Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 52

November 18, 2023 • 15 min read • 618 views

Episode 52(Halflings Gather(2))

Novel- Surviving the game as a barbarian

Boom-!

Even from a distance of about 10 meters, the heat was palpable.

And there was that ticklish, pungent smell of something burning.

Thump-!

As my brain registered the situation, my heart clenched tight with fear.

‘If that had fallen on our heads…….

We’d probably be dead.

“Prepare for battle!”

The moment the dwarf, who was frozen by the sudden situation, shouted, adventurers appeared from the side of the bushes.

There were five in total.

Four of them were in a formation, escorting a mage.

‘Shit, they don’t look like they belong on the third floor…….’

Why are these bastards here?

Just as I was praying inwardly that they weren’t plunderers, the beastman with pointed ears saw us ready for battle and smirked.

In a condescending tone, he declared,

“This orc territory belongs to the Dzarwi Clan. Leave this place.”

‘Clan?’

That explained why they all wore the same emblem on their chests.

‘Fuck…’

I couldn’t help but swear.

Not because I couldn’t understand what they were doing.

‘Controlling a hunting ground on the third floor?’

Shit, wasn’t this content supposed to start at least from the fifth floor?

[Dungeon & Stone] is a single-player game.

But surprisingly, there are ways to restrict content.

At first, it appears as a means to block transportation between maps before completing the main episodes, but later, by creating a clan, players can control the hunting grounds.

Of course, this requires a massive amount of manpower, so it’s not worth it unless you have a few rare mobs or boss mob habitats.

‘But controlling a third-floor territory?’

I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Why would anyone control territory just to deal with level 7 monsters?

Using such high-level personnel just to hunt orcs seems like a waste.

“…Dzarwi, I thought they operated on the sixth floor and above, so why would you be in the middle of an orc habitat?”

The dwarf seemed equally stunned and asked the question cautiously, as if he was hearing about it for the first time.

But the answer was cold.

“There is no need to explain ourselves to you.”

Ah, I see.

While I was convinced, the dwarf wasn’t.

Despite showing his goofy side frequently since we became a team, he’s still an adventurer at heart.

He’s sensitive to self-interest.

Especially if the cause is external, not internal.

“I heard that in the case of some clans, the royal family grants them rights within the labyrinth in recognition of their achievements. But I’ve never heard that this area is under the control of the Dzarwi Clan. Besides, there’s no way to verify if you’re actually a member of their clan.”

Considering the opponent, the dwarf presented his questions as logically as possible.”

He had a point. Based on the equipment and the magic we just witnessed, these adventurers were definitely of a higher level than us. But there was no proof they were members of that clan.

But…

‘It might be best to just get out of here…’

‘Honestly, I’m more scared if they are not what they claim to be.’

A major clan would at least be cautious of public perception, but imposters wouldn’t care about such things.

“That’s an interesting story you’re telling.”

The beastman looked annoyed. His eyes narrowed in displeasure.

Yet, the dwarf stood his ground.

“I often hear that.”

As the silent standoff continued, the tension slowly escalated.

Trudge.

I felt something approaching from behind.

It was Misha.

But why is she so close behind me?

It was as if she was hiding from something…

“Is that you halfing?”

When the beastman frowned and asked, I felt her flinch behind me.

Was she really hiding?

“Nyah, Brother…”

Misha stuttered, slinking to my side.

This only seemed to irritate the beastman more.

“Didn’t I tell you not to call me that outside?”

“Brother, I am sorry..”

“Tsk, just as I thought, talking like a true halfing”

Misha couldn’t respond to the beastman’s sarcasm and hung her head low.

‘As expected, it seems they were close enough to call each other ‘halfling’.’

‘But what exactly is their relationship? Could they actually be family?’

Just as this question arose, the previously silent mage asked quite directly.

“Out of curiosity, is that young lady your sister?”

“Yes, for now.”

When the beastman nodded politely, the mage stroked his bushy beard.

“Hmm, I owe a debt to Lord Karlstein. And if she is your sister, it’s not right to treat her as a stranger. Perhaps we can make an exception for them—”

“There’s no need.”

“Huh? But…”

The beastman once again flatly refused the mage’s consideration.

“My father would not be concerned about this. It’s a family matter, so I cannot discuss it further.”

His voice was cold and resolute.

“If that’s what you say, then I understand.”

The mage, reconsidering his thoughts, nodded quietly. Maybe he thought it would be fair to at least explain the reasons?

“Listen, you folks.”

He stepped forward and began in a calm tone.

“We urgently need the essence of a great Orc warrior for some internal clan matters. If all goes well, you will be able to hunt here next time. For now, please go elsewhere. Or try the outskirts, where the warriors don’t roam.”

Though his words were softer than the Beastman’s, it was clear that he was just politely telling us to get lost.

“We refuse,”

The dwarf retorted, shaking his head.

Then with a sharpness uncharacteristic of him, he sneered at his opponent.

“It seems that you’re claiming rights without the approval of the royal family. Why should we accommodate your clan’s circumstances? And do you even realize that what you’re doing now is illegal?”

“…Illegal?”

Was it the particular choice of words that irked him?

“A wise adventurer knows when to be careful with their words.”

The previously moderate mage’s eyes hardened.

He seemed reluctant to leave any grounds for future problems.

“But when did we ever break the law? We’re merely suggesting that it would be in your best interest to leave, as there won’t be many monsters left for you to hunt if we stay. That’s all.”

Although he spoke in circles, it implied that if we didn’t leave, they’d aggressively interfere with our hunting.

Understanding this, the dwarf bit his lip in frustration.

“Damn it…”

Unless you’re forcing them out or hurting them.

These things aren’t exactly spelled out in the Labyrinth Law.

In essence, we couldn’t expect any legal support.

‘Relying on the law was a mistake from the start.’

As much as I felt sorry for the dwarf, who tried to defend our team’s rights, I had wanted to back off from the beginning.

In a labyrinth, power is the law, isn’t it?

Forgetting this and recklessly showing defiance can lead to disappearing without even the mice or birds knowing.

‘I’m sure he’s realized by now that this isn’t the time for pride, it’s best to play nice and back off.’
Just as I was contemplating our next move.

“You needn’t worry about anything, I’ll take care of this.”

Suddenly, Dwalki interrupted.

Uttering something completely incomprehensible.

‘Handle it? What is he talking about?’

I couldn’t fathom his intention.

But before we could question his motive, Dwalki cheerfully approached the opposing mage.

“Haha! It’s a pleasure to meet you, senior.”

“…Senior? Have we met before?”

“Not exactly, but as someone who has dedicated his life to the study of magic—”

“Enough of that. Who are you, exactly?”

Was this harsh response unexpected?

Dwalki hesitated for a moment, then forced a laugh and answered.

“Hahaha, my name is Leor Wuerv Dwalki, an eighth-grade mage authorized by the Raphdonian royal family-”

“So you’re just trash, as I thought.”

“…Excuse me?”

Displeasure flashed across the mage’s face.

Actually, it seemed even more intense than when the word ‘illegal’ was mentioned. The mage didn’t bother hiding his distaste this time.

“Dedicate your life to magic? You’re a scumbag who’s learned a few basic spells and now calls yourself a mage, and you’re living off the scraps from the streets. I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to go somewhere else and stop talking about it, because your audacity is enough to make my skin crawl.”

The sharp criticism was like rapid gunfire.

‘Is it because he’s a mage? His wording is no joke.’

While I admired the mage’s relentless delivery, I couldn’t help but worry about Dwalki. Anyone would be shaken by such words…

“…Gah, gurgle!”

Ah, he’s already broken.

Looking over, I saw Dwalki struggling to breathe, his eyes blinking rapidly.

His mouth opening and closing slightly was reminiscent of a fish thrown onto the sand.

Witnessing his friend’s mental breakdown, the dwarf exploded.

“Listen here! Isn’t that a bit harsh?”

“I merely stated the facts.”

“What? Just stating facts?”

The veins in the dwarf’s neck bulged.

His eyes flickered with a dangerous light, not a good sign.

And sensing this immediately.

“Let’s see-!”

I grabbed the dwarf by the nape of his neck and lifted him up.

Then, I promptly confiscated his battle hammer.

But, as expected.

Zzzt-!

A tingling sensation spread through my fingertips.

“Hikurod Murad has used [Lightning].”

Damn, this guy must have lost his mind.

I suppressed my rage and muttered softly,

“Get a grip, Hikurod.”

We were all nearly killed just now.

“You’ve good companions. You’ll be grateful to that Barbarian for the rest of your life. He saved all of you.”

“……”

I wonder if the dwarf has come to his senses?

He remained silent in response to the mage’s sarcastic comment, quickly leading the team away. As soon as we reached the outskirts, he bowed slightly.

“I apologize. I lost my temper and acted rashly. If it weren’t for Bjorn…”

We probably would have all died.

It was clear these weren’t the kind of people to let us off easily if we provoked them.

“You just made a reckless decision that could have led our team to ruin,”

Rotmiller rebuked him sternly.

“…I have no excuses.”

Knowing his fault, the dwarf bowed his head without any retort.

Honestly, I hoped Rotmiller would press harder, but…

“Since nothing happened, I won’t say more.”

Rotmiller was too kind-hearted to play the role of a disciplinarian.

“And while it was rash, I personally think it was right to stand up for a team member being disrespected.”

I couldn’t understand it.

In a situation that warranted a severe reprimand, why was he praising him?

‘Shouldn’t we at least cut his share of the loot or make him do this exploration for free as punishment?’

There should be consequences for mistakes.

That’s how one learns not to repeat them.

So, while I internally pondered such practical measures, the atmosphere didn’t seem right to voice them out loud.

‘Damn, am I the weird one here?’

As Rotmiller showed magnanimity in forgiving the dwarf, the air around us became oddly charged.

It was the kind of atmosphere I had always found uncomfortable, even as a child.

“…I’m sorry, too. If it weren’t for me, things might have turned out better.”

Misha was the first to get caught up in the mood.

“No, no, that’s not it at all!”

Duwalki was the second.

Startled by Misha’s self-reproach, Duwalki frantically gestured with his hands. Despite his stuttering, he spoke resolutely.

“I, I mean… of course, I’m not always right… but I think it’s because you were there that we got an explanation before being kicked out! So, please don’t think like that!”

It wasn’t the most elegant of comforts, but the emotions mixed within it resonated truthfully with everyone.

Was that why?

“You know why I… hate talking about my family?”

Misha suddenly started talking about herself.

“I’m treated as if I don’t exist in my family. Maybe some of you have guessed why.”

Misha glanced around, gauging our reactions.

Perhaps part of those who had guessed, Rotmiller averted his gaze first, and I pretended not to know as well.

Fairies handle spirits.

Dwarves, blessed with the Artifact, become more efficient when handling numbered items, and Barbarians possess soul engraving.

Likewise, the beast-human have their own racial traits, including notably high agility stats.

“I’m the only one in my family who couldn’t contract with a ‘Soul Beast’.”

Soul Beast.

The beast human could contract with ancient beasts known by this name.

The forms of these contracts varied greatly.

You can summon them to fight alongside you, empower them to enhance your physical abilities, or bless them to grant you access to their special abilities.

Of course, not all beast humans could do this.

Only a few talented individuals were chosen by the Soul Beasts.

But the problem here was…

“She must be of the tribal chief’s bloodline.”

Direct lineage of the Karlstein family, a tribal chief’s family.

Meaning, her inability to contract with a Soul Beast was a significant issue. It wasn’t just a matter of talent, it becomes circumstantial evidence that casts doubt on her bloodline itself.”

“When I was younger, I got along well with my siblings. But everything changed when I couldn’t make a contract with a Soul Beast even after becoming an adult. They all called me a halfling, saying my blood was mixed…”

A child born out of denial.

With her mother passing away early, the truth remained unknown, and Misha couldn’t bear the looks and left home. She then devoted herself solely to martial arts, slowly growing as an adventurer.

“Thanks for sharing something so difficult.”

As the long yet short story ended, the dwarf, unusually serious, patted Misha.
Misha didn’t act as prickly as before.

Rather, she seemed like a tamed cat, perhaps?

“Hikurod… you really got mad for us, thinking of us as comrades, didn’t you?”

What, is that how it works?

For a pessimist like me, it’s hard to keep up with these continuously shifting emotional lines.

“Hahaha! Hearing you say that makes me want to share my story too. I dreamt of becoming a blacksmith, but lacking talent, I couldn’t even get past being an apprentice for 10 years. I turned to being an adventurer in my thirties because of that! Still, I had to make money, so I ran away when the opportunity arose.”

Inspired by Misha’s confession, the dwarf shared his story in a straightforward manner, followed by Dwalki.

“There’s no one as talentless as me. Although my family’s financial situation allowed me to start learning magic, my meager talent prevented me from entering the Magic Tower. If I had been a proper magician… surely he would have respected me a bit.”

Then Dwalki revealed that his goal was to earn money through adventuring to learn more magic.

Just when it seemed the conversation was over…

“I’ve been in many teams before, but this is a first for me.”

Rotmiller, who had been quiet, chuckled and rekindled the dying embers of conversation.

“I have something to apologize for as well. When Murad and Karlstein were discussing seniority, I unknowingly let anger take over me.”

“There was such an incident?”

“Yes. My despicable envy was the cause. I thought they were both lucky to be born as other races, complaining about being slow or fast without knowing their circumstances.”

Human adventurers have their advantages.

They can use aura, become spirit masters, magicians, or priests.

Some are naturally built to be as large as a Barbarian.

In essence, they possess the strengths of all races.

But this is just a possibility, a story of only a few with special talents.

“Hahaha! So, our team is a gathering of halflings? That’s better; we don’t have to feel inferior looking at each other.”

The dwarf broke the ice with an awkward laugh.

And in response—

“That’s certainly one way to look at it.”

Dwalki, the untalented mage, was pleased.

“I’ll work harder to be useful to the team!”

The pure-blood unable to contract with a Soul Beast was moved.

“I didn’t plan to say this on the third day of our journey, but I hope this team lasts a long time.”

Rotmiller, an eight-year human explorer who is the pinnacle of mediocrity, was no different. Everyone admitted their flaws, spoke openly, and supported each other.

Then naturally, all eyes turned to me, who hadn’t confessed anything yet.

“……”

“……”

As if to say, what about you?

‘Uh, I don’t have anything like that…’

I felt like I had to say something to avoid being left out of the team…

In my panic, with all eyes on me, my mouth blurted out without thinking.

“I, I don’t have a mom!”

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