Located almost in the center of the Faudo Continent, a great nation boasting the largest population on the continent.
The Hà Giang Empire.
They boast one of the continent’s leading military forces, and the most distinctive feature is their use of the “Dungeon,” rare even worldwide, as a national asset.
One of the eight great dungeons located almost in the center of the country, “Fáfnir.”
This dungeon, which is also called the most lucrative dungeon in the world, is owned by the Hà Giang Empire.
The minerals, magic stones, gold and silver treasures produced from this dungeon have become important economic resources for this country.
Therefore, this country houses many adventurers.
Adventurers abound in the royal capital, enlivening the castle town.
To cater to such adventurers, the business thrives and the town comes to life.
It’s a truly symbiotic relationship.
A giant castle towering in the center of such a royal capital.
In the throne room on the top floor.
There sat a man.
A young man in his late twenties.
Despite this, he has an atmosphere that swallows up and overwhelms all who see him.
Kagrias Dir Hà Giang, the fourteenth Emperor of the Hà Giang Empire.
He is the supreme authority of the Hà Giang Empire and at the same time is called the Empire’s “greatest war potential.”
People exalt and call him the 『Sword Emperor.』
That’s right, he is both an emperor and a swordsmaster.
Such a man was laughing happily with a piece of parchment in hand.
「Hahahaha! Hey, look at this dungeon report! It’s fantastic!」
He looks at a single report while laughing happily.
It detailed the recent emergence of a new dungeon.
It also describes in detail the characteristics of the dungeon.
「A dungeon with teleportation gates that can be used for travelling! It means that each country is competing for it! This is fantastic! I really want it! No, I want to challenge it!」
With his eyes shining like a child, Emperor Kagrias reads the report.
This emperor was also famous for being 『dungeon-crazy.』
He dives into the dungeon himself, hunts monsters, and gains treasure.
He is a strange ruler who likes diving into dungeons more than politics.
But the kings of this country have always been famous for their dungeon madness.
「Hey! Kelvin! Let’s go! We’re going to challenge this dungeon right now!」
With an innocent tone, he looks at the man waiting next to him.
He is the Prime Minister of this country, and also his right-hand man.
He’s a blond, dark-skinned older man, but he doesn’t seem to show his age.
…However, the number of wrinkles on his face seems to tell of his hardships.
「Your Majesty, we have a meal with the feudal lords and a meeting about this year’s taxes afterward. Then, we have to organize the documents, have meetings with the nobles, and then―――」
What he holds in his hand is the emperor’s schedule.
The parchment is tightly filled with plans.
Upon hearing this, Kagrias grimaces.
「Argh! Annoying! Annoying! I don’t need to do such troublesome things! I’m the emperor! I’m important! Those minor matters aren’t my problem! I want to go to the dungeon!」
He is like a child, Kelvin wants to retort.
「Look at the details written in this report! It’s surely an incredibly complex dungeon! I can just feel it! Surely, the deeper you delve into this, the harder it will get! Hahaha, it seems truly worth challenging!」
「……Just get to work already, will you?」
Against the Emperor who haughtily turned his face away, Prime Minister Kelvin issued orders in a stern voice.
An image akin to a wrathful deity seemed to loom behind him.
The sheer intensity of this unexpected force startled even Kagrias.
「Wh-what is this attitude…! I am the Emperor! The most important person in this country! Do you understand?!」
「I do understand. That’s why I’m telling you to get to work already.」
「Wha!? You dare to speak to the Emperor like that…! Disrespectful!」
Somehow, it seemed like their roles had reversed.
However, this was a common sight in this castle.
In fact, the other knights and officials didn’t even bother to interject in their exchange.。
Among them, some were rubbing their foreheads, making faces that seemed to say, “Ah, here we go again.”
「If you’re not happy, then behead me or execute me, do as you please. Ah, I’ll be released from this fool at last. I’ll feel refreshed.」
As he said this, Prime Minister Kelvin cracked his neck.
The emperor seemed taken aback by his defiance.
「Wa-wait! If you leave, who on earth will do my work in my place! No, you can’t! Absolutely not!」
You’re supposed to do your work yourself.
You shouldn’t push it onto others.
「Well then, let’s head to the meeting now. Don’t worry. If you follow the schedule and do your job properly, you should have some free time in about half a year. How about heading to the dungeon then?」
「Wha… Ha-half a year!?」
So dismayed that you could almost see the word “shocked” behind him, the emperor slumped.
Prime Minister Kelvin let out a sigh.
This emperor’s obsession with dungeons was indeed a headache.
Moreover, this emperor was unnecessarily charismatic and popular among the people, which made things worse.
『The emperor himself leads the charge into the dungeons, enriching the national interest.』
This propaganda was very well received by the citizens, but he wished they would consider the plight of those being jerked around by it.
Is there something that isn’t a magical tool or golem that allows the emperor to experience distant sceneries or activities while he’s in this place?
If so, it might be easier to control this fool (the emperor).
If there was such a thing, the Prime Minister would pay any amount for it, he thought earnestly.
Well, it’s pointless to wish for something that doesn’t exist.
「….By the way, Kelvin.」
「What is it?」
He thought that the emperor intended to whine even at this point.
However, his guess was off the mark.
「What happened to the ‘foreign entity’ that intruded into Fáfnir?」
Ah, that issue, thought Kelvin, as he moved his eyes to the documents in his hand.
There should have been a report from his subordinate about it.
「――――The ‘Pathless’, you mean? According to the report I received about ten days ago, it was successfully expelled.」
「Is that true!?」
Upon hearing that report, Kagrias quickly lifted his face.
「Yes. It took nearly a year, though. According to the report, it was a party of three S-Rank adventurers who expelled it. With this, we can finally return to normal operations for dungeon exploration.」
The emperor seemed genuinely pleased with this report.
「…Could it be the ‘Dragon Slayer’ party?」
A former S-Rank adventurer who came to this country about a year ago.
The top-class bounty heads, ‘Dragon Slayer’ and ‘World Piercer’.
And their master, the ‘Silver Demon’.
From what the report said, Kelvin thought there was no doubt about it.
「Hmm, I see… Sigh, if only they weren’t bounty heads, the entire nation would celebrate their victory…」
「There’s nothing we can do about it. Even though that ‘Witch’ is pulling strings behind the scenes, publicly they are considered as bounty heads. All we can do is secretly ensure that the knights or patrol squads don’t target them.」
At the mention of the word ‘witch’, Kagrias grimaced with distaste.
He deeply despised the Witch of Reynolds who had proclaimed those heroes as bounty heads.
「That damn witch… At the next continental meeting, I’ll make sure to catch her by the tail. I’m counting on you, Kelvin.」
「No, you should say that you’ll do it yourself. Now, let’s go to the meeting.」
For now, he had to make this fool change into formal attire.
He rang the bell to call the maid.
On a certain highway―――――
「…Master, isn’t it time to stop? We’ve already expelled the ‘Pathless’ from ‘Fáfnir’, so I think there’s no need to pursue it any further… it’s already been a year.」
「Fool. Where do you find adventurers who let their prey escape after they’ve decided to hunt it down? I’m currently determining its location. Wait for a moment.」
「…Sigh, I really think we don’t have to chase it anymore.」
「You always say too much unnecessary things…」
「Sigh~ Well, don’t you think I have a right to complain? Unlike you, I had to procure new weapons and supplies. You know how hard this past year has been?」
「But you’ve already procured enough supplies and new weapons, haven’t you?」
「Well, yeah. Really, ‘Fáfnir’ has been a great help. More importantly, are you okay? The Eld Desert Dungeon. It’s quite a situation there, isn’t it?」
「Yes, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it… Well, that can wait. Above all, it’s not worth almost dying every time ‘that guy’ challenges me to a duel…」
「―――――Hm, it has appeared.」
「Oh, Master. Have you figured out its location?」
「Yes, it is in the west―――――the Yuguru Great Forest.」
「The Yuguru Great Forest, huh? Didn’t a new dungeon appear there recently?」
「Yes, and I heard it even has a teleportation gate. I hear it’s as accurate as the one in ‘The Sage’s Labyrinth’.」
「Heh, that sounds interesting.」
「Then let’s get going. You two, get ready.」
Wald「Sorry to keep you waiting.」
Starting next time, we’ll return to Earth’s story.