I will be releasing 4 chapters at once for novels that qualify eg Past Life Returner and Green Skin moving forward. This way readers can binge on stories. Cheers!
A road extended past the gate in the wire mesh fence, and it was a new construction skirting the mountain to avoid the village. The car’s headlights were the only light source from here, as I had intentionally not placed any lights on the road. The bare mountain was like a dark ocean now, and it seemed like time had stopped, as if a massive wave was about to roll in.
There were no stars in the sky, and only a half-moon looked down on the high wall surrounding the facility. On nights like this, we used to think about who would die that day.
I saw a tattered banner on the ground when I came out of the driver’s seat. A few villagers had been protesting right here a few weeks ago. While they had become quiet after receiving compensatory funds (bribes), there was still trash that showed that people had been here. I kicked it away with my foot and raised my head. The wall looked bigger at night, and I stopped my reminiscences.
I took out the items I had brought with me in the car trunk. I took the flashlight from a military backpack before shouldering the pack. I unsheathed the sword, and left the sheath in the trunk. I would not need the sheath where I was going. The trunk’s red light also disappeared after it was closed, and the darkness was complete.
I went to the only entrance of the wall, and the flashlight revealed a steel gate.
[New Hope Mental Hospital]
A CCTV was running above my head, and the empty hospital looked like it was abandoned. The bare gardens looked like it should be inhabited by ghosts, and as I walked up to the dungeon, I remembered my fellow Awakened who had died there. I remembered the screams of the traitors and the cheers of those who had gained boxes.
Trust, deceit, faith, desire, despair, joy, love, hate, fear… Dungeons had all that since literally anything could happen. I had always gathered or joined people to go into dungeons with, since going solo into a dungeon was simply an exceptionally stupid and painful form of suicide.
My heart was beating fast, which meant that I was feeling nervous.
“It’s only an F Class dungeon.”
However, murmuring that to myself did not help, as courage was irrelevant. Only someone who was crazy enough to not care whether they lived or died would go in alone with F-class stats into a dungeon.
It had been convenient in this peaceful world, as I had earned money using my memory of what had happened in the previous timeline, which I would continue to do. However, past knowledge was not reliable in a dungeon.
I needed to acknowledge that I was afraid of being alone in the dungeon, as I dreaded the darkness and my mind was filled with the memories of my past.
While so much had passed until this moment, I was still not yet mentally prepared. My lips turned in a bitter smile, as more time would have not solved anything. Going into a dungeon alone with an F class stats meant that my fear was only natural. I had not been able to gather other people or aquire escape insignias and monster alarm insignias.
However, I was going to the dungeon even though the night sky warned me that this was suicide. I could not delay this until the Trial Tests, which wouldn’t happen for decades, as it meant nullifying the advantages I had gained by going back in time.
I had to believe my survival skills and murmured to myself that this was my job as I walked forward.
I had designed this building so the dungeon entrance was located on the underground floor, and the half open emergency exit door going down seemed like the maw of some creature.
I could only hear my footsteps going down the stairs, and it was then a message popped up.
I had not arrived at the dungeon entrance located in the underground storage room and was still on the stairs.
[System: Would you like to open the dungeon?]
The “Explorer” title I had gained had been activated as it expanded the radius of the area one could activate the System of a dungeon. I did not answer the message and went into the storage room. Only a roughly painted sign said that this was the storage room, and it was an empty space. However, I locked the door first and spoke to the air.
“Open the dungeon.”
[System: The dungeon is now Open.]
The ground rang, and cracks appeared, and stairs made of dirt appeared below my feet. A pale blue light spread like a barrier where the ground had been, and the stairs rippled like it was underwater.
Many a person had been deceived by this fantastic appearance, not knowing that it will lead to their death.
I had been about to take a step but quickly stopped myself when I remembered something.
“I’m an idiot.”
I took out my cell phone and flashlight after turning their power off and placed them on the floor. In dungeons, all electronics and firearms fail to function.
While I had made my choice, I still found myself hesitating at the moment I needed to enter. I did not want to go in alone without the necessary items. I clenched my teeth and took a step.
[System: You are entering the dungeon.]
I felt the stairs amidst the blue light, and I saw a warning message first pop up.
[System Warning: You may leave only after satisfying the conditions.]
I received my quest notifications.
[The quest ‘Sock and Buskin’ begins.] (EN: The sock and buskin are two ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy.) (EN: Please ask Google-Sensei for details and pictures.)
[The quest ‘Declan Extermination’ begins.]
[The quest ‘One on One Combat’ begins.]
The first was the boss quest, the second was the hunting quest, and the third the duel quest. I sat on the staris and waited until my eyes became used to the darkness.
[You have gained the skill ‘Night Eyes.’]
[You have gained 5 points.]
[Accumulated points: 92]
This skill was a basic skill given to all hunters and a must for survival. I no longer needed to stay in the darkness after having gained this skill, as the skill class would not rise by sitting alone in the dark. All skills were like that, and their mechanism was quite simple.
Get points to open boxes and raise one’s ability by what was contained in the box.
However, everything that happens from then on was too complicated for words, due to the random nature of the contents. I arrived at the end of the stairs and saw a roughly cut wooden door. The door screeched as I opened it, and I saw the entrance room inside.
With this low-class skill, I could not see the entire room and had to guess that there would be walls and doors leading somewhere else in the darkness.
The F class dungeon in Hwasung had been a maze-type dungeon, and in the past, I had come in with useless maps the military had given me. They had given me maps showing that they had known that the maze would change shape after each entry.
However, they had forced us in here without any warnings.
Anyway, I took out a pad of paper and pen from my backpack and put them in my pocket. I had to map the way out if I did not want to starve to death before being killed by a monster.
One may think using a ball of string may be useful, and both the military and Awakened had tried this method. Unfortunately, monsters tracked the Awakened using the string, and the Awakened were mobbed and killed. The string had also been severed, or more disturbingly, cut.
I saw a wall after taking a few steps and circled the room by following the wall. There were two doors leading to other rooms, one on the right and the other to the left of the staircase.
Things truly began from the entrance room, as monsters, traps, and Pandora’s boxes all awaited me, the invader. They may even be berserk because they had been awakened earlier than their proper time.
I took the door on the right, as luck would decide my route, and it was obvious that I dared not go to the treasure room, let alone the boss room, even though I knew how to defeat the boss.
My goal was clear, and I would only try the duel quest at most. Surviving even that would be luck.
[Name: Sunhoo Na
Stamina: F(14) Strength: F(22)
Agility: F(15) Perception: F(25)
Accumulated Points: 92
Characteristics (2) Skills (2)]
[Odin’s Wrath (Skill) Effect: Enhance with the power of Lightning a target of your choice.
Skill Level: F(0)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cool time: 24 hours]
With the skill, my sword, which I had made in a workshop for three hundred thousand won, would become a capable weapon. However, due to the duration and cooldown I could not use my skill all the time. I held the sword in one hand and the other empty so I could open doors and had my sword ready for whatever was necessary.
However, things were quiet even as the door opened with a screech. I could see about seven meters due to my skill, and if I remembered correctly, the corridors of this dungeon were about fifty meters long. The width was more than fourteen meters, as I could not see the walls, and they were more like roads than corridors.
It was then that I saw, sitting by itself, in the middle of the room, apparently undefended, a large chest. Since it looked like a bronze box, in my past life, the newly Awakened had rushed to open it. If that was a real bronze box, I did not need to hesitate. That chest may be real or fake, and if it was real, I would receive something in random, but if not…
This was the curse that drove people crazy, sitting before me, as dungeon boxes made me think about opening them despite knowing something bad may happen. You could get something that you would normally need to risk your life for, without a price. This box appearing here and now was one of the tricks the dungeon played on you, to mess with your mind.
Of course, something good would pop out only when you were lucky. How many monsters did you need to kill to get a bronze box? I began to calculate, as it was a force of habit. One needs to kill 150 or 300 low-grade monsters to open a bronze box, as you need 300 points to open a bronze box. It was a formidable number.
It was then I smelled something faint but disgusting to the nose, and I tightened my grip on my sword. I peered into the darkness with my eyes and I reminded myself that I would be able to only take on a few low-class monsters with my current stats, even in an F class dungeon.
I realized again that I had come here when I was too weak, but the only place I could raise my stats was the dungeon for now.
I had come here in the past after the Trial Tests, and my average stats and skills were at E class. I was also not alone, as this dungeon needed at least ten people. However, things were different now, and I only had my past memories to support me.
I saw three shapes come out of the darkness.
Edited by Userunfriendly