Joshua and the rest of the group all turned their attention towards the treasure chest after Madalyn's words. Right away Joshua could tell that it was a regular treasure chest with nothing special to it. It didn't have the blue coloring of all of the blue print treasure chest and it didn't have anything else special about it that could be a sign that it was made to hold something different than usual. Luckily even regular treasure chest had the chance of having something worthwhile in them, especially when it came to high level dungeons like this one. They could have things ranging from new equipment all the way to spell books depending on their luck.
After everyone had turned their attention to the treasure chest they all immediately turned to look towards Joshua in attempt to urge him on to open the chest. Joshua just chuckled a bit before walking over to the chest and opening it. He knew that if it had any traps placed on it then either Becca or Marcus would have warned him before hand with the amount of time they had spent observing the chest. So he put worries of danger to the side and opened the chest. His luck seemed to strike again this time around since on the inside of the chest there was a spell book. He wasn't sure what the spell was, but since he wasn't a mage in any way he decided to hand the book over to Henry to figure it out.
'So any idea what spell it has in it?' Laura asked curiously. She wasn't the only one that was interested as all of the magic users in the group seemed to brighten up at the idea of learning a new spell.
'Well it seems like it's my lucky day this time around.' Henry said with a smile after looking over the spell book. 'This spell is a support spell that could come in handy for me and of course you guys when I learn it. It's a support spell that allows me to siphon of mana from a target. That of course on its own would only be useful to some extent, but paired with another skill I know it could be quite useful.'
'You must be talking about that skill you found at the auction house last week. You wouldn't shut up about it.' Adrian said with annoyed look.
'Yep it goes perfectly with my mana share skill.' Henry said with a big grin. 'It's a skill that allows me to share my mana reserves with someone else. Of course this wouldn't have been all that useful on its own since it would just end up making me run out of mana faster, but with this spell it'll be easier for me to help our mages keep up their mana reserves.'
'Well then go ahead and learn it. We might come across more copies of the spell in the future, but for the moment the best person to have such a spell in our group is definitely you.' Joshua explained getting nods of agreement from everyone else. Henry quickly learnt the spell causing the spell book to disappear. After that the group was finished with the path so they made their way back to the branching point that they had come from. Joshua also took notice in the fact that the amount of experience he had gained from the monkeys was fairly minimal. Even the experience he had gained from killing the sub-bosses and boss in the town wasn't all that large considering the fact he was over level seventy at this point. He had only gained one level in total to this point in the expedition and that was a bit disheartening.
When they all made it back to the branching point they started heading down the path where Joshua could sense the statue at the end of it. The path was much longer than the last one that they had gone down, but there wasn't anything along the way that slowed down their movements. They were able to get down the path rather quickly and were surprised to find that it opened up into a small room with a statue in the center of it. Things would have been easy for them to figure out if they could make it to the statue, but the vines hanging from the ceiling seemed to have other ideas this time around.
Four large vines dropped down from above and surrounded the statue protecting it from them. The vines seemed to have some form of intelligence as they were pointing in the direction of Joshua's group from the moment they entered the room. All of the other smaller vines in the room were wiggling around as well which told the group they needed to stay away from the walls if they didn't want to end up getting hindered while fighting the larger vines.
'Well how should we handle this?' Adrian said with a frown. 'Last time we had to deal with the vines they would just grow back quickly if we cut them down or tried to burn them. Plus I highly doubt we can burn them in such a tight space without having the fire spread through the entire dungeon.'
'Well then it looks were going to have to rely on Isabella this time around.' Joshua said with a small smile as he stepped out of the way. Isabella nodded knowing what he was getting at and started casting a spell. Within seconds the room started growing colder. After a while a frost seemed to appear on the vines as their movements started slowing drastically. Soon the frost spread through the entire room and all of the vines had stopped moving entirely. Once the vines seemed frozen stiff Isabella stopped channeling mana into her spell and let out a sigh.
'All of the vines in the room should be frozen for a while.' Isabella explained. Joshua nodded before stepping forward into the room. The vines beneath his feet and along the walls were no longer dangerous, but he still kept his aura sense up just in case they started to move once again. When he got close to the larger vines he took out his scale blade and cut them out of the way. They were frozen solid so when he hit them they shattered apart. The statue in the center of the room was fairly cold as well, but still seemed perfectly intact. There was some writing on it that Joshua walked closer to read.
[Push in both statues to unlock the path forward. Otherwise the Vines will block your way.]
The tip was rather simple and explained to Joshua what he would have to do if he wanted to figure out how to get past this area. He immediately stood over the statue and pushed it down causing the floor underneath it to shift as it started to sink down. It kept sinking for a while until it was out of sight and the floor covered up itself quickly. The moment that happened a loud clicking sound seemed to fill the entire dungeon. It sounded like a timer was going off and Joshua had a good feeling he knew why.
'We need to find the other statue before the timer ends otherwise we'll have to start over.' Joshua said as he rushed back out of the room. The others followed him knowing the fact their reward for clearing the dungeon would change depending on how well they handled themselves. They all rushed back to the branching room and Joshua immediately sent out another aura pulse to see if he could find the other statue. He was hoping that they wouldn't have to go down the last path since it was nothing, but traps that would slow down their progress.
After searching with his aura pulse he noticed that there was something odd about one of the paths that was blocked off by the vines. On one hand one of the paths seemed to stretch on far further than what Joshua's aura pulse could reach. That path was clearly the way forward for the group to go further into the dungeon. The other path however didn't reach much further than a few feet. That told Joshua that the vines were likely blocking something from sight rather than blocking an entire path like he had initially thought.
'Isabella, freeze off the vines that are blocking that area.' Joshua said pointing to the vines that were blocking off the small area. Isabella nodded before channeling the same spell she had used before, but this time she concentrated on the one area which made things go much faster. She didn't need to freeze all of the vines in the room like last time since they weren't a threat. When all of the vines had frozen solid Joshua instantly rushed over to them and cut them out Since the vines closest to the area were still frozen they weren't able to grow over the area and block the path once more.
Joshua wasn't surprised when after clearing out the area there was a statue behind where he had cut the vines. The space was barely big enough to hold the statue, but Joshua didn't bother wasting any time as he rushed over and started to push the statue into the ground like he did with the other one. The moment the statue had been pushed all the way into the floor the floor closed up and the ticking sound they had been hearing since they had forced the other statue into the ground had stopped. Joshua backed away from the area and turned to look in the direction where the last blocked path was.
The vines in front of the path that they needed to take started to shake and suddenly were pulled apart as the door that they were blocking opened up on its own. The door was large and easily ripped the vines as it slowly forced its way open showing them the new path that they would need to take. 'Well that wasn't so difficult.' Amy said with a smile.
'If I had to guess the only thing that will be difficult about this dungeon will be the final boss. Most town dungeons focus on that fact in the end.' Laura said in response.
'Regardless we have to reach that point, so don't take anything for granted.' Joshua said before leading the group down the new path. After following the path for a while the group found themselves reaching another branching area that was similar to the one they had initially come from. They found themselves having to go through similar things in the next area. In the end the only difference was the number of paths they had to check out. The new branching area had seven new doors instead of five. With Joshua around to check out all of the paths beforehand they had no problem staying away from the paths they didn't need to go down and finding the treasures and statues they would need to use to get to the next area.
At one point they did come across a situation where they did have to go down a trapped path to get to one of the statues they needed to open the way forward. In that situation Marcus and Becca had to clear out the area. Joshua went along with them just in case they came across a powerful enemy of some sort, but the rest of the group stayed behind and waited. The traps weren't all that complicated and mostly depended on avoiding stepping on triggers.
In the end the group had no trouble exploring through the dungeon. The monsters inside weren't very difficult to take down since they had faced stronger versions of them beforehand. Sometimes they would come across larger groups of monkeys that made things more hectic, but it never got to the point where it was overwhelming. Eventually it got to the point where the group had gotten accustomed to the patterns of the dungeon, but that was when they were all thrown a curve ball. Lilly seemed to have an anxious expression on her face as Joshua noticed something was up.
'Lilly what's wrong?' Joshua asked as they reached another branching area.
'I can sense a beast calling out for help somewhere in this dungeon. It's similar to when we ran in to Tank. He's getting closer and closer.' Lilly responded while frowning. With that Joshua and the rest of the group knew that things were about to stop being simple.