< Chapter 21 >

‘The exoskeleton looks pretty tough…. Can my dagger even damage it?’

Quite obviously, a dagger would have a shorter reach than a steel longsword Jin-Woo used before. So, if he wanted to cause a deep wound, he needed to strengthen his attacks.

Jin-Woo held the dagger in the reverse grip. He figured that it’d be easier to hurt the monster by holding the blade in this fashion.

“Keuruk.”

Finally, the spider stood before Jin-Woo. Then, it raised its two front legs up and bent them at an angle.

‘What is it trying to do?’

His curiosity lasted only for a brief moment – Jin-Woo’s eyes shot open wide next.

SLAM!!

If he didn’t instinctively tilt his body out of the way, the spider’s legs would’ve penetrated his chest just now. The spider’s legs stabbed into the ground behind him before rising up in the air, its joints folding back up. And from the ends of its legs, pieces of the rocky ground fell.

Jin-Woo sneaked a glance behind him.

The stone floor now had a pretty substantial hole in it.

‘If I got hit by that, it wouldn’t have ended with me feeling a bit of ache in my chest, huh.’

Jin-Woo’s glare sharpened even more. Now was the time he needed to concentrate even harder.

‘It’s coming!’

Swish!

The spider’s legs that initially resembled bullets being fired could now be captured in his eyes.

Left.

He ducked his head lower to evade the spider’s left front leg.

Right.

He tilted his body back and let the spider’s right leg brush past him, before he took a step closer.

He evaded the spider’s leg that took aim at his head once more, and took two steps forward this time.

Left, right, right, left, right, right, right, left, left.

Slam! Boom! Kwahng! Kaboom! Slam! Boom! Kwahng! Kaboom!

The spider’s legs stabbed and destroyed the ground so loudly that his ears actually felt numb from the pain.

Jin-Woo evaded the spider’s attacks one by one and got closer and closer to the monster.

Meanwhile, Yu Jin-Ho couldn’t quite believe his own eyes.

“Wha-what the hell is up with this guy?!”

Even though he was watching from afar, those attacks were so ferocious that all the hair on the back of his head was standing up.

However, that man was evading them all while standing right in front of the monster, not to mention he was actually getting closer too.

Seeing that efficient and calm movement, Yu Jin-Woo felt a chill run down his backside.

“And he’s supposed to be an E rank?!”

There was no freaking way.

If it was him standing there and not Seong Jin-Woo, then he’d be torn into a rag by now. He didn’t have any confidence whatsoever to dodge those attacks even once.

However, Jin-Woo was evading them without making a single mistake.

An E rank doing something that a D rank Hunter such as himself couldn’t even dream of doing?

There could only be one explanation for this.

‘……He is a fake registrant!!’

Yu Jin-Ho’s expression hardened.

Out of those highly talented Hunters, there were a few who could freely control his or her magical energy. If they felt like it, they could easily fake the results and get a lower ranking.

Hunters who got assigned lower ranks than what they should’ve got in the first place simply by hiding a portion of their magic energy – such people were labelled as ‘fake registrants’.

And perhaps more alarmingly, most of those fake registrants carried around rather sinister motives for doing so.

‘Such as, that serial killer whose hobby was to enter low ranked dungeons and murder all the other lower ranked Hunters….’

As only those who were present knew what happened inside a dungeon, there was no better place to commit crimes than the world behind the Gates.

Yu Jin-Ho nervously swallowed his saliva. Suddenly, Jin-Woo seemed far scarier than the spider.

‘And just why did I have to insist on coming to this place….?’

Yu Jin-Ho felt like he’d break out in sobs at any moment now.

Swish! Swish! Swish!

In the meantime, the spider’s attacks poured down without a break.

Jin-Woo dodged all of those attacks and grew confident of his victory. Having decreased the distance between them little by little, the head of the spider was almost within his reach now.

The attack pattern of the spider was rather simple so he could get close to it pretty easily.

‘For now, I’ll aim for its eyes.’

It was the basics of all basic rules to attack the monster’s weak points. So, he decided to attack the eyes of the spider, which looked to be the weakest point in its defences.

‘As soon as I stab my dagger in those eyes….!’

Just as Jin-Woo made up his mind….

He suddenly sensed that the spider’s attacks had slowed down for some reason.

Swish! Swish!

Was it because his eyes had adjusted fully to the speed of its attacks?

Boom!! Slam!!

No, that wasn’t it.

His eyes might’ve been misled, but his hearing could not be fooled. The loud noises coming from the exploding ground came to him a beat slower than before, since a few seconds ago.

Jin-Woo was already pretty confident of his rather excellent sense of hearing so he could feel this subtle change.

It was then, a certain ominous premonition flickered past in his brain.

When he took a closer look, the muscles around the vicinity of the spider’s mouth were trembling quite imperceptibly.

‘Why is it trying to open its mouth now?’

Jin-Woo had been getting ready to jump up three metres and reach the head of the spider, but he sensed something ominous was about to happen. Jin-Woo hurriedly changed the direction of his jump from forward to his rear.

And then….

Splash!!

From the mouth of the spider, dirty and turbid liquid spewed out.

Jin-Woo rolled on the floor for a second before regaining his balance. He quickly took a look behind him. The spot on the floor he had been standing only until a second ago was now emitting smoke as it got scorched black.

Sizzle….

Stones on the floor melted away powerlessly.

Jin-Woo swallowed his saliva after seeing that.

‘If I had jumped forward just now….’

It wouldn’t have been only the floor that was melting right now.

Perhaps sensing that Jin-Woo had been distracted, the spider rushed towards him in no time.

Rustle!!

Jin-Woo raised his head. By then, the spider was already right in front of his eyes.

Jin-Woo jumped up to evade the giant spider’s legs.

Slam!!

The b*stard’s attacks had recommenced.

“D*mn it!!”

After that, Jin-Woo got near the monster’s head several times more. Every time he did that, though, he had no choice but to retreat in order to evade that disgusting digestive juice.

When the spider’s attack pattern had become two, it became that much harder to deal with it. If he got closer after evading all those snapping legs, the digestive juice spewed out. Its legs attacked again once he had to retreat to a distance because of the juices.

“Sh*t!”

Feeling frustrated now, he decided to attack the legs with his dagger.

Unfortunately, the legs were also covered in that thick exoskeleton and no matter how many times he cut it, he couldn’t even nick it once.

Jin-Woo bit his lower lip.

‘This isn’t going to work.’

The spider only needed its two front legs to attack him, but on the other hand, he needed to use his entire body to evade them. It was obvious who would tire out first here.

‘Tiredness.’

[Tiredness: 57]

As he thought, his Tiredness Stat was rapidly rising up.

When this Stat hit 70, his speed would decrease, and when it reaches 90, his breathing would become too heavy and it’d become that much harder to freely move about.

He was running out of time.

‘If I want to get closer to it, then…..’

Speed.

His speed was the issue.

Boom!! Boom!! Boom! Boom!!!

‘Wait. Speed, is it?’

As Jin-Woo continued to barely evade each of the legs raining down, a thought entered his head.

‘Yeah, I had that, didn’t I?’

He indeed possessed a single active skill. He had forgotten all about it because there was no need for him to use it, until now.

‘Dash!’

[You’ve activated ‘Skill: Dash’.]

[Your movement speed has increased by 30%. One Mana will be spent every minute during its activation.]

Along with those messages, Jin-Woo’s body became even faster as if a booster had been activated. Evading the spider’s legs had become even easier as a result.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

He swiftly evaded the spider legs slamming down like lightning bolts and in the blink of an eye, arrived before the monster.

Taken by surprise, the spider hurriedly spewed out its digestive juice.

However, thanks to the increase in his speed, his movement had now this certain composure to it. Jin-Woo easily evaded the digestive juice and pounced towards the spider’s head.

Slash!

His dagger slashed at the spider’s eyes.

[‘Effect: Paralysis’ has been activated.]

[The effect has been cancelled due to the high resistance of the target.]

[‘Effect: Bleeding’ has been activated.]

[The target’s stamina will decrease by 1% per second.]

“Yes!”

One of the two special effects the Poison Fang of Kasaka possessed had activated successfully.

Rooooaaaar!!!

The spider roared out and staggered about.

Jin-Woo didn’t miss this opening.

The moment his two feet landed back on the ground, he jumped up again and climbed on the spider’s body to get to the top of its head.

The spider went crazy and swung its legs all over the place, but Jin-Woo wasn’t going to let those blind attacks land on him.

Slam! Boom! Kaboom!

Holes continued to appear on the poor, blameless ground instead.

Now standing on top of the spider’s head, Jin-Woo began stabbing the eyes of the spider with his dagger.

Stab! Stab! Staaab!!

ROOOAAARR!!!

Stab! Stab!!

ROOAARR?!!

The spider rampaged around this way and that, but Jin-Woo endured till the end and continued to shove his dagger into the head of the spider.

“Keu, keu-ru-ruk!”

The spider began tottering about dangerously. It was obviously getting damaged now. Seeing this, Jin-Woo’s hands picked up speed.

And eventually, the huge body of the spider finally tilted to the side.

THUD!!!

However, Jin-Woo didn’t stay his hand. No, he kept going at it, until the spider was dead for sure.

Stab! Stab!! Stab!!!

“Keuruk. Keureureureu….”

Along with the final gasps from the spider, several messages popped up in his view.

[You’ve killed the owner of this dungeon.]

[Level up!]

“I did it!”

While covered from head to toe in the spider blood, Jin-Woo raised his hands up high. Maybe because it was a boss monster, his level jumped up by three.

“Status Window.”

Name: Seong Jin-Woo

Level: 21

Class: None

Title: None

HP: 2,600

MP: 391

Tiredness: 0

[Stat]

Strength: 53

Stamina: 30

Agility: 38

Intelligence: 30

Perception: 32

(Available points to distribute: 0)

[Skills]

Passive skills:

– (Unknown) Lv. Max

– Tenacity Lv. 1

Active skills:

– Dash Lv. 1

From level 18, he had jumped up to reach 21 in one go. And that wasn’t even the end. Besides the level up messages, something else also popped up as well.

Tti-ring.

[‘Store: Buy’ function is now available with your level having reached 20.]

‘Oh, so I can finally spend those Gold things now, eh?’

That was a nice message, for sure. However, now wasn’t the right time to relaxedly browse through the Store.

RUMBLE…..

The cave began to shake just a little.

[With the death of the dungeon’s owner, the entrance of the dungeon will be destroyed in one hour.]

[Remaining time: 59 minutes 58 seconds.]

Indeed, he had to get out of this place before the Gate closed on him, after all. Browsing through the Store could be done once he was somewhere safe.

Just as Jin-Woo was about to climb down, he spotted something gleaming brightly in the middle of the spider’s head.

‘Is that an item?’

However, unlike the monsters from the instant dungeon, there was no message about recovered items, nor could he automatically claim them.

What could it be, then?

Jin-Woo pondered briefly before realising what it was.

‘Ah, these things have magic crystals, don’t they?’

No matter how busy he was, how could he forget something so valuable like that?

Jin-Woo extracted the magic crystal hidden deep inside the head of the dead spider. This was a C-rank magic crystal extracted from the boss monster, so it should at least go for around ten million Won, easy.

As the trophy for his glamorous victory, this would do very nicely.

Jin-Woo lightly jumped down from the dead spider’s head.

Tap.

He landed lightly on the ground and turned around, and well, he discovered more gleaming lights, this time coming from the spider’s belly.

Not only that, but several of them, even!

Jin-Woo was now feeling rather surprised.

He heard stories of some monsters possessing two, three magic crystals, but there were simply too many lights to say those could all be magic crystals.

‘What could they be, then?’

He used the dagger to slice open the belly and continued on to its stomach, which resulted in half-digested remains of the insect-type monsters to pour out to the ground. And the lights were coming from those.

“No way….?!”

Jin-Woo rummaged through the dead insects one at the time.

And just as he suspected, they all possessed their magic crystals. Sure, a few of them had melted down and become smaller than before, but quite a lot of them had survived and remained as good as new.

When he collected the intact ones, he counted over ten.

“I really hit the jackpot this time!”

He came to earn this month’s rent, but at this rate, he’d be earning way more than that.

“H-hyung-nim.”

When Jin-Woo looked back, he saw Yu Jin-Ho there.

“Please, put them in here.”

Yu Jin-Ho then proceeded to carefully tuck in the magic crystals belonging to Jin-Woo inside his equipment bag. Next, he reached inside the corner of the same bag and pulled out a Thermos, before pouring the flask’s content on its lid.

“Hyung-nim, you must be feeling thirsty. Please, drink this. It’s water.”

Indeed, it was a cold, refreshing cup of water, filled right up to the edge.

‘Why is this kid doing something no one asked him to?’

< Chapter 21 > Fin.

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