Several minutes have passed by after the battle without the party doing anything else but resting. Only when everyone felt that they had regained most of their strength did the cleaning of the aftermath began. The adventurers scavenged equipment and items that were still in a sellable state while Ariel’s side was collecting the trophies they needed for their Academy score.
However not long after they started doing that, Camila who sneaked off somewhere without anyone knowing suddenly returned while happily shouting at all of them. “Everyone, I found something great!” From her cheerful smile everyone understood that she discovered an object or place which was even more precious than anything they got so far or she wouldn’t be this excited.
When the girl had calmed down, Henry was finally able to ask what she found while wearing an amused expression. Camila obviously was overexcited as she began talking immediately. “It is a chest, a treasure chest.” After they heard her words surprise appeared on everyone’s faces.
Treasure chests were another unique quirk of the dungeons. No one knows how or why they appear in the dungeons, but most of the time, if it is not a trap, you fill find something worth your time. Henry was one of the first ones to snap out of his daze and he hurriedly asked Camila. “Did you open it? If you did that was reckless it could have been a trap! Where is it?”
From his face you could see that Henry was quite worried about what Camila might have gotten herself into, to the point that he even messed up his sentences, but the person in question only laughed and answered. “Don’t worry. Even I know so much at least, follow me.” After ending her words she started leading the group towards the location of the chest.
After some time everyone saw a silver rimmed chest with a lock on it placed in a small closet sized room. Most likely this was something the goblins were guarding. It is quite common for the dungeon monsters to do that. While thinking so everyone quickly gathered around the chest, but still kept some distance, then Tera questioned Camila while acting cautiously. “Are you able to open it, also is it trapped?” Since they didn’t know what was inside, they couldn’t recklessly smash the chest open, so they had to let Camila use lock picks.
Camila quickly answered Tera’s questions with a confident smirk. “I can definitely unlock it, as for traps… At least I myself can’t find any, but since this is quite an easy dungeon and we aren’t too deep, I speculate that the chances that it is a trap are quite low.” Just as Camila finished her analysis, Brendon gave a quick warning. “Even if it is a small chance, we have to be careful while we open it just in case.”
The rest of the group seemed to agree, so Henry immediately spoke in a commanding tone. “Everyone step back. If anything happens I will charge and protect Cam while the mages will try to do anything they think will help.” Everyone nodded and quickly got into their positions.
Thankfully nothing went wrong with the chest. Camila scrambled with her lock picks for a while and soon there was a click signaling that the chest was unlocked. As they opened it there were no traps and after checking a few more times everyone finally gathered around to see what was inside, with relieved minds.
What they found was that the chest was quite full. The most numerous were coins and potions which simply from their amount already made a small fortune. Then there was also some quite decent equipment, a couple of fine swords and a buckler, all of which could be sold for a pretty penny.
However, what attracted everyone’s attention was a beautiful, finely crafted bow. Ariel’s group immediately noticed that it wasn’t a simple bow, but a magic weapon. The adventurers although weren’t mages and not strong enough to see mana, still had a lot of experience and were able to come to the same conclusion after some observations.
This chest truly had more than they bargained for, but now came the most important part, the loot distribution. Henry after being bewitched for a while soon came to and spoke with some reluctance in his voice. “Honestly, if it weren’t for you four, we might have had an extremely difficult time defeating this group of monsters, so it is only fair that you would be first to chose what to get.”
All of the adventurers stayed silent and watched to see what Ariel and the rest would do, especially Tera, who although looked composed, still constantly threw glances at the bow. The spokesperson of the group, Sarah, seeing this situation didn’t know what to do so she quickly gathered with the others into a circle and discussed a bit with them.
After a couple minutes she once again stood in front of their party and with a smile spoke. “We will be taking some potions and all the gold.” Her answered shocked the adventurers quite a bit, Henry even hurriedly asked while his mind was still in a daze. “Are you sure, this is a magical item you know?”
Sarah slightly shook her head and replied “That is true, but have you forgotten our identities? Although magical items are still precious to us, they aren’t too rare and expensive us as well. Also, you have helped us learn a lot in these past few hours so it can be like repayment, not to mention that with Tera having this bow the rest of the battles will be a lot easier.”
The adventurers didn’t know what to say, they were extremely grateful to Ariel’s group. Tera hurriedly ran to the front and gave a bow. “Thank you for this generosity. You don’t know how much this means to me. If there is anything you need of me, you can ask anytime.”
While Tera was still continuing to thank them, Brendon casually spoke. “There is no reason to be thankful to us for such a small reason. It is better if we skipped such details and hurry. There is still a lot of walking for us to do.”
Although after hearing Brendon’s words the adventurers soon calmed down, but gratefulness was still visible in their eyes as they returned to their previous location. Only after thanking Ariel and the group once more after reaching the place, did they start the cleaning again.
With their newly found enthusiasm the job took shorter than expected and soon enough everyone was already getting ready to move on. At that time, as Ariel was checking if everything was in place, suddenly Vor stepped in front of him. At first it seemed like he was heavily contemplating something until finally he spoke while looking at Ariel. “Thank you for your help.” He thanked for the support Ariel gave him during the fight.
Unlike he usually spoke, Vor’s voice was quite weak, from the way it looked, you could tell that he wasn’t used to thanking people, However after a couple seconds of watching him, Ariel turned back to continue doing his checkups with out saying a single word back.
Seeing his, Vor felt extremely embarrassed, he already wanted to lash out a Ariel with no care that he was a noble, but he immediately remembered that Ariel was his benefactor, so he simply stood there, not knowing what to do. The others clearly saw what happened, but most of them didn’t know what to do to ease the awkwardness either. Thankfully Henry walked up to Vor and after placing his hand on his shoulder spoke. “Ariel is a bit reserved, but I don’t think he meant to be rude to you, don’t take it to heart too much. How about you go prepare to leave and calm your emotions in the mean time?”
Although still grumbling, Vor obediently left to do his own thing. Unknowingly, while Henry was speaking to Vor, Sarah had come closer and spoke as soon as Vor walked a little further away. “I’m sorry for what happened, that is just how Ariel is, but he isn’t as arrogant or coldhearted as he acts, simply a bit distrusting. I hope you can forgive him.” Henry merely laughed at her words and replied. “Don’t worry. I believe that none of us were actually offended. Rather I would want to talk about another topic I have. Do you mind?”
Brendon who was beside his sister had his curiosity peaked a bit from hearing that, so he questioned Henry. “There is something so important to speak about that we can’t talk about after finding a place to rest first?” At his words Henry slightly nodded and spoke. “Actually I want to ask about the end goal of this dungeon expedition and what you think. You see, it seems that with your magic we can take care of hob goblins quite easily, so I was thinking if you were interested in trying out fighting against the hob goblin boss, from what I know its would be on our way deeper into the dungeon.” Surprise immediately appeared on the siblings faces after they heard Henry’s suggestion.
However before any of the two could answer, Erna and Camila, the two tomboyish girls who were getting along quite well and were talking with each other just now, jumped after hearing the ongoing conversation. Both of them had exited expressions as they closed in on the others, especially Camila who was practically glowing.
“Did I just hear you saying that we will fight a boss?” Her voice seemed to be almost shivering from expectations and although Erna was a bit quiet, her eyes easily betrayed her thoughts. Seeing this, Henry helplessly confessed. “We are only thinking about it, we won’t do it if it is too dangerous, you should know that boss monsters are unbelievably dangerous.”
Dungeons bosses were like the treasure chests, both appearing randomly in dungeons. However while chests had either treasure or traps, bosses always had some good loot on them, but also certain danger. For example, naturally born hob goblins are somewhere at Disciple rank with the chance to reach Elite rank. On the other hand, there are those who evolved from goblins, to do that, they have to reach Elite rank while still being a goblin, which is beyond difficult. Of course there are good points to that, they are much more powerful than those who are already born as hob goblins and have more potential, letting them to immediately become an orc after reaching Master rank.
The problem is that, in the dungeon, all monsters are on the same level as those who evolved, so due to that their strength and talent are quite amazing. In the mean while, bosses are cream on the crop. It is unknown why, but their power is enormous for their levels no matter what rank they are. To show the point, the hob goblin boss is most of the time at late Elite rank, but his actual strength is about that of an early Master rank or even a weak middle Master rank.
From this, one can see how special they are, but risk always comes with a reward so many adventurers put their life on the line to hunt bosses. Henry’s party knows all of this information quite well, but Camila still seemed eager to fight one. The usually cheerful party leader was racking his brain in how to pacify this tomboy girl. Just as he was doing that, Erna who was at Camila’s side spoke. “It is not like we have to jump right into a fight, at worst if he is too strong we can simply retreat.”
Erna’s sudden words had some reason to it, so Henry stealthily looked at his other party members. Vor seemed to be ignoring him, but the usual person who took care of them, Tera, seemed to have given it some thought and when she met his gaze, she spoke. “If it is just to take a look, I don’t think there is a problem with that.”
Brendon who was at the side also spoke while cheerfully laughing. “I also thing we should at least look, if we need to run away we have many spells that will come in handy.” Very soon everyone came to and agreement about it. They will find the lair and observe if they have a high chance of winning against the boss, if they do, they will fight, if not, they will run away.
Everyone was happy with such a plan and after a bit more time, they were on their way. During their trip they had encountered hob goblins more and more frequently, but with their overwhelming strength they easily blitzed through them. After several hours of such travel, deeper in to the dungeon, their instincts soon started telling them that they were getting closer and closer to something dangerous, and soon enough after turning a corner they saw a big gateway with its actual wooden gates almost completely rotten away, without any of their previous majesty left.
However none of them dared to belittle the room behind them since they know that the most difficult battle they will experience in this dungeon might be just beyond that gateway.