Mission 0A: Burning Up
A man entered the Canvas City Adventurer's Guild with a hand covering his face. His sandy brown hair was a mess and he groaned in distress as he made his way to the desk where a dark haired woman was working on copying documents to cards. She looked up and sighed to herself as she addressed the clearly hungover man.
"You really let yourself go whenever Sasha and your sister aren't around, don't you Graham?"
The man groaned again and leaned weakly against the desk the woman was working on. "Shut up, Em. Is it my fault that two of The Six demand we drink every time we commune? I didn't need this before taking the fresh meat to a dungeon."
Emily gave Graham a disapproving stare before moving on to business. "By the way, I've asked Karak for help with this one. There are seven this time."
Graham's raised his face in surprise. Life appeared in his expression for the first time today. "Seven? Are we just letting anyone be adventurers this year?"
"They are all just that good. Most aren't human either."
"As expected of Canvas City..." muttered Graham. "Well, let them in."
The adventurers-to-be made their way through the large doors separating the common room with the Guild office. Graham eyed them carefully and determined the best way to split the seven adventurers into two groups. He clapped to get their attention and began the speech given to everyone who takes the final Adventurer Exam.
"The fact that you have made it this far is something to be praised. It means you are the cream of the crop and at a level that a normal person could only dream to reach. It also means that from here on out you won't be babied. From this exam onward there is a very real chance that you will be severely injured or die. Other than the most basic of dungeons you'll be going in blind as well. You may encounter monsters never seen before and artifacts of unimaginable power."
"Going with that theme we won't tell you anything about the dungeon you are about to enter. The only thing you need to know is your objective. You will find an emblem that looks like this in a treasure chest somewhere in the dungeon."
Graham reached into the pocket of his cleric robe and pulled out a bronze emblem. It was circular and had a picture of an owl carved in the center. Those who were familiar with the emblems of the highest ranking adventurers would recognize it as the emblem of 'October', a formerly A-rank group. "Bring it back and your entire group passes. This is an exam that tests your teamwork as much as it does your individual prowess -- a solo adventurer is a dead adventurer."
"Since there are so many of you I'll split you into two groups." The cleric pointed at Vaeri, Rinka, and Wakana. "You three will be Group A. You will come with me. The rest of you wait here for a bulky man named Karak. You'll know him when you see him." He motioned to the named group to follow him and they made their way outside to a large hill behind the Guild. You could see the peaceful hustle and bustle of the town from there.
- - -
"Ready?" asked Graham. After receiving their acknowledgement, he held up his ring to the sky and shouted, "By the power of The Six, take me to Pyrrhic Cavern!"
A sphere of purple light emanated from the ring until it engulfed the group on the hill. Then the light became blinding and the group felt as if they were flying until they were dropped in front of a cavern. Peering inside they could see a soft orange light coming from deeper in the cavern, but nothing else.
Graham found a large rock to sit on and waved the group on. "Good luck."