Level nine of Wolf Fang Labyrinth was the latter half of its undead zone. Aside from the illness zombies, I also encountered another troublesome high-ranked zombie variant.
“That was close!”
While my attention was on the high-ranked zombie in front of me, the three illness zombies behind spat venom at me simultaneously. I turned 180 degrees while slide-jumping to the back and, as there was no other path, dashed up the wall with a wall-run, then went further to the back. I jumped to the opposite wall mid-run and turned around. While I was turning 180-degrees mid-air, I placed my crosshairs on the hopper and squeezed the trigger, spraying fire at it.
Hoppers were high-ranked zombies that first appeared on this ninth level of Wolf Fang Labyrinth. They wore robes with hoods, and they leaped at their opponents with gaping wide mouths ready to bite. They were rather fast, but things would have been okay if it were just them. The venom-spitting illness zombies were troublesome. They seemed to be spitting their venom in order to block my retreat.
I had burned down the hopper, and next were the illness zombies. According to my experiences from previous battles, after they spewed their venom, they wouldn’t be able to do it again for a while. There were three of them, but they couldn’t do anything aside from flinging themselves at me. There was no reason to go that far. I glided my crosshairs and made the fire dance wildly.
Level nine didn’t only have these high-ranked zombies; even high-ranked glass wolf zombies, the dire glass wolf zombies, appeared. They were as fast as the hoppers. As they came towards me, I moved around so as not to be cornered and burned them to ashes. They hadn’t used the magic-charged roar like the dire wolf I rescued Malta-san from had. I wasn’t sure if this was just by chance, or zombies couldn’t use those attacks. There was no way to know unless I researched it at the Archive. I checked through the monster book, but couldn’t find the answer right away.
I continued on and burned down a mixed group of zombies in a small room. Then I noticed a stone box-like object in the center of the room
“Could it be a treasure chest?!”
It looked like a stone chest. I approached it while picking up the mana stones of the zombies I had killed. Under closer inspection, I found out that the lid was covered with detailed carvings. They looked vaguely similar to the carvings on the water flask I had ordered from the Marida Company. The chest was about 1m in length, 60cm in width and height – it was a bit smaller than my Gift Box.
From what I had researched, the magic tools and weapons a labyrinth spat out were usually found in shrines, or on pedestals in large rooms. Could they also appear in such chests like this? No, maybe this was also a monster? I watched the chest without touching it, but without opening it, I couldn’t really find out anything. I set up the CBS on my left arm so that I could activate the shield at any time. Then I slowly pushed the lid off with my left hand.
Sounds of stones scraping echoed, but there didn’t seem to be any traps. I kept on pushing and the lid fell to the ground. I peeked inside and saw a bare dagger. As I took the dagger out, the chest collapsed into sand. The sand was also absorbed by the labyrinth, and it looked like there had never been anything in the room afterward.
The dagger was more important at the moment anyway. It had a 10cm long double-edged blade and a wooden handle. The blade had a gentle curve to it.
Weapons created by labyrinths like this dagger were probably magic weapons. It didn’t look like the type that consumed mana stones. Did it need magic power? It seemed like I couldn’t use it.
Well, I didn’t plan to wield a magic weapon with an unknown power anyways.
I couldn’t carry the dagger around with its blade out so I summoned the Gift Box and put it inside. I’d have to consult either Malta-san or Rezmond-san about it. It was the first magic weapon I had found during my labyrinth explorations. Having discovered another fun thing in labyrinth exploration, I went deeper inside.
I had reached the tenth level. There was supposed to be a magic transportation circle here, and even though I couldn’t use these circles, I wanted to see one myself.
This was also the final level of the undead zone – the labyrinth should become a field dungeon from the eleventh level onwards. The undead didn’t just appear in the undead zone, but the frequency of their appearance would naturally decrease as other monster types appeared. The flamethrower would be relieved of its duty after this level.
I would cover the tenth level and go to check the atmosphere on the eleventh level, then return to the surface. Let’s use the 1-1 a little bit more.
I encountered more labyrinth bats than zombies skeletons on this level. Every time I checked the ceiling at a turn, large numbers of bats would ambush me. These ambushes were troublesome. At every turn, I would lean on the wall and peek around the corner, checking both the route ahead and the ceiling. If there were labyrinth bats hanging down, I would immediately place the crosshair on them and spray the flames without mercy. The flaming fuel didn’t just burn the bats, but also the ceiling. The bats fell from the red blazing ceiling with strange cries, and I moved the crosshair onto the ones still moving to burn them off.
The flamethrower, with its 40m range, was an effective weapon during solo labyrinth explorations, when one didn’t have to worry about secondary disasters. I didn’t pay attention at first, but even after continuous spraying within the labyrinth passage, the oxygen level didn’t seem to decrease at all.
Using flamethrowers within closed spaces like caves would consume oxygen and cause a shortage of it. Even without being hit directly by the flame, living creatures could still be killed by the deficiency of oxygen. This was another effect of flamethrowers, a cruel one.
I refilled the 1-1 while I waited for the flames to die down to collect the stones. As I was about to move on, I heard something rush in my direction. I had generally remembered the footsteps of different zombies, and these steps were from a group of dire-glass wolf zombies and a hopper.
I readied the flamethrower and focused my crosshair on the route ahead while also breaking into a run. After various battles, I had come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with this type of mixed group was to charge straight into them.
The first to come into view was two dire glass wolf zombies. The hopper was coming later, as expected.
I glided the crosshair and sprayed a wave of flames on the wolf zombies. They were rushing straight at me, but split outwards to the left and right when they saw the flames coming. However, the flames covered the entire passage and couldn’t be avoided. The zombie wolves were swallowed up by the fire in one go and stopped moving. From behind, the hopper leaped over while avoiding the flaming fuel scattered about the passage.
I held the flamethrower’s nozzle in my right hand, activated my CBS on my left, and knocked the hopper to the wall. My powered suit didn’t just enhance my legs strength and jumping ability, but also increased my physical power in general.
If I had been carrying small arms, I could have shot the hopper down mid-air. But with the flamethrower, it could have become a hurling ball of fire barreling towards me, so I couldn’t do that. And if I let it move freely, it would jump in from an unexpected distance and cause trouble. With this, I could stop the hopper’s movement and create a more manageable situation.
Before the hopper could get up, I pointed the flamethrower at the wall and sprayed flames at it. I watched the hopper burn black and made sure that there were none following. I still felt bewildered by all the behaviors and reactions that were different from the games, but I could do it. I had been managing well, and I was getting more confident at this.
I broke through the small and large rooms, and suddenly a gate supported by white stone pillars appeared before my eyes. It had the same design as the one in Emerald Demon Labyrinth, but there was a wolf-head humanoid monster sitting on the throne. Was it the Dungeon Master of this labyrinth…?
I passed the gate and entered the large room where the Gatekeeper had once been, and saw a transportation magic circle at the center.
“So this is a transportation circle…”
Despite knowing it was futile, I still took out the combat knife from the sheath on my thigh and gave my finger a shallow cut. I dribbled some blood on the circle, but it didn’t seem to record my biometric info at all.
“It’s really no good.”
It couldn’t be helped. My explorations would be easier if I could use these circles, but letting my inability to use them get to me was just a waste of time.
I headed to the stairs leading down towards the eleventh level deep inside the room. Starting from the eleventh level, labyrinths would begin to imitate their surroundings and become field dungeons, where the scenes could be mistaken as real nature. But the scene in front of me was very different from the forest east of Wolf Fang Labyrinth.
There was indeed a forest, and even some paths that could serve as passages through it. However, the atmosphere was completely different from that of a forest. It was clad in a dark mysterious mist that brought about the magic forest atmosphere with just a glance. The size of a field dungeon varied depending on the level, and if I strayed from the forest paths, it seemed like I wouldn’t meet some invisible wall. The walls seemed to be at the actual edges of the level, and could be discerned clearly.
I couldn’t see the walls and didn’t know the actual size of the forest. I was concerned about the forest paths, but my exploration ended here this time. It would continue after I completed my mission with the Marida Company’s trade caravan.
I went back to the tenth level, summoned the Dorchester in the Gatekeeper room, and took a lunch break. Unlike a Spring, there was no water source to drink from here, so no monsters would enter this room. I might have been spotted by some other adventurers who teleported through the magic circles, but let’s cross that bridge when we got to it.
I ate my meal on the chair in the car’s living space, checked my equipment and replenished it, then left an hour later. I increased my pace and reached the surface in one go, so I returned earlier than expected. I had to get my equipment for tomorrow onwards ready.