Chapter 25 - Will of the Emperor (2/2)
Contacting the lizards head, the arrow exploded creating a thunderous boom. The nearby kobolds were knocked off their feet while the remaining two dungeon lizards roared.
In response to the chaos, Vahn continued to fire explosive arrows towards the remaining lizards and larger groups of kobolds. Because of his increased magic capacity, the bow and arrows charged almost immediately as they were drawn. Pleasantly surprised, Vahn loosed as many arrows as he could before the monsters could close the distance.
As the closest kobolds entered the range of his domain, Vahn was overcome by a peculiar sensation. It seemed like his perception had increased further with the use of the bow. He could easily track every monster within his domain, and could even see a small shadow forecasting where they would move next.
Instead of changing back to his sword, Vahn decided to take the opportunity to test the influence of [Will of the Emperor] on his ranged capabilities. He had yet to engage anything after the massive leap in his attributes and found the current situation the perfect solution to appease his curiosity.
While his previous style with the bow relied on opening a distance between him and the opponent, he now used his experience with the sword to improve his combat style. Instead of opening the gap, Vahn used his footwork to outmaneuver the kobolds. In the brief gaps when they were trying to adjust their positioning to match his, Vahn was able to quickly fire an arrow into their defenseless form.
When one kobold had tried to flank him and attack his back, Vahn was able to intercept it with his bow using the senses gained from [Will of the Emperor]. He was surprised to see that when the bow made contact with the kobold's neck, the body seemed to fold around the point of contact before it was launched several meters away.
It was at that moment Vahn realized his strength had increased to an almost super-human level compared to his previous self.
After around three minutes Vahn had dealt with the entire pack of kobolds. He looked towards the previous location of the dungeon lizards and found some slightly larger magic cores. After analyzing them through the system, he was able to determine they had a value of 23, 24, and 27 respectively. Though this implied they were only slightly stronger than kobolds, Vahn knew it wasn't always the size of magic core that determined the threat of a monster
Once everything was cleaned up, Vahn took a good look at his bow. He had initially decided it wouldn't be useful for soloing the dungeon but now knew that it had potential even in close-ranged combat. There seemed to be a synergy between [Bow Mastery] and [Will of the Emperor]. [Bow Mastery] had increased to rank D (from F) and gave a large enhancement to his vision. Combined with the increased perception of [Will of the Emperor] he could almost predict the movements of monsters within the domain.
Looking towards the various tunnels, he equipped the bow to the secondary slot and brought out his sword. The bow was exceptional in open spaces, but he still preferred the sword for combat within the majority of the upper floors. The wide arcs of the sword allowed him to dispatch multiple monsters at once if they were close enough, and he didn't have to risk causing a collapse from misfiring an arrow into the wall. He also remembered how his bow-combat had improved due to the footwork he had been developing with the sword and wanted to polish the skill further.
Vahn approached a random tunnel and started following it away from the large room. On his way, he continued to slay numerous small groups of kobolds. Even though they had become much easier to deal with, because of his close experience with death the previous day he didn't slack. Instead, he tried various different fighting methods, even incorporating punches and kicks into his combinations. He was especially surprised when his back-fist had caught a kobold that had evaded his sword strike.
Attempting to use the opportunity while Vahn was completing a swing, the Kobold leaped claws first towards Vahn's neck. Releasing his left hand from the grip of the sword, Vahn used a twisting motion to counter the kobold with the back of his fist. On contact he could feel the skull of the kobold collapse under the force of the blow, disintegrating into dust before it could make contact with the nearby wall.
As it was the last kobold of the group, Vahn stared blankly at his fist. He hadn't expected the result to be so...drastic. He couldn't help but shudder when recalling the feeling of bone contorting against his fist. He shook his head to put the image out of his mind and pressed onward.
Using around 40 minutes, Vahn found the stairs leading to the next floor. Though he wasn't as drained as the second floor, he still took the opportunity to rest in the relative safety of the stairwell. The dungeon barrier that prevented him from going down to floors he hadn't accessed also prevented most monsters from going up. Unless they could overcome the barrier, the majority of monsters were stuck to their assigned floors.
("I wanted an opportunity to fight a dungeon lizard with my sword. I remember they're pretty resistant against physical attacks, so I wonder how they would fare against the sharpness enchantment of my blade...")
Vahn looked at the now magically inert blade. Its 130cm length made it stand out against his 150cm frame. From the perspective of an observer, it probably looked like a child swinging around the sword of an a.d.u.l.t... Vahn blushed slightly at his self-deprecating thought and continued to inspect the sword.
The thing he found most interesting was the lack of a guard or any other embellishments. For a sword whose description says it was reforged countless times, it seemed rather plain. Even it's cutting age didn't possess the typical silver-sheen polish to counter the dark-metallic color of the blade. In fact, other than when the runes were active the blade was entirely black in color and seemed to reflect a peculiar wavy pattern in the light
As he continued to observe the blade using the illumination of the dungeon walls, he noticed a small mark engraved where the blade and handle met. It looked like two winged snakes twining around a scale. After inquiring about what it might represent, he was told it was probably the maker's mark. Without knowing the name and background of the blacksmith, it would be impossible to interpret its meaning.
Satisfied with his rest, Vahn continued towards the fourth floor. Much like the previous three floors, it had glowing blue walls and an off-green colored floor. It also contained a combination of kobolds, goblins, and dungeon lizards. Unlike the previous floors though, dungeon lizards were the prominent creature of the fourth floor and Vahn finally had the opportunity to engage one using his sword.
Even though the blade was fully charged with magic, Vahn was surprised to discover there was actually a bit of resistance when he cut through the lizards' hide. He inferred that, due to the existence of magic flowing within the body of monsters, as they became stronger they would offer more resistance against the blade.
Since the dungeon lizards were resistant to both physical and magical attacks, it made sense that they were slightly more difficult to cut. Only slightly though, as Vahn was able to bisect it from head-to-tail in a single leaping swipe.
The fourth floor was slightly longer than the previous three, and it took a total of five hours to navigate to the stairs. He had to backtrack on several occasions due to the complex layout of the dungeon. Luckily he was prevented from getting lost due to the existence of his minimap. He avoiding the scenario where he would reach the same dead end more than once.
After arriving at the stairwell, Vahn decided to immediately head up and call it a day. By now it was nearing 3 PM and he wanted to exchange magic cores at the guild to obtain some Valis before visiting the Hostess of Fertility. He was very satisfied with his growth and decided to inspect his stats as he ascended the stairs.
Name: Vahn Mason
Race: Human, *sealed*
-Power: A893 -> S909
-Endurance: B714 -> B740
-Dexterity: B799 -> A833
-Agility: A811 -> A889
-Magic: SSS1124 -> SSS1493
Soul Strength: Tier 2 (Hero Soul)
Most of his stats were nearing S, and he was surprised at how much his Magic had increased in half a day. It seems his use of [Will of the Emperor] promotes magical growth to a terrifying degree. Vahn began to seriously consider using some OP to purchase magic from the system shop...