(A/N: I wanted to make a fun title instead of the direct ones I usually use.)
Vahn awoke and began his fourth day within the dungeon’s depths. He had noticed he required much less sleep after obtaining his upgraded ‘eternal flame’, so Vahn had only rested for fives hour before he continued into the 16th floor. Much like the 15th, the 16th floor consisted mainly of minotaurs, but they were now roaming in larger groups with other monsters.
After the previous days of constant fighting, Vahn had begun to adapt to his Báihǔ quite a bit. Because of the perception provided by his domain and the increased senses of the form, Vahn had a much easier time navigating around the dungeon at high speeds than most people. While other agility fighters had to rely on their senses and spacial awareness to outmaneuver foes, Vahn essentially had a map within his mind and could ‘feel’ everything within 70m.
Vahn had even begun to adopt a more feral combat style and had unequipped his boots to get better traction due to the transformed state of his feet. Whenever he was tired or wanted to get a better vantage, he was able to use his claws to stick to walls and jump around while easily evading enemies. At this point, Vahn relied almost entirely on his physical abilities to deal with monsters without the use of any weapons.
The 16th floor seemed to be somewhat larger than the previous floors, and Vahn had already been training/hunting for seven hours before coming to a massive room. Moments after entering, Vahn’s instincts started sending danger signals to his brain which put him on high alert. Before taking another step, he immediately vaulted backward toward the wall and leaped off of it after creating a foothold with his claws. Within three seconds, Vahn had scaled the entire wall before coming to a stop on the roof. Vahn embedded his claws deeply into the surface and observed his surroundings.
Several cracks began to emerge all over the massive room and holes opened within the surface. From a strange purple-red void, dozens of Minotaurs began pouring out and began looking around. Vahn recognized this phenomenon from the compendium’s danger section. When a group or party had excessively hunted within the dungeon it would cause an event known as a monster party. The ‘monster party’ could consist of hundreds of monsters and has been known to wipe out entire expeditions if they were unprepared.
Vahn began counting each Minotaur and, by the time they stopped spawning, there were a total of 73 that he could sense within his domain. Luckily the spawn rate was directly tied to the size of a party or Vahn might have had to deal with far greater numbers. As a lone adventurer, what could have been several hundred monsters had been reduced to a relatively small amount.
The Minotaurs continued looking around for their ‘prey’ which was nowhere in sight. When Vahn had stuck himself to the roof he had also activated his stealth skill, so they were unable to sense his presence at all. Since the roof was nearly 34m high, none of the monsters had thought to look in his direction since exiting the ‘portals’ from earlier. Vahn watched them idle around as if they were confused, while some even began smashing rocks or places that could have been hiding spots.
Vahn continued to watch them for an entire hour as he began to wonder if they would ever despawn or wander away from the area. He had never seen monsters stay in one spot for so long, so he was curious if there was some mechanism keeping them within the room or making them aware that he hadn’t left. Suddenly, Vahn was inspired by an idea that passed through his mind.
Wedging his feet firmly into the roof, he allowed himself to drop upside down and hang from the ceiling. It was a very disorienting feeling to hand upside down and Vahn spent a few seconds trying to adjust his mental state before drawing out his bow. Ever since his encounter with the Juggernaut, Vahn had wanted to get some practice using his [Call of the Reaper] skill and found this to be an excellent opportunity to do so.
Taking aim, Vahn knocked an arrow and loosed it towards one of the Minotaur in the periphery of the group. As it had done so during his encounter with the Juggernaut, the arrow turned completely invisible and if not for his domain, even Vahn wouldn’t be able to sense it. The arrow penetrated through the back of the Minotaur’s head before it’s entire body turned to dust. As Vahn had become extremely accustomed to fighting them, he had long since discovered the location of their core and it’s weak spots.
The moment one of their members died, the remaining Minotaurs began to roar and entered a frenzied state. They started smashing the ground and upheaving rocks to find the location of the attacker. In the ensuing chaos, Vahn continued firing arrows towards the isolated Minotaurs in the group. As each arrow did 300% increased damage, Vahn was able to dispatch the majority of his targets cleanly. Most of the Minotaurs were within a 40m range and he had an elevated position, so Vahn was able to easily shoot them through the top of their heads and necks.
After culling more than half of the group, Vahn finally missed his mark and the arrow lodged itself into the shoulder of a Minotaur. The Minotaur looked towards his position before letting out a loud roar with reddened eyes. Vahn felt a sinking feeling in his body like it was quickly losing strength as the entire group of Minotaurs looked toward his position on the ceiling.
Vahn realized his current ‘weakness’ was the drawback for failing to use the skill, and he grits his teeth while swapping to explosive arrows. The Minotaurs began madly launching rocks toward Vahn as he started raining explosives onto their bodies from above. Vahn almost laughed after seeing the majority of the rocks begin falling after reaching around 25-30m. Even though the Minotaurs had incredible strength, it wasn’t to the extent they could throw 100kg rocks the 34m distance to the ceiling.
Instead, the rocks they threw actually become a threat to themselves as they continued trailing arcs through the air and smashing into their own companions on occasion. Unfortunately, for the Minotaurs, they didn’t seem to be able to reason in the situation and continued their pointless assault. Vahn continued to fire, albeit at a slower pace because of the volley of rocks intercepting his arrows, picking off each Minotaur one by one.
On occasion, there would be a much smaller rock that would reach his position, but most were severely off target and Vahn was able to intercept the rest using his gauntlets. By the time the stones had reached him, they had lost the majority of their power so he was able to bat them aside without straining himself. There was a point where he nearly dislodged his own footing swatting one aside, but Vahn managed to recover and plant his feet firmly back into the ceiling.
When there were only 10 Minotaur’s remaining, Vahn put his bow away and focused on regulating his breathing. There were still around twenty minutes until his stats recovered from the debuff, and though Vahn could easily dispatch the remaining Minotaurs he decided to recover just in case there were any other surprises. According to the compendium, defeating a ‘monster party’ sometimes resulted in a secondary wave that would have stronger versions of the monsters and even some variants.
Though the current Minotaur couldn’t do much to him, Vahn believed the same couldn’t be said for higher level versions. If a Level 3 Minotaur or a variant spawned he wouldn’t be safe even on the roof. If he had to fight them with halved stats it would be disastrous, so Vahn decided to wait it out.
Noticing their enemy had stopped fighting back, the Minotaurs began shouting and taunting towards Vahn while still throwing rocks. Even though the majority of the group had been annihilated, they seemed to not notice and remained bold in their endeavors. Vahn wasn’t sure if they were just stupid by nature or if it was a trait assigned by the dungeon. Though monsters were much faster and stronger in the dungeon than they were above ground, they also had a madness that couldn’t be seen in their weaker counterparts. In most situations, this made them even more dangerous, but in unique instances like this, it made them especially easy to deal with.
After the twenty minutes had passed, Vahn felt his strength return and allowed himself to drop from the roof. The Minotaurs saw him fall and immediately began charging towards the location where he would land. Seeing their excited states, Vahn shook his head and twisted his body in mid-air. He knocked an arrow in his bow and fired a cluster of explosives towards his landing site. The arrows contacted and made a powerful shockwave that dispersed a cloud of dust particles in the area.
None of the Minotaurs were injured, as they had yet to reach the location, but they all flinched and covered their faces to protect themselves from the shrapnel and debris. Moments after, spiral holes began appearing from within the cloud as super-sonic arrows exited and lodged themselves into the throats of several Minotaurs. None of the monsters were able to tell what was going on as the dust blocked their vision.
After creating the cloud to obscure their vision, Vahn landed within its vicinity. As he was unaffected by the loss of vision, he closed his eyes and sensed the location of each Minotaur. They were currently stationary while holding defensive postures, so Vahn began firing arrows into the gaps between their forearms to impale their necks. Within twenty seconds of falling, he had eliminated the remainder of the group and recovered their cores.
Vahn continued to wait while staying low to the ground in the debris field caused by the explosion. He used his heightened senses and domain to inspect the area as he waited for any new enemies to appear. After around five minutes, he rose from the ground and dusted off his clothing. Luckily, he only had to face a single wave, likely due to how long it took for him to deal with the first. Though he wanted to fight stronger enemies, it was better to get the jump on them instead of having to react to new situations beyond his control.
After continuing for another twenty minutes, Vahn arrived at the staircase leading towards the 17th floor. He had spent nearly ten hours on the 16th floor and it was currently near 2 PM. Vahn rested against the wall and enjoyed a large lunch to fill his empty stomach. He wanted to make sure to get his fill before heading to the 17th floor since he wanted to clear it with a single push so he could arrive at the safe zone on the 18th. With luck, Vahn would be able to sleep in a bed tonight and enjoy a nice hot bath.
While he was eating, Vahn checked his spoils and was pleased to find he had obtained 21,125OP on the 16th floor. The monster party alone had netted him nearly 10k, and Vahn was considering it if would be a good idea to try and trigger more in the future. He now had 234,241OP and was quickly approaching the quarter mark for his quest. Vahn began humming in satisfaction with a smile on his face. He had nearly increased his OP by 100,000 points within the last four days. At this rate, he would be able to complete the entire quest in about a month, which was much less time than he originally anticipated.
Name: [Vahn Mason]
Race: Human, *sealed*
Parameter: [Danmachi: 1-4]
Soul Strength: Tier 2 (Hero Soul)[Karma]: 1,219 [OP]: 234,241 [Valis]: 171,630
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘That just ain’t fair’,’Death from Above’,’Does Vahn ever run out of explosive arrows?’)