Originally released 08-06-2016
I really didn’t know what to think when I meet with the young mercenary leader called Vera, but if what she was saying now was true then this was too big a chance to pass up.
“So just at the border with the elven territory there is a new dungeon, one that has been confirmed to talk?” (Johana)
The young woman just crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes.
“Yes. I would say that it is fairly dangerous for a new dungeon as well, seeing as it killed so many armed men. Do with the information what you will, I just want my reward for giving it to you.” (Vera)
…………. My, aren’t you a pleasant one…… I guess you weren’t given looks AND the charming personality to go with them……….
“The guild will investigate, if your claim is found to be true then you will be given a waver for fifty silverettes that can be exchanged at any of the explorer’s guild many branch locations.” (Johana)
The woman’s foot began to tap softly, I could hear it even if it was faint. Greater hearing was one of the perks of being a half elf along with the slowed aging process of course.
“And how long would this confirmation take?” (Vera)
I smiled, from what I had seen of this woman she was not going to like this news.
“About two to three weeks. A month tops.” (Johana)
The woman’s left eye twitched and then she got up and just sighed.
“Send the waver to the Boarhouse bar in a month’s time, we’re done here.” (Vera)
“Oh, but there are a few more-……………………………. And she shut the door on me. Bitch…. But a pretty one at that….. Haaaaaahhhhhh…..” (Johana)
I was watching the glass on the door to my office shake from the force of it slamming, the woman might have been young and slim but she seemed plenty strong. Shame she had such a poor attitude and chose the life of a sell sword, I could use more explorers like her.
I sighed and leaned back in my chair as I let my business expression fall from my face.
…….. Some days I wonder why I ever accepted the post as guild master for this branch in the first place…….. it was so much more fun to just go out in the world and explore…… discovering new places, mapping out areas, fighting monsters, and entering dungeons…… man that life sure beat the hell out of managing this place and doing paperwork…….. Haaaaaaahhhhhh….. Wait, maybe I CAN get out and do that again! This dungeon has been reported to be able to talk, and it DID talk to some random mercs so maybe it would talk with explorers? And if it did maybe we could work out a deal with it, if our branch made a contract with a dungeon the upper echelons would HAVE to send someone more qualified to replace me as guild master! I could go back out into the field again!!!
I shot out of my chair and went to the door.
“Benj! Benj get a team together there is a very important investigation that I want to see to personally!” (Johana)
I heard the voice of my secretary sound back.
“Why the fuck should I!?!? Do that shit yourself Jo, I have better things to do right now….” (Benj)
“Benj I’m your boss and I’m telling you that I’m trying to get fired, if this goes well I’ll be out of the guild master job!” (Johana)
As I walked out into the hallway I saw the man put down whatever scroll he was reading before giving me a smile.
“By the gods why didn’t you say so sooner…… anything to get your ass fired Jo, you are utter shit to have as a boss. I’ll find some guys willing to go with you, when do you leave?” (Benj)
……. Benj, an asshole to the end…… but no one is better at what he does when he decides to do it. I just hope for his sake and mine that this idea works……….
“Tomorrow. I’ll leave tomorrow.” (Johana)
I was in my room sitting in front of a communication mirror, I was in the middle of talking with some of the higher ups of the explorer’s guild and things seemed to be going well.
“So you have heard from a reliable source that there is a talking dungeon that is near your branch?” (Guild head 1)
……..Um, yeah sure if a merc leader who didn’t actually hear the thing talk is a reliable source…..
“Yes sir.” (Johana)
“And you believe that if handled carefully this dungeon might be willing to make a deal with us?” (Guild head 2)
……… Dear gods, I hope so…………..
“Yes Ma’am, I believe that if I were the one to handle the negotiations I might be able to secure a contract with the dungeon.” (Johana)
“Contracts are not things dungeons give lightly, Halfling. What makes you think someone like you could ever get one out of a dungeon?” (Guild head 3)
Well I’m not a close-minded old fart who doesn’t seem to understand that the days of racism being accepted in an organization like ours have long passed, for one…………. Then there is the fact I would probably not be above begging and bribing a dungeon to get my way……. Or maybe I can just offer it your old ass as a sacrifice, that should show I’m nice and open to all SORTS of negotiations…….
“Because I have more experience than any other member of our guild in this region, and as acting guild master of this branch location I have the authority to negotiate with any party that could prove to provide assets to our organization. Sir.” (Johana)
So there! Damn racist old fuck………….
“Well I still think it would be better if you weren’t th-………” (Guild head 3)
“Yes well, I think that your idea to negotiate with the dungeon is wonderful and I can think of no better for the job! Just thinking of all the soul stones and resources the guild could stand to gain if this succeeds…… Well if this turns out anything like the other two dungeons that the guild has contracts with, we stand to gain unimaginable amounts of profit and perhaps even another relatively safer place to train our people with. The only thing is I feel that you might need a bit more to bargain with than what you have at your branch if you want to catch this dungeons attention. I move that we allow the guild master to negotiate using the combined assets of all the branches in that region instead of just her own branch. All in favor?” (Guild head 4)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 1)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 2)
“Nay.” (Guild Head 3)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 5)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 6)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 7)
“Aye.” (Guild Head 8)
“Nay.” (Guild Head 9)
“And I vote Aye, and the motion carries by majority vote. Good luck Guild master Yanzya. Well…. I have better things to do than sit at a mirror and listen to you people yammer on and on about nothing, I have a redhead and a blonde waiting for me in the other room and I wouldn’t want to try their patience any longer. I’m out people, don’t call again for at least three days, I’ll be busy….” (Guild Head 4)
“Well if the perverted fool is leaving so am I, he’s the only reason these meetings are ever bearable after all….” (Guild head 6)
“I suppose I should leave as well, it is getting rather late…” (Guild head 9)
“Then I suppose we shall bring this meeting to a close. Good luck guild master Yanzya, you are dismissed.” (Guild head 1)
“Yes sir, thank you sir.” (Johana)
I waved my hand before the mirror causing the enchantment on it to deactivate. As I looked into the now simple mirror, I saw a huge smile on my face.
I did it, I got approval just like I thought I would……. I even got permission to put more assets on the table while I’m in the negotiations with the dungeon…… everything is going well, now I just have to get there and hope this dungeon can and is actually willing to talk and not just try and kill me…… oh, and I guess I should hope they actually do send someone to replace me if this works, huh? ……… They have to, I mean that’s what happened those other two times, so why would this time be any different?
I went to my bed and lay down, before I went to sleep I looked at my old field equipment I took out and hung on my dresser for tomorrow.
…………. Well no matter what, tomorrow I become a real explorer again at least……. I hope that Benj found some decent people for me to party with, I would hate to have to spend this trip babysitting some F or E rank greenhorns……..
I let that thought pass as I fell asleep. Not even Benj would be that much of a dick about something as important as this, not when it was for his own benefit as well as mine.
…..Well at least now I know…. Benj is in fact, THAT MUCH OF A DICK!!!
I was looking at the four people in front of me that Benj found to be my party for this investigation, and felt my eyes keep getting drawn to the one odd person out. She was an elf, and she seemed like she could hardly hold the staff in her hands, let alone USE it for anything.
“Darek, rank B. I’m a front liner, no magic but I’m good with my battle axe and shield. If we run into any trouble just get behind me, my armor should be sturdy enough to take a good licking no problem.” (Darek)
“Feris the quick, rank C soon to be B. I’m more of a middle liner, but I dabble as a front liner depending on the situation. I’m a decent shot with a bow, but daggers thrown and otherwise are more my shtick. Pleased to go adventuring and exploring with you all.” (Feris)
“Erica, Rank A. Swordswoman and front liner. It’s a pleasure.” (Erica)
“Um, I’m Cecilia…. The nice man at the counter, Benj, said that this should be a good first mission to get my feet wet with as an explorer? I, well….. I’m rank F, and I’m a healer so I should be in the back lines right? I’m kinda new, I just joined the guild today….” (Cecilia)
…………………..I’m going to kill Benj………….. Oh well, at least he was smart enough to put her with us, we can protect and carry her probably even without needing healing with a party this solid. Though I really am not looking forward to all the babysitting and handholding I’ll be doing…… Well the girl will have to learn somehow I guess, and this should be an easy enough first mission for her if everything goes well. And if it doesn’t then she’ll probably be the first to die, hopefully without taking anyone else down with her……
“Ok then…. I’m Johana, guild master and a rank A magic archer. I’ll also be serving as the leader for this little expedition, are there any questions?” (Johana)
The elf girl Cecilia timidly raised her hand whereas the thin and wiry boy Feris just called out.
“Yeah um, after this is over do you and Erica maybe want to party up with me again? Or maybe we could all just get closer while we share this adventure together, real close…..” (Feris)
Erica’s expression hadn’t changed this whole time, and even now as she turned and looked the boy Feris up and down there was not even a hint of any emotion in her face or body language.
“Touch me and I remove your hands.” (Erica)
…………………Ohhhhh. A cool and tough beauty type is she…. Very nice, if I wasn’t on a job right now…. Well at least I have someone I can enjoy looking at and who can handle herself on this mission besides the cute but likely useless greenhorn elven eye-candy.
“You are going to get nowhere with me kid….. Trust me, better than you have tried and failed for the same reason you will.” (Johana)
The boy just cracked a smile.
“That sounds like a challenge to my ears….” (Feris)
“Um hate to tell you this kid, but the guild master here is into women not us men-folk. You ain’t got a shot in hell….” (Darek)
“Challenge heard and accepted. I will gain the heart of the fair lady during this adventure!” (Feris)
“She’s also turning 103 this year if Benj is to be believed.” (Darek)
“And looks all the lovelier for it…….” (Feris)
“It is very rude to talk about a lady’s age. Idiots.” (Erica)
…………….Well at least this mission should be lively with people like this as my party….. And I think I really will have to look into ending Benj’s life when I finish this…… I never should’ve gotten so drunk I told him my actual age…….
“Um, excuse me? Where are we going exactly?” (Cecilia)
……………………Ugh this is going to be a long trip isn’t it? Well there could be worse things than acting as a tutor to a cute elf girl, maybe I can even get her to call me big sis…… Heh, that might actually make it worth the trouble of babysitting the girl…….
We had been traveling for nine days now, and in that time I had gotten tired of both Feris’ sexual harassment and Cecilia’s constant questions about everything. At least Erica would make a little cut somewhere on Feris when he got to the point of bothering her, but Cecilia couldn’t be handled the same way, she was just a curious greenhorn after all…
Suddenly the elf girl was next to me and pointing at one of the caves in this rock formation that the dungeon was supposed to be in.
“Um big sis, is that the dungeon we are looking for?” (Cecilia)
“No, that’s just a cave.” (Johana)
“Then that one?” (Cecilia)
“Another cave, look Cecilia we are looking for the entrance to a dungeon. Dungeon entrances always have an abundance of mana belonging to that dungeon, you’re a healer mage right? That means you should be able to see or at least sense mana if you try, so when you find an entrance of decent size with strange mana around it THAT will be our dungeon.” (Johana)
The girl nodded shyly and smiled at me.
…… She may be greener than grass in spring, but damn if she isn’t one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen when she smiles…… Haaaaaahhhhh maybe I’m being a bit too harsh about judging her, Cecilia has only been an explorer for a week or so now. Maybe she’ll become a great-………….
“So is that it, big sis?” (Cecilia)
I looked where the girl was pointing, it was a crack that was barely big enough for even the wiry Feris to squeeze through with no mana that could be from a dungeon around it.
…………Or maybe she isn’t cut out for this after all, and will make at best D rank in her entire life’s time……..
“No. that is.” (Erica)
I looked at where the lovely Erica who has been my solace for many things in these past days of traveling. That was definitely the entrance to a dungeon, and a rather elaborate and elegant one at that.
“Huh, how did I not see that?” (Johana)
I felt an armored hand clap my shoulder in a friendly way, before Darek began walking towards the dungeon entrance.
“It couldn’t be helped, you were mentoring Cecilia not searching for the entrance like we were.” (Darek)
“You were busy.” (Erica)
“Wait, where is Feris? Shouldn’t we wait for him before we go in?” (Cecilia)
Darek called over his shoulder.
“Erica tied the kid from a tree a while back for trying to touch her ass.” (Darek)
“Forget the pervert. Coming Cecilia, guild master?” (Erica)
As Erica followed Darek towards the dungeon entrance Cecilia looked back at me with a worried expression.
“Are we just going to leave him behind? How is he supposed to get down from something like that?” (Cecilia)
I patted the girls back as I guided her forward with me.
“Don’t worry, if the boy couldn’t escape something like that he wouldn’t have made C rank in the first place, besides he probably deserves to be left behind if he’s gonna keep acting like this….” (Johana)
“Oh, um, ok……” (Cecilia)
As we caught up with Darek and the lovely Erica in front of the entrance, I readied myself for worst even as I hoped for everything to go well.
As we entered the dungeon the first thing I noticed was how beautiful this place was. It was well light, the walls had elaborate and elegant line decorations on them, all the stone seemed smoothened, polished, and well maintained, and there were even decorations and furnishings. The next thing I noticed was how all the tables and chairs placed in orderly clusters made the room seem like a welcoming and high end restaurant or meeting place. It was almost as if they were meant to be used as a spot to relax and leisurely take a meal, chat, or what was more likely given the location plan out an expedition or trip into the dungeon itself.
The next thing I noticed was of course what seemed to have caused everyone to freeze up were we stood in the middle of this grand entrance room. There was a girl standing in what looked like a kiosk or stand with a silver and blue orb hovering above her.
The girl was beautiful, of a level comparable with Erica even and that woman had made it into my top ten of beauties. She had long golden hair, bright and clear green eyes, fair skin, and she was wearing an elaborate blue dress that seemed to compliment everything about her. And she was also standing there smiling at us all with a smile I recognized as a gifted merchant’s smile, it was as if she was treating us as if entering the inside of a dungeon like we had was like nothing more than stepping inside her place of business.
All of that, the beauty and appearance of this place and the girl standing in the middle of it, her expression and the way she held herself, as well as the knowledge of where we actually were combined together to leave me more than a little dumbstruck and I was sure the others felt the same way.
“Hello, and welcome to the dungeon of Waynor! Tell me are you all members of the Explorer’s guild, we have been expecting your arrival for a while now. Would you all care for some refreshments or food?” (Strange beautiful girl)
“Yes welcome to my dungeon, please do accept as I would like to speak with you. I would also like another opinion besides Hanna and Loria’s on my food, so if you would not mind taste testing it for me while we speak I would be very grateful.” (Floating silver sphere)
“GUUUUUUYYYYYYSSSSSSS!!!! Not cool, just leaving me in tied up and suspended from a tree like that? Seriously not cool…………….. Oh, why hello there fair golden haired maiden. What might I ask brings someone as beautiful as you to a………. dungeon? ……..Um, guys I feel like I missed something really important while I was in the tree…..” (Feris)
I felt a tug on the sleeve of my hunting coat’s left arm and looked to my side to see Cecilia giving me a questioning look.
“So big sis, is this how all dungeon expeditions go? Because if it is I think I like them, I wonder what sorts of things we’ll be having as refreshments…….” (Cecilia)
“Um, no. No expeditions don’t normally go like this……….” (Johana)
…………………… Well if that floating orb is what I’m thinking it is, at least I know that the dungeon can talk now…………….. Step one accomplished I guess? Umm, next should be beginning talks, then negotiations…………
I looked back at the beauty and the orb.
“Um, yes sure, we would love some refreshments? Thank you?” (Johana)
“Your welcome, now please do sit. Hanna if you would do what we talked about please, I’ll start on the food…..” (Dungeon will)
“Sure thing Waynor, now if you all would just take a seat……….” (The girl/Hanna?)
I just let the girl show us to a table and sat down. This was so surreal, I couldn’t believe it was even happening.
……….Maybe my idea will actually turn out as I hoped……. But still, a dungeon that talks and serves the people who enter it refreshments? And here I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about dungeons……………………………..