A note from Kyfe

I might have gotten a little carried away with this one. 6000+ words

Reivyn's heart pounded in his chest as his squad approached the Dungeon in the center of the compound. The entrance to the Dungeon was a cave set into a butte. Reivyn had only glanced at it in passing before a small barricade had gone up around the entrance, and he had seen that it wasn't dark inside the cave. It looked like it passed through a tunnel that didn't exist on the outside before opening back into the countryside.

The sentries at the front of the barricade checked Corporal Decker's token and cross-referenced it with a list before waving the squad forward. The men followed the Squad Leader into the cave in two columns. Corporal Decker had created an official System-sanctioned Party for the excursion, and they were each equipped with their standard issue spear and shield. Each individual had a more personalized sidearm, though, as this was an independent squad activity. Reivyn didn't have any personal weapons, so he, like a few others, simply used the sword as usual.

The cave was brightly lit from both directions, with shadows just beginning to form a dark pool in the center of the cave before it was banished by more sunlight from the opposite end. It was dry and dusty, and roots could be seen hanging from the ceiling. It looked just like any normal cave that extended for about a hundred paces. The only thing that made it unsettling was the knowledge that there obviously wasn't enough room to hold the passageway when looking at it from outside.

Reivyn didn't know what he expected, but there were no boxes, dings, or notifications of any kind to signal that the squad had entered a Dungeon, but he did feel the sort of dry humidity that one would feel when the mana density increased in a region. It felt like the air was heavier, and it almost felt like it should make the environment feel moist with a raised temperature, but there was none of the usual side effects of increased humidity.

"So like I was saying," Brace spoke into the silence, breaking everyone from a semi-trance. They weren't relegated to silence, yet, but nobody had been speaking because of the expectation of travelling into the unknown. "None of us have actually been in a Dungeon before, so we don't have any experience to educate you with. We do, however, have the knowledge that the Knight-Captain has passed down in his instructions.

"I won't go into the how's or why's of dungeons, because, quite frankly, Knight-Captain Reifold never went over any of that. The basics of a dungeon are that they take on the characteristics of the local landscape, flora, and fauna. Typically, mundane animals have a lesser presence, and beasts and monsters are the norm.

"We can expect goblins, orcs, dire wolves, bears, and iron-wings, the name of the birds that mostly harassed us the other day. We would know for sure, but the commander instructed everyone to explore on their own their first time without outside information for 'training purposes,'" Brace said, making air quotes with his fingers. "We do know that it's not dangerous, though, because nobody from the first squads yesterday came back injured."

Reivyn nodded along even though Brace had already told him all of this, almost verbatim, the night before. He supposed it was a mechanism the other man used to stave off nervousness, so he just acted like it was the first time he was hearing anything.

"Marik," Corporal Decker called from the front. "Scout ahead. Standard procedures." Marik propped his spear up against the cave wall at the entrance to the Dungeon proper. It would only get in his way during scouting activities, but taking it into the Dungeon would mean it was available if a situation required its retrieval. He was equipped with short bow and short sword. He wasn't acting specifically as a ranged combatant, but the weaponry would give him a little leeway in how to handle any situations.

"Cliff, you have point," Decker continued. Cliff moved to the front of the formation. He was equipped with a heftier shield and thicker leather armor under the plates in order to act as the first impact for any enemies they encountered.

As they stepped out into the open once again, Reivyn noticed that it looked like they had turned around and exited from where they entered. It was like they had travelled into a mirrored dimension. The only difference was that the distance was obscured by a hazy shimmer, and everything beyond was indistinct.

"That's the boundary of the Dungeon," Brace said with a nod towards the shimmering barrier. "Doesn't look like much, but it's impervious to any damage and cannot be passed through no matter what you try to do."

Reivyn looked into the distance and gauged that the shimmer was about a hundred yards or so down the ridge. It followed the contours of the ridge line as it moved up the giant spur. He spun around as his eyes followed it, and he was confused to see that the shimmer cut across the path leading up only about another two hundred yards or so.

"There doesn't appear to be a whole lot of space available," Reivyn pointed out. Brace, and the other squad members, followed the direction Reivyn indicated with a nod. Corporal Decker frowned as he noticed it as well.

"We'll wait for Marick to come back with a preliminary report," he stated. "In the meantime, let's head down and see if there's anything hiding behind any of the rocks and trees while we wait."

The men marched down the hill in the same loose formation they had adopted when on patrol. The skies were clear, and the environment was identical to outside of the Dungeon with the exception of no pallisade or company of soldiers occupying the space. A quick peek back into the cave showed a smooth transition and line of sight all the way back to the barricade. Reivyn couldn't wrap his head around how it worked, so he didn't even try.

The squad quickly reached the barrier. Each man had to walk up to it and inspect it personally just to see for themselves what it was all about. Reivyn walked up and put his hand against it. There was an obvious force preventing him from pushing any further, but it was smooth and frictionless. There was no feeling of a wall or anything, just an intangible force that pushed back against his hand. He had some fun for a moment sliding his hand around like it was a against a wall of ice.

Nothing was clearly visible on the other side, and the men quickly satisfied their curiosity. Corporal Decker had them move along its edge to circle around and head back up the hill.

They made it all the way back to the cave entrance without seeing so much as a feather. There was nothing here on the bottom half of the slope, so they pressed on. They walked for just a moment before Marik appeared out from a clump of trees.

"There's nothing above ground, but I did see another cave a little ways further up set into a protrusion," Marik reported to Corporal Decker. "There was remnants of a camp fire, but I didn't see any creatures at the entrance. I scouted further ahead, above ground, but the cave is really the only thing here."

Corporal Decker nodded his head as he digested the information. He stood there and contemplated a bit, forming a plan in his mind.

"Alright," Decker said. "First, go retrieve your spear. Keep your shortbow on you just in case there happens to be a big underground cavern or something where it could be used, but it looks like it's going to be mainly close quarters for anything we encounter."

They had only walked up a couple dozen yards away from the entrance, so Marik quickly obeyed orders and was back in formation with his spear. They continued on up the slope before appearing at the protrusion that Marik had indicated. The cave was dark, but it had an ethereal glow about it that provided enough light to see about thirty feet deep. After that it was a black maw swallowing the light.

"The tunnel is wide enough for two people to fight shoulder to shoulder with some space left over, so we'll maintain the double column. Close the ranks a bit, but keep enough distance to be able to wield your spears. We'll go with Cliff and Steil in the front. Reivyn, you and Brace take the middle spot. I know you've seen some combat already, but until we get some recon on what we're facing, you're not taking a vulnerable position." He clapped Reivyn on the shoulder. "Don't worry. Once we know what we're up against, we'll do standard rotations, so you'll get to participate."

The men filed into the tunnel. This was a fundamentally different experience than travelling into the Dungeon, as with no exit to the outside, there was no additional sunlight to chase the shadows away. The ethereal glow that suffused the area moved with them, though, and they were able to maintain a visibility of a static thirty feet.

"Dungeon shenanigans," Brace whispered to Reivyn as they made their way deeper into the mountain cave. The temperature cooled as they moved further in, but Reivyn noticed a very subtle increase in the mana density in the air. If he wasn't straining all of his senses to pick up every little detail he could, he would have never noticed this small detail.

"Corporal," he called forward in a loud whisper. Decker looked back over his shoulder at Reivyn. "The mana density is ticking up ever so slightly," Reivyn continued. Corporal Decker nodded his head. He didn't have to pass the word along, as everyone could hear what he said in the quiet.

The ground they traversed began to descend, and there was a noticeable curve to the right as they walked. If Reivyn guessed correctly, this cave should spiral downwards ever deeper underneath them.

Cliff held up a closed fist in the silent signal to halt movement as he detected something in the distance. It took a moment for Reivyn to pick it up, but a low murmur of high pitched sounds could be heard getting louder, and the noise echoed off of the walls slightly. There were no more roots protruding from the plants on the surface to act as a noise muffler.

Cliff and Steil raised their shields in their off-hands with their spears held forward at the ready as everyone took a ready stance. The slowly increasing murmurs suddenly came to a complete, silent stop, and then it was quickly followed by the loud screeching of a familiar tone that was clearly accelerating towards them at a fast pace.

"Goblins incoming," Corporal Decker intoned. The men mentally relaxed a bit even though they maintained their bodies in the ready state. A group of five goblins soon appeared within the visibility of the front men, and they rushed headlong into the waiting squad with no regard for their own safety at all.

Cliff and Steil allowed the goblins to crash into their shields, and using the same familiar maneuver, they shoved them back off balance with the assistance of the men behind them. They quickly stabbed forth with their spears, and two of the five enemies were already taken out of commission as they bled out on the ground.

The goblins shrieked in indignation and charged once more, living up to their reputation of "not being a threat." The two front ranks of the squad used hardly any effort to dispatch the remaining three, and they all continued on their winding path deeper into the ground.

In only a few minutes of walking, the squad came to their first crossroad in the tunnel. The mainline clearly continued forward in a continuous, slow curve, but they had arrived at a T-section breaking off in the opposite direction of the curving slope.

Corporal Decker called the men to a halt and assessed the situation. The tunnel leading off into the distance was long enough that they couldn't see beyond the visible glow.

"Kran, Sile," he said, "the two of you remain here at the intersection. We're going to go see what's down this offshoot real quick. If it leads to more runoff tunnels, we'll peek our heads down to assess the situation, but we'll come on back. We don't want to split up too much in such a situation as we're in right now, but if it's a straight shot, we'll go to the end unless it just takes forever."

The two men singled out took up post in the intersection as the rest of the squad moved down the new tunnel. The downward slope had ceased, and they just walked down a straight line. After walking for about twenty feet, the ethereal glow revealed that the branch opened up into a large cavern.

A single goblin was sitting at the entrance to the open space, its head lolling on its chest in slumber. It was clearly a derelict sentry, and figuring that nothing ever happened, it had taken the opportunity to be lazy.

As the men silently approached, however, Reivyn noticed its nose twitch and its brow furrow. It suddenly lifted its head and gazed at the approaching squad with confusion in its eyes. It suddenly jumped up and started screeching in its high-pitched, annoying tone, and it was followed by a loud cacophony of similar noises. Reivyn estimated that there had to be at least twenty other voices joining the sentry's alarm, but it was hard to tell with the echo.

"Maintain speed," Decker ordered. "No reason to rush out into the open when the confines of the tunnel benefit us. Let them come like they always do, and we'll operate with standard switch procedures if your Stamina begins to fall."

The men inched forward with slow, steady steps, but it wasn't long before a small horde of goblins came screaming into the tunnel. They were smaller than adult humans, so they could fit more across in the tunnel, but that was if they had any sense. Instead they managed to stumble and trip over each other, only managing three abreast in the front, as they dashed in a disorganized mess towards the men.

The battle was what Reivyn expected. He didn't get a clear count of the enemies, but it was slightly more than his initial guess of twenty. Even so, with the goblins doing as much harm to their assault in their feral madness as the squad members did in their attacks, Cliff and Steil didn't even have to switch out with the men behind them.

After a short, five minute conflict, the goblins all lay dying on the ground. The stench of their spilled blood and emptied bowels filled the air, and with no escape for the fetid stink to disperse into the atmosphere, it caused several men to gag before they mustered their willpower... by pinching their noses closed.

"Alright, let's go see if there's anything else in this room other than stinking goblin corpses," Corporal Decker ordered the squad. They moved into the room, and with the ever present glow of the Dungeon, they quickly realized this was only a sleeping quarters with nothing else to it. A quick scan indicated that there were no minerals or ores in the walls, and there were definitely no accumulated treasures on the ground.

"Every now and then, supposedly, you can come across a chest that contains some sort of valuables in a Dungeon," Brace leaned over to say to Reivyn. "Nobody knows what, where, or why - well, I shouldn't say nobody, but nobody we know - nobody knows why they're there. I say it's just more Dungeon shenanigans, and that seems like a perfectly reasonable excuse to me."

The men quickly filed their way back down the tunnel, eager to get away from the horrendous smell. It wasn't just the blood and feces from the slain goblins, but it was the accumulated fetid air over a long period of time from their unwashed bodies.

"Alright, here's what we'll do," Corporal Decker said as they rejoined two bored-looking soldiers at the main pathway. "Kran and Sile will take point now, with everyone moving back one spot. Anymore branches, and the back two men will take up sentry, and we'll repeat the action and rotation to let everyone participate."

The squad obeyed the new orders as they reintegrated the two men who had stayed behind and continued on their downward journey.

The squad continued its advance deeper into the bowels of the mountain spur, occasionally coming across similar branches every hundred yards or so. Reivyn didn't keep count of the number of branches they explored with only more dead goblins to show for it, but it was enough times that he took point with Brace more than once.

Finally, something different appeared. As Reivyn was marching alongside Brace in the third row, a clinking sound could be heard coming from deeper down. As they approached, more sounds of goblins screeching and some deeper, guttural voices mixed together.

"Sounds like orcs," Decker said. "I'm going to guess the next branch has some orc overseers watching some goblin miners. The sounds indicate tools, so expect some metal pickaxes at the very least in the next skirmish. The goblins still shouldn't be a threat with them, but if you're negligent, they could pop you a good one."

The squad made it to the next branch, and, leaving two sentries as always, they made their way down the side tunnel. As they approached the opening, instead of a distracted or sleeping goblin, an orc sentry spotted them right away and gave a loud bellow. The sounds of picks chipping at the wall ceased, and it was replaced by the telltale sound of frenzied goblins with the roars of some orc overseers mixed in.

The men performed in the exact same manner as previously, but instead of a discombobulated mess of goblin bodies and limbs charging at them, they heard the sound of a whip cracking, and a relatively orderly line of goblins advanced on their position. It was relatively orderly in the sense that they didn't entangle each other, but they were still stupid goblins who mindlessly charged the men.

As Corporal Decker had warned, these goblins were equipped with metal picks, and they were being driven forward by a duo of orcs with whips. There were four orcs in total, the two overseers, the sentry at the front of the open room, who had allowed the goblins to bypass him, and one other presumed sentry from the opposite side of the room. They were each equipped with large swords that looked like giant meat cleavers.

The orcs tried to direct the goblins in some semblance of a coordinated attack, but, Reivyn noted with some amusement, they gave up with exasperated looks on their faces. Even monsters can roll their eyes at just how dumb these goblins are, Reivyn chuckled to himself.

Before all of the goblins could be mowed down, the orc overseers had a brilliant idea and decided to engage the front two men with their whips. Corporal Decker put a stop to that.

"Second row, Javelin," he commanded. The front two men squatted down slightly, and the two in the second row quickly adjusted their grip on the spears and hurled them at the orc overseers in one smooth motion. The orcs never saw it coming, and a spear skewered each of them, center mass. They weren't quite dead, but they were out of the fight.

The two orc sentries lost all reason at the sudden change in circumstances. Their eyes went bloodshot, and with a roar, they charged into the fray with their cleaver swords raised high. The two orcs trampled their way over any goblin in their path in their frenzied dash. The two squad members in the front, however, maintained their calm, and they simply leaned back into the men behind them, shields up and spears out, and let the orcs charge right onto the waiting spears.

Reivyn and Brace passed their spears to the two men in front of them who had operated the javelin through, and the two second row soldiers quickly stabbed the two orcs that were trying to drive their bodies forward on the impaled weapons. After the final two orcs stopped moving, they decisively abandoned their spears and drew their sidearms. There were only a few remaining goblins at this point, and they were quickly exterminated.

After retrieving all of their gear, the men made their way into the room to discover what the goblins had been mining. There was a vein of metal clearly visible on the wall, and a pile of crude ore was strewn about in multiple heaps. Reivyn was no expert on raw ores, but he definitely spotted some silver and what he thought could be iron.

"This resource is going to be a huge boon for the county," Corporal Decker exclaimed. The men gave him a sideways, incredulous look. "And us," he continued. "Obviously, as the ones who collect it we'll get a reward. This mine will pay for itself and then some."

As an infinitely instanced Dungeon, there should theoretically be an infinite amount of these resources. Reivyn understood, vaguely, from remnants of some of his dreams that such a situation could wreck an economy, but upon closer introspection, he realized that there were many such Dungeons within the Kingdom, and nobody had ever mentioned anything about it. He wouldn't find any answers on the subject from the squad he was with. Maybe the Knight-Lieutenant could shed some light for me, he thought.

"No point in trying to take all of this," Corporal Decker said. "We just don't have the capability to do so on this delve. Grab some of the silver, though, and we'll turn it in to the commander. Should be worth a small bonus."

The men smiled as they sifted through the rubble to pick out gleaming bits of silver. They stuffed anything worthwhile into their knapsack to carry out when they were done.

"It's about time for chow," Decker remarked. "This place stinks, though, so let's head back to the intersection, and we'll take a short break and eat."

The squad continued its exploration after the short break, and the curving path continued unabated. The next intersection they reached didn't have the familiar sounds of goblin screeching or clinking of mining, though, and it returned to being silent. They made their way down the side tunnel, but instead of opening up at the end into a big, open room, there was a tiny room with six cots.

This room was also guarded by an orc sentry, and all six cots contained sleeping orcs as well. It seemed they had made it beyond the area where the goblins lived, and now they would have to actually exert some effort for each branching tunnel.

The orc sentry immediately spotted the approaching squad and bellowed for his sleeping mates to wake. They quickly sprung up due to the sudden shout, and upon spotting the human intruders, they grabbed their cleavers, which appeared to be the standard weapon of these particular orcs, and charged.

They were much more coordinated in their combat tactics, but that was only compared to their goblin counterparts. They were still fundamentally individualistic, so they weren't able to leverage any advantage from any kind of teamwork. Being closer to the size of the humans, they also could only fit in the tunnel two at a time.

Four men working together, switching out when their Stamina dropped a couple dozen points, and superior gear quickly whittled the orcs down in front of them.

Looks like we'll be able to mop this place up in short order and head on back to the surface, Reivyn thought. He froze as soon as the thought entered his head. Why did I think that?! Something always goes wrong when I think that, he mentally kicked himself.

"Guys, there's probably a big surprise waiting for us at the end of this path," Reivyn suddenly said. The others gave him a puzzled look as they searched through the possessions of the deceased orcs.

"Why do you say that?" Corporal Decker asked.

"Because I got complacent just now, and something always goes wrong when I get complacent," Reivyn answered. Corporal Decker gave him a thoughtful look as he rubbed his chin in thought.

"Ok," he said. "You heard him. Keep your heads up and your wits about, men." The others acknowledged the order.

"You're just going to take my word for it? Just like that?" Reivyn asked with a raised eyebrow. Decker chuckled.

"You learn to trust your gut," he answered. "You got a gut feeling, so I'm going to trust it. What would be the point of dismissing it out of hand, anyway?" He spread his arms out, palms up.

Reivyn nodded his head. They were supposed to be keeping alert anyway, but the timely reminder had probably pulled some of the others back from being complacent as well.

"Onward," Corporal Decker exclaimed with a dramatic flourish. A couple of the men snickered at his theatrics.


The rest of the delve continued in the same vein. They would travel a distance on the main path, moving deeper and deeper, and then they would branch off to engage in combat with orcs. There were no patrols after that very first encounter with the goblins, but there were always orcs in the rooms, and there were always sentries watching over their sleeping comrades.

They continued their Dungeon Dive for several hours, the System time keeping Reivyn abreast of the elapsed duration. He didn't know how long the other squads had spent in their exploration, but it seemed to be drawing close to the same amount of time soon, and they still had their long trek back up to the surface.

The squad eventually reached a new environment, though, shortly after Reivyn had noted the time. The main pathway came to an end, and, according to the Dungeon's glow, it opened up into a similar open space as all the branching tunnels had.

There was no sentry at the end of the pathway into the cavern, and Corporal Decker reminded everyone to remain on alert. There were no sounds or movements as they reached the threshold, and there was nothing to do but to move forward.

"Staggered Crescent formation," Corporal Decker said. The men moved into a formation resembling a half circle with two rows like they usually used for combat. Reivyn found himself in the front row, second from the right, and Brace was supporting him from behind. They marched foward with a little bit of space between them, but they had their shields up and spears out at the ready.


A loud roar shattered the silence, and a giant figure came trundling into the visible range of the glow. An ogre, hunched over from being too tall to stand up straight with the ceiling not being very high, was walking towards the squad.

Reivyn noticed that it had chains attached to manacles on its wrists, and it was dragging clearly unwilling orcs along in its wake. The two orcs had their heels set in the ground, and they were trying with all of their might to stop the ogre from moving. They were completely ineffectual.

The ogre leaned forwards and roared at the men again, causing Reivyn's ears to ring from the loud sound. It flicked its right wrist around, looping the chain attached to the manacle around its arm, and then it whipped the chain forward towards the squad.

"Brace for impact!" Decker yelled and all of the men huddled together to support each other. Reivyn watched with a macabre humor as the orc that had been trying to restrain the ogre got whipped along with the chain, its eyes wide with surprise and fear. If it wasn't such a deadly serious situation, it would have made for a hilarious sight.

The orc smashed into the huddled squad with tremendous centrifugal force. It died on impact as it was impaled by more than one spear sticking out of the hasty reinforcement, but it had the intended effect for the ogre. The formation was obliterated as men went flying away from the impact, and Reivyn was no exception.

He tumbled through the air, and in order to not injure himself, he was forced to let go of his spear. He continued to roll once he made contact with the ground again. He heard footsteps running towards him, and alarm bells went off in his head as he realized none of the men should have been on their feet fast enough to reach him.

He looked up as his momentum was coming to a halt, but upon seeing a descending cleaver sword, he forcefully accelerated his roll to move out of the way. The sword smashed into the ground, barely missing him, and Reivyn performed one more roll to gain some distance before coming to a knee. He instinctively raised his shield above his head, and another blow slammed into the protective cover immediately after.

He didn't have time to gain a proper stance, so, shield still raised, he reached across his body and yanked his sword out of the sheath, letting it extend into a wide slash like he had previously done when confronting the wolves closing in on Corporal Decker. He felt the sword meet some resistance, and he powered through to hear a yelp of surprise and pain.

With the slight gain to the initiative, he launched himself forward and up, and he slammed his shield into the surprised face of the orc. It had clearly underestimated him, seeing that he was the smallest member of the squad and was in a perilous situation, and that miscalculation had cost it its life. All of the orcs in the dungeon were slightly weaker than the individual squad members, and considering his superior Skill levels, Reivyn was also slightly stronger.

The orc lost its balance, and with previous experience, Reivyn managed to snake his sword out, under the sight and guard of his opponent, and stab it in the gut. The wound caused the orc to fall to its knees, and as it looked up in disbelief, Reivyn had already begun the downward thrust that stabbed straight into its neck, killing it.

The sounds of heated combat could be heard all around, and with a quick glance at the situation in the open room, he noticed that while some men were limping with injuries, nobody was down. He quickly spotted the ogre, fully prepared to witness it barrelling down on another squad member, but it was in a berserk state and had actually turned on its handlers.

The other orc holding one of the chains had apparently been smashed under its foot, as it was long dead along with its compatriot, and the ogre was busy laying into the dozen or so orcs that had lined up behind it. They had no doubt anticipated the ogre allowing them to move in to a downed enemy, but they hadn't taken into account its literally crazy nature. They put up a valiant defense, but they were clearly losing.

Reivyn realized that once the ogre finished off the group of orcs, it would have unfettered access to run amok among the disorganized squad. Without the advantage of the formation and teamwork, he could see them suffering devastating losses.

It wasn't in his nature to stand back and allow things to happen to him. He was decisive and proactive. He quickly located his spear after slinging his shield onto his back, and, reaching down to snag the spear, he sprinted towards the wide open back of the ogre. He held his sword in his dominant hand, and he held his spear in his left hand as he closed in on his target.

He didn't know much about ogres or their weaknesses, but he quickly spotted a target for him to attack. He had no time to contemplate what he was doing, and he let the adrenaline focus his mind on only the task at hand. No distracting thoughts were allowed.

He wound up his arm holding the spear as he madly ran, and, at the last second, he activated Charge. Using the momentum of his powerful burst of speed, he zeroed the tip of his spear right on target... right through the flapping loincloth worn around the ogre's waist.

"I seem to recall something about "A Thousand Years of Pain," a fleeting thought crossed his mind as he struck true. The ogre immediately tensed up and smashed his head into the ceiling above as it bellowed in absolute outrage, shock, and pain.

The involuntary movement of jerking upward, slamming its head into the wall, coupled with the spear sticking out of its... sensitive area, stunned the ogre momentarily, and Reivyn grabbed the only chance he would be presented with. Maintaining his momentum, he leaped in front of the ogre from the side to the astonishment of the few orcs still standing, mouths agape, and slashed his sword up, activating Devastating Strike as he did so.

His sword cut half way through the ogre's neck, nearly decapitating it, and a torrent of blood came gushing out. Only a small amount landed on Reivyn as he finally came to a stop in front of three orcs with incredulous looks on their faces. Without missing a beat, he performed a perfect-form lunge thrust into the closest orc, and then he regained his shield as he recovered and assumed a ready stance.

The other two orcs regained their focus, and, after sharing a look, they turned around and fled further into the room away from the crazy human that had materialized out of nowhere to single-handedly slay the great beast that had been tormenting them. Reivyn stood in place, panting, as he watched the two orcs flee. A loud bang sounded behind him as the ogre's body finally crashed into the ground, the spear sticking straight up like a monument to his accomplishment.

He turned back towards the sound of fighting, and he charged the back of the closest orc. The combatants had been too preoccupied with their own individual fights, some squad members fending off two orcs at once, and, while obviously noticing Reivyn's deed, nobody could afford to be distracted. This left his chosen target to be fully focused on the man in front of him, and it never knew of the danger approaching from behind until it saw the sword blade piercing through its chest.

It was a quick, snowballing effect after that. Reivyn and the man he had freed from his engagement were able to assist others in similar fashion, and within no time, all of the orcs lay dead on the ground.

Several squad members were cradling broken arms or leaning on compatriots for injured legs. Many had cuts and bruises with only a few having come out of the ordeal completely unscathed.

"Two more ran off that way," Reivyn quickly informed Corporal Decker as he pointed off into the distance. Corporal Decker quickly rallied the couple of uninjured men, and they took off towards the escaped orcs.

They came upon them beating on a giant, steel door with no obvious mechanism for opening. Upon hearing the men approach, the orcs turned. When they laid eyes on Reivyn, they yelped, threw down their weapons, and attempted to flee once again, but the squad members lunged forward and pierced them with their spears.

The Dungeon had been cleared.

The ground shook, and a bright flash of light temporarily blinded the men. When they opened their eyes again, the steel door had simply vanished. They stood there and gaped for a moment before Corporal Decker cleared his throat.

"Looks like the Dungeon continues," he said. "It's getting late, though, so... no, we're not going in there." He said with a chuckle.

The men gathered back up together, and Corporal Decker made sure everyone got bandaged up and their wounds tended to. With the way the System worked, one could get back to full health, but still have a broken bone. It would heal at an accelerated rate depending on one's Vitality if full Health was maintained, but getting to full Health wasn't a miracle cure for injuries.

"Ahem," Corporal Decker got the attention of his squad. "From the context of the disappearing door at the end of the room, and the overall difficulty of this fight, I'm going to go ahead and assume this was the 'first floor' Boss Room," he said with air quotes. The men looked at each other with raised eyebrows and excitement showing on their faces.

"Now, before you get excited," he continued. "This is a resource Dungeon." He let the words sink in, only continuing as the last man regained his composure. "As you know from the Knight-Captain, resource Dungeons have about a 1% chance of having a chest in the boss room. There isn't one here." Several of the men let out disappointed sighs.

"Not all's lost, though," he said once again. "Remember the silver. We'll get a good bonus. We also cleared the boss, so we should get a good amount of Experience upon exiting the Dungeon." The squad members perked up again at that reminder.

"I just have one question," he said. His gaze landed on Reivyn, a slight tilt to his lips. "Was that a Skill you used? What's 'A Thousand Years of Pain?'"

"Did I say that out loud?" Reivyn scratched his head in embarrassment. At the nods from all the men, he half turned and gestured towards the dead ogre.

The men looked over to where he was indicating, and upon seeing the monument standing proud, they burst into laughter.


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