Chapter 22 : Lord of Underground Labyrinth⑧
「To think that those guys went down to the 4th floor….」
Titan, then guild master of 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』, muttered as he stood inside the large room on the 4th floor.
His subordinates were waiting behind him with a dumbfounded look on their faces. Taking Cradle along with him, he headed towards the centre of the room. He picked up something that resembled smashed entrails.
It was the slime’s core that was defeated by Lambert.
「T-Titan-sama… Is this… the remnant of an unidentified demon…」
「You may not believe it but, that armored dude was definitely the one who killed this thing. I doubted my eyes when I saw the corpse of the ogres who died with just a single slash but… I see now, that man is definitely more than what I expected.」
Titan explained as an eerie smile formed on his face.
「We came all the way here after gathering information and making a perfect countermeasure against that dark monster, but it feels like we just got a freebie.」
Among the members of 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 present, Titan was the only one who seemed like he was already itching for a fight.
It has been a really long time since he had a chance to go all out.
Titan’s fighting spirit reignited.
He felt as if every inch of his body was filled with power.
Even amongst 1st rate adventurers, the number of people who could win against Titan in a contest of strength could be counted on one hand.
Ever since he’d gained 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal Claw 』 and joined 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』, he remained undefeated.
However, he only had one dissatisfaction, namely, no one was strong enough to force him to use 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal Claw』.
Naturally, he prefered battles against humans to those against demons.
He could experience the training both parties undertook to become stronger, their battle tactics, thrill, and then, the sweet victories. It was a completely different feeling compared to a battle between humans and demons.
「Ten of you guys go back to the third floor and keep a tight watch on the stairs leading to this floor. Fourty of you stay on this floor with me… Cradle, you come with me. Let me show you the moment when I defeat that armor dude. We’re going to split up to look for those people in all direction in a three-man party.」
「T-There’s only five of us!? Shouldn’t we take more people with u-….」
Cradle tried to curry favor with Titan.
「Haah? This great me alone can rival ten people. Got a problem with that?」
Cradle shook his head after Titan glared at him.
「Y-Yesh.. Sir… No problem with me, sir…」
Titan huffed after he heard Cradle’s answer.
After that, he looked at Ange, the mage, and signaled him to move on with his chin.
Ange nodded, then she raised the staff in her hand.
「O footprints, came to the surface!」
Suddenly, light shaped footprints rose on the water surface.
It was magic to trace someone’s footprints that had just passed by a certain place.
「As I expected, they’ve really been here before. Ange, have you found any trace of them forging their footprints?」
「It’s just like this.」
She replied back with a lewd gesture.
「Kukuku… You’ve exhausted yourself huh, armored dude. I’m gonna enjoying this.」
Titan went even deeper into the passage in front of them, he was followed by his four subordinates, including Ange and Cradle.
The remaining members of 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 split into three-man teams and entered the other passages.
「ORAORA, MOVE IT, MOVE IT. Your newcomer’s duty is to become our shield!! Hyahahaha!」
Using the newbies as a vanguard, the man who spoke followed from behind while linking his arm with a woman beside him.
His name was Emely, a thirty year old swordsman and the 3rd strongest person in 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』.
There was no doubt about his swordsmanship, but his drinking habits and his lustful nature made him an especially troublesome person even in the infamously troublesome 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』.
「RUN FASTER, YOU SH*ITTY NEWBIES.」
「But Emely-san…. We have no idea what kind of trap is laid in front of us… Our only choice is advancing slowly while using sense’s magic…」
「Ha~, you dare to talk back to me~」
Emely yelled while drawing his sword from the scabbard.
The sword’s blade that came out of the scabbard shone red.
It was a sword made with magic ore, the kind of ore that contained mana in it. This particular ore absorbed the mana in its surrounding, then stored inside of its scabbard, and unleashed the stored mana as heat when unsheathed.
He thrust his sword right toward his subordinate’s face.
The newbie’s scream was accompanied by the sizzling sound of charred meat.
The skin that was charred by the heat of the sword was ripped off.
The newbie then fell right where he stood, holding onto his face, screaming and vomiting.
「That was hard, even though I intended to stop right before I hit you. Look, you wouldn’t have ended up like this if you did as I told you. Do you want to embarrass me?」
The other newbies who witnessed the scene scrambled to run at the front, Emely let out a satisfied laugh.
「BUHAHAHAHA! DON’T WORRY, I’LL MAKE SURE TO CARVE YOUR NAME ON THE GUILD MEMORIAL IF YOU DIE IN THE LABYRINTH! THAT’S NOT A BAD OFFER, RIGHT? WHAT? ARE YOU GOING TO REFUSE THAT KIND OF HONOR? IT’S BECAUSE YOU HAVE LOW CONSCIOUSNESS LIKE THIS THAT YOU CAN’T BECOME STRONG LIKE ME. Right, Carmil-… Eh?」
When he called the woman by his side, he realized that her head had been rolling around on the floor.
The head that fell was bereft of its beauty, it was distorted with fear.
From the cross-section of her neck was the dripping black slime’s liquid.
Emely understood right away.
The black slime who hid its real body under the shallow water had targetted his group from behind.
He made a huge mistake by placing his subordinates at the front as the vanguard.
「UWOOOOO! SOMETHING IS COMING! SOMETHING IS COMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!」
Emely raised a war cry as he stabbed his drawn sword into the black slime, before retreating and discarding the headless body of the woman who had been in his embrace.
According to the accumulated data in 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』 archives, the black slime on the 4th floor was moving in a linear path. That’s why one must take some distance when it was attacking. It was possible to win against it as long as another person outside of its attack range aimed the counterstrike from its side.
Emely recalled that information and put priority in opening some distance between them first.
After opening some distance, Emely set his stance while glaring at the black slime who was creeping on top of the corpse.
「F-F*UCK! NEWBIES! YOU’RE STILL THERE, RIGHT! DO YOUR SCOUTING JOB PROPERLY, YOU DULLARDS!」
When it was hiding, the black slime was almost impossible to detect.
Emely might have felt that something wasn’t right if he didn’t force his team to move quickly and allowed them to use sensing magic.
「Don’t just stand there like fools, come back here immediately…」
Emely confirmed the condition of his subordinates with a backward glance.
His subordinates had escaped ahead of him while screaming hysterically.
「I’M GONNA F*UCKING KILL YOU DAMMIT! YOU F*UCKING BA*STARDS! COME BACK HERE! THE BLACK GUARDIAN OF THE 4th FLOOR WAS THE ONE THAT GOT SMASHED A WHILE AGO! NOT THIS ONE, YOU F*UCKING BA*STARDS!」
Emely approached the black slime, step-by-step, while pointing his sword towards it.
Though it was busying itself with the woman’s corpse just a moment ago, its body suddenly quivered when Emely closed in, then leapt at him.
However, Emely had been aware of his enemy’s position.
No matter how fast its speed was, it could only move in a linear pattern.
He also took plenty of distance.
Thus, Emely jumped back while thrusting his sword forward.
The sword pierced through the black slime.
The black slime’s liquid made a sizzling sound as it burned from the inside-out by the sword’s heat.
Emely continued what he was doing, swinging down his sword to throw it down.
And yet, in spite of the huge tear on its body, the black slime kept on fighting, completely unaffected by Emely’s attack.
The black slime leapt toward Emely’s chest.
His clothes were dissolved by the black liquid and searing pain on his chest followed
No matter how much he was writhing in agony, there was no sound coming out of his mouth. As he looked down on his chest, he noticed an out of place phenomenon.
He could see through the black slime, he saw the dissolved skins on his chest and some parts had even reached his sternum.
He was beyond saving.
Emely fell face up right where he stood.
In his fading field of vision, he saw another two slimes, gazing at him from inside of the water.
（This place is… Filled with them.）
Thus, Emely’s consciousness vanished.
After feasting on the corpse of two adventurers, the three slimes went after the others who were passing through this passage.
On the other hand, Titan’s group was advancing fairly easily.
「The way is filled with monster corpses, just like earlier, huh.」
「They may not be as powerful as what we know from the rumors. Well, it doesn’t mean anything at this point anyway.」
The passage used by Lambert was filled with the remnant of black slimes.
It was to the point that even the surviving black slimes avoided this passage.
「『Witch’s Candlestick』 really was annihilated by those weaklings, huh? What a disgrace when the five of us are enough to fight them.」
Cradle laughed aloud as he looked at the black slime’s internal organs that were floating on the water surface.
Naturally, he could say that since he had yet to know that Emely, the 3rd strongest of 『Dragon’s Enchanted Metal』, had been slaughtered by those very black slimes.