DCFM – Chapter 149: Queue of Explorers and Dusk Hell Street

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5 days passed and the Meltia Dungeon was finally open again. 

There were many explorers crowding the entrance of the dungeon, and they were going in one group at a time. 

Jeanne and I hired Grapefull as planned, and we 3 set out to explore. 

“We are finally beginning our dungeon exploration, huh. I have been waiting for this moment!” (Jeanne)

Jeanne would sheath and unsheath her sword a bit with visible excitement.

Seems like she was really looking forward to this. 

“My comrades were on the verge of dying from hunger-nya. We were practically saved by the fish you brought us-nyan, Hikaru-shan.” (Full)

“You are exaggerating.” (Hikaru)

So I say, but I have been fishing the whole time these 5 days. 

After getting the things we needed to a certain degree, we didn’t have anything to buy. Jeanne didn’t have any money, so she had nothing she could do aside from reading the data the guild had, walk around, or fish together with me. 

I tried inviting Full too, but it seems like not getting close to the sea is one of the 3 rules of the Lynxes, so she refused. I didn’t ask too deeply about it, but there’s apparently bad history about it. 

Even so, the Lynxes were really grateful for the fishes, and Jeanne got close enough to them that she was allowed to mofumofu them. 

The Lynxes didn’t really hate being petted. It is just that there weren’t humans who would do that, so they were simply bewildered by it. There are Lynxes who would even come to me to pet them. 

They are like cats in the part where they slowly get attached to you… But I kept that evaluation of mine a secret. 

“Now then, it is the first day, so what do we do? I don’t think we would have any problems going straight to the 3rd Floor.” (Hikaru)

“Kuro, do you think me of all people would jump stages? We are obviously clearing properly from the 1st Floor.” (Jeanne)

“The 1st Floor…?” (Hikaru)

Only skeletons show up in the 1st Floor and you barely earn anything from them. 

And yet, the Boss level monsters are decently strong, and it just isn’t worth it. 

It is a place where beginner explorers can swing around clubs against normal skeletons to gain battle experience. That’s the 1st Floor of the Meltia Dungeon.

The line is steadily advancing, but it should take a bit more before we can enter. 

It is so crowded here to the point I am surprised there were these many explorers. 

“The 1st Floor is a city, right? I heard there’s even people living there.” (Jeanne)

“People without homes would sometimes live there-nyan.” (Full)

“Eh? Even though skeletons show up? That’s dangerous.” (Hikaru)

“Monsters don’t spawn in places where there’s people, so it is apparently okay if it is inside a narrow room-nyan.” (Full)

“Is that so…” (Hikaru)

Just as the name Dusk Hell Street states, it is a floor where a stone built city exists in a giant space. 

I do think there’s a number of sturdy houses people could live in, but to think there would actually be people living there…

Even so, there’s only a few houses in good condition. The houses that comprise the city have their walls crumbling, or wouldn’t have ceilings, but they apparently return to their previous state if they were to get destroyed, so there’s quite a lot of mysteries. 

This ‘city’ that’s in ruins to a certain degree cannot develop or degrade further from its current state; a city where time has stopped.

That might be why it has such a fancy name like Dusk Hell Street. 

“In these 5 days, I have read the data of the dungeon to a certain degree, but the dungeon apparently changes shape bit by bit. The destroyed places return to their previous state, but they apparently don’t always get restored to their exact same state.” (Jeanne)

“Really?” (Hikaru)

“Yeah. Well, they apparently don’t change that greatly, but it is not like they restore to the same shape as before… Well, not like I know what that means though.” (Jeanne)

It seems like Jeanne is interested in the dungeon itself, so she captured a guild staff member that seemed to be free and asked them a lot of things apparently. 

“If you bring out something born from the dungeon -like a plant from the 3rd Floor, for example- they immediately weather away the moment you bring them out from the dungeon. The only exceptions being the Spirit Stones and the Present of a Divine Beast. Thinking of it in that way, this dungeon is quite the special place. You could call it a sort of separate plane.” (Jeanne)

Jeanne was showing off her vast knowledge of the dungeon.

Most of what I know was taught to me by Rifreya, so I don’t know much myself. This is a great help. 

It is true that explorers only bring back Spirit Stones, and the trash and the equipment of corpses are not ‘things born from the dungeon’.

In other words, explorers are miners that dig out Spirit Stones. 

The dungeon opened after a while, so there’s a lot of people. 

There should be around 500 in total. The entrance of the dungeon is a plaza but, even with that, it is still close to being jam-packed. 

There’s a lot of explorers, but also civilian-looking people holding flowers.

“Who are those people? They are not explorers, right?” (Hikaru)

“You have more seniority than me, Kuro, so why is it that you don’t know? People who die become Spirits, rise up to the sky, evaporate, and roam the world becoming a Spirit Stream. The Spirit Stream serves as the balance of the Spirit Energy of the world, however, the souls that die with grievances can’t ride the Spirit Stream after death and roam the lands. The burials in this world being through cremation must be because of that religious belief.” (Jeanne)

“Why do you know so much?” (Hikaru)

“No, the setting of the world is important, you know? It can help when clearing.” (Jeanne)

“Setting, you say…” (Hikaru)

It is true that this world is like that of a game, but we came from outside, so learning about this world certainly is important in order to not ‘stick out’.

Also, despite all, Jeanne is a diligent person.

Or would that be her having the leeway mentally?

My mind and spirit were being shaved off the whole time in this city, so I didn’t even think about that, and didn’t even think of investigating it. 

“The souls that burrow into the ground are reborn as monsters. In other words, Spirit Stones are the souls of previous living people. And then, by using those stones for Spirit Tools and Magic Tools, they rise up to the sky and evaporate… The people holding flowers must be mourning. Are they doing so for a gone family member, or for the many souls that couldn’t be saved? I can’t tell that far. The 1st Floor is apparently considered the place where people with grievances revive.” (Jeanne)

I was told something similar to that when I sold the Spirit Stones of the dead explorers to the black market old man, but becoming a Spirit after dying must be this world’s concept of life and death. 

“Oh, it is our turn. Let’s go.” (Jeanne)

We arrived at the entrance of the dungeon while we were talking. 

We showed our tags to the soldiers guarding the entrance, and we entered. 

◇◆◆◆◇

The Spirit Energy inside of the dungeon is as dense as always, dark, and it is a relaxing space. 

It’s been a while since I have felt this way. 

It is a strange feeling. I feel as if ‘I am back’.

“It is smaller than I thought. Where are the monsters?” (Jeanne)

She seems to be looking forward to fighting monsters. 

Jeanne had that natural youthfulness of an otherworlder in a sense. 

On that point, I have been warped too much in just 1 month.

“We are still in the tunnel connecting the entrance to the inside of the dungeon-nyan. It will be the 1st Floor after we pass here-nya.” (Full)

“Really?” (Jeanne)

“The distance to each floor is pretty long after all. Now, we are here.” (Hikaru)

“Ooh…! This is impressive…!” (Jeanne)

The ceiling of the Dusk Hell Street was smoking red as if it were dusk. 

That smoke seems to become a light source, different from the 2nd Floor, it is somewhat bright enough that there would be no issues in exploring without a torch.

At a slightly separated location, a beginner-looking boy is fighting a skeleton with a club.

“There’s even a castle deep in! You skipped this place, Kuro? What a waste…” (Jeanne)

“Strong Bone Knights show up at the castle-nyan. They don’t give much money either, so most explorers ignore it, you knyow?” (Full)

“Isn’t that fine? It can serve for sword training.” (Jeanne)

The objective of Jeanne is of course conquering the dungeon, but the crux of it is her desire to become stronger. 

It is true that the dungeon is the right place to achieve that. 

It doesn’t lack enemies to fight against and there’s various types of monsters showing up.

If she can win against a Mantis in a straight on fight one on one, that would make her stronger than Rifreya.

I still haven’t properly heard about what her build is, but there’s no doubt she has allocated Points in Physical Strength and Endurance.

“Anyways, let’s begin. I will try fighting that Skeleton there.” (Jeanne)

“Need support?” (Hikaru)

“If it gets dangerous, please help out.” (Jeanne)

Jeanne says this and unsheathes her sword. 

A wide steel one-handed sword. She has a giant shield on her left hand. 

On the other hand, the Skeleton was unarmed. It truly is just a skeleton.

Just from looks alone, there is way too much of a difference in power. I don’t think I would need to provide support regardless.

Jeanne was slowly closing the distance to the skeleton without lowering her guard at all even against that pitiful skeleton.

The skeleton making rattling noises as it moved noticed the approach of Jeanne and took a battle stance—is what I thought, but it suddenly turned tail.

In other words…

“It ran away?! So even monsters run away.” (Hikaru)

“Hmmm?! That’s the first time I’ve seen that-nyan.” (Full)

Jeanne chases after the running Skeleton and swings down her sword. 

“So it really runs away, huh. That’s boring.” (Jeanne)

“Isn’t it because the difference of strength is too much in the 1st Floor?” (Hikaru)

“That’s most likely unrelated. If I am to believe the messages, it is because I am a Hated One.” (Jeanne)

“Hated One? Is that a joke of some sort?” (Hikaru)

“I took the demerit that was written as ‘No Talent in Spirit Abilities’ at the beginning. It seems like that state is called as Hated One in this world. The monsters also hate Hated Ones and run away from them.” (Jeanne)

“Hated Ones…” (Hikaru)

Isn’t that the opposite of my Loved One? 

But I don’t think monsters proactively come towards me…no, maybe they did when I was nearby? 

I have never done a proper clash of blades with a monster.

The times I get close to them are the times when I kill them; that’s the kind of fighting style I had. 

Anyways, for Jeanne, having her opponent running away from her must be something she finds disagreeable. If it is just for earning money with Spirit Stones, it would be a plus, but if it is purely to enjoy battle, it would just get in the way. 

Even so, to take a demerit like that from the very beginning, Jeanne really is a bit different. Normally when you come to an isekai, you would yearn for magic.

“No choice but to search for monsters that don’t run away while we explore. It would be nice if the Bone Knights in that castle fight without running away.” (Jeanne)

“Then, let’s go check it out.” (Hikaru)

“Of course. However, while exploring, that is.” (Jeanne)

“Even if you check each and every house, there won’t be anything, you knyow?” (Full)

It is not like treasure chests show up in the dungeon, so there’s not much point in thorough explorations. 

And the reality is that we would sometimes surprise the people living there when we opened random doors. 

What were these people doing while the dungeon was closed? 

I doubt they were living here for the whole 7 days…

Jeanne went straight to those people living on the 1st Floor and asked them: “Why are you living in a place like this?”, so that in itself surprised them…

At any rate, the 1st Floor isn’t a place that explorers go through the trouble of exploring. 

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