Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos

Chapter 21 - Into the Dungeon : Desire



Chapter 21 - Into the Dungeon : Desire

Vahn awoke early the next morning and gave a cursory glance at the system log. He noted there weren't many changes in Milan's affection, but Chloe's had increased overnight. Seeing the strange description 'Desire to Pet' Vahn quickly closed the log.

He spent a few minutes washing his face and using water from the 'Decanter of Replenishment'. Afterward, he performed some routine maintenance on his equipment before heading downstairs.

Preparing to leave the Inn, he noticed someone new at the counter. She was a human girl, around 17-18 years old with black hair neatly arranged into a long braid flowing over her shoulder. Her purple eyes seemed to droop a bit towards the end giving her a gentle expression. Noticing his presence she displayed a gentle smile and waved.

Vahn returned a smile of his own with a curt nod as he exited the Inn. Today was an important day and he wanted to get an early start. If she was a permanent worker at the Inn, he would have plenty of time to interact with her in the future.

He turned to walk towards the massive tower in the center of the City. Today he was planning to enter the dungeon for the first time. As he made his way along the road he couldn't help but increase his pace a bit.

Along the way, several people gave him curious glances but he would worry about that later. He had almost used some of his stockpiled OP to purchase new clothing but wanted to see how far he could get into the dungeon relying on his current equipment. If things were more difficult than he expected he would upgrade his gear before making a second attempt.

Due to his increased pace, he managed to reach the tower in under twenty minutes. Before entering he looked up to take in the view of the tower from its base. He remembered from the manga that the tower had been built by the Gods to seal the dungeon below. It should be 50 floors tall and from where he stood it almost seemed to pierce into the heavens. The top could be seen, but it was almost a blur that disappeared into the atmosphere above. He couldn't imagine how long it would take to go to the top...

Vahn entered the first floor of Babel and was surprised to see the number of adventurers present. He wasn't the only person that decided to enter the dungeon first thing in the morning. He observed the hustle and bustle before making his way towards a desk near the stairwell leading downwards into the earth.

Entering one of the open windows, Vahn met his first elf in this world. At around 178cm with golden hair and green eyes stood an elven male. He had very smooth facial features giving a bit of ambiguity to his gender, but his style and the way he carried himself answered any questions observers might have. His hair was short and combed back giving him a very princely look, and the expression in his eyes was intelligent and intimidating.

Noticing the approach of the human child before him, Nicholas Grimm waved him over. He had a good memory for faces and was often posted outside the dungeon, so he assumed this human child was likely a new adventurer or freelancer. Though it didn't concern him much, he knew it damaged the Guild's bottom line when adventurers died within the dungeon.

"Good morning. I assume you would like information about the dungeon before entering?"

Vahn nodded while observing the peculiar green aura emitted by the elf receptionist.

"Very well, you can exchange 100 Valis for a map of the first four floors of the dungeon. Though the layout changes on the deeper floors, the upper levels remain relatively consistent and we update the maps weekly. For first-timers, it's one of our most recommended items. We also have several volumes that cover the ecology and weakness of various monsters."

Vahn listened as the elf tried to offer him various items for purchase. After selecting books about kobolds and dungeon lizards the man started to explain various other hazards that might appear in the dungeon. Vahn was surprised with how much detail the man put into his explanation, and had Sis keep a log so he could review it later. Lastly, the man had Vahn fill out his information like address and expected time of stay within the dungeon. He was told that if he failed to leave within the written time, they would wait 72 hours before informing the people listed on the contacts of his disappearance. After everything was said and done, Vahn finally entered the dungeon.

The first floor was a wide-open path with brackish blue walls and a peculiar off-green colored floor. Vahn wasn't the only person walking along the path, but everyone seemed to stick to their own groups so he didn't go out of his way to bother them. Though he had expected to encounter monster immediately upon entering the dungeon, they seemed to spawn infrequently and were eliminated quickly by others.

Creating some distance between himself and all the other groups, Vahn made his way through a corridor that branched off of the main pathway. At this point, he was proactively trying to map as much as he could using the auto-mapping function of the system. Everything within his line of sight was updated in detail within the minimap displayed within the periphery of his vision.

He tried not to focus on the map too much as it wouldn't really increase his progress and might even distract him. He knew it would become a valuable asset whenever he tried to backtrack in the future and was satisfied only checking it periodically.

Fifteen minutes into his first dive, Vahn finally encountered a monster. Eight meters ahead of his current position, the wall seemed to open and 'spit' out a form he instantly recognized. With the familiar creature in sight, Vahn equipped his bow and dispatched the goblin with a single arrow.

Approaching the area where the goblin fell, Vahn bent over to pick up the crystal left behind.

("I may have to go deeper into the dungeon if I want to test myself. Goblins in small groups don't pose any threat to me anymore.")

(*Vahn! Look out!*)

Hearing the shout of Sis within his mind, Vahn leaped forward and rolled along the ground. He rebounded to his feet and saw the creature that had just tried to sneak attack him. Standing in the spot he had just occupied stood a second goblin wielding a small wood club. Vahn could see behind it two more goblins being spit out of the wall.

The closet goblin lunged towards him and Vahn had to re-open the distance to take aim. Unlike the goblins on the surface, this one seemed to be much quicker as it was easily able to close the distance towards Vahn who was back-stepping. Swinging its club, Vahn managed to intercept with his bow before kicking the goblin away during the resulting struggle.

Before the goblin was able to find its footing, Vahn immediately loosed an arrow into its body turning it to dust. Not missing a beat, he continued to open the distance and fired two more arrows into the other goblins who were trying to close the gap and attack. They both turned into dust as Vahn released a sigh he had been withholding. He carefully looked around to see if there were any other goblins trying to sneak up on him.

Unlike the forest where he was able to make use of the terrain to stealth-kill goblins, in open areas like this where monsters could spawn freely he had to always be alert. When the dungeon released monsters it was almost soundless, and Vahn almost paid the price for his negligence.

("Even though I thought goblins didn't pose a threat, I was almost forced to swallow my words...The fact that the goblins are able to spawn in such close proximity makes the bow less effective. I'm too reliant on attacking things from a distance which isn't suitable for someone soloing the dungeon.")

Vahn re-assigned his bow to the secondary slot and equipped the dagger he had received when he first arrived in this world. He hadn't used it since his breakaway from the goblin sentries, and it's low attack value made it unreliable if he wanted to fight stronger monsters.

("Sis, please filter through the list and purchase a dagger that is about twice as strong as this one...no, wait! Instead of a dagger make it a sword. It has better range and looks a lot cooler than a small knife.")

(*Confirmed, purchasing 'Runic Tamahagane Blade' for 2,000 OP.*)

At this point Vahn had saved a total of 51,790 OP, so he wasn't worried about the loss of two-thousand. What caught his attention was the large black sword that had appeared before him. Its total length was 130 cm, with the blade taking up 3/4 of that total. When he picked it up he was surprised at how light it felt compared to its size.

Taking a look at his surroundings, Vahn stood with his back to a wall so he could see anyone approaching. Afterward, he decided to quickly inspect the new sword.

'Runic Tamahagane Blade'

Rank:(A), Magic

Slots: 2

P.Atk: 510+50

M.Atk: 180

A sword reforged countless time by a young blacksmith from the 'Far East' who aspired to become the greatest in the land. Upon his death, his friend enchanted the blade using an ancient technique in hopes that his friends' dream would become a reality.

Vahn was surprised at the attack value of the sword, but it made sense given the increased size. He gave it a few practice swings, and even though it felt 'light' his arms began to tire after a while.

("I'll have to focus on landing decisive strikes if I don't want to tire myself out. But I can use this as an opportunity to further my training.")

As the last test before he moved on, Vahn began to channel his 'source' energy into the sword while watching its stats. It seemed to take far more energy than the bow and arrow, but he noticed as the runes began to glow that the sword actually became lighter. Another thing was the fact that the P.Atk of the sword remained unchanged while the M.Atk seemed to increase rapidly.

Vahn continued to channel magic into the sword until all of the runes began to glow. The blade began to hum and whenever he swung it, the sword felt as light as a feather in his hands. The coolest thing was how the blade now left a trail of light wherever he swung. He noticed that the M.Atk was now 1800, 10x the initial value. Curious about the effect he decided to attack the nearest wall.

The moment the sword contacted the wall Vahn was surprised. The expected impact never came and the sword seemed to pass effortlessly through the dense dungeon wall. It seemed that the magic not only decreased the weight but also enhanced the sharpness to an insane degree. Even as a novice in swordsmanship, as long as he managed to hit the target he would likely be able to kill it.

Marveling at how powerful an item that cost 2000 points was, Vahn made a determination to stockpile as much as he could for the future. He would still buy consumables and upgrade his equipment when needed, but now it had become his goal to buy an item that cost 100,000, no, 1,000,000 OP!

//Quest Triggered//

[Quest: Birth of a Legend]

Rank: SS

Heroes are as famous as the weapons they wield. Even a lowly squire can become a Legend when wielding a sword forged by the Gods. Condition: Exchange 1,000,000 OP with the system to obtain a random weapon.

Rewards: 'Gacha Function Unlocked', 10+1 Premium Gacha pull, 1000 Karma

Failure Condition: Death, 12 months pass [364D23H58M], Spend more than 100,000 OP [4,997/100,000]

Penalty: All items within the inventory destroyed. Shop Function disabled for 12 months. Equipment items become cursed for 1 month [cursed items cannot be removed]

Vahn smiled. If 'The Path' wanted to challenge his conviction, he wouldn't let it down. He turned towards the depths of the dungeon and continued to walk forward...