136 Chapter 82: Start of a New and Different Exploration
After a quick breakfast and saying goodbye to his parents, Joshua went to the portal area where all explorers could select their destination for their upcoming expedition. When he got there he only had to wait a few minutes for Lilly to arrive and she seemed excited to go exploring with him again. At first she seemed to be only in it to get new pets and support her family, but it seemed like lately she was having more fun with their adventures. Joshua was glad to see that since she was such a great partner to have. When they met up they greeted each other first and then Lilly asked the obvious question.
"So where are we going this time? Are we going to another training area in the level forty range this time around?" She asked with a tilt of her head. So far Joshua had been following a pattern in their expedition and had stuck to taking on areas above their initial level so she expected him to do something similar.
Surprisingly Joshua didn't answer right away as he was looking over a map set out in front of him of all the known territories and how strong the beast were in those areas. It was fairly detailed, but Joshua also noticed several areas that were darkened out and unexplored. At first he was thinking about heading towards one of the level forty plus areas like Lilly was thinking, but he realized that they were going to run into a problem if they continued to do that. Up to this point they were leveling alongside people that were beginners when it came to exploring and hadn't been out for much more than a year if they were really good or a couple if they were on the average side of things.
The problem was the fact that these people were all relatively new which meant that they were in the minority in comparison to the massive wave of several people that decided to become explorers at the start. It's like a situation with an MMO game, if you started years after the first wave of players then the people you were most likely playing with to get to end game were much smaller than the millions or in this case billions of people that had decided to start at the beginning. So the further along Joshua and Lilly got the quicker they caught up to the large group of people that were fighting over experience in the higher level regions. This wouldn't be a problem for most, especially if you belonged to a guild that had training areas and dungeons for their members, but for the average Joe it could slow down your progress greatly.
Joshua didn't want to spend half his time trying to find beast before other groups that are all over the area. Plus he didn't want to rush into a dungeon right off the back, especially if it was in a place where he'd have to fend of others to try to get the dungeon clear. It was annoying last time and that was with a head start, who knows how much worse it could get with more people involved and those people being more experienced.
So after a moment of thinking Joshua turned his sights on an area that was uncharted and wasn't all that far from the insect forest they had gone to before. He knew since it was uncharted it was most likely a higher level than the insect forest, but it couldn't be too drastic of a difference since they were so close to each other. The only problem was that the area he was looking at was inside a choke off point surrounded by mountains. To get inside he had to get past a small town area and that meant trying to take down some haze monsters. Joshua pulled up his stats to have a quick look before deciding on whether to even think about doing what he was imagining.
Job – Aura User
Soul Beast – Fenrir
Stats (parenthesis number is the bonus stats from levels and Job) [Bracket numbers are skill modifiers]
Strength: 900 (84) = 984 x [1.3] = 1279.2
Vitality: 900 (84) = 984 x [1.3] = 1279.2 (2755.2 with aura hardening)
Dexterity: 900 (84) = 984 x [1.3] = 1279.2
Intelligence: 900 (84) = 984 x [1.3] = 1279.2
Wisdom: 900 (84) = 984 x [1.3] = 1279.2
Will: 1400 (134) = 1534 x [1.3] = 1994.2
Luck 102 (0) = 102
After a quick glance he realized a combination of him, Lilly, and her pets could take on a town of that size on their own. They'd have to be careful and make sure not to get surrounded while venturing inside, but Joshua was certain they were up to the challenge. Plus if they get a town under their control then they'd pretty much have the entire area in the little chock hold to themselves and Adrian's group when they joined up. There were multiple little sections in the area which meant they were all of different levels so there would be a variety of places for them to train along with a bunch of dungeons. All they needed to do was take down the one town and it would all be theirs.
Joshua wouldn't have to worry about protecting the territory for six months considering the system made it impossible for someone to challenge a recently acquired territory and that would be more than enough time for them to finish exploring all of the area. Hell, they would probably create their own guild by that point since they would be a part of the alliance in the end anyway. It just made sense to go for this if they wanted to reach their goal quickly and also have something to do afterwards with the others.
Joshua smiled before turning towards Lilly and pointing out a spot on the map he brought up with the system. "I think we'll take a different approach this time around. Instead of trying to grind against beast and finding a dungeon that probably has a ton of people fighting over it we should go here."
Lilly looked over the spot Joshua pointed out and frowned a bit. "You do realize that's a small town right? That means we'd be going up against haze monsters." Lilly said a bit worried.
"True, but we're going to have go up against them eventually and I do plan to have you along with us when we aim for the larger town at the end of the year. I'm used to fighting haze creatures, but you need the experience. It's not like fighting beast which are usually straight forward as long as you know what their former forms were like in the past in most cases. Haze creatures can take on all sorts of forms and have abilities that could surprise you." Joshua explained.
"Are you sure with just the two of us we will be able to take on a whole town? I know you're strong Joshua, but isn't that a bit risky. There are several guilds filled with people that struggle to take on towns like this." Lilly said laying out the facts. "Besides wouldn't it be better if we had more people with us?"
"Honestly no it wouldn't." Joshua said and had to wave off Lilly to keep her from interrupting. "Many guilds rush into these towns with large amounts of people thinking they need the numbers to deal with the haze creatures, but all that does is attract the attention of all of the creatures in town. Regular haze creatures, zombies, sub-boss level beast, they attract the attention of all of them. That turns the fight into an open war where you have to use overwhelming force to win in the end. That's why small guilds have so much trouble taking down a town. They go in with that tactic, but don't actually have the proper force to back it up."
"I see, if that's the case then I assume there is another way to go about it since you seem so confident in our success." Lilly said with a small smile.
"Of course I do. Remember I'm the guy that took down a small town without even having powers in the first place alongside three people below level ten. That should tell you I've got dealing with small towns down pat." Joshua said puffing out his chest proudly in fake bravado.
"Yeah, and last time I heard you talk about that story you were all on the verge of dying by the end of it." Lilly said causing him to deflate like a poked balloon.
"Yeah, go ahead and beat a man while he's down. That's not the point though. The reason I'm so confident in our success is simply because of the fact the best way to beat a haze boss is by sneaking in and dealing with one thing at a time. Kill its sub- boss class beast to weaken its allies and then start dealing with the boss itself. As you injure it the boss will be forced use the haze to heal itself and that in turn will weaken all of the other creatures in the area that could help it out. In the end dealing with the boss as fast as possible is the best case scenario." Joshua explained.
"So I guess having my pets there to help hold off the smaller creatures also helps our predicament. There are several ways we could create an area inside the haze where we can hold off reinforcements while taking down the boss." Lilly said thinking things over. "I guess it wouldn't be too bad."
"Yep, and when we clear the town we'll have the entire area surrounded by the circle of mountains beyond it to train and level with. Some of the areas are probably high enough level for us to come back to later with Adrian and the rest. Multiple areas, multiple dungeons and a lot of experience." Joshua said with a smile. "I'm not sure what form the haze boss will take, but they all have high regeneration abilities so will have to look out for that. Outside of that we're pretty much in the dark."
"Well, I'm sure you'll figure it out boss." Lilly said playfully.
"Oh don't you dare start calling me that too. Jayce is bad enough." Joshua glared at her causing her to giggle at his pained expression. "Now let's go scope the place out, it's not too far from where we were before so will just go to the closest point to the area." Joshua said getting a nod from Lilly as he put in the coordinates for the system portal to send them. The portal took them near the outskirts of the insect forest and Joshua could see the mountain range that surrounded their destination. It wouldn't take to long for them to get there at the pace they were able to move.
Lilly immediately brought Cinder out from her soul realm scaring a few people in the area that were nearby and that were able to see the giant spider appear. Cinder shrunk down to a smaller size and let Lilly hop on to her back. Then followed after Joshua as he blasted forward at full speed in the direction of the mountain range. It took them about half an hour to reach the outskirts of the mountain then they had to run along the side to follow it to the entrance where the town was. Along the way they came across a few insects and other beast that tried to get in their way, but they were all relatively low in level for them. With a couple of swings here and there Joshua easily killed the over grown bugs and they continued on their way.
Soon the view of their destination came within site and the first thing they noticed was the large purple cloud of haze that just settled over the entire area. They couldn't even see any buildings or structures inside the town since the haze was so dense. They'd have to be careful to make sure they didn't get separated while entering. Luckily Joshua had his aura so it was easy for him to sense where Lilly and Cinder were located at all times.
Joshua stopped at the edge of the haze as he could sense a large presence towards the center of town. It was most likely the boss monster that was the source of the haze. He smiled a bit at seeing such a familiar situation before taking a deep breath and turning to speak to Lilly. "Let's go."