lv.1].

Skill, [Healing Magic Lv.Max], has been integrated into skill, [Miracle Magic Lv.1]

What!? Seriously!? At this timing!? Damn, this treasure hunt is damn profitable! And we haven't even found the treasure yet!

After helping the two up on their feet, we went to open the door whose padlock had fallen off along with the death of its guardian. Please don't be another trap......

"BINGO!!" - Mira

That's an understatement! The room behind the door's a massive treasure chamber! It's filled with Sols, plus various items that Flint would love to study! Large swords, spears, even the ax that the Flare Djinn was using, but in the size so a regular human could use it, as opposed to that 2 meter-high thing back there. There are also various ingots, but I'm not sure if we could make use of them. Don't you need several ingots to make weapons? I'll still give them to Flint. Maybe he could use them somehow.

And, as the icing on the cake:

Name: Rings of the Djinn
Item Type: Key Item (Accessory/Evolution) Rarity: Ex Quality: A+ Uses: 1/1
Requirements:
  • Spirit-type creatures only.
  • MP of 500 or more.
  • Negative Karma Value of 100 or more.
Effects:
  • Improves natural MP-recovery for the user. [Small]
  • Allows evolution to demonic spirit-species.
Description:

A set of bangles shaped like rings. They can only be equipped by vile spirits, and it unlocks a mutation in them if the rings are worn for long enough, granting them the option of evolving into Djinn-type species. 

...Suspicious.

"You want this?" I asked Mira while showing her the Identification-results of the two golden-colored rings. 

"Why not? It only says that it unlocks an evolution, not that I am forced into it." - Mira

So she says while proceeding to attach the rings on her arms. If you say so...

SYSTEM MESSAGE:

Consumed 3 Skill Points. Obtained skill: [Lightforce Javelin].

"Hey, you've got this long of a chance, but still you've not scrammed?" - Garami

As I shouted that to the sneaky fellows who had yet to leave the boss-room, I created a spear of light with the new skill and threw it with [Shooting]. The spear flew to a point and when it collided with the wall, a huge explosion, similar to when Mira uses the shield-variant of the skill to perform a shield-bash, occurred on that point. Hmm, it's was worth the points. Glad I finally decided to buy it.

As I was happy with my purchase, I saw someone dressed in all-black emerge from behind the pipes of the wall, terrified for their lives as they looked at the now burned spot where the javelin had struck. Hmm, even with a newly-bought skill, if the enhancement skills are high-leveled, you'll get this level of damage, huh...

"Who're those guys!?" shouted Mira, as she saw several other black-clothed people emerge from the shadows of the pipes that decorated the room.

No wonder, as she's the one with the best search-skills after me in our Guild. Well, I was half in doubt whether there was anyone else in the room myself This was practically a gamble to see if the feeling I had when healing those two was true or not.

Still, these guys are ninjas, right? They're dressed in ninja-outfits... though, it seems to be a little more modernized than those you see in cartoons on Earth. Or, would it be better to say that someone took adventurer-gear and fashioned it to serve the same purposes as those ninja-garbs? 

Including the guy I flushed out, there's eight, no, nine of them? Are they the three Parties that joined forces and regrouped in the Dungeon? 

One man walked in front of the ninja that had almost been blasted by the javelin just now and removed the veil around his face... a geezer?

"Excuse us for our rude behavior. We do not wish to offend you." - Geezer ninja

"Yeah, let's say I'm believing that story, you stalkers, then what are you guys up to then?" - Garami

I talked with the most accusing voice I could muster as I stared down the geezer while using all intimidation skills running. Despite that, the geezer didn't even flinch, as opposed to his underlings who were trying to stop their legs from shaking. 

...Guess they're just "normally strong" and not "monstrous strong" then. What a letdown. The first ninjas I ever meet are these? Damn it all... 

"Our deepest apologies, but we did not want to steal the fruits of your splendid fight. It's just that we wanted to bargain with you three if you had to stumble across our goal in this Dungeon." - Geezer

If I gotta translate that, it seems these guys are after something, tailed us because we were in a position of a map, or they simply thought that the traps were guarding the thing they're after, saw our fight with the Djinn, including me and Mira throwing Extra Skills like they were on a bargain, and got cold feet. 

"And what's so important to find in this damn-hot place?" I asked while not hiding my irritation at all.

"...It is a certain species of flowers named Firebells. They only grow in certain environments and used to prosper on the continent we live on. However, due to the damage from the Disaster of Ice that struck our continent, those flowers are now extinct." - Geezer

"......And what? Got someone sick back home and they need the plant to get better?" - Garami

"Why, yes... how did you know?" - Geezer

"Lucky guess." - Garami

Damn this forge, is it a forge or a greenhouse!? Well, the weed we're after's called "Smeltwork Moss", so there's no reason to clash then-

"What a tragedy! And if I am not wrong, those flowers lose their potency if they are away from this continent for too long, right?" - Mira

...I'm smelling trouble.

"...That is right. So our only hope is to harvest as many flowers as possible and pray that we can compensate the lost quality with quantity." - Geezer

"A logical conclusion. However, what if you could ask someone with the ability to keep the flowers fresh until you reach your home country?" - Mira

"Hmph. Obviously, we have thought about that, but we would need to freeze the flowers' time for that to work..." - Geezer

The geezer-ninja stopped his explanation as he saw me demonstrate my [Spatial Storage] skill. Perfect for his request.

"Now, my dear customers from the far-off land of Wakoku, should we continue this discussion at the inn?" asked Mira with a perfect business smile.

Kigal-Note/Demons/Djinn: Flare Djinn

Name: Flare Djinn
Rank: D+
Type: Sprites (Demonic)
Lifespan: 500~700 Years
Attribute: Fire
Traits: Djinn (Fire), Spiritual Spirit

Description:

Flare Djinns are Fire attributed spirits that have gained demonic energies and mutated into this creature. They are large and vicious, and will gladly try to challenge those that stand before them, be it in a clash of either wits or brawns. 

Flare Djinns are rare creatures to find, but they are often found in Dungeons that have a heavy Fire-theme. There, they are used as guards, lieutenants, or even Dungeon Sub Bosses. A common weakness they have, like with other spiritual spirits that lack a physical body, is that they are bound to a vessel. Destroy the vessel, and the Djinn will become incapable of doing anything. Though, the Djinns that are appointed to Bosses are often using the Boss Room as their vessel, so be prepared if you ever face one in a Dungeon.

Appearance:

The Flare Djinns have the appearance of humanoids with fiery red skin, black horns, and have a size twice that of a normal human. They are often connected to a vessel of some sort, but those without a vessel retain their legs instead of coming out of the mentioned vessel.

Abilities:

Average HP: D- Average MP: D+ Average SP: D-
Average STR: D Average VIT: D- Average MAG: D-
Average RES: D- Average SPD: E+ Average DEX: E+
Average INT: C+ Rarity: B- Danger Rank: D+

Flare Djinns are extremely strong in both physical battles and with magic. As spirits, they have a large amount of mana from birth and they use it to spam skills or magic spells whenever they have the chance. The drawback of this is that their MP-consuming skills easily grow in levels, so the Djinns often end up with skills that are so costly that they need to preserve their MP for the right timing.

In addition to this, they are extremely durable and can survive even if their bodies are blown to pieces. This comes from their link to the Fire attribute, as fire cannot be crushed by physical force. Using the Water attribute is the best solution when facing a Flare Djinn, but Wind and Ice, among others, are equally useful. 

Garami's comment: Energy-based attributes are out though.

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