Chapter 49 – Epilogue
The day after the Raid Quest, Luce and I were invited by Kalos to a private room at an inn.
Apparently, he wanted to avoid the possibility of someone overhearing us even more than before.
It seems he paid for a room just for that.
“Once again, thank you for what you did during the Raid Quest. Thanks to you two, the truth behind these calamities are starting to emerge. Furthermore….if you weren’t there, then all those who participated in the Raid Quest would have ended up dead…..and La Colina would’ve had to contend with a Skull Lord, after already having lost most of its fighting force.”
Kalos said in an apologetic tone.
He must be feeling responsible for the fact that the Raid Quest he was in charge of nearly got wiped out, only avoiding this fate by an unexpected upset.
“Did you find out anything about the reason why the calamities happened….or what was up with the maps?”
We already reported to the Guild through Kalos the discovery of the Mourning Trapezohedron and the inaccuracies with the maps.
Those mistakes were clearly not because of a simple mistake on the Guild’s part, or because of adventurers trying to sell fake information to stuff their pockets.
On those maps we got, only the designated route did not have large mistakes.
If that wasn’t the case, then some parties may have tried to turn back or meet up with other people instead.
Aside from the designated route, the other parts of the map were entirely made up.
Because of that, even if someone noticed the presence of the Skull Lord, the possibility of escaping outside the Dungeon was cut off.
It was intentionally designed in a way that it would get the most adventurers killed.
There is another reason for that conclusion.
The fact that the Mourning Trapezohedron was buried away from the designated route.
Without Celt going wherever he pleased or without his [Sixth Sense], we couldn’t have found it.
It’s possible that those maps were made that way to prevent us from finding those Mourning Trapezohedrons.
“There was a man that became a staff member after a Guild sponsored adventurer career. Apparently, he was an outstanding employee who had a good grasp of the circumstances of the adventurers, so he was trusted with numerous duties. It seems he even pressed the need for this Raid Quest to his superiors and ended up taking care of most of the minutia, like setting the reward money and such, mostly by himself, but…..his whereabouts are currently unknown.”
“I see….so that’s how it is.”
I let out a sigh.
The how-and-why of those maps getting altered should’ve been a large clue to the recent incidents.
“I kept traveling through this Norsun Kingdom to investigate the abnormalities for a while now, and just when I finally thought I would be able to find a decisive lead, it fell through my fingers just like that. It’s quite vexing. However….I’m confident that the culprit that took care of that loose end is the Howlod Family, or perhaps a faction within the Howlod Family. There aren’t that many organizations in this kingdom that could enact a well executed hidden plot like this.”
It’s just like he said after we cleared the Graveyard of Sorrows.
That the Howlod Family is suspicious.
“If you think through it logically, then it seems to be the case.”
Without the support of a large-scale organization, scattering a bunch of Mourning Trapezohedrons in various Dungeons to overdrive them is not feasible.
If you think about who could be behind such an organization that requires a lot of money, fighting strength and other various personnel, then the nobles are obviously the first to come to mind.
That’s why the Howlod Family is the prime suspect in this case.
However, the problem is the motive.
If they keep causing serious calamities one after the other in Dungeons, one wrong move could lead to the destruction of the entire territory.
Even if it’s to gather more information about the Dungeons, this is clearly overkill.
It’s doubtful if there is anyone that would gain anything from all this.
“Now that they made a showy move like this in La Colina…..I expect them to do something again soon for sure. However, it was already proven that I am too weak to stop them by myself. That being said…..I can’t trust the Howlod Family to cooperate with me on this either. If it comes down to it, then I would like you two to follow my lead instead of the Howlod Family’s.”
This must’ve been the real issue at hand.
This incident was obviously fishy.
I know that it could be dangerous to involve ourselves in this even further, but not doing so might be risky as well in my opinion.
Even with the Graveyard of Sorrows, if I wasn’t there, then there is a high possibility that all Raid participants would have got wiped out, the danger spreading to La Colina as well.
I feel that as a noble….and as someone who is aware of how this world functions, I have a duty to involve myself in this case.
“Got it. If you are fine with me, then I will be happy to assist.”
“M-me too! If there is something that I can help with, then by all means….!”
Luce clenched her fist and declared.
“Thank you…. I’m happy that I’ve met you two here in La Colina.”
Kalos gave us a warm smile.
With the talk over, Luce and I stood up from our seats, then I put my hand on the door to open it.
Kalos called out to us.
We turned back towards him.
“The truth of the matter is that this large land of the Norsun Kingdom is being protected by only a few hundred cream of the crop nobles, knights, and high level adventurers. That’s why I really look forward to your future exploits.”
We nodded at Kalos, then left the room behind us.
With Luce next to me, we were walking the streets of La Colina.
We promised to meet someone else after this about a different matter.
“All that talk was a little too complicated for me, but….in essence, there are some people that are trying to strengthen some monsters and set them on La Colina, right….? Can’t we do something about that….?”
“Our opposition is simply too big. We can’t make any moves without decisive evidence.”
If they manage to find out that we suspect them, then it would only limit our movements.
They may even move to forcibly eliminate us first.
We have no idea about the size of their organization, nor what they are really after.
We can only bide our time for now.
“However, that situation….it’s as if their aim was to cause a Zork.”
Luce tilted her head in confusion.
“It’s the second Evolution of a Dream Lord.”
After hunting down a bunch of high level adventurers, fulfilling its next Evolution requirements, a Dream Lord goes on a rampage.
The Dungeon then breaks down…..the Dream Lord leading an army of monsters and runs amok in the area.
It’s the worst outcome of a Dungeon, which could easily destroy an entire city.
If perhaps that was their aim all along, then perhaps they did not lock a bunch of high level adventurers in the Dungeon because they wanted to cut down on their numbers in La Colina, but to serve as a sacrifice to bring about the Zork.
Although I still don’t think that anyone would be able to gain anything from bringing about a Zork….
For the time being, we were able to avert the tragedy that the Graveyard of Sorrows could’ve turned into, and were able to confirm the existence of a mysterious 『enemy』, which was very much in doubt until now.
It would not be an exaggeration to call it a significant victory.
“Oh, you’ve arrived, Elma and Luce! I got tired of waiting for you already. This wily woman kept bugging me, so even ten minutes felt like an hour.”
Celt waved at us.
Mabel was standing next to him.
Although the rewards for the Raid Quest were already handed out, this was something like a celebration for that.
I clearly got the largest share due to my last hits, so to make up for that somewhat, I was about to treat everyone to lunch. Not like that would be able to compensate for that, but still.
The Blacksmith Berga was complaining about the fact that La Colina’s adventurer industry flourished too much, leaving only those that would try to line their pockets without doing any actual work.
That may indeed be the case from a certain point of view.
However, even though Celt and Mabel both looked to be a crafty adventurer like that at first sight, as we got to know them, it became clear that to make a living in La Colina as adventurers, they had no choice but to become like that.
Who knows if the conditions are like this because of the people here, or the people are like that because of the current conditions.
“I wouldn’t have minded if you took your time a bit more. I was having fun.”
Mabel said that with a blank face, making Celt sigh and facepalm.
“It seems Celt-san and Mabel-san somehow became good friends already…..”
Luce said with a strained smile.
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