Chapter 22 - Reflection : Slaughter
Vahn progressed further into the dungeon until he found a staircase leading deeper into the dungeon. After a brief hesitation, he decided to head down so he could test his new sword. He continued onwards until the staircase opened to another floor. Looking beyond the door he could see the staircase continued further on, but when he tried to pass he felt a resistance preventing him from passing.
Sticking out his hand as a test, he was able to feel a membrane that became increasingly resistant based on how much pressure he applied. Out of curiosity, he even backed up and swung his sword to try and cut through the invisible barrier.
Though it seemed to cut through easily at first, after progressing 30-40cm he felt a sudden rebounding force. Caught off guard, the sword was sent flying and Vahn felt a warm sensation coming from his now numb hand. Looking down he saw blood dripping from his the skin between his thumb and forefinger. The rebound had completely severed the soft flesh between the two fingers.
("I didn't think that one through properly. But at least I was able to understand the limits of my sword a bit. It might have enhanced sharpness, but a strong enough resistive force can overwhelm the enchantment.")
After treating his wound using a low-grade healing potion obtained from the system, Vahn continued into the 2nd floor of the dungeon.
The 2nd floor was very similar to the 1st. The biggest difference was the sheer number of paths to explore. As he began exploring the floor Vahn finally encountered his first new monster. Standing around 130cm tall and covered in mangy greyish fur Vahn was able to identify the creature as a Kobold. It possessed the head of a dog and seemed to have a lazy expression as it shambled through down the corridor.
Though he was momentarily overcome by the instinct to use his bow, Vahn quickly put the idea to the back of his mind. He got into what he thought was a proper stance and began to awkwardly step towards the Kobold.
Noticing his presence, the Kobold looked towards the approaching human before breaking out into a mad sprint. It was much faster than a goblin and possessed the ability to run on all fours which increased its ability to make sudden changes in direction.
Once it got in range Vahn tried swinging his sword into the kobolds path. As the sword traced an arc through the air, the Kobold used it's nimble movements to easily dodge under the path of the blade.
Using the time he was off-balanced during the swing, the kobold leaped into his stomach and began to sink its sharp canines into the flesh of Vahns abdomen.
Before he could respond to the sudden pain, the kobold began to jerk it's head side-to-side as it tried to tear the flesh from Vahn's stomach. In a panic, Vahn dropped his sword and tried to grab the head of the kobold to prevent it from moving. As a response the Kobold began to use the jagged claws on its hands to fiercely claw away, causing lacerations all over Vahns chest and arms.
As the pain threshold continued to rise, Vahn felt the familiar cooling sensation spread through his mind as blood began to pool in the back of his throat. Mustering his strength he turned towards the wall and rammed his body, with the kobold between it, with the greatest force he could muster.
The Kobold finally released it's jaw from Vahns abdomen only to change it's target to his left thigh. Feeling the fresh pain coming from his leg, Vahn used the remainder of his fading consciousness to equip the dagger he had stored in his inventory. He took the dagger and began to stab into the back of the kobold over and over until it finally turned to dust.
Vahn collapsed, back to the wall, and looked at his stomach where he could see a deep black blood slowly oozing from what looked like his liver. He also saw the bright crimson blood which flowed like a tide from the torn blood vessels and arteries. Seeing the bright blood he began to have flashbacks to how he died in his previous...
As his consciousness began to fade he could hear a shouting from within his mind, but he couldn't hear it. He tried focusing on the voice, but the darkness encroaching on his vision seemed to hinder the message from getting through. The cold feeling that was in his mind began to spread to his entire body. He began to shiver and lose feeling in his legs.
"Whose...voice is that...Sis? I'm sorry, I can't...hear you." Vahn coughed up blood while trying to speak.
His eyelids began to feel like lead weights as he struggled to keep them from closing. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't seem to keep them open. He knew that if he wasn't able to keep them open something terrible would happen, but he wasn't able to muster any strength...
The darkness completely covered his vision and he finally let his eyes close fully.
Vahn could feel a powerful force trying to break through the darkness. He had already lost all feeling within his body, and couldn't form any coherent thoughts.
As the throbbing feeling began to increase in strength he started to see images. Accompanying each beat he could see the various memories he had acc.u.mulated in this world. He was sent back to the time when he first arrived in the 'record' of Danmachi. Though he was scared he resolved himself to live freely to honor his Mother's wishes...
He saw his six months of hard training, observing how he made the transition from an emaciated lab animal to a capable hunter that could even defeat a goblin tribe single-handedly...
He began to recall all the people he had met after journeying to the City. The kind middle-aged man at the City gate...Gregory. The mature receptionist Fauna...the petite Millie who cautioned him for his own benefit...
He remembered the mother and daughter combo Milan and Tina. He still wanted to clear up the misunderstanding so Tina didn't fear him...He even remembered the phenomenal taste of the dish called 'Spaghetti' and the terrifying black-haired cat person Chloe...
That's right...there are so many things I've experienced since coming to this world. The people, the places, and the food...I want to experience more. I don't want my journey to end here! NO, I REFUSE TO LET IT END!
//Obtained Innate Skill: 'Will of the Emperor'//
Vahn felt something snap in his mind as he tried desperately to resist the darkness. He grit his teeth so hard he could feel his molars crack. His fingernails cut into his palms as Vahn slowly opened his eyes. The cooling feeling originating from his mind seemed to encompass his body.
Using his newfound awareness Vahn quickly opened his inventory and withdrew a 'senzu bean'. Feeling the small bean in his hand, he struggled to lift it to his mouth. He felt the darkness in his vision begin to return but forced it away using sheer willpower.
Finally, he managed to put the 'senzu bean' into his mouth and madly devoured the life-giving essence within. He felt his wounds begin to heal rapidly and was even able to see the huge tear in his abdomen close up. It was almost as if time had been reversed, and after several breaths, Vahn was able to regain his strength.
He lifted the nearby sword and turned towards his audience. "Sorry to keep you waiting. Shall we begin?"
When he had begun to lose consciousness earlier, several goblins and kobolds had been spawned in the surrounding area. Though they wanted to charge at his limp body immediately, they were all forced back by an invisible pressure. It was unlike anything the monsters had experienced, and they felt a fundamental feeling of fear within their core. It was almost like the boy before they contained the soul of an Ancient Dragon.
When the boy addressed them, the pressure suddenly increased as they looked into the deep aquamarine eyes. Within his pupils, they could see the silhouette of a fierce warrior shrouded in divine light. They could even vaguely see an illusion of a great army standing behind him...
Without waiting any longer, Vahn charged at the monsters who stared in his direction in reverence and fear. He swung his sword in wide arcs, trailing a white light that carried a deadly momentum. The sword began to hum as it cut through each successive body. As if possessing a life of its own, it began to resonate with the aura of its new master.
Vahn continued to slay monsters in a frenzy and seemed to trigger something within the dungeon itself. From the walls, floor, and even ceiling monsters continued to spawn to confront the mad tyrant wreaking havoc on the second floor.
After several minutes Vahn had cut a path of destruction towards the third floor. Even the walls of the dungeon itself could not impede the path of his blade as he left dozens of marks to scar its surface.
Arriving at the staircase leading down, Vahn decided to against continuing further and followed the staircase upwards. The power that had been coursing through his body since his awakening had begun to diminish and his instincts told him that once it faded he would most likely pass out.
He sprinted upwards with his maximum speed and arrived at the entrance within twenty minutes. As he took several steps from the entrance, amidst the crowd of people entering and exiting the dungeon, Vahn collapsed into unconsciousness.
Those in his surroundings immediately retreated for the boy who looked in terrible shape. There was blood covering every inch of his body, and they assumed he had most likely overestimated his own capabilities and suffered from his inexperience. One bolder adventurer decided to confirm if the boy was still alive and then flagged down the approaching Guild staff after he noticed the boy was still breathing.
One of approaching staff members was the elf Vahn had seen earlier, Nicholas Grimm. Seeing the state of the boy he had just recently lectured about the dangers of the dungeon, he couldn't help but frown. Signaling the staff to escort him to the medical ward, he resolved to give the child a fierce lecture after he woke up.