Chapter 2 – The Phantom Forest and Kraken ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ (Part 2)
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When Henry’s story had a pause, Junpei opened his mouth.
「That was a very intense story, but……in short, it’s the pattern where the Brave Party who defeated the Demon King challenged this labyrinth head on huh……really, my condolences」
Henry laughed wryly weakly.
「Haha, that’s really true」
「It seemed like that Brave-sama was a faker, but……so, what happened to that Brave and the remaining members? Were they annihilated against the Kraken here?」
Henry shook his head sidewards.
「No, they passed by the Kraken. Four of the two advanced to the next floor. The Brave and Sage」
「What about the remaining two……? Was it you and the girl magician?」
「We decided to remain on this floor」
「Remain……what do you mean?」
Henry said uncomfortably.
「We had……a child」
「Haa? Within the labyrinth?」
「U〜n, how can I say this……Narwick the Brave, Sage Gato, Great Magician Cecilia, and the Sword Saint……me. That, was the members for the Demon King subjugation, and was also the members that challenged this labyrinth. And……Cecilia, the Great Magician. She’s a great beauty that has the same red hair as me. Well, she’s my childhood friend though……」
Not knowing how to react, Junpei assented vaguely.
「She was a genius. When she was around ten, she graduated in the royal capital’s magic university, but……the surroundings got jealous of her tremendous talents. That’s right, she was a genius that’s why she was solitude」
「Well, it’s a common story……she’s someone who would go subjugating the Demon King, that’s probably a very smart genius」
“Ahh”, Henry nodded.
「That’s why, I honed my sword」
「……the reason for that?」
「In her surroundings, if someone who can stand in the same place as her was there, if I would at least hone one skill, and although it’s a different field, I tried to be someone who can stand beside her……. unlike her, I didn’t have talents that can be called genius, well, I had a hard time. But my efforts fruited, and when I noticed it I’m a member of the Brave Party. And that’s why, well, how can I say this……in the middle of our journey, we became lovers. After defeating the Demon King, we were planning to get married」
「And why did that became clearing the labyrinth?」
「That’s why I told you……I don’t know」
“Anyways”, Henry hit his palm.
「Cecilia was pregnant. I noticed in the middle of the labyrinth capture though……no, it might be more specific to say I remembered. We were planning to make a kid in the first place, and that we’d get married after the Demon King subjugation……」
「I see……huh. Really, that Brave one was really a rascal huh」
「ーーwell, with this and that, Cecilia and I gave up clearing this labyrinth. This floor has abundant greens and there’re also animals. That’s why I thought that we can live here……there’s also the precedent of the cannibal village too」
「But, I’m sorry for saying this, but in clearing the labyrinth……battle strength is valuable right? Even if you say you’d stay, I don’t think that that would get through」
「Ahh, we received a huge objection. But, when we told them about the child, Narwick’s face colors clearly changedーーeven in his head, there’s probably a fragment of conscience remaining. As a resultーーwe were forgiven to remain on this floor. And, well, that’s the reason why I’m living in this floor」
「But, well, how can I say this……you’re really unlucky huh」
After thinking for a bit, Henry made a wry smile.
「I mean, this story is only unlucky, that’s your comment……it’s quite a terrible story you know?」
After thinking for a bit, Junpei also made a wry smile after all.
「If it’s a contest of bragging misfortune, I don’t think I’d lose」
Did he felt the darkness dwelling deep in his eyes, Henry once again made a wry smile.
「Both of us, we aren’t lucky huh」
“And so……”, Junpei said while looking around the room.
「I can only see this log house as for someone living alone though?」
It doesn’t seem it expects visitors in the first place. There’s a bed in the end of the room, but that’s also for one.
There’s also only one chair in the table, and Henry is drinking the herb tea while standing.
「Ahh, I’m living here alone」
「Uh, in what you said earlier……」
「She got crazy and died」
「Died, you say……?」
And there, Henry shook his head sidewards and spat out.
「Thinking about it now, it was all strange from the start. First, this forest itself is covered by mist. I noticed it later, but when you’re wrapped in the mist, you absolutely cannot get out. Your sense of direction would go nuts, and when you notice it, you’re turning around in the same place, it’s “that” pattern in the fairy tales」
「……it seems like that. And……?」
「Cecilia and I who accidentally entered the forest, we made a hovel in this place since we couldn’t help it, and started to live here……」
「The babies that were born were sextuplets boys. It’s a sextuplets, a sextuplets. And……on top of that, the child’s growth were abnormally fast」
「Abnormal fast growth……what happened specifically/」
「They were very cute when they were born. They had silver hair and round eyes……and, that, their appearance changed to about 20 years old after a year. And they can’t understand human language. Probably, they were affected by the evil of the labyrinth, and became a living being different from a human. Imagine that. An appearance of a well-grown young man was leaking their body excretions and says “AuAu”? They were crawling like a baby you know? Haha, it’s not that much. What awaited us after ending the nightmare of the labyrinth exploration was, a new nightmare」
Junpei made an expression as if he bit a bitter bug.
「And, after they were two, they were male in their prime, and while we were looking at them become an old man after they were threeーーCecilia’s personality changed」
「Old man……I mean, changed her personality you say, what happened?」
「First, she started to take Mandragora again」
「Ahh, it’s the demonic drug that the Brave gave. But, when looking at our sons’ speed of growth……when looking at that disastrous scene, I couldn’t blame Cecilia. But, I thought at least, I will support her」
「Immediately when she started to take Mandragora again. The way she took care of our sons……no, if you’d just say on how it looked, it was completely nursing. That gradually became crude. The disposal of their wastes, their food, and……all of the others. In the end, she even started to punish them excessively. It started with slapping first, next, it changed to hitting. And when she saw that the blood that came out of our sons’ nose changed to blueーーCecilia got broken」
「Their blood……is blue……」
“Ahh”, Henry nodded, and spoke elatedly.
「The dinner that day was really extravagant. 『They say that there’s a custom of eating them raw in an island country to the East you know』, that was Cecilia said. I lost my words. The table was served with Sashimi for six after all」
「Ahh. Human sashimi. The old men that were butchered were lined up on top of the table. Sashimi……or maybe was it called Ikizukuri? The nerves of the people who had that kind of cooking, I really couldn’t understand it at that point. It’s only the difference of whether it is fish or human……but you’re doing the same thing in the end right? That was, a scene that made a lot of things come up out from the bottom of my stomach you know?」
「Before the sashimi, Cecilia whispered something as a delirium, and started to laugh. That was, she really was laughing with a great expression. She, Cecilia was probably completely broken……and she whispered one thing, 『Henry, sorry』……」
And there, Henry looked up the ceiling, and continued.
「She was a great magician before after all. She didn’t even need to make the hovel on fire. On top of that, what she used was a forbidden technique. Incinerate one’s soul and envelope everything with the hell’s blazeーーafter that, everything, including yourself, will disappear without leaving behind dust, it was that kind of magic」
「……our house blazing behind me, I ran away from that place. I ran, trying to get out of the forest. But, even if I run and run, I was not able to run away from this forest after all……that’s why I made the house again. I also made a field while I’m at it」
Henry shrugged his shoulder and made a wry smile.
Silence filled the small room.
After thinking for a while, Junpei threw out words to Henry.
While making a smile, Henry continued.
「Hearing up to this, that’s still your reaction, unlucky……」
「Ahh, right now, in a contest of misfortune, I don’t think I’d lose against you」
Making a sullen face, Henry let out.
「What kind of like have you walked through……」
“Even so……”, after taking a breath, Henry let out a very deep sigh.
「I understand that Cecilia got broken and became like that. But, we had raised them for three years you know? The time when the violence started until they were killed……it was really fast. For me……I don’t understand why Cecilia suddenly did a violent move like that…」
「Hey, Henry-san? Is the thing you say the Mandragora, is it that cigarette placed there?」
Junpei asked while pointing at the cigarette that was placed in the corner of the table.
「Ahh, I don’t know when it would be useful so I left it. This isn’t something I need to say, but I didn’t use that alright?」
「【Appraisal Eyes】is really convenient huh. I got……most of what had happened」
「Mandragora is……well, it is a proper material for magic and alchemy. Of course, there’re many effects other than a narcotic. For example, Mandragora itself shows hallucinations, but as its side-effect, it has the effects of erasing the hallucinations other than the hallucinations that the Mandragora made. Most probably, to Cecilia-san who started to take Mandragora again, your sons……they probably saw them as something different」
「……what, are you saying?」
「Well, Cecilia-san also probably was bugged with the drug……but in reality, Sashimi was a really funny story. It was really fitting」
「……really, what are you saying?」
「The reason that she tried to suicide, I think that it wasn’t because of the abnormal growth of your sons. No, that might be also a reason……but I think, the real purpose was something different」
And there, Henry had veins popping in his temples.
「What the hell are you saying since earlier……on top of that, as if you knowーー」
Getting his collar grabbed, Junpei who was hanged up had choked.
Unless it was a speed competition, he can’t resist an S-Rank adventurer with strength competition.
If Henry wanted to do it, he could’ve broken Junpei’s neck right now.
But, Junpei made a fearless smile.
「As if I know……the hell. In fact……I really know it. Also, it hurts……so let me go……」
Junpei who got released prompted Henry to go outside.
Henry who seemed to not understand why, followed him.
When the door was opened, a suffocation smell of the chestnut flowers enveloped them.
And, Junpei spat out as if to curse.
「Henry-san……you……have you seen the Kraken’s pond?」
「If I’m correct……it was only about a fifty-meter square right? Its depth was more than ten meters……」
「And, Kraken, it’s a giant squid whose body is at least more than 20 meters long right?」
「Well, it’s called Kraken, it should be at least that long」
And there, Junpei lightly spread out both of his arms, and said as if to get disgusted.
「That size of a pond, how do you think would a Kraken get nutrients? It isn’t the ocean you know? It would devour all food in an instant right?」
“Let me think”, Henry tilted his head.
「Being told by that, that’s true」
And, Junpei pointed at the surrounding trees.
「To live on this floor, the Kraken had a special evolution. Do you know about photosynthesis?」
「Well, in the level of this world’s civilization, and a muscle-brain on top of that……there’s no way that you’d know huh……. Anyways, the Kraken chose chlorophyll to gain nutrients. And for that it wasーーa special organ」
「Oi oi, wait……I can’t understand it you know?」
To Henry’s question, “It just means……”, after a pause, Junpei answered his question.
「This forest itselfーーit’s the Kraken」
With a dumbfounded face, Henry asked Junpei.
「Haa? It’s a Kraken you know? It’s a monster that lives in the water right?」
「In reality, an appraisal result like that is coming out so it can’t be helped. The plants in this forest are already infested by the Kraken」
He stopped Henry who was about to say something with his hand.
「……that’s right, the roots of the plants should be connected with the Kraken’s tentacles underground. Its main body is taking its nutrients by that……was the Kraken living in this labyrinth for a long time had a special evolution like that, or was it a living thing like that from the start, I don’t know. Nonetheless, while photosynthesizing as a plant, the main body of the animal side of the Kraken……it should be living in the water」
Henry who lost his words with that, asked Junpei again.
「Infest……no, special organ?」
「Most probably, the child that was born between Henry-san and Cecilia-san……they’re your children, but they aren’t your children. I told you right? This whole forest is the Kraken. And the dense smell that the chestnut trees releases……and that with its meaning itself, you can take it as “that”」
「……”that”, you say?」
「Well, it’s the smell of the chemical substance called spermine……and that is, how can I say this huh. It means, that this whole area is always filled with the Kraken’s sperm fluttering. And, when there was a child in the womb, or maybe at the timing when plants were making seeds, the special organ had its effect. It meansーーit infests the animal, or the animal’s baby」
「Henry-san, you said that your children were affected by the labyrinth’s evil and changed like that……but there was also reproduction in the cannibal village. The people there, they had taken the abnormal choice of cannibalism because they were forced to, but they were normal other than that. At least, I didn’t see them as if they were affected by the evil you know? Was that floor special, or is it only this floor’s special cause……well, at the least, I’ll believe the appraisal results of my own skill」
「They were children that she gave birth with pain after all. Her intuition was probably sharper than men. Isn’t that why, once again, she started to take Mandragora? The magic drug that has the effects to erase the hallucination the Kraken give……. And she confirmed the truth and got broken. As a result, she did that misconduct. Even so, they were still her children although it was only half. She probably took suicide because she couldn’t bear it anymore」
「You mean, our children, their abnormal growth, was it……a hallucination?」
「No, I don’t know about that……I don’t know, but their life forces were absorbed the damn squid at once that’s why they aged. But, even so, the true appearance of the things that you saw as your child, it should’ve been a completely different monster……」
A very, very long silence.
And finally, Henry, he threw out his last question to Junpei.
「In the first place……why, is this functioning as a phantom forest?」
「Can I take that as what’s the merit the Kraken would have in trapping living things in this forest right? One is, animals……collecting their wastes……even their corpses can be nutrients. And when a human got lost in here, unable to run away, and started to live here, there would be harmony inevitably and they would take care of it by their own. On top of that, if it was, fortunately, able to infest the babies of humans or animals, most probably, it has a higher efficiency to collect nutrients and life forces. When your children were forcefully grown in a high speed, and at the same time when they had reached their adult stage, their energy was absorbed and became an old man……well, I think, that they were used as live stocks efficiently」
“And with that”, Junpei clapped his hands.
「Leaving the gloomy conversation here, it’s about time……let’s go」
「The root cause of this phantom forestーーto the Kraken’s place」
To Henry’s dubious look, *Kokuri*, Junpei nodded.
「We’re going to score a Namasu」
And there, was Henry finally able to understand the situation, no, it was because he understood that he made an expression that he couldn’t understand.
「It’s true, that to be able to get out of this ridiculous forests, there’s only flying to the sky or kill it. But, I had seen that once before, but……it isn’t something that a human can kill you know? I’m a man who was once called a Sword Saint. I know that you’re also not normal, butーー」
“Ahh”, Junpei nodded.
「Even so, we’re gonna score a Namazu」
And, he continued.
「Follow me. I need a hand. There’s a chance of winningーーthat’s the reason why I entered this forest」
Danger Specification ▼▼▼ SS
Characteristics ▼▼▼ A race that is almost the strongest within the monsters that live in the ocean. It’s girth is four meters, and if the length of its tentacles is added, it’s a monster that is more than twenty meters.
It inhabits the deep sea that is far from the land, but rarely, there are ones who goes near the land with empty stomachs, pull in ships in the sea, and prey on its passengers. It is being told by the men of seas as synonymous to fear from everywhere at all times. Furthermore, it is almost invincible within waters, and there is no case of subjugation by humans when the Kraken is under water.
「Even so……you really think of ridiculous things」
In front of Henry and Junpei, is an artificial pond that has a two-meter radius. And water channels extend from there, and connects to the Kraken’s pond.
The width of the water channel is about a meter, it’s depth is ten meters, and it extends for a kilometer.
That was, the number of days Junpei and Henry needed to spend to prepare for this time’s big catch.
Junpei by himself, who had placed most of his level up parameters to evasion and didn’t have that much strength, it would’ve been impossible to make this huge of a construction.
Without needing to say, it is the Sword Saint Henry who had done most of the work using his sword as a hoe.
「If it can’t be defeated by normal means, that only means……you only can do things that aren’t normal」
The artificial pond that exists in front of Junpei who answered smiling, had a cylindrical image.
And in the middle of that cylinder, slimes were filled tightly.
「But……slime……huh. It’s true that I have seen it before that they were being sold dried in the food market……」
Originally, most of the slime’s volume, is made out of water.
The state of a normal slime, is a sphere that was about a meter in diameter. But the slimes in front of them right now, because of Junpei who was a Slime Tamer, they released all the moisture out of its body with all of their strength, and had a size of a volleyball.
And their numbers, they were more than thousands, so their specific numbers were unknown.
And within those, about ten percentーーthey entered the artificial pond that connects to the Kraken’s pond, and absorbed the water as if they were getting stained.
「The pond that the Kraken lives……it’s only a hole that’s disconnected to a river. It’s really doubtful how it appeared, but nothing will happen asking for logic in this labyrinth huh. You should just get convinced about it as it is, and use it as it is」
The slimes who were plump after absorbing the water came out of the water. Junpei looked around the giant slimes that were lying here and there very satisfied.
「And……it’s invincible within the water. If that is so……」
Next, Junpei looked at the slimes that had the size of a volleyball that was waiting their turn to absorb water. New slims jumping into the pond.
「Then, you should just dry the pond itself. I don’t know if the water circulation is underground water or rain, but as long as it isn’t connected to a river, the water capacity isn’t that many. If that is so……with a lot of slimes, it can be adjusted as much as you want」
To not let the Kraken notice, very, very slowly, the reclamation work advanced.
As mentioned above, right now, Junpei was using ten percent of the slimes for the reclamation work.
Twenty-five thousand tons of water is needed to be drained in simple calculations, and the slimes that got plump once again, released water as much as possible……they were being reused like that. There’s of course, a different reason that he was not using the remaining ninety percent of the slimes.
Within the narrow pond, the Kraken is always in a half hibernation state, and the artificial pond is also a kilometer away from there, so it would be hard for it to notice the work that was being done.
Even so……if there was a chance that the Kraken would notice and the water channel would be blocked, it would be out. Everything’s going to be finished.
That is why there’s a need to do the work very, very slowly, and carefully.
Spending whole four days, right now, the water level was only one-third of what it had, it fell by a total of three meters.
And, there, Junpei who was observing ahead of the channel clicked his tongue.
「Well, yeah……you’d notice that huh」
At the same time with Junpei’s words, the sound of the ground shaking could be heard from far away.
And the water level of the artificial pond before Junpei had clearly gone down.
And immediately, Junpei ran towards the pond with a gale’s speed.
「Follow me! Slimes!!」
Henry’s rough voice could be heard behind Junpei.
「Oi, what the hell happened?!」
「It noticed……it destroyed the water channel in the middle! Even if the water here was absorbed, there’s no meaning!」
“Let me think……”, after thinking a while, Henry’s face turned to blue.
「There’s still around three meters remaining right? Well, that would really be hard to move in, and its battle strength probably decreased drastically, but……even so, isn’t the Kraken still in good health?」
「That’s right. Exactly. And I……expecting this situationーー」
The forest opened, and the pond spread ahead.
And at the same time, Junpei immediately opened his item box.
「For this, I had remaining slimes!! Goooooooo!!!」
That’s right, that was the use of the remaining ninety percent of slimes. The slime that shrunk after losing its moisture, they rushed to the pond from the item box.
On one hand, the Kraken controlled its ten tentacles freely, and met the slimes.
It crushed them, or maybe strangled them to them, but they were too many. It wasn’t able to completely deal with all of them.
And while that was happening, the water level of the pond clearly fell with an abnormal pace compared to earlier.
That should be the case, after all, all of them was sent this time, on top of that, they were only focused in absorbing.
Nine times of earlier……maybe speeds more than that, the water level fell at once.
But even so, the slimes immediately got plump, and proportionally to that, the speed of the water level falling got dull.
And finally, when there were only about two meters remaining, the water level completely stopped decreasing.
「Oi oi, isn’t that a failure after all!」
In a blink of an eye after Henry let out a voice of confusion, *Hyun*, a wind cutting sound.
One of the tentacles came out of the water, and was shot towards Sword Saint Henry.
At the nick of the time when he dodged the tentacle as if to dance, a slash with the Holy Sword that was covered with rustーーthe tentacle was wounded for around twenty centimeters.
When the Kraken was faintly stunned with that counterattack, he took a back step.
And with a voice that was close to a scream, Henry shouted towards Junpei.
「Oi, boy!! Let’s retreat! The slimes wouldn’t be able to absorb water more than this! The slimes would be annihilated without ten minutes!!」
Hearing that, “Yare yare”, Junpei shrugged his shoulders.
「Henry-san……the main part is just beginning!」
And, he continued with a middle finger.
「Surround it! Slimes! Contain it!」
The slimes that easily exceed a thousand. On top of that, each of them that exceeds a diameter of one meter piled up on top of each other and became a wall, and surrounded the Kraken that was twenty meters long.
In other words, is the embankment with the slime. That made the pond into a half.
Junpei who looked at that very satisfied, threw the item box itself into the embankment.
「ーーgo!! This is the end!! You damn squid!!」
From inside the item box, slimes once again. However, it was the size of a human’s fist.
It looks like a dried jellyfish, or maybe the thing called a dried Jew’s ear.
「Oi, what is that……? Isn’t that a dried food? It looks alive, but……is that……a slime?」
「It’s……Sand Slime. The thing called slime is weak. And since it’s weak, it can adapt to any kind of environment. That’s……the species that I adapted to a desert environment」
「It just means, it’s the slime that can maintain water in its body even in dry desert lands. Even if it’s called “desert”, it’s not like it’s dry for the whole year. The dry season is only very long, and although rarely, it also rains. “That”, so that it would be able to survive with rare rains, it had evolved」
「It’s the species that can contain unbelievable amounts of water inside its body, and can use it for long times. Its absorption rate is as you can see」
As if water had stained the desert……the slimes inside the bank that had surrounded the Kraken decreased the water level at frightening speeds.
In opposite of that, the capacity of the Sand Slime increased unbelievably.
In some individuals, it even grew to more than four meters of diameters.
When they noticed it, there was no more water inside the slime’s embankment, and there were only juicy slimes and a giant squid.
That scene, was as if a lot of jellyfishes and a squid was pulled out with to the ground with a net.
Anyways, Junpei successfully stole the Kraken’s inhabitation place.
「But, however, that’s still alive right? The limited space that was embanked was only dried, and if that bank gets broken, wouldn’t it start resurrecting immediately……」
As Henry had said, the Kraken was hugely thrashing around.
It was turning its tentacles with huge momentum, and it was clear that it was a matter of time before the wall was destroyed.
「What are you planning to do? I think that its battle strength drastically decreased, but it’s still a Kraken, it’s unknown if we can defeat it with a hundred percent with the two of us……」
「My bad, Henry-san, can you get away for a bit」
Junpei signed Henry to take a distance with his hand.
And after that, he took out a huge cloth that was like a bandage from his waist, and one more, this time, he took out a thin cloth. And narrowing his eyebrows to a wrinkle, Junpei took out Cerberus’s Canine.-
ーーand, to the next scene, Henry lost his words.
Junpei placed the Cerberus’s Canine to his own wrist, and cut out his veins at once.
He placed the bandage over his wound with expressionless, and stood there for a while with no words.
Junpei’s face colors clearly worsened, it exceeded blue turning violet.
At the same time, the bandage was dyed with a red color. Probably losing too much blood, *Furari*, Junpei almost collapsed. But, he braced himself and stood his ground.
「ーーit would be ridiculous dying here with loss of blood! You’re the one who’d fucking die! You damn squid!!!!」
With the words he squeezed out, Junpei threw the bandage with his own blood inside the slime embankment.
The evasion rate status, it also directly affects the attack’s accuracy.
If that is so, his throwing precision right now should be making a major leaguer’s face blue. If there was no disturbanceーーthere’s no way he’d miss the target.
Junpei fell to his knee, and wrapped the thin cloth that he had prepared for the start tightly and pressured his axillary artery below his armpit.
That is the treatment that is called the indirect pressure method, it is the same logic that the water coming from the water supply would stop if you step on the hose that extends from it.
When he had stopped the bleeding for around ninety percent, Junpei took out a sticky herb, and coated the part that was cut open and completely closed the wound.
And at the end, on top of that, he did a direct pressure method using a thin cloth.
As a first-aid, it was a work that can be said as perfectーーbut Junpei’s sight blurred very fast.
It was no doubt that the loss of blood was the cause.
To Henry who was watching what was happening from a distance, Junpei asked while breathing with his shoulders.
「Henry-san……what happened……to the squid? My eyes……it’s just a little bit……hard to look」
Confirming the squid’s state from far away, Henry lost his words once again.
「You……what did you do? Something like this……isn’t it……impossible……」
In the place where Henry was looking at, the giant squid that was thrashing aroundーーas if a cockroach that was sprayed with an insect killer, it was only able to wriggle its tentacles without strength.
No matter how you look at it, it was in the state……of dying.
「Oi……don’t make me say it twice……what happened……to the squid?」
「……Ah……ahh……un, it’s dying. I mean, aren’t you also staggering」
*Gunyari*, Junpei collapsed to the ground.
Henry approached to look after him, but Junpei immediately stopped him.
「My blood is poisonous. It’s better if you don’t approach……even if it’s the blood that splashed here, there’s the possibility for it to make a human in a coma in an instant just by breathing the ones that evaporated……well, if it’s an adventurer your level……there might be no need to worry that much……though」
「From the start……were you planning to use your blood as your trump card? Most probably……the reason that you took away the water from the Kraken, is because you didn’t want the blood to dilute in the huge amount of water, it was only all for that right?」
After letting out a deep sigh, Junpei nodded.
「Unfortunately, my cards, it isn’t enough to take monsters here as an opponent」
“I see”, Henry who whispered that, made a wry smile after a pause.
「……this is how you fight……huh……it isn’t normal」
「It’s because it’s not normal……that I was able to reach here」
“Well then”, Junpei prompted Henry to look at the Kraken’s direction with his jaw.
「It’s that huge. I don’t know until when it would be calming down with the paralysis. I can’t move, so I want you to deal the last blow. Well……it’s too bad that you’d take all the experience points though. Be careful, to not touch my blood……」
“Ahh”, nodding, Henry drew his long sword from its sheath.
「Don’t worry. If it’s a monster that strong, its monster core should be able to be taken away. The experience points are yours」
「……core? What’s that?」
「What the heck are you saying?」
「Answer the question……what the heck is that?」
Henry was dumbfounded in an instant, and finally, he started laughing out loud.
「Amazing……you really don’t know huh? Isn’t it the common sense for leveling, it’s something that an adventurer should knowーー」
「……my debut fight is in this place’s first floor. Before that, I had never done killing at al」
「Haa? Really, what the heck are you saying?」
Henry thought for the meaning of those words for a while, and lost his words once again.
「Are you……serious. What a……ridiculous boy you are, really」
While being completely appalled, he started to walk towards the pond.
The time when Henry returned with his whole body dyed by the blue blood of the Kraken, was ten minutes after that.
In his hand, a violet colored crystal, a huge amount of the material cards that was most probably the squid’s meat, and Junpei’s item box.
「This is……the core?」
Henry who passed Junpei the core, “You really don’t know anything huh”, made a wry smile.
「Ahh, it’s the lump of life energy. The lowest level of monsters only have the size of a bean, but this, it is really huge as expected」
「And, how do you use it?」
「If you crush it with your hand……the life energy would flow into you. And……when it’s left like this, the life energy would melt into the air after a while, and disappear without a trace. That’s why you should use it quickly」
As he was told, Junpei crushed it with his hand, and his body was enveloped by a bluish white light. And passing through his veins, something warm flowed into his brain and heart.
“Un”, after Junpei nodded, Henry opened his mouth.
「What are you planning to do from now on?」
「I’ll go down. Deeper, to a darker place……and, what is Henry-san planning to do from now on?」
“Ahh”, Henry nodded.
「It’s the time that I spent living here. Both of strength and intuition in battle had weakened……however」
And just like that, Henry reached out his palm towards Junpei and smiled.
「Ohh, I should be careful not touching your blood. I am Sword Saint Henry. It’s not to brag……but I am strong. I have no regrets remaining here, if that is so, I want to try to escape out of hereーーtogether with you」
But, Junpei didn’t grip back the palm that was reached out to him, and shoot his head sidewards.
「Hey, Henry-san? While listening to your story, there was something that I was very curious about」
「What is the color of Cecilia-san’s hair?」
「It’s the same red as me……」
「That’s right, if I’m correct, you had said that Cecilia-san’s hair color is red. And, Henry-san’s hair color is also red. But, earlier, you said that the color of your sons’ hair was silver」
Not minding Henry who had shut up, Junpei showered him with words as if to pursue.
「Hey, Henry-san? In the end, the children’s appearance that you had seen, they were the hallucination from the Kraken, so right now, their hair colors don’t matter anymore……but, you saw it as silver hair with your eyes right? ……why is that? Why, did you not have doubt, that your children’s hair was silver, coming from two red hairs?」
Henry answered with a sullen face.
「……ahh, of course, I doubted it. That was most probably Narwick’s child. When we were exploring the labyrinth, it was a chaos state like that……Cecilia who didn’t know if it was dream or reality, and Narwick who was honest to his desire……or maybe, it might be a rape done forcefully, or it might be with permission」
Junpei’s eyebrow flinched.
「……you knew that, and raised them?」
「In the first place, the time was very strange. She was pregnant when we start going down this labyrinth, it was more natural to think like that thinking of the time. My child probably had died before it was born. But, I thought that that was fine as it is. That’s why it’s alright with that」
「……you really, loved her huh」
「We were together since we were still a child after all. I don’t know if it can be called as love……but, I couldn’t leave her alone.」
And, Henry gripped his first very strongly.
「Well now, let’s go. Right now, I don’t know what happened to Narwick. But, if we go down, we should be able to meet him. I am……I will not be able to have rest if I won’t hit him once」
And, he continued.
「ーーthat is my reason for going down」
Junpei who heard that burst into a laugh.
「Really, you’re off」
「Henry-san. I was observing you for a long time. If, from now on, you and “that person” would get along from now on」
Henry asked with a dumbfounded expression.
“Ahh”, Junpei nodded and answered.
「That’s why I went on my ways going here. If it’s only killing the Kraken, I don’t need to enter the phantom forest, and even if I need to fight with someone, Cecilia-san’s magic would be more useful with that as an opponent」
Still unable to understand the situation, Henry got petrified while reaching out his palm.
*Kusuri*, Junpei smiled, and finally gripping back his palm, he said.
「Your wife, she’s alive you know? In the hovel in the opposite shore, she’s living with a cute red haired girl」
“I can’t believe it”, Henry opened his mouth.
As the mist had cleared, the dessert that spread in the opposite shore could be seen.
“I see”, as Junpei had said, a hovel could be seen near the opposite shore.
「In the middle of our conversation, towards me, for many times, you asked……why I said that my comment was you were unlucky right? Well, even if it’s me, I wasn’t able to hear the story calmly for the first time you know?」
「I had already heard the same story you know, from your wife. And then, if it’s with someone who had a place to return to, I had confidence that I would absolutely win with contests of misfortune」
「But, she should’ve died……」
「It was also probably your wife’s last resort. The way of getting out of the phantom forest is very simple. The first one is, defeating the Kraken. And the another one is……being thrown out by the Kraken. To get out of the forest, Cecilia-san needed to make herself, someone who is unneeded or a human who’s dangerous for the Kraken. Even acting as if……she got crazy」
「That’s probably the way of going out……but why, would she leave me on by myself……?」
「She was pregnant you know. Genuinely, Henry-san’s child. One that wasn’t infested by the Kraken’s sperm……it’s without a doubt, your child. But if she was left in the forest just like that, the child in her womb would once again……going to be infected. That’s why she ran away」
“But……”, Henry shook his head sidewards.
「Why, did she, without consulting me……」
「One is, even she used all of her knowledge as a high-level magician, she wasn’t able to think of a way to get out of the phantom forest with the two of you……. it’s useless to consult……well, rather than that, the possibility that the Kraken would find out that she’s pregnant would only increase. And the other one, she didn’t know, if she had the qualification of living beside Henry-san……. alone for once, she probably wanted to think of all of it by herself」
Junpei continued furthermore.
「Well, about the sextuplets, it looks like it was true that she was pregnant with a good for nothing way. But she couldn’t say that it was Narwick’s child after all, on top of that, even for what reason it was, it’s true that she started to use drugs again……. it seems like, she hated herself who was like that from the bottom of her heart」
To Henry who shut up, Junpei shrugged his shoulders.
「Those delicate things, I don’t have a clue. But, she, on her own, wasn’t she in her limits for many things? It was just because, you accepted Narwick’s child without saying anything……. on top of that, they were infested by the Kraken right? For her to be cornered……well, it’s not like I don’t get it」
To Junpei’s words, while closing his eyelids, Henry made a wry smile.
「Without consulting anything, worrying about it by herself, and deciding by herself……that’s really like her……. ahh, despicably……it’s really like Cecilia that I loved, a very self-centered action」
“Well so”, Junpei continued.
「ーーall is for the child in her womb……it was really to protect Henry-san and Cecilia-san’s real child……wouldn’t you like to end it with that?」
There was no way for him to resist Junpei’s words, Henry fell to the ground without strength.
Making Henry stand by lending him his shoulder, Junpei said ambiguously.
「Really……I’m also severely wounded you know? Don’t make things too hard for me」
「Ahh, I’m sorry, but……but……」
Junpei looked at the material cards that Henry had, and mischievously smiled.
「For the meantime, it is. Henry-san? I have alcohol. It’s something I got from the village along the way here……in the safety area, I was taking sips drinking it. I had nibbles, but they were only dried meat」
「n? What is it so suddenly?」
「Tonight would be a feast. And we should let Cecilia-san make something with all of her skillーー」
Junpei made a grin, and continued.
「ーーit’s a full course of squid alright」
To those words, Henry made a wry smile with a lot of meaning.
In the middle floors of the Interstice Labyrinth.
In the huge stone structures surrounded by a jungleーーon top of the stone paving that is reminiscent of the ancient ruins of Aztec in South America, a pair of a man and a woman is facing each other.
The silver haired man, he had a red colored armor and held a holy sword shining bluish white.
In front of him, a girl wearing a sailor uniform for summer that has a long black hair that extends to her waist. The girl who had very cold eyes, opened her mouth with a voice that had no emotions.
「ーーreally……you’re really the worst scumbag. And you’re stupid too. You’re out of the question」
「n? Scumbag you say? Even if I’m like this, I’m a hero that defeated the Demon King if I return to my country though」
With a vulgar smile, Narwick the Brave answered to the girl.
Beside them, the corpse of Sage Gato that the girl killed, and this floor’s guardians that Narwick trampledーーthe corpses of Cerberus’s horde was lying around.
「That old human that is lying there, as a souvenir to the deep floors……you brought him as a meat bag of experience right?」
「Hou, you know my circumstance. Well, in the point where you are able to enter this floor, aren’t you not normal too……」
「No, what I mean is that you’re the worst scumbag, your lethal fault, is rather than that, it’s that your head is too stupid I guess?」
To the girl’s words, Narwick narrowed his eyebrows.
With a sigh, the girls started an explanation.
「That man’s level is only about level 1000 right. The members in the deepest area, even the lowest is level 3000……what would something like that experience do. In reality, it’s not like you were ordered to do that right?」
After a silence for a while, Narwick gripped his sword.
「What are saying, either ways, you’re going to fight me right? It’s alright, I’ll be your opponent, you should take out your weapon」
The girl took a glance to the katana that was hung in her waistーーraised the end of her lips, and shook her head sidewards.
「I won’t take out my weapon」
Dark to the very end, with cold eyes she said while looking at Narwick.
「That isn’t needed. My goodness……the deepest partーー『Dragon Claw Troupe』seems to be lacking members huh, to think that they’d really call a normal Brave to this labyrinth……honestly, I’m surprised」
Narwick made a dubious expression.
And it looks like he finally noticed that he was made fun of, his pale skin instantly turned red.
「It looks like, you’re misunderstanding something. I am level 2500. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I don’t want to be compared to a little girl wandering around the middle floors!! And this is my……it is my best skill as the Brave!!」
When Narwick invoked, a silver colored aura enveloped his whole body.
「【The Brave’s Holy Battle Aura】huh……. if I’m correct, it adjusts all the status by 375%……was it?」
Level 2500, and the effects of the skill in addition. And even understanding all of that, the girl answered with expressionless.
「Something similar……I can do the same」
At the same time she whispered, the girl’s whole body was covered by a red aura. With that scene, Narwick’s expression was dyed with surprise.
「That is Gato’s unique skill……?」
Skill【Flame Dragon’s Blessing】. Sage Gato whose specialty was explosion magic, it’s a special skill that he gained with an individual contract with the Flame Dragon to heighten the strength of his flame type magic. It has an intense effect that doubles the strength of flame type magic.
“Un”, Narwick nodded.
「You bastard also specializes on flames huh……but, to think that the Flame Dragon would open its heart to several contracts……」
「No, I don’t remember doing such contract. The think that I didーーis killing the Sage collapsed there, no, maybe……I just let him go from your curse」
「That’s ridiculous! That skill, without contract, it absolutely……」
The girl said as if it was nothing.
「What, it’s a simple story. I onlyーーstole his skill. That is all」
In the next instant, when the flame aura that was enveloping the girl disappeared, when he noticed it, a shining card was in the girl’s hand. And the girl threw that towards Narwick.
Looking at it,『Skill【Flame Dragon’s Blessing】was written there』
「Unfortunately, I have limits on my skill slots. That’s whyーーI’m able to throw away skills. Well, there’s some people who are able to steal skills, but the ones who can throw away skills, there are only two in this world」
“Even so……”, the girl continued without an accent.
「【The Brave’s Holy Battle Aura】and【Flame Dragon’s Blessing】……what a shitty skill……because the deep floor moved after a long time……and went on my way hurrying here happilyーー」
And there, for the first time, emotion in the girl’s toneーーit was mixed with anger.
「ーーwhat do you think? As for me, I can only say that I wasted my time going here. The time is limited……I don’t have time playing around you know?」
In a blink of an eye, Narwick leaped to a horizontal direction.
He who had reached his top speed in an instant with only using his half body as a spring, slashes the holy sword without hesitation.
In the current situation, and the contents of what she told, he who was literally a seasoned Brave, was forced to take the choice of making a surprise attack.
ーーI did(killed) it!!
The sword reached her head.
But, the sword cuts the air with a cutting air sound, Narwick lost the appearance of the girl for an instant.
「I’m in a really bad mood. My goodness……losing time here」
In the place around 30 meters behind Narwick, she said that to herself.
「Oi……right now……what did you do? Why are……you there……? Tele……port?」
「Skill【Physics Law Calculation Intervention】. Well, in other words, it’s Shukuchi. Distance, speed, and time. That concept’s coefficients……I only placed something a little there. Well, though, it’s not like I can manipulate everything」
Without stopping to think about the meaning of those words, Narwick swung his sword.
Skill【Vacuum Fang】. It’s an ability that makes long range attack by Kamaitachi using the sword.
With her whispering only that, the Kamaitachi dissipates.
「Your head……as I’ve thought……it isn’t that good huh? I should’ve told you that it’s physics calculation manipulation right?」
Without an expression, she nodded.
「It’s one of the skills I’m proud of. If you can’t do that at least, in the ends of the deepest floors……you won’t be able to do anything」
And there, she made a very, very cold smile, and asked Narwick.
「Ahh, now that I think about it, yourーーno, Brave-sama’s……best skill, what was it again?」
Narwick’s expression, was gradually dyed with fear.
Without minding that, she reached out her hand forward, spread her fingers, and gripped it.
「【Physics Calculation Manipulation】ーーand, Sàn(散)」
*Pachun*, together with that ridiculous sound, Narwick’s head bursts out, and bloomed a red rose.
*Sponsored by Sean Emanuel-sama
Name : Takeda Junpei Thesaurus Points : 81
Level Up : 999 → 1079
Bonus Points Gained : 400
Job : Skill Hunter Level : 999
HP : 1840 MP : 175
Attack Power : 300 (Junpei’s basic stat : 5) Defense Power : 145
Evasion Efficiency : 3400
Main : Magic Beast’s Canine (Mythological Class)
※Infused with God Killer attribute
Sub : S&W M57 Forty-one caliber Magnum (National Treasure Class)
※Bullets replenished using magic powers. No strengthening
Armor : Sword Saint’s Light Armor (Rare : Rank S)
※Defense Powers +145 / Attack Power +45
Mantle : Cloak of Evasion (Rare : Rank A)
※Passive that increases the basic Evasion Efficiency to 1.5 times
Skill (Skill Slot: 6 Remaining)
- Appraisal Eyes (Super-Class)
- All Status Ailments Resistance
- Butcher (Super-Class)
- Monster Tame (Beginner Class)
- Mimicry (Super-Class)
※Changing Body Composition. Just like an undead, its body fluid, blood, and, meat would become a very strong neurotoxin.
- Pure Slime
- Pandemic Slime
- Sand Slime