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Chapter 49

 

I could not run. If I could, I would have made a break for it. I intentionally lowered my speed in front of the oncoming monster mob and pretended to stumble. It was not difficult to act naturally, as putting weight on my wounded leg was painful and made my balance unstable.

I deceived two idiots, and as they came high and fast while screaming, I cut through them both.

 

[You have beaten the Declan Patrol Soldier.]

 

Intestines and blood fell in a torrent and still spilled out, after their corpses were on the ground. One of them was crawling on the floor, leaving behind a bloody trail, since the hit had not been fatal. I stepped on its head as hard as I could. I could hear its skull crunch. My upgraded power allowed me to crush them, and I only had a few steps until the entrance room.

It was then I knew how many monsters there were, and only ten of them remained alive. However, going against ten in a frontal attack was suicide, and I opened the door and went in and closed it as quickly as possible. The wooden door shook like it would break, and I pressed my back to the wall parallel to the door, waiting with my sword raised for the first unwelcome guest.

 

[The Man Who Overcame Adversity time remaining 0 hours 2 minutes 59 seconds]

 

I had less than three minutes remaining, and my disadvantages would increase as time passed. However, they could not know this, and as the door was ripped to pieces, one stuck its head in. While I saw only its ear and cheek and not its neck, my sword was already slashing down.

I heard a scream, and Odin’s Wrath coupled with my E class power had cut the monster’s head into two. The moment the disgusting corpse which had received an extreme field expedient haircut fell into the room, I kicked it away.

At the same time, I moved to where the door had been and thrust my sword into a mutt that had been stupid enough to be within reach. I had consecutively sliced off half of one’s cranium and pierced another. I saw two messages pop up at the same time.

 

[You have beaten the Declan Patrol Soldier.]

[You have beaten the Declan Patrol Soldier.]

 

I did not hide behind the door and threw myself at them. I could now attack for the first time after entering the dungeon, as I should be able to just handle eight at my present state.

 

***

 

[Declan Extermination: Exterminated Declan Soldier 29/60]

 

I threw off my burdensome backpack, and the message in the air looked like it was sneering at me as I lay down on the floor. To think that an F class hunting quest the System seemed to have given to me as a present was this dangerous.

Going solo and passing through the first room was as bad as a boss fight. While my body was heavy, I needed to do some things before the Man Who Overcame Adversity wore off. I shook my backpack, and survival items dropped on the pools of blood the dogs had made.

I found the zipper bag dripping with blood, and I took out bandages to treat my leg, shoulder, and stomach. I had a lot to cover.

 

[The Man Who Overcame Adversity time remaining 0 hours 0 minutes 1 second]

 

I was thirsty, but if the effect wore off…

 

[The Man Who Overcame Adversity time remaining 0 hours 0 minutes 0 seconds]

[The Man Who Overcame Adversity effect will now disappear.]

 

“Ah…!!!”

 

***

 

I woke up because I was in pain, thirsty, and hungry. I felt a dog’s head as I reached for a water bottle and remembered that I was in a dungeon. I tried to sit up, but my entire body screamed. I had to support myself with my hands to remain upright.

After managing to sit up, I drank water and found a codeine pill lying in a pool of dog blood.  I dry swallowed it, sticky with clotted blood. Standing up was a problem, and I could only do so after three tries using my sword like a staff.

When I saw the exit I came back to my senses.  I instinctively walked and crawled up the stairs, desperate to flee this place, knowing I would die here.

I saw that the outside world was also dark. People say fantasy and reality cannot mix together, but they all lied. They co-existed at least here, and the world outside this blue barrier was fantasy and the dungeon was the only reality. The reality had become a nightmare and could only think of getting out.

I reached out to the blue barrier.

 

[Warning. You have not satisfied the exit conditions.]

 

I felt my fingers tingle and remembered the fate of those who had ignored the system’s warning as terrible images played out in my head. I flung myself back on the stairs and fainted for quite a long time.

 

“…Traits…list.”

 

[Overcoming Adversity (Trait)

Effect: The moment you are incapable of fighting, all stats and skill classes increase by one. Also, there is a minor healing effect, and you are immune to pain until the duration ends.

Class: F(0)

Effect time: 5 minutes

Reuse time: 7 days (6 days and 1 hour remaining)]

 

I had fainted for 23 hours, and I felt somewhat human because of the length of time I had lost consciousness. I unrolled the bandage on my leg, and the teeth marks that showed my bone were quite healed. However, my shoulder was another problem, and the wound was deep enough that I felt sporadic pain even with codeine.

I came back to the entrance room and started to organize my survival items. I checked whether they were clean and ate an MRE for my hunger. Then, even if I had just risked my life before, I now had free time. I felt the darkness deepen, and while I knew it to be impossible, my sights dim. (EN: Meals Ready to Eat.)

 

***

 

Times like this tended to go two ways. While we could rest up, after an ambush like this, it may be time for another fight. If people had been gathered together without any choice, teammates who had fought together would turn into enemies at the drop of a hat. They may have already suffered from severe PTSD, had been inflicted with a curse before going in, or had received a curse from the dungeon.

If mental illness was not a problem, problems happened if someone’s original aim was to kill everyone else in the party for a nice payday, or something went wrong with the contract or someone coveted an enticing item on another teammate.

Not only that, but someone may have become angry due to some incident during battle. Anything could happen in a dungeon.

However, there were other things. You could feel some relief from teammates you could trust, and healers could heal you even if you did not trust them. Also, people could take turns on the night watch for rest and immediate response. I used the space next to the dungeon box as the place I would spend the night as I was alone.

While it should not happen, if a monster appeared, I would open the box. It would be better to risk my life on luck than just dying. Now, the points I needed for a real bronze box were…

 

[Accumulated points: 150]

 

I needed 150 points for a bronze box and one typically needed to hunt 75 Canine Pawns in total. I only wanted one thing, which anyone with my wounds wants.

I wanted an Escape Insignia, which was the only chance to get out of the dungeon without meeting the exit conditions.

While not running may make you stronger, I knew that having an Escape Insignia raised one’s survival rate. There was comfort in  knowing that one could escape alone, and while runaways were severely punished, it was better than dying in a hellhole. You could hide your identity and live among civilians.

One thought of all sorts of things in the darkness, mostly about the past and not the future. This darkness reminded me of pain and suffering, of my comrades’ deaths, brutally killed corpses, the stench of severed intestines, blood, and traitors.

One thought of the future while walking in the darkness, about sudden traps, suspicious teammates, and monsters stronger than one’s estimates.

The scariest things about dungeons were not monsters or traps but the mental stress and loneliness. They took hold not only of our spirits but our bodies, and we crumbled and attacked each other.

Ideals, love, and friendship. The possibilities of them happening were lower than getting high rank box rewards.

 

***

 

It was time to go out again, and I gripped my blade. However, I changed my main weapon to the dagger, which suited me better at my present level. The corpses I killed were left as breadcrumbs, to mark the entrance, as I walked up to the next room, and I continued as I had finished up in there.

I spotted one room, and while I would have to open it, I examined it closely instead of pushing the door open. There had not been any traps in the corridor and this room, and now was time for one.

I then saw a thread on the doorknob and thought it was like an F class trap. I moved to one side of the door and after cutting the thread I heard a boom.

Even though I had moved sideways, I still had to cover my face with my hands. I saw the door splinter and the huge log that had crashed through the door spun away after demolishing it.  I also felt the wind of the passage of the hunk of wood that would have turned the unwary into meat paste and bone splinters. The sounds the log made hitting the walls rang the air for quite a while.

 

[You have removed a trap.]

[You have gained 2 points.]

 

I saw a new sentence pop up.

 

[Congratulations. You are the first to have completed the hidden quest ‘Declan Trap Removal.’]

[You have gained 4 points.]

 

What had been his name? Youngjin Woo? Hyungjin Woo? Youngjin Yu?

I now knew why he had been awkward after removing the trap in this room. This had been a free quest, and he would have gotten the reward, as he had been first.

Now I saw what the first reward was!

 

[You have received a ‘bronze box’ as your first completion reward.]

 

The box worth 150 Guard Dogs was opening, and while I was desperate for the Escape Insignia, the possibility was quite low.

 

[You have received the Escape Insignia.]

 

I saw a ray of light shine from the box to my chest, and I now knew why the Eight Virtues had been fanatic about the System. What luck!

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

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