Chapter 14 – Natural Enemy
An ishibitsu is a Japanese funerary urn made of stone. They’ve been around for at least a millenium.
Picture of an ishibitsu with its lid: http://www.fufufufu.com/fufufufu_image/p_image/3/20338_3.jpg
When the day broke, I put on the robe that I had draped around my body, and headed to the bathroom. For now, since the forced equipping doesn’t happen as long as I’m touching it, when I go to bed, I drape the robe around me in place of a blanket.
After washing my face and getting rid of my drowsiness, I headed to the dining area that was part of the kitchen, and found that Tena was already in there preparing breakfast.
“Ah-, good morning, Anri-sama.”
When I called out to her, she replied back energetically.
When I sat at the dining table, my breakfast was carried over to me in an instant. Toasted bread and fried egg with salad and soup; a healthy breakfast. If I had to be greedy, then I’d have liked a Japanese-style breakfast, but since there’s no rice nor miso, even demanding it wouldn’t help.
Tena set down the same meal on the other side of the table, and then sat down as well. Because she kept firmly refusing, it took quite a bit of effort to get her to eat with me, but now its basically how we spend every breakfast. I’m not a noble, so it’s tough on me to have somebody stand behind me while I eat breakfast by myself.
Nomnom, yummy. It’s a simple meal, but Tena’s cooking is generally delicious. I’ve decided not to ask Tena yet what her life in the village was like, but judging from her personality, she probably earnestly helped her parents.
“Speaking of which,”
“Yes? What is it?”
“Does ‘Sacred Goddess Sophia’ ring any bells?”
“Sacred Goddess-sama? Well, of course, but…”
When I gave that question a try while eating, I found out that apparently, the deity worshipped in the standard religion for this world, the Sacred Light Faith, was the Sacred Goddess in question. She was apparently the deity that created this world, fights against the Evil God as the Goddess of Light, and guides the people through divine protection and divine revelations. Those who receive particularly strong divine protection become heroes, and becomes those that defeat the Demon King, the being born from the Evil God to bring calamity to humanity.
“U-, Um… of course I swear loyalty, to you, Anri-sama! Sacred Goddess-sa-, I mean, the Sacred Goddess means nothing to me!”
“I don’t really mind if you just keep calling her Sacred Goddess-sama.”
Perhaps because she misunderstood my silence while I was thinking, but Tena followed up on her words in a fluster. Although it was the cost of saving her life, I did give something like the divine protection of an evil god to Tena, so I had decided that I needed to tell her that the power came from an evil god, and did so. I left out the part about coming from another world, though.
Only, unfortunately I’m just a human who was given too much power by an evil god, so it’s not like I’m particularly opposed to Sacred Goddess-sama or anything, and as long as it doesn’t harm me, I’d rather her try her best to beat the crap out of that evil god, really.
“Do you know anything about the Hero?”
“Hero-sa-… I mean, the Hero? I’ve heard that the Hero is a special person who’s received divine protection, and fights with the Demon King to defeat him. Also, if I remember correctly, when Obaachan’s Okaasan was a child, there was a great celebration across the nation because the Hero had defeated the Demon King.”
Eh? The Demon King has already been subjugated?
I don’t know about the average lifespan in this world, but I think that Tena’s great-grandmother being a child was fifty years ago at the very least. Going by his age, the Hero that’s invading this dungeon should be a different person. In that case, why was he given divine protection? Could it be that there’s another Demon King?
“Are there lots of Demon Kings?”
“No, at the very least, I have only heard of one. Only, the priest that came to the village to teach us said that even if the Demon King is defeated, he eventually revives.”
I see, the Demon King defeated 50 years ago has revived, and to defeat that, the [current] Hero Arc was chosen to face him?
“Do you know where the Demon King is?”
“I don’t. People say that in the Demon Race Territory, there’s a Demon King Castle, and he’s in there.”
“Demon Race Territory?”
“Ah-, yes. The western part of this continent is controlled by the demon race. The eastern side are divided into a number of human countries, but they say that all of the Demon Race Territory is controlled by the Demon King.”
After that, once I asked in more detail, I found that Riemel apparently belonged to the Kingdom of Fortera, and was right in the middle of the continent. Being in the middle of the continent has a nice ring to it, but if the east and west are divided up between the human race and demon race, then being in the middle makes it the front lines. I wonder if on the way to the Demon King, the Hero party heard about this dungeon and dropped by here.
Or more like, I wish they would avoid detours like this and just go fight the Demon King already. Hurry up and go.
After finishing breakfast, I asked for just some red tea from Tena who had begun washing the dishes, and holding my tea cup, I headed to the office.
When I checked the screen, I found that the Hero Party had already packed up their simple camp, and begun exploring again. The floor they’re on right now is the 7th floor, so if they progress smoothly, I expect that they’ll make it to the 10th floor room that the No Life King is protecting in the evening.
Honestly, as a fighting amateur, I have no idea who’s stronger, but if my boss loses, I’ll have a lot I’ll need to think about.
Since they thought that this dungeon would have less floors, they came in here unprepared and I don’t think they’ll make it to where I am, but next time they’ll probably come to conquer this place, completely prepared. It won’t matter if they can’t win against the No Life King, but if it seems that they can beat him, then the chance that they’ll reach me eventually is high.
I’ll need to come up with various measures before they arrive here the next time. Uneffected by my nervous surveillance of them, they steadily made their way through the dungeon.
The Hero party who had arrived at the 10th floor following my expectations were, contrary to expectations, stuck before the 10th floor boss room. What they were tilting their heads in thought about was the puzzle pedestal that I had installed there for aesthetics’ sake.
『“Thee who wouldst come in challenge before the throne of the undying one, arrange correctly the stars.” huh? Just what the heck could it mean?』
『There are many undead in this dungeon, so I believe that the “Undying One” refers to the boss of this dungeon.』
Widdi replied to the puzzled looking Zio.
Right right, having you think that makes me really happy. And having you go home satisfied after defeating the No Life King would make me even happier.
『I see. Then in other words, if we want to fight the dungeon master, then we have to “arrange correctly the skies”, huh? I wonder what “arrange correctly the skies” means.』
『They probably mean the celestial bodies, huh? I think that’s what these marks on the pedestal represent.』
Ah-, speaking of which, I had the symbols for the sun, moon, and stars, but I didn’t think about whether or not that would translate properly in this world.
Well, they did guess that it referred to the celestial bodies, so maybe there’s no problem.
『How are we supposed to arrange these marks? …They don’t bloody move.』
『Seems that putting mana into it doesn’t work either, huh.』
Eh? No, no, I know that you guys only have one of them, but you’ve still got one of the stone slabs, you know.
Could it be that they forgot? Or could it be that they didn’t see the marks on the slates properly?
『Arc-sama, has the guidance of the Holy Sword not given any clues?』
『Sorry, nothing really…』
『N-, No! I apologise for asking too much!』
So even that cheat-sword that even saw through traps can’t deal with this stupid puzzle, huh? I’m feeling this odd mix of relief and pity…
『Even the Holy Sword from Sacred Goddess-sama can’t do a thing? Seriously? It’s a pretty hard question, hey? As someone whose specialty is using my body, this kind of thing is a bit much for me.』
『Don’t say things like that, and think together with everyone!』
Huh…? Things seriously don’t look good. I put that thing there as a bonus question for aesthetics’ sake, but once they butted heads with it, they got seriously stuck. Collecting the slates from around the 10th floor is annoying, but I thought solving the riddle itself would’ve only taken 2 seconds, but…
Hey, don’t try and slash the pedestal!
It’s not an ishibitsu either, so stop trying to look for a lid to take off!
Cut it out, meatheads!
『It’s not good. I haven’t the tiniest idea how to get the dungeon master to come out. I thought this place would be a shallow dungeon, so we didn’t prepare enough. It’s frustrating, but let’s withdraw for now.』
『T-, To withdraw right before the dungeon master…-!』
Eh-? There’s no way you’ll come all the way here only to go home without fighting the boss, right?
It’ll trouble me too in various ways if I don’t find out if you guys or the No Life King are stronger.
Hey-, wait! Don’t seriously go home!
At least put back the slab you took, you thieves!