[You have taken damage.]
Kang Oh sustained damage from the unexpected attack. Shards of light burst from his body, which were then absorbed by the muscle monster!
Bam! Bam! Bam!
While the muscle monster absorbed the shards of light, Sephiro let loose a Triple Shot; all three arrows struck true.
The arrows pierced its flesh, causing its face to contort in pain.
Sephiro quickly shot another arrow.
The monster bent forward and dodged the arrow. It then rushed at the nearest target, Kang Oh.
It chopped with the edge of its hand.
Kang Oh avoided the attack by moving to the side.
However, a white line followed the edge of its hand!
That was definitely Slash.
'As I thought!'
Kang Oh's eyes dimmed.
Absorbing the shards of light didn't just replenish the muscle monster's HP.
"Absorbing shards of light lets it use our skills!" Kang Oh yelled.
Once he was finished speaking, the monster came running at him.
The monster's fist came straight at him.
Kang Oh retreated, dodging the attack.
"Mr. Sephiro, concentrate on ranged attacks. Eder, don't attack. Keep yourself safe with your shield. We have to take it down before it can steal any more of our abilities," Kang Oh quickly said.
Then, Kang Oh charged, and horizontally swung his sword.
"How's the original feel!?"
He cleaved through its body and then lunged.
His sword struck the wound left behind by Slash.
Black, rather than red, shards of light burst from its body. Due to Fang Bearing Blade, his attack had ignored the muscle monster's defenses.
The monster screamed in agony.
Then, an arrow pierced its forehead.
"Hey, you musclehead!"
Eder raised his shield in front of the monster.
The enraged monster punched him indiscriminately.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!
Eder withstood every single one of its strikes with his shield.
The monster used Heavy Blow with its final attack, so it was accompanied by a minor explosion.
The orange skull's eye sockets glowed.
Flames, which burned anything that they touched, spewed out of the skull's mouth.
The cursed flame burned the muscle monster's right arm!
It crazily swung its right arm in order to extinguish the flames.
Kang Oh seized that opportunity, and appeared behind the monster.
His demon sword emanated a golden aura.
The monster shook from the tremendous impact. Not only that, but a whirlwind arose that seemed to pierce through the ceiling!
Falling shards of light rode the wind and flew high into the sky.
By the time the whirlwind had calmed, the muscle monster was face flat on the floor.
[You have defeated the Skill Stealer, Mash.]
Its title was Skill Stealer, which made it clear what its ability was.
'If I encounter another one, then I should dodge first and then counterattack.'
It'd be a pain in the ass if one of them managed to steal Tempest Tiger.
"Eder, if you see another one of these things, just focus on defense," Kang Oh ordered.
He was essentially saying, 'Don't mess around and get your skills taken.'.
"Alright. I'll try to use my curses too."
"Yeah, you do that. Mr. Sephiro... I trust in your abilities, so keep doing what you're doing."
Befitting a ranker, Sephiro would always do more than his share.
"You can count on me."
* * *
Kang Oh's party encountered a monster that was similar, but ultimately different from Mash.
It was more than 2 meters tall, and its body was blood red. The monster's head was round and resembled a snake; it definitely looked like Mash.
But there were clear differences; its muscles!
It possessed a leaner body. If Mash's body could be compared to a bodybuilder's, then this one's could be compared to a professional runner.
'But it should be similar at its core.'
"Fight it like you're fighting Mash!" Kang Oh ordered.
Then, the battle began in earnest.
The new monster was quicker and more agile than Mash, though it still wasn't fast enough to completely overwhelm Kang Oh. It was also physically weaker than Mash as well.
Kang Oh easily avoided its fists and continuously counterattacked.
Because the blood red monster was so much faster than Mash, Sephiro focused on accuracy and shot each arrow individually.
Eder blocked its attacks with his shield and waited for his opportunity.
Once the monster completely focused on Kang Oh, Eder spewed a black evil spirit from his mouth.
It suddenly turned its body and punched Eder.
Casting the curse had left him defenseless, so he couldn't help but get hit.
The blood red monster absorbed the shards of light that burst from Eder's body.
At the same time, the evil spirit attached itself to the monster.
It shrieked and stomped on the floor. A Star of David appeared beneath its feet.
"That's the Ruined Ramparts curse!" Eder yelled.
Once he was finished, black lines spread around the monster.
[You are within Cursed Ground's Domain, Ruined Ramparts.]
[You have completely resisted the curse.]
[Your abilities do not fall.]
Kang Oh's class, Demonic Swordsman, possessed an exceedingly high curse resistance, so the Ruined Ramparts curse had no effect on him.
On the other hand, Sephiro's defense had been reduced by 30%; for the time being, the decrease was inconsequential. After all, he was attacking from long range.
Eder was empowered instead. Because he was an undead, curses had the opposite effect, so Ruined Ramparts had increased his defense.
Ultimately, stealing Eder's curse wasn't a big deal.
Moreover, Eder's Aging Curse had noticeably slowed its movements.
"Push it back!"
Kang Oh barraged it with attacks.
Darkness Strike activated right on time.
His destructive attack, a mix of black and white, struck the monster.
The monster was helplessly pushed back, which was then followed by a violently spinning arrow that pierced its forehead.
A combination of Spinning Arrow and Headshot!
"Then me too..."
Encouraged by Kang Oh and Sephiro, Eder forcefully raised his mace.
"Just stay there and protect yourself!" Kang Oh yelled.
Eder dropped his mace and raised his shield.
The monster swung its arms as if it were having a seizure.
Eder stepped forward, slightly approaching the monster.
Then, the monster concentrated its attack on him instead. His expert shield handling allowed him to easily endure the assault.
Kang Oh used that opportunity to get behind it. Then, he fiercely swung his sword.
Swish, slash, swish, slash!
Whenever he swung his sword, large shards of light would burst from the monster's body.
It turned around and attacked Kang Oh. Sephiro then shot an arrow at its back.
The monster writhed in pain.
After that, Kang Oh and Eder relentlessly barraged it with attacks. In the end, the monster couldn't withstand their combined assault.
[You have defeated the Magic Stealer, Jungk.]
"Magic Stealer... So it can only steal spells," Kang Oh said.
The Skill Stealer, Mash, could only steal combat-oriented skills like Heavy Blow or Slash. On the other hand, the Magic Stealer, Jungk, was capable of stealing spells like Eder's curses.
"It'd be tough to take on several of these guys at once," Sephiro said.
More enemies meant that there'd be a scuffle; there was a chance that they’d steal their skills or spells in the process.
"Yeah," Eder agreed.
"We'll have to blitz them and adapt as we go," Kang Oh said.
Mash and Jungk. After fighting them firsthand, Kang Oh realized that the best strategy to beat them was to kill them before they could steal one’s skills/spells.
If they managed to steal a skill or spell, then fight them while keeping the stolen ability in mind.
"Mr. Sephiro," Kang Oh continued.
"How do you feel about the labyrinth?"
"The labyrinth itself doesn't keep changing, nor are there any magic circles scattered around that teleport you somewhere else."
"I agree with you, but... It doesn't seem so simple either."
He supposed it was just a hunch. Kang Oh just had that feeling.
"We need more information."
They'd only just started exploring the labyrinth.
"Indeed. Then let's go."
Kang Oh's party continued to press forward.
* * *
The difficulty in navigating through the labyrinth lay in the continuous forked roads, the exit that never appears, and the traps.
But along the way, they encountered two Mash and Jungks simultaneously.
The monsters shrieked and rushed at them.
Eder cast Cursed Ground's Domain: Ruined Ramparts and Rusty Sword!
Black and purple spread out like ripples.
The two Mash, whose muscles bulged, swung their fists at Kang Oh.
Their fists were aimed at a single target!
Kang Oh softly dodged their blows.
One of the Jungk aimed for Eder, while the other rushed towards Sephiro.
It had only taken a second for it to become a dogfight.
"Blitz them! Adapt!" Kang Oh yelled.
After dodging a Jungk's fist, Eder swung his shield.
'Offense is the best defense!'
Eder bashed its jaw with the edge of his shield, causing its head to suddenly turn.
He didn't seek a follow-up attack; instead, he withdrew his shield and protected himself.
That was the right choice.
The Jungk counterattacked fiercely, but Eder blocked it easily by preparing for it beforehand.
On the other hand, Sephiro ran backwards while shooting arrows at his Jungk.
The nimble Jungk tried to catch up to Sephiro no matter what.
But Sephiro was more powerful, and faster than it too. Sephiro began to go to work on it.
However, that didn’t mean that he had enough time to provide cover fire for either Kang Oh or Eder.
Kang Oh overpowered the two Mash even without his help.
He narrowly avoided the two monsters' attacks and attacked their weak points.
Ultimately, the two Mash continuously screamed in agony.
The tides of battle began to turn towards Kang Oh's party.
The Jungk managed to get a hit in, and stole Eder's Slow Curse.
It opened its mouth, and out came magical chains.
The chains targeted Sephiro, who had low curse resistance.
With his speed reduced, Sephiro's Jungk got a hit in.
Sephiro had a bad feeling about this.
The only spell he could use was Buster Shot!
Buster Shot was a spell that shot a giant arrow infused with magical power, which would then split into 100 arrows and rain down on one's opponents.
'It wouldn't... use that, would it?'
However, that bad feeling of his hadn't been unwarranted.
The Jungk, who had absorbed Sephiro's shards of light, opened its mouth. Then, it discharged a gigantic arrow.Previous Chapter Next Chapter