The perils of the Dungeon are many. Physiological and psychological. There are many threats that seek to cause bodily harm. The monsters, naturally, are what most consider the deadliest things a person might encounter in the Dungeon, and I admit that the lay person may have the right of it in this instance. Ravenous beasts with a boundless ferocity and low cunning are the least threatening of these creatures. At deeper levels one must contend with creatures capable of so much more. Magic, strategy, social hierarchy, advanced pack tactics accompanied by higher stats and more developed skills.
But this is far from the only threat. Starting in the second strata, the Dungeon spawns more complex eco-systems. The Shadow Sea (as some refer to it) being the first of these makes it no less deadly. Large and terrifying monsters may require most of a would-be delvers' attention, but the stone and tunnel holds innumerable fatal threats.
Then there's the cold, relentless biting cold. Without the proper Skills and preparation, it saps away energy, drains focus and is yet another burden, along with the unending dark, that weighs on the mind. Many a brave Mercenary has been broken by the second strata without ever battling a monster there. It is a place that is inimical to the sapient races of the surface, designed to trap and destroy them, break and bury them. Yet we persist in rushing toward our doom, desperate to unlock the wealth and mystery of the world beneath our feet. No sooner had a team conquered the second strata than they rushed into the third, only to find a whole new world of challenges that awaited them.
The conditions of the Dungeon, Magio Scholar Tarius.
The Biomass of shadow monsters always has a weird texture. It's rubbery and feels less solid, but at the same time is quite filling. I don't partake too much, the pets still take priority, but I get a couple of points from it, which goes to show this spider must have evolved at least a few times.
May as well check the profile. I'm interested to see what the Dungeon has to say about it.
[You have consumed a new source of Biomass: Aranea Plurimorum, you are awarded one Biomass]
[Basic profile of the Aranea Plurimorum unlocked]
[Aranea Plurimorum - Many Hands Spider. This monster uses its stealth and webs formed of shadow mana to entrap its prey. An ambush hunter by nature, direct confrontation is not this creatures greatest strength.]
Yeah, I get that much. Spiders are cowards, everyone knows that. Filthy, many-legged wimps who shun a fair fight. I'll conveniently ignore any and all webless arachnids to justify my snobbery. You don't see ants hiding in wait, making sticky traps! No! Ants charge forward, facing up to much larger and more powerful foes in a direct assault! Sure, we usually outnumber our opponents several thousand to one, but hey, no need to focus on the little details.
Still, the webs weren't too impressive in the end, Tiny was able to leap straight through them, no problem at all. Crinis and I had to pick our way through a little more gingerly. I'm not sure why, but I just don't like the look of the stuff. The web hasn't dissolved or anything since we defeated the spider. In order to progress through the tunnel we're going to have to melt or destroy it.
[Good job getting on top of that spider, Tiny. I'm impressed you could break through the webs so easily.]
The big ape looks proud of himself, a wide smile on his bat-like face. With a wide wave of his meaty hand he manages to convey the sense that it was no trouble at all but only he could have managed it.
[Don't get so full of yourself. You had no clue if that web would be safe for you to jump through. What if you'd gotten stuck?]
He frowns and clenches a fist before waving it with vigour. He's saying that it wouldn't matter what the web had going on, he'd have been able to smash through it regardless.
[This is what I keep saying. You can't just smash everything with brute strength. What about Garralosh? You couldn't fight her with strength could you?]
He deflates a little and waves his fist vaguely toward the ceiling.
[You'd have been able to fight her if you were just a bit stronger?! I think you'd need to be a lot stronger. I'm serious here you dumb ape. I'm worried that one of these days you're going to get yourself into a real mess. Crinis and I have both been poisoned so far in this stupid shadow layer. What would you do if you were inflicted with that?]
A fierce grin splits his face and he wiggles his eyebrows.
[No you can't punch poison, you idiot!]
Still smiling the great ape goes back to shovelling the Biomass into his face. Well, he seems fine. Out of idle curiosity I check his status. I don't know what I expect to see, but something brings me up short.
[Hey Tiny, did that spider injure you?]
He frowns at me, insulted by the suggestion.
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[No? So why are you missing three HP?]
He looks confused for a moment before he starts to check over his body, shifting his arms to inspect them carefully before pawing at his back. Unable to find any wounds he shrugs at me and goes back to eating.
During the whole performance I watch as his health ticks down another point.
[You got poisoned by the webs you idiot!]
I slap myself in the forehead with one antenna out of frustration. Of course there was some trick to the webs! There were made out of shadow mana! There's no way a bottom feeding monster like a spider would be satisfied just wrapping people up with webs. There'd be tricks to it. Attributes in the threads, razor sharp threads, remote thread control, weapons made out of webs! All sorts of stuff is possible!
And whilst I've been thinking his health has gone down another two points! For his part, Tiny looks mildly confused. He raises up on fist and acts as if he were going to hit himself in the stomach, then looks at me.
[NO! You can't punch the poison out of yourself! Just how dumb can you be?! Argh! I'll have to try healing you. Hold on a minute.]
Grumbling at the effort required, I laboriously start to weave together a healing mana construct. It's not one I've used before and learning a new construct is always a massive pain in the abdomen. More complex that an architectural schematic, more intricate than an artwork. Without the Skills and beyond human brain power, they'd be impossible to hold in one mind.
Luckily I've got four minds now! It still takes me ten minutes to get it up and running. I push out some healing mana and ungraciously pour it into Tiny. He'd lost thirty HP whilst waiting for me and I keep pumping it into him until he gets back up to full.
[There you go, you dumb ape. Try not to do - …]
His health is still going down. We might have a problem here.