I was shocked.
Before I’d noticed, my strength had left my body, and my knees were shaking.
My mind just couldn’t comprehend it.
Nonetheless, the harshness of reality lay right before my eyes.
Elena fell into the lower levels.
It was unbelievable, everything happened so fast.
Some part of me wondered if it was just a cruel joke, yet what had happened was not an illusion.
I couldn’t waste time escaping the reality of the situation.
I gazed down into the hole that had opened itself in front of me.
A chain reaction had occurred from the collapse, so I couldn’t see the bottom even when I’d activated [Night Vision II].
The resulting damage was enormous, with the cross sections of each individual layer clearly visible.
Fighting back the nauseating feeling caused by my anxiety, I propped myself against the wall and stood up.
I began regulating my breathing, in an attempt to calm my nerves; waiting for my racing heart to calm itself.
I needed to be calm at a time like this, panicking would get me nowhere.
The current situation was bad, but it couldn’t be called a worst-case scenario.
Fortunately, Elena had been infected by the virus.
Additionally, more symptoms had been developed inside of her as she fell.
The symptoms themselves were quite powerful, such as those that would enhance physical abilities, stealth abilities to avoid the sight of Demons, and scouting abilities to notice danger before it happened.
Her chances at surviving would be a lot higher than in her original state.
In her current form, Elena would likely be capable of defeating a Troll without any support.
It would be a case-by-case basis, but the fact that abilities had improved was undeniable.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t resort to this due to the side-effect of stunting her growth, but I did not have that luxury.
It was necessary in order to keep Elena alive.
I really hoped she would survive.
Of course, even with the enhancements from the virus, the dungeon’s lower floors were still dangerous.
Elena had fallen without any intel, so I needed to get to her as soon as possible.
I jumped straight into the hole.
There was no time to be careful, so I had to catch onto the ground of each individual layer as I fell.
My gauntlets were ripped apart and I began to bleed, but it didn’t bother me.
These kinds of injuries would quickly heal anyway.
(Where…. Where are you?)
I focused on the scenery that rapidly changed around me, yet there was still no trace of Elena.
The surrounding terrain had become problematic, and the number of junctions decreased.
It seemed like the dungeon’s topography would increase in difficulty the further you went down.
Normally, I would’ve enjoyed the challenge, but right now, it was simply an annoyance.
I’d need to search each side individually for the moment.
With my current symptoms, I wouldn’t be able to locate someone if I didn’t know where to look.
If I knew something like this would happen, I would’ve gathered my abilities.
Usually, I considered myself a universal virus, but that wasn’t true.
I felt ashamed of myself.
(Repenting now isn’t going to change anything…)
I fell into the rubble, halfway between landing and just crashing.
My lungs were choked by a cloud of dust, and my legs felt numb, but none of that mattered.
The symptoms had strengthened my body, so the damage of falling was minimal.
As I looked up through the hole, I saw that the drop down had been a considerable distance.
Roughly estimating, it would’ve been tens of meters, which was equivalent to multiple floors of a building.
The collapse had stopped on this level.
(Normally, this kind of drop would kill you…)
Picking up a rock near my feet, I threw it towards the passage nearby.
The first order of business was to remove all of the rubble to make sure nobody had ended up being buried alive.
[Presence Detection I] hadn’t picked up anything, but I wanted to be certain.
I didn’t want to end up with a corpse on my hands.
After removing a decent amount, I began using [Excavation I] to dig through the pile of debris.
After searching for a few minutes, I found no trace of Elena.
Instead, there were the corpses of monsters that had been caught in the collapse.
I left the materials as they were without harvesting them.
Wiping the dust off of my body, I crawled out of the rubble pile.
(Did she maybe start moving after falling…)
Perhaps she had encountered a Demon, and needed to escape.
Regardless, this area was dangerous.
No matter how much she’d been strengthened by the virus, this was not a place for a rookie adventurer like Elena.
It wouldn’t be surprising if she’d been spooked by a terrifying Demon.
As it stood, I wondered if I’d even be able to make it with this current body.
Well, worst case scenario is that I’d die.
I had a stock of viruses everywhere, so as long as Elena made it back above ground, that would be enough for me.
If I died, I’d need to break away from her, but that’d still be acceptable.
This situation had been caused by my carelessness anyway.
If I’d exercised a little more caution, everything that happened could’ve been prevented.
To some extent, I needed to take responsibility.
Grabbing my battleaxe, I slid down the pile of rubble.
Looking down the multiple passageways, I chose an appropriate direction.
“I’m, sorry…. I’ll be… there… soon.”
Muttering an apology, I began to navigate through the depths of the dungeon.