Translator: Suzuran Editor: JackOFallTrades
「It’s been a while since I’ve felt full, that’s no easy feat. It’s this meat! It doesn’t taste like anything I’ve had before and it just kind of falls apart in my mouth. This is monster meat you’re feeding me, isn’t it?」
Even though she said it kind of rudely, she was rubbing her belly in contentment. The soup which I had made so much of was gone before I knew it, the pot licked clean.
「It’s Grateful Boar meat.」
「Fool, you’re really going to keep mocking me? Grateful Boar meat is the lowest class, blandest, most sinewy meat there is! Do you think I know nothing about meats, saying obvious lies like that?」
「Oh? I’m so sorry then.」
I smirk at her and do a little shrug and she frowns back at me upset. It’s not as if I’m lying to her, I just don’t plan to tell her the secret of the meat.
An old man back in the capitol taught me an ancient dwarven recipe as a favor: You have to boil the Grateful Boar meat in the liquor of ricol fruit from the first harvest. There was no real reason not to share the recipe, but it took forever for me to convince the old man to teach it to me. Because of that, it seemed a bit unfair to tell her the secret so easily.
「Can I ask you my question now?」
「Oh yeah, we did agree to that. What do you want to ask?」
「I want to know about those clothes you’re wearing.」
I point at them and she shook her hand, letting the sleeve flap.
「Really? You want to know about this thing? You don’t want to ask about who this beautiful lady in front of you is? or ask about this dungeon?」
「That second one I’m curious about, but I can ask later. Also, calling yourself a beautiful lady is just too funny, you should stop before I die of laughter.」
Even if I were to ever call her 「beautiful」, I would have to add 「unfortunately」in my head.
「Hmmm? All I hear is a petty little man telling bad jokes. Anyway, this clothing is called a kimono, isn’t it pretty? It’s got all sort of enchantments: autosizing and autodressing and heating and―」
「Stop, I didn’t want to hear about its capabilities. I’m want to know where it’s from, who made it.」
If there’s someone in this world who made a kimono, there might be other Japanese people like me who came here from my original world who taught them how. In the novels I used to read, there was always the potential of summons and reincarnators other than main one.
Regardless of that, it seems like the thoughts of the redheaded girl in front of me, not knowing my circumstances, were going in a wildly different direction.
「But these are women’s clothes! Unless you’re into that? Wow, you’re not just an idiot, you also have a weird fetish! You must have done something really bad in a past life to deserve this.」
「Hey! What gives you any right to call me an idiot? More importantly, I’m not a crossdresser!」
Her eyes looked far off as I panicked and started denying.
「I only care about the person who made it. I don’t want yours, I don’t even want to get one of my own, so stop looking at me like I’m a weirdo!」
「It’s… It’s not like you needed to hide it from me or anything! Not that I’m saying you should have told me if you didn’t want to…」
「The things you’re saying are so off the mark it’s not even funny. If you don’t stop going on like this, I won’t make you any more meals.」
In response to my threat, the redheaded girl just gave me a knowing look and shook her head. Yep, I thought, I want to pummel her so bad. I was debating whether or not to summon a novelty hammer when she suddenly spoke as if nothing just happened.
「Enough. You wanted to know the source of the kimono? Unfortunately, I don’t know who made it. I just grabbed something from one of my place’s storerooms at random.」
「However, I have seen someone selling clothes just like it. There was a place in the Beast Country where a bunch of skilled beastmen were making them. What kind of beastman were they…」
Beastmen, huh. That rules out the possibility of a summon, though a reincarnator was still possible.
I shouldn’t get my hopes up. It could also be the black haired, black eyed hero from 200 years ago who shared the kimono designs. Though, if that was the case, wouldn’t it have spread through the Kingdom rather than the Beast Country?
Thinking about these things, I suddenly realized that I don’t have much knowledge about this world. After coming here, I spent all my time training, being a hero and saving people and didn’t get to see much of the world. I was shocked to think that even though it’s been more than a year since I came here, I barely have any knowledge about things besides fighting and monsters.
At any rate, I should ask Yumis about it when I get out. Then again, someone who’s travelled the whole world like Knight Captain Guidott would probably know more about this sort of thing.
「Even knowing that much is better than nothing. Hmmm… the Beast Country…」
I’ve heard that in the Beast Country of Gilmus, the beastmen are viewed as superior. Back when I was summoned, Alesia told me that because of that ideological difference, the Kingdom of Aurelia and the Beast Country of Gilmus were hostile to each other. No matter how much the Empire in between the two tried, their skirmishes didn’t stop.
Furthermore, even though I’m the hero, I can imagine all sorts of problems cropping up because I’m human. Alesia wanted to use her influence as princess to do something about the situation, but the nobles and other internal issues made it too difficult. Also, the dungeon-loving Beast Country’s policy of occupying any dungeon, regardless of how far within the Empire’s borders it is, was very controversial. Because of these things, Alesia eventually decided to turn her focus to internal matters.
In the end, Alesia went on a journey to escape from the increasing activity of the Anti-Royalists in the capitol. She thought that forming a travelling party with the veteran Knight Captain who exceeded everyone in the Aurelian military in combat skill and the Hero would be safer than staying. Being a princess sure is tough…
Luckily, because Alesia had strong healing abilities, the king told us that he expected we would survive. Nevertheless, we decided that taking the princess to a country of anti-human prejudiced beastmen would be too dangerous.
「I guess I’ll be leaving this dungeon now.」
Because I fell down from a hole, all I have to do to get back out is aim upwards. The only issue is that I know nothing about this dungeon. Not only has no country occupied it, no one has even cleared it yet.
「Leave the dungeon, you say? My, such confidence.」
「Confidence has nothing to do with it. I don’t have the time to stop and smell the roses in a place like this.」
If I don’t make it back to my party, my training will be delayed. In other words, it would take longer for me to return to my original world.
I stand up and look around the room once more. If I were to describe its size, I would say that it’s roughly the size of two Earth classrooms. If you face the wall with the water fountain straight on, there’s a corridor to the right and a set of stairs behind. If I want to leave the dungeon, going up the stairs would be the best option. I also kinda want to try and clear the dungeon, but meeting back up with my party on the outside is more important.
「Well, you do you. At the end of that corridor is a room where edible monsters spawn. If you stay here, I expect you to make more meals. Anyway, I’m feeling full so I’m going to nap for a while. I would recommend you do the same. The passage of time in here is a bit odd.」
With that, the redhead let out a huge yawn, grabbed a blanket and pillow from a bag, and unceremoniously flopped onto the ground. I couldn’t help facepalming at the sight.
「Hey, wait! What are you doing sleeping when I’m about to leave this dungeon? I’m sorry, I don’t have the time to just wait here for you to wake up, so if you’re expecting me to keep a lookout…」
I thought she would follow along because I could cook for her, but contrary to my expectations she showed no sign of moving. I am not going to carry her on my back.
「I don’t need a lookout, this is a safe zone. Besides, if anything did try and kill me, I would wake up.」
In response to me urging her to get up, she just shushed me and lazily gestured at me to go away.
I searched around the room again and found a dungeon-only special item called a Safety Torch in the center. I don’t know where they come from or the theory behind them, but if one of them is placed in a room of a dungeon, monsters stop spawning within it and monsters from other rooms won’t enter. When combined with a water source, you get a so-called safe zone.
「Also, you’re going to end up back in this room. The corridor is a dead-end, so your only option is the stairs. At that point, you’ll come back.」
「What are you talking about? You think a few monsters will be enough to make me flee back here?」
I’m confident I won’t be done in easily by this place’s monsters. The year since I came here wasn’t uneventful. As of late, my monster fighting has been giving diminishing returns, but that’s all the more reason why I need to try my hardest to get the EXP I can, day or night.
Then again, that’s the mindset that got me into this mess.
Regardless of that, she was mocking me, ignoring my year of hard work! I might have gotten a bit huffy about her understanding of my situation, but she didn’t respond to my question.
「Hey, don’t cry. I understand well enough.」
「Heh, you don’t get it do you? I’m leaving. I’m not coming back. I won’t be your personal chef.」
「Go then if you want to so much. When you come back, I expect you to make me twice as much food as last time.」
「I just said I’m not coming back!」
I never asked her about her level or her stats, but with her strength she’s not going to be in danger.
Still disgruntled at her mockery, I step onto the stairs and start to climb. The stairs gradually curved, keeping the way before me out of sight. I would estimate that I had climbed about 200 floors worth of stairs in my rush but the exit was nowhere to be seen.
At least the monotony allowed my anger to cool off.
「I messed up. What am I, a kid?」
Being alone, I started to calm down and reflected on how hot-headed I acted. No matter how strong she is, am I really the kind of guy who would abandon a young girl alone in the middle of a dungeon? Even if she did mock my plan, I still took things too far.
Even as my mind was producing remorseful scenarios of what would happen if I went back, I kept pressing upwards.
In an instant, the very steps I was standing on began to shift one by one, and before I knew it, I was standing on a slope.
Panicking, I try to stand firm, but the stairs were already made of a smooth material and some sort of slippery oil started pouring from the cracks.
Naturally, there was no way I could balance on such a slippery surface, so I wasn’t surprised when I fell.
I reach out to grab something, but there are no handholds. I try to make one with my knife, but it just skids across the oil without making a mark. At an insane speed, I slide down all the stairs I just climbed up.
I couldn’t think of a better swear at the moment, all I could do was shout out insults at a completely unrelated famous person.
That was how I, not understanding how things turned out like this while covered in a strange oil-like liquid, ended up back in the room I had stormed out of not five minutes prior.
My back slammed full speed into a soft pile that wasn’t there when I left. When I shake off my dizziness and look around, I see a giant bag open up above me, pouring waves of colorful flower petals down on my head. I heard a rustling noise and turned to see a banner being unfurled. It said “Welcome to the Great Labyrinth of Toakokuroi!” in big bubble letters.
I got the distinct sense that I was being patronized.
「Huh? Wait! What?」
「You got a lot farther than I thought you would on your first try, that means you’re lucky!」
Those were the words which made their way into my still dazed mind.
「What was it that you were saying about not coming back, again?」
I let out a wordless shriek and flipped around. There sat the redhead girl with a massive grin on her face.
「It’s not like I came back so quickly after storming off because I like you or anything. Nah, I can’t do very good impressions of you, but still!」
Finally, acting as if she just couldn’t anymore, she put her hand over her mouth and started cracking up.
Such an evil personality, is she a devil? No, she was already more evil than a devil when I first met her.
「You… You knew it would do that!」
「That’s what I was telling you. Now, onto the important news, I expect you to give me double portions of food when I wake up, just like you promised, my personal chef.」
And with that, the redhead went back to bed as if that was all there was to it.
「But… You! This!」
My face flushed bright red. I couldn’t keep silent. But at the same time there was no point in shouting, so I sealed my directionless rage into my heart and swore.
「Koumei, this isn’t over!」
Still venting and thinking of stupid things about a completely unrelated famous person, I went to wash the mystery liquid off in the water.
「I’ll definitely return the favor when I get the chance.」
I tried to stop thinking such childish thoughts, but at the same time it would be wrong to hold back against someone so evil.
If I ever get the opportunity, I will mock her mercilessly.
- TL Note: “Koumei” refers to a famous historical Chinese tactician. ↩