Chapter 2: Cherry in Nightmare Land

Cherry's POV

Today is October 31. The Halloween mood is on while me and my friends have decided to celebrate it with a boss hunt in Niflheim dungeon. With the intention of bringing down Baron Jack-O-Lantern (Level 70), a boss residing in the 30th circle of Niflheim, the party ventured deep into the dungeon with all the guts and courage we could muster.

Our party, the ←Moonlit Knights→, were composed of nine members: ←Alex_Ander→ (Alexander) the Knight; ←PJ_Bot_Boy→ (PJ) the Wizard; ←Takumi∞→ (Takumi) the Hunter; ←Sierra_Eupha→ (Sierra) the Cleric; ←Haiiro_Park→ (Haiiro) the Druid ; ←Hattori_Saizo→ (Saizo) the Assassin; ←Hanako_3000→ (Hanako) the Valkyrie; ←Manlier_Than_Thou→ (Manly) the Berserker; and me, ←Razor_Cherry→ (Cherry) the Swordmistress.

Alexander serves as the group's tank due to having the highest VITALITY and INTELLIGENCE, making him capable of soaking up damage. PJ and Takumi are our nukers due to their devastating AOE (Area of Effect) skills while Sierra and Haiiro plays the support roles. Hanako and Manly are our frontline gankers as they are capable of dishing out huge amount of PHYSICAL DAMAGE due to their high STRENGTH stat while having decent INTELLIGENCE and VITALITY respectively to survive several blows from monsters with Alexander's DEVOTION AURA to compensate for their weaknesses. Saizo and I play the flanker role due to our high AGILITY and STRENGTH stats. However our VITALITY is low compared to others, making us vulnerable to AOE attacks. This is where Sierra and Haiiro come into play. Sierra, as a Cleric, possesses the power to heal and buff the whole party with her array of support skills, while Haiiro, as an Enchanter, has the capability of nerfing and weakening enemies with his spells. While Sierra and Haiiro are considered weak on their own, their presence ensures the survival of ←Moonlight Knights→ when facing battles.

Upon arriving the entrance of the first room, I held my Fire Kodachi tightly. I expected for the worst while my team mates held their breath. This would be the most difficult level we have reached so far. The room appeared to be a dark cave illuminated only by lanterns hung on the walls. A few bones and skulls littered the ground as a damp and mouldy ambiance greeted our arrival.

"Keep your eyes peeled. This place is haunted not only by Zombies and Skeleton Militias, but also Wights and Jack O can't afford to lose any one of us," Haiiro, our tactician and leader, warned us as we nodded in concurrence.

No sooner, tormented moans filled our ears as Zombies (Level 20) and Wights (Level 50) lowly marched out of the darkness. While Zombies are undead type monsters that are slow and weak alone, they tend to bunch in numbers and spell trouble to a single, unwary adventurer. However, Wights are a different story. Like Zombies, Wights are undead creatures similar to their weaker cousins. However, they move slightly faster and deal a lot more physical damage against adventurers. They also possess tougher defenses and more robust health than Zombies.

"PJ! Takumi! " Haiiro commanded as he pointed his staff towards the enemies' direction. PJ opened his spell book and casted "Elfire Blast" against the Zombies. Being a Wizard, PJ can cast powerful offensive elemental magic like Elfire Blast. Such spell is capable of devastating enemies with fire-elemental damage within an Area of Effect, dealing 500 magical base damage per second for five seconds as well as inflicting "Burn Status" to foes for another 5 seconds at the rate of additional 50 damage per second. Several Zombies were quickly taken dowm by the spell which deals 25% bonus damage to them while Takumi used "Metal Rain" skill to destroy the remaining Zombies, raining the battlefield with his arrows.. However, Wights survived the attack and got dangerously close to us. This prompted Sierra to act.

"Sanctuary!" Sierra exclaimed as the earth below us glow with holy light. Sierra's spell temporarily made the ground holy, healing us while dealing 300 base damage per second to undead and demonic monsters for 5 seconds, not counting the 30% additional bonus damage the holy spell inflicts against undead and demons.

Alexander, Manly, and Hanako then rushed to the frontlines, causing physical mayhem against the Wights.

"Shield Charge!"

"Counter Helix!"

"Nibelung Romantia!"

The frontliners dealt heavy damage against the surviving Wights while Saizo and I followed up with our own attacks.

"Sonic Barrage!"

"Tsubame Gaeshi!"

With our combined strength, we defeated the undead mob. However, the quest was far from over.

Clearing the first room, party proceeded to the next one. The second room looked similar from the first, although some jack o' lanterns replaced the regular metal lanterns on the wall. more skeletal remains littered the ground as Rats (Level 5), being weak, scurried around the place without any desire of attacking us. Then, crackling sounds echoed within the dungeon walls.

"Skeleton Militias incoming!" Haiiro exclaimed as bones began reconstructing by themselves. We quickly got surrounded!

"Psyche wall!" Sierra casted a barrier around us, creating an invisible wall that protected us from enemy attacks. Now it was time for Haiiro to act.

"Scorched Earth!" Haiiro enchanted the area with Fire Elemental attribute, turning the place's appearance into a volcanic wasteland. Although Haiiro's spell does not deal damage directly to enemies, it grants a 50% damage boost to any fire attribute attacks performed within the area effect. This prompted PJ to cast another "Elfire Blast" and eliminated the Skeleton Militias attacking us. Takumi switched projectiles from silver arrows to fire arrows in order to take advantage of "Scorch Earth", and skillfully decimated the undead mob.

Alexander, Manly, and Hanako quickly finished off the remaining Skeleton Militia according to Haiiro's plans. However, something happened we never prepared for.

A large, snake-like skeleton suddenly emerged from the ground and attacked Manly.

"What the...!?" Manly was surprised by the merciless assault of an unfamiliar monster as the creature viciously bit Manly several times before throwing him against the cave blow almost killed Manly with only a sliver of health left.

"Manly! Heal!" Sierra quickly tended Manly's wounds, healing him up to half of his health. This was enough for the Berserker to stand up.

"What's this, a new monster?"

Haiiro opened up his bestiary menu and looked for any information about the monster.

"Impossible..."

"What is it, Haiiro?" Hanako inquired as Haiiro's face mirrored his surprise.

"It... it's not in the bestiary. We have no idea how strong it is or how we can beat it."

"Should we retreat, Haiiro?", PJ asked as he cast Elfire Blast while buying Manly some time to regroup with the party.

"No, We shouldn't give up! We already have gone this far! We can't just go back and call it a day!" I quickly protested.

"Cherry's right," Haiiro agreed, "We have to fight on and show this monster what we are!"

"Right!" the party agreed in unison as we found a new resolve. There's nothing more to lose. We have reached this level and there's no turning back!

"Alright, we'll show him what we've got! Let's go!" I exclaimed as we rushed to fight the unknown monster...