Arc 02: Guild and Competition for the cursed sword
Chapter 24: Capturing the dungeon, first half “Sending the monsters flying”
The dungeon’s entrance was located halfway up the mountain.
There are no lookouts. That’s expected, I guess. The count must be thinking that there’s no need for them since venturing to the lower floors and obtaining the cursed sword in just couple of days is impossible.
Or he could be thinking that they could just attack whoever took the sword on their way back.
Oh well, it’s fine either way. We should just stay vigilant.
“I have one last thing I would like to ask”
Leticia spoke up at the entrance to the dungeon.
“What’re you planning to do if you cannot summon the cursed sword after all?”
“We aren’t planning anything in particular. We will just return, I guess?”
“…Why do you look astonished?”
“W-wasn’t it your goal to scare the hell out of the count?”
“Yeah, it was. However, it’s not like the count is a longtime enemy of mine. He is, at most, on the same level as a half-eaten lunch box in the corner of a room, or paper waste that was just thrown into a trash bin. Basically, ‘something that may be on my find if I leave it alone’”
With these words, I began verifying my equipment. Shortsword – check. Leather armor – check. Backpack – check. Skill set – check. Broom – check. Strings to carry stuff on my back – check.
Yeah, the preparations have been done properly.
“The most important for me is to reach the next town safely with everyone. We will pull back if things get dangerous. I am also thinking of going back if things get too bothersome as well”
For some reason, Leticia pressed her mouth and stiffed her laugh.
“Fu-fu-fu-fu-fu-fu-fu! I see. It seems I can more or less understand the reason why everyone follows you”
With a clunking sound, Leticia hit on the longsword in the scabbard.
“Still, how about I become your slave too?”
I can do without that. Aside from that, things would get terrible if the number of my family members increased further.
“Well then, this is for Aine” — I passed the broom to Aine.
“Use it just like how I taught you earlier. Rita and I will try to handle those whom you fail to defeat”
“I understand, Honorable Master”
The clothes that Aine was wearing right now were maid clothes. Despite being spacious, the insides were apparently furnished with chain mail. We were given this article in the hidden second-hand shop after I had requested them to find something suitable for Aine. Looking at her now, the current clothes matched her too much.
“Vanguards are Rita, Aine, and Leticia. Rearguards are Cecyl and I. We will proceed through the first and the second floor with this formation. Any objections?”
“None!” “R-o-oger!” “I understand” “I agree”
Everyone returned their replies.
Speaking of which, it’s my first time diving into the dungeon. I was told that interior was bright due to the illumination of the luminous moss. The map’s in my head, so let’s proceed with the shortest route.
“Now, the operation ‘Seizure of the Cursed Sword’ begins”
A group of monster appeared.
I was told that first and second levels of the dungeons were originally a mine. The layout inside consisted of bare rock formations with moss clinging to it and shining in pale blue color.
I wonder where the water is leaking out from for things for it to feel so humid.
A one meter tall shadowy figure appeared, and —
“Leave it to me, Na-kun!”
Before I could verify the monster, Aine’s broom drew an arc in the air.
“[Monster Sweeping LV1] !!”
*sweep* *sweep* *lifting up*
Three monsters blocking our way jumped into the air.
A large frog that lives in humid places and waterfronts.
It has a trait of driving out humans who enter its territory.
Special skill: a body blow utilizing its jumping strength and large build”
The giants toads in the air crashed into the wall. Which incidentally, crushed them completely.
Yep, this was the end.
“Yeah, let’s continue advancing forward.” We started progressing at quick pace. The firstmost vanguard Aine was sweeping absolutely everything that was on the walls and on the floor with her broom. Each and every time monsters appeared, they were thrown into the air and onto the walls, becoming unable to move.
Yesterday, I bought two skill crystals at the skill shop. Most of the goods were bought up by the Noble Guild who were preparing for their dungeon hunt, but a few low level common skills still remained.
When I came to this world, I already had “Smiting LV1” and “Sweeping LV1” skills. I also had the experience combining these skills.
[Monster Sweep LV1” – a skill “to clean” “low-level monsters” with “sweeping/cleaning tools”. It would brush away low-level monsters far away with the help of the tools used for cleaning.
[Building Strike LV1] – a skill “to deal” “powerful damage” to “a building”. It would cause a great deal of damage to room’s walls and interior. Destruction special characteristics: [Brick], [Wooden walls].
I had no need for [Building Strike]. Selling it was dangerous, so I had taken it (it could be useful against intruders).
Our current goal was to speed up the conquer of the dungeon, so [Monster Sweep] was more necessary. The experiment to check whether it can send low-level monsters flying had already been completed.
By the way, Aine herself wished to have this skill installed into her.
“[Monster Sweep LV1]! [Monster Sweep LV1]! [Monster Swee-e-ep]!”
Large mouses, Large bats, even emerald slimes were no exception. The monsters touched by Aine’s broom danced through the air in amusing ways.
Being sent flying, they crashed into the walls of rock and fell down. If we weren’t in the dungeon, they would probably made to fly for several hundreds meters. So amazing.
The success rate of [Monster Sweep LV1] seemed to be between 30% and 50%.The unaffected monsters (they were still surprised by their comrades suddenly being blown off) were dealt with by Rita, Leticia, and me.
We pushed our way through the dungeon at quick pace. The ratio at which monsters appeared was surprisingly low. Or rather, they were hiding in the tunnel corners and fixedly looking in our direction without trying to approach us. I wondered if this was the norm for the first floor of the dungeon.
“…isn’t it’s because they’re monsters that they feel reluctant to deal with an opponent who has such nonsense skill?”
“… My whole comprehension of how capturing the dungeon is generally done utterly crumbles”
Walking behind Aine and her buzzing broom, Rita and Leticia murmured. It couldn’t be helped, we would’ve wasted too much time if we went about it the usual way.
Thanks to [Monster Sweep LV1], the role-playing game of capturing the dungeon turned into an action game of matching the appearance of monsters with the waving of the broom. Thus we passed the first floor in just a little bit under an hour.
Then we descended the rope ladder into the second floor.
“Shall we rest for a bit?” Once I said that, Aine rapidly shook her head.
“Aine feels perfect right now”
“I feel like I am living the life. Until now I was merely a backup for adventurers after all”
Aine tightly gripped her custom-made broom that I’d asked the second-hand shop to prepare. It’s handle was made of iron, and the brush was made from animal hair.
“This feeling of using my all for those whom I hold dear, it feels so good”
Moreover, she looked somewhat drowsy in the eyes. Breathing out heavily, she was gripping her chest seemingly in pain.
“Na-kun should make use of Aine, tell her of his wishes. Those that cause Aine to shudder, those that make her feel good. Na-kun’s glance, Na-kun’s words, Na-kun’s orders… they are Aine’s reward”
“Um… Aine, hello? Do you hear me?”
“Use Aine more, until both her body and the entirety of hel soul runs out. Let her serve you more and more. So that anyone would understand that Aine fully belongs to Na-kun”
“Why do you let your inner workaholic out?!”
“You see, if Aine doesn’t do her job perfectly, there will be complaints”
Aine tilted her head in puzzlement.
“A customer will seek compensation if the quest paper has misprint in it. A client will get angry if any monsters survive the hunting. Aine will end up having to commission a quest again and pay it from my own pocket. A job has to be done properly, otherwise it’s not good. That’s why Aine will fight with her utmost effort. There is no other way”
“How long have I been telling you this isn’t a job?!”
“Obtaining the cursed sword is just a pastime. I am just taking everyone along on my hobby trip”
Aine probably still haven’t let go of the feeling of doing labor at the Common Guild for 22 hours every day. It’s just like Leticia told us, Aine was like a water wheel rotating at high speeds. She was addicted to working, feeling a high when her heart and body were running wild. I experienced that as well.
It was as Leticia foretold, Aine was already at her limit.
“As I’ve said it before, us trying to obtain the cursed sword and giving a surprise blow to the count is simply a hobby for me. Although we’re doing it seriously, we are far from being desperate about it. You can treat it like a simple game”
“Then, what should Aine do, Na-kun?”
“Isn’t it fine if you just move at your own pace?”
“What if I fail? What if miss at brushing away the monsters? Wouldn’t everyone be troubled by that?”
“It’s fine, us who behind will cover for you”
“Is that the order of Aine’s Master?”
“I would prefer you call it my wish”
“So Aine is free to do what she wants to, right?”
“That’s reasonable, isn’t it?”
“Can I say that I want to rest when I get tired? You won’t say that I behave like a spoiled child even if I ask for a glass of water in the middle of the work, will you? You won’t shout at me if I crouch down because it’s painful to stand?”
Say, just how much was Aine worked by the adventurers of the Common Guild and her uncle?
“It gets lonely, so may I ask Na-kun to gently brush my head whenever it happens?”
“Yeah…. Ehm, eh?”
“I feel somehow lonely, so I want you to brush my head, Master”
Said Aine and looked up at me, she was gripping her broom with visible anxiety.
I rustled the Aine’s hair, adorned with pure white headpiece. They felt so soft, much like running your hand through the high quality feathered futon.
“Mmn,” — Aine closed her eyes like she was in pain, and purred much like a cat would do. Taking my hand that was brushing her head, she guided to towards her cheek then. It seems she wanted me to brush it too.
Oh well, if you insist…
“Um, isn’t it enough already?”
“Aine wants Na-kun to touch her every nook and corner”
“Why are you saying this so indulgently?!”
“Na-kun told me to speak what’s on my mind and it’s that I want”
“He said only about speaking about them”
“That’s why the words just overflow from my chest, they’re spilling out”
“…You should do it once we leave the dungeon, you know?”
“Yeah, I got it. Let’s then end our rest, shall we?”
Aine binded carefully her now loose hair. As she adjusted the apron of her maid clothes, her large chest swayed. While holding her hands together bashfully, She immediately looked up to me.
“There is one thing I would like Na-kun— no, Master to remember,” — taking a posture with her broom, Aine said.
“When it comes to your Aine-onee-chan, there is not a single a thing that wouldn’t be a reward as long as it’s done by Na-kun, okay?” — whispering into my ear, Aine smiled.
Looks like I managed to flip some dangerous switch…