Chapter 13 - The Link Between You and I (1)
At first, Artpe couldn’t fathom how the Dungeon and Skeletons were connected through the Record Link.
However, it was simple once he understood it. From the beginning, the Record Link was over the entire Dungeon… To be more precise, when the requirement for destroying the Elite Skeleton Warrior was met, a field was placed over the Dungeon. Everything within the Dungeon was placed within its sphere of influence.
Usually, it was impossible to synchronize all the monsters, yet this method had allowed the impossible to become possible. This field also allowed the Dungeon’s monsters to change the structure of the Dungeon using their will. They merged the separated space, and it allowed them to send forth countless number of monsters.
Artpe had realized this fact before it was too late. Of course, even if he realized it, there wasn’t much he could do at this point in time.
It was normal to have no options in such a situation.
“However, I’m an abnormality.”
Even if Artpe couldn’t cancel the Record Link in its entirety, he could push and distort the enormous magic spell using his Mana. It was possible to cause a minute amount of change.
This was why he was using his Mana Control ability to its limit as he spliced small parts of the Record Link using his Mana. Then he rejoined the split ends in different configurations to set small restriction.
He tied off the part of the region considered to be the 6th floor of the Dungeons. Afterwards, he tied off the 7th floor, then he moved on to tie the next region below…..
This was why there was no change occurring to the Dungeon now. Of course, all the monsters on the same floor were still connected through the Record Link. However, at the very least, the outer appearance of the Dungeon had returned to looking like any other normal Dungeon.
“The fact that it’ll be difficult to smash through this Dungeon hasn’t changed, but we no longer have to fear about our stamina running out by fighting against an unknown number of reinforcements. Moreover, the Record Link to the other Skeletons on the other floors was completely severed….”
“If it is as you’ve said, does this perhaps mean….”
“You are pretty quick on the uptake.”
Artpe met Maetel’s sparkling eyes, and he smirked.
“After we disable their ability to move, we can kill all of the Skeletons on this floor.”
The Skeletons here had been isolated from the others. The ridiculous concept that they couldn’t gain any EXP until they cleared the entire Dungeon was gone now. They would no longer have to suffer under such crazy and tortuous stricture.
They were still under the difficult restriction where they had to disable all the monsters on a single floor without killing the monsters. However, it didn’t feel onerous to the two heroes.
They’ll win. They will survive to become stronger. It didn’t matter who tried to test them.
He didn't care about the reasons behind such tests. He would take them all. If he was at a test site, he would upend it. If he was in a prison, he would destroy it. If it was a kingdom, he would raze it to the ground.
“We aren’t obligated to play on a stage made by the enemy. Remember that, Maetel. The enemies should dance to our music. We are the ones that have to survive after defeating our enemies. It doesn’t matter if they call us cheap. They can even cuss us out for being the bad guys.”
This was the philosophy of survival developed by the Four Heavenly King Artpe Hirtana Kelduke of the Demon King’s army. In his previous life, he had merely been an extra that should have been killed off early in the story. However, he had been able to stay alive until the hero invaded the Demon King’s castle. This was the reason why.
In the end, he was dispatched by the radiant hero, but she was by his side now. Nothing would be impossible for the two of them. Even if it was impossible, they would make it possible.
“The fact that we survive is us winning. That is why we have to survive to win. The most important thing is our own survival. There is nothing worth more than that.”
Maetel firmly nodded her head. Of course, she was was born with a strong sense of justice. She was too innocent to understand the selfishness and spite he had developed by surviving through the long years.
Still, this would be enough. She wouldn’t be easily swindled by others now. He had created a foundation he could build on.
[W...what the hell is this.]
The Skeletons were having a hard time accepting the fact that an outsider had changed the entire layout of the Dungeon. How long had they been waiting for this moment! How patient had they been! They had been eagerly waiting for this as they hated every moment of the wait!
They had even allowed themselves to become lowly Undead to protect this place. They had placed their worth in protecting the place. This was their shining moment, yet these little brats were treating them like trash! The little brats had spit on them! It was a twisted situation where they were being looked down on!
[This is wrong! They won't be able to prove their worth this way! They will only just get stronger!]
[You are making a mistake! You don’t possess the necessary qualification!]
“You guys should all shut up. If this qualification involves us being accepted by such rotten Skeletons, I would rather not have it! I care not for it! Maetel!”
“None of you will be able to run away!”
His Magic was running smoothly, so he just had to focus on Maetel and his shield. Artpe was able to bolster Maetel’s power as he freely controlled his shield. He attacked the flustered group of Skeletons.
[How can this…. Koohk!]
[These bastards don’t have the right to take the test. We’ll kill you! We’ll destroy you!]
The Skeletons had been shaken when an abnormality occurred in their Record Link, so they weren’t able to properly react to the situation. However, they had now accepted the truth that they would have to defeat Artpe and Maetel with the troops on this floor. They strengthened the Record Link between each other, and they started actively attacking the two heroes.
Of course, Maetel was getting stronger even at this moment as she participated in the battle. This was why the Skeletons weren’t in a favorable position.
It wasn’t as if the Skeletons had gone easy on them from the beginning, because it was a test. Nothing would change from their adjusted attitude!
[Are you planning on imitating a boomerang with your shoddy shield? It is too heavy! It looks like a pig rolling across the ground!]
“What the hell are you looking at! That is only an after-image!”
He hadn’t wanted to grow in this direction, but Artpe’s ability to throw the shield… No, the ability to control it was growing in real time. He was providing Maetel with Mana. Was he receiving some of her stamina and reflexes in return?
Several dozen Mana Threads were extended from his one hand, and they were used to control the shield. The sharp edge of the shield, which could inflict the curse, was raised. It flew freely across the large hallway as it impacted the Skeletons’ bodies in order. The damage it inflicted wasn’t light.
“Here and here!”
[The bastard’s shield is weakening us.]
[We have to catch and kill him. We have to kill….]
As time passed, Artpe’s shield flew faster, and it rotated more sharply. He was inflicting damage on par with Maetel’s bastard sword. The Skeletons had been afraid of Maetel, so they had been herded towards him. However, he was taking them down faster as time passed, and he finally realized something.
‘What is this? What the hell is happening? I’m satisfied with just being able to push and keep others in check. What is the deal with this? How is it possible for me to dominate foes that are 20 levels higher than me? If I make a mistake, I might kill them outright…. Moreover, I think the curse effect has gotten stronger.’
Artpe reflected on why this was so. He realized that the act of infusing Mana into the shield was slowly strengthening the shield’s special characteristic.
This was on an another level compared to simply infusing a rock in an attempt to make it explode. He had used his Mana to increase the performance of the Artifact at a fundamental level. Basically, he had used [Reinforcement].
In other words, it was a special rare Support type skill. He didn’t have to say it out loud, but this was a hellishly difficult skill to learn.
‘....when and how did I learn this skill?’
What did he actually do to precipitate this? He had caused change on the Record Link casted on the entire Dungeon. He knew he had done a pretty good job, but this act and the reinforcing of the shield was part of an entirely different discipline.
The only thing else he had done was establishing the Mana link with Maetel. He had poured Mana into her, and he had busily thrown his shield around.
[The shield… The shield is getting larger! It is starting to rotate!]
[Dodge it. The bastard isn’t trying to kill us! He is just trying to inflict pain! The bastard is not a hero! He is the devil! His wickedness is almost on par with the Four Heavenly Kings under the Demon King!]
It was as if they knew about his past occupation as one of the Four Heavenly Kings. The Skeletons kept spouting impudent words, so he thought about mowing them down with his shield.
‘I’m awakening to skills at a ridiculous level. This should only be possible for Maetel…. Wait a moment. When I used the link on Maetel, maybe Mana wasn’t the only thing that was shared between us?’
His body was moving more swiftly, and he had easily acquired a skill he hadn’t possessed before. Maybe this spell didn’t simply link their Mana. He might have created something more grand.
At this point, he wanted to check his ability using his Read All Creation skill, and he was annoyed that he didn’t have the spare time to do so.
‘Still, if my theory is correct, Maetel’s aptitude is being shared with me.’
It was a very dangerous occurrence for him. Maetel was supposed to become the most brilliant hero in history using her talent. This talent was being shared with Artpe, who was of mediocre talents. This would throw a big wrench in his plan.
This would slow down Maetel’s growth, and there was a chance that Artpe might pass her. Then the enemy’s gaze might focus more on him. Something terrible such as that might occur to him!
If possible, he had planned on maintaining the Mana link indefinitely. However, this changed the story. After the battle ended, he would get a clear assessment of himself using his Read All Creation ability. Then he planned on severing the Mana link as soon as possible.
The brightest star had to be Maetel. Artpe didn’t want to shine brighter than her.
‘Basically, the act of emitting light is like a work out. I’m too lazy to work out.. After I receive enough light from Maetel, I’ll just reflect the light. That will be sufficient.’
This was a mindset unbefitting of a hero. However, his previous occupation was being one of the Four Heavenly Kings, and he had always dreamed about living the life as a dairy farmer! He was able to come up with such possibilities, because he was Artpe!
Maetel didn’t even realize what was going through his thoughts. She diligently moved her body. Even now she was efficiently pulling Artpe’s bountiful Mana towards her for her use. She was getting stronger even at this moment!
[Strong. They are too strong!]
[We need more reinforcement…. Aht! We don’t have any!]
[Level : 32]
[Mana Control Lv6]
“From the looks of it, it doesn’t look like her talent had decreased at all…..”
Artpe mumbled bitterly as he waved his hand. The last reinforcement added before the 6th floor was isolated stepped forward. The highest level among the group was 55. They hesitatingly moved towards the two.
[You, who explore the domain of the impossible, shall face either creation or destruction at the end of this chaos. We will test your small body...kuhk!]
“Stop giving a monologue, and fight me!”
[How dareeeeeeeee you… Kah-ahk!]
The two heroes had a lot to think about, yet the Skeleton with an empty skull was spouting philosophical words! It was merely an extra, yet it was trying to act cool. Even if the creator forgave such actions, Artpe wouldn’t forgive them!
“All of you fuck off! If you know what is good for you, you should separate your head from your body! Just roll around on the floor!”
[How dare you sully our noble resolve… Kahk!]
One Skeleton in particular was filled with rage. It had tried to speak, yet the edge of Artpe’s shield impacted on its body. The Skeleton was thrown to the Dungeon’s wall.
Even after impacting on the Skeleton, the shield didn’t lose any momentum. It attacked three additional Skeletons. Then it violently revolved around Artpe to fend off the Skeletons trying to swing their swords towards him. The shield was even able to break their weapons.
“All right. This should be enough.”
He would be able to prevail over this situation without asking a favor of Maetel. The Skeletons that had been crowding around him were mostly defeated. He nodded in satisfaction when he checked that less than 100 Skeletons were left.
[I will not open the way for such wicked beings!]
[We have to defeat them. I’ll make them into Skeletons! They will be the same as us!]
“You can try.”
“I’ll do it! I’ll defeat them all!”
He still had over half his Mana. He assessed the amount of Mana he had left against the number of Skeletons….
They could do this. He was sure of it.
They were the victors. .