Chapter 15 – Becoming Stronger at the Underground Labyrinth!! Part 5
It’s about time for me to feel the effects of leveling up.
So…, I was a little curious, so I picked up a fist-sized stone.
I gripped it as hard as I could.
With a muffled sound, the stone was crushed.
It kinda reminds me of how a 14-year-old Cordelia used to cut large rocks like tofu with a sword.
Looks like I’ve reached the point where I can quit being a human.
Or rather, this is a labyrinth of trials for young dragons to become adult dragons.
So, if I didn’t quit being a human, to clear the labyrinth from the beginning… there is no way that can be done.
On the other hand, this is the starting line for me.
「So… when you pass through the goblin settlement, you will find an underground water vein, huh.」
As we walked through the limestone cave.
The cool air inside feels really good on my flushed body.
After a bit, we arrived at an underground lake.
It was a large underground lake with a radius of about 50 meters.
And there is a huge mass covering half of it.
I involuntarily held my breath.
「…a big catfish?」
I nodded at Lilith’s words.
「…Yes. It is also kind of a heinous guy…I think.」
It literally got its name from the fact that it is a monster catfish that is as big as a whale. Right now, it seems to be on its hibernation cycle, it doesn’t move even the slightest bit in the water.
By the way, according to literature, it seems to eat bizarrely during its active period.
First, it pesters every passing creature with his catfish whiskers.
Then, it will wrap them with its whiskers, drag them to the water, and eat them alive.
The underground lake here is connected to the outside world through a huge underground waterway, so this catfish has a habit of making this place its base during hibernation.
…I’ll ignore it here. If anything is too big.
Anyway, the diameter of the catfish is about 25 meters.
Speaking figuratively, it’s as big as a kaiju… at least it’s not something I can fight right now.
「How much water we have left?」
Taking out a large leather bag, Lilith opened it and peered inside.
「Not even 20 percent was consumed.」
After thinking for a bit, I snatched Lilith’s sack.
「I’ll replenish it here. From here onwards… there won’t be any water for a while.」
「…eh? But there is a big catfish there…」
「It should be fine.」
「Is that also… Skill: Wisdom?」
「Yeah, once this guy sleeps… It won’t move even if you use a lever. Since this time of the year is it’s hibernation time.」
「…I object. This gigantic catfish… If something happens, you will die instantly.」
「I told you it’s fine. I’m sure the original documents are correct… it must have been made by a fairly reliable public institution’s research or something.」
「Fumu…」Lilith nods reluctantly.
「…But… I want you to keep this word in mind.」
「You are exaggerating.」I smiled wryly as I held the water bag with my hand.
Putting the mouth of the bag below the surface of the water, bubbles of air started to rise to the surface.
The water bag will be full in no time.
Tying the mouth of the now filled water bag with a string, I placed it down on the lakeshore.
I then scoop some water with both of my hands and hold it to my mouth.
The cool temperature of the water feels good on my throat.
「Oi, Lilith? You too can come hereー」
As I turned around to call over Lilith, something that looked like a string entwined around my throat.
And just like that, I was dragged into the lake at tremendous speed.
ーThe large catfish? No, that’s impossible…! In the document, there is no such example such as predation during hibernation…
In a state of panic, I opened my eyes underwater to confirm the situation.
And then, ah, so that’s what it is…I was convinced.
What I saw in the water was a small catfish about 3 meters long… It was probably the son or daughter of the large catfish.
The reason why he or she didn’t enter hibernation is probably because he or she hasn’t been able to obtain enough energy stocks to survive hibernation.
In other words,… they are looking for food with great acclaim.
So that’s how I got entangled in a catfish’s whiskers.
Being dragged into the water, I was drawn straight to its mouth.
The moment the catfish opened its mouth and was about to swallow me, I pulled out a knife from my waist and struck it in the gums.
The restraint from the whiskers is gone.
As soon as I was free, I moved my hands and feet several times like a breaststroke.
And as I escaped from the catfish’s mouth, I pierced both of its eyes with my knife.
ーThen, reckless stabbing.
I stabbed it over and over again as long as my breath lasted.
Dozens of seconds passedーand then several minutes.
Starting with Physical Strengthening, seems like my status enhancement affects such things as how long my breath lasts as well.
No, maybe this is purely the effect of having nearly 2000 HP?
Anyway, I continued stabbing the catfish underwater for nearly 10 minutes.
As the underground lake was covered in blood, a catfish floated to the surface.
At that point, my breathing finally reached the limit.
I swam to the surface using breaststroke and managed to reach land but…
As I put my face out of the water and about to take a deep breathーa whisker wrapped around my neck again.
It looks like there is a different catfish than the individual before.
「Shoot! Oi, Lilithーrun away! The catfish… there are several of them…G-Gave!」
While gurgling, my words at the end weren’t even words.
ーAhh, this is a bit…not good.
The lack of oxygen is making my vision black.
Blackout huh… It really isn’t cool to get that underwater you know…, well it’s not like my body will listen to anything I say.
It’s all over.
ーAh, come to think of it… At the end of my second life, I was set up by my childhood friend the Sage…And I guess I died due to drowning.
This is bad.
Memories of my past are coming back like a revolving lantern.
No… but… as a Villager… I did well… I… guess…
With that, I closed my eyes and made up my mind.
ーElectricity ran through my body.
At the same time, the restraint from the catfish’s whiskers is released.
Feeling life back into my body, I fully introduced the last remaining oxygen in me and headed straight to the surface of the lake.
Putting my face out of the water, I took a deep breath.
And thenーI was at a loss for words.
There are two catfish floating on the surface of the lake.
The one that I killedーand the one that had no injuries at all.
No to be precise, the catfish is emitting smoke as it floats on the surface.
I looked into the shore of the lake, and came to an understanding.
ーRight there was Lilith carrying a rucksack and holding a cane.
After getting out of the water, I walked towards Lilith.
「Lilith, you… what… did you do?」
「…Electric shock. Your magic power is almost inhuman… So I judged that your magic resistance was tremendous, and with that in mind, I fired it with all my might.」
Responding curtly, she continued her words.
「… Don’t be so surprisedーIt’s not like I lived here for several years for nothing. And… I have permission to engrave three gold threads on my bracelet. 」
Well, I suppose that’s true… In the dragon’s culture, the weak don’t deserve to live.
If that’s the case… I suppose that Lilith was naturally trained by her adoptive parents.
「Um, can I say one thing?」
「…It’s not something for you to decide on your own.」
「What do you mean?」
「I am useless in this labyrinth… that is true.」
「… I am certainly useless. I just happened to be able to support you this time… that’s good. However… don’t give orders to run away without permission. Don’t decide anything… alone.」
I feel like Cordelia said something similar the other day.
「I… in my own way… can support Lute somehow. If terrain, compatibility, and luck are on our side… like this time.」
「That might be true. But… I can’t put Lilith in danger.」
Then, Lilith slapped my cheek with all her might.
A booming sound echoed throughout the underground cave.
「… Then, what about my standpoint of putting Lute in danger?」
Then, with tears in her eyes, Lilith opened her mouth.
「… Selfishly… don’t decide everything on your own. Don’t burden yourself… Just what am I to Lute? Is my will reflected in Lute’s actions?」
Cordelia’s words flashed back to me.
ーーDon’t decide on your own!
I don’t want that. I have no will for that.
ーーI won’t allow you to go to the Dragon’s Village! Leaving for years… I never heard about it, I definitely hate that!
While thinking about that, I smiled wryly.
「… Just what the hell am I? Don’t risk your life on your own. Don’t help me on your own… I’m also a human being.」
「… Well, I don’t want to be a sex slave. I also don’t want to be kicked out from the village. But… for that reason, I made someone risk their life… If Lute dies… What can I do?」
I nodded and made a fist.
And just like that, 「Kotsun」I hit Lilith on the head.
「Then… shall we survive together?」
Name: Lute Mclane
Age: 12 Years old
MP: 14512/14512 → 15730/15730
Attack Power: 390 → 470
Defense Power: 385 → 465
Magic Power: 2625 → 2705
Evasion: 480 → 580
【Physical Strengthening: Level 10(MAX)】
【Body Strengthening Skill: Level 10(MAX)】
【Oni Gate Method: Level 6】
【Stomach Strength: Level 2】
【Mental Tolerance: Level 2】
【Indomitable : Level 10(MAX)】
【Crop Cultivation: Level 15(Limit Break: The Goddess’s Gift】
【Swordsmanship: Level 4】
【Taijutsu: Level 8】
【Magic Power Manipulation: Level 10(MAX)】
【Life Magic: Level 10(MAX)】
【Elementary Attack Magic: level 7(Growth Limit)】
【Elementary Recovery Magic: Level 7(Growth Limit)】
【The Strongest Infant on Land: Level 10(MAX)】
【Youngest Sage: Level 10(MAX)】
【Common People’s Healer: Level 10(MAX)】
【Saint: Level 3(Growth Limit)】
【Oni Child: Level 10(MAX)】
【Goblin Slayer: Level 10(MAX)】
【Heretic Mage: Level 3】
【Cow Killer: Level 2】
・When using Body Strengthening Skill
Attack power・Defense power・Evasion + 150 Correction
・When using the Oni Gate Method
Attack power・Defense power・Evasion + 250 Correction
・When using Physical Strengthening
Attack power・Defense power・Evasion x 2 Correction
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