Team Ezekiel was the name of a group of hunters who have been clearing dungeons extremely quickly as of late. Their initial tactics were moving in small groups but very recently, like the mercenary team, they had formed a larger group with a lot of level 1 hunters to quickly clear dungeons.
The problem with this was, that there would be a high mortality rate among the level 1 hunters. Which was expected, since they were performing high pressure raids.
“From the words of the survivors, we hear it isn’t intentional, but the mortality rates were just so high that we needed to start an investigation.”
“What is your definition of high mortality rates?”
“The death percentage is about 10%”
“What the hell…!”
“That’s basically a suicide mission…not a hunt.”
Every one of my party members was muttering with shock and awe. But not in the good way. General parties usually had a mortality rate of 2-3%…and that was considered high. Compared to that though, 10% was just too much. If 1 out of 10 hunters died on every hunt, who in their right mind would even go?
The problem was that the current situation was making people take on that kind of risk. Because hunters with only level 1 equipment would be unable to join a hunt otherwise. I mean, the equipment that used to sell for 100,000 is now only selling for 50,000…and who knew when that would drop to 30,000. Times were tough.
Unlike the mercenary team where the party head organized all the attacks to promote the safest approach, the Ezekiel team were known to recklessly hunt with abandon for the sake of faster clearing times…and the level 1 hunters with no choice but to try and keep up.
“So do you believe that even now they are probably fighting recklessly against a monster and are behind held back because of that?”
“That is what we think, yes.”
In that instant, a person came out of the dungeon. The man who looked to be a dungeon operator, took one step and immediately collapsed to the ground. He was covered in blood.
Doctors rushed to the scene and started to perform healing. Luckily they were on standby…otherwise it might have meant one more body count.
“What the hell happened? What is going on in there!”
The dungeon operator was yelling at the injured worker on the ground. As he began to heal a bit, he answered with a burdened voice,
“Keuk…the monsters were running around all over the dungeon instead of being isolated in their usual locations.”
The questioning operator’s face became like stone.
Monsters usually remain in a designated area. But this is if you don’t provoke them. I thought back on the cave wolf boss. If you did provoke a monster though, they were insistent beasts. They won’t stop.
“So they started something they couldn’t keep a lid on.”
The dungeon operator let out a sigh. I could guess at what probably happened. The hunting time had been halved since a few days ago. The Ezekiel team, who usually hunted with reckless speed to start with, probably messed with all the monsters at once to try and speed up the hunt even more. And this most likely ended biting them in the ass.
There was a high chance that over half the team was dead by now.
“When are the senior hunters due to arrive?”
“We were told that there is no one in the neighborhood. It will be a minimum of an hour. Since we are in a secluded area…it can’t be helped.”
“Then a lot more people will probably die in that time.”
“It’s out of our hands. In this kind of situation…”
“What would you say to us going in?”
“Impossible. It will be too dangerous. You will not know when and where a monster could pop out and attack.”
“But it’s better than just sitting around and doing nothing while people are dying.”
“Hm…that is true but…”
The dungeon operator seemed to be lost in thought. As a civil servant, he was probably conflicted between whether he should do the legally sound thing or the humane thing. People who died inside the dungeon were not his responsibility. But if we went inside even though he knew it was dangerous and we got hurt…he could very well be held responsible.
It seemed he decided to trust his heart. He nodded his head to allow us in.
The inside of the dungeon was very quiet. From what the injured operator had told us, since the monsters would not be where they should, we had to constantly stay on alert.
“Can I asked why you insisted on doing this?”
Han Joonseok questioned me. I answered.
“No admission fees…and we can hunt with no time limit.”
“Uh? Then we’re not here to try and save people’s lives?”
“How are we supposed to find these people? Seeing as how we haven’t even run into one person yet, they’re either hiding as if their lives depended on it…or they’re all dead.”
“That is true.”
Jung Sooah nodded in all seriousness as if my words were so very wise.
“If I really wanted to rescue people, then all we have to do is kill all the monsters in here. Then the people still alive will be safe to leave. Now. Everyone please get ready to fight.”
As soon as I made a grabbing gesture toward the Honcheon sword in my item list, I was able to grasp the dirt colored sword. I then summoned my armor right before retrieving the no name level 3 shield for Cho Youngoo.
“Please remember to return this upon leaving the dungeon.”
“Cho Youngoo lightly punched the shield.
The first monsters we faced were lizardmen. They could usually be found in groups of 3-4. Now, I don’t know what those idiots did, but we were now facing 9 of these bastards at once. Manager Kim cast his sleep spell and immediately put 2 to sleep. That meant 7 more to go. He did his part. I made a thumbs up sign to the man before I rushed into the crowd of monsters.
Jong Sawon and Cho Youngoo remained close behind me.
Let’s start with this one.
Immediately after, two of the fallen monster’s comrades swung their harpoons in vengeance. I pushed out with my sword to parry both weapons right before I kicked hard at their exposed bodies.
Both monsters scurried in retreat. But Cho Youngoo was waiting on the right and Jong Sawon was waiting on their left.
We were able to corral six of these guys together into a small enough group where they were now bumping into one another. I raised my hand.
An arrow flew out to lodge into one lizardman’s eye. This was the stalker at work. Even from over 20 meters away, it was able to hit a moving target. A few more arrows shot out after that but they were unable to cause any further damage.
Cornered on three sides, the only place these lizards could move was back. But instead of running away, they struck their harpoons out towards Jong Sawon – who had the weakest defense. Out of the 6, 3 had run towards Jong Sawon, one towards Cho Youngoo, and two in my direction.
These monsters weren’t total idiots. It looked like they did use their heads a bit.
It was too bad that was the extent of their genius.
I threw the bloodysword. The sword flew in the air and lodged itself into the thigh of one lizardman that had been running at Jong Sawon. I was aiming for its neck…so my aim was very off. But whatever. I got it.
A harpoon swiped at my chest.
To me, they were just moving way too slow. I batted away the next swipe with my hand and shoved my Honcheon sword right into the monster. The perfect attack. There was no need for me to even activate the explosive damage option.
Blood began to dribble out of its mouth.
After easily disposing of my two monsters, I headed over to Jong Sawon to help him.
The battle ended without any real change in the momentum we started out with. It had taken us about 3 minutes to take care of all the lizardmen. Reward points for this battle = 1400. Of the two remaining lizardmen still asleep, I slit the throat of one while I used the stalker to kill the other. This was so that I could put it in my Item Fusion book.
As we waited for the monsters to evaporate, I checked my book to see what was required to make the stalker.
A level 1 tracking arrow and a level 1 eagle’s eye. The eagle’s eye came in the form of a monocle and helped to boost the wearer’s accuracy in archery by 10%. This type of accessory is still in high demand and probably sells for 100,000 dollars.
I pulled up the manual to check my stats.
Skill type: Effort (0). Skill has the ability to use reward points to increase physical abilities.
Extra skill/option: None
Reward Points: 2330
Abilities: Strength 200, Endurance 300, Reflexes 150, Focus 150, Defense 150
Since the reward points would keep rolling in, there was no point in saving them.
What should I raise next?
After a brief moment of thought, I pointed at Reflexes.
I figured this would probably be the most helpful in our immediate battles. Right?