99 Chapter 45: A Hidden Dungeon in the Marsh from an Average Explorers Perspective
Just outside of the Hidden Dungeon that had been recently displayed on the map worldwide a group of ten adventurers stood in front of the portal gate looking at everything around them in awe. Unlike before when Joshua and Lilly had come to the dungeon through the lake, there was now a stairwell that lead directly down to the portal so that people wouldn't have to swim to find the entrance. The place was still in a sort of air pocket, but it was easier to get too, which was the reason why it was starting to attract people of all sorts to come and check out the dungeon.
For most a hidden dungeon of level twenty-five would be perfect for grinding up to level thirty. In fact if they got good enough at the dungeon they could grind up to that level in a couple of months or so. Their group was one of the first to get to explore the dungeon sense it was put up for public use. Sadly whoever had unearth the dungeon didn't leave any tips or information behind sense it had been made public. Usually the first clear group would leave information behind after they've finished with the dungeon and moved on, but it was too early for that at the moment. It was likely that the first clear group hadn't quite finished grinding the place at this point.
So their group of ten was going to be going into this dungeon fairly blind and that was a first for most of them. They had stuck to system dungeons sense they were easier to find and gave your group their own space to explore, but hidden dungeons had far greater rewards when it came to experience and they planned to use that to push their group to around level thirty so they could try to join some of the larger guilds soon. For now they were all around level twenty-six or so which meant they would be higher level than the creatures inside, but that didn't mean all that much sense beast tended to be stronger than most explorers of the same level. Take into account that the creatures in the hidden dungeon would be multiple star level enemies and things would become incredibly tough, but this was their best chance to get ahead.
Their group was comprised of a rather diverse skill set with everyone having a role to fill. They had two people that could play the role of tank for the party. One being a rather bombastic berserker that liked to charge ahead most of the time, while the other being a knight that was exceptional at defense and had heavy armor to withstand the beatings of larger monsters. The berserker used a heavy axe as a weapon and had rather lax armor sense he relied on his high regeneration and high vitality to tank blows. While the knight had a basic sword and shield combo, but his shield was on the heavy side so that he could block the attacks of larger creatures.
Three people in the group compromised their healing force and support. Two of them were pure healers that were focused on healing injuries of different types. Sense the group was so big they needed to have at least two healers at all times to take care of everyone, especially if they came across a big fight that got everyone involved. The support person held the class of thief and was able to check for traps laid out throughout the dungeon and open chest safely for the rest of them. He also had a good sense of danger and was on defense duty for the two healers if anything got past the rest of the group. The last five people in the group were all damage dealers with three of them being up close fighters that weave in out attacks around the tanks while the last two were ranged combatants. One being an archer girl who had a good eye and could hit from a decent range and the other being a mage that could use some basic spells to deal damage.
In the end the group was fairly balanced and prepared to face several different circumstances if needed. The knight at the front of the party walked up to the functioning portal and was the first one to walk through. Seeing as nothing bad happened the rest followed and they all ended up in a big room with carvings of lizards all over the place. At first they all looked around a bit to see if they could find any clues, but when they took notice of a pedestal up ahead they had the thief go over to check it out for any traps. Soon they all knew they would have to be ready to move in a hurry, but they could only move at the pace of the slowest members which would mean they would be fairly hampered down if they were in a rush like the message on the pedestal had insinuated.
The berserker started to push the pedestal down into the floor the moment everyone was prepared to rush down the path when the pillars were moved out of the way. Soon the group noticed the wave of small lizards coming out of holes in the ceiling and the race was on. It was a terrifying situation sense they were clearly not going to be able to out run the little creatures that were gunning to tear them apart. In the end they were force to use a lot of their resources to slow the creatures down as they made their way down the hallway. From potions that created poison fog, to grenade like objects that blew up large chunks of the hoard behind them they continued to madly escape from the creatures for almost an hour before they came across a stepping stones obstacle.
The obstacle looked dangerous, but it was their only way forward so they made their way across one at a time, while the people that were waiting at the back had to use any means to slow the hoard down until they could make their way across. By the time everyone was safely to the other side and they had made it past a check point that closed the pathway behind them off, the group was already drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. This dungeon was already far more dangerous than any they had challenged before and they hadn't even actually been their long enough to come across anything that could be considered a strong opponent.
After a long breather they made their way down the hallway and ran into their first split path with a riddle to go along with it. To them it seemed like a fifty-fifty choice sense it seemed the same no matter which direction they chose. In the end they voted to go right and after a while they finally came up against their first full sized monster in the dungeon. It was an enormous lizard that immediately put the entire group on edge. The tanks took the front and everyone got into position to take on the giant beast, but all of their ideas were thrown off track the moment the large lizard flared out its dewlap and its eyes started glowing. The odd attack immediately blinded several of the members of the group that didn't turn away in time while others were put into a state of confusion. There entire group might have been wiped out right then and there if their knight hadn't avoided the attack by using one of his abilities to protect himself from its effects.
Even so the lizard shot acid in his direction and he was forced to block it with his shield sense the rest of the members of the group would have been hit in their confusion. It was a horrible start to a tough fight that they eventually got control of as the confusion effect faded away. After a long ten minute struggle they finally took the lizard down and they had to wait for the healers to take care of the injured before they could move on further into the dungeon. This became an ongoing process that went on for the entire day as it took a long time for them to take down each lizard they came across if they didn't want to put themselves into unnecessary danger. Throughout the entire process they weren't getting nearly as much experience as they were expecting even if they were splitting the experience for ten separate people. It was still more experience than just fighting outside of the dungeon, but clearly they had gone down the wrong path.
At the end of the path they had to take down two of the large lizards and the battle went on for nearly half an hour. Every time they were able to get any sort of damage onto one of the creatures the other one would get in the way and cause several issues for them. The back and forth fighting dragged out the battle for far longer than they were expecting and forced the group to use up a lot of energy before they were finally able to take the things down and make their way into the room they were guarding. Even so they were disappointed at the fact that they didn't come across any sort of treasures while exploring the place up to that point. They decided to rest for the night in the open room with the single large totem that proved they had chosen the wrong path. Going forward they would have to be careful and avoid making similar mistakes.
After a good night's rest to replenish themselves and a hardy breakfast to make sure they had plenty of energy for what came next. They passed through the only door that lead out of the room and entered a place with nearly waist deep water for a lot of the group. This time around the enemies they came across were smaller, but came in larger groups and were incredibly fast. The tanks up front were forced to take a harsh beating sense if they stepped aside then the fast creatures could tear straight through one of their healers like tissue paper if given the chance. So they were forced to take the brunt of the assault while the melee fighters knocked the beast off of them and the ranged fighter peppered the creatures with deadly attacks from afar.
In this situation their pace was slowed down even further as the fights became more drawn out under the circumstances. If you included the fact that they had to wade their way through high water the entire time and be careful of surprise attacks and hidden traps, things became extremely slow and frustrating for the group. At least now they were getting far more experience than they were getting in the first area, but it took them two whole days to get through the entire area. By this point the group was incredibly banged up with some more worse for wear than others. Their knight was on his last shield having lost two of his previous ones to acid attacks that melted through the metal. He knew if they were going to do the entire dungeon again he would definitely get a shield that was resistant to acid. The archer was running low on arrows, and the mage was exhausted from all the spell work needed to fight for three days straight. The healers weren't much better off.
Now that they were at the finish line they decided to get one good night of rest just outside of the boss room before they would take on the hardest challenge they had come across. The next morning the group was well rested and ready for the upcoming challenge. They headed into the boss room and came across a lizard warlock that glared furiously at them. The fight started before they even knew what was going on as several lizards came charging out of the water around the room or came climbing down from the ceiling. This was clearly the fodder for the boss, but even so it pushed the entire group to their limits as they struggled to finish all of the mobs while the warlock watched from above and would occasionally cast spells that disrupted their teamwork. Its attacks were vicious and some of them even poisoned some of the members which made the healers jobs even harder.
Just when they were done killing off the weaker mobs and tried to turn their attention towards the warlock things started to take a turn for the worse as a large roar came from the cave entrance at the back of the room. They could hear fast angry footsteps shake the entire place as an enormous two headed lizard made its way out of the cave and over towards the warlock that hopped up onto its back. This scene terrified all of them, they could feel that they weren't ready for such a monster. They were already tired just with having to deal with normal mobs and the warlock now a beast bigger than anything they had ever seen came charging their way.
The knight used some sort of ability that flashed around his body as he tried to stop the charge of the creature with his shield. The attempt slowed the creatures charge down, but soon a harsh swipe of its massive claws sent the knight spiraling through the air. Everyone could hear the crunch of one of his arms from the impact of the blow and the large man's figure was left knocked out on the cold floor after taking on such a heavy attack. Before the healers could even try to help a green fog came out of the warlock's staff and weakened everyone in the room who breathed it in. At that point it seemed as though all hope was lost with the giant beast charging over towards the healers and ranged fighter to deal a fatal blow to the group.
Just when death seemed like the only option another giant beast charged into the room and bit into one the large lizard's necks and lifted it up off the ground before tossing it across the room. This sudden change of events surprised everyone, but the good tide coming their way didn't stop there. A loud shout field the room as a large man charged in and leaped off of the turtles back. For some reason his roar seemed to sweep away all the weakness they felt in their bodies from the fog and seemed to vitalize everyone in the room. They all just sat aside and watched as the man single handedly tore into the giant lizard with his large blade. After only a few moments the giant beast had already lost one of its heads while the warlock had been cut in half and thrown aside. The battle raged on for a little longer, but soon the lizard succumbed to its wounds and was no longer able to put up a fight.
Before dealing the final blow everyone in the room received a message of a party invite and they all agreed. With a nod the large man lifted his blade and dealt the killing blow to the poor lizard. It was a sight that sent shivers down their spines and showed how far they had to go before they could truly be considered strong.