[I thought I was going to die! I was really about to die!]
[Didn't I tell you not to fall off? So why did you go and do the exact opposite?]
[How can you not fall off!]
[I didn't fall off!]
[Enough. The results from the 4th floor will tell us exactly.]
[Tell us what?]
[How far up you can climb in this place]
[Round 2, Day 29. 8:30]
It was ideal for me to focus these last few days on my growth and training.
Thanks to that, I've become accustomed to using Blink.
It was still difficult to use as an attack, but adequate for the purpose of closing a gap closing or escaping.
Using the Talaria's Wings skill freely however was still troublesome.
At least I was able to fly in the sky by using the Glide skill instead of having to flap those wings constantly to fly.
One more thing to note was that none of my resistance skills have improved.
It seems their levels have become too high for the grinding in the Waiting Room to have an effect.
And, with only a short amount of time left for the 2nd Round to finish, I thought of challenging the 4th Floor to test out the newly skills - Blink and Talaria's Wings.
Clearing the floor would be difficult considering the time, so it would mainly be reconnaissance of the beginning area.
[Will you enter the 4th Floor?]
A bright light surrounded my body, with a familiar echoing of the portal.
[Welcome to Tutorial Stage, Hell Difficulty Floor 4]
I quickly scanned the area as I entered the floor.
It had the usual polished stone corridor.
The only difference was that, the corridor had gotten much wider.
It was about 10m wide.
As for the height... forget it.
It was too dark, and there was not a single object I could use to estimate the height.
Just looking up wasn’t enough to give an accurate measure.
I guessed it was probably about the same as the ceiling of Inchon airport.
Anyway, the fact that the corridor had become larger was lucky for me.
Good luck for Ho Jae. Hahaha
I begin to take out the equipments from the Inventory that I had bought with Kirikiri's advice.
I wore a new leather chest armour instead of the old one that I'd been using.
It was a shiny, black leather armour; I had no clue as to where that leather had came from.
Afterwards I wore a pair of leather pants, boots, gloves and a belt.
They were all dyed in black making a set.
It had been quite costly to buy all the equipments in black leather as they were uncommon.
If it hadn’t been for the Gods and their extra points, making a set would have been difficult.
Of course, there was no bonus for buying them in the same colour.
It just looked cool.
On the belt was a throwing dagger as advised by Kirikiri.
Its effectiveness would drop in midrange, but it would be useful to create an opening..
I could still use it as a sidearm in case I lost my sword.
I could somewhat guess what the theme of 4th Floor was based on Kirikiri’s advice to bring a throwing weapon.
It meant that there was probably a target that I must hit out of range.
This time, I may need to fight monsters in combat instead of using the usual machinated traps.
Based on the info from the Community,
On Easy Difficulty mode, the first monster was a walking mushroom man.
In the Normal mode, a goblin.
Information about the type of monster in the Hard mode had yet to come.
I heard a sharp warcry from further ahead.
I guess a monster was coming out.
As the tension was building up, I firmly held onto my sword and shield and checked my equipment again.
With everything in place, I marched towards where the warcry had come from.
It was a typical green skinned monster that you’d see in cartoons or novels.
His skin was an unusual green.
His body jam packed with muscle, comparable to that of an Olympic wrestling gold medalist.
Height of 2m.
Why was this guy my first opponent?
Damn, I could actually tell how different Hell was from other modes of difficulty just by looking at the monster instead of the traps.
The goblin from Normal Difficulty was short - around 100cm in height.
He was also unarmed.
The tip was to use the long reach of the weapon and fight from a distance.
But the monster in front of me was fully equipped.
He looked less like a monster and more like a medieval knight.
His helmet, chest armour and boots were all made out of solid steel.
Only his arms and thighs were exposed.
In his hand was a giant axe.
I couldn’t even imagine how much it would weigh.
It was a vicious axe, one I probably could lift even with two hands, let alone swing.
And he was holding it with one hand.
At least the handle of the axe was short.
It would have been a dire situation if he had a long weapon along with long arms.
Haah, what to do?
The monster stood in the same spot, staring, as if he was taunting me to attack.
Was I supposed to charge into him?
I glimpsed at the gladius in my right hand.
It was too short.
This sword had done its role sufficiently well until now.
Mainly for self harm.
But, at this moment, I wished that I had chosen a long weapon like a spear instead of such a short one.
Even a longsword would have be much better.
What the hell do I do now?
Let's think positively.
Kirikiri had not advised me to switch my weapon.
Instead what she had recommended was to wear armour and have a side-arm.
That meant this weapon was enough for me to beat this monster.
A wooden round shield and a gladius.
To deal with the difference in reach, I would have to jump towards the monster to get in close range like an infighter.
Closing the distance wasn't hard thanks to Blink.
The problem was afterwards.
Hm, let's try blocking his attack for now.
My main weapon was the shield, not the sword.
I blocked and parried the attacks, and I stabbed whenever there was an opening, slowly wounding him to victory.
A perfect game plan, in theory.
I slowly walked forward, encouraging myself with each step.
Then suddenly, the monster charged forward as it shouted.
Instead of retreating, I lunged towards and stabbed at the monster's neck.
Before the sword was able to reach its target, the monster swung its left arm.
I used the Blink skill to move backwards and create distance.
I had previously lunged so aggressively because I have Blink.
The monster didn't even act surprised by my Blink and began closing the distance without any hesitation.
The monster swung its axe, making a menacing sound.
With the momentum it had, a poor block could result in the loss of my arm let alone the shield.
I had somehow managed to parry the strike.
It sounded as if the shield was going to break, but it still held on quite well.
An ache spread from my wrist to the shoulder.
I held my sword in reverse grip and stabbed into the monster's neck.
Although it was aimed at the neck,
whether it was because of the height or because I had just missed, the strike instead landed between the neck and the shoulder.
The sword wouldn't come out.
I managed to block the fist from the monster's left arm, but the shield struck me in the face.
I gave up on the sword and used the Blink skill to go backwards and make a gap again.
Damn, was it possible for a sword to get stuck in pure muscle like that?
The monster didn't seem to be bothered by the sword in his shoulder and continued attacking.
I succeed again on parrying his axe with my shield.
The monster stepped forward and began to swing his axe the same way as he had before.
Then suddenly he changed his motion, lowering his stance and tackling with his shoulder.
Even though I was watching him do so, I wasn’t able to respond to his movement.
As I was forming my stance to parry the strike coming above me, someone tackled me from below, flinging me into the air, despite having managed to block it.
I used my Blink skill to move backwards once more.
For someone who had such a reach and height advantage to lunge into the fight like that…
Heavy pain surged up from my stomach, along with its contents and blood.
As I tried to recover, I stared back at the monster,
he snorted and glanced at me with an arrogant look, then he made a gesture with his hand, asking me to attack first.
Ah, is that so.
He had been playing with me the whole time.
I didn't think there would be so much gap in our skill.
Let's think about this.
I was above him in terms of speed.
Even excluding the Blink skill, I was still much faster.
But for it to have ended up like this, it was definitely due to the difference in skill.
Even in terms of strength, there wasn't so much difference.
I could say that with certainty, since I've experienced it myself during the self harm sessions.
It was just the difference in weapons and my lack of proficiency with my weapon.
It seemed he was not actively trying to kill me by making the first move.
He was acting as if he was playing, no, teaching a new recruit as an experienced instructor.
However, he was a guardian who had the role to stop me from going past him.
Should I run?
My left arm which had been blocking until now wasn't normal.
The impact from the tackle was still there as well.
If I used my Blink skill, no, even without it, I would be able to reach the Waiting Room.
I could improve my skill by repeatedly challenging him again and again.
I might have gotten wrecked by him now, but this situation won't last forever. I'm sure.
If I survived and healed in the Waiting Room, I would always try again at another time.
My thoughts were clear, but my legs wouldn't move.
It hurt my pride too much to retreat from this.
No, I'm just angry at this point.
I controlled my breathing and lowered my stance.
I stuck my weakened left arm close to my body and formed a guard.
The monster looked at me with interest at first, before making a stance himself with the axe on the front, realising that I was up to something.
That was not the stance you need.
Weren't you overestimating your long arms there.
I tensed up my body and used Blink.
Not in front of the monster, but beyond where he was standing.
This was my special attack - Tackle.
With a noise similar to a cannonball hitting a wall, I lost my consciousness.
I think I hit my head again.
Damn, where is this.
I couldn’t see at all.
It felt like I was having a hangover.
The world spun around me.
I tried to force my arms and legs to move, but they wouldn't move as I had wished.
Soon, I realised I was on the floor.
Despite my effort, it hadn't easy to even sit up.
Some time had passed until my sights slowly came back to me.
Among the still shaky vision, I could see the monster.
He was also lying on the floor, unable to move his arms and legs.
But, his red eyes were looking directly at me.
It was as if both sides got hit by the KO punch in a match.
Whoever stood first would win.
I clenched my teeth, trying to get myself together, but ended up falling instead.
With the accelerated thought process, I checked the state of my muscles one by one.
None of them seemed okay.
My left arm, which was the centre of the impact, was beyond salvageable.
Let's not rush here.
That monster can't stand too.
If I fell because of rushing, it would take that much longer to stand again.
Let's be calm and slow.
I pulled my hips back, making the cat stance from yoga.
I supported the weight with my right arm and my knees.
Could I stand from here?
Trying to endure the dizziness while forcing my limbs to move was difficult.
It wasn't so much the pain, but a problem with concentration.
I was standing now. Bastard.
I almost fell over again, but managed to at least get on my feet in a stagger using my right arm.
My head was still spinning, and my vision was shaking.
The body was in a constant seizure.
I could feel an uncomfortable feeling knocking at the roof of my mouth.
Did you know?
I was used to this situation.
I was very experienced with this situation.
"This was the power of pain and stun resistance. You son of a bitch!!"
Shouting needlessly had caused my eyes to roll over again.
You are fucked,
the moment my balance recovered so the I can walk.
I put my hand on my knees and stared at the monster who still twitching his arms and legs with the sword stuck in his shoulder.
I ended up puking over the body of the monster.
Forcing myself to move and trying to swing a sword to kill the monster had made the situation much worse.
Since the skin and muscle of that monster was much thicker than I had thought, I had to stab repeatedly for a long time before I was able to kill him.
There was blood all over the surroundings and on my body.
Normally it would have been my blood, but this time it was someone else's.
Whether I could call a monster someone could wait until later.
I couldn't even kill a rat or an insect back in the day,
but now I was able to kill a living being, even if it was a monster - by stabbing multiple times like a deranged killer.
But, I didn't feel anything.
Was it because my mind had changed as my body became more and more inhuman?
Or had I lost something inside me?
Had I just become used to death and blood?
I would never find out the reason.
I collapsed onto the floor, just barely sitting.
Using a potion at this stage seemed unnecessary, so I decided to rest and move later.
As I was about to rest, the monster's body became see-through, then eventually disappeared.
In place of the corpse was a stone.
[Goblin Graktus's birthstone]
Description: A stone gifted to the Blood Eye Tribe's meanest instructor Graktus by the tribe's shaman at birth. You can sell this in the shop.
That huge monster just now was a goblin?