Chapter 80

Its mouth was like a fissure in the white snow. A red tongue slithered in and out. Its smooth skin was covered in hard scales, and its elliptical pupils struck fear in its enemies. Each time its enormous body brushed against the floor, a hair-raising sound rang out.

“Giant Snake.”

Tim, who had been walking in the front, came to a stop. He carefully observed the monster which had appeared in front of them. It was over 5 meters long. The Giant Snake stood up as it glared at the party in front of it.

“Ah, shit! I really hate this bastard.”

Tim clicked his tongue. Sungyoon and Emily agreed with his sentiment.

Unlike normal monsters that had arms and legs, the Giant Snake only had a head and a body. Hence, the Giant Snake attacked in an entirely unorthodox way.

“It doesn't matter. This is our last one. Let’s go out with a bang.”

“I see. It is our last one.”

Bitterness was apparent within Tim’s voice as he replied to Sungyoon. Emily’s expression didn’t look great, either.

“Alright! It is our last one. Let’s give it our all.”

As if he was shaking off his sadness, Tim pounded his ax on his shield to create a loud noise. Then he took a large step forward to approach the Giant Snake.

-Shweek!

Tim moved to take on any hostile attacks that may come from the monster. The Giant Snake charged towards him. It would alternatively fold and extend its body to crawl across the floor. The sight was quite creepy, and it made Emily shiver.

“Never let it encircle you!”

Tim yelled out.

Fortunately, the Giant Snake didn’t have fangs that could release venom. It coiled around its prey to crush it to death. It was more like an anaconda than a cobra. However, it was still a very dangerous monster.

Ssrrrrrrrrk!

The Giant Snake’s speed slowed down a little bit. However, this was only the case for its head and the upper portion of its body. The lower half was still moving at a fast speed.

It started to curl in on itself like a spring.

“It is coming!”

It happened not long after Tim shouted to warn.

Too-hahk!

The coiled body unfurled, and it shot forward like a bullet. 

-Kyahhhk!

One could see down its throat as the monster's wide-open mouth approached Tim at a blinding speed.

Tuh-uhng!

The snake’s mouth impacted Tim’s shield, but he wasn’t pushed back. He stood firm.

On the other side of Tim’s shield, the creepy-looking snake was struggling, as it wanted to swallow Tim in one bite. If it had possessed fangs filled with venom, one could imagine how much more dangerous this situation would be. Just the thought of it sent chills down Tim’s spine.

If it were any other monster, it would have lost its temper for having its forward progress stalled. It would have continued to ram against the shield. However, that wasn’t the case with the Giant Snake.

Ssssk!

It kept its mouth on the shield, but it pulled back its neck. It suddenly moved its neck to the side and used its enormous body as an anchor, as it moved its neck in all directions. It was annoying and dangerous.

In a flash, its neck whipped in from Tim’s right side.

“You bastard!”

Tim desperately brought down his ax on the approaching neck.

-Kee-shaaaaaaah!

Several scales were destroyed, as the fragments flew into the air. A large wound appeared on the monster's neck. Letting out a scream, it quickly pulled back its neck. It became wary of Tim.

“Be careful! If it wraps around you, it will crush you to death!”

“I already know that!”

Emily had been ready to activate a healing spell if something went awry. Tim was forceful in his words as he responded to Emily.

-Keeeeeeek!

Its head started to sway in order to attack Tim from the side. However, the Connector subtly shifted his shield to block the head and swung his ax to keep the neck away.

-Keee, kee-rahhhhhhhk!

In the end, its patience had come to an end. The Giant Snake let out a hair-raising, high-pitched screech as it violently moved its body.

‘It’s coming!’

Three sets of eyes were tense as they waited.

When they had fought this monster for the first time, it had been really dangerous, since the monster moved in an unpredictable manner. This was especially true for Emily. If it hadn’t been for Sungyoon’s special training, she would have lost her life.

-Koo-rahhhhh!

Its head struck out towards Tim. However, they weren’t nervous about it. When it came to frontal assaults, Tim could block it. It was his role.

However, its head wasn’t the only thing that moved.

Too-hwahhhhk!

As soon as the head of the snake impacted Tim’s shield, something flew in from behind it. The tip of its tail flew towards Tim like a whip. A terrifying sound accompanied its destructive power.

“Mr. Sungyoon!”

Tim quickly called out to Sungyoon. However, Sungyoon had already been moving before his name was called out.

He moved past Tim, who was engaged with the head of the Giant Snake. He glared at the snake’s tail. Sungyoon used his shield to deflect the violent strike of the tail.

“Koo-oohk!”

A groan escaped naturally by itself. He had angled his shield in such a way that the tail would be deflected upwards. Despite doing this to minimize the force, Sungyoon had to take two steps backward.

‘As expected, this is hard.’

Sungyoon grumbled to himself as he glanced backward. He checked up on Emily.

In their first battle with a Giant Snake, Sungyoon and Tim had only been focused on the head. So, the sudden attack of the monster's tail had bypassed the two men, and it had struck out towards Emily.

At that moment, Sungyoon and Tim had become so surprised that their mind turned blank. She was the healer of the party, so she had to survive until the end. Even if she wasn’t a healer, Emily was Tim’s sister, and she was Sungyoon’s comrade.

Fortunately, she was somewhat experienced in close-range combat now. She had the presence of mind to raise her shield, so she successfully blocked the snake’s tail. Of course, she couldn’t block it cleanly like Tim or Sungyoon could, so she fell backward. Still, she did well for herself. 

They had gained this experience, so Sungyoon and Tim were extra careful when dealing with the Giant Snake. They looked out for Emily’s safety more than usual. If they carelessly lost the healer first, there was a chance that their party might get wiped out.

Still, it didn’t mean they weren’t capable of killing this monster.

‘Now!’

As soon as the Giant Snake started to retract its tail, Sungyoon followed it. He ran past the Giant Snake’s head and Tim. The tail hadn’t returned to its original position yet, so its body was wide open.

He didn’t have the luxury to hesitate. Sungyoon raised his mace up high and brought it down on the undulating cylindrical body of the snake.

Puh-uhhhhk!

Sungyoon’s mace ruthlessly broke the Giant Snake’s scales, and it even caused damage to its bones.

-Kyahhhhhhk!

The Giant Snake went on a rampage. Tim and Sungyoon retreated for now. A monster’s rampage was dangerous, and this was true about all monsters. However, this monster’s rampage was much more dangerous, as it possessed incredible size and weight. It raised its tail up high and swung it in all directions. It was a great attack that also served as a great defensive measure. If one was swept up in that rampage, a broken bone would be the least of one’s problems.

However, its rampage was also an opportunity for Sungyoon’s party.

-Shweeek!

It wanted to find the person that had given it pain, but its eyes had rolled back during its rampage. Of course, it lost sight of Sungyoon and Tim. 

The Giant Snake stopped its rampage, and it tried to locate the two men. Tim and Sungyoon used this small opening to their advantage.

Taht!

When the Giant Snake was showing signs of turning towards them, they didn’t hesitate. It didn’t matter who attacked first. Both of them charged forward with all their might.

They swung their weapons.

The ax ripped into its body, and the mace smashed it. The Giant Snake once again screeched in pain. It raised its body up high as it shook its head from side to side. Tim was wary of the head, so he took a couple of steps back. He quietly glared at the snake. There was also the chance that it might try to attack Emily, so he was being cautious.

Unlike Tim, Sungyoon continued to charge towards it. They had caused mayhem on the head and upper body of the Great Snake. The movement of the tail was slowing down too. It was the result of Sungyoon and Tim focusing their attack on the upper portion of the Great Snake’s body. 

“Ha-aht!”

Sungyoon let out a shout as he brought down his mace on the barely moving tail.

-Kee-ehhhhhk!

The monster let out a scream once again. Its tail started to thrash like its head, and Sungyoon retreated backward.

This dance continued for a while. Tim focused on the head, and Sungyoon took care of the tail. They alternated in their tasks. When one protected Emily, the other attacked, and vice versa. It was a tiring and complex battle plan. However, it was the best tactic to use if they wanted to keep all three party members safe.

How long had it been?

Boooom!

The Giant Snake was horribly mangled. It was hard to even look at it. It was a bloody mess. In the end, the monster fell to the floor, and it died.

“Hoo-ooh!”

Tim let out a big sigh.

“This bastard is so hard to kill!”

After confirming the kill, Tim kicked the Giant Snake’s head in annoyance. The head was so heavy that it barely budged.

“However, the reward is worth it.”

Sungyoon spoke as he approached Tim and Emily.

The Giant Snake’s body disappeared as it was swept up in light. A moonstone was left behind on the floor. It was clearly larger than the moonstones from other monsters.

“If this wasn't the drop, I wouldn’t have even bothered with it.”

Tim hummed as he retrieved the moonstone. He felt very good when he felt the heavy weight of the moonstone.

“Hot damn! It dropped a Gem too?”

A Gem was rolling around next to the moonstone. Tim rejoiced as he quickly picked it up.

“It was worth our time to kill it.”

Tim let out a bright smile as he spoke to Sungyoon. Sungyoon replied with a small smile on his lips.

“Yes. We got a Gem on the last one. We are lucky.”

Sungyoon was in a good mood, so he spoke out. However, Tim and Emily drooped when they heard his words.

“That’s right. This is the last one.”

Emily spoke in a low voice. Tim also let out a small sigh. Sungyoon didn’t comment on their reaction. There was nothing he could do for them.

Last!

It was a weighty word. It especially pushed down on the shoulders of Tim and Emily.

There were too many sealed sections, so the party had continued to hunt on the 7th floor for a while. However, the high-rank Connectors made desperate efforts to clean up the labyrinth. Eventually, there came a time when Sungyoon’s party could hunt beyond the 8th floor without much difficulty. So, of course, they continued to head downwards as they resumed their hunt.

Three months had passed like that. The next Mana Stream was imminent. Sungyoon’s party had been diligent in their hunt, and they had finally reached the lowest floor. They were now proficient in hunting on the 10th floor.

Tim and Emily had come here to gain experience, and that goal had been achieved. Sungyoon was qualified to be assigned a Personal Labyrinth. He had found the required Gems by clearing the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

The three of them had no reason to come to the Beginner’s Labyrinth anymore.

Since they wanted to be fully prepared for their next leg of their journey, they decided to continue entering the Beginner’s Labyrinth until the Mana Stream hit. Today was the last day.

After killing the Giant Snake, their exploration of the Beginner’s Labyrinth had come to an end. 

Sungyoon looked at his surroundings with new eyes. When he had first come here, he had been very tense. And now, the 10th floor of the Beginner’s Labyrinth looked the same as the other floors. He was used to it now.

“Let’s head back up.”

He spoke the words in a calm manner. It was words that Tim and Emily were having a hard time saying. It wasn’t equal to what the two siblings felt, but he was a bit sad to say goodbye. He had gotten somewhat close to the siblings while working with them.

However, he had a goal that was more important than them. He couldn't stop now just because he was feeling sentimental. This was also true for Tim and Emily.

The siblings didn’t like it, yet, they nodded at Sungyoon’s words.

The three of them slowly climbed up the labyrinth.

Sungyoon had graduated from the Beginner’s Labyrinth. Finally, he had shed the label of being a beginner Connector.

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