“That sounds amazing!” The archer was already right next to me and looking at me with excitement, I didn’t even know how to react. I couldn’t help but be slack-jawed, I felt slight rage and annoyance.
Quick think, isn't there something that can get me out of this situation... Weren't adventurer's entitled to their own privacy or something like that?
"Um, but... Miss receptionist... Am I not entitled to my own privacy? Besides, the adventurer's guild isn't allowed to just take my request away... It's not like I don't meet the requirements." I protested in annoyance.
She froze for a second, and turned stiff, I guess she wasn't prepared for that. At the moment the words exited my mouth I heard a door click.
"I am feeling quite vengeful today." It was Dan's voice... He peered from the stairs to look at us. "Yes, missy. You are indeed right in what you are saying, but I as the guild master can overrule such things. Besides, having two separate registrations is against the law." Was he... blackmailing me?!
"Gee, I wonder what kind of guildmaster could allow me to do such a thing, tehee!" I looked at him as if I was completely oblivious, Dan stiffened and took a step back.
"Just accept to return the favor! I had to take care of Ari for a day!" He said in annoyance.
"Sigh, fine." I dropped my shoulders.
“Pleasure to meet you, name is Roy.” The warrior extended his hand, he had a metal chest piece and he looked a bit past his prime, I guess he was the leader. "Are you two acquainted?" He pointed at Dan and me, we kind of just averted our gaze and refused to speak about it.
“I will be at your care…” The healer/mage sheepishly added.
“Don’t get in the way.” The assassin said that and left to the outside. What a problem.
“Looks like you all are getting along well~” The receptionist commented. I, of course, glared daggers at her, she was not forgiven in the slightest!
“Ahaha! I have a feeling I will get along with this one.” The leader suddenly wrapped his hand around my shoulder and squished me tight to his body, I guess it was his way to show friendliness.
Ari looked troubled as she opened her mouth, I just quietly shook my head. I knew she wanted to object but it was probably for the better to not do anything about it, besides, if we fought it the outcome would be worse. Specially with Dan, I am sure Ari kind of felt guilty as well... What a problem.
“Looks like it’s sealed,” the receptionist said with a satisfied smile. “May I have your guild cards?”
“Sigh, here.” I gave mine with resignation.
“Here.” The leader gave her four cards, I guess one for each member. “Now that I think about it, where is little missy’s card?” He was talking about Ari.
“Ah, she is just coming along, don’t mind her,” I said with a wry smile.
"I see, as far as the advanced pay, it will be logged into the guild card, you can take it out from any guild you'd like~" Was it like that?
“Oh, is that so?" The leader paused and looked at me. "Now that I think about it, you must be really strong to have such confidence, you are Obsidian right?” The burly leader asked.
I stiffened my smile and considered what happened last time. Being under-ranked definitely wasn't desirable. And I also had to maintain a good impression. “Yup…” I pulled the obsidian tag that I received as Dark Shadow rather than Yami.
“W-Waa.” The receptionist was flabbergasted. "B-But y-you-"
"Shhh..." I interrupted her. "Now, now, we can't go around spreading information like that, right?" I looked at her dead cold in the eyes, she was my enemy now. The receptionist hurriedly nodded in agreement.
“Oh, impressive. Looks like we won’t need to worry about you. You are obsidian and can even silence a receptionist!” He started laughing... “We are also obsidian! You know, dungeons can be dangerous so it's recommended to be a rank higher for dungeon quests!” Is that so? “Well, knowing this I am at peace of mind. Allow me to introduce ourselves. We are Lighting Boar!” Eh is that so? He then proceeded to introduce his party members as I nodded without thinking about it.
“And you are?” He asked with friendliness.
“Dark Shadow… Well, that’s what the tag says anyway…” The tag literally had Dark Shadow engraved as a name… What a problem. “You can just call me Yami… And this is Ari.”
“Hi…” She sheepishly waved at the leader, all of the other party members were outside at this point so I guess she was slightly more open to a one on one conversation.
The leader nodded to our answer. “Very well, I will be waiting outside. Departure time is now.” Well, I didn’t really plan on preparing for it anyway, it should be something rather easy.
The leader left the guild, it was still desolate. After a sigh, I started walking along with Ari.
“W-Wait, M-Miss Dark Shadow!” The receptionist cried for me. At that moment I heard something fall on the second floor and some laughter come to think it was Dan…
“W-What do you need?” I asked with a stiff smile.
“I-I am sorry for forcing you into making a party, I-I am still new here! I-i don't know much..."
I forced a smile.
“Don’t mind it…” YOU SHOULD MIND IT! I HOPE YOU HAVE A BAD DAY! Too bad I couldn’t shout at her, or rather. It was better not to. I left the guild with Ari without saying anything to the receptionist. I hope she felt bad. Needless to say, I was greatly upset, and she dares to apologize for being such a— Calm down...
Upon exiting the guild I was greeted by my new party. They didn’t say anything important after greetings they started walking, I presumed that it was in the direction of the dungeon, so without thinking too much about it, I followed. I sighed just from the thought that the receptionist literally forced me into it, I mean I could’ve tried to refuse it, but it was probably a bad idea... No, it was definitely a bad idea...
“Is something amiss?” The leader asked with curiosity, the other party members did not seem too concerned as they talked about daily life things.
“Nothing…” I slowed down my walking pace and practically forced the leader to go with his own party, they did not seem very welcoming of me. I didn’t particularly care but I found it rather funny, you know. They were so excited about the dungeon thing, I expected them to be more collaborative, but I guess there was no point in expecting.
“Maybe we should just go back…” Ari silently suggested.
“Sigh, you are right. But there is something I want to confirm about dungeons, and I don’t see any opportunity like this coming again any time soon…” I admitted in defeat.
“If you say so…” She paused. “What about them though?” Ari asked with concern as she looked at the adventurers we grouped up with.
I looked at Ari directly in her eyes. “Ari, do you care about them?” She slowly shook her head. “Then there is no problem, dungeon casualties happen, besides, they were going to do it themselves anyway, it will probably go without problem…” I realized that I was basically saying they were going to die and it didn’t matter. “I mean, I can try to save them if something happens…” I quickly corrected myself.
Ari shook her head again. “I am well aware that you can’t save everyone… Besides, I kind of expected at least one of them to die…” Eh… Is she learning? Or just getting past her fear? Either way, I don’t want to know. It was just an unusual reaction coming from her.
“Well, not like it matters…” I hopelessly muttered before letting out an empty sigh and resuming my normal walking pace. Ari seemed quite confused about my unusual way of acting, but I guess it was just the norm. I hadn’t been in a dungeon for years, however, I would still remember my joys and dreads in them. A dungeon is a place that leaves a mark in you, it could be good or bad. Only fate knows that… Or it could also be a place for free items, either goes.
I shook my head to restart my train of thought, it was getting out of hand. In the end, a dungeon is a dungeon, that’s just how I should approach it.
“Stop!” It was an armored guard with silver-plated armor and a nice blue helmet, I guess it signified status or something, never seen one like that before. “Please show me your identifications.” They showed their things and he moved onto us.
I showed him my card and then he looked at Ari. She sheepishly smiled and without thinking too much about it he gave me my card back, with a dismissive nod he let our group pass through the gates. I hadn’t paid much attention to the ever-passing background as I thought, however, we were currently at the very back of the capital. The place looked like a second plaza but it was quite desolate and seemed to function more like slums rather than actual plaza. The buildings were deteriorated and people in rags were common to see.
I didn’t think much about the reason why Ari needed no card, maybe it was her age, or maybe there was something I was missing? Perhaps she had some special skill, although that would be weird. She never got asked for a card so we never got her one, maybe I should ask Dan for one? Hmm… Well, Dan should definitely get me a card after this!
We continued walking, following the leader who had a map, fortunately, the dungeon seemed to be close, just judging by everyone’s light equipment, They still carried backpacks so I am sure they did not have something like an item-bag or a pocket dimension or just something for easy means of transport.
Now that I was more aware of my surroundings I noticed that the capital was still as picturesque as ever, white everything, it still had a moat and a less stellar bridge on the back. I guess it was all fancy appearance. What I found stunning were the endless forests and lakes, it had a lot of lakes. I couldn’t see the canyon that was visible from the castle, I guess it was in an entirely different direction entirely. However, that did not take me away from enjoying the early morning sun-rays and bird chirps. Ari seemed to be enjoying it as well seeing how calmly she observed around with a smile on her face.
The other people were just chatting about their relationships and things that happened in the past year, I didn’t really pay attention, or rather. I did not hear anything worth my attention, unfortunately, eavesdropping was rather easy for me for some reason, an innate skill I guess.
We eventually started walking into the forest, this time with care. The trees had scratch marks and a few branches were missing. After a lot more walking, we found ourselves in an open area, except it wasn’t pretty. The grass looked brown and dead, the place quite literally smelled like rotting bio-waste.
“Looks like we are here… The dungeon…” The leader said with seriousness.
There it was, a temple that seemed to have dug its way out of the ground, brown moss covering its black bricks, standing tall and giving bad vibes in general, a single entrance and fine engravings with skeletons on the borders of the structure, and the only doorway. The place shouted undead, which was a bit unexpected, although it also made me relaxed. Undead were the easiest things to deal with.
“It’s undead…” The archer said with fear.
“Shouldn’t we go back?” The healer said with hope.
“What are you saying!? You have the highest chances now! Spray them with holy magic and the job is done!” The assassin lost it.
“Relax people, the dungeon is only Cobalt rank, how bad could it be? Besides, we can always run.” The leader added his true thoughts.
However… They seemed to have completely forgotten about me, not like I cared. I also found it weird that they were freaking out about undead, they were truly a joke.
“Are you not worried?” Ari asked waiting for reassurance.
“No? Undead make me feel less concerned actually...” I kept my voice low so that they didn’t hear me, Ari kind of sighed and let out a lighthearted quiet burst of laughter, I guess it was unexpected for her, but I could at least know she was at ease now.