Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 3

November 6, 2023 • 15 min read • 493 views

When I first played this race, known literally as ‘savages,’ I chose a greatsword.

Because, well, it’s cool.

Every man has the desire to grip a sword in each hand and whirl around madly in the midst of the enemy.

‘The problem was that I died too easily.’

Attracted to the barbarian character, I started to research. How could I develop a barbarian that could also ensure survivability?

No matter how many times I tried, the Barbarian still died too easily. Even when I focused on survivability, I ended up with something like a Berserker at best.

Each battle was a precarious tightrope walk, which made it unreliable.

At some point, I felt a sense of disillusionment.

‘Do I really have to use this guy as a DPS?’

Among the available races, barbarians have the highest life expectancy and the strength to equip adamantium gear.

They may not have the unfair special abilities of dwarves, but they certainly have the basic qualities of a tank.

Well, regardless, I didn’t really want to play as a tank barbarian…

But I didn’t want my research to go to waste, so I decided to give it a try.

After some trial and error, I created a strategy.

‘What the, this character is broken.’

I dumped my original tank dwarf, without regret

So what if I can’t engage in exhilarating battles?

I always prioritize efficiency, and as a gamer, I can easily discard personal preferences if it helps with strategy.

Just like the decision I’ve made now.

Thud.

After choosing my weapon and returning to my seat, I could feel the gazes of other barbarians on me.

What are you looking at, haven’t you ever seen a shield barbarian before?

True to my barbarian nature, I returned to my spot with an undaunted and confident air.

This time, I didn’t even need to pretend.

“Next!”

I have no regrets about my decision.

For three reasons.

One, among the starting weapons, the shield fetches the highest price when resold.

Two, there’s a very high chance I wouldn’t be able to use a blade properly even if I took one.

Three, ultimately, what I’m aiming for is to be a shield barbarian.

Today, I made the most rational decision possible.

“With this, you have become a warrior!”

Having chosen my weapon and turned back to my place, I finally had some time to spare.

While the other barbarians were undergoing their coming-of-age ceremony, I decided to ponder the causes of the current state of affairs. I really should have addressed this earlier, but…

Considering such things could’ve been the death of me.

“You have reached the Abyss.”

I might as well sort things out now.

I had reached the final boss’s room.

That was probably the trigger.

‘Wait a minute, then what about that guy who died earlier? Did he make it to the final boss room too?’

…Maybe. There are many people in the world and among them, there might be odd ones like me. Let’s skip over this part for now.

“Tutorial complete.”

I interpreted this message as follows:

We’ve taught you all we can, now use this knowledge to survive.

Whoever it is, they must be a vicious bastard.

If they really wanted me to survive, they should have included some information about ‘evil spirits’ or whatever.

I almost died as soon as I got here. You asshole.

“Sigh…”

Is it because I’m in the body of a barbarian? I’m not able to control my emotions as usual.

For that reason, I decided to end my reverie here.

If I get too excited, I might mess things up, and it’s not like me to stress over the causes anyway.

What’s done is done, and it can’t be undone.

Rather than spending time on this, it’s more productive to think about how to move forward.

So…

Yes, I’ll just focus on that for now.

“Surviving.”

The coming-of-age ceremony is over.

And now, I am walking down a forest path.

Ahead is the tribal chief, and behind are the young barbarians.

Everyone looks as if they are joyously on their way to a picnic.

However, I cannot smile sincerely like them.

Because I know their ultimate destination.

“Halt!”

The place we arrived at, after passing through lush undergrowth, was in front of a massive wall that seemed to be 30 meters high.

“Open the gates!”

The gates open with the sound of a crude mechanical device.

It’s so slow that it’s yawn-inducing.

Yet, the young barbarians watched, as if they had forgotten to even breathe, completely engrossed in the sight. In the strange silence, the grey city finally revealed itself beyond the great doors.

“Raphdonia…”

Perhaps, at this moment, my eyes were not so different from theirs.

The well-maintained roads and stone buildings.

The towering spires reaching high into the sky.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see, in reality, the scene I had only seen in loading screen illustrations.

Damn it all.

“Warriors!”

As the gate opened, the chief turned and shouted.

I wondered if he was about to say some parting words of wisdom…

“Depart! Your fate lies in that place!”

The barbarians needed no boring speeches.

“Waaaahhhhhh!”

The freshly matured barbarians burst into the city with a battle cry. Reluctantly, I also raised my voice and followed.

There might be people sleeping peacefully in those darkened buildings, but what does it matter?

I am a barbarian, after all.

Koong-!

The sound of the city gates closing echoed from behind.

Of course, none of the barbarians paid it any mind.

The overly excited barbarians finally calmed down and slowed their pace after running for a while, and that’s when I could also continue my thoughts calmly.

Currently, conflicting emotions coexisted within me.

“……”

The fear about the situation I was facing.

And a kind of anticipation of becoming part of the world of the game I enjoyed the most.
It’s a bit funny.

I had just resolved to focus solely on surviving, and here these emotions were, blossoming.

…It seems I’m not quite normal after all.

Though, I’m probably not as bad as these barbarian fellows.

“Stop!”

The leading barbarian, who acted as a leader, halted in his tracks, turned around, and declared with confidence.

“It seems we have lost our way!”

The barbarians murmured among themselves at this shocking confession.

“The third son of Venom, Karak, has led us down the wrong path!”

“He is not fit to be a leader!”

“He must take responsibility!”

Ridiculous. They had all followed him willingly enough.

Is this what barbarian society is like? Ruthless.

“I understand. Stop. I acknowledge that I am unfit to lead and will step down from my position.”

Amidst the continued grumbling, Karak, the third son of Venom, hung his head low and returned to the group.

The newly appointed leader was a female barbarian.

“Aynar, the second daughter of Pheneline!”

“Wise Ainar will surely lead us on the right path!”

With many hopeful comments, the female barbarian took the lead with a joyful expression.

However, it did not take long for her to follow in the same steps as her predecessor.

“…It seems we have lost our way.”

Astonishingly, the words matched exactly, without missing a beat, to those of the former leader.

“How can this be! We must reach the labyrinth within the set time!”

“Aynar is not fit to lead!”

“That’s right!”

The confused barbarians began to earnestly discuss who would be elected as the third leader.

“I think Jin, the second son of Tehtran, would be good.”

“No. I don’t think so. Rather…”

Do these idiots not have brains?

Does none of them truly realize that no matter who leads, we cannot reach our destination?

Perhaps it might even become my turn.

“……”

I quietly stepped back and approached the second leader.

She was a towering figure, just shy of 2 meters, standing slightly apart from the group with a look of dejection.

“Bjorn, son of Jandel? Have you come to blame me as well?”

Not at all.

To me, they all seemed like the same fools.

As I shook my head, the female barbarian looked puzzled.

“Then why? If it’s consolation you’re offering, I don’t need it.”

“No. I’ve come to show you how to find the way.”

“…Really? How exactly?”

I pointed with my hand.

“Just follow them.”

“Just follow them, you say?”

She looked incredulous, unable to believe.

I patiently went through the logical steps, explaining methodically.

The city at midnight. All the buildings on the main road had their lights off. But for such a late hour, there were quite a few people walking the streets.

All of them were not in casual clothes but in armor.

Where else would such people be heading?

“Indeed. Now that you mention it, it does seem so. I’ll give it a try.”

The female barbarian returned to the group and shouted, ‘I’ve found the way!’, and at this, the barbarians stopped choosing their third leader and cheered instead.

“Truly it is Aynar!”

“The wise warrior!”

Anyway, the group started moving again.

As time passed, the number of armed people around us increased.

Soon, we began to see rays of light spreading in all directions in the distance.

If we’ve come this far, we won’t at least lose our way.

“It’s the labyrinth! The labyrinth is in sight!”

“The sacred realm of battle!”

I continued my previously interrupted train of thought.

My biggest current concern was one: Is it really a wise decision to enter the labyrinth?

“I feel it! The labyrinth is calling to my soul!”

The barbarians, caught in a frenzy of excitement, wouldn’t notice if I quietly slipped away from the group.

Then I wouldn’t have to enter the labyrinth.

I wouldn’t have to bleed in battle against monsters.

Yet, even knowing this better than anyone, I still hadn’t concluded this dilemma.

‘Because running away can’t be the solution.’

[Dungeon and Stone] has a tax system.

From the age of 20, all city dwellers must pay taxes, and failure to do so results in execution.

Just hearing this, you might think it’s some sort of doomed game, but if you look at the world’s context, there is somewhat of a justifiable reason.

It’s not something to worry about just yet.

“Aynar! Let’s pick up the pace!”

“Woahhhh!!”

Anyway, I need to make money.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to enter the labyrinth and fight monsters.

Even working in a tavern would be enough to eat and sleep without problems.

…If only I weren’t a barbarian.

Barbarians are the only class that start the game with a weapon.

The reason is quite simple.

[Barbarian? Sorry, we’ve just filled the position.]

[Will you go away? We have no work for a barbarian! What are you planning to break this time?]
Barbarians can’t do ordinary jobs.

According to the game settings, aside from fighting monsters in the labyrinth, there’s no way for them to make a living.

Well, it’s uncertain how it would be in reality.

Maybe it’s easier to find a job than one would think.

But there’s one thing that holds me back from leaving the group.

“10 minutes left until closure. Please enter now!”

The labyrinth in the game opens only once a month.

Meaning, if I don’t enter now, I’ll have to survive in this city for a month.

But what if I can’t find a job?

What if no one will hire me just because I’m a barbarian?

Well, the future looks bleak.

Even if I can get by on the food the tribe leader gave me for a week, after that, I’ll probably be scraping by on food scraps.

I might even starve to death before that.

One thing is clear: even if I survive that period, my body will be completely different from what it is now.

“I’ll be the first to enter!”

“No, I will!”

Hunger, cold, unsanitary sleeping conditions.

I know better than anyone how devastating these can be to the human body.

So, if I’m going to enter anyway, it makes sense to do it now while I’m in good condition.

‘The problem is that it could also shorten my life.’

I was deep in thought when…

“Son of Jandel, Bjorn!”

Someone grabbed my shoulder.

It was that female barbarian from before.

Her name was definitely…

“The third daughter of Pheneline, Aynar.”

“It’s the second daughter.”

Anyway, what does she want with me?

“All the other warriors have entered the labyrinth. You and I are the only ones who haven’t yet.”

“Ah.”

No wonder it was so quiet.

Looking around, not only the other barbarians but also most people had left the square. Aynar, as the second leader, seemed to have come to check on me since I was still lingering.

“We need to hurry. We arrived late and don’t have much time.”

At her words, I lifted my head to look forward.

The portal that was shining brightly from afar had noticeably decreased in size.

“5 minutes left until closure!”

Just then, the guide announced the remaining time again.

5 minutes, tighter than I thought.

Time was ticking for a decision.

“Go ahead first. I’ll follow right behind you.”

“Understood.”

With Aynar’s nod, she moved toward the portal, and my dilemma deepened.

Now, what should I do?

As someone who always preferred efficiency and speed, this time it was hard to make a decision.

Unlike a game, real lives were at stake.

“Bjorn, son of Jandel!”

I was about to unconsciously step back when suddenly Aynar, who was walking well, turned around sharply.

“Thanks for earlier.”

“…You don’t need to thank me.”

“And I want to ask you something.”

Anything but my mother’s name.

I nodded, and Aynar asked with a voice full of sincerity.

“How can I become as wise as you? I’ve never seen a barbarian as smart as you. I want to be like you.”

That’s a tough question. How to become smart? Honestly, it might be faster just to be reborn…

Wait, why am I even pondering this?

I should just give a vague answer and send him on his way.

“Always think before you act.”

“Hmm, I see!”

Although I spoke without much thought, Aynar pondered my words with a serious expression.

Then she said something unexpected.

“Thank you for the advice. If I survive the labyrinth, I will repay you.”

Survive? That sounds too strange coming from a barbarian.

So uncharacteristically, I voiced an unnecessary question.

“…Are you afraid of dying?”

“Isn’t it natural? Death is naturally frightening. I bet other warriors feel the same. They just don’t show it.”

Really?

Even though she says that, it doesn’t resonate with me.

In the game, barbarians were beings that knew no fear.

It seemed not much different in reality.

Seeing that I was silent, Aynar added an explanation.

“We were born as warriors. If we can’t fight, we die.”

Her way of speaking was awkward and stiff, but somehow I fully understood what she was trying to say.

“I see.”

Just like me, they had no choice.

Born as barbarians.

If we can’t kill monsters in the labyrinth, we can’t survive in this city.

That’s why they learned from a young age how to overcome fear and move forward.

Yes, that was all it was.

That’s why they appeared barbaric to me.

“Let’s see each other alive, Bjorn, son of Jandel.”

Then Aynar stepped into the portal.

“The gate will close in one minute!”

Now there’s nothing to hold me back.

Only my choice remains.

Just like when I was about to enter the final boss’s room, there are two options.

「Yes / No」

Somehow my cluttered mind feels clearer.

Let’s think of it as a game.

When I play games, I always focus on efficiency for my goals.

Before acting, I assessed the possibilities, always thinking several moves ahead.

If I see immediate gain but overall loss, I choose ‘no’.

And the opposite, I choose ‘yes’.

Therefore, there was never a choice for me.

“The gate is closing soon! Please step back!”

I rushed forward.

Like when the tribe leader called my name, fear was boiling deep inside me.

It’s no surprise because I’ve lived a frail life without even a common fistfight experience.

And now I’m to face monsters?

My legs are already quivering.

“It’s dangerous!”

But, if there were no chance at all, I would know it.

Now, I have the ridiculously strong body of a barbarian.

The knowledge gained from raising thousands of characters.

Above all, I have the grand goal to survive.

So, I had no choice but to do it.

Knowing full well that it was a dreadful ordeal one would not choose if they were in their right mind.

Because it seemed like the most rational choice—

「You have entered the Crystal Cave on the first floor.」

That’s what I had come to think.