Chapter 4 – The Witch of Petrification and Dragon of Flames ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ (Part 1)
It’s me! It’s Ossan!
And with this and that, this floor.
The people you need to watch out for, is the witch that lives in the forest and her alchemist assistant.
Well, those who were able to get here probably can do something about the assistant. The troublesome one is the witch.
You know about Gorgon right? It’s a famous three sister monsters.
Within them, the youngest sister Medusa is very famous, in short, it’s about that that when you meet your eyes you will get petrified.
Strictly saying, the witch in this floor isn’t a monster inside the labyrinth, but it looks like she was originally an adventurer.
And because of that, she wouldn’t respawn if you defeat her, and it would be the end if you were able to kill her.
And viewed from the opposite side, it means she had never been defeated before.
I need not to say this, but her magic eyes ability is very troublesome.
Magic eyes ability is a rare skill that has a high rank, but when it comes to this witch, you wouldn’t believe it, she’s a wielder of several of them.
Other than common【Petrification Gaze】magic eyes, she also have the special ability of【Clairvoyance】.
Meaning, the phenomenon that happens within a radius of 500 meters, she would know it as if it was the palm of her hand.
And because of that, you shouldn’t approach the mansion that the witch is living on ahead of here. If you approach it without cautiousness, you are probably going to be given the petrification sentence by the witch who seemingly likes to fight without mercy.
I mean, the reason why she’s here in the first place……it looks like they are mass reproducing homunculus.
Since homunculi is modelled from the shape of humans, they can be used for many things.
Sex playthings, for food, self-destruct attacks……, it looks like their research theme is of those kinds of use.
On top of that, there is a flame dragon in this floor. Actually, it is the most dangerous.
Its body length exceeds 30 meters. It breaths fire and fly in the sky. Well, with one word, it’s a giant monster.
Speaking seriously, it’s the level that I would want to call for fighter jets and destroyer ships. This one also hadn’t have a case that it was subjugated.
In this floor where the experimental site for homunculi exists, for some reason a dragon emerged as a monster……it seems to be like that.
Even for the witch, it seems like she’s having a hard time with the dragon, and this is isn’t something normal, but it looks like the witch is giving the dragon homunculi as its feed.
And very politely of her, perfume that stimulates the dragon’s appetite……no, in the perspective of the dragon, is it spices? Well, she sprays those to the homunculi, and leaving them near the dragon’s nest, something like that.
And, the adventurers that went through this floor safely.
It’s a ridiculous thing, but they completely ignored the witch and its assistant, and no one also dealt with the flame dragon and passed them by.
Well, dragon species has higher ranks than the Demon King outside……it’s like they’re being looked at at the same level as gods so it’s very natural if you say so……
And with that, I recommend that you pass through this floor.
By the way, the homunculi living on this floor are all little girls. And more specifically, they are blue-eyed golden-haired gothic lolita.
And then, it’s something I don’t need to say, but they’re super cute!
Right, right. I’ll also write this down……the perfume that the witch’s assistant develop is amazing yo? There’s two kinds of them, one of them, you can only say that it’s intense.
How amazing it is you ask……it will stimulate your appetite until you lose your sanity, and the distance that it could call out its target has a radius of tens of kilometers, it’s that amazing.
I’ll repeat this, you shouldn’t approach the witch and her assistant.
And with that……I’m looking forward to meeting you on the next floor. Adios!
「Really, this Ossan is always running away……it’s very strange on how he was able to reach here. I mean……is he drunk when he wrote this? Writing “you” on a letter for an unspecified large number of people……」
In the floor covered by forest, the time is two o’clock in the afternoon.
The surface was covered by tree shadows, the surroundings are dim and shady, and the air is chilly. There were no particular signs of monsters nearby.
However, there is a presence of a person, rather, there isーーfour meters in front of Junpei, a blonde who looks around ten.
With red cloth as its base, clothes that seem to be heavy, over decorated by frills.
It’s what you call gothic lolita……explaining it with that is the most adequate.
Her skin was the utmost white, a beautiful golden-haired girl that was like an art object.
「Ne〜ne〜, Onii-chan, Onii-chan?」
The only thing, that was not an art object-like, was the hair springing up from the top of her head.
*Hyoi*, he took a back step, and took distance from the little girl that approached without caution.
Of course, he didn’t forget to mind the surroundings, and reach out his hands to the hand gun on his waist.
He wouldn’t be able to survive in this labyrinth, taking his guard down with the angelic appearance of a child. Even how terrible of a consequence he would get, it would be only be caused by his own fault.
Her huge circular eyes folds. A little girl with clear white skin, more beautiful than a western doll.
Together with that call, the little girl suddenly raised her skirt, showing her pink-colored underwear.
He lost his words. He only, lost his words.
It was V-shaped and was very luscious, underwear that really feels indecent.
Inside this carnage of a labyrinth, an unexpected sudden development.
On top of that, it’s with a little girl.
When Junpei thought that it was very bad with many meanings, the little girl turns her skirt around with calls.
And she made a 180 degrees turn.
Even Junpei could only freeze there.
That should be the case……
It was a little girl, butーーT-back.
Golden-haired, red frilly one piece, and……little girl.
On top of that, it is T-back.
In an instant, Junpei lost his words, but was somehow able to squeeze out from his mouth.
「What the……what the hell……」
Headache that attacked him with no stop.
He almost collapsed, but was somehow able to brace himself.
And then, towards Junpei who was disturbed, the little girl asked with a smug face.
「Fufun? Ne〜? You got excited? Ne〜ne〜? You got excited? You did?」
*Kurari*, Junpei almost fell down again.
She was a slut.
She was a little girl, but a slut.
She is golden-haired. Twin-tails. Slut, she is.
“What kind of a light novel is this……”, Junpei shook his head while holding his head.
「Unfortunately, I won’t get excited with no breasts」
ーーin the first place, I’m not a lolicon.
If anything, Junpei thinks that the dynamite body is the best.
Even if she proudly has beauty as if she was an art object, she’s only a child after all.
「It’s strange〜. Onee-chans who were sent to the front lines, they were only studying things like these though〜. Although Onee-chans doesn’t look different than me though〜. U〜mu……I heard that boys would like it though? Though?」
“Fumu……”, Junpei tilted his head.
「Un. It’s like that. I need to make Onii-chan happy……」
“Un, un”, the little girl nodded several times.
「Un. Right! After all, if I don’t make Onii-chan happy, Onii-chan wouldn’t listen to my request right? Wouldn’t listen to my request right?」
「Wait……just wait a bit……」
Reaching out his right palm, he stopped the little girl for once.
And he thought about the thing the little girl said.
「Sorry. I don’t get it at all」
「Uhm, you know. Right……uhmm?」
Looking from below, modestly. *Pyocon*, her hair shook once, it was lovely.
「The flame dragon. It’s scary you know. And, uhmm. We, you know, we love Mama」
「And then, Oji-san……he’s a very, very evil demon. He hits us immediately, he sends Onee-chans to the frontlines……. But, we love Mama! We hate Oji-san!」
“Ahh……”, with that, Junpei understood.
“I see, this girl’s a strange one who doesn’t understand the same language.
I’m troubled……”, he thought about it.
「And then? And then? Onii-chan came from outside, so I want to ask something」
“Fu〜……”, he asked after letting out a small sigh.
「……ask something? Come to think of it, that’s why you showed your underwear from the start right? To make my mood better」
*KokuKoku*, the little girl shook her head vertically several times.
「Right, right. And then, uhmm, you know, uhmm……Onii-chan’sーー」
And, she continued.
「ーーheart, gimme it?」 (TL: she means the organ, literally)
In an instant, Junpei took a back step taking distance.
And he took out his handgun from his waist, and matched the gunpoint to the golden-haired girl’s forehead.
「I see……that kind of pattern huh」
He said that while glaring at her, and then, the girl shook her head with fright.
「You shouldn’t……make scary face you know?」
「You shouldn’t glare at people you know?」
While swelling tears, the girl shook her head intensely.
Her twin-tails drew arcs, and reminisces a lion dance.
「…………haa〜? What the heck are you really?」
Even after the disturbing line earlier, the girl didn’t take out a weapon or anything, and it doesn’t seem like she activated a magic or skill.
It’s just, she simplyーー”Gimme your heart”, only asks for it.
“Well now”, when Junpei thought of that, the girl shouted.
「That’s why, Onii-chan, gimme your heartーーー!」
「That’s why I’m saying, what the heck are you?!!!」
In the next instant, a wave of wind blew.
And then, when he noticed it, a man wearing a black robe and glasses was standing behind the golden-haired girl.
At the same time the girl made a dumbfounded expression, *Suton*, a chop to the girl’s bulbar.
And after that, the man with glasses looked at Junpei, and called out to him with an apologetic voice.
「It looks like you’re pointing a dangerous thing towards this girl, but……it would be thankful if you can stop that」
After leaving a breath, Junpei opened his mouth.
「The one who said dangerous things, is that brat though」
「Well, it’s that’s true……And, well, boy. Can you listen to my story for the meantime?」
Raising the ends of his lips, the man created a sweet smile humorously.
With long silver hair and blue eyes, his appearance was about late twenties. Clad in a black robe, his long eyes give a sharp impression like a japanese blade.
「What in the world are you……before that, what the heck is that brat……is the story quicker if I asked that? Well, she’s probably a homunculus though」
「n? Ahh, research for military use of homunculi is being done on this floor. By the way, this girl isn’t for combat. Converting to our level……her combat ability is about level 4. That’s why a magician job……on top of that, I who specializes for research can easily put her down with a light chop」
“Don’t let your guard down”, Junpei said to himself. “It is very clear that monsters are dangerous, but humans also cannot be looked down”.
In experience, Junpei understood that.
“If that is so……”, Junpei chose his words and asked.
「You are……a human, right? Why are you on this floor?」
“Ahh”, the man greatly nodded.
「Well then, where should I start……. First, the words of this girl from earlier……it’s not like it came out with an ill intent」
「……I know that somehow」
「Also, can you out away that dangerous thing?」
「Just a bit……I’ll take distance?」
Junpei took distance, walking backwards.
When he had stepped back for about 10 meters, he put away his handgun.
「And she……no, the girls’ intelligence is low. Most probably, they don’t understand the term heart」
「I mean, in the first place, this brat doesn’t understand the meaning of showing her own underwear right? And, what the heck is the circumstance with this?」
「Did you see the dragon?」
「I didn’t see it personally, but……it seems to be enormous」
「You didn’t see it personally……? You speak strangely……well, whatever. If you know, then the story’s short. That is this floor’s absolute rulerーーthe flame dragon」
「……hey. There’s a letter placed here, standing out, though?」
The man tilted his head dubiously.
「Letter……what are you talking about?」
「Well, you should just be careful of notes then. And……do you happen to know of a strangely cheerful treasure hunter?」
「n……? letter……? Treasure hunter……I don’t have the slightest idea……well, whatever. it’s about the dragon huhーー」
*Gyutto*, the man made a fist, and whispered as if to spit out.
「ーーit seeks offerings regularly. No, we are livestock for the dragon. Or maybe it thinks that this whole floor is a farm. Well, in short, if we don’t give offerings, we would get annihilated……that’s all」
「And it especially prefers organs. That information is hidden from the homunculi, but……this girl, most probably……no, this individual, she probably eavesdropped on my conversation with Sanya, she knew about it」
「It’s the one this girl calls『Mama』since earlier」
Most probably, the Mama she calls is about the gorgon witch for sure.
「……Mama……huh. The homunculi in this floor, they’re made by you, or that “Mama”, right?」
The man deprecatingly said.
「These girls are made with Sanya’s menstrual blood and my semen. For these girls, I should be Papa, though……they call me Oji-san. If they were only going to be fed for the dragon……I disciplined them strictly to send them in the frontlines, but it looks like it backfired……really, I’ve being disliked. It means, the reason they want hearts……it’s a very childish act, wanting their mother they love to like them」
「……n? What does that mean?」
Together with a sigh, the man continued.
「As I’ve told earlier, offerings are regularly needed to be given to the dragon on this floor. And Sanya, if possible, she doesn’t want the numbers of the research target, homunculi, to decrease. That’s why, she looked an eye for the organ, heart, in exchange for that……but in the end, there’s no technology for surgery and the tools needed for it here. If that is so, the survival rate after the extraction cannot be guaranteed……so that’s why, that idea was out. This girl heard the conversation about that, so she probably understood that her mother wants hearts」
「……I see. And, as I’ve though, the mother called Sanya……is the witch right?」
“Ahh”, the man nodded.
「And……what’s your objective?」
After letting out a deep sigh, the man replied to Junpei with a troubled face.
「Homunculi……I want to save them」
「Ahh. There’s the homunculi’s biological experiment, but ever since the flame dragon appeared on this floor, the meat offerings handed out……those are homunculi」
The man opened his mouth with a tense expression.
「They are regularly being thrown near the dragon’s nest. While wearing perfume that calls out the dragon. That perfume stimulates the dragon’s appetite intensely, increases the dragon’s ferocity and libido, making it on an abnormal level. Meaningーーafter they experience a living hell, they would die」
「……I see. Libido huh……really, that cannot be laughed at……」
“And there”, the man looked at Junpei and bowed his head.
「I’ll just confirm, but you aren’t a guest from the deep floors right? If that is so, I want to ask you to kill the witch. This is something that I can only ask, for someone……who is not affiliated with the guys in the deep floors……but not weakーーyou’re the only one I can ask」
To the request that came out, Junpei replied with a deep sigh.
「There’s a lot of things that I want to point it, but……if possible, I don’t want troublesome things more than things though……」
And Junpei shrugged his shoulder, and continued.
「For the meantime……talking while standing is, right. I’ll listen to your story at least……lead me to a place where you can take out treats」
*KotsunKotsun*, footsteps of two people, echoes stepping on the marble.
Right now, currently, the place Junpei and the alchemist man is walking at, is on the long corridor extending from witch Sanya’s mansion’s front entrance.
When they walked through the corridor that stretches for hundreds of meters from start to end, he fell to a strange feeling that it was as if he was looking at a mirror facing another one.
「Once again, I’ll confirm this. As I’ve said earlier, for the homunculi to survive on this floor, there are three essential things」
「……rather than ways to save those brats, I want to ask for the way for me to able to survive myself though……really, it isn’t the time for worrying about others……」
Smiling wryly to Junpei who let that out with a serious face, the man continued.
「First is food and water……well, water can easily be gained, this floor is wide, and it has plenty of animals too. If it’s an individual that has some level of combat abilities, it would be easy for them to gather food source after learning to hunt」
「And the second one, the top of the hierarchy of the food pyramidーーthe countermeasures for the flame dragon in this floor, alright? Right now, the dragon is content wit the homunculi that are being offered, but……」
「Ahh, that’s right. The power relationship in this floor, first is the flame dragon, the witch, and with a huge difference, me……next is the homunculi. Those are all」
“And……”, Junpei continued.
「Researching homunculus, and in exchange for sending them to the frontlines, support goods are being sent……what’s that? In the meeting earlier, I hadn’t heard the details……」
「The things needed to live, it is complete on this floor. That’s why self-sustaining is possible.……the support goods, they are things that make our lifestyle here comfortable. For example, sugar, cigar, alcohol……it’s not needed for living, but this mansion is full of that……well, that’s about it」
The man continued.
「……even Soma, it isn’t needed for living normally」
「Even the guys in who are clearing the deepest floors, it is forcefully given to those who have rare skills……it’s not something that can be spoke of by anyone」
「That’s why I’m asking you, what is it really?」
Together with a sigh, the man continued.
「It’s an elixir for longevity. The cells that the humans are composed ofーーdo you know about the limits of its division?」
Junpei had his eyes wide open and stopped for an instant.
The man who was leading him turned around, and tilted his head.
「No……you’re an alchemist……you’re in a class that has knowledge in this world……but, even so……what you’re talking about right now is about telomeres or Hayflick limit……it’s about aging phenomenon according to genetics right?」
「Telomere? Hayflick limit? I had not heard about terms like that though……」
“Hmm……”, Junpei placed his hand to his jaw, and thought.
The ones who had a trip from earth to this world is only a few.
If that is so, even if someone had left those kinds of knowledge in this world, it wouldn’t be that strange……
“Well, anyways”, the man continued.
「The increase of cells reaching the limits of division inside their body is called aging phenomenon. However, if Soma is taken regularly……ahh, explaining in detail about its theory would be very long, what do you think?」
Junpei stopped the man with his hand.
「No thank you. From the flow of the story, in short, taking in Soma would achieve longevity, it’s like that right?」
「Wanting livelihood goods……and Soma, Witch Sanya and I are reproducing and researching homunculus」
「I mean, reproduction and researching homunculus……what for?」
「The consolidation of experience points, combat personnel, sex slaves, the possibilities for uses like that……well, it’s not a proper research. All of it is on how the clearance of the frontlines are going to advance……it’s an experiment with that in purpose」
And there, Junpei suddenly got curious about it, and asked.
「……by the way……your age is?」
「400 and a little. Witch Sanya, she’s over a thousand. In the deep floors, there are probably ones older than that.……to go through this labyrinth, the lifespan of humans are too short」
「I see now. I mean, I’m a little doubtful……are there only humans in the frontlines?」
「I had heard it like that」
「You had heard, what do you mean?」
「Actually, both Sanya and I, we don’t know much about the frontlines. I should’ve been researching alchemy on the outside world, living a normal life, but……I was here when I noticed it. And I’m half-forced to work the livelihood goods and Soma」
Junpei tilted his head, as if he couldn’t get the point.
「Well, that’s that, for example, aren’t demi-humans like elves have long lives? And that is, I heard that they can live for thousands of years without needing to take in medicine……if you’re only going to use Soma or something, isn’t there the choice of taking them instead in the first place?」
「Humans, demi-humans, and the gods, do you what is the difference between them?」
「Gods……? Not God?」
“Ahh”, the man smiled wryly.
「The God you’re talking about……is most probably, the one that commands, and created allーーthe absolute one. What I’m talking about is the race of god……I can’t explain it that well, but……specifically speaking, they shouldn’t be categorized to as an absolute god」
「What are you talking about?」
「The gods that I’m talking about, is in this labyrinth……the monsters that are inhabiting the deep floors. Or maybe, from time to time, the ones that show miracles outside with a whim……you get it. For example, the Cerberus that you met and its owner Hades……or maybe Odin, well, those kinds」
「Gods do not grow. As a living creature, and as their divinity, they are being called a god because they are complete. And demi-humans, they are also close to that」
「On the other hand, humans are incomplete. That’s why they grow, and evolve. For example, how the human beings were able to conquer the demi-humans taking long periods of times in the outside world. Well, you can only think of it that the lower the human’s basic status is, the more they can grow」
Towards Junpei who had an expression that it is ambiguous if he had understood, the man continued.
「That’s why……a certain man, that leads the group that is clearing the deep floors……as an effective means of clearing the labyrinth, he thought of making humans evolve. Well, in that person’s case, it is also because……he had proven it with himself」
「……evolving is the human’s traits. And the shortness of their lifespan, is also the human’s fate……if that is so, they only needs to be evolved artificially……huh?」
「The lifespan of the demi-humans are very long in the first place, and the human’s lifespan is short. And for a long time, there has been peace between them……but, at the end of development, pioneering regardless of anything, and vigorous fecundity……the humans became the ruler of the land using their civilization, but……」
And there, after thinking for a bit, Junpei opened his mouth.
「Even in the world that I was in, humans have stood on top of all other living beings. I wonder how I could say this……until the humans reach civilization, that’s probably the default route for any kind of world you know?」
「That might be true. The guys on the deep floors, that long process of evolution, they have a goal for causing that artificially by controlling their lifespan. This is……I think that this is, even for the one who created this world and your world, a heresy」
“Hey, by the way……”, Junpei asked.
「In the deepest part of this labyrinthーーor at the end of clearing the labyrinth……what in the world, is there?」
To Junpei’s question, the man smiled wryly and shrugged his shoulders.
「Someone of a low rank like me wouldn’t know. It’s just……Sanya who knows better of what’s happening told……the last floor is called “Pandora”. I don’t know anything more than that.」
「If that is so, it might be quicker asking the witch herself……but, that’s very strange. In the first place, the the leader of the clearing group should already be fed up living……and that is, shouldn’t he had suicide long time ago? And even repressing that, and taking longer times to clear the labyrinth……」
The man showed a gesture of thinking about Junpei’s thoughts, but he once again started to walk, leading Junpei through the corridor.
「Why are you trying to save the homunculi, even throwing your long life away, and even going against the witch that is far more powerful than you?」
Junpei asked the man from behind.
「……I got fed up with it」
「On living……it is. Humans aren’t made to be able to live for hundreds of years. They hadn’t evolved for that. That’s why if the heresy is done, distortions are created naturally. Honestly speaking……I think that the limit is around my age」
「Limit? What for?」
「The limit whether or not the abnormality for the mind would come. The guys in the deep floors are abnormalーーI had heard that it’s a psychopath’s nest. No, as a fact, it is a group of abnormal people」
「I had been taking detailed order of homunculi for sex slaves, I know it very wellーーthey aren’t normal guys for sure」
Silence for a while.
Towards Junpei who had shut up, the man said with a humorous tone.
「Do you want to hear what kind of order it is?」
「……no thank you. I’d only absolutely gonna feel sick with it. But, you know……if that is so, can’t you just suicide or do something with it? There are other easy ways right. You also, resisting against the witch……didn’t you think about when you failed, you’d get tortured, had done things worst than death? It’s not like……you need to push yourself saving the homunculi or something……」
「Haha. Well, that’s also true. However……other that I got fed up with living, there’s other reasons」
「Generally speaking, I awakened for parental love. The ingredients those girls are made of, my semen is also mixed with it. If that is so, it isn’t hard for me to think that they’re my daughters right?」
「Even you say that, you seem like you’re really hated by the homunculi though?」
“Fuu”, letting out a sigh, the man opened his mouth.
「As I’d told you earlier……in case of their comrades decreasing……what kind of time do you think that happens? One case is getting sent to the frontlines. Another is dying from biological experiments. And the last one, being sent to the mountain where the flame dragon lives……you get it」
「Witch Sanya doesn’t get angry at the girls. That’s because she doesn’t care whether they live or die. However, I, as much as I could……did my best to save lives that I was able to save. There’s a lot of it, even if it’s called biological experiment……if we just are careful with their health, there are a lot of case that they could escape death」
「And with that……training like spartans?」
「That’s right. Maybe, they might be better of than being eaten by the flame dragon……there are also times that I forcefully sent homunculi to the front line. Sanya……to be cautious, she had a habit of sending offerings to the flame dragon more than needed. If unneeded killing like that would happen……I thought that it would be better for them living their lives on the front lines. Of course, it is only……if they don’t die on the frontlines」
The man had tears while talking. It probably comes from the man’s heart, while having many emotions, he said that to Junpei coldly.
「……I see now. And……because you love your daughters so much, with that kind of reason, am being set up right now?」
「Frankly speaking, that would be correct」
Was he disappointed to the man’s casual answer, Junpei shrugged his shoulder while being amazed ambiguously.
*Sponsored by Shin Amazake-sama