Hearing his story you couldn’t help but admire what an incredible friend and companion Bakuu had been.
The ability to make instant decisions, to make his companions move, to utilize the magic stones without hesitation, and the sense to realize that the floor was behaving strangely and wait.
He was excellent…if he had been able to live long enough and gain experience then he might have become a well known adventurer.
And…for such an excellent person to die so simply and easily…that’s what a 『Tower』 is.
I was forcefully reminded of the true dangers of the Tower.
「Soujirou-sama, Ari-san has regained consciousness so we should be able to move her and escape from here.」
「T-thank…you….for helping us.」
Ari-san barely managed to stand by using Sistina’s shoulder as support. I looked over and nodded.
「Right now monsters haven’t respawned yet so we should be able to escape. Sistina hand over the injured to this man. If anything happens we’ll be the ones stepping forward to fight.」
「Okay. Then Tor-dono please take care of her.」
「Yeah of course. Ari, I’ll protect you. Please don’t do things like cover for me ever again…if I lost you and Bakuu then I….」
Tor said with a quivering voice as he supported Ari while she gave a troubled smile.
「Hmph, what selfish words ja.」
Hotaru-san murmured and I agreed. If you both thought of each other as precious then you would both want to do the same thing. Pushing your own ideas onto others is so childish…
If Tor was so set on protecting Ari-san, then he would have no other option than to get stronger. If he couldn’t, then he would have to be satisfied with a relationship where they protected each other.
「Have you collected his personal affects?」
「…well…we really wanted to bring back his weapon, but Bakuu’s ended up back in the Floor Boss area. We could only bring back what he has on him.」
As he said that I noticed that Ari’s chest that had been mostly exposed was now covered by armor one size too large.
I’m sure they would have preferred to bring his body back instead of just his items…but we didn’t have that kind of freedom.
「If we move away then before long the monsters will…and if they don’t find him then within half a day the tower will absorb him.」
If we leave him here then he would be eaten by monsters and even if we took him to a safe area he would be eaten by the tower instead. We were like microbes moving around in the Tower’s stomach.
「Soujirou, we need to move. If we don’t hurry up then more monsters will emerge ja.」
「Got it, we’ll head off soon.」
Hotaru-san urged us, so I shook off my unpleasant thoughts and had us set off.
Hotaru-san was the vanguard, behind her was Tor and Ari, Sistina was helping them along, and I was in the back. Most of the monsters would be detected by Hotaru-san, but exceptions like the Hide Bear could exist. For that reason we had to be able to move around while protecting the injured.
After silently marching for a while the only sounds were Tor’s rough breathing as he helped Ari walk and Ari’s thin breathing.
I’m sure they were exhausted as they were unable to speed up and the group was now moving at a third of the speed we had been when we were alone.
At this rate the route we had cleared might spawn more monsters.
I wanted to ask Hotaru-san about it, but thanks to the distance between front and rear guard I would have to make a loud voice.
Plus I was afraid that hearing a bad answer might rob Tor and Ari of their will to move on.
I can 『communicate』 with Hotaru-san…but this was all by her communicating her intentions and I had always used my words to talk back.
In that case what about 『empathy』? It couldn’t request detailed things, but I’m sure I could communicate the gist of what I wanted to hear.
I gave it a test and tried to focus on my ‘desire to know what the chances of us meeting a monster was’ while opening my mind.
It connected! I sent a confirmation then asked my question again.
『I see. Good work realizing this. Empathy and Communication seem to work really well with each other ja. I can picture what you want to ask me fairly well ja. Give me a moment. I will expand my sense a bit…hm…it seems like we’re still okay for now. But the responses are getting more intense. At this pace we will almost certainly have to fight some battles before we escape.』
As I thought. However, we managed to clear out the high level monsters along this route, so first floor monsters should respawn instead. Since no new explorers had entered and weren’t over hunting the first floor monsters, new high level creatures shouldn’t get dropped on our heads.
If that was the case, then we shouldn’t have any issues escaping. We would have gained experience, gotten rare magic stones, and saved who we wanted to. Sistina may also develop further in a good direction.
Well…there was plenty of danger in this venture, but in my opinion I think the gains were worth it.
『Hm? Soujirou…come forward a bit….no don’t worry. It’s not a monster.』
I didn’t get it, but I moved forward nonetheless. I was a bit worried, but thank goodness it wasn’t a monster.
I quickened my steps and passed Sistina with a 「I need to head up so keep an eye on the back for me」.
「What’s up Hotaru-san?」
「You’re here…I don’t know why, but there are people approaching us ja. I felt it would be best for you to talk to them rather than me.」
「Who would it be? Entrance to the first floor should still be restricted…maybe its the arrival of higher floor adventurers?」
「Well…from what I sense it should only be one person ja.」
A single adventurer at this point in time? Must be someone very confident in their skills right? Well either way, I didn’t think there would be someone doing something silly in a situation like this so I didn’t think we would be in too much danger…
As I looked on nervously suddenly Frey, who should have escaped earlier, approached with a smile on her face.