After leaving the 10th floor, Vahn made his way towards the 11th without stopping. The orcs of the previous floor gave decent rewards, as their cores could be exchanged for nearly 30OP, but they were sparse in number. The imps were barely the equivalent of a goblin in value while the bats would periodically assault him only awarded 13-15 OP each. At this rate it would be weeks, or even months before Vahn was able to complete the quest, so his only option was to head further down.
The 11th floor was similar in structure to the 10th, except for the fact the mist had increased in density while the atmosphere felt cold and damp. Vahn could even see his breath whenever he breathed so he channeled his [Heart of the Eternal Flame] to keep warm. Using the same method as before, he began imbuing the effect into his domain and started to clear the mist to increase his visibility. Vahn would later come to realize this was a grave oversight…
As soon as his domain pushed back the fog, several white shadows began lurching towards Vahn. He immediately dodged away from the attacks to get a better view of the creatures ambushing him. Vahn was briefly surprised to see they were the same as the monster Bell had fought in Daedalus Street in the manga. Standing around 4m tall and covered in white fur with a silver streak down their backs, Vahn came face to face with a group of four Silverbacks. They were monkey-like creatures with high agility and fearsome strength.
To make matters worse, Vahn also noticed a larger monster approaching from the distance. It was around 4-5m in height and covered in a dense leathery orange hide. It appeared similar to a small dragon, but it didn’t have any wings and was unable to fly. Steam was emitted from its nostrils as it angrily charged towards the battlefield shared by Vahn and the Silverbacks.
Vahn took evasive action to avoid being surrounded by the four Silverbacks and immediately switched to his bow. Though he was confident in being able to eliminate them one at a time, there was no way he would be able to deal with the entire group with his current strength. Fortunately, even though they had fast speeds and agile bodies, they were unable to react to the spontaneous changes in direction caused by Vahn’s footwork.
He was able to position himself so that there was always a Silverback between him and the rest of the group. This prevented them from attacking all at once unless they were to attack through their companions. Once Vahn had found a good angle, he knocked an explosive arrow before releasing it towards the head of the nearest Silverback. The monster opened it’s mouth and tried to bit at the projectile, but the moment its teeth snapped shut the resulting explosion annihilated the foolish ape.
In the chaos caused by the blast, the other Silverbacks tried to move away from their dead companion as a fierce black light cut through the dust explosion caused by the Silverbacks death. The light continued and pierced the chest of a second silverback who immediately turned to dust as the lethal projectile vanished. In Vahn’s hand, a bow reappeared and he fired an additional two explosive arrows at the remaining apes.
The moment he loosed the arrows, Vahn exchanged his bow for his tamahagane blade as he leaped towards the furthest Silverback with a fierce momentum. The arrows continued to travel and struck true on the first monster, but the second had managed to evade. The arrow exploded far behind in the mist as Vahn plunged his sword deep into the chest of the Silverback before kicking away and sprinting toward the approaching lizard Sis had identified as an Infant Dragon.
All four monsters had been dealt with in less than twenty seconds after Vahn fired the first arrow. Using the explosion of his first victim, he threw his tamahagane blade like a spear into the surprised second Silverback. Before it turned to dust, Vahn retrieved it into his inventory before engaging the remaining Silverbacks with his bow. Noticing the second arrow was going to miss, he swapped to his sword before slaying the final Silverback before it was able to recover. He didn’t want to have to worry about being harassed by the monkies as he fought the Infant Dragon.
Vahn was now engaging the Infant Dragon who had reared back it’s long snake-like neck and spewed fire from its jagged-toothed mouth. Seeing the incoming flame, Vahn scoffed before unequipping his current gear and exchanging it for his fireproof clothing. He leaped directly into the flames as a look of contempt seemed to flash in the eyes of the Infant Dragon. Before it was able to celebrate its victory and enjoy its next meal, a long black sword cut through the flames with a red arc that severed the head from its body.
Staring towards the dissolving corpse Vahn couldn’t help but remark, “Daring to use flames against me…” He shook his head before allowing the mist to converge. Even though he dealt with it easily, it wouldn’t be a good idea to draw so much attention to himself by creating an empty space within the mist. He didn’t need to see the monsters to detect their presence, and it made it easier for monsters to target him instead.
Vahn equipped the shadowsilk tunic that he hadn’t worn in a long time and decided to take a new approach to these floors that had reduced visibility. It had been a long time since he hunted monsters, so after pulling out his bow and covering his head with a hood he began to blend into his environment using his [Stealth] skill. As long as he didn’t put his intent into the domain, monsters wouldn’t be able to detect him while he was easily able to sense their presence.
Vahn skulked through the remainder of the 11th floor without engaging a single monster in direct combat. He could detect everything within 68m without having to see them and, using his perception in conjunction with his archery skills, he was able to sneak attack dozens of monsters. Even groups of enemies thrashed about in a rage as they were unable to find where the attacks were coming from. They could only roar loudly into the silent mist as their lives were harvested one-by-one.
Like a shadow, Vahn moved uncontested through the 11th floor before finding the stairs leading to the 12th. He was happy to have the opportunity to ‘hunt’ again, and it brought him a different kind of exhilaration compared to fighting enemies directly. Seeing them scurry about while trying to find cover was satisfying and Vahn enjoyed the feeling of deciding when to take their lives. As long as he was careful, their only option was to wait for him to deliver his mercy unto them.
Entering the 12th floor, Vahn’s smile deepened as he noticed this mist was still present. Not only that, but it was several times thicker than the previous floors. While this may have posed a problem for other Adventurers, this had become almost a natural hunting grounds for Vahn. Concealing his presence, he moved into the depths of the 12th floor and continued his ‘hunt’.
As there were no drastic changes in the composition of monsters, Vahn was able to make his way through the 12th floor in around three hours. It was no late in the afternoon, so Vahn decided it would be wise to rest for the remainder of the day. He could always continue his journey after taking a short rest and napping for a few hours.
Checking his spoils, Vahn was happy to see he had obtained nearly 20k OP from the 11th and 12th floor. The Silverbacks were worth far more than any previous monster he had hunted, and their cores gave between 120-150 OP. However, they fell far short of the seven infant dragons Vahn had hunted who each gave out 400-430 OP. Combining the Hard Armored, an armadillo-like creature with heavy plating that Vahn was easily able to cut through, his spoils totaled 19,962 OP in just 5-6 hours.
This brought his total OP to 171,832 and he was inching ever closer to his goals. Vahn began to grow excited because, if the monsters on these floors were worth so much, then the monsters deeper within the dungeon should have even higher values. If he paced himself, he may even be able to earn enough OP to complete his quest by the time he reached the safe zone on the 18th floor.
As the 12th floor was the official end of the ‘upper floors’ Vahn decided to read through the compendium before he went to sleep. The next floor would be a qualitative change compared to everything he had experienced, and he didn’t want to get caught off guard by anything unexpected. Though Sis always explained to him the characteristics and weaknesses of any monster he encountered, it wasn’t always easy to pay attention to her guidance in the middle of a fight.
(A/N: Caution, this is an info dump so I don’t have to explain all the monsters in the next chapter. You’ll understand why later~!)
The monsters he would be facing on the middle floors included Wyverns, Battle Boars, Hellhounds, Almiraj, Dungeon Worms, Minotaurs, Lygerfangs, and if he was ‘unlucky’ there would even be a Monster Rex on the 17th floor called Goliath. Vahn recognized the name of the creature and after seeing the image in the compendium his fighting spirit began to boil. Bell had been able to slay a Black Goliath with the help of other Adventurers at Level 2 and Vahn wanted to see how he could fare against a weaker version.
Setting aside that thought, Vahn inspected the characteristics and weaknesses of each monster. Wyverns could get up to 5m long and had incredibly resilient pink skin. They could breathe fire and toxic gas and appear relatively rarely. Battle Boars and Hellhounds, however, were quite common and often wandered the corridors of the dungeon in packs. Though they were relatively weak monsters, they could overwhelm enemies with their numbers and coordinated attacks.
Almiraj was very problematic and similar in appearance to the Needle Rabbits on the 7th floor. The primary difference is they were much faster and possessed some degree of intelligence. They were capable of walking on two legs and performing various acrobatic feats to attack their enemies. They often hunted in the same areas as the next monster, Dungeon Worm, which were massive creatures comprised entirely of teeth and stomach. They were natural traps within the dungeon and the Almiraj were known to harass adventurers until they entered the territory of a Dungeon Worm unprepared.
Lastly were two monsters Vahn was very curious about. Starting from the 15th floor he would begin to come across Minotaurs, which were known even in the compendium as ‘Level 2 Killers’. They were considered the strongest monsters at Level 2 and had fearsome physical strength. Variants of Minotaurs were even capable of using weapons found within the dungeon and even developing skills. Next was the Lygerfangs, which Vahn found very reminiscent of his [Rakshasa Body] transformation. They were large tigers that varied between a rust-like orange and an off-white color with black stripes. Their fangs were said to be able to penetrate mid-grade armor with ease and were a popular item for developing stabbing weapons.
Vahn decided to make it his goal to hunt as many Minotaurs and Lygerfangs as he could. Though he planned to enter the 18th floor, he wanted to stay in the area until he completed his quest. The fact he was rapidly losing the ability to spend OP in the shop was becoming a major concern of his. Though he didn’t feel like he relied on it that much, now that he was unable to use it freely Vahn felt rather anxious.
After checking his stats and performing maintenance on his equipment, Vahn rested against the wall and took a nap. He spread his domain out for 50m to conserve energy and quickly drifted off to sleep.
(A/N: Vahn’s current stats)
Name: [Vahn Mason]
Race: Human, *sealed*
Parameter: [Danmachi: 1-4]
Soul Strength: Tier 2 (Hero Soul)[Karma]: 1,022 [OP]: 171,832 [Valis]: 171,630
————————————————————————-[Stealth: D] -> [Stealth: C] [Bow Mastery: C] -> [Bow Mastery: B]
(A/N: Keep in mind that obtaining exilia from using skills against higher level monsters increases the growth rate~!)
(A/N: Alternate Title: ‘Dump’,’Sneaky Boi’,’Mans not hot, never hot’,’Flags, flags everywhere. Lookin’ like an international convention up in here.’)