Chapter 9 - Growth of the Heroes (1)
[Magic can’t hurt m……. Koohk!?]
It suffered under his magic before, yet it was replying with the same idiotic answer! Of course, Artpe wouldn’t directly apply his Magic on a Skeleton, who was twice his level!
The Magic appeared as if it had been pushed out from the confines of Artpe’s body, and he focused on one of the daggers embedded in the Skeleton Warrior. He focused on the blade embedded within the elbow joint of the arm holding the shield. The Hyper Rubbing was focused on the blade, and it was causing enormous friction! Artpe worried the other blades would fall out from the vibration caused by the intense rubbing, so he had to concentrate his power.
[A mere trick was able to damage…..]
“I can’t hear you. That trick broke your wide forehead. Why don’t you speak a little bit louder!”
The Skeleton Warrior reacted in a violent manner, and it started to move. Finally, Artpe got the reaction he wanted. The elbow joint had received an incredible amount of stimuli from the rubbing, and when the force of the violent movement was added to the mix, the bones started to let out an ominous sound.
A crunch was heard, and the arm was bent backwards in an odd angle!
[I’m a Skeleton! A mere broken bone won’t….. Koohk!?]
“You keep following the same pattern in becoming surprised. Aren’t you tired of it?”
This was beyond the frictional force that arose from the dagger. The Skeleton Warrior used an enormous amount of power to move its arm. In the end, it exceeded the threshold of abuse that could be taken by the joint. The joint was completely destroyed as the heavy shield and the arm holding it fell to the Dungeon’s hallway!
“You are amazing, Artpe!”
“Give me more compliments!”
“Amazing! You are really incredible!”
He never suspected the Hyper Rubbing could be used to cause damage to a monster! The fact that it could cause incredible amount of friction was no joke. He had manifested the magic by using the weapon as a medium, and the Skeleton Warrior was unable to resist against the attacking using Mana Resistance. Artpe had been able to attack using friction!
He had learned Hyper Rubbing not too long ago, so he wasn’t proficient at using the spell. This was why it took so long to achieve the desired effect. However, if he became adept at using this Magic later on, he would be able to achieve ludicrous results!
“Of course, I would achieve better results much faster if I learned other spells during that time!”
Artpe grumbled as he once again focused his Hyper Rubbing on a specific target He got rid of the shield, so it was time to destroy the arm holding the sword! He was running a bit short on Mana, but if he was able to destroy both arms, he was confident they could win against it. Artpe didn’t hold back as he used all his reserve power to command his magic.
As expected, the Skeleton Warrior realized what Artpe was trying to do, but it couldn’t retreat. The rage that was blanketing its body refused to fade away. What should it do? What will allow it to kill the shitty little brat?
The Skeleton Warrior thought hard about its situation. After it agonized over its options, it came up with a single answer. It had watched the little brat do it over and over again. The Skeleton Warrior thought it could somewhat replicate what the brat did.
“Yes, you are doing well. You should move that arm more…. ”
Artpe had been focused on using the Hyper Rubbing spell. The Skeleton Warrior put all its anger into its roar. At the same time, Maetel moved to knock Artpe out of the way.
[Koo-ahhhhhhhh! Damn humans! Damn humaaaaaaans!]
Accompanying the explosive sound, a large sword was embedded into the stairway of the Dungeon’s entrance. It was none other than the Skeleton Warrior’s bastard sword.
Maetel let out a moan. The Skeleton Warrior had thrown the bastard sword with all its might. The sword had grazed her back. Her armor had been completely ripped into pieces, and to make matters worse, it left behind a wound on her back.
“Damn it, Maetel! Maetel!”
He never expected an enemy without the Throw skill to throw its bastard sword towards him! He had put his complete trust in his Read All Creation ability. His error in judgment had almost cost him his life.
He had shown a carelessness that was befitting his title as the weakest of the Four Heavenly Kings! If Maetel had been a bit late, Artpe would have lost his life.
“Let me see your wound. Hurry!”
Artpe blamed his stupidity as he looked at Maetel’s wound. A well-placed wound on the back could hamper one’s movement. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. If she leveled up couple times alongside regular rest, her body would be back to a pristine state. It seemed Maetel was also aware of this fact, so her face wasn’t clouded at all. She had a bright smile on her face.
“I’m alright, Artpe…. I’m just glad Artpe isn’t hurt.”
When Artpe realized Maetel hadn’t been hurt too badly, he truly felt relieved, and he also felt a weird feeling.
If she died, it would deal a very big blow to his dream of living a peaceful life. However, the feeling he had felt was caused by something else….. He must be mistaken. Artpe shook such dumb thoughts away as he raised his head.
He saw the Skeleton Warrior in front of him. It had gone berserk from the Rage type Buff. Its white bones had turned completely red.
The arm holding the shield was on the ground, and the other arm had also fallen off when it couldn’t withstand the shock. The bastard raged as it threw its body forward, but there was an invisible wall blocking it. It blocked its forward progress no matter how it tried to charge forward.
“Can you move, Maetel?”
If Maetel wasn’t injured, he would have finished off the Skeleton Warrior. However, the top priority right now was to level her up, so she could recover. Of course, Artpe had done most of the work, so not much EXP would go to Maetel. However, this EXP was from killing a very strong opponent. A smaller portion of the EXP would still be enough to level her up!
“Hoo-ooh, hoo-ooh….. All right. I’ll do it.”
Maetel was breathing roughly as she got up. She was about to pull out her rusted sword, but her gaze headed backwards as she looked towards the bastard sword embedded in the stairway. She hesitated before she approached the bastard sword. She extracted it with both hands.
It was made out of heavy metal, and magical energy had been used to manufacture the sword. It was a very heavy sword. However, she swung it easily.
“I’m sorry. I can’t beat you in a fair fight. However, I’m able to kill you now, so I will kill you.”
She had taken the enemy’s weapon, yet she had taken complete possession of the weapon from just swinging it once or twice. Maetel glared at the Skeleton Warrior as she spoke. It was almost as if she was chanting her words.
“I’ll win and kill anyone to protect Artpe. Because I’m….”
She pulled the hilt of the sword towards her chest. She kept a firm grip as she slightly bent her knees. She leaned her upper body forward.
The Skeleton Warrior raised its leg slightly to face her. Maetel used the burning pain from her back as the starting signal. She kicked off the ground.
“Because I’m! I’m the hero!”
As she let out a short shout, the sword split the air. Her sword struck at the exact spot where Artpe’s dagger was embedded in its skull. The sword cut through the skull, and she broke all its ribs.
If the Skeleton Warrior was in its normal state, it could have resisted against her attack. However, the strike was too much for the current Skeleton Warrior. After its body was broken by the sword, it twitched as if it wanted to fight back. However, the Skeleton Warrior came to a complete stop.
[Gooh, ah ah…. Ah, ah. I...is...is that so?]
Surprisingly, the bisected Skeleton started to say something.
[The will within the unshakable blade has awoken me up from my haze…..]
[That’s right, young heroes. Those who run away and never come back are called cowards. However, the ones that come back to win in the end are heroes. You win by fair means or foul. You have carried on your conviction to protect. With my demise, I will open the entrance that will lead to the glory of the heroes.]
“What the hell is the Skeleton saying…..?”
Artpe was flustered as he asked the question, but the Skeleton Warrior no longer opened its mouth. The magical energy from its body drained out as it entered Artpe and Maetel. Their magical energy increased, and the EXP was distributed. The battle was over.
“Hey, wait a moment. If you have something to say to us then you should talk more….. Shit.”
Artpe urgently stood up, and he tried to look at the Skeleton Warrior with his Read All Creation ability. At that moment, its body eroded away. It left behind the cracked large steel shield, Red Bone gauntlet, and several bones that refused to erode away. These bones had too much Magical energy to immediately erode away.
However, the truly surprising event started afterwards. When the Skeleton Warrior was completely gone, the Dungeon started to shake in a fierce manner. After killing the Skeleton Warrior, Maetel had slowly relaxed, but now her eyes were round as she ran towards Artpe.
“Artpe. The Dungeon is…..!”
“Wait a moment. It isn’t collapsing. There are times when a Dungeon goes through a change when one fulfills a specific condition. So right now it….”
He would just be beating a dead horse by repeating the fact that the Dungeon was hiding something. Maybe, this Dungeon might be beyond Artpe’s expectation. Something enormous might lie inside the Dungeon.
If so, what should he do? Should they back out? Or should they move forward, while accepting the risk? If he hadn’t seen Maetel get injured, he wouldn’t have hesitated. He would have advanced, but Artpe couldn’t do that any more.
“Let’s go, Artpe.”
At that moment, Maetel realized he was hesitating, so she spoke to him.
“I want to become stronger. If there comes a time when we have to run away, we’ll run away and win later. However, if possible, I want to win without running away.”
“That is why I want to become stronger.”
Was this really words spoken by a 12 year old girl? Artpe shut his mouth from amazement, but he firmed his resolve when he saw the the unshakable light within Maetel’s eyes.
Currently, she wasn’t repeating words she had heard from someone else. She wasn’t just spouting words in a childish fit. Her experience within the Dungeon had been short, but a lot had happened during that time. It seemed she had found some purpose, and she wanted to put it into practice.
This was the change that Artpe had wanted to see within her.
“.....yes, let’s go. No matter what shows up, we'll defeat it. Let bring out everything we can gain from inside the Dungeon.”
The Read All Creation ability wasn’t perfect, but it was a power that was closest to perfection. If he combined his ability with Maetel’s almost cheat-like talent, they were a perfect pair. They had been perfect a moment ago, and they will be perfect in the future. There was no reason why they shouldn’t go forward.
His confidence was baseless, but he was aware of this fact. Artpe didn’t hesitate. He roughly mussed up Maetel’s hair. She wasn’t showing any signs of feeling pain from her wound. Artpe once again nodded his head then he spoke.
“Before we do that, let’s collect our loot.”
The reward was more important than the battle! The heroes were growing splendidly in terms of materialistic possessions.