The three of them, Southernus, Rei and Set, proceeded with their investigation of Magic Fever, looking around the distilled spirit storage facilities in the north and west of the city. However, as they didn’t find any clues, they headed for the eastern storage facility with a sense of inevitability. However, as soon as they saw the storage facility, Set gave a vigilant cry and both Rei and Southernus showed tighter expressions.
「Ah. It seems we’ve hit the jackpot.」
Rei nodded at Southernus’s words and held a stiff expression as they headed towards the storage facility before them.
「Southernus-san? The person with you is……?」
The two guards standing near the entrance looked at them dubiously as they approached with a tense atmosphere, but Southernus ignored it and spoke directly to the guards.
「Listen up, since we need to investigate inside the building, you guys stay a bit further away from the storage facility.」
「Yes? That’s find, but what are you investigating?」
「It’s about Magic Fever……no, wait. If you guys are here, were you infected with Magic Fever?」
He didn’t know if it had anything to do with Magic Fever, but there was still something strange with the guards protecting the eastern storage facility. It was natural that Southernus, who was their boss, was worried for them and asked. However, both guards nodded without hesitation.
「Yes. Fortunately, it seems I had sufficient magic power.」
「Same for me as well.」
「……Is that so. I guess that’s happiness in misfortune. Anyway, stay a bit further away from here. Do not enter the storage until we come out.」
They responded similarly to the guards from the previous storage facilities, but fortunately the two guards knew Southernus well. As a result, it seemed they realised that the situation wasn’t normal and took some distance from the storage facility with a small nod.
After confirming that, Southernus put his hand on the hilt of the sword at his waist, ready to pull it out at any time. Although Rei was at a loss for a moment on whether to use his Mithril Knife or Death Scythe, he eventually took out the more familiar Death Scythe from the Misty Ring. Next to Rei, Set readied his posture for evasion or attack at any time. Like that, Southernus reached for the door to the storage facility.
The door to the storage facility opened with an echoing creak as the metal fittings rubbed against each other.
And when the door opened, Rei and Southernus felt an uncomfortable feeling drifting from inside.
「I don’t know if that is the cause of Magic Fever, however there is definitely something here. ……Do you have any idea what it is?」
「I can’t be sure. In the first place, this is just an area to store ordinary distilled spirits.」
Set gave a cry while looking towards the back of the first floor.
Rei and Southernus had no ability to sense magic power. But even so, they still felt some discomfort from the sensation of the dense magic power drifting from the back where Set was looking towards.
「……Well then, what’s over there. I will go in first followed by Set and Southernus.」
「Is it fine if I don’t go first?」
「Ah. As you can see, my weapon is very long. It will be rather hard to use if you’re in front of me.」
Southernus looked at Rei’s Death Scythe and nodded in understanding.
「I know it will be hard to wield your weapon if there’s people nearby……but are you sure? There will be various complaints if any liquor barrels are broken.」
「As for that, just tell them it wasn’t done by me. ……Well then, let’s go.」
Maybe to break the tension, Rei responded to Southernus in a light tone before heading to the back of the first floor.
It took about 10 minutes. It took some time to move forward while watching their surroundings carefully as they reached the furthest end of the first floor’s storage area.
And what they saw was a pure white circular substance that was embedded into the ground.
「What, what is that?」
Southernus muttered from behind Rei. Seeing an object like that for the first time, his voice was filled with pure questioning.
「Impossible, what’s this doing here!?」
The moment Rei saw the object, searching Zepairu’s knowledge on reflex, he realised what it was and spoke in astonishment.
「Rei, do you know what that is?」
Rei gave a small nod at Southernus in confirmation.
Yes, Rei knew what the object was. No, to be exact, rather than knowing what it was, he found it in Zepairu’s knowledge. Nevertheless, it was still correct to say that he had seen something similar.
「That’s……a dungeon core.」
Southernus instinctively asked back at the words that were spoken by Rei. Maybe Rei brought himself back to reality at Southernus’s voice, Rei’s expression became serious as he told Southernus what the object was again.
「It’s the core of a dungeon. There’s no mistake」
「Hey hey hey hey, wait a moment. What’s a dungeon core doing in a place like this.」
「I don’t know even if you ask me. Well, I can make a general guess.」
To begin with, a dungeon core was created from the materialisation of magic power in the surroundings. In other words, it was natural to consider that the magic powers from around the area here were materialised for some reason into the object that was now in front of Rei.
「In the first place, why would you say that this is a dungeon core? Perhaps it’s something completely different?」
Southernus hoped that Rei had made a mistake. But his question was ruthlessly discarded as Rei shook his head.
「Have you heard that there’s a dungeon near the city of Gilm?」
「Of course I know that……hey, no way.」
「It’s as you imagined, Southernus. As part of a small request previously, I’ve gone to the lowest level of the dungeon. At that time, I actually saw the dungeon core with my own eyes. This one is quite small in size, but I can say that it is one without a doubt.」
He couldn’t explain that he had Zepairu’s knowledge, so he answered as such to trick Southernus while keeping his eyes on the object before him.
「So, what are we going to do?」
「Even if you ask that. In the first place, I’m not someone from this city, if this is a dungeon core, I can’t really just destroy it without permission you know? If I’m not mistaken, I’ve heard that there are several labyrinth cities. Even if it’s a coincidence, a dungeon could form in a city. I can’t overlook the possibility that this place could become a labyrinth city and destroy the core without permission.」
「……Well, that’s true. Speaking of which, do you think that the cause of Magic Fever is this dungeon core?」
「I think so. At any rate, there’s nothing that is more suspicious.」
Even Southernus was convinced that the dungeon core before them was the cause of Magic Fever. After giving a small sigh, he headed back towards the entrance of the storage facility.
「I’m sorry, but I’m going to report this to Diarog-san and Seis-san. If it’s really a dungeon core, we can’t arbitrarily make a decision on our own.」
「I understand. However, make it as quick as possible. Fortunately, this dungeon core still hasn’t fully formed, but as time goes by, it will grow and start bringing monsters here.」
「I know. I’ll tell them as quickly as I can. I’ll leave this small nuisance for you to watch over.」
Saying that, Southernus left the storage facility in a hurry.
Right after that, Rei heard voices from outside, the guards asked Southernus what was going on. But it seemed that he just quickly ran past them without answering.
「……I never thought I would see a dungeon core in a place like this.」
At Rei’s words, Set looked towards the dungeon core and gave a cry, as if agreeing with Rei.
Whether it was Rei or Set, they had seen the Silver Lion, an S ranked monster, that guarded the dungeon core at the bottom of the dungeon they had entered with Elena. No, to be exact, they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes but had been told by Vel. However, the sense of pressure he had felt from that room had not been ordinary.
Well, even Vel, who was more like a monster than a human had his face turn pale. If such a high ranking monster were to appear here now, against such a thing, the dungeon core wouldn’t be a treasure as he had told Southernus but more of an annoyance.
「No, it’s nothing.」
What’s wrong? Set seemed to ask while tilting his head. Rei gently stroked Set’s head while keeping a firm grasp on the Death Scythe in his hand, ready to immediately deal with anything that might come up.
「Haa, haa, haa……」
While Rei and Set were watching over the dungeon core, Southernus was running through the city at full speed.
Speaking of the distinctive features of the city, the dungeon core had appeared in a city which only specialised in distilled spirits. He didn’t know why such a dangerous thing as a dungeon core had formed but to Southernus, it was nothing but a plague.
However, having found it, he couldn’t make the decision to destroy it on his own.
It might have been possible that Baar would have taken steps to become a labyrinth city if Diarog and Seis weren’t standing at the top of the city. However, fortunately, the noble who was the original lord of the city wasn’t around. If he was, it was highly probably that he would try to butt in and in that sense……even though it just a slight feeling, he wanted to thank the Magic Fever for that.
When Southernus reached the lord’s residence, gasping for breath, the gatekeepers’ expressions changed and they went over to him.
The current Southernus wasn’t how he usually was.
「Is Di-Diarog-san, haa, haa……here?」
「Eh? Ah, yes. He’s currently consulting with Seis-sama about future matters.」
「Is that so. I understand. Please tell him I have a matter to discuss right now. It’s urgent!」
As the gatekeeper came closer, Southernus spoke as loudly as he could. Even though he was just a gatekeeper, he must have realised that it was an unusual situation. Leaving Southernus with the other gatekeeper, he hurried inside the lord’s residence.
「Southernus-san, drink this for now and take a deep breath.」
「Ah, Ahh. Sorry about this.」
Southernus drank the warm tea in the bottle before finally taking a breath.
「What on earth is going on? For you who is usually always calm to run until you’re gasping for breath.」
「……I’m sorry but I can’t say anything about it yet. However, a slightly troublesome situation has occurred. I wanted to inform Diarog-san immediately and ran here. Also, you said Seis-san is also here?」
「I guess my luck is good.」
Initially, Southernus was at a loss on whether to head for the guild or the lord’s residence. Seis probably knew more about dungeons as a mage. But, as a city guard, he decided that the first thing he should do was to inform Diarog, his direct supervisor. Considering the distance from the eastern storage facility, the lord’s residence was a little closer. If he had gone to the guild, he would have wasted all his time and missed Seis.
It was just a small thing, but Southernus gave a small smile, thinking that he had gotten lucky.
As Southernus was thinking that, the gatekeeper who had run off to report earlier came back.
「Diarog-sama says he would like Southernus-san to come as soon as he can. He would like to hear your report with Seis-sama.」
「I understand. I will go immediately. Is it in his office?」
Southernus stopped after muttering that.
The gatekeeper turned to look at his questioningly, but Southernus shook his head and they entered the lord’s residence.
(If that really was a dungeon core, it may not be a good idea to raise a fuss about it. Besides, there is a high chance that we won’t be able to do anything with the strength of our army.)
While thinking to himself, he proceeded through the lord’s residence and arrived at the office.
「Pardon me. I’ve brought Southernus-san.」
「Please come in.」
Southernus entered the office after hearing the exchange between the gatekeeper and Diarog.
As expected, Diarog was the main person in the room. The guild master, Seis, was also there. Alongside them were several other influential figures within the city.
「You were investigating with Rei before you came here, could you have already found the cause of Magic Fever!?」
At Diarog’s enthusiastic words, Southernus thought for a few seconds before speaking.
「We’ve made a serious discovery that seems to be related to the matter. If possible, I would like to only tell Diarog-san and Seis-san.」
In other words, Southernus was telling everyone else to leave.
Currently in the office, there were only people with status or power in the city of Baar. Naturally, they frowned unpleasantly at those words. But Diarog, who knew Southernus’s character well, hesitated for a few seconds before making his decision.
「I understand. We’ve been talking for a long time. Let’s take a break for a bit. ……Seis, you stay with me.」
With Diarog’s words, their meeting took a break while Seis and Southernus moved with him to the next room.
「……Well then, since you’ve come here, I guess it’s a serious matter?」
At Diarog’s words, which meant that he wouldn’t forgive him if it wasn’t serious, Southernus spoke without care.
Well, if he made a mistake here, the whole of Baar could be affected.
「The distilled spirits storage facility in the east. We’ve confirmed the existence of a dungeon core there.」