Roland was able to get a good seat in the back thanks to arriving early. Thanks to this he was able to examine everyone that would be taking part in this expedition.
The first person was the nun that arrived earlier than he did. Then there was the duo of Armand and Lobelia that he had the pleasure of meeting again. It didn’t seem that this martial artist had any goodwill towards him. This was understandable as not much time had passed since his firing.
Then there were the members that he was less familiar with, like Korgak the Half-Orc. This warrior didn’t talk much but seemed like he followed orders from people above him like the guild master that was also here this very moment. He was talking with the man who would be the party leader of this expedition.
This man seemed to have some kind of ranger class. He was wearing lighter armor that was covered by a dark green robe. He looked to be someone in his later thirties and was of the human race. He had a somewhat scruffy-looking beard that had some white patches here and there.
That was actually it, with him the party consisted of only six people. Armand and the Half-Orc were the warriors of the party while the half-elf and the team leader were probably the trackers and for monster detection.
The nun was clearly the healer but where they would place him remained to be seen. He had a wide array of runes that could be used from various ranges. People who looked from the outside might think that he was some kind of magic warrior with a wide range of skills, a jack of all trades type. In reality, he was very much focused on his crafting and mana capacity to utilize his runes.
“Okay, let us start this meeting.”
Roland heard the guild master speaking out while also glaring in Armand’s direction. The young pugilist was sulking after getting a smack on the head by a giant fist. Luckily one hit was enough to silence the room and now he and the party leader were discussing the plan.
“I think everyone knows the basics of this mission. You all will be heading into the dungeon to babysit some noble brats.”
Armand was quick to recover as he and his half-elven friend chuckled at the words of the guild master.
“Your main job will be to escort the nobles into the volcanic area below the 10th level of the labyrinth. Afterward, you will remain as lookouts. You will keep an eye out for any abnormalities, only get involved if their lives are in danger."
There wasn’t much new information. Just like he knew this was a test for the nobles and how they can take stressful situations. There would be one leader that needed to command the troops. They would need to clear out monsters while venturing into the deeper reaches of the dungeon.
All of these nobles were fresh tier 2 holders that would be mostly in their early fifties. Due to spending a lot of time at the noble academies, the noble youths lagged in terms of battle experience behind the common adventurers. They made it up with the levels of their skills and better classes that were planned out from the start.
For instance, the ‘Knight’ class was locked away to people of noble descent. A person needed a hidden trait of noble birth to be able to procure it. A commoner would only be allowed to get lesser classes like shield warrior or spear warrior instead. The Runesmith Lord class could also have been triggered by Roland’s noble roots.
“Abnormalities? Like a tier 3 monster?”
He raised his hand and asked while some of the party members looked at him.
“I see that you catch on fast, Wayland was it? Let me answer that.”
Instead of the guild master, it was the team leader that spoke up.
“But first let me introduce myself, my name is Silvio and I will be the leader of this party.”
Everyone nodded at the introduction as the man continued to speak.
“Yes, If a tier 3 monster appears we are tasked to stall it while the nobles evacuate, even at the cost of our lives...”
This time it was Armand that replied, he smacked his hand on the table that made it rattle around.
“Why should we risk our lives for some pompous nobles?”
“Why else, for the money!”
The man grinned while looking at Armand. Everyone here would be getting paid an extravagant amount of money. Roland knew this after a big chunk of what he needed for that manufacturing knowledge would be paid for through this single mission.
“You have all signed the contracts, you know what will happen if you abandon the mission.”
Before this meeting even started Roland was also called over to the guild during the recruitment drive. He needed to sign a document that would put him in a lot of trouble if he didn’t prioritize the nobles. This was a serious mission that the guild couldn’t afford to botch.
“If it's so important, why doesn’t the guild send in more Platinum adventurers?”
This time around it was Lobelia that posed this question.
“There are several reasons but the most obvious one is that we don't just grow on trees.”
Silvio shrugged while shaking his head.
“The nobles also asked for adventurers that are only at the silver rank, do you need me to explain this?”
He asked while indicating that it was something obvious. Roland knew what the reason was but two certain party members still had question marks above their heads.
“It’s the levels, they don’t want to lose out on the experience.”
The team leader noticed this so after giving out a sigh he just gave out the information. Due to how this leveling system worked it was unfavorable to have high tier people around when farming for experience. They still allowed a tier 3 adventurer to come along just in case. If the adventurer party stayed far enough and didn't participate in the battles the nobles would not suffer any debuffs to their experience.
“Well not like it matters to me, as I see it, this is easy money.”
The older man grinned, it was clear that from his perspective the nobles were just throwing the money away. The dungeon had been mostly mapped out and there were no tier 3 monsters around. If only tier 2 monsters appeared it would probably be a low danger mission for this platinum rank adventurer.
The only real uncomfortable part would be living down in a heated dungeon for so long. Roland was already prepared for that situation but he had never field-tested his equipment for a prolonged time. This would be a good chance to gather some valuable data for his future creations.
Him being on this expedition had a lot to do with the dungeon’s climate. The guild master did hire him probably with this in mind as he was the only person in this party that could use frost and cooling magic. This is also why when the question came up, he knew that he would need to do a little speech.
“That’s all fine, but how do you expect us to last for weeks while surrounded by hot lava?”
Surprisingly it was Armand that posed this question, before answering the party leader looked towards Roland and then quickly turned over to the guild master.
“The guild master assured me that one of the party members here would take care of that. If I’m not mistaken it’s the young man in the red armor?”
The people turned to him with surprised looks. They had seen him fight but he still acted more as a warrior type that just used some magical items to get ahead of the competition.
“Yeah, Little Wayland here will take care of that with one of his runic creations, mind explaining?”
The guild master called out to Roland who groaned inwardly. This would be the most uncomfortable part of the meeting but he had come prepared.
He nodded while standing up from his seat and walking over to where Silvio and the guild master were sitting. After arriving he was given some space, he saw the other four party members looking at him.
‘Feels like I’m back at school…’
Roland never liked the presentations that the school system forced on them. He was never able to get good grades then as he was always stiff at presenting while a crowd of people looked at him.
After giving out a small sigh he took out a large piece of parchment. There was a board behind him to which he could place this parchment on. After using some tacks that he had Bernir make, he attached a diagram of some sort of tent on that wooden board.
“What’s that, a tent? Won’t that thing just burn up?”
Armand asked in a mocking tone as if this was something that Roland didn’t know.
“Yes it’s a tent, but it’s a runic tent. It’s made to resist the heat of the volcanic area.”
Roland tried to ignore Armand while pointing to the outside material that the tent was composed of. The design was more modern as he took inspiration from regular camping tents. The roof part was slanted at an angle and was held up by a scaffolding made from hollow metal pipes.
“The tent leather that it’s composed of is made from Volcanic Salamander leather. It is resistant to the heat which will help insulate it.”
“Won’t we just be cooked inside?”
Armand asked a question again but then flinched as he noticed the guild master looking at him. Roland really hoped that this guy wouldn’t become a burden on the entire party as everyone's lives depended on good cooperation.
“No, the air inside will be cooled and filtered, it will feel rather refreshing. This is not a regular tent, it has a runic structure in its scaffolding that will run on Elakian’s Fluid. We just need to bring enough to last us a month, I propose we take enough for two months to be on the safe side.”
The half-orc called out from the front with confusion as he clearly had no idea what Roland was talking about.
“People also call it mana fluid… just think of it as fuel for the magic.”
The mana fluid was named by its inventor. This fluid was similar to gasoline from his old world as it was fuel for magic items. It was quite easy to handle, you just needed to place this fluid in a container and connect it to the desired magic item with the correct runic structure.
It would then power it in a similar fashion as his wind turbines powered his entire workshop. This fluid came in two variants, one was natural and the other one was synthetic. It could be found in spots that were rich in mana or created by alchemists from mana stones.
If the mana was rich enough the fluid could even crystalize. It took on the shape of blue semi-transparent crystals that could be confused for mana stones. Roland also found this confusing as the mana fluid was somehow a refined form of those mana stones but it worked differently.
He wasn’t an alchemist so he would probably never go down that path, instead, he would need to improve on the generators he made. The best option seemed geothermal as he was on a volcanic island.
This mana fluid was a renewable source of energy all thanks to the dungeons. It was one more reason why it was forbidden from destroying the dungeon cores. There were far too many resources at stake here.
This fluid was the next best thing as Roland had no portable generator. It did cross his mind to make one, as it would only require steam to generate mechanical force and would work similarly to his steam engine.
The tent also possessed some supplementary runes and mana stones to lower the mana usage as much as the deep steel could handle. This tent design wasn’t something that he had entirely come up with by himself as some other craftsmen used similar products. He had been given the schematics by the guild master and he just updated it to fit his own vision.
During the report, he also explained how they would be using these tents. They would have two of them and two people would be sleeping in each one. Which would place the remaining outside as lookouts.
Luckily for Roland, he would be exempt from this duty as he was a special craftsman coming along. The ones keeping watch would be the two warriors and two scout types that were the team leader and Armand’s half-elven friend. The cleric would also be exempt from this burden.
“Wayland here will also repair your equipment if it gets damaged…”
He was through with his presentation and finally returned to his seat. Finally, they switched to what everyone was tasked to do. He would need to as mentioned perform repairs and also keep the tents in working order.
Armand and Korgak were the front-line fighters as expected. The Nun from the sun church would remain in the middle of the formation as the only healer. He would stay behind her with Lobelia and would need to watch out for any sneak attacks.
Then Silvio would be the frontman, guiding everyone into the dungeon. He was clearly here to keep the Nobles safe. His class was tracking and detection related, which should keep the party safe from any unforeseen events.
The biggest downside to his class was that it wasn’t geared for combat that much. The man’s main weapon was still a bow with a dagger as a sidearm. He was still a tier 3 class holder so he remained the strongest person in this party.
“Well then, everyone knows Wayland and me now, how about the rest of you introduce yourselves?”
“Korgak is Korgak.”
Was what Korgak said almost instantly when the question was given. The others just nodded while everyone started introducing themselves.
“I’m Lobelia, the prettiest maiden in this city!”
The half-elven girl was the next one. She stuck out her chest proudly while striking some kind of strange uncomfortable pose that made Roland worry about her spine.
“I haven’t heard of a maiden that can drink an old dwarf under the table.”
Was what Armand said after the presentation. He was given a quick hit to the shoulder right afterward. He was also the next one in line to introduce himself. Similar to his companion he struck a gallant pose with his chest out.
“I am Armand, the man that will become a legend here!”
“Pfff...legend he says... “
Lobelia burst out in laughter right after her ‘big brother’ made a fool of himself. Roland’s face was covered but he wanted to just facepalm at these two idiots shouting at each other. The last person was the nun and probably the only one here besides the party leader that Roland was interested in.
“Praise the sun and the Goddess Solaria. I am Sister Kassia, I’ll be sure to keep everyone alive through this journey. Would anyone like some tea?”
The woman smiled while holding out a kettle with the tea in it. Everyone besides one person in the room declined.
After a moment Roland was looking at two huge green fingers holding a tiny teacup. The half-orc quickly downed the warm brew and even asked for a refill.
“Okay..., everyone we will meet up at sunrise tomorrow morning. Get some sleep as you might not be able to afterward…”
Everyone parted their ways and headed out to prepare for the next day. Roland went straight home to check up on the tents that he would be required to conserve. He used the rest of the day to check and then to recheck every piece of equipment that he was taking with him.
Not everyone was like him, Korgak the Half-Orc headed straight to the pub to drink himself silly. Armand sneaked out into the pleasure district while Lobelia wasn’t looking. Sister Kassia used this chance to speak the gospel inside of the adventurer’s guild. The church didn’t have the chance to position themselves well in this city quite yet. So the people were now reminded of how annoying these zealots actually were.
“Well Agni, it's time to head out.”
“Bring back some souvenirs, boss!”
Roland chuckled a bit while parting with Bernir and his home. It was time to meet up with the new party of adventurers and see what kind of bratty nobles he would need to babysit. His armor had been polished and looked pristine, he was only missing a nice flowing cape to make him look like a Knight Lord.
“Okay, let’s get this over with…”
He mumbled to himself as he approached the city, the red sun rays hitting his armor as the sun rose on the horizon.