"Be careful, you two," Lone said to Sophie and Breena while he eyed the man who was quickly approaching him sceptically. Lone couldn't tell his strength, but he assumed he was at the very least, a B-Ranker, so Lone merely waited for him to reach his group and see what he wanted. Lone was hoping he could explain the reason for this city's existence at the very least.
The man had quickly reached a distance of ten feet away from Lone before he stopped moving. He then bowed in a very courteous manner forcing his well cropped black hair to rustle slightly.
"Greetings. My name is Alfonse, and I am the retainer of the lord of this fair city known as Hope," Alfonse state with a very raspy voice while he continued to bow. "I understand that you're most likely agitated, exhausted and wary, but please calm your fears. This city has only one purpose, gathering the strong in order to clear the next floor. Would you mind if I took you to meet my lord? I can explain any questions you might have on the way," Alfonse finished before he finally ended his bow.
Lone stood staring at the man for a few seconds before he carefully turned to face his companions, but he never took his attention away from the well-dressed man. "Well girls, opinions? Personally, I don't trust him but I have full confidence in killing him and anyone else if needed, although I'd hate to skip levels by doing so," Lone whispered to Sophie and Breena.
Sophie smiled at the fact that Lone was being more considerate of others people and just felt very happy at his growth. She smiled for a moment longer before she replied. "I think we should follow him for now and do like you said, find out what we can from them."
Breena voiced an opinion to leave as soon as possible since she was afraid of the well-dressed man, but after a few comforting words from both Sophie and Lone, she reluctantly agreed that it would be best to just go with the flow for now, so Lone turned back to face the black-haired man.
"Since you've gone to the trouble of being so cordial, it's only fair that I do the same. You can call me Lone, her Sophie, and my fellow Foxkin is Breena. We'd very much so like to meet your Lord," Lone said in a respectful manner. He was obviously trying his best to avoid a confrontation for now. If possible, he'd like to duel with any and all of the other beings living in this dungeon because he knew that if they had made it to this point, then chances were that they could easily beat Lone assuming he didn't use any of his trump cards.
"Ah, excellent. It's been such a long time since we've had any visitors and the last bunch were less than agreeable. If you'd please follow me, Sir," Alfonse said in a calm manner before he straightened himself out and turned around. He then began walking at a leisurely pace towards the depths of the city.
Lone and the girls immediately followed after him, but Lone didn't let his guard down as they walked through the city. Something that Lone noticed which was of interest was the fact that this city, Hope, was full of people of all kinds of races. Ones he had seen before like Dwarves and Elves and more curious races such as what looked like various kinds of beastkin, much like himself and Breena, but from different animals, like cats, bears, dogs and whatnot. There were also very strange beings like men made entirely from metal and towering Golems made from luminescent gems. If he didn't know better, Lone would assume that several of the people he was seeing were monsters, not intelligent species.
Another thing of note was the fact that Lone could see several children running around, of course, all from varying races. There were a few other things of interest, such as how almost every single building looked different from the last, which made sense. Assuming most of the residents here were adventurers from different races, then it only made sense for each of these races to have a different culture and different architecture resulting in different buildings being created from their desires.
One thing that bothered Lone though, was the way a lot of the people were looking at his group. Most looked at them with interest, probably due to the fact that they were new adventurers or due to the fact that they were each unique. Sophie in her beauty, and Lone and Breena in the fact that they were both awakened Foxkin. However, quite a lot of people were looking at Lone's group with pity and contempt which confused and quite honestly angered him.
Upon noticed Lone's quickly changing mood, Alfonse took it upon himself to explain. "It would seem that quite a few of Hope's residents have scanned your strength level and are filling in the blanks, so to speak. Seeing as how two of your are E-Rankers while the other is only an F-Ranker, it is only natural to assume that your party was mostly wiped out by the Rieklings, correct?"
'Ah, they think we're weaklings that only just managed to beat floor forty by luck or through the sacrifice of our comrades. How laughable,' Lone thought. He honestly was beginning to solidify his belief that assumptions would be the death of all living creatures.
"That's not what happened. Our party is only three, well, technically four strong. I killed about seven and half thousand Rieklings, including the Chieftain and the elites while Sophie and Breena wiped out the scattered groups. It was honestly quite an easy floor, for my group at least," Lone said with heaps of pride in his voice. Both Breena and Sophie were embarrassed and somewhat happy at Lone's pride since they knew that it included their efforts too, not just his own.
"Is that so? Well, we've nearly arrived at the Lord's residence," Alfonse replied with a tone that while still full of respect, held absolutely no traces of believing what Lone had just said. This was only natural though considering that under normal circumstances, it would require a party of roughly twenty or more B-Rankers to assure victory over of the Riekling tribe while sustaining no fatalities.
"I don't need to prove myself to you. If you really don't believe me, why don't you just try attacking me? We'll see who's stronger then," Lone said with some malice to his voice. Now that he had chosen to be more honest in life, a new thing that Lone detested was not being believed when he was telling the truth, regardless of how absurd that truth was.
Alfonse raised an eyebrow at this but just assumed that Lone was most likely the son of powerful Golden Foxkin who had previously died in the dungeon, so he was being arrogant as a way to cope with his loss. This led Alfonse to be far more forgiving on Lone than he normally would be at the attitude Lone was displaying, so he merely stayed silent and continued to lead Lone's group through the city.
Lone too remained silent after a brief reminded from Sophie via telepathy that violence wasn't their goal here, knowledge and experience were.
The group was soon led to an open square that was bustling with trading stalls and hundreds of people. There was a huge monument of what looked like a Lionkin. This was a beastkin that Lone had yet to encounter, but Breena had told him about them before. They were very prideful beings and vastly superior to most in martial arts and hand to hand combat. They made excellent leaders, or so Breena had told Lone.
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