"Let's stop staring at it and actually conquer it. If we're lucky, there might be other powerful survivors in there as well," Daz said with some expectancy in his voice.
"Looking to recruit them?" Crusher asked.
"That would be nice, but depending on the circumstance," Daz narrowed his gaze and stated, "We're most likely going to end up killing them and stealing their stuff if they weren't already killed by the dungeon's monsters. Ideally, though, they'll join us, but if I can't have the people, I'm not going to leave without their equipment. We could use their stuff, I'm sure."
"K-Kill them?" Dorian stuttered over his words.
He was a mentally weak man and the idea of killing people scared him. He was smart enough to know that he wouldn't need to actually murder anyone personally, but he would have to go on knowing that his companions took another Human's life when it wasn't necessary. Dorian wasn't sure if he could live with that.
Daz noticed this, so he swiftly took advantage of his charm and Legendary Gift of The Gab skill to persuade Dorian. "Listen, Dorian, do you remember Matt?"
"H-Huh? Yeah, I-I do," he replied after hesitating a bit.
"You saw how he acted when he wanted Hamson, right?" Daz asked with a gentle tone.
Dorian nodded, so Daz smiled and continued, "Everyone that's alive right now has survived four days of literal hell, not to mention they did it by themselves or in a small group since the only sizeable communities in Waterford are us and your father's camp. Do you think that people like that who've fought for their lives during four attacks would want to peacefully talk in most situations?"
"Wh-Why wouldn't they?" Dorian was looking for an excuse to not partake in what Daz wanted, but something about Daz's words, or maybe his voice, was very compelling, in fact, it almost seemed hypnotic.
"If they can kill us," Daz said while he ran his index finger along his neck, "Then who gets all of our amazing equipment? It's a dog-eat-dog world now, Dorian. I don't like it either, but would you rather be the one getting eaten, or the one doing the eating?"
"The... The one eating..." Dorian mumbled and he appeared to be in a daze of some kind.
"Right, so trust me. I'll keep you safe and I'll make sure you can get some decent equipment. It's time for you to learn how to use that umbrella of yours with one arm until we can get you back your other one, okay?" In Dorian's eyes, Daz now looked like an older brother that only cared about him despite the fact that they were practically the same age, so he nodded his head without any further hesitation.
"There's no need be scared anyway, after all, they might be friendly and actually want to join us at Fort Skip for all we know, or we could be the first people to find this dungeon," Daz smiled reassuringly.
"How scary," Rose whispered with a grin on her lips. "One thing's for sure, Father would be proud if he could see this."
The group of six, Rimmy included, went to the mall's previous entrance and approached the large gateway that was clearly the only way to access the dungeon.
"So do we just walk inside, Rose?" Daz asked while he examined the raised gate of the dungeon.
"No, we fly in," Rose replied sarcastically and rolled her eyes as she continued to type away on her laptop.
Ignoring Rose's attitude, and without hesitating any further, Daz led everyone in and they were all prompted by the system, except for Rimmy since he was a part of Daz and thus didn't count as a single challenger.
|Congratulations on being the second group to enter the E-Ranked dungeon [Demon Lord Stegrum's Castle]!|
|Enter with 4 other explorers.|
|Defeat the Demon Lord Stegrum.|
|10,000 Merit Points.|
|Random E-Rank[Middle-Tier] Item or Skill x 1.|
'Small rewards, but it is our first dungeon, so that's to be expected I suppose. 'Second group', huh? That would explain why the quest is rated at the C-rank of difficulty despite the dungeon being lower ranked than that. I suppose the other group isn't going to be friendly, which is why the quest is harder, not easier. Or maybe the system will manufacture conflict between our groups?' Daz surmised.
"D-Daz...! The gate disappeared!" Dorian suddenly shouted.
Spinning around, Daz was surprised to see that Dorian was right. They were all stood in a small room and the entrance that they had walked through, the tall open gate, had somehow turned into a wall.
Crusher walked up to its surface and tapped it lightly with her knuckles. "Heh, well, that's one way to keep your guests from leaving too early, hahaha!"
"This dungeon. Exclusive. All dungeons?" Madison asked, but to whom, it wasn't clear due to her aloof nature.
"We'll have to beat this place first and find another dungeon or two to confirm if they have to be cleared before you can leave them to be sure, Maddy," Daz responded.
As if a light bulb had turned on in her head, Maddy opened her mouth slightly and placed a fist on her other hand. "Daz. Smart."
The Reaper in question smiled and ruffled Madison's hair lightly before saying, "No, you just lack common sense."
'You're hardly one to talk,' Rose, Crusher and Dorian all thought in unison.
The group of unlikely companions proceeded onwards with cautious steps. Dorian was tasked with pushing Rose and it was most definitely a challenge for him considering his arm, but he was happy to be helpful in at least some capacity.
Daz had created his clone since he figured it would be pointless not to. He'd armed it with a gun and his hand shovel, so while it was far less powerful than he was, it could offer some assistance and it wouldn't hesitate in the slightest, so Daz valued his clone to be worth at least twenty Dorians.
Rimmy was feeling a bit claustrophobic. He could barely fit into the hallway due to his huge frame. Thankfully he was still able to walk, but if they had to fight in this passageway, Rimmy was worried that he'd have to act as a shield or stay in the back and only use his Crystal Shotgun skill.
It didn't take long for Rimmy's concerns to vanish as the group of seven, Daz's clone included, entered a large chamber that looked like it might have been a grand announcing room at one time.
"Well, this confirms one theory," Daz coldly stated.
In front of his group, littering the room, were fifty bodies. They were small and red-skinned. Each one had two curled horns and a small forked tail. Anyone with basic fantasy knowledge would know that these creatures were Imps. "So it looks like each group doesn't get a separate run. I have a feeling that this is too exploitable by just teaming up to beat the dungeon. We're definitely going to be forced or tempted to fight the other group in here if they're still alive."
"Why?" Dorian asked. Evidently, even after Daz's persuasion, he still wasn't one-hundred-percent set on the idea of fighting other survivors if they didn't have to.
The seated girl in front of him, Rose, replied in Daz's stead with a lecturing tone. "The dungeon is only ranked at E, but the quest is ranked at C. You do the math. Obviously, there's going to be a fixed complication during our quest. It's not that hard to understand, is it?"
Dorian felt his face heating up from the embarrassment. When he thought about it, Rose was right, so Dorian hung his head down and chose to stay silent. Rose saw this and muttered, "Coward."
"That's enough," Daz commanded. "Let's quickly search the room for anything of use or value and I'm gonna absorb these bodies. No point wasting them. Be quick though, we don't want the other group to clear the dungeon first. There might be additional rewards for that."
Everyone nodded except for Rose who continued to type away on her laptop busily. "I'll scan this room for leftover traps. I want to level up my skills. Coward, push me around, please, would you?"
"Ar-Are you talking to me?" Dorian said after hearing Rose with confusion on his face. True, he was cowardly, but to have his name be directly replaced by the term...
"Do you see any other spineless creatures walking around here? Of course I'm talking to you. Hurry up and push me, please," Rose replied in a tired voice. She was getting irritated. Rose didn't like people like Dorian. The unreliable type just didn't gel well with the young ten-year-old genius.
Nothing of value could be found, unfortunately, but Rose did manage to locate and disarm three traps and Daz gained a total of five stat points to each of his stats. One per ten bodies.
Since they were done now, the group moved up a flight of stairs at the end of the chamber only to see that it led directly into a library where twenty bodies lay strewn around the ground, all absolutely covered in blood and guts.
These corpses were dressed in what looked like noble attire and they had long fangs protruding from their mouths. Everyone could instantly infer that these people were Vampires or some sort of vampiric creature.
In this room, Rose found seven untriggered traps and Daz gained four stats points per stat. Every five bodies of these guys were worth a single point, which was the best conversion rate thus far.
Rose ordered Dorian to fill his backpack and the under area of her wheelchair with several books that she had hand-picked. They all seemed to be about dark rituals of some sort, but Daz didn't mind. He trusted his sister and expected her to know what she was doing.
The third floor, a weapons room of some kind, had ten bodies in it. This time, the monsters didn't even look remotely humanoid. Ten massive dogs covered with leathery skin that seemed almost volcanic, lay dead on the cold ground. After inspecting them, Daz could identify that they were Hellhounds. Something else of note that he saw was blood that wasn't black like the rest was. There wasn't much of it, but it was definitely there.
"Looks like one of them got hurt in this room," Crusher came to the same conclusion Daz had.
"Right," Daz smiled, "Let's hurry up. This is fresh. We might catch up to them at this rate."
Only one hidden trap was found here since it seemed like the fight that had occurred was very rough and messy, resulting in most of the other ones either being destroyed or activated.
Daz gained twenty-five stat points in total from five of the dogs. It would seem that they counted as medium-level-souls, which he was only able to absorb five of per day. 'I hope this dungeon doesn't disappear. It would be ideal if it reset. I can farm it for souls in that case... I really am becoming an evil overlord, aren't I? Those damned Gnomes were right.'
Nothing of particular value could be found on this floor too since no one in his group was able to carry the weapons stored here. It would have been ideal if this armoury had some daggers or small tools that they could store away, but it only held spears, longswords and shields. Daz made a mental note to return tomorrow to pick up all of these weapons if the dungeon was still here.
The group proceeded upwards to the fourth floor and could hear frantic fighting before they had even reached the top of the stairs.
|Congratulations! You have found the competing explorer group. Eliminate them to gain a bonus after completing the quest [First Time Dungeon Explorer] for 5,000 merit points.|
While this amount was paltry to Daz, Crusher and Madison, if the total was added up amongst the five of them, it was twenty-five thousand merit points, plus whatever system gear the other survivors had.
Even Dorian's hesitance was scratched away somewhat at this notion. To him, merit points were the single thing that he coveted the most right now. He needed them to fix himself, but more importantly, he needed them to prove himself.
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