We watch as Kiri performs a series of motions and gestures in an attempt to convey a message. It felt very much like a game of charades.
“So… After you became her pet you went on a journey to help her?” Kera ask tentatively
“Kii!” Kiri excitedly cries out while nodding and flapping his wings happily
“Really! Yay! I win!” Kera yells happily in response before turning to look at us with a condescending look
Sigh “I would be more impressed if it didn’t take nearly an hour to figure it out” I respond
“Are you finally done? I’m getting quite tired of waiting.” Kurobe says in an irritated voice as he walks over to us
“Kii!” Kiri says flying over to the entrance of the cave
He begins to excitedly fly in circles.
“How large is the dungeon?” I ask Kiel as I confirm our supplies
The town didn’t have anything remotely similar to healing items or MP restoring potions, but from what I heard sweets and sour berries have a magic restoring property. Our supplies should last a week or two, but I don’t know just how long we are going to be down there.
“All the known dungeons are separated into floors. I only know of one dungeon in the world that anybody in the world has ever reached the bottom of. This dungeon is known as ‘Fleca’ and the current record is floor 20” Kera responds before Kiel gets a chance
“Seriously? How big was the one that was cleared?” I ask
“There is no proof to support this, but the person who claimed to reach the bottom said there were 50 floors.” She continued
“Claimed? Is there reason for doubt?” I say closing my inventory and giving the conversation my full attention
“Each floor in a dungeon is a rather large leap in difficulty, so often the record is only raised one at a time. A trophy of something you can find on any other floor is usually a requirement for credibility, but this person only brought out one item. A magical artifact that can produce water from mana. Because of the value of the item, his claim of ‘delving 20 floors deeper than the record’ was accepted by most.” She explained
“Is it really that valuable? It doesn’t sound all too impressive.” I ask
I don’t have any water magic, is it that rare? Still, I can’t imagine the equivalent of a water gun would support such a hefty claim.
“Creation magic is something almost entirely unheard of. There exists a large span of land to the west that couldn’t support life due to its lack of water. A country headed by that very person now exists in that land. Even then, usually nobody would believe someone conquered 20 new floors all at once without further proof. At the time though, nobody wanted to dispute his claim. He was the current Yuusha and was incredibly childish. They thought that if they called him a liar, that he wouldn’t protect them from the Maou.” Kera said looking down with an odd look on her face
“I never heard about that. What I heard was that the royalty of the country vouched for him, and that’s why people believed his claims.” Kiel ask in a confused tone
“Huh… guess I got some unreliable info.” Kera said casually shrugging
“In that case today’s goal won’t be to clear the dungeon. Today we are going to delve as deep as we can so I can get a good measure of my power, and you all can level.” I say as Kiri lands on my shoulder
“Don’t forget to register at the ‘return stone’. On some floors returning to the previous floor becomes impossible. Registering here will allow you to use the ‘Return’ command to exit the dungeon instantaneously.” Kera said as she unveils a moss covered stone
It was hidden by bushes and branches that had grown around it. How long has it been since someone maintained this thing?
“That sounds rather convenient. Is that kind of magic common?” I ask
Teleportation magic is nothing to be laughed at. The imps have a skill called ‘Teleport’, but as far as I can see it has a rather strict range to it. I don’t know how deep this dungeon goes, but if this stone works anywhere in the dungeon it would be a proportionally stronger skill than what the imps use.
“Small-scale space manipulation skills are somewhat common. Enough so that even some lower rank monsters hold variations. When it comes to this scale though, these stones are unique. They were created by a Yuusha intent on delving the dungeons. He was convinced that the dungeons were important. One dungeon was discovered after his death, however, so it doesn’t have a return stone. Many have tried to replicate them, but none have succeeded.” Kera answered
Shame, it would be quite useful if I was ever on the run from the Yuusha.
“You may have defeated me this time, but this is not the end! Until we meet again accursed Yuusha!”
That kind of scene comes to mind.
I walk over and touch the stone as instructed by Kera. The carvings on the stone glow with a soft neon blue light and a prompt appears before me
I select yes, and the stone flashes red for a moment.
“…You always have to make everything weird don’t you princess?” Kera says in an exasperated tone
One by one my other party members walk over to the stone and place their hand on it. Every time the stone flashes red for a moment. It seems I’m the only person who made the carvings on the stone glow.
“Shall I assist you in the dungeon Mano-sama?” I hear suddenly from close behind me
“Gero! It’s bad for my health if you keep sneaking up on me like that!” I yell turning to see a confused Gero
“I apologize Mano-sama. I will attempt to make my presence better known when I arrive.” He says with an apologetic bow
“Forget that! Where have you been all this time? I have been getting a bit worried!” I question him angrily
I feel like he can handle himself, but I can’t help but worry when he suddenly disappeared.
gero “I was instructed by Mano-sama to ‘stay hidden for a little while’ before embarking to the goblins’ fortification. I was following instructions and staying hidden. Was I incorrect in my assumption of the timeframe for ‘a little while’?” Gero ask cocking his head
I sit there stunned as I remember giving him that command. My surprise is caused by a mixture of learning just how literally he takes commands, and surprise at myself for giving him such a lazy order. I want to be angry at him, but I realize that I was at fault for giving such a logical creature a vague request.
“I must apologize to you Gero, it seems that I made a mistake there.” I say bowing slightly
geko! “Maou-sama! Please do not apologize! It isn’t appropriate!” Gero says frantically
“What isn’t appropriate about apologizing for my mistake? You need to explain it to me or I won’t understand.” I say returning to the standing position
gero gero “I am the servant of the Maou. Any mistakes or misunderstandings are my responsibility to resolve. A Maou has no reason to ever bow or apologize to me.” Gero state returning to a relaxed and proper form
“You’re my servant?” I ask in return
“Yes, Mano-sama.” He answers with a bow
“Then you are ordered to allow me to apologize and bow, whenever I see fit to whomever I see fit.” I order in a demanding tone
gero gero gero “…Yes, Mano-sama.” He responds once more with a bow
“Will you be needing my assistance within the dungeon?” He ask
I think for a moment, and an idea comes to me.
“Actually I have the perfect job for you,” I say pulling a piece of parchment out of my bag
“Please make a map of the area’s we explore for us.” I continue
Maps of this dungeon were all rather expensive. I doubt I can sell this one, but it could certainly come in handy in the future should we choose to return.
gero “As you wish, Mano-sama” He responds
“Have either of you ever been down here before?” I ask
Silence is my only answer. Both Kiel and Kera look as if they are remembering something unpleasant.
“What should we expect going in?” I ask as we prepare to enter
“Well… I think it’s better that you see it for yourself.” Kiel says in a disappointed tone
We enter the cave and find a single staircase going down. As we stand at the top of the staircase and look down we see nothing but blackness.
How deep are these stairs? Should we have brought a torch?
“Kiri, would you mind giving us a light?” I ask as I search the darkness for a single spec of light
“Kiiii!” Kiri calls out as a glow exits him and floats down the staircase
“That’s not going to work,” Kiel says as he walks ahead of us down the staircase
I hardly have time to question his statement before the light that was floating down the staircase suddenly disappears.
“Wha?” I let out in surprise
“There is a barrier between each floor on the staircases that prevents anything not in contact with a living thing through. Magic, light, arrows, even simple pebbles end up getting stopped by it. As far as I know, every floor is a total surprise because no form of detection magic can penetrate the floors.” He says before he too disappears into the darkness suddenly
I look along the wall of the staircase and notice something quite strange. It is quite dark already so it was quite hard to see, but there is a place where the walls suddenly turn pitch black. I suppose that must be where the barrier is.
“Prepare for the worst. We don’t want to get hurt down here. If you think that you’re in any real danger use the return stone.” I say as I follow Kiel
Yuusha and Maou both seem to be incredibly powerful beings in this world… yet neither of them have ever been recorded to reach the bottom of a dungeon. I hope I’m not getting too cocky by thinking that we should be able to handle the first couple floors. I won’t go in there unprepared though. I’m ready for whatever dangers this place is going to throw at me!
“Heeellloo travelers! Are you ready for your first challenge? I know I am!” I suddenly hear in an incredibly jovial tone
For a moment I cannot see anything. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness I had been staring at for the last couple of moments, but this room is quite well lit… When they do adjust, and I lay eyes on the origin of that voice I cannot help but yell.