186 Chapter 132: The Dungeon that is a Puzzle in Itself Part 1
In the morning Joshua was surprised to see he wasn't the first one to wake up as he walked outside of his tent. Aito was already out sitting near the campfire as he cleaned his guns. It was interesting to see him take them apart and make sure everything was working well before putting them back together. He had probably been up for a while considering it seemed like he was just about done with the checks of all of his weapons and he looked like he was ready to go into the dungeon at any moment. Joshua also noticed that Tank was out sitting nearby at half his full size. He and Cinder had been sharing watch duty for the night and Joshua could see that Cinder was off to the side eating from one of the cocoons that Lilly had left out for her overnight.
The two beast were more than enough to protect them through the night if anything decided to come over and disturb their rest, or more likely anyone that decided to do such a thing. This was a hot spot for guilds to come and fight over the dungeon so it wouldn't be surprising to Joshua if some group had come and tried to get in the way of their exploration overnight. Joshua did have equipment from the system that was supposed to hold off any creatures that decided to get in their way as long as they were outside of a dungeon or a haze area, but he didn't have anything to ward off people. Luckily it seemed like nobody had come for a visit overnight so he didn't have to worry about it.
Joshua made his way over to the campfire and started putting it together for breakfast while patting Aito on the shoulder as he past him by to let him know that he was up. Aito gave him a small nod in return before going back to his work. He was always the quiet sort and his time as a sniper in the military seemed to have amplified that even more. He was friendly, but tended to be more of a listener unless he had something important to say or was joking around with his friends on the rare occasion.
After Joshua had gotten the fire going he quickly got to work on cooking some rabbit meat and making a soup for everyone to eat before heading inside the dungeon. The smell seemed to attract the attention of two of Lilly's pets that she had left out to help guard the place for the night. Jade slunk out of the shadow of one of the tents and made her way over to Joshua while Light simply came out of Lilly's tent altogether and rushed over excitedly. Surprisingly the two opposite pets seemed to get along really well as they sat down next to Joshua and tried to get his attention. Joshua could sense their feelings with his aura so he happily gave them some meat to eat.
Both pets were happy with the food and laid down as they munched away. In the short time that Joshua had spent with Light he had noticed the dog pretty much hit all of the expectations that you would have for a puppy. He was extremely clingy and excitable and was similar in attitude to Buster, but not nearly as large. The white Labrador was fun to be around and was turning out to be a big help when it came to combat. Light was clearly a defensive specialist and was perfect while working alongside a tank. He gave Joshua more ways to defend himself against stronger opponents without having to put the rest of the group in trouble. His abilities would go a long way into helping Joshua fill the role he needed to for the group to succeed.
While he finished up cooking breakfast he noticed most of the rest of the group was already getting up and preparing to come over for breakfast. Of course the only person that looked like they were a walking corpse was Amy, but after some food she started to look better for the upcoming task for the day. After Lilly had finished feeding all of her pets and everyone had geared up it was time for them to head inside the dungeon and see what it was all about. Henry had already had the place mapped out, but according to them it wasn't going to be a full guide for them to follow. Even though they had been able to make it all the way to the boss room apparently there was some other reason that they thought the dungeon would be different this time around and they didn't want to spoil Joshua and the rest for the surprise.
When they made their way over to the platform they noticed that the thing was shifting as another platform below it was coming up. So the platform at the top had to split apart and open so that the one below it could come out without causing any damage. Soon they saw why there was another platform coming up as a rather large group of over thirty people were making their way out of the dungeon. From the looks on the faces of the ones they could see Joshua could tell that they seemed happy, but not to the point where they had cleared the dungeon. Otherwise the territory would have appeared as claimed on the map at this point and that wasn't the case.
The group on the platform waited for it to stop moving before they decided to get off and make their way over to where they had noticed Joshua and the rest waiting. From what Joshua could see from looking at the people in the group they looked a little worse for wear as a lot of their gear was damaged and some of the members looked completely exhausted. This was especially the case for the three people he assumed were the healers for the large group. They looked like they would fall over at any moment and Joshua could see why since they most likely had to heal everyone in the group and if that was the case then by the fact that the group still looked like they had come out of the depths of hell even after being healed then the healers had their work cut out for them.
The person that Joshua assumed was the leader of the group since he was taking the lead and had the most imposing presence took off his helmet as he walked over and seemed to smile a bit as he saw Adrian and the rest. The man kept his hair cut short while keeping his face mostly clean shaven except for a slightly curled mustache that made him stand out a bit. He was white, but since he spent so much time in heated areas he seemed to develop a bit of a tan that made it look as though he had just come from the beach. He had a jovial presence and was surprisingly nearly as tall as Joshua standing at six foot six inches. From the enormous shield on his back Joshua assumed that he was most likely a Shield Wielder which was sort of rare to find since most tanks decided to either go with berserker or knight. A shield specialist was tough to come by, but could hold their own like any other tank.
Looking at the man a random thought popped into Joshua head and it was the fact it seemed that tanks were more often than not the leaders of groups from what he could see. He was sure guild leaders probably had all sorts of jobs, but when it came to expedition groups the tank tended to be the leader. Before Joshua could go any deeper into those thoughts the man let out a loud cheerful voice. His voice was deep and carried so Joshua had no problem hearing what he was saying even though he was still approaching them.
"Adrian, Henry, Aito it has been a while since I've seen you guys." He said with a big grin before he walked over and gave all three of them a big hug. It looked like a bear was hugging three teenagers and would have looked even more ridiculous if Lilly was involved with her small height. "I see you've decided to come back to this dungeon after all."
"Yeah Martin it's good to see you again." Adrian said quickly before he dislodged from the man's tight hug. "We finally got the rest of our group so I think we'll be able to handle it this time around." When Adrian said that the man now known as Martin turned to look at Joshua, Amy, and Lilly with a smile before he let out a loud laugh.
"Oh I've heard a lot about you." Martin said as he walked over to Joshua and hugged him too. It didn't look quite as strange since at least the two of them were close in height. Joshua was a bit surprised by the affection from someone he had never met before, but responded so he wouldn't make things to awkward. "They would always tell me that there group wouldn't be nearly as strong until they had their other friend so I'm looking forward to seeing how you guys work together."
"Martin here was a good friend of ours early on in the second phase. We met up in the beginner areas and worked together in tougher places so that we could level up faster." Henry explained getting a nod from Joshua and the rest of the group. "Then he decided to make his own guild so we parted ways then."
"I invited you guys as well, but you already had plans. It doesn't really matter though as long as we remain friends." Martin said with a smile. From what Joshua could tell they seemed to get along well enough so they were probably on good terms with Martin's guild in the end. While they were all talking Lilly had brought out her pair of rabbits and was already healing some of the members of Martin's party that were still injured. The group seemed surprised to see the rabbits and even more so when they saw Light jump out of her aura and start looking at all the people. Luckily Cinder and Tank were both in her soul realm for the moment so they wouldn't cause too much of a commotion.
"Well we'll be making a guild of our own soon, don't be a stranger and come by for a chat when we celebrate its opening." Adrian said with a grin.
"So how far did you guys get this time?" Henry asked.
"Well we were able to take down the sub-boss, but our supplies were starting to run thin after spending so many days inside." Martin said with a bit of a frown. "The whole dungeon is such a mess that it seems no group has been able to completely figure it out up to this point. At least we know how to get back to the exit at this point."
"Well we will be taking the clear on this one, but feel free to bring your guild by if you want to grind some of the materials of this place any time man." Henry said with a smug look that he often had when he felt like he was thinking ahead of everyone else.
"That confident huh, well I wish you luck in there. Be careful though, we weren't the only group that was down there this time around. Those bastards actually brought over some enemies to us after we beat the sub-boss. They're still down there, but I'm sure they haven't cleared the dungeon yet." Martin said with a look of anger at what happened. It made more sense now why the group seemed so banged up in the first place. They had been ambushed and this was the result.
"Any idea who they were?" Aito asked.
"Not sure, but any guild willing to do that can't be good." Martin said before he turned to look at his group for a moment. "Well we're going to head back and get some rest. We almost lost some members today so we'll have to prepare better for similar situations in the future. Good luck with your dungeon dive and let me know how it goes." After few words of encouragement Martin and the rest of his group headed over to a portal and made their way through leaving Joshua's group to go into the dungeon alone. They looked at one another for a moment before they all got on to the platform and descended into the dungeon to get things started.