146 Chapter 92: The First Time in a Town Dungeon Part 3
The hallway Joshua and his group found themselves walking down was the final one with no splits left up ahead. The path lead to a large door that had a few bones on it showing that the room up ahead was a boss arena. That was just another sign that this dungeon was definitely system generated. Since the room would probably be more spacious Joshua put away his short sword and gun and pulled out his scale blade. Whatever they were going to face he was sure it would be similar to these shadow creatures that they had faced up to this point. If so then it all came down to doing massive amounts of damage before the creature could melt back into the walls. The scale blade would be perfect for that especially with an echo strike attack.
\t"Do you think there will only be one strong monster in their or several little ones?" Lilly asked as they had paused right outside of the door.
\t"Probably both. Several small ones helping out a stronger one." Joshua said remembering how the beginner's dungeon had worked.
\t"If that's the case then I'll go in first and attract their attention." Tank said through his aura as he walked in front of everyone. "I'll take on their first barrage and then you guys let them have it.
\t"Sure thing, when all the small fry are down you can come out of your shell and help us out against the big guy." Joshua explained getting a nod in return. Lilly summoned both Flutter to boost the party for the upcoming fight and Mr. Hoppy to give some extra damage against the group they'd be facing. They could all attack from afar while Tank and Joshua took front stage.
\tJoshua opened the door first and then stepped aside to let Tank head inside. Then he followed the large turtle inside with the rest of their group following along close behind them. The room they entered was rather spacious and Tank took the opportunity to grow in size a few times under the circumstances. He wasn't anywhere near his larger size, but he was about the size of a house at the moment. Cinder followed Tanks example and grew a little bit as well with Lilly hoping off her back so the spider didn't have to worry about moving around too fast. Instead Lilly got on top of Mr. Hoppy who was patiently waiting for the up and coming encounter.
\tJoshua looked around the room and could see the place was just a large wide open space with a big stairway that went further down at the back of it. What immediately drew his attention were all the shadow like figures moving along the walls as they started to head in his group's direction. He also noticed an even larger shadow at the center of the room that was staying still, but Joshua was certain that it was the boss monster for this floor.
\tTank immediately let out a loud roar as he rushed forward to attract all of the attention from the shadows that were swarming towards them and then he withdrew into his shell just like back in the trap monster room. All of the shadows flew out of the walls and headed towards Tank quickly before smashing their large clawed hands directly into his shell. All they got in return for their efforts were loud clanging sounds that reverberated throughout the room over and over again. Before the creatures could realize that their efforts weren't getting them anywhere Cinder started a powerful flame spell that engulfed all of them along with Tank the flames quickly caught all of the annoying shadow creatures on fire as they wailed and screamed in pain loudly.
\tLilly immediately started sending fireballs at individual shadow creatures to kill them off before they could escape back into the walls with Mr. Hoppy helping out with several balls of acid to some of the surviving creatures. Joshua on the other hand just blinked into the crowd of flaming creatures with his aura shroud in full effect then he started to tear them apart with his scale blade. It didn't take them long to clear them all out as their bodies started too disintegrated and fall apart, but this time things were markedly different.
\tThis time around the ash like remains didn't simply just vanish into thin air, but it was like a vortex was sucking it all in one direction. It was all headed right towards the center of the room where the large shadow remained. It seemed like the shadow was absorbing its dead minions as it started to thicken and spread out even more. It was at that moment that Joshua knew exactly why this creature didn't fight alongside the other ones. It planned to absorb them and become more powerful itself. From what Joshua could tell there was no way for him to avoid this outcome since the creatures were unable to be damaged while in the shadowy form. Maybe if he had some sort of light based spell he could get around the whole gimmick to the fight, but he didn't have anyone along with him that could do that.
\tSoon the vortex finally stopped pulling everything in as the last bit of ash was absorbed into the shadow. The moment the shadow was done it started to coalesce into a form that was easy for them to see. It seeped out of the floor and formed would looked nearly identical to the sub-boss haze creature from the town, but this time instead of relying on the haze to hide it could simply melt into a shadow to avoid any of their attacks. What made matters worse was the fact that the shadow on the ground didn't disappear as the being came into form, but instead started to spread out even more. It covered everything in the surroundings. The walls, the floor, the ceiling, nothing was out of the scope of its shadow now and it would make it incredibly easy for the creature to simply meld into the shadows at any time while also being able to hide its form.
\tJoshua had noticed that the shadow creatures that they had faced up to this point all had two glaring weaknesses. The first was the simple fact that they had to come out of their shadows to attack and that left them open for a counter every time. This wasn't fixable for them since otherwise they might as well just have been ghost that couldn't interact with anything they came across. The second glaring weakness was the fact that their shadows were so obvious. Even in the dimly lit hallways these creatures were like looking at giant dark spots along the wall that were moving quickly towards you. They were kind of impossible not to spot as long as you had a form of light around. Of course they could have fixed this issue by simply attacking them from dark places, but anybody with a torch could get around that issue. That's why what this boss class shadow creature had just done had changed things so drastically.
\tThe creature let out a loud wail that sent killing intent flooding into the surroundings. Luckily this time around Lilly was more prepared for it. It was a similar ability to the one that the boss class haze creature had used but not quite as effective. The creature was about to rush back into the shadows when Joshua used observe on it to see what its level was. It had four stars next to its name and was level forty. From that alone Joshua knew it was probably strong enough to pierce through his aura with that large claw. So if it came down to it he could use aura hardening to sky rocket his defenses. First he needed to see who the creature would go after. Would it try to attack Tank like how all of its minions had done before or would it wise up and go for someone else?
\tIt didn't take all that long for Joshua to find out his answer as the creature silently appeared behind Lilly and Mr. Hoppy and was preparing to dig into them with its massive claw. It didn't make a single sound when it appeared so Joshua could see why Lilly didn't notice. He instantly blinked in between the creature and Lilly along with Mr. Hoppy. He then blocked its claw with his scale blade and held his ground without budging. The creature was fairly stealthy and quick, but its pure strength wasn't all that great. It couldn't use its size to boost that strength either since it wasn't much bigger than Joshua at the moment. So in the end Joshua was able to push off the claw and counter with a quick swipe that tore into its shoulder. The creature wailed in pain before sinking back in to the shadows.
\t"How did it get behind me without any of us noticing?" Lilly asked a bit surprised at the situation.
\t"It can move through the shadows and it doesn't seem to make any sound while doing so. We'll have to be careful about that. Put Mr. Hoppy up since he'd be easy pickings for this guy then get on the back of Tank. Its shadows can't get so close to you there." Joshua said getting a nod from Lilly as she rushed to put Mr. Hoppy away and climbed up on to the back of Tank. Cinder was fine since she was relying on other senses to find the creature when it appeared and if it came down to it she could easily take a few blows before being in any real danger.
\tThe next time the creature appeared Cinder shrieked letting everyone know exactly where it was as it tried to leap up towards the back of Tank to get to Lilly. Clearly this boss was designed to go after the back line first. Unluckily for it now that she was all the way up on the back of Tank the entire group had plenty of time to react before it could even get close to her. Cinder instantly leaped forward and bit into the creature's large clawed hand catching it by surprise. She pulled on it harshly causing it to have to try to break away from her, but before it could Joshua rushed over and coated his scale blade in aura and cut the large claw clean off.
\tThe shadow creature started screaming as black ooze started to drip from where Joshua had cut off its arm and Cinder made sure to burn the large claw completely that was in her mouth as she glared at the screaming creature. They didn't want to just toss the arm aside and find out that it could meld back together with it in the shadows. In its pain the creature didn't take notice of Tank turning around and standing right behind it. If it had rushed back into the shadows right away then the fight might have gone on for a little longer, but instead it was a step to slow for its own good.
\tJust as the creature got over the pain and was trying to meld its way back into the shadow, Tank quickly bent down and bit the long hair of the shadow creature. He didn't tear it off, but instead used it as leverage to pull the shrieking and wailing armless creature back out of the shadows. Tank then stretched his head up so that the poor thing was trapped hanging in the middle of the room far out of reach of the shadows. Tank gave a quick nod to the others and then Cinder seemed to screech with excitement before she started spewing a large amount flame directly onto the poor creature. Lilly didn't hold back either as she used her empower ability to make the flames burn even hotter.
\tAfter about a minute of constant burning the thing finally stopped shrieking and crumbled apart. All of the shadows in the room faded away and the way to the stairs became clear once more. The group smiled in relief of taking care of the boss without any one getting hurt and then Joshua lead the way towards the stairs with everyone following behind. Tank shrunk back down in size to fit into the new hallway without any trouble. The moment Joshua got to the base of the stairs he let out a deep sigh at what he saw ahead. This time around the entire hall was covered in the shadows and he had a pretty good idea what that meant.