Episode 3 – Growth, Challenge

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https://kakuyomu.jp/works/16817330657219422179/episodes/16817330657230542154

At the bottom of the valley, so deep that the incoming light diminishes, many creatures live and breathe.

Today, long after dawn, many of the creatures that inhabit the valley are already on the move. From small insects and beasts to swarming demons and powerful lone monsters.

And even I, the only human being in this valley…

–How many times has the sun risen and set since then?

I think in front of the pack of silver wolves, silver wolves, that surround me. As I listen to the threatening roars of the wolves, I wonder how long it has been since the last time I saw them.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

As if unable to withstand the tension, a Silver Wolf kicks off from the ground and leaps out.

–The Silver Wolf is a monster that I know I can’t beat, but the demons here are strange after all.

The Silver Wolf is a very powerful and powerful creature, and it has a very strong power to make me feel like I’m in the presence of a monster. The unstoppable flow of magic power strengthened my body with frightening efficiency, and my entire body was enveloped in a pale phosphorescent glow.

Without any hesitation at all, I struck the side of the Silver Wolf that jumped at me with my back fist.

“Gan!”

I had activated my body enhancement, and it was no exaggeration to say that my whole body was now a deadly weapon. The Silver Wolf, struck with tremendous force, blew up, letting out a desperate scream, and landed with a roar on the warped cliff. I could feel the tension among the demons surrounding me rising even higher.

–I could feel the tension in the demons surrounding me growing even more. I guess their fighting spirit is much stronger than the demons outside. And it’s not just their personalities, they are much stronger than the Silver Wolves I’ve fought elsewhere. And yet–

I construct a magic circle while keeping my composure in front of the sharp gazes of the pack. The attribute is earth, and the effect is to generate certain minerals from the ground and precisely reshape them. It is a combination of several existing magic I have created since I came here.

I poured magic power into the completed magic circle and muttered.

“Gutai.”

A steel sword juts out from the ground, scattering the light of magical power. I picked it up and took a stance as if to shake it out of the air, and started running toward the one closest to me.

The target, a silver wolf, shudders in fear for a moment, but it quickly rouses its fighting spirit and lets out a yell. The other one immediately began to charge, and we collided in the middle of where we had both been. And it is Silver Wolf, not me, who crumples to the ground, bleeding.

Two of his companions were helplessly killed, and soon the other Silver Wolves began to move as well. They seemed to have realized that they would be killed either by jumping on the attacker or by repelling the attacker alone, and they came toward me in a disjointed way, working in coordination.

Their steps, filled with magic power, were strong and sharp, and an ordinary adventurer would have been killed in the blink of an eye. However, I had enough time to avoid their fangs and claws, and as they passed by, I cut them down with my sword.

Attacks that I had no space to physically avoid were dealt with by quick and precise activation of [Kamaitachi]. The invisible blade of wind blasted through the demons, slicing through them.

Against a horde of powerful demons that would have killed me before, I was able to proceed with the battle with overwhelming superiority, not suffering even a scratch. The Silver Wolves fell before me with swords, fists, magic, and a variety of other weapons, and the number of corpses around me increased. It wasn’t long before I was the only one standing on the spot.

I let out a short breath, and brushed off the blood on my sword. Looking at my palm, which was slaughtering demons just a few moments ago, I strongly feel my growth.

–I’ve improved the precision of my magic manipulation, the speed and number of parallelisms of my attribute magic, and the enhancement ratio of my physical enhancements have all grown. Perhaps because I continued to fight in an environment where I could not rest for long periods of time, I also acquired a kind of battle instinct.

Having survived this valley, which is filled with powerful and diverse demons, I am dramatically stronger than I was before I came here. In the beginning, I almost died many times, but I managed to survive by using native fruits and other ingredients, and I gained experience by defeating the demons that I could defeat.

With this, I might be able to defeat that demon at the end of the valley and get out of there.

I closed my eyes and thought for a while. And when I opened my eyes again, my mind was already made up.

–Let’s go.

So I leave the place and start walking. The destination is a place where a certain powerful demon resides, which I have followed before in my attempts to leave the valley.

There is another valley on the other side, but as I proceeded, I felt a strange presence there, and I suspected that there might be even more powerful demons than at the other end. So I decided on a path with the primary goal of escaping from this valley.

Even so, the battle that awaits me ahead will surely be the most difficult one I have ever faced. I have become stronger, but there is no guarantee that I will win. But even though I know this, I will not stop moving forward.

–I am sure that I have friends waiting for my return. I tried to leave the party once, but now that I have gained strength, I no longer need to be discouraged. I can continue adventuring with them without fear of anyone else.

So I move forward without hesitation. I kicked away the occasional demon that appeared. As I continue on, the creatures gradually disappear from sight.

The gradually increasing sense of intimidation, like a shiver in the air, tells me that the creature’s dwelling place is approaching.

Finally, I see it. A craggy reddish-brown rock sits in the center of the road that stretches along the valley floor. It was huge, much larger than my own body, and had a somewhat austere appearance.

I clutched the sword I had made in the previous battle and slowly made my way toward the rock. The only sounds in the place were my shoes hitting the ground and the heavy, low sound of a giant’s breath.

I was getting very close to the giant rock when I saw a small tremor in the corner of my eye. Ahead of my eyes, the rock, which had been standing there without the slightest tremor, swayed faintly. As I thought so, a long, thin section of the rock protruded from the rock, and a small slit opened, letting out a sharp golden light.

The light was directed at me, the intruder, and just as I thought a huge agitator had opened, a loud, eardrum-shattering sound rang out.

“—-guoo!”

I took a stance in the face of the hostility directed at me. The huge rock in front of me – a dragon looking up at me – raised its body and stomped on the ground with its limbs like a giant tree.

When I encountered it in the past, it blew me away in a troublesome manner and went back to sleep without a care in the world.

Among the many dragon species, it is a high-ranked being with the attribute to rule. Once it appears in a human village, the earth dragon, one of the —- attribute dragons, the embodiment of disaster that high-ranking adventurers must unite to confront, stands in front of me.

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