A giant rat was standing and nibbling on some rotten meat. The creature was in some kind of corridor made of stone, some torches to the sides were lighting the whole place up. Suddenly the creature perked up, it noticed something in the distance and gave out a high pitched wail.
The creature couldn't close its mouth in time as a blue arrow made from energy pierced it. It came out on the other side and connected with the wall before evaporating into the ether. A group of four people walked up, in the front was a large muscular woman with brownish skin. She wasn't wearing a lot of protection but her body looked like a marble statue. She was quite muscular and her abdominal muscles were popping out for others to see.
Right next to her was a white-haired girl with pointy wolf ears, she was holding onto two long daggers and as she walked you could see a bushy white tail following after. She was much shorter than the large person in the front which made her stick out when the two walked side by side.
In the back, there was a redhead wearing some brown leather armor and a bow over her shoulder. She had a full quiver of arrows and was just following after the other two girls in the front. Right next to her was the shortest member of the party, a young-looking boy with brown hair and green eyes named Roland. He was getting patted on the shoulder by this bow lady that had a broad grin plastered over her face.
"Nice hit there kid, took that rat out in one go!"
This was the new Party that Roland was part of and today was the first day of their Dungeon expedition. This was just the entrance area so the girls wanted to see what he could do. He decided to use his spell that had the most punching power. It used up more mana than the basic mana bolt spell and needed a longer casting time. But thanks to his mana reserves and high intelligence this wasn't a problem. His incantation skill was leveling up along with his spells so they were getting progressively more powerful.
"It was only a low-level dungeon rat... that thing is weaker than a goblin, nothing to be happy about..."
Roland shrugged while the group walked.
"Hah, think he is shy."
The two talkative girls that were Rebecca and Sahildr laughed at the reply. Reyna remained vigilant and walked at the helm of the party, she had the scout class along with the thief class. Roland could have sworn that he saw her sniffing at the air.
'Is she really a wolf?... maybe just a hunting dog instead?'
The girl was part of the beast race. This race was divided into various tribes that mostly stayed separated from the other ones. There were various beast races, feline ones, ursines, and even ones that resembled lizards. Even those had variations in them like people that were closer in appearance to lions and ones to tigers. Due to the varied appearance that this race had, it was hard for them to get along.
"It's your first time here Roland, you might not know this but this isn't really the dungeon area that adventurers like us explore."
Roland looked at the corridor, it was wide to fit in a truck into it. They have been walking through a couple of those which made him think that it would be one of those maze-like dungeons. This is why his eyes went wide as he saw light coming from afar when the group walked out they came out into a wide-open space that looked like a jungle forest.
"Welcome to the real dungeon, this is the first floor."
Becky proclaimed while holding both her hands on her hips. The forest area was truly gigantic, there was even something akin to a sun above them. Roland didn't know what to say, he didn't expect this from what he had read he only knew that these types of dungeons had floors or levels. He imagined them to be more of a maze of corridors with slightly larger rooms here and there, but here we had a giant space that probably was a couple of kilometers in width.
"This is the first level of the Carwen Dungeon, it's called the Emerald Wilderness. This is the hunting grounds for the Steel ranked adventurers like us."
"The levels continue all the way to the 10th, on that level you have to beat the dungeon boss. Though you have to make an appointment with the guild and be lucky enough for no one else to steal it."
Roland asked while stepping into the first dungeon level. The ground and grass felt normal like he was stepping onto a real forest, but he could feel that the mana here was a bit peculiar.
"Yes, the boss takes a whole week to respawn, some strong adventurer parties or guilds will hog the boss room for resources. "
"Oh, that makes sense."
Roland replied as that would probably be something that he would do. If it was like in games, the bosses probably dropped some rare items or materials. If you could hog those resources for yourself you could make quite a bit of cash. It was natural for the ones on top to try and hog the resources for themselves.
"You're quite chatty today Becky, showing off in front of our Little Goblin Slayer here?"
The large lady smirked while pushing some bushes to the side as they continued walking, the wolf-like girl was still in the front sniffing at the air. The red-haired girl blushed a bit while glaring in the direction of her party member, Roland just chuckled while walking along with her.
"Hey, I'm just being a good senior adventurer here!"
While they were talking Roland heard an unfamiliar voice, it was coming from the front and belonged to the wolf girl party member. It sounded quite cute and high pitched, it also had a tint of drowsiness to it making her sound sleepy.
'So she can talk?'
Their tracker moved to the side while Sahildr moved to the front. She was holding a rather large two-handed hammer that probably weighed more than he did. Everyone got into their positions which consisted of two girls in the front and him together with Becky in the back. Some bushes in the front started rustling and soon enough a monster charged out, going straight for the nearest person.
The monster looked like a large boar. It was much larger and more muscular than a regular boar, its tusks were thicker and longer. It also had bone spikes coming out from its spine. It gave out a ferocious roar while charging at Sahildr, the large woman didn't falter as she grasped her hammer with both hands and managed to block the monster's path. The boar beast smacked into the hilt of the hammer, the girl that was holding it buckled under the weight and slid backward slightly. Her muscles bulged out and Roland could see her veins popping out as she kept the beast from moving forward.
The others weren't passive, while the monster was busy with the party's warrior a dagger plunged into its side. The moment the monster looked to the person inserting daggers into it an arrow lodged itself into its eye. The finishing blow was delivered by a giant hammer that shattered the creature's skull into pieces. Its snout released a spray of crimson blood that coated the nearby bushes as the monster died.
|You have gained 5 experience points|
The voice announced that he had gained some experience. You didn't need to directly kill a monster if you were in a party, the experience would be distributed among the party members. There was only one limit, the party members couldn't be too far apart in levels or tiers.
A tier 1 person wouldn't get any XP if he was together in a party with a tier 2 person. This game-like world apparently had some contingencies against power leveling. Even if someone at tier 2 or tier 3 cut off the limbs of the monster and let someone of a lower-tier perform the kill, that person wouldn't get any experience. It was as if the system knew how to distinguish between this.
This was also why Roland also gained only 5 xp points this time. He didn't really do anything in this battle besides staring at the girls swing their weapons around. Due to this contribution system, people mostly partied up with others at the same tiers.
"I guess that I don't even get a turn..."
Roland said as the three girls quickly took care of the enemy in a matter of seconds. He looked at the dead body with his mana sense and pointed to a spot at the chest before speaking.
"It has a mana stone right there."
The girls looked to the young boy and then to the monster, the wolf girl plunged her dagger into the spot he was pointing at and discovered that it was indeed there.
"See, I told you he would be useful, we can save so much time with this!"
Rebecca cheered while running up to Roland and giving him a hug. He felt some leather armor press into his face which didn't feel all that nice. The girl also didn't smell all that great, the hygiene in this world was only so-so. He just grumbled while his face was getting leather burn. He let the girl have her fun, at least he showed that he could be useful in other ways than combat.
The mana stone was larger than the one that he found on the goblins, it was more comparable to one that a goblin leader would have.
'I guess the monsters here are stronger, supposedly it has something to do with the mana density in these dungeons.'
This wasn't the end of their work, the archer and wolf girl pulled out their knives and started working on the monster's remains. Roland just watched with interest. He mostly hunted goblins and the occasional wild boar so he never really bothered with the bodies that much. These more experienced adventurers started disemboweling the corps and taking things like the tusks and the spikes that it had on the back.
"These tusks and spikes we can sell of later, they are used for some armors or alchemy ingredients, the leather can also be used."
Becky said while cutting up the defeated beast, she had noticed that the youth was looking at the whole thing with attentiveness.
"We're not going to take the meat, are we?"
The girl shook her head at the question.
"No, this monster meat is quite tough, it would be hard to cook and it tastes like shit."
Roland nodded as that did make a lot of sense, who would want to eat something like that. Still, some people ate monster meat. The meat from monsters wasn't toxic or anything, but was mostly hard to prepare due to the stats increasing the muscle density.
They remained in one spot, the large lady along with Roland kept watching while the other two girls gathered the usable materials. After they were finished Roland noticed that the wolf girl took out a black looking bag. It wasn't that large and this was why he was surprised as the leather and tusks were shoved inside without a problem.
"Hah, first time seeing one? That's a special bag that has a storage magic enchantment on it, you can stuff so much in this bad boy!"
Rebecca looked quite smug as she looked at the bag, it was one of those spatial storage items that adventurers like to use. This one was painstakingly bought after a year of work by this party. Even after a year, the bag that the girls bought was quite small the space inside was slightly below two cubic meters.
"I know about them, they are called spatial bags, or storage bags, just haven't seen one in a while..."
He had seen some of these types of bags at the noble house, he didn't have enough time to nab one though. They were always carried around by the servants of higher status. He was lucky enough to steal that class up stone and didn't want to push his luck.
"How much does one like that go for?"
"This one? We were lucky and we got it off a retiring adventurer, it was quite a steal for five small gold coins!"
"The bigger ones can cost ten times as much, even one like this mostly goes from seven to ten small gold coins."
Roland nodded, as he also wanted to buy himself one of those for the future but he didn't have nearly enough and was saving money for the future. The girls managed to get everything done within 10 minutes, those skillful knife slices must have been the work of high dexterity and some kind of skinning skill.
The group moved further into the dungeon, they encountered more of the same looking boars and this time around even Roland was able to chip in. The experience gained while actively participating was much higher.
"Source of all magic, heed my call. Let your strength be mine and protect which I deem worthy."
A blue mana shield bubble appeared around the party's tank aiding her in the defensive. The girls were a bit surprised but the magic managed to stop the rampaging boar monster in its tracks again. The monster fell and Roland received his share of experience along with another mana stone that was embedded in a similar spot as before.
"The dungeon creatures sure have more mana stones than the ones outside."
Roland thought while the girls gathered up the loot, their storage bag had filled up and now some of the leather was sticking out from it. It would be unwise if anyone from them carried an excess of things so they decided to head back.
So ended Roland's first day of partying with the girls. His gains were higher than what he was able to achieve as a solo show and it was also a lot safer. He didn't need to carry anything on his own and the frontline fighters protected him if something happened. The only problem that he had with this was, that he would have to give up on this way of life sooner or later. He was still aiming for that cushy crafting job in the future as it was more promising money wise.
'I didn't earn that much more than when I was solo hunting the goblins...'
This was also an uncertain way of earning your living. Sometimes more dangerous monsters could appear and you could just die like that. He was already lucky to have survived the goblin-infested forest on his own.
'Hm, those girls don't seem so bad... they at least didn't try to rip the ten-year-old off. They also said that we would go down to the lower floor after I get used to their party dynamic.'
His new party was smart enough to not push ahead into the unknown with a new untrained party member. The red-haired party leader earned some browny points with Roland thanks to this decision. They also divided all the money they had gained equally and he didn't need to help out with the resource gathering process. He also didn't need to carry anything around beside his own gear thanks to the spatial bag that the girls had with them.
'Well, might as well enjoy this while it lasts. Hope the lower levels won't be too hard...'