Early morning of the next day.
I came to the guild.
My pansy self ended up looking around searching for Rifreya, and I was annoyed at myself for that, but it looks like she hasn’t come. Even if she were here, I had no intention of speaking to her.
I have already told Rifreya that our party has disbanded, so I am alone today.
The disband was on my own whim and one-sided, but the Viewer Count Race should have originally been something I should have done on my own. There was almost no merit for her, and there was only the gigantic demerit of being watched by several hundreds of millions of people without her knowing.
…She probably would have cooperated with me even if I told her my circumstances.
But that’s because she wouldn’t really understand the reality of ‘being seen by several millions of people’. There’s not even televisions in this world, so there’s no way there would be anyone in this world who would be able to understand that.
There’s no way it would be fine to just accept an okay from her just because she said so.
I decided to do anything in order to revive Nanami. That feeling is still burning strong.
However, it looks like I am not that strong of a person to accomplish my own objectives with the sacrifice of others.
I don’t mind if I myself get hurt. I don’t mind dying if it is after reviving Nanami.
…However, I can’t utilize Rifreya, who doesn’t even know my circumstances, any further.
The kinder she is…the more beautiful she is…
Every time she smiles at me, I find myself drawn into that innocent smile, and every time that happens, they become heavy shackles, constricting my heart.
The world has returned to gray now that I am alone, but this is the world I am supposed to be in.
…That’s why…this is fine. This is how it should be.
(There’s a lot more people than usual.) (Hikaru)
The dungeon is closed, so the explorers with nothing to do must be loitering around. It was strangely noisy.
They shouldn’t be able to enter the dungeon, but…
“Alright! We will now begin taking applicants for the Demon Lord subjugation!”
Looks like they are taking applicants.
The details of the Demon Lord subjugation team were written at the worn-out notice board.
-Only Silver Rank or higher explorers.
-Participants will be issued 5 silver coins each day.
-30 silver coins will be awarded to all participants on the success of the subjugation.
-10 silver coins will be awarded to the unit that finds the Demon Lord.
-Depending on your contributions, special rewards might apply.
I see, even if it is called a Demon Lord, it is still only one monster. If there’s several tens of participants, this would be a sweet event that you can earn money from without needing to put yourself in danger.
By the way, the guild is apparently the one taking the Demon Lord Spirit Stone.
I am pretty interested in the Demon Lord’s Spirit Stone since I have the undead summoning ability, but that just can’t be helped.
(Even so, there’s unexpectedly a lot of silver rank explorers and higher.) (Hikaru)
They are not as big as the weapon of Rifreya, but the weapons they carry are big, and they feel like veterans used to battling monsters. All of them most likely can use Spirit Abilities.
The many scratches and dents that can be seen from the battle-worn metallic armor, giant shields used to stop the charge of monsters, the long spears used to fight at a safe distance; they all look like equipment that would cost a good amount of money.
In comparison to that, there’s me with my cheap black clothes as usual. My only decent equipment is the gauntlet and the shortsword.
I am completely out of place.
Right now this guild is for the sake of the adventurers that are silver and higher, so the unrestrained gazes sent to me were painful.
I quickly left the guild and headed to the dungeon.
The crystal spiral column was there as always, but there was a slight off feeling.
(…It is slightly…muddy?) (Hikaru)
The gigantic column crystal was not transparent; it was releasing light as if there’s sparkling stars spread around it.
As if it were a Chaotic Spirit Stone.
(Is it because a Demon Lord has appeared…? In that case, the arrival of a Demon Lord can be seen from the outside too?) (Hikaru)
The entrance of the dungeon has 4 soldiers as usual.
Those soldiers might be what they call Templars. They are hired, and it is a job that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish without a decent degree of strength after all.
On top of that, there’s a board standing there, and the entrance is closed off with rope.
There’s most likely not a single person inside the dungeon.
The Demon Lord subjugation team will be entering tomorrow.
(…Now then, let’s go.) (Hikaru)
I use Darkness Fog, and decide to sneak into the dungeon when I find an opening.
I only have 5 days in the Viewer Count Race to revive Nanami. There’s no way I can just pass the time without entering the dungeon.
The Tier of Shadow Bind and Summon: Night Bug are going to reach 3 soon. When that happens, it should turn into a one step stronger ability, and if possible, I want to meet the Demon Lord.
I am sure that being reckless is the bomb that will allow me to reach 1st place.
“[Darkness Fog].” (Hikaru)
I hide in the shadow of a tree and cover myself in darkness.
Today is nicely clear, and honestly speaking, I stand out covered in darkness.
There’s the chance I will get caught. If I get caught, there’s the possibility of being imprisoned. If that happens, a lot of time will be wasted.
I decide to spread the range of Darkness Fog, cover the whole entrance, and enter in the confusion. I don’t think the soldiers have night vision.
Of course, the soldiers will strengthen their guard, but right now that doesn’t matter.
I run while expanding the range of the darkness.
It will go well…or it should have.
At the same time as that voice rang at my back, a dazzling light appeared in front of me. My darkness was cleared and I showed up.
The soldiers obviously noticed that light.
(Why…? But that voice just now was…) (Hikaru)
“I knew it… I was sure you would come here, Hikaru.”
When I turned around, the one standing there was Rifreya.
“Were you keeping watch here thinking I would come?” (Hikaru)
“No, I saw you in the guild, so I followed you. More importantly, Hikaru, I saw the records of the guild. You…in the days when you said you were taking a break, you were diving into the dungeon alone, right?” (Rifreya)
“So you found out.” (Hikaru)
“When we went to the 3rd Floor, you were so calm it was hard to believe it was your first time, so I investigated a bit.” (Rifreya)
There’s a chance the word ‘personal information’ doesn’t even exist in this world.
More so when it comes to a party member. If she asks, the guild would answer right away, huh.
“You were…diving into the depths alone?” (Rifreya)
“It is not to the point of calling it ‘depths’. I simply went to the 3rd Floor…and saw a bit of the 4th Floor.” (Hikaru)
“…Why do something so reckless? Is it because you can’t trust your partner? …You can’t trust me? It is true that my Spirit Abilities leave a lot to be desired, and I am even around the middle in regards to my skills as a warrior…” (Rifreya)
She closed in and showed a saddened expression, but I can’t tell her the truth. And even if I did tell her, I know that she wouldn’t understand it, which was scratching my throat.
Rifreya is the best party member. Me being able to put such a fight in the Viewer Count Race is more than half thanks to her. But that’s why I can’t just depend on her.
Because that’s also proof that Rifreya is gathering the attention of Earth.
“Rifreya, that’s not it. I told you yesterday, right? That I have my circumstances… I have to test my own power. That’s why I needed to dive on my own.” (Hikaru)
“…But alone is just…that means there won’t be anyone to save you if something were to happen, you know?” (Rifreya)
“I know. But that’s why I had to do it.” (Hikaru)
I am the one that understands the most that this is reckless.
But it is because I understand that I do it.
Being reckless is the best way for me to obtain viewers.
“And so, you plan on diving today as well? Even though there’s a Demon Lord… What would you have done if you had encountered it…? Don’t tell me you were planning on fighting it alone.” (Rifreya)
“No way. I was simply thinking about playing around in the 2nd Floor.” (Hikaru)
“…You are also terrible at lying, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
It seems like the lie showed in my face.
I was thinking about going to the 4th Floor, and was thinking that maybe if things go well, I would meet the Demon Lord.
“This isn’t an adequate place to talk, so let’s go.” (Rifreya)
Rifreya grabbed me by the wrist tightly, and pulled me along.
The soldiers were walking our way.
“Rifreya-san, what’s the matter? Is he the one you were searching for…?”
She was searching for me at the entrance of the dungeon before.
They must be referring to that.
“Yes, sorry for the trouble.” (Rifreya)
Rifreya gave a half-hearted response. She walked on as if shaking off the soldiers, and I was dragged along by her…almost literally.
She was doing so with unbelievable power, and it is not something I can oppose.
I am powerless like this.
Whichever the case, she has already found me, so I won’t be able to go into the dungeon anymore.
Even so, do the viewers find this situation interesting?
I was thinking this while I was being dragged without being able to fight back.
Dragging me into the market place that I rarely go on the light of the day.