Dungeon Diver: Stealing A Monster's Power - C.239


I stare off into the thick blue fog ahead of me as we take our break after finishing the 4th 3-hour farming session.

My teammates are all waiting around nearby, eating food and getting ready for what's to come next.

I can feel the boss room portal nearby, but there isn't much point in venturing any closer to it right now. We'll take that step once it's time to leave.

In that last run, I hit level 460. The improvement in my mana control isn't as drastic as my teammates, but it has become noticeable. A mutant Ogre can be taken out in just 1 hit if I concentrate.

After stretching my arms and letting out a long yawn, I turn to my teammates.

"So how are we feeling? Up for more or-"

I'm cut off by a white glow that appears beside Abby in a pile of food, water, and loot.

It's her transmission tablet.

The small silver tablet Is vibrating against the hard rock she sits on and creates an annoying buzz.

Abby looks down at the silver contraption while picking it up, then looks back at me.

"I have a feeling our decision is about to be made for us..."

It shakes in her hand, and the white glow gets brighter and brighter. All 4 corner crystals begin to blink and shine until she answers the call.

"Hello? Director? It's Abby, what's with the urgent news?"

There's a long pause.

I take a step closer to listen. Maria and Aire start to walk in closer as well.

Then, a woman's voice comes out of the metal box.

"Brutus is out for the time being, I'll be the one updating you from now on."

The smooth familiar voice of the blond-haired assistant with the lie-detector skill comes out of the small silver magic item moments later.

I clench my fist at the sound of her voice. Whatever she's calling about, it can't be good...

She continues.

"You're all needed at the Solara Labyrinth in exactly 18 hours. We've organized a raid in the morning with all able C-Class hunters or higher hunters in the area."

Abby replies with a stern tone.

"A raid? So there's more people here than just us and those two scouts? Who else are we working with? Our last run-in with locals dissent exactly go smoothly."

Another pause follows, then the woman's voice projects from the small silver box again.

"Indeed. There was word of a small mixup in DryRock, but it shouldn't be an issue. We've arranged to temporarily work with the Solaran Government, they'll be sending out some of their top-rated hunters to join us on the raid."

I nod hesitantly, thinking to myself.

If they couldn't handle it themselves by now, I'm not sure just how effective these Solaran top hunters will really be. Also... I'm finding it increasingly hard to believe they're just going to let go of the damages done in DryRock.

Even if it was their fault to begin with, they will most definitely push the blame on us...

The female assistant continues.

"The support teams may not be able to help with the final boss fight, but help in numbers will be very effective on the lower floors.'

There's another long, awkward pause before she continues.

"The Director has put a lot of faith in the 4 of you. Please, make it to the Section 4 capital before daybreak tomorrow. There will be a squad waiting to greet you in the lobby of the Tower of Dreams. I hope you'll be able to find it.

Arie smirks, then replies.

"I know exactly where the Tower of Dreams is. Right beside the Tower of Strength and behind the Tower of Light."

She replies.

"Excellent. We've left a re-stock of MP and HP potions for you if necessary, so don't feel like you need to save any up for the mission. Use whatever is necessary to take out the 5th dungeon break swiftly and be on your way."

There's a click and the transmission tablet stops glowing completely.

All four crystals go dark and the assistant's voice stops coming through.

I look around at my teammates, to see they're all very visually tired. I think the confirmation that we need to be leaving soon set us all off.

My eyes are threatening to shut during breaks and my reaction time during battle is most definitely slowing.

There's still an immense power gap between the Ogres in the dungeon and myself, so it's not much of a problem, but facing a mutant boss in this state would still be risky.

Maria speaks up to all of us.

"Do we really have to leave? We could get so much stronger here if we just stayed a little longer. It feels like a waste to abandon this dungeon just because the Association says so."

Arie replies after a long yawn.

"I agree, but we need to get to Solara by daybreak. By the urgency of these calls, it seems like need all the help they can get. Even if we leave right now and travel at full speed, 18 hours is a tight deadline."

Abby begins to speak but bites her lower lip and stares at the floor.

We're all thinking the same thing...

We want to get stronger, but there's a lot on the line here.

I have a plan, but it includes asking Ember for help. So to keep my teammates out of it, they'll have to be left in the dark a little bit.

It's for the better.

"I have an idea... but It won't make much sense. We can make it to Solara on time and farm the dungeon to its full potential.

Abby looks up.

"W-What do you mean? What is it?"

I step closer, scratching my chin.

"Well, the three of you could start heading over now and I'll farm this dungeon for another half a day. I can bring the remaining shards to Solara before the morning. I have a way to make it there quickly and quietly, but I can't bring anyone else along."

The green-haired healer looks at me with a confused, yet curious stare. Then, Maria chimes in without any hesitation.

"That sounds like a good plan to me! If Jay says he can do it, then Jay can do it."

Arie speaks next.

"I know you can travel fast with that wind ability, but do you know the way? Even with a map, the desert isn't always easy to navigate."

I reply with a shrug.

"Just... travel north right?"

He lets out a laugh.

"I- mean I guess so, there is a border up north, so you can't really overshoot the capital. You'll just have to walk along the abyss until you find the city."

He looks up in the blue-tinted dungeon sky, then uncrosses his arms, putting them on his waist then turning back to me.

"Yeah, I guess you can't miss it. I trust you'll find your way. You always do."

The archer and Maria both look at Abby, waiting for her response. She tightens her lips and lets out a sigh.

"If you're positive you can farm a considerable amount of shards and still make it back to us in time, then sure. It works for me too. I am... looking forward to getting some sleep. So I'm not exactly upset about this arrangement."

She shows me an exhausted grin, then walks over and throws a hand on my shoulder.

"Take us back when you're ready."

Although Abby's power heals MP and HP instantly, also negating any mana fatigue, there seems to be one thing it can't restore.

Natural sleep.

Maria grabs onto my other shoulder.

"I'm ready when you are too, I'm looking forward to taking a long rest too."

Arie rolls his eyes and walks over, placing one hand on my right arm.

"Looks like I'm taking the first waking shift to make sure we're on course. I'll sleep eventually."

Both Maria and Abby laugh as I teleport us back to the dungeon start point to find the exit portal.

The moment we make it back, we're all caught off guard by the landscape.... It's completely covered in thick blue magical fog just like where we left.

It's almost impossible to see further than 100 meters away.

Apparently, my predictions from earlier were correct. The mana in the air wasn't just getting denser because we traveled further into the dungeon, the entire break's atmosphere is changing.

I whisper under my breath.

"I knew it... we don't have much time to farm this break either way."

The 4 of us step out, back into the open desert, and I see the red portal swirling much more violently than it was before.

More and more blue dungeon mass is being spewed from the edges of the rings and dissolving into the open air. An audible hum of mana can be heard from the outside matching the hum of mana that could be heard from within.

The break has gotten considerably worse since we entered...

The sun is rising, and the hint of day's heat is starting to creep over the horizon. The sandy ground beneath our feet is still cool from the night, but it won't be for long.

My team gets situated on their camels, and I wave them off, swearing I'll meet them before they even make it to Solara.

Arie takes both of the reigns, leading the camels as I watch both Abby and Maria drift off to sleep before they even leave my field of view.

I watch them head off into the open desert, then turn back to the blood-red Dungeon portal behind me.

I re-enter the Blue Ogre break, then open my item storage to let Ember stretch his wings.

"Welcome back, we have some work to do."