Chapter 54 — Dungeon Practicum (4)
“Thank god. At least I know someone on the team.”
Since entering the dungeon, Ina had merely replied to questions thrown her way and didn’t say much else.
JaeHyun looked at her as she followed behind him and sighed softly.
‘She’s really shy. I thought she’d gotten better since she got closer to me and YooJung… Though I guess there’s no way she would have changed so quickly when she’s lived her whole life with a wall around herself.’
In the past, even those closest to Seo Ina had mentioned that the days when she said more than three words at a time could be counted on one hand.
She was quite taciturn from a young age, on top of not having a great relationship with her family.
Inside the dark dungeon, the sound of metal hitting against metal and a nasty odor in the air made a shiver run up one’s spine.
Even though they had just taken care of several groups of kobolds a moment ago, it seemed there were still some monsters left.
However, JaeHyun didn’t have much interest in such small fry.
‘Kobold Lord… That’s the real worry here. I need to focus.’
JaeHyun let out a long sigh and looked around. The sphere of light he had created was the only source of light within the darkness.
On one side, Jina stood beside JaeHyun holding a shield two-thirds of her height. It was said that the shield was made of well-tempered steel by Park Cheol-Gon, a famous blacksmith. The item that was probably worth several hundreds of millions of won gleamed and clanked as they walked.
JaeHyun once again realized that the whole place was crawling with ‘young masters’ and ‘young misses’ from rich families.
Well, what kind of parents would send their precious sons and daughters into a dungeon otherwise?
In addition, they were permitted to wear custom equipment during the Dungeon Practicum.
Preliminary preparation was also a very important part of a dungeon raid, and a raider’s survival was directly tied to their equipment.
JaeHyun was also wearing his 《Shadow Armor》 and 《Probationary Valkyrie Set》.
‘ 《Stealth》 might be difficult to make use of, but I expect 《Mana Plundering》 will be quite effective.’
《Stealth》 was a skill that erased all signs of its user, but JaeHyun’s proficiency with it was still too low.
In addition, kobolds usually appeared in underground dungeons.
Since they were monsters that lived in the dark, their senses of hearing and smell were a lot more sensitive. Truthfully, it would be difficult for 《Stealth》 to show its effectiveness in this dungeon.
Jina, who’d been walking beside JaeHyun, glanced at his face and spoke with a bright expression.
“By the way, I already knew you were strong, but you really are awesome, JaeHyun. How many monsters did you take care of by yourself back there?”
“Well, it just somehow ended up that way.”
JaeHyun replied calmly as he examined the floor and walls of the dungeon. It was to prepare for any potential variables when they met the boss monster in a little while.
While advancing into the darkness of the dungeon, JaeHyun carefully moved forward along the wall as the spell 《Flash》 illuminated the way. Breathing lightly, he measured the wavelength of the mana within the dungeon.
It was still faint, but there was definitely a strong presence at the very end.
‘This is definitely the Kobold Lord’s mana.’
Of course, compared to the Night Shade, it was at a much lower level,
but the other cadets would be as shocked as JaeHyun was when he first encountered the Night Shade.
‘Right now, the monsters are weak, so the whole team is listening to my commands well. But if they really get flustered, we’re fucked… When the Kobold Lord appears, I need to kill it right away without giving it any openings.’
That was the most he could do.
What transpired in here couldn’t be seen from outside.
Even if it was just a Dungeon Practicum, it was impossible to install cameras within dungeons.
In other words, he could display his true strength here as long as he made sure his teammates kept their mouths shut.
‘If needed, I can use the 《Mind Control》 that I copied from Gu Ja-In and make it so they can’t utter a word about it all.’
JaeHyun noticed that Ina was getting closer and closer to him.
She was following him nervously from about two steps away. The girl who had been happily chatting away with YooJung a few moments ago was nowhere to be seen.
JaeHyun synchronized his steps with Ina and spoke in a low voice.
“Other people still make you a bit uneasy, huh?”
Ina nodded stiffly as she answered.
JaeHyun stopped trying to make her talk so she could focus on raiding the dungeon a bit more comfortably.
Ina was the most powerful damage dealer here if JaeHyun was excluded. The two even had experience cooperating with each other during the Freshmen Hunt.
If she got too nervous and was unable to show her true abilities here, their team would suffer quite the loss in strength.
JaeHyun and SungWoo, who were in the lead, stopped almost simultaneously.
They had arrived in a wide room with antique murals on the walls. JaeHyun furrowed his brow as he looked around.
‘…It’s different from what I remember. Well, I don’t even have to think about it.
It must be Gu Ja-In’s doing.’
Seemingly, the Dungeon Practicum had strayed from what JaeHyun had gone through before regression.
This was probably one of the methods Gu Ja-In had prepared to tame him.
From deeper in the dungeon, a musky and dark mana started to spread.
JaeHyun took a deep breath and quietly whispered to his teammates.
“…Something’s approaching. It’s different from before, so be careful. We’ll go with Formation C.”
When Ina responded first without any questions, SungWoo and Jina nodded their heads as well. However, SungWoo’s face darkened as he tried to comprehend why JaeHyun had decided on that formation in this situation.
‘A stronger monster is coming…?’
Even as he defended while preparing to counterattack, he tilted his head in curiosity.
Didn’t Instructor Kim JiYeon say, just a moment ago, that only weak monsters appeared here?
‘What the hell… is he on about?’
Fortunately or unfortunately, he didn’t have to wonder for long.
A hoarse roar echoed.
It came from a tall beast with sharp fangs and a thick blood-colored exoskeleton that could tear them apart with ease—the Kobold Lord.
The boss monster was waiting for them at the end of the dungeon.
“Th-That’s…! The Kobold Lord?!”
“N-No way! Why did a Kobold Lord appear in a place like this?!”
SungWoo and Jina’s panicked voices rang out.
However, JaeHyun merely readied up for combat without a change in expression, then shouted.
“Everyone, calm down! If we make a mistake here, we’re dead! Remember what I said at the beginning!”
“Oh! Got it!”
In that instant, a bunch of kobolds appeared on the ceiling and the floor before jumping at the party one after another.
As expected from a boss monster, it had the ability to call on and make use of the lower-level monsters.
SungWoo quickly initiated 《Taunt》 and lured the enemy toward himself.
Ina cast the spell 《Magic Armor》 on him to enhance his defense.
JaeHyun quickly ran forward while they were dealing with a group of kobolds. He had only one goal—
To quickly eliminate the Kobold Lord and secure his team’s safety.
With a shout, JaeHyun quickly shot straight toward the Kobold Lord.
a tremor quaked through JaeHyun’s legs as he kept running.
‘What is this ominous feeling?’
The dark, concentrated mana surrounding them felt suffocating—a sensation that was almost identical to when JaeHyun had encountered the Night Shade.
‘Is it because of the Kobold Lord?
…No, it can’t be. There must be something else.’
JaeHyun pursed his lips in a straight line.
However, without backing down, he jumped as he formed a fist.
His attack toward the Kobold Lord made a direct hit. The clear, thrilling sensation of his fist piercing through the monster’s body swept over JaeHyun.
‘It definitely worked!’
A moment later, when the roar subsided and the dust cleared,
JaeHyun’s face—which had lit up in victory—darkened.
With narrowed eyes, JaeHyun took in the impossible sight before his eyes.
‘…That should have been enough power to knock down a Kobold Lord.’
However, the monster had quickly recovered and begun to regenerate its original form.
How was this possible?
“…I did expect variables, but a Kobold Lord with a regenerative ability? Isn’t this a bit too much?”
JaeHyun immediately controlled his breathing.
He could clearly feel his heart beating rapidly.
The present and thus the future that he knew had changed.
The monster in front of him was completely different from any creature JaeHyun already knew about.
The moment JaeHyun was about to move in an attempt to figure out the creature—
一 Identifying the existence behind the Kobold Lord.
一 The existence behind it has been identified as 《Odin’s Raven》.
一 Special quest 《Raven Hunter》 has been obtained.
The system was one step ahead of him.
Kill all of Odin’s ravens that are weighing down on you and the gods against the Aesir.
Reward per objective: Blank card ｘ 1
Reward for clearing the quest: Class increase
Remaining Time: –
Failure Penalty: Death
Translator – Rainypup
Proofreader – Lyze
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[The tunnel outside the dungeon]
Instructor Kim JiYeon was analyzing the cadets’ strengths and weaknesses as she scanned their battle reports. The profile she was reading on her tablet was none other than Min JaeHyun’s.
“He’s really such an amazing cadet.”
She could hardly take her eyes off the screen in her hand.
‘How can Cadet Min JaeHyun give such a performance even though he’s a Magician?’
She was also a Magician who had risen to a fairly high position as an A-rank, but she had never seen any Magician in the world fight like that.
Before she knew it, the highlight of Min JaeHyun’s actions in the Freshmen Hunt was playing on her tablet.
With the movements of a Warrior that quickly defeated his enemies one by one, alongside the magic casting with almost no delay—
JaeHyun was overwhelmingly talented without a single visible weakness.
“Team 3 is likely to pass this Dungeon Practicum with first place…”
She already had such a conclusion in her head.
She knew, at the very least, there was no one in Millaes Academy who could beat JaeHyun.
As she was organizing her thoughts, a sudden noise took Instructor Kim JiYeon’s notice.
Soon, an exclamation burst out from her mouth.
JiYeon quietly sighed and increased her focus on the noise.
She couldn’t comprehend it.
‘This voice belongs to Team 4, not Team 3. Why is that?’
It didn’t make any sense.
Hadn’t JaeHyun already far exceeded the normal level of a cadet?
Yet Team 4, not Team 3, had cleared the dungeon first?
When JaeHyun even had Ina, who had previously worked with him in the Freshmen Hunt, on the same team?
‘Of course, Team 4 had Ahn HoYeon and Kim YooJung… but they should be no match for Min JaeHyun. What on earth happ—’
“I-Instructor Kim JiYeon! Something terrible has happened!”
At that moment, Team 4 cried out urgently while panting for breath.
HoYeon’s hoarse voice could hardly be heard.
He was covered in blood,
with the arm of one of his teammates, Kim Seho, around his shoulders.
Huh? What on earth had happened?
The instructor’s mind was filled with incomprehensible thoughts that distracted her. However, she didn’t show her agitation externally and spoke as calmly as she could.
“Cadet Ahn HoYeon, what is going on?”
“In the dungeon, the boss monster… Kobold Lord appeared.”
However, the faces of HoYeon and his teammates were solemn.
‘There must be something wrong with the dungeon. Then, the reason why Team 3 with Min JaeHyun has been delayed is…!’
It was most likely the case that an unexpected variable had appeared in the dungeon.
To begin with, JaeHyun had the ability to clear the Dungeon Practicum by himself.
But what if an unforeseen mishap had happened in the dungeon he was in?
And he was struggling inside, without being able to clear it?
“Instructor! Please check on Seho first! His condition is a bit weird. I’ve given first-aid treatment, but he’s still unconscious…!”
“Don’t worry. I will request for a team of healers right away. It’s not a serious wound, so you don’t have to worry.”
YooJung also let out a long sigh as she relaxed from her tense state.
A number of healers were already waiting nearby in case of an accident.
Seho wasn’t seriously hurt, he was just lapsing.
He was likely suffering from the respiratory problems caused by mana addiction.
YooJung calmed her breathing and suddenly started looking around.
Her expression was one filled with anxiety.
“Umm… Instructor, is Team 3 not here yet?”
YooJung’s and HoYeon’s faces darkened at the same time.
Min JaeHyun still hadn’t finished the Dungeon Practicum?
No matter how powerful a Kobold Lord was, it would have been no match for JaeHyun, not to mention Team 3 also had Seo Ina.
An ominous feeling quickly swept through the three.
Instructor JiYeon also realized the gravity of the situation and immediately took out her smartphone.
After a while, a familiar voice could be heard from the phone.
“Yes, Chairman Gu Ja-In. This is Instructor Kim JiYeon. An emergency has occurred during the Dungeon Practicum. Requesting emergency support as soon as possible…”
“Aha, don’t worry, Instructor Kim JiYeon. I’ll send a support team soon.”
At his words, Kim JiYeon’s expression turned cold.
‘What is this?’
Gu Ja-In’s voice was totally relaxed.
She felt goosebumps all over.
This wasn’t a joke. It was an emergency.
What if a boss monster had appeared in dungeons other than Team 4’s?
A team composed of relatively weaker cadets would be instantly wiped out.
In such a situation, he could still give instructions in such a relaxed manner?
Then, there it was—
Was it just her imagination?
—the feeling that Gu Ja-In was smiling on the other end of the call.