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 Chapter 95. Granting Freedom (2)

A+-rank Field Dungeon, Graveyard Over the Lake. There were three types of monsters that appeared here. First were the fish-headed, human-legged monsters that climbed on top of boats and attacked with their sharp teeth, the fishmen. As the weakest group of monsters at Graveyard Over the Lake, they were the greatest in number. They swam freely in the lake, then suddenly jumped on top of boats and attacked the passengers. As melee attack monsters, they were also the monsters that annoyed Hwaya's party the most.

The second were the shark type monsters that resembled saw sharks, toothsaws. They had long upper jaw covered in saw-like teeth that seemed to be strengthened by mana as they vibrated like chain saws. These monsters didn't jump on top of boats like fishmen, but approached boats with chainsaw sounds and poked holes in them.

To prevent this, the cruise ship I was on was patched with the leather of the S-rank monster, wyvern. Even so, it couldn't last very long against the toothsaws' attacks. As such, we had to take care of them whenever we heard their chainsaw sounds. Although Hwaya's attribute wasn't the best for the dungeon, her SS-ranked flames could still burn their targets underwater. In other words, as long as they weren't left untouched as they attacked, they were easier to deal with than fishmen.

The third and last were the most precious and popular monsters, melting tunas! Why were they called melting tunas? Because they were so soft and delicious that they melted in our mouths! They were so delicious that they were called the blessing of Windermere's dungeon! Even without Bluestones, these melting tunas were said to be sold for 150 million won1.

"But you see, my magic roasts them instantly..."

"My magic is a bit slow to cast..."

"Useless people, ptui."

"You want me to roast you instead?"

"Just wait there until my magic is finished."

Oops, I accidentally said my thoughts out loud. Regardless, looking at the melting tuna that had jumped on top of our boat and splashed around, I asked the others.

"How do these things attack?"

"They shoot water from their mouths."

As soon as Hwaya's words left her mouth, the melting tuna turned it head towards me and shot out a stream of water. Mike, who was ready, blocked it with a wall of water. A thundering roar that shouldn't be possible from the collision of water rang out. I first wore a raincoat for sanitary purposes, then charged at the melting tuna.

"Hand over your otoro2 and I'll cook you with the least amount of pain... huk!"

"What's wrong, T.K.?"

I ran behind the tuna to its blind spot and swung my knife. Seeing the knife break the moment it touched its scales, my eyes opened wide.

"The knife... won't go in!"

"It's an A+-rank monster. What did you expect, stupid?"

"Damn it!"

I wrapped my arms around the melting tuna's gills. Although its constant struggling annoyed me, it couldn't overpower my strength, which was boosted by various equipment. When I let lightning flow into its body through its gills, the melting tuna stopped its water attack and began coughing. Good, it was working! I raised the lightning output and strangled him harder. Every time sparks of lightning flickered from my arms, the melting tuna twitched, its resistance becoming weaker.

"So that's Thunder Knight."

"My image of him is being... broken."

After wrestling with the melting tuna for a minute, I managed to kill it. However, looking at the smoked melting tuna, I realized I had made a fatal mistake.

"Oh no... I grilled it!"

"Ha, you're no different than me, T.K.!"

Killed by a minute-long exposure to strong lightning, even the inside of the tuna had been grilled to perfection. Although I was glad everyone said it was tastier than Hwaya's roasted version, I refused to give up. Damn, since I couldn't just bring out my spear, there was only one thing I could do!

"I need to learn a sword technique and strengthen my knife with mana!"

"Are you crazy?"

Kitchen knives couldn't penetrate melting tunas when they were alive or when they had just died. Knives only worked on them long after they died or when they were cooked to perfection! As such, I couldn't fillet the melting tunas like I wanted. Chewing on its delicious gill (with its size, its gill was also huge), I muttered with resentment.

"Damn it, my tuna sashimi..."

"I'll take you to eat some later, so stop whining."

"No, I vow to eat a fresh, living melting tuna! Nom nom..."

"Stop eating that grilled tuna and kill the fishmen!"

I was quite sad from being unable to eat the tuna sashimi that I had been looking forward to so much. Regardless, I had no problem killing the monsters in the A+-rank dungeon, Graveyard Over the Lake. I didn't even have to use Thunder Beast.

If it was me from the time I killed the Giant Iron Boar, I would undoubtedly have had trouble killing them, but in just a few months of leveling up and gaining battle experience, A+-rank monsters died in just a few punches from me. I once again realized the importance of stats.

"Strong."

"I'm unneeded."

"Same, but why so suddenly, Paul? We were only eating popcorn since a while ago."

When Paul spoke dispiritedly, Mike responded with surprise. Hearing their conversation, I lightly smiled and asked.

"Why aren't more melting tunas appearing? Since that first tuna, we've only seen those disgusting fishmen or those toothsaws trying to poke holes in our boat like woodpeckers."

"There aren't that many of them. We were lucky to have seen that one."

"I turned a precious guy into a grilled fish..."

Since I already cooked the tuna, we couldn't sell it. Hwaya lied saying that she'd store it using her extradimensional storage magic, and put it in her inventory. I didn't care, thinking I could always catch another one, but to think it was so rare... If she didn't give me my share later, bloodshed would be inevitable. Striking my lightning fist into a fishman's body, I pledged to myself.

After I stayed on the ship for three hours, I finally understood why Hwaya seemed to be crying every time she contacted me.

"This lake is really big. There's just no end to it. Was Windermere Lake always this big?"

"Of course not. When it became a dungeon, the area strangely became bigger. That's why we aren't sure just how long we'll have to continue. According to other countries' reports, the number of normal monsters decreases significantly when the Field Dungeon's boss is killed... But we haven't been able to find that boss."

Hwaya threw another fireball into the water as she answered my question. The toothsaw that was trying to drill into the ship made its death throes and sunk into the water. Watching the toothsaw, I muttered.

"Shark fin..."

"Don't. An S-ranker from China already tried it, and apparently the texture of toothsaw's fin isn't as good as other sharks. In fact, because it's so hard, ability users other than body reinforcement types can't even eat it."

"Did the Chinese S-ranker finish it? Did he say it was tasty?"

"No, he wasn't a body reinforcement type ability user, so his teeth broke."

"Kuk, so he at least tried, that S-ranker...!"

Giving up on the shark fin, I raised my head. It was already past four in the afternoon. The cold winter lake wind blew against my platinum blonde hair. Looking at the town that was only a dot over the horizon, I murmured.

"Even going back will take some time."

"Yep, we're going to go back soon. So? You understand why I said it would take a long time, right?"

"Yeah, you did well until now. Of course, since I'm here, it'll be much faster."

"Haha, at least your confidence doesn't lose to an SS-ranker."

As Hwaya and I were talking, Mike nodded his head and remarked.

"You are indeed worthy of the name Thunder Knight."

Hwaya took care of the toothsaws and I took care of the fishmen. Other than when we met the melting tuna, Paul and Mike only stood by. As for Madam Brown, she had spent the entire afternoon enjoying the lake winds. According to her, it was better if she didn't need to use her ability. She really had the mindset of a healer.

Although we encountered many monsters on our way back, no melting tunas appeared, and we didn't even catch a glimpse of the boss monster. When we spent over three hours to get back to the dock, the sky had turned completely dark. The sun wasn't out for long even in Britain's winter.

"T.K., let's go get some drinks with dinner."

"Okay."

Mike offered with his hand on my shoulder, and I gave him a thumbs up. Paul seemed to want to join in, while Madam Brown said her goodbyes and went back to her lodging. Hwaya then sent me a message as she gestured at me.

[Let's go finish the grilled tuna. Time is frozen in the inventory, so it'll be delicious and fresh. I'll treat you to the ultimate wine.]

[You know just what I want! Call!]

I exchanged glances with Hwaya and took Mike's hand off of my shoulder.

"Now that I think about it, I have to teach Hwaya how to control her mana. We'll have to drink tomorrow."

"That's not suspicious at all, hehe. Mastiford's fans across the globe will cry."

"Paul, let's leave the young lovers alone and go out for a drink with just the two of us!"

"Alright, since that's the case, let's drink until dawn, Mike!"

Paul and Mike walked away with a huge misunderstanding about me and Hwaya. Since I couldn't be bothered with chasing after them and correcting the misunderstanding, I simply followed Hwaya to her lodging. When I was watching the countless stars in the night sky with awe, Hwaya opened her mouth.

"You've spent a day with them now. How were they? They're good people, right?"

"Yeah. I think Britain's quite lucky. Although Brightman is here too, I was quite surprised there were so many people with camaraderie and clear hearts, even with their great strengths."

At my compliment, Hwaya let out a dry cough and puffed out her chest. I wished she'd restrain herself a bit with how bountiful her chest was. I didn't know where to look.

"Britain is a great country! Ah, I like Korea too. There are many good people in Korea too. Plus, I love Korean food. My mom is a great cook. But still, I like this country, Britain."

"I think being proud of the country you were born in is a good thing."

I replied with a bitter smile. She also responded with a bitter smile. Then, neither of us said anything.

We arrived at her lodgings and opened the door. As Hwaya was about to go in without much thought, I stopped her. With a smile, I closed the door. As I thought, he didn't listen to my warning.

Thinking that, I opened my eyes sharply and shouted.

"Ruyue, Peika, restrain him!"

[Aooooooo!]

The lodging was instantly surrounded by a wall of ice. A gasp rang out along with the sound of a window opening. A large amount of electricity sparked in the air. A black clothed man trying to escape from the window had become enveloped in Peika's lightning curtain.

"Kuk!"

The moment I heard his voice, I was reminded of someone.

"Ruyue!"

[You can't run!]

After falling on the ground, the black clothed man tried to escape without caring for the pain or injury he suffered, but Ruyue froze his feet before he could move. With his feet frozen to the ground, he couldn't move in the slightest. Peika created a spear of lightning in the air.

[Master, do I kill him?]

"Paralyze him for now! Don't let him take anything out!"

At my order, Peika sent her lightning flying toward him. As I expected, he tried to reach into an invisible pocket of dimension in mid-air. However, Peika's lightning struck him before he could take anything out. He trembled as he foamed at the mouth. Meanwhile, Ruyue's ice crept up from his feet to his shin, knees, then waist. He was being restrained perfectly.

Good, with this, he wouldn't be able to escape to the dungeon.

I stood in front of him. It seemed he snapped out of the paralysis as he sent a fist imbued with blue light toward me. However, I likewise imbued my hand with white light and grabbed his fist. He flinched as he trembled.

"How disappointing."

With that, I squeezed the fist in my hand. Crack. With an unpleasant sound, his finger bones snapped. His other fist instantly flew toward me shining with a strange light. Before what I expected was a skill could activate, I struck his elbow up. Crack. With another unpleasant sound, his arm snapped.

"Kuuk...!"

"I didn't think you were this kind of person."

"What? Shin... Do you know him?"

Seeing Hwaya standing still and blinking at me until the situation was taken care of, I was reminded how bad magicians were with using their bodies. On her shoulder was a small flame cat. It seemed she at least knew how to protect herself. I gave her 6 points out of 10.

I answered Hwaya.

"Didn't you realize?"

"Realize what?"

To prevent him from opening the door to the dungeon, I grabbed his other arm and bent it. Although he tried to resist me with his mana, my strength was vastly higher than his. He was undoubtedly a strong explorer, but I could so easily break his arm.

"Kuu!"

"... Hm?"

Even after hearing his voice, Hwaya tilted her head. You, that's uncharacteristically cute, so it's forbidden from now. I calmed my heart beating because of her, and told her the answer.

"It's Walker. Edward Walker."

"Ah, Walker! So that's who it was... Walker!?"

Author's note:

Walker finally appears! And gets beaten the moment he does! But it was to be expected. Walker is an explorer from the Third Dungeon... (tears)

1. About $130,000 USD. For the record, a sushi-grade bluefin tuna was sold for $173,600 for a 444 pound fish in 2001. So it's a very reasonable price for a good tuna.

2. The most expensive, fattiest, and most delicious part of a tuna.

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