Arifureta - Volume 9 - Chapter 6
Guryuu-en Great Volcano
«Guryuu-en Great Volcano»
It is situated 800 kilometers towards the north of the Dukedom of Ancadi. From what could be seen, it was a huge mountain five kilometers in diameter and 3,000 meters in altitude. It didn't have cone-like appearance similar to those of normal active volcanos. It has dome-like, flat top made of lava, and it would be more appropriate to call it a gigantic hill than a mountain. However, the altitude and scale were just abnormal.
The «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»was commonly known as one of the Seven Great Dungeons. However, unlike «Orcus Great Dungeon», it wasn't much visited by adventurers. It was because of the danger inside and how troublesome it was. In addition, unlike the «Orcus Great Dungeon», demonic beasts from whom the magic stones were gathered from were scarce... those were the basic reasons, but the foremost was actually because only few people were capable of reaching the entrance.
The reason was,
’’... It looks just like Laputa.’’
Hajime unconsciously muttered while recalling the scene of that masterpiece anime, which made Yue and the other girls look at him with questioning glances. Hajime only shrugged his shoulders and watched the gigantic swirling sandstorm from inside the four-wheeler.
That's right, just like how the floating castle was wrapped by cumulonimbus cloud, the «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»was wrapped by gigantic, swirling sandstorm. The storm's scale was so huge that it completely hid the «Guryuu-en Great Volcano», and the tornados of the sandstorm were just like a flowing wall.
Moreover, a large amount of demonic beasts such as Sandworms were lurking inside the sandstorm, and they would mercilessly make surprise attacks within the place that had limited range of view. Thus, Hajime could only nod at the tale where people with average ability wouldn't be able to pass through the sandstorm, and into «Guryuu-en Great Volcano».
’’I am glad we aren't walking here.’’
’’Indeed, even I doth not wanteth to enter it with mine own body.’’
Looking at the giant sandstorm from the window just like Hajime, Shia and Tio were grateful to the four-wheeler. Smiling wryly, Hajime said, ’’Then, let's go.’’ and the four-wheeler dashed out. For this case, they didn't come to conquer it leisurely. There wasn't that much Serene Stone on the surface, so it was necessary to go into the untouched depth of the dungeon to obtain the amount needed. And if they go into the deepest part, there should be a shortcut similar to what they have experienced until now. As such, they would be able to immediately return to Ancadi.
Hajime, himself, wasn't interested in the safety of Ancadi's people, but he didn't mind helping them. By doing so, he would at least not to feel guilty towards his companion, Kaori, nor would he let Myuu see a spectacle that would bring great shock to her.
While thinking this, Hajime regained his spirit and charged into the gigantic sandstorm.
Inside the sandstorm was a world painted in brown. Just like in the fog of«Halteena Sea of Trees», it was hard to see ahead. It was also capable of influencing one's physical condition, so it might be more troublesome than that fog. Thus, even using magic, breaking through this place filled with hidden demonic beasts was indeed virtually impossible.
Light coming from the headlight made out of Green Light stone cut through the dim place where the sunlight could not reach. Their speed was 30 kmph. If the information they got before was accurate, they would break through the sandstorm within five minutes.
And at that time, Shia's rabbit ears stood straight and Hajime also reacted, one beat after her. ’’Brace yourself!,’’ Hajime raised his voice, and grandly turned the steering wheel.
Three sandworms with their big mouths opened and jumped out from below. Evading the ambush, the four-wheeler created S-letter on the ground, and Hajime kept running away without a care. With four-wheeler's speed, it would be better to quickly get out of the sandstorm than fighting each time something appeared.
Two more sandworms came to attack from both sides of four-wheeler while it was dashing out and ignored the previous three sandworms. Their timing was so good that the four-wheeler's body would receive body blows. However, it would hit without damaging the four-wheeler at all, and the four-wheeler would only be turned sideways. That's why, once Hajime grasped the surprise attacks using ’’Sign Perception,’’ he immediately tried to drift to evade. However, Yue and Tio stopped him.
’’...Nn, leave it to me.’’
’’ Just leaveth it to this one, Master.’’
Hearing the two, Hajime unhesitatingly kept the steering wheel straight as it was. Then, the gigantic worms dashed out of the brown colored world.
However, the attacks coming from the sandworms from left and right side couldn't even touch four-wheeler.
Seeing the sandworm on the left, Yue muttered and a blade of wind was instantly produced outside the four-wheeler and fired, drawing a trajectory using the sand on the air. Thus the sandworm that jumped out before them was horizontally slashed, and blood scattered from the divided sandworm.
That spectacle was similar to what happened on the right side, which Tio had taken care of.
’’Hmm, as expected of thee, thee fired a good wind.’’
’’... There's no way I won't use the wind from the sandstorm. Tio, too, as expected of you.’’
Similarly, they instantly chose to use wind element magic, ’’Wind Blade,’’ and though it was a beginner-ranked magic, the ’’Wind Blades’’ previously fired were as strong as mid-ranked magic. The reason was because they used the raging wind outside. Simply, the strength of magic wasn't only affected by magic power, thus the best magic used was selected according to the condition and environment of the location. However, even though saying it was simple, it was difficult to actually do it. For Yue and Tio to be capable of doing it, it was indeed as expected of their competency.
Behind them, the three sandworms from before were still following. They had considerable speed as they advanced under the ground. Irritated by them, Hajime activated four-wheeler's gimmick. Briiing!Such a sound came from back part of four-wheeler and one of its rear part opened. Several black, round objects rolled down from there.
The moment some met up with the sandworms pursuing the four-wheeler, they created huge explosions. The impact blew away the ground, and the sandworms advancing underground came out of the ground while scattering flesh and blood. Towards the sandworms, more black object, grenades, rolled and caused more explosions that blew away half of each of the sandworms. Their upper-bodies were blown off, fluttered mid-air, and disappeared inside the sandstorm.
’’Uhya~, amazing. Hajime-san, just how many functions are installed in this four-wheeler?’’
Shia asked Hajime while looking at sandworms that were flashily blown away from the back window. Hajime was wearing a mischievous smile.
’’It is capable of transforming into human-shaped weapon, a gigantic golem.’’
Although they wanted to say it was impossible, they knew Hajime could do it, thus not only Shia, Tio and Yue were also began to silently look around inside the vehicle. Smiling wryly, Hajime said, ’’It was a joke. As expected, I can't make such function... I want to though.’’ However, Yue and the girls were convinced that Hajime would someday capable of creating that.
Afterwards, the composed Hajime's party were also attacked by brown-colored, gigantic spider, and ant-like demonic beasts. However, all of them were crushed by four-wheeler's armament and magic from Yue and Tio without accomplishing anything, not even halting the party's advance.
Ignoring Shia who said, ’’I am useless here,’’ from the back seat, Hajime's party easily broke through the gigantic sandstorm that had obstructed a lot of adventurers.
Buuahh! Hajime's party came out of the sandstorm and arrived at a rocky mountain several times bigger than Ayers Rock. It was a silent place surrounded by the wall-like sandstorm where the blue sky could be seen up above the eye of the storm.
The entrance into «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»was at the top, so they continued to travel up on the slope using four-wheeler. The exposed rocky surface was reddish red in color, and steams gushed from here and there. Though it was an active volcano, the point where it never erupted was a Great Dungeon-like wonder.
Before long, the angle became more difficult for four-wheeler to advance, so Hajime's party got out of the four wheeler and went towards the top of the mountain on foot.
’’Uwau... i-it's hot.’’
’’Indeed. ... the heat is in a different scale compared to the heat of desert's dry weather... Even without the time limit, it would be better to quickly conquer the dungeon, huh.’’
’’Hmm, though this one feels comfortable here... this one can't wait... to feel so hot that this body would writhes in agony.’’
’’... I will drop you into the magma later.’’
Attacked by the heat as soon as they got out of the four-wheeler, other than Tio, all of them made dissatisfied expressions. Due to them being in air-conditioned place before, they felt even hotter. As adventurers in another world and travelers, for them to have withdrawal symptom similar to shut-in was... just reaping what they sowed.
They didn't have much time, so while complaining about the heat, they quickly went towards the mountain top, climbed the rocky place quickly as if they didn't feel any weight. As a result, Hajime's party reached the top of the mountain in less than one hour.
They arrived at the top, a complex place buried by rocks of various sizes. There were rocks with pointed surface and also those with slippery, smooth surface. It was just like an exhibition of strange objects. Also, they could feel the top of the sandstorm nearby.
There was an exceptionally huge rock, and a group of strange-shaped rocks. It was an arch-shaped rock with the length of ten meters.
Hajime's party went there and found huge staircase that continued on into «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»under the arch-shaped rock. Hajime stood before the staircase and looked over his shoulder towards Yue, Shia, and Tio's faces in order. With a confident expression, he said a word to challenge the Great Dungeon.
’’Let's do it!’’
* * *
The inside of «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»was even more unexpected than «Orcus Great Dungeon»and «Raisen Great Dungeon».
Rather than the difficulty, it was the interior's structure that was unexpected.
First, magma was flowing mid-air. Not flowing like the waterway in dem-ihuman country, Faea Belgaen, but the magma was in the mid-air and flowing like rivers. The streaming, scorching red magma in mid-air was just like huge, jumping dragons.
Thus, the magma flowing around the passage and broad space made not only the dungeon challenger be cautious about the magma on the ground, but also above them.
’’Woops, are you okay?’’
’’Ha~, Hajime-san, thank you. It was impossible for me to perceive that... the magma would suddenly spout from the ground.’’
Exactly what Shia said, the magmas abruptly spouted from all around the walls. It was really abrupt that it was difficult to perceive any prior sign of it. It was similar to that of a booby trap. Fortunately, Hajime has ’’Heat Perception.’’ Without it, their conquering speed would've fallen due to the need to be cautious.
Following that, the thing that made it truly difficult was the boiling heat extreme heat. It was naturally hot due to magma streaming all around the passage and broad space which made the party feel like being inside a sauna, or to be more accurate, above a heated frying pan. The heat was the most troublesome thing about «Guryuu-en Great Volcano».
While sweating, Hajime's party continued to advance while evading the drops of and the spouting magma. And in a certain broad space, they found the place has artificial cut all over the place. The place was worn down by cuts that seemed to come from something like a pickaxe, but there was a small, faint pink-colored crystal peeping from one part of the wall.
’’Oh? That thing. Serene Stone... right?’’
’’Hmm, twas indeed that, Master.’’
Hajime's questioning-like words were confirmed by Tio whose knowledge was broad. Apparently, this seemed to be the place the adventurers, who passed through the sandstorm and entered «Guryuu-en Great Volcano», mined the stone.
’’... So small.’’
’’The ones at others' places were also in a size of small stones...’’
Just as Yue said, the remaining Serene Stone was only almost as big as little finger. Though those could be taken out and carried, but the size was indeed too small. As expected, it was too inefficient to gather the ones on the surface, so it was necessary for them to go into the depth to be able to obtain a lot of it in a dash.
For now, Hajime used ’’Mineral Enquiry’’ to search around for Serene Stone. After he stored those that could be gathered easily, he urged Yue and the girls to move ahead, quickly.
While being disgusted by the heat, they descended into the seventh floor. It was the highest floor recorded to be reached by the adventurers. None of those who moved farther than this had come back alive. So, bracing themselves, Hajime's party descended into the eighth floor.
At that moment,
When they felt fanned by a strong hot wind, a huge blazing flame came to attack Hajime's party from right ahead of them. It advanced as it drew a spiral on the orange-colored wall.
Yue's magic activated against the blazing flame. A black, swirling orb appeared before Hajime's party. It was a gravity magic. However, it was not used to crush the object on the ground.
The flame that could easily burn a person to ash was pulled by the sphere which was only 60 centimeters in diameter and disappeared without a trace. The flame swallowed by the sphere was actually nullified. The black, swirling sphere, the gravity magic called ’’Absolute Calamity,’’ was generating its own gravity, pulled those coming near it, and swallowed them into the inside of it, like a black hole.
When all of the blazing flame was swallowed by Yue's swirling supergravity, the party could see the identity of their attacker.
It was a bull. It stood in the middle of the magna, and its whole body was also cladded in magma. It had two sharp curved horns on its head, and flame was coming out of its mouth from time to time. The heat-proofness of this demonic beast made Hajime instinctively wanted to retort on it.
Maybe because the Magma Bull was angry that its peculiar magic, the blazing flame attack, was easily nullified, sounds of thud! Thud! could be heard from its legs and it turned into a charging stance.
To the Magma Bull, the swirling supergravity Yue created immediately moved as if being pulled toward the Magma Bull. At that moment, Magma Bull also attacked using compressed flame. The laser-like, compressed attack from the Magma Bull carried several times the power of normal flame attack.
Even now, the Magma Bull was still charging head-on. However, Yue literally received and returned the fired attack.
The space vibrated accompanied by an explosive sound, and the Magma Bull that stood on the magma was blown away by the attack. Blown backward by the impact, the Magma Bull struck the wall. However, ’’GRAAAAH!!,’’ it only raised an angry shout and instantly stood up. This time, it began to once again charge with all of its might to repel the intruders.
’’Hah... as expected, flame attack isn't effective on it.’’
’’Well, it is cladded in magma... so it can't be helped.’’
Yue, who deflected the blazing flame shot back, raised a grunt. Laughing wryly, Hajime tried to take Donner, but Shia raised a hand.
’’Hajime-san, please leave it to me!’’
Although Hajime doubted Shia who already held Doryukken in her hands, she snorted in full spirit. His doubt turned into trust, and he expressed his acknowledgement with a wave of his hand. It was after he had guessed Shia wanted to test the new features installed in Doryukken when his magic eye saw Shia was supplying her magic power into Doryukken.
’’Alright~! I am going to do it!,’’ Shia raised a yell, and after few light steps, she jumped towards the Magma Bull who had moved several meters towards the party.
Rotating once in the mid-air and riding on the momentum, she swung down Doryukken towards the Magma Bull on the ground with such a perfect timing. Her aiming wasn't off, the Doryukken swung down directly hitting the Magma Bull's head. At that moment, ripples of faint blue-colored magic power spread around the center of the place where it struck, followed by tremendous impact. The Magma Bull's head popped, exploded.
Using the nailed down Doryukken as a fulcrum, Shia rotated again. She jumped over the sliding Magma Bull's body and splendidly landed on the other side.
’’O-Ohh Hajime-san, I, the person who used it, now know that this new feature generated an amazing amount of force.’’
’’Ah, looks like it... I've thought what kind of thing is this ’’Conversion : Impact,’’ but this is good...’’
Not only Hajime, Yue and Tio immediately raised words of praise towards the blow that Shia did with considerable force. It was thanks to the peculiar magic Hajime said, ’’Conversion : Impact.’’
This ’’Conversion : Impact’’ was a new peculiar magic Hajime acquired, a derivation from ’’Magic Power Conversion.’’ The effect was just as the words expressed, it converted magic power into impact.
It was the ability of the horshead Hajime instantly turned into minced meat several days ago in«Orcus Great Dungeon». He had actually collected the meat in secret, and when he recovered the stake, he ate it.
If it was an average demonic beasts, neither the stats nor Hajime's the skill would increase, but he ate it since he thought it might have an effect because the horsehead was able to hold on against Kouki's party along with the Kouki in limit break... But as he thought, his stats didn't change at all;he only gained the horsehead's peculiar magic.
Then, he used Creation magic to add ’’Conversion : Impact’’ to an ore and installed it into the newly built Doryukken.
Hajime watched the Magma Bull's head blasted in interest, but he was urged by Yue to hurry.
Afterwards, the demonic beast variations increased as they descended the floors. There were bat-like demonic beasts that scattered magma from their wings, scorching red moray-like demonic beasts that jumped out from the wall it melted, hedgehog-like demonic beasts that shot out numerous needles of flame, chameleon-like demonic beasts that only produced its face from within the magma and attacked using its magma-covered tongues like a whip while swimming on the gravity-defying magma river overhead, and there were even blazing serpents...
It was indeed troublesome since the demonic beasts' bodies were clad in magma or ablaze which nullified any half-assed magic, and some were using surprise attacks from the flowing magma rivers where they hid their body. The demonic beasts not only would try to inflict fatal wound by using body blow, a lot of them were also using the surrounding magma to attack;a situation where they have infinite weapon. Besides, they would run into the magma to ensure their safety.
It was indeed true that even if the adventurers were capable of breaking through the sandstorm, they wouldn't be able to descend further than seventh floor and return. Moreover, even if the demonic beasts could be defeated, the size and quality of the magic stones were the same as the demonic beasts in forties floors of «Orcus Great Dungeon»and the existence of Serene Stone, a valuable mineral, didn't affect the income much. So, it was understandable that no one want to challenge this dungeon.
Following that, the most troublesome thing was the heat gradually increasing.
’’Haa, haa... it's hot.’’
’’... Shia, you feel hot because you think it is. Those flowing thing is just water... See, it's cool now, fufu.’’
’’Ah, Master! Yue is starting to break! The eyes hath became hollow!’’
Other than Tio, Hajime's party were downed by the strong heat. For now, he took out air-conditioning type of artifacts... but it just like sprinkling water over dry soil. Their sweat flowed like an unstoppable waterfall. Seeing Yue and Shia whose consciousness began to become hazy, Hajime thought it was necessary for them to take a little rest while he wiped off the sweat on his chin.
When they reached a broad space, Hajime used ’’Transmutation’’ on a wall away from the magma and created a tunnel. He urged Yue and the others inside, and shut the entrance to the limit so the heat from magma would not reach them directly. Furthermore, he used ’’Mineral Separation’’ and ’’Compressed Transmutation’’ to coat the surface of the room's wall with solid material so they wouldn't be attacked by any moray-like or magma spout.
’’Fuu... Yue, please create a block of ice. We will rest here for a while. If not, it would not be odd if we make a fatal mistake later.’’
Although her eyes were hollow, Yue conjured ice magic and a huge block of ice appeared in the middle of the room. Though Tio didn't mind the heat, she made the wind blow with the block of ice as the core. Thanks to the wind created by Tio, the cold air from the block of ice instantly cooled down the room's temperature.
’’Whaa~~, it's coool~, I can live on noww~.’’
Collapsing in a girl's sitting pose, Yue and Shia narrowed their eyes in delight. The birth of squishy-Yue and squishy-Shia.
While thinking the two were moe, Hajime took out towels from ’’Treasure Box’’ and handed them over to everyone.
’’Yue, Shia, it is good that you're enjoying yourselves, but wipe your sweat. Your movement will become duller if you get too cold.’’
With elongated words, Yue and Shia slowly took the towel. Seeing them, Tio spoke to Hajime.
’’Master, doth not relaxed thy guard yet, okay?’’
’’You, too. This heat is indeed dangerous. I must create better air-conditioning type artifact...’’
’’Hmm, for it to be capable of defeating master... This is probably this Great Dungeon's concept.’’
Rather than defeat, hot is hot, and Tio, who also wiping her sweat with towel, made Hajime doubtful with what she said.
’’Mhm. This one hath heard many things from Master, but there is the thing called trial, right? If this was to challenge the God... then, there should be various concepts it based on, or so this one thought. For example, the «Orcus Great Dungeon»that this one heard from Master hath a lot of demonic beasts, so various battle experiences would be gained as one advanced through. «Raisen Great Dungeon»nullified strong power called magic, polishing one's flexibility against any kind of attacks. This «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»probably uses the heat to obstruct one's concentration and how one would react against the surprise attacks under this situation, right?’’
’’... Indeed... I never thought of it because in the end, I only needed to conquer it... but the trials are used by the Liberators to ’’teach’’ us, huh.’’
’’I see,’’ Hajime nodded at Tio's conjecture. She has deep knowledge even though she's a complete masochist, and the prudent Tio was normally could be thought as a beautiful, black-haired woman who exuded sensual and amorousness... so Hajime looked at her with a truly pitying gaze.
However, seeing Tio's sweat flowing from the scruff of her neck disappearing into the valley of her bountiful breasts, Hajime averted his gaze. His gaze turned towards the clothes of Yue and Shia sticky from all the sweat. Noticing the disappearance and appearance of their bare skin, his gaze was pulled towards Yue.
Probably because she was wiping her sweat, a large amount of her skin was peeping from her pure-white dress. Her skin had a tinge of red due to heat. Her bare skin glossy from the sweat and her rougher-than-normal breathing was truly erotic.
Unconsciously, Hajime even forgot to look away and continued watching her, but his gaze suddenly met Yue's raised gaze. Having forgotten the situation due to being charmed... and getting somewhat aroused, Hajime tried to look away in guilt.
However, just before he looked away, Yue who caught Hajime's gaze revealed a bewitching smile. With the still disarrayed clothes, arching her back like a cat, she slowly got down to all fours and approached Hajime. Her hazy eyes that wouldn't let Hajime's gaze escape, flushing cheeks because of heat, and showing a tint of breasts every time she moved...
Yue, who immediately approached Hajime in all fours, sat on Hajime's cross-legged legs, sending him an upward gaze, and with a spoiled, sweet tone...
’’... Hajime, wipe me?’’
Hajime unconsciously received the towel from her, and his gaze remained fixed on Yue's eyes. In his mind, ’’Ah, crap. I can't win against Yue in this situation,’’ he thought with a wry smile. Quietly, he tried to glide his hand on the scruff of Yue's neck... but was stopped by Shia's protest.
’’Y-O-U T-W-O! Please mind the time, place, and occasion a little! We are in a hurry and this is a Great Dungeon! Geez! Seriously, geez!’’
’’No, well, umm. It's not like I could help it, right? Yue is too erotic. So, I couldn't ignore her.’’
’’... Hajime who was quietly staring was cute.’’
’’Can't you two at least reflect a little? To begin with, why didn't Hajime-san look at me? Even though I was right beside Yue-san and in such condition, too... Gosh, my confident plummeted~. Hey, Tio-san should say something, too.’’
’’Well, the two art infatuated with each other. So methinks it can't be helped, right? This one also wants Master to abuse one without minding the place... however, well, Master reacted a little to this one's breasts~. This one will be satisfied with just that this time. Kufufu.’’
It was the usual perverted remarks of Tio. However, Hajime was found out that he felt the sweat that flowed into Tio's breasts made her looked se*y. Hearing that, ’’I am not even looked at!,’’ Shia was angry. Shia forgot about the TPO (time, place, and occasion) she said a little while ago and began to strip before Hajime. Then, this one will strip too, but Hajime fired rubber bullets to silence them because it would turn bothersome otherwise.
Hajime continued to wipe off Yue's sweat before the writhing Shia whose breasts was completely bare and the writhing Tio with her disgusting smile. Hajime sighed while secretly relieved that Kaori wasn't there.