The speed at which they traversed their way down through the floors of the dungeon towards the seventeenth floor, was astounding.
…For a level one.
Ais had to slow her own pace for her new…teacher, trainer? Life coach? Whatever he was to her, while her own pace had been slowed considerably, his own was nothing short of mind boggling for a level one.
It made sense she supposed, especially considering he could apparently level up if he wanted…after only a few weeks.
She was the recorded fastest to ever level up and it took her a year. Caelan, was capable of it in less than a tenth of the time it took her to do so.
It led more credence to her decision to follow his teachings.
So as they travelled downwards, she watched him keenly as he tore his way through every single monster that came his way. From Silverbacks to Hard Armours, from Crystal Mantis' to humongous Lyger Fang's. One and all, he tore them apart with his bare hands and teeth.
Half way through the fifteenth floor a Wyvern spawned, and barely had time to do anything before the boy was upon it, grasping both ends of its mouth with his hands and prying its mouth open before spitting a great gout of flame down its throat and roasting it from the inside out.
And then a pack of minotaurs spawned and rushed them right after. Only for him to create a pair of crystal daggers across his forearms and call upon his flame enchantment to slice through the bull-men monsters like a hot knife through butter.
In less than an hour, they'd arrived at the staircase leading down to the seventeenth floor.
And each monster he felled, left behind a magic stone that was promptly consumed by her would be teacher and fuelled his growing strength.
…However, strong as he was, she could not see him having the power to bring down the Goliath alone.
"Are…you sure you want to do this?" she questioned. Strong as he was, and as much as he knew about getting stronger and using the falna to his benefit, he had never encountered the Goliath before.
It was…in a completely differently class than the monsters he had faced so far on the way down here.
"Yeah it should be fine," the boy grinned at her, and there was a glowing glint of palpable excitement sparking in his iris, he was reminding her a lot of Tiona right now, she always loved to fight strong monsters too, "I know it's way stronger than me, but not so much where it could kill me instantly and before you could do anything if I get in over my head."
…"Ah, okay." Ais simply nodded and agreed.
He was not wrong after all. The Goliath was simply too slow to stop her from doing much of anything, especially with Ariel.
She would keep alert for sure just in case though, ready to move at a moments notice. She after all, could not afford to let this boy die.
"Right, let's get going then." Caelan beckoned her to follow him and the boy boldly made his way down the stairs to the seventeenth floor.
Setting her hand on the pommel of her durandal blade, Ais followed down behind him, getting ready to act at a moments notice.
When they reached the bottom, they found themselves stepping into a wide open straight forward cavernous room, the only thing that really stood out in it, being the left wall which was made up of a shimmering crystal that looked almost like a mirror.
Caelan whistled looking at it, "So that's the great wall of sorrow huh?" he examined it, before nodding, "I thought it was gonna be…bigger, not gonna lie. This thing has to barely be over thirty feet."
He showed how different he was from the norm once again. He didn't seem at all impressed by the structure. Most who made it down here for the first time, were usually struck by the wall.
But…not him apparently.
The ground shook and an ominous crack formed on the middle of the wall. She saw Caelan tense, the grin on his face widening as it began.
The wall shattered and an ear shaking roar echoed through the depths of the dungeon as a towering humanoid behemoth with glowing crimson red eyes and long scraggly green eyes burst free from the wall of sorrow.
The monster rex, Goliath.
The floor boss of floor seventeen.
With huge bulging muscles and arms too long to be human, the beast turned its eyes towards them and roared once more.
Many an adventurer had fallen to their knees and wet themselves in terror at the sight of the roaring monster rex.
Caelan…tilted his head even as it roared at them and just stared, incredulous, "…What…why is it so small?" he goggled, outright disappointment appearing in his tone.
"Small?" Ais blinked, confused.
The Goliath did not care for their conversation and with a roar, it rushed towards them in a sprint, with heavy foot falls that fell like rumbling thunder and shook the ground beneath them.
"Blaze!" Caelan declared, his enchantment erupting into an aura around his form and enhancing his body and jumping back and avoiding the huge fist it sent his way, while she leapt to the opposite side, out of the way while it targeted him.
"Yeah, small, this thing is barely over twenty feet tall, are you kidding me, I was expecting something at least fifty feet!" he shouted as he landed, before kicking off the ground and rushing towards the great humanoid monster, landing atop its fist it had buried into the ground and rushing up its arm, "And it's so slow as well!"
It swept its other arm across trying to swat the boy off of its body, but he merely jumped and zipped over it, before launching himself up and burying a thunderous flame clad punch into the beasts cheek.
Its head moved to the side from the force, but no more than that. With a roar, it swept its first fist up to squash him, only for him to flip backwards and avoid it, and let it smash its own palm into its face, the Goliath roaring from the self inflicted blow and stumbling back few steps.
"…Well it's durability at least lives up to the hype." Caelan snorted as he landed on the ground.
"It's not a speed based monster. While it is faster than a minotaur, it's true strength is in its durability, physical strength and its skin," Ais informed him, "Its skin makes it highly resistant to damage."
"Gotcha," Caelan cracked his neck, "Let's try this then!" he shouted, and a split moment later, gleaming blue crystal gauntlets with clawed fingers formed on his arms while similar armoured boots appeared on his feet.
He took in a deep breath, before opening his mouth wide and firing a great big large gout of flame from his mouth towards the Goliath's face.
In return, it howled, unleashing a powerful shockwave that tore through the flames and dispersed them.
But Caelan had already moved, zipping in a blur between its legs and with his clawed gauntlets clad in flame he slashed them into the back of the monsters heel, trying to tear out the skin and make it fall.
To no avail, his clawed gauntlets gave an audible screeching grind and failed to penetrate the beasts hide.
"No dice huh?" he laughed.
His grin only got wider despite his failure.
The Goliath roared once more, stepping back and raising a foot up to stop down on him, only for him to thrust one hand up, and a cloud of purple spores to erupt and shoot up like a gale of wind and enshroud the beasts face.
It stopped, stumbling back as the spores seeped into its mouth and nose and hovered around its face like a cloud.
It was stunned for a moment as it choked and Caelan thrust his other hand up, unleashing a wave of flame that shot up and impacted the cloud of purple most likely poisonous spores.
And a great explosion erupted around the beasts head.
Despite herself, Ais felt her eyes widen as the monster rex stumbled back from the explosion…and tripped.
It crashed thunderously into the ground on its back, a coughing roar escaping all the way, though its outer skin was no worse for wear at all.
Caelan was not content to give it any chance at all to regain its bearings. With a shout, he suddenly exploded forward, his speed enhanced by his flame enchantment, suddenly increasing by another notable amount as he leapt up onto the beasts broad chest and zipped up towards its head.
It lashed out blindingly, instinctively, trying to grab him, but as it did, he leapt over it again, jumping over them easily and coming down towards its skull, both clawed gauntlets poised, superheated with the flames circling around his body.
And as he landed atop its head, Caelan thrust his clawed gauntlets down straight into one of its eyes and Ais watched stunned as the boy unleashed a massive wave of flame straight through both hands inside its eye and began roasting it from the inside out of its skull!
The Goliath roared and thrashed in agony as its pierced eye boiled and cooked and its brain began to follow not long later.
But, it would not be a monster rex, if it fell so easily.
It roared, unleashing a howling shock wave that shot up and slammed into the ceiling above, tearing great beg rents of debris from it, while it brought both arms up and slammed them against its face with all its strength in an attempt to crush Caelan.
He apparently saw it coming though and sprang backwards, up over its arms. She heard its skull crunch from the blow even as he flipped and angled around over it mid-air and spread his arms out, purple spores forming around one hand and flame in the other.
He thrust both down straight towards its open mouth, the flame and poisonous spores mixing together just as they entered its mouth and erupting once more into a roaring explosion.
Its roars cut off and its body thrashed for only a few split moments, before going limp.
Caelan landed on its chest, mouth filling with glittering embers of flame once more and he spat out another gout of flame enveloping the bodies upper torso and head in a wave of flame.
"Come on!" he roared himself, a savage smile on his lips as he cut it off and then began punching his fists out, unleashing blasts of flame one after another, "Let's see you survive this!" he laughed, as he pulled both fists back and then unleashed them as one, firing two great waves of flame from his fists that merged together and slammed into the corpses head like a roaring blazing tsunami.
He kept roasting the corpse with his flames for a good ten seconds, before a confused look finally appeared on his face and he cut off the flow of flame, the enchantment disappearing from around his body.
He panted deeply, sweat pouring down his face and stared, "…It's dead…?" he said blankly, "…But…but, what about its regeneration?"
"Goliath's don't have regeneration?" Ais offered, making her way over to the boy who stood atop the corpse of the monster rex.
Doing her level best all the while to contain her own shock.
As a level one, he'd completely destroyed the Goliath. It did not make sense, it was considered a level four monster, yet he'd killed it alone.
It did not make sense to be honest. Even with his abilities, all he had on the Goliath was a speed advantange.
It had height, reach, resistance to all he could do, superior durability by far, and the same for its strength.
Yet it hadn't even touched him and was powerless after he had targeted its weak points.
She could not wrap her mind around it.
…But if nothing else, this was just more confirmation, that she needed his teachings.
"…Oh…" Caelan replied and then sighed, shoulders slumping in obvious disappointment. Had he come down here challenging the Goliath thinking it could regenerate?
That was…interesting to know?
My hand flashed out, clawed gauntlets extended.
And bounced off of the flesh of the Goliaths lower stomach, where its magic stone was located.
Its skin was so tough and durable, I couldn't even leave a scratch on it. I am literally incapable of getting my loot from the boss monster I just killed.
I sighed in defeat.
It made a fine pair with the disappointment I felt. I literally cannot believe this. When I came up with the idea to come down here and fight this thing after acquiring a safety net, I thought that that I'd be fighting a titanic beast. I thought I'd be on the defensive, playing keep away in a desperate, heart pounding, adrenaline fuelled scramble through a massive uphill battle.
What I got, was nothing close to that. For one, the Goliath wasn't even half the size I was expecting. It was seven metres tall. That was less than twenty five feet. The Black Goliath, was well over fifty feet by my estimates. And on top of that, it didn't have the regeneration I thought it would either.
Like, I know the Black Goliath was an irregular spawned by the dungeon specifically in response to Hestia's divine power to kill her, but the discrepancy is a bit too great here.
Sure the normal Goliath was way too durable for me to hurt from the outside, and was way, way stronger than me and could have probably killed me easily if it got a hold of me.
But that required it to be fast enough to do so. And it wasn't. It wasn't any faster than some of the minotaur's I'd seen on the way down here, and not nearly as fast as the enhanced Killer Ant I made…who was a bit of a disappointment itself.
Frankly, with that size, it just made the Goliath an easier target. If it was actually smaller, closer to a human in size, I don't think I could have beaten it. But with how big it was, yet not titanic levels like the Black Goliath, it was stuck in a middle point where it wasn't too big for me to dodge around easily when it attacked me, while not being small enough to actually move that massive bulk around fast enough to catch me and it having the same vital soft spots as a human, just made it all that easier to kill.
Its absurd durability didn't mean jack shit when I could so easily target its soft spots.
"Do you want…me to get it for you?" the voice of my current companion drew me from my thoughts and I looked over my shoulder to meet the blank gaze of Ais Wallenstein.
Honestly, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I've agreed to teach the titular heroine how to game break the falna and get even stronger. Is this a form of cuckoldry? Am I cucking Bell?
I'm not sure how to feel about that to be honest, I'd had literally zero plans at all about interacting with this chick and the Loki Familia as a whole, even though I knew it'd be inevitable.
I suppose it isn't really cucking him considering I'm not really interested in her. I mean, don't get me wrong, Ais is beautiful, gorgeous even. Those thighs and that ass? Woo boy!
But that blank gaze is just kinda creepy. All that beauty she has, doesn't mean jack squat when she basically comes across as a doll. Some guys would probably be into that kind of thing, I know for sure there were sad freaks on the internet into mind control crap and the like who were totally and creepily into chicks being their doll like love slaves.
But that ain't for me. Though she's definitely good eye candy.
"Yeah, if you can please." I replied, waving my hand at the giant Goliath corpse I was standing atop of.
"Mmm." Ais nodded and with a casual jump, leaped twenty feet through the air to land beside me, drawing her gleaming beautifully crafted rapier as she did.
With a single casual swipe of her arm that was so fast I could barely follow it with my eyes and only saw a shining flash, the blade gouged and sliced through the Goliath's chest, peeling it open and revealing the large magic gleaming magic stone within its body, in place of its heart.
"Thanks." I said, before stepping forward and grasping its both sides of the sliced open skin and grit my teeth and pulled. It was insane how rigid and heavy its skin was, and the amount of exertion I needed to put into it just to peel both sides back a few inches made my hands go numb and I could feel a pulsing vein throb along the side of my face.
it took a good minute or so before I pulled it back fully enough for me to retrieve the magic stone, and I realise I could have had Ais do it, but still.
When I finished, I was panting deeply, more exhausted than I had been from fighting the damn thing. Wiping sweat from my brow, I reached in and grasped the magic stone which was about half the size of my body, the biggest I'd seen yet by far and pulled it free.
As soon as I did, the Goliath's body fell apart, dissolving into black smoke and disappeared and both I and Ais dropped to the ground.
I blinked as we landed though, because there was something in the place of the Goliath.
It was a huge curved fang-like tooth, a bit longer than my forearm.
"Ah…a Goliath Tooth," Ais tilted her head to the side as she noticed it as well, "Lucky."
I nodded in agreement.
While the drop item wasn't all that big, from what I've read, it could be used to make incredibly durable equipment, mostly small equipment like gauntlets, or weapons like a short sword.
"How good of a weapon do you think I could get out of this?" I wondered as I jostled the large magic stone I was holding into one hand and picked it up with the other.
"…Depends….on the….smith," Ais replied slowly and gave a shrug, "If you get someone like Goibnu to make something…from it. You could get a weapon…as good mine, though it would cost a lot."
My eyes dipped to her waist where she'd already sheathed her blade without me noticing, "That has the Durandal enchantment right? How much did it cost you?" I asked.
What was its name again?
"Yes, this is desperate," Ais nodded grasping the hilt gently, "It cost me…ninety nine million valis."
My eyes widened so much at her reply they almost bulged out of my sockets. "99 million?!" I spluttered, are you fucking kidding me?
According to Lili, getting the kind of mansion I want to stay in, would cost me around thirty million valis. And Ais' freaking weapon cost more than three times that?
I mean, the Goliath Fang I have in my hand right now is five million valis if I sell it to the guild and I could get more trying to sell it to the likes of the Hephaestus Familia, especially because of how rare it is, but come on!
"Mmm…very expensive," Ais nodded, and her head then drooped almost depressingly, so much so I could practically see a rain cloud forming over her in my minds eye, "…Takes days in the dungeon to make enough to replace it when I break it."
…How the hell did somebody break a sword that was literally enchanted to be unbreakable?
"You sure do rake in the cash, huh?" I snorted, raising an eyebrow at her. I mean seriously, she spoke of raising enough to replace a weapon that cost just below a hundred million valis so easily, and the way she spoke of it, implied she had done so, multiple times.
She really didn't understand the value of money at all.
"…I…guess?" she tilted head head.
Honestly, somebody should teach her to appreciate the value of things more. And with that thought in mind, I lifted the huge magic stone of the Goliath worth two million valis in my other hand towards my mouth and started crunching through it with my teeth and swallowing it down.
The increases I get from eating this guys stone are sure to be absolutely massive! It's too bad about the regeneration not being something I'll get from this guy, but oh well.
Ais just stared at me blankly as I ate until I was finished, and only then did she nod, "Should we…leave now?" she asked.
"Yeah, may as well." I nodded, hooking the Goliath Tooth in my belt strap and beckoning her to follow me as I made my way back towards the stairs leading up to the sixteenth floor.
As soon as we reached the top of the stairs, it was to find a pack of five minotaur's waiting for us. I opened my mouth and exhaled a massive gout of roaring flame in greeting, drawing pained roars from the monsters as it washed over them.
Though, they didn't die.
Because minotaurs were very resistant to both fire and ice. It still hurt them though and stunned them enough for me to spring into action, "Blaze!" I chanted, the divine flame springing into existence around me, enhancing my body's physical abilities multiple times over.
I sprang towards the roasted walking beef and before the first could react, my clawed gauntlets punctured through up through its chin, into its brain and killed it immediately and then I launched towards the others and tore through them just the same.
In less than fifteen seconds, all that remained was five relatively large magic stones and a large horn.
Another drop item to add to the pile. That was about the sixth minotaur horn I'd gotten down here so far.
Grinning, I grabbed it up as well and added it to the pouch I was carrying that was full of the drop items I'd amassed so far tonight, before picking up the magic stones and eating them one by one and adding their power to my own.
Ais waited until I was done before speaking up, "So…now that we've done this, can I ask…."
I nearly rolled my eyes, the girl had a one track mind, "What else you should do to get stronger?" I asked, dispelling the aura of divine flame around my body.
"Mmm." Ais nodded.
"A few come to mind," I shrugged as we continued on, "Like, how many spell slots do you have remaining?"
Ais blinked slowly and cocked her head to the side, "…Two."
I resisted the urge to sigh. I did however, roll my eyes, "Seriously? You have two slots left, and you make all the money you do, and you haven't thought about filling them? Honestly, why are people so dumb around here?" I griped, "First order of business is filling them up. You're a melee fighter with an overpowered enchantment spell of your own right?"
Well, mine was a skill which made it better, but semantics.
"Yes…Ariel, it's a…wind enchantment." she replied.
"Alright," I nodded, "How does it work beyond the obvious? You can obviously use the wind to attack, but can you use it long range?"
"Long…range?" Ais frowned, "Why? I am…a melee fighter."
"So am I, for the most part," I rolled my eyes, "But you already saw me using mine, right? Enchantments like ours are super easy to use, no chant beyond a single word needed to call them up. Just take my example for instance and think what you could do if you could fire yours off long range."
"Ah," Ais nodded, "I will…need to look into it."
"Or, you could just try it now, we're in the dungeon after all," I pointed out,, and lifted my hand to point at the wall we were walking towards, "Doesn't need to be perfect, just give it a shot and fire it off."
In return, Ais just nodded once more, "Tempest." she chanted, and a roaring gale of glimmering green wind erupted around her form, and almost blew me off my feet, I had to tense my legs and push down with all my strength just to not get tossed away.
Ais, unknowing of my annoyance at her, closed her eyes and lifted her hand. The wind swirling around her seemed to shrink in on itself and slither down onto her arm before erupting forward in a spiralling tornado that roared across the distance between us and the wall and slammed into it with thunderous force, tearing it apart like it was made of paper mache and sending multiple tons of debris to the ground in great big chunks of rock.
Despite myself, I gaped at the casual destruction she wrought, 'Holy shit.' I thought.
The wall after all, was easily over thirty feet high and incredibly wide. And Ais casual attack experiment, destroyed a vast majority of it.
If I was hit with that, it'd put me down for the count, even if I was wearing my crystal armour I'm pretty sure.
'…So this is the power of a level five, huh?' I licked my suddenly very dry lips.
A wide smirk spread across my face and excitement pulsed in my veins. Now that, would be fun to fight against!
Ais opened her eyes and looked at what she had caused, before turning to me, "I…can do it?"
"Yeah you fucking can doll face," I snorted, "Which makes what else you need pretty straight forward."
Ais pouted at me, "Can…you not call me that? I don't like…being called a doll."
"I'll think about it when you learn to be a bit more emotive," I snorted, "Either way, you've got the spell that lets you attack long range and amps you physically in one, so that just leaves you with a few basic categories to take care of for your build. Well I mean there's more guess, but for a basic build like you, I'd recommend picking between a spell for healing, a debuff spell to use on enemies or a barrier type spell to protect yourself."
"…Debuff?" Ais once more cocked her head to the side, looking puzzled. Or was she? She kinda just looked the same as always. Honestly, it was pretty hard to read her expressions at all. I had to look more at her mouth than her eyes to get a feel for what she was thinking.
I rolled my eyes, "A weakening type spell, you know, you hit an opponent with it, and it makes them slower, less durable, less strong and the like? Or even a curse type that like saps away their life force over time or something," I replied, "Honestly, you're not really the defensive type, and seem to be speed based going by the rapier. You're all dps. So I'd think the best for you to get, would be a debuff type spell to use on enemies and a healing spell to fix yourself up with during a fight so you can go longer."
"Ah…okay, so I need magic," Ais nodded, "Understood. But…what is dps?"
"Damage per second," I explained with a shrug, "It's just a fancy little quick way of saying you're built to doing as much damage as possible in as little a time frame as possible."
"….Aah." Ais nodded.
"Honestly, I'm not an authority on magic here right now anyway, I've not exactly got the cash to go looking for grimoire's," I shrugged, "But you've got Nine Hells, Thousand Elf, Elleaf and a bunch of other pure magic user builds right? You can just ask them about the kind of Grimoire's you're gonna want to look into."
"Aah…okay," Ais repeated her favourite word and nodded again, "Then what?"
"Well it depends," I shrugged and then grinned at her, "Do you have the development ability Abnormal Resistance?"
"Mmm, yes," Ais nodded, "At Rank G."
Oho? Between that and her going for a debuff magic, I have a fairly good idea of a good way to train.
"Then come find me once you've filled both your spell slots." I shrugged, and added where I lived, for the moment.
Hestia will already be able to see I did all this when she updates my falna later, so there's really no getting around it.
Loki will probably be kept in the dark though. Going by what I knew of how Hestia read my experiences in the falna, it seemed Loki wasn't really the type to look into the day to day events of what her familia got up to. Otherwise, she'd have learned about Ais training Bell pretty damn quickly.
Upon her return to the Twilight Manor, the home of the Loki Familia, there was a tiny, tiny smile upon Ais' face.
So small, it was more of a little quirk on the right side of her lips, but it was there.
She, was in a very good mood, and if she were the type, there would probably have been a skip in her step. As it was though, there was no denying she was in a very good mood.
It had been quite a while after all, since she'd saw hope of growing quickly and rapidly in strength. But now, after meeting her new…teacher, she was quite hopeful for the immediate future.
That was why, upon returning home, Ais made her way towards Finn's office. Apparently, he, Gareth, Riveria and Loki were there discussing the upcoming expedition they would be going on soon.
'…Ah…' Ais paused, blinking as she realised she felt none of the anticipation she usually felt upon an upcoming expedition. It was usually the best time for her to grow stronger.
But with meeting Caelan today, it meant that she would have less time to get his teachings if she was spending weeks in the deep levels of the dungeon.
Ais resisted the urge to pout.
But only because she reached her destination. She knocked on the door and waited.
"Come in." the familiar voice of Finn, the Loki familia captain echoed out from the door a moment later.
She opened the door and stepped in to find Finn sitting behind his large marble white desk with Loki sitting atop it, and both Gareth and Riveria sitting on opposite couches.
"Oh! Ais-tan! I was wondering what was taking you so long to get back," Loki grinned at her, "There I was thinking you were gonna camp out in the dungeon again like a cute little hermit."
"Ah…sorry," Ais bowed her head a tiny bit and apologised, while at the same time, the excuse Caelan had given her to tell anyone that asked about what she was doing that took her so long, filtered through her mind, "I was on a date with a stud." she replied, before turning her head to look at Riveria and opening her mouth to bring up the subject of grimoire's with her.
She never got the chance though.
"WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!?" Loki's confused, despaired scream echoed throughout the entire manor.
And back again with chapter 14, yay?
Honestly, as far as the normal Goliath goes, I'm really not that impressed with it. It's big, strong and resistant to damage for sure, but it still has soft spots and it lacks the ability to blitz even a fresh level two Bell. But while big, it isn't that big. Less than twenty-five feet. And Well, I guess, Loki has fallen to despair, poor flatty flat flatty. As usual, if you wanna read ahead, it's a few chapters ahead on the Pa-atreon.
Anyway, shameless Pa-atreon plug. I've got one, go by the same username on there, easy to find and all that jazz. Support me if you want, it'd be swell, but don't feel pressured lads and ladies, I'll be uploading my stuff outside it regardless and not keeping it all behind a paywall or anything like that.