After we successfully wiped out the Merman, the Thief led us to the safe point on the 32nd layer
“My… Sorry about that! Thanks for the save~”
The adventurer that brought us here said so as she sat on the ground in front of me with a joyous smile.
“I accidentally attracted a huge herd of them. I was going to shake them off my tail but I brought on you guys quite a bit of trouble instead. Oh yeah, Tet’s the name. What you see is what you get, Thief is my trade.”
The thief called themself as Tet.
Black sort of long hair, a voice that was a bit on the high-pitched side, and has androgynous features so I was at a loss but…..if I had to take a gamble, based on the name and tone, I’d go with him being a boy in his mid-teens. He also looks to be younger than Kokoru and Melina I think? He seems to not be that far off from my age when I became an adventurer..
I shake my head, replying back.
“No worries, adventurers should help each other when needed anyhow. I’m Alvin, a swordsman. Over there is Kokoru, a priest, and Melina, a mage. We met in this dungeon and formed a temporary party.”
“Oh? A temporary one? Ah guess things like that happen huh~ Even so, you look strong. Are you guys the sort of people who can dive in the lower levels even when solo?”
“Guess you could say I could but….”
“I have done it a few times. I’m afraid of messing up so I generally avoid it.”
“I-I’ve never done it alone……”
Even though the two of them said that, they could probably give me a run for my money if they do dive solo.
With a spirited smile, Tet talks back–
“Doing it as a mage is an incredible feat! Miss Priest’s case makes sense. There’s no point in a support class going to the depths after all~ But it’s cool being a High Level priest and all. I was right in assuming that you’re the type of person who’s accustomed to soloing Mister. There’s only 3 of you, but you’re a pretty high level party already.”
“Now that you mention it, you might be right.”
Thanks to Kokoru, the party’s level average is higher than my own.
Looking back, this might have been the first time I’ve joined a party where I’m not the highest leveled one. Until now, I’ve always been slipping into fledgling parties to help them level up or something along those lines.
Moving on though–
“Are you alone?”
“Then why are you by yourself here of all places.?”
“Why, you mean? It’s as if you’re saying that it isn’t a Thief’s job to be doing things solo. I’m rummaging for treasure chests and earning exp by the wayside.”
Tet says with a chuckle.
The Class displayed in the Status Window changes the benefits you receive on a case by case basis. For example, a Swordsman would have his STR increased to match his class, and having the attack power of Sword-type weapons go up along with it. A Mage or a Priest on the other hand, will have their MP and WIS attributes increase and will be able to use Attack and Support magic respectively.
In line with that, a Thief will have their AGI increase, and knives and throwing weapons would have an attack boost while simultaneously sharpening the success rate of unlock items like lockpicks greatly..
The lower the level the treasure box is in, the better items it would have, but on the offside, more of them would be locked.
Since other classes have no other option but to rely on expensive unlock items, more than half of the abyss-level chests are monopolized by the Thief class.
They are profitable without relying on drops, they have a reasonable amount of combat power, and could escape large mobs of enemies with their high Agility. With those factors combined, it is said that the Thief is the most suited class for solo. In fact, Tet’s play style wasn’t uncommon in the slightest
“Even though I look like this, my level is up there y’know. Being at this layer is a cinch for me.”
“I can believe that. Beating the merman was a breeze for you.”
Tet had joined the battle midway and he looked to be masterful in using the knife and throwing weapons. I even remember his weapons looking considerably expensive. Just those factors alone show how good he is.
I do have another question though……..
“Why this dungeon though? There are better places for you to dive solo in…….”
“You could say that, but those places are way too hot on everyone’s lists so the number of chests you can gather becomes sorely limited. The upsides here are that there’s no one here, and although somewhat small, it is deep. It’s a surprisingly good out-of-the-way place.”
“So that’s why.”
I get where he’s coming from. Even though we were both solo, It’s a whole different matter if you were a Swordsman or Thief.
“I thought for sure that you also had a Minus Skill.”
“Minus Skill? Ahh, did you guys come here cause you believed that rumor that got around?”
“That the boss here drops an item that removes a skill. Hahaha, no way that stuff’s true.”
“What makes you say that, huh?”
Melina presses for an answer in annoyance.
“I do think I’ve checked most of the information available for this place through the Flavor Text surrounding it, and at the very least, I don’t think my interpretation of it is that far off from the truth. What makes you sure?”
“It’s easy when you think about it. Nothing like it’s happened before. I’m a Thief, so I know my thing or two ‘bout item drops yet there’s nothing like it if the rumors are to be believed. There aren’t even skills or magic that comes close to that sort of effect much less an item having it. If there was such an item, it would be extremely rare. I’d be reaching out there if I were to say if an item like that would exist in a small-scale dungeon such as this one.”
“……There are items that bring down parameters though, and in terms of buffs, pseudo-skills like Physical Pen. It’s not a stretch that the opposite of that could be true.”
“All of it’s just temporary right? No way there’s an item that could tweak your own status to stay as is forever.”
Tet says with a laugh.
“Am I right to think that the one who has the Minus Skill is you Big Sis? I’m sorry to break it to you but it would be better for you to temper your expectations. And besides, no matter how high your levels are, it would be tough to defeat the boss with only just the three of you, so turning around here would be the smart thing to do don’t you think so?”
Melina was discouraged, lips zipped tight.
It’s her we’re talking about here, logic is king. Maybe it’s not so much that she’s in a bad mood, but she’s probably thinking that Tet’s point of view had some truth to it.
At any rate, I declare my thoughts.
“We appreciate the advice, but we’ll have to forgo it.”
“All of us here went into this dungeon for that boss drop.It’s not something we can give up on no matter how low the possibility is.”
Tet’s smile fades.
“You guys probably don’t know about this….The dungeon goes up to 40 levels. Naturally, the boss resides there too.”
It wasn’t anywhere near what I was expecting.
It’s basically a mid-sized dungeon at that point.
No way I couldn’t have done it solo, much less have a shot at the boss without at least having a party of 4 with the same level as me, maybe even more.
“My point still stands though, with only the three of you, turning back is the better option no matter how high of a level you’re at.”
“Still….I don’t want to turn back. It’s deeper than I expected, that much is true, I might not even get to have a chance to defeat the boss after coming all this way but….I like to at least reach the boss room and confirm its attributes and attack patterns. It’s for the sake of going in fully prepared next time.”
I took a peek behind me to see Melina and Kokoru nodding in agreement.
Their will outweighs the uncertainty involved for them..
“…….Hmmm…. So you’re going to go no matter what huh?”
“Haaa….Oh well then.”
Tet stood up and sighed in resignation.
“No use in stopping you I guess~ I’ll help you go as far as the boss room then.”
“The three of you don’t have the area down here mapped haven’t ya? I’ll be your guide then. I’ve been to the end once and my knowledge of the monsters here will come handy when it comes to efficiently clearing this place. You don’t want to be sapped out of energy by the time you get to the boss right?”
“That would be a welcome help…..”
“It’s decided then. I’ve sniffed clean the chests around here earlier anyhow. Oh yeah, I almost forgot.Here, bottoms up.”
Tet took out four vials out of storage and held it out, a yellow-green liquid swirling inside.
It’s some kind of potion……..
“It’s a potion that grants poison resistance. This baby can even stop the deadlier ones. Poisonous monsters will be coming out the woodwork from here on out so you better use it.”
“Ahmm, if it’s poison resistant, then my buffs could be used…..”
“You’ll end up using MP, and it will end up expiring quickly with it being a buff and all right? With this you’d be duty free for hours,”
“I’m thankful for the offer but……….Are you sure about just giving it to us?”
“No problemo, take it as an apology for getting me out of a tight spot.”
Tet handed a bottle to each and one of us, with the last one saving for himself, gulping it down.
“Let’s get a move on.”
Signaling with our eyes we stood up.
I was worried about the boss’ level and things like the drop, but fortune fell on our laps. I’m genuinely grateful that we get to know the paths and safe points without having to scout out the locations.
With those thoughts in mind I took a gulp of the potion and—–
Not a moment later I drop to the ground.
My legs won’t move. I tried to get up but my hands weren’t doing any good too. I could only do the slightest of movements as if my whole body’s sensations have been robbed.
In spite of the confusion, there was one thing I know about what had transpired.
Letters had appeared in the corner of my eye.