Is it Wrong to Swing Through the Dungeon? - Chapter 12 - Azreal_007 (2024)

Chapter Text

Bell found himself pressed against the ceiling, ensnared in sticky webs that restricted his movements. Struggling against the tight bonds, he strained to free himself, his muscles taut with effort as he fought against the relentless hold of the webs. From this vantage point, he watched with a mix of awe and admiration as Peter single-handedly faced the onslaught of ants below. The grace with which Peter moved, the fluidity of his strikes, and the sheer power he wielded left Bell in silent wonder.

Watching Peter's unmatched agility and skill in the midst of battle, a pang of inadequacy swept over Bell. He couldn't help but compare himself to his companion, recognizing the vast difference in their capabilities. In that moment of introspection, Bell came to a realization: Peter had suspended him above the fray not as a neglectful act, but to protect him. It was a sobering reminder of his own weaknesses, understanding that he would only hinder Peter's efforts, not enhance them. This recognition fueled Bell's determination to grow stronger, not just for his own sake, but to truly stand by Peter's side as an equal.

He watched in awe as Peter cleared more than half of the pantry in a single leap, landing in a relatively clear spot amidst the sea of ants. With astonishing strength and agility, Peter ensnared an ant with his webs and began swinging it around like a whirlwind, a makeshift weapon of destruction. The ants formed a perimeter around him, their chittering growing frantic as Peter wielded his improvised wrecking ball, knocking out hordes of ants with each powerful swing.

- With Peter -

As Peter continued his relentless assault on the invading ants, his mind raced with strategies and tactics, each movement calculated with precision. Yet, he couldn't shake the pang of regret for underestimating his foes. The electro webs, designed to deliver a lethal shock, fell short against the ants' armored shells, merely stunning them instead of killing them.

Regret gnawed at him as he remembered Jane's earlier warning about the ants emitting pheromones to call for backup if injured. He cursed himself for letting his guard down, for failing to heed her advice. As his makeshift weapon began to deteriorate under the strain of battle, Peter knew he needed a new approach.

Discarding the ant carcass he had been wielding, Peter wasted no time in commanding Jane, "Activate instant kill." With swift compliance, Jane confirmed, "Instant kill mode activated."

His mask's eyes ignited with a menacing red glow. Simultaneously, his HUD sprang to life, illuminating his enemies' weak points with light blue crosshairs, pinpointing the ants' brains and the crystals within their thoraxes. A surge of power surged through his web shooters, energizing them. With a subtle mechanical hum, the barrels of his web shooters extended out slightly, primed and ready to unleash their lethal payload upon the horde.

With precision honed by years of experience and aided by A.I., Peter aligned his web shooters towards his targets. His HUD seamlessly guided his aim, the crosshairs turning red as they locked onto each ant. In a rapid succession, he fired, unleashing fast-moving web spikes that punctured the ants' brains or shattered their crystals with lethal efficiency. Not a single shot missed, thanks to his A.I.-assisted targeting.

Even as he unleashed his onslaught, Peter remained vigilant, his spider sense alerting him to incoming attacks from all sides. With lightning-fast reflexes, he expertly dodged the ants' assaults, evading their strikes with a dancer's grace.

In a display of remarkable agility, Peter propelled himself upward, effortlessly adhering to the ceiling and flipping into an inverted position. From this inverted position, he continued to rain down a relentless storm of projectiles upon the swarming ants, each shot finding its mark with deadly accuracy.

The killer ants began scaling the walls and advancing toward the ceiling, their relentless numbers threatening to overwhelm even Peter's rapid firing rate and deadly accuracy.

"Peter!!!" Bell's urgent shout pierced the chaos, signaling danger as the ants closed in on his position where Peter had initially secured him to the ceiling for his own safety. Peter cursed under his breath, realizing the gravity of the situation. With a swift motion, he canceled his spell, releasing Bell from his precarious perch, grateful for his foresight to use magic for securing Bell instead of his web shooters. Peter watched as Bell plummeted into the sea of ants below.

To Peter's amazement, Bell displayed remarkable agility even amidst the chaos, plunging downward with his knife aimed at an ant's brain. With a ferocity born of necessity, Bell began slaughtering the ants with surprising speed and agility, despite the limitations imposed by his small blade. Peter couldn't help but marvel at Bell's progress since their previous dungeon dive, musing that it must be due to his skill, Liaris Freese.

Continuing to provide cover fire for Bell, Peter fought to keep the relentless horde at bay, though he could feel the ants closing in on him as well. Despite the daunting odds, he noticed a glimmer of hope as the tide of battle slowly turned in their favor. It seemed the dungeon had reached its spawning limit, and the horde was thinning.

Suddenly, Jane's urgent voice cut through the chaos, "Warning, web cartridges running low." Peter cursed inwardly, his mind racing for a solution. Desperation fueled his determination as he pondered if he could replicate the web spikes with his magic. With intense focus, he channeled his energy, shaping his magical webbing into spikes. While he managed to get the shape right, but they still remained disappointingly soft and sticky like his normal webs.

With determination etched into every line of his face, Peter unsheathed his knife and leaped down toward Bell's besieged position. As he descended, he moved with the fluid grace of a predator, dispatching foes with swift, precise strikes. But as the battle raged on, it became clear that his cheap blade was no match for the relentless onslaught. With a sickening snap, it finally succumbed to the strain of his superhuman strength and the ants' resilient shells.

Left with no other recourse, Peter abandoned the broken blade and prepared to fight with his bare hands. When Peter first gained his powers, his incredible strength often resulted in unintentional damage. He had accidentally torn a door from its frame when attempting to open it in the wrong direction. In another mishap, while trying to move a damaged car, he inadvertently bent its bodywork out of shape.

As he grappled with his newfound abilities, he quickly learned the necessity of holding back, lest he inadvertently break something or, worse, harm someone. This lesson became a fundamental part of his approach to life, ingrained in his every action.

In combat, he had to exercise even greater caution, fully aware that the slightest miscalculation could result in catastrophic consequences. It was a perpetual struggle, a delicate equilibrium between utilizing his formidable strength and preventing lasting harm, even to the villains he faced.

But now, faced with an enemy that he knew wasn’t truly alive, he stopped holding back. With each bone-crushing punch and bone-shattering kick, he tapped into reserves he had long kept restrained, unleashing his full power without hesitation.

For the first time in his life, Peter went all out. His fists, once held back by fear of causing harm, became lethal weapons, crushing ant skulls with terrifying efficiency. His kicks sent bodies flying, cleaving through the horde like a scythe through wheat.

Amidst the chaos, a small smile graced Peter's lips, a reflection of the exhilaration coursing through him. In this moment of unbridled fury, he felt liberated from the shackles of restraint, free to unleash his true potential. He realized, with a sense of awe, just how vastly superior he was to his adversaries.

- Sometime Later -

Bell knelt amidst the aftermath, his movements deft as he extracted the monster cores with practiced precision. Surrounding him were hundreds of ant corpses, their once-formidable forms now reduced to lifeless husks. The scene felt eerily serene, like the aftermath of a tempest.

Shivers ran down Bell's spine as he recalled Peter's ferocious onslaught, the memory etched vividly in his mind. He couldn't shake the image of Peter tearing through the monsters with the strength of a demon, his eyes ablaze with a primal intensity, glowing red like embers of a fire. In that moment, Peter had seemed to transcend mere mortal limits, transformed into a force of nature far more terrifying than any monster Bell had faced in the dungeon. This left Bell pondering the true nature of his fellow familia member.

He glanced at Peter, whose fists moved with precision, each strike targeting the crystal cores buried within the ant corpses. With every impact, the cores shattered, and the ants' remains crumbled into fine particles, dissipating into the air. It was evident that carrying all the monster cores they had slain would be impossible. Jane had advised them to destroy the excess monster cores.

Both of them were completely covered in monster gore, the remnants of the fierce battle they had just endured. As Bell observed, he noticed the golden parts of Peter's armor begin to melt, the liquid metal shifting and swirling across his armor, magically cleansing it. In a matter of minutes, Peter's armor was restored to its pristine state. With seemingly boundless abilities at his disposal, Peter's prowess defied explanation, leaving Bell to question the depths of his own understanding.

In that moment, Bell felt the weight of his own limitations pressing down on him like a suffocating blanket. Painful waves of inadequacy washed over him as he compared his meager accomplishments to Peter's overwhelming display of power. Glancing down at his torn clothing, remnants of the ants' vicious attacks, Bell's frustration intensified. Despite his wounds having healed thanks to restorative potions, stubborn bloodstains stubbornly marred his attire. He had spent most of the battle being safely stuck to the ceiling and then he had slain only a few of the monsters, and yet he had still been injured.

A surge of frustration coursed through Bell as he reflected on his position within their familia. His fellow member possessed an impressive arsenal of skills, magic, and even the blessing of a spirit residing in his armor. In comparison, Bell felt woefully lacking. How could he ever hope to stand alongside someone so strong and enigmatic?

These feelings of inadequacy stirred doubt within Bell's heart, casting shadows upon his resolve. He couldn't shake the nagging question of his own worthiness within their familia, wondering if he would ever be able to contribute on the same level as Peter.

He felt as though he was relegated to the role of a mere supporter, dutifully extracting monster stones while Peter dominated the battlefield. Bell glanced at their bags, both brimming to the point of overflowing. "The bags are full," he informed Peter, a tinge of frustration in his voice.

With a casual flick of his wrist, Peter began weaving his webs, a mesmerizing display of his abilities. Within seconds, he crafted a bag made entirely of webbing and handed it over to Bell. "Use this," he said simply before returning to his task of destroying monster cores.

Bell couldn't help but marvel at Peter's seemingly limitless abilities. As he accepted the makeshift bag, a sense of awe washed over him, mingled with a hint of envy. Was there any limit to what Peter could accomplish? It was a question that lingered in Bell's mind as he continued to extract the monster crystals.

Peter and Bell approached the exchange counter at the guild. Despite Bell's attempts to tidy up, his clothes bore the evidence of their fierce battle, torn in places where he had been injured. Each of them carried two extra bags made of webbing, in addition to their backpacks, all filled to the brim with crystals. Peter had discovered that he could feel how much longer his magical webs would last. He found a way to extend their lifespan, by infusing them with additional magic, allowing them to carry such a large haul from the dungeon.

As they emptied the contents of their bags into the exchange box, except for the Blue Papilio wings, Peter couldn't help but notice Eina's watchful gaze, which seemed to follow their every move like a hawk eyeing its prey from behind her counter. Her eyes darted between Bell's torn clothes and the mountain of loot they were exchanging, as if trying to solve some mysterious puzzle.

"You better go reassure your girlfriend that you're fine," Peter suggested with a sly tone as he subtly gestured towards Eina.

Bell's face turned a brilliant shade of red, his embarrassment palpable. "She's not my girlfriend," he stammered, the words tumbling out in a rush as he tried to save face.

Peter's tone remained unchanged, his words carrying a hint of amusem*nt. "If you say so." Despite the mask hiding his features, his teasing tone was unmistakable, leaving Bell squirming uncomfortably under Eina's scrutinizing gaze.

Bell scurried off to Eina, his cheeks still tinged with embarrassment, while Peter remained at the counter as he observed the clerk assess their dungeon loot. On his mask’s HUD, Jane displayed the meticulous breakdown of the loot and its total valuation.

Suddenly, Eina's voice pierced through the bustling atmosphere of the guild. "You went down to the seventh floor?!" she exclaimed, her astonishment echoing through the room. A moment later, her voice rose even louder, carrying across the entire guild hall, "Peter defeated a Level 5?!"

Peter let out a resigned sigh, his hand instinctively flying to pinch the bridge of his nose. It was as if Bell was a walking megaphone, blurting out their secrets to all the pretty faces he came across. Whispers spread like wildfire among the guild members and adventurers.

"Who is this Peter guy?"

"I heard rumors that a nobody level 1 challenged one of the Loki Familia's Hiryute Sisters to a duel."

"I was there in the hostess yesterday when a guy challenged 'The Crusher'."

"I heard he actually won."

"Is he the one wearing the mask and the fancy armor?"

Peter excused himself from the counter, assuring the clerk he'd be back in a jiffy, while the clerk remained focused on evaluating their loot. Striding over to Eina with frustration evident in his demeanor, he hissed, "Thanks for shouting out my secret to the entire guild. Your guild workers are the epitome of discretion." Eina, to her credit, flushed crimson with embarrassment and offered a sheepish apology.

Eina's demeanor suddenly shifted, and she confronted Peter with a stern expression. "Why are you diving all the way down to the seventh floor already? You just became an adventurer yesterday! You'll end up getting Bell and yourself killed. I forbid you from venturing below the fifth floor," she declared, her glasses gleaming as she glared.

Peter couldn't help but smirk beneath his mask, even though it wasn't visible. "And how, pray tell, are you planning to enforce this restriction? Are you going to join us in the dungeon to make sure we don't go too deep?" he quipped, his tone dripping with sarcasm.

Eina gave one of her signature glares, her spectacle lenses suddenly gleaming like beacons of disapproval. Peter couldn't help but silently rate her glare as a solid 5/10. After all, she didn't have any actual power to back up that glare, but he decided to give her points for the effort. Merit where merit was due, right? However, when Eina turned her gaze towards Bell, who visibly squirmed under its effect, Peter mentally upped the score to an impressive 8/10. It seemed the glare had quite the impact on poor Bell.

"How did you two manage to gather so many monster drops today?" Eina asked suspiciously, her tone brimming with skepticism.

Bell began to stammer out an explanation, his words coming out in a jumbled mess. "We, um, went into the... uh... seventh floor... monster pantry. There were some... injured ants... that attracted others with... um... pheromones..."

Eina's response was loud enough to shatter glass. "WHAT?!"

Peter couldn't resist a sarcastic quip. "If you're planning to split our eardrums, try to raise your volume just a tad. Even a slight increase would do."

Eina's glare intensified, directed now squarely at Peter. She hissed, "Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to go into the monster pantry? And those killer ants? Do you know how many rookie adventurers they've killed?"

Peter shrugged nonchalantly. "All I know is that they're super weak and easy to attract thanks to their pheromones. Real efficient way to make easy money, if you ask me." he said, clearly unfazed by Eina's disapproval.

Eina sighed in frustration and turned to Bell. "If you're going to keep diving into the dungeon with this madman," she began, gesturing towards Peter, "then you need proper armor. I'd accompany you myself if I could, but with Monsterphilia coming up, I can't take leave. Promise me you'll go to the 8th floor of Babel Tower tomorrow and buy some decent armor."

Bell looked surprised. "The 8th floor? Aren't all the weapons and armor shops in the Babel Tower owned by the Hephaestus Familia? Those armors will be too expensive for someone like me."

Eina nodded. "That may be true for the lower floors, but on the upper floors, the goddess Hephaestus allows her lower-level familia members to sell their wares. They're just starting out and trying to make a name for themselves, so they offer their products at considerably lower prices."

Peter chimed in with interest, "I would also accompany you, Bell. I need to replace my knife, and I wouldn't mind browsing for some additional weapons." Bell's face lit up with a bright smile at the offer of company.

Peter bid farewell to Eina and made his way back to the exchange counter, leaving Eina to continue lecturing Bell, who was probably feeling the heat of her frustration. As the clerk, a cat person, completed his assessment, he declared the total to be 230,000 Valis. Peter, who could see the exact valuation of the loot on his HUD, politely countered, "I'm sorry, but the total valuation is actually 243,000 Valis."

The clerk, taken aback by Peter's assertion, flushed with embarrassment, his cat-like instincts on full display. "Are you doubting my assessment?" he retorted, his ears flattening against his head in indignation and his tail twiching. His raised voice drew the attention of the other adventurers queued up at the exchange counters.

Peter remained unfazed, responding confidently, "We provided you with 12 Frog Shooter crystals, 2 War Shadow claws, 12 Needle Rabbit crystals and 2 of their tusks, 10 Purple Moth wings, and 137 Killer Ant crystals along with 34 of their mandibles. So, the total obviously comes to 243,000 Valis."

The clerk squirmed under the scrutiny of the adventurers and Peter's firm insistence. "Why don't you count the drops again in front of me?" Peter suggested, his tone leaving no room for argument. Murmurs of discontent rippled through the crowd, echoing the accusation that the guild might be cheating them.

Some of the adventurers chimed in, adding weight to Peter's demand. "Yeah, why don't you count it again to verify his claim?" they urged, their voices adding to the growing tension in the room. Even Bell and Eina, intrigued by the commotion, couldn't help but join the crowd to see what was happening.

Suddenly, the clerk found himself at the center of attention, his feline instincts telling him he was in a precarious situation. He gulped nervously, realizing the gravity of the situation as whispers and murmurs filled the air. After all, he was just an unblessed person sitting across from a bunch of superhumans who could rip him apart with their bare hands if they wanted.

A portly elf with snow-white hair, emerald eyes, and stout legs waddled forward, clad in a sharply tailored black suit that far outclassed the attire of his fellow guild workers. It was clear that this was no ordinary employee; this was Mr. Royman Mardeel, the head of the guild. His presence demanded attention as he approached the scene of the unfolding commotion.

"What's happening here?" he inquired with a tone of authority, fixing his gaze on the flustered clerk. The clerk stammered out an explanation, his words faltering under Mr. Royman's piercing scrutiny.

Royman turned his attention to Peter, his disdainful expression softened slightly by the tension in the room and the glares of the other adventurers. With forced politeness, he asked, "What seems to be the problem here, sir?"

Peter calmly recounted the situation, making his request with polite firmness. "All I'm asking is for him to count my loot again in front of me to verify my claim or prove me wrong," he explained.

The other adventurers echoed their support, voicing their suspicions. "Why isn't he counting again? Clearly, he has something to hide," they murmured, their distrust palpable in the air.

Mr. Royman assessed the situation with a critical eye, his mind already calculating the potential ramifications. As the overseer of the guild's operations, he had worked tirelessly to maintain their monopoly on monster crystals. While he had attempted to extend this control to other monster drop items, the independent dealings of adventurers with blacksmiths had proven to be a challenge.

Yet, with the crystals, Royman had succeeded in establishing a lucrative business model. By mandating that all traders purchase their crystals exclusively from the guild, he had ensured a steady stream of revenue. His efforts had not gone unrewarded; his substantial salary was a testament to his success in this endeavor.

However, managing adventurers was no easy task, especially when dealing with individuals possessing superhuman abilities. Royman and his fellow guild workers were unblessed, yet they were tasked with regulating and controlling these extraordinary individuals on a daily basis. It was a delicate balancing act, one that required finesse and careful management to prevent chaos from erupting within the guild's walls.

While arguments at the exchange counters were a common occurrence, this situation felt notably distinct. The members of the Soma familia were notorious for their daily disputes and accusations of the guild cheating them. However, this masked adventurer approached the situation with a level of politeness and determination that Royman found unsettling.

Observing the confidence exuded by the masked individual, Royman couldn't shake the suspicion that this bastard had meticulously tallied and evaluated his loot before presenting it. Unlike most adventurers, who often struggled with even basic arithmetic, this one seemed different. Royman grimaced at the memory of deciphering tax reports submitted by familia captains, a task that often left him with pounding headaches. Yet, this masked figure possessed a sharpness that set him apart.

Royman, who had painstakingly built the guild's monopoly over the course of a century, understood the gravity of the situation. If word got out that loot assessments were unreliable, it would undermine the foundation of trust that upheld the guild's authority. He knew he had to act swiftly to resolve this issue to prevent any potential damage to their long-standing reputation and control.

Leaning in close, Royman whispered a directive into the clerk's ear, his voice low and urgent. Clearing his throat, the clerk addressed Peter with an apology. "I apologize for the mistake, sir. Your total valuation is indeed 243,000 Valis."

As the adventurers continued their murmurs of discontent, Peter requested the loot to be divided into three equal shares. Bell's eyes widened in amazement at the sheer amount of Valis they were receiving for their loot. It was a staggering sum, far surpassing anything they had earned the day before—more than ten times over, in fact.

As some curious adventurers approached Peter, asking how he knew the exact valuation of the drops, he simply replied that all the information was available in the guild's library. Their incredulous expressions made him feel like he might as well have suggested they fight a Monster Rex armed only with toothpicks.

Eager to evade the attention he had unwittingly attracted, Peter swiftly exited the guild, pulling a bewildered Bell along with him.

Author's Note: A huge shoutout to Zanstel for beta reading this chapter and providing invaluable feedback to help me refine it.

Is it Wrong to Swing Through the Dungeon? - Chapter 12 - Azreal_007 (2024)


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