The Primal Hunter
Chapter 834: Nevermore: To Make Work Interesting

The Courier Dungeon, as Jake had dubbed it, had an extremely simplified and straightforward societal structure. Everything was split into tiers, it seemed, with even the cities being very distinctly separated. The first city Jake arrived in was a smallest-sized city, which meant it had below a certain population threshold. Half a million based on what Jake gathered.

In the hierarchy of cities just ranked above the smallest-sized cities, one found the small-sized ones, which had between half a million and five million. Up from there, mid-sized cities with between five and twenty-five million, then large-sized with twenty-five million to a hundred million. Cities above a hundred million were pretty rare and were classified as giant-sized cities. There was no upper limit to these, and the only giant-sized cities Jake quickly became aware of were the capital cities of some of the many different factions.

Below cities were towns and villages. Anything below fifty thousand was a town, and below five thousand a village. Towns and villages did not have any teleportation circles in them and weren’t connected to the network. Jake found it incredibly dumb they weren’t considering the relatively low investment it would be to connect them and how it would make life for everyone so much easier, but the in-world reason was that it was for safety, as anything that wasn’t a city couldn’t protect the teleportation circle adequately.

It was a pretty dumb reason, as they could just have the circle self-destruct or something if they ever got invaded. Then again, if the infrastructure had been that immaculate, Couriers would have way less work and could just teleport everywhere, so it made sense for the theme of the place.

Back on topic, these towns and villages were all tied to the nearest city, which held governance over them and responsibilities such as tax collection and whatnot.

Now, having this kind of structure within a single faction kind of made sense. If it was something organized from the top down and enforced, Jake could see it appear even outside of Nevermore by someone with a management fetish.

However, it made no bloody sense every single faction in the entire Challenge Dungeon world had decided on the exact same structure. Shit, even if it was just the enlightened factions, Jake could get it, but even the monster-focused factions had the exact same city-town-village structure, even down to the numbers.

On that note, yes, Jake did come to learn there were far more factions than he first expected. Jake had appeared in the human-focused enlightened faction, while several more existed, all in conflict with one another. Other factions were the dwarves, elves, Risen, scalekin, demons, one more with a mix of enlightened ones, and finally, three different monster-focused ones. If there was a common race in the multiverse, Jake was pretty damn certain it could be found in this Challenge Dungeon within one of the ten factions.

Jake also had a theory that other Nevermore Attendees would appear elsewhere based on their race. Someone like Sylphie would likely appear in one of the monster-focused factions, while someone like Irin doing the dungeon would appear in the demon faction. Now, where the Fallen King and someone like Dina would appear was a bit of mystery as neither of them had a race with a faction directly related to them, but Jake reckoned it didn’t really matter either way. As a Courier, race no longer mattered, and from what Jake saw, despite these factions being race-based primarily, there was plenty of diversity everywhere with no discrimination going on.

All of these things Jake had learned shortly after he completed the first Special Courier Job and arrived at the small-sized city with the Space Locator. The trip to the city had taken Jake just a bit over a day and a half, and honestly, it was as uneventful as could be. A few times, Jake encountered what he believed to be pre-scripted ambushes and whatnot, but in every instance, the monsters abandoned their attack the second they detected Jake’s aura. Ah, but he was attacked by bandits once, who all ran away after he killed their leader.

In the small-sized city, Jake had gone to the next Guild and met an elven woman who became his next go-to attendant. He quickly began taking on new jobs, one of which required Jake to collect a number of books and return them to a library. The twist with this job was that – just like in the real world – people sucked ass at returning books. The worst was that one of the people who had to return it was a guy who had accidentally placed it in his own personal library and needed Jake to help look for the damn thing. Sphere helped a bit, but sadly, as he could only see the shape of the book and not read the cover with just spatial perception, he had to actually look at the books himself.

When Jake had returned all the books, he stayed with the librarian for a while and learned some world history and about how the Challenge Dungeon worked. That is where he learned about the cities, got some tidbits about every faction, and was told that as a Courier, he wouldn’t need to worry about anything as he would be welcomed with open arms wherever he went… dependent on the job that is. If he was transporting something for an enemy faction, he could very easily have a target on his back.

After his talk with the librarian, Jake had gone back to the Guild for another job, which he promptly accepted. Even the hard jobs sometimes took place within the far larger, small-sized city. Yes, the name was a bit dumb to call it small, considering it in Jake’s mind was pretty damn big, but in-world, it probably made sense considering the city was several times larger than the smallest-sized one. Many of the jobs naturally also required him to head outside of it to the towns and villages, and these tended to take longer simply due to the travel time.

The small-sized city turned out to not be that much different from the smallest-sized one. The difficulty still wasn’t really there. The social challenges he faced were also easy enough for someone like Jake to handle. Even if Jake wasn’t the most socially adept person, in a multiversal context, he was actually pretty damn good. He wasn’t overly naive and trusting, which would definitely be a huge weakness in this Challenge Dungeon. Not being very precise when listening to the language of jobs could also get you in trouble, and a lack of patience with shitty clients was pretty much a death sentence for an aspiring Courier.

For this reason, Jake could easily see many so-called geniuses struggling. An ultra-talented fighter, groomed and trained from an early age by experts, always viewed and recognized as someone with high status and a genius, definitely wasn’t trained in dealing with a guy arguing that making half of the metal in a shipment of a wrong kind shouldn’t be a problem as they were ”pretty much the same anyway.”

Yep, Jake could definitely see a few of them lose their cool here and there. This was definitely part of the Challenge Dungeon test, too, and truthfully, the most overpowered thing one could have in this dungeon was to have worked a retail or other customer-facing low-wage job at some point.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the young geniuses never really had to deal with stuff like this and would find themselves completely out of their comfort zone. They didn’t ever have to deal with being an employee but were always the ones giving commands. One would think that Jake also wasn’t very good at dealing with entitled and arrogant assholes, but surprisingly enough… he found it kind of fun.

Unauthorized duplication: this narrative has been taken without consent. Report sightings.

In Jake’s opinion, the worst part about work before the system was the monotony of it all. It was its sheer predictability and lack of challenge in everyday tasks as he got used to them. It was the lack of anything truly interesting happening to shake up the monotony… the lack of anything memorable on a given day.

However, despite work sucking most of the time, there were also good days. The days with something exciting happening. It didn’t even always have to be something major, but just something exciting to shake up the usual monotony.

Jake fondly remembered a day when the sprinklers in the office had gone off unexpectedly, and Casper had been asked if he could figure out how to turn them off temporarily until the company responsible for maintenance got there. Jake had been dragged along, and together, they had been completely drenched before finally finding a way to turn off everything. The office had, of course, already been turned into an utter mess at that point, and the rest of the day was spent cleaning up, figuring out which electronics had been saved in time, and listening to Jacob’s frustrated call with the maintenance company that claimed the fact they had missed three consecutive inspections definitely couldn’t have been a factor in the malfunction.

That day had been so unpredictable. It had been one twist after another, and even so many years later, Jake remembered the day so clearly. Especially the end, with Casper and Jake sitting on the rooftop drinking soda while claiming they were trying to dry and save some keyboards. It had been a good and memorable day.

In some ways, this entire Challenge Dungeon reminded Jake of that day. Being a Courier was like work, yes, but rather than monotonous tasks, it was more like a job where no task was ever straightforward. It wasn’t just delivering a box and leaving for the next house again, day in and day out. Instead, it was more like those special delivery jobs you only had once in a blue moon, but every single time.

It was that one memorable work day, over and over again. Jake didn’t doubt that the unpredictability of what you would face at every job was frustrating to many, but for Jake, it just made it more engaging and kept him interested. Definitely far more interested than the Test of Character, where Jake was just a passive observer most of the time. At least here, Jake could work on his movement skills while traveling and meet a bunch of insane and interesting characters when talking to the people there.

Finally… compared to all his prior jobs, there was one core difference in this world. Here, you were allowed to bitch-slap the people trying to scam you. It was the most cathartic experience for anyone who had ever had to deal with customers like that, and based on what Jake saw, it had no negative influence on his performance. Which kind of made sense. What could they even do about it? Stop hiring free Couriers? Yeah, fat chance.

All of this is to say that Jake quite enjoyed this Challenge Dungeon, and that was reflected in his speed of doing jobs. He felt excited to get to the point where the jobs weren’t only interesting but also offered a genuine challenge when he had to fight stuff, so while he didn’t recklessly rush through the jobs, he did very much speedrun them.

Only three weeks after arriving at the small-sized city, Jake completed job number sixty-five, which surprisingly enough was enough to earn him yet another upgrade. Standing within the even larger Guild in the small-sized city, the elven attendant flashed him a huge smile as she congratulated him.

”I read your file right as you first came here, and in truth, I believed your evaluation was highly exaggerated, but seeing your work ethic, I believe it was just the opposite,” the elf said with a bow. ”It was definitely a conservative estimation, that’s for sure! I cannot remember having ever worked with a Courier who has been promoted this fast ever before.”

That’s right, Jake’s Medallion had rapidly gone up yet another rank.

[Courier Medallion (Uncommon)] – A Courier Medallion of a respectable rarity for a relatively experienced Courier. This Medallion will hold information related to jobs and can give general directions to your destination if those are provided (may not be entirely reliable). Will automatically upgrade as Courier Jobs are completed and your reputation grows.

Requirements: Soulbound

The description change was slight, but it was there. And, hey, it was nice to be recognized as a relatively experienced Courier after only about a month on the job. It was definitely a faster promotion rate than any prior job Jake had ever had, and if he kept working hard, he was sure he could earn a senior position within a year.

”So, what happens now?” Jake asked. ”Got more jobs for me, or…?”

As predicted, the elf’s mood shifted a bit as she took out a piece of paper from below the desk. For some reason, this paper had a golden outline and wasn’t anything Jake had seen before. She looked almost a bit nervous as she handled it and looked to both sides before speaking.

”Listen… we got a Special Courier Job in just today. It isn’t anything you have to do, and it’s a pretty risky one… so before I even present it to you, I need to know if you are interested?” she asked with a low voice.

Jake mimicked her serious mood as he leaned in slightly. "What are the details of the job?”

”I’ll take that as you showing interest. Alright, so about five years ago, the Infernal Baron – a powerful B-grade - created a bounty reward for anyone who could capture a certain kind of elemental he needed. I didn’t think something like that would ever become relevant here, but just a few hours ago, a band of adventurers returned with the exact elemental he had requested. Now we need someone to deliver it to him in the closest medium-sized city.”

”Alright, pretty straightforward so far,” Jake nodded. ”But I guess there is a twist.”

The elf nodded. ”Three problems. First of all, the elemental is right now sealed within a containment device, but as it is still very much alive, and due to the nature of the containment device, it cannot be put into any spatial storage. This brings us to the next problem: it needs to be delivered covertly because his enemies cannot know he obtained the elemental, and as the teleportation gateway scans any living being that passes through, it will need to be delivered directly without the use of gates.”

”Alright, so I would have to travel there on my own. What’s the final problem?”

”The adventurers who captured the elemental… well, they weren’t the best. The containment device they used was poorly made, and the seals on it are less than stellar, so by our expert’s evaluation, it won’t last more than a week. So it needs to be delivered directly within a week while making sure no one finds out what is being transported,” the elf finished explaining. ”I know it is a lot to ask of someone who just got promoted, but your progress so far and the fact you could make your way to this city by yourself that quickly makes me believe you are up to the task and have the required travel speed.”

As she finished, a system message popped up in front of Jake.

Accept Special Courier Job 2: Transport the Sealed Elemental to the Infernal Baron in the mid-sized city without your cargo being discovered. Time limit: 7 days.


Use the Teleportation Gateway to travel to the mid-sized city and forfeit the Special Courier Job.

”Can’t keep the Baron waiting for long, now can we?” Jake promptly answered with a smile. ”I naturally accept the job.”

”Great!” the elf said with relief as she took out a table-tennis-sized metal ball and placed it in front of Jake. He used Identify on it quickly before taking it and hiding it away.

[Sealed Elemental (Unique)] – A sealed elemental of the fire affinity can be found within. Due to the shoddy work of the ones who sealed it, this item is slowly deteriorating and will reach critical failure in a week (7 days). Any attempt to interfere with this item may result in the seal breaking prematurely.

”Remember, be careful,” the elf insisted. ”Even if we have hidden the fact we obtained the elemental well, I am not sure the adventurers were as good at keeping their mouths shut, so it may have spread, and enemies of the Baron may attempt to impede you in your travels. While they will not know what exactly you are transporting, as even the adventurers have no idea as to its value, they will be more than keen to find out, and I doubt their methods to do so will be peaceful.”

”I’ll be wary,” Jake nodded seriously as he turned to leave. ”I’d better get going. Thanks for everything so far.”

”It has been my pleasure,” she smiled and bowed once more as Jake exited the Guild… and instantly felt a few hidden gazes on him.

Yep, this job is definitely not gonna be a peaceful one.

Chapter 834: Nevermore: To Make Work Interesting
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