“Wow, this shows the inside of the dungeon, right?!” (Sumire)
Sumire was looking up at the giant monitor in the great plaza just before the Last Dungeon and raising her voice.
“It is called the Satellite System. The state inside the Last Dungeon is broadcasted not only here but through the nations in the South Continent. You can tell just how far which country has explored.” (Eugene)
“T-That’s an impressive feature! But for what?” (Sumire)
Looks like it doesn’t click for the otherworlder Sumire.
“First, it is for public order. In normal dungeons, it isn’t rare for explorers to cause trouble and perpetrate crimes between themselves. But in the Zenith Tower, the dignity of explorers is quite high thanks to the Satellite System. They are being watched by everyone after all.” (Eugene)
“I see… Eh? I was on the verge of being attacked though…” (Sumire)
Sumire tilted her head.
“Aaah…as for you, Sumire, they must have thought you were a monster.” (Eugene)
It can’t be helped.
She is the very person that turned the dungeon into a sea of fire.
I at first thought that Sumire was a monster or a demon and was on guard.
“I-I see…” (Sumire)
Sumire groaned, dejected.
“You are a student of this academy now, so don’t worry too much about it. I will kick the ass of anyone who says anything weird.” (Eugene)
“Fufu… Got it.” (Sumire)
Sumire’s expression returned to normal.
“And so, the one other reason is because the South Continent’s nations are challenging the Last Dungeon with their pride on the line. That’s why, no matter what kind of methods the other countries use, they are all keeping check with bloodshot eyes.” (Eugene)
“Is there anything good for the country from doing dungeon explorations?” (Sumire)
This really is a Sumire-like question since it has only been a week since she has come to this world.
I decided to explain the historical background.
“Do you know that a warring era continued on in the South Continent 500 years ago?” (Eugene)
“I learned that in the lessons of Rin-sensei.” (Sumire)
In the past, the relationship between the Empire, Sacred Union, and Blue Waters Federation was not as peaceful as it currently is.
It was a bloodstained war-ridden history.
“The one who put an end to it was a single explorer. With a weapon found from the Zenith Tower in hand, they defeated the army of the Empire, Sacred Union, and the Blue Waters Federation.” (Eugene)
“That’s right. But well, he received an oracle from the Goddess of Justice, Althena-sama, to stop the war, so he did it begrudgingly though. That’s why, even after stopping the war, he continued challenging the dungeon. That’s when the nations that were in war noticed…the fact that conquering the Zenith Tower Babel would be far more profitable than winning the war.” (Eugene)
“So that’s why all countries are desperate in their dungeon exploration.” (Sumire)
“Since then, dungeon exploration flourished to the point that it is called the Great Exploration Era and wars stopped happening. They are instead competing with dungeon exploration.” (Eugene)
“I see.” (Sumire)
Sumire nodded as if in admiration.
While we were talking about that, our turn at the reception of the dungeon entrance arrived.
We give our student handbooks.
The process ended really quickly.
When I looked at my side, Sumire had a stiff expression from how nervous she was.
“It is okay to take it easy. Then, let’s go.” (Eugene)
We showed our student ID to the dungeon staff and stepped into the dungeon.
“Wow, incredible! Even though we are inside a building, it is as if we are outside! Even if it is a dungeon, it isn’t dark!” (Sumire)
Sumire was looking around restlessly while running.
It was plain to the eye that she is a beginner, but there should be no issues with passing the 1st floor.
There’s no monsters in the 1st Floor.
It is a safe area that has no dangers.
There’s street stalls here and there for explorers.
It is a lively floor where there’s a lot of touting.
“Hey, cute lady! Wanna check out my store?!”
“Oi, young girl, are you a beginner? In that case, you will really be needing this magic item!”
“For a limited time, we will be having a 30% off sale! Oh, I met eyes with the lady there, so I might bring it down 10% more just for you.”
Sumire is flustered here.
This is a sight you see often in the 1st Floor of the Zenith Tower.
I pulled the hand of Sumire and moved deeper so that she doesn’t get caught in all that touting.
The deeper we go, the fewer stalls there are around.
“Hey, Eugene-kun, what’s this big stone monument?” (Sumire)
“Aah, that’s the list of the Record Holders in the dungeon explorations.” (Eugene)
We arrived at a giant stone monument that stands out in the grass-covered plain.
An object that stands out in the middle of the 1st floor.
“I see…so these are the people that hold records here.” (Sumire)
I observed the stone monument together with Sumire.
Cristo Gama (500th Floor)
Uther Mercurius Pendragon (451st Floor)
Bruno Rosenhain (437th Floor)
Leonhardt Rothschild (402nd Floor)
Orland Bakki (391st Floor)
Charlotte Marley (349th Floor)
Clark Romack (326th Floor)
Chester Macduff (303rd Floor)
Rosalie J Walker (300th Floor)
Media Parker (289th Floor)
The legendary explorers.
The ones written in big letters here are the names of the explorer party leaders. Below the respective names, there’s small letters showing the names of the party members.
By the way, the number one was solo.
Was he a monster…?
Having your name carved here is one of the greatest dreams of explorers.
That is also a path with a slew of hardships.
That said, there’s the familiar name of the Academy Principal in the 2nd place though…
He really is an outrageous guy.
The top 9 records have not been broken in around a hundred years.
As for the one standing in 1st place, it has been unmoving for 500 years.
(There was a time when I thought about carving my name here…) (Eugene)
Updating the exploration record of the Last Dungeon is the highest of honors in the South Continent.
I thought it was the chance for someone like me, who ran away from the Imperial Military School, to get back at my classmates.
But the walls of reality were tall.
My current record is the 9th Floor.
I am a low rank adventurer.
“Won’t you aim to be a Record Holder, Eugene-kun?” (Sumire)
“…Never mind me.” (Eugene)
I leave it vague and head to the center of the 1st Floor.
Several dungeon elevators are standing there.
10 in total.
There are lines for the elevators.
“Eeeh?! There’s elevators?! In a dungeon?!” (Sumire)
Sumire reacted in shock.
“Convenient, right?” (Eugene)
“Rather than convenient…is that allowed?” (Sumire)
“You can only go to the floors that you have reached by your own strength, so it is not all-powerful. Without this, places like the 100th Floor or the 200th Floor would be impossible.” (Eugene)
“I-I see…” (Sumire)
“Then, from what floor shall we begin with? The 5th Floor you were in?” (Eugene)
Sumire was found in the 5th Floor, so she should be able to go there with the elevator.
“Hmm…there, huh. I kinda want to…I kinda don’t…” (Sumire)
Sumire crossed her arms and groaned.
I myself am not in a hurry, so I thought about waiting patiently for her to decide.
“No, you really gotta begin stuff like this from the 2nd Floor? But maybe it would be better to check the upper floors to see what’s awaiting… What to do~?” (Sumire)
Sumire was switching expressions very actively.
This is her first exploration.
Taking your time in deciding things is also part of being a beginner.
Exploring ahead without thinking is more dangerous.
I continued waiting for her to decide.
At that moment…
“Oi, hurry up!”
We were suddenly shouted at from behind.
When I looked back, there were close to a dozen explorers standing there.
(Their explorer clothes have a blue and yellow shield crest. Explorers affiliated to the Blue Waters Federation…) (Eugene)
“Mere students shouldn’t be getting in the way of our progress! Give up your turn!”
Sumire hid behind me, scared.
These guys…are ill-mannered.
There’s a total of 10 dungeon elevators.
This isn’t the only one around.
Moreover, there’s still explorers who came even before us who are also indecisive.
Why go out of your way to come here?
Seems like they saw us as a party of two young explorers and thought that we would give up our turn if we were threatened.
Also, choosing the floor at the dungeon elevator is an important decision in exploration.
Taking your time isn’t a bad thing at all.
The only ones who hurry their order for the dungeon elevator are beginner explorers.
…So they are newbies.
(Arguing would just be a waste of time…) (Eugene)
“Go ahead.” (Eugene)
It would be stupid to even waste time with them, so I decided to just have them go ahead.
The man at the front that seemed to be the leader passed by our side with long strides.
“Students from the magic academy, huh. How nice to be worry-free.”
“Are you okay with that equipment?”
“Only you two? Must be newbies.”
The explorers around also passed by us as if it were natural.
“We will be getting through the 10th Floor today for sure!”
I heard the voice of that leader.
…Oi oi, all that spunk and they still haven’t cleared the 10th Floor?
“So unpleasant.” (Sumire)
“Don’t worry about it. If you are having trouble choosing, let’s just take it easy from the 2nd Floor.” (Eugene)
We headed to the stairs leading to the 2nd Floor.
- Chapter 10: Eugene heads to the 2nd Floor
—Zenith Tower Babel: 2nd Floor – Grass-Covered Plains Area.
The plains covered in green grass and the dark green shrubs growing sparsely around make this a floor that has a good field of view.
“Eugene-kun, the scenery is not that different from the 1st Floor.” (Sumire)
“Don’t lower your guard, Sumire. Monsters appear in the 2nd Floor.” (Eugene)
“Yes, understood!” (Sumire)
Sumire answered with a nervous tone.
That said, it is only extremely weak monsters that are danger rank 1.
Even if they were to bite you, the most they would do is make you bleed a bit.
“Sumire, don’t get too far from me. My barrier magic and healing magic only has a range of a few steps from where I am standing.” (Eugene)
“Okay! I will be careful!” (Sumire)
This is a point that I have cautioned her countless times in this one week.
The range of my magic is extremely small.
This is also the reason why I haven’t been able to form a party.
I can’t heal several people at once.
I can’t really say I am an exemplary healer.
Thanks to that, I have barely acted in teams.
The only time I was in a team was when I was in a duo with Sara.
“A-Alright. Bring it on!” (Sumire)
Sumire readied her shield that we bought at the armor store of the academy.
That sight of hers restlessly looking around cautiously is endearing.
But there’s a problem.
No monsters were showing up no matter how much time passed.
“Eugene-kun, there’s no monsters.” (Sumire)
“…That’s strange.” (Eugene)
We tried wandering around the 2nd Floor randomly, but no monsters were coming at all.
I saw a Horned Rabbit for a second there, but when it saw us, it quivered and jolted off in an instant.
I glanced at Sumire.
And then, I noticed.
Sumire is an Ifrit.
She has a massive amount of mana overflowing from her.
It is not going out of control and coming out as fire, but the amount of mana she has is still there.
I am used to seeing magic creatures in the Animal Club, so it didn’t bother me much, but the mana of an Ifrit must be a threat for normal monsters.
They are running away the instant they see Sumire.
(This won’t serve as a dungeon exploration experience…) (Eugene)
“Sumire, let’s go to the dungeon elevator and go to the 5th Floor.” (Eugene)
“Eh?! All of a sudden? Will that be okay?” (Sumire)
“It looks like there aren’t many monsters today.” (Eugene)
I didn’t tell Sumire…that her mana is scaring the monsters.
We headed to a higher floor.
◇5th Floor of the Zenith Tower Babel◇
The scenery is still that of a grass-covered plain.
It should have been a sea of fire 7 days ago, but it is already back to normal.
This is thanks to the fire fighting efforts of the dungeon staff and the self-restoration functions of the Zenith Tower.
“There’s no monsters~.” (Sumire)
There actually are…
I can feel their presence.
I can feel the gaze of monsters observing us from afar.
Looks like the monsters are scared of Sumire who turned this place into a sea of fire.
The monsters here are even more scared of her than in the 2nd Floor.
To think it would be to this degree.
No choice but to head up, huh…
But going to the 6th Floor in your first exploration is quite the record, you know?
You normally don’t go up floors this fast.
In my case, it took several days to go up each floor.
— “Parallel world reincarnators are special after all. It is better to not judge her with our common sense.”
I remember the words of Principal Uther who was saying this while brushing his beard and grinning.
I see, it is as the Academy Principal says.
When we moved to the 6th Floor, monsters began to approach us from here and there.
The ones who appeared were Ash Wolves.
Danger Rank 2 monsters.
“T-They are here, Eugene-kun!” (Sumire)
Sumire raised her voice, flustered.
“Calm down, Sumire. I will assist you at your side.” (Eugene)
But I am not the one who will be dealing with this. I will be solely leaving this to Sumire.
First, I would like her to observe the actions of the monsters calmly.
The Ash Wolves are decently dangerous monsters, but it is plenty possible for a beginner to deal with them if they are cautious.
“Alright! Come!” (Sumire)
I heard the motivated voice of Sumire.
By the way, I didn’t let her hold a weapon.
She only has a shield for defense.
My aim here is to have her learn to protect herself first.
The mana surrounding Sumire’s body grew stronger as if reacting to that.
The mana is increasing by reacting to her emotions?
Her usual mana is astounding, but the mana of a motivated Ifrit is on a whole other level.
A massive amount of mana…enough to match 10 Superior Rank Mages was covering the body of Sumire.
So this is the power of the legendary Ifrit…
The red mana coming out from Sumire…was burning the ground.
This burning mana was running across the ground, and it reached all the way to the Ash Wolves.
The Ash Wolves raised a pitiful ‘kyain’ cry and ran away.
…It must have been hot.
“E-Eh…? They left.” (Sumire)
Sumire was dumbfounded with her shield still in place.
(Seriously? She scared the monsters away just from showing her mana…) (Eugene)
“Lucky us.” (Eugene)
Sumire tilted her head as if unconvinced.
At that moment, I suddenly noticed something.
“Hm? Isn’t your shield burning?” (Eugene)
“Eh?! Wawa! It really is! Oh no, I have to put it out!” (Sumire)
The shield of Sumire was bright red.
But now that I look closely, it seems strange.
The shield burning red was not catching fire and was simply releasing faint light.
“…It has been enchanted with fire…?” (Eugene)
“It is a spell that allows you to add an element to your weapon or armor. You normally would need to cast a spell specifically for the enchantment though.” (Eugene)
Looks like the mana of Sumire has the enchant effect as well.
The shield enchanted with fire element shone red for a while.
“Wow…so you can do something like this just by putting mana into it?” (Eugene)
Looks like Sumire doesn’t understand just how incredible that is.
Enchanting a weapon or a piece of armor isn’t easy.
There aren’t many mages who can use enchant magic, and you would require a decent amount of money to hire one.
If people learned of this power of hers, people who would invite Sumire to dungeon explorations would show up.
…My time as her guardian might be shorter than I thought.
That’s the feeling I got.
“It is nothing. Let’s continue on.” (Eugene)
I brushed off that sliver of sadness, and headed to a higher floor of the dungeon.
I would like her to experience battling monsters even if only a bit.
But there was a miscalculation.
I didn’t expect how incredible an Ifrit was.
The Big Wolf in the 7th Floor that is as big as a calf and very ferocious, the Big Black Bear whose turf is the 8th Floor, and a demonic beast that is twice the size of a human residing in the 9th Floor… It is a fearsome demonic beast called the Red Lion that controls fire magic, but…
(((…We are not going to get in your way, so go ahead and pass…)))
Is basically what they were saying since they were not attacking us at all.
Especially the Red Lion. The moment it saw the Fire Godkin** Sumire, it jumped back, and was trembling at a distance that was just barely in sight. <TLN: Changed Half-God to Godkin>
Didn’t you come pouncing at me at the time I came to the 9th Floor as if saying ‘prey!’?!!
Looks like fire demonic beasts can’t go against the Fire Godkin Sumire.
In the end, we didn’t get a decent fight from the 6th Floor to the 9th Floor.
Oi oi, she just lined up with my best record…
“Eugene-kun, what should we do…? If we go up here, it will be the domain of the Floor Boss, right?” (Sumire)
“We arrived faster than expected.” (Sumire)
Sumire was dumbfounded by this.
I can’t believe we arrived all the way here on the first day.
I have not been on the 10th Floor either.
However, I have seen it in the Satellite System.
The one here is the first Floor Boss of the Zenith Tower.
I have not challenged it before, but…
I glanced at the face of Sumire.
Her initial tension is gone.
A loose expression.
This isn’t good.
Being too tense is bad too, but not having a sense of danger is the sign of a short-lived explorer.
The talent to get all the way to the 9th Floor without any issues.
I am sure she will pass me in the blink of an eye and become an outstanding explorer.
But it would be dangerous for her to move ahead without meeting any monsters all the way to the 9th Floor in her first exploration and have her think ‘so this is it?’.
As her guardian, I want her to bring back some kind of experience.
“Let’s check out the Floor Boss.” (Eugene)
I proposed to Sumire.
“B-Boss?! W-Will it be okay?” (Sumire)
“It is safe as long as you don’t enter the territory of the Floor Boss.” (Eugene)
And if push comes to shove, I just have to protect Sumire with everything I have.
Even if I can’t protect a large group of people, I have confidence in protecting one person.
My conversation at the underground prison replayed in my mind.
— “Even a Demon Lord like me might have a hard time wounding you, Eugene.” (Eri)
— “Really, Eri?” (Eugene)
— “Yeah, you should be more confident, Eugene.” (Eri)
Even the Demon Lord Eri has given me her seal of approval.
That’s why it should be alright…I think.
“I-I see… Okay. If Eugene-kun says so!” (Sumire)
A face that’s putting her trust in me.
(…Let’s go.) (Eugene)
I take a deep breath.
We slowly go up the stairs to the 10th Floor.