Chapter 47 – Two Hero’s Party (4)
There was no business in this world that always worked out as planned. Artpe’s party was so off course from his original plan that the only thing right was the fact that they were traveling in a straight line. The travel was filled with sighs, complaints and shouting.
Still, nothing significant happened during their one week march.
He had bought the highest quality bedrolls from Mycenae for each of the party members, but all three of them had to squeeze into one. It was a very tight fit, but it was also very warm and cozy. Maetel was in charge of harvesting herbs, while he started the fire. Sienna was in charge of cooking. This was how the daily chores were divvied up. It was a fantastic yet simple setup.
They didn’t possess many clothes, so washing them was quite simple using Artpe’s magic. There probably were few in this world that could travel as easily and comfortably as them.
They had traversed an incredible amount of distance in one week, so they had arrived at the first Dungeon one week ahead of schedule. The problem started when they entered the Dungeon.
It was a Dungeon where beast-type monster Gnolls appeared. They were humanoid monsters with a dog-like head. It was supposed to be a Dungeon with five floors with a variety of Gnolls ranging from level 30 to level 50.
Sienna was level 28, and she was of a race that could use powers that exceeded her level. This was why Artpe and Maetel merely had to make sure she didn’t die. Aside from that fact, Sienna had free reigns to combat the Gnolls.
The Gnolls had similar build to a human, and they were quite clever. It allowed Sienna to gain a variety of battle experiences. Her level rose steadily as they traversed through the five floors, and the occasional high level monsters made it easy to increase Sienna’s level.
Artpe had assumed it would be this way, and everything went as planned. A week passed after they entered the Dungeon, and Sienna bravely reached the 5th floor as she increased her level to 47.
“Huh, Artpe? Didn’t you say this Dungeon has five floors?”
The problem started from that moment.
‘In my past life….’
If it was Artpe’s words, Maetel trusted him implicitly even if there was no evidence to back up his words. Maetel tilted her head in puzzlement as she asked the question.
“So why is there a staircase leading further downwards?”
“That is a really good question.”
Artpe glared at the secret staircase that had appeared as if it had every right to be there. He spoke with a fed up voice.
“I’m not sure either…..”
This was one of the Dungeon cleared by the past hero! He was sure it ended on the 5th floor. The items dropped here had been poor, but the weak hero had been able to develop her basic martial skills here. Artpe had found out this information when he researched the records.
Even if the Silpennon of that time had poor skills as a thief, Artpe never expected him to miss such an obvious secret staircase!
No, maybe the god was giving them something extra since there was an additional hero present?
He had researched about the human world and the hero, but he hadn’t been able to visit all the sites himself. This was why he waved the white flag. He had no way of determining which theory was correct.
Still, how could he retreat when a Dungeon’s secret had been revealed? Traditionally, heroes entered into suspicious places first before asking any questions. They opened suspicious boxes first to see what is in it, and they stepped on suspicious traps first to see what happened.
They were psychopaths!
It wasn’t as if they had extra lives to spare, yet they did things that were considered to be absolutely crazy. It seemed Artpe’s party would be doing similar tasks that followed in the footsteps of those heroes!
“Sienna, the monsters we are going to face from now on will be a bit too hard for you to handle. This is why you have to be ready to retreat when I tell you to retreat.”
As they got ready to head down the stairway, he made a strong entreaty towards Sienna. However, Sienna let out a bright smile as she tightened the fists equipped with the Battle Knuckles.
“It’s fine. I’m strong now!”
“It is all thanks to me!”
Mycenae had a bright smile on her face as she stood behind Sienna with a money pouch in hand. She had finally succeeded in acquiring the Cleric’s Cure spell and the Holy Battle spell. Artpe snorted as he shooed her away with his hand.
“You were barely able to acquire the basics. If possible, I want you to acquire weapon skills that are primarily for the Warrior Priestess class. Then there are the active skills……”
“You probably want skills and spell books that both of you can learn too?”
Mycenae laughed as if she already understood everything.
“I never dreamed there would come a day when I would be able support the hero. Anyways, please wait for me. Everything jumps in price when one wants to acquire goods so suddenly. I’m trying very hard to gather as many items at the cheapest price in the shortest amount of time possible..”
“All right. We’ll put our trust in ajumma, and we…..”
Artpe spoke as he took a step onto the stair leading down to the 6th floor of the Dungeon.
“We are going to go make some money now.”
It was as Artpe had expected. High rank Gnolls over level 60 started appearing in droves on the 6th floor. The Gnolls were equipped with decent armor and iron mace. These were opponents that was a bit overwhelming for Sienna.
Still, Artpe made a resolve to push her forward.
“When I think you are in danger, I’ll restrain them with my Mana Strings. Of course, your contribution would decrease, so you won’t be able to gain the full experience. The reward you will gain is ridiculously low compared to the danger you will face…. Still, you will surely grow faster than before.”
If he just made sure she didn’t die, this environment would be a blessing for Sienna. Of course, she had to overcome the fear, pain and powerlessness she would feel facing such powerful enemies. Still, the fruit that would be waiting for her at the end would be very sweet.
“This is similar to the first Dungeon I experienced with Artpe. I had a lot of shortcomings, but Artpe helped me.”
“Now I can provide a much more precise and faster support.”
Artpe became more proficient at using Mana Strings as he used them more.
The Mana Strings were very sensitive and reactive to the movement of his fingers. He could use up to 10 strands. In the playground called a Dungeon, he could use them to search, deter, attack and defend. In the space controlled by his Read All Creation Ability, nothing could escape his will.
Sienna’s expression remained bright.
“If oppa says I can do it, then I can do it!”
He experienced facing too many opponents that were much higher in level with Maetel in the past year, so this all seemed par for the course. However, amongst the adventurers that explored Dungeons, their actions were beyond reckless. This situation was considered to be something that should never be done.
On top of that, Sienna wasn’t a hero, yet she had to go through such tribulations. It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t worried about all of this.
“Let’s do this.”
However, Artpe had confidence in Sienna’s talent and will. He was also supremely confident about his own abilities. This was why he decided to go forward with her. The Gnolls shrank away at the presence of Artpe and Maetel, but they became emboldened when they caught sight of Siena. They howled as they attack Sienna as a pack.
Two thirds of the pack was instantly slaughtered by Maetel’s bastard sword. The remaining Gnolls flinched as they tried to run away, but Artpe prevented them from doing so with his Mana Strings.
Some unknown force was preventing them from running away, so they became confused for a brief amount of time. However, when they realized there wasn’t an additional strike coming as a follow up, the Gnolls once again turned their attention to Sienna.
Artpe gave an explanation.
“The dog head of Gnolls isn’t just a decoration. They are very dumb.”
“I think they are more stupid than the Skeletons with no brains.”
It was the worst insult that could come out of Maetel’s mouth. However, when one saw the Gnolls keep attacking with increased fervor as if nothing had happened, it was an apt observation.
“Koo-oohk······ I can do this!”
Sienna was the only one fighting them, and she had a hardened expression on her face. Her fists were still weak, and her self-healing ability was lacking. However, she didn’t back down as she glared at her opponents. At this point, Artpe would have already given her a passing grade.
The Gnolls mindlessly howled as they swung their maces. Sienna quickly assessed their attacks, and she planted her fists into their abdomens. She couldn’t avoid all the maces, yet she was showing excellent body movement for someone that wasn’t level 50 yet.
“All right. We did it.”
“Yes, I dont’ think she’ll die.”
Sienna was effectively fighting amongst the pack of Gnolls. Artpe let out a sigh of relief when he confirmed this. Her growth plan had to be tweaked, but he also judged that she would be able to become much stronger in a shorter time frame.
Sienna was striking out with powerful punches. Her fist cleanly lodged inside the eye of a Gnoll as she was able to land a Critical Hit. At that moment, the flow of the battle started turning towards her favor.
Humans were supposed to be weaker than them, yet one of their own had been killed. This truth made the Gnolls rage….
However, a marvelous smile on Sienna’s face greeted the Gnolls.
Sienna just had an epiphany about the flow and momentum of a battle.
After two days within the Dungeon, Sienna safely raised her level to 50.
She used the Crystal Ball of Blessing to acquire the high rank Class as a Warrior Priestess.
From that point on, there was a jump in her growth.
As time passed, Artpe had to step forward less with his Mana Strings. It was proof that the degree to which she was contributing to the battle had increased. When they slaughtered all the monsters and found all the hidden treasures on the 6th floor, her level had reached 60.
“Still, we are fortunate that this place is easier than the Hero’s Dungeon, Artpe. Isn’t it?”
“Just the thought of that place makes me grind my teeth. Don’t talk to me about it.”
“Where the heck did unni and oppa go that you guys speak of it that way…..?”
The Dungeon slyly extended into the 8th floor. Fortunately for them, the floor didn’t reach double digits like the disaster that was the Hero’s Growth Dungeon.
In the Boss Room on the 8th floor, Sienna safely killed the level 75 Gnoll Chieftain in a one on one battle. Sienna proudly took its Sledge Hammer as a trophy.
The head of the black steel hammer was unusually large and sharp. It wasn’t something a level 75 Gnoll should be using. At this point, Artpe once again felt that the luck of the hero’s party was a cheat.
“Oh my, customer. Could it be that the metal used to make that helmet was…..”
“I’m not selling it.”
“Customer, you are too much!”
Mycenae appeared once again with impeccable timing. This time she hadn’t just acquired hand to hand combat skills. She had brought weapon skills too.
Mycenae was about to say something, because she felt sorry for the small girl carrying around such a large hammer. However, her words dried up when she saw Sienna swing it around with both hands.
“I thought it would take us one week to clear this Dungeon, yet we spent one month here. Mmm. Perfect. This is such a perfectly fucked up situation.”
“Because of me…. I’m sorry, oppa.······ I’ll fight harder next time!”
“No, you were fine. Actually, you really overdid yourself. The only reason why this situation is fucked up is because of god.”
“If so, I’ll kill god for oppa!”
He thought he had heard that line from somewhere before. He let out a big sigh.
Maetel once again showed her competitive spirit when she heard Sienna’s words. Sienna kept letting out a bright smile.
Afterwards, a similar pattern emerged.
Fortunately, there was no changes to the second Dungeon. However, they found a secret tunnel inside the third Dungeon that continued until the 14th floor.
While they were traveling towards the fourth Dungeon, they encountered a cursed old lady living in a small city. They had to waste time in curing her. Then the 5th Dungeon was a Dungeon filled with Undeads, and Sienna stumbled into a secret prerequisite by being a Warrior Priestess. A path of suffering opened up that led the party down to the 20th floor.
They encountered similar harsh difficulties on the sixth and seventh Dungeons. At that point, Sienna hadn’t just grown enough for a single person. She grew enough for three to five people to become an superb Warrior Priestess.
She smashed through all tribulation, which seemed to have been prepared for her, with her hammer. If she couldn’t handle a boss monster, Maetel and Artpe smashed it.
They had entered the Dungeons to help the development of the little Warrior Priestess.
However, the difficulty of the Dungeons were all over the place that even the heroes increased in their level. The word chaos was insufficient to describe their situation.
“Wow. That’s the ocean! It really is amazing! Pretty!”
“This is also my first time seeing the ocean, unni. Wa-ahhhh.”
At the end of the tribulation, they finally reached Frate. At the latest, he had planned on arriving here during early spring. However, they had arrived during summer when the warm winds could be felt. Thankfully, they hadn’t arrived here during fall. Artpe kept wiping away at the sweat that kept trickling into his eyes as he spoke to his party.
“Well······ Shall we go rest a little bit?”
It was the day they entered into Frate.
Maetel was level 191, and Artpe was level 187. Sienna had reached the level 159.