121. Chapter 121
Walm was unofficially baptized as a high-rank adventurer on the 26th floor, which separated the mid-rank and high-rank. As a commemoration, he released a fireball manifested by his mana. It continued to burn even after being released, as if saying it wanted to make the baptism merrier.
It was only a fireball, inferior to the 《Demon Fire》 in terms of range and durability, but it was better in terms of instant firepower. If the fireball hit directly without being affected by defenses or terrain, an ordinary monster would naturally be incapacitated. In fact, one of the monsters Walm had targeted in their encounter was also engulfed in fire and now lay smoldering on the ground.
Nevertheless, the remaining monsters made it through the waves of dancing flames and approached Walm.
The armor was worn without gaps, and the blade of the longsword took on a suspicious glow from the flames. The inside wasn’t human. After all, the head that should have been there was lost.
The name of the opponent this time was… “Dullahan”.
Three Dullahans were the first to greet Walm. Although one of them was destroyed, two of them were still alive and passionately trying to turn the living one, Walm, into their kind.
“No neck? That’s troublesome.”
There were no necks to cut off, which were the weak points of the humanoid monsters, and no skulls to smash. Walm, abandoning restraint, stopped his advance, lowered his arm wide and swung his halberd. The Dullahan’s instinct was sharp enough to judge the 《Strike》 as dangerous, so it quickly slowed and escaped just out of range. Meanwhile, the second Dullahan slid low and thrust its longsword into Walm.
Walm fought him off with his halberd and quickly stabbed with his halberd, but the first Dullahan was too far away to launch a deadly attack. Walm jumped away from the spot and charged toward him. He tried to chase it, but it had regained its balance and thwarted the attack. Really, even though it had no head, it was intelligent enough to make a team attack. Unwise was the right word for this case.
Walm tried to get around the Dullahans, but both kept a really disgusting sense of distance and their movements were mixed with feints.
However, more than anything, if the noise attracted monsters, it would become a dangerous situation. Of course, Walm didn’t want that to happen, and he would not hold back
The Dulahans clearly split into left and right as they closed the gap against Walm, who had kneaded mana and formed a fireball. The goal was probably to avoid the same blow and make Walm hesitate to use magic at close range, but that was a bad move since Walm had a high aptitude for fire attributes. Otherwise, if Walm used 《Demon Fire》, he would be consumed by the blue flames and his body would be burned to the ground. And if that were the case, he might not be here.
The fireball that struck the headless knight’s abdomen exploded, tearing open the sturdy armor and damaging everything inside with the heat. The fire worked wonders against the undead. The headless knight left the battle without even having time to fight back.
The remaining Dullahan, who had gained valuable time and distance from its compatriot’s sacrifice, threw its entire body to Walm. For a human, this would be a move without considering a counterattack to a vital point, but for a Dullahan with no clear vital point, this would be a troublesome move for its opponent.
The tip of the longsword touched the claw-shaped blade of the halberd, and with a high scraping sound of metal, the sword was deflected upward to the left. The crisis wasn’t over yet. A shoulder attack, using the weight of the armor, came at Walm.
Walm stuck out the butt end of the halberd and thrust it against the Dullahan’s shoulder. With a dull crack, Walm held back the attack and suddenly lost his footing. The headless knight’s center of gravity hung forward as it approached, but now it leaned further forward and thus lost its balance.
Naturally, Walm, who wanted to break the Dullahan, did not miss this chance. He hooked the halberd’s claw-like blade into the Dullahan’s knee as he passed through the side, severing the knee as he shifted his center of gravity. The sensation of severing the human’s cruciate ligament and meniscus carried over to the hilt. It felt satisfying.
After losing the pillar of its mobility, the Dullahan turned and swung its longsword, but it was only a futile struggle.
Walm, spinning inexorably behind the Dullahan, swung the halberd he held at the tip. A mana-filled blow diagonally crossed the Dullahan’s shoulder and waist, as well as its armor.
“Still going to move again?”
The halves of the body bounced on the ground several times, and there was a slight resistance, but it did nothing meaningful.
After catching his breath, Walm tried to focus on his sixth sense to search for the enemy. Fortunately, the enemy wasn’t approaching yet.
Just in case, Walm kicked the longsword out of Dullahan’s hand and knelt down. For a while, he hunted for loot.
After putting a few coins, including a silver coin, into the waist bag, Walm said,
“As expected, taking the armor is impossible. Guess the sword is the max, huh?”
The magic bag was packed with collectibles from the floors Walm passed. When he put the sword in, he felt a strange resistance and a sense of revulsion on his skin. Although he was primarily picking up precious metals, magic stones, and valuable items, the storage limit of the magic bag, which was for personal use only, was nearing the limit.
From now on, if Walm found a bulky, valuable item, he could no longer put it in his magic bag without throwing something away. Well, if it was jewelry or coins, it would be different. In any case, Walm couldn’t carry heavy things at his waist or on his back, or the weight would interfere with his movements after all.
The curfew came when Walm picked up the coins that were scattered when the Dullahan was burned. The sound of metal rubbing on the ground reached his ears. There must be a new group of headless knights wandering around the labyrinth.
“It’s a good time to move.”
Fortunately, there was no sign of an enemy nearby yet. But there was no reason for Walm to stay here long, so he quickly left.
As the receptionist had advised him, there were only monsters with annoying characteristics on the 26th floor and on the next floors as well.
Although Walm encountered only 2 monsters this time, they were annoying enough.
A “Poison Worm”, which surface was protected by venom and poisonous needles, and a “Killer Plant” that had tough tentacle-like parts and was said to have high vitality and regeneration power. If there were multiple of them, Walm would have focused on the casting magic that had been preserved until the 25th floor in this dive.
After carefully tasting the value of advance information, Walm was worried that the bracelet he gave as the information fee was too cheap.
“Huff, can’t you just die in silence? What a bad fella.”
The Poison Worm that had turned into a bonfire secreted poison and polluted the air. The concentration was not lethal, but if too much was inhaled into the lungs, symptoms such as vomiting and convulsions could occur. According to the owner of the equipment store, who was the main buyer of Walm’s loot, it could also be used as protective gear against deadly poison if collected and handled properly. Unfortunately, Walm did not have the equipment or skills to help him dissect the body of an insect contaminated with venom and poison needles.
The Killer Plant, on the other hand, was a monster with a troublesome regeneration ability and a tough ivy that would make the Vanguard suffer, but it was a plant-based monster, which meant it was vulnerable to fire. Walm stared spellbound at one of the burned tentacles. There were still numerous thorns on the burnt surface. They stuck in the armor of the humans, tore open the skin, and sucked out the blood. This was the attack method of the blood-sucking killer plant, which was also its way of eating.
Walm pulled out the knife at his hip. He cut the tentacles to a reasonable length while stepping on them with his half-boots and scraping the thorns off with the knife. Then he grabbed the tentacle, held it above his head, and drank the liquid that flowed from the cut surface.
“Just like she said, the sweetness is intense.”
It tasted like sugar cane juice, only a little sweeter and had a higher viscosity. It was one of the best sweets that were ever tasted by Walm, who had no opportunity to enjoy sweets at any time. Of course, there was a great demand for the killer plants, as they could be used as a spice and ingredient in foods that were highly sought after even by the wealthy.
The ferocious liquid on the tip of his tongue permeated Walm’s body and his brain rejoiced at the sweetness. Had he not been in a place where the air was poisoned, he would have savored it slowly.
Walm quickly peeled off another, squeezed as much sweet liquid as he could into the bottle, and tossed the remaining away. The Labyrinth would automatically clean it up after all. There was no need to worry about the after-rot.
After giving himself a sweet little break, Walm looked for a staircase to go lower. The next would be the 29th floor, and if he went down one more floor, he would find a safe room.
While Walm shook off the juices that stuck to his hands, he shifted his mind and paid attention to the surroundings.
As expected, the thought of the safe room, which wasn’t yet visible, would not do anyone any good.
Walm walked through passages and empty rooms for a while. As always, when he entered another small room, he carefully scanned the surroundings. Detecting the presence of wandering monsters was not that hard, as they would come at him, but the insidious killer plant sometimes hid under the rubble or on the ceiling.
Getting tangled in the tentacles would restrict movement and cause the blood to be squeezed out. Sure, Walm liked squeezing the sweetness out of the killer plant, but he wasn’t willing to be the one being squeezed.
Fortunately, the damage in the room was minimal, and there were no gaps to hide in. Walm tried to leave a small room with nothing to see, but he sensed an abnormality in the passage ahead.
“Dullahan……? No, it’s wearing a helmet.”
It was impossible for a headless knight to wear a helmet. Besides, the monster had four arms, two held swords and the other two held shields
After trying to remember the information, Walm spoke the monster’s name.
“Is it, “Doll Slime”?”
A slime that could penetrate armor and dolls and manipulate them at will. It was a monster Walm encountered for the first time, and as expected, firepower was the only effective solution against an unknown opponent.
Walm kneaded his mana and began to form a fireball. The reaction of the Doll Slime in front of the fire was dramatic. With a trembling, half-soft body, the slime screamed with his pseudo-vocal cords and spurted liquid from the holes in his armor.
Walm shot at the fireball anyway, but he soon realized his mistake. The liquid that looked like an attack was a part of the slime, and it moved as if it were gliding on the surface of the water. The liquid-like body reduced friction and allowed fast movements
The Doll Slime jumped into Walm with an initial speed and angle that no normal human could do.
Walm greeted it by shaking off the halberd, only to be paired with two round shields. In the end, only one shield broke. The Doll Slime that had closed the gap simultaneously released short swords left and right. Walm saw through the first slash and dodged the second by turning his upper body, but the Doll Slime’s elbow changed its trajectory in exactly the opposite direction.
Although the Doll Slime was wearing armor, it was soft on the inside. It allowed the sword to approach Walm at an angle that should have been impossible. At least based on his experience.
Walm was struck by the hilt of the sword, but it was strong enough to cause blood to seep from his cheek. He quickly suppressed the bleeding with a magical barrier. And for some reason this fight amused him
The joints of the Doll Slime were incomparably flexible. But the exoskeleton, the so-called armor, stood in the way of this protean ability
And even if Walm couldn’t kill the Doll slime at first sight, his eyes would get used to its movements, even if he didn’t like them. When the sword and halberd crossed, he cut off its arm and let the short sword roll to the ground.
Even the round shield could be of no help in defending against the second 《Strike》. The only remaining short sword was also entwined with the claw-shaped blade of the halberd and sent to the ground.
The Doll Slime, having lost its countermeasures, spat its tentacles out of the cracks in the armor and grabbed Walm.
“Are you sure?”
The Doll Slime tried to suffocate Walm, but it was no more than a futile effort. The fireball that immediately formed was insufficiently kneaded and originally only a false threat, but it was an unbearable blow to the slime that oozed from the armor that was the outer shell.
The dying Doll Slime locked itself in the armor and tried to make a final resistance, but Walm, who was in close proximity, poured flames from the cross-section of its cut arm.
The vibration of the soft body and the metallic sound of the armor rubbing against each other became death throes, and the Doll Slime was finally unable to maintain its form. Its semi-soft body turned completely into liquid and formed new stains on the Labyrinth.
“That was another troublesome fella.”
Compared to the other three, the number was small. Although the chance of encountering the Doll Slime was small, it wasn’t a mutant or a rare species. But given the difficulty of dealing with it, even a complaint would be forgivable right? So Walm spat out a curse.
Then it was time to evaluate the spoils.
The value of the equipment damaged by 《Strike》wasn’t that high. So he just wanted to check if the Doll Slime had dropped something valuable.
When Walm examined the inside of the armor with his hand, which was supposed to be hollow, he felt a foreign substance inside. To be precise, it was when he examined the arm armor. When he shook it, a small magic stone came out of the gap.
Magic stone was said to have many uses, such as a catalyst and a lamp, and if it were sold, it would cost about five silver coins.
Without thinking further, Walm put the magic stone into the magic bag, which was soon full, and continued his exploration of the labyrinth.
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