TLN: Heya guys, Reigokai here!
Just here again to recommend you guys to read the Side Story. It may say it is a “Side Story”, but it really feels like it is a necessary read. It enhances the experience of this arc and gives more perspective to the point that it makes me question why it was called a Side Story.
Anyways, that’s all. Enjoy!
(I should have noticed when I passed by Abel and the others in the morning.) (Souma)
Thinking about this, I self-examined myself.
According to what I heard from the greengrocer Oba-chan, the quest that has a forced Game Over, the Sacrifice Dungeon, has begun without me -the player.
In the game, the quest didn’t move until the player entered as the last participant, but in this world, characters move freely to a certain degree.
Saying a part of the authority of the player has moved to the NPCs is a bit of an overstatement, but I should have taken a situation like this into account.
I was so happy about having reunited with Maki that I might have lowered my caution there.
This Sacrifice Dungeon quest that has a forced Game Over is a general term for the two quests: Sacrifice Girl and Ghost Dungeon.
——–TLN: From here on, the ones who have read the Side Story don’t need to read this part. You will see a line below where you can continue.————-
The Sacrifice Girl is a quest where you have to save a kidnapped girl named Lipha by diving inside an underground ruin west of the Saiga Village, and you fight cultists.
The Ghost Dungeon is a quest where you have to defeat the monsters that the cultists have called, you dive into a cave that is east of the Saiga Village, and you fight monsters.
At a glance, both quests are completely different, but the reality is that the west ruins and the east cave simply are different entrances of the same place.
Meaning that you enter from the west with the Sacrifice Girl, and the Ghost Dungeon you enter from the east, but it is the same dungeon.
That’s where the nasty part of this quest comes in.
The participants of the Sacrifice Girl are given a grass necklace quest item, and the participants of the Ghost Dungeon are given a grass bracelet.
They are given to you with the explanation that ‘it has the effect of protecting you from the miasma of the dungeon’, but the actual effect for the grass necklace is ‘see the people who are wearing the grass bracelet as cultists’, and for the grass bracelet ‘you see the people wearing the grass necklace as monsters’.
What would happen in that case?
The participants of the Sacrifice Girl would see the participants of the Ghost Dungeon as cultists, and the participants of the Ghost Dungeon would see the Sacrifice Girl participants as monsters.
When these two groups meet in the dungeon, they will both think they are enemies, and the result is that you will end up having your life offered to the ritual of the cultists.
Actually, these two quests themselves are a trap readied by the villagers of the Saiga Village.
All the villagers of the Saiga Village are either cultists or demons disguised as people. They were trying to revive the ‘Great One’ by making adventurers kill each other to turn into sacrifices.
————–This is where the recap ends————–
I fell right in that trap the first time I did this, ended up fighting the adventurers I got along with, and ended up killing them.
It could still be wrapped up as a funny story in a game, but with this being reality, it would be a completely traumatic experience.
But I fortunately know about it.
I have a countermeasure.
“Maki, all the residents in the Saiga Village northwest of here are cultists. They are trying to revive something fearsome by deceiving adventurers. I want you to dispatch the Knight Order at once and have them head there to suppress them.” (Souma)
I know this is an absurd request, but I have no time to explain.
It is rare to see Maki nod seriously at my words.
“I-I don’t really get it, but got it! I will definitely convince the knights and bring them there! I-It is okay. If push comes to shove, I will use my charms!!” (Maki)
“No, drop that…” (Souma)
I looked worried at Maki who was puffing her chest out.
“Fufu, I can be pretty impressive when I am serious, you know? …*Wink*!” (Maki)
Maki boldly pinched up the apron part of her apron dress!
The dress part of the apron dress was boldly exposed!
…What is she even trying to achieve here?
“O-Oh well, that’s fine. Anyways, it would be a great help. Thanks, Maki.” (Souma)
I know from past experiences that if I get involved with her even more here, I will end up getting stuck, so I wrapped up the talk there.
I can’t rely much on Maki, but I have no choice but to believe in her position as a princess here.
“We will be moving. I will explain while we are running.” (Souma)
Judging from the situation, it seems like the quest has already begun.
I can’t abandon that Sacrifice Dungeon quest.
The danger of that quest shoots up when people who have outstanding strength participate, and it is literally a quest where ‘you can’t survive simply by being strong’.
I actually want to move using KB Cancel, but if I were to shoot Air Hammer consecutively at this stage, I will end up running out of MP in the middle.
I advance with Godstep Cancel as I explain the basic gist of the quest to the two.
As always, I couldn’t tell them my information source and simply told them the conclusion, but they all listened to me without a complaint.
To be more precise, Ringo listened spaced-out until the end, Mitsuki’s cat ears were shaking as if saying ‘this really is suspicious’ as she listened, and the Bear would smack my head every now and then which I don’t know if to take that as listening to what I am saying or not.
It seems like it has taken a liking to clinging to the back of my head, but maybe it is using me as a horse or something.
Leaving aside the Bear, the plan from here on is this one.
We will first charge into the underground dungeon at full speed, convince the quest participants, and avoid the killing.
We were pretty late in departing, but that side should have their time taken by them moving in a carriage and the explanation of the quest.
We could still make it in time.
After entering the dungeon and stopping the adventurers, we wait for the arrival of the Knight Order and Maki while staying at the dungeon.
The quest itself can be accepted when you are low level, and the demons and cultists in the Saiga Village aren’t that strong.
The Knight Order should be able to easily suppress them.
There’s a reason why we are not going to be heading directly to the village and doing the suppressing ourselves.
There’s a bug, or more like, they cut corners in it. If you advance the quest normally, you definitely won’t be able to save the Sacrifice Girl, Lipha.
This girl Lipha is being locked up inside the dungeon as bait for the adventurers and one of the sacrifices.
When they notice that the adventurers figured out the scheme of the Saiga Village, she will end up getting teleported to the altar of sacrifice.
In a normal game, after you defeat the cultists, you would go to the sacrifice altar and save Lipha, but the map for the sacrifice altar was not implemented in the game, so it is impossible to save her because of system limitations.
There was no solution in the game, but it is different in this world.
Lipha gets teleported to the altar when the adventurers notice the scheme of the cultists and try to leave the dungeon.
Then, we can have the adventurers stay in the dungeon, and have a different group suppress the village.
With that, Lipha won’t be sent to the altar, and we should be able to save her as a result.
But that’s only after we stop the quest participants.
Or more like, if we don’t, not only Lipha, the whole world might perish here.
(Well, I don’t really know the details for that one at all though.) (Souma)
I certainly did get a game over in the game, but I don’t know what exactly happened to the world.
There’s the chance that it will end with only me dying, or it might actually just straight up destroy the world.
However, thinking about how this world adjusts itself now that it has become real, there’s the chance that ‘what will be revived is something so dangerous that no resident in this world can do anything about it, which will result in the world perishing’. I feel like that’s the most natural conclusion.
Well, I can hypothesize all I want here, but what I can say for sure is that nothing good will happen.
I must stop that from happening no matter what.
“We are soon going to arrive at the Saiga Village.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki warns us with a sharp voice.
Hearing this, not only me, but even Ringo’s expression turned serious.
The Bear also smacks my cheek as if spurring me on.
I appreciate the sentiment, but its hand is so fluffy it actually relaxed me.
“Let’s enter the dungeon in a way that the villagers don’t find us. Mitsuki, what’s the location of Raiden?” (Souma)
“Already at the west side of the dungeon. He is currently heading to the center.” (Mitsuki)
This is bad.
But clashes normally happen close to the center.
That they are moving must mean that the worst case scenario at least hasn’t happened.
“We will enter from the west side too. From here on, we are going full speed without stopping. We might be leaving you behind, Ringo…” (Souma)
“…It is okay. I will catch up.” (Ringo)
The words I let out with guilt were easily shot down.
With this, I can move at full speed without worrying.
“Over here!” (Souma)
My MP should be able to keep up now.
I begin moving using KB Cancel.
I guide Mitsuki and we head to the entrance of the dungeon.
There were no watches at the entrance. How careless.
At the wall…
There were those light figures.
It is the same as the game.
There’s no doubt this is the entrance.
“Let’s hurry!” (Souma)
I told this to Mitsuki and we jumped into the dungeon where miasma drifts about.
I don’t know how many times I have repeated this quest.
It is hard to say whether those were good memories, but thanks to that, I have a pretty good mental map of the dungeon.
“Let’s head to the center for now. If you feel the presence of people nearby, please take over on guiding instead, Mitsuki.” (Souma)
Saying this, I decide to head to the center first and…
“There’s someone nearby.” (Mitsuki)
“All of a sudden?!!” (Souma)
That plan was soon scrapped.
But we can’t just leave that be.
“Over here.” (Mitsuki)
I followed after Mitsuki who ran off.
We ran in the dungeon, turned a few corners, and the one who appeared in front of us was…
The idiotic genius mage who wears a mask and is facing down dejected, Sazan.
Sazan was dumbfounded for a while after seeing us, but soon regained energy.
“Hoh? I don’t know what you guys are, but knowing my name makes you promising. Fufufu, consider yourself lucky. If you so wish, I can make an exception and—” (Sazan)
They began spitting nonsense.
“Who cares!! More importantly, why are you here alone?” (Souma)
I cut them off and asked them this, and Sazan averted their masked face.
“Fuh! The evil warding talisman created by the common people is not effective in the face of mine dark powers. The moment the warding powers yielded to mine great darkness, I—” (Sazan)
“Aah, in other words, you were the only one who broke your Evil Warding Grass Decoration, and ran away because you got scared.” (Souma)
“T-That’s not it!!” (Sazan)
Now that I look closely, he doesn’t have the grass necklace around their neck.
That’s supposed to be a necklace that protects you from the miasma of the dungeon, so Sazan hurriedly tried to get out of the dungeon when they broke it.
“Perk up your ears and listen. The pitch black dark destiny I tread on…” (Sazan)
They are still saying something weird here, but if they have taken off their grass necklace, then there’s no danger.
It should be okay to leave them be.
“Oh well, we are in a hurry here, so see ya.” (Souma)
I tried to hurry off, but…
“W-Wait! Are you going to leave me in a place like this?” (Sazan)
They grabbed my leg and stopped me.
“Let go! I don’t have the time to deal with you!” (Souma)
“N-No, I won’t let go! I can’t get out of this dungeon on my own. I won’t let go until you get me out of this dark, scary, and humid place!” (Sazan)
They are getting angry at me instead.
This is why I hate this person.
“We have to hurry to the center of the dungeon! How are we going to bring you?!” (Souma)
When I shouted this…
“I don’t care! That’s why you…” (Sazan)
Sazan brought out a surprising plan.
“Raiden is a hopeless idiot. He is a pervert that rushes into scenarios that one would definitely retreat from. I don’t like people that have no shred of intelligence. Fights should be done with elegance. Using fire magic or stuff like that really is the best. But that idiot that doesn’t understand the beauty of battle would always complain to me. Good grief, what is he getting all angry for just because he simply got caught in my spells a few dozens of times? Seriously, what an incomprehensible fool.” (Sazan)
They took advantage of my silence to spit out annoying complaints.
That’s right. What Sazan proposed here was to bring them while carrying them.
I very reluctantly accepted that request, and decided to move on ahead with Sazan on my back, but…
“Baccarat is also hopeless. I don’t know why, but he is really strict with me. Even though he is so clingy with others, taking care of them to an annoying extent, he takes an attitude as if I am the only one who he finds a pain when I approach him. I think he acts like that because he knows and is jealous of my insurmountable talent in magic. A person with such narrow views is truly hopeless. Hopeless hopeless.
Because of how annoying his jealousy was, I threw in some super spicy seasoning on his food the other day.
…He got really angry at me after that.
Narrow-minded people really are hopeless.” (Sazan)
Because of the increase in weight, my movement speed dropped sharply, and on top of that, they have been complaining nonstop since a while now and it is annoying to an unbearable extent.
“I want Alex to reflect. He is my first comrade before meeting Raiden and Baccarat. In other words, a sworn friend. And yet, there are times when he would act as if he had forgotten about me.
No, it is not like I feel lonely, you know?
But as a battle friend and–bohyu?!
I-I bit my tongue there!
Your back really is such a bad ride!!” (Sazan)
Now they are even complaining about my back not being a comfortable ride.
What’s with this endlessly annoying creature?
The Bear who is stationed at my head was smacking my cheeks as if complaining about the monologue unfolding at my back that had its annoyance setting turned up to max.
The cat ears of Mitsuki who were by my side were twitching as if criticizing me with ‘why did you pick that up?’.
I couldn’t endure that pressure and ended up justifying myself here.
“No, even if this person is like this, they are comrades, so it would be faster to convince them with this person here, right?” (Souma)
For some reason, Raiden tried to make it so other quest participants were not involved with Sazan much, so they might not notice that Sazan is their own comrade, but Raiden and Alex shouldn’t mistake their own party member.
My movement speed dropping hurts, but fast movement skills are hard to use in a complex dungeon in the first place.
Even if our speed drops a little bit here, I thought that bringing this when convincing Raiden and the others would serve as a positive, but I might have been overly hasty.
I have at least explained the situation to Sazan even if a bit simplified.
Even though Sazan should know the situation now, they are still taking this attitude.
It even makes me think this person might be incredible in a certain sense.
But that hellish time came to an end.
“We are now close to Raiden. There’s also the presence of several people deeper in. It seems like a battle…still hasn’t happened.” (Mitsuki)
The long awaited report of Mitsuki.
Looks like we made it in time.
“No…there’s also one other group close to here. It seems to be the Ghost Dungeon group.” (Mitsuki)
It seems like we were closer than I imagined.
There’s the chance that battles will break out whenever any side sees the other.
And so, we catch sight of an adventurer group in front of us.
They must be the participants of the Sacrifice Girl.
(This is bad!!) (Souma)
They have their weapons ready and have a dangerous atmosphere around them.
I don’t know about the other side, but this side seems to have already found the participants of the Ghost Dungeon.
I can’t waste a single moment here.
“Mitsuki, can I leave the Ghost Dungeon side to you?” (Souma)
Her reliable response gave me strength.
“Then, I leave that side to you. As for me…I will take this one!!” (Souma)
I used Ground Compression which I hadn’t used until now because we were inside a dungeon.
I accelerate in one go towards the adventurers!
“And after that I—byuh! H-Hey, if you are going to ramp up the speed, at least tell me!” (Sazan)
I ignore the complaints at my back, and stand in front of the adventurers.
First, concentrate on stopping them, on diverting their attention from the participants of the Ghost Dungeon.
([Step][Side Slash][Step][High Step][Air Hammer], [Step][High Step][Ground Compression]!!) (Souma)
I weave through the group of adventurers that have their weapons out, and step in front of their path while drawing their attention.
I canceled the last Ground Compression by crashing onto the wall which made the Bear crash onto the wall too. The Bear protested about it, but I don’t have the time to deal with it.
“W-What’s with you?!!”
The bearded man at the front raised his voice as if scared.
I raised my voice as if appealing to him.
“Everyone, please lower your weapons! The cultists that you saw are illusions shown by real cultists!! The real cultists are elsewhere!!” (Souma)
Will it transmit…?
I was uneasy, but the bearded man nodded at my words.
“…I see. I get it now.”
The adventurer that’s most likely his comrade got flustered, but the bearded man called Rad wasn’t fazed by it.
He looked at me and nodded once again.
“The real cultists are elsewhere, right? I get it real well. In other words…you are the real cultist!!”
Is what I thought, but he came out with a crazy conclusion.
“Why did it end up like that?! I simply—” (Souma)
“Shut up! Seeing your movements just now, even a child would be able to tell that you are not human! You must have sold your soul to the devil, or you might be the devil itself, but you messed up!!”
“Eh, no, wa?!” (Souma)
Rad pressed in while I was confused.
“In the first place, what’s with that stuffed toy that moved on top of your head and the suspicious masked man at your back?! I have not seen a man more suspicious than you in my entire life!!”
“N-No, this is…” (Souma)
W-What should I do…?!
I can’t refute that!!
“Hehe, as expected of Rad! Everyone, get him!!”
All the adventurers ready their weapons at once at the words of the adventurer by the side.
Moreover, they are directed at me…
Me + Bear + Deadweight vs 19 adventurers.
The battle of the century raises its curtains now!!
“Good grief, if you had noticed, say it sooner.”
The curtains weren’t raised.
Raiden, who was at the back of the group, barely came in to stop us.
“Sorry about that. My desire of not wanting to be put in the same group as you guys won over me for a moment there.” (Raiden)
It seems like he actually noticed us at a pretty early stage, but seeing us, he suddenly didn’t feel like wanting to call himself an acquaintance of ours.
It would be one thing if it were the other participants who haven’t had contact with you, but to even have your own party member act as if they don’t know you…as expected of Sazan.
What a fearsome lack of charisma.
On the other hand, it seems like Raiden has an unexpectedly high reputation among the group. The adventurers that were directing their weapons at us were cleanly stopped with just his few words.
Alex doesn’t seem to understand the situation well here, but he somewhat rode in the mood and went.
“So that’s how it was! Damn cultists! Yeah, I thought they were suspicious from the very beginning too!” (Alex)
He simply said whatever he pleased to match.
Of course, most were half in disbelief here, but once we actually show the effects of the necklace and bracelet in person, everyone should believe us.
What’s left is for Mitsuki to convince the other side, but that’s most likely going to be okay.
Mitsuki is apparently famous, so I think she is better than me at convincing people.
Without betraying those expectations…
Mitsuki brought the Ghost Dungeon adventurers here.
There was still unrest within the people that still had the grass bracelet, but maybe they understand the situation, there’s no one with their weapons out.
With this, the forced Game Over has been almost completely avoided.
“Looks like it went well.” (Souma)
I finally relaxed the strength in my shoulders and spoke to Mitsuki.
Mitsuki also has a pretty happy face there…no, cat ears…is what I thought, but the cat ears don’t seem that energetic.
“I managed to convince almost everyone, but…” (Mitsuki)
“Is something the matter?” (Souma)
When I asked this, the cat ears of Mitsuki went ‘it has gotten problematic’ and shriveled as she answered.
“There’s apparently a certain group of 3 that are acting separately. I still haven’t been able to explain it to them.” (Mitsuki)
“…Who are they?” (Souma)
“Abel, Beat, and Cliff.” (Mitsuki)
Those guys, huh.
They really don’t do anything decent.
I don’t really care what happens to them, but if they end up finding Lipha…she would be in danger.
There’s no choice but to search.
When I sighed…
“Aah, uhm, sorry. There’s actually one guy from our team who is acting separately too…” (Raiden)
Raiden brought out even more trouble.
I ask while still having a bad feeling.
“Uhm, who is the one acting alone?” (Souma)
When I did, Raiden made a complicated expression as he gave the worst answer.
In other words…
“One member of our party, Baccarat.” (Raiden)
According to Raiden, not long after Sazan went off, Baccarat said ‘I feel the presence of prey from over here’ and walked off somewhere.
(Why him of all people?!) (Souma)
I desperately endure letting out that shout filled with resentment, and we hurriedly run through the dungeon.
“Mitsuki, please hurry! If they meet, it will be over!!” (Souma)
Baccarat is the strongest when it comes to specs in the Alex party.
His level easily goes over 150.
On the other hand, Abel and his group are simply rival characters in the beginning stages of the capital.
Their levels are barely 70, if even.
Even if it is 3 against 1, it wouldn’t even be a battle.
Moreover, Baccarat would see the ones wearing grass bracelets as cultists…
(At this rate…) (Souma)
My brain shows the worst future for the 3.
I felt something bitter rising from my stomach.
Bear was rubbing my neck as if calming me down, but that won’t be appeasing me.
“You seem to be pretty desperate here. They were the ones who insulted you at the entrance of the capital, right? Would you get that desperate over people like that?” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki probably wants to say that I get too into the people that have been involved with me.
But this is not on that level.
“That’s not it! This is an issue of humanity…no, an issue of male pride!!” (Souma)
When I shouted this, Mitsuki went ‘hmm’ and her cat ears jumped once.
It doesn’t seem like she is convinced, but she isn’t lowering her speed which is something I should be grateful for.
(Make it! Make it in time!!) (Souma)
I prayed as I advanced with the lead of Mitsuki.
A stressful time passed and finally…
“It is close. We should be able to see them soon.” (Mitsuki)
The goal is finally at sight.
But the moment I relaxed a bit there…
From the front…
A scream that resonated in the whole dungeon echoed.
“Could it be…!!” (Souma)
I wring out my low reserves of mana and raise my speed.
But by the time I arrived, everything had ended.
“We…didn’t make it in time, huh…” (Souma)
I muttered this with regret and pity.
Below me were Abel, Beat, and Cliff half-naked.
Their clothes are disheveled, and they are twitching.
And directly at the side of them, there’s a brawny man standing there who noticed me and turned around.
“Oh my? You are quite the nice man too. Have any business with me?”
He is the last member of Alex’s party and one of the strongest adventurers in Nekomimi Neko.
The one that must not be named, hole driller, the Homo Martial Artist.
His special ability that allows him to tell people apart by their muscles and hip-line (exclusively men).
Rose Piercer, Baccarat.