Upon reaching the source of the sound, I stumbled upon a dead end. I cautiously looked around, but all I saw were the corpses of adventurers, monsters, and the faint smell of monster bait. It was a grisly sight, and it was clear that I was too late to save anyone.
I decided to inspect the area, searching for any clues or reasons behind their deaths. Oddly enough, the monsters' cores that the adventurers carried were still in the ground, untouched. It seemed that they weren't killed for their loot.
"What is going on here? Is there a secret hidden within this place?" I muttered to myself as I began searching for any hidden passages in the walls. Unfortunately, my efforts proved fruitless, as I couldn't find any triggers or mechanisms to open a secret passage.
Growing frustrated, I slammed my fist against the wall, hoping to find a hidden entrance that way. To my surprise, the wall cracked, but it still held firm. It was much thicker than I had anticipated, suggesting that this dead end might be intentional.
Failing to solve the mystery of the adventurers' deaths and the secret within this place, I reluctantly left, continuing on my journey to the 19th floor.
As I progressed, I tried to push aside the thought of adventurers dying every day, focusing on my own goals and objectives. Eventually, I reached the 18th floor, not planning to stay there for long. I stretched my body, relieving the tension in my joints, and curiously surveyed the crowded floor.
The 18th floor was bustling with activity, with many adventurers still awake and some taverns running despite the late hour. Wanting to replenish my energy, I decided to enter one of the taverns and get some food for breakfast.
I planned to stay until I had the required stats anyway. However, in the midst of my thoughts, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to leave a note stating that I would be away for a while. "Oh well, whatever," I muttered and pushed open the door to the pub.
As I entered, I could feel the curious gazes of the patrons turning towards me. Aware of the potential danger in such situations, I remained cautious, slowly making my way to the counter.
I overheard some whispers among the crowd mentioning my presence. "Oye, isn't that the black hunter?" one person whispered.
"Hey, watch your mouth. He might decide to snack on you next," another replied in a hushed voice. "I heard that the scary silver dragon that day was his goddess," someone else chimed in. "Seriously, that's scary. We shouldn't mess with that familia then," another voice added.
I couldn't help but smirk to myself, realizing that Bahamut's escapades had earned me some respect and fear in the eyes of others.
Pushing those thoughts aside, I focused on ordering my meal. The lady at the counter asked me what I wanted, and I requested ten servings of roasted chicken with salt and pepper.
"It will take a while, can you wait?" the lady asked.
"That's fine," I replied, walking towards an empty seat to wait.
Suddenly, the door to the tavern swung open, and a tall, burly man entered with a lean companion. His heavy footsteps reverberated through the room as he made his way to the counter.
However, he stopped abruptly and turned his attention towards me. I didn't recognize this man, but I was prepared to defend myself if trouble came my way – unless, of course, he happened to be level 5 or above.
"Is this the person?" the burly man asked his companion. I looked closely at the person he brought with him, and something about him seemed familiar.
'Wait a minute, isn't it the man that called me something that should not be named when I went exploring on the 18th floor last time? So he's here for revenge,' I thought, recalling where I had seen the man before.
"Yes, it's him. He attacked us unprovoked when all we wanted to do was talk," the lean man said.
"If that is true, I will have to settle things here," the burly man responded, firmly grasping his sword.
"Black hunter or whatever, you will have to pay for messing with my familia," the burly man added with determination.
"Hey, isn't that Grack, a veteran level 3 adventurer? What is he doing here?" a man whispered among the people in the tavern. The burly man smiled, pleased to be recognized.
'Ugh, so there are still people like this,' I thought to myself, feeling a sense of frustration.
"Sigh, listen here. I don't have any animosity towards your familia, and how can any of you be sure that what that man said is true?" I stated calmly, hoping to deescalate the situation.
I could have easily succumbed to his provocation and beaten him senseless, but I restrained myself. I didn't want this to escalate further, especially since I was currently representing my familia.
Retaliating blindly could lead to a war game between familia’s, and considering that mostly the strong familia’s survived the evilus event, I felt my current decision was the right one.
There was also the fact that engaging in a war game would put my abilities and appearance on full display, which could lead to unwanted repercussions.
"Is the black hunter scared?" the burly man taunted, his words resonating through the crowd. The people began chanting "Fight, Fight, Fight," pushing me further into a corner.
'Ugh, what a terrible situation,' I inwardly grumbled.
Seeing my lack of reaction to his taunts, the burly man, Grack, decided to use a forbidden word, meant to provoke me.
"I guess you should be called Lizardkin instead of Dragonkin because you have no balls," Grack said smugly, awaiting my reaction. The crowd fell silent, eagerly anticipating my response.
I couldn't hold back any longer. I didn't care which familia he was from; I was going to beat him to a pulp, consequences be damned.
Slowly rising from my chair, I swiftly slammed my fist into his chin, utilizing his head as leverage. Grack dropped to the ground, disoriented and unable to retaliate.
Transforming one of my hands into a large, claw-like appendage, I gripped his head, dragging him outside slowly to the side of the tavern. No one followed, as I emitted an intimidating aura of bloodlust, enough to deter weaker adventurers.
Wham! Thwack! Thud! Splurt! The sound of blows echoed around as I mercilessly pummeled Grack till I was satisfied . He was unable to make a sound, only enduring the relentless beating.
"This is the first and last time I want you to use such a tone with me. The next time..." I trailed off, leaving the consequence hanging in the air.
Finished with Grack, I walked back into the pub, covered in a bit of blood. Whispers spread through the crowd.
"Hey, look at the blood on his lips. Did he eat Grack's heart?" someone whispered, sending shivers down their spines.
"Anyone else?" I asked, scanning the now hushed and fearful crowd as I made my way back to my seat, awaiting my meal.
“...” Silence followed as everyone returned to their activities, some stealing nervous glances in my direction. The lean man, whose name I still did not know, remained seated on the floor, trembling in fear. I had no intention of wasting my time on him.