Thud. Thud Thud.
The monsters stomped on the floor as they drew nearer.
11 armored anteaters. 8 predatory toads.
The anteaters wore a sturdy armor that enveloped their entire body. Their weaknesses were two: their exposed snout and their simple attack pattern.
The predatory toads use their 3 meter long tongue to grab ahold of their prey. They bind their prey in a stronghold as they release a paralyzing poison. Once you’re caught, it was game over.
But they were all full at the moment. They were probably still digesting their previous prey, so there was a low chance they would attack right now.
“Prepare for battle.”
I said as I drew my Honcheon sword. Manager Kim pulled out his cane and raised it above him.
A bright golden like enveloped all the monsters.
Three of them collapsed on the spot.
It wasn’t too shabby, but there were too many so it didn’t seem as impressive as it would have otherwise. Manager Kim started grumbling.
“This isn’t that great, is it?”
“So, you’re not going to buy it then? Then I’ll have it.”
“Who said that?”
We all got into formation.
Cho Youngoo stood in the middle, I stood on the right, and Jong Sawon on the left. Han Joonseok and glasses girl stood behind us.
This was the best battle formation for this situation.
“Be extra careful of their tongues. Both monsters’ tongues have a reach of over 3 meters. The toads’ tongues secretes poison so, if you are caught, make sure to stab it with this.
I removed some automatic syringes from my bag and distributed them.
Hitting it hard into the butt caused the needle to pop out and inject the receiver with a dose of antidote.
Since this dungeon was known to have the predatory toads, I had packed these ahead of time.
Not including the three sleeping ones, the rest of the sixteen monsters slowly padded ever closer. And just when they were within the 3 meter distance, they began to attack.
16 tongues struck out seemingly in unison. The predatory toads’ tongues were large and heavy looking while the armored anteaters’ tongues were more narrow and quicker.
It sucked but in order for the Honcheon sword’s explosive damage to work, I had to swing it with a certain amount of force. It didn’t do to just cut the opponent. So it was hard to hit it with much force against a tongue that was constantly flicking back and forth.
But it was still a level 3 sword.
I just needed to slice the tongue off.
As I sliced off the thick tongue right when it flicked toward and then away from me, venom mixed with the toad’s saliva spurted out.
Even though it wasn’t an acidic poison, you still risked the possibility of losing your sight if it got into the eye. Even if you wore glasses, unless they were goggles, they couldn’t keep your eyes completely safe.
I stepped back reflexively each time I cut a tongue to protect myself from the spurt.
Opposite of me, Jong Sawon was cutting their tongues without a seconds’ hesitation. His helmet and body armor served as perfect protection from the poison.
And the rubicon sword was able to cut through the tongues like butter. Easy.
It was just that sharp.
Two arrows flew into the wide open mouth of one toad.
One lodged into the uvula and the other into the tongue.
The toad shot with the arrows started to cough as it swung its head around.
I sliced off its tongue.
With that, seven had lost their tongues to us.
And all sixteen of them scooted a few steps back in caution.
It seems they finally realized that just attacking with their tongues would not work against our defenses.
The armored anteaters moved to the middle.
It looked like they were getting ready to fight for real now.
“They’re coming. Mr. Cho Youngoo, to the center!”
Cho Youngoo and I switched positions.
We needed the level 3 shield now.
The armored anteaters lightly ran closer.
Keeping that speed, as they bowed their head toward their belly, they rolled up into a ball. It seemed this was in order to protect their weak point – their snouts.
Though this attack made it hard for them to change directions, it also made it very difficult for us to give any damage.
If we only had level 2 equipment, that is.
Cho Youngoo slammed the rolling anteater with his shield. An armored anteater generally weighed about 400 kilos – about the weight of a small car. And the impact was similar. It would normally be impossible for a human being to withstand that kind of impact and still stand his ground.
But Cho Youngoo was doing it.
One by one, the armored anteaters continued that same attack and Cho Youngoo continued repelling them one by one.
This was the strength of a level 3 shield. It was able to absorb the shock of tremendous impact and send it right back.
Seeing the futility of this attack, some of the other anteaters changed strategy to attack in Jong Sawon and my direction.
And at the same time, six toads from behind also started to jump toward us.
“To the left!”
Cho Youngoo moved positions to where Jong Sawon was.
More sounds of rolling. But honestly what the hell will that do? We got this.
I mean, the hard shell was nice and all…but nothing against my honcheon sword.
Everytime I swung down with my sword and employed the explosive damage option, the hard armored shells burst. Having killed three of them in mere moments, I smirked and dashed forward.
The anteaters that were being held back by Cho Youngoo’s shield were all being cut down limb from limb by Jong Sawon’s own rubicon sword.
In defiance, the toads began spitting out their poisonous tongues. Too bad only four of the six toads had their tongues in tact. I spun my body around then used my strength and reflexes to avoid every single nasty tongue to jump into the middle of the crowd of the bastards.
I saw the tongue coming and shifted a bit. It ended up just barely missing me and sticking onto the body of another toad. That toad seemed to shudder for a few seconds before going entirely still.
Looks like they weren’t immune to their own paralysis poison. How idiotic. I almost felt like laughing.
The remaining toads began to croak in a frenzy as they desperately tried to get me with their tongues. They only made it worse until almost all of them had paralyzed each other. Easy kills.
The last remaining toad that was not paralyzed was struck in the forehead by Han Joonseok’s arrow just perfectly.
Then right before the sleeping spell could release the remaining monsters, Jong Sawon slit all their throats one by one.
Only after we made sure they had all died did we begin to cut open their stomachs one by one.
Jung Sooah, who had been sneaking peeks from behind began to make gagging noises.
We were only able to save two people.
Their skin, partially melted from the digestive juices of the toads, was hard to look at.
But since they were alive, I’m sure they would be able to somehow recuperate. Hopefully they had some good insurance.
I pulled out the escape scrolls from my bag. From the total five I had started out with, I had just four remaining.
I shoved one each into the survivors’ hands and had them rip them up.
Only after I had sent out the survivors from the dungeon did I sigh and collapse to the ground.
Jung Sooah came up to me and wiped off my sweat soaked brow.
“You did well.”
I had earned a total reward points of 2,200 this raid. In total, I now had 4,530 points. Not bad.
As we waited for the monsters to evaporate, all was silent. No one said a word.
Because there were 38 corpses strewn all around us. 32 who had died during battle and 6 we had extracted from the toads’ stomachs.
I got up from where I was sitting and started to move all the bodies into one area.
Then my party members also got up and followed suit. Even Jung Sooah and glasses girl helped.
38 people had died for 12 ores.
We thought that was the end of it. Until.
Jung Sooah pointed to where the corpses lay.
They had begun to evaporate.
“This is already the second time this has happened. What the hell?”
Manager Kim said.
We had seen dead humans evaporate once before.
The only difference from that time was that I hadn’t been the one to kill them. But if you really thought about it, even the one that Jong Sawon had killed that time evaporated too…so I guess it didn’t just apply to me.
“Maybe it’s like the irregulars. Whenever I’m a part of the equation, whether directly or indirectly, this kind of out of the normal thing happens.”
I didn’t have to say this for everyone to realize that there was something about me.
First the level 0 skillbook, then the irregulars. All of them had one thing in common. Me. Though it wasn’t easy, I was able to use both to my advantage and become stronger.
“So it’s a different system…interesting.”
Han Joonseok began to nod and said,
“Then does that mean there are two raid systems?…”
Cho Youngoo said as if he couldn’t believe it,
“But 50 years had passed since monsters first appeared. How is it that all of this is only happening now…?”
“Who says it’s only happening now?”
Said Han Joonseok slowly.
“What do you mean?”
“Partyhead, didn’t you say that the day you came upon the level 0 skillbook was the day that irregulars appeared all over the world?”
“Yes. That’s true.”
“The irregulars appearing all over the world…it wasn’t the first time it’s happened before wasit?”
“Well. No. It’s happened a few times…though it didn’t happen on a predictable timetable.”
I had been curious about that so I’d done a search on it a few times.
In the past 50 years, a worldwide occurrence of irregular appearances had occurred and many people had died each time. But since it wasn’t something that happened often, people pretty much forgot about it after some years passed.
“What if this same thing happened every time those irregulars appeared?”
“That makes no sense. Then why isn’t there any documentation of it? If I wasn’t the only one to get my hands on a level 0 skillbook, wouldn’t other people know about it?”
“It might be that only a select few like you had gotten a level 0 skillbook. And maybe, like you, they tried to sell it with no success…only to put it somewhere and forget about it.”
But it could also be that no one besides me had gotten the book. This was a skillbook I earned from killing a level 4 monster.
This meant that there was a very high chance that anyone else who might have gotten their hands on a level 0 skillbook was someone who was over a level 4 in skill or equipment. Why would that kind of person be interested in a level 0 skillbook? This was all starting to make sense.
“But there is still one thing that we can’t explain.”