344-312 Rest and explore (4)

 The next day we woke up early and started to investigate the rocky mountain.
 First, we headed along the mountain in the direction of the river.

 We reached a place where the river was flowing out of a crevice in the mountain, but unfortunately there was no place we could climb, nor any place of interest in between.

 We had no choice but to go back, this time to the other side.
 About an hour's walk from where we had camped at the foot of the slightly curving mountain, we came upon it.
 A gaping hole in the rock.
 It's a beautiful cave.

 It looked just like the entrance to the dungeon here, but the floor, ceiling, and walls were even smoother, giving the impression of artificiality.

It's not exactly a dungeon entrance. We're already in a dungeon.

Yes. The surrounding area looks like a natural forest, though. This must be some kind of passage made by the dungeon, right?

 It's not so strange, since the first ten layers were like this: .......

It's not that strange, because the first 10 layers were like this: Maybe it's a path leading up, right?
"Yes, I think so. ....... In terms of direction, the entrance to the second layer is just ahead.

 Natsuki pointed to the top of the rocky mountain.
 There should be a regular route leading here from there.
 It's a dungeon.

 I don't think there's a regular route down that high cliff and down the river to get here, and I don't think this entrance leads further down .......

I'd like to think that there is no such thing as ....... "Enter ......?
It's the only way. The conditions are not too bad.

 Fortunately, no demons appeared along the rocky mountain, so there was no magic consumption.
 As for my physical strength, I simply walked for an hour or two.
 If I can't go on in this state, there's nothing I can do. It's a dead end.
 Natsuki and I looked at each other, nodded lightly, and entered the passage.
 It's not a very wide passage, about two meters high and wide.

 It took me a few minutes to carefully walk through it.
 What lay ahead was a small room with a somewhat familiar feel.
 There was a door in front, a treasure chest on the right, and perhaps a transition zone on the left.

Isn't this the room after the boss room ......?
"Yeah, yeah, I think so. ......?

 Normally, I would be happy about this situation, but it was so unexpected that the look on Natsuki's face was more confusion than joy.

 And I'm sure it's the same for me.

"Ummm, so now I don't have to worry about returning home, but ...... what a letdown.

If you think about it, this situation is possible if you go back in time, but up until now it's been at the end of the hierarchy.

 There have been exceptions, such as the Skeleton King on the first level and the Tyrant Pickau on the second level, but after that there were no consecutive bosses, and it is questionable whether the Skeleton King on the first level can be called a boss.

 Besides, there are no stairs to go down to the lower levels this time.
 I wonder if it's like a boss room separating areas within the same level.

Anyway, let's collect the treasure chest.
So... This is a war hammer. ......

 What Natsuki took from the treasure chest was a hammer with a handle as long as Natsuki's chin.

 I'm not sure what to make of it.

The head is about the size of my fist. I'm sure you'll find it easier to use than you think.

 I tried to swing it lightly, and found that the weight balance was just right, so even I, the weakest of the party, could swing it reasonably well.

 I'm sure that if I were to fight a demon around here with this weapon, I would not be able to get hurt.

 On the other hand, if you have the physical strength of Toya, you might be able to get by without any skills.

I'm sure you'll be able to find something that will help you.

Oh. I'll put it away for now.

 After storing the war hammer in the magic bag, the only thing left to worry about is the door.
 This one, too, if the pattern is anything to go by.

There's a boss over there, right?
"Yeah, probably. Do you want me to check ......?

 It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.

Whether we fight or not, we can't afford not to see it, right?

 If you want to stop exploring this dungeon in the future, one option is to pretend that you never saw that door and escape back to the transition zone.

 But we're too young to set limits.

 Besides, if we find something too dangerous, we can suspend our search and work on leveling up.

"If it gets dangerous, we'll jump into the transition zone. Is that okay?

 Natsuki and I stood in front of the door so that we could peek through the crack.

...... Let's open it, shall we?

 It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.

 What I saw was a large room, similar to the usual boss's room.
 Immediately noticeable were the six pedestals that lined the inner perimeter of the room.

 One right next to the door, one in front of the original entrance, and two on either side of the wall.

 On the pedestals, each about 50 centimeters high, there was a transparent ball about 30 centimeters in diameter, and a stone statue holding the ball.

 The size of the statue was about one meter in a seated position.
 It had wings, two horns, and a long tail.

 At first glance, it looks like a gargoyle, but it is quite massive, and my impression is that it looks more like a demon.

 These are the only things in the room, and there are no demons in sight.

 The only bosses I've seen so far have been large demons, so if they were there, I wouldn't have missed them. .......

I have a bad feeling about this.

I don't like it either. Do you want to attack from here? That stone statue. It looks suspicious to me.

Yeah. I'd be more surprised if it wasn't an enemy. Could it be that as soon as you enter the room, something appears from the center?

 The ball is summoned by its mysterious power or ......?

I mean, either way, there's no harm in destroying it, right?
...... No, I mean, yeah, but...

 It's like trying to attack a shape-shifting hero while he's in the middle of his transformation.

 But it's more pragmatic than romantic.
 If our lives are on one side of the balance, we will not hesitate.

"In this pattern, would you prefer to use 'Plane Shift' ......?

 If the enemy (presumably) is not moving, it is a good opportunity to use the most powerful magic.
 I aim at the nearest pedestal, the body of the stone statue on top of it, and get ready to cast a spell.

...... Oh, my God, it's moving!

 As if they sensed that I was about to attack, all of the stone statues began to move, just as Natsuki had said.

 But their movement was still slow...

"Plane Shift"!

 The moment the magic is activated.
 The moment the spell is activated, all the stone statues jump up at once.


 The spell activates a moment too late, but it succeeds in cutting off the targeted statue from the knees down and the tip of its tail.
 But how much damage would that do?
 The stone statue, like the other five, was still floating in the air with its wings flapping.
 I was able to detect it when it started to move, but it seems that the target was a gargoyle.
In addition to the skill of [Flight], the skills of [Claw Strike] and [Tail Strike] are also visible.
 I'm not sure about the former, but I'm guessing the latter is an attack with a tail. ......?

I'm not sure. I'm not sure.

 I'm not sure what to make of it.
 I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but it's a good idea.

 Gun! Gun! Gun!

 It was Natsuki who quickly closed the door before the attack could reach us.

 I helped Natsuki to hold the door, and as I did so, I heard three heavy thuds of something hitting the door. I felt a dull vibration.

 The material of the door is hard, like stone or concrete.
 But to be honest, I'm not sure if it will be able to keep up with the attacks.
 The main problem is our muscle strength.

 Even with the two of us holding it down, the door would open slightly each time it was attacked, and if all six of us pushed it, it would be impossible to support it.

"Natsuki! Let's get out of here!
Yes! On my count! --Three, two, one!

 With zero timing, we left the door and ran for the transition zone.

 As soon as we jumped into it, the door opened with a bang, and the gargoyle landed on the ground like a crash.

 But the next moment, we were gone from the room.