The following day, Lecan walked around the town while ruminating on a way to make physical attacks usable with <Barrier> as he drank some tea.
Shooting magic attack from the inside of physical <Barrier> leaves it intact. But it will vanish when he uses physical attacks. Even his fist hitting the inner part makes it disappear. And there's no way to avoid this.
After thinking it through, the most promising method would be putting up a new barrier whenever one disappears.
In other word he's got to finish preparing for <Barrier> then recite the activation spell while slashing at the enemy.
Fortunately, unlike <Flame Spear> magic whose power fluctuates depending on how much mana you put into it, <Barrier> will always activate as long you do the procedure right. Meaning there's no need to knead his mana. But in exchange, it won't activate unless the mana required to cast it is formed right.
If you think about it, there's no need to take other offensive nor defensive action while preparing for <Barrier>. He can just start slashing once he's done with the preps.
"Alright. Let's try that."
That day Lecan fetched his mended light armor and went back to bed.
The day after he went to floor 40. Considering the speed floor 117's magic beast possess, even floor 90s' enemies are still not enough, but he's gotta start somewhere manageable first.
Lecan went in a room. Things went well at first, but after attacking once, he couldn't put up another <Barrier> and found himself getting ganged up so he made his escape out of the room.
He cast <Recovery> on himself, kneaded his mana again then charged in the room and demolished the beasts inside with <Lightning>.
Then he went on another room, but he couldn't redeploy <Barrier> well when the enemies started their barrage of attacks.
Having no other choice, Lecan went to floor 20 to practice on it. This time it went well. But still rough. He practiced in ten rooms while enduring irritations from how slow the enemies were before returning to inn.
The next day, he practiced 20 times on floor 30s.
The following day also 20 times on floor 40s.
The day after, 20 times on floor 50s.
Then he went to floor 60s on the next day but it didn't go well thus he went back and practiced 20 times on floor 50s.
Then the day after that one, he practiced 20 times on floor 60s.
The numbers of floors he went down gradually got smaller every time, but the practice was progressing well, and by the eighth of month four, two days before the break time was over, he arrived at floor 90s.
As Lecan was resting in a vacant room after his eight battle, some adventurers got in the room.
"Oh, someone's already inside. Oh. That you Lecan."
"Kakakaka. What are you doing all the way out here?"
"Been a while since we saw each other in the dungeon."
It was <Grindam> trio. They've got five other adventurers following behind them.
The trio introduced the five to Lecan.
"Arios has not come back yet, I take it. Lecan, don't tell me, you are by yourself here."
"Oy, hold on there. Are you saying you're exploring floor 90s on your own?"
"Hahaha. No way, not even Lecan can do that."
"Kakaka. If anyone can, it is Lecan."
"Oh come on now, get real you baldie. There's just no way."
"I'm just doing some warm-ups. See ya."
Lecan went back to training after saying that.
<Grindam> trio pressed on him during dinner that night.
Asking what was he doing on floor 90 alone.
"I was dungeon diving."
He's speaking the truth yet they wouldn't believe him.
"Well it's Lecan we're talking about here. He's probably on a secret quest or something."
"In that case, it is better for him not to disclose to us."
"That true, Lecan?"
"What part of no disclosure you do not understand."
"Oh zip it, you octopus."
"What about you guys, you don't come often to floor 90 yourself, do you?"
"Well, that's cause it was a request from General Dungeon Administration."
"Working as bodyguards for young adventurers?"
"Yep yep. Apparently one of those guys is a son of some bigshot in this town."
"I see. You guys are trusted enough to keep a watch on some VIPs."
"Eh it's not really like that. We just couldn't decline this request after saying no to the last one."
"The last one?"
"That was quite some time ago though."
"Have you heard rumors 'bout <Bat Demon>, Lecan?"
"Bat Demon? I know about demons, but what's a bat?"
"Oy oy, it's that, y'know. Those things that come out flying around in the evening."
"They got devil-like wings, face and body like rats'."
"Ah, gotcha. It's bats."
"That's what I been telling ya."
"So, is this <Bat Demon> a newly discovered magic beast?"
"Kakaka. It would be great if it were."
"Its identity is completely unknown. Or more like we dunno if it even exists."
"I don't get it."
"So you see, Lecan. There's been many reports of people experiencing something flying above head or hearing sounds of flapping in the Dungeon Tsubolt's stairways from around the tenth of month one this year. All thorough upper to middle floors."
"They've got reports of sighting in the depths too."
"There were also adventurers who witnessed a suspicious-looking black magic beast. It looked like a humanoid with bat-like wings, see."
"None has ever seen its figure even in the depths. They could only sense suspicious shadows or presences."
"And so they told us to investigate this thing that may not even exist. The scope's also way too vast. And unless you know a skill to fly in the stairways, one just cannot take this quest."
"Must be suspenseful to have something flying above your head."
"Kakaka. You cannot blame them for imagining the possibility of getting attacked by the thing."
"Say if Lecan jumps above someone's head with that overcoat of yours, that's what it probably looks like."
"Damn right. Kakakakaka."
"But of course that can't be it. I mean Lecan should have long been a depth-walker by the first month of this year. Huh wait?"
Bruska seemed like he recalled something and turned around to look at Nark.
Nark who was watching over their conversation with a stern look on his face averted his eyes.
Lecan quietly drank his cup.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Arios returned the night of that day.
Fatigue has completely disappeared from his eyes, tranquil fighting spirit is drifting out of his entire being.
"Looks like you're ready."
"Yes. Same to you Lecan-dono."
"Alright. We'll take on floor 117 the day after tomorrow."
They took it easy the following day.
Then on the tenth of month four, the two stood before floor 117 <Guardians>' room.