Chapter 15 — Lucky Escape
This meant that the snake demon was the strongest among all monsters with a team challenge rating of Level 6.
It had the advantage in terms of body height, and its six-hundred-pound body also increased the power of its attacks, making them even more deadly. With close to 20 Strength, the power of the snake demon’s attacks could still greatly damage Soran’s internal organs even if he managed to block them.
The reason snake demons were one of the most dangerous creatures in close quarters combat was their dual-wielding ability. Those with high Dexterity and Wisdom could easily take on multiple enemies while dealing explosive damage with their powerful arms. Meanwhile, Multi-Strike allowed snake demons to perform bursts of attacks within a short timeframe. When paired with high Strength, it was almost impossible to parry or block at all.
Normally, snake demons resided in the middle to lower layers of the Endless Abyss. Like all other demons, their skin was as tough as enchanted leather armor, and on top of it were scales with comparable toughness to normal chainmail armor.
Theoretically speaking, only three out of ten of Soran’s slashes could damage the demon due to its scales and tough skin. On the other hand, Soran would undoubtedly be killed in one strike as he was not wearing any armor.
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to lose if I fight it head on.”
With 20 Dexterity, Soran could perform all sorts of acrobatic stunts. He twisted his body as he used the wall as a foothold and launched himself into the tunnel outside the chamber. Although he was mentally exhausted, the increase in Constitution to 18 also increased his stamina and allowed him to run continuously without resting.
The snake demon roared furiously as it pursued Soran.
It had a humanoid upper body with abnormally thick arms and a face which resembled that of a lizard or snake. Its sides were covered in scales, and the lower half of its body belonged to a five-meter-long snake. This meant that the snake demon was a male fighter which had considerable Strength, yet this was also good news for Soran; snake demons had a matriarchal society. Females were stronger in combat and could even use spell-like abilities.
Snake demons could move around at remarkable speeds, especially when they were in burst mode. They could pounce at their enemies over long distances like snakes as well, which was also a reason they were rated A+ in difficulty.
They could casually break through the line of defence with their humongous bodies and attack the spellcasters and supports in an adventurer squad. Using their Multi-Strike ability while dual-wielding, the snake demons could turn spellcasters who were Level 8 or below into minced meat in the blink of an eye. The magic spell Web could not restrain a demon with 18 or 19 Strength, nor could mind magic influence or control the demon as it was of the evil chaotic alignment.
In short, this was a monster which could only be dealt with in a head-on fight.
“Oh crap, escaping’s not an option……”
Soran ran at full speed and managed to create some distance within the complicated tunnels, but he finally realized something important. He would have to open the cave entrance if he wanted to escape, but that alone would take over three minutes. In three minutes’ time, the snake demon would have caught up with him, chopped him into pieces, and picked out the tasty parts.
“I must fight!”
When he ran past the dead adventurers’ corpses, Soran quickly picked up a longsword before moving on. It had been a while since the adventurers died, thus the sword was rusty and a bit soft, meaning it would most likely snap or break when clashing with the snake demon’s weapons. Soran did not mind much as he would not stand a chance against the demon anyway, and all he could do now was test his luck.
Without decelerating, he ran toward an unexplored tunnel. Demons typically had around 100 HP, which was way more than humans. This meant that they were still great threats even when in critical condition. Soran was cornered; the only plan he could think of now was to try and eliminate the snake demon with the traps in the tunnel.
The only thing in his arsenal right now was his inhuman Dexterity—his footsteps were a lot lighter than normal people, his reflexes were way sharper, and his body had unimaginable flexibility.
This was a dangerous gamble, but he had no other options.
He could only hope that there were lethal traps in the tunnel, and that he would not accidentally trigger them himself.
It was not something undoable considering the fact that he was a human who had 20 Dexterity. His feet were small, and his footsteps were light, not to mention his agility. The snake demon, on the other hand, was the complete opposite of Soran. As it weighed over six hundred pounds and moved by crawling on the ground with the snake-like part of its body, the snake demon would set off and get hit by pretty much every single trap in the tunnel. Its heavy weight would certainly activate the devices set for human weight, and its massive body made it hard for it to dodge traps.
A wide tunnel appeared in front of him.
Without wasting any time, he proceeded into the tunnel without looking for signs of traps. Using his extraordinary flexibility and sense of balance, he ran sideways on the wall for three steps before holding onto a stalactite hanging from the ceiling. Soran continued walking sideways on the wall for five meters while using the stalactites as handholds. From his experience, there was a high possibility that there were traps at that section of the tunnel as it was wide. Setting up traps required space, and the more hidden the trap was, the more space was needed.
Soran slowed down a bit and continued his way through the tunnel while staying on guard.
The snake demon soon appeared at the tunnel entrance. The creature was completely enraged by Soran’s initial attack with the modified crossbow, and it immediately dived toward him when it finally caught up.
Its massive body by no means slowed it down; in fact, snake demons could travel twice as fast as a normal person running at full speed thanks to innate buffs.
Right before it reached Soran, the ground suddenly shook as its tail triggered the buried traps. Torrents of crossbow bolts flew from both walls simultaneously.
“AAARRRRGRGHGHGHG!” The snake demon cried in agony.
Six bolts were stuck on both sides of its torso, and blood gushed out from the wounds. As if engulfed by flames of fury and killing intent, the snake demon’s pupils were blood red, and it roared as it glared at Soran.
Twelve crossbow bolts—that could deal over 120 damage to humans, which was enough to kill most warriors who were below Level 10, yet the snake demon did not seem to be in critical condition even after receiving the full brunt of the attack.
The demon had toughness comparable to lesser drakes, having probably 150 HP or more; that was five to six times more than Soran’s HP.
“There should be one more trap!”
Soran’s pupils contracted slightly as he increased his speed once again, even if it meant that his chances of triggering traps rose as well.
The layout of the tunnel seemed strangely familiar.
He now remembered; the place where he found the adventurers had a similar layout, meaning there was a high possibility that there was an acid trap ahead as well. It was a lethal trap for Soran, and it should also be life-threatening for the snake demon.
Soran took a deep breath and began accelerating after seeing the familiar twisted path ahead. As acid traps were mostly installed near walls, he could not run sideways on the wall like he did before and could only try and jump across the entire area.
The safe-zone was over ten meters away. Having only extraordinary Dexterity and no buffs, it was really pushing his limits.
“I can do it! This much is nothing to me!”
The world record for long jump was 10.6 meters. Considering his attributes, Soran should have a physique comparable to top athletes. Even though he was lacking in Strength, the heightened body coordination brought by Dexterity should be able to make up for it. By coordinating all his muscles perfectly, he could utilize every ounce of his strength and perform a jump with explosive power.
Soran took a deep breath.
With a heavy step, Soran launched himself forward.
Leaping across over ten meters, Soran landed awkwardly on the other side. Taking in another breath, he ran further into the tunnel as it was unsure if there was actually an acid trap or not.
Soran stiffened up in an instant.
Just as he was taking the corner, a metal spear suddenly shot out from the floor near his foot. If not for his reflexes, the spear would not only have punctured his thigh but continued all the way to his intestines.
A torrent of blood gushed out from the wound.
Soran clenched his teeth as he removed his shirt and used it as a gag. He held his thigh with his hand and began pulling the spear out.
Blood splashed everywhere.
The barb on the spearhead tore out a large chunk of his muscles, further damaging his leg.
Soran trembled and stiffened as he removed the spear. In mere seconds, he was already soaked in cold sweat.
He almost fainted when his leg was finally freed from the spear. Hastily patching up the massive wound, Soran tied a dead knot in the cloth to hold it in place and reduce blood loss, then slowly walked toward the stone wall.
He could no longer escape.
If he ran in this condition, he would soon die from blood loss instead.
His physical condition was rapidly deteriorating as blood continued to flow out of his body. The only way for him to survive right now was to hope that there really was an acid trap at the previous location. If it was a crossbow trap, it most likely lacked the power to finish off the snake demon.
Time seemed to pass by slowly.
When the snake demon eventually appeared, Soran felt as though he was making a last stand against fate.
Fate was on his side.
Soran’s judgement was partially correct; there was a trap there, but it was not an acid trap as he had expected. An explosion occurred as the snake demon made its way through the area.
An explosive trap—there were either explosives underground or magic devices which launched fireballs when triggered.
The sound of the demon emerging from the rubble could be heard.
The relieved look on Soran’s face turned into an irritated and pale one as he yelled, “This freaking bastard just won’t die!”
Soran tightly gripped the longsword and gave off a glint of killing intent in his eyes.
It was time to fight for his life.
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