Chapter 22 – Strategy meeting
On the same day the recruitment for the Raid Quest started, Luce and I invited Celt and Mabel to the tavern adjacent to the Guild building.
“So what happened with you two to call Celt and I like this?”
Mabel asked us in a genial mood.
“…..there is something I would like to ask you two. It would be quite dangerous, so if you think it’s not worth it, then you can of course refuse.”
It looked like Celt had already guessed my objective from the little I’ve just said, so he had a dubious expression on his face.
“Heey….Elma, my man. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the Raid to the Sunken Utopia, right? You wouldn’t be about to suggest that we join that Raid that I already said I have an extremely bad feeling about, would you?”
“….well, when you say it like that, it becomes hard to just come out and say it, but yeah, that was my intention. Like last time, this Raid is connected to the Mourning Trapezohedrons as well, and since we were already involved, I would’ve felt bad about acting like it wasn’t our business.”
Marquis Harden’s aim for the Raid this time is to flush out the people trying to take this last chance to create a Zork and take them out wholesale.
…..furthermore, the enemy is probably aware of Marquis Harden’s intentions to suss out the traitor during this Raid, so they will most likely try something to exploit that situation.
It’s already clear that we are in for a difficult fight this time.
However, if we ignore this Raid and they really manage to create a Zork, then La Colina may end up drowned under a Monster Calamity.
Marquis Harden would of course have other back up plans in place, but there were some risks still.
Therefore, I can’t just treat it as someone else’s problem.
“Are you serious right now…..hey hey. Listen here, Elma. I like that straightforwardness and moral fortitude of yours, but the only ones that would want anything to do with that are either stupid or broke. That’s what taxes are for, you know? Even if we don’t get involved, the blue-bloods and their soldiers will take care of it properly.”
After holding a hand to his forehead, Celt shrugged his shoulders.
“W-well, I agree on the fact that that’s what nobles are for…..”
It seems like Celt did not have too good of an impression of nobles.
This came as a bit of a shock to me.
Seeing my reaction, Luce had an awkward smile on her face.
“Also, we even have the A rank adventurer, the Black Flame Sword himself in La Colina right now. The soldiers of the Howlod Family will be there for sure too. To be truthful, among the B rank adventurers, I’m below average in terms of strength. I have a scout-type Class after all. The pipsqueak here is only a C rank as well.”
Celt pointed his finger at Mabel.
“Who’re you calling a pipsqueak? It’s hard for a healer Class to level up and we mostly stay at the back during a fight, so our adventurer rank tends to be lower. I’m confident that I would not fall behind Celt in experience with exploration, battle, and teamwork.”
Mabel replied with indignation.
“Apparently, for the Raid this time….. partly because of the Mourning Trapezohedrons, we will be clearing the Dungeon by splitting into four-man teams to divide up the monsters that appeared in abnormal numbers and gradually thin them out. However, there is a high probability that a traitor or traitors could slip into our midst. That’s why, rather than leaving it to the Guild, I would like to invite you two, since I know I can trust you…..”
“This was all kinds of fishy to begin with, but now you say that there is a traitor even….. Sorry, Elma, but now I want to go even less. It’s the same for you as well, right Mabel? You managed to pull the wool over my eyes at the beginning of our last Raid, but you are quite a vily one as well. You don’t want to get yourself mixed up in something as shady as this, right?”
“I’m fine with coming along. I don’t hate it when people rely on me.”
“Wha-…..! Mabel, you want to participate?”
Celt’s eyes opened wide in surprise from what Mabel said.
Even I felt it was unexpected that Mabel would just accept right away like that.
Mabel grabbed a fistful of Celt’s clothes.
“Also…..I’m sure that someone, who tried to run away by himself last time and ended up having to be saved in the end, will do his best to repay that debt even a little by participating this time.”
“Wait, wait wait! L-let me think it over for a bit!”
Celt said while he brushed away Mabel’s hand.
Seeing Celt’s panicking expression Mabel giggled a bit, then she turned towards me.
“I’ve got a read on your character during the last Raid, Elma-san. You think things through logically and avoid hopeless situations as best as you can. I admit I’m hesitant about going into a high level Dungeon like that, but you only invited us because you thought that we would be a good fit for it, right?”
“You might be overestimating me with that, but…..yes I think you two would be a good fit for this time.”
“We shared our Statuses with each other before that Skull Lord battle. I judged that working with you two, whose Skills I know, would be much easier than someone else with a high level damage dealing Class. I know the Skills and Statuses of every monster that could appear in the Sunken Utopia and the four of us should be able to handle them without a problem. I’ve already thought of strategies on how to fight against every type of monster there with this lineup. The Sunken Utopia has a certain unique topology and thanks to that the Dream Lord can’t move that freely. Even if another Wandering Lord appears this time as well, with all of our Skills I should be able to prepare a way out for us. If I let someone else dictate who we team up with, the end result would never come close to how efficient and safe this lineup could be.”
At first, I was thinking of hiring two people for the party, then have them exit the Dungeon right after the start of the Raid.
I thought since Marquis Harden asked us to search for the traitor, it would be better to have fewer people with us, since we would be able to maneuver faster that way.
I thought of ways Luce and I could get through the monsters on the way, but even so, there were still possible circumstances which only the two of us have no way of handling by ourselves, so I decided to try and invite Celt and Mabel.
“…..rather than overestimating you, I seem to have done the opposite. It’s kind of creepy to be honest.”
Mabel had a wry smile on her face while looking at me.
“So, what will the in-debt-to-us Celt-san do?”
“Stop saying everything in such an unpleasant way…..”
Celt raised his hand to his head and raked it through his hair.
“I don’t hate the idea of delving into a Dungeon with this party. Last time, when we managed to clear the Graveyard of Sorrows…..Celt-san, you were pretty energetic and lively. Rather than trying to make money by acting like a villain, I think that is closer to your real nature.”
Mabel tugged on Celt’s sleeves a few times.
“….tsk, I guess I have no choice. I am indeed in your debt. Also…..this Raid would be a bit too much for a C rank healer and two newbie B rank adventurers, so this first rate scout will lend you a helping hand.”
Celt let out a sigh of resignation.
“Thank you….Celt, Mabel.”
“Well, you also have a strange tendency to rake in the money, so I’ll be riding your coattails.”
The corners of Celt’s mouth curved up into a grin.
“Fufuun, this guy, even though he tries to act like a villain, he’s quite cute sometimes. I knew from the beginning that he would fold right away if someone pleaded with him.”
Mabel kept poking Celt’s shoulders with her elbow while laughing.
“…..is it too late to take it back now?”
Celt kept glaring at Mabel from the corner of his eye with a sour expression.