Over the next half hour after taking out the beetles the group started to set up their camping gear in the cave while also setting up some basic protections. They now had some dim lighting inside the cave from the campfire along with some equipment from the system that was supposed to keep creatures away from their resting area. Of course they'd still have guards on the watch throughout the night on a rotation since they could never be too careful in such an unknown place. For all they knew the bats might just rush in anyways to check out the cave and end up attacking them. Or maybe something even worse could try to sneak up on them. They needed to make sure that they were prepared for anything.
At the same time that they were setting up camp Aito was getting to work on dinner alongside Abigail who surprisingly had cook as her support job. The two of them were both at the experienced level so Joshua had no doubt that all the food they'd be eating while on this venture would give them slight boost that could be extremely helpful in the end. Joshua let the rest set up camp while he waited near the entrance for the time being making sure no other creatures could try to enter while they were setting up their base for the night. It wouldn't be to surprising for some poor unknowing creature to try to walk on in to the cave. He'd be able to sense it ahead of time with his aura sense even if it was pitch black in front of him.
Soon the base was finished being set up and everyone was sitting around a campfire preparing to eat dinner for the night. Lilly had Tank and Cinder eating their food closer to the entrance of the cave for now. Tank had to shrink down a bit to fit their, but the two large creatures were more than enough to frighten off any smaller creatures like the beetles they had just taken down from entering the cave. On the other hand if a swarm of bats came by they could give everyone some proper warning. Meanwhile Lilly was switching through the rest of her pets as she fed them separately. For a while the group was silent as they ate their food and were thinking over the events they had to go through to get where they were for the night.
At this point it had only been half a day since they had started exploring the canyon and they could already tell what the major difference was between this territory than others. Everything about the canyon seemed to be angled to making things more difficult for explorers to delve into it. Taking away your sense of sight was one of the first major differences between this place and other territories. It was the first place any of them had been to that had effected their natural senses so heavily. Even in dungeons there were usually torches or some source of lighting available. Not being able to see on its own could be a cause of death for unprepared explorers in such a place. They might end up falling into a hole, or getting crushed by falling rocks that they couldn't see coming from the cliffs of the canyon. Traveling in this place at night was just not a good idea.
It also had another issue that they were constantly having to deal with. The simple fact that the place was filled with swarms of enemy's instead of your usual group of two to three opponents. Not only did they come in swarms, but the swarms could fly and attack from above in the dark. Small groups would get overrun in such situations and even some large groups like their own would get slowly picked off if not careful. These were the two major issues they'd have to deal with while slowly moving through the area and based off of how far into the canyon they were able to get in half a day they all knew it would at least take a week to explore the whole place if not longer.
"Well what did everyone think about how things went for our first day in the canyon?" Joshua asked everyone breaking the silence of the group.
"Well I'd say this place is going to be annoying as hell." Devin said with a tired sigh as he lazily looked up towards Joshua. He didn't continue talking though as he waited for other people to respond as well.
"It wasn't so bad. We did get a lot of experience from all of the vicious swarms of blood sucking bats that tried to kill us." Dillon said with his unflinching smile that always seemed present. Even when his reasoning seemed a bit flawed with the way he put it.
"I expected this place to be quite bad going in, but I was expecting far less swarms than this." Henry said with a frown. "It's slowing our progress down quite a bit so I think the best way for us to proceed is during the day." Everyone started to think over Henry assessment of things and agreed to a point. It was true that it was beneficial to move forward early on during the day, but the problem was the fact that it got dark so early in the canyon. It stayed dark till late in the morning and got dark once again halfway through the afternoon. This meant if they were to only move forward from now on when it was somewhat lit up then they'd only have a few hours each day to explore. That would prolong the investigation for at least another week.
"I agree with focusing most of our time on moving when it's light out, but we will still have to spend some time moving in the dark for us to make good progress." Isabella said getting nods from everyone. When the two strategist of the group started discussing most of the rest of the group just decided to listen along. "We don't even know what types of creatures come out during the day so we can't say for sure what we'll end up going against then. The only thing we could be sure about is the fact that it will be easier to see. We still have Becca and Natalie to help us out with our vision at night time though."
"That's true, but I think if we're going to spend time moving in the dark then it should be early in the morning when we do it instead of at night." Henry answered. "That way we can avoid the bats for the most part and will only have to deal with smaller groups of enemies hopefully. It'll also give us more time to search for a resting spot later in the day."
"Makes sense. I think we should move to that model of advancement forward from now on." Joshua said with a smile. "The bats are making us waste our energy to fast and if we tried to face them through most of the night then not only will our progress be slow, but we'll also tire out the entire group by the time we find anything else down here. I'd rather not run into some powerful creature after being tired out from spending so much time fighting off bats. Now that we have a plan what do you guys think about our combat style so far?"
"Hmm, it works fairly well against the swarms we've been facing, but a powerful creature will probably be more troublesome for us if we have to try to fight in the dark and in this environment. That goes double for if it is intelligent." Laura said with a frown. "We can switch up our style depending on what we face going forward so it shouldn't be too bad."
"I have to agree with Laura there. I think we're versatile enough as a group to handle most normal situations. We shouldn't have too much trouble going forward up until the dungeon. The difficulty usually spikes up when we reach that point so I'd expect it to be the same way here." Madalyn said with a grin. "I'm looking forward to seeing what types of ingredients I can get from such interesting creatures."
"You aren't going to run low on poison supplies are you?" Joshua asked just to make sure. Madalyn had been using them to take down the swarms of bats they had come across up to this point. He knew that she could create them with her own body as well, but that would drain her mana quickly in comparison to using her already prepared canisters.
"Oh you don't have to worry about that. So far I've only been using the canisters of failed experiments against the bats. I'll save my truly powerful poisons for when we come up against something that is actually strong. Until then I'll just stick with the useless failed experiments. There good enough for now." Madalyn said with a small smile that sent a chill up everyone's spines. The fact that the failed experiments were strong enough to take down the giant bats over time if given a chance was already quite strong. It made them wonder how potent the poisons she was saving were.
"Well then since we've got a bit of an idea of how we plan on handling things going forward I guess we should be getting some rest soon. Before that though I had a question for Tank." Joshua said as he turned and looked at the giant turtle at the end of the hallway. "Your aura sense is much better than mine so I was wondering if you could sense anything up ahead that might give us some trouble."
Tank seemed to mull things over a bit as he closed his eyes and sensed out the area. After a moment or two he opened his eyes once again and looked towards the group. "From what I can sense outside at the moment the most prevalent creatures are of course the bats along with more of the beetles we just took down." Tank's words got nods from everyone and a sigh from Amy who was excited to fight something else instead of the same thing over and over again. "I can feel a few other creatures further on in the canyon that seem more powerful. One of them feels a bit similar structure wise to Cinder so if I had to guess there are probably some pretty large spiders hiding in the canyon as well."
That news seemed to surprise everyone. Spiders were definitely not pushovers and were difficult to deal with. Hell Cinder herself was hard to face when she was weaker let alone now. They all highly doubted a spider over the level of seventy-five would be easy to deal with. Joshua let out a sigh before responding to Tank. "Thanks for looking out for us. As for the rest of us we need to start getting some rest before we have to get up early in the morning. If we want to make the best time going forward then we need to get a move on when all of the bats are resting."
The group seemed to nod at that as they finished dinner and started getting their tents set up and ready to sleep for the night. Both Tank and Cinder would be staying at the entrance to keep guard over night, but even with the two powerful creatures guarding the entrance they still decided to have a guard rotation throughout the night. Three people would stay up and guard the rest of the group in shifts. There would be four shifts throughout the night so everyone that was on guard duty could get as much rest as possible. They tried to keep the groups that were on shifts together diverse with each having a different role such as a healer, a tank, and a damage dealer being set into a group.
With that people were able to sleep without having to be constantly on edge since they knew they were well protected. It wouldn't have mattered if they had tried to get some sleep with one eye open the entire time. Eventually pushing forward like that would have broken them from exhaustion at some point. With that Joshua went to get some rest since his shift wouldn't be until later. He was excited to see what else they could find in the canyon even if he didn't show it as much as his sister.