Chapter 1. Prologue
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5 Advanced Chapters
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Do you know why dungeon performance is most important in the Association’s ranking measurement?
Of course, there is also simply the meaning of experience. That being through several dungeons makes a skilled veteran.
But, that reason was not everything.
This was because in order to increase the fit rate, one must always defeat monsters of the same class or higher.
‘Someone has experimented with it before.’
The world is grand and wide, there are plenty of crazy people out there.
Once upon a time, a person in a foreign country only went around the F-class dungeon day and night. He eventually gave up after 3 years, unable to even raise his fit rate by 1%.
Since then, several such experiments have been added by the official agencies, proving that hunting hundreds or thousands of monsters below them does not increase experience.
That’s why the association determines the dungeon performance as utmost important.
The level of a Hunter can be predicted just based on the performance of how many dungeons they completed and how high the grade was.
‘But, is Do-joon’s fit rate really of level D?’
It doesn’t make sense.
A fit rate of 48% is a figure that requires hunting, not only in C-class but also in B-class dungeons. As such, Association does not designate a person who can defeat a B-class monster into a D-class dungeon.
However, Do-joon knew of one case where the grade and fit rate did not match.
Regardless of the performance of the dungeon, he had an extremely high fit rate.
He cleared the collapsed temple and already got raised by 1% in the Orc Labyrinth. So despite that his rank was E, his fit rate had already surpassed 40%.
In light of this case, the conclusion was…….
‘It’s not an increase via dungeon, but instead a different route in increasing fit rate?’
He had never heard of such a method. Except, for in his case, the labyrinth.
“Okay, let’s start the briefing.”
At that precise moment, Kwak Dong-kyu clapped his hands and drew attention. All the party members’ gaze turned to him.
Do-joon stuffed his worries into the corner of his head and listened for now.
“As you know, this dungeon is a special dungeon. So, you all brought flame resistance, right?”
Equipment inspection was conducted at once. Upon first glance, it seemed that everyone had adjusted their resistance by about 20%. Similar to low-end resistance equipment.
Kwak Dong-kyu, who examined them one by one, finally turned to Do-joon. To which, had nothing to show.
“Oh no… It would be hard if you didn’t have this much. Your level is already low.”
Kwak Dong-gyu glanced at him. However, looking at the silent Do-joon, he shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, it is you who is going to face the difficulties and dangers. Don’t complain about it later.”
Kwak Dong-gyu said that and moved on.
If he had been a nosy leader, he would have ran wild at this moment, but thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be the type.
“Everyone brought fire resistance potions… … . Oops, right, there’s no one else but you who don’t have one. I don’t know how to help, just take care of yourself on your own. Okay, then.”
Kwak Dong-kyu looked at Do-joon with a pathetic expression. At this point, other party members also displayed signs of discomfort.
At that time, Hwang Hyun-woo approached and slipped something into Do-joon’s pocket. It was a fire potion.
“I’ll lend it to you. I brought plenty.”
And then Hwang Hyun-woo smiled.
There was no reason to refuse, so Do-joon received it for now. He could return it to him later.
Since then, briefings continued for a little while longer.
A total of seven party members, including Do-joon, entered the dungeon.
As soon as he entered, he could feel the heat that was unbearable.
Heat rose from the dark black stone ground, making the entire atmosphere stuffy, and even haze was seen throughout.
However, that was not the end. The ground they stood on was fairly high, and scarlet-coloured lava flowed from below like a river.
“Hey, isn’t this a bit too dangerous?”
Hwang Hyun-woo stammered at the sight. Then Kwak Dong-gyu replied with a smile.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. As long as you don’t fall, right?”
“That’s true, but…….”
“But it’s D-class, so it will only be this much, there are many many more dangerous places than this. One time, as soon as you entered, lava was immediately falling right onto you.”
Hwang Hyun-woo freaked out as if it was just terrible to imagine.
Kwak Dong-kyu giggled and stood as the vanguard of the group.
Maintaining the established formation as planned at the briefing, the party proceeded carefully. Hwang Hyun-woo and Do-joon, the only two in the team that stayed at the rear.
“Sigh … It’s too hot, isn’t it?”
As they headed deeper into the dungeon, the team grumbled one word at a time.
Not only was the dungeon extremely hot, but the heated mana in the air tormented them inside and outside.
To prevent their mana from boiling, 20% of the resistance was chosen and adjusted, but it was not enough to block it all.
“How are you so fine, brother?”
Do-joon was obviously fine.
Of course, he felt hot from the hot air, but there was no feeling of being hurt from the mana’s heat like the others.
No, also who’s brother, by the way?
Do-joon looked at the person beside him, Hwang Hyun-woo replied calmly.
“Can I call you hyung-nim? Haven’t we seen each other twice already?”
(T/N: Hyung means older brother.)
“Well… Okay, let’s do that.”
“Please make yourself comfortable, hyung.”
Do-joon has known him since he was a talkative one, but he seems quite familiar. He asked Do-joon another question with interest.
“Brother, have you taken the potion already? Everyone’s having a hard time, but you look okay.”
Which was because his resistance was already maxed out.
Of course, he couldn’t say it out loud.
“It’s because my mana attribute is ice.”
Do-joon used the excuse that he had thought up.
Actually, it wasn’t really a lie. In addition to his flame resistance, his Mana core, an ice attribute, played a vital role in cooling his body.
Hwang Hyeon-woo’s face turned into surprise when Do-joon showed him smoking cool mana on his palm.
“So, that’s why you didn’t bring any resistance equipment? Wow, I’m jealous.”
While the other party members didn’t talk, they listened to their conversation.
Those who initially looked dissatisfied quickly changed their minds after hearing Do-joon.
‘I didn’t come here without a plan.’
‘I’m not going to be a burden.’
‘Since I have an ice attribute, then it’s worth using.’
His evaluation had been raised. Although E-class is a low grade for a Flame Dungeon. He did not bring any resistance items to the dungeon, but still wants to be the first person to get it done.
The ice attribute at a Flame Dungeon had that much merit.
‘It feels good to have resistance.’
When everyone’s attention was directed to the magic of the ice attribute, Do-joon was secretly satisfied with his resistance level. In this harsh environment, all this pleasantness was all thanks to his flame resistance.
Of course, this was not the only utility of the resistance.
“It’s a monster!”
Monsters appeared from the rock side. A group of five or six red-skinned fire lizards about the size of a large dog were prowling around.
The battle began centering around Kwak Dong-gyu.
Originally, it would have been the norm to maintain a set formation and push through, but this time was different. The fire lizard attacked by spewing fire from its mouth similar to a flamethrower.
“Spread out and attack!”
Leader Kwak Dong-gyu shouted.
According to his words, they scattered and attacked from every angle.
Fire lizards were characterized by groups attacking one enemy at a time. Thanks to that, if one person becomes their target, the others can attack without much risk.
This made a situation where it was possible to know who became a target through observing their heads.
And the lizard’s heads stared directly at one person.
“It’s breath! Avoid it! Get to the corner!!”
Hwang Hyun-woo’s eyes widened at the screams. However, he did not realize that he became the target.
One of the party members shouted from far away. Hwang Hyun-woo, who finally became contemplated when he saw the flames heading toward him.
Do-joon clicked his tongue and ran toward him.
Hwang Hyun-woo urgently tried to use a skill, but his skills required him to touch the ground. Even before he could bend, the flames came first.
Do-joon, who came in time, pushed him away. The flame that was headed towards Hwang Hyun-woo hit Do-joon instead.
The flames emitted from the six different mouths at once ignited Do-joon.
Hwang Hyun-woo’s eyes trembled helplessly at Do-joon’s sacrifice.
But after a while.
Do-joon stood intact. He only burned some equipment, but there was not a spot where he got burned.
Seeing that, Hwang Hyun-woo opened his mouth in awe.
Do-joon answered briefly and Hwang Hyun-woo was speechless.
Do-joon nodded inwardly. Wasn’t this a very convenient excuse? It was just too plausible.
“I see. Ah! Thank you! Thanks to you, I survived.”
“I’ll accept your thanks later, just focus on the battle.”
The lizards grumbled annoyingly. They seemed to be unhappy with Do-joon’s appearance, who was still fine even after getting hit by their combined fireball at once.
Soon they fired two more shots. But this time.
“I’ll block it!”
This time, Hwang Hyun-woo was prepared, as he touched the ground. Then the ground rose and quickly made a thick wall.
The lizard tried to burn down the wall, but couldn’t. It was a wall made of land where lava flows. It couldn’t just melt from a lizard’s breath.
“Hurry up and kill them all! Before they hit one of us!”
In the meantime, the party members approached the lizards and took care of them all.
In the close combat, they collapsed helplessly at the blade of the party members, perhaps they were a bit too terrible in it.
As a result, all could be handled without any damage.
“Wow, Do-joon, you were awesome.”
“How did you run so fast?”
It was others who handled the monsters themselves, but all attention was focused on Do-joon.
Once in a scattered position, it was effective to run immediately without hesitation when being attacked.
Now, the party members glanced at Do-jun with questioning. One of them had a twinkle in his eye.
“Didn’t you get hurt? Or did you eat the Potion already?”
As before, Dojun explained that it was because of his ice magic. It was said that he was able to cover his whole body with mana and not get seriously injured.
There could have been doubts if only words were exchanged, but there was no question when they witnessed Do-joon actually being okay.
On the other hand, Kwak Dong-gyu glanced at Do-joon with bother.
* * *
Since then, they have encountered more fire lizards, but they were all simply dealt with.
Since lizards did not always fire at Do-joon, Do-joon also defeated a few lizards.
‘If I could use thunderbolt, I could sweep it all at once.’
But there was no need for that.
In the first place, the fire lizards did not give experience due to their low fit rate, and that it wasn’t a good choice to show him his hand when he was in discomfort with Kwak Dong-gyu.
“Ahhhh! My fit rate has gone up!”
As he saw earlier, the combat skill he had was a transformation-based skill that made thorns and walls rise from the ground.
It seemed quite cumbersome because he had to touch the ground every time it was used, but the power was decent.
When he said congratulations, he could see that he was sincerely happy.
“Wow, both of you are pretty good. Very few E-classes can fight this well.”
At Kwak Dong-gyu’s praise, Hwang Hyeon-woo scratched the back of his head and laughed.
“Then let’s take a break.”
Following the leader’s instructions, the party members sat down here and there.
The battle itself was not very difficult, but the environment was also a problem. Even after drinking the resistance potion, it was still ridiculously hot.
Meanwhile, Kwak Dong-gyu saw Do-joon alone, so he approached him.
‘Now I am left alone.’
He laughed inwardly. Hwang Hyun-woo, who was always attached to Do-joon, became busy chatting with others during this break.
“I didn’t know that the E-class, brought in just to fill in the number of heads, would perform so well.”
Kwak Dong-gyu looked at Do-joon’s face. An expression where he still couldn’t figure out what Do-joon was thinking.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter. I just need to do as much as I get.’
He glanced under his feet. Since it was a narrow cliff from roughly the beginning, this place was now in jeopardy.
When he saw that Do-joon didn’t know that, Kwak Dong-gyu could not stop smiling.
Of course, he didn’t forget to wrap that smirk with a kind smile.
“I’ll have to give you a higher percentage for this. It’s not completely up to me to decide, but I’m sure other people won’t be very opposed to it either.”
When it comes to money, everyone can’t help but pay attention. When their eyes turned to Do-joon, Kwak Dong-gyu secretly used a skill.
– Beasts are enemies of humans, and humans are enemies of beasts.
His arms, hidden deep in his wide sleeves, secretly turned ugly. He could feel the overwhelming sense of power immediately!
Kwak Dong-gyu chuckled. Every time he uses this skill, he becomes overflowing with energy and his brain gets drunk as if it was paralyzed.
Of course, now was not the time. That’s why he only transformed his arms.
Suddenly, Dong-gyu and Do-joon’s eyes met.
Did the thief say he was asleep? Kwak Dong-gyu was secretly prickly at Do-joon’s gaze.
But soon, the emotions were stuffed away. Since he had to remain a professional.
“Do-joon, I have no grudges against you.”
“I was originally on vacation, but I got a job that I couldn’t just ignore and throw away.”
He smiled nicely, although, on the contrary, he swung his arms fiercely.
A perfect surprise attack.
However, it was only Kwak Dong-gyu’s idea that it was perfect. Do-joon took out the axe as if he had known beforehand and swung.
Kwak Dong-gyu opened his eyes wide.
Do-joon’s axe struck Kwak Dong-gyu’s chest and punctured through it. Along with the clothes, the armor he was wearing inside was torn like a piece of paper, and blood was splattered.
However, Kwak Dong-gyu did not stop swinging his arm even in pain.
His arms instead became bigger and longer than normal humans. He smashed the ground and rushed to Do-joon.
His speed was much slower than that of Do-joon.
Do-joon yanked his arm and raised his axe high.
Kwak Dong-gyu’s eyes grew larger by the second. How could an E-class move more quickly than himself, who had a 48% fit rate!
Of course, there was no such person except Do-joon that could answer his question.
Do-joon brought the axe down and onto Kwak Dong-gyu’s arm with all his might.
In an instant, the beast raised his shoulder to defend, but the ax penetrated even the skin of the beast.
His arm was split in half. If he had blocked it and had been hit with his bare body like this, then his arm would have been blown away.
Was it a pity that he couldn’t cut it in one hit? Do-joon clicked his tongue.
Kwak Dong-gyu looked at his bleeding arm with shock.
‘What are you even hearing?’
‘Isn’t that a scream?’
On the other hand, it seemed that the party members far away heard his scream.
Kwak Dong-gyu was engulfed in nervousness. If it stays like this, it’s over. Masuhwa was a skill that required no witnesses.
Something reflected in his eyes at that time.
The ground that was battered from the aftermath of his attack on Do-joon. There was a noticeable black root sticking out.
– Hunter Kwak Dong-gyu, Lava Cave is a double-rooted dungeon. The young master said he would entrust the Hunter with how to use it.
Contents of the phone call with Jang that passes through his mind.
‘This is it… … !’
He giggled and rolled up the corners of his trembling mouth. Then, he turned his legs into a tentacle and snatched the roots.
Then the roots sprang up, wriggling as if they were alive.
It was like touching a sleeping monster.
【Dungeon information is updated.】
Soon, the ground, no, the entire dungeon began to shake.