“Shall we go investigate?” I ask as I begin to walk in the direction the smell is supposedly coming from
“Must we?” Kurobe asks, giving me a disappointed yet still pained look
“There might be more of whatever is making that smell up ahead, there is no telling if we are ever going to escape that smell if we don’t find the cause,” I say trying to justify my curiosity
In honesty, I fear the possibility of the smell originating from a corpse. A part of me can’t resist at least checking to make sure. I feel like my imagination will only make whatever it is worse if I don’t see it with my own eyes.
Kiel is giving me a look of skepticism, my curiosity and fear may be showing on my face without me realizing it.
The walls perfectly resemble a cave as we continue. If not for the lights in the ceiling it would be easy to believe this was a natural cave if one didn’t know better. As we walk along, the smell of compost becomes apparent and eventually quite strong.
I look back to see how Kurobe is doing. He is wobbling back and forth and looks completely disoriented. This must be absolute torture for him.
We come across a somewhat unnaturally formed passage on our left as we continue. There is no light in this passage and all is dark aside from a small pink glow.
“What is that? Is that what’s causing this horrid odor?” I ask as I strain my eyes to see the source
“I can’t get any closer~ my head is already spinning~” Bik says as he attempts to wobble ahead of me and investigate
“I’ll try to light it up. Fal-Su-Feir Fireball!” I say as I cover my nose
Three fireballs appear and hover over my head awaiting my command. I send one towards the pink glow, and it easily begins to light up the passage. What I see actually surprises me. An extremely ugly flower is growing from the wall. It has fat dotted petals and a putrid color pallet. It would be easy to believe that this plant was already dead and rotting.
“Gero, what am I looking at?” I ask as I scan the plant thoroughly
Why would a plant like this randomly be growing down here? I haven’t seen so much as a blade of grass since I entered.
gero gero “This is a plant commonly known as the ‘Rafflum flower’. It typically grows in areas with high level of rotting organisms, and has a smell bewitching to decomposing insects. One characteristic to bew-“
putch ptch PUH!
Sparks start to appear around the fireball I had sent in to light up the corridor. They begin to get bigger and more frequent quickly. Gero stops for a moment when I turn my attention to it.
“One characteristic to beware is that its pollen is extremely flammable, and has an explosive quality.” He finishes with a bow
“Eh?” I say stunned by how calmly he just announced our doom
I quickly snap back and do the first thing I can think of to save us.
“Fal-Kei-Tera Earth Manipulation!” I yell throwing my hands in front of me
The earth shoots upwards in front of me sealing off the ever more violent growing sparks.
The wall is rising quickly. I imagine in total only a few seconds will have passed when it seals off the corridor completely, and yet it seems so slow as a sound I’ve never heard before loudly echo’s on the other side. The sound is like a mixture between a raging flame and rushing water. As it grows louder the danger of it becomes more apparent
“Duck!” I yell as I jump away for cover
I’ve not even finished falling to the ground when flames begin to erupt from the top of the rising stone. I’m at my limit trying to process the situation as it all keeps happening so quickly. The only coherent thoughts in my head are simple ones such as “fear” or “amazement”. I fall to the ground and cover my head. I don’t know if it will help, but I can’t think of much else.
The sounds of flames die down, and I confirm my lack of injury as I get up. I look around to find everybody had either fall or knocked to the ground except for two that were standing up unscathed. The first is Gero still in a bowing position, and the other is Kiel.
Wow, I never thought he would be brave enough to not falter in the face of an explosion.
“Few~ That was a close one! I suppose you weren’t worried though right!” I say as I jokingly pat him on the back
“…” He doesn’t move an inch
? Confused I decide to inspect him further. His face is completely pale and he is blankly staring upward.
… sigh “Or you we’re frightened to the point of not being able to move a muscle,” I say as I disappointingly look at him
“Wah?!” He suddenly lets out as color flushes back into his face and he seems to become aware again
“Hmm?” I say
He looks around and notices the scorch marks on the ceiling and the partially risen wall. As if they are confirming whatever is going through his head, at the sight his expression changes to one of discontent.
“Mano-saaaaan~” He calls out as his head slowly turns to look at me and he begins to exude a horrible aura
A small chill runs down my spine as I realize that I might have pushed him a little too hard.
“Don’t blame me! Gero was the one who told us about the danger way too late!” I say like a child as I point at Gero
Kiels attention turns to Gero. Gero simply looks in our direction and tilts his head to the side as if to say he doesn’t understand…. Then after a moment, Kiel’s look of discontent directs itself back to me even more intense than before.
“Sorry to interrupt, but where did Kurobe go?” Bik asks
“That could be really bad! If we don’t stick together we will get separated again!” I say looking around for signs of what happened to him
gero “If I may. When burned, the Rafflum flower’s odor becomes especially pungent. He likely ran off when the smell intensified.” Gero said
He walks over and picks up a clump of white fur that was lying further along the path.
sigh “So now we have to search for Kurobe and Kera.” I say peeking slighting in the direction of Kiel
He is still definitely staring me down!
“A-anyways! We should keep going! We don’t know what other traps might be waiting for us!” I say loudly as I dust myself off and continue forward
I suppose I need to be more careful. This level, in particular, seems to be filled with traps.
We start moving again and as we do, we search for possible traps. I decided to summon my golem and have him walk several feet in front of us. Through this method, we avoided dart traps, several dead ends, and a pitfall trap.
“I wonder how close to the exit we are,” Kiel ask as we come to another split
This is actually one of the most worrying points. I have no clue whatsoever where we are. We could be wandering around like this for days, and eventually, one of us will slip up and fall into a trap. Should we consider turning back?
“Ribbit.” I hear suddenly close to my head
I turn slighting and find a frog’s face inches from my own
“I hate this dungeon!” I yell as I run away with full force
“Wait it’s me!” I hear from behind, but I don’t even have the time to turn my head before
The wall rises up behind me. I turn and quickly start banging on it. As I begin to process what just happened, my banging becomes significantly more violent.
“I’ll get you for that!” I yell out angrily
Can she even hear me? I open my inventory and touch the button next to the com-stone.
“PTttcTHaztchpzzzzt prin- Paaaztcttt” All I hear is a strong static
Is it malfunctioning after all? I wonder if the dungeon is interfering with it.
sigh “I don’t know if I’m more worried for my own safety or theirs.” I say as I place my back on the wall and slowly slide down
“Kiii” I hear a joyful chirp as Kiri lands on my shoulder
“Well, at least I’m not all alone,” I say giving a faint smile
I get up and start looking around again. As always there are no real landmarks at all to even tell if I’ve been here before.
I suppose walking forward is as good a plan as any. At least we haven’t run into any monsters yet.
“I really hate this dungeon,” I say unsheathing my sword