“This is ridiculous...”
Grid and his party had been acting for two hours. As the exploration of the Abyss progressed, Resh felt admiration, astonishment, and thrill. There was a limit for players. No matter how they raised their stats or applied magic and buffs, there were still system limitations that couldn’t be overcome.
A typical example was attack speed and movement speed. Unless it was an attack or mobile device implemented with a skill or magic, a player’s basic attacks were limited to ‘six times per second’ and general movement speed was limited to ‘18 meters per second.’
Once Resh learned about this, he felt it was impractical and was frustrated. Even if he continued to work hard to grow and achieve great results, he would eventually be bound by the limitations. This caused him to feel great frustration. His frustration that he would never be his best as a player somewhat dampened his enthusiasm. Yet at this moment, Grid was proving otherwise.
Limits? They could be overcome. Grid swung his sword nine times in one second. At first, Resh thought Grid was using a skill, but he wasn’t. Even Grid couldn’t avoid the constraints of resources.
The sight of Grid transcending his limits eradicated the frustration and disillusionment rooted deep in Resh’s heart. Resh felt hopeful. He realized there was no need to feel despair and shrink back in front of the limitations he had yet to encounter.
It felt like the fog in front of him had disappeared. Resh threw off his vague worries and laughed with joy as he cut at the guards. His laughter echoed through the Abyss, making Grid confused.
‘What? Is he the party leader?’
Why was Resh laughing by himself all of a sudden? Grid wondered if Resh had secretly done something by himself. The suspicious Grid checked the party’s status.
[Party Name: Abyss Exploration
Party Leader: Grid
Party Members: Coke, Resh.
Item Distribution Method: Party Leader Acquisition]
The method of acquiring items was normal. It was impossible for Resh to secretly gain things alone. Then why was he laughing all of a sudden? Coke whispered to Grid, who shook his head and cut at the guard in front of him, “He is glad to see his skill proficiency go up.”
At the beginning of the Abyss, the guards were only level 380, so the level 399 Grid’s character experience and skill experience were unaffected. Nonetheless, it was different for Coke and Resh. For those who were still only level 360, level 380 monsters were good prey. The difference in level with party leader Grid meant not a lot of character experience was acquired, but the skill experience was rising sharply.
Was this what being a volunteer felt like? Grid felt somewhat gratified and seemed to understand why people served others. He thought that it wouldn’t be bad to serve others sometimes.
‘Once I log out, I’ll send a donation to the flood victims...’
It was a tremendous change. Grid’s perception that serving others was being a pushover was changing. It started with the conversation with the cafe employee whose name was unknown. Grid realized that many people supported him because of the conversation he’d had on that day and felt deeply grateful to people. He had experienced a mental change and wanted to repay them. This would eventually be a change that would benefit Grid himself.
The light elemental, revolving around Grid and illuminating his way, suddenly started to emit a brighter light. It meant that the surroundings were darker.
“It is becoming very narrow.”
Grid stopped in place as he was searching for the dukes who must be trapped somewhere. He was facing a very narrow cave. This was the only entrance to go further. It was cramped enough for only one adult male to pass through.
“It is narrow to swing a fist, let alone a knife.”
The obvious danger was foreseen.
‘If we move through this place, we will encounter monsters, and we won’t be able to fight back.’
Resh knew the difficulty of the exploration would rise dramatically from here and stepped forward. “I will take the lead. If I set up a shield and move forward, I will be able to withstand the monster’s attacks and reach the exit.”
“Do you know how long the cave is? If you receive attacks for more than a few minutes, you will die.”
“I have plenty of potions. I can endure the attack power of the guards for any length of time.”
“What if a monster stronger than the guards appear?”
“...I’ll endure as much as possible. There is no other way to do it.”
“There are many ways.”
During the conversation, Grid suddenly reached into the air and held a staff. At first glance, it was a big staff used by magicians. Grid separated the Blade Aiming at the Gods from the handle and allowed it to float around him.
“Let’s go.” Grid didn’t give Resh time to speak any further. He stepped forward and entered the cave first. They walked for approximately five minutes down this narrow road where their shoulders scratched the wall. How long was this frustrating path...? The patience of the group started to run out.
“Stop.” Grid stopped and gave a signal to Coke and Resh.
“Heok...!” Resh sucked in a breath as he peeked over Grid’s shoulder. It was because the atmosphere of the new monster blocking the road was too powerful.
[Contaminated Hunchback Guard]
It had a slim body bent over at the waist. The guard’s physique was very small, but this small physique was his strength. It meant the guard could move his body without restrictions in this narrow cave.
‘It is an elite mob.’
Resh felt anxious since this was a crisis. At this rate, Grid would suffer. Resh was fidgety and Grid was calm. He aimed at the guard with the staff and fired magic.
‘Ah! That's it!’
Resh’s expression brightened, but it was only for a moment. Magic Missile was basic magic, and the guard’s health gauge didn’t change. It was impossible to hunt an elite monster with high health with Magic Missiles.
“Magic Missile. Magic Missile. Alarm. Magic Missile. Magic Missile. Magic Missile. Magic Missile.”
It was an overwhelming volume offensive. Grid thoroughly utilized the short cooldown of basic magic. He fired Magic Missiles without interruption and also used Alarm every time the cooldown was over to store Magic Missiles. The guard was beaten constantly and pushed back for a while, before gritting his teeth and rushing over. He was no longer afraid of Magic Missile. Rather than being beaten to death, he would rather die from facing the intruder.
The distance between him and Grid narrowed. Grid watched with bored eyes and scoffed. Then dozens of Magic Missiles poured from the ceiling of the cave. The guard’s waist bent further because he couldn’t withstand the force, and his hideous face slammed against the ground. Grid’s feet stepped on the back of the screaming guard.
“It is a difficult place.”
He didn’t feel troubled. Coke and Resh became aware of this and gulped from behind Grid. The Blade Aiming at the Gods dealt the finishing blow to the guard. Once the guard died, the information saying that it was level 392 was revealed.
Since the Abyss map was only 3% cleared, the difficulty of the Abyss was obviously high. The level of the monsters were 380 and 390, and there were many inconvenient factors in the terrain, making it comparable to the Ruins of the War God. How many players would be able to explore the Abyss with only three players?
In the process of breaking through the narrow cave, Grid met four guards and defeated them with the Blade Aiming at the Gods. Whenever he ran out of mana along the way, he summoned Overgeared Corn to take a break. In the end...
The group was able to escape the narrow cave and entered a huge, circular space. It was a place of which its end couldn’t be seen. Thousands of prisoners were located around the circular wall, and some had hidden figures inside.
“Surprisingly, there are many prisoners who have been captured...? I was told it hadn’t been opened in decades.”
“I think the people who were captured a long time ago are still alive.”
Every time they spoke, their voices echoed. A big rock was thrown down the cliff, but there was no sound.
“The scale is huge...”
“The map was only 3% after travelling for two hours, and it opened up to 16% as soon as we entered.”
“There is a good chance that there is a list of prisoners somewhere here.”
The first clear condition was to display more than 15% of the map, and the second condition was to secure a list of prisoners. The group’s exploration was likely to end here. However, Grid’s goal wasn’t only to clear the quest but to rescue the dukes.
“I hope the dukes are somewhere here.”
It was a space with a circumference of thousands of meters. However, there was only one path to step on. It was a floor that rose slightly in front of the circular wall, and it was only one meter wide. This was a structure where they would fall below the cliff if even one step was wrong.
“People with a fear of heights won’t be able to move a step.” Coke became pale at the sight.
Meanwhile, Grid was focused. He observed the thousands of prisoners one by one, hoping the dukes were somewhere in the area. It was at this moment that...
“Over here! Look over here!” A voice called out to the group from a relatively close prison. Grid shifted his gaze and found an old man with half his face covered by bushy hair and a beard. His limbs were as short as a dwarf. Despite having been trapped here for decades, he still had many muscles on his body.
He met Grid’s eyes and cried out desperately, “I am called Ke ong! I don’t know who you are, but please save me! I’ll definitely pay you back if you take me out of this place!!”
Ong was a term used for elderly men. It was rare for someone to call themselves ‘ong’, and it was the wrong expression in the first place. This was a very unusual self-introduction.
“The dwarves never forget the grace they are given! I swear that I won’t forget your grace!”
Dwarf? A dwarf...? However, the moment that Grid’s eyes widened...
“Are you an intruder?” A new person’s voice rang out from another prison. The prison door opened. The person who emerged from the inside was a young man with thousands of keys hanging around his waist.
“You came here empty-handed without sacrificing anything? This is interesting. I’ve never seen an intruder reaching here on their own feet.”
Biplonz was the name of the man who walked out of the prison. Unlike the guards Grid had met previously, Biplonz’s skin wasn’t melted, and his use of the human language was fluent. However, he wasn’t a human. He had white skin, sharp teeth, and black eyes without any whites. It was reminiscent of Grid in Blackening mode. The only difference was that his ears were pointed like an elf, and there was a tail coming from his ass.
In the past, Grid had encountered such beings. It was in a village in hell. Grid’s eyes were wide as he muttered, “Demonkin?”
“That is correct.” Biplonz unfolded a pair of wings. The wings—which were similar to a bat’s—fluttered, and Biplonz’ body flew through the air. “I was born here in the ‘rift’ and have never met any other demonkin. I’m not sure if I’m a pure demonkin. This is the first time I’ve fought an invader. Can I fight well?” The man who spoke strange nonsense clenched his fists.
The ground where Grid’s group stood collapsed, and the path leading to the cave shattered. Coke and Resh lost their footing and started to fall. Those who fell helplessly were forced to close their eyes. Grid shouted at them, “Maintain your spirit!”
“...!” Coke and Resh opened their eyes at Grid’s shout and witnessed an amazing sight. Grid approached through the pile of rocks falling in the aftermath of the explosion and summoned dozens of metal plates around him. It was the application of the Automatic Transformation skill that automatically generated a metal shield to defend against projectiles in real time. Grid used Berith’s Power to rescue Coke and Resh, deliberately descending below the rocks so that Automatic Transformation would kick in.
“Step on them!” Grid cried out. Coke and Resh twisted in the air and climbed onto the iron plates revolving around Grid. Simultaneously, wings spread out from Grid. They seemed to be dragon wings. There was a style and elegance that was different from Biplonz’ wings that resembled a bat.
“Hiik! D-Draconian!” The dwarf Ke screamed. He started cheering for Biplonz, “Look, Guard Bip! Please help defeat that evil intruder!”
It was a bit annoying. The frowning Grid assembled the Sword Aiming at the Gods, causing Ke to be amazed. “...A sword so great that those better than it can be counted on 10 fingers!”