Chapter 43: Follow Me
Derek smiled at the room. “Well, I figured I can knock out a few plans all at once after all of this happened.” Derek stared directly at Rayna. “How long do you think we have before the noble house or Adventurer’s Guild thinks that something is wrong?”
“If it was a noble house from the Capitol, they would probably already know that their own was dead. But seeing that it is Gracefall, we most likely have weeks before they get suspicious and check on anything. I’d say at the minimum, two weeks.” She answered.
“That’s plenty of time.” He said. It will also let me run a couple more experiments. As he thought this, he looked at Brandi. “Okay, we better get to it then.” He looked back at Rayna. “Let Richard know that you’ll be back in a few weeks and bring his map back with you. Don’t forget to remind him that the noble came in, got his map, and headed to the dungeon. That’s all he knows. When you’re finished there, meet us at the front gate.”
With that, Derek stood up and walked out. “Come on.” Everybody but Rayna followed. They were clearly confused, but still listened. Thomas was the only person who acted like they knew anything.
“Where are we going? What are we doing?” Malorie finally could not hold her questions in.
He looked at her. “Do you trust me?” He could see her slight hesitation before she nodded. “I’ll explain it to you when we get to our first destination. Just know that everyone of you will come back better off. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” He said as they approached the front of the village.
They waited at the gate for Rayna. Soon, she was there, Richard and Leon in tow. Seeing the two following her, Derek gave them a quick reminder. “You know what to say if we’re not back and investigators come?” He asked. They both nodded. “Okay, well, we’ll be back soon.”
Derek took the map from Rayna and glanced at it. Picking out a few places. “Okay, I’ll carry Brandi. We’ll be moving as fast as the slowest person can.” He looked at Mal and Thomas. “Let’s go.” He took off at a jog. Seeing everyone keep up, he increased his speed. Hmm… Still seems like Thomas is the slowest. He had expected Malorie to have the slowest speed out of the bunch, but she surprised him.
After running away from the village for a few hours, Rayna spoke. “This… Are we going where I think we’re going?” She asked.
Derek, still running while carrying Brandi, smiled. “I imagine so.” He guessed she knew where the different landmarks around the forest were.
Later, Malorie started slowing. Looks like Thomas has better Endurance. “We’ll stop here for a minute to let everyone’s Stamina recharge. “Do you have Meditation, Mal?” He asked.
She shook her head, still panting after the long run. “I don’t.”
“Any spare skill points?”
“No.” She said.
He nodded his head and pulled out another potion from his bracelet. This time, it was yellow. He still had a bunch of spare potions from his time on Earth. He had chided himself for overstocking, but now, he was glad he did. He tossed the vial to Mal. “Here, drink this, it’ll restore your Stamina.”
The woman caught the vial and gulped it down.
“Is it a level 50 one?” Thomas spoke out of the blue.
“Yeah. Those adventurers were all around level 90. Looks like we won’t be able to do what I wanted to, but this works too.” Derek said. Confusing the rest of the group.
Thomas squinted, a hint of worry flashing in his eyes. “Will I have to…”
Derek knew what he was asking. “No, I’ll hand feed you and Malorie for the first one. We’re on a timer, so we have to move relatively fast.”
“What about Brandi?” Thomas asked.
“I want to experiment. Try to get her a bunch of Awards before her first class. Who knows, she might give us all a pleasant surprise.” Derek laughed.
Finally, it seemed that Rayna could not take it anymore. “What the hell are the two of you talking about? Why are we running towards a level 50 dungeon? Quit talking about us like we’re not here.”
“And what do you mean that you’re going to ‘hand feed’ me?” Mal jumped in.
Derek broke out in laughter. “I was wondering how long it would take before someone broke.” He had been being intentionally vague when answering Thomas. He was watching the others' curiosity grow and grow. He had expected Brandi to break first, but with Rayna knowing that they were heading towards a dungeon, it made sense that she broke first.
“It’s not funny.” Rayna said. Blushing from embarrassment.
“It really is.” Derek replied. He looked at Thomas who was doing his best not to burst. “I’ll answer all your questions when we get there. It’s easier to show you instead of telling you.” He looked at Mal. “Your Stamina good?”
“Alright, we’re not far now. Put these on.” He gave Mal a black robe with a hood, Rayna a ski mask, and Brandi a facemask like the one he and Thomas had. I wish I had more facemasks. He thought to himself.
Thomas pulled out his facemask and put it on without asking any questions. Derek put his leather armor and facemask on. Brandi, seeing their actions, put her facemask on.
“What is this?” Rayna asked while fiddling with the ski mask.
“I ran out of facemasks, so you’ll have to make do with that.” Derek said, then looked at Mal. “Sorry for making you wear a robe, I’m out of face coverings. You’ll have to make do with the hood.”
“I like it.” Malorie said as she put the robe on. Once the robe was on, her eyes widened. “It’s… What’s with this robe?”
“Hmm? Oh, it’s level 70. It has good mana regeneration and decent armor for a robe. I figured you would need some kind of armor.” He said.
Excitement flashed through Rayna’s eyes as she hurriedly slipped the ski mask on. Derek saw her frown afterwards. “What is this? Is it doing anything special?”
Derek laughed. “Yup, it helps keep your face from getting cold.” Anyway, let’s go. He picked Brandi up and took off before anyone could say anything.
The group broke out of their stunned state and hurried to follow.
Soon, they were in sight of the dungeon orb. This was the dungeon that rewarded scrolls upon completion. It was the level 50 dungeon that he was most excited for.
He scanned the area. It seemed like his group was the only team around. He approached the orb. “Alright everyone, you said you trust me. Time to show it.” He placed his right hand on the orb.
“But…” Rayna began to protest, but in the middle of her words, Thomas reached the orb and placed his hand on it. She sighed and walked closer. After a brief hesitation, she also reached out to the orb.
Brandi was next, then finally Malorie.
Once Malorie’s hand made contact with the dungeon orb, a notification popped up in everyone’s vision.
Max Participants Reached
Derek Hunt: Level 30
Thomas Stewart: Level 17
Rayna West: Level 31
Brandi Fields: Level 1
Malorie Fields: Level 18
Please Choose an Option Below
Of course, Derek chose ‘View Dungeon.’ He wanted to confirm everything before jumping into the dungeon.
“H-how? How are you only level 30? Your level is less than mine. It doesn’t make sense.” Rayna muttered.
Derek chuckled. “You basically just quoted Thomas the first time he saw it too. Well, you now know one of my biggest secrets. You see why I wanted an oath?” He asked.
“I do. This is crazy. You have to tell me how.” Rayna said.
“Maybe… One day.” He said. “Anyway, ready up. We got a dungeon to run.” Derek went back to the previous screen and focused on ‘Enter Dungeon.’
|Participants Ready: 2/5|
Derek Hunt: Ready
Thomas Stewart: Ready
Rayna West: Not Ready
Brandi Fields: Not Ready
Malorie Fields: Not Ready
Soon, everyone’s status changed to ‘Ready,’ and the countdown began.“Everybody focus on ‘Enter Dungeon.’ You don’t want to get left behind, we can’t come back out for you until after the dungeon is complete.” He warned.
Entering Dungeon in 3… 2… 1…
The white light flashed, and the group disappeared.
Derek blinked, and his vision returned. He looked around. The group seemed to be in a sparse cabin. The room was about 5 by 5 meters, and there was a bench against the back wall and a few candles lighting up the area. That was it. In front of them was a wooden door.
It looks like what everyone said was correct. The first area is always a safe room. I don’t think I would have done this if it wasn’t for this. He looked at his team. “Okay, so here’s the plan.” He said and got their attention.
“First, what I meant about hand feeding you is that I will go and bring back monsters for you to kill. I’ll do this until you get to a respectable level, I’m thinking somewhere around level 30.” He looked at Mal and Thomas. “Mal, I’m not sure what your class is, but I suggest looking at all your options once you hit level 25. If you can get a higher rarity one, it would be for the best. Thomas, you know what you’re going to do, right? I don’t need to say it?”
“Yes. Hopefully the class will still be there.” The boy said.
Derek turned to Rayna. “You should be able to fight enemies when they are alone. You’ve quite the skill with your wind magic. If you have problems, then I’ll toss some enemies your way after I injure them. If all else fails, I’ll do the same with you as I do Thomas and Mal. Got it?”
“Yes.” Rayna replied. She seemed excited.
Thomas finally looked at Brandi. “You…” He said. “Will do nothing.” He pulled out a few of the higher leveled hides and put them on the bench. “Might as well practice your Leatherworking.” He said. Seeing the girl pout, he continued. “Don’t worry, you will be the one to benefit the most out of this adventure. Just not in this first dungeon.” He said.
Derek looked over the room again. “Alright. Everyone knows the plan. Time to get to work.”
He walked to the door, opened it, and left the room.