Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 154

March 22, 2024 • 14 min read • 689 views

Barbarian Chief(5)

The tribe chief held an axe in his hand.

The same axe that had decapitated the man next to me at my coming-of-age ceremony.

“You think this is the right thing to do as a warrior, to earn money by killing people instead of monsters?”

My heated brain suddenly cooled down.

An unexpected situation.

No, the situation I knew I would face someday, but I didn’t think it would be today.

I calmed my breathing and made a quick decision.

And…

  1. Apologize for the mistake.
  2. Deflect with excuses.

I immediately discarded these two options from my mind.

I know what the Barbarians are like.

Though these might seem easier and more appropriate in the eyes of ordinary people, one must not be mistaken.

I only have one way

“Chief, this is what you were supposed to do.”

Going straight at it, like a true Barbarian.

“…You’re saying some interesting things.”

The tribe chief’s mouth twisted.

“Explain what you mean.”

The moment I opened my mouth, I felt as if the axe could swing at any moment.

But I confidently squared my shoulders.

A mistake is only a mistake if you try to admit it.

And if you don’t admit it?

It becomes a belief. Regardless of its essence, it has the potential to be repackaged as such.

And that’s what I have to do now.

“It’s literal. What I did today is what you should have done a long time ago!”

For the greater good, not out of personal desire.

I raised my voice, not backing down in front of the tribe chief.

“Chief! Do you have any idea how many of our warriors die in the Labyrinth every month?”

“One cannot become a warrior if they fear death.”

A clash of convictions.

A young warrior, fighting for his tribe, raging against the future of his clan.

I judged this to be the safer path.

The tribe chief cares about his warriors, after all.

“Bjorn, the son of Jandel, you must know. Only the warriors who survive become strong.”

The tribe chief’s voice softened a bit, perhaps considering my action was for the good of the tribe.

But ending here would accomplish nothing.

I pressed on.

“Survivors become stronger?”

“You are proof of that!”

Certainly, it wasn’t incorrect.

Half die on their first entry.

The next time, another half die.

And so, by the time the coming-of-age ceremony is over and half a year has passed, 90% are dead.

A structure too grotesque to be called survival of the fittest.

To survive, you have no choice but to get stronger, whether you want to or not.

However…

“Chief, did so many die when you first became a warrior?”

“No, they did not.”

The answer I expected.

I hadn’t particularly studied the tribe’s history, but if this kind of structure had continued for just ten more years, the Barbarians would have been unable to even arm their warriors at their coming-of-age.

“Then, are we dying in such numbers because we are weaker than them? Chief, do you truly believe that?”

“That, too… is not the case.”

Though he could have avoided the uncomfortable statement, the tribe chief honestly answered my questions.

Surely, he must know.

What the critical cause of this situation is.

“There are monsters in the labyrinth wearing human skins. They treat us like goblins. Why do you think that is?”

“The mages want our hearts—”

The tribe chief began.

I cut him off firmly, raising my voice.

“No! It’s because you’ve done nothing!”

If it were another race, they would have requested the royal family to create laws preventing the trade of hearts.

But our tribe chief didn’t even make the least effort.

Using the tradition of survival of the fittest as a shield.

He merely watched as the tribe declined.

“You should have at least warned them! Told them what monsters lurk in the maze, how to deal with them, and prepared them!”

“It’s a tradition passed down from our distant ancestors. I cannot change that—”

“Our ancestors wanted us to be strong!!”

The tribe chief’s decision cannot even be seen as following natural order. Nowhere in the vast nature does a creature choose its own death.

All choose evolution to adapt to new environments.

But the tribe chief didn’t do the obvious.

“Chief! Look at us now! In the labyrinth, we’ve become as easy prey as the goblins. Because we were only taught that monsters are the enemy! Do you think the ancestors wanted this?”

“…Calm down.”

“If I were you, I would have at least provided leather boots, a pouch for magic stones, taught them how to use a compass before—”

“Have I not told you to calm down!!!”

Ah, did I cross the line?

The shout of the tribe leader, who had been verbally beaten by a warrior less than a year old, shook the forest.

“Speak plainly! So, what do you want to tell me!”

He couldn’t logically refute, but it seemed my words ignited his anger.

“If you won’t do it properly…”

I swallowed hard and finished my statement.

“I will, tribe chief.”

For me.

And for our Barbarian tribe.

After I boldly declared my ambitions.

The tribe chief was silent for a while.

He stared at me quietly, as if organizing his thoughts.

And…

‘He suddenly swung his axe.’

I stepped back to dodge the axe.

In my [Gigantification] state, I reached out to grab the axe’s handle, and a tug-of-war began.

The tribe chief easily overpowered me.

My giant form was suspended in mid-air, clinging to the axe.

So, I let go of the axe and charged at the tribe chief.

Next…

‘A fist.’

Right, I slammed my fist into the tribe chief’s face.

However, I didn’t feel the usual solid impact, and when I came to, the tribe chief’s massive fist was looming before my eyes.

That was the last thing I remember.

‘…So this must be the tribe chief’s tent.’

After calmly assessing the situation, I slowly opened my eyes.

As expected, I was in a tent, and the tribe chief was visible.

“You’re up early.”

“…tribe chief, your nose is squashed.”

“Yours too.”

Really? No wonder I was having trouble breathing.

It even tasted like blood when I swallowed.

I opened my backpack that was placed next to the bed, and drank a few gulps. Then, I handed the rest to the tribe chief.

“Have some.”

“…No need. Why waste a potion? It’ll heal by tomorrow.”

Well, if that’s the case.

I roughly adjusted my nose bone with my hand, then wiped away the accumulated blood as if blowing my nose and rubbed it on the bed.

Then, I got to the main point.

First and foremost, I needed confirmation.

“Are you still angry?”

“…I wasn’t angry to begin with.”

“Then why?”

“I just felt like punching someone who was a bit too arrogant.”

Anyway, it seemed his anger had subsided, so I didn’t press further.

There were more important things to address.

‘Fortunately, it went well.’

I declared in front of the tribe chief that I would become the tribe chief.

It wasn’t out of excitement or just spewing words.

I simply anticipated that the tribe chief wouldn’t kill me over this.

“Do you covet my position that much?”

“Yes.”

Ambition and aspiration are not shameful for a Barbarian.

Especially if they’re intertwined with conviction and a greater cause.

“You’re different from the other warriors.”

“What do you mean?”

“Other warriors desired the tribe chief’s position for honor. But you are solely concerned with the welfare of our tribe.”

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like he suspects me of being an evil spirit.

The tribe chief doesn’t seem too displeased with this side of me. If only I had toned down the truth a bit, I might not have gotten hit.

Anyway, did the tribe chief had some excuses?

He brought up a somewhat unexpected topic.

“If we’re really getting into it, the tribe chief before me was similar to you. If it concerned our tribe, he didn’t think twice before stepping in. Do you know what happened to him?”

“Are you talking about the Relic War?”

“Yes.”

The Relic War.

That was the name given to the war with the fairies ten years ago.

It all started when a Barbarian accidentally found a fairy relic in the Labyrinth.

The fairies bound and interrogated the Barbarian holding their relic, and the Barbarian resisted vehemently.

And died.

“Before the royal family intervened, we fought with the fairies for over a year. The previous tribe chief died in that battle.”

The Relic War was a major reason for the weakening of the Barbarian’s power.

Countless warriors of the future generation died.

During that time, the Mage Tower announced that Barbarian hearts were valuable as magical ingredients.

“I met with the tower’s master, but they questioned why they should forfeit using our hearts as materials for our sake.”

Hmm, so he hadn’t completely failed to act.

“But a war with the Mage Tower was not an option.”

“So, as I said—”

“Yes, indeed. As you said, had we warned and taught the young warriors about the dangers, things would have been better than they are now.”

“What?”

I was taken aback as if I heard something I shouldn’t have, the tribe chief smirked.

“You are still young, Warrior, and what you have done this time is instill hatred towards humans in the warriors.”

“Not humans, plunderers.”

“If you truly believe there’s a difference, then I’ve misjudged you.”

“…But why shouldn’t we hate humans?”

I asked out of pure curiosity, and after a pause, the tribe chief answered.

“Because if we hate them, we’ll have nowhere to live.”

“You’re afraid of the Rafdonia royal family.”

I couldn’t say it was incomprehensible.

I’m well aware of how immense the power held by the royal family is.

However, the tribe chief muttered bitterly.

“Who in this world wouldn’t fear that being? If you ever meet him, you’ll understand.”

It was as if he did not fear the royal army.

As if he feared the king, his very existence.

****

Afterward, the conversation wrapped up quickly.

[I’ll overlook your teaching the warriors about plunderers. But if you go further, I won’t ignore it. Don’t let the warriors harbor too much hatred towards humans.]

Though I wasn’t his official successor, it meant he recognized my ambition and would tolerate my growing influence within the tribe.

Well, I was warned to stay within the lines, but…….

It was a reward I wouldn’t have received if I’d simply admitted fault or made excuses.

“If you covet my position, become even stronger, warrior. Prove that you are worthy. I will be watching.”

[If you covet my place, grow stronger, warrior, and prove yourself worthy, I will watch over you].

[Oh, and one more thing].

[Your punch is quite spicy]

Well, that’s something for him to say.

With that backhanded compliment from the tribe chief, I left the tent.

As the sun set beyond the walls.

The area around the tent was crowded with Barbarians.

All of them were looking at me.

From baby Barbarians to elders who must have been quite the warriors in their youth.

“He’s unharmed.”

“The tribe chief had a bloody nose…”

“Then it’s true…”

They were full of curious speculation, seeing me walk out of the tent unscathed. I adjusted my backpack and walked through them.

They just watched without approaching.

Presumably, they thought I had fallen out of favor with the tribe chief.

That’s when it happened.

“Bjorn!!”

Aynar approached me.

“Are you okay? I heard you fought with the tribe chief!”

“Ah, I’m fine.”

“So, what happened? I heard you declared you’d become the tribe chief?”

The moment Aynar bluntly asked,

The ears of nearly a hundred Barbarians perked up simultaneously.

It wouldn’t be right to just vanish here.

I smiled wryly and answered.

“He told me to become stronger and prove my worth.”

Immediately, I felt a murmur around me.

Some were surprised, others thought it impossible for even me, and realistically, some speculated it would take years.

I’m sure the tribe leader felt the same way.

But…

“So? Bjorn, what did you answer?”

Then, I replied.

“It won’t take long.”

Yes, that’s what I said.

***

On the way back to the city with Aynar, we ran into Caron.

And I made it clear.

Tell the baby Barbarians not to hate humans too much.

“Ha, but! Didn’t you say humans are the enemy?”

“Not all of them are.”

It felt like I was backtracking, but after I shared Dwalki’s story, Caron seemed to understand.

“Yes, if there are such noble humans… Can I tell this story to the other warriors?”

“The story about Dwalki?”

“It’ll be a great example! We love such warriors!”

“But did you not hear? He was not a warrior, but a mage.”

“Ha ha! What a strange talk. He fought to protect his comrade with his life; why wouldn’t he be a warrior?”

Well, there’s nothing I can say to that…

We ended the debate there and concluded the conversation.

“Then, we’ll be going now.”

“Yes! See you next time, son of Jandel Bjorn! The great warrior who will lead us in the future!”

The title felt longer somehow…

‘But, did things end well?’

As for the money duplication glitch, I left it be.

The tribe chief was only concerned about deepening hatred, saying it was within the allowable range up to this point.

After all, the glitch would be fixed in a few months.

The plunderers targeted the Barbarians because it was a low-risk, high-return scenario.

‘Once word spreads that we’ve changed, those willing to risk their lives will vanish.’

But what about a Level 3 monster?

Any sane creature would flee on sight.

Rumble!

Leaving the sanctuary, I took Aynar to my lodgings. After her tearful meal on the first floor, I secured a newly vacated room next door for her.

“Me, is it really okay for me to stay here…?”

“Of course. You don’t need to pay me back later. This is nothing—”

“Bjornnnnnn! I will follow you for life!!”

“…Keep it down. This isn’t the sanctuary.”

“Oh, right?!”

As I was cautioning Aynar, the door to my supposedly empty room opened from the inside.

“…Bjorn? Who is that woman with you?”

“Oh, were you here?”

Since she’ll be part of the team, I briefly introduced them. Having talked about each other before, lengthy explanations weren’t needed.

“Nice to meet you! Misha Karlstein!! I’ve heard a lot about you! Bjorn’s comrade is my comrade!! I look forward to working with you!”

Aynar, perhaps nervous about meeting a comrade for the first time, almost screamed as she extended her hand.

Misha was equally taken aback.

“Ah, um… Nice to meet you, Nyah”

As if in a trance, Misha shook hands with Aynar, then came to her senses and whispered to me

“Hey, is this kid really the Aynar you were talking about? You definitely said she was a Barbarian, didn’t you?!”

“So what?”

“How is she looking like a Barbarian?!”

Doesn’t she look like a Barbarian to anyone?

At first, I didn’t understand, but upon thinking about it, I could understand the surprise. When you say Barbarian, most people imagine someone who’s at least 2 meters tall as a base.

The problem is that Aynar heard it.

“Misha Karlstein! Are you insulting me for being short!!! I sincerely thought of you as a precious comrade……!!”

“Nyaaah! No, that’s not it. You heard it wrong!”

“I have good ears!!”

“Sorry! That’s, that wasn’t what I meant. Uh? Just that you’re so pretty…… Yes! That’s why, Nyah—”

“What!! Misha Karlstein, how much more do you intend to insult me? I demand a duel!!”

As soon as the trauma button was pressed, Aynar began to scream, and Misha tried to calm her down.

Watching them gave me a severe headache.

“Ugh… my head….”

It was clear that my head still hadn’t healed from the tribe chief’s blow.

Well, anyway.

If not, it doesn’t make sense.

The five of us hadn’t even gathered yet, and I could already see the thorny path ahead.