Author: Gumi

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The tapping sound on the wall, rhythmically knocking like a drumbeat, was oddly cheerful in contrast to the situation.

Of course, no one found the sound enjoyable.

As all attention turned to the dim hallway, Evie stealthily moved away from the crowd in dread of harm if she stayed among them.

“Yek-! What the… Ahh!”

Suddenly, a strong hand grabbed Evie’s back and threw her forward.

Evie soared through the air for several meters and crashed hard onto the ground. Large and small shards of glass tore through her clothes and pierced her bare skin.

Running footsteps echoed. Evie barely lifted her head and saw the party leader hastily fleeing in the opposite direction from the humming.

The party members, briefly stunned, soon chased after the leader. The sound of laughing could be heard nearby.

Evie gritted her teeth and used the wall to push herself up.

A large glass shard was embedded in her knee, causing too much pain to walk.

Though injuries were an everyday occurrence raiding dungeons, it didn’t make her accustomed to suffering.

Evie limped toward where her party members had headed.

“They came in again.”

Evie’s shoulders tensed.

It was a low, melodious voice, but to Evie, it only struck fear. Evie unconsciously looked behind but halted and changed direction. Following the party members was impossible in her state anyway.

Even if she miraculously joined them, there was a greater chance of being used as bait like before.

Fortunately, there was a room right ahead.

Evie hurried into the room, doing her best to stifle any noise.

Despite her efforts, she couldn’t avoid making noises stepping on broken lab tools scattered on the floor.

The monster muttered.

“So many test subjects.”

Frantically scanning the room, Evie spotted a desk in the corner and crawled underneath it.

Even though hiding like this would be pointless, Evie no longer had any space in mind for rational thinking.

All that mattered now was concealing herself from the monster.

“Where did you hide?”

The monster’s voice invaded her ears.

Her heart pounded fiercely as if it would burst out. It felt like her heart was thumping directly in her ears. Evie covered her mouth with both hands and closed her eyes tightly.

Her entire body shook uncontrollably.

“Where are you hiding? Where are you hiding?~~”

The monster continued to hum and mutter to itself. Evie whimpered in fear, tears streaming down her cheeks.

The sound of her party members running echoed from across the hallway.

She hated and resented them deeply.

Despite her efforts to not become a burden, in the end, she was abandoned again. Thrown away like a useless load, used as bait.

Hurried footsteps rang in her ears – of the monster and the former party members.

‘—No, wait.’

Her mind raced. 

With a moment’s respite, the fear consuming Evie’s mind subsided as [Calmness] was activated, restoring her composure.

It allowed her to think about something other than her impending death. 

It was strange.

At least a minute must have passed, but she could still hear the footsteps of the people who had pushed her aside earlier. But as Evie straightened her hunched body, she soon had to hold her breath again.

“Hmm?”

The monster’s voice resonated throughout the room. Forcing herself to calm her trembling body and biting her lip until it bled to suppress any sound.

Knock, knock, knock.

Luckily, the monster knocked on the door to Evie’s hiding place a few times and walked past.

“Here, last.”

With its torn mouth, the monster drew a twisted grin and murmured low as if whispering so that Evie, hiding inside, couldn’t hear.

As the footsteps faded somewhat, Evie exhaled the breath she had been holding.

‘What do I do now? How can I escape here alive?’

Evy swallowed hard, trying to organize her foggy thoughts.

It was rare, but once a dungeon accessible via the Second Gate appeared, it would usually be tackled by a team of high-rank hunters, including S-rank.

‘If I can endure until those hunters come… maybe I can survive?’

However, Evie fell into despair again as the dungeon’s clear conditions she had seen earlier came to mind.

No, thinking about it, that wasn’t a clear condition.

▫️ Survival condition: Find the exit within the time limit.

The description said ‘survival’. Not ‘clear’.

And below that…

Gate closed and Status System terminated if time expires

Then Evie cannot hope for the raiding team’s help.

How could they enter a gate that was closed, vanishing from sight?

‘Could it be that until now, the Second Gate occurring in dungeons below D-level has never been reported… because the gate itself is closed and passes unnoticed?’

Evie dropped her head into her shaking hands.

 

Why did I think so carelessly?

If I was nervous, I shouldn’t have come in the first place. I should have gone home, not doubting the skills I gained hours earlier.

I shouldn’t have risked my life for such a sum of money. I should have paid the penalty fee instead of entering this place. What is money compared to my life? I could endure financial difficulties temporarily.

 

Moreover, the forced termination of the system service…The status window and system hunters gained upon awakening were the source of their power.

Without that system, hunters would be nothing more than ordinary humans.

Then what chance was there for an ordinary human like Evie to survive here? Even as an E-rank hunter, her chance was already 0%.

‘It’s over. I’m going to die here.’

The tears that had stopped thanks to [Calmness] started flowing again.

Muffled sobs leaked out her lips.

“G-garhhh!”

“Fuck…what the…ah, when, when, c-cough…”

“——!”

Evie gasped for breath.

The sounds of flesh tearing and blood splattering felt as if right beside her ear.

The dying breaths of those who had raided the dungeon with her 10 minutes ago resonated vividly.

Evie hunched her body even more.

She covered her ears and tightly shut her eyes.

People were screaming in agony as they met horrific deaths.

“You bastard! Are you fucking using me as bait?!”

“Gck- die, will you just die already?!”

“Shit! Steel shield! Charge…!”

“I- Iyaaak! Kyeok!”

The horrifying chaos outside quickly subsided, astonishingly fast.

It was never a fair fight to begin with. D, E, and F rank hunters against an A-level dungeon’s boss monster.

Even enduring for a few seconds was an enormous feat.

“Ah, don’t come, don’t come! Ahhh…!”

Even the leader, who uttered a few words in a trembling voice, let out a final agonized scream. The monster exhaled deeply and muttered as if in ecstasy.

“Haah… Red is indeed beautiful.”

“Sto… stop it…”

Evie tightened her grip on the hands covering her ears. Though they had intended to use her as bait, she didn’t want them to die like that. Nor did she want to hear their dying voices any longer.

The monster laughed eerily.

And then the sound of butchery followed. Evie simply hoped that the leader’s breath would be cut off instantly.

The prolonged noise of rending flesh suddenly stopped.

The monster muttered to itself.

“Oh, this won’t do. I need to do research. Test subjects are precious. I’m so worried.”

Tapping on the wall, it slowly approached the room Evie was hiding in. Besides holding her breath, there was nothing Evie could do.

A few seconds passed, and the door to Evie’s hiding place emitted a squeaking sound.

The monster deliberately opened the already ajar door further.

“It’s been so long since I dissected something.

Head first or chest first? Oh, yes! I’ll preserve it as a specimen once I’m done.”

Glass shards crunched under the monster’s feet.

Placing a hand on Evie’s hiding desk, it spoke in a low voice.

“Where could you be hiding? The smallest one.”

Creak—

The old desk struggled as the monster leaned in. When the creaking subsided, Evie mustered her courage, slowly straightened her hunched body, and sneakily opened her tightly shut eyes.

That moment. The monster’s head suddenly dropped down.

“There  you are.”

“……!”

Evie froze in place. Her limbs shook madly. The only noise coming from her throat was a choking sound.

The monster grinned widely, pulling its torn lips up, and grabbed Evie’s ankle, dragging her out from under the desk.

Under the dim fluorescent lights, the monster’s appearance was revealed.

Its body was gigantic, reaching the ceiling, and the bandages wrapped around its eyes were soaked red. Its white coat was drenched in blood, appearing nearly dark crimson, and the muscles beneath were hugely bulged as if about to burst.

Its neck bore numerous visible needle marks.

The monster with bluish skin dragged Evie outside by her ankle, its torn lips curled up to its cheeks.

“Aaah! No, no…!”

Desperately resisting being pulled, Evie clawed the floor with her fingernails.

Her nails broke against sharp debris. Her clothes and skin tore and scraped, but pain wasn’t the concern at hand.

Evie was on the verge of being ripped apart by the mad monster.

“Let go! Let go, you bastard…!”

Struggling with all her strength, she writhed and scraped the floor, bursting into tears like a child.

Her face had long been stained with tears. Evie cried pitifully, suddenly inhaled sharply, and squeezed her eyes shut.

The corpses of her party members were strewn across the hallway. Each one looked utterly tragic. Among them, those whose throats had been slit seemed relatively intact.

Though she didn’t vomit, the acrid bile rose dangerously in her throat.

Exhausted, Evie could only weakly be dragged without resisting further with her nails.

Soon, she would become no different from them.

No, perhaps her state would become even more gruesome.

Evie wondered if now was the time to bite her tongue off.

“We’ve arrived.”

The monster dragged Evie to a spacious room that looked like a lab. 

Only this room had full power.

Bright fluorescent lights illuminated the space, letting Evie see its details.

On one side of the lab were preserved specimens of unknown organisms floating in transparent liquid, and in the middle were several operating tables.

Around them laid various surgical tools that Evie did not wish to know the uses.

“Come now, up you go.”

The monster tenderly placed Evie on the operating table, laying her down and restraining her wrists and ankles with short shackles. Evie bit her lip, trying not to cry.

She silently wished it would kill her without pain.

The monster hummed while rummaging through the surgical tools.

“What should I use? Hmm, I need to cut you nicely for the specimen.”

It was then.

In Evie’s teary vision, a system window appeared, accompanied by congratulatory sound effects despite the situation.

Conditions fulfilled

Enchantment S now can be activated

Enchantment S
Mesmerizes a specific target, bypassing all defense-type skills. (Limited to other races, one-time use)
▫️ Activates under certain conditions
▫️ Duration: Permanent

“You s-son of a bitch…! Hic!”

Reading the system message, Evie sobbed and released her pent-up emotions.

A skill only usable on the verge of death – it really couldn’t be any shittier condition.

Evie sobbingly cursed every type of profanity she knew.

“Hmm, this will do.”

To the monster, Evie’s sobbing voice mixed with sorrow and anger sounded like the squeaking of a tiny mouse.

When the monster turned towards her, holding a circular saw, Evie’s spirits sank. This was not the time to curse the system while searching for all kinds of insults.

There was no time to waste. 

The mad monster was approaching to tear Evie’s flesh.

Evie was terrified and screamed in terror.

“Aaaaaah, [Enchantment]!”

The circular saw that had just about to touch Evie’s forehead abruptly stopped.

Watching the frantically rotating saw close to her face with wide eyes, Evie’s breath caught.

The saw emitting grating sounds was slowly moving further away. Sobs escaped through her gasps.

Click.

A button was pressed, and the noise ceased. The horrifying tool that was about to tear through Evie’s skin and split her skull returned to its original position.

Evie shuddered all over, watching the monster cautiously.

The only thing audible in the quiet lab was Evie sobbing.

As she opened and closed her eyes, tears spilled down her cheeks.

‘…Am I alive? Is it over now?

Did I survive?’

The monster simply stared down at Evie in silence. Not having the courage to look up at it, Evie lowered her gaze as much as possible.

Having cried so much, her hiccups wouldn’t stop. As unease slowly filled her due to the monster’s silence, a system message appeared before Evie’s eyes.

Achievement Unlocked

First Achievement

It is almost impossible to develop affection for a being from another dimension. However, the mad lab director, Gillen Landis, has fallen in love with you. He will never harm you under any circumstances and wishes to be with you eternally.

Reward: Lab Map (exit and shortest escape route marked)

Evie’s eyes widened.

She read the system message repeatedly. The map of this building transformed into a dungeon. On it were marked the exit and shortest escape route.

So, if what it said was true…there was a way for her to survive and escape this dungeon alive?

Evie’s thoughts stopped as she felt warmth on her cheeks. 

Startled, Evie fearfully shifted her gaze to the monster. According to the system, this monster’s name was Gillen Landis.

Author's Thoughts

Sorry for the late update.

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Comments (5)

  1. Nem tünt fel evenek hogy Gillen Landisnek milyen vonzalma van. Alig várom a folytatást.

  2. Amúgy kiváncsi vagyok hogy az utód kire fog hajazni, sikerüle valaha kijutni? Elég izgalmas. De kiváncsi vagyok hogyan látja igazából Gillen Landis a történteket, miért örűlt meg.