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A note from MelasD

Thank you all so much for 5,000 followers! For that, you guys get an early chapter today :D

I know this is a bit late, but to show my gratitude, I'd like to give some shoutouts for a week again. Starting with RavensDagger's newest fiction, The Agartha Loop. He has also written many other well known stories such as Cinnamon Bun, Dead Tired, and Stray Cat's Strut. So that should speak for itself.

Another story on RoyalRoad which I'd like to give a shoutout to is Romantically Apocalyptic by Vitaly S. Alexius. It's honestly really well done, with wonderful art and really good humor. He's really underrated on RoyalRoad, and is so close to hitting 1,000 followers, so I do hope you all give it a chance and follow it!


51. Centinels Camp

The Centinels— the long creatures with a hundred spiky legs and a hard shell— came pouring down at the Giant Spiders. They came in various sizes, however all of them were far larger than me. I watched as one Level 65 Centinel fell onto a [Weaving Spider] and killed her with a single bite of the mandibles.

I watched this go on for a little bit, making sure I was away from the view of any Centinels nearby. Helen scooted over next to me, lying prone as I was with her bow laid out in front of her.

“You don’t have to worry too much about their sight. They can’t see very well. I mean, they can probably see us if we stand up and wave our hands in the air— but otherwise, they won’t be able to see us here.”

“The tunnels.”

I pointed out at one of the holes where the Centinels were streaming out of.

“How do we get there?”

“I’ve got this, don’t worry.”

The [Archer] pulled out a thick arrow and tied a piece of rope onto it. She nocked her bow and loosed the bolt across the Lair, landing it right inside the narrow passageway.

“Alright. Now let’s hope no more Centinels come that way.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

Zack stepped forward and aimed a finger at the tunnel ahead. The earth just beyond the arrow shifted, before closing completely.

“We’ll at least have a moment to react if one decides to burrow out of there again. Now come, let’s go.”

I was the first to step out once the Centinels stopped droppin from the ceiling. They were mixed with the Giant Spiders now, fighting a Lair war down below. Hundreds of Giant Spiders and dozens of Centinels, mixed up into a mass of monsters tearing each other apart— that was what I saw when I peered down below.

I glanced up and waited for a moment. Then another flurry of Centinels came falling or sccurrying down while I backed up back into the wall. I waited for them to pass before looking out once again.

“I think it’s clear.”

“I’ll keep a lookout for you.”

Helen nodded, resting a hand on my shoulder. I grabbed onto the rope and began climbing over to the other side. I kept an eye down at the fighting and another at the ceiling; I did not want to be knocked off by a falling Centinel and land amid the pit of fighting. I’ll definitely die, I thought, a nervous sweat falling down my shoulder.

 

Now Entering [Lair: Giant Spiders Nest].

 

I made it across without any problems and waved back at the three Gold Ranks. Next up was Jaakko. The Cyclops man took longer than me to cross, but he eventually made it too. Then came Zack.

The [Mage] was halfway through to our side when the ceiling burst open once again. Centinels came down at the Giant Spiders once more and I heard him curse.

“Fuck.”

Helen immediately loosed three bolts at the ones falling past him, snapping at him with their mandibles. Those were knocked aside without much of an issue. One came close to biting the Human man, but he sent a gust of wind to blow it away midfall.

The problematic Centinels were the ones scurrying down the walls. They first came for the rope, thinking to go for Zack. But when they got closer to the hole, they saw us. Jaakko and I readied ourselves. The Cyclops man tossed his kusarigama at the closest one and tugged at his chains, lifting the monster off the wall and flinging it down into the Giant Spiders Lair.

I sent a [Scorching Wave] across the rock wall, burning the other Centinels that made their approach and slowing them. Helen couldn’t help us, dealing with her own— albeit far more easily than us since she could knock them off from a distance.

Jaakko threw his kusarigama, continuing to pry them off the walls and hurling them off the pit. In spite of this, five Centinels reached us from above. I stopped my [Scorching Wave] and conjured two fire hammers— one on each hand.

The first Centinel lashed out at me, his entire body whipping forward as his arms tried to snap shut on me. I kicked him with a [Fire Strike], knocking him back before slamming both hammers together on the face of another Centinel. The monster squirmed, its armor crushed as it reeled back. But it didn’t die from the attack. I clicked my tongue and flipped over another Centinel that tried to come at me from the side.

The Cyclops man engaged the other two, being backed up against the magically made wall Zack had put up.

I tossed one hammer down at the Centinel’s head I smashed, keeping it back as I struck out at the one closing in on me with two [Fire Strikes]. I ducked under his mandibles, throwing a punch up at his underbelly as I pushed off the ground with all my strength.

The Centinel tried to grab me with his spiky legs, but my body burst into flames. [Ignition]. The blue flames burned him and he reeled back. My body sped up as [Self Haste] activated alongside it. I landed a hard hit of the hammer on a weakened part of his shell, breaking it before I dug in with a [Fire Strike] induced punch.

Green blood sprayed out as a screeching sound came from the monster’s mandibles. He struggled in my hands before I jabbed two more [Fire Strikes] into him and he fell, dead.

The other two Centinels came at me from behind, skittering on the ground and the side of the wall. But they seemed so slow. Back when I was Level 30, they were much faster than me. I could only flee from them with [Double Step]. But now they were so slow—

The one on the ceiling— the one with the smashed armor— blurred, suddenly matching my speed as he fell down at me. My eyes widened but my body moved without thought. Instinct took over me as a sickle made of blue flames appeared on my hand.

I leapt up at the oncoming Centinel and sliced his head clean off— his armor too broken to block the attack. It didn’t take me long to dispose of the last Centinel before I turned to Jaakko. The Cyclops man had managed to defeat his two Centinels, but he had been injured. His arm was cut up bad, blood pouring down his shoulder.

He chugged down a healing potion and the wounds slowly closed up. Zack finished his climb and Helen followed shortly after— all the Centinels having been defeated all knocked off down into the Lair.

“Not even a scratch, Salvos. You’re really something else.”

The Human [Mage] sighed, wiping the sweat off his brow. I shrugged.

“If I let them hit me, I’d be in a lot worse shape than Jaakko.”

“I guess. Still, I’ve never seen a Level 40 [Rogue] move as fast as you do. If I couldn’t see your level, I’d have assumed you were 50— 60 even.”

I grinned, flipping the fire hammer on my hand.

“Maybe I’m just strong. Or you’re just weak.”

“Hey!”

He scowled and Helen laughed. She patted him on the back.

“Come on, [Weak Mage]. At least pull your weight and bring that wall you put up down.”

“If you guys are so strong, why not just do it yourself.”

Zack muttered under his breath as he began casting his spell.

 

—--

 

We walked down the tunnel the Centinels made, going up then down then left then right. There were a lot of twists and turns— I felt my head starting to go dizzy after a while. So instead of thinking of all the different ways we were going, I focused on my Status and the notifications I had gotten— and I kept getting.

 

Defeated [Junior Centinel – Lvl. 61]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 20 levels above you!

 

...

 

Defeated [Junior Centinel – Lvl. 65]!

More experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 20 levels above you!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!

 

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 44] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 45]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

 

Overall, I had gotten a dozen kill notifications. Only the first three were the ones I knew I killed. The others must have been the ones I burnt before they fell to the Lair of Giant Spiders. More experience for me! Thanks Giant Spiders!

Even though I killed three of them by myself in addition to that, I had only gained a single level. They somehow gave less experience than the [Queen Howre], although considering the [Queen Howre] was much stronger than them, maybe that made sense.

I raised both [Advanced Fire Creation] and [Passive - Deadly Instincts] by 1 Skill Points. The latter really helped me in that fight there, so I made sure to pay particular attention to it. Then just for this level, I gave my [Agility] 4 Stat Points, rounding it up to 100, before giving the remaining 1 for [Vitality].

 

Now Entering [Lair: Centinels Camp].

 

Just as I finished dealing with my Status, we arrived. The tunnel opened up to a larger cavern, one filled with many unmoving figures along the walls.

“Centinels. [Younger Centinels]. Only around Level 20.”

“They’re sleeping.”

I observed with narrow eyes. So monsters need sleep too, huh? I shook my head, disappointed in them. Zack shook his head.

“Doesn’t matter. In fact, this is better for us. Let’s exterminate them now.”

Jaakko nodded and drew his kusarigama. Helen prepared a few Explosive Bolts and the [Mage] began preparing a spell. I cocked my head.

“Wait— what’s that?”

I pointed a hand at a slowly moving figure. A [Younger Centinel] was crawling along the walls, wide awake and moving amongst his brethren. He opened his mandibles and I expected him to screech—

But the [Younger Centinel] simply chomped down at another Centinel. He killed the other one in his sleep before moving onto the next.

I saw more [Younger Centinels] doing the same thing, realizing that not all of them were asleep. Some of them didn’t even bother attacking the sleeping ones, going straight for each other without discrimination.

“They’re... killing each other?”

The blonde woman’s eyes widened. Zack and Jaakko watched on in horror while I simply narrowed my gaze. I opened my mouth, voice uncaring as I spoke one word.

“Wild.”

Then a [Scorching Wave] washed over the Centinels. Those that were asleep fell before they could even wake up, while the ones that were awake tried to come at me. They screamed and died before they could even get close, my blue flames too much for them to handle.

The Gold Ranks managed to blink themselves out of their stupor to aid me in the extermination of the mindless monsters. Even when we were clearly attacking them and wiping them out en masse, some Centinels still went for each other, trying to tear each other apart.

We took care of the [Younger Centinels] in what I felt was only 30 minutes, getting hundreds of kills with little effort. It was even easier than the time I attacked a Shade Swarmer’s Lair because unlike the Centinels, the [Crimson Bats] never tried to kill each other.

 

Defeated [Younger Centinel – Lvl. 31]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 10 levels below you!

 

...

 

Defeated [Younger Centinel – Lvl. 19]!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy at least 20 levels below you!

Less experience is awarded for defeating an enemy with the help of others!

 

I didn’t gain a level, although I did feel like I was already close to another level up from such a simple task. Zack sighed.

“No one told me that clearing a Centinels Lair was such a simple task.”

“We’re not done just yet. Come, we have to find the eggs. Destroy them before they hatch hundreds more of these creatures.”

Jaakko spoke simply, marching forward as we hurried to match his pace. I looked over at Helen, raising a brow.

“You three never fought Centinels before?”

“We never cleared a Lair before. Centinels are a pest— well, that’s not really the right way to say it. They’re a frequent threat to civilization and settlements. So we’ve had to deal with them before.”

“I see.”

I nodded slowly, glancing down at the burnt corpses lying on the floor. Most of the [Younger Centinels] had only been the size of my arm or leg. They were certainly far smaller than their [Junior Centinel] evolution, but they did vary in size despite all being the same Subspecies.

It almost reminded me of the wild Demons in the Netherworld. None of them looked the same— every one of them was unique. And yet, they killed each other. They killed the others. And they tried to kill me and my companion.

What if there was a Centinel amongst these that was like Haec and I? That thought sent a shudder down my spine. I wasn’t sure why I reacted that way or why it mattered to me— but I felt bothered by it somehow.

“There.”

Jaakko pointed his kusarigama in the direction of a pile of round purple objects against the cavern wall. We walked up to the eggs and I inspected them.

My [Identification] told me they were eggs.

“Now this is the part where we get attacked by some Level 70 [Older Centinel], right?”

“You read too much books, Zack. That’s not going to happen.”

Helen snorted, shaking her head. The Human [Mage] raised an eyebrow.

“Too many books. And I’m just being cautious. What if there are higher leveled evolutions in here, huh? Or if we’re in the middle of destroying their nest and the ones attacking the Giant Spiders come back and we get trapped?”

“Then let’s get a hurry on—”

I conjured up a ball of bright blue flames and tossed it at the pile of eggs. The purple objects exploded and whatever remained was caught on fire. I clapped my hands together and turned to the three Gold Ranks with a bright smile.

“Done.”

 

Cleared [Lair: Centinels Camp]!

Experience is awarded for clearing a Lair!

 

Subspecies [Midday Changeling] Level Up!

[Midday Changeling – Lvl. 45] -> [Midday Changeling – Lvl. 46]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 3 Skill Points!

 

“Well, that was anticlimactic.”

 

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A note from MelasD

Thanks for reading and stay safe :D

Once again, if you donate to my patreon here, for $5 you can read up to 10 chapters ahead! And there are other tiers too!

 


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MelasD

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