It’s the second day of the Dungeon Investigation.
「Alright, we’ve broken through 5 layers.」
Our group has already finished exploring four layers.
As for any problems: there haven’t been many. Clad, most likely due to the effect of yesterday’s defeat, has remained quiet. No, perhaps his silence is due to the shock of witnessing the spar between Fran and Amanda when he woke up? Well… It serves him right either way.
Still, Amanda’s approach for ‘training’ was quite terrifying… The spar was fierce, and I could only witness Fran being beaten half to death too. When her side was practically gauged out my guts went cold… Not that I have any guts, of course!
There’re many metaphorical expressions that use parts of the body, so it’s quite difficult to use them for me who is inorganic. Still, that doesn’t matter. The point is, I was a tad worried.
It was good that we were able to see the strength of an A Rank Adventurer firsthand, so while Fran was a bit vexed with the result, she doesn’t seem to have started disliking Amanda. Rather than seeing her as an opponent who she narrowly escaped death from, it’s more likely that Fran is viewing her as another wall to someday climb over. Testament to that is the sense of goodwill I can feel from her towards Amanda.
As for Amanda herself, it seemed that the spar from last night was satisfactory. She had lamented the fact that she could easily defeat common Adventurers simply by wielding a Whip, but with Fran’s high prowess in evasive maneuvers and attack even she would be in danger if she relaxed.
It was because of this that the morning was noisy with her request to spar again… Even to Cruz and Frion, the spar between Amanda and Fran was like something from a different dimension.
They didn’t particularly change their attitude towards Fran, but pieces of their actions and language indicated a slight feeling of awe towards Fran. With that, it seems that they’ve fully recognized her strength.
Surprisingly enough, something akin to kindness was even felt from Cruz. Perhaps he’s finally realized that the one he lost to was Rank D? Or perhaps he’s the type of person who would only accept another after measuring their strength firsthand. How manly, Cruz. However, Fran is off-limits!
Moving on, layers 1 to 4 didn’t have any strong opponents and the traps were few, so we simply proceeded without pause for the most part. The Demonic Beasts themselves were Insect-type, so while it’s a shame, I couldn’t obtain any new Skills from them.
「Now, just a reminder, Trap Spiders will be appearing from now on.」
「If we’re surrounded it’ll get troublesome, so be careful.」
Becoming bound by thread is more than enough to lead to defeat — even if your opponent is weak.
「At the same time, the number of traps will increase. The Transition Traps are particularly dangerous, so prepare accordingly. Rather than focusing on the detection of enemies, I’d like to ask everyone with the Thief Job to focus on finding traps.」
And so, with Thieves as the lead, we plunge into the fifth layer. In case of combat, Warriors step forward, with the Magicians providing support from behind.
The materials capable of being gathered from the Spiders, being quite strong for their rank, have moderate value. Their utility is also a part of that. However, they’re weak to fire and burn up easily, so we’ll be refraining from fire-type Magic as much as possible. Instead, Fran wields me.
Like this, traversing the 5th Layer can be done without a problem. Well, that’s only to be expected with this much fighting power on our side.
However… We immediately encountered a problem after delving into the 6th Layer.
「Shit, e’en though they’re jus’ small fries!」
「They aren’t falling, even with Spirit Magic…? This can’t be!」
The Trap Spiders have suddenly become stronger. Not only their size, their increase in vitality is also plainly visible. Perhaps the deeper we delve, the stronger they will become?
After using Appraisal, I can only be surprised by their Name and Description.
『Fran, these aren’t Trap Spiders, they’re Trick Spiders, their evolution!』
At a glance, a Trick Spider only seems to be a large Trap Spider, but their contents are entirely different. They’re the products of Highbreeds that have evolved, after all. The Threat Level of a single Trick Spider is E.
As for their Status, their offensive power is more than double what we’ve been facing thus far. Furthermore, they make use of Confusion Poison, and even have the Deadly Poison Fang Skill. It seems that the number of Adventurers who mistook them for Trap Spiders and attacked them only to lose their lives in the process aren’t few.
「Gennell! What’s wrong?!」
「I… I don’t know… I’ve tried using an Anti-Venom, but it’s not working…」
So someone got hit, huh… The Poison from Trap Spiders is very weak, so if one swallowed a 5th Grade Anti-Venom it wouldn’t be a problem. And so, mistaking the Trick Spiders for Trap Spiders, they must have continued fighting while swallowing low-class Anti-Venoms, thus falling prey to the deadly poison.
『Fran. These guys are dangerous.』
When Fran takes even the smallest scratch, I immediately apply Antidote — a technique that can even nullify Sovereign Poison completely.
「Thank you very much.」
「Nn. Trick Spiders. Strong Poison.」
「Wha-! Trick Spiders?! Impossible! Did evolution occur?!」
In truth, Trick Spiders aren’t supposed to be created in this cave. The strongest of this Dungeon’s Demonic Beasts were supposed to be Trap Spiders.
However, if several factors overlapped then evolution, an occurrence surpassing one’s expectations, can happen.
Those factors start with the birth of an individual too strong for its species. Although it is brought forth by the power of the Dungeon, there are individual differences between each Dungeon Monster. Demonic Beasts with more power than other individuals — sometimes labeled as Unique or Rare individuals — are more than capable of appearing.
And when a powerful individual is born, what do you think happens? It takes a monopoly of the food, forcing the weaker individuals to either cannibalism or starvation. There is the possibility of the strong individual to evolve after eating enough food… But there is also the possibility for a weaker specimen evolving through its survival and cannibalism.
There have been cases where both sides evolve only to eradicate one another, but there have also been cases where the evolved individuals live symbiotically, changing the entire Dungeon ecosystem.
Furthermore, there’re cases where the accidental ingestion of experience-rich food, or external factors leading to evolution.
Well, in the case of a captured Dungeon, the latter two cases are pretty improbable.
「Damn, we were careless! Ms. Amanda!」
「I understand. Fran, will you be coming as well?」
That marked the beginning of a one-sided slaughter. In an instant, we began reducing the number of Trick Spiders that the Rank E Adventurers were having trouble with. In only minutes, the cluster of ~20 spiders transformed into nothing more than a pile of silent corpses.
「Fighting against small fries really is boring. Right, Fran?」
「Oh, is that so? Well, so long as Fran had fun it’s fine.」
While Fran has an enjoyable expression, the rest of the Adventurers have looks of fatigue. Even Clad seems to be nearing his limit.
「Let’s pull back to the 5th Layer! Those guys shouldn’t follow us there!」
Unless they’ve overpopulated or received instructions from a Dungeon Master, Dungeon Monsters are restricted to their own Layer. And so, the Trick Spiders shouldn’t be able to give chase after we reach the 5th Layer.
「If they’re already breeding, this is pretty dangerous.」
「We know already!」
「Fran, act as the rearguard.」
「E Rank Parties, withdraw!」
「G-Got i– Gyaa!」
「C-Calm down! ‘S just a scratch!」
「There’re more ‘hind us!」
「’S only one! Jus’ don’t make any noise!」
「H-Here they come again!」
Falling into a panic were some of Clad’s party members from Roar of the Dragon. Not only do they not seem to be accustomed to being surrounded by Demonic Beasts, they’ve taken on the Status Abnormality: Confusion.
「Just wait a sec!」
Clad is just barely retaining his fighting spirit as two of his subordinates, ones who took a surprise attack from the rear, blindly ran towards the swarm of spiders ahead.
「Wait! There might be traps over there!」
And so, sure enough, by running into the area that the Thieves hadn’t scanned yet they triggered traps.
「That… Was that a Transition Trap?」
With that, Fran disappeared.
I, who should have been in her hand, was left behind.
 Note that the ‘Anti-Venom’ used previously is actually ‘毒消し’, which can be ‘Antidote’ as well. The reason I opted out of translating it that way is due to the fact that this Antidote is a Technique/Spell (アンチ・ドート) and is written in Katakana (i.e. it’s literally pronounced as it would be in English: Anti・Dote).
In English, Antidote doesn’t have a space, pause, or seperater between Anti and Dote, so I can’t make use of the ‘・’ that I’ve been using to distinguish them. And so, instead of translating アンチ・ドート and 毒消し the same, I’ve made slight adjustments.
As for why I’m not making the Technique ‘Anti・Venom’ instead, once again, it’s Katakana. I’d rather keep it as-is from the Raws than take creative privileges here.
If anyone has a better suggestion, feel free to mention it in the comments.