TLN: Two chapters today! Make sure you didn’t the previous one!
After finishing the exploration, we went to the guild in order to sell the Spirit Stones as usual.
“Hikaru, how about coming with me every now and then? I am always going there to sell them by myself, so the guild staff seems to be doubting you. They aren’t saying anything because they are trying to be considerate with me though…” (Rifreya)
“No, it is okay. We even have a stone of a Garden Panther. It would instead be suspicious if I turn up now.” (Hikaru)
“Saying something like that again… Your promotion exam will get more difficult, you know?” (Rifreya)
“I have no issues with it getting somewhat more difficult. The promotion exam for ebony rank is the 1st Floor or the 2nd Floor, right? If it is that, I will be able to manage somehow.” (Hikaru)
“That’s true, but…” (Rifreya)
While we were having that talk, we arrived at the front of the guild, and there was a group of explorers with blood still on them running here with their faces pale white.
“Please move aside! Move aside!”
The warrior that was at the front had pure light blue full armor that looked pretty high quality.
They are most likely gold rank or higher.
“Please open the path!”
It is not like we were blocking the path or anything, but they must have been pretty hurried, they pushed us aside and the explorer party entered the guild.
Now that I look closely, they are all beaten up.
There’s 4 people. 2 might have died.
“…What’s going on? Let’s go in and check it out.” (Rifreya)
“It is true that I am curious.” (Hikaru)
“My heart is racing here-nyan.” (Grapefull)
It is not like I have been using this guild for long, but this is the first time I see something like this happening.
We turned the curious onlooker mode on, entered the guild, and perked our ears up towards the explorers that were saying something at the counter.
“A Demon Lord! Demon Lord! It showed up on the 5th Floor!”
“Thank you for the report. Is there no mistake of it being a Demon Lord? What was its shape?”
If I remember correctly, a Demon Lord is like the boss of the monsters that show up in the dungeon.
The guild staff member was calm in contrast to the explorers who were talking a storm.
Demon Lords might unexpectedly show up more often than I thought.
“A crazy big wolf! It even spits out fire. We have to subjugate it at once or it will be bad! It might be better to bring the Templars as well.”
“A wolf? In that case, it shouldn’t be that mixed though?”
“I don’t know. It is not like we had a good look at it. Our comrades were killed in an instant, and we ran while throwing smoke bombs and dried meat. But it was a monster we have never seen before, and its lord stone was growing muddy. There’s no doubt it is a Demon Lord!”
They are talking in loud voices, so everyone can hear them.
“A Demon Lord…isn’t that the one that is made solely of Chaotic Spirit Energy?” (Hikaru)
I speak to Rifreya who is spacing out by my side.
“That’s right. But this is bad. When a Demon Lord appears, no one is allowed in the dungeon aside from the subjugation team.” (Rifreya)
“Lynxes can’t enter either, so it will be a break until then-nyan.” (Grapefull)
“Really? But it showed up in the 5th Floor, right? It doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with the other higher floors though.” (Hikaru)
“The Demon Lord moves through floors. If it has shown up in the 5th Floor, it will soon go up to the 4th Floor. It won’t take that many days for it to reach the 3rd Floor.” (Rifreya)
“Going through floors…” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, moreover, each time it goes through a floor, the Demon Lord’s chaotic color deepens bit by bit…and putting it simply, it becomes stronger. The best thing to do would be to defeat it on the 4th Floor.” (Rifreya)
Hearing this, I immediately decided to secretly go there on my own.
A Demon Lord has appeared.
I could tell from instinct that this would be the bomb that would serve to get me to 1st place.
If I fight it, I will most likely die.
But if I play it well, I might be able to get away with just barely scraping with my life.
There’s also the method of gathering as many Chaotic Spirit Stones as I can, and fighting it by throwing undeads at it.
At worst, even if I don’t fight it, there would be that suspense of not knowing when I could encounter the Demon Lord, so my viewers would increase with just that alone.
“Give the official announcement already! The ones in the 4th Floor are in danger too, you know!”
“Understood! Any entry to the dungeon from explorers will be prohibited; effective as of now!”
The staff members moved around busily, and one of them brought out a bulletin board and rope as they ran towards the dungeon.
Looks like they will be prohibiting the entry and prioritize the subjugation of the Demon Lord.
“Anyways, it looks like there will be no exploration tomorrow. How long does it normally take to subjugate a Demon Lord?” (Hikaru)
“A subjugation team will most likely be formed the day after tomorrow, and will be entering the dungeon. It would be great if it can be subjugated on that very day, but there’s barely any instances of that happening. I would say it would be after 3-4 days.” (Rifreya)
“They said they would call the Templars.” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, there’s a lot of former explorers within the knights that protect this city after all. It is normal for Demon Lord subjugations to be done by a large group of people.” (Rifreya)
Hmmm, with that kind of battle style, there might not be an opportunity for me.
“Can I participate in that?” (Hikaru)
“Aah…no. Demon Lord subjugations are so dangerous that a number of deaths show up from it, so you can’t participate unless you are silver rank or higher.” (Rifreya)
“I see.” (Hikaru)
Well, it should be no problem if I just mix in the group casually.
I could get reprimanded by the guild from doing that, but right now getting viewers is more important.
“I am silver rank, so I think I will be participating in the subjugation. As for you, Hikaru…it is a shame, but you will be taking a break from dungeon exploration until the Demon Lord subjugation ends.” (Rifreya)
“I see. Too bad, but it can’t be helped.” (Hikaru)
“I personally would feel safer if you were to participate as well though… The Demon Lord subjugation reward is big, but it is also dangerous…” (Rifreya)
“Well, the rules are the rules.” (Hikaru)
I answer with that while thinking about what to do.
Wondering if there has been a Chosen who has fought a Demon Lord…
After selling our Spirit Stones, we decided to go eat.
The place we are going to is that shrimp thermidor place again.
The three of us got strangely addicted to that taste, and it has recently been a favorite of ours.
There was something I had to tell the two.
After sitting around the table and ordering, I spoke.
“Rifreya, you remember that I told you to please help me out for a limited period of time, right?” (Hikaru)
“Yes. Uhm…2 weeks, right? That’s why…there’s 6 days left… No, 5 days, huh.” (Rifreya)
“But the Demon Lord has appeared, so we won’t be able to go to the dungeon together.” (Hikaru)
“Yeah… Ah!” (Rifreya)
It seems Rifreya finally noticed and placed a hand on her mouth.
“That’s right. If the subjugation begins the day after tomorrow, there might not be a chance for us to go to the dungeon together.” (Hikaru)
Even if the subjugation is done the day after tomorrow, there would only be 2 days left.
If it gets longer than that, there really wouldn’t be any time at all for dungeon exploration.
“B-But…uhm…has your objective been accomplished, Hikaru? The exploration itself was going well, but I noticed that you were in a hurry, as if you were being chased by something, you know?” (Rifreya)
“I haven’t accomplished it… But that can’t be helped.” (Hikaru)
“Then, what will you do?” (Rifreya)
“For now, the party is disbanded, I guess. That’s a shame though.” (Hikaru)
Rifreya was shocked by those words and she looked down.
I am also sad about this. However, from now on, it is my adventure alone.
5 days remaining.
If I can defeat the Demon Lord, I should be able to get 1st place in the Viewer Count Race.
No, I don’t have to defeat it. What’s important is to challenge it.
“But you will be diving into the dungeon again once the Demon Lord is defeated, right-nyan? At that time, I would like you to hire me again-nya. I have never gotten a party as good as this until nyow, so I would be sad-nya.” (Grapefull)
“Yeah, I do intend to do that. I don’t know any other lifestyle after all.” (Hikaru)
“Then that’s fine-nyan. I won’t be called to be a scout till the Demon Lord subjugation is done, so hire me after that. It is a promise-nyan.” (Grapefull)
She laughed and stuffed her cheeks with shrimp.
Well, she is a comrade, but she is hired.
She must have experienced many parties disbanding.
“…So cruel. Even though you know my feelings, you are talking about disbanding…” (Rifreya)
Rifreya mutters complaints while still facing down.
I originally had her help me out for 2 weeks. Now that it has come to this, I feel like it can’t be helped, but it looks like she doesn’t like this.
“I unreasonably delayed your return home, so I have no choice but to end it now that the time has already ended, right?” (Hikaru)
“Saying it has ended is just…!” (Rifreya)
“Sorry, I didn’t choose my words well there. But Rifreya, you will be returning to your country to become a Templar, right? I delayed that, so I can’t just have you stay with me for my own convenience.” (Hikaru)
“…But I still can’t use Photon Ray, you know?” (Rifreya)
“But you said you wouldn’t be training in the dungeon anymore, right?” (Hikaru)
If she won’t train in the dungeon, there’s no point in dungeon diving.
She should be able to train even after returning to her home. Her battle power itself towers above others, so she might even be able to pass the test.
“…Can’t I…to stay with you?” (Rifreya)
She asks me with an upward glance.
I steel myself here.
“I honestly want to be with you. I am happy that you said that to me, and it would make me happy to continue exploring with you… But I can’t. I have my circumstances.” (Hikaru)
“Are those circumstances…something that you can’t tell me…?” (Rifreya)
“Once…everything is over, I will tell you. I promise.” (Hikaru)
“Once it is over… I see, got it… Promise, okay?” (Rifreya)
Telling her about my circumstances would mean that I have to tell her that, even at this moment, she is being watched by all of Earth.
And the fact that I am being accused of being the killer of Nanami…no, hated as her killer. I don’t know what kind of eyes are directed at her simply from the fact that she is with me.
…A pitiful girl that doesn’t know anything and is being utilized by the killer?
…Or maybe it is hate the boss, hate the company. Just for being my comrade, she is hated too.
The reality of this is that seeing her beautiful face, clouding at the fact that we are separating, was making me not want to part from her.
Is this childish possessiveness, or some ethical pride? It is not clear for me, but whichever the case, I can’t be with her.
Grapefull as well, I probably won’t be teaming up with her again.
No matter the results of the Viewer Count Race…
No matter if I live…
Or if I die…
I will be walking that path ahead alone…