Dream Life Vol II Chapter 49.1: “Injured”
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October passed peacefully and we entered November.
The mornings and evenings are getting colder, but not as severe as in the village of Rathmore.
Two days out of every five, I take classes with Professor Ruspede, and on the other days I either go into the forest or do self-study in the library.
When I first started going into the forest, I hunted relatively weak monsters of level 8 or lower, usually in the vicinity of 2 or 3 km from the city, but since Beatrice joined us, I have gradually started going deeper into the forest.
Recently, we often hunt ghouls, which are cannibalistic monsters equivalent to the seventh rank, in the wasteland about five kilometers into the forest.
The ghouls are hairy monsters, have sharp fangs and long claws, and, as their name suggests, are undead monsters that eat people.
Although they are undead, they move fast and have paralyzing poison in their claws and fangs. Furthermore, being undead, they are highly insensitive to pain, and even if their arms are cut off, they will come back at you with their fangs bared. They look less like ghouls and more like the “living dead” I have seen in famous shooting games and movies.
And while they are troublesome enemies that must be burned or decapitated in order to defeat them, the only cash they can offer is magic stones and subjugation rewards. They are not popular among ordinary adventurers.
However, it was a convenient monster for me and Sharon to level up.
Even though they move fast, they are not as agile as Great Wolves or Gray Apes, and their claws and fangs are their weapons, so their range of attack is short. It would take me a while to take them down, but it was just the right target for my Sword Arts. For Sharon, they are also a good training dummy for fire magic, something she cannot use in the forest, because they appear in the wasteland she could.
In addition, there are usually less than five of them at a time, and they do not form packs of dozens like wolves do.
In spite of this, they “spring up” frequently, so there is no need to search for them, and we do not compete with other adventurers, making them highly efficient.
The only complaints I have are that they smell bad and look grotesque, but once you get used to them, they don’t bother me too much. Sharon was not too keen on it at first, but after a few fights, she didn’t mind.
Since we started fighting ghouls, I have been trying to improve my [Sword Arts] and [Evasion].
At the beginning, I am a level 20 swordsman, level 25 in [Swords Arts], and level 29 in [Evasion], but by coming here for about 10 days, all their levels have improved by one.
I had also risen to the seventh rank and was on the verge of reaching the sixth rank if I could defeat a dozen more. Since the four of us were killing about 50 monsters per day, we should be able to raise our levels in two days.
Since Beatrice and Liddy are there, it is necessary to make adjustments, but it seems that it is quite early to go up to the sixth rank in about a month from registration. Of course, when a veteran mercenary registers for the first time as an adventurer, he quickly rises to fifth rank, but for a rookie under the age of 15 to rise to sixth rank in a month is astonishing.
Well, putting it that way, being an adventurer at the age of 10 is a marvel in itself.
On November 4, when I was steadily improving my level.
Then, I was injured due to my own “carelessness.”
That day, as usual, we were hunting ghouls that were springing up in the wasteland from around 10 o’clock.
The vanguard was me and Beatrice. Sharon was in the rearguard with magic, and Liddy was supporting her with a bow, as usual.
Beatrice would not interfere unless I was surrounded, and Liddy, besides covering me and Sharon, also would not interfere too much because she was on the lookout for the surrounding area.
I look at the two ghouls looming in front of me and decide to take out the ghoul on the left side first and use the hand sign I used in the village of Rathmore to tell Sharon about it.
Since ghouls have little to no intelligence, there is no need for hand signs, but I try to use hand signs whenever possible to give instructions so that I can use them whenever necessary. Of course, I had also taught Beatrice and we were able to communicate without words.
I measure the distance between the two ghouls approaching from the left and right and the three approaching from behind. I aimed at the ghoul on the left, stepped to the left, and cut off both of its arms that were reaching out to grab me.
The ghoul that had its arm dropped loses its balance and falls to the ground. However, the other ghoul on the right side jumped toward me.
This is a common move, so I reacted without panicking.
I shift my body to the right by half a step and slash at the ghoul’s belly as it passes by me.
The ghoul loses its balance from the force of the slash, spins half around, and falls to the ground on its back. The ghoul is slashed in the stomach, hitting its back hard and making a pained cry, but its movement is unaffected, and it quickly gets back up.
I waited for the right timing when it gets up, added a slash when the head came forward my arm, and cut off the head. This finally neutralized one.
Of the three ghouls, two had their heads blown off by Sharon’s [Fiery Arrow – Flame Bolt], and only one remained.
The first ghoul who I cut off the arm hadn’t completely lost its fighting power, but I judged that the threat was the unharmed ghoul and decided to go and defeat it myself.
At this point, I was by no means caught off guard.
As usual, I was on my guard, checking my surroundings and my footing before going to take down the enemy I had chosen as my target.
I was not using [Magical Combat] at this time.
I didn’t need to use it against the ghouls, and I had “handicapped” myself to improve my [Sword Arts] and [Evasion]. As it turned out, there was a good chance that I could have gotten through the fight without getting hurt if I had used Magical Combat.
I was waiting for the ghouls to approach me, holding my sword in front of my eyes. The only remaining enemies were the armless ones crawling around on the ground, so there was no need to rush to defeat them.
As the ghoul attacked with its arms raised, I crouched down and tried to slip through its left opening, trying to slice the enemy’s neck from the side.
Just as I was about to slip away, the ghoul’s right leg was caught by a stone.
The ghoul lost its balance and leaned toward me. It then fell down in a form of hugging me.
I quickly thrust my sword into the ghoul’s chest. But this was a bad move.
Ghouls are very insensitive to pain, and a stab wound to the chest is not fatal. For a ghoul, having the enemy’s sword in its chest is the same as blocking the enemy’s means of attack.
But at that moment, I still had time to spare.
I thought that if I let go of the sword and twisted my body, I would be able to evade the attack.
But that did not happen.
Unfortunately, as I twisted my body to the right, another ghoul caught my foot.
This time, not by a stone, but by my own foot.
From the outside, it would have been a contrived move, but for me, it looked like a nightmare. The moment I tried to slice it, it moved in an unexpected way, and the moment I dodged it, it fell on my body as if chasing me further.
I let go of my sword and twisted my body to escape, so I couldn’t use my Body Arts to escape or shoot magic, and I had no moves at all.
Beatrice panicked and shouted, “Zack!” I didn’t have time to answer, and the ghoul held me down.
The ghoul was about 180 centimeters tall, and probably 50 percent or more heavier than I was. The ghoul ran into me and covered me with its momentum.
Unable to catch myself, I hit the back of my head hard on the ground with my helmet.
For a moment, my eyes went blank and I felt pain in the back of my nose, but I had no time to focus on this and was forced to deal with my enemy.
The ghoul did not feel the shock of the fall at all, and took advantage of it to bite me on the neck.
I almost lost consciousness and desperately stretched out my arms to hold the ghoul’s head, but the enemy, who had superior physical strength, forcefully pulled me in.
At that moment, my eyes met those of the ghoul in front of me. I saw it grinning at me.
The ghoul opened its mouth wide, revealing its jagged teeth, and was about to sink its fangs into my neck.
I twisted desperately and managed to avoid a fatal blow to my neck. However, the ghoul bit me on my twisted left shoulder and gouged it out.
I felt intense pain in my shoulder, and I think I screamed without realizing it, but I didn’t notice it. I gripped the kunai-type throwing sword with my right hand, terrified of the ghoul that was once again aiming at my neck.
I tried to drive the kunai into the ghoul’s head with my right hand, but I already knew I wouldn’t make it in time.
The ghoul’s sharp, dirty fangs were closing in on my face.
I was ready to die.
I was supposed to have a special skill called “Deadly Force,” but since I still had enough physical HP left, it was not activated.
Even in this situation, if my carotid artery is sliced open, there is a good chance that I will die. Even if Liddy, who is good at healing magic, is present, there is a good chance that she will not make it in time.
Even if the healing magic luckily stops the blood, the lack of blood flow to the brain may cause severe brain damage.
Will I die in such a place? There is still so much I want to do. I want to look around this world. I want to travel with Liddy, Mel, and Sharon.
I thought about these things for a long time in the time I had stretched out.
Just as I was about to give up, the view in front of me suddenly opened up. The head of the ghoul that had been looming over me shifted to the left and flew away as if blown away.
And there, in front of me, was the hilt of Beatrice’s beloved spear.
Beatrice seemed to have gotten the ghoul’s head in the nick of time and blew it off its body.
I tried to raise my body to thank her, but I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder where I had been bitten, and I let out an inarticulate moan.
I was wearing no protective gear, only a leather jacket. When I looked at the left shoulder of the leather jacket, I saw that it had been cut into jagged pieces and that part of the flesh of my left shoulder had also been gouged out.
I heard Beatrice yell, “Zack!” and I hear Liddy and Sharon running toward me.
Beatrice was urging Liddy to “hurry up with the healing magic,” but I was in a daze due to the pain. I was about to say in my foggy head, “There’s no need to rush, I am not going to die.”
At this time, I suddenly lost consciousness, perhaps because the paralyzing poison of the ghoul had started to circulate in my body. I should have a special skill of Poison Resistance, but it’s not something that can resist 100% of the time. Perhaps there was a low probability of poisoning.
As my consciousness flew away, I thought to myself,
(Today is a bad day. The ghouls have tripped my legs twice and even poisoned me. …I’ve been on a roll lately, so maybe my bad luck compounded when it came. …I don’t remember if Liddy could recover paralysis…) (Zack)
At that point, my consciousness suddenly stopped.
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