Lecan was led to a needlessly spacious room, there he waited for a bit before Tomaj came by.
He had a composed look on his face, wholly unlike the man who challenged Lecan to a duel earlier.
"I'm sorry that it came to this."
"Bargos was it, since you had a proxy prepared, this has always been a part of the plan."
"A messenger from Vouka town lord came yesterday, informing us of your coming today. Bargos had just came out of the dungeon the same night, you see. I had him on standby just in case we couldn't come to an agreement."
"Hou. So this Bargos is a dungeoner huh."
"He is. He's the strongest adventurer in this town, a contract adventurer of our earl house."
"Contract adventurer? What's that?"
"You don't know? Guess they're called something else elsewhere. Our house supplies Bargos with equipment and funds. In exchange, everything he gets in the dungeon is to be this house's property, with a percentage going for him as a reward."
Food was brought to the room.
Tomaj surprisingly went and sampled the food for poison.
"Alright. This plate here is fine."
"Poison tasting huh. Sorry for the trouble."
"Not at all. This is the only thing I can do. Or rather, the food might have poison in it if I didn't volunteer to sample first."
"The earl huh."
Tomaj wouldn't directly reply to this question.
"I would like to give you an explanation as to why <Dagger of Harut> is an indispensable necessity to this earl house."
"Don't say that. It's the least I could offer to someone departing to the next world for the sake of that dagger.
"Hou. Is this Bargos really that strong?"
"I can't tell you the detail, but he has had numerous bouts against the Greatarm Ogre on the last floor. Everyone believed that Bargos would have been the first person who conquered this dungeon."
"What? You're saying he could get away from that Greatarm Ogre in the midst of battle?"
"That Greatarm Ogre won't chase after those who run away."
"Ah, I see. I didn't know. Did Bargos fight it solo?"
"No way. He's got a... partner with him."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"And they fought that magic beast many times?"
"They fought it many times. But they still have yet prevail."
That Bargos and his partner managed to return safely even after taking on that Greatarm Ogre's swift and unmatched attacks. And since they fought against it many times, they didn't suffer serious injuries. Even if Red Potions could heal wounds to a degree, losing your arms or legs would be it.
"This dungeon here was found in Golbul during my grandfather's era. The royal palace designated Dungeon Golbul as a viscountcy ranked territory, and went to look for a candidate as its potential lord."
Wonder if those two have high defensive powers.
"The first person who responded to it was the father of the present Vouka townlord-dono. However, the candidacy of Vouka townlord-dono at the time was rejected. My grandfather was the town lord of a small town called Skelus, he coveted the noble rank. He bribed government officials and managed to get the position of Golbul town lord."
Or maybe, both of them are exceedingly agile.
"But then, something curious occurred. What should have been a viscount rank turned out to be earl. It was probably done by a government official who were looking for achievements. There's a world's difference on taxes imposed by royal capital between an earl and a viscount after all. The application sent by my grandfather's side ended up being one for a yearly taxation amount of an earl."
Or perhaps, it's both.
"Grandfather was pleased with it. As it would have been extremely difficult to raise his rank to earl had it been a viscount. The only chance for that is when a dungeon city is first established. You can't tell how big a dungeon is and how profitable it is when it's first discovered. As such, except for a very promising-looking dungeon city, normally it should have been a viscountcy."
Something is not right even if it's both.
"We were given a grace period by the royal capital, and we had revenue from our former territory. However, by the Kingdom Laws, a town lord can only rules over one town. Once the grace period is over, grandfather had to hand over Skelus's town to a new lord. The number of people he could bring from Skelus was limited as well."
Which means, they avoid taking damage by using something that doesn't solely rely on mere defensive powers.
"But things were looking up as new floors after new floors were getting explored. There was hope. More and more people were coming. But then, from floor 21 onward, they found out that the floors were structured in a way that made large groups unfeasible despite the enemies getting tougher. And then, the grace period ended."
Lecan grinned in his mind.
"Grandfather gritted his teeth as he worked to his bone. He would cordially give support to adventurers to aim for even deeper floors. In hope they would find an ideal floor for earning their keep. However, in the end, this was a small-scale 30 floor dungeon, and on top of that, they found out the last floor could only be entered by two people at most despite the unimaginably powerful dungeon boss lurking there."
It's probably their equipment. Lecan has seen those kinds of equipment before.
"Grandfather died drowning in despair. Father succeeded a dungeon that requires painfully hard work to manage. He made efforts into training young adventurers. That was the only way left. No adventurers above mid-rank would stay in this dungeon. This dungeon turned into a dungeon for the young and the elderly."