At the rocky area near the Eld Desert Dungeon―――――
Several knights were sitting on the rocks.
Surrounding them were several adventurers keeping watch.
They were a separate unit tasked with placing and managing Repel Magic Stone around the dungeon.
Individuals with Repel Magic Stone waited at regular intervals around the dungeon perimeter.
This prevented the intrusion of the White Wyvern and Accurate Crow into the subjugation operation area.
「Haa~ It feels so heavy. Why do we have to come to this deadly wasteland…」
One of the knights grumbled in a sulky manner.
「Instead of complaining, keep pouring mana into the Repel Magic Stone. If their power runs out, Accurate Crow and the White Wyvern will come in no time, you see?」another knight responded.
「I know, I know. But I can’t help but wonder what those above us are thinking… Even if designated disaster species have appeared, going on an expedition to a place like this… Is the country telling us to die?」the first knight continued.
「Who knows… But at least it seems there are few who voice their complaints. You and I are the minority,」the second knight replied.
「That’s what I can’t understand. Are all of them out of their minds? I wouldn’t want to be in a place like this even for a second. Honestly, when this expedition was decided, I seriously thought about quitting,」the first knight expressed.
「Well, at least we’re not part of the assault team. Let’s be grateful for that. Besides, we’ll be able to go back in a few more hours. Endure it, just endure it,」the second knight said.
It was then.
A black shadow passed over them.
Immediately after, the wind began to blow fiercely.
「Hey… Did something just pass by?」
「I-It’s just your imagination, right? Besides, the dust made it impossible to see anything…」
They, or perhaps even the researchers who created the Repel Magic Stone, did not know.
That the stone has no effect on someone who has high magic resistance.
For instance, for individuals like the leader of the species, who live much longer than normal and possess immense magical power…
In the vicinity of the surface of the dungeon―――――
『Is that you Heleb? Why are you here?』
『Hmph. Obviously. I felt the presence of my old enemy.』
Upon hearing that, Ann remembers.
Heleb was once searching for a female adventurer with a crimson spear and had devastated the top floor of this dungeon.
――――Have you seen a one-eyed female adventurer with a crimson spear? he had once asked.
『So it’s the real one this time………However……』
Heleb looks at Beldi.
And with just a glance, he smirks.
『Hmph, so you’ve fallen, ‘World Piercer’.』
「What did you say…!?」
『You’re small. You seem far too small now. It’s almost as if I can’t tell which one of you is the ant. Well, for me, creatures crawling on the ground are all equally insects.』
Heleb laughs heartily, finding it amusing.
He maintains his disrespectful manner of speaking.
『The owner of the injured left eye which scarred by me, seem like an entirely different person now, no?』
「Say whatever you want… I have no business with you anymore. The one who concerns me is that ant over there.」
Beldi points her spear to Ann.
But in the next moment, a burning feather of flame pierces the space between Ann and Beldi.
『You have no business with me, I see. Unfortunately, I do have business with you. I considered settling our score here and now… But now I look at you again, I’ve changed my mind. Honestly, you… are not worth seeing.』
Heleb feathers pierced into the ground emit an exceptionally large flame.
It is like a wall of fire.
『I shall remind you. The spineless ‘you’—the present you—of the past ‘you.’』
Heleb envelops himself in wind and flames.
Accurate Crow special form.
In his appearance, Heleb looked straight at Ann.
『Now then, Ann. The one who arrived first is not you, but me. Therefore, there is no place for you here.』
Upon hearing those words, Ann becomes startled.
『Hurry and go to your so-called master. It suits ants like you to burrow into the ground, yes?』
Such an incredibly arrogant way of speaking.
However, for now, it feels oddly pleasant.
『………I’ll take that as a compliment.』
『Of course. I am praising you.』
Dragging her wounded body, Ann returns to the dungeon once again.
To protect her master, Jiryuu.
『I won’t let you go. The current you is truly pitiful. Well then, let me remind you—』
Immediately after, a blast of wind sweeps across the ground.
The battle between Heleb and Beldi had begun.
Ann proceeds straight towards the depths of the dungeon.
On the middle floor of the dungeon―――――
The girl known as Farley, who was once recognized as a filthy red-haired adventurer by Una, wanted to leave this place as soon as possible.
She regretted it.
I wondered why I had come to this place.
Trembling, she recalled her actions up until now.
A few days ago, when an urgent recruitment for C-Rank or higher adventurers came up from the capital in the guild, Farley initially thought it had nothing to do with her.
Above all, the request itself was unbelievable.
The expedition location was the “Eld Desert,” also known as the death’s realm.
Even A-Rank adventurers hesitated to go to such a place. It was suicidal.
As far as Farley knew, unless one had the abilities of a 『Silver Crow』 class, going there would be nothing but suicide.
Oddly enough, aside from Farley, everyone easily agreed to it.
Although the request didn’t seem particularly appealing, other adventurers threw themselves at it as if possessed.
Well, adventurers usually didn’t interfere with each other unless there was something in it for them.
Farley thought so, but then an acquaintance adventurer asked if she wanted to go together.
Initially, Farley scoffed at the suggestion.
Certainly, the reward was a considerable amount of money, but the risk was too great.
No matter how you looked at it, it didn’t seem worth it.
However, one following sentence captivated Farley’s heart.
『It seems the Prime Minister himself is personally involved in this request.』
Upon hearing that, Farley thought to herself.
Perhaps, she might be able to meet that person.
The one who taught her how to fight, how to be an adventurer, Paldi.
She heard that Paldi had retired as an adventurer and was serving as the Prime Minister’s secretary in the capital.
She was a former A-Rank powerhouse.
If the Prime Minister himself was heading to the Eld Desert, there was a high chance that she would come along as his escort.
Furthermore, the information seemed to be publicly available.
If that’s the case, there’s a high possibility that those people, the 『Silver Crows,』 are also taking on this request in a different location.
Although she hasn’t seen them recently, knowing them, it’s highly unlikely that they’re dead.
Rail, the leader who was involved with Paldi (or at least Farley thinks so), Baldroy, who embodies the phrase “simple but strong,” Lele, who called her “Fa-chan” and taught her the basics of magic in her own leisurely way, and that stupid idiot… no, Basak, who was always running around.
She wanted to see them. Her master, Paldi, and the Silver Crows.
『Fine, I’ll go with you.』
Farley decided to take on this request.
The possibility of meeting them might be low.
It might even be difficult to get close to her, being the Prime Minister’s secretary.
But I wanted to meet them and say thank you.
I want them to see how much I had grown.
With this in mind, Farley decided to accept the request.
And just a few minutes ago…
Farley regretted it.
Her role was to support the cleanup operation.
I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to go home.
But what unfolded before her eyes was an unimaginable scene, overturning everything she knew.
Upon seeing the sudden fissure, Farley’s spirit broke.
I feel out of place, too out of place to be in a place like this.
I wouldn’t be able to meet Paldi or the members of the 『Silver Crows.』
No matter how good the reward was, it would be meaningless if I can’t meet them.
―――――Should I run away?
As Farley pondered this, she witnessed several adventurers sneaking away.
Could it be that they were also attempting to abandon their mission?
Thinking so, Farley decided to follow them.
However, to her surprise, they entered the crevice.
It seemed they were planning to take credit by making a sneak attack.
She had made a mistake by following them.
Just as she thought that, the ground beneath her gave way, and she fell into the dungeon.
Farley found herself crouched near the middle floor of the dungeon.
She huddled, trying to control her breath.
「Haah… Haah… Why…? Why did it have to come to this?」
Fortunately, she was skilled in wind magic.
It’s good that I manage to soften the impact with Fly and somehow descend near the middle floor, but this place is hell.
Golems she has never seen before are roaming everywhere.
Given her magic abilities, it would be difficult for her to fly back up to the surface.
Farley frantically ran around the dungeon, realizing that she couldn’t defeat them just by looking at them.
And then, she witnessed the scene.
Not far away, a one-sided tragedy was unfolding.
She could hear the deep, desperate screams of men.
The victims were the adventurers she had been following earlier.
The perpetrators of the massacre were a mysterious-masked girl dressed in peculiar ethnic attire and a gigantic man with six arms.
The masked girl seemed to ask the men a question or two before suddenly attacking them.
Farley didn’t understand the exact circumstances.
But with just one glance at the scene, she realized that they were opponents she couldn’t defeat.
One after another, the group of over ten adventurers were pierced by beams emitted from mysterious orbs, turning into lifeless corpses crushed by the six-armed man.
Farley could only tremble as she watched the scene unfold.
Her body wouldn’t move.
She was paralyzed with fear, as if her feet were glued to the ground, rendering her unable to move.
「Well then, I guess they’re all dead now, huh? Oh, wait, it was okay to kill them, right?」
「Yes. As long as we dispose of the intruders, it shouldn’t be a problem. Letting them escape would cause trouble later on.」
The chilling conversation reached Farley’s ears.
The girl’s voice felt somewhat familiar, but it didn’t matter now.
It seemed that all the men had been annihilated.
And indeed, these two were monsters living in the dungeon.
Moreover, they were far more powerful than anything Farley had ever encountered before.
―――――Please don’t let them notice me.
Farley desperately prayed.
However, her prayers went unanswered.
「Hmm? I sense another presence of souls over there.」
It was the girl’s voice.
And the footsteps were approaching her direction.
This is bad. I’m going to get killed.
Then, she was called out.
「Oi, are you an adventurer?! You’re not supposed to be here yet! What are you doing here?!」
She looked and saw more than thirty armed knights in front of her.
Ah, I see.
The assault operation must have been initiated already.
Overwhelmed by fear, she hadn’t even noticed the knights approaching.
「Oh, there are so many of them.」(Berg)
「Why there’s more now, I want to hurry to the depths.」(Tres)
Farley turned around to see the two monsters from earlier.
「Wait a bit. I’m calling out to the other golems now. Leave this place to them when they arrive.」(Tres)
「Please do so.」(Berg)
The sluggish demeanor unsettled the knights.
「What, who are these guys?! They don’t seem like adventurers… Could they be monsters?」
The knights tensed up.
The duo were unfazed by it.
It seemed that this number of opponents was nothing to them.
「Well then, die.」
「We’re in a hurry! If you get in our way, we won’t show mercy!」
Once again, spheres of light appeared around the masked girl.
Countless lasers were then fired from them.
Several knights were pierced by the beams of light.
「Now’s my chance…」
Farley tries to escape while hiding behind the knight.
But Tres did not miss her.
「No running away」
Pew! Farley’s leg was pierced by a laser.
A shot after another
Her body was pierced one after another.
She screamed and fell down heavily.
It’s no use, she won’t let me run away.
「Damn… Damn it all…」
Fear filled Farley’s mind.
The Eld Desert, an unknown dungeon, and the powerful golems with the mysterious girl.
She truly regretted it.
I only wanted to meet my master and the members of the 『Silver Crow,』 but how did things end up like this?
And then, even more despair appeared before Farley.
「…………What is that?」
It was a golem.
A giant humanoid golem with countless arms approached from the other side of the corridor.
Tears spilled from Farley’s eyes.
No, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.
「Ah, Senju! Perfect timing! Can you handle this place?」
The masked girl slipped through the knight’s attacks and approached the golem.
Upon closer inspection, nearly half of the knights had already been defeated.
「…Senju, you can’t talk, can you? Anyway, I’ll leave this place to you. The old man and I are heading to the depths.」
The golem, called Senju, creaked and moved.
It slowly raised the weapons held in its countless hands.
It was over.
Farley prepared herself for death.
And then, that blade was slowly… directed towards the masked girl.
At the last moment, the masked girl narrowly avoided the slash.
「Eh? Eeh? What happened, Senju? Did your aim go awry!?」
Though her expression was hidden, the masked girl seemed shaken.
Farley didn’t understand what was happening.
Farley heard it.
Clear as day, “her” voice.
With a distinct scream, the multi-armed golem, Senju, attacked Tres.
That voice was… the voice of Lele, the female mage of the 『Silver Crow.』