Chapter 7 Day 3, 3rd floor Encounter.
Chapter 7 - Day 3, 3rd floor Encounter
6:00 in the morning.
[One you return from the dungeon, items in use will automatically return to your inventory.]
My day started with those words.
Inventory. The words ‘Maram’s Leather Gloves’ and ‘Elmer’s Dummy Destroyer’ popped up. It wasn’t even necessary to say the commands, I just had to think them.
Although Cartography had gone up quite a bit, the fact that there were no changes to my stats meant the difference between numbers was quite significant. I wanted to check how much experience I needed before Cartography leveled up again.
[Cartography LV 3. 241/400]
[Pain Tolerance. LV 5. 42/1600]
[Punching. LV 2. 114/200]
[No.099 ??? LV 0. No experience.]
No.099? What was this?
[Unique Talent - No.999 ??? : ?????]
Despite the number attached to it, I didn’t feel bad because it was in the talent category. But when had I received this? I always carefully read the messages that appeared in front of me, and I’d never noticed this before.
[Among all the explorers, the talent that only the first explorer who acquired it can monopolize is called a unique talent.]
[The basic acquisition method is similar to acquiring a normal talent, but it should be consistent with the inherent nature of the explorer and their fundamental desires. After acquiring the talent, the explorer must be fully aware of the desire to awaken it. Enabled.]
The more I looked, the less I knew. My nature? Fundamental desires?
There wasn’t even the talent name, only questions marks, so I couldn’t get any sense of what this talent was… Well, I didn’t need to worry too much about it.
Since I had gained the talent, I must have done something that met the criteria. I would think about it in the dungeon.
I took a shower, ate breakfast and roughly packed my backpack. During testing periods, the cafes that were open on weekends wouldn’t be that busy. I headed straight to a cafe.
"Oh, I want to sleep forever." After silently working on the algorithm on the paper for two hours, Su-yeon put down her mechanical pencil. Her cute face held a rotten expression.
"Didn’t you sleep last night?”
"I stayed up late and only slept for maybe four hours.”
In fact, it wasn’t a matter of having gotten enough sleep. The problems on the table were so difficult that it was making everybody tired. Five people, including me, were studying in a study room at a cafe.
The algorithm we were working on wasn’t simply a matter of finding the answer. Once the correct answer was unconditionally found, we would have to find a more efficient method.
That’s why a few people were needed. One person picked a problem, squeezed their head and shared the solution with the others. Well... Smart people didn’t need to do this. The fact that I was at O University meant there was a lot of effort and talent, but the geniuses were really beyond my imagination.
"Uh, the one Oppa is starting is a problem I tried the other day. It will be difficult.”
“Yes. It looks hard. But when did you attempt this?”
"It’s a fairly famous problem.”
Dong-wook hyung, who was listening to the conversation, glanced at me and said, "It was a problem on last year’s SZ electronic test.”
“Ah really? I didn't know that. If several problems from that exam comes out... Isn’t there a rule that you can’t reveal the questions?”
"Some seniors memorized it before they left the exam.”
"There are many such humans. We can only gaze at them from afar...”
I bit my nails and concentrated on the problem while listening to the conversation between Su-yeon and Dong-wook.At the same time, his other hand put down the mechanical pencil. “... I think I did everything...”
Su-yeon-and Dong-wook turned to face me. "Already?"
I handed over my piece of paper instead of answering. Their eyes widened with surprise as they looked over it.
"Wah." Su-yeon’s mouth dropped open.
“... Hey, you must have seen this beforehand.”
She didn’t believe it. Dong-wook stared at me. "That isn’t the Hee-chul I know.”
Dong-wook beckoned to the other two people in the room. They had been listening to the conversation so they both came over to look at my paper.
"It looks good.”
"Hee-chul’s condition is good today.” I shrugged, feeling half proud and half shy.
Honestly, it just felt like something had clicked. I felt like this was nothing. However, it was the first time I had been faced with a problem of this difficulty.
I spoke a few words to the members of the study group before suddenly looking at the clock. Ah. It was that time already… "Oh, I will leave first. I’m going, Hyung.”
I hurriedly gathered my things on the table. Originally, I would have stayed until one or two in the morning. "What, has Hee-chul’s confidence increased due to the studying?”
“It’s not like that.” I couldn’t say that I was going to a dungeon, so I just said goodbye and left the study room.
I looked back to see Su-yeon following me. "That thing that Oppa did a while ago.”
"That paper, can I have a look at it?”
Her hands joined together in a shy gesture but my hands were already opening my bag. Anyway, I was a normal Korean male in university. The other men in the room didn’t have the courage to embarrass themselves in front of the sole female.
"Thank you! I’ll return it.”
Su-yeon accompanied me to the elevator outside the study cafe.
As the elevator door opened, Su-yeon suddenly blurted out, "I’ve thought this for a long time but you sure are hard-working.”
“Eh...” I couldn’t reply and waved my hands. Su-yeon also waved at me. The elevator doors closed.
“Hah.” Hard-working. The words weren't wrong. I probably wouldn’t have been able to reach this far without working hard.
Originally, I wouldn’t have been able to solve the problem. But it wasn’t uncommon. It was hardly the first time I had been unable to solve a problem. Maybe the abilities I gained in the dungeon helped.
“It is still insufficient.” I thought back. Su-yeon and Doon-wook’s story. I wasn’t a genius and there were many people superior to me. Even if I did well, I was a long way away from being a genius. There was quite a few people who could do what I could.
Even Su-yeon was outstanding enough to enroll in a science high school for exceptional children. It was the same for the other study group members. Yes, it was still insufficient.
Abilties. More talent was needed.
[Arrived on the 3rd floor.]
Upon my arrival, “Aaaah!” I could hear shouting and running outside of my field of view. It was An Su-hyun. Did he arrive a little earlier because he stepped on the stairs before me? He wouldn’t be running away due to my arrival.
There must be something else; something that terrified An Su-hyun. I had to maintain my vigilance. I could hear footsteps, but they were different from An Su-hyun’s footsteps that had already disappeared. They were a little slower and lighter.
"Kuoh...” A rattling sound.
Then the owner of the footsteps came into view.
[Lime Goblin (Worker). Type: Ajin (Demi-human). Rank F.]
[A goblin tribe that was defeated above ground and ended up settling in the dungeon. They have their own caste system and magic culture that is different from existing goblins. The body type is bigger than other goblins, but in the case of workers, they have no weapons or magic and low health, so their combat power is very low.]
Certainly, it didn’t match the image of goblins that I had in my head.
It was approximately 160cm tall, with blue skin. There was a bulging stomach and thin arms and legs. If I hadn’t gotten a description, then from its appearance I’d have thought it was more a famished demon from Hell than a goblin.
If I wasn’t in a corner then I would have run away, but unfortunately I was. No, it wasn’t unfortunate. I raised both fists. I had already put on the gloves before entering the dungeon.
“Come.” It understood my words.
"Kya!" The goblin approached while waving sharp nails. There was no need to flee backwards. I was bigger than the goblin and it had much shorter arms.
I stepped forward, and my fist aimed for its chin.
I felt something breaking as my fist slammed into its jaw. After collapsing and wriggling a few times, the goblin didn’t get up again.
[Punching. LV 2. 116/200]
The goblin was wearing a skirt made of leather. It didn’t seem to have any value but a small pouch was hanging from it.
Two coins with a faded colour emerged. A person’s face was carved on the back and front.
[Tellan Empire Coin (Copper).]
[An imperial coin that still holds value. Made of bronze material. It is commonly used among communities or species within the dungeon.]
I placed the coins in my pocket and started walking. I realized after taking a few steps that there was a change in the dungeon.
On the first and second floors, the dungeon was a ‘cave.’ Although the paths had a certain width, there were stalactites on the walls. But on this floor, bricks was laid on the outer walls of the caves, despite a significant number of them crumbling.
There were traces of collapsed pillars and arches. There were traces of marks on the walls that used to be pictures. I could see that they weren’t drawn by the same people who built the ruins. The cave murals were unveiled in the areas where the bricks had fallen down.
It was the work of the goblins. The pictures were red like they had been drawn in blood. They were simple pictures reminiscent of ancient civilizations such as Egypt or the Mayans. That's why it was even creepier.
Goblins were creatures that hunted humans and animals, offering the bodies as sacrifices to the evil spirits that they worshipped. ... To be honest, I was a bit scared. It was a dark narrow cave, where there were murals that seemed to be painted in blood on the walls.
Two more goblins popped into my field of view and I jumped with fright.
I punched both of them on the chin and knocked them down. I moved forward with my nerves on edge.
“... I’m scared.”
"Don't worry, Oppa likes games like this...”
I could hear voices ahead. One was An Su-hyun. The other one was... A girl? Both voices were coming this way, so I waited patiently.
"Because the both of us are together... Kyak?!”
An Su-hyun, who was facing the woman, hurriedly turned his head towards this side. He held the baseball bat in his hands like a club and had a confident expression on his face but… "Y-you are alive?”
The words involuntarily fell from his mouth. He thought I was dead? All of a sudden, a corner of my mind snapped. My tightly wound nerves erupted.
“Do you know him?”
“Eh... Uh, a friend from Room 405.” He talked as if he knew the woman well, but An Su-hyun was still clutching the baseball bat. I put strength into my fists. I looked at him.
Think carefully. Act rationally, Kim Hee-chul.
"Good to meet you. The three of us should join together.” An Su-hyun subtly ordered. I nodded. I calmed my excited heart as I thought, I had to move rationally.
As I approached him without any emotional response, An Su-hyun laughed with relief. “Okay. Since there is a woman here, we’ll both protect her from getting hurt...”
Let’s test it. I kicked An Su-hyun’s ankles with my foot. “Ah!!” An Su-hyun flinched and immediately swung his bat. That reaction time was impossible unless he had already decided to hit me in advance.
A normal person would jump after being kicked in the ankle, not swing a bat. He even cursed and didn’t ask why I was doing this. But to be honest, I wanted it to end up like this.
I calmly blocked the bat before he finished his swing. The club and gloves made a sound as they collided with each other.
Now it was my turn. I punched An Su-hyun exactly in the centre of his face.
It wasn't an emotional judgement. No matter how rationally I thought, the answer was the same: a dog needed to be taught to listen to humans.