[Level up!]

Unlike the dungeons of the Gates, there was a thing called ‘respawn’ within the instant dungeon. While he was sweeping away every single monster found on the second floor, all the monsters on the first respawned. While he went back upstairs to deal with them, monsters on the second floor respawned. So on and so forth.

Jin-Woo hopped between the first and second floor and killed monsters until his level no longer rose up.

‘Who knows when I’ll ever run into another opportunity like this one?’

Along the way, he got so used to this place that he was able to predict from where and how the monsters would try to attack him.

“A monkey, falling from the ceiling….”

He lightly evaded the claws of the monkey-type monster falling from the ceiling and stabbed it in the chest with his sword. And then….

“Kkiiieeck!!”

“….One cat each from left and right.”

…And then, he orderly sliced the necks of the black panther-like creatures jumping at him from his sides.

“Kyahk!”

“Kkahk!!”

[You’ve killed a ‘Blade-Claw Briga’.]

[You’ve killed a ‘Black-Shadow Razan’.]

And with these three, he had arrived at the end of the second floor.

He had cleared out the second floor once more. However, his level hadn’t been moving from 15 for a long time now. It seemed that reaching that high was the limit for the first two floors.

“Stats.”

[Stat]

Strength: 45

Stamina: 24

Agility: 24

Intelligence: 24

Perception: 24

(Available points to distribute: 0)

With him being level 15, his Stats had risen up by quite a lot. His Agility was now almost at 25. He finally got to feel the difference between the Agility and the Strength Stat when the former hit the value of 20.

The Agility did not increase his speed, but rather, it was as if the opponent’s movement had become far slower in his perception, instead.

‘Exactly like watching a slow-motion video.’

The scenes of the monkey falling from the ceiling and panthers pouncing on him played out in slow-motion.

Should he describe it as him being able to manipulate the time flow as he wished? It became easier to evade enemies’ attacks, and it also became easier to hit them as well.

As the word implied, he had indeed become more ‘agile’.

The so-called speed was wholly dependant on who was looking at it. The higher his Agility Stat, the bigger the difference between him and his enemies would become; from their perspective, he’d look as if he was moving at an unbelievably quick speed.

‘If both the Strength and Agility increase concurrently, their synergy should be pretty incredible.’

That was his final assessment of the Agility Stat.

“Besides all that…”

Jin-Woo shifted his gaze away.

“What should I do now….?”

He was looking at the stairs leading down to the third floor.

There was a reason why he continued to hunt in the first two floors even though there was a way to go even lower.

‘It’s giving me the creeps.’

With his Perception Stat so much higher, he could sense the aura of something ominous lurking down there far better than before. Without a doubt, something really strong was hiding somewhere down below.

He didn’t have to see it to know.

Jin-Woo recalled the message he saw back by the entrance of this instant dungeon.

[You can not exit the dungeon. Please defeat the boss first or find the return crystal.]

The existence of the ‘Boss’.

Jin-Woo had been roaming the first two floors in order to raise his levels until he couldn’t anymore, all for the purpose of fighting this ‘Boss’.

He had prepared himself as much as he could but, when the time to actually go down there came, he was getting all sweaty and nervous.

Jin-Woo lightly slapped both of his cheeks.

‘I mean, I’ve entered a dungeon, so I can’t just leave without taking a look at what this boss looks like, now can I?’

A certain amount of tension was a must in order to maintain the peak condition. And this amount was just about right for him.

Jin-Woo gripped the sword tightly with both of his hands slowly descended the steps. Could he have been mistaken when the steps felt unusually longer than before?

He swallowed dried saliva down.

The lighting was worse than the first two floors, but there was no problem with seeing where he was going.

‘Is it because of my Perception Stat?’

He couldn’t help but feel that his eyesight had improved greatly.

He cautiously climbed lower until eventually spotting the railway tunnel used by the subway trains.

No, he saw where the railway used to be.

The tunnel that should’ve been used by trains was now filled with jet-black liquid, instead.

‘What is this?’

Rather than a subway tunnel, it was…. more like a lake or a river now.

Just as Jin-Woo took one more step forward to take a closer look….

A long log-like object shot out from the surface of the black ‘water’.

Swish!!

‘It’s fast!’

The thing that arrived in front of his nose in the blink of an eye was not a log, but a snake with the thickness rivalling one, actually.

“Heop!!”

Taken by surprise, Jin-Woo could only swing the sword and strike the head of the snake away from him.

Clang!!

Jin-Woo’s eyes opened wider.

“What the hell?!”

He did succeed in deviating that direction of the lunging snake, but his trusty steel longsword ended up breaking apart from the impact.

Jin-Woo looked back in surprise.

The snake must’ve been surprised by his counterattack as well because it didn’t try to follow up right away, but instead chose to simply glare at him while coiling itself up a distance away.

‘The ruler of the swamp, Poison-Fanged Blue Kasaka.’

Jin-Woo could clearly see the orange-coloured name of the monster.

It was a creature incomparably faster and hardier than those with their names written in white.

‘Even then, for a sword reinforced with magic energy to break like that….’

Jin-Woo swallowed nervously and cautiously studied the Boss monster called Kasaka.

Blue scales covering its entire body gleamed in an oily manner. As if it had draped itself with thick armour, those scales had no gaps to speak of.

Sword strikes wouldn’t have worked in the first place. It’d be the same story for punches, too.

When Jin-Woo’s thoughts arrived there, the Kasaka must’ve finished its own analysis on its prey, because it finally lunged at him once more.

No matter how one looked at it, it was a frightening turn of speed, that’s for sure.

Swwwiiiish!!

Jin-Woo narrowed his eyes.

‘It’s coming!’

When he concentrated hard, he could now clearly see the attack of the Kasaka, which was something he couldn’t even properly decipher in the beginning. This was all due to the increased Agility Stat.

Just before the Kasaka opened its maws wide and tried to swallow him, Jin-Woo swiftly sidestepped and let the attack brush past him. At the same time, he wrapped his arms around the creature and caught it in a headlock. He then tightened his grip.

*SFX for bones breaking*

Jin-Woo’s Strength Stat was almost at 50.

An unbelievably powerful pressure tightened around the snake’s main artery. The snake could not escape from his grip and thrashed around as if it was in pain. Jin-Woo gritted his teeth and strengthened his arms even more.

Slam!! Boom!!

Jin-Woo’s body slammed against the walls and on the floor, but he never released his arms.

‘If I didn’t raise my levels as high as I could before coming here….’

There was literally no end to wondering about ‘what-ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’.

However, all kinds of thoughts still swirled in Jin-Woo’s head.

If he didn’t raise his level to the limit….

If his Strength Stat wasn’t so illogically high….

Then, he’d have gone through incredible hell in order to kill the Kasaka.

No, he might even have died here.

So, his decision not to come down right away proved to be the smart one. His choice was indeed the right one.

Crack!!

Accompanied by a rather awful noise, the skull of Kasaka gave in and cracked apart.

[You have killed the ruler of the swamp, Poison-Fanged Blue Kasaka.]

As expected of a boss mob.

His level rose up by 2 after killing the Kasaka.

Jin-Woo tightly clenched his fists.

The level that had been stagnating at 15 had jumped up to 17.

In just a single day, he crazily raised his level from 1 all the way up to 17.

‘However!’

No one hunted boss mobs for experience points!

Indeed, if it was a boss mob, then it’d be all about the loot drops!

When he started checking out the dead snake, two spots of light began gleaming from somewhere within its limp body.

‘Two items, because it was a boss?’

His expression one of elation, Jin-Woo reached out towards the spots of light.

Tti-ring.

[You have discovered ‘Item: Poison Fang of Kasaka’. Take it?]

[You have discovered ‘Item: Poison Sac of Kasaka’. Take it?]

“Take them all.”

As soon as he said those words, a dagger made out of a bone and a small pouch with liquid in it appeared on his palms.

[Item: Poison Fang of Kasaka]

Rarity: C

Type: Dagger

Attack +25

A dagger fashioned from the poison fang of the Kasaka. There are traces of the Kasaka’s poison on it, so when attacking, it will cause Paralysis and Bleeding status effects. Can be stored in the Inventory, or can be sold at the Store.

Status effect ‘Paralysis’: the target will be unable to move. Success rate is fixed.

Status effect ‘Bleeding’: the target’s stamina will be reduced by 1% per second.

Jin-Woo nodded his head.

‘A dagger made not out of bone, but from the fang, huh. It’s not a bad item with those options, yeah?’

Next up was the pouch.

[Item: Poison Sac of Kasaka]

Rarity: A

Type: Medicine

A pouch containing the refined poison of the Kasaka. Can be found very rarely when hunting Kasakas. Drinking this poison will give you strong skin, but the toxicity will permanently damage your muscles.

Effect ‘The Iron Scales of Kasaka’: 20% reduction in physical damage.

Side effect ‘Damaged Muscles’: Strength -35

Jin-Woo’s expression alternated between joy and anguish.

The Poison Fang of Kasaka was a good weapon to replace the broken longsword. Not only did it possess over twice the attack power, but he really liked the two status effects of Paralysis and Bleeding, too.

‘However, this poison sac is a bit….’

Initially, he was really pleased to find an item with the ‘A’ Rarity rating, but when reading the description, he realised this was not something he could feel completely chuffed about.

Of course, that effect of reducing all physical damage taken by 20% was a great option befitting an A-rank item. However, it also carried a fatal penalty of decreasing his Strength Stat by 35.

It’d be a really painful loss for him especially when he invested all of his points on increasing his Strength stat.

Was this the famed double-edged sword, then?

No, the expression of ‘chicken ribs’ suited this item far better, instead. (TL: a Korean idiom. It means something like ‘people not giving up on chicken ribs even though there isn’t all that much meat around there’.)

Maybe, he might be able to use this thing only when his Strength Stat had risen so high that the loss of 35 points wouldn’t affect him in the slightest, which should be in the distant future. It was impossible to drink it right now.

“…..For the time being, I should just hold onto it.”

With a rueful expression, he stored both inside his Inventory.

Maybe, if an A rank dagger and a C rank medicine came out, then he might have felt not as bad as he did now. Well, he’d have just gotten rid of the C-rank medicine if it was useless, after all.

It was then, a new message popped up.

[With the death of the Boss, the interior of the dungeon will revert back to its original state.]

Suddenly, his sights blurred for a bit, and then, they were restored back to normal, along with a slight bit of dizziness assaulting his senses. When he took a look around, he found himself inside a normal subway station.

The lights overhead shone brightly, and the black liquid filling up the tunnel was all gone, too.

“….But, where is everyone?”

Not just people, but even trains were strangely absent.

He even checked the time while thinking that the trains had stopped running for the day because it was so late already, but the clock was indicating 10 PM.

He entered the Hapjeong station around the lunch hour, so he had spent over 9 hours inside that dungeon.

‘I was in there for a long time, wasn’t I?’

If it weren’t for his Tiredness Stat being refreshed every time he levelled up, he’d have keeled over from the accumulated fatigue several times by now.

‘Anyway. Isn’t it still too early for the trains to stop running?’

Jin-Woo tilted his head as not one train showed up, no matter how long he stood there waiting. He decided to leave the station for the time being.

While he was trudging towards the exit, he couldn’t spot a single person. But, as he climbed up the steps to get to the surface, someone shouted at Jin-Woo from above.

“Who goes there?”

Who knew that the voice of another person would sound this welcoming?

Jin-Woo quickly raised his head. He saw a soldier wielding a rifle.

“Who are you? Why are you coming out from there? Haven’t you heard the broadcasts?”

The expression of the soldier was so serious that even Jin-Woo’s own expression hardened in an instant.

“Did something happen?”

“What the? How can you even say that?”

The soldier approached closer, but then, he spotted the broken sword in Jin-Woo’s hand.

After it broke, it could no longer be stored in the Inventory, and Jin-Woo didn’t feel like leaving it behind, so he just carried it outside like this.

Seeing that, the light within the soldier’s eyes changed rapidly. He then carefully studied Jin-Woo’s current appearance.

Now that this soldier had taken a closer look, Jin-Woo’s clothes displayed various hints of the youth participating in many fierce battles recently.

The crumpled expression of the soldier lightened up in an instant.

“Are you a Hunter by any chance?”

< Chapter 15 > Fin.

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