Chapter 43: Dungeon Incursion (2)
I replied to a listing as I walked out of my apartment.
“This should be alright.”
The party I applied to was the one looking for a duo.
「 ISO Jikdonggeonlin Park duo.
D or higher only.
Since all the rewards and responsibilities were split evenly, duo parties were typically formed by very skilled hunters.
There was a little more risk involved, but it couldn’t be that much worse than the 4th trial.
I literally put those two in a stroller and rolled them out of the trial.
“If I can’t even solo a D-grade dungeon, that’s an entirely different problem on its own.”
Soon enough, my party request was accepted.
He probably saw that I was a C-rank hunter and accepted it immediately.
Hunter Han Sungyeun-nim, please come to the park as soon as possible. I already got approved to get into one of the gates, so all you have to do is show up. We’ll be splitting everything 50/50, and I’ll let you keep any of the special rewards depending on the situation.
He was even willing to give up any of the special rewards.
I guess he really wanted to duo with me.
‘Pros of being a high-ranking hunter.’
With a smirk on my face, I grabbed a taxi off the side of the road.
“Jikdonggeonlin Park, please.”
I was wondering what I would do if there was an item I really needed.
‘I guess I don’t even need to worry.’
I could already tell that this was going to be very worthwhile.
Sitting on a bench in Jikdonggeonlin Park, Lee Cheolwon hastily typed his post.
“Holy shit, why are there so many people here?”
It hadn’t even been an hour since the emergency alerts were sent, but there were already crowds of over ten people by the gates.
Lee Cheolwon let out a sigh after seeing the high spec gear everyone had on.
‘How many hunters were near the area…?’
He thought there would be two, or maybe three teams.
‘It must be because of the damn trial tower or whatever.’
Recently, hunters who were at a place called the Tower of Trials sold a bunch of low-grade items and made it really hard for amateur hunters to make a living.
The items weren’t worth what they used to be…
All the low-rank hunters nearby probably came here to make a quick buck.
“Life’s hard, huh.”
Despite that, Lee Cheolwon had no intentions of backing down.
For a D-rank hunter like him, entering this gate would be like winning a lottery.
It was typically much harder to earn big bucks while freelancing in the public dungeons.
Plus, the items from those dungeons weren’t worth much anymore.
The world was changing again.
Even a low-tier hunter like Cheolwon could tell.
There were all kinds of rumors about the tower, like how it roped in civilians forcefully.
Or how the hunters would lose all their powers once they entered the tower.
It was like the great calamity all over again.
‘At least my partner is supposed to be a C-rank hunter.’
‘It doesn’t look like he has much experience, but he’s still a higher rank than me.’
A high-ranking hunter with no experience was way better than a low-ranking hunter with experience.
No matter how much experience you had, raw power is what mattered the most.
It was then.
“Are you Lee Cheolwon? The one looking for a duo?”
The anticipated C-rank hunter had finally arrived.
I walked over to the man sitting on the bench after arriving at the park.
‘Is this the person who was looking for a duo?’
He must be, since this was the location that he specified in his texts.
“Yeah, I’m Lee Cheolwon.
Does that mean you’re…”
“Yes, I’m Han Sungyeun.”
“Ah, nice to meet you.
You seem like a promising new hunter.”
“Haha, it’s not like that.
You seem to have a lot more experience than me.
I’ll be in your care.”
I scoped this Lee Cheolwon person out while we made small talk.
A spear engraved with a lion’s face and leather armor with an aura of cool air.
His equipment was so well-maintained that I could tell the items were high-quality at a glance.
‘Better than I thought.’
I guess he wasn’t looking for a duo just to get carried.
Most of his items seemed to be above E-grade, which made him seem more trustworthy.
Even though I didn’t know the exact effects of his items, he should be an adequate partner to clear this dungeon with.
As I was admiring my luck, Lee Cheolwon started to speak.
“I know you were already informed, but there are a total of three gates in this park.
We will be entering the second one, and I already got the license to go in.
And I doubt any other teams want to get into this one.”
“Hmmm, sounds nice.
Can I ask why none of the other teams want this dungeon?”
“It’s a bit more dangerous than the other two dungeons, and the internal structure is very narrow.
A party with more than three people would have a difficult time getting anything done.”
The hunters around us were all in full parties.
This meant that we would have the dungeon all to ourselves.
‘And that means more rewards for me.’
Lee Cheolwon continued to speak as I stood there and listened.
“Yeah, and since I’m a D-rank and you’re a C, this is very doable.”
As if he had to convince me to not turn back.
I agree with you.”
I didn’t have any intentions of going back empty-handed.
‘And this is a prime opportunity to train for the 8th trial.’
That was half the reason I came here.
“We don’t have too much time left, so let’s get going.
We’ll be distributing all the rewards 50/50 like standard duo parties.
And if you want to, we can discuss claiming specific drops from the dungeon later.”
There wasn’t much to disagree on.
“I’ll be in your care now, Hunter Han Sungyeun-nim.”
He smiled and stuck out his hand.
I shook his hand and gave him a faint smile.
It was time to start my first dungeon incursion as a hunter.
The scenery changed as soon as we stepped into the portal at the center of the park.
Of course, something like this didn’t surprise me anymore.
It was common in the tower.
Also, I already knew that these gates generated domains that were completely disconnected from reality.
I heard that the most common environments were plains, deserts, or cave-like areas.
And this time, it happened to be a cave.
“What a shame.
Melee fighting styles aren’t very suited for caves.”
Lee Cheolwon looked around the cave with a frown.
He wouldn’t be able to fully swing his spear in an environment that was this narrow…
There were other factors as well.
“This cave is definitely too narrow for two people to fight side by side.”
I agreed with the scowling man and started to observe the area.
There was just enough room for us to walk side by side.
Even though my weapon was a sword, there still wasn’t enough space for both of us to swing our weapons simultaneously.
But this was just the entrance, and we didn’t know what was ahead of us.
Dungeons could be quite unpredictable.
I was sure the area would widen as we approached the center of the dungeon.
But that didn’t mean that we could let our guard down.
‘Monsters can come out no matter where you are in the dungeon.’
They tended to not be near the entrance, but nothing was guaranteed in dungeons.
I slowly raised my sword and suggested that we keep walking.
“Let’s keep up our guard and start moving forward.”
He finally snapped out of his thoughts and nodded.
Just follow me while being wary of our surroundings.”
He got in front of me and started taking the lead.
‘Wait, I wanted to be in the front.’
It would have been the ideal way to test out all the new skills I had.
I wanted to protest against his decision, but Lee Cheolwon was an experienced hunter.
‘I guess it’s only right that he takes the lead.’
And I heard that the real hunting started at the center of the dungeon.
There was no need to rush into things.
Trying out my new skills was important, but observing an experienced hunter would also be beneficial.
I reassured myself and followed Lee Cheolwon deeper into the cave.
It was then.
Lee Cheolwon’s eyes widened as the low-pitched growl got louder.
“Hmm, lizardmen… That’s not a good sign.”
Lizardmen were D-ranked humanoid reptilian monsters.
The only special thing about them was that they used weapons skills, unlike goblins or orcs.
They were actually known to have high-tier weapon skills.
A lizardman holding a long spear flared its eyes as it made its way toward us.
“A long spear and weapon skills? That’s gonna be annoying.”
“It’ll be better if one of us takes it down.”
I’ll take him since I have a longer range with my spear.”
I thought about it for a bit, but this was just one monster.
‘I’ll let him have this one.’
Plus, this was an opportunity to see how an experienced hunter fought.
I was about to take a step back until I saw that Lee Cheolwon was just staring the lizardman down.
I thought he would end the fight instantly, but they both circled each other.
Feigning attacks while looking for opportunities to strike?
This was not what I signed up to see.
I wasn’t going to waste my three days on Earth like this.
Why was he struggling so much against a single lizardman at the entrance?
‘Stalling like this could be problematic…’
Emergency gates were different from normal dungeons in a couple of ways.
The only reason they let random hunters into these gates was to stop the monsters from getting out.
After some time, the hunter association would either blockade the gate or designate it as a public dungeon.
Then the hunters from the association could come and clear the dungeon.
I was under not one, but two different time limits.
‘We can’t waste any more time.’
Change of plans.
I was done observing this guy.
“Let me lend you a hand.”
My actions were faster than my words.
I propelled myself forward instantly.
Lee Cheolwon stared in dismay as I bolted past him.
“What the fuck?! C-come ba-”
He seemed to be startled at my sudden decision to dash in.
But as soon as I activated the skill…
「 Activating the skill ‘Instant Acceleration.’ 」
Lee Cheolwon’s desperate cry was cut short.
A mere D-rank monster had no chance of following my accelerated movements.
That was enough for its head to drop to the floor.
‘I guess dungeons don’t make the monsters particularly strong.’
The lizardman felt a little weak compared to the D-rank monsters I faced in the tower, but that was not important right now.
I swung my sword to clean the blood off.
“Sorry, I’m in a bit of a rush.
I hope you don’t mind.”
“Ah yeah… I understand.
He nodded as he stared into the empty space in front of me.
It was as if he didn’t understand what had just happened…
This was the perfect time to convince him.
“By the way, I have a suggestion.
Are you open to one?”
I gave him my brightest smile and finally spoke my mind.
“I want to stand in the front.”
I couldn’t waste the whole day on this dungeon.
It was time to pick up the pace.
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