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A note from thomasdarkrose

Bribe chapter as promised. 4,404 words for you all to enjoy! (Also, AoG is now hovering around rank 75/6, you guys are more amazing than I could have ever imagined!)

After walking through the pathway leading to the next room, Thomas came across his first group of goblins on the second floor. On the first floor, the largest group he'd come across was three at a time. However, this room had five goblins within it showing an increase in difficulty already. Four of the goblins looked just like the others on the first floor but the fifth one was slightly larger and actually wore a tattered suit of leather armor. Since there were no nameplates or anything similar within AoG to help Thomas identify the new goblin he couldn't tell if it was one of the elite goblins he needed to hunt or not.

Shortly after he spotted the group of goblins the slightly larger goblin noticed Thomas and let out a yell to draw the attention of the four smaller and weaker goblins. All five goblins immediately charged directly at him. Even the larger goblin that Thomas thought might have been more intelligent. Thomas made a split second decision and fired his crossbow at one of the closer small goblins and instantly killed it. He quickly reloaded the crossbow and took out a second small goblin. Left with the larger goblin and two smaller ones, Thomas readied his kukri and smiled to himself.

Since the goblins had come too close for the crossbow to really be necessary, Thomas gripped his kukri tight and watched the three green creatures as they charged close and swung their weapons at him. Thomas decided to put himself through a few paces and see what he was really capable of. He instantly accelerated his entire body and dashed to the left to quickly circle around behind the group of goblins. With his current Agility attribute, he could move at speeds over thirty meters per second, though it took him pushing his body to its maximum limit.

Seeing their target practically vanish before their eyes, the goblins tilted their heads in confusion until Thomas's kukri lashed out. Thomas channeled mana into his kukri and increased its sharpness as he struck. He put the entirety of his Power attribute behind the blow as he aimed at the goblins thin neck. The kukri cleaved through the goblins neck with ease and decapitated it. Thomas wasn't entirely sure why, but something about the goblins large heads on top of their stick thin necks made it almost like they were designed to be decapitated.

Thomas leaped backward and opened up some distance between himself and the two remaining goblins. Seeing another of their companions killed didn't phase the remaining two in the least. Still as feral and murderous as ever, the two goblins charged at him once again with the clear intention of murdering him. He easily dodged the two attacks from the goblins, his attributes still outstripped even the larger goblin by a fair margin making toying with them easy.

Thomas counter attacked by chopping vertically down with his kukri and embedding it into the skull of the smaller goblin. The goblins skull was a bit thicker than Thomas had expected giving his blow more resistance, but with his current Power and the kukris sharpness enchantment, it still cleaved through the skull. Normally the kukri would have likely been stuck in the goblins skull but thanks to the goblins nearly instantly disintegrating into dust it wasn't hard for him to recover his kukri.

With the last of the smaller goblins killed, Thomas was only left with the largest goblin of the group. He observed the last remaining goblin and started to seriously doubt that it would be an elite goblin. Despite being larger and better armored the goblin showed no signs of greater intelligence than its smaller brethren. Thomas stayed still and allowed the goblin to take a swing at him with its slightly larger club. Thomas was curious about its strength so he let it attack and blocked the blow with his kukri.

When the goblins club collided with Thomas's kukri it sent a weak shock into his arm and that was it. With the goblins club pressed against his kukri, Thomas angled it to the right and parried the club to the side. With its club parried the gangly goblin was thrown off balance. Taking advantage of the moment, Thomas lashed out with his kukri and dragged it across the goblins neck. Unfortunately, the slash was too shallow and failed to completely decapitate the goblin and kill it instantly. With a pained look, the goblin grabbed at its throat to try and stem the flow of black blood as it gurgled while trying to breathe.

It took a good minute for the goblin to bleed out and turn into dust as it died. Thomas watched impassively the entire time. It was a little cold and heartless but he felt it was necessary to know what would happen if he did something similar in the future. It was an important piece of information to know that monsters could bleed out, it meant he would need to study monster anatomy to take advantage by severing arteries and causing monsters to take damage over time by bleeding out.

Thomas collected the five mana crystals and checked his guild card. It kept track of his quest progress in real-time so if the bigger goblin had been an elite it would be reflected on the card. It only took a glance to see that the larger goblin was not an elite and was just a bigger regular goblin. With his loot collected, he made his way to one of the entrances leading to another section of the floor.

Each room within the second floor of the dungeon contained no less than five goblins with at least one of those goblins being one of the larger ones. Even the groups with seven goblins in them posed very little threat to Thomas. He even let one of the larger goblins actually hit him and felt very little impact from it. If he had to guess based on his experience with his own attributes, he'd rate the larger goblins as having a Power attribute between twelve and fifteen. With his base Endurance being at least double what he calculated the goblins Power to be and with his armor adding an additional ten on top of that, he was practically immune to the attacks of the goblins.

Thomas efficiently killed the goblins in each room he entered while judiciously using 'Serenity' in between fights to keep his mana topped off. By the time he found the entrance leading down to the third floor, he'd slaughtered over seventy goblins. Taking a break on the stairs, he looked over his character sheet and examined his progress once more. All of the skills and abilities he'd been using had ranked up a fair bit and he had 3,003 experience he could spend on his attributes. So, Thomas spent 1,540 experience to increase his Magic attribute up to 40. He could clearly feel the difference in his mana with the increase in the attribute.

Thomas was starting to get concerned though, he hadn't seen any other players still and it was starting to get to him. He didn't mind having the dungeon to himself at all, it gave him plenty of goblins to kill and loot for his quests. However, it really didn't feel 'right' to think that the dungeon was instanced. It was kind of a weird thought to want the dungeon to himself while simultaneously not wanting it to be an instance.

Thomas made his way to the third floor and randomly selected an entrance leading to another room. Thomas smiled as he entered the next room. Inside of it was a small group of four goblins, three of them were the larger goblins wearing ragged leather armor from the second floor. It was the fourth goblin that made him smile though. It was a good bit larger than the other three goblins and was wearing much better-looking armor while holding a shortsword made of metal in its hand. Thomas was relatively certain that the fourth goblin was an elite this time.

The probably elite goblin immediately noticed Thomas at the same time that Thomas noticed them. There was a distinct difference between how the probably elite goblin acted and how every goblin Thomas had seen so far acted. The goblin immediately called out to the ones surrounding it and pointed at Thomas with its sword. It was clearly directing them to attack him. Seeing the obvious signs of intelligence cemented the idea that the goblin was one of the elites he needed to hunt down.

The three goblins heeded the commands of the elite goblin and charged at Thomas while the supposed elite stayed back and observed. Not wanting to let the goblin down, Thomas lifted his wrist crossbow and fired the loaded bolt into one of the charging goblins. Thomas decided to refer to them as 'adult goblins' for the time being. The bolt slammed into the goblin and instantly killed it. The elite goblin narrowed its eyes and charged in behind its companions. Thomas thought that was a rather good response, he'd made it clear being far away from him was a dangerous place to be.

Thomas quickly channeled mana into his crossbow to cock it, loaded another bolt, and fired it to take down one more of the charging adult goblins. With two of the adults down, the remaining adult came into melee range while the elite was still charging. With a simple sidestep and slash, he decapitated the last adult goblin. Thomas was able to focus on the elite goblin with all the adults defeated and turned to dust leaving behind only their mana crystals. Thomas let the elite come close and kept his kukri at the ready. He wanted to test the strength of the elite and compare it to himself.

The elite goblin lashed out at Thomas with his shortsword in an attempt to slash him. Thomas could easily see the speed of the blow and thought that his Agility had to exceed the goblins by a fair amount. Thomas quickly caught the goblins slash with his kukri and angled it to deflect the blow instead of bringing it to a dead stop. The weight of the blow was definitely higher than the adult goblins, but not strong enough to bother Thomas.

After deflecting the blow, Thomas chopped at the goblin in return. Though he kept the speed at about half of what he could achieve with his current Agility. Even half expecting it, he was still a little surprised when the elite goblin actually lifted up its sword to block his blow. Even using only half of his maximum speed and power the blow still had enough force to make the goblin retreat a few steps. The goblin fiercely glared at Thomas but showed no signs of fear or any realization that Thomas was stronger than it.

The goblin slashed at Thomas once again only to have its blow deflected to the side and get knocked off balance. Thomas chopped out with his kukri and slammed it into the goblins chest to cleave it wide open. Thanks to the kukris design and the sharpness enchantment it easily cleaved through the goblins thin ribs and exposed its inner organs to the air. The goblin clutched its chest as it screamed in pain and collapsed to the ground. It didn't take long for the goblin to turn into dust after that. Interestingly, even the goblins metal shortsword disintegrated.

Thomas looked around the room for any remaining enemies and seeing none he collected the four mana crystals. There was a distinct difference in the size between the crystals from the adult goblins and the one from the elite goblin. After collecting them his suspicions were confirmed. He currently had 133 mana crystals from regular goblins and 1 from an elite goblin. Now that he was aware of what the elite goblins looked like he wouldn't have any issues identifying them from now on.

Thomas picked a path and proceeded to the next room which contained two elite goblins and five adult goblins. Thomas managed to pick off three of them with his wrist crossbow. Two adults and one elite collapsed with bolts piercing them, before the remainder managed to come into melee range. Thomas practically danced around as his kukri slashed and chopped through the air and cut the remainder of the enemy monsters down.

As Thomas was picking up the dropped mana crystals he heard the sounds of footsteps on the ground. Judging by the sounds of the footsteps, he was pretty certain that it wasn't goblins. He hadn't seen goblins with footwear yet so it was most likely adventurers. Still, to be safe, he stopped collecting the mana crystals and loaded his crossbow. A few moments later two people stepped out from one of the pathways leading deeper into the dungeon. The man and woman stopped when they spotted Thomas standing in the room with a crossbow pointed at them. The man instantly moved in front of the woman and held up a wooden shield to protect them both.

After seeing that the two were human, Thomas lowered his crossbow and gave them a smile before saying, "Sorry about that. Wasn't sure anyone else was actually down here and thought you might be some monsters."

Though he acted nice, he didn't let his guard down as he studied the two. He couldn't be certain, but he felt like the dungeon would be a low-security area where guards would not appear if he was attacked. The man with the shield studied Thomas for a few moments before slowly lowering it, though he still kept himself between Thomas and the woman. The man was at least two meters tall and wore leather armor with an iron breastplate, greaves, and arm guards. He kept his dark hair and beard trimmed short which made his dark eyes seem more intense.

As the two men studied each other in silence the woman peeked around the man and gave Thomas a pleasant smile. She was a good half meter shorter than the man and wore loose-fitting robes that couldn't hide the curves of her body. Her dark, long, and wavy hair framed a kind looking face as she smiled at Thomas. After a moment of awkward silence, the woman spoke, "Velgor, I don't think he wants to fight us."

The man, Velgor, glanced behind himself at the woman and nodded curtly before turning back to look at Thomas. Thomas smiled and nodded, "She's right. I'm just here for some goblins." He gestured to one of the mana crystals still laying on the ground and continued, "I'm Thomas by the way."

The woman smiled and stepped around Velgor in a rather bouncy manner that made her seem young, "I'm Valerie and the big lug is Velgor. We're here for the same reason as you, goblins."

Thomas nodded to Valerie and Velgor before collecting the last of his mana crystals and storing them away. As he collected them he spoke to Valerie since Velgor seemed to like being the strong silent type, "I was beginning to wonder if anyone else was in this place."

Thomas avoided words like 'players' since he wasn't sure if the other two were players, NPC's, or one of each. Valerie nodded in response and added on, "Not many otherworlders are coming here anymore and the locals are generally too strong for this place. Velgor and I were only summoned recently so we're a little behind the rest. I guess that's what happened to you?"

Thomas smiled, "Something like that. I haven't had the time to explore the dungeon or defeat many monsters to gather much experience."

Valerie beamed a smile at Thomas and said in a chipper tone, "How about we team up? I heard some of the goblins can be pretty difficult to deal with. If we work together we can defeat more of them and get more experience together!"

Thomas glanced at the still silent Velgor before looking back at Valerie, "Not sure if your silent guardian is too keen on that idea."

Velgor had remained silent the entire time and just stared warily at Thomas. Valerie glanced at Velgor and elbowed him in the side, "Stop that Velgor. I'm pretty sure he's not going to do anything to us."

Velgor glanced at Valerie before turning back to eye Thomas once again. He gave a curt nod but still didn't say anything. Thomas checked his crossbow and looked at the direction the two had come from, "So the entrance to the next floor wasn't that way I take it?"

Valerie elbowed Velgor again and sighed when he still didn't say anything, so she did, "That's right! So we were going to pick another path."

Thomas thought the dynamic between the bubbly Valerie and the stoic Velgor was interesting if a bit annoying. He glanced at the other two exits leading out of the room and randomly picked one by pointing at it, "Let's head into that one next then."

Velgor made his way to the entrance Thomas had pointed to and took the lead. Given his armor, shield, and longsword it looked like he was going for a frontline tank build. Valerie's loose robe and staff made Thomas think she was going for a spellcaster build. From their point of view Thomas's leather armor, crossbow and kukri probably made him look like he was going for a thief or rogue build. Generally speaking, that wouldn't be a very bad party set up so Thomas decided to act the part of a rogue for the time being.

He followed behind Velgor while Valerie took up the rear. When they arrived at the next room, Velgor came to a stop and finally spoke in a deep baritone voice, "Three elites and five goblins."

Velgor turned to look at the other two. Thomas nodded and held up his crossbow while Valerie held her staff at the ready. Thomas was actually a little excited, if Valerie really was a spellcaster it would be the first time he would witness magic used in combat. Seeing the two ready, Velgor gave a war cry and charged into the room gathering the attention of all the goblins. Thomas and Valerie followed from behind. Thomas lifted his arm and triggered his crossbow taking out one of the goblins that he referred to as 'adult goblins'. Valerie lifted her staff and shouted, "Spark!"

Her staff flashed bright white as a small spark of electricity shot from it and struck one of the goblins. The goblin let out a high pitched scream as it's skin blackened, blistered, and bled. To Thomas's surprise, the little bolt of lightning didn't outright kill the goblin. Meanwhile, Velgor was clashing with the group of goblins in front and doing his best to block their blows with his shield and counter-attack with his sword. Seeing the two fight, Thomas realized just how high his attributes really were compared to the enemies within the dungeon.

Thomas channeled his mana to cock his wrist crossbow and load another bolt into it. With Velgor taking the front lines, Thomas had plenty of time to reload and fire as much as he liked. From his point of view, Velgor was moving in a rather cumbersome manner and not dealing very much damage at all. On the bright side, he did manage to block every blow aimed at him with his shield. Thomas fired off another crossbow bolt and took out another of the adult goblins. Valerie looked over at Thomas questioningly, before focusing back on the fight and shouting, "Spark!"

The second spell from Valerie managed to finish off the goblin she'd shot once already. At the same time, Velgor managed to get a solid blow on another of the adult goblins and down it. With those four goblins down it left only one adult and the three elites, though after another shot from Thomas's crossbow it was down to just the three elite goblins. Velgor seemed to be having a little trouble enduring the blows from the elite goblins so Thomas gripped his kukri tighter and moved into melee range.

Velgor and Valarie were both surprised when they witnessed Thomas quickly and easily move behind one of the elite goblins and decapitate it in a single blow. Noticing the threat from Thomas, both of the remaining elite goblins ignored the other two and swung at him. Taking advantage of their distraction Velgor stabbed one of them from behind while Valerie shot it with her 'Spark' spell. The goblin fell dead and was joined a moment later by its companion after Thomas sliced its chest open.

Once all the goblins were defeated and had turned to dust, Thomas looked around the room for signs of any more enemies and seeing none he smiled and looked at his new companions. They were both staring at him before Valerie exclaimed loudly, "I thought you were newly summoned like us!"

Thomas shrugged his shoulders, "I was one of the first people summoned but I've spent most of my time here learning various professions. Even so, it looks like I've gotten more experience and increased my attributes more than I expected."

Valerie smiled brightly and bounced around as she exclaimed, "That's great! Beating these goblins will be so much easier now! Right Velgor?!"

Velgor just grunted and started collecting the mana crystals from the monsters defeated by him and Valerie, leaving the rest for Thomas. After everyone collected their loot they picked a passage to head through as they continued their search for the stairs leading down to the fourth floor of the dungeon. Together the three of them slaughtered their way through the dungeon floor killing group after group of goblins. As they walked, Thomas would occasionally talk to Valerie. According to her, the dungeon was so empty because most of the otherworlders had already worked their way to the lower floors where there was better experience. According to her, the magic circle Thomas had seen at the entrance allowed people to teleport to the lowest floor they had visited so they didn't have to walk through the upper floors.

It took a few hours but they finally managed to find the stairs leading down to the fourth floor of the dungeon. Valerie had apparently spent a lot of time talking to people to get more information on the dungeon. She informed the other two about the enemies they could expect on the fourth floor, "The monsters on the fourth floor consist mostly of elite goblins with a few of the larger regular goblins. There are fewer per room, but they're stronger than on the previous floors so the difficulty is still going to increase. This is probably the last floor that Velgor and I can handle."

Thomas checked the time and nodded. He'd spent most of the day in the dungeon now and felt like leaving the place and getting some real food in his stomach. The snacks he'd purchased on his way to the dungeon were cold and running low at this point. With everyone deciding to call it a day after finding the entrance to the fifth floor, they moved from the first room into the second and confronted their first group of goblins on the fourth floor.

The room contained five elite goblins carrying a variety of bladed weapons with one actually carrying a shield. The group assumed their determined roles. Velgor charged in first to tank the group of goblins. Valerie cast her spark spell and peppered them with damage. Thomas fired his crossbow and killed every goblin he hit with it in a single shot. With Thomas's stats being above both his temporary team members and the goblins he felt no pressure. Velgor and Valerie, on the other hand, felt like they were fighting for their lives. Every blow from the elite goblins sent shockwaves down Velgors arm and caused him to take a step back to keep his balance.

Even though the fighting was tough for the other two, they still managed to defeat the group of goblins without taking any real damage. Once the fight was over and the loot distributed, Valerie and Velgor sat down to recover their stamina and mana. Thomas looked at the two and couldn't help but ask, "Are you two sure you're up for this?"

The two looked at each other and Valerie answered in her bubbly voice, though there was a hint of her exhaustion in it, "I'm not sure. We might need to grind on the third floor for a while to get strong enough to handle this floor."

Velgor nodded in agreement with Valerie and let out a sigh. Once they had recovered, Valerie led the other two back to the first room of the floor and pointed out an area that Thomas hadn't noticed before. Carved into the floor was a much smaller version of the magic circle at the entrance of the dungeon. Valerie smiled at the two men as she explained, mostly for Thomas's benefit, "Just channel some mana into the circle and it will teleport you back outside of the dungeon. When you return you can teleport right back here and skip the previous floors."

After she explained, Valerie was the first to use the circle and teleport out of the dungeon. Velgor followed a few seconds after her. Thomas took one last look at the dungeon and decided he could call it a day as well. After channeling his mana into the magic circle he appeared back at the entrance of the dungeon and joined Valerie and Velgor at the table where the official sat. They all showed him their guild cards to let him know who they were so they wouldn't be considered to be lost in the dungeon.

After everyone said goodbye to each other, Thomas made his way to The Swans Nest. Martha was happy to see Thomas return in one piece and gave him a little extra with his dinner. After enjoying the hot meal he made his way to his room to retire for the night. He intended to head into the dungeon tomorrow as well and try to finish his last remaining quest before turning them all in at the guild tomorrow.

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A note from thomasdarkrose

Patch Notes: Removed attributes from the guild card. My dumbass kept forgetting to update them.

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About the author

thomasdarkrose

  • Georgia, USA

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

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