One day, at the underground battle arena of the Ikebukuro Berserkers.
Oh, hey, Player's here! Alright, Now I've got all the personnel I needed!
Andvari boisterously greeted the new arrival the moment they stepped in, arms spread wide in a welcoming gesture.
Behind him were an assortment of his fellow Berserkers: Bathym, Pollux and Nomad.
What's all this about?
It's the half-naked party...!
Player-chan came after all! I've been looking forward to this! And, my condolences!
Either say welcome or express your pity, stick to one...!
I'm fully clothed damnit! What the hell kind of name is Half Naked Party?!
What if we called ourselves the Nearly Nothing Team instead, Nomad-chan?
Don't lump me in with the likes of you!!
Hey, look what the dog dragged in. Andvari roped you into this too huh?
Dog? Do I look like Garmr to you?!
Anyway! Don't listen to them and just rely on me, Player!
Leave it to me！
You still haven't told me what you called me out here for.
Of course, there's the matter of my compensation fee...
Oho, now there's a good response... I respect that kind of business acumen, for real!
Well, that's Andvari for you. Anyway, don't you think you owe them a proper explanation now?
Are we going someplace dangerous? You're leading this expedition, so you don't want there to be any misunderstandings, right?
Ah, certainly. See, recently the guild's medical costs have been rising.
Well, to cut a long story short, we're dealing with an overworld shift.
dunno if you heard about the incident a few days ago, when the underground passages beneath the guild our boss Claude built--
...overlapped with dungeons from some other world.
reference to Nomad's character quest
Well, stuff like that ain't uncommon here in Tokyo. Something similar happened before in the underground shopping area in Shinjuku, and in this case--
-strange, snowy mountains have appeared in Minato-ku.
Well, skipping to the relevant part, those mountains contain dungeons that are supposed to be loaded with treasure!
It's a real gold rush situation! The longer we dawdle around the more booty other people are gonna find and depreciate the market value!
That's why I had to put this party together on such short notice! The early bird's gettin' this worm!
So the short version is, you need us to escort you? No sweat.
Worth noting, our destination is an unexplored dungeon. There's no telling what we might end up having to face!
I still have to find my brother. Who knows, maybe he was summoned along with this place.
Even if he's not though, maybe we'll run into a formidable new opponent! I'm getting hyped up already!
Oops, my bad, boss. What's with that face?
.....If we add more members to the expedition that means we have to split the payload even more, but then again maybe that means the curse will split targets evenly too... *mutter mutter*
You say something, Boss Andvari?
Eh? Wha? Wasn't listening. Did you say somethin'?
(I don't think they realize they're not on the same page here. But it's funny, so I'm not gonna say a word!)
Anyway, with your support, I have high hopes for this little endeavor!
Ah, this here's the contract. Just sign here on the dotted line, yes yes, you'll have to cover your own transportation costs out of pocket, but that's trivial compared to the bonus we'll make, for real!
I'll do my best!
I have a bad feeling about this.
You've got nothing to worry about Player, seriously! With this crew the expedition will be a snap! Would I lie to you?
Is anyone else coming along?
Ah, I did put some feelers out, but, I hit a few snags...
Macan has no interest in money, Garmr, Kengo and Taurus were busy with schoolwork...
Snow and Claude would be more trouble than they're worth, Moritaka absolutely refused to ever work with me and Horkeu Kamui is off in the mountains or something...
But hey, that's their loss! The rising stars of the Berserkers are all we need! Now let's make a huge profit!
Of course, avoiding the retribution part doesn't mean it goes away
The "retribution" only counts when it's received properly.
In other words, you have to pay your dues one way or another even if you delay it.
That said, the power of the "retribution" also spreads evenly among the number of people around. I invited Bathym and Nomad to dilute the effects, but nobody else wanted to come along...
And thanks to that musclebrained idiot deactivating his sacred artifact too early, we got attacked by slimes!
But the cause of that rock that almost crushed me... was this.
Andvari reached to the bag of spoils the group had collected and produced a small, glittering trinket.
It came from that last treasure chest. It may look like nothing more than a pretty bauble to an untrained eye, but this is worth a LOT of money.
I'm absolutely certain my sacred artifact called this to me. The moment I got it, a compensating "retribution" happened.
We must have too separated for the curse to spread evenly, so only I was targeted.
According to the ring's judgement, this little beauty is worth more than my life.
Well, on the bright side, you can sell this for a ton of money, Player! Hell, I'll wear it for you if you want!
Is money all you care about?
You nearly got all of us killed for this?!
C'mon, everything turned out alright didn't it?
Dwarves are so greedy...
No, dwarves are insatiable.
It's so funny, for real. Is truth that much stranger than fiction?
I've heard they were considered nothing but fantasy for a long time in this world, but where I come from the Dwarf Tribe is commonplace.
It was a real surprise how accurate the stories were though. Besides being greedy, human stories also got details like the Dwarves' top notch smithing, magic not being our forte, they even nailed the appearance!
Elves, dragons, orcs, ogres... they were also common where I come from.
What did you expect? It seems obvious to me.
Why are coins so important?
Well, there's various reasons. Maybe Dwarven instinct?
When I was first summoned to this world, I didn't understand a damn thing. Front and Back, Left and Right, everything was so alien to me.
So, I did my research on the new world. Thakfully, there was no shortage of material to read up on.
If the world changes, then common sense changes too. That's just how it works.
A country is made up of economy, goods, trade and culture. And what do you think is the underlying common ground in all that?
Money! Money's what makes the world go 'round!
Remember it. Coins will never betray you. That won't change no matter if the world, or common sense, or whatever else changes. For real.
Isn't it lonely, living that way?
……You're just like this guy I used to know. A real meddler.
Who am I talking about? He was a brave guy. Real do-gooder type.
..... Don't give me that look.
In our world, there was a demon king.
It really bothers me when you make that face. Seriously.
Here, a special reward for you only.
We'll call it a token of appreciation for keeping my sacred artifact a secret.
Andvari removed one of the many rings on his fingers, tossing it to Player
It's handmade. Just an ordinary ring though.
You might be able to get it enchanted, I dunno. Magic is out of my jurisdiction, for real.
You can't use magic?
You're dexterous even with that belly.
Belly's got nothin' to do with that! For real!
Why do you say 'for real all the time?
Aah, I guess it's a habit I picked up from the family. Our whole clan does it, so I guess it just got stuck in my brain? I've said it since I was a little brat. For real.
'Fraid not. Dwarves don't do magic. It's just how it is with our tribe.
Maybe if it was a half-dwarf... I guess in theory, a dwarf could use magic if they had some elven blood.
...And, muttered in a barely audible voice...
With Player following behind, the two made their way home.