Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Day 54 – Morning, Fake Dungeon.
The orders given to me were to kill the dungeon blocking the way to the frontier and to deliver the ultimatum to the count of the frontier, who is hiding there. The Kingdom has no time left to spare anymore.
However, the Kingdom is taking the frontier and its count way too lightly. If this won’t be enough to bring them to the negotiation table, the Kingdom will be ruined.
That’s why I will first kill this dungeon.
Leading a group of dungeon experts with A rank adventurers forming the core I step into the dungeon, with numerous B rank adventurers filling supporting roles. It’s quite a grand expedition.
However, what awaited there was neither fierce fighting nor desperate life or death struggle. To be frank, one had to do their best to avoid laughing there.
At the Kingdom’s request, free high-ranking adventurers were gathered. Promising a large reward, the Kingdom gathered everyone it could.
That’s how pressing an issue it is to take down this dungeon. This is an exceedingly serious matter that can decide the fate of the Kingdom. The kingdom is holding back on nothing, be it adventurers, military personnel, or the war force.
And yet, those crème de la crème elites are… No! I mustn’t laugh! They are doing the best they can to fulfill the Kingdom’s mission… Bhahaha!
A narrow path hanging over a seemingly bottomless hole, a steep mountain path bending and twisting at many points.
A large army cannot pass here, they’d be simply knocked down by the boulders shot from the walls on both sides. That’s why stopping all of the traps and devices by killing the dungeon is the duty of the vanguard.
There, gracefully dodging the incoming rocks, an adventurer nimbly made his way forward… slipping and falling into the chasm.
Another one grasped a boulder on the ceiling to avoid the slippery pathway… And fell down along with the boulder.
Another one, trying to save his comrades, halted in place, extending his hand to them, and was shot down by a boulder, and if one isn’t paying attention, they can also be caught by stones that at some rare occasions fall from above as well.
Regardless of their skill with the sword or their magic prowess, the adventurers keep slipping, falling, and tumbling away. Another one, almost making it, buffed himself to take a long leap to the rock on the other side and… Got caught by an invisible wire and fell down as well.
Sounds of water can be heard from the hole, so there must be no danger to their lives, but the splashes are also accompanied by the shouts 『The gear, the clothes, they are melting!!』, and agonized cries.
In the hall that was lying ahead, I gathered those capable of magic to attack spider-type monsters on the ceiling, only for it to collapse immediately after that, burying a mercenary band beneath. Moreover, the spider monsters on the ceiling turned out to be just a drawing on the ceiling.
Before that too, trying to get over a pitfall, the adventurers jumped collectively to the other side, and ended up crashing into what turned out to be a wall. Taking a gallant leap with an approach run only to find out that the passage was a painting. After which, everyone disappeared into the pitfall.
Avoiding combat with golems, that for some reason act in groups akin to military units, we made it through with a small group, but we can’t break through normal corridors. Rather, it is the ordinary passages that are the most terrifying.
And speaking of what exactly is terrifying, it’s that more than half of the remaining members had their weapons and equipment destroyed, clothes melted, and were close to being completely naked. They can’t be counted as a fighting force anymore.
Challenging the dungeon master in such a state is impossible, all of the female adventurers have already run away. Hey, wait a bit… bit, bit, bit. They safely made it back.
「Retreating is prohibited, but proceeding like this is simply heading towards annihilation. There is no other choice but to let the adventurers escape and take on the dungeon master by ourselves. Take weapons and armor from the young soldiers and send them back. We don’t need meaningless deaths.」
Without weapons or equipment, one cannot be counted as a combat force, even if I were to send them back, they won’t be held responsible.
「Is that really alright? At this rate…」
「As long as I remain there is no problem. If the commander doesn’t come back it will be seen as the force being wiped out.」
The Kingdom has no choice but to face its destruction. Considering what the Kingdom, what the nobles of the Kingdom did to the frontier, there is no doubt that the frontier’s count will not forgive that. Rather, that is only natural.
It won’t be surprising even if he demanded the heads of every noble in the kingdom, after all, we, the Kingdom, ordered the frontier to die. Instead of helping them, the Kingdom was tormenting and exploiting the frontier, surely, even an attempt at an apology would not be accepted. However, even with the Kingdom hanging on the verge of destruction, there is no way the scum, that are the nobles of the midlands, would consider presenting their lives or wealth. Now, the only path left for the Kingdom leads to ruin.
We advance with the few remaining soldiers, but there are only traps, no monsters, or even stairs to the lower floor. Is this some sort of a unique passageway-type dungeon? In that case, the dungeon master must be somewhere ahead… Only 8 people left.
I don’t expect that we can defeat them with this force at all, not even the slightest bit, but were I to perish here to a trap, without even laying my eyes on the dungeon master, I’d be unable to face the troops that fell protecting me. Still, there are only 5 of us left.
Despite being fully prepared, the soldier that opened the door was gone from my sight. The door’s handle itself was a trap, unable to remove his hand from the handle he was then dragged underground by the door.
And now, only I remain.
But my luck has run out. I’m already unable to move, on all fours, with both hands and legs glued to the floor, groveling on the ground like some sort of a beast, not only can’t I advance, fight, or retreat, I can’t even stand, left to await my fate in such an unsightly state.
It’s impossible for me to wield a sword now, and my armor was completely destroyed by corrosion.
Then, all at once, the stone walls began to move, one after another, puppets of stone 『Stone Golems』 tore themselves off the solid rock!
To meet my end in such a miserable state, unable to put up any resistance at all, is humiliating, but dying here, I at least won’t have to see the downfall of the Kingdom, so that might be a blessing of its own.
Completely unaware of my turmoil, the stone golems lifted the floor, to which I was stuck over their heads along with myself?
I thought that they were going to slam me into the ground, but they only kept lifting me up and down, not dropping me, nor making any attempts to attack?
They simply marched on, continuously swinging the floor with me up and down, are they perhaps going to sacrifice me to the dungeon master? Unable to put up a fight, I’m going to be devoured alive by a monster? But regardless of what I think, there is nothing I can do to resist at this point.
Endlessly swung up and down, slowly spun around, I’m being carried onwards. Is this some sort of a ritual? I’ve never met a dungeon master, nor have I any experience of being caught and eaten by monsters, so there is no way for me to guess.
A glimpse of light. Is that the destination?
Stone golems continued walking, and as if to show off, raised me higher, exposing the sight of me cowering on the floor on all fours.
The light blinded me for a moment, but even if I’m to be devoured, unable to give them a single cut with my sword, I at least will give them the best death stare I can.
At a distance stood a rampart, surrounding the area, and in front of it the frontier’s army was deployed, the one feared as the strongest in the Kingdom. Leading it was the current head of the House Omui, which through the numerous legends it created came to be hailed as the clan of heroes. Called the King of the frontier by the people of the Kingdom, universally feared as a god of war by the foreign armies, known as the undefeated swordsman in the capital, the legendary hero, Mellotosam Shim Omui.
Everyone’s stares fell on me, eh? I’m half-naked right now… Or rather, the scraps of clothes are barely hanging on me, and I’m being lifted up for everyone to see as I stand on all fours?
「Ku, ka, KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!」