Mission 0B: Strangely Normal
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.
The rest of the group only had to wait for a few minutes before a large bulky man barged into the Guild office. Between his messy facial hair and bulging muscles there was no question what kind of man Karak was. A musclehead through and through even his voice was loud.
"ALRIGHT YOU BABIES. MY NAME IS KARAK AND I WILL LEAD YOU TO GLORY. PREPARE TO LAY YOUR LIVES FOR YOUR COUNTRY. DO NOT WORRY, THE GODS WILL TAKE CARE OF YOUR WORTHLESS SOULS."
"Umm, Karak, you're just taking them to the Halls of Goop."
"HUH? IS THAT SO? OKAY. I WILL LEAD YOU TO GOOP HALLS. THE GODS PROBABLY WON'T TAKE CARE OF YOUR SOULS IF YOU DIE THERE." The large man lead the remaining four trainees out the door and onto horses.
Emily watched the trainees leave and then put her head in her hands in despair. "Why oh why is Karak the substitute exam proctor. Please come back soon Sasha."
- - -
The group arrived at what looked to be an abandoned temple. There were broken statues and pillars laying everywhere. Green slime could be seen on every object in the vicinity, and even the entrance to the temple dripped with the slime. Karak stopped his horse in front of the pool of slime that welcomed adventurers and turned to his charges.
"THIS IS THE HALLS OF GOOP. THIS GREEN STUFF IS GOOP. SOMETIMES GOOP IS DANGEROUS. SOMETIMES GOOP IS TRAP. SMASH CAREFULLY."