After stepping off of the stairs at the seventh floor, Thomas was greeted by an unexpected sight. There were three groups of people sitting, standing, or leaning near a set of massive stone doors. The first thing Thomas paid attention to were the massive double doors. They were carved with a bas relief that showed humans battling an army of goblins. There were scenes of carnage involving the deaths of both humans and goblins as well as humans and goblins locked in conflict as they fought a deadly battle against each other.
It was a rather awe-inspiring sight, considering that the monsters in the sculptures on the doors were goblins and not something majestic like dragons. After enjoying the sight of the closed doors, Thomas turned his attention to the groups of people waiting in front of the doors. All three groups were looking Thomas up and down and evaluating him. Thomas did the same to them in return. It took a moment, but Thomas noticed that the groups loosely formed a line. A man in heavy armor in the group furthest from the doors spoke to Thomas, "There's a line and your group is last."
Thomas glanced behind himself to see if there was another group behind him that the man might be confusing for his companions. There was no one there so he turned back to face the man and casually said, "No group, just me."
Telling them he was alone was a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it told the groups that he was capable of getting to the bottom of the dungeon on his own. On the other, it told them he was alone and that may give them thoughts on attacking him. All three groups seemed surprised that Thomas had made it to the bottom floor alone. They all glanced at their companions for a moment. After they turned to look back at him none of them showed aggressive or greedy looks.
It seemed they had deemed Thomas too dangerous to mess with. Even if they managed to defeat him and maybe steal some of his gear, they would likely take a fair bit of damage doing so, they might even lose some of their members making their attempt at the boss a waste. The man who had addressed Thomas spoke again, "When the doors open the group closest to them gets to go in first. After they enter the doors will close and won't open again until they defeat the boss or all die in the attempt. Once everyone before you has gone you can go in." The man looked uncomfortable for a moment before speaking again, "It's none of my business, but I suggest you not try to go in there solo. The boss is leagues above the elites."
Thomas nodded as he made his way to the end of the line, "Thanks for the advice. Worst case scenario I'll just die once. I want to give it a try."
The man nodded and said no more. Death wasn't too big of a deal for otherworlders so while it might be hubris to try and take the boss on alone it's not like it would have dire consequences if he failed and died. After picking a spot to wait his turn, Thomas opened his character sheet and looked over his gains. The dungeon dive had been extremely beneficial to him. All of his main combat skills had grown significantly while he'd gained a lot of experience from killing hundreds of goblins. Even after spending so much he currently had over 8,400 experience he could spend.
Thomas assigned 2,400 experience to his Magic attribute to increase it from 45 to 50. He felt like fifty would be a good place for his Magic attribute for the time being. He looked at his other lacking attributes and decided to increase his Agility next. He wanted to increase his top speed so he could focus more on dodging attacks and attacking fast. To that end, he spent 3,550 experience to increase it from 30 to 40, a massive boost of 33%. Lastly, he spent 1,650 experience to increase his Endurance from 30 to 35. When all was said and done he had only 848 experience left.
After confirming his decisions, Thomas sat down and let the comforting energy of his attributes growing flow through his body to nourish it and increase his overall power. Normally, he would have preferred to increase all of his attributes evenly. However, knowing he was going to leave for the magic academy in the capital shortly, he felt he needed a high Magic attribute. Still, he couldn't ignore his other attributes completely.
As he was basking in the feeling of his attributes rising, the doors to the boss room creaked open. Thomas looked over curiously only to see a completely black entrance. The group of six players in the front, the largest group he'd seen so far, marched into the darkness. They quickly vanished from sight and the large doors groaned closed. Everyone moved closer to the door as the line advanced. Curious why no one had exited, Thomas called out to the man who'd spoken before, "Since no one came out does that mean they all died?"
The man turned to glance at Thomas before shaking his head, "Not necessarily. Win or lose you are teleported out of the dungeon."
Thomas tilted his head and asked further, "If the previous group was victorious, will there be no boss in the room?"
The man shook his head again, "According to the adventurers guild, the majority of the miasma that the dungeon absorbs is pulled into the boss room. This makes the boss respawn within minutes of its defeat."
Thomas nodded and picked a spot to sit down and relax at while he awaited his turn. Nearly half an hour later the doors groaned open once more to reveal the black abyss leading to the dungeon boss. The next group in line moved into the entrance and disappeared into the darkness. Thomas and the last remaining group moved a little closer to the door and began to wait once again. As he continued to wait, Thomas pulled a cold bit of food out of his storage ring and began to munch on it.
The wait was extremely boring and while conversation would help it go faster, the remaining group of four people seemed standoffish and he didn't feel like making the effort to talk to them to make the time pass faster. Instead, he closed his eyes and relaxed his mind and body in preparation for the upcoming fight. The wait this time wasn't nearly as long as the last time. Within ten minutes the doors groaned open once again. The man Thomas had spoken with snorted and commented to his party, "They must have all died."
Without knowing how strong the previous party was, Thomas felt like commenting on their strength would be pointless. It was entirely possible that they had just beaten the boss quickly. The group moved forward and stepped into the boss room entrance before they disappeared leaving Thomas on his own. As the doors closed, Thomas moved closer to them and sat down to resume his waiting. He felt so bored that he was tempted to take out more food and eat it, but he was at least aware enough to know that going into a fight while feeling full was a bad idea.
It was a forty-five-minute wait until the doors creaked open once again. No one else had made their way down to the boss room while Thomas had been waiting, so he climbed to his feet and made his way towards the dark entrance. As he stepped over the threshold the usually silent system spoke up.
|System Notice: Please select the dungeon boss difficulty.
Thomas was a little surprised. He had expected the boss difficulty to be fixed so the game-like element of selecting the difficulty threw him for a moment. Thomas seriously considered the options he was presented with. He felt that with his attributes and how easy the dungeon had been thus far that picking normal would be pointlessly easy. He also dismissed the impossible difficulty because he had no experience with the boss at all and it would be a waste to die to the boss from being overconfident.
This left him with choosing between hard and nightmare. He waffled back and forth for a bit before finally deciding to select nightmare difficulty. He was certain he could win if he'd picked hard, but he really craved a challenge at this point so he went a step further. After he made his selection the doors behind him groaned closed and left him in complete darkness. With multiple loud 'whooshing' sounds torches all around the room lit up and pushed the darkness back. Thomas found himself standing in a circular room lined with stone columns.
Standing in the center of the room was a two-meter tall muscle bound goblin wearing a thick iron breastplate. The goblin held a three-meter long, thirty-centimeter wide, greatsword. Sitting on its bulbous head as a helmet that looked like it had been pieced together with sections of skulls. Thomas was certain that this was the goblin general and that the bone helmet was the one he needed for his quest.
The goblin and Thomas stared at each other for a moment before the goblin threw its arms wide open, stuck its chest out, and unleashed a roar so loud and powerful that it shook the air and hurt Thomas's ears. In reply, Thomas lifted his left arm and fired his wrist crossbow at the goblin general. The goblin general huffed in derision and simply slapped the crossbow bolt out of the air. Thomas was unphased. Even if the bolt had hit, he didn't expect it to deal significant damage so having it swatted out of the air like a pesky fly had no effect on him.
Thomas felt his heart rate increase as he grew excited. Finally! Finally, he was going to have a challenging fight that would push him to his limits. With a grin that could be described as psychotic, Thomas brandished his kukri and charged at the goblin general using his maximum speed. The boost to his Agility attribute showed immediately as his speed had grown to a whole new level. Thomas moved at nearly fifty meters a second allowing him to close the distance to the goblin general in just over a second.
Thomas channeled mana into his kukri to activate the sharpness enchantment as he swung low and aimed for the goblin generals right thigh. The goblin general gripped its massive greatsword in both hands and blocked Thomas's slash. As he was still probing the boss, Thomas wasn't disappointed or upset that his attack had been blocked a second time. As the blades clashed, Thomas let is blade bounce off of the goblins greatsword and spun around to try and maneuver himself behind the goblin for another attack.
As Thomas slashed at the back of the goblin generals thigh, the goblin general leaped forward and somersaulted away from Thomas's assault. After a tight roll, the goblin general sprang to its feet and twisted around to face Thomas with its greatsword held at the ready. Thomas couldn't hold back a delighted laugh at having yet another attack fail. He was feeling extremely excited at the prospect of this fight being hard. Hearing the pitiful human laughing at it, the goblin general roared and leaped forward while raising its greatsword above its head for an aggressive downward slash.
Thomas briefly activated his 'Mana Field' to calculate the trajectory of the goblin generals attack. He only activated it for a brief moment but it still ate a fair chunk of his mana in the process. Instead of leaping out of the way of the goblins attack, Thomas twisted his body to the left and let the sword slash pass by him. As the slash was passing down past him, Thomas attacked by slashing his kukri up and cleaving through the outside of goblins right forearm. The kukri cut deep into the goblin generals arm, even cutting into the bones.
The goblin roared in pain and backhanded Thomas, slamming the back of its injured arm into Thomas's upper chest. Thomas had no choice but to actually experience the blow. Thomas felt like a sledgehammer had been slammed into his chest, and yes he did know how that felt. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of him and sent him tumbling away from the goblin.
As Thomas coughed and tried to catch his breath, the goblin roared and charged at the downed Thomas while brandishing its greatsword. Thomas managed to climb to one knee and activate his 'Mana field' once again while the goblin lifted its sword to attack Thomas. Using his 'Mana Field', Thomas calculated the trajectory again and made what he considered to be a daring decision. As the goblin swung its sword down at Thomas, Thomas somersaulted forward towards the goblins legs.
As the goblin's sword missed Thomas, he swung out with his kukri while pumping mana into its enchantment. The kukri dug deep into the goblins thigh severing the muscle and practically flaying it from the bone. Off balance from the forward slash with its massive overweight sword and now having its thigh severed, the goblin general completely lost its balance and collapsed face first onto the ground.
Before the goblin could begin to recover, with his 'Mana Field' still active, Thomas rolled to the side and jumped onto the goblins back. Thomas gripped his right hand with his left and hacked from the right to the left along the back of the goblin generals neck just below the rim of the skull helmet. The goblin general screamed as the kukri sliced through the thick muscles of its neck like they weren't even there. The bone and cartilage of its neck provided slightly more resistance but didn't stop the magical and enchanted kukri powered by Thomas's full thirty-five power from severing its spine.
The goblin generals body completely lost strength as it was separated from its nervous system. Thomas leaped off of the body of the goblin and assumed a stance just in case the goblin general somehow recovered from the blow. The goblin general didn't move at all but hadn't died quite yet either. Its Endurance made it a dangerously tenacious monster. Thomas remained on guard as he watched the completely disabled goblin general slowly suffocate to death because its lungs no longer functioned.
Finally, the life faded from the goblin generals eyes as its body completely gave out. With its life gone its body slowly turned to dust leaving behind only its helmet and a mana crystal nearly twice the size of an elite goblin's and colored a lighter shade of purple. After the last of the goblin generals body crumbled into dust, Thomas collected his loot and looked at the system notice's he had received.
|System Notice: You have defeated the Goblin General (Nightmare). You have gained 1,000 experience.|
|System Notice: You have defeated a Nightmare difficulty boss alone. You have gained the title: I Stand Alone.|
|I Stand Alone: When fighting a dungeon boss alone on Hard difficulty or higher all of your attributes are increased by 5%. When defeating a dungeon boss alone on Hard difficulty or higher you gain 10% bonus experience.|
|System Notice: You will be teleported to the dungeon entrance in 60 seconds.|