Chapter 0066 Disappearance of the Investigation Team
At that time, about 1,000 members of the Kingdom Central University investigation team had reached the end of the 11th floor and were in front of the stairs down to the 12th floor.
The investigation team from the Kingdom Central University was led by President Clive who thought that the cause of the Great Tidal Bore were monsters from beyond the 38th floor.
He rushed through the 11th floor and did not conduct a full-scale investigation.
However, in front of that staircase, they found something that could not be ignored.
“Is this connected to another space as feared?”
“Yes. That’s no doubt. But we can’t find out where it connects to …”
A researcher from the Faculty of Magic answered President Clive’s question.
“Okay. This may be related to the Great Tidal Bore outbreak. I will call it the 『Gate』 for convenience. Please install the equipment and thoroughly examine this 『Gate』.”
Following the instructions from President Clive, the equipment that they brought were unloaded and installed.
What Clive named the 『Gate』 was … a black entrance that formed on the wall of the dungeon.
It had a height of about 5 meters and a width of about 4 meters.
The entrance was pitch-black and there was no way to see what was inside.
Researchers from the Faculty of Magic investigated using some spells and magic tools and discovered that it was connected to another space.
There had been no record of such existence in the Central Nations.
In that case, it was very likely that this 『Gate』 was related to the Great Tidal Bore.
Although it was different from the initial expectation of the Kingdom Central University investigation team including President Clive, Clive was by no means incompetent.
As their predictions were wrong, this 11th floor was involved in the outbreak of the Great Tidal Bore instead.
And the core of that was this 『Gate』.
He was willing to accept that given the facts.
(It isn’t what I expected, but it’s great that we rushed ahead. It would be a huge advantage to start investigating this before the other investigation teams.)
While President Clive was satisfied that he was able to take the lead, the equipment and researchers continued to filter in from behind.
The catastrophe happened suddenly.
And for a ridiculous reason.
The whole process was captured by President Clive at the edge of his field of vision.
In exhaustion, one of two luggage carriers carrying heavy equipment slipped.
When he tried to support his body by bracing against the wall so that he wouldn’t fall … the ‘wall’ he chose was the 『Gate』…
In text, that was it.
That was it, but … the resulting phenomenon that happened was intense.
In an instant, Clive and his investigation team from the Kingdom Central University disappeared from the scene.
All the humans on the 11th floor disappeared.
And the effect wasn’t limited to the 11th floor, even the humans on the tenth floor disappeared in the same manner.
At that time, the Crimson Sword and the investigation team from the Court Magic Group were on the tenth floor.
The Great Tidal Bore Academic research team was composed of three organizations.
An investigation team from the Kingdom Central University led by President Clive.
An investigation team from the Court Magic Group led by Advisor Arthur.
And an investigation team from the Magic University led by Chief Professor Christopher Bratt.
The investigation team from the Magic University did not take any quick action compared to the other two teams.
In fact, none of the members of the investigation team had even dived into the dungeon.
Nevertheless, Professor Christopher had gathered a lot of information on the Great Tidal Bore.
He had established a spy network within both the Kingdom Central University and the Court Magic Group investigation teams.
In the first place, the most motivated member of this Academic research team was Clive, the president of Kingdom Central University.
Of course, that was to secure the position of Academic President of the Kingdom.
Both the Magic University and the Court Magic Group understood that.
And it wasn’t a problem for them.
If Clive wanted to take the position of Academic President, he was welcome to.
However, since President Clive appeared as the head of the investigation team for the Kingdom Central University, both the Magic University and the Court Magic Group had to send a person with a comparable position to lead their investigation teams.
They had a headache thinking of who to put up.
If they sent out a person with little power … it was obvious that they would be made use of by President Clive.
It wouldn’t matter if they were pushed around, but it would be unbearable if they were to be used as a shield during the battle with monsters and consequently lose their life.
No matter how you look at it, considering that the personnel from the Magic University and the Court Magic Group have more experience in combat than the personnel from the Kingdom Central University, they would definitely be used in that manner …
To avoid that, the two camps were tormented.
And a conclusion was made.
The Court Magic Group placed their top advisor Arthur, who was well-known for his achievements and experience as a Magician. Even President Clive could not treat Arthur lightly.
He was a heavyweight in the country.
On the other hand, the Magic University sent out someone who was as scheming as President Clive … Chief Professor Christopher, a person broad-minded enough to associate with various types of people and was said to be the closest to the next president of the Magic University.
Since Professor Christopher was sent out with such an intention, his foremost instruction was not to lose human resources.
But if possible, it would be even more excellent if he made some research results on the Great Tidal Bore.
In Christopher’s mind, the goals were divided to that extent.
Regarding the method of collecting information, purchasing it through illegal channels from the other two camps that entered was certain to have the least likely chance for loss of human resources.
For those who provided information, he presented conditions that young researchers would desire desperately, such as transfer to their Magic University later or preparing a laboratory for them.
Of course, he was not going to break those promises.
He was recruiting members properly and had already done so before.
Professor Christopher was a man broad-minded enough to accept people of all shades, and although he was not particular about how proper the process was, he was a man who kept his promises.
Also, as for power struggles on campus, he was a man who did not tolerate hostile intent, but he did not demand anything from researchers who were purely devoted to research.
Research funds were also distributed based on research content and achievements, so he was very popular with researchers.
That was the reason why he was regarded as the next president without doing anything excessive.
Under the direction of Professor Christopher, the investigation team from the Magic University was finally about to dive into the dungeon.
The reason for diving at this timing was, of course, because the information on the 『Gate』 discovered by the investigation team from the Kingdom Central University had surfaced.
(Let the investigation itself be done by the Kingdom Central University and we just need to be nearby. It would be troublesome if others commented on why does the Magic University, which had been on the surface all this time, know such details.)
Professor Christopher laughed so slightly that no one noticed it.
The investigation team from Magic University exceeded 1,000 members.
However, only about 50 university-related people entered the dungeon.
The rest were about 100 C-rank adventurers hired in the City of Rune.
These 100 adventurers were almost all the C-rank adventurers currently present in the City of Rune.
The Kingdom Central University could only hire D-rank adventurers because the investigation team from the Magic University hired all the C-rank adventurers first.
Professor Christopher also knew that the D-rank adventurers hired by the Kingdom Central University were stationed from the dungeon entrance to the 11th floor, securing a transportation route for goods.
In other words, they could travel from the dungeon entrance to the tenth floor without risk.
The Magic University was based on making the least effort to accomplish matters.
“Well then, let’s dive.”
The incident happened when the investigation team from the Magic University, led by Professor Christopher, was finally about to dive into the dungeon.
The D-rank adventurers in front of them disappeared in an instant.
“Th-they disappeared …”
The humans in the dungeon had disappeared.
Whether it was the adventurers near the entrance or a little further down the stairs, in an instant …
“Everyone retreat. Get away from the dungeon.”
Professor Christopher’s command, which was by no means loud, and their movements by no means quick, the investigation team from the Magic University drew back from the dungeon.
(This … it seems like something happened again …)
Professor Christopher sighed and then looked up at the sky.
“It has become a troublesome investigation …”
His muttered words didn’t reach anyone’s ears.
Several large tents were set up around the entrance to the dungeon inside the double wall.
Some of them replaced the Adventurer’s Guild branch office, which was destroyed during the Great Tidal Bore.
A tent that was significantly larger than the one used for the branch office housed the analysis team of the Court Magic Group.
There were analytical magic tools that collected and analyzed the information sent from the residual magic power detector magic tool in the dungeon, and the tent was packed with many researchers.
Within the tent was Natalie, the Water-Attribute Magician who delivered a letter from Ilarion to Abel.
Although she joined the investigation team as a Magician associated with the Court Magic Group, Natalie, who was still a minor, often assisted in the analysis … and was mainly tasked to write the data read aloud on paper.
On this day as well, the incident occurred while she was performing that task.
It was not a loud voice.
However, Natalie heard it because she was listening intently for data that would be read aloud.
“The detector has disappeared …”
The term 『Detector』 used in that tent referred to the 『Residual magic detector』 that the team diving in the dungeon used.
Using the Wind-Attribute magic <Probe>, it connected with the analysis magic tool in the tent and constantly sent information.
That detector disappeared?
“The response disappeared for an instant … The 40th floor? Eh? Why in such a place … Eh, the response disappeared again.”
At that moment, they heard a conspicuous voice spread out from outside the tent.
If they recalled correctly, the investigation team from the Magic University should be trying to dive into the dungeon at that moment …
“Hurry up and let the guild know.”
That voice was the voice of Professor Christopher of the Magic University.
While giving instructions, the owner of that voice approached the tent where Natalie was.
Then, he opened the entrance and came in and said.
“I’m Christopher from the Magic University. Who is currently responsible here?”
“Yes, I am.”
Roche, the man who was looking for the response from the detector since just now, raised his hand.
“Okay. I ask this as an executive of the research team and as one who has been delegated full authority by His Majesty the King. Did something go wrong in the dungeon earlier?”
As expected, it was very difficult to answer.
Certainly, they were dispatched as one 『Academic research team』, but the investigation was clearly conducted separately by their organization of origin.
Even though he was an executive of the research team, they weren’t sure if it would be okay to answer his command?
“I understand your position. First, I’ll relay the information I have. Just minutes ago, people within the dungeon disappeared.”
Roche’s eyes were wide with astonishment.
The detector he was looking at also disappeared.
It was more likely that something happened to the people who used it than to think that only the detector had disappeared.
“With that expression, I can confirm that the disappearance was detected here as well.”
At this point, they could no longer afford to hide the information.
Roche also felt that something had happened in the dungeon.
“Was the Court Magic Group team on the tenth floor?”
Professor Christopher’s question was just a confirmation. His spy network reported that the Court Magic Group team was on the tenth floor and the Kingdom Central University team was on the 11th floor.
“My Magic University was also involved in the production of the detector used by the Court Magic Group. That’s why I also understand the function …”
He pressured them that there was no need to hide it and to answer honestly.
“It should send information all the time using Wind-Attribute Magic. Including location information. Did you get any reaction after the disappearance?”
“There was a response for an instant, but … it disappeared immediately and now we’re disconnected.”
“An instant? Where was the response from at that time?”
“The display was the 40th floor …”
As expected, Professor Christopher was stunned too.
Adventurers of the past had only reached the 38th floor.
Of course, that didn’t mean that it was absolutely impossible to reach the 39th floor and below.
It was not impossible, but … in the first place, below the 30th floor, it was difficult to traverse even for a B-rank party.
The adventurers in the hands of Professor Christopher were 100 C-class adventurers … The disappearance of the Court Magic Group meant that the B-rank party 『Crimson Sword』 that accompanied him had also disappeared.
In that case, these 100 C-rank adventurers were currently the most powerful force in the City of Rune … but even then, it was unclear whether it was possible for them to reliably reach the 40th floor.
“For the time being, I have sent a messenger to the Adventurer’s Guild. The Guild Master will come here soon, so please report what we discussed here to him as well.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Roche replied weakly.
Everyone there, including Professor Christopher, was overwhelmed by despair as to what to do next.
No, there was only one person who raised their face and started to move.
Natalie Schwarzkopf was the only person who left the tent and ran south on the main street.
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