|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3200 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1406 words|
After collecting all the Magic Stones and tidying everything up, Mira climbed on Pegasus and flew to the cathedral. She reached her destination after flying through the towers for around half an hour.
There were still multiple groups of adventurers inside the cathedral. The fifth floor’s difficulty had been ranked C, and the adventurers there did seem like they were reasonably strong. Especially their equipment was different, they all had mithril-class weapons and armor, and some even had Spirit Arms.
All of those adventurers turned to look at Mira, who seemed to be a solo adventurer. They were curious about her, a lone girl in a C Rank dungeon, and with breathtaking looks on top of that, so it was impossible to look away.
「Hello, may I ask something?」
Mira approached the largest group and spoke to them.
「Yes, what do you need?」
The group’s leader replied, looking clearly curious as well. Meanwhile the other adventurers all fell silent, wanting to hear the conversation.
「Have you seen a suspicious looking necromancer riding on the bones of a bicorn with a broken right horn?」
There had been one sighting, so Mira figured others might have seen him as well. The first time had been around a week before on the second floor. If anyone else had seen him on another floor, she would be able to extrapolate Soul Howl’s traveling speed.
This dungeon was incredibly vast, and each floor’s gimmick could present plenty of delays. At a certain point, being stronger did not help go through the dungeon faster. So far Mira knew that Soul Howl was traveling on his bicorn. The land routes were composed of intertwined maze-like paths, with countless obstacles, and while Soul Howl’s bicorn was swift, it could not compare to Pegasus who could simply skip over everything through the air. In other words, there was still a chance Mira would catch up.
「Hmm… I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone like that.」
The man crossed his arms and thought for a moment, but he just shook his head in the end. The adventurers in his group had also not seen Soul Howl.
「I see… Sorry I intruded in your meeting.」
Mira figured she had the best chances by asking the biggest group, but since they moved as a single unit, it would also be strange for one of them to have seen Soul Howl and not the rest. That was not enough to deter Mira, and she began asking the other groups hoping a larger sample size would yield better results.
The second group had not seen him either. So Mira went to a third group.
「Hey, I might have seen that person you’re looking for.」
Then one man spoke to her, he had likely overheard her question. Mira turned around and saw a lightly armored adventurer waving at her.
「Ohh, you did?! When and where?」
Mira rushed to him, looking up with eyes full of expectation. That took him by surprise, and he had to force a cough to play off the blush on his cheeks before giving a friendly smile.
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「I saw him from behind so I don’t know if he was riding a bicorn, but it did look like a horse skeleton. It was right here on the fifth floor, two days ago.」
Following him, his companions added 「He was pretty far so we couldn’t see him clearly,」 and 「He looked kinda creepy.」
They had only seen him for an instant, so they could not catch many details, but they were sure he was riding on some sort of skeleton. Considering the circumstances, the chances of that being Soul Howl were quite high.
「Hmm… two days ago huh.」
Mira noticed something hearing she had gotten so much closer. Soul Howl had been seen on the second floor around a week before, then on the fifth floor two days before. The Ancient Underground City usually took adventurers a month to get through, so from that viewpoint he was going at a swift pace.
But Mira, a fellow Wiseman, was moving even faster than Soul Howl. That showed just how vast the dungeon was, and how superior flying was to traveling on ground, which made Mira feel grateful for Pegasus. She also did not forget to smirk thinking 「Summoners win again.」
At least that information told Mira that she was catching up to Soul Howl, so she thanked the adventurer and gave him a random healing potion in gratitude. Adventurers faced danger all the time, so any healing item was always useful.
(Alright, just wait for me Soul Howl!)
Knowing her mission’s prospects were looking good put Mira in a good mood, so she entered the cathedral and headed to the sixth floor. She was also getting excited thinking of reuniting with her old friend.
Mira had left a bit of a commotion after her as she happily dashed through the cathedral.
The main culprit was the healing potion Mira had given the adventurer. It had been mass produced by an alchemist she was acquainted with before, mainly meant for raids. All of such potions had been used in the thirty years before Mira got there, but her personal stash was largely untouched. It was an extremely effective potion, as it was meant to be used in raids, so just one of them could fetch tens of thousands of Rils in current times.
Such a reward seemed far too excessive for simply mentioning seeing someone, so the adventurer’s companions looked at him with envy, and even the other groups were jealous. But he was even more shocked, worrying if he really could accept such an item.
The Ancient Underground City’s sixth floor, it covered an area half as large as the fifth floor, but was so packed with structures that it was impossible to see one edge from the other, or the ceiling from the ground.
The fifth floor also had many towers, but they felt sparse compared to the sixth floor’s buildings. There were countless structures like boxes arranged in complex patterns, ones above others.
There were singular rooms, corridors, halls, passages, atriums, stairs, inclines, and other structures with no specific name piled on top of each other, all spanning the area of a large city.
(This does look a lot like Kowloon City after all…)
When players first reached the sixth floor, they found it looked very similar to Kowloon City, an enclave that once existed in their real world. Mira had seen old pictures of that place as well, and could still see the similarities. While the dungeon was old, there was a strange sense of livelihood there. At first glance it looked like many places were supported by unstable pieces of wood, but everything there was built of the same sturdy metallic material, so there was no fear of it collapsing. Such structures spanned all the way to the ceiling of the dungeon floor, connected by thin corridors, and once she entered a path it would branch into many smaller ones.
The entire sixth floor looked like that. The area of each floor was roughly half of the previous one, so even though the sixth floor was large, it seemed quite reasonable compared to the previous ones. But due to its complex construction with many levels stacked on top of one another, the total floor area was comparable to the third floor of the dungeon. On top of that, B rank monsters would spawn there, making it the most annoying floor.
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「No other option but to go forward, I guess.」
She needed to get three glyphs to open the door to the seventh floor again, which could be obtained from the crystal balls inside small shrines on the lower, middle, and upper levels. But to enter those shrines, called the District Director’s rooms by players, further glyphs were needed, which made that floor even trickier.
Thinking of just how many days that would take her, Mira summoned a Dark Knight and pushed onwards. Pegasus would be resting this time. The sixth floor was immensely complex with twisting corridors, some of which were so narrow only one person could go through at a time, and the ceilings were low too, all of which made flying impossible and took away Pegasus’ main advantage.