Chapter 66. Draconian Lin (4)
[I succeeded in breaking through the 25th floor by myself.]
"Oh, that was fast!"
[It was all thanks to your training and the Muscle Strengthening Elixirs.]
I was in the middle of dashing through the 30th floor pathway when Ren contacted me. While completely crushing the skeleton warriors that were running at me, I answered Ren.
"There really weren't a lot of people on the 25th floor. If you're having trouble finding party members, ask the Floor Shop owner for an item called Party Member Scarecrow. You can start grinding with them."
[Eh? I'm not doing it with Crown Prince?]
"I already finished grinding."
[Kuk, so fast... as expected of my master.]
"Ren is fast too. The Giant Ghoul was easy, right?"
[If there's one thing I learned from sparring with you, it's dodging attacks. I can somehow dodge the zombies' attacks or the Giant Ghoul's claws, but... his Diehard skill annoys me greatly. Because of it, I had to spend 5 hours to defeat him.]
"If you blow up his heart while he's using the skill, he'll die."
[Crown Prince is the only one who can do such a strange thing. Regardless, since I obtained the Death Counter skill, solo raids should be somewhat doable.]
While using Heroic Strike boosted by Divine Speed to take care of two named monsters, Skeleton Warmage and Skeleton Scout, I answered Ren.
"I really like Ren's attitude for these things. Good luck. Don't let something like the Giant Ghoul kill you."
[Crown Prince is probably the only one who can call the 25th Floor Master as 'something like'...]
"Ah, but Ren can't store skills like I do. You'll have to choose between Diehard and Dragon Skin. I'll recommend Dragon Skin. The Giant Ghoul Set isn't something a person should wear."
[Can I buy Crown Prince's pocket watch from somewhere?]
"You can try asking your Floor Shop owner."
[I already did, but he only asked how I heard about such an ancient artifact... That Loretta woman, just who is she?]
While cursing at the Skeleton Warmage for only dropping 5,000 gold and curiously examining the 'Silverbone Crossbow' the Skeleton Scout dropped, I answered Ren.
"A kind and pretty shop noona...?"
[She's only kind to Crown Prince...]
Oh, this crossbow was pretty good! If there were crossbow bolts in my inventory, it reloaded automatically and shot out consecutively. Wasn't this a machine gun!? For a completely plain looking crossbow other than the fact that it was made of silver bones, it sure had excellent functions. Oh! It even dealt bonus damage if the bolts were made from ground skeleton bones!
I had finally found a better use for the bones skeletons occasionally dropped other than selling them to Lin. Although it didn't seem usable against boss monsters, it seemed useful for cleaning up trash mobs. I was greatly satisfied by the unexpected lucky drop.
"Regardless, good luck, Ren. We can raid together around the 50th floor."
[There are people who can't ever climb to that 50th floor!]
"Ren can do it."
I retorted as I hung the crossbow by my waist.
"Because Ren is my disciple."
[... That... are you acknowledging me?]
"To tell you the truth, I want to train you for at least a year more."
[I won't be your disciple!]
"I'm kidding. You're doing great. Keep it up. Goodbye."
[Ah, uh, wait!]
As the skeletons kept running away because of my Skull Breaker title, I used Provoke to draw them towards me. I then used Tempest to destroy them while I asked Ren.
[Do... Do you know the name Lebuik Vandeon Granaris?]
"No, I don't."
[... No, you see. I know it's impossible as well, but... I'm asking just in case.]
"Like I said, I don't know."
[If you ever hear about Lebuik Vandeon Granaris... Do tell me. I beg you.]
Since Ren's voice was unusually tense, I also became serious as I answered him. As I saw the door to the 30th Floor Master up ahead, I became even more serious.
"Since I'm always climbing the dungeon by myself, I doubt I'll hear much of other people's names... but sure. I'll tell you if I hear about him."
"I didn't know you were so concerned about the man who turned you into a dungeon explorer."
[I'm not concerned! Crown Prince really has a dirty personality!]
In the past, Ren had mentioned it was Sir Lebuik who chose him to become a dungeon explorer among numerous other young talents. Since he couldn't forget about him, it seemed he was a special person to Ren.
"I'm a bit curious too. He was your first master, right? I wonder how strong he is."
[Pft, I know fully well how competitive you are, but I doubt you will be his match. If Sir Lebuik is alive, he should at least be Gold rank... Ah.]
"... I'm in front of the 30th Floor Master door. I'll talk to you later."
[M-Mmm, I see. Then... I'll talk to you later.]
I ended my conversation with Ren. Although I didn't mean to, I felt like I had asked leading questions. Ren was the one at fault for being stupid, it wasn't my fault.
Alright, now that I had rationalized it to myself, I should go into the boss fight. The 30th floor's 'first' was already taken by someone else. Although it would have been safer to challenge the Floor Master with a full party of 10...
I now knew how much stronger I was compared to the other explorers. I was confident that I could handle the 30th Floor Master by myself, especially since I had my skills as an Elementalist and the pocket watch. Plus, since Lin had set his quest's clear condition to breaking through the dungeon without party play, I couldn't do so anyways.
With a spirited shout, I slammed opened the door. The Field was surprisingly a vast wilderness, where only a pale blue moon shone the dark night sky. In the area, which was much larger than the 25th floor's graveyard, about 200 or so skeletons were lined up. Each and every one of them wore a sturdy suit of armor and were armed with weapons. I could also see skeleton mages and skeleton archers amongst their ranks.
However, their straight-line formation broke down the moment I entered the Field.
"Kiik, it's the Skull Breaker!"
"Don't be intimidated, Captain will punish you!"
"S-Skull Breaker! We have nowhere to run!"
"Ah, what if we stay still and just leave it to Captain?"
[All of you shut up!]
A thundering voice rang out from the back, which straightened up the skeletons' slackened discipline. When I laid my eyes on the owner of the voice, I was incredibly surprised. My god!
"A skeleton mount! I'm jealous!"
[It's been a while since a challenger who knows his stuff appeared...]
The 30th Floor Master was a skeleton wearing full plate armor and carrying a large sword made of bones. As his armor covered his entire body and his helmet covered his face, his appearance was just like a knight's. A huge knight over 2.5 meters in size. He spoke with a ghastly voice that seemed to flow out from the pit of hell.
[I am the Skeleton Knight. Remember my face. I am the one who will send you into endless despair.]
"Yeah, I really should remember the face of a coward who calls himself a knight but attempts to fight me with his army."
[... Kill that bastard who's full of talk!]
"Captain, we can't!"
"I don't know about Captain, but our bones will get crushed in a single hit!"
"Can we just tie up Captain and offer him? Then, we can surrender!"
The skeletons downfall was their overly high intelligence. They figured out the difference in our leagues and thought to surrender. It was the first time I had faced such monsters in the dungeon. The Skull Breaker title was more amazing than I ever imagined.
[Fight him. NOW!]
"Tsk, big talk for someone who's going to stay hidden until the end."
"This is why knights suck."
"Ehew, let's just go fight. Hey, if we're going to die anyways, let's not bother resisting. If Skull Breaker gets tired and loses to Captain, that would be infuriating!"
[I will murder you all!]
As all the skeletons were drowning in their sense of defeat, I attacked the mages and archers hidden in their midst.
"Peika, I'll leave it to you!"
[I got it, Master! Thunder Arrow!]
With that, close to a hundred lightning arrows appeared in the sky. The skeletons that were looking at each other and talking all turned to face the arrows. In that instant, the lightning arrows soared through the sky.
"We didn't even do anything yet!"
[Not good enough!]
While the skeletons were panicking, only the Skeleton Knight protected himself by swinging his large sword. However, the lightning arrows he blocked were only to stop him from protecting his skeleton minions. It was a feint, per se.
While he was blocking the lightning arrows coming towards him, dozens of other lightning arrows completed their duty. The lightning arrows that were focused on the few mages and archers all pierced their targets and exploded them into pieces.
"Uguk! The magicians and archers were all killed!"
"Thank god I'm not an archer!"
"Ah, if we want to survive, we just have to arm Captain with a bow!"
The Skeleton Knight swung his sword and cut down a few of his skeleton minions. The wilderness that was full of the clicking sounds of their bones and their voices became completely silent for a moment.
[What are you doing with your enemy right in front of you, you fools!]
"Well said, Skeleton Knight. I was starting to get annoyed too."
Agreeing with Skeleton Knight, I bent my knees and slightly pulled my body backwards. Instead of the Black Earthen Spear, I held my Silver Spear as I pulled my arm back. Peika went into the Silver Spear on her own accord.
"But... someone who cuts down his own soldiers annoys me even more!"
[Everyone charge! Crush him! Those that refuse will have their bones crushed by my sword!]
"Gugelgel, follow Captain's command."
"We are only alive because of this cursed body. Let's go set it ablaze."
"Our lives already ended a long time ago. I want to put an end to my days, forced to live as a soldier even in death."
I pulled my arms back as much as I could and concentrated my strength into it. The Silver Spear in my grip radiated a brilliant white light and flickered with lightning. My eyes were fixed, not at the skeletons running towards me, but the Skeleton Knight sitting on his skeleton mount.
[Block his attack! Destroy him!]
"Try it if you... can!"
The moment I finished my retort, I threw my spear forward with all the strength I could muster. Although I didn't shout Heroic Strike or Divine Speed, both skills were undoubtedly activated. It was because the speed I threw my spear was unusually fast.
I remembered something similar happening in the past. If I was extremely focused, skills would be activated without saying it out loud!