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    Chapter 33: Experience (EXP) Rises

    Do-joon didn’t venture further into the cave.

    There was no guarantee that exploring the cave would lead him upwards. He would be lucky if it wasn’t blocked halfway through.

    ‘I should be able to climb up the cliff.’

    That was the reason Do-joon remained at the entrance.

    Although the cliff looked quite high for climbing, he was confident. Even without professional equipment, his physical abilities had already surpassed the level of an ordinary person, and he could just stick a knife in and climb up, couldn’t he?

    However.

    “Grrrrawr!”

    “They’re here again.”

    He clicked his tongue, frowning.

    The corpses of hunting dogs were piled up around him. Ever since he killed the first one, new ones kept rushing out from inside the cave.

    Ordinary beasts would have realized by now that he was their natural enemy and avoided him, but it seemed that monsters didn’t possess that level of reason.

    “Grrr! Grrr… Ack! Kaack!”

    The Helix hunting dogs charged at him as if they would bite and cling to him until the end of the earth.

    However, after a few swings of Do-joon’s ax, they soon ended up as corpses, just like their comrades.

    Do-joon let out a long sigh and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Even for him, a series of battles with B-grade monsters was quite tiring.

    ‘If only they gathered in groups like orcs, I could kill them all at once.’

    He needed to climb up quickly, but the hunting dogs’ attacks were incessant. Were they gathering after smelling the blood?

    Still, there couldn’t be an infinite number of monsters. If there was even a brief lull, he could climb up right away.

    “Woof woof!”

    At the sound of barking coming from inside, Do-joon sighed and gripped his spear.

    *

    “Hold up the shield and block! Sunhee, shoot ice arrows!”

    “Yes!”

    At that moment, the party led by Kwak Dong-gyu was fortunately advancing safely.

    Helix’s hunting dogs. Once they spotted them, they would rush in without regard for anything.

    First, the tanker would stick a large shield into the ground to stop the charge, and in the meantime, the other party members would unleash their skills to kill them.

    It was a textbook method for dealing with charging monsters.

    Even if it was a B-grade monster, the principle remained the same. Centered around Kwak Dong-gyu’s calm orders, the party members were playing their roles to some extent.

    Of course, the biggest reason they could do so was.

    “Khaaa!”

    Crash!

    Kwak Dong-gyu’s unexpected monstrous strength.

    Kwak Dong-gyu delivered the finishing blow to the hunting dog that was still charging at them, unscathed even after a barrage of skills.

    The hunting dog collapsed, gurgling from the impact that made the air tremble.

    “Oh my god…”

    “Leader, were you always this strong?”

    “To think he’s the same D-rank as us…”

    As they managed to deal with the B-grade monsters one by one thanks to Kwak Dong-gyu’s performance, they gradually found some leeway.

    And they exclaimed in admiration at Kwak Dong-gyu, the cause of it all. If it were normal times, they might have been suspicious, but in this emergency situation, hope took precedence over suspicion.

    The hope that they might be able to return safely.

    ‘Of course not, you idiots.’

    Kwak Dong-gyu inwardly sneered at them.

    Although his grade and achievements were D-rank, his actual compatibility was at the B-rank level. Moreover, he had a skill he kept hidden, Beast Transformation. He was not someone who would be troubled in a dungeon like this.

    “Don’t let your guard down and follow me closely.”

    “Yes!”

    “Understood!”

    Kwak Dong-gyu put on a seemingly reliable expression and looked at everyone. Fortunately, no one seemed to be arbitrarily leaving the group or panicking.

    They completely trusted and followed him, so all that was left was to find a suitable place.

    ‘Opportunities like this are rare.’

    Kwak Dong-gyu earnestly surveyed the surroundings as he progressed.

    Unaware of what he was thinking inside, the party members simply believed him to be a trustworthy leader.

    They didn’t even think that their trust was taking away their judgment and suspicion.

    ‘Did hyung-nim really do such a thing?’

    Meanwhile, Hwang Hyeon-woo was making a sad face in secret.

    As Kwak Dong-gyu said, Do-joon was someone he had only met once a few days ago. It was a valid point that he shouldn’t blindly trust such a person.

    However, didn’t Do-joon risk his life to save him, even though they had only met once? If it weren’t for him, Hwang Hyeon-woo might have been taken away with severe burns all over his body.

    That was the point that kept nagging at Hwang Hyeon-woo’s mind.

    “Here they come again!”

    “Get ready right away!”

    However, there was no room to think deeply.

    Even though Kwak Dong-gyu was performing well, the fact that they were in a B-grade dungeon remained unchanged. It was not a place to be lost in thought.

    One by one.

    The party ran towards the exit, steadily dealing with the monsters. There were dangerous moments, but thanks to Kwak Dong-gyu’s presence, they were able to get by with only minor injuries.

    Finally, when they had almost reached the exit.

    “It’s the boss.”

    At Kwak Dong-gyu’s words, the party members’ faces turned pale again.

    If they could just cross over there, just pass through there, they would be outside.

    But a huge boss monster was guarding the outside like a gatekeeper.

    “Wh-what should we do?”

    The monster had the head of a hunting dog but walked on two legs. It looked like the Minotaur from mythology, but with its head replaced by a dog’s head.

    And thick iron chains were wrapped around its arms. The thickness of those chains alone was thicker than their forearms.

    “Well…”

    “We have to break through there… C-can we get out safely?”

    Kim Sunhee, one of the party members, asked in a trembling voice. Kwak Dong-gyu narrowed his eyes and observed the monster.

    “With that level, it should be roughly possible… Alright… Then, slowly…”

    “Huh? What did you say?”

    Kwak Dong-gyu was muttering to himself. As Kim Sunhee approached and asked again.

    Poof!

    “Huh?”

    Kwak Dong-gyu’s arm pierced through her chest.

    It was an arm that had already taken the form of a beast, no longer human.

    “This seems just about right.”

    Kim Sunhee, who seemed unable to even feel pain due to the sudden situation. Kwak Dong-gyu twisted her neck with a smirk.

    “Wha…!”

    “What is this…!”

    Kim Sunhee collapsed, spewing blood from her neck and chest. The freshly sprayed warm blood drenched Kwak Dong-gyu’s entire body.

    【Beast Transformation】

    【First Derivative Skill – Humans shall be the enemy of beasts.】

    【You have eliminated a human. Experience (EXP) rises.】

    【Compatibility rate has increased.】

    “Heh… This is it. Leveling up is so easy like this.”

    He was lucky.

    In normal dungeons, he could only manage to deal with a couple of people at most while being as discreet as possible.

    It was difficult to handle all party members at once, and if they were wiped out in a low-level dungeon, wouldn’t it be suspicious to anyone?

    But now, it’s different.

    Because it’s an emergency situation. Due to the circumstances of being buried alive, no one can escape, and even if everyone comes out as corpses, no one will find it strange.

    There’s no need to be cautious at all.

    “Wh-what are you doing!”

    Naturally, the party members panicked and took steps back. The reliable leader who had led them this far suddenly thrust a knife at them.

    Moreover, with a bizarre and gruesome appearance they had never seen before.

    Kwak Dong-gyu looked at them and grinned. Then, not only his arm but his entire body began to transform.

    Crunch. Crackle.

    Along with the sound of bones breaking and muscles being kneaded, his body gradually began to transcend human form.

    “Ugh, ah… Aaaaahh!”

    Seeing that, one person lost his mind and tried to run away. Seeing that, Kwak Dong-gyu lightly kicked the ground.

    Boom!

    His figure shot up and plunged into the back of the fleeing person.

    Crack!

    With the sound of the spine breaking, blood spurted from the escapee’s mouth. It was blood redder than lava.

    “Hic…”

    Someone slumped to the ground. Not only that, but the others couldn’t even think of running away.

    “D-don’t tell me, even hyung-nim…”

    “So what are you going to do about it?”

    Hwang Hyeon-woo also muttered with a face as dark as death. When Do-joon was mentioned, Kwak Dong-gyu felt momentarily displeased. However, he soon relaxed his expression and spoke. After all, that bastard wasn’t here anyway.

    Hwang Hyeon-woo glanced back. Behind him was the boss holding chains, and in front of him was Kwak Dong-gyu, transformed into a monster.

    A situation of being trapped between a rock and a hard place.

    As if thinking the same, the party’s tanker Park Seok-joon lay flat on the ground. And he began to beg.

    “P-please spare me! Please spare my life! I have a girlfriend outside who I promised to marry…”

    “Sorry, but.”

    Kwak Dong-gyu placed his foot on his head. And then.

    Squish!

    He crushed it by stepping on it.

    【You have eliminated a human. Experience (EXP) rises.】

    “I don’t have the taste for listening to such stories.”

    Kwak Dong-gyu growled in satisfaction while looking at the message that his experience had risen.

    “Aaaaah!”

    Hwang Hyeon-woo, half in panic and half in desperation, placed his hands on the ground. Then, thorns rose from the ground and attacked Kwak Dong-gyu.

    Kwak Dong-gyu raised his hand to block the attack. It was a blow aimed at his torso, but at most, it only pierced a hole in his palm.

    ‘Still!’

    The attack worked. If so, wouldn’t there be a way to break through somehow?

    Hwang Hyeon-woo had that hope, but.

    Sssss.

    Soon, he couldn’t close his gaping mouth as he saw Kwak Dong-gyu’s hand regenerate and become intact.

    Seeing that, Kwak Dong-gyu laughed. In his beast transformation state, he had regenerative powers rivaling a troll. Even the wound on his shoulder carved by Do-joon had now completely healed.

    “Come to think of it, you were the one chirping the loudest, weren’t you?”

    Kwak Dong-gyu set his next target as Hwang Hyeon-woo. The guy who had been siding with that bastard Kim Do-joon and annoying him the most.

    He raised his gigantic fist to strike down Hwang Hyeon-woo.

    Bzzt!

    A lightning bolt fell from the sky.

    *

    Taking advantage of the gap when the hunting dogs were no longer rushing in, Do-joon climbed up the cliff. It took longer than expected because the cliff was very high and he wasn’t used to climbing.

    Still, after that, he was able to run smoothly towards the exit. It was because Kwak Dong-gyu’s party, who had gone ahead, had dealt with all the hunting dogs.

    Thinking that everyone was still safe, Do-joon ran to the exit. However, what he witnessed there was.

    The party members were being trampled by some monster.

    [Kwak Dong-gyu]

    Compatibility

    – 49%

    He could immediately identify the monster. Because his name was visible in his Insight.

    Seeing the guy about to attack another person, Do-joon hurriedly took out his lightning spear and threw it.

    Swoosh!

    The spear flew through the air and struck the guy’s shoulder. The spear crackled, inflicting lightning damage.

    The guy staggered and retreated. Fortunately, he succeeded in separating him for now.

    “Hyung!”

    Hwang Hyeon-woo shouted, looking this way with tearful eyes. Do-joon quickly assessed the situation.

    Do-joon’s brows furrowed slightly upon seeing that several people had already been attacked.

    “You bastard!”

    Kwak Dong-gyu had recovered again in the meantime. Even though his shoulder was pierced and even zapped by electricity, all his wounds had healed.

    The guy slammed the ground with both hands and jumped. His massive body fell, targeting Do-joon.

    Crash!

    Do-joon barely managed to roll to the side and avoid it. The ground where he had been standing was completely crushed and shattered, leaving a small crater.

    The guy immediately stood up and charged at Do-joon. And he swung his arms wildly.

    Swish! Swish!

    Clang!

    Do-joon avoided the guy’s arms, deflected them with his spear, and stepped back. He had higher agility stats than the guy and even had a speed boost buff.

    As Do-joon wriggled like a loach, refusing to be caught, Kwak Dong-gyu’s eyes lit up.

    “How long do you think you can run away!”

    At that moment, Do-joon abruptly stopped. Something had grabbed his ankle. When he looked back, his own shadow had risen and bound his ankle.

    He had a skill like this too!

    “Hahahaha!”

    As Do-joon stopped, Kwak Dong-gyu laughed like a madman and clawed at Do-joon.

    Do-joon reacted swiftly. He took out a short knife and scratched the beast’s arm that was clawing at him.

    “Kekeke! What can a few scratches do!”

    Do-joon took a couple of steps back to gain distance. Blood kept flowing from the deep wound on his chest.

    [The effect of Regeneration (High) is applied.]

    “…I saw earlier that your regenerative power is quite remarkable.”

    Do-joon asked, glancing at the message from the corner of his eye. It was about what happened earlier when he was unscathed even after being directly hit by the lightning spear that could kill B-grade monsters.

    When he brought that up, Kwak Dong-gyu laughed.

    “Yeah. That spear must be your secret weapon or something, right? Unfortunately, that level of injury is nothing to me!”

    “Then what about that wound on your arm?”

    “What?”

    Only then did Kwak Dong-gyu look at his own arm.

    The wound that Do-joon had just scratched with his knife. That wound, which was nothing more than a scratch, showed no signs of healing at all.

    “Wh-what is this?”

    Kwak Dong-gyu was startled by the incomprehensible situation. While he was flustered, Do-joon aimed his spear and threw it again.

    “Ugh!”

    Once again, the guy couldn’t dodge. Should I say he didn’t even think of dodging? It was because he had never fought against a hunter of the same level, and he usually relied on his super regeneration and charged recklessly.

    “Aaaargh!”

    Kwak Dong-gyu was zapped again.

    With this blow, the tide turned. Do-joon didn’t let go of the offensive he had seized.

    He occasionally threw lightning spears and took out various weapons from his inventory, stabbing them into the guy’s body. Spears, swords, axes, he used everything he had.

    “You son of a btch! Bstard!”

    Kwak Dong-gyu tried to counterattack somehow, but to no avail. Do-joon stabbed knives into Kwak Dong-gyu with the eyes of a hunter hunting a giant beast.

    And finally.

    Squish!

    With the Kuzika tribe’s axe, he struck down on the guy’s head. With weapons stuck in his body like a hedgehog and his head split open, no creature could endure it.

    “Ugh, ugh, ughhh…”

    Thud!

    The guy’s massive body fell to the ground. Only then could Do-joon finally catch his breath.

    【You have eliminated a beast. Experience (EXP) rises.】

    A message window popped up at that moment. A question rose on Do-joon’s face. A beast? Kwak Dong-gyu was human, though?

    However, the shocking item that appeared next made the trivial question disappear.

    【Skill Rune】

    A skill rune, which only occasionally, very rarely drops from monsters, had popped out of Kwak Dong-gyu’s corpse.

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