Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? - Volume 1-Chapter 3
Read Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Volume 1 Chapter 3 :NIGHT BEFORE AWAKENING
Heavy rain pounded the office window.
Eina looked up from her desk to take a look outside.
It’s really coming down…
Not too long ago, a golden moon lit up the sky. But now black storm clouds unleashed a deluge of water onto the city.
People still out on the street were dashing to the protection of eaves and awnings. Main Street emptied in the blink of an eye.
Eina put down the paperwork she had been working on and listened to the rain. Leaning back in her chair, she watched the rain cover the landscape.
“Eeeeh? First we get stuck with overtime, and now it’s raining cats and dogs! No luck at all…”
“… It came on pretty quickly. The rain should let up by the time we’re done here.”
One of Eina’s coworkers moaned about the rain as she stumbled up to her desk carrying a small mountain of files.
It was almost nine o’clock. Guild headquarters’ staff still lined the lobby windows and filled the office nearby, every one of them wrestling with overtime and paperwork. Eina’s human friend and coworker had had enough, despite all the bosses saying, “It’s the final stretch!” and looking all-important as they worked through their data.
“I know it’s almost time for the festival and all, but I wish the bosses would cut us some slack, you know? We aren’t all as productive as you!”
“Misha, don’t lean on me like that. You’re getting in the way!”
“Hee-hee. Wait a sec, Eina. Did you already put away the festival plans?”
Casually brushing aside Eina’s hand, Misha’s eyes grew as she scanned the papers on her coworker’s desk.
Plopping her own files down on the corner of Eina’s work space, Misha snatched up one of the papers before her colleague could protest.
“Oh, one of your adventurers’ profiles, right? Hey, this is your new guy, isn’t he!”
“… I was told to give an update to our team leader, so I was putting the finishing touches on it.”
Eina had given up trying to keep the girl back and answered her with a long sigh.
Misha held an adventurer profile in her hands. It had only the most basic information such as race, personal history, and Familia allegiance neatly written in an easy-to-read layout. All adventurers in Orario had profiles on file at the Guild.
At the top of this one was the name “Bell Cranell.”
“What?!? He’s been here two weeks, and he’s soloing on the lower fifth?! This guy’s incredible!”
“No, he’s not. He got cocky and wandered down there without conquering the other floors first. He got to the lower fifth on sheer dumb luck, and he nearly died there.”
Eina’s elegant eyebrows rose as she remembered all the advice she had given Bell, only to have him completely ignore it.
Eina’s harsh tone came from a genuine concern for the boy’s well-being. Misha chuckled a bit at the worried looked on Eina’s face.
“Sure, but that was the Minotaur that escaped from Loki Familia, right? He may be a newbie, but Minotaurs even give veterans a run for their money.”
“Yes, the Minotaur was an irregular. But for the boy, for Bell, the lower fifth is a death trap.”
Eina plucked Bell’s profile from her coworker’s clutches and looked over the information she had written with her own hands.
“Everything changes at Level Five—the monsters get stronger, the Dungeon path is more complex. As he is now, Bell would die if he went in there again.”
His armor and weapons weren’t strong enough. He was going in alone, no allies to protect or support him.
What’s more, his status was far too low. He was still a newbie, after all.
The Dungeon would not take it easy on him just because he had started only half a month ago.
Eina came to the conclusion that it was far too early for Bell to venture to the lower fifth or below.
“Well, anyway. As long as I’m drawing breath, I won’t let him go into the deeper levels.”
“Aren’t you being overprotective? Are you falling for him?”
Eina hadn’t been expecting that.
Completely unprepared, Misha’s question made her heart skip a beat.
The moment Bell had yelled “I love you” yesterday was still fresh in Eina’s mind. It didn’t seem like a real confession of love, but his face looked so innocent. Before she knew it, Eina’s cheeks had turned a rosy pink.
Realizing that her pointed ears were getting hot, the half-elf Eina calmly took a deep breath and locked eyes with her human coworker.
Misha picked up her pile of files from the desk and flashed a smile. Eina glared at her colleague’s back and sunk into her chair.
I hate being teased…
He was like a younger brother to her—she’d scold him, and he’d vigorously apologize. This scene repeated in her mind. She giggled as she remembered how he’d nodded his head. Her memories felt so real.
Bell… What are you doing now?
Eina once again gazed out the window at the rain that was getting heavier.
The downpour showed no sign of letting up, as if the sky were raining anger from the heavens.
Kick off from the ground.
My blade flashes, faster than before.
The monster behind me crashes to the floor, making a short squeal.
A bulb-eyed frog monster is gushing black liquid from massive cuts all over its body.
It attacks adventurers with a long, spear-like tongue, a “frog shooter.”
It’s not worthy of pity. I feel nothing looking into its sunken, dead eyes. Just keep moving forward.
Pain in my arms and legs doesn’t matter. I will slay anything that moves. My feet take me deeper into the Dungeon.
A flat floor, smooth walls, and the ceiling are my guides.
I wander around aimlessly in the tasteless air of the Dungeon.
It’s colder than this afternoon and dead quiet. There is nothing around me—no monsters, no adventurers, just these walls and the chill.
My boots echo with each step. They’re keeping me company through these winding halls.
Feels like a ghost should come out at any second, that kind of echo. I look down at my body.
No armor, just my usual street clothes. Slashes and gashes from various claws and fangs are all over me. My clothes have been shredded. They look like something a criminal would wear while committing a felony.
My right hand grips a blade I keep on me just for emergencies. My arm drips with the blood of who knows how many monsters.
I’m a mess…
That’s not a problem. I can keep going, but I rest my eyes for a moment.
Run, run, run, how much did I run?
Through the crowds of Main Street, away from that bar, into the Dungeon.
I found monsters, slew them, ran to the next, slew them, too.
Slash, slice, stab… How many have I cut?
Just how weak am I? I lost myself for a while.
The thought of my own weakness fueled my rage enough to make it this far with just one knife.
I have to close the distance between me and her, no matter what. I have to get to her level as soon as possible.
A flame burns in my heart, and I let it consume my whole body.
… Where… am I?
What do I do now?
What happened after the bar? I only remember a few flashes here and there. I take a deep breath and rack my brain for clues. I hunted the monsters—I remember that much—but everything else is so cloudy…
I open my eyes and take a look around. The walls are different, kind of a mossy green. The corridor is really thin, too, with more paths breaking off than I remember.
I’ve never even seen a frog shooter before, come to think of it.
This is the fifth… no, lower sixth floor.
I came down six flights of stairs starting at the main gate. This has to be the lower sixth.
It seems I’m exploring a new floor.
I continue forward without fully grasping what I’m doing. The idea of turning around never crosses my mind, still numb from the night’s events.
I look around for my next target. Nothing is moving; it’s just me and the echoes now.
“Ha… ha… ha…”
My breathing is a bit rough. Maybe I’m pushing too hard?
How long have I been in the Dungeon?
Sure, the sparkling specks on the ceiling make it easy to see, but they don’t tell me the time of day. It could be noon. I have no idea. I don’t have a watch, either. Oh, well.
… What’s this?
I’ve been walking a while. This spot looks a lot like my room under the church.
Except it’s a full square, and there’s nothing in here. Light green walls, looks as bleak and deserted as the church…
I’m already halfway in, but I don’t see any other paths. Seems like there’s only one way in or out of here.
I should turn around; this is a dead end.
What is that?
There’s nothing here, no monster could hide behind anything… Such an eerie sound.
Nothing left, nothing right, I can’t see where it’s coming from!
It’s just me and that sound. My echoes are gone. It’s drilling into my ears!
Is it possible that my senses improved along with my status? That has to be the only explanation.
If that’s true, I should be able to follow my ears to the source of the noise.
The wall! It’s coming from that greenish wall!
Why would a wall be making noise? The walls aren’t alive…
A crack! Spreading! It’s right in front of me!
Monsters are born from the Dungeon walls!
A new monster is being born, right here, right now, from inside this wall. Right in front of me. Monsters don’t emerge as babies. They are born as full-fledged, battle-ready adults!
The Dungeon, the only place in the world that gives birth to a threat to humanity…
A massive, three-fingered hand bursts through the crack. It’s flexing, grabbing at the air. A foot! The other hand now!! It’s coming out of the wall! Pieces of the Dungeon wall are breaking off and falling to the floor, adding even more echoes to this dead-end square.
The creature lands on the floor with a thud; the last pieces of the wall come crashing down around its feet.
There is only one word to describe it: shadow.
It’s probably about 160 celch. This monster is about as tall as me. Its entire body, head to toe, fingertip to fingertip, is pitch black. Shape-wise, it looks almost human. It has no skin pattern or hair, just smooth black shadow.
Its head looks like a pointed plus sign, with a big, silver, round part in the middle.
The freaky shadow straightens up and turns to face me.
This is the lower-sixth-floor monster, “Wall Shadow.”
Behind me! The wall is cracking! Don’t tell me another one is being born right here!
I’m caught in a pincer!
No, the room is wide enough, so I have room to move. Still, it’s two on one. Not good.
But this timing… Did I fall into a trap laid by the Dungeon itself? So this is the Dungeon’s true face.
The two Wall Shadows silently flex their bodies as they surround me, getting ready for battle.
Their silver “eyes” are flashing like dying magic stone lamps surrounded in fog. They are locked onto me, their “prey.”
A deep breath. My blood-stained knife is as ready as it’s going to get.
I’m probably too far gone, trapped in the lower sixth, no armor, no hope.
But the flames that ignited at the bar are still burning. Everything I heard that guy say, that’s all that I care about.
That pain is far worse than this. The fire within me will be more than enough to keep me going.
There is a voice in my head, telling me to run. But I say fight!
Wall Shadows have sharp “fingers.”
There are three of them sticking out of unusually long arms. They are knives, plain and simple. They’re on the move! These guys make kobolds and goblins look like child’s play. They’re fast!
It’s safe to say that Wall Shadows are the most dangerous Level Six monsters in terms of pure power.
Adventurers who stay in the upper dungeon, lower floors one to twelve, need to be extra careful when one of these things shows up. It may be the last thing they see.
I would agree with that assessment.
Slicing pain! I’m hit already!
Their attack patterns are shockingly strong and fast. Black arms flash in every direction; my skin and clothes are being sliced up like tissue paper.
Their reach is too long! I can’t get close enough to strike back! They aren’t letting me!
These monsters are on a whole other level!
I can’t counter, I can’t dodge, I can’t get away.
They’re just too damn strong.
These silent killers are aiming for my head.
I catch a glimpse of one of their black blades out of the corner of my eye. Dodging at the last second, it passes just past my ear. The other one! Coming straight for me! Dodge right.
Front, side, behind, their attacks are coming from everywhere.
These strikes just keep coming, like they’re swimming through the air.
I’m getting dizzy, barely avoiding fatal blows by spinning like a top.
My blood and sweat are flying everywhere. I’m engaged in a dance of death.
This is serious. I might really die down here.
Hang on, I’m breathing. Very heavily, but I’m breathing…
I feel really impatient, but at the same time, something feels different…
Calm… I feel a stream of calm energy flowing through my body.
Despite this hopeless situation, my mind is clear. I look at my opponents with clear eyes for the first time.
—Why am I still alive?
Why didn’t I realize it before?
How did I make it to the lower sixth with my body still in one piece?
Why am I able to fight with the monsters around every corner on this floor as equals?
I don’t understand. How can someone who has only been an adventurer for two weeks survive on this floor on his own? I’ve encountered Wall Shadows! I shouldn’t be able to dodge their attacks!
The half-elf Eina told me as much. She warned me!
I remember she clearly said my status was far too low, low even for a newbie! She told me that my attacks wouldn’t make a scratch on these monsters!
A light flips on in the back of my mind. My status went up way too much earlier this evening.
It can’t be…?
The hieroglyphs on my back, could they be the reason?
I need to focus, that last hit rocked my whole body.
The Wall Shadows took advantage of my wandering thoughts and found an opening.
The back of one of their hands slammed into my shoulder. Not only was I thrown onto my back, but my knife flew out of my hand.
I hear the metallic blade hit the stone floor. My only weapon is gone.
A shadow rises above me, striking to kill. I quickly roll to the right to dodge.
The other Wall Shadow is standing above me now, taking aim with its right arm.
Suddenly, my eyes narrow.
Time slows down. I see everything.
Memories flood in with breathtaking speed. Everything I’ve ever seen, heard, or done lights up behind my eyes.
There she is, my savior bathed in silver light.
The smile of a special person, the goddess who gave me this power.
I can move! I feel strong, stronger than ever!
I jump up from the dungeon floor and punch the Wall Shadow in the face.
Long black arms fly by my cheek. I can feel the skin on my arm being scraped off as I plunge my fist deeper into the monster.
New echoes have joined me: the sounds of the Wall Shadow’s face being crushed.
My fist plows through the creature’s head. Throwing all my weight into a right counter worked!
A thick black liquid spurts out of the wound in the Wall Shadow’s head lodged around my arm. The creature’s arms cross where I was just a second ago, but they’ve gone limp. It falls to its knees as I burst through.
I’ve got momentum, can’t stop now!
The remaining Wall Shadow stares as I pull my black-blood-stained arm from its former comrade. The last monster squares its shoulders, preparing for my next move.
I make a break for my knife, snatching it off the floor before turning to face the beast one more time.
The animal man said I look like a “bunny”? I’ll prove him right!
Jump, pivot, step, roll, it can’t stop me! I get inside its reach before it can block.
The Wall Shadow’s muscles are firing, launching an attack. But I already have a step.
My blade tears a clean slit through the Wall Shadow’s chest.
I catch a glimpse of a flash of light from deep within the open wound. The monster’s magic stone was severed.
The beast lets out a silent scream as its jet-black body turns to ash.
I stand there for a moment, my arms and knife still outstretched, and watch its figure dissipate. As the last pieces go up, I finally let myself breathe.
“Haa… hh… haaa… hh… ha!”
I lean back as my lungs suck in massive amounts of air.
The tension gone, my body is really screaming at me now. That was too close, but I’m still in one piece. My heart pounds in my ears; just keeping my eyes open is a pain.
I’m in bad shape, but how bad?
I wasn’t ready to fight any of those monsters: I shouldn’t have been, anyway. But I did, and I won. It has to be my status, that’s the only thing that could go against everything I’ve been taught. That’s the only way I could have grown enough to do this and survive.
What’s happening to me?
The first step to figuring all this out is getting out of the Dungeon alive. I’m on the verge of collapsing, hands on my knees and trying to inhale the city itself… I can’t take much more of this.
I need to get out of here, now.
I take one step toward the exit, and another, just trying to move forward.
“You shall not escape.”
Am I hearing things…? That wasn’t a voice…
Oh shit… The walls are echoing, breaking, breathing! Left and right, there’s a spiderweb of cracks opening in every direction! Here come the Wall Shadows, lots of them.
… The first reason Eina told me not to come down here unprepared: the number of monsters born from the Dungeon walls dramatically increases from the lower sixth… no, lower fifth floor.
I’m stunned. I don’t think I can even speak right now. And more things are howling from beyond the exit door.
I can see their eyes reflecting the light from the ceiling.
Here they come, one after another. Lower-sixth-floor monsters bar the only way out.
There goes my clean escape. I’m surrounded. Wall Shadows are on my left, right, and behind me. Various other beasties are in front. And they’re all coming for me.
But I’m calm. Seriously, my head is cool and clear.
I step into a defensive stance… Wait, what’s that on the ground?
A drop item? Must have come from one of the Wall Shadows… A finger blade!
One of the three must have been left behind. I can use this! There’s no grip, just the long blade itself. But what choice do I have?
It cuts into my left palm. My blood drips off the tip of the blade.
Armed with two knives, I stare down my enemies one by one.
Even in this hopeless situation, I don’t feel like my number’s up.
I have to reach the next level, get closer to her.
I don’t have time to play with the monsters down here.
I’m in the eye of a storm of howls and roars, but I’m different now.
The symbols on my back are pushing me forward. My blades are ready.
I charge headlong into their advancing ranks.