For the next few months, Damien had a great time on his hunt. His new eyes helped him see through everything, subsequently making his daily life easier.
He could tell which beasts were useful or not from a glance, and he was completely immune to ambushes. His eyes, when combined with his Danger Sense, granted him such security.
Thus, he would occasionally take a couple of hours out of his day to get proper sleep.
However, this ease didn’t help him shorten the amount of time it took to clear the floors. As he had predicted earlier, the lower he descended, the more he saw vegetation and stable ecosystems forming.
Due to this, he wasn’t being constantly attacked like he was used to, and had to actively seek out beasts to hunt.
Starting from the fifth floor, second-class beasts began to appear. At first, Damien was extremely wary of these beasts.
After all, his first experience with a beast above his class level almost killed him, but his eyes turned out to have a sort of aura detector that let him know whether he could win or not in a fight.
Every individual gave off a feeling ranging from ‘that’s easy’ to ‘that’s impossible’ and the 1st class beasts Damien met on the fifth floor were all in the ‘that’s easy’ category.
Being the only human in the dungeon, he had no basis for comparison to understand just how strong he had gotten. Although his mana-related abilities were still within the peak of first-class, his physical body had far surpassed that level.
Those entry-level second-class beasts on the 35th floor posed no problem to him, and since he devoured them before continuing, the subsequent stronger second-class beasts also could not bother him.
And like that, several months later, he had reached the ninth floor, just shy of his third boss floor, and had become level 42.
During these few months, Damien had been constantly using his sword and fighting beasts, leveling up his sword mastery and finally reaching the level 10 mark.
When he did, he felt a completely new sensation envelop his body. The slight sword-like aura that has previously surrounded him had been accentuated and concentrated until it became faintly visible to the naked eye. Along with this change came a system message.
[Sword Mastery has reached level 10. As the criteria have been met, the user gains understanding towards [Sword Aura]. To evolve this skill, the user must create their own sword art and surpass the limits of their swordsmanship]
Damien wasn’t surprised by this message, however, he was surprised by the requirements to further evolve the skill.
‘It looks like I’ll have to spend a good amount of time to evolve sword mastery again. I should take a break to at least gain a starting point for the path to my unique sword art.’
The last break he had taken for training was 29 floors prior when he defeated the goblin king. After memorizing the location he was currently at, Damien teleported.
When he reappeared, he was back on the goblin king floor, where he could still see the ruins of the previous settlement.
This skill was called [Warp]. After many grueling months, his other skills had naturally evolved as well, with sword mastery being the last one to reach this level.
Warp was the evolution of his teleportation. This skill, along with increasing his short-distance teleportation range to 100 kilometers, allowed him to teleport to any location he could picture in his mind. However, the farther the location, the more exorbitant the mana cost.
When Damien first saw this skill, he immediately attempted to reach Earth, but the mana cost was simply too astronomical for him to succeed.
But, he found solace in the fact that he had acquired a method to return home. Now, all he needed to do was grow strong enough to utilize it.
His other skills, although they had evolved too, were nothing as outlandish as warp.
Telekinesis had become spatial control, as he had predicted many months ago, and regeneration had become high-level regeneration, allowing him to reattach limbs if they were ever cut off, though he couldn’t grow new ones quite yet.
Danger sense had become redundant after he obtained his new eyes, so he wasn’t too excited about its evolution, but it didn’t disappoint him.
Its evolution focused more on sensing presences than sensing danger and it became ‘mana sense’, allowing him to have something akin to spiritual sense from those cultivation novels he used to read.
The most curious case, though, was devour. Although devour was the skill he had used the most, it hadn’t evolved, and was stuck at level 5. No matter how much he devoured, the skill level wouldn’t move.
Damien mused that he would need to devour some extremely strong beasts or beasts with special traits like the spider he killed to level up more.
While he was thinking about his skill evolutions, Damien cleared out all the beasts that had begun inhabiting the area after the death of its previous owners and started training.
A month or two later, Damien could be seen standing still, concentrating on the sword in his hand. However, without doing anything else, he opened his eyes and sighed.
‘It looks like it isn’t easy at all to forge a new path with the sword. This will take much more effort than any of my previous sword training. For now, I should just continue to descend and find a way out.’
With this thought. Damien rested for one more day before teleporting back to his previous floor. However, when he arrived, he was greeted with pure chaos.
Various beasts were roaring and stampeding towards a certain direction as if drawn to a treasure, and they completely ignored Damien, who was dazed by this turn of events.
‘What the hell is going on here? Is there some sort of divine medicine or something that is maturing?’ Damien had long adapted to the mentality of the beasts in the dungeon.
A stampede like this could only mean that something had appeared that was extremely alluring to these beasts and would allow their strength to skyrocket. In his curiosity, Damien followed the tide.
When he reached the apex of the tide, he saw something even more unexpected. Rather than a divine medicine or something of that sort, the target of these rampaging beasts was a single beast.
A seemingly adolescent wolf pitch-black fur, a pair of wings that seemed to be taken from a fallen angel, and golden eyes was facing this massive tide of beasts that showed no signs of pause.
Damien knew that killing this beast should allow him to grow even further, however, something told him to reconsider.
Damien immediately charged into the beast tide, but instead of aiming for the wolf, he started wildly slaughtering the beasts that were chasing it.
Rather than the obvious throbbing in his eyes and the climax of the gut feeling he’d been having for the past few months, the thing that made him decide to help the beast was its eyes.
It’s eyes that held the firm resolve and desperate push for survival. He knew those eyes. After all, they were the same as his.
In every beast he had come across so far, he had only seen bloodthirst and greed for strength. The drive that he built and the drive he was now seeing within the wolf was something he had never encountered before today. He could sympathize with this wolf.
For the first time since he had fallen into the abyss after killing that thunder wolf, Damien felt an emotion he could consider as human.
And as someone who even resorted to amusing himself with thoughts of anime and light novels to maintain the tiny shred of humanity he had left, this human emotion was like a candle in the wind that he desperately wanted to keep lit.
And so, he decided that he would save this beast.
He would act for a goal other than pure survival and strength for the first time in what felt like many many years.