Published at 22nd of November 2020 10:07:50 AM
After reaching the fifty-seventh layer, Tsutomu’s party of four immediately returned to the Guild . While waiting for their Status Cards to be updated and splitting the loot, Tsutomu looked on at the Monitor showing Ealdred Crow’s improvised party do their thing .
“Why don’t we go have a drink, Tsutomu?”
“Sorry, Camille . I can’t today — got things to do…”
In response to Camille’s cup-tilting gesture of an invitation, Tsutomu clasped his hands together in front of him . As Camille slumped down her shoulders in disappointment, Amy giggled from beside her .
“Then let’s go to the Seafood Dining Hall with me!”
“Uh, no, I actually am busy . I didn’t decline because I didn’t want to go with her, you know . ”
As Camille closed her mouth and brushed her red bangs away in slight awkwardness, Amy puffed out her cheeks . Tsutomu, getting a condemning look from Amy, decided to bow his head just to be safe .
“It’s about time I got things ready and packed up, you see, so I’ll have to excuse myself . Great work today, you two — let’s meet at the usual time tomorrow . ”
Since Tsutomu had figured that the team would likely be good to go hunt the Fire Dragon the day after tomorrow, he also had to prepare to leave the Guild Dormitory soon . Amy, looking at Tsutomu as he walked away with Garm, tried to reach out to stop him, but Camille gently held her arm down .
“Why don’t we go together instead? Change of pace, and all that . ”
“…Seafood Dining Hall . Your treat . ”
“I know, I know . ”
Camille, poking her fingers on Amy’s puffed-out cheeks, half-heartedly responded to Amy’s reply before starting toward the Seafood Dining Hall . Amy followed, chasing after her .
Tsutomu, having returned to the Guild Dormitory with Garm, went into the latter’s room after he unlocked the door for him and immediately began tidying things up . Although he hadn’t changed much of the room’s interior, he did leave quite a lot of daily necessity items and Dungeon-related note papers lying around . Tsutomu started with the organization of those notes before anything else .
Although he had only been staying at the Dormitory for about a week, he had written up a staggering number of notes . When not in the Dungeon, he would spend most of his free time outside watching Live Broadcasts and taking notes, resulting in him compiling up a great deal of note sheets .
The civilization here was different from Japan from which Tsutomu hailed — the Dungeon Live Broadcast was the only thing that could give him remotely the same enjoyment as video games, TV, and the internet . As such, he would go watch and jot down notes every chance he got — though this did contribute to his goal of conquering the hundredth layer, he had been doing it mostly for entertainment purposes .
The Monitors, in the Guild and throughout the town combined, nearly totaled to a hundred . The footages reflected on Monitors #1 to #10 were arranged in order of layer, meaning that major and mid-tier Clans were often in the spotlight, with the most shown biomes naturally being the Valleys and Canyons . How God selected what to show on the rest of the Monitors was unclear, but they would often show fierce battles against monsters and situations in which parties were in a pinch .
Tsutomu never found himself bored of walking around and checking out the various Monitors . This also helped him gather information on this world’s monsters; though they were the same creatures as the ones in the game, he had observed that they acted differently . The way in which they used their skills varied from individual creature to creature, piquing his curiosity as to what thoughts they had running inside their heads .
Tsutomu’s notes on the Dungeon had been neatly written on papers of the highest quality, which he had made with monster materials . After he was done gathering up those notes, Tsutomu proceeded to pack up his daily necessity items .
Unlike in Japan, clothes here were relatively expensive, but Tsutomu still didn’t want to go around with the same wardrobe every day, so he had purchased quite a lot of them second-hand from Garm — in fact, he had bought so much that one would think he had the spending power of the nobility . At first, he had found that all normal clothes here were stiff and uncomfortable to wear, but fortunately, he had later found that threads made from monster materials felt quite good, so he had primarily bought those of the latter type .
As a result, a good portion of Tsutomu’s daily necessities were his clothes; he had to spend quite a bit of time folding them up and putting them in a basket . He had to do this because his Magic Bag was already filled to the brim with Dungeon-related tools and equipment, and storing the things at the Guild would cost him Gold in accordance to the weight .
And although he had financial flexibility now that the Solit Company had paid up their compensation, Tsutomu was one to always choose a minor inconvenience if it meant he could save some money . By the time he took a break after having sorted through a large number of clothes, he heard a knock on the door . Tsutomu went to open it; it was Garm, holding a large paper bag full of stall food .
“It’s about time we had dinner — here, I bought enough for you, too . ”
“Yes, we should . Thank you very much . ”
Tsutomu put down the basket of folded clothes beside him, then followed Garm to the living room . Garm, both his hands holding the paper bag, turned his back to the door and twisted the doorknob with his tail, then walked inside .
He then placed the paper bag on the low table, waved his hand lightly, sat down on the floor, and started taking some of the sweet pastries out of the bag to eat . Tsutomu also searched the bag — seeing that it had the meat skewers that he had come to like eating recently, he took them out and started eating .
For a few moments, the living room was silent save for the sounds of food being eaten echoing through it . Tsutomu thoroughly chewed and swallowed a bite of the tough meat, then started talking to Garm just as the latter also gulped down his bite .
“You’re also having sweet pastries today?”
“Mm-hm . ”
Garm proceeded to take more of his share from the bag without much change to his expression . The pastries he had gotten was quite popular among the townspeople, and one usually had to queue up in a long line to obtain them, but Garm had had some orphans in town line up for him instead .
For more context, one might think that Garm had used his intimidating face to force those orphans to do his bidding, but in truth, he had paid them a handsome amount — one could consider that as him hiring some errand boys .
Garm ate quite quickly, perhaps because his tall and muscular body was not so energy-efficient . Even after making short work of seven pieces of sweet pastry, he continued to reach his hand into the paper bag . Tsutomu, having gotten used to witnessing Garm’s appetite, chuckled as he snapped his skewers and put them back into the bag .
Tsutomu had lived on his own for three years before coming to this world, so he could handle all his household chores . With that said, his cooking skills were limited here, since he had been relying on his household appliances to do this thing most of the time . That didn’t mean that he couldn’t handle himself though — once, when he was feeling tired of street food, he had bought some ingredients and managed decently cooking by himself . That time, Garm had eaten the cooking without questions asked — so doubtless, in fact, that Tsutomu himself had been taken aback .
The day after that, Garm had quite a troubled look on his face upon seeing Tsutomu, eyes sparkling, bringing in a large number of cooking ingredients . Naturally, since Garm’s room didn’t have a refrigerator, there was no way those ingredients would have been used up; most of them had ended up being sent to the orphanage that he had been supporting .
After that, he had never asked Tsutomu to cook, perhaps because he didn’t want to pester the latter; as such, their meals from then on had been bought mainly from food stalls . Each time he stood up to go wash the dishes, however, his dog ears standing up and fluttering restlessly; Tsutomu pretended not to notice that .
“Oh, I’ll take just one more,” Tsutomu told Garm as he took out one last ground meat skewer .
“All right,” Garm replied and checked the remaining contents of the paper bag, then proceeded to munch on his colorful vegetable salad .
Garm was not one to talk much during meals . Tsutomu, having understood that fact the first day he had moved here, had made the smart decision to stay quiet during meal times from the second day onward up to a certain point .
However, despite Garm’s face coming off as constantly grumpy, one could easily tell his mood from how his dog ears and tail moved . Whenever Tsutomu spoke, his tail would flap to the sides, and if he didn’t, it would calm down . Having seen through that all too easily, Tsutomu had stopped being silent during meal times from that point on .
“My level is about to hit forty-five, you see… So I’d like to go on a hunt tomorrow — just a little bit, nothing too heavy . ”
“Mm-hm . ”
Garm’s reply was brusque, but his tail was wagging and banging on the floor behind him . Tsutomu, while wondering if people would be more willing to approach him if he were to act a little friendlier, gathered up the garbage on the table and went out to throw them away .
Tsutomu, worried about Amy and Camille since they still had not shown up even an hour past the appointed time, had come to Amy’s room in the Guild Dormitory and rang the doorbell . Out of the door came Amy, her face pale with bags under her eyes — results of lack of sleep and hangover .
Seeing how unwelcoming Amy’s current expression was, Tsutomu took out some hangover medicine from his Magic Bag .
“Are you… hungover? Here, you might want to take this and rest a little . We’ll meet up at the Guild later . ”
“…’Kay . ”
Immediately upon being given the medicine, Amy closed the door with a bang; she didn’t seem to have even the energy to talk . After the team had gone separate ways last night, Amy and Camille had had a great time chatting with each other at the bar until the break of dawn… As for Camille, she was currently out cold right in Amy’s room .
“Can’t we just let her be at this point?”
“I guess… looks like we still have a month to go on the party contract, so we do have some time . Let’s take it easy . ”
“…Right . ”
Tsutomu gave Garm a sly look in response to the latter’s rude remark . Upon hearing the words ‘party contract,’ Garm’s tail dropped down a little .
With Amy and Camille sleeping like a log and not turning up even four hours later, Tsutomu ended up strolling around town and the Guild, while Garm decided to visit the orphanage .
At the Guild, Tsutomu checked the bulletin board to see if there were any temporary parties — also called ‘stray party’ — invitations posted there, so as to make good use of his free time as an Explorer . He also checked out the hunts for the monsters in Dungeons out of town and so on .
On the party recruitment board, used mostly by those starting out and Explorers not belonging to any Clan, there were still many posts that limited the recruitment to Jobs that possessed high firepower . Even though Ealdred Crow had recently tried Tsutomu’s party structure, their tests hadn’t yielded any significant results yet . Moreover, the two other major Clans were still running exclusively with high-firepower parties .
With most of those who wanted to become Explorers being inspired to join up by the flashy shows on Monitor #1, it was easy for beginners to be influenced by the major Clans . Therefore, in order to raise the social status of novice Healers, the first thing that needed to be done was to get the major Clans interested in Tsutomu’s party structure .
The quickest way to achieve that was to actually demonstrate to people the usefulness of the setup on Monitor #1 . The second Fire Dragon battle — if that were to be scheduled to happen at the audience’s prime time, at least the Golden Tune would be among the spectators . Either them or the Ealdred Crow would then get some ideas about Tsutomu’s party composition .
That, in turn, would increase the exposure of non-Attacker Jobs on the single-digit Monitors, gradually changing the mindsets of novice Explorers . As such, Tsutomu had the idea of contacting Ealdred Crow and Golden Tune before proceeding to the Fire Dragon hunt .
As for the Scarlet Devil Squad, they had already gone past the Fire Dragon, setting their record of reaching the sixty-third layer with four Attackers and one Healer . Tsutomu also intended to get in touch with them just in case, but he wasn’t expecting much .
After all, the Scarlet Devil Squad had actually taken down the Fire Dragon with their party composition . Although Tsutomu didn’t like the disposable nature of the Healer in their approach, that was, at the end of the day, a personal preference . If their Healer was willingly doing that, then Tsutomu had no room to interject in their ways .
Tsutomu had also been hearing that the Labyrinth Conquerors, a Clan mainly dedicated to conquering the outer dungeons, will be returning soon after their half-yearly expedition . Since they were also one among the major Clans, Tsutomu wanted to contact them, too .
Unlike God’s Dungeon, the Dungeons outside were ‘real’ — People die for real . No Black Gates . Monsters don’t become light particles, their corpses staying upon death . Even with the advantage of there being no party size restriction, and being able to loot all of a monsters’ materials freely, the disadvantage of one’s death being permanent was too big .
However, the Clan Leader and Deputy Clan Leader of the Labyrinth Conquerors had survived for many years in spite of their close proximity to death . Moreover, those in the Clan’s managerial positions were all strong . If they were to focus their efforts into exploring God’s Dungeon, the Scarlet Devil Squad would soon lose their seat as those who had gone down the deepest .
[And their Clan Leader is a White Mage, apparently… I look forward to meeting them . ]
While Tsutomu looked on at the expedition requests on the bulletin board and wondering what kind of strategy the Labyrinth Conquerors’ leader had, Amy and Camille finally turned up to join him . Then, after calling Garm back from the orphanage, the team started their run, aiming for the fifty-ninth layer .