Chapter 2: The Curse of the Pyramid
It didn’t take long until they located the hidden entrance. Not only that, they found a whole three of them.
“Whoever designed this must have been a real lover of everything hidden.” Eri was stunned.
“… Well, I didn’t anticipate this development,” moaned Jun, scratching his head.
After Jun had opened his paint application on his tablet and transmitted his automatically generated maps to the others using infrared, the gang sat in a circle and thought about it deeply.
“Whoever made this map of the pyramid definitely did not do it the normal way.”
“This doesn’t seem like the job of somebody being paid by the hour. But maps in Sky World always got me worked up.”
“Do you know where in the pyramid we’ll meet the ghost?” asked Ryuka who was deep in thought with her hand on her mouth. “Hmm… surely before we fall into a pit… So, if we go in here…”
“These three rear entrances are dummy ones,” Eri said, as she frowned at Jun.
Skepticism filled the air.
“Ryuka, is it okay even if we don’t take the shortest route there?”
“Yeah. Having some of Jun’s favorite food is good enough for me.”
“Let’s try going in through the entrance near the top of the pyramid.”
“What’s the purpose of doing that?” asked Eri.
“It’s my intuition,” Jun responded with a smile on his face.
Though the hidden entrance was very small, the passageway inside was more than three meters wide and its ceiling about four meters high. It allowed them to easily keep their weapons ready. Since the walls were well illuminated, it was bright enough that they could see each other’s faces.
“I’m going to go check out what’s in front of us. Eri, invisibility magic, please.”
“Please, be careful. I won’t make any jokes about the gate being a one way door.”
“From here, we’ll keep in contact by communication stone.”
Jun, turning invisible thanks to Eri’s magic, quietly set off towards the inner part of the pyramid. The invisibility spell, usable by many spellcasters, would allow its target to disappear for a set amount of time. It was immensely effective against monsters that only relied on their sense of sight, as one could go up close to them without risking detection. However, for monsters that used their senses of smell or hearing, there was a limit to its efficacy. As soon as the invisible adventurer took any aggro, the spell would instantly end. It wasn’t very useful for anything other than reconnaissance.
Furthermore, in cities, such magic was prohibited. In inns and in public bathhouses, barriers would automatically dispel invisibility. It came in naturally to counteract unscrupulous breaches of privacy.
The passageway led to a staircase. Jun carefully walked down them. The stairs, which surely had not been used for a long time, had overgrown with moss and fungus. They were very slippery.
At the bottom of the stairs, there was a fork in the road.
The wind is blowing…
The gentle breeze brushing his face came from the left.
Jun stayed vigilant of his surroundings and entered the dungeon.
A few minutes later, when Jun returned to the rest of the group, Kasumi and Ryuka took huge breaths of relief.
Eri frowned, groaning, “You’re sooooooo sloooooooow.”
“We were worried sick.”
“Sorry. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news.”
Jun wirelessly copied the automatically generated map from his reconnaissance efforts to the others. They pinned their eyes onto their tablet screens.
“…Wow, it’s a headache-inducing maze!”
“Honestly, I got a bit lost myself. I never really had any sense of direction.”
“So why was somebody without any sense of direction in charge of scouting?”
“Considering what might happen if enemies attacked, it was best for me to go. And also… Yukaria would have frozen up, ran away, and forgotten everything.”
“I’ll have you know, I’m just bad with dark places. Besides, the monsters in a place like this would be undead ones. Sleep Bullet wouldn’t work on them. I’d have to hit them with my hands.”
Undead. It referred to a dead body that could move. In Sky World, monsters like zombies and skeletons were collectively referred to as undead monsters.
Undead monsters differed a lot from regular ones. First of all, they were completely immune to certain status effects, such as paralysis and sleep. On the other hand, white magicians’ special anti-undead attacks would work very effectively against them. This was switched for regular monsters.
“There weren’t any undead monsters.”
“So you’re saying there were other types of monsters?” Eri asked.
“Just Puppet Dolls, or moving doll-like creatures. They’re like golems.”
“Either way, Sleep Bullet still won’t work on them.”
Yukaria dropped her shoulders slowly. Neither dolls nor golems were susceptible to sleep or paralysis.
“Well, it isn’t as spacious as the passageway. Only two or three bodies could stand side by side there, and only if they were particularly small. Except for when the battle becomes close ranged, if Kasumi-san and I are in the front, we should manage.”
Unlike in an open field, dungeons had the physical limitation of walls. Though one would not need to worry about being surrounded by large armies of monsters, the lack of room to orchestrate traps was vexing. Jun’s specialty, tactics that required good placement and movement would not work here.
“Let’s destroy all of the monsters in the mapped areas. We can take up our positions at the place where the road splits and take them out one by one. Kasumi-san and Ryuka, please gradually get used to the dungeon.”
In order to be able to investigate the area, the dungeon must have first been cleared. In Sky World, monsters in remote dungeons wouldn’t respawn sooner than in a few hours a few hours, so once they have been all killed once, the area could be safely searched.
Puppet Dolls were wooden dolls with spherical joints that gave off the impression of golem type monsters. Each only one meter tall, they were about as big as a small child. Though, several of them could attack at once, sometimes up to ten of them.
However, they didn’t seem to have any special attacks, so they just recklessly attacked by slamming their hands, instead of with sticks or bludgeons. Their attack skill level was 100, so they were green even to Ryuka. Basically, they were just little minion monsters that weren’t very strong.
It took about an hour to clear the Puppet Dolls area.
“It’s fine no matter how many Puppet Dolls there are. Kasumi-san, can you protect Ryuka? I’m counting on you.”
“Ye-yes! Please leave it to me!” Elated upon hearing Jun’s words, Kasumi nodded, bracing herself. Cheerfully taking Ryuka along with her, she disappeared into the interior passage. “Jun, we won’t die!”
“You scoundrel. You’re the worst!”
Yukaria and Eri’s jeering slammed Jun. He left, almost as if to escape them.