Chapter 20 – The Forbidden Forest
“Y-you defeated an Evolved Dream Lord immediately after its Evolution!?”
Guild Leader Hallein raised her voice.
“We started by saying that we cleared the Centipede Pit….”
“I-I know that, but…. Is something like that really possible? Two still inexperienced D rank adventurers, lacking even proper equipment, defeating a nearly 【Lv：80】 Dream Lord without any prior information about it….”
Hallein kept clutching her hair.
She seemed to be quite agitated.
“W-where is the magic stone of that Dream Lord?”
“I was the one who accepted it at the exchange. It’s currently in the Guild’s storeroom.”
Maltida answered Hallein’s question.
“I see….it was already turned in to the Guild…. I don’t think you would be going this far with a lie, but it’s still hard to believe….”
Hallein didn’t seem to be calming down and she kept feeling for something without looking on top of her desk.
“Ah…..Hallein-sama. If you are looking for your cup of tea, then you just knocked it off your desk.”
Maltida, the receptionist girl, pointed out.
A faint blush crept up Hallein’s face and her mouth turned into a へ shape.
It seems she wanted to drink some tea to try and calm down.
Hallein let out a small cough and attempted to compose herself.
“Maltida, please bring it here.”
“Another cup of tea, right? Right away….”
“No! The magic stone! Bring the magic stone here!”
“Ye-yesh! Right away!”
Maltida hurriedly left the office.
“….I thought she was a scary person, but it seems she can be rather cute, this Guild Master.”
Luce whispered to me in a relieved tone.
Hallein’s gaze sharpened, causing Luce’s body to tremble.
“You two did well to defeat an Evolved Dream Lord right away. Especially since you shouldn’t have had any countermeasures ready.”
Hallein gathered herself and said after carefully lowering her voice from the high pitch it unintentionally climbed to.
….well, it’s perfectly understandable to be surprised by it.
We barely managed to eke out a minor chance of success after being carefully prepared with our Statuses, Skill compositions, prior knowledge of the boss room’s layout, and with the ability to deal a huge amount of damage with the help of [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] and [Relentless Vigor].
Even in Magic World, where information was freely shared, the Death Armed would’ve been an all but unbeatable enemy for people at our current level range.
“I can’t believe that you two are still D rank adventurers….Were you two active outside the Guild? How on earth exactly did you manage to take it down?”
“I would like it if you didn’t pry further into that. We should have no obligation to report our Skill composition. That’s not what we came here to discuss.”
“T-that’s true….mhm, I see…..”
For a moment, Hallein’s hand almost reached out in search of her cup of tea again, but she pulled it back immediately.
She was entirely in command of the conversation in the beginning, but things completely turned around before I knew it.
“I’m just worried about the reason why the Dream Lord of a relatively fresh Dungeon was able to Evolve. I simply wanted to notify the Guild Master of this.”
Ordinarily, only monsters that ate a large number of humans and other monsters could undergo an Evolution.
That’s why it’s fairly rare for the Dream Lord, that normally stays in the deepest part of the Dungeon, to Evolve like that.
In addition to that, the Centipede Pit was still pretty new.
I don’t think that multiple adventurer parties went in to get wiped out one after the other, or the Dream Lord went wandering several times.
If something like that happened, then it would be impossible for the adventurers’ guild to not know, and not passing that information on to adventurers would be simply baffling.
“….that is certainly unnatural and ominous. We should investigate it, just in case, but with the Centipede Pit already gone….”
“Can you think of anything that might explain it?”
“As the Guild Master I shouldn’t speak to an adventurer about some vague conjectures. However…. I should be able to share this much.”
Judging by how Hallein was acting, it seems she had some ideas.
“There are some remote places….especially the Forbidden Forest and its surroundings far up north, where strange monster calamities happen one after the other.”
The Forbidden Forest is a place I know of.
It’s not a Dungeon, but a large zone in the northern reaches of the continent, where many high level Dungeons tend to spawn, making it completely unmanageable.
It’s one of the worst danger zones on the continent.
Within the Forbidden Forest, there are many Dungeons left alone without anyone to clear them, making monster calamities an everyday occurrence there.
To avoid falling victim to a monster calamity, nobles from all around the kingdom cooperate to cull their numbers every few years.
“Of course, since it’s such a remote place that’s hard to approach, the Dungeons are rarely cleared on time, so it’s obvious that monster calamities would happen frequently. ….even so, even if you count that in, their numbers are still a lot more than they should naturally be. This is one of the problems that the royal family and the researchers are greatly perplexed by. The rumor is…. that there may be some kind of strange phenomenon that only works when no humans are present to observe in a Dungeon.”
“Are you saying that something like that could’ve happened here, next to a city, even with a lot of adventurers frequenting the place?”
“You are quite quick on the uptake. However, I can’t answer that.”
That means that anything more than this would be just vague conjecture.
In the end what she managed to convey is that there is a precedent for spontaneous and unnatural occurrences of monster calamities.
“Do not worry. For many years, the Howlod Family have spent a lot of effort independently researching the trends of Dungeons and the nature of Classes. This matter will not be simply dismissed and will be carefully investigated by the Guild and the Howlod Family. I thank you for the report and the warning.”
However, something still doesn’t quite sit right.
I couldn’t help but think the Evolution of the Dream Lord was something that was caused intentionally.
Is something that wasn’t present in the game version about to happen?
Or perhaps something that existed within the game started expressing itself differently now that the world turned real.
Just like how the power of nobility greatly increased due to monopolizing knowledge, items and a considerable amount of fighting power.
With a natural break in the conversation reached, Hallein furrowed her brows.
“Maltida should be here already. I wanted to check the magic stone to make sure before I let you go. I even told her to bring it quickly….”
Right at that moment the door opened and Maltida walked into the office.
“I’m sorry it took this long, Hallein-sama! Here is the aforementioned magic stone, and a new cup of tea.”
“I-I told you to only bring the magic stone!”
Hallein yelled at Maltida with a blush.
She must’ve been embarrassed by the subject of the tea coming up again.
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