68 Part 2
It didn’t smell of mud or anything like that.
Its smoked flavor was simply amazing.
If only he had some sort of dipping sauce…
Even some wasabi soy sauce…
Haruki would have probably lost his mind due to its sheer flavor.
He continued to chew on the delicious eel steaks, completely delighted.
It was the first time he had tasted such a delicious eel.
Karen was shedding tears of happiness as she chewed on the food.
Akane was getting piece after piece of eel steak into her mouth.
As they gobbled down their meal, Esta -who had just finished eating his grasshoppers- rubbed himself against Haruki.
“Hm? What is it? Do you want some?”
Haruki presented him with a piece of eel steak.
Esta celebrated by lifting all of his little feet at once.
He was really good at expressing his emotions.
Rhea, on the other hand, kept her distance from Haruki.
When Haruki asked her “Don’t you want any?”, she waved her leaves horizontally, skillfully knocking her water bottle over so that its contents got poured into the planter.
She didn’t seem too interested in eels.
The ten eels Haruki had hunted were quickly devoured by the three of them (and a certain Centipede).
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
— I probably have to level up a bit.
Those were Haruki’s thoughts as he dominated the 14th floor.
His skill levels weren’t an issue.
Haruki, Rhea, and Karen can hunt monsters reliably.
However, his basic level was becoming insignificant.
This fact had become apparent to him as he hunted through the 13th and 14th floors.
Up until then, he could hunt up to twenty or thirty monsters before starting to feel a slight Level Up sickness, but now he started feeling some strong cases of that sickness and even headaches after hunting about ten monsters.
His basic level was starting to fall behind the necessary level to reliably defeat these intermediate floors.
Haruki and the others were still in their first year as adventurers.
Although he had made it all the way down to the intermediate floors and became an intermediate adventurer, he had far less fighting experience than other adventurers.
If his battle experience stayed that low, he would eventually become unable to deal with unexpected events.
Battle experience doesn’t accumulate overnight. It takes time.
Currently, Haruki had no choice but to try to keep defeating dungeons while compensating for his lack of battle experience with his skills and his basic level.
If his skills and basic levels were higher, he would then be able to deal with unexpected events.
Though he was able to tamper with his skills using his Board, there was no other way to increase his basic level other than steadily leveling up.
Haruki ought to roll up his sleeves and raise his level diligently before he got himself dragged into an unexpected event that could lead to an accident.
The slimy mucus released by the 14th floor’s boss was so powerful that none of Haruki’s attacks seemed to work against it.
However, Karen’s lightning magic was able to settle the battle in a very interesting way.
It would appear that Karen’s magic was better suited for dealing with this boss than Haruki’s melee attacks.
The boss was so drenched in its own mucus that it ended up being drained by the dungeon, as if someone had flushed the toilet with the boss in it.
Perhaps when someone defeats a boss by themselves, the Level Up sickness they suffer must have been quite severe.
Karen, being the person who made the biggest contribution to the battle, ended up cowering on the floor, holding her mouth.
The boss wrapped around itself in mucus as it disappeared, and a drop and a set of stairs appeared where it had been.
The drop was some Slimy Eel Skin and…
“… Eel Replicas?”
There were two pieces of material that each looked like one of those eels.
As Haruki held them in his hands, he didn’t feel anything particular happening.
He figured he would ask Akane about them later.
Unlike the 14th floor, the 15th floor looked more like a normal grassland.
Sometimes the wind would blow the sand on the ground upwards, painting the air with a light-brown hue.
After activating the gate, Haruki quickly started to look for enemies.
The hairs on the back of Haruki’s neck stood straight up.
He suddenly felt a murderous intent from coming from somewhere.
Haruki gulped down, as it became more and more evident that this floor was of a different caliber than the previous ones.
His Detection skill picked up the sign of a single monster.
Haruki got ready for battle.
As he took his two short swords in hand, a monster with silver fur appeared in front of him.
Haruki’s blood boiled instantly in excitement.
He had fought against a Werewolf before during the Stampede.
At that time, he was sure he never wanted to fight one of those ever again.
However, as his level increased, he started to feel the desire to have a rematch with that monster.
Its strength, its beauty…
They had been deeply engraved on Haruki’s mind, and he couldn’t forget about them.
How much stronger had he himself become compared to that time?
To what extent would his current power be useful against the Werewolf?
Haruki couldn’t help but worry about those things.
-We finally meet again.
-We finally have a chance to settle the score.
He excitedly dashed forward.
Haruki and the Werewolf clashed in the middle.
The short sword was met with the Werewolf’s claws, causing a high-pitched sound to be heard.
Their strength was equal.
And the same could be said for their agility.
But the one to fall on his back was Haruki.
The Werewolf’s claws dashed over the tip of Haruki’s nose.
“Amazing as always!”
A cold sweat ran down Haruki’s back.
If he had waited an extra decimal of a second to dodge, the Werewolf’s claws would have been driven deep into Haruki’s skull by now.
The Werewolf’s moves were more elegant than Haruki’s.
Since it made no useless moves, it can deal consecutive attacks quicker than him even though they have the same agility.
Haruki felt a chill down his spine.
-This is good.
-This is really good!
So far, Haruki had been imitating the Werewolf’s movements.
In addition, he had learned the way a swordsman moves by watching videos.
But it still wasn’t enough.
“Not yet, huh?”
Could it be that the reason why it still wasn’t enough was because that other Werewolf was weaker than this one?
Since Haruki continued to base himself purely on memory, his mind started to get a bit weary.
Before he even noticed, the image he had of the Werewolf was slightly worse than how it actually was.
He had to start over from the beginning.
Though he was a bit disappointed to be still a bit behind the Werewolf, he was feeling more motivated.
It was even more beautiful than what he had remembered.
That fact made him excited.
There was more.
It was better than expected.
Haruki dove deep into his own consciousness.
Focus, remember, imagine, theorize.
Make an attempt, correct yourself, and try again.
Haruki attacked the Werewolf once again.
Slash, stab, kick, and parry.
Dodge, roll away, rush, and counterattack.
Rhea was helping him repel any dangerous attack.
Therefore, Haruki was able to keep diving deep into his own consciousness.
At some point, Karen called out to him.
Haruki stepped away at that moment.
An instantaneous flicker.
A loud thunder pierced through his ears.
However, Karen’s lightning couldn’t stun the Werewolf even for a fraction of a second.
The skill had hit him directly.
But it simply hadn’t been strong enough..
Still, it did create a slight opening.
It had forced the quick Werewolf into a halt.
The Werewolf had to regain its focus.
At that very moment, Karen struck it with another lightning attack.