Chapter 21: Chapter 21
It would have been a difficult situation for anyone, but it was even more so for Lee Ju-ho, who had verified their identities with his own eyes.
Lee Ju-ho started his explanation.
“Lizardcops. A one-eyed lizard type monster with a size of over two meters. Aside from its muscular build, it is very agile and uses a particular type of magic. It’s quite a tricky monster.”
“How many of them?”
“There are five of them.”
“Isn’t that number manageable?” Kim Ye-eun asked, wondering what the problem was. She suggested that Lee Ju-ho was such a skilled awakener that the Lizardcops shouldn’t be much of a problem for him to deal with. The others started to agree with Kim Ye-eun’s words. Amongst them, the one with the most confidence was Ahn Min-seok.
“If it’s Lizardcops, I have hunted them in a previous dungeon. Handling five shouldn’t be tough.” He spoke confidently, hitting his chest to imply that he wouldn’t mind taking the lead. With an experienced awakener standing out, anxiety was lifted from everyone’s faces.
“I know that in normal dungeons, the stronger monsters usually appear much deeper, and only as we get nearer to the boss monster,” Su-hyeun, who had been staying silent, said. He had everyone’s full attention. “Handling five Lizardcops wouldn’t be a problem now, but the number would continue to increase, or higher-level monsters would appear later on.”
The team seemed surprised at Su-hyeun, who had said that it was his first time joining a dungeon attack. Ahn Min-seok, who had the most experience in dungeon attacks, asked, “That is the nature of some dungeons. Aren’t there some dungeons where their difficulty level does not change even if we go deeper in?”
“If you focus on thinking about the best and not the worst as you progress…” Su-hyeun replied, not only just to Ahn Min-seok, but also to the other members, “…you probably would not live for long.”
It was a lesson that Su-hyeun learned from living as an awakener all this time. They weren’t just empty words, but something that he realized from his past experiences.
As he said, there were many types of dungeons. Some had only one boss, while some had a slight change in difficulty after exploring deeper into the dungeon. Some dungeons took the style of the Tower of Trials, giving special missions. One could only be called a skilled awakener if he remembered the various dungeons’ characteristics and was able to deal with them in the right situations.
<<Their basics aren’t up to standard.>>
In this regard, most of them, except Lee Ju-ho, seemed to care less about the situation at hand.
<<Maybe… it’s due to the significantly low death counts at dungeon attacks during this period.>>
He understood — most awakeners’ deaths that were being reported happened in the Tower of Trials. Most people had probably thought that dungeon attacks weren’t that dangerous. It was the same for Lee Ju-ho. His gaze seemed to indicate that he had no intention to give up on the dungeon attack.
It seemed that he was just surprised at the unexpected situation. Lee Ju-ho soon put on his composed expression.
Though Su-hyeun knew that they would not turn back, it was a pity. If only they were a tad more cautious and had presumed not the best, but the worst…
<<Humans always become more self-aware after an accident has happened.>>
“…Su-hyeun, didn’t you say that this is your first dungeon attack?” Lee Eun-mi asked, feeling slightly offended.
Su-hyeun chuckled at her question and replied, “Well, that’s what I had heard from others. Shouldn’t I gather more of such information since it’s my first?”
“It’s all just theories! What do you know?”
“Stop, stop.” Lee Ju-ho stopped Lee Eun-mi from raising her voice at Su-hyeun. “Do you think it’s good to get into a fight amongst ourselves before the actual battle? Furthermore, I think this dungeon’s difficulty could increase, so let’s not do this from the start.”
After the party’s leader said those words, Lee Eun-mi could not do anything else to Su-hyeun. However, she still felt hurt, and her eyes continued to linger on Su-hyeun.
“Let’s see if you’re as capable as you speak,” she spat. She seemed to fiercely hold onto grudges. She was also quite fierce tempered, seeing that she didn’t give up even after her previous words.
“Yes. Have a good look”
It seemed like Su-hyeun had no further intentions to continue the argument. Su-hyeun, who had intentionally provoked her, contemplated slightly and looked at the others.
<<It seems like they won’t stop here…>>
Lee Eun-mi, Ahn Min-seok, and Kim Ye-eun. Lee Ju-ho and Kim Ba-reun… and the last guy who hadn’t spoken a word up until now.
<<The ones who had expressed the most opinions on this dungeon attack were Lee Eun-mi and Ahn Min-seok.>>
The possibility of Lee Ju-ho being the catalyst had just lowered.
Though there was the possibility of it being purely an accident or an unintentional murder, Su-hyeun was more focused on finding the culprit who planned the killing.
Su-hyeun had always presumed the worst over the best. It would be a mistake if the person who had assumed the worst had only prepared for the best.
<<Indeed, the most suspicious person…>>
“I will lead the party then.” Lee Ju-ho walked in front as he spoke. The dungeon attack had officially started.
There’s no time for him to be immersed in his thoughts. Su-hyeun nodded his head and followed behind Lee Ju-ho.
<<I’m a C-rank now.>>
He was confused by his identity for a while. A C-rank awakener. A magic level of three, and a magic factor of 29. Su-hyeun was now known as an awakener of that standard.
<<If it’s that standard…>>
Su-hyeun thought for a while as he pulled out the sword — which was mixed with Ether stones — that he had borrowed from the institute.
<<It’ll be quite sufficient.>>
* * *
Lee Ju-ho felt anxious from the start.
Five Lizardcops. They would be tricky for C-rank awakeners. They had to be on their toes when facing them.
Lee Ju-ho had been startled at the sight of the Lizardcops after they first entered the dungeon, but that was not the end of his problems. The other members who joined the dungeon attack turned out to be a huge liability. Besides the fact that he had not verified their capabilities, their teamwork was rocky from the start.
<<Especially this guy.>>
Lee Ju-ho slightly glanced back at Su-hyeun, who was following right behind him.
<<It would be great if he were half as capable as the real Kim Su-hyeun…>>
He could only be anxious since it was his first dungeon attack with this group. Though he had accepted Su-hyeun just to fill up the positions, Lee Ju-ho realized the situation had just become tougher.
“Once I give the signal, Ahn Min-seok and Kim Su-hyeun will attack together. The remaining four will provide support from behind, and from there, Eun-mi and Ba-reun will move closer when they get the chance.”
A perfect order. He seemed to have quite a substantial amount of experience in dungeon attacks. Su-hyeun, too, was fully aware of how to manage attacks at situations like this.
Lee Ju-ho turned around the corner and shouted.
Lee Ju-ho was first to charge towards the Lizardcop, which was waiting around the corner. He pulled out a long sword and increased his speed by using magic. As a B-rank awakener, he used the skill Swift to distract the Lizardcops.
Pop, pop pop—
Lee Ju-ho’s long sword made a cut through the Lizardcop’s stomach.
Soon after, Lee Ju-ho went between the remaining Lizardcops. The Lizardcops released their long, sharp nails and swung, attacking Lee Ju-ho.
The Lizardcop’s tail brushed past in front of his eyes. Lee Ju-ho’s eyes widened at the attack that scratched his nose.
<<These guys… their movements…>>
They were more agile than he had known.
The flustered Lee Ju-ho hurriedly distanced himself from the Lizardcops, but the five Lizardcops followed Lee Ju-ho closely, as if angered by the human who had suddenly attacked them.
“Su-hyeun, Min-seok, you must be careful…” Lee Ju-ho turned to warn the other two men who were at the front lines attacking the Lizardcops with him.
He could not see Su-hyeun.
<<Where did he go?>>
As Lee Ju-ho was looking around for Su-hyeun.
A new form fell quickly from the sky and dived on the backs of the Lizardcops. The flash of a sword coincided with the Lizardcops’ screams.
Su-hyeun’s new form quickly moved between the Lizardcops as he pursued them in a flash. He stepped on the sudden swerve of the Lizardcops tail, leaped twice in the air, and slashed the Lizardcop’s eye with his sword.
He was fast.
No, not just fast.
He was elaborate and accurate. He made no unnecessary movements and without even using any special skills, Su-hyeun tackled the Lizardcops alone.
<<Did I… misunderstand something?>>
A new C-rank awakener.
A rookie at dungeon attacks.
That was the Kim Su-hyeun that Lee Ju-ho knew.
* * *
Su-hyeun’s sword poked the Lizardcop’s eye. The Lizardcop, which lost its only eye, screamed while covering its face with both hands.
At the same time, a thick tail flew towards Su-hyeun. He had already known that it would do this, so Su-hyeun leaped into the air and scanned the whole situation.
<<For now, I’ve cut its sight.>>
There was one important thing to remember when dealing with Lizardcops, and that was to target its one and only eye. This was the only weakness of the Lizardcop. Compared to its other abilities, its sight was narrow and lacking.
Of course, losing just its sight alone would not totally incapacitate the beast, as it still had its other keen senses. Still, losing its sight had primarily affected its fighting power.
Su-hyeun leaped in the air and circled above. He couldn’t use skills like Flame because it was a skill that required a magic level of four.
Now, Su-hyeun could only make use of properties with a magic level of three. The same went for his magic factor, which could only be used up to a specific limit.
Luckily, it was enough to handle five Lizardcops.
<<A total of three Lizardcops with normal sight.>>
Su-hyeun stepped firmly on the cave’s wall and charged towards the Lizardcops.
<<I’ll finish them off swiftly.>>
A sharp sensation swept through his’s body. The three Lizardcops were already focused on Su-hyeun. The distance between them was narrowed in an instant. The Lizardcop’s tail made a rough swishing sound and pounded on Su-hyeun’s face hard.
Su-hyeun’s new form used Leap to narrow the distance, and appeared before them after getting past their tails.