In a small space at the heart of the Dungeon Oasis, a solemn atmosphere was hanging in the air.
Sat on the ground resting were four men ranging from their late twenties to early thirties.
Metal armor, leather armor, and a thick robe, ostentatious equipment wrapped around the bodies of this adventuring party – “Wild Crew”.
Strained by nervousness, their tense facial expressions were marked by the shadow of irritation and fatigue.
The labyrinth exploration was not progressing as well as they had originally imagined.
“Damn, even though we don’t have the time to screw around in a place like this.”
A Heavy Warrior clicked his tongue while cursing.
“For those kinds of small fries, to use magic against them!”
In the previous battle with the monsters, the Magician boasting the greatest strength in their party decided to use his attack magic.
Magic is powerful, but it consumes a lot of mana.
The only way to recover is to either drink mana potions or rest.
And mana potions are orders of magnitude more expensive than other potions, moreover, because there are few stores that stock them, it’s difficult for even intermediate Adventurers to get them.
“I wasn’t playing around.”
The dark robed Magician raised an eyebrow while refuting.
“Because the vanguard couldn’t stop the monster, I had no choice but to use it.
I want you to stop passing on responsibility.
While snorting, he spat out words of contempt.
This was slang with the meaning of a “wall full of holes” – a Heavy Warrior who should be protecting the rearguard unable to fulfill their role.
“What’d you say, bastard.
Wanna settle this!?”
An agitated Heavy Warrior, a sneering Magician.
The other party members were a Light Warrior and a Raider who, not to mention trying to mediate the argument, were instead laying down as though they were uninvolved.
The place they are resting at is the 20th underground floor of the Tyros Labyrinth.
In the vast floor at a certain corner – they had scrambled away with their tails between their legs to this safety zone.
Because monsters hate water, for Adventurers, wide spaces in Dungeon Oases become excellent resting places.
Luminescent moss is abundant, so despite it being deep underground, it was bright as midday.
“It’s dangerous to raise your voice.”
The sound of footsteps and a laid-back voice broke into the tense atmosphere.
“Although this is by the water, it’s not the case that it’s completely free of monsters.”
The four Adventurers instinctively reacted, but upon confirming it was a young man in a leather long cloak, relaxed their wariness.
He was maybe slightly over 20 years old.
Light brown hair tied in a braid behind his neck.
A slender and lanky build from which you could hardly see the dual qualities of strength and endurance required of Dungeon Sherpas.
The timing of his appearance was probably bad.
The wrath of the Heavy Warrior was redirected to the youth – Rowe.
“I thought I hadn’t seen you from a while ago, the hell were you wandering around, this shit Sherpa!”
Looking down at the basket he was holding in his hands, Rowe cooly replied.
“There is a place nearby where herbs grow.
It can be made into a powerful smelling salt.”
“Smelling salt? Do such things sell?”
The raider who was lying down asks.
With a grin on his face, Rowe picked up the vermilion leaves from the basket.
With just all this, you can turn it into one silver coin.”
It’s enough to stay overnight in an inn with food included.
The Heavy Warrior, the leader of the “Wild Crew”, wasn’t pleased that the Sherpa they hired was earning small change on the side.
However, while their magic was exhausted and they were fatigued, half-surrounded by monsters and almost annihilated, it was only this young man’s instructions and directions that saved them.
To complain at this point, as expected even he had hesitations, so he instead let out a frustrated groan.
In his place to speak however, was the Light Warrior focused on attack power and speed.
“Isn’t it also the Sherpa’s job to tell us where herbs grow?”
“Such options do exist, but you ‘Wild Crew’ only opted for the shortest route to the 30th underground floor and guidance to the Dungeon Oases.
You know you can’t alter the contract until you leave the labyrinth, right?”
The members of the “Wild Crew” were all silent.
It had been the party consensus to choose the cheapest option.
Rowe stowed the herbs into a pocket on a huge rucksack he carried on his back, and retrieved some small vials, arranging them on the ground.
Red, yellow, green, blue – a rather colourful selection.
This caught the Raider’s interest.
This was the so-called “everything shop”, which played the role of distributing positions during battle.
Rowe explained their effects in turn.
A healing potion for wounds.
A cure potion that ameliorates fatigue.
A mind potion that raises the spirit.
And finally, a mana potion that restores magical power.
“It seems to me that ‘Wild Crew’ were exhausted by the previous battle.
I was wondering if you might possibly be worried about running out of supplies.”
In parties that lack healing magic for their members, potions become literally lifelines.
The members of the “Wild Crew” became serious and gathered near Rowe.
“Of course, but you’re not just saying for the sake of saying so, are you?”
The Magician confirmed while looking at the mana potions.
Nodding, Rowe took out a piece of paper from his bosom.
“This is the price list.
The unit is in silver coins.”
It was a table marked with squares.
The price wasn’t fixed – the deeper the floor, the higher the price of the potion.
The Heavy Warrior shouted.
“Screwing around! This is a scam!”
At the 20th underground floor, the price was about twice that aboveground.
The price of a mana potion was ten silver coins – one gold coin.
“In any store, the price of potions depends on the ease of obtaining herbs used as raw material.
Two years ago, there was a shortage of herbs for making cure potions, and the retail price jumped more than three times.
In other words, even if the demand stays constant, the market price will change depending on the available supply.”
You can’t traverse deep into the labyrinth without potions.
However, it takes more time and money to return to the ground and resupply.
“I don’t think this is by any means too expensive, right?”
Perhaps because of Rowe’s innocent smile, the heavy warrior turned away and expelled a “ke”, displeased.
In the end, despite complaining and cursing, “Wild Crew” bought some potions from Rowe at a mark-up and continued exploring the labyrinth.
Their final descent record was 25 floors underground.
Although this didn’t meet their target of the 30th floor, everyone, including the Sherpa was able to return with all their limbs attached.
The results of cashing in the drop items, after deducting their expenses, would only give the party a profit of one gold coin.
These extravagant Adventurers were disappointed by such returns.
For them, it would surely be used up by the end of the week.
After that, they would have to re-challenge the Tyros Labyrinth or set out for another labyrinth.
By the way, with the remuneration fee for being a Sherpa, and the sale of price-gouged potions, Rowe was one gold coin and two silver coins in the black.
This was a good profit.
“You, we’ll never hire you again!”
To the parting words of the Heavy Warrior, Rowe received with a cool face and was unfazed.
“Labyrinth Dungeon Sherpa, we sincerely look forward to working with you again.”
With that said, he politely bowed his head.
Rowe, who returned from the Tyros Labyrinth, appeared in the Sherpa guild and was greeted by an old white-haired woman who was smoking at the counter.
“Rowe boy, welcome back.”
“I’m back, Gima.”
It’s been three days since they last met.
The old woman – Gima, struck her pipe to tap out some ash and began by praising Rowe for returning unharmed.
“Was there nothing serious? “
There was one encounter with a monster carnival, but fortunately we successfully escaped to a Dungeon Oasis.”
“How was the ‘Wild Crew’?”
“In terms of their combat capabilities, I think they’re well-balanced.As expected of veteran adventuers.
Their senses for retreating were also excellent.
However, I was told that they would never hire me again.
“This is already the third person.
If Rowe boy isn’t good enough, there won’t be another Sherpa who will even agree to be hired.
Thanks for your hard work.”
“The report will be submitted tomorrow.”
“Oh, that’s fine.
Go home early and reassure Marin.”
Rowe stored his equipment in the warehouse and then headed to the common room.
He thought he would greet his colleagues if they were there, but there was only Gabo with a big rucksack on his back.
“You diving in now, Gabo? “
You’re back up huh?”
Gabo had wide shoulders and a good physique.
Although he was of the same age as Rowe, it hadn’t been as many days since he was a Sherpa, and he was restricted to being able to only guide down to the 14th underground floor.
Because of that, his remuneration was low, and he used every opportunity to grumble about it to Rowe.
“Aren’t the ‘Wild Crew’ terrible? It seems that they have a poor reputation even in the Adventurer’s Guild.”
They came to the town of Tyros about a month ago.
When they first entered the shallow levels of the Tyros Labyrinth as a warm-up, the Sherpa accompanying them was Gabo.
“While camping they were unfriendly.
‘Your guidance was bad’, ‘You can’t play any role’, they just said anything they liked! Typical Sherpa bullying.
Let’s collaborate and ostracize them together!”
Parties that land on the Sherpa blacklist will be immediately noted to the various Adventurer Guilds and they will be unable to hire any Sherpas in this town.
If that happens, exploring the labyrinth will be nearly impossible, so even the reckless parties rarely try to make an enemy of the Sherpas.
However, to begin with, Rowe has always thought of Adventurers and Sherpas as in a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Well, even if you don’t panic, they will eventually flow to another labyrinth.”
“Before that, I think they will split up due to ‘party differences’!”
Rowe didn’t think it would be as Gabo expected.
Certainly they couldn’t be called a party on good terms, but as I reported to Gima earlier, it was well-balanced in terms of force.
Even if they break up, there is no guarantee that they would have the fortune to find a better party.
And even if you just gather high-level Adventurers, an unbalanced, improvised party would not improve the survival chances in the labyrinth.
Since the members of the “Wild Crew” will reach the average retirement age of Adventurers in the next few years, they will probably continue as they are, while complaining and grumbling as they go along.
While Rowe was thinking this, Gabo’s conversation was flying in a different direction.
“Well enough of that.
Did you hear about that, Rowe.
The topic of the heroes.”
It seems that in the three days Rowe spent in the labyrinth, some rumours had been spreading, and Gabo proudly boasted his latest information.
“A high-level Adventurer party that is very active in the royal capital, ’Twilight’s Sword’, is coming to conquer this labyrinth.
Through the Adventurer’s Guild, they seem to have contacted us!”
Everyone is interested in prominent Adventurers and their parties.
For the average person, the monthly Adventurer ranking chart is also extremely popular.
At the top – the party ranked as the Hero of the East was the party known as “Twilight’s Sword”.
Within this region, they have already cleared two labyrinths, obtaining the labyrinth cores.
Their record descent in the Infinite Labyrinth of the royal capital was the 78th underground floor.
Although the “Twilight’s Sword” had shown spectacular results, their leader is said to be only a beautiful black-haired girl that had barely reached the age of 20.
It was an Adventurer party that was not only the top in terms of talent, but also popularity.
“That kind of big league party, we haven’t got one here.”
“I’m sure they’re aiming for a quick clear, so they’ll probably hire a Sherpa.”
Gabo snorted excitedly.
Currently, the descent record of the Tyros Labyrinth in this town was 47 floors underground.
From the concentration of monsters, it had been predicted that either the 52nd or 53rd floor will be the deepest.
“If there are only 5 or 6 floors left, it would be the case that you’d have the confidence to break through.”
Rowe muttered to himself.
Is their purpose further honours? No, it’s a party that has already topped the rankings in one breath.
Unlike declining Adventurers, you wouldn’t seek honour in this remote Tyros Labyrinth.
In that case, might it be the labyrinth core itself?
Adventurers have a concept known as levels.
By absorbing the core that resides in the monsters’ bodies, the element called experience value increases, and when it reaches a certain amount causes a level up and various abilities to improve.
As an aside, Adventurers are divided in the following manner: levels 1 to 4 are beginners, 5 to 9 are intermediate, and 10 or more are advanced.
The average level of an Adventurer in their 10th year is 7.
In order to become an advanced Adventurer, it is known that Adventurers need to aim beyond their limits and ceaselessly hunt extraordinary monsters.
But in reality, there was also another way.
That is to obtain the labyrinth core.
The labyrinth core exists in the deepest part of the labyrinth and is the source of monsters.
It has experience points that are incomparable to the core of monsters, and has also been said to be able to raise the levels of the entire party at once.
A labyrinth that exists in a rural area and is relatively easy to clear, raise levels with the labyrinth core, and then clear the Infinite Labyrinth of the royal capital.
That is probably the true purpose of the “Twilight’s Sword”.
“Damn, I’m still a beginner Sherpa on probation.
I can’t follow along on the expedition.
But I’m sure Rowe will be chosen.”
“To follow along to the unexplored floors? I’ll die.”
Gabo, who had had an enviable face, was taken aback.
“Tha, that’s right.”
“It’s only been half a year since my father died.
I can’t make my sister cry.”
With a calm expression and tone, Rowe added lightly.
“Unless there are enough rewards to bet my life.”
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