Once again, the two stairway rooms on the floor were occupied.
The closest room got eight people inside and five outside.
The farthest one got ten inside and none outside.
They decided to head for the farthest room.
But then, on their way there, Lecan sensed another party coming closer to that room, then one of that party's members got inside alone before immediately coming out. That party then stopped moving in front of the room.
(Must be waiting for their turn.)
Change of plan, Lecan and Arios went for the closest room instead.
As they arrived in front of the room, the five dots there turned out to be knights. All of them are standing upright, none is sitting.
The knights glanced at the approaching Lecan and Arios, an uncomfortable kind of glance.
As Lecan sat at a distance away from them, one of the knights called out to him.
"This room is currently in use by us, the Knights of Gido."
"Hm? You guys aren't waiting for your turn?"
"Watch your tongue."
"Lecan-dono. Let's just go."
That was when two knights rushed out of the room.
Then two other knights standing by near the entrance got in the room in their stead.
The two knights that just got out took up positions in the back of the line, and drank some small red potions.
A knight peeked out of the room.
"All hands, go forth in!"
All the five knights who were standing by outside went in the room in a hurry, but Lecan could tell with his <Life Detection> that the blue enemy dots inside the room had disappeared. Lecan stopped walking and decided to observe the situation.
Afterward, those knights made a weird movement.
11 out of 13 of them got in the stairway before immediately getting right back out into the room. Then all 13 of them went out of the room.
"Hm? You. You're still here?"
The knight who was telling them off earlier looked at Lecan and Arios like they were dirt.
Since Arios was tugging his sleeve, Lecan silently left walking toward the farther giant variant room.
"What was that all about?"
"Oh they're dungeon knights. Good for nothing bunch."
That sounded familiar to Lecan and then it hit him. Norma explained to him about them once. Dungeon knights are knights serving regional lords who have obtained strength in dungeons.
"They don't look that strong though."
"Oh those bunch are not the kind people who would make an effort at bettering their swordsmanship."
Arios was being unusually harsh.
"Those bunch you see. They brute force their way to take on dungeons relying fully on good equipment and an abundance of consumables. After all you enjoy a boost on your physical strength by exploring dungeons with others, no need to actually attack correctly or even partake in combat."
"Ah, I see."
Even if they don't have the combat skill, having a huge number of knights with enormous life forces and extraordinary raw strength will be quite a force to be reckoned in a defensive battle. And they can polish on their combat skill later on since they're harder to die.
(Guess that works in a way.)
However, it seems Arios has antipathy against those who only participate in a dungeon exploration to gain power without honing their skills. Perhaps he's had experience fighting someone like that.
(There might have been a story behind.)
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
(Why this guy never went inside a dungeon before.)
(There's some diverging points from what Norma told me.)
(I guess it's understandable seeing Norma is ignorant of this topic.)
"Ah, I see now."
"What's the matter?"
"Those knights earlier got in the stairway leading down after beating the magic beasts. Yet they left two people in the room. And the guys who got in the stairway came back out instead of kept going down. After which they left the room."
"What's the significance of those actions?"
"If all of them got in the stairway, a new batch of magic beasts would pop back up. Six White Spectres at full health. They left two people behind to prevent that. You get the <Mark> from entering the stairway, so they must be making <Marks> for those who didn't have them."
The innkeeper of <Rafin's Rock Terrace> said that you get the <Mark> of a floor once you step on that floor. But Lecan got the floor 51's <Mark> when he tried stepping in the stairway on floor 50 leading to floor 51.
Lecan thought, 'Nice'. Because that should mean using <Warp> from this dungeon's ground floor should put them at the end of the stairway.
In short, if they just <Warp> back to ground floor first, then <Warp> to floor 51, they should arrive at the end of the stairway without traversing through the long way down on foot. Or so he believed.
Yet when he actually gave it a try, they got warped to the starting point of the stairway, not the end. Then he thought that they would probably get warped to the end point once they had actually set foot on the floor 51, and sure enough he was right.
In other word, Nark's explanation wasn't wrong, but it wasn't the whole picture either.
"That must be it. And they must not attempt to get down below, and instead take on the same room again. In order to strengthen themselves quick and easy."
"Monopolizing giant variant rooms huh. What a bother."
"Those knights might not even fight on their own, they could be making knights dispatched by the lord here or adventurers do all the heavy lifting."
"Damn that's crappy. Do they really go that far?"
"That's just how those dungeon knights are all like."
Quite a harsh assessment.
"Ah, hold on a bit."
"What's the matter?"
"Got something to test out. Wait here a bit."
Then Lecan rushed into a nearby room.
Six White Spectres inside.
Lecan paralyzed the incoming White Spectres, halting them.
Since the foremost spectre was a <Red Body>, he cut off its right arm. Then he left the room.
"Huh? Are you done with your testing already?"
"No. I'm going in again."
Lecan got in again.
The <Red Body> whose hand Lecan cut off earlier was still without right hand. This time he lopped that <Red Body>'s head off.
Then he left the room.
<Life Detection> displays five blue dots.
By activating <3D Perceptions>, he found out that the magic beast's body he killed earlier was still lying on the ground.
"Kept you waiting. Let's go."
"What did you do?"
"The magic beast I wounded was still wounded after I left the room once. And leaving the room after killing one out of six magic beasts did not put their number back to six."
"Ah, a verification work is it. Never swallow what other tell you whole huh. As expected of Lecan-dono. By the way, shouldn't it be about time for us to have a meal?"
They got in a vacant room and had a meal there.
Whenever he's in a dungeon, Lecan would take his time consuming his food and restoring his physical condition.
The giant variant room emptied up in the meantime.