New chapter today and I’m sorry for the delay.
Chapter 4 – The Demon King Territory Is Still Far Away
As we traveled from dungeon to dungeon, Lusha and I came close to the city where the demon king’s castle was located. Right now, I was in the middle of a bumpy horse-drawn carriage ride. In a few hours, we’d definitely reach the city. We might be able to go to the demon king’s castle, give the package to Pino’s master, and meet the demon king as soon as possible.
Lusha spoke up while pushing through the drowsiness invited by a pleasant breeze.
“Now that I think about it, they say it’s hard to go to the demon king’s castle.”
“…They do say that.”
As I recall, Pino asked me to deliver the package because she hated going to the demon king’s castle. But now I’m on my way to that city in a horse-drawn carriage… there hasn’t been anything that difficult so far. If I had to guess, it might just be the distance, the fact it’s all the way on the western end of the continent.
“What, you don’t know?”
One of the adventurers in the same carriage as us spoke up. There were five rows with four seats each in the carriage. Lusha and I were sitting at the very back, and this was one of the three people in front of us.
“Have you ever been to the demon king’s castle?”
“I’ve never been to the castle, but I’ve been to the city. There are three routes to get inside. This carriage only takes us to the starting point.”
“Oh man, really!”
I couldn’t help getting agitated at the skinhead adventurer’s words. I thought I’d get to the city just by sitting in the carriage like this… I feel like I’ve been betrayed. Lusha didn’t seem to know either, and she was just as surprised as me.
“The first route is a dungeon with strong monsters. Even first-class adventurers have to form a party with more than ten people, and only then can they get through it.”
“With those numbers?”
“Yep. There’s supposed to be a dragon in it, too.”
A woman sitting next to the skinhead told us about the dungeon. Considering our level, it would definitely be tough… Or rather, we wouldn’t have enough attack power.
“If you want to go to the city where the demon king castle is, if you have a lot of strong people, you may choose that route. It’s the shortest distance, after all.”
She nodded, and I asked if there were any other routes. This time the man in the robe spoke up.
“The second route doesn’t have many monsters, but it’s a long path, it’s no casual evening stroll. If you don’t have the skills, it’ll take more than two weeks!”
“That’s right, but most people choose this route”
The skinhead man also nodded, but he also advises that it’s a reasonable route. So that’s why Pino didn’t want to go… sigh.
“To sum it up, is the third route also difficult?”
The first one is a short route, but it has very strong monsters. The second one is a long road, but the monsters weren’t that strong. In that case, it seems to follow that the third route would just be a normal route? However, there’s already strong monsters on the first route, so it seems likely there’s something else about it.
It’s a common pattern in games, is this like the poison swamp trope? Or maybe there’s needles coming out of the ground, a place full of traps that makes it hard to proceed… I need to consider every possibility.
The skinhead man told me it was “an evil route that you should never have to go.” and told me the contents.
“An extraordinary number of monsters will come out!! 20 at once, at least!!”
“What, that’s all? I thought it was going to be some kind of poisonous or nearly impossible route.”
“You can’t underestimate those numbers.”
It’s possible to avoid them if there’s only 20, though I’d be a little worried if there were more than 30. I think the number of enemies I can hold off is also increasing because my level is higher than before. Moreover, it’s like killing two birds with one stone, since Lusha will have a much easier time hitting them if they come in large numbers.
The skinhead man had a confused look when he realized I was actually considering it.
“Just because they come out in force, you can’t just assume they’ll all be super weak, you know? Sure, at first it’s slimes, but you’ll get killer moles and light fenrir later. It’s impossible!”
“They’ll be getting stronger over time.”
“Ah, I should mention a lot of parties have tried going that route, but they always turned back halfway.”
It sounds like no one has been able to get through it yet. To most, that may sound scary, but I’m just getting more excited. If there’s a dungeon no one else has cleared before, I’d like to be the one to do it. I’ll definitely take this route. Lusha laughed, enjoying my enthusiasm.
“Looks like that’s gonna be fun, Hiroki.”
“Well of course, because no one ever cleared it, right?”
“Yep. I’m looking forward to it, too. As long as I’m with you, we’ll definitely be able to get through it.”
“Hey, hey, are you people serious? You’re crazy!”
The skinhead man sighed after he said all he could to stop us from going through that route.
“Well, whatever. At any rate, if you ever want to tuck your tails between your legs, come to the long-distance route, we’ll be there.”
“I’ll do my best not to do that.”
With this information, we swayed leisurely through the carriage until the entrance of the route.
◆ ◆ ◆
Whoa, this really is harsh. Next to me, Lusha also smiled bitterly. A short walk away from the carriage stop was a mountain with just solid minerals around it. According to the story, the center was recessed, and that’s where the city was. And at the very center of the city was our destination, the demon king’s castle.
And there are three caves right here. This must be the route they told us about earlier.
“From the right, there are signs that say, “Bring a large number of people! It’s full of terrible and strong monsters!!” “Welcome to the city of the Demon King! This path will take approximately two weeks to traverse.” “This way is absolutely no good, you’ll die.”
The cave after the right one was good, but the way the last cave was described, the one where a lot of monsters would come come out, it looked terrible. There was a poster stuck next to it saying how dangerous it was, and a sign in front of the cave marking it as off-limits.
All the people in the carriage went into the long-distance cave. I’m sure that skinhead was hoping we’d soon give up and take the same long-distance route as them. But as we leveled up, Lusha and I were getting much stronger. We both had learned new skills and probably wouldn’t lose so easily.
“Hiroki, are we really going through here?”
“Of course. Lusha, don’t ever walk in front of me, you hear?”
“Yeah, I know.”
Lusha and I took our first steps in a dungeon that no one had cleared before.