After the party had taken down the first group of two spiders it became a pattern that they'd come across spiders in pairs from that point forward. It took a whole day for them to see anything different when they finally encountered a group of three spiders and they realized there probably wasn't much else to the path. After clearing the three spiders with a combination of Tank and Cinder taking care of one of them, Joshua tanking against one on his own until the rest of the group could help out, and the other tanks in the group rotating to hold off the last one while Madalyn poisoned the creatures when given the opportunity.
It was a tougher fight than any other they had going down the path and a few of the tanks had gained some nicks and bruises trying to block the spiders attacks, but the healers were there to get them all back in to top condition before moving further along the path. When it seemed like the group had been going for too long Joshua called for everyone to stop and get some rest while they rotated guard duty alongside Tank and Cinder. He had a feeling the path would be coming to an end within another day's worth of journey based off of how challenging things were getting.
One thing they were all disappointed about was the fact that there weren't any treasure chest along the path and that was a massive let down in everyone's eyes. They knew that they would get a higher tier blue print after taking down the boss, but it still wouldn't hurt to get some lower tier blue prints along the way. So far the only path that had any treasure chest was the first one with the bats and the beetles. It became pretty clear to the group that the bat and beetle path probably only had that sort of stuff since it was the first path and the dungeon was trying to give them higher level gear so they'd stand a better chance against the other paths.
After getting a good rest, having a nice breakfast and getting back in formation the group was once again on the move the next day. Throughout the second day of going down the path they continued to run into groups of spiders instead of individual ones on their own. This made the fights take longer and caused the group to expend more energy with each fight. They had to take small breaks throughout the day so that the mages could restore some of their mana with how many spells they were using to bombard the spiders.
The only mage that really had any use after they ran out of mana was Laura since she could fight close range whenever it reached that point to take a short break from casting spells. She did fight on the front lines on occasion when this situation happened especially whenever a spider had been poisoned by Madalyn and it made it easier for her to coat her blade in flames before burning the spider from the inside with a stab of her blade through its thick fur. Julia would then help out by controlling the flames and making them spread across the spider's fur creating what would end up being a giant fireball.
The further along the group went the more they got used to fending off the creatures and the more efficient they became at killing them without getting any injuries. It hadn't gotten to the point where groups larger than three would appear and cause trouble so they were able to make some good time through the path and soon both Joshua and Tank could sense a change up ahead. They could feel an enormous presence ahead of them that was making it a bit difficult to sense anything else and they knew they were getting close to the boss room. At the same time Joshua realized this was the perfect situation for the other spiders to hide by using the powerful presence of the boss to hide their own presence.
This ended up causing Joshua to come to a halt as the group reached a large room at the end of the hall that had an enormous door at the back of it that clearly lead to the boss of the path. Joshua could tell from the design of the room that it was the perfect place for all of the spiders to set up a trap and go for them just as they thought they were in the clear. The problem was the fact that he couldn't sense where the spiders were at all, but if he had to guess they were probably closer to the center of the room to make sure that they could attack the group as they made their way over towards the door.
'Well what's our plan here? It's obvious that there must be some of the spiders lying in wait for us.' Laura asked as they all stopped just in side of the room. She was interrupted however as the moment that Tank and Cinder had made their way in behind the group a giant wall erupted from the floor and blocked their way back from leaving the room. Even so the spiders waiting on them to enter the area still didn't show themselves.
'Well this is great, now we're stuck in here without any idea of what number of spiders we're up against.' Adrian said through the mental link with most of the group agreeing with his sentiment.
'We might not know the amount, but we can go with a new strategy.' Joshua responded as an idea started to form in his mind. 'Within this closed off space we can put Tank's ability to use now.'
'What do you mean boss?' Jayce asked as he was the first one to notice the smirk on Joshua's face.
'The greatest strength these spiders have in this situation is an open environment along with being able to hide their presence do to the bosses' aura helping them out in that regard. The second problem will easily be fixed the moment I go out there and they all try to attack me. The first problem however can be fixed by simply changing the environment.' Joshua explained while turning to look at Tank. 'Prepare to flood this place out and force those things out of their comfort zone. Everyone else get on Tank's back until everything is set.'
Henry seemed to be the first one to understand what Joshua was going for and smiled a bit before climbing up on to Tank with the others quickly following suit. Joshua then calmly walked towards the center of the room preparing for all of the spiders to attack him. He knew that Light's shield alone wouldn't be able to stop the assault of the spiders especially if there was more than three of them. Two already was able to break through the shield while three was able to break through so fast that Joshua struggled to avoid the strikes. Any more than that and Joshua was certain that he'd be ripped to shreds by the spiders' attacks before he knew what happened to him. So this time around he was going to use his own shield even though it drained his aura fairly drastically. It had the benefit of not being breakable against most creatures although the impact could send him flying if it was strong enough.
Once Joshua stepped into the center of the room it was as if a signal had passed through as six spiders at the same moment all shot their legs out from different trap doors that surrounded the area. Each one as powerful as the next and Joshua knew that he would easily be killed if he didn't react fast enough. He immediately allowed his aura to flow around him and a large shield surrounded him soon after. The legs all crashed into the shield from different directions which actually ended up helping Joshua out. He wasn't sent flying out of place since the force of the blows canceled each other out from the spiders' attacks.
Joshua took action immediately as he spun and slashed around through all of the legs as quickly as possible while the shield was still active. The cuts weren't deep since he wasn't able to generate enough momentum to cut through the legs, but the large gashes had angered all of the spiders and caused them to come out of their trapdoors. There was one spider that was a bit slower than the others and Joshua jumped on the opportunity to take one down before the fighting even started. He charged his scale blade with an aura blast before leaping towards the spider's trap door and smashing the top of the opening with his scale blade forcing the door shut and jamming it into the ground while the spiders legs were stuck outside the trapdoor.
Joshua could hear the screams of the injured spider which seemed to only anger the other spiders even more but they were all in a bad position as suddenly a surge of water came crashing down on the group of spiders. Joshua made sure to blink out of the way as his shield finally started to fade away. He blinked close to Tank and got on his back as well alongside the rest of the group that was already there. Tank let out a big roar as he continued to send waves of water into the surroundings flooding out the room. At first there was a bit of drainage do to the trapdoors of the spiders, but they were soon filled up causing the room to flood even faster. Joshua was certain that the spider that he trapped inside its own trapdoor would die from simply drowning as long as it couldn't get itself out of its own trap door.
'Isabella, Cinder, you both need to freeze over the water and make it hard for these spiders to move around. They both nodded as Cinder took on her ice form and started to send a large amount of her ice fog into the surroundings while also creating large ice spears that plunged into the ground around the room. They made the water freeze even faster. Isabella on the other hand created a blizzard that bombarded the spiders that were struggling trying to make their way through the water towards Tank. Whenever one got close enough the other mages would bombard the spider with spells sending it back into the water as the room continued to fill up and the water became more and more chilly.
Soon the area was like a winter wonderland with even the walls having a sheen of ice to them along with the ceiling making it impossible for the spiders to move around them unless they had similar abilities to Cinder. Speaking of Cinder she had also created several frozen webs that connected the ice pillars together and kept the spiders from having much space to move around. In the end the spiders had been literally caught in a web while the group felt the surge of experience from the spider that had died in its own trap door below the frozen water.
At this point all of the spiders were nothing more than poor animals that had no chance of fighting back as their legs slipped whenever they tried to move on top of the ice. They had been greatly injured while trying to go after Tank since all of the mages just continued to blast them with several spells and now they were being quickly killed off by Cinder as she attacked from above with large ice spears that froze the spiders already frost bitten bodies even more. The only reason the rest of the group was just fine in the current environment was because of Henry's warming charms.
After Cinder had killed off all of the spiders the group had gotten down from Tank and walked along the ice to collect the bodies. Sadly there was one body they weren't able to get to right away as they could see the poor creature's attempt to try to escape its frozen death beneath them. Its legs had broken through its own trap door and were just beneath the ice as the spider tried to get out of the water, but was frozen in place. "Well I guess we've got to wait a bit before taking on the boss." Madalyn said with a chuckle.
"Why is that?" Joshua asked a bit confused.
Madalyn smiled a bit more before pointing over towards the door to the boss room. "We froze the entrance so we're going to have to thaw are way in first." She said with a smug look causing Joshua to sigh at the situation. Sometimes his plans worked out a bit too well.