Tried to make an audiobook-styled recording, for people who have more time to listen than read. It’s pretty amateur, but let me know if you want to hear more! (This is the first two minutes of the chapter, the full version will be given to Patreon supporters, before eventually being added to the site in about a week or so)
After finishing lunch, Grace and I decided to make a preliminary inspection of the dungeons. We were planning on actually tackling one of the dungeons tomorrow, but first, we needed to gather some basic information to decide which of the two we should delve into first. So, we decided on spending the rest of the day learning whatever we could.
Asking Grace about how dungeons worked, she told me that most of them had been shrines to this or that god, and had eventually turned into a dungeon over time. It was unknown who had originally made them, but they lived up to their name; the shrines were extremely well-built, structures of enormous size and vast complexity.
But that same spaciousness was what caused them to eventually wind up as dungeons, as over the months and years maintenance took place less and less frequently. They were shrines to gods, so they tended to congregate around relatively large towns, but after a shrine turned into a dungeon, monsters would begin making their homes there, and if left alone those monsters would eventually spill out into the nearby towns.
It was mainly because of this that adventurer’s guilds were established in towns with such dungeons nearby, and by offering rewards to adventurers the guilds worked to cleanse them.
However, it was important to note that there was a difference between monsters and tribal creatures or beastmen. For example, the kobolds I had fought back in the forest of Lumen, were classified as tribal creatures. Tribal creatures and beastmen were living beings, and if you defeated them, they “died”. So the kobolds I’d defeated had remained where they fell as rotting corpses.
But monsters generally spawned in a dungeon, and did whatever it was they did, in a dungeon. There were artifacts known as soultokens, meaning an object with a spirit dwelling within, which draws in miasma and magical energy from throughout the dungeon to spawn new monsters. Thus, defeating monsters caused them to shatter into energy, leaving behind just the soultokens.
If an adventurer brought a soultoken back to the guild, it would prove that a monster had been defeated. With them, an adventurer could receive the specified reward decided upon by the guild. The soultokens varied with the type of monsters they generated; if it spawned goblins, they were copper coins; if poison snakes, they were silver spikes.
Rare monsters would obviously drop rare soultokens, and while some could be traded in at the guild, there were some that had absolutely no purpose. Apparently, Orcs would just drop pig bones.
But it was considered taboo to leave a soultoken in the dungeon after defeating a monster. You were supposed to put them in your packs and take them with you. It appeared this was because leaving the soultokens where they dropped would allow them to spawn new monsters. I guess it was similar to fishing back home in Japan; like how it was illegal in some places to catch a fish, if you were only going to release it back into the lake or river.
Based on the preliminary information Grace and I had obtained from the adventurer’s guild, we headed for the dungeon to the north. From what we’d gathered, this dungeon was rated at a lower difficulty and was a little closer to the city.
The dungeon to the north ended up being situated about a fifteen-minute walk from the city, along the coast. There was a cliff which ran along the coast, and at a section located at the base of the cliff, there was a large, gaping hole.
A sentry from the guild was standing to the side of the hole. We showed him the identification the adventurer’s guild had issued us.
“——There are two parties currently exploring the western and northern courses, but the dungeon’s eastern course is open. The southern one is closed off for now.” The sentry said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Hearing the word “course” made it feel like a famous sightseeing spot, which was a little disappointing——
After giving me a quick glance, Grace spoke to the man.
“In that case, we’ll take the eastern course.”
“——Alright then. There’s not a particularly large number of enemies to the east, but there are traps, so watch your step. You’ll also each need to carry one of these with you. I’ll give you them again the next time you enter, so don’t feel like you need to hold off using them.” With that, the sentry gave each of us a piece of parchment inscribed with some kind of rune.
Trying to decide what I’d been given, Grace spoke to me from the side.
“This is the rune for Return. It will take you from inside the dungeon, here to the entrance.”
Wait, with this little piece of paper I could return back here——? That was too convenient.
Immediately after that thought crossed my mind, I recalled something Rodney had said, about there being a spatial warping spell that could be invoked with light-attribute magic. Maybe this was different from that, but it was still incredibly useful.
Thanking the sentry, Grace and I descended into the hole, and turned to follow the path which branched out to the east.
Following Grace’s lead as she drew her blade, I unsheathed the Sword of Sands. I also equipped the gauntlet I’d asked for on my left hand.
“The monsters in this dungeon shouldn’t be very strong.” Grace started to explain. “The southern course, which is closed, most likely has stronger monsters. Still, while the monsters on this course might be weak, that’s no excuse to let your guard down.”
“Understood. It’ll basically be like with Rodney; I’ll be your backup.”
“Thanks. Oh, I almost forgot. You’ll be able to test out all kinds of magic here, so really challenge yourself as much as you can.” She said, grinning.
We pushed through the first and second levels without any trouble. In the end, nothing save for a sparse scattering of goblins had appeared. She’d asked me to test my magic, but a single slash of her sword and I had nothing to do. Nothing except pick up a few copper coins.
Since I wasn’t really doing anything, I took off my gauntlet, and began paging through the grimoire Grace had bought me a little while ago as I continued trailing her. Given the situation, Grace didn’t tell me to stay focused.
I was reading the grimoire entitled, Enchanting – General Theory. While I was curious about attribute-type magic, there were no enemies for me to blast away. So I resigned myself to practicing enchanting, which I should be able to practice without needing enemies nearby.
Enchanting – General Theory was, as a text geared towards beginners, focused on protection magic. Specifically, how to enchant yourself with a magical field surrounding you for protection. Speaking of defensive magic, I could use Magic Wall. So, I tried imagining the protection enchantment was just like using Magic Wall throughout my body——but trying to construct this, all I succeeded in doing was making a massive wall I couldn’t maintain, which soon faded away. I guess I needed to work harder at balancing between activating and maintaining the spell.
After failing on my second and third attempts, I finally managed to enchant myself with a rather flimsy protection spell. I could easily make out the colorless, thin protective membrane surrounding me. Looking at my own status, I saw that my defense had +10% beside the value, and a kind of counter next to it. I saw the value 1199, and watched as it decreased point by point, to 1198, then 1197——it looked like I had about twenty minutes.
My gaze fixed on the grimoire, I lost myself in my own thoughts, until I noticed Grace had stopped walking, and twisted around to look at me with a dumbfounded expression on her face.
“——Something the matter?” I asked, looking towards her.
“You’re asking me if something’s the matter? ——Kei, you didn’t suddenly just learn how to use an enchantment spell, did you?”
“Just a protection spell, that’s all.” At that, Grace sucked in a deep breath.
“——Kei, you have no idea how incredibly amazing that is, do you? It’s very difficult to master enchanting, and only about one in a hundred sorcerers are enchanters. Anybody would be surprised if you managed it from simply reading the grimoire, especially while walking.” That so, huh? It didn’t feel like a cheat skill though, suddenly being able to cast enchantments——
After this, we proceeded through the third and fourth levels, both of which were cleared without me needing to step in and help. The enemies had shifted from goblins to orcs, then to hobgoblins, but a single slash from Grace’s sword and they were defeated.
So, I continued to read as we walked on, and by the time we finished clearing the fourth level, I could use the muscle-strengthening enchantment, Might, the sprinting enhancement, Speed, and the fortitude-boosting Concentration. Grace had also grown somewhat irksome.
Well, there had been one particular incident. While I had been engrossed in reading while walking, I had almost tread onto one of those traps we had been warned about, earning me a glare from Grace. Now that was scary.
After descending to the fifth level Grace and I felt that we had been here long enough. So, we used Return and warped back to the dungeon’s entrance. In the end, my first foray into a dungeon was spent reading while walking.
“I’m sorry, I’m new at this so maybe I overestimated things. It seems we were introduced to quite the quaint little dungeon.” Grace said, apologizing. Looking at her apologetic expression, I grinned, replying:
“Not at all, I actually enjoyed myself. Though, you did take care of all the enemies on your own… ——Well, this was the adventurer’s guild’s bread-and-butter dungeon after all, so I’m sure the next one will be the real deal. We just need to do our best tomorrow is all.” Grace smiled at my words.
Returning to my room at the inn, I continued practicing enchanting. Grace had defeated every enemy with a single blow today, but even with how easy things had been, we still managed to trade in the soultokens for around 1,200 Seljue. If the dungeon we’d be entering tomorrow was the real deal, then we might be able to count on a much larger income; but it was almost certain things wouldn’t go as smoothly as they had today.
Still, if I could enchant us to buff our abilities, it should provide a huge benefit. Thinking along those lines, I continued studying through trial and error, until I finally fell asleep.
The next morning, after waking up I looked at my status to see what changes my trial and error experimentation had caused.
*TLN: Kei’s stats go here, but I’m too lazy to put them in…man these are annoying and repetitive…lol (T_T)
My level had risen quite a lot since defeating Rodney. I’m sure the same was true for Grace. But I’d managed to, amazingly, become an enchanter in under a day. The enchantments I was able to use now, were Might, Protection, Speed, Concentration, Breath of the Body and Breath of Magic.
For the record, the reason I had learned these six types, was because they were the only ones described in the Enchanting – General Theory grimoire; which was a rather lame excuse, but still…
I was sure Grace would be just as exasperated about this as she had been yesterday.
After meeting up with Grace, and buying some supplies we’d eventually use to make lunches, we headed towards the second dungeon. This dungeon was situated to the south-west, deep in the forest.
As we walked, we passed several groups of people who were unmistakably adventurers, completely different from yesterday. Each party consisted of around four to six members, all relatively well armed.
Only, though I hadn’t paid it much attention at first, I started to notice some of the groups we passed as we traveled in opposing directions, would stare at the two of us. ——Some of them even snickered.
I’d assumed Grace, just like before, was the focal point of the attention, but that didn’t appear to be the case.
“Grace, what’s with those looks?”
“——I don’t know… I’m pretty certain there isn’t anything strange or odd about us though…” Grace didn’t know either.
I figured it out after about an hours’ walk from the city, as we were just about to reach the dungeon situated to the south-west. One of the groups of adventurers we were passing had called out to us, and it all became clear.
“You guys gonna be waitin’ in front of the dungeon for the rest of your party?”
“No…why?” At my response, the adventurer who had spoken continued, his expression seeming to say I feel bad for you.
“You ‘aint heard, then? There’s been a new regulation regarding the nearby dungeon. You need a party of more than four, or you won’t be allowed in.” Hearing that, Grace and I exchanged glances.
After thanking the adventurer and parting ways, I slumped my shoulders.
“I never imagined there would be a regulation on the size of a party. What should we do now——?” Grace asked, her tone apologetic.
“What should we do? Well, we’ve got no choice right? We need to find another two people first——” I broke off, hearing the sound of a woman shouting by the dungeon’s entrance.
Grace and I moved closer, towards the source of the outcry. A woman wearing a black robe was standing practically face-to-face with the guild’s sentry, while a burly male adventurer was trying to act as arbiter.
There was no mistaking her, it was that redhead from the magic shop, Sylvia.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and if you were waiting for a chapter from Orc Gentleman…you won’t have to wait much longer! I should have it out sometime tomorrow, or Wednesday at the latest.
If you enjoyed the chapter, consider leaving a (4+?) star rating over at novelupdates, and/or a comment. Also, make sure you add the series to your reading list, so you know when I update a new chapter.
I want to leave a shoutout to all you wonderful people supporting me per-chapter on Patreon, that $1+ per chapter release is really motivating! (^_^) (*Remember to set you max limit if you haven’t already!)
Also, I tried something a little new, because I don’t know how to give rewards to Patrons…So, I picked up a somewhat inexpensive mic, made a tiny DIY acoustic cardboard box and…tried making my first “diy audiobook”, which is…passable, but I would love to get some real equipment to make better recordings.
I’ll be offering the BSDS chapters in an audiobook format as well, for patrons, but I’ll eventually release them here on the site after a week or two.