「Everyone is ready. Then we will enter the lowest level immediately. No one should let their guard down.」
The next day, Elena called out to everyone to ready themselves to go to the last level after they finished their meal.
Hearing their orders to go down the stairs in front of them, to the level where their objective was, they all had serious expressions.
「The formation is the same as yesterday. Vel and Kuust in the vanguard. Middle guard is Rei and me. Rear guard is Ara and Set.」
「Do you have a moment?」
It was Rei who asked Elena.
Kuust’s frowned his eyes slightly at the slightly impolite words but kept silent without saying anything.
There had been an incident during breakfast over how Rei spoke to Elena, however, further problems were avoided after Elena said that she had allowed Rei to do so. If Elena hadn’t said that, a death match between Kuust and Rei would probably have happened by now.
「I would like to go to the rear guard, is that okay?」
「I understand that Ara is cautious of surprise attacks, but I can definitely cooperate better with Set if we are actually ambushed.」
She thought that those words were reasonable. After thinking for a few seconds, she nodded.
「There’s nothing Ara can do in the middle guard……that’s right, Vel and Ara in the vanguard. Kuust with me in the middle guard. Rei and Set in the rear guard. Any objections?」
Seeing that no one had any objections in particular, Elena gave a small nod and turned to the stairs to the lowest level.
「Alright, at last, the lowest level. Let’s go.」
With that deceleration, the party went down the stairs to the lowest level.
「This is the lowest level.」
Ara, who was in the vanguard, muttered involuntarily when she saw the lowest level.
Spread before Ara’s eyes were glowing walls, wide passages and a stone floor, not much different from the levels before. However, atmosphere was definitely different. The walls had detailed carvings, and stone ornaments could be seen hanging from the ceiling. The floor was made of stone, but it was a glossy material, like marble.
「What to say, I feel that all these materials are a step up from the dungeon so far.」
Kuust nodded at Vel’s words.
「As for the particular material spread on the floor, it’s not something that even nobles can obtain much of.」
「Is it so luxurious because the Altar of Inheritance is here, or are the lowest levels of other dungeons different as well……」
As everyone looked at the surroundings admiringly, Elena clapped her hands to draw their attention.
「It’s certainly different from what we have seen so far, but it doesn’t matter now. In the end our goal is the Altar of Inheritance. ……So, which way do we go.」
Elena looked around and said that while somewhat troubled.
The stairs went down from the sixth level. At the bottom of the stairs, on the seventh level, the lowest level, the passages suddenly extended to the front, back, left and right.
「Perhaps, one of these leads to our target, the Altar of Inheritance. Another should be the boss room which leads to the dungeon nucleus. I don’t know about the remaining two.」
I agree with Rei’s words, Set seemed to say as he gave a cry.
While looking on, Elena unconsciously nodded with a smile.
「It’s probably as Rei said. The information gathered beforehand has confirmed those two. ……The question is, where is the Altar of Inheritance……」
「Well, maybe we should rely on Rei’s intuition as usual?」
Kuust gave a snort at Vel’s disagreeable words, however he didn’t have any better ideas that he could suggest.
「That’s right. Rei’s intuition has taken care of us many times to get this far. We will rely on it to the end.」
「Ah, I don’t mind. However, even if you call it intuition, in the end I’m making a blind guess. I don’t think it’s that reliable.」
「Even if you can’t find it using your intuition, it’s my responsibility to make the decision. Rei, there’s no reason for you to be blamed.」
Saying that to everyone……or rather, to Rei as she glanced at Kuust, who was looking at Rei hatefully, Rei had to chose. He looked to the front, rear, left and right passages and chose one……
「Left, I think.」
「Alright. Let’s go to the left passage. The formation remains the same. Vel, I’ll leave the traps to you.」
Vel nodded in his usual light tone and went to the left passage.
They advanced down the passage for about 10 minutes. Without meeting any enemies or traps, they arrived in front of a room with a door.
A sculpture of a lion was engraved on the door. It seemed to be similar to some sort of magic item. If you were mentally weak, you would have a sense of oppression just by looking at the door.
「A door which is a magic item……I, it’s the first time I’ve seen one.」
「The door to Margrave Rowlocks office was also quite good, but after seeing this……」
However, it was as expected of the General Princess and her Knight escort under her control. Set was an A rank monster and Rei was an adventurer outside the norm. It seemed that it only gave them a deep impression.
「Well, the question is what’s inside. ……Vel.」
He checked for any traps and judged there were none after a few seconds. He opened the door slowly and looked inside……closing the door the next moment before coming back to Elena with cold sweat on his face. TLN: Nope, nope, nope.
「It’s no use, no use. Inside is a Silver Lion, a S rank monster that even I know. It’s not an opponent we can deal with.」
「A Silver Lion!?」
Kuust cried out without thinking when he heard Vel’s words. Even Rei’s face was stunned with astonishment.
Silver Lion. As Vel said, it was a S rank monster, and there were extremely few sightings. As for their scarcity, it was because most of them had been killed. It was said that its silver fur, from which its name originates, could nullify most magic attacks and that bladed weapons had little effect as well. Because it was necessary to use blunt impact to its body directly to hurt it rather than cutting it, it was said that if you encountered one without any weapons like hammers or axes, you should bet on the possibility of escaping and run away at full speed. In addition, it also had a roar known as Lion’s Roar. Since it created a shock wave, your eardrums would rupture if you heard it. It was a troublesome skill that deprived your sense of balance. If anything, rather than an ordinary monster, it was something that could be called a legendary existence.
TLN: So it’s kinda like the Nemean Lion, except it’s silver
「So, did it notice you?」
As expected, Elena asked with a serious expression. Vel nodded while wiping the large amount of sweat dripping down his forehead.
「Ah. I think it only recognises people who step into the room as enemies.」
「……By the way, was the Altar of Inheritance inside?」
「There was nothing like it I could see. However, there was a huge gem like thing at the back……probably, I think it’s the dungeon nucleus.」
「I see. That explains why this dungeon hasn’t been captured yet. The boss monster is a S ranked Silver Lion.」
「Silver Lion……that, isn’t that a monster which appears a lot in fairy tales?」
Vel nodded at Ara’s question and Kuust answered with a wry smile.
「Yes, that Silver Lion. ……It’s fortunate that it’s not staying at the Altar of Inheritance. Elena-sama, what do we do?」
「We go back of course. Our goal is not to capture the dungeon, so we don’t have to fight against the monster that is the Silver Lion.」
Everyone nodded at those words and quickly and noiselessly moved away from the door and back to the stairs.
「Rei’s intuition is sharp. Or should I say, too sharp. Choosing the path to the dungeon boss room only has a 1/4 chance. ……But, I would like you to guess the location to the Altar of Inheritance if possible.」
「No, even if you say that. I guess it can’t be helped since I chose it by intuition.」
「……Stop it, Vel and Rei. As I said earlier, it was me who told Rei to chose. I also bet on ambiguous things like intuition. That’s why I am responsible.」
「Such a thing, Elena-sama. It’s not Elena-sama’s fault. It’s just that fool, Vel’s, complaints.」
Upset by Elena’s words, Ara said that in a panic while glaring at Vel.
「Hey, Vel. Are you complaining about Elena-sama?」
「Ah……no, that, it’s my bad. But since I saw a Silver Lion, a S rank monster, can’t you consider my feelings for a bit?」
「Ara, Vel. You can both stop. You shouldn’t show Elena-sama something so unseemly.」
Kuust arbitrated between them somehow and they started to discuss the next passage to take.
「Since the left was the boss room, I think the right passage on the opposite side is the correct one.」
「I understand what Ara wants to say but I would recommend the passage at the front.」
「……Elena-sama, we won’t come to a decision like this. I think we should have you decide here.」
「In that case, let’s try the right.」
Glancing towards Rei for a moment, she decided as she saw him stroke Set’s back.
Even if Elena said right, it wouldn’t necessarily be correct. However, she judged that Ara’s words had some credibility.
However, she made up her mind after seeing the figure of Rei stroking Set.
She felt some sort of sense of security when she saw Rei. Elena, who had lived to battle, still didn’t know what it was.
「Alright, well then, let’s go. Next is the right passage, as I said before. ……Since the boss monster protecting the dungeon nucleus was a Silver Lion, I predict that the other monsters in this level are also powerful monsters. Don’t get distracted.」
Nodding at Elena’s words, they went down the right passage in single file. And as before, after walking for about 10 minutes, a door came into sight again.
「……Now then. How about this time. Vel, please.」
「I hope it isn’t a monster at the level of a Silver Lion.」
Though with a light tone, Vel still inspected the door for traps with a serious expression. After confirming that there were no traps like with the boss room, he gently opened the door. And……
「Alright, it’s the correct place! We’ve arrived at the Altar of Succession! There are no monsters inside.」
After confirming the inside of the room through the barely opened door, he shouted as he swung the door open.
「We’re finally here.」
Elena looked past the door with a soft expression of relief compared to her usual sharp eyes.
What was there was a room that could only be described as a beautiful ceremonial hall. Inside were three magic formations in the shape of a triangle comprised of innumerable green crystals brimming with magic power embedded into the room. Inside that magic formation, there was another one in the center of the triangle, drawing a complex design. And at the center of that magic formation was something like an altar.
「This is……the Altar of Inheritance.」
It was a majestic room that you wouldn’t think would existed in a dungeon. Rei muttered involuntarily while thinking those thoughts.
「Yes, here is the Altar of Inheritance. The place we’ve been aiming for, and in a sense, the place where I will be reborn.」
Hearing her murmuring about reincarnation, Rei looked at her beautiful face without thinking.
Wondering what Rei was thinking with that look, Elena spoke up with wry smile.
「I don’t know what you’re worried about, I didn’t think Rei would be worried when I said that I would be reborn. ……That’s right, we arrived here at the Altar of Inheritance with Rei’s cooperation. It would be good to explain what rituals are done here.」
「Elena-sama!? Duke Kerebel told you to keep the matter a secret to reduce leaks as much as possible……」
Though fascinated by the Altar of Inheritance like the others, Kuust, who had still been listening to their conversation interjected unexpectedly.
However, Elena shook her head with a wry smile.
「If any ritual is done here, Rei should be able to understand what the Inheritance Ceremony is anyway. So if we tell him now, it won’t be that much of a difference.」
「……I understand, if Elena-sama says so……」
Convincing the reluctant Kuust, Elena continued talking after seeing Vel take out a water bottle from his waist pouch to pass to Kuust after tapping his shoulder.
「The ceremony performed at the Altar of Inheritance. For convenience, it’s called the Inheritance Ceremony. To be brief, it is a ceremony to extract the magic power from a monster’s magic stone and take it as your own.」