「This is, also……」
At the scene spread before his eyes, Rei muttered involuntarily.
Ara, who was in the vanguard like Rei, as well as Kuust and Elena, who were in the middle guard, had similar expressions. At the back, Vel’s eyes were wide open in surprise at the view before him.
Only Set, who was next to Vel, gave a cry that seemed somewhat joyful.
「Uhh, there’s no mistake that this is the fourth floor down right?」
「That’s right. You also went down the stairs just now.」
At Ara’s sudden mutter after she had gathered herself, Kuust affirmed her question.
「No, no. I understand Ara’s confusion. I was truly surprised to see this suddenly before my eyes after going down the dungeon.」
Vel didn’t lose his light tone when he spoke, but as expected he was surprised. He had spoken out half in shock.
「I mean……why……there is a forest in a dungeon, whyyyyyy! Furthermore, no matter how you think about it, why is there a thing like the sun as well!」
Yes, the scene that was before Rei’s eyes couldn’t be described as anything other than a forest. The sun like thing in the sky that Ara mentioned actually illuminated the area with light.
「Calm down Ara. This is a dungeon, it’s a strange place where anything can happen. You will let your guard down if you get confused.」
Pon~, Elena called out and put a hand on Ara’s shoulder to calm her down.
She probably pulled herself back together after hearing Elena’s voice. Ara lowered her head with flushed face.
「Well then. This isn’t about Ara but I’m certain you are all surprised at seeing the forest before us after coming down the dungeon, so first of all, everyone calm down. Anyhow, unlike the third floor, we have no map for here. Unlike before, we can’t head straight for the stairs down, finding the stairs to the fifth floor will be difficult. Because of that, everyone take a deep breath and adjust our mindset.」
Following Elena’s words, everyone took a deep breath. In addition, the air they breathed in was certainly fresh air that would be found deep inside a forest and not what you would find in a dungeon.
「……Now then. Let’s take more care when we advance from here. I will move about the formation a bit. To use his skills as a thief, Vel will swap positions with Rei. Set and Rei will watch out for monster attacks from behind and above.」
「Oh, I finally get to show my special skills. My thief skills are much better in a forest compared to in the dungeon. Well, Rei. I leave the rear guard to you.」
「Leave it to us. You don’t need to worry about attacks from behind, Set and I are accustomed to working together like this, we’ll leave the front to you.」
「As expected of Rei. Full of confidence.」
Maybe they calmed down after taking a deep breath, Vel returned to his usual light tone as he swapped positions with Rei and made their preparations.
「So, Elena-sama. What direction will we go in?」
At Ara’s question, Elena looked around while thinking for a few seconds before immediately shrugging.
「Now that we have no map, even if we advance, we’ll have to rely on intuition. Then let’s do this. Rei, choose the direction based on your intuition as an adventurer.」
「Umu~. Anyway, none of us can point the direction to go towards so none of us can act as a guide. It would be better to rely on Rei’s intuition as an adventurer.」
Because Rei was suddenly ordered, as expected, he was somewhat troubled at being asked to use his intuition. Still, he looked around the surroundings.
「……That’s right. It looks like it will be difficult to break through this floor today, how about advancing while looking for a place to use as a camp in case of an emergency?」
「A camp? In that case……near a river?」
「Yes. However, river……what to say, because there is danger when monsters come to drink water, finding a good balance between the two is difficult.」
「That’s true. However, if we need to spend the night on the fourth floor, it is important to secure a source of water.」
「I agree. Though we brought water in containers, we should save it for now.」
「Umu~, then lets move to try to find a water source first, either a river or a lake……then which direction should we go in for that?」
Though Elena said that with a wry smile, Rei stroked Set’s back while smiling.
「Set, can you smell or hear the sound of water?」
Leave it to me, Set seemed to say at Rei’s words. Elena saw that and was impressed at the five sense of a Griffon.
What surprised Rei the most was that even Kuust glanced over with an impressed look.
(Well, though there’s also the method of flying over the sky with Set to look for a lake or river……)
Though Rei thought of that, Set seemed to either smell or hear the sound of water and turned to the left side before giving a happy cry.
「As you can see, apparently, there seems to be a waterfront to the left. Is it okay to head over there?」
「Ah. I have no problems. Kuust, Vel, Ara. We will go to the left.」
Nodding at Elena’s instructions, they proceeded in a line to the left.
Fortunately, even if it was called a forest, there were few trees to obstruct their path. Maybe because they were advancing in single file, they were able to proceed even without an open path like a road.
About an hour after walking through the forest, Set gave a cry of warning.
Probably surprised at Set’s sudden cry, Ara and Vel reflexively turned around.
Rei replied to Elena’s calm question as Set stayed wary of the surroundings.
「He seems to be cautious of the surrounding area. There may be monsters.」
「Near us? Which direction is it?」
「About that, it doesn’t seem to be a single direction.」
「In that case, should we assume that some sort of monster that acts in groups has surrounded us?」
Everyone around Elena involuntarily frowned their eyebrows at her words.
Being surrounded was always a disadvantage to the ones being surrounded, although it was difficult to hide in a battlefield, it was no trouble to do so in a forest. It was clear that no matter how they were attacked, they were in a bad position.
「Elena-sama, should we prepare here?」
「I would like to do so, but isn’t it useless since we can’t even see the enemy?」
Ara’s suggestion was immediately rejected, but she looked towards Rei who seemed to have thought of something after doing some thinking.
「Rei-dono will burn down the entire forest with his fire magic?」
This time, Ara’s idea was rejected by Rei, who she had hoped could use his fire magic.
In this situation, Vel spoke with an amazed expression.
「Burning the forest is fine, but what if we end up burning ourselves? No, the first injury we would take would be from the smoke.」
「You know. Let’s not speak without thinking first.」
「You’re all so noisy. There’s no helping it if I mess up a little bit.」
「So you say, but in your case Ara, you make too many ‘slight’ mistakes.」
「Hey, the sense of tension isn’t enough considering we’re surrounded by enemies.」
Holding his magic spear, Kuust noted while maintaining his posture, ready to respond to an attack at any time.
But as expected of Vel and Ara, while bantering with each other, Ara had readied her sword while Vel had notched an arrow to his bow, ready to shoot at any time.
In the same way, Elena readied her sword whip and Rei his Death Scythe. Set lowered his body, ready to react to any attack from the surrounding area.
The moment Set gave a loud cry, the enemy appeared from literally all directions.
Their appearance was close to that of a monkey. However, sharp fangs extended from their mouth and their skin was covered with water. The smallest ones were 60cm tall while the biggest were around 1m tall. However, there were about 20 of them surrounding Rei and the others.
「Monkeys covered in water!? It’s like a monkey version of the Water Bear, they appeared in the monster dictionary, Water Monkeys……was it?」
It was Elena who reacted to Rei’s muttered words.
「Rei-, information on this monster!」
Rei swung the Death Scythe to intimidate the Water Monkeys, took some distance and spoke up as he recalled the the contents written in the book.
「They are a D rank monster that can use magic of the water system. However, that is if they are alone. Their fur, which is covered in water, mainly reduces the damage they take from physical and magical fire system attacks. Because of that, wind system and earth system magic seem to be the most effective. If you use physical attacks, blunt weapons like clubs, hammers or axes can transmit the impact into them. Sharp attacks like stabs that can cut through the layer of water and their fur are also effective.」
「It’s a pain that you can’t use your most powerful magic. ……Then only my magic effective. After that is the weapons you mentioned. No, that reminds me Rei. Weren’t you able to use some wind magic as well?」
「Yes. That said, the only wind magic I can use is the wind blade that I used at the time with the mantis.」
「No, that’s better than nothing. Focus on that……they’re coming!」
It was the Water Monkeys that, seeing Elena and Rei talking, couldn’t control their excitement in front of it’s prey. Baring their fangs, they threw itself down from the trees. To support it, the others behind it shot out water balls, though they were considerably smaller than the ones the Water Bear had used.
Against the two Water Monkey that directly attacked, Rei used the Death Scythe’s Flying Slash skill. The Flying Slash drew out an arc as Rei swung the Death Scythe, cutting both monkeys in two as it was about to attack Rei. At the same time, the Flying Slash left big scars on the trees in its way as it flew to the back.
Suddenly seeing its companions being split in two in mid air, it watched as the bodies hit the ground, spilling out the internal organs. A Water Monkey raised a cry of caution. However, it was too late. Though Elena’s wind blade was considerably weaker compared to Rei’s Flying Slash, on the the other hand, over 10 were shot out at the same time. Torn to pieces by the wind blades, this Water Monkey was unluckier than the one killed by Rei. Compared to the first two that died without feeling any pain, the next Water Monkey to receive Elena’s attack had its hands, toes and part of its ear cut off by Elena’s wind blades. Because the wind blades were lacking in power, they weren’t able to cut off their hands and feet and could only cut halfway.
Ara swung her sword down at the Water Monkey that fell and rolled on the ground several times while bleeding. Kuust then ran it through with his magic spear.
The water at its neck wasn’t able to block Ara mighty blow, the sword removing its head from its body. The water covering its body was also split apart the moment the tip of Kuust’s magic spear touched it and the spear pierced right through. Elena swung her sword whip, cutting through their bodies like the water wasn’t there.
Set’s single blow ignored the water completely, cutting through both the water and skin of the Water Monkey. And because Set was equipped with the Bracelet of Herculean Strength, as the Water Monkey was struck, instead of being blasted away, its body was shattered, spraying its internal organs onto the trees in the surroundings.
The troop of monkeys immediately felt a sense of crisis after seeing their companions sink into a sea of blood. A Water Monkey that had thrown itself at Rei earlier immediately grabbed onto a branch and took some distance.
「Did they give up?」
「No, it’s different.」
Vel denied Kuust’s words. He held his bow, ready to shoot at any time, while watching the state of the Water Monkeys that surrounded them from the tree tops.
However, they must have realised that they can’t deal with us with their current power?」
「They should be smart enough monsters. ……Look at their eyes. Does it look like they’ve given up?」
When Vel said that, Kuust observed the states of the Water Monkeys. Their eyes held hunger and hostility due to their companions being killed by what they considered to be prey. They also had no looks of shock or fear.
「In the end, monster are only like this. They can’t see through the power of their opponents.」
The moment Kuust muttered that in disdain.
The ferocious roar resounded through the neighbouring area.
The Water Monkeys that were fighting with Rei before immediately disappeared into the forest without hesitation after hearing the roar.
It was like the withdrawal of soldiers given a command.
「I see. As expected, the reason why the monsters were all here was because there was someone leading them.」
Though Rei watched the surroundings while hearing Elena’s impressed murmuring, next to him, Set suddenly looked up at a big tree further into the forest and gave a cry.
Rei reflexively readied the Death Scythe at that cry. It was a Water Monkey that was considerably larger than the ones from the troop before. It was about 2m tall. Its large size was apparent when you considered that the largest Water Monkeys from before were only 1m tall.
(No doubt, it seems this is the guy that raised that roar just before.)
Maybe the huge Water Monkey noticed that it had been spotted, it disappeared into the forest depths after glancing at Rei, Elena and the others.
「Is that a Water Monkey? With that size, isn’t more like a Water Gorilla than a Water Monkey? Rei, do you know anything about the sizes of Water Monkeys?」
「They are basically all small, the largest will only be about 1m tall.」
「There were some that big in the previous troop of monkeys.」
「Ah. In that case, it might be a rare or higher ranking species……unfortunately, nothing was written about that in the book I read.」
「I see. ……It was a monster that had enough intelligence to signal a retreat after seeing that our fighting strength was dangerous. I wouldn’t want to have to fight it.」
At Elena’s murmur that floated into the surroundings, everyone seemed to nod in the minds.