Arifureta - Volume 5 - Chapter 7
Chapter 7 : The Person Inside the Golem
Inside a certain room, pale light was faintly emitted by the walls, and the shadows of three people close to the wall were cast. It was Hajime, Yue, and Shia.
Yue was on Hajime's right side, while Shia was on his left, and they sat while leaning against his shoulders. Although silence filled the room, if one focused their ears 'suu- suu-,' sounds could be heard. It was Yue and Shia's breathing. They were both embracing one of Hajime's arms and slept using his shoulders as a substitute for a pillow.
Today marks one week since Hajime and his party entered the dungeon of Raisen. During that time, a lot of traps and annoying sentences continued to exhaust their bodies and minds. They had been returned to the starting point seven times, attacked by lethal traps 48 times, and other meaningless traps for 169 times. Even though at first their hearts were filled with anger toward Miledi Raisen, after four days had passed it looked like their mental states became, ’’No matter what appears next, it doesn't matter~’’
They had an abundance of rations, and their bodies' specs made it so that they wouldn't easily die were the fortune within their misfortune . Now, they were resting after advancing, searching for clues all the while. As a result, they understood the pattern of the structure alteration. Using ’’mark,’’ they were able to confirm where those blocks were repositioned.
There might be additional progress from now on. While he thought that, Hajime turned toward the girls that slept on his sides.
’’They sleep so comfortably... ... isn't this a Great Dungeon?’’
Hajime's murmur mixed with a wry smile resounded. He had stayed up for a long time as the lookout. Hajime quietly released his arm that somehow got embraced, and stroked Yue's hair. A slight smile could be seen. Hajime's eyes also slightly reverted to their former state.
Next, he changed his glance to Shia on the other side. She splendidly drooled on Hajime's shoulder while ’’munya munya,’’ she moved her mouth, and it truly was a slackened sleeping expression. He remembered that she also wanted her head patted, so he quietly stroked Shia's hair. Immediately, he felt the rabbit ears' fluffiness. It was followed by her showing a loosened expression that she doesn't show even under normal circumstances. It was a truly relieved expression. For the most part, it only occurs when Hajime was on lookout, well, it could be said that she'd feel relieved when Hajime was by her side.
Hajime who gently stroked the blue-hued gray hair, as well as the rabbit ears, showed a complex expression.
’’Geez, just what's good about someone like me... ... that you would follow me, even here...’’
He looked at Shia with tender eyes while throwing abusive words at himself. The thing that Shia sought could be compared to the feelings that Yue had. Even so, Shia's positive attitude, cheerfulness, and how she cried but never gave up... ... greatly attracted Hajime's fancy. As a result, his strokes became even gentler. And, at that time, Shia who ’’munya munya,’’ started to talk in her sleep.
’’Munya... ... Au... ... Hajime-san, how bold~, to do it outside~, ... ... everyone will be able to see~’’
Hajime who looked at her with gentle eyes immediately erased his smile. He gently used both hands, and quietly moved them, to pinch Shia's nose and close her mouth. Shia's calm expression gradually changed to a painful one, but he didn't mind it and kept doing it.
’’Nn~, nn? Nnh~!? Nnn-!! Nn-!! Puhah! Haa, haa, wh-what are you doing!? Even though it was an attack while I sleep, it has the wrong meaning!’’
Shia who ’’zeha zeha,’’ panted, woke up then fiercely protested, Hajime turned toward her with cold eyes.
’’Well? Inside your mind, what kind of a pervert am I? What will you do outside? Nn?’’
’’Eh? ... ... hah, that was a dream!? Why~, even though Hajime-san finally became dere, it was impossible to suppress the pathos that gushed out, and the bashfulness of me that writhes in agony because of those words, finally decided in publi- hebuh!?’’
Without listening to anymore of it, Hajime used strengthening to flick her forehead. Shia became face up because of the big impact, and the back of her head hit the wall behind her, hard;which result in her squatting with teary eyes. As expected, her shameless character always slips out.
While rubbing the back of her head, Shia muttered, ’’Somehow I felt something happy happened, but is it just my imagination?’’ Probably, she unconsciously felt Hajime patting her. However, because he had known she would get carried away if he told her the truth, Hajime decided to ignore her.
Because Shia woke up (although by force), Hajime gently shook Yue to wake her up. Yue ’’... ...Nn u... ...Au?’’, let out that lovely voice while slowly opening her eyes. Then, with a blank expression she looked upward and confirmed Hajime was there, once again, she rubbed her mouth on Hajime's shoulder, then she quietly parted from Hajime and straightened her appearance.
’’Uu, Yue-san is so cute... ... this is how a girl wakes up~, compared to her I was...’’
Shia began becoming depressed this time, and Yue looked at her in wonder, only to let out an explanation, ’’because it was Shia after all.’’
’’Look, from the beginning you understood the overwhelming difference in battle power (girl power), right? Rather than being depressed, start doing some soul searching.’’
’’... ... What gentleness, you didn't drop it somewhere?’’
’’... ...? Hajime didn't drop anything like that.’’
’’Gusuh, only to Yue-san. Damn.’’
Shia stood up after some soul searching. Yue and Hajime were also ready. This time, they prayed that they wouldn't be returned to the starting point, and so the trio resumed their dungeon conquest.
Once again, because there will be a lot of unpleasant traps and annoying sentences, they cleared their mind and soul.
Then, Hajime and his party reached a room that they had only visited once, even after a week. It was the room with golem knights that made them remember how mad they were when they got returned to the starting point the first time. However, this time the sealed door was opened from the start, and inside was not a room but a passage.
’’This is... ... it'd be troublesome if they encircle us again. Let's rush to the open door at once!’’
Hajime and his party broke into the golem knights' room at once. When they approached the center of the room, as expected, 'gashan gashan,' the sound of golem knights rushing out from the recesses on both sides of the walls resounded. From the start, they ran forward while kicking and shooting those golem knights;which bought them some time, while Hajime and his party ran faster still, to reach the altar before being caught by the golem knights' encirclement. Although the golem knights rushed after them, they were unable to catch up to Hajime and his party that had already passed the door. Having successfully escaped, Hajime was grinning.
However, Hajime's smile vanished in the next moment. This time the golem knights also passed through the door, chasing after them. Also...
’’Wha-!? They can run on the ceiling!?’’
’’... ... Surprising’’
’’Gravity-san please do your work~!’’
That's right, the golem knights that chased them, as if ignoring gravity, were running on the walls and ceiling, giving off 'gashan gashan,' sounds of moving heavy armor. Because of this, even Hajime and his party were surprised by it. Hajime immediately looked at the passage then used ’’Mineral Appraisal,’’ but all materials were already known. He didn't detect any minerals that could neutralize gravity, or any with adhesive nature.
’’How did they do that?’’
Those were the unintentional mutterings that leaked out from his mouth. And once more he took a peek at the golem knights behind him, becoming even more surprised as he turned around.
One of the golem knights on the ceiling was running while 'pyon,' jumping, and like a cannonball it advanced with tremendous momentum toward them while jumping in mid-air.
’’W-wha-!? Shitty bastard!’’
Hajime let out a surprised voice then fired Donner rapidly. The bullets fired accompanied by flashes, and the golem knight's helmet and shoulders were destroyed. The golem knight's headpiece separated from the body, and the large sword and shield were also dropped. However, without falling to the ground, it advanced toward Hajime and his party as is.
They avoided the golem knight's head, body, large sword, and shield that came fast and furiously by jumping and bending their bodies. The wreckage of the golem knight passed Hajime and his party, flew towards the walls and ceiling without reducing its momentum, and then crashed and rolled around on the floor.
’’Oioi, isn't that...’’
’’Nn... ... it looks like it ’’fell’’.’’
’’Gravity-san is at work, I understand.’’
It was just as represented by Yue's and Shia's words. Apparently, those golem knights were able to control gravity. Although no one understood why they didn't use it last time, probably because previously it was a room, they might be only able to use it after the room changed into a passage.
While making that hypothesis, Hajime and his party were interrupted by golem knights that ’’fell.’’ Some of them approached while spinning their large swords as if they were pinwheels in a veteran-like manner. Hajime and his party used gunfire and ’’Rupture’’ for ranged attacks, while Shia struck those that drew near, and they advanced without stopping.
After a while, Hajime and his party felt a different presence from those knights.
’’Muu... ... Hajime.’’
’’Aa, I know. Because this dungeon can reconstruct itself, it must be something like that.’’
’’W-we are surrounded.’’
After falling golem knights, next was the reconstruction to come down. Hajime and his party decided to wait for the platoon to come. The knights came with shields raised and moved gallanty, as if they had become a wall. The golem knights created a two-row formation, where the knight in the back supported the defending knight in front. Perhaps they had learned that with only a single row they'd be crushed with sheer power.
’’Tch, how troublesome.’’
While clicking his tongue, Hajime put Donner-Schlag back into their holsters. After that, he took out one weapon from ’’Treasure Box.’’
In his hands was a weapon with rectangular shape and 12 rotating barrels, the Rocket &Missile Launcher : Orkan. The rockets themselves were 30 cm in length, each of them had more destructive power than the usual grenade. Using Creation magic, the warheads were installed with stones that could generate ’’Lightning-clad,’’ because these stones constantly generate static electricity, they were cobbled together with combustion powder that'd be ignited by the warhead upon contact.
Hajime was grinning while he fixed Orkan to his side.
’’Yue, Shia! Cover your ears! I'll blow them up!’’
’’Ee~ what was that!?’’
Shia who saw Orkan's bizarreness for the first time could only open her eyes wide. Yue was the first to thrust her index fingers into her ears.
Shia's rabbit ears 'pinh,' stood upright;unconcerned, Hajime pulled Orkan's trigger.
Along with that sound, the rocket was launched, leaving trails of sparks behind. It was aimed at the platoon of golem knights that laid in wait, then it hit.
In the next moment a roaring sound came along with a large explosion. The pressure that came from igniting a large amount of compressed combustion powder greatly shook the passage. The golem knights that were in the line of fire and received a direct hit, were violently thrown against the walls on both sides, as well as the ceiling. They were destroyed to the point that they didn't even resemble their original forms. It'd take a fair bit of time for them to be reconstructed.
Hajime and his party jumped over the wreckage of the fallen golem knights at once.
’’Rabbit ears were-~, my rabbit ears were-~!!’’
While Hajime and his party ran, Shia folded her rabbit ears and held them with both hands in agony with teary eyes. The Rabbitman tribe had... ... the most excellent hearing among the demi-human race after all.
’’That's why I said to close your ears.’’
’’Ee? What is it? I can't hear you.’’
’’... ... truly, a shameless rabbit...’’
Although Hajime and Yue looked at Shia with amazed expressions, Shia who was in agony couldn't noticed it.
After dealing with golem knights that had come falling once again, they ran through the passage for five minutes. Finally, they saw the end. Ahead of the passage was a huge and broad room. The road itself was broken, and they could see a square scaffold 10 meters ahead.
’’Yue, Shia! Jump!’’
Hearing Hajime's shout, Yue and Shia (who somehow recovered) nodded. At their backs, the golem knights kept coming down. While they tried to intercept, Hajime and his party that kept avoiding them reached the end of the passage and jumped.
The jumping power of Hajime and his party who used body strengthening far outstripped olympic athletes. Hajime and his party easily broke the world record and jumped to the square before them.
But, it was a characteristic of this Great Dungeon that nothing comes out as expected. Somehow, in front of Hajime and his party that jumped, drawing a parabolic arc, 'shii-,' the square block began to move.
Hajime raised the shout that he had let out many times in this dungeon. Because the distance they judge was altered, they will fall at this rate. They took a peek below and saw that it was quite deep. When he prepared to shoot out the anchor, Yue's voice immediately rang out.
Using the updraft from wind magic, Hajime and his party's jump distance extended. Even though it was only for a moment, it was enough. He somehow succeeded catching the edge of the block that was still moving even now. Using the spikes on his artificial arm to secure him in place, Hajime was hanging with Yue and Shia clinging to him.
’’As expected of Yue-san!’’
’’... ... Praise me more.’’
While unconsciously smiling because they had avoided the fall, Hajime and Shia praised Yue. Yue who had consumed a large amount of magic power was a little tired, but showed a triumphant mood.
However, that peaceful atmosphere was disrupted by the golem knights that came flying. That's right, the golem knights were flying in the air. They probably controlled gravity so that they wouldn't fall. They approached Hajime and his party who were currently hanging, with tremendous momentum.
’’kh!? Yue, Shia climb me!’’
While issuing that order Hajime took out Donner and rapidly shot at the approaching golem knights. Yue and Shia climbed up Hajime's body which was still moving along with the block. Then Hajime raised his strength to pull himself onto the block using only one arm. Immediately after, the place where Hajime was previously hanging was pierced with large swords that came hurtling with tremendous velocity. Afterwards, Hajime shoots from overhead the golem knights that were stiffened due to post-skill latency.
’’Shit, these guys, I don't know if it was caused by the gravity control, but their movements and tactics became better.’’
’’... ... Perhaps, the cause is here?’’
’’Ahaha, what's with common sense. Isn't everything floating (...)?’’
Just as Shia said, everything in their vicinity was floating.
The place that Hajime and his party had entered was a gigantic spherical room. The diameter itself was more than two kilometers. Inside the room, blocks with all kind of shapes and sizes were floating and 'shii-,' moved irregularly. It was a space that completely ignored gravity. However, for some reason Hajime and his party still felt gravity. Perhaps, only specific materials in this room were not restricted to gravity.
Inside this room, golem knights were able to fly around freely. Their falling directions were controlled after all, as they rapidly turned around. If they were living beings, it wouldn't be weird for them to die due to the tremendous G-force. When he thought how their movements and tactics became better as they approached this space, perhaps...
’’The one who controls the golems might be here, in this room, I think?’’
Hearing Hajime's guess, Yue and Shia also agreed and then stiffened their expressions. No one knew why, but the surrounding golem knights did not attack them. For now, because nothing happened, they observed their surroundings. They didn't know if it was the last destination or if it continued after. However, this room was definitely close to the innermost room, proven by how the golem knights' abilities were improved, and the uniqueness of this room.
Hajime used ’’Farsight’’ to investigate the gigantic, spherical space with his eyes. And, in the next moment, Shia's unease filled voice rang out.
Hajime and Yue, without asking what it was, instantly jumped when they heard Shia's warning. Fortunately a block just passed by several meters ahead of them, allowing them to leave the block they were previously standing on.
A meteorite-like illusion came and it crashed into the block that Hajime and his party were on just a moment ago, blasting it into fine pieces. Meteorite wasn't necessarily the wrong term for it. After all something gigantic made a scorching fall, and with its momentum it destroyed the block, and passed through.
Cold sweat flowed on Hajime's cheeks. He would have received a direct hit from that without Shia's warning. With him being unable to use ’’Vajra,’’ it would be an instant death. He was also unable to sense it coming. But immediately after Shia's warning, he certainly felt the presence. However, with its falling speed it would be impossible to avoid it when he sensed it coming.
’’Shia, you saved us. Thanks.’’
’’... ... nn, a big achievement.’’
’’Ehehe, it was good that ’’Foresight’’ was activated. Although all of my magic was taken instead...’’
Apparently, Shia's special magic, ’’Foresight,’’ activated faster than Hajime's perception was able to sense it. ’’Foresight’’ was able to see the future as a result of Shia's assumed choice if she activated it manually, also, it could activate automatically. Just like this time, it saw through the big danger accompanied with death that affected her directly or indirectly.
In other words, if they received a direct hit, at least Shia would have died from it. With a new feeling of horror, Hajime looked at the meteor-like thing that had passed them. He peeped below from the edge of the block. And, when he thought something moved below, it suddenly flew up with tremendous momentum. It went above them in no time, and while remaining in place, 'ginh,' its eyes shone while glaring at Hajime and his party.
’’... ... So... ... big.’’
’’It's got the feeling of the big boss.’’
Hajime and his party muttered three different impressions of it. Although Yue's remark was a little dangerous, it was still at the limit of tolerance... ... It should be.
What appeared in front of Hajime and his party was a super big golem knight that floated in mid-air. Although the armor was the same, its length should be around 20 meters. Its right hand was burning as if it was a heat knuckle, and it might be what caused the block from before to be blasted to pieces. In its left hand was a chain that made 'jhara jhara,' sounds, equipped with a flail-type Morningstar.
Hajime and his party took their stances as they saw the gigantic golem, and they could hear 'hyun hyun,' sounds from the surrounding golem knights that came flying until finally Hajime and his party were surrounded. The golem knights who stood in line, raised their large swords in front of their chests. It was as if they were saluting their king.
Hajime and his party were completely encircled and could feel their tension raised. Silence filled their surroundings, it was as if it was a critical situation. The moment they move, the game that bet their lives (slaughter) would begin. What destroyed the strained mood that was caused by such a premonition was...
... ... Was the joke-like greeting from the gigantic golem.
’’Yaho~, nice to meet you~, Miledi Raisen that's loved by everyone is here~’’
’’’’’’... ... Ha?’’’’’’