Chapter 174

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To the dungeon.
With the pretext of preparing for the dungeon, I cooked and made snacks for the next two days.
I also went to Jake-san’s bakery to buy bread and went around the shops to resupply on ingredients.
At that time, I found vegetables that I saw for the first time in Aetherdia. It was broccoli and cauliflower. They are apparently called “Green Flowerhead” and “White Flowerhead” on Aetherdia. Moreover, that’s wasn’t all. There were “Red Flowerhead” and “Black Flowerhead” vegetables too.
I don’t know whether I had overlooked them the last time I shopped or the shop displayed them because of the current season, but I instantly bought all varieties.

And then, the fixed date of the request on the third day arrived. On the day of departure to the dungeon, we joined up with Al-sama and others at the castle.

“Good morning, Al-sama.”
“Ah, morning.”

Al-sama wasn’t dressed in the gaudy royalty-specific attire, but he didn’t give off the commoner impression he had when traveling incognito either. He was clad in easy to wear clothes. Looking at the sword at his waist, Al-sama must be a swordsman.
There were three people behind Al-sama.

“Let me introduce your fellow travelers first. You already know Najack. On my left is Kevin. Claudio on the right. Both are members of the Royal Guards so their skills are reliable.”
“Nice to see you again, Takumi-dono.”
“Kevin Deisen. You can call me Kevin. Best regards~”
“My name is Claudio Nickson. Please call me Claudio.”

Three knights were accompanying Al-sama and as expected, Najack-sama was one of them.
Kevin-sama was a playful-looking man with quirky long brown hair while Claudio-sama was a blonde-haired man with plenty of charm. Both seem to be sons of nobles.
The Knights weren’t wearing their white uniforms, but all were wearing something easy to move in. Their clothes differed from each other, so they weren’t something like training clothes, but something they prepared individually. Well, it would be obvious that they were knights if they wore clothes that were provided to them, so they might have wanted to avoid that. Al-sama included, all of their clothes were very good.
Still… Al-sama and Najack-sama too, the four are equally handsome, aren’t they~

“I am Takumi. I look forward to working with you.”
“… I am Allen.”
“… I am Elena.”

Allen and Elena gave their greetings properly, but they were peeking at Kevin-sama and Claudio-sama from behind me. The two knights who met us for the first time were observing us, so it’s an inevitable reaction.
It’s only natural for the knights who are also Al-sama’s guards to observe us. Well, both sides will surely return to normal in a while.

“Huh~? Are they being vigilant?”
“I think that’s a normal reaction for children their age, no?”

Seeing the children’s state, Kevin-sama and Claudio-sama whispered to each other.

“You have been warned that they are sensitive kids, right? They are being cautious because you are observing them. Let me tell you again not to stimulate them in any odd way. You will be held responsible for it by yourselves.”

There, Al-sama rebuked the two knights.
… Still, I wonder who warned them? Tristan-sama? No, Wald-sama?

“Sorry, Takumi. They were given detailed instructions, but they can’t seem to be able to swallow it in the course of their duty.”
“No, I understand. It’s our first time meeting so it cannot be helped.”

Knights of nobility wouldn’t consent with “Yes, I see” only after being told something by others. Rather, if they were so trusting, I would have difficulty trusting them back.

“I am glad you say that. Now then, shall we depart?”
“Yes, let’s do that.”

We have decided to depart towards the dungeon, but we are not walking on foot from here as the castle prepared simple-looking carriage for us.
The entrance of the 65th Dungeon “Huge Animals” was a hole with a staircase leading down surrounded by white pillars.

“Adventurers come here fairly often, don’t they?”
“Yes, the meat will always sell and they can also take it home to eat, after all~”

As “meat” is nearly everything that drops in this “Meat Dungeon”, even the weakest monsters drop it, so going to this place is “not a waste” so to speak.
Moreover, it’s directly linked to the Capital’s food situation, so it’s considerably crowded.

“”Meat~ meat~♪””

Allen and Elena who got down from the carriage were enthusiastically singing while going towards the dungeon’s entrance.
… We had to walk briskly to follow them.

“Allen, Elena, don’t be entering on your own now.”

When I cautioned the children beforehand, they replied cheerfully.

“Hahaha~ the kids seem to be really enjoying themselves~”
“Yes, they are children who love to move about.”

They show no signs of waiting or turning back. Well, they are only peeking at the entrance from close by, so I, Al-sama and others slowly moved towards the entrance.

When we reached the entrance where the children were waiting as told, the two took my hands and pulled on me as if saying “Quickly.”

“Allen, Elena, don’t be in a hurry. The dungeon won’t run away from you.”
“”The meat will~””
“… The meat will run away? Monsters do certainly move, but… you are already treating them as meat?”
“”Yeah, meat~!””

Al-sama and the three knights were chuckling at the exchange between me and the children.

“To treat the monsters only as meat, how daring~”
“Indeed. However, it surely is only a fact for those children.”

While Al-sama showed admiration, Najack-sama who heard various things from Rebecca-san quickly accepted it as a truth.

“What amusing kids they are. I heard from Grunwald that they are incredibly strong, is that the truth?”
“I don’t think he would be making up lies there, but… at the very least, wouldn’t it be just above children’s average?”
“Ahh, that might be it~ Well, at worst, they can stay together with His Highness so we can protect them together.”
“Yes, indeed. Although they are not the object of our protection, abandoning such little children would be impossible to do.”
“Right? Then, let’s do that if necessary~”

But, although Kevin-sama and Claudio-sama apparently heard about the children from Wald-sama, they don’t seem to have believed him much. Well, you can’t really judge Allen and Elena to be strong from their outward appearances.
That’s why, they decided to include Allen and Elena in their protection. They have the spirit to unconditionally protect the children. As expected of knights~
But, they will surely change their mind after a little while. And, they will get shocked too~

“Shall we go then?”

With Al-sama’s command, we immediately entered the dungeon.

“”So wide~””

When we descended the staircase, a hall with white stone paving spread before us.
“Hee~ it’s pretty bright in here.”

Seeing the lamps hanging on the walls, Al-sama muttered with curiousness.

“Indeed. This dungeon is a bright one.”

Both the hall and the connected passages were considerably illuminated. This is the most bright dungeon among the ones we visited so far. If it’s like this, preparing your own light source is not necessary at all.

“N? Are other dungeons different?”
“Yes, depending on the place, it can be total darkness.”

Although I say that, I have no personal experience with pitch dark dungeon. Using “Light” magic in some parts of a dungeon is the most experience I have.

“That reminds me, is this your first time in a dungeon, Al-sama?
“Yeah, that’s right. But, Najack and others have been several times before.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, knights utilize this dungeon for practice.”

This is Al-sama’s first time challenging a dungeon and the three knights have apparently been here several times before.

“By the way, up to what floor have you gone during the practice?”
“10th floor.”
“Hee~ So if you guys went alone, you could have used the transfer device.”
“That is indeed the case. We won’t be using it this time, though.”
“I, who was not their arrival companion at the time can’t transfer together with them, after all.”

Well, they can’t leave Al-sama behind and transfer to the 10th floor on their own after all.
But, considering that the “Huge Animals Dungeon” has thirty floors in total, having people who experienced it up to the 10th floor is considerably reassuring. That’s because’s this time’s objective is the 12th floor.

“”Let’s go~?””
“Ahh, right. It’s not good to keep you kids waiting. Well then, shall we go?”

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