Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 182

April 17, 2024 • 10 min read • 272 views

Jinx (2)

The identification tags are only available before entering the labyrinth.

Technically it’s called an ID tag, but it’s essentially a steel pendant with the Royal Family’s emblem on it.

For reference, Raven, who has a general appraiser’s certificate, estimates the production cost at less than 3,000 stones.

[So it’s really just an ordinary necklace.]

[Even for the royal family, it would have been difficult to produce and distribute such magical devices in such a short time.]

What’s more, the tag didn’t even have a name on it, so it was impossible to tell if someone had stolen it.

However, upon our careful examination, we discovered a hidden trick in the ID tag.

It wasn’t anything spectacular, but…

Neither the official who distributed them nor the knight we met on the first floor had mentioned it.

[What exactly is written here?]

[…It’s in ancient language.]

Tiny numbers written in an ancient language were embedded within the royal emblem.

The number on our ID tag was 2.

Raven and I speculated about this, and after comparing it with the tags of other explorers, we came to a conclusion.

[The clan we met earlier all had 3 on their tags].

These ancient numbers indicated the rank of the explorer.

It didn’t precisely denote the rank, but 1 was for lower, 2 for mid-level, and 3 for upper-level explorers.

[I wondered why they asked about levels when distributing these; so this was the hidden feature.]

[But why didn’t they tell us when handing them out?]

[Because there was a risk of it being misused by those from the Ark.]

Of course, even knowing how to read the ancient language, it was a loosely kept secret that allowed us to speculate like we did.

Still, it wasn’t a bad cost-effective measure.

Adding an extra number when stamping the emblem wasn’t a difficult task.

In fact, we have already benefited from this knowledge.

“Ah, the damn Hans effect.”

I carefully controlled my expression and tightened my grip on the shield. The number on the shield the dwarven team had shown me earlier was 1.

That means they’re from Noark, who took the tags from someone else.

Given their equipment and appearance, these guys couldn’t possibly be low level explorers.

“So, what now?”

Should I just kill them right away?

That was the first option that came to mind, but upon careful consideration, it seemed like the worst move.

Raven seemed to think similarly.

[They don’t know they’ve been found out yet, so let’s just pretend we don’t know and start exploring]

Yes, that’s definitely the best course of action.

I nodded in response to the telepathic magic, and the dwarf gave me a meaningful look.

“Is there something wrong?”

“No, Nothing. Let’s introduce ourselves. I’m Bjorn, son of Jandel. Who are you?”

“Jagurth Martan.”

A Dwarven name, but I’m sure it’s an alias.

“Ah! I am Hans Krysen.”

With that, Hans G also introduced himself, completing the introductions of the leaders.

“Where’s your ID tag?”

“Ah, here it is. What are you all doing? Hurry up and show yours.”

To be on the safe side, we also checked the ID tags of Hans G’s team.

With the exception of one newcomer marked 1, all were marked 2.

“Um… now that we’re together, shouldn’t we introduce the others too?”

“Hmm, we need to stick together? Do you know something about this rift?”

“Yes, I’ve read quite a bit about it.”

Hans G. nodded confidently at the dwarf’s question.

It was somewhat funny.

He learned it from books?

That’s the same excuse I usually use.

“Explain it to me. What happens next?”

“Now that we’re all here, if we all join hands, a path will open. If we follow that path, we’ll reach a forest.”

“…You might be useful.”

“Ha ha… I’m glad I can help. On that note, how about we take some time to learn what each of us is good at?”

At Hans G’s suggestion, they briefly introduced the members of their respective teams.

Here’s how it went:

[Hans G’s team]

Summoner, Mage, Bludgeon Warrior, Scout, and a Fairy Archer.

[Dwarf team]

Dwarf Warrior, Beast Human Swordsman, Mage, An Archer, And a priest.

“Oh! There’s a priest in your team!”

Hans G brightened up upon hearing about the composition of the Dwarf team. The presence of a priest was especially welcome, considering the upcoming raids…

Although it’s probably just a priest of Carui.

“So, how will we distribute…”

As expected from explorers who met in a rift, after the introductions, we immediately discussed loot.

And the result?

The team that killed the mob would keep what they collected.

For the loot gathered collectively, we agreed to roll dice.

However, it wasn’t a fair dice.

“Shouldn’t the side that contributed more take more? You’re Krysen, right? From the looks of it, you’re the least helpful among us.”

“As I mentioned earlier, we have information about this rift—”

“I know quite a bit about the Doppelganger Forest too.”

Raven toyed with her opponent in a calm voice, entering her negotiation mode.

“Just a moment. Aren’t you being too rude?”

The Fairy Archer from Hans’s team bristled, but it hardly changed the situation.

“Lady Meyrin, please stop. It’s not like he’s wrong.”

“That’s right, admit it. Didn’t we just suffer a lot because of that barbarian friend’s doppelganger? It would be unfair to us to ask for fairness when there’s such a discrepancy.

“…….”

The fairy archer clenched her jaw in frustration as the leader and the mage spoke the same words. Hans G then spoke with a bitter tone.

“We will always subtract 1 from any rolls in our favor.”

“Subtract 2, Instead we’ll use a 10-sided dice.”

“Agreed. But if we make a significant contribution, you should increase it”.

“That’s a reasonable proposal. Why don’t we make that a rule? If any team makes a mistake, subtract 1 from their roll, and add one if they do well. What do you think?”

Raven spoke directly to the dwarf, who nodded agreeably.

“That seems fair.”

I’m going to stab them in the back anyway.

Was that last line just my imagination?

***

As we gathered at the altar in the center of the commons and raised our hands, the vines blocking the path were pushed aside, revealing an uphill path.

“We’ll go first. Just don’t follow too closely.”

“That’s reasonable.”

Our teams kept a safe distance as we moved through the passage, and soon the forest appeared.

This is where the second chapter begins.

「Characters have entered a special Area.」

「Field effect – Doppelganger Forest is applied.」

「Status ailment [Distrust] is applied.」

[Attacks against Exploration members deal double damage]

The chapter was straightforward.

Wander the forest, defeat three mid-bosses, and find a hidden altar to complete the mission.

“So, which team will take the lead?”

“Let’s take turns.”

True to the nature of Explorers with the Distrust passive, each team adopted a split formation rather than moving as a single unit.

From above, the structure looks like an isosceles triangle.

Each team dealt with monsters from their respective directions and provided support if the situation turned dangerous.

“Activate your voice control spells first.”

Despite being quite a distance away from the other teams, we switched on the team voice spell and continued exploring, defeating doppelgangers every few minutes.

How much time had passed?

“Nyang ha! What’s wrong with that dwarf? He seemed so strong, but he’s nothing in a fight!”

We naturally hunted the doppelgangers of the other team members and gathered information.

As expected, Hans G’s team was easy to deal with, and the dwarf team wasn’t as strong as we had thought.

‘They must be around rank 5’

This was good news to mme, especially since I had even considered the possibility that they might be dragon-slayer level strong.

“Raven, turn on the voice control.”

“Huh? It’s already on.”

Ah, I hadn’t mentioned that yet.

“Just make it between you and me.”

It was a sensitive topic.

“Eh? Why just the two of us…”

“I’ll explain everything later.”

My other three teammates looked at me questioningly, but when they saw my expression, they nodded.

“…It’s done. But are you planning not to tell those three?”

“I don’t think any of them are good at acting.”

It wasn’t intentional, but our gaze naturally settled on Aynar.

“…Let’s end this discussion here.”

“Yes, that would be best.”

I then moved on to the main topic.

“So, what do you think their move will be?”

“It could go either way. They could just want to finish their exploration peacefully and leave… Or they could get greedy.

I was a little surprised by the answer.

“Fifty-fifty?”

I would have thought she’d see them as more greedy.

“Well, they are outnumbered by us. And from what we’ve seen, they aren’t stronger than us.”

Hmm, that’s true.

“But one thing’s for sure, if they get greedy, it won’t be now. Probably after we’ve taken care of the Guardian.

This matched my own thinking.

The Doppelganger Forest is a rift that requires a 15-person party.

Unless one is extraordinarily skilled, it’s difficult for a single team to clear it.

“You know what that means, right? It also means that we can’t attack them before we catch the guardian.”

“Yeah, I’m aware.”

That’s the most frustrating part of the situation.

Cutting down the column at the root.

Ideally, one should eradicate a problem at once, but I can’t make a preemptive strike!

It feels like I will go crazy just thinking about it.

“So, what about them?”

“The team with Hans?”

“Yes. Did you notice anything suspicious?”

“I’m not sure. He seemed a bit clumsy, but he doesn’t look like a bad guy.”

“He doesn’t seem like a bad guy…”

Indeed, that’s how it appears.

But I know better.

Hans G was the one who led over a hundred explorers to their doom to save himself when he was trapped in the [Rift of Malice].

He’s not someone to be underestimated.

He’s also a player, after all.

“Ha…”

I sighed involuntarily.

As if Hans G wasn’t enough, we now have to deal with the Noark’s team.

Why does it always turn to hard mode whenever we enter a rift?

“Bjorn, be on the lookout for doppelgangers!”

“…Keep a close watch on the other side, too. Let me know immediately if you sense anything strange.”

“Got it.”

With that, I ended my conversation with Raven and focused on the exploration. Contrary to expectations, no one delved deeper into our conversation.

It’s unimaginable that they weren’t curious…

They must believe there’s a good reason and are waiting patiently.

‘…Makes me feel guilty.’

“I need some support over here!”

Other than occasional requests for support from Hans G’s team, time passed without significant events.

Then, as night fell, we encountered one of the three mid-bosses.

“It’s a manticore!”

One of the few non-doppelganger creatures in this rift, notorious for its bang for its buck value, whether it be byproducts or essences.

[You have killed the manticore. EXP +5]

Thanks to information from Raven and Hans G, the fight itself was not difficult.

However, the issue was…

Well, is it really an issue?

“Stop right there!”

An essence dropped.

For the first time in a while, it was an essence I could consume.

“Raven, get the dice out!”

We absolutely have to win.