Dungeons Online Chapter 1
"Welcome to Dungeons Online!"
A huge sign floating in the middle of the hallway shone upon Tom's face. He saw it many times; he had many chances to get used to it but he never did. The sight was just too magnificent.
"New players, please head to the briefing room!" Tom's ears rang with the metallic voice of the AI as soon as he made his way inside.
'Thank God I don't need to bother with it now,' Tom thought while looking at his former classmates lining up before the room mentioned by the AI.
"Tom! Wait!" An unpleasant voice rang in the young man's ears. Its authoritarian tone was enough to repulse anyone who heard it.
"What the hell do you want?" Tom turned around to face the owner of the voice. "We are no longer on the school grounds. If you think," before Tom could finish, he saw a fist flying towards his face.
Tom replied with a strike of his own. Yet, it didn't turn into a brawl at all. Tom allowed the attack to slide off his own arm. Then, Tom struck his opponent squarely in the middle of his chest.
"Who do you think you are- ARGH!" Tom's opponent started his routine speech, but he wasn't given the chance to finish it. At first, with his solar plexus smashed, he lost all the air in his lungs, rendering him unable to finish his words. Then, as the bully finally regained his breath, his face twisted and his hand rested on his chest.
'Broken ribs can be painful, are they not?' Tom thought while smiling at his own thoughts. Then his smile soured as the reality dawned back on him.
Tom pulled out his membership card. "Emergency, low priority call, the main hallway," he said directly to the small device before hiding it back in his pocket.
"We are not on the school grounds anymore, babe." Tom kneeled on one knee in front of the face of his former bully. "Your bitch of a mother won't help you out here," said Tom, while gracing the bastard with an ironic smile.
The siren of the emergency services forced Tom out of his moment of entertainment. He stood up before looking towards the approaching paramedic and raising his hand.
"Sir, are you?" started the medic, before stealing a glance at the man on the floor. At this point, Tom could see various onlookers gathering around and forming a sizable crowd.
"Everything is recorded on my card. Will report to the office later on," Tom said while pulling out his card once again. The medic noticed his action and grabbed Tom's card before touching it to his own. The doctor nodded his head when both cards flashed with a dim light before returning Tom's property to his hands. "You are free to go, sir."
'Now that I think about it, isn't today the first time I can earn?' Tom asked himself while moving a few steps away and pressing his card to open the doors to the playroom.
It was a huge, brightly illuminated room, filled with nothing but stationary capsules. Outside of its gentle, curved edges, every capsule bore a striking resemblance to a coffin. 'And to a degree, they are coffins,' thought Tom while falling into a philosophical mood.
But it didn't prevail for long.
Tom moved forward in long strides. He couldn't even bother to look at the markings of each row and column, reaching his usual spot in just under a minute.
'I wonder if I should reveal my level,' Tom questioned himself. 'While there are certainly many drawbacks, I would kill for a personal capsule,' thought Tom as determination filled his eyes Only to fade away in the very next moment.
'As if that would ever happen.' Tom's mood improved a little as he inserted the card to the interface beside his station. With a silent noise of the hydraulics, the lid of the coffin slid open, revealing the interior of the complex machine.
Taking his entire outer outfit out, Tom slid inside, quickly reaching for the special handle of the lid. He then closed it with one swift move before grabbing a special mouthpiece and pressing it against his face. One more press of a button and the lights filled Tom's vision while a thick, warm liquid poured inside the coffin-like usual.
'A burial of the player, what a lovely sight to be' Tom smiled as his vision wavered and washed away while singing a popular tune under his nose. Replaced with nothing but nothingness, he was now primed for connection.
"Link connect," said Tom to the mouthpiece, losing his consciousness afterward.
By the time he woke up, the whiteness didn't cease, but reformed itself into a spacious hall. Filled to the brim with androgynous, naked people with exactly the same features, a lobby of the Dungeon's Online presented itself to Tom's eyes.
'Maybe I should finally enter some party?' Tom pondered while making his way towards the enormous gate at the opposite end of the lobby. 'Now that both of my reasons for not doing so are null, maybe it's not that bad of an idea after all,' Tom encouraged himself just as he reached the gate.
There were no servants to open it up. Yet, as Tom made a step that would force his leg against the massive doors, they pried open. Another step, and Tom's vision faltered once again, only to re-establish itself with a brand fresh sight.
Tom stood right in the middle of a long, stone corridor. The only light came from rows of candles hanging from the walls and creating an eerie atmosphere in this place.
"I hate this light." Tom softly muttered. He squinted his eyes before taking a deep breath and gradually releasing it. For each bit of air leaving Tom's lungs, one of his avatar's muscles relaxed. By the time his routine was over, Tom was perfectly aware of the state of his avatar.
"Well, let's not waste time," said Tom while pushing his body forward. He focused his full attention on his hand, snapped his pinky against his thumb and then shouted, "Everblaze!"
All at once, his body covered in flames.
For a moment, Tom couldn't even see what was in front of him because of fires covering his eyes. In the end, it took only a moment for the fires to settle.
Once Tom regained his vision, his skin and clothes continued to burn, producing a liquid fire that spilt into a huge pond wherever Tom placed his feet.
And with this relatively weak passive skill activated, Tom pushed forward with confidence.
*You have slain a slime!*
*You have slain a slime!*
*You have slain a slime!*
Tom moved through the dungeon, basing on his memory alone. Because of the nature of the dungeon, every time he would go to exp on lower floors, he would pass through each floor in between. And right now, the path to the boss' room was already ingrained in Tom's soul.
*You have slain a slime!*
'What a pity,' thought Tom while watching at the burning remains of the monster. 'In every game so far, there would be some loot or reward for killing the mobs, but here?' Tom whined in his thoughts before looking forward.
*You have slain a squire slime!*
'Pre-boss is done, so now for the cutscene' thought Tom while resting his back against the wall. And a few moments later, a giant slime made its appearance.
Its body dripped down from the ceiling. From long, pointy stalactites above Tom, thick droplets of fluid continued to fall, only adding to the monster's mass. Yet, even in its ultimate form, it wouldn't pose any threat to Tom's avatar.
'Now that I think about it,' snapping his middle finger, Tom shouted, "Explosion!"
A gigantic ball of flames materialized before Tom's hand before exploding away. It didn't even need to burn the smile it rushed towards. By the time it was near the monster, the fireball simply evaporated Tom's opponent out of existence.
"The biggest they managed to grow it, was around the seventh level?" Tom asked himself while attempting to recall the recent exploit of one of the noticeable guilds. 'It took them like, I don't know, two weeks?' Tom shook his head in amazement. 'Two weeks of constantly swapping aggro and keeping it safe... Such an insane feat,' Tom thought while finishing as the notification window opened up.
*The rewards will now appear*
Once again, a message appeared on Tom's feed in the corner of his eye.
"Now then, should I celebrate my first income, or should I grind some more?"