187 Chapter 133: The Dungeon that is a Puzzle in Itself Part 2
As they descended into the dungeon Joshua was observing the surroundings to figure out as much as he could about the place. From the shape that Martin's group had come out in he was certain that it was challenging and it looked like they had been in the dungeon for several days yet they had only gotten to the point where they defeated the sub-boss before retreating. That fact alone told Joshua that there was something strange about the dungeon. Based off Martin's level of sixty-one Joshua was certain that he was on the higher end of explorers around so for him to have trouble the place must be challenging in a specific way.
In the end Joshua decided to just have faith in Henry since he seemed so sure that they could handle the place now that Joshua was onboard. It made him happy that his friends trusted him so much, but he hoped they weren't overestimating his abilities. After a few minutes of seeing nothing but rock as they descended on the platform things finally started to change and Joshua was able to see what made this dungeon so different from any that he had been too at this point. The platform stopped in an enormous room with several other similar platforms around that were just waiting. The floor was made of some sort of energy field that held the platforms up and allowed everyone to see what was beneath them. Although the room itself seemed big the area beneath it seemed even more spacious.
The platform looked small in comparison to the wide open space below that was filled with floating rooms and platforms that moved from place to place without any type of sign of where they would go. There wasn't a lined out path as everything seemed to float around on the weird energy fields from place to place. Joshua, Amy, and Lilly looked on in wonder at everything that was going on beneath them and couldn't help but turn to Henry and the rest to see what exactly they had to say about this. The three of them just looked back at them with smiles at their reactions before laughing for a while.
"What exactly is this place? It's not like any other dungeon I've been to up to this point." Joshua asked as he watched another platform shift places and make its way to a floating room off to the side. The whole thing just seemed weird to watch.
"This place is what I like to refer to as a puzzle dungeon." Henry said knowing full well there was no way that Aito or Adrian were going to try to explain things. "The whole dungeon itself is a puzzle that you have to figure out if you want to reach the end of it. It is rather tricky and always seems to be shifting and moving in random directions which can end up confusing anyone that tries to clear the place."
"Yeah it's the main reason that it took us so long to get to the sub-boss of this place alone." Adrian said as he looked around the place. "You have to find the right pattern to follow if you want to find your way through the place and that's no easy task. A platform could look like it's going the right direction only to completely change paths and go in another direction right when you think you've got things figured out."
"Then you have to worry about the beast in the place as well that can get in the way at any time." Aito said with a small frown as he thought over the last time they tried to clear the place. "You have to defeat them at a fast enough pace that they don't throw off your timing of solving the dungeon puzzle. Otherwise the platform could move while you're busy fighting and take you in the wrong direction."
"So for this dungeon not only do we have to solve the puzzle itself, but we also have to clear out any of the enemies in a timely manner so that we don't get taken off course." Lilly said with a small sigh. Before anyone could respond to her words they heard a small chuckle come from the top of her head as Tank seemed to find the entire situation hilarious. "What's so funny Tank?"
"Well I did warn you two back in the prairie dungeon that there are all sorts of ways for a dungeon to try to challenge you and this was exactly the type of thing I was talking about then. This dungeon is designed to test either your intelligence to figure it out in a timely manner or your endurance to put up with all the shifting until you get lucky enough to find the right path. Either way it will be a pain in the ass." Tank said with a smirk before once again going silent.
"Luckily we've been through here before so we've got the place all figured out already." Henry said with a small grin as he pointed over to another platform. "If we want to get through this place quickly then that's the platform that we need to take from the start to get things going. All of these other platforms take a while to get on the right track and have a lot of obstacles that will mess them up. That one is the quickest path." They all nodded before following Henry's lead as he started leading them over towards the platform. They couldn't walk on the energy field because that would make all of the platforms useless in the first place, but a bridge formed between the platforms at the starting area that allowed them to make their way over to the one that they planned on setting out on.
When they got on to the platform they all moved to the center as Henry seemed to step on a central piece of the platform and it started moving on its own. "It took us a week to figure out everything about this dungeon so we've got the first part down at this point, but you guys still need to pay attention since no matter which path we take in this dungeon we will run into creatures we have to fight." Adrian said as he seemed to be anticipating the upcoming fights.
"We'll be under a time limit as well if what you said before is true." Joshua said as he watched the platform move towards another one in the distance. The platforms moved sort of slow so he could tell how tedious this dungeon would be if you were ever put off course and had to go all around again to find the right path. It wasn't something he wanted to deal with since he wanted to get as strong as possible as quickly as possible. Wasting time standing on platforms for days wouldn't help in that regard, but it would give them breaks in between fights to recover which would go a long ways if the dungeon dragged on.
"Yep the time limit is about five minutes from when the platforms are connected. After that the platforms will disconnect and go their separate ways. At that point we need to be on the right platform before that can happen and that's where the beast can get in the way." Henry said getting everyone's attention once again. "We can't cross on to another platform as long as the beast is in the way so we have to put them down within the time limit. Trust me we don't want to get stuck spending hours waiting for the platforms to align to the right path once again. We want to get through this dungeon the first time around so be prepared for the beast we fight in here, they are much tougher than the ones outside."
Everyone nodded to his explanation and were preparing for when the platform would connect to the first area and they would be forced to fight whatever was waiting for them. Now that Joshua knew they were under a time limit he would have to make sure the group would take care of the beast in the most efficient way possible. Lilly already placed Light into Joshua's aura to prepare for the upcoming fight While Jade was placed into Amy's shadow for the moment. So far all of the beast they had faced in the area had either exoskeletons or extremely tough hide so Amy had the best ability to do damage to them in comparison to Adrian who would have to focus on openings. Flutter was brought out while Cinder was put away for the moment. She could only have four beast out and until they fought a large boss like enemy Lilly planned to focus on supporting the group.
When the platform got close enough to the room up ahead Joshua could see a large scorpion creature waiting on the inside that was similar to the ones they had faced outside. The main difference was the scorpion's large body parts for the most part seemed to be covered in some sort of crystal armor. It would make it harder to attack its weak points which explained why Adrian and Aito had so much trouble with the things alone. These creatures were probably perfectly defended against their type of attacks yet they were able to clear most of the dungeon anyways which showed how capable they were as a group.
Before the platform could connect Joshua took the lead preparing to face the creature head on so the rest of the group could tear it apart without worrying about it being able to retaliate in anyway. The moment the platforms connected Joshua charged forward at the same time as the creature as his aura shroud flared to life and he immediately went into his aura hardening state so that he could take as much damage as possible without flinching. He blocked the scorpion's first charge causing it to come to a halt before it was smashed in the face with a torrent of water that pushed it back and allowed Joshua to charge forward and smash it along the face with his scale blade. Of course the area was coated in crystal armor, but the force of the blow rattled the large creatures skull disorienting it and giving everyone else a chance to join the fight.
Joshua moved to the side a bit to allow Aito to get a clear shot which bounced off the ground and smashed directly into one of the creature's eyes and blinded it from one side. Amy took the opportunity to come in from the side and smash its underbelly with a flurry of punches that ignored its armor and caused internal damage that would have gained the creature's attention if Joshua hadn't used Heroic shout and smashed his scale blade once again against the crystals near the joints of one of its claws. The blow was followed by an echo strike which broke off most of the crystal and gave Adrian an opening. He swooped in as his sword glowed red for a moment then he cut the claw clean off before leaping back to avoid the creatures thrashing.
In its rage the scorpion tried to pierce Joshua with its stinger, but the stinger was slowed down by Light's projected shield and then was completely stopped by Joshua's scale blade. Since Henry had enchanted Joshua with the yellow glow the scorpion was frozen for a moment which was more than enough for Adrian to cut off its tail and Aito to blow out its other eye. From that point on it didn't take long for them to put the creature out of its misery. Within a minute the fight was over as the large scorpion slumped to the ground and Joshua put it into his inventory before they all made their way over to the new platform.
"Well that wasn't so bad, it only took us a minute to kill one of them." Amy said with an excited smile.
"Yeah it was a good first try and far faster than we could in the past. Be prepared though, from now on we won't just be facing one at a time so we'll have to keep up the pace." Henry responded. Everyone nodded at his warning as the platform once again started moving to the next section.