I'm really sorry this took so long. I just had really much to do, school assigments and work,
live never gives you any free time. Another problem I faced was asking myself do I really want to take it in this direction or rather a diffrent one? I rewrote this chapter multiple times until I was statisfied. I hope all of you can accept my slow progress and stick with me. I still need to improve my writing style a lot and find an editor and an illustrator, which proves far more difficult then I imagined, but such are the hardships of a web novel author who can't draw.
Anyway, enjoy this chapter!
Three weeks later we were done with the renovating and the mansion had all the furniture it needed. We dropped the unimportant stuff in the basement so we could travel as light as possible. The villagers were mostly back at their village. Only a handful of man, Yoshirou, the housekeeper and his family were still here. We were preparing to leave along with the ones who stayed behind. It was still early in the morning. Yoshirou stood together with the housekeeper and his wife 10 meter away. They talked about all the important details they had to keep in mind so that everything would be ready when we came back.
The housekeeper looked like a decent person so I trusted him in keeping our home save. After some time went by they finished their discussion and came over.
“Is everything ready?” Yoshirou asked smiling heartily.
“Yeah, we want to start moving soon so we can arrive in Oderidale in seven days. We already lost a month, because of my broken arm. Even so we have no set time and it was fun here so I don't particularly see it as lost time.” I replied, checking my arm.
“I'm happy to hear it. We will have to start moving now so we can mack it back by dawn. If you still have any questions ask the housekeeper, he should be able to help you. Well then, have a save trip and don't get yourself killed. May we meet again.”
“May we meet again.”
Kana, Katsumi and I replied together. Yoshirou turned around and left with the other men. It really was a good time. I never understood much about handiwork, so this was a nice experience. The villager are all good people and I was happy to have a home here.
“So, shall we get going too?” Katsumi asked as she flashed me a big grin, pulling me out of my thoughts.
“A good idea from a human. Should I carry your bag, my lord?”
Katsumis grin vanished almost instantly. Trying to stop the two from fighting, I spoke up.
“No that's not necessary, still thanks. I will go talk to the housekeeper one last time and you two, don't start fighting.”
As the housekeeper saw me coming he turned towards me and spoke with a hard voice.
“It seems you are nearly finished preparing. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Yeah, we're almost ready, but I want to check something.”
“The stuff we left in the basement, you will take care of it, right?” “Of course, that's part of the contract.”
He looked a bit confused, but quickly understood what I meant. “And of course I will do everything I can to ensure it's safety.”
I was relived to hear it, after all the charm I needed to go home was there.
It was the evening before I left. My dad gave me this charm. He said something like “Don't ever lose it or you will never be able to return here do you understand?”
At first I was really confused, but since my dad insisted, I took good care of it. Concluding that I should leave it here since it was probably saver here then in the dungeon.
Katsumi's voice brought me back again. I really started becoming a dreamer in the past three weeks, I really hope that something like this doesn't happens in the dungeon.
“What is it?”
“You have to stop spacing out like that and we are ready to go, so speed up!”
Listening to Katsumi I turned around and faced the housekeeper one last time.
“May we meet again. Take good care of your family and the house!”
Laughing heartily the housekeeper replied almost instantly.
“Sure boy! Protecting the people you love is a man's job! Good bye!”
I rushed back to Katsumi and Kana, the last sentence he said still in mind but unable to connect it to something, I decided to put it aside for now.
“Sorry to make you wait!”
They both smiled at me. “It's about time”
Kana replied playful. Katsumi on the other side seemed more interested in what I discussed with the housekeeper.
“So, what did you discuss with the housekeeper? It sounded rather serious.”
“Nothing important. I just asked him if he would keep an extra eye open for our stuff.”
“Why? Isn't it just stuff we could buy again?” She looked puzzled. “I don't really understand either. My dad just gave me this charm and said I needed it to come home. So I left it here since it should be saver.”
“A charm to go home? Well I don't really understand, but it's fine, isn't it?”
“I think your right.”
Concluding our conversation we started walking comfortable since it Oderidale was still quite some time away.
“I've never seen such a huge city before!”
We stood at the gates of Oderidale, at which I gazed with great interest.
“I know, big city's are something different, aren't they?”
“Let's get inside!”
“Slow down Akio, we first have to stay in Line.”
“Line? Ahh I see, gotta take out our identification....wait Kana doesn't have one...”
“Don't worry my lord. I expected this so I got one from the village elder beforehand.”
“Really Kana, you never cease to amaze me.”
We continued chatting while waiting for our turn in Line and it took not long until our turn came. We showed our Identification, which was a silver guard on which name, age, origin and occupation were written. By the way these Identification were handed out from the respective villages and were uniform in every country, there was some kind of magic implemented which made falsifying your identity nearly impossible.
When we entered the city I was speechless, while Katsumi smiled happily, Kana didn't look very pleased. Not bothering why Kana was in such a bad mood I lost myself in watching the town. It was already evening and the sun was just setting. It gave a certain charm to the city. All over the place lights were glowing, wagons pulled by horses and people were talking. All races were gathered here, talking to one another about everything. It was my first time seeing some of the other species, so it finally dawned on my how little I actually knew about this world.
The Colossal were very mysterious and just like there name suggests really big, completely different from humans and elf's. Elf's were the most beautiful species I had ever seen. One had to know a Tall to spot it, since it could change it's appearance whenever it wanted. The only thing that bothered me was that I couldn't find a single free Diminutive, all of them were slaves.
Even so it was still the liveliest place I've ever seen and I took my time enjoying the view. A long road spread out before us, leading directly to the mountain, where a huge gate was carved into the stone. That had to be the dungeon entrance. Thinking like a child with big round eyes I couldn't stop watching.
“..io!...kio!...AKIO!” Katsumi's voice pulled me out of my thoughts. I looked at her my amazement still written on my face.
“We should get going and try to find a good inn. You can look around while we walk, but be careful not to get lost”
She was talking to me as if I were a child. I wasn't getting angry or anything, she was only worried about me, after all this was my first time in a city like this. As we started walking I let my eyes wander around. Shops and countless little alley's were extending on both sides. All kinds of people were hurrying over the place. Some looked like craftsmen, others like intellectual, many even like adventurers.
I had never seen so many adventurers at one place. It was no wonder though, after all this was the dungeon city Oderidale. It was very common for adventurers to make a living in the dungeon. Even so many other adventurers were travelling across the country, slaying every beast they could while helping villages. However it's said that every real adventurer has to come here at least once.
I was happy to finally be able to see this city with my own eyes. My dad told me many stories about this city and the dungeon. He told me he also went into the dungeon when he was younger, that was a long time ago though. I wanted to go there right now, but it wasn't such a good idea to go into the dungeon without rest after wandering for seven days straight.
I tore my face off the dungeon carvings and took another look around me. We had probably gone about halfway to the mountain. Katsumi was also looking around curiously, but Kana's face was filled with a look of disgust. She made this face since we came into the city. I didn't bother me then, but now I saw something was off.
“Kana, what's wrong?” Hearing my voice Kana looked at me and the look slowly changed back to a grin.
“This place is filled with pest. All kinds of races are walking around, but none of them are even close to you. It's disgusting. Did we really had to come here?”
So that was it, Kana's hate for every other race was showing it's best side. I don't even think I can do something about this. After all she had her reasons, at least that's what I like to think.
“We didn't really have to come here, but Katsumi and I wanted to come here so...don't be like that. After all I'm with you, so you can relax right?”
“That's exactly it, my lord. All this scum shouldn't even be allowed to breath the same air as you.”
I guess I can't argue with her. Even so I already told her a few times that in my eyes all races are the same, but it didn't work. Seeing me struggle, Katsumi cut in and changed the topic. Kana didn't really appreciate it, but I was really happy.
“There's an inn that looks pretty good. Let's try asking there.” “Good idea, I'm kind of getting sleepy.”
We went inside and looked around trying to find the counter, but since it also served as pub, which was rather lively, it was hard to find. We booked a room with one big bed, since we would end up sleeping in the same bed anyway. We went upstairs and wanted to go straight to sleep, but since we still had to eat we went down again.
By doing so we gathered some information on the dungeon. It seems to go to the 25th floor one should have at least three companions. To make money in the dungeon you have to bring back crystals, which vary in quality from monster to monster, to the adventures guild. Needles to say the ones with higher quality were worth more. The crystals were said to 'drop' from the dead monster. I couldn't really understand it, so I had to wait until the next day, but it seemed we had to bring at least one backpack.
We decided to roam each floor the next day. We wanted to move to the 30th floor until tomorrow evening.
Since we gathered all the information we needed we decided to call it a day and went to bed, sleeping in the same position since as always. It became a habit and I really liked to have this two beautiful woman next to me.
The sun rays hit my face, pulling me out of my sleep. I quickly woke up Kana and Katsumi, not wanting to waste any time. We ate and went straight out of the inn. Since our inn was really close to the dungeon gate we only had to walk about 10 minutes. Looking up the huge gate we grasped in awe.
“I've never seen such a huge gate before and the city's of the dwarfs were already impressive.”
Katsumi who had already seen quite a bit was as impressed as me. Kana on the other hand looked at it like it was just something she saw everyday.
“And behind this is the entrance to the dungeon!? Let's get a move on!”
I couldn't wait to see what the inside looked like, so I took Katsumi's hand and pulled her after me, which led to her slightly blushing.
It was breathtaking. The ceiling went up 800 meter and bridges made of beautiful stone went from side to side. Even at the highest floor were people, doing all kinds of things. It was like a whole city completely focused on adventurers who wanted to go in the dungeon.
Adventurers Paradise that's what my dad called it once and I finally understood why. Taking a closer look it was obvious that on all floors from here to the top shops were set up, selling all kinds of equipment you would need as a adventurer. Directly in front of us a staircase went down, probably the direct entrance to the dungeon. I really wanted to take a look around, but I figured it would be better to after we came back from the dungeon. I turned around to face Katsumi and Kana, to my surprise even Kana was dumbfounded.
“So shall we get going. If the entrance is already this big I can't wait to see the actual dungeon!” “I agree, come on Kana. You two have to register with the guild first though.”
Kana was pulled back to earth and smiled softly.
“My mind simply can not understand how such lowly beings were able to build something like this.”
“Didn't we speak about this? You shouldn't say such things in public. People will get suspicious.”
“Yeah I know, I also can't use my full power until we are in an emergency situation right?”
I nodded in approvement and started walking towards the guild, which was one of the biggest 'building' in here. The main part of the room in which we stood was a reception area with adventurers bustling around. One one side of the room was a long board with Quests written on it. This seemed to be the request board, from where adventurers could take a quest related to the dungeon, one then gets rewarded according to the difficulty of the said quest.
On another side of the room directly facing the entrance was the reception. It was enclosed with iron bars, probably to ensure the guild staff wouldn't be attacked by angry adventurers. There were around ten people from the guild behind the counters and only one was currently free. We decided to quicken our pace as not to wait.
Behind the counter sat a young and rather cute girl around my age. As we drew closer the girl flashed us a smile.
“Good morning, how may I help you?”
“Good morning, we are here to register with the Guild.”
“All three of you?”
“No, just two us.”
“Ok, then here are the documents. Fill them out and give me your identification so I can change your occupation.”
We accepted the forms grateful and filled it out rather quick. There are multiple languages in this world but most of the countries spoke and wrote one language, which made these things rather easy. Even so my Mum taught me multiple language for whatever reason.
After returning the documents the guild staff girl scanned the document and compared it with the identification. After a short pause she smiled at us and took out some kind of tool.
“Since everything seems to be correct I will change the occupation on your card, everything alright with that, Akio Hitsugaya, Kana Hitsugaya?”
“Yeah it is.”
Kana beamed a smile and the girl started working, while I was completely taken aback. Katsumi was also rather shocked and shot a cold gaze towards Kana, but since she couldn't say anything because it would blow our cover, it ended with just that.
“I finished everything on my end, with this you are now officially an adventurer, congratulations.”
“Please remember that every commission you can take is in correspondence with your guild rank and you are the only one responsible for your live on these commission. But since you are in the dungeon city Oderidale, things are a bit different. Basically you can take every commission, but if you fail to deliver the item or items in question you will be charged a sum appropriate for the loss the client makes or the price he has to pay to buy it elsewhere.”
“We will keep it in mind, thank you once again. Have a nice day.”
“Have a nice day.”
Afterwards we strolled around some more and after a while I turned around one last time to make sure they both followed me. While doing so I cached sight of a beautiful brown haired elf. No time to take a closer look I turned around again and faced the stairs. We went down after another group and began our descend into the dungeon.
We decided to rush through the first 10 floors and went straight to the 11th, because we thought it would lie in our capabilities to do so, since we were experienced fighters and had Kanas powers as backup. It did not take long until we arrived at the 11th floor, were we started our exploration.
By the way it seems the dungeon has an estimation of over a 1000 floors but the deepest floor reached was the 867th floor. Every 50 floors some kind of guardian seems to guard the stairs down to the next floor.
As we arrived at the 11th floor we immediately noticed a change in the atmosphere and the whole layout of the floor. The first ten floors seemed to simply be a cave, which was lit by torches, but this floor looked a bit different. There was no real light source and the light seemed to come out of the wall, If one looked closely one could see small crystals in the walls, which supposedly gave of the light. Considering the change of the atmosphere, we also immediately went tense.
“Be a bit more careful from now on, Kana, Katsumi.”
“I agree, this place seems to be slightly different from the ones we went thus far. But I do wonder why, I don't have to inhale these stenches anymore.”
“There was no stench to begin with, it's only because you always look down on others that you can smell that 'scent'”
“Well I won't get ride of your scent it seems.”
“I don't stink! Or do I, Akio?”
“Both of you really have no sense of pressure it seems. Kana, stop teasing Katsumi all the time and Katsumi, you don't stink the opposite in fact, you smell quite good.”
“You didn't have to say it like that!”
“It seems you really know how to flatter woman, my lord.”
“That does not seem like a compliment....huh...and now focus, we are getting company.”
As we slowed down and got ready to fight, three green monsters charged at us. They were about 80 cm tall and had the face of a mix between a rat and a bunny. The monster guide said these things are called Mornlings. It also said one had to watch out for their rather high speed amongst the monster of the lower floors. The monsters from the first to the tenth floor are goblins.
With all the info I got from the monster guide I had no problems dealing with them. Even though it was said they are rather fast, they seemed slow to me, so it only took one good timed swing with my sword and they were sliced in half, the same applied to Katsumi, who didn't even bother with shooting the arrows and just stabbed the Mornlings and Kana who could just slice them in half with her hand. Since we had dispatched these three mornlings without a problem we decided to move but there were not many of them, so we continued to move forward with a steady pace.
It did not take long before we reached the staircase to the 12th floor and upon arriving there we decided to have lunch in the staircase room on the 12th floor. It still took us half a day to reach the 12th even though we had no problems with the monsters. The real problem was the ever changing layout of the dungeon, which made mapping absolutely useless, lead to us getting lost multiple times. It is said once you spent enough time in the dungeon you will have no problem manoeuvring in it.
“So what do you guys think so far?”
“Hmm...hard to say, the monsters are no problems even their number is not really high, but since we are only capable of moving so slow inside this dungeon it's getting rather hard.”
“Oh what a wondrous occasion, I actually agree with this pest!”
“It seems we all agree, maybe reaching the 30th floor in two days is a rather high aim.”
“Hmm I don't think that is going to be a problem if we are capable of getting the hang of it today.”
“With your capabilities, my lord, I don't think we need to worry about anything.”
“Then no change in plans?”
Both of them nodded with a pleasant smile on their lips and we resumed eating. Shortly after we finished our meal a monster flew inside the room. It looked a bit like a drawn cloud with arms, which made the whole thing ridiculous, If not for the sharp nails on it's hand. These monster are called Cloudtalon, they try to attack your blind spots and catch you off guard. Since they are very cloud like they are highly resistant to physical attacks, but this does not apply to mine or Kanas sword, because they are magic swords.
Magic swords are a kind of sword, which are either equipped with special properties or were forged from Mithril, Adamantine, Orichalcum or Voskosium. Mithril and Adamantine are rather rare but they are still some mines where they can be found. Orichalcum can only be obtained through Alchemy and Voskosium is a kind of ore which is said to be a gift of the gods, only granted to humans who proved their loyalty to the gods. It seems [Glimmer] was made out Voskosium. Voskosium is said to have a own conciousness, so it can also refuse to do things it does not want to do, keeping the things made out of it save from abuse.
I was just about to stand up but Kana gestured me to sit back, so she stood up and took care of it in one smooth swing. Afterwards we finished our lunch without any further complications and resumed our dungeon crawling.
Around the 15th floor we started to notice a pattern inside the dungeon and it didn't take much longer until we developed a strategy to move inside the dungeon. Afterwards we finally reached the 20th floor and it was already afternoon, we would probably need to turn back after this floor to get back to the surface today. The monsters on the different floors were no problem either, we only encountered Mornlings and Cloudtalons with few numbers.
“Let's clear the last floor for today and then we go back up, alright?”
“I agree, otherwise we won't make it in time for dinner.”
“I would only like to advise you that every tenth floor the monster encountering rate is 4 times as high as on the floor before it, my lord.”
“Thanks for the warning Kana, but with the strength of these monsters it shouldn't be a problem.”
“If you say so.”
“Let's go then.”
We descended the staircase and stepped into the first room, which looked just like the rooms on the floor above,the only difference was that there were more monsters then on the floors above. We immediately unsheathed our weapons and I moved in front of Katsumi.
“Katsumi, focus on the Mornlings, I will keep the Cloudtalons off you. Kana, assist us like necessary and decimate the enemies upfront.”
“By your command, my lord.”
Kana gave a quick bow and started rushing towards the enemies. Katsumi let loose the arrow she had notched and immediately afterwards notched and shot another one. The enemies that got too close meet my blade. It did not take long to exterminate all monsters in the room and we carefully moved forward.
“It seems four times the monsters is a appropriate term for this.”
“I think there are more then four times the monsters then on the other floors, keep an eye on our surroundings, we don't want to get lost.”
Katsumi smiled sweetly and walked a little closer to me, while still keeping a cool atmosphere. My heart started beating a little faster once again so I lowered my guard a bit but as we entered the next room, I raised my guard once again and we were presented with the same scene as before, so we had no reason to discuss our battle plans and just moved according to our instincts.
After another ten of those rooms we started to feel a bit of fatigue and so we lost our sense of direction. It did not take long before we found ourselves in a room with four entrances, out of which a seemingly endless stream of monsters rushed from. Our fatigue started to add up and we soon were in quite the difficult situations.
“Katsumi, Kana, this can't go on, we need to find a way out of this situation, because I think this will continue forever!”
“You are right, we need to get to the staircase or get rid of all these monsters but how are we going to do that?”
“My lord, if I may?”
“Speak up if you have an idea Kana, everything is fine!”
“By your command, I could use my power to get rid of all these small flies, none of us are accustomed to fighting such a large amount of monsters at the same time for such a long period of time, furthermore are we unaccustomed to dungeon crawling, which led to this situation”
“I agree, we should not have rushed into this and have taken our time but what done is is done, so no use complaining now. What do you think Katsumi?”
“I think Kanas idea is the best, even tough I don't want to admit it.”
I scanned the surroundings for the silhouettes of people but nobody seemed to be around. I calculated the time we would need to get back and came to the conclusion that wasting any more time would be pointless.
“Alright Kana, do it.”
Immediately after Kanas words, white light illuminated the room and I could barley see a thing. Suddenly I registered the silhouette of a person entering the room from the direction where Kanas strike would go towards. I rushed forward with no time to waste. Holding up my sword to block Kanas strike. Putting the person out of harms way by directly putting myself in front. I could see Katsumi and Kanas shocked expressions. Kanas wings filled my field of vision a split-second later and I was hit by a tremendous force. I directed the force to the side by activating Enhancement Magic on myself and the sword. The ground beside me split apart and the force created threw the person against the wall with tremendous speed.
“Kana! Exterminate all the monsters as fast as you can, I don't mind if you destroy this room! Katsumi come to me, we need to treat this person as soon as possible!”
“My lord, I'm sorry...I will do everything in my power to make things up to you! And you PESTS! I WILL EXTERMINATE YOUR KIND! BECAUSE OF YOU MY LORD NEARLY GOT HURT! PREPARE YOURSELF TO FACE THE CONSEQUENZES!”
The monsters seemed to realize that something was different and they were overpowered by the killing intent released by Kana. Some tried to flee but to know avail, Kana with her full powers was capable of annihilating everyone of these monsters. She stayed true to her words. It sent a shiver down my spine and I decided to never anger Kana like that, she was simply to scary.
As we got closer we could make out features of the person who got blown away. She was an elven woman, with long brown hair and blue eyes, a slender build and normal assets. Another beautiful women.
“Akio! What do we do!?”
“Don't worry, she has no serious injury's but we still need to stabilize her.”
“By the gods, what can we do to help her?”
“We just need to lay her down properly and wait until she wakes up.”
“Yeah, that will do.”
“So am I, didn't think somebody would just show up in that moment.”
“That was a really close call.....Akio...no matter what, don't pull something like that again....”
“It worked out all right so there is no need to worry, right?”
“That is not what this is about!....what would happen if one time this does not work?...What if you get hurt....”
“....I'm sorry...I did not think so far....Sorry for worrying you....”
Silence enveloped the two of us and guilt tormented my chest. I'm the first companion Katsumi has had after her parents died. She trusts me and I do not want to betray that trust, no matter what. I want her to keep smiling. With new found resolution I looked up once again.
“I can't promise you I will never worry you but I promise you I will do everything in my ability to stay alive and to keep you alive.”
A tear rolled down her cheek and she smiled back at me. My hearted once again started beating furiously, but I did not concern my self with this, I just enjoyed her presence. Silence descended once again but this time it was pleasant one.
If you have any interest in helping me as an editor or illustrator contact me, I would appreciate your help.