Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 5

November 8, 2023 • 13 min read • 455 views

Looking back, I was a pretty funny guy.

I was always bored with life, but never once did I think about killing myself.

The feeling of boredom was just that—a feeling. To me, life was something more precious than anything else.

I thought it didn’t make sense in many ways.

And I still think the same.

That’s why…….

I’m crawling through the darkness on three limbs.

It might sound odd, but it’s quite literal.

Currently, I’m dragging my utterly wrecked right foot, moving along the ground on my three other limbs.

If anyone were to see me now, they’d likely think of a dog with a broken leg.

How do I know?

‘Because that’s what I’m thinking right now.’

The price for relinquishing human dignity was sweet.

For starters, I don’t have to use my injured foot, so it doesn’t hurt, and my speed is actually faster than before.

And most importantly, there’s no risk of stepping in traps.

Sure, my elbows and knees are a bit sore, but, well…

It’s something I can endure. Something I can bear.

What can’t I do to survive?

I could eat dog shit with a smile.

Um… give me some time to prepare mentally, and surely it’s possible.

‘But what happened to that guy?’

“That guy” is just a term I coined.

I don’t know his gender, age, or name.

I’m just guessing from the way he spoke.

Somehow, he seemed like a bespectacled white guy in his 30s.

Or not.

「[Bleeding] is ongoing.」

Anyway, what happened to the person who woke up in the body of Orum, the son of Kadua? Did he die? Or did he wake up in his original body?

It’s a question that’s been on my mind since I opened my eyes.

Even if I try not to think about it, the shittier the situation gets, the more I think of that guy.

「[Bleeding] is ongoing.」

It’s like I’m starting to understand why humans believe in religion.

Reality is too harsh to face alone.

When despair hits, you need something else to turn your attention to. Just like I need right now.

「[Bleeding] is ongoing.」

「[Bleeding] is ongoing.」

「Warning: The character’s vitality is below 5%. Immediate treatment is required or the character will die.」

Sigh, I’ve crawled quite a bit while lost in thought.

Although it’s a subtle difference, I can feel that the surroundings are gradually getting brighter.

This is a positive situation in many ways.

It means I’m heading in the right direction, and my hypothesis that the entire first floor can’t be this dark is correct.

Just need to make it to the bright area.

There’ll be people there, and I’ll give them this mana stone and ask for help, and then we can somehow…….

‘Bullshit, what a joke.’

I’m whispering positive words to myself and offering a carrot to keep going, when my alter ego shows up.

“Hey dumbass, they’re too busy to help you for a crumb of bread. They’ll take your mana stone and your shield and leave you for dead.

Is it me?

This asshole is quite smart.

“What if you meet a goblin before any human? Are you brainless or what? Huh?”

I, as the original self, cannot tolerate any further insults.

“Idiot, what else can you do? You have to keep going anyway. At least there you can see what’s in front of you. Isn’t that better than fighting off goblins here?”

“…That’s true.”

My other self agrees, and my mind quiets down once more.

I kept crawling.

“Kehehehehe…”

I might be going crazy.

Or maybe I’m already crazy.

After all, it’s only natural given how much blood I’ve lost?

My ego has been splitting and merging, numbing and reviving repeatedly.

It’s a kind of vicious cycle.

If I numb out any further, I’m sure I won’t be waking up again.

“Hehehehe…”

I laughed out loud.

I had no energy to do so, but I still laughed.

Suddenly, the surroundings became bright.

Far down the corridor, I saw a crystal shining radiantly.

Above all, there was the silhouette of a person standing against the backlight.

It wasn’t a goblin.

A definite human shape.

“Hel…p…”

I wanted to shout, but no voice came out.

Desperately crawling, I closed and opened my eyes.

And what do you know?

The human form came closer. As if they had teleported.

Surprised by this, I closed and opened my eyes again.

[Bleeding] is continuing.

This time, they were even closer.

A group of about half a dozen people stood in front.

I couldn’t be seeing things, could I? I closed and opened my eyes once more.

[Achievement unlocked]

[Condition: Vitality drops below 2%].

[Reward: Mental fortitude permanently increases by +1.]

Then a blond man appeared, crouching down.

Our eyes met at close range, but he just observed me and my surroundings with a curious look, without asking anything.

Rather than listening to others, he was making judgments based on his own experiences and intuition.

As a veteran, he quickly came to a conclusion.

“A beginner, I see.”

Fuck, then help me, you bastard.

As you can see, I’m a bare-bones barbarian with nothing but a shield and a goblin mana stone traded for one of my legs.

I’ll give you this if you want. So please….

“It’s suspicious. How did a beginner get here faster than us?”

I quickly opened my mouth to speak, but what came out resembled the bubbling of phlegm.

“Grrrr…”

No, honestly, I think it was more like the sound the goblin made…….

It was enough signal that I was in no position to respond.

Soon after, the blond asked their companion.

“High Priestess Elsina, could you possibly heal this person?”

A priestess? Was there actually a priestess in your party?

“With the eyes of one who has just witnessed a miracle, I looked to my side. To my amazement, there stood a priestess dressed in white robes, her red hair flowing.”

After locking eyes with me, the priestess said with a straight face.

“I refuse.”

What? What did she say?

“I see. Understood.”

Why the fuck are you accepting.

I felt utterly dejected. I couldn’t understand why I was dragged to this place to be treated like this.

At that moment, frustration was boiling up inside me.

“Patzran, will you hand over a potion?”

“It’s for when we can’t use divine powers, isn’t it?”

“We have plenty, don’t we? I’ll pay you back once we’re out.”

“Tch.”

“Only then did the swordsman click his tongue in annoyance and toss a potion from his bag.

That potion was, seemingly, my lifeline, and my heart sank.

Thud.

Fortunately, the blond caught the potion deftly.

“It’s not powered by divine power, so it’s going to hurt a bit.”

The blond opened the potion, sprinkled half of it on the wound and poured the other half into my mouth.

Soon after, an unbearable pain surged through me.

Was this the accumulated pain I had been oblivious to all this time?

「Your body is rapidly regenerating due to the moderate recovery effect.」

It felt like my entire body was melting.

This is why you couldn’t use potions during battles in games.

I thought it was just a system limitation, but it turned out to be a painful reflection of reality.

Damn it all.

“Huff, Huff. Huff… … .”

How many minutes had passed?

Gradually, the pain subsided, and my consciousness returned.

“Well then, Barbarian, can you tell us how someone as inexperienced as you got here before us? If you know a new passage, we’re interested in that information.”

So, that was their motive.

I wasn’t offended. On the contrary, the thought that they had a reason to treat me well was reassuring.

There’s nothing more ominous than unexplained kindness.

Still, I felt somewhat sorry.

I didn’t know of any secret passages.

“I was just here as soon as I entered the labyrinth.”

I spoke the truth.

The blond tilted his head. Then he seemed to come to an understanding and nodded.

“Indeed… I’ve read about it. Sometimes, dimensional instability can lead to such anomalies.”

My heart pounded heavily.

As if hearing it for the first time, I asked,

“This is your first time seeing it… … ?”

It was beyond belief.

After all, this party had a priestess and a mage. They were definitely seasoned folks who operated at least on the middle floors.

And it was their first time?

“Yes, the books say it happens maybe once every hundred years. To end up this far on the outskirts is…”

Ah, I see. It’s a once-in-a-hundred-years occurrence, and I had experienced it the moment I stepped into the labyrinth.

I now understood why the other barbarians didn’t carry torches.

Nobody worries about being struck by lightning just because it’s raining, right?

“It seems you’re a first-timer and to experience such a rare event, that must have been a disaster for you.”

The blond looked at me with pity in his eyes.

“It’s not the information we wanted, but it’s still an interesting story. Forget about the potion’s cost and go on your way.”

His tone might have been a bit annoying, but he seemed basically decent.

“And take that shield you dropped with you.”

I looked over to where the blonde was pointing, and there it was, a shield lying on the ground about 20 meters away. It must have slipped from where it was attached to my waist.

“Then we shall take our leave.”

They passed me by before I could even thank them.

In the labyrinth, time is as valuable as money, so I couldn’t say I didn’t understand.

No, it’s almost a miracle that they’ve spent this much time for my sake in the first place.

After watching them leave, I quickly ran over to pick up the shield that had fallen to the ground.

Surely surviving is something to be happy about…

Still, something felt off.

“Bjorn Jandel”
Level: 1.
Physical: 25 / Mental: 36 (New +1) / Special Ability: 1
Item Level: 24
Overall Combat Index: 68 (New +1)

“That Barbarian from earlier, he’s lucky.”

“Well, I’m not sure if ‘lucky’ is the right word? To experience such a thing on his first try…”

The blond shrugged ambiguously in response, and the male swordsman snorted.

“If he was the type to step into a goblin trap, he would have been the same even if this incident hadn’t happened. In fact, he was lucky to meet us.”

“It’s more precise to say that he was lucky to meet Draus, not you. You were even stingy with using a potion, remember?”

The female archer chimed in, and the male swordsman shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, there are many like him. They don’t survive long anyway. I bet our priestess thinks the same way I do, right?”

The priestess just smiled bitterly without answering, and the archer replied sharply.

“If it weren’t for the rules of the temple, Ersina would have healed him. Hell, without the potions, she might even have broken the rules herself. Do you think everyone is like you?”

“Well, who knows? I’ve seen too many who say one thing and do another.”

“…Patzran, you could learn a bit from Draus.”

“For example, asking if he knew about the secret passage out of consideration?”

“Yes. I’ve heard barbarians don’t appreciate help from others. Maybe that’s why he was so considerate.”

“…Hey, I feel like you’re praising me too much?”

As the topic shifted to him, the blond scratched his head with an awkward smile, yet he didn’t deny the consideration.

“Ah, if we want to take the shortcut, we need to turn here.”

“It’s certainly more convenient with a guide in the party.”

“Ersina! Usually, guides only know the direction to the portals. This is just Draus being amazing. He’s memorized all the landmarks on the first floor.”

Watching the female archer, the male swordsman shook his head.

“But where does this bloodstain lead? Haven’t we walked quite a bit already?”

“Who knows. But considering the willpower it takes to crawl this distance, I think your idea of him just being lucky is wrong.”

“Hmph, as if that matters… In the end, it must be somewhere around here.”

Following the bloodstains, the group took a shortcut, and about 15 minutes later, they reached their destination.

“It looks like we’re the first to arrive by this route. It was worth hurrying. Let’s activate it.”
When the blond placed his hand on the stele at the dead end, a bright ball of light erupted, forming a portal.

It was a portal to the second floor.

“Wait a moment.”

Just as everyone was about to jump into the portal, the female archer stopped them.

“Isn’t that what the barbarian was wearing earlier?”

“What?”

Following the direction pointed out by the archer, the group fell silent.

In the darkness that was revealed by the light from the portal, a bloody trap and a mysterious sandal lay abandoned.

“…It does seem to be the case.”

The mage, looking intrigued, created a new sphere of light and sent it down the pathway.

Whoooosh!

The bloodstains that started at the trap followed the curving passage as far as the eye could see.

Even with the moving sphere of light, the end was nowhere in sight from this spot.

A brief silence ensued.

“Hey Draus, how long would it take to get here from where we were before?”

“…Without taking the shortcut, it’d be about 15 km.”

“Heh, what a monstrous stamina. To crawl that distance alone in the dark…”

The mage simply chuckled in amazement.

However, the swordsman beside him could not afford such levity.

“…He’s out of his mind.”

To him, it was a matter of the mind, not the body. He thought.

‘…If I were in that situation, how long could I have crawled? Without the certainty of encountering someone to help?’

There was no knowing.

But one thing was for sure, when they first found the barbarian, he was still crawling. He kept moving his arms and legs in a state that seemed almost unconscious.

And what about after that?

He could barely speak, but he held out his hand.

In his hand, he clenched a small magic stone.

At the time, it had seemed thoughtless, but now he might understand what that action meant.

‘It must have been his way of asking for help.’

It was all he had to offer in return.

So the barbarian kept the magic stone with him the whole time he was crawling. So that he could show it immediately when he met someone.

Soon, the man came to a conclusion.

“…I should retract what I said earlier.”

Was it merely good luck?

Such types are doomed to die early, right?

Could that really be?

He knew from long experience.

“Draus, what was the name of that barbarian earlier?”

Such madmen rarely perish.

No matter how arduous and hopeless the moment may be.

They never consider death as an escape.