118. Chapter 118 – Trimagitack
Walking through the stone pavement passages, which had deteriorated through time and battles, the stone materials flanked off the walls and ceilings clearly impeded walking. Walm carefully avoided debris and looked for a place to put his feet, but there was no way to avoid small pieces like pebbles. The pebbles cracked with a sound that came from the half-boots. No one would even notice it if it were in the hustle and bustle of the surface. Here, in the labyrinth, it was different, especially from the 16th floor, which was considered by many as the beginning of the mid-rank floors.
If some party was engaged in a battle or busily dismantling monsters, one could detect it by hearing and smelling. Nevertheless, it was extremely quiet here. This was because the challengers were thoroughly silent, so as not to give away their existence by making noise. After all, they wanted to avoid surprise attacks and make a preemptive strike whenever possible. So, it was important to know how to detect the opponent’s movements and quickly move to attack.
“To keep moving here, so brave huh?”
The answer Walm received was, the sound of crushed pebbles and air leaking out of the gap.
A long, slender tongue reminiscent of a reptile was extended from the mouth, which was adorned with sharp “fangs”. Despite walking on two legs and having the same number of limbs as a human, its shape didn’t resemble a human’s. Tus alone was enough for Walm to grasp the identity of the brave attacker.
It was a group of lizardmen, a monster with the intelligence to manipulate weapons skillfully enough to not be underestimated. Its eyes, which looked emotionless, stared at Walm.
Grabbing the handle, Walm raised his halberd and welcomed the guest.
Without a whistle to announce the start, the battle began abruptly. Three lizardmen charged toward Walm. The vanguard lizardman was carrying an old round shield and a dirty saber, followed by one with a spear and another with a mace.
Walm shook his body left and right so that his aim couldn’t be read. With his halberd raised on the upper left, he leaped toward the lizard, which approached in a straight line without being unconcerned. The lizardman tried to defend itself with a round shield against the halberd approaching from above, but the shield with insufficient durability was shattered without being able to prevent the attack.
The broken pieces of wood and the leaking blood from the cut elbow were coloring the air. Despite the injuries, its cold eyes still locked on Walm. Clearly, its fighting spirit hadn’t yet weakened. On the contrary, it had prepared the saber for a counterattack.
Seeing the saber being raised with the left hand, Walm pulled back while turning the handle with his palm. When the claw-shaped branch blade of the halberd caught the raised hand, he slid it along the blade. In this way, he cut off half of the lizardman’s remaining wrist.
The lizardman, having lost both hands, opened its mouth and tried to pierce Walm with the remaining weapon, the fang. Unfortunately, Walm had foreseen this futile struggle and so he quickly slashed the halberd from the bottom up, slashing the head from the lower jaw.
The exchange of blows with the lizardman who had taken the lead ended, and the two remaining lizardmen went to attack Walm.
Walm avoided the spear thrust by moving his upper body. And did the same with the following thrust. Then, he kicked the ground and escaped the mace that was about to bore into his torso.
The spear-wielding lizardman tried to catch Walm, but it was blocked by the body of a compatriot mace-wielding lizardman, who had stepped in due to the short distance of the mace, and thus failed to reach him.
To prevent Walm from going around as he pleased, the lizardman with mace tried to hit him with its tails, which were thicker than its arms, but he had already experienced this in the defense line around Danndurg Castle.
“All is the same, when in trouble, it’ll wag its tail or bite.”
Walm saw off the tail that would have hit the side of the head in front of him.
On the other hand, having to move its tail made the lizardman’s movements even easier to read. The lizardman, which hesitatingly exposed its back to the Walm, dropped its head to the ground without long.
The last lizardman, having lost an obstacle and a brethren at the same time, dared not hesitate to thrust the spear. Walm accepted the invitation and thrust with his halberd. After the halberd and the spear passed, he turned the handle, so that the lizardman’s head got in between the spearhead and the axe blade. Just like that, the head was severed.
When the rolling head came to rest, silence fell again in the labyrinth.
Walm immediately looked at the surroundings, but the only change was that the floor was artistically dyed with fresh blood and three lizards.
After seeing the art, Walm picked up the saber and checked the quality.
“It’s not bad… At least it’s made from iron.”
It was hard to say that it was of good quality, but if it was resharpened it could be used as a weapon, or it could be melted and made into another weapon. If he were to complain to the predecessor owner, the lizardman, it would be that the saber didn’t have a scabbard.
Walm put his wrist into the magic bag and pulled out a cloth, getting goosebumps from the sensation that he couldn’t get used to even after using it many times. Anyway, he always carried extra cloth material, because there were many uses for it. Then he turned the saber over, wrapped it in the cloth, tied it up, and put it in the magic bag.
Next, he picked up the mace. The handle was about the length of the shoulder to the wrist, and the shape of the mace head had five radial flanges. Its destructive power was one step less than that of the round-headed mace, but it was distinguished by greater striking power and lighter weight.
“This one is… quite good.”
While carrying the halberd on his shoulder, Walm tested how comfortable it was to swing the mace with his free hand. A hit with such a mace could reach the abdomen even through armor, which meant it could make the opponent spit out stomach acid and oxygen, and also slowed down its actions momentarily. It was a familiar weapon used on the battlefield. If poor swords collided head-on, the blade would flake off and could result in the death of the wilder.
After checking out the feel and quality of the mace, Walm held the halberd with his arm and wrapped it in a cloth.
At that moment, he faintly heard pebbles on the ground being rubbed.
As expected, Walm reacted very sharply. He jumped away and prepared his stance
A blade and long tail filled the rapidly expanding field of vision.
The creature that surprised Walm was a lamia, a monster whose upper body looked like a female human and the lower body was that of a snake. It must’ve been waiting in the rubble for an opportunity. And when it saw an opening, it threw away its camouflage and screeched as if it wanted to shatter glass.
Deftly, the lamia tried to slit Walm’s throat with the short swords in both hands.
Walm had let go of the halberd and the lamia was already close enough. If he used one of his cards, he would have been in control. But he decided to use the mace.
The blow with the mace on the right wrist was remarkably effective. Like a broken onion, the fingers were cracked, and the short sword flew away as it lost its grip.
The remaining short sword aimed horizontally at Walm’s neck.
Walm quickly rolled up and slid forward to avoid the blow, colliding with the lamia without losing momentum. Although it was a female, by human standards it corresponded to a large, muscular woman. In addition, the center of gravity of the body was on the lower body. Therefore, the upper body was only slightly bent backwards after the impact.
The right arm, which had lost its function, stretched to catch Walm. Even if he wanted a handshake, he didn’t. So he rejected it with a palm strike. At the same time, the tail came at him from the side, but he avoided it by dodging to the other side
The lamia tried to slash Walm with a twist of the torso, but he was faster in slamming his mace.
The mace, which took most of its weight in a lump of metal called a flanged head, brought the destruction to the level Walm wanted. The blow struck between the nose and eyebrows, crushing the nasal bones and eye sockets. While shaking the brain, the blow took away two of the five senses. Among the persistent monsters, the lamia was said to have the life force of a snake. And such a monster had temporarily revealed its defenseless appearance.
Unfortunately, Walm, who survived the war and had long since lost the soul of benevolence and animal welfare, was merciless.
The mace arced and picked up the head of the collapsing Lamia. A reddish-brown bloom of viscous liquid and bone splinters was in the air. It happened in an instant before it turned into brand new stains on walls and ceilings.
“Right, it’s not bad after all”
Walm rotated the mace around his wrist, hitting the air. Even with this rough handling, there was no chipping or deformation.
Walm, who usually used a halberd, was by no means cheating. In a labyrinth where violence was supreme, who could object to simple and quick problem-solving with a mace? At least Walm didn’t.
Walm, pushing aside the door of the safe room on 20th floor, which was considered the entrance to the middle-rank floors, was fed up with the curious looks directed at him every time someone saw him.
With the exception of Walm, most parties here consisted of five members, and even parties of four were rare. In such a situation, it was inevitable that Walm, who continued to dive alone, would look like an oddball. Still, it wasn’t pleasant to be regarded as a weirdo.
It would be even stranger, however, if a mind plagued by fatigue, lack of sleep, and tension felt comfortable in such a situation. The “critique session”, with every single gaze directed at Walm, finally came to an end when he moved his muddy eyes.
Walm sat down and leaned his back against the wall. The cold floors and walls cooled his heated body.
Then, Walm took the food out of the magic bag in his cloak and began to eat while hiding it. In any case, it was bad manners, but it was a relief that this wasn’t a restaurant that cared about etiquette.
Bit cheaply salted orc meat and the hard-baked black bread, and chewed them repeatedly before swallowing it down, so that it lasted a long time. Drank water in between, but the overwrought caused by diving the labyrinth for a long time didn’t recover.
Walm once again glanced around the room with only his eyes. Five or six parties were resting at a distance, and among them were those who were relatively relaxed, busily exchanging information and carrying on conversations. Armor covered their bodies without any gaps, and their weapons were also varied. They couldn’t be compared with the inferior equipment of those who dived mainly on the low-rank floors. Considering the number of people and the equipment they wore, it reminded Walm of the pre-battle he had experienced in the past.
Kneeling down on one knee and holding a weapon in his hand, Walm kept falling asleep for a short moment repeatedly. Even if he couldn’t sleep well, at least he let his body rest. It was a habit he had picked up in his military life. Several parties repeatedly entered and exited, but fortunately, no one approached Walm.
When the door opened for the fifth or sixth time and a party entered the safe room, the demon mask that was put in the waist bag started to move. Walm wasn’t happy with it, but he was able to vaguely understand what the mask meant from the frequency and sound of the vibration.
The way the mask vibrated meant that it was showing interest. How rare.
Walm slightly opened his heavy eyelids and saw a four-person party. In the labyrinth, adventurers weren’t that rare, but the adventurer at the lead of this party was, well, colorful. To put it badly, the color of the equipment wasn’t gentle to the eyes. The armor had a peculiar sheen of mithril, and the longsword that hung at the hip was set with a tricolor gemstone and silver works. The hair was bright green, and the eyes were red and blue. In short, very greedy.
If all the party members who followed were like that, it would be like a circus troupe running around providing free entertainment and Walm would have laughed. One of the adventurers following from behind, however, had a robust appearance that thoroughly blanked out anything unnecessary. It reminded Walm of minimalism, but perhaps it was a warrior monk in training. The other two appeared to be an archer and a rod-wielder. Given their demeanor and equipment, Walm pondered their formation.
…I guess, two front guards and two rear guards.
Then, the eyes of the colorful adventurer and Walm met. Even in a labyrinth that could hardly be called bright, the light in the eyes of the adventurer didn’t disappear and possessed a depth that would captivate anyone.
What a complete opposite to Walm’s dark and muddy eyes.
Such a gaze encounter was broken off by the adventurer. The party continued their way, walking to the next floor
There, Walm suddenly noticed. The party members showed no signs of fatigue, and they didn’t even have dirt on them. To reach this point, Walm who had dived in, was well aware of how many monsters they had to face, and how much flesh and blood flew around. Even the word “extraordinary abilities.”, would be too cliché to give to them.
“No break huh?”
In the end, the four-person party stepped into the next floor without resting, as if they were going for another walk.
After a brief silence, the adventurers began to speak in a voice that was half amazed, half envious.
“Yeah, right, the “Trimagitack” doesn’t need a break.”
“It’s like they’re going to another low-rank floor, isn’t it? Well, no wonder, they’re expected to be the next conquerors.”
“Their party is still four people, right? I don’t mind being a porter. Just invite me to the party, please…”
“Haha, you’re kidding. You won’t even be able to properly play the role of a porter for a party like that. Besides, that party has a magic bag. Why do they need to go out of their way to get a porter?”
“Even if they need one, I’m sure only those who had managed to dive into the 30th floor and above will be selected. But well, those guys have strong combat habits and need to be fixed if join a party.”
Even Walm, who had only recently visited the Labyrinth City, knew the name of the party. The one they said to be closest to becoming the conqueror, and originated from the Belgana, the Labyrinth City. For them, it would be difficult to look as if they were struggling to reach here. Still, even those people who were carrying the expectations of the Labyrinth City hadn’t yet reached the deepest floor.
The miraculous treasure lay deep in the labyrinth. Even Walm’s fingertips hadn’t yet been within the reach. If he wanted to get this miracle, the corpses he piled up so far wouldn’t suffice. Since they weren’t enough, there was no choice but to pile up more. As quickly as possible.
Walm naturally put strength into his hand that held the halberd. And after repeating slow breathing and calming his rising heartbeat and frustration, he fell into a light sleep again.
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