Side story 05 – A Certain Guildmaster’s Melancholy
“Abnormalities in the Beginners Dungeon, you say?”
“Yes. There was a report from Lufree-san.”
When I skimmed through the report that made it to my office, I couldn’t help but tilt my head in wonder.
The Beginners Dungeon is a dungeon closeby to Riemel, and although the dungeon master was already subjugated. Because of that, the dungeon is now dormant, but not dead.
It was originally a shallow dungeon with only 3 floors after all, making the monsters all weak. Because of that it was left under the jurisdiction of the Riemel Branch of the Adventurers Guild as a training ground for beginners. Although dungeons without a dungeon master won’t grow anymore, as long as the dungeon core isn’t broken, it’ll continue to produce monsters and set traps, so it was a pretty effective training ground.
“The atmosphere and interior of the dungeon have changed, and the spawned monsters are stronger?”
In the past, the only monsters that spawned in the Beginners Dungeon were slimes and kobolds. But from what I can tell having read Lufree’s report, wraiths and black steel golems appear now. Lufree was close to becoming one of the leading adventurers, but he reported that he couldn’t match them at all.
“The revival of the dungeon master… No, it would probably be better to see this as the birth of a new dungeon master, wouldn’t it.”
Dungeon masters are born when the naturally occuring dungeon cores form a contract with a monster, animal, or perhaps human or demon. Dungeon masters steal the mana of prey killed within the dungeon, and use that mana to develop the dungeon. If left alone, they can grow infinitely. Because of that, dungeon masters become subjugation targets. Left alone it’s quite likely that they could swallow a town or city before you know it, after all.
The dungeon core in the Beginners Dungeon was presumably in good shape, so it’s probable that somebody or something came into contact with it and became the new dungeon master.
But what worries me is the fact that the spawned monsters are powerful, and that there’s an ominous aura coming from within the dungeon. Both of these factors point to the new dungeon master being a considerably powerful being. A powerful monster, or… a demon.
“Call in Vaif’s team.”
“Pretty rare that you expressly call us over, ey, Guild Master?”
The next day, I went to meet the 4-man adventurer party that had responded to the request. They’re the top rankers of Riemel Town, and at present, they’re the highest ranking party that I can mobilise.
“I want to task you all with the investigation of this incident.”
After saying that, I handed Vaif the report from Lufree. After Vaif had a look through it, it was passed around the party.
“An abnormality in that Beginners Dungeon, …huh? And why did you go out of your way to call us?”
“Call it my intuition. I have a feeling that things will get complicated.”
“My, my. Your intuition’s always been pretty good, after all.”
Investigating the level of risk this “Former” Beginners Dungeon posed was of utmost priority. If Lufree who is basically a core adventurer wasn’t even a match for them, then unless it’s a fairly powerful team they won’t be able to determine how dangerous the dungeon is. That’s why I couldn’t be stingy.
“Please investigate with attention to details.”
“Understood. Leave it to us.”
“So, this report was the result?”
“…It shames me to say it.”
After reading the report from Vaif, I spoke to Vaif who was in front of me. Unlike the time when I dispatched him, his party members weren’t present. It seems they were quite depressed with the results of their investigation.
“I wasn’t particularly criticising you. You fulfilled the objective of determining the dungeon’s risk, so it doesn’t matter that you failed the request.”
Only, the results are much harsher than expected. Not even in my dreams did I imagine that Riemel Branch’s top rankers would be beaten on the 2nd floor.
Powerful monsters, difficult to deal with traps, and what’s more…
“Yeah, a troublesome one that affects the mind. It’s impossible to go deeper without countermeasures.”
Miasma is an aura released by evil beings, and while some corrode the body like poisons, some are like this one and cause negative influences on the spirit. It’s known that when it comes to dungeons, the nature of the dungeon master will be spread throughout the dungeon. In general, dungeons with miasma are home to high-ranked dungeon masters, and this is particularly true for dungeons with miasma that affects the mind.
Clerics with lots of practice can form barriers, and items consecrated by the Church of Sacred Light can protect against the miasma to an extent, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a troublesome problem.
“But still, you did quite well in surviving a wipeout in the dungeon.”
“Well yeah, normally you’d be eaten by monsters and die on the spot after all. I did mention that in the report just in case, but…”
Apparently, after they fainted, only their items and weapons were taken, and before they knew it, they had been tossed into the dungeon entrance. This report was consistent with the one from Lufree the other day. Honsetly speaking, I don’t understand it. I do believe that it’s basically settled that there’s a new dungeon master in the “Former” Beginners Dungeon, but the purpose of a dungeon should be to kill prey inside and steal their mana. Knocking them out, stealing their weapons and items, and then returning them alive… This is the first case of its kind.
“Well? What are you gunna do?”
Even if we agonise over the dungeon master’s plan, it doesn’t seem like we’ll figure anything out. Just like Vaif said, it would probably be best to think about what we should do next. It’s likely that he personally wants to re-challenge the investigation that left him in humiliation though.
“Let’s see. I am thinking of spreading news of a request for countermeasures against a new dungeon. The reward should be about 30 gold coins.”
“30 gold coins!? …No, certainly that much might be necessary.”
Honestly speaking, it’s an extravagant sum for the subjugation of a completely new dungeon, but I don’t think this is too much. Despite being shocked, Vaif as well immediately agreed. As long as even Vaif’s team, top rankers in this branch, had trouble making progress, there isn’t any choice except to hope for manpower from elsewhere. With this much money, we can probably expect people from all across the country to challenge this dungeon.
“As long as we’re sending out a request, we need to think of a name for this dungeon, don’t we. It’s already a different dungeon to the Beginners Dungeon. Hmm, how about… “The Wicked Cave of the Robber”?”
“Fits it perfectly.”
In light of the fact that it releases a fiendish miasma, as well as the fact that its purpose can only be assumed to be stealing weapons and items from adventurers, this was the name we gave it.
Now then, while I send out the request, I’d better contact the Adventurers Guilds in other towns as well.
It seems things will get busy from now on.
That of all things, I would incur the wrath of the Evil God because of that name, was something that I hadn’t even imagined at that time.