Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
A hero is a supreme title given to those who keep diving into the deepest parts of labyrinths and defeating guardians that are said to be there.
To keep that position, one has to keep conquering labyrinths.
And once a hero fails, people quickly change their attitude.
And if that person is to keep everyone’s trust or not, entirely depends on their conduct until now.
「The labyrinth we are heading into this time has been conquered up to the 42nd floor. What is required from us is the same as usual, reach the innermost part of the labyrinth, and conquer it.」
「Yes…… I will do my best!」
Kygras smiled at Sasin, a new member of the party.
An outstanding tank, handpicked by Kygras. She seemed to be still nervous, so her expression was a tense one.
「I’ll explain the basic tactic of our party. Listen well.」
Kygras looked at the twins.
That was because the twins often were too preoccupied with each other, so there was no telling if they were actually listening.
The older twin, Lilia, gave him only a fleeting gaze in return.
「First of all, I will explain the roles of everyone present. I, Lilia and Sar are physical attackers, Sasin is the tank, Nin healer, Lily is a magic attacker. In regards to Lilia, you have some degree of freedom, attack or assist allied depending on the situation.」
After replying with that, Lilia began making out with Lily.
Kygras furrowed his brows and kicked the ground.
「Damn you, listen when people are talking.」
「I heard you. What else do you need? Isn’t it always like this?」
「……Didn’t you talk more with Rude?」
「Won’t you refrain from saying stuff that might be misunderstood by Lily? I was talking with Rude only because he asked me how much I’m going to attack. So we were making some arrangements beforehand. It’s necessary so a tank can keep enemies’ aggro, isn’t it?」
Lilia looked at Sasin.
Her gaze was sharp.
Being a late bloomer Sasin looked thin. And now, she shrank in her small body under Lilia’s gaze, appearing even smaller, and repeatedly nodded.
「Y-yes. Many years of research showed that monsters have a thing called hate level! So it’s pretty important how many attacks each person will perform!」
「You heard that. Do you understand, Kygras? I’m only interested in Lily and money. So can you stop uttering nonsense?」
After making such a statement, Lilia tightly hugged Lily.
The two were already smiling and enjoying themselves, touching each other.
Clicking his tongue, Kygras turned his eyes to Nin.
「Nin, just as usual, give tank priority in recovery. But well, unlike that guy, Sasin is capable. She won’t be standing and taking enemy attacks like an idiot, so you won’t have to use recovery as much. I don’t even mind if you decide to focus on magical attacks if you’d like.」
「I know. I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t want you to nitpick on my actions, so I will just stick to perfectly doing my job.」
Nin said with a cold look.
Currently, the relationships between party members were neither good nor bad.
Lilia and Lily were just as usual.
Nin was somewhat sullen, but that was directed only towards Kygras. Towards two new members, Sasin and Sar, she was sweet.
But Nin’s attitude put a frown on Kygras ‘s face.
That reason is simple.
He wanted to get closer to Nin.
Though he might not be in love with her, he liked her position.
She is a saintess and the third daughter of a duke. Getting close with a person of such position is bound to open new doors.
Perhaps due to having such ulterior motives, but things weren’t going that well.
「Sasin, Sar. It’s your first time, but I’m expecting a lot from you. Show me the best you can do.」
「Y-yes, I will do my best!」
「I-I always aspired to, to fight alongside the hero! I will do my best, sir!」
Sasin and Sar straightened up in a salute akin to that that knights do.
Then, the two looked at Kygras with sparkling eyes.
Kygras narrowed his eyes and smiled.
「Then, as a warm-up, let’s start from the 30th floor. There is a possibility of being suddenly surrounded by monsters, so steel yourself!」
Raising his voice in a shout, Kygras activated the skill Dungeon Walk.
A monster of the 30th floor, grand minotaur.
A bull-headed monster of about three meters in height. The special trait is that all of them carry a weapon of their own, like an axe or a sword.
Already beating them in other labyrinths, Kygras challenged them as a 「warmup」.
It wasn’t particularly careless. Everyone, including Kygras, thought that it would be easy to deal with the likes of a grand minotaur.
But currently, Kygras and others were on the verge of annihilation.
Nin and Lily who were in the rearguard were targeted first and lost their outer shells in the first battle.
And Kygras was grimacing under the pain that came every time he activated his skill.
「It hurts…… W-why…… Such pain never came before……」
With pain assaulting his whole body, Kygras clicked the tongue.
「Did my skills…… Go crazy?! Damn it, what the hell is going on!」
There are two types of skills, inherent and acquired.
Kygras acquired one skill when he teamed with Rude.
A skill called Life Burst.
Kygras didn’t know the actual effect of the skill but frequently used it as an attack skill.
Skills and endurance can be checked at an altar at a church, but it won’t reveal their effects.
It only allows you to learn of skills that were there.
Some people could sense the effects of their skills, but Kygras didn’t comprehend his skills fully.
With that skill consuming about 10% of the outer shell, Kygras was now clutching at his chest.
「Kygras! Stop sleeping there!」
Hearing Nin’s shout Kygras raised his head.
Grand Minotaur’s axe was some inches away.
Panicking, he tried to avoid it by jumping to the side. Unable to fully avoid it, he was knocked to the ground.
The stones under his feet scattered, scraping Kygras.
That damage wasn’t caused directly to his flesh but was mitigated by the outer shell.
Even so, it still hurt.
But being Kygras’s first taste of pain in a while, even this much felt agonizing.
「E-Everyone! Please back off! Their aggro is too dispersed!」
「Damn! Sasin! Do your job properly! Why they keep switching targets!」
「Hiii, I-I’m sorry!」
Sasin kept using『Taunt』over and over and over again, trying to get the monsters’ attention.
As they began focusing on her, she desperately dodged incoming attacks.
Seeing a chance, Kygras activated Life Burst.
Kygras grimaced. That was because he was attacked by a pain akin to that of having his heart squeezed.
Even so, he swung his sword.
Holding his sword with both hands, he chopped off a hand of a Grand Minotaur.
「Ky-Kygras-sama! I still didn’t fully get their attention!」
Out of breath, Kygras crouched on the spot.
「Damn……What is this! What, just what is all of this!」
As Kygras tried to get up, an axe came down on him.
Sar, who happened to be nearby, pushed Kygras away.
And the axe hit her.
Having her endurance shaved away she was knocked to the ground.
And like that, she got an abrasion.
「Her outer shell was shattered. Someone, move to cover her.」
Lilia shouted while fending off another opponent.
But it was too late.
A hit from a grand minotaur knocked her away.
Luckily, she flew in Sasin’s direction, so she caught her, falling over, and rolling on the ground.
「Kygras ! I will give first-aid, stall this one!」
「Tch……Just what the hell is going on!」
They were struggling with opponents they should have easily beaten.
That fact irritated Kygras beyond the limit.
「What the hell is going on!」
Kygras shouted and slashed at the grand minotaur that lost one hand.
The grand minotaur turned around, swinging its fist.
Not expecting that, Kygras took the worst of the attack.
Being smashed into the ground, he felt a spreading pain in his leg.
「No, way…… Endurance!」
As he directed his focus to his own body, a depressing 0 showed up.
At this point healing magic will no longer work.
The only option is to wait until endurance recovers naturally.
「Damn damn damn! My attack power should be higher! In fact, we already have beaten them in other labyrinths!」
A grand minotaur shouted and Kygras’ whole body froze.
Abnormal status attack.
Kygras, who prepared no countermeasures, gets kicked away by a Grand Minotaur.
Flying through the air, he then crashed into the ground.
Having no divine protection he now experienced a non-mitigated pain, which made him roll on the ground.
While actually feeling that he is alive, he also felt in close proximity to death.
Kygras’s face turned pale.
Letting out something akin to a strange laugh the grand minotaur stopped right in front of Kygras.
Grand Minotaur made what appeared to be a mocking smile and licked its lips.
「Looking, down on me…… Don’t screw with me!」
Kygras put a skill into his sword.
His strongest attack. He swung the magic sword charged with that skill at Grand Minotaur’s legs.
But at that moment.
The pain from Life Burst was the worst he ever felt.
The pain interrupted the skill.
The weak slash, that no longer had divine blessing behind it, touched minotaur’s leg.
There was no way that could put even a scratch on those thick and muscular legs.
Smiling, the minotaur looked closely into Kygras’s face.
Scared witless, Kygras drew away, trembling.
「……Sto-Stop! Don’t kill me! I don’t want to die yet! Forgive me! I’ll do anything, just spare me!」
Crying, Kygras desperately begged the monster.
The ground under his feet turned wet.
But there is no way such a plea can get through to a grand minotaur.
A merciless attack fell upon Kygras.
Crushed underfoot, Kygras lost consciousness.
But, thanks to Kygras desperately stalling for time, Lilia, who was able to focus on one grand minotaur managed to dispatch it.
Then, she slashed at the back of the minotaur that was playing by trampling on Kygras.
「How do you like it!」
「As expected of onee-chan!」
「You guys! Enough of that and prepare to escape! I and Sasin will take care of Sar! Twins, you take Kygras! And Lily, you had Dungeon Walk as well, right!? Please get it ready!」
Nin shouted and immediately gave Sar first aid treatment.
「Uwaa, what a bother.」
「I think so as well. Or rather, he is all tattered, where do you start first aid in such a case?」
「……It’s no longer a question of first aid. Hey, Nin. We are ready over here. Let’s pull out already.」
「Got it! Sasin, I leave her to you!」
「Y-yes……! U-uh…… Sar, please don’t die……」
「It’s okay. Since you caught her, it didn’t lead to a heavy injury.」
When everyone gathered, Lilia tapped Kygras on the forehead.
「We are retreating, Leader. No objections?」
Though Kygras couldn’t even speak properly, he managed to reply.
The hero Kygras was defeated on the 30th floor, such news immediately spread to various towns through the guild.
The message reached the capital’s newspaper company as well and came to decorate the front page of the monthly issued newspaper.
As Kygras came to his senses, the party members gathered in his hospital room.
That was because each of them had an announcement of their own.
「I had my arm broken in that fight…… As such, I temporarily will stop being an adventurer. And as I mentioned earlier, I will no longer be a member of your party.」
Kygras tried to complain but was interrupted by a fit of coughing.
With his body covered in wounds, it was almost a miracle that he was still alive in the first place, but Kygras looked at the bandages with irritation.
「Damn it…… My reputation was stained because of the new tank!」
The two newbies that suffered minor injuries were completely scared of Kygras.
「What was that? You were the one who picked those two!? Expelling Rude, choosing them yourself…… Is it her fault that she didn’t meet your expectations!? Aren’t that too selfish!?」
「Shut…… Up! I fought! And after those two joined, my skills turned strange!」
Nin was about to reply to something, but Lilia came forward.
「Kygras. I will say it as well, those two aren’t to blame.」
「Those two are good enough. The problem this time is you. Your attacks worked on Grand Minotaur only when you used skills. In the first place, you couldn’t even keep up with Grand Minotaur’s speed. It was impossible to defeat Grand Minotaur with your strength.」
「That’s not, true! Didn’t I chop a whole bunch of them in other labyrinths!?」
「Yes, yes. Then, what was different this time?」
Saying those words with a tired look, Lilia turned to leave the room along with Lily.
「The tank that you needed the most was probably Rude, no? That’s what I thought looking at you this time. How about apologizing and asking him to come back?」
「……tch. Wrong! I could fight on my own! If only the tank did the job more properly!」
「I’m telling you that she did. But Rude’s 『Taunt』was even better than hers. That’s for sure. After all, I also had to drop the frequency of my attacks to adjust.」
「What, did you say…… Are you saying that I’m a blind fool!?」
「Yes, and a big one at that.」
「There is no way! There is no way that he is good! During every raid, he used tons of potions……Damn!」
Kygras scowled and clenched a fist.
「It must be fun living while putting all of the blame on others. I hate such people.」
「Onee-chan, let’s go.」
「Right. Lily. Let’s eat some sweet dessert and go home. While the guild’s contract exists we most likely will have to act as a group again, So I’ll say this. Since you are already hospitalized, ask them to fix your personality as well.」
The two left the hospital room, holding hands.
「Then, Kygras. Farewell. Sasin, Sar, we are leaving.」
Pushing Sasin and Sar in their backs, Nin left the room.
「No…… No. I wasn’t wrong. He is incompetent, I’m in the right here……」
Kygras ground his teeth, spitting words of denial.
「I could fight! I’m the hero! There is no way things could get this bad just because one tank left. Soon, I’ll heal my wounds and prove it! I’m the strongest! Leader of the S Rank party, hero Kygras!」
Screaming at the top of his lungs, Kygras then vomited blood.