“I… I’ll acknowledge your strength.”
“All right. Here is a potion.”
The mercenary collapsed on the floor with his legs and arms completely crushed. I handed him a potion.
The only limb that was still relatively functional was his left arm. He grabbed the potion with his left hand and chugged the potion’s content.
I was sure he must be experiencing substantial pain right now. However, he finished drinking the potion without screaming too loudly. He then started to massage his body.
After the mage coughed off blood and lost consciousness, the battle ended in less than 15 minutes.
The result was obviously my victory.
After the barrier disappeared, I beat the crap out of the holy knight and then the mercenary. Afterwards, nobody else tried to come at me.
To be precise, there wasn’t anyone left who could fight me.
Unexpectedly holy knight was weaker than I thought.
At first, I thought he was a holy knight who happened to also have mastered the holy healing spell. Instead, it seemed he was closer to being a healer. His combat potential was quite lacking.
I think he could be more difficult to fight against than other warriors of the same level if he actively used his holy spells in battle.
Also, the mercenary was more tenacious than I thought.
The impression I got from looking at the man’s face was that he was the type who would give up after a good beating or two. However, he came at me to the bitter end. As of result, he was almost beaten to death.
To put it positively, he had grit and persistence. To put it negatively, he was incredibly dumb.
Until the battle ended, everyone inside the dungeon took turns and received beating from me. However, the doppelganger did not reveal itself.
It could be that the doppelganger was aware that my attacks did not have killing intent, so it did not feel the need to reveal itself. It could be that there was a restriction on revealing itself. I was not certain.
Anyway, that was actually a good thing.
For me, there was nothing good that could have come from the doppelganger revealing itself at this very moment.
I needed the doppelganger and the people here to spit out information for me.
I have plenty of time to defeat the doppelganger.
I cannot someone die already; there was too much opportunity.
The mercenary finished drinking the potion. He dusted himself off, got up and complained,
“God damn it. If it wasn’t for that snobby scaredy cat over there…”
He was talking about the knight who ran his mouth off about the mage and contributed to the mage’s collapse when the mage was holding the barrier.
The knight stayed at a corner and fiddled with his armor. He pretended as if he didn’t hear the mercenary.
“Don’t be so hard on him. Even without the information about the barrier magic requiring high focus, it would not have withstood my attacks for an hour.”
“… God damn it. You heard about that one hour thing from that knight as well.”
Now that you mentioned it, that is true.
I can totally understand why the mercenary is grinding his teeth in frustration.
I think the mercenary and the others would see the knight as a traitor?
Why did the knight do all that?
Perhaps he is just one of those personalities who cannot stand it unless he explains everything he knows in verbose detail.
If that is the case, that knight really should be treated as an idiot.
If that is not the case, then it is also possible that he did it while feigning stupidity simply because he did not want to die.
He is a knight who values honor above all else. He could not afford to let others catch onto his desperation to live and his attempt to ruin their plan in the process. So, he handed over information to me and neutralized the mage.
If that was the case, then there was nothing that could be said in his defense if everyone accused him as a knight without honor.
There was a third possibility.
He still didn’t want to die, but he wasn’t trying to conceal his desperation. He could be the doppelganger in disguise.
If the knight’s true identity is the doppelganger under the guise of a human, then it is not restricted by the title of the knight and his ways. It would leak information without feeling guilty about it.
I carefully observed the gazes from the mercenary and the holy knight toward the knight. Their eyes didn’t look like they were simply criticizing the knight as a traitor.
Their gazes contained strong doubts and suspicions.
Personally, I think it is obvious that any human being would not want to die.
Therefore, I am giving the second and third possibilities equal weight.
However, the mercenary and the holy knight kept to the idea that an honorable knight would not do this. It seemed they were certain that the third possibility was the right answer.
Is the knight a dumbass, a chicken or the doppelganger?
No matter which one was the right answer, it was hopeless.
I think the knight did what he did to survive.
The mercenary and holy knight’s attitude toward me toned down a little after I gave them some time after their beating. It is probably because of the knight.
Now, they are finding the knight more suspicious than me.
Honestly, it does not matter if the knight is the doppelganger.
Actually, it is not a bad thing if the knight is the doppelganger and gave me more information on how to survive the danger.
The mage was still unconscious.
He fell unconscious twice so far, and the last time, he collapsed because he lost focus in middle of casting magic and his mana ran amok. He must have suffered substantial internal damage.
Because of this, the holy knight said it would be best to leave the mage be for half a day.
In addition, he planned to give treatment in one to two hours intervals.
As for the adventurer, he was not able to get back up because I beat him too hard. I handed a potion to the mercenary who was getting up and told him to tend to the adventurer who was still in pain.
From what I saw earlier, it seemed the mercenary and the adventurer were pretty close.
After waiting for a moment, the adventurer also gasped loudly and got up.
It looks like he was hurt pretty badly.
Adventurer, why weren’t you kinder with words earlier.
“Now, everyone, shall we start our conversations again?”
I clapped and gathered everyone’s attention.
“Are you talking about that Mafia game earlier?”
The mercenary asked.
It is a proactive question. I like his attitude.
Surprised, people stared at me. I told them what I was really thinking.
“That was actually just a ploy to get information from all of you. Now, I don’t need to bother with such a game.”
Looking at people’s dumbfounded face, I continued.
“Now, you guys have a simple job to do. Just take turns and start talking.”
“Talk about what?”
“Everything. Geography, history, religion, politics, literature, economics and other basic knowledge. The information about the organization you belong to. Treasures, magic, monsters, armor, information about dungeons, experiences from the childhood, common courtesies and manners, or even things like unfounded rumors you heard from somewhere are fine too. I would like you to tell me everything you know.”
Their eyes were soaking in anxieties and suspicions.
I subdued them. However, I was not finishing them off like a logical opponent would, which made them suspicious of me again.
I was directly asking for information about the world. They were suspicious about the possibility that I might be the doppelganger.
Their minds must be pretty convoluted right about now.
I can clearly see them twiddling their thumbs anxiously.
Sure, I just had their asses handed to them. Still, I bet they were concerned if it would be all right to give information to someone who might be a demon. They might even be considering fighting me again even if it means a certain death for them.
I used Overwhelm skill again and amplified my power.
The effect was intensified when the opponent felt the difference in strength was high. It was also amplified when the opponent was mentally subdued.
They just got beat up by me, and they just came to their senses.
The conditions of their bodies could not be all that great at the moment either.
The overwhelming pressure they will be feeling this time will be incomparable to what they experienced before the battle.
If they were merely uncomfortable about me during the last time, I bet they are feeling like someone is pressing down on their shoulders this time.
I layered my hand with mana and clapped hard as I said in low voice. Everyone shriveled and flinched.
“Shall we start talking now? I have a lot of things I’m curious about. I might even get angry if everyone keeps silence like this.”
The adventurer was the one who received the most severe beating from me. He was breaking out a cold sweat.
Nobody started to talk. They just glanced at each other.
Is everyone hoping for someone else to start?
I felt the need to subject them to a new threat. I pondered what I should use, but someone raised his hand.
It was like a diligent honor student at school answering the teacher’s answer. The knight politely raised his hand and said,
“I want to start!”
His eyes were sparkling. While others were glancing around and hoping someone else would start, it seemed the knight was glancing around to check if it would be all right for him to start. There’s no mistake. I was certain of this.
I nodded in anticipation.
“Thank you! My name is Kaesis Aruhan. My grandfather named me during the day I was born…”
Like that, the knight started telling his story, starting from the day of his birth.
His story went on for a long time. He was still not done when it was almost the midnight of the first day at the dungeon.
By the time I stopped him so we could all sleep, the knight was only up to when he was 11 years old and just entering school.
His story was surprisingly detailed.
Thanks to his story, I learned about even the most trivial things of this 16th Floor stage’s world.
Even when he was just talking about dinner, he described individual dining items with meticulous detail.
Things like the varieties of the dining items, people who make them, the items’ prices, and even how his families thought of the makers… He told me so much. Thanks to him, my mind was overflowing with new information.
On top of this, his stories were intriguing.
He was talking about such useless things, yet he could maintain the audiences’ attention so well.
The knight was exceptionally talented as a storyteller.
Occasionally, when his stories were too exaggerated or embellished, the mercenary or the adventurer butted in to correct the story.
Honestly, this was a lot of fun.
Before I realized, the atmosphere had changed to bunch of school classmates on a trip who were sharing stories before bed.
I even brought out snacks and drinks from the dimensional bag and munched on them as I enjoyed the stories.
It seemed this world also had a dimensional bag. Although the people were a little intrigued by the bag, they weren’t shocked by it.
The knight’s stories were interesting, but they were not without flaws.
He liked talking way too much, and he was describing everything that came to his mind, so the actual story progression was at a snail’s pace. It was frustrating.
Also, his stories went tangent often. While talking about a method for checking the quality of a carpet, he found his way to talking about how his grandfather entered the castle and received a title after achieving a great exploit.
Also, while talking for several hours, he never once shut his mouth.
He didn’t even take a break to eat any snacks. He just occasionally sipped on wine to quench his throat and focused on telling the stories.
It was incredibly fortunate that the man never repeated a story that he told.
The time went on since the knight started telling the stories. An hour, two hours… By the time we got to the three-hour mark, I learned that listening to stories for an extended period of time was a laborious duty, both physically and mentally.
By the time we reached five hours, my head felt blurry.
By the time it was at the five-hour mark, others started to doze off, so I told him we should stop here and continue the rest tomorrow.
Others seemed relieved to hear it. Meanwhile, the knight looked disappointed that he could not chatter away some more.
Doesn’t your throat hurt?
The people scattered about the dungeon room so they could get some sleep.
They agreed with each other to not get too close while sleeping. They even warned that anyone who approaches will be attacked.
This didn’t matter to me, but the people were very conscious about their safety while sleeping.
I opened a sleeping bag from the inventory and lied down at a corner.
I should run mana circuits while organizing the stories I heard from the knight.
Thirty minutes passed while I was doing that before I was interrupted by someone’s quietly mumbling.
“I’m certain he ran his mouth so he could survive and chatter away afterwards. If that guy drowned and died, I bet only his mouth will float up.”
Judging from the voice, I thought it was the mercenary.
I totally agree.
* * *
I checked the time using the pocket watch I took from the adventurer and got out of the sleeping bag.
I couldn’t sleep.
My insomnia didn’t allow me to sleep in a sealed room with potential enemies.
Nobody showed any suspicious behaviors during the night.
Honestly, I thought the doppelganger might make a move while everyone was asleep. However, I was worried over nothing.
I walked around the dungeon room and woke up the people.
It was morning.
First, I should eat breakfast, and then… listen to the knight rascal’s blabber-mouth.
Today, I should ask him about his swordsmanship before he talks about his childhood.
I should ask about the holy knight’s religion. I also need to ask the adventurer about the dungeon.
From what I heard yesterday, it seemed like the mercenary knew a lot about the customs of this world.
More importantly, I need the mage to wake up so I can hear his stories about magic.
If he is unable to wake up by tonight, I should seriously consider using the Elixir.
Other than the mage, who was still unconscious, I gathered the rest and brought out food from the dimensional bag.
The people seemed to be carrying meat jerkies or other dried foods. However, perhaps because they tasted the food I brought out last night, it seemed they were not even deliberating about bringing out their own tasteless dried foods.
We were all quietly enjoying the meals before the knight politely raised his hand.
“Can I tell the story while we eat?”
“… Please. No.”
“Please keep your mouth shut while we eat. I beg of you.”
“You should be respectful while people eat, Sir Aruhan. Please restrain yourself.”
The knight was met with stern resistance from the three. The knight looked a little disappointed.
For a moment, it looked like he was going to say something. However, the knight gave up and started to eat.
Could it be that talking while eating is a serious violation of courtesy in this world?
Maybe they just wanted to plug that chatterbox knight’s mouth?
I think it is the latter.
[God of Adventure is disappointed.]