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 Chapter 139. The Third Explorer (3)

I threw some useless items and tested their attack power. It wasn't as strong as I thought. It was just enough for the troll's bones I obtained on the 51st floor to become dust by touching their weapons.

... If I get hit even once, I'll die! I'll definitely die!

Once I ran into them once, Orc Lords suddenly began to appear from all pathways. Once I got surrounded, it would be the end. I realized I had stepped off the wrong foot. I should have killed them the moment I saw them. This wouldn't have happened if I didn't run away!

"Kuaaaaang!"

"Yeah, yeah, I got it, you bastards! Eat this!"

Confirming that an Orc Lord appeared in the path I was trying to charge through, I threw out a Heroic Strike. Although I managed to kill him, five more Orc Lords appeared behind him. Now that it had come to this, there was no other choice!

"Uwaaaaaaaaak!"

[You used Crimson Roar. Everything blazes as flames.]

Although I had not thought about it, the flames that began to burn everything continued to get stronger. It seemed the reflective property of the dungeon's walls had strengthened the flames. Of course, as the flames were created by Crimson Roar, they did not harm me, while they served as poison for the Orc Lords.

"Kuaaang!"

"Hu, Humaaaaaan!"

However, even after taking Crimson Roar, which could be said to be my strongest area of effect skill, a few Orc Lords were still alive. If they were the same Orc Lord as the one on the 5th floor, it would not have been possible. It seemed their defense was much higher as well.

Even so, Crimson Roar was still a powerful skill. After inhaling the smoke, the few that survived the flames staggered, and were then easily killed by Peika's Thunder Spears. Each of them gave 1,000 gold. It was the same amount as what the 5th floor's Orc Lord gave. Even though Beyond's Orc Lords were much stronger, they still only gave 1,000 gold. It was very infuriating.

"Huff, huff... It's been a while since I ran so hard. I didn't even have my elementals summoned... Peika, Ruyue!"

[Ugh, it smells burnt.]

[Meat? Are you eating that?]

"You'll get sick if you do, Ruyue. First, materialize."

[Okay!]

Telling Ruyue not to eat the Orc Lords once more, I checked the corpses of the Orc Lords, which were disappearing into particles of light. After gifting me gold, they were disappearing completely. I gritted my teeth at the sight.

I could only use Crimson Roar once per day. As it was the same for Floor Master skills, I had to come up with a way that relied on my own strength only. No matter how confident I was in my spearmanship, against the Orc Lords, I couldn't continue to attack and retreat repeatedly. I could toy with just one or two Orc Lords, but since more Orc Lords always arrived when I found one, doing so would be foolish.

"No choice then. I have to use my crossbow."

Silver Bone Crossbow, obtained on the 30th floor. I thought that I was too strong to use it now, but with Spirit Aura, any weapon would become powerful, regardless of its quality. Plus, I could use the 51st floor's troll bones as crossbow bolts for additional damage. It would be nice if I could use Flame Cartridge as well, but it only added the flame attribute and small explosions. As Peika's ability was much stronger, it wasn't useful at all now.

"It would be ideal to shoot crossbow bolts at their mouths, so they can't use warcry..."

[I can bait them!]

Peika shouted with confidence. With Spirit Aura's increased level, she could now control the trajectory of projectiles as well. I patted her head to thank her for letting me know. With this, I may have found a way out.

"Kuaaaang!"

"I've already killed dozens of them... Just how many of them are there? Alright. Ruyue, Peika, let's go!"

[Okay!]

[Run? Do I run?]

"Yeah, run!"

[Auuuuuuuu!]

Ruyue kicked off the ground. With a potion in my mouth, I raised my crossbow.

"Peika, I'll give you as much mana as you need, so put lightning into the bolts like they're Thunder Spears."

[Huhu, okay! I really like Master lately. It feels like Master is filled with lightning from head to toe!]

[No! Every strand of hair on Shin is ice cold!]

That's a compliment right? You were trying to compliment me, right? It seemed elementals thought of me strangely as my affinity to different elements got higher. As I broke through the pathway, I shot a bolt at an Orc Lord's head.

"Kuak!"

"Nice, Peika!"

The bolt went directly into the mouth of the Orc Lord as it flickered with lightning. There was no need to doubt Peika's ability. With that, I just had to raise my reaction speed so that I could attack the Orc Lords the moment they appeared.

"Kuaakuk!"

"Kuaaaakak!"

"I won't stop shooting until you guys shut up!"

Ruyue continued to run. Once they used Warcry, they would continue running regardless of whether I shot a bolt in their mouth or up their ass, but as long as they didn't use Warcry, they didn't have the temper to withstand the pain and shout.

If other Orc Lords didn't appear, I could simply use Elemental Blade to cut them down. If they did, I just had to shoot bolts into their mouths too.

"Kuaaagaaaga!"

"Elemental Blade! Can you stop making those weird noises!?"

[Critical Hit!]

Shooting, slashing, shooting, shooting, slashing. Although simple, I had to make sure the bolts I shot did not miss their targets. If one accidentally hit the wall, it would change trajectory and fly back. If it hit me, even I would feel pain.

[Twenty two up ahead!]

"Damn, there sure are a lot of them."

Beyond's maze had a completely different structure than the First Dungeon's. Unlike the First Dungeon, where I could just hunt monsters and move forward, Beyond had multiple pathways that twisted and turned. Monsters appeared in the pathways, but there were also spacious areas where a large number of monsters were gathered. The worst part was that they respawned rather quickly. In other words, if I got lost and went back to where I was, the monsters I defeated would have respawned. However, as I said before, my intelligence stat was preventing that from happening.

"Agh, damn it!"

"Kuaaaang!"

[Orc Lord used 'Warcry'! All orcs are cleansed of negative status effects! All orcs temporarily become super-armored. Their attack power increases by 50%!]

If even a single Orc Lord succeeded in using Warcry, like just now, I had to stop using my crossbow to shut them up. As they became super-armored, it was impossible. I had to take my spear and aim at their vital spots, as I weaved through them on Ruyue. It was the start of an exciting fight of cat and mouse. That said, if their number went over 30, I couldn't handle their increasing numbers with my crossbow or with elemental magic.

As a result, I had to do what I had not done for a long time.

"Peika, materialize!"

[I've been waiting for those words!]

Confirming the number of high-grade Mana Potions (379) in my possession, I materialized Peika. The elemental magic of a materialized elemental was incomparably stronger than when the elemental was unmaterialized. Of course, there were downsides to it as well. When materialized elementals got attacked, they would lose mana, and excessive damage might reverse-summon the elementals.

"Kuaaaaang!"

"An elemental, it's an elemental!"

After appearing in midair with her elegant dress, Peika did not even have the chance to show off her beauty, as she swung around a lightning whip. Although Orc Lords charged toward her, as Peika could fly, they were unable to catch her.

"They can't get paralyzed, so you have to just damage them!]

[I know!]

Peika's whip was strong enough to instantly burn the Orc Lord's defensive equipment, and it was fast. Her whip, which was condensed from her elemental power, weaved through the Orc Lords as it damaged them. Meanwhile, I secured our escape route and knocked down the Orc Lords that stood in its way. This damned area was half made of air and half made of Orc Lords.

[Master, the walls have amplification and reflect enchants!]

"Oh, so those things are called enchants!?"

I pretended to thank Peika for her currently useless piece of info, and continued to swing my spear. Then, a strange voice rang out in my ear.

[Alright, with this, I'll take care of them at once! Thunder Dragon Wave!]

"Mm?"

When I looked up, Peika's powerful lightning whip shot up past my head diagonally from below. Frightened, I jumped back, and the whip hit the ceiling, bouncing to the ground with greater strength, bouncing again and going through my legs. At the lightning whip's destination was an Orc Lord that was about to strike her.

"Kuaaaak!"

The lightning whip easily tore through the Orc Lord's head and continued to fly forward. After hitting the wall again, it bounced back and hit another Orc Lord's arm. The whip continued to bounce around, hitting an Orc Lord's leg, then hitting Peika's body. Surprisingly, Peika looked even stronger!

[Huu, it got more energy!]

The lightning whip then went through Peika's body, having gotten even stronger, and burned or detonated the Orc Lords one by one. It didn't matter that they were super-armored. The whip, which endlessly strengthened itself, pierced through them without ever giving them the chance to counterattack. When it sometimes pierced through Peika's body, it only became stronger before continuing on to annihilate the Orc Lords. Me? I was frantically dodging Peika's whip!

After some time, the Orc Lords gathering here to attack us dwindled until not many remained. Eventually, when I could no longer hear Peika's spirited shout and the flickers of her lightning whip...

[Done!]

Peika put down her whip refreshingly, like she just finished doing her laundry. The whip that had been bouncing around struck Peika's body and was completely absorbed by her. Peika's face was sparkling even brighter than when she first materialized, as she looked at me and winked.

[Didn't I do well, Master!?]

"Y-Yeah. Since you don't get injured by your own weapon, you can even do that... Amazing."

[Huhuhu, right, I'm amazing!]

[Chii, I can do it too!]

To be honest, I was surprised seeing Peika utilize the environment's special trait in her attack. Although I knew attacks got stronger when the walls reflected them, I didn't think to use that property as I needed to calculate the trajectory. After all, it wasn't my forte.

However, after seeing it once, I could understand it more easily. It was just that I had not thought about it before. Now that I did, I understood how to reflect my attacks three or four times to amplify the damage. Any more could be a bit tricky as I would need to dodge the attack and calculate the trajectory again, but it wasn't impossible if I tried it once or twice. In fact, I already had a few trajectories in mind.

I finally realized. If I didn't try to use my brain, it wouldn't be used! I was underestimating my intelligence too much. With all the bonus stats, my intelligence stat was now at 76. If I wanted, such calculations should be a piece of cake.

"Peika, you helped me realize something important. Thanks."

[Really?]

"Yeah."

Until now, I thought I had fought rather intelligently. However, that wasn't the case. I had mistaken using the techniques I learned with my body and my reaction speed with using my intelligence.

Right. Until now, I was able to get by with no problem with my superior ability. Rather than intelligence, technique and strength were more important in fights. However, from now, in Beyond, that was no longer the case. If it wasn't for Peika, I would have had difficulty fighting them just now.

The hint had been given to me already. The stacking Orc Lord's Warcries. The dungeon wall's power of reflection and amplification. I had wasted my effort when the answer was already there. To defeat the Orc Lords, I had to do the same thing they were doing. Using the wall's property, I had to amplify my attacks. Luckily, I even had a long-ranged weapon.

"Hu... Good. Let's use my brain."

I felt quite awkward saying it, but I ignored the awkwardness for now. What was important was to clear Beyond's 1st floor. It was important to utilize my potential. For a long time, I did not apply my intelligence stat in battles. Now was the time to right that mistake.

Just like that, two weeks passed.

I was still in Beyond's 1st floor.

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