It cost Thomas a whopping 150 gold for the materials he had used to make his items during the day. The majority of that was due to his use of the Firestone to make his grenades. As he hadn't had to pay for the first grenade he'd been unaware of just how expensive that particular material was. However, considering the danger involved in mining and shipping it, it made a certain amount of sense.

After giving Hekrin the money, Thomas informed him that he likely wouldn't be back for the next few days as he intended to head into the dungeon within the city and gather experience. He did promise to stop by at least once more to say goodbye to Hekrin before leaving the city.

Upon exiting Hekrin's shop, Thomas made his way to the general goods store and bought some basic crossbow bolts. He procured a hundred bolts for 50 gold. He wasn't sure how strong the monsters in the dungeon would be but considering this was a starter city he didn't expect them to be that strong. Even if he did run into something like a strong boss he had his two grenades to throw at it. So with all of his needs filled, Thomas made his way to The Swans Nest to enjoy his dinner and a nights rest, with a little grinding before passing out. 

The following morning, Thomas enjoyed his breakfast and let Martha know that he might not be back that night. He wasn't sure what the dungeon was like and Martha had been good to him so he didn't want her to worry. After leaving The Swans Nest he made his way to the adventurers guild. He intended to pick up a few quests to enhance his experience gain within the dungeon.

When he entered the guild building he made his way over to the quest board and joined a large group of people perusing the quests. Thomas spotted a few that he could complete while inside of the dungeon. The most interesting ones were the repeatable quests. After selecting his quests he was forced to stand in line for a while to accept them from one of the lovely receptionists working behind the counter. While accepting the quests the receptionist game him some information about the dungeon that would be helpful.

System Notice: New Quest, Repeatable Quest!
Bring 10 Mana Crystals procured from Goblins within the dungeon to the Adventurers Guild.
Rewards: 250 Exp and 100 Gold for each batch of 10 Mana Crystals turned in
System Notice: New Quest, Repeatable Quest!
Bring 5 Mana Crystals procured from Elite Goblins within the dungeon to the Adventurers Guild.
Rewards: 250 Exp and 100 gold for each batch of 5 Mana Crystals turned in
System Notice: New Quest!
Defeat the Goblin General at the bottom of the dungeon and bring his helmet to the guild as proof of your conquest.
Rewards: 1,000 Exp, 500 gold

Thomas selected three simple kill quests. There were quests for finding and gathering materials for Alchemy and Blacksmithing within the dungeon as well, but he didn't feel like spending time just hoping to come across the materials while he was exploring. He didn't feel that the mana crystals counted as a gathering quest since, according to some people he spoke with, every monster defeated in the dungeons was guaranteed to drop a mana crystal. With two of the quests being repeatable he could easily turn them in several times to earn a fair chunk of experience and money.

With his quests accepted, Thomas got directions to the dungeon and made his way towards it. The dungeon was located on the west side of the city and wasn't very hard to find at all. The entrance of the dungeon looked like any cave one would expect to find in a mountain, except it was in the middle of a city and there were no mountains nearby. Carved into the ground in front of the dungeon was a massive magic circle that was so exceedingly complex that Thomas couldn't make heads or tails of it. Lined up on either side of the entrance were a dozen guards in heavy plate mail holding halberds at attention.

As he approached the entrance to the dungeon he noticed an extra guard off to the side that was dressed more like an official than a fighter. Spotting Thomas the official waved him over. Upon approaching the official held out his hand, "Guild card please."


The official looked Thomas over, "First time in the dungeon?"

Thomas nodded so the official explained, "We register everyone entering the dungeon. If people don't leave after a week, we assume they have perished within the dungeon."

Thomas nodded and handed over his guild card. The official looked it over, wrote down his name and handed the card back to Thomas, "All set. Good luck in there and don't be afraid to step out if things get too hard for you."

Thomas nodded and accepted the advice for what it was and didn't take any offense to it. For the NPC's of this world, they only had a single life so death was the end for them. Death wasn't the end for Thomas, but he didn't know what the death penalty would be like and didn't feel like finding out against a bunch of goblins. He was sure he would find out what the death penalty was eventually, after all, he wasn't one of those MC's in web novels who were completely OP and nearly invincible.

Thomas stepped into the dungeon entrance and was immediately greeted by a pair of stairs leading downward. The staircase was well lit by glowing crystals that sprouted from the walls every couple of meters. He'd been informed that the dungeon was well lit by these crystals so preparing a light source wasn't necessary when exploring within it. He started to walk down the staircase as he did a final check over his gear. He had everything he would need, including some food he'd purchased from a few carts on his way to the dungeon. With everything ready, he sent some mana into his wrist crossbow to cock the bowstring and load a bolt into it.

After descending the stairs for a little bit he came into the first large room of the dungeon. The air smelled stale and had a rather foul scent mixed in that he attributed to the goblins within it. The first room was empty but had four paths leading out of it into unknown areas. He randomly selected one of the paths and made his way forward. He wasn't too worried about the goblins on the first floor. He assumed that since this dungeon was entered, successfully, by new players that with his attributes and equipment the monsters on the first floor would present no real threat to him.

He followed the path he'd chosen for a bit until he came to another open room. Inside of it, he got his first glimpse of the goblins within the dungeon. It was the size of a ten-year-old child with an emaciated body and bulging stomach. Its skin was a sickly green and it's bright red eyes practically glowed within the darkness of the dungeon. It wore a plain loincloth and carried a stick that barely qualified as a club. Thomas studied the creature until it finally noticed his presence. The goblin raised its club and let out a feral high pitched scream and started to charge at him.

Thomas watched the goblin as it ran towards him, then with a shrug of his shoulders he aimed his wrist crossbow at it and hit the trigger. With a twang, the bolt launched without issue and slammed into the goblins chest. The goblin had made no effort at all to even attempt to dodge the bolt and had run straight towards Thomas making the shot exceedingly easy for him. The bolt slammed into the goblins chest with enough force to knock the little creature onto its back. The goblin let out a shrill scream of pain for a moment before its skin turned gray and disintegrated into dust that vanished shortly after. All that was left behind was a small mana crystal and a snapped crossbow bolt.

Thomas walked over and picked up the mana crystal to store it inside of his storage ring then checked his character sheet. He'd only gotten twenty experience for killing the goblin. Considering how easy it was to pull off he didn't feel like that was too little. Thomas looked around the room, and aside from a few more pathways leading to other rooms, he didn't see anything else. Thomas used his mana to re-cock the crossbow and loaded another bolt into it as he made his way to another random entrance. He was mapping his chosen paths in his head as he explored so he wouldn't explore the same area twice and could backtrack if he met a dead end.

In the next room, he came across a small group of three goblins. Two of them had sticks while the last one actually held a stone axe. The goblins were not very observant at all so he had plenty of time to pull out his kukri and have it at the ready. The goblins finally noticed him and let out feral screams and charged at him in straight lines. Clearly, the goblins on the first floor of the dungeon had no intelligence at all.

Thomas lifted his wrist crossbow and fired the loaded shot to slaughter the goblin with the stone axe. With a scream, it collapsed to the floor and turned into dust. The other two goblins didn't seem to care at all as they continued to charge at Thomas. Since there was still enough time before they got to him, Thomas channeled mana into the crossbow to cock it and placed a bolt into it to fire it at one of the two remaining goblins. The second goblin fell with a loud scream and disintegrated. Without enough time to load and fire another shot before the goblin arrived, Thomas held his kukri at the ready.

As the goblin got closer, he focused mana into his kukri to activate the enchantment he'd carved into it. As the goblin came within melee range it hefted its stick and screamed in an attempt to scare Thomas. Thomas had faced much scarier creatures in a variety of games so the goblins intimidation attempt was a complete waste of time. Thomas easily sidestepped the goblins swing, his Agility attributed greatly outstripped the goblins so it wasn't difficult in the least, even if Thomas wasn't the most graceful. After the goblin swung its club and missed, Thomas swung his kukri and chopped at the goblins neck.

The weight of the blow combined with the kukris design and sharpness enchantment allowed it to easily cleave through the goblins neck and decapitate it. The goblins body disintegrated into dust before its head could even drop to the ground. Thomas looked around for signs of any other goblins and after not spotting any he collected the three mana crystals and deposited them into his storage ring.

For the next two hours, he explored various rooms of the dungeon and slaughtered every goblin he came across. None of them really put up any fight and died in one hit each. After coming across a couple of dead-ends and having to backtrack, he finally found his way to the stairs leading to the second floor. Thomas checked his remaining ammunition and thought he might not have gotten enough crossbow bolts, he was down to just over sixty. He'd killed just over fifty goblins so far and he was hoping that the second floor would have stronger enemies. He wanted to have an exciting fight and feel some adrenaline pumping through his veins!

After walking down the stairs towards the second floor for a bit he stopped and opened his character sheet to look over his gains so far. His available experience had increased to 1,023, his Weapon Mastery (Small Blades) had increased to rank 7, he had gained the Shooting ability, and increased its rank to 8 already. After thinking about it for a moment, Thomas spent 710 of his experience to increase his Magic attribute by another two points to get it up to 36. After using 'Serenity' to recover his mana and taking some time to eat a snack, he started to move down the stairs once more.

After arriving on the second floor of the dungeon, Thomas looked around and examined the room. The light was a little more sporadic, but he could still see just fine. The first room was empty just as the first room on the first floor had been. Another thing he had noticed was that he hadn't come across anyone else the entire time he had been in the dungeon so far. He was starting to wonder if the dungeon was instanced, but he didn't think that made a whole lot of sense. The game had a pretty decent level or realism and instances didn't fit with how he felt the game would produce dungeons.

Still curious, but intent to explore and gain more experience, Thomas loaded his wrist crossbow and picked a random entrance to another room to explore.

A note from thomasdarkrose

If you're interested in supporting me please consider joining my Patreon or donating to the story. If Patreon reaches my goal I can write full time and will write ~150,000 words/month (currently writing about 75,000/month). Anything donated or pledged beyond that will go towards creating art for AoG.

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Spoiler: Character Sheet

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About the author


  • Georgia, USA

Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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