This chapter is sponsored by a
NEO, I mean, Mr Anderson, who donated $50. I’ll be posting my other series today too.
TL: If you are interested, take a look at the patreon for the series or sponsor the chapters with PayPal.
Chapter 57 – King of the underground (8)
============= Brendel’s POV ==============
The battle that Brendel had almost did not give him any loot, and the experience he gained was a pittance.
Before he started searching amongst the rubble, he had told the worker to stay behind for a moment while he and Scarlett investigated the creatures.
[Killing Iron-ranked creatures and below hardly nets any XP at my level. This is the same XP reduction in the game.]
The single loot he found amongst the rubble was an ogre ring. It raised the wearer’s strength and was rated accordingly as a prefix for equipment. The lowest rated Strength Ring was a ‘Ghoul Ring’, and the highest rated Strength Ring was ‘Colossal Dragon Ring’.
The Ogre Ring that he had gotten was a 20 OZ ring, which far surpassed his expectations for a loot drop. The odds were a 1/1000 chance for a level 15 creature to drop a magical equipment like this. The best item that a level 15 creature could drop was a 25 OZ defensive item, but the odds were even higher at 1/10000, which any gamer would not perceive as a possibility to get it realistically.
[But to get such an item when my luck is pretty much shitty at all times…..]
He could not help but glance at Scarlett. Was she some kind of luck idol?
He inspected the ring and saw that it raised the wearer’s strength by 5%. Because of the implanted Spectral Knight’s crystal and Power Break, his strength was close to a hundred in stats. It could raise approximately five strength points.
But when he looked at his index fingers and thumbs, he saw that he was already wearing the Ring of the Wind Empress, the Flame Ring, the Warrior Ring, and the Minor Serpent Ring. Brendel thought for a moment and decided to throw the Ogre Ring to Scarlett.
(TL: Minor Serpent Ring is dropped off from some mob, adds 0.1 OZ to dexterity.)
“That’s a ring that raises your strength by approximately five percent.” He said.
Scarlett caught the ring with a little confusion in her mind: “…… B-but I don’t have any combat abilities.”
“…… That’s a temporary thing. You can recover your strength very soon.” Brendel said.
“Is that really true?” Her amber eyes lit up immediately. She wore the ring on her thumb, and her careful expressions looked like she was guarding an invaluable treasure.
Brendel’s hands clenched into fists, and was momentarily silent before he nodded in the end.
“When have I ever lied? Of course, it’s real.”
She immediately showed a dazzling smile of delight, but her keen observation detected a subtle change in Brendel’s face, and her smile faltered.
“The reason why I will recover is that I will turn into a complete God Acolyte?”
His white lie was exposed very quickly, and he slowly nodded.
“That’s fine. I’m not afraid of turning into a monster. I’m more afraid of losing my strength since I can’t fight for you any longer.”
There was a short moment of silence between the two.
In the end, he told the worker that the search was over and it was safe to move on.
He discovered a few bodies further into the tunnel, and the worker tearfully identified them as his co-workers.
He asked the worker to wait at the third level for help, but the latter considered for a moment before refusing and insisted on going along with him.
The display of Brendel’s strength had made the worker steel his heart to go along with the two. It was definitely safer for him.
Brendel had no choice but to allow him to follow.
“There’s no need to be so careful with it. It’s a minor magic artifact that isn’t worth much.” He said when he saw Scarlett fiddling with the Ogre Ring now and then.
“Y-you’re right. But as a gift, it takes on a different meaning.” Scarlett said.
Brendel blinked several times in response to her answer.
She changed the topic before he could reply: “My lord, do you think that the earthquake is related to the monsters?”
“The earthquake caused the monsters to emerge from the pits?”
“No, I’m afraid it’s the opposite.”
“The opposite? How can that be? I don’t think these weak monsters are capable of causing an earthquake.” She was surprised.
“Weak?” Brendel shook his head. That was just the beginning. If this quest involved Legacy items from the quest, then the things they were going to encounter would be something else entirely.
But he quickly cut off his words as he had found another body at the tunnel’s turn.
“T-that’s foreman Marhann!” The worker’s voice was high from fright.
Brendel glanced at his surroundings and discovered there were two destroyed Rock Panthers near to the left of the tunnel. There were clear marks of swords cutting through their bodies. Marhann was at least an Iron-ranked swordsman based on his judgment.
He thought the foreman fought against the beasts and ultimately lost, but when he inspected his body, he discovered the wound on his neck to be a clean strike, which meant he was killed in a single blow.
[The attacker’s abilities clearly outclass the victim. This mean there are even stronger monsters around.]
Scarlett came to the same conclusion. Her expression became solemn, but she remained quiet.
The worker was trembling on the ground from fear. The foreman was someone reliable and rumored to be a great swordsman, and the fact that he got killed made the worker feel like he could die anytime. He lost control of his emotions and started yelling and crying.
Brendel had no choice but to restrain him to prevent him from attracting more monsters. They continued advancing to the north when the worker calmed down.
Based on the familiar weaves and turns, he was certain that he was close to the place where he separated from Cohen and the others.
But their path was once again blocked by two groups of Rock Panthers. He cut all of them down but quickly realized that the concentration of monsters was starting to increase as though they had endless numbers.
Scarlett seemed to realize the same thing, and she reminded him in a whisper: “We have to kill our way out now, my lord, this place isn’t safe.”
“Yes, I agree that this place isn’t safe.” Brendel nodded.
However, his plan was a little different from hers. He knew that an ordinary man would not be able to flee, and soldiers or mercenaries would choose to do the same as Scarlett.
But he was a gamer.
An endless amount of creatures that one could grind in the game was unusual. He calmly and quickly searched for the leader that was hiding amongst these low-level creatures.
He quickly spotted a smaller cat-like creature made of shiny black obsidian moving in the darkness. Even though it was just a second, Brendel had already recognized that the creature had to be at least five levels higher than the Rock Panthers based on its material.
The youth quickly cleaved the surrounding enemies in a large arc and pursued after it. But what surprised him was the swift reaction of the creature. Before he was able to swing his sword, that black panther had disappeared into the shadows.
[That creature’s speed has surpassed what it should have at its level!]
Brendel wanted to activate his Charge skill, but he lost his target as it seemingly disappeared into thin air. The Rock Panthers also started retreating like a falling tide, and he stopped chasing them in astonishment.
All the creatures had disappeared after a few seconds.
[What’s going on?]
He certainly did not think it was because of his bloodlust or oppressive might that ‘frightened’ them away. These creatures were non-living and acted upon their instructions.
The area became open.
“What was that?” Scarlett managed to catch a glimpse of the black creature when Brendel chased after it.
“The leader. Although to be more accurate, the summoner’s eyes. Regardless of what kind of summoner they are: An elf, necromancer, or beast tamer, in order to control a large army, they need to control a creature that’s intelligent enough for them to use. I’m not sure how big this army is, but if that obsidian panther is the strongest creature amongst them, it’s still fine.”
“If it’s not?” She asked.
“We’re in trouble,” Brendel said and walked a little faster than before.
Scarlett felt the events that happened so far were bizarre. Even though it seemed like Brendel knew what was going on, she did not like the feeling of a trap.
“My lord, let us return to the third level. Aren’t our goals supposed to be capturing the guard commander and controling the mines? Why are we wasting time with these creatures?” She whispered.
“At first my goals are to do just that, but now it’s a little different.”
“What’s different?” She asked in wonder.
A Legacy item from the Silver Lineage had more value than the silver mines. He would never do something stupid like switching the Golden Apple with gold mines. But he did not explain himself and continued to walk deeper to where Cohen’s mining spot was.
He stopped after a few steps.
“Hmm.” He uttered lightly to himself.
“What’s wrong?” Scarlett asked from behind.
“Take a look at this.” He walked to the cornering turn.
Scarlett limped her way over with her halberd as a crutch and discovered that the tunnel widening into a fairly big space. However, she was surprised to see the place in shambles.
It was as if a violent tempest had occurred there. Under the weak light from the crystal, she could see there were fragments of Rock Panthers intermixed with a few glaring obsidian shards.
Brendel looked deeper into the tunnel, pulled out his sword, and said: “It seems like someone is ahead of us. And that someone is powerful.”