|Editors||Caudyr, Miraclegrass, WhiteSamurai|
As the sun was about to rise, Kanami-chan and I had yet to enter the dungeon.
Based on the signs that I've picked up on and the rumors I've overheard, combined with most of the current information I have at my disposal, I have a good feeling that my Book of Psalm's fourth chapter, [Encouraging the Kingdom's Revolution] will probably soon begin on it's own terms.
For that reason I've decided that it would be best to make some preparations in advance and had the main force set out from our settlement in the forest and start making their way over here.
With Minokichi-kun's team serving at our vanguard given that they're already nearby, I decided to ask them over to eat together.
With the addition of Minokichi-kun's group, the number of our people staying in the Labyrinth City has increased by a good amount.
The main income for the Labyrinth City comes from the numerous adventurers that enter the dungeons and return with the dropped items and many treasures hidden within. There are also a lesser number that seek to challenge the dungeons in their personal determination to find their own paths.
To help outfit these adventurers, there are numerous shops. Among them are shops for weapons, armor, and magical tools. There are also people that run shops that carry and sell second-hand magic items, these even include tools that improve the profitability of hunting and experience gathering.
Compared to that of other cities, excluding the Royal Capital, there is a distinguishable difference in the percentage of people who come from other places and other races than just the population that lives here as the general populace.
Because of that, there's also a decent number of restaurants that have sprung up within the city. Most of them have grown to the scale of allowing them to serve roughly around a hundred people at a given time.
I took a brief look around where I saw dozens of people grouped up in the corner of a restaurant. They seemed like they belonged to the same group. I also noticed a group that were equipped like mercenaries as well as the occasional group of people that were having friendly conversations and ate with one another.
Our group was slightly larger with just under sixty people. Despite that, we were able to quickly find a restaurant that we could all eat at when we had to look for one.
Well, that would have been the end of it if it weren't for Minokichi-kun's gigantic five meter tall body. The interior of the restaurant was too small so we ended up having no other choice but to eat our meal outside.
Since this was the case, we went to a suitable restaurant that had sufficient space and partook in a local specialty called the "Horseheaded Demon Guard Beast's Chablis Hot Pot"
Mmm, as the name suggests, the Chablis Hot Pot is a fairly easy dish to make that's pretty similar to a horse meat hot pot which uses Mezuki meat. The beast is an unusual breed that can be found on this continent that appears as a boss monster in some dungeons.
The hot pot has an abundance of nutritious vegetables with the thinly sliced Mezuki meat that you quickly boil in the pot, then dip into your choice of sauce as you eat.
Given that it has gotten somewhat colder recently, this hot dish was perfect for the weather since it helps warm one's body. On top of that, alcohol always makes food taste better.
One might think it's a poor decision to have that much alcohol in the morning, but once one ranks up enough, the body neutralizes the alcohol. So I'm more or less to drink it like it's water and don't have to worry about getting drunk so there's no problem.
On a side note, the Mezuki stays true to it's name and is a demon that has the head of a horse.
It's approximately four or five meters tall which makes it slightly smaller than most Trolls and Minotaurs. Its muscles form a natural armor which hides its inhuman strength. It has horse legs that are are as thick as it is long, allowing it to move far faster than one would guage looking at it's stature. Given that it's also a boss class monster, its vitality is very strong as well.
It won't easily die even if one were to disembowel it with a massive sword, it's body still moving even if half of its head has been obliterated. All of these features making it a very difficult monster.
On the outside its appearance is closer to that of a Minotaur, but it specializes in using the Sasumata or Tsukubō instead of a battle-axe. The Mezuki always seems to appear with at least one Gozuki, a bull-headed demon that's equipped with living body armor that is shaped like plate armor.
While the Gozuki themselves are superior in terms of destructive power, the Mezuki surpasses them in terms of speed and enjoy toying with their enemies.
The heavy offensive capabilities that are unleashed by the coordination between the two parties deals a great deal of damage and has caused the death of countless adventurers. That even includes those who could make it all the way to the end of the dungeon.
The are both strong species to begin with and are only further strengthened by the effects of the dungeon.
I heard that they're only taken out about once a month due to their considerable strength and to gather the necessary team to challenge them requires a great deal of time.
Hearing that explains why the hot pot costs quite a bit. Honestly, it's probably not something someone should normally be eating in the morning. Nor is it the sort of money one should be using for a single meal either. Well, thinking this is unavoidable though.
In the end, no matter how strong a boss monster is, it's nothing more than meat once it's been killed.
A "Mezuki Thigh" is an item that can be obtained by killing a Mezuki, which sells for a high price on the market if it's brought back.
The restaurants go and buy this meat, which is then made into the tasty food that we just had.
That's just how this world works, though, it does make me think a little. If one day I am defeated and slain, it's quite possible someone will eat me in turn.
...Perhaps someone like Kanami-chan will end up being the one to do so. Even now she often comes to suck some of my blood. There are times where she gets a little bit zealous and bites into my flesh a little and ism sure she eats it. Seeing the unstable emotions in the depths of her eyes is... well... hard to describe what to feel about that.
Honestly, I don't think I'd personally mind if it was Kanami-chan who ate me if I perished. If it was Minokichi-kun or the other commanders, perhaps that would be fine too...
...I'm just gonna ...I'll leave these... thoughts... at that.
After we finished our expensive meal, the Tomboy Princess met Minokichi-kun for the first time. She was so excited that it ended up becoming quite troublesome.
She tried to climb up his massive back, which caused me to panic for a moment when she ended up falling off, resulting in me just managing to catch her before she was injured. However, she was still determined to climb his back and I ended up having to catch her a second time.
This ended up continuing for awhile to no avail, until the now exhausted but luckily uninjured Princess climbed onto my right shoulder and fell asleep while still holding onto my horns.
I decided to confirm Minokichi-kun's dungeon diving results. All the while thinking to myself, "Please, just don't drool on me..."
This time it seems that they were able to spend more time inside the dungeon than they would normally were able to before which allowed them to gather far higher quality magical items and monster materials, not to mention in a higher quantity.
I can currently distribute magic armor, or at the very least two or three magical items, to each of the members in our ever increasing group.
Minokichi-kun's group had also collected a fair number of items, but I ended up with a particularly large amount of them when the Minister was assassinated.
For the record, I still have a fair number of powerful items left from Velvet's inheritance as well, but I don't think it'll be too late if I were to wait until some of my companions grew just bit stronger first. It's still far too early for most of the group to even wield them.
There are many powerful objects in Velvet's inheritance which results in them being quite difficult to handle.
After we finished going over everything, I wanted to spar with Minokichi-kun for the first time in quite awhile.
We paid one silver plate to reserve the entire guild's training grounds.
Given that it was us, we decided it was wise to spar unarmed since the damage would be heavily magnified if we were to use our weapons or go at it seriously.
Because of his training in the dungeons, Minokichi-kun's footwork had become faster, more forceful, and even more invasive than it had been before. The power of his blows had also improved in proportion to his already strong foundation.
I avoided his fist as it was sung downwards from overhead. As it met with the ground, it pierced through with such force that the surrounding earth cracked while the impact sent out a crash that sounded exactly the same as a clap of lightning.
Every step he took carved his thick hoof prints into the ground while the thunder flames mixing with his breath crackled as they were released. The powers of fire and lightning remained on his fists as he advanced.
Despite the fact that this was just training and we weren't going seriously, each attack was enough that it could cause considerable damage if I were to take a hit directly. If I don't use my abilities, there's no way i'd be able to dodge them.
If he were serious, I'd obviously have no choice but to use them, but since this was just a light sparring session I had no problems dodging.
We sparred non-stop for roughly an hour until we had to stop because the training grounds had been ruined. Although I was highly unsatisfied with the duration, I was at the very least able to confirm Minokichi-kun's growth and got to stretch my legs a bit. I suppose that's enough for now.
We resolved the issue of the ruined training grounds with an apology to the guild master and having Asue repair the damage. If we had left it as it was, we would have had to pay a fairly large fine.
After that, we parted ways with Minokichi-kun's group as planned and decided to enter a dungeon.
I had intended to enter with just Kanami-chan, but the Tomboy Princess and the rest of her group insisted on coming along. Since that was the case, I decided to choose one of the higher tier dungeons that ≪Purgatory≫ had to offer.
The dungeon I ended up deciding on was known as 【Vesper Cave】. It's a cave-like dungeon that has a structure similar to that of an ant's nest.
Just as the intel I gathered beforehand indicated, the cave's rock walls are damp which causes them to reflect light in strange ways. There are pools of water everywhere on the uneven floor that could end up being an unexpected obstacle while fighting. The temperature was lower than expected as well, which caused our breath to become visible. We could even hear the sound of water flowing down the dungeon's walls if we paused to listen as even the smallest sounds could echo off the rock walls.
It's a good thing we had prepared waterproof gear beforehand thanks to my research since there were a great number of water-based traps throughout the dungeon. If we hadn't prepared that equipment, our body heat would have been sapped and all our stamina would have been depleted before we were even aware of what was happening.
The light source for the dungeon was the Light Moss that was growing on the surface of some of the rocks, though even that source of light was pretty dim.
Many of the monster types that appeared here make use of the dungeon's terrain to launch surprise attacks on adventurers, though that's not to say that there aren't any powerful species around here as well though.
Some of these monsters include:
- "Aqua Slime," a Slime that looks like the water puddles around it at a glance.
- "Water Strider," a creature that shoots water from its mouth like a bullet.
- "Poison Cave Lizard," a Lizardman whose claws and fangs contain a powerful poison.
- "Red King Crab," a huge crab that is the size of an ogre and is clad in a hard shell that's stronger than steel.
- "Cave Alligator," a Gatorman with the head of a gator and the body of a human. It can make full use of the variety of weapons that it possesses.
- "Assassin Bat," a bat that uses ultrasonic waves to attack from the darkness with its wing blades, which can cause negative ailments.
- "Aqua Elemental," a monster that can manipulate water. Its body is made of water that has gathered around a metallic core, giving it a similar appearance to a Slime, except that it floats in the air.
- "Thunder Hog," a monster that fires lightning attacks from the countless needles on its back.
- "Earthshaker," a creature similar to a catfish that uses its long whiskers to manipulate electricity and the earth.
- And so on...
Given the terrain, most of the monsters here have abilities that use water and ice attributes. It's also a fact that there are some monsters that appear to make great use of the lightning attribute as well, which is highly effective given the wet terrain. Thus we've had to constantly widen our countermeasures, especially to protect the Tomboy Princess who wanted to come along.
If we're even the least bit careless, there are a great deal of things that could trip us up.
By the way, the Red King Crab is probably the strongest of the monsters we've encountered thus far.
It has a massive body with a strong shell and four huge pincers that are sharp enough to cut Mithril, to say nothing about steel or iron.
It's capable of shooting countless exploding bubbles from its mouth like a machine gun with several special abilities that increase its speed, offensive, and defensive capabilities.
From what I've heard, some adventurer parties immediately decide to retreat from an encounter with one of these rather than fighting. It probably has something to do with their party composition lacking for the situation.
It's probably considered to be a mini-boss, and I can understand that lesser parties might struggle with one of them.
It's quite the popular story at the very least.
Though it seems that it was rare, when I came across one I just crushed its shell with my silver arm and killed it before I even collected the item drops, which included the shell, legs, and various other items.
In addition to the Red King Crab, I killed as many monsters as I possibly could as we advanced. I disarmed most of the traps and collected everything from the treasure chests we found on the way, as well.
Normally the bodies of the dungeon's monsters would disappear if they weren't eaten quick enough which made returning to the surface with them impossible. Although it's possible to return with thedropped items, the quantity is generally far too small when compared to the monster's entire body.
However, this isn't the case with me since I'm capable of bringing the bodies back by putting them into my item box. I had to put a bit of effort into making it look as if the items vanished on their own so that I could fool the Tomboy Princess and company.
As expected though, there were many hindrances to the leveling of the Boy Knight and company. This was mostly because of how often we had to stop, so we didn't have enough time to make it to the last level of the dungeon. For that reason, I had to settle with us stopping once we hit the halfway point.
If we return by taking the shortest route, it shouldn't take us that much time to get back out.
That said, once we got to that point, we picked a reasonably open area and pitched our tents for the day.
Since I'd already combined my various threads with the normal tents sold within the Labyrinth City, I was highly confident in their durability. I'm fairly sure that even though a blow from a Red King Crab or similar class of monster could destroy the tent, it should be able to withstand the attacks of lesser monsters for several minutes.
In addition to that, I spread out my threads into webs as an extra precaution so it won't be necessary for someone to stay awake and keep watch.
After dinner, we prepared to get a good night's sleep.
The main ingredients for today's dinner were the dungeon monsters we'd killed, my favorite being the crab stew from the Red King Crab. The body was firm and it only served to enhance the flavor. The soup warmed our bodies which helped us cope with the cold surroundings.
Even though I had eaten a substantial amount of materials, I hadn't managed to learn a single ability. I'm thinking about whether or not I should Rank Up the next time I get the option to do so...
- Decided to translate 【王国革命のススメ】 as 【Encouraging the Kingdom's Revolution】, since it's the best I could come up with for the name of the chapter in question, given the fact that his very presence could have encouraged the nobles to revolt for all we know, heh. ^^
- Went with the name "Horseheaded Demon Guard Beast's Chablis Stew" for the dish they ate for lunch. It has the same kanji as "Mezuki" for the "Horseheaded Demon" part of it, but this line was BEFORE we were told it was from a beast with the name Mezuki, so I figured it probably meant to be this way, instead. I was also told, when I asked about it, that it was likely INTENDED to be overdescriptive like that instead of just the "Mezuki" part at the front, so I made it work. ^^
- The meat is 'dealt with' using a Japanese term "しゃぶしゃぶ" (shabushabu) which roughly means "thinly sliced meat boiled quickly with vegetables, and dipped in sauce"...which is why the translation seems more "longwinded" than the actual kanji for the part where it's talking about how the dish is made.
- Mezuki and Gozuki are based on two guard demons from games/anime that have the head of a horse and bull/ox respectively, whose names always have "Gozu" and "Mezu" in them...but might not always be the same name exactly. I'm not sure if they actually exist in any culture's mythology outside of anime/manga, though. They tend to be guards guarding the gates to the afterlife (typically the 'underworld' and not heaven) in a lot of these situations, such as in the Inuyasha and Hozuki no Reitetsu anime. Among several others, they are also in the Devil Survivor games/anime, though I'm not entirely sure in what capacity.
- Changed the title of the dungeon they enter to 【Vesper Cave】, because that's what the katakana said. It could have also been Vespa as well, but given the description of the cave, I think Vesper probably describes it better.
- There's a pun in this day with the water strider - “アメン砲あめんぼう” - the first part of that (アメン砲) is "Amen Hou" as in "Amen Gun" and the second part (あめんぼう) was in Ruby and is "Amenbou" or "Water Strider". ^^
- Chablis is a type of white wine originating from Chablis, France. There ARE types of stew that are made using white wine. ^^
- Went with a bullet list for the list of monster Rou gives for the dungeon he was in (though it wasn't ALL of the monsters), since it was better for display purposes than just using a crapload of commas or periods to make separate sentences.
- "Poison Cave Lizard" translated to "Cave Poison Lizard," but I'm fairly certain it was meant to be this way and that's just a quirkiness of the japanese language, so that's why I went with this. The same happened with "King Red Crab" so I put it in the proper order. ^^
- For the second to last creature mentioned, I went with "Thunder Hog" (カミナリアラシ - kaminari arashi). It sounded like they were describing a porcupine or hedgehog, and when I consulted with my friend that's a native speaker, he said it could be that, because hedgehog/porcupine is ヤマアラシ (yama arashi). ^^ See the similarities between them?! :D
- Consulted my friend about the last one "ジユラシ" (Jiyurashi), as well, and he said it was pretty obviously referring to 地揺らし, so I should go with "Earthshaker"...so...that's what I did. ^^