The guildmates woke up early to begin their journey to the equipment shop. They strolled through the lively city, observing the various merchants and traders selling their wares on the bustling streets. Oliver couldn’t help but be amazed at the vast array of weapons and armor on display in the shops they passed.
“Look at these prices! Everything is so affordable,” Oliver exclaimed.
Charles approached Oliver from behind, resting his arm casually on his shoulder. “Yes, everything is cheap here. This is Goblin’s Alley, after all. Most of these weapons are either dull, brittle, or flimsy. The armor isn’t worth a dime, and other essential equipment like food and medicine is subpar,” Charles explained.
“So why do they continue to sell them?” Oliver inquired.
“Well, new adventurers come through here every day, buying this dirt-cheap equipment. They see the nice design and the low price and think, ‘Why not?’ Once they enter the cave, they may get a few kills, but ultimately, they will either die or come out with just a few scraps of loot. But the equipment won’t make it out of that cave one way or another,” Charles replied.
“But how do they get the money to buy equipment?” Oliver asked.
“The guild gives a small, newly formed party 1000 dara, barely enough to cover the cost of a knife, some medical supplies, food, and cramped living quarters. The cheapest hotel I’ve seen is around 70 dara a night per person, and that’s really pushing it,” Raphael chimed in.
“Remember that party who gambled away their guild money and begged us for a loan? Pathetic,” Amelia interjected with a snicker.
“Alright, we have arrived,” Richard announced.
“The Dingbat Society?” Oliver laughed. “What kind of name is that?”
“Well, this is where we get our supplies. Don’t judge it until you’ve tried it. So come on, let’s get you some chainmail armor,” Charles said with a smile.
Charles and Oliver entered the store as the others stood outside talking.
“Charles, don’t forget that we have an 800 dara limit for all supplies. So don’t go overboard,” Richard reminded him.
“Hey, new kid, we have customers,” a deep, scraggly voice from the back of the store bellowed. “Go and welcome them.”
“Hello, welcome to the din- Oh, hey, it’s you. What brings you here, Oliver?” said Leon, emerging from the back of the store.
“You know him?” Charles said, curious about who Leon was.
“Yeah, he and I were summoned here just the other day,” Oliver said to Charles. “So, Leon, is today your first day?”
“Yeah, it was either this or working on the farm. After seeing what that meant, I now realize how they feed the billions of people here. There are farms stretching as far as the eye can see, and millions of merchants working daily in small communities,” Leon explained.
“Why not be a farmer?” Oliver asked.
“Well, all the money is put into a pot and split amongst the community. That’s not my cup of tea,” Leon replied.
Charles tugged on Oliver’s shirt, hinting that they should wrap up the conversation.
“All right, I’ll catch you later,” Oliver said as they headed towards the equipment racks.
As they walked through the racks of armor and weapons, Charles pointed out various pieces of equipment, discussing their pros and cons.
“You want something sturdy, but not too heavy. And definitely avoid anything that looks too flashy or elaborate. In a dungeon, it’s all about functionality, not fashion,” Charles advised.
Oliver nodded, trying to absorb all the information.
Suddenly, he caught sight of a gleaming sword with a beautifully crafted hilt. “What about this one?” Oliver asked, pointing to the sword.
Charles examined the sword and shook his head. “That’s not the one for you, Oliver. It may look nice, but it’s too heavy and unbalanced. You won’t be able to wield it properly in battle.”
Oliver nodded, understanding Charles’ explanation.
Finally, they settled on a set of chainmail armor, a sturdy shield, and a lightweight but durable sword. Charles haggled with the shopkeeper and managed to get a good deal of 600 dara.
As they left the store, Oliver couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. He was ready to begin his adventure, equipped with his new gear and the knowledge he had gained from his guildmates.
“We should probably grab some food and supplies before heading to the dungeon,” Amelia said as they exited the store.
“Agreed. We don’t want to be that party who ran out of food and comes crawling back to the guild,” Richard added.
The guildmates made their way through the busy streets, gathering the supplies they needed for their journey. With their bags packed and their equipment in tow, they set out for the dungeon, ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead.
As they approached the entrance to the cave, Richard began to speak, “this is the first entrance into the dungeon Oliver has done, so keep this in mind. The dungeon is not your friend, and you are not friends with it. Once you enter, you watch every twist, turn, hill, and hole. Creatures in this place are extremely intelligent. They will try anyway to try and separate you from us, and that’s the moment they strike. But don’t worry, you are with us.”
As the group entered the dark, ominous cave, Richard took the lead, his open-book skill allowing him to see the goblins waiting for them just around the corner. He turned to the rest of the team and spoke in a low, authoritative voice.
“Get ready, we’re about to face our first challenge. Amelia, stay back and heal anyone who gets hurt. Luis, start using your marionette skill to control those goblins. Charles, use your goliath skill to hold them off while Raphael and I take care of them with our magic.”
Amelia nodded, her hands already glowing with the power of her heaven’s light skill. Luis closed his eyes and focused, his hands moving in a complex dance as he began to manipulate the minds of the goblins. Charles flexed his muscles and grew to twice his size, his fists raised and ready for battle. Raphael drew his staff and whispered an incantation under his breath.
The goblins charged, their crude weapons raised high. Charles stood firm, his giant form filling the narrow cave passage. He roared and charged forward, taking down two of the goblins with a single swipe of his massive hand. Luis’s marionette skill took over, causing the remaining goblins to turn on each other, slashing and clawing at their comrades.
Richard and Raphael stood back, their eyes locked on the chaos unfolding in front of them. Richard’s open-book skill allowed him to predict the movements of the goblins with ease, his sword moving like an extension of his arm. Raphael’s universal manipulation skill allowed him to control the very elements of the cave, sending shards of rock flying at the goblins with deadly accuracy.
The fight was over in a matter of minutes, the goblins defeated and the group emerging victorious. They moved deeper into the cave, their weapons at the ready and their senses heightened. The air grew colder and damper as they descended deeper into the earth.
As they approached the second level, they could hear the sounds of trolls and ogres grunting and growling in the darkness. The team exchanged a look, knowing that the next fight would be even more challenging than the last. They steeled themselves for the battle ahead, their determination unwavering.
The cave walls grew narrower, forcing the group into a single-file line. Richard took the lead once again, his open book skill at the ready to allow him to predict the movements of the trolls and ogres waiting for them just ahead. The team moved forward, their footsteps echoing loudly in the darkness.
As soon as they came in contact with the beasts, Richard’s passive activation open book skill tried to keep up with the unpredictable movements of their enemies, but it didn’t work so he found himself on the defensive more than he liked, barely able to avoid being hit. Amelia was struggling to keep up with the mounting injuries of her team, her heaven’s light skill quickly draining her strength.
Luis was doing his best to keep the monsters at bay with his marionette skill, but there were simply too bit and strong. Luis had to mold the walls and environment instead, slowing down the enemy’s attacks. Charles’ goliath skill was no longer effective as the monsters grew to match his size and strength but he stil pushed against the enemies of trollsana ogres. Raphael’s universal manipulation was powerful, but the strain of casting such complex spells was taking its toll on his strength.
The battle dragged on for what felt like hours, with the team slowly being pushed back by the sheer force of their enemies. Their weapons and armor were damaged beyond repair, and their bodies were bruised and battered.
But despite the odds against them, the team refused to give up. They fought with everything they had, with Richard finally managing to land a decisive blow that took down the largest monster in the group. The other monsters, realizing their leader had fallen, began to retreat, allowing the team to press forward once more.
As they reached the entrance to the second level, the team collapsed onto the ground, panting and gasping for air. They knew that they had barely made it out of that battle alive, and that the challenges they would face ahead would only get harder. But they were determined to keep going, no matter what lay ahead.
As the others lay down, Richard, Oliver, and Raphael stood tall, standing over the others “This is the furthest you three have ever gone into the cave, so I understand why yall are exhausted. This means me and Raphael will lead the vanguard this time. Charles and Luis stay in the back with Oliver Amelia, me and Raphael will need you in the middle casting healing magic and protection over us.”