Eighth Floor Boss
The eighth basement floor.
Proceeding through the canal-like Labyrinth passageways, we rode Boat-Mode Mini Porter as we pressed onwards.
The boat’s sides had water-wheel like mechanisms that stroked the water as they spun. They were able to achieve a considerable speed.
We were definitely moving forward, but there, a problem arose.
“It sure it a pain to collect the treasure chests.”
I removed the overalls and rain coat, stripping down to practically my undergarments, before descending into the water with a knife in one hand.
The water level was just passed my chest, and when I saw the glowing protrusion on the bottom, I swam towards it.
I used the knife to hit against the submerged treasure. Shattering the rock around it, I was able to take the treasure in hand…
“How many times does that make this?”
A pea-green gemstone: peridot.
With the same stones comes out consecutively so many times, I was more than had to be some sort of meaning behind it.
The other possibility was that this Labyrinth truly was one that spit up Mana-imbued gemstones at a ridiculously high probability.
I collected up the stone, returned to the boat, and Aria extended her hand towards it. Borrowing it to get back on the boat, I took a towel, and began wiping off my body.
When I handed the gemstone over to Miranda, she opened a compartment of her leather bag, and put it in.
“That makes seven of them. Come this far, my thankful sentiments have begun to die down. Though it’s become a given we’ll reap massive profits off this Labyrinth expedition.”
Consumables, paying each member, and the necessary expenses… considering all those expenditures, and the profits we could gain from the Labyrinth, we couldn’t go about dropping into the red.
If we wanted to save money, there was no point in wasting it.
Around the back of the boat, Monica was full of regret.
“If I had taken the center position, then looking after the Chicken Dickwad would have been my role alone.”
Novem looked at her with a bit of a dubious smile. However, she sent numerous glances to the gemstone in Miranda’s hands. I was able to catch that.
“If we collect two more, we can cleanly divide it among the nine of us, can’t we? It’ll amount to quite a sum, after all.”
And Miranda spoke in a strained tone.
“Aria, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the objective of this party, right? If we just cleanly divvied up all the earnings, we’ll never get any close to fulfilling it.”
Hearing that, Aria tried to refute… but stopped. It was definitely impossible for Aria to beat Miranda with words.
I was generally the only one entering the water, so I wrapped a blanket around myself to stave off the cold. And we continued down the Labyrinth. As expected, having a secure means of transportation was important.
From the Jewel, the Sixth let his voice.
『’Tis a pity. If there were more adventurer parties down here, then you could make a killing with MKIII.』
Like in Arumsaas, we could surely earn off transporting adventurers and cargo. But that would be difficult this time around.
It wasn’t impossible, but from the sixth floor onwards were only the adventurers officially recognized by the guild.
They were few in number. If we were to try making money off them, we’d be better off monster slaying.
On top of that.
“Now then, it seems our destination has come into view.”
I muttered as I looked deeper into the passage. There, was an entrance much bigger than any of the tunnels we’d drifted down so far.
“Lyle-sama, will we be challenging it at once?”
Or so she asked, and I shook my head.
“No, we should rest some first. And we’re being approached from behind, so we’d best clear that up first.”
Aria and Miranda took their spears in hand, and Monica pulled out a mace from her forcefully reinstated skirt.
We were in a formation where Novem the magician was at the vanguard, but there wasn’t the free time to turn the boat around.
Sahuagin and Frogmen… underwater, they were a troublesome bunch.
“I will be taking the first attack. Ice Arrow!”
Producing several dozen arrows of ice, Novem fired them at the incoming monsters, raising a wave.
The arrows of ice came down on them, and the only ones to endure and leap out of the water were two Sahuagin.
The remaining Sahuagin and Frogmen floated up on the surface. Some of the spots on the water’s surface the ice projectiles had passed were frozen over.
The parts of the floating monsters’ bodies the arrows had stuck into were similarly frozen.
The two that jumped out were slammed into the wall by Monica. I brought the boat closer, and Miranda and Monica dealt the finishing blows on them.
I watched the battle, as I focused on Novem’s staff.
The Fifth in the Jewel spoke up.
『Huh? That’s definitely a Magic Tool, that one. Her output rose, or more so, that was a speed greater than she’s shown thus far. Though it did appear she was suppressing the output somewhat…』
『Among the Magic Tools the Forxuz House owned, there was one staff, wasn’t there. Perhaps that’s what it is.』
The Fifth grumbled.
『There surely was one. But its shape was different.』
I also thought it looked like the Forxuz House’s heirloom staff when I first saw it. Its shape differed a little, but I had seen the heirloom hanging on the wall once when I stopped by the House.
(Novem said she had purchased it, but is it just a run-of-the-mill Magic Tool?)
It was possible it was just a normal Magic Tool, but the Fifth and up seemed to be under the impression that Novem was hiding something.
The Third and Fourth weren’t so doubtful.
When Miranda and Aria began collecting up the Magic Stones, I looked around.
“After a bit of rest, we’ll enter the Boss’s room. If it’s no good, we’ll turn around, and end it there. If we can run, that is.”
I spoke in jest as I waited for the stone collecting to end, and moved the boat towards a nearby room.
After the break, we went over our equipment once more. I inserted a Mini Porter, and our collected Magic Stones and Gemstones into the Box.
Only the boat was out.
And on that boat, unloaded of its unnecessary baggage, we started towards the Boss’s room.
With the rests we’d put in, my Mana had recovered to an extent.
After defeating the Boss, I wanted to take a quick peek at the ninth floor, before returning to the surface. Living on a boat wasn’t bad, but to be quite frank, I wanted to be let off from this strained and dubious space.
(I’m never challenging a Labyrinth again with these members.)
I resolved in my heart.
When I moved the boat, a change came about the party’s atmosphere. A sense of tension coincided with the rounding of the curve into the room.
In its depths.
We looked at the entrance to the ninth floor, and found it was on steady ground.
“Do the waterways end here? Well, that’s best for all of us, really.
Standing on that patch of land was a large monster.
With the lantern fastened onto the boat, I could only see its shadow.
It looked quadrupedal. And its head area was slender and long. Its tail was also long, and the tip of it was graced by something like a large fin.
During our time on break, I had read through the book from Clara. But just based on what I could see, there were a number of candidates, and I couldn’t pin it down.
“We should’ve made it brighter.”
I complained, as I pulled a sabre, and signaled everyone to prepare their weapons. I also had the need to move the boat, so I wanted to restrain my magic use as much as I could.
I used my Skills.
【Up n’ Down】
Acuiring enemy’s information made me a little weary.
The water was also deeper than it had been up to now. Four meters to the bottom.
“You won’t be able to touch bottom if you fall, so look out. Also, it seems the enemy’s a type where lightning won’t have an effect. What’s more, it’ll use lightning itself.”
If it was in the water, could we not electrocute it with lightning-type magic? I had that simple thought process in my mind, but of all things, an electric-resistance boss had come out.
Miranda spoke quite lightly.
“So if it pulls you under, it’s the end. The plan is…?”
I pointed to the strip of land in the back.
The boss submerged its large body, and started coming towards us.
“First, let’s move ourselves over there for steady footing. When it surfaces, hit it with all you’ve got… look, it’s coming!”
I spun the water wheels to move from the spot, and in the next moment, the boss appeared as it leapt out of the water.
We were able to avoid it, and as it’d gotten closer, we could catch a glimpse of its form.
“Well damn, the catfish here have grown legs. Good grief, there’s never a dull moment in this world. With that size, I’d like to use my larger hammer, so could you get us to steady ground already, Chicken Dickwad?”
I turned around, put the sabre away, turned the Jewel to its bow shape, and began to counterattack.
I had to simultaneously drive the boat, so I couldn’t help my output dropping.
“Don’t be crazy. Even like this, I’m giving my all here.”
I got the slight feeling it wouldn’t be impossible to defeat alone. But in that case, the other members wouldn’t grow.
When I changed the trajectory of the boat, Aria lost her balance, and fell onto her rear.
“Hey! Don’t suddenly start making strange movements!”
In the place we were at before, the boss jumped out as if it had been trying to headbutt us. When I shot an arrow of light, it stuck into its flesh, and raised an explosion.
It raised one, but…
Novem held up her staff. She headed to the front, and…
A faintly luminescent half-transparent wall formed, and surrounded the boat in its entirety.
Poking half its body out of the water, the boss let off an electrical discharge, violently lighting up the surroundings.
Miranda took out a knife, and prepared herself. The moment the discharge ended, and Novem undid the Shield, she threw it.
But it didn’t pierce into the boss’s body. As if sliding along a smooth surface, the knife altered its course. While it’s true the enemy’s surface was slimy, it was mostly due to its constitution.
Its skin was thick, and on top of that, perhaps it had an excess of blubber, but it didn’t seem the attack really got through.
I hurried to get the boat to land, but the other side had the advantage in speed.
When it extended its arm from the water to try and capsize the boat, Aria swung her spear to send that arm flying off.
At the same time, its bodily fluids rained down on us.
Sticky, and slimy and… the worst sort of feeling.
Miranda took a tool out of the pouch hung at her waist. A small cask, it also looked like the type of container they’d pour ale from at the bar.
“Don’t worry about it. Now where will it be coming from next?”
I used Skills to determine where it was surfacing, and pointed.
I changed the boat’s course to avoid it. Miranda tossed the small cask, and cast magic.
The moment the boss jumped out.
“Blow off. Fire Bullet.”
From the tip of her right hand shot a ball of fire that hit the cask on the mark. A large explosion broke out, and the shock it delivered to the boss’s large frame caused the water’s surface, and even the boat to sway violently.
“Once more, you’ve concealed quite a flashy trick up your sleeves. A bomb, is it? Without a fuse, you have to ignite it through magic…”
Miranda waved her hand dismissively.
“Well tools are all about how you use them, right? And that one was only one I own, so don’t expect anything next time. That one was quite expensive.”
It appeared to be loaded with gunpowder, but individually, Miranda wasn’t able to assemble that high a number.
“I’m surprised you carried it along. It won’t explode?”
Miranda offered her an explanation.
“There are no monsters here that use fire, after all. Well, there was the possibility it would become too wet to use, but the end result worked out, so isn’t that fine?”
If she was carrying around something dangerous, I’d appreciate she announce it. It seems Novem felt the same.
“Miranda-san, if you were carrying such a thing, you should have properly told Lyle-sama.”
Miranda’s lips curled.
“Got a point there. Then don’t you think it best you properly tell him about that staff of yours?”
Monica clapped her hands twice, and shouted out.
“You all, don’t start up a fight here, and listen to the Chicken Dickwad’s orders! Now, you too, Chicken! Out with your orders already!”
I looked to the front, and saw we were closing in on the land.
“Everyone grab onto something. And close your mouth. We’re crashing ashore.”
I also prepared myself, and grabbed onto the boat’s railing. Similarly, everyone grabbed some part of it, as the boat’s tip ran aground the land at the depths of the room.
I felt I was about to fall off from the impact, but I went into using the legs furnished on the boat to continue rising onto land.
Dismounting, I looked around.
Perhaps because the boss had yet to be defeated, the entrance to the ninth floor was firmly shut.
Everyone jumped down from the boat, took their weapons in hand, and watched the enemy move through the water.
Monica tossed the oar in her hands aside, produced a giant hammer from her skirt, and held it up in both hands.
“Haven’t used it since Arumsaas! I’ll beat the hell out of you with it!”
While looking at her delighted face, I returned the bow to its Jewel form, and put it back on my neck. The Mana expenditure had been greater than expected, and I didn’t want to use it any longer here.
And I wanted to leave this to my comrades.
A voice came from the Jewel as well.
The Third casually.
『I’ve never fought a monster like this before. The monsters in the lake didn’t grow this big either.』
The Fourth spoke.
『Yes, it looks like a pain, but what do you think you can strip off of that one… I can only pray it’ll sell high.』
Even the fifth had his limits.
『When it’s gotten this big, I can’t really call it cute. If you want to keep it, you’ll need a large lake, I assume.』
The Sixth, fed-up.
『Eh~? You plan on even keeping that thing? I’ve been thinking this for a while, but you have terrible taste.』
The Seventh was…
『It’s quite common that peculiar artifacts sell for higher than useful ones. And wait, if it’s land monsters, I’ve fought my share, but… yes, it’s true I’ve never fought a monster of this sort before.』
As always, they sounded quite laid-back. That leisure of theirs likely came from the fact I was the one fighting here.
I didn’t really have it.
I pulled out my sabre again. Angered from Miranda’s previous attack, the boss was rushing our way.
Novem began preparing magic. Aria…
“Did Miranda’s attack piss it off? It’s letting out an even stranger voice from before.”
When the boss showed its face from the water, it was crackling with electricity. It was a bit peculiar to call a roar, but it was letting off some form of sound.
It was almost like the cry of a cow. That sort of moan.
But it reverberating around the room, it was really loud.
Miranda spoke jokingly.
“Then all’s well with the world. It’s important to piss people, and have them make an opening for you. Just to let you know, I don’t have any attack more decisive than that one.”
Miranda had also begun to prepare magic. Aria stepped up front, stuck her spear into the ground, and used her own magic.
“Then I’ll hold back this one.”
She used Magic Shield. It wasn’t on Novem’s level, but it was able to block the Boss’s lightning from reaching the party.
I prepared magic as well.
“Aria, once you’ve blocked it, step out of the way.”
When the lightning ended, I, Novem, and Miranda released our magics.
A number of stone spikes sprouted from the water, and immediately following, ice pillars rose from the gaps in the rocks.
Pierced through by the ice, the Boss lost its ability to move, and it was unable to avoid the wave of fire that washed over it.
Looking upon the scene, Monica put away her hammer with an uninterested expression.
“The hell is this!? Magic! Even I, given the right option modding, could accomplish such a feat… right, if I had the options installed!”
Seeing her vexed face, I gave a bitter smile.
(But I wanted to economize Mana this time. If possible, I’d like to have saved up a bit more, but… h-huh?)
The rocks crumbled, and the ice pillars melted. The flames were still burning the Boss’s body above the water’s surface. I fell to my knees.
Sudden exhaustion in my body. And the pain… came upon me.
Novem rushed over, but in the next instant.
Monica leapt forward, as if to protect me from the walls of the room. I turned to see what had happened, only to see countless hands extending from that wall. What’s more, each one was big enough to grab me whole.
For some reason, I got a somewhat feminine impression from those hands.