151 Chapter 97: Back to Jayce“s Groups Exploration with Amy
Jayce had plopped down onto his bedroll the moment he had finally gotten everything set up to get some rest. After a quick meal he immediately went to go get some rest before his shift of night watch came up. At this point they had been exploring the dungeon for a couple of days and it started to show in both the new recruits and Jayce's group. Both groups were experiencing a level forty dungeon for the first time and it was clear there was a drastic change from the lower level dungeons to this one. What used to take a day at most would now take a group as big as theirs multiple days to clear. Luckily Adam let them all know that they were only one day away from being able to clear the place at the pace they were going, but that was all that he was willing to tell them.
\tUp to this point in the exploration Jayce's group had leveled up once already and was well on their way to leveling up again at the rate things were going. Usually a group of their size wouldn't get nearly that much experience from one dungeon run, but since they were under leveled for the dungeon and were still performing up to task, the system was rewarding them with some extra experience. That wasn't the only thing they were getting out of it though. They were also gaining a ton of personal experience in a far more dangerous dungeon that they wouldn't have been able to get on their own.
\tThe dungeon had forced them all too new heights in just two days. Marcus was forced to learn about new traps that he had to deal with. He also was forced to explain said traps to the groups since Adam wasn't going to do that for them. He not only had to do that but also was constantly protecting the back line from surprise attacks that came from hidden creatures that were able to blend in with the surroundings. After the first day they were no longer just marching down hallways, but were actually going through forested areas unlike any other dungeon they had been to before. Because of this Marcus had to keep his eyes and ears open since they didn't have an aura pulse like ability that could sniff out trouble from far away.
\tMonika was dealing with another issue entirely. Not only was she the only healer in the group so she had to heal any and all injuries that everyone got, but she also constantly had to keep up shields around the back line for protection in case Marcus didn't make it in time. They all knew Adam would protect them if things went wrong, but the whole point was for them to be able to clear the dungeon without having to rely on higher level players. The shields also helped them block off ranged attacks while the two tanks up front were busy holding off enemies up close.
\tAllen was pretty much the only person dealing damage up close for the entire group. Amy only helped from time to time and was there to lead the group instead of carry them through the dungeon. She kept out of fights most of the time so it was up to Allen to deal most of the damage from up close. The thing that Allen had to focus on was timing which was exactly what Joshua had been training him for. He had to have the timing and reaction speed to use his soul beast ability properly. So that was what Amy had him focus on. He couldn't wait until Jayce and the other Tank had stopped their enemies charge because if he waited that long then the creature would have time to react before he could close the distance. At the same time he couldn't charge in to early himself, otherwise he could get in the way of the tanks as they slid back from the impact of the enemies charge. He had to be perfectly on time so that right after the tanks had stopped the charge he was already there either slashing the enemies eyes or cutting off a limb if it was a creature that didn't rely on sight. He was getting better and better at it the further they went into the dungeon.
\tIn Julia's case she was learning another type of timing. Since her powerful spells took so long to cast she needed to be able to charge them up beforehand. Her whole goal was to follow up the other spell caster's paralysis spell with a large fireball that could either kill their opponents or damage it enough so that her manipulation of her flames afterwards could finish it off. Another thing she was getting better at was moving while casting. Sometimes they came across enemies that could attack her from range and they often targeted the backline in those situations since this wasn't a system dungeon where all the creatures went after the first person they saw. This new situation forced Julia to move while casting to avoid ranged attacks and Joshua's training had come in handy in that regard.
\tLastly Jayce himself was learning a lot of new things while being the main tank for a large portion of the dungeon run. Being the main tank meant that he had to handle the creatures first while trying to keep the agro of most of the enemies. He was certain that some of the ranged attackers attacked the back line in every situation so instead of trying to use his provoking abilities on them and wasting them he made sure his shield wall blocked their path of attack. This forced the ranged enemies to have to aim their attacks over the wall and gave the back line more time to avoid the arched attacks. While being a main tank he had to get use to holding off a large number of enemies at a time. When he was moved over to off tank to get a rest he would have to pull off an enemy or two from the other tank so that he wouldn't get overwhelmed. He was getting used to working with other tanks and it was definitely a learning experience for him.
\tThe moment Jayce laid down and his eyes closed he was already out and put into a deep sleep. As an explorer he had to know how to get the most out of his time to sleep and he was getting better at it as the years went by. Sadly his short sleep felt like nothing more than a few seconds as he was woken up by Allen to tell him it was his turn for watch. Even though he didn't get all that much sleep he had recovered a lot of energy in the small time frame so he was just fine staying up for the last shift of watch. After a couple hours he started to wake the others and they all had a quick meal before heading out for the last part of the dungeon.
\tOver the last few days the dungeon had been gradually getting harder and harder. That pattern didn't change for their final day of exploring. Jayce took the lead as the main tank as usual and the monsters they came across were all level forty at this point. They were starting to face combinations of feral coyotes that charged in trying to create openings in their shield walls along with large squirrel like creatures that often glided from tree to tree before shooting fast moving fireballs towards them. These squirrels came in large numbers and tended to work alongside the coyotes. They were taking a similar attack model as the humans they were facing with the coyotes being the front line while the squirrels would attack from afar.
\tIt took a while to get use to their attack patterns, but with a little teamwork they were able to figure out the best way to handle the situation. Jayce of course took all of the creatures on head first with his shield wall at the start. He made sure to stand tall instead of squat down so the wall would be higher up and the squirrels would have to fly up and attack from above instead of straight ahead. This gave Julia and the archer the chance to shoot them down before they became too much of an annoyance. On the other hand the other tank would pull off a couple coyotes to hold off and relieve some of the pressure from Jayce. They would kill off the enemies that the off tank held off while Jayce kept the rest in place. Then the off tank would grab some more and they'd continue the process over again until the mob of beast were all killed.
\tThey continued this process all day long as they proceeded through the dungeon at a steady pace. They took the occasional break to regain their stamina, but for the most part they were clearing their way through fairly efficiently. It took most of the day for them to finally reach the end of the dungeon and this lead them right up to the boss area. This time around there wasn't a door or anything that specified that it was the boss area coming up, but they could all tell just from how big the space was. So far everything about the dungeon had been small narrow areas or places filled with trees, while the boss area was a big open clearing.
\tThey all stopped outside of the area to heal up and get prepared for the upcoming fight. From the distance they had stopped they could actually see what they were going to be up against. At the center of the clearing there were two enormous creatures that had the body structure of a coyote, but they were clearly far bulkier. One was red with tinges of flame occasionally coming from its fur while the other was green with a weird poison mist coming from its mouth. From what they could tell one had some kind of fire affinity while the other was more geared towards poisons. When Jayce observed the creatures he noticed they were both level forty with five stars by their names.
\t"Alright guys since there are two of the creatures this time we're going to split up for this fight." Amy said getting everyone's attention as she looked toward the two boss creatures. "I'm going to take on the fire based one on my own. I know Julia has other types of spells, but fire is obviously her strongest. It would be better for your group to take on the poison based coyote. Monika can heal you guys if you get poisoned after all. Make sure to keep up the same formation we've been using so far, but be aware that the boss is smarter than the regular beast. Alright, let's get going guys!"
\tEveryone cheered alongside her with her infectious energy. Amy took the lead this time with Jayce following close behind. The second they stepped into the arena both boss creatures turned towards them letting off some of their killing intent. Before they could charge over Amy dashed towards the fire one and lunged at its face surprising the creature. She then punched it straight in the nose with so much force the two story tall coyote was launched off its feet and sent sliding backwards. The blow was clearly a special technique by the way her arm glowed before doing it. Now that she had separated the two creatures she charged after her opponent leaving the rest of the group the enraged poison coyote to deal with.
\tJayce immediately leapt into the path of the poison coyote before it could follow Amy and he used his provoking shout followed up with a shield wall to get its attention on him. At first it didn't seem to work since the creature still tried to run passed him, but when it crashed into his shield wall it was clear that Jayce had gotten its undivided attention. The impact had caused Jayce to slide back ten feet before he was able to regain his footing. The next time the creature tried to rush up and bite him he tilted his shield wall and then instead of just waiting smashed it forward with his shield bash skill added on. This time he was only sent back a few feet from the collision, but the giant beast whined in pain as the attack disoriented it.
\tIn the next moment Allen raced over and slashed it in the eye while the other tank put up another shield wall to push the coyote in the proper position for the barrage of attacks coming from the back line to have the most impact. Before the creature could respond a blast of lightning paralyzed it long enough for an arrow to slam even further into the injured eye taking it out of commission for good. That was followed up with a large fireball that smashed into its side burning off all of its fur and causing massive damage. Julia started to manipulate the flames to latch on and cause constant damage which made the creature wail before it opened its mouth wide and spewed a large cloud of poison mist towards the entire frontline.
\tBefore the poison could become a hindrance Monika was already on top of things as she healed the two tanks from the poison along with Allen who had backed up a bit to make things easier for her. Before the creature could do anything else Marcus threw a canister of liquid that instantly blew up in the creatures face and the archer hit its other eye with an arrow that streaked through the air fast enough to get buried all the way in to its skull. It was certainly some sort of skill for an arrow to have such heavy impact and it blinded the creature long enough for Allen to open up more wounds on the large coyote. Now with new targets to aim for Julia controlled the fire to dig deep into the wounds and burn the creature from the inside. For the next ten minutes the group struggled with keeping the beast contained while slowly tearing it apart.
\tBy the time they had finally finished off the boss all of them cheered at their accomplishment for a moment before turning to help out Amy. They expected to see her still taking on the beast, but what they saw was a large coyote covered in holes that went deep into its body. It had clearly put up a fight with all of the scorch marks all over the place, but it had already bled to death from its injuries. Jayce felt a surge of strength signaling he had leveled up again and he smiled at the feeling. At least until he heard what Amy said next.