Here’s chapter 65.
Sorry for taking too long to post this chapter. I was focused more on doing chapters 66 and 67, so I couldn’t apply finishing touches to this one.
Yeah, chapters 66 and 67 are done as well, but need some minor work. So, expect 66 tomorrow, and 67 the day after.
Now without further ado,
Enjoy the read.
We cleared 8th floor, and moved on to 9th.
We defeated the boss of 8th floor of Vale’s labyrinth without any trouble.
With Plating to our defence, and Durandal’s attack, it was an easy victory.
The monster native to 9th floor of Vale’s labyrinth seems to be Slow Rabbit.
Sherry acquired the information from Quratar’s Explorer Guild.
We have already fought against Slow Rabbits on 8th floor of Quratar’s labyrinth. As its name suggests, its movement speed is slow.
There’ll be no problem on this floor.
It’ll be a walk in the park.
“It took quite some time.”
After taking out a Slow Rabbit Lv9 with sixth Fireball, I mutter.
Six magic attacks seem to be required to take out a Lv9 monster.
The higher we move up the labyrinth, the stronger the monsters become.
“The number of magic attacks required has increased by one, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. As expected of master. You can take out monsters in a few magic attacks.”
“That said, the time required to kill them has increased as well.”
“It’s not a problem, as long as you avoid their attacks.”
As the number of magic attacks required to take out a monster increases, so does the time required.
The longer the battle lasts, the more the opportunities to close in.
And the more you receive their attacks.
Except for a certain someone.
There’s no problem for me, however, as I have Durandal.
Even if I receive their attacks, I can recover my HP right after.
The problem is for Sherry.
“9th floor is difficult, isn’t it?”
After fighting for a while, I ask Sherry.
Sherry received attacks from monsters over the course.
Getting hit is unavoidable.
“No, not at all. It isn’t much different from 8th floor in difficulty level.
“Has the number attacks from monsters not increased?”
“Yes, but you immediately cast Healing, so there’s no problem. Ah, is it troubling you? From now on, I’ll try my best to dodge their attacks like Roxanne-san.”
“No, not at all. It’s not troubling me. If Sherry has no problem with it, I don’t have any problem either.”
I deny it in a hurry.
Sherry seems to have become more focused.
I’m fine with it, as long as Sherry is fine.
We will manage 9th floor somehow.
Next morning. We move to 9th floor of Quratar’s labyrinth as well.
As always, we defeated the boss of 8th floor thanks to Durandal.
“The monster native to 9th floor of Quratar’s labyrinth is NT Ant. NT Ants use poison type attacks. Their weakness is water type attacks.”
Sherry briefs while we transfer to 9th floor from the boss room on 8th floor.
9th floor of Quratar’s labyrinth seems difficult to deal with.
“Thank you. So I better use water type magic attacks?”
“Got it. Are there other monsters that use poison type attacks?”
“Umm… SPI Spider. The chance of getting poisoned, however, is low. White Caterpillar, that is boss type Green Caterpillar, has a poison type skill attack, but it uses the skill only when the target is tied with thread. It’s a strong combination attack, from what I’ve heard.”
Ah, I see.
Well, I was suggested earlier to keep Antidote Pills at all times.
There seem to be many monsters that use poison type attacks.
I was lucky so far to have not met one.
About SPI Spider, we have Roxanne to confront it.
We don’t have to be worried about its attacks.
Whereas I can interrupt White Caterpillar’s skill.
“I didn’t know that.”
“On lower floors, NT Ant is the only monster that uses poison type attacks. The scary thing about NT Ant is, aside from its skill attack which is guaranteed to poison the target, its normal attack as well has a chance to poison the target.”
Two poison type attacks?
The higher you move up the labyrinth, the more the monsters use skill attacks.
“What happens when you get poisoned?”
“You lose HP over time, and if left as is, you eventually die.”
“And you have to use Antidote Pill to cure it?”
“Is there any aftereffect?”
“Poison itself can be cured by Antidote Pill. However, to recover the HP you’ve lost due to poisoned state, you’ll have to use Recovery Pill.”
There doesn’t seem to be any major aftereffect.
“Got it. I have Antidote Pills in my Item Box. Tell me as soon as you get poisoned.”
It’ll be faster to take it out if it’s in backpack than in Item Box.
Sherry has Item Box, but it needs incantation.
I, however, don’t need any incantation.
But I have to take into account the situation where I’m stuck, and unable to move.
That said, as long as it’s not boss battle, there’s no need to be worried.
“Sherry, I’ll give you some Antidote Pills for emergency situations.”
I take Antidote Pills out from my Item Box, and hand over to Sherry.
Being an Explorer Lv10, the capacity of her Item Box is 10×10.
Then I’ll give her ten Antidote Pills.
With Roxanne’s help, we find an NT Ant.
It’s a huge ant.
It’s appearance is that of an ordinary ant.
But it’s huge.
Even from distance, it looks huge.
It looks gross.
No, rather creepy than gross.
It would’ve been worse, if it were a huge rhinoceros beetle instead.
But it’s not a huge rhinoceros beetle, it’s a huge ant.
It doesn’t have that black lustre. It reminds me of a G. (TL: G is a slang for Gokiburi, that is Cockroach. Thanks to our fellow readers, Navi Nay, icemiced and radical dreamer.)
I remember it.
It has same jagged legs.
It’s an ant.
It’s only an ant.
It’s not a G.
I call for Waterball in my mind.
A sphere of water forms over my head, and is shot inside the cave.
Like a G, the NT Ant moves quickly, but there’s not enough time for it to jump out of the way.
The Waterball hits it, and bursts.
That’s a relief.
It’s not a G after all.
If it were, it would’ve evaded it.
I launch two more Waterballs.
Its movement speed is not much different from other monsters.
It’s an ant after all.
But it’s not a worker ant, it’s NT Ant.
If it were working, we would have lost. (TL: There’s a pun here, for those who didn’t notice.)
Now that I take a closer look, it’s about one meter long.
So huge, and looks creepy too.
The Waterball hits, and the NT Ant collapses.
It took three magic attacks.
It’s not a worker ant.
If it were working, it wouldn’t have died.
Because water is its weakness, it took fewer attacks.
Lv9 monsters normally require six magic attacks.
Because it takes only three attacks, I was able to take it out before it could close in.
When the green smoke dissipated, a terrifying item remained.
Sherry goes, and picks it up with ease.
Is it okay to do that?
“Err… is it okay to touch it like that?”
“Unless eaten, it’s not poisonous.”
It seems safe to touch it.
I receive it cautiously.
It’s a black, 5 cm long, slender cone.
Because it’s Poison Sting, I was of the idea that its tip would be poisonous, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
“So it’s harmful to eat it, unlike snake?”
“Is that right?”
Because snake poison is made of protein, it’s safe to ingest it, or so I’ve heard.
A snake hunts its prey using poison.
However, after it kills its prey, it eats that same poisoned prey.
Its poison harms only if you get bitten.
“Is that so? That’s good to know.”
“As expected of master.”
It’s useless to gain respect with the help of modern world knowledge.
I have already lost respect by not knowing about the sting.
Both offset each other.
Sherry didn’t show it through her eyes or words, but she’ll definitely think bad of someone who’s from countryside yet doesn’t know about Poison Sting.
Are snakes of this world different from those of earth?
If the snakes of this world hunt their prey after poisoning it, then they’re same as snakes of earth, and it should be safe to eat them.
Predator snakes don’t defend themselves with poison.
“Poison Sting can be used against monsters. If you shoot Poison Sting at them, and it hits, they get poisoned. This strategy is perfect for boss battles. To attack with Poison Sting at the very beginning of the battle.”
“Can boss be poisoned?”
“If all six members of the party shoot two to three stings.”
“Is the chance low?”
Two to three stings from a party of six makes it twelve to eighteen stings.
To inflict poison, you need to shoot a number of stings, it seems.
Which means it’s highly unlikely to inflict poison with just one or two stings.
“There’s another use of these stings. There are many monsters that escape from labyrinth to outside. These monsters, however, don’t attack people unless they’re attacked. Poison Sting isn’t registered as attack by a monster unless it inflicts poison to the monster, as it has no other effect. However, it’s already late for the monster by the time it registers the attack, for it’s already poisoned. In poisoned state, it’s easier to take it out.”
Is there such a trick?
So it’s useful in more ways than one.
“Oh, I used to play that, when I was a kid.”
Roxanne says in excited voice.
Roxanne seems to have done it already.
“You did, Roxanne?”
“Eh? But it costs a lot. Only nobles can afford it, or so I’ve heard.”
Sting is not a free item.
Even Kobold salt isn’t free. Poison Sting has to be decently priced.
It’s regrettable that you have to use many on just one monster.
“In the vicinity of where I lived, NT Ants used to appear. So we used to hunt them, and collect Poison Stings. Because our elders used to get angry, if we carried the stings home, we used to kill other monsters in the forest with those stings.”
This makes sense.
Sounds safe too.
“So you used to hunt NT Ants?
“But we used to get scolded if we were found out.”
“Because we were only kids, and not strong enough, it used to take us few hours.”
I heard something absurd just now, or did I mishear it?
Are few hours on this world equivalent to few seconds on earth?
“Eh? But NT Ants have poison type skill attack. Wasn’t it dangerous?”
“There’s no problem, if you dodge their attacks.”
“And you used to fight for hours?”
It’s Sherry doing the questioning. It’s not my area of expertise.
“And then you used the Poison Stings on other monsters?”
“Can’t you hunt monsters normally?”
“The monsters were a lot stronger than me. Even if I attacked, they wouldn’t budge in the slightest. The place where I used to live was surrounded by Non-Rem Golems.” (TL: I’ve changed the monster’s name from LEM Golem to REM Golem. Thanks to Rain, our fellow reader, for the reference.)
So they used to collect Poison Stings by hunting NT Ants, and then used the stings on Non-Rem Golems, which can’t normally be killed by kids.
“Did you know that Non-Rem Golems are exception, that they actively attack people even outside of labyrinth?”
“Yes, I knew that.”
“If you knew that, don’t you think it was dangerous?”
“A monster will register the attack anyway, if I inflict poison to it, so there’s not much of a difference.”
No! it’s different. It’s totally different.
Poisoning an inactive monster is different from poisoning an active monster. The difficulty level is miles apart.
“If the area was surrounded by Non-Rem Golems, how did you find NT Ants?
“I could locate them from their smell, so there was no place for them to hide.”
“Although the approach seems good, it’s not as easy to poison monsters as it sounds.”
“You can inflict poison if you shoot twenty stings.”
Sherry keeps questioning, and Roxanne keeps answering with straight face.
“What if you get found out first, before you shoot twenty stings?”
“If I were to get found out, I would simply shoot the stings while dodging its attacks.”
“E-Even if the monster gets poisoned, what after that?
“I continue to dodge its attacks until it collapses.”
“My attacks were completely ineffective. Not only that, if I had received even one of their attacks, I would’ve been dead. Those who were not strong enough, died even from a light graze of their attacks. I had no option but to dodge. It’s safe, however, for they eventually died thanks to Poison Stings I received from NT Ants.”
It’s safe? You’re not serious, right?
Roxanne, it’s not a play.
So is this the secret of Roxanne’s insane ability?
She used to play with monsters ever since she was a kid.
No, she could play like that because she could dodge.
Did she improve her ability to dodge by playing with monsters, or was she able to play with monsters because she was able to dodge?
It’s same as asking whether the chicken came first or the egg.
In any case, Roxanne wasn’t high level when I met her.
Are monsters outside of labyrinth Lv1, so the experience you get from killing them is less?
Or do you not get the experience if the monster dies due to poison?
There is something else I have to confirm.
“Other kids used to play too?”
“I used to call other kids to play, but I was scolded, and was banned from playing with others.”
Was it not so because it was impossible for others?
Most probably, there was no other kid on the level of Roxanne.
Sherry’s shoulders are trembling.
Her eyes have become moist.
I understand how you feel.
I put my hands on Sherry’s trembling shoulders.
I have to say it before it’s late.
“Give it up.”
Was it kind of me to say that? I wonder.