Chapter 48. Hermes (3)
The moment I shouted out with spirit, the crosses nearby trembled and then shot up. As I thought, they were graves. What popped out from them were, of course, zombies. As if to show that they were different from the 23rd floor zombies, their corpse bodies were much more intact. They even carried swords and shields, or bows and arrows.
Zombie warriors. Unlike zombies that were born from corpses imbued with mana, the zombie warriors were said to be born in large numbers when the night’s magic power seeped into the corpses of low-class soldiers left on battlefields after large-scale battles.
They were known to always appear in large numbers, and they would sometimes turn the people they killed into zombies, adding to their zombie army.
However, there weren’t that many zombie warriors in front of me. They were likely poor souls who were forced to fight when they were alive and could not rest even after they died.
I gulped down a mouthful of saliva as I watched them slowly getting up with their weapons and rolling their eyes in their decayed eye sockets.
When I lightly attacked with my spear, the zombie warriors exploded into pieces and scattered.
They were extremely weak.
“So it still works.”
[It’s because Master is strong!]
Although they were stronger than normal zombies, I was strengthened by all sorts of elixirs and even had the level 4 high-rank spear technique. It was slightly embarrassing to say with my own mouth, but I was in a completely different league than normal explorers on the 24th floor.
It seemed that even after hearing I had cleared 21st through 23rd floor in 5 hours, Loretta did not know me well. My overwhelming superiority would not change just because zombies were upgraded to zombie warriors or because ghouls appeared.
“Guooo! Human, living, breathing human!”
“Hot blood, soft skin! Human!”
More zombie warriors got up from their graves. At the same time, I saw ghouls trying to ambush me by shooting out of the gaps in the dungeon’s walls. They were certainly faster than the zombies, had tougher bodies, and had claws that gleamed threateningly.
Moreover, their eyes clearly showed signs of intelligence. That said, they only seemed to think about devouring me.
“Come, you ghoul bastards! I’ll return you to your graves!”
Previously, as I heard Loretta’s words, this was what I thought. Even if they were fast, could they be faster than ratmen? Even if they were strong, how much stronger could they be compared to the lizardmen? As for their claws containing neurotoxin, I could just avoid them. Even if I were hit, I wouldn’t be poisoned unless they could break through my helmet and armor.
Of course, because Loretta warned me about them so much, I decided to come to a conclusion after fighting them first.
They were slightly faster than ratmen. However, my physical ability was completely different than when I fought the ratmen. I could see the ghouls’ movements clearly.
If I wanted to dodge them, I could do so with ease. However, if I faced many of them at once, I was bound to be hit by one or two attacks. In that case, knowing how strong their attacks were would help me clear the 24th floor more easily.
Thinking all this in the short instant that the ghouls were coming toward me, I stood in the trajectory of its claws. Bracing myself for impact, I prepared to counterattack.
However, the moment their claws hit my armor, an absurdity I never expected happened.
“Ghoul, claw broke! Ghoul hurt!”
“Ghoul claw hurt!”
“Ghoul weak! Super weak!”
I had not even used Dragon Skin, but the ghouls’ claws broke upon hitting my armor, and they ran away with pained faces. Why did this happen, again? Oh, right! I had heard that if my defense was overwhelmingly higher than their attack, the weapons of the attacking enemies would break.
Defense was calculated using HP, constitution, equipment, and how much mana you used to strengthen your body. With high-rank martial arts, my body was further strengthened, which then affected my defense as well.
“Ghoul return. Ghoul hurt!”
“Ghoul call stronger ghoul! Strong ghoul take revenge!”
“Can you guys stop crying like little kids!? And don’t talk like you’re calling your older brother after being hit by the local delinquent!”
As I was wearing the Dark Ratman’s Leather Armor set until the 20th floor, my defense wasn’t all that high. Now that I was wearing the Lizard Knight Set and had increased my constitution, normal monsters couldn’t pierce through my defense anymore. As I had never let myself be hit by the zombies, it was only now that I found out. Even if I did let the zombies hit me, I wouldn’t have thought that even the 24th floor’s ghouls couldn’t do any damage…
After realizing all this, I stood still and blankly stared into the sky. Meanwhile, the injured ghouls (except the one that went to call his… brother) were devouring nearby zombies while complaining about how much pain they were in. Once they finished, they attacked me again, broke their claws, and went back to eating zombies…
“Eat zombie, recover!”
“Ghoul attack! Ghoul hurt!”
“Ghoul claw hurt!”
“Ghoul go back!”
What did they call this? Macro? Looking at the ghouls sprawled around me with disappointed eyes, I held up my Black Earthen Spear and aimed at them. Although I was starting to like the way they talked, I didn’t need to hesitate now that I knew how weak they were.
“Peika, take as much mana as you need and open a way in front of me. I’m going to run.”
[Okay, Master! I like running too!]
Under my permission, Peika, who started to freely take my mana, shone with a radiant light. Soon, sparks flickers from her body. She then charged forward, burning every zombie and ghoul in her path to crisp. The zombies were, of course, killed instantly, and the ghouls staggered after taking huge damage. Without hesitation, I lifted my foot off the ground. It was time to make use of my special passive skill, Dash.
“Uooooooo! Clear the paaaaath!”
The moment I lifted my foot off the ground, the surrounding scenery began to be pushed backwards. The zombies stared at me with blank expressions. The ghouls that came after me bounced right off.
They then clumped up and tried to block my path forward. However, like exploding grenade shells, they were sent flying in all directions by Peika’s lightning and my charge.
‘Fast! This Dash skill, I like it!’
If Ren saw me right now, he would regretfully say, ‘So it really was possible to make your legs disappear!’ Now that I thought about it, Ren had not contacted me since we parted. Did he lose after challenging the Floor Master alone? If so, I was going to need to start thrashing phase season 2…
Just by pointing my mana-strengthened spear forward as I ran using Dash, the zombies and ghouls in my way were all sent flying. Even if the ghouls’ bodies were stronger than steel, I could pierce a 5-centimeter-thick plate of steel with my spear at the age of 14. My current strength was incomparable to back then. Ghouls were no different than zombies in the face of my dashing.
I didn’t check whether the monsters sent flying were dead or alive. I didn’t need them to be dead to clear the floor. I just had to get to the end of the pathway alive.
In the past, I believed I needed to kill all the monsters to clear the floor. However, that was only because I would likely be killed by the monsters otherwise. Killing all the monsters wasn’t a necessary condition to clear a floor. I had heard some dungeon explorers honed their stealth abilities to the max so they could clear dungeon floors while avoiding battles as much as possible.
Regardless, I was currently running while ignoring most of the zombies and ghouls. Even so, because of all the monsters Peika was killing and the ones who died after colliding with me, I constantly heard gold piling up.
At some point, I hit a large ghoul and realized he was not sent flying after colliding with my spear. I realized at that point.
“Krrrrrr! Kruka punish human!”
“You’re the older brother ghoul!”
I first cut off the head of a ghoul glaring at me from the side, and checked my remaining mana. Because Peika was continuously taking my mana, I only had about 50 percent of my total mana left. The large ghoul was over 2 meters tall, and had a freakishly large right arm. Judging by the color of the right arm’s skin, it was undoubtedly stronger than other parts.
“Peika, come in my spear!”
“Krrrrr! I kill! Then I beat and make tender!”
The moment I activated Spirit Aura, Kruka swung his massive right arm at me. Although I dodged the attack, fully aware of its trajectory, its direction suddenly changed mid-air and chased after me. Startled, I hurriedly ducked and rushed to his body. Whether it was monster or human, fighting became easier when the enemy was an arm’s distance away than when he was right up to your shoulder. Kruka was no exception. Without knowing what to do, he tried to strike me using his entire arm.
With a short, spirited shout, I shot my spear toward his head. He was still a named monster. His much tougher head did not explode out like all the other ghouls’ heads. He only let out a painful scream. Immediately afterwards, I was struck by his forearm. Although it was heavy enough to make me groan, I did not receive much damage, as I had minimized the amount of impact force I received.
Holding in my pain, I shot out my spear again. It hit the same area, and his poisonous blood spurted out into the air.
“Kruk! Annoying prey!”
“Only eating meat isn’t good for you! In your next life, eat some goddamn vegetables!”
Kruka attacked once again with his large arm. This time, however, his arm split into two mid-flight. Was he still considered a ghoul? He was a mutant! I would be severely injured if that thing hit me, I didn’t particularly think to dodge it.
I simply concentrated my body’s energy and mana and shot forward with my spear. It was an attack that used 20 percent of my HP and MP!
White light combined with Spirit Aura enveloped the spear, giving it an imposing look similar to Heavenly God’s lightning. At the same time, it exploded Kruka’s head into oblivion. His arm had no chance to strike me.
In the next moment, a messaged flowed into my ear.
[You defeated the named monster ‘Kruka’! You obtained ‘Event Dungeon Entrance Ticket: Giant Zombie’s Attack!’ as a reward!]
“… Why did I get a zombie-related dungeon from a ghoul?”
Wait, that was the wrong reaction.
“Yes! An Event Dungeon!”
That was the right one!