Side story 06 – A Certain Mage’s Grief
“The Wicked Cave of the Robber?”
“Yes, it was in the Guild announcement. Apparently it’s a new dungeon, but the reward for the subjugation of the dungeon master was 30 gold coins.”
“Thirty gold coins!?”
While sitting around a table in the inn’s tavern, we reported to each other the results of the information gathering when we split up into two groups in town.
A capture request for a new dungeon? But still, for a newly formed dungeon, that’s quite a sum attached isn’t it. That’s probably just how dangerous they think the dungeon might be though.
“Apparently a bunch of parties have already challenged it, but didn’t make much progress. Not only are there a bunch of strong monsters wandering about, there’s even talk about it being filled with miasma.”
“Miasma? It’s annoying stuff, but as long as we have Widdi we should manage somehow.”
She’s young, but Widdi’s power as a cleric is greater than the average bishop. On a good day, she can even rival an archbishop, so a barrier put up by her should be able to hold out the miasma.
“Well? What are we gunna do?”
“Hmm. If everyone agrees, I was thinking that we’d challenge it. It’s a bit of a detour though.”
I thought a little bit about what Arc said. We’re the Hero Party, and on our way to the Demon King in the Demon Territory, we just stopped over here in Riemel for a little, so going to capture the dungeon would definitely be making a detour.
Having said that though, thinking about Arc and Widdi’s personalities, they probably won’t be able to leave this town alone after all, and in high level dungeons, you can get strong weapons and items as well. What’s more, although we’re not lacking in travelling money, it definitely never hurts to have more, so the reward is looking pretty good as well.
“Okay. Sounds good.”
“I’m in too.”
“I agree as well.”
After I agreed, Zio and Widdi followed, and with our unanimous decision, we were now headed to challenge the new dungeon.
I had heard about how difficult the dungeon would be beforehand, but honestly speaking, I didn’t think it would be this hard. The miasma floating around was thick enough that I’m pretty sure we’d be in trouble without Widdi’s barrier, and the monsters prowling about were quite strong as well. On top of that, ever since we decided to take our break after the last barrier renewal, the monsters have been attacking more vigorously than ever, and sapped us of our stamina.
“Huuu, these monster attacks have been pretty crazy, haven’t they.”
“Isn’t it because we badmouthed the dungeon master and angered him?”
I grumbled in complaint while repulsing a monster for the Nth time, and Zio frivolously replied.
“It certainly does feel like they’re being sent here on purpose, huh.”
Arc agreed as well, but Widdi alone didn’t join in. Far from it, for some reason she was trembling with her head hanging.
“Oi, what’s wrong?”
Seeing that something was up, we all called out to her, but Widdi just wouldn’t reply. But after a while, she finally gave her response with a bright red face and teary eyes.
“U-, Umm… I-, I need to use the bathroom…”
I chased the men away with an ‘ahem’.
High-ranked adventurers though we may be, we can’t beat biology. It’s been quite a while since we entered the dungeon, and Widdi was apparently at her limits too. After making sure we were far enough that the men couldn’t see, Widdi immediately squatted against the wall. The monsters wouldn’t care about our circumstances so there was no way to let Widdi go off on her own, so as a fellow woman, I went with her to stand guard.
It’s awkward, but there’s really nothing we can do. There aren’t any toilets in a dungeon after all, so it can’t be helped.
…Or so I thought, but apparently this dungeon just got weirder and weirder.
Once we went down a floor, the very first room had the entrances to a men’s and women’s toilet. They were even meticulous enough to leave a sign plate.
“Whyy! Had it been on the last floor then I wouldn’t have had to do something so embarrassing…-!”
Widdi was groaning in complaint for a different reason than the rest of us, but thinking about it normally, this is as suspicious as it gets. It’s clearly unnatural to have a toilet in a dungeon. The chance of it being a trap are high. It’s high, but…
“Arc, could you check to see if it’s a trap?”
the truth is, I think I’ve just about hit my limit as well. If there are no traps, I’d like to use it. The divine protection on Arc’s Holy Sword can check for traps, so I had him check for any problems.
“Uu… To think that I’d use the blessing of the Holy Sword to check the safety of a toilet. Sacred Goddess Sophia-sama, please grant me your forgiveness…”
In the end, he apparently didn’t find any traps, so I gratefully used it.
Widdi was glaring at me hatefully, but I paid it no heed.
When we reached the 10th floor, we hit a snag in a certain room. In the middle of that room was a large pedestal, and words were carved into it.
“『Thee who wouldst come in challenge before the throne of the undying one, arrange correctly the stars.』 huh? Just what the heck could it mean?”
“There are many undead in this dungeon, so I believe that the “Undying One” refers to the boss of this dungeon.”
Mn, that sounds right. I was thinking what Widdi said.
“I see. Then in other words, if we want to fight the dungeon master, then we have to “arrange correctly the skies”, huh? I wonder what “arrange correctly the skies” means.”
Geez, Arc sure is the same as ever. Even if you say ‘I see’, we still don’t know the important part.
“They probably mean the celestial bodies, huh? I think that’s what these marks on the pedestal represent.”
On the pedestal, apart from the words were three square holes, and some kind of marks carved inside them. A mark that was a circle with jagged teeth around them, a mark like a wide arc, and a jagged mark with five points.
“How are we supposed to arrange these marks? …They don’t bloody move.”
“Seems that putting mana into it doesn’t work either, huh.”
Zio stuck his right hand into one of the holes and tried to move it sideways, but it didn’t seem to budge at all. It doesn’t look like something you can solve with brute force. Having said that though, it doesn’t seem to be a magical contraption either.
“Arc-sama, has the guidance of the Holy Sword not given any clues?”
“Sorry, nothing really…”
“N-, No! I apologise for asking too much!”
Widdi had entrusted a gleam of hope with Arc’s Holy Sword, but apparently that wasn’t working either.
Seeing Arc reply apologetically, Widdi frantically apologised.
“Even the Holy Sword from Sacred Goddess-sama can’t do a thing? Seriously? It’s a pretty hard question, hey? As someone whose specialty is using my body, this kind of thing is a bit much for me.”
“Don’t say things like that, and think together with everyone!”
It’s a problem with Arc too, but Zio is the type to do things by force without being very good at thinking. Having said that, pushing all the thinking work to Widdi and I would be troubling.
After that, we tried things like cutting at the pedestal with the Holy Sword, or trying to move the pedestal itself, but even after trying various things, we weren’t any better off.
“It’s not good. I haven’t the tiniest idea how to get the dungeon master to come out. I thought this place would be a shallow dungeon, so we didn’t prepare enough. It’s frustrating, but let’s withdraw for now.”
“T-, To withdraw right before the dungeon master…-!”
Well, I guess it can’t be helped. We’ve reached a dead end after all, and just like Arc said, it’s also a fact that we weren’t prepared enough. Nobody imagined that a new dungeon would be this deep, so we only brought basic camping gear. It can’t be helped.
We decided to give up and head back for the surface.
After that we decided to head back for Riemel to gather information, and a certain rumour reached our ears.
It was that the real Evil God was lurking in that dungeon.
“The Evil God? Honestly sounds like a fake, but…”
“But it’s also a fact that it wasn’t your average miasma in that dungeon.”
We realised after checking for ourselves, but the miasma in that dungeon wasn’t something normal. It was at a level where you could believe it if somebody said the Evil God was in there. What’s more, the monsters spawned were quite strong as well.
“What shall we do, Arc-sama?”
Widdi asked Arc, but he was at a loss for once, and sank into thought for a while.
“Honestly… it pains me to say it, but I don’t think we can beat the Evil God as we are.”
The Evil God is the being that’s said to create the Demon King, so there’s definitely no mistaking that he’s stronger than the Demon King. Right now we don’t know if we can defeat the Demon King, but at the very least, we don’t have much hope in defeating a being called a god.
“Yeah, pretty sure that’s too much.”
“It pains me to admit it as a follower of the Church of Sacred Light, but…”
Being a cleric, Widdi was making a bitter expression, but if we failed in vain here and became unable to defeat the Demon King, it would just be putting the cart before the horse. In the end, Arc’s duty as the Hero was just to defeat the Demon King, and we the Hero Party were there to support him in that role.
“For now, we’ll keep that dungeon in mind, and head to the Demon Territory first. If we safely defeat the Demon King, then at that time we’ll come back here and challenge it again.”
We all nodded back at Arc’s strong declaration.
“But still, despite all the work we did, all we got in the end was this weird stone slab? Geez, what a bloody waste of time.”
“Speaking of which, what on earth are these things?”
Speaking of which, we certainly did pick up this items on the 10th floor. There isn’t any mana coming from it, and it only looks like a normal stone slab.
“I don’t know either, but it was something found in the dungeon said to house the Evil God. It might actually hold some incredible power. There’s a chance that it’ll become our trump card in the fight against the Demon King.”
“That would be nice, but…”
Now then, now that we’re done with our detour, I guess tomorrow we’ll be beginning our journey towards the Demon King Castle.
I guess I’ll pray that we make it safely back to this town again.
Arc held the up Stone Slab of the Moon to the sky. But nothing happened.
TL: Today’s a weekend, so I’m busy with stuff around house as usual. Only managed to get one chapter out, and at… 3:43 AM.
This also marks the final re-translated chapter, so now there’s just 9 to 11 left, all new territory. Well, for you readers at least.