Arcadia's Labyrinth - Chapter 18
Warning: Depictions of cruelty.
“Great, Elise! Now back me up!”
Two days after we met Elise’s father, we were back fighting in the Labyrinth. This time on the 3rd floor.
Last night, due to our exhaustion after sex, we stopped at this floor’s entrance and camped.
Then, waking up at dawn, we earnestly started clearing it.
Right now, we were in the room right before the Boss, fighting Goblins.
Although we could instantly kill the likes of Goblins, I purposefully held back, prolonging the fight.
The reason I did so was because of the appreciation I gained for their tactics.
Previously when I had dived into the [Goblin Kingdom], I had been overwhelmed and killed by the enemy’s numbers, even though they should have been vastly inferior to me in terms of ability.
As a race, the Goblins strength is supposed at the lowest level, yet my HP was slowly whittled down by their unending attacks.
What I had encountered then was, without a mistake, their tactics and strategy.
It led me to re-evaluate the intelligence of Goblins that humanity, including myself, had looked down upon all this time.
Goblins aren’t smart. That is common sense.
In fact, monsters exist not only in Labyrinths but also outside of them, and the Goblins living near my village were famous for dying to traps any child could think of and make.
In this world, Goblins are killed by children as easily and often as frogs or other small animals in the other.
However, if the children of my village tried to capture the Goblins of a Labyrinth with such a trap, they would surely fall victim to them instead.
That is how much of a gap of ability exists between the Goblins inside and outside the Labyrinths.
Whether that is because the Labyrinth enhances the Goblins inside or because those outside have degenerated over the generations…no one knows.
And the only thing of importance to me was that by confronting the Goblins here, I could gather experience of fighting against beings that understood tactics and develop appropriate counter-measures.
This was also extremely important for Elise, who only had no experience fighting people.
After all, the worst enemy of humanity is other humans. And this enemy is of the worst type appearing inside and outside of Labyrinths with all sorts of abilities.
Therefore, even if we had to lose some time here, it was only prudent to proceed after stacking up some experience.
I believe this training will also come to use in fighting against demons.
“With this, it’s over! Fireball!”
A fireball fired from Elise’s wand erased the last Goblin’s head.
Unlike the watermelon-sized ones before, this one was only as big as a baseball, but it seemed two or three times faster.
“Good! You’ve become great at modifying fireballs!”
Elise laughed, delighted at my empty praise.
The fireballs just now was an altered version of the spell.
Depending on one’s Will, Magic can be modified in a variety of ways.
Boosting the damage by increasing MP consumption, altering the size while maintaining the amount MP needed to cast, or increasing the size and speed at the expense of power, are just a few of the ways to do so.
However, each spell has its own upper limit, and no matter how much MP you put into a fireball, it won’t become the strongest magic.
There is a fixed amount of capacity a spell has in which it can be altered. This capacity also determines the spell’s grade.
As this knowledge doesn’t exist inside the game, only residents of this world could know about it.
Know-how like this is usually taught at specific schools that not only teach about magic but all kinds of adventurer related subjects.
Of course, the entrance fee is so high it makes one’s eyes pop out (although I could afford it now), but the social-status gained after graduation approaches that of nobles, making it worth it.
…Well, that’s also the reason they have been transformed into gathering places for aristocrats lately, so commoners like me have a hard time there.
I also heard rumors that the quality of graduates is decreasing year after year, so some might be shutting down soon.
…But that’s off-topic.
The reason why Elise could modify magic like she studied it, is, of course, due to her way too high Will.
Students at these academies have to substitute their lack of Will with loads of magical knowledge, but Elise can to it as easily as moving her arm.
The point is that humans need theoretical and repetitive practice to swim faster, but fish do not.
Although Elise doesn’t have any knowledge of magic and can only activate it with the help of a magic tool for now, as soon as she learns some magic on her own, she would quickly climb the stairs to Great Mage.
And next to her will stand her mentor, I, the Hero.
The best possible future.
“Now then, shall we go into the Boss room?”
The Boss here is the Goblin leader and his entourage. It has almost the same configuration as the Kobolt leader but is much more troublesome, even if their battle prowess is about the same.
However, that too will become good experience.
On top of that, it was about time Elise’s Level hit LV5. Defeating the Boss should give the last nudge needed.
Elise’s unique skill, <<Love’s Cradle>>, is a skill that completely recovers the HP, MP, and status abnormalities of her sex partner. Initially, she can only use it once a day, and if she uses it will consume 10% of her HP and MP, but it is a wonderful skill even with those disadvantages.
(TN: Bit of a weird jump, but he means if she LVUP’s she’d be able to use the skill more)
And more importantly, I wanted to know how sex while using a Skill is different from normal.
While I was thinking about such things, we encountered a bunch of dismembered corpses on our way to the Boss room.
I unconsciously let out a grunt. Elise also had to kill her scream by covering her mouth.
I visually inspected the corpses quickly.
The ones killed should have been newby-adventurers. A Party of three men and one woman.
Maybe raped before she was killed, the woman was naked and had a hollow look on her face. The cause of death was a cut that spanned from her chest to her abdomen. Her internal organs had most likely been extracted.
All four of the men had their limbs amputated. Their faces were contorted into terrifying expressions, and their composition suggests that they had been crippled and then shown the woman being raped and killed.
An act of extreme insidiousness and cruelty. I only knew of three groups that would do something like this.
The first are bandits.
The second, cultists.
In my opinion, the most likely suspects would be in order: Demons, cultists, and then serial-killers or bandits.
The least likely are bandits since the victim’s equipment hadn’t been taken away.
Cultists are in second place because I felt that there was a strong message to the removal of the organs. I have heard that religious groups worshipping the Devil perform rituals with people that have died in agony as sacrifices hoping to be received as demons.
In fact, there are records that even demons themselves perform such rituals.
Apparently, the Devil is most pleased with tormented souls, so demons try to torture their victims as much as possible before they use them as offerings.
In other words, it’s most likely that a Devil worshipper or a demon did this, and I knew for a fact that there was one of these in this Labyrinth.
What this meant was――
The slash I unleashed with all my might while turning, reflected someone unknowns surprise attack.
It was a close call. I only was able to counter the enemy’s attack by leaving my body to my intuition, no, reflexes.
However, his slash was too heavy. I was blown away, my body rolling on the ground. Although I immediately recovered my stance, it was a deadly opportunity.
For a moment, I was prepared to die, but unexpectedly the was no follow-up.
While feeling a sense of discomfort, I was finally able to see the identity of the enemy.
“Ho~u, you were able to prevent that. I see, your Status seems to be quite high.”
The enemy, Oriole, said while laughing heartily.
At first glance, Oriole only seemed like a normal red-haired man. However, his golden glittering eyes, the pair of black horns, and above all, the atmosphere intimidating one by just looking at him, told me that he is an enemy of humanity.
Shit! Why is the demon here?! Shouldn’t he come out after we defeated the Boss on the 10th floor!!!
…No, calm down. Right, that’s only in the game. This is reality, so it’s not strange for Oriole to appear even on the lower floors.
In the game, the time and place for the encounter is decided, but reality isn’t that convenient.
The two important clues are: “The demon awakens on the 3rd floor.” and “He is weakened, so he heals his wounds by killing newbies.”
In that case, it’s not strange for him to be walking around everywhere in search of sacrifices.
Just as Elise became my slave without aphasia, the information on the walkthrough site is nothing more than a guide.
As I was calming my inner turmoil, the demon stared at us as if he was appraising goods.
“Fufu, if I can hunt souls as strong as yours, my wounds will heal by leaps and bounds, and even the honorable Devil’s resurrection will be one step closer. Especially…”
(TN: Devil-sama sounds really strange, so I changed it to “honorable Devil” for now. Might change in the future.)
With a slight smile, Oriole pointed at Elise.
“You, women over there. You have received some god’s blessing, haven’t you?”
…I have a bad feeling.
“A god’s blessing? What are you talking about?”
When I said so with gritted teeth, the demon snorted, bored.
“You can’t fool my eyes. For those who can see, it’s obvious that one has received some kind of blessing.”
The demon said and took out a black great-sword out of nowhere.
“A talent even entering a god’s eye. I will hunt it no matter what.”
And like this, the unexpected fight with the demon began.
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