Chapter 17: The fat aristocrat meets a powerful enemy
Once the leather gauntlets had become accustomed to Mitrof’s arms, the two of them descended to the fourth basement floor.
They had become skilled enough to defeat fangs, even the ones that formed packs on the third basement floor.
It was due to the experience gained and the knowledge of how to handle fangs before they were completely sublimated.
Grace, for example, was able to make excellent achievements in hunting fangs based on her hunter experience, which Mitrof could not match.
She even found a pack led by a boss-fang from the trace left on the labyrinth path and wiped them out by shooting arrows from a distance.
Mitrof also stepped further forward by equipping a gauntlet on his left arm.
If necessary, he could hold out the gauntlet to protect himself from the fangs’ bites, unharmed.
It took them three days to conquer the third floor, and today they finally descended the stairs.
The open space where they descended the stairs on the fourth floor became a safe base.
Tents were set up, and merchants sold consumables.
Blacksmiths with rotating whetstones were seen sharpening adventurers’ weapons.
The appearance of the forward base was gradually taking on a different feel, and the atmosphere among the adventurers was also changing.
On the upper floors, there were some who showed a sense of naiveté or a lack of confidence, but there were also intermediate-level adventurers who exuded a steady sense of composure.
The two passed through the square and entered the corridor.
It was the same dimly-lit stone passageway as up to the third floor, but somehow it felt heavy and carried a cold atmosphere.
Stains and marks left behind by adventurers who perished here, or perhaps from the blood of monsters, could be seen scattered about.
“…The ones here are kobolds.”
They could be considered my mortal enemies—I almost lost my life to them.”
The ones that hold the fourth floor as their stronghold are kobolds, a hybrid of goblins and fangs.
They possess the ferocity of fangs and the agility and resourcefulness of goblins.
Because of their territorial awareness, it is known that defeated individuals would come up to the upper floors.
They were called “novice killers” because encountering them unexpectedly was a desperate situation for beginners.
“Don’t be nervous—that one was a tough adversary.”
Mitrof was fighting against a kobold.
He defeated it with one strike to help Grace, but the tension during the battle made his spine tremble.
Many people underestimated kobolds due to their twisted and poor appearance, but Mitrof thought they were terrifying.
Both fangs and goblins come at you with their natural instincts, but kobolds have rationality combined with their killing intent.
Until now, they were only consciously hunting monsters.
However, fighting with an opponent who had rationality was a mutual killing.
There was always tension, like having a blade stuck in your throat.
“I, too, am stiff—I have no idea I’m being so hard—Until we get used to it, we must not do anything too strenuous…”
The moment Grace said that
Suddenly, the wall on the side collapsed.
Rubble flew into the passage in front of them, spreading smoke.
The lantern rolled over, and oil splattered.
The spreading fire lit up the passage, revealing a presence.
“Wh-who is this?!”
Grace took a step back.
It was a massive body, round and bloated, with a grayish complexion.
In its thick, short arms, it held a club made from a carved stone.
A small head sat atop a neck buried in layers of fat.
And yet, its eyes were large, roving over the two of them, looking down.
Mitrof muttered in shock.
It was a creature that the man had told Mitrof about when he was young, teaching him how to wield a sword.
——An ugly, oversized form with short arms and legs and a small head with big eyes.
Armed with a weapon, stupid and will eat anything.
The troll swung something it held in its left arm and hurled it at them.
Mitrof and Grace dodged it reflexively.
What rolled down the passage like a bouncing ball was a kobold, half-eaten by the troll.
“Is it… preying on kobolds?!”
“Does a troll appear on the fourth floor?”
“I haven’t heard of that before!”
“Then maybe it got lost and wandered up here—there are some hidden routes in the labyrinth that only monsters know about.”
“Aren’t you calm?!”
While shouting in a panic, Grace observed the troll’s movements while preparing her bow.
As a hunter, she had learned what to do when confronted with dangerous creatures in the forest.
Running with her back turned would be the worst decision because most animals are faster than humans.
Once she became the prey, there was no escaping.
However, is it possible to survive without running away from this creature?
Grace looked up at the troll, which filled more than half of the ceiling.
She doubted how much of a threat her arrows would pose to its body.
It was very unsettling.
The troll neither shouted nor threatened.
It ran heavily, causing the ground to shake, and swung its club.
The target was Mitrof.
Despite the attack, Mitrof dodged the strike with a step.
The club slammed into the ground, scattering debris around.
Mitrof felt the fragments hitting his body and drew his rapier.
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