57. Vermins
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The second floor was at least twice as big as the first and the color of the lighting had also changed from a warm hue to a colder one. When Rakna stepped down the last stair with Pronos around his neck, the path behind him was closed off instantly by a descending stone wall.

 

He glanced over his shoulder and hummed. He scrutinized the second floor with Fabled Sight, down to the very last detail, and everything was the same as above except for the size. He stood in place for at least a minute and nothing happened, no walls breaking down or spiders crawling in.

 

He then started to walk down the corridor with Sonata at the ready and his senses reinforced with mana to the bare minimum. When he reached the halfway point, he heard a distinct clicking sound. It was followed by a grinding noise.

 

Several squarish breaches appeared on the walls and shot out long metal spikes. Rakna casually stepped aside from one, caught one in midair, and deflected two others with it and Sonata.

 

He had made it look so considerably easy that it could have taken the attention away from the fact that the spikes had been fast and strong enough to pierce the walls of the Dungeon for at least half a meter.

 

“So, traps are a thing too, huh?” Rakna muttered and dropped the spike in his hand. He quietly took another step forward and immediately crouched when a spike whizzed above him. “Hold tight, little guy,” he said and Pronos nodded.

 

While he was still in that position, he gathered his strength in his lower body and started running at full speed. Several spikes sprung up from all sides but he weaved in between them as if he knew where they were coming from.

 

He only needed to listen to the sounds coming from the mechanisms inside the walls and the subsequent opening of the wall. But he had to admit, he couldn’t tell how the traps were triggered.

 

He wasn’t stepping on any sort of pressure plates or anything of the sort. ‘Perhaps a more sophisticated kind of weight sensor? Or magic?’ He thought nonchalantly as he jumped over ten arrows meant to hit his legs.

 

And as he was in the air, the ground below him opened up to reveal a pit. There weren’t spikes at the bottom, mind you. No, it wasn’t anything as nice as that. It was a bubbling green liquid that would probably painfully dissolve his entire body in a matter of seconds.

 

Rakna watched it with a curious eye before opening his mouth, “Artzpul.” He then moved as if he was stepping on thin air and directly zoomed to the other side of the pit.

 

❮◈❯ Artzpul has leveled up! ❮◈❯

 

He nodded pleasantly at that notification. This skill had a lot more potential than just being a way to take off or land if used correctly. This just continued to prove it.

 

“Now,” he squinted his eyes at the dead-end that was a mere five meters away from him. He mused and pulled out a small silver disc. He pressed on the button and calmly threw it before unfurling his wings and covering himself with them.

 

The disc exploded on impact and Rakna made sure to not be blown away by the shockwave as he heard various dying screeches, followed by a System prompt informing him of his kills. When it was over, he unwrapped his wings and took a look at his handiwork.

 

The walls to the sides were broken and amidst the debris, several cockroaches-like monsters lied dead on the ground. Rakna noted that the wall he suspected to be blocking the path to the next staircase was undamaged; not even a scratch.

 

‘As expected,’ Rakna thought then looked at the holes in the walls. He could see more of those large insects coming out. The explosion had only killed the closest ones. He sighed and deployed his wings.

 

The feathers making up the upper layers began to vibrate before suddenly detaching themselves as if they could break the laws of physics. A dozen of them were shot at the cockroaches every second; leaving them no chance to escape.

 

After twenty seconds, Rakna stopped and retracted his wings. The walls and ground and in front of him had been littered with black and silver feathers and the insects were all dead. The exit then slid open to reveal the staircase to the next floor and the same System message as before appeared before him.

 

He picked no again and went down the stairs, repeating the same process with the loot that had been dropped around him. The third floor followed the same pattern. Once again, it was bigger; twice the size of the second floor. At this point, it was as wide as a highway back on Earth.

 

“I was wondering,” Rakna muttered as the wall closed behind him again. The walls also proceeded to collapse like they had on the first floor but that didn’t stop him from voicing his thoughts. “How many floors does this Dungeon have? Is it infinite?” He asked both to himself and obviously Alexa as he slammed a spider coming at him with the shaft of Sonata.

 

[It is not. However, there exist Dungeons that have never been completely conquered, making it impossible to know how many floors there are. The most popular one would be the Grail Road on the 500th Plateau. To this day, 126 floors have been explored and even the highest-ranked Hosts haven’t managed to get farther.]

 

“I see,” Rakna blankly said and back-fisted one cockroach while dodging an arrow shot from a trap while Pronos breathed out a purple poison fog that killed the monsters in seconds.

 

All in all, this floor was a sort of combination of the two others. The two of them went through it like a breeze and soon enough, all the traps had been both engaged and evaded while the monsters were all dead.

 

 ❮ ◈ ❯

You have completed a Quest! Return to Gaelius Klein to receive your rewards.

---

You have completed the Third Floor. Would you like to exit?

Yes/No

❮ ◈ ❯

 

“Hmm, how many floors does this one have?”

 

[Seed Grotto has been recorded to have seven, excluding the boss floor.]

 

“I see. I might as well go and see for myself then,” he said and refused the system prompt before continuing. While walking down the stairs, his HL abruptly ringed and a holographic screen with the caller was projected by the contacts. “Answer,” he said and the call was picked up by Alexa.

 

Three names promptly slid into his vision’s periphery. “Hey, folks, I found something,” Allan’s voice sounded. He had initiated a group call with the four of them through their HLs.

 

“What is it? A Dungeon?” Nyx’s voice followed up as her name flickered on the projection.

 

“Not really. It looks like… some sort of ruins. My AI keeps telling me there might be something good in there but there’s a sort of invisible barrier around it and it says I can’t enter without being in a party of at least three people. Do you want to check it out?”

 

“Hm, where is it?” Flavia asked.

 

“It’s straight to the East from where we took the Trial. If you go for about two miles, you should be able to find it.”

 

“I don’t mind going there,” Nyx said.

 

“Neither do I,” Flavia conformed. “What about you, Rakna?”

 

“If three is the minimum, go there without me. I’m currently inside a Dungeon and I’m not sure how long I’ll stay here for.”

 

“A Dungeon, huh?” Allan muttered. “How is it? Hard?”

 

“I can’t draw any conclusions as long as I don’t go deeper. Let’s share what we found after meeting up. If you guys need more time, tell me. I’ll do the same.”

 

“All right then. Teach, Nyx, I’ll wait here until you arrive.”

 

“Understood. Give me five minutes and I’ll be there,” Nyx said before hanging the call.

 

“It’ll take a bit longer for me but I’ll be there soon as well,” Flavia stated and also left.

 

“See you later, Rak.”

 

Rakna responded with a hum as he reached the fourth floor. “Good luck to you,” he said and the group call was ended. His HL was turned off and he shifted his attention to the large creatures crawling on the ceiling and the walls with their hundreds of legs.

 

“Centipedes… Is this place just full of vermin like these?” Rakna uttered with some faint traces of repugnance in his tone. On the other hand, Pronos seemed to be completely revolted.

 

Then, instead of attacking, the long insects burrowed themselves into the walls by going through cracks in the ceiling. Their presence gradually lessened until even Rakna had to focus to just sense the general area they were in. A few seconds later, he sighed and drove Sonata inside the wall next to him without even looking.

 

A dying screech resounded through the stone and a greenish liquid, hemolymph, spilled out when he pulled his weapon out.

 

“This is starting to get bothersome,” he uttered and looked at Pronos. “Little guy,” he said and simply pointed at the gaps that the centipedes had used.

 

Pronos immediately understood what he meant and quickly slithered up the wall. He headed for one of the cracks and a puff of purple smoke escaped his mouth as he gathered his mana. It only took him a few seconds before he released a significant volume of poison fog inside the hollow space behind the corridor’s walls.

 

A minute later, the System notification appeared and the next staircase opened up. Then, Rakna silently continued the exploration.

 

The next three floors went pretty much the same way. The fifth floor was full of giant flying insects that were quickly dispatched after a use of the Cold Star Mist and Pronos’ poison. The sixth floor had traps once again coupled with dozens of large ants.

 

But that still wasn’t enough to stop Rakna who quickly proceeded to the seventh floor where every monster and trap was recycled to make one massive inclusive floor. This one took quite a lot of time compared to the rest, considering he wasn’t willing to use too much power on them.

 

At the end of the day, he was overqualified for the normal difficulty of this Dungeon, and the fact that he had reached level 16 thanks to the Dreorins only meant that he wasn’t even receiving any experience from it.

 

After forty minutes of trouble-free Dungeon exploration, he finally walked down the last staircase where the wide corridors he had gotten used to turned into a spacious dimly-lit circular room.

 

“Well, well, aren’t you menacing?” Rakna spoke sardonically with his usual emotionless tone.

 

In the center of the room stood the boss of this Dungeon; a dark green praying mantis easily four meters tall with sharp-looking scythes and entirely black eyes with red dots in the center.

 

“Let’s see if you’re worth the time wasted.”

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