【3rd person’s POV】
Sam and his party were waiting for Reishu’s signal.
I just hope he doesn’t do something outrageous, thought Sam and looked towards the camp. However, his eyes saw an unusual scene. The sky just above the camp was filled with thundering clouds, and a tornado was wreaking havoc there.
Sam’s expression froze, and he asked Liera.
“Hey teach, is that the signal?”
“Hmm? Ah, yes. Let’s move now.”
Liera responded indifferently, probably because such scenes were common for her.
He’s a war mongrel for sure……, Sam lamented.
The party soon started moving in the direction of the camp. Contrary to the plan where they would have gone in the opposite direction, Liera was leading them to the camp through the road.
“Why are we going through here?”
Chloe asked the question that was brewing in the minds of everyone following Liera.
“Because there’s no need to take a detour. Reishu would have already wiped out the entire camp.”
Chloe once again looked at the tornado and muttered.
They soon reached the clearing in the forest. Chloe made an indescribable expression as her gaze fell upon the various burnt corpses strewn about. But she decided to ignore them and along with the others made her way towards the cave’s entrance where Reishu was waiting for them.
“Holy fuck dude! You just massacred them!”
Reishu turned around and made a troubled expression.
“They were just too weak. I wasn’t expecting all of them to die with just one magic spell.”
“Haha well, doesn’t matter. This just makes things easier for us. From here on, we’ll enter the dungeon and you’ll go back to Blatan.”
“How about I go with you?”
“As tempting as your offer is, I’ll have to decline. We can’t leave Lanpas unguarded like that.”
“Yeah, that makes sense. Well then, I’ll be eagerly waiting for your return. I hope you’ll bring us good news.”
If you can return, that is, Reishu mumbled in his heart.
Sam then turned to his companions.
“Well then, we’ll enter this dungeon. I know I shouldn’t be saying this right now, but it’s possible that some, or perhaps all of us wouldn’t return alive. That’s why I’m asking this before we enter: if anyone of you doesn’t want to enter with because you don’t want to endanger your life, then you are free to leave right now. I, or anyone else, won’t berate you for choosing your own life.”
However, only silence followed Sam’s speech. He waited some more, but no one spoke up.
“Hmm? No one wants to go back? Fine then. Don’t blame me later if you any of you dies.”
Sam started walking and entered the dungeon after that, followed by everyone else except Reishu. After seeing them off, he quietly left the area.
The moment they entered the cave, Sam took out a torch and lit it. From how he saw it, the cave looked to be normal.
The ceiling of the cave was high, but it was still narrow. It was only wide enough for three people to walk side by side, which was enough space for them to swing their sword. They took a ‘X’ formation and started walking.
In the front were Sam and Jack, followed by Chloe in the middle and then Liera and Drache at the back. Drache and Liera’s job was to prevent any ambush, so in a sense, their role was more important than Sam and Jack’s, who were the vanguard.
This formation was suggested by Liera herself. Experience had taught her that when betraying companions, staying in the back is more convenient.
The five kept walking, their way lit by the torch in Sam’s hands.
｢Jack, you do remember our plan, right?｣
Sam used Communication magic and sent a message to Jack. Just like Liera, he also had a plan.
｢Of course, I do. All will proceed according to the plan.｣
Probably, Jack added wordlessly.
Since the moment they had entered this dungeon, Jack had felt that something was off with it. They had been walking for quite some time now, and had encountered various branching paths. However, they still hadn’t come across any living thing.
Forget monsters, he hadn’t even seen a single mouse. Not even an insect.
Moreover, he could someone’s presence from the ground beneath him. The presence was full of malice, and Jack knew who it belonged to.
He’s being too blatant with this…… Jack sighed in his heart.
However, that wasn’t the only presence he had felt. He had deployed his presence detection magic, and he was picking up some responses.
The presence he felt were in front of them, and there were five of them. Also, it seemed that they were moving in the direction opposite to his, which meant that they would soon run into them. Everything was according to the plan.
Sam soon signalled everyone to stop, and that’s when Liera, Drache and Chloe also picked the presences that were coming in their direction. Liera and Chloe drew their weapons, while Sam and Jack just stayed vigilant.
But these presences were different: they didn’t belong to monsters. And Chloe was painfully aware of exactly these presences belonged to. They were-
“Ara? Just as I thought, it really was you, Samuel Hayden.”
A sweet feminine voice resounded in the cave, and the owner of that voice was standing in front of them. However, different from the last time Sam saw her, her glossy black long hair were tied behind her back and lightly glistened in the light from the torch in Sam’s hand. A brown leather armour covered her from her chest to the abdomen, in addition a black jacket was worn over it. And for her lower half, there were black pants with boots which went up to her knees. Only the sword hanging on her waist and the aura emanating from her was the same as before.
Even though the surroundings were dark, her glowing bloodred eyes were still clearly visible.
That visage, which had changed from the last time Sam saw it, was still captivating. But the man known as Sam would never be swayed by such things.
“Fancy meeting you here, Regina.”
Sam raised his hand as if he was greeting an old friend.
“Right? Are you here to train and become stronger?”
And Regina returned his greeting. Yet-
“Something like that? What about you?”
“Something like that as well.”
They were already preparing themselves for the battle that would ensue.
“But I still haven’t found any monsters.”
She complained in a sulking voice.
“You haven’t? That’s strange, because neither have I.”
And Sam replied in a consoling voice.
“Even you? I say, something is clearly strange with this dungeon. You see, if you keep walking on this path you’ll encounter a dead end.”
“Ah, I see. Thank you for telling me. Then I guess we should turn back from here.”
While those two were making empty talks, their companions behind them were glaring at each other with eyes full of hostility. Almarick was the only exception, as lightly waved in Chloe’s direction with a smile on his face. In return, Jack did the same to Bartra.
“Ara, what’s the hurry? Since both of us cannot find monsters, how about we fight each other to train?”
“A joint training exercise, in other words.”
She smiled maliciously.
“I’m afraid I’m not qualified to train with you. Fighting with me will only bore you out.”
“Now now, don’t be like that, Hero. We can’t decide that without actually fighting, can we?”
“I see, you certainly are right, Demon King.”
The moment he said that, the smiles from both their faces vanished. Regina put her hand on her sword, while Sam threw away the torch in his hand.
Liera smiled in her heart, because this was exactly what she wanted. Little did she know, her plans were about to go horribly wrong. Because-
“Get out of the way, Sam!” (Shiggurath)