Determining The Current State
To confirm the current state of my power, I was challenging the labyrinth, but at the moment, I could still continue. I had several guidelines for when I’d turn back, primarily if the battles got more difficult or if I felt tired, but fatigue was unlikely. I can just throw my sword from a distance and use Weapon Break.
If the enemy doesn’t get killed off by that, I just poisoned them with Poison Attack. Even in close range, I was sure I could handle myself easily thanks to my daily training. Worst case, I could just run away and apply Weapon Break to nearby trees and activate it from a distance. Having gained an offensive skill had greatly increased my firepower in short measure.
After that, what mattered was which rank of labyrinth I could fight with this skill structure. The most difficult one around the city was D-rank.
It might not be a bad idea to try it someday, I thought as I broke through the ninth floor and headed for the tenth. Well, if the worst comes to worst, I just have to run away.
I already knew the attack patterns of this last opponent. I drank a potion of poison resistance and entered the tenth floor.
A big snake looked down at me, its long tongue flickering at me as its eyes seemed to laugh. Sometimes there were debates over how much labyrinth monsters remembered. Would the memories of one monster that died in the labyrinth be handed over to others? Maybe now that Poison Snake felt lucky because I came alone?
Pushing those thoughts to the corner of my mind, I pulled out my sword. The first one to strike was the Poison Snake, which spat venom from its mouth with the speed and sharpness of an arrow. I dodged while throwing two poison knives back at it, which both pierced its body.
Gradually, it would start to make unnatural movements, indicating the poison was taking effect. After that, there would be no problems if I just fought it normally without losing my poison resistance.
This would be my first time dealing with the Poison Snake’s attacks directly. Last time I left the vanguard role to Mear-san, and took a support role.
When the Poison Snake attacks with its body, it has a tell based on what it’s going to do. For example, if it’s going to strike using its body, it will fold itself. If it’s going to attack with its tail, it will shake the tail first to build up its momentum. This makes the attacks easy to predict. Of course, the range of those attacks is still quite large due to its large size, but it’s fun to see what it’s going to do before it does it.
After I dodge its attack, the snake has an opening. I threw a sword I made just for this battle, with the skills Transparency and Weapon Break. The invisible sword pierced the snake and immediately exploded, causing it to screech from the pain. Some of its scales had been blown off, exposing raw flesh. Even though it was bleeding purple, it still hadn’t lost its will to fight.
Again it spit out its venom, and again I dodged it while throwing more knives with negative effects, which pierced it. Perhaps because of that, its movements had slowed down significantly. Even if I was a little slow in dodging, I’d still evade its attacks.
Not long after, the Poison Snake violently gushed out a poison mist. It always does this when its physical strength has diminished a bit, as I learned from when I fought it with Mear-san last time.
The poison mist didn’t work on me because of the poison resistance from the potion effect… Though I had prepared a potion of status recovery just in case.
While it was spraying out the mist, the snake was full of openings. I got in range of its bosom and pierced it with my sword. I made a new sword with Weapon Break and stabbed it next to the first one, repeating until there were five in total.
Then I got some distance and activated the skills that were all focused on one place. All the swords exploded, and I covered my ears from the thunderous sound. The Poison Snake shook violently at the epicenter of the blast.
Did it survive that?
I was observing it carefully, but the Poison Snake had stopped moving. Well, the whole point of the attack was to finish it off, after all. I looked at my fist while collecting the spoils.
I’m much more capable of fighting alone than I thought. Weapon Break has more than made up for my previous lack of attack power. With that being the case, I might be able to clear an even higher rank labyrinth, but impatience is forbidden. It’s always necessary to proceed carefully, little by little.
Nevertheless… I was glad I’d grown so much now. My doubts had given way to conviction.
I saw where the Poison Snake was lying down before it turned into loot. As I left the labyrinth, I recalled the huge body falling down and reveled in my victory.
◆ ◆ ◆
When I returned to the city, I came to the usual restaurant to meet with Klua-san. We’d made a promise, after all. While I waited out front, Klua-san rushed over in a hurry.
“I’m sorry! Did I keep you waiting?”
“It’s fine. I just got here.”
“Yes. I was doing some activities as an adventurer today…”
I entered the restaurant with her, and we sat face to face.
“So you’re also active as an adventurer?”
“I see… but, can a Blacksmith… fight?”
“Yeah, I can.”
Klua-san looked at me with astonishment. At least it was actually the kind of reaction I was expecting. I’m aware of how crazy it sounds. Since I was a child, I was told that “Blacksmithing is a lost occupation, it’s useless,” so it was common knowledge.
“Anyway, Klua-san, I wanted to ask you something.”
“What is it?”
“I wanted to confirm your perception of Blacksmiths ― the public’s perception, that is. Can you tell me about it?”
“Uh… are you sure?”
Klua-san put her hand on her chin and nodded.
“I guess you already have some ideas about it, right? So I’ll tell you the image of a Blacksmith I had before I met you.”
“First of all, Blacksmiths can only make weapons, and the weapons they make can be questionable, so they’re inferior to Divine Treasures.”
“Okay… and uh… for a Blacksmith to create weapons in the first place is to deny our God-given Divine Treasures, so it’s akin to rebellion against God.”
“…So it is, that’s not exactly wrong.”
I’ve heard that the church hates Blacksmiths, even if it’s a God-given occupation. For those who believe in God, it’s evil to deny the weapon God has given them.
“On top of that… a Blacksmith can’t make daily necessities at all, they’re limited to weapons only. That’s everything I knew about them.”
Everything she said lined up with what I’d also heard.
“Don’t you think it’s strange?”
“Yeah, I do. Why did they describe Blacksmiths like that when they’re actually so great?”
“No, that’s a natural question…”
“Was there anything else?”
“Why is only Blacksmithing said to be a lost occupation, even though it’s so well known?”
She was stunned. “C-certainly, you’re right… I didn’t even think about it until you said that.”
There’s no other occupation said to be ‘lost’ other than Blacksmithing. I’ve heard a lot of anecdotes about my occupation, but this one in particular sticks out. Why does everyone in the world assert that Blacksmithing is a lost occupation? Until recently, I never even questioned it.