Chapter 5 - Dungeon with Death (1)
On the next day, the two of them were able to safely open their eyes. Artpe had been inwardly worried about a highly skilled adventurer or a thief, who could neutralize his perception, catching them by surprise. However, a refreshing morning arrived without the need for Artpe to use his contingency plan 1, 2, 3 and 4. Of course, they were in a Dungeon, so they couldn’t check whether it was light outside!
“Good morning, Artpe!”
“I don’t know if it is is morning yet, and I also don’t know if it is a good one, but hello.”
When Maetel opened her eyes, she had confirmed that Artpe was sleeping safely next to her. She let out a bright smile before she took stock of herself. Her eyes widened in surprise.
“Wow. We slept on floor, yet my body feels really great.”
“The Mana inside a Dungeon is extremely active. It has a positive effect on one’s vitals. However, we aren’t the only living being in this place, and that is a problem.”
Most monster, who entered a Dungeon, became much stronger. Of course, this increased the EXP one could gain. Still, it was scary to face these fortified monsters. This was why most adventurers and mercenaries was reluctant to enter a Dungeon. In truth, if one wanted to live a long life, it was best not to enter a Dungeon.
“Is this why you insisted on entering the Dungeon? Since we’ve slept and refreshed ourselves, can’t we just head out?”
“We could. However, the soldiers dispatched from the palace would have expanded their search radius by now. If we go out right now, we’ll be caught. We’ll be dragged back into the palace.”
“I don’t like tasteless food!”
She could deal with wearing shoddy clothes, and not being able to sleep. However, she wanted to avoid not being able eat good food at all cost. There were tears in Maetel’s eyes as she shouted those words. Artpe nodded his head in satisfactions, and he handed her the leather waterskin.
“All right. After we drink some water, let’s work hard to catch the monsters in here. By the time we are able to go out again, we’ll be stronger. When we exit the Dungeon, we’ll be able to easily evade the soldiers pursuing us.”
This was the cheapest part about being a hero. Maetel had been a normal child only a day ago. Before she became a hero, she had merely been the leader of a group of children, who she played with. If things continued as they were progressing right now, she would be more skillful than the soldiers that were being killed like flies in the current war. She would be able to look down upon them!
There was a common saying within the Demon world. Yesterday’s defeated hero will kill you tomorrow. Of course, the idiots within the Demon world ignored this saying, and they were killed and looted by the hero like clock-work. The biggest problem was the chef…
The Demon King was the biggest idiot amongst them!
“Do we have to fight those weird goblins again, Artpe?”
“No, we’ll be fighting something much weirder. They are also stronger.”
When she thought about the fight against the goblins yesterday, she shrank into herself.
However, Artpe had seen her remarkably learn four skills at once in yesterday’s battle. He thought about how she looked yesterday, and he gravely nodded his head.
“You are capable of fighting opponents that are 10 levels above you. If you aren’t careless, you’ll be able to win easily, so don’t worry too much about it. I’m also capable to a certain extent.”
He most definitely felt the difference in yesterday's battle with the goblins. When Artpe was part of the Demon race, it didn’t matter how great an ability he had possessed. He had a hard time distinguishing himself with his limited talent. Now he was born as a human, and he had acquired the Hero Class. His situation had changed drastically.
“In the Demon world, there are no weak monsters like this…..”
“You even know about the Demon world. Artpe is amazing.!”
“I read about it from a book...a book.”
The monsters from the Demon world were inherently outstanding at Mana detection, and they possessed a high Mana resistance. If one manifested Mana to attack those types of monsters, it wouldn’t work. Yesterday, Artpe had infused a portion of his Mana into a rock, and he had thrown it. He also used threads of Mana to detect the approach of his enemies. These methods would have never work against the monsters from the Demon world.
However, he was in the realm of the humans now. There were countless monsters here that could be killed using such simple methods. He didn’t have to level up, and acquire proper magic spells. Any magic spells that dealt with direct manipulation of magic could be mimicked with his control over Mana. He would be able to create a similar effect!
“Wow. Can all magicians do that?”
“They can, but they don’t bother using it.”
The reason being it looked cooler to chant a spell, and the destructive power one could inflict was higher with a spell. Of course, these weren’t the only reasons why Mana manipulation wasn’t used by others. If Artpe didn’t have his Innate Ability, Read All Creation, he wouldn't be able to figure out his opponent’s tendencies ahead of time. He wouldn’t be able to properly respond with his Mana.
Artpe hadn’t really given a detailed explanation about his Innate Ability to Maetel. Despite that fact, she passively accepted everything he said by saying, ‘Artpe is amazing!’ This was why there was no need to give a more thorough explanation. If he said it, she believed it!
“It is scary, but I’ll do my best, Artpe!”
“Before we do anything...”
While Maetel was tilting her head in confusion, Artpe unhesitatingly strode towards the bottom step of the stairway connected to the entrance to the Dungeon. He gathered Mana into his hand.
“Is there a monster there, Artpe!?”
Artpe’s hand knocked on the riser of the bottom step. The stair reacted to the Mana, and it opened up like a drawer. A large wooden box appeared. Maetel’s eyes turned round. Artpe had a delighted expression on his face. He laughed as he turned to look at Maetel.
“However, there is a treasure box here.”
“Artpe is really amazing!”
“Yes, I’m amazing.”
As always, Artpe didn’t stop Maetel from giving him praise.
In the past, this single ability allowed him to rise to the seat of the Four Heavenly Kings! Artpe was feeling good, so he decided to be a little bit more kind in his explanation.
“Most Dungeons have something called a Starter Set. These are for the fugitives, who were chased into the Dungeons, without knowing anything about the Dungeons. However, these people are being chased. They don’t have the luxury to search for secret locations.”
“Still, if they are lucky, they might be able to find it. So who made these preparations? I’m sure it was a kind person, who doesn’t want unsuspecting people to die within the Dungeons.”
Artpe grinned. The hero’s way of thinking was still too soft. She was soft like a warm pudding that was freshly made!
“The beginner’s equipment isn’t called beginner’s equipment for nothing. It’ll break after couple swings. There is nothing here that can be used for the duration of couple days. On top of that, it is very difficult to acquire additional equipments in the Dungeon unless one is experienced in traversing such Dungeons. Usually, the people, who were lucky enough to find the beginner’s equipment, are more likely to enter the Dungeon in high spirits. It gives them a false sense of confidence. This is the reason why most of them die.”
“D...does that apply to us!”
“It doesn’t, because we are heroes.”
Artpe gave another explanation, and Maetel once again accepted that explanation.
This is why it is easy to have a dummy by one’s side!
“First, let’s equip you with all of this. This rusted steel sword will break after swing it exactly 186 times. Ah, that number decreases by half if you imbue it with mana, hit a monster with a level difference of five or hit a monster’s bone. You have to be careful. Moreover, this leather armor is useless if you take a hit from a monster with a level difference of 3. Otherwise, it can survive 20 cuts from the monsters before it becomes useless.”
“All right. I’ll be careful.!”
Artpe had given a pretty detailed instruction, yet she readily nodded her head. Of course, there was no way she was able to remember all the details. However, she simplified it in her head as ‘I have to avoid being hit, and I have to kill them with the least number of swings as possible!’
“Huh? Aren’t there any weapons here that Artpe can use?”
“There is no god in this world that would think a magician would come into a beginner's Dungeon like this one.”
Artpe used Mana so naturally that it was easy to forget that there were very few number of magicians in the human world. First, one had to be born with the constitution for magic. Secondly, one had to be smart. Thirdly, one needed an environment where there’s a specialized school, who helped a young magician in dealing with Mana. A very small number of people possessed all three requirements.
“Artpe is really really amazing…..”
“I know. I know.”
In the box, there were two daggers, three emergency potions and a little bit of ration. Artpe put the potions and ration into a bag. Then he equipped the daggers on his waist.
“Artpe knows how to use daggers?”
“I know how to throw them.”
Artpe had an exceptional talent of being able to find hidden stuff. He was also very talented at hitting targets with whatever he threw. In the past, he had grown up in the Demon world with nothing to his name. He didn’t have the money to buy proper weapons or magic scrolls.
Before he caught the eyes of the Demon King, he had to manipulate Mana directly or he had to infuse Mana into objects to fight. He had used these tactics to defeat threats to himself.
He had already mentioned this before, but his tactics didn’t work well against monsters in the Demon world. This was why Artpe’s childhood had been very difficult. Even now his eyes teared up just from thinking about that period in his life.
“The only thing left now…. All weapons differ in weight and balance. If you swing the sword thinking it is the same as the wooden branch you swung yesterday, you might be killed before you can say ‘ah’. You should swing it about couple times to get a feel for it….”
Artpe was going through his ‘Fifty reasons why beginner adventurers die’ speech. He talked about information that was so obvious that people overlooked it. At that moment, Maetel swung the sword through the air, and she let out a bright smile as she let out a shout.
“Mmm, mmm. This will do! Weapons with edges are very scary!”
[Level : 2]
He had been trying to give advice to a hero. It was basically akin to a little kid trying to lecture a court magician after reading a single tome of magic. After Artpe had this epiphany, he stepped forward. The hero grabbed him in surprise.
“You said there are monsters here!?”
“There should be none in front of us. I’ll be able to perceive everything.”
Normal monsters appeared in the beginner’s Dungeon, and the monsters couldn’t avoid his detection when he used the Mana threads. He was about to take another step with a leisurely smile on his face. However, he took a step backwards as his expression stiffened.
“....I guess not.”
In the first room of the Dungeon, an Elite Monster was waiting near the exit. The Elite Monster was positioned perfectly. It was poised to take off the head of the adventurer trying to exit the first room. If Artpe didn’t have his Read All Creation ability, he would have suffered the same fate as a regular adventurer!
“Why’s there a monster of that caliber inside the 1st room on the 1st floor of a beginner’s Dungeon!”
“There are strong monsters in there?”
“There's a level 10 Elite Zombie inside. It possesses a Stealth ability, and the Critical Hit Skill. It is the ideal monster to kill low level adventurers.”
It was seven levels highers than the goblins they faced yesterday. However, the concept of levels was foreign to Maetel. She didn’t have a point of reference for levels, so she had no idea how much stronger the monster was than her. She tilted her head in puzzlement.
“It is hard to feel the difference at the low levels, but the difference in levels represents the absolute power gap. Normally, one shouldn’t attack an opponent if there is a level gap of 5 levels.”
“Then we should run away immediately!”
“There was a king, who thought similarly. That bastard waged a war, but he failed spectacularly.”
“Who is it?”
“The Demon world’s greatest chef.”
Heroes always developed, while ignoring the level gap. This would be true this time around. Still, the Elite monster be too hard for a level 2. The hill was too steep, so Artpe formulated a plan to decrease the gradient.
“First, we have to kill all the monsters inside the room to increase our level. If we consider your Stats, even a single level increase will allow you to pierce through the Elite Monster’s defense.”
“What do I do after that?”
“If you walk forward as if nothing is wrong, the Elite Zombie will try to attack you. At that moment, I’ll attack to create an opportunity for you. You’ll attack afterwards for good measure, and you’ll retreat. Your attack won’t be too effective, but I’ll follow it up with an additional attack. Don’t worry too much about it.”
“All right! What do I do afterwards?”
“Afterwards, you retreat and return to this entrance.”
“Just be familiar with the plan I explained right now. All right?”
Matel didn’t see the need to retreat mid fight, so she still had questions about the plan. However, Artpe didn’t give any further explanations. Maetel tilted her head in puzzlement as she entered the Dungeon’s first room with Artpe.
“I… Wa… Wa…..”
“Humans…. Killed me….”
“Daughter's face….. Want to see…...”
It was a pretty large room and there were a total of six zombies there! Unlike the Elite Zombie, these zombies were around level 5. When they entered the room, the zombies became aware of them. They slowly got up.
The zombies were letting out a rotting stench, and their nails were poisonous. They were a very annoying opponent to face, but they were easy to kill. The zombies were slow. It was the ideal candidate for a beginner hero to face.
“What shall we do, Artpe? He wants to see his daughter’s face….”
Their enemies were getting up slowly, and this was the ideal time to attack them. However, Maetel wasn’t moving at all! Tears gathered in her eyes when she heard their words.
He had expected her to snap under the pressure. He had expected her to get angry.
Artpe nodded his head as if he understood her feelings. He spoke to her.
“Occasionally, there are some adventurers, who hesitate from attacking, when they hear the words spoken by the zombies.”
“That’s right! How can we attack such pitiful people! We can’t kill them twice!”
“However, there’s something unusual here to be discovered.”
Artpe turned to look at Maetel with sharp eyes.
“If we wait a little bit longer, all the zombies will speak in a uniform pattern. This fact can be observed.”
“My daughter's….· I want to see······.”
“Yes, just like that.”
“Wow. I think that zombie also has a daughter.”
“There is more to it than that.”
Maetel and Artpe had responded to their words, and the zombies felt their advance slow. Several zombie hesitated before they started talking about the same subject!
“Daughter…. My daughter…..”
“My daughter’s face······ See······.”
“Its seems they were all blessed with daughters!”
“If we gathered 100 zombies here, they would all have said the same thing. They don’t have daughters. They are just trying to make you hesitate.”
This was when Maetel’s reaction changed.
“Are they… Are they perhaps lying?”
“Isn’t it shocking? However, all monsters lie in order to kill humans. The brains of these zombies are all rotted away. Monsters lie on instinct.”
Maetel didn’t respond to Artpe’s words. The hero just bit her lips. Then she lashed out towards the nearest zombie. She severed its legs.
The strike was so strong and sharp that Artpe wanted to question if she really was a level 2! It was as if the thread holding up the zombie had been severed. It fell to the floor as it writhed.
[Level : 2]
[Critical Hit Lv1]
“Lying is bad…...”
Matel raised her gaze.
Artpe let out a gasp as he took a step backwards.
There was a towering rage within Maetel’s eyes!
“Lying is bad!”
The hero’s fight was incredible. No one had taught her this tactic, yet she severed the legs of zombies slowly coming towards her. The zombies were all writhing on the ground!
The hero yelled with fire raging in her eyes.
“I’ll never believe a monster’s words from now on!”
“Yes, that’s the stance to take!”
An ex-Four Heavenly King had succeeded in making the hero abandon her good character!
Of course, the zombies had fallen to the floor, but they continued moving by dragging their bodies forward. Their speed of advance was incredibly slow. Maetel approached the closest zombie, and she cut off the head of the zombie. She went down the line. After she cut three heads, she turned around to look at Artpe as if she had just remembered something she had forgotten.
“If I kill them all, I’m the only one that’ll grow. Artpe has to increase his level!”
“No, you can kill the rest. You are the one fighting from the front. You are more important than me right now.”
When Artpe said his words, Maetel unhesitatingly finished off the zombies. It seemed she was still enraged by the fact that the zombies had lied to her. Of course, even in her angered state, she was careful in preserving the sword’s durability. Her actions were praiseworthy.
When she killed the six zombies, Artpe stepped forward to tap on the zombies.
“Let’s loot first….”
“No matter how many times I see it, it is fascinating.”
Of course, the loot that came out from the lousy zombies weren’t much better than what the goblins had dropped. The only thing that dropped with greater probability was their long nails, which was seeped with poison. It was a very good weapon for the current Artpe.
“There are three poisoned nails and five copper coins. That should be it. Now you should walk….”
Artpe was instructing Maetel on what to do next, but he shut his mouth. He had naturally activated his Read All Creation, and he had shut his mouth when he saw the information in front of him.
[Level - 4]
Maetel tilted her head in puzzlement. However, Artpe let out a bitter laugh as he shook his head from side to side.
The six zombies were level 5 monsters, but this didn’t mean her level should have grown from level 2 to 4 in one sitting. However, this was normal for her.
‘Heroes are an abnormality. This was especially true for this one in particular if her Innate ability was taken into account… I’m pretty sure that this iteration of the hero will awaken to the same ability.’
A spike of jealousy towards the hero was felt by him, but it disappeared quickly. This hero was on his side now. He spoke once again to the pure and simple girl, who was looking at him with worried eyes.
“Just walk forward.”
Maetel didn’t hesitate. She walked forward. When she reached the exit, the hidden Elite Zombie appeared, and it tried to bite her neck. Artpe threw a Mana-infused dagger. The Elite Zombie stiffened!
Its Stealth ability was down, so Maetel was able to see the bastard. She unhesitatingly swung her sword towards its leg! Of course, this zombie wasn’t called Elite for nothing. There was no way its leg would be cut off with a single blow like the other zombies…..
“It fell off!?”
“I’m really angry right now!”
The next attack severed both legs, and the Elite Zombie fell to the floor!
A level 10 Elite monster usually needed a 3 member party of similar level to take it down. Maetel had been able to neutralize it with just three hits.
“So we have to return to the entrance now, Artpe?”
Maetel took two steps away from the Elite Zombie. She gallantly yelled towards Artpe. Artpe looked at the fierce girl. He scratched his head as he gave a reply.
“No, you can just kill it.”
“I said you can just kill it.”
The hero was much stronger than he had estimated, so his plan had went up in smoke. Artpe tilted his head, and he watched the girl’s sword find the Elite Zombie’s weak spot in an instant. As he watched her repeatedly bring down the sword….
He just decided to laugh it off.