31 Grey world
This structure is very smooth, it works akin to a complex well-oiled machine. This is truly fantastic news for me since such a structure will fall apart by a grain of sand. What will occur in case of a handful? I calculate the odds of success to be around 89%, the remaining 11% should also be taken care of by backup strategies"
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"If my theory is correct, the owner of this ground does not wish for much foreign interference. Rather both sides tamper their foot soldiers, getting ready for the main war. The governments should have gained control of higher tires of this dungeon, putting barricades, stopping any advancement for adventurers. The master of this place has also stationed many traps and troops around these checkpoints. Of course, the dungeon master has the advantage of home ground, yet humans have the frightening reproductive ability, the slight advantage of familiar grounds cannot stop the overwhelming excess of enemies. The only explanation for the stalemate should be the presence of other parties, they could be other races or dungeons. If there was no stalemate, the presence of a controlled garden and these goblin villages would not be justified. As this place would be swarmed with low-level soldiers. All of these are theories based on the deduction, with a probability of 67%, there are still many factors to be understood for a more definite picture. I should confirm my guesses by reading the memories of some humans, but with limited knowledge about the soul, it is best to find weak-willed subjects. It should be about time for these goblins to have finished my orders, it is time to act" John pondered more.
In another location, a small group of 6 was slowly approaching near an enormous entrance. The air reeked of many unbearable odors, burnet leather, rotten corpses and the rust of equipment were only a small portion of the aroma. The atmosphere was dark and gloomy, many groups were visible, some with light injuries, some carrying their severely wounded comrades, asking for medics, priests or healers. Some wails of pain and suffering could be heard, emphasizing the dangers of being a daredevil. The entire field was filled with the sound of arguing over stalls, making bystanders think of such sound as a lively market. However, the cries of suffering and sobs over dead would immediately break the bright image of the town market.
One could easily spot many stalls, selling necessities, dried meat, weapons, and camping supplies were amongst them. These stalls provided adventurers with any and all of their needs, yet the prices of their goods were unreasonably out of reach. When asked about such absurd treatment, their answer had simply been the convenience of their location and excess danger factor. Which was ludicrous, since there were many guards stationed by the entrance, keeping an eye on each and every activity. The soldiers were strong and experienced, proudly wearing the sigil of their houses, representing strong backing. In truth, all stall owners and soldiers of this place had capable backgrounds, or they would not have been able to operate with such close proximity to a gold mine. Some trouble occurred from time to time, from small flies, who did not understand the order of life, the soldiers were more than happy to show the reality to them. News of broken or cut limbs was quite a regular event around this region. Fighting for a living had many on edge, so some slight misbehavior was tolerated or lightly punished. It has been some time since an execution took place, after an unfortunate soul resisted arrest, attacking the patrol. The altercation led to his demise, yet with no proper background, no question was asked, which helped with swiping the matter under the rug. The murderer was fined a few coins, which was paid from his salary to the court and just like that the matter was settled.
The group of travelers checked their equipment before going inside the dungeon. A warrior amongst them asked:
"Hey guys, I think we need more carriers, just one will not be enough, what if we get a big load? Should we carry it ourselves? Then who would fight them damned monsters? They won't cost much. What do you say?"
"I think Alvin is right we better get another carrier. For a muscle head, sometimes he actually gives good pointers, haha" Betsy the archer mocked.
Beryl, Betsy's sister who had some slight emotional interest towards Alvin came to his defense: "Us warriors are not muscle heads you know, we are simply not scrawny like Link, hehe. But I also agree to another helping hand"
Link the wizard of group objected: "I am graceful, like a dancer, plus, more mass gets in the way of casting spells. Also, ladies seem to love me anyway and isn't that what really matters? I don't like to pay extra and it affects my spelling process to have 7 members, but I hate carrying shit so let's do it"
Dahlia the leader of this small group loudly said: "Pipe down Link, where are the ladies you are talking about? Haha, I've never seen any of them? Have any of you guys?"
"Not that I recall"
"Argh, fine you stupid people, you know I save our lives every time right? In all fairness, the ladies I find are in brothels hahaha" Link said jokingly.
Dahlia the thief added: "Its easy to find another carrier, just look around, asking a couple of them will give us a rough estimate of their rate, it should be less than the one we paid to get us here and come inside too"
The group scattered to find another helper, a medium built middle-aged man with a forgettable face carrying a massive backpack, larger than himself followed the leader.
Dahlia asked the assistant: "Rod do you know any good attendant here?"
Rod the carrier replied: "They are all same in my humble view, just pick one that looks strong enough for your loads"
He did not mind sharing his burden with another while getting the same compensation. This type of work had a complex payment structure, it depended on many factors such as distance, danger level, package value, weight and etc. But it did not matter if the future loads would not add up to the prior agreed amount, the assistant would receive more reward only if the heft was more. Thus, Rod had an agreement and did not like to push himself too hard, because it led to long term injuries. Plus, it made him a bigger slower target for monsters to attack, he hated that!
After a short period, a young girl was found, she was tall but rather thin, Link had found her on purpose, showing the strength of this scrawny young women. The girl asked an average compensation which was agreed by the group.
Link said: "So now that we have found another assistant, we should go. Oh, I almost forgot, her name is Ginger, which makes sense she has red hair haha"
The girl had a tall, delicate frame with a dirty face and dull eyes, it seemed as if she had seen terrible events. Her face made one's heartache, it showed deep pain, yet strangely no qualm could be seen as if she had accepted her fate. This look belonged to those with broken dreams, losing a part of themselves, none knew it existed prior to witnessing cruel reality. If asked, the girl would most likely tell her long tale, one filled with struggles, which would make her become a lifelong companion for her savior. However, none of the party members cared, they had their own issues, princes on white horses were meant to be stories. If benefits were not in sight, those with power to do something would not move, helping the weak was for idealists. After becoming an adventurer, all of the party members had experienced many hardships, becoming devastated more times than they could count. Slowly slowly, they learned to be realistic, gathering power, one step at a time.