47.1. New and familiar
I strolled into the camp set up around the large crack running through the ground that was the Dungeon. It was Silkfall’s Crevice. A Gold Rank Dungeon. And here were the adventurers who dared to challenge it.
Dozens of rugged, tough Humans clumped together in their own small grounds, around their own campfires, and feasting on their own food. But they were all here for the same reason— the same goal. They were the only ones who had the gall, who had the courage, who had the strength to face the threats inside the Dungeon…
Why is everyone so weak?!
[Warrior - Lvl. 24]
[Mage - Lvl. 29]
[Warrior - Lvl. 21]
[Rogue - Lvl. 30]
[Archer - Lvl. 19]
I stared at those who have gathered here, and I found myself especially unimpressed. Isn’t this a Gold Rank Dungeon? Aren’t these Humans Silvers? I thought for a moment. Then I remembered how I had only been around Level 20 when I first entered Silkfall’s Crevice. Maybe they’re strong, we’ll see.
It was not like levels or power really even mattered to me; I was here to test out my new Skills, and gain some levels while I was at it. It was exciting— I couldn’t wait to jump straight into the Dungeon. In fact, I waltzed past all the adventurers, ignoring the closest faces that turned to identify me before hurriedly whispering to their teammates.
I stopped just before the hole in the ground, about to jump in. Isn’t that dangerous? I thought for a moment. Then I shrugged. I’ll just climb then. I stepped forward—
A loud, booming voice called out to me. I whirled around and saw a group of three approach me. I cocked my head as they approached, led by a bulky man at the fore.
The man leading them was not a Human. He had dark green skin and no hair, with four thick arms and two legs. His large jaw bit over his upper lip, revealing two sharp teeth protruding from his mouth. I narrowed my eyes as he turned a single eye towards me. He’s… a Cyclops.
He looked me over as I identified him and his two companions.
[Warrior - Lvl. 51]
[Mage - Lvl. 46]
[Archer - Lvl. 47]
The [Mage] and the [Archer] were both Humans— one was a man, the other a woman. These adventurers were Gold Rank. The first ones I had ever seen outside of Edithe.
The Cyclops loomed over me, his two companions standing behind him with their arms folded. They focused their calculating gaze over me— as if they were trying to pry me open with their eyes open.
I took a single step back, readying a clawed hand, only to realize I had no claws. Would a [Fire Strike] work that well as a punch? I wasn’t entirely sure. And that's what I came here to find out. I just hadn’t expected it to happen even before I entered the Dungeon.
The tall, one-eyed man folded his arm and released a loud grunt. He opened his mouth as I tensed… and spoke softly.
“I apologize for that. I didn’t mean to shout and scare you. I just panicked when I saw what you were doing.”
His voice was gentle— almost like how I imagined a delicate flower would sound like. If I could hold his voice, I was sure I would snap it in half by accident.
“What was I doing?”
I gave him an inquisitive look. Panic? Why would he panic? He didn’t elaborate, however, instead giving me a wide, crooked smile.
“Miss— if I may call you that— I see that you’re a Gold Rank adventurer. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors of Silkfall’s Crevice not actually being a Gold Rank Dungeon, with its threat level being blown out of proportion. But I can assure you that it is dangerous down there. If you were hoping to scout ahead of your team, I suggest you wait for them. And if you don’t have a team and were hoping to level by yourself…”
He turned back to his two companions and nodded at them. The Human woman nodded back, but the Human man had his arm crossed across his chest with his staff in hand and refused to meet the gaze of the Cyclops.
“I have a spot in my team open. It’ll mean that we’ll have to split our experience even more than before, but I’d rather you not go down there by yourself and get hurt.”
“But I won’t get hurt.”
The Cyclops frowned, rubbing his chin.
“That’s very unlikely—”
The Human man scoffed, shaking his head. He glanced over at the Cyclops then at the [Mage].
“I told you two we shouldn’t have said anything. It’s just another newbie Gold who thinks they can take anything now that they’re Level 40. I say just leave her. Let her learn the lesson that hard way.”
I gave him a confused look. The Human man sneered.
“Of course. The lesson that every arrogant Silver gets when they first get their Gold badge— that being Gold doesn’t mean shit. You may be stronger than a majority of adventurers, but you’re still weaker than 90% of the monsters out there.”
The Human woman looked at him, horrified. He shrugged.
“What? It’s true. Let her go down there and get herself killed. If she’s lucky, she might only get maimed and lose an arm.”
“But that doesn’t mean you had to say anything!”
“Jaakko’s wasting his time if he thinks this conversation would go any different than it did with that team of high Silvers that went down there alone last week. They should’ve cooperated with the other teams and formed an expedition— but no. They were almost Gold, and this was their chance at glory. See where they’re at now.”
The Cyclops, Jaakko, frowned and rubbed his chin. He looked at Zack, choosing not to speak sharply, but to keep his cool voice from before.
“I understand your concerns… but that is no reason to disrespect the dead, or disrespect this young lady to her face.”
He turned back to me and bowed his head.
“I apologize for my teammate’s harsh words. But please, I urge you to consider working with us. It would only benefit the both of us.”
“She’s not going to change her mind—”
I piped up cheerfully. The Human man blinked.
I continued as he gave me a blank gaze.
“I’ve never met a Cyclops before, and you three are kind of interesting. I don’t mind going with you down to the Dungeon.”
Jaakko sighed, placing a hand on his chest in relief. Zack continued blinking as the Human woman smiled my way.
“See? Maybe if you weren’t such a jerk all the time, things wouldn’t be so difficult.”
He turned to her.
“Helen, you didn’t actually think she would change her mind so easily, did you? Noone ever does that!”
“Only because you can’t keep your mouth shut.”
“But she told us she would go down there and not get hurt!”
“But I won’t get hurt.”
I spoke simply, interrupting the two. They paused, turning to me with a confused look. Even Jaakko blinked this time— his single eye closing and opening slower than a Human’s would.
“Look at that— she still thinks this Dungeon isn’t dangerous!”
“It is dangerous.”
“But for you. Not for me. So if you want to join me, let’s go. Because we’re going down there right now.”
“Ok, I changed my mind. She isn’t just some arrogant new Gold Rank. She’s just stupid or insane.”