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Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 157
Let’s Confront the Teleport Trap!
Haruki had suddenly vanished.
“…Uh, huh? Huuhh!?”
Karen couldn’t follow what had just happened.
(Did he take off his mask?)
That idea crossed Karen’s mind, but Haruki hadn’t shown any intent of removing his mask.
He rarely removed his mask inside a dungeon other than when facing an extremely strong enemy.
That was because whenever he removed his mask, the monster would lose sight of Haruki and turn its attention to Karen.
Haruki was fighting with a mask on in order to keep their battles in control.
Another reason for that was that Haruki was concerned about his presence.
He wouldn’t just recklessly expose his real appearance, which had no presence at all.
(So why did he disappear?)
“…A trap. Damn it!”
Van answered Karen’s unvoiced question.
He was making a wry face as he stared at the point where Haruki had been standing mere seconds ago.
“…Yeah. A rare trap. Not even Yoshi can see them.”
Yoshi was a member of Team Aerial who was also an excellent scout.
And this trap was something not even the scout of Hokkaido’s top team could detect.
It was clearly a very troublesome trap.
“…If you step on it, it teleports you.”
“It teleports you!? Could he have been sent downstairs…?”
“No… I think he’s still somewhere on this floor.”
“Do you know where he could have gone?”
Van shook his head silently in response to Karen’s question.
He didn’t know where Haruki had been teleported to.
But if he was still somewhere on the 19th floor, there was still hope to find him.
(Karaboshi had been able to fight on his own on the last floor… I’m sure he’ll be fine.)
Karen recalled Haruki’s fights against the Bloody Owls.
No matter how hard she recalled, she couldn’t think of Haruki losing to Bloody Owls.
Haruki had the ability to hold his own even against a Monster Parade all by himself.
In addition, he had the courage to continue aiming for a one-shot reversal while fighting against a monster far stronger than him.
(He should be okay.)
Karen repeated that thought to herself over and over, but still…
“Karaboshi… Please be safe…”
…Karen couldn’t stop praying for his safety.
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
In the blink of an eye, after coming out of the gate, Haruki appeared in a room he had never seen before.
The sudden change of landscape made Haruki wonder if he wasn’t just seeing things.
However, no matter how many times he blinked or rubbed his eyes, the walls surrounding Haruki wouldn’t go away.
“What’s this place?”
Everything had happened so fast.
Just a moment ago, Haruki was on the 19th floor, which was a forest stage.
But now, he was standing inside some sort of cave.
The area seemed to be quite large, but not as large as the forest stage on the 19th floor.
The floor, walls, and ceiling were dark gray rocks, and about half of their surfaces had crystals embedded into them.
The faint light of the dungeon diffused through the crystals.
Strong and weak lights would flicker with every step.
“Is this some kind of secret room?”
It looked completely different from what he had seen once he entered the 15th floor, but it was possible that it was a hidden room.
However, Haruki had no idea why he had entered that hidden room all of a sudden.
“Still, it’s beautiful…”
Haruki’s words escaped his mouth before the fantastic sight that could hardly be seen on the surface.
If this had been a natural cave, Haruki would have forgotten about the time and just enjoyed the sights.
But this was a dungeon.
No matter how fascinating its appearance, he had to stay on his toes.
To make things worse, a shiver on the back of his neck made him feel that a monster was nearby.
It wasn’t an ordinary monster either.
It seemed to be considerably tough.
Haruki still didn’t understand why he was sent to that place.
He had a lot of questions about what to do next and how to get out of there, but he was more worried about the imminent threat he had felt.
He quickly checked his gear and encouraged Rhea and Esta to be on alert.
Using his Detection, Haruki felt the presence of a monster at the deepest part of the cave.
It seemed to be the monster that was causing the back of his neck to shiver so much.
(…This is bad.)
That sign was stronger than any monster up to the 19th floor of the Garage Dungeon.
Perhaps it had the same fighting power of that knight he had fought in “Kamuikotan”.
Or perhaps it was even stronger…
(Should I run away?)
The idea of escaping crossed his mind, but he had no idea where to run to.
(Could this be some kind of “event” that cannot be escaped from?)
There may be a weak wall somewhere, like in the hidden room on the 15th floor.
With that in mind, Haruki traced the floor and walls with his eyes as far as he could see.
The light that diffusely reflected through the crystals was getting in the way, making it difficult to capture the amount of energy that covered the walls.
Perhaps the room was entirely covered with crystals precisely to conceal the way out.
It seemed to be very well prepared.
Haruki clicked his tongue at the dungeon’s malice.
As he readied himself, the sign had already approached to a point where Haruki could see its source.
The strong sign came from a huge rock.
Haruki thought something must have gone wrong, but that wasn’t the case.
The rock was actually moving on its own, and it was approaching Haruki.
It also seemed to have a pair of legs.
Each of its steps echoed with a “thump” against the cave’s walls.
“It’s a golem!”
Haruki’s eyes gleamed with the emotion of seeing an actual golem for the first time.
But that only lasted for a brief moment.
Haruki quickly tightened his expression and readied his weapons.
A strong sign. A monster he had seen for the first time.
Haruki couldn’t allow himself to be careless.
Haruki closely observed the movements of the golem, whose body’s surface was also covered with crystals.
He wanted to keep his movements in mind as much as possible before making contact with it.
One step, two steps.
The slow-paced golem stopped, and bent itself slightly forward.
The next moment…
The golem leapt towards Haruki.
The golem was approaching Haruki at a terrifying speed.
It was almost as if it had been catapulted forward.
Surprisingly, the movements he learned in his actual battle experience unconsciously led Haruki’s body to a defensive position.
Right in front of Haruki’s line of sight…
The golem moved its right arm.
At that moment…
Haruki’s field of vision shook.
The golem’s attack came in contact with Haruki’s dagger.
Although Haruki had taken a defensive posture, he couldn’t withstand the attack of the huge golem, and he ended up being blown far away.
He kept his balance in mid air, and landed on his feet.
His feet dragged on the ground so as to kill the momentum.
Both of his arms, which had taken the full brunt of the golem’s attack, felt extremely numb.
It seemed that he hadn’t sustained any fractures or other injuries, but it seemed that he wouldn’t be able to strike back right away.
“What incredible physical power!”
This was the first time Haruki’s arms were rendered numb with a single attack.
Neither Shigure nor Masatsugu had been able to deliver an attack of such brutality.
It was a first-time experience for Haruki.
For that reason, he was slow to react.
Haruki’s entire body was shaken by the golem’s tackle.
He made two full turns in mid air before falling.
Then, he rolled on the ground until he finally stopped.
Enduring the pain, Haruki quickly got back up.
The golem’s follow-up attack… Never happened.
The golem was standing still and facing Haruki, as if he was assessing the situation.
“…Waiting and seeing, huh?”
A dry chuckle escaped Haruki’s mouth.
It should have been perfectly able to follow up with another attack.
However, the golem didn’t do that.
…Or rather, it didn’t need to do that.
That golem could easily overpower Haruki without having to take advantage of his proneness.
Haruki was numb and hurt by that last attack.
Esta, who had a high defense rating, didn’t seem to have taken any damage, but Rhea was in a deplorable state. She had lost some leaves, and some of her branches were broken.
Rhea shook her leaves as if saying “It’s nothing, really”.
However, her shaking was terribly weak.
Haruki was hesitant at first.
But he finally made up his mind and put Esta on the ground.
Then, he secured Rhea’s planter on top of him.
“…Sorry. Esta, try to run away as far away from here as possible.”
Apparently realizing what Haruki was trying to do, the confused Rhea raised her leaves and repeatedly slapped Haruki’s hand.
I’m okay, I can still fight!
Feeling Rhea’s intention with each slap made Haruki’s heart hurt.
However, if Haruki kept on fighting with Rhea on her back, she could end up dying before Haruki could no longer move.
Rhea’s defenses were weak.
Even though she had the fighting power to fight the monsters on the 19th floor on equal terms, she was also frail enough to get serious damage on her leaves and branches just by being sent rolling over the floor once.
Because of Rhea’s frailty, Haruki had tried to defend from attacks with her protection in mind.
He would parry and evade attacks to ensure that Rhea wouldn’t get hurt even once.
However, the techniques Haruki had trained thus far didn’t seem to work against the enemy in front of him this time.
It was powerful enough to easily make short work of Haruki’s techniques.
If he kept fighting alongside Rhea, she would definitely end up being killed.
“Get out of here, quick!!”
After being shouted at by Haruki, the flustered Esta hurriedly left Haruki.
Rhea, who had been fastened on top of Esta’s back, hit him repeatedly with her leaves.
However, her protest was so weak that it had no way to go through Esta’s tough carapace.
(…It’s better like this.)
Haruki let out a sigh of relief after seeing Esta and Rhea run away.
If the enemy in front of him had been on the same level as that Dark Knight, Haruki would have fought with Rhea on his back all the way.
But this time, the enemy was a terribly poor match for her.
The difference between this golem and Haruki’s abilities couldn’t be compared to how it had been with the Dark Knight.
Haruki could understand that with that single attack.
Haruki himself could end up dying here.
That’s why he had hardened his own heart and ordered Esta and Rhea to escape.
Although they had been tamed by Haruki, both Rhea and Esta were monsters that Haruki had brought along.
There was no need for them to die along with him.
(You guys don’t have to die here with me.)
Haruki reached for Maat, who was inside his feather necklace, and gently pulled her out of it.
He then opened his hands, wishing for her to fly away, but she didn’t seem to have any plans to do so.
Haruki suppressed his emotions and yelled at Maat.
However, Maat flapped her wings and returned to the feather necklace.
No matter how many times he tried, the result would always be the same.
Haruki couldn’t urge Maat to leave.
“…Hah. It’s pointless.”
Haruki had increased Maat’s skills using his Skill Board.
Since he had significantly increased her Damage Reduction, she shouldn’t take as much damage as Haruki.
Haruki could only pray that that skill would help her survive even after he himself has died.
In reality, Haruki wanted to escape from that place right away.
He wanted to escape and live another day.
He wanted to survive and work hard to capture the dungeon with Karen again.
He wanted to continue his adventure.
However, he had learned something the hard way back in “Kamuikotan”.
There was no escape from these overwhelmingly strong monsters.
How many more opponents like this golem would be out there?
Haruki couldn’t begin to imagine how many other powerful beings like it still existed.
There was only one thing he could clearly see.
No matter how hard he stared at the golem, there was no place in his body that would shine with the light of Weakness Exploit.
In other words, there was no way for Haruki to attack its weak spots, no matter how hard he struggled.
That fact made Haruki feel dizzy.
However, Haruki had no choice but to stake his life and stand his ground.
He had to do as much as he could to ensure Rhea and Esta lived.
That was the correct way to live as an adventurer.
“To be an adventurer is to dance with Death.”
It was his duty to make the decision to live when he should live, and to die without hesitation when he should die.
Even if he were to die as a result, putting his life on the line in order to save someone was the right way to live as an adventurer.
If anything, Haruki would have wished that Maat also escaped, but…
Maat sounded very motivated.
It didn’t seem that she even wanted to escape.
While all that was taking place, the golem had shortened the distance between itself and Haruki, standing about 10 meters away from him.
A little more, and it would be in attacking range.
Haruki took a deep breath, and then exhaled.
After readying himself, he got closer to the golem.
The golem responded immediately to Haruki’s movements.
It twisted its body, shaking its fists.
Crouching under the golem’s arms…
Haruki launched a barrage of attacks.
Slash, punch, kick, stab.
The golem’s body seemed to be impervious to all sorts of attacks.
Haruki’s blade couldn’t even scratch the surface of the golem’s body.
Even the Magic Sword, which had grown stronger after defeating many monsters, was useless against it.
So Haruki tried pouring Energy into his Magic Sword.
Not even that Dark Knight had been able to withstand the power of a fully charged Magic Sword.
(Then how about this!?)
Haruki launched a power attack at the golem.