Chapter 1. Prologue
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“What’s wrong with this?”
The dungeon shook. The topography itself was changing as numerous roots grew through the lava flowing under the cliff.
The ground where the party members were sitting was no exception. They instinctively lowered their posture on the shaking earth as if it was about to collapse at any moment.
Kwak Dong-gyu smiled like a madman and stepped back. Because this one bought him more time.
He quickly released his beast form and tried to run away towards the party member.
‘I can say that he touched it first. I’m the one who got hurt, so I can deceive them enough.’
Moreover, it was such an emergency. A situation in which emotions tend to prevail over logic.
There would be no one who would not sympathize with a wounded person.
At that time.
“Where are you going?”
The voice gave Kwak Dong-gyu goosebumps. When he turned around, he saw Do-joon behind him with ferocious eyes.
Kwak Dong-gyu was frightened and dodged the flying axe. No, he was giving priority to defeating him in a situation like this?
That axe that flew by. Beyond that, the eyes of the two met.
But right after that.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
Perhaps heaven and earth followed him, Do-joon’s feet began to crumble and collapse.
There was a big difference in the view of the two.
Do-joon crumpled his face. It may have been natural luck from Kwak Dong-gyu’s point of view, but that was no surprise from his point of view.
His body fell.
“Goodbye, you bast*rd!”
Kwak Dong-gyu raised his middle finger in joy and excitement at Do-join’s predicament.
However, Do-joon was unexpectedly calm. Was it because it was his second time falling off a cliff? Come to think of it, he was strangely calm when he fell the first time as well.
Do-joon was looking for a way out while feeling the hot air pass by his cheeks.
Fortunately, the roots grew on top of the lava, so there was little risk of plunging straight through the lava. No matter how high the resistance was, he wouldn’t be safe if he fell into that place.
A cave was seen from the cliff.
Do-joon took out a rope with a hook from his inventory and threw it into the cave with all his might.
Fortunately, the rope was enough to support Do-joon’s body as if it were caught in a hard place.
When he looked up while hanging on the rope, he saw Kwak Dong-gyu with his head sticking out and looking at him.
“Hey, you leech bast*rd!”
Was he like Indiana Jones or what?
Kwak Dong-gyu gritted his teeth and pulled out a throwing hatchet from his inventory and aimed at Do-joon.
He thought something was flashing from the below, but in an instant, it rushed into him. It was a spear.
Kwak Dong-gyu freaked out and pulled out. After taking a few steps back, he came to his senses.
The spear, which had soared like thunderbolt bolts, dispersed in an instant and gathered down again.
When he looked down the cliff again.
Do-joon had already entered the cave.
‘He is a freaking monster…….’
His body trembled.
Even in the midst of the entire dungeon collapse, the tenacity that was aiming for his neck was not like a human, but like a child of a beast.
he attacked him when his head stuck out while hanging on a rope, as if he were expecting it?
Aside from physical ability, the ability to respond was not that of an E-class hunter.
Especially the eyes he saw earlier…….
【Dungeon information has been updated.】
【Lava Cave (D) → Helix’s Rest (B)】
“Dong-gyu hyung! Are you okay?”
At that time, the dungeon finally became stable and the party approached Kwak Dong-gyu.
Kwak Dong-gyu, who came to his senses like waking up from a dream. His headache gradually calmed down and he realized what he had to do.
He took out a potion and poured it onto his arm. Then, he felt an upheaval with a bubbling sound. Without stopping there, he pulled out another bottle and drank it.
“What’s wrong with your arm? And where is Do-joon?”
A group of surprised faces. One of them quickly approached, took out a bandage and tied Kwak Dong-gyu’s arm. It wasn’t a wound shallow enough to heal with just a potion.
Kwak Dong-gyu took a deep breath, sweating profusely. He grinded his teeth and opened his mouth..
“That bast*rd attacked me.”
“What did you say?”
They were taken aback by the sudden remark. Kwak Dong-gyu did not stop.
“Because he did a lot of work, he asked me to give him more money… … . I said I should talk to other party members, and then he suddenly pulled out his weapon and pointed it out.”
Someone shouted. It was Hwang Hyun-woo, who was the closest to Do-joon among the group.
“Hyung-nim can’t do that… … . He is not that kind of person!”
“Hyun-woo, did you say you knew that guy?”
Kwak Dong-gyu remembered. The story was that Do-joon only stopped by Hwang Hyun-woo’s store once.
Even though he knew it, he asked on purpose.It was not to confirm, but to let others hear it.
“That… … It was only a few days ago… … .”
“Do you trust people that much when you saw them only a few days ago? Hyun-woo, this floor is more dangerous than you think. Even if everyone looks normal, there are plenty of people with many mental illnesses.”
Kwak Dong-gyu’s words were truth. Rather, it was natural that Hwang Hyun-woo had no reason to desperately wrap Do-joon.
In the eyes of the party, Kwak Dong-gyu is a D-class, and Do-joon is an E-class.
The general idea was that Kwak Dong-gyu, a D-class hunter, would never be hurt this much unless it was a surprise attack.
Maybe the fact that he got taken by surprise meant that his back was just filled with hollow reasons.
“But I still need to hear from you…….”
“I do not wish to do so. His feet crumpled under him and he fell underneath.”
Hwang Hyun-woo’s face became contemplated.
Kwak Dong-gyu turned away from him. He thought this would be enough.
“More than that, now it’s not time for this. As you all can see, the dungeon has changed to B-class.”
The faces of the party members turned blue, perhaps because they realized the reality only then.
It was a party gathered to attack a D-class dungeon. But suddenly, they were thrown into a B-class dungeon.
In everyone’s head, the two letters, death, were stuck.
“Uh, what should we do now?”
“Should we try to hide and wait for the rescue team to come?”
Kwak Dong-gyu shook his head.
“The rescue team can’t enter double root dungeons. We have to get out.”
“Then… … !”
“Let’s retreat. If we follow the path we came from, we’ll find the exit.”
“Then, what about Do-joon hyung… … .””
At that moment, Kwak Dong-gyu’s atmosphere completely changed. Not only Hwang Hyun-woo but also all the party members in this place felt the momentum and trembled.
“I don’t intend to take care of him, a traitor. Don’t talk, follow me.”
Hwang Hyun-woo became dumb mute like someone who has eaten honey. The same went for the other party members.
However, unlike Hwang Hyun-woo, who was only scared, the thoughts of the party members were a little different. Rather than being scared by this momentum, they felt reassured.
In the sense of being a leader who they could trust and rely on in an emergency like now.
‘Isn’t the atmosphere bad?’
Kwak Dong-gyu sensitively caught the flow.
Unlike others, he was confident of surviving in the B-class dungeon. That was why he was relaxed and was able to look at the atmosphere around him.
‘I just need to go like this.’
Smiling satisfactorily inside, but with a serious look that would never happen again on the outside.
“Then let’s go.”
* * *
【Dungeon information has been updated.】
【Lava Cave (D) → Helix’s Rest (B)】
“It’s a B-class… … .”
Do-joon who entered the cave. Also received information about the dungeon.
‘It’s worth trying for a B-class level.’
If it were an A-class, he would have risked his life, too. But it was doable if it was a B-class. It was going to be a little stronger than the Orc Labyrinth.
But the problem was.
‘If Kwak Dong-gyu kills the boss, it will be difficult.’
Defeating the boss closes the dungeon. About another day is given, but the fact that it is closed remains unchanged anyway.
If he can’t escape by then, he will go missing. In many ways, it was a situation similar to that of the past.
At that time, definitely like this…….
‘Huh? Will this be okay with me?’
Do-joon tilted his head at the thought that suddenly came to mind. At that time, the dungeon was closed when he was in the labyrinth. And when he cleared the labyrinth, he came back to reality.
If it looked like the dungeon will close again this time, then should he just go into a labyrinth?
It might work or it might not be. However,
‘I don’t want to experiment.’
Just like then, Do-joon could not afford to die. He must not die or go missing. If he dies or goes missing, So-eun will become an orphan.
Although she had Siewellin, there was a strong possibility that she would also disappear when he dies.
A sound he heard then. It was that kind of sound, similar to a beast eating meat.
The identity of the noise was a large dog with black skin and reddish muscles. It was probably a monster from the renewed dungeon.
Perhaps he felt Do-joon’s gaze, but he sniffed and looked his way. His red eyes shone brightly and looked at Do-joon.
The hound rushed towards Do-joon. Every time he breathed, flames came out of his mouth, and the smell of sulfur spread out.
‘First of all…’
Do-joon picked up the thunderbolt and aimed it at the hound that came closer.
He stuck it in like a skewer.
Soon, the spear blasted out lightning and went through it from inside out.
The Hound with a hole from the throat became electrocuted and grilled without even making a proper scream.
In a last ditch effort, it tried to bite Do-jun’s arm, but the defense option built into his body blocked it. It was not able to penetrate the barrier without enough power to it.
After a while.
【You have defeated the Monster. Experience (EXP) increases.】
Experience increased for the first time in this dungeon.
Do-joon swung a spear and thought, shaking off the hound’s body.
‘The first priority is to escape.’
Whether climbing that high cliff or finding a way in the cave, he had to move towards the exit.
* * *
At that time, at the barricade of the Lava Cave Dungeon in Sangam-dong.
“Hey, hey! Call them!”
“What, what do you say?”
“There’s another root sticking out! Hurry up!”
Soldiers who were on the guard posted a report to the superior with bewildered expressions. The superior’s response was quick. They immediately recognized the double root phenomenon and called for reinforcements just in case.
And it wasn’t just the soldiers who arrived.
“Double roots? Who is inside?”
“It is said that there are D-class party members. The changed dungeon information is of class B.”
“… … It wouldn’t be strange if everyone dies.”
After hearing about the rare phenomenon of double roots, not only various guilds but also the reporters gathered.
In particular, the place where many reporters were concentrated was where Karma’s spokesperson was.
“I’m sorry, but it’s our fault that we didn’t find the roots in the early exploration. If the root is opened, we will dispatch a rescue team as soon as possible.”
The spokesperson for Karma who talked without changing his expression even with rude questions that sometimes come in.
There were few people who blamed them for the actual atmosphere. In order to know that it was a double root, they have to find another root of the World Tree inside the dungeon, but how easy is that?
Early exploration is to skim through only the vicinity of the original entrance. Just because they didn’t find it, they couldn’t be held accountable.
Meanwhile, a person clicked his tongue while looking at them. The person wearing a striking white suit was the 1st Team Leader of the Rune Mage Guild, Baek Hwi-soo.
It was placed at the end of the four major guilds and has been the target of Karma’s attack in modern times.
“What do you think?”
He asked the subordinate who accompanied him. His subordinate asked back with a questionable look, perhaps not knowing the intention of his question.
“What do you mean?”
“That. They didn’t find the roots in the early exploration.”
“Isn’t that possible? There are times when the layered root is easily visible, but there are many cases where it is hidden without anyone knowing.”
“That’s true, but…….”
Baek Hwi-soo couldn’t get rid of the awkward feeling. Especially since it was reported that the leader of the party that was currently in was Kwak Dong-gyu.
“Kwak Dong-gyu is the one who had some friction with our kids. But every time, strangely, that guy Oh Tae-jin was the guy who was circling around the matter.”
“Yeah. He’s only a D-class guy, so I didn’t really care much, but I remembered because it was strange.”
Each and every one of them was nothing special.
For a large guild, an initial exploration quest is like a daily routine.
Overlapping roots that were not discovered by early exploration.
The person who entered the dungeon was the one who was strangely concerned by Oh Tae-jin, the influential figure of Karma.
Each could just be a coincidence, but all of these coincidences overlap. If coincidences overlap and overlap, it is said that it was inevitable.
That was why Baek Hwi-soo was frowning over this with an expression like stepping on poo.
“I know it’s suspicious, but what’s the matter? Are you saying that Karma deliberately put their precious member in a dangerous dungeon?”
“I don’t know why they are doing this, either.”
Baek Hwi-soo grumbled and replied. In order for something to happen intentionally, there has to be a profit.
However, there was no benefit for Karma or Kwak Dong-gyu from this incident. Rather, Kwak Dong-gyu, who was a D-class, has to worry about his life.
“Oh, I don’t know, sir. But, we’ll find out about it when it reopens and we’ll start investigating.”
One of the two conditions must be satisfied for a double root to reopen. When the newly updated boss monster dies, or.
When all the outsiders, that is, the hunters, die from the standpoint of the dungeon.
“What do you think it will be?”
At the words of the subordinate, Baek Hwi-soo took out a cigarette and bit it in his mouth.
“In my heart, I want the boss to be killed.”
But it would be hard though.
Swallowing back words, he lit the cigarette.