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PS: I almost deleted this chapter after I finished editing it by clicking on the wrong button...
I almost had a heart attack...
Phew, thank you Webnovel for asking me if I was sure about deleting it because I fucking wasn't...
'The 19th to the 24th floors are a continuation of the Middle floors and they are also known as the Tree Labyrinth.'
'These floors are known for their sudden increase in difficulty, making even Level 2 adventurers struggle to even pass through this place on their own...'
'The overall theme of this place is that of a poisonous, dense forest and the creatures that live within it...'
'Starting from the 19th floor, most of the floor consisted of caves, but starting from the 20th floor, things changed...'
'Tress and exotic flora could be seen everywhere with their colorful flowers and patterns... Especially poisonous ones.'
'While the caves looked as if they had been carved out from wood and all sorts of noises could be heard all around.'
'Probably from the insects and leaves that moved together with the faint wind that blew from somewhere unknown...'
'Silver kneeled on the ground and took 3 potions from his backpack giving them to Nicc.'
"Here, take these and be careful, from now on, no jokes."
"Take one of those for now, they are antidotes as the very air of this place contains a very weak poison, so it would be better to avoid falling sick."
'He took another box, it had some strange powder.'
"This is in case of an emergency, if you get bitten by something dangerous, spray it on the injury and drink the rest with water as fast as possible."
"Uhum, I know the procedure… And I'm sorry, I'll pay la…"
"Forget about it, we can discuss such things when we are on the surface…"
I don't even know if you can pay it anyway... But that doesn't matter for me either.
'As he said that, Silver grabbed his Halberd that was on his back and lodged it on the ground.'
"And also, you wanted to learn how to be an adventurer right, I don't know if I am the right choice for this but try to learn what you can."
"You can also ask me any question and I will try to reply."
'Nicc was still a bit confused about his change of attitude, so she just nodded.'
"I asked you a question, don't just nod, did you understand me or not, soldier?" He asked her with a serious expression
"Yes sir!" She said as she saluted
'Silver smiled, he gave her a large knife and turned around.'
"A knife? You know that..."
"You won't be needing this to fight." Replied Silver
'Nicc soon understood what he meant, but she just let out a long sigh, she couldn't bother him when she was the one annoying him.'
/Half an hour later/
'Silver and Nicc made their way around the 19th floor, killing whatever they found and collecting plants and other things, eventually making their way to the 20th floor…'
'Battle boars, Lizardmans, Mad beattles, Bugbears, and even large dragonfly insects... Each of these monsters would've given a Level 2 adventurer a decent challenge, but Silver dispatched them as they appeared without much trouble.'
'This floor was more open than the previous one, and instead of a cave, it looked more like a forest as tall tree trunks rose into the ceiling, supporting it.'
'However, these floors also expanded into the Dungeon walls, becoming a series of root-like caverns where many monsters resided.'
'Silver removed his Halberd from a bugbear and watched as it turned into smoke, a broken magic stone fell onto the ground soon after.'
'Nicc went towards it and grabbed it before putting it inside her backpack, the one Silver was previously using.'
"Are you okay so far Silver? You didn't even make a joke or rest." Said Nicc as she looked at Silver
'Silver was looking around the place extremely focused.'
"Don't worry, I am fine, just focused."
'Silver went back to her and asked:'
"There are no monsters around so let's rest for a bit."
"And while we are at it, tell me, what do you think of this? It's a bit intense since we are in a rather advanced area, but this is the adventuring experience."
'Nicc stayed silent for a few seconds before she said:'
"It's difficult to say that I've enjoyed it, risking your life for money is not exactly an easy thing to get used to, yet, the prospect of taking things into my own hands has proven to be... Enjoyable so far, however, things are still a bit too fast for me..."
"That's normal, the creatures here have the average strength of a Level 2 adventurer, so don't get depressed if you can't participate in the fights."
'After Silver said that he took out a small map and started to read it.'
We scouted a bit of this sector… Hum…
Overall, Bugbears are like the faster version of Minotaurs… They might be an interesting choice to go through 'training'...
Battle boars are just large feral boars… If boars could grow over 2M tall… They are very muscular and strong, they would make nice wagon animals though… If they could be tamed.
Such a shame that only their horns drop once every several dozen I kill… But would their meat be good since they are all muscular?
Lizardman are also rather common, the first Humanoid creatures that actually think, working together and being capable of using some level of swordsmanship and advanced teamwork that is not simply attacking from multiple sides at the same time.
Mad Beetles are a bit annoying to deal with, their defense is high as their exoskeleton is hard to penetrate, and they are also very fast and their claws are also pretty sharp.
There is a reason why their base potential is so high and why they are put on the same Level as the Bugbears.
Gun Libellula, the name of the large dragonfly monsters that are literally everywhere in this damn place.
Pretty weak on their own, but you guessed it, they move in large groups...
But to be honest, all monsters on these floors move in groups of at least 4 or 5.
They don't do much apart from annoying you with their long-range attacks, some sort of thorn they can launch from their abdomen.
It's sharp and fast and can easily lead to a fatality...
And that was all I met so far… A bit more research and I would have a nice route to stick with to 'farm' these creatures…
"Oi! Silver, you're dozing off!" Exclaimed Nicc
"Hum?... I was a bit focused."
"Like always?... While you were thinking I lit a bonfire and started to cook, and for your question…"
'Silver immediately extinguished the flames and closed the pot with the food she was cooking.'
"Why did you do that?!" She asked angrily
'Silver let out a small sign and said:'
"It wouldn't have been a problem if you cooked in the other parts of the Dungeon, but here, we have to be selective of what we eat, especially if it's something as smelly as the meat you were cooking…"
'Silver heard the sounds of leaves turning and branches breaking, there was something approaching!'
"They are coming, stay behind me."
'Nicc heard him and jumped towards his back, she had an aggrieved expression on her face due to committing such a rookie mistake that could've been avoided with just a bit of thinking.'
'It was all because she wanted to maker herself more useful...'
'Silver saw that and patted her head as he looked at the surroundings.'
'Soon after, 4 shadows jumped out of the bushes, each around 3M tall.'
'Their muscles were big and their belly was rather big, they had multiple wood-like protrusions on their body, making them seem rather sickly, their mouth was full of sharp teeth and they had two eyes and sharp ears, and a fucking ugly nose.'
"Trolls? Just 4? That is quite unlikely on these floors."
I read about them, and they do look like trees. Overall, they are just an upgraded version of an Orc, everything the Orc can do it has, but better.
But most of the time, on these floors, you are always attacked by at least a dozen monsters. Were these monsters recently spawned or did they just go through a fight?
They look pretty fine to me...
'One of the Trolls swung its massive hand towards Silver, trying to grab him.'
'It was a no-brainer that he would easily evade it, the Troll's movement was pretty simple and direct, filled with flaws. The only thing it had was its power and danger.'
'Because its hands are filled with sharp tips due to the wood growing on its body, trying to block it would most likely break any blade that is made with Level 3 and below materials.'
'Don't underestimate the wood of this floor, many higher-end materials are made from the wood and plants collected on these floors.'
'The weight behind the attack was also rather big, and as some adventurers say, it's like having a bugbear attack you with the weight of a sharp tree trunk…'
'However, Silver did not even move, and the creature's arm was frozen solid, you could see an ice pillar rising from the ground and holding its arm in place.'
'Silver swung his halberd and decapitated the Troll, looking around him.'
The main problem with these floors isn't the monster per se, but their quantity...
Ha... But to be honest, I believe I'm one of the few that can actually say such a thing...
As always, to me, most monsters tend to be just so-so unless it's a unique or special monster, but in this case…
'The Trolls started to run towards him, and 2 of them started to go after Nicc. But Silver wasn't in the least worried.'
'He turned his head towards those two Trolls and raised his hand… Closing it.'
'The two Trolls clenched their heads, and after 2 seconds, they dropped to their ground, they died. But Silver wasn't pleased.'
I still can't crush their head with telekinesis... But I'm not that far.
Perhaps the answer isn't telekinesis but some other form of control/manipulation?
'As he was distracted by those, one of two Trolls swung his hand down at him, trying to flatten him into the ground! Nicc almost screamed when Silver just narrowed his eyes in anger and punched backward!'
'His fist clashed against the wooden arm, making it bounce backward. Silver retreated his arm, shaking his hand a little.'
"Ouch, I think a splinter got into my palm."
A Troll is a Level 2 monster at the end of the day…
'It has power but how much? Can it compare to Silver's overwhelming strength?'
'The last Troll tried to attack, but Silver sent it away with telekinesis before he pointed his finger at its leg…'
'His finger started to swell in a really unnatural way until the tip of his finger burst open, releasing a powerful air bullet that belated its left knee, making it fall to the ground.'
'He did not feel anything from this, but Nicc felt shocked, she knew some of his abilities looked rather brutal and gruesome, but since he never talked about it, she kept silent, but this time…'
'Seeing his finger explode wasn't exactly a pleasant experience.'
'Silver sneaked a glance at Nicc to see if she was ok and saw her expression, he immediately let out a sigh as he knew what had happened.'
I knew this was going to happen one day…
The more abilities I use, the more disgusted I will make the people that watch them feel.
It took a rather long while for Hestia to get used to some abilities and I have many more… Nastier-looking abilities hidden.
I can somehow reduce these side effects, but I am not at a point where I can do it to all of my abilities without some sort of benign side effect…
It certainly isn't a lack of control… Is it tied to my stats once again?
Certainly some food for thought.
'Ignoring this for now, Silver looked at the Troll and raised his hand.'
'While the Troll raised its head, Silver punched it with a lot of his strength, making its face cave in and even fly away like a ball.'
'Blood splattered everywhere but Silver's hand transformed once more, this time, his skin glowed in a helix pattern all the way to the palm of his hand where a hole suddenly formed going from the back of his hand to the front, allowing someone to see through it...'
'All of the blood in the surroundings gathered into that hole, becoming a small ball until he threw it to the side, making a large splash.'
'Without the blood on his clothes anymore, Silver felt a bit better and ready to face the mouth gaping bear girl.'
"So? Was I cool?" Asked Silver as he turned around with a smile
'Nicc expression immediately went back to normal as she replied:'
"Do you want the truth or a lie?"
"Just tell me already."
"You did look bizarre, has everyone ever told you that? You know… That you are bizarre?"
"Yes, my grandma told me this once."
'This made Nicc cringe a bit and drop her head.'
"... I'm sorry…"
"Hm? Did you think that was a bad memory? Haha no no… Nothing of the sort, she was just a mage so this was all very confusing for her, just like you now."
She acts like this but I can feel a certain estrangement from her, although, she is trying her best to not show it…
'Nicc got annoyed again.'
"Say that first ok?"
'As she said that she went to him and held his hand in curiosity.'
"Does it hurt? You know, when you use it? How does it even work?"
"Not every time, if I keep it within certain boundaries I am fine. The only problem is Mind Zero, and to be honest, I somehow always find myself in it…"
Although I am purposely pushing myself that far…
It only hurts when I force my body to handle forces it is not strong enough to handle, but it is true that it does help me in raising my stats… Hooray to potions!
'Nicc looked at him and dropped his hand, saying:'
"Just be careful, I don't want your… Finger to explode accidentally." She said as she turned around and went to grab the backpack
She is rather considerate.
'Smiling, Silver grabbed his things and continued on his way with her before more monsters came.'
'Deeper and deeper into each floor they went, avoiding and fighting monsters, while Silver learned and got used to the environment.'
"This is it? The 21st floor?" Asked Nicc as she looked around, seeing the faint purple mist from her high ground position
'Currently, she and Silver had just left a hole on the wall, they were now on a precipice overlooking the 21ft floor.'
"Yup, but this is our stop, my objective was to scout and get used to this environment but advancing too fast is not in line with that, besides, from here on, things will get harder once again as stronger creatures will appear so it's better if we stop it for now."
'As they talked, it was faint, but the two could hear the sound of buzzing coming from somewhere in the forest, and soon enough, a black cloud rose from the trees and flew into the distance...'
"What was that?..." She asked worriedly
"Deadly hornets, and a fucking large number of them, probably over 60... They weren't supposed to appear on this floor though... Something must've happened..." He said with a pensive expression
"Yeah, let's go home." Silver decided
Not to say their numbers, whatever provoked over 60 of those nasty hornets to move certainly isn't normal...
Can't risk dealing with such a thing or person with her by my side.
'Yeah, the bag is also getting pretty full, it will probably all sell for quite the amount right?" She said as she shook her back, the clear sound of magic stones rang in their ears
"Probably a few hundred thousand Valis, we did hunt quite a lot and rather fast." Said Silver
We were much faster and more efficient than the average party on these floors.
'Silver turned around and entered the path to the 20th floor with Nicc. He opened his mouth to explain why it was better to leave than to remain:'
"These floors are considered to be very difficult for Level 3's to solo, and hard for Level 2's to explore on their own as well, even if in a well-coordinated party." He said to Nicc
"That seems rather rough, the monsters didn't seem that much stronger than those in the Upper Middle floors though..."
"You are rather cheeky for someone who didn't even fight one… But yes you are right. Most of these creatures would be a bit weaker than a Minotaur while those that are stronger aren't that much stronger."
"So what's the problem, their numbers?"
"There is that, but the biggest problem is just everything else… Poison, venom, fungi, and all sorts of status effects are everywhere… Step in the wrong place… Paralysis… breath just too many spores… Poison, and so on."
"The monsters in here are also extremely aggressive, in the Middle floors, the biggest danger was to meet a large number of Minotaurs or if you are super unlucky a Wyvern."
"In here, if you don't pay attention, you can meet a freaking hive of those hornets while you are also poisoned..."
"In order to fully explore these floors in a way similar to the Upper floors, a party would need to have at least one Level 3 adventurer, and the rest to be Level 2's, or at the very least, a party consisting of rather strong Level 2s with stats above that of C."
"And in this situation, we are considering that they all either have enough antidotes or everyone has the Abnormal resistance Development Ability and also properly equipped."
"Not something a small or even medium Familia can pull off..."
"Once again, I thank you for these." Said Nicc as she shook her empty potion bottles on her waist
'Silver nodded before he continued.'
"As for going past these floors and to the Lower floors… Such groups should be capable of passing, but the Guild says the standard on the 24th floor is for Level 2 adventurers with at least a C in their basic abilities."
"However, that does not mean they are capable of surviving there alone. It only means that they wouldn't be a complete burden in fights."
"So a party of these people would have a very rough time trying to cross into the 25th floor… So they are better off staying below the 22nd floor, perhaps even below the 21st."
"Since that is just the minimum of the minimum, to be honest."
"To solo these floors or to go deeper, you need to be Level 3 or have someone in your party like that at the very minimum, and to either be rather strong or very prepared, being both is usually what gets the job done."
"Especially after the 22nd floor where Deadly Hornets start to appear. Even some Level 4's might die if they fight a swarm of these creatures alone."
"You would need to be insane for that… Who would fight a swarm of those bees?"
'Silver looked at the distant ceiling of the caverns.'
Is it strange that my first thought was to test how strong their sting strike is? And if they make honey?
Yeah… That's about right, I am definitely normal…
(Sometimes they are called Hornets, and other times, Bees, what do you want them to bee?... Or perhaps, you want both to exist?)
(... Please laugh...)
A large bee monster with a stinger powerful enough to pierce heavy armor and kill a level 2 adventurer in one thrust.
It is a powerful monster that is largely responsible for preventing third-tier and second-tier adventurers from entering the Lower Floors.
Normally come in Swarms of 20-40 because fuck you.