Part 2: Chapter 9 – Temporary Party
The reception counter at the Adventurers Guild was crowded.
“Why has the supply of carbonated potions stopped! Do you have a replacement product?”
“Is the guild going to do something about it?”
“There are so many monsters that ambush you on the 9th floor. Do you know how many people will die without potions with immediate effect?”
Tor felt bad for the guild workers who had to deal with them. They were practically in tears.
The Adventurers Guild was doing its job. As for the carbonated potions, the guild chief was also moving.
However, they must not have had enough time to understand the situation fully. But as their lives could be on the line, the Adventurers had rushed here to gather information instead of going to the dungeons.
It was then that Tor appeared, along with the twins who had been the ones to develop the carbonated potions. All eyes turned to them.
Suddenly, the place was completely quiet.
None of them were foolish enough to rush towards a B-Rank Adventurer.
But as Tor and the twins tried to move through the crowd and head towards the counter, a small woman appeared.
She was young, with long hair that was roughly tied together near her neck, and had sharp eyes. On her back was a longsword that was nearly two meters, and its sheath bore tribal runes.
Mailey looked at the runes with interest.
“Hmm? …You can read it?”
The woman looked surprised when Mailey read the words on the sheath.
“It is the language of the elves who live on the mountains of Shurihel, to the north, is it not?”
“You are very knowledgeable. It was given to me by the father who raised me. But that is of no matter now. You, Red Lightning!”
Tor looked at the young woman as if inspecting her.
Was there anyone like this small woman among his acquaintances? The question was written on his face.
And so she looked quite annoyed as she replied.
“Sheath Bane Bastora.”
“Ah, Sheath Bane, the B-Rank party. I thought your base of operations was farther to the north?”
‘Sheath Bane’ was a B-Rank party of seven, and Bastora was their leader. If Tor remembered correctly, they ranked 41st in the Adventurer hierarchy.
“I heard rumors of this carbonated potion, and came to see for myself. But more importantly, what’s all this noise? It seems like you are involved in it.”
“The Merchants Guild was not happy about the speed of the dungeon being captured, and so they applied pressure to cease the sales of carbonated potions. In retaliation, we are going to capture the dungeon and seal it. Do you want to come too?”
“I was about to enter a fit of rage over what you said, but it seems that you’ve come up with an amusing plan. Yes, we’ll help you.”
“Thank you. You’ll be able to use as much of the carbonated potions as you want, and see their effects. Two birds with one stone, eh?”
“Hehe. I feel lucky.”
In spite of the intimidating name, Bastora smiled like a young girl. Then she turned to her friends, who sat at a nearby table, and gestured for them to come.
A group of six men and women rose up. Their average age appeared to be mid-twenties. However, all of them, including Bastora, had pointed ears.
If they were elves they were likely all over two-hundred years old.
“17th, Red Lightning, Mr. Tor. It’s an honor to make your acquaintance.”
“You’re very kind.”
Tor shook hands with all of the members and then headed to the counter.
“We’re here to apply as a party. A temporary party consisting of me, these twins, and Sheath Bane over there. Also, I would like to hire someone to carry our belongings. The reward will be one gold per day. The requirement is that they can use Enchant.”
The guild worker was a little stunned by this sudden temporary party consisting of high-rankers, but they then nodded.
As Tor was given the hiring form, the Adventurers looked at each other.
They had heard that the reward would be an incredibly generous one gold per day. However, not only would you be in danger of getting involved in a battle with high-rankers, but their goal was to capture the dungeon. In other words, they would be going to the deepest floor.
And the requirement of being able to use Enchant essentially meant that he expected you to be able to protect yourself. You had to protect their baggage in a battlefield where powerful magic was flying towards you.
The average Adventurer would not be able to keep up with them.
Of course, Tor knew that with these conditions, there would not be many who would join just for the hopes of making a profit.
Tor looked uncomfortable as all eyes were turned towards him at the counter. He then pinned the sheet to the quest board, which the Adventurers soon flocked towards.
Tor then sat down with the members of Sheath Bane, and they began to plan out how they would capture the dungeon.
“Have your party read through the available documents on the Flaretalia?”
“We have. People have only just reached the 9th floor now. I heard that from about ten years ago, people were entering the 8th floor. But it seems the problem was more about the inner environment of the dungeon, and not the skill of the Adventurers.”
“Aye. The proof is that they got through as soon as the carbonated potions were available. The 8th floor should not be a problem for us.”
Tor was confident that as long as they had the right supplies, they would be able to reach the 8th floor without any problem.
And while there was not much information out there about the 9th floor, they knew that it was a desert area. Many of the monsters liked to ambush you, and it was easy to get hurt.
Bastora looked at the twins who sat next to Tor.
“Hey, are you going to take them with you? They do not look very strong…”
“They can use Enchant and their combat abilities are that of B-Rankers. There is no need to worry about them. And unlike in ancient ruins, there are no magitec beasts in dungeons. Besides, if these two are with us, they can create carbonated potions within the dungeon.”
“What? Are these twins the ones who developed the potions?!”
Bastora was so surprised that she leaned forward. Euphie and Mailey shrank back as if intimidated.
But Bastora ignored their reaction and continued to stare at them carefully. Then she nodded with satisfaction and sat back in her seat.
“If that’s the case, then they are necessary personnel. I’m quite happy, as I have a lot of questions to ask them. So, will our main job be to protect them?”
“And guarding while they rest.”
“Understood. Still, in spite of being high-rankers, we won’t have much to do.”
The others chuckled along with Bastora. They must have felt the same, but they shrugged.
“But you are a B-Rank party that is in the hierarchy. Is there really so much difference?”
Mailey asked. But Bastora waved her hands with a ‘No, no.’
“We do not rank so highly because of our accomplishments in battle. Our skill lies in tracking and capturing prey alive, whether they be human, monster or magitec beast. While we can fight head on as well, we do not do it often. After all, we are called Sheath Bane because we can take down a target without unsheathing our weapons.”
Bastora showed her white teeth as she laughed and said that she was fond of the name.
And then Tor added to her words.
“While she says that, they can use Enchant as B-Rankers. And every member of the party can use it. In the first place, no party that can capture a magitec beast alive without unsheathing their weapons could be considered weak.”
Upon hearing this, the members of Sheath Bane smiled proudly.
Just then, the Adventurers who had been watching from a distance stirred.
And then heavy footsteps approached them.
When Tor turned his head, he saw a man in his prime with a scar on his cheek. He led a group of five who walked towards him.
“I saw your request sheet. Allow us to join you.”
The man showed his Adventurers identification. He was Rank-D.
“Our party is called Boulder. I’m the leader, Fudo.”
Tor looked at him up and down and smiled.
“You seem reliable enough. Welcome.”
The twins seemed alarmed and whispered to him.
“While he does appear to be strong, he is D-Rank?”
“Mailey, what is the requirement for the promotion to C-Rank?”
“Hunting magitec beasts. That’s why we are also D-Rank.”
“You sometimes meet people like that. Those who are not interested in rank. Money can be made when needed. They just want the glory of capturing dungeons. And they have the skill for it. Many Adventurers like to be free. You shouldn’t care too much about rank.”
And then Tor looked at their swords.
It was clear that they had seen much use. And because they used Enchant daily, they were filled with magic energy.
Apparently, Fudo and the others heard this conversation, and they smiled.
“In fact, it was us who first stepped foot into the 9th floor.”
“In other words, your party is at the forefront of Flaretalia’s dungeon?”
“That’s right. We won’t be a burden to you. And if we are, you can leave us behind.”
“Any objections, Sheath Bane?”
Bastora represented the others and agreed readily as she got to her feet.
Tor also stood up and shook hands with Fudo.
“We leave tomorrow. So you should all prepare.”