252 Chapter 198: Finding the Entrance to the Canyon Dungeon
After the battle everyone seemed to be happy with the experience they had gained from taking down the two beast. By the way that Jayce's group were smiling he was certain that all of them had leveled up. Even though they had gone through a rather challenging fight it was still the middle of the day and still the time for them to be pushing forward if they wanted to cover as much ground as possible. Joshua allowed everyone to get a few minutes of rest after the fight. He knew that although no one was seriously injured all of the tanks had taken a beating while defending the rest of the group. This gave the healers some time to patch them up before they got on the move again.
They spent the rest of daylight moving deeper into the canyon and it became clear to Joshua that the sounds of fighting between the two giant beast had most likely scared off any other creatures that they would have ended up coming across. They didn't see a single ram the rest of the day and it seemed like all of the snakes had already headed back in to rest throughout the night. This meant they were able to make some great progress through the canyon for the day even though Lilly seemed to be a little saddened by the fact that she wouldn't be able to tame anymore rams with the ruckus scaring them all off.
They eventually stopped to rest through the night when it started getting to dark and the sound of flapping wings was starting to come from within some of the caves that they were passing by. They found a nice small cave, cleared it out, and then rested up for the night while putting some members on guard duty. They followed this pattern for another couple of days as the group made quick progress through the canyon. In fact over those days they didn't have to fight any other creatures outside of a few straggling bats that were still trying to find some beetles to eat or the beetles in the caves they cleared out to rest for the night. The spiders seemed to be able to sense that the group had killed one of their own kind so they stayed away and hid their presence as much as possible. The snakes on the other hand seemed too lazy to care about the group whenever they passed one and only glanced at them before closing their eyes once again.
Eventually after a couple of days the group was finally able to arrive at the center of the canyon. And the place seemed to widen up far more than any of the other areas of the canyon they had come across before. The place was so wide that the light was able to pass down into the area more accurately as the amount of daytime in the space seemed to last much longer. There was even some large patches of trees and bushes around the place that were able to thrive giving the place a bit of a greener coloring to it unlike the rest of the canyon that was nothing but a dusty brown. It was an uncommon sight in the canyon, but even with all the greenery Joshua couldn't make out a single animal in the area. With so many bushes he at least expected there to be some rams around.
The thing that stood out most about the area though was the fact that there were four weird rock structures that jutted out of the ground around what looked like a giant hole at the center of the area. These pillar like rocks seemed to have no true meaning when you first looked at them, but when Joshua started paying attention to the patterns on the rocks he realized that there was a specific design to each rock even if it was subtle.
One of the rocks looked like it had been pierced in several spots along with large cracks along it. The pierced points seemed to go straight through while the cracked points looked as if it had been bashed into by a large creature. For a rock that towered so high into the sky that it was more than three times the height of Tank when he was in his largest form it was clear that whatever could do such a thing was on the bigger side.
Another pillar was thinned out as if something had been slowly eroding it away. It was still as tall as all of the other rocks but it looked as though it had been squeezed in slowly making it far thinner. The pattern on the rock looked like something had coiled around it and put a lot of force on it to make it shaped the way it was without straight out breaking it into pieces.
The rock across from the squeezed rock on the other side of the large hole from where the group was standing had its own weird design to it. It also had a few holes pierced into it like the first rock that Joshua had examined, but the holes didn't pierce all the way through and seemed more like something was using the rock as leverage instead of just trying to break it. What surrounded the holes though was what made the rock distinct from the rest. Each hole was surrounded in small cracks that seemed to spread out into an intricate design pattern. It was almost like the pattern of a spider web if you squinted just right.
The final rock had two patterns going on it that seemed to be clashing with each other. At the base of the structure it looked like the rock had been chewed at in several places and it gave Joshua this weird sensation where it felt like something was crawling under his skin. At the top of the rock however there were these weird patterns that looked like how you'd expect someone to display a wind breeze in a work of art or something. The two patterns seemed to clash in the middle of the rock as if they were fighting one another.
All four rocks stood out like pillars as they towered over everything in the surroundings and seemed to be placed around the large hole as a warning of some sort. If the fact that the place had opened up and that there wasn't any animals around wasn't a big enough sign then the clear display of the pillars outside of the massive hole sealed the deal. This place was most likely the entrance to the dungeon for the canyon and it was a rather intimidating spectacle that seemed to loom over everyone as they observed the area.
"Well I think we've found our dungeon." Joshua said now that he had a pretty good idea that no beast would be coming into the area.
"Yeah looks like it, the entrance is enormous." Adrian said with a whistle as he walked to the edge of the hole and looked down. Everyone else walked over and looked as well and could see that there was a spiraling staircase that started on the other side of the hole and wrapped around the inside of the hole as it disappeared into the darkness below. It was quite an intimidating sight to see and the fact that it was still light out at the moment yet they couldn't see all that far down into the hole proved that it went down pretty deep.
"I wonder what kind of strength a boss from such a high level dungeon will have?" Amy said with a look of excitement on her face. She seemed to be ready to dive right on in, but Joshua knew now wasn't the time to rush ahead. It was starting to get late in the day and it would be better to go into such an unknown dungeon well rested and prepared for anything to happen.
"Well we'll be finding that out tomorrow, but for now we'll set up camp here for the night. There won't be any creatures approaching this area since the dungeon is here. That seems to always be the case." Joshua said getting nods from everyone before he turned and waived over Aito and Becca. "Can either of you see deep down into the entrance?"
Aito nodded understanding why Joshua would ask such a thing before peering over the edge and using his advanced vision to see if he could see anything that the others weren't able to spot. "Nope can't see a thing, it must go on for quite a ways." He responded then they both looked over to Becca.
"My echolocation can only go so far down into the entrance and all I'm seeing are stairs and nothing else. It might take a long time to get to the bottom of it." She responded before getting up and walking over to the rest of the group to help set up camp. Joshua decided he'd give it a try as well and set down cross legged at the edge of the hole so he could use his aura sense to the best of his abilities. He stretched out his aura perception down into the hole and kept going until he reached the edge of his range, but all he could see were stairs and a vast emptiness. He tried the same with an aura pulse, but even the larger range of the aura pulse didn't help him see anything new.
With a sigh Joshua got up and went over to help the others set up camp while dinner was being made. It was already starting to turn darker in the bottom of the canyon even with the more wide open area that they were currently in. Since they didn't have to worry about any creatures they had no problem setting up a few lanterns around the area to brighten up the surroundings a bit alongside the campfire. That made it so it would be easy for them to see each other in the darkness and would also make it so that if by chance something did come into the large area of the canyon they'd be able to spot it as it moved past the lanterns that they had placed around the hole and around the walls of the canyon in the area. It made the entire space seem like it was dimly lit up which could help out in a pinch.
After a while everyone was sitting down to a rather hefty dinner since they all knew that they'd be going in to a dungeon soon and that could mean that they wouldn't have as many opportunities to rest easily. At least out in the open they were able to find good spots to rest, but there was no telling whether that would be the case inside of a dungeon. Joshua looked around the group and took in the expression of everyone as they were having a meal and talking with one another. He could start to see the different attitudes of certain people as they were thinking of going into the dungeon.
Laura seemed the calmest of the group outside of Joshua, but that was most likely because of the aura she naturally gave off with her soul beast. Madalyn seemed to be overly excited as if she was about to go on a shopping spree. Joshua soon realized that was probably exactly how she felt when he thought about the fact that she liked to use ingredients from creatures she's killed to make more powerful poisons. There were other people that seemed to have different and obvious emotions as well. Amy seemed excited, Aito seemed calm, and both Henry and Isabella seemed to be contemplating what they could possibly end up going against.
"Well Josh what do you think we'll end up fighting this time?" Adrian asked as he noticed his best friend had been quiet for most of the meal.
"If I had to guess snakes, spider, beetles and bats. They've been the main creatures that we've been facing against since we came into this canyon so they probably are the main beast inside the dungeon as well. Except far more threatening." Joshua said with a small smile. "It should be interesting to see what such a high level dungeon can throw at us. After all if we want to be able to take down a large town in a few weeks then we have to be able to stand up against creatures on that level."
Everyone seemed to nod at Joshua words. This dungeon run was a test for an even tougher challenge in the future. So they would need to pass it with flying colors if they wanted to fulfill their ambitions to be the first guilds to take over a large town.