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This dungeon seemed to have mostly humanoid monsters with the 16th and 17th levels populated with lots of monsters we had encountered between the 11th through to the 15th level. Fer thought the same applied even beyond this level. However tougher forms of such monsters were appearing and more of them as we progressed but to Fer, Sui and Dorchan they still weren't any real threat. Each group of monsters we encountered were gleefully defeated in quick order resulting in a lot of drops, usually skins. I didn't really know what they were worth but the sheer number we collected probably meant they wouldn't sell for a lot. At least they'd cover the cost of the food I had bought for this dungeon trip, I decided as I packed them away in my Item Box.
After going through several rooms on the 17th level and collecting drop items we finally found a treasure chest. Yos.h.!.+ It appeared at the back wall of a room after the monsters in it had been killed and the drops collected, a white box with gold trim, decorated with a small jewel.
"Ooooh, a treasure chest at last!" I exclaimed but, remembering the games I had played I was in no hurry to open it. This dungeon was full of lethal traps and so I was suspicious that this treasure chest might be dangerous... Safety first, I decided and I used Appraisal on it from a safe distance.
[ Treasure Chest ]
A treasure chest set to release poison gas as soon as it is opened.
...ah, it's hopeless. If it was full of scary poison gas then I wasn't going near it. Sure I've got a G.o.ddess' protection but it's (small). The blessing (small) gives me the power of state abnormality invalidation against things like poison but it only works if there's no immediate death effect and this poison gas is likely to be immediately lethal. What about the others though? They all have full blessings so they should be safe.
"Hey guys, this treasure chest, it will release poison gas as soon as it is opened." I announced. "I've only got a blessing (small) so could somebody else open it for me?"
"Nuuu, it can't be helped." Fer said as he approached the treasure chest but before he could open it I suddenly received an oracle from Ninril-sama.
"Oh- oh-, can you hear me other-world-guy? It's me, Ninril here. Ummm, I totally forgot to tell you, yeah, your blessings are (small) right enough but since you've got (small) blessings from three G.o.ddesses, right, your level of state abnormality nullification works like a full blessing would." There was an embarra.s.sed silence, and some whispering in the background. "Ah, you see, it's quite rare for three blessings (small) to be given to the same person so it took me a while to check, you know. You're safe, you won't die even from instant lethal poisons and the like." There was another short pause, "Let's enjoy the dungeon!" and then silence.
...you should have told me this earlier, deplorable G.o.ddess-sama. She did say it took a while for her to verify this, of course but well, Ninril-sama is Ninril-sama. And what was with that "let's enjoy the dungeon!" at the end? Where did that come from?
"Hold on Fer, I'll open it." I said, stepping forward as Fer looked around. "I just received an oracle from Ninril-sama saying I've got full abnormality nullification like yours because I've received blessings (small) from three G.o.ddesses."
"Nuuu, I see. I'll leave it to you then." Fer said as he stepped aside.
Examining the treasure chest I could see it was not locked, the lid just held down with a simple clasp. I clicked it open and lifted the lid whereupon a purple mist belched out.
"Cough, cough, cough-" I spluttered but the poison gas, if that was what it was, was just like inhaling some harmless smoke. The state abnormality nullification I possessed had succeeded. The G.o.ddesses were normally annoying and problematic for me to deal with but on this occasion I was grateful to them, at least a little bit, for their blessings (small). When I looked in the treasure chest after the purple gas had dispersed all I could see was a dirty sack of some kind.
"What on Earth is this?" I said. I lifted the sack out and the treasure chest disappeared. I used Appraisal on the sack.
[ Magic Bag (small) ]
A hemp bag (large) capable of holding things up to five times its size.
The sack was about a meter in size. It wasn't really that useful to me since I had Item Box but others, Merchants and Adventurers alike would probably be glad to get their hands on something like this. It was dirty looking and its size was small, referring to the 5 times capacity I a.s.sumed but I figured I could sell it later for a good price. It still seemed like a good drop for my first-ever treasure chest, a real magical item. I put the bag away in my Item Box and we headed for the next room where we found a party of Adventurers already fighting the monsters within. Instead of waiting until they finished and the monsters regenerated we just proceeded to this level's boss room and peered inside the doorway before entering. This time the room contained several Orc Generals standing around an Orc King. Countless other Orcs filled the rest of the room almost to bursting point.
"Hmmm, Orcs?" Fer said dismissively. "Doesn't matter how many there are, they're too easy. Lets go."
"Orcs, huh." Dorchan sounded a little bit disappointed.
"Sui will knock down the bad guys a lot-" Battle maniac Sui-chan said confidently.
Fer, Dorchan and Sui rushed into the crowd of Orcs and started slaughtering the monsters left and right. I entered the room behind them, watching as the Orc army was utterly destroyed, which didn't take long. I picked up the drops which like previous Orc subjugations in the dungeon were skins, Orc meat and this time, Orc King t.e.s.t.i.c.l.es. The kitchen paper came in handy again. I recalled being told by Johan-ojisan back in Carerina that Orc King t.e.s.t.i.c.l.es compounded into an aphrodisiac guaranteed a pregnancy and were much sought after from n.o.bles and Royalty desiring an heir.
We left the 18th level to Fer who defeated all the monsters there without hesitation while I recovered the drops, usually monster skins. The level's boss room had a large number of Ogres and Orcs led by an Ogre with a reddish skin. Of course the battle didn't last long once Fer entered the room. This time as I collected the boss room drops there was no treasure chest which left me feeling faintly disappointed.
The 19th level proceeded similarly, killing monsters and collecting drops. However this time in the fifth room a treasure chest appeared when the last monster was killed.
"Oh look, there's a treasure chest." I said but remembering the last treasure chest I used Appraisal before going anywhere near it. Safety first, after all.
[ Mimic ]
A dungeon monster that mimics a treasure chest. When defeated it drops a rare decorated treasure chest.
Ah. "This is not really a treasure chest, it's a monster." I announced.
"Oh, is it a Mimic?" Fer said. Of course Fer would know about such monsters, I realised. "The Mimic will attack anyone who tries to open it." Fer explained. I stepped forward, my Mithril short sword at the ready.
"If that's the case I'll try to defeat it." I approached it cautiously, probing at the lid's catch with the tip of my sword. The lid sprang open revealing sharp teeth and the Mimic lunged towards me but my Mithril sword sliced it in half. A moment later the two parts disappeared leaving something like a small jewellery box behind. This Mithril sword really cuts well. Thanks Sui-chan.
"Oh, it dropped something. It looks like quite a rare item." I said as I picked up the jewellery box. It was small but nicely decorated with gold and gems, very pretty. I reckoned it would sell for a good price. I put it into my Item Box feeling quite pleased with myself.
Two rooms later we were at the entrance to the level's boss room. This one held a mix of Ogres and Trolls cl.u.s.tered around an Ogre King. The sight of so many monsters and especially the Ogre King who was over two metres tall would normally have worried me but by now I was becoming quite relaxed about such things. I stood back and let Fer, Dorchan, and Sui rush in happily to play. It was, of course an easy victory for them.
As I picked up the drops of skin and magic stones I said, "This is still our first day in the dungeon but the next level is already the 20th. We shouldn't rush things, the monsters from now on are bound to be tougher to beat I'm sure."
"Hah, we are much stronger than them." Fer said disparagingly. "Monsters on these levels are no match for us."
"Fu, have you seen how I've been fighting?" Dorchan said, buzzing excitedly around the boss room. "Let them come, I'll defeat them no matter how many there are."
"Aruji, Sui is strong-? Sui will knock down the big bad guys-" Sui-chan chimed in.
Everybody seemed fine and super-eager to continue, in high spirits. I looked at them and smiled. I had reckoned we might need 10 days or so to completely explore the dungeon but at this rate we'd be finished in half that time or even less. We polished off level 20 easily with everyone fired up, and headed for the 21st level immediately after. The monster types we were running into were the same as those we had encountered on the 16th to 19th levels but there were more higher-ranking monsters, Kings and Generals and the numbers were increasing too. We picked up lots of drops on the 20th and 21st levels before proceeding down the stairs to the 22nd level. I remembered the Guild receptionist telling us before we entered the dungeon that there was a high-ranking party of Adventurers exploring this level.