188 Chapter 134: The Dungeon that is a Puzzle in Itself Part 3
From that point on things didn't get any easier as they made their way through the dungeon. The scorpions started showing up in pairs at first then in groups of three or more which started to drag out the fights a little more than usual. Of course it wasn't nearly as much of a struggle for them as it had been for Adrian's group the first time they came around for multiple reasons, but the main reason turned out to be a surprising one. It wasn't the fact that Joshua was playing the role of a tank and freeing up everyone else to do their own thing, or the fact that Lilly's pets were a whole new force for the group and were able to deal some extra damage to the enemies and boost everyone's strength. No the most important thing that was making their rush through the dungeon so fast was the fact that Amy was along for the ride.
Amy's soul beast basically made her the mortal enemy for all the scorpions in the dungeon. These scorpions were supposed to be there to give the explorers a challenge and drag out fights to the point they wouldn't be able to kill them in time before the platforms shifted. This was obvious since most of the scorpions were designed to be defensive in nature. Of course they had their stingers and claws which could do some real damage, but their offensive capabilities were straight forward and easy to handle. The problem was the fact that hitting them was like trying to fight a rock for most people.
Joshua was freakishly powerful enough with his aura and all the boost from Lilly and Henry to crack their crystal armor head on, but there wouldn't be many people strong enough to do the same thing in other groups. Magic users might be able to eventually put a scorpion down, but it would take a lot of time and energy to do so. Adrian was able to find and attack weak spots, but that was only because he was now free to do so with Joshua filling the role of tank, before he'd just have to fight defensively and wait for Aito to get an opening. That left Amy to be the star of the show as her soul beast literally ignored all of the strong points of these creatures.
Every single one of Amy's punches did internal damage to the scorpions which made them fall apart far faster. With Jade and Flutter powering her up even more her stats were comparable to a level fifty-five explorer or so which made it possible for her to put in a lot of damage to theses level fifty-eight scorpions. To make things even better Joshua's heroic shout made it impossible for the scorpions to turn on her which made them nothing more than punching bags to them. Even with all of that going for them it still took a minute at first to take down a single scorpion, but soon they were getting it down to the point where they could take down a scorpion in thirty seconds.
They shifted tactics and made it so that Joshua was focusing on creating cracks along the scorpion's main body while Adrian would dismantle its claws and stinger. This made it so that Aito could hit the cracks created by Joshua and do more damage to the creature at a faster pace alongside Amy's assault. It was a good strategy that they focused on until they came up to a larger platform that looked a bit different than the others. When the platform they were on connected to it the group followed Henry onto the new platform and everyone but Adrian and Aito looked at him questioningly.
"This is a resting platform. These can be found from time to time in this dungeon to give groups a break before moving forward. Usually they're here for people that have been stuck moving from platform to platform for days and would give them a much longer and needed break." Henry said as he stretched a bit.
"Think we need a break already?" Amy asked as she mimicked fighting throwing her fist in the air. "I'm still rearing to go these things are easy enough for me."
"No we don't need a break at this point, we'll take one after we defeat the sub-boss." Henry said getting a nod from everyone else agreeing with his thinking. "What we do need to wait for however is for the right platform to pass this one. Once again picking the right platform can mean the difference in us spending another couple of hours finding the sub-boss room or a couple of days." Henry said as he watched a platform come over before shaking his head as he inspected it and let it go off on its own without having the group get on it.
"How can you tell the difference from each of the platforms?" Joshua asked a bit surprised at how Henry seemed to have some idea of the perfect platform for them to take to get to the next section of the dungeon. "From what I can see they all look the same."
"Simple I had them all marked differently on the map I created for this dungeon. So I know exactly which platform is coming and how they are all shifting at all time." Henry said casually as if it was no big deal. Even Adrian and Aito seemed a bit surprised by that fact. "It took a lot of trial and error the first time around, but it was worth it in the end."
"Well as long as it makes things easier on us then it must have worked out pretty well." Amy said with a smile not realizing how much work it would take to map out not only the dungeon, but also the moving patterns of all of the platforms throughout the whole thing. Joshua and the rest could now see how much Henry's soul beast was effecting him from that alone.
"Well there are two different platforms that we can take that will be coming by soon that will lead to the sub-boss room eventually. The two paths are different, but will achieve ultimately the same end. All of the other platforms will take us on a wild goose chase until we can find one of the two along the way." Henry explained.
"What's the difference between the two platforms? I'm sure you wouldn't have brought it up if they were exactly the same in the end." Joshua asked seeing the underline meaning in Henry's explanation.
"While one has the easiest route going forward it will take quite a while to get to the sub-boss room. All the groups of creatures we will meet on the way will only be of three or less so it won't be any more difficult then what we've already faced up to this point. It will just take another six hours or so of drifting around until we reach the sub-boss room." Henry explained getting everyone to sigh a little bit at the idea. It would be simple, but it seemed like a waste of time. If they were the only ones in the dungeon then it might have been the way to go and they probably could get more experience doing it, but according to Martin there was already another group in the dungeon trying to get to the boss. Wasting time wasn't a good idea under the circumstances.
"That's not such a good idea under the circumstances. We know how to get to the boss so it won't take us long, but we still have a group ahead of us and if they figure it out by chance then this would all be a waste of time." Joshua said with everyone agreeing with him.
"My thoughts exactly which is why we will be getting on the next platform that comes through." Henry said with a small smile that turned into a smirk at his next words. "This way we will get to the sub-boss a lot faster as long as we clear through one area. It's a room that blocks a platform that leads directly to the sub-boss, but it has five scorpions waiting for us and we'll have to kill them all within five minutes if we want to proceed. Otherwise we'll be waiting around in this dungeon for a long time."
"Well we've been clearing them pretty fast so far, I think we can take it." Amy said with excitement.
"We'll have to do a lot more damage up front since we won't have the time to take them down one at a time like with the other groups. The more of them there are the longer it takes for us to clear with our old strategy." Aito said getting nods from everyone.
"Then we'll just have to kick it up a notch." Joshua said with a grin before he explained his plan to everyone. Soon the platform they needed to take made its way around and Henry urged everyone to get onto it before it started moving off. Everyone was well rested from the short break so they'd be going into this next confrontation in top condition. After a few minutes of the platform moving they could already see the room that the platform was leading them too and it wasn't much different from any of the other ones they had come across up to this point. It was a little bigger, but not drastically different enough to stand out from the rest.
When they got close enough they could see the five large scorpions waiting on the inside of it for them to come over. They were already planning to charge over and attack them and that was exactly what Joshua wanted. They all stepped back as Lilly set Tank onto the platform and watched as he grew in size. With the level disadvantage he would struggle taking on five scorpions on his own, but that wasn't the plan in the first place. Instead Lilly jumped up on to Tank's back and synchronized with him before the two of them started to spray several bubble traps in the direction of the scorpions. Before the platform even reached the area and the timer was able to start the scorpions were bombarded with several exploding bubbles that knocked them back and cracked some spots on their crystal armor.
To keep the momentum going Aito started firing off rounds at the creatures in any spots that had cracks. The blast tore of large chunks of their armor freeing up places for the group to attack from and that was when the platform finally connected giving them space to attack the confused and disoriented scorpions. Joshua charged in first since he knew that he needed to grab all of their attention before they would rush past him and go after the others. He started off with a heroic shout that put all of the attention of the creatures on to him then he blinked forward and combined an aura blast with an energy slash and hit all five scorpions at the same time. The attack was wide spread so it wouldn't do too much damage, but with the large cracks in their armor already created by Aito the blast rattled them and tore off most of the crystals from the front of their bodies.
The closest scorpion was angered by the attack and prepared to run Joshua through with its stinger, but Joshua was prepared for it and just barely avoided the attack while knocking it away with his scale blade and twisting to counter. His body lit up with a bright flash of red aura from one of Henry's enchantments that was placed just for this occasion. It was an enchantment that doubled the force of a counter attack and could be devastating if used at the perfect time. The resulting effect of Joshua next attack combined with Henry's enchantment was the complete destruction of the head of the scorpion. It didn't have any crystal armor to protect itself so the devastating force could only be partially dampened by its exoskeleton which was not nearly enough.
The large scorpion struggled for a moment before it fell dead and within five seconds of the platforms being connected one of the scorpions was already dead while the others were all banged up from their assault. Lilly put away Tank and had Mr. Hoppy hit all of the other scorpions with poisoned darts to inflict more damage before switching over to Cinder. She grew in size to the point where she could easily tear into one of the now sluggish scorpions while Amy went after another one on her own. The large spider smashed her glowing legs into the cracks on the scorpion's exoskeleton and tore it apart quickly while avoiding its sluggish attempts to grab ahold of her or skewer her with its stinger. Cinder made sure to web them all down as well to make them even slower making them easy pickings for her.
Adrian on the other hand used his shadow step skill to increase his speed and slashed off the legs of the scorpions in a smooth manner that didn't stop his flow of movement. Whenever a scorpion tried to grab him they'd end up losing a tail or claw making things even easier for Aito who blasted the head off of one of the scorpions that had been immobilized by Adrian and banged up by Amy. In the end there was only one barely living scorpion left which Joshua finished off as he slammed his scale blade into its skull. It only took two and a half minutes to clear through all of the scorpions and now it was time to move on to the sub-boss.