We went back a bit to find somewhere dry and lit up a camp fire.
We're keeping our clothes on as we're drying them. It would be suicidal to take them off with all the monsters roaming around this place.
We've all formed a circle around the fire to discuss on things.
"So guys. Shouldn't we pull back now?"
"Who coulda thought there'd be a lake of all things here. A really huge one at that."
"And what's with that super dangerous monster? We almost died for sure back then..."
"So it seems none is against us falling back now then."
"Indeed. With all the information we have gathered... And also, it would be prudent to prepare a small boat if we want to investigate the lake."
"Just you know, I'm gonna keep going okay?"
Sharp glances gathered at me.
"Please tell us your reasoning. Our firepower and personnel is simply lacking. Conquering a dungeon this vast would require cooperation and information sharing with other adventurers..."
"Did you forget about floor two already?"
Melgis realized something with that. Guy's got too sharp an intuition.
"I see... So that's the reason why I heard zero rustling about floor two."
"What do you mean, Melgis? Explain to us too. No point if only you got it."
Melgis spoke after ruminating a bit. In short.
In all previous dungeons White Fang delved, he always managed to gather enough intel beforehand.
And yet the thing about 'Wall of Orcs' in floor two was a complete unknown. Despite the fact that floor one is such an easy floor to traverse through.
Meaning somebody is controlling the flow of information to prevent info on it from spreading.
"And the person capable of something like that this time would be..."
Barido's backer, Marquis Alestain. He's the only possible culprit.
"I see, so that's what going on. A certain marquis has been muzzling adventurers who left the dungeon in order to make Barido this dungeon's conqueror..."
A lot of adventurers suffering grave wounds we saw outside must be from them resisting that muzzling attempt aside from monster attacks.
"And that's the reason why I'm against leaving this dungeon now."
I've been thinking the word Melgis spoke of on floor two's stairway all this time.
'Gag order' lit a light bulb above my head. Can you blame me with all the keywords thrown my way up until this point? If my fate is to get dragged into mess, there's no way I'd miss out on details like that.
"It's been some time since you brought Barido to the authorities right? He was released at once for being an adventurer hired by the marquis. Where would Barido go to cling on afterward? Marquis Alestain himself of course."
Even though it was a business on the 'underside' of things, there's no way some snotty noble would easily forgive 'White Fang' for thwarting him.
All of White Fang finally turned pale faced. Several traps have been laid up in this dungeon expedition.
1. Cutting off flow of information on the dungeon to get them face the Wall of Orcs.
If White Fang avoided fighting the orcs, they'd likely spread bad rumors about them being cowards who ran away in disgrace.
If White Fang fought off the orcs, they would for sure suffer enormous damage.
Then the marquis's side would simply crush the exhausted White Fang on their way back.
2. Even if White Fang managed to miraculously break through the orc wall, they must get too exhausted to make a good progress. The marquis would simply ambush them from behind.
By nine sets of party, 'Ring of Light' led by Barido. They're gonna bulldoze through the orc wall with sheer numbers and kill us off on floor three.
Having the numerical advantage, and against exhausted White Fang, missing in a dungeon.
Guess that's the risks that come with being an adventurer.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Both us and them don't have information on floor three. Thanks to this vast field, avoiding their ambush should be doable.
In a way, the forest being so big has saved White Fang. Neither side could have predicted this.
Our fatal mistake is how we went in a straight line toward the lake. 'Ring of Light' could catch up to us simply by following our traces.
"So you're saying we cannot simply head back... very well then. Let us continue this expedition."
"Hey! Firuna? Are you sure? You know that things are only gonna get tougher if we did right?"
Danku told Mary the reason why here.
"It would have been the same either way, then we might as well keep going. Our goal has always been conquering this dungeon. And besides..."
"Going up against Barido and his cronies is a bad idea. If their scout escaped while we were busy fighting their main party, us 'White Fang' would get branded as criminals no matter how much we protested."
Mary looked mortified when Kidd told her that.
Fighting them would spell their doom regardless. That's the third trap. Hence, they have no choice but to keep trucking on.
There is no other way.