Chapter 39: Dungeon Run
Thomas sat with his back against the wall, staring at the ceiling. He had almost grown numb to everything over the last several days. The armor that Brandi had painstakingly crafted him was not in good condition anymore. There were holes and cuts where the mandibles of the ants had finally been able to break through.
He had thought that the ants would have been tougher than the beetles, but after fighting the first one, he realized his mistake. As long as he was able to sneak up on a beetle it was not a problem to deal with it, but if he made a mistake, which he did often, the outcome was painful.
The beetle, while not fast, had great acceleration. And, unfortunately for Thomas, it had a very sharp horn on its head. Thomas had properly used his Stealth skill on the first few beetles he targeted. He was able to take them down without much effort. But eventually, he slipped up.
He had been slowly approaching one beetle, not noticing the other hidden behind a stone close by. He stabbed both daggers through the creature’s head and received the kill notification. This caused him to relax. As he turned to look at Derek, the previously unknown beetle caught him directly in his side.
The beetle was around half a meter in length and two-thirds that in girth. The rhino-like horn on its head was at least 15 centimeters in length. When it hit him, the horn penetrated his armor and burrowed into his side. The armor had slowed the beetle down, but over half of the horn still made it through.
If Thomas had thought the ant breaking his arm was painful, then he could not even describe the pain caused by the horn ripping through his kidney. Luckily, Derek was there, and he made short work of the beetle and had used his healing spell almost the moment the attack was complete.
The attack by the beetle had been a wake up call for Thomas. He had settled into a rhythm and had become too comfortable, letting his guard down. This was another lesson Derek allowed him to learn the hard way.
As Thomas sat against the wall, he could only reflect about everything that had happened so far. He had entered the dungeon as an inexperienced level 10 child that could not even face a single ant, which he greatly overpowered, without almost dying. Now, as he looked at his stats, he was level 17 and had faced death dozens of times, only to be saved at the last second by Derek.
In the last few days, he had begun berating himself because of his stupid class decision. He had woken up. No matter how many insects he killed, he could not feel himself growing stronger with the daggers. His overall ability had grown stronger, but when he slashed or stabbed with his weapons, the action still felt foreign to him. The only thing he liked about the class he so foolishly chose was the Stealth skill.
But, after all the sneaking and assassinating the insects, he knew that it was not for him. The closer he got to an enemy, the harder his heartbeat, and the harder it was for him to stay calm. Stealth would be great for him as a way to escape an enemy or trek through the wilderness undetected, but he was not cut out for assassination.
He had come to two conclusions over the last several days of torture. The first was that he would not be missing out on anything when, not if, he changed his class at level 25. The second was that Derek completely changed when he became serious about something.
On the second day in the dungeon, Thomas had cried and begged Derek to bring him out and take him home. Derek refused, saying that he was willing to stay in the dungeon for weeks or even months, waiting for Thomas to clear it. Thomas had actually gotten angry at Derek then, yelling and throwing a fit. It was something that he would be embarrassed about for the rest of his life.
Thomas was finally able to work himself back up enough to continue after his tantrum. It was not until two days later that he realized how valuable this experience was to him. Every time they made it back to the spawn room, Derek would explain to him, in detail, everything he did wrong, and right. Now, he was nothing but thankful.
He was thankful that the pain was numbing instead of the previous agony. The same broken arm he had on the first day, that basically rendered him unconscious, was nothing to him now. He could even fight with his broken arm if needed. He had not known what to think when he received an Award for all his suffering. It was a lesser award and only offered two skill points, but it was a sign that everything he was doing was not for nothing.
When he had told Derek about the Award, and how it was awarded for greatly increasing his pain tolerance, Derek just laughed and mumbled something about not ever being able to get it.
About that time, Derek walked over. “Are you ready? You got all the insects in two rooms, and I think all that’s remaining is the boss in the next. It’s a level 25 Zephyr Mantis, I’ll let you have a go at it, but I’m pretty sure it could slice your head off in one swipe, so I’ll end up killing it. Just make sure you get a hit on it so we split the experience, I don’t want it all.”
Thomas nodded his head. “Alright.”
The duo walked through the two empty rooms. Thomas looked around, he was relieved that no more enemies spawned in after being killed. Soon, they made it to what they thought was the door to the final cavern. Derek pushed the door open and walked in.
Thomas followed after him. As soon as he entered the room, a wind blade, not unlike the one Rayna used, was humming towards him at a rapid pace. Derek stepped in front of the blade, and using his bare arm, batted it away. He turned to Thomas. “Actually, I’m going to hold it, you hit it, then I’ll kill it. No sense in taking the risk.”
With that, Derek dashed towards the meter and a half tall mantis. He sidestepped the two blade-like arms that came together like a guillotine. Then he was behind it. He held it in a bearhug, pinning both of its arms to its sides. “Hit it.” He said.
Thomas walked up to the mantis and slashed at its thorax, just above the creature’s arms. Because of the quality of daggers, he did massive damage. After the blood started flowing, he heard a snap, a notification popped up, and Derek dropped the bug to the floor. Thomas breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, I get to leave this hell.
Derek dropped the corpse on the ground. He turned and saw an orb of light appear. I guess that’s the dungeon exit. He had stayed in the dungeon longer than he wanted, but Thomas needed it, especially after his showing in the first few days.
He was not impressed with the boy’s growth. If anything, it was average. But Thomas’s mindset had improved, and that was something Derek could work with. He was still a little envious of the pain tolerance Award that Thomas had received. Thinking about his current pain tolerance, he did not believe that it could be increased much more.
He was happy that he was able to increase his Rejuvenation skill to level 8 and his Dismantle skill to level 11, though, with the latter, he was only able to get some carapaces from the beetles. He was not sure if Brandi would be able to use them.
His biggest gain in the time they were in the dungeon was with Channel Void. He had not used it to fight, other than secretly killing a bug or two while Thomas was resting, but he used the skill every chance he got. Exhausting his mana over and over again. He had received more than a few confused looks from Thomas over it.
“Well, looks like it’s time to leave.” Derek walked up and pat Thomas on the back. “It was a pretty nice vacation, eh?” He asked.
“You call that a vacation? That was hell. Do you know how many bones I broke?” Thomas shook his head.
Derek laughed. That was another thing that improved over the nearly two weeks in the dungeon. Thomas addressed him much more casually, and his constant stuttering was all but gone. It was a nice change. “Ah, stop being so whiny, I’ve broken a hell of a lot more than you. Besides, you got that Lesser Pain Tolerance Award.”
“Are we going to another dungeon?” Thomas asked.
“No, I had planned to, but that took longer than I thought. Brandi may have her Leatherworking skill up to 10 by now, so I’m going to keep my promise. Besides, I’m sure your granny is worried sick about you. Luckily, my Rejuvenation keeps scars from forming. Could you imagine her face?” Derek snickered.
“Yeah, if I showed up with a back full of scars like you, she would have a heart attack. You still haven’t told me how you got them, by the way.”
“And I don’t plan on it.” Derek said. “It’s time to get our rewards and leave the dungeon.” Derek stopped, thinking for a second. Then, he put on a leather armor set from his storage. It wasn’t great, but it was something he had worn in the past and did not look too different from what he had seen in this world. He also pulled out two facemasks. “Put this on, we’ve been in here for two weeks, if anyone is outside waiting for us to leave, I don’t want to show our faces.” He handed one of the masks to Thomas.
“Let’s get our rewards.” Derek walked up to the orb and placed his hand on it. Thomas did the same. A notification popped up.
Congratulations, you have received the skill Cure Toxin
“Fuck!” Derek yelled.
“I got a skill I don’t want. What did you get?” Derek asked.
“I got Haste, it seems pretty good. It increases all of my movement, not just my speed.” Thomas said, excited at the skill.
“Yeah, it’s good. I know people with it. It’s worth leveling.” Derek looked at the next notification.
The ability to remove poisons and toxins from yourself and others. The higher the level, the better the skill. This skill is not limited to poisons and toxins. Once leveled, it can help cure other infections and contaminations.
Cost: 1 Skill Point
Would you like to learn Cure Toxin?
Cure Toxin Learned Successfully
Skill Points Remaining: 3
That is much better than I initially thought. It may even be able to remove the acid from my armor after being leveled. Derek wondered if the system had given this skill to him because of what he experienced, or if it was indeed random.
“Did you learn Haste?”
“Yes, I had points from my Award.” Thomas replied.
“Good. Are you ready to leave?” Derek asked.
Derek looked at the dungeon interface and mentally selected ‘Leave Dungeon.’ A countdown began and in five seconds, the blinding light reappeared in his vision.