Chapter 1. Prologue
Immediately after moving into the dungeon, Do-joon looked around warily due to the strange sense of incongruity he felt for a moment. But there was nothing special.
It was the usual dungeon, dense with damp grass and trees.
“Hey, Mr. Kim! Why are you so slow?”
“Ah, yes! Coming!”
Do-joon scratched the back of his head and hurried to catch up with President Jang.
“What are we gonna do today? Do you want to move with your party?”
Do-joon thought about it briefly. It was reliable to move together, but if he found valuable items, he would have no choice but to divide it.
In fact, this dungeon was only good for one day. Therefore, going individually seemed to be a better way to survive.
“I’ll go off on my own this time.”
“Well, that’s a good idea. Apparently other people feel the same way.”
Surprisingly, other gatherers were also seen scattered. After all, everyone here thought the same way.
“I’ll be over there, so be good. I’ll see you outside later.”
Likewise, President Jang also left. Do-joon, who was alone, began to explore the forest using his own experience. The monsters had already been killed by the attack team, so there wasn’t any danger to worry about.
‘Let’s look for a source of water first.’
He mainly collected herbs, and kept his eyes peeled for red ones especially, which were an ingredient of potions. They’re a basic ingredient that becomes the basis of healing potions.
He looked for a stream while also looking at the condition and direction of growth of the blades of grass and trees. Even if it didn’t measure up to a producer’s technique, with decades of experience, it had become more or less a method for him to look for the right direction.
Do-joon’s eyes shone. He found a red herb near the stream.
– Chew lightly to boost vitality. Can also be used in healing potions.
When he saw the red leaves, an information window was displayed. Whether this information window is visible or not is the standard for distinguishing between an item and a non-item.
In fact, other ordinary trees and leaves don’t have any information windows. The only information window seen around here was on the Red Herb.
‘I’m this lucky?’
It wasn’t just a few roots, it was a whole patch of them. Do-joon excitedly equipped his spade.
Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
Beating the ground rhythmically, he dug out all the red herbs.
He placed them in his inventory.
-Food box x3
-Drinking water x5
… … .
-Red Herb x22
After glancing at the inventory list, 22 roots of red herbs were marked. This was a considerable amount. It usually takes about five roots to produce a low-level healing potion, and the lower-level potions are sold for about 300,000–400,000 won.
In other words, he could earn about 1 to 2 million won from this batch.
‘I’m glad I came alone.’
If he had found this place with someone else, he would have had to divide it up. Even if one party member was added, the income would be halved. It was better to go around alone as much as possible.
After digging up all the red herbs and straightening his back, he placed his spade back into his inventory.
There wasn’t much time, so the search must be done efficiently. Since this was the case, it was better to keep following the stream. Most of the ingredients for potions grew near water, but not all of them.
‘The question is whether to go upstream or downstream.’
Do-joon thought about it for a while.
He made his decision quickly, and began to move. He chose to go downstream.
Upstream is usually the answer. It’s more likely that rare materials will be found in an area where the water is clear and clean.
But as such, there were a lot of people. In particular, since they don’t have much time to be in this dungeon, everyone will be trying to move as efficiently as possible.
So he thought it wouldn’t be too bad to give up on the area upstream and search downstream instead.
And luckily, that thought was right.
“It’s a Blue Mountain Flower, isn’t it?”
Do-joon found useful herbs one after another. Blue Mountain Flower, the one he just found, was a potion ingredient that temporarily boosted resistance to the cold.
In addition to this, his inventory grew full of various herbs.
‘What day is it today?’
The corners of Do-joon’s mouth stretched from ear to ear.
He thought he’d make only a bit of pocket money because he heard the dungeon was available for one day only, but it seemed that he made almost a month’s worth of income in just this one day.
Meanwhile, Do-joon arrived at the end of the lower stream. It wasn’t exactly the end, but he couldn’t go any further.
It was a waterfall.
A cool sound rang out. Do-joon looked down the cliff of the waterfall just in case, but it wasn’t a place one could simply descend using brute strength.
‘I don’t have time to turn around and go down.’
This was it.
He wanted to pick up mulberries until the end because it was his first lucky day in a long time, but this must be the end. Do-joon turned around, smacking his lips in regret.
Do-joon paused at the small echo heard over the noise of the loud waterfall.
He pulled the axe out of his inventory with a wary face and held it defensively. He turned toward the side where he heard the sound.
There was a magical beast.
It resembled a wild dog, except it was several times the size and weight of one.
Do-joon’s eyes twitched.
‘They said they’d gotten them all!’
The end of the first attack means they’ve killed all the beasts except the Boss Monster.
Obviously, he heard the hunters’ report. By the way…. What the hell is that magical beast?
He stiffened and wanted to close his eyes, but he couldn’t. He was afraid that the wild beast would rush toward him right away. He was also afraid to run in and get his neck bitten off.
His body was shaking, his mouth was dry, and his eyes began to bleed.
Yeah, well, there were certainly words of advice to consider when registering as an Awakeners.
― You never know what will happen in a dungeon.
So always be vigilant and don’t relax.
Do-joon regretted it. He should have explored with other people. He should have gone upstream instead of being clever.
But what good was it now?
The fact that he said he would go around alone, that he chose downstream instead of upstream, where there were a lot of people… that was all his choice.
Rather than complaining…
‘I have to survive.’
It was time for more constructive thinking.
Although he wasn’t a hunter, but a collector, Do-joon was also an expert from his six years of dungeon experience. Enough experience to not panic, at least.
His heart was beating faster and faster. Blood quickly circulated throughout his body, which had grown tense. He could practically hear his brain pumping out adrenaline.
The Wild Dog Beast was still quietly observing from the side. The confrontation lasted for a while.
At that time, the sweat flowing from his forehead fell into Do-joon’s eyes. He decided to blink one because it stung.
“Boom! Bump! Bump!”
The beast rushed in as if he had been waiting patiently all this time. Do-joon frowned and lifted the axe to block its massive teeth.
Fortunately, it was successful. His teeth were blocked by a sack of axes and so he couldn’t hurt Do-joon.
His body was getting tired.
This beast was twice as big as a normal wild dog, which meant that it weighed twice as much.
With his Destruction Statistic at Lv1, Do-joon, who was only a little stronger than the average person, could not bear the weight.
At that moment, Do-joon remembered where he was standing.
‘No! No! No!’
The end of the waterfall. The top of the cliff.
His body tilted dangerously. Originally, it was at an angle where his back would have already touched the ground, but there was nothing to touch. Nothing to even step on with his feet.
He and the Wild Dog Beast tangled together and fell into the air.
The blue sky was getting farther away.
His head went blank.
Ordinary people became stiff when danger suddenly struck. That’s why so many people get injured by rebars falling overhead or hit by trucks when crossing the road.
In such circumstances, only the highly-trained or innately talented ones can move with agility.
Maybe he could call it a talent.
Do-joon was, fortunately, a talented man.
In his head, a lot of thoughts were circling. For example, what should be done before death—the crisis of the body?
Do-joon clenched his teeth and twisted his body. Just in case the large beast could become a cushion.
Luckily, he wasn’t interested in falling and was focused on trying to bite Do-joon. He couldn’t believe that the inhumane characteristic of a beast—to chase after humans after spotting them—was helpful in times like these.
‘Something… Is there something else?’
It’s far too early to be reassured by this.
Do-joon, who was desperately using his brain, soon took out a healing potion with his left hand. It was one of the regular potions he always carried in his inventory.
The problem was that he couldn’t take off the lid. The potion was sealed tightly, and if he let go of the axe, the beast would bite his head off before he could even drink the potion.
But this was okay.
In preparation for such a situation where he couldn’t use his hands like this, he put the delicate bottle in his left hand…
Threw the healing potion the size of a yogurt bottle into his mouth, and…
He chewed on it hard enough to break it. Although it’s at Lv1, it’s still an awakening potion with the rune of destruction imprinted. There was no problem doing this.
Broken pieces of the bottle poked the inside of his mouth. It hurt, but it was tolerable.
【Medium Healing Potion has been used.】
【Receives the effect of regeneration (mid) for 15 seconds.】
The message flashed in his mind. It was proof that he successfully ingested the potion. He could feel the increasing vitality in his body, and all the wounds in his mouth had healed.
So the last thing left was…
“What made me say I’m lucky, son of a *****!?”
I had no choice but to pray to God, whether there was one or not.
…The only thing that came out was swearing.
* * *
“Shoot! Shoot! Ahhhh-!”
His vision was extremely blurry and he could barely scream.
However, something passed through Do-joon’s sight.
【You have defeated the monster. Experience (EXP) has increased.】
【Fit rate has increased.】
【Fit rate has increased.】
【Fit rate has increased.】