Chapter 35. From Today, I'm an Official Explorer (5)
I always wondered why so many people knew my Crown Prince nickname. When Mastiford broke through the 50th floor and the communication channel among dungeon explorers was created on Earth, I finally understood why.
It all began on the 5th floor. In the 3 years that I stayed hunting the Orc Lord, word quickly spread that there was someone helping others pass through the 5th floor easily. That was when I got the nickname, Crown Prince.
The people that passed the 5th floor with my help must have talked about me on their continent's dungeon explorer communication channels. And just like that, people were able to recognize me on the 10th floor.
"Really, that's a violation of my privacy."
Confirming that my party had been filled up to the max the moment I created it, I murmured in a tired voice. Soon, nine explorers began to appear in front of me. Three women and six men. Two of the women were priestesses and one was an archer.
Two of the men held shields and swords, one wore a magician's robe, then there was an archer, a priest, and a young man with a claymore on his back who looked to be my age.
"It really is Crown Prince-nim!"
"Kyaa, it's Crown prince-nim!"
"He's just as handsome as the rumors say."
"He looks soft, I don't see how he's so strong."
'I can hear you guys, you know?' As I looked at them with a dumbfounded expression, the magician came up and talked to me.
"I haven't heard that Crown Prince-nim advanced to the 20th floor. Are we your first party?"
"It's an honor!"
I didn't refuse his hand shake. He was wearing a smile that made people feel good. It might just be my subjective judgement, but dungeon explorers were generally good people. There were some like Palludia or that party leader from the Dark Ratman raid who were narrow-minded, but even they weren't evil or heinous.
I thought about why and soon came to an answer. The first generation of the First Dungeon's dungeon explorers were specifically chosen, and those that followed were chosen by these Pioneers. As such, they had upright personalities.
Of course, I did not mean that evil people could not be talented enough to be chosen as a Pioneer, nor would all Followers chosen by the Pioneers be kind.
But I remembered Loretta saying that dungeon explorers did not come to the dungeon just because they were talented or strong. In other words, there were other reasons they were chosen. I suspected that one's character was one of them.
As I said before, I was not certain that there were no heinous explorers. However, I had yet to meet one. I was certain that if they existed, they were few in number.
"Are you that Crown Prince?"
As I was greeting the other party members, the man with the claymore approached me and asked. He had a lion-like hair style and a scraggly beard. He had a sense of wildness that drew people in.
"Yes, I am. People have been calling me that for some time. Although I don't really like it, I can't do much about it."
"Hm. To be honest, I don't understand why your name is so popular among other explorers, but I know it's foolish to judge a book by its cover, so I'll make my judgement after the raid."
His way of talking was strange, but since I didn't feel any malicious intent, I decided not to care too much about it. Then, as the party leader, I began to tell them my strategy, though I was ashamed to even call it that.
"Alright, here's the plan. First, we'll separate our attack team into two."
"Yep. One will be me, and the other will be all the other damage dealers with the claymore warrior-nim as the center."
"... Aren't you a being a bit too self-confident?"
The claymore warrior looked at me with worrying eyes. Mm, it was a reasonable response. However, the magician stepped in to answer him.
"You may not know it warrior-nim, but Crown Prince-nim is extremely famous among lower level explorers. He overwhelmingly crushed the 5th, 10th, and 15th Floor Masters and allowed countless number of explorers to advance."
"But there's no guarantee that the same will happen on the 20th floor."
It was yet another reasonable response. I began to like the claymore warrior. However, the magician seemed to be at a loss for words, so I stepped in and talked to the claymore warrior.
"You're right... Your name?"
"... Ren, you can call me Ren."
"Ren. At the very least, my method will work on the 20th floor. I've already confirmed it."
"But didn't you say this was your first time fighting the 20th Floor Master?"
"I said it was my first party for the 20th Floor Master."
"Hm? Isn't that the same thing? I'm not quite understanding what you...!?"
Ren suddenly seemed thunderstruck as he opened his eyes widely. It was the same for others around me. With a teasing smile, I asked.
"Are you good now?"
"Y-You... Is that true!? You fought against the Floor Master alone and won!?"
"Impossible! Didn't Crown Prince-nim always fight against Floor Masters in parties?"
"Naturally, when I fight the Floor Masters alone, no one would be around to see it."
"Crazy. Could he be telling the truth?"
"What would Crown Prince gain from lying? He's already famous through all the worlds."
"We can just confirm it. Regardless, it's true that Crown Prince-nim is strong."
"I heard rumors that Crown Prince was collecting Floor Masters' equipment sets. So it was true..."
"C-Could that be the full Dark Ratman Set? No way, I didn't think it was possible."
As the party members murmured among themselves, Ren looked at me with sparkling eyes and asked.
"Can you spar with me once?"
"If you can wait until the raid ends, then sure."
"Alright, it's a promise! Let's hurry up and finish this then!"
When I gladly nodded my head, Ren suddenly became upbeat and urged the other party members on, and I had to stop him with a bitter smile.
"We only decided on the attack teams. The next is the support team. We have two archers, right? You guys make sure that the Lizard Knight doesn't attack the priest and priestesses. When I give the signal, focus on attacking the Lizard Knight, especially in places like his eyes."
"Got it, Crown Prince-nim."
The two archers seemed to have accepted my orders without any objection. What I said was just an embellished version of 'stand around and attack when we're pummeling him.' It seemed saying it like this made them think they were playing important roles.
"Magician-nim, can you use debuff type magic?"
"I'm Enun. Unfortunately, I can't. I've only learned amplification magic and ice element magic."
"I can amplify someone's ability by about 50 percent for 3 seconds. It's a pretty rare skill. If the timing is right, it can show great results."
It wasn't just flattery. Amplification truly did sound like a good skill. Although it had a short time period of 3 seconds, that was something I could overcome with my ability. I requested that he use it on me or other damage dealers when I gave the signal, and he easily accepted it.
"I trust that the healers know what to do."
"I can use buffs."
"I can cast shields and recovery spells."
"Perfect. I'll leave it to you then. Let's go."
Confirming that all party members were ready, I opened the door boldly. The Lizard Knight was in the same position as he was yesterday, waiting for us to come in. It was slightly irritating.
"Challengers? So many of them, too."
"I'll be the first to go. The second team can go behind him and just deal as much damage as possible. I'll block all his attacks. Just be careful of his tail."
When I fought the Lizard Knight last time, he did not use his tail attack. I didn't know why. Did he think he didn't need to against one man? Or was it his pride as a spearman?
My Dark Thunder Explosion could have also forced him to skip the tail attack phase and go straight to the earthquake attack phase. No matter what the answer was, it did not matter. The only disappointing part was that I could have killed him quicker if he used his tail since he would have been more open to my attacks.
"Good luck, Crown Prince-nim!"
"May the blessing of the Goddess be with you. Bless!"
[You received a blessing. Your resistance to physical attack increases. Your physical and magical attack power increases.]
"Peika, I'll leave it to you."
Following Bless, Peika silently went into my weapon. There were ways to use Peika other than Spirit Aura, but Spirit Aura was the most efficient when fighting in close range. The party members, who didn't know about Peika, were startled, but I ignored them and charged toward the Lizard Knight.
"Your breath stinks!"
The moment Lizard Knight's long spear shot toward me, I slid on the ground and shot my spear up from underneath. Although he was wearing a full body armor, it was not attached to his body. From underneath, I could easily see the gap between his armor and skin. It was one of the pieces of information I picked up from my last fight with him.
"It's going to tingle. Tempest!"
Oh, interesting. The Lizard Knight floated in air for a second. While I stopped my sliding and got up, the Lizard Knight screamed out in pain without being able to hold himself steady. Meanwhile, the second attack team safely got behind him.
"... What did we just see?"
"Crown Prince-nim charged in, and it seemed like he was about to get hit by the Lizard Knight's spear..."
"Before we noticed it, the Lizard Knight was screaming in pain mid flight."
Ignoring the useless people wearing their spectator goggles, I continued to attack the Lizard Knight.
"You really are weak to pain. How did you manage to become a Floor Master?"
[You used Provoke! The enemy's focus falls on you!]
"Kuaaaak! I'll kill you, Human!"
"I've heard that line over a thousand times, and here I am!"
I did die a few times, but they didn't count since I only got kicked out of the dungeon!