I arrived in a big city.
I got information about this world beforehand in order to tell Nanami, so I didn’t get surprised by this medieval fantasy world cityscape.
There are many people of varied races, a weird scent around, and a lot of shouting happening.
Energetic and occupied.
That was something that wasn’t present in that forest.
But I wasn’t moved by this.
Even I myself don’t know why I was pulled into a city.
Just like how an insect gets pulled in by light, there’s something about this city.
—The presence of darkness.
Those are the only words I can find to describe this.
If it is here, I can slip into the darkness where gazes don’t reach.
It was a strange confidence.
The city was filled with Spirit Energy.
Is this just how cities with people are like in this world? Humans and monsters have spirit energy. When those gather, it probably creates a place overflowing with energy like this one.
I haven’t opened my Status Board once since that time.
Not using the map was inconvenient, but I was being stubborn.
I put away the album of Nanami in the Shadow Bag. I am sure I won’t be opening it till the day I die.
The result of walking while desiring even darker places was that I arrived at what looked like a miscellaneous store. I managed to sell my Spirit Stones there.
I got to sell the wolf spirit stones and the spirit stones of the children monkeys for several tens of silver coins, so I used that money to buy clothes, an overcoat, and a dagger. With just that alone, I wasn’t left with much.
I don’t know what the market price is, so I might have had unfavorable exchanges there, but I don’t have the leeway to mind that.
I ask for a cheap inn, and stay there.
Even the cheapest room was decently expensive. The room was simple and dirty, and the bed was on the wooden floor, and it was basically like a bad excuse of a mattress, but even with that, it has been a while since I have had a bed.
I was unaware of it, but I must have been pretty tired. I ended up sleeping surprisingly deeply.
I woke up at midnight and took advantage of the darkness to head to the center of the city.
The owner of the miscellaneous store said this is a dungeon city.
There’s a big dungeon at the center of the city, and the resources obtained from there stimulate the market of this city.
I could immediately tell where the dungeon was.
A cone shaped giant crystal that’s twisted into a spiral, towering at the center of the city.
I remember seeing this thing from afar yesterday. It was reflecting the sunlight, sparkling unrestrainedly. It asserted its presence as a landmark to an unbelievable extent. At that time, I didn’t even think for a second it was a dungeon though.
I would say it is around 80 meters tall.
I don’t know how it was made, but that crystal might be one big spirit stone.
The presence of Spirits is abnormal over there after all. This city itself is filled to the brim with the presence of Spirits, but I could feel an even denser presence overflowing from the entrance of the dungeon.
There’s some devices that seem to ban the use of abilities, most likely because the use of Spirit Abilities is dangerous in the city.
It is pretty difficult to use my Dark Spirit Abilities, but when close to the dungeon, it is actually the contrary, and because it is midnight as well, I felt like the effectiveness will be several times higher.
At the root of the crystal, there’s a big opening that’s the entrance of the dungeon.
It must be the type of dungeon that you have to go deeper and deeper underground. The only thing I can see from here are big stairs going down. What lies below is hazy as if the space there is warped.
Even with me having Night Vision I couldn’t see further ahead, so the entrance of the dungeon might be a literal entrance to another world.
The entrance is big. 30 meters width and 10 meters height. I can easily imagine how gigantic the inside must be.
There are a number of people at the entrance of the dungeon.
A group that’s equipped strictly in a way that seems like they are dungeon explorers.
There were 4 men standing with a bonfire at their back that seemed like lookouts.
You might need money to enter the dungeon.
It would be a pain to be called to a stop.
“[Darkness Fog].” (Hikaru)
Darkness Fog has been raised to Tier 4, so I can now adjust the amount of darkness. If I go at full power, I can cover a radius of 10 meters in darkness.
But that’s depending on the situation, and in most of the cases, it would just stand out negatively.
I cover myself in just around a 1 meter radius, and take advantage of that darkness to slip into the dungeon.
No one noticed me.
(This is calming…) (Hikaru)
The inside of the dungeon is filled with spirit energy, and it seems like I can use Spirit Abilities as much as I want.
I walked while using both Dark Vision and Darkness Fog together.
Maybe because it is a closed space, or because it is a place filled with darkness -most likely both- I couldn’t feel the gazes of the viewers.
Of course, it must be just my imagination.
Right now the viewers are watching me and wishing me to die fast, to die in the dungeon. That must be what they are thinking.
But when I am inside the darkness like this, I can forget about those things.
My helplessness, my sadness; I can keep them all bottled inside of it.
“[Darkness Fog].” (Hikaru)
No one noticed me when inside the darkness.
Inside the dungeon with deep darkness, people and monsters don’t pay any heed when there’s even deeper darkness. That’s probably how it works.
(…So this is a dungeon. What a mysterious place. Did someone make it?) (Hikaru)
—This dungeon is called the Grand Meltia Dungeon. At this time, I didn’t know that each floor is given a name.
The 1st Floor is called the Dusk Hades Street.
Its trait is…
(So vast…) (Hikaru)
After crossing a narrow path that screamed dungeon, I arrived at a vast space.
In this vast space bigger than a baseball dome, the ceiling was hazy red like the sky at dusk.
At the ground there were dilapidated houses made of stone lined up, and I could see something resembling a castle deep in.
And the residents living in this city are…
The skeletons were making peculiar clanking sounds as they moved around.
Barehanded ones, ones that had swords in their hands, big ones, small ones; they came in various shapes and forms, but it seems like this is the city of skeletons.
I could see an explorer party that’s fighting at around 300 meters away.
Can you get Spirit Stones by defeating skeletons?
I have a despairing lack of knowledge.
“[Darkness Fog].” (Hikaru)
I cover myself in darkness and slowly approach one skeleton.
Darkness Fog is a method to impair vision.
You can still hear and smell.
As long as I don’t know how skeletons detect others, the inside of the darkness is not safe.
If push comes to shove, I won’t hesitate to fight. It is a monster that shows up on the first floor of the dungeon. It shouldn’t be that strong.
Whichever the case, I have to earn money or I will be penniless in a few days.
I got pretty close, but the skeleton didn’t react.
After I got away for a bit and undid my ability for a moment, it immediately reacted, so there’s no doubt its sight has been obstructed by Darkness Fog.
It reacts to sounds even when I am inside the darkness, so I can’t lower my guard though.
The enemy is a barehanded skeleton. It doesn’t move fast, and it doesn’t look that strong.
I wasn’t aware of it myself, but the me at that time must have been merry about my first dungeon.
I didn’t feel the gazes of the viewers inside the darkness.
That’s why I ended up thinking this…
“Let’s try fighting it…” (Hikaru)
I heard laughing.
From somewhere far? Or maybe right by my ear.
Gazes that pierce my whole body.
I am being watched.
I could fear the gazes of 1 billion people.
The viewers are observing my every movement, my every action, with scorn in their eyes.
Thinking ‘he is finally going to be doing what an otaku boy would want to do’.
That he will finally be having his long desired battle with a monster.
Gazes of curiosity.
Countless gazes from Earth.
I was beginning to feel nauseous.
I could hear the scorn of the viewers.
They are laughing at me.
<<Are you going to fight? Please defeat them coolly, Hero-kun (lol).>>
<<Go fight and die already -as pathetically as possible.>>
<<Right, of course you would want to fight monsters since you have come to a fantasy world (lol). Want to defeat a skeleton and feel like an overpowered main character?>>
<<So you really are enjoying your isekai life.>>
<<Playing the dark magic swordsman with your dagger in hand? Uwaaa, so cool, lol. Brb, puking. Lmao.>>
I know that all of these are voices coming from my mind.
But this isn’t just me being delusional here, I am actually being watched by everyone.
My every action.
The pathetic sight of me fighting.
Waiting for the moment I get drunk on my first victory.
Even though I was trying so hard not to think about it by hiding in the darkness…
“[Darkness Fog…!]” (Hikaru)
I hold back from vomiting, shut into the darkness, and run.
Fight? No way.
I don’t want to be seen.
I want them to forget about me.
I want my whole existence to disappear.
I ran and ran, and by the time I noticed, I had gone down the stairs, and reached the 2nd Floor.
The 2nd Floor was smaller than the 1st Floor, and it was made truly like a dungeon. I went pretty deep inside, and curled up inside the darkness.
I saw small humanoid monsters, dog-like monsters, and oni-like monsters, but it seems like none of those monsters could find me inside the darkness.
If I hide in even deeper darkness within this already dark place, no gazes could reach.
Even the voices have stopped now.
“Haaah… Haah…” (Hikaru)
Underground water seemed to be trailing down the walls. It is an old and dirty underground dungeon.
For the people who don’t have Night Vision, exploring this place must be really rough.
I stayed curled up there for a while.
Monsters that didn’t look that strong passed by a number of times, but they just went on without noticing me.
The next monster as well.
And the next one after that.
I could disappear inside the darkness.
By being embraced in the darkness for a while, I finally managed to regain my calm.
(…What’s that?) (Hikaru)
After several hours, I noticed that.
The reason why I didn’t notice until now must have been because that’s how shaken I was.
The small room at the other side that is shaped like a prison had something that was shining dully.
I get up.
When I approached it, I noticed they were the empty-shell of explorers.
Crude leather armor, overcoat, leather gloves, leggings, and shoes.
The equipment of explorers was lined up on the ground in a way as if it was once worn by someone.
There was no corpse anywhere, and at the place where the head would originally be, there’s a small red spirit stone just lying there.
It is as if the body disappeared into nothingness, and only the spirit stone remained.
(…Did they die? What about the body…?) (Hikaru)
I don’t know.
It might be that in a strange place like a dungeon, strange things happen.
The sword is broken, and the armor seems to all be cheap stuff.
It must have been a newbie explorer.
I placed what was once the equipment of an explorer inside my Shadow Bag.
“…Corpse rummaging, huh… I have fallen as low as I can.” (Hikaru)
If I can’t fight, I have no other way to earn money than to do stuff like this.
It was all done inside the darkness.
The viewers shouldn’t be able to see that.
For some mysterious reason, I could accept myself being corrupted.
I had no leeway to be considerate for the dead.
I have lost my childhood friend, my family, my place to return to, and even my own dignity, so the only thing left for me to lose here is my life.
Even so, I will continue living on.
That’s all I could do right now.
And this is how I live my life in the dungeon today.
This darkness was comfortable for me.
Hiding in the dungeon filled with silence and death, I would strip the equipment from the now voiceless corpses of the explorers, and sell them. That’s how I somehow managed to get by in my meals.
At the burial chamber that’s intimate with death…
Cloaking myself in darkness, I curl up and hold my breath today as well.
So that no one sees me.
So that I don’t gather the attention of anyone.
So that everyone forgets about me…