Welcome to Dos 07 – A girl and her bike
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The next day Dustin was discharged from the hospital, under orders from the police to contact them if he was leaving the surrounding areas. He had no intention of travelling far just yet, he needed to research the location of other dungeons. He was lucky that a dungeon had spawned so close, early on they randomly spread around, and the location of the Goblin Forest was only known to him because it was at the university. Other dungeons had gone unnoticed for longer, or were cleared by unknown pioneers.

He looked through popular forums and websites like Reddit, trying to find any mention of people disappearing. Unfortunately it was too early for their disappearance to be noticed. It would be even longer still until the dungeons were chanced upon, leading enough people to their deaths to pinpoint its location based on where they meant missing, finally discovering the dungeon.

When that happened, the entire area was probably going to be locked down. Despite his enhanced attributes, Dustin didn't want to fight people off, or have to sneak into the dungeon.

It was pointless to send people to their deaths unprepared, but making dungeons widely known was important. It was both a curse, and a boon, that to prove the existence of something so dangerous and unworldly would require a substantial amount of evidence.

If Dustin started clearing dungeons, saving the people within them early, it was still going to take a bit. He needed to time it well, as the dungeon patch that would reduce their difficulty, and their rewards, marked a good time for humanity to embrace them. If more dungeons like Goblin Forest appeared, it was better for the race as a whole at such an early stage, even if Dustin gained nothing from it.

It was easiest to strike when nobody was competing for them, and better yet, were not aware of their existence. His only leads were names of the people who had been reported missing in his past life. He tried extensively to track them down, starting with those who had disappeared earliest.

Eventually, one of them would walk into the dungeon, giving him the access to it that he needed. The downside was obviously the need to follow someone around until they disappeared.

When Dustin's mother returned home and found him on the computer she blasted him with questions. He answered them the best he could without informing her of the real danger, she was deadlier than the police when it came to limiting his movement.

When she calmed down he gave her the friend request, telling her that it was involved with what had happened. He felt a relief as a small part of the tight grip around his heart loosened. Her name, or the username she had chosen, popped up in his friends list, alongside the coordinates of their home, and her current level of 1.

According to her stories, her work friends had spent some of their Dos and traded it in for currency or things around the house. One had even quit their job, but she was a known conspiracy theorist.

Dustin almost wanted to tell her to do the same, but knew that if she continued going to work as normal, he would continue to know where and when she died. If he changed the script too much and she suddenly stopped working, there was a chance she could wander into a dungeon and die.

He told her lightly to think about how to use the Dos. Whilst the currency market was still afloat, it was not the worst idea for her to convert some of it to human currency and spend it quickly.

She left him alone after more pestering, leaving him to continue his research.

The first target of his stalking was a young man named James Belson. He was going to be reported missing two days from now by his parents who kept a tight leash on their super-scholar son. He attended a nearby university which was a fair bit nicer than the one Dustin attended, and had a strict curfew.

He had broken the curfew the night he entered the dungeon, and was missing for barely an hour before his parents went all out in searching for him.

There was a medium distance around his house that was unlikely to have spawned the dungeon as James' parents were loaded. They hired plenty of manpower to look for him, but everything turned up empty.

After the dungeons were discovered and the occasional missing persons corpse found, one of the hired labor came across the dungeon.

It took three men disappearing into the dungeon before the family pinpointed its location.

They had not revealed the location to authorities, but had said publicly that James had passed away. Dustin didn't doubt that he had died quickly inside the dungeon. Pioneers entered the dungeons unwillingly and unprepared, faced up against deadly monsters. It required a special kind of person to not just survive, but escape, and the rich pretty-boy definitely did not belong in that category.

Luckily for Dustin, he didn't have a car, so James was a lot easier to track as he walked on foot or took public transport.

Dustin pretended to be a university student who was looking around at James' university and attending a class that ran across the universities. He 'bumped' into James and the two got to talking.

Dustin had to pretend to be upper class, using his intellectual side to worm his way into James' mind as someone worth talking to.

James was studying to be an Astrophysicist, as he was determined to further advances in terraforming technology.

Dustin pretended to care about his course and made himself available, acting like a lapdog for the rich boy. James liked having a yes man by his side and invited Dustin wherever he was going, the two of them chatting about science and mathematics when it crossed between their courses.

Two days later, when the pair were walking through a busy shopping center, the last place Dustin would expect a dungeon to occur, James told him of a shortcut he would take to get back home quicker.

Dustin asked if the 'area was nice', a piece of bait to see if James would invite him to see his house. Thankfully the young man did just that, showing him the shortcut that went through the fire escape doors next to the shopping center elevator.

James pulled them down the stairs and at the bottom, was an exit onto the abandoned railways tracks that ran through an old train station behind the mall. James told him he would often cut across the tracks, past the station, and end up just before the bridge that crossed into his neighborhood.

Dustin could work out for himself that the dungeon had taken over the abandoned train station. James was busy talking his head off as Dustin formulated a plan.

It was easier to clear the dungeon alone, and on his own time. If he entered with James the news would no doubt get out, leading the police to further suspect him. It would be a nuisance to have surveillance on him.

He made up an excuse that he forgot something in the shopping center that he needed to pick up and convinced James to come back in. Although it hurt his wallet, Dustin called a taxi for them and rode along to James' house, pretending like he was sick of walking.

When they arrived at the mansion, Dustin was keenly reminded of the kind of lifestyle that doomed the race to their death. Greed, jealousy, envy, arrogance, these emotions pulled humans apart and kept them isolated.

Those that did enter the dungeons did so for profit, as the government fought to keep their military at peak strength. They bought Dos at outrageous prices to ensure that they could provide the needed items for their forces. Anyone who was able to clear the dungeons safely could earn enough to feed a small country.

The general populace was so far removed from dungeons that once their initial Dos dried up, it became nothing more than a social platform. The military had control over it, and often outright banned pioneers from entering dungeons if they refused to hand over items and Dos. The argument of land ownership transferred to dungeon locations, which became government property the moment they were discovered.

Dustin was led through the driveway up to their front door and looked at the statues and fountain that the driveway was circled around. James was telling him the history of them, who made them, why they were important, and how much they cost.

The front door to the house opened as James approached, an elderly man standing by as he waved them in. He looked at Dustin disapprovingly, but forced a smile and closed the door gently behind them.

"This is the lobby, as you'd know, and the dining hall is just down that way," James pointed to an exit that was tucked away next to the grand staircase. He showcased some more of the fine art that scattered the enormous room and took Dustin up to his room like he was leading a puppy around.

James' room was surprisingly boring, there were no statues or pieces of art hanging from the walls, just a clean and tidy bedroom. He had a couple of gadgets lying around, like video game consoles or electronic watches and phones.

Dustin endured the showcase that James showed him painstakingly slowly, going over each and every piece like it was already written into his will as his greatest possession.

Dustin had to fake a call from his mother and convince James that he needed to return home. James was understanding, given the overbearing nature of his own parents, and offered to have one of their private drivers take him home if Dustin's couldn't make it.

He turned away from James to avoid letting him see his eye twitch as he mumbled something about walking. The butler watched him leave suspiciously, happily closing the door behind him.

Dustin could feel the statues judgement as they watched him pass, the price tag on their collective heads probably worth more than the home he lived in.

Once he was outside of the mansion and down the street he broke into a light jog back towards the shopping center. He didn't want to sprint as he might look suspicious running away from a bunch of expensive looking houses.

He still got weird looks from the people he passed, but if they didn't stop him, he could ignore them. The shopping center was still bustling with people by the time Dustin returned, checking his watch. It was about four in the afternoon. It would take about half an hour to an hour maybe to clear the dungeon, at least in real time.

He noticed the emergency fire door slightly ajar as he pushed it open, skipping every second step to the bottom and pushing the last door that led outside.

The train station was still empty, but a young girl was standing beside her bike as she walked along the train tracks, heading right towards where the dungeon would be.

"Wait," Dustin called out, but she disappeared before she could turn to look at him, "don't go in there…"

He looked around quickly for any onlookers, but no one had taken any interest in the abandoned train station, and he took off into a sprint towards the dungeon. He slipped under the torn fence where James had showed him, tearing his jacket as it caught on the way through. He was less concerned with his clothing over the girls life and dove headfirst towards the spot she had disappeared.

[Welcome to the Ravenous Ravine dungeon. Uploading current information to mini map.]

Dustin waited until the view around him settled, revealing the high rising cliffs on either side of him, and the path in front that lead deeper into the earth. The air was thick with moisture, making Dustin sweat in his long pants and jacket. Only a scatter of light managed to reveal the rocky depths as shimmering tree tops lined the top of the ravine like a line of warriors defending their territories. He could spot several tree roots poking out from one side of the ravine, and digging into the other, fighting off the other trees for nutrients.

The ravine was wide enough for a couple of people to stand side by side and move through it, provided they didn't run into any monsters along the way.

Having completed the Goblin Forest without a mini map, and only entering a dungeon again now, Dustin had completely forgotten about it.

There was limited information on it currently, showing a green dot, which represented himself, and white lines that showed the terrain around him.

Thanks to his perception, which was tracking, he could also see little white dots that indicated animal or monster tracks, and other signs of disturbance. When he tapped on the white dots, he could see the information pertaining to it. It also worked when he went up to it and inspected it.

The little girl with the bike who had entered before him was gone, and he could see her little footprints leading deeper into the ravine. The ravine was not straight, and curved from side to side, hiding whatever monsters lurked within the shadows.

Dustin hurriedly drew his staff from his inventory and replaced his university uniform with his damaged leather armour.

Thankfully he had hidden it away, saving it from also being taken to evidence.

He kept the throwing knives in a pouch by his side. It wasn't a generic pouch, but one that worked as a physical inventory. You could put your hand into the pouch, or whatever other holding device one chose, and withdraw certain items.

The current quick slots were filled with the potions, salve/tea, and the knives. He pulled out a knife quickly and made the motion of throwing it, but kept his grip around the handle. The movement was fluid and he could do so quickly.

Looking at the girls tracks against Dustin could tell she had taken off in a hurry. The ravine traveled down into the earth where the light struggled to reach. Dustin started walking down the path carefully, keeping an eye on the walls for any holes or crevices that could be used to ambush him.

He used the tip of his staff to push aside plants that stuck out and ran it along the ground to confirm that there was no sudden drop. He really needed to invest in night vision, or at least heat vision, as the ravine grew darker.

Thankfully there were torches automatically in his inventory, part of the survival kit that was given upon entering dungeons. The tracks were still going forward, annoying Dustin. Why was this little girl going further into the dungeon?

It was dark and damp, the last place he would have expected someone to go.

"Hello?" Dustin called out, his voice echoing between the ravine walls. Something shifted on the wall in front of him, and he could see why the dungeon was named as such.

A large gecko climbed off the wall and charged him with a hiss. Dustin threw one of his throwing knives at its head on charge, breaking its momentum as it recoiled from the pain. Before it could slam into his legs he used all his strength to hit it like a golf ball, using his staff to smash it into the wall.

It's head collided with the jagged wall and dealt a significant amount of damage. It was unmoving as the shock the staff sent through it momentarily stunned it. Since its underside was aimed outwards Dustin took another knife and slashed its throat.

The lizard came back to its senses as the blood seeped from its neck. It tried climbing up the wall to escape but Dustin grabbed its tail and threw it to the ground. Without the added strength of the Dos system it would have been impossible to do.

Dustin held the staff in one hand as he invoked the spell Storm Bolt. Static electricity built between his hands and around the Lizards body. They begun to reach out to each other, and when they finally touched, a clap of thunder nearly deafened him in the enclosed space.

Lightning struck the lizards body, instantly sapping its remaining health and leaving a small spot of charred scales where it has struck.

Dustin rubbed his sore ears, noting to himself that the clap of thunder was particularly harmful in close spaces. He checked his mana, noting the passive regeneration kicking in.

Before he forgot, he also summoned his new healing orb, watching as the small ball of blue floated just above his right shoulder. After about ten seconds it shivered, and a small wave of green expanded from it.

It had no effect on Dustin as he was full health, but would have normally healed him for 10 health.

The corpse of the Spotted Gecko entered Dustins inventory. It's scales were worth a lot more than the previous dungeons skins and furs.

The clap of thunder seemed to have displaced a lot of the monsters as tracking signs appeared in abundance around Dustin as he continued forward.

Several more lizards, and a few other creatures like Giant Bats, and Steam Slimes, attacked him along the way, but provided little more than a light experience snack.

Dustin tore up some of his jacket and shoved the bundled cloth into his ears to save them from the constant thunder claps. What surprised him the most about the dungeon was the fact that the little girl had managed to walk so far forward without being attacked. Her tracks indicated she was moving forward at a brisk walking pace, and her bike was still beside her.

Thanks to the tracking function he could keep on the path even as the ravine split into multiple paths. To clear the entire dungeon would require multiple paths of backtracking since the path was divided up.

The path that the girl was taking was seemingly leading straight to the boss fight as the monsters started thinning, and the ravine grew hotter. It seemed the middle of the dungeon was the deepest part. The center had been a tight fit as Dustin felt his armour catching on the walls, acutely aware of the skittering lizards that emerged from the darkness. Not even the light could pierce that deep, with the thick tree canopies and shrinking pathways hiding his way forward.

When Dustin could finally see the flashing boss icon that indicated its place of rest, the ravine had inclined dramatically, giving back the light it had stolen and providing glimpses of the sky above. The ravine walls split to the sides, revealing a circular arena. At the center of the circle, was a giant lizard, bigger than Dustin. It's eyes were closed as it sat upon a heated rock, absorbing the heat from the faint sun that poured through the treetops.

Dustin noticed the girl huddling by the side of the circle, her eyes looking fearfully at Dustin, more than the lizard.

He put a finger on his lips and ducked down, keeping his staff level with the ground as he crept towards the lizard.

The display told him it was a [Fire Iguana]. Capable of expelling heat from its body in a form of naked flame. This dealt a chunk of fire damage to the pioneer, but also slowed the boss' action speed by about 25%. Lizards were cold blooded, so removing the warmth from its body was detrimental to its health.

There were areas of sunlight that squeezed through holes in the canopy above, each aiming directly onto identical rocks. If the boss reached them, it would recharge enough heat to make another flame attack.

It was lethal to take more than three flame attacks, so one needed to either distract the boss before it could release more than three, or kill it.

Dustin kept an eye on the girl, she was hiding between two of the sunlight spots, meaning he would have to keep the boss away from there.

If she was caught in the flame attack he had no doubt that she would probably die. Dustin crept towards her, making motions for her to stay still. She seemed to be torn between moving away, or following his commands.

He made a ninety degree turn to approach the boss when she was behind him. He would fight the lizard and push it to the opposite edge of the circle.

Dustin stopped at what he estimated was the boss aggression range. If he entered it, the lizard would sense him and wake up, forfeiting his advantage of stealth.

Dustin turned to the girl and put his fingers in his ears, nodding towards her. She seemed to understand him and followed immediately, having heard the thunder from before.

Dustin lightly placed his staff on the ground and took a throwing knife in each hand. With metal in each hand, a static bond was built not just between his hands and the lizard, but between the knives and the lizard.

It was an advanced technique that utilized the combination of conductive weapons, and a lightning attack.

As Dustin felt the Storm Bolt about to strike he threw the two knives. The thunder clap sent dust flying to the edge of the arena and the bolt of lightning struck the two knives on its way to the lizard.

The two knives had a purple hue as they struck, each delivering their own mini shock after being charged with electricity.

The Lizard hissed in anger at the sudden attack and rose with a speed unfitting of its stature, turning to Dustin with its tongue lashing out.

Besides the flame attack, it was the claws and teeth of the boss that he had to worry about. He picked up his staff quickly after the stealth attack and smacked away one of the advancing claws, seeing sparks fly as the claws scraped against the metal.

He sent another throwing knife directly at the Lizards face, which barely penetrated the thick scales under its eye.

The action served to enrage it even further as it swung around, sending its tail crashing towards him. Dustin rolled over the tail and struck at the lizards back leg. The shock made it twitch, and the lizard started shaking.

Dustin could feel the heat rising in the air and laid flat against the ground as a wave of flame pulsed out above him. He was still hit by the flames, but managed to dodge the bulk of it. His healing orb responded to the attack with its own pulse, healing him, but also the lizard.

Dustin would have laughed if he wasn't busy rolling away, and leapt to his feet. The lizard was sluggish as it tried walking towards one of the sunlight patches.

Normally it was a bad idea to let the boss regain its special attack, but a Storm Bolt and throwing knife combo was enough damage to warrant letting it crawl away.

The lightning crackled again, zapping a spot on the lizards backside as two knives embedded into its tail with a dull thud. The lizard groaned, raising its head to the sunlight. It took about ten seconds for the light to die out, and the lizard to regain its former speed.

Dustin repeated his previous routine of dodging attacks and hitting it with the staff where he could until it unleashed another flame dash. Rather than staying flat beside the lizard, Dustin rolled underneath it as it prepared to unleash the attack, and slashed at its soft belly.

It harmed the lizard plenty, but earned Dustin an intense bout of heat as he took triple the damage as the last flame burst from being in such close proximity. His healing orb continued cheering him on as it burst for another 10 health. The lizard left Dustin lying on the ground in a pool of sweat as it headed to the next ray of sun.

Dustin jumped to his feet and sent his final Storm Bolt + Throwing Knife attack. They connected with the lizards side and caused a chain reaction. Dustin had a knife in all sides of the lizard, and a small chain of lightning split off from the knives, charging the others in a current that spread around the lizard.

The lizard was completely stunned as only half of it stood in the ray of sunlight, preventing it from fully charging. Dustin dashed over to the immobilized boss and used his staff to smack the throwing knives out.

As the fourth knife dislodged, Dustin could see on the boss' display that it was now bleeding.

It's health was already approaching zero from the massive lightning damage, and the bleed was simply pulling it closer to death.

Each consecutive knife after the bleed upped its damage slightly. The boss was now bleeding for about 8 damage a second, and it had around 106 health left.

It would die in less than 15 seconds if Dustin did nothing. Rather than wait for it to bleed out, potentially getting a last flame burst off, Dustin raised his staff to bash its head in, but was stopped as the little girl screamed.

"Stop! It's hurting."

Dustin's staff hovered in mid air as she rushed over, falling to her knees beside the boss. She winced at the sand and rock that grazed her skin but ignored it as she started to whisper to the Boss.

Dustin was curious about the little girls identity and checked the boss display.

[Fire Iguana].

[ 82 / 1,150 ] [-8/s]
Status: Bleeding. Being tamed.

Dustin froze at the boss status, it had changed from stunned to… being tamed.

He looked at the little girl in bewilderment and opened his display to look at her information. Without being friends he could only see her username, level, and health / mana values.

Her username was Veterinarian14, which might explain her unwillingness to see the Iguana die. Her level was currently 2, which was also a big surprise to Dustin. Finally, her mana was dropping fast.

Lowering his staff, Dustin knelt close and finally understood. She was not whispering just anything, she was casting a spell.

Dustin looked at the Iguana's health, and estimated the time it would take for her to finish taming it, against how long it would take till it died.

"It's going to bleed out before you can finish." Dustin said, coughing awkwardly. The girl continued whispering, but looked up at Dustin with bloodshot eyes. There was a mix of fury and pleading behind them, her lips unphased by the comment as she soldiered on with the spell.

Dustin sighed, he didn't have anything that could heal the boss enough for her to tame it. Not to mention the fact that it might be a bit off for such a little girl to have a boss tamed already. Did he really want her to succeed?

He watched the remaining health drop off, blood oozing out of the Lizard until it soaked the girls shoes. She was so close, yet so far. The cast was going to be less than a second away from success. If only the lizard could survive one more second of bleeding.

Dustin caught something shivering in the corner of his eye as he looked up at the healing orb. It was shaking violently, looking ready to explode.

He looked back down at the Lizard which was looking at the girl with saddened eyes.

"Tch. What the hell, what's the worst that could happen?" Dustin mumbled, and the healing orb exploded, releasing a 10 health heal in an area around it.

The Lizard was milliseconds from dying before another 10 health popped up, soaking the 8 damage from the bleed. The little girl shouted the last part of her spell and laid a hand on the lizards head.

A white sigil appeared on its scales as her cast was finished, sending notifications to fill Dustin's screen.

[Congratulations for clearing Ravenous Ravine. The portal to return is now open, rewards will be distributed shortly. Thank you, and happy spending!]

[Level up! +5 available attribute points. +230 Dos]
[Level up! +5 available attribute points. +240 Dos]

[An unknown pioneer has stolen your contribution, all rewards go to their party. Slay the pioneer, or join their party, to regain kill contribution.]

[Ravenous Ravine completion. +700 Dos.]

Dustin felt his eye twitch as the display notified him of the little girl stealing his contribution. Sure enough, there was no reward selection for completing the dungeon.

The little girl sighed in relief as the body of the Fire Iguana began to shrink. When it reached the size of a large dog, it disappeared, and a smile spread on her face.

He could tell she was looking at her display, so he nudged her with the staff to get her attention, making sure it didn't touch her skin to avoid shocking her, thus entering combat. She yelped and fell back, looking fearfully at Dustin.

"You took my loot." He said, bending down to pick up the electrically charged knives. When he picked up the eighth knife, he gained a notification that the weapon had changed.

[Light Throwing Knives has gained suffix modifier, of Charging.]

[Uncommon Light Throwing Knives of Charging.]
15/15 Durability.
Damage: 2.0 - 4.0 Physical Damage. 1.0 - 3.0 Lightning Damage.
A collection of throwing knives that seem lighter than normal. They give off a vibrating purple glow.
Light: Knives can travel further. Easier to dislodge
Charging: Each consecutive knife after the first increases targets lightning damage taken by 2%.

Dustin smiled at the free upgrade. Changing a weapon enough could also provide positive benefits, not just negative modifiers. Since the item now had two modifiers, it was even upgraded to uncommon!

"I-I didn't know." The little girl stammered, falling onto her butt as Dustin held the knives in his hand.

He sighed and put them away, then opened his display. A couple of seconds the later the girl recoiled as a notification popped up on her screen, requesting to form a party with pioneer Dusty.

She looked up at the menacing student and saw his look of expectation, coaxing her to press 'yes'.

You have entered a party. Current members: 2.
Dusty - Level 6
Veterinarian14 - Level 4
Dungeon contribution shared among party members.

Kayle, or McKayla, otherwise known as Veterinarian14, was shocked as she looked at the party screen. Dusty was level 6, which was completely unknown to her. Even her own level surprised her, she had gained enough for level two previously by taming a bunch of animals and insects and letting them go.

The dungeon alone had been enough to level her twice.

Meanwhile Dustin sighed in relief as the contribution menu popped up on his display. He had dealt the most damage to the boss, so he got first pickings at the loot once the contribution was re-established.

[Ravenous Ravine completed, please choose a reward].
- Uncommon Scale Armguards of Heat.
- Uncommon Flame Potion of Cauterizing
- Common Weak Health Potion x 5
- Common Weak Mana Potion x 5
- Spell: Flame Burst

Dustin was pleasantly surprised as the rewards were much better than the Goblin Forest. Harder difficulty meant better rewards, and killing the Goblin Archer was incomparable to the difficulty of the Fire Iguana as a boss.

He needed to abuse the tougher difficulty for better rewards before the patch kicked in.

[Uncommon Scale Armguards of Heat]
60/60 Durability
+2 Constitution
2.0 - 5.0% Physical Mitigation. 4.0% Fire Mitigation.
Heat: Armguards will periodically heat up during combat, providing 15% movement speed and 10% increased health regeneration.

Dustin nodded at the armguards, they were pretty good. The affix basically quadrupled their value, as just the mitigation alone wasn't anything special. Having a 15% movement speed and 10% health regen buff was great.

[Uncommon Flame Potion of Cauterizing.]
A potion that temporarily increases resistance to fire damage.
Cauterizing: Removes bleeding effect on use.
Use: 20% reduced fire damage taken.

The potion almost made Dustin take it instantly. On the planet Ysoria, fire damage was so abundant that unless one had at least 50% resistance to fire permanently, it was easy to die from the creatures that roamed it.

Currently, the cauterizing effect was quite useful. Bleeding during a fight, as seen from the Lizard, was very dangerous.

Dustin ignored the remaining two potion options as they were already worse than the two initial choices, and skipped straight to the last one. A spell.

[Spell: Flame Burst]
School: Pyromancy
Channel flames through your body, rapidly heating the blood within your body. Release the heat, sending a burst of flame around the caster.
Use: 80 Mana. Caster is afflicted with Cold Blooded: Action speed is reduced by 15% for 5 + (Charge Duration).

The ability was basically the same as what the boss used, but the drawback was only 15% action speed, rather than 25%.

The charge duration referred to how long one heated up the body. Longer duration meant a bigger flame radius, as well as higher damage, but would also increase the duration of the cold-blooded debuff.

Dustin was tossing up between all three, as they all had their uses. When it came down to a process of elimination, the potion was the first one to go.

It was ultimately the bleed removal that made it viable, just not enough to justify choosing it over the others.

Now it was down to two, the scale armguards, and the spell.

Flame Burst would work in conjunction with his Double Dip bonus, but the damage bonus was still underwhelming with only two schools. He was almost certain he could find an easier Pyromancy skill to use that didn't have the debuff attached to it.

The scale armguards were essentially a free random buff, as the defense they provided was negligible. Still, the movement speed and health regeneration wasn't anything to joke about…

[Uncommon Scale Armguards of Heat awarded to Dusty, remaining party members may choose a reward.]

Dustin left the girl to choose her reward as he opened his attribute screen, popping the 10 points from leveling into their respective slots.

Intelligence 35 [4]
Strength 18
Agility 18 (+2) → 20
Wisdom 16 (+4) → 20
Charisma 20 (+4) → 24
Constitution 21 [2]

He was happy with the spread of attributes for now and let his achievements loose, providing more free bonuses.

[Milestoner: You are the first pioneer of XQB51 to reach level 5! +5 Wisdom. 5% increased experience gained.]

[Experimenter: You are the first pioneer of XQB51 to personally modify an item. Repair kits grant an additional use. Items lose durability 5% slower.]

[Alternative Means: Your party, ???, are the first pioneers of XQB51 to clear a dungeon without killing the boss. +5% experience and dos gained from clearing dungeons without killing the boss. Dungeons always grant one additional random item for reward when cleared with boss alive.]

Experimenter was a nice title to have, it would help him save future Dos on not having to be as many repair kits. The Milestoner achievement was pretty basic, increased experience was pretty good in the long run.

The one that stood out was definitely Alternative Means, despite Dustin having no way to do so. The only reason it had worked in the first place was because Kayle had the ability to tame it.

The part that alarmed Dustin the most, was the way the system worked. He currently did not possess a taming skill, or any other kind of neutralizing ability that would clear the dungeon peacefully, and the dungeon did not specifically list taming as the method of neutralization.

Yet he was still given the achievement.

For Dustin, the fact that the achievement was there, meant there was some kind of method to neutralize the dungeon boss, he just hadn't discovered it yet. If the only method of achieving the neutralization was to tame the boss, then it would have indicated as such by either granting the achievement solely to Kayle, or adding some kind of clause.

Dustin scrutinized the little girl as she finished playing with the display, a red book in her hands. She looked up at him and held it up, like a child returning a candy bar they had stolen. He smiled and reached for it, only for it to disappear.

They stood there awkwardly until Dustin put his arm down and sighed.

"You didn't select it as a gift, did you?"