Jun felt exhilarated. He couldn't wipe the smile in his face while walking the streets. He sent Nik a message to stay and guard the area then made his way back to the compound. He greeted everyone who talked to him and stopped by Evo's room.
"Close the door and leave. I am extremely busy." Evo said before he could even say anything.
"Chill bro. Why are you acting like this? I'm here to bring you out to get some levels. Can't you appreciate me for a bit?" Jun said with a smile.
"Oh gosh... there's that thing too," Evo said while clutching his head. "Can I not come?"
"Extra stats in wits gives you better control of energy. Besides, you can't rely on stat gems for everything. You need to level up too. I'll go get Grandma Teresa, be downstairs. We'll be waiting at the entrance. By the way, can you hire a jeepney? I have no connections to the drivers here, and me asking them would be a bit hard on their part." Jun said.
"I'll just save my things then I'll head downstairs. We don't need to hire jeepneys, the bus just got renovated this afternoon. I didn't have time to get it, but now should be a good time. The problem is, who knows how to drive a bus?"
Jun pondered for a bit, then answered: "I have someone in mind. I'll talk to him after getting ready. Bye."
Jun left and searched for Grandma Teresa and Chloe. They weren't on the second floor nor the first floor, so he asked around where he could find them.
Apparently, the kids wanted a break from studying and wanted to help in the vegetable garden.
Jun arrived at the vegetable garden seeing Paterno learning farming from old farmer Felipe. The two were having a good time since they were interested in plants.
Dyna and Grandma Teresa were watching over two little girls playing around the garden.
"Grandma, we need to go to the dungeon now," Jun said after walking closer. "Have you forgotten already?"
Grandma Teresa smiled at him. "You're the one who forgot. Here I was waiting for you the whole day. You even managed to hoodwink me to follow you. Don't you think it's too late already? Should we postpone this for tomorrow?"
"It's other people's turn to enter the mines tomorrow. If we miss today, then we need to enter the Cemetery dungeon instead. It's better hunting rats than carriers. Besides, I didn't forget our appointment. I purposely waited until it got darker since monsters became weaker at night."
"Okay, okay. Do I need to bring anything?" Grandma Teresa asked.
"No, I have everything taken care of." Jun's eyes met with Dyna and they smiled at one another. He then looked around and found Felipe and Paterno staring at him.
"How are you doing Old Felipe? Is everything good?" Jun asked.
"Yeah, everything's alright. I have a good boss, the people are kind, I and my son are well taken care of. We're even allowed to enter dungeons when we're free. And you know, after laying seeds and taking care of pests. farming has a lot of downtimes, so I have a lot of me-time."
Jun smiled at him and refrained from saying that he knew about the event where the watering-can almost got stolen. He turned to Paterno and raised his hand as if greeting a friend. "Sup~ I remember that you know how to drive the bus, is that correct?"
Paterno stared at Jun for a few seconds before responding. "Yes, I was the one who parked it to be used as a defense. Is there anything I could do for you?"
"Would you like to become the official driver for Black Haven? I think you know how to drive most types of vehicles. Heck, you can even drive firetrucks!"
Grandma Teresa, "Jun, language!"
Paterno thought about the matter for a second before he answered. "I can't leave Judy alone."
Instead of answering, Jun turned to the side and stared at the adopted little girl, Judy.
"Have you heard of the new variant mosquitoes?" Jun said loudly then turned back to Paterno, before whispering, "Do you think you can protect her every time? You need to give her the strength to defend herself, not to overly rely on you. You're already experienced and you know how the world works. The world is filled with irregularities. We can't say what might happen tomorrow or today. Do you want her to remain clueless of what was happening, or do you want to prepare her for the worst?"
With Jun's words, Paterno was reminded of what happened to his granddaughter. The terrible events made him shook his head, and when he turned to Judy, he couldn't help but hear her cries of help filled with terror.
"I-I'll drive the bus. Can we also enter the mines? The giant rats on the first floor are weak, right?" Paterno answered and asked certain things for verification.
"Yeah, you can come. The more people entering the dungeon, the more mobs respawn. If you take care of the numbers on the floor, there should be no problems. The only problem that can happen is when a mutation occurs when giant rats eat each other to evolve. So you're coming?" Jun asked for confirmation and so Paterno nodded his head.
"I have to pass since I have a lot of plants to water. Go and enjoy the day!" said Felipe then walked away.
Jun informed Paterno that the bus just got reinforced with plates and was parked at TESDA.
Paterno nodded as a confirmation then turned to Judy. "Stay with Chloe, okay? I'll be back in a minute."
"Be careful~" Judy waved her hand and stuck closer to Chloe.
The group waited at the entrance of the compound. With Jun at the front, the group immediately attracted quite a bit of onlooker. Evo arrived later exactly five minutes after Jun informed him.
Several minutes later, Anna arrived together with Erin and Emman. Takaw mostly stayed at the compound since he and Anna do not seem to understand each other. After learning about the event, Anna's group chose to help and volunteered to come with them.
The bus arrived a minute later and parked in front of the compound. The gate opened and everyone got on board, allowing a fast loading and transition to idling and moving forward. Jamie's group of friends happily chatted on the way to the dungeon.
At the Northern Plains, Nik was busy directing the crowd. He felt exhausted dealing with numerous questions that he doesn't know the answer to.
Why can you enter the altar? Why can't we enter it? People usually move along after he explained he doesn't know, but there were a few who likes to quarrel uselessly. If it weren't for the reputation he had to uphold, he would have answered back a long time ago.
He saw a shadow of a bus crossing the bridge in the distance towards the northern part of the town. A bad feeling dawned upon him but he wasn't sure what it is.
Jun's group arrived at the Northern Mine. Since it was Black Haven's scheduled day to enter the mines, there were a few scavengers fighting giant rats inside. The scavengers only learned this afternoon that gold prices doubled this morning. They were late to the action but they didn't stop ad tried their best to earn some money while earning safe XP.
Jun of course would never take their spot, so he led everyone deeper into the mines. Giant Rats are weak and easy to kill. The problem was that they respawn in large groups giving trouble to anyone who wasn't prepared.
Thanks to the Titalerite gems etched on the walls, a blue light shone the corridors brightly. They continued walking and before everyone noticed it, they were already on the second floor of the mines.
Paterno was the first to react. "Shouldn't we stay on the first floor? It's not safe for the girls to be down here already."
"You saw it yourself. There's already a group upstairs. We have a large group and we can't take their kills. Besides, there are only straight corridors here. We can defend everyone if we put the inexperienced members at the center."
Paterno had been with Jun for some time. He knew Jun's strengths and knew that the strategy they were using has already been proven. He reluctantly agreed and stayed back to protect the back line.
Currently, the formation is Jun and Evo at the front, Jamie's group follow behind them, Grandma Teresa's group of kids, and Paterno at the rear guard.
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