Chapter 14.1: The Bloodline Continuation Ceremony (4)

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For there to be trolls of all things.
Weren’t they too much of an opponent for children in their teens?

Eugene had this thought from the moment he encountered them in the labyrinth.
However, on second thought, these weren’t even real trolls, just an illusion created by magic.
It wasn’t like the children could really get hurt either.
Although they might feel pain, that too was just an illusion caused by magic.

If the children were able to overcome their fear, the trolls weren’t an impossible opponent for them.
If they could just endure the pain, dig their heels in, and get in a good first blow, then they could even defeat these illusory trolls.

‘Though they look just like the real thing.’

Eugene felt admiration as he looked the troll up and down.
Even though he knew that it was an illusion, he still got the feeling of facing a real troll.
Not only were its movements the real deal, but it also had the disgusting body odor that was characteristic of trolls.

‘But it looks like Lovellian and Gilead still have a conscience.’

Considering its size, it didn’t seem to be an adult troll.
Instead, it appeared to be at an age where a troll would still be dependent on their parents, lacking in the skills for hunting and fighting.
They weren’t even holding the clubs that trolls usually carried.

All this being said, they were still much taller than the thirteen-year-old Eugene.
Eugene slowly readied his shield as he approached the troll.

‘I’ve beaten both orcs and goblins, but this will be my first time facing a medium-to-large monster in this body.’

Just because it was an illusion without a tangible form, he didn’t have any intention of fighting carelessly.
Even if it wasn’t the real thing, his body had been itching for a good fight.
Although quite some time had passed since he’d entered the labyrinth, and he thought that he had made a good amount of progress… having come this far, he had yet to feel any sense of danger.
That was why he needed to warm up his body a bit.

Eugene slowly and obviously narrowed the distance between him and the troll.
Across from him, the troll simply blinked its large eyes at Eugene instead of attacking him right away.

This wasn’t something to be confused about.
He had already experienced this several times during his exploration.
The monsters in this labyrinth did not attack unless someone stepped within a certain range of them.
This should probably be a safety measure placed in consideration for the ages of the participating children.

‘Slowly, slowly.’

Just as Eugene’s foot was inching forward, the troll’s movements suddenly changed.
The troll spun its body around and twisted its head towards Eugene as saliva dripped down from between its tusks.
It had a face so ugly it could scare — no, terrify children.

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However, instead of fear, Eugene felt happiness.

‘As I’ve always said, they look just like Molon.’

Though the truth was that more than one monster resembled Molon.
Things like trolls, ogres, cyclops, and so on… basically, any ugly humanoid monster that walks on two legs.
Eugene believed that all of these monsters really bore a striking resemblance to Molon.

Molon had never been able to conclusively deny this fact.
After all, he was well aware of how ugly he was.

As Eugene recalled the ugly face of his old comrade, he kicked off the ground.
It was only after the distance between them had shrunk in an instant that the troll finally showed a reaction.
This showed that it was both clumsy and dull.

That was why it was easy for Eugene to do what he did next.

Slaash!

Eugene’s sword sliced through the troll’s calf as he slid between its legs.
Once on the other side, Eugene quickly got back to his feet and turned to face the troll’s back.
Then, without any hesitation, he swung his sword down at the back of the troll’s knee.

These injuries would have been light for a real troll.
But as expected, these illusions weren’t exactly the same as the real thing.
Besides, the blade that Eugene was holding wasn’t a real, sharp-edged sword either.
All of which made the sharp cuts it inflicted on the troll seem quite unreal.

Nevertheless, the sword flashed out with one blow after another.
As each slash landed where the previous blow had fallen, Eugene finally managed to sever the troll’s leg at the knee.

Dark green blood spurted out of the wound.
Eugene didn’t allow any of it to land on him as he covered his face with his shield.
However, his heightened senses didn’t miss the moment when the troll finally reacted.
As it tried to balance its now-unsteady body, the troll let out a scream, and one of its large hands swung down at Eugene’s head.

Eugene’s shield, which had been covering his face, shifted upwards.

Screeech!

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Compared to the lightness of his own slashes, the troll’s attack was extremely heavy.
Although his thirteen-year-old body had been tempered through intense training, it was impossible for him to block the troll’s blow head-on.

That was why he allowed it to flow to the side.
He used both a tilt in the angle of his shield and the full strength of his shoulder and arm as a support.
So the descending fist struck the shield at an oblique angle and slid right off.
If his timing had been even a little bit off, his arm could have been crushed, but Eugene had never even bothered to doubt himself for a moment.

His parrying truly was perfectly executed.
With one leg already severed at the knee, the troll’s gigantic body lost all balance when its fist slammed into the ground.
The troll wildly swung its other arm at Eugene as it tried to stay upright, but Eugene deftly swung the sword that he was still holding in his other hand.

Chopchopchop!

Blood spurted out as the skin on the troll’s arm was lacerated.
As Eugene ducked beneath its flailing blows, he reversed his grip on his sword.

Squelch!

Having already lost one leg at the knee, the troll’s other heel was now pinned to the ground by Eugene’s sword.
Even if it was an illusion, it still reacted realistically to the pain from its wounds.
The troll’s jaws snapped open as it let loose a scream.
The agony coursing through its body also momentarily paralyzed the troll.

‘Was there really a need to copy its bad breath as well?’

As Eugene felt some displeasure at this thought, he swung his shield.

Bang!

The shield slammed up into the troll’s lower jaw, which was hanging wide-open, and slammed it shut.
At the same time, he pulled out the sword that he had stuck into the troll’s heel and shoved it back in between the troll’s ribs.

“Kaaargh!” the troll roared as its breath was driven out of it.

Eugene had pierced the troll’s lungs.
It might be because of how large its torso was, but he couldn’t quite thrust his sword clean through the troll’s back.
Though he hadn’t expected to do so in the first place.
Eugene continued slicing his sword along the lines of the troll’s ribs.
By doing so, he completely tore apart its lungs, and then he drew his sword out the moment it touched the sternum.
This left the troll without any strength to swing its arms, and it coughed out bloody foam as it gasped for air.

If this had been a normal monster, the fight would have ended here.
However, trolls were famous for their strong regenerative powers.
Eugene was curious to see if this illusory troll actually shared this trait, but he had no intention of allowing it to live a moment longer for the sake of such pointless speculation.

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As such, Eugene decided to completely neutralize the troll as a threat.
Though he had already pushed it to the point that it could no longer offer any resistance, with just a little more effort, he could break down the troll’s body completely.
Eugene thrust his sword into its heart about five or six times, and then he stabbed it in the neck.
Even though he kept swinging his sword so violently, he never once got his blade caught on any bone.

“Phew.”

After he had painstakingly finished dismantling the troll, Eugene walked past its corpse with a satisfied expression on his face.

 

Lovellian and Gilead had watched this whole scene take place from beginning to end.
Lovellian, whose jaw had dropped open in blank surprise, wondered what sort of remark he should make in response to this.
Even if it was all an illusion… that was still a troll.
Someone, who wasn’t even from the main family, a thirteen-year-old child at that, had… without letting out any sound of surprise upon seeing a troll, proceeded to overwhelmingly tear it to pieces.

“…Wow, that was… brutal.
I don’t think there was a need to go that far….” Lovellian muttered probingly.

He was trying to feel out Gilead’s reaction to this surprise.
Gilead had been looking at the screen with similarly shocked eyes and immediately burst out laughing with a shake of his head as a response to Lovellian’s words.

“Your illusions are so well-made that they need to be treated as if it were a real battle, isn’t that so?” Gilead defended Eugene.

“That might be the case, but….” Lovellian hesitated.

“It’s amazing.
Very amazing… He shouldn’t have faced a troll before, but… rather than stiffening in fear, he cleanly and confidently neutralized the troll as a threat….”

Gilead couldn’t find any flaws in Eugene’s swordsmanship.
If he had to point something out, it would be that Eugene’s performance was closer to slaughtering and butchering an animal than it was to pure swordsmanship.
However, what does that have to do with anything? No matter how it was done, Eugene had impressively slain the troll with just his sword.

“He also hasn’t had any difficulties with exploring the labyrinth,” Lovellian lavished in amazement as he watched Eugene.
“Except for the first time, he’s never once been caught in a trap.”

“If you just look at his actions, it would seem as if he was familiar with labyrinths,” observed Gilead.

“Where is that boy’s hometown?”

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“It’s in Gidol province.”

“There shouldn’t be any ruins there.
How remarkable….”

Most labyrinths were originally created as lairs by wizards.
Then sometimes, after the wizard who created the labyrinth had either died or left, these labyrinths were discovered by adventurers.

If they were lucky, these adventurers might even find a treasure in the labyrinth.
Once everything that hadn’t been nailed down was taken as loot, the now treasure-less labyrinth would be transformed into a potential tourist destination.

“…Well, it’s not like he needs to have delved inside labyrinths all that often.
He might have learned how to do it from books,” Gilead offered an alternate explanation.

“Normally, a thirteen-year-old wouldn’t spend time reading a book about labyrinths,” Lovellian refuted.

“But you can’t consider that boy a normal child, can you? Also, if he’s not relying on knowledge or experience, that means that he could only be depending on his senses….”

“…Hm… Although it is a labyrinth made with children in mind… to navigate it by his senses….
I shouldn’t have made it so easy, that he could simply rely on his senses to get through….” Lovellian pondered doubtfully.

“No matter how much of a child he is, as long as he was born with impressive talent, wouldn’t it make sense for him to show such a performance?” Gilead asked convincingly.

Even Lovellian had to admit that was true, and he knew exactly what such a child should be called.

‘A genius.’

Gilead no longer kept his eyes on Cyan, Ciel, and Eward.

Instead, he watched with delight as Eugene headed towards the center of the labyrinth.

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