Chapter 13: The Gates of “Hell”
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The group of six stand outside the entrance to the Sevis Dungeons, apparently, there has been some strange events happening. Approximately eight days ago, there was an unexpected increase in monsters in the Dungeons. Stronger monsters from deeper inside the dungeon had begun to storm upwards and dominate the levels close to the surface. Monsters whose levels are as high as 80 have been spotted which is a monster that's subjugation is a high priority. As an adventurer group with an average level of D, they will have to be able to easily handle the majority of the monsters that would be seen in the fourth and fifth level.

The dark red bricks constructing the entrance of dungeon are cracked and worn, vegetation occupying any available space, lacing the entire thing in vines and an assortment of plant-life. The doors were propped open by an iron shoe. None of the torches inside are lit, it was as if one was gazing directly into the mouth of hell; the only thing in sight is an endless dark void.

The group slowly descended into the maw of darkness, Argon lighting the torches latched to the wall by crude metal bars with a lit torch of his own. The light follows them down as they descend through the dungeon, walking through the spiralling staircase. Eventually, the red bricks devolve into just cave walls. They come to a Y junction, after a few more additional seconds of descending the stairs; however, the right tunnel is completely blocked off by an immense boulder. Upon the floor is an arrow pointing towards the staircase indicating the way back to the surface.

"Hey Argon, do you know the reason why that boulder is there?" asks Tina.

"My brother told me this, so I don't know if it's true or not: the reason is that it is rumoured them found a shaft that leads to the seventeenth floor."

"Another question, how many floors exactly are there?"

"I'm pretty sure there are 32 total floors, yet there could be more as the dungeon core has yet to be seen," replies Argon.

'That's right, this is the first time she has ever entered a dungeon as a sentient being; the other times, I guess she wasn't fully conscious else her and her incredibly high intelligence would have figured out at least the basics of how dungeons work by just being present. I'll fashion a mental bridge to her.'

[Tina, this is Zeruna, so, looks to me like you want to know more about Dungeons.]

[That would be correct.]

[Do you know how the Continental Dungeons were made?] Zeruna looks over to Tina who subtly shakes her head in reply.

[Before I was born, three powerful magic users were considered evil and they had accumulated enormous riches. However, much like all things, it came to an end. To protect their treasures, they built massive structures that were controlled by an artificial intelligence. Each ai, or core, are completely separate from one another. These structures are called dungeons. The core regularly generates mana, which is used to summon monsters that the core can control. These monsters are hostile to everything including other dungeon-bred monsters; even more so to beings not native to them. To summarise, they are huge golems that can create their own monsters.]

[Interesting information that'll surely be useful in the future, many thanks, Lady Zeruna.]

[Don't mention it, it is natural for allies, especially as close as we are, to share intel, honestly, I should've told you earlier than I have. Before I assumed you knew, however, from your awkward interaction with Argon, I now gather you don't.]

While two were interacting, they were unaware of the fact they had arrived at a guard outpost, the only guard outpost. Outside there are a group of adventurers, approximately the same rank as the Sparrow Knights, all chatting amongst themselves. Some turn to them momentarily before going back to their rather aggressive conversations.

"What an interesting sight," murmurs Zeruna.

"Indeed," replies John. "I can only wonder what's happening, as long as I get to smash some monsters, I'll be satisfied."

"I hate it when people stare at me," comments Eleana. "It's so... off-putting."

"You guys stay here, I'm going to talk to the outpost commander about whatever this is. I have quite a bit of influence in the guild despite being only a D-rank," states Argon as he disappears into the crowd.

"Influence? What do you mean by that?" asks Zeruna.

"Oh yeah, you and Merille are new to adventuring," says Eleana. "You see, the guild doesn't care much for adventurers below rank C."

"Bastards only care about C, B, A, S and X class adventurers," John spits.

Zeruna's eyes begin to quickly scan over the crowd, observing the equipment and levels of the thirty or so people present. The average levels of the adventurers are approximately 34, which would put them slightly above the Untamed (former bandits). However, there are a few standouts among the mob of weaklings. Particularly a group of four in the corner.

[??? Level 68, ??? Level 70, ??? Level 74, ??? Level 69]

'Most intriguing, this is the first instance of people's name not being shown by appraisal. Perhaps it is the effect of a counter-spell being used or skill maybe. Either way, this is incredibly interesting to me, I should keep an eye out on those individuals, they could be a potential enemy or potential ally. They definitely are too weak to scratch me either way, even if they use blunt weapons which I am weak against due to the trait 'delicate'.'

One of them looks over to Zeruna, who caught off-guard by the sudden head spin by one of the female members of the group. Brown eyes and black hair — incredibly bland and quite off-putting. The adventurer's face lights up as she smiles towards the stranger and waves. Zeruna timidly waves back at the unknown individual. Like an angel from heaven, Argon cuts in front of the line of sight as the gates begin to open.

"Sorry adventurers for the delay," says a man adorned in golden armour from the outpost wall. "You, the extermination party, will be embarking shortly, we are now opening the gates of hell; enjoy your stay."

The adventurers begin funnelling through the gate and into the winding bowels of the dungeon. There are thousands of possible routes to take in the dungeon so the massive pack will eventually funnel out and be dispersed. Small, localised waves in only a single dungeon is are incredibly rare, and are usually the result of a magic item being used to create chaos. For the first time coming to this world, Zeruna is truly troubled by whatever is causing this event.

Thank you for 200 favourites, this chapter was a bit rushed. I'm getting excited because all these chapters are leading to something big.

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