Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 181

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Chapter 181: The Red Oath Emblem (1)

As they decided to enter the interior, the expressions on everyone’s faces changed. The thought of having to proceed inside instilled a creeping fear in them.

“Are you truly certain this is alright?”

A black knight clad in full armor spoke up. He was Yoris, one of those named by Friedman, and the main tank of the attack party. As the keystone of the raiding party, it was natural for him to possess a significant right to speak.

“We can’t help if there are casualties. We have less than an hour left. If we can’t reach the second area within that time, the strategy we know will become useless.”

The maze on the 8th floor changes its entire layout every 24 hours. Past players who challenged this maze memorized the layout based on that time frame, making it essential to reach certain places within the allotted time.

Any delay could lead to becoming irretrievably lost within the transformed maze.

“However, moving recklessly without knowing what traps lie ahead is dangerous.”

“It’s not traps. It’s more likely something else.”

Disarming traps was the specialty of Rangers. If even A-ranked Rangers trained with unique abilities and skills were annihilated, it couldn’t have been solely due to traps.

“Something else… what do you mean by that?”

“I can’t be certain yet, but if my guess is right… W-watch out!”

Friedman screamed at the top of his lungs and swung his longsword.

Boom!

He barely managed to deflect something that was flying towards the raiding party.

Out of more than a dozen, he had only managed to block one.

Thud!

Wham!

“Argh!”

“Aagh!”

Terrible screams echoed as metal armor and flesh were pierced through.

The weapon that was thrown with an almost imperceptible speed looked more like a harpoon than an arrow due to its size and the immense power behind it. Just a graze was enough to tear arms and legs right off.

…An enemy.

And one with brute strength that couldn’t help but make you curse.

Throb! Throb!

Friedman was still reeling from the pain in his wrist and arm that had blocked the attack.

“Don’t block, dodge!”

He yelled, on the verge of his voice breaking. If even he, capable of wielding aura blades, was receiving such impact, the other players wouldn’t stand a chance.

“Disperse!”

“Damn it, use detection magic first! We need to ascertain the enemy’s type and location!”

The mages began to cast their spells. Transparent waves spread along the dark passageway.

In the distance.

A magical reaction of about 3 meters in size was detected far away. It was a well-known type of magic signature.

It belonged to a Predator ‘Ogre’, notorious amongst the medium-sized monsters for its ferocity.

The fact that a monster known for being a loner was moving in a group was already nonsensical, but there was no time to ponder that now.

As soon as the detection magic realized their presence, the enemy also understood they had been detected.

The response was immediate.

“Something’s coming! Eighteen, nineteen… twenty-one. They’re fast!”

A female mage reported urgently.

This time it was not Ogres.

The magical response was smaller, and the rate at which the distance closed was alarmingly fast.

As if… something had intensified their entire bodies.

Swoosh!

Swish!

The sound of skimming across the ground was heard, and soon after, small creatures appeared in the passageway.

“Go, Goblins?”

But their movements were too bizarre for mere Goblins.

“Screeech!”

“Keeeek!”

The green skin was blotched with red crest-like emblems that stood out.

Brandishing daggers, the Goblins plunged into the fray among the players.

Scrape!

Slither!

The daggers targeted the unprotected areas beyond the armor.

Being naturally weak, they aimed where the armor didn’t cover.

“Tch!”

“Cursed slippery bastards!”

Players cursed out at their superficial wounds as they swung their bladed weapons harshly. Such injuries were trivial in a raid context.

However,

That oversight led to a fatal consequence.

“…!?”

“W-wwaaahhh!”

“Kuh..uhhh…”

Players who sustained injuries suddenly rolled their eyes back and started vomiting out their innards.

“It’s poison!”

“Damn, I’ve never seen toxin act this fast.”

This was no ordinary poison. Even the healers’ detoxification skills only delayed death by a mere few dozen seconds.

“Sa-save me!”

“Aaaaaah!”

Players were helplessly swept away, and the monsters moved with such precision it was evident they had undergone high-level training.

Everything from ranged support with throwing spears to disrupting the formation up close in melee was flawlessly executed.

“This is unbelievable…”

Friedman instinctively realized why not a single raid party had reached the end of the labyrinth since the 8th floor had opened.

‘It wasn’t because the maze was complicated.’

It was simply because the monsters wandering within the maze were monstrously strong, far beyond common sense.

He needed to get word out to the Lockhead Guild and the other guilds across the world about this anomaly immediately.

But how?

With comrades dying without offering proper resistance and the top-ranked players struggling against even a single Goblin,

He, too, would likely die here just like the countless players who had gone missing before.

“At least… I’ll take one of you down with me!”

Friedman made a desperate gamble, ignoring defense and aiming for a mutual takedown.

Nevertheless,

His sword never even grazed the Goblin’s fur.

The Goblin dodged the attack with a grotesquely swift motion and swung its dagger toward Friedman’s shoulder.

Rather, it tried to.

Swoosh!

Suddenly, the Goblin froze in its tracks.

“Ck?”

The blood spurting from the neck…

Considering the movement demonstrated thus far, the scene was unrealistically surreal.

Like a puppet with its strings cut, the Goblin’s body collapsed to the side.

‘Did I defeat it this easily…?’

Shock traveled through Friedman’s dilated pupils.

Despite swinging his sword hundreds of times, he had not even inflicted a scratch on the creature. And yet, it had just been defeated in a single blow?

At that moment,

“Get rid of the obstacles.”

A cold voice came from beside Friedman.

Unbeknownst to him, the voice’s owner commanded that all hindrances be cleared away.

“Yes, Sir.”

That was sufficient.

Dozens of shadows, incomparably faster than the Goblins had moved earlier, sprang into action.

Slash!

Splat!

“Keeeyaaack!”

“Keek!”

Suddenly, the tables turned. This time, Goblin limbs were severed and flung into the air.

There wasn’t a single monster left standing in the wake of the tempest.

It was a one-sided massacre.

Blood drenched the path, and no words would be more fitting to describe it.

Friedman slowly turned his head.

There, he saw.

A man wearing a mask with geometric patterns, a red-haired woman, and thirty masked individuals surrounding them like guards.

Each one was a powerhouse, possessing skills that were a whole different dimension compared to Lockhead Guild’s elites.

Their levels… how much grueling training they had endured… it was beyond imagination.

Particularly striking was the man in the mask.

How could one not know?

How could one possibly not know?

“Un…known.”

As he acknowledged his opponent, Friedman slowly savored the name.

***

‘So it has come to this…’

Jinhyuk examined the dismembered Goblin corpse.

Emblems blooming across its body.

Undoubtedly, it was clear that the 8th and 9th floors allied, and behind these creatures was ‘that being’, the named monster specialized in enhancing monsters with spells and handling legion-class forces.

“We’ve dealt with the small fries. There are a few more of the big ones at the end of the corridor, what should we do with them?”

Wolyeong, pointing with her sword towards the end of the passage, asked as several spears flew out of the darkness at that moment.

The formidable sound of air being sliced filled the air—those very throwing spears that had shredded Lockhead Guild’s formation to tatters.

Wolyeong moved to intercept but stopped as she saw the black energy enveloping Jinhyuk’s hand.

[Unique Ability ‘Claws that Block the Moon’ has been activated!]

The unique ability used by the descendant of the Dikasus family, Mihai, had fully awakened.

Splintering noises…

His hand completely submerged in black color, reminiscent of a beast’s claw growing out.

Jinhyuk reached out towards the incoming spears, grabbing them in mid-air.

Crack!

Boom boom boom!

The spears instantly shattered into pieces, falling to the ground.

Here was the disciple of the Dark Emperor, who even without a weapon was a beast to be reckoned with.

At least,

‘…the battle has already been decided.’

That’s how it appeared to Wolyeong.

***

Swoosh!

Jinhyuk’s body, strengthened by the Sword Demonic Emperor’s Aura, vanished like the wind.

As faint dust rose, he instantly reached the snout of the Ogre.

Three in total.

They held spears, preparing for their next attack.

“Kroooar!”

The Ogre let out a terrible howl, its body also marked by red crest-like emblems.

‘It’s most likely spread throughout almost the whole tribe.’

Time was running out.

To capitalize on the situation, action had to be taken quickly.

Jinhyuk easily dodged the thrusted spears aimed at the head and waist.

Two spears stuck into the ground.

‘Their strength and speed are at least triple that of a normal Ogre.’

Frankly, it was somewhat shocking.

Ordinary, dim-witted Ogres shouldn’t be capable of such a strategic movement.

However,

That was it.

Thud!

The black claws pierced right through the Ogre’s heart.

“Krruuur…”

The grotesque scene of a hand bursting from the Ogre’s chest unfolded.

“Kroooar!”

“Ooooor!”

The remaining Ogres attempted a swift second attack.

Siege hammers designed for close combat sliced through the air.

It would be common sense to dodge. So far, overcoming power with finesse and technique had been the norm.

But why is that?

‘No need to go out of the way…’

Instead, Jinhyuk met the attack with his fist.

Boom!

With a terrifying rush of wind, iron masses collided head-on with Jinhyuk’s fist.

A fist against a hammer weighing over 100 kg would normally have an expected outcome.

Of course, that’s assuming both the fist and the hammer were ordinary.

Crunch! Crack!

The iron’s surface cracked like a turtle shell.

And simultaneously,

Crack!

The same cracks appeared on the Ogres’ bodies.

Red blood sprayed from their heart as they collapsed.

Yet, before he could savor the victory,

Ding!

A status window appeared before Jinhyuk.

[……]

The status window, dyed red, emitted an ominous aura.

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