The Oddities within the Dungeon.
「Hm? What’s that……」
As we steadily raised Helen’s level and made our way through the Dungeon, I saw something lying on the ground.
Al and the other two seemed to have noticed it as well, so we approached it cautiously, and it revealed to be a spider the size of a man lying upside down.
The spider, its body jet-black, its legs sharp, and its mouth looked vicious, didn’t move a muscle as we drew near it.
「Wh-, what’s wrong with it?」
Helen asked with her face slightly strained, but none of us could answer.
And then, after making up her mind, Al approached it to examine, and her eyes opened wide right after.
Dead? W-, well, from the looks of it, it sure didn’t move and is turned upside down……。
But, that wasn’t what shocked us.
「H-, how come its corpse remains?」
Right, in this world, Monsters would disappear into motes of light when they died first and foremost, and they would leave behind a Drop Item if you were lucky.
……I don’t know since I haven’t seen it yet, but will humans also disappear into motes of light when they die……？
Regardless, it didn’t change the fact that defeated monsters should disappear into motes of light, becoming EXP for those who defeated it, and leave items behind afterwards.
And yet, there was, indeed, a corpse of a spider laying in front of us.
「I’ve never seen a monster being in this state either. It’s just not normal.」
I was still adapting to the common sense of this different world, as I used to live on Earth, but for Saria, Al, and Helen who had been here since their birth, it should be the common sense that monsters disappear into light after they are killed. That was why they were more shocked and confused than I was.
While we were still bewildered by the sight of the corpse of this spider, the Dungeon suddenly began to quake greatly.
「W-, what’s going on?!」
「What is happening right now……！」
We quickly crouched, withstanding the trevor that eventually stopped.
「Just what is going on with this Dungeon?」
「Beats me……But, it’s possible that it’s got something to do with the owner of those footprints. Just keep that in mind.」
Al was correct; while we couldn’t say for sure, with so many strange things happening, we could only assume that the owner of those footprints was involved in this.
After inspecting the situation a bit more, we continued on.
Since then, we occasionally came across corpses just like the spider from before lying on our path, making us grow more wary of what waited ahead each time.
「We came here to raise my level, but now we have a strange case on our hand……」
「Well, I’ve never seen something like a monster leaving its corpse behind, after all. I can’t help with this one.」
「Me too. I’ve seen monsters die out of old age back when I lived in the forest, but even they disappeared after they died, so this is a first……」
Whilst Al and the other two were looking somewhat grim, a thought popped up in my mind.
Since this isn’t a Drop Item, doesn’t that mean that we can get all the extra materials I need from this?
I mean, of course, this is nothing short of creepy for a world where Drop Items are the fundamental of its workings, but it’s also a bargain, in a way.
The question is, what kind of being is the person who caused this to happen……。
As I continued to ponder like this, we eventually reached a particularly extravagant door.
「There’s no more monsters emerging out to raise Helen’s level too, somehow, and now we’re standing in front of the Boss Room……」
「Speaking of which, what’s your current level, Helen」
「Eh? Hmm……it’s 488.」
「Aah……You still haven’t reached the 『Transcendent』 stage, huh.」
We came here with the intention of making her a 『Transcendent』, and now I felt bad since she hadn’t achieved that.
There weren’t any particular Drop Items that Helen could use, and now either we wait until new monsters emerge on our way out, or we wait here so that Helen could level up by defeating the Boss beyond that door……。
Helen then spoke up, a bit flustered.
「No, even so, I went up from level 203 to this much, so you have made me strong enough, Seiichi-sensei.」
「But, what do we do now? Do we turn around and defeat the monsters that pop out on our way back?」
「Saria’s idea sounds good enough, but……」
Said Al, looking at the door.
「……Fundamentally, only one party can be in the Boss Room at a time. And so, by the time this door opens, either the owner of the footprints will have defeated the boss, or he has been killed…… Still, this doesn’t sit right with me. If possible, I’d like to have the information about the guy inside that may be the cause of the mysterious monster corpses we’ve seen.」
「But, by the time the door opens, it’s almost impossible for us to meet the person inside, right?」
「More or less. Whether he’s dead or alive, we won’t be able to meet him anyway. Even so, we can learn a thing or two by then. If he defeated the Boss, that means he is pretty strong by himself, but if he’s dead, then……while it sounds cold, that means we’ll have less thing to worry about.」
Al heaved a sigh, then turned to us again.
「So, as for me, I’d say we check the Boss room once before we turn around. After that, we go back and resume leveling Helen up on our way out……sounds good?」
「Of course, I’m a-okay with that!」
「Same goes for me.」
「I have no objections either. Besides, the monsters may start springing out after we check the Boss room.」
Unanimously, we decided to check on it.
「Then, it’ll be a while until the door opens, but——」
Just right when she said it, the door in front of us began to slowly open.
「……Seems like the battle inside is finished.」
We looked at each other, braced ourselves, and stepped through the door.
The room inside was a grassy open field, and much like the Dungeon Zola was in, it was bright as day despite the fact we were underground.
While we were still having an environmental shock since we had been going through the long cave-like paths before this, Al called out to us, her voice sounded strained.
「Oi……Look at that……」
Urged by Al, we looked at the direction she pointed, and……。
「Wh-, what is, that……」
One part of the lush grassland had withered, as if there was a hole in the pasture, while in the surroundings, grasshoppers, praying mantis, beetles, centipedes, and other insect monsters were all lying upside-down.
And the heart of it all, stood an unarmed, white-haired, blue-eyed man, standing by himself.
「God dammit, the fuck’s going on here……why the hell are you still here after the door’s opened……?!!」
When Al asked him with her caution cranked to twelve, the white-haired man noticed our arrival.
「Nn~? Aah, you’re finally here.」
Despite Al and Helen’s circumspect, the white-haired man approached us as if he was walking in the park.
「D-, don’t come!」
He stopped on his track after Al raised her sword and shouted.
「It makes me sad if you’re being so vigilant against me like that, you know~」
「……Those monsters on the ground, along with all those monsters on the way here, are they your doing?」
「Eh? Aah, you mean these? Yeah, that’s right.」
The man, weirdly easily admitted it, couldn’t contain his smile from overflowing.
「Then……How come you still here in the Boss Room after clearing it?」
If what Al said was correct, originally, only one party at a time could challenge the Boss room. That was why, it would be impossible to meet another party inside the Boss room, as the door would only open if the party inside had cleared the room and was in the Teleportation room ahead, or if they had been wiped out.
And yet, without any intent to conceal it, the man answered simply.
「Well, that’s cause I killed the rule of the Dungeon, you see」
「You killed, the rule?」
I tilted my head, couldn’t process the words he said, when the man’s smile deepened and bowed to us politely.
「I am Destra the 『Absolute Death』 . Someone who’s called as a 『Divine Apostle』 of the 【Demon God Cult】.」
Then, he gave us a frigid gaze.
「Now then———would you die for me?」