“Hah-ha-ha! Great job taking down the lotuses! Too bad they’re the weakest among the monsters I’ve prepared!” said Veil in a villainous manner.
“Now, head towards the third checkpoint! Even stronger monsters lie in wait for you there!!!”
Seems like it…
“What should we do?”
“We just finished having our first battle, so I think we should take a break. I also want to see if this tortoise is useful to us in any way.”
I wondered if I could cook hot pot from it, but with the number of tentacles it has, I don’t think it would be possible.
Maybe its shell can be used for something? It’s pretty durable and has a nice shape, so there has to be some use for it.
“Stop being laid-back about this!!!” angrily said our dungeon guardian.
“I’ll hold on to your monster loot until it’s time for you to leave, so just get going already!!!”
As soon as Veil said that, the lotuses’ corpses vanished right in front of our very eyes. They were sucked into a hole in the air, not leaving behind a single one of them.
Veil must have carried them away just like she said.
“Veil could totally wipe us out in an instant if she wanted to, right?”
“Of course. She’s a candidate for the successor of Emperor Geyser Dragon, and this is the dungeon she controls.”
Even this dungeon is versatile enough to rival a god. But everything’s only fun and games for Veil here. I guess I’ll amuse her as much as I can in return.
At last, we arrived at the third checkpoint.
While it was explained to us before that a dungeon is more or less a spatio-temporal distortion, I only got to actually feel it when we arrived here; It’s. So. Hot.
The moment we switched areas, we felt the sweltering heat.
“The third checkpoint is the Summer Area! Monsters that are most powerful under such high temperatures will be attacking you, be very prepared!!!” said our game master in a gleeful mood.
“She can even control the dungeon’s air temperature at will, huh?”
“It’s probably impossible to do so unless the guardian is someone as high-ranking as Veil. But it really is hot in here, my shirt’s drenched in sweat!”
In a way, the heat and humidity combined here at the third checkpoint tormented us more than the monsters did. We hadn’t taken any precautionary measures against the heat at all. Our mermaids Platy and Lampeye who are vulnerable to dehydration look like they’re about to dry up at any moment. And just when we were thinking of withdrawing from this place…the real disaster had arrived.
A pack of grey wolves with a slightly bluish coat appeared. They bared fangs as sharp as knives and snarled. Their hostility was obvious.
“Those wolf-type monsters are the most ferocious quadrupeds, the hyelycaons! There may be a multitude of species stronger than them in terms of individual fighting power, but these vindictive monsters always move in a pack, and can keep chasing after their prey for days on end!” explained Veil.
If what she said is true, then we’re in big trouble. They were probably built to be resistant to the heat if they were stationed here. While on the other hand, we lose our stamina bit by bit just from moving in this sweltering heat. If we try to run away, they’ll catch up to us, and even if we try to fight them, we’re still bound to run out of stamina first.
Our opponents also knew this and stayed put, preparing themselves for a drawn-out battle.
Ah…Just having a staring contest with them like this is making me sweat bullets and killing my energy…
We should probably make our first move before our stamina gets the better of us.
Or so I thought, but then the wolves started approaching us in small steps.
What is with their completely tame gait?
Then, as soon as they were about an arms-reach from me, they laid down with a flop on the ground, exposing their bellies.
…Isn’t this the pose of surrender?
But we haven’t even done anything yet…
“It seems the hyelycaon’s keen senses informed them of your strength, Lord Saint.”
A supernatural broadcast reverberated in the skies. Clearly, the voice wasn’t Veil’s, it was Sensei’s.
“Wolf-type monsters build a strict hierarchy among themselves to form a pack. They must have recognized you as their leader after sensing your tremendous strength, Lord Saint.”
I never really thought of myself as someone strong, though.
I tried giving one belly rubs, and to my surprise, its fur was fluffier than I thought. The wolf then wiggled and huddled up right next to me, as if asking for more. The other wolves then started gathering around me wanting the same.
“…How do you suppose we judge this?”
“Ugh, fine! Victory is yours, Master! Congggggggratulations.” said Veil in a pissed-off manner.
She must have been anticipating a thrilling battle to happen.
Sorry for keeping your hopes up, Veil.
The wolves, seemingly unfazed by the game master’s disappointment, recognized me as their new leader of the pack. They wagged their tails and led us somewhere.
As we followed them, they led us down the path where this area and the next are connected.
This “hard mode” doesn’t seem too hard after all!
The wolves looked at me with their round, puppy-like eyes, and stuck their tongue out whilst huffing as if they wanted me to praise them, so I, a softie, lost to their adorableness and patted their heads.
When we moved to the next area, they were still following us. They must have completely revered me as their leader, following wherever I’ll go.
The fourth checkpoint was more of an autumn area with mushrooms as its main monster.
They send out spores from their umbrellas, and if you inhale them by chance, you will fall into a nasty hallucinogenic state.
However, this doesn’t seem to work on fellow monsters, so we were overrun by Orkubo and Gobukichi’s teams as well as the pack of hyelycaon that just joined us.
This marks the completion of the fourth checkpoint.
Next up is the fifth and final checkpoint.