Chapter 1 – Phantasmal Dungeon
A few days have gone by since the Raid Quest in the Graveyard of Sorrows.
Due to us taking down the Skull Lord, an Evolved Dream Lord, it didn’t become as much of an incident as it could’ve.
However, there is still the fact that La Colina, the City of Adventurers, is being targeted by some kind of group.
The abnormalities of the Dungeon, especially the Evolution of the Dream Lord, was brought about by a vile material named the Mourning Trapezohedron.
Normally, the abnormalities would only start getting worse after magic stones from the monsters’ bodies and the corpses of people start to add up in a long existing Dungeon, providing enough mana for the changes.
To prevent such an outcome by defeating the Dream Lord and putting an end to the Dungeon is one of an adventurer’s main objectives.
A Mourning Trapezohedron is a high density, high purity crystallization of dark mana created from the grudges of countless monsters.
Someone went as far as scattering a bunch of them inside a Dungeon with the objective of inducing abnormalities.
And most likely this happened not only in the Graveyard of Sorrows, but in the Centipede Pit too, where Luce and I ended up clashing with the Death Armed.
I tried to get into contact with and exchange some information with the A rank adventurer, Kalos, and Guild Master Hallein, who is also a branch member of the Howlod Family, but I couldn’t get anything worthwhile.
Luce and I are just run-of-the-mill adventurers.
Our position is not that strong yet and we don’t really have the time to keep investigating things for the city when we weren’t even asked to do it.
As a former noble….and as someone who’s aware of some of the underpinnings of this world, if there is a large incident incoming, then I would want to stop that somehow.
However, to do that, I will need to get much stronger first, or I won’t be able to do anything.
With that in mind, Luce and I came to the adventurer’s guild to see if there was a particularly lucrative Dungeon around.
“How peaceful. Even though if things happened even a bit differently, this city could’ve been ravaged by a great calamity…..”
I let out a sigh, hearing the hustle and bustle of the adventurer crowd.
“Even among those that participated in the Raid Quest, those that didn’t see the Skull Lord with their own eyes don’t really appreciate the possible danger it could’ve posed…..”
Luce said with a strained smile.
The way these enemies operate, like using a spy with the Guild to falsify the Dungeon map, can be called somewhat reckless.
They are currently operating behind the scenes, but it seems they don’t really care if they get exposed for some reason.
I just can’t narrow down who exactly those enemies might be. There are too many inconsistencies for now.
“Well, our objective today is to choose a Dungeon to go to next. Let’s forget about the incident for now.”
“Hey, if it isn’t Elma and Luce.”
A man with a bow on his back who looked to be around 30 years old came closer.
It was Celt, an adventurer with a Hunter Class.
“I happened to hear something interesting. Good adventurers can run away fast and hear about things quickly. But this might not be the best place to talk about it, so how about we move somewhere else first?”
“Good adventurers can run away fast and hear about things quickly….. I see, then you are indeed a good adventurer.”
Celt gave an embarrassed cough at my words.
“Uhm, well…. sorry about that again.”
I thought he was self-deprecatingly referring to the incident where he tried to run away from a Patchwork then a few moments later he was almost killed by a second one, but apparently it wasn’t the case.
So, something interesting, huh….
After checking with Luce with a glance, I turned to Celt and nodded.
“Got it. Let us hear what you wanted to say.”
“Hey, hey, that Celt is trying to trick newbies out of their pocket poney again. Watch out for that one, kid.”
A nearby large man interjected with a wide smile as we walked by him.
….I thought since both Luce and I had already become B rank adventurers, people would recognize us more, but I guess not.
After glaring back at the large man, looking a bit embarrassed, he kept fast walking towards the entrance of the Guild.
“Tsk! G-get a move on already, Elma!”
“….I don’t think he would try to trick us with something, would he?”
“How should I say….the actions of a petty villain fits Celt-san really well….”
Luce grumbled with exasperation.
After that, we listened to what Celt had to say at a tavern.
It was just after noon, not even the time for lunch, so there were barely any people around.
The employees also didn’t try to do something thoughtless, like eavesdropping on our conversation.
“Well then….how much would we have to pay to get in on that chance to make a lot of money?”
“….would you mind not messing with me like that? It’s not like I intend to fleece you of your money.”
Celt awkwardly rubbed his brows.
“Apparently, there are strange happenings with the Howlod Family.”
Celt nodded to my words.
“It’s something that happens a lot with our kingdom’s nobles…..rather than blood ties, the Howlod Family values ability much more. It’s not like complete strangers would be able to participate too, but even the youngest child has the opportunity to become the next Head of the Family…..and depending on the situation, even kids of some relatives could become candidates to the heirship. And because of that inheritance dispute, the Family was divided into multiple factions and they are currently duking it out behind the scenes. The word is that the current Lord thinks that this would be for the greater good of the family, and is prepared for some possible deaths as well.”
“I’ve heard about him before, but to think he’s really that cold-hearted….”
As a former noble I’m aware of the circumstances surrounding something like this.
However, to factor in the possibility of people dying right from the outset is pretty disturbing.
“Snow Howlod….the first child of the current Lord and a genius swordswoman. Apparently she’s a black hearted, cold, creepy woman, who rarely opens her mouth, but….it seems she is trying to desperately pile up some achievements to appeal to the current Lord and the general population while making connections with other noble families. I don’t know if she is that desperate because she thinks she will be crushed by other candidates or what, but….just between you and me, that feels a bit fishy to me.”
“A bit fishy….Yeah, I agree.”
Those Dungeon abnormalities weren’t something that could be caused by one person alone.
Suspicions inevitably lead to the Howlod Family, who’s in control of the adventurers’ guild in La Colina.
However, from the point of view of the entire Howlod Family, creating an unnecessary incident that could endanger the whole territory has no advantage at all.
“It’s not impossible that an out of control candidate faction could’ve caused the Dungeon abnormalities to try to control the sentiments of the common people….”
If that’s really the case, then….I can only call that a foolish plan.
To think that an heir candidate that should be protecting the people would put them in danger for their own gain instead….
“You catch on quick, Elma. You looked like you were interested in what happened, so I thought I would give you a heads up. They also say that Snow is currently laying waste to nearby Dungeons in an effort to level up and to claim them as achievements. It might get troublesome if you run into her.”
“I see, we’ll remember that. Thank you, that was useful information.”
I wouldn’t want to run into a noble in a Dungeon.
If that someone is a cold person who does whatever it takes to reach their objective, then even more so.
Nobles are people that should be prepared to risk their lives for the people of their territory if it comes to it.
Partly because of that, there are many among them that think they deserve special privileges.
My father, Izas is also like that, but apparently the current Head of the Howlod Family is the epitome of this type.
She is the oldest child of that person, so it’s not hard to imagine what she might be like.
“Then….what’s the second thing you wanted to talk about?”
“Ah….don’t be surprised, but even though the Guild is hiding it….it seems a rare Dungeon appeared near the city.”
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