Since everyone had gained information they shouldn’t possess, Requiem saw no reason to hold back and pretend he didn’t know what was going on. He was confident that Clippy wouldn’t be found out by the native programming, and even if they did try to pull the kill switch on him, he believed he had several methods to spare his life.
He wanted to ask about Miai’s position as well as the top leaders, but he decided that it would probably cause Clippy to grow obstinate again. It wasn’t worth the aggravation, so he decided to ask for her to display a map instead. Since his conversations with Clippy and all the displays were in his head, this was not something that could be observed by the computer system. She was able to display vital information in his eyes that others couldn’t see.
Since his processing abilities could multi-thread, even as he looked at the maps and spoke with Clippy, he was still capable of moving forward with enough awareness to avoid creatures and traps. As he glanced through the map and confirmed the path Clippy had laid out as the best path, he noticed that the entire dungeon was built as an inverted cone within a mountain. Each floor was smaller than the last, so as you progressed, it became easier and easier to get to the next floor.
That told Requiem that by the time he reached the lower floors, presuming Miai was okay, then he was likely to run into her anyway. He’d also be more likely to run into other people the deeper he went. As people grew deeper and more desperate, it seemed to be a dungeon level designed to promote infighting. This felt like a brutal place.
“Watch out!” Clippy warned.
Requiem had already determined that a person was waiting in ambush at the next corner. In this race to the bottom, he didn’t know why anyone felt they had time to do such a thing in the first five floors, but if he kept going the way he went, they would lunge out at him. He supposed that not everyone was there to win. Some players might have worked for the top players, and their jobs were to kill off the riffraff that might become the competition.
It was also possible that some people wanted to kill someone specific. This was a perfect opportunity to kill off your opponents, competitors, and enemies outside of the game. Requiem didn’t believe he had gained any enemies yet, but it was possible that this ambush wasn’t laid out for him, and his quick speed just meant he was going to trigger it first. At that point, this person would probably try to kill him quickly just so that it didn’t look like he was targeting anyone specifically.
All of these thoughts had already gone through Requiem’s mind, along with the possible directions of attack and the means of countering them. By the time he had reached the intersection, he had already worked out what he would do, decreasing the chance of the guy surviving this encounter to 0.0001%. It should be noted that surviving the encounter did not mean he would win a confrontation or kill Requiem. In Requiem’s calculations, the chance of this guy defeating him was essentially 0. Requiem didn’t like to take chances.
“Die!” The man leaped out from the corner. “Geh!”
He made a noise as Requiem ran past, barely even slowing as his blade sliced across the man’s neck so smoothly that it nearly took his head off. Requiem was already down the hall and out of sight by the time the man collapsed to his knees, already dying and confused as to what even happened.
Had the man started with an attack, rather than jumping out like he was trying to scare Requiem, he might have even slowed Requiem for a moment and been able to realize how he had died. Instead, his life was snuffed out without even clearly seeing the man who killed him. Since he died in the game, an electric shock was sent to his heart, killing him in real life as well.
Requiem kept moving at such a speed, leaping over traps, and when they were too expansive, wall running across. Since he was so far behind the main leads, he wasn’t even garnering much notice despite his moves putting almost everyone else there to laughable shame. It was barely ten minutes before he burst out into the boss’s level. At this point, he had managed to acquire several more treasures, but he disregarded all other armor, as he didn’t feel he’d need it at this level and it’d only slow him down.
“If you can defeat the minotaur without taking any damage, then you will be awarded a powerful weapon, a magic hand ax. It has less range, but it does ten times the damage.”
“Range is unimportant,” Requiem said, not slowly as the Minotaur immediately charged him.
“Be careful, only one person so far has managed to defeat the minotaur without getting hit at least once.”
“Very well!” Requiem said, leaping over the minotaur in a spinning flip, and also slicing across the minotaur’s back with his sword.
The charging minotaur tried to turn, but his low intelligence didn’t allow him to account for the fact he was already charging forward on all fours. As a result, he ended up crashing and rolling, slamming into a wall. At this point, his eyes suddenly turned a glowing red, and he leaped up to his feet. Instead of ramming again, he stood there, his body cracking as he seemed to start growing.
“He’s going into a rage!” Clippy warned. “This was something the others couldn’t easily deal with. This is what Dragon struggled with.”
“How do you deal with it?”
“You can’t. You must run, and deal with him once he’s relaxed. You must defeat him in his calm mode quickly before he rages.”
“That really would have been good information to have before he enters a rage!” Requiem clenched his teeth.
“S-sorry! Master! Only Dragon managed to do enough damage without killing him that he raged. As for the others, they never experienced it. I thought Master would do the same.”
As we were talking, the minotaur exploded, his speed nearly triple what it was the previous time. Clippy had told me to retreat and wait for him to reset. Instead, Requiem carefully watched him. Time slowed as he used his advanced processing to calculate every variable. Since he couldn’t afford to engage the minotaur in a protracted battle, he has to do a critical attack. Unfortunately, according to the information Clippy was sharing with him, in rage, the chances of eliciting a critical attack were greatly diminished in rage mode.
The minotaur had only taken three leaps, but it was already 2/3rds of the way to Requiem. At that moment, he began to move as well. This time, he leaped back. He had just enough time to reach the wall. As he did so, he did a wall flip, walking up three steps. The dumb minotaur charged at full force into the wall. Just as he reached Requiem, Requiem dropped his sword, the handle against the wall, and the sword blade facing the minotaur.
As he climbed out of the reach of the minotaur’s horns, its momentum slammed into the wall, sending the perfect timed and aimed blade deep into its eye socket. The minotaur essentially headbutted the blade, impaling itself as it slammed into the wall. As for Requiem, he had only one place to go, and that was to leap onto the back of the minotaur.
The creature let out a roar as it lost an eye. The blade was still slammed hilt deep into its socket, but it didn’t manage to kill the minotaur. If the creature really existed, then it should have pulverized the brain, but this boss didn’t seem to work that way, Requiem realized. The minotaur was still alive. Feeling Requiem on its back, it started to leap around aggressively, shrieking as it tried to knock requiem off.
Although it ran on all fours, it wasn’t a bull, but a minotaur. Its front were arms, not legs, although one could excuse themselves for being confused, as they were just as meaty and thick. Unable to knock Requiem off it’s back, it finally stood up, trying to reach behind itself to grab him. However, it had such a thick hump on it’s back, that reaching behind itself was impossible. It didn’t matter anyway. This was the moment that Requiem had been waiting for. As soon as it stood up, he jumped up it’s back, landing on its shoulder.
Before the minotaur could even realize what happened, he ripped the sword right out of its socket, and then dived down in front of the minotaur. Before it could react, he struck again, slamming the sword into its vulnerable underbelly. He hadn’t even needed his analysis to reason that this was the minotaur’s weak spot. It ran on all fours exactly to protect its underbelly. Even though it was his weak point, it still took everything to pierce. The blade cracked, breaking the blade from the hilt.
“Critical hit!” Clippy cheered.
It appeared that while the eye failed to trigger such a thing, the underbelly was more than sufficient. There was an eruption of blood as the minotaur gave one last cry. Always cautious, Requiem jumped away as the minotaur collapsed to the ground. He didn’t relax until it exploded in a fountain of lights. As soon as the light started to form an item, Requiem leaped forward and grabbed it. Without taking a break, Requiem already left the opening exit, racing down the hallway once again.
The item finally finished forming into the ax, which would be his new weapon for the immediate future. However, he had a long way to go, and this was only level 5. Although it had only taken him fifteen minutes to pass it, that was fifteen minutes his opponents had continued to progress beyond him. They were already battling the level 10 boss.
Requiem had been surprised about one thing though. The difficulty of that boss was much greater than he had anticipated. He didn’t see many people being able to defeat it reasonably. It was no wonder that there was only one person who had managed to do so without earning any wounds, besides himself.
“Was that really a level five boss?” Requiem asked out loud.
There were 50 levels in all. If every five levels had a boss to fight, then just how difficult would it get?
“As people reach the lower levels, they need to join forces to defeat the bosses and continue.” Clippy explained.
Requiem didn’t know what to say. You had to not only make it to the bottom but cooperate with your enemies and competition. While trying to defeat a boss, you also had to make sure you weren’t stabbed in the back. No wonder Miai wanted to form an alliance. It turned out alliances weren’t a means of cheating, but a requisite requirement to make it. It also seemed like progress would slow the deeper you got. Those in front would have no choice but to wait until enough people arrived that they felt they could take on the next boss.
Requiem allowed himself to slow a bit. He wanted to be in that first group, but he no longer felt the pressure to surpass the first place at the moment. Even if there was some perceived benefit, Clippy hadn’t mentioned it, and Requiem had Clippy, which was a benefit greater than anything else in this dungeon.
“Clippy, who is the first to defeat the boss without taking a hit.”
“Ah… that… Master, I don’t want to say.” Clippy sounded almost pouty.
“Clippy!” Requiem admonished.
“F-fine. The one who managed to defeat it was Miai!”
Requiem’s eyebrows rose. He had never expected her to be so formidable. She not only defeated the boss, but she got to it faster than he did. Requiem found himself reevaluating their alliance. She might be a necessary ally after all.