Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 170: The Strongest Intermediate Demon
Jesse Dylan was humming a song while filing his nails with a small stone file, leisurely as if on vacation. Adrian Cross crossed his arms and looked at the scene in the center of the maze.
In the center of the maze was a wide stone platform with many weapons and books floating on it. The transparent beam of light surrounded them firmly like a display cabinet, with one exception. A dark red sword was pierced in the middle of the stone platform, and the exposed blade seemed to be burning with flames.
The Sword of Ruinous Fire. The sword that Oliver’s father wielded, Flint Lopez, the head of the Tin Soldier Mercenary Regiment.
Adrian stared at it for a while, then calmly turned his gaze away. He has no interest in the Sword of Ruinous Fire or the identity of the “last Hero”. He had never challenged the Great Isamel Labyrinth. Out of some strange emotion, he had a faint awe of this place.
The Great Isamel Labyrinth wasn’t a “maze” at first.
When it was discovered more than a thousand years ago, there were no walls, and it was called the “Cursed Land” at that time. No one could explain what happened in this vast land. It seems that someone had cut different landscapes and climates into pieces, put them together casually, and even rotated them from time to time to twist the space in an ordered fashion. The creatures inside were also very rare, including almost all the creatures that could be detected on the surface. Scholars have even found many ancient life that should have been extinct long ago on the edge of space, as well as… Surface creatures that resembled demons and pure demons that resembled surface creatures.
In order to unlock the secrets of the cursed land, countless scholars and adventurers died here.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t solve the mystery here. People went through a lot of hard work to find the center of this weird space, but only found an orb made of pure dragon breath stone. It was as big as the most magnificent palace, snow-white and smooth, without any flaws. The ball just hovered in the air, exuding a faint sense of oppression.
In order to facilitate research, scholars established a research institute on the land adjacent to the Cursed Land. As time passed, the increasingly expanding institute became the Clementine Royal Military Academy. Research was still ongoing, but until now, the researchers had just understood the function of the stone orb—
It was powering the stability and resetting of space.
As for where it came from, who made it, and by what means it hovered there, no one knew, but the unsolvable puzzle didn’t prevent people from using this strange land. After the brave adventurers conquered all the spaces, they marked the boundaries of the space with high walls, and the Cursed Land officially became the Great Isamel Labyrinth, an excellent testing ground.
People always like to classify completely unexplainable, strange phenomena as miracles. If this definition was followed, then the most magnificent miracle on the surface was here.
Adrian looked up at the huge dragon breath stone orb. The huge shadow it cast blocked the gradually setting red sunlight, turning slowly without making the slightest sound.
‘A beautiful miracle,’ he thought.
But the other person completely destroyed the solemn scene. Jesse was finally satisfied with all ten fingernails. He came over unwillingly, stood next to the knight commander, and looked curiously at the other party’s gaze.
“A ball.” The blond young man glanced at the white sphere floating over the maze. “Adri, you… Well, you’re in such a good mood.”
“Surface creatures that look infinitely close to demons, and demons that look like surface creatures. This place is quite similar to you,” Adrian said softly, turning his gaze back. “You’re also very familiar with this place, aren’t you?”
“Uh-huh.” Jesse scratched his chin carelessly.
“How much do you know about this place?”
“Enough, but Adri, you’re not suitable to know the truth yet.” Jesse leaned closer and tried to kiss the other’s cheek, but Adrian slapped him on the mouth and pushed him away smoothly and resolutely.
“Oh,” Adrian responded coldly, without meaning to continue asking.
“Aren’t you even going to ask me?” Jesse’s mouth was still against the palm of the knight’s hand, so his voice sounded muffled.
“How can I be considered ‘suitable’?”
As soon as he finished asking, Adrian felt the lips under his palm tighten. Jesse Dylan was laughing, and then there was a wet numb itch. The other party was licking his palm.
The knight quickly retracted his hand and moved his gaze away.
“First of all, I didn’t take the initiative to mention religion.” Jesse wiped his mouth regretfully, though the smile at the corner of his mouth was obvious. “When you decide to turn your back on your God, then you’ll be considered ‘suitable’.”
After that, Jesse whistled good-naturedly and looked at the knight commander, who was staring firmly elsewhere. Yes, of course he knew the truth about this place.
After all, this was the place that he built at the behest of someone. It was just that guy who had forgotten everything right now, while he was happily playing with his toys here, and even brought a bunch of dumfounded little ones with him.
Jesse shook his head, retracted his gaze glued to the knight commander, and swept in a certain direction…
On the other side, not far from the center of the maze.
Time was normal in the depths of the maze. The setting sun was sinking behind the trees, the air was gradually growing colder, and the mysterious chewing sound of shadows coming from the bushes became clearer and louder. Elmer had used up all the tent cloths and supported a temporary tent that was spacious and strong enough against the stone wall. The camouflage spell was triggered, so from the perspective from outside the tent, there was nothing on this stone platform.
He didn’t know the surrounding environment yet, so it wasn’t wise to go out hunting rashly. Elmer and Oliver separated a small part of the dry food from the logistics backpack, added enough water, and used the heating method at the bottom of the pot to boil it into a warm, thick porridge. They didn’t even know which area of the labyrinth they were in, and no one knew if there would be any creatures that were easily attracted to open flames. At least they made sure that the dry food and water were clean, and the temperature at this level should be enough, so there was no need to light a campfire.
The porridge had a rough and dull taste, but no one complained. Everyone stayed in their positions peacefully, trying to regain their strength and trying to find some positive emotions from the unknown anxiety.
The sun finally sank completely. As night fell, no one dared to cast a light spell. The six young people shrank in the tent as the wind blew on the tent, causing it to rattle. The weird howls and terrifying footsteps around them gradually increased, and it sounded closer.
“Someone has to keep watch, and we must be prepared to fight or escape at any time.” Leonard was silent for a while, but still couldn’t help but speak.
“We can take turns. Did anyone bring a mechanical timer? One person keeps watch for a while so that everyone can rest.” Marilyn rolled her hair into a tight bun and asked.
“I’ll do it.” Leonard glanced at the back of the young girl’s snow-white neck. Her face was a little red.
“We can take turns.” Marilyn emphasized.
“I agree with Miss Lawler,” Hayden muttered. “It’s better for everyone to take a break.”
“Uh… How about Mr. Leonard and I keep watch for a while longer?” Elmer scratched his head.
“We’re reserve soldiers, not civilians who need protection. Being able to stay alert at night is the most basic requirement. And you two are the main combat power. Your lack of energy is likely to kill the whole team. Don’t worry, I still know a few refreshing techniques.” The beautiful female nurse has no intention of backing down.
“Marilyn, the situation has reached this point, so you don’t have to keep targeting me.” Leonard lowered his head, his voice a little helpless. “Well, maybe I really have upset you, but now is the moment of life and death…”
“Then let me make things clear.” The female nurse simply stood up and walked to the noble warrior.
“No matter how I refuse, you’ll follow. Don’t you know what ‘no’ means? Yes, your face is not bad. Although your personality is a bit rotten, you’re indeed not bad and your brain isn’t stupid. As a noble child, you are indeed excellent—perhaps very good.”
What Marilyn said was praise, but there was no expression on her face.
“I’ll give you back the same thing you just dealt to Oliver Borne, Leonard. Do you think your conditions are good enough, your abilities aren’t bad, and you have an interest in me, or even ‘love’ me, that I should accept it happily? Yes, I’m a civilian woman with no future, and I know this very well, but…”
She took a deep breath, squatted down, and looked up at Leonard, sitting on the ground. “There are countless excellent and lovely men in this world. Is it possible that as long as they express their affection for me, I will love them all? I made it clear that I don’t like you, so ‘no’ is ‘no’. No one is obliged to fall in love with anyone.”
“By the way,” Marilyn didn’t intend to stop there, “I didn’t mean to target you along the way. I’m speaking and refuting from the standpoint of a soldier, not the ‘wayward woman mixed with private emotions’ in your mind. Please don’t continue to misunderstand. Now we are comrades-in-arms, and everything I do is just to make everyone’s survival rate higher, that’s all. Now I repeat it again, I suggest everyone take turns keeping watch.”
She stared into the warrior’s eyes solemnly, then lowered her gaze, and stood up humbly.
Witnessing someone else’s lovelorn scene wasn’t a good experience. Nemo and Oliver shrank to the edge of the tent almost at the same time. Leonard, the tragic actor, didn’t say a word, and the noble warrior stared at the place where the broadsword was inserted into the soil, and began to become lost in a daze.
“I’ll do it.” Seeing that no one wanted to break the dull atmosphere that was beginning to spread, Nemo opened his mouth.
“What do you mean?” Hayden raised his head.
“I am very good at staying up all night, and there will be no fatigue the next day, and it will definitely not affect my actions,” Nemo said. “I promise this is not being brave. And you see, I…uh, I’m not a combat member, am I?”
Hayden and Marilyn quickly exchanged glances. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes,” Nemo responded firmly.
“I have no problem, Mr. White. I hope you’re playing with everyone’s lives.” Marilyn frowned.
“Nemo’s words should be fine, he is very strong, I can guarantee that.” Hayden breathed a sigh of relief, and secretly glanced at Leonard, who had suffered a loss.
Leonard still didn’t say a word and remained silent until everyone was wrapped in a thin blanket and fell asleep.
Oliver and Nemo stayed outside the tent. There were stars twinkling above their heads. Not long ago, there were indeed a few big guys nearby. While everyone was asleep, Oliver went for a trip and forcibly dragged them a few miles away. The surroundings got a lot quieter now, and only the whispers of vague beasts could be heard.
They were a lot freer now. Demons were rampant here, and as long as Nemo controlled his strength within the capabilities of these demons, even if it exceeded a little bit, it would not appear too conspicuous. Although Oliver’s abilities were weird, in the Great Isamel Labyrinth, where strange things happened frequently, the same saying still applied—as long as it wasn’t excessive, the possibility of exposure would be much less.
After cleaning up his surroundings, Oliver wanted to lean against the rock wall while wrapped in a blanket. As soon as he leaned in the direction of the stone wall, Nemo grabbed him and pressed his head onto his thigh.
“Lie down and sleep.” The silver-gray eyes gleamed in the moonlight. Nemo smiled and inserted his fingers into Oliver’s soft hair. “You also need to rest. I said, I can just stand guard.”
Within three minutes, Oliver fell into a deep sleep. His left wrist rested relaxed on the slate, showing off the demon engraving that he had no intention of removing. Nemo stared at it, and his smile became a bit bitter.
After enough lessons, Nemo was not about to let down his guard just because his strength was enough. This decision of his could be said to have saved the lives of the entire team. A little after 3 in the morning, disaster suddenly struck.
Nemo leaned down and kissed his lover’s slightly opened lips. Oliver woke up immediately. He stood up neatly, and the drowsiness in his eyes dissipated in a second.
“Feel it?” Nemo randomly pointed in a certain direction in the dark.
It was a demon tide.
Unlike those big guys with unusually good brains, the demon tide was composed of only subordinate demons, beasts, and intermediate demons that weren’t very strong. They were by no means smart, and they didn’t have any tactics, but sometimes they gathered together like locusts, gnawing at everything that blocked their way, whether it was dead or alive.
They were a bit like a group of rats. The combat effectiveness of a single individual wasn’t strong but becomes troublesome when the numbers increase. According to the dangerous rumors of The Great Isamel Labyrinth, it wasn’t uncommon for this kind of thing to appear in the deeper layers. They couldn’t disperse them by driving away the big guys. Even if they really resorted to violence, they didn’t know how long this strange tide of activity would last.
It was the best policy to leave. It wasn’t far from the center of the maze, where it was as calm as the center of a tornado. They might be able to lure this group of young people directly there.
“Hmm.” Oliver nodded blankly, obviously quickly understanding the current situation. “But next time you can kiss me harder. I won’t care.”
“Let’s go wake them up.” Nemo shook his head amusedly and took a breath.
“Enemy attack!” he shouted loudly, “It’s a demon tide!”
The students reacted extremely quickly. In less than three seconds, Elmer grabbed his backpack and then carried the thin Hayden and Marilyn on his shoulders. Leonard drew out his broad sword, ran to the front of Elmer, and ran as fast as possible…
“This way! No problem here!” Oliver pointed in the direction of the center of the maze.
Leonard glared at Oliver, but the noble warrior could feel it for himself, and the murderous aura in that direction did fade a lot. He didn’t hesitate anymore and changed his direction decisively.
Nemo and Oliver took the initiative to step back and quietly let out a little breath to lead the demon tide in the other direction. After two hours of rolling around, the numb sound of gnawing on the scalp finally disappeared from the ears of the group.
“I haven’t encountered anything unusual.” Hayden coughed a few times on Elmer’s shoulder. His face turned pale. “Maybe we are still in the shallow part of the maze.”
“I hope so. It would be great if there were signs in this hellhole,” Marilyn on the other shoulder responded across the backpack.
“Run,” Leonard spoke for the first time in a long time. His voice was a little hoarse. “Elmer, you take them and run quickly. Go immediately!”
“What’s the matter?” Marilyn asked immediately. Her and Hayden’s faces were facing Elmer’s wide back, and they couldn’t see a way forward.
“The strongest intermediate demon, Midnight Walker. It smelled us.” Leonard didn’t talk nonsense. He raised his sword high and wide, and a golden arc of light climbed onto the blade. “I’ll delay it. Go!”
The Midnight Walker was good at concealing its breath. It wasn’t big; the tallest was no more than five meters. They sneak in the dark night, harvesting lives with slender and sharp, sickle-shaped claws.
Three claws split off. Leonard held two of them firmly while the third slid down against his shoulder, directly breaking through the metal armor and even cutting a large piece of flesh at his belt. Blood burst from the wound, causing a layer of sweat to appear on the face of the little nobleman.
‘It stopped,’ Leonard thought. In fact, he knew very well in his heart that there weren’t any mages that were good at binding spells with them. They weren’t this thing’s opponent. If he wanted to improve his survival rate…
Suddenly, a beautiful healing spell was applied to his wound.
Marilyn Lawler broke free of Elmer’s arm forcefully and rushed to the rear of the warrior.
“So you can last longer,” she said. “I’ll leave in a while.”
It seemed to be stimulated by the smell of blood. The Midnight Walker stretched out four arms in the air, making a sharp chirping sound with its mouth. The hook claw split like lightning. Leonard’s scalp exploded as he reluctantly raised his sword, ready to defend with a standard defensive formation.
He knew this definitely wouldn’t work, but Leonard’s mind was blank, and he couldn’t think of anything else. The Midnight Walker wouldn’t wait for him to ponder the current situation slowly; he must act. As a glorious soldier, he must protect himself…
Elmer, who had always been honest and obedient, unexpectedly didn’t move this time. The burly young man stood in silence, and he didn’t seem to have any intention of pulling out a hunting knife to support him. Leonard was confused for a moment, causing his defense array to suddenly loosen.
The swear of the noble soldier got stuck in his throat before he could finish his curse. Leonard understood why Elmer hadn’t moved. He became aware of something.
Yes, they had no escape.
“This won’t work.” The deserter scratched his head and smiled a little shyly. “It’s too early for them to deal with it.”
In just a few seconds, the Midnight Walker only had time to let out a vague scream before they watched it fly into the trees in the distance and fall disgracefully.
The author has something to say:
Yes, Jesse built this place.
Jesse: What did you humans do to my little box…!