Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 132: Greatest Dungeon Crawler

After accepting the quest Seth left the guild. He used the analog map in the little booklet to find the passage that led to the old trade route. After showing his adventurer card the guard let him enter the locked-off tunnel. He had to walk for almost two hours after leaving the bounds of the city.

It was a wide tunnel fit to allow 2-3 carriages to travel beside each other. Dust and dirt had accumulated from the years of neglect. There were only a few footprints from other travelers or adventurers that had come this way, too.

He had equipped the dark knight armor after leaving the city. This made his journey very quiet, almost peaceful. There were few monsters, to begin with, but those that appeared hurriedly ran away when they saw their ”prey ”.

After these roughly two hours, the ceiling above his head became higher as he stepped onto a square in a big cave. On the opposite side of the square, he could see the entrance to the ruin.

The fortification ’s structure was rather simple. It was a double door system with one gate in the direction of the dwarven city and one gate facing the trade route, a road carved into the side of a big gorge with a deep abyss on one and a steep wall on the other side.

The gates that had once blocked the entrances were long destroyed and only the twisted metal fitting told about their existence. Seth could see right across the inner square of the garrison and onto the path in the gorge.

Seth equipped the training sword before stepping through the empty archway that once held the gate. The only light in the square fell in from the various arrow slits directed into the gorge on the left and the exit on the opposite side. It created a tranquil twilight.

Pitch black windows, like hollow eyes, filled the wall to the right. There were the facilities of the fort carved deep into the stone. And there was the actual location of the dungeon. Seth was not bothered by the darkness, since he had the necklace that gave him .

Seth had a different problem; his height. As he entered his found all the ceiling to just high enough for him to stand upright. He would not be able to make any big overhead swings or diagonal slashes without hitting the ceiling. This was a great strategical advantage for dwarfs who could comfortably fight in this environment, but it was a big disadvantage for Seth.

Seth concentrated on his surrounding as he walked through empty hallways. Where were the crawlers? Did the run from the presence of his armor? He was just relaxing a little when he heard scuttling behind him. And turned around just in time to block something that jumped at him with an ear-splitting hiss.

Slime-dripping mandibles closed mere centimeters in front of his face as he held the beast back with the sword. The cave crawlers looked nothing less than revolting. Six-legged hairy spiderlike ants with disproportionally big behinds. She never had had a problem with spiders or ants, but this was a really ugly mutant, almost unnatural.

Instinctively he shoved the thing back and sent it flying with a kick. He activated his ”breathing technique ” and ”sword intent ” covered his blade. Of course, this was his wishful thinking, but he felt a lot cooler if he called that way. Maybe he could fake being a cultivator when he returned to Urth?

It was slightly hurt and had little mana, had it used a skill to sneak up on him? Seth wanted to test how strong these crawlers were and deactivated . What ensued were 5 minutes of painful death for the cave crawler as Seth kept bludgeoning it with a blunt sword and overwhelming attributes.

If it had a mind, its last thoughts probably were ”If you are this strong, why not just kill me? Why are you so cruel? ”

After turning the insect into mush, Seth belated realized that he had destroyed its poison sack. Looking at his experience bar he gained about 3%. This was his only profit, as the crawler didn ’t even a drop a soul. With this amount of exp he would need to kill 20-30 cave crawlers to level up.

He kept going deeper, these ruins were just an appetizer. The crawlers here were not actually dungeon mobs. The dungeon entrance was where the actual dungeon was originally located. He had the directions from the guild, but he simply used to map out the whole ruin and find the entrance to the dungeon.

This door was neither withered nor dirty. It looked like a solid, glossy gate. He entered the dungeon and stood in a long messy hallway with dark prison cells to the left and right. The ceiling was a lot higher and vanished in the darkness above the torches that illuminated the hallway below.

The cells were open rooms with a wall of iron bars towards the hallway. None of them were really intact with a bend or broken bars and door open and ripped from their hinges. This design seemed quite generic for something he would find in a game, but it was a lot more unsettling in reality. Especially the fact that no light from the torches actually fell into the prison cells. Anything could hide in them… or in the darkness on the ceiling above.

This was supposed to be a dungeon full of cave crawlers, right? So, what exactly had broken out from those cells? What did the dwarfs hold in these cells that had the strength to bend and rip iron bars? Seth calmed himself with the theory, that this was simply the quirky taste of the dungeon master when it came to interior decoration.

He had especially checked with the guild before. There were no anomalies with this dungeon. Just a week ago a different party had visited this dungeon without problems. This just had to be some generic theme for a dungeon.

Seth stayed vigilant as he entered the hallway after reassuring himself that everything was ok. He had even left Puffles at the workshop, so the Ivicer could keep making . He had gotten used to having company, so now he felt a little lonely.

He was soon able to push these thoughts back. As he started exploring, he finally encountered his prey. Sometimes single exemplars would suddenly jump out from the dark cells on the sides of the hallway or try to fall at him from the ceiling. Most of the time he found in groups of 2-4 on the way.

Fighting them with just the and its ”sword energy ” was already a vast improvement to the bludgeoning he did before. It behaved almost like a sharp sword. Still, the nature of the training sword made it hard for Seth to execute the moves how he wanted to. He felt like he was actually fighting one or two ranks worse than usual. The effect was good, considering the new rank, he was able to the bar increases by tiny slivers, fractures of a percent.

In the cases when he missed his objective and left openings for his attackers it was time for the new armor to shine. And it kept shining, even if it was hit by an attack, the cave crawlers could not even leave a scratch on the rare armor. He felt the impact, but any damage was simply negated by the strong defense.

This greatly calmed Seth ’s mind. He relaxed a little and got in the mindset to experiment and training his skill. Although he felt a lot worse when it came to his handling of the sword, channeling the Soul Fire into the blade as a kind of sword energy felt overpowered.

Imagine comparing a steel blade to a laser blade, that was how Seth felt. When he slashed at the chitin shell of a cave crawler and the pale flame covered the edge of his sword, he could barely even feel an impact. The stench of burning flesh and hair filled the air as the crawler ’s shell and meat were burned and carbonized. It was like the laser sabers from Star battles!

Imagine the effect if he used a good weapon.

But… Was this because the skill was really powerful, or were these creatures just terribly weak to fire? He had to know. It would be terribly embarrassing if he tried to slash an orc-like this and all he got were light burns…

Once he found the next group of three crawlers on a fork in the road, he decided to test it. He switched from using the weapon and as a medium to directly bending fire with .

A big difference to before was that this new skill made it a lot easier to detach the fire from his body and at a lot lower cost. How cool would it be, if he could make a martial art move like the fire benders in a cartoon he knew and fire a giant wave of fire at his enemies?

Unfortunately, this was not the scale he was operating on, yet. Seth formed a fist-sized ball of pale fire and shot it at the closest crawler. This was the most he could manage without getting a splitting headache. Despite its laughable size it simply penetrating the crawler like a marshmallow. Leaving the burning target behind it collided with the next one and exploded, setting them all aflame.

The penetrated crawler was dead and the burning two tried to rush at him but broke down from the pain before even reaching him. Seth blinked. What did this mean now? Were they weak to fire, or was the Soul Fire just too domineering? He realized that this experiment had no other result but crawlers being weak to his fire. No matter what form.

After making this conjecture he stopped using the fire. On one side he wanted to recover his mental strength and on the other, he came to train his fighting skills and . It didn ’t get him war, if all his enemies melted like butter before a hot knife.

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