“Whod be arriving first” Cyans expression twisted as he repeated.
He felt like Eugenes words were meant to mock him. After all, the one who had broken through the labyrinth and arrived at the center first was definitely Eugene.
“Dezra was the first to arrive,” Eugene decided.
“But she was just running away!” Cyan protested.
“Why was she running away”
This was a question that Cyan absolutely couldnt bear to answer. This had all begun because he had mistaken Dezras bloodstained appearance for a ghost and had let out a scream. Then, embarrassed and angered by this, he had decided to catch her and teach her a lesson…. If he were to try and explain all of this, Cyan felt that he would first have to admit to Eugene that he had screamed because he was afraid of ghosts.
“…Dezra…to me…she insulted me,” with some difficulty, Cyan came up with this excuse.
“You really do like to use the wordinsult a lot,” Eugene observed.
“When did I ever insult you, Cyan” Dezra shouted with a resentful expression on her face. If only she had managed to ambush them as planned, then at least this abuse would be justified.
“Cyan was the one who overreacted. We just happened to meet up on the same path!” Dezra continued her explanation.
“You deliberately startled me!” Cyan accused her.
“Thats not how it happened! Instead, Im the one who got startled by your scream!” Dezra refuted.
“I-I didnt scream,” Cyan lied, as he clenched his fists and his ears were dyed red. “I was just… I was just yelling because I was so angry. As for you… right! Dezra, you were trying to ambush us!”
“…No, I wasnt,” Dezra attempted to deny.
“You just hesitated for a moment, didnt you! I saw your eyes waver. So you really were planning to ambush us! How dare—how dare a collateral descendant like you try to attack someone like me!”
“Ah jeez! I **ing said that I wasnt!” Dezra shouted loudly, feeling both embarrassed and victimized.
Cyans eyes widened in shock at this explosive shout that exposed some of Dezras usual foul-mouthedness.
“How dare you swear at me! Not only am I the scion of the main family, but I also happen to be a year older than you!”
“I told you that I didnt do any of that, but you keep **ing accusing me!”
“Again with the swearing—”
“Stop,” Eugene ordered, having had enough of listening to their childish quarrel.
In the first place, he hadnt the slightest interest in whatever insult Cyan may have perceived.
“Whatever happened, Dezra was the first to arrive,” Eugene stated once more.
“Werent you the first to arrive” Ciel asked with a grin.
“Thats right, I did arrive here first,” Eugene easily admitted.
“…Just what is it that you want to say” Dezra asked as she glanced sideways at Eugene.
They had talked about a plan to combine their strengths to defeat the boss monster on the night they had met in Eugenes room, following their dinner with the Lionheart Patriarch. Could the reason he was waiting here for them be that… Eugene had challenged the boss monster on his own and failed
“I just thought that I should concede this chance to all of you,” Eugene said with a smile.
“…Concede” Dezra asked.
“The thing is, I can fight with him and Ill probably win. But if I just went and nabbed him first, Id feel sorry for you lot who worked so hard to get here.”
“What the hell do you think youre saying” Cyan roared loudly in anger.
He was definitely insulting all of them by saying this. Although Dezra wasnt shouting like Cyan was, she glared at Eugene with a frown. As for Ciel She wasnt feeling at all angry or insulted. Instead, she found this situation so highly entertaining that she was on the edge of her seat as she waited to see what happened next.
“To be fair, lets go in order of arrival,” Eugene said, ignoring their outrage.
“You… are you really in your right mind How many times were you struck in the head by monsters on your way here” Cyan questioned.
“I didnt get hit at all. Im perfectly fine,” Eugene reassured Cyan as he looked over to Dezra without getting up from his seat. “If you dont think you can win, feel free to give up. Its your right to do so, after all.”
Give up Dezra furrowed her brows. She had gone through so much just to get here. His talk about a concession was already absurd enough, but when he told her to give up, Dezra really felt infuriated.
“Im not going to give up!” Dezra shouted.
“But it will be difficult for you on your own….” Eugene smiled teasingly.
As her shoulders shook in anger, Dezra turned to look at the boss monster standing in the central cave.
Even from this distance, Dezra could clearly see that the boss monster had a tough, muscular build. It was even bigger than the troll that she had barely managed to escape from earlier. Its most distinctive characteristic was itshead. The boss monster was a giant humanoid with the head of a bull.
In other words, a minotaur. It was a monster that almost always appeared in the many stories involving labyrinths. However, seeing the minotaur in reality, it didnt appear anywhere near as ridiculous as it sounded in fairy tales. Dezra gulped as she stared at the minotaurs twin pair of gigantic horns.
‘…Why hasnt Gargith, that son of a bitch, arrived yet
The original plan was to join forces with Gargith to fight the boss monster. However, Gargith seemed to have gotten stuck somewhere as he showed no signs of arriving any time soon. Just in case, Dezra shot Eugene a look.
“Im only going to fight after you all have had your chances,” Eugene insisted.
“…You really are crazy, arent you” Dezra hissed.
Cyan was so perplexed that, for a few moments, he had just kept listening as they talked. However, he couldnt hold it in any longer.
“Do you really think that youll get a turn” Cyan demanded.
“Yeah, I think I will,” Eugene replied confidently.
“Dont bull** me! Do you really believe that I wont be able to defeat a single cow-headed bastard!”
“If you do defeat it, Ill acknowledge you as my big brother for the rest of my life.”
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At these words, Cyan hesitated for a moment. He imagined being able to hear this cheeky bastard call himolder brother for the rest of his life. The childish Cyan found this proposal extremely attractive.
“…Dont go back on your words later.”
“Dont worry, I wont.”
After hearing Eugenes confirmation, Cyan dropped down on the spot. Then, as he slowly breathed in and out, he began absorbing mana into his body. Since he had used up a lot of strength just getting here, he needed to quickly restore his mana through this method.
‘If its a minotaur….
Truthfully, this was also Cyans first time seeing one in real life. However, he had read many stories about minotaurs in the books he had been perusing at random for the past few days. It was a monster without any particular weaknesses, but it also didnt have any specific strengths.
It had its strength and its tough skin, but these were natural features for a medium-to-large monster of that size. It didnt have the strong regenerative capabilities of a troll, nor did it have the unspeakable strength and fury of an ogre. It was of moderate strength and intelligence. The minotaur, as seen through Cyans eyes, was a monster that could be beaten without much difficulty.
However, Dezra got a completely different feeling from it. Calming her shaking heart, she hesitantly made her way out into the central cave. Both her spear and the hands holding it were shaking. Although she had hunted many monsters around the same level as orcs, she had yet to hunt a monster as large as the minotaur.
‘…They say that minotaurs are higher up on the food chain than trolls, but….
This wasnt always necessarily the case, but, for now, she would accept the fact that minotaurs were of similar or greater strength to trolls. Dezra, who had slipped past her troll without having been able to defeat it, found it impossible to imagine how she might be able to achieve victory.
That said, she couldnt just turn back after having come this far. Dezra shouted a battle cry to still her fear. Then she tightened her grip on her spear and charged at the minotaur.
Before Dezra could close the distance, the minotaur got to its feet. It showed an unbelievable speed of reaction for such a heavy creature. Even trolls werent that fast, and its figure, as it got up onto its feet, was far larger than the average troll. The minotaur turned its head towards Dezra. The cattle eyes that Dezra was familiar with were normally bright and cute, but the minotaurs eyes were full of eerie light.
The minotaur swung its hand and, with a cry, Dezra thrust her spear.
The minotaurs large hand shattered her spear into pieces without any apparent difficulty.
‘But they said that it wouldnt break!
Dezras face twisted in betrayal. The minotaur quickly raised its hand once more and slammed it down on top of Dezras head, but this was still within the limits of Dezras ability to react. She leaped to the side, dodging the attack, and then swung the end of her broken spear at the minotaurs exposed flank.
Although the blow landed, the attack made using such unstable footing didnt prove very effective. Without making even a single grunt of pain, the minotaur caught up to Dezra.
Its large fingers completely wrapped around her body. Dezra screamed fearfully as she tried desperately to escape. Her intuition was honestly telling her that she was about to die! Could this all really be an illusion No, it was impossible! Dezra closed her eyes tightly in the face of her impending doom.