The minotaur dungeon was out near the edge of Ekralas- or perhaps the edge of the city had expanded to barely cover the dungeon. Either way, it was one of the few dungeons that was actually in the city.
This one was surrounded by its own walled off enclosure, though the guards were better equipped than those at the goblin dungeon. That made sense, as minotaurs were much higher level. The ones that would be wandering out would be at least C rank instead of A or possibly B rank monsters. Not that many monsters left the dungeons, but it never hurt to be more safe.
Alhorn sighed as we approached the black structure that absorbed all of the light around it. “I’d nearly forgotten what dungeons were like. It’s rather depressing, isn’t it? At least I’ll be able to see how my light magic has improved…”
I nodded, “It’s easy to forget just how strange dungeons are.” Even though I was convinced monsters appearing in them was normal for this world, the light absorption was certainly strange. At the same time, those properties were why monsters that could see in the dark or didn’t need to see at all were the main occupants of the dungeons.
Going down the steps to the dungeon was a strangely familiar but unsettling feeling. Not being able to see where my foot would stop made it hard to walk… so I didn’t look at my feet. The stairs were regular, so my body knew how to walk down them. There was a slight issue when I reached the bottom, but expecting another step where there was none was better than not expecting another step and having one. My foot just came down unnecessarily hard. Kantrilla, meanwhile, nearly tripped- just barely catching herself on my shoulder. Her Dexterity wasn’t even that bad anymore… but perhaps she just didn’t make good use of it.
It took Alhorn a few moments to properly create his light spell, but once he did I could tell he had been practicing. Instead of a single source of light, it was as if the whole area around him was projecting light in a small amount. It wasn’t particularly brighter, but the advantage was that we could see where the light wasn’t projected from- and thus where the walls and floor were. “Whew, that’s more difficult than I remembered. I have to keep my area just a bit away from the walls and floors or it will actually start draining my mana…”
Kasner also contributed some light magic- though apparently he had little enough dedication to it that he didn’t even have Light as a real skill. Even so, having more light was helpful. Our enemies would already be able to see us coming, so a bit more light gave them barely more information and gave us… what we needed.
It took almost fifteen minutes to find the first minotaur. We were walking slowly, because Halette wasn’t yet familiar with the traps in the area. Sure, she’d researched what types there would be- but knowing about them and actually seeing them herself were different things. Actually, not running into any traps made us even more cautious. Perhaps we just couldn’t see them…
Either way, we came to a minotaur before finding any traps- or setting any off on accident. Socks smelled him first, growling. From that, we knew it was around a corner- but not terribly close.
When we turned the corner we didn’t see it- but we certainly heard it. A deep roar and the sound of hooves on stone alerted us to its presence before it came close enough to see. It was still well over thirty feet away once the light reached it enough for me to throw my spear- but once I saw it clearly enough I threw with all I had.
The spear went through the air into the charging minotaur- and deep into its chest. The minotaur slowed momentarily… then actually picked up more speed. It even managed to swing its large axe down at me, which required me to dodge away… and then it fell to the ground.
I looked down at the strange combo of man and bull. It had the legs of a bull- but only a single pair, the rear legs. Then the torso of a man, followed again by the head of a bull including horns. It came to my mind that minotaurs made almost no sense. How did they even balance on those legs? Well, they were probably a bit different from an actual bull.
“That was… unexpectedly tough. The spear pierced his heart and he just kept going!” I shook my head.
“Rather surprising.” Alhorn nodded, “The notes did say minotaurs nearly always finished their charge… but I wasn’t sure quite what they meant.”
“They could have just said they’re too stubborn to die right away.” I scratched my chin, “More details would have been nice.”
Besides its axe, the minotaur left behind only a small gem. Bigger than a regular goblin’s, but smaller than what we got from bosses. The axe itself wasn’t particularly high quality- not that we expected much from the first level of this dungeon. The minotaurs would become bigger and bulkier and better equipped as we went further in.
“Hmm…” I scratched my chin more, “Halette, can you have more than one companion?”
She shrugged, “I mean, I could, but then I’d have to split resources between them. Some beastmasters do that, but weaker companions means more chance of them dying…” She hugged Socks, who was bigger than her- if not quite as tall. “It’s just an awful thought.”
“What about a mule or something? Something not meant to fight. I know normal ones don’t do well in a dungeon, even with training, but with a beastmaster present…” I shrugged, “What do other people do?”
Halette shrugged, “Mostly carry what they can and dump heavy low value stuff, until they can afford magic bags.” Her eyes glazed over in thought, “It wouldn’t hurt to try having a pack animal. And minotaurs aren’t known for their ambushes so it could probably stay safe…”
I shrugged, “Just thought I’d bring it up. It wouldn’t hurt to make a bit more money… or be able to avoid carrying around heavy bags that we have to drop for combat.”
With that thought, we set off further into the dungeon to get ourselves used to fighting minotaurs. There were more situations than just the optimal one where I pretty much killed one right away.