Update 16 Aug 2023: Fiend -> Djinn
Chapter 0329 Conquering the Dungeon..!
Holy City Marlomar West Dungeon. The 11th floor.
“It’s true… there’s no one here.”
“Yeah… the difference is too stark from the 10th floor, it’s eerie.”
Amon commented and Niels nodded in reply.
Up to the 10th floor of the West Dungeon, it was like a cave or a rock tunnel…
Although the previous floors had exposed bedrock, the 11th floor was like a ‘corridor’ with marble embedded in the floor, ceiling, and walls.
“Well, they definitely can’t mine ore here.”
Etho nodded after hearing that.
According to the ‘Dungeon Map’, the West Dungeon changes completely every ten floors.
Much deeper down there are even floors with blue sky.
In stark contrast to yesterday’s depressed, trudging appearance, Ryo’s face was full of joy and he looked happy.
“This is it! This is what I was looking for!”
He exclaimed, but no one answered him.
Everyone was just watching with wry smiles…
“Four Lesser Wolves are coming from the front.”
Ryo announced the approach of monsters caught in his <Passive Sonar>.
The party had already formed a dungeon exploration formation.
First row, Niels in the center, Harold on the right, and Gowan on the left.
Second row, Etho and Zeke.
Third row, Amon and Ryo.
At the front, on top of having offensive power, it is desirable to have a vanguard swordsman who can respond to the enemy’s first attack.
Or position a Shield-user there.
For that reason, the swordsmen Niels and Harold and the twin swordsman Gowan were positioned there.
Naturally, Etho, the priest whose defensive power and endurance were in no way great, was in the center, and Zeke was also in the center.
The reason being, that position makes it easier for them to heal anyone’s injuries.
And the reason why Amon, whose talent as a swordsman is blooming, was placed at the rear was that it is extremely difficult to respond to the first attack from the rear, and that response is the most important.
Unlike a plain with an open sky, in a dungeon with a ceiling, with the additional consideration that there can be sudden attacks from directly above, it can be said that the rear guard is the most difficult position.
That is because you will need to cover not only yourself but also the heads of the priests in the second row…
Ryo is a jack of all trades, so he took the most troublesome last position too…
Even from the tail end, he could spot enemies coming from quite a distance, so he didn’t have any issue with that aspect.
Then, they engaged the four Lesser Wolves.
Niels, Harold, and Gowan each defeated their foes in one hit.
The one that slipped past the three…
An ice spear was shot into its mouth and it died.
“Since they are ‘Lesser’, there’s no point in harvesting their magic stones. Slimes will dispose of the corpses, so let’s move on.”
Niels said and everyone nodded in response.
The magic stones that can be obtained from ‘Lesser’ monsters are very small and have almost no value.
The time taken to harvest them is generally wasted.
And more importantly, slimes are the true mvp.
“It’s a straight road, but it’s considerably wider than the 10th floor.”
By now, the group had dived into the 11th floor and continued walking for about three hours.
Amon commented to no one in particular.
“Generally, it seems that the deeper you dive, the wider it becomes…”
Etho answered with the information written on the ‘Dungeon Map’.
Three hours later.
“Hey… isn’t it strange?”
Niels posed the question to everyone.
“Seven hours after entering the 11th floor… Six hours excluding the breaks, right?”
“Since it’s a straight road, we shouldn’t be lost.”
Etho answered and Amon supplemented.
They were still on the 11th floor.
Since it had been a single passage of marble corridor, it’s hard to imagine that they had deviated from the proper path.
Of course, the ‘Dungeon Map’ didn’t record anything like that…
Or rather, there was no map drawn for the 11th floor.
Just one sentence.
“Just walk down the corridor.”
The rest was just information about monsters that appear.
It didn’t record any traps either. Since it’s not recorded, it was either there weren’t any or they didn’t know.
It’s hard to imagine that the makers of the map didn’t know if there were traps or not since it’s a floor with frequent explorers.
In other words, there were no traps on the 11th floor.
No traps, a straight path.
However, they couldn’t see the end.
“Ryo, what do you think?”
Amon, walking in the third row at the end, asked Ryo, who was walking next to him.
“Hmm~, I occasionally used magic to explore the surroundings, but I’ve not encountered any end within 1km to our front and back. Moreover, we have not encountered any foes in the past 2 hours.”
“Oh, come to think of it, we haven’t.”
“We may have been transported into a space-time gap!”
Amon noticed that there was just a little bit of joy mixed in Ryo’s words for some reason.
He didn’t really understand the meaning of the words ‘space-time gap’ either.
“Ryo, are you saying that this is no longer the 11th floor?”
Zeke, in the second row, glanced at Ryo walking behind him and asked.
“There is a possibility. But… if we were forcibly transferred, we would have felt something, right?”
“Yes. I felt a floating sensation for a moment that time.”
Amon answered Ryo’s question.
In the ruined country Baudelin, they probably experienced a forced transfer… he answered while remembering that.
“But since we entered the 11th floor, I haven’t felt that sensation even once…”
It was at that moment.
With Ryo’s <Passive Sonar> active, there should have been nothing and no one in front of them.
However, an old man appeared in front of the group.
He had gray hair, a wide red hat, a red robe, a staff, and was slightly bent forward.
On whether or not he should set up <Ice Wall> between the red old man and Niels and the others.
But his hesitation only lasted a moment.
After a moment, he made a decision.
It would be useless to do such a thing against this opponent.
If that’s the case, it’s better not to take hostile action until the last moment.
“……Who are you?”
Niels asked without pulling out his sword, even though he put his hand on it.
Harold and Gowan next to him saw that Niels had not drawn his sword, so they stopped drawing them.
“That’s my line. Who are you?”
His voice was soft.
But peeking from under the hat were two eyes… sharp, and shone with a golden light.
(Golden eyes…? I remember seeing them somewhere… but where did I…)
Ryo was curious about the red old man’s golden eyes.
No one answered for a while.
Niels was deciding whether or not to answer.
And he eventually decided to.
He let go of his sword.
They weren’t sure if he was an enemy or an ally, but at least he was someone they could converse with.
“Excuse us. We are a mission from the Kingdom of Knightley in the Central Countries. The reason we dived into this dungeon was to meet Merlin and ask about the whereabouts of the Demon Lord.”
Niels spoke the truth.
Ryo was surprised by that, but he quickly agreed.
In their current situation, it is better to speak honestly.
Because there is no point in lying.
“Hoh. That’s interesting.”
After saying that, the old man in red fell silent.
When Niels judged that the old man would not continue, he asked.
“Sorry but who are you?”
It felt like the red old man was grinning.
“Me? I’m the… manager of this dungeon, or I’m becoming one. I heard that some interesting people have come, so I came out to say hello. You lot are certainly… surprisingly interesting.”
Saying that, he turned those golden eyes toward Harold.
“You’re cursed by ‘Rupture’, aren’t you… you’ve been tagged by something troublesome.”
Harold was surprised when he said that.
At least from the outside, no one could tell that he was under the ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’.
Sometimes even Harold himself forgot about it.
However, the old man in front of them pointed it out naturally.
“And there are two priests of the Goddess of Light… You lot certainly seem to hail from the Central Countries…”
Glancing at Etho and Zeke, he commented… but he quickly paused.
His golden eyes were now clearly directed at Ryo.
And he said.
“The problem lies with you.”
There was no doubt that he was looking at Ryo.
Ryo was aware of it, and so were the others.
So Ryo introduced himself.
“My name is Ryo Mihara, Duke of Rondo. Revered Djinn.”