Dungeon Diver: Stealing A Monster's Power - C.211


"Sure, I think we can make a deal."

I let the small dark red flame on my finger flicker out as the frail hunter replies.

"Really? You'll help us out? What's your price? I don't have much at all, but I could get together 100 silver- or- well 1 Gold coin's worth of silver and bronze that is. I'd have to collect it from everyone that's willing to pitch in."

I turn to my teammates.

"What do ya think? A small detour can't hurt as long as we're getting paid can it?"

Abby frowns, then takes out our map. She begins studying it carefully before turning to Danny.

"Where exactly is this cave filled with dungeons...?"

He scratches his chin, then replies while looking at the ceiling.

"Well, it's about half a day's walk, or a few hours by Camel to the northwest of here. I can show you the way. There's a tall mountain peak off in the same direction, if you stay headed straight towards it there's no way you'll miss the cave system on the way."

Abby's left eyebrow raises, then she looks over to me and nods.

"We'll take the quest, we're headed in that direction tomorrow anyways. I want a different reward though... we don't need the money."

I sit back and cross my arms, watching the green-haired hunter take the lead on our business dealings.

She definitely found something worthwhile on that map moments ago, and I trust her judgment. I'd like to face a new dungeon at any chance I can get, and helping out nearby villages is already a bonus on top of any money or resources we'll get paid.

If Abby can sweeten the deal, I'll leave her to it.

Danny replies to her semi-cryptic statement.

"Money isn't of value to you 4? I-I'm afraid I'm not sure what else there is to offer out here. We have food and water, but silver and gold are still the currency that's necessary for trade. It's the most I can really offer."

Abby nods, taking a sip of her drink before replying.

"You said we can make it over to the dungeons tomorrow morning by camel ride, correct? Are those easy to come by around these parts? We're in need of a new ride moving forward on our journey through the desert. Are there any you're willing to part with?" π”£π–—π–Šπ–Šπ–œπ”’π”Ÿπ”«π”¬π–›π–Šπ”©.π–ˆπ–”π”ͺ

He pauses for a moment, and all that's heard is the clanking of silverware in the room along with conversation from the hunters and villagers at the surrounding tables.

I take another bite of my food, enjoying the show.

There are no major stakes on the line for me here. I'm fine with walking across the desert on foot if we really have to. A camel or two sure would make traveling easier though.

He replies.

"I'm sure If I get the people from my home village to pitch in, they'll be able to spare some transportation in return for your kindness."

Abby and Danny go back and forth, negotiating for a few minutes while Arie, Maria, and I strike up a conversation of our own.

The food and drinks on our table disappear one by one until there's nothing but empty plates and dry mugs on the circular wooden table.

As our server comes to collect our finished dishes, Danny and Abby shake on a deal.

"If that's your final offer, I'll get it taken care of. Two camels in return for guaranteeing the Dungeon in question gets cleared. You sure are a confident one."

He stands up, bows, then turns to leave.

"As I said, I'll have to talk with the others before it gets too late to organize the arrangements tonight. I'll meet all 4 of you outside the mercenary guild tomorrow morning. Does that work for you?"

Abby turns to us.

"How about it? 2 camels to take care of their dungeon problem?"

Maria nods, Arie smirks, and I reply.

"Sounds good to me, we're happy to help."

Danny happily walks out the door in a half skip.

Our server finishes collecting the dishes, then Abby speaks up to the waitress in a cheerful tone.

"Another round of drinks, it's been a good day!"

She nods with a polite smile.

"Of course miss, 4 more drinks coming up."

As the server walks away, the green-haired hunter leans in with a grin across her face.

"That break we agreed to clear, we're not only heading in that direction anyways, it seems like our second break is in the same cave... Possibly, the same exact break."

Arie replies.

"I had a feeling but didn't want to step in on your first Dark Continent deal. It's fair game out here, no judgment."

He chuckles and shrugs.

Maria chimes in.

"Hey, so we were going to help him out anyways? That's no fair! I think we should do it for free! Or at least pay Danny for the camels!"

Abby starts to get defensive, but I step in before she can reply.

"Actually, I think it works out better for both parties if he helps us out for a fee."

I turn to Arie.

"How would the villagers out here feel about the Hunter's Association coming in and saving them from a break?"

He sighs, looking up at the ceiling, then back to me before replying.

"Not very kindly. There's a massive grudge against most Association Hunters out here... It... would probably not be in our best interest to tell them we're here on a mission ordered by the government that banished them to stay within the walls."

Maria gulps, then I nod slowly before replying.

"So, if we clear the break and Danny gets the credit for finding a team of traveling adventurers that did so, It's a win-win. We might as well get paid for it! I mean... come on, I'm not the only one a bit tired of walking through the desert."

Maria sits back in her chair while Abby smiles wide with a satisfied expression across her face.

"See, I knew exactly what I was doing."

I give her a firm nod, then our second round of drinks arrives.

I'm not sure if she really did think about the possibilities here, or if it was in her own self-interest, but I'm not too worried about any of this much now.

It's time to enjoy the night.

The 4 of us get a few more rounds of drinks, staying out for a couple hours until the bar closes and the sun fully sets.

I'm still unaffected by the alcohol, but my teammates are having a good time. Another night with a full stomach and a happy team around me comes to a close.

We make our way through the now quiet desert town back to the guild.

After opening the front doors and walking through the much less crowded lobby, the 4 of us make our way down the winding wooden hallway at the back left corner of the room.

With the turn of a key, the 4 of us collapse into our beds. The small rented room has a single window with a view of the starry night sky

It's been a long day, but a productive one.

I drift off to sleep.

Many hours of peaceful slumber pass.

The next morning, my eyes open and I see Arie leaning up against the wall from across the room.

"Come on, rise and shine. We'll be late soon. Abby and Maria already got ready half an hour ago."

I rub my eyes and hop out of the small bunk. Sunlight shines in from the window above my head and the small rented room looks even tinier than it was last night.

Arie lets out a laugh at the confused look on my face.

"Get what ya pay for."

I nod tightening my lips and standing to my feet.

"I guess you're right."

We both walk out to meet the girls standing ready in the hallway, then head off through the main guild room. The white-haired manager waves us goodbye.

"Have a safe trip you 4, come back any time! I still owe each of ya a drink!"

I reply as we make our way through the slowly growing crowd of hunters piling in to get out the new quests available on the pin board.

"Sounds good old man, until we meet again."

On our way out the door, I happen to see the tall hunter with slicked-back hair and a Fire Summoning skill that we saw yesterday. He's looking over the quest board. Many hunters are standing back behind him to wait their turn.

As we walk out the tavern-style doors, he snatches one of the quests down from the wall and lets out an excited laugh.

"Another one, my lucky day!"

After I hear him blurt this out, the noises of the guild leave my ears.

I'm nearly blinded by the sunlight from outside, but as my eyes adjust I see Danny standing no more than 10 meters away on the crowded village street.

Next to him, there are two golden brown camels with light red cloth over their backs.

The hunter turns to us as we walk over, I wave and call out.

"Morning! Hope you weren't waiting too long."

He smiles and waves back.

"Not at all, I sure am happy to see you too. How do you like your new rides?"