”Link, did you say there was a group of patients ahead? Where are they? ” Seth asked as he looked down an empty, dimly lit hallway. The only thing there were, were some hospital beds stained with a dark sludge, maybe old blood?
”They were here just a moment ago… ” the gourmet hunter answered confused.
Seth and Alison both looked to the ceiling. The ceiling looked normal for now. In a game, it was a reoccurring phenomenon that mobs would suddenly break through the ceiling and surround you.
”Tekar. I think you should go forward; we will follow with some distance. Just in case we trigger a trap or an ambush. ”
As if on cue, Puffles cast a shield on the iron man.
”Eh? Ah, okay. ”
He was the Tank after all. Slowly and taking tiny steps the colossus of steel shuffled his way along the corridor. His bucket-shaped helmet kept turning left and right as he held up his shield and sword ready to react.
Unexpectedly, nothing happened. No monsters falling from the ceiling, no hand suddenly grabbing from the ground…
The Walls on either side of Tekar exploded and two bulging monstrosities looking like naked gorillas on steroids attacked the robot from both sides. The shield broke before Tekar could react in his cumbersome armor. He had not much time to cope as the two mobs started grappling him and hammering away at his armor leaving deep fist imprints in the thick steel plates.
”Shit, it ’s the mental wardens! Why are they so close to the entrance? ” Link shouted in shock. Alison on the other hand had gotten into stance and already started chanting a spell.
Seth did not stop to listen to the hunters mumbling and charged forward. The pale flame lit up on the wyvern blade ’s edge as he slashed into the calve of the hunk on the right. He aimed for the leg, to minimize the risk of hitting his own tank.
The strike felt like hacking into moist rotten wood. Steam and a terrible stench filled the air as the blade cut off the leg below the knee. Seth almost stumbled but managed to recover and take a step back. These creatures were a lot tougher than he expected and the blade had been slowed as if going through tar. Had he aimed for the torso, his weapon might have gotten stuck.
The monster lost its footing, literally, and Tekar was able to shove it away making it fall into Seth ’s direction; leaving him with only one opponent. The tank was now desperately trying to get his shield between himself and the warden to gain the upper hand against the touchy-feely foe.
In this time Alison finally finished her chanting and a row of stone shackles grew for the floor and the wall. They grasped for the warden that was still wailing on Tekar and managed to catch its ankles, torso, and one of the wrists. The Ivicer also recast the shield which gave Tekar the time to finally free himself from the enemy and fix his posture.
The gourmet hunter took aim with
Shortly after the hunter had sunk his fifth arrow into the constrained warden ’s head and they all got the kill notification with a sigh of relief. Seth checked his experience bar and saw no difference. If the message had not said he gained experience, he would have doubted he got any. Even if the mobs were strong, it did not change that they got almost no experience thanks to the level difference.
These mental wardens were easily comparable to many lv.40 or lv.50 mobs he had seen in the dungeons of Ora. No wonder people had a hard time dealing with the dungeons. This was just the first floor and there were already creatures like this.
They regrouped and checked on Tekar. The damage looked worse than it was. Although the breastplate and shoulders had imprints and deformations, thanks to the thickness of the material it was still usable. Despite his huge pool of endurance, Tekar lost some health from the blunt force of the strikes. It was not much and Puffles was able to fix it with a weak healing spell.
Seth turned to Link.
”You said they are normally not this close to the entrance? What are these mental wardens? ”
”From what I heard about this place; the wardens are originally a kind of wandering mini-boss in the mental ward. ”
”Then why were they here? ”
”I have no clue. The mental ward is actually a different complex linked to the hospital via a single corridor. So, there is no way we accidentally walked in there… ”
At this point, Alison pushed up her glasses and interrupted them.
”There are actually not that many people coming here. Most information is actually from the few survivors from the clearing attempts before the guild took over management. We technically lack information to judge what is the normal situation and what is not. The chance is high that the survivors simply met the most fortunate circumstances. ”
Seth nodded. That made sense. It would be best if Seth let go of his habit of relying too much on the information. He had picked this up in Ora. There, one could get all the info on a dungeon from the guild since many adventurers had cleared it before. The dungeons on Urth were simply too new to be thoroughly investigated. It was best to prepare for an unexpected situation like just now.
Since Tekar was okay they decided to keep walking, with the hunter scouting their surroundings. As for the loot, Link harvested the two wardens but except for the 2 monster cores, these humanoid monsters were useless. There were also no souls.
There were actually people with dark professions like black magicians or necromancers that were interested in the brains of these creatures… but everyone agreed that they would not do something as unappetizing as harvesting the brain of a humanoid monster.
”By the way, Puffles, what happened to your shield? I get that these monsters are stronger than we are used to, but why did it break so fast? ”
~ You should be happy he had my shield! He would be mush already without the great Me ’s support! ~
’s right, you know? Those things used a skill resembling
~See? See?! Even the horny ghost agrees with my magnificence! ~
~Who are you calling a horny ghost, you worm! ~
~Who are you calling a worm, you rotten- ~
”Can you guys please stop having a mental smackdown in my brain? I have to concentrate… ”
Seth whispered. He didn ’t want the others to think he was crazy. Although he told them that they communicated with him telepathically, it was still awkward.
The party kept moving deeper into the hospital. After the initial shock from the wardens, they became a lot more careful. Link still scouted, but he stayed within their sight.
”3 Patients around the corner, ” he whispered after returning. The party approached the fork. Seth finally got a good look at the creatures. Their eyes were simply empty holes and the mouths were grown shut.
They moved in sporadic erratic motions flailing their arms as if they were blind. The skimpy patient gowns they wore made the view even more horrible if you approached them from behind.
Puffles and Alison started off with a magic attack. The Ivicers magic bound the two creatures with glowing chains while Alison cast a fire wave that set them aflame. Seeing the burning humanoids Seth wanted to try something and signaled Tekar to stay back for a moment. From about 10m distance Seth tried to take control of the fire that was burning on the Patients.
Seth ’s go-to was the spirit flame because it was extremely powerful, but when he tried to control this normal fire, he realized that it was a lot easier. He was able to strengthen the flame and envelop the patients in a fire tornado; tremendously increasing the burn damage.
He kept them burning until the binds were released. The moment they charged at the party a row of arrows from the hunter penetrated their bodies and they were hit again by two magic attacks. One was Puffles light bolt, the other was a stone needle that shot up from the ground and penetrated the other ’s stomach.
Seth equipped Charon ’s Obol and ended their lives, collecting two souls in the hammer. He had concluded that they were not grinding for experience anyways, so he could collect their souls on the way.
Looking at the outcome of this fight, one could say that the normal monsters were manageable as long as they did not succeed in a surprise attack. But when they turned around to return to their original path the hospital looked different.
The corridor had become dimmer and darker. Vines were growing on the walls and from the ceiling. All kinds of dark ooze and puss started flowing from the walls. Looking at the hallways the two mobs had been, the same had happened.
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