“You’re here.” Mr. Adam broke the silence. He looked at the sweaty Jacob and wondered why he sweated despite wearing light armor on a chilly morning.
Jacob noticed their confused gazes and said, “I’m returning from a run.”
“Run?” Sumei slanted her head.
“Are you serious?” Mr. Adam questioned. “This is your first dungeon dive as a team. Why would you deplete your stamina so foolishly? Do you think it’ll be as easy as it was before?”
“Oh, you’re right.” Jacob unexpectedly agreed. But he smiled and said, “Don’t worry. It won’t make me weaker in the battles ahead.”
‘In fact, it’ll make me stronger,’ Jacob thought while receiving his rewards. He assigned his stat points and checked his updated stats.
(Available points to distribute: 0)
Mr. Adam didn’t know why Jacob was denying common sense. He even questioned his decision about giving them permission to dive into the Four Sides of Death. But seeing that they had come so far, he knew it would crush their hopes if he stopped them here.
“Take this dive seriously. Do you need weapons or armor? There’s still some cash remaining after selling your team’s loot from your last dungeon dive. Your teammates upgraded their equipment while you were hospitalized.”
Jacob finally understood where all the cash came from and who provided the equipment. He didn’t know Mr. Adam’s hunter rank. But he knew that his teacher had access to the Hunter Association’s shops. Buying items and equipment was simple for him.
“I need an armor. My old one got damaged.”
Mr. Adam nodded and sent a text message on his phone.
“So this time, things will be very simple. You’ll head into the dungeon while after we take out the Mana Extractor. You won’t be able to come outside before defeating the boss monster. I’ve already shared detailed information about this dungeon. You should definitely look at it before going in.”
They were once again on the school bus. But this time, it was only Mr. Adam and the trio who were out for their first real dungeon run. It was not possible for normal hunters or students to get into the Four Sides of Death. The only exception was the day of their supervised dungeon dive. The trio knew this.
“Sir, we will definitely try our best to complete this dungeon!” Sumei’s determined voice rang out in the shaking bus.
Mr. Adam simply nodded, and the students understood his meaning. It was simple for him to give them a chance, but it was up to them to grasp it and it this case failure would doom them to death.
Even Jacob had second thoughts initially. After all, this was only something the top student teams would do. Anyone else would lack the ability to come out alive.
‘But I am different.’ Jacob felt the strength he had gained in the recent days. He knew risking his life like this was the key to level up faster. But he also wondered if he would have to truly risk his life after all the strength he had gained and the items he held.
The students read the files given to them about the different monsters in the dungeon. There was info about the potential loot and the most important monster of them all—the boss.
After Jacob changed into his new armor in the military camp, they stood in front of the dungeon. Sumei turned to her teacher and did a 90-degree bow.
“Thank you for giving us this chance, sir!”
Jacob knew she had this in her culture. While he didn’t have a habit of doing the same, he still followed her lead. Bob did the same.
“Thank you for giving us this chance, sir!”
Mr. Adam was gratified upon seeing this. He knew he had not wasted the connections he had in the government to allow them to use this dungeon. But he also felt worried about the dangers they may face inside and if they would be fine without external help.
“You all deserve it. You are strong enough to clear this dungeon. Just follow the guide you’ve read, stay alert, and don’t underestimate the enemy.”
The trio nodded and stepped into the dark entrance. Their body seemed to have crossed a thin layer of reality. Their senses captured the chilly wind of a forest along with the smell of earth. They were back, and this time was going to be very different!
“Are you sure these kids are up for it?”
A man with a cigar questioned Adam. He wore military pants, vest and his shirt was unbuttoned. It hung from his shoulders like a coat while the empty sleeves waved with the wind.
“Yes, they should be,” said Adam. He sat on a chair facing the dungeon entrance with a slightly nervous look. This was the first time he used his connections to give his favorite students a chance. He wondered if it would help them.
“Don’t tell me ‘should’!” The man snarled. He took the cigar out and said, “When has the Cold Annihilator ever cared for anybody? Have you gone soft teaching all those kids over the years? What about going back to Sect-”
Adam’s face tensed up, and he glared at the man.
“Jake.” He tersely said. “Don’t test my patience. I like these kids. I’m giving them a chance. It’s that simple. This is something the other kids at the guilds and organizations get to experience. It’s nothing special.”
“Oh, but it is!” Jake grinned. He mentioned nothing about going back but added, “It’s the Cold Annihilator who’s giving them a chance. That’s what makes it special!”
He stood up and left for his tent while Adam continued staring at the dungeon. His gaze never left the newly cracked ruby above the gargoyle’s head.
“The air smells so fresh! It’s like one of those luxury resorts for the rich I read in the news,” Jacob said. “Don’t you think so?”
They were walking along the same path they had tried before. Sumei and Bob walked forward carefully with their weapons while Jacob was strolling. It was as though they were out for a battle while he was out for a picnic.
Sumei looked at how casual Jacob was and didn’t know what to say. She already felt something was off when he went for a run before coming to dungeon diving. But why was he relaxed, even in the dungeon?
“Can you take this seriously?” she asked while ignoring his question.
“Tch. You’re no fun.” Jacob shook his head. He thought for a moment and understood the reason for her caution.
‘The last time we came here, we nearly died. But this time, I’m twice stronger. We have better gear, and these monsters are merely XP that’ll help me get even stronger!’
He thought about the only uncertain thing about this dungeon dive—the boss battle. Jacob knew he had to level up even more to stay safe and keep everyone safe. But he was also relaxed since he knew the cows won’t pose a challenge to him.
“So what do you think?” he asked Bob. The big guy stopped for a moment and nodded. It appeared he treasured his words like gold.
Jacob spotted the demonic cow herd coming towards them. Last time, they had hidden on the side of the path among nature. Sumei and Bob thought the same thing and were planning to do it. But Jacob ran forward.
“What are you doing?” Sumei was exasperated! “Why do you have to make it harder than it already is!?”
She knew they were not like the top students who excelled both in strength and knowledge. She was a topper only in the knowledge department, not strength.
“Relax, believe in me,” Jacob’s carefree voice irritated Sumei even more. “Bob, take care of her. Keep any cow who comes toward you at a distance. Don’t kill them.”
Bob didn’t understand why Jacob began to lead them. Clearly, Sumei was more qualified as she had led them the last time. But he nodded, as Sumei was not as durable as both of them and was going to act as a melee hunter for the first time.
As the cows saw him approach, they mooed louder, and lowered their heads. It exposed the pointy tips of their horns towards Jacob. He knew he could not take on those attacks, but he wasn’t planning to get injured. He took out his bronze sword from his new sheath and pointed it towards the forehead of the cow in the lead.
Quickly, the distance between them shortened.
10 meters… 5 meters… 1 meter.
Jacob wanted to know if his 20 points of strength and bronze sword were strong enough. He wanted to know if he could take down an enemy that was nearly impossible to safely defeat on his own in the recent past.