- Day 142:/Sidestory Female Adventurer POV
Two months ago, a Dwarf by the name of Barth had met up with some people he had been friends with for years.
There, they had said that there was an item drop from a certain boss that they wanted dearly.
It’s been one month and twenty-six days since it was judged that possessing the item would be beneficial in the future.
The five person party Iron Sword Hunters led by a female adventurer, entered the dungeon【Mine of the Cyclops】.
The dungeon has already been challenged many times with the aim of obtaining the boss item drop, but the stress had begun to build up.
In the lowest part of the dungeon where the boss could be located, in the safety zone where monsters don’t appear, Arty, the one handed swordswoman that had tied her blond hair into a ponytail, made a final confirmation of their strategy together with her four comrades.
“I’ve said it many times, but regardless, if Longsword Bellula shows up, Zack will defend against the frontal attacks while Barth and I attack it’s legs.
Brianna and Aisha will use their best attacks on its flanks and rear.”
“If Demon Songstress Hatchell shows up, Brianna and Aisha should unleash small attacks on her to keep her from singing. Zack will protect the pair while Barth and I move around behind it and attack repeatedly. Of course we need to deal with her mace from the start.”
“Finally, if Quake Hammer Gründ shows up, use your standard attacks while being cautious of it’s strong moves.”
“Does everyone understand?”
Arty and the others had already challenged and killed the boss monsters many times over, but they had not yet been able to obtain the desired item, there were two big reasons for this.
The first reason is that the item they wanted so desperately had an extremely low rate to begin with. If it was something that easy to obtain, it wouldn’t be worth all the effort they have put forth to obtain it.
As it’s a 【Unique】 class magical item that possesses an extraordinary ability, that fact makes it understandable that it is located in a special area.
The second reason is that there are multiple different bosses within this dungeon. There exists three types ofCyclops that gives this dungeon it’s name as well as comprise of the boss monsters for the Mine of the Cyclopsdungeon.
Wielding it’s massive yet sturdy longsword as if it were a mere twig, the youngest Cyclops, Longsword Bellula.
Wielding a massive mace that uses powerful magical strikes as it’s main method of attack, the female Cyclops,Demon Songstress Hatchell.
And finally, wielding an enormous spiked hammer that can cause the very earth to shake and buckle when it’s smashed, the oldest and strongest of the three, Quake Hammer Gründ.
This is how the current state of affairs stand.
The magical item that Arty’s team desires to obtain can only be dropped from the strongest of the bunch,Quake Hammer Gründ.
The problem is that the chances for Gründ showing up compared to the other two is exceptionally low.
Therefore, the magical item that they wish to obtain is quite difficult to get.
While it’s rather frustrating, it isn’t something that can be helped.
“Yes, yes, we get it. So then, let’s just head out immediately!”
Having already answered Arty’s question, the Werebear, Zack, a bear that walks on two legs like a human equipped with his tower shield, with a fitting depiction of a bear head stricken upon it, and his electrified bastard sword.
Quite contrary to his ferocious appearance, the bear actually harbors an instinctual fear of humankind.
He stands out everywhere given that he’s covered in dense hair and has the habit of easily getting carried away.
“Now now, calm down little Zack. Don’t get impatient on us.”
After a quick admonishment on Zack, Arty turned towards the remaining three members of the group to check on if they were prepared.
As their eyes met, all three of them gave a bland nod that signaled that they were prepared and ready to head out.
Barth the Dwarf was equipped with heavy armor and a morningstar.
Brianna possessed the 【Conjurer】 job and was wearing dark purple robes with a magical staff in her hand.
Aisha was dressed similar to that of a Shinto priest, carrying a footman’s flail in her left hand. She also had numerous support items such as holy water and other consecrated materials.
“In that case… Let’s quickly…”
Just as they were about to enter the boss room, their strategy meeting/break was cut short as a thunderous roar caused the ground to shake as if the earth was falling apart.
The furious tremors assaulted Arty’s group and the sheer magnitude of it caused them to stop moving on the spot.
The party of five people were forced to wait where they stood as it was as if the dungeon itself began to creak from the violent tremors to the point where it almost seemed as it it would collapse.
When the tremors finally stopped, the dust scattered about as if it was dancing. Small fragments of dirt and stone fell from the walls to the ground.
The tremors were so fierce that they lingered and reverberated throughout the dungeon.
“Wha… what the? … Did someone enter before us..?”
Arty had been the first to recover from the tremors and had immediately inferred from her many experiences so far to attempt to discern the cause of the sound just now as well as the shaking.
She looked up towards the heavens while holding her right hand over her eyes.
The behavior that she was expressing demonstrated her thoughts completely
-This just can’t be happening!
“Crap guys! This is bad, it’s the one we’re after too! Hell, they must be rookies. Do they seriously not know about doing a strategy meeting before you attempt a boss fight!?”
The Werebear Zack grumbled vexingly while he clung zealously to Arty.
“Now now you two, calm yourselves. Such things CAN happen on occasion. In the first place they may have entered without knowing anything, so it can’t be helped. It’s fine though, is it not?”
“Aisha, you seriously are carefree. If it wasn’t a rookie that came here this time, then we may not be able to even hunt Gründ!”
“Gagagagaga, yeah, it’s fine. Since it’s already happened, there isn’t any reason to get all steamed up.”
Arty immediately understood the cause of the disturbance, though the rest of her group didn't express their respective thoughts on the matter.
Naturally, Aisha went to comfort Arty and Zack who would become depressed as their long-awaited opportunity to strike Gründ may well have been lost. Brianna smiled wryly, even if she was a bit shocked while Barth’s voice reverberated as he continued letting out his hearty laugh of his.
Furthermore, it was more or less because these five had become close over time that they tended to speak to each other without restraint.
Though, there was a reason that the five of them reacted in this manner.
Fundamentally, it is common practice that before a boss room, there is a safe zone that you would pass through. Previously, if there is a party waiting, the other parties would queue up behind them to wait their turn at the boss. In short, this time around, someone didn’t wait their turn and had sniped the party’s intended target.
While this unique rule of adventurers isn’t law, it is rather a pact and common understanding that was created to avoid pointless grudges between groups adventuring within dungeons. This has become a near ironclad practice within most Labyrinth Cities.
Though this may be the case, it doesn’t mean that people must absolutely abide by it though.
However, it’s certainly true that most adventurers that want to avoid any unnecessary disputes do in fact follow it.
The reason it works is that there aren’t any real disadvantages to taking a break within the safe zone before challenging the boss.
Although someone might go out of order again like what happened this time, the grumbling of the five people quickly subsided.
You might say that they had simply grown accustomed to this situation. The fight had already begun anyway so there isn’t any point to further complaints.
Hmmm… shall we go and have a little look? I’m curious as to what the outcome will turn out to be.”
As expected, Arty, the party leader, complied.
She expressed a rather sinister smile given that her intentions behind observing the outcome of the rookie’s fight between the boss was obvious.
She wondered if the rookie wasn’t aware of the rule.
She also wanted to know what kind of person they were as well. If possible she’d smile, but she seemed as if she had something on her mind that she wanted to say.
“I agree also. I want to see what kind of rookie they are anyways. Don’t you agree Aisha?”
“You’re right Brianna-san, if they get hurt then I’ll need to heal them since life is so precious!”
“Kekekekekeke, me too! It’s seems more interesting than sitting around here waiting for the next one.”
“Well then, let’s get moving without delay! Quickly, double time!”
Brianna, Aisha, Barth and Zack all offered their answers with enthusiasm.
Then, Arty and the other casually arrived in front of the doors to the boss room. Even though it hadn’t even been a few minutes since the tremors had exploded throughout the dungeon.
Just as they reached the door, another tremor came through the huge doors to the boss room as the boss monster Quake Hammer Gründ swung his hammer down with a single blow as they made their entry.
In total, not even 10 minutes had yet passed since the boss fight had started.
However, the scene that they were forced to bare witness to within the boss room from the doorway was overwhelming. The scene that opened before them was something far too terrifying.
“Wha…. what… is this?”
As it stood, the other four people couldn’t even manage to offer an answer to the question Arty just whispered to herself. Their breath had been stolen from them as if the air within the room had disappeared.
Overcome with surprise, they were unable to avert their gaze anywhere else besides the scene. Their very consciousness locked to what was inside the boss room.
The five people felt the same thing, an intense, almost impossible fear.
The entire surface of the boss room floor was filled with a vast quantity of fresh blood.
In the center of the sea was the Cyclops. It stood with only it’s right arm remaining as it was sobbing on the floor as it made a pathetic and desperate attempt to crawl away to safety.
The splendid gray beard of the Cyclops had been dyed deep red as it absorbed it’s own blood and readily began to cling to it’s skin.
Originally, the massive figure should be standing well over nine meters tall, however, it had shrunk quite a bit given that both of it’s legs had been brutally severed from the thighs and the left arm had been ripped from the shoulder.
From the huge wounds where the limbs had parted from the body, dark red blood continued to flow endlessly and soaked the floor.
In addition, the abdomen may have been cut open as a long section of entrails were spilling out behind him as he crawled on the floor. The contents growing further behind him as he went.
The scene that was most eye-catching, however, was the fact that Gründ kept crawling, as if he had long since stopped paying it any mind.
The fact is that until now, this Cyclops had nothing to fear, however, fear was the obvious reason for Gründ to act this way. Gründ’s single remaining eye overflowed with tears as a strange scream that sent a chilling sensation down your spine.
Quake Hammer Gründ existed in the memories of Arty’s group as they had encountered him several times before.
What manner of adversary arrived before his mighty hammer to cause such a crushing defeat to the point this proud monster was in total terror? Especially when he used to have the appearance that gave the most imposing air, the current form showed no sign nor trace of that figure ever existing.
However, the state that it was in, where it had become so weak that it was trying to desperately escape was unnerving.
Finally, the sight of that… the Three-Horned Black… Demon, left the entire group including Arty in total terror.
Since there was such a great gap between Gründ and this Black Demon, they felt it even more so. This was no mere laughing matter. This Three-Horned Black Demon began to dismantle Gründ with a large sword as tall as he was while Gründ was still alive! The blade itself was rectangular similar to that of an oversized kitchen knife.
It took a moment, but Arty and the others began to put together that the being before them was likely a member of the 【Lord】 Species. Since Arty and the others had associated with some Lords in the past, they understood that their combat ability is just as exceptional as that of a Dragonewt.
However, it’s far out of the ordinary for it to have been able to finish off the dungeon boss and begin dismantling it before even 10 minutes had passed. Nevertheless, although Arty and her group no longer were dazed in fear as they had been before, they were unable to move their bodies.
Instead, they looked upon him with great respect, harboring feelings of admiration because of his great strength. The reason for this is that every member of Arty’s group held a firm, near religious, conviction that those with the power to defeat mighty enemies within dungeons, whether through violence, wisdom, or any other such methods similar to financial power should be the ones to dictate what rules to follow and when order is challenged.
To stop admiring the owner of such overwhelming power out of simple fear was unimaginable.
Still, why did they fear it? The reason was quite a simple one.
“This meat has quite a crunchy texture as I chew it... ahh, it becomes even more delicious that way… This rich blood has a strong taste… yet… it makes it easier to swallow… ahh, I want some more… Well, that certainly sets it… this Cyclops is fairly delicious.”
Arty, who possesses 【Job - Chivalrous Thief】, part of the Scout job’s tree of development, has abilities that excel at scouting out an enemy, she had surely heard the mutterings of the figure before her.
So more than anything else, they had a natural fear of this Three-Horned Black Demon.
-(“””””He’s… He’s eating it while… it’s still alive… guu..”””””)
The Cyclops, Quake Hammer Gründ, was without a doubt the strongest boss monster within the Mine of the Cyclops dungeon.
However, it had been one-sidedly dismantled while still alive, it’s flesh and bones eaten.
Arty, somehow, through great effort, had managed to suppress her rising nausea, enduring it without expelling the contents of her stomach.
When people dive deep within a dungeon and the food supply they had prepared in advance runs out, they will often eat dungeon monsters to avoid starvation.
Arty and the rest of the group had also done this many times. In addition, there are some special and unique 【Jobs】 that can be acquired that make it necessary for you to eat monsters in order to continue living. That’s why it’s quite sensible to collect data on the many monsters you defeat.
This was their reason for not having an aversion to eating monsters, however, it’s not possible to counteract poisons so that they wouldn’t die without using special cooking methods.
That’s why it’s probably smart to refrain from eating Insect-type monsters, monsters that have grotesque appearances, as well as several key other types.
However, as one would expect, it’s hard to eat a target’s meat in front of their prey while it’s still alive.
Because the Cyclops is technically classified as both a 【Giant】 and a 【Demon】, it has some degree of intelligence, although typically not much.
Because of this, Arty’s party judged that the creature shouldn’t be able to live in that current state, nor should it be possible to consume its flesh.
(“””””This is too cruel…”””””)
Though Gründ’s right arm and leg that had already been cut off could not be found, they had just entered as the Black Demon had cut off the left leg, the meat that he had just been eating that seemed delicious to it.
Given this, it’s likely that the right arm and right leg had probably already been eaten.
Predicting this, Arty, as well as the rest of the party began to unconsciously tremble a little.
However, as they quietly watched the Black Demon eat the flesh, bones, and consume the fresh flowing blood of the left leg that had been nearly the same size as the Black Demon’s body, in it’s entirety no less, their feet and minds seized with fear as they became quite nauseous.
Then, the Black Demon raised the large sword overhead with one hand, and while taking the last bite of the leg’s remains, swung down at Gründ’s remaining arm.
The speed of the downward swing of the being was so fast that Arty and the rest of the party could only look on at the aftermath of the attack. Gründ’s arm danced through the air as a fresh spray of blood spewed everywhere.
Gründ let out a scream of such strength that the very reverberation destroyed what remained of his voice.
Though, the Black Demon seemed to take no notice as he caught the freshly caught arm in the other hand and began eating once again.
It was a truly gruesome scene to behold, combined with the speed in which the flesh and blood was being consumed, it surely should have been more than what his body could ever have hoped to take in, leaving Arty and her party with a surreal experience.
However, reality hadn’t changed at all, they weren’t dreaming, this was reality. Arty and the rest of her party continued to stand there, witnessing as Gründ was being systematically being divided and devoured right before their very eyes. It wouldn’t be long before there would be nothing left of the former proud beast. At most, they guessed he wouldn’t last even fifteen more minutes.
The sheer extent of Gründ’s vitality was his own misfortune now as he would continue to survive until his head was eaten. As what would be expected, Arty and her group all felt a strong sensation of similar to that of pity for the beast. However, as the item drop from Gründ that had been desired by Arty and her party was retrieved by the Black Demon, it finally seemed to notice their presence.
As it’s gaze met theirs, their minds went blank for a moment. Instantly, an unpleasant sweat covered their whole bodies as their teeth began to make loud chattering sounds.
The sheer, overwhelming terror they now felt was throwing their very thoughts into total disarray. Although their minds were spinning at an unbelievable speed, they could not determine what they should do in this situation.
During this time, the Black Demon was silently and steadily approaching where Arty and her party were standing. Aisha collapsed first, unable to withstand the Black Demon’s unimaginable and overpowering aura.
Although Brianna had extended her hand as a reflex to support Aisha as she began to collapse backwards, she herself couldn’t generate the strength necessary to support both bodies and collapsed with her.
However, because Brianna had reduced the force slightly with her last remaining strength, the impact was reduced enough in such that their heads didn’t hit the floor hard, avoiding any noticeable injuries.
Despite this fact, no matter how much time passed, there was no sign from the two that they were getting up. Instead, neither moved at all.
If you had observed the scene closely enough, you would notice that Brianna had latched onto Aisha tightly and pretended as if they were dead.
Since their bear’s opponent was a complete and utter Demon, she thought that he would decide to escape rather than defend them.
After that moment, Zack had already begun to instinctively place his equipment on the ground and lied on his back after determining he had no chance to win. He then exposed his belly as his race’s sign of total submission.
For a moment, Arty was about to ask if Zack had any pride at all, but she could fully understand his feelings.
Arty’s own hands and feet clattered as she trembled and she was already having trouble just keeping herself standing.
The resolution that Zack showed in surrendering without a fight was probably due to the fact that his strong instincts as a Beastman compelled his very body to do so.
Barth was the only one still standing upright without moving. His splendid beard surely seemed to not just be for show to have such bravery in this situation.
They even thought, “As expected of the oldest among us,” however, it was only due to the fact that the little dwarf had already fainted, his small stature and short legs supporting him and not falling over.
Noticing this she thought, “Come now, that’s too pitiful!”, she wanted to revoke her previous impression of the old dwarf.
Although Arty thought she had discarded her tendency to escape from reality, as expected, her mind had reached her limit as the Black Demon closed the distance enough to reach out to her with it’s hand.
(“... I’ll… be killed…”)
As she thought this, the image of the crying and pitiful Gründ flashed into her mind with vivid detail.
The meat was carved using such precision that he wouldn’t die even as his head was picked up and was being devoured.
He had been desperately trying to crawl away until each of his limbs had been severed, his guts spilling out all across the floor in his futile attempt to escape.
He had stayed alive, while being consumed until the very end where it’s final sight was the two, cold eyes, of the Black demon as it was eaten.
This chilling image overwhelmed her mind.
(I’ll… be… guuh…. eaten…”)
The Black Demon opened his mouth a little, his sharp fangs made themselves visible. Their resemblance was that of white metal with red staining the interior.
His dreadful voice overflowed without any connection to his intentions. It was at the same time that she had finally lost the last of her strength in her legs and lower body to the point where she softly sat down on the spot, her abdomen became wet as a certain degree of freedom had overcame her senses.
Understanding what had just happened, her face began to burn with the sheer shame of what had just occurred, but her fear was suppressing any of these feelings as her body refused to get back up.
The reason for that is that the Black Demon’s eyes were locked to her own, her consciousness was solely fixed on him.
“Hmmm? Tired? Well…. ah, here, this will help.”
The Black Demon lightly said something, then he placed a high quality piece of cloth that was both long and narrow across Arty’s shoulders with his large, highly trained hand.
Arty had long since lost the ability to process the situation, her mind frozen and blank as her eyes could no longer even follow the shape of the figure speaking to her.
The words of the Black Demon echoed through her mind as it was as if all time had frozen, her mind simply couldn’t process what had just happened.
It wasn’t until the Black Demon’s presence had completely disappeared that she slowly began to regain her senses.
“Wh…. Whaa?..................... What in the …. world….”
Arty muttered this, but not even she heard herself say it.