Chapter 19 – Omens and Schemes
“The Dream Lord of the Centipede Pit….the Rock Centipede is feared and frequently described as troublesome due to its ability to rush people with its large body and its high regeneration speed. You two did well to defeat it with a Heavy Knight and a Clown, neither of which has access to a decisive blow.”
“Normally it’s really like that then….”
Hearing what Hallein said, Luce had an indefinable expression on her face.
….she must be thinking back to that somewhat disappointing fight against the Rock Centipede.
By making use of the boulders in the boss room, you can take away the Rock Centipede’s vaunted high mobility by getting its joints caught up on them.
Its high regeneration speed only comes into play if you try to use ranged Skill to whittle it down, or if you aren’t able to create an opening and it drags out into a long fight.
If you are able to somehow get on its back, hit it with some kind of barrage Skill, then get off before it starts writhing, you will simply need to repeat that to easily sheer down its HP.
As for my current status as a Heavy Knight, now that I have both [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] and [Relentless Vigor], I can say that my every hit is a decisive blow, so those words of Hallein don’t hold true for us.
Especially because those words came from Hallein, who is good at seeing through people, it must’ve felt all the more comical to Luce when she remembered how poorly the Rock Centipede fared as a boss.
Hallein narrowed her eyes in suspicion.
I stood straighter without meaning to.
…..I feel it’s dangerous to even have small talk with this person.
Hallein is simply too knowledgeable about this world.
If I let my guard down, she might even find out that I have a source of information from outside this world.
As expected of someone with the family name of Howlod and the experience of being a leader of the City of Adventurers.
She must be in possession of considerably more knowledge than what my father, Izas, and the entire Edvan Family had.
I expected there to be a difference between the two, but I didn’t expect it to be this big.
If even someone from the branch family is like this, then what about the people of the main family….. and especially the Lord himself.
Furthermore, I’m afraid of one particular possibility here.
What if fulfilling the Evolution requirements for the Rock Centipede to turn into a Death Armed was done by the Howlod Family.
The Howlod Family placed a branch member in charge of the adventurers’ guild, so they have close connection to it.
It would be an easy matter to guide adventurers and regulate information about Dungeons.
Also, it became clear from our conversation just now that they indeed have a lot more info about Dungeons than I expected.
It wouldn’t be strange for the Howlod Family to also know what you would need for a Death Armed to evolve.
Rather, it’s actually my most probable theory.
If the Howlod Family is really the culprit, then my doubts about the risk and return ratio of getting a Dream Lord to Evolve might be less applicable.
It wouldn’t be that strange for people to do something like that to test the underlying mechanics of this world.
I shouldn’t judge them guilty just from this, but I’ll still have to proceed with sufficient caution at this stage.
Since it’s possible that this Hallein Howlod might be the main source of the problem I’m worried about.
If that turns out to be the case, then it would be a far larger problem than what I could conceivably do something about.
Honestly, I would rather retreat right now and do a bit more investigating before confronting her again.
However, if Hallein is really the mastermind, then she could most likely guess what we came to talk about.
Trying to hide that and retreat now would be meaningless.
She is still part of the Howlod Family, even if she’s just a branch family member. She should be well suited for such intrigue.
Let’s keep feeling her out carefully.
That being said, I don’t think I will be able to beat her at her own game.
Still, I didn’t think that I would be bumping heads with the Howlod Family that my father, Izas, disliked so much in this manner.
“It seems you are contemplating something, so what is it? You wanted to report something to me, right? Or was the strange incident just a downright fabrication and you planned to get in my good graces by flaunting your accomplishments?”
Hallein had a charming smile on her face.
“If that’s the case, then that line of thinking was pretty cute. This is a city of dreams and failures, where only a handful of the countless adventurers manage to succeed in their goals. Rarely seen talents are not rare here at all. I was interested enough to play along with you for a bit, but don’t think you could lead me around by the nose, kid.”
She opened her folding-fan with a swish and covered her lower face with it.
I don’t know if she meant that as is, or she knew what I was thinking and it’s a roundabout way of warning me away.
I couldn’t tell either way from searching her poker face.
I just can’t see through her at all.
Either way, I should keep it to a simple report about the Death Armed, and not try to dig any further.
Marquis Howlod might even send some people to tail us after this.
I didn’t think that this would turn into something this troublesome.
“The truth is that the Lord of the Centipede Pit….the Rock Centipede has undergone an Evolution. We almost lost our lives by getting caught up in it.”
“Hohoh, an Evolution.”
“An Evolved Dream Lord is considered a monster calamity. Normally, the conditions for it might accidentally get fulfilled in long existing Dungeons, but according to the Guild’s records, it should’ve been a fairly new Dungeon still. So I was thinking it might be a bad sign, so I asked to speak with you directly….”
“Ah, yes. I thought that it was something important, and….”
“An Evolved Dream Lord, in the Centipede Pit!? T-that place only appeared half a month ago! How did something like that happen!? It’s even close to La Colina, so even a small mistake in handling it may turn into a tragedy! Is what you said really true!?”
Hallein’s eyes opened wide and her voice trembled.
“Well, I also thought that this was something important, so we came here right away to report to you, the Guild Master….”
Her previous poker face was nowhere to be seen anymore.
Both Luce and I were shocked by her sudden change.
Is she trying to play me….?
Ah, I don’t think she could make that face if she was just acting….
M-maybe someone from the Howlod Family could be capable of something like that….?
Hallein suddenly turned her gaze to the receptionist girl that brought us here.
“W-why didn’t you start with that, Maltida!?”
“N-no, it’s the first time I’ve heard of this as well….. S-still, I know about the Evolution phenomenon, but is that something that really needs that much attention? It’s just their level going up a bit, right? There are many other higher level Dungeons….”
“Just their level goes up a bit!? If a 【Lv：60】 Rock Centipede undergoes Evolution, then it turns into a nearly 【Lv：80】 monstrosity! Also, since there are not many cases of Evolved Dream Lords, we don’t even have any idea what Skills they might have! Do you think there is a party in La Colina that can confidently declare that after arriving already tired in the deepest parts of the Dungeon, they can still take down an entirely unknown, nearly【Lv：80】 Dream Lord? If they go in without a plan, even the city’s treasured A rank adventurers might lose their life if they aren’t careful!”
“A-ah, is that so, I wasn’t aware…..”
Maltida seemed to falter under Hallein’s fierce barrage.
“Even worse, it’s a Dream Lord Evolution that happened in a Dungeon that appeared not long ago, so who knows what could happen….. Or rather, what on earth happened that caused something like that to begin with. I’ll either need to declare a Raid Quest, or go crying to the main house for help.”
It seems Hallein was in panic mode, as she kept biting her fingers while frowning.
Can it be….?
Could this be just an act?
Trying to calm down, Hallein reached out for her tea on her desk.
However, due to her hands shaking like crazy, she ended up magnificently knocking off the cup from the desk.
Maltida let out a soft ‘Ah’ in reaction.
“Y-you two did well to survive and report this to me. Did it turn into a Wandering Lord incident? Did people die? I won’t blame you for it, so please tell me honestly. I promise to leave your names out of it, so you won’t have difficulties working at this Guild in the future.”
Hallein resumed speaking like nothing happened, without even looking at the fallen cup.
“Uhm, no, like I just said….we already managed to clear out the Centipede Pit.”
Hallein’s mouth was open, her expression completely befuddled.
The sense of pressure and dignity she radiated before was entirely missing.
It seems that after hearing about the Evolved Dream Lord, Hallein must’ve decided that we must’ve run away.
That’s just how much she was terrified of an Evolved Dream Lord.
Even I considered this a fairly critical situation, but compared to Magic World, where most information and useful strategies were already well-researched and fully accessible, the threat posed by a Dream Lord in this world is on another level.
And that’s not even counting the possible loss of life it may cause.
I think I can safely consider Hallein as someone innocent in this.
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