There’s suspicion that Abel, Beat, and Cliff have now lost something really important as men here.
“Oh, no way! I have not done something so wonderfu—barbaric as that, you kno~w?” (Baccarat)
According to Baccarat-san, it is a misunderstanding.
“See, these boys were together with us on the way to the village, right? And so, because the cultists that showed up were of the exact same body build as them, I tore their clothes off to confirm! Of co-ur-se I did have a little taste as a side-benefit though.” (Baccarat)
“Haah, I-I see…” (Souma)
Looks like nothing happened.
Man, that’s a relief.
I cleared up my worries and rubbed my chest.
It is questionable whether a simple side-benefit would roll their eyes all the way to their whites, have saliva drooling down from their half-opened mouths while they are twitching as if they were in a nightmare, but…well, there’s discrepancies in every scenario!!
I decided to trust the explanation of Baccarat without a single shred of doubt, and pushed this matter to a corner of my mind.
Whichever the case, the casualties of the Sacrificial Dungeon are 0 which is something to be proud of.
Convincing myself like that, I explained the situation to Baccarat.
When I told him about the plans of the cultists and the trick of it, Baccarat made an exaggerated surprised expression and said.
“Oh my, that’s scary!” (Baccarat)
He squirmed his body overly dramatically, but unfortunately, what’s really scary here is that sight of his.
As traumatic as a Namahage**. <Folk demon>
If children saw this, they would probably cry.
But this doesn’t comprise everything about the man called Baccarat.
“That said, you are also impressive. To think you would be able to see through the plans of the cultists. You have my respect~.” (Baccarat)
He is putting an act here to a displeasing extent, but more than half of it is most likely a camouflage.
He is wary about someone like me who knows unnaturally much, and is acting even dumber to analyze me.
This man is the big sis type and also a complete carnivore.
If I lower my guard, I will get eaten.
…In a whole lot of meanings.
Just imagining it made my stomach churn.
I take care not to show on my face that chills were running down my back.
“Well, I coincidentally had information about it and it all pieced up together.” (Souma)
I just gave a harmless answer and slipped away from it.
We decided to return to where everyone is for now.
Baccarat said he would be carrying the unconscious Abel and his group.
I honestly didn’t want to carry them anyways.
I simply said ‘Wow, how kind of you. That would help out greatly’ and leave him in charge of them.
When I said that, I thought he licked his lips like a ferocious beast, but I must have seen wrong.
Because I was so concentrated on going fast here, I was a bit hazy on our current location for a moment there, but with Mitsuki here, there’s no worries about getting lost or straying.
While we were moving, Mitsuki said…
“…That man has been staring at your butt from behind. It is annoying. Can I cut him down?” (Mitsuki)
Her eyes were glaring and her cat ears were standing up as if saying ‘I am serious here~’ as she proposed this which was a bit scary, but we managed to regroup with Raiden and the others mostly without issues.
On top of that.
Ringo has also managed to regroup with us, most likely getting all the way here on her own.
(With this, any immediate danger has been avoided.) (Souma)
I destroyed the bracelets of Abel, Beat, and Cliff on my own discretion.
With this, I doubt they will go crazy even if they wake up.
But they have a lot of previous transgressions.
I am a bit uneasy here, but I asked Baccarat to take care of the 3 and he agreed instantly.
With this, I would say the chances of Abel and his group causing trouble have disappeared almost completely.
There’s still people wearing bracelets and necklaces, but that’s in order to avoid the event from advancing.
We have clearly explained the situation to them, so there’s no problem.
There’s already no worry of altercations happening between participants.
And if no adventurers die, there’s no worry of that ‘Great One’ reviving.
With this, most worries should have been wrapped up.
(No no, wait wait.) (Souma)
From my experiences until now, the moment I think ‘there’s nothing to worry for now’, there will be a big pitfall awaiting me.
As long as not all things have been wrapped up, I still can’t relax.
I look at the Bear who is poking Abel and his group, who are still unconscious, with curiosity as I think.
The remaining issues are Lipha and the Saiga Village.
There’s no assurance that the event won’t progress if the people in the dungeon go to the Saiga Village.
I will leave the cultists of the village to Maki, and prioritize securing Lipha.
The problem is the location of Lipha, but well, it is not like I don’t have an idea.
I separated from the group and decided to search for Lipha.
“Mitsuki, Ringo, please come with me.” (Souma)
Saying this, I head to a certain location with Mitsuki, Ringo, and the Bear while at it.
“…That’s nostalgic.” (Souma)
That thought leaked out from me while I was standing at the destination -the big big door in the center of the dungeon.
I believed in the information that the sacrifice altar was across this door and tried to open this door countless times with a variety of methods.
But the reality was that there was no map made for what was across this, and it was all wasted effort.
I can’t hate the developers of Nekomimi Neko enough for this one.
“Mitsuki, do you feel anyone around here?” (Souma)
But it is not like I came here to complain.
This is the place where the encounter rate for Lipha was the highest.
I thought for sure she would be around here, but…
“…Nothing. At the very least, it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone closeby.” (Mitsuki)
Looks like it was a miss here.
A good amount of time has passed since the quest began.
She might have moved more than I imagined.
“Then, should we search for a bit more?” (Mitsuki)
Noticing that my attempt missed, Mitsuki proposed this, but I shook my head to the sides.
“No, wait for a bit. There’s something I want to test out first.” (Souma)
I glare at the big door right in front of me that has made me suffer greatly in the game.
The door has the ＋｜L light letters on it.
Everything looks exactly like the game.
—But I know that this world is not exactly like the game.
Maybe it is to maintain the reality of this real world, but I already know that places where the story points as existing but don’t actually do in the game will have cases where they will properly exist in this world.
That’s why there’s a high chance that the sacrifice altar does actually exist on the other side of this door in this world.
Also, terrain objects in the game like doors and walls are impossible to destroy aside from specific ones that have been set with HP.
But that’s different in this game too.
As long as you have enough firepower, you can destroy any walls or doors.
In other words…
In this world, I might be able to destroy this door and reach the altar that is at the other side.
I calm myself down first.
Timing is the core of skill usage.
There’s the risk of failure with a stirred up mind.
I confirm that I have calmed down and once again face the door.
I chant Power Up and set the Time Activation.
And then, I use the combo that shone well in the Attack on the Capital.
(—[Oboro Zangetsu], [High Step], [Jump][Side Slash]!!) (Souma)
In other words, Oboro Cross!!
The defense of terrain like walls is proportional to the dungeon’s level.
A low level dungeon door like this one wouldn’t be able to stand at all against the power of this combo.
The vertical and horizontal slash splendidly hit the door…
—But the door didn’t budge at all.
I tried out a variety of things after that, but the door didn’t show any signs of breaking. Not only that, it didn’t even have a scratch.
Mitsuki and the others were watching this at the beginning, but they must have gotten bored of it in the middle.
“I will go search the surroundings.” (Mitsuki)
They all went off somewhere together.
But I didn’t give up.
You could even say that them leaving allows me more freedom in my actions.
I tell myself this as a sore-loser and challenge the door single-mindedly.
At the end, I even used Setsuna Samidare Giri, but that simply ended with the result of reducing the durability of Shiranui.
(What unbelievable toughness…) (Souma)
This already surpasses hate and impresses me instead.
I gaze at the powerful enemy towering in front of me and feel like speaking.
“…I admit it. You are strong. Also, not only are you strong, you are big and hard. I will acknowledge that alone.” (Souma)
The door isn’t answering.
What a shy guy.
“But that’s not what defines the worth of a man. The strength a human has is not only brute force.
Knowledge and wisdom.
People that have those are the truly strong ones.” (Souma)
The door still didn’t answer as expected.
Silent to the very end.
“It would be insulting to think my only strength is the attack skills.
I will show you.
The true power of humans. Show you that it is not all about brute force!” (Souma)
The door is still not answering even after saying that much.
…It is beginning to get a little embarrassing.
“This is the end. Here I go…” (Souma)
Even with that, I still wrung out the wisdom of humanity, the crystallization of it onto this rival that is standing against the protagonist without faltering.
Around 10 minutes after that.
Mitsuki and the others found me when I had moved away from the door and was wandering around.
While I was feeling down, getting lost in a dungeon that I should know the ins-and-outs of…
“In other words, you couldn’t even scratch the door even when you had it eat a whole ton of skills and spells?” (Mitsuki)
The harsh words of Mitsuki fly at me as if giving me the final blow.
I wanted to get a word in about how that’s not the case, but it is undeniable that I couldn’t break the door.
I simply bit my lips.
“Moreover, to get lost after that… We have completely wasted time here. Let’s hurry back and think of a plan to search for that girl called Lipha.” (Mitsuki)
“No, wait!” (Souma)
When Mitsuki said that, I interjected.
It is true that I couldn’t break the door and got lost after that, but it is not like I didn’t produce any results.
“I actually found this just now!” (Souma)
Saying this, I take out a red stone.
“…What about it?” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki tilted her cat ears dubiously.
“…Ah, apple?” (Ringo)
As for Ringo, she mistook it for food.
I thought ‘good grief, these people’, but now that I think about it, these two haven’t seen Lipha once.
There’s no way I would be able to get across here like this, so I explain to them from the very beginning.
“When I saw this stone, I thought I had seen something of a similar color before and it soon clicked. Lipha was wearing a necklace with a red stone. But I have never seen an item like that elsewhere. That’s why I think that item was made from a ‘special something’ inside this dungeon.” (Souma)
Mitsuki tilted her cat ears in confusion at my proud words.
“Meaning that the necklace of that girl is made from a gem unique to this dungeon? But even if we learn about that, how can that help in searching—” (Mitsuki)
“No, it will help.” (Souma)
I cut off Mitsuki before she finished.
Or more like, now is where I enter the main topic.
“When holding this stone, there’s the feeling as if it is being attracted to something. If this and the red necklace of Lipha are of the same material, then they might be pulled towards each other. In other words, if we head to the place this stone guides us to, Lipha will surely be there!!” (Souma)
When I said this with confidence, the Bear began clapping as if saying ‘oooh’.
Because of the material of its hands, it didn’t do a clapping sound, but it still made me happy.
But seeing this…
“…Don’t spoil him.” (Ringo)
Ringo scolded the Bear.
“A-Anyways, follow me everyone!” (Souma)
I give the order loudly as if to shake that off.
From getting lost to guiding everyone; I began walking in front.
Onwards to Lipha!
“To think we would actually find her…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki’s cat ears dropped as she muttered this dumbfounded.
We really found Lipha while following the location of the stone.
Her necklace is releasing a red light even now, and the stone in my hand was shining as well, as if calling each other.
And so, my theory proved to be correct.
I felt triumphant internally but tried not to show that outside as much as possible as I began explaining the situation to the sacrifice girl, Lipha.
It seems like she is an unexpectedly intelligent girl, she immediately understood the situation when I explained it to her.
With this, it might be okay to tell her everything.
With that judgment made, I told her about how everyone from the Saiga Village are cultists, and how the Village Chief -her Papa- is a demon.
I thought she wouldn’t believe me, but it seems like she had her own suspicions, even when she was shocked by it, she accepted that reality.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t take off her necklace.
It seems like it is also impossible to unequip it and it is indestructible in this world too.
We have one worry less now that we found Lipha, but if the quest advances, there’s the risk that she will be sent to the altar.
Right now we have no choice but to wait, believing that the Knight Order will suppress the village.
We returned to where the adventurers are while having a chat with Lipha, but…
In the middle of our walk, the ears of Mitsuki suddenly stood up as if they had detected something.
And then, at the same time…
“Souma, the wall…!” (Ringo)
Being urged on by Ringo, I looked there, and it was at the moment when the figures on the wall were changing.
The ＋｜L on the wall changed to ＋±.
It is hard to tell, but this means it changed from 18 to 17.
This number represents the required number of deaths in order to revive the ‘Great One’ and it is also a countdown for the forced Game Over.
When this number hits 0, the Great One will be revived, and it will force a Game Over.
No, more importantly, the fact that the number in the wall lowered means…
“Someone was killed in this dungeon?” (Souma)
While I was dumbfounded by this, the numbers on the wall changed at blinding speed.
16 to 15.
By the time it lowered again to 14, it went to 12 in an instant.
The numbers are lowering at an abnormal pace.
People are dying.
(Could it be that the killing between adventurers has begun? But I explained to them sufficiently. Also, no matter how you think about it, this pace is just…) (Souma)
Mitsuki said in a sharp voice while I was confused.
“It is faint, but I hear the sound of battle from the west entrance. It seems like something is happening there.” (Mitsuki)
It is the opposite direction from where the adventurers are.
In other words, this irregular situation is happening from something outside the participants.
I immediately reached a decision.
“Ringo, Bear! You two bring Lipha to the place of Raiden and the others!” (Souma)
“…….Okay, got it.” (Ringo)
Ringo nodded after a longer silence than normal.
She is probably sad that she couldn’t go with us, but we can’t just leave Lipha alone.
Considering the speed too, this is the only choice.
“…Be careful.” (Ringo)
Ringo sends us off with those words, and Mitsuki and I dash off.
Looks like we got pretty close to the entrance while we were searching for Lipha.
Just when we were pretty close to seeing the entrance…I met someone unexpected.
I didn’t even have time to think about why Maki is in this place.
“This is bad, Souma!!” (Maki)
Maki was running this way with unusual panic.
And what she said after relaying an unbelievable reality.
“All the cultists in the village entered the dungeon and began killing themselves!!” (Maki)