Editor: A s h e s
I was in the middle of conquering the Wolf Fang Labyrinth, and currently in the 3rd level’s Spring. From this point on, I would stop strafe jumping and continued more cautiously. I was considering between completing the map and heading for the lower levels, but I decided to go down to the lower level first. Since I would be mapping on the way, it would take quite a lot of time, and reaching 18th level as I had targeted was unlikely.
Once I crossed the Spring, stronger monsters would appear. According to what I had learned from the General Guild’s Archive, stronger goblins would show up more frequently from now on.
While I was eating the bento I had received from the inn, I worked on the TSS; adding some grenades and getting the Scar-H ready. When my lunch break ended, and I resumed my labyrinth conquest.
The next Spring was on the 8th level. If I ran through each level in one hour, it would take me five hours to get there. I headed to the 4th level stairs while comparing the guild’s 3rd level map with my own.
My headphones picked up several footsteps in the direction I was going. I had heard these footsteps before in the Emerald Demon Labyrinth – They were three goblins. Plenty of light grass was properly planted in straight rows in this labyrinth so it was quite bright. If they kept on like this, it would be a long-distance battle and the P90’s effective range was 200 meters.
I crouched down while I aimed down the crosshairs a couple meters ahead. Most long-range magic couldn’t reach out past 100 meters, however, the types of magic that could materialize objects and hurl them was not affected by this limit. Firing crossbows and bows up at a high-angle, you could reach out to several hundred meters. Without a scope though, the effective range to reliably land a hit was less than 100 meters.
Firearms had an immeasurable advantage in long-distance battles. In a labyrinth’s underground passages, it wasn’t likely to reach past the hundreds-of-meters range, but to stage an ambush where as soon as the enemy showed their face… I squeezed the P90’s trigger and opened a hole in the head of the goblin that just appeared in the passage ahead. The next ones… Were they goblin mages? All three were mages. I squeezed the trigger without letting myself get distracted.
I advanced without dropping my guard, confirmed they had sunk into the labyrinth, and picked up their mana stones.
From then on, the enemies became more varied such as high-ranked goblins grouped with other monsters. But they were all were incapacitated by the M84 and P90. The M84 was especially effective, even with the large beasts like red bears, so I only had to shoot their heads. I couldn’t use it in every battle, but considering the CP* consumption, it was actually cost-effective and started to become an indispensable weapon during my labyrinth exploration.
I cleared out the large room on the 3rd level and descended to the 4th.
The number of red bears on the 4th level was unusually high, so I changed my main weapon from the P90 to the Scar-H. The shots were loud and could attract the other monsters, but from my experience in the Emerald Demon Labyrinth, there was no need to worry so much. If I was with a beastman like Mitche-san or in a party, I would need to be careful about the gunshots though. In the guard mission with the Marida Company, I planned to use a weapon that was allowed to be equipped with a silencer instead of this rifle.
Nevertheless, I used the Scar-H this time. How much destructive power did the 7.62×51mm NATO have against large beasts? They could blow hobgoblins’ heads up, but what about those damn bears?
They could as well.
The heads were blown off with one shot and if I aimed at the hearts, they blew big holes in their chests. Just as expected of these bullets. If they had such offensive power, then I probably could manage with just the P90 and the Scar-H as my main weapons for now.
[E/N . . . . No.]
My speed rapidly increased after switching to the Scar. I moved through the unexplored areas at the same speed as the higher levels and reached the 5th level in no time. However, a magazine that could only carry twenty rounds was indeed worrisome, so I summoned the supply box and switched to a bigger magazine.
The 5th level had the same underground atmosphere as the other levels up until now. What I learned from the archives was that the atmosphere would change from now on. Instead of regular horned rabbits, there would be higher ranked ones instead.
I moved forward with caution and heard a footstep that I had never heard before. There were two others that, based on the heaviness, seemed to be from red bears.
What I saw through the crosshairs was twice as large as normal horned rabbits – about 1 meter in length. It had the same tawny fur, but the horn on its head had a spiral shape like a drill, and was much larger than the regular rabbit’s horn. I was fascinated by its unexpected size, but it had already noticed me. It roared as if that was the only thing it knew. It should have closed the distance before trying to threaten me like that.
First, I placed my crosshairs on the two red bears and aimed for their chests where they couldn’t doge. Sometimes in battle, you couldn’t get a clean hit if you aimed for the head due to the reaction to the shot. Since I had sufficient offensive power, I changed where I aimed since the head could avoid the shot with a small movement. A chest shot, if hit, meant immediate death.
I glided the crosshair and shot in the semi-auto mode at each bear. They tried to dodge in response to my shots, but they couldn’t evade my shots with such huge bodies. They sank with big holes in their chests. When the red bears were killed, the rabbit’s red eyes seemed to burst into flames. It let out a strange sound like a roar and spit out a fireball. But I had already encountered an attack like this when I fought against the higher-ranked glass wolves, the dire wolves. Of course, I remembered it and was on guard against it.
I did a slide-jump forward to the left to dodge the fireball then turned and jumped more to the left side, passing the rabbit. It moved its head to follow my movements, but it couldn’t match my speed. I switched my rifle from semi to full-auto and squeezed the trigger while guiding the crosshair along the rabbit’s body.
A continuous burst of fire along with the metallic clangs of shells being discharged echoed throughout the underground passage. With bullet wounds all over its body, the long-horned rabbit exploded without leaving a trace of a rabbit behind. I landed from my jump, crouched down, and looked at the lump that used to be the rabbit through my iron sights. Did I overdo it? I didn’t think so, but I couldn’t help feeling that what I did was over-kill. However, if I made a mistake, that meant death…
From then on, whenever I came across a long-horned rabbit, I would check how many bullets were needed to kill them and what their vital points were. In the end, I was able to conclude that if I aimed for their chest and the area around the base of its horn, that would be effective enough.
“This 5th level is full of huge beasts…”
The number of red bears increased here and the long-horned rabbits would always appear in big and small rooms alike. But there hadn’t been any big trouble up until now.
I finished up the 5th level and headed down to the 6th level. I noticed that the atmosphere had changed a little. First was the smell. There was a rotten smell, like some creature was decaying. Then there was the ceiling. This was underground, but the ceiling was almost 10 meters high…
Labyrinths were underground, but they were not created by digging tunnels in the earth. They were in a different dimension and if you dug down into one level, you wouldn’t get to the next level. You could get into the next passage by destroying the wall, but the wall was said to be restored by the labyrinth’s magic.
From the information that I had gathered beforehand, levels six to ten were the undead zone. There would be zombies, skeletons, and labyrinth bats, a bat-type monster. I switched back to using my P90 as my main for now and moved on with caution. A little while later, my headphones picked up the sound of something being dragged along with moans.
“This is… zombies?”
I stopped and crouched down. I waited for it to appear in my sights and before long, a zombie came into view. Half its face had turned into sludge and its skin black. The clothing it wore had become rags and were extremely dirty. It walked very slow as well. I placed the crosshairs over its head and shot. The bullet blew its head away, but… it didn’t stop walking.
“What? The headshot didn’t kill it!”
I knew a lot of FPS games with zombies as the enemies, and most could be disabled with headshots. However, the zombies in this world were different – this one continued to move. I quickly shot at both its knees to stop the legs. The bullets didn’t just pierce the knees, they burst, and the zombie fell face down on the ground.
With no head and half its legs from the knees down gone, it stilled crawled forward. I then shot its shoulders and blew away its arms. Yet, it still didn’t sink and continued to wriggle forward. Was it really immortal? No, it was already dead, so it couldn’t be immortal. There must be something, a core that animated the corpse… A mana stone?
I didn’t know where a zombie’s mana stone was, so I tried for the heart. The bullet made a large cavity on the chest where its heart should have been, but it still kept moving.
Was it in the stomach?
I continued to shoot until it sank into the floor. I had finally found out that the mana stone was in its lower back.
“So the mana stone is at its waist…?”
This zombie’s stone was at the waist, but I didn’t think it was the same for all the zombies. I was a bit worried, but then I recalled the illustrated book about monsters in the Archive and searched for information about zombies in the captured files on the TSS.
In the end, I did confirm that the undead could be killed if I separated the mana stone from its body. The stone’s location was not fixed and I basically just destroyed it with my weapon. It seemed like adventurers usually used weapons to knock the stones from the bodies. Should I do the same? But for melee weapons, there were only batons and the like and… What about burning?
Speaking of killing zombies, it was either headshots or burning, that was it!