“Bored… I’m bored!”

Lobelia called out while looking at a piece of grilled meat in her hand.

“It’s stuffy, hot… I’m all sweaty and there isn’t anything to do… we’ve been sitting here for four days already!”

“Stop complaining, this isn’t that bad.”

Armand was sitting next to her just chomping on a similar piece of meat which was much bigger. Both of them were sitting outside the camp area without much to do. A bit over four days had passed since they set foot in the middle regions of this dungeon.

This region was different from then the upper levels of the maze dungeon. It was a gigantic area that wasn’t fully mapped even after a year had passed. It was also filled with tier 2 monsters which already brought in some good coin.

Most adventurers like to keep it safe and didn’t push in that deep. Though the biggest reason for the slow mapping out of this level was the smoldering biome. The further a party went in, the hotter it became. Lava-filled dungeons like this were historically hard to progress in, a party without a frost mage or magical items that controlled heat, had no way of progressing.

“We get to sit around and do nothing, This is the best possible job we could get!”

Armand gulped down a large piece of meat that came from a salamander they had hunted. Surprisingly this monster was very sought after for its meat and leather. It could be eaten without much preparation as the hard part of this monster were its scales. After getting through them the juicy insides could be devoured.

“I know that it’s easy money... but there is nothing to do…”

Armand rolled his eyes while looking at the encampment of the knights. The group had been slowly advancing further into the dungeon while returning here with their loot. He had no idea what their purpose was here but not like he cared. They had just returned from a small expedition an hour ago so there was some movement now.

While lazily looking around he saw a certain armored man leaving one of the tents. Roland had been noticed by him acting strangely and now for some reason, he was constantly visiting the noble camp.

“Heading out to your little noble lover Wayland?”


Lobelia had noticed him leaving each day to go to that camp as well. This would be his third time heading there.

“You can’t fool my elven eyes, I see you going into that cave where they are keeping the two mage ladies, didn’t know you were such a charmer, Wayland!”

She started shaking her hips provocatively while describing the situation. Soon Armand joined in on the questioning as he did not pay that much attention.

“He is? The blue-haired one or the blond?”

“It’s the blue one.”

Lobelia replied while Armand rubbed his chin for a moment before looking back to Roland with a dumbfounded look on his face.

“Woah, good choice… she might not look like it, but she can’t fool my eye.”

“Huh what do you mean?”

Lobelia turned to Armand as she wasn’t sure what he meant by that comment.

“Hah, not like a pancake as you would even understand.”

“Hey, what did you say!?”

Roland looked at the two idiots fighting. Lobelia was quick to jump on Armand after the comment and started hitting him with her small fists. He was a large man so he just covered his head while laughing.

‘Those two sure get along… but I feel like I’m losing intelligence points the more I listen to their conversations…’

After a few days had passed not much seemed to be happening. The knights were periodically patrolling the area around their encampment. They faced off against the monsters that were living here, mostly the volcanic salamanders and Wolf types that were similar to Agni.

There was also a monster called ‘Fire Fly’ that liked to spit lava at its enemies and was the size of a domesticated cat. It was hard to defeat with only knights and mages in the party but some of the knights like Robert did have some lesser archery skills that could be used on this occasion. He wondered if the teacher that came with them would lower their score for not bringing any archers to this expedition but it might have been a requirement to only use knights.

“Agni stay here.”

Roland leaned down to his Ruby Wolf companion that gave out a whine and started to look at him with those puppy dog eyes.

“I don’t trust those knights, they might confuse you with one of the monsters living here.”

Agni after his first evolution had gained a lot of intelligence. Roland felt that explaining the situation to him would actually bear some fruit.


But before he could convince his wolf to stay without giving an order he was tackled from the side by an overzealous half-elf.

“Who is a good boy!”

The girl started rubbing the Ruby wolf’s belly and his hind leg began to twitch. Soon he flopped his tongue out and was in bliss. It looked like Lobelia had grown fond of his tamed monster and with nothing else to do she bombarded poor Agni with pets and scratches.

“Don’t worry Wayland, I’ll keep him busy!”

He just nodded while turning to the camp of the nobles. One of the knights greeted him along the way without doing anything to stop him from entering. He had made a small deal with the blue-haired woman. For money and access to the runic books she had, he would help her with some runic research.

Roland was previously unaware of this but mages could somewhat affect the runic structures themselves. Not by changing them with runecraft but they could empower their effects with their own mana and even convert some simple runic spells to more complex ones on the fly with their own magic.

These runic mages were somewhat able to affect the magic language that was embedded into the runic structure. They were unable to affect the outside of these runes, this was all dependent on the runesmith.

This mage type was not that sought after due to this limiting factor. They relied on runic weapons without being able to actually alter the ‘hardware’ part of the runic structure. If anyone wanted to maximize that class they would have to get a Runesmithing class as well.

However, mages and craftsmen weren’t that similar in that regard. Hammering hard metal into shape and working in a smithy wasn’t something that magical types liked to do. Thus it was a very rarely seen profession.

Roland was now aware of this class, it was also a tier 2 profession. He wasn’t sure if he could even acquire it due to the lack of elemental proficiencies. He could not ask Lady Lucille about it as him not having any elemental affinities would be a dead giveaway to his true identity.

If it was a worthwhile class was also up to debate. He could already affect the runic code with his Runsmith Lord class. It might have not added anything new and the skills could very well overlap with one another. The only thing he would be getting from it would be the mage-focused stats if he went with it after his current class was maxed out.

“You may enter…”

Roland was greeted by a new knight this time around. Luckily his brother Robert wasn’t this lady's exclusive knight. Her bodyguards switched out from time to time depending on who was on guard duty.

“Sir Wayland, I’ve been waiting for you, have you read through the research material? Do you need more time?”

Inside of the cave that the two girls were living in had changed a bit. There were some curtains made from some flame-resistant materials hung up all over the place. It separated each of the girl's sections, further in the back there was even a toilet and a hot tub. It didn’t look like these two were in any kind of danger, it was like a vacation.

“Yes, I’ve read through them, it was very insightful.”

Thanks to this girl he was getting hidden resources that no one besides nobility could get their hands on. This blue-haired girl was really interested in runic magic and even had some proper skills related to them.

He was unsure if she was trying to become a runic mage though. From his perspective, it would be a bad idea. The girl was already a frost mage which was more of a traditional caster. If there was something like a Tier 3 Runic Frost Mage class was unknown, even if there was would it be better than all the other tier 3 classes that didn’t need runic weapons?

“Really? So today we can discuss the lecture about … “

Roland wanted to ask if the girl was really serious about this but he was not that nosy. She was already a proper adult and had to make the choices herself. If she really liked runic structures this much she might actually be the right person to go for a runic mage profession.

For a couple of hours a day, he would explain the runic schematics to her and how they worked. At first, there was a slight barrier between the two. He was self-taught so he had no idea how proper mages were taught. Thanks to this encounter his eyes were also opened to the world of magic.

He was given runic spell books and gained even a lot of experience by creating improved schematics of some of the runes from the books. Money and runes were given to him, this expedition already bore fruit. Even if they returned now and he didn’t get those manufacturing secrets he would be able to progress with his golem design.

Just like that, a week had passed with not much happening. The knights continued to slay monsters left and right and the corpses kept piling up. Soon it was time to move out as the first part of the expedition was complete.

With the order given they all marched out. This time Roland’s party was back to scouting out from the front while others followed after. Silvio was quite good at detecting any danger which then was eliminated by either some arrows or runic spells.

The fire-type monsters were just too susceptible to the cold effects. However the further they ventured in, the warmer it became. With this, the ice magic started to falter under the heatwave that were the many lava pools.

“Wait… we have arrived at the molten lake…”

Silvio looked at the map that the adventurer guild prepared for them. This section was quite far into the lava dungeon. In front of them was a large section with molten rock. It made it look like a giant lake that went on for a kilometer.

In the middle of it was a sort of bridge that would periodically get flooded by this lava. Luckily for them, they had gathered the information beforehand. One unlucky party of adventurers fell to this trap. The lava would flood at certain times and engulf anyone foolish to walk through the bridge.

“We need to get the timing right or we will all die here…”

Silvio commented while Roland nodded.

“Are you sure those lordlings will pass through it fast enough?”

Armand chimed in from the side while throwing a rock into the lava lake. He as some of the party members were a bit unconvinced about these knights. They were quite slow and this section required a faster pace.

“It should be fine… that’s not something we should be concerned about…”

Silvio looked at the sinking stone that Armand threw into the large pool of lava. It was quickly engulfed by it as it sank down. He used one of his detection skills while looking further than anyone from this party could see.

“There are a few of them… get ready for a fight while we go across…”

“A lot of what? I don’t see anything.”

Armand called out while looking at the empty lake of lava. He could see anything besides bubbles of magma bursting, no monster in sight.

“There should be some monsters in the lake…”

Roland stepped forward, in his hand was a ball of metal. He injected his mana into it and a strange holographic landscape appeared before them.

“Huh, what’s that?”

The party member’s eyes widened after seeing the green light that this ball of metal was producing. This was an improved version of his previous mapping system. Now with some more knowledge about the inner workings of runes this could be called a map.

“It’s a map… see those red dots, those are monsters…”

The explanation was quite short but Silvio who was versed in tracking didn’t take long to figure this map out. This map was showing a lot of red dots below the surface of this lake. There were monsters, lurking to jump out at the chance of people crossing to the other side.

“Lot red!”

Korgak proclaimed while poking the light that was produced from this runic sphere. The moment the large digit poked one of the red lights it was dispersed. This product was something that Roland wanted to introduce to the Guild Master after the expedition so he wasn’t worried about showing it off to the others.

It could even be used as free advertisement if the group found use in it and told their adventurer friends. By this point, he had already decided on partnering up with the adventurer guild. Everyone also knew that he was a runesmith so there was no reason to hide his wares anymore. The more people saw them in action, the more he could sell later.

“Quite a bit of them there… but we should be fine if we cross the bridge in time… if not we could take the other path…”

Silvio mumbled to himself while Roland also inspected the area. He had been here before but he had not ventured in further than this spot. From the previous adventurer teams that had gone past this point, they had gained some information.

They reported that there was just enough time to get past to the other side while running at a moderate pace. Roland examined the distance a bit beforehand and also thought that if they bolted it they would be safe before the whole thing was flooded.

Even if the monsters appeared, they just needed to move forward to the other side without looking back. It seemed like an easy task of moving forward, that is if they didn’t have certain two people that liked to slow down the others.

“Right there was another path...”

He said while turning to Silvio.

“Yes, we could travel further west. It will take half a day but there is another way. It’s longer, the danger level is about the same but we wouldn’t need to move fast.”

There it was, two options and the decision would be left to the noble leader Lord Percival. Though without even asking Roland had an idea of which path he would choose. Silvio went away to make a report while the rest of the party waited.

Armand and Korgak just stood there while yawning, Sister Kassia was right next to him and his large magical rod that gave out chilling air. Lobelia just continued to ruffle up Agni’s fur, the poor ruby wolf’s leg was in continuous motion.

At this area, the heat started to become quite uncomfortable and it would only get worse the further they traveled. Luckily for him, the armor he was wearing had a constant chilling effect.

He had made some armbands which everyone from this party was wearing that had a similar effect. They were all made from deep steel and could cover the body of the person wearing them in a thin layer of chilled energy.

This wasn’t an item that most of this group could use for a prolonged time due to the mana drain but it could be used to periodically cool them down, or even save their lives if they found themselves against too much heat.

“So, where are we going?”

Silvio returned with a slightly annoyed look on his face and Roland’s hunch was confirmed.

“We’ll be taking the side path, the lordling doesn’t think that it would be proper to expose these noble ladies to danger.”

“Hah, why are they even here then, to have a picnic?”

Armand asked while also groaning.

“Has anyone from you visited that path?”

Silvio asked as he was still a first-timer in this dungeon and quite a bit of work was shoved on Lobelia that knew the layout.

“Not really, we always went through here.”

This time around she just shrugged as most people didn’t bother with taking the long route as there wasn’t anything profitable there. They also just ended up back at this lake but on the other side instead.

“Great… okay, let us head out.”

They moved forward, only when the nobles took a break and set up a new encampment would they be allowed to rest with them. For now, they needed to act as scouts and pave the road for their employees.

A note from Kuropon

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