They spent the rest of the day just exploring four of the reaming nine pathways they'd need to explore before moving on. At that point it was getting a little late and the group needed a rest to continue instead of just burning themselves out recklessly. Down the other three paths they had found another set of keys alongside a treasure chest that contained a bunch of minerals. They also found another room filled with treasure chest that contained puzzle pieces and one path lead to a room that simply had a single key, but it wasn't the same shape or size as the one for the chest with puzzle pieces.
In the end they had found a whole lot of things, but they all knew they still had five more paths to explore and that was going to take a good chunk of the next day if not most of it. They made their way back to the large circular room in the center where all the paths connected. Joshua made sure to mark a path off on the map whenever they finished one so he knew which ones not to go back down. They may have been going in a circle around the room to clear the paths, but if something happened where things got mixed up at least his map would be able to help them out.
Joshua got to work setting up the tents and brought out a pile of wood to cook dinner over in a camp fire. Lilly had started the long process of feeding all of the creatures in her soul realm. At the moment she had put all of her regular pets away so that she could feed at least four dogs or four horses at a time. It would become so much easier once they were able to get the stable up and running. They decided to settle on having some simple rabbit for dinner and Joshua stretched out his body while waiting for it to cook. He had his scale blade set down nearby just in case anything tried to attack them from any of the paths, but things seemed to be going fairly smoothly in the end.
By the time the meat had finished cooking and Joshua had gotten a couple of side dishes to heat up over the camp fire out of his inventory, Lilly had completed the long task of feeding all of her animals from her soul realm. When she was finished She let out Tank and Cinder along with Jade to feed them as well. Mr. Hoppy soon appeared and was relaxing off to the side as he chowed down on one of his favorite meals of lizard from the marsh area. That night after a quick meal Lilly and Joshua both got some rest while some combination of her pet's stayed out watched the area for any surprise attacks. At this point Joshua was an extremely light sleeper so he would get up at the first sign of any trouble coming their way.
The next morning they went through the same routine at breakfast before Joshua started leading them down a new path. This path was a bit different since it had a bit of a weird set up to it. Each time they came across a new area as they followed the path there would be a small gate that would block there way. To pass the gate they had to take down the enemies in the room at a fast enough pace. The reason Joshua figured that out was because of the constant ticking that came from the gate as they were fighting the prairie dogs. The longer it took them to clear the area the faster the ticking became. He wasn't sure what the end result would be, but he didn't want to find out either. If he did that would mean he had failed in the first place.
This path took them a while to clear because of all of the fighting, but Joshua and Lilly made quick work of the area. Each time they ran into a new gate the task given for them to clear would become harder, but then Joshua would just put in more effort or Lilly would have Cinder or Tank help out making things move along much faster. It took them two hours to get all the way to the end of the path and when they reached it there was simply a big chest waiting for them, but there was something different about this chest. It clearly wasn't designed for puzzle pieces since it was so small and was blue in color instead of the bronze or brown coloring that he had seen with the other puzzle chest from earlier.
He realized the key that he had found from one of the paths they had cleared yesterday matched up with the chest and he quickly used it to open it and check what was inside. To his surprise there was simply a rolled up scroll like piece of paper which he quickly unfurled to see what was inside. The paper seemed to glow for a moment after he finished unfurling it and then a system message appeared.
[Congratulations on finding a blue print. Since this is the first time you have ever encountered a blue print before it will be explained in full for you. Blue prints can be found from chest in dungeons or in the rare case can be found in the system shop when certain sales occur. It should not be expected to find them all that often so it is suggested that you hang on to them whenever you come across one. They can be sold in the auction for a high price if you already have the asset of that blue print. Blue prints can be used in all sorts of situations for different things. Some are used for certain structures when building a town, while others can be used for specific jobs to build a specialized set of gear or it can be used for specific potion ingredients.
There is a blue print for just about anything you can think of and once you learn the blue print as long as you have the proper job you can easily use it and create those items or structures with a bonus effect. You can find out what this blue print is for when returning to the hub city and having it appraised in the system blue print shop.]
After Joshua finished reading through the message he smiled at the prize they had just gotten, even if he wasn't sure if it was something that was necessary at the moment. There were tons of people in the alliance and he did plan on making a guild soon so having stuff like this could go a long way in building their strength up for the future. Joshua made sure to send the information over to Lilly so she could understand what was going on as well. "So this thing could be just about anything then?" She asked as Joshua put the blue print away into his inventory.
"Looks like it, but based of all the stuff we went through just to get it I highly doubt it will be something useless. Even then it could be useful to someone else we know in the alliance or someone we end up bringing into our guild in the future." Joshua said with a smile. "Now that we've cleared this path there are only four more to go."
"Well it took us almost two hours to finish this one so I'm guessing the last four are probably going to take up the rest of our day in the end." Lilly said with a small frown.
"Well don't jinx things," Joshua said before they started making their way back towards the center area where they could choose from all of the paths to go down. When they made it all the way back he made sur to mark the path they had just came from off of his map as completed and then they moved on to the next one. Sadly for Joshua Lilly's premonition ended up coming true. The next path they went down took another couple of hours to complete, but this time it wasn't because they were rushed like the previous one which exhausted them. This new path just had so many splits in it that they had to go down every one of them to try to find the puzzle pieces they needed otherwise they would have ended up coming back later on.
While exploring they found several treasure chest filled with raw materials, several prairie dogs that constantly got in the way and were an eyesore, and lastly down one random path they found a key that they were sure was going to be used to unlock something down another path. It took a while to back track down all the split paths and exit that section before moving on to the next one. In the next path they were able to figure out what the key they found was used for. The path was just an extremely long corridor with an occasional prairie dog in the way that they had to fight through.
Along the way Joshua and Lilly both leveled up for the first time within the dungeon and they were starting to see why it would get harder and harder to level up as they went forward. That might change in the future as they took on more challenging dungeons, but the prairie dogs weren't exactly push overs, yet it still took a day and a half of exploring the dungeon to gain one level. That was with the bonus experience they were getting for being the first people to explore the dungeon and the bonus from being under leveled and clearing it without being carried by higher level explorers. Once they reached level fifty Joshua imagined the leveling process would slow down even more and when they reached that point Joshua was going to have to figure out a way around it.
When they reached the end of the long corridor they came across another much smaller gate that they had to use the key from the last section to open. Beyond the gate there was only a single prairie dog guarding a blue treasure chest which told Joshua that there was most likely another blue print on the inside. The room was filled with large holes all over the place and the single prairie dog had the key hanging from its neck. Joshua could see where things were going so he decided to handle it quickly before the ugly thing could dive down a hole and start popping up all over the place. That would be a nightmare to deal with after spending hours fighting already up to that point.
So before the annoying prairie dog could so much as dive into the first hole closest to it Joshua erupted his aura shroud and blinked right in front of it. Without a single word or shout Joshua coated his scale blade in aura and pierced it right through the creature's skull. He made sure to use extra force to make sure it died and he ended up using so much that he slammed the overgrown gerbil into the wall and pierced his scale blade all the way through to the dirt on the other side.
As the creature died Joshua ripped the key off its neck in annoyance before putting the corpse into his inventory and pulling his scale blade out of the wall. He made sure to wipe the scale blade off before going over and opening the chest to get another blue print. Then they headed back so they could go down the last two paths. The first one lead them down another branching path area that took another couple of hours to clear until they found yet another key. While the final path finally let them to the room with the last few puzzle pieces they would need to open the large bronze gate that blocked their path forward.
With all the pieces they were ready to open the gate and head into the next section of the dungeon, but it was already fairly late and it was time to get some rest before heading further in. They once again set up their tents to get some rest so that they could take on whatever laid beyond the gate first thing in the morning.