Chapter 4: The old man challenges the last trial.

The next morning, after clearing our campsite we continued to move deeper into the dungeon, clearing the fourth floor within the hour. Currently, we were on the fifth floor which appeared to be a catacomb as we came across several graveyards in a tunnel illuminated by the torches on the wall.
[Yuuya, this place smells. Everything smells rotten here. Luna wants to leave now.] (Luna)
Since Luna had a keen sense of smell, the smell was much more damaging to her than it was for us.
[Clearing this floor shouldn’t take too long however we’ll still have to watch for traps here.] (Yuuya)
[Yuuya, there are red stains all around the ceiling. It looks like there’s a trap ahead.] (Luna)
Just as I gave a warning to Luna, we encountered a trap in the dungeon. Even though we hadn’t touched the trap, another trap was activated causing a hidden door back at the entrance to open, releasing a wave of zombie-esque monsters made of soil, Ground Ghouls into the tunnel. They had low attacking power and were extremely slow, however just like a horde of zombies they were tough and resilient, making them difficult to deal with in a horde.
[Yuuya-ojisama, it’s impossible for us to fight against that many monsters. Let’s escape.] (Selene)
[That’s impossible, we won’t have enough time to disarm the trap. Other the other hand if we activate it we’ll be wiped out too.] (Yuuya)
This was an amazing and at the same time a dangerous combination of traps including the Ground Ghouls. The fact that Presence Detection didn’t detect the monsters hidden meant that they were only spawned the moment we activated the trap.
It’ll be suicide for us to fight that horde head on. Sensing the danger, Erik immediately activated his Blessing of the Dragon.
[Phil, Til, don’t fire any arrows until I give the signal. Ground Ghouls are highly resistant against physical attacks.] (Yuuya)
Their bodies were made of soil causing their bodies to be resistant against physical attacks. Furthermore, monsters made of the earth were resistant against the Lightning attribute. My Napalm strike could be useful here, however that would be too difficult. However, there is something else that I could do right here.
[Ice Age!] (Yuuya)
As the Ghouls were extremely slow, it gave me enough time to achieve my goal which wasn’t inflicting damage but to freeze all of them.
[Now!] (Yuuya)
Phil and TIl fired their arrows in response as the ghouls who lost their physical resistance after being frozen began crumbling one by one. Meanwhile, I grabbed one of the frozen Ground Ghouls and threw them towards the trap ahead. The flying ghoul was detected by a sensor as a liquid began pouring out from the ceiling, appearing to be acid as the zombie melted after coming in contact with it.
Getting surprised by the horde of Ground Ghouls behind, rushing to your death underneath a rain of acid or mustering up the courage to battle the physically resistant monsters whether the trap was noticed or not and dying in battle or melted by the rain after retreating.
This was the advanced leveled dungeon displaying its difficulty.
[I’ve heard of many dangerous traps including acid-types but it’s even worse looking at it in person.] (Selene)
[And it’ll be even worse if you managed to survive the trap once caught in it.] (Yuuya)
Selene and Phil covered their mouths in shock watching the Ground Ghoul melt in front of them.
[However, so long as you’re observant you can see the way out. There will be instances where you are forced to get caught within a trap and monster combination in the dungeon. So long as you can see it, I’m sure there is a way out.] (Yuuya)
Knowledge and experience are what defines an adventurer’s which is why only strong adventurers are able to avoid falling prey to dungeons. With knowledge, you can prevent unnecessary risks and dangers towards you while having experience and ability allows you to overcome situations with your own power.
[Looks like we won’t have enough time for a break.] (Yuuya)
When the acid rain stopped falling, two zombies holding a sword rushed towards us at a high speed.
[It’s conceited for mere zombies to use a weapon!] (Til)
Til fired an arrow towards the Zombie Swordsman however it is not an ordinary zombie as its name implies. It was capable of basic swordsmanship, with a fairly good status and this zombie displayed it as it struck down the arrow Til fired, running towards her.
[What kind of monster is this, to strike down my arrow?] (TIl)
[Til, let me give you a demonstration. Remember how firing three shots at once was just acrobatics?] (Phil)
[Uhn. I asked you to teach me because it looked cool!] (Til)
[It is effective though for this kind of opponent.] (Phil)
Just as she finished her sentence, Phil fired three arrows towards the zombie as the first arrow gets struck down. However, the remaining two arrows proceeded to penetrate where the throat and heart of the zombie should be as the zombie stops moving. Without missing a beat, she fired another arrow directly into its forehead, defeating it.
[For opponents like this, it’s important to strike their brain, throat, and heart. So long as one of them hits, you’ll either be able to defeat it outright or restrict their movements for a moment. Then, it’ll be a matter of taking out its conscientiousness by taking out its brain.] (Phil)
[I can’t do something like that you know! It’s difficult to hit three arrows at the same time let alone aim them at key points!] (Til)
[You’ll just have to work hard. It’s fine since you have much more talent with the bow than I do. For now, even if you don’t hit the three points you can focus on firing three arrows at the same time. Now then, the second swordsman is rushing over here, please go ahead.] (Phil)
Even while teary-eyed, Til fired three arrows towards the zombie swordsman right on target, however since they weren’t fired towards the crucial points the zombie swordsman continues moving forward without being paralyzed.
[KYUU]
Erik jumped from Luna’s head, releasing a breath of blue wind towards the zombie. It was an ability called Stun Breath, it was capable of stunning a monster for a moment even if it was a boss. Since it was Erik’s skill, it was extremely useful however since we couldn’t control its timing it is relatively ineffective but it has great potential.
[Thank you, Erik. Yosh, I can do this. This time I’ll do it] (Til)
Til tried again and managed to land another two arrows onto the zombie as it turned into blue particles.
[Uuww. As expected it’s impossible. But I’ll catch up eventually!] (Til)
[Yes, I’m looking forward to it but training will be difficult for that end.] (Phil)
[Although the training is already difficult!?[ (Til)
[Well, you’ll be able to do it when the time comes.] (Phil)
It seems that Phil was quite spartan-like in some way. Thanks to that, Til’s archery skills were becoming much better. Surely she’ll overtake Phil in the future.
.
.
.
Afterward, the path to the exit was smooth as we arrived on the seventh floor.
The seventh floor looked like a gigantic pit filled with magma while a temple was floating on the surface of the magma.
As one would expect, the temple at the entrance of the dungeon was merely a display whereas this was the actual Temple of the Primal Flame.
[We’ve finally arrived. In that temple we’ll find the torch holding the Primal Flame.] (Yuuya)
[Hurray! Yuuya, let’s hurry up and retrieve the torch and go home!] (Luna)
[Uhn uhn. I thought that this was impossible however we’ve finally achieved our goal.] (Til)
We finally arrived at our goal at the cost of all of our resources as we’ve used up all of our recovery potions. The war against the horde of ghouls earlier was the main culprit as the fifth and sixth floor mainly consisted of riddles and problem-solving gimmicks making the trip here smooth aside. Furthermore what made this dungeon exhausting was battling consecutive battles against powerful monsters while being on the watch for dangerous traps as moving forward in an advanced dungeon ignorantly causes you to suffer the consequences.
If we had to challenge another floor before arriving at the temple, I would have backed out without any hesitation.
Stone scaffolding floated on the surface towards the temple from the edge of the lake as we walked carefully towards the temple. Of course, one misstep meant it was over. The path was risk-free as we arrived at the temple and I placed my hand on the door.
However, I hesitated at that moment without opening the door.
The main purpose of the dungeon was to provide trials for the attempting adventurers, testing a different aspect of their personalities. For example, the endless labyrinth on the fourth floor tested the person’s wisdom while the fifth floor tested the person’s courage. This floor’s main theme was to test the adventurer’s strength. After clearing the monsters in this floor, each of them would drop a material needed to create a dagger and combining all of the materials would be sufficient to craft the dagger.
This was a special test which could be the easiest or worst test depending on the parties. And there could even be no end to the test depending on what happens. There is no advice or instruction I could give to the girls for this trial.
[Yuuya, what’s wrong?] (Luna)
Luna looked up towards me in concern.
[Yuuya-niisan, what’s wrong? Are you afraid of the final test or are you relieved that we’re finally here? Cause I’m relieved you know.] (Til)
[Could it be that Yuuya-ojisama is worried about us? Don’t worry as we’ve been trained by you personally all this time. There’s no way we’ll be defeated in this trial now that we’ve come this far.] (Selene)
I let out a slight smile as I was worrying too much. Selene was right. There was no way they would lose after being single handed trained by me. I’ve made sure to train them and honed their true strength. Furthermore, they’ve also put in a lot of effort to keep up with my expectations.
[You’re right. Let’s go then!] (Yuuya)
Believing in their spirits, let’s challenge the final trial and finish this!

<End of Chapter>

Hope you guys enjoyed this binge release! Unfortunately this is the last chapter in the stockpile. Since I’m scheduling this chapter in advance, I won’t exactly know if I’ll be releasing anymore chapters this week but the chapters will either be released this week or the next once their completed.

Chapter 3: The old man prowls about the maze.

Eight hours have passed since we went down the hidden staircase.

Right now we were at least four levels underground in a labyrinth area. In this labyrinth, there would be a magical exit at the end of the labyrinth however if we were to go down the wrong path, we would reach a dead end and sent to the entrance and start over.

And we had just got teleported back to the entrance

 

  [Yuuya-niisan, we’re starting all over again!? I’m sick of this.] (Til)

  [Yuuya, Luna also wants to cry. However, Luna will do her best. Let’s go Til, let’s take the right path.] (Luna)

Looking at the start point we visited numerous times, Til let out a sad voice looking at the forked road ahead of us. She has already been mentally defeated being sent back to this forked road. To make matters worse, every time we’re sent back to the beginning, the monsters that we defeated on the way will be revived, causing our physical strength and resources to be slowly sapped as time goes on. This would be an ideal farming spot as the number of monsters we could hunt are endless however I’ll have to give up on that.

Although as expected, even with my knowledge I won’t be able to remember the exact path for this labyrinth. Thanks to this, we’ve returned to the entrance numerous times and forced to fight the same battles over and over but this time it looks like we can finally clear it.

 

  [Wait a moment, the two of you. That’s a trap. Although this forked road looks exactly the same as the entrance, it may actually be the exit instead. If we assume that we are at the entrance and head right, we’ll just end up back here eventually. The correct way to go here is the left. Look carefully at the left path. Do you vaguely see the torches illuminating the wall?] (Yuuya)
  [There’s no way you can notice that!] (Til)

Til lashed out as her elven ears turned red. 

 

  [Yuuya-ojisama, is the person who made this labyrinth a devil or something. His character is way too bad to create this dungeon like this.] (Selene)

  [I think so too. You can’t help but feel like hitting the guy who created this labyrinth.] (Yuuya)

As I was despairing returning back to the same location over and over, I barely managed to notice the mechanics of this labyrinth although it took a lot longer than expected. I really felt like killing the person who made this labyrinth. However, it was finally over.

Although I had forgotten the details, I remembered that the first and final battles were extremely impactful. Thanks to that I remembered that we would be able to head to the fifth floor by heading to the left road. However, we won’t be progressing any further today.

 

  [We can stop here for today. We’ll spend the night here and clear the dungeon by tomorrow. Let’s take a break.] (Yuuya)

After hearing my words, Selene let out a sigh of relief as the two girls collapsed on the spot. Experiencing an extremely long series of battles on the fourth floor, their fatigue, and mental strength have reached their limits, making it extremely difficult to continue forward.

This was a good spot to set up camp as the environment’s cooling and safe because monsters won’t show up. This is one of the three camping spots present in the Temple of the Primal Flame.

 

  [Phil, could you please do that?] (Yuuya)
  [Sure, leave it to me. I’ll blow away everyone’s fatigue. In this kind of situation, having a delicious meal is the best.] (Phil)

I took out the magic tent as Phil began preparations for dinner.

 

  [Take a look. This is the magic tool we got from the boss’s treasure chest.] (Phil)

Phil took out a bunch of ingredients as well as a large metal bag from her magic bag. It looked like a metal attache case and a bunch of pans, knives and other kitchen essentials housed within. Once the contents were taken out, Phil pressed a button present on the bag causing the case to deform and form a grill and a water valve. This was a tool that was basically a portable kitchen. Thanks to the power of magic, water could flow out endlessly and the flames could be burnt without fuel, allowing the user to clean all their utensils without any worry.

Once Phil began boiling water on the stove, Luna and TIl jumped on the spot.

 

  [Yuuya, that’s weird! There are water and fire coming out.] (Luna)
  [With this around, we’ll be able to eat onee-chan’s delicious food anytime and anywhere!] (Til)
  [Yes, this is a convenient item as it allows us to cook the meat we obtain from hunting monsters as well as being able to access a fire source or water source at any time.] (Phil)

 

It is a mistake to neglect the importance of water, food, and fuel in dungeons as you would often enter a dungeon for dozens of days, making it important to pack that many days worth of food. However, if you were to go for a long trip you would want to secure space in your inventory for materials obtained in the dungeon. Thus this portable cooking set is a great way to reduce your luggage which was why Phil and I were disappointed when she had sold her’s away.

 

  [Onee-chan, what will you be cooking today?] (Til)

  [I intend to use the chicken meat dropped earlier to make pasta.] (Phil)

  [Phil, is that delicious?] (Luna)
  [It’s very delicious, Luna-chan.] (Phil)

 

The two children began their mysterious dance. I thought that they had reached their physical limits but it turns out that they were fine.

 

Phil’s cooking skills were great as she placed the dried pasta into the pan, crushed the chicken meat before seasoning it. Then she placed the butter into a frying pan as she peeled off the chicken skin and fried them. It felt quite luxurious for us to be able to boil dry pasta in a dungeon using water. She then placed the chicken into the frying pan and as the chicken was cooked, she put the boiled pasta into the frying pan with fresh cream, eggs, and seasoning before putting it on a plate.

Just by looking at it I could understand that it was delicious. All while she was doing this, she had also prepared her homemade soup on the side.

 

  [Luna-chan, Til. Could you take out the dishes?] (Phil)

  [Food, Food!] (Luna)

  [Food, Food!] (Til)

 

The two children were busy moving around with an atmosphere that didn’t feel like we were in a dungeon. As expected of Phil who had a great cooking skill as well as the portable cooking set.

 

.

.

.

 

It was finally time to eat as herbal tea and chicken pasta with the soup was placed on the table.

 

  [Phil, this is delicious!] (Luna)
  [As expected of onee-chan!] (Til)

  [This is really very delicious. I can’t imagine that this was made with plain ingredients.] (Yuuya)

 

I also let out my opinion as it was really amazing. The taste of the fat of the chicken skin, as well as the spices with the meat, matched perfectly. Furthermore, the pasta was entwined in fresh cream allowing it to slide down the throat easily.

 

  [Please eat much as you wish since there’s enough for another party.] (Phil)

 

At once, the two children rushed to Phil requesting for seconds as Phil anticipated that, making a large amount of food earlier. Just like this, we were blessed as we were able to eat to our heart’s content in the dungeon. Back when I didn’t have a magic bag, I could only carry a limited amount of food and their taste was light and bland whereas recently I’ve found myself enjoying meals in the dungeon more often. Magic tools such as the magic bag and portable cooking set are just far too valuable not to have.

 

I’m glad that these girls didn’t have to go through what I went through back then. After the meal, Phil presented the baked meringue with egg white and honey which she didn’t use for the chicken pasta. It had a pleasant light texture with tender sweetness as the sweetness spreads throughout my body which was tired from the consecutive battles, releasing my mind from the fatigue.

 

  [Phil, it was extremely delicious! Thank you. With this I’ll be able to do my best tomorrow!] (Luna)

  [Uhn uhn. The power of delicious food is really amazing!] (Til)
  [Luna and Til, you should be very thankful towards Phil as even if the body is forcefully healed with potions, your mind and heart won’t be. Thus a good meal is as effective as an expensive potion.] (Yuuya)

 

There have been many parties that I was a part of that neglected this aspect resulting in our demise in important situations. It is also important as I wanted these girls to have an enjoyable time adventuring rather than slug their lives out. Phil began collecting the dishes and placed them into the attache case. This also made it very convenient to clean up as the dishes would be clean once we opened up the case the next time.

 

  [Yuuya, you’re going overboard with your praises. Is the pace of our exploration going great for now?] (Phil)

  [Ah, it’s going according to plan. At this rate, we’ll be able to clear the dungeon by tomorrow. It’s great that we managed to clear the labyrinth today as it is an important milestone for this dungeon.] (Yuuya)

Our goal was to reach the seventh floor of the dungeon. Since we were currently on the fourth floor, we had already cleared half of the dungeon. However, our consumables were also decreasing rapidly as we just survived a battle of resources in the labyrinth whereas the monsters will just become stronger as we progress deeper into the dungeon.

 

  [It’s all okay! With Phil’s delicious food we’re all energetic!] (Luna)
  [Uhn uhn. My arrows will show up sharper than ever tomorrow!] (Til)

  [Til, you look like you’re in great condition. Let’s start replenishing our arrows using Arrow Generation for now. If we drink potions that naturally increase our mana regeneration, then we’ll be able to regenerate all of our mana by the morning.] (Phil)

  [Yuuya-ojisan, would you like to tell me more about the monsters and traps we’ll be encountering tomorrow before we go to bed?] (Selene)
  [KYUU!] (Erik)

 

I was afraid to enter this dungeon as I thought that we weren’t ready but it seems that everyone’s mind and body were much stronger than I thought. If they keep this up we may even become a top tier adventurer party within a year. I let out a small laugh as I began the briefing for tomorrow. It’ll be much tougher than today but I’m sure it’ll be fine tomorrow.

 

Chapter 2: The old man gets baptised in a dungeon.

We began walking around in the Temple of the Primal Flame as Luna placed her small hand onto the large temple door, pushing it open to be met with a swarm of flame breaths and flaming arrows. We split up into two, dodging to the left and right at a timing impossible to react to. We had preemptively dodged to the side as we already knew about the attack beforehand.

 

  [Uwah, Yuuya-niisan’s warning actually came true.] (Til)

  [Uhn. It’s a good thing that we were prepared.] (Luna)

Truth is, the monsters here were set to attack the moment the door opens. Furthermore, the setting of the dungeon prevented any monster from being seen when the door was closed, making it impossible to notice the monsters hiding behind the door before their attack. The only way to dodge the attack was to use Presence Detection or if you knew about the attack beforehand.

The moment the rain of flames came to a halt, the five of us jumped out immediately as I counted 12 monsters behind the door. The monsters consisted of two monsters, the Crimson Grim Reaper which wore a shabby cloak and a Fire Spirit. Just as its name implies, it was a spirit made of flames although it doesn’t feel like a very fitting monster for a temple. Normally I would rejoice at the high number of enemies however this wasn’t a time to celebrate as they had a powerful formation with some of them hiding between chairs and the rest keeping a distance away. Phil and Til’s arrows began flying over our frontline as we tried to close the distance and shave down their numbers. It’ll be nice to preserve our magic and items by not using them respectively but this battle would be fatal if it’s prolonged due to our fear of expenditure.

 

  [Everyone, don’t worry about wasting resources and use your items and mana if you need to! It’ll be nice but it’ll be difficult to beat level 40 monsters without some expenditure!] (Yuuya)

 

I shouted as I plunged right into a wave of flame arrows and flame breaths. If it were simple spells such as these, it can be easily brushed off if we concentrate, however, the problem comes when ranged attacks with advanced spells are used. The Crimson Grim Reapers were capable of using advanced flame magic suitable for their level as three of them began chanting.

 

  [Phil! Til!] (Yuuya)

  [Leave it to me, Yuuya-niisan.] (Til)
  [Understood!] (Phil)

As per my instructions are given earlier, the two sisters turned their targets towards the Grim Reapers who began their chants as a direct hit from advanced fire magic is fatal to me and Luna. 

One of the Grim Reapers received three attacks from their arrows however it hadn’t faltered. As expected of a level 40 monster. 

Our situation was dire as there wasn’t just one but three Grim Reapers who were chanting as we couldn’t approach them due to the rest of the monsters blocking our way.

 

  [Yuuya, do that thing when we beat the boss!] (Luna)
  [Nice idea.] (Yuuya)

I turned my back towards the enemy as Luna ran towards me. I placed my hand onto my right knee as Luna stepped on my foot, flying through the air towards the monsters being protected in the back.

 

  [Assassinate!] (Luna)

 

Luna twists in the air as Bazerato slides into the Grim Reaper filled with arrows, eliminating it. The Grim Reaper’s weakness was the magic core at where a person’s heart is, causing her critical amplifying to activate. 

However…

 

  [It isn’t dead!?] (Luna)

This is the strength of a level 40 dungeon. The battle was completely one-sided as we had one second left before the spell activates.

The Grim Reaper laughs at Luna as its face was broken by a blade, turning into blue particles.

 

  [That was a close call.] (Yuuya)
  [Yuuya amazing!] (Luna)

 

Even for me, it was impossible to get through this group of monsters, thus I threw my blade directly to the monster instead as I had practiced my sword throwing for emergencies. As a proper knight, you might get upset at how rough my blade was being treated, however, I viewed it as an actual means of attack. Of course, I wouldn’t do it until it was a last resort as the lack of a weapon was deadly.

However, I wasn’t barehanded as I took out my spare black magic sword and turned to face the rest of the enemies.

 

.

.

.

 

Five minutes later, we managed to defeat all the monsters.

The Grim Reaper’s advanced magic was troublesome however the Flame Spirits were also annoying without Phil as they completely invalidated any physical attacks, making it impossible to damage them without Magical Enchantment: Water.

 

  [Yuuya, right off the bat we’re exhausted.] (Phil)
  [I’m also quite tired right now. Normally we would be able to defeat the monsters within several shots however they didn’t falter at all.] (Til)
  [It hasn’t even begun as these guys were much easier to deal with as compared to the other monsters. At this level monsters often have a balanced composition with monsters in the front line and monsters meant for the backline. This time we only faced off against monsters who were better suited for the back line.] (Yuuya)

I’m going to account for a Luna-boost in the future as it was a powerful move we could do since she was light. However, we can’t use it willy nilly as it would isolate Luna within the enemy’s formation.

 

  [Being thrown by Yuuya was exciting.] (Luna)

  [Ah. That’s what I thought too. Yuuya-niisan do that to me next time!] (Til)

  [What would having our backline thrown to them do..] (Yuuya)

As Til typically prioritized her enjoyment, she suggesting something ridiculous as I picked up the items dropped on the floor and my sword while Phil and Til picked up their arrows. Arrows were an important resource right now as we had to preserve our resources as much as possible.

 

  [Are the number of arrows sufficient for the two of you right now?] (Yuuya)

  [So long as we are frugal about them we should be able to make it until the boss battle. It’ll be pretty exhausting to constantly use Arrow generation for this.] (Phil)

  [Ah, we’ve been using the arrows onee-chan bought in the city, however, our offensive abilities have dropped quite a bit.] (Til)

 

Normally they would have used their skills to produce their custom arrows however we had used up all of their generated arrows in the battle against the Coronoa Dragon. They had tried to generate enough arrows before attempting the dungeon however it wouldn’t have been enough so I had Phil head out and purchase some arrows and potions for us.

 

  [We’ll do something about it as long as we can.] (Phil)

If we had one more day to prepare we would have enough arrows however time wasn’t on our side.

I walked towards the center of the temple as a statue of a goddess appeared holding a rose. The transcript in front of the goddess read “Fill up the cup with flames and it’ll illuminate your path.”.

 

  [Yuuya, what will we do? I don’t see any path for us to proceed.] (Luna)

  [Well, just wait a moment.] (Yuuya)

I took out a flint and the oil we used for our campfires from my magic bag as I filled the cup with oil and ignited it with the flint.

 

  [The writings say that the goddess would lead the way once the cup was filled with flames. With this, we should be able to proceed.] (Yuuya)

After a minute or so, there was the sound of earth shifting as the statue slid aside, revealing the stairs under its original position. This temple was a dungeon that went deeper underground and if the riddle wasn’t solved then you would only spend your time wandering around above ground.

 

  [Yuuya-niisan, this dungeon leaves a bad taste in the mouth as you would be stuck here if you didn’t know about the riddle.] (Til)
  [I’m of the other opinion as I think that this is plenty easy. Having the riddle come out at the beginning of the dungeon meant that you wouldn’t have to waste time to return after traveling deeper into the dungeon.] (Yuuya)
  [Uh. That does sound worse.] (Til)

 

Til made a disgusted face as Selene was deep in thought.

 

  [Selene, what are you thinking about?] (Yuuya)

  [This feels a little suspicious. Why didn’t the guild advise us about the solution to the riddle?] (Selene)

 

Selene was sharp as she noticed this sort of details quickly.

 

  [You’re right. This is strange since the guild actually wants us to clear the dungeon. If they wanted us to clear the dungeon then they would have actually advised us on how to solve the riddle.] (Yuuya)

It was strange. The guild shouldn’t want us to spend our time about the mysteries as they even went out of their way to give each of us a Return Stone, they should be advising us on this.

 

  [Could it be that the guild knew that if it was Yuuya, that we would be okay?] (Phil)

Phil came up with her hypothesis as I came to that sudden realisation. I thought that our party was nominated for this quest as we defeated the Coronoa Dragon. However, it could be that someone with information recommended our party for this quest instead. If you knew that I and Phil were both once top-tier adventurers before our levels were reset, it wouldn’t be strange for us to be nominated and even neglect to advise us on the riddles.

 

  [Even if that is so, it is meaningless for us to think about this for now. Let’s head down.] (Yuuya)

No matter how much we theorize, we won’t get our answer until we get out of here. This dungeon is a gold mine so let’s be sure to make as much money as we can before we get out of here tomorrow.

Volume 4 Chapter 1: The old man rushes into the Temple of the Primal Flame

Once my business in the guild was over, I headed towards the restaurant. The moment I entered the room, Luna shook her head as they had been waiting for me before starting dinner.

 

  [Even though I asked you guys to start dinner without me.] (Yuuya)

  [It tastes better when Yuuya’s here with us!] (Luna)

  [Uhn uhn. What she said.] (Til)

 

I felt happy after listening to Luna and TIl’s words.

 

  [Hou. Even though they were shaking back and forth constantly crying “I’m hungry!’ for a long while, they behave well in front of you.] (Phil)

  [Ugh.. This is this and that is that! They are unrelated!] (Luna)

  [Onee-chan, it’s mean of you to expose us like that!] (TIl)

 

It was unusual for Phil to be poking fun at them as Til would often tease right back. Meanwhile, Selene was looking at the three of them with a warm smile. I went to my seat and ordered quickly before clearing my throat as I planned to talk about the matters in the guild before our food arrived.

 

  [Girls, there are two important matters that I’ll have to report. Firstly, I mentioned earlier that we would be taking the caravan tomorrow to leave the town, however, that plan has been canceled.] (Yuuya)
  [If we aren’t riding the caravan setting off tomorrow, does that mean that we’ll be waiting for the next caravan to arrive?] (Selene)
 

I shook my head

 

  [No, I bought a carriage earlier at the guild. Thanks to the raptor carriage, we’ll be able to leave anytime without relying on the timings of the caravans.] (Yuuya)

  [Ahh so you bought a raptor carriage. With this we’ll have plenty of freedom when it comes to traveling.] (Phil)

 

Phil who had ridden on a raptor carriage in the past had a pleasant expression as it was essential equipment to have when we become expert adventurers. Most higher leveled adventurers didn’t settle for the monsters in dungeons belonging to a single town, but rather memorised the respawning date for specific dungeons and rotating between each dungeon throughout the week. Since every dungeon respawned at different timing, it was much more efficient to travel between towns and hunt in multiple dungeons.

 

  [The second matter is related to the carriage. I decided to accept a special quest as it was an important quest which could potentially damage Flaregard’s economy if left uncompleted. The quest is to retrieve the gem of the Primal Flame. If the gem wasn’t retrieved once every decade, the Primal Flame in Flaregard will die out, making it more difficult for adventurers to acquire powerful equipment while damaging Flaregard’s business.

 

Phil and Selene who understood the situation gasped at the severity of the quest.

 

  [If that’s the case, then I understand why Yuuya-ojisama decided to accept the quest.] (Selene)

The Primal Flame was a flame which hadn’t stopped burning since it came into existence. If it were to be extinguished, then magical metals which can only be processed here couldn’t be processed. Furthermore, the flame was the reason why the hot springs here had its special properties. Once the flame dies out, Flaregard wouldn’t survive for long. Another important reason was only known to me from the game, which was why I couldn’t afford to let the flame die out. This was the true reason why this quest was an event quest during the game.

 

  [However, the difficulty of this quest is quite steep as the Primal Flame can only be found in a dungeon with a difficulty level of 40. The Temple of the Primal Flame was a dungeon recommended for adventurers level 40 and above and once the door is open, only one party can enter at any point in time. Once entered, we’ll have to retrieve the gem at the very back of the dungeon.] (Yuuya)

This was an important condition as we wouldn’t be able to enter and complete the quest if there were adventurers unable to complete the quest, getting themselves stuck in the dungeon in the progress. It was also troublesome that there would only be one Primal Flame burning inside the dungeon. If the gem were to fall in the wrong hands, the person might demand a higher reward as compared to the quest since the Primal Flame was Flaregard’s lifeline. Once the flame dies out, Flaregard would lose a large amount of its income hence only nominated adventurers recognized by the guild are allowed to attempt the dungeon.

In this situation, we hadn’t accumulated enough achievements to get the guild’s recognition, until we defeated the Coronoa Dragon. The receptionist must have vouched for my character while the guild recognized our feat of defeating the boss without any flame resistant equipment. The guild was most likely searching for another party to clear the dungeon since we would most likely fail considering the dungeon’s difficulty, and if we were to succeed then it would relieve their burden of searching for another party.

 

  [Uhn. It’s a difficult quest. We’ll burn them all!] (Luna)

  [We’re close to the level of a first-class adventurer party. We can clear any quest in our way.] (Til)

 

The two young girls displayed their confidence as I let out a slight smile.

 

  [Now then, enough of work. We have already depleted all our mana, mental and physical strengths, and items during the boss battles. Let’s forget about tomorrow and rest for tonight. It’s a celebration! And tomorrow, we’ll challenge the difficult dungeon!] (Yuuya)

 

  [Uhn.] (Luna)

  [Okay.] (Til)

  [Understood.] (Phil)

  [I’ll do my best.] (Selene)

We held up our drinks for a toast as the celebration began. Although I told them to rest easy tonight, that isn’t the case for me as I’ll have to come up with our measures and tactics for the Temple of the Primal Flame otherwise I wouldn’t be able to properly advise the girls tomorrow. It’s a difficult quest but the rewards are just as rewarding. Monsters that can’t be found anywhere else and items which would be perfect for Luna. This is a perfect chance to get everything I need and I have to seize this opportunity.

 

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In the middle of the night, we were inside the guest room within the guild premises to avoid exposing ourselves. 

Til and Luna were hugging each other in their sleep with a blissful face in contrast to Selene who was sleeping quietly in a composed posture. I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of these beautiful girls sleeping peacefully.

I began my preparation for our trip to the Temple of the Primal Flame tomorrow as it was a dungeon recommended for adventurers in their upper level 40s. As compared to the level 30 dungeons we were used to, the monsters and cunningness of the monsters will be turned up a notch. This is why I had to come up with safety measures to ensure their safety.

 

  [Yuuya, you’re putting too much weight on yourself.] (Phil)

 

Phil walked over with a cup of hot tea.

 

  [That’s how it is. I’m a little afraid to bring those girls to the dungeon tomorrow. I’m starting to regret my decision.] (Yuuya)

  [This is unexpected. I didn’t think you were this conscious about tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’ll be protecting the girls with my full power as well and with the two of us, nothing bad will happen.] (Phil)

  [You’re right. I’m not alone anymore. It was conceited of me to try and do everything alone.] (Yuuya)

 

Phil was currently level 29. Although it was still seven levels below our levels, she is just about to reach level 30. Furthermore, with her level reset bonus, she’ll be on an equal footing with Luna and the girls. It may be fine for me to be more ambitious from now on.

 

  [That’s how it is. The current me is on the same footing with Yuuya, so you can rely on me more.] (Phil)

 

I felt much more at ease as we decided to prepare for tomorrow together. With Phil’s words and support, I felt like my mind became open as tomorrow will be easier once I took Phil into account.

 

  [It’s about time for us to head to bed.] (Yuuya)

  [Yeah, we’ll have to wake up early tomorrow.] (Phil)

 

I felt my anxiety fade away as we kissed lightly while heading to our futon.

 

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In the morning, I gave a lecture to Luna, Til and Selene about the monsters, traps and various gimmicks present in the Temple of the Primal Flame. In the meantime I had Phil go and purchase the consumables that we may need during our adventure with an escort from the guild as per their instructions. Then, after we had our lunch we began heading towards the guild as the temple was a special dungeon that is closely guarded by the guild. The receptionist who took good care of us accompanied us and called out to me before we entered the magical door.

 

  [Yuuya-san, since this is a special case, here’s a gift.] (Receptionist)

She handed each of us a Return Stone.

 

  [Thank you very much. We appreciate the gift.] (Yuuya)
  [Yuuya, this is an expensive item!] (Luna)
  [That’s great. We’ll be able to eat a nice dinner now!] (Til)

Luna and Til were excited as they were innocent and unaware of the receptionist’s intent whereas Phil had a difficult expressions. 

She wanted us to return if the prospects of clearing the dungeon were grim. This quest was important enough to warrant the guild to provide something this expensive.

 

  [Let’s do our best to avoid using her goodwill in this dungeon. Now then, let’s head on.] (Yuuya)

 

After thanking the guild officials, we jumped into the magical door. If our adventure goes well, we should clear the dungeon within two days. To describe this dungeon in a single word, it’s hell. I couldn’t clear my anxiety towards this dungeon.

Could the girls survive a battle against a foe even stronger than the Coronoa Dragon?

 

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Our teleportation was over as we arrived at our destination

 

  [Yuuya, it’s just like the Crimson Volcano!] (Luna)

  [Ah it’s really the same before entering the volcano.] (Til)

 

Similar to the Crimson Volcano ,there was a volcano in front of a road and a tunnel passing through the volcano.
We began walking towards the tunnel.

 

  [However, this time feels unusual. Since the beginning, Yuuya-niisan had never told us anything about the dungeon ahead of time. However this time he told us everything from the monsters to the traps and even the gimmicks.] (Til)

  [Til, what are you implying?] (Yuuya)
  [We’ve defeated several bosses in a row so we can take this dungeon much more easily?] (Til)

  [You’re wrong. If I hadn’t said anything, then our journey would end in this dungeon. Listen, this dungeon is usually sealed off and everyone is prohibited from entering it. This means that the dungeon is highly populated with monsters. Furthermore this was a dungeon much more difficult than a usual dungeon and with the rule restricted the number of parties to one, we are the only people here. It is important for us to reach the end of the dungeon as efficiently as possible to prevent unnecessary exhaustion.] (Yuuya)

Til gulped towards my harsh tone. Honestly, we’ll have no choice but to use the Return Stones if we faced this situation directly. The strategy the guild had in mind was to send us as the advance party into the dungeon, rushing ahead with all our strength and clearing as many monsters as possible before returning with the Return Stones. Then, they would send the second party and the cycle repeats until the dungeon is cleared. This was a strategy to clear the dungeon. However, if we were to avoid that we would have to clear the dungeon with minimal exhaustion and rest in the dungeon overnight before completing the dungeon. 

And I didn’t intend to return recklessly with the Return Stones. If I were to display weakness to the guild, they may replace me with another party instead. It’ll be nice if we were the party to clear the dungeon although I highly doubt they would be able to find another party either way.

 

As we entered the dungeon, Luna exclaimed with an excited voice.

 

  [Yuuya, it’s pretty!] (Luna)
  [Uwah, it’s a beautiful temple.] (Phil)

  [It’s my first time seeing something like this.] (Selene)
  [This is the Temple of the Primal Flame.] (Yuuya)

The beautiful white temple lit by the magma of the volcano appeared. It was this temple that we had to defeat.

 

  [Listen. Every point of mana, every potion and arrow is important. And even more important of all, every monster is powerful in this dungeon. We’ll push forward at 100% from the get-go. Now then, let’s go!] (Yuuya)

The girls grinned at my declaration as we began running towards the entrance to hell. Let’s aim to clear this with everyone.

Prologue: A request is made to the old man.

At the Crimson Volcano, we defeated one of the three elemental dragons, the dragon of Flames as well as clashed with the members of the Crimson Hounds. I may have shown my superiority over them however it is also possible for a counterattack to occur thus we’ll be leaving Flaregard as soon as possible. Right now I was busy preparing for our departure while Luna and the girls headed to the restaurant we booked beforehand that provided private rooms along plus the store had a good reputation for its services, having no leakage of private information from any customer. Thus, I was currently alone in the guild to report my retaliation against the Crimson Hounds… And the rights for everyone to attempt the boss fairly.

 

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After entering the guild, I continued the usual pattern of checking the quest board for any quests that could be completed with the items I have on hand before heading to the usual receptionist. Among the quests, there was a collection quest for the Death Scorpion Poison in its natural state. Thankfully I had saved several vials expecting a quest to appear as the demand for potions were high thus the raw materials were equally as valuable.

 

  [Yuuya-san, thank you for all your hard work. Firstly, congratulations for defeating the Coronoa Dragon! It is amazing that you managed to defeat the dragon without any flame-resistant equipment!] (Receptionist)
  [It wasn’t just me. It was thanks to my amazing party that we managed to clear the boss room.] (Yuuya)

Information had spread fast, too fast even though I hadn’t reported my victory against the Crimson Hounds since I was busy packing for our travels.

 

  [Yuuya-san is as humble as your are good with words. Also, I managed to set aside an excellent quest for your party.] (Receptionist)

I handed the quest document I found on the board as well as the items required for its completion.

 

  [This much!? You must have found an excellent hunting ground in the dungeons. The rewards and guild points for this quest is a considerable amount this time. Although you have not collected enough to reach a Silver rating, you will definitely be able to become a silver adventurer by the next quest.] (Receptionist)

The ranks for adventurers weren’t just for show. For silver adventurers, it was possible to enter cities without an admission permit with their rank and even caravans and similar transportation could be used free of charge. This was beneficial for both the city and the entering adventurer as the adventurer would be allowed to enter the dungeons inside the city for their own benefits while the city would benefit from the materials and treasures obtained in the dungeon by the adventurer, improving the city’s financial situation. Furthermore, by riding in the caravan the safety of the caravan would be guaranteed. The quest completion process was completed as the receptionist gave me the rewards for the quest. With this amount we should be fine even without the silver rank for a while.

 

  [Oh right, There is a quest that was recommended for Yuuya-san. You can celebrate as It has an even greater reward than the Death Scorpion Poison collection quest!] (Receptionist)

It was an extremely amateurish move by the receptionist to say so even if it was that high. Of course I would be happy at the opportunity to make even more money, however quests provided by the guild isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The higher the reward meant the higher the risk. With this high of a reward it is unlikely that there wouldn’t be the risk of death. Furthermore, I already planned to leave the town tomorrow.

 

  [I apologize. I have already made plans to leave the city tomorrow with the caravan.] (Yuuya)
  [Ug. What should we do. This quest, asking anyone else but Yuuya-san is like telling the other adventurers to die. I’m in a bind.] (Receptionist)

Even if it was a harsh move to refuse, a difficult situation is still difficult. I badly want to leave with the caravan tomorrow in order to escort Selene back to the Laluzulu Kingdom for her inheritance ceremony without any trouble from the Crimson Hounds. However, it looked like the receptionist’s behaviour wasn’t for show as she seemed to seriously be in trouble. What should I do now..?/

 

  [For now, I’ll just listen to the request.] (Yuuya)
  [Truth is..] (Receptionist)

I listened to the receptionist’s story while holding my chin as I realized that a huge burden was forced onto her. The quest was too confidential to allow any adventurer in the city to perform and too important to neglect.

 

  [Why didn’t you release the quest on the quest board? Isn’t this a matter of life or death for Flaregard.] (Yuuya)

 

I rubbed my head over the seriousness of this request. This was even more important than the confidentiality of the request.

 

  [Initially we requested for a famous party to complete the quest. However the party was annihilated by a certain boss monster. Currently we are looking for a replacement candidate and we have only seven days left.] (Receptionist)

 

I didn’t expect their situation to be this dire. The quest was a quest I am familiar with as it was one of the events that happened during the game. It was an event quest that could cause Flaregard to crumble if the quest was unsuccessful. Any ordinary adventurer party wouldn’t be able to clear the quest as a mid level 40s party was required to clear it. Furthermore it couldn’t be cleared by several parties collaborating. It would be tough for Flaregard as the adventurers here were mostly around level 30 to level 35.

The Crimson Hounds were capable enough to clear the quest, however due to the circumstances the city couldn’t afford to allow a bunch of crooks to complete the quest.

 

That is why the guild had been scrambling to search for adventurers who were capable enough to clear the quest. The moment they received word that we managed to defeat the Koronoa Dragon without any flame resistant equipment, they decided to nominate us who were equally as capable as an adventurer party in the mid level 40s. It was a crisis for Flaregard and I strongly wished to do something for the city. Furthermore there were various merits to completing the quest.

 

Firstly, somewhere near the midpoint of Greenwood and the Laluzulu kingdom, was our destination, a town called Grannel. However for adventurers we would require an admission letter to enter the city which required a process of examinations which would take a day. However, if we were at least Silver-grade, we would be exempted from this.

Second, we would be allowed to enter a special dungeon that a normal adventurer wouldn’t be able to enter. There are materials there which couldn’t be obtained otherwise.

The Temple of the Primal Flame was a special quest during the game where the door of the dungeon would only open when the quest was available, and the door would close when a party was attempting the dungeon.

Thirdly, the guild would owe me a favor, and having a guild owe me a favor is a huge opportunity.

 

  [I understand, I accept the request. However I have several conditions. I want you to lend me a carriage for my raptor to pull. That way I will be able to rendezvous with the caravan in the next city. No matter what I have to join that caravan.] (Yuuya)

 

The caravan would pick up and drop passengers in every city. For this quest, no matter how quickly we cleared it, it would still require two days for us to clear it. However, with Raptor we could catch up with the caravan in the next town by heading over right after the quest.

 

  [If that is all, then we could arrange it for you. Speaking of which, please wait a moment… Where is that document…. Found it! Actually, we were planning to exhibit a double-raptor operated wagon for the guild-sponsored auction next week .Do you wish to buy it?] (Receptionist)

 

The guild regularly purchases the items and materials obtained by adventurers in the city and sells them using their connections to trade unions and other sources. However for larger guilds, they still regularly hold a large auction. It was a largely anticipated event as the items sold there were much cheaper due to the items going straight to their customers. I have also been saved by them several times in the past.

 

  [Certainly it would be much more convenient for us to have our own carriage than constantly travelling with a caravan.] (Yuuya)

  [That’s right. All high level adventurers have their own carriages as their travelling ability was most important.] (Receptionist)

 

The merit of a caravan was the security as well as the leisure of enjoying the ride as passengers. However they travelled extremely slowly since the load was much heavier and the horses would require more rest breaks. Furthermore it was also frequently delayed by large-scale activities. They may not be travelling to the town you wanted to go either.

In regards to this, having a horse carriage would allow us to travel multiple times faster since we had a Raptor instead of a horse plus we were able to leave anytime we want. Our party were also considered high-levelled and we would be able to protect ourselves. Currently with a carriage we should be able to travel much more freely than before.

 

  [No it’s okay. I can’t wait until the auction next week.] (Yuuya)
  [You don’t have to wait for it. Since it’s a carriage managed by the guild, we could get it to you right away. With this, what do you think?] (Receptionist)

The receptionist showed me the price which was cheap despite the fact that it was a used carriage, at roughly 60% of the market price. However, it wasn’t an amount anyone could carry around leisurely.

 

  [It is an attractive proposal. I’ll make my decision after I take a look at the real thing.] (Yuuya)

Since the carriage was a used one, I had no way of knowing what it’s condition currently is.

 

  [Of course. Now then, this way to our warehouse.] (Receptionist)

Afterwards, following the receptionist’s lead we headed towards the guild’s warehouse. The guild’s warehouse was much larger than a usual warehouse as mountains of goods were constantly being transported in and out of the location. If they had a surplus of magic bags they could make due with a smaller warehouse, however magic bags were expensive which is why they decided to make a larger warehouse. Thus, I carefully inspected the carriage that the receptionist presented to me. It was a good carriage which was spacious enough for five people to idle comfortably. Although as expected it would be too cramped for the five of us to sleep in, so we would have to set up a camp and sleep in our tents at night.

 

I entered the carriage in order to ensure its craftsmanship and decided that it was okay although it looked somewhat shabby, it had been made by excellent craftsmen and was durable. It had also been well maintained. I was also impressed by its design as the weight of the carriage was minimized by removing unnecessary areas while maintaining its durability.

 

  [So what do you think Yuuya-san?] (Receptionist)

  [It is too good and I feel bad for buying it at such a low price.] (Yuuya)

  [There’s a simple reason for that you know. It’s worn out and unlike ordinary carriages, raptor carriages are much plain-looking as even the decorations on the carriage were removed for efficiency. Thus they were only used by adventurers.] (Receptionist)

 

Raptors were stronger and faster than normal horses, however it had a tendency to eat the weaker people and were mostly only obedient to adventurers. People who owned carriages were often the rich who craved recognition and time in the limelight, thus they would avoid this sort of carriages which were much more plain than normal carriages.

 

  [I understand. I’ll buy it. There is also something I have to report. After defeating the Koronoa dragon, I was ambushed by the Crimson Hounds who were upset and we successfully repelled. Because of that, they are somewhat persistent towards us.] (Yuuya)

 

This was my other purpose for coming to the guild.

 

  [About that, you do not have to worry about it. Outside of the dungeon, among the Crimson Hounds, four men including Gardo Kelrose, the leader of the Crimson Hound had attacked Yuuya-san’s party. It was also reported that you had done it in self-defense against their party as they had been sexually harassing the girls in your party. Because of that we have already detained Gardo on the premise of assault and sexual assault. Of course, Yuuya-san wouldn’t be convicted of any charges.] (Receptionist)

Just how did she know that much? I wanted to ask but I fought back the urge. The only explanation that came to my mind was that there was a spy planted into the Crimson Hound by the guild. I intended to file an assault report in the city but this was a pleasant development.

 

  [I’m glad. I was regretting that fact that I had to resort to attacking once or twice and that I would be punished for doing so. Now I feel much more at ease.] (Yuuya)
  [Please leave it to us. It is the guild’s responsibility to punish lawbreakers and detain them. Another curious matter we had was the matter about how you managed to pull out ahead of them and reach the boss without confronting them first.] (Receptionist)

  [About that, I’ll reveal it on the condition that it is spread to everyone else in the guild. It isn’t fair for one party to occupy the boss room.] (Yuuya)

Regardless if their boss is detained, the Crimson Hounds won’t stop chasing us for the secret. Thus I plan to expose it to the public as it would be difficult for them to secure both the front and back doors with just seven parties. By sharing the information with the guild, it was possible to share the information with effectively the entire population of adventurers and thus, I told the receptionist everything I knew about the hidden path.

 

  [I understand now. So it’s that kind of method. However, are you sure about publishing it in the guild? Having this sort of information could benefit Yuuya-san’s party greatly. ] (Receptionist)

  [I don’t mind it. Please do so.] (Yuuya)

  [I understand now that you do not want to keep the information confidential. In that case, the information will be confirmed by the guild today and we’ll publish them tomorrow. Next, do you need help purchasing a Raptor? There is no use for a carriage if there isn’t anything to pull it. There is a ranch dedicated for the guild where you will be able to purchase an excellent raptor.] (Receptionist)

 

  [Ah. Then I’ll have one. I already have one Raptor so I’ll just need a second.] (Yuuya)

 

As expected it would be too much to expect Raptor to pull a carriage with five of us by himself. With this, our business at the guild was completed.

Until we left the guild, we were allowed to rent the rooms meant for the guild’s guest. With the current situation, it is now possible for us to obtain a high-quality carriage at a low price, secure a safe living quarters while becoming a silver-grade adventurer by the next city. We were also given the opportunity to enter the special dungeon where the Temple of the Primal Flame exists. Over there we’ll be able to obtain a final souvenir before leaving the city. It’ll be great news for Luna and the girls who are waiting at the restaurant. 

It’s about time for me to head to the restaurant as I’m sure Luna and Til are already completing and crying out their hunger since I hadn’t arrived yet.

 

Note: the Primal flame came up previously in the previous volume however I am unsure what I named it back then. I’ll be changing it to the Primal Flame instead.