No one’s eyes lit up after hearing about the Sword of Bonds.
They all looked puzzled.
“…What’s that? Tianna, do you know?”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
Karan and Sem also shook their heads, and Wilma smiled as she looked at them.
“Of course you don’t know, it’s a legendary artifact that can only be found in the Labyrinth of Bonds. It concentrates the strength of people bound by trust and multiplies it. It truly is a sacred sword for the ideal adventurer party.”
Nick let out a sigh of disinterest.
“What? Aren’t you interested?”
“Honestly, increasing strength based on your bonds or the level of trust just sounds like random gossip.”
In their hearts, Nick and the others knew how fantastic such a thing was.
Tianna, Karan, and Sem’s hearts didn’t flutter, and they had the same expression on their faces as Nick.
“Ahh… You guys are so cold, even though your line-up is perfect.”
“Nick, have you been to the Labyrinth of Bonds?”
“And why’s that?”
“…All Martial Arts was full of muscle heads, and people said the lower floor would be difficult without a sorcerer and a priest. Not like we had a reason to go in the first place, since we couldn’t get materials anyway.
“That’s what I figured, but now your party has the perfect balance in terms of jobs… In fact, the Labyrinth is built in such a way to show how the perfect party should be structured.”
“I don’t know about the labyrinth’s circumstances, but did you call us here because our composition is good?”
“It’s not like it’s just you, we’ve sent a few parties already, and they even reached the bottom floor. They found some mass produced artifacts, but the Sword of Bonds is still missing.”
“If it’s not in the bottom floor then that’s the end of that isn’t it?”
“No, an ancient artifact makes it so some floors are generally hidden.
If you do find it, we’ll buy it at a high price.”
This was Wilma’s proposal.
“What if we don’t find anything? Do we get nothing?”
“We have a fixed fee in place, thirty thousand dinnar for each party.”
That was seven thousand five hundred for each party member.
It was a nice sum for F rank parties, but Survivors could make more if they explored another Labyrinth.
But it was a different story when you added treasure to the mix, and Nick thought he and his partners had to discuss it.
“What do we do?”
“Hmm… What makes it tricky is thinking about how far it is and how long it would take to explore. Is it close?”
Wilma answered Tianna’s question.
“You don’t have to worry about stuff like travel expenses, because it’s inside the main office of the adventurer guild, and it’s about a thirty minute walk away from here. It takes around three hours to get to the bottom level, but you can spend the whole day exploring if you want, the guild will pay you as long as you reach the final floor.
“Well, it makes sense that the training artifact isn’t outside the city… In that case, I think it’s worth it.”
Karan and Sem agreed with Tianna, and after seeing that, Nick turned to Wilma.
“Are you going?”
“No, we need to hammer out the details. I don’t want to pick up a magic sword or whatever, get here and hear ‘it’s not the one we want’ or ‘it’s in bad condition’, and receive less than what we agreed on. We need a more concrete deal.”
“You’re a distrustful fellow aren’t you? You should become a merchant.”
“Don’t give me that. Going adventuring on uncertain terms is more unreasonable.”
Wilma sighed, but in the end they got their conditions in order.
A floor plan, information on the enemies that appeared there, and on places that were fully explored and ones that weren’t completely explored.
Information about the magic sword and whether its condition mattered.
Would they buy other items they found?
Wilma was used to dealing with troublesome adventurers, but even she was getting fed up by the amount of information Nick was dragging out of her.
“…It’s not a bad job is it?”
Nick nodded, and so did the other members.
“Alright we accept.”
“I’d be angry if you rejected it after all that. Get going.”
And thus, Survivors set out to conquer the Labyrinth of Bonds.
“So this is the Labyrinth of Bonds… It does feel more like an ancient ruin than a labyrinth.”
Survivors had just entered the Labyrinth of Bonds, and Tianna was mumbling to herself as she stepped on the stone pavement.
The meticulously arranged grids couldn’t have been made by stonemasons or carpenters of the time. It wasn’t just the pavement on the road, the doors opened and the candlesticks lit automatically when people approached them. It was very obviously ancient technology.
“I’ve heard about this, but it’s still a little strange…. I’ve never been in a place like this. We received some information before we got here, but it looks like we’re going to be feeling our way through. Sorry.”
“Well, that’s how labyrinth exploration is like in the first place. I don’t know anything about ruins either but I’ll do my best.”
“Yes. This kind of exploration is very adventurer-like.”
Nick murmured dejectedly, but Sem and Karan responded with words of encouragement.
“Yes. Well, we have a map and information about the monsters… I mean, golems, so we shouldn’t have a problem if we proceed with caution.”
As Nick finished his sentence, the four of them started moving, and it didn’t take long until they reached a wide room where something was waiting for them.
“…That’s a golem.”
“How should I put this, it doesn’t feel alive does it?”
Nick and Sem murmured. It was very unshapely, almost like a pile of wood shaped like a human.
These were the golems that the Labyrinth of Bonds created.
“A wood golem on the first floor, just like we expected. Karan.”
Karan took a step forward. She then took a deep breath, and exhaled.
“Wood burns easily…”
Karan’s fire breath was all it took.
The golems on the first floor were only a little stronger than goblins, and Survivors had no trouble dealing with them.
“Alright, let’s keep going.”