Light Novel – Zectas – Volume 02 – Chapter 07

Proofreader: Handibong, and Vaanouney.

Note: For easy character reference please refer to: Characters

Fortunate Misfortune.

It had been months since Tristan, Baron of Tonaci City, started on his journey to the east. He and his guild of 10,000 players traveled across various towns and villages in Thayotl Kingdom (Eastern Kingdom).

Due to the cut throat environment in the outskirts of the eastern kingdom, many of the villages were either abandoned or died out with the corpses of their residents still inside.

The villages that survived may be different, but all of them had one thing in common: their resident’s love for zecs, expensive jewels, and rare equipments.

The prominent religion in Thayotl Kingdom was Tezcazinism. They strongly believed that there was no afterlife, and only wealth mattered most in this world.

This was not a problem for the affluent people like Tristan, but not all the members of DracoRicco were rich. At least a fourth of their members had to save up a month’s worth of game time in order to afford the guild’s entrance fee.

It was common knowledge that Tristan’s guild ranked first in overall power, defense, and money. However, Amahan’s guild held the highest player to level ratio.

The Paladin Lord wanted to weed out the weaker members of his guild, and this long excursion to the unknown lands of the east was his solution to this problem.

As they got further away from the main cities, the citizens that they met in Thayotl Kingdom got greedier and greedier. The discrimination shown by the Zectians to the poor members of DracoRicco was very distinct.

The richer members were treated well, and were even given discounts. Whereas the poorer ones were ignored and neglected by shop owners. This gave the indigent members a harder time restocking their supplies on healing potions and food.

This unwelcomed treatment from the Zectians brought about two results from the targeted members. It either encouraged them to give it their best or made them quit the guild altogether.

Tristan had his men battle against bridge trolls until the whole monster clan was wiped out. They even went head to head against draugrs!

Draugrs were spirits of fallen Vikings who would reanimate any rotting corpse. The undead corpse is different from your typical zombie or ghoul. These undead draugrs had the fighting abilities of Vikings.

This was DracoRicco’s hardest battle yet. Their Paladins and Priests did their best, and helped all their lower level members to survive.

Similar monster hunts were scheduled when Tristan saw how much his men improved against a life and death situation.

When the lowest member of DracoRicco attained level 80. Tristan decided to start their real journey to the east. He had his scouts spy on ahead.

The Paladin Lord started to plot out the best course that gave them rare items and high experience. Their guild master’s harsh treatment brought about many deserters of DracoRicco, but Tristan welcomed their departure.

Months went on and the Tristan’s despotic attitude towards his guild only became more intense.

* * * * * * 

Inside an extravagantly large white tent, a blond Paladin Lord  with short hair sat in front of a 3D map. He studied the explored regions of Thayotl Kingdom. His right hand massaged his temples. He was deep in thought as to how to proceed with the next campaign.

“Tristan? Tristan? Have you heard the latest news?”

A player with the job of a Shadow Phantom entered Tristan’s tent. It was Bones, one of Tristan’s most trusted generals. Bones’ job was an advanced variation of the Thief job.

This also allowed Bones into secret societies who had useful gossips and rumors. The black haired Human had just received a disturbing news about one of the two men who they were keeping tabs on.

Tristan looked at Bones in a baffled manner.

“What news?”

“Apparently, some wannabe named Sagen took more than twenty men to ambush Ilad. You know, the guy who won Coatl’s Swordsman To Knight Tournament. Apparently, Ilad changed jobs into a Flame Knight and joined Coatl’s Mounted Race event, and this Sagen who lost to Ilad in the finals of the Swordsman tournament plotted to get back at him in the race.”

Tristan was half listening to his Shadow Phantom general, as he placed an icon which symbolized 1,000 men on the map. He was busy and didn’t have the time to be bothered.

“Bones, please get on with it. What does some guy, in the complete opposite side of Zectas, have anything to do with us?”

“Well, Smoke’s red Werebear friend and the rest of his private army came out, and attacked Sagen. The Werebear told Sagen to lay off of Ilad because he’s a part of their team. It looks like Smoke’s started to make his move, and is recruiting players with great potential.”

The Paladin Lord dropped the 1,000 men icon when he heard Smoke’s name.

“That bastard finally showed himself. I knew he was still in Chayotl Kingdom(Western Kingdom). Do you know how many members he has in his private army, and also check on the status of his guild.”

“According to the records, Smoke still doesn’t have a guild. However, according to Sagen, the red Werebear had a private army of 100 NPCs. He also said that they were mostly made up of Farmers and Fishermen.”

Tristan was confused. He couldn’t understand Smoke’s logic at all.

“Why would he use Farmers and Fishermen? But you know, Smoke has been tricky since the first time we met him; hold on, why is he in Coatl? Oh, right, the Maneator quest. I guess he must’ve managed to kill the beast and is claiming the treasure beneath the city.”

The Paladin Lord stood up and went outside his tent. He walked out into a swamp. All 6,000 surviving guild members of DracoRicco were outside clearing the monsters in the area.

Their respawn point was at Dernier village. The last respawn point before they entered the unexplored territories of the east. All of the members who died were instructed to return to Tonaci city. There, they will be transferred to a different guild, DracoRiccoSecondo.

The lower guild members did increase their levels. However, the new objective of their expedition was uneventful. No hidden temples, no secret lairs, not even a new species of monster.

Everything was sub-par to what Tristan had envisioned phase two of their journey to be. Until today, this time in front of the Paladin Lord was Viverna Swamp, nests of the wyverns.

“I won’t allow Smoke to be more famous than me. I already have qualms to deal with that Amahan character up Mictaztl Kingdom(Northern Kingdom), but don’t worry, Bones. This hunt right here will put us back as most popular existence in this world, the strongest guild in all of Zectas.”

The wyverns were smaller than dragons at a full height of 15 feet. These scaly green monsters had overly large heads and only two legs. Their wingspans covered their entire body. Their tails had sharp barbed spikes at the end.

Tristan’s scouts found seven wyverns. He divided his men into a smaller regiment of 1,000 members. He assigned each regiment to a wyvern, and the last wyvern was assigned to himself and his private army of 300 NPCs.

Bones stepped out of Tristan’s tent and stood beside him. The Paladin Lord stood in front of his guild and was about to inspire his men.

“I’m sure many of you remember the time that my personal army and I defeated the legendary dragon Valdurath. Let me tell you this. These wyverns are nothing compared to that monster! If I could do it with only 300 men then I’m sure your regiment of 1,000 will succeed without fail. Now go out and kill all those wyverns. Remember the spoils will be divided according to your personal contributions of the battle. Good Luck!”

After Tristan’s speech, Bones whispered his concern.

“Are you sure that was a good way to inspire the men? Sure, they saw you kill Valdurath, but they didn’t know that he only had 10% of his life left. Valdurath was running away from the other two great dragons of the east. That was the only reason why you and your personal army of 300 NPCs were able to defeat him.”

“I know that, and you know that, but the other guild members don’t have to know that. Anyway, these wyverns are really small when compared to Valdurath. I’m sure they could handle it. Besides, I’ll have my personal army on standby and assist any of the regiment that’s having a hard time.”

“Tristan, please don’t steal their kills and claim that you were only trying to help them. It worked before because they were dying, but if they aren’t I don’t think our guild members would be as forgiving.”

“Don’t be an idiot! I don’t steal another man’s prey. I really am here only to protect my guild members. If it means that I kill the monster that is about to kill them then that is purely coincidental, nothing more nothing less.”

Tristan had a Paladin sound of his trumpet, and called out his private army.

“If we do manage to kill all of the wyverns in this swamp, we will move further east, on to the unexplored lands of Grand Malodorant Dragonis.”

* * * * * * 

Smoke opened his eyes and found himself lying down on a dank floor and tied up with thick ropes. Still fully equipped in his Ruby Gora Knight Armor set.

The chamber was wide and had torches evenly distanced at ten meters apart. The DarkElf looked around and searched for Macher, but instead got a game notification.


– Entered Labyrinth of Zuchthaus

      – Monsters inside the labyrinth are beyond logic.
      – Suggested level for entering the labyrinth is 400.

            

Macher’s smug face came into Smoke’s view.

“Finally, you’re awake, Ilad. I was beginning to think that I’d just leave you here without a single explanation, but that would be just too unfair of me. After all, you’re the reason why I can now afford one hundred Knights as members of my private army. Well, for the next two months at least.”

“Macher! You bastard! I knew your offer was too good to be true.”

“Then why did you take it?”

Smoke stayed silent and simply stared at Macher with hatred and bloodlust.

“If looks could kill, huh? I bet you’re wondering what really happened right?”

The DarkElf tried to wriggle his way out of the ropes, but remained tied up.

“No need to get all excited. You don’t have anywhere to go.”

“Fine! What’s the real deal here? Why did you offer to pay for my registration fee?”

“I thought you’d never ask. I’m on my way to acquire one of the main cities in Chayotl Kingdom(Western Kingdom). I know that this sounds crazy, but I really do want to be partners with you. Before you scream in disgust, just hear me out. It’s just that I needed someone to round up all the royals into betting on one person.”

Smoke’s face became puzzled as he heard Macher talk.

“Royals? Betting? I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

“Oh, of course you don’t. All the nobles of Chayotl Kingdom had a bet on who will survive the Mounted Race event. It wasn’t a bet on who would win first place, but who was certain to cross the finish line. I received a quest to find an individual that will gain one billion zecs worth of bet from the nobles, and make all of them lose their shirts. In turn I would receive 10% of the commissioned bet.”

Macher went closer to the DarkElf, and helped him sit up properly.

“There, that’s much better isn’t it? Now, where was I? Right, the schmuck who would gather the bets of the nobles. Before I met you, I was gonna offer the position to Sagen, but I was already hesitant that he could catch all of the nobles’ interest. When you made a fool out of Sagen in the finals, I knew that you were the man for the job.”

The DarkElf remained stoic. He silently listened and stared at Macher.

“Thanks to you, Ilad. I now have all the requirements I need to win over Centzo city. Now, I just need a good right hand man to help me secure it.”

The DarkElf shouted at Macher.

“Are you insane?! Why in the world would I ever trust you again?!”

Macher scratched the back of his head.

“Would it help if I told you that I didn’t harm anyone else? Well, except for you of course. Your two Lioumerean friends made it to the finish line, and they won second and third place.”

The DarkElf couldn’t believe what Macher told him.

“No way! You’re lying! Who could have defeated Gandiva and Laernea?”

“It was one of your Non Aggression Pact members. A Druid by the name of Soutien.”

Aside from the winners of the Mounted Race, Smoke was also curious about their attack on the second largest Brandal base.

“What about the men under my command against the Brandal base? What did you do to them?”

“Nothing, nothing. They executed your last command perfectly. You were considerate enough to stay away from your men. Giving my Stealth Knights and Cavalry Knights the perfect opportunity to grab you.”

“You had men inside our Non Aggression Pact? But that would mean that they would have Chaotic Evil alignments now.”

“No, they weren’t a part of your tricky little pact. They just mingled in among your men. They were smart enough to avoid head counts and other poor organizational methods that your Aqua Knight friend came up with.”

Smoke took note of the flaws of his Non Aggression Pact. It didn’t have a clear indicator that a person was a member without an explicit display of their Pact symbol.

“What about Ental, my hell boar. What have you done with her?”

“Oohhh. Let me rephrase myself. Nobody got hurt, except for you and your hell boar. It was unfortunate, but she wouldn’t leave your side.”

Macher patted the DarkElf’s left shoulder.

“I tried to shoo her away. I didn’t want to hurt your mount. You know to help convince you that I mean well, but she just wouldn’t leave. We were forced to kill her. I’m sorry, but don’t worry about it. When I become mayor of Centzo, I’ll buy you a better mount than your old hell boar.”

Smoke slumped down lower when he heard Ental died. He thought that Ental didn’t care for him, but she tried to protect him until her death. It took all of Smoke’s patience to sit still.

“Ilad, are the gears in your head turning? Ohh… I think you’re starting to consider my proposal of joining me on Centzo, right?”

The DarkElf shook his head left to right.

“You really are insane.”

“I get that a lot, but believe me. I’m as sane as they come. I don’t expect you to join me now, but maybe this piece of information will help me gain your trust. This labyrinth isn’t inescapable. You just need to find a statue of a gargoyle and offer 30% of your level to it. After that you can escape. If you decide to join me I’ll be waiting for you in Centzo city. Also about the Duke…”

Macher wasn’t able to finish his last sentence. Duke Burmistrz arrived with six Brandal raid leaders. The mayor of Coatl walked up to the tied up DarkElf.

Smoke smirked when he saw the mayor of Coatl. He thought that the city’s corruption was widespread, and he had his suspicions that the Duke was at the center of all this depravity.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the great uniter, Ilad, the Flame Knight. Winner of my city’s tournament and a thorn on my side.”

Duke Burmistrz clapped loudly in a sarcastic beat.

”You had the gaul to rally up the racers and attack my Brandal bases.”

Duke Burmistrz called for one of the Brandal leaders and asked for a spiked club. The Duke hit Smoke’s face, the only unprotected part of the DarkElf.

“Did you know that I didn’t want to send you to the labyrinth? I just ordered Macher to capture you, and to make sure you were unable to finish the race. But you were too good for that weren’t you? You just had to attack my Brandals?”

The Duke bashed Smoke’s face with the spiked club for multiple times. One of the Brandal’s raid leaders called out to the Duke.

“My General, Ultimo Maire. It’s time for us to leave. High General Lizardo is waiting for your call.”

The Duke stopped his attacks on the DarkElf.

“Time sure flies when you’re having fun. After your little fiasco, the Brandals stationed around Coatl were reduced to less than 400 men. If it weren’t for my campaign in Centzo, I would have all of my 10,000 Brandals come here, and they would slaughter all of the mounted racers.”

The mayor of Coatl wiped his hands clean from the DarkElf’s blood.

“It’s sad, but it’s time for me to say farewell, Ilad. Don’t worry I won’t remove a single item from you. I wouldn’t want you to say that I didn’t give you a fair chance against this wonderful place. I doubt that any of your items will be useful to you though.”

The Duke mockingly slapped the DarkElf’s face.

“However, before I let you go. I’d like to inform you that the Tenebris have made special additions to the labyrinth. I think you’ll find that this place is beyond the things that you might’ve heard about.”

The supreme leader of the Brandals snapped his fingers, and all six Brandal raid leaders carried the DarkElf into a teleportation circle.

Red lights started to appear on the markings of the teleportation circle. In the next moment the DarkElf was gone.

“Before we talk to High General Lizardo. Order all 400 scattered Brandals stationed in Coatl to discreetly rally in the ruined base near Selatan. I want them to deal with a red Werebear and her Farmers and Fishermen.”

* * * * * * 

Smoke’s saw a blur of flashing light. He had been teleported into a different part of the labyrinth. He used his ability ‘Cunning of the Dire Fox’, and detected no presence whatsoever.

He was teleported into a pitch black room. His first priority was to be free from the rope and to get a hold of his surrounding.

“Igniz, Flame on!”

His dark ember sprite released his hottest flames and burnt through the rope. Smoke removed his tri-horned helmet. Igniz flew out of hiding and whizzed across the new chamber that they were in.

Igniz illuminated the room. Smoke saw that this chamber was smaller than the one where Macher and Duke Burmistrz had previously held him.

Smoke’s Rzeka glaive was too long and would be disadvantageous to use in a narrow place like this. Instead, this made him decide to equip his Flamdius sword and Armored Armadillo shield.

He took out his Beggar’s tablet and started to create a map of the labyrinth. Smoke had prepared the things he needed inside the underground dungeon. He never thought that he would use them before the end of the Mounted Race.

Ten minutes later, Smoke discovered that he was in a sealed rectangular room with a size of 40 square meters. Despite the chamber’s small area, the room had a height of 8 meters. There were four Corinthian columns on each corner which supported the room.

Since he was locked up inside, he thought to replenish his strength, and started to prepare a medicinal meal.

As Smoke cooked his food, his mind was deep in thought.

Smoke hated Tristan to his core. However, there was something that he had learned from his Archenemy which he had incorporated to his daily life in Zectas. His strong distrust for other players.

Sierra was the only exception to this rule. He knew that once he would get to a main city, he would be forced to interact with other players.

This idea gave birth to another persona. A facade that was meant to interact with other players.

Hence, Ilad was born. Smoke told the members of his private army that Ilad was there to disguise his identity, but the truth was, Ilad was there to protect himself from ever trusting another player.

He never trusted Macher from the start. The whole time he interacted with the Cavalry Knight as Ilad, was purely to gain Macher’s trust.

Smoke knew that Macher’s offer was too good to be true, and Smoke had experienced the reality of such a situation.

He assessed that the worst case scenario of accepting Macher’s proposal was his death. However, the benefits outweighed the risks.

If Smoke learned Macher’s true goal then he would be one step closer to the truth about Coatl’s corruption. He never imagined that his plan to uncover Macher’s aim would lead him to the labyrinth, and now he also knew the Ultimo of the Brandals, Duke Burmistrz.

The DarkElf silently thanked the Duke’s egoistic nature that allowed him to be teleported further into the labyrinth with all his equipment intact.

Smoke drank his medicinal soup, and rested until his HP was fully recovered. He tried to use his ‘Earth Manipulation’ ability but the wall, ceiling, and floor of the chamber did not respond.

He tried to call Sierra, Darius, and everybody else on his contacts, but he wasn’t able to get in touch with anyone. Communication to the outside world was impossible.

With his HP fully healed, he stood up and scrutinized the chamber walls once more.

“Igniz, come here. I need you to shine brighter, and show me these markings.”

Smoke saw a six inched sphere like cavity in the wall. He tried to push it, but nothing happened. He tried to use the labyrinth key that Mitleid gave him, yet it was useless.

Then he saw some writing on the wall beside the depression.


Complete the hidden spherical figure.
    In order to secure your departure.

            

Smoke craned his neck closer to the wall to read what was written on it. He raised both hands and shouted after he read the phrase for the tenth time. He still had no idea what the phrase meant.

He thought harder and decided that there was a globe-like figure hidden somewhere inside the sealed chamber. He knelt down and had Igniz light the area where he was searching at.

Smoke tried to move every damp brick on the entire floor, but nothing was moveable. It had been two hours since he started his search. The DarkElf reached the opposite side of the room empty handed.

He was certain that the figure was hidden in plain sight. He thought he needed a better view of the chamber.

“Igniz, can you fly to the center of the ceiling, and light the room from there?”

The dark ember sprite flew up quickly. When he reached the middle of the room he launched his brightest light with his dark purple flames.

A circular energy pulse was released, and bounced off all the corners of the room, this sudden change in brilliance made the top of all four Corinthian pillars glimmer for two seconds.

Smoke noticed the brief clue. He removed his Knight gloves and equipped his rare Claws of Chiropterra gloves. The special claws allowed him to scale the wall of the sealed room with ease.

Upon further inspection, he noticed that the helix of the column had a slightly different color than the rest of the pillar.

With his special gloves, Smoke single handedly secured a firm hold on top of the wall. He used his right hand to try and remove the helix.

Carefully, he detached the helix, and found that it was one quarter of the hidden figure.

The DarkElf smiled. He stored the first piece of the figure, and went to collect the remaining three.

After he collected the last piece of the sphere. He placed all four pieces together, and they bonded. The scattered pieces turned into one sphere.

He gathered his belongings, and took the assembled sphere figure. He confidently placed the sphere inside the cavity in the wall.

The wall started to shake. In the next seconds the floor near the wall started to show a semi-circle indention. Everything inside the semicircle turned 180 degrees.

Smoke finally freed himself from the sealed room, but as soon as he was outside, his Cunning of the Dire Fox felt the presence of a pack of small sized monsters.

“Igniz, can you shed some light on our uninvited entourage.”

Enthusiastically, Igniz made a large orbit of fire around Smoke. The increased luminance showed Smoke that he was now in a long hallway, and the small sized monsters were furry spiders.

Igniz made a larger fire orbit and damaged the monsters which revealed their names and lifebars. These monsters were called wolf spiders and had a maximum HP of 30,000.

Wolf spiders had a body length of 2 feet. These monsters looked like small wolves. With their long spotted grey fur and cropped in eight legs. The red light from their multiple eyes shone brightly in the dark labyrinth.

Smoke’s Cunning of the Dire Fox indicated he was surrounded, and there were 100 of these small sized monsters. The monsters simultaneously came at him from all directions.

The wolf spiders released their sticky white web and tried to capture Smoke with it. He needed protection from all possible angles.

Smoke quickly took out his only shield which satisfied such a requirement. He expanded his bladed spherical shield v2.0.

This improved bladed shield was now completely made out of fire resistant metal. It had ten times the durability and five times the return damage of its predecessor on Mount Gliseloc.

Once he was inside the bladed sphere, the wolf spiders rapidly encased it with their web. Smoke ordered Igniz to heat up the metal of the bladed sphere.

Igniz obediently followed Smoke’s order. Due to the intense flame, the metallic bladed sphere became red with fire. The web that was on it, instantly melted away.

Smoke switched weapons and used his Powersaw Bow instead. He pushed the burning bladed sphere and went after the wolf spiders near his left side.

The wolf spiders were so many that they had a difficult time to retreat. Smoke proceeded to roll over five wolf spiders and stopped right on top of them.

The monsters’ HPs drained quickly due to the damage from the fire, the blades on the sphere, and Smoke’s weight.

Smoke jumped up and down on the bladed sphere to increase its damage on the five crushed monsters. When he saw that the flattened wolf spiders were as good as dead, he took aim and let loose his torrent of fire arrows.

Some of the wolf spiders jumped on the flaming bladed sphere and tried to destroy it. The DarkElf switched weapons again, and used his green dual knives.

When the spiders below him finally died, Smoke rolled over the bladed sphere and crushed the spiders who had leapt on top of it.

This time he had eight wolf spiders crushed on top of each other. His encounter with the wolf spiders proved to be easy. He decided to secure the hallway and wipe out all 100 wolf spiders.

“Igniz, I need you to make a fire wall from both ends of the hallway, and build more of it going towards me.”

The dark ember sprite nodded, and rocketed out of the bladed sphere. The wolf spiders who noticed the small flaming ball tried to capture Igniz with their webs, but his flames protected him from being wrapped up by the creepy crawlers.

With Igniz out of the bladed sphere, its burning attribute started to fade away. Smoke unequipped his knives and rolled around the bladed sphere in the entire hallway.

Smoke got five poison pellets from his backpack and crushed them on various blades of his sphere. The wolf spiders had poison resistance, but still received some poison damage.

The bladed sphere kept on rolling around the hallway until the entire area was covered in a sea of flames.

Igniz had successfully made multiple firewalls. The trapped wolf spiders were burnt to a crisp.

The monsters that were still alive tried to leave the hallway, but Smoke went after them and rolled over the escaping wolf spiders.

Smoke and Igniz’s constant melding of energies increased his fire resistance and affinity to 75%. This made him immune to all of Igniz’s flame attacks.

The hallway was charred. It took Smoke 30 minutes to wipe out the pack of wolf spiders. However, he felt that these monsters were at the bottom of the food chain here inside the labyrinth.

He expediently gathered the items dropped by the wolf spiders. There were spider legs, white spider silk, and an occasional gold spider silk. He examined the silks and discovered that it was used for clothes and leather armors.

Smoke got out his Beggar’s tablet and updated his map of the labyrinth. The exit of the sealed chamber he was in was at the center of the hallway.

He decided to go to the left. He keened on his Cunning of the Dire Fox for any monsters that would be in his ability’s range.

When he got to the end of the hallway he found that it opened into a wide room with seven tunnels. Smoke burnt a symbol on one of the walls of the room and labeled it as left-one.

Afterwards, he took the first path on his left. This pathway was narrower than the hallway. It was in the shape of a half circle and had a radius of ten feet, but the light from Igniz was able to light up the entire length of the tunnel.

Halfway into the tunnel, Smoke felt the presence of a medium sized monster at the end of the path. He told Igniz to dim out his flame.

The tunnel where Smoke and Igniz were in became stygian. Despite the lack of light from the dark ember sprite, the end of the tunnel started to glow.

A giant firey lizard which walked on all fours appeared. Smoke quickly took out powersaw bow and released eight poison arrows.

He attacked the glowing beast which revealed the monsters name and lifebar. Fire salamander (50,012/60,000 HP).

The flaming fire salamander came out. Its skin was black with hot streaks of yellow. From head to tail, it had a length of 6 feet.

The monster hissed out its forked tongue. The monster looked at the source of the arrows and got a scent of Smoke. It hastened its pace and ran towards the DarkElf.

Smoke estimated that he could still release sixteen more arrows before the fire salamander could reach him. He committed himself to utilize his range attacks and kept on firing his poison arrows.

Igniz tried to attack the fire salamander with his fireballs but the flaming monster pushed on unaffected. The monsters lifebar now displayed (32,488/60,000 HP).

Inches before the fire salamander could reach him. Smoke switched weapons and used his green dual knives, the Tails of the Virile and Fecund Lizards.

Smoke leapt up and touched the ceiling with his feet. He used the ceiling to increase his speed as he landed on top of the fire salamander’s back.

The fire salamander responded by lighting its whole body on fire. Fortunately for Smoke his 75% fire resistance was enough to negate the salamander’s flame attack.

The DarkElf raised both knives to his waist and started to stab the fire salamander. His Dual Wield and Knife Mastery abilities increased the damage and attack speed of his green knives.

Smoke also used the active ability of the Tail’s of the Virile and Fecund Lizards, which paralyzed the fire salamander for a few seconds.

Just as he was about to give the fire salamander’s death blow, three fire salamanders came out from the end of the tunnel.

The DarkElf plunged his knife on the back of the fire salamander’s head and killed the monster.

+ You’ve dealt a fatal blow to the fire salamander.
+ You’ve killed the fire salamander.
+ You’ve gained 60,000 exp.

The three fire salamanders galloped towards Smoke.

He thought that he had an advantage over the fire salamanders because of his fire resistance. However, the fire salamanders that rushed him had another thing planned.

It leapt at Smoke with its mouth wide opened and took a bite out of Smoke’s right leg. He was damaged for 3,200 points, and revealed his lifebar at (84,160/87,360 HP).

The damage was high, but the most concerning part was that he was now caught. The two other fire salamanders were getting closer to him as well.

Smoke expanded his bladed sphere to block the fire salamander’s path. The bladed sphere’s diameter of 8 feet was not enough to impede the two fire salamanders.

The monsters pushed the metal spherical shield, and took minimal damage from the blades. Smoke used his dual knives to loosen the fire salamander’s jaw on his leg.

The fire salamander was momentarily paralyzed, Smoke freed himself from the monster’s mouth and unequipped the green dual knives.

He used his Claws of Chiropterra to scale the walls and clung on top of the tunnel. The fire salamanders used the walls to help them stand.

The three monsters tried to grab a hold of Smoke with their mouths and claws, but their height of 6 feet wasn’t tall enough to reach the ceiling.

Smoke stayed on the tunnel’s ceiling. He wanted to get inside his bladed sphere, but thought that the fire salamanders would grab a hold of him before he got a chance to enter the spherical shield.

Then he remembered that he recently acquired a weapon from one of the Brandal’s raid leaders. He equipped the Brandal’s bull whip.

With the aide of the rare gloves, Smoke was able to hold on to the ceiling with just his left hand. He attacked the fire salamanders with the bullwhip on his right hand.

The damage from the bull whip was only for 2,000 points. Smoke thought that it would take a long time if he would continue with this attack pattern.

As kept on with his attacks, he slowly moved further away from the bladed sphere. The fire salamanders started to follow him.

When he was about 40 meters away from the bladed sphere, Smoke used the bullwhip’s active ability. It had the power to hold a medium sized monster.

He held one of the fire salamanders and swiftly scaled the ceiling towards the bladed sphere. The captured fire salamander obstructed the other two monsters.

Smoke was able to get inside his bladed sphere and started to attack the fire salamanders with his poison arrows. The two monsters braved the poison arrows and started to claw the bladed sphere.

The spherical shield’s durability went down by 25%. Smoke knew that he couldn’t rely on his bladed sphere forever. He focused his attacks on one of the fire salamander and killed it.

Smoke took out his flamdius sword and Armored Armadillo shield. He collapsed his spherical shield and placed it into his backpack window. He made a mental note to use it only on emergency situations.

Smoke didn’t use any fire enhancement on his sword because he knew that it would be useless against the fire salamander.

He used his shield’s Bash ability and stunned the fire salamander. He briskly went on top of the fire salamander and repeatedly plunged his flamdius sword on the back of the fire salamander’s skull.

The captured fire salamander had 10% left on its lifebar, and finally broke free from the bullwhip.

It leapt and targeted Smoke’s back. His Cunning of the Dire Fox alerted him from the monster’s back attack and made him dodge in time.

The fire salamander flew past him. Smoke quickly went after the dying fire salamander and chopped its head off. The remaining fire salamander let out a shriek as all of its companions were killed.

The monster covered itself in flames and ran at top speed towards Smoke. The DarkElf held his Armored Armadillo shield firmly. He turned his shield to face the last fire salamander.

Smoke charged at the fire salamander and met the monster head on. He bashed the fire salamander’s head with his shield and fluidly leapt on to its back.

He unequipped his Armored Armadillo Shield, and with both his hands on his flamdius sword, he started to carve out a hole on the fire salamander’s back until it reached the monster’s heart.

His flamdius sword pierced through the monster’s heart and touched the ground. The fire salamander collapsed on the floor and died.

Panting hard, Smoke sat down on the labyrinth floor. He touched the floor and felt that it was warmer when compared with the hallway of the wolf spiders.

He surmised that these monsters must have had territories. He only met two species of monsters so far, but there was one type of monster that he was excited to see.

This labyrinth was famous for one thing, and that was for its killer Maneators. However, Smoke had not seen one in the past four hours that he had been inside the underground maze.

The map on his Beggar’s tablet was updated with the new information from the tunnel. Before he pushed on.

Smoke thought to replenish his life with his medical soup, and do some experimentation with his equipments.

He created a transmutation circle that was needed in order to merge his desired object. He used four pieces of the white spider silk for enhancers and the bullwhip for the main ingredient.

With all the requirements completed, Smoke used his Item Transmutation ability.


+ Transmutation Completed:

  Result: A stickier, longer bullwhip
  Effects:
    Hold ability increased by 5%.
    Attack increases by 2%.

            

The first enhancement from the transmutation was negligible, but if this process was repeated until all of his white spider silk are depleted, then the result would be significant.

His bullwhip’s hold ability increased by 25% and its attack increased by 10%.

After he enhanced the bull whip. Smoke took out his electro stone, and started to rub the entire length of the bullwhip with the elemental stone.

Next he thought he needed a better way to stay on top of the ceiling aside from using his Chiropterra gloves. He checked on the items in his backpack window.

From the labyrinth alone, Smoke looted 60 white spider silk, 10 gold spider silk, and 2 fire salamander hides.
All 60 of his white spider silk was used on his transmutation with the bull whip.

He was left with 10 gold spider silk. He used the techniques that he learned from his two good friends in Nanahuatl. James Jackal and Howard Hide taught him how to craft equipments from monster hides.

He drew shapes on the fire salamander’s hide, and started to cut the pelt. He stitched them up into his desired form.

It took him longer than he expected, but he successfully created a sturdy climbing harness that had the capacity to carry thrice his entire weight when suspended on the ceiling.

He equipped his harness and scrambled up to the ceiling. He had shaped four metal anchors to hold his weight. Satisfied with the performance of his harness, Smoke readied himself and pushed on into the tunnel.

The end of the tunnel proved to be another room with seven set of tunnels identical to where he had been on. He started to label each one including the tunnel where he came from.

The complexity of the labyrinth reminded Smoke of the time when he entered Caid’s office, the only difference was that he had Gin, the bartender to guide him.

His plan was to move forward until he reached the end of the tunnel or he would reach the point where he started.

Whenever he enters a room with several tunnels to choose from, he would mark all of the tunnels and match that with his map, and then he he would choose the leftmost tunnel.

Two rooms had passed with five tunnels to choose from. The number of choices had been reduced by two, but the size of the room still remained the same. The DarkElf updated the map in his Beggar’s tablet.

As he was labeling the tunnels, steel doors suddenly came up from below the ground. All of the entrances to the new tunnels were blocked.

There were no visible exits, except for the one where Smoke came from. Then, a plaque appeared on the wall, and it stated.


 Solve the puzzle on the ground.
       If you don’t want to turn around.

            

At the center of the room a rectangular shaped marble slab started to rise from below the floor. Smoke took a closer look at the risen object.

He saw a jigsaw puzzle of a Maneator. He found the puzzle to be simple enough. As he placed the last piece, loud sounds of gears were audible from beneath him.

The steel doors slowly retreated back to where they came from. After the quick puzzle, Smoke decided to push on with his leftward direction.

As he was about to enter the leftmost tunnel, it started to glow. With his Cunning of the Dire Fox, he felt that there were  two fire salamanders inside the tunnel.

Smoke smiled. He had been looking for monsters and these two were perfect to test out his new equipment. He stood in front of the entrance of the tunnel.

He decided to stay in the room with the entrance to the five tunnels because this chamber was bigger than the tunnel. His strategy was to use his Agility of the Horned Rabbit to dodge the attacks of the fire salamander.

With his poison arrows, Smoke attacked one of the fire salamander. He fired as much as 16 poison arrows before the monsters reached the entrance.

Smoke’s targeted fire salamander had (30,360/60,000 HP) left. The DarkElf switched weapons, and chose his electrically charged bull whip.

The moment the injured fire salamander came out of the tunnel, he attacked the fire salamander with the bullwhip and held the monster at the entrance. He stuck the bullwhip firmly on the ground to hold the captured fire salamander.

In view of the fact that his bull whip had been enchanted with the electro stone, the captured fire salamander received 150 damage points from jolt attacks at an interval of five seconds.

The bull whip’s hold ability was enhanced by the white silk from the wolf spiders. The other fire salamander leapt over its companion and rushed after Smoke.

The DarkElf switched back to his powersaw bow, and ran in the opposite direction. Smoke was almost at the opposite wall, but he didn’t reduce his speed. Instead he ran up the wall, and managed three steps on it before he leapt over the fire salamander.

He used his Wings of Cologus, his hooded cloak, to glide inside the huge chamber. He swiftly attacked the fire salamander with his poison arrows.

As Smoke’s air time was coming to an end. He switched his weapon to his green dual knives. The fire salamander kept on following him from the ground.

He remembered the monster who gave him this hooded cloak, and decided to imitate the monster’s attack.

Similar to how Cologus landed. Smoke used the back of the fire salamander as the designated area for his ‘Stunning Landing’ attack.

The power from Smoke’s vertical attack, forced the fire salamander to be flattened on the ground. On top of the monster’s back, He proceeded to sever the monster’s neck with his knives.

Several attacks later, Smoke delivered the finishing blow and decapitated the monster. The fire salamander caught with the bullwhip still had (17,760/60,000 HP) left.

Smoke switched back to his powersaw bow, and leisurely killed the captured fire salamander. His improved bullwhip was a success. It managed to hold the fire salamander for seven minutes.

Posthaste, he gathered the loot from the two fire salamanders and proceeded to the tunnel where they came from. The end of this tunnel led him to a chamber that had three pathways.

As he decided earlier, he chose the leftmost pathway. It had already been twenty minutes, and he still didn’t reach the end of the tunnel.

He thought to pick up his pace, and started to run. Igniz felt completely useless when Smoke fought against the fire salamanders.

Depressed, Igniz flew a few distance behind Smoke.

“Don’t worry about. I don’t think that all the monsters in the labyrinth are immune to fire.”

Igniz nodded, but still felt down.

Another ten minutes into the tunnel, and Smoke finally saw the exit. The pathway opened to the biggest hallway that Smoke had seen.

However, before he had a chance to step into the great hallway, the exit of the tunnel was sealed, and so was the area behind Smoke.

He was enclosed in a semicircle tunnel which barely had an area of five square meters. A different plaque appeared on one of the walls.


Guess this new beast,
    If you want to join the feast.

            

In a similar manner as the room which had the puzzle of the Maneator, a new marble slab rose from below the floor.

However, this time Smoke did not recognize the monster in the jigsaw puzzle. It had two long goatlike horns, cloven hooves, had fur with black and brown colors, and had a long pointed tongue that lolled out.

Smoke tried his best to follow which puzzle piece belonged to where. This jigsaw took longer than the previous one.

Fifteen minutes passed, and Smoke finished the puzzle. The monster was clearly a large bodied creature. With dark colored fur, long goat-like horns,  and a chain that was held on monster’s arm.

With the jigsaw puzzle completed, the doors went down and opened Smoke’s path to the great hall.

There were two rows of Corinthian pillars at the center of the great hall. The pillars extended upto the 40 meter ceiling. Each pillar had a distance of 20 meters from the next.

However, the scene that impressed Smoke the most was the multitude of monsters that were at the center of the great hall.

There were 400 wolf spiders at the outer layer in the gathering of monsters. 200 fire salamanders were grouped on one corner, and 230 crested newts were on another corner.

The crested newts had the same size as the fire salamanders with a body length of 6 feet. These monsters had black tough skin and white-tipped warts. The crested newts had slimy hides which protected them from the fire salamanders’ flame attacks.

Due to the fight between the fire salamanders and the crested newts, these new monsters, unknown to Smoke, had their names and lifebars displayed.

Smoke discreetly ascended the great hall, and attached his harness onto the ceiling. From up high, Smoke had a great view of the battle between the fire salamanders and the crested newts.

Five minutes passed, and the two sides remained in place. All the monsters were doing were hissing and taunting at the other side.

The DarkElf grew impatient, and decided to start the ball rolling.

“Igniz, can you hide behind one of those pillars near the crested newts and make as many firewalls as you can?”

The dark ember sprite smiled, for at last he had monsters to torture. At full tilt, Igniz flew down from the ceiling and hid behind the Corinthian pillars.

Igniz released five firewalls on the swarm of crested newts. The monsters immediately got riled up and charged at the fire salamanders.

The fire salamanders and crested newts used their claws and their teeth to gnaw and slash against the other species.

Smoke enjoyed the view of seeing the two packs clash. Then he noticed the wolf spiders started to move around. The opportunistic beasts waited for the monsters to be gravely injured.

The wolf spiders would then wrap their dying prey and took them to the far sides of the great hall. There were some wolf spiders who were not able to choose the proper victims.

When some of the wolf spiders tried to wrap an injured fire salamander or a crested newt that still had some fight in it, the wolf spiders got bitten with sharp teeth instead.

The gnawed on wolf spiders were eaten by the larger monsters. Smoke took notice of everything that was happening below him.

He thought that he should take a page from the wolf spider, but made sure to kill his targeted monster. He took out his powersaw bow and looked for any crested newts or fire salamanders with less than 15% left on their lifebars.

With his target chosen, Smoke released 8 poison arrows and killed the crested salamander. He received a significantly lesser amount of experience, but he knew that this process would still net him a higher amount of total experience.

The crested newts and fire salamanders kept on attacking each other, and did not notice the poison arrows that were fired from above them.

However, the wolf spiders were aware of the intruder who kept on killing their precious meals. The wolf spiders preferred their prey to be alive before they wrap them up in their sticky spider web.

The wolf spiders started to scale the pillars and went after Smoke.

“Igniz! Quickly, cover the entire ceiling with your flames.”

Spiritedly, Smoke’s symbiote flew around him in a circular motion, and started to cover the ceiling with fire. The intense heat blocked the wolf spider’s path, and the monsters were not able to go near the DarkElf.

Smoke used his powersaw bow, and attacked the wolf spiders on top of the pillars. He aimed two of his arrows on the wolf spider’s front legs, and his third arrow on one of the monster’s eyes.

The damage from the first two arrows made the wolf spider lose its balance, and the last shot to the head knocked the creature down. The drop from 40 meters dealt a substantial amount of damage.

Some of the fallen wolf spiders died while others were eaten by either the fire salamanders or the crested newts.

There were 50 wolf spiders left on top of the ceiling, and Smoke dealt with each one of them with the same three arrow technique.

After he finished all of the wall climbing monsters. Smoke resumed his attention on the beasts below. There were 280 wolf spiders, 175 fire salamanders, and 189 crested newts left.

The wolf spiders only targeted the dying monsters and left the monsters that Smoke killed alone.

Smoke happily spent the next hour dangling on the ceiling. His free ride on attacking the monsters ended because all 4,000 of his arrows were now on the ground below him.

The wolf spiders had gathered enough of the wrapped up fire salamanders and crested newts, and went on to one of the tunnels.

There were only 179 monsters left on the ground fighting. The fire salamanders finally had an upper hand with 96 of their kind left while the crested newts had 83.

These surviving monsters only had less than 20% on their lifebars. Smoke released the metal anchors that held his harness. He leapt from the roof and glided down using his hooded cloak.

The smaller area of the previous tunnels impeded him from using his most destructive weapon. In mid-air he equipped his deadly Rzeka glaive.

THUD!

He made a Stunning Landing attack behind the the group of fire salamanders, and went after their heads.

Smoke killed one of the fire salamanders as he severed the monster’s head when he landed. The fire salamanders on the back heard the loud sound and faced him.

He used his own special attack called the Mountain Split, and repelled the six fire salamanders that were about to run up to him.

With some distance between him and the six fire salamanders Smoke switched weapons and used the bullwhip. He chose the monster with the lowest life and held him captive with the electrically charged whip.

He plunged the end of the whip into one of the Corinthian pillars and electrocuted the fire salamander to its death. He switched back to his Rzeka glaive and went after the five monsters that were facing him.

The rest of the fire salamanders were still busy fighting the crested newts in front of them. Smoke chose the two fire salamanders on the right and leapt over them.

Using his Mountain Split ability, Smoke divided the fire salamander’s skull in half and killed it. He then proceeded to swing his Rzeka glaive and lopped off the second fire salamander’s front legs.

After they saw what the DarkElf did to their kind, the three fire salamanders hesitated. They began to fear him. Smoke smirked. He was proud of himself. He had instilled fear into these monsters.

Smoke used a horizontal Mountain Split and attacked the ten fire salamander that were facing the crested newts.

When the monsters turned their backs to face him. Smoke swung his Rzeka glaive and slashed the throats of the three fire salamanders that were near him.

The monster’s blood gushed out from their throats and all three fire salamanders died. The ten fire salamanders who had just seen Smoke were shocked at the sight at the death of their fellow fire salamander.

Smoke used this opportunity, and he performed a 360 degree turn and and swung his Rzeka glaive once more. He repeated this cleaving motion for a third time and finally killed three fire salamanders out of ten.

The DarkElf removed the electrically enhanced bullwhip from the dead fire salamander. He cracked the whip on a new flame beast. The monster cried out in pain as the tip of the whip stung the monster’s eye.

An hour passed, and Smoke had started to thin out the numbers of the fire salamanders. He stopped attacking the outnumbered creatures, and climbed up one of the pillars.

From the ceiling he crossed the area where the fire salamanders and the crested newts were fighting below him.

When he was directly above the last line of crested newts, he leapt off and glided downwards until he was in range, and performed his Stunning Landing attack against them.

In the same manner as the he attacked the fire salamanders, Smoke used a horizontal Mountain Split attack and pushed the crested newts backward.

He fluidly switched weapons, and took out his bullwhip. He got a hold on one of the crested newts. When the beast was captured, he was amazed to see the damage from the electric jolts that the whip was inflicting on the crested newt.

As Smoke had witnessed, the crested newts were weak against electric attacks. He struck the tip of the bullwhip on the floor and trapped the crested newt to its death.

He climbed up the Corinthian pillars and stopped when he reached the ceiling. He attached his harness onto the ceiling, and took out his Rzeka glaive and electro stone. He started to sharpen his glaive with the elemental stone.

After he finished enhancing his glaive. He stowed the electro stone, detached the harness, and dove downwards with another Stunning Landing.

Igniz created a firewall after the tenth crested newt. The firewall gave no damage to the monsters, but he felt that he needed to do something in order to help Smoke out.

As ineffective as the firewall was at damaging the monsters, it did serve a purpose. It became a fiery screen which blocked the view of the other crested newts.

With the enhanced damaged from the electro stone, Smoke massacred ten crested newts with his Rzeka glaive, in under twenty minutes.

Smoke maximized the bullwhip’s potential and kept on catching one crested newt to its death. He pulled out the bullwhip and searched for its next victim.

Igniz floated closely near Smoke as he got ready to take on his next batch of crested newts.

“Good job creating this firewall. Now, can you cancel it out? I need a new batch of monsters. Next, place a new firewall after the fifteenth crested newt.”

The dark ember sprite obeyed. The firewall blocked the crested newts view and forced them to turn around. Smoke greeted the bewildered monsters with his cleaving attacks.

Forty minutes later, and Smoke climbed up the pillar again. He went to the other side, and attacked the fire salamanders.

It was a tedious strategy, but it was the only way he thought of that could wipe out more than 400 monsters by himself.

Six hours passed. He was left with twelve fire salamanders and eleven crested newts. The two species of monsters stopped fighting against each other, and faced the lone threat that was bent on killing both of their kind.

Smoke was panting hard, but a grin was clearly visible on his face. He made a strategically retreat upwards and rested above the monsters, with his harness attached to the ceiling.

The crested newts and fire salamanders remained focused on the dangling DarkElf. Smoke activated his necklace, Heart of Reente. His life rejuvenated rapidly.

Five minutes later and his health was fully recovered. He leapt off the ceiling and dove head first with his Rzeka glaive pointed at the ground.

He performed a Mountain Split attack and blew away the gathered monsters below him. The strong attack caused a cloud of dust to rise.

This gave Smoke cover as the visibility inside the dust was nil. He relied on his Cunning of the Dire Fox to locate and attack the hidden monsters within the dust.

The monsters tried to slash at anything that was in front of them, but all they managed to hit was either a fire salamander or a crested newt.

As the cloud of dust settled. Only seven monsters were left. Three fire salamanders and four crested newts growled at the glaive wielding DarkElf.

With only seven monsters remaining, Smoke thought to brawl with the monsters head on. He lifted his Rzeka glaive over his shoulders and swung it horizontally.

Four monsters were blown away from Smoke’s attack. He focused his attention on one monster. He switched weapons and took out his bullwhip. He captured one of the crested newts with the whip.

Next, he switched back to his Rzeka glaive. He held his glaive like a spear with the sharp edge pointing upward.

The targeted crested newt lifted its right front leg and scratched Smoke’s chest plate. He was damaged for 3,200 points.

Smoke braved the damage, and positioned his glaive under the crested monster’s belly. In an upward motion, he sliced the crested newt in half.

With the five monsters remaining, Smoke decided to repeatedly use the Stunning Landing attack against them.

He used the long length of his Rzeka glaive as a pole vault, and with tricky precision he unequipped his glaive at the maximum point of his jump.

The force propelled him upward into the air, and with the help of his hooded cloak he gained some altitude by soaring upwards.

After Smoke turned around in midair, he re-equipped his Rzeka glaive which increased his velocity downwards.

Smoke’s Stunning Landing immobilized two of the the monsters. He slashed the monsters a few times before he flew up into the air once more.

He repeated the process until the captured crested newt was killed by the bullwhip. He removed the bullwhip from the place where it held the monster. He unequipped his glaive and captured a different crested newt.

Twenty minutes later, Smoke had officially cleared out one of the many great halls of  Zuchthaus Labyrinth.

He gained one level from cleaning out all the monsters inside the great hall.

Fervently, Smoke gathered all 4,000 of his arrows on the ground, next he collected the loot that came from the dead beasts.

White spider silk, gold spider silk, salamander meat, newt scales,  and various item drops from the dead monsters.

* * * * * * 

Smoke had been stuck in the labyrinth for more than a day. Yet, he still hadn’t seen any of his old markings.

The map on his Beggar’s tablet only became larger and larger. He completely had no idea what the shape of this labyrinth was.

He had passed through similar chambers and had gone to solve similar jigsaw puzzles. It felt like everything he was doing was repetitive.

Not until he reached another great hall. However, this time the monsters were almost double the amount from the previous great hall.

Smoke positioned himself on top of the ceiling. He was psyched up to gain another level. As he started to pick off the dying monsters, a young man came running out form one of the tunnels.

The youth had black hair and fair skin. His black leather armor reminded Smoke of the armor that James Jackal and Howard Hide gave him.

The mysterious youth looked back at the tunnel where he came from, and sprinted faster into the throng of fighting fire salamanders and crested newts.

He leapt over the monsters and jumped from one monster’s back to another. He steadily made his way across 856 creatures unscathed.

As he finally crossed the river of fighting monsters. The wolf spiders that surrounded the fire salamanders and crested newts started to gather around him.

Smoke was perplexed. He didn’t know whether he should help him or not. This guy was a Zectian, which meant that there was a high chance he would receive some form of reward.

The DarkElf decided to watch him, and only would only move if it was really necessary.

The mysterious young man took out two canisters, and sprayed the area around him abundantly. The wolf spiders instinctively backed off.

However, the young man still looked to be very troubled. His eyes were glued on the exit where he came from.

Moments later, three large sized monsters came out from the watched exit tunnel. They stood at a height of three meters. They had long goatlike horns, brown to black fur, cloven hooves, and rusted iron chains dangling from their arms. These monsters looked exactly like the ones in the jigsaw puzzle.

Reflexively, all the wolf spiders, fire salamanders, and crested newts stopped what they were doing. The scared monsters looked at the three monstrous beasts.

Unified, the wolf spiders, fire salamanders, and crested newts all rushed against the three unknown creatures.

One of the enormous beasts countered the throng of unified monsters. As it ran, the beast started to swing its iron chains in a circular motion.

The monster’s chains damaged all the monsters that reached its range. However, the unified wolf spiders, fire salamanders, and crested newts pressed on.

Multiple fire salamanders and crested newts bit the gigantic monster’s legs. Which revealed the monster’s name and lifebar.

The monster was called a krampus and its lifebar displayed (275,000/280,000HP).

The other two krampus whacked the monsters that had clung to their companion. Together all three of them slowly made their way through the river of monsters.

The power of these monsters were clear. Smoke estimated that it would take less than twenty minutes before they would wipe out all of the monsters in this great hallway.

Smoke looked back at the mysterious young man, and knew that if he didn’t save him then the youth will be killed by these behemoths.

The DarkElf hid from behind the Corinthian pillars to obstruct the krampus’ view. He dove downward, and only used his hooded cloak to stop before he crashed into the ground.

Smoke quickly rushed towards the young man, and as Smoke grabbed him from behind. The DarkElf’s hand was caught in a joint lock, and with his running momentum used against, Smoke was thrown away.

The DarkElf flew through the air. He used his hooded cloak to perform a U-turn, and land safely in front of the young man he thought to rescue.

The mysterious young man took out dual rampuri knives. The knives were a foot long and had black handles.

Smoke took out his dual green knives, and was prepared to defend himself against this mysterious NPC.

After the adrenaline rush had subsided from being thrown over the shoulder was over, Smoke carefully examined the man that stood in front of him.

Smoke felt that he had seen this young man’s face before; sadly, for the life of him, Smoke  wasn’t able to remember.

He wracked his brains for this mysterious youth’s name. The imminent threat from the krampus also contributed to Smoke’s short term memory loss.

Finally, it hit him. This was the Beggar Evocatti’s son. the one he was tasked to look for.

“Espion? You’re Caid’s son, right?”

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