The dull sound of antique clocks rang in the mansion.
22 of them.
It is the clock that notifies you that it is midnight.
Pushing away that somewhat ominous sound of it, Mitsuki spoke.
“Is this really the underwater city?” (Mitsuki)
“Yeah. It is understandable that no one could find the location of the underwater city. The world inside this case is the city called the underwater city.” (Souma)
There’s a glass case big enough for me to wrap both of my arms completely in front of me.
You can see a miniature city inside this case filled with water.
But there’s no opening at all in this case.
As far as one can see, it looks as if it is impossible to interact with this smooth surface.
But this is a magic item.
Considering the size issue too, there’s no way you can use normal means to enter it.
“Well, showing you would be faster. Everyone, come here and place your hand on top of this.” (Souma)
Everyone including the Bear touched the glass case of the Underwater City.
(Hm? I feel like I am forgetting something…) (Souma)
That thought crossed my mind for a moment, but…
(No, right now we have to hurry.) (Souma)
I don’t want to waste much time.
I snap back into it and try to speak out in the clearest tone I can muster.
“—To where the water dragon resides!” (Souma)
I blacked out for an instant.
For a second, it felt as if the world had expelled us, or as if we had disappeared. It was a strange and hard to describe sensation.
It felt somewhat similar to the time when I first entered this world.
(I see, so this is how it feels to teleport.) (Souma)
I looked around as I felt this.
The sight in my eyes was not that of the western style mansion I have already grown used to living in.
What’s covering all directions is water.
A sight as if we had entered an aquarium spread before my eyes.
That’s right, this is inside the glass case already.
We are in the Underwater City.
Anyways, it would be best to confirm the safety of everyone first.
Thinking this, I searched for everyone and…
“Is everyone…ah.” (Souma)
That’s when I finally remembered what I had forgotten.
My comrades were making shocked expressions.
Within those, there’s of course ‘her’ who has cat ears.
Because we suddenly appeared inside the water, her clothes are now sticking tightly to her body like before…
A feminine scream came out from Mitsuki as our underwater adventure began.
This underwater city quest happens in midgame, so the level of the dungeon is around 130.
The level of the enemies is by no means high, but as long as it is an underwater dungeon, you could say the difficulty has shot up drastically.
It is true that you won’t feel pain from lacking oxygen thanks to how the game works, and even without goggles, you can see normally.
However, your movements will dull slightly from the water resistance, and even now, our HP is decreasing at an astounding rate.
At this moment when I can’t confirm the HP in the menu screen, it is possible to die with one moment of leniency in the healing.
Especially in this dungeon where it isn’t possible to use items like the Teleport Stone to escape.
In order to get out, you have to reach the outer walls of the dungeon -the glass wall- and speak the keywords ‘to the land of light’ while touching it.
There’s also an assisting mechanism where there’s a number of big bubbles of air in the resting points, and if you enter them, your HP gets automatically restored over time.
In other words, the basic clear method of this dungeon is to quickly go from one air bubble to another to recover your HP. Due to this, the speed at which you defeat your enemies and your own movement speed is important.
It is important, but…
“This is…troubling.” (Souma)
Mitsuki, who is supposed to be the main force in that front, has been rendered out of commission before the battle even began.
I did try alleviating the problem for now by lending her extra armor I had, but…
“…Mitsuki, are you okay?” (Ringo)
She was completely weakened to the point that it even worried the silent Ringo.
As for Maki…
“Aah, I see. Cats do hate baths.” (Maki)
She was nodding there, but I don’t know about that.
I think it is more likely because of her clothes getting transparent or her cat tail being seen, so getting wet must have become a trauma for her.
Whichever the case, what’s certain here is that Mitsuki is bad with water fields. She currently has a pale white face that doesn’t have a shred of her usual dignified appearance, and her cat ears were telling fluently ‘I want…to go hwome…’.
That’s not the only factor that’s lowering our battle power here.
Fortunately, Ringo seems to be doing well even in the water. Rather, she is looking around as if finding all of this novel and couldn’t find anything off about her, but I asked her to hold back on using Lightning Strike in the water.
As the name Lightning Strike states, it is an electricity based attack.
It is set as a physical normal attack, so I don’t think there will be a problem, but I can’t deny the possibility of an electric shock the moment she uses it.
It would be safer to not take any unnecessary risks.
Also, there’s another person who is flustered inside the water. There’s one idiot wearing a black robe and looking like he would be drowning on a whole lot of water.
“Guh! I knew it. The truly fearsome things are the threats that can’t be seen with the naked eye!!
It is coiling around me as if vengeful spirits are swarming on me, stealing away the freedom of my body!
But for someone like me who has been blessed with power of the wicked and has made darkness my dwelling, such fetters…” (Sazan)
Sazan has been making noise for a while now.
What he is saying is mostly nonsense, but as displeasing as it may be, you begin to understand what he is saying after getting used to it.
According to my Sazan language translation engine that has been polished by my gaming days, he said this: “T-The robe is sucking the water and it is heavy! B-But I won’t lose!”
He always exaggerates in whatever he does.
I thought ‘just take those clothes off already’, but there’s actually someone who is receiving the effects of the water the most strongly in the physical meaning.
“Bear, are you…okay?” (Souma)
It is the Bear whose whole body is made from water absorbent material.
Just when I thought the Bear had dragged its heavy body and climbed my body…
“Ah, oi?!” (Souma)
It entered my Adventurer Bag at my waist without even my permission.
Despite knowing that my voice was not going to be reaching, I still let out a baffled voice.
“Anything goes with you, huh…” (Souma)
If I remember correctly, you can’t put living things in there, but maybe it is categorized as inanimate because it is a plushie?
The Bear easily entered the bag and disappeared.
I want to know whether it is an NPC or an item already.
Anyways, this is how everyone is carrying issues here, so the only ones who can fight normally here are probably me and Maki.
Now that it has come to this, there’s no choice but for us two to do our best.
I directed a ‘I am counting on you’ gaze to Maki, but…
“S-Souma, you pervert!” (Maki)
That gaze of mine didn’t transmit at all, and she covered her chest with both arms.
When I saw that, instead of being pissed by the misunderstanding, it made me sad.
(Why is it that I only get weirdos as my companions…?) (Souma)
I was getting dizzy here, but regardless, what’s most imperative right now is to obtain items with the underwater attribute.
I swallowed my complaints and shouted.
“Anyways, time is of essence. We are blasting through!” (Souma)
As I said in the beginning, this Underwater City quest is a quest that shows up in the middle part of the story.
The final objective here is to obtain the item that’s in the treasury room at the center of the dungeon.
The treasury room is in the biggest building of the Underwater City, and going straight there from the starting point may look like the shortest route, but there’s black water swirling about in its surroundings.
The players call this Poison Sludge and it is troublesome stuff. If you enter that without any countermeasures, you get hit with Damage over Time, Blind, and Lowered Movement Speed. And at the end, you get pushed back by the water current.
If you try to get through this Poison Sludge normally, you won’t ever be getting through it, and before you do that, you would need to obtain the equipment that’s for exclusive use in this place, the Water Dragon Ring that can nullify the Poison Sludge.
The normal flow of things would be to go to the corner of the opposite side of the city to get the Water Current Ring, equip it to get through the Poison Sludge, and defeat the guardian of the treasury room, Poseidal.
In this treasury room, aside from the Unique Item, the Water Dragon Necklace, that gives the underwater aptitude to the wearer, there’s also the quest item, Water Jewel.
Or more like, the main objective in a normal playthrough would be to obtain the Water Jewel, and the other things are just extras.
But if you have an item you get from the time stopped people, you can take a shortcut for the quest of the Water Jewel.
This time around, I am not concentrating on the Water Jewel at all.
That said, if we are going to be getting the Water Dragon Necklace, we will be getting the Water Jewel too, and I know pretty much the whole path of this dungeon by heart.
I was thinking that, but I was too naive.
I didn’t notice the big problems that my party has.
The fatal weak point of my party is…
“Everyone, don’t get too far from me. There’s water currents in some parts here, so you will end up washed away to weird places if you aren’t careful.” (Souma)
“Ah, w-what’s this? My body is being washed away! Stop it! I am the great mage, Saza—uwaaaah!!!” (Sazan)
“As we advance in this dungeon, our HP will slowly be drained. It would take time to heal if we stop moving, so let’s hurry as much as we can—” (Souma)
“Fu-Fumu, allow this great mage Sazan to give a proposal here. U-Uhm, my legs have tired, so I would like to take it a bit slower, you know…just kidding…” (Sazan)
“I command you as the great mage and owner of the strongest fire, Sazan, bring about the hellfire of the dark—” (Sazan)
“We have defeated the enemy a long time ago! Or more like, even if you use fire magic here, it won’t have any effect!” (Souma)
“This great mage Sazan commands, oh peak of the water, bring about a great flood from the accursed darkness—” (Sazan)
“As I’m telling you, your chants are way too long! Or more like, the enemies have resistance to water magic, so it won’t be effective!” (Souma)
—The existence of Sazan.
If there’s a trap, he would fall for it; if there’s an enemy, he would make a long chant, slowing our progress speed; and even when there’s nothing happening, he would whine that he can’t walk.
It is a sight I have been shown thoroughly in the game days, but he is so useless here, it makes me wonder just what was the splendid attitude he showed me at the mansion.
(Damn it! Even though I can’t afford to dawdle here for the sake of defeating the Demon Lord…) (Souma)
I thought this Underwater City would be easy, but because of Sazan, even though it has been more than 1 hour since we departed, we still haven’t been able to reach the other side of the city.
At the moment when my irritation had reached its peak, Sazan spoke once again.
“Hmph! If you are so bothered by me, s-shouldn’t you just do ‘that’?” (Sazan)
“What’s ‘that’?” (Souma)
I answered without hiding my bad mood.
Sazan faltered for a second at my tone, but he said it in the end.
“You know…you can just carry me on your back again, right?!” (Sazan)
This guy…this guy…just how much does he plan on pulling our legs?!
I was on the verge of snapping at the words of Sazan, the future looking pitch black.