The following day, <Grindam> went out.
Just before noon, Chubby came by.
"Hehe. Chief. Mornin'."
He's glancing at Arios. It's bothering him it seems.
"What do you want, Chubby."
"Am I really stuck with that nickname? I have a message for you."
"Message? From who."
"It's from Vangard-san."
Lecan had no idea who that was for a moment but then he recalled how that name came up just last night. It's the leader of <Gwyntir Era Slupiner>.
"He said, 'I'm waiting on floor 120.'"
"Hou. So that's how they wanna play huh."
"Ah. So you get it. Yes, that is right. This is a ploy devised by Orug-sama."
"So this Orug hired <Gwyntir Era Slupiner> to kill me."
"Speak what you know."
"Vangard-san has something to discuss with chief. He wants to discuss the matter with just you and him alone. But, in reality his six party members are lurking and hiding in several spots on floor 120. Once chief is there, they'll gang up on you."
"What's in it for Vangard?"
"Everything chief has except for <Comet Cutter> and <Free Box>. And also chief's strength."
"He wanna suck up your strength by killing you, chief."
"That guy's got that kind of skill?"
Arios joined the conversation here.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"What is it."
"You gain someone's strength by killing them inside a dungeon."
Yeah of course you get stronger if you manage to defeat someone strong. As he was about to say that, it hit on Lecan. Heles said this after conquering Dungeon Ninae back then.
"The boost in life force is far bigger in dungeons. However, defeating the same magic beast over and over again will temporarily reduce this boost. We traversed through many floors and defeated a great many giant magic beasts along the way here, and even the queen. The boost must be quite large for sure."
The boost in life force is bigger the tougher and deeper floor magic beasts you defeat. And that applies to not only magic beasts but also humans.
Such a mechanic did not exist in his original world's dungeons. Hence he never even thought of the possibility.
Life force is probably a specific term, and most people call it <Strength>.
"Killing someone strong inside a dungeon will give you a huge power up, yeah?"
"But once you've killed many people, you don't get that much stronger even after killing a strong one. Is that right?"
Arios looked at Chubby.
"Oh yes, Chief. Of course. Isn't that obvious?"
"Chubby-san. This man lacks common sense at times."
"Oh right, he's a <Descender>."
Apparently he knew that. Right, considering he listened in to Lecan's conversation with Zoltan that night, this is only natural. And if this man knows it, knight Orug must know as well.
(I defeated Zoltan in a dungeon.)
The mystery is solved now.
His mana starvation after the duel was a result of his enlarged mana pool. His improved physical condition was not his imagination either. How his <Barrier> control suddenly got stable was also likely thanks to that. Thinking back, Arios asked Lecan if he had defeated a dungeon boss when he first saw him again. That's how large the boost Arios sensed.
Lecan had almost killed humans in dungeon twice after coming to this world.
One was a thief who was trying to steal his luggage in Dungeon Golbul.
And the other one was when they were ambushed by <Pointy Rocks (Jaira)> in Dungeon Ninae.
(Glad I didn't kill them.)
That came from the bottom of his heart. This strength came after a duel to the death with Zoltan. Had he killed pointlessly beforehand and that resulted in him not getting the power up, it would have been the greatest waste.
"So Vangard never killed anyone in the dungeon before."
"No, of course not. He's killed lots already. Inside and outside the dungeon. Especially lately after he got into <Predation>."
"They were originally a party of eight. Their combat prowess suffered a huge setback after one of them died. So they went around asking other parties to join their expeditions, saying they can't deal with last floor with just seven of them."
Lecan is aware of that. They were in a group of 16 on floor 120.
"But that was actually a trap. They killed those parties in the dungeon, plundered their belongings and sucked up their strength."
Lecan frowned. Clashes between adventurers can and do happen. But deceiving a party and taking them somewhere just to get them killed is going too far.
"They've killed a lot already, so the power up should be not as big now, but since they claimed many <Other Side> adventurers as their victims, they've gotten quite a bit stronger now."
"And the General Dungeon Administrative office let that slide?"
"Eliza-sama would have tried to do something about it had she known."
"But not Torog huh."
Chubby shrugged and facetiously lifted his brows.
"I mean, like half of those kills were ordered by Torog-sama. Most times it was to get his hands on high performance Grace swords. Then Torog-sama transferred over those swords to Orug-sama who then circulated them into the black market."
Swords from floor 100s in this dungeon can fetch for a few pieces of platinum coins legitimately. Illegal dealings would shoot that price up further. Must have been a profitable venture for them.
"These parent and son duo are rotten to the core."
"Torog-sama and Orug-sama have been making use of <Gwyntir Era Slupiner> in other matters as well. Naturally, the party also get rewarded for their works."
"Guess they've killed knights too then."
"That would be done under Orug-sama's requests. I believe it's because those knights were about to find out his corruptions."
"How are they planning to get me to come anyway."
"Oh that's all left to me to take care of. 'Make him come no matter what it takes', they said."
"I am not obliged to respond to his summon."
"Yes. But now that you've listened to my story, you're feeling up to it, aren't you? I get that expecting you to fight those seven alone may be asking too much, but curiosly enough, I feel like you'd manage somehow, chief."
A carnivorous smile came up on Lecan's face.
(So those guys intend to devour me.)
(I'll be the one doing the devouring instead.)