Shin~, the dungeon fell silent.
The body of the Lizardman General was cut into top and bottom halves with a single swing of Elena’s sword whip.
And after glancing at her dead duel opponent for an instant, she flicked the blood of the Lizardman off her sword whip before sheathing it.
「……As expected of Elena-sama, it was splendid.」
The first to speak was Ara.
Even if she believed in Elena’s strength, there was nothing absolute in combat. Knowing that, she didn’t hold back with her praise while letting out a sigh of relief.
「Your swordplay was certainly splendid, but please consider your own position as well. Elena-sama isn’t just an ordinary adventurer but is the daughter of the glorious Duke Kerebel. Anyhow, it’s one thing if it was an enemy general, but to fight a monster in single combat is different.」
「Hahaha. Kuust, you said something similar when our princess went to fight the general of the Bestir Empire in single combat.」
「Vel! I am not saying this for the fun of it..」
While Kuust and Vel argued with each other, Rei handed Elena a clean handkerchief from the Misty Ring.
「Wipe away the enemy’s blood.」
「Umu~, thank you.」
Wiping away the blood of the Lizardman General that had hit her cheek, she turned to look at the dead Lizardman after handing the handkerchief back to Rei.
「Rei, please collect the corpses of the Lizardmen. We will distribute the magic stones and materials after we leave the dungeon. ……You can have all of it if you want.」
「Though that would be nice, I understand that Elena-sama has various circumstances. Well, although I would be happy if that is possible, I won’t force it. Margrave Rowlocks has already promised an exceptional reward for successfully completing the nominated request.」
「Yes. I was also able to become an acquaintance with someone like Elena-sama.」
「Fufu~, that certainly is so. The first gain for me this time was also to know someone like you Rei.」
Unintentionally, Elena gave the exact same smile as a few minutes ago as she fought the duel with the monster.
Though Rei was charmed by that smile for a moment, he gathered himself after Set used his beak to pull on Rei’s robe.
「Oh, I’m sorry. We don’t have that much time to spare, I’ll quickly store everything.」
Saying that in a panic, he went with Set to store both halves of the Lizardman General, the rest of the Lizardmen and the burnt up corpse of the giant spider into the Misty Ring.
Kuust saw the earlier situation and involuntarily frowned his eyes. This was because he had heard the conversation between Rei and his boss, Elena.
「Oh wow. As expected of our princess. It’s still only been several days since she met Rei and it’s already like this.」
「Vel, it is rude to talk about Elena-sama like that.」
「Why. Didn’t I only say the truth?」
It wasn’t the same easy voice that he had had been speaking with earlier, Kuust replied with a lower tone. And with his response, his eyes grew sharper than before.
However, Vel still replied in an easy going manner without changing his smile.
「Well you see, think about it normally. A beautiful girl that you’ve never seen with one of the best bodies. She has a light temper and is proud. Don’t you think it’s impossible for someone to meet our princess and not like her? Leaving aside whether it is a feeling of love or friendship.」
「With that said, Elena-sama’s requirement is that her partner has to be at least stronger than her. ……Hey, then there aren’t any problems with Rei in that regard right?」
Muttering that, Vel felt Kuust’s magic spear pass right past his face.
「Vel, don’t say anymore. I don’t want to stab you with this spear.」
「……Well, that’s fine. If Kuust says so, we’ll leave it here.」
At Vel’s scornful laugh, Kuust pulled back his spear.
「Both of you. Are you going to argue in a place like this?」
Ara, who had been taking care of Elena, glared at the two of them in amazement.
「We’re not arguing. I just have a slight disagreement with that guy.」
「……Really? Anyhow, what Vel said was excessive.」
「Wai-!? Can I at least finish explaining why!?」
「I naturally understand when I see your usual, everyday, attitude Vel.」
「Ara, that’s fine. This isn’t a place to keep talking. Pay attention from now on.」
Kuust spit out a sigh after breaking off the argument, that had started before they realised it, and went back to the usual atmosphere.
After Rei finished collecting the corpses, they advanced through the dungeon without any particular change in the atmosphere.
「Hmm, this is the third floor down. It’s very different from the previous two floors.」
It was after the battle with the Lizardmen, about 10 minutes walk from the stairs down to the third floor. Though it was a normal dungeon just before, the place that appeared before Rei’s eyes now was a forest of huge mushrooms.
Starting from a height of 2m, huge mushrooms up to 5m tall were growing everywhere.
「This is……it really is unexpected.」
Maybe because mushrooms in the dungeon were unexpected, Kuust muttered with a shocked expression.
Vel and Ara also had looks of astonishment as they stood next to Kuust.
Rei was also amazed, but not to the extent of the other three, as he looked at the surrounding area with interest.
Meanwhile, Set only tilted his head without any change in expression.
However, the sightseeing attitude of the party ended with a single sound.
The first to notice was Set, who had far superior senses than humans.
Set raised a vigilant cry as he pulled on Rei’s robe.
Rei noticed it at the same time as Set.
「Elena-sama, something……no, is that a voice?」
He was going to warn Elena that monsters were approaching, but was confused after hearing the voices of people.
Because they were the first people to enter the dungeon today, he hadn’t recalled passing by any people who had entered the dungeon after them. However, he understood immediately. If they were heading towards here, it meant that they were trying to get to the stairs to the upper levels. In other words……
「Rei, what is it?」
「……No. It seems a party that spent the night in the dungeon is coming towards here. At first, I thought they were monsters because I only heard the sounds of them approaching, but now I can hear people’s voices.」
「Hmm, I see. There certainly is a limit to how many levels you can go into the dungeon in one day considering how wide each level is. That’s why we prepared tools such as tents for camping. Well then, what should we do in this case as adventurers?」
「That’s right. According to a story I heard from Elk previously, generally, you should give a light greeting without showing any hostility……」
Rei said uncomfortably.
After all, anyone could become an adventurer by registering in the guild. Because of that, there were naturally nasty adventurers as well. Adventurers who attacked other people to steal their belongings existed as well. And in the dungeon that Rei was in now, there wouldn’t be any trouble if no one was able to complain about any events that occurred. If anything happened, it would probably be judged that they died in the dungeon. Elena gave a serious nod as Rei explained the circumstances to her.
「That’s good. Then let’s wait to see the attitude of the other party. If the party is just passing by looking for something, there’s no problem. However, if they are bandits like Rei mentioned, we’ll know immediately from experience.」
Nodding at Elena’s instructions, they waited where they were.
Eventually, after 5 minutes, not just Set and Rei, Elena and the others could hear the sound of walking coming from the forest of mushrooms. Mixed in were also the sounds of armour rubbing against each other.
Soon, the shadows of people could be seen from a 3m tall mushroom.
There were four people. All the members were men. There was an agile looking man who seemed to be a thief and two warriors, one holding a halberd, with the characteristics of a spear and axe and another holding a bastard swords. At the tail end was a man carrying a huge rucksack on his back. All of them were probably in their twenties.
Before long, the thief, who was walking ahead, stopped and looked at Rei suspiciously. The two warriors at the back also stopped to look at Rei with caution as they stepped forward to either side of the thief. For an instant, the thief glanced at Elena before looking at the Griffon.
「Rei, they are adventurers. I’ll leave it to you. Be nice but cut them down without hesitation if they attack.」
Receiving instructions from Elena, Rei stepped forward with a nod. Carrying the Death Scythe on his shoulder, it wasn’t a combat posture but he could immediately respond if he had to fight.
The first to speak was the thief, who was at the front of the party.
「Hey, it’s unexpected to meet someone here.」
「An unexpected meeting, that’s a funny thing because you’re the first other people that we’ve encountered since we started exploring the dungeon. ……By the way, we where the first people to enter the dungeon this morning and came straight here……how about you?」
「Hm? Ah, we came here for a request to obtain some materials from a monster down here. In addition, we had to spend yesterday night in the dungeon since the monster only appears at night.」
「Heh, staying in the dungeon. That’s quite brave of you.」
「Well, we are an experience C rank party. ……They are?」
Speaking about their circumstances, next was Rei’s turn as the man asked back.
Rei turned to look at Elena for a moment and spoke up after seeing her give a slight nod.
「We have some business down here. Ah, I’m Rei, a rank D adventurer. My client is the noble over there.」
「……Hou~. Nobles, is it.」
Muttering, the male thief nodded. Though it was only slightly, Rei’s wariness faded slightly at that sign.
The other party might also have been cautious that Rei’s party were bandits.
「It looks like we have no particular problems with each other then.」
「Ahh, I am a bit interested in that frightfully beautiful girl over there and the Griffon as well……」
「Hey Zach. Let’s head up quickly if there’s no problems. Don’t be irresponsible, I want to go to sleep without having to be on guard all the time.」
Zach, the man holding the halberd, replied after the thief spoke to him. The thief tapped Rei’s shoulder lightly while smiling.
「We’re going back up but take note that there are a lot of troublesome monsters further down. Particularly troublesome if you can’t use magic is the fifth floor where there are a lot of undead monsters.」
「No problem, I think you can understand if you see my clothing, but I’m a magician. 」
Saying that, people from the other party immediately interjected.
『Wait a moment.』
Rei gave a wry smile at the two voices that interjected at the same time.
「Saying you’re a magician with such a huge weapon, normally I wouldn’t believe that.」
「Yeah, actually, your way of walking is closer to a warrior than a mage.」
At the unanimous response of the two warriors, Rei gave a light shrug.
「Well, that’s certainly not a mistake. To be precise, I’m a warrior that can use magic, I’m a magic warrior.」
「……I see, if that’s the case, I understand.」
As the male thief nodded, the man carrying the huge sack spoke up.
「If we have no problems with each other, then should we say goodbye? I want to go back up, eat a full meal at the inn and sleep soundly without having to worry about anything.」
「Hm? Ah, that’s right. Then we must get going. Though I mentioned it earlier, be careful about the undead that wander about on the fifth floor.」
「Ah. Thank you. Normally, wouldn’t you monopolize such information to yourselves?」
「What, don’t mind it. I got the information in the same way and this chance meeting also allowed me to meet a magic warrior. Well then, I’m sorry but we have to go. I hope that you finish your search safely.」
As the thief said that, they went in a different direction and parted ways from Rei and Elena’s group.
Rei and Elena went to the stairs down to the fourth floor while the other men went to the staircase up towards the second floor.
「……Hey, what do you think?」
The male warrior with the halberd murmured when they were far away enough from Rei.
He didn’t need to say what he was asking about. It was about the strange party they had talked with earlier.
「First of all, that blonde girl is a fantastic one of a kind. For girls over 20, I’ve seen a lot, I’ve even spent a night with a high class prostitute, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a girl like that. ……How to say it, it’s the first time I’ve lost my nerve talking to a girl.」
The companions of the swordsman gave wry smiles at the his words. This was because it was a well known fact that he was an extreme womaniser who visited brothels every night. A large portion of their income as a C rank party, of course after distribution within the part, was spent on prostitutes by him.
「As for me, I was worried about the Griffon. How to put it, it’s the first time I’ve seen a real Griffon.」
The Griffon left a strong impression on the male thief. An A rank monster, a monster strong enough to be called the shinigami of the sky. As a thief, he was skilled in judging the strength of others, still, the Griffon they saw earlier exceeded his imagination. It was an existence at a completely different level.
「There was also girl and the Griffon, but it interested me that they didn’t have a porter.」
A man muttered while carrying a huge backpack
Porter. To be brief, it was what people who carried things like treasures, materials and magic stones for other were called. It was natural if you thought about it. The movements of warriors and mages would obviously get duller if they carried the materials and magic stones as they went through the dungeon. If warriors and mages had their movements dulled, it would become harder for them to deal with monsters. The people who solved that problem were porters, who specialised in carrying those items.
「……That reminds me, there was the guy stupidly huge scythe, a spear man, two female warriors and an archer.」
The man with the sword muttered as he thought back.
「I know right? There’s no one who enters a dungeon without a porter……though it’s not absolute, it’s quite unusual.」
Hmm~, though they all racked their brains, they couldn’t think of a reason and eventually went up and out of the dungeon.
As expected, there was no way they would have thought that the people they were talking to had an item box.
After that, though the men encountered several Lizardmen and goblins, they were successful in leaving after defeating them. After that, they submitted the materials for their request and received their reward. By the time they were sleeping soundly after celebrating at the bar, any thoughts about Rei had completely disappeared from their minds.