Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 165

April 1, 2024 • 12 min read • 770 views

Exploration (4)

An expandable backpack worth 2 million stones.

A steel dagger and various other equipment.

A bag of consumables that will be more effective against humans than monsters.

And…….

“What the hell was this guy doing?”

A spoonful of bitterness settled like a stone.

These were the things the nameless masked figure left us with.

“No matter how much I think about it, he doesn’t seem like just a common plunderer. Being alone, and that last act…….”

The masked man chose to end his life as soon as the situation turned unfavorable.

It was clear to anyone that this was far from a normal situation.

However…

“Stop worrying about it. There’s nothing we can learn from wondering now.”

The truth is already buried in the dark.

So we can only take what we can and continue on our way.

Isn’t that what explorers do?

“Bjorn. How many cotton candies is this worth?”

Aynar asked with drooling eyes, and just as I was about to answer, Raven spoke up.

“All together, it would be about 3.5 million stones.”

“…You have knowledge in this area too?”

“It’s not exact until we sell it in the city, but the margin of error should be small. I received my general appraiser certification a while ago.”

Hmm, there’s such a thing……

Upon asking more, it turned out to be different from a special appraiser. One must be able to determine value based solely on knowledge, not skills?

“Jandell, you should study it too when you have time. Just showing this certification can save you from unnecessary haggling. The broker’s license might be a bit harder though—”

“That’s alright. I’ve never lost in haggling.”

I cut off the conversation before she turned into self-praise and resumed exploring. The approach was not much different from Team Halfling’s time.

We prioritized the Stairs of Wisdom first, and the Stairs of Courage second, focusing solely on ascending the tower.

“…Ugh, are we going to wander around the maze all day again?”

“Without a professional scout, it can’t be helped.”

Every time I took the stairs of wisdom, it was quite difficult to find the way, but I had to do my best to find the way.

That’s because my mother-in-law is right next to me.

“4 hours 34 minutes.”

“4 hours 11 minutes.

“3 hours 59 minutes.”

Raven timed us at the end of each maze.

Fortunately, as we ascended higher, our records gradually improved. Playing the role of a scout, I developed some know-how.

Well, I still had a long way to catch up to Rotmiller.

“4 hours 35 minutes. It increased this time?”

“…It couldn’t be helped because Aynar stepped on a trap.”

“Noted.”

Day 9, Day 10, Day 11…

Time continued to pass quickly, and from Day 12, we started to sleep without keeping watches.

“Are we going to assign night watches today?”

“…It seems like a waste.”

“Ugh, because of that damn bastard. Really, what was that all about? Ambushing us here of all places… it’s crossing the line, isn’t it, Nyang?”

Misha was outraged as if her sacred space had been violated.

Honestly, I felt similarly.

This was the only place where we could rest in peace.

‘Shit.’

Despite various incidents, our exploration proceeded without major issues, and by Day 16, we had reached stage 100.

From now on, we start searching for the portal leading to the 5th floor.

“Two hours and 41 minutes……. That’s really fast.”

Raven, who had been nagging like my mother-in-law, smiled with satisfaction.

Incidentally, I felt the same way.

‘Could it be that I’m actually a genius scout?’

‘I struggled to the point of death, but the 3-hour barrier remained impenetrable’

But I had an epiphany that allowed me to overcome this demonic section and shorten the time.

Destroying traps was easier and faster.

“Oh right, Mr. Jandel. How long did it take for your team with the professional scout to get here?”

“It took about 12 days.”

“Four days difference isn’t bad, considering we’re missing a scout. The 5th floor should be much easier since we’re all combat-oriented.”

I agreed with that sentiment.

Despite losing four days due to the absence of a scout, our team consisted entirely of combat characters.

We could make up for it in battles.

But…

‘Sigh, can’t I just get some praise?’

Just as I was sighing inwardly, Misha approached and tapped my shoulder.

“Bjorn, you’ve worked hard. I really didn’t think this would work. We must be the only team with a barbarian as a scout, Nyang.”

Indeed, she’re the only one…

Cough

Perhaps feeling a bit embarrassed by Misha’s comment, Mr. Bear cleared his throat and stepped forward.

It seemed he felt ashamed for having the barbarian take on the role of a scout.

“Then, it’s time for me to step up.”

I gladly handed over the reins.

To get to the fifth floor, it was necessary to open the doors in the correct order…

“Which door should we open?”

“That door over there.”

That’s why having a guide is invaluable.

Even if your sensory stats aren’t exceptionally high, your innate talent is enough to detect the portal’s magic.

[You have chosen the Stairway of Courage]

[You have chosen the Stairway of Wisdom]

[You have chosen the Stairway of Courage]

Thus, using Mr. Bear as a compass, we advanced towards a portal hidden somewhere in the tower.

Opening doors and overcoming trials, one after another.

After spending another night and opening a total of 10 more doors, that..

“Finally, the last door.”

We had reached the stage where the portal was.

It was the end of the 17th day.

Since it was almost time to camp, we considered resting and entering the door tomorrow.

However…

“I think I’ll be more focused now.”

Considering Raven’s weakness in the morning, I decided to proceed today.

The portal room is also a boss room, after all.

The better the condition of the mage, the better.

“As I said before, we’re bound to encounter a level 5 monster here.”

“You mean that vampire-like monster.”

Aynar gripped her greatsword, her eyes filled with excitement and anticipation.  She seemed eager to find out how much she had changed from her powerless past.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Originally, I planned to remind everyone not to let their guard down, mentioning that the survival rate of aspirant explorers who made it this far is less than 50%.

But then…

“Hey, why did you stop talking?”

It probably doesn’t matter.

It wouldn’t be like a barbarian.

“I forgot.”

“What?”

“Let’s go and defeat it.”

I opened the door.

And climbed the stairs to the next stage.

A chamber with a familiar obelisk embedded in the center.

As all five of us entered, the door closed, and a monster was summoned.

[ROOOAAAR—!!]

I found myself laughing again.

I wondered what kind of creature would appear.

“It’s a troll!”

Right, only a creature like this would make it feel like we’re truly graduating.

***

Troll.

The creature who made me smash my keyboard in my first year of playing [Dungeon & Stone] and…….

And the very bastard that once drove our team halfling to the brink of annihilation.

“Shall I start with the distortion magic? I’ve heard that troll by-products are quite expensive.”

Level 5 should mean it’s quite fierce.

“Let it be. The essence is just as expensive anyway.”

“In that case.”

As Raven and I were exchanging a few words.

Boom!

The troll roared and lunged forward.

So, to fulfill my role as the tank, I stomped on the ground.

「The character has cast [Gigantification].」

The size difference shrank in an instant.

As the distance closed, the troll swung its massive fist.

Bang!

I felt the heavy impact transmitted through the giant shield. 

But maybe it’s because I’ve consumed the ogre’s essence?

It doesn’t feel satisfying.

‘The shield is still intact, too.’

The Litinium shield that used to deform with each punch now remained unscathed.

Thanks to the level 6 engraving effect [Unity].

Now, the performance of the equipment I’m wearing is enhanced proportionally to the total sum of my stats.

Yeah, I spent so much just to get this!

“Bethel—raaaaaaaa!!”

After inflating my stats with [Wild Burst], I swung down my mace with all my might.

「The character has cast [Swing].」

「The destructive power of bludgeoning weapons greatly increases in proportion to strength.」

The target was the head.

However, because the creature dodged, the giant mace ended up striking its shoulder.

Crack!

A pleasing sound of impact as the shoulder grotesquely caved in.

Just one hit caused dislocation.

Before, it took six hits just to crush the joint that had been completely skinned.

[ROOOAAAR—!!]

Of course, true to its reputation for regenerative abilities, the troll’s bone reattached itself in a few seconds.

But this was enough to measure my combat power.

‘Let’s see.’

I dedicated myself to defense and observed my teammates.

Starting with Misha, the original member.

Though she hasn’t absorbed any new essences since then, but…

Swoosh!

The sword slices cut through the troll’s hide with ease.

The power of money.

I paid a whopping 12 million stones for this longsword.

If it couldn’t even do this much, I’d have to ask for a refund.

“Bethel—raaaaaaaa!!”

It was Aynar’s shout.

Perhaps envious of Misha’s performance, she immediately joined the front line, swinging her greatsword.

Whoosh!

A strong wind followed the trajectory of the sword, creating afterimages.

Well, is it a bit much to call it an afterimage?

「Aynar Pheneline has cast [Multi-Slash].」

An active skill of the grade 4 essence inherited from the elder.

The effect is simple.

When you slash once, it deals the damage of two slashes.

Swoosh! Swoosh!

Ah, of course, against a troll, the effect was minimal.

Even with Aynar’s considerable strength and the weight of the greatsword, it only penetrated about 3cm into the troll.

It’s because Aynar’s skill is only [Multi-Slash].

It’s a skill that’s hard to fully utilize with just normal attacks.

“This thing’s skin is tough… Argh!”

Aynar was knocked back by the troll’s fist. Though she quickly got up, blood dripped from her mouth.

It seems her organs were damaged.

“Bethel—raaaaaaaa!!”

However, instead of resting and drinking a potion, Aynar immediately re-engaged and swung her greatsword again.

It was more of a rational choice than stubbornness.

This time, her greatsword glowed with a red hue.

An active skill from the Blood Knight, obtained at the Blood Tinted Castle.

「Aynar Pheneline has cast [Life Drain].」

「When damaging a living creature, temporarily increases regeneration.」

Aynar heals as she hits the enemy.

An excellent quality for a sub-DPS/Tank.

Using [Life Drain] with [Multi-Slash], Aynar was quickly back to her original state after a few hits.

‘Misha deals more damage, but Aynar is much better at tanking.’

After watching them battle for a while, I took note of their strengths, weaknesses, and what they needed to work on.

‘Aynar needs a decent offensive ability. As for Misha, I need to feed her more beast blood to increase her spirit beast level.’

As I was thinking about this, I was casually dealing with the troll.

Then, Mr. Bear asked from behind.

“Can I join in now?”

“Ah, you were waiting for permission?”

“I was curious to see how well those two ladies would fight.”

“I’m not a lady!!!”

Regardless of Aynar’s protest, Mr. Bear joined the fray upon my approval.

「Abman Urichfried has summoned the Iron Guardian.」

Perhaps he judged the front line was already full?

Mr. Bear summoned a spirit beast as a bodyguard behind him, then fired his crossbow in earnest.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!

Each arrow made a massive sound as it buried itself deep into the troll’s body.

The precision of the hits were evident, targeting joints like elbows or knees to restrict its movements.

Swoosh!

Misha and Aynar combined their strengths to slice off the troll’s arm.

Then the troll’s [Regeneration] started.

Raven had previously cast a ‘Deterioration’ spell, so the regeneration was slow.

‘There’s nothing more to see here.’

As I was about to smash the troll’s head with my mace.

“Stop!”

Mr. Bear stopped me.

“The third lady should have her moment too.”

“…Could you not call me a lady?”

Raven grumbled and swung her wand.

Like Dwalky, she didn’t tell us to duck.

It wasn’t for lack of consideration, but rather she thought it was unnecessary.

「Alluva Raven has cast Level 5 attack magic [Lightning Spear].」

The white lightning zigzagged past our positions.

There was a flash before my eyes.

The sound followed.

Boom boom boom!!

By the time I realized, the troll’s head had flown off.

Thud.

The troll fell to the ground and disappeared into light.

Ah, of course, there was no essence this time either.

***

We defeated the troll.

And very easily, as if playing with it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there won’t be dangers on the 5th floor. It’s a place where level 5 monsters appear in groups.

Whoosh!

With the troll’s death, a portal opened.

However, we didn’t immediately ascend to the 5th floor but camped instead. It was time to sleep anyway, so it made more sense to rest comfortably for one more day.

‘Is the real challenge beginning now?’

I fell asleep amidst a mix of anxiety and anticipation.

And the next morning.

Specifically, on the 18th day around 7 AM.

“Wow, I can’t believe I’m going to see the 5th floor too…”

After packing up, we entered the portal.

「You have entered the 5th floor, the Grand Demon Realm.」

That’s it for the first part.

It’s time for the real exploration.