The light that surrounds me is so bright that I’m blinded, unable to see for several moments. Should I have kept my eyes closed? Why didn’t anybody warn me about that? The air is cooler, and I can hear the faint sound of music in the distance. This must be the same magic that teleported Kera away. Even past the initial flash, this room is several times brighter than the last, so my eyes take time to steadily adjust.
“Mana what were you thinking?!” I hear yelled out in a familiar and oddly clear voice
I rub my eyes until the stinging ceases and look around for the source. What I saw amazed me on several levels. Instead of another dungeon room, some kind of throne room or any kind of normal building at all, what I saw was a modern western style girl’s bedroom with an incredible amount of the color pink. In awe of a sudden familiar sight, I look around the room furiously to make sure it’s the same. Unfortunately there are several noticeable differences that set it apart. There are no doors or windows anywhere in the room, and the walls seem to be an incredibly smooth pink stone rather than painted walls or wallpaper.
There are a few similar looking devices to things like alarm clocks and a television, but they only look the same at a single glance. The TV’s glass seems to be shimmering and pulsating slightly. It reminds me a bit of moving water; however, the movement of it is slightly more unnatural. The alarm clock does indeed seem to be a clock of some sort, but the markings on it are totally different and there are four equally sized hands and more notches than one could count at a glance. Whereas this room is quite obviously of this world, the similarity is a bit too much to ignore. The creator of this room might know more about the other world.
Mana plows into me and hugs. She looks up at me with tears in her eyes. It seems that in my awe of the room, I was leaving her to take the scolding by herself.
“Ah! I didn’t even notice that you came as well. I will send you back immediately!” The overbearing clown lets out in an exasperated voice
“No!” Mana cries out as she strengthens her grip on me
Sigh “Please pardon my intrusion. I told Mana that I would come with her to apologize to you. She misunderstood your silence to be anger, so she was quite scared to do so by herself.” I calmly try to explain
“M-Ma-Mana i-is scared of me?” The doting clown lets out in a broken voice
“Hmph! Mana wasn’t scared! Mana isn’t scared of anything!” Mana says while looking up at me angrily with a flushed face and tears in her eyes
I can’t help but smile and pet her head when I see this.
“S-still! You are not allowed in here! The master strictly forbids it!” The doting clown lets out
He still seems pretty shaken about the Mana thing… Why do I feel like messing with him some more?
“Don’t worry; I plan to leave the dungeon as soon as we are done here. Aside from that, is ’Master’ what you call the one who made you and Mana?” I ask
“How did you?! Wait! You knew about Mana this whole time?” He asks in disbelief
“Hey Mano what did you mean ‘leave the dungeon?’” Mana asks with a confused face
“Wait, don’t-!” The doting clown lets out
“Huh? I mean I plan to go back to the outside world and continue my adventure.” I respond, accidently cutting him off
Why is she asking that? Is it that she wants me to stay here with her? I hope not, I don’t think I could deal with that annoying clown for the rest of my life.
“What’s the outside world? Is that one of the higher floors?” Mana asks, tilting her head
“You didn’t tell her about the outside?!” I yell out
“Shut it! If you keep talking-”
“I wanna see it! Is it big? Is it bright?” Mana starts questioning me excitedly
“Noooo~” The annoying clown lets out again in a broken voice
“The dungeon is a very small portion of the world. The area that most people live in is one large area. From what I’ve heard there are plenty of other dungeons that you can enter from there as well.” I saw trying not to look angry at the clown
“Other dungeons? Like Mana’s home? Did daddy make them too? Are there more Mana?” She ask
Her previous excitement is gone. Her tone resembles that of a child who was just told they were adopted.
I look away from her and look for the source of the despicable clown’s voice. I never find it, but I suppose he must have gotten the message.
“No, master only created this dungeon. There are no other children like Mana, she is a unique entity.” He answers in a sad voice
“Teko knew about the outside?” Mana asks sadly
“Well, um, about that… I was going to tell you eventually…” He panicked at first, but after being confronted with Mana’s sad face he caved and told the truth
“Teko lied to Mana! Teko said all those people were going home!” Mana cried out angrily
“I haven’t lied to you! I promise! It’s just… it’s dangerous out there for you. If I told you about the outside you would want to go, and master would… no, I wouldn’t be able to take it if you got hurt.” The desperate clown explained
“You said that the people who came here wanted to hurt Mana! Mano is good! Teko is a liar! Waaaaaaaah!” Mana yelled as she began to cry loudly
It’s hard to accept the phrase “Mano is good” when I’m responsible for making such an innocent girl so sad. Have I done the right thing here? He is right. A lot of people out there would do anything to get their hands on Mana. He’s also right about Mana wanting to leave. I wouldn’t have even met Mana if she followed the rules he set for her.
“Please, Mana listen to me… If I told you everyth-” The desperate clown continued
“Teko go away!” Mana yelled
The sound of Mana softly sobbing is the only thing that fills the room after.
“Mano” Mana says wiping her face with her shirt
“Yes?” I ask feeling guilty
“Is the outside filled with bad people?” She asks
“There are no bad people… just people who do bad things.” I answer
How do I answer that? “No the world has lots of good guys!” “The world is full of evil!”? This world’s ultimate good guy is currently training in order to slaughter me and all of my friends.
“Mano is good,” Mana says looking at me sternly
“If people knew what I really was, most of them would tell you otherwise,” I say turning my head down
Who am I to teach someone morality? The Maou teaches children the difference between good and bad! Most would think that was a very poor joke.
“Is Mana a bad girl because she is different?” She asks sadly
“No!” I yell out
Crap! Those were a poor choice of words!
“If Mana isn’t bad then neither is Mano!” Mana says looking sternly at me
“Listen… I’ve been alive for a very short amount of time. I don’t know if I’m going to be a good guy, or if I’m going to be a bad guy. All I really want at the moment is to protect my friends. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things. I don’t know if there is such a thing as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ out there.” I explain
It feels like I’m explaining the difference between colors to a blind person. Where do I start? Am I getting through at all?
“Mana doesn’t understand.” She states plainly
Of course not…
“So Mana is going with you.” She continues
“…What?” I ask stunned