Dim light outside seeped in from the cracks of the door. The air was cold, and the moisture in the air ran rampant. Water droplets crashed on to the stone floor creating an eerie atmosphere. The howling wind didn’t alleviate the goosebumps on his arms nor the chill passing through his spines. There was also a musty smell in the air
As he stepped off of the platform of the teleporter, his shoes came into contact with the sticky floor. Dark red liquid clung on to his shoes each time he stepped. Each step released crunching noise sound; it was the maggots getting squashed by his feet.
When he saw this, he let out a gag, holding on to his stomach to stop himself from vomiting. He jumped over the rotting flesh being eaten by maggots onto dry floor. He thought to himself, if the ropes were tied any tighter, that would have been him in a month.
He came closer to the door, bending over to put his ear on top of it. Metal chains clanging against each other could be heard, but they were far. It was as if he was in an abandoned prison in the medieval era. Both soft whispers and shrieking screams echoed throughout the hallway.
The atmosphere was much different from the place he was summoned in. Compared to the haunted house feeling of the previous location he was in, this area of the labyrinth felt more like a haunted insane asylum.
Suddenly, large foot steps from behind the door crashed loudly against the stone floor. It was going in the direction of where Kazu was at.
<< Stealth >>
He hid around the corner of the medium sized room, activating his skill to hide his presence. Once again looking at his arms, it was translucent. It was a feeling that he could never get used to; a feeling of being invisible.
The door slammed opened, a giant ogre standing 3 and a half meter tall. Huge pustules on its back spurted out white liquid; it smelled worse than the rotting flesh in front of the platform. It sweeped the rotting corpse away from the platform and then examined it. Its eyes was fixated on the runes; though, seeing as how the eyes were blankly staring at the platform, it looked more like the ogre was pretending it knew what to do, Kazu thought.
Kazu took this chance to scan the monster while it was distracted.
|Name||Ogre Lv. 45||Type||Earth|
|Attack Rating||???||Attack||Club Swings|
|Description: An ugly looking giant.|
After examining the platform, the ogre looked around the room like it was doing a perimeter check. The ogre turned its body around, then Its eyes centered on the corner where Kazu was at.
Am I found out already?!
But the moment Kazu thought that, the giant ogre sighed, drifting his view away from where he sat. Its shoulders drooped after sighing again. With its heavy footsteps, it crushed the whole corpse it swept earlier with one foot. It left through where it came from, leaving an echoing trail of loud thuds on the ground from each step it took.
After a few minutes passed by and the large steps finally disappeared into the distance, Kazu, crouching in the corner, stood up wiping the sweat running down his cheeks. He walked back to the platform to see what the ogre was looking at. Unsurprised, there was nothing interesting about the platform that he didn’t already know.
He tiptoed his way to the door that the ogre left open. Before peeking his head out the door, he observed the noises around the area first to make sure that he was certain no one will be just around the corner ready to chop his head off.
After making sure of that, he peeked his eyes around the corners of the large doorway that was enough to fit a 3 and a half meter man. Ghastly sounds came from both directions. Whispers came from the left and shrieking screams came from the right; both had metal chains clanging around as if the chains were being dragged on the floor.
The hallway had chandeliers giving off a bit of light. Each chandelier were far apart from each other making them look like moons in the darkness of the dungeon.
Following his instincts, Kazu decided to take the right path instead of the left path. He felt that there was something wrong in the voices of ghastly whispers and giggles. On the other hand, the screams were more honest because they were screams of pain. Kazu would rather die of pain and knowing his enemies’ face rather than die from the fear of the unknown.
Going down the right path, there were numerous bones scattered on the floor; some were thick and big, some were the size of a human. However, they all had one similarity: they were all cleaned to the bone. Even from afar, the bones had teeth marks on them meaning that something killed their prey, then ate them all the way to their bones.
The endless corridor with the endless amount of rooms seemed to go on forever. But after wandering a bit more with his stealth ability, just to be sure, he came across an intersection in the hallway.
The chandelier lighting up the intersection was brighter than the previous ones in the middle of the hallways. It was bright enough to see the floor. Kazu didn’t know whether the floor was originally red, but that was the colour of it.
Mild foot steps from down the intersection echoed through the hallway causing a slight shock to Kazu’s nerves. By instinct, his legs sprang him towards the nearest room just as the steps were about to reach the corner of the intersecting hallways. He entered a room without a door—although unlucky, he took it anyways.
That was when Kazu noticed something. Even though he was already hiding behind the room, he could see their silhouette through the walls. It was his awareness ability that activated on its own. Through his hearing, he could tell where their exact location was, shown as outline silhouettes.
Their figures were humanoid meaning they could be friendly. However, that thought disappeared the moment one of the humanoids spoke.
“Ss… Kill everything that moves. Hisss…”
—The monster spoke in a weird snake-like voice. It sounded like something a human couldn’t make which made Kazu wonder how he understood them. The monsters split apart and one headed to the direction Kazu was in. As it got closer, Kazu tried to get information from it through the wall.
<< Scan >>
Can’t scan through obstructed view.
Kazu didn’t know the status of the creature. However, since they were shorter in height and slimmer than himself, he might stand a chance against them. It was all based on his confidence the other day. He was sure that if he got the upper hand, he would win.
So with that said, he picked up a rock big enough—a pre-emptive strike could decide the whole fight. He only needed one strike at the head of the creature and it’ll be game over for it.
After knocking it out, interrogating it would be a good idea. Kazu thought. Being able to understand its language means that he too could talk to it.
He could hear his own heart beating loud enough to drown out the silence, shrieks, and whispers in the air. The closer and closer it gets, the louder his heart beated. He tightened his grip on the rock and clenched his teeth for the upcoming action. And finally, the silhouette was about to cross the doorway to get in range—
A dinosaur like shout came from the left direction of the hallway. It shook the glasses, the walls, and the chandeliers.
Afraid Effects: 10% decrease in stats for 10 minutes.
THUD THUD THUD THUD. The giant steps ran towards the man in a sprint. He also saw the outline of the hostile ogre coming at an incredible speed. It was carrying a massive club the size of a tree trunk. The posture of the ogre was similar… it was the ogre from earlier when Kazu was in the teleporter room!
As soon as it got close enough to the man, it jumped. It put its club behind it for a downwards smash at the man.
A loud explosion shook the entire area—no, it felt like it shook the whole dungeon. Dust clouds covered the entire doorway. However, due to Kazu’s ability of awareness, he could still see the 2 silhouette outlines.
Even before the dust cloud dissipated, the ogre picked up its club in a leisure way like the battle was over—as if it thought it had already won. But from Kazu who could see the outlines, he saw that the ogre actually missed which means the ogre couldn’t see because of the dust clouds.
“Hiss.. stupid upper level beings Ssss…”
The dust cloud settled when the man said that. It put the towering ogre back into its combat stance. There, Kazu saw the man’s appearance under the dim lighting. It had no face. Apart from wearing loose robes, it had nothing else which caused confusion in Kazu. How does it defend itself? He wondered.
The ogre took another swing at the monster, but the strike didn’t hit the target. It had moved on top of its giant tool, the wooden club.
With its free hand, it tried to grab on to the monster as it stood on its club. Again, the ogre missed. The monster this time was situated just beside the club. This time, the ogre tried a different approach. Upon getting both its hand on the handle, it immediately set off the club into motion sideways towards the monster.
The scraping noises hurt Kazu’s ears, but the fight continued.
The monster twisted its body, jumping 4 meters into the air. It was now face to face with the ogre. The ogre’s eyes turned red in anger. Kazu could see the veins popping out of its eyes as if it was kill or die.
On the other hand, the monster, while still in the air, its hands grew like tentacles. The monster whipped at the ogre’s face. Surprisingly, it was blocked by its armoured hands.
It took another swing upwards at the monster who was still in the air. The monster’s body twisted mid air to change its direction then landing on the wall. Immediately after landing, it shot itself towards the ogre landing right beside its leg in a blink of an eye.
A huge smile cracked open on its face, ranging from where its left ear should be all the way to the right ear. Its mouth showed numerous needle like teeth, smiling and staring at the leg of the ogre. With its tendril like arms, it swept it across the ogre’s legs creating the sound of a blade cutting through flesh. No, it was more painful than that. It was as if the whip sliced the flesh into two halves.
With that, the ogre fell on the ground, still fighting for its life. It tried to claw at the monster, but it was too fast.
The monster got into some distance from the ogre. Then it made a spring like shape with its tendril like hand. It sprung it to stab a hole right in the middle of the ogre’s head. What followed was a perfect empty circle showing the insides of the ogre’s brain. Once the ogre collapsed dead on the floor, its brain matter and blood spurted out of its head.
Everything that happened was too fast, yet Kazu’s eyes could keep up with every movement each monster made. When he woke up earlier too, he felt his body was lighter than before, much to his surprise since he woke up from being beaten to a pulp by Adraine.
However, it wasn’t the time to check his stats and figure out why the things were happening in his body. In his current situation, he needed to be the most alert as he can be.
“Sss kukuku Hiss…”
Kazu’s body trembled at the terrifying horror before him. With his eyes seeing more detail than before, he saw every pore on the blank face of the monster. The fresh blood dripping from its hands made Kazu’s heart thump wildly.
Even then, he had to scan it to know; otherwise, if he had no information about it, he would be the one to die like that ogre.
|Name||Tainted Ghoul Lv. 51||Type||Undead|
|Description: The creature that lurks in the shadows of the night. A non-existent face which plants the seeds of nightmares within humanity.|
The ghoul stood there with the easy victory. It licked its lips after lifting up one of the legs of the ogre it just killed. The leg was ridden with pustules, yet it didn’t seem to care as if it's non-existent eyes stared at something delicious.
Opening its mouth, the hundred needle like teeth dug into to the leg, biting off a large chunk of the flesh. It ate in at an amazing speed leaving only the bone of the leg to be visible. The teeth marks it gave to the bone were familiar, they were the teeth mark that was left behind on the bones scattered around the hallway.
It meant that these beings were the ones “eating” the prey in the hallways.
The word “prey” echoed loudly in Kazu’s mind. This world operated in the rules of jungle—survival of the fittest; Kill or be killed. Weakness: the word that grinded Kazu’s mind into numbness. It dropped his heart into a despair knowing he himself is weak.
But, what is it to be strong? Kazu asked. The answer was obvious to him: it was to be able to survive no matter what situation is.
It was because he was weak that he was discriminated on. Because he was weak that led harm to his loving family and even hurting the one who he cared about the most. And because he was weak that he ended up in this cold dark hell.
With this in mind, Kazu didn’t hate the people who discriminated against him.
—He hated himself for being weak.
However, that didn’t mean couldn’t exact revenge. He didn’t hate Adraine because he was just following the rules. Kazu hated Adraine simply because he was a top class asshole. This and that are different. Not hating him because of the rules of the jungle and hating him because of personal reasons; that’s how Kazu concluded it.
But right now, an indomitable force was in front of him. All he could do to get strong was survive which meant not giving out his position. By the time he shrugged off his momentary monologue, the ghoul had already consumed the whole ogre. Only the bones and the stench was left.
Soon enough, the ghoul left, walking towards the path it originally intended on walking. His foot steps were light as if he walked in leisure; as if it thought it was invincible. Was it allowed to do that? Yes, it was. Because strength was what let it do whatever it wants.
Its footsteps disappeared into the darkness, but Kazu didn’t go out yet. He knew that its steps were more silent than the ogres so waiting a few more minutes to go out would be a good idea for safety.
As he got out of the door, the stench of the dead ogre left him gagging for air. Finally not able to keep up with his gagging, he let out a hurl of bile. After throwing up, he set up his awareness to its maximum to make sure no one heard him. Lucky for him, there was nothing, and his vomit was drowned out by the screams and whispers in the eerie hallway.
He distanced himself away from the empty carcass of the ogre to prevent himself from making the same mistake. Next was to plan his route. There were 3 routes he can take, straight ahead, left, right, and going back was not an option.
The ghoul that was with the other ghoul in this intersection went straight ahead. Thinking like this, Kazu didn’t want to go straight just to meet up with that ghoul. His only options were either left and right.
But those options too were shattered as he saw the red light in the distance just straight ahead. It was a red velvet like light seeping in from a crack on the wall. From the distance, he could not tell whether there was a door leading to the room where the crack was in. However, going straight ahead would mean that he may meet up with the ghoul.
Not only that, the shrieks were coming from the direction of the light. Yet, there was a discerning voice in amidst those screams.
*sob sniff sob*
Kazu heard a woman crying. The cry was more of sadness rather than pain. Its tone was very innocent; not yet defiled. Kazu couldn’t be helped but be entranced by the voice. Not because it was a sweet voice of a woman, but because the voice of the sobbing was familiar. He was sure he had heard this voice before, yet he can’t point his finger directly at where.
He tiptoed along the corridor to make as little noise as possible along with his stealth skill. Kazu was almost half way there, halfway to the red velvet light on wall.
But, as he thought, it wouldn’t go smoothly. The screams kept coming closer and closer to where he was. Clashes of metal, flesh being cut, walls crumbling, all of these sounds came closer to him with each step. It was as if it was they were coming to him instead of him coming to them. Ignoring the noise, Kazu persisted on with his trek towards the light.
And then at last, he was in front of the crack in the wall that seeped out the red velvet light. The sound of the woman’s cry was as clear as day. And now, he peeked through the cavity. There, he sees a mountain of bones. On top of that mountain of bones, a rusted sword stood up above.
Kazu looked up even further to see the ghost like woman floating while crying. What amazed Kazu wasn’t because he saw a ghost, but because the woman was an exact replica of what Aiko looked like.
Her slender shoulders, small yet attractive chest, thin arms, perfect V shape cuteness of the face could not be other than Aiko herself. The only difference was the hair being pure silver and her eye colour being gold with a sparkle of amethyst purple.
Behind him, dust cloud rose up from the impact on the floor. What dropped was the body of the ghoul that separated from the ghoul earlier. The ghoul got up from the floor, immediately jumping backwards as if to avoid something. In an instant, a large pole impaled itself onto the floor where the ghoul was at before.
There, a large four legged spider with the body of a bee appeared from above landing right in front of the pole. Its four legs supported the oversized body of the bee standing at 2 and a half meters tall. The ghoul on the other hand was shorter and slimmer than Kazu himself.
<< Scan >>
|Name||Lord of the 2nd Floor, Euopth Lv 63.||Type||Homunculus|
|Attack Rating||???||Attack||Stinger, Kick|
|Description: The boss of the 2nd floor in the Ephermal Labyrinth Dungeon.|
It was 12 levels higher than the ghoul. This level difference could be seen in the fight. When the ghoul whipped its two tendril like arms at the monster, they were flung backwards and was met with a counter attack in the shape of a projectile pole. It shot the poles through its oversized stinger.
The ghoul tried to dodge the pole, but it was too slow. One of the legs of Euopth kicked the ghoul in mid air, making it bounce on the walls like a ball. Upon landing on the floor, the ghoul squirmed to run away, screaming like it depended on its life.
On the other hand, the four legged monster casually walked over to the squirming ghoul. Deciding to end its misery, it fired a pole right at the ghoul’s head.
As soon as Kazu thought it was over, its stinger pointed itself towards Kazu. On the stinger, it had orbs that had pupils meaning those must be its eyes. They stared at where Kazu was.
It can see me?
However, it moved slowly like it wasn’t sure whether something was there or there was nothing there. At this point, the stinger was near Kazu’s head. The mouth of the stinger opened to reveal a sharp pole that looked like steel. The pointed end almost touched Kazu’s forehead.
“KURRAAAAK” A scream from straight ahead echoed.
The stinger did fire, but it missed. With his new found reflexes, Kazu dodged it by moving his body a bit to the right. The stinger’s eyes were no longer at Kazu and was now staring at the darkness down the hallway. Suddenly, it jumped up on to the wall. Following that, it sprinted along the wall causing loud tremors and shaking the chandeliers.
Kazu knew this behaviour. It was the behaviour shown by animals when they were at war. He didn’t know why nor does he want to know. There were also signs on the walls about past battles.
Kazu turned his head back and saw what the stinger did to the wall. He was glad that the stinger had fired anyway. Earlier, he had already found out that the room he wanted to get in had no door. Seeing the stinger had made the gap in the crack wider, he was now able to fit himself in to squeeze through it.
However, when he tried to squeeze through the large hole in the wall, he felt a burning sensation when he got too near the stinger. Stepping back a bit, he put one hand forward to see if the stinger had acidic properties. As his hand got nearer, the burning sensation became stronger making him retract his hand in a hurry.
All he has to do now was avoid the stinger. The wall was big enough to go through it even with the stinger.
Kazu twisted his body sideways to squeeze through the cavity on the wall. He kept his distance away from the stinger with care. His nose felt a bit of burning, but it was mild. Squeezing through inch by inch, he held his breath.
Finally succeeding, he let out a big sigh knowing that there weren’t any monsters here through his awareness skill.
Trotting towards the rusted sword, he noticed that the woman wasn’t there anymore. Kazu turned his head in rapid succession to see where she was in the room. The awareness skill didn’t detect her earlier which caused a shock to him.
Despite him looking around the room, it was empty. Loneliness wrapped itself around his heart. The trek to this room felt like days of being alone.
Even then, he continued forward. He stepped over the unidentifiable bones littered around the room, making his way over to the rusted sword. When he got there, he saw a familiar envelope just beside the rusted sword. He picked up the envelope that read “To Kazu Tomoe.”
He couldn’t help but let out a solemn smile where no one could see it. Slow tears ran down his cheeks, relieved of finding his last memory of Japan.
Setting his eyes on the rusted sword, it didn’t look like it was usable. It was a little bit shorter than the sword Brett gave him and the rust had seeped into the metal of the blade. Yet Kazu felt something weird about the blade.
At any rate, he didn’t have a choice whether to take the sword or not. It was the only weapon he could find.
Wrapping his hand around the hilt of the rusted sword, he felt a strange sensation. Yes, it was a pulse. The rusted sword had a pulse, but it was weak.
<< Scan >>
|Name||Rusted Sword||Type||Long Sword (?)|
|Description: An ominous sword.|
Passive Effect: 25% Lifesteal.
What the…? Kazu scratched his head. Maybe I need a higher scan level to identify the unknown properties…
An even larger question dawned on him when the << Wanderer’s Wind >> activated when he gripped the sword. The sword was shorter than sword Brett gave him, yet it activated the passive effect.
Kazu swung the sword around and sure enough, it created gusts of wind just like what the skill described.
The wall exploded into rubbles. Kazu stared at the dust cloud, waiting for it to settle. As soon as it settled, his heart dropped. It was the disgusting four legged spider Euopth.
It screeched in a frequency that made Kazu’s ears ring in pain. Clenching his teeth, he pciked up the rusted sword beside him and tightened his grip on it. He readied himself for the fight that might decide his fate.
I WILL SURVIVE!
Afraid debuff removed
<< Rising Wind >>
Kazu decided on a pre-emptive strike while the monster was screeching. The scenery in his eyes changed in rapid succession, much faster than before. He crashed into the already broken wall and a bit of his hp took a blow.
Euopth took this chance and launched a projectile at Kazu.
Kazu saw the projectile coming at him like it was in slow motion. Every detail in the air, every light refraction, every spec of dust, he saw it. So, he jumped again to move away from the projectile’s path.
Upon jumping, away, he hit another wall due to his uncontrollable new strength. More of his hp came down as. Just from the crashes alone, it took 632 and 444 damage. Since he hasn’t seen his new stats yet, his hp should have been red barred by now. Yet the bar on the top of his view didn’t even move.
Euopth let out another massive scream, shaking the area they stood in.
Kazu took this chance, he ran away. He jumped towards the broken wall, jumping over the large boulder made from the rubble.
There, he saw the intersection while Euopth was hot on his tail. He dashed forward to the intersection and once he landed in the middle, he jumped sideways.
To the beast behind him, when he landed on the intersection, it looked like he disappeared into a blur. Euopth squirmed itself around the walls of the intersection desperately looking for its prey, but Kazu was no where to be seen.
With its insufficient intelligence, it had no idea where the prey went and soon enough, Euopth became bored. He went back into hunting the ghouls that littered the dungeon.
The humidity in the room was high and dripping water dropped on to the floor making an irritating noise in Kazu’s ears. It was a rather large room, big enough to fit about 50 people which meant this was a mini-hall.
Chandeliers across the ceiling lit up the place with a dim light, but it was not enough to see the condition of the floor; after all, the ceiling was 20 meters high in this room compared to the 10 meter high ceilings outside of the room.The dungeon didn’t make sense, nor did it make you want to understand its structure.
Kazu, with wide eyes, finally came to his senses after almost getting killed by a monster.
“Status” It was his first thought.
|Phys. R||4293||Mag. R.||5117|
What the hell are these insane stats?! He shouted in his mind. He tried clicking the Artifact Status icon, but it was grayed out. All it said was that “It was now active.”
Irritation once again swelled up but at the same time, a rush of relief. He couldn’t click the status, but he knew it was the cause of the significant increase in his condition.
The rusted sword in his hand was also mysterious. Even though it was rusted, its double sided blade was razor sharp. The only downside to it was that the durability was almost 0. It also activated << Wanderer’s Wind >> passive which was exclusive to a type of weapon.
But what brought the mystery all together was that it had a pulse. It felt like it had a beating heart, like it was alive. It reminded Kazu of the ghost that was crying.
Kazu shook his thoughts away before goosebumps started showing up.
So, in the empty room, he brought himself to the middle. There were 4 pillars lined up for him to test his control on his own strength.
Once again, he readied himself. He jumped forward aiming at the spot where the 4th pillar stood.
The images in his vision rapidly changed—BAM.
He crashed into the wall with no idea what happened. The distance he wanted to jump was about the same distance his << Rising Wind >> was used on the dummy. He repeated it multiple times so the amount of strength he needed was correct.
Yet, it was not correct. He knew it was the cause of the new stats. The new stats altered his body and the conversion was also altering his body without consent.
He picked himself up from the crater he caused on the wall. It took about 400 hp of his life when he crashed, but he didn’t care about that.
Right now, he focused all his mind to understand his new power and to control it. Otherwise, survival through this hell would be the last of his worry.
He punched the wall beside him causing a sizeable crater on it. Again, he was shocked at his sudden found strength.
Next Chapter >>
If you see any mistakes, clunky word structure, or anything that can be improved on, tell me!
Thanks for reading.
Do note about the last chapter with his conversion, so don’t be baffled about the stat changes.
(Wait, what am I saying... Arifureta has even more ridiculous stat gains...)
Ty for FirstDragon for feedback.