Chapter 22 - Day 6, 6th Floor Wind
The leech swallowed the number two and the darkness started to lift. The scene that unfolded in front of my eyes was really quite surprising.
“... Peaks?” Someone’s mutter represented everyone’s feelings. The darkness on the stairs had been lifted with the sacrifice of just one person. The darkness was very thin, and only blocked the visibility due to the wide area it spread over.
“Hah...” Sighs of relief flowed from the mouths of the three low ranking people, including Yoon Ji-hee. They thought they wouldn’t need to be sacrificed to the leeches anymore. A few people were more cautious and remained silent.
There were three staircases descending from the peak, and on top of the peak was a huge creature.
[Rock Lizardman Chieftain. Type: Ajin (Demi-human). Rank C+.]
[Due to the species characteristics of the lizardmen, their size is proportional to how many years they have lived. Therefore, the oldest lizard will naturally become the leader. Since the leader’s age and proficiency will be different for each tribe, it isn’t unreasonable to judge the strength of a tribe based on the leader’s ability.]
There was just one. I could see it clearly from a distance. Its size reminded me of Kitchen Knife on the fourth floor, who was several times bigger than general lizardmen.
Besides, rank C+? The former lizardmen were rank E... The chieftain had a much higher rank. So far, it was the highest ranked monster that I had encountered.
Come to think of it, there was always significance to these things. From the first floor to the fifth floor, as well as the two peaks I encountered on this sixth floor… There was no section that didn’t have meaning. Two teams of seven were assembled and the chieftain appeared on the peak after the darkness was lifted.
That bonus was to offset the formidable presence in front of us...
“Ah!” Yoon Ji-hee screamed. She wasn’t the only one who was surprised.
The lizardman was jumping up the stairs, and the stairs behind them were already disappearing. Retreat wasn’t the answer.
“Lee Min-ju! Your wand...” Just as I was giving instructions, something was quickly throw from the hands of the lizardman. I realized it was a noose after it caught around Yoo Su-jeong’s neck. She thought she had avoided it with her reflexes, but it wasn’t aiming for just a single point.
The rope tightened around her neck and she briefly moaned. The lizardman took two steps back on the stair, both hands holding the rope attached to Yoo Su-jeong’s neck. Immediately after the lizardman’s foot hit the top of the peak again, its body swung in a neat, semicircular pattern.
A normal person would explode. “Sha...?” There was a small sound and Yoo Su-jeong’s body that hit the ground, suddenly disappeared. It was clear that the lizardman hadn’t done anything. It stared with surprise at the empty noose.
A technique, perhaps a type of avoidance? Either way… That lizardman was strong.
The purpose of its existence was to reduce our numbers. The number of humans was a bait. "Go down! Quickly! Leave anyone who is trapped!” Kim Ha-jong and Kwak Yu-han, who were in the lead, hesitated for a while before following my orders.
As a C+ ranked monster, it was fast. My conclusion was that it wasn’t something that could be easily killed, no matter how excellent one or two people were. The two groups had just come together so there would be no teamwork to defeat the monster.
I also ran down quickly. Kim Ha-jong and Kwak Yu-han were fighting well. They boldly attached themselves to the lizardman to prevent the use of its lasso. Lee Min-ju also used her staff and a painful gale of cold wind was shot at the lizardman.
Okay. Once I joined forces with them...
“What?!” Kim Ha-jong suddenly shouted with shock. The lizardman had tumbled back and jumped down the peak. Everyone hesitated, but I could hear it--the sound of stones falling down from the peak.
The sound of the stones falling stopped at one point. “Lee Min-ju! Right!”
“Eh?” Her biggest mistake was looking at me, who shouted, instead of to the right. On the right. A noose protruded from the edge of the cliff and went exactly over her neck. “Keok.” Her head was yanked upside down with a moan. It was the end. The noose was fastened and Lee Min-ju was pulled over the cliff.
“Noona!” Lee Sang-hoon ran towards the edge of the cliff and shouted downwards. The sounds of stone falling could be heard from everywhere. The lizard was moving around by hanging onto the cliff.
"Move to the centre! Form a circle to watch the outside."
"How about fleeing?” Yoo Su-jeong spoke up. Just as she had vanished suddenly, she just popped up in front of my eyes. Her HP Bar was reduced by one-third, so she had still received a blow. "We can’t beat it. Even if we win, more people here will die.”
Then she pointed to the upper stairs. Five people were coming down late. "We can use three of them as bait in order to walk down the stairs.”
"Is there any guarantee that it will be safe?” I shook my head. We couldn’t escape down the stairs. The lizard definitely had intelligence and there would almost certainly be victims of the noose. ... In fact, there was no other answer. It was probably impossible to escape down the stairs. If it was difficult to fight, scatter.
Then, was it impossible to catch the lizardman? “...Fight.” I concluded. If we concentrated our talents then we could break down the lizardman. By gathering in the centre to avoid the noose, it was an opponent we could fight. There was still time to go down the stairs. We just needed to hold on for a little longer.
That was the conclusion I came to. Suddenly, I felt pressure from behind me. A strong wind like a typhoon was suddenly blowing.
I couldn’t withstand the pressure and rolled forward two or three times. It wasn’t just me. All the people in the circle were pushed out of the center by the wind. The cause of the storm stood there calmly: Lee Sang-hoon. No, I should say Lee Chang-ju.
I was able to identify the second name on the list because it was right under me. It was a male with the surname of ‘Lee.’ Also, the remaining four people had showed no need to hide their skills. In the end, the answer was almost certain. The so-called 185th ranked person was hiding his claws.
Immediately after entering the sixth floor, I had focused half my concentration on him. Yang Su-jin also smelt something suspicious. If I could prove that he was hiding his second place rank, I could publicly execute him without any rebellion.
But I hadn’t expected this at all. The reason he had the second rank wasn’t such a ridiculous thing.
“Ah... Ohh... Noona...” As he shed tears, another bar appeared on top of his head--a blue bar underneath the red bar. Technique? Talent? Was it a system that couldn’t be invoked until there were intense emotions? The only thing that was certain was that I couldn’t identify that child’s power.
"Crazy bastard! Stop!” Kim Ha-jong shouted. The force that pushed everyone out didn’t come back again, but an enormous amount of wind pressure was coming from Lee Chang-ju. It was at the level of a weak typhoon. It wasn’t impossible to walk or run, but it made a great difference in a situation where a single moment could cost us our lives.
However, Lee Chang-ju’s eyes weren’t seeing Kim Ha-jong at all. The lizardman had just climbed back over the cliff. It was because the ice wand, what it considered the biggest threat, had disappeared. It seemed completely unaffected by the wind.
“Dog scum!” Lee Chang-ju stretched out his hand. An airflow formed that was visible to the eye and struck the lizardman. The body of the lizardman staggered back due to the airflow, but that was it. The strong wind just disoriented it, but there were no injuries.
In the end, he was still a lower rank than me. The situation was difficult due to the peaks and the lizardman, but it was really hard to kill something using wind. Lee Chang-ju was unable to grasp this at all.
“Die! Die!” The blue bar visibly decreased every time an airflow was sent out and the lizardman staggered. The aftermath of the attack left it vulnerable to damage, but everyone else was pushed towards the edge and couldn’t move properly.
"Lee Chang-ju! Stop!”
"Shut up!" Lee Chang-ju shouted crazily and stretched out a hand towards me. The airflow struck my chest. Indeed, there was little impact. At best, it was like a shove. However, that was enough to make me step back.
Over the cliff.
I realized as I was pushed back--Lee Min-ju hadn’t hidden her brother’s rank for the purpose of betrayal. It was because he was a timid person who couldn’t adjust his emotions, who just happened to get his hands on a strong technique. This was my complete mistake.
"Oppa!” Yang Su-jin cried out with dismay. I desperately swung my arms.
My fingers touched the cliff wall. Even though I activated Limiter Release, I could feel a lot of pressure on my fingers and arms. I had fallen almost seven metres before managing to grab onto the wall. The darkness was just a little further down.
Fortunately, the cliff wall was curved enough that I could climb it. I started going up the wall. Above me, the messy situation was still continuing. The turbulent sound of wind, screams, cries....
...And? I stopped when there was three metres left to the top. Then I carefully moved my hands and feet around the peak. After shifting approximately 15 degrees. I found Lee Min-ju.
“... Euh.” It was surprising that she was still breathing. Not only was there a mark around her throat, but her body was torn to rags from claws. It was clear that the lizardman had left her here, probably to eat her later. Lee Min-ju’s wand was also stuck on the wall. Whether it was because she heard a sound or from my shadow, her eyes turned towards me. I grasped her neck.
The already heavily injured neck bones were easily broken. The wand was already taken away from Lee Min-ju’s body as she fell. A leech rose up and swallowed her dead body.
It chewed a few times before spitting out the body. It was a picky b*stard.
[All the talents and experience of the loser will belong to the winner.]
[Murder Lv 4 -> Lv 5. Related abilities have increased.]
[Persuasion Lv 1 -> Lv 3. Related abilities have increased.]
[Stealth Lv 2 -> Lv 3. Related abilities have increased.]
[Deception Lv 3 -> Lv 4. Related abilities have increased.]
[Punching Lv 5. Level unchanged.]
[Pain Tolerance LV 6. Level unchanged.]
[Agility has exceeded the limit.]
I drew the wand stuck to the wall.
[Wand: Glacier Breath. Equipment item. Rank D.]
[A wand containing the essence of the ice spirits of the North Sea. The processed sapphire at the end is a consumable that can’t be recharged with normal magic power. However, the performance itself is exceptional. This luxury item from the North Sea is faithful to its purpose of self-defense as it is very easy to use.]
[Touch all five fingers to the groove in the centre and swing in a directly to instantly cool the air in front of you.]
[Current Balance: 16/25]
I put the wand in my mouth and started climbing the wall again. My direction was right behind the lizardman. It was the only place that wasn’t affected by Lee Chang-ju’s wind. I was able to grasp the rough situation with one glance. Lee Chang-ju was still confronting the lizardman.
There were the bodies of two of the captives on the ground. No one else was on the peak--they had gone down the stairs. The distance wasn’t far.
"Ugh, die! Please! Please...” Lee Chang-ju seemed somewhat insane. No matter how angry he was, he should’ve realized how bad the situation was right now. But it was too late. The lizardman’s gaze didn’t move away from Lee Chang-ju. He would die if the wind stopped.
The blue bar above his head was already close to the bottom. I waited quietly. Finally, the wind stopped and the lizardman approached Lee Chang-ju. “Ah...”
There was the sound of wet pants falling to the ground. Through the legs of the lizardman, I could see the boy’s legs hanging in the air. Soon, a tremendous amount of blood was flowing down his legs.
Many coins and a book dropped to the ground. The time had come. I ran behind the lizardman and shouted. "Here I am, you bastard!” I continuously waved the wand towards the lizardman. Since it was from a close distance, it seemed more painful than when Lee Min-ju used it.
[Glacier Breath. Activate. Current Balance: 15/25]
[Glacier Breath. Activate. Current Balance: 14/25]
[Glacier Breath. Activate. Current Balance: 13/25]
The effect was indeed awesome.
“Shaaaack!” The reptile screamed. Its rapidly freezing skin was cracking.
[Glacier Breath. Activate. Current Balance: 7/25]
[Glacier Breath. Activate. Current Balance: 6/25]
Once its legs were fully frozen, I put down the wand. I grabbed one leg and pulled with all my strength. The lizardman fell and the ice broke.
It felt like frozen sashimi as I slammed my fist into its chest. I repeatedly hit it. After it was completely frozen or had died, letters of light appeared before me.
[Essence - Rock Lizard.]