The dungeon boss, a Poisonous Salamander, oddly reminiscent of one of the first creatures that Randidly had encountered, lay dead behind them. A glowing yellow portal floated before Randidly.
7 Months had passed since Randidly had started training under Shal. The end part of the plains had been a grind, pushing through increasing numbers of Elite Guards and Shamans, and then the Orc Chieftain had left them stumped for a month before Shal gained two levels and worked on his skills, finally allowing him to take on several of the guards at once.
Beyond were the swamps, filled with frogs and pythons, where Randidly had finished the Mana Bolt and Physical Fitness paths, earning him the skills Arcane Orb and Haste.
The Arcane Orb was finally a powerful attack spell, and Haste doubled normal stamina consumption to slightly increase speed. Combined with his resistances, Randidly led the way through the swamp, slowly wandering through, taking another 3 months.
But the final month and a half was repeated attempts at the boss Salamander.
Randidly had gained a lot of skill levels, improving himself, and methodically completing the paths available to him. But what was more delightful was that Green Spear Mastery. Every 5 levels, he would gain something, on a 20 point rotation. First was 5 mana, then a point in Vitality, then 5 stamina, then two freely distributable stats.
Still, even then, against that final boss, he was nothing but a meat shield for Shal, rapidly mopping up…
Randidly shook his head. No point in thinking of that now. He turned to Shal, feeling strangely reluctant. “Thank you for everything. You allowed me to collect all the plant samples and rare crafting materials, and you taught me how to protect myself. If it wasn’t for you, I…”
“It was nothing. It is every spear user’s duty to tell the tale of the spearman,” Shal said simply. Then he cocked his head. “Why do you hesitate now? You are free. Did you not worry for your friends?”
Randidly pictured Sydney and Ace, but only smiled ruefully, shaking his head. “It has been more than 7 months. If they still live, a few more minutes….:”
“Ah,” Shal said, patting his shoulder, as he did when he noticed something. “This makes sense. I was foolish, and didn’t connect the dots. Of course you would not know. Time in Dungeons is strange. It is accelerated, so it is almost impossible for one to find an emptied dungeon when entering it, and impossible to enter at the same time as someone else. I believe they are… roughly 1000x faster than normal speed. The time that occurred outside is but a fraction of what you experienced here.”
Randidly’s jaw dropped. Then, with his now much higher intelligence, he began doing some mental math.
“…some of the days are long, but if it really is around 7 months….Only…. 5 hours has passed in the outside….?”
For several seconds, Randidly just stared at the ground. Then he leapt through the portal without a backwards glance.
Shal laughed at his disciple’s impulsive actions, then tensed up, before looking at the portal with a guilty glance. “Ah, I should have told him about the system…”
“Well, it is no matter.” Shal concluded, his eyes burning as he looked at the portal. “He has a spear. The problems will sort themselves out.”
With a slight feeling of nausea, Randidly found himself standing on a road.
The first thing he noticed was the noise. Car alarms were blaring, and he could hear screams from several directions around him. Below that, a lower hum, was the sound of mechanical engines and the roars of beasts.
Then he felt the heat, and he turned to find the building behind him was consumed by flames.
Randidly’s mouth formed a grim line. It seemed like the system’s arrival had hit hard outside of the dungeons too. Then he noticed a series of notifications that popped up.
You are currently within an area of Newbie Zone in side of Earth’s Zone 32! Original geography within this Zone 32 has been scrambled. Within the Newbie Zone, only monsters under level 20 will appear. To survive, slay rare monsters to obtain golden coins, which can be used to found a “Newbie Village”. At the Newbie Village, you can obtain a class, which will allow you to grow and obtain power!
Warning, founding a Newbie Village will automatically cause the Newbie Zone in the surrounding area to degrade within 7 days. Grow strong quickly, or you will die. Monsters will invade Newbie Villages periodically, threatening its survival.
Fallen Newbie Villages will become infested by Monsters, and turn into dungeons. Dungeons house great treasure, but also great peril, so enter at your own risk. If a village formed dungeon is not cleared within a month of its formation, a vast wave of monsters will spill out and attack nearby areas. It is advised that you pacify dungeons as quickly as possible.
Randidly scanned the notifications, then raised a Mana Shield, blocking a fireball from a small, imp like thing wearing a red robe. A sizzling mana bolt shot back towards the creature, hitting it in the chest and smashing it into the wall.
Randidly smiled. It was oddly satisfying, finally facing enemies that he was supposed to be facing. Although he didn’t want to assume he was grossly overpowered right now, if these enemies were supposed to be survivable with starting stats…
On reflex, Randidly went over to the body and scoured its pockets, and was pleased to find several small red crystal shards in the pockets of the thing. A shocking amount. But Randidly supposed that most people wouldn’t realize they were worth anything unless they were flooded with things.
Right now, Randidly had a few goals. The main one was to find Sydney and Ace. The second was to find his parents and brother. Finally, he wanted to kill one of the rare monsters, which he suspected shouldn’t be too hard, and finally obtain a class. Unfortunately…
Original geography had been scrambled…?
For a moment Randidly was stumped, as he looked around, and truthfully, based on the place where he thought he was, the mountains should be looming above them, not far to the east…
But he was NOT near the University, like he should have been. Was this a side effect of entering the dungeon…? But then Randidly had an idea. He walked around the block, covering a fair amount of ground.
The “block” itself was extremely strange. The place Randidly had come out of the dungeon was in the middle of the street, in front of an apartment building on the one side, and a flaming storefront on the other. But apparently, wherever the apartment building had teleported from, nothing else had come. So beside it was only grass. That whole side of the street was grass, aside from the one, extremely tall apartment building.
Meanwhile, the other side of the street appeared to have been taken from a small, sleepy town. Strangely named restaurants and antique shops were the only buildings. As Randidly walked around, he saw the source of the screaming. Several wolverine looking animals were slowly dragging a woman across the street while she bled slowly out and reached for a stroller.
Immediately, Randidly leapt forward, activating Haste and appearing next to the enemies, his spear ripping holes in their bodies. As soon as their claws fell out of the woman, she scrambled forward, crying.
“My baby…. My baby….”
But before she could cross the 8 feet to the stroller, something inside of her gave out, and she collapsed. Coughing up blood. With dull eyes, she rolled onto her back and died.
Solemn, Randidly walked up to the stroller, then grimaced.
Inside was a silent, bloody mass of gore.
Turning away, Randidly’s attention was grabbed by gunshots, that sounded reasonably near, on the other side of the small town. But he was hesitant to proceed deeper without checking something. So Randidly walked to the end of the street and opened his menu, selecting maps.
As he had hoped, his map maker skill was active, pushing away the fog on the map, marking things down, coincidentally how he named them. But as he zoomed out, he frowned, and then swore mightily.
The newbie zone was huge. Too huge. Based on what he could tell, it was at least a 200 mile by 200 mile area.
Perhaps if it had been a Randidly fresh from the apocalypse, he would have hesitated, lost for a while. But this Randidly had been tempered for 7 months with death hanging over him. He had been trained by Shal. He had stood against enemies far more powerful than this.
“Guess we are just going to go out of order,” He muttered to himself, hefting his spear and activating Eyes of the Spear Phantom, his enhanced gaze scanning the area.
It was not a good day to be a Rare Monster in this area of the Newbie Zone.