Chapter 16 — Battle of Life and Death
Soran’s figure became barely visible in the darkness. He tore a piece of cloth from his tattered shirt and tied another knot above the wound on his thigh in order to further suppress the bleeding, reducing the pain he felt when moving. However, this was only a temporary measure, and it could worsen the wound if he did not untie the strap in time.
“Assign all experience points to Rogue!” Soran calmly held onto the longsword while assigning experience points to his profession.
Slaughter EXP was a type of soul energy as well as the highest tier of experience point. It could be used for most profession-related things, including levelling up all professions and sub-professions, paying the cost for changing professions, and advancing to the next profession grade. Furthermore, slaughter EXP could be used as a material to perform sacrificial rituals, monster summonings, and even alchemy. Under normal circumstances, no one would use such a precious type of experience at low levels as it simply had too many uses in the future.
However, there was no such thing as ‘the future’ if Soran did not use the points now.
“The profession Rogue is now Level 4.”
“Received 24 [DEX 20+ (INT 18-10)*0.5] Skill Points, HP increased by 10 [Profession HP 6+ (CON 18-10)*0.5].”
“Received 1 Free Attribute Point.”
Soran’s pale face gradually regained its color as the 10 HP he gained from the level up changed his status from ‘Seriously Injured’ to ‘Moderately Injured.’ His reflexes were no longer hindered by the injury, and his rate of stamina consumption had returned to normal instead of the double consumption rate he’d had due to his injured status.
He assigned all skill points to Sneak in one go, raising it to 102.
When having 100 or more points in Sneak, activating Shadowveil had a similar effect as casting the spell-like ability Blur. Unless someone was intentionally searching for his traces, Soran could easily hide himself without others noticing his presence.
As for the free attribute point, Soran clenched his teeth as he unwillingly assigned it to Constitution since the difference between 20 and 21 points in Dexterity was insignificant. Unless he could raise his Dexterity all the way to 25 right now to obtain the Legendary skill Shadow Realm, assigning the point to Constitution was the better option in this situation. With his Constitution close to inhuman levels, his wounds would not get infected by germs and further worsen, and he could get the ability Rebirth with one more point. That was an essential skill for advanced adventurers as well.
Soran’s physical condition improved notably after assigning the additional point to Constitution. He sneakily crouched and walked toward the bend in the tunnel not far ahead.
There could be more traps, and he could not afford to get hit again. The option of further exploring the cave was now unviable, at least before getting the skill Trap Sense.
Soran must somehow kill the snake demon, and he had to act fast. Considering the demon’s recovery abilities, the danger was increasing exponentially over time. He could rest all he wanted afterwards.
“Hmm, so it wasn’t using gunpowder?”
Soran slowly headed toward the snake demon while analyzing the situation with his past experience.
“The explosive trap should be powered by a magic device, probably one with a magic formation for Fireball.”
Soran could not sense the elements in the air as he did not have the skill Spellcraft, but his past experiences were very useful in this case.
In a place not far ahead, the figure of the battered snake demon could be seen writhing in pain on a ground covered with burnt and cracked scales and lumps of flesh. The tall and heavy demon could not make evasive maneuvers in the tunnel due to its size and weight and received the full brunt of the explosion. If not for its innate defence buffs, the snake demon would have become a chunk of dead meat already.
It was still alive, but it was by no means in good condition. Its intestines were dangling from its stomach, and bones were poking out from its sides, not to mention its completely crushed spine. It could not have survived in such a condition if it was not a demon, which were known for having high HP.
The snake demon glared at Soran with hatred in its eyes and began hissing the moment he entered its field of vision.
Low-ranked snake demons with four arms or less were mostly illiterate and could only speak in broken Demonic Language. As per the species’ traits, only females had relatively higher intelligence, and only spellcasters in the tribe could speak other languages like the human’s Common Language.
The snake demon was so obsessed with killing the youngster who summoned and injured it that it ignored its grave wounds and slithered toward Soran. It could no longer hold back its hatred, blood lust, and desire to slaughter everything—not that it ever did in the first place.
The snake demon was worsening its physical condition by forcing itself, but it managed to swing the sword in its hands even though it was growling in pain.
Soran easily dodged the incoming attack and stabbed his rusty sword into the enemy’s chest while holding it in a reverse grip, easily puncturing through the crushed and cracked scales.
Hot blood squirted out of the wound. Most snake-like creatures were cold-blooded, but plenty of snake demons lived in volcanic regions.
Some of the blood landed on Soran’s body, and he soon felt a scorching feeling where it landed.
He immediately pulled away from the snake demon with a slight agitated yet serious look. “Acidic blood?”
Similar to touching diluted sulphuric acid, small wounds were gradually forming at the places covered in demon blood. This snake demon was probably a descendant of some high-ranked demon, as acidic blood was a trait exclusive to dragons and high-ranked demons.
The stab dealt serious damage to the already severely injured snake demon. As if forcing out the last ounce of its remaining life force, the snake demon frenziedly attacked with its swords but failed to land a single hit on the target. The snake demon could only display thirty percent of its true strength, with its strikes weakened due to low stamina and slowed greatly by its injuries.
After dodging another one of its slashes, Soran took in a deep breath and yelled as he leapt into the air. With both hands holding onto the longsword, he dived toward the snake demon, aiming at its heart.
“DIE!” Soran screamed with bloodshot eyes.
Unless he had Rare-grade weapons, attacking its head was futile as snake demons had abnormally hard skulls.
The snake demon shuddered and straightened its body.
When Soran pulled out the sword from its chest, the six-hundred-pound demon dropped dead onto the ground with a thump as blood gushed out from the wounds all over its body.
Soran awkwardly sat on the ground as well, as his thigh injury had worsened due to the battle.
Battling in burst mode was very taxing on one’s stamina. Most creatures with less than 20 Constitution could not fight intense battles for over thirty minutes while in burst mode. After reaching the inhuman realm by having 20 points in Constitution, the person or monster could fight continuously in burst mode thanks to their buffed stamina and recovery speed.
(Author’s Note: Having intense battles in bed is an exception.)
Soran carefully cut the cloth on his thigh with the sword, and sliced off the dead tissue at the edge of the wound. It was a painful process, but it was necessary in order to recover as soon as possible.
A list of data appeared in his vision suddenly:
“Successfully landed a leaping strike!”
“Damage increased by 2 (STR12 - 10), dealing 13 physical damage to target!”
“Extracting soul energy from target… Received 1800 Slaughter Experience Points.”
A mysterious force of energy flowed into Soran’s body—it was the soul energy of the snake demon.
There was once a theory that all the players had the hidden title Son of Slaughtering, granting them a tiny portion of the divine powers of a god of war. The divine power supposedly allowed players to level up a lot faster than NPCs in the game, but it was just an unconfirmed theory in the forums. Soran was not really concerned about the theory when he was playing the game, but he could still roughly remember that players would receive a good ten to twenty percent more experience when killing monsters after they had learned skills related to souls, necromancy, and slaughtering.
After resting for a while, Soran’s body had already recovered quite a bit, and he was now checking his spoils. Abyss demons rarely carried money around, but their equipment was mostly Rare-grade or above. He immediately picked up one of the two longswords lying on the ground.
Soran inspected the sword as he held it in his arms. It was around 1.5 meters in length, while the blade was 10 centimeters wide, with weird runes inscribed onto the hilt, which had a twirling pattern like a snake. The blade also had a pale crimson glow to it as if it was scorching hot, and it was exceptionally sharp as well. The sword was much sharper than typical steel Military-grade weapons, but there was also a downside to it—it was a lot heavier.
The appraisal results were as follows:
Item Type: Snake Demon Longsword +1
Weapon Grade: 【Rare (Grade 1)】
Item Description: Forged with the volcanic rocks from the Abyss, this sword provides exceptional slashing and piercing abilities, as well as +1 Fire Damage for every attack.
Requirements: 14 or above in Strength.
Special Effects: This weapon is considered a 【Greatsword】for small- and medium-sized beings, raising the Strength requirement for them by 2.
It was Soran’s first thought after picking the sword up.
The size and weight of the swords were naturally not suited for humans as they were made for snake demons. Although Soran could hold the greatsword in his hands, his slashes were slowed down due to its weight, and he could not bring out his full combat potential while wielding it. To put it simply, an average man could probably lift up an object weighing a hundred kilograms, but he obviously could not use it as a weapon in a fight; the person would get punched or sliced many times before even lifting it up.
If a player wielded a weapon while not fulfilling its requirements, it would consume more stamina while dealing reduced damage and slowing down the attacks.
Soran could create afterimages while wielding a dagger, but he could not even cut half as fast while using the heavy sword.
“Damn! There’s a penalty as well?!”
After swinging the Snake Demon Longsword a dozen or so times, his arms hurt, and he felt tired.
Some of the game mechanics in <<Clash of the Titans>> were a real pain in the ass. A normal player could walk twenty kilometers continuously, and of course the distance would decrease significantly faster as they traveled faster. However, players could only jog ten kilometers or sprint for a full kilometer or two at best. Even things like fatigue were perfectly recreated in the game, and a lot of players who did not expect the game to be so realistic complained about the feature as it hindered their progress.
For this reason, Soran knew that he was receiving a Strength Penalty when wielding the weapon as his arms gradually became sore.
The penalty notice no longer showed up like it did in the game, but he could still roughly work out the details on his own: Accuracy -4, Damage -4, Attack Speed -4, and Stamina Consumption +200%.
He could normally engage in an intense battle for ten minutes, but with this weapon the time was greatly reduced to two minutes.
Soran smiled wryly as he placed the sword on the ground. It was a sword made for a six-hundred-pound enemy after all, and it was basically a greatsword for humans. His Constitution and physique were decent, but since he lacked the Strength to properly wield it, he might as well use a dagger instead.
Normal longswords weighed around two to three kilograms—this one weighed at least fifteen. The sword came as part of a pair as well, meaning together they were well over thirty kilograms. The swords would almost weigh as much as a slim, young lady after further reinforcing them with stainless steel…
Without the Legendary Profession build he once had, Soran did not have enough spare points to raise his Strength from 12 to 18. With only 12 Strength, he could only use weapons commonly used among human fighters.
“Looks like I can only sell them.”
He could not display even half of his battle prowess when using the swords after all.
Soran shuddered as he strapped the two humongous swords onto his back. It was only then that he realized that 12 Strength was insufficient, but he must carry the swords back to the city nonetheless. Grade 1 Rare weapons were worth at least a hundred Gold Derahls, and the price for greatswords generally was twenty to fifty percent more, meaning that the pair of swords could be sold for around 300 Gold Derahls.
The siblings could lead a much better lifestyle after selling the swords.
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