Leo looks directly up from the bottom of the pit, it's easy for him to tell that a fall from that distance would have certainly killed them. They just got very lucky that someone happened to be there. The mage explained that all of the entrances to the city aren't active at night, and that he was just one of the many guards stationed to stop intruders. Travelers enter the city through wooden platforms that act similar to elevators. The entrance is only active during the day to keep track of the amount of people entering. Natalie had to continuously apologize to the mage, explaining to him that they aren’t from around here.
“Are you serious? There is a sign up there detailing our operating hours even if you don’t have prior knowledge of our city.”- The mage sighs.
“We kind of… didn’t have time to check it out. I’m so sorry about that.”- Natalie bowed her head, not detailing how they got there.
“I would have treated you all like enemies if it wasn’t for the tag that you all are wearing.”- The mage points at the Adventurer Guild’s necklace that Leo has.
Sarama City, sharing the same name as the desert it lives in, is usually a very well known spot for Adventurers to travel to. It’s due to the high paying quests that are given out by the Adventurer Guild in the city. The desert, as dangerous as it is to travel through, actually only has adventuring restrictions of only C. Hence it’s why many C class adventurers tend to go here. The mage directs Leo’s group further down the downward sloping tunnel, giving them directions to the city’s center. They all thanked him and headed down the slope. The city quickly comes into view, showing its unique looks that aren't anywhere else. People can only wonder how someone can carve such a massive space underground, even crazier, right under a desert. Giant pillars spaced all around, stretching all the way from the ground up to the ceiling. These are easily 50 meters in height, varying depending on their location. They not only give support to the ceiling, they also serve as wonderful art pieces as each has their own carvings and statues placed on them. Ropes can be seen connecting the pillars to each other, with giant light hanging from them. Other entrances can also be seen spread all along the walls, all with their own path that connects to the giant central stairway that leads down to the city. It is safe to assume that the placement of the entrance from such a height is intentional so that the visitors can see the whole beautiful city from up top when they enter.
Leo’s group happened to arrive near the early morning so some people can be seen trickling out into the streets. By the time the group had finally walked down the giant stairway, the streets had become lively again. Leo suggests stopping by the morning market. After some hesitation by Natalie, she gives in and agrees. The group headed into the busy center of the city. It’s architecture certainly gives off the desert vibes, reminding Leo of those desert levels in the games he played. The group had some local food, then they went to look around the market, with the girls and the boys splitting up. Claudius had made sure he had his disguise on so that he didn't scare anyone in town. With him and Leo alone, he decided to take advantage of the chance to elaborate more to Leo.
“Hey, so about my story…”- Claudius hesitates a little.
“You are from Earth right? It makes sense why you chose such looks for your disguise.”- Leo suddenly brought up the topic.
“So you do know!”- Claudius is surprised.
“That makes so much sense why you listened so closely to my story. I’m sure the others were too, but I just felt like you know something more than they do.”- Claudius follows up.
“I’m Ryuji Tanaka. I lived in Tokyo. Which part of Japan are you from?”- Leo asks.
“Japan? No, no, I’m from America. I lived in California.”- Claudius explains.
“CALIFORNIA?!? I have only heard of that name on the news and internet. Wow, so you’re really from Earth too!”- Leo answered in excitement.
The two then continued their explanation, telling each other about their past lives. Claudius and Leo had seemed to learn more from what the circumstances were and how they got here. Their conversation was cut short with the return of the female group.
“Let’s keep this a secret from the others. I think it’s something that we can explain to them in the future.”- Leo whispers.
Claudius nods his head in agreement, both have a strange sense of connection now, even if they weren’t from the same country.
“That shopkeeper lady was so nice! I like this city, but we need to start making our way to the Adventurer Guild building soon.”- Amber said, walking up to a distracted Leo.
“Yeah… building… WA...WAAA...WAAAA...WHATTTT?!?!?”- Leo stammers, jolting up in surprise, looking at Amber.
She isn’t wearing her usual clothes and magic cloak, but instead a desert outfit that was given to her by the shopkeepers. One that shows a lot more skin to say the least, the materials seem to be very thin too. It also seemed like Natalie and Sophia were also given their outfits, with Sophia wearing a skimpier one for some reason.
“What now? I’m only wearing this because it helps with how hot the weather here is. Every girl in town wears this, ok?”- Amber blushes.
“Pervert…”- She whispers under her breath.
“What did you say?”- Leo asked in confusion.
“Nothing.”- Amber replies, hiding behind Sophia.
“So what do you think?”- Natalie asks, she isn’t new to attention drawing outfits so this one works just fine for her.
Leo said nothing, only putting both of his thumbs up in a super approved gesture, grinning like a pervert he is. Blood can be seen dripping down from both of his nostrils.
“This idiot.”- Amber sighs.
“Looks great!”- Claudius gives his approval, not as perverted as Leo.
They decided to not waste anymore time and headed to the Adventurer Guild building. The building itself isn’t crazy big in size, it's the architecture style that’s very unique with the usual desert theme. The wooden doors are kept open in this place, probably to keep proper airflow for cooling. The place was decently crowded as the group took their time in town. Fortunately, they still made it before rush hour. So after around 10 minutes in line, it was their turn for the check in with the receptionist.
“You guys are the Mage Party right?”- The receptionist asks.
“How did you know about us? We haven’t even said our names.”- Natalie inquired.
“Oh, sorry about that. Information spreads quite quickly among the Adventurer Guild’s network. Especially when you guys interacted with a guild as big as Sanc Gladius.”- The receptionist explains.
“That still didn’t really explain how you would know us before we present our tag.”- Leo politely says.
“Certainly, we have most of our adventurer’s looks on file. Especially those that get involved in such major matters like you all. Forgive me, but you guys didn’t happen to have slain a Demon Lord’s apostle recently have you?”- The receptionist continues her chain of questions.
“That’s scary that this information has already spread here already. Yes, we have. Here’s proof if you need.”- Leo said, searching for the black crystal he picked up from the armor’s body.
“Did you seriously pick that thing up?”- Amber asks.
“Don’t blame me! It looked too cool to just leave behind.”- Leo gives his excuse.
“Sir, it’s fine. You don’t need to present the evidence. It has already been confirmed by a credible source, which is by a top 10 S-class member, Giza.”- The receptionist explains.
“Giza huh? I guess he unintentionally helped us in a way.”- Claudius laughs.
“That guy punched me in the face.”- Leo said with a frown.
The group members take their turn presenting their tags to update their profile. After around 20 minutes of paperwork, the process is done. Sophia and Claudius have both been promoted to Class C, Sophia to Class B and Amber back to Class A. Leo was the only member that didn’t get a promotion, but he didn’t seem to mind as they got money rewards for their pains.
“Unfortunately, the Mage Party will remain in B Class even after your great achievement of defeating the Demon Lord’s apostle. You guys only need one more A Class member in order to promote your party, so don’t be disappointed.”- The receptionist explains.
“On a positive note, since you guys DID defeat a Demon Lord’s apostle, it wouldn’t be fair to get some kind of benefit. So from this point on, you guys have special access to S tier areas. I hope that would somewhat please you all.”- She continues.
“HELL YEAH! NOW WE CAN VISIT THE DARKENED ABYSS AGAIN WITHOUT GETTING IN TROUBLE!”- Leo celebrated.
“SHUT IT!!!”- Amber interrupts as she and Sophia both punch him in the stomach.
“Also, would you mind letting us know how to get out of the Sarama Desert from here?”- Natalie asks, taking over the conversation since Leo is knocked out.
“Hm? Didn’t you guys follow the desert compass to this city? It’s given out by the other Adventurer Guild branches.”- The receptionist asks in confusion.
“Uh, no. We just walked around at random until we just happened to stumble upon here by luck.”- Natalie explains.
“OH MY! No wonder everyone talks about you guys, your group is incredible. No escort and no compass and you managed to find your way here. That’s both dumb and amazing!”- The receptionist nonchalantly insults and congratulates them.
“Hehe.”- Natalie tries to cover up her embarrassment.
“What’s your next destination?”- The receptionist asks.
“Our original destination was Absol, but we ended up here by accident so it would be great if you can help us get there.”- Natalie requests.
“Gotcha! There are groups of convoys that leave the city every 4 hours until sunset so if you head out to their building nearby, you should be able to get out of the desert. Just hand them this pass and they’ll take you in free of charge.”- The receptionist gives Natalie a yellow piece of paper with a stamp on it.
After wrapping everything up with the members receiving new tags, they head out to the convoy.
“I can’t believe we’re quite well known. I’m on the path to become a celebrity.”- Leo majestically flexes.
“Yeah, that would just mean more Demon Lord’s minions will look to hunt you down.”- Amber calmly replies, ruining Leo’s moment.
“Ah crap, being popular is bad. I take that back.”- Leo panics.
Arriving at the building, the group handed in their pass and waited until leaving time. After around an hour’s wait, the convoy headed out of the city through its exit, going back up to the surface. They were all given camels to ride on. It seems like their journey from now on will be quite a lot easier.
“What a great city! Let’s hope we’ll get to return one day.”- Amber smiles.
“Yeah, I would be able to wear this for a lot longer. They are quite comfortable.”- Sophia said, pointing down at her clothes.
“Yeah, one day. It’s a nice place to revisit.”- Natalie agrees.
“Ok, we can turn around right now if you want a revisit.”- Leo said, interrupting the mood.
Without any more words, Leo was beaten up by all the girls, leaving him unconscious on top of his camel. One whole day quickly passes. With the help of the convoy, Leo’s party is now out of the Sarama Desert.