He cut down and moved past a rushing monster.
The monster was over three meters tall, but it could do nothing when its throat was cut. It tried to close the wound by placing its hands over its gaping wound. It desperately tried to keep its neck whole. However, its efforts were for naught.
Soon, the monster fell to the ground.
“Mmm! The monsters are getting stronger now. I can feel it.”
Tim nudged the fallen monster with his foot. Of course, the monsters weren’t causing any difficulties for them yet, and Sungyoon’s party continued to head toward the lower floors of the Great Labyrinth like an irresistible force.
However, it was also true that their speed was starting to slow down. They had to pay a bit more attention to the monsters.
When the monster's corpse disappeared, Tim picked up the moonstone left behind. Moonstones were a very rare commodity now. They couldn’t leave even one behind.
Soon, another split appeared in front of them. This time, they saw a lot of forks in the road. There were over ten cave entrances open on a large cliff. Everyone let out a sigh. They had to find the secret of this Great Labyrinth as soon as possible, yet they were faced with over ten diverging paths.
The party’s morale wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.
That word perfectly described everyone's mood.
“Uh… Did you feel it again?”
Tim stumbled over his words as he asked the question.
Sungyoon placed his hand over his heart as he stared at the Royal Gem.
“Yes. I can feel it.”
Sungyoon raised his finger and pointed at one of the dozen entrances.
Tim, Grace, and Emily looked at each other, then nodded.
Tim raised his sturdy shield and took the lead. Emily followed him, and Grace marked the tunnel they were about to enter on her map. In the beginning, whenever they came across such a scenario, they had always taken the left tunnel. They picked one direction and moved straight ahead. This was the basic strategy one used when clearing a labyrinth for the first time.
However, their strategy had changed after they fought the Griffons.
Was it like a game where one had to accumulate battle experience to level up? Or was this just an ability that activated naturally over time?
Whatever it was, Sungyoon’s Royal Gem and his heart pointed in a particular direction whenever he arrived at a fork. There was no hesitation. His party members were a bit skeptical, but Sungyoon followed his instincts. It was better to stick to a method when exploring a large, unknown labyrinth.
Sungyoon’s methodology might be an oasis or a mirage in a desert. As of now, they had no idea.
After they descended a couple more floors, something happened.
Tim retreated a couple of steps as his shield was rocked.
“What the hell is this bastard!”
His shield was rocked again, and he tried to tilt his shield to deflect the blow. Tim now had considerable fighting experience, so his technique was impeccable. However, even though he had reduced the impact of the blows, the blows still felt very heavy. Tim cussed every time he blocked an attack.
His opponent had four arms, and it was an over-seven-meter-tall, muscular monster.
“It's a Titan!”
Emily spoke the name of the monster. She was answering Tim, and of course, Tim didn’t like the answer.
“Why is it showing up here! It's too early.”
The Titan was a level above the toughest monsters they had fought as a party. It was higher in rank than the Behemoth and the Leviathan. Titans had killed numerous Connectors who considered themselves to be in the upper echelon of Connectors. It showed the Titan's strength.
“Get away from it!”
Hearing Grace’s voice, Tim immediately jumped back.
The Titan chased after him. It was so tall that it needed to take only one step to catch up to Tim.
However, Sungyoon threw his halberd.
The Titan easily deflected the weapon. Metal clashed against leather, yet it sounded as if the halberd had hit metal. The halberd couldn’t do much damage to the Titan’s body, but it did make the monster pause for a moment.
At that moment, Grace activated her spell.
An enormous explosion engulfed the Titan’s upper body as heat washed toward the nearby surroundings.
The Titan struggled as it screamed in pain.
‘It was worth it to evolve her Gem.’
It looked as though Grace had summoned hellfire. The monster’s body was the stage, and the flames danced atop that stage. This spell came from a magic Gem that Sungyoon had evolved at Grace's request.
His party members were having a hard time keeping up with his unnatural growth. Therefore, Sungyoon was evolving their Gems as a desperate measure to boost their power, and it was very effective.
‘We received a lot of support.’
Now that the Moon was moving toward Earth, Earth’s feet were on fire.
Therefore, all the Gems hoarded by Connectors were made available for other Connectors. Sungyoon’s party had also acquired some high rank Gems. Of course, Sungyoon already had a lot of high rank Gems, so he couldn’t find a Gem useful for him. However, the situation helped his party members.
Despite Grace’s enhanced power, the Titan hadn't fallen. It moved forward even though the flames were still torturing it.
Tim once again stood in front of the Titan and bashed it with his shield. The monster had withstood the powerful flames, but it had received a considerable amount of damage. Therefore, it staggered back because of Tim's attack.
However, the Titan immediately swung its enormous arms once again, ignoring its burnt skin. It brought its arms down toward Tim in succession.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The arms continued to pound on Tim’s shield. Even if it was injured, the Titan was plenty powerful. In fact, Tim felt that the blows had become stronger. It seemed rage was fueling the Titan.
While Tim groaned, Sungyoon moved to the Titan's rear.
An explosion erupted as a powerful blow from Sungyoon’s hammer landed on the Titan's burnt skin.
The Titan twisted its upper body as it swung an arm toward its rear. However, Sungyoon was already gone.
Sungyoon had unfurled his wings, and right now, he was looking down at the Titan from the air. Having lost track of Sungyoon, the Titan stupidly scanned its surroundings.
Sungyoon descended, and his wings accelerated his body. He summoned his halberd and nailed the Titan.
The halberd pierced through its shoulder, and in order to embed it further, Sungyoon planned to summon his hammer. It was one of his common tactics. However, the Titan didn't let him. It swung its fist.
Sungyoon summoned his shield to block the fist. Since his body was in the air, the blow sent him flying.
Sungyoon was an existence that had dared to inflict pain on the Titan. The Titan was about to chase him down, but an ax came flying through the air.
The blade of the ax pierced the monster's chest. It seemed the fire had decreased the defense of the leather. The Titan angrily extracted the ax, then threw it back toward Sungyoon, who had landed on the ground.
The ax screamed through the air.
Sungyoon unsummoned the ax before it could get close to him.
Bubbles started to erupt from the wound the ax had cut on the Titan's chest. However, as expected of the Titan, the poison only spread to the immediate surroundings of the wound. If it were any other monster, the poison would've spread to the whole body by now.
However, the poison did hurt it.
The Titan tore out a chunk of its flesh from the region containing the ax wound. Its muscles and the blood flowing forth came out in open view. The monster was as angry as it could be, so it didn’t pay attention to its wounds and continued rampaging.
Grace’s voice rang out again.
After they heard her voice...
Lightning and thunder! Lightning containing enormous electrical energy struck the halberd, which was still embedded in the Titan's shoulder.
Grace had used her second spell. The lightning flowed through the halberd and the damaged leather, then attacked the Titan's internal organs. It seemed the monster was having a hard time enduring this attack. It let out a wretched scream.
The last strand of lightning hit the Titan, and Grace’s spell came to an end.
It fell to the ground. However, the party only relaxed when the Titan’s body turned into a moonstone.
Tim sounded fed up. He walked toward the spot the monster had fallen on and picked up the Gem.
“What should we do now?”
Grace asked Sungyoon.
“This monster was higher in rank than us. It’ll be dangerous for us to push forward by ourselves.”
The Titan wasn’t the only powerful monster they had met on this floor. Before they came across the Titan, Sungyoon’s party had fought a Behemoth and a Basilisk. All the high rank monsters of the Great Labyrinth were appearing in succession.
Grace spoke in a low voice.
“These monsters shouldn’t be appearing on these floors.”
According to their experience in raiding the Great Labyrinth, monsters of these levels shouldn’t be showing up this early. Something was up.
Of course, the Great Labyrinth sometimes had a quirk where far stronger monsters appeared earlier. It sometimes had to do with the environment the monsters preferred, and it made the Great Labyrinth more dangerous.
However, those anomalies were one-offs.
High rank monsters were frequently showing up on this floor. It couldn’t be considered an anomaly anymore.
“Do you think this Great Labyrinth is higher in rank than the Great Labyrinth we used to raid?”
“The quality of monsters jumped way too drastically even if that’s true. Think about it. Just three floors before, the monsters closely corresponded with the monsters that show up in Armstrong city's Great Labyrinth.”
Grace pushed back on Tim’s opinion.
“It could also mean that we are on the right path.”
Emily gave her opinion.
“Something truly important is below this place. Maybe, that's why the difficulty curve steepened. Maybe, the monsters are protecting something important or maybe they are on watch.”
“You might be right. This could be proof that Mr. Sungyoon’s intuition guided us toward the right path.”
Grace and Emily agreed with each other’s sentiments.
“The important decision right now is whether to continue downward or not. If we continue, we might encounter more powerful monsters. We can barely handle the ones we are getting right now, and there is no guarantee that it will be the same.”
Tim looked at Sungyoon to get his opinion. Grace and Emily did the same.
Sungyoon thought for a brief moment.
“It’ll be best if we try exploring one more floor. However, we’ll be ready to run away using the portal if it's too dangerous.”
It was a time of need and emergency where each second mattered. Moreover, they possessed an emergency exit called the portal. Therefore, Sungyoon was inclined on going forward.
His party members nodded.
Sungyoon’s party found the entrance heading toward the lower floor faster than expected. They headed downward with tense expressions.
Tim was leading from the front, and he was the first one to step into the next floor.
Tim mumbled. The rest of the party also stepped onto the floor.
“We chose the right answer.”
Sungyoon mumbled to himself as he looked at his surroundings. This place was different from the Great Labyrinth that they had seen up until now.Previous Chapter Next Chapter