Sword Demon Style: Correct Method to Capture Dungeons
*TakTakTakTakTakTak*! Beryl and Rubeus were pecking away at the feed inside the inn’s dining room as if it were their parents’ mortal enemy. They truly looked like birds of prey as they ripped and tore away at a couple slices of bacon.
“Mm, here. You can have it.”
When Tio held out an edible flower used as a garnish for the meals here, one of the birds took its eyes off of the bacon long enough to quickly scoop the flower into its beak. It then proceeded to swallow the flower whole just like that.
These two birds use their beaks to tear up food, but if what they’re eating is soft enough, they’ll end up inhaling the food just like that. There are no likes or dislikes with them. They were a couple of gluttons who would devour whatever is given to them.
After the two familiars were finished tearing up the bacon into a size that would ordinarily still be too big for their little bird bodies, they moved over to their fried eggs and began tearing away at that.
“Tio, let’s stop? That’s not the kind of discussion we should have over breakfast.”
Sophie grabbed Tio’s shoulder to stop her from saying anything unnecessary. There is a certain set of manners to be upheld when one is eating at the dining table.
“Anyway, it’s been a while since Mom’s been away for the night.”
“Yeah. Mama always finishes her requests while we’re at school and is usually home before we are.”
In a rare turn of events, Shirley had been gone during yesterday’s supper because of work. She was currently moving with another group of adventurers…….but it was a direct request from the guild itself. That being said, when Yumina visited the inn to deliver the request, Shirley stubbornly turned her down at first.
“I refuse. If you wish something of me, make it something I can finish before my daughters return from school.”
Shirley and Tio hadn’t heard what the contents of the request were, but they did know it would’ve required their mother to be out all night and not return until the next morning at the earliest. So it was only natural that Shirley would turn the request down when it would cut into the all-important time she is able to spend with her daughters. Only adventurers who are A-rank and above are required to accept direct requests from the guild, and contrary to her reputation, Shirley is still only a B-rank.
Normally that is where the story would end, and sure enough, Yumina was about to shuffle back to the guild when coincidentally, Shirley happened to receive a letter at that exact moment. Reading through its contents, her attitude did a complete one-eighty afterwards.
“I will accept the request after all. To avoid wasting any time, tell the other adventurers to meet me at the Dragon House. I will cover the cost of renting Rangitz.”
It was a sudden change written off with the wave of a hand. Shirley informed her daughters that she wouldn’t be returning until tomorrow, and after asking Martha to take care of dinner that night, she went straight to work.
“What was that about?”
On the western edge of the Kingdom is an isolated island that normally rests at the bottom of the sea. However during the midnight hour, the tides roll back, revealing the island and giving access to the dungeon that sat on the land.
It is said that all the wisdom and wealth of a powerful warlock who lived long ago rested within, and so with a mixture of greed and romance in their hearts, a large number of adventurers have gone to challenge the dungeon. And yet, there is not a single recorded case of anyone emerging victorious. It is an impregnable, monster-laden stronghold.
An underground-style dungeon, there were a countless number of floors, each one its own complex maze. Traps were positioned everywhere, and scores of marine monsters had settled down over the years. In addition, there were a large number of golems that had yet to deteriorate despite the humid climate.
The door leading to the next floor is always locked shut and requires a code to advance. There are also walls of fire and lightning along with areas filled with highly poisonous clouds or blisteringly cold blizzards. It’s a hellish structure that’s first floor was impossible for the average adventurer.
“When it comes to direct guild requests, capturing dungeons are one of the easiest there is.”
Shirley stood in front of this labyrinth of death and confidently proclaimed such a thing to the other summoned adventurers. They were all young, up-and-coming adventurers who had managed to reach A-rank at a young age. Their party had managed to capture a different dungeon before this and were promoted for their achievement.
As such, they all knew the horrors that a labyrinth could unleash and understood just how difficult this next one would be. So how in the world could she classify this as an ‘easy’ request? The Demonic White Sword paid those adventurers no concern as she drew her sword.
“Before anything else, you should map out the maze using echo detection and clairvoyance magic. I have several personal abilities that are able to reach similar results, but these two techniques should give you a rough idea of where to aim for.”
The adventurers were all grumpily grumbling to themselves inside their minds. That was the basics of dungeon exploration, and they felt a little insulted that she felt the need to try and explain it to them.
“Once you’ve located your final destination, or at least the stairs to the second floor――――”
Shirley’s heterochromatic eyes shone as she stared down at the ground. The entire layout of the dungeon was laid out before her all-seeing eyes……..and so she swung down her sword.
“cut through the walls, floors, and any other hinderances so you can head straight down.”
The thick, solid floor was sliced to pieces, and two square sections fell through, revealing the next floor down below. It was a shortcut that successfully bypassed all the traps, mazes, passwords, and defenses.
A few monsters attacked after reacting to the noise of the collapsing floor, but a quick flash of Shirley’s sword was enough to do away with them. From there she followed through with her lesson, cutting her way down from the second floor to the third, then the fourth, then the fifth, and so on. After all the care and work they put into this dungeon, surely the dungeon’s designer would have never imagined that this was how it would be captured.
All those traps they built in to stop people from advancing were being completely ignored as each floor was cleared in a handful of seconds. The designer was most certainly crying in their grave.
Then, a few moments after the party of adventurers had arrived at the dungeon to begin with, they reached the 150th floor. The very bottom of the dungeon that should have only been accessible after days of hard fought battles and near death experiences. Shirley turned towards her fellow adventurers whose mouths hung open when they saw the mountain of hidden spellbooks, magic tools, and treasure.
“And viola. If you simply destroy a dungeon’s walls and floors, you can easily capture it with minimal effort. And more importantly, you will be able to quickly finish up and return home immediately.
“””There’s no way we can do that!!”””
Everything began when the noble who ruled over the area that included the underwater dungeon put in a request to the guild so that they could get at the fortune that lied below.
The dungeon was actually only discovered fairly recently, but it had repelled many an adventurer already. The noble is actually an important sponsor to the guild, and having gotten tired of waiting, put out the unreasonable demand to have the guild “Immediately bring back the riches that lie within.” The Kingdom’s guild branch thus put out a direct request to a party of A-rank adventurers who specialized in dungeon exploration and couldn’t refuse.
However, a single problem arose. Unfortunately, the party’s heavy warrior who acted as the frontliner had been injured in a fight with a monster and was still undergoing medical treatment.
It would be too dangerous to attempt to challenge such an impregnable dungeon with a man down, but the guild wanted to avoid angering their investor when he has already grown tired of waiting. So they came up with the idea of temporarily hiring a different frontliner with a history of clearing dungeons to fill out the numbers.
Shirley was naturally at the top of the list of possible candidates. She is typically a solo adventurer, yet she has one of the highest dungeon clear records, many of which being high level dungeons that were once thought of as being impossible to clear.
There was the issue of course that as a B-rank adventurer, Shirley could always refuse to help. In fact, she initially did categorically turn down the request in favor of spending more time with her daughters.
“What made you change your mind about participating?”
Yumina greeted Shirley after she returned home from her request and brought her over to the guild’s parlor. After preparing her a cup of tea and receiving the detailed report on how the mission went, she thought about asking Shirley on why she took the request in the first place.
With the exception of some exceedingly special circumstances, Shirley always prioritized her daughters over any kind of guild work. What could have caused her to shift her priorities……Yumina could already guess.
“……..Right after the guild gave me the request, I received a letter from the workshop where I am having my daughters’ coming-of-age gifts made. They asked me to secure some new materials they required for the final product.”
“I figured it was something like that.”
Rather, there’s no way it could have been anything besides a daughter-related reason. Yumina stifled a sigh as she once again confirmed what a doting parent the woman sitting in front of her is.
“The hide of certain aquatic monsters can act as a catalyst to prevent weathering, degradation, and rust for minerals. Apparently the workshop is looking to have my gifts shine for a lifetime. It is just my luck that their letter arrived in such a timely manner.”
“I had heard you were collecting materials for the girls’ coming-of-age presents, but I didn’t think you were putting so much work into the littlest of details.”
“Of course. These will be important gifts, and I will allow no compromises on their quality. As craftsmen, it seems that the workshop is in agreement with me on this.”
A sapphire and ruby coupled together with the skin of a bejewelled dragon with gold and silver running through its veins. With these materials alone the famously skilled dwarves would be able to craft fine jewelry that would make even the highest ranking nobles open their eyes wide in awe, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy Shirley.
“Putting that aside…….I’ve always been in charge of monster investigations and subjugations, so I never knew this was how you always cleared dungeons.”
Changing topics, Yumina spoke about the current request’s completion as if she were disappointed somehow. Requests issued to the guild are separated into different types, and different receptionists are assigned to those different types of assignments. Yumina however has been working at the guild for five years now. Her workload increased accordingly…….which is how the job of handling requests involving the capturing of dungeons and investigating ruins was foisted upon her.
“Minimal damage, no danger to life, and finished in little time. Does the guild have any complaints?”
“Well, the results are the best we could hope for. …….But yeah, there’s all kinds of problems here.”
Ruins and dungeons hold massive historical value, so the destruction of walls and floors is unfortunate, but there is no way the guild could ask adventurers to sacrifice themselves to protect these structures. As such, there is sure to be lingering damage. With that being the case, it is safe to say that while it is fine for adventurers to break through the dungeon if the need arises, it is still not a good idea to purposefully break through like Shirley does.
“I know I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but Shirley, you’re insane. Destroy the walls and floors of the dungeon to make a shortcut to the bottom floor. What is that? Is this how you conquered those unbeatable dungeons too…….”
“It is, but what of it? Honestly, I don’t understand why other adventurers don’t do the same thing.”
“Because usually it’s a terrible idea.”
If you do a poor job destroying a dungeon’s walls, you’re liable to have the whole thing collapse down on you. It would take an extraordinary pair of eyes and highly precise swordsmanship to be able to quickly cut through a set of walls and floors without causing a destructive chain reaction.
There was also the fact that the floor for this underwater dungeon was made of sturdy bedrock over a meter thick. No one besides Shirley would be able to so carefully and accurately cut through it.
“The other party members were in a daze. They are all adventurers with an acute understanding of dungeon exploration, but they were all wondering if they should imitate your unreasonable strategy.”
Setting aside whether or not it was possible for them to replicate it……a knock on the door interrupted Yumina before she could say anything else. After being given permission to enter, one of the guild’s other receptionists walked in with a large stack of letters.
“Pardon me, but Shirley, you have some mail here.”
“Mail? From who?”
The receptionist had an indescribable look on her face as she passed over the large stack of letters. Each and every single one of them had the same name written on the front.
“Let’s see……..From His Majesty Albert Ragdoll, Emperor of the Empire…….”