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Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 158

 

Let’s Overcome the Dreadful Golem!

 

 

“–Wha!?”

 

Just before the attack came into contact, the golem focused its energy on the arm that Haruki was aiming at.

At that moment…

 

*Clink!!*

 

A high-pitched sound echoed around.

 

Haruki’s attack…

That attack that had cut through that Dark Knight…

 

…Was blocked by the golem’s massive Energy.

The attack had been completely stopped.

 

It had dealt exactly zero damage.

It looked like the attack didn’t even scrape the surface of the golem’s arm.

 

The fact that the attack he expected to have some kind of effect had been completely nullified left Haruki absolutely dumbfounded.

 

(No way… I don’t believe it…)

 

At that moment, the golem twisted its body slightly.

A tingle on Haruki’s side of the head.

 

“–!!”

 

In the blink of an eye…

His consciousness flew.

It shattered, turned into pieces, and disappeared.

 

Haruki got back up immediately.

For a brief moment, his consciousness had vanished.

 

As he opened his eyes, something started to cover them.

His field of vision had been dyed dark red.

 

What’s this warm, muddy thing?

Haruki was driven by the urge to take off his mask and rub his eyes, but he couldn’t do that.

If he removed his mask, the golem could lose sight of Haruki and start looking for Rhea and Esta.

 

Haruki remembered what happened before he lost consciousness.

His own confusion after his attack had failed had left him open for the golem’s counterattack.

 

Haruki had been sent back flying 15 meters away from the golem.

 

(Even though I raised my left arm on the spur of the moment, trying to block with my short sword…)

 

He turned his eyes to his left arm. Everything seemed to be where it belonged.

But he couldn’t feel his arm.

 

He tried to squeeze his fingers, but they wouldn’t move.

For some reason, his fingers were still tightened around his short sword’s handle.

 

His elbow wouldn’t bend either.

He was only able to raise his shoulder slightly.

It seemed that the bones on his arm had been fractured, or even possibly pulverized.

 

At any rate, his left arm was no good. He couldn’t use it anymore.

 

As for the Werewolf Short Sword he was holding with his left hand, the blade had completely vanished from its handle.

It couldn’t withstand the golem’s attack.

 

If he hadn’t reacted in time, it could have been Haruki’s head which would have ended up shattered instead of his short sword’s blade.

 

The golem was as calm and collected as ever.

He quietly remained vigilant of Haruki’s situation.

 

“Ha… Haha…”

 

Haruki let out a dry chuckle while looking at the golem.

But it was different than usual.

It was the laugh of someone who had resigned to his fate.

 

“It’s no use.”

 

This wasn’t an enemy he could defeat.

 

If he was Masatsugu, or Shigure, or Bacon, or Kagemitsu…

A ranker, an advanced adventurer could have a chance at winning here.

 

But Haruki wasn’t Masatsugu, or Shigure, or Bacon, or Kagemitsu.

He was just an intermediate adventurer.

 

It was a complete shame that he had found himself facing this enemy at this point in time.

He couldn’t even serve as someone who stays behind so that his friends could escape.

 

Hope, still, would be the last thing Haruki would cast away.

His mind was riddled with how-abouts and maybe-ifs.

 

However, the sheer difference in power before his eyes shattered his hope into smithereens.

All he could do now was laugh.

 

“Hahaha… Ha… Ha–”

 

As an intense fear encroached, Haruki grinded his teeth.

 

He couldn’t let himself die without putting up a fight.

Haruki had to buy as much time as he could.

 

He had to buy enough time for Rhea and Esta to flee to safety.

 

For that reason, he couldn’t allow his eyes to be clouded by fear.

 

(I have to be prepared…)

(I have to be prepared to die.)

 

Taking a deep breath, Haruki held tight to this world.

 

Events that happened in the past.

The faces of friends that Haruki tried to save but couldn’t.

Memories of the family that he lost while trying to bite more than he could chew.

 

He cast away those flooding memories of each time he failed to save them no matter how hard he tried to reach out to them.

 

With a sigh, he breathed out the remaining images along with all of those emotions.

 

He had to be a shield that protected his important companions who were still alive…

 

“Uooohhh!!”

 

Haruki roared from the bottom of his soul.

It sounded like the voice of a beast.

 

It shook the air inside the dungeon.

 

His will to survive had melted away.

The light of hope had vanished from Haruki’s eyes.

 

Behind his mask, Haruki had a ferocious expression on his face as he raised his Magic Sword once again.

 

(I’ll gladly die for my friends…)

 

He had decided that he’d die for his friends.

At that moment…

 

*–Bonk!*

 

Something hit Haruki on the back of his head.

 

“Ack!?”

 

Haruki groaned involuntarily. Though it had been a light attack, it hadn’t been gentle at all.

 

What on earth was that?

Enraged, Haruki turned to see what had hit him while still being cautious of the golem’s approach.

 

It was a round, slender, and bumpy stone…

 

“…That Rhea…”

 

…A potato bullet.

 

Rhea must have thrown it.

But where was it shot from?

Rhea and Esta seemed to have gone far beyond Haruki’s field of vision.

The two of them had already disappeared beyond the darkness of the cave.

 

He was far away from Rhea’s attacking range.

In order for her to be able to hit Haruki, she would have to shoot in a wide arc, plus an unimaginable skill level to actually hit him right on the back of the head.

 

Still, Rhea had delivered this potato stone to Haruki.

But it made no sense…

 

Haruki felt that she was trying to tell him “Don’t die, don’t give up, keep on fighting!”, and he started to feel something warm in his chest.

 

Rhea had reminded him of the things he had forgotten in the face of such a formidable enemy.

 

That’s right.

Yeah, that’s right!

 

He couldn’t give up hope until the very end.

 

No matter how many times he was beaten or trampled over…

That last moment.

Until the very last moment when his consciousness should be cut off by death…

Never give up.

 

The once gone light of hope returned to Haruki’s eyes.

 

“…Phew.”

 

He took a slow, deep breath.

Becoming conscious of himself, he deepened his focus.

 

He gradually increased the level of his concentration.

His Detection perceived every corner inside and outside of his own body.

 

Color, breathing, movement, sound.

Haruki perceived each of them along with their fluctuations.

 

A minute, a second, turned to an eternity.

At that moment…

 

*–Clink!!*

 

Haruki used his weapon to parry the golem’s attack.

However, it wasn’t enough.

 

The sound means that it had hit the blade.

It wouldn’t have made that sound if the parry had been successful.

Just like how Shigure had parried every single one of Haruki’s attacks.

 

The impact from the attack overran Haruki’s body.

The shock traveled through his bones, muscles, and every part of his body.

 

Haruki loosened his body immediately.

By loosening up, he released some of the impact into the air.

 

“Not yet!!”

 

It had been a shock that rocked his brain.

Even though he had become more front-faced, he still couldn’t make up for the difference in ability.

 

But that wasn’t enough to break off Haruki’s concentration.

 

He was already well aware that there was a difference in their ability.

So Haruki was calmly trying to ascertain just how much that difference was.

 

Focus, summarize, imagine, and assume.

Look carefully at every single one of the golem’s movements.

 

All of its attacks were deadly.

The line between life and death was extremely thin.

He had to keep pressing forward while evading each of its deadly blows.

 

Haruki loosened up his body as he raised his Magic Sword against the golem’s attacks.

A brief shock.

Haruki’s body was blown away like a highway pebble under a truck’s wheel.

 

The more Haruki let his body jump in response to the golem’s attack, the less impact his body would suffer.

Even so, damage was quickly racking up.

He would soon become unable to move his body.

 

(Even so–!!)

 

Haruki raised his face.

 

I won’t give up anymore.

I won’t look back anymore.

I won’t hesitate anymore.

 

Despite the shock, Haruki regained his posture.

At that moment…

 

“…tence.”

“–!?”

 

Something like a word came out of the golem’s mouth.

 

It sounded like a tremor, which made Haruki think he was hearing things at first.

However…

 

“…istence.”

 

It was no mistake.

The golem was speaking.

 

(To think it would actually be able to speak…)

 

That’s what he thought, but even hill mynas could speak.

There was no way a monster couldn’t speak.

 

Besides, they were still inside a dungeon.

Nothing should surprise him at this point.

 

Haruki kept a close watch on the golem’s behavior.

 

The golem was still speaking as it walked.

 

(What’s the point?)

 

Haruki couldn’t understand what was the reason for that golem to be able to speak.

A cold sweat ran down Haruki’s spine.

 

“…stence.

…existence.

…of your existence.

Show me the power of your existence!!”

 

“W… Whaat…!?”

 

Upon hearing the golem’s words, Haruki felt as if he had just been struck by lightning.

 

“Oh, Ohh… Uooooohhh!!”

 

Finallyfinallyfinallyfinallyfinallyfinallyfinally!

Finally!

At long last!

 

(The dungeon is asking me to show my presence!!)

 

If he could show the strength of his presence, perhaps Haruki would gain a new power.

Thinking about that possibility, Haruki’s heart got suddenly excited.

 

“Hah… Hah…”

 

He felt as if his heart was about to explode.

 

“Show me your power.”

 

So this golem had to be some kind of test for adventurers.

 

“Show me the power of your existence.”

 

So you can gain a stronger presence!!

 

Haruki got serious.

For the complete opposite reasons, now he felt it was even ok for him to throw his life away…

 

His very core overheated.

His thoughts began to spin at an unprecedented speed.

 

He had to show his presence.
Haruki started attacking the golem.

 

“Ha, haha…!”

 

Slash, stab, punch, kick.

Dodge, jump, counterattack.

 

Leaving himself to the fierce urge that emerged from the bottom of his heart, Haruki attacked the golem with no regard for his own appearance.

 

His body was damaged, fatigued, and tattered.

And yet it obeyed Haruki’s will without question.

 

His condition was terrible.

Haruki was so full of wounds that he was, by all rights, no longer able to move his body.

 

However, Haruki moved.

He couldn’t allow himself to not move.

 

His body unconsciously optimized its strength in order to move.

Every single one of his actions were geared towards the best way to make his body move.

To achieve the maximum results with the barely minimum strength left on him…

 

<<One-handed Sword 5 → 6>>

 

“Give… me… a strong… preseeeence– Gwoaaah!?”

 

His slash was met with a strong counterattack.

The golem’s fist hit him directly, sending Haruki rolling on the ground.

 

“Gaahhh!!”

 

After rolling for several meters, he finally stopped.

He hadn’t been able to guard like before.

It had been a completely direct hit.

 

<<Stamina 4 → 5>>

 

However, Haruki ignored his pain, ignored his fatigue, and used the momentum to get right back up.

 

“Haha… Hahaha… HAAHAHAHAHA!!”

 

Laughing, he took up his Magic Sword again.

Though he had received the golem’s attack directly, he couldn’t allow himself to faint.

 

It was finally time for him to obtain that strong presence he had spent most of his life hoping for.

 

He couldn’t just sit tight and die.

He couldn’t allow himself to die before obtaining a strong presence.

 

“I will keep moving even if I die, and I will crush you, golem!!”

 

As he got excited, his physical strength, which seemed to have hit rock bottom, erupted right back up from the depths of his chest.

Haruki laughed and let his left arm, which had been twisted by him rolling on the ground, hang back to its original position.

 

“Show me your power.

Show me the power of your existence.”

 

Every time Haruki launched an attack, the golem would respond with “Show me”.

Haruki nodded to that voice every time.

 

“Alright, then. I’ll show you right now. So give me a strong presence –Kuh!!”

 

A second attack sent Haruki flying again.

But this time, he was able to put up his guard at the last second.

 

It was to be expected.

After all, Haruki had already seen that attack before.

 

<<Imitation 4 → 5>>

 

He had managed to put up his guard, but he hadn’t been able to parry the attack completely.

The damage overran Haruki’s body.

Still, he desperately handled his body so that his stance wasn’t affected.

 

<<Body Handling 0 NEW>>

 

“…Hehehe… Not yet…”

 

Blood drips from a cut on his cheek.

He spat the blood that had welled up inside his mouth and regulated his breathing.

 

Inhale, exhale, inhale, stop.

Increase your concentration to the limit.

 

His concentration surpassed its limits.

Immediately, the world began to shine more vividly.

 

Every movement slowed down.

Each second was stretched into an eternity.

 

In such an extreme world, Haruki didn’t miss a single one of the golem’s movements.

He memorized and reflected on each movement.

Then…

 

“HAHAHAHA!”

 

Haruki laughed.

The thought of what Haruki pursued –to get a strong presence– was stronger than the dread of his opponent.

That strong presence he had always sought and prayed for, but had never been able to obtain…

 

Haruki simply couldn’t help but feel pleased by it.
He couldn’t help but laugh in anticipation.

He couldn’t even stand still.

 

He couldn’t help but want to have an adventure.

 

“Show me… Your power… Show me…”

“Yeah, I’ll show you all of it. So–”

 

Smiling, Haruki readied his short sword.

 

“Carve my power, my presence, into your eyes!!”

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