Chapter 8: An Absolutely Powerful One
Hm? Is that…
Strolling along with a skip and a song after his sound success over the sizable steel golem and stealing of its skill, the behemoth spied something out of the corner of his eye.
It was a box. But not just any box. This luxurious metal box was aptly called a treasure box.
Aside from monsters, labyrinths made these kinds of delectable prizes once in a blue moon. Some contained rare and expensive trinkets like gems or jewelry, while others gave out exceptional armor and weaponry.
Adventurers usually made a living trading raw materials and hunting monsters, but many dream of an early retirement by finding one of these beauties. Unfortunately, the chance of finding a treasure box is extremely low. Most adventurers wouldn’t see one in their lifetime. It could be said that the behemoth finding one is a miracle, or that monsters finding them is why adventurers don’t.
Probably doesn’t have anything for me…
Be it treasure or weapon, the behemoth couldn’t really make use of it. Regardless, he was standing on his hind legs and pushing up the lid of the box, shaking in excitement the whole time. He found one, after all. He wanted to see what was inside.
That’s just human(?) nature.
The treasure box opened with a loud creak, and found inside—
A diamond, huh? And it’s really beautiful.
He jumped up onto the edge of the box, peering at the contents. It was a transparent white jewel as big as a human fist, casting a mystical light in the dank and gloomy labyrinth. As expected, it wasn’t any use for him to have it, but it was still rare.
Let’s keep it as commemoration.
But as the behemoth laid his paw on the diamond, his vision started to shake. Actually, the entire area was trembling.
The behemoth leapt away from the box and tried to fly, but…
I can’t control my body! What’s going on…?!
Whatever was distorting space wouldn’t let him go. Soon, it turned into a whirlpool, swallowing the behemoth in his panic.
This place… Where’d I end up now…?
He was standing in darkness again. The area had a different atmosphere than anything he visited so far. There was a tingling sensation, like a pressure on him.
This was a completely new area to the behemoth. The diamond he found wasn’t just any diamond.
It was a magic stone, a teleport crystal, and one of the labyrinth’s tricks and gimmicks. The name on point as always, teleport crystals take whoever touches it to another place in the same labyrinth.
Maybe near the entrance. Maybe to the middle of the lowest layer. The destination is random. But the result wasn’t good.
With the pressure bearing down on him, something stronger than him was nearby.
He knew that for a fact, and he knew he couldn’t let whatever it was find him.
『How long do you intend to stand on me? Pathetic weakling—』
A piercing voice came from beneath the behemoth, his fur standing on end.
His foothold seemed to be rising. He was standing on a body, and it was getting to its feet. The momentum threw the behemoth off.
If he were human, the rough landing alone would have done some damage. Fortunately, he was a cat. Landing on his feet was only natural.
This… This thing is…
It was utterly massive, covered by earthy reptilian scales. Claws sharp as any blade grew from its four muscular legs. A tail as thick as a log. And then its jaw, gigantic teeth that could tear through anything that looked at it funny.
One of the dragon race, creatures of nigh unfathomable strength that reigned over others.
『The only recourse for disturbing this great one’s sleep… is death!』
The dragon swung out its foreleg. Dragons were extremely prideful, more than any other. They could never forgive doing anything that shamed them. Like standing on their head. For the behemoth, he was going to suffer no less than capital punishment.
He jumped away immediately, but it wasn’t enough. The earth dragon was too large, and too fast.
Only one chance… «Iron Body»!
The savage claws collided with the behemoth, a disturbing noise coming from his body.
No… No way…
He looked at his abdomen wide-eyed, a huge gash in the side. He may have been tough as metal, but the pain was still too much.
『Gufufu… So, you survived my claws, did you? You’ve earned my praise. But this is the end.』
The behemoth was going to die for sure if he took another hit.
The earth dragon’s jaw started to distort as it praised him. It opened wide, bringing its head closer to the agonized behemoth. Viscous saliva dripped from its teeth.
It was going to eat him.
Is this really…?
He couldn’t run, not in his condition. He’d be caught in no time. But not without a fight!
The behemoth bared his fangs through the pain.
Suddenly the earth dragon was screaming.
Its left eye was bleeding profusely.
Kukuku… At least I paid that dragon back in full.
Despite his pain creeping over his body, the behemoth only had a satisfied grin. The dragon underestimated the little kitten, and now it was wailing in pain from an Aether Edge to the face.
At its side, the behemoth laid down, oddly calm as he awaited his final breath.
Mm… Huh? That’s…!
But a ray of light shone down on the behemoth.
The ceiling… The ceiling’s broken!
In the once dark room where the dragon slept, there was a large hole in the roof. Behemoth didn’t hesitate to invoke Flight, powering through his injury. His wings weren’t very steady, but he managed to move well enough.
The earth dragon noticed his attempt to escape, sweeping another leg at him.
He ducked underneath, avoiding it by a hair.
Earth dragons were just that: earth elemental. They had no wings to fly. Only its voice followed the behemoth to freedom.
His breath was ragged. He had yet more monsters on his tail.
After his escape, he walked aimlessly at first, but some goblins caught the sight of blood and came running.
There weren’t many, but even a few could have been too much for a wounded kitten.
He only managed to shake them off with the last of his strength, finally collapsing once he was in the clear.
So this is it… Although I might be closer to the exit now…
The floor he escaped to was filled with only goblins. Just that was enough to tell him he was near the labyrinth’s exit. His mind knew that, but his body had already given up.
Click, click, click—
For some reason, the behemoth heard footsteps. Not bare feet like a goblin. It was the sound of shoes. Probably a human. An adventurer.
Maybe they’ll give me a mercy killing when they see me in this state… but so be it. Far better than dying to a monster…
The behemoth’s consciousness gave in as his body did, and he blacked out.