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Chapter: 120


I was surrounded by countless tentacles covered in mucus, each of which looked like a giant worm.

The real danger was the pink fog they spewed out.

It was dissolving not only the corpses down here, but even rock.

Moreover, perhaps because it was heavier than air, but the fog filled the pit and ruined any chance I had to escape.

Even though I had been ingesting poison from an early age to develop a resistance to it as part of my training as an assassin, I wasn’t convinced I could survive inhaling the kind of poison that a demon could produce.

I started chanting.

I created a gust of wind and blew away the pink fog.

[No no no, give it up. Struggle all you want, it’s no use, no use at all. Because I’ve got my eyes on you.] (Underground demon)

As soon as he said that, the tentacles attacked me.

They’re fast.

Each one of them was like a whip wielded by a master. The tip of a whip could strike faster than the speed of the sound, and those tentacles moved not only even faster and more intricately than that, but also in a coordinated fashion.

And most of all, their mass was overwhelming.

It was hard to see through the curvilinear movement of the whips.

Nonetheless…

[I’ll figure something out, just you wait.] (Lugh)

As I poured my mana into my Tuatha Dé eyes, I used not only my body movements, but also the wind to evade his tentacles.

I used acrobatic moves to dodge.

And at the same time, I threw a knife at them.

It pierced one of his tentacles.

It was thicker than my body, so a knife wasn’t enough to hurt him.

Except that it wasn’t just any knife.

That knife I threw exploded, blowing the tentacle off its base.

This was a weapon I had invented by modifying a wasp knife.

It wasn’t that the knife itself exploded when I stuck it into something, it was that when I did, the knife blew out some gas from the tip, causing an explosion from the inside of the target.

It was extremely effective against living organisms.

It was a toy I’d been developing just to kill some time, but it was the perfect weapon for this kind of opponent.

I was hoping it would at least cause him some pain, but…

[I guess not, huh.] (Lugh)

Without even a scream or a flinch, the remaining tentacles attacked me one after another.

And of course, the tentacle I had blown up from its base was regenerated.

I clicked my tongue and manipulated the wind to gain altitude.

…Simply put, there was nothing I could do.

Messing around with those tentacles wasn’t going to bring me any useful information. I had to withdraw.

I took a high leap, then I used the force of the wind to go higher.

This demon is something we need to stay away from. He may even be more of a hassle than the lion demon.

After a while, the tentacles couldn’t reach me anymore.

Still, I had to stay on my guard.

There was no way he would let me off the hook so easily.

[GYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!] (Underground demon)

The ground shook as the distinctive sound of his laughter echoed through the air. This earthquake was so great that the collapsed buildings snapped.

And then, something showed up.

An enormous, creepy-looking body that could only be described as a brownish caterpillar.

Its total length was well over 100 m.

The pink tentacles that were chasing after me were squirming from his mouth.

Despite his huge size, he was able to leap. And with tremendous speed, at that.

If I don’t do something, he’ll catch up to me.

Should I counter-attack with a Fahr Stone? No, he’s too close. At this distance, I might get caught in the explosion and not make it out alive.

It’s a bit of a waste, but I’ll use this then.

[【Cannon Volley】!] (Lugh)

I took out cannons from the Leather Crane Bag and fired them all at once.

Normally, the recoil would send them flying backwards unless I secured them on the ground with spikes.

As a matter of fact, they would be blown away even if I used the magnetic fixation spell on them.

If the cannon barrel bounced this much when firing, then there was no way to take an accurate shot.

Even so, I aimed right below me, and although my opponent was gigantic, it consequently made him an easy target.

The rain of cannon strikes pierced his flesh.

[GYAHAHAHA!] (Underground demon)

Even as my shots ran through his flesh, he kept charging at me.

The flesh around his wounds wriggled, and tentacles like those coming from his mouth extended from his wounds, which made for a repulsive spectacle.

Although I didn’t deal any damage to him, the astounding kinetic energy of the cannon strikes slowed him down. This gave me a chance to get away.

However, a tentacle thinner than the others grew out from the tentacle that stretched out the longest, and wrapped itself around my leg.

Mucus dripped out of that tentacle, and even my combat uniform made out of monster skin began to dissolve.

If I had been wearing ordinary clothes, they would’ve melted in the blink of an eye, and my legs would’ve melted to the bone.

I undid my wind armor and converted all that wind into propulsion for an explosive acceleration.

I forcibly tore off the thin tentacle that way.

Then I managed to crawl out of the pit and land on the surface.

When I stared into the pit from there, I saw the brown caterpillar jumping out of it as well, and dancing in the air.

He looked like a whale doing a somersault, then when he reached the peak of his jump, he fell back into the pit.

[GYAHAHAHA! Bummer, bummer. Let’s play again sometime. I’m going back.] (Underground demon)

A few seconds later, the earth grumbled as he slammed his mass into the ground.

And then, silence returned, as if nothing happened.

…Looks like he kills any creature that enters his pit, but doesn’t mess with those who get out of it.

When I looked into the pit, his giant body had disappeared into the ground.

And that was putting it mildly.

[This sucks. He’s a terrible matchup for us.] (Lugh)

I couldn’t think of a way to beat that thing at the moment.

I carefully untied the thin tentacle wrapped around my leg and bottled it up.

There was a good chance that I could obtain some information from it.

After that, I met up with Tarte and Dia without re-entering the pit.

If I went back in there, not only would I instantly be found out, but even if I fought that thing again, I wouldn’t be able to defeat it, and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to get any more information that way either.

[I’m back.] (Lugh)

[That was incredible. We could see that giant creature from here.] (Dia)

[Welcome back. Um, please help yourself to some lemonade.] (Tarte)

[Thanks.] (Lugh)

I received a bottle from Tarte and quenched my thirst with it.

This sweet-sour drink was refreshing.

[So, how was it? Have you found a way to beat it?] (Dia)

[About that, as it stands, we’re pretty much in a deadlock.] (Lugh)

So far, no matter what demon we came across, I had come up with a specific battle strategy for each of them, but I couldn’t think of a way to defeat that one.

[Figures… I mean, that thing is too big to hit it with【Demonkiller】.] (Dia)

[Exactly. We’re up against an opponent that’s over 100 m long, and our【Demonkiller】spell only has a radius of a few meters at most. We need to locate its Crimson Heart, but even if we did manage to locate it, if it turned out to be in the center of its body, we wouldn’t be able to reach it.] (Lugh)

The annoying thing about demons was that unless their power of existence, the core of which was their Crimson Heart, was neutralized and destroyed by using【Demonkiller】and the likes, they could regenerate indefinitely.

However, if the demon was that big, then the possibility of reaching his Crimson Heart was extremely low.

[It’s also annoying how that caterpillar dives into his pit.] (Tarte)

[Yeah. The fact that it can escape into the ground at any time won’t make it easy for us. And given its size, we won’t even be able to stop it from moving.] (Lugh)

The ability to move underground was an overpowering advantage.

Now matter how many times we would try to corner it, it would just dig a new path right away every time.

It was also troublesome in terms of defensibility.

For instance, I thought of using Fahr Stones to smoke it out of its hideout, as I once did with the beetle demon, but their destructive power would be drastically reduced if the enemy was deep underground.

The same would even apply with【Gungnir】.

What’s more, that guy had no intention of coming out of his pit.

His goal wasn’t to kill us, but to complete the production of the Fruit of Life, so there was no need for him to make an extra effort.

[Come to think of it, I wonder what kind of demon that was.] (Dia)

[Of the four remaining demons, only one species corresponds to that one. It looked like a caterpillar, but it’s actually a dragon.] (Lugh)

[A dragon? I thought they would look more majestic than that.] (Tarte)

[…I guess. But with a size of that scale, he’s most definitely a dragon.] (Lugh)

A subterranean dragon. Or so the legend went.

Apparently, there was a time when it swallowed a whole city from the depths of the earth.

[Say, do you know if there were any records about how the Hero beat it back then? I mean, even the Hero would have a hard time with it, right? It’s a pain when the enemy can dive underground, after all.] (Dia)

[According to the legend, the dragon ate the Hero and went back into the earth, but the Hero killed him from the inside of his stomach.] (Lugh)

[Maybe we could do the same. Once we enter his body, escaping underground won’t help him, and we can reach his Crimson Heart.] (Dia)

[You’re right… But the only problem is that he was spreading a poisonous fog that could dissolve even rock. So entering the body of that kind of creature would be horrifying.] (Lugh)

[Ugh… Sounds like it wouldn’t even take a second for him to melt us.] (Dia)

Be that as it may, we were really at a dead end at this point.

Finding a hint in the legend was in itself the right call, and we now had proof that he was indeed the subterranean dragon.

Speaking of which, the Hero was fighting a tough battle and prepared for his own defeat, but as soon as a storm blew, the movements of the dragon slowed down.

What did the storm have to do with that?

[…Let’s give it a try.] (Lugh)

[What’s wrong, Lugh? Why did you take out your Fahr Stones?] (Dia)

[I thought I’d harass him a little before giving up.] (Lugh)

This was nothing more than a hypothesis, but it was worth a shot.

And I just so happened to have a piece of his flesh in my bottle to verify it.

…I think it would be a smart choice to withdraw without betting on that sliver of hope. Then I could proceed to ask Epona for reinforcements, even though I’m almost certain that she wouldn’t make it in time. On the off chance that she did, she might be able to win.

But I don’t want to take that chance.

If we didn’t stop the dragon here, not only would the Fruit of Life be completed and the Demon King’s resurrection be imminent, but other cities would be attacked with that same modus operandi again.

And this time, it could be Tuatha Dé, Milteu, or any other cities where the ones that mattered to me were.

Which is why I would do everything I could to finish him off here.

Not out of a sense of justice, but to protect what I wanted to protect.

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