I held my breath, and slowly walked, making sure that my steps made no sound.
I could tell that as I went further inside, the cave had started to grow more narrower but, it remained the one straightforward path still.
My mental fatigue continued to accumulate and due to my constant use of [Black Mist], even my physical stamina had been shaved off by a quite a lot.
But still, since the fight with the giant bat-like monsters, I hadn’t run into any other monsters that had high detection skills which was my only saving grace, and I had been able to make progress consistently.
I had to keep myself calm against the impatience that was rising inside me, and forced myself to maintain the steady speed rather than speed up and make a reckless move. Walking through the pitch black darkness and tip-toeing around the frantically searching minotaurs, I looked ahead to see……….
The straight path finally split in two different paths.
Did this even qualify as ‘good news’? or was it actually a bad news? Regardless, it was something and gave me a much needed emotional boost.
The narrower the cave gets, the harder it’ll be to maintain my stealth but, at the same time, it’ll be much easier to fight monsters as well.
Rather than continue like this and lose my sanity from the tension, fighting monsters head on without holding back might be much better for me at this point.
Now I just need to pick which path I should take. Left or right?………..I guess I’ll start with the right path first.
I decided that I’ll take the right path every time I run into a branching path and slowly map out the entire Cave of bahamut. This way I also won’t get lost either.
With no hesitation after having made this decision, I continued through the right path, and made my way deeper into the cave with the same level of caution as before.
After the split, the cave became almost half as wide as before but, it was still pretty wide regardless so this was still not a situation where I could fight monsters without worrying about getting surrounded.
But what really caught my attention was the fact that since the split in paths, the number of monsters I was running into also reduced by a lot. And right around when I was thinking that, I smelled a horrible stench coming from somewhere.
Normally, I was expecting the number of monsters to rise the deeper I went inside the cave but, the opposite was happening here.
For a second, I wondered if the right path was the wrong one but………the miasma here was getting much deeper in colour and thicker, that much was obvious.
Another thing I noticed was that the monster I ran into were all non-humanoid types.
It would seem that the info from Rupert about how the deeper sections of the caves had a lethal amount of poison was true after all.
Near the entrance, the miasma was not harmful to the body as seen by it not affecting Ralf or Esta, but since the split in paths, I think there’s also a deadly poison mixed inside the miasma in my opinion.
If my hypothesis is correct———-I squatted down and searched with my hand across the ground only to find what looked like the bones of dead monsters.
Checking the walls as well, I also saw the decaying corpse of an Ogre-like big humanoid monster, and I also realized that the horrible stench I was smelling was coming from this corpse.
This poison killed even the monsters that were born from the miasma itself.
It was almost as if this cave had a strong will to not let any living thing pass any further inside but, for me, this poison was a blessing in disguise.
Thought this did make it clear that this cave was un-clearable by normal human beings, and also explained why nobody took that request of exploring this cave even though the reward was so high.
That said, there were still a bunch of monster here that were resistant to poison, so I couldn’t be too carefree and had to continue being cautious as I make my way deeper.
3 hours had passed since I entered the Cave of Bahamut.
The battles with monsters had begun to increase but, the overall encounter rate had drastically dropped.
After walking further in from the split paths, forget humanoids, even normal monsters stopped appearing and only Slime-type and Undead-type monsters were roaming this area.
The cave itself was also getting narrower and narrower, and this cavern had also become similar to the Roza forest’s East area cave.
Since I won’t be able to avoid fights from here onwards, I cancelled all the stealth skills and was using only [Crimson Eyes] and [Sound Wave Detect].
I had been doing my utmost to save as much stamina as I could but, we had still had to fight through a lot of monsters in just getting to the cave, climb the harsh mountains themselves, then fight more monsters at the entrance and inside the cave, and a lot of time had passed since then.
Quite frankly, I was really hoping that I reach the innermost area of the cave already.
Both my mind and body felt exhausted, and a few minutes after I was thinking of such timid things.
As if answering my prayers, my [Sound wave Detect] skill suddenly pointed out that I was reaching a dead end soon.
If it was just a dead end, then I’ll stop the exploration for today right there and if it happens to be the resting place of Vendettatein, then it was a job well accomplished.
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If possible, I hoped it was the latter but, I didn’t want to give myself too much mental damage by getting my hopes unrealistically high so I kept myself realistic.
…………But, from the [Sound Wave detect] I knew that whatever lies at the end was in an intentionally created wide open area, similar to where we fought Heracberg.
It was hard to stop myself from getting excited———so with hopes in my heart, I made my way to the end of this cavern path.
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