191 Chapter 137: The Dungeon that is a Puzzle in Itself Part 6
As they were making their way to the next area of the dungeon on the platform Joshua couldn't help but to wonder about the smaller platform that they had passed by that was all lit up and waiting for someone to step on it. Since they had a while to go before the platform would reach the next area Joshua decided to ask Henry about it. "Do you guys know what that other platform was back there? It seemed a little to shinny and important to be there just for looks." He asked getting Henry's attention along with his two other longtime friends.
"Yeah it seemed way too important to be something we shouldn't know about. I've never seen anything like it in a dungeon before." Amy said thinking back to all of her former expeditions.
"Well you two would be correct in your assumptions. That was a platform that will directly take you out of the dungeon. It's a way to leave in case you're in dire straits." Henry explained.
"So is that how Martin and the others got out of here even after they were ambushed before?" Lilly asked as she turned back at the platform that they had left behind.
"Most likely. They probably had to find their way back to that room considering the fact they said they went further in, but it wouldn't be too hard for them to figure out." Adrian said getting a nod from Henry in return.
"True, the reason this dungeon has such platforms in the first place is because of the structure of it and all. If people were to get lost in here without having anyway to leave then the death rate would be insane. There's also another one of those platforms right before you reach the boss and that's the one we took to get back the last time we came here." Henry said as the platform final started getting close to another large platform up ahead. The one they were approaching was similar to the one at the start of the dungeon that gave them a choice of which platform to choose to continue their dungeon dive on.
"Any reason you guys decided to avoid taking on the boss at the time. I'm surprised you were able to convince Adrian not to go in now that I think about it." Joshua said getting a frown from Adrian in return.
"Well you'd be right about that. We had to beat him over the head to keep him from charging in the last time we got there." Aito said getting everyone to chuckle a little at Adrian's expense.
"Hey, I just wanted to clear the dungeon. It took us four days to get there and the only reason it didn't take longer was because Henry was figuring everything out for us along the way. You got to admit that you would have wanted to take the boss on and get the reward at that point as well." Adrian said.
"I think the only other person here that would think like that is Amy so I guess it isn't too much of a surprise that the both of you are the front line damage dealers." Joshua said as he gave Adrian a comforting pat on the shoulder that didn't really seem to comfort the annoyed Adrian at all.
"Hey I take offense to that!" Amy nearly shouted as she punched Joshua in the arm. "I've had to be a leader of a group and I know it wouldn't be a smart to drag a tired group into a boss fight."
"So you mean you would have just charged in by yourself to face the boss alone then?" Lilly said with a tilted head and confused look, but at this point Joshua was starting to be able to tell when the girl was acting clueless just to mess with other people. This was a perfect example of this.
"Hey you don't see me as that type of person do you?" Amy asked as she grabbed Lilly by the shoulders and started shaking her back and forth. Joshua had to pull her away before she made the poor girl dizzy from her antics.
"Well if you guys are done with your comedy routine I'll finish my explanation." Henry said getting everyone else to quiet down for a moment. "As I was saying the platforms are there because the dungeon knows the place can be challenging and arduous simply because of how long it can take depending on how long it takes you to figure out the patterns to this place. So the best way to complete this dungeon is to go through it the first time and figure out all of the patterns to the place, leave with one of the platforms that takes you to the entrance, resupply and then comeback to finish things the second time around."
"How come no other groups has done that yet then?" Joshua asked a bit puzzled at how simple it was for Henry to figure out the way to put the dungeon together.
"The first step is the main reason, most groups aren't used to such a confusing dungeon at this point especially those who haven't taken on many fifty plus level dungeons. Thus they get lost in the platforming puzzle of this place and end up spending days of wasted time. That can either cause some groups to give up altogether if they don't feel like they're getting enough out of this dungeon or other groups might just get stalled out by the sub-boss. Although we were able to handle it fairly well it is a hassle to deal with and a large time consumer. Most groups wouldn't be able to continue after that point." Henry finished his explanation.
"Then you've got to worry about this group that seems to be ahead of us. They're going around and ambushing anyone else that comes close to the boss room." Aito said with a frown.
"They're probably close to finishing the dungeon if they're being so protective of it at this point, but even so it's wrong to do what they're doing." Adrian said grabbing everyone's attention. "Don't get me wrong I've got nothing against slowing down your competition in a situation like this. You can make it so they have to fight more enemies on their path or force them to have to figure out a trapped area instead of a clear path and that's all fine and good. You aren't actually killing anyone with little things like that, everyone here is an explorer after all so if they can't handle small things like that then they probably shouldn't be here in the first place. But to go out of your way and attack another group or even worse bring another group of monsters to ambush them while they're already fighting something else. There's no way you're not trying to commit murder at that point."
Joshua though over Adrian's words and it reminded him of the thief back at the ant hill. He went out of his way to cause all sorts of trouble for everyone else only to end up dying in the end. "Well people who tend to rely on those types of tactics aren't very confident in themselves when it comes down to it. They'll get what's coming to them soon enough if they continuously put themselves in those types of situations. One day one of their plans will backfire and it'll bite them in the ass." Joshua said as everyone seemed to agree as the platform finally reached its destination.
"Well then let's not waste any time, but keep your eyes open in case they try to ambush us as well. We don't know who it is, but they were willing to take on a large group like Martin's so I'm certain that they will try something against us as well. Especially if we're on the right path." Henry explained and everyone agreed before they followed Henry over to a specific platform. "Alright this is the right one for us to take if we want to get to the boss room quickly. There will be a few fights along the way, but nothing that we can't handle."
Soon the platform started to shake as it disconnected from all of the other ones and they started floating down towards another room in the maze work of structures below. They could already see a pair of scorpions waiting for them in the room and they got to work putting them down quickly. Aito and Lilly both attacked from afar dealing crippling damage to the creatures before the platform even connected then the rest finished the creatures off quickly before moving onto the next platform as the timer barely even got to count down at all. They were already on their way to the next section and that was how they started to handle all of the fights up ahead.
After killing the sub-boss they had figured out just about every way they could handle these scorpions so the smaller and less armored versions of the sub-boss were now easy pickings as Aito and Lilly with her pets tearing them apart from afar before they even had to enter the rooms. Occasionally they would run into a more powerful scorpion that took a bit more tact and time, but since they had the extra time from attacking before the platforms linked up in the first place they had a good five minutes to tear down a large scorpion with cracks all over its body and most of the time it was missing its stinger after Aito had blasted it off. The entire time Lilly made sure to switch through different pets to use during her fights. She usually had some extra pets out waiting on the side outside of Jade and Light when they were on the platforms since Joshua and Amy weren't going to start fighting seriously until they got close.
Joshua could feel that the amount of experience they were getting from clearing the dungeon was a fairly good amount, but he was certain that at most he might be able to get another level after killing the boss with the pace that the experience was coming. Joshua also made sure to use his aura pulse whenever they neared a new area to keep a look out for others that might try to get in their way and it was a good thing he had been doing that. Up ahead at the next room Joshua could feel a presence outside of just the group of two larger scorpions and he was certain that it was a person based off of the aura it was giving off. It wasn't all encompassing like the large beast that evolved as their aura or mana grew stronger but it did have a small intense feeling to it and Joshua could feel the killing intent rolling off of the hidden person.
They didn't seem to have any good intentions for them so Joshua warned everyone about it through the party chat just in case the figure could listen into their conversation from far away somehow. They decided to play it cool and take the person by surprise as they enacted their plan. From what Joshua could tell the ambusher going to try to take out their back line while the rest were fighting the two giant scorpions, but that would be rather foolish considering the fact that the scorpions would be half dead before they even got to the room. Aito and Lilly went with their usual plan and bombarded the giant beast from afar as their platform approached and just like Joshua expected by the time the platform reached the room the scorpions were both half dead and they were able to make quick work of what was left of them.
Joshua could feel the person grow tense as their plan was ruined so as the group was making their way to the next platform Joshua was out front with Adrian and Amy staying closer to the back line members in case the person made a move before Joshua got close enough to them. They were using some sort of skill to stay invisible, but Joshua could easily pinpoint their location from their aura and right when Joshua was walking past the far shorter person he suddenly took action. He grabbed the persons shoulder locking them in place which surprised them before clocking them in the stomach. The blow was harsh enough to put them on their knees. In that moment the rest of the group could see the short man as his invisibility faded away. It was time to get some answers.