Seeing everyone evacuate, Hiroshi carefully decided on a position that didn’t appear to have a cavity in it. Standing right next to the cavity area to where he could swing the pickaxe down, Hiroshi gave a loud shout and made a precise crack in the ground. The next moment, a wide fissure opened up in the ground ahead of where he had blasted the shot, and within seconds it all came crumbling down. The aftermath’s effects stretched all the way to where Hiroshi had been standing, stopping only before hitting the cracked ground with the stake secured with rope.
And now that his footing was compromised, he was bound to fall down too…
「Oh, ya actually learned Falling Control too huh」
「I figured it would be helpful to learn it. Glad I can help.」
Thanks to Haruna instantly activating falling regulation magic, Hiroshi was able to avoid getting trapped in the rubble, instead descending slowly on top of it.
There was always debate as to whether you activate the magic as soon as you see the people falling or not, but in the case of Fairy Tale Chronicles, this spell was nonverbal and had instant activation with no cooldown, so the moment you saw them falling and didn’t panic while activating the spell, you’d totally make it in time as long as the fall wasn’t too short. But if the target fell at a height you couldn’t intervene in, they at least wouldn’t suffer fatal injuries as long as they landed properly.
「And, well, turned out just as expected eh?」
「But if the fissures are this bad, we’ll have a tough time going forward」
Looking at the destruction of the passage and the space below it, Makoto couldn’t stop the cold sweat from running down her shoulders. Hiroshi was 30 meters above where he fell. Sure, he had inhuman specs, but even Hiroshi could very well die from a height like that. He could still realistically survive, but buried under rubble? Not much of a chance there.
That was probably why Makoto was so scared. Without their team here, there was a high chance of everyone getting caught up in the cave in and slaughtered. This dungeon had its own flavor of bloodlust, different from Ortem’s.
「I’ll go ahead down then.」
「Aight. Take care mate」
Haruna saw grumbling as pointless so she got straight to reconvening with Hiroshi. Using a light Falling Control spell with rope around her waist as a precaution, Haruna descended safely. Then Tatsuya and Makoto followed, and Mio jumped down, projectiles in hand.
「Aight, how do things look here」
Looking around this floor big enough to house a neighborhood, Hiroshi asked everyone a slightly difficult question. This was no limestone cave, but there were remnants of water here and there.
「Think we’ll get back up ok？」
「Hm…can anyone fly？」
「Sure, but I can’t fight midair」
Hiroshi asked after hearing Haruna’s question, looking up at the crumbled tunnel. Tatsuya and Haruna responded with less than satisfactory answers. In other words, there was the possibility, but it was a little uncertain.
Thankfully, as the way up not only had the rope from earlier securely attached, but also a slope (though a little steep), it was clear they could climb back up. However, climbing up the opposite side with a completely perpendicular wall was looking a bit grim, especially considering the dangers of flying monsters or wall cave-ins.
Even if Haruna or Tatsuya took the risk and reached the other side of the passage, Hiroshi and the others would take too much time getting up. It wasn’t a great option.
「Found a monster. An unidentified nocturnal bird.」
The monster appeared right after their discussion of possible danger. Yeah, Haruna and Tatsuya did make short work of the bird immediately, but now it was very clear that the wall was not an option.
「Seriously, what now y’all？」
「How about we look for areas with thick miasma？」
Hearing Tatsuya’s proposal, the group decided on their next route based on the level of miasma. It was quite the wide cavern, but with plenty of side holes.
「……I found somethin’ intrestin’ earlier so is it cool if we go back real quick？」
Hiroshi said suddenly as they peered into the path with the thick miasma.
「Sure, but why？」
「Nothin’ important, I just kinda feel it’d be good to adjust the area with the rope so that we can climb up more like a ladder.」
「Alright. How long？」
「Well, somewhere around 30 minutes」
Everyone heard Hiroshi’s proclamation and decided they may as well tag along. They didn’t end up using the emergency staircase that Hiroshi went to the pain of making, but it was a great decision on their part to retrieve the rope, because…
「Sensei, I hear the sound of water」
「I got a bad feeling. It’s gonna suck walkin around, but how bout we move with the rope tied round us」
Because those sounds of water they heard up ahead would lead to great catastrophe without rope.
「Sensei, there’s an underground lake and river.」
「Usually there’s a pattern here……」
「Prolly. An there aint nowhere nearby we can run」
Mio had a strained look on her face, and when Hiroshi made a similar expression on his face and looked closely, he recognized that the water pouring into the lake was slowly increasing, their feet beginning to get a bit wet.
「Everyone got the rope around ya！？」
「Then hold on tight y’all！Armor, Full Open！Remove Lightweight！Heavy Weight！！」
Instead of stone weights, Hiroshi took out his pole axe and heavy maul, activating his fullplate and releasing his lightweight state, maxing out his weight to the fullest before the flash flood ferociously flung itself at the friends.
Stretching out the spikes from his boots to the limit and piercing them into the ground firmly, Hiroshi countered the advances of the water. He already had an underwater enchantment, so breathing was no issue, but Hiroshi still had to use Around Guard to prevent the flowing gravel from hitting his friends while supporting their four bodies as they were carried completely into the flow, which was quite laborious.
In addition to all the skills, equipment enchantments, and weight increase, we were looking at a hundred tons of weight. Hiroshi already was 171 cm tall with that amount of weight on him, so the density was something to be reckoned with. While the flash flood was indeed powerful, it didn’t seem to be capable of pushing all that weight into the flow, and Hiroshi ended up enduring a ten second long raging stream.
「Is everyone ok？」
「At the moment yeah……」
「Thought we were goners, but I guess we’re fine……」
「This time around, I seriously doubt that armor or metal has anything to do with it……」
「Without Sensei We’re Destroyed, Version……」
Confirming that everyone was (physically) safe, Hiroshi took a breath and returned the armor to breastplate. Impressed that the ground didn’t break underneath all that weight, Hiroshi checked the surroundings.
「Seems there’s more bloodlust to come for us here……」
「Even if we survived the flash flood, it’ll only mean the emergence of amphibious monsters……」
Grumbling at the gigantic (3 meters when crouching) crocodile right in front of them, Hiroshi and Tatsuya went straight into battle stances. The other members took off their own portions of the rope and immediately did the same.
「Now then, we gotta make an alligator handbag」
「Or fried alligator」
「Uhh, if this were Australia then it’d be whole roast, right？」
「Could you guys just try stepping away from materials and ingredients for once……」
And like that, the group had their usual interactions as they continued their pacing. Makoto ended up making short work with the giant croc with all her extra skill practice and Wind Slash: Earth, disassembling it in the process.