I stand in a room that can be considered somewhat large. The walls all look to be made out of the same stone as the cave walls, but they are far more cleanly cut. A glowing crystal floats above the center of the room letting off a strong light that illuminates everything. The room is completely empty except for me, my companions, and… whatever that thing is supposed to be.
“Kiel, what in the world am I looking at?” I ask nervously
Opposite from the staircase we just descended is a very similar set of stairs leading down to the next floor, there is one glaring difference between the two, however. Above the one in front of us is a carving of what I can only recognize to be a clown.
“That’s what people around here have named the ‘gatekeeper’. Don’t worry about him he’s pretty harmless.” Kiel says with a bit of an embarrassed look
“My job isn’t to harm! If I wanted to harm you, I would probably though! Pwhaahaha!” The creepy clown cackles in response
When he talks the mouth of the carving moves. He seems very much alive when he is moving, but the moment he stops it becomes quite hard to believe that he is anything but a very creepy art-piece.
“He seems to be part of the dungeon. I hear that he is a bit of a prankster, but he himself isn’t dangerous.” Kiel continues
Who in the world made these dungeons? Whoever it was certainly had bad taste.
“So why is he here then? Do we just get to skip the first floor?” I ask without looking away from him
I don’t care what Kiel says, I’m not going to let my guard down around that thing.
“Not qui-“ Kiel begins before
“Let the shooooow begin!” The clown yells in a very game-show like voice
“Wha-“ I let out in surprise
“To see if you travelers are worthy of the challenge, I am going to test your mettle! If you prove that you are truly capable, then I will personally watch over you in the dungeon!” He continues
“No thanks.” I state instinctively
“Hmm?” He lets out with a disappointed face
“That’s mean you know!” He says crying softly
“Ah! No, sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cry… but.” I say panicking
“But?” He ask with a expecting tone
“Well… it would be a little creepy to have you watching us the whole time.” I say looking away as I speak
“So mean!” He yells out as he begins bawl fully
“Mano-san!” Kiel says grabbing my shoulder
“He is the gatekeeper! If he doesn’t give us permission we can’t enter any of the floors below this!” Kiel frantically explains
“Hmm? Can’t we just force our way through?” I ask
“So mean! You’re a bully! Someone so mean must be a child! My master loves children, but I was told to not allow any children in!” The clown yells angrily
“Huh?! I’m not a child! I’m going through this dungeon whether you let me or not!” I yell angrily in response
Calling me a child! How insulting! …Wait. I was born only a few days ago. Doesn’t that make me an infant in terms of age?
“Mean children deserve a spanking!” The clown yells as the room begins to shake
From the walls, masks begin to materialize. Like liquid, stone begin to form behind them, warping into an odd shape. The odd shapes fall from the walls and begin to lumber over to us. They have a simple appearance with just a mask, arms, and legs made of stone. Even their hands and feet are simple as they are featureless and rounded off.
“Status!” I yell out looking at these strange creatures
All of the golems seem to have identical information as well.
I learn two skills after observing every golem.
“Bad kids should leave before they get hurt!” The clown yells
On his queue, the golems all begin to lumber towards us.
“Good thing there aren’t any kids here!” I yell back
Sigh “…I think princesses’ switch got flipped” Kera says as she begins to pull something out of her bag
Does she intend to fight with us?
She pulls out a stone before running to the nearest wall.
“Tell me when you’re done!” She says before holding out the stone and seemingly seeping into the wall
“Kiel, Imps get ready!” I yell as I draw my sword
“Okay!” They yell simultaneously as they take up a formation
When did they practice this?
“Gero! Use your speed to avoid getting hit.” I yell back at Gero
“Yes Maou-sama” He says before seemingly disappearing
Where did he go? I suppose I’ll have to save figuring that out for after the fight.
The golems are rather slow, but they outnumber us greatly. They surround us on all sides, and as they lumber towards us the area to fight gets smaller and smaller.
“Mano-san! They seem strong, I don’t know if we can handle this many.” Kiel says without looking away
These golems are all about the same level as Kiel and the Imps. It may be a bit difficult for them to take on several at once
“No time like the present to try this out I suppose. Fal-Kei-Tera Earth Manipulation! Tei-Meta-Tera Golem Form!” I yell thrusting my hand forward
When I try to use the skill “Golem Form” two spells flow into my head rather than one. I watch the earth bend from the floor upward and then take the form of a golem on my command. Is this a chain skill? I wonder if I can use any of my other skills like this.
“Wha?! There’s another one be careful!” Kiel says jumping between me and the new golem
“Don’t worry about it, I made that one. The rest of you stay with him and focus on defense. I’ll try to end this quickly.” I say as I walk around him and get in a fighting stance
“Seriously?! These things are super strong you know!” Kiel yells out behind me
Ignoring him I prepare my first attack.
“I beseech nature grant me your power, stun my enemies. Ai-Va-Aer!” I say thrusting my sword at three golems that had grouped together
Lightning flies from my sword, the air crackling around it. It finds its target in the middle golem. On impact seemingly nothing happens. Small sparks and discharges can be seen transferring between the golems.
I was confident that lightning wouldn’t work against rock creatures, but I figured this was as good a time as any to confirm it. To my surprise, however, there is a noticeable effect. The golems in front of my have stopped moving. I suppose in the first place it was meant to be a stun spell. Maybe with the rock weakening the charge, it functioned as intended.
“Mano-san!” I hear Kiel yell behind me
I quickly turn around. A golem has made its way behind me and is already mid-strike.
As I prepare to defend, a sword appears through its chest.
“I told you to focus on defense you know,” I say as I glare at him
“I am, I’m defending you aren’t I?” He says as he gets into position to fight next to me
“…Do as you will.” I say as I charge for the golems I stunned
I swing my rapier in one fail swoop and cleave through all three. Their lifeless torso’s all land on the ground around them and crumble.
I turn my head to peak at how everybody else is doing. Each of them is tearing through the golems one by one. However, Bik is the fastest amongst the group. He fights with an amazing amount of grace and efficiency. He throws an ax at a far-off golem, as it hits it crushes the head instantly. Bik teleports to the air above the golem and throws the ax again without a moments delay. He has already taken out twice as many as I have using this method.
He is a bit stronger than I thought he would be. I decide to check his stats.
What the heck?! His stats have skyrocketed! Is this because of the rank up? I suppose that would explain why his level is 3 again for some reason.
I check Kiel’s stats next
It seems everybody’s stats have drastically risen. Is this kind of growth natural? I hope I’m not already harboring a group of monsters. I look around and find Gero standing still in an area rather devoid of Golems and attempt to check his stats as well, but still only “???” appear.
I focus my attention on the golems and join the fray again. It is a disappointingly short amount of time before all the golems are wiped out.
“Guh! Bad kids won’t be allowed into the dungeon!” The clown yells in what sounds like a tantrum
Who exactly is supposed to be the kid here?
“Oi! Why exactly am I a bad kid because I don’t want you watching over me?!” I rebut
“You’re a bad kid because you called me creepy! Those who refuse to do the trial won’t be allowed to continue!” He continues
“Fine! I’ll do the trial!” I yell to shut him up
“…Really?” He says in a doubting tone
“Really. I don’t mind doing the trial I just don’t want to be watched… It’s creepy.” I say shivering
Who doesn’t think being watched like that is creepy. I won’t mention the fact that being a clown look alike only makes it worse.
“That can be arranged I suppose. In return, you must pass the trial perfectly!” He says with his voice still resembling an upset child.
“That’s impossible!” Kiel yells out
“What, how hard can it be?” I say turning to ask him
“It changes every time! It takes people hours to do normally. To do it without making a single mistake just isn’t possible.”
“I’ll manage. We accept your deal.” I say turning to the clown once more
“Then the deal is made! If you fail to do the trial perfectly then you will not be allowed to continue to the dungeon!” The clown yells as the room begins to shake
The floor trembles violently, threatening to throw me to the ground. After a few second walls suddenly emerge from the floor and quickly move upward until they are connected to the ceiling as well.
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