The oppressive blackness of the dungeon walls lowered the effectiveness of our light sources, as nothing reflected off of the walls as expected. However, the darkness provided a very slight advantage as well- anything besides the walls stood out no matter how dark they were, even if just slightly. Since the spiders didn’t have any way to attack from range, they were always inside our light when they attacked.
The bigger problem was dealing with all the webs. The corridors were covered with large sticky webs. Spider webs were said to be as strong as steel. That was definitely true on their normal scale, and it held up fairly well with quarter inch thick webs. Fortunately these were easy to see- and the thinner webs were just an annoyance. Alhorn and I just held out long sticks from the forest up above to deal with any webs that were thin enough to be difficult to see.
The thicker webs were a bit of a problem, but if Kasner froze them in a few places they came apart easily without sticking to Alhorn’s sword- or my dagger. As long as there weren’t any spiders around, it was easy to deal with them- and if spiders were around, we just stayed away until we dealt with them.
Usually, there were spiders around. They just kept coming down the corridors, possibly because they were just that aggressive, or perhaps because we were the only people in the dungeon… or some of each. Fortunately they weren’t that hard to deal with. Halette watched carefully for spiders, filling their eyes full of arrows whenever she saw them. She probably used too many arrows, but most of them were salvaged so it wasn’t a problem.
Socks watched behind us, smelling for anything sneaking up. When they did, they just provided a crunchy snack for Socks… though she didn’t actually get to eat them, since dungeon monster’s bodies faded away. Sometimes there were magic stones left behind, just like other dungeons, but obviously there was no equipment. Spiders weren’t known for carrying around swords.
They came along the floors, the walls, and even the ceiling. I mostly dealt with the latter by using my spear’s reach or my throwing dagger, though Halette and Kasner also could handle them. Halette’s method was obvious, and Kasner was surprisingly effective. Spiders weren’t made to reorient themselves in the air- and when they found themselves suddenly detached from the ceiling, that ended up with them on their backs where they were easy to stab. Alhorn and I did so, without giving them a chance to recover. Kantrilla also contributed to bashing spiders, and though she was clearly not pleased by their appearance, she didn’t hesitate to attack them firmly. I thought spiders were kind of gross too, even if neither of us were afraid like Halette.
During the first day of testing out the dungeon, Khyrmin mostly stood in reserve, waiting for anything we couldn’t deal with in a timely fashion. She was probably capable of cutting down everything we faced on her own- in fact, I was certain of it. However, she would eventually tire… and more eyes were better, though Halette would probably clarify that was with only a maximum of two per head.
The first day we checked out the area near the entrance, keeping careful track of the corridors. Though they could change, it wouldn’t be all at once. The second day we continued to explore the first floor, since we were more confident in fighting the enemies. The spiders were fairly easy to kill, not much more difficult than a wolf… and all of us were far above fighting wolves. The key thing that made them actually stronger was their venom. If someone got bit, they were subjected to a very painful venom that made them sluggish- and would have eventually led to paralysis. Fortunately, there were few enough wounds that Kantrilla got to conserve her mana, and she had Cure to remove venom. Without a proper healer we would have had to leave the dungeon after any single person got bitten, but with Kantrilla we could continue exploring without much delay. It still wasn’t pleasant to get bitten, but that was true of any attack.
Everyone experienced at least one bite over those first two days, except Khyrmin. Mine came when I failed to properly deal with two spiders coming at once- I stabbed into one and couldn’t withdraw before the second leaped to bite at my outstretched arms. They bit into my bracers and I felt fire running through my veins. It didn’t take effect that instant, so I managed to pull back my spear and stab that spider straight through its mouth and head, but within ten seconds I was starting to feel the effects of the venom, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to stand after one minute… but Kantrilla had already used Cure long before then.
The spiders were only problematic in groups, and while there were many of them they were by no means infinite. By the end of the second day, we had managed to pretty much clear the first floor- the dungeon was quite small, which made sense because it should have been fairly new. Ehlark wouldn’t have waited forever to ask someone to deal with it, even if he seemed to prefer living alone. Speaking of Ehlark, having his healing to top us off at the end of the day was very helpful. We didn’t want either Alhorn or Kantrilla to exhaust themselves doing it, because we needed to keep going out every day. Otherwise, the dungeon would have too much time to change and produce more enemies.
The third day, we headed directly for the stairs to the second floor. There wouldn’t be many spiders left on the first floor- a dozen or two at most. Walking on the stairs was difficult, without being able to see them. I wondered silently to myself if the dungeons couldn’t just make uneven steps. Without being able to see them, that had a very high probability of sending people tumbling down. I didn’t say anything about it just because it would be a bad omen and I wasn’t sure if dungeons could hear me. Sure, nobody’d mentioned anything like that being possible… but until a couple days ago I hadn’t known cores existed either. Not everything was public information. Obviously that information was supposed to be secret, but I could probably get away with saying something about certain locations in dungeons sometimes having more monsters. I’d talk to the Great Sage about that before I actually put it in my book… but of course it wasn’t going to be done any time soon. I would need to try out some other beginner dungeons to compile a good list for the first in the series… or first section of a larger book.