66 Beginning of a Nightmare
Isaac, Caltec, Jon, and Mor made their way towards the end of the dungeon where the possibility of the new monster being located was. They knew how weak the monsters here were and fighting them would only serve as them bullying the weak; it would not add any experience to them.
Even as they slowly advanced their training spirit was still ignited. They were wearing criminal bands that increased their weight via gravity through runes. Clay had commanded them to wear this every day when they were not resting in bed. As a result, their bodies grew accustomed to the weight they can bear and every so often Clay would adjust the gravitational effect of each band for them.
Basically, each of them had about equal weights currently. As Isaac was an average sized man in height, standing only at 5 foot 11, so his normal weight should be at about 70-85 kilograms. However, with the gravity effect of the criminal bands that Clay had adjusted for them now, multiplied by 20 times the gravity of Alleucanth of about 19.614 m/s2 which brings his weight to about 1.7 tons. And Isaac is shorter than Caltec by 4 inches only. Jon and Mor were about the same height at 5 foot 8, they were short compared to the average, but their height to weigh ratio was an advantage to their current training regime of multiplying their own weight to give a balance in terms of the STR, DEX, INT, MGC stats across the board. Increased weight tempered their STR and DEX, the way they handle their weight increase to efficiently move their own body tempers their INT and the circulation of magic energy in their bodies helps in stabilizing their blood flow which tempers their MGC stats. In a way, turning to the training regimen of Goku gave Clay the ultimate training menu for his retainers to grow with balance as their focus. Specializations would come after they focus on their individual techniques.
Looking at Isaac who obviously should focus on his INT and MGC stats to further enhance his control over the spiritual energy that his blessing grants him; that's where he should specialize and develop techniques to better accommodate that advantage. While Caltec and Jon should focus on their own Fist and Sword techniques. Mor on the other hand, had more of a magic swordsman template, which enables him to fight with both sword and magic: not separately, but simultaneously.
\"What do you think the new monster would be?\" Jon asked the party.
\"If we base our speculation on the type of monsters that have spawned inside the dungeon in the last year, then it should be a Goblin-Type or a higher evolved form of a Goblin. Maybe an Ogre or an Oni, but the most likely new monster would be a Goblin King, but a Goblin King is nowhere near as powerful as the current us, so that's where the conflict in this logic appears. What Goblin King would be able to match our energy capacity that Lord Clay would say that it would give all of us a challenge together, not separately.\" Isaac analyzed. It was him who ordered the thorough investigation of the dungeon to prevent loss and crime in such a place. So, his knowledge on how strong or weak the monsters inside should be the richest. Caltec also held his chin with his right hand and pondered, saying,
\"Some monsters that could give us a challenge individually, would be a Cockatrice, a Chimera, a Naga and those at the top of Moribor, which we can't even get to for now.\"
Caltec listed some of the monsters he would physically be given a hard time if he fought it alone, but together, those monsters would be an easy picking. And those monsters he mentioned were all monsters that could inflict status ailments like Petrification, Paralysis, Poison and more. The Cockatrice can petrify, the Chimera has a paralyzing venom with its snake tail, the Naga can confuse with sounds. These monsters were a bad match-up for them individually, so the rest also nodded and understood what Caltec was talking about.
\"If we're only analyzing bases on the monsters that have spawned previously then yea, we won't have a challenge here, however, what if the monster that had spawned was spot on based on our conjectures, only, it would have a derivation from the original species. I think Lord Clay had mentioned it some time ago, that monsters also had a sub-species that were more aggressive, more powerful and had varied abilities that gave them an edge over others.\" Jon recalled what Clay had told them one day as they were training and relayed it again.
\"I agree, what if it's really a Goblin King or Goblin-type monster but with a different edge from the normal species?\" Mor asked in contrast to their logical conclusion.
\"That's just it. If we expect it, then most probably it will be an unexpected monster, however, if we don't expect it, then we'll just be fooling ourselves into not expecting what we did not expect. Which is still just an expectation.\" Isaac gave a mouthful of thought.
The three of them shook their heads indicating they did not understand. So did Isaac who said that.
An hour later.
In the dungeon, there're no artificial lighting that they put up. The thing is, different from other dungeons, this one has its own natural lighting embedded on the floor and ceiling. Although they are not arranged in a neat and linear way, it was still arranged to look like it was not arranged. Isaac had found this peculiar the first 6 months that they had investigated this dungeon. It was as if someone created it for the purpose of something and made it look like it emerged naturally from nowhere so that it can fool others into thinking just that.
However, he had a suspicion. He suspected that this dungeon was created by someone's hand. And at first, he suspected Clay who he knew had the capabilities of putting up something of this level. However, he put away his suspicion of him when he found out that these monsters that spawned inside were naturally occurring and not artificially made. He did not even believe that monsters could be made artificially made, so it was only right that he put way his suspicion.
Nowadays he has been investigating the origin of dungeons and his research had led him to thinking about the origin of magic energy. His research snowballed into his discovery of an energy source that he had in himself, spiritual energy. He has not reported this to Clay as he knows that Clay may already know this thing and would only be a waste of his Lord's time. However, he did not stop his research there. He once asked Clay to teach him about the Olden God's Language, and Clay told him, \"It's such a broad topic, Isaac. I'll just leave you with the characters for using the language of the olden gods. Just be careful imbuing magic to it though, it may cause some troubles.\" Thus, Isaac's time from then on became split between three things. Managing the United Kingdoms with Giselle, Rune Research and Training. Of course, training still got the bigger chunk of his load because Clay discouraged him to spend too much time on other things instead of making himself get better.
Isaac, Caltec, Jon, and Mor already disposed of small fries in the hundreds as they made their way towards the end of the dungeon. However, on the last stretch before the last few hundred meters from the end, the gang found a hole on the floor. They could not see clearly from far away with the limited lighting inside, but they were sure that this hole was not here before – on the last inspection. Which was a week ago.
\"Be careful. This is a new development. This might be what Lord Clay had detected and the monster we're hunting would come from there.\" Caltec warned everyone. He was the vanguard along with Jon, so both easily transitioned into the formation they have practiced together in training immediately. Isaac and Mor also took their position in the formation. Isaac was a magic user more suited to be the rear-guard and Mor was focusing his training on being a magic swordsman, which offers a balance between the front and the back, so he was assigned to be the switcher at the middle of the formation. All they needed now was a scout and long-range pin-point accuracy shooter to complete their party. Although, that is the ideal, their party is still rather formidable as with the strength they possessed, it was useless to divide themselves into a party. Conquering this dungeon was a piece of cake for them individually, now that they formed a party, their fighting power shot up exponentially in proportion to their number. So, if Caltec's fighting strength was quantified, he would be equal to 1000 elite knights. Multiply that with his magic reinforcement and weight, he should be able to withstand an army of more than 50,000 strong, alone. An average soldier's fighting strength should be around that of a Wild Wolf. A Wild Wolf is ranked at E; third to the lowest rank in the adventurer guild's ranking criteria. A Black Ant Colony numbering in the 10,000s is ranked as C as a whole and ranked F individually. Its elites in the colony would rank high at D close to C, but those elite individuals still can't beat 10,000 of their kind alone and so Caltec's fighting strength should be at about rank A, closer to Double A's. As they are in a party, their strength should be at Triple A.
A monster that can threaten a Triple A rank team, should be as scary as the monsters above Moribor that're still not being dealt with by Clay. They don't know what their Lord is thinking in not cleaning it up yet, but they trust him to be able to handle things that come from above without sweat.
Seeing as there were no movements from the hole, they came closer and investigated it, finding what looked like a stairway downwards. This was the first time they saw a stair down the dungeon, and it made them cautious but curious as well. They went down it and moved for about another 20 minutes.
Caltec led they way with Jon directly behind him. Each one of them were able to cast simple spells to illuminate the place better so they each casted illumination spells above their head. The spells took form in spheres of light above their head which did not hinder their sight, moving close to the ceiling of the dungeon.
\"Do you feel any presence up front?\" Isaac asked as he was at the rear.
\"I don't. Not yet.\" Caltec answered then turned to Jon and asked, \"How about you?\"
\"Nothin'.\" He shook his head.
\"Would it be good to cast a Search Spell?\" Mor asked them. Out of all of them, Mor had been entrusted by Clay the most \"knowledge\" of spells and practical application of magic in a booklet he wrote for him. He had high hopes for Mor as he was the template that most Earthling \"knowledge\" holder would want to become. It was romance to become a magic swordsman. However, Clay would not be able to become just a magic swordsman and gave up on it; giving the opportunity to Mor instead. And one of those spells he was taught was the Search Spell. It was a spell that spread out a thin blanket of magic power over a vast area surrounding the caster. Like a sonar of some kind. Clay also just took the idea form his \"knowledge.\" With it, Mor would be an effective semi-scout in a team and would be fine on his own as well. That was how Overpowered Magic Swordsmen are.
Without waiting for their answer, Mor casted the search spell and not a moment later, received a feedback from it and his face paled progressively. Their target for this hunt was found in that previous search spell and it was supposed to be good news.
\"Hey, what's up with you? Did you find it?\" Jon was confused over Mor's sudden silence and waved his arm towards him.
\"Did you use up a lot of magic energy? You're getting paler. Hey!\" Caltec was getting nervous from Mor's reaction.
\"S-Shit! Lord Clay was right. This thing's going to be a challenge even for all of us.\" Mor stuttered and struggled to calm himself after getting the response from his search.
\"Well, what is it?\" Isaac asked the right question. To him who did, Mor turned his head and said gravely, \"We were wrong. We thought only those up top the peak of Moribor can give us a challenge, we never considered other places as well. And now, we are about to face something that would probably give us nightmares for a long time…\" Mor paused and continued in an abysmally low spirit.
\"We're facing one of the Demon Realm's scourge that even one of the Demon Realm generals get frustrated about, that General Agamemkeru get's flustered about this monster even with his strength.\"
When Mor mentioned Agamemkeru, the all too well-known general of the Demon Realm who rules over the swamps there, they all got goosebumps on their body, however, further thinking about the creature that can give Agamemkeru frustrations… their faces also paled quicker than Mor's. Mor then announced the name of the monster they were about to face. It was also a monster of the swamp's vessel of immense magical power. A creature of well-known varied origins admired and dreaded by all. It was,
\"The Hydra!\" Mor exclaimed.