Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 417.Somewhere Else (X)

Chapter 416: The Administrator

It really was a city within a dungeon. A city like an anthill. Narrow hallways and former burial chambers turned into humble abodes, only separated from the bustling corridors by flimsy curtains.

It reminded Seth a lot of the undercity of Ora, though it was arguably still more orderly than the haphazard tunnels the dregs of society had dug into the ground and bedrock.

Was this the reason why ancient soldiers were stored in wooden boxes on the upper floors? Because they relinquished their last resting place to the living?

Unlike the upper floors, there was light here. Dungeons typically had some kind of magic illumination. It was not out of courtesy for invaders but was the case when the spawned monsters had no night vision.

Undead needed no light, so the upper floors were dark, except for some discretely placed coal basins or braziers. Which brought up the question, was the illumination here really out of consideration for the people… or were these people already part of the dungeon?

Seth had heard that some dungeon would lure in and recruit beasts from the outside, but once a creature became part of a dungeon, it would be unable to leave.

Looking around, people didnt look too great, but they did not seem to be starving either. The mood among them was good in general, but… did they know? If it was true, it could explain a few things, but…

Oh well, Seth wasnt even sure whether his doubts were justified. Maybe they werent part of the dungeon? Or maybe it was an agreement? He kept his thoughts to himself. It was not his place to speak up, for now.

One of the guards Ahmed talked to came along to notify the Administrator of their arrival. He told them he would bring them to “the city” where the administrator and the Lord of Baram had their seat.

The guard led them to a hidden corner on the floor and down an endless seeming spiral staircase.it had landings at regular intervals, probably leading to the floors they passed by taking the stairs. Was this part of the original design? Or was it augmented?

Seth wouldnt believe for a second, that the original tomb had this many floors. Maybe there was a staircase to visit the different tombs but why would a dungeon need it? Dungeons with this many floors would have teleporters adventurers could use to travel between already visited dungeons. Why was there a hack to skip floors?

They only realized what he meant by “the city” when they reached the 45th floor. Ot to be precise, the 45th, 46th, 47th, and 48th floors. The ceiling of these levels had been broken trough, creating an expansive cavern, that provided enough space for a townscape.

The ceiling of this mega floor was covered by an illusion of the sky, with an artificial sun.

“Wow…” it was not just Ellie who couldnt help but exclaim. Seeing such a picturesque scene after walking through dimly lit catacombs and graves for hours was a true blessing. The narrow alleys here were chock full of people, even worse than on the previous floors they passed.

Here were even people on the roof.

“So many people…” Elza mumbled unwittingly.

“Many people who have their accommodations on other floors will assemble here for a diversion and to enjoy a few hours of sunlight and implied normalcy.” the guard answered with a wry smile.

He led them to the tallest building at the center of the townscape. This city hall was where the Administrator and the Lord of Baram resided. On the way, he praised the great pharaohs virtue, as he was so magnanimous as to give them such a place of respite in such dire times.

Except for their short walk through the 30th floor, this was their first time to learn more about the daily life in the dungeon. Despite the overarching crisis that befell their world, the people were not too depressed here. The guard would readily explain everything to them.

Their food was strictly rationed and spawned from the treasure chests at public food distribution centers. There were several sources of water and public toilets available to the people. The dungeon would take care of any waste and trash by absorbing it.

The “town hall” itself was like an irregular pillar. It was neither pretty nor luxurious. The only fascinating part about it was that it was the only building that seemingly “vanished” in the sky. The guard explained that it was the only thing left of the structure of the previous floors.

Most staircases and boss rooms, which also made it a defense work. If something really broke through this far, it would simply face a row of staircases and boss rooms, without having a chance to enter the town.

“But why didnt you do this for all populated floors?” The merchant voiced a question, Seth also had thought about.

The guard fell silent and thought for a moment.

“I dont know. You will have to ask the administrator.” was his conclusion. A simple guard was not high enough in the hierarchy to know about things like the restructuring plans for the dungeon.

As they got closer, they found that the city hall was surrounded by a moat, filled with water unnatural clarity. A railing kept people from approaching the moat anywhere else but at the drawbridge.

“Wow, the water is so clear.” the rakshasa girl mumbled.

“Its not water. Thats acid.” Elli commented seriously.

“Acid, why would they have a moat of acid?” brock asked interested.

“Its in case the town hall is overrun, and beasts try to get out.” Ahmed finally had the chance to show his knowledge.

“That is correct. Anything that falls into this acid will be quickly dissolved only leaving a clear liquid behind.” the guard added.

Everyone eyed the liquid at the bottom of the moat with a hint of horror. They felt a little queasy crossing the bridge.

“Please wait here, while I inform the Administrator.” the guard said, before leaving them behind in the lobby. There were only two silent undead guards, watching them emotionlessly with their red glowing eyes.

“lets use this as a break.” the hero tried to suggest, but everyone was already in the motion to sit down and rest. Seth and Ellie even bought out some packed lunch from Link, their gourmet hunter. It was normal food without any effects, but the hunters skill as a chef had made leaps and bounds ever since he did not have to leave the kitchen anymore.

Facing the piercing eyes of some party members who were stuck with dry ration, they reluctantly shared some.

It took about an hour for the guard to return. He was followed by a servant in an exotic-looking robe, matching the style they had seen on the streets.

“Greeting Visitors. This servant will guide you to the audience chamber. The Administrator is awaiting you.” he said with a smile and led them up a few shabby stairs.

“Tsk, Tsk, so this is the bunch who killed our ghoul horde! Do you know how much resources it takes to spawn those?” a snarky voice greeted them as they entered the room.

On the opposite side, on a throne, sat a tall mummy, clad in an emerald robe and a golden headdress decorated with white feathers.

“Are you the administrator?” Ben Harker stepped to the front.

“Insolent. Speaking to this grand vizier like that. Are there no manners where you come from?”

Although the choice of words was aggressive, the mummy and its voice were calm and rather provocative.

“I do not know your manner, nor would I follow them to please a dungeon monster. Dont think I can be fooled like them. “

Ahmed looked at him shocked.

“M-Mr. Harker, please stop.” Yvette tried to interrupt but a hero cant be stopped.

“You have imprisoned so many people in this place to harvest their lives. Offering shelter to take advantage of the innocent! As a hero, I cant possibly watch you go on like this! I will kill you and free them of your evil spell! Guys, get ready for a boss battle!”

What was this guy even saying? Did he know something they didnt? Even if he did, he should have communicated beforehand, because right now:

Nobody moved, except their palms to their faces. Even Rich, that crocodile bird, that kept sticking to the heros side could not but shake his head.

“What are you doing? I am the party leader! Follow my order and get ready for battle!”

Again, nobody moved. Everyone did their best in pretending not to know the Hero. His partys unwillingness was not enough to stop the heros rampant sense of justice.

“Then I will do it myself!” he barked and attacked the Administrator.

The heros sword was easily deflected by a magic shield without the grand vizier moving an inch from his throne.

All guard in the tower, human and undead, promptly unsheathed their weapons and assembled in the audience chamber. That was not all, there were another four burly undead that were head and shoulders above the rest, each came with a set of elite troops.

Now there were five dungeon bosses weighing their aura on the hero, fighting his lone battle for justice. The rest of the party had not moved an inch and were surrounded by blades.

Even Seth had not expected the situation to go out of control this quickly…

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