Instruments and intrigue

Notice:
You are the first adventurers to enter the cave of the instrument-loving dwarf who lies in slumber

Benefits:
Fame increased by 200.
Double experience, 2x item drop rate.
The first monster killed will drop a good quality item.

“Wow!”

“Awesome.”

“We’re the first to find this!”

The quartet shouted ecstatically as they entered into the dungeon. Their levels may appear to be higher than the average, but most of this growth came from player killing rather than hunting. Therefore, this was their first time discovering a dungeon.

“Come! From this point on, we can only trust in ourselves.”

Gallantly the quartet took the lead. Originally, the purpose of going through the canyon had been for this exploration, so after having arrived at their objective their enthusiasm rose to an all-time high.

“I’m psyched! Right, Weed-nim?”

Mapan was happy. Quiet contrary to how the merchant normally reacted to going on an adventure.

Weed only nodded his head silently.

‘So the aim of those guys was to bring us here.’

Now he began to understand the quartet’s behavior. It completely explained why they were so strangely and openly kind, why they got them to go down into the canyon.

‘These guys were not trying to go over the Bar Khu Mountains; first and foremost they were trying to arrive here. They are after one thing, treasure.’

So taking us had had a purpose, Weed thought. If not, there was no recognizable need for them to embark with the four. Weed pretended to be completely oblivious of this.

“This an amazing experience, and it’s all thanks to you Mr. Gran. Sculptors do not find experiences like this so easily…”

“Yes, that’s what I believe: The fun in Royal Road lies in hunting together with others.”

The quartet bored a path deeply through as they entered. Weed and Mapan followed slowly after them.

“Keeek! Enemy.”
“Enemies appeared!”
“These humans enter our nest.”

Werewolf predators!

The origin of the response was a little bit inside the tomb, a lit campfire at which werewolves were relaxing. A good number of werewolves were living inside this dungeon.

Lycanthropes were widespread in the Bar Khu Mountains. The werewolfes inside the cave transformed into wolfs and attacked

“What the… just Lycanthropes?

“What a huge disappointment!”

While unsheathing their swords, the quartet separated and gently managed (don’t know what to do with this…maybe surrounded.) the lycanthropes. Lycanthropes in the field were just a little above lv 130 normally. Gran and Levi were not concerned.

‘Those four are strong.’ Weed judged.

It wasn’t just their level. They also had good reflexes and judgment. They knew where and what to attack and how to properly strike an opponent. They were gifted in combat!

‘4 players… could they be the Dwichigi quartet?’

The movie Weed had seen on a website flashed inside of his mind. Videos uploaded with the vague hope for revenge. Up till now he hadn’t been able to put a finger on why they seemed familiar, now, after he had seen how they fought he had a guess. Weed sighed.

‘A group of beginner adventurers…yeah, sure!’

The first slain monster would drop a good quality item; that was the effect of being the first to discover this dungeon. Therefore, it would have been preferable to chase away the lycanthropes, which were too weak to give proper items, and focus on finding and taking out a boss-class monster. But the quartet didn’t seem to care and hunted the wolfs, advancing further into the cave. The benefit of being the first to find this dungeon had been wasted before Weed’s eyes.

“We trust only ourselves.”

“Then become cancer.” (No clue as to what this should mean…)

The four senselessly laughed as they butchered the lycanthropes.

Either way, one couldn’t ignore the quality of their combat skills. A player killer’s growth in skill proficiency was much higher compared to that of normal players of similar level. There was a lot of hands-on experience when you fought both people and monsters, you found yourself more challenged. Their skills were superb, they attacked without missing even a single opening.

But Weed did have a point of criticism: They spent money like it was nothing, gulping down mana, health and regeneration potions, which cost four gold coins each, as if it was water while they ventured further and further into the dungeon. They acquired money by selling portions of the items they gain from player killing, so they rarely had shortcomings in their purses.

Hunting monsters by yourself was far from a lucrative business: you could make a penny and you felt lucky when you made two by chance. But the quartet didn’t even bother to pick up loot worth copper! It was disturbing for Weed to see people waste items that could be sold for as much as one silver coin in a general store. It was a clash of entirely different worlds.

‘Should I also become a PK’er? All that money, but… my fame would drop!’

Watching Weed pick up the copper around the area of the fight, Mapan found himself in a crisis. The quartet penetrated right through the approaching waves of lycanthropes.

“Oh crap! A lycanthrope…”

He looked at Weed, pleading to be saved, but Weed completely surprised Mapan instead. He had seen Weed extinguish many a lycanthrope.

Many, many lycanthropes!

As soon as they had appeared, Weed had ripped them to shreds.

“Kuhaha ha ha!”

Because of him, lycanthropes were mercilessly mashed into pulp. When his sword had needed repair and couldn’t be used, kicking and head butting had been the way to go for him. Weed not being able to fight was impossible. It may have seemed strange seeing such confident behavior from a merchant, but you couldn’t be even remotely frightened by lycanthropes when Weed was around. Mapan had the solid belief that Weed would protect him. He was the ace in the sleeve.

But…how could this be?

Weed showed signs of being far more terrified than lycanthropes justified. His face had turned into a deep blue color; his body was shaking in fear, in complete and utter desolation.

“Um…Weed?”

Weed couldn’t even hear him.

“Are we going to die?”
“……”

For once, Mapan was left speechless. He had no clue about what Weed was thinking.

The Lycanthrope attacked!

“Kuwoeo!”

The werewolf charged at him but Mapan avoided it by rolling on the ground without a second. Even so, he had been extremely lucky. The lycanthrope focused most of his attention on fighting Weed. He performed straight lined assaults, his claws and fangs making it a dangerous but close-quarters attack. Due to that, Mapan had been barely able to avoid it. Even Weed had to roll along the ground to avoid his fierce attacks. The dirt left his clothes stained.

The lycanthrope pursued Weed.

Weed was able to escape with an intact body. Fortunately, three of the quartet came back soon while Margaux finished off the remaining lycanthrope.

After the battle, the quartet apologized to Weed and Mapan.

“We are sorry about this. This one time we forgot about you, it was a big mistake.”
“No it’s ok; we are still alive after all. Thank you for saving us there…”

Hearing Weed’s words, Halman grinned.

  • Guys like these are common, they afraid of fighting.’ (As a side note –is the sign to show that the players are whispering, a communication method that allows only friends and party-members to hear what is being spoken)

  • When he becomes tense any weapon he’s holding becomes useless.’

  • Well, classes that do not fight monsters are prone to be unable to wield weapons. It’s my guess that at most he is just a simple level 100. He’s probably even carrying a weapon he’s not accustomed to.’

  • There are all kinds of people!’

With thoughts like that going through their heads the quartet finally dropped their guard; they were unaware that since entering the tomb, Weed had known all too well that they had black intentions, and that he was waiting for this moment.

Lycanthropes, ha!

Weed had watched as just one escaped the quartet’s slashes.

It seemed coincidental that one of them went past the quartet to threaten Weed and Mapan, but it was obvious that they had planned to do so from the beginning; given that the combat capabilities of the quartet would have been enough to stop them all. The logical result of Weed’s play of thoughts was that they had intended to evaluate the skills and the behavior of both him and Mapan. And Weed’s act had tricked them.

Kwadang! Crack!
Wareureureu!

“Aaaaahhhh!”

Without a thief in the party, the risk of traps couldn’t be removed.

They had triggered traps 10 times so far, struggling through sand as steel bars popped up to crush them. There were traps everywhere, sometimes one of the four was caught and escaped only to fall into another trap. To Weed the traps were far too obvious, he could see the pitfalls far in the distance.

“Gah, this can’t be happening.”

Halman screamed after seeing his own blood oozing out as his health vanished.

The underground dwarven tomb had two floors. After having found the stairs down, Gran headed towards it without the slightest hesitation.

“Haha, fortune smiles on us.”

Gran boasted.

Weed didn’t take him seriously, including his laughter.

They came to the Second floor.

The place was even more dangerous; traps were installed everywhere. Sometimes lycanthropes appeared, but, compared to the traps that made their dungeon-walk truly miserable, they seemed to be the lesser evil.

Hwareureuk!

Oil poured from the ceiling, igniting into flames. Standing under the fiery rain, Halman, who had already been seriously damaged, soon died and became a gray flame.

Following slowly behind, Weed and Mapan were still safe.

“This…Wasn’t this trap a bit extreme?”

The remaining members of the quartet didn’t shed a tear for their fallen comrade. They looked at the result with a slightly different approach: One less person meant a higher share for those remaining.

‘I should try to kill another one, so that just two survive this…me and one more.’
‘Well, if one more dies, I will get….’
‘I want to be the only one left alive.’

They did not care about loyalty.
After Halman’s death, the others quietly wished for the deaths of the rest. They already had had the intent to murder Weed and Mapan, so one or two more deaths amounted to nothing.

“But…” Gran suddenly spoke.

“It is a little unfair that we are the only ones at risk.”

Margaux and Levi were surprised with Gran’s words.

  • Gran, what the hell are you doing?
  • We need someone to sacrifice when we get to the thunderbolts. There’s no way you plan to deal with them right now, right?

  • Just watch. I have an idea.

“I beg your pardon?” Mapan asked awkwardly, but Gran only smiled in response.

“It’s not a big deal. It is my intention to distribute the risk. One of my own colleagues died; don’t you guys feel a responsibility?”

“Then, what do you want of us?”

“I would like for one of you to take the lead. We take the center and the other one of you takes the rear. Like this we share the same risk”

Mapan was clearly hesitant. In his mind, it didn’t matter which way you stacked it, the result was the same. But somehow, the atmosphere made it a bad time to speak out. He had the impression that he should never have come to this place!

‘Still, I am truly indebted to Weed…’

At that moment Mapan decided to take the lead.

“I want to take the lead.”

Weed came out and volunteered first.

“As a sculptor my offense is minimal, but I do have HP to spare, so please allow me.”

“Oh, then you have my thanks.”

From then on, Weed played the lead. You couldn’t call them a party because Weed and the quartet had never proposed it!

They had not invited him to their party as they had been against the sharing of experience. They only gave away the cheap common loot that they didn’t want.

Player killers were usually not allowed to enter most towns. In very serious cases, village guards could attack player killers. There was also the chance of finding someone that had a grudge against them, so it was better to refrain from visiting a town. Anyways, they were only willing to share the loot they thought worthless.

‘This is an interesting place.’

Weed had explored many dungeons and places with monsters. Swarms of bloodthirsty monsters moving about in packs, dangerous hunting grounds infested with wandering Death Knights. Of the many dungeons he had been to, this was the first one with traps.

‘Need to stay alert, or I will find an immediate death.’

Just a little bit ahead of him was a place where blue and red tiles were arranged like a board. A trap-finding skill should have been implemented; however, there was no thief or ranger in their group able to use it.

“Hey Weed, we have to keep moving.” Gran encouraged him from behind.

Weed advanced slowly while pressing lightly on the floor, in order to quickly respond to any traps.

‘First let’s try a blue tile.’
Nothing happened.

‘What a relief.’
‘Next I’ll step on a red tile.’

Again nothing happened.

It’s a pathway, but Weed was still not even close to the end, more than 50 meters remained.
With no clue when a trap might spring.

‘Blue tile. Red tile. Blue tile. Red tile. Alternating steps and nothing happened. If this was the way to dismantle a trap, then it was far too easy. If it is like that…?’

Weed had a thought: he stopped alternating the colors. He stepped on blue tiles twice in a row. Still nothing happened.

This made hi