The day when Hajime met Yue and had their desperate struggle with the scorpion.
Kouki’s group, the Hero party has once again came to “Orcus Dungeon”. The party was just Kouki’s group, and a small rogue group. The group of 5 boys and girls were lead by Nagayama Jugo, a big judo guy.
The reason was simple. Even if they did not talk about it, Hajime’s death had cast a shadow over their hearts. They strongly felt his “Death in Battle”, and this made them unable to directly fight. Trauma had struck them.
Of course, they did not concern the Church with this. If they could experience actual combat again, then it is likely they would be able to fight again. Everyday they urged themselves to return their past selves. However, Aiko-sensei protested what they were doing.
Aiko did not participate in the expedition. Her class was the rare and special “Farmer”, during training, the church wanted her to get involved with the agricultural development. If it was Aiko-sensei, she would be able to solve their food issues.
She had fallen asleep in her bed after she got the news of Hajime’s death. While she stayed in the safety of the city, her student had died. They would not be able to return to Japan with everyone. For Aiko-sensei who had such a strong sense of responsibility, it was shocking.
Therefore, she wasn’t going to allow her students into the battlefield anymore. With her class, she would be able to change this world’s whole food issue. That Aiko-sensei was protesting the training the students were getting with indomitable resolve. Not wanting to worsen their relationship, the church gave into her protests.
As a result, there were rogues who trained themselves. The only one to continue their training was Jugo’s party. Because they wanted to challenge “Orcus Dungeon” again. This time Meld and several member of the knights attended.
This was the 6th day of their journey into the dungeon. They were currently at the 60th level. Just 5 levels behind the highest recorded achievement. However, Kouki’s group was stuck. No, rather than not being able to advance, they kept getting nightmares of what happened on that day.
Although it was a different cliff than the one that day, it still had a similar feel to it. They had to pass a suspension bridge that hung on the cliff to advance into the next level. There was no problem per se, but they still remembered. In particular, Kaori, did not move while she started into the darkness of the abyss.
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The worried call came from Shizuku. Kaori shook her head slowly as had her strong gaze at the view, and gave Shizuku a smile.
“I’m all right, Shizuku-chan.”
“I see…Please don’t overdo it. No need to be reserved with me.”
“Ehehe, thanks. Shizuku-chan.”
Shizuku gave a best friend a smile. Kaori’s eyes gave off a strong glow. There were no despair or escapism in those eyes. The insightful Shizuku that were sensitive to the subtleties of human, knew Kaori was telling the truth.
(For sure, Kaori is strong.)
Hajime’s death was almost a certainty. It was lukewarm to saw he survived. However, it wasn’t denial or escapism. Kaori was convincing herself to press forward, and Shizuku felt proud of her best friend.
However, the person with the hero-like quality couldn’t read the mood. Kouki thought that Kaori was lamenting over Hajime’s death as she stared into the bottom of the abyss. He concluded that the gentle Kaori was suffering from the death of a classmate. His beliefs were filtering his thoughts, and he believed the smiling Kaori was forcing herself.
Kaori thought Hajime was special. Kouki had not even for a bit believed that there was a chance for survival. He tried to offer comforting words to Kaori.
“Kaori…I like your kindness. But you can’t always be caught up in your classmate’s death. You have to move forward. For sure, that is what Nagumo-kun would want.”
“Be silent Shizuku! Even if I’m severe, don’t try to stop me just because you’re a childhood friend…Kaori, its alright. I’m by your side. I won’t die. I won’t let anyone else die. I promise not to make Kaori sad anymore.”
“Haaa…as usual so reckless…Kaori…”
“Haha, it’s all right, Shizuku-chan…I understand what Kouki-kun is trying to say. Its fine.”
“I see, you understand!”
Kaori couldn’t help but smile wryly at Kouki’s misunderstanding. Even if she told him what she truly felt, it wouldn’t get through to him. Hajime had already died in Kouki’s mind. He wouldn’t be able to understand that the reason she was training so hard and taking this expedition into the dungeon, was because she believed Hajime survived. Kouki’s nature was to not doubt what he believed in. The boy would just take Kaori’s feelings as denial of reality. They had known each other for a long time, so Kaori was familiar with how Kouki operated. That is why both of them remained quiet.
He thought those words were the only way to completely persuade her, he had no ulterior motive in those words. Kaori and Shizuku was used to his behavior, but other girls would have fallen for him with his sweet mask and atmosphere.
Normally, an Ikemen with such a good personality and skills would have his girl childhood friend admire him. Shizuku had been in the adult dojo since she was small, because of her strict father, and with her insight she knew that Kouki’s sense of justice could be a shortcoming. So, any more feelings than a childhood friend was not born in her. The other party was the same.
Shizuku had often told Kaori that was dense when it came to love, so Kouki’s behavior had no effect on hier. He was a good person and an important childhood friend, but there were no romantic feelings.
“Kaori-chan, I’ll cheer you on. If you need anything just ask me.”
“That’s right, Suzu is always Kaori’s ally.”
On the side they had heard Kouki’s conversation. Taniguchi Suzu and Nakamura Eri had joined the conversation. After they entered high school, these two had become close friends with Kaori. They had joined the party lead by Kouki.
Nakamura Eri is a beautiful women with black hair that is styled into a natural bob, and wore glasses. She had a gentle character and usually she was the person that was in the back that watched everything quietly. Eri loved books. The girl gave off a feeling like she was in the typical book committee, and truthfully she was in the committee.
Taniguchi Suzu was a small girl at 142 cm tall. She was a bundle of energy, that got people wondering where all that energy came from her small body. Suzu always was joyful and hopping around. With her heartwarming figure, she was the class mascot.
They understood what Kaori felt on that day Hajime disappeared, so they supported her decision.
“Yeah, Eri-chan, Suzu-chan, Thank you.”
Kaori smiled at the two close friends she made in high school.
“Oh~…Kaorin is brave~, Nagumo-kun! To make Suzu and Kaori-chan this sad! If you aren’t alive, Suzu will kill you!”
“S-Suzu? I don’t think you can kill him if he isn’t alive.”
“Don’t worry about the details. If he is dead, we can just use Eririn’s necromancy for Kaorin.”
“S-Suzu, you have no delicacy. Kaori-chan believes Nagumo-kun is alive. Also, my necromancy…”
Suzu runs wild and Eri admonishes. That’s their normal behavior. Kaori and Shizuku showed a joyful expression at the two’s spectacle. Even though Kouki wasn’t that far, he didn’t hear the conversation. Naturally, Kouki was equipped with a hearing loss skill that always activates when there were important conversation or words.
“Eri-chan, I don’t mind it.”
“Suzu that’s enough. Eri is troubled.”
Suzu puffed her cheeks when Kaori and Shizuku laughed as they said those words. Eri was relieved when Kaori didn’t take Suzu’s words seriously. Her face blenched at the mention of “Necromancy”.
“Eri-chan, necromancy is no good? Such a special class…”
“…Yeah, sorry. If I was able to use it properly, it would be such great help…”
“Eri, anyone have strong and weak points. You have such a high aptitude to magic, so don’t worry about it.”
“That’s so, Eri-chan. Even if its your class, there are preferences and fields of talent. Your precise and accurate magic is helpful for us.”
“Yeah, I’ll overcome if I try my best. I want to help everyone more.”
Eri grasps her small hands into a fist to express her determination. Suzu hopped around saying: “That’s the spirit, Eririn!” in this situation. Shizuku and Kaori smiled at their friend’s perseverance.
Eri’s class was “Necromancer”. Dark magic is used that is associated with the spirits and consciousness. This kind of magic was able to cast bad status (debuffs) in battle. Necromancy is a super-high difficulty magic in Dark magic; it acted upon the residual thoughts of the dead. There were a few priest in the Church that practiced it. The priest drew up the residual thoughts of the dead and conveyed them to their bereaved family.
However, that was not the true essence of this magic. The real power of this magic was the ability to give these residual thoughts of the dead a corpse to work with and controlling them like puppets. Although the revived dead will display deteriorated level of skill from their time alive. Also, there were ways to control or possess living humans too.
These puppets only respond to a certain extent. They also are very inanimate and pale, like a ghost. In addition, she felt ethically wrong in using dead people like this. Eri choose not to delve into this part of the arts.
With the figure of those 4 girls, there was someone staring at Kaori from the rear with dark eyes. It was Hiyama Daisuke. When they came back to the kingdom and the students calmed down, there was severe blame waiting for Hiyama for what he did [Setting off Trap].
Hiyama had expected this and apologized with Dogeza. He knew that arguing or trying anything else wasn’t going to help. The timing and place to apologize was important.
The perfect time came when he was able to apologize to Kouki in front of everyone. He knew that if he apologized to Kouki, the guy would accept it and try to mediate with the class. His plan paid off, the criticism aimed at Hiyama was dissolved by Kouki. Kaori was originally kind, so she didn’t particularly blame the apologizing Hiyama that was in tears. Just as he planned. However, Shizuku had noticed the underlying motive Hiyama had. She was disgusted with how he used her childhood friends.
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Moreover, he was following the orders of the person. It was a terrible and horrifying order. Hiyama wanted to avoid it, but he had crossed the line. He couldn’t stop now. However, Hiyama held a sense of delight and awe for the person that drew up this terrible plan. While that person was so natural and blended with the class.
(That guy is crazy…but Kaori will be mine…)
Kaori could be obtained if he just listened to that guy. Hiyama smiled instinctively at those dark thoughts.
“Oi, Daisuke? What’s wrong?”
Kondo, Nakamura, and Saito were sending dubious looks at Hiyama’s state. These three was still together with Hiyama. Birds of a feather flock together for these 4. Hiyama was awkward for a moment, but soon his regained his friendly attitude. But if that friendship was true was a delicate matter.
“N-no, its nothing. I’m just happy that we got past 60 levels.”
“Oh, for certain. Just 5 more and we will beat the record~”
“We are like, getting stronger too. That group that stayed behind has no guts.”
“Well, don’t say that. Because we are special.”
These three did not seem to question Hiyama deception. People who kept fighting while thinking they were special and got arrogant were the villains of villains. They had a huge attitude compared to the group left behind at the Royal Palace. Complaints were thrown about in a haughty manner. However, they did have the ability to break through the 60 levels, so they couldn’t be stopped from their attitude.
Unlike them with their boisterous attitude, Kouki’s side was quiet. Accessory seems to be the guiding principle.
Without much trouble, the group was at the highest attained level of 65.
“Brace yourself! The map of this area is incomplete. We won’t know what will happen.”
Meld’s voice sounded. Kouki’s group tightened their expression and stepped into the unknown domain.
A big hall appeared after they had advanced for a while. All the members had a bad feeling somehow. That feeling proved to be true. Magic appeared in the center of the room as soon as they entered it. A 10 m magic formation pulsed with dark red energy. That was a familiar sight for them.
“N-No way…is it that guy?”
Kouki cried out while a cold sweat dripped down his forehead. The other members also had a strained expression on them.
“Seriously, that guy didn’t die?”
Ryutaro shouts while surprised. Meld responded to them with a calm voice and a stern expression.
“The origin of the demons in the dungeon is unknown. Even if you defeat it once, you will encounter it many times. Be careful! Do not forget to secure an escape route!”
So they can escape for sure if there was an emergency, Meld first priority was to issue commands to ensure an escape route. The subordinates obeyed immediately. But Kouki wanted to speak his mind.
“Meld. We are not the same as that time. I’ve become many times stronger. And won’t be defeated again! Certainly we can win!”
“He, that’s true. We won’t always lose. This is a revenge match.”
Ryutaro shouted out with a fearless smile. Meld just shrugged his shoulder like he couldn’t help it. With their current abilities they should be okay. Similarly, he now had that same smile.
The magic formation finally lights up and explodes. Their nightmare had appeared before them.
The beast gave a roar and stomped the ground. A glare full of fierce intent to kill was sent to Kouki’s party by the Behemoth. In the group, there was a single girl that glared back at the monster; ignorant of the tension building up in the others.
The girl was Kaori. Unheard by anyone, Kaori with will declared to herself.
“I won’t let you take anyone else. I will overcome you and go down to him.”
Now, the fight to conquer their past began.
* * *
Author’s note talks a little more about the dungeon. I’ll translate it later if there is any interest, but for now I’ll give a summary. He talks about how the comparison of strength in the dungeon. The behemoth is the strongest on the 65th floor but that’s just the upper level of the dungeon. Orcus went further than 100 levels that the people were aware of. Hajime had fallen in the abyss that was lower than those 100 levels. The monsters in the lower level (abyss) are much stronger than the upper levels (100 and up?).
He also showed as Kouki’s stats
* * *
Name: Amanokawa Kouki
Age: 17 Years Old
Magic Resistance: 560
Aptitude All Attribute
Resist All Elements
High-speed Magic Recovery
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