While Leon was out warning the nobility about the Devourer Dragon, Tsutomu met up with Camille and presented to her a data sheet of the Devourer Dragon that he had written beforehand. After an explanation, he handed the papers over.
Camille read through only a bit of the Dragon’s explanation before looking up again.
“…It’s stronger than the Black and Lightning Dragons?”
“Without a doubt. Please take maximum precautions… And do keep in mind that even the barrier may be breached this time around.”
“No, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ll assume that you don’t know much about the barrier, Tsutomu, so listen — The Royal Capital has tasked House Babenberg to manage this city ever since God’s Dungeon appeared. And they’re not just for show.”
“I’d still say we have to be that careful. There’s no telling how strong this Devourer Dragon will become once it eats up the whole Stampede.”
In Live Dungeon, if the Devourer Dragon were to consume all of the monsters that spawned during the fight, it would be stronger than even the Corroded Elder Dragon. Fortunately, this did not serve to break the game’s balance, since even first-time players would know not to let the Dragon strengthen itself too much.
If assuming that this world’s Devourer Dragon had been eating the Stampede, however, it would be better to also assume that the Dragon had been strengthened to its game counterpart’s maximum potential, or possibly even beyond that. All that knowledge made Tsutomu fear the coming of the Devourer Dragon, but the Guild members around him were still quite optimistic.
Throughout the history of Dungeon City, the noble family’s two-layered magical barrier had never been breached. The last time the first layer had cracked was several decades ago, and even then, that layer was just for testing. If something was strong enough to get through, it would then face the second layer, which was stronger and had different magical properties. Such was the ironclad strategy of House Babenberg.
In the Royal Capital, the city of various magic-wielding noble households, House Babenberg was one of the top two users of barrier magic. It was no exaggeration to consider that Dungeon City’s barrier had the same defensive power as the one protecting the Royal Capital.
As such, Tsutomu’s worries might seem somewhat overblown for those in the know. Tsutomu being officially recognized as an orphan originating outside Dungeon City meant that people would assume ignorance, attributing his restlessness to his lack of local common knowledge.
Camille at least knew otherwise, ever since she had partied up with him. Moreover, it was from him that the defense force had obtained substantial information on the little-known Lightning and Black Dragons. Garm and Amy, who had also been in Tsutomu’s party before, also listened to his warning seriously.
Camille took another look at the documents, and then at Tsutomu again. She stared him in the eye and said firmly, as if she had made up her mind,
“I’ll go warn everyone. I can go ahead and submit a report to the Security Team as well, right?”
“Yes, please go ahead.”
“All right, everyone, be on maximum alert!” Camille addressed the Guild staff members as she held up the stack of documents.
“…Yes, ma’am,” they answered, though most of them had their doubts.
Camille hurried to meet up with the Security Team. Tsutomu, unsure of what to do after seeing her off, felt a tug from behind on the sleeve of his shirt. Turning around, he saw Amy, her tail wagging as if she wanted to ask what was next.
“You think I should start evacuating the people now?”
“…Yes, please. Every bit helps.”
“Gotcha. Wait, will the Security Team even issue an evacuation order, though? …You know what, I’ll just talk about it with my fans first. That’ll help things go smoother down the line.”
Amy proceeded to wade through the crowd. Having a solid fanbase and being quite well-known in general, she quickly found her acquaintances and fans. Many were likely to understand her explanation and act accordingly.
“And what should I do?” Garm asked.
“I think Amy can handle the civilians just fine, so… could you go warn the other Clans?”
“All right, I got this.”
Garm was one of the rare Tanks that has always been well-respected, despite Attackers being favored over everything else until very recently. He was quite a famous figure in this line of work, which was why Tsutomu had decided to send him to warn most of the Clans.
[So we’re really up against the Devourer Dragon, huh… Gotta prepare for it the best we can.]
Tsutomu thought about what he could do now, taking into account the countermeasures he had already thought of. He proceeded to head to the Magic Stone Exchange, the Forest Apothecary, and Ealdred Crow’s house to prepare the things he would need.
“…And that’s the gist of it, kids! Be counting on y’all!”
Amy smiled and waved, and the children she had been talking to hopped and waved back as they left with their mother. Once they were gone, Amy immediately searched for her other acquaintances.
She had been weaving her way through the crowd, and each time she found someone she knew, she would ask them for cooperation with the Security Team’s evacuation procedures. Her fans immediately agreed and were quick to spread the word, and most of her acquaintances were more than happy to do as asked.
“Aha! Excuse me, ma’am! Do you have a minute?”
“Hmm? Well, if it isn’t Amy! Do you need something?”
“So there’s something I need to tell you…”
Once Amy explained to the plump lady that a strong monster was approaching, and that she and her family should evacuate, the lady looked troubled as she put one hand on her chin.
“Well, that sounds like a big deal! But my husband is with those Dungeon Maniacs, you see? I’d already told him to listen to the Security, but he’d stop at nothing to see the action!”
“Ah… sounds rough.”
“I know, right? Just the other day, he even–“
The ramble went on for more than ten minutes, after which Amy steered the topic back to the evacuation and pulled a few sheets of documentation out of her pouch-like Magic Bag.
“Look, I’ve got the latest Dungeon data written down here — maybe you can use this to persuade him or somethin’?”
“Really? Now this might lure him away from whatever he’s obsessing over! Are you sure I can have it?”
“It’s fine, it’s fine! Just make sure he evacuates with you, okay?” Amy said with a smile and ran off to find the next person she knew.
The woman she had just met was known to be one of the most talkative housewives in town. Amy had no doubt that the woman would pass the information around, which was why she had taken the time to explain things to the latter.
After that, Amy continued to ask her acquaintances to evacuate, and those people gradually spread the word around. There was a limit in Amy going around telling people by herself, but thanks to her reputation, she could get them to help greatly speed up the process. With prior information gained from acquaintances, people were more likely to follow the Security Team’s evacuation request whenever it came up.
All in all, the plan to prepare for the evacuation was going well. She kept on wading through the crowd and talking to people, getting them to tell others and be ready to evacuate in accordance with the Security Team’s instructions.
[Looks like I’m just about done here.]
Seeing that more and more people were talking about the Stampede and the evacuation, Amy felt that she had done enough, so she returned to the Guild.
Meanwhile, Garm went over to Ealdred Crow’s gathering space and met up with his old friend Bittman.
“Long time no see, Garm. What is it?” Bittman greeted him with a smile, having not seen him in quite some time. They then shook hands, and Garm got right to business.
“There’s something you need to know about the Stampede. The Security Team will probably announce it later, but you’d better not expect it to be anything like the last time.”
“There’s a new monster called the Devourer Dragon heading this way, and it’s stronger than the Black and Lightning Dragons. Don’t let your guard down.”
“…All right, I understand. Sounds like you’re serious — I’ll warn Rook about it.”
“You have my thanks.”
Seeing that Garm was much more insistent than usual, Bittman took his every word seriously. As a Tank in Ealdred Crow’s main force, Bittman’s opinions were becoming more and more relevant in the Clan. Rook and the other Clan members were sure to not brush his suggestions off.
Garm left Bittman to talk to the others in Ealdred Crow, while he continued on to where the Scarlet Devil Squad was.
The Scarlet Devil Squad was the smallest of the major Clans, with only ten or so members. Once Garm found them, he immediately called Weiss, who was sitting on the ground to do maintenance on a crossbow.
“…What? Feel like joining the Scarlet Devil Squad now?”
“I’ve told you no before. This time I just have something to warn you about.”
“…The Scarlet Devil Squad will make even greater progress with you in our ranks. We could help fund the orphanage, too.”
“Shut up and listen.”
Weiss stared back blankly at Garm’s no-nonsense attitude. But that did not mean he was giving up, as the look in his red eyes would suggest. Anyone would assume that Weiss would still try to recruit Garm at their next meeting.
Garm’s position in the Guild meant that he would often be sent to explore the Dungeon’s layer sixty-one and beyond, and whenever he crossed paths with the Scarlet Devil Squad, they would try to invite him to join. Amy, being an excellent Attacker, would get invitations as well, but it was Garm that Weiss really wanted, as suggested by the clear passion in his words.
Weiss had known Garm since the emergence of God’s Dungeon, and had occasionally even formed a party with him. It was from those times that he knew just how capable Garm was, and as such, he had wanted for the latter to join his Clan one day.
At the time, however, Garm had been invited by another major Clan, and had joined them before Weiss could invite him. Scarlet Devil Squad was still in the mid-tiers at the time, so Weiss had given up for the time being.
But in the recent months, things have been different. Scarlet Devil Squad was now one of the most relevant Clans around. Garm had since become a Guild Staff Member, but then he briefly partied up with the infamous Lucky Boy Tsutomu and even made the headlines once they defeated two Fire Dragons, suggesting that he was taking another shot at being an Explorer. Weiss had started trying to recruit Garm into his Clan as soon as he could, but each time, he had been refused.
Garm had already decided on a specific Clan he wanted to join. As such, although he was happy to be invited by Weiss, knowing how the latter had worked his Clan’s way up, he decided to turn him down.
“So, the warning… It’s about the Stampede.”
“You should be careful in the coming battle. We’ve confirmed the sighting of a new monster called Devourer Dragon, and it’s eating up the rest of the Stampede on its way to the city.”
“…I see. I’ll let everyone know.”
“Keep your guard up. This one might be strong enough to kill you.”
“…If it thinks it can, then I want it to try,” Weiss said, despising the notion held by some that his unique skill had made him less of a human than others.
Still, he took Garm’s warning seriously, and went on to inform his Scarlet Devil Squad members. The information was then spread around to the mid-tier Clans and other unaffiliated Explorers that had gathered for the Stampede.
The majority did not make an open comment on the warning, but in their minds they brushed it off, considering it to be overblown. That was how much they trusted in the nobility’s defensive magic — so much so that even Garm and Weiss had difficulties convincing them otherwise.
But then again, they could not openly suggest that even the barrier might be destroyed. It could be seen as an insult to House Babenberg, which possibly would result in punishment. Without saying that outright, the process of persuading people was close to impossible.
“…Damn it,” Garm grumbled and gritted his teeth, knowing that he was not getting much done.