Chapter 526.1 – Idle Talk: Stairway to Hell
Author: Eguchi Ren
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou >_<
Eguchi Ren: Happy New Year! This is the first update for the year 2021!
It’s a continuation of the previous chapter as we follow the story of [Ark] after they parted ways with Mukouda’s party.
The A Rank party, [Ark] finally stepped through the entrance of Ronkainen’s Adventurer’s Guild.
Seeing the somewhat famous A Rankers, the other Adventurers made way for the exhausted-looking [Ark]. Gaudino immediately made his way to the reception window and said, “Sorry, but could you call the Guild Master over? Tell him that A Rank party [Ark] is asking to meet with him.”
The receptionist, also recognising them, immediately went to call the Guild Master.
“Hey, do you think they’d even believe us?” muttered Gideon.
“It doesn’t matter whether they believe us or not. We just have to report what we have seen to the guild,” said a tired Siegwald.
“Siegwald is right. Moreover, if they want to check our story, they can just get Mukouda-san to verify it.”
It was no exaggeration to say that Gaudino was probably the one who suffered the most stress from this dungeon challenge. He was the party leader after all and therefore shoulders the responsibility for his teammate’s safety.
 “Guild should know… we know Mukouda-san,” said Feodora quietly. She was looking longingly in the direction of the tavern right next to the guild office.
Fortunately, Orson the Guild Master arrived before she darted away.
“Hello, hello,” said Orson. “I heard that you have something to tell me?”
“Hmm,” he studied their general appearance and said, “Come upstairs. I think this is not going to be some short story, eh?”
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The tension was strong at the guild master’s office. Gaudino and Siegwald were seated on a pair of ostentatious-looking chairs with clawed feet while Gideon and Feodora sat in plain wooden chairs brought in by the staff. All four were facing Guild Master Orson.
Tea was brewed, poured and sipped before Guild Master Orson broke the silence and said, “So, what’s the story?”
The [Ark] did not immediately speak. Instead, they exchange hesitant looks with each other before Gaudino leaned forward and said, “We have successfully cleared the dungeon situation on the land where a collection of small countries warred against each other.”
“…what?” The guild master looked perplexed. “There’s a dungeon there?”
“In the wasteland northwest of this city, surely you must have heard of it?”
It was clear that Orson had forgotten all about this dungeon. Even so, after frowning for a bit, he said at last, “I may have heard of it. I believe that the dungeon had remained untouched due to its sensitive location…”
“Oh, it’s there alright,” said Gaudino. “And we have proof.”
The proof is the magic bag that they received from Mukouda.
“If you don’t mind, perhaps we could adjourn to somewhere with… more space?”
“… I seem to have experienced this before…” Orson muttered.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, nothing, let us adjourn to the warehouse,” said Orson quickly. “Let’s have a look and see what that dungeon has to offer, eh?”
The things they took out were nothing short of incredible.
Red Tail Caiman Skin, Blue-Headed Otter Skin, Neon Budgie Feather and, was that actually Cetus Skin?
As he stuck his hand into the magic bag, Gaudino looked at Orson’s wide eyes and cleared his throat. “Ahem, you… may want to brace yourself for this, Guild Master.”
He took out the Sea Serpent’s fangs and large magic stones.
Above all… money!!
 A great fortune could be made from that poorly located dungeon!! Even though the wasteland was technically part of the group of small countries, it was basically no man’s land! If the guild could claim that place, which was not too far from Ronkainen, the city could grow rich and attract even more Adventurers to this city!
 Moreover, there could be even greater treasures and resources that could be found there!!
 “We must release information on this dungeon at once!” cried Orson. “Such a lucrative dungeon… to think we have such a wonderful thing right at our doorstep-!”
As the guild master grew more and more excited, the expression on the members of [Ark]’s faces remained cold. After all, they of all people, understood the cost of collecting these treasures.
“Guild Master,” said Gaudino gravely. “I would ask that you hold the news until we finish telling you our story.”
“While the Drop items of that dungeon are indeed valuable, if asked to challenge that place again, I would refuse,” he added.
“Same here,” said Gideon. “Money’s good, but it’s only good if I can get out of that place with my life intact.”
“Mere survival alone is hard enough, I cannot imagine myself getting out of that place safely,” muttered Siegwald.
“It’s dangerous…” whispered Feodora.
“But,” said Orson. “All four of you…”
“In the first place, we did not challenge the dungeon alone. We only managed to reach the end thanks to S Ranker Mukouda-san.”
“S Ranker Mukouda… so you are acquainted with him?”
“It is our honour.”
“I see, I did not realise that your relationship was close enough for a joint dungeon challenge,” said Orson, scepticism in his voice.
Gaudino smiled, “We pleaded with him to let us join his party for the dungeon challenge not knowing what was ahead. I dare say we pestered him on a thin connection and Mukouda-san was kind enough to indulge us. However, I must say this, without Mukouda and his familiars, we would never have made it out of the dungeon alive.”
From here on, Gaudino proceeded to share everything they could think of about the dungeon. The environment, the monsters, the techniques they used to fight the monsters, the weather and so forth.
“Haahh~~ A vast sea and great swamp, you say?”
“Indeed, perhaps an S rank party may be able to conquer the first level, but for the next level… I’m afraid it is impossible to travel without a huge ocean vessel,” said Gaudino.
“Even then! Sea monsters lurk everywhere. Things kept trying to board us even with Sui fighting back!” exclaimed Gideon.
“Sui? Mukouda’s… Slime?”
“Umu, that reminds me, Sui was the one who helped us collect most of the Drop items from monsters we subjugated at sea. Imagine defeating a great sea beast with nothing to show for it because the precious Drop items sank to the bottom of the sea,” sighed Siegwald.
“No fish meat… no turtle meat… no serpent meat…”  muttered Feodora as she shook her head sadly.
“No, no, don’t mention going across the sea, the first glimpse of that vast blue-green nothingness after going down all those stairs is enough to knock someone senseless,” said Siegwald.
“After that, there’s no way to return to the surface but traversing across the ocean or going back up the stairs and slogging your way through the swamp again,” muttered Gaudino.
“It’s like a stairway to hell! Hahaha! Hahaha!” Gideon was starting to sound slightly hysterical.
“Stairway to hell, die at the end of the stairway to hell,”  Feodora also sounded a little off.
“Not unless the next Adventurer has powerful familiars like the Fenrir and Ancient Dragon,” said Gaudino firmly.
The others nodded.
“After all, there are things like the Charybdis and Leviathan…”
“Before that, the two Assassin Jaguars guarding the Boss area, so…”
“Death… death comes too easily…”
While the party chattered on and on about the various horrible monsters they have personally witnessed with their own eyes, Orson’s face started twitching.
“W-wait, are you saying that… you actually encountered Charybdis and Leviathan?”
 All four A Rankers gave him pitying looks.
“I understand if you don’t believe us,”
“But it is totally true!”
“What I’d give for it to be not true…”
“Horrible truth… terrible…”
“Ahem,” Gaudino cleared his throat. “As mentioned, we challenged the dungeon with Mukouda. If you wish to verify our words, it is a simple matter to contact him. As I understand it, he should be on his way back to his base at Carelina…”
“I see, well, it’s not like I doubt your words, but such… incredible tale certainly needs to be verified first.”
“Also, it’s best not to say anything about the dungeon for now. We came to make a report as it is our duty as Adventurers to do so. However, I maintain that the dungeon is too dangerous and should not be made public until further notice.”
“Who knows what inexperience fool wish to throw their lives away for clout…”
“Tsk,” Feodora shook her head disdainfully at the imaginary ‘fools’.
“Hmm, I understand your views, but it is not my decision to make. I shall gather information first and send a report to my superiors. They will make the call.”
The [Ark] was later ushered politely out of the guild office. They looked at each other for a bit, before collectively making their way to a noisy tavern and sat down together. After ordering food and drink, all four members sighed.
“Well, we did our duty,”
“Let’s hope they won’t be idiots about this.”
“I miss Mukouda’s food…”
“Ou! The beer for me!!”
“Heh, seriously though, I really thought we were going to die several times,” sighed Gaudino. “I’m really sorry for putting you all through that.”
“Nah, we all wanted to go. Hey, it’s Mukouda the Dungeon Clearer. Following him would almost certainly guarantee a profit. So, don’t beat yourself up over it, leader.”
“Indeed, also, I may have urged you for the alcohol alone…”
“Ou! That’s the spirit, Feodora!”
“Heh… one thing for sure,” Gaudino downed his ale in one go and thumped the mug on the table. “I am never challenging a dungeon with Mukouda ever again!”
“Gah, I’ll drink to that!”
“… I have my grandson…”
“Hahahah! You got your priorities right for once, Feodora!”
Later, the Adventurer’s Guild quietly decided not to disclose information about that dungeon.
[Gumihou: Woah, I thought for sure they would want to release some information, lol~]
 Add detail for a more realistic, yet still dramatic, revelation
 Add details to showcase Orson’s merchant-like attitude
 I’m not sure why, but Feodora started speaking in full sentences in the past few chapters? Anyway, stuck with the original halting speech pattern
 Kind of a pointless repeat of the whole thing that goes on for over 250 words, summarised it the best I could and still made it interesting
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