|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3524 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1838 words|
The number of monsters is increasing. I could tell, seeing how the number of hunting quests submitted to the guild had been increasing rapidly lately. Monsters had always been everywhere in our world, during times of peace and stable government, as well as when the world was afflicted by disastrous crises.
However, at certain times, they would spawn at irregular rates. For instance, if a superior monster inside a species, like a king of the species, would appear, then the rest of the species would follow it and attack a city. That was something that was repeated countless times throughout history.
But there was something in common through all those occurrences, like an omen of sorts. Multiple monsters would begin approaching inhabited settlements. Now, there were monsters known to only live in the mountains being spotted close to the city. A truly abnormal situation.
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“I don’t want to think that…but with these numbers…”
The situation piqued my interest, so I took out the dusty records managed by the guild and began comparing the current situation with that detailed in the records. The last time an outbreak of monsters happened was fifty years ago. There were many similarities between the number of hunting quests and monsters spotted around the city back then and now. The guild master of the time wrote the following in his log:
“The number of hunting quests has increased. Now almost all adventurers from all ranks are busy with them. The guild is overflowing with people submitting new quests as well as adventurers that just finished one every day, we are so busy literally any sort of help we could get is welcomed. But at the same time, the guild’s staff is earning a temporary bonus, adventurers are also earning more, blacksmiths selling weapons and armor as well as inns and restaurants are flourishing in business as well. I hope this prosperity can continue for much longer.”
It was quite a positive entry. There did not seem to be any sense of danger coming from it. The next few entries were the same, only mentioning things like how much people were earning, or what monsters they were killing. I skimmed through them until I stopped at a certain page. The writing on that page showed some sort of uneasiness, even though he had been so cheerful in the past entries.
“Something is off. No matter how I look at it, it’s weird for so many monsters to appear. I tried asking other guilds, but they all said things were normal there. It seems this increase of monsters is only affecting this region. I really hope it’s nothing…”
Those uneasy entries continued for a few more pages, until on one day, there was no entry. For a moment I thought the master must have forgotten to write an entry, but a few pages later I found an entry from the following day explaining what happened.
“It was a fierce battle. The nearby dungeon suddenly spurted out a large wave of monsters that formed a large army. To protect the city from the onslaught of monsters, we assembled everyone we could.
The soldiers were obviously there, as well as all the adventurers staying in the city, but also anyone who could fight no matter the age or sex. We fought valiantly but the city walls were breached, the main gate destroyed without trace and many civilian casualties arose.
The soldiers and adventurers fighting in the frontline suffered an even worse fate, around seven out of ten perishing in battle. But their sacrifices weren’t in vain, for their efforts contributed greatly in repelling the monsters.
For all future guild masters: When the number of monsters rises to abnormal numbers, please be really careful. If it’s a single occurrence then don’t worry, but if the abnormality continues for a month or two, it’s best if you assume a flood of monsters is coming soon. Please don’t repeat the same mistake as me. One disaster is enough.”
I gulped after the suspense of reading all of that. Just how long had it been since the number of monsters had increased? It was surely at least a month already. In the worst-case scenario, the dungeon might be overflowing with monsters ready to attack this very moment. This was no time to loiter around idly. Realizing this, I picked all the documents up and hurried towards the governor’s mansion.
Meeting hours were long over for today, but as a guild master, I could force my way in and meet with the governor even outside of meeting hours. I had to persuade the grumbling guards a bit, but using my status as leverage I was granted an audience with the governor.
The governor had only recently assumed that post and was a young man still in his late twenties. His predecessor was not particularly good or bad, having a stoic disposition that hated change, so the city remained at a stand-still, neither developing or decaying for multiple decades.
Now that the new governor had stepped in, many things had started to change and evolve in the city. Taxes exemptions had been implemented, which caused a large increase in trading and commerce, as well as allowing new businesses to exist. He also increased the number of soldiers, restoring public order, and created services to find work for poor people as well as charity organizations.
The quality of life of the people had visibly improved since he became governor. Since he was still young, his way of thinking was flexible as well, if someone would give him any type of advice, he would keep it in mind, without caring about the status of the person giving it. Being such an exemplary governor already, he still showed no displeasure whatsoever when he received me, even though I had interrupted his meal after a busy day.
“It’s rare for you to come with such urgency. Did something happen, Krieck?”
“Yes, but I have to explain from the beginning.”
I spread the documents on the table, then showed the similarities between the current situation and that from back then, afterward, I explained to him the dimensions of the losses we could suffer. When he heard that, his countenance paled. That also went to show how good of a governor he was. If he was someone more hard-headed, he probably would have laughed it off saying I was overthinking things and sent me away.
“There’s a lot of similarities. If this is a similar phenomenon to that of the past, then we barely have any time left to prepare for it.”
“Exactly. From what I’ve seen, the monsters began increasing in number a month ago. If anything is going to happen, it’ll happen in less than a month.”
The governor remained silent with a complicated look on his face. His thoughts had to be filled with ways to deal with this situation, as well as to how to defend from the onslaught of monsters that would be coming sooner than later.
“…Those records mentioned the dungeon in the mountains to the north, correct?”
After saying that, he spread out a map. There was a well-known dungeon inside the mountains to the north of the city which had been a hunting ground for adventurers since long ago.
We called it a dungeon, but it would be more accurately described as a maze. There were many monsters inside of the dungeon, and some adventurers headed too far inside it in search of materials only to perish there, and it was too dangerous of a place for regular people.
It was also relatively close to the city, but adventurers headed into it regularly to hunt monsters, so there were no concerns about the monsters coming out of it and getting too far. But if it spawned more monsters than the adventurers could handle, then it would be a repeat of the disaster from fifty years ago.
“So it’s around two days away on foot. Which means the monsters would get here in no time…”
“Should we build multiple fortresses on the way there? That should buy us some time.”
“No, building them would take way too much time, and I wouldn’t expect them to be that effective. I think we should spend those resources on something else. Which…would leave only one other option.”
I was unable to understand what he meant for a moment, then after a quick glance at the documents, I understood what the remaining option was. The king leading the monsters–––the enemy also had a leader.
“So…you want to defeat their king?”
“Indeed. We’ll send a group of assassins there to get rid of their king before it can lead the monsters here. If their leader is gone, their unity will crumble. That’s our best chance in the current situation.”
Would something like that actually be possible though? The guild currently had many members, but it was hard to say how many of them actually had the skills to take down their king.
Adventurers were granted a rank depending on their performance, starting with Bronze, Iron, Silver, Gold, and Adamantite, making a total of five ranks. The only ones who had the skills to truly represent the guild were those on gold or above. But from what I could remember, there were only one or two gold rank adventurers who showed up once in a while. Which meant the only ones who could be relied on to be present as a fighting force would be those in iron and silver ranks, but that also decreased their possibility of surviving a lot.
“…Would it be possible to request aid from another guild?”
He had probably read my expression to an extent, so he made that suggestion. Hearing him made me jump out of the whirlpool of thoughts I had.
“On paper it is possible… Counting on a larger area, there are many proficient adventurers, but it’s still hard to say if anyone would listen to our call.”
“I guess we can only increase the payment in that case. It’s a bit of a large investment, but there isn’t much we can do about that. Then, Krieck, as the governor, I officially place a request on the guild. I want you to investigate the dungeon in question with a large group of adventurers of rank gold or higher. The city will cover the costs, so don’t hold back with the pricing.”
“Understood. I’ll put it up first thing tomorrow.”
There was not much time left. I thanked the governor for dealing with the matter so swiftly, and quickly returned to the guild. I would have to write up the quest in the middle of this very night and then broadcast my call for help to the other guilds. It would be a long night. A different type of tension to that of fighting for my life burned through my nerves as I quickly left the governor’s mansion behind.