The Pitiful Serpent Child
The second Anakong fell, I ran to Saria and immediately casted recovery magic on her.
「Saria! Are you okay!?」
「Seiichi… I, won… Seiichi is, my husband……」
『——-Good grief, what a terrifying woman you are.』
Anakong, who should be still collapsed, came nearby, dragging all her injuries with her.
Reflexively, I stood up to her to protect Saria.
Looking at my sight, Anakong gave a bitter laugh.
『Don’t be that alerted, you’ll hurt me. After all, I lost the fight, fair and square.』
「Ah… S, sorry.」
『It’s fine, I don’t mind it. ……I can see that you, too, treasure that woman.』
「Uu…. T, that’s right.」
Being told that in person was embarrassing, but I affirmed it without much say.
After Anakong nodded to my words, satisfacted, she gave Saria an earnest look.
『Girl, your name？』
『Is that so, good name there. Well then, Saria. I’m giving this to you.』
After saying so, Anakong took off her gauntlets and handed them to Saria.
『My weapon. Rather than being with a loser like me, they’ll do better being with you going outside. Receive it.』
Saria received the metallic blue gauntlets, putting it on her arms.
『Pure Maiden’s Gauntlet』 …… A pair of gauntlets suitable for the proud maiden. Fantasy Class Weapon. It invalidates all abnormal condition for the wearer. ATK and DEF will continue to rise as long as the wearer remains proud.
Its effect was tremendous.
The all abnormal condition invalidation was a valid help, and, while vague, ATK and DEF would continue to rise. …No, that is for when she keeps being proud. The standard is not clear, oi!
Anakong smiled when Saria received it.
『Aah… I knew it, it fits you well.』
Looking at Anakong, Saria’s expressed clotted.
「You’re… fine with it?」
「No matter what your reason, you long for Seiichi… for a male. Even so, you okay give up?」
『Look who’s the one asking……』
With her eyes gazing far into the distance, Anakong spoke.
『……We are born and we grow, all we know is this dungeon. We have no parents. If anything, that’ll be this Dungeon. That’s why, I yearn for it. Things like a family……I always wanted to raise a family of my own, y’see. For me, a companion, a male to mate with, a family, all of those are nothing but pieces of information……So when I saw you, I thought my dream came true.』
Anakong smiled at me, self-contemptingly.
『……But boy oh boy, how wrong I was. You already have a good woman with the name of Saria. There was never a chance for me to be with you since the beginning.』
「……Then, what will you do after?」
Anakong smiled gently at Saria’s question.
『You people have business in the place ahead, don’t you? You need to go by the dungeon’s rule to open that door. And the condition to open that door is to kill the lord of the room——In other words, it’ll open if you kill me.』
Anakong’s smile was gentle itself, but the snake monsters under her wore a pained look.
Upon our shock, Anakong laughed it off.
『What a face you wear there. We’re enemies, remember? Why would anyone get upset when their enemy die, be glad.』
『Even if I lived, nothing will change. In the end, we’re nothing but monsters of this dungeon.……Nothing but pitiful monsters entrapped in this small world.』
A sorrowful expression flashed on her face for an instant, but Anakong changed it with a bright look and told us after.
『Come on, I am fine with this! Make up your heart and end——』
『——What a useless monster!』
『What? ……!? GAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!』
Out of a sudden, just when I thought I heard a familiar deep voice, Anakong suddenly pressed her chest and expressed an anguish shriek.
Saria and I rushed to her side, but Anakong, desperately bearing the pain as she was, she held her hand out and stopped us.
『Don’t you dare to come!』
『……Seems like my punishment has come.』
『Exactly. Since you’re so useless, I’ll have to at least make use the last strains of your life and bring those invaders down with you.』
After which, on the both sides of the door leading ahead, the giant pair of eyes made its appearance for the second time already.
「Wha……Fuckface, didn’t you die from our attack!?」
『You insolent! Like there’s any chance such a weak attack can kill me! I am this Dungeon. You morons have no chance to win against me.』
The giant pair of eyes said so the most profound look of contempt.
Those huge eyes then gazed coldly at Anakong.
『Even though I’ve levelled you up this high, and yet you still lose to a trash… What a small fry. You can’t even kill one invader, I have no longer use of you. Die, this instant.』
Saria bellowed at the sight of Anakong who frantically endured the pain she suffered.
「What are you doing to her!?」
『What’s there to fuss about, I’m just changing her body into a bomb. In the end, that gorilla is something I made myself… How I use her and how I transform her existence, it’s all up to me.』
「How cruel…！Stop now!」
「This fucking filth…！」
Al and the other girls together attacked the wall where the huge pair of eyes took place, but those eyes disappeared just before their combined attacks were launched.
『Fuhahaha! Too late! Die in that useless small fry’s explosion! I’ll face you if you manage to survive even after that. Well…impossible, though? Fufufu…AAHAHAHAAHA!』
They were deliriously attacking the wall, but that voice kept getting further and further.
Anakong who watched that conversation took place squeezed her voice, withstanding the unbearable pain she was in.
『D, don’t mind about me…… you people……quick……get away……！』
「How can we ever do that!?」
『Don’t be selfish…! I told you, didn’t I…？ I, I am… I am bound to this dungeon…… my life and my death are all at the expense of the Dungeon… 』
『Aah, geez… Don’t make that face. You too, do something about Saria.』
Whilst her forehead flooded with sweats, Anakong forced a smile.
Looking at her sight, I——.
「Seiichi……Do something, Seiichi……!!!」
I invoked the Liberation Magic 『President Linc*ln』.
Then, a gentle light wrapped around Anakong’s body.
And as soon as the light went out, Anakong who had been liberated from her pain gave me a surprise look.
『Th, This is……?』
「I released you from this Dungeon.」
『Wha……You released!? But that’s, how……』
On top of it, I applied recovery magic to the still confused Anakong, healing all of her injuries.
「……Regardless of what your circumstances are, I cannot accept you. No, in the first place, I don’t have the resourcefulness to.」
My plate was already full with Saria and Al alone, and there was also the case with Kannazuki-senpai and Airin to boot. I was overwhelmed.
「Even so, even if you’re a gorilla or something else entirely… you showed your affection to someone like me, and I am happy for it. That is why, this time, you should go outside and find an even better man for you. That is my reason for releasing you. Understand now?」
『I still can’t believe it that… I got released, but, it seems to be true. But, a better man you said… At the end of the day, I’m just a monster, there are limits…』
For Anakong who showed her dejection, I produced one of the 『Fruit of Evolutions』 I had been cultivating.
「I’ll give you this」
「If you raise your level after eating this, there is a chance for you to turn into a human like Saria… I also think that you’re a good woman. That’s why, if you became a human, maybe you won’t just find a male of the same race, but also become someone that is popular with people.」
『Wh, what is that……』
Even when she commented so, she obediently took the 『Fruit of Evolution』 from my hand and finished it right after.
「How is it?」
『………It’s very……… Nasty…………』
「Ahahaha!! It must be. But, well, I can guarantee the effect. Okay?」
As I laughed from the sense of camaraderie, for a moment, Anakong averted her wide opened eyes.
『………Geez. And here I told myself to give it up, you had to make it serious………』(*)
『I, it’s nothing!』
「I, is that so?」
If the she herself said so, then it must be so.
Either way, I had done all I could for Anakong
If so, all that was left was to meet with the giant pair of eyes that waited ahead.
「Now then… We’ll go ahead. Seems like by releasing you from the dungeon, Anakong, the room thinks that it has lost its lord…」
Actually, the second Anakong was released from this dungeon, the bulky door that stood in the deepest part of the room opened.
『Th, then, me too… ugh……』
「Ah geez… don’t overdo yourself.」
Anakong who forced herself to stand lost her balance, as her injuries were healed but she still had no stamina.
「I’m telling you, leave the rest to me. You should leave this place as soon as possible and find a good man out there.」
「Is okay. Seiichi strong, after all.」
After Saria backed my words, Anakong reluctantly nodded.
『…Got it. I’ll leave it to you people. But, listen! I am not a woman who doesn’t know her gratitude. That’s why, I will never forget this debt. One day, for sure, I will come back to pay it.』
「You don’t need to bother…」
『I, it’s me who wants to meet you! Ready yourself! Next time we meet, you’ll be surprised how much attractive I have become! You hear me!?』
『Ane-san…You’re so motivated…!』
『Of course, we will always be with you!』
『……No, aren’t we bound to the dungeon?』
Since these snake monsters were having a comedic sketch conversation again, I inadvertently casted 『President Linc*ln』 on them.
『Y, you’re releasing us this easily… Aniki… Please let us call you aniki!』
「I already have enough underling, okay!?」
Why do even snake monsters start talking like Agnos!?
Anyway, after I released everyone from the dungeon, we finally were able to continue on.
「Ah, whatever… Then, till we meet again!」
『Yeah, until next time!』
Promising each other to meet again, I and my group strode towards the place where that pair of giant eyes was.
「…Seiichi. Are you a Gorilla Killer or something?」
「Eh? What’s a Gorilla Killer?」
「 …No, nevermind. I’ve come to like that Gorilla too, and Saria seems like she has recognized her as well, after all…」**
Along the way, Al spoke to me with a sigh.
Apparently, I was the only one who didn’t know what she meant, as Louis and Lutia were showing a complicated expression. There was no change on Olga-chan’s face in particular, while Rurune’s was like she was saying it was the obvious outcome.
Even Olga-chan, whose expression stayed the same, looked like she understood what was going on, and I really was the only one obvious of it.
Putting that aside, the giant pair of eyes was still alive.
…The menace the Serpent God mentioned must be him.
Indeed, I was convinced it had died after receiving everyone’s combined attack, after all.
In addition, I hadn’t confirmed the existence of the 『Pitiful Child』 that laid in this dungeon.
Anakong was bound to the dungeon as that room’s lord, but the 『Pitiful Child』 the Serpent God mentioned wasn’t her. Apparently, the 『Pitiful Child』 was sealed in this dungeon, in contrast to Anakong who said she was born and lived in the dungeon, instead.
Either, I was very unpleasant with the state of things.
I knew this feeling is born from my selfishness, even so, that attitude and utterance tick me off.
That thing said that it would face us if we survived.
That was why——
「Now then… why don’t we have him face us?」
Thought myself as we reached an enormous door that held a much more different atmosphere than the previous ones.
Passing through the enormous door decorated with snake ornaments, we reached a dimly lit room.
Then, we noticed something in the heart of it, something that was all chained to a cross.
We were dazed at the strange atmosphere of the room and at the individual that was bound at its center.
As I approached the centre of the room with caution, the door behind me, as I expected, was slammed shut.
「 ——-Please, don’t come.」
Her appearance became clearer as we got closer to the center, but we were again took by surprised in a different meaning.
Her dark, green hair was wiggling without stop, and her eyes were closed in silence.
Even so, I found her features to be extremely attractive, and her age seemed to be close to mine.
Her body was wrapped in a tattered clothes, but no injury found overall. However, as she was bountiful in body style, the eye chains that sunk on her chest gave off a strange charm to it.
Even so, the feeling that showed up when I saw her figure was nothing else if not surprise.
Exactly, the woman restrained in front of us had the appearance of Medusa that was told in the mythologies.
No, I couldn’t say it for sure, as I had never seen Medusa in person, but when I took a closer look at her wriggling hair, I noticed a snake’s head on each of their tip.
「What is Medusa?」
「Erm… Medusa is an existence that shows up in my world’s mythologies… I guess.」
Apparently, the word Medusa didn’t exist in this world, and me saying it hinged on Al’s curiosity.
Rather than that, I should prioritize the constrained woman.
「Umm, let me undo those——」
「Please, don’t come.」
Everyone had the intent to save her, but she responded with a no.
Saria asked of her refusal.
「 …I don’t know why you came here, but please turn back right away. …I don’t want to see any more people fall victim.」
「 …I don’t know the details, but I can’t possibly leave you here like that. I’ll release you right away.」
「!! Ah… aaaah… n, no… run……!」
The moment we chose to disregard her and came closer, her behavior suddenly took a weird turn.
In her restrained state still, an expression of agony was exploded.
「You can’t…. no…… NOOOOOOOO!!!!! 」
At that moment, her supposedly closed eyes opened, glowing purple.
The purple light stretched out straight at us like a laser.
A bad premonition alerted, we bounced from there as fast as we could, and the purple light struck the door behind us after so.
「Th, the door is…」
For me who had seen her resemblance with Medusa, I wasn’t that much surprised. But for Saria and the others, their expression was grim as they looked at the door that was hit by the light.
After all, that door turned into one enormous slab of inorganic stone.
Of course, as the door was originally made of iron material, it was as inorganic as it could be.
However, the door that was supposed to be a pair of enormous double door had turned into one solid slab of stone.
The woman, still radiating purple light from her eyes, looked desperate to resist something with her head facing away.
「Guh…. uu…. Y, you can’t… Quick, leave this place…」
「Even if you told us to leave…」
We couldn’t sit still watching her suffering like that, and, above all, we still had business with the Dungeon that supposed to be here.
While we were wondering what was going on, the Dungeon, our target, called out to us.
『What is it, you people. Still kicking around? How boring.』
『Well, even if you lived through that, in the end you’ll die anyway. …Now, cursed child! Kill those invaders!』
Perhaps she could no longer take it, the woman howled.
And that moment, the chains and the cross that restrained her were blown away.
『HAHAHAHAHA!!! Go, use that power against those invaders! And kill them! If they’re dead, it’ll make me stronger…』
『What are you doing!? Kill them, KILL! I’m generous enough to make use of you who can’t even live in the society! Unleash that cursed power of yours! NOW!!』
「I don’t want it… I DON’T WANT IT…!!!」
Urged the Dungeon towards the woman who held her eyes with all of her life.
「Listening to your blab gives me creeps… stop hiding and show yourself already!」
「She’s right. Concealing your own figure in the presence of Milord… how arrogant can you be. Do you wish to be erased from this world?」
Said Al and Rurune, blood rushing to their head, as they scanned the whole room.
『Insolents. Why should I show myself before you? All is there for you is to wait your death to come…』
「…If you don’t show up, then I’ll just attack everything in sight.」
Louis, still vigilant with the suffering woman, indiscriminately discharged flying slashes towards the walls and ceilings.
The slashes indeed damaged the walls, but they were soon repaired.
『Fuhahaha! Muda muda muda! You morons can no longer leave this room… no, you can no longer leave from my inside! And that cursed child will soon kill you all.』
「I… do not… want to…. do…… that……!」
『Hmpf. You’re just a trash thrown away by the world, and you want to oppose me? Give it up already!』
After Dungeon said so, a black smoky object wrapped her body.
The woman was frantic to resist being swallowed by the smoke, but eventually, she lost to it and fully opened her eyes.
Moreover, hatred now found its place in her eyes, glaring at us dagger.
We desperately evaded the petrification light that was unleashed indiscriminately.
…No, you see, I have the skill 『Complete Resistance』, while Saria has that gauntlet she received from Anakong that invalidates all abnormal conditions. I evade for the feeling, or rather, for my own mental health.
Even whilst they evaded the light beam, Saria and everyone was still attacking the ceilings and the walls in case Dungeon was still on any of them.
During our evasion, the woman burst the cry of her heart.
「Why…why do I have to be rejected…!! This body…I never asked to have it……!!!」
『You are right, you are very right, humans are such an egoist creature, aren’t they? They gave birth to you, and when things get out of hand, they sealed you in this dungeon. A power to turn anything into stone by mere sight… being called cursed even if you’re not under any curse, what are you if not a 【Pitiful Child】.』
Just by listening to its voice, I could imagine its face twisted into sarcastic smile even when I couldn’t see it.
『However, thanks to you being trapped in this dungeon, I was able to absorb your power and gain such an immense ability. For me, you are quite the useful garbage.』
Each words coming out from it just kept touching on everyone’s nerves.
Precisely because she had nothing to fight her circumstances and those words, she… cried out bright, red blood from her eyes.
『FUHAHAHAHAHA!!! Really, humans sure have given me such an excellent toy! I’m grateful to you humans in that regard. Therefore, from now on, I shall swallow even more humans and change this world itself into me!』
And it seemed like, this Dungeon was full on its own delusions.
『Oi, what are you dilly dallying for!? Kill them al——』
I invocated 『President Linc*ln』 on the berserking woman. 『President Linc*ln』 sure plays a big role today.
When the black smoke that had been on her person was repelled, I caught her limped body just as she returned to her previous state.
She wasn’t the only one letting out a stupid voice from the sudden course of event, the Dungeon as well.
……Somehow, they said she’s sealed in this dungeon, but apparently, she’s just bound to it much like Anakong was.
After I gently laid her on the floor, I glared at the whole room.
「I’ve been listening to you babbling nonsense on and on and on…」
『N, nonsense you said!?』
What else if not nonsense.
Like hell I can follow what was going on with their past if they exposed it suddenly.
Ever since I released her from the Dungeon’s cause, Saria and the others stopped their attack and came to my side.
『Gu, gugugu…!! I don’t know how you did it, but even if you released that garbage from me, you still won’t be able to escape from me all the same! Why, you can never win against me, after all! So what if I can no longer use that trash! I’ll just need to bury it in this room, along with you morons in it! Fufufu… AAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!』
Leaving those words, the Dungeon went away yet again.
「Ah, don’t run you fuckface! Seiichi, you fine letting it go!?」
Al asked that to me, but it wasn’t a problem.
I never had the intention to let it go in the first place.
「…This is my first time entering dungeon, so I don’t know much. Does every dungeon have such a bad personality?」
「…No, to begin with, I never heard a dungeon possessing an ego.」
Just as Lutia scowled at the Dungeon’s character, Louis refuted her with a sigh.
I bet… it’s weird that a dungeon can have a consciousness.
Well, rather than that…
「Are you okay?」
「Eh… err… umm… I, I’m okay…」
Frightened, with her eyes now closed shut, the woman answered.
A bitter laugh escaped me at her sight.
「You don’t need to be that spooked…」
「…How can I not be spooked. It has been settled down for now, but I cannot control this light. I can’t help but be afraid I might turn everyone into stone.」
Said the girl, hiding her face.
Saria then spoke gently.
「I’m Saria! What’s your name?」
「Then, Zola-san, why are you in this dungeon?」
「…Why should I talk about it? Please, leave me alone already.」
「I can’t leave you alone. I mean, being all alone in this place must be lonely!」
Matching with Saria, I also told her what the Serpent God said to us.
「I can’t possibly leave you here too. We were asked by the Serpent God, after all.」
「Eh… by Serpent God-sama!?」
Upon receiving my words, Zola alertly raised her head.
「That’s right. In the middle floor, he asked us to save the 『Pitiful Child』 」
「…Is, that so…」
She was silent for some period of time, but words soon came out from her mouth, one after another.
「……I was, originally, someone from the Naga tribe, a tribe that lived in a village deep behind the woods. However, right after I was born, with my eyes I turned my mother… into a stone.」
Apparently, she already used that petrification light by the time she was born.
「Fortunately, treatments were taken for her at the early stages, and she was saved from it, but… due to that, I was labeled as the cursed child by the villagers, as well by my own parents. Serpent God-sama told me all about it.」
「The Serpent God did?」
「Yes… the other naga who knew of my ability feared me and determined to get rid of me. However, Serpent God-sama, the guardian deity of the naga, was upset by their decision. It was thanks to him that I wasn’t killed right away, but due to the influence of the party that opposed the Serpent God-sama at that time, I ended up not being killed, but rather being sealed along with Serpent God-sama in this dungeon. At first, it was just a small dungeon, with just me and Serpent God-sama. But this dungeon grew stronger and stronger… until finally, it gained a will. This Dungeon then, when it gained an ego, increased the number of floors and separated me from Serpent God-sama. And this dungeon who knows of this power of mine accumulated even more power by binding me in this room.」
We couldn’t say anything as we were exposed to her story.
Not only she was thrown by her parents, she was on the verge of being killed, and at the end, she was sealed in a dungeon with the Serpent God, her own race’s guardian deity.
However, it was precisely because such a person was sealed in this dungeon, Lutia said that there was a sad aura leaking off it at the start of our capture.
I thought the same thing back in Black Dragon God’s labyrinth, but humans are such a creature who forgets gratitude over time.
As a Japanese who’s detached in terms of religions to some degree, things like this is not something I should meddle with. Even so, that’s not how you should act towards someone who have done much for you.
「…Anyway, that was my circumstances to be in this dungeon. That’s why, I never felt blessed to be born in this world.」
Zola smiled with a self derision undertone, her eyes closed still.
It was Olga-chan who then hugged her.
「…Don’t ever said that you are not blessed.」
「…What do you even know? You never felt——」
「…I know. As a black catkin, I was thrown away by my parents for the same reason.」
Zola was surprised, bewildered with what she said.
「…I was said to be a child that should’ve never been born. Sold by my own parents, bought by the empire, and hammered techniques to kill people on my body…」
「…But now, I’m blessed with happiness. So what with the world, it doesn’t concern me. Everyone has the right to be happy.」
「…Even I, want to be happy. I want to see the real sky, not these ceilings. I want to breath the clean air. I want to see a lot of things…! But……!!!」
Putting those into words, Zola burst into tears.
Al, who watched her sight, asked of me.
「……Hey. I don’t know if I should ask you this, but… Seiichi, can you do something about it? I was a cursed too, I can’t avert my eyes from her…」
「…I’m really happy you depend on me, but this is…」
Even I can’t save her.
I want to, but… the problem is, her petrification is not curse.
Even after I check it again and again with 『Advanced Appraisal』 and 『World Eye』, nothing indicates that it’s a curse.
In other words…
「…It really is her physical constitution, something she is born with…」
If it’s a physical constitution and not a curse, then nothing I can do about it.
I can’t even begin to imagine a constitution reformation magic.
And since it’s not even a skill, I just get even more helpless about it.
「Even if it’s a physical constitution, if we know on what theory the petrification light comes out…」
「This is just an assumption, but perhaps the cause is the overflowing mana excess from her eyes.」
As I was genuinely gripping my head from this stalemate, Lutia gave Zola’s eyes a serious observation.
「I have the ability to directly perceive mana as colors, and it’s not due to a skill or a magic. Just like her, this is my own physical constitution. And I’ve been feeling that something is off… There is an unimaginable amount of mana stored in her eyes. And every time that mana overflows, it turns into a petrification light and bursts out uncontrollably.」
「I, is that so… Then, we only need to do something about that mana, right? Like, say… trimming out the excess, or something else.」
After listening Lutia, I thought something could be done after all, but she then shook her head with a difficult expression.
「… mana circulates throughout our body. If we forcibly reduces the amount of it through means other than magic, our body will experience aberrations and, worst case scenario, death.」
「Then, there’s nothing we can do about it after all…」
「No… It may prove to be difficult, but as long as we can completely block the overflowing magic, we can still…」
Completely isolating mana, huh…
「Is that easy?」
「…If I can be honest, it’s impossible. Just like how mana will overflow no matter how much you suppress it, fundamentally, nothing is capable of isolating mana.」
To put it short, if we had something that could perfectly shut out mana, Zola’s petrification light wouldn’t be a problem.
However, not just restraining her petrification light, I also want to grant her wish to see the scenery outside.
…this is just my own imagination on the work, but I think it has to be spectacles like glasses or googles if we want it not to obstruct her field of view.
「Hmmmm… something that completely obstructs mana, but mana only, without obstructing sight…」
What a super convenient item that would be!
But, just where can I get——
Having said that far, I recalled of one thing.
…There’s one. There is one, and just one….!
As I recalled that item in my mind, I called out to the girls.
「Nn? What’s the matter?」
「…I found a method to solve Zola’s problem.」
As I expected, they were surprised.
「Seiichi… I know I was the one who said it, but nothing can perfectly isolate mana. And it’s already a tall order as it is without asking for something that doesn’t obstruct her view as well…」
It was exactly as she said, and I also thought the same at first. But, there was an item like that, it couldn’t be helped.
「Just listen to me! But, I have to leave this dungeon for a while in order to prepare it.」
「Hah? Leave this dungeon, you said… Rather, after realizing it, we’re trapped in this dungeon aren’t we.」
It completely slipped my mind, since we had Zola’s matter at hand, but the Dungeon said it trapped us in itself.
「No, I have a teleportation magic, so it doesn’t concern me.」
「…Come to think of it, you do.」
Teleportation Magic was actually usable in this room, so we always could leave it without a hitch..
「But, once I’m done preparing the thing, I’m thinking to come back here」
「Hah? Why would you…」
Towards Al and her curiosity, I answered with a smile on my face.
「Of course——it’s because I can’t forgive this Dungeon.」
* Here it is bois! Another gorilla harem member!
** And the waifu team gave their okay too!