Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 168

April 3, 2024 • 13 min read • 944 views

The Great Demon Realm (3)

Explorer.

A profession that enters labyrinths to hunt monsters and collect magic stones. Most people think that fighting monsters is the biggest challenge for this profession.

But…

“When you actually ask explorers, they give you a completely different set of challenges.”

The absence of light.

Not being able to sleep when desired.

Meals that feel like dog food and accumulating sexual frustration.

Sweaty bodies and dirty beds.

“In the lower layers where exploration periods are shorter, it’s somewhat less severe. But the higher level explorers are more likely to say these things are harder than combat itself.”

“Hmm, I see.”

“Yes. Even the large clans say that from the seventh floor onwards, it’s common for them to take two or three months off in the city after each expedition.”

As someone belonging to this profession, I found the content entirely relatable.

But…

“So what?”

Day 22, afternoon.

Precisely speaking, as I was about to take out some jerky from my bag for a meal, this was the topic brought up by my partner.

There must be some hidden motive for bringing this up without any context.

“If you want something, just say it.”

I stare at her, expecting her to cut to the chase, and Raven replies with a certain determination in her voice.

“Let’s eat something proper today. Not jerky, but something cooked with fire.”

Ah, so that was the goal.

Typical of a mage to just say she wants to eat something tasty today.

I thought briefly before responding.

“Alright, let’s do that.”

“Even if Mr. Jandel is the leader, you should still ask the team members’ opinions… What? What did you say?”

“I said alright.”

“Really?”

Expecting a rejection, Raven’s eyes widened in surprise.

She probably knew her request was a bit unreasonable.

This isn’t the 4th layer.

There, we cooked and ate daily, sometimes even grilling meat preserved with magic spells…

But the 5th layer, The Great Demon Realm, has an open-world structure.

“Are you sure that’s okay? If the smell spreads, it might attract monsters, and we might not be able to eat properly.”

“What… what exactly do you want?”

“Ah, well… I was thinking, and it seems we might be able to handle the smell issue with magic to some extent.”

It seems she just wanted to share this piece of information.

Once it was decided we could cook our meal, Aynarr, who had been anxiously listening in on the conversation, was amazed.

“Is this what being a mage is…?”

He seemed impressed by how Raven managed to get my permission with just a few words…

‘Now that we’re on the 5th layer, it’s time to make some improvements.’

Truth be told, I had been considering this already.

Now that the total exploration period is almost a month, we need to be mindful of the team members’ stress.

When people become sensitive, even trivial things can lead to disputes.

“Then, Midd. Karlstein, please take care of it. Let us know if you need anything like water or fire.”

“Nyang, could you light a fire for me?”

“Is this enough?”

Soon, our team’s official cook, Misha, started cooking with Raven’s help.

The menu was a tomato stew loaded with meat.

“It’s so delicious today too!!! Misha! Can’t you marry me later?”

“What are you talking about? Miss. Ainar, Mrs. Karlstein is going to live with me.”

“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed the meal, but both of you, that’s a bit…”

Misha trailed off, glancing at me with a hesitant look.

“……”

“……”

For the record, during the meal, Mr. Bear and I stood guard. Not a single monster appeared until the three had finished their bowls.

“Hmm, it hardly smells at all? Is this some kind of magic?”

“I used an air control spell and a combustion spell to collect the smell in one place and burn it away.”

“Hmm, I see.”

Mr. Bear was delighted that he could have a decent meal on the 5th floor.

I felt the same way.

Honestly, I was really sick of jerky by now.

“Come on, you two eat as well. We’ll take over the guard duty now.”

Soon we were both sitting down and scooping stew into our bowls. As is typical of Barbarian and Black Bear macho men, five minutes was all it took, and once again, the monsters didn’t show up until we were done eating.

And it wasn’t just because of the scent-eliminating magic.

‘…It means the overall number of monsters has decreased.’

I’ve felt it over the past few days; the number of monsters on the 5th floor is significantly less than in the game.

Of course, I have a guess as to why.

‘Damn clan bastards.

In the Great Demon Realm, monsters regenerate from mirrors located in each field and are released into the gorge.

But since the clans monopolize such hunting grounds and hunt as soon as the monsters regenerate, fewer monsters come out.

‘…Well, thanks to that, I found it early, though.’

I glanced at the moss in the corner and smiled slyly.

It was different from the other mosses I had passed by.

It was a mix of red and green moss, half and half.

And at the point where the two mosses met, there was a black moss the size of a marble.

“The problem is how to naturally lead to this…”

While I was pondering, a monster appeared in front of us.

Eight ‘Hell Hounds’, Level 6 monsters.

It’s easy, imagine a four-eyed wild dog the size of a tiger. Their entire bodies covered in black flames.

[Growl!]

“Prepare for battle.”

Having caught these monsters annoyingly for several days, we entered the battle without the need for any briefing.

The battle lasted about 10 minutes.

“Are we going down further now?”

Raven asked, and I thought for a moment.

There was still a long time left until we had to camp.

How could I keep us here without arousing suspicion?

‘Bam, if it weren’t for the scent removal spell, we’d be fighting monsters right now.

I was thinking this when…

“…Huh?”

The black moss in the corner had disappeared.

As if something invisible had picked it up.

‘…Has that thing already come?’

I quickly gave an order.

“Raven, it feels like something is near us.”

“Huh? What do you mean—”

“Try using detection magic.”

Perhaps because of a major setback we experienced on the 4th floor with the figure in the mask, Raven didn’t question my intuition-based instruction and cast the spell.

“Dire Taniv Karsachi.”

A wave of magical power spread out in a circle.

Soon, Raven’s expression became serious.

“There’s something there, ahead of us.”

“Is it a person?”

I asked as if I didn’t know, and instead of answering, Raven used a ‘Reveal’ spell.

Whoosh!

Clusters of light clung to the air like clay.

Soon, as the light faded, the shape of the creature that had been hiding was revealed.

“…Hmm?”

It was a squirrel.

About the size of a seven or eight-year-old child.

Crouched in front of the moss, it was nibbling on the black moss with its front teeth.

[Squeak?]

Noticing our gaze, the squirrel tilted its head.

“Eek…! So, so cute!”

“It looks tasty!”

Misha and Aynar exclaimed in unison.

Then Raven shouted excitedly right after.

“It’s a Miladon! We have to kill it now!!”

Ah, you recognize it.

How difficult it is to encounter one of these.

“Ah, yes… it’s a monster, after all…”

Misha raised her sword with a somewhat sad face.

On the other hand, Mr. Bear loaded his crossbow faster than ever before.

He wasn’t the only one who recognized its value.

“We’re lucky. To meet a Miladon on our first exploration.”

“Wait, wait. Distortion! We haven’t used distortion magic yet!”

Raven stopped Mr. Bear and quickly chanted a magic spell.

Not just any distortion, but ‘Advanced Distortion’ magic.

Now, when we kill this monster, there’s a higher chance the corpse will remain intact.

[Squeak, squeak-!!]

The Miladon started convulsing as soon as it was hit by the distortion magic.

It might have been an instinct engraved in its DNA.

Most of its ancestors probably died after being hit by this.

“Abman!”

At my shout, the crossbow bolt was fired.

However, true to its nature as one of the few herbivorous monsters in the labyrinth, it dodged with nimble movements.

I immediately dashed forward and grabbed its tail.

[Squee! Squee! Squeet!!]

The creature struggled and let out a feeble scream.

Being in this situation made me feel like I was harming an animal…

But, what can I do?

This is the law of nature.

Swoosh.

Just as I was about to stretch my hand to crush its head and kill it.

“Wait a moment!”

Raven stopped me.

“Can we kill it in a way that keeps it as intact as possible? I heard its fur sells for quite a bit.”

A mage’s words, always seeking rationality.

I readily agreed and restrained the Miladon by grabbing its neck and tail.

And then…

“Misha.”

“Nyang, eh? Me, do I have to do it?”

“Isn’t your sword the thinnest?”

Aynar uses a broadsword, and Mr. Bear’s arrows are too big to be considered arrows.

Not to mention my mace.

Being a monster, it would be hard to cleanly stab and kill it with a regular knife.

“Stab it in the forehead.”

“Ugh…”

Misha, looking somewhat reluctant, eventually drew her sword and granted it peace.

[Squeak…]

The Miladon slumped down as if its power had been turned off.

I swallowed hard and counted.

‘1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds…’

During that time, it would normally have disappeared in a flash of light, signifying its death.

“Bjorn! Meat has appeared!”

The body didn’t vanish.

***

A Level 7 Miladon.

A squirrel with a mirror on its back.

It’s classified as a rare species, similar to a Mimic.

They’re incredibly hard to come across.

“Ha, thanks to Mr. Jandel, we’ve caught a very rare monster. Mr. Urichfried, do you have experience with this?”

“This is also my first time. That’s how rare it is.”

Even Mr. Bear, who had been active on the 5th floor for a long time, said this was his first hunt for such a creature.

Well, considering its habits, it’s understandable.

A non-aggressive monster with permanent stealth abilities.

And if you’re running detection magic, it won’t even enter the area? Essentially, you need incredible luck to encounter one.

Of course, assuming you don’t know about the black moss.

‘Just waiting here and casting a detection spell should guarantee a catch.’

Of course, easier said than done. I was also stuck on the 5th floor for over a year before I figured out this method.

After all, it’s a game full of hidden pieces.

Thinking there might be a condition for the Miladon’s appearance, I reviewed all the recording files and discovered in one of them that the moss disappeared from the terrain.

At that time, I wondered if it was a bug…

‘A truly twisted game.’

It turned out not to be a bug but a hidden element.

Immediately after the moss disappeared, casting detection magic would result in a 100% appearance rate for the Miladon. Of course, whether the distortion magic succeeded was another issue.

“Lucky for a first-timer. To succeed with the distortion magic on the first try—”

“Advanced distortion, not just any distortion.”

“Ah, right. Advanced distortion…”

In the game, the success rate of distorting a Miladon was 20%.

Even with advanced distortion, it’s less than 30%.

I thought we would need to catch several to get one.

“Anyway, can I see it?”

“Do you know how to butcher?”

“I did it every day during my apprenticeship.”

The limp carcass was quickly dissected into skin, innards, and bones by Raven’s butchering knife.

Much faster and more precise than even a professional butcher.

Wow, an expert is indeed a different realm.

“But why is this one so valuable?”

“The skin is in demand due to its rarity, and the tendons are used for magical materials. However… the real value lies elsewhere.”

Raven then finished the butchering process by prying off the mirror attached to the creature’s  back skin with a knife.

“This mirror.”

“Mirror?”

“Yes. It can’t be taken out of the city, but it’s extremely useful inside.”

Raven then explained in detail the uses of the mirror.

I watched, satisfied.

‘Is this why you need a mage in the team?’

Things are much smoother.

Before, I had to explain everything from scratch. Huh, can I now live like a normal barbarian?

“But Mr. Jandel seems to have a good intuition.”

“Eh?”

“You couldn’t have felt the Miladon’s presence.”

Raven looked at me curiously but didn’t dwell on it further without suspicion.

Having experienced something similar on the 4th floor, she probably doesn’t think it’s impossible.

Okay, that’s settled then.

“So, how do we use this?”

In the game, you just equipped the mirror to a magician and clicked a button.

But what about in reality?

“Uh, I’m not sure.”

“It wasn’t detailed in the book. Maybe pushing magic power into it will activate it?”

“…Try it. Oh, but first, let’s form a binding magic pact. Just in case.”

“Good idea.”

After forming the binding magic pact, Raven held the mirror and closed her eyes.

She seemed to be channeling magic power into it…

As a barbarian with no magical talent, I didn’t feel anything.

But then, after a while.

Flash!

The mirror emitted a brilliant light, enveloping us.

And when we came to.

「The character has entered the Mirror of Fire.」

We found ourselves standing on a vast wasteland, having left the dark labyrinth behind.

“It feels like we’ve entered a rift, suddenly being in a different space!”

Mr. Bear’s impression.

But this place is clearly different from a rift.

There’s no guardian, nor is it a dungeon form.

Just an open-world structure teeming with monsters.

In other words…

[Go away, barbarian. This is our clan’s territory.]

The world beyond the mirror where clans couldn’t camp out to catch emerging monsters.

I’ve always called this hidden field by a name.

“Bjorn! Monsters are converging from all around!”

“Prepare for battle!”

The Burning Zone.

「Field Effect – The Otherworld is applied.」

「The drop rate of magic stones significantly increases.」

「The drop rate of essences slightly increases.」

Let’s just spawn two essences, no more, no less.