She was more excited than ever as she killed monsters so that Haruki could take it easy.

And then, she would save Oiso, just as she had once been saved!

Karen felt renewed vigor as she used her staff to turn the Silver Wolves into mincemeat.

“…Uckkk.”

Haruki descended the dungeon following Karen, who crushed the Silver Wolves with a single hit.

He lured the wolves until her power had charged up, and when he felt that she was about to fire, he would step back and retreat.

As they had a lot of experience together, it didn’t take Haruki long to match his movements to Karen’s.

As they were synchronized for an attack that killed in one hit, it seemed like they were killing more today than the previous day.

Thanks to that, they were able to explore more of the 7th floor by midday.

However, they were unable to find Oiso.

“I guess she really did go to the 8th floor…”

“It seems like it.”

The 8th floor had the same monsters as the 7th floor. Only there were less Silver Wolves and more ‘Owners.’

So the difficulty shot up on that floor.

“It can’t be helped. Let’s take out the boss and head to the 8th floor.”

“Yes.”

He would have preferred it if they didn’t have to go down to the 8th floor…

However, there was nothing they could do, if that was where Oiso had gone.

If her goal was just getting Silver Wolf materials, there was no need for her to go to the 8th floor where there were fewer of them.

Either she had some other aim, or some unexpected incident had caused her to go there.

Or perhaps she just needed some other materials.

In any case, Oiso encountered danger of some sort and had been unable to reach the gate.

The request was for them to search up until the 8th floor.

If they couldn’t find her there, that meant they would have to go back and search the 6th floor again.

And if they still couldn’t…they would have to make a report.

He preferred to not have to share bad news.

After defeating the boss, they activated the gate and continued onward. It didn’t take long for a Silver Wolf to appear.

While they were called Silver Wolves—at this point, their fur was closer to black.

Not only that, but their physical ability also seemed to have increased from the 7th floor.

The difference was even clearer in comparison to the 6th floor.

He dodged attacks, defended, parried, cut when there was an opening, and kicked.

When Haruki kicked them into the air, Karen unleashed her magic, killing the Silver Wolves.

…Good.

This was very good.

They worked together very well.

These monsters were no match for them.

It happened just as his confidence had reached such a level.

A new pack of monsters appeared in front of Haruki.

Their hands were strangely long—these were demi-humans, ugly monsters that appeared on the shallowest floors in Japan.

They were called Owners, and this one appeared with two Silver Wolves.

The reason that they were called Owners was because of how they roamed.

They always moved with a Silver Wolf in tow. And since they looked like a person walking their dog, they were called Owners.

“Karen, back off!”

“Ye-yes!”

Haruki unsheathed his two daggers and prepared to fight.

“GRRRRR!”

“…?”

Something was strange.

Haruki watched them with a puzzled expression.

The Silver Wolves and the Owner were not attacking them.

The reason for this might have been the number of wounds.

The Silver Wolves had numerous cuts on their bodies.

The Owner also had some wounds, but not as much as the Silver Wolves.

—They escaped from a hunt!

Haruki thought with annoyance.

Unlike the garage dungeon, other Adventurers visited Chikaho.

Adventurers hunted monsters. But sometimes, they didn’t finish the job.

Maybe they were injured or their weapons broke. There were various reasons that would cause them to run away.

And these monsters that were wounded were now left to wander the dungeon.

With these wounds, their hatred for humans would only grow…

Haruki had never fought a wounded monster before. But it was said that they were more dangerous than a monster that was unharmed.

“Karen.”

“Yes.”

I’ll leave the attacks to you.

Such was the will that was in his voice, and Karen nodded reassuringly.

One second after the two groups saw each other.

A ball of death passed before Haruki.

“Aaarghh!!”

“Kyaaann!!”

“Grrgaah!”

Thanks to the enemy being very cautious, there was plenty of time for Karen to charge up her attack.

She charged her attack for 1 second for each enemy.

The Silver Wolves were hit in the legs and body. And those parts were blown away.

They were still breathing after the attack, but they could not get up.

It was clearly a mortal wound.

However, in spite of them being such powerful attacks, the Owner hadn’t taken that much damage.

The Owner raised one hand to its face, which had been hit, and then it raised its other long arm.

Its rage was clearly directed towards Karen.

“I won’t let you!”

Haruki moved in between them.

He would tear away the hatred that had been directed towards her!

Haruki lunged forward angrily and swung his two daggers with all of his strength.

They should have gone into the Owner’s ribs, but they were blocked by its nimble movements.

Instead, his attacks cut into the Owner’s arms.

However, they did almost no damage.

The magic blade had created a 1cm cut, at least.

But the Silver Wolf dagger…did nothing.

Haruki had killed so many Silver Wolves up until now, and yet none of his attacks were effective on the Owners.

It was no wonder.

The Owners had abilities that far outstripped those monsters on the upper floors.

They were demi-human monsters that would be more at home on the center floors.

After Haruki’s attacks finished, the Owner’s arm swung to the side.

“Gggraaah!!”

“…!”

Haruki instantly raised his daggers and kicked the dirt.

At the same time.

—Heavy!

Intense impact.

His vision shook.

His daggers screeched.

His teeth ground together.

This was how bad it was, in spite of the lost momentum…

His arm was slightly numb from the attack.

It would be better if he didn’t get hit then.

However, his opponent had very long arms.

And if there was too much distance between them, he would not be able to hit it with his daggers.

On top of that, it’s attacks were very strong.

He would surely be knocked unconscious if he was hit even once.

But even if he was careful and dodged all of its attacks, the enemy was too tough, and he couldn’t deal any damage.

And this Owner was a demi-human.

That meant it was more intelligent than any of the monsters they had fought up until now.

It could also learn during combat.

He couldn’t use the same strategy multiple times.

This would be a difficult fight.

However, the higher the difficulty the more interesting it would be!

Haruki laughed.

Yes.

This was good.

As he laughed, his mind went deep into the lower layers.

He concentrated, collected, observed, imagined, predicted, and tested.

Its muscles. He saw the way it shifted its weight.

One and two. He read its preliminary actions.

Was it due to its intelligence?

It had more patterns than any monster before it.

Still, Haruki recorded each movement carefully.

Recorded and remembered.

“…Tsk!”

One of its attacks scratched his chest.

The impact caused him to lose his balance.

His knees almost bent.

But he wasn’t injured.

The centipede breastplate was doing its job.

Haruki stood his ground.

Just after the Owner attacked, he slashed at it three times.

“Not enough!”

The wounds weren’t deep.

The damage was low.

Was it the way that he was attacking?

He memorized its movement patterns while changing the angle of his blade.

4 degrees. 5 degrees.

He increased the number of steps for every hit.

Haruki could feel a tingling at his neck the closer he got to the owner.

He believed in his senses as he kicked the dirt.

At that moment.

A mass of compressed magical energy shot passed him.

And then the impact.

Either she missed or it dodged the attack.

The magic just barely scraped its head and then disappeared in the back.

As expected, as they had put points into the magic energy tree, Karen just needed time, and her attacks would do enough damage.

However, it also made the enemy that much more angry.

Blood dripped down the side of its face. The Owner glared at Karen through its thin, black eyes.

“Gggrraaaghhh!!’

“…Karen!”

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