As the two made their way through the dungeon they continued to talk while slaughtering groups of five, six, and even one group of seven, kobolds. Working together to cast their spells actually made the work a lot simpler and much easier. They did need to stop for a bit for both of them to recover their mana at one point. Selena still had more than he did, but since he needed to recharge she just joined him. As they rested he couldn't help but ask, "How high is your Magic attribute?"
She smiled as she said, "Officially? Seventy-five. Unofficially? More."
Thomas rolled his eyes then looked at her seriously, "Are you incapable of letting anyone know anything about you?"
She thought for a moment then replied, "Yup. Completely incapable of telling people I don't really know anything about myself."
He sighed but found he couldn't really argue with her on that point. Despite how long it felt like he'd known her at this point, they had really only known each other for about a week. Aside from the few times he met her and the one time he talked to her in Ulvstad, they had only been in class together for a week and only really talked during lunch. Aside from the duel incident, they'd really had not spent all that much time together. After thinking about it a bit he asked her, "I just realized this but, you have a way to hide your affinity with Unholy magic and lower the value read for your magic attribute. How do you do that? It's something I really will need to know so no saying it's a 'secret'!"
Selena pouted at not being able to tease him a little more but she answered him honestly, "When we go to get you the supplies you need to practice your Unholy magic we'll also get you an enchanted item you can wear that hides your affinity with it. You don't need to get an item to lower your magic attribute though, it's low enough as it is."
Thomas rolled his eyes again as he said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. I'm weak." He eyed her and smirked, "At least for now. Once the end of this week is over let's see if you can still say that about me."
Once they had their mana recovered they continued to slaughter kobolds with blasts of enhanced flames until they found the entrance to the second floor. By the time they found it they'd killed several groups of kobolds and seen a bunch of different groups of people fighting them as well. At this point, they'd killed an additional seven groups of kobolds and collected all of their mana crystals. As they stood at the entrance to the second floor the both of them checked their progress.
Thomas looked over the growth of his abilities and smiled happily. He was closing on on rank twenty-five in his wind magic rapidly, his mana control had seen some really good growth, and he'd gained a fair amount of experience he could use to raise his magic attribute. He currently had 4,491 experience he could spend so he quickly spent as much as he could to raise his Magic attribute. It went from sixty-eight to seventy-three in an instant. Just two more points in his Magic attribute and he would meet the minimum requirement that the academy had. Not that it really mattered since he was already a student, but it was nice to know he was closing in on the other students!
Unfortunately, he was still far behind in his Mana Control. It still needed at least another one hundred ranks to be about where someone like Fuller was. He didn't even want to guess at what Selena's mana control was at. There was really no point in comparing himself to her, yet. Still, he asked her, "How is your fire magic looking?"
Selena sighed as she replied, "It's only rank twenty right now. It's going to take a bit more for me to get it to twenty-five."
Thomas closed his character sheet and smiled at her, "It should get there before we finish the second floor. Well, unless we get lucky and find the entrance to the third floor really fast. Once your fire magic hits twenty-five we'll switch roles. I'll cast the fire while you cast the wind. After those two reach twenty-five for both of us, we'll decide what to do with the other two elements."
After they made their way down the stairs they entered the safe room and located the teleportation formation leading to the surface. After that, they did their usual and picked the left-most path to begin their exploration. When they got close to the first room they could hear the sounds of combat and knew someone else was fighting the kobolds in the room. When they approached and saw what was happening, Selena took it in stride but Thomas thought it was a bit over the top.
Inside of the room was a single person, it didn't take much effort for Thomas to feel that it was a player. He was a large man with bulging muscles wearing an outfit that looked like some sort of martial arts gi that was colored black. It had a white symbol on the back that Thomas thought might be Japanese, but he didn't know Japanese so it could have easily been Chinese or Korean for all he knew. That wasn't important, what was important was how the man was fighting the dog-headed kobolds.
Thomas watched as the man just stood there and waiting for the kobolds to attack him. When they did he wouldn't even move as they hit him. Thomas could hear the impact from the blows the kobolds dished out, but they had absolutely no effect on the man. After a kobold would hit him he'd just grab it by the neck and strangle it to death like he was choking a chicken. Once the kobold he choked was dead he would wait for another to hit him before grabbing and choking it too. It was plain as day that the kobolds presented absolutely no threat to the man.
The two of them watched the man for a bit before they moved on to another room to get some experience for themselves. In the next room, they found some cat-headed kobolds with razor sharp claws for them to defeat. After blasting the kobolds with flames and slaughtering the group of six with ease, he turned to Selena and said, "If we get the chance I'd like to fight one of these kobolds one on one and see how strong they are."
She watched him collecting the mana crystals as she said, "I wouldn't bother. To take their blows like he was you would need an Endurance of at least seventy, minimum. Depending on the species of kobold their Power can range from forty to sixty. Dog-headed ones like that are a bit weaker so they'd likely be around forty to fifty Power. To take a direct blow from them with no armor you would need an Endurance at least twenty points higher than their Power."
Thomas sighed as he collected the last mana crystal. The man they'd seen had an Endurance that was, at the minimum, nearly double his own. He hadn't expected to be able to keep up with combat players at all, but he'd thought he'd at least been doing pretty well. Clearly, if he were to fight that man he would lose as badly as he had to Jeko in the duel. He wasn't big on combat, but he wanted to be strong enough to protect himself. To do that he would need to get a lot stronger.
With a new resolve to not just increase his magic abilities, but his own overall strength, he moved on with Selena to slaughter more kobolds. For the next hour, they slaughtered any groups of kobolds that they found without other people fighting them. The more of the kobolds they killed, the more annoyed Thomas became that none of them seemed to be dropping any of the hides he needed for one of his quests. After slaughtering another group of five snake-headed kobolds and finding no hides he turned to ask Selena, "Just how rare are the hides for these things?"
"Pretty rare. I'd say maybe something like one in every hundred will drop a hide? Maybe a little fewer or a little more depending on your luck.", she replied.
He groaned and checked the stash of mana crystals in his inventory from the kobolds, there were currently ninety-four mana crystals in his inventory. It seemed like RNGesus was against him getting any of the hides anytime soon. After checking his inventory he opened his character sheet to check the progress of his wind magic while he asked Selena, "How is your fire magic progressing?"
His wind magic had hit twenty-seven now so he was ready to swap elements. Selena took a moment before she replied, "I still need a bit more. I'm only at rank twenty-four, but it's close to reaching rank twenty-five. It should only take one more group and then we can switch."
Together they made their way down the next pathway looking for the next group of kobolds to slaughter. As they walked he asked, "How long do you think this tactic will work?"
Selena replied, "Only until the fourth floor with our current strength. The fourth floor only has the elite kobolds and they are significantly tougher than the ones we've fought so far. When we get down there we will need to be careful. A single hit from them could deal some serious damage." She looked over at him as she said, "We should consider adding more people to our group before we go there."
He thought about it before agreeing. Once they arrived at the next room they killed the group of six kobolds and Selena finally got her fire magic up to rank twenty-five. With her fire magic at an appropriate rank now, they could finally swap elements and he could play with fire for a little while. He was starting to see that the growth in his magic was actually a fair bit faster than Selena's growth. He attributed it to his 'Quick Learner' innate ability. He still wasn't entirely sure what it did, but it definitely seemed to increase the amount of experience he gained.
Together they made their way deeper into the dungeon and when they arrived in a room with bird-headed kobolds for them to kill they stopped and both began to prep. Since their elements had changed, Thomas would have to be the one to begin the attack while Selena enhanced it with the wind element. He lifted his hand to summon his mana and convert it to the fire element. A small red flame danced above his hand while he looked at Selena to see when she was ready.
When she gave him a nod, they stepped forward together. Thomas raised his hand and blasted out a fan of flames at the kobolds. Selena stepped up right next to him and sent her wind element into his flames to turn them into a roaring inferno. The kobolds let out bird-like shrieks of pain as they were bathed in the flames and died.
With all of the kobolds killed he collected the mana crystals and they moved on. By the time they found the entrance to the third floor they had only managed to kill a couple more groups of kobolds. The second floor had many more people on it so a lot of the groups they had come across had already been engaged in combat. When they arrived at the bottom of the stairs leading to the third floor, he looked to Selena and asked, "Should we call it a day here? We've been going non-stop and killed well over a hundred and twenty kobolds."
Selena gave out a sigh and nodded, "Yes, we should stop. At least we managed to get one of the four elements to rank twenty-five. If we can keep up this pace we'll be done with a few days to spare. If that happens I can help you learn the other thing."
Thomas smiled and nodded. The two of them used the teleportation formation and left the dungeon. After they checked out they started making their way towards the academy. As they walked he asked, "You want to go somewhere and get a nice dinner? The food at the academy is just so bland."
She looked over at him in confusion, "What are you talking about? The food at the academy is excellent. The chef is one of the best in the city. What kind of food are you used to eating to think it's bland?"
It was Thomas's turn to be confused, "Just about any vendor on the street serves better food than what's at the academy."
Selena looked like she wanted to gag, "Are you really comparing the monster meat served on the street to the well-cooked food at the academy? That's disgusting! I don't know how people can eat monster meat. Is there something wrong with your tastebuds?"
Thomas thought for a moment and then shrugged, "Maybe it's because I'm an otherworlder? I honestly think the monster meat has such an amazing taste."
Selena gagged a bit and shook her head, "I don't think we can eat dinner together unless it's at the academy. I refuse to eat monster meat."
Thomas sighed, why did she have to make him choose between spending time with her and good food? It'd been a long hard day of easily killing kobolds. After thinking for a moment he just nodded, "Alright then. Meet at the gates again tomorrow morning?"
Selena gave a curt nod and they went their separate ways. That's right, he chose good food over good company. Well, good depending on your point of view.